Category: First time
Summary: It's almost over before it begins.
There was a palpable tension in the briefing room as John Sheppard's team recounted the events leading up to their mad dash through the gate with seven young refugees in tow. The team had gone to a small planet looking for a Zero Point Module. What they found instead were huge, carnivorous creatures that were as eager to prey on the exploratory team as the planet's native inhabitants. Elizabeth Weir sensed that there was more to the team's story than what she was being told.
Teyla and Rodney did most of the talking. John spent the entire briefing glaring at Aiden, who in turn stared at his hands. Elizabeth was perplexed by their behavior. Under normal circumstances, John gave the report, with Rodney providing a scientific assessment and Teyla and Aiden supplying additional information as needed. This time, neither of the officers spoke unless he was addressed directly. When forced to speak, both Aiden's and John's responses were terse and minimal. Elizabeth wanted to know what was going on, but she knew it would be pointless to ask during the briefing.
"All right," she said, finally. "Dr. Beckett will check out our guests and then we'll get them situated."
"I am certain that they will be welcome among my people," Teyla said.
"Thank you, Teyla," Elizabeth said. "We'll make arrangements to relocate them to your village once they've been given medical clearance. You all look done in. Why don't you go and get some rest?" Everyone rose and turned to leave before she quickly amended her statement. "John, would you stay a moment?"
John glowered, but he sat down again as the others silently left the room.
"Would you care to tell me what's going on?"
"Did something happen out there that you aren't telling me?"
"Nope; Rodney and Teyla gave you the whole story, play by play."
"And nothing else happened?"
"What are you driving at?" John asked with a frown. He was clearly impatient to get out of there.
"I couldn't help noticing that you spent the entire briefing glaring at Lieutenant Ford," Elizabeth said, crossing her arms and defying John to deny the accusation. He didn't even try.
"What of it?"
"Would you care to tell me why?"
"Not really," John sighed.
"Suppose I insist?"
"Liz, it's a military matter. I'll deal with it," John said, rising.
"I'll handle it," he said curtly. "I'm going to go and have a chat with Ford right now."
John strode out of the room without waiting for her to respond. He went to Aiden's quarters and knocked on the door, but got no response. Pissed off that Aiden might be avoiding him, he opened the door and entered the room. He heard the shower going in the bathroom, so he sat down to wait. Aiden emerged a few minutes later, clad only in a towel. He froze in his tracks when he saw his commanding officer staring out of the window. But before he could react, John spun around.
"How many times does this make now, Aiden?" he asked, leaping out of his seat and bearing down on the surprised lieutenant.
"How many? Three? Four? I've lost count!"
Aiden sighed and walked over to a chest, where he pulled a pair of sweatpants from a drawer. John grabbed them from his hand and tossed them on the floor.
"Answer me, damn it!"
"I don't know!" Aiden shouted back.
"Well, maybe you can tell me what I have to do to get you to follow an order!" John shouted. Aiden put his hands on his hips and glared back at him.
"I followed your orders!"
"The hell you did! I ordered you, Teyla and Rodney through the gate! How does that translate into you laying covering fire from behind me as we made a run for it?"
"I headed for the gate. You said to give you five and I did. When you didn't show up I doubled back," Aiden said evenly.
"I told you to go through the gate!" John cried.
"With all due respect, sir," Aiden said, "your order was faulty."
"My order was faulty?" John repeated incredulously, encroaching on Aiden's personal space and almost coming nose to nose with the slightly smaller man.
"You couldn't get those people out of there on your own. Those...things had you pinned down."
"And after you got us to the gate they had you pinned down. How is that an improvement?"
"I made it back without any difficulty, as you plainly saw, sir," Aiden said tersely.
"You could have been killed!"
"So could you!" Aiden shouted right back.
"I'm your commanding officer! When I order you to do something, you do it. You are not to go off on your own and take unnecessary risks!" John said through gritted teeth. He poked Aiden's damp shoulder as he spoke.
"Oh, no, that's only reserved for you, right?"
"You're out of line, lieutenant!"
"Begging the major's pardon, sir, you're the one who's out of line!"
"Proper protocol requires--."
"Don't you cite chapter and verse to me, Ford! When I give you an order in the field, damn it, I expect you to follow it!"
Aiden refused to back down and John cracked in the face of his unwavering stare.
"You could have been killed, Aiden," he said softly, as he turned away and ran his hands through his hair.
