Author's Note: This takes place during "The Road Not Taken", right after Sam's botched interview. This could be a sequel to my story "A Wall of Memories" but isn't necessarily. Hope you enjoy!

Summary: It all seemed so absurd… Rodney McKay had made her feel- feel better and feel more- than she had in a long time. And now all she felt was stripped naked and laid bare in a stranger's hallway.

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Strangers

"But what people?"

Sam looked over her shoulder to watch as Rodney walked away from her. He pulled his glasses off, letting them clatter against the table.

It sunk her stomach as his words finally sunk in and the futility of her efforts hit her.

"No one heard me, did they?" She slammed the laptop shut and the chair rolled backwards as she stood.

She imagined that he was talking, but she ignored him as she walked aimlessly. She took advantage of the first wall to bang her head against it, just once before letting herself stare at the pale carpet. She stayed still for just a moment before her shoulders twisted and her back hit the wall and she slid down until her knees came up to her chest. She just sat there, focusing on nothing but her heaving breathes, the air rushing through her nostrils, the hot air passing over her lips.

She heard as his footsteps grew closer, as the wall sighed in protest against his back, as his jeans crinkled around his knees. That was the first time she noticed how close he was. The air stopped in her lungs, not daring to make it to her lips as she blinked languidly, eyes turning just enough to catch sight of his shoe.

"You're just like her when you're mad. Hell, you're just like her period. The voice, the face, the eyes…" The warm puffs of air blowing the loose strands of hair and tickling her face was the only clue she had to know that he was looking right at her, his eyes drinking her face her. But then he sighed and the loss of warmth told her he had looked away. "I know, in my head, that you and her are completely different people. You've led different lives. You've seen and experience different things. But I imagine that, when it really comes down to it, you're very similar people. I imagine I know a lot more about you than your Rodney McKay does."

Sam let herself drink in his words, tossing them around in her head for a moment before a smile stretched her lips and a huff of a laugh escaped them. What her Rodney McKay knew about her amounted to very little, most of it imagined. She couldn't even bring herself to ponder how similar she was to the Samantha Carter she had seen in pictures.

She had thought then about turning her head, allowing her eyes to search out his. She thought then that, if she saw the pain filling his eyes as she imagined it was, that she might lift her hand to stroke his face or hair. She even thought then that, maybe, she would even give this sweet version of a man a short kiss, just enough to sooth the grieving side of him. But, before a single thought became an actual command, she tensed.

It was feather soft, almost indistinguishable from the soft caresses of his breath. But it was there. His lips were pressing gently against the clothed skin on her shoulder. And then his nose grazed the side of her clavicle, traversing from cloth to skin. His lips followed the trail, pressing just lightly enough to be felt. And then they rose, letting the warmth of his breath send shivers down her spine.

And the pattern repeated. He let his nose lead the way, scouting out the bare flesh exposed to him; he let his chin drop onto shoulder, holding his head there, holding his breath still as it steadily warmed and cooled and teased the sensitive skin beneath her ear. He seemed to be waiting- for her to pull away, for her to say something, or perhaps for something only he alone would ever know- before his lips made contact again.

She didn't even realize that she was doing it. His nose had gently beckoned her head to tilt just enough to give him better access to just below her ear. And he was right when he said that he knew her far better than she would ever have thought. She bit her lip, holding the air in her lungs to keep from sighing when his lips found her most sensitive spot.

Before she could recover her composure, his fingertips were brushing the hair from her face and his palm was resting against her cheek and suddenly she wasn't sure if it was his gentle urging or her own muscles that turned her head to look at him. She found his eyes, but he wasn't looking at hers. Instead, he was lost in a curious fascination of his thumb as it softly outlined her lips. Her eyes fluttered closed against the feel of his thumb parting her lips.

And then his lips were on hers and he was breathing in her gasp and his fingers that had been so intent on exploring her lips were being tangled through her hair, holding her against him.

And for a while, she was lost in the storm of sensations. Lost in the feel of his lips suckling hers, in his tongue darting out and tasting her, in his fingers lost in her hair, in the heat of his body.

The clarity hit like a lightening bolt shattering the perfect calm of a mid-summer storm. One hand splayed itself over his chest and for moment, again, she was lost in the heat of his body, before she remembered herself. A gentle push was enough to bring him back. She pulled away.

For a moment, it seemed as if Rodney hadn't noticed the loss of contact. Gradually his eyes slid open, coming to rest on hers. That was the first time he let her see it- the pain that came with denial slipping away and grief settling into one's chest.

She wondered at what he was now focusing on, as his eyes turned away. She wondered if maybe he had realized what he had done, realized who she was, and had now regressed into his own thoughts. Or maybe he was simply entranced by his hand once again, watching as his fingers twirled the longer strands of her hair.

But all thoughts ceased when he leaned closer again, his nose grazing the length of her cheek, stopping to nuzzle the tip of her ear. The air caught in her throat as warm air tickled her.

