Word Count: 2,707
Rating: NC-17/sex and angst, what a combination!
Notes: For calcitrix, who bought me in a charity auction to help the victims of the Queensland flooding. She wanted 'the moment they realised it wasn't casual any more.' Hope this works for you :)
This story has been translated into Russian by 4ip4irgan. Read it here!
Evan likes David Parrish the first time they meet. The man’s a scientist, an excitable one at that, and he talks about plants more than anyone has a right to do, but when he literally trips over a dead Wraith offworld he’s cool and competent and doesn’t question Evan’s decisions. In short, he’s the perfect civilian.
It takes him a little longer to realize that Parrish is the kind of guy that makes a good friend as well as a good offworld scientist. Yeah, he still talks about plants all the time, but he’s got a wicked sense of humor, sharp and sarcastic, and he likes art and can discuss literature and thinks that British comedy is hilarious. Evan likes him enough to ask him to join AR-2 a month after they lose Ford on that planet, and then Parrish starts coming to team nights and he thinks movies with explosions and car chases are awesome, and it’s during one of those get-togethers that Evan first notices that Parrish is kind of beautiful.
He’s not – well, okay, he is, sort of, and Evan confuses himself about it for a long time. Parrish’s face is thin enough to be a little hollow-looking, and his nose is a little long, but his hair fits his face perfectly and his eyes almost shine out of his face. And his mouth, oh, his mouth; Evan finds himself sketching it, again and again, lips smiling or pursed or open in mid-sentence, and nobody who’s not him would know whose lips they are, but he makes sure to hide that sketchbook anyway.
They’re in Greenhouse Three one day, a week or so after Caldwell-the-Goa’uld is found out and taken care of, and that’s when Parrish tells him, and Evan’s so surprised that he blurts out, “Wait, what?”
“I’m gay,” Parrish repeats, pausing with his gloved hands twisted in the vines of some sort of dangling plant. “That’s not a problem, is it? I didn’t take you for someone who’d have an issue with homosexuality.”
“No,” Evan replies. “No, it’s not a problem at all. It’s just – I wasn’t – I didn’t think you were.”
“Well, now you know,” Parrish says diplomatically, and he goes back to twisting the vines in his hands, as if it were that simple.
And it is, Evan thinks, that’s the thing of it; for Parrish, it’s as easy as saying it and forgetting about it, but it haunts Evan for days, those lips saying those words, and all he can think about for almost a week is Parrish kissing him, smirking at him in an entirely different way, using those long fingers to drive Evan insane until he’s gasping and moaning, and if things get a little strained between Evan and Parrish in that time, well. Nobody really notices.
Or so he thinks, until Parrish corners him one night as he’s leaving the mess hall, a look on his face that Evan’s never seen before. “Major,” he says crisply. “Might I have a word with you?”
“Sure thing, Doc,” he replies easily, following the taller man out of the room. They walk in silence until they’re in Greenhouse Five, not the same one that Parrish had made his confession in the other day, and Evan notices that they’re alone as Parrish turns to him.
“I thought it wasn’t a problem,” he says, crossing his arms over his chest and looking visibly wounded.
“It’s not,” Evan says automatically, frowning. “I said it wasn’t, and it isn’t. Why would you think otherwise?”
“You’ve been avoiding me,” Parrish says. “You won’t stand next to me, when I sat next to you at the last movie night you got up and moved-”
“Doc,” Evan cuts in with a wince. It’s all true; he just hadn’t realized that Parrish had noticed it. “Look, Doc, I’m sorry, okay? I – it’s not what you’re thinking.”
Parrish juts his chin out. “Oh really?”
“Really really,” Evan replies, considering his options carefully before deciding. “Look, Doc – David. You’re – you can tell anyone anything you want, and that’s great and I appreciate that you told me. It’s just that sometimes-”
“Oh,” Parrish cuts him off, eyes wide. “Oh, I think – I understand, Major.”
“Evan,” he supplies, and Parrish, who has never called him by anything but his rank, smiles and says, “Evan.”
And then it’s just good to have someone on Atlantis who knows, someone that Evan can vent to and not have to censor himself, someone who understands why he tenses at some of Reed’s jokes or objects to some of Coughlin’s outrageous stories.
