Summary: John was born to live in Atlantis.
John was born to live in Atlantis. He came to that conclusion within a week of settling into the gleaming city. Once things settled down and he began to listen, he discovered that Atlantis was far more than what it appeared to be. John could hear the city speaking to him--it was a sentient, empathic entity. He didn't know if the other dozen or so people in Atlantis with the natural ATA gene could hear the city; he never gave it a moment's thought. He was too busy enjoying the sensation of "being" in Atlantis. He could practically feel its energy coursing through his veins. John felt an instantaneous, intimate connection.
He was born to live in Atlantis.
The city welcomed the contact with his mind. It seemed eager to communicate, and most of all it wanted to make him happy. Atlantis viewed John as a friend. He suspected that the city had grown lonely since the departure of the Ancients and didn't want him to leave. John had no intention of leaving Atlantis. He was very happy there. The city saw to it. John figured that's why he had the most comfortable room on the base. That's why he never had to run for an elevator or transporter. That’s why his food never got cold. And that's why he always knew the precise whereabouts of one Lieutenant Aiden Ford.
John didn't understand Ancient technology. The city tried to explain how it tracked Aiden once, but it was beyond John's understanding. As near as he could figure it, Atlantis had systems that could track everyone in its database. When Dr. Beckett interfaced his equipment with that of the city and used it to do full body medical scans of sick and injured personnel (the Ancients' scanners were superior to anything brought from Earth), the resulting data was automatically uploaded into the city's database. And whenever John thought of Aiden, Atlantis launched a search of its sensors till it located Aiden's unique biometric profile, overlaid that sensor profile with a digitized image of the lieutenant and produced a perfect visual. At least that's how John explained his ability to have live streaming images of Aiden anytime, anywhere, no matter what he was doing, as long as he was in Atlantis--a city that had no security cameras. And even if it had them, they wouldn't be in some of the places John had found Aiden.
John supposed he could track anyone who was archived in the Atlantis database. But he didn't care.
John never figured himself for a voyeur, but he fell into the role quite easily. Truth be told, he hadn't been given a choice in the matter. The city liked to make John happy. That the city defined John's happiness as the sight of Aiden Ford was very amusing to John, but he wasn't about to question the judgment of a living metropolis three times the size of Manhattan. If Atlantis thought the sight of Aiden Ford whacking off in the shower made him happy, so be it. Of course, seeing isn't as good as touching, John concluded one day. He soon learned to be careful what he wished for.
John found himself the unwilling and embarrassed witness to a nocturnal liaison between Aiden and someone John wished had never been born. It was shortly after he'd been attacked by the Iratus bug and the puddle jumper carrying him and the other members of his team subsequently became stuck in the gate. John decided to check up on Aiden, who'd been having difficulty sleeping after their ordeal. What he saw shocked him, as did what transpired over the course of the next twenty minutes. It was made all the more shocking by the fact that he experienced it all through the eyes of the other man.
Aiden was lying on his bed listening to music when someone knocked on his door. When Aiden let him in, John heard the visitor's words in his own voice. When he looked down he saw his own hands and clothes. It was impossible to immediately identify Aiden's caller. Aiden seemed to be tired, but he welcomed the intrusion and the two men sat down and talked. After about ten minutes, the visitor began to put the moves on Aiden, who apparently wasn't in the mood--not surprising, given recent events. His companion, however, sweet-talked, cajoled and kissed him. He eventually succeeded in talking Aiden into a blow job.
John felt the visitor's arousal as well as his own and the sensation was overwhelming. He couldn't direct the action, but he savored every moment of it. Being able to finally touch Aiden, to kiss him, hold him, taste him... John couldn't help but revel in the experience. It was better than he'd ever dreamed.
But as aroused as John was, he was equally repulsed. When it was over and the body he'd "inhabited" swaggered out of Aiden's room, John went to his bathroom and threw up. He stripped off his clothes, wiping off the evidence of his orgasm on his tee shirt before stepping into the shower, where he closed his eyes and tried to scrub away the memory of everything he'd just seen. Atlantis sensed his discomfort and sought to soothe him. It seemed to be confused and disappointed by John's reaction, but it was more concerned about John's unease.
