Disclaimer: If they were mine they would be having sex all the time. Since they aren't it's safe to assume that the boys don't belong to me.
Spoilers: General for season 4.
Notes: Written for mcfleece, in celebration of all things orange and fuzzy.
Many many thanks to the_cephalopod, the fastest beta in two galaxies!
Summary: The main reason John decides to break up with Rodney is to avoid being dumped first.
The main reason John decides to break up with Rodney is to avoid being dumped first. He’s never liked being broken up with, and he expects this time to suck more than all the others put together - his divorce included. Being with Rodney has somehow become very important to him; a little too important.
Rodney has been spending more and more time with Katie Brown of late and John recognises all the signs. It might take a couple of weeks, a few months even, but sooner or later Rodney is going to realise that everything would be a lot easier with Katie. He won’t have to sneak around with her, or watch how he behaves in public out of fear of giving something away. He could make an actual life with her, have an actual family.
John has absolutely nothing against Katie Brown. She’s nice, very nice even. She’s smart. She really cares about Rodney. They’ll be good for each other and John knows when to step aside and let nature take it’s course.
The biggest problem will be finding a way to tell Rodney this without making him think it’s all his fault. John has considered several different approaches. He could start acting like an asshole (okay, make that even more of an asshole) so that Rodney will be happy to get rid of him. But that would probably mean that John’s going to lose Rodney’s friendship as well, and that’s not an option. He could tell Rodney that, okay, he was wrong and not gay after all. But that’s a big fat lie and Rodney will see straight through it and believe that it’s being gay with Rodney that John can’t stand. Or he could tell the truth; tell Rodney that he’ll be a lot happier together with Katie. But that would make Rodney stay with John out of pure spite, the recalcitrant bastard.
It’s a tricky problem and one that keeps demanding John’s attention, even though he really should be concentrating on navigating the vast glacier of MX7-249. They are slogging through the snow and ice, tied to each other with a long rope. Rodney is following an energy reading, while talking and talking about Jeannie’s latest e-mail.
“They enrolled Madison in a figure skating class, can you believe it? Figure skating! That’s not even a sport! I’m going to get her a hockey stick for Christmas, what do you think about that?”
“What’s figure skating?” Ronon asks and Rodney launches into a long, slightly derogatory, explanation.
John can’t stop thinking about how much he’s going to miss Rodney and this thing they have together. He never planned to fall in love with his best friend. It just happened, and now it’s like Rodney’s taken up permanent residence in his bed and his heart. John can’t remember the last time he felt so at peace, so comfortable with someone. But he can’t afford to be selfish, not when it comes to Rodney’s happiness. He has to come up with a way to make this break-up as easy as possible for Rodney.
He probably should’ve been paying closer attention to the ground beneath his feet instead, because suddenly, it just disappears. His head bounces off the ice and then he slams bodily into something that forces all the air from his lungs and steals his voice. After that it just seems easier to let go and give in to the darkness.
* * *
John really had liked Antarctica. It wasn’t just something he’d told General O’Neill. He’d liked the endless emptiness, the vast expanses of white. He’d like the silence and the stillness, the way you sometimes couldn’t tell where the ice ended and the sky began.
What he hadn’t liked was the dry cold, the way it settled in your bones and stayed there. The way he feels right now. He can hardly feel his fingers and toes, and his face is pressed against a hard, wet surface, so cold it’s burning.
He hurts. His entire body feels like one big bruise. Someone’s chattering in his ear but the voice is far away and doesn’t make any sense. He vaguely remembers flying a chopper, dodging drones. Rodney was lecturing about glacier ice and fracture mechanics and... figure skating? His breath was a cloud of white smoke just before the ground gave way from under John’s feet. Was that before or after he first sat down in the chair? He can’t seem to get the timeline straight.
John opens his eyes. There is blueish white all around him and a deep chasm opening up underneath. Looking at it makes him nauseaous so he closes his eyes again and tries to move. The pain shifts and centers around his left shoulder, his ribs, and his head. Okay, this is officially not good. He’s stuck sideways, tangled in something, and every attempt to move his head sends bright spikes of pain through his brain.
“Sheppard!” the voice in his ear says, impatient and with a hint of fear. “Sheppard, come in. Can you hear me?”
Rodney? That seems... wrong somehow. John’s pretty sure he’s alone down here, wherever ‘down here’ is.