"There were eight other lives at stake," Aiden replied unrepentantly. John shook his head. "You seem to forget that I have six years of military experience under my belt, three of them spent in combat situations. I'm a certified expert in weapons and tactics and have advanced training in extractions under hostile conditions. I studied the situation, located the enemy's position and his likely path of advancement, laid Claymores to assure our escape, and took up a tactical position that minimized the likelihood of taking enemy fire. We all made it back to the gate without casualties--or wasn't that our objective, sir?"
"Aiden," John said softly.
"What?" he answered bitterly as he bent to retrieve his pants.
"Damn it!" John reached for Aiden as he straightened up, but the lieutenant evaded his touch. "You scared the hell out of me back there. You know how I feel about you, Aiden; we've been dancing around this thing for months--."
"Yeah, I know," he said as he sat on the edge of the bed and began to pull on his pants. He pulled them up as far as he could and then stood up to bring them up to his waist before he removed the towel.
"Don't you think it's time we talked about this?"
"No, and especially not now," Aiden said as he sat down again.
"What's the point?"
"Look, I'm sorry I blew up at you," John said as he sat beside him on the bed. "Not that I wasn't justified in doing so--you ignored direct orders. I just--."
"We can't," Aiden interrupted. "Don't you see? We can't do this."
"I thought we were past the point of worrying about the regs."
"I never gave a damn about the regs, John. But we can't have a relationship if you can't keep your personal feelings separate from what happens out there. You can't lose it every time I do my job."
"You didn't do your job!" John shouted.
"My job is to provide security for the field team and to make sure we all get back to base in one piece. I did my job," Aiden insisted.
"Your job is to follow orders," John spat back.
"You just can't accept the idea of me being in danger," Aiden went on, right through John's protest. "Well, I've got news for you; it comes with the territory. If you can't live with that, then not only are you and I done here, I want a transfer to another team."
"I don't want that," John said as he rubbed his eyes wearily. He was exhausted. He needed a hot shower and far more sleep than he was likely to get that night. But he couldn't leave things as they stood.
"I don't want that, either," Aiden said after a brief silence. John sighed in relief. "But I don't see that we have any other choice."
"We can try to work things out," John said. "Liz would be very suspicious if you suddenly asked for a transfer. We only have three field teams and shuffling people around would be very awkward, especially without a good justification for doing so. In fact, I doubt she'd go for it--if she even agreed to consider it in the first place."
Aiden silently conceded John's point, but he wasn't about to yield on his fundamental argument. He rose and put some physical distance between the two of them. He couldn't think with John so close. Their current situation arose out of a mutual realization that the two men were incapable of being within ten feet of one another without nearly being overcome by sexual tension. They'd never let things go farther than a few urgent kisses in the back of the Puddle Jumper but they'd come perilously close to spontaneous combustion on that one occasion. They'd been very circumspect in their behavior ever since. That didn't stop either man from wanting, however, and having glimpsed their true potential, the tension had only escalated.
"So what do we do?" Aiden asked.
"Rock and a hard place," John said into his hands. He looked up and caught a glimpse of Aiden's low-slung sweats and bare torso. When his eyes met Aiden's he quickly shook his head to erase the image. "Look," he said, rising to his feet and trying unsuccessfully not to stare. "We're both tired and cranky--."
"Speak for yourself."
"All right, I'm tired and cranky. We've both had a long, hard day. Why don't we get some sleep and then try this again tomorrow?"
"A few hours of sleep won't change anything."
"Humor me, lieutenant," John said as he stretched a kink out of his back and reluctantly moved to the door.
John turned around and the two men stared at one another for a brief eternity. Aiden was the first to tear his gaze away and John awkwardly turned toward the door.
"Look, for what it's worth, I do understand where you're coming from. But you've got to understand where I'm coming from," Aiden said. John nodded and left the room, closing the door behind him. He walked down the corridor, steering away from his room. He was tired, but he knew he wouldn't be able to rest so he wandered the halls aimlessly. When he realized that he was heading toward the command center he turned back, but not before Elizabeth spotted him.
He stopped and sighed deeply before he turned around and pasted on a neutral expression.
"Have you spoken with Lieutenant Ford?"
"Yeah; I just left him."
"Then maybe now you'd care to tell me what's going on."
"He disobeyed a direct order," John said contritely.
"Lieutenant Ford?" she replied, her shock apparent.
