Rodney rubbed his hand, knuckles sore and smarting from the solid whack of the drive lever as he'd tried to free the paper jamming up the machine. The lumbering gears wheezed for a moment, spitting out mangled shreds and then it was running again, stacking up folded brown bags at a rate of four thousand an hour, ten hours a day - for the rest of his miserable, damned life.
He blinked against the sudden heat behind his eyes and carefully blanked his mind. There was no point in dreaming, thinking of any other life; this was it - just the island, the paper mill and no one to come home to at the end of the day. A dead-end job in a dead-end town, with nothing more to look forward to than Mac 'n Cheese night at TJ's. He'd been stupid, should have known better than falling for a smirky pout and a pretty face. It was always the same, cocky flyboys promising the world for a roll in the hay and then hightailing it as soon as graduation was over, tyres squealing in the dust. Except he'd really thought things had been different this time, that it had meant something. Stupid, stupid, stupid...
The rough drawl made him jump, turning round in shock and bumping straight into the lean body standing directly in front of him.
"John?" He couldn't believe it - wanted to ask why he was here, what was going on but the words died on his tongue. John was smiling at him, standing there in his dress uniform, crisp white tunic and gold wings shining brightly on his chest. He looked like a fantasy, one that Rodney had dreamed about every night since they'd broken up.
"Um, what?" Rodney stuttered, the clamouring noise of the factory fading away as he stared into John's eyes. "What are you doing here? What do you want?"
John's smile grew broader and he pulled Rodney close, kissing the answer against his mouth. "You, Rodney. I just want you. You're mine."
Rodney nodded happily, dazed and laughing with joy as John swept him up and into his arms, walking towards the door. All around them his co-workers were cheering and Rodney hid a blush, pressing his face to the longed for warmth of John's neck as music seemed to swell around them. He saw Radek in the distance, waving and clapping, and Rodney grinned, whisking the stiff white cap from John's tousled head and dropping it on his own, one side falling jauntily over his ear as John carried him out into the sunshine... and into their new life together.
"Nooooo!" Rodney sat straight up in bed, gasping frantically for breath, sweat prickling heavily across his shoulders. He checked around nervously but saw only the familiarity of his quarters - empty Cheetos packets and the other detritus from team movie night still littering the desk, and the 'An Officer and a Gentleman' DVD case lying next to his laptop, Richard Gere staring mockingly at him from the cover.
"Not again," he whined, sighing deeply as he fell back to the mattress with a groan. "And why am I always the girl?"
"Wha-huh?" John mumbled, head barely visible under the comforter and clearly still asleep. "Don' listen to rabbits," he muttered, wriggling closer and settling across Rodney's chest, tufts of ridiculously adorable hair tickling Rodney's chin.
"Yes, whatever you say, Colonel Crazy Person," Rodney sighed, gently carding his fingers through the soft strands, "but this time I mean it; you never, ever - under any circumstances whatsoever - get to arrange '80s Movie Night' again. Understood?"
John answered with a snuffling, sleepy snore against his chest.
"Good enough," Rodney whispered, smiling as he fell back to sleep.