Breathing Room

(Occurs toward the end of the second season, after Coup D'Etat.)

Major Evan Lorne lay on his side in a bed in Atlantis' infirmary focusing on breathing without choking. Three of his teammates were there as well, still unconscious. He'd asked Beckett what happened and managed to stay conscious for most of the explanation. His insides burned from the back of his throat to the pit of his stomach and the soother Becket had given him made him feel cold and tingly. Lorne wasn't convinced that that was better.

"Heard you were sick," Sheppard said, crossing the room, picking up the nearest stool and setting it near the head of the bed. Sheppard greeted him with a quirky half-grin that utterly failed to hide his concern. Whether his concern was professional or not, Lorne couldn't really tell. In the line of duty, they shared the occasional witty repartee and in private they'd become regular fuck-buddies, but the spaces in between where friendship would lie had been left noticeably void.

"You know how it is when you get gassed by the Genii," Lorne shrugged, opting for military bravado, humor, and professionalism, since they were in public. "You seem fine for awhile then you go on some planet that has some trace of something that reacts with some trace of something else."

It wasn't meant to be a long-winded explanation, but it made Lorne's lungs hurt. This happened whenever her started fucking someone new—he became a babbling fool; and he started to want things. Sucking in his cheeks, he tried to cast those thoughts aside and treat this like a mission report.

"If I hadn't rotated two new men onto the team, there wouldn't have been anyone to carry us home," he said. "You know, you should think about bringing some new people onto your team."

"I'd request you, but you should be out there leading, not following me around," Sheppard said. He tried to make it sound like a joke, but despite his sarcastic tone, the comment seemed sentimental. Then something even stranger happened—Sheppard took Lorne's hand.

"Sir?" Lorne gasped, pulling away, thinking that he could be hallucinating or dreaming… or under the influence of some alien, mind-reading, virtual reality that couldn't distinguish real memories from fantasies. Lorne and Sheppard had agreed to keep their relationship professional in public. Even in private, John had never touched him for any reason other than to initiate sex.

"Beckett knows about us," Sheppard said quietly. "You get physicals as often as we do and it's hard to hide the fact that your ass has been repeatedly reamed."

"Oh," Lorne said, scanning the room to make sure no one else was there—at least no one conscious. Lorne couldn't imagine what his men might say if they woke up and saw. Satisfied that they were alone for the time being, he took John's proffered hand and closed his eyes peacefully. The touch went beyond professional concern or recreational sex and it felt good. "I feel better already."


Right hook, kick, block.

Lorne had been out of commission far too long, and it showed in his fighting—or rather it showed in how Sheppard pulled his punches. They were alone in the gym, shirtless, sparring.

Defend, jab, flip.

They were using Lorne's reduced stamina as an excuse to train alone, before the other men arrived. This was supposed to be physical therapy.

Right. Left.

"Ooof!" Lorne grunted as Sheppard elbowed him in the stomach, and he responded by spanking Sheppard on the ass.

Laughing at the tease, Sheppard turned again, getting Lorne into a shoulder lock and then giving his crotch a rough grope. They liked to fight this way when no one was watching. Snarling, Lorne flipped Sheppard onto the ground, pinning Sheppard face down long enough to suck his earlobe. It was difficult to master a tease so delicate in a fight, but Lorne took pride in doing it, and it always got a strong response from Sheppard. Sheppard's ass peaked predictably, grinding against Lorne's crotch. It's like petting a cat on the butt.

Sheppard waited until his grinding evoked a needy moan from Lorne, then he struck again, rolling and tackling, managing to swipe his tongue over Lorne's chest. Sparring gave them the perfect excuse to be flush and sweaty when the men arrived.

Suddenly Sheppard pinned Lorne to the wall and shoved his hand down the front of Lorne's pants, stroking hard. Lorne gasped, thrusting a few times instinctively, then twisting to get free. In the past, they'd always been considerate about not giving each other hard-ons before the other men showed up, and they'd never done serious petting outside of a locked room. When Lorne's first feeble escape attempts failed, he struggled harder, but Sheppard had him locked firmly and he was not playing. Sheppard wanted sex; he always let Lorne be on top, but he liked to do the taking himself.

"John," Lorne warned, giving up on struggling, barely hanging on to reason.

"You've been out of commission for over a month," Sheppard growled lustily. "We still have twenty minutes."

It felt good. Lorne got hard easily because it had been so long and he knew Sheppard was an amazing fuck. The feel of those rough hands shoved inside his tight pants, wrapped around his shaft, stroking upward made Lorne's insides melt with lust. Grumbling with pleasure, Lorne decided to go with it. Even if he came in his pants, he could still duck out before the men came. He'd been sick long enough that no one would question it.

"You missed me, baby?" Lorne teased, tipping his head back to rest on Sheppard's shoulder, flattered by the implied fidelity of Sheppard's complaint.

Sheppard squeezed a little too hard and Lorne yelped. "I told you not to call me that."

Lorne laughed, reaching back and digging his fingers into Sheppard's pants, cupping his ass and giving a rough squeeze. Their relationship had started like this—sparring leading to fun, rough sex. Lorne had seen Sheppard through a few dry spells when Sheppard had to recover from some injury or another. Lorne had never expected Sheppard to remain faithful in the reverse case, especially since he violently resisted any relationship step beyond casual sex or even coming out of the closet. Lorne decided to challenge that. Wriggling around in John's arms until they were face to face, he leaned in for a kiss.

"I said I didn't like kissing," John said, pulling back after only a brief peck on the lips.

Flipping the hold, Lorne pressed Sheppard's back to the wall and yanked Sheppard's hands out of his pants. Holding Sheppard by the wrists, Lorne braced his hands over their heads.