The voice won’t shut up and it makes John’s head hurt. Trust Rodney to annoy him when he’s not even here.
“Rodney?” he mutters, and then wonders if he’s supposed to sound like this, all hoarse and whispery. His mouth is dry and he’s tempted to reach out his tongue and lick the ice, but it’s either too far away or his tongue is too short.
It sounds like someone is shaking something and then there’s a crackle in his ear before Rodney’s voice comes through again. “Is this thing even working? Hello? John, if you’re alive would you please answer? I’m on the brink of a nervous breakdown here and if you’re trying to play some kind of joke I can assure you that this is not, I repeat, not, funny.”
Yeah, that’s Rodney all right. John smiles a little. He doesn’t feel like he’s going to puke anymore so he opens his eyes again and is struck by a moment of vertigo as he looks down into the seemingly bottomless crevasse. Then he remembers that he’s wearing a radio and that’s why he’s been hearing Rodney’s voice in his ear. Why didn’t he think of that before?
It takes a little work and he has to be very, very careful so he doesn’t shift and fall again, but he mananges to work his right hand loose and hit the send-button. “’m here,” he says.
“John!” Rodney’s all but yelling in his ear and it makes John wince. Loud noises don’t do much for his happiness right now.
“Don’t shout,” he mumbles. “Hurts m’ head. Wher’re you?”
The relief in Rodney’s voice is almost tangible. “Approximately twenty feet above you. You stepped right through a snow bridge and fell down a crevasse, and it’s nothing but sheer dumb luck that you didn’t drag the rest of us down with you. How can someone so skinny weigh so much?”
“Hey,” John says, somewhat insulted. Then the world starts spinning around him and he has to close his eyes again and take a few deep breaths. He really doesn’t want to vomit right now, not when it’s so cold that it’d probably freeze before it left his mouth. That’s a deeply disturbing thought.
He blanks out for a couple of moments, and when he comes back, Rodney’s voice is persistent in his ear, “John? John, are you okay? Answer me!”
“Yeah,” John says. His own voices sounds slurred and vague, disconnected somehow. He tries to move again, with no success. “I think I’m stuck, Rodney.”
Rodney breathes for a little while and then sighs. “Okay. Okay, don’t panic, we can figure this out. Are you hurt? Did you hit your head? Because you sound extremely concussed.”
John isn’t sure, but it seems likely. There are fireworks behind his eyelids every time he shifts his head. “Think so,” he says. “It hurts. I can’t move. My fingers are numb.”
“All right,” Rodney says. His voice is very tight. “Don’t worry, I’ve got everything under control. Ronon, we need a new plan, there’s no way he’s getting out on his own.” There’s some muttering in the background and then Rodney’s voice comes back. “Because he’s cracked his head open, that’s why. No, we don’t have time to go back and call Atlantis for help, he’ll be frozen stiff before they can get a rescue team here.” Another pause and then, “John? We’re getting you out of there, okay? Just... hang tight and don’t go anywhere.”
That’s kinda funny. John doesn’t know where he could possibly go. He laughs a little, but it hurts so he stops again.
Rodney keeps the channel open so he can hear his team is working. It’s reassuring. His team can do anything. John drifts for a little while. It’s oddly peaceful down here, like he’s floating in blue whiteness. Blue for the same reason water is blue, a slight absorption of red light because of an overtone of the infrared OH-stretching mode of the water molecule. It has nothing to do with Raleigh scattering, like John first thought, and he wonders how Rodney can keep all this stuff in his head.
Some time passes. John tries to think of nice things, like ‘jumpers and golf and the sound Rodney makes when John licks his belly button. He’d really like to be back in Atlantis now, buried under the covers together with Rodney, Rodney who’s always so warm, like he’s John’s own personal furnace.
His teeth have stopped chattering. It’s probably not a good sign.
Rodney talks and talks and John can’t really concentrate on anything he’s saying; instead it just washes over him as a stream of words and concern and Rodney. Now and then his brain takes in the occasional phrase, but nothing that makes any sense. He feels a bit drunk and wonders if it’s because of the concussion or the hypothermia.
John drifts away for a little while again, thinking about ice and the bright orange golf balls he ordered in Antarctica because he kept losing the white ones. They were the same colour as Rodney’s fleece, the one John watched him put on this morning.
