Written for: darsynia, who actually likes Jennifer ;-) I hope you like your present. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Pairing: Jennifer/Rodney, McShep, implied Jennifer/Ronon, first time
Summary: Playing the hero is supposed to get you the girl. But what if both the hero and the girl are pining after somebody else?
"Ow," Rodney wriggled down to find a more comfortable position on the unforgiving floor. Even substituting a couple of blankets for padding and using one of the reclining chairs and a pillow as a makeshift backrest didn't help all that much. Wriggling again to get more comfortable, he nearly knocked over their drinks as his knee moved the smallish crate that served as a table on the almost overcrowded balcony.
Jennifer let out a very unprofessional giggle, not exactly the compassionate thing to do, her guilty conscience chided her, while she hid her face against one handy, cotton-clad shoulder and tried to convince herself that the sitiuation really didn't warrant the amount of mirth she could feel bubbling up inside her. Maybe they shouldn't have had that second drink she mused, biting her lower lip to keep her amusement from spilling out once again.
Rodney's chest rose in a snort and he turned his head to peer down at where she was, unsucessfully, trying to hide against his side. "Oh, yes, please continue to mock my pain." Her shoulders started to shake in earnest as the urge to laugh grew even stronger until all she could do was hang on to Rodney's arm with her less damaged hand while she laughed until she cried, until his shirt was several shades darker where it had soaked up her her tears. So, maybe nearly falling to her death in an abandoned Genii bunker had rattled her composure a bit, she acknowledged as she drew several deep breaths, trying to calm down.
She could feel the drag of bandages against her hair where Rodney stroked the clinging strands of her fringe out of her eyes. His other arm wrapped around her waist, squeezing lightly, giving her a feeling of security, of being cared for, and she smiled up at his worried face in attempted reassurance, feeling foolish and profoundly glad that she wasn't alone right now.
"You okay now?" he asked, leaning closer to peer at her tear-streaked face. God, she must look a fright, she thought. She nodded and smiled. The skeptical tilt of his head told her that the latter wasn't exactly one of her better efforts. When he leant towards her once more, the light from the doorway illuminated his face, catching and gilding the strands of his still disshevelled hair and making his eyes glow in a warm, summerskye blue that reminded her of home, of safety.
She didn't know what emotion it was her face revealed to him, but he smiled at her, the quirky, lopsided smile he reseved for the people he liked. A careful fingertip smoothed away the last trace of moisture from her cheek as he bent down to follow the touch with a barely there kiss.
Jennifer sighed, and leant into him. She had to stretch a bit, turning her face up to chase his retreating lips with her own, suddenly determined to have this. To feel his lips against hers, to feel his strong body react to her touch and to feel his touch in return. A wicked thrill of excitement made her bold, and she pushed him back against the recliner until she sat perched above him, both of them moving carefully to keep their bandaged appendages away from contact with any unforgiving surfaces.
Rodney's grin was all naughty boy delight as he asked, "Really? You're sure about this?" And: "Absolutely sure," she answered, chasing another kiss.
"Cool," he murmured ticklishly against her mouth, before contributing very enthusiastically to the effort of getting rid of their clothes without further damage to their already banged-up selves.
Careful took time, but was worth it in the end. Boy, was it worth it! Jennifer could not remember ever feeling this alive, this aware of her own body or her surroundings.
For a short few hours, just for tonight, this place, this small balcony had become a place of wonders and delight. The bamboo-like grasses which grew on the mainland and now lived here in their big pots of Athosian-made clay, hid them from curious eyes, the only sources of light the dim light from the hallway and the glow cast by the two moons that had risen high in the midnight sky.
Her body felt alive as she hadn't felt in much too long and she shivered delighted as a soft curl of air from the doorway chased goosebumps up her spine, cooling the pearls of sweat Rodney's hands, cupped around her breasts in a soft-rough caress of careful fingertips and slightly scratchy bandages had caused. She arched into the caress, feeling his answering thrust as their passions rose and matched. She leant forward and down, mouth searching for a place to bury the cry of passion she could feel deep inside her, waiting to break free with the rest of that utterly delicious feeling of freefall that still couldn't make her forget where she was.
Rodney's hands smoothed down her flanks to her hips, changing their rhythm until it was slow and smooth and utterly delicious. Together they chased that perfect, elusive moment that always seemed too far away, yet passed much too fast, until they tumbled over the edge together.
