It all started when they discovered Healing Station Argh. Or, okay, it actually started when Chuck found Pegasus cable. Apparently Ancient gateroom techs didn't spend their entire night shifts trying to ascend; one night Chuck pressed something that made a screen fold and see-saw out of a sliding panel, and after the necessary yelling ("You idiot! That could have done anything! You could have – have switched on a sensor, or something, or damaged the gate! What were you even doing?" "You know, Dr. McKay, I have spent four years working with this equipment, and I do have a PhD from MIT." "In what, Renaissance sculpture?"), McKay decided that the screen didn't present any immediate threat and wasn't going to help either destroy the Wraith or find a ZPM, so he delegated it to Simpson. She found a signal, boosted it, managed to hook up some speakers, and there it was: Pegasus cable, in fuzzy picture and pretty excellent sound. They were kind of in the middle of some pretty urgent repairs to the sewage system, so Simpson delegated responsibility to Chuck, Sarek and Hoffman (Atlantis' two full-time anthropologists, just back from six months on the planet of the kids and in need of some serious downtime), and left them to it.
It was later that day that John got the call.
"No, seriously, John, get down here right now," Rodney said, and it sounded like he'd been running, so John was pretty freaked out, and ran too. He burst into the television room just as Rodney was yelling at Teyla, "I can't believe you knew about this!"
Teyla had her feet up and her hands folded on her round belly, and looked pissed, but not alarmed, so John's inner alarm dialled back a few notches.
"It never seemed relevant," Teyla said.
"Didn't seem relevant that every time we've gone to a planet for the last four years we've been – John! Can you believe this?"
He whirled around, red-faced, and pointed at the mute rec-room TV screen like it had stolen the last of his coffee. John looked at it. A pretty young guy was leaning over a pale woman in what was clearly an infirmary bed, clasping her hand intently. Then two other women were helping him prepare some medical-looking instruments, laying them down in trays of green liquid. The woman had what looked like an animal horn sticking out of her chest.
"Hey, do we have Pegasus cable? Cool!"
"Oh, for - yes, yes, very cool, could you please keep up? Look at what's playing!"
"So Pegasus has E.R., McKay. What's the big deal?"
"Look," Rodney almost shrieked, and jabbed at the screen, making the display ripple bruised colours around his fingertip. "Doesn't he look, oh, the tiniest bit familiar?"
John looked some more. Then something about the kid in the black smock, his grim expression as he did something with a pointy sharp thing to the woman's chest, before the camera moved to the face of the woman holding a blood bag, sparked something in John's memory.
"Hey," he said, "He does look kind of familiar."
"Oh my god, you are such a moron. Okay, listen," Rodney said, and turned up the volume.
"Healer Ral, she hasn't got much time!" blood-bag-lady said.
"I can do it," the young guy said. His voice was surprisingly deep, and his shoulders were wide and his arms were long and he had a slight dimple and the beginnings of laughter lines around his eyes and it was – holy shit, holy shit, it was fucking Ronon.
"Well, of course," Teyla said, apparently in response to something Rodney had said while John stared at the younger, skinnier Ronon, the tattoos, dreads, beard and the weight of seven years' running from the Wraith just – not there. "Everyone on Athos watched Healing Station Argh."
"Healing Station what?"
"Argh. It is the first letter of the Satedan alphabet, like your 'alpha'. The show is set in the capital city. It ran for many years before the threat of the Wraith began. Ronon played Healer Ral. He was a primary character for four cycles."
Rodney turned to John and waved his hands around, and did that thing where he looked like his head was about to explode. John could sympathize; the sheer number of possible Holy Grail jokes versus the probability that Teyla would kill them was kind of overwhelming. On the screen, young Ronon said, earnest and grim-faced, stitching up the woman's chest as a nurse mopped his forehead with a cloth, "If we don't stop this monster, it's going to kill again."
"But what can we do?" breathed the lady holding the blood-bag.
"I've got to go out there," Ronon said.
"Ah, this is the Monster of Jaresh plotline!" Teyla said. "This is towards the end of Ronon's second story cycle. It ended in a great deal of suspense, if I recall correctly, and there were riots at the broadcast station on Sateda until the coalition issued a statement that neither Ral nor Karna would die in the rock fall."
Rodney collapsed onto the chair next to John with an whimper, and they watched for a little longer in silence. After a couple more seconds, the story moved on to some other woman in the black healer's smock, who seemed to be trying to talk a kid down from jumping out of a window.
"Ah," said Teyla. "That is Karna. She is Ral's love interest. I believe they pledged their love at the end of cycle three, before she contracted the plague on Kallari Moon Nine and left him to raise her love-child conceived with Ral's twin, Siman. She did not realize it was his twin at the time, of course."
"Oh god," Rodney said weakly, "Ronon was in Pegasus General Hospital."
The briefing was pretty excruciating. They all watched the opening credits of Healing Station Argh in silence, as 'Ronon Dex as: Healer Ral!' scrolled vertically across the screen in mauve, calligraphic typeface over a still-frame of his toothy, scrunchy-eyed grin, which looked adorable rather than terrifying on the lanky kid in the black doctor's smock, and then McKay switched it off, and they sat there in silence.
"Does this compromise our position in any way?" Carter said at last.
"Well, I for one would like to have known that practically everyone we've traded with for the past four years was trying to get into Healer Ral's pants," Rodney snapped. "I can't believe I thought the constant coercive sex rituals were for him." He jerked his head at John, and Carter looked at Rodney, then John, then back at Rodney. Rodney's ears went red, and Teyla rubbed her eyebrow and examined something in the corner of the room in that way she did when she was trying not to smile.
John didn't even know where to look, and he finally managed, "They were for Teyla, Rodney, Jesus."
"Oh, please, I can't believe you –"
"I think it is more likely that, if anything," Teyla said loudly, "it has affected our trading position in a more positive manner than Doctor McKay -"
"Ronon!" Carter said, slightly desperately. "Has anyone… recognised you? Do you think we need to worry about this?"
"No," Ronon said. He was slouched back in his chair, playing with one of his knives. He'd been really monosyllabic since they'd found the TV, the worst he'd been since they'd met him, which John figured meant he was embarrassed or pissed off. Probably both. "It was a long time ago. Couple of people have said stuff. Not many."
It suddenly struck John that the tattoos, the dreads, the beard, might be more than just a leftover from seven years on the run. That being instantly recognisable to half the galaxy might have made it kind of difficult to hide from the Wraith. He wondered if the Wraith watched TV.
"All right, then," Carter said. "Well, it would have been better if you'd told us, and the IOA will probably want to interview you again, but if it hasn't come up yet, I can't imagine it will be a problem. Teyla and Ronon, Drs. Sarek and Hoffman wonder if they could have a moment of your time to ask you about the show's production and circulation. Now, Rodney, if we could move on to sewage removal, please?"
There seemed to be only one channel, and the signal faded in and out, sometimes disappearing for hours at a time, in response to some complicated sequence of orbital coincidences preventing a satellite somewhere in the region of star cluster 398D from singing to them its lonely paean to interplanetary, coalition-produced television. But pretty soon they found other screens around the place, and had one up running 24-7 in the mess and a few of the rec rooms.
The only sport that aired frequently was something a lot like competitive cross-stitching, and the marines quickly lost interest, after a few optimistically-named 'game nights'; after a couple of weeks the only people still following it, so far as John could tell, were Zelenka and a couple of the biologists, who had started meeting surreptitiously and exchanging weird charts sketched on graph paper. There were current events programs, which turned out to be a goldmine of information about the rise and fall of governments on twenty different planets, as of a decade ago; there were cooking shows, music concerts, documentaries about geology and comparative war dress and plays of harvest shows, and something involving large, grunting pig-like things and a guy wearing a giant hat that might have been a comedy, all of which the anthropologists fell on. And there was the hospital drama serial, repeated twice a day, at about eleven and twenty one hundred hours. It was an instant hit.
