Reader's DVD commentary for
The Speed of Light
by resonant8

I think this is my day of stories set in puddlejumpers. Has anyone else noticed that the puddlejumper floors are covered in those rubber mats they use on the line in restaurant kitchens? And has anyone else ever, you know, in their past life as a line cook, got sort of drunk at work and spent some time lying on mats like that? Because even without the disgusting layer of animal and vegetal matter, and with all of your clothes on, they're really incredibly uncomfortable. I'm sure it's just me, though.

"Come on, McKay," Sheppard said in a rather whiny voice. "Think." He is kind of whiny, it's true. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

"Yes, thank you, I needed to hear that, since I never think unless someone asks me to." Rodney felt for the jumper wall in the dark and slid down to sit on the floor. "You think, for a change. Think 'on' at the jumper. Or the lights. Or the gate."

"Right," Sheppard said. "That never would have occurred to me." Rodney could follow his movements by the sound of his voice. He was trying to pace, but he kept bumping into things. After a while he gave up and came to sit down, though not before tripping over Rodney's feet twice.

"Well, do it harder, because it's not working." Rodney let his head fall back. He couldn't tell whether his eyes were open or closed. He opened them. Still couldn't tell. "I hate getting stuck in nonfunctioning jumpers on uninhabited planets with nonfunctioning gates between us and home. You have no idea how much I hate that. Especially before coffee. Especially when I've been without coffee for god only knows how long. Only a complete --" This is so right, this very specific, wordy kind of complaint.

Presumably the cells of the brain were subject to light-speed constraints, like everything else. The subjective experience of ideas coming together instantaneously, entire chains of cause and effect falling into place in literally no time -- that had to be a metaphor, a way for the mind to make sense of a chemical and electrical phenomenon by drawing analogies from more ordinary experiences.

Still, between one microsecond and the next, Rodney realized that Sheppard had for some months now been flirting with him.

One moment there was just an odd collection of quirks, typical of Sheppard, somewhat annoying in the current emergency, with no general explanation. The next moment they had all resolved into a clear picture of a Sheppard who was trying to get Rodney's very particular attention, and who, when he got it, was rewarding Rodney with some very particular attentions of his own.

Rodney finished his word -- all this having fallen into place between the 'm' and the 'o' in 'moron' -- and then he finished his sentence, and then he further considered his hypothesis while Sheppard babbled on about something or other. I love this - that there are three paragraphs of thought in between the 'm' and the 'o'. It's a great way to show exactly the sort of thought process that the paragraphs describe, simultaneously. Also the way that McKay finishes the sentence (and the rest of the conversation) completely on autopilot. I like the idea that perhaps that's part of why he seems to apply so few filters to the things he says - like everyone else uses manual transmissions in their conversations, and he's using an automatic. If you'll pardon the totally whack metaphor, which I'm not going to extend further, though I so could. As it would only get more painful.

Sheppard hadn't been flirting the way he flirted with the women -- well, and thank heaven for that; if he'd tried that technique on Rodney, the sidelong glances and the lame witticisms and the slow, insinuating drawl, (Wait - Sheppard isn't using that technique? I mean, also using?) Rodney would really have had to throw something at him, and even Sheppard might have been discouraged by that. But still, there was something unmistakable in his manner toward Rodney. It was obvious.

Sheppard had stopped talking. Rodney hadn't heard a word, but it was pretty easy to guess what he must have said. "Yeah, right," Rodney said. "Shoot at it. That's a very good suggestion, Major, we'll get right on it, or maybe we could just shoot each other now to save time," and then while a hurt silence emanated from Sheppard's approximate position in the darkened jumper, Rodney considered his next step.

The obvious question for consideration was whether he ought to think about flirting back. But of course as soon as he'd formulated the question he realized he already was flirting back, and had been for some time. The endless supply of Ancient toys he was always bringing around like so many bouquets, the helpful critiques of Sheppard's thought processes (!!! Awesome.), the witty banter -- Rodney was forced, upon reflection, to admit that the flirtation was rather further advanced than he had thought. Far enough along, in fact, that it definitely called for first names, and probably even for touching.

So he said, "John, shut up, will you?" and felt around until he found his face, and kissed him. Hypothesis, data analysis, theory, action. In the complete and total darkness of the silent 'jumper. Which I'm just re-emphasizing here because it's so great.

You could say this for John: He got with the program immediately, without the slightest hesitation. Lips, barely touching, waking up all Rodney's nerve endings with incredible speed -- breath, a laugh or a sigh -- tongue on his lips and then in his mouth. In the total and unrelieved darkness Rodney closed his eyes so that nothing would distract him from this. Tight focus on points of contact, really shivery and intense.