"I like kissing," Lorne countered, looking deeply into Sheppard's eyes. If Sheppard had waited for him all these weeks, then their relationship was not as one-sided, casual, and convenient as Lorne had once suspected. Sheppard gave him the tiniest of nods, not breaking eye contact like he usually did when he wanted intimacy and was ashamed to ask for it. This time when Lorne kissed him, Sheppard opened his mouth and returned the kiss hungrily. It was an interesting first kiss—rough but not playful. Tongues brushed, teeth clacked, and Lorne felt his body tingling. It wasn't the fire of lust he'd expected, but it was nice to finally kiss the man he'd been fucking on and off for almost a year now.

"Okay, maybe I like it a little," Sheppard conceded when they broke the kiss for air. His arms went slack, but Lorne wouldn't fall for that ploy. Keeping Sheppard firmly pinned, he plunged into another kiss, feeling a lot more tongue this time, and gentleness like he had never before experienced with Sheppard. Feeling Sheppard laugh in his mouth, Lorne pulled back.

"Okay, I like it a lot," Sheppard chuckled, giving Lorne a nip on the chin. "Now will you please fuck me?"

Lorne laughed incredulously. He'd gotten orders from Sheppard, but never requests. He'd never heard Sheppard beg—never seen him adopt even a remotely submissive role. Lorne looked him over like he was sizing up a new gun or a cut of beef. "No."

Sheppard stamped his feet impatiently, but didn't fight Lorne's hold on him. "I can make that an order, Major."

That felt more like old times—orders and use of title… the overwhelming sense that he was a convenient fuck and Sheppard was just using him.

"Colonel," Lorne returned stiffly, putting distance between their bodies, but maintaining the pin. "These mats get sticky enough with sweat. I'm not adding spunk to the room. Especially not now. You know Ronan will smell it, and probably the other guys too."

Sheppard blew air out of his pursed lips and fidgeted, lust fighting reason. He craned his neck to get his face close to Lorne's, though his chin was down so it wasn't for a kiss. Lorne was accustomed to the look—Sheppard pretended not to want intimacy, but he needed it a little.

"You're slipping, Sheppard." Ronan's voice startled them both and they froze. "Letting a sick man pin you."

Lorne's pants were closed, but by the way his shirt was tussled, it was obvious that a hand had been down there. He exchanged a panicked look with Sheppard, but Sheppard brushed past him, all traces of neediness gone.

"Let being the operative word," Sheppard said snidely to Ronan.

Lorne folded one arm against the wall, panting, pretending to catch his breath as he smoothed out his clothes. Normally, he would have added his own witty remark to Sheppard's comment, but he was both winded and confused. He'd never seen Sheppard beg before. This changed everything.


It had been Lorne's first full day on active duty and he was exhausted. The meetings and briefings alone, trying to catch up on all the things he'd missed while sick, had taken hours. Then there had been that utterly confusing training session with Sheppard before the group work-out, after which one of his men respectfully suggested he take a nap. He'd up-chucked his lunch and barely managed to keep supper down. In the shower, he'd fallen asleep on his feet and hadn't woken up until the water ran cold. Still, the moment Sheppard knocked on his door, all thoughts of sleep vanished.

As soon as the door closed, Sheppard pulled Lorne into an embrace and locked him in a kiss. It was surprising, but refreshing—intense, but not as rough and tumble as they were usually. Nudging with his lips, Sheppard directed Lorne backward, kissing him right onto the bed. Lorne looped his arms around Sheppard's shoulders, surrendering to the kiss, feeling a soft, tingling warmth spreading over his limbs. It was like they were making up for all those months of sex without kissing, filling in the spaces between that had been empty before. Half hour later they hadn't even taken their shirts off.

Finally Sheppard broke the kiss, stretching his body next to Lorne's, catching his breath, looking serene.

"I missed you," he said, averting his eyes and jutting his chin like he was making the confession against his will.

"I can tell," Lorne said, arching his back, molding his body to Sheppard's as they lay on the bed. His skin was humming with pleasure, and he just wanted to lay there contentedly accepting Sheppard's ministrations. Sheppard kissed him again, tenderly, like a wall had come down and he could finally confess to wanting to be here.

"Now will you fuck me?" he murmured, kissing down the side of Lorne's neck, making him laugh as much from the tingling as his words.

"How much longer do we have?" Lorne asked, checking his watch and sitting up.

"All night or until the next crisis on the base," Sheppard replied.

All night? They had never taken their time with sex. It was always fifteen minutes in and out, sometimes twenty-five if it had been awhile and Sheppard's ass was tight. Lorne had assumed they'd just wasted the whole time kissing, and he was okay with that. Did Sheppard want to spend the night?

"Let's hope it's the first," Lorne crooned, digging his hands under Sheppard's shirt and kissing the skin as he pushed the fabric away. He'd never explored Sheppard's chest with his lips before, and he was surprised Sheppard wasn't stopping him. "Do you want me to lick you tonight?"

"You said you didn't like that," Sheppard said, going straight for the button on Lorne's fly. Sheppard never cared for nudity. Part of his plan to limit intimacy was to remove as few clothing articles as possible. The only reason Lorne could get Sheppard's pants as low as his thighs was because there was no other way to get a cock in his ass without ripping them. "Turns out, I want a lot of things. It's quite possible, I want everything."

Lorne tensed immediately, hoping that didn't mean Sheppard wanted him to roll over. Lorne didn't bottom. He didn't like rim jobs or fingers in his ass. He knew Sheppard would go either way, and when they'd first started fucking, Sheppard had tried a few times, but he'd always been respectful. Lorne figured they'd break off their fling when Sheppard got tired of being bottom.

"Everything?" Lorne asked, his throat tight.

"Well, I thought a little sixty-nine would be fun, but now that I've started kissing your face, I don't want to be away from it," Sheppard explained, biting Lorne's lip and digging his hand into Lorne's pants.

"Are you trying to romance me, baby?" Lorne teased.