Rodney assumed the craze would die down, once people got over the novelty of TV they hadn't all seen a thousand times. But the thing was, it didn't. Ronon loomed terrifyingly over the first few people who asked him for autographs and/or behind-the-scenes tidbits, and most of them managed to keep the stares under control after that, but Teyla seemed to have the whole show memorized, and had the city eating out of her hand, although she was careful not to mention it if Ronon was in earshot.
The whole thing seemed to have freaked John out in some unspecified way - ie. the only way things ever freaked John out - and he was no help to Rodney in avoiding it, just stalked around darkly like a weird vampire, doing an about-face every time he came up against a screen playing it, and seemed to be shooting targets with Ronon a lot. Rodney tried to aim for aloof and dignified, but having studiously avoided seeing any of the episodes since the briefing, he still knew just from overheard conversations that in Monday's episode, Ral had saved four children from a burning building and Karna had patched up her argument with Healer Shan, and on Tuesday, Shan had made out with Underhealer Pesle in a closet and been caught by her jealous co-worker, who had threatened to blackmail them. On Wednesday, the inter-departmental competitive cross-stitching championship, which Ral was tipped to win, had been interrupted by a mass poisoning at a wedding.
Eventually, Rodney gave in to boredom and Teyla standing impatiently at his door waving popcorn and being somehow more pregnant than usual, and sat down with her to watch one of the episodes already up on the server. Then another. They were halfway through the third when John marched in, totally without warning, making Rodney jump. Rodney squeaked embarrassingly, and John blanched like he'd walked in on them having sex. He twitched a little, apparently torn between running for the door or composing his how could you do this to me? face. Rodney decided it was best to brazen it out.
"Look, Radek and Teyla kept telling me the plot, okay? I got hooked! It's actually not that bad! And the cinematography's really interesting. They make all these weird direction choices, like – look, there, see how this entire scene's shot from above? And the soundtrack, it's got Mongolian throat-singing or something, and then they have these random birdsong noises set to a bass line."
"I'll just, ah," John said, obviously preparing to make the transition to his I'm going now because I am uncomfortable face – Rodney sometimes worried that he knew John's repertoire of faces so well – but just as Rodney tried to think of a response that would save his dignity and be devastatingly cutting about John's blatant jealousy that Ronon had turned out to be the George Clooney of the Pegasus galaxy, they were both distracted by a sound from the TV screen. They looked over to find it filled with Healer Ral making out with the hot woman healer. Ronon – Ral - and Karna were really going at it, the camera slowly zooming in from above at a really weird angle that let you see the way his eyelashes fanned softly on his face, the concentrated expression on both their faces, and the wet flashes of tongue, while the sound of water played on the soundtrack, punctuated by weird barking sounds. Then, suddenly, the sounds of water got louder, and the camera was looking up at Karna's ass and the shape of Ronon's hand moving under her skirt.
"Wow," Rodney said, a little weakly. John didn't say anything, obviously deciding that a Lieutenant Colonel maintained a manly silence at a moment like this.
"Do not turn it off, John," Teyla said, and John turned his aborted grab for the remote into an elaborate stretch, then shoved his hands into his pockets and slouched, still standing. On the screen, there was a gushing sound as Karna threw her head back, and the young Ronon growled and licked down her throat like he was going to eat her alive.
"Ronon was an excellent actor," said Teyla warmly, "I remember finding this scene very erotic."
John choked on nothing, and coughed, his ears turning bright red, as Karna smiled seductively up at Ronon, and walked over to the dresser in her underwear to rummage for something in the top drawer. Ronon stripped quickly, the camera only showing the top half of his torso. He really was skinnier, and he had a sculpted, model's body, the kind Rodney had only ever seen by hotel pools in California. It was weird, Rodney mused, how the kind of body you got from being fit enough to kill twenty people with your bare hands looked totally different from the kind of body you saw on Calvin Klein ads, and way more attractive, somehow.
Onscreen, Karna pulled a wooden box out of the dresser. Ronon and Karna kissed some more, making sloppy, hungry noises, and the air in Rodney's room suddenly seemed a little dry. Beside Rodney, John shifted, and Teyla kind of shimmied a little and pressed her thigh closer against herself where it was tucked underneath her. Somehow, maybe because they were safe at home in Atlantis, in Rodney's darkened quarters, with nobody watching, the coercive sex rituals had never been quite this - intimately awkward.
Karna took out of the box a weird, curvy sculpture, a single piece of shiny black stone or metal or something, with a bulb on one end bending up at an angle, and at the other, a long arm, in an 'L' shape. She handed it to Ronon, and he kissed the bulbous end, looking intensely into her eyes. Someone made a low, appreciative noise - Rodney hoped it was Karna, but he had a horrible suspicion it might have been Teyla - and suddenly they had a full-on view of Karna's fantastic breasts, which jiggled as she brought the weird sculpture which was, holy crap, actually a dildo down and, presumably, slid it up into herself, and a bolt of shocked heat kicked Rodney in the stomach as he realized where this was going. John didn't seem to get it until Ronon turned around and threw himself down onto the bed, getting onto his hands and knees and looking back at her, at the camera, and growled, "Karna. Please." Then the camera swept forward along the length of Ronon's spine and away into blurriness as a deep, masculine groan filled the soundtrack.
Snapping into action, and moving way too jerkily for a man who wasn't trying to hide an erection, Sheppard lunged forward and jabbed at the laptop until Healing Station Argh froze on a still-frame of a pair of forceps.
"Um," Rodney croaked finally. "I don't think they ever did that on General Hospital."
Teyla was looking between them, a crease between her eyes. "Did that scene disturb you? I must admit that the style of production has not dated as well as I would have thought. Nor has Ronon's hair."
"That," John said fervently, his voice husky, and oh god, this was not helping Rodney get himself together, "was not network rules."
"Most of your movies contain sex," Teyla said. "As does your television."
"But not with –" Rodney said, and found he couldn't quite get the words out with her frowning at him, "With the – the thing! She was going to –"
He tried to make a gesture that wouldn't be construed as totally offensive but would convey adequately that they had just seen a hot nurse fuck Ronon with a double-ended dildo on a prime time hospital drama. Teyla tilted her head to the side and frowned.
"The wangkum? I admit it was a little ostentatiously moralizing, but the show was broadcast on many more conservative worlds, and children might be watching."
John made that strangled noise again. Rodney wondered if he should slap him on the back, or something. The crease in Teyla's forehead was getting deeper.
"You have – you have truly never seen a wangkum before? But what do you - you are not seriously telling me that you use those disgusting rubber sheaths unless you intend to conceive?"
"Well, or the pill," Rodney managed. Teyla covered her mouth with her hand. Then she started to laugh. And laugh.
"Oh – oh, I am sorry – now I realize why Carson always – and Jennifer – oh dear." She flapped a hand, and burst into giggles again. "John, I am sorry, your face."
She tapped at her radio, still laughing so much she could barely get the words out, and John turned a freaked-out look on Rodney. "Ronon. Ronon. You must come to Rodney's room right now. You will not – you will not believe – oh, excuse me, I must pee."
She pulled herself up and jogged into Rodney's bathroom, still practically doubled over she was laughing so hard. When the door slid shut behind her, they could still hear her muffled snorts. John and Rodney looked at the picture of Madison and cake that had popped up on Rodney's screensaver.
"So," Rodney managed, after it had safely gone, since John looked like his eyes were about to pop out and he was pretty sure the military had no protocol for this, "Pegasus developed pegging into an art form instead of inventing condoms? I can't believe it took us four years to learn that. "
"Pegging," said John. "Is that -"
"Um," said Rodney, and, god, this was almost worse than when his father had walked in on him watching porn. "I believe that's the standard idiom."
Rodney surreptitiously grabbed a pillow and hugged it over his lap, as John stared fixedly at the screen. It was too dark to tell if he was hard out of the corner of Rodney's eye, and he tried not to give into the urge to just take a quick look. Then John jolted as if he'd been electrified, and he turned on Rodney slowly, saying in his slowed-down, careful, don't panic, but - voice, "Didn't, uh, didn't Elizabeth used to have a couple of those?"
"The ambassador from that planet with the purple tree-monkeys gave them to her," Rodney said, in growing horror. "He said it was a gesture to encourage friendly relations, oh my god."
