Rating: Adults Only For Graphic Sex, Adult Situations and Violent Imagery
Category: POV Vignettes; Angst; Non Con (see warnings)
Pairings: Caldwell/Sheppard (AU); Dex/Sheppard/McKay; Lorne/Sheppard; Sumner/Sheppard/McKay (Mensa Universe AU); Mitchell/Sheppard
Warnings: Dubious Consent (#1 & #2) and Non Con (#4)
Notes: I spent days brainstorming possible scenarios for Kimberlite's Secret Santa request -- and concerned that I wouldn't finish the story I started on in time, I've pinch-hit myself. The first is the background from the section I wrote in the real fic and then cut. If/when it gets done, it'll still be inspired by Kimberlite's request.
For the 2007 SGA Secret Santa Fic Exchange
Her request: OT4 or OT3 (Sheppard/McKay/Ronon); Sheppard/Ronon (warrior bond); Sheppard/Lorne; Sheppard/Ronon/Lorne; Sheppard/Mitchell; Sheppard/Lorne/Mitchell (flyboy hazing/rituals); Sheppard/Caldwell (D/s with sub!Sheppard); Sheppard/ Evil!Sheppard. Are you sensing a trend? I'm also good with adding McKay to the mix as I generally see Sheppard/McKay as the bedrock pairing but I also like the other guys (and fic with those pairings is rarer so I'm asking). I like the guys in character and behaving like men, angst over humor, first time over established relationship (or at least being able to see why/how they got together if it's established), smut/NC-17, kink, BDSM, dub-con/enzyme!sex, AMTDI and the fallout, pon farr, loyalty/sacrifice, power dynamics, banter. I like it when Sheppard gets into situations where he's pushed to his limits for his team/friends but their strong emotional bond sees them through.
Things I wouldn't like: Schmoop, humor, weepy men, violence/graphic injury, character bashing, kid-fic, gen.
Last Notes: I totally missed the pon farr and aliens made them do it, but more or less covered the rest. Also, violence (at least H/C) is kinda my thing. It was damn hard to try not to go that route for these. I tried to conduct most of the violence off camera, same with the consent issues. Additionally, when all is said and done, I've probably written nearly as many words as I would have if I'd just stayed with the original story (things got away from me ;) Any single "Time" could have fit the minimum, and probably could make an interesting full story on their own (at least interesting to me). There is a possibility I might revisit, revise or expand any of these some day in the future, but I have fifteen or so other stories I should be writing, so don't be holding your breaths.
Each story is a stand-alone and not in the same continuity of any proceeding. The order, based on season and episode is purely for convenience sake.
I have folks to thank for making this readable, but will wait until after the reveal.
1. Right Here (AU) between Siege 2 & 3
(I've made a commitment; I'm willing to bleed for you)
Colonel Steven Caldwell didn't salute the men before him as he left the briefing room. He probably should. But it's the file he's been asked to take with him that is on his mind, not regs or showing respect. Respect is indeed the last thing on Steven's mind right now, other than how one man -- a brother in uniform -- could have found that concept so alien as to betray and destroy everything he was supposed to believe in.
O'Neill and Landry have asked him to read the file again before he makes his decision. Steven isn't sure that he can, even though it is only a fucking personnel file. The words have already left indelible images in his mind that he fears will keep him awake tonight and for many nights to come.
I have worn the Air Force uniform for 27 years. During that time, I have done things in its name that would make other men recoil -- I have done so, so other men don't have to. I have been asked to do things where the only sense of pride I can maintain is the knowledge that I did my duty and that, somewhere, someone higher up in the chain of command deemed it necessary for the greater good.
I am not a toy soldier. I have questioned my superiors. I do not blindly follow orders. But I do understand that there will always be factors beyond my ken, and that the obvious answer is not always the correct answer. I have been ashamed of my leaders, but never ashamed of my uniform or ashamed of my country. Even now, it is not the Air Force's fault, or my Commander-In-Chief's (his predecessor's), or my country's.
It is the fault of one man, a man who also wears the uniform although he does not deserve it. An unworthy man, who took advantage of unfortunate circumstances to obtain something he had no right to claim. That he was unworthy of. And I am now the one left to pick up the pieces.
When Steven had heard that the Atlantis expedition had made contact after a year's time of everyone in the SGC presuming they were dead, he been happy to pass along the information to his crew. He was also hopeful that his would be the ship chosen to make the journey between galaxies and welcome their lost sheep back into the fold. Stargate Command was like any other deployment in that he personally knew a number of the missing people even though he hadn't served with them, so he was eager to see how friends and colleagues had fared.
Although there were comparatively few people higher in the chain of command than his own position as an Air Force Colonel and the commander of the Daedalus, he'd still been surprised to receive the encrypted cache of files that had to have come from the miraculous databurst from the Pegasus Galaxy. There were plenty of others more important even if they were lower ranking who should be pouring over the information first: scientists and off-world teams and even politicians. He'd expected to receive only the data relevant to what had kept the expedition out of contact for so long and maybe some of the tactical information about enemies and hazards, and then only the details if indeed his ship was chosen over the Prometheus.
The data dump, however, was more than the broad strokes that every member of the senior staff no doubt had been given. It was more than even tactical details and relevant speculations on potential new dangers to Earth. What he received was the entirety of the AARs filed by the military personnel after each mission, as well as the reports from senior and command staff, be they military, medical, scientific or civilian. Along with a note from Landry that he was on the short-list to take over command of the expedition because the previous commander, Marine Colonel Marshall Sumner, had been killed a few months ago in a firefight with a decidedly superior foe. It seemed the remaining Marines were now being led by a maverick Air Force major who'd only been taken along on the expedition because some marker in his genome allowed him to interface with the technology of the Ancients, the same race who were thought to have built Atlantis (and the Stargate system). Landry liked the idea of an Air Force commander staying in charge -- apparently he wasn't on board with that person being one Jonathon Robert Sheppard.