"It's not the first time, either. He has a propensity for ignoring my commands--and saving my sorry ass in the process," John said sheepishly.
"He did it on our first mission out and two or three times since."
"It sounds to me like you have a propensity for getting yourself into trouble."
"Yeah," John conceded.
"So Lieutenant Ford's propensity for disobeying orders might not be such a bad thing," Liz assayed.
"He's insubordinate, Liz. He takes unnecessary risks." John said defensively.
"Maybe he takes 'unnecessary risks' because you do, John. Had you considered that possibility?"
John leaned against the wall and folded his arms as she continued.
"To my knowledge, Aiden Ford is a model soldier. He had such an exemplary record at the SGC that when I selected him for this expedition General O'Neill accused me of stealing his best and brightest. I read his record, John. He has two commendations for saving his commanding officer in the field, once in Iraq and once while serving at the SGC. If there are more I should be adding to that list, please let me know."
"Liz," John said uncomfortably.
"He's not a child, John, for all that he looks very young. He's a seasoned professional with a lot more experience going through the gate than you. He's a well-trained soldier; you might want to trust his judgment rather than second-guessing him."
"All right, Liz, I agree with you on all points. But the fact remains that he's got to follow orders."
"I agree. Would you like to haul him into a disciplinary hearing? Put something on his permanent record, perhaps?"
"Liz, I don't want to--."
"Then you'd both have that in common." She smiled archly and John chuckled. "You two are very much alike in some respects. You're both very committed to your team. That's what makes you so effective. You look out for one another. I'm not in favor of Ford disobeying orders but if you all survive to argue about it afterward, then you know what? I'd take that option any day. We can't afford to lose anyone else, John."
"We could have lost him out there!" John said with more passion than he'd intended. Liz stared at him for a moment as realization dawned.
"You two have to work things out between you," she said simply. "Settle it now, John. Don't screw things up."
With that she walked away, leaving John confused. But he was good at following orders when he put his mind to it. He pushed off the wall and headed back the way he'd come. Two minutes later he was at Aiden's door. He hesitated for a moment and then knocked softly.
"Sir?" Aiden said with a frown as he opened the door.
"Can I come in?"
"I thought we were going to talk about this tomorrow," Aiden said as stepped back to allow John passage.
"Look at your watch. It is tomorrow," John said as he pulled off his jacket and tossed it on the chair. "Look, Aiden, you are the finest soldier I have had the honor of serving with. I treat you like an inexperienced kid at times and I can't promise that I won't do it again in future. If I do, you're within your rights to call me on it. But I'll be damned if I'm going to let you walk away from everything we've built together."
"I need you, Aiden."
"The team needs you, too. But I need you more. I need a competent second in command with the skills--and the balls--to save me from myself. It's been pointed out to me that I'm the one who gets you into trouble with your CO," John said awkwardly.
"Who told you that?" Aiden laughed.
"She's got a point..."
"Yeah, well, don't gloat about it. And don't think for one second that I won't chew you out the next time you pull a stupid stunt like you did today," John said with false bravado.
"I'm not the one who pulled a stupid stunt! Getting yourself and those civilians you were supposed to be rescuing cornered by three of those things--now that was stupid. But I won't pull any more stunts if you don't."
"It's a deal." John extended his hand and Aiden took it. John held onto it and covered it with his other hand. "Now about us--."
"I'm still not sure it's a good idea," Aiden said, withdrawing his hand.
"Oh, it's a brilliant idea and you know it."
"Not if it's going to make you crazy." Aiden said as John pulled him into his arms.
"The only thing likely to make me crazy is not having an 'us.'" John nuzzled Aiden's left cheek and then slowly moved along the curve of his ear and down his throat as the other man trembled in his arms. Aiden abruptly pulled away and John swore under his breath.
"Maybe we ought to sleep on it. Separately," he said before John could open his mouth. John considered making a protest but he knew that it would only upset the delicate truce they'd just established.
"Right; there's no reason to rush things," John said. He sighed and gazed at Aiden for a moment, lifting a hand to caress his cheek. Before he could stop himself, he leaned in and kissed him. Aiden indulged him for just a few seconds before he broke away.
"I'd better--." John gestured toward the door and Aiden nodded, his eyes slightly averted. John leaned toward him again. Aiden flinched, but John reached past him and grabbed his jacket. Then he backed his way to the door and departed.