John laid in his bed for hours staring at the ceiling, trying to forget what had just happened. He felt, not for the first time, a sense of guilt for having violated Aiden's privacy. Moreover, he felt he'd violated him literally, taking from Aiden that which he had offered to another. John had gone beyond voyeurism; he hated himself and the city for using someone else to satisfy his perverse curiosity.
Atlantis told John that Aiden needed to be pleasured and that the sex had been good for him. Prior to the visit, Aiden was tired and mildly depressed. His orgasm boosted his levels of oxcytocin and serotonin, and shot up his endorphin levels. The city provided evidence, rattling off a stream of medical readouts. It concluded that Aiden would probably experience REM sleep and awaken with renewed energy.
John sat up in bed, furious. Had the city coerced Aiden's visitor into going to his room for medical purposes? Had it done it so that John could watch and partake in the scene? Atlantis insisted that it had no capacity to coerce anyone's behavior. The man had gone to Aiden of his own volition. He and Aiden had had sex once before; Atlantis offered to show John the images. The thought only made John more miserable.
Over the next few days, John could barely bring himself to look Aiden in the eye. John was aware, courtesy of the city, that Aiden noticed his discomfort, but John couldn't help it. The city tried to make things better, but John refused to look at Aiden for days, and the city grew frustrated and sad even as John grew increasingly glum. He felt the city sigh empathetically.
John found himself thrown into Aiden's company constantly over the next few days. He knew it was the city's doing, even if their encounters seemed totally coincidental. The transporter delayed John's arrival on the command center level till Aiden was standing at the doors. A spontaneous electrical malfunction rerouted Aiden's path through the corridors on level five so that he encountered John on the way to the gym. Three or four other similar incidents had Aiden growing increasingly suspicious. As they left the conference room after a post-mission debriefing, Aiden followed John and loudly cleared his throat.
"Lieutenant?" John stopped and turned around. "Something on your mind?"
"Yeah, actually," Aiden said hesitantly. John refused to meet his eyes.
"I just--." Aiden looked over his shoulder when he heard his name called and saw Carson Beckett bearing down on him.
"Where do you think you're going, man?" the doctor asked. "You were supposed to report to the infirmary as soon as you returned to base."
"I've been in a debriefing," Aiden explained.
"And now it's over," Carson replied. "We're ready and waiting for you."
"But I've got to talk to my CO," Aiden protested.
"You can speak to him after we've had a chance to x-ray your head."
"I feel fine!"
"Good; humor me and let me make certain that you are fine."
"But doc!" Aiden looked to John in a silent appeal for assistance.
"Let him check you out," John said, still refusing to meet his eyes. "We can talk later." He watched Aiden go, begging the city not to interfere. Aiden had taken a tumble in the field, hitting his head and momentarily losing consciousness. He made it back to the gate under his own power, but he'd complained of a headache so John had a medical team standing by to check him out when he returned. But Aiden waved it off and promised to get himself checked after the debriefing. He seemed to be fine, but John wasn't about to take any chances--not with Aiden.
Atlantis grew more restless and troubled, reflecting John's mood.
"I have no explanation for it, Elizabeth," Rodney said. "Every single check shows absolutely nothing wrong with the system."
"Try again, Rodney," she replied wearily. "It's got to be something."
"There's nothing!" Rodney said angrily. "I checked. Zelenka checked. There is nothing wrong with the Atlantis computers or our own."
"There has to be some sort of explanation for the sudden loss of power in the med bay."
"Well, for the life of me, I can't find it. Whatever it was, it's not there now," Rodney said with a sigh as John entered the command center.
"What's going on?" he asked.
"We're experiencing random power outages, John," Elizabeth said.
"Inexplicable random power outages--first in the corridors, then the transporters, and just now in the infirmary," Rodney said as he pointed to the large screen on the wall. "There's a definite pattern to them, I just don't know why." John glared at the schematic. The path the outages took was no accident.
