The skin on the inside of Rodney's thighs is smooth under John's fingers. He moves them in small, contained circles, enjoying the precision. Keeping the circles so tightly controlled gives his fingers a fine tremor with tension, but he maintains a steady, even pressure, just enough so that Rodney will be able to feel the ghost-touch as a constant as the circles grow gradually larger and sloppier.
The way ∏ is a constant.
John thinks that has to mean something, must be a metaphor for something, but paradoxically, something so deep and fundamental that it maybe can't be represented by numbers. It's been getting to him for a while. Everything else in his life can be enumerated: the mechanics of things that go more than two-hundred miles an hour, the aerodynamic variables that affect the bullet's flight, the angles Teyla's sticks make as she moves, the mathematics of the light that powers Ronon's gun, the arcane and mysterious forces of wormholes. All of them, everything he knows, can be reduced to perfect formulas; numbers familiar since childhood peppered with the ∏ or ζ or δ that came to him much later, when childhood ceded to Euler and complexity.
The formula for this thing they have though, a formula for Rodney and him, eludes him.
His fingers resume their task of charting the Euclidian curve of Rodney's thighs, intent on resuming his roving course down to the place behind Rodney's left knee that, if John gets the touch just right, makes Rodney….
John gets the touch just right. He smiles as Rodney's whole body twists and writhes and Rodney's breath comes in short, urgent gasps.
Not protesting, but not supplication yet, either. John lifts his head from where it's pillowed on Rodney's right thigh, and ducks down to press his lips against the spot his fingers just teased.
"John," says Rodney, disapproving.
John laughs, and moves fast, too fast for Rodney to stop him or complain or move away; and if John had a whiteboard (and the inclination) he'd be able to calculate how quickly he moved against the light resistance of the air pressing against his skin, squeaking a black pen over the smooth white surface to map the physics out in self-contained numbers and exuberant Greek symbols.
Instead he straddles Rodney, eyeing the body spread out beneath him. He has an inch or two of height on Rodney and he has all the leanness of his Irish ancestors. Rodney's broader, softer and less hairy, and John envies him those heavy shoulders and strong arms. Rodney is innately stronger than John, and it's only skill and training that keep John on top.
That makes him smile again and Rodney, staring up at him with wide blue eyes, swallows. John watches his adam's apple rise and fall, and he plots the path of the movement, following the line of it down to the little hollow at the base of Rodney's throat. John suddenly has to swallow, himself, touched and fascinated by the vulnerability of that little hollow and the way that it drops into shadow while the rest of Rodney's throat is limned by the dim lights.
John swoops to kiss it, to protect it with his mouth, and Rodney's hips heave beneath him. Rodney's eyes close, and mmmmph, he says; but he's smiling, the crooked mouth lifting on one side to curve itself, paradoxically, into straightness. John gasps when Rodney rotates his hips to grind his big, heavy cock into the sensitive area between John's thighs. His own cock twitches as heat flares along it.
Rodney tilts his head to let John lick Rodney's throat in long, long sweeps of his tongue, up over that firm aggressive chin and, delicately, using the point of his tongue, tracing the edges of Rodney's crooked lips before licking his way into a kiss, a deep, dirty wet kiss. And another. And another. Oh, and yet another.
John likes making out. With some people, most people, he prefers it to sex. It took Nancy a long time—months—to recognise it for what it was: not some sort of primeval tribute to her, not some overwhelming need to touch her constantly, not the desire to have her close, but the barrier he put up to prevent her coming closer. Nancy resented his kisses bitterly, in the end.
It's not the same with Rodney. Rodney's not Nancy, not always wanting to talk about feelings or dissect things or demand constant worship. John's glad about that. He never found a way to tell Nancy what he wanted and what he didn't. He likes it that he can't tell Rodney and Rodney knows without being told, and can't talk about it any more than John can.
Although it's not because Rodney doesn't like talking. Rodney talks all the time, argues or lectures or harangues, in meetings or trade deals or ceremonies or just loudly reminding the universe that Rodney is calculating her boundaries and she had better watch out because he knows her and he'll tame her until she hands him his Nobel. When Rodney was just a shape in an orange fleece, John watched the mouth move and the hands fly about in emphatic support, listened to the voice telling him to imagine where he was in the solar system and thought I want that. Nowadays, John smiles and watches, head tilted, and thinks Mine.
But when Rodney's silenced, when John is kissing him and Rodney's eloquent hands are stilled, their warmth cupping John's hips… well, then the distance can be measured in microns, the barriers crumble to dust. John still likes making out, although he knows that with Rodney it strips the barriers away. He still hasn’t worked out the formula for why, but he doesn't worry.
Instead, he works his way back down Rodney's stretched throat, pausing at the little hollow again. He licks the little bony collarbones next, using lips and tongue to feel the thinness of skin stretched over fragile bone before licking down Rodney's breastbone with broad, wet strokes.
Now that Rodney has his mouth back, he's using it again. John half-listens as he licks one pert nipple—oh God, but Rodney has better nipples than any woman John's ever had—letting the words wash over him and pool their magic in his cock, feeling the heat surge down his spine.
"John," says Rodney, over and over.
And: "God! If I believed in him, that is, and I can assure you I don't because I'm a rational man and that's just pure superstition, and … John!"
And, quietly, on a sigh: "Oh."