"I desperately need a shower," John said, sniffing at his sleeve. John and the seven rescued civilians had made it back to the puddle jumper covered in what Aiden had described as "alien monster drool." It had a sickly sweet aroma that reminded John of the gardenias that grew around his grandmother's house. He'd showered as soon as he returned to base, but a faint odor remained and John wanted to be rid of it.
He went into the bathroom and turned the water on. Peeling out of his clothes, he stepped into the stall. For a couple of minutes he just stood there under the spray, letting the day's events wash over him. Thoughts of Aiden inevitably flooded his mind and he tried to suppress them as he blindly reached for the soap.
"Let me do that for you," a voice behind him said softly. John froze and a dark hand took the soap from him and began to rub it over his chest. John closed his eyes as Aiden pressed his warm, firm body against John's back and nuzzled his ear. Languid desire pooled in John's groin as a slender arm snaked around his waist and a healthy erection skimmed his cheeks before insinuating itself between his thighs. Long fingers traced slow, lazy circles over his chest. John closed his eyes and tilted his head back, resting it on Aiden's shoulder.
"I thought alien monster drool kind of worked for you. Your hair was actually neat for a few hours," Aiden said teasingly, but otherwise, he worked in silence. John was glad. He didn't want to talk. Talking only seemed to get him into trouble. He didn't know why Aiden had followed him back to his room and he didn't care. For the moment he was more than content to just relax and enjoy his company in silence. Aiden gently pushed him forward and John lifted his head. Aiden washed his back and arms and then reached for a bottle of shampoo and washed John's hair. John thought that it was the sexiest thing anyone had ever done to him. He closed his eyes and felt all the tension slip out of his body and down the drain as sure hands massaged his scalp. It ended too soon for his liking; Aiden pushed him under the water to rinse off.
When John turned around, Aiden was gone, leaving him to wonder if he'd just imagined the whole thing. When he turned off the water and stepped out, however, Aiden was waiting for him with a towel. He wrapped it around John's waist as John held his face in his hands. John leaned in to kiss him and melted into his arms as they made contact. They kissed desperately as they moved out of the bathroom and stumbled their way across the room. They fell back on the bed frantically kissing and groping each other. John rolled Aiden onto his back and stilled his movement. The two men gazed at one another for a few seconds; then they began a long-awaited journey of discovery.
This time their kisses were slow and sensuous. They explored each other's bodies with confident hands, licking, sniffing, tasting and teasing each other--learning everything they could and identifying points of interest for further study. They took turns being on top, first John then Aiden, but when John tried to reclaim his position, Aiden refused to yield. He pinned John's wrists and slowly kissed and nibbled his way down John's torso. John raised his head to protest just as Aiden let the very tip of his tongue dance ever so lightly over the head of John's erection before continuing to skip little kisses across the flat plain of his abdomen. John let out a rasping moan and bucked his hips. Aiden smiled and held him down with one hand as he licked just along the perimeter of John's pubic hair. John groaned and took Aiden's head in his hands.
Aiden looked up at him, smiled mischievously and slowly lowered his mouth over John's erection, never breaking eye contact. It was too much. John had to close his eyes. The combination of sight and sensation overwhelmed him He threw his head back and sighed as he was engulfed in moist heat. Aiden slid his mouth down to the base of John's penis and up to the tip again and again with agonizing slowness, driving him insane with need. Aiden carefully observed John's reaction, backing off when John got too close to the edge. John cried out when he pulled away and it took every ounce of will not to force Aiden's head back down.
"You want me to follow orders, John?" his tormentor said softly. "Tell me what you want and I'll show you just how obedient I can be." John swallowed hard as Aiden kissed his hip and then his chest and then scattered tiny nips along his throat. But he shook his head.
"No, not here--between us, it's just John and Aiden. No one's in charge," John managed. Aiden drew back a little and waited for John to open his eyes. He smiled broadly and leaned in again to kiss him.
"Then I'll just make a request," Aiden said between kisses. He paused to lower his head to John's chest again and laved a nipple before bringing his lips back to John's ear and tightening his grip on John's erection when the words he whispered elicited a reaction. "Will you do that for me, John?"
John nodded vigorously. Aiden laughed and stretched out over him, kissing him deeply as John dug a hand under the pillow. He fished around and found what he was looking for, triumphantly holding up the tube of lubricant.
"We're going to have to do this bareback, Aiden, unless you're carrying," he said. Aiden shook his head. "I passed the mandatory HIV screen before we left the SGC," John continued. "I assume you did, too." Aiden nodded as John coated his fingers with a generous blob of lube and slathered it over Aiden's cock.