"She can't have known what they were," John said. He sounded hopeful.
They sat in glum silence until Teyla stumbled out of the bathroom and Ronon stuck his head around the door and said, "This had better not be about that fucking show," until Teyla explained, and then the laughing started all over again.
"You're pink," Ronon said. Sheppard went pinker. This was the best fucking time Ronon'd had all week. He'd have to remember to get Teyla some extra pudding.
"I am not."
"You really are," Rodney agreed, and took another gulp of his beer.
"I am sorry I embarrassed you," Teyla said, as gently as she could when she was still flushed and pretty from laughing, "I truly had no idea that the use of a wangkum was so – exotic among your people."
"But don't they, you know," Rodney said, waving his hand, leaning forward like he did in meetings when he was actually interested, "fall out? I thought you needed straps?"
Teyla shot Ronon a hysterical look, and Ronon stifled the laugh that was threatening to break out, then took a swig of his beer.
"Pelvic floor exercises are part of any woman's basic physical training," said Teyla. "Use of the wangkum requires a little practice, of course, but that is no different from any other sexual act. Pleasing orally, for example -"
"Could you just," John said, taking a deep breath through his nose, but he didn't get to the end of the sentence.
"It feels good," Ronon said, taking pity on him. "Why not?"
Rodney nodded, and John whirled on him. Rodney flushed. "What? I had an adventurous girlfriend once. Come on, haven't you ever heard of the prostate?"
John was seriously red, now. Ronon was embarrassed for him. The ranking military officer, and the only virgin in the room. That had to suck.
"Seriously, never?!" Rodney was saying, never knowing when to quit. "Not even fingers?"
"Jesus Christ, McKay –"
Teyla's eyes went big. "Then you have never - "
"Look," John gritted out, "If this is a problem for everyone -"
"Of course not, John," Teyla said bracingly. "I must apologise, I had assumed you were an ice farmer."
She scooted back on the bed, so that her t-shirt rode up on her belly. She had some milky stretch marks coming above her hips, and it made Ronon ache a little. Rodney stared too, his mouth slightly open, obviously derailed from whatever he was about to say. Then Ronon realized that John was kind of gaping too.
"She thought you swam upriver," he clarified.
"Um," said Rodney, "Nope, no dice."
"I assumed you… hunted with spears," Teyla said delicately. "Liked allanas with your rashk. You know."
"Took the dirt track. Rode three-legged."
Teyla glared. "Ronon, that is disgusting."
John squinted at her. Rodney was going slowly red, his mouth twisting up at the side.
"Um," he said, "guys, you might not want to – wait, an ice farmer?"
"You can plant all you like, but nothing grows," Teyla explained. "You have never heard the term? I thought I had heard a similar euphemism used by Radek once."
"And what the hell's a rashk?"
"It is a kind of gourd."
"Could someone tell me what the hell is going on?" Sheppard said intensely, and Rodney rolled his eyes. He mostly looked like laughing, but he kept darting these worried, hungry little looks at Sheppard. Ronon felt a pang of realization, then sympathy. Oh, shit. Poor McKay. He'd kept that hidden pretty well.
"For Christ's sake, John, she thought you were gay," Rodney snapped, but about as gently as Ronon had ever heard him.
John opened and closed his mouth like a klog fish. "What. But why would you – Teyla, you – you know me, you know I don't –"
"I apologise, John," she said smoothly. "Clearly I was mistaken."
"Well, yeah," he said, red in the face and looking slightly constipated, and Rodney looked away.
"Rodney," Teyla said loudly. "Do you have any more episodes of Lost?"
"Oh," Rodney said, "Um, yes, absolutely."
John slunk out about five minutes later, trying to be unobtrusive.
"Rodney, although I would normally hesitate to say this," Teyla said, as soon as he'd gone, "your customs are ridiculous."
"Oh, believe me, they're not my customs," Rodney said glumly, peeling the label off his beer bottle.
"You farming any ice out here, Rodney?" Ronon said, taking a swig, and wondering if the big white bear was going to show up again.
"If the ice wanted to be farmed," he said, ripping another strip from the glass, "I'd be doing so much farming I'd have frostbite in places you don't even want to know about."
One thing Ronon liked about Rodney, he had a real way with metaphor.
On the spur of the moment, he said, "I might."
Rodney stopped peeling the bottle, and stared. Teyla flicked a glance at Ronon from under her eyelashes, then at Rodney.
"I might want to know," Ronon said, still not really thinking about what he was doing, easing his shoulders back into a non-threatening slouch, letting his thighs fall apart the tiniest fraction. Rodney's eyes flicked downwards for the slightest second, and Ronon felt a warm buzz of satisfaction. Then Rodney looked away quickly, back at the TV. "Okay," he said loudly. "Wow, I've had a lot of beer, I'm going to, um," and he nearly knocked his chair over going into the bathroom.
"It isn't fair to tease him," Teyla said quietly, when McKay had closed the door.
Ronon stretched, showing off a little, and her lips twitched.
"Wasn't teasing. I'd do him, if he's into guys. Wouldn't you?"
Teyla rubbed at her lip, and looked towards the bathroom. "Perhaps," she said, even more quietly. "Before this year, definitely not. I believe it would have - well, you know."
"Made him even more of a dick."
"Exactly. But now - perhaps."
"He's got a great ass."
Rodney came back in then, looking flustered, chin up. "Anyone want any more beer?" he said, and bent to open his fridge. Ronon tried not to laugh as Teyla tilted her head and made a show of checking out Rodney's behind, then raised an eyebrow at Ronon. Then she licked her lips, slowly and deliberately, and Ronon snorted beer on Rodney's bedspread.
They left Rodney's quarters together, later, and Ronon followed her back to her room. When they reached her door, he struck a pose next to her door, towering over her with his hips cocked, elbow on the wall, and grinned as she chuckled. It was good to see her look happy, it had been a while. "Need a partner for the night, lady?"
She trailed her finger up the bare skin above his collar. "I believe I would not turn down a little partnership tonight."
Ronon let her pull him into her quarters.
"I imagine this has not been a pleasant week for you," she said, stripping off her top in one smooth movement, her biceps and shoulders gleaming, and unhooked her bra - Ronon still hadn't got the hang of the weird fastenings - baring her breasts.
"It's getting better," Ronon said, and went to her.
"I had forgotten," she gasped, head tipping back as she lowered herself down onto him slowly, slick, sliding heat enfolding him, "Oh - Ronon - yes, that's so good - how beautiful you were, then."
Ronon reached forward to slide his thumb up through her wetness over the dark nub of her pleasure, and she sighed.
"I'm not beautiful anymore?"
Her eyes snapped open. "Oh, Ronon, of course, I did not mean -"
She stopped and smiled a little when she saw he was teasing, then leaned down to stroke both her hands over his shoulders, down his ribs, scraping his nipples with her thumbnails and letting one finger trail over his tattoo. "You are a man now. A most desirable man. But you were a beautiful boy. I remember how I watched you -"
She shifted her weight onto her thighs and rocked back and up, then took him into herself fully again, and slid a hand down to rub a finger over her clit around Ronon's still-moving thumb, her face serene and shiny with sweat, lost in herself.
"I touched myself," she whispered, "Like this."
The image of a young - teenage? - Teyla, like this, biting her lip, one hand between her legs, rocking back and forth, was pretty inspiring, and Ronon had to pinch his thigh to keep a hold of himself. She didn't give him any time, though, just bore down on him, using all her extra pregnancy weight.
"Teyla," he husked, warning her, flicking his thumb over her clit. She was panting fast and hard, she was close.
"If my friends could see me now," she said, and her grin was predatory, hungry. "Yes - Ronon - ah, yes -"
Her face went concentrated and slack, her head fell forward, and she shuddered and tightened around him, gasping in deep breaths. She held him pinned with her thighs as she came, then she looked down at him through bright, glassy eyes.
"Teyla." He sounded way too desperate, that always made her drag it out. Teyla could be kind of mean in bed, although good-mean. Actually, Ronon loved it. Tonight wasn't going to be one of those nights, though, apparently.