"Oh, for crying out loud," John muttered. "Stop acting like a spoiled brat." Rodney immediately took exception to the remark, but John was already moving toward the infirmary. "Not you, McKay," he called as he began to jog toward the transporter. "I'll handle this."
"Where are you going?" Elizabeth demanded.
"What do you mean you'll handle this?" Rodney shouted as they followed John down the hall.
"Just stay there," John said as the transporter doors closed.
By the time John stepped off the transporter he'd had a quick communication with Atlantis. John tried to reason with the city as he made his way to the infirmary, but the city argued back. It told John that he was the unreasonable one; the city wanted him to be happy and John was inexplicably denying himself that happiness. He arrived at the infirmary and looked around for Aiden.
"He's gone, major," Carson said. "I couldn't scan him due to the electrical malfunction, but we checked him out the old fashioned way. The kid's got a head as hard as stone. He ought to be right as rain in a day or two."
"Thanks, doc," John said as he left the infirmary. He tapped his com link and hailed Aiden, but got no response. He tried a second time, growing worried when Aiden didn't answer. He asked Atlantis to locate Aiden, but the city flatly refused. John became angry, but before he could argue, he was contacted by Elizabeth.
"Where are you, John?" she asked.
"I just left the infirmary," he replied as he headed toward Aiden's quarters.
"We've just had another outage. This time it's coming from--. Wait, it just stopped."
"Where?" John demanded.
"What are you doing, major?" Rodney asked.
"I'm trying to find the source of the damned outages. Where was it?" John shouted hotly.
"It was near the officers' quarters," Elizabeth said. "How are you trying to--?"
"Can you locate Lieutenant Ford?" John interjected.
"Can you locate Lieutenant Ford?" John said tersely. Up in the command center, Elizabeth and Rodney exchanged a glance. Elizabeth hailed Aiden but got no response.
"He's not responding, John," she said worriedly.
"I can't locate him on the city system, either," Rodney added. "John? Are you suggesting that these outages have something to do with Ford? He wasn't exposed to anything on that--."
"Are there other outages?"
"I thought he was thoroughly checked out by--."
"Answer the damned question, Liz! Have there been any other outages?"
"None that I can see," Rodney replied. "What makes you think Ford's related to the outages?"
"I don't," John said with a sigh. "It's not him; it's Atlantis. Look, I'll explain later."
"Where are you going now?" Elizabeth asked, unconvinced.
"I don't think you'll have anymore outages," John said, looking around him, hoping that both Elizabeth and the city got the message. "Sheppard out." He took a deep breath. "Please."
The city sighed.
"Where is he?" John waited a few seconds, nodded, and then headed for Ford's quarters. The doors opened as soon as he reached it and Aiden stumbled out of the room.
"Hey," John said, catching Ford before he could fall. "What's up? Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Aiden said absently as John steered him back into the room. "I was just trying to contact you. My door was locked and I couldn't get out. My com link seemed to be offline, too. What's with all these power brown-outs?"
"I think they've stopped," John said, looking around at the room. Aiden frowned.
"What caused them?"
"Atlantis," John sighed. "It's in a mood."
"It's 'in a mood'?"
"Yeah, well, it's kind of--. You see, the--."
"Yeah?" Aiden prompted quizzically. John sighed again.
"Can we talk?" he sat down on a chair and Aiden sat on the bed after a moment's hesitation. "You see, it's like this. Atlantis is not just a city; it's sentient, just like you and me. The people of Atlantis were sort of hard-wired into it through their ATA gene."
"Work with me here, Ford," John said peevishly. He ran a hand over his face. "Look; the Ancients had a gene that made them able to interface with the city's technology, right?" Aiden nodded. "I've got the gene, so I'm sort of wired into Atlantis, too."
"Cool," Aiden grinned with boyish enthusiasm.
"Not so cool at the moment," John admitted. "You see, when I arrived, the city was glad to see me. Really glad; it hadn't seen an Ancient in eons."
"It thinks you're an Ancient?"
