"Is that..." Rodney said, catching a whiff of the sweet-acrid smoke as he stepped out onto the balcony.
"Yeah," John croaked, flipping his hand over to reveal the spliff pinched between his thumb and forefinger.
John gave a tight smile and held it out. Rodney took it carefully and brought it to his lips, just inhaling a little before handing it back. Pot hadn't ever been his thing - too mellow. Lab rats were partial to speed - easy to make, and it kept you working longer. Somehow, though, he was pretty sure that John had it right. Mellow was good. Mellow kept the panic at bay. Rodney - even he could admit - needed some mellow.
He watched John exhale before gingerly tapping the ash off the joint with a practiced flick of his finger. Figured. It totally explained the hair. John took a long drag and held the joint out again, this time closer to his body. Rodney stepped forward to take it, letting his shoulder brush slightly against John's where they leaned on the railing. This time, he took a slightly deeper drag, fighting to keep the smoke down.
They finished the joint in silence, and Rodney watched as John flicked the remains into the ocean before exhaling a final time.
"Good stuff," he said.
John nodded. "Government grade."
"Figures. A welcome home present?"
John nodded again. "Even though I wasn't gone that long."
"Long enough," Rodney said, thinking about the pretty girl with the doe eyes.
"Would it help if I said I was sorry?" John leaned further forward, staring down at the ocean.
"Depends on what you're sorry for."
"Mostly for making assumptions."
Rodney didn't answer. There really wasn't anything to say. He pushed away from the rail and moved back to the wall, sliding down to sit at its base, resting his forearms on his drawn-up knees. He didn't look up when John sat cross-legged in front of him.
"I should have known you wouldn't give up on me." John's voice was low and tight, and Rodney could see his hands clasped together in his lap, knuckles white.
He reached for John's forearms and pulled him closer, hooking his legs over so that John was trapped between his legs, close enough to touch. John tentatively laid his hands on Rodney's sides.
Rodney reached out and lifted John's chin, looking into stoned, sad eyes. "I didn't give up on you then, and I won't now."
John smiled and slumped against Rodney's chest, finally relaxing.