A/N: I took this out to maintain the balance of the back and forths in the story, and I didn't find this a truly 'necessary' scene. This takes place during the six weeks that John was not consciously avoiding Rodney.
It was a simple celebration to mark the anniversary of their trade agreement with the Hoorda. It wasn't even one of the insanely dangerous or stylised rituals they so often ended up with. No, the Hoorda understood how to have a good party. Plenty of ale, a huge not-cow buried in coals and barbequed until the meat was falling off the bone, a bonfire and some fantastic drum-based music that pounded and throbbed around them in the humid summer night. Naturally, the Hoorda loved to dance, rhythmically sliding between the more sedate folks still eating around the fire. It was primitive. It was gorgeous. It made his chest hurt.
John took another deep draw of his Hoordan ale and felt the heavy pulse of a headache start to nudge at the back of his eyes. The beer had a mild, unusual effervescence that rolled down the tongue like a tiny electric charge, and he took another drink just to wash the sensation away. Instead, it intensified, sending a shiver down his back. He set the cup down on the ground beside the log that made up his makeshift chair, mentally resolving to stop drinking so much beer, and looked up to watch the dancers.
The Hoorda danced the way they drummed – fast, hard, and with complete abandon. John watched them through half-lowered lashes, enjoying the play of firelight over sweat-slicked skin as they moved to the drums. The women drew away from the fire, teasing the men with coy glances and enticingly swaying hips, and the men redoubled their efforts, leaping straight into the air, flexing and wheeling around the fire. John reached for his beer to take another drink, and his eyes fell on Rodney sitting on the other side of the fire.
Rodney was watching the dancers too, his attention fixed closely on one of the men on his side of the fire. The dancer was all long limbs and sleek muscle, moving with smooth precision to the drumbeats, short dark hair slick with sweat. His eyes were locked on Rodney as he danced, the invitation in them unmistakable, and Rodney ... Rodney was staring back.
John rubbed a hand over the ache in his chest and took a deep draw on his ale. When he brought down his arm, his eyes were drawn helplessly back to Rodney's face.
Rodney's face was tense, the flickering firelight creating fluttering shadows across his cheeks. He blinked slowly, one hand curling into a fist on his thigh as the dancer brushed against him. Suddenly, he looked at John.
His eyes were hot and dark, arousal stamped in the clean lines of his face, and the intensity of it hit John like a punch. His heart thumped in his chest, his throat tightened. He expected Rodney to look away, but instead he held John's eyes in heated challenge.
The dancer whirled between them and broke the moment. When John looked up again from his beer, Rodney was gone.