"Please don't say no. Give me this last chance to pretend. Please." His voice was so hoarse, so soft and raw. And then his lips were nudging closer and his hand had stilled and the only thing she could think about was the soft breeze-like sensation of air passing through his lips.

Some part of her mind was telling her to reach up and push him away again. To shake her head and pull away. To softly tell him no. And yet she couldn't- couldn't bring herself to deny him some comfort, some kind of closure. She didn't know why she felt like she owed him that.

He was kissing her again, hard and sloppy and she let him because she knew that he needed it. It surprised her when his other hand came to rest on her thigh and she tensed, but then his fingers began to knead at the flesh, softly caressing the tensing away. She sighed against his lips.

She caught herself, stopping the moan that threatened to escape her when Rodney's lips broke away. She wasn't ready to admit that his touch actually felt good.

She couldn't stop the second moan from escaping her. His lips had found the sensitive spot beneath her ear. He nipped softly, startling her nerves. He kissed it, wet and languid, caressing it. His breath rolled over the area in hot waves, cooling the burning nerves, sending shivers throughout her body.

He seemed so skilled at teasing that area, of manipulating it to the point where pain meets pleasure. And suddenly it scared her just how well this stranger did know her body; how well he knew her greatest weakness. Not even Pete had ever learned to take advantage of that. And, strangely enough, that was a complete turn on.

She couldn't remember whether his hand had begun to roam lower, coming to rest on her hip, before his lips had left hers or after he had begun to ravish her neck. She couldn't remember when both his hands had gripped her hips and guided her closer to him and supported her as she shifted to straddle him. She couldn't remember when both her hands had been splayed across his chest and started roaming over the free expanse of toned muscle hidden by the soft cotton material. She couldn't even remember when one hand had climbed higher, pulling his focus away from her neck and allowing her to capture his lips with her own.

And suddenly she was the one kissing him, the one holding her palm over the stubble on his cheek, the one threading her fingers through his hair, the one tasting and exploring and urging. It was only then that the sudden notion of how absurd the entire thing was hit her. How absurd it was that Rodney McKay had the ability to reduce her to the primitive urge to make her want and feel.

Her hands kneaded his neck before tracing a path down his back. Her hands dipped under his shirt, caressing at the smooth skin. Her hand traced his spine, running up the length of it and then back down. She smirked against him when he bit down on her lip in surprise, his body shivering against her touch. The warmth of skin felt good against her palms as they wandering around his waist, splaying over the toned stomach muscles, running through the soft hairs covering his chest.

She pulled back, catching his eye as her hand played with the lowest button on his shirt.

"You don't have to do this, Sam."

She shook her head, dipped her face forward to catch his lips again. She found his eyes again. "I want to."

And she was almost surprised to find that she meant it. That it wasn't just a pity fuck because she felt guilty about his Sam. God help her, but she actually wanted this compassionate version of Rodney. Wanted him, wanted his gentle caresses to roam her body, wanted his soft lips to pepper her skin, to ravish her. She wanted to feel.

Somewhere between unbuttoning his shirt and his hands pulling her blouse from her body and his lips exploring her left breast as his hand explored her right, Sam was lying flat against the floor with Rodney's full weight above her. She clasped her hands around his head, pulling him to her, kissing him wet and hard as her body arched into his, needing the contact.

His lips were nudging their way to her cheek, then to her jaw, before finding that sweet spot beneath her ear. And this time she just let herself feel, let herself moan into his ear. She could feel lips twisting into a smile even as his lips and tongue continued to work the tender flesh.

And then his lips moved lower, inching down her neck until they came in contact with her clavicle. And for a short time, he let all his attention stay there. And all Sam could do was lay there, with her eyes closed and her hands still playing in his hair. And somehow she managed to drag in breath after breath, slowly, in deep, shallow waves the air filled her lungs and slowly, in short, gasping bursts her lungs expelled its continence.

She wasn't ready for it when his mouth descended on her breast; her body arched suddenly, grinding into him. The air left her at the feeling of friction, of needed contact. The moan vibrated his throat against her chest; his forehead had come to rest on her chest.

And then he was kneeling over her and his hands were dragging slowly over the expanse of her bare flesh- his fingers grazed the edges of erect nipples, scrapped soft flesh just lightly enough to tickle. He wasted no time teasing the material still clinging to her hips. Slackening the zipper, his hands glided over the soft flesh of her hips, along the sides of muscular thighs, and finally came to pull both her shoes from her feet and pants from her legs. And, almost as quickly, his attention had turned away from the discarded material. His hands were attaching the sides of her stomach and she sighed- sighed at the heat that it collected in the pit of her stomach, sighed at the way he seemed to know every weak spot. God, did he know every one of her weak spots.

And then he was on top of her again and his lips had found her neck again and she was arching into him, nails biting into his shoulders. And suddenly she found herself laughing into the awkward tuffs of hair tickling her nose.

