So back in the Dark Ages of the world - when there were still OMG 41 DAYS LEFT - I posted a snippet of boys-in-skirts. shihadchick, being the lovely and wonderful person that she is, played comment tag with me for a while before we both managed to overheat our brains. Obviously, all of the good parts are hers.
And then this evening, I found it again, and wound up writing the part that came immediately before that, and, well.
It's not a dress.
Really, it's not. Sure, it wraps around his shoulders and his hips, hugs his ass, and falls to the floor from there, rippling around his feet - but, really, John prefers to think of it as a shirt.
A really long shirt.
With a long slit up one side, which had been really awkward, actually. They'd handed him the not-a-dress and made several expressive gestures with their long and pointy spears, so John had retreated into the ceremonial dressing room (which had nothing to do with actual dresses, of course) and flipped the fabric from hand to hand, trying to figure out which way was up and where his goddamn pants were.
(He doesn't get pants, but that doesn't mean this is a dress.)
So he'd found the armholes and the neck hole, and tugged it on over his clothes, not really expecting to get away with it but figuring that it was at least worth a shot. Sure enough, the instant he stepped through the door, the spears had come back down, blocking his way. He'd gone back into the hut with a sigh, shrugged his way out of the non-dress, and stripped down to his boxers.
Which was when he'd noticed the slit - it goes up his left leg, almost to his hip, and that had gotten him sent back into the changing room a second time, this time with a harder shove.
(Really, though, John understands. Blue and white stripes don't look so great against the deep, silky red of the Thing That Is Absolutely Not A Dress.)
When he comes out of the hut for the third time, wearing the anti-dress and nothing else, he sees Rodney, looking remarkably comfortable for a man in something that, yeah, okay, does kind of resemble a dress. A little.
(Or, fine: a lot.)
"Thank you for finally gracing us with your presence, Colonel Sheppard," Rodney snaps, rolling his eyes. "Hope you didn't have to cut your beautification short at all."
"Hey, Rodney," he says, snapping into their usual patterns without question. "You can't rush perfection."
Rodney snorts, and it's oddly comforting - no matter where they go, no matter how many ridiculous rituals they have to go through, Rodney McKay is still the same, snappy and irritable in all times and places.
"Yes, yes, fine," Rodney says, falling into place next to John as they walk back toward the village. "Your dress is just lovely, of course." And those are fighting words, naturally, and so the rest of the walk passes quickly: John and Rodney argue over the exact nature of what they're wearing
(Above their heads, the guards trade long-suffering glances, but John doesn't have much sympathy. People who make other people wear dress-like-garments don't get the right to complain, in his book.)
"It's like a robe, Rodney," John says. "Gandalf wore robes, and Gandalf was a dude, and in conclusion—" he waves Rodney silent. "In conclusion, this is totally not a dress."
"Unless I'm tragically misremembering my Tolkien, Gandalf's robes were never red silk," Rodney snaps, "and also - oh, hey." They're back at the village, suddenly, face-to-face with the beginnings of what looks like a rocking harvest festival. There are speeches and ceremonies first, of course - during which Teyla has to bow low over their hands and recite a long string of meaningless syllables, and Ronon has to be excused to go laugh his ass off in the woods - but then John's splitting a ceremonial mug of spiced (and probably spiked) cider with the high priestess, and things are looking up.
He keeps watching Rodney, though - mostly because he looks so comfortable in his un-dress, at ease in a way John really, really isn't. He's trying to figure out what it is - some bizarre combination of social obliviousness and raging egomania? when he realizes the part of this situation that is bad, bad, so very extremely bad.
Because, see, there's this: Rodney doesn't know how to sit, in a dress - how would he? - and so he sprawls and shifts in ways that even John knows you're not supposed to shift when you're wearing alien dress-like-things. He keeps catching flashes of knee and thigh, muscular and hairy against smooth, sliding silk. Or else Rodney props one foot up on something and leans, completely failing to notice the way the skirt slides up his thigh and makes it very clear what he's not wearing under it.
And now that John's noticed it, he can't not think about it - how Rodney's non-dress is slit just as high as his is, and how that means that he probably got sent back to change, too, and how that means -
Well. It means all sorts of things that John really, really shouldn't be imagining, especially when the only thing between him and the open air is a dress.
(Or, you know. Not a dress. Absolutely not a dress.)
And of course the drunker Rodney gets - and that's the thing about these harvest ceremonies; they always end with everybody completely skunked and the high priestess grinning enigmatically - the more he waves his hands and rushes about, intent on telling people Very Important Things. And the more he does that, the more his Unspecified Garment presses against his body, tugged this way and that by the air currents he's creating, and oh, God, John is officially screwed.
Then - because this whole night hasn't been awkward enough yet - Rodney notices that John is sitting at a table, increasingly panicked and pained, and starts over, drunkenly intense concern all over his face.
John starts backing away, bumping into people as he goes, and Rodney frowns harder, like John's a puzzle to be figured out. Then - fuck it all - John goes to turn around and walk away, but his stupid neither-a-dress-nor-actually-a-shirt, damn it gets tangled around his knees and he trips, he stumbles -
- and then Rodney's there, one hand on his bare elbow, the other low on his back, and these things really do conduct heat like nobody's business, don't they?
John holds there, balanced against Rodney's arm and hip, waiting and waiting for Rodney to shove him away. It would be way too juvenile to screw his eyes closed, even though he kind of (really) wants to, so he just sits there, waiting. Rodney's hand is burning hot and - oh, God, it's not moving, or, rather, it is, but it's sliding down, not up, not away.
He looks up, and Rodney looks just as shell-shocked as he does.
Rodney's hand slides down his side, past his hip, down and over and down. He stops with his thumb along the top of John's thigh, fingers spread out, digging in just slightly, denting the fabric. John draws in a breath, shallow and quick, and starts to shift away, but Rodney shifts with him, and suddenly his hand is there, the side of his index finger brushing slow and rough against the side of John's cock. The fabric is smooth and fine enough that John feels every callus, every tiny shift of motion, all of the tiny sensations that make his eyes wide, his breath short and shallow.
"Nice dress," Rodney says.
And for the first time all night, John agrees.
[thank you, slidellra, for pointing out that I, um. Can't read? *is unbelievably pretty*]