"You had better be careful calling me that, sweet cheeks," Sheppard returned, giving Lorne's ass a squeeze. Lorne laughed at the endearment, blushing lightly. He couldn't say why he felt compelled to call Sheppard 'baby' in sexual situations, and it made him feel good to have a pet name of his own—to be called something other than 'Major' or 'soldier.'

Sheppard tackled him with a kiss that was almost a sigh of relief. He raised his arms, breaking the kiss just long enough to let Lorne peel off his shirt. Arching his chest toward Sheppard, Lorne tried to encourage the other man to touch something besides his cock, but Sheppard had tunnel vision in that respect. His strokes were insistent—strong enough to get Lorne happy, but not enough to make him hard. With a burst of strength, Lorne tossed Sheppard onto his back and straddled his chest. Folding down his underwear and exposing his cock, he pumped it rapidly. Sheppard licked his lips lustily, and but still looked like he was waiting for permission.

"What is this?" Lorne taunted. "We kiss a little and suddenly you're afraid to be rough?"

"Hardly," Sheppard growled, losing that irritating, submissive look. Taking control, he tossed Lorne off of him, nearly sending them both careening off the side of the bed. Hooking his hand in the waistband of Lorne's pants, Sheppard was able to anchor them onto the mattress even as the sheets and blankets tumbled to the floor. Grumbling appreciatively, Lorne ran his hands over Sheppard's exposed chest, squeezing that spot under Sheppard's left arm pit that made him squirm no matter what.

"You want to play with those spots?" Sheppard challenged, grinding his hips over Lorne's. Roughly, he stripped Lorne out of both his shirt and pants, then he swiped his tongue across the skin just below Lorne's rib cage. Lorne made a pleasured croaking sound, wondering how the hell Sheppard even knew about that sweet spot. He was still plotting his revenge when he realized that Sheppard had removed all of his clothing as well.

They were both completely naked.

Lorne was stunned. It wasn't that Lorne hadn't seen every inch of Sheppard's skin at some point, it was just that he wasn't used to seeing it all at once. Parts of Sheppard were tan and parts were pale. Parts were hairy and parts were not. His ruddy, half-hard cock hung tantalizingly between his strong thighs.

They could fight some more, but Lorne didn't want to. Hooking his arm around Sheppard's hips, they wrestled each other into a sixty-nine position and began the race to see who could suck off whom the fastest. Sheppard's dick was ramrod straight when hard and a little on the long side, making it equally difficult to swallow from any orientation. Lorne's dick had a slight curve to it when hard, that made it perfect for swallowing if he were standing and Sheppard was on his knees in front. From this angle, it was harder for Sheppard to keep his teeth clear, but Sheppard put forth a gallant effort and he requested this position more often than not, probably because it was the easiest way for Lorne to finger-prep his ass and blow him at the same time.

Pausing for a breath, Lorne reached over to the nightstand for a jar of lubricant that Beckett had given him. Twisting open the jar, he dipped in two fingers, cringing at the cool, slick feel. He didn't want this stuff to get all over his hands or the bed sheets. Sucking Sheppard's cock back into his mouth, he swiped his tongue across Sheppard's slit teasingly a few times. Then very cautiously, he pulled apart Sheppard's cheeks and rubbed his slickened fingers against Sheppard's hole.

"Whoa!" Sheppard cried, his body jerking, his head flying back.

"You wanted to be fucked," Lorne said innocently, drawing little circles with his fingers, trying to warm the lube.

"Yeah, but… where did you get that?" Sheppard squeaked, his lips curling.

"You said Beckett knew about us. I asked him for it," Lorne shrugged, dipping his finger in the jar to gather a little more.

"Yeah, but…" Sheppard stuttered and stammered. His ass bobbed almost imperceptibly in time with Lorne's finger, but the face he made said he was still conflicted by this sudden change in procedure. "Don't you like it the way we've been doing it?"

Mostly dry with only a little spit as lubricant? Lorne didn't mind. He'd gotten the lube for Sheppard. They had always spent most of their time just getting him loose. Lorne shoved his finger into Sheppard's ass, demonstrating how much easier it was this way. Then he slid another one in, pumping and scissoring his fingers. Groaning, Sheppard dropped his face to Lorne's thigh, thrusting his ass back against Lorne's finger.

"I plan to fuck you a lot tonight. I'd like you to be able to walk tomorrow," Lorne said seductively, kissing the backs of Sheppard's thighs.

"That's considerate," Sheppard murmured sarcastically, making a wide corkscrew with his hips. Lorne added a third finger, drawing a long moan out of Sheppard.

"I thought so," Lorne said, his mouth wetting with lust as Sheppard's walls clenched around his fingers.

With great effort, Sheppard pushed back onto his elbows, directing Lorne's cock into his mouth again. Sheppard was skilled at blow jobs, and committed to sucking hard and rough. But today, his lips were wandering. For the first time, Sheppard kissed around Lorne's hips and thighs, making Lorne's toes curl. Instinctively, Lorne parted his thighs, and Sheppard burrowed his face between, sucking Lorne's balls into his mouth. He sucked on one for a little while, then the other before growling hotly over the pair. Lorne was finding it difficult to concentrate on his own work.

Then Sheppard sat up and reached his fingers into the lube jar.

"What are you doing?" Lorne asked quickly, pulling his fingers free of Sheppard's ass and scooting away.

"Hey, lover boy, will you relax?" Sheppard sneered snippily.

"Lover?" Lorne repeated.

"That's not what I said." With an irritated frown, Sheppard coated Lorne's cock with lube and positioned himself over top. Suddenly, Lorne felt foolish for panicking. Lying back, he groaned as he slid into Sheppard inch by inch. Resting his hands on Sheppard's sweat-soaked thighs, Lorne could feel every muscle rippling with control. Once he was fully seated, Sheppard lifted up and dropped down again, making them both groan. It was a new position for them, and strange because of all the additional slipping and sticking that skin on skin contact invoked. Pulling Lorne into a sitting position, Sheppard pressed their bodies together, pulsing his kisses in time with his rocking hips.