As surprising as all of this was, even more so was the realization that all of the personnel files of the senior elements of the expedition were also appended to Steven's briefing. Doctor Weir's held no surprises, the same with Carson Beckett, the expedition's CMO. Both were tops in their fields, one hand-picked by Steven's Commander-in-Chief and the other hand-picked by Weir.
Even McKay's file held what he was pretty much expecting. Anyone who'd been a member of the SGC for more than a few months had heard all about Doctor Rodney McKay. A self-proclaimed genius, he was also self-centered, arrogant and could be unbelievably rude. His exile to Siberia after crossing O'Neill and his pet scientist, Major Samantha Carter, had done the program a big favor, not just in getting McKay out of everyone's hair, but apparently because McKay was just about as good as he claimed he was. The Russian's own Stargate program was up and running, in a large part because of McKay's input. He had also, according to the files, been instrumental in the discovery and activation of most of the technology housed in the SGC's Antartica base, thus earning his place in Atlantis.
Sheppard's file, conversely, was twice as big as any of the others, yet held less that half of the information. To wit, a disaster. What was there at all was filled with black marks and notes of disciplinary action, whose number nearly exceeded the number of citations and commendations that the Major had also received. There were enough missing fitness reports to imply black ops work, but even that (and his reportedly almost-preternatural skills in the cockpit), shouldn't have been enough to keep him from at least being Voluntary Separated, if not earning him an Administrative Discharge.
No doubt those discrepancies are why Steven finds an additional note from Brigadier General Jack "SG1" O'Neill, who was prepared to hand over the rest of Sheppard's file personally, and at Steven's convenience… as long as that convenience was within the next forty-eight hours.
I'd known Marshall Sumner for the entire time I'd been reassigned to Stargate Command -- four and a half years. We'd come into the program at the same time, but on entire different career paths. I was slated for one of the ships of the line that were still at least a year away from competition. Marshall had been tapped to undergo specialty training that put his Force Recon duties to shame. While I could barely believe I was up to receive a ship since I'd been switching my time teaching tactics at the Air War College in Alabama and at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs the last four years, that it was a ship and not an aircraft was even more mind-boggling. Along with the fact that Marshall and I were both being groomed to fight genuine, God-is-my-witness Aliens From Outer Space.
Both of us were used to enemies that might not speak our language, but had at least be born under the same sun, and had more or less the same goals: sovereignty and defense of their people or their beliefs, even if more often than not, it was at the expense of someone else. Now we had new enemies, still with many similar goals, just over a much larger playing field. Just with weapons and technology and abilities in mind control to accomplish those goals.
Marshall and I, along with Dillon Everett and Ivan Zukhov, were the newest ranking recruits. But Zukhov was Russian, and having seen the Russians as another enemy for so long, we never did warm up to him. I was lucky, perhaps. Although Dillon and Marshall had a history going back many years, neither man had expressed any difficulty in including a Zoomie for drinks after a long day of having our minds and bodies pummeled … of having our entire worldview destroyed and expanded.
I was damn sorry to hear that Marshall was dead, that Dillon may be as good as dead as the SGC has not heard back from Atlantis prior to my ship moving out of range of communications. Atlantis is under siege and all may yet be lost. I feel sorrier still, for myself. Not for the loss of my friends or potentially my own crew and life, but for the loss of honor I will now be called upon to perpetuate.
Jack O'Neill was still "The Man around the Mountain", no matter that his current duty station was the Washington Beltway and the Pentagon. It didn't matter than he was now a General; he barely regarded his rank and allowed a familiarity that Steven, for one, wasn't comfortable with. Steven wasn't sure General Landry was comfortable either, but that could have been more because although Landry had command of the SGC, O'Neill was the one every last man, woman and scientist here looked to for leadership.
As did the fucking aliens.
Steven knew that O'Neill wasn't playing at being a Rock Star; that O'Neill had earned his star with blood and sweat and, yes, tears. Steven couldn't even resent the more actual 'rock stars' O'Neill had left in his wake in the remaining members of SG1. Unit cohesion was vital to the success of any mission, and special forces operators always bred a loyalty that was more personal than duty. His own command wasn't so intimate, but then Steven wouldn't have been comfortable as the head of a cult of personality. He wasn't comfortable dealing with them either.
I have no illusion that a type of cult of personality wasn't exactly what had also happened on Atlantis. Marshall's death would have thrown the whole command structure into disarray, cementing Elizabeth Weir's position as almost a provisional governor at the absolutely worst possible time. And instead of the city being under military control at it's time of great crisis, she'd undoubtedly crafted a personal bodyguard who held sway over a broken battalion of Marines now turned gunslingers. Each of them reckless, not with thoughts of grabbing their own power, but from falling prey to a charismatic charmer who had no idea what it meant to have responsibility over anyone but himself.
General Hank Landry was in the room with O'Neill when Steven was allowed in, and Steven wasn't sure if that was good news or bad. He had come into the program under George Hammond and during his time with that General, they'd had a pretty good working relationship. Then Hammond had taken charge of Earth's defenses against Anubis, and they'd both ended up commanding ships even if Steven's wasn't quite finished yet. Technically, Steven had reported to both Elizabeth Weir and Jack O'Neill in the brief interim before Landry had been appointed Hammond's successor at the SGC, but Steven had spent most of those months off-world giving the SGC's newest warship and its crew their shakedown cruise.
He doesn't really know either man before him well, but it doesn't have to be on Hammond's face for Steven to recognize disquiet. For a moment Steven wonders if this means Atlantis has fallen before they've been able to mount the rescue, then wonders if they are simply here to deliver more personnel bad news, since none of the airmen and SFs throughout the Mountain are acting as if they'd lost the expedition and news of that import just couldn't stay under wraps.