Then there are hands on his face, light and gentle. He opens his eyes and sees a very blurry Teyla smiling at him. Her mouth is moving but the words don’t mean anything to him so he just smiles back. Teyla fiddles with his climbing harness for a while and then shifts his limbs. John tries to tell her to stop, that it hurts too much, but then he can feel a hard pull from above. Teyla’s pushing at his shoulder and that’s more than he can take.
The white turns into grey turns into black and then everything disappears.
* * *
Some time must have passed. When John next opens his eyes he’s lying on his back in the snow. Teyla’s face is gone, and now it’s Rodney who is looking down at him, wide-eyed and anxious. The sky is clear blue above (Raleigh scattering, at least John knows that for sure) and Rodney’s eyes are almost the exact same colour.
The sun is too bright and his head is pounding, so he closes his eyes again. He wants to go to sleep, the snow is soft and he feels kind of floaty and not so cold anymore. Rodney won’t let him. Every time he starts to drift off, Rodney slaps his face and shouts at him.
Someone’s tugging at his clothes and that brings the white hot pain back to his shoulder. There are hands again, huge hands this time, and that muttering must belong to Ronon. John hears something about ‘dislocated’ and ‘put it back in place’ and then his world explodes in agony. He tries to scream, put the only sound that comes out of his mouth is a strange high-pitched whine. Somewhere far away, Rodney’s voice is shouting, “What are you doing, you behemoth? You said you were going to fix it, not rip it off!”
John thinks, Oh, is that what he’s doing? It makes a strange kind of sense, though he has no idea why Ronon would want to do that. He doesn’t have enough time to figure it out before the pain swallows him whole.
* * *
There are fingers on John’s face, tracing the line of his jaw, his cheekbone, his eyebrow. It feels nice. Warm. Rodney, John thinks, because that’s who he associates with warmth now.
He’s wrapped in several layers of fabric and his cheek is pressed against something soft and fuzzy. John opens his eyes. Golfballs. No wait, that can’t be right. Fleece, that’s it. Rodney’s fleece with Rodney in it and Rodney’s arms around him.
“John? Are you awake?”
“Mhhmm,” John says. He’s still hurting and it seems like his arm is tied to his chest somehow because he can’t move it. He turns his face into the soft fuzzy orange again, breathes in Rodney and warmth and Major, think about where we are in the solar system.
Then Rodney shifts and his arms disappear and so does the fleece. John protests weakly – he likes Rodney’s fleece. Has been inexplicably fond of it ever since it filled his vision at the Ancient outpost in Antarctica when John’s world changed forever.
John tries to lift his head to find out where Rodney and the fleece went. It sends a bolt of nausea through him and he groans. The fingers return, soft and gentle against his skin. “Try not to move around,” Rodney says. “Ronon says you have a concussion and a couple of broken ribs. Not to mention the dislocated shoulder. He put that back in place again, which, by the way, is not something I ever want to witness again, thank you very much.”
Yeah, John vaguely remembers something like that. It wasn’t exactly pleasant for him either and he considers telling Rodney that, but there are too many words in the sentence so he settles for asking, “You okay?”
“Am I okay?” Rodney says, voice a little high. “You were the one who spent over three hours in a crevasse while we were trying to figure out the best way to get you out. Jesus, John, you could’ve died down there! You’re so cold it’s like cuddling an icecube!”
John recognises that kind of voice. This is what Rodney sounds like when he’s had a really bad fright, all breathless and frantic. “Not cold now,” he croaks, wishing that Rodney would calm down because that tone of voice makes something inside John hurt, something that has nothing to do with broken ribs and dislocated shoulders. Then another thought flickers through his mind, something he should’ve thought of before. “Teyla n’ Ronon?”
Rodney’s breathing a little easier. “They went back to the ‘gate for help,” he says. “They should be back soon.”
Good, that’s everyone accounted for. John leans into Rodney’s touch, trying to get his bearings back. They’re in one of the tents, out of the cold and the wind. John is dressed only in t-shirt and boxers and wrapped in both his and Rodney’s sleeping bags, the foil blanket from the first aid kit and Rodney’s parka. He’s tired and achy and a bit nauseous. He seems to have lost track of which way is up and down and time is still a little funny. The only thing keeping him anchored in the here and now is Rodney’s hands on his skin.