They'd never faced each other during sex before. Lorne has pounded into Sheppard from every other possible angle, but this was new. For all of thirty seconds. Sheppard turned things rough again, falling into his routine of pinching and nipple tweaking, resting his lips on Lorne's. Lorne tipped Sheppard's body back, kissing down his chest, biting Sheppard's shoulder the way he liked.

The space between them was humid and it was getting hard to breathe. Lorne thrust rapidly, feeling his cock slide easily in Sheppard's ass because of the added lube. Lying Sheppard's shoulders back on the bed and keeping Sheppard's rear raised, Lorne circled his hips, feeling the smoothness and heat of Sheppard's walls. Planting his feet by Lorne's hips, Sheppard took over the thrusts, making them short, shallow, and rapid. Lorne reached down to jack him, but Sheppard pushed him off.

"You're gonna suck me off, sweet cheeks."

Nodding his agreement, Lorne dumped Sheppard off his lap, keeping hold of one leg and pulling it over his shoulder. This was their favorite position—Lorne could hit a spot that made Sheppard scream with every thrust. Sheppard buried his face in the pillow, throwing one arm over his head, always ashamed when he couldn't control the sounds he made. The first time, Lorne had been so worried that he'd stopped, and Sheppard had told him to get the fuck back in there. Now, Sheppard tried to mutter a 'yes' or some other kind of encouragement between thrusts to avoid confusion. Still, it bothered Lorne that Sheppard kept his face hidden. But then, Sheppard barely admitted to himself that he wanted and liked anal sex. He let his actions speak because he couldn't muster the words.

"Shit!" Sheppard screamed and Lorne slowed his thrusts as best he could. He was so close and didn't want to stop. Then he noticed the spurts of white cum shooting out of Sheppard's cock and stifled a laugh. It was not unprecedented for him to come without touching, but still rare enough that Lorne was proud of the accomplishment. Reaching down, he gave Sheppard a few pumps to help milk out the rest, but then Sheppard squeezed his legs shut and clenched his ass around Lorne's cock and Lorne's whole body seized with orgasm.


Lorne's room smelled of sweat and spunk and if there was a dry part of the mattress, it was small and as yet undiscovered. Sheppard flopped on his back, panting, but their legs were still tangled. They were both covered in bruises and cum from athletic sex, blowjobs, hand jobs, and roughhousing. They'd come six times between the two of them.

Circling his fingers around his nipples, Lorne shuddered every time he felt a bruise. If he had a bigger bed, they wouldn't fall off of it so damn much. The residual effects of his illness had risen to the surface—he was beyond worn out and his lungs stung with every breath. He was a little worried that he'd inhaled some cum during that last blowjob.

"That was fun," Sheppard said, squeezing Lorne's legs between his own. Sheppard's breath was already evening out and even that appearance of stamina made Lorne tired. "Wanna make out until we fall asleep?"

"I'm already asleep," Lorne said, coughing from the effort of making a sound.

Sheppard cozied up to him, undoing all the efforts they'd put into cooling down. "You just lie there. I'll kiss you until I fall asleep."

Lorne laughed and coughed again, glad Sheppard had taken to the whole kissing thing. "Okay."

Sheppard gave him a few kisses, then stopped and stared at him. First kissing, now staring? What is this? Lorne was tired, but he felt obligated to do something, since Sheppard had waited over a month for him to be well enough. Apparently, three orgasms was not enough to satisfy when thirty were owed. Folding his arms behind his head, Lorne opened his body, giving Sheppard lease to play.

Resting his cheek next to Lorne's Sheppard massaged Lorne's sternum. At the contact, the tickle in Lorne's throat spread through his lungs like a swarm of bees, prickling and stinging, inciting a coughing fit so bad that Lorne had to sit up to clear it. He was coughing so hard his balls ached and his body flushed from his ears down to his nipples. By the time he had it under control, sweat was beading off his face and Sheppard was standing over him with a glass of water.

"Sorry," Lorne murmured, accepting the water and sipping carefully, nearly sputtering that up too. "I think a little jizz went down the wrong pipe."

"Maybe I can suction it out," Sheppard said coyly, giving him a soft kiss.

Lorne laughed, which made him cough, which cascaded into another fit. This time, the stinging in his lungs escalated to searing pain. He vaguely heard Sheppard calling his name, but he couldn't get enough breath to respond.


Consciousness found Lorne alone in the infirmary. It was quiet and most of the lights were off. His vision was blurry, but he couldn't see anyone moving. He tried calling out, but there was a tube down his throat. His mouth was parched and his throat ached… everything ached. Maybe he and Sheppard had been too rough with each other, because it felt like he'd cracked a rib. Lorne tried tapping his hand on the bed and making noise, but everything got lost behind the sound of the pump squeezing cool, sweet air into his lungs at regular intervals.

A doctor finally came—one of the new girls whose name he couldn't remember. She pulled back his eyelids, checking his pupils. Her lips were moving, but the words were in Spanish, and probably spoken more for her benefit than his. Then she radioed Weir, speaking in a thick Spanish accent, letting Weir know that he was awake.

What happened to Sheppard?

A week ago, Lorne would have thought nothing of waking up alone in the infirmary, but they'd crossed a line in that friendship zone between colleague and fuck-buddy, and now Lorne felt abandoned. This was why they'd kept their distance for so long—why they needed to keep it now.

Trying hard not to think about the tube down his throat, Lorne closed his eyes and searched for a happy place that didn't involve Sheppard's naked body. It was hard to conjure one, because he was still high on making Sheppard come from the inside.

"Major, do you have enough control to write?" Dr. Weir asked, coming quickly into the room and offering him a small notepad and a pen. She looked urgent and concerned, like she needed a situation report. Suddenly Lorne worried that the broken rib was something else and his kissing sex with Sheppard was all a dream.