It wouldn't take two Generals to let him know Prometheus had gotten the call, however. Nor to let him know they'd decided to let Dillon retain command of Atlantis' military even when the JCS had supported it being the Air Force's turn.
He got his answer when O'Neill tossed down a brown folder and gestured with his chin for Caldwell to pick it up. The three of them sat down, and Steven began to read.
He'd been expecting Sheppard's full service records, or a least a summary, but with the missing military orders, evaluations, oaths. What he got was seven pages of Sheppard's medical records and psych evaluations.
The stuff of nightmares.
I still can't believe O'Neill pushed Sheppard's initial appointment to Atlantis without full disclosure to Landry. And I have to wonder if this will be one more damaged relationship to lay at that bastard's feet. Landry was so damn apologetic for offering me Atlantis without either of us knowing just who I would have to be working with; for what I will have to do to help control the Air Force's worst mistake. When I realized that Marshall had to know what I did now (although I do not think Dillon had and no wonder the Joint Chief's wanted to return this to being an Air Force problem), I decided I could handle this and refused the out I'd been offered. Although I had offered in return something of a compromise.
Weir wanted to keep Sheppard as her military commander. (Did she know? She was civilian and female, so did she even care outside of basic compassion? I feared regardless of her level of knowledge, she and Sheppard had reached an accommodation that worked, and she was now simply doing her best to make sure she maintained control over the city instead of ceding her new found authority to the military as represented by me.) The rabid loyalty exhibited by the men left under Sheppard's command would be impossible to redirect, but I also didn't think it would be a good idea to reassign all of them either -- Atlantis needed some sort of transition team at the least.
So I proposed they keep Sheppard in place; that the Daedalus becomes the regular transport between galaxies and, unless the warfront on this end heats up to keep me home, that I make the trip every forty-five to fifty days. For a month at a time, The Island of Misfit Toys gets their action hero. Yet under most circumstances, I would be returning often enough that I could take command when necessary, as well as attempt to mold Sheppard into what he should have become.
I still can't believe that such a man wouldn't have been found out before he'd gotten into a position where he could do such harm. My Air Force brother, yet I would make no claim to kinship in service or in humanity. That he is still in the service …
Any posting, even if he had no people under his command, was a boon I cannot believe he was given. If it would have been up to me, I would have had the man shot once his actions became known. But family and legacies still have sway -- at least in Washington -- and the shame this would have cast on his Medal of Honor recipient father was apparently enough to allow the man's betrayal to his service and his country warrant only a non-judicial exile.
I find I am still unsure of how I will be able to interact with Sheppard, but will have to figure out something, as I have just put in the call for him to meet me in my quarters. I could not do this on the ground, even if it has been condoned by my superior officers all the way up the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. I need the home advantage (any advantage I can get), but how am I going to be able to do it here on the Daedalus? When every day that I'm here I will be forced to remember?
Two Wraith ships and no sign that Atlantis can do anything but cower until Daedalus can get close enough to transfer the ZPM into their hands. If Daedalus can get close enough in time.
When Hermiod reports that he's picked up a cloaked ship inbound toward the Wraith ships, Steven has to assume it's from Atlantis, and he has only seconds to decide whether to ignore it or divert. His ship doesn't cloak, so if he approaches, he'll be going toe-to-toe against two ships that at least out mass, if not outmaneuver or outgun him. They heard the transmissions between Atlantis and the lone ship just as Hermiod identified the warhead Sheppard was trying to deliver to the enemy. A bold plan, but one that should not have been undertaken by even an interim military commander, although that could definitely mean that Dillon was still alive and in control of Atlantis even if it was Weir's voice that was responding to Sheppard's.
If he lets Sheppard complete his mission, it would certainly remove any conflict that Steven had over his ultimate task here in Pegasus. He can't, of course, not because to do so would be a stain on his own honor, but because Sheppard is already the victim here. So he commands Sheppard to uncloak, authenticates his order when Sheppard quite naturally balks, and finally has his first look at what just might be the most important order and project he has ever undertaken.
Steven's expected the wariness, the hint of a challenge, and he has yet another moment's panic that he has made a horrible mistake. There is no time to dwell on that; Sheppard's suicide nuke has taken out the second Wraith ship. But there is still one left to go, and a city to save before he can even think about saving the man.
Sheppard must have taken the long way, or I suppose he could have gotten lost. It's not as if he had much time to explore the Daedalus when he was last on board and, of course, he returned to Earth through the Stargate, not taking the eighteen day trip back as I have. (He'll be with us on the return, however, and while I could have put this off until then, I think it is better that I get started now.)
Had Marshall hated this? I can't imagine he would have tolerated the hint of insubordination that seems to be always present in Sheppard's eyes anymore than I do, no matter how attractive a face it's presented on. That Sheppard is a striking-looking man is unmistakable, and no doubt at the root of all that has happened. (Should I feel guilty that it will make my own task easier?)
An attractive boy, whether he'd looked like his dead mother or not, could have proved painful for a lonely father. That father's distance could have, in turn, easily led a boy to look for a substitute; a pattern that might have endured even as he became a man. It had all been there in the first psych profiles from the Academy, in the follow-ups from his first posting and the cautionary promotion from a concerned CO.
Even back then Sheppard's loyalty was absolute, assuming you were man enough to deserve it. How little it would have taken to warp that into something so broken. I do have to wonder if Niles would have bothered had Sheppard looked like McKay ... or me. Yet the opportunity had to have seemed tailor-made for Niles; the fact that it came in such pretty wrappings would have made Sheppard irresistible.
Just as he was now, walking through my door at my behest, once more all smirks and wariness and challenge.
It was a challenge I guess I was ready to accept. I knew how to deal with smirks and wariness and a mouth that was made for something so much more than a barely respectful drawl, "you wanted to see me… Sir?"
