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Many thanks to Cesca, giddygeek, resonant, and Terri for beta!
Rodney's voice came muffled from inside the thrashing folds. "Can I get some help here?"
Grinning, John stepped up behind him and yanked on the bottom edge until Rodney's head popped out of the neckhole. He waited until Rodney had gotten his arms out and the long folds of the robe had settled down to the ground, and then stepped back from the mirror and looked him consideringly up and down, while Rodney glared murderously back at him in the reflection.
"Nice dress," John said blandly.
"It's not a dress, it's a robe
," Rodney said.
"No, really," John said. "Blue's a good color for you." He reached out to tweak the shoulders.
"Why exactly do I
have to wear the robe, anyway?" Rodney demanded, shoving John's hands away and adjusting the high-necked collar. "This was all your idea."
"But Aram brought it just for you, Rodney," John said. "Actually, I feel kind of left out."
"Oh, shut up," Rodney said. "I don't see why we have to keep trading for food in the first place now that we're back in touch with Earth. MREs are a perfectly nutritious and reasonable diet."
"We can fit a lot more medical supplies into the Daedalus than we can MREs," John said. "Makes sense to trade for our food. Besides, this way we can keep our ear to the ground."
"Or blow our cover to the Wraith," Rodney said. He turned away from the mirror and transferred his scowl to the door as the shaven-headed priest came back in, carrying another heap of clothing. "Do I really have to wear this?" he demanded.
"It is part of the ceremony of brotherhood," Aram said in that soft patient tone that all the natives seemed to have no matter what planet they went to, the one that silently tacked on the words idiot offworlder
to every explanation.
"See," John said, "it's part of the ceremony of brotherhood, Rodney. You wouldn't want to spoil it." He smiled brightly at Aram.
Aram held out the clothes he was carrying. "And these are for you, Colonel."
"Oh, uh," John said, as the heap was piled into his arms.
"Remember that you must wear no other garments beneath," Aram added, eyeing Rodney doubtfully where his uniform pants bulged oddly underneath the robe. "And you must remove your footwear also. You will have to pass through the cleansing before you can enter the temple."
"Right," John said. "Thanks," he called after Aram, as the priest left the dressing room again. He looked at Rodney, smirking now in his blue robes, arms folded.
"Ah," Rodney said, "the sweet, sweet taste of just retribution."
"Yeah, yeah," John said, rolling his eyes, and started stripping off his gear. He stacked it all up neatly and grabbed the first piece of his own outfit, a loose blousy thing, kind of transparent, okay; the second piece didn't seem to make a lot of sense: there was too much fabric in some places and not enough in others. "The hell?" He finally got it right side up. Waist opening, check. Ankle-length, check. Long silky panels, check. Ribbony bits, check.
"Nice skirt," Rodney said. He had a beatific expression on his face.
"It's not a skirt, it's a -- " John stopped. He looked at it. "It's a skirt," he finished glumly.
"Don't worry, Major," Rodney said, "I'm sure it'll look very fetching."
"Colonel," John said, in hurt tones.
"Whatever." Instead of taking off the robe, getting undressed, and putting it back on, Rodney had just spent the last ten minutes writhing on the bench working his clothes out from underneath. He finally dropped his boxers and stood up, and got a peculiar expression on his face. John understood it a minute later when he finally gave up and put on the damn skirt.
"What is this stuff made of?" he said, a little strangled. It felt weird on his skin, almost like it was wet, maybe even a little soapy, slick and silky at the same time; the wide folds clinging hopefully to his legs, ankle to thigh. He tilted his hips backwards a little away from the fabric, trying to stand really still.
"Huh?" Rodney said, distractedly; he was instinctively fidgeting every so often, getting flushed and pink. The robe really was a good look for him, weirdly enough, the mandarin collar and the long swoop of it making him look more impressive than the slouchy fatigues: a little Jedi-Master-ish. John grinned to himself but saved the comment; he wasn't exactly in a position to get into a throwdown on the subject right now.
"Uh, when does this thing start, did he say?" Rodney asked, a little high-pitched.
"After sunset," John said. He looked out the window. It was starting to get purple and dark outside, which was good, because they seriously needed to get this ceremony over with, get their clothes back on, and get the nice cartloads of food back to Atlantis.
Maybe he'd been a little too clever for his own good. The whole trading-for-food excuse had seemed like a good one at the time, when he'd been scrambling to come up with a reason to keep going through the gate that Stargate Command would buy without too much fuss. But now he was thinking he could've tried a little harder to come up with one that didn't involve standing around for hours in X-rated outfits to make nice with the natives.