Accepting the pad and pen, Lorne tried to write the word 'yes.' It was shaky and he dropped the pen twice while trying to finish three simple letters.

"Do you remember what happened?"

'Couldn't breathe.' Lorne didn't want to write anything else lest he betray Sheppard's privacy. Weir looked concerned and suspicious and he didn't understand why. He tried to think back, see if there were gaps in his memory.

"Do you remember how you got these bruises? Do you know who attacked you?" Weir persisted.

Lorne furrowed his brow, even more confused. Sheppard had given him most of the bruises, so far as he remembered, and it angered Lorne that Sheppard would lie about it. So he wrote the man's name: 'Sheppard.'

"He's the one that found you," Weir said, her tone softening slightly. "You were barely conscious."

Lorne didn't want to out Sheppard, but he also thought it wrong to have the base on alert for an attacker that didn't exist. He wrote the word 'bruises' and then an arrow back to Sheppard's name.

"Are you saying he attacked you?"

'Sparred,' Lorne wrote.

"Evan, these bruises aren't from sparring," Weir said piteously.

Lorne dropped his head back to the pillow, wanting to swear. Furiously, he wrote the name of the one man would know what was going on and could still protect their privacy. 'Beckett.'

"He's on the main land visiting the Athosians," Weir said, pressing her lips together.

The more frustrated Lorne became, the more that damn breathing tube grated against his throat and burned. He pointed adamantly to Sheppard's name.

"Sheppard's off world. He'll be back in a few days," Weir said.

Slumping in defeat, Lorne let the notepad fall, but Weir shoved it back into his hand.

"Do not give up on me, Major," she said sternly.

Cringing from the pain of breathing, Lorne snatched the pen, writing the word 'fuck' over and over again until he ripped the paper. His lungs heaved and then he felt like he was gagging and regurgitating. The doctor pressed a needle into his arm and everything went black again.


Lorne woke up hungry. The breathing tube was gone, but his throat still felt raw. He didn't try to make a sound.

"Hey, sweet cheeks."

Sheppard's voice made Lorne angry and he turned away sharply. The move strained his neck, but he didn't care. Sheppard had lied through his teeth to Weir and left Lorne alone to explain.

"I had a long talk with Elizabeth. I explained all the… stuff," Sheppard opened, pulling his stool a little closer to the bed. Sheppard wasn't good at talking about sex. "You know, she doesn't give a rat's ass about military protocol until it comes to fucking someone under your command. She'll probably come in later and make sure you consented and all."

Of course Sheppard would spin the relationship to maintain the alpha-male appearance—like Lorne wouldn't stand up and fight if he didn't want to be used that way. Sheppard took Lorne's hand and Lorne pulled away. Not one to be deterred, Sheppard drew his fingers across Lorne's temples and leaned close.

"Beckett doesn't know what triggered it this time," Sheppard said quietly, the twitch in his cheek belying fear. "It was really weird telling him about all the… stuff. But I really need you to get better."

Sheppard rubbed his hand over Lorne's chest and Lorne shoved him off.

"It's not fair, you know," Sheppard continued. "If you were a woman, no one would think less of me for being in here 24/7 and holding your hand. We'd probably get cat calls and pats on the back if we managed to squeeze in a fuck before sparring. But you tell anyone you're fucking a guy, and they never look at you the same. Being discreet really sucks."

"I don't want to go public," Lorne said, finally looking at Sheppard, finding it difficult to stay angry when his friend was speaking so openly. "I know that look you're talking about—the men suddenly afraid you're checking them out when you're just talking. But I don't want to lie either. How many people know?"

"Weir. Beckett. Teyla might have overheard, but she's cool," Sheppard said, bobbing his head assuredly. Sheppard leaned down for a kiss, but Lorne turned away. With a frustrated sigh, Sheppard slid off the stool and crossed to the far side of the room. "Do you want me gone?"

"I could go for breakfast… or whatever the next meal is," Lorne answered noncommittally. He didn't know what he wanted anymore. Things were confusing now. It would have been simpler if they'd just stuck to fucking.

"I'll be back in a jiff," Sheppard said, accepting the request as an invitation rather than a dismissal.


Lorne and Sheppard sat slouched in Weir's office, both brooding. Lorne had already had one extremely uncomfortable conversation with Weir this week. He had no idea what this one was about, but he hoped it was business because he was awfully tired of her intruding in his personal life.

"I'm glad you're okay," Sheppard said, tipping his head toward Lorne but keeping his eyes straight ahead.

"Thanks." With all the medical bullshit going on, there was no time to process anything, so Lorne had fallen to the old rules—stay professional in public.

"I'm sorry about the whole thing… thing," Sheppard said snidely, getting defensive but not knowing where to shift the blame. "You know, if I'd told Weir earlier, she'd have been poking her nose in before we had a chance to figure things out."

"You let Weir believe I was sexually assaulted by an alien intruder just to save face," Lorne pointed out, his jaw clenching.

"You weren't there," Sheppard snapped, jumping out of his chair, not hiding his defensiveness this time. "I mean, you were, but you were so far gone… You were dead for two whole minutes. If she thought I fucked you to death and you didn't come back to say otherwise…" Sheppard trailed off, slouching into his chair again broodingly. "I couldn't just hover in the infirmary and it gave me an excuse to run around the base with a machine gun and shoot at dangerous, alien storage containers."

Lorne shifted in his chair, not wanting to think about what Sheppard had gone through. He went through it himself when Sheppard checked in late or needed rescuing. "It sucks being dead," he offered congenially.

"Tell me about it," Sheppard agreed, his head bobbing, a smile quirking his lips. The attempt at levity failed quickly though and Sheppard's face started to twitch. "Your lips were blue and your skin was cold. I see you now and I still think I'm dreaming, even if you do have that death glower when you look at me."

His face softening, Lorne scooted his chair a little closer to Sheppard's, and they smiled tentatively at each other. Then Sheppard reached into Lorne's lap and took his hand. They were holding hands in Weir's office! It was nice not to have to hide from everyone.

