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18 June 2007 @ 05:35 pm
Stateless (House/SGA, Sheppard/Wilson)  
Title: Stateless
Fandom: House/Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: Sheppard/Wilson
Word count: 3,010
Rating: NC-17
Summary: John runs into the guy across the hall, and things just snowball from there.
Notes: This is savemoony's birthday present, with extra value-add because it's early. (Hopefully.) Many, many thanks to zulu and bironic for pulling my head out of my ass on numerous, numerous occasions. Not part of the Mathletes-verse. At all. Takes place in the summer between House S2 and S3.


It's on the third day John's been in Princeton, trying not to let that itch under his skin (the one he always feels on Earth these days) get the better of him, when he accidentally runs into the guy from across the hall. It's not a full-on disaster, just a jar, shoulder meeting shoulder, as John's coming out of the elevators, but the other guy barely manages to keep his coffee from spilling.

"Oh, hey," John says. "Sorry." He's just come back from his morning run, and even though it's cool for a summer morning, he's still sweating pretty badly, probably dripped a little on the other guy. The run was good, though, a way to get rid of some of the extra tension that's been kicking around his system. Princeton's quiet in the morning, different from Atlantis-quiet, and John's not quite used to that yet, but it has nice parks, lush and green. It's soothing, in its own way.

The other guy smiles and shrugs. "It's okay." He's dressed in a suit, carrying a briefcase, so probably a business trip, not vacation. John takes in the nice hair, the nice smile. He's likable. And not in the way John's likable, all fake smiles and distant friendliness. This is upfront, in-your-face likability. The guy sticks out a hand after some quick, awkward juggling of the briefcase and coffee and says, "James Wilson. You live across the hall, don't you?" like he's introducing himself to his neighbors or something.

John shakes it and smiles back. "John Sheppard. Yeah, I do. Just for the next week or so, though." Then it's back to Colorado, back to Atlantis. At this point, he's just counting the days.

"That's nice," James says, before taking a look at his watch. "Crap. I really have to get to work." He gets in the elevator John just left and waves a goodbye as the doors close.

John's not entirely sure what to make of it, and he doesn't try.

---

He doesn't really think about it again until there's a knock on his door that night. James is on his doorstep, his tie loose around his neck, his entire body sagging, sheepish smile on his face.

"This is going to sound a little presumptuous," he says, "but do you want to get a drink?"

John considers saying no, but he doesn't have anything better to do, and besides, Rodney's off to dinner with the other geeks. "Sure," he says. "Yeah."

A real smile breaks out across James' face, warmer, full of teeth. John thinks he likes it better than the sheepish one.

---

James knows the area pretty well, so he takes them to a nice, quiet place, away from the college crowd, and drops them off at the bar. It's dark inside, smoky, and the loudest, most distinct sound is the rumble of the air conditioning over the hum of voices. The bartender pours something for James once he sees him and raises an eyebrow at John, clearly asking a question.

"I'll have what he's having," John says, smiling half-heartedly at the guy, and James doesn't seem to notice at all. When John shifts in his seat to get comfortable, their shoulders brush.

They drink in silence for the first few moments, but then James says, "Sorry for dragging you here. It's just that I don't feel liking drinking alone. You know what I mean?" He tosses back the rest of his tumbler and winces.

"Yeah," John says, because he does know. He hasn't considered it himself. He's not quite there yet, but he knows that gut-level feeling of just needing someone to be there. John hates that feeling.

"Why are you in town?" James asks, switching conversation topics. He rubs his face with a hand, like he can wipe the exhaustion away that easily.

John shrugs. "On leave. A friend of mine is presenting at a conference at the university. Figured I'd tag along. It's not that interesting." Being in Princeton is boring as all hell, and Rodney's physics stuff is pretty boring, too, but it beats being stuck in Colorado with only the SGC to entertain him.

That gets a vague, disinterested nod from James. "I actually work at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital," he says. "I live here." He sounds like he almost doesn't believe it, like he needs to say it out loud to make it true.

"Between houses then?" John asks, because he kind of actually wants to know why someone would be living in a hotel if they didn't have to, why they wouldn't want a place to call their own. Though John would have to admit that he didn't fully understand the appeal until recently, himself.

James actually snorts then. "I guess that's one way of putting it." He sighs and waves the bartender over to refill his glass. "I just got divorced," he says. "I just haven't found a new place yet."

"Those are always tough," John says, and it's hard not to remember the last time he saw Megan, just outside the courtroom, talking to her lawyer, looking away so she wouldn't have to meet his eyes. "Went through one a while back."

James somehow manages to look even more exhausted than before. "I was staying with a friend for a while, but that didn't quite work out."