I did. I do.
"On you knees, boy."
(Title and lyrics from Staind)
2. The Reason during Lost Boys
(I've found a reason for me, to change who I used to be. A reason to start over new and the reason is you.)
Ronon Dex wants to kill something. This isn't strange for him. Since Sateda's destruction he pretty much always wants to kill something, preferably the Wraith. The problem this time is it's Ford he's considering killing -- or Teyla -- and at least the Teyla part isn't normal. A part of him knows this and is concerned, but mostly he just has this itch…
Sheppard has already said he can't kill Ford. Yet.
It must be the enzyme. And that has a great big part of Ronon feeling even more murderous, because the enzyme comes from the Wraith and he knows that's wrong. Nothing good comes from the Wraith except the fear in their eyes before Ronon kills them. The smaller part of him, however, the one that is reveling in the brighter colors and sharper sounds of his environment, loves the enzyme.
His body has never answered him like this before, not even when he was a youth and just coming into his manhood. He is stronger, faster … better, not just in what he can do and see and hear, but also in the way his food tastes like it smells for once, the way the right smells make him want to touch and taste and just lose himself --
Fuck, but what Teyla would taste like right now!
It's not like she isn't offering. For two days Teyla has been getting him hard and throbbing with her flirting and sparring, matching him mood for mood as if she is finally ready to claim him.
Then she goes to Ford instead.
It doesn't matter that she knew Ford first. That maybe she was with Ford back when the boy was on Sheppard's team. What matters only is that she is letting Ford fuck her now and not Ronon. It hurts, as does the knowledge that she and Ford together will make her smell all the more intoxicating. Was she with anyone else...
He won't be welcome, not by Ford and maybe not by Teyla, and Ronon isn't prepared to know that.
Zara's Blood! He's got to fuck something or kill something or go mad for the wanting.
McKay's lucky that he's out working on the dart. If Ronon can't kill (or fuck) Teyla, just one whine out of McKay would have the annoying scientist down on the floor with Ronon's hand around his throat. Teyla's lucky too, or maybe it's Ford's luck, because if Sheppard knew that Ford was fucking her --
Sheppard. Lieutenant Colonel, but really Taskmaster John Sheppard.
He smells damn good too. After he showers, after they've sparred and even now with the stink of fear and concern on him from what Ford is doing to the rest of them. Ronon's always noticed, and suddenly, desperately he wants to taste all of that, to see if he can lick away the concern and bite at the fear.
It's not like Sheppard doesn't owe him, for interfering between him and Teyla and thus giving her the chance to seek out her boy.
Ronon knows that he can make it good -- that he can get Sheppard to enjoy it. Melena was to be his wife, but he'd had the pick of lovers in his squad, not just because of his value to Kell, but for the value of his own skills.
Ronon, too, has seen the hunger in Sheppard's eyes. Hunger not just for Teyla but for him. Even for McKay.
Sheppard won't act on it. Because of his rules and his awkwardness; his wrong past instruction that he has to stay detached from those he protects. As if detachment will somehow make him a better soldier. On Sateda they knew: a man always fought fiercest for what he loved best, be it people or home or duty. Sheppard is a good soldier, a loyal protector, but Ronon can show him how to be better. He can teach him the right way to care and even the right way to love between two men if Sheppard is as blind to that as he is all the rest.
Ronon casts his senses out again. Teyla and Ford will be busy longer still. McKay isn't due back until Ford lets Sheppard go to collect him at sunset. And Ford's men will stay away because they all know Ronon is here and hungry for violence.
He is hungry for Sheppard now too.
Sheppard's scent is a fucking beacon. Ronon can smell the usual mix of labor and intensity that is always a faint lure in the back of Ronon's brain. There common overlay of concern and frustration that Ford has simply enhanced, and even a thread from pain that Ronon normally can't stand discovering. Sheppard's pain is a spice this time because it is pain from Ronon's own hand, and while it was pretty funny at the time he'd smacked Sheppard for coming between him and Teyla, now it is something he can take away along with the rest of Sheppard's fear.
Ronon wants to pounce when he sees Sheppard is again trying to take the information Ford is so proud of and turn it into something that won't end up with all of them dead. Leaning over a table that has papers scattered across, Sheppard's back and shoulders are bunched and tense. He is even resting his head on his hand because he thinks no one is watching. Ronon wants to pounce, but he expects this would be better as a seduction.
"I'm going to go wash up," is how he announces his arrival, and Ronon allows a spark of pride to fill him that Sheppard doesn't startle even though he knows he has caught the other man off guard.
Sheppard looks over his shoulder with an expression that says he is about to protest he's too involved with his papers, or to suggest that Ronon waits until they can gather McKay too, but Ronon just stands there, then turns on his heel and begins to walk away. He hears a sigh and a quick rustle of paper before soft footfalls begin to follow.
Ronon is using Sheppard's rule that they don't travel alone as well as the man's ingrained sense of responsibility against him. And yes, it is a small betrayal that, at another time, Ronon might feel guilty about. But right now it simply meant that they will both be getting what they need.
Ford has their weapons locked away, so it's a good rule in addition to one being so exploitable. Ronon isn't comfortable himself in going outside without even a knife, but he figures if the Wraith haven't already tracked Ford's people back to this planet with the raids they've pulled off, the aren't likely to find them today. Any other predators lurking nearby, Ronon figures he can handle well enough for the both of them, since they'll only be other humans.