"According to Atlantis I am an Ancient. My genes are indistinguishable from theirs."
John tried not to roll his eyes, but he couldn't help himself. He took a deep breath and plunged on.
"The thing is, Atlantis welcomed me as a friend. It tries to make me happy. I haven't been happy for the last few days, so the city's been unhappy. Get it?"
"Why aren't you happy?"
"Well, you know I've been out of sorts these last few days..."
"Yeah," Aiden frowned. "Why are you out of sorts?"
"Let's get back to that one in a bit, okay?" John cleared his throat. "The trouble is Atlantis has begun to reflect my moods, so when I wouldn't talk to you, it decided to mimic my behavior and ignore you, too." Aiden just shook his head in confusion. "That's what's causing the brown-outs," John explained. "If I won't see you, the city won't, either. The brown-outs have only occurred wherever you happened to be at the time. It's blocked you from its sensors."
"Why?” Aiden demanded. “And why won't you talk to me? What's going on?" John stretched his legs out and closed his eyes, stalling for time as he carefully chose his words.
"I will talk to you; I just--. Atlantis seems to think I have a crush on you."
John found Aiden's reaction both unexpected and a bit disconcerting. He threw back his head and howled with laughter.
"The city thinks you have a crush on me? Why does it think that?" Aiden asked.
"Because I--. Atlantis records the biometric data of everyone in its database and links it to the database Beckett keeps down in the infirmary. It uses the biometric data to identify a person, which then allows it to constantly monitor his biological functions. It claims that my serotonin levels rise, along with my pulse rate and...other stuff when I'm in close proximity to you. I've tried telling Atlantis that often as not we're together when the city's in deep shit but it still thinks I like you, anyway. Life and death situations apparently don't produce the same readings as attraction."
"Do you like me?"
John didn't answer immediately; he seemed to be listening to something or someone Aiden couldn't hear. He smiled, and then his smile grew larger.
"The city says you like me, too," John said. "Your pulse just jumped by ten beats per minute and... You call my name when you beat off in the shower!"
"What?" Aiden sputtered. John ignored him, still focused on the city's intel.
"Why didn't you tell me that sooner?" John asked the voice in his head.
"Sir? The city spied on me?" Aiden asked uneasily.
"Sorry, I was just--. Uh, no; the city hasn't been spying on you. It sees everything that goes on and since it thinks knowing that you like me would make me happy--."
"It spied on me."
"...More or less," John said evasively.
"It's right, isn't it? You do have a crush on me," Aiden said eagerly, his previous embarrassment forgotten as this new idea took hold.
"I do not have a crush on you!" John protested. "I... Okay, I lust after you. But then there are few people around here who don't."
"I'm not particularly interested in how anyone else feels about me," Aiden said provocatively. "I'm only interested in you."
John barely stopped himself from hurling an accusation about Aiden's recent sexual encounter, but Aiden didn't seem to notice. John gazed at him as the city offered him additional insightful facts about Aiden. John smiled slowly.
"You have a crush on me, don't you?"
"I believe I already answered that," Aiden said with a wicked grin. Once again, John's intimate knowledge of Aiden's recent past nagged at him. He fought it down, determined to live in the minute. Whatever Aiden had done in the past, he wanted John now. That much was clear, John concluded, even before Atlantis reported Aiden's elevated blood pressure and incipient arousal. He straightened in his seat and averted his eyes.
"Well, then, maybe we ought to discuss this later."
"Later?" Aiden said, clearly surprised by John's reluctance.
"Yeah," John said, rising to his feet. "I've got to report back to the command center about this. I mean I have to explain the situation with Atlantis and how it blocked you out of its sensors and--."
"Good luck with that," Aiden snorted. He also rose and followed John to the door. "Will you be coming back? For that talk, I mean."
"Yeah; we should...talk--really soon," John said, his eyes fixed on Aiden's mouth. Aiden simply smiled, confident of John's return. "I'll be back." John turned to exit the suite and collided with the door. Aiden averted his eyes and stifled a laugh.