John's always been fairly content to have people talk at him rather than to him in moments like this. It means that he can simply sit back and listen, not get involved in any way. He nods, just enough to keep himself in the conversation. James isn't quite looking at him, now, preferring to stare at the rows of beer bottles above the bartender's head.

"This is my third divorce," James says. "Third." He's so clearly miserable that John, who doesn't touch people as a rule, wants to pat his shoulder, rub his arm, heck, maybe violate ten pages of the guy code and give him a hug. He settles on the pat, and he can feel the warmth of James' skin through the soft cotton of his shirt.

"Hey," John says. "Hey." He almost wants to say something nice. Encouraging. Just like pulling one of his guys from out of one of their moods. But he doesn't know this guy at all, really, doesn't know what's going on in his head when he's saying this stuff.

"Sorry," James says, shifting away, leaving John's hand resting against empty air. "I'm dumping a lot on you. Sorry." He rubs his face again, and John can see the bags under his eyes in the dim light, the way they make his big eyes seem bigger.

"It's okay," John says, shrugging, and it really is. "I grew up on military bases, moving from place to place." He pauses, looking for the words. It's not something he tells most people, or even anyone really, but he thinks, yeah, he can give this to James. "It's really easy to feel--" A wave of his hand, because he can't find the right words.

James is looking at him now, really looking. There's something ridiculously boyish about his face. "Disconnected?" he asks.

"Yeah," John says, because he thinks James gets it. Something in him unwinds. "Yeah."

---

It's raining when they leave, and while John only feels mildly buzzed, he wouldn't trust himself with a puddlejumper at the moment, much less a car. James doesn't look that much better off.

The rain's not coming down that hard, and it's still warm outside, still humid, and John looks up, trying to find the stars (home), but it's just blackness, the sky covered over by clouds.

They get a cab together, painted black with white stripes along the sides, not yellow, and they sit together in the backseat, their knees touching. John finds himself staring out the window, the lights distorted by droplets lingering on the glass, even as James stares out his own window, lost in thought, and a silence permeates the car, even as jazz pipes softly from the radio.

It's the most alien Earth has felt in a while, distant and strange.

---

When they get back to their rooms, James says, "You want to..." with a nod, and it's odd, because John didn't know he was waiting all night for James to ask until James does.

"Sure," John says, walking across the hall, pushing his way into James' room. "Yeah."

---

James kisses like he knows what he's doing, all confidence and experience, not pushy or anything like that, just assured, and it makes it easy for John to lean into it, slide a hand around James' neck, holding them close. James' hair is soft under his fingers, his skin smooth and warm.

It's not like the anonymous, back-alley fucks John's used to with guys, more like the girls he takes back to his room with him, weirdly gentle, and he's almost afraid to go any faster because he thinks that, at this point, James is close to breaking, and John doesn't want to be the one who does that to him.

James' lips are on his neck now, nipping gently at the underside of John's jaw, making their way down to John's collarbone. It feels real, feels warm, and John didn't realize how much he needs this right now, just needs to reach out and touch someone else, feel another person's skin against his own.

James slides his fingers under John's t-shirt -- more warmth, more heat -- and John hisses, behind his teeth. Yeah, like that, he wants to say, but no words come out. He's never been one for talking during sex, but he needs more than this, more than the silence that's followed them out of the car, that's been haunting his own hotel room for days.

"Hey," he says. "Hey." James looks at him with those dark eyes, and here, he's nothing like the guy in the bar, empty and confused. Here, he's pushing John toward the bed, pulling John's shirt over his head, undoing the buttons of John's fly.

They tumble into bed together like that, and James smells like bar and dried sweat with a tinge of that anti-septic hospital tang. John licks the hollow of James' collarbone, pulls at the buttons of James' shirt, revealing soft, pale skin. There's a place at the knobs of James' hips where he groans when John bites at it, deep and real, and the sound goes straight to John's cock.

He needs this, he realizes suddenly, needs the sounds of James' breathy pants, the taste of sweat, the coiling want at the pit of his stomach. It's been too long and not long enough, and John needs. Not like he needs the air and the sky and the rush of being up there (out there), but it's close enough, close enough that he doesn't hesitate as he wraps his lips around James' dick, feeling its weight on his tongue.

It's good, better than good, it's great, and John pushes down further, takes him in deeper until it's pushing against his throat, so he can only barely breathe. "Yeah," James says, the first thing he's said since this whole thing started, and his fingers tangle in John's hair, tugging lightly, but not grabbing, not pulling.

"More," James says, breathless, just a little desperate, and John likes the way it sounds so he sucks harder, goes deeper, as deep as he's learned how, so deep all he can feel is James' cock in his mouth, all he can hear are the desperate sounds James is making at the back of his throat, and all he can see is the darkness behind his eyelids. It's where he needs to be, that perfect clarity, that perfect now.