Their packs have been taken from them too, but Ronon already spotted reeds near the river that they can break for a cleaning sap -- and for easing tight passages. No dry cloths, of course, even if Ford's men do have them, but it's not like Ronon had such comforts during his years running, and the sun will be in the sky for hours yet. The sun will dry them and he will keep them both warm --
"We should ask Teyla --"
Sheppard gives a small nod, as if he almost understands what's behind Ronon's growl, but Ronon has made sure they're leaving the compound without passing by Ford's room. He growls too at the guards on the exit, which gets them away with only one as escort. Ronon figures this one is more following them out of perversity than defense; that the scraven thinks he will be allowed a glimpse of long limbs and forbidden shadows and so will have an unexpected image to take back to his own bunk.
Ronon is willing to expose his prowess, but he'll break the man's neck if he comes out into the open and tries to join in -- or tries to take Sheppard away from him.
They've been to the riverbed twice already today; to shave at McKay's insistence (with knives loaned and then confiscated before they could even rise from leaning over to see their reflections), and then to draw water for the morning and mid day meals. Ford makes them do their own cooking after Sheppard insisted that if they are going to continue to be drugged, it will be directly instead there being the possibility of an overdose.
This insistence has also made sure they will not be under-dosed either. But Sheppard is too vulnerable with everyone but him enhanced by the drug. At least this way Ronon keeps his own edge over Ford and his men; Teyla is not the only one Ford has been making eyes at.
At the water's edge Ronon strips. He knows Sheppard is surprised; yesterday they washed only what skin was exposed and no doubt Sheppard would have continued to allow McKay his modesty and Teyla his protection from the stares of others were they here.
"Can't break into a Wraith's ship if they smell you coming."
"Maybe we should take turns and let the other keep watch?"
"Nothing around here, Sheppard." Except their watcher, but he is keeping out of sight and has an interest in keeping them intact anyway, Ronon figures.
Sheppard takes a quick look and then skins out of his own clothes except the tags he never removes with no other protest.
Ronon is not sure how often Sheppard has had to do this before coming to Pegasus. There are some nights even Ronon can't forget how hard it was to live with the loss of conveniences like plumbing. He has nightmares about how scared he was the first few times he was forced to wash away the stench from bleeding and running when all he had was snow or steam. Here isn't like that, though. They have a river that has widened into a still pool deep enough to be useful from what Ronon saw with from Ford's men yesterday. It's still exposed; like they are exposed, and Ronon finds himself frowning as he is suddenly uncomfortable.
It is funny what parts of civilization a man can cling to even when everything has been taken away but survival and vengeance. No, it really isn't funny at all, and he will find some way to make Ford pay for teaching Sheppard this even if it isn't as bad a lesson as the one Ronon was forced to learn.
What is actually funny is the times when Sheppard chooses to challenge Ronon. Like now when he's charging into the water while Ronon has paused. As if Sheppard can trick him into thinking the water won't be as cold as the ale they sometimes share after the Daedalus has just come to Atlantis with its Earth wares, but has already left again.
Most of the time Sheppard isn't serious enough that any Satedan, much less a Satedan soldier, would take him for a leader of men. Sheppard didn't take himself seriously, not unless there were lives on the line. Then he is as intense and ruthlessly competent as the best Satedan Taskmaster. Sometimes… sometimes though, he does get bristly or playful about the oddest things, as if he still has to earn Ronon's loyalty. As if Ronon's opinion of Sheppard matters more than the opinions of Sheppard's Marines or Dr. Weir or even his masters back home; the SGC and the IOA.
And this is why Ronon knows he can do this, this awareness and Sheppard's gazes and the easy way between them even in the worst possible conditions. The way Sheppard turns everyone else away except for him and maybe McKay -- even sometimes Teyla.
Ronon won't let Sheppard get too far from him here. When Ronon wades in the water is more bracing than cold, a stimulating shock between his legs and when he sluices it over his head and shoulders. Between the freshness of the water and the richness of the soil, the vibrant plant life and the birds and insects and even a few small, silver streaks of fish, Ronon's blood is singing with the life around him. He wants, so badly and so much that he could stop breathing for the ache of it.
The ache for Sheppard.
He has caught up with his prize, but it is too soon, the ache only a burning when he wants fire and wind and the earth shaking from the torrent that is possessing him. Like he did, Sheppard sinks to cover his torso and head then shoots up with a whoop and wave of his hair that splashes water over them both. He is obviously cold, but still able to laugh and no longer showing any hesitation in being here.
Ronon remembers McKay saying Sheppard does water things back on his own world, as at home in a sea as large as the one that surrounds Lantea as he is in the air. And like when Sheppard is flying, the water is a good look on him, all sleek and dark except for the gleam of his soldier tags, and lean, strong limbs. He is like the blade when a forger brings it up from its last quenching, all potential ready to be sharpened and polished in the hands of a master craftsman.
Ronon feels clumsy and bulky beside him, and so breaks to push on toward the other bank and the reeds. Sheppard is watching him, confused but without concern, and then catching on quickly when Ronon breaks the first handful over his skin and rubs the sap into a lather.
They clean quickly and rinse off, and Ronon grabs up more when they are done. "Works on clothes to," he suggests and heads back opposite, knowing that again Sheppard will follow.
He doesn't care about the clothes, just wants to get Sheppard earthbound again. Because when Ronon takes him, he wants to feel the strength of Sheppard without the water's aid, to feel it and overpower it and so claim his own strengths again.
It is so easy to force Sheppard's body down as the other bends to take up his shirt. Sheppard is surprised, but Ronon is back on his element and so he wouldn't even need the edge that the enzyme has given him. He bears Sheppard down, twisting Sheppard onto his back beneath Ronon's strength and Ronon's body and as he expected, Sheppard yields.
"Hey, big guy, what --" is all Ronon lets Sheppard get out.
Ronon doesn't want words, doesn't trust words -- doesn't need words. Not when his hands and his mouth say everything. He crushes his lips to Sheppard's, licking away the questions and the water and tasting the scent that so haunts him.