The first time they fall into bed together is pretty much a product of circumstance. Evan’s thought about it before, sure – God, has he thought about it – but it’s pretty much been a means to an end, someone he feels a little safe thinking about when he’s jerking off in the shower alone, because if he stares for a second too long at David in the showers he knows the other man doesn’t mind. Sleeping with him, though, it’s nothing like Evan had vaguely thought it would be. It’s after a mission, after Sheppard is captured by Kolya and tortured and fed upon by a Wraith, after Kolya gets away and Sheppard makes them let the Wraith go, and when he gets back to his quarters David’s lounging on the couch with a movie in the laptop, absently watching as a building collapses on the small screen.
“That’s one way to put it,” Evan grunts, walking past him into the bathroom. He needs a hot shower, possibly two, and he needs it now.
He’s under the water for twenty minutes before the door to the bathroom opens. It’s quickly followed by the door to the shower doing the same, and then David’s in the stall with him, David’s leaning him against the wall and kissing him with lots of tongue, David’s running cool fingers over Evan’s dripping wet skin.
“Relax,” David almost purrs against his skin, voice lower than Evan’s ever heard, and he tilts his head to nip his way down Evan’s neck and Evan just settles his hands on David’s hips and lets David do whatever it is he’s doing. It’s good, slow and easy, the heat building gradually until David’s hand finally closes around Evan’s cock and he jerks his wrist over and over again. Evan comes with a gasp, the water still pouring down over them, and when he reaches forward to wrap his hand around David the other man’s hand is already there, and he comes as Evan’s fingers close around his.
“Movie?” David asks against Evan’s forehead a minute or so later, and Evan laughs.
“Got this a little backwards, I think,” he teases, but he reaches around their bodies and shuts the water off, and when they’re dry and in clean clothes Evan puts a movie in the laptop without even checking which one it is first, and he’s asleep before the previews are over.
It becomes a sort of a semi-regular thing. When one of them has a bad day, or when a mission goes wrong, or when one of them just needs it, they find themselves stripping out of their clothing, touching just to touch, to feel. There’s a distinct easy way about it, knowing that there’s going to be somewhere to go and someone who isn’t going to ask questions, who isn’t going to make any demands. It’s almost simple, the casual sort of not-relationship they’ve got, and Evan’s pretty sure that life is good.
And then they lose Carson and they lose Elizabeth and everything gets a little more frantic. Evan finds himself seeking David out more and more often, needing the contact and the familiarity. He stops by the greenhouses just to hear David talking about plants, he looks for David in the mess hall and the gym, he searches David’s eyes out in a science briefing and just holds his gaze for a few seconds, smiling. It’s during that time, the transition from Elizabeth being in charge to having Carter there, that Evan wakes up for the third morning in a row with David in his arms and it hits him.
“Evan,” David murmurs, half-question and half-soothing, like he can tell that something is going through Evan’s mind but isn’t sure what it is. “What’s up?”
“This,” Evan breathes, feeling like he missed something important, feeling like it doesn’t matter, a little confused as to which is more true. “You, you’re here.”
“I’m here,” David affirms quietly, a lopsided little smile on his face, and Evan has to lean in and brush his lips against David’s. It’s no more than the barest of touches, and David smiles against his lips and tugs him back down into bed.
“Sleep a little more,” David tells him, so Evan does.
They eventually have to wake up and get ready for the day and go about their business, and it’s midday before it hits Evan again, that they hadn’t even had sex last night, that David had simply come over and changed into the loose sweats and tee that had somehow migrated into Evan’s quarters, that they’d just gotten into bed and curled into each other and held on as they slept, nothing more than a kiss goodnight exchanged before their eyes had closed. Evan’s not sure what he’s supposed to be feeling, honestly, because there’s some outside part of him that’s telling him to freak out, to push back and get away, but he doesn’t want to do any of that.
“I did some thinking today,” Evan says when David walks in that night. David stops what he’s doing, just freezes in the middle of taking his jacket off, and it would be kind of funny if it wasn’t accompanied by the look on David’s face, somewhere between horror and resignation. He regains his composure before Evan can do or say anything, and he pulls his jacket back on slowly as he stares across the room.
“I’ll go, then,” David says quietly, and Evan has no idea where this is coming from, but he manages to get out, “No, David, what-” as David stumbles to the door, and Evan closes his eyes and begs Atlantis desperately, don’t let him go, keep him here, please and she might like Sheppard better but she listens anyway and the door stays shut as David swipes him palm over the crystal. Evan hurries to David’s side and takes his hand.
“David,” he says gently, “please,” and Evan doesn’t know if it’s the words or the tone that make David turn and look at him, but it’s progress.