He pulls off, wrapping his hand around James' dick, muttering, "Yeah, yeah. Come on," before James comes with a strangled moan, a convulsion of his entire body.

Afterward, John kisses James again, more sloppy this time, and whispers, "Can I fuck you?" against James' mouth, and drinks in the way James says, "Yeah," all wide, dilated eyes, and that's fucking hot, to see him pulled apart like this in front of him, open and wanting.

There's some awkwardness with the lube, but they figure it out, and when John has his fingers inside, he has to say, "Fuck, you're tight," and James says, "It's been a while," with that fucking smile, like he's apologizing for it.

John doesn't say anything about that, though, just rolls on a condom and slides in, and lets everything else slide out, finding that place again, his world narrowed to the feel of James' body against his, and the itch isn't scratched, not really, but it's pushed back, pushed away from this moment. John presses his lips against James' neck, breathes in the scents meticulously cleaned sheets, salt that's nothing like the sea, the aftershave that no one wears anymore.

It's heat, and it's want, and it's need, and it's so mixed up in John's head, but he's beyond caring, beyond thinking about it.

When he comes, he's got his eyes squeezed shut so tightly he sees lights, like stars in a clear night sky.

When he falls asleep, all he sees is blackness, but that night he dreams of rippling blue surfaces, like the morning sun on the ocean, like the gate as it's about to take him home.

---

He wakes to an alarm clock and the shifting of the mattress as James rolls out of bed.

"Shit," James says. "Work."

John doesn't really move, but he does hear the shower coming on. He closes his eyes and rubs his forehead for a few moments before dragging his own body out of bed, standing up and stretching. He feels better, lighter -- not quite good, not quite right, but closer than he was before.

"Hey," James says from the bathroom door, towel wrapped around his waist. John doesn't want to let his gaze linger over the curve of James' stomach, the line of hair down James' chest, but he can't quite help himself. "Um," James continues, shifting from foot to foot  "I'm really bad at these things, but..."

He's looking sheepish, apologetic, and John comes to sickening realization that he's getting kicked out. John's not entirely sure why (it's not like he cares or anything like that), but it feels a little like getting punched in the face. Except worse, because he can't punch back. He smiles, though, and shrugs. "Yeah," he says. "Sure."

He pulls on his clothes, rumpled and still slightly wet and hanging uncomfortably off his skin, and heads back to his own room. It's too quiet, again. The silence is almost too much, so he takes a shower, filling his ears with the sound of running water. The itch is back again.

"Six more days," he mutters to himself. "Six more days."

---

The next day, he watches McKay present some of the declassified research they've been doing on Atlantis at the university. The material is over his head, but the sight of Rodney tearing into frightened physics students (and sometimes professors) during the Q&A is enough to entertain him for days.

He doesn't run into James in the mornings anymore, literally or otherwise, but that's okay, John thinks. That's fine.

---

On Saturday, two days before they go back home, there's a guy outside James' door when John's coming back from a morning run. He's also dressed in t-shirt and running shorts, his hair curling slightly from drying sweat. The guy glances at John once and dismisses him, turning his attention back to James' door.

"Wilson!" the guy yells. "You can get your beauty sleep later!"

John knows he shouldn't stick around, shouldn't eavesdrop on other people's conversations, but he finds himself lingering, walking slower than usual, taking longer to get the key out of his pocket. John's generally had a pretty well-developed lack of curiosity most his life, but there are some things even he has trouble turning away from when they're dangled in front of him.

The door opens behind him, and he glances over his shoulder, watching as James puts his hands on his hips, standing in the doorway with an irritated expression on his face. "House, what are you doing here?" And okay, so maybe John hasn't known him that long, but there's something in his voice John hasn't heard before, and John just wants to get away as fast as he can. He opens his hotel room door quickly after that, letting it slam shut behind him.

When he jerks off in the shower, he imagines James on his knees, sucking John's cock, and when he comes, it feels strangely hollow.

---

Later that day, John drags Rodney out of his native habitat (the cool glow of the computer screen in his own hotel room), forcing him outdoors to get some sunshine. It's the weekend, so the park they end up in is somewhat populated with people out to enjoy the summer weather. Rodney scowls the entire time.

"Entertain me," John says, grinning, because he knows exactly what he's doing, knows exactly what he's in for.

"Yes, yes. Because I have nothing better to do with my time than keeping Air Force colonels in a constant state of amusement. What do I look like, a television?" Rodney rolls his eyes before he launches into a tirade against John's attention span (too short), his intelligence (too low), his hobbies (shooting things), and his sport of choice (football). John doesn't really mind the verbal abuse. It's Rodney. It's familiar in a way that Princeton will never be.