Content and worn out she sighed, a happy little sound, as Rodney snuggeld her close and wrapped the edges of the slightly frayed blanket around them to shield them from the nightbreeze wafting up from the sea. Without realizing it, she slipped into easy dreams of laughter and companionship while Rodney watched over her, a small, contemplative smile on his face. His hand tracing miniscule circles against the soft skin of her neck while he tracked the path of the moons with his eyes.
Ronon watched as Sheppard continued to mutilate his scrambled eggs. The one piece of toast he'd given up on after taking one small bite now a soggy mess pushed to the edge of his plate, and not even Ronon was tempted to steal it from his distracted team leader.
Ronon would bet his third favourite knife that whatever was bugging Sheppard had to have something to do with McKay, or rather the lack of McKay's presence at their table. It was almost funny, the way the both of them kept on pretending not to care when one of them made other arrangements for their down time. He and Teyla had spent several fun meals watching their antics, sharing the occasional smile of amusement about their obliviousness.
He barely suppressed a snort and took another large bite from the Tharian cornbread, savouring the rich, sweet flavour of it. Teyla always told him they would figure it out, eventually, but Ronon wasn't at all sure that was true. What was that Terran saying Lt. Allister had used when he caught Zelenka mooning after one of the female marines? When pigs fly... only, there were those pig-like creatures on Marania Prion, had wings like giant chickens, at least according to the pictures of Terran chickens one of the cooks had shown Ronon, but they tasted like crap.
When Sheppard straightened in his seat and scowled over Ronon's right shoulder, pushing his plate away for good, Ronon started to realize that something more was going on than just plain sulking due to McKay's absence.
He turned to look over to the table Sheppard was glaring at, only to find it occupied by the first day-shift nurses and some of the doctors, including, much to his enjoyment, Jennifer Keller.
Jennifer. Pretty, cute and fun to tease and quite a puzzle, Ronon mused. He really thought they'd had something going between them. He'd made his interest clear, had nearly kissed her that one time but for the untimely interruption of the lockdown being over just when he was about to taste her lips for the first time. Up until now, she hadn't given him the slightest hint that his attentions were welcome. To push his attention on her would be considered extremely bad mannered. He may have lost his homeworld, but he still knew what kind of courtship behaviour was acceptable. You didn't rush the woman you were serious about building a future with.
And it wasn't as if he didn't receive other invitations on a regular basis. Even one of Jennifer's colleagues had made her interest in him more than plain, so it wasn't a matter of miscommunication between them, as Teyla had first indicated. If other Terran women could make it more than obvious what they wanted from him then it stood to reason that it was plainly an oddity in Jennifer's personality which kept her from accepting his advances at this point. He really hoped she would come to her senses sometime soon. Or, maybe, she wouldn't.
Frowning, Ronon glanced from Sheppard over to Jennifer's table, slowly adding his facts and what he knew from yesterday's events together, and coming up with something that made him growl under his breath; "No way!"
Sheppard tore his glare away from Jennifer and looked at him, for the first time this morning actually noticing that he wasn't alone at the table. "Ah, what did you say?"
"Tell me she isn't dating McKay!" Ronon was furious. Sheppard knew damn well that he was interested in Jennifer. Come to think of it so did McKay. Trying to steal the girl your teammate was interested in was very bad mannered, especially, if you were actually, and very obviously, infatuated with your male commanding officer. Ronon gritted his teeth, glaring at the guilty expression on Sheppard's face and growled, "Where the hell is McKay?"
"Ah, Ronon, buddy, you really should try and calm down a bit." Sheppard looked worried. Good, Ronon thought, smiling toothily, not willing to be placated and more than ready to have a nice little chat with McKay about being teammates and what it meant when it came to chatting up you teammates potentional love interest.
"I'm going to talk to McKay, you coming?" he asked, pushing away from the table. He smirked a bit as he heard Sheppard cursing and hurrying to follow him out of the mess hall. Maybe patience in these matters was overrated. He and McKay were going to have a nice little chat and if they were lucky, this whole mess between Sheppard and McKay would be resolved in the process as well. Problem solved. It was a very good plan, in Ronon's opinion.
