Pairing: John/Ronon, Rodney/Jennifer, Teyla/Kanaan
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters or their world.
Author's Notes: rustler said that she's a John fan and that if John was happy, she'd be happy. For some reason that line stuck in my head so I had a good time plotting out the perfect day with his team for John.
Thank you to helens78 for her excellent beta-fu. And thank to ratcreature who asked for drawble prompts when I was really struggling with this fic. She drew this to my prompt and it made finishing the fic a lot easier.
Summary: John's future falls into place.
"Wait! Before you open the hatch, does everyone have sunscreen on? Teyla, did you put it on...."
"Yes, I put sunscreen on Torren, Rodney," Teyla said, sounding more amused than annoyed. John had to admire her patience; Rodney had asked her the same question three times since they left the city.
"We all have sunscreen on," John said, rolling his eyes as the back hatch of the jumper opened. "I wouldn't be surprised if you slathered the damn jumper with the stuff before we left."
"Ha ha ha...don't blame me if if you end up with skin cancer."
"You really know how to make things fun, McKay," Ronon said, grabbing the picnic basket.
John was the last person out of the jumper, and he wasn't surprised that Rodney, Kanaan and Jennifer were already putting up the big sunshade. Ronon had exchanged the picnic basket for Torren and was tossing him up in the air, something Torren clearly loved if his excited laughter was anything to go by. Once the sunshade was up, John and Jennifer grabbed the woven mats out of the back of the jumper and spread them out, and Teyla and Kanaan set up the beach chairs.
All in all, it had taken them less than ten minutes to get everything done; as John settled down, a cold beer in his hand, he doubted that his Marines could have done it much faster. Torren, free from Ronon, sat in Rodney's lap, carefully chewing on an ildun fruit while Rodney quietly explained where sand came from. Catching Jennifer watching them with a fond smile, John winked at her and laughed when she ducked her head.
Ronon nudged John. "Hey, we gonna surf or what?"
Lantea Three was, like their prior two planets, mostly water. Instead of having a major landmass, however, it had a smallish continent about the size of Australia and then, trailing off the main continent like a tail, a long archipelago. Most of the islands that made up the archipelago had shallow beaches that reminded John of the Caribbean, but this one had just the right placement for some serious waves.
"Sure," John said. He hadn't had a lot of leisure time while they were stuck in San Francisco, but after Amelia had accepted an offer to work at the SGC, John had taken Ronon to Ocean Beach and taught him to surf. As John had long expected, Ronon turned out to be good at it; John suspected he'd have to work hard to find a sport Ronon wasn't good at.
He finished his beer in a couple of gulps and then joined Ronon back at the jumper. The weather was perfect and the water warm, so they'd both worn board shorts under their pants. Ronon's were kind of ridiculous--black with red and orange flames flaring up from the bottom--but it was John Rodney laughed at.
"You look like a dork," he said. He turned to Jennifer. "Tell me I have nicer legs than that."
"They're certainly less hairy."
"There are yetis that are less hairy," Rodney said, "so really, that's not saying much."
"I don't have to put up with this, you know. There are plenty of other people in this galaxy who would be happy to abuse me."
"Yes, but we do it because we like you," Jennifer said.
There wasn't anything John could say to that, so he just ducked his head and then turned and headed for the ocean, Ronon next to him.
Teyla and Kanaan were down by the water's edge, each of them holding one of Torren's hands as he took unsteady steps across the sand.
"Way to go, TJ," John said. "We'll have you up on a board before you know it."
Kanaan laughed. "If you and Rodney have your way, Torren will be the first Athosian, Nobel Prize-winning, champion surfer."
"There are worse goals," John said with a grin.
The waves were perfect and John was able to lose himself in the physical effort and the hypnotic sparkle of the sun on the water. He loved surfing like this--with no wetsuit and nothing between him and the water but his board and his shorts.
"We should do this more often," Ronon said as they sat, resting on their boards out past the waves.
"Yeah. You look good when you relax."
John swallowed hard. This wasn't the first time Ronon had given him a compliment like that, but he still didn't know how to react. Ronon always sounded so matter of fact, even when he was teasing people, and John couldn't ever remember seeing him flirt with anyone, so he had no real basis for comparison.
"Feels good to get away," he finally said, after too long a pause. Ronon just nodded and then turned to watch the swells for his next wave.
Huh, John thought and then gave a mental shrug and turned his attention back to the surfing.
By the time they rode their last wave in, John was a little shaky with fatigue and hunger. The smell of meat cooking hit him about half way back to the sunshade and he almost wanted to check his mouth to make sure he wasn't drooling.
Kanaan offered them beers and Rodney looked up from the grill he was tending with Jennifer. "You have excellent timing," he said. "The meat will be done in about five minutes."
In addition to the barbecued beslin steaks, Rodney had grilled some vegetables, and there was potato salad--made, Jennifer assured Rodney, with citrus free mayonnaise--and thestis, a pizza like flat bread made with cheese that was Torren's current favorite food.
John ate until he was sure he couldn't eat any more. "God, I'm going to explode," he said, leaning back in his chair. "Thanks, guys," he added, turning toward Rodney and Jennifer. "Great food."