Aram opened the door. He was wearing a robe of his own now -- robe
, John noticed resentfully -- and he was looking a little pink around the ears himself. He beckoned. "Come, it is time for the cleansing."
It was a relief to take off the outfit; John didn't even mind diving into the ice-cold pool. Unfortunately, after that came the nice warm pool, and after that came the being rubbed down by extremely attractive women, and after that they had to put the damn things back on
. Then they got sat down -- John heard Rodney make a small whimpering noise in the back of his throat, which sounded a lot like the noise John wasn't actually letting out -- and the extremely attractive women brought out the makeup.
"Wait, wait a second," John said, looking over at Rodney, who wasn't apparently going to be subjected to this special attention, "why not him?"
"We wish to show you honor," Aram said. "Are you not the leader?"
"Yes! Yes, he is," Rodney said immediately. "Did you hear him mention he's a Lieutenant Colonel? It's a very high rank."
"Thanks a lot," John hissed, leaning away from the kohl-wielding blonde. He couldn't go much farther without falling off the bench, though.
"Hold still," she said severely, "You don't want me to accidentally poke you in the eye with this."
He gave Rodney one last glare, the kind that said if you ever tell anyone about this, they won't even find your body
, watched it have no effect other than to increase the wattage on Rodney's smirk, and then he closed his eyes so he wouldn't have to watch.
"There," she said, satisfied, after what felt like a freakishly long time, with the occasional breeze coming through the windows and stirring the skirt around his legs, her fingers dusting his face with soft powdery things that smelled like curry, stroking wet thick paint onto his mouth that tasted like ripe plums.
He opened his eyes and let them pull him to his feet. Rodney was staring at him with a really weird expression, startled instead of smirking, which got John freaked out and made him crane his head around to peer at his face in all of the dark windows that they passed on their way to the main temple chamber, trying to figure out what they'd done to his face; but he couldn't make anything out in the reflections but darkened eyes and shining-wet mouth.
The priests formed up into two circles on the temple floor, inner and outer, and Aram pushed him and Rodney into opposite lines, John in the inner circle. The two circles started to move in opposite directions; each time a new man stepped in front of him, he would reach out and put his hand on John's chest and rub a circle over it, wide and spiraling in towards the heart. Yeah, a really beautiful, brotherly gesture, John thought wildly, leaning into the hands, panting, nipples hardened and cock shuddering against the silky stuff of the clothing.
Abruptly the man on his left gave a little gasp out loud; the man opposite him pulled him out of the circle and they went stumbling together onto one of the pallets laid out in a ring around the circles, already groping and rubbing against each other. An almost ridiculously pretty dark-skinned, brown-eyed young man was next in front of John, letting his hand linger, thumb teasing gently at John's nipple, wide soft mouth parted. John swallowed and shivered and didn't make a sound; the young man gave a little noiseless sigh, regretful, and moved on with the steady rhythm of the circle, and in a moment he and the man two steps over were moving to claim their own pallet.
John wasn't thinking all that clearly anymore; he'd grasped the idea that he had to stay quiet and he clung to it, while all around him the other men slipped away by twos to huddle in the blankets, and the wet gasping sounds of sex started to be almost as hard to resist as the touching. And then it was just him and Rodney standing face to face, all the others gone; Rodney was looking at him in that same confused way, strained and tense, biting at his lip, hand hovering in the air just before John's chest, not quite touching but close enough John could feel the heat of it soaking through his clothes.
He leaned forward a little, and Rodney still didn't touch him. "Rodney," John hissed. Rodney stared at him, mouth opening; John realized belatedly he'd made a noise, and there were eyes watching them from the ring of pallets, drowsy but expectant. There was only one pallet left open now, and the couple in the one next to it, panting and spent, smiled at them encouragingly and patted the empty space.
Rodney stepped back towards it, one step, uncertainly; John swallowed hard and went with him: going to their knees on opposite sides and lying down awkwardly together, negotiating the narrow bed carefully, trying to find room to get on without touching too much. Then Rodney hitched himself a little further in towards the middle and accidentally rubbed up against John, solid and hot, and John groaned and pushed back, involuntarily.
