Tantrums and Fluffy Towels
Summary: Rodney needs a break and a new towel.
Notes: Written for koshi700's picture challenge at the lj community mckay_sheppard.
The first time John asked, Rodney said no. He was much too busy for any such frivolities. People's lives, the survival of the city, was on his shoulders, and he couldn't just brush that off to go and lie on a beach somewhere.
But John kept asking, knocking down the straw men Rodney used as his defence. No free time? Overworked. Busy? Overtired. Not much of a one for suntans? Paler than the Wraith!
Rodney heard them all and never faltered until Weir stepped in and ordered him to take a whole day off.
The two-fold, stubborn silence in the jumper was electric. Every tiny movement seemed to hum with unspent ire. The flight took only minutes, from the city to the landmass, just enough to crank their tension up another notch.
Once they'd landed - not as smooth as usual, Rodney noted - John grabbed the pack and headed out across the rolling dunes. Rodney followed, slower, much less confident on angled sand, adding this indignity to the ever-growing list.
They stomped along in silence, almost - but for Rodney's cursing - until they hit the patch of rock-strewn beach John must have had in mind. There he dropped the pack, kicked off his boots and started stripping, all without a single look in Rodney's stunned direction.
A minute, two at most, and he was chest deep in the ocean, a hedonistic smile upon his face. One single brief, but intense, look at Rodney, and he dove, pale slim buttocks flashing at the sky before they sank.
Rodney glared and lowered himself carefully to the sand, trying not to let the foul stuff in to scratch his skin. He hoped the major wouldn't be too long.
Half an hour later he was bored out of his skull. He'd even tried to write a few equations in the too fine sand. But nothing could distract him from the glowing mental picture of a stripped down Major Sheppard in the sun.
Reluctantly, and sure he'd been manipulated shamelessly, Rodney peeled away the layers of scientist and geek. His skin was pale, but not as white as Wraith as John well knew, but pale enough to need a liberal coat of some protection - a tube of which he'd happened to pick up as he was leaving, one he never thought he'd really use.
So, naked, and exposed to every element and passing eye, Rodney stood and shuffled for a while before surrendering. Dammit, John had known he'd win, and, really, so had Rodney, but still they had to play their stupid game.
After one last pause to check the EpiPen was visible, Rodney turned and ran into the sea.
The rock was sun-warmed, hard beneath the fluffy giant towel, and Rodney felt the last remaining tension drain away. He snuggled closer into John's embrace and hummed contentedly, sighing as strong fingers combed his salty, sea-damp hair.
"Okay, yes, I admit, this was a good idea. I could feel my spine unkinking as I swam. I'm even quite inclined to let you off for setting Weir on me, even though you know it was completely underhand. The swim was good, the food was great, the sex was, well, the usual. I lose a few more brain cells to the cause each time I come. But the best thing of the day has got to be this two-man towel. You have to tell me where and how you got it. Are there more? If I could dress my bed with these I'd actually use it. Athosian linen's too harsh on my skin and Government Issue stinks. So? Where and when and how and... How much did it cost? Did you sell your body to some cotton farmer's daughter?"
John leaned in and silenced Rodney's ramble with a kiss, pleased to have his vocal, vibrant lover back again.
"While you were in the temple helping priests translate the holy books, I was checking out the goods for trade on PX-J23. I bartered for the towel; they're used as bathhouse robes and blankets. I gave the village elders Halling's recipe for 'tea'. The first consignment's due about a month from now, you're on the list. But until then you'll have to share with me."
Rodney figured there were much worse fates in life than sharing towels.