"Fucked to death isn't a bad way to go," Lorne remarked and they both chuckled.

Weir ahemed behind them, and they both looked back. Lorne's face turned beet red, but Sheppard sneered, not letting go of Lorne's hand.

"You're on duty, gentlemen. Keep it professional," Weir warned, coming around and sitting importantly behind her desk.

"Don't you knock?" Sheppard carped. "We could have been kissing in here!"

"Then hang a tie on the doorknob," Weir returned smartly. Lorne wasn't as comfortable mouthing off to Weir, but he wasn't about to push Sheppard's hand out of his lap.

"SGA-3 has found a Genii storehouse," Weir said, calling up a report on her computer and turning the screen toward them. "Beckett thinks if we get a sample of the gas, he can come up with a more permanent cure."

A mission? "Ma'am, I'm not cleared to go off world," Lorne said nervously, though inside he was screaming for action.

"We have three other marines suffering the same unpredictable lung infection, Major. Your team will be going with Dr. Beckett and a small medical team to the alpha-site. The Colonel and his team will bring the gas samples there," Weir explained. Lorne's face fell.

"The alpha-site doesn't have the medical facilities for that," Sheppard protested.

"I'm not bringing a tank of noxious gas into the city," Weir said sternly. "Both of you, start getting your teams together. The Genii probably already know we're there, so the clock is ticking."

The meeting ended as abruptly as it had started and Weir headed out, pausing for a moment at the door. "Oh, and if I ever catch you two making out in my office, I will throw you over that balcony."

Sheppard laughed, but Lorne didn't think it was funny. Standing to follow, Lorne was surprised when Sheppard held him back, giving his hand a light squeeze.

"Wish me luck, sweet cheeks," he said wryly.

"Good luck, baby," Lorne smiled, feeling himself relax with just those words. They kissed, lightly at first, but then deepened it, unable to fight the compulsion to add a little tongue. Lorne broke the kiss when his lungs start stinging again. "Damn it."

"Infirmary?" Sheppard asked, cradling Lorne's face and looking into his eyes.

"No. It'll pass if I don't push too hard," Lorne said, massaging his chest, debating whether or not to sit again.

"What will pass?"

"You know that feeling when you're at the beach and you get salt water up your nose? It's that kind of sting, only all the way down," Lorne said, drawing his finger from his chest down to his navel to indicate the extent.

Weir poked her head though the door. "Do I have to throw you two over the balcony already?"

"Call Beckett," Sheppard said urgently.

Lorne didn't understand why Sheppard was so concerned, and he was becoming thoroughly embarrassed by the whole mess. It would take hours for a sting this minor to escalate to another major event, but now that he recognized the symptom, it was horridly annoying.

"I'm fine. Really," Lorne insisted, though he didn't resist when Sheppard made him lie down on the floor. Lying prone helped more than he was willing to admit. It stopped his head from spinning and kept the spots in his vision from getting too large.

"I'll see you at the alpha-site," Sheppard assured, giving Lorne a cocky wink before turning to Weir. "Make sure he stays lying down."

Weir nodded, kneeling to wait with Lorne while Sheppard took off on his rescue mission. "You'll be all right, Evan," Weir assured. When he'd been shot or attacked, Lorne appreciated her motherly tone, but now it just made him feel frustrated and weak.


Lorne sat alone by the gate at the alpha-site, waiting for Sheppard and his team to arrive. It had been almost two days with no word. If sitting by the gate made Lorne look over-eager, it was simply because he was waiting for a cure. He wanted to go for a run around the complex, but the last time he'd tried that, he'd collapsed and woken up with a tube down his throat again. He'd relied on his physical strength for so long, and now that he didn't have it, it was depressing. Closing his eyes, he dozed off, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. The next thing he knew Sheppard was prodding him awake.

"Lorne! Wake up, sleepy head," Sheppard called, speaking with the stern authority of a commander.

"When did you get here?" Lorne mumbled, squinting at the bright afternoon sun.

"We came through the gate twenty minutes ago and didn't see you," Sheppard replied. "When Beckett said you were waiting out here for us, I started to worry you'd been vaporized."

"Guess I didn't hear," Lorne said, flexing his feet, trying to get the circulation back in his legs. Sheppard hooked an arm under his shoulders, hauling him up.

"You know how bad that sounds, right?" Sheppard said, quirking his eyebrows.

Lorne laughed at that sweet face, hanging onto Sheppard, feeling his body loll side to side as he struggled for balance. "Will you carry me, baby?" he crooned, nuzzling in a super-sweet way that he knew irritated the hell out of Sheppard.

"Are you sure you want that?" Sheppard countered, smacking Lorne's butt. "If I throw you over my shoulder, I may start groping your ass."

"I know I want that," Lorne growled, plunging his tongue into Sheppard's mouth. He was dizzy, but the heat of Sheppard's body on his anchored him to consciousness. Walking backwards, Lorne let Sheppard direct, keeping their lips locked until he tripped on a branch.

"Where are we going?" Lorne murmured, staring around, wondering when they had made it to the tree line.

"Some place where I can grope your ass in private," Sheppard answered, squeezing Lorne's butt to emphasize his point.

Grumbling lustily, Lorne reached out for the first stable tree and leaned against it. His eyes darkened as Sheppard sank to his knees and slipped a hand into his BDUs. It would be weird getting a blowjob and not seeing Sheppard jerking off while it was happening, but Lorne wasn't complaining. Lorne's head dropped back, thumping against the tree, and a moan rose in his throat as he felt to open air touch his cock. He grunted, shifting his hips, feeling Sheppard's hand inside his pants teasing his balls. Then Sheppard's mouth closed over his cock.

Sheppard was moving painfully slowly, running his tongue along the vein under Lorne's cock, then teasing along the ridge. Licking, sucking, and groping merged into the heat of sex and Lorne felt himself getting hard. Then Sheppard reached a hand under Lorne's shirt, finding that sweet spot under his rib cage and giving it a tickle.