Rodney doesn't have anywhere near as much hair as John. Rodney's peeved about that when it comes to the hair on the top of John's head, but loudly complacent when it comes to body hair. Rodney says he doesn't like spitting out hair when he wants to suck tit. John doesn’t much care, himself, but he does like to look at the dusting of tawny-brown hair over Rodney's chest, thickening in a line down his abdomen, darkening as it goes down to merge into the thick bush of hair around Rodney's cock.
John follows the line of hair with his mouth, bowing his back and shifting his backside down over Rodney's thighs, and his fingers paint invisible numerals and constants over Rodney's skin as he goes.
"John," says Rodney, again, as John kneels in the space between Rodney's legs.
Rodney lifts his legs to rest them on John's shoulders, and John turns his head sideways. He starts more licking and kissing and painting figures on Rodney's skin.
He traces both of Feigenbaum's constants in the crook of Rodney's left knee, trailing his lips down inside of Rodney's leg from knee to the soft skin of the thigh, nipping at it gently, shaping ε and ∑ and ∏ against it with his lips, trying to find the formula that explains him and Rodney, that will tell Rodney without words, without the need to talk.
Rodney's legs slip to dangle over John's back as John bends down to get his tongue sweeping over the base of Rodney's balls. John hums integers and co-efficients in the back of his throat while he takes each ball into his mouth, rolling them from side to side and letting them absorb the faint vibration. Rodney whimpers when John finds his way to non-linear algebraic equations.
"f(x) = C where f(x) = x2+x and C = 1," he whispers, closing his lips around Rodney's cock. Rodney's whimpers turn to moans while John's left hand calculates pi to a hundred decimal places on Rodney's side and the other works into Rodney's backside, stretching him open.
When Rodney's babbling nonsense and gasping out more fragments of John's short name than John thinks is really feasible, he pulls out his fingers, ignoring Rodney's incoherent outrage, slathers lube over his own cock and surges home in one triumphant thrust.
Rodney lets out a long, shuddery moan. His eyes roll up in his head until John can see only the tiniest glimpse of blue under fluttering eyelids, and Rodney's breath comes hard and fast. John's lube-slicked hand traps Rodney's cock, fisting it to the same rhythm that his cock has found inside Rodney's welcoming body. Rodney's calling on the god he disdains to believe in, while John, thrusting against the tight John's-cock-shaped channel he's creating, is gasping out conserved quantities and Lagrangian numbers and aperiodic oscillations.
Rodney yells, and his legs slip down to hook around John's waist. He presses his heels into the small of John's back and tightens powerful thigh muscles, pulling John in closer so that John has to shift the angle until he's not rubbing up against Rodney's prostate but banging onto it like a hammer, until they're both yelling and John's hips stutter and stutter and stutter, his hand tightening its hold on Rodney's cock and Rodney's spurting all over his fingers, and John's cock is spasming and spasming and spasming until the world whites out in front of his eyes.
When he's got enough breath back to pull out carefully without hurting Rodney, he rolls off onto his side obedient to half-heard muttering and the sharp prod of Rodney's finger in his ribs. He lets Rodney clean them up, not much caring that Rodney's using John's tee-shirt, enjoying the pass of soft, much-washed cotton against his cock and balls instead.
Rodney, being Rodney, has recovered the use of his tongue. "What were you babbling about?" he asks, settling John's seemingly boneless body against him and carding his fingers through the hair he professes to despise.
"Mmn," says John, thinking. He stretches his arms and legs, luxuriously, and coils himself around Rodney's warmth. He drops a kiss onto Rodney's shoulder. "Oh. I was just trying to work out some math," he says, smiling against Rodney's skin and knowing Rodney will feel the curve of his mouth.
Rodney snorts, and John finds himself trying to explain, tries to tell Rodney it's not that they're just a collection of numerals and mathematical constants, but that it's been puzzling him for ages that he can't define the formula for them.
"Moron," says Rodney, but there's no heat in it and John thinks sadly that it really should not turn him on so much to be verbally abused and, even more sadly, that he's over forty now and his cock can be as turned on as it likes but he won't be getting it up again for a while yet. "I mean," says Rodney. "Isn’t it obvious?"
"I was thinking of constants," says John snuggling in closer and resuming the little kisses against Rodney's shoulder.
"So was I," says Rodney, and John's smile broadens. Who knew they could touch, really touch, without having to say it.
He licks at Rodney's salty skin. "Well, pi's the most obvious."
"Moron," says Rodney, again. "Start with pi and add an h. It means more. For us, I mean."
John waits, slipping his arm around Rodney's waist and spooning in close. And with a huff of sleepy annoyance, Rodney tells him.
"φ," says Rodney.
And John thinks for a second, understands what Rodney's telling him and that Rodney's gifted him with a way to say what he's always found it so hard to say. And John smiles, content.
"Yeah," he says. "Me too, Rodney. Me too."
φ is phi, the Greek letter that represents the Golden Ratio – put as simply as only Wiki can, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio between the sum of those quantities and the larger one is the same as the ratio between the larger one and the smaller. The golden ratio is approximately 1.6180339887. Since the Renaissance, this has inspired artists and architects and even musicians to produce what they believe is the most perfect aesthetically pleasing work. It seems tailor-made to be a mathematician's and a physicist's metaphor for love.
Leonhard Euler, 1707 – 1783) was a pioneering mathematician and physicist, who made important discoveries in fields as diverse as calculus and graph theory. He also introduced much of the modern mathematical terminology and notation, particularly for mathematical analysis, such as the notion of a mathematical function.
Feigenbaum's constants are mathematical invariants of logistic maps with quadratic maximum points. So there.
And we all know that Ancient satellites are found at Legrangian points, now don't we?