"Come on, now! I said I was coming back!" John said angrily. "I have to speak with them first! Well, how can I, if you won't let me out!" Aiden's eyebrows rose as he watched John argue with the unseen brains of the city. John finally sighed and turned to Aiden. "Atlantis won't let me go. It doesn't trust me to come back." He looked up at the ceiling. "The hell you do!"
"What's it saying?" Aiden asked. To his surprise, John colored slightly.
"It--. I know I'm horny! Thank you ever so much for pointing that out! Can you cut me some slack here? I've got responsibilities!" John shouted.
"You know they can probably hear you in the hall," Aiden said mildly. John cringed.
"Okay, okay," he said after a moment. He clicked his com link. "Liz?"
"Yes, John. What's happening?"
"I think we've got the problem licked," John said with a self-conscious glance at Aiden.
"Have you found Lieutenant Ford?"
"Yeah; he's fine," John said with a wistful sigh.
"I'm still seeing a power fluctuation in your area, major," Rodney said. John closed his eyes and silently counted to three before the doors unlocked. "Wait, wait; it's stopped."
"John, I want you to escort Lieutenant Ford back to the infirmary for a full work-up. We need to get to the bottom of this," Elizabeth said.
"Hey, wait! This has nothing to do with me!" Aiden protested.
"He's right, Liz," John said, calming him with a look. "I think the city's just a bit peeved. It'll settle down any second now." John looked up at the ceiling and Aiden watched him turn beet red.
"What do you mean 'the city's just a bit peeved,' major?" Rodney asked curiously.
"Are you seeing any problems now?" John asked as Aiden encroached on his personal space. He found Aiden's intense gaze rather distracting, as was the city's readout of Aiden's biological data. John averted his eyes.
"Everything seems to be fine for the moment," Rodney said. "What do you mean the city's just a bit peeved?" he repeated.
"Look," John said, taking a cautious step backward. "Can I just--?" The doors abruptly slid open. "Thank you. Liz?" John said as he stepped out of the room. "I'll meet you in your office in a minute." He turned back to Aiden, who stood framed in the doorway of his room. "Stay put. I'll be right back."
Aiden began to take a step in John's direction and the doors slammed shut in front of him. John rolled his eyes and headed for the command center, where he found Rodney and Elizabeth waiting in her office. John had hoped to speak to Elizabeth alone, but he could tell at a glance that Rodney wasn't about to leave without a full explanation.
"John," Elizabeth said as she took a seat at her desk. "Good; I hope we can get to the bottom of this."
"I'm all anticipation," Rodney said as he, too, took a seat. John resigned himself to speaking with an audience and sat down. "So?"
"So Atlantis..." John shifted in his seat. "The city was trying to prove a point."
"Excuse me? Did you just say--?"
"I said what I said, Rodney," John said wearily. "Atlantis interfaces with people who have the ATA gene, right?"
"Right, but what does that--?"
"I have the gene, so the city interfaces with me."
"The city interfaces with you?" Elizabeth said before Rodney could form words to say the same thing.
"Since when?" Rodney managed. John couldn't help but notice the envious glint in his eye.
"Since I got here, Rodney," John confessed.
"Since you got here? And this is the first time you've thought it might be worth mentioning?"
"It's no big deal," John replied. "Anyway, since I've been in a lousy mood, the city has been in a lousy mood."
"The city has been in a lousy mood? And it is a big deal, major. It's a rather big deal."
John shot Rodney a look.
"Why?" he snapped impatiently.
"Oh, you are certainly in a bad mood," Rodney replied. "And this makes the city do what, exactly?"
"What does this have to do with Lieutenant Ford?" Elizabeth asked.
"Nothing, actually," John said. "I just haven't been speaking to him much lately and Atlantis decided to not speak to him, either."
"...To prove a point," Rodney said.
"Yes, to prove a point," John repeated. "I was being stubborn and childish."
"So the city..." Elizabeth shook her head in confusion.
"If Atlantis responds to your moods," Rodney theorized, "why has it never done this before?"
"I haven't been in a bad mood before!" John replied.