Lorne cried out, feeling the rush of heat in his groin, his hips bucking involuntarily at the stimulation.

"Don't make me scream," Lorne requested, clamping his hand over Sheppard's.

"What fun is that?" Sheppard complained, though he moved his hand to some place less sensitive, dragging his fingers across Lorne's skin. He resumed sucking, opening his throat, letting Lorne's dick slide down. Normally, the heat and wetness drove Lorne wild, but he'd had a tube down his throat so often this past month that it ruined the ambiance. Pressing his hips back to the tree, he tried to pull out of Sheppard's mouth, but Sheppard just followed him and sucked harder, growling. Lorne felt his balls tighten and jerk. Sheppard pulled back, his mouth closing around Lorne's tip, his hand pumping the shaft furiously, his tongue swiping mercilessly across Lorne's slit, drawing out as many unmanly whimpers as spurts of pre-cum.

Lorne came fast and hard, barely muffling his cries by biting the sleeve of his shirt. Courtesy dictated that Lorne stay back and give Sheppard space to spit, but Lorne's knees buckled and his body folded over Sheppard's head.

With a few choked cries, Sheppard managed to both dodge and control Lorne's fall, catching his head before it impacted the forest floor. This was worse than fainting, because he was still conscious. Annoyed and humiliated, Lorne pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes, flinching when he heard Sheppard swearing and hacking up cum. He was surprised when Sheppard, taking no offense, gathered him in his arms so they could cuddle under the tree. Cuddle? It was probably just a precursor to more sex—Sheppard was waiting his turn. If he was done, he'd have stood up.

Resting Lorne's head on his shoulder, Sheppard brushed the dirt off Lorne's cock and tucked him back into his pants, then stole himself a tongue-fucking kiss so deep that Lorne could taste himself on Sheppard's lips. Lorne broke the kiss because it was too hard to breathe right now. He wondered how offended Sheppard would be if he asked for a rain check on that return blowjob.

Both men flinched when Sheppard's radio crackled. "Colonel, have you found Major Lorne?" Dr. Beckett's voice rang over the tinny speakers.

"I found him," Sheppard said, grabbing the radio. "We went for a walk."

"I wish you hadn't done that," Beckett said irritably. "Any physical exertion can trigger a cascade reaction."

"Yeah, we didn't get very far before we had to stop for a break," Sheppard chuckled, his hand sliding over Lorne's crotch, giving it a light pat. The area still tingled from orgasm. "He's catching his breath and then we'll head back."

"There's no need to rush," Beckett sighed. "It'll take a few days before I'm ready to test anything. Just stay close by."

Sheppard signed off and then leaned over, nipping Lorne's ear. "That was fun."

Lorne wanted to agree, but he was disappointed in himself. He couldn't stay upright for a simple blowjob. He shifted uncomfortably in Sheppard's arms not sure if any response was appropriate. Sheppard slouched a little more, resting his cheek close to Lorne's, saying: "I packed that lubricant. Just in case."


As Lorne and his men progressed in their recovery, it became more and more difficult for Sheppard to justify his frequent visits to the alpha-site. He found a way to spend at least two nights there per week, always escorting the supply runs, and calling in whenever they were scheduled for a check-in with Atlantis. Lorne didn't appreciated being fawned over or smothered, but when he said as much to Sheppard, Sheppard stopped calling altogether.

Lorne didn't expect to see Sheppard at the weekly supply drop, but when he saw John talking to Beckett, he politely asked if they could take a run together around the base. John's cheek twitched as he masked an expression that could have either been a wary brow raise or a flattered smile. Beckett had been encouraging Lorne to train again, and was grateful to send Lorne on a run with someone who could keep up, so in the end, Sheppard had no choice.

John obliged politely, flinching when Lorne clapped his back. Lorne wasn't looking for a passionate kiss, but a little witty banter would have been nice. Sheppard was uncharacteristically laconic as they started out, motioning Lorne to lead the way. No matter what pace Lorne set, Sheppard always stayed three paces behind, and eventually Lorne gave up on running together and just focused on running.

The alpha-site was a pretty nice place. He imagine it was what San Francisco Bay would have looked like if there weren't any buildings—water, beaches, rocky mountain ridges—though it wasn't as prone to earthquakes. There was one ridge in particular that Lorne liked to run over; it overlooked both the camp and the bay. If they ever had to relocate here, Lorne planned to set a look-out base on this ridge, but only a small one, so it wouldn't obstruct the view.

It would have been nice to pause and consider the view, but Sheppard had things to get back to, and it wasn't like they were talking. At this point, Lorne didn't even have the option of talking. He still got winded really quickly, although his lungs didn't sting anymore, so it was a safe kind of exhaustion. Slowing down, Lorne pretended to be overly concerned with the rough terrain, but he kept sneaking glances back toward the bay.

Then Lorne's knees buckled and he pitched forward! He'd become so accustomed to being weak that it took another minute of mental swearing to realize that Sheppard had tackled him and was currently climbing on top of his body. Gasping for air, Lorne wrestled back, but it was just for show.

"Go easy on me," Lorne panted, not sure what Sheppard wanted, but sure he would like it.

"This is easy," Sheppard countered, planting a row of kisses along the back of Lorne's neck.

"John—" Lorne began, gasping when John nibbled his ear.

"Did I ever mention how much it turns me on when you call me that?" Sheppard asked, flipping Lorne over and pushing up his sweat-soaked shirt.

"John?" Lorne asked, his eyebrow raising.

"Mmm," Sheppard hummed, diving in for a deep, penetrating kiss. It had been sixteen days since they had done this. Sixteen days, eleven hours, twenty-two minutes.

"Have you ever said my name?" Lorne asked between kisses.

"Sweet cheeks?" John asked.