"Oh, God," Rodney said, and suddenly he was all over John, rolling on top of him, hands just going everywhere, silky fabric bunching up and sliding like a caress as he groped feverishly at John's body, sides, nipples, arms, hips, the weight of him coming down between John's thighs, pushing them apart. "John," he said, and kissed him, smearing the wet sweet paint into John's mouth, spicy and full of juice on his tongue, and Rodney's cock was shoving up against his through the silk, Rodney's whole body churning between his thighs, clumsy and desperate.
John grabbed his head and kept their mouths together, wrapped his legs around Rodney's waist: clearly this was the absolute worst idea in the world, except for the even worse idea of stopping. The wet-slippery silk was rubbing all over him with Rodney's urgency behind it, crazy and unreal, until Rodney grabbed fistfuls of silk and pulled it out from between them and got right up against him, skin on skin, heavy and glossed with sweat. Shoving at him, and Christ, coming; Rodney was coming, all over his thighs, all over his dick; John pushed against Rodney's belly and felt his own cock spurting, jerks that shook his whole body.
"Sleep well, brethren," Aram said, yawning and dreamy-eyed, closing the door behind him. They stood staring at themselves in the big gold-framed mirror: crumpled, stained, ruined. John didn't recognize himself, with the dark lines of black curling like fringes away from his eyes, the blue glittery shine along his cheekbones and dusted into his hair, the blouse slipping off his shoulder and the skirt still clinging around his legs, the red and purple of his mouth streaked across Rodney's mouth too, and Rodney's eyes looking at him through the mirror, still hungry.
The pile of his uniform and clothing was still neatly folded up and stacked in the corner, on top of the bed, and John knew exactly what he was supposed to do: go and scrub his face clean, put his uniform back on, and tell Rodney that none of this had ever happened. "Want to fuck me?" he said instead, to the Rodney in the mirror, and Rodney said, "Oh, God, yes, please," and then added, tentatively, "and can we -- "
They picked up the bed and moved it in front of the mirror and grabbed up every cushion in the room to pile on top, all of them covered with the same stuff in Arabian Nights blues and golds and purples. John rolled onto it and sprawled out against the heap in porn-star style, the skirts pooling around him across the bedspread; he put one arm behind his head and stretched himself out languidly.
"I think it's worth mentioning here that we've clearly both lost our minds," Rodney said, practically tearing the robe into pieces trying to get out of it, struggling to get it over his head.
"I'm sorry, was that a complaint?" John said, and then he ran his hand down the length of his own body, between his legs, took his own cock wrapped in silk and stroked himself with the perfect wet slickness of it, grinning at the small whimpering noise Rodney made, because Christ, he really could do anything at all, he was in another galaxy in a fucking skirt, what the hell couldn't
he do -- "Because you know, I could always just take care of this -- "
"No, no, just for the record; no complaints," Rodney said, climbing on the bed naked and hurriedly batting John's hands away; kissing his way up, his hands sliding up John's thighs and bunching up the skirts ahead of him, Rodney's wide wet mouth going everywhere, tender biting kisses to John's inner thighs, tongue darting into hollows and curves, laying hot stripes against his cock, pushing into him a little way.
"Yeah, yes, yes," John gasped, shuddering, clenching his hands in the pillows, and Rodney lifted his head away, mouth flushed dark red, and his hand disappeared into the wild tangle of skirts around John's hips. John watched in the mirror, Rodney's arm working steadily, his own legs falling further apart, his own eyes heavy-lidding, the slow rhythmic movements of Rodney's arm, over and over. Like some kind of bizarre fantastic porn, except it was his own body, it was Rodney, frowning down at him with that working-things-out expression.
Rodney moved and sat up between John's legs, skirts spilling to either side. John couldn't see what was happening, only feel the heavy blunt thickness of Rodney's cock nudging at him; Rodney was saying, "Yes, okay, can I, is this, yes," punctuated with short jerky thrusts, spearing him open. In the mirror, John's legs were spread wide with the tumbled blue silk frothing all over his thighs, curled around them both, all their skin glowing in the candlelight, and Rodney was golden and soft-eyed over him, mouth open to catch his breath: both of them caught in the heavy picture-frame mirror like a snapshot of yet another of the things he'd never expected to have, another of the things Atlantis seemed to reach out and give to him when he least expected them, compensation or reward.
And then Rodney said, "Ready?" and started fucking him, and John couldn't watch the mirror anymore, too busy laughing breathlessly, head tipped back against the pillows, hands tight on Rodney's shoulders, flying someplace new.
= End =