Title: Horsehide and Badger Hair and an Old Tin Mug
Fandom: Pairing: Stargate Atlantis: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay
Rating: R for one tiny bit of imagery near the end
Words: 1290 words
Concrit: Please. If you spot a typo, please feel free to tell me in comments.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. No harm, no foul, no money made.
Summary: Rodney has never actually watched anyone shave before. John obliges.
Notes: Written for the 'Shaving' prompt on my kink_bingo card (here). Flash-beta'd on the fly by outsideth3box.
The first time Rodney walked in on John while he was shaving, he got flustered, blushed violently and muttered vague, flap-handed apologies as he backed out of the bathroom and scuttled off to the kitchen. By the time John had finished up and rinsed the excess foam from his face and neck, he had completely forgotten all about it.
The second time, Rodney blushed just as fiercely as before, but this time he lingered in the doorway until John made eye contact in the mirror, and then he fled. John put it down as just another one of his genius eccentricities and thought no more about it.
The third time Rodney wandered bleary-eyed into the unlocked bathroom and tried to back out, pink with embarrassment from hairline to the base of his throat, John caught his arm before he made it out of the room.
"I'm not shy, Rodney, and I sure as hell know you're not, not when it's just the two of us, anyway, so what gives? Why do you look like you've walked in on your mother in the bathtub every time you catch me shaving?"
Rodney's 'deer in the headlights' expression was one that John only usually saw occasionally off-world, or when Cadman had him cornered.
"Hey, buddy, forget I asked, okay? I shouldn't have-"
"I've never watched anyone shave before."
John froze, the lathered up brush bare millimeters from his jaw. He opened his mouth, ready to make a wisecrack or teasing comment to ease Rodney back into his usual pre-coffee grouch, but Rodney kept talking, shoulders hunched up defensively around his ears, his back braced against the jamb of the door.
"My father wouldn't let me watch. Every time I tried to follow him into the bathroom to watch him shave, he'd get angry or irritated, or make some lameass joke and shoo me out before locking the door. I was working on my second PhD by the time shaving became something I had to do, and not just something I practiced occasionally in the mirror."
Rodney rubbed one hand across the barely-there stubble along his jaw line.
"I learned how by studying ads for electric shavers, can you believe that? I could never use" - Rodney's focus flicked to the lethal-looking straight razor balanced on the edge of the basin and then away again - "one of those. I'd bleed out before anyone came to look for me." He laughed, but the sound was devoid of humor.
The creases in Rodney's brow told John he was already regretting having shared such a potentially embarrassing secret. John considered half a dozen tension-breaking comments that would allow Rodney to escape with his dignity intact, but discarded them all.
If he let this go now, Rodney would probably end up twitchy about going into the bathroom without knowing where John was. And the solution was so simple - he was holding it in his hand already.
John held out his empty left hand, beckoning Rodney over to the basin. To his surprise, Rodney came without complaint or query, though his expression was an amusing blend of wary and startled, with a good helping of his usual insatiable curiosity blended in.
After placing his shaving brush back into its mug, John picked up and opened the gleaming straight razor, laying it at an angle across his palm where it reflected back the stark fluorescent light from the overhead bulbs.
Rodney's gaze catalogued every detail and his fingers twitched at his sides, fidgeting with the frayed belt of his robe, but he made no move to reach out and touch.
"This belonged to my grandfather on my mother's side. He gave me the whole kit for my seventeenth birthday because it was obvious by then that I'd inherited the family follicles."
John stifled a grin as Rodney's gaze skipped from his heavily furred jaw to his chest hair to his forearms before returning to the blade.
"He taught me how to use it and how to take care of it, gave me a Russian horsehide strop, a badger hair brush and a bottle of his favorite honing oil. Then he told me if he ever caught me using it for anything besides shaving, he'd cut my balls off."
Rodney's eyes almost fell out of their sockets.
"He was a plain-talking old buzzard and he didn't take crap from anyone, but he took care of his family."
The conversation was in danger of wandering into treacherous - emotional - territory, John realised with a dim sense of horror. That hadn't been a part of his plan. With a very real shrug, he dislodged the spectre of his family from his shoulders, put down the razor and picked up the brush and the tin mug containing the last tablet of his favourite shaving soap.
In seconds he had built up a rich lather and wasted no time slathering the foam across the bottom half of his face and under his jaw. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Rodney leaning forward, trying to catch the scent of it.
"It's just soap, Rodney, no added perfume. The last thing you want out in the field is for the enemy to be able to sniff you out without even trying."
He dipped the brush back into the mug and then sent it flashing out to the side, painting a stripe of foam across the bridge of Rodney's nose before he had time to react.
"See? Just plain old soap." He grinned as Rodney wiped the back of his hand across his face, smearing the bubbles almost to his ear like a little kid.
Exchanging the brush for the razor once more, John intoned, "And now comes the death-defying act."
With each stroke of the blade, Rodney edged closer in fascination. John could practically see the calculations whizzing about behind his eyes - pressure, angle, volume of bubbles, the best grip - everything recorded for posterity and future experimentation.
By the time John had finished and rinsed the last of the soap from his skin, Rodney was leaning into his shoulder, embarrassment long gone, curiosity finally satisfied. Well, almost.
He watched as John splashed a small amount of lotion onto his newly shaved skin, and then reached out hesitantly to drag his thumb along John's jaw.
"That's… Wow. So smooth!"
"All the better to rim you, my dear."
Rodney looked like he'd been goosed.
John rolled his eyes. "It's Sunday, Rodney, and we're on Earthside leave. There's no reason for me to shave except to save you from getting beard burn again. And, believe me, one lecture on the delicacy of the skin of your inner thighs is enough for anyone."
His mouth open, a sharp retort balanced precisely on the tip of his tongue, Rodney belatedly noticed that his thumb was still stroking slowly back and forth across the skin below John's ear.
Unable to resist temptation, he leaned in and replaced his thumb with his nose, nuzzling into the impossibly soft hollow between John's neck and shoulder.
John laughed and twisted around so he could fit them closer together.
"This is nice and all, but I did just offer to rim you. You can say no if you want, but I did go to all this trouble…"
"Yeah, like I'm going to say no to that! I'm just… Look, I think I've just developed a new kink. I'm taking a moment to adjust, okay? I never thought I'd get turned on seeing you holding a carefully honed blade to your throat but you've apparently completely recalibrated my sexuality while I wasn't looking. I need a minute or two to process."
John was content to wait.