Rodney lay basking in the morning sunlight, half-empty coffe mug in easy reach and wriggling his toes in contentment. Ah, this was the life. Coffee, lazing around for a bit, before going down to the labs to annoy Zelenka with his story of yesterday's adventure, then going to have an early lunch with John and Ronon. He hummed a bit before giving a full body stretch.
Waking up hadn't been as much fun. His stiffened up muscles had protested and he'd ached all over, until Jennifer had force fed him some pain killers and dragged him off for a hot shower.
When he'd finally stumbled out of the bathroom slightly more awake, she had already been dressed. She had given him a peck on the cheek and made him sit down on his bed before a large pot of steaming hot coffee was put on his bedside table. While he was still murmuring her praise into the fragrant brew, she had salved and rebound his hands, so all that had been left for him to do was to, "go back to sleep and try to relax for at least half a day, Rodney. Doctor's orders, you've earned it!" The blush had looked cute on her and he had grinned at her, watching as she tilted her head slightly to meet his eyes.
"Just to make this clear, and because we both know I'm really bad at this," he had leant closer to her and continued, "we are not re-enacting the cliché where we both realize that we won't ever be getting the men we are secretly pining for, and are trying to be content with each other instead, is it?"
"Oh my god, Rodney." She'd laughed with him, a little sheepishly but relieved nonetheless. "There is actually pining involved?" She couldn't help but ask. He'd snorted rather inelegantly into his precious coffee. "Isn't there?"
Another blush. "Well, maybe, a little bit." She'd admitted. He had pulled her close again, giving her a chaste, almost brotherly kiss. "What was that for?" She'd asked, a bit flustered still, and he had shrugged and grinned. "Encouragement." He'd stated mock solem.
"Because for a doctor, you're one hell of a kisser, and you gave me a hickey." She had left him, a bit flustered but smiling and Rodney had felt at peace with his small section of the Pegasus galaxy for the moment.
For once he'd been the one to save the day and the girl, no, girls, plural, hah, and wouldn't Sam just love to be reminded of that fact now and then. No matter that his heart was firmly and rather unretrievably set on being in love with another Lt.Colonel, ribbing Sam was still one of his favourite passtimes.
He was just contemplating what to do with his morning off--maybe John could be persuaded to sneak off for a bit of flight time--when he heard a rather loud knock on the door to his quarters, followed by the dulcet tones of Ronon's "Open up McKay, we have to talk."
Opening the door, Rodney looked up into Ronon's irrate face, trying to remember what he could have done to cause that look. Drawing a complete blank, he nonetheless took a step back, thus enabling Ronon to step by him and force him to take another couple of steps back in order to avoid having his bare toes stepped on. When John slipped in after Ronon, wearing a rather guilty expression and only glancing at Rodney from the corner of his eyes, Rodney felt glad that he'd already put on his uniform pants before answering the door.
Facing Ronon wearing only his boxers was one thing, being in close proximity to John while not in mortal peril would have been stupid. Rodney might not have made the wisest of choices on occasion, when it came to matters of the heart; he nontheless tried to avoid actual, full out stupidity.
"And what brings you to my doorstep on this fine morning?" Sometimes, dealing with Ronon meant getting into this whole caveman act himself, so Rodney thought subtlety wouldn't be appreciated. And if Colonel Squinty over there didn't stop acting quite so guilty, Rodney would get really annoyed. He threw John a glare for good measure and got the pouty, hard done by glare in return, which was bad in too many ways to count. It always made Rodney want to do stupid things such as sidle up to John and see if that slightly protruding lower lip would feel as soft as it looked when Rodney kissed it. Oh no, so not going there, he thought and turned his attention back to Ronon who had watched him eying John's pout with a strange kind of glint in his eyes.
"You've been going out with Jennifer," the growl wasn't as pronuonced as it had been a minute before and Rodney relaxed a bit. "I wouldn't say, going out, exactly." He said, wondering if the truth would indeed set him free, or give him a new and interesting set of bruises to go with the ones he already had. "We've had a few drinks. Celebrating our survival and my manly deeds, that sort of thing," he hedged, glaring at John's disbelieving snort. Bastard, he thought rather uncharitably, barely resisting the urge to stick out his tongue at him.
