Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Characters: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay
Summary: The SGC's been looking for John and he's been right under their noses.
Notes: Prostitute!John. Established relationship.
Additional Note: Written for this prompt on comment_fic.
It was freezing this time of year, a thin layer of snow and ice crunching under his shoes as he made his way to his usual corner; his breath puffed out visibly in the chill air and he jammed his bare hands into the pocket of his hoodie, rubbing them together until the pins and needles sensation finally ebbed.
Christ, what he wouldn't give to be in his shitty apartment right now instead of trawling for his next John. (Or Jane. He was an equal opportunity whore.) But rent was due and utilities were due and his pimp was due and somehow he had to make enough to pay them all plus buy whatever food he could for the next week.
“Like it matters,” he muttered as he set himself up in the shadows of the streetlight, “enough twinks around, no one wants to older guy,” and the cops waved at him as they drove by—John'd been at that corner for so long, they'd stopped dragging him down to the station. Which was kind of a pain in the ass during winter because honestly, he could use the shitty meal they give in the jailhouse during 24 hour holds.
He sighed and settled into wait, eyes watching while his mind wandered into budget territory. It was something that he'd nearly worked out—he'd short the electric bill so they'd leave the power on until someone in accounting noticed the difference and turned it off, a scheme he'd done before, and that way he'd still have heat for the moment—when a car rolled to a stop in front of him.
A familiar car.
Thank fucking God.
“Rodney. You're a sight for sore eyes,” John grinned at him, shifting into the lost boy pose that somehow always got the guy to agree to just about anything. He was instantly waved into the car and practically leapt into the front seat, thrusting his hands under the heater vents as soon as the door was closed.
“I bet I am. Where the hell is your jacket? Are you trying to freeze to death?”
John truly had a fondness for Rodney: of all his Johns, one-time and regular, Rodney was the only one who treated him like an actual human being. No jokes at his expense, no belittling him, and it almost always felt like some sort of date when Rodney came around rather than a business transaction. After all, Rodney fed him as well as paid him and tended to overpay as well.
And he loved the banter they shared, as if they were good friends.
“Priorities: clothes are less important than heat.”
His mouth twisting into a frown, Rodney muttered, “Still think you have a death wish.”
“Oh, that's a given. So where to today? Park for a nice nighttime car romp or the motel?”
“Let's see, the park where we got caught by local PD or the bedbug infested motel that I told you last time I would never go to again?” he rolled his eyes for added effect. “Right. We're going to my place.”
“Awesome. I'll finally get to meet Harry.”
“Yeah, yeah, keep wanting to meet the cat. Don't pick him up—he hates it and he'll bite and he's rabies vaccinated, but I don't know where you've been.”
It was John's turn to roll his eyes. “I've had all my shots, I swear. And I showered this morning.”
Rodney 'hrumphed' at him; he turned into the apartment complex's lot and parked neatly, turning around to grab a bag from his backseat before keying off the ignition and shooing John out. “This way. Unit twelve,” he directed, gaining on John's long strides until he was in the lead and opening the door.
Harry appeared instantaneously in the foyer, twining around Rodney's ankles in a beg for dinner; John smirked as Rodney cooed at his pet, chatting with Harry as if he'd answer all the way into the kitchen where a clatter of noise started: cans opening, plates meeting the countertop, the microwave starting.
“You can go in the living room, you know. It'd be kind of weird to fuck against the front door.”
John snorted. “Not the kinkiest thing I'd have done.” (That honor belonged to a sassy blonde woman he hadn't seen in months.)
“Would you go sit on the couch, you pain in the ass,” Rodney grumbled, “I wanted to talk to you first anyway.”
“Yes, talk.” Rodney appeared in the archway between hallway and kitchen, retracing his steps to John then dragging the other man along until John was being shoved onto the couch. “Stay here,” he ordered after that, going back for the bag he'd taken from his car and returning to settle down onto the edge of the cluttered coffeetable.
The bag shifted and something pressed against the fabric, round and long.
Okay, John could deal with this—toys weren't something he particularly enjoyed, but he'd told Rodney in the past that for a few bucks extra he'd be willing to get a little adventurous—and he relaxed into the cushions. He was definitely going to be making all his bills now, if still probably going to go short on meals.
Harry leapt up onto the couch, curling into John's lap, and he absently petted the cat while he told Rodney, “Tack fifty bucks on and we have a deal.”
“You don't even know what's in here!”
“Rodney, come on,” he smirked, “I'm a hooker. I know exactly what you're going to pull out of that bag.”
“What, you have x-ray vision?”
John answered, “Again, hooker here. It's not like you're going to pull a textbook out of there and ask me to help solve a Millenium Problem.”
“No, smartass,” Rodney muttered, “I'm asking you to solve something greater than a Millenium Problem,” and reached into the bag to draw out a device in pieces that he assembled with ease. John instantly recognized it as something he'd seen in Rodney's car weeks ago, and cocked his head to the side as Rodney demanded, “Touch it.”
“If this thing does what I think it'll do, I'll give you a hundred.”
His fingertips were ghosting over the cool metal before John could think about it and then he was gripping it, holding it while thinking, What am I getting myself into?; the thing lit up along the sides, let out a soft alert kind of noise, before a screen began to glow on the front.
Dots popped up on the front, two white and one blue, which he quickly showed to Rodney who smiled sadly as he took the unit back.
“Your name isn't Patrick. Well, it is, but your first name is really John. John Patrick Sheppard. You were an Air Force Major until an incident in Afghanistan led to your court martial...”
The hairs on John's neck rose up and he swallowed tightly. “Rodney...”
“Just let me finish.” Rodney twisted the unit in his hands. “Some soldiers have fingerprint and DNA on file and the program I work for has been running all of it through a particular database, looking for people who fit a certain... criteria. We discovered your fit two days after your discharge, but by then you'd already disappeared. We've been looking for you ever since.
“And you've been right here, under our noses the whole time,” Rodney closed his eyes as he spoke the last bit, an etch of guilt on his face. “Three miles from Cheyenne...”
John was still tense, his muscles aching from the intensity when he heard Cheyenne mentioned because there was not a soul around who didn't know that Cheyenne Mountain was a hot bed of government research and development. Everyone saw the trucks that regularly entered and exited the compound, the entirely too serious man who came to town in hot weather and cold with a beanie on his head.
“You've been looking for me?”
“Well, not me alone and not me primarily, but we have. John, you have something that we need. Desperately,” he said, “I... Let me show you why we've been looking for you. Please.”