"Would you like me to suck you?" she murmured, grinning and a little dazed-looking and beautiful.
"No," Ronon gritted out, trying to move her hips on top of him but not able to get the right leverage to lift her. "You know what I want, Teyla -"
She braced her hands on his chest and rocked, fucking herself on him, until he came helplessly, groaning. She loved it when he was noisy. At first it had made him feel embarrassed and stupid, but he made the effort, because you'd have to be an idiot not to do whatever the hell Teyla wanted you to do in bed, and Ronon wasn't an idiot.
He didn't sleep in her room, because she had to get up a lot in the night, with the pregnancy and everything, and liked to stretch out in the bed anyway, but she napped with him for half an hour before nudging him out of bed. Ronon had been trying to ask for quite a few minutes, but hadn't been able to get the words together, because he was scared of what she'd say, but finally he bit his lip and got it out.
"When you first met me," he said, and when he stopped, Teyla turned to look at him, face serious and kind, and Ronon relaxed, because he was going to hear the truth, and it was going to be okay.
"I did not recognise you at first," she said, "And when I did, it no longer mattered."
"And -" Ronon gestured between them, not sure how to articulate the question.
"I desire you for your kindness, and your humour, and your strength," Teyla said, smiling a little. "Not your medical prowess."
"Right," Ronon said, falling back onto the bed and grinning, lightened of a weight he hadn't even known he'd been carrying.
"That reminds me," Teyla said, turning onto her side with a sigh, slowly walking her fingers down Ronon's arm. A smile was dancing around her mouth, and she wouldn't meet his eyes. Ronon propped himself up on his elbows, curiosity aroused, because if Teyla was embarrassed, this had to be good.
"I thought more about your suggestion," Teyla said, still not meeting his eyes, but the smile was beginning to break out. Teyla never blushed, but Teyla flustered was a beautiful thing. "Concerning Rodney."
"Unless you wanted him to yourself -"
Ronon planted a wet, smacking kiss on her nose, not able to resist. "More fun with three."
"I did not know you were at all interested in -" Teyla caught her breath and let her head fall back as Ronon sucked on her neck, at the point where it met her collarbone, using his teeth a little, "ice farming."
Ronon had only ever idly thought about McKay, the way you do, sometimes, bored or jerking off and having some trouble; the way he snapped his fingers, fixing things, and the way his mouth twisted to the side when he drew a weapon. It had taken Ronon a long time to get beyond wanting to strangle McKay half the time, and he still couldn't deal sometimes with the way Rodney could go in the blink of an eye from being a guy you'd want to fight beside to the end, to the biggest fucking liability he'd ever met. But that happened a lot less, these days. And sometimes he could be so sweet, when you least expected it. And he was never boring.
"You're growing enough for all of us," he said, and pressed Teyla flat on her back and stuck his tongue in her belly button until she squealed and kicked him in the face.
"I really don't understand why you're being such a freak about this," Rodney was whispering loudly, "Their customs are different from our customs, it's not like you didn't know that. And, anyway, are you seriously telling me that every woman you've slept with in this galaxy has wanted your gene-saturated babies? Did it not even come up with what's-her-name, Larrin? Um, no pun intended."
"She looked like the type, is all I'm saying! Don't tell me you wouldn't have gone for it. You thought that thing with Ronon was hot, admit it."
"Go fuck yourself, McKay –"
"Hey," Ronon said, sitting down next to them. "What're you talking about?"
"Nothing," John said, poking his potato violently with a fork. Rodney turned a little pink, shot a few worried glances at Ronon, then seemed to decide he hadn't heard, and mumbled something about going back to work. John gave him a wide, aggressively fake smile which dropped off his face the second Rodney looked away, then he just watched as Rodney shelved his tray in the wrong stack, face blank. It was scary, the way he did that.
"What's up?" Ronon said, and finished his second banana.
"Nothing," John muttered again. Ronon eyed him. John blew a breath through his nose, and rubbed the back of his neck. "Look, it's not – I just – it's not a big deal, okay? It's none of his goddamn business."
"Okay," said Ronon. With Sheppard, he'd found, a lot of the time it was better to just not go there. "Whatever."
That didn't seem like a good day to approach Rodney. In the end, Ronon got Rodney on his own in a corridor the next day, when Rodney was taking lunch back to the lab.
"Hey, Rodney," he said, "Wanna have sex with me tonight?"
Rodney dropped his tray and got soup everywhere, and spluttered, "What - you - you can't just - " his eyes bugging out of his head. "Are you serious?!"
Rodney's face changed, suddenly, like he hadn't even heard, and he said, hard and low, "Is this because of how I - because of John? Are you making fun of me?"
Teyla had said to Ronon once that people were only assholes when they'd been taught how to be, and that McKay was a very fast learner. She hadn't put it exactly like that, but it had stayed with Ronon. The longer he knew Rodney, the less often Ronon wanted to kill him, and the more he wanted to kill everyone who'd ever treated Rodney like shit.
"Nope," Ronon said, and stroked Rodney's neck, just where his hair was spiky and short, soft against the pad of his finger. Rodney stared. "My place, twenty two hundred. Teyla'll be there."
"T-Teyla?" Rodney's voice cracked a little, backing up as Ronon moved into his space a little.
Rodney smelled good, sharp and clean, and his t-shirt stretched tight over his chest. Ronon looked him over appreciatively, let Rodney see him looking. Rodney was backed up against the wall now, eyes huge. Ronon caught his hands and brought them to his waist, settled Rodney's palms there. Rodney stroked up and down Ronon's ribs meditatively, staring at his hands like he couldn't believe what they were doing, as Ronon tried to keep still. Rodney's hands were big, and deceptively gentle, and thinking about Rodney using them on him was making him more twitchy than he'd expected.
"You're - you're really serious?" Rodney said, finally.
Rodney licked his lips nervously, then took a deep breath and smoothed his hands up over Ronon's chest, over his shoulders. He took another deep breath, and squeezed Ronon's biceps a little, his expression gone strange and distant, a little frown creasing his forehead. Despite himself, Ronon suddenly kind of wanted to fuck him right there in the corridor.
"Wow," Rodney said, then stood on tiptoe and brushed a kiss onto Ronon's mouth, sweet and soft, and Ronon found himself paralysed, staring at McKay's mouth, lips tingling and every nerve standing on end. Rodney cleared his throat and stepped back, taking a bit more of Ronon's composure with him.
"Well. It's going to be a long day." His mouth was twisted, and his eyes were blue, hungry. Ronon's mouth was dry. He was going to have to go beat up Sheppard or something to get through today.
"That's a yes?"
"Of course it's a yes, you idiot, do you think I'm insane?"
"'Kay," Ronon said, trying to remember why he'd decided jumping Rodney right now wasn't a good idea. Right, Teyla. Teyla would be pissed. Plus, there was soup on the floor. "Sorry about your lunch," he said. "I'll get you more."
"Oh," Rodney said, colouring a little, giving him a hesitant smile, "That would be - yes, um, thank you."
"Jesus," Ronon said, and grabbed him by the collar, tilted his head up and kissed him hard, hot and wet with his tongue in his mouth, until Rodney groaned loudly and stopped squeezing Ronon's ass to tug at his hair.
"Much as I would like to take the whole afternoon off to continue this," he said, breathing hard, his mouth red, "I really, really have to go back to work now. Go get me some lunch. Okay? Ronon?"
He clicked his fingers in front of Ronon's face. Ronon caught them before he could stop himself, and sucked Rodney's index finger into his mouth. Rodney's eyes rolled back in his head, and he slumped back against the wall, groaning. "Oh my god. My productivity is so shot for today. I can't believe you do guys. How did I not know you do guys?"
"Guess you're not that smart," Ronon said, as Rodney stroked his wet finger over the tattoo on Ronon's neck, staring intently like he wanted to take him to pieces to find out how he worked then put him together again better, faster, stronger.
Ronon cleared his throat. "I'll go get your lunch," he said.