Manfully resisting that temptation, he turned back to Ronon, arms crossed before his chest, glaring up Ronon's tall frame until he could read the residual irritation in his eyes. Okay, obviously Jennifer had a few of her facts very, very wrong. Ronon was definitely interested, and a bit possesive and quite a lot jealous, apparently. If Rodney wasn't careful, this could actually end in a complete desaster. Oh, to hell with it; if Rodney couldn't get who he really wanted, he could at least try and make things right for Jennifer.
"You know, she's really nice. And she actually likes me," he said, adding just the right amount of smugness to his voice to make Ronon take notice. John, who had just opened his mouth, no doubt to make some smart remark, shut it again, eyes growing wide and his hands starting to make frantic shushing gestures at Rodney, which he chose to ignore.
This wasn't a mission and Ronon, though he could be pretty scary, wasn't going to harm him, that much Rodney was sure of. Maybe take a special interest in Rodney's progress during their next training session, but Rodney could live with that, and clearing this up was important.
"We're probably going to go out together again. After all, she's single, I'm single, and a good catch, I might add. She could do a lot worse, don't you think?" This last bit was aimed more at John than Ronon, just to add a bit more realism to the whole gloating. Only John didn't seem amused. In fact, John looked almost as ready to explode as Ronon had just a few minutes ago and Rodney felt a bit out of his depth all of a sudden. Maybe his brilliant plan wasn't so brilliant after all. Before he could decide on his next course of action, the doorchime rang again.
Jennifer had been just about to follow her own advice and have a nice, long, lazy sleep-in after finishing her breakfast, when she realized that she'd left her favourite hair-tie at Rodney's place.
Sighing, but unwilling to risk it being lost because it was the last one from the batch her dad had given her when she left Earth for her new assignement, she made her way back to Rodney's quarters.
"Oh, it's you. Come in, come in. The more the merrier." He looked a bit flustered, clad only in pants and a fresh t-shirt. Before she could ask him what was wrong, her gaze fell on Ronon and Sheppard. Something in the way Sheppard was glaring at her made her shiver, and not in a good way.
She looked up at Ronon and felt a shiver of another kind rush through her. Oh, she thought rather dazedly and felt the remnants of last night's daring recklessness stirr to live again. Maybe Rodney was right, she thought, giving Ronon her most brilliant smile. Sheppard's glaring dissaproval of her presence all but forgotten the moment Ronon grinned down at her.
The door slid closed behind Ronon's retreating back and Rodney turned to face his one remaining guest, back resting against the door's brightly colored glass. He could hear the sound of Jennifer's laugh retreating around the corner. Ronon's deeper voice carrying a bit farther as he agreed to something she'd asked him. He closed his eyes and took a deep, relaxing breath. Wow, that went better than he had dared to imagine. Way to go, Jennifer, he thought smugly.
"You lied to him." John's voice was disbelieving, carrying quite a bit of anger, still.
"Oh please." Rodney huffed, annoyed and a bit hurt by the tone as well as the implication. He opened his eyes and looked over at John who had remained conspiciously silent during the past fifteen minutes. "Ronon is no man's fool."
"Yeah, but Keller isn't a man, Rodney. And you know exactly what I mean." He felt this stubborn contrary need to at once make John understand what he and Jennifer and Ronon had been well aware of not having said during that rather stilted conversation earlier, battling with the need to sock him one. Sometimes, John could be really, really annoying.
"Did Ronon guess that Jennifer and I did more than sip a couple of beers and talk about bad Genii architecture? I'm pretty sure he did." Rodney huffed out an annoyed breath and watched John step closer. Arms crossed in his 'I am your leader and you will listen to me' manner, that could get up Rodney's hackles in the time it took him to draw a single breath. John leant in close so that each exhalation moved across the left side of Rodney's neck where his washed-out t-shirt had slipped down to expose his collarbone, causing Rodney to swallow hard and press back further against the door, lest he do something stupid.
"Really? So what did you do, Rodney, hmm?" John asked, voice rough with an emotion that Rodney didn't quite dare acknowledge.
Rodney swallowed, hard, too stubborn to back down. "Take a wild guess, Colonel."
