you startled me! i thought you were the antichrist (elizayabanci) wrote,
you startled me! i thought you were the antichrist

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SGA: When In Rome

Title: When In Rome
Author: randomeliza
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Rating: Adult
Notes: Eternal thanks (from the Eternal City!) to siriaeve for inspiration, encouragment, and just generally being awesome. Written for trinityofone, because John speaking Italian makes everything better, right?
Summary: Rodney finds himself sitting on his bed flipping through the phrasebook. The first place he goes is page 117.

John tosses the phrasebook on the table of the suite their first day in Rome. "You should look this over, Rodney. You'll enjoy this a bit more if you can actually understand what's going on."

"Doesn't everyone speak English?" he asks, picking up the phrasebook. "Cause I was under the impression that everyone speaks English."

"Well, yeah," John says, shrugging. "But you don't want to be an ugly American. North American. Canadian."

"And you don't need it?" Rodney asks. "I mean, you don't speak Italian."

"I looked it over on the plane," John says. "Go on, take it. Might come in handy."

"Fine," Rodney mutters, shoving it in his pocket. "Didn't I see an ice cream place across the street?"

He doesn't really notice the weight of the book in his pocket, barely remembers it's there, until dinner, when Rodney is simultaneously complaining about the debilitating effects of jet-lag and talking about how glad he is to be away from the incompetent hacks in the SGC instead of stuck there like he usually is during his time back from Pegasus.

"Il tuo ego e' fuori controllo," John says conversationally as the waiter is standing beside them, pen poised to write. The waiter stifles laughter as John adds to him, "E vorrei un bicchiere di birra, per favore."

"Bene, signore, e per l'uomo con l'ego fuori controllo?"

"Wait, what?" Rodney says, reaching for the phrasebook, but John has ordered him some water and the waiter has moved on.

Five minutes later he finds it. The waiter is just setting a bread basket down in front of them, and Rodney automatically grabs a piece and starts chewing on it when his eyes hit upon page 117: Rejections. "My ego is not out of control!" he says through his piece of bread.

"Okay, Rodney," John says, and takes a sip of his beer.

"And I thought you didn't speak Italian," Rodney continues.

"Well, I looked through the phrasebook. It's pretty useful, Rodney, you should try it yourself."

"But everyone speaks English! Including the waiter, even if he was pretending not to so he could flirt with you. Italians are all the same."

"He was just being friendly, Rodney," John says. "Ma sono qui con il mio ragazzo, e lui lo sa."

"Stop it!" Rodney shouts.

"We're in Italy," John points out. "Speaking Italian is kind of normal. For instance: ti posso baciare?"

"I don't like you."

"Penso che stiamo bene insieme, ciccino mio."

"When we get back to Atlantis, you'll be lucky if you ever have hot water again."

"Voglio fare l'amore con te."

"The food had better get here soon," Rodney says, stuffing another piece of bread in his mouth and glaring at the waiter's retreating back.

John just laughs into the night, the sound carrying across the piazza and getting lost in the bells that begin to ring as if on cue.


The food is fantastic, and Rodney is in a better mood by the time they get back to the hotel. John goes to his room to take a shower, and instead of checking his email a fifteenth time to see if the SGC doesn't need his invaluable advice on something regarding the world not exploding, Rodney finds himself sitting on his bed flipping through the phrasebook. The first place he goes is page 117. "'Your ego is out of control. Il tuo ego e' fuori controllo.' Yeah, right," he mutters to himself. His hand moves to the top of the page to flip it over, but something under his fingers catches his eye. "'I'm here with my boyfriend. Sono qui con il mio ragazzo.'" He blinks down at the page for a few seconds before saying, "Wait, what?"

He must have misheard John. Yeah, that had to be it. He flips the page: "'Can I kiss you? Ti posso baciare?' What the hell?" Down the page, it continues. "'Voglio fare l'amore con te,'" he reads. "'I want to make love to you.'"

The words sound strange coming out of his mouth, even to his own ears. Rodney can feel himself turning red, wondering if this was all some kind of joke for the waiter's benefit. He flips to the next page. "'I think we're good together. Penso che stiamo bene insieme.' Huh."

He sits on the bed, staring out the window where the quiet piazza is spread before him, and beyond that, the city.

"Penso che stiamo bene insieme," Rodney repeats to himself. "Penso…"

"Glad to see you're getting some use out of that thing," John says from the doorway. The plush hotel towel is slung low on his hips, but reaches almost to the floor. Rodney wonders vaguely how he doesn't trip on it.

"Yes, well. I was just trying to figure out how to explain that I'm allergic to citrus. These Mediterranean countries are full of dishes that could kill me, you know."

"So what does the phrasebook have to say?" John says, eyes full of laughter.

Rodney flips to the food section, looking for the heading labeled special diets and allergies and then reads out, "'Sono allergico…' Citrus... citrus... How can they not have citrus? They have honey, but they don't have citrus? How is that normal?"

"Agrume, Rodney. Sono allergico all'agrume."

But he is flipping through the back of the book, not looking up as John slowly makes his way to the bed. "It's not even in the dictionary! They have 'toxic waste' but they don't have citrus – what kind of imbecilic phrasebook did you give me, Sheppard?"

"Well," John says reasonably, sitting down next to Rodney on the bed, "More people are allergic to toxic waste than to citrus. That's why they call it toxic." He takes the book out of Rodney's hands, closing it. "Did you learn anything else?"