"I didn't know whether I should bring flowers, or -" Rodney said, hands empty at his sides. He was wearing jeans and one of his older, worn t-shirts with an incomprehensible slogan on it, which moulded around his shoulders and looked very soft.
"Come in, Rodney," Teyla said. Ronon was already sprawled out on his bed, hands behind his head, looking far too pleased with himself.
"I mean, enthusiastic as I am, this isn't exactly a Hallmark situation, and I wasn't sure I hadn't hallucinated the whole thing, because, let's face it, it does seem a little unlikely, and -"
Teyla pressed her finger over his lips, and he froze instantly and stopped talking. She took a second to enjoy that. Then she kissed him. His hands immediately fluttered to rest on her shoulders, but he didn't grab or push, as she had imagined he would. At first he slid his lips against hers, reluctant to take her mouth, then he at last allowed her to enter, stroked his tongue hesitantly against hers, and she made a satisfied sound, meaning to encourage him, even though his mouth tasted unpleasantly of coffee. He pulled out of the kiss suddenly, taking a sharp breath.
"God," he said, "Teyla, I can't - I don't know if I'm -"
He was skittish, apparently unsure as to whether to look at the door or her breasts, and, conscious that he was seconds away from leaving in a panic, Teyla reached for him and pulled him into an embrace, pressing her forehead against his and willing him to steady his breathing, breathe with her. He did. He was shaking a little, under her hands, and she remembered that there had been several reasons she had been hesitant to offer him this. Somehow, she had thought this one, too, was no longer important.
"It is all right, Rodney," she whispered. "We love you. Both of us."
He was silent for a moment. He brushed her neck with his thumb. "You do?"
She drew back, genuinely surprised, but his face was as guileless as only Rodney's could be, and so hopeful it made her heart stutter and catch. "How can you doubt that?"
"I -" he said, looking into her face, and suddenly he looked so, so young that Teyla almost could not stand to see it. Then his mouth quirked downward, and he looked, instead, too old. "I'm a scientist. I doubt everything."
"Get over it," Ronon said, from the bed. He was sitting up, watching them intently, eyes gleaming. "Kiss her, McKay. You can do better than that."
Rodney blinked. Then his eyes narrowed, and Teyla silently blessed Ronon, even as she tried not to roll her eyes. Of course the opportunity to compete would calm Rodney more than anything else. She would just have to keep control of the situation, as she did not particularly want to become the prize.
"All right, don't get pushy," Rodney said, and took her face between his hands. His mouth was wet, and he was still too hesitant, but she made herself welcome him, and was surprised at how much more eager she became with Rodney's hands in her hair, his solid, large body pressed against hers. She became so lost in it that she forgot that Ronon was there, and was startled when he pressed a scratchy kiss to the nape of her neck. Rodney stiffened against her, then moaned into her mouth, and she felt Ronon's hot breath on her hair between Rodney's fingers as Ronon kissed them, too. Then she was held between the two men, Rodney bent back a little to accommodate her belly, but Ronon moulded against her back. For a moment it was almost suffocating, frightening, and she drew back from Rodney reflexively; Ronon muttered something into her ear, and reached around to touch her stomach as he did sometimes, solemn and yearning, and then it was all right again.
"Hey, McKay," Ronon said, and Rodney straightened up so Teyla was looking directly at his chin. She realized, slightly disgruntled, that they were both tall enough to talk over her head. A disadvantage to sharing herself with two men at once that she had not anticipated.
"Hi," said Rodney, sounding breathless. Then Ronon leaned to kiss Rodney over Teyla, and Rodney made a snorting, happy noise as he stood on tiptoe to meet him, leaning on Teyla's shoulders. Teyla, stifled against Rodney's chest and trying not to laugh, ran the tips of her fingers over Rodney's stomach - his t-shirt was soft - and he squeaked and dropped down onto the flats of his feet again, losing Ronon's mouth.
"That is totally unfair," Rodney said, his eyes shining.
"If you are going to kiss him," Teyla said, "I would prefer a better view."
"We can do that," Ronon said, and he picked her up and swung her in his arms. She shrieked, laughing, and slapped at his head for appearance's sake, as he deposited her on the bed as gently as a baby.
"You are too kind," she told him gravely, and Rodney burst out laughing behind them.
"You ready for this, McKay?" Ronon said, then, stalking towards Rodney, and Teyla arranged herself more comfortably on the bed, happier than she remembered being in a long time, and able, for this space of time, to forget why that was.
"Er," said Rodney, then, as Ronon got closer and began to stretch out his hands, "Oh, no no no, you had better not be doing what I think you're about to do, you maniac, or I swear to god - no! Get off, you - Teyla!"
Then he shrieked like a child, and the two of them collapsed onto the floor, rolling over and over until Teyla would have been afraid for her lamp, if she hadn't been laughing too much to care, Ronon still tickling Rodney, although he seemed fairly incapacitated with laughter. One second Rodney was beating him over the head with a copy of a mission report, yelling between breathless, slightly panicked laughter, then they were kissing hungrily, Rodney lying on top of Ronon, Ronon's hands cupping Rodney's behind and one of his legs between Rodney's own. Rodney snaked a hand under Ronon's t-shirt and pinched the soft skin of his stomach viciously, and Ronon jerked under him, then started to laugh again.
"Asshole," Rodney muttered, and kissed him until Teyla could not bear it anymore, the urgent grip of Rodney's fingers on Ronon's arms, the way they pushed back and forth at each other, and slid a hand under the waistband of her pants, down between her legs, and pressed down with the heel of her hand to relieve the tingling ache. She must have made a sound; Rodney looked up, and said, husky, "Oh, Jesus, there's a picture," and clambered off Ronon, his erection a heavy and solid shape under his layers of clothing, and he came to her, lay beside her and kissed her again, less carefully, this time.
"Undress me," Teyla hissed, "Now, Rodney."
"Right, yes, absolutely," Rodney said, and started on the fastenings of her shirt, before Teyla became impatient and pulled it off over her head.
With her breasts bare, Rodney went gratifyingly quiet and wide-eyed; Teyla shivered at the scrape of his dry, warm palm over her nipple, and then gasped and threw her head back as he bent his head and suckled her, gently at first, then using his teeth a little, watching her through his long, soft eyelashes. She stroked his cheek - soft; he'd shaved, she realized, and was absurdly touched - letting him bite at her breasts, one after the other, until the edge of pleasure shuddered abruptly over into pain.
"Enough," she gritted out. "Please - now -"
She closed her eyes, and let Ronon lift her hips and slide her pants off, taking her underwear with them.
"Um, should I, oh god," said Rodney, above her, "I mean, I don't know what you want me to - I can, I can just watch, if that's what you'd -"
"Oh, for heaven's sake," Teyla said, and glared up at him, barely able to think beyond the ache and cry of her body. Since the end of her first trimester, she had caught herself watching men in the corridors, had to stop herself dragging Ronon out of the mess hall, once; she did not remember feeling like this since the six months of celibacy she had undergone leading to her Passing ceremony, and it was difficult to manage, unsettling. She breathed deeply. "Take off your clothes," she said. "Ronon. Help him."
Ronon was already naked, a fact that had apparently escaped Rodney's notice too, because he jumped comically when Ronon pressed up against him from behind and licked his ear.
"Wow," he said. "You're - very naked."
"Yup," Ronon said. "Wanna join me?"
Rodney hesitated. He looked at Teyla helplessly. "I'm not -" he said, "I really don't know why - I mean, John, I could understand, but - look at you. Both of you."
"Stop fucking around, Rodney," Ronon growled in his ear. "I want to see you fuck her."
Rodney's eyes fluttered closed as Ronon reached around and started unbuttoning his pants, and Teyla felt the same urgent heat throb in her, making her breath hitch.
"I didn't bring anything, any - protection," Rodney was saying, "I assumed you'd want to - I mean, do you want to use the, the thing?"
"I want you inside me," Teyla said, and Rodney groaned, then louder as Ronon slid his hand inside his fly. Rodney's whole body jerked, and Teyla, desperate, pressed one slick finger inside herself slowly, the sensation of opening around it excruciatingly good. "As you can see," she managed, hardly sounding like herself, "It is a little late to worry about conceiving with me. And I know you have no diseases."
