Word count: 1,091
Rating/warnings: R/slash, language
Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate: Atlantis.
Summary: Part of the Virus'verse. Set at the end of The Space Between. Read those first or this will make no sense.
Evan was sitting at his desk, staring at the screen on his laptop, idly watching the screensaver twist colorful shapes, bouncing as it hit the edges, turning and going in a new direction. It had been a spectacularly bad day, even for them, and he didn’t want to face going to bed, not yet. Evan knew that when he closed his eyes, he would see Ford’s face, hear him asking for the retrovirus, watch him writhe and hear the screams as the drug worked through his system –
Evan clenched his fists against the memories, wondering if he could stop them if he tried hard enough, if it was even fair to Ford’s memory to attempt it.
His door opened, not slowly, not softly, and Evan knew before he turned around that it would be John. Anyone else would have knocked; anyone else would have left him alone tonight. John had no such compunctions. Neither knocking nor staying away would have occurred to him even on a normal day.
And John was the only person that Evan would want to see tonight, even needed to see. He had known that John would come tonight, knew that John needed to see him too.
He stood and walked to John, and they stood like that for a few long minutes. Evan stayed still as John trembled, clenching and unclenching his fists as he breathed shallowly, in and out faster than normal. He kept his eyes open, and Evan met his stare, suddenly needing to look back just as intently.
John’s hands reached out and pulled Evan to him, one around his waist and the other tilting his head back. He met the kiss frantically, and there was no grace or finesse or caring about either, because that wasn’t what this was about. This was about contact and reassurance and forgetting, even for a little while.
They pressed into each other tightly, as if trying to occupy the same space, before John pulled back completely. His hands dangled at his sides, and Evan could read his face – read the doubt that was starting to build, see the hesitation, the idea that maybe he should run. Evan reached out and firmly, gently, pulled John back to his body, kissing him again. John relaxed fractionally, but enough to let Evan know that he would stay.
They moved automatically, as if they’d done this before, been doing this for years, to the bed, pulling at clothing and running hands over arms, hips, chests, until they were laying together, still close, neither wanting to let go in the slightest. There were no words as John pulled Evan on top of him, as Evan moved above him, as they both shuddered and gasped, as they rolled apart and back together.
Evan pulled John in close, after, cradling his friend’s head on his chest. John had his eyes closed, but Evan knew he was still awake, that John was actively resisting sleep. John moved against him, trying weakly to pull back, but Evan held tight. He moved one hand up and down John’s back and closed his eyes as he felt John’s shuddering, almost-silent sobs, felt the hot tears trace down his chest. His own threatened to join John’s, but he held them back, if barely. John was fragile enough right now on his own. He didn’t need Evan adding to the complexity.
Time lost all meaning as they laid on the bed. Evan only knew that it was much later when John finally spoke. “I don’t know…”
“I do,” Evan said a minute later, when it became clear that John wasn’t going to fill in the blank. “You knew we’d lose people, John.”
“He was a kid,” John protested hoarsely. “When I said people, I meant me.”
“I know,” Evan said, and even though it was true – he had known – it still hurt him to think that his friend truly believed he would die in this fight. “It was his choice, John.”
John’s laugh was harsh, bitter. “Some fucking choice,” he spat, and Evan felt almost compelled to agree with him but refrained. “Live as a Wraith or die. I know which way I’d go.”
Evan’s hand found the scar on John’s chest and held his palm over the thin line, knowing that beneath would be thin blue lines radiating away from the cut mark. “You won’t have to make that choice.”
John was silent for a moment before replying. “Doesn’t change anything.”
Evan sighed and pulled his hand back. “No,” he replied. “It doesn’t.”
Another long stretch of silence followed before Evan broke it. “You need to stop blaming yourself.”
“No,” was the immediate reply. “I don’t.”
I won’t, Evan heard, and he sighed. “It was his choice.”
“I keep thinking, you know, what if it had been me guarding Ellia that night? I’d only just switched off guard duty. If she’d done it an hour earlier, even half an hour-”
“You can’t blame yourself for the timing,” Evan said, surprised. “You had absolutely no control over Ellia, John. There’s a lot you’re not taking into consideration here.”
“In the end, though, it’s simple,” John said, and there it was. John firmly believed that everything could be boiled down into black and white, no shades of gray, and his complex method of simplification only ever left him haunted. “He was here because of me, she was here because of me. They’re both dead.”
“He was here because he believed that what we’re doing in Atlantis is worthwhile,” Evan contradicted softly. “She was here because she thought we could help her. Neither of those things means you have the right to blame yourself.”
The silence stretched out again. John broke it this time.
“I’m glad it wasn’t you.”
“It couldn’t have been me, John.”
“That’s all I kept thinking the whole time. That it was bad, really bad, but if it had been you there instead of Ford, I would have-”
“John,” Evan said firmly. “It wasn’t me. It will never be me. I can’t be turned. And I’m more careful than that.”
“I know,” John said against his chest. “But I keep thinking it anyway.”
“Look at me,” Evan said, tugging at John’s chin. “Look at me, John.” He waited until John’s eyes rose to his face. “I’m still here. I’m fine. You’re fine. We’re okay.”
“For now,” John said, settling his face back against Evan’s chest.
Evan wrapped his arm back around John. “For now,” he agreed, and the silence lasted until the morning, though neither one slept.