"I didn't really look at it for that long, Colonel. I was just checking in with the SGC, making sure they haven't done any irreparable damage to any important equipment while I've been away."

"McKay. We're on vacation. I brought you here so you could relax, remember? Elizabeth's orders. And I'm pretty sure I'd have to give back the three hundred bucks from Colonel Carter if I didn't manage to get you out of her hair." He sets the phrasebook down between them on the bed and looks up at Rodney. "So stop thinking about work and tell me, Rodney. What have you learned?"

There was only one phrase that stuck in his mind, and before he can stop himself he blurts it out. "Penso che stiamo bene insieme."

Rodney feels himself going red and wishes violently for the words to go away. But John is smiling, broader and broader until it spreads across his entire face. "The thing about Italian," he says, and Rodney thinks for a second that maybe John has misunderstood, "is that it's hard to be practical in Italian. It's hard to be cautious. When you say something in Italian, you say it with your whole body. You put it out there and you mean it. So try it again, Rodney. But mean it."

This time he looks John in the eye. "Penso che stiamo bene insieme."

"Io anche', ciccino mio," John says, and then grins again. "Would you like to learn some more?"

Rodney reaches for the phrasebook, and John bats his hand away. "Not like that, Rodney," John says, licking his lips. "Try this: te desidero."

He's seen this one in the phrasebook, and so he smiles, because this is so far beyond how he thought this would happen in the insane moments he let himself imagine it. Some alien ritual, he might have believed – he's heard how it happens to SG-1 all the time – but never this. "Te desidero."

"Baciami," John says, voice going rusty.

"Baciami," Rodney repeats, saying it with his whole body, meaning it.

So John complies.

The kiss is delicate, a brush of lips and breath, just enough for Rodney to feel it, but enough for him to feel it everywhere. "Ti piace questo?" John murmurs against his lips, and in reply Rodney presses his mouth against John's, lips parting on a gasp of breath as his hands come up to the warm, damp skin of John's shoulders.

John's tongue dips into his mouth, sliding along his lower lip in a way that makes Rodney's mouth part on a sigh. He tastes faintly of the gelato they ate while walking back to the hotel tonight, sweet and creamy, and it adds one more layer to experience. John pulls back, and Rodney finds himself leaning forward, not wanting to let his lips leave John's mostly because he's sure that he'll start talking, start questioning, and all of this will somehow fall apart.

But John is smiling, and the nervousness – most of it, at least – is disappearing, as it always does, at John's reassuring grin. "Just to be clear," John says, "we're doing this, right?"

"Oh, God, I hope so," Rodney says before he remembers to worry about being suave.

John just laughs. "Then let's do this."

Their mouths come together again, and this time they're both grinning like it's the best joke anyone ever told. John's tongue meets his once again, but it's playful this time, the way Rodney always imagined – when he let himself imagine it – that John would kiss.

They've known each other a long time now, Rodney and John, and the kiss is more like a conversation than anything else, one that both of them understand perfectly. And when the kiss deepens and John bites at Rodney's lower lip, it's punctuation.

John's hands twist in the hem of Rodney's shirt, and Rodney breaks the kiss, helping John pull it up and over his head. Now John's hands are everywhere, stroking over Rodney's back and across his shoulders, pulling him close until their chests are pressed together and all there is is skin. John's teeth worry at Rodney's earlobe, making him writhe. The sensation is only increased when John rasps, "Toccami qui, Rodney," as he guides Rodney's hand beneath the towel around John's waist, which by this point has nearly fallen off.

Rodney groans as he wraps his hand around John's cock, skin like silk on his fingertips. He strokes, not quite able to believe that this is happening, and then John is reciprocating, opening Rodney's fly and reaching one callused hand inside his boxers to match Rodney's rhythm. The room is silent but for the rustle of fabric, their breath, coming harsher and harsher as the pace increases, and the unmistakable sound of hands on flesh.

The breeze picks up through the open French doors of the balcony, billowing the gauzy curtains and cooling the sweat beading on their skin. Rodney shudders as John leans forward and gasps into his mouth, the last traces of the creamy gelato dissolving into the clean, warm taste of sweat and John. The air smells like flowers whose names Rodney never knew, feels heavy and petal-soft against his skin, and when John's thumb brushes over the liquid beading at the head of his cock, it's everything Rodney never let himself want.

He comes, shuddering and gasping something in a language he didn't know he knew. And John is following him, murmuring a litany into the crease of Rodney's neck as he spurts all over Rodney's hand. Then he's pulling Rodney down onto the bed, his tongue finding the sensitive patch of skin under Rodney's ear, and Rodney can't think.

Except he can.

"You did not just study the phrasebook on the plane ride over," he says accusingly when their breathing evens out.

"What makes you say that?" John asks, grinning up at the ceiling.

"Let me think. Oh, that's right. The part where you can speak Italian."

"You really are a genius, aren't you, Rodney?" John laughs. "Yeah, I used to come to Italy on leave when I was stationed in the Balkans. Picked up quite a bit of Italian. I don't get to use it much, though." He turns to Rodney, clearly trying for a straight face. "I take it you didn't mind me practicing with you – just to see how much I remembered, you understand."

"Yes, well. Glad to be of assistance, Sheppard. Just, uh, let me know if you need any more help." He can feel himself flush as Sheppard snickers.

"Oh, I think I probably will. Linguistic skills only improve with practice, don't you think, Rodney?"

"I love Italy," Rodney says, and means it.

Tags: fic:atlantis

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