Rodney was kissing Ronon again, both of them bare-chested now, milk and tea against each other. Rodney's torso was soft-looking, welcoming, with a dusting of dark hair and very pink nipples, and he was not as thickly built as she had imagined; she could see in him, for a second, the light-framed, gawky young man she'd seen on old SGC reports and personnel files.
"Okay," Rodney gasped finally, "If you want me to last any time at all, you'd better get me where you want me."
"Can I fuck you while you fuck her?" Ronon said, and Teyla curled her fingers inside herself reflexively, heard herself whimper.
"Oh my god," Rodney said, "I think - oh god, I think maybe that's not a good idea - this time -"
"Next time, then," Teyla breathed, struggling a little to get up on her knees without losing the glorious, stretching pressure of three fingers inside herself. It was difficult, with her stomach in the way, which was a recently developed annoyance of pregnancy. "I want you on your back in less than five seconds, Dr. McKay, or I shall put you there myself."
"I love my life," Rodney said, as sincerely as she had ever heard him say anything.
As Teyla slid down onto him, Ronon's hands steadying on her hips and his penis pressed stickily against her leg, Rodney keened, his face completely concentrated, and Teyla tried to keep still, afraid that he was losing control, but she had been desperate all day for this, to be filled completely, and Ronon was mouthing the sensitive line down the centre of her back.
"Rodney," she groaned, "Oh - it's good, please wait for me -"
"Yes," he gasped, "It's okay, it's okay, I'm fine, just - oh my god, I can't believe how incredible you are."
"Let me," Ronon murmured into Teyla's neck, and she did, allowed him to almost completely support her weight, straddling Rodney's thighs, and to lift and lower her onto Rodney, as she stroked herself, circled her nub with her finger, letting pleasure spark through her until she was panting, desperate and shuddering on the edge. Rodney kept touching her, stroking her sides, her thighs, her breasts, and when she cried out, her climax taking hold of her, he covered Ronon's hands with his own and pulled Teyla down hard, thrusting deep inside her, then again, and pleasure shook her until her teeth hurt from clenching them.
"Oh, fuck, Teyla," Rodney was babbling, "Please let me, I'm going to -"
She nodded, panting, and shifted back to ease her trembling thigh muscles before Ronon lifted and lowered her again. Rodney groaned, sitting up on his elbows, "no, it's not - can I go on top?"
"I've got it," Ronon said, and lifted Teyla up and back off Rodney before she could protest, settling her on Rodney's thighs and falling between her legs to suck Rodney into his mouth.
"Oh my god, oh fuck," Rodney said, "Jesus, Ronon -"
"You would like to watch me take John," Teyla breathed, drawing shivering aftershocks out of herself as Rodney trailed off into a sharp, stuttering groan, his face drawn almost into pain. "Wouldn't you, Rodney?"
"Yes -" Rodney gasped, "Yes - god -" before his thighs tensed and trembled under her, and he came into Ronon's mouth, one arm flung over his face.
After a moment, he let his arm fall limp onto the bed. "Jesus, that was fantastic," he said, panting. "Oh my god, you nearly gave me a heart attack, I hope you didn't want any warning, Ronon. Um, Teyla, don't take this the wrong way, but I can't feel my feet."
"Someone going to get me off?" Ronon said, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, then his hand on Rodney's stomach.
"As soon as Teyla gets off my arteries," Rodney said, and Teyla started to laugh, because she loved them so much, and she felt as if she was lit up inside and glowing. She stretched out on the sheets, watched Rodney use his hand on Ronon, careful and clever, until Ronon grunted and arched into him, his head falling onto Rodney's bare shoulder as he came.
"So, was this a one-time thing?" Rodney said later, idly stroking Teyla's hair as she lay pillowed on his stomach, which was even more comfortable than it looked. "I mean, I'm hardly going to look a gift-horse in the mouth, but I think you've ruined me for sex for the rest of my life, so it would hardly be fair to turn me loose on Pegasus with the bar raised that high, you know?"
"You're quite right," Teyla said, melting even further into the mattress as Rodney scratched behind her ear, and Ronon snuffled happily against her hip. He fell asleep easily after sex, these days; she counted that progress.
Rodney was silent for a little while. Then, finally, when she had almost resigned herself to losing her internal bet with herself, he blurted out, "Had you asked John?"
"We have not," Teyla said, careful to keep her voice neutral. "Have you?"
"Once," Rodney said, sounding unhappy. His hand had stilled on her hair.
"Well, I mean, he might have been turning me down, or he might have had no idea what I was talking about. It wasn't -" Rodney's hand left her hair, to, Teyla could only assume, make some sort of gesture she was too sleepy to look up at. "I had to be euphemistic. I'm not very good at that. He might have thought we were really talking about hot dogs, you know?"
"I see," Teyla said, which was not, in fact, the case a significant percentage of the time, but in this instance, it was only too easy to imagine the situation. Poor Rodney.
"And I've found John's good at - at not understanding. When he doesn't want to. Had you noticed that?"
His voice had dropped to a murmur, as if he were talking to himself, almost, and Teyla was close to tears, suddenly, at the note of hopelessness in his voice. She loathed being pregnant, sometimes. Rodney started to pet her hair again.
"Yes, I had noticed that, Rodney."
"Why, um. Why did you think he was gay?"
"It was simply a feeling," Teyla said, choosing her words carefully. "I should not have revealed my assumption to John."
"I'm pretty sure he was turned on. When we saw that scene. I mean, I don't know if that means anything. But, I just mean, this, you know. Without John. It's not -"
"We should all be together, if any of us are," Teyla said, and she felt Rodney shift as he nodded.
"Yes, yes, exactly. And I have no idea why I think that, since I've been indoctrinated with the heterosexual binary model from the age of whenever, but I - I really do. And it's not just because I - well. You know."
"You are in love with John."
Rodney squirmed again, and Teyla nudged him with her shoulder. He stilled.
"Well," he said, sounding very small. "Yes. Is it - is it that obvious? Does everyone know?"
"No, Rodney," Teyla said, feeling infinite tenderness for him, and she reached up to twine her fingers in his. "It is not obvious at all."
Rodney fell silent, and started to snore, after a while, but Teyla was not sleepy yet. She thought for a while.
"Thank you for waiting," Teyla said, reappearing through the rec room door with a tray balancing three empty sandwich boxes and a half-eaten fourth. She lowered herself gingerly into the chair next to Rodney, and took one of his fries, then looked up through her eyelashes at him as she slid it into her mouth in a totally unfair way. Rodney restarted the movie, looking sidelong at Teyla as she took huge bites from her BLT.
"I owe you an apology, John," Teyla said, apropos of nothing, wiping mayonnaise off her lip with a napkin. "I have spoken with Dr. Yuen, and I realize that I should have been more sensitive about your fear of anal penetration. I had completely misunderstood the nature of your military bonding exercises, and I am sorry."
Rodney tried not to choke. "Um," said John. Ronon paused the movie.
"I wondered if perhaps it might make you feel better to examine a wangkum yourself," she said, all indulgent helpfulness, and Ronon smacked Rodney on the back, practically winding him, as Rodney tried to get his breath back and stop Ronon hitting him again.
"Dr. Yuen feels that you may be less intimidated if you have the mystique removed. They are really quite ordinary items."
John shot a trapped look at Rodney, a flush slowly crawling up to his ears. Rodney flinched, uncomfortable and turned on and still slightly breathless from being pounded on the back. Then Ronon glared meaningfully at him in a way that, Rodney had learned after several missions, meant block the exit (although it still looked to him a lot like the look that meant, touch my food while I'm out of the room and I'll kill you with my bare hands, but in this context, he reasoned, that was unlikely), and he casually put a hand on John's shoulder. Ronon grimaced, subtle, McKay.
"Seriously," Rodney said, making an effort, but sounding, to his ears, spectacularly fake, "You don't get an offer like that every day."
John turned wounded eyes on him, and Rodney ignored him.