"Does the city actually respond to you?" Elizabeth asked, intrigued by the possibility.
"Well, it has never done anything like this before. As I said, I've been feeling pretty good. Maybe the lights were brighter than usual, I don't know," John admitted. "I don't know what a good mood looks like to Atlantis."
"But this is what a bad mood looks like?" Elizabeth asked as she peered at her computer display.
"How do you know Atlantis is responding to you?" Rodney persisted. "How can you be sure it's not responding to Lieutenant Ford's bad mood?"
"Come on, McKay! Have you ever seen Ford in a bad mood?" John replied. "No, Ford's not walking around with a cloud over his head like Joe Bfstplk."
"Who?" Elizabeth and Rodney asked in unison.
"The guy in that old comic strip--. Never mind. Just trust me, it's not Ford."
"And you know this because..." Rodney prompted.
"He's not the one in a bad mood," John said testily. "And he doesn't have the gene."
"So if you have the gene and you're in a bad mood, the city causes power outages?" Rodney said obtusely. John sighed exasperatedly.
"No! If you have the gene and you can interface with Atlantis, you can tell who the city is responding to."
"That doesn't make any sense," Elizabeth said. "Are you saying that the city can't react to Lieutenant Ford's mood because he doesn't have the gene or simply that you know it's not him?"
"Work with me here, Liz," John replied. "Look, I just know what I know."
"...Because Atlantis tells you," Rodney said doubtfully, earning a sour look from John. "How do you interface with Atlantis?"
"I just do, all right? Look," he said rising to his feet, "I don't have time to play twenty questions. Suffice to say that everything's back to normal."
"And you know this because the city told you?"
"Yes, Liz; the city told me." John headed for the door.
The doors shut behind John and refused to open for a few seconds. They suddenly opened again and John poked his head in.
"I did that," he said sheepishly. He turned and strode away, leaving Elizabeth and Rodney staring after him in confusion.
Aiden paced back and forth in his room, rubbing his hands together and taking deep breaths to calm his nerves. John would be back soon and Aiden was about to finally get the man he'd wanted since he first laid eyes on him back at the SGC. He heard a ping and turned to see a holographic display hovering before him. He took a few steps closer and saw a schematic of the officers' wing. Bright green dots highlighted a path from Aiden's room to the nearest transporter. Aiden looked up at the ceiling and frowned.
"Am I supposed to follow this?"
The doors to his room opened. Aiden walked to the door, but hesitated before stepping out into the corridor.
"Is this a trap? You're not going to lead me to some deserted spot and kill me, right? Like in the movies where the computer gets jealous and starts offing people."
A new holographic display appeared, but it contained two words: HAPPINESS = FORD.
"Hey," Aiden said lightly, despite his nervousness, "you've seen me naked; shouldn't we be on a first name basis?"
JOHN THINKS OF YOU AS FORD.
"Well, we ought to change that," Aiden declared as he set out for the transporter.
A smaller, more discreet display appeared: HAPPINESS = AIDEN.
Aiden stepped into the transporter. Before he could ask which icon to touch, the doors opened again and he stepped out on a different level. The display reappeared to lead him down the corridor. He entered a lovely suite and as the doors closed behind him the display disappeared.
"So, he's going to meet me here?" Aiden asked as he looked around. But he got no response. "Right."
The lights dimmed and a faint exotic scent began to waft through the air. Aiden smiled at the city's apparent effort to create a romantic mood.
"Got any music?" he asked. Aiden's favorite band began to play a song he often listened to off duty. "That's cool, but that's not exactly the right mood music, you know?" The music changed to Aiden's Marvin Gaye CD. "Very cool."
Aiden went to the sofa and sprawled comfortably. A few minutes later, he was up and pacing again.
As John headed back to Aiden's room, he thought about what he should say. His conscience still bothered him but not so much that he thought it would be a good idea to make a full confession. Atlantis tried to reassure him, but the city's intervention only added to John's already jangled nerves.
"Do you mind?" John spat as he stepped into the transporter. "I'm trying to figure out what to tell Ford about--you know."