It’s bewildering how much John has come to rely on Rodney’s touch. How his skin seems to absorb it - always hungry and aching for more. Like it’s something he needs even though he never knew it until he got it. It’s frightening and exhilarating all at once; like Rodney’s a drug he can’t shake. Thing is that soon he’s going to have to. He going to have to find a way to endure this life without Rodney, to go back to no touching and no falling asleep next to Rodney’s warm body. He’s going to have to get used to it and it fills him with a sadness that cuts so deep he can barely stand it.
“Gonna miss this,” he mumbles into Rodney’s chest. His eyes are burning, the back of his throat is itching and the words are almost swallowed up by the fleece.
“What are you talking about?” Rodney asks. His fingers are stroking John’s hair, careful of the spot on the back of his head from where the worst pain is radiating. “Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the cuddling, but I’d much rather do it at home and in bed as opposed to out here in the middle of a glacier. Seriously, this is the coldest, most unpleasant place I’ve ever been to, and that’s coming from someone who’s survived Canada, Siberia and Antarctica.”
“No, not that” John mutters. He doesn’t have nearly enough words to get his point across, they’re sliding away, out of his grasp. “Gonna miss you.”
Rodney’s fingers still in his hair. “What?” he says incredulously. “What are you talking about?”, and then, “Oh my god, you’re not just concussed, are you? You have a skull fracture or... or a subdural hematoma and you’re probably dying right now. I knew I shouldn’t have trusted Conan to make a medical diagnosis...”
“Rodney,” John says. Things aren’t going exactly the way he’d planned them and Rodney just won’t stop talking.
“...and your brain is going to start trickling out of your ears any minute now and they’ll come back and find me cradling your dead corpse...”
“Rodney!” John repeats, a little louder. It hurts his head and he feels like puking, but at least it makes Rodney shut up. “’m not dying,” he says. “Jus’ meant... gonna miss you. When you’re with Katie.” The explanation sucks, but John just can’t find the vocabulary for anything better. He peers up at Rodney, whose mouth is a tight line. The tent is spinning gently around them, like a merry-go-round at a carnival. “Don’ wanna break up with you. Never meant t’ fall in love with you in t’ first place.” It’s getting harder and harder to stay awake, but this is someting John has to say, even if he’s making a wreck out of it. “But I have to... have t’ let you go b’fore you...”
“Okay.” Rodney sighs and scrubs his face with a gloved hand. He looks tired and worn, like he’s got the beginning of a tension headache. “Okay, you’re clearly not in your right mind so I’m going to let that slide for now.”
“’s all for you,” John mumbles, turning his face into Rodney’s sweater again. It smells like warm skin and coffee, but everything Rodney owns smells like coffee, like his sweat glands secrete caffeine. John wonders if he might be able to steal Rodney’s fleece. Just so he can keep something.
He might have said the last out loud because Rodney makes a sound halfway between a growl and a sob and the arms around him tighten.
John blanks out again after that, swims through layers of time and space, like floating out in the black with no tether. He wakes up once to find Rodney’s lips pressed into his hair but it’s possible that might be a dream. The next he knows is the unmistakeable sound of a ‘jumper landing outside and a number of grabby hands on him, moving him. The world lurches sickeningly around him and he reaches out for something, anything to help him get his bearings back. His fingers close around Rodney’s sleeve, the fleece soft and soothing against his palm.
They can’t make him let go.
* * *
Infirmary stays are never fun, and even less so now that Carson is gone. John doesn’t know Keller well enough yet to fall into the usual teasing banter and he’s not even sure he wants to. The empty spaces Carson left behind are still too raw.
John doesn’t have a subdural hematoma. He does, however, have a grade 3 concussion that makes the room swirl and spin out of focus around him every time he tries to lift his head from the pillow. He spends one day puking and sleeping and the next eating jello, getting fluids and being bored out of his skull. There are big holes in his memory. He remembers Rodney’s fingers in his hair, remembers orange fleece and warmth and comfort. The rest is mostly a blur.
Rodney hasn’t come by to see him. Teyla was sitting with him when he first woke up and both she and Ronon come by a couple of times a day. Carter’s dropped by; Lorne’s dropped by (mostly to gloat about all the fun paperwork John will have to entertain himself with until his ribs and shoulder heal, but still); and even Zelenka came by for a visit – but no Rodney. John has an uneasy feeling that he might have done something, or said something stupid out there on the ice. More stupid than falling down a crevasse that is.