“I know you weren’t looking for anything like this,” David says haltingly, and his expressive face is pained, pinched. “Everything was just – and then I went and got attached.” He gives an ineloquent snort, and Evan doesn’t know what he’s supposed to say to that, how he should respond. “I’m sorry,” David adds, and Evan doesn’t want that, not at all.
“David,” he says firmly, and David finally, finally looks him in the eyes. Evan reaches up, can’t help himself, and rests his hand against the back of David’s neck, pulling him down so he can touch their lips together gently, then again with more pressure, and again, and again.
“It wasn’t bad thinking,” he finally says against David’s mouth when he pulls back to give them a chance to breathe. “I wasn’t expecting anything like this, no, but I’m not upset.”
David still looks unsure. “You don’t want me to go?”
There’s a part of Evan that wants to find whoever hurt David and cause him serious physical harm, but he firmly puts the thought away as he holds David’s face in his hands. “I don’t want you to go,” he replies quietly, kissing the tip of David’s nose. “I really, really don’t want you to go.”
Evan can see David relax, can see the relief in his smile and in the line of his shoulders, suddenly much less tense. “I don’t want to go, either,” he says, and then his hands are on Evan’s hips and his mouth is on Evan’s, and Evan can tell that they’re both pouring heart and soul and everything into the kiss. It’s filled with too much, so much, and Evan doesn’t know how to even begin sorting through the emotion, so he kisses David again and again until their mouths gentle, lips barely touching.
Evan doesn’t say a word as he takes a step backwards, taking David by the hand. They walk slowly to the bed, soft and sure, and they’ve stripped in front of each other plenty of times but this time, this time it’s different. Evan pushes David’s jacket from his shoulders and runs his hands over David’s arms; David smoothes his palms over Evan’s stomach and chest as he slowly pulls Evan’s shirt up and over his head. Evan trails openmouthed kisses across David’s chest as he opens his belt and pants and pushes them towards the floor; David’s fingers skim Evan’s thighs, his ass, as he pulls down Evan’s boxers.
Then they’re finally naked and on the bed, and it’s not like the rest of the times they’ve been together. There’s nothing rushed about it, nothing that feels like this is just a means to an end, nothing like that at all. Evan kisses David again and again, lips parting and tongues sliding together, and he doesn’t immediately grab for the drawer in the bedstand. He takes time, instead, to trace his way down David’s body, to follow his fingers with his mouth, to explore the way he’s only just realizing he’s sort of always wanted to do.
Finally, finally, it feels like Evan knows every inch of David’s body, and he pulls his lips back from David’s to see the slightly stunned look in the botanist’s eyes. “Can I-” David breathes, fingers tracing the air over Evan’s cheek, and Evan flips them so David’s settled on top of his body, long legs bracketing Evan’s thighs. His fingers land softly on Evan’s cheek, a gossamer touch, and he draws them along Evan’s cheekbones, down his jaw, across the planes of his torso. His eyes follow his fingers, as if he’s memorizing feel and sight, and Evan has to fight not to hold his breath as he watches David move. David’s studying him like he would one of his plants, and the thought should be ridiculous but it makes Evan feel warm, like he’s something special in David’s eyes, something worth the time and effort. When David finishes, sliding his fingers from the tip of Evan’s other cheekbone, there’s something hanging in the air between them, something raw and as naked as they are and sort of beautiful, something that Evan doesn’t think either one of them has a name for.
“Evan,” David says finally, and Evan leans up and kisses him and kisses him.
Everything is slow and almost tender, Evan’s fingers moving in and out of David’s body until David’s trembling beneath him, Evan moving so he can push inside gently, both men moving together, rocking their bodies. Evan leans in to catch David’s mouth with his own, and when he comes he moans David’s name, and when David follows all that falls from his lips is Evan, Evan, Evan, and Evan finally, finally understands what they mean when they say make love.
“Stay,” Evan says against David’s chest when he feels the other man move beneath him. His hand tightens a little on David’s hip.
“I’m just going to clean up,” David replies quietly, fingers moving at the nape of Evan’s neck.
“Just a few minutes,” Evan asks, because he’s suddenly afraid that once David gets up, some sort of spell is going to be broken and this will never have happened, this something he’s right on the edge of is going to slip away.
But David runs his fingers through Evan’s short hair and tangles the fingers of his other hand with Evan’s, right there on his hip, and Evan feels himself tip over the edge into that something and fall, gloriously free, as he listens to David’s heart beat right in his ear.