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The closed-circuit cameras in Atlantis are astonishing marvels of technology, Rodney thinks. The clarity, the resolution, the color fidelity are all amazing. The cameras themselves are almost undetectable, even if you've seen them before.
Rodney doubts the Ancients anticipated their surveillance equipment being put to quite this use. On the other hand, there was already a camera in Sheppard's quarters when they got here, so it's possible he's underestimating the kinkiness of the Ancients.
Rodney didn't intend to put Sheppard's solitary vice under observation. He discovered the interface between the computers and the camera system quite by accident, on a so far futile quest for a way to control the air cleaners from a central location, and he got in the habit of scanning them just out of curiosity.
There are cameras all over the city, most of which are doing what they've presumably spent the last ten thousand years doing, namely recording nothing at all in empty corners of uninhabited rooms. There's one in the southwest laundry area, where he can sometimes see one of the military people folding underwear, and several in the gateroom, and one that looks on a tangle of transparent pipes full of various colored liquids, which he can't even begin to identify.
And then there's one that happened one night to show him Sheppard with his hand in his shorts.
He clicked away fast the first time. The second time -- a week or so later -- he lingered a bit. After the third time, he tuned in on purpose. Sheppard has never struck him as a creature of habit, but you could set your watch by his jerk-off routine. It's like Must-See TV.
Sometimes Sheppard lies on the bed, and sometimes he wanders around, but tonight he's sitting on the couch. Even though Rodney stayed late at the lab, Sheppard is still just sprawling out on the couch with his T-shirt pushed up and one hand idly rubbing over his hairy stomach. He must have gotten a late start tonight, too.
His cock is ready to go, though; it's clearly outlined against his boxers. Some nights he really does just watch television. Obviously tonight won't be one of them.
Rodney hurriedly takes a seat in front of the laptop, and as though that were some sort of cue, Sheppard gives a lazy sort of stretch and slides his hand under his waistband.
It's his left hand, which Rodney hasn't figured out, since he's clearly righthanded for everything else. After watching Sheppard do it, Rodney tried it lefthanded himself a time or two, but he just finds the clumsiness frustrating -- why do something poorly if you can do it well?
For a while he used to try to follow everything Sheppard did, but that was frustrating, too. Sheppard totally ignores his nipples, for one thing; Rodney wonders if this means they're not sensitive or if it's just something where a mouth would work for him but fingers don't. And Sheppard will do this thing where he runs his nails up and down over his stomach, which just gives Rodney goosebumps.
So he doesn't do it Sheppard's way any more, though it sometimes gives him a little charge to think he would know exactly how to make Sheppard come, should the occasion arise. However improbable that may be.
Sheppard casts his eyes down flirtatiously, and then he reaches back over his head and pulls his T-shirt off with one hand. He's the only person in the city whose hair comes out of a move like that completely unchanged. Eyes still lowered, he stands up and sheds the boxers. Then he sits down again and smiles a little and his eyes come up -- not right at the camera but a couple of feet below it.
When Rodney first started his nightly observation, Sheppard used to keep all his clothes on, just jam his hand inside his boxers and go for it. Rodney doesn't really think that Sheppard has discovered the camera, but he does think that Sheppard has a fantasy that someone is watching him.
Who is he putting on this show for? Who's the audience in his head? Teyla or Elizabeth, one of the military women, a girl back home? Maybe even one of the men; who knows. There's no reason to think that's a possibility, except --
Yes, except when he does this: sticks two fingers in his mouth, pulls one leg up until the foot is flat on the couch, and slides those two fingers into his ass so easy that Rodney would know he did it a lot even if he didn't watch him do it every night. Plenty of straight guys like that, too; it's not definitive; Rodney tells himself this, but his hand, which is speeding up on his cock, seems to find it suggestive. John has very long fingers.
Rodney's are longer, though. And you can always get a better angle on somebody else than you can on yourself.
A rolling chair is a stupid thing to jerk off in, but he's not going to risk damaging the laptop. The chair is rolling forward and backward now. Sheppard has flung his head back against the back of the couch, and the resolution is good enough that Rodney can see the stubble darkening his throat. He wants to lick it, wants -- wants --
Sheppard hasn't closed his eyes. He's looking steadily at that spot where the camera isn't, and Rodney, who's been curling forward, stops and straightens up again, pretending Sheppard can see him. If Sheppard could see him, he wouldn't want to be looking ridiculous in a rolling chair, for god's sake, and he pulls his fingers out of his ass and stands up, planting his feet apart.
And it's just at that moment when Sheppard sits forward, lips moving on some word Rodney can't lip-read, and in the grips of the fantasy that Sheppard is looking at him, he comes.
It's good, better than it usually is. When he opens his eyes, Sheppard's hand is moving on his cock so fast it's almost blurring out, and his eyes are still riveted on the spot where his imaginary camera is -- or, hell, for all Rodney knows, he's propped his favorite centerfold there.
Rodney idly brings his wet hand to his mouth, and Sheppard's mouth falls open, and his lips pull back from his teeth. His eyes open, suddenly, and this time it's like he's looking right at Rodney, one long, hard look. And then he shuts them and comes.
The resolution is so good that Rodney can see it beading up on his chest hair. He sucks at his own hand.
Usually when Sheppard opens his eyes after he comes, Rodney thinks he looks depressed, but who really knows what people look like after they jerk off. He may look depressed himself, though he just feels the way he always does.
This time, though, Sheppard is just staring at the ground, while his breathing slows down and the flush retreats from his face. He looks ... thoughtful.
If Sheppard's room were just next door and he could get there while the endorphins were still flowing, he might actually take the chance. But Sheppard's room is off in one of the quiet wings, and his own room is close to the labs, and if he cleaned up and got dressed and started walking, there'd be no trace of this by the time he got there. That's what he tells himself. The T-shirt Sheppard is using to clean up would be in the basket, and Sheppard would be either dressed or asleep, and it would all be wiped out.
He lets himself imagine it just the same, walking in the door, straddling Sheppard where he's sprawled out on the couch, kissing that strange look off his face.
Imagines Sheppard saying, "I knew all along it was you."
God, that look; what was that all about? It was almost as if --
Rodney's sure he imagined it. Sure of it.
Read Speranza's sequel, Clarity
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June 8, 2005