"Surely you are not against mutual cultural sharing and acceptance?" Teyla said gravely, "You know, John, I wish for my child to be born in a -"
John slapped his forehead and stood up. "Jesus, okay, okay!"
Rodney shot a look at Ronon behind John's back as they left, attempting to communicate, I can't believe you knew about this and this is completely insane and stupid and I swear to god, Teyla had better know what she's doing.
Ronon said, "The movie can wait." Then he slapped Rodney on the ass and jogged after Teyla and John, grinning. Against all odds, Rodney did, in fact, feel better.
It was weird, being back in Teyla's room again, with John, as if they were all just visitors in here, when Rodney had woken up in that bed just a few hours before, had had sex in it a few hours before that with two of the most attractive people he'd ever met. He'd have thought it was some kind of a hallucination (and he had, in fact, checked, when he got back to the lab this morning, that there were no unexplained power drains or reported incidences of mind control in the city - you couldn't be too careful), except that there was a bite-mark under his collar which the fabric of his shirt brushed against every time he turned his head. He put his hands in his pockets, and took a few deep breaths.
Teyla handed around the - thing (Rodney still couldn't bring himself to think wangkum without wanting to cry or laugh or both, and he hadn't had long enough yet to find out if sleeping with Teyla - Jesus, that was ridiculous - made her less inclined to hit you). It was black and glossy, but bigger and subtly different from the one they'd seen on Healing Station Argh; it had the same basic shape, but was somehow much more obviously obscene. Rodney held it, balancing it in his hands. It was made of some kind of metal, but it was warming to his touch so fast, it must have incredible conductivity. Huh. He circled his fingers around the shaft of the longer end to test the circumference. It was generous, to say the least. Wow, Teyla was mean.
"Rodney," whined John, looking intensely uncomfortable and kind of scandalized.
John opened his mouth a few times, then settled for slouching and glowering.
"Don't pout, it makes you look like a twelve-year-old, and that is not something I'm comfortable with in this context," Rodney snapped, and handed him Teyla's sex toy. John eyed it, holding it away from his body like it might come alive and rip his pants off at any second.
"Hm, so that end goes - right, I think I see," Rodney said, turning his head so he could look at it upside down, mostly to enjoy the freaked-out look on John's face.
"I would be happy to demonstrate it for you," Teyla said smoothly. The wangkum fell out of John's hand, and Ronon bent to catch it before it hit the floor.
"Careful," he grunted, "They're expensive."
"Um, Teyla, I'm not sure if -" John said, slowly backing towards the door, then Ronon put in, helpfully, "She could do you. She's done it to me a few times."
John stared, mouth actually hanging open, and obviously somewhere near a heart attack. Rodney couldn't quite get past the incredible, possibly illegal hotness of the mental images to decide whether to freak out. There was a silence.
"It was pretty great," added Ronon.
Teyla didn't bat an eyelid. "I would be delighted to offer you this experience, John," she said, taking the wangkum from Ronon. "Later tonight, perhaps? Or right now, since we are here?"
"Uh," said John, and, with a bolt of excitement and shock, Rodney realized that he wasn't leaving, that he was red in the face and wide-eyed, but, holy crap. He was thinking about it. Rodney's throat felt constricted, it was difficult to breathe, and he felt like if he moved, if he did anything, he could break whatever fragile thing was happening.
"I don't. I'm not – um," John struggled, and finally managed, "You're pregnant," his voice cracking a little. Ronon winced at the exact same time Rodney did.
"Yes," Teyla said briskly. "Therefore my pelvic floor muscles are in even more need of exercise. Ronon, if you can find the lubricant? I believe there is more in the bathroom."
"Wait," John said. "I'm not so sure I –"
"It is really no trouble," Teyla said, and knocked two cushions off the bed in her hurry to get up.
"I - guys," John said, backing towards the door, and walking into Ronon. "This is weird."
"John," Teyla said, and tugged him gently to touch her forehead with his own, the exact same way she'd done with Rodney. God, she was good. "It is only us." She rubbed his arms gently with her hands, soothing, like he was a terrified animal about to bolt, then, still moving slowly, kissed his cheek, then his mouth, soft, no tongue, not for too long.
"Teyla," John husked, and, Rodney's stomach twisted painfully; John looked worse, he looked terrible, like she was asking him to kill her, not have sex with her.
"John," Teyla said, and slid her hand into his as she turned to Ronon, who didn't miss a beat. Their kiss was dirty, all obvious tongue and greedy noises, and Teyla stood on tiptoe and squeezed John's fingers when he looked like he might pull away. Rodney's heart was beating so loudly he couldn't hear anything else, and his field of vision narrowed to the triangle of those three points - John's unreadable expression, his and Teyla's twined hands, the slide of Teyla's and Ronon's mouths together.
Then Rodney looked up and found John was looking right past Teyla and Ronon, was looking at him so intensely that Rodney actually rocked on his feet, tugged towards John like a plant to the sun. The reflex that he'd cultivated very carefully over the past few years that stopped him making a idiot of himself around John - or at least, the kind of idiot that ended up in a humiliating, hideous conversation about how John didn't feel the same way and was in the military and how stupid was, he anyway? - somehow didn't seem to be working, and Rodney wondered why, before he remembered that they'd both been invited to the same orgy. Then Ronon grabbed Rodney into a kiss, tasting of Teyla, and Rodney shoved his tongue in Ronon's mouth, not caring when their teeth clicked together a little, and hauled Ronon around, wanting John to see Ronon's hand on his ass. Then he was spun around, like in some sort of ridiculous party game, and found himself right in front of John, breathless, his lips wet and scratched from Ronon's stubble.
"John," Rodney blurted out, and then John was kissing him, pushy and kind of clumsy and desperate, and Rodney slid his fingers into John's hair and kissed him back, and, god, it was amazing. John was taut against him at first, and Rodney tugged at him until he stumbled forward and went pliant all at once, plastered himself against Rodney's body.
"I didn't know," John was whispering. Rodney pressed his face against John's neck, scraped his teeth against the skin, then licked the tender skin and John hissed and dropped his head back, let him do what he wanted. "Jesus fuck, Rodney, since when can you keep secrets?"
"You maniac, I propositioned you a year ago," Rodney muttered, and pulled him into a kiss again to check again if his mouth really was as soft as it looked, because he'd forgotten already.
"I want in," Ronon said, and Rodney stepped back, grudgingly, to let him kiss John, although Ronon made it worth his while when he paused from what looked like fucking John's mouth with his tongue, shoved John back, picked him up and dumped him on the bed, which was hilarious, especially for the look on John's face. Then Ronon yanked John's boots off, and things got more orgy-like pretty quickly, until they were all naked except for Ronon, who still had his socks on and somehow made it not look ridiculous, especially as he had his finger in John's ass and was nuzzling at John's balls.
"Jesus," gasped John, his face red and hectic, panting into the bedspread. "Go easy, bud- fuck!"
Rodney kissed his shoulder, rubbed his side, partly to be reassuring and all that, but mostly because John, John Sheppard, was naked and about to have sex with him and his two best friends, but Rodney almost wished it was just him. Then Teyla took Rodney's hands and pulled them to her breasts, and he remembered why he kept his best friends around.
Later, when he was watching Teyla ease the bulb at the end of the wangkum into John, its other end held securely inside her, Rodney decided there were definitely benefits to cultural exchange. Teyla bit her lower lip as she eased herself inside him, her thighs trembling a little from holding the position. John was shaking like a leaf, a little crease between his eyebrows, his face absolutely concentrated. It was so hot Rodney almost couldn't stand it.
"John?" Teyla asked breathlessly, when she'd eased about five inches of the heavily lubricated metal into his body.
"Yeah, yeah, go on," John gritted out.
Rodney blurted, "It's sterilized, right?"