Sheppard's body tenses to fight, even as his mouth yields too, and so the hand that Ronon brings to Sheppard's throat is just possession instead of warning.
He breaks the kiss when Sheppard is gasping. "Go ahead and fight me," he breathes into Sheppard's ear before biting at it. Sheppard would look good with Ronon's metal here on the lobe, but Ronon has seen bits of jewelry on the Earth women that seem to be decoration instead of claiming, and so he fears others would not honor what it would mean between them. "Show me that you want this; that we're worth fighting for."
"Ronon, buddy --"
"Not buddy, brother." Ronon presses his hand down this time, forcing Sheppard's chin up before stealing Sheppard's air with both fingers and lips. "Lover!" as he bites Sheppard's own lips red and swollen and tender.
Sheppard finally fights, his body bucking beneath Ronon's, shifting and pushing until their cocks both began to lengthen; the cold of the river's water now forgotten. Sheppard wraps his fingers in Ronon's hair and twists, pulling Ronon's head down and sideways because Sheppard can't pull him up. The pain is exquisite and Ronon howls out his pleasure, the sound of it sending birds into flight around them.
He lets Sheppard rage a few more moments more before breaking Sheppard's hold with the hand he's been using to balance his weight. As he slams Sheppard's arm upright above their heads, his weight slams down across Sheppard's writhing limbs and whatever breath and fight Sheppard had been holding onto leaves in a woofed exhale.
It could be a feint, but Ronon is pretty sure the fluttering of Sheppard's eyes is involuntary. He's pressing hard and gives Sheppard soft kisses in apology, letting go of his throat and then rolling then both so that Sheppard may rest and recover on top of Ronon's body.
"What the fuck?" Sheppard chokes out in between deep breaths. He tries to slide away, and Ronon lets him move until they are more or less kneeling vertical in front of one another but no farther, as he still has hold of one of Sheppard's arms. When Sheppard tries to take a swing, Ronon captures that arm too. He yanks Sheppard forward and off balance. They crash their bodies together again, with Ronon demonstrating his strength by keeping them both upright even as he twists Sheppard's arm behind Sheppard's back to keep him in their clinch.
Ronon drags their other joined hands down between their bodies. "You know what this is," he growls as he forces Sheppard's hand to their erections.
One of Sheppard's tells is that he'll lick his lips when he his unsure. He starts that now, but there is no denying that he is just as hard as Ronon is. So when Ronon swipes at that glistening, swollen mouth with his own tongue and frees Sheppard's twisted arm, the battle is all but won.
This time Sheppard doesn't just yield, but bites back. He curls his still trapped hand around Ronon's cock and shoves forward with his torso and freed hand against Ronon's chest until Ronon is falling back, laughter and joy spilling from him This is even better, no more fighting but still aggressive, a meeting of equals as it should be --
The elbow that clips the spot between Ronon's ear and his jaw takes him completely by surprise. It's hard enough to send his head reeling and lets Sheppard yank his way free. Ronon only laughs harder, he's disoriented, bowed uncomfortably backward over his bent legs with his cock leaking and bouncing and straining upward, and yet he has never felt better.
The laughter throws Sheppard, who has only slid out of reach but isn't trying to leave. His whole body is flushed, his chest heaving and he's still showing a bit of strain himself in a cock that is as long and lean as the rest of Sheppard's body. Ronon is between him and their clothes, and he can see Sheppard eyeing the distance and running the calculations, sees the answer in the hint of resignation and frustration that passes through Sheppard's pretty, pretty eyes.
Ronon had a sword with it's counterweight a stone of that color; beryllos, which was found only by the keenest of hunters delving in the sands beneath the blue-green waters of the Opropaes River back home.
As Ronon stares into those eyes, he doesn't know if Sheppard will head back toward Ford's men as he is, naked and so vulnerable and appealing. Ronon does know he cannot allow that. Ford would want him, maybe also some of the others, and Sheppard wouldn't be able to stand up to a determined effort.
He needs to show Sheppard that, to make sure he understands. "I'm not going to let you go," he warns as he twists his body and straightens his legs so that he can move against Sheppard however he needs to.
Getting only a wary brow raise in return instead of gratitude or even understanding has Ronon confused.
"I'm going to fuck you," he tries again.
Sheppard is licking his lips again. "I'm not sure you're thinking straight here, buddy."
As he says that Sheppard winces and that makes Ronon even more confused, although maybe Sheppard's stepped on something as he has gathered himself into a crouch. Most of this side of the river is grass but that doesn't mean there aren't sharp things hidden beneath the blades.
"I'm thinking fine," Ronon assures him, rolling and tucking into his own crouch. He stays between Sheppard and their clothes because that keeps him in control. He's the one who brought Sheppard here so he's the one responsible for his team leader's safety. "We're both still thinking the same thing," and he then gestures to Sheppard's hips. Sheppard cock may have softened, but not by much, and more likely from having cooled off or from whatever he's stepped on.
Sheppard's ears turn red at their pointed tips, but he's shaking his head. "Body's running on automatic here, big guy. Being prisoners, surrounded by guys with guns and you start to get frisky in the middle of our bath. It doesn't have to mean anything."
"But it does," Ronon growls in frustration. "Our instinct is right and it might be our only chance. Not like you or I have anything better to do while we wait for McKay and Ford anyway." And Teyla, but he's still going to keep her secret quiet.
"You think being bored is a good reason to start something like this?" Sheppard sounds almost scared, and Ronon doesn't want that.
"Started when you brought me to Atlantis. Starts every time you stare at me and I watch you." Maybe Earth men need to be wooed like women. Ronon starts crawling forward on his hands and knees. "It's okay to want this, Shep -- John."
"For you, maybe --"
"For us. It's okay," Ronon repeats. "I'm going to fuck you, going to take care of you. I won't let any of them --"
"Can I have his mouth then?"