John almost snarled, before his mouth settled into a dark, dangerous smile that made Rodney's foolish heart beat faster. One slender, long fingered hand rose to touch the exposed side of Rodney's neck, following the strong curve of it down to the place where neck and shoulder met. He could feel his heart rate rise in anticipation, not knowing what would happen next, but too mesmerized by John's actions to do more than stand there and let the calloused side of John's thumb trace what he suddenly realized was the hickey he'd teased Jennifer about, just hours ago.
He breathed in sharply, watching as John's eyes followed his every move. John's mouth parting slightly before his tongue darted out to moisten dry lips, and Rodney unconsciously mirrored what he saw until, suddenly, John was so much closer than he'd ever been before, mouth almost covering Rodney's as they breathed each other in.
Rodney let out a soft sound of yearning just as John leant in to cover his mouth in a kiss that made him forget what he had been about to say. Surrender was almost instantaneous on Rodney's part. He loved to kiss and be kissed, and John's mouth was almost shockingly intimate.
No careful hello, how are you; no teasing acknowledgement of desire this. John's mouth stormed past all the usual niceties and claimed Rodney's lips with a fierce certainty that left him dizzy and clinging to John when he drew back to press those warm, soft lips to the mark on his neck. The shivery warmth of that mouth grazing his neck with just a hint of teeth behind the softness made Rodney moan and shift against John, pulling him closer with unsteady hands. "Do it," he whispered, more harshly than he'd intended. He felt John hesitate for the fraction of a heartbeat. "Please," he offered, acknowledging John's desire as well as his own need.
"Rodney," the voice sounded whiskey-rough, warm and moist against his senstized skin, before he felt the slight sting of teeth and toungue raising John's own mark against his flesh. He moved his head, exposing even more of his neck to the rough caress.
John's face remained buried against his neck for a while longer, nuzzling around the mark he'd made, his skin already slightly rough against Rodney's freshly shaven cheek as he moved back to Rodney's mouth, claiming another kiss. Finally acknowledging that this was really John, pressing against him with such insistence and need, Rodney indulged himself by sliding his hands into the soft, untameable hair that had always fascinated him beyond distraction. Hands burried in the short strands he drew John's head back and up a bit, paying attention to the soft place behind one slightly pointy ear, tasting salt and traces of soap and shapoo he felt John thrust against him, gasping a bit as their errections brushed together through layers of clothing.
For a moment they stood like this, bodies pressed as close as possible while still fully clothed, their mouths speaking more eloquently than they ever would out loud, until need and the necessity for more privacy made the stumble in the direction of Rodney's bedroom.
When they moved passed the balcony doorway, John stopped for a moment, holding on to Rodney's shoulders to steady himself while he caught his breath. Feeling a bit too anxious and apprehensive for his own liking Rodney caught the telltale signs of guilt on John's face for the second time that day. Eyes averted and teeth worrying at his lower lip, lush and red now from Rodney's kisses, he couldn't stop staring at it until John whispered roughly, "I saw you."
"What? You, what does that mean? John?"
Eyes dark and burning with a combination of need and jealousy, John glared at him as if daring him to judge his actions. "Came by to see how you were doing last night. You were with her," he nodded his head in the direction of the balcony. "Out there," he breathed, a harsh laugh breaking free. "God, Rodney. I wanted to, I..."
And yes, Rodney could see how that would make John feel, how it would have made Rodney feel if it had been John with someone else. He moved in closer, even before all this. Kissing the doubts and the unneccessary jealousy away, thrilled beyond measure that John did trust him enough to let him see both. "Later, we can fool around on the balcony," he grinned feeling secure enough now to offer; "you can have your wicked way with me under the moonlight and show me what you wanted to do to me." He laughed, delighted by the look on John's face. "Later?" he asked, hopefully insistent, walking backwards while holding on to Rodney, teeth flashing in a reckless smile as they tumbled down onto the mattress, all eager hands and oversensitized bodies.
It couldn't last, was over before they'd even managed to get rid of all their clothes. But still, lying pressed together, their relief sticky against overheated skin, they kissed again. Slowly this time, with a certainty that came from knowledge and recognition of needs acknowledged and answered.
And Rodney couldn't help but muse that in this case, the hero did save the day, couldn't keep the girl but gained the love of his life instead. He decided that he liked this ending kind of a lot, actually. Even more so when, later that night, John honored his promise of making new memories for them, clad in nothing but the silvery moonlight of New Lantia's moons.