On the evening of the third day John finally manages to convince Keller that he can rest just fine in his own quarters and she hesitantly releases him with firm instructions to ‘take it easy, Colonel’. He dodges her attempts to have an orderly push him to his room in a wheelchair – it’s his ribs that are broken, not his legs – and limps out of the infirmary under his own steam, relieved to be out of bed. So what if he still has the occasional dizzy spell? He’s not planning on doing anything more strenous than taking a nap anyway. After he’s found Rodney and figured out what he did to earn the cold-shoulder treatment, of course.
Finding Rodney proves to be somewhat difficult. He’s not answering his radio, he’s not in his room, nor in the labs and Zelenka has no idea where he’s disappeared off to. There’s no Rodney in the mess hall and none in the control room or ‘jumper bay. John even drops by the gym, but of course there’s no Rodney there either. Then he has to sit down and rest for a couple of minutes (not that there are black spots all over his vision, it’s just that he’s a little out of breath after being laid up on his back for three days) and when he looks up again he finds himself face-to-face with Katie Brown. She’s crouched down beside him, wearing work-out clothes, a concerned expression and wielding a water bottle like a weapon.
“Here, Colonel, have some water,” she says. “Should you be out of the infirmary?”
Great. John really doesn’t have anything against Katie. It’s not her fault that she’s so much better for Rodney than John will ever be and, since he really wants to keep Rodney’s friendship, he should be nice to her. Besides, he’s thirsty so he accepts the bottle and swallows a mouthful. “I’m fine,” he assures her. “Just a little... um... I was looking for Rodney. Have you seen him around?”
“He’s not in his room?” Katie asks. “If he’s not he should be. I don’t think he’s slept a wink since they brought you back from MV9-R23.”
Okay, that doesn’t make any sense at all. John hasn’t been informed about any ongoing crises and Rodney has been taking unusually good care of himself since his last physical when Keller told him he needed to watch his blood pressure unless he wanted to risk a stroke.
“You really should get some rest too, Colonel,” Katie says. “You’re awfully pale.”
John has to agree with her. His legs feel like overcooked spaghetti and he has to sit on his hands to keep them from trembling. He probably should go back to his room and lie down for a while. Maybe take some of the painkillers Keller gave him. As much as it hurts to admit, he’s in no shape to run all over the city looking for Rodney. “Thanks,” he tells Katie. “I think I’ll do that. If you run into Rodney, would you tell him I’ve been looking for him?”
“Of course,” Katie smiles. “Are you going to be okay? Do you want me to help you to your quarters?”
No, John really doesn’t want her to do that, so he tells her that he appreciates the offer but he’ll be perfectly fine on his own, thank you. Then he gets up on admittedly very shaky legs and heads back to his room. He has to stop twice and lean against convenient walls to catch his breath and when he finally steps through his door he just wants to collapse into bed and sleep for at least a day.
There’s just the small matter of his bed already being occupied.
Rodney’s fully clothed and snoring, curled up around John’s pillow. His orange fleece and winter gear are lying on the floor beside the bed, like Rodney hasn’t even been to his own quarters since they came back from the planet.
John stands and watches for a little while, leaning against the door for balance. Rodney turns over with a snuffling little sound – he’s still wearing his boots for christ’s sake. Then he starts awake and sits up in bed, catches sight of John and goes directly from drooling sleep into full-blown rant mode.
“What are you doing up! How did you get out of the infirmary? Tell me you didn’t sign yourself out AMA again, though I wouldn’t put that past you and your weak pathetic little brain cells! It’s a wonder your head doesn’t rattle when you shake it!”
John has no idea how to respond, so instead he says, “I’ve been looking for you.”
Rodney jumps out of bed. His hair is lying flat against his head on one side and sticking out in every direction on the other. It’s oddly endearing. “Oh, you have? Running all around base when you should’ve been in bed, I presume. Also, just so you know, I am pissed at you, Colonel.”
“Yeah, I think I got that,” John says. Shit, Rodney called him ‘Colonel’. That’s all kinds of Not Good. “Care to tell me why?”