"Now he asks," John mumbled into the bedcovers, and Teyla let her head fall back with a sigh somewhere between a gasp and a laugh. Her rounded stomach was resting on the small of John's back, there were a few inches of the slick black shaft of the dildo visible between her and John's hips, and it was the most surreally hot thing Rodney had ever seen. Then Teyla started to bear down again, and John's fingers whitened in the sheets as she murmured that he was doing well, that she wouldn't hurt him, that he'd enjoy it. Rodney wondered if he could come just from watching this. Ronon's hands were very still on his thighs, his cock jutting up untouched between them, and he looked kind of wild-eyed. It occurred to Rodney that he ought to feel awkward, that this should be strange, but then Ronon caught him looking and threw an arm around him, tugged him closer and licked his ear, his beard tickling and making Rodney squirm and shiver, as Teyla slowly fucked into John, and Rodney stopped trying to think about it.
"Oh, John," Teyla said, husky and intent. There was a bead of sweat trickling down between her shoulder blades, and Rodney wanted to lick it, but then he wouldn't be able to see the perfect curve of John's back as he took what Teyla was giving him, the way his shoulders flexed as he fisted the sheets, or the place where her body joined his. "You are so beautiful like this."
She undulated suddenly, thrusting into John once a short way, and John hissed through his teeth. "I would go more slowly," she whispered, between deep breaths - and Rodney realized that, Jesus, she was having trouble holding back - "but I know you enjoy a little pain, don't you, John?"
She rocked forward again, a sharper movement this time, then stilled again, and John made a noise that might have been Teyla's name. Teyla was flushed a deep copper now, and taking deep, ruthlessly even breaths. Rodney shivered. Then she wet her lips with her tongue and started to thrust into John in earnest, shallow and slow, until the frown on John's face smoothed out, and he let out a breath, and pushed back. Then she started to fuck him in hard, sharp jerks, and the sound of their bodies slapping together, Teyla's noisy breaths, John's sharp, cut-off groans, was driving Rodney insane, and he curled his fingers around his cock lightly, just to take the edge off, but even that was almost too much. Ronon bit the base of his neck, and Rodney yelped.
"Wait," Ronon said, "and I'll suck you off again. I want to. I like it."
"Oh, Jesus," John groaned, and he turned his head to look up at Rodney, eyes glazed. Then he jerked forward, his arms giving way so that his face mashed against the sheets, and Teyla lost her rhythm and fell back off him, leaving the curved end of the dildo protruding wetly from his hole like some sort of obscene tail. John pushed himself upright, looking around to see what had happened, and he was shaking, he looked desperate, and Rodney realized he'd been trying to reach down and jerk off. He was up on the bed before he could think about it, and only meant to give John a hand, but he ended up kissing John's slack mouth helplessly over and over, trying to watch Teyla at the same time as she slid the end of the dildo back inside herself, her eyes closed and head rolling back.
"Fuck, Rodney, now," John grated, and Rodney reached under John and wrapped his hand around John's cock as Teyla began to seriously ram it into him, twisting her hips on every stroke. "Oh - " John gasped, "Oh, Christ -" and came on the sheets, his cock pulsing in Rodney's fingers, the side of his face pressed against Rodney's arm. Teyla made a desperate noise and shuddered to a stop as John convulsed, then reached down between their bodies and fucked herself on the other end of the dildo, letting John's body hold it for her. After a couple of seconds she cried out through her teeth and clenched her fists tightly, rocking against John through her orgasm as John panted, still out of it.
"Oh, god," Rodney said weakly, then Ronon, who was shiny-eyed and glowing and had come dripping all down his wrist, grabbed Rodney's hip, shoved him onto his side next to John, and proceeded to give Rodney his second ten-second blowjob in as many days. On about the ninth second, John woke up and kissed Rodney messily on the cheekbone, then on the lips, and Rodney came helplessly into Ronon's hot, clever mouth.
When he could move again, Rodney found he still couldn't actually move, because John had thrown an arm over him, and Teyla's head was on his thigh.
"That was awesome," Ronon said.
"I feel like I got run over by a tank," John said. "Jeez, Teyla."
"You loved it," she said, sounding extremely pleased with herself. She yawned.
John squirmed a little, and Rodney turned blindly and kissed his cheek, because he could, and he wanted to, and he thought that if they found a hundred ZPMs and destroyed all the Wraith and found Teyla's people and saved Earth and he won twenty Nobels, he could never feel as dissolvingly, heart-shatteringly good as he did right now.
"Yeah. I did."
"So that's a wangkum," Rodney yawned, a while later. He reached over and flicked Ronon's nipple, and Ronon's whole body twitched, like a horse trying to flick away a fly, but he didn't wake up. Rodney did it again, and one of Ronon's eyes opened lazily. John had already resigned himself to the fact that he'd been ambushed by these assholes, but he did wonder how long things had been going on between those two.
"You realize," Rodney said, "Elizabeth had, like, three of those on her desk, and had no idea what they were."
John groaned and tried to put his face in his hands, because, Jesus, leave it to Rodney to bring that up again, but his arm was kind of pinned under Rodney's head, and the stab of happiness that gave him was so unexpected that he ended up just pressing his face against Rodney's ear and keeping it there. Teyla laughed out loud, and the happiness bloomed and filled John up. Teyla didn't laugh that often.
"I had always assumed it was symbolic of her dominance over the men in her command," she said, "I did think it was a little… obvious."
"She started rolling one around in her hand in a meeting with me once," Ronon said, the rumble vibrating against John's arm. "Didn't know what to think."
"There's something familiar about this material," Rodney said, "John, don't you think?"
He balanced it against his chest, and John turned his head and squinted at it. It did look kind of familiar, now he thought about it; something about the colour of the metal, the way it sort of soaked up the light. "Yeah - kind of looks like that thing you had in the lab the other week, the -"
"Wait, wait, wait," Rodney said, disentangling himself from John and Ronon, "Get off me for just a second," scrambling off the bed to rummage in his shirt pocket, leaving John's side unpleasantly cool. "High conductivity, dark colour, high density, low weight -"
He came back with a scanner.
"Do you carry that with you all the time?"
Rodney waved John off. "No, no, I was doing some tests, shut up for a minute." Then his eyes went huge. "Oh my god."
"You are not going to believe this. Oh my god, I can't believe I didn't see it before."
"Teyla, are these - are all, um, wangkums made of this?"
"All those of a better quality," Teyla said, yawning. "They can also be made of some kinds of wood. They are no longer in production, I believe, but they last forever, with care. This one was my mother's."
John recoiled. "Oh, jeez."
"I'm going to pretend I didn't know that," Rodney said, "La la la, forgotten already, oh my god, that's horrifying."
"Rodney! What the hell is it made of?"
"Naquadah," Rodney said, looking up at John, and his grin was so broad and sweet, his eyes so blue, that it made something split inside John's chest. Then Rodney got that look of cartoon alarm on his face, huge eyes, mouth open. "Oh my god," he said, "They're going to make us write a report," and John, with Teyla's hair tickling his thigh, Ronon's face pressed against his shoulder, and Rodney, totally naked, waving a double-ended dildo and a scanner agitatedly in the air, couldn't not laugh.
And that was how the Lanteans became the foremost importer of sex toys in the Pegasus galaxy. It was a topic of some speculation by their trading partners. The more waggish suggested that, rather than putting new limitations on breeding, the Lanteans had loosened up and entered into the Pegasus spirit of things. After a while, this did seem more likely. After all, it was well known that they were maintaining a stable population of healthy adults, and how else could they have been controlling their birth rate, before? However, some were wary it signalled a change in moral thinking towards a more conservative stance which could impact on the Lanteans' already erratic and dubious foreign policy. The ice farmer on their most senior first-contact group was not retired, however, which reassured the doubters, and in fact, eventually, the opposite of their fears came to pass: relations with the Lanteans became friendlier, and fewer sharing-ritual-related misunderstandings occurred. That same year, too, the Lanteans sent their first ever representatives to the intergalactic competitive cross-stitching tournament; Players Radek and Lindsay achieved the lowest scores ever recorded, making history and endearing themselves to most of the galaxy. They also bought everybody drinks, which helped.
The SGC report on Atlantis' change in trading priorities composed by Richard Woolsey, with addenda by Teyla Emmagan and Col. Samantha Carter, became a classic of the genre, and a live recitation became a standard part of the annual SGC winter holiday party.