Atlantis responded: NOT FORD. AIDEN.
"What?" John asked as the doors opened and he saw a completely unfamiliar section of the city. "Where the hell am I? So help me, if you've done anything to Ford--."
AIDEN, Atlantis reminded him.
"Aiden; yes, Aiden," John said to himself, reluctantly admitting himself that the city was correct. "Where is he?" The doors at the end of the corridor opened and John saw him, pacing back and forth in the most luxurious suite he'd seen since his arrival. "Where are we?" he asked quietly. Aiden hadn't seen him yet and John wanted an answer before things went further.
HAPPINESS = AIDEN.
"Right," John agreed, forgetting his questions as he entered the suite. Aiden heard his footsteps and turned around. The two men stared at each other for a few moments and then slowly began to move toward each other. John reached out and touched Aiden's cheek, but stopped short of kissing him.
"If we do this--," he began.
"Oh, we're going to do this," Aiden said confidently.
"Okay, before we do this, I need to lay a few ground rules," John said. Aiden nodded, his eyes fixed on John's. "This is going to be a relationship. If you're looking for a one-off, I'm not your guy." Aiden answered him with another firm nod. "By relationship, I mean exclusive." At this, Aiden's expression turned to a slight frown. "You have a problem with that?"
"Atlantis really does know everything that goes on, doesn't it?" he said worriedly.
"Yeah," John replied, "and it's willing to share all of it with me, although I've made it clear that there are lots of things I'd rather not know." Aiden understood him perfectly.
"We'll be exclusive. I want that."
"Absolutely," Aiden said with a smile. John felt a burden lift from his chest. He forced himself to concentrate on his ground rules, but he already anticipating what would follow. He tried to ignore his growing arousal as he continued.
"No PDA's, no messing around in our own quarters," he said. "Atlantis says we can meet here without being seen or detected on its monitors."
"How is that possible?" Aiden asked. John shrugged, but he seemed to be listening to the city's reply.
"Apparently, it can shield parts of itself from the sensor readouts. In fact, as far as the command center can tell, this part of the city doesn't exist."
"You mean it's been saving this place for--."
"Can we discuss this later?" John interrupted as he stepped closer to Aiden and caressed his cheek. "Do you have any ground rules I should know about?" Aiden shook his head, but there was an impish gleam in his eye and a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. "What?"
"I like to top occasionally," he said. His smile broadened when he saw John's pupils dilate to twice their size. He leaned in and lightly brushed John's lips with his own. John responded aggressively, pulling Aiden into his arms and answering Aiden's chaste kiss with a far more passionate one. The music abruptly changed to something from John's collection. Aiden pulled away to laugh and John took the opportunity to attack his throat.
He tugged at Aiden's shirt, but Aiden grabbed his hands and drew him into the bedroom, where they clumsily undressed each other and fell onto the massive bed exploring each other's bodies. Aiden crawled over John's and pinned his arms to the mattress so he could kiss, nibble and lick his way down his lover's torso unimpeded. John began to mutter to himself and Aiden looked up at his face. John's eyes were closed and his lips were forming words he couldn't quite make out.
"You'd better not be talking to Atlantis. The city may not get jealous, but I do," Aiden teased before sharply nipping John's ribs. John arched off the bed, his body colliding with Aiden's and falling again. Aiden giggled and stretched out over him, kissing him deeply and grinding his hips against his at a slow, lazy tempo. John soon grew impatient, however, and flipped them over so he could set his own pace.
Part of him wanted to get off quickly, to take the edge off the tension that had built up over the last hour. But here was Aiden in his bed, open and beautiful and wanting him and muttering his name as he thrust his hips against John's. He wanted it to last forever. He buried his face in the crook between Aiden's throat and shoulder, trying desperately to hold on. But in the end, Aiden decided things, reaching between their bodies and sending them both over the edge almost as soon as he took both erections in his hand.
Up in the command center, Rodney looked up from the console where he was doing a diagnostic.
"Is it me or did the lights just get brighter in here?"