"Jennifer and the cooks back on Atlantis did the hard part," Rodney said, nibbling on a piece of thestis. "I just did my manly duty and tended the fire."
It was easy, John thought, to see into the future, to imagine a time years from now when an outing like this would include more kids and more gray hair among the adults. Rodney and Jennifer would probably have a couple of kids and maybe Torren would have a brother or sister to play with and share thestis with.
And where, John wondered, was he in this picture?
He glanced at Ronon, who was talking with Kanaan about knife fighting. He paused and smiled at John and then went back to the discussion.
Huh, John thought again.
After lunch, the dice and cards came out and everyone except Torren settled down for a session of misrant. It was a Satedan game that was a cross between pinochle and craps; Ronon had taught it everyone during his second year in the city and it had proved to be really popular. Rodney loved it because it didn't involve bluffing and John liked the math involved.
They played for stupid things and by the time the sun started to go down and Torren woke up from his nap, John had lost all but one of the puddlejumpers to Jennifer, who turned out to be really cut-throat.
"No one in my family will play games with me," she said with an apologetic little smile. "I don't know what it is, but I'm really competitive."
"That explains why you get along with McKay so well."
"Oh, totally. We have a relationship based on oneupsmanship."
"Absolutely," Rodney said, sliding an arm around her waist. "I'm winning."
John glanced over at Ronon again, but if he was at all jealous, he hid it too well for John to see.
"Who wants dessert?" Teyla asked. "We have chocolate caramel brownies that Corporal Jenkins made and more fruit."
John thought about it but shook his head. "Nothing for me yet. I think I'm gonna take a walk, try to make some room."
"Me too," Ronon said, handing Torren over to Jennifer.
Usually there was something comfortable about Ronon's silence, but for some reason, John found it almost impossible to relax. He was aware of Ronon in a way he hadn't allowed himself to be since Ronon joined the team.
In spite of that, it came as a surprise when, once they were out of sight of the sunshade, Ronon stopped and put a hand on John's bare shoulder.
"This okay?" Ronon asked and John caught his breath because no, of course it wasn't okay. Oh sure, DADT had been repealed, but that didn't mean that he should get involved with a subordinate, particularly one who was on his team.
"I...uh...." John licked his lips nervously and Ronon smiled.
"Yeah, thought so."
And maybe John hadn't seen it coming today, but, as Ronon bent down and kissed him, it felt inevitable, like they'd been moving in this direction all along. He opened his mouth and slid his arms around Ronon's waist and God, it was good. Ronon smelled like salt and grilled beslin and he kissed John like he hadn't thought of anything else for the last four years.
John wanted to stand here and make out like teenagers for hours. He wanted to drop down to his knees, pull Ronon's shorts down and blow him. He wanted to feel Ronon's cock, which was pressing against John's hip, inside him. He wanted....
"This," he said, pulling away from the kiss but keeping his arms around Ronon. "This isn't because of...you know, Amelia? Or Jennifer being with Rodney?"
"I was going to ask you the same thing?"
"McKay...I wasn't sure if...."
John stared up at him and then laughed. "Me? And Rodney?" He shook his head. "I know people say things, but it's all bullshit. He's my friend."
"I thought so, but I wanted to make sure." Ronon paused. "And Jennifer...Amelia...this isn't about them. You...this came first."
Amazing, John thought as he reached, hooked an arm around the back of Ronon's neck and pulled him down for another kiss. Ronon was almost as bad at talking about this kind of thing as John was. And that was fine with John.
They stood there kissing for a long time; when John finally pulled away, panting and so damn hard, the sun was sinking in a wash of red and orange and purple.
"We should get back," John said. "But damn...I want...."
"Me too, but there's sand everywhere."
"Yeah, sex on the beach is seriously over-rated." John took a deep breath. "Maybe later tonight, you could come by." He was shooting for casual, but he could tell that Ronon wasn't fooled.
"Okay, but make it my room; I've seen your bed."
They walked back slowly, talking about surfing and the batch of new troops they'd picked up while on Earth and whatever else they could think of, because really, board shorts weren't all that good when it came to hiding erections.
But just before they walked up to the sunshade, which was now lit with Athosian candle-lanterns, Ronon reached out a little tentatively and took John's hand. John almost stumbled over his feet and for a long moment, he stood still.
"No," he said, when Ronon moved back a little. "I just...it's okay." He spread his fingers a little until they were entwined with Ronon's and then started walking again.
"Jesus," Rodney said when they reached the sunshade. "It's about time. I was afraid I was going to have to manufacture some kind of emergency that involved you two getting locked in a room or a transporter."
"Rodney!" Teyla and Jennifer managed to speak in unison and John laughed.
"What? I was just saying...."
"Here," Jennifer said as John and Ronon sat down. "Have a brownie."
Later, John leaned back against Ronon and watched as Rodney and Kanaan attempted to entertain Torren and everyone else with increasingly complicated shadow puppets.
He'd have to revise his earlier vision of the future, he thought. He knew exactly where he'd be and who he'd be with. Looking up, he caught Teyla smiling at him and he smiled back.
Ronon bent down and kissed his temple and John relaxed a little more. The future looked pretty good from here.