Rodney’s face turns a purplish red colour that John is fairly certain can’t be good for his blood pressure. “Why? Why? Have you forgotten that little detail about how you informed me that you are in love with me and going to break up with me in practically the same breath? What exactly gives you the right to make decisions about our relationship without involving me, you pea-brained moron?”
John stares at him, completely taken aback. Oh, shit. He knew something was off. So much for a carefully planned break-up. This is not turning out to be one of his better weeks.
“I wasn’t going to...” he begins to explain, but Rodney interrupts him.
“And where did you get this stupid notion that I have any interest in a relationship with Katie? Weren’t you listening when I told you about how every date we ever had ended in disaster? That we’re just good friends and, oh yeah, that she’s also been covering for us for the better part of a year because she thinks we’re – and this is a direct quote – ‘cute’! But no, you have to go and jump to your own faulty conclusions, as usual. Seriously, the only use you can possibly have for that thick lump you call a head is as a place for all that ridiculous hair to grow, because you’re certainly not using it for thinking!”
John probably should feel a little insulted by that, but he’s beginning to feel really dizzy and he can’t come up with a good comeback. He leans a little more heavily against the doorframe instead. “You weren’t supposed to find out like that,” he says.
“So, how was I supposed to find out!” Rodney yells. “When were you going to tell me? Have you been shopping for rings for me and Katie on the sly? Booked the church already? Tell me, what other plans have you made for my life, because I really want to know!”
The room is spinning, walls and bed and Rodney all switching places and starting to fuzz out around the edges. John can feel himself sliding down the doorframe. He’s afraid he’s going to be sick again and wonders how he’s going to make it to the bathroom when he can’t even get his legs to move. Then Rodney’s strong arms are around his waist, hauling him over to the bed. “Oh my god, how have you even survived this long? Come here you idiot, lie down before you fall on your face and give yourself another concussion. Seriously, you have the self-preservation instincts of a lemming.”
John really likes his bed right now, even though it’s too short and far too narrow to accomodate two grown men. The sheets still smell like Rodney, that faint scent of coffee and sweat and bitter exhaustion. John closes his eyes and feels the mattress dip as Rodney sits down beside him, warm and heavy and still radiating anger but now with a little bit of worry mixed in.
“What were you thinking?” Rodney asks, his voice a little softer now. “I mean, I know you’re crap at this, we both are, but... what made you believe I wouldn’t want to be with you?”
“Don’t know,” John admits. It had all seemed very clear before, but now that he’s seen Rodney’s reaction he’s not so sure anymore. “I just thought... everything is so complicated for us. With the regs and everything. You should... you deserve better.”
Rodney sighs and begins combing his fingers through John’s hair. It feels nice and helps ease his headache. “John, I don’t want easy. I want you. How hard is that to understand?”
“I’m sorry.” John doesn’t know what else to say. He should have a good explanation, should tell Rodney how he feels about all this, about them, but the words won’t come. He’s tired and sore, but Rodney’s presence makes it better, Rodney makes everything better.
“Idiot,” Rodney says fondly. “Rest now. We’ll talk about it properly tomorrow.” He strips down to t-shirt and boxers and lies down on the bed, propping John up to keep the pressure off his ribs and make it easier to breathe. Rodney’s skin against his and the steady rhythm of Rodney’s heartbeat settles something inside John, makes the jumbled up pieces slide into place. Maybe he won’t have to give this up after all.
Then Rodney moves away and reaches for the floor, and when he comes back he’s holding his fleece. He waves it in John’s face like a bright orange signal flag.
“Also, just for your information. This is mine, and the only way you’re getting your mitts on it is if I’m still in it. No stealing, understand?”
John closes his eyes and smiles. “Okay,” he says, twisting his fingers in the fabric. Rodney and the fleece seem like a much better bargain than just the fleece anyway.
Rodney leans in to press his lips against John’s temple, his eyelid, the corner of his mouth. John is too tired to do anything else other than just lie there and accept Rodney’s carefull kisses, but Rodney’s tenderness makes his insides flare up with warmth.
“Go to sleep, John,” Rodney whispers in his ear. “I’ll be here when you wake up. Tomorrow and every damn morning after that. You won’t get rid of me so easily.”
And that is possibly the best thing John’s heard in years. He falls asleep snuggled up in Rodney’s arms, gripping Rodney’s fleece, with Rodney’s lips against his hair.
- fin -