"Aside from that creature that wanted to make you his bitch this afternoon--."
"No one," John said hoarsely as his hand glided the length of Aiden's penis. "I wanted you--only you."
"You saved yourself for me? Sweet!"
"Don't let it go to your head. On second thought," John said, glancing down, "Go for it." Aiden pulled him back into his arms for a kiss.
"Are you sure you don't want me to--?" Aiden asked. John shook his head.
"I've wanted this for such a long time, Aiden. I've been dreaming about you to making love to me for weeks. Do it." John squeezed a second blob of lube onto his fingers and began to prepare himself.
"Well, if you really insist," Aiden said lightly as he sat up to watch.
"I might be begging in a second," John confided. He closed his eyes and laid his head back as he probed himself, raising his legs to afford his soon to be lover a better view.
"Damn, that's hot."
John felt Aiden’s hand skim down the length of his erection, deftly capturing and spreading the natural lubricant from the tip of his cock, before his lover’s fingers firmly grasped him. Aiden pumped him, matching his rhythm to the movements of John’s fingers within his own ass. Delicious pleasure roiled through John. Rational thought ceased and he quivered as tension coiled in his belly. After another moment, John hissed and made a peculiar face as he reached his peak and crested.
"Do it!" he said again, removing his hand and spreading his legs farther apart. Aiden leaned forward and kissed him before he moved into position and entered him, taking hold of John's ankles and slowly pressing past the tight ring of muscle.
He was soon thrusting deeply, his movements punctuated by the guttural grunts and moans emitted by John. Aiden leaned forward to kiss him and John opened his eyes and smiled blissfully. He closed his eyes again when Aiden took hold of his renewed arousal and finished him for a second time, triggering his own orgasm in the process. Aiden collapsed in John's arms with his own look of bliss, sated, happy, and to John's eyes, absolutely beautiful. He wrapped his arms around Aiden and held him to his heart.
"Does this count as make-up sex?" John asked sometime later.
"I don't know."
"Why did you come to my room, anyway--not that I'm complaining, mind you. I'm just curious."
"I wanted to borrow something to read," Aiden said so seriously that for a moment, John believed him. When Aiden's veneer cracked and he began to giggle, John poked him in the ribs.
"We should probably talk," he said soberly.
"In the morning," Aiden said around a yawn. He nestled in John's arms and closed his eyes.
"Are we good?" John asked after a minute or two. He wouldn't be able to rest until he had that one assurance. Aiden lifted his head and looked him in the eye. "Consider it a rhetorical question," John said on second thought.
"We are so good," Aiden said as he nuzzled John's neck. "But if you think that after this I'm going to sit back and let you put your ass on the line, you're going to have another fight on your hands."
"What about your ass?"
"When you save my ass, you can do whatever you want with it," Aiden replied.
"That sounds like a plan."
"Not as easy as it sounds; I'm not inclined to get my ass into trouble," Aiden said, turning onto his side to face John.
"Are you suggesting that I'm reckless?" John asked argumentatively.
"Hey, don't put words in my mouth," Aiden said. "All I'm suggesting is that you've gotten into trouble far more often than anyone else on our team. Actually, I'm not suggesting; it's a fact!"
"Leaders often have to take risks," John said defensively.
"Leaders should cover their asses," Aiden shot back.
"Subordinates should follow orders," John said, slightly louder.
"Subordinates shouldn't have to disobey orders to keep their reckless leaders from getting their asses eaten by horny alien monsters," Aiden spat back.
"There were people out there in danger!"
"And you should have let me deal with that while you led the others back to the gate!" Aiden threw back the covers and sat up.
"I wouldn't send you out there to do anything I wouldn't do myself!" John shouted. Aiden smiled and laid back down.
"What?" John was confused.
"You finally said the right thing." He rolled over onto his other side. John scratched his head and slid closer to Aiden, spooning himself up against his back. Belatedly, he turned the lights out.
"What did I say?"
"John, go to sleep. I'm beat."
"Aiden?" John was greeted with silence. "Did we just settle this?"
"'Night, John Boy," Aiden said.
"We're going to talk in the morning, remember?"
John slid his hand up Aiden's torso and kissed his shoulder.
"You'll explain it all in the morning, won't you?"
"Have I ever let you down before?"
"Never." John kissed the shoulder again. "Never."