Ronon hasn't heard McKay's approach and that makes him mad as well as scared. He gives a glance to the side where the scientist is frozen at the tree line. McKay's eyes are white and wide with boldness and lust, but Ronon is more concerned as to where McKay's guard is. He sets his senses ranging beyond the snare of Sheppard's body and finally relaxes when he hears that their watcher and McKay's guard have joined up. They aren't waiting for him and Sheppard any longer and Ronon's tired of waiting too.
Especially when Sheppard tries to take advantage of Ronon's distraction and stealing off toward their clothes.
Ronon pounces, using his hands to push himself up into a springing crouch. Sheppard's smaller body gets bowled over under the impact. This time Ronon is able to maneuver Sheppard flat onto his belly and twists both of Sheppard hands up across the small of his back, where Ronon can keep hold of both wrists in one hands. "No more playing," he growls down and leans over to take Sheppard's ear into his mouth. Biting down on the lobe calmed Sheppard before and calm is definitely needed here. It would be too easy to accidentally hurt him if Sheppard continues to challenge his claiming.
The bite draws a startled yelp from Sheppard and envious eyes from McKay. Ronon lifts his head far enough to track McKay's approach while still nuzzling at Sheppard's jaw. McKay isn't too close yet, but he is stepping into their glade with a stiff-gaited stride that Ronon knows all to well.
They both want Sheppard, and Sheppard has wanted both of them, Ronon knows. What Ronon isn't sure is if he's willing to share Sheppard, even with McKay. Yet they are teammates, and they share everything else. He can always send McKay away if it gets to be too much.
Shifting back to straddle Sheppard's hips, Ronon slides his free arm under Sheppard's chest and then shifts them both back onto his haunches. With careful lifting and tugging, Ronon gets Sheppard onto his lap. He pushes his own knees between Sheppard's and then widens his position, splaying Sheppard open for McKay's hungry gaze. He knows he's showing off in front of McKay, but it is important that the other man knows who is in control here.
"Uh… Guys --"
"Hush," McKay scolds as he closes the remaining distance and drops down onto his own knees. "This says you're just being stupid." From Sheppard's sudden squeak and twitch, it's obvious that McKay has grabbed hold of Sheppard's cock.
Ronon still has Sheppard's arms caught and he draws him back into more of bow against his chest so that McKay can see the strength in both their bodies even if Ronon doesn't see it with his nose tucked back behind Sheppard's ear and his mouth worrying at the spot just aside Sheppard's hair.
"Methinks someone doth definitely protest too much." McKay's strange words get a full-body flush out of Sheppard; its heat rushing up and down Ronon where they are skin against skin.
Sheppard merely makes some more noises without words.
"Bring over some of the reeds," Ronon orders McKay with a gesture of his free hand toward the set he'd brought out of the river with him once he stops chewing on Sheppard's neck. He brings that hand back to Sheppard's chest, finding a nipple amidst the soft hair that has gotten sun-dried during their foreplay, but is now starting to moisten again with clean sweat. Ronon licks the first salt of it off of Sheppard's jaw and neck and begins twisting the nub between his fingers, producing a nice shudder and another moan from Sheppard as well as a corresponding groan from McKay.
The reeds were crushed and broken as he and Sheppard had wrestled, letting McKay figure out their use without any more instruction. He's squeezing the sap onto his fingers while he watches Sheppard writhe under Ronon's skillful touch.
No more protests or being stupid on purpose.
"Can I," McKay begs with a gesture toward Sheppard squirming on Ronon's lap. "I've got the only real angle unless you prefer to push him over onto his knees and shoulders." McKay eyes glaze for a moment and when he licks his lips, it's an involuntary expression of eagerness, not nerves.
Ronon nods. On Sateda he would have had Sheppard prepare himself as the claimant, so it is acceptable for McKay to acknowledge his subordinate position in this way.
"Ah, can you lift him a little higher?"
Ronon simply takes a deep breath and expands his chest while rising more upright on his own knees. This lifts them both enough that McKay can snake his hand and coated fingers underneath. McKay claims Sheppard's mouth as his fingers claim his body, and any sound Sheppard might have made is smothered under McKay's own hums of pleasure. Ronon can feel Sheppard tense in his hold and he quickly moves from sensitizing Sheppard's nipples to begin pulling on Sheppard's cock to ease him through this.
McKay will need to do this when Ronon breaches Sheppard's body; his cock is much bigger than even two of McKay's fingers. "Use three," he grunts at McKay, to make sure that Sheppard will be well stretched.
"How about I work my way up to two first," McKay frees his mouth from attacking Sheppard's lips to snipe, and in doing so confirms that if Sheppard has done this before, it's hasn't been for years.
"Rodney," Sheppard moans and Ronon feels jealous that it is the other man's name Sheppard calls out first. He lets go of Sheppard's trapped arms and brings that hand down to Sheppard's hole while he steps up his ministrations with his other on Sheppard's cock.
McKay's hand is messy enough that Ronon can spread some of the sap onto his fingers too. He eases his middle one in along side McKay's three. McKay is breathing like a bellows, while Sheppard's breath has caught mid-inhale in his throat. It's so fucking tight and Ronon can hardly breathe himself in imagining how it's going to feel around his cock.
He wants Sheppard acknowledging him before then, however. McKay might have more fingers inside, but Ronon's is longer and his sense of direction is as good here as it is in the field. He finds the hidden nub and begins to simply press while McKay's steady movements provide the pulse.
Sheppard is shocked into a broken, wordless cry, shocked into breathing again and when McKay brings his own second hand into play with those fingers so good at manipulating equipment being applied to Sheppard's balls, it takes only a few more seconds before Sheppard is convulsing and spurting between them, both of their names and a few curses toward various deities spilling from his lips.
