Rodney smiled into the lips pressed hungrily against his own. He wasn't surprised John knew Rodney liked him, he never was much good at hiding things, but he was rather surprised John would act on it. Don't ask, don't tell, and all that jazz.

The kiss became more forceful, and hands began to pull at the shirt tucked into his waistband. Their fumbling led them to the bed, which John pushed him onto hungrily. Rodney arched into his touch as fingers glided across one nipple, and then the other, "John…" When he entered him, Rodney thought that this was more than he could ever dream of, the pleasure almost more than he could take. When the thrusts became quicker and harder, Rodney gasped and came with John's name on his tongue.

Through the haze of pleasure, he could feel the thrusts driving harder into him, out of control now. Soon he felt John shake, and still, and whisper "Elizabeth…" as he came.

And Rodney was left with nothing but empty kisses and touches that meant nothing.

---

He was tired, so tired, and maybe if he could just rest for 10 minutes everything would be clearer. But he knew if he rested for 10 minutes, it would turn into 30 and then 50 and then the city would be destroyed, overrun by the wraith.

"You know, if this works, someone else will have to pilot the second Jumper."

He toyed with the idea of it being him, taking the noble, self-sacrificing road, or being practical and getting someone, anyone, else—Atlantis needed him, after all. Needed him to live, even if he knew that with every inch that dot on the screen got closer to its destination he died a little more inside.

He was captivated by that blinking dot on the screen, watching it move closer and closer to the hive ship, and then it blinked out.

And Rodney was left with nothing but a drawled "So long, Rodney."

---

It was one of those random thank-God-we're-still-alive parties that tended to crop up far too often on Atlantis, usually after a really shitty mission. This one was no different, the same pang of loss of the dead, the same conversation, the same horse-piss booze the Athosians were so good at brewing. There was something different tonight though, and Rodney was sure if he just thought long enough he would recognize it, right there, right at the tip of his tongue.

Oh yeah, that was it: he and John were in an unnoticed corner of the room, and John's tongue was in his mouth. Rodney knew he was three sheets to the wind, and he thought it probably wasn't a good idea to notice that John smelled like alcohol, and gun-oil, and, yes, just a hint of Aqua Velva, but he also thought that the thing about being really, really drunk is that you don't care about it until the morning. Then John's hand began to do something amazing to Rodney's cock, and he thought that maybe thinking was overrated and he should just go with it. So he went with it, and then his hands were under John's shirt and he loved how John's mouth parted slightly when Rodney's hands drifted over a nipple. John was practically in his lap now, and Rodney whimpered into the kiss each time their cocks touched through the fabric of their pants. This could work, really, Rodney was already extrapolating theories on how to get both of them to his room—or John's room, not picky actually—and continue this. Rodney arched his head back, gasping, as John's hand finally reached into his pants to take hold of his cock, and then he looked over John's shoulder right into the angry and disgusted eyes of Colonel Caldwell. And if that doesn't sober you up Rodney thought then I don't know what does.

After that came the blur of a court-marshal. There were whispers in the labs, and scorn-filled glares in the mess hall. John was discharged and he walked through the Stargate back to earth without looking back

And Rodney was left with nothing but a memory of one drunken night.

---

Rodney finally found him, walking to a transporter that would take him back to his room.

When he saw him, John turned away and started to walk in the opposite direction; Rodney could feel the pain wash over him like a physical thing, cutting the last shreds of his dignity away.

"Oh, Colonel! Colonel! I've been looking all over for you."

"I heard." John's face revealed nothing. The warmth and …something more? that Rodney had once seen in John's eyes was gone, replaced by this distant wariness that made the colonel seem almost like a different person.

"I suppose I deserve that. Look, I just, um, I wanted to apologize about what happened. I was wrong – I'm sorry."

The words were ripped from his mouth as if flung. Sorry, the word felt as though it burned as it touched his tongue, not used to the unfamiliar territory, and it fell flat in the face of this person whom he wanted—no needed—to understand.

"And I wanted to assure you that, uh, I intend not being right again – about everything, effective immediately…" A pause, and still no acknowledgement that this was the same man he had known for the past year. "That was a joke."

"Good one." Finally a small smile, but still not enough to bring the emotion into his eyes.

"I've already apologized to Elizabeth ... and Radek ... and I thanked Colonel Caldwell for, uh, caring enough to spy on the experiment from orbit. I sent him a nice little email, actually." And hadn't that been hard; half grateful to be alive, half resentful to owe yet another person because of his mistake. Seven more sorriesburned on his tongue after that admission. "But I saved you 'til last 'cause, um, honestly, I would ... I would hate to think that recent events might have permanently dimmed your faith in my abilities, or your trust. At the very least, I hope I can earn that back."

At the very least. God, he had hoped for so much more; now he saw those hopes crushed to dust more thoroughly than the now-ruined planet of Doranda, hoping to get back just the tattered remains of a friendship.

"That may take a while."

"I see." And he did see. He saw doors slammed, suitcases packed, the cold wind of exile in Siberia. He saw John get into the transporter and glance back with nothing in his eyes where there had once been warmth… and something more?

"But, I'm sure you can do it, if you really wanna try."

And Rodney was left with nothing but the knowledge that he never would be able to try hard enough.

---

He could hear a voice that sounded like perfectly mussed hair and a charming smile, "God, Rodney..."

Another voice in the background, "Colonel, you cannae stay much longer, his fever's too high… not long now …"

He was hot, practically suffocating, and so very, very tired; he struggled with disjointed mind to try to place the voice.

"…Colonel?"

"Yeah, Rodney, I'm right here. You're gonna be OK, Beckett says you just gotta rest…"

There was something wrong with the voice, a false cheeriness to it that even Rodney, with the fever coursing through him, could sense. And he could have sworn that John's voice had cracked; since when did John's voice crack? He was the strong one, the sure one…

But that line of thought proved to be to hard to concentrate on and he dropped back down into the fevered images that flickered across his mind: his mother screaming "The CIA, Rodney, the goddam CIA!", running off to college- any college- as long as it got him away from home, a glimpse of a charming smile under a mat of perfectly mussed hair…

And a kiss, so feather light it might have just been part of his delirium, on his lips "So sorry, Rodney."

And Rodney was left with nothing but the swiftly approaching darkness.