"I think you forgot something."

Air puffed against her breasts and she wasn't sure if he wasn't laughing with her or cursing the fact that he had to move away from her once again.

She rolled onto her side, holding her head up with her hand as she chuckled at the way he awkwardly tried to undo his belt and lift his body to remove both his shoes and pants. She reached forward, fingertips running over the edges of his abdomen muscles, stopping to tease the elastic of his boxed. She eyed the bulge, then smirked up at him.

And then he was kneeling before her, completely bare and exposed to her. He just smirked down at her and finally she had seen the signs of the Rodney McKay she knew shinning down at her, smug and arrogant, and absolutely right. Her hand snaked up and over the ridges of his chest, wrapping around his neck and pulling his lips down to meet hers.

When she loosened her grip, he smiled down at her. He edged closer, straddling her again. Rodney kissed her before he slid his body down on her a little, then lifted her hips. His fingers played with the soft curls before his thumb rubbed against her clit, moving in teasing strokes.

She could feel her entire body flushing under the assault. Sam opened her legs further, running her hands over his back, and he slid inside her. Her breath stuttered as he pushed deeper inside her. He looked up at her, holding her eyes as he waited, letting her get used to the feel of him. Her hand reached up to stroke his face and he started to move. It was hard and fast; it felt perfect.

Her breath shuttered again as his fingers found her clit once more, rubbing harder as he slammed faster into her. And he was fucking her just the way she had always wanted to be fucked. She imagined that he knew that- that he knew what she wanted. Exactly how she wanted it.

There hadn't been much talking between them since they had sat down, but now there was nothing. Nothing but the harsh, quick breathes and the slick sounds of sex. She breathed him in as she stroked his hair, letting her lungs fill with the musk and sweat and traces of his soap and she couldn't help but wonder what her Rodney smells like, what her Rodney would feel like naked and pressed against her.

And then her hands moved from his hair to clamp onto the sides of his face and she pulled him closer, kissing him open-mouthed and sloppy, learning the feel of his tongue and the taste of his lips, swallowing in his groans and sighing against his lips.

Her legs curled around his, giving her leverage to meet him thrust for thrust. Her head curled into the floor. He was hitting every spot, moving perfectly within her. She was close- so damn close- and all it took was the glorious feeling of his fingers and one final thrust and her body was exploding into a bone-melting orgasm, starting from the very tips of her toes and fingers, flooding through her body, sparking against her skin.

His lips were on hers, kissing her hard and greedy, swallowing her moans as he pounded into her. Her hands were tangled through his hair and she pulled away just long enough to breathe before he pulled her back under, kissing her through his own shuddering climax.

Only when his hips had stilled did he let the exhaustion close his eyes. She nuzzled her nose into his hair, kissing the sweat off his forehead. Rodney's weight had her pinned to the floor, but she didn't push him off. Her heart was pounding and she could feel his matching the beat of her pounding ribs. Rodney's breath was warm against the same tender spot beneath her ear. And still her body was shuddering in the occasional aftershock.

Eventually, when the cool draft from the open window reached them and their bodies began to cool and feel awkward against the sweat, Rodney rolled off of her. He pulled her to him, nuzzling her hair with his nose. She could feel him drinking her scent in. His hand splayed over her abdomen, gently caressing the muscles, mapping every bump, every mark, every inch of her. His lips found her neck again, gently teasing, gently tasting, burning her reaction to his lips into his memory.

And she remained still, letting him take the time to pretend. The time to remember someone else. She laid her hand over his, stopping his fingers from roaming. He sighed into her neck and she turned out of his grip, reaching up to stroke his face. Her lips pressed just to the side of his nose, kissing away the salty tears forming. He tried to smile at her and she kissed him, soft and sweet.

"Are you okay?" He nodded into her shoulder. "We should…"

"Can we pretend forever?" She tensed until he looked up at her and saw the soft smirk bending his lips up. She ran her hand over his face, tilting his chin up to her. She kissed him, one final time, starting out slow and soft, until Rodney tangled his hand behind her neck and pulled her closer, plunging his tongue deep into her mouth, learning and relearning every crevice, nipping and suckling at her lips, breathing her in.

The back of his hand stroked the length of her jaw, his eyes drank hers in. And then he pulled away, completely, sitting up and turning over his shoulder to look at her. She had to smirk at the way his body seemed to flush, suddenly embarrassed to be naked in front of her.

"I'm going to go wash up. There's a guest bathroom down the hall on the right."

"Thanks."

And just as cold and just awkwardly, he stood, picked up his scattered clothes, and ducked into a door off on the left.

Sam just sighed, laying flat against the floor for a moment. And once again, for the first time since the whole thing had began, it all seemed so absurd. Rodney McKay had turned her on, seduced her, and made her feel- feel better and feel more- than she had in a long time. And now all she felt was stripped naked and laid bare in a stranger's hallway.

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Hope you enjoyed! Please drop a review and let me know what you thought.