When the kiss came to the end of its natural lifespan, they eased apart slowly, just far enough that if there'd been light, Rodney would have been able to see John's foolish smile instead of having to feel it with his fingertips. I love the idea of McKay reading Sheppard's face by touch.

"Now you catch a clue?" John said in a scratchy voice.

"Oh, please. I've known all about it for ages," Rodney said. "Just waiting for the right time." He's so defensive about knowing everything about everything. It hurts me that I find that so incredibly charming in McKay.

"And when we're downed without power next to a broken gate --"

"The jumper will have some kind of backup energy source, and there'll be some way to use it to power the gate for a one-way trip home," Rodney said, which was another thing he'd suddenly gone from not knowing to knowing while no time passed at all, "and within about half an hour I will have figured out how to access this energy source. In the meantime, all I need is some method of keeping you occupied and preventing you from expressing your tension by shooting something. It's an ideal time." McKay has eureka moments continually. It's no wonder he's a little high-strung.

Under his fingers, John's lower lip flexed. Rodney could picture the pout. "Maybe I'd like to have your full attention."

"Don't be stupid. It's been years since anything required my full attention." Rodney forestalled any further objections by pushing John's vest off his shoulders. It made some very strange noises as it hit the floor, but by then Rodney had the pants half unbuttoned, suddenly wildly turned on and much too busy to investigate. He couldn't have stopped now even if the lights had come on. I kind of want to know what's in the vest. Apples? Brylcreem? Slinky?

He was thinking ahead at feverish speed. Boots, more trouble than they're worth. Shirt, hell yes, get rid of that obstacle right now. Generate a feedback loop between the jumper and the, no, no, that was the wrong way to go about it. Chest, oh, god, warm and hairy and nicely contoured and heaving with every breath. If the jumper didn't recognize this as an emergency, maybe they needed to simulate a bigger emergency somehow. His own shirt, safe to leave that to John, but the thigh holster meant the pants weren't going far. Again, the structure of the story is showing an example of exactly how McKay's thought processes are functioning.

"Never mind, never mind." He swatted John's hands away from the holster buckles and shoved pants and underwear down to his hips, and John was so far behind that the best thing would be if he could get him to just put his arms out of the way and leave the rest to Rodney, who unlike him had actually thought this through. Oh, the mild, exasperated scorn. It's sort of mad sexy.

Rodney knelt up, felt around in the dark, shoved John roughly down to lie on the floor. "Ohgod," John gasped when Rodney pinned his hands to the floor above his head, and, hello, new data point there. Crikey. Rodney kept them pinned with one hand while he awkwardly swung one leg over. With the other hand, he got John's balls up out of the way, and then shoved his cock down between John's thighs, using his knees to push John's legs together. "Jesus, that's good," Rodney said, pushing into that tight sweaty space while John made a sort of wheezing grunt with every breath.

The angle wasn't the greatest, and he didn't have the coordination to do much for John's dick other than just hold onto it, so he let go of one of John's hands, hunching up to make room for it between them. John was not entirely without brains; he got the message quickly and wrapped his hand around his own cock, pulling fast, each downstroke bumping his fist against the hand Rodney had wrapped around the base. God, god, Rodney wanted to see it, but instead all he could do was tighten his hand and get down to the serious business of rubbing himself to oblivion on John's extremely hot and gratifyingly responsive body.

"Oh fuck yes," John said, low and fast. Rodney didn't know what he'd done that he hadn't always been doing, or maybe it was nothing to do with him at all, but John was coming all over him, crying out something that wasn't words, and then he was clenching his clean hand over Rodney's ass, pulling him down harder and faster, and Rodney licked at the nearest bit of skin and let it all go.

"Oh, fuck, that was good," John said, wiping his hand on his chest and then continuing to knuckle up and down Rodney's belly as Rodney rolled off to the side. That's nice, keeping contact, movement. (And I continue to not really be able to say anything about actual sex scenes. I'm defective. Sorry.)

"Yeah," Rodney said, "though maybe a little slower next time."

"Yeah." John's hand moved from Rodney's shirt, which was rucked up under his armpits, to his pants, which were pushed down as far as the holster allowed. "God, I wish I could see you," John said. "I'll bet you look like the really good porn." This whole thigh holster thing? The mechanics of it? It's great, and consistent attention to detail. And any time you can mention thigh holsters is a good time to be alive.

There was a hum and a series of thunks, and a yellowish light filled the cabin. "Ah, finally, thank you for playing," Rodney said. Hahahaha. So McKay was right all along.

John, who was looking pretty debauched himself, raised his head. "Right," he said. "Because you did all that just to get me to activate the backup power source."

"Tell you what," Rodney said. "Why don't you just be decorative and leave the quick thinking to me."

I never get tired of the 'trapped in an isolated/enclosed space' cliché. And this is carried out just right.


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