He closes his eyes, and under the rise and fall of Rodney's voice, he can almost hear the the sound of waves on an endless sea.


FIN.
 
 
 
pensavemoony on June 18th, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)
oooh my god. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. it's so perfect.
thedeadparrot: shepthedeadparrot on June 19th, 2007 11:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so thrilled you like it! It's for you, after all. :)
(Deleted comment)
thedeadparrot: wilsonthedeadparrot on June 19th, 2007 11:50 am (UTC)
Thank you! Yeah, savemoony asked for Sheppard/Wilson, and I was going *flaily hands* a little, so I'm glad to see that it was convincing! They both really do have a hard time connecting with other people, I think.
insufferable know-it-allbironic on June 19th, 2007 12:02 am (UTC)
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

One day both pairs will figure themselves out. Until then, we have you to give us hot and yearning fic like this.
thedeadparrot: nowhere manthedeadparrot on June 19th, 2007 12:03 pm (UTC)


Thank you so much! For the beta and the nice comments. Oh, boys. They'll figure it all out someday.
no_eden on June 19th, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
This is awesome. I love that Sheppard refers to Wilson as "James." That just makes it seem more personal, yet harder to relate all at once. ♥
thedeadparrot: introspection in weird momentsthedeadparrot on June 19th, 2007 12:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yeah, that was exactly what I was going for with that, that distance even with the closeness.
eveningblue: House Wilson Balconyeveningblue on June 19th, 2007 12:20 am (UTC)
Nice!

thedeadparrotthedeadparrot on June 19th, 2007 12:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Agent of Chaoscodysgirlkyla on June 19th, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
hehe...my favorite tv shows in one oneshot. Perfection.
thedeadparrot: rodneythedeadparrot on June 19th, 2007 12:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

<self-pimp>

I'm apparently becoming "that girl who writes all the House/SGA crossovers" so if you're interested, you can find a series of them here.

</self-pimp>
Agent of Chaoscodysgirlkyla on June 19th, 2007 12:36 pm (UTC)
lol....i just started drooling....
Dee Laundry: SGA-Shep w gundeelaundry on June 19th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
Hot and sexy but a little bit sad. Two guys floating who bump into each other. Wish Wilson hadn't been so quick to bounce away again. Very nice.
thedeadparrot: stranger in a strange landthedeadparrot on June 19th, 2007 12:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I love stories like that, two ships passing in the night. And I totally think Wilson didn't realize what he had. Or could have had. Whichever.
perspi on June 19th, 2007 03:06 am (UTC)
Oh, my. Beautiful, atmospheric, a little melancholy. Oh, such a treat to read!
thedeadparrot: flyingthedeadparrot on June 19th, 2007 12:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I do love writing atmosphere.
tesserae_ on June 19th, 2007 12:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, my god, this is gorgeous! I love all the unfilled spaces, and introspective John, and the idea that he looks up to the stars to see home, and the way you really, really make the pairing work...
thedeadparrot: shepthedeadparrot on June 19th, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I love stories with unfilled spaces, and John's always a little homesick when not in the Pegasus Galaxy, I think.
Pomegranate Priestess: Robert Sean Leonardaithlyn on June 19th, 2007 01:16 pm (UTC)
I don't know SGA at all, but I loved this.

And...

Your Wilson is so hot, you've got me sweating him all over again. Damn.
thedeadparrot: mentallyscarred!Wilsonthedeadparrot on June 19th, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's cool to see that it makes sense, even without SGA. I'm glad you enjoyed!
Nonesane: Meditatenonesane on June 19th, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC)
Really loved this! Subtle, hot and perfectly IC.
thedeadparrot: shepthedeadparrot on June 19th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! John has such a weird brain, I wasn't sure I'd managed to get all his weirdnesses.
spock74: tng merry menspock74 on June 20th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
Niiiiiice. I was kind of wary about how you were going to do the pairing without being an AU, but you really got it right. Good job!
thedeadparrotthedeadparrot on June 20th, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I know it's kind of an odd pairing to swallow, but I'm glad to see it worked for you!
The Alpha Beta: Slash? OMG - anniesjdiluvian on June 21st, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
Niiiiiiiiice.
thedeadparrot: house + wilsonthedeadparrot on June 21st, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
barefoot_chickbarefoot_chick on July 30th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
*blinks*

I think my brain just broke.

Sheppard/Wilson, Sheppard/Wilson....

*shrugs* Works for me.

thedeadparrot: silent sighthedeadparrot on July 30th, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC)
Heh, arguably the pairing came from savemoony, so I can totally blame it on her.

Glad to see it worked for you, though!