NOTES: The second in a Ronon/Rodney series. Definite UST. Five stages of Sexual Contact - Hugging.

Sleight Of Hand, Slip Of Tongue

One moment his world is full of rainforest and fern, the next it's full of explosions and Ronon.

They squelch as they land in the soft mulch of the forest floor, and Rodney catches sight of Sheppard heading for the ground. Teyla can't be seen, but she was on the other side of Sheppard when the first blast caught them, so she's probably hugging the ground, too.

Rodney's not hugging Ronon. His hands have automatically come up to push against the body - hot, hard, and muscular - pinning him down into the damp that's seeping into his clothing.

"Stay still," Ronon grunts, his eyes already scanning the smoke-drifted scrub.

He wants to retort that he doesn't have a choice because Ronon's pinning him, but he's not sure he's got the breath to do so. Ronon's a big man.

Rodney refuses to think about the various other ways in which Ronon could be considered big. Or about the pungent scent of the man - sweat and tension - over the heavy mud and beneath the acrid smoke. Or about the dreadlock that's slipped down over the bare curve of brown shoulder and brushes his cheek with rough sensuality.

His heart is hammering against his ribcage, driven, surely, by adrenaline. Beneath his fingertips, nubbled wool presses back as Ronon takes a deep breath and tenses against him. Through the material of his BDU trousers, Rodney can feel the long ropes of muscle bunching as the other man prepares to spring into action now that the danger appears to be gone.

Something that isn't quite a giggle bubbles up in Rodney's throat - a stutter of breath - then Ronon's up and moving.

A few yards away, Sheppard's moving too, a blur of pale face beneath dark hair, an equally pale hand resting on the dark blur of his P-90. Teyla rises swiftly from the ground where Sheppard had cowered a moment before, and if she's got her weapon in place, her eyes are tracking Rodney.

"I'm okay," he snaps quietly, not waiting for the question. The other two are walking away from the Stargate, which is a bad thing. Rodney wants out of here ASAP. "Uh, direction check! The Stargate's the other way."

Sheppard glares and puts a finger to his lips. Ronon's got his head tilted, listening. Neither of them seem to pick up anything out of the ordinary, and Teyla has the slightly distant look in her eyes which means she's trying to use her 'spidey-sense' to track people.

Rodney waits impatiently until the three exchange various looks that he can't interpret. Then Sheppard signals back towards the Gate. Move out.

Teyla leads, Rodney follows, Sheppard flanks, Ronon sixes. They make in the vague direction the Stargate, mindful that there's a pursuit, and hoping to keep ahead of it.

No such luck.

He's reading the energy signals from the handheld scanner, trying to pinpoint the location of the Gate, when there's a distant pop and a whistle, and Sheppard yells something that Rodney can't make out.

He doesn't have to.

Ronon whirls, dreadlocks flying. An arm slips around Rodney's back and takes them down into the undergrowth. They grunt together as the ground hits them hard - higher ground, no muddy softness.

One of the marines said that life happens in fast-mo, while death happens in slow-mo - although how the man could know that since he's still alive, Rodney doesn't know. Right now, Rodney's life is happening in slow-mo - from the scrape of dreadlocks across his face, to the way the ground rises up to meet them.

Ow.

Heat pours over them like maple syrup, the ground rocks back and forth, and Rodney buries his face in his team-mate's shoulder. And pauses. He wrapped one arm around Ronon's waist in fear for his life, but the vest has ridden up the broad back. There's hot skin beneath his wrist, hard muscle against his chest.

Rodney wants to pull away, confused by the impulse to slide his hand up the well-muscled back. The arm that's wrapped around his back tightens, holding him still. The coast isn't yet clear.

"Sorry." The apology escapes, an unexpected slip of the tongue.

Ronon arches a brow, but only murmurs, "It's okay."

Rodney resents how casual he sounds.

All the way back to the Stargate, Rodney has flashes of Ronon's body, heated and lean against his own.

- fin -