They laughed together and Lorne was grateful to know the pet name was still intact. It gave him a much better clue as to how to proceed.

"Evan," Sheppard said quickly. "There I said it. Can you stop being sentimental and fuck me already?"

"Sure, baby," Lorne said, digging his hands into Sheppard's pants, and pulling him down into another kiss.

John growled at the endearment, giving Lorne's crotch a light smack, then clamping his hand over the region and giving it a jerk. Pulling Lorne onto his knees, John started rubbing and jerking, warming Lorne up. It was the old way of fucking—hot, steamy, disconnected. Sheppard rested his cheek near Lorne's face, but there was no more kissing. Sheppard's rough hands and dry fingers moving over Lorne's cock got him hard and ready for sex. Then with a gruff push, Sheppard, flipped over, pulling his pants down just far enough to expose his ass.

This would have been easier with lube. They'd grown accustomed to it now, but they sure as hell weren't going back to the base. Lorne rubbed his fingers over Sheppard's hole and Sheppard kicked his foot impatiently.

"Get in there or I'll sit on you," Sheppard warned.

Lorne wanted to take his time, though. Not too much, but he didn't want quick and dirty sex on his favorite hillside in the Pegasus galaxy. Shoving Sheppard's pants a little further down, Lorne massaged across the front of Sheppard's thighs and then gave his dick a few testing jerks so he could feel the hardness. He liked getting Sheppard hard too.

He's missed you. He wants you. Show him you want him still. The little voice in his head was so uncertain, afraid of making him vulnerable to more hurt. But there was one sure way to show Sheppard that a little breathing room wasn't the end of a promising friendship. Leaning forward, Lorne licked Sheppard's hole. He expected a protest from Sheppard, but he got a deep, needy groan, so he kept going. He kissed the backs of Sheppard's thighs, bit an ass cheek, and then made another pass at his hole, circling his tongue. Lorne didn't rim Sheppard that often—it wasn't really his thing—but he loved hearing that moan of pleasure.

Spreading Sheppard's cheeks with his hands, Lorne closed his mouth over the area, applying just the slightest bit of suction to the skin before pressing his tongue inside.

"Yes, damnit, yes," Sheppard murmured like an incantation, pounding the ground with his fists. "I love that tongue!"

Lorne chuckled against Sheppard's ass, which got Sheppard bucking and wriggling his hips.

"Evan?" Sheppard asked. It was weird hearing John speak his name, and Lorne didn't like how plaintive it sounded. "Let's kiss and fuck."

For someone who had been opposed to kissing for so many months, John sure asked for it a lot. John started to get up, but Lorne planted a hand in the center of his back, holding him down. It was uncomfortable enough kneeling on this mountain path and Lorne sure as hell wasn't going to try a facing position. Positioning his cock, he slammed into John a little too roughly. Sheppard shouted and swore, but they were practiced enough at this that Lorne knew Sheppard wasn't hurt. Lorne started off with a few slow strokes to make sure Sheppard had adjusted, and he added a little spit, for all the good shit like that did. When he started jack-hammering, Sheppard shifted onto his hands and knees, grumbling about the lost kiss and focusing on the fuck.

Bending over Sheppard's body, Lorne hooked his chin over Sheppard's shoulder and kissed his friend lightly on the cheek. A ripple of passion streaking through his body, John twisted toward him, sticking his tongue out for a sloppy kiss that only half-connected. This position was much better for fucking than kissing, and much more stable given that they were outdoors. Lorne had been so hard up that he came within a matter of minutes, spilling into Sheppard.

"Shit!" Lorne cried. "Shit, shit!"

He'd meant to pull out. Public sex was a bad idea. Messy and bad.

"Shut up and fucking kiss me," Sheppard said, sitting back on his heels and pulling Lorne into a kiss, jacking himself frantically. Losing his balance, Lorne fell hard on top of Sheppard, knocking them both flat on the ground, dirt clinging to their exposed skin. "Kiss me," Sheppard ordered again, a dangerous warning in his voice. Lorne complied quickly, trying to disentangle their bodies so that Sheppard didn't come all over his clothes. Once their bodies were properly spooned, Lorne jerked Sheppard and Sheppard finally came, grunting and keening as he tried to bite back a larger scream.

Lorne was already winded from running up here, and now he was sure he needed a nap before he'd be able to stand again. Wheezing, he draped his hand lazily across Sheppard's chest, running his hand up Sheppard's shirt so that his palm was resting over an erect nipple.

"I'd say 'that was fun,' but it's starting to sound cliché," Sheppard mused, his fingers lightly stroking Lorne's forearm.

"Face it, Sheppard. I'm always fun," Lorne teased, giving Sheppard's nipple a tweak.

"Are you okay? You're sounding asthmatic back there," Sheppard commented.

"Nothing dangerous. I'm just out of shape."

"Good," Sheppard murmured, tapping his fingers worriedly. "Are you coming home soon?"

"A few more days," Lorne replied, touched by the sentiment. Wrapping his arms around Sheppard, he tried to figure the best way to use his friend as a pillow on this rocky trail. "Sheppard, what is this? This post-sex cuddling thing we've started."

"I don't know, but I'm sure it's your fault," Sheppard said, reaching back with his legs, hooking them between Lorne's. "If you hadn't kissed me, I'd only be coming to you for sex."

"Then it's definitely your fault," Lorne countered. "You come into the infirmary, hold my hand, and think there are no consequences to that?"

"Oh," John said. "Well if I can take credit for it, then this was a great idea."

"So what is it? This idea?"

"You're mine, sweet cheeks," Sheppard answered suavely, wriggling his hips against Lorne's, turning enough so that Lorne could see his cocky smile. "I'm not saying we go public, but if anyone asks you can tell them you're mine. You got a problem with that?"

The last question was defensive, but Lorne just kissed the tension out of John's shoulders. "No problem, baby. No problem at all."


(Note: The story continues in "The Ones That Break You")