Ronon can barely draw his finger out of Sheppard from the clenching, but he tugs McKay's out too and then basically shoves with his chest to drape most of Sheppard's sagging weight onto McKay. The hand he'd brought Sheppard off with is covered and Ronon quickly slathers his own cock so that he can replace their fingers before Sheppard is even done shaking.
"Hey, hey wait," McKay tries to stop Ronon by pushing on his hand. "Do you have protection?"
"You mean like a sheath?" Ronon growls. "Not going to get him pregnant."
"No, but --"
"Leave it … McKay," Sheppard stutters from his place leaning over McKay's shoulder.
"I don't have a disease," and Ronon shoves in.
It's every bit as tight as Ronon expected but he still slides in smoothly with Sheppard being too wrung out to tense up. Once he's gotten Sheppard comfortably seated, he takes Sheppard's limp weight back and begins with some quick, shallow thrusts. Now freed of his own responsibilities, McKay is falling back from his knees to his ass and practically tearing his boots and shirt off before stumbling to his feet so that he can remove his pants.
McKay then drops to his knees again, his face a look of open wonder and awe at the display Ronon is giving him. Ronon preens and thrusts up, wringing another set of groans from Sheppard and McKay both. Leaning forward once more, McKay again cups his hand below Sheppard's balls and runs his fingers along where Ronon and Sheppard are joined, extracting raised skin and shudders from all three of them.
"He probably couldn't take us both," McKay starts to sigh with longing.
"Fuck no," Sheppard barks out as Ronon grinds upward and then draws back as slow as he can even though he can't pull out too far.
"I can wait," even though McKay doesn't sound like he is even convincing himself. "Or," and he looks up brightly, like one of the Athosian kids after they've been promised a treat, "his mouth. You implied I could have his mouth. Will you suck me, John?"
"You maybe want to wash up first, McKay?" Sheppard's voice has dropped back into its usual drawl, although its pitch is almost as low as Ronon's own.
"You smell like Wraith," Ronon grinds out. He starts to tip Sheppard over which sends McKay scrambling backward.
"Fine, but you have to keep going," McKay squawks. "No finishing before I even get started."
"Now, wait a minute --"
"I can last," Ronon growls over Sheppard's protest. They're now both on their knees, with Sheppard collapsed down onto his elbows while Ronon stays hunched over on his hands. In this position he has full control over the depth of his inward strokes as well as the being able to draw out until the head of his cock is holding Sheppard's hole fully open. "I can outlast you and Sheppard both getting off again."
"I don't think so," Sheppard and McKay both say, but with entirely different tones in their voices.
In seconds McKay is off splashing into the water, his howl at its temperature bringing a smile to Ronon. "That's going to slow him down even further," he rumbles against Sheppard's cheek.
"You are not going to conduct a marathon in my ass," Sheppard pushes back when again Ronon just holds himself in position without plunging back in. "It's not like I said yes to any of this --"
"Shut up, John." Ronon snaps himself inward hard enough to push them both forward. "McKay, just wash your fucking cock off and get back here! Sheppard's saying stupid things again."
They both watch McKay's contortions and less than graceful stumbling once he gets back onto the dry ground with a handful of reeds.
"Hey, is that sap even edible?" Sheppard asks the same time McKay starts in with:
"This stuff isn't toxic, is it?"
McKay doesn't have as much body hair as Sheppard, but both have more than Ronon and he finds the contrast interesting. Fun to pet, too, not like an animal pelt because not even John is that hairy, but it's like the soft side of leather where his own skin and all of his previous partners are the smooth side. McKay's no where near as fit as even Sheppard either, but they're both older and have had lives much softer than Ronon's. He can't ignore that they both have their share of scars and damage though, not all of them even just from their arrival here in Pegasus.
The dangers of their world might come in different guises than the Wraith, but that doesn’t make them less perilous, or the two of them less warriors because they have survived what both galaxies have thrown against them. Just as they will also survive this, not only the enzyme and Ford's stupid plan against the Wraith, but the three of them coming together.
Sheppard will want to shove this aside with all of the other things that he's had to do that he never imagined. McKay will want to ignore it or talk it to death; Ronon's not completely sure. He's not sure how Teyla is going to take it either, but she made her choice first. Ronon knows she won't stay with Ford, but he doesn't know if she will come to them. He's not even sure if he wants her to.
He loves Teyla and would be honored to start a family with her, to provide her a home and table and some kind of stability and future, but they don't live in a time where that is possible. Under the Wraith's dominion, warrior bonds are just as important as family ones, and he's never felt closer to any brother than he does John Sheppard.
There is no reason why a warrior bonding would exclude Teyla anyway, as she's the strongest of them all, in all the ways that matter. She also may be the one who can keep this from turning into regret or bitterness, as John won't retreat from her, and McKay -- Rodney -- won't ever lie to her.
There is no mistaking Rodney's eagerness right now as he kneels and guides John's head down to the cock rising proudly from between his legs. No disguising John's renewed enthusiasm either as he let's himself be fucked by them both. Ronon is even content in their watchers (although he doubts they are aware of anything but each other at this time). He has always found actions more instructional than words, and in this claiming he is showing that he is not just a survivor, but a man. That he is worthy to teach and to lead and yes, even to follow because these are all choices that he makes, not the Wraith or Ford and some scravens who use a drug to remove the responsibilities of their own existence.
He still might kill Ford for trying to get Ronon to succumb in the same way, but for now his blood lust has settled into plain lust, and the fire that has burned within him since the Wraith destroyed his world is banked by the quick-silver flow of one man and the soaring heights of the other. The solidness of the earth is absent from their triad, but not forever gone. H is sure that Teyla will join them if asked, once the false life is gone from their bodies.
It is more than he thought he would ever find again, more than he even dreamed of. But soon, Ronon Dex will be whole.
(Title and lyric from Hoobastank)