Disclaimer:I don't own nothing.
Author's Notes: In my head this was going to be a light hearted comedy, but threesomes are serious business damn it!
Summary: Rodney and Jennifer fantasize about opening up their relationship.
"Oh God," Rodney groaned. "I can't believe you just..." He let his head drop back against the pillow, sweat coating his brow. "You're shameless, you know that?"
Jennifer twisted her fingers, finding his prostate with unerring certainty, and pressed her shoulder down to keep him from arching off the bed. "Hmmm, they remove your ability to blush in med school." She licked a stripe up his chest, "So I visit Colonel Sheppard in the armoury. Tell him how very sorry you are for undermining his authority."
"What authority?" Rodney muttered.
She carefully nibbled at one of his love handles because it had proven crazy effective to shut him up. "Tell him you want to apologize in person."
"How do I apologize?" he panted out conciliatorily, getting back in the game.
She glanced up and caught him just looking at her. Face flushed with arousal, amusement and just a tinge of anxiety that she might be fucking with him, instead of fucking him. A warm flush flooded her belly and she had to duck her head to hide the goofy smile on her face.
"I invite him to dinner..."
"Only I'm the main course," Rodney finished. Fucking genius taking the story to its logical conclusion. His mind's eye was focussed on the picture she'd painted for him. Too bad he couldn't see the negligee she was wearing in his head. She'd been far too practical in her packing when she signed up for Atlantis. Something to correct next time she was back. Maybe she could pick up some toys, if she could work up the strength to let them pass through the three separate checkpoints the IOA insisted on.
"You are already waiting. Bent over the table."
"Tied up?" he asked breathily and she had to squeeze her legs together against the surge of arousal.
"Yes. I helped you prepare earlier. All he has to do is slide home." She slid in another finger to emphasize her point and Rodney came with a strangled cry.
She scooted up the bed and he pulled her back into his arms, letting out a satisfied hum. One of the nice things about sleeping with Rodney - beside his dextrous fingers, love of experimentation and God, that tongue! - was that Rodney liked to cuddle.
"Don't think we're not going to discuss this," he mumbled into her hair.
"You seemed to be enjoying yourself."
"You made me picture Sheppard naked. I think it might have given me a complex."
Well they'd gone a bit beyond that really. "Good thing we're getting a new shrink on the next Daedalus run then," she teased and turned around, propping herself up with one arm so that she could look at him. "You liked it though?"
"Aside from your bizarre fetish for..."
"...Older men in positions of authority?" she asked, blinking coyly through her lashes.
The truth was, once he'd haltingly confessed that he'd fantasized about having another man in bed with them, she'd known the Colonel was the only real candidate even though Rodney hadn't offered any names.
Rodney had his anxieties. Something she sympathized with since she had her fair share herself. Fielding them was sometimes hit and miss, although she liked to think she was getting it more right then wrong these days. A major issue was his tendency to act as the kind of man he thought he should be. For the first weeks of their relationship he'd seemed like the perfect vanilla, white picket force field-to keep the aliens out-boyfriend. It wasn't until she had hinted that she was up for more exotic things herself that he'd revealed his own experiences with it.
He seemed comfortable and happy with their sex life, but she wasn't sure she could take him at face value on that score. This was the first kink he'd really offered up without prompting. He'd confessed it haltingly late one night, when it was too dark for her to see his face. The next day he'd dropped off the face of the city and stayed scarce for two whole weeks, until she had finally conscripted Ronon to track him down for her. Rodney responded well to positive reinforcement so she intended to make sure he got the most out of this.
"Don't you think it's kind of, of wrong?" He grabbed the edge of the sheet and started rubbing the come off his chest roughly.
She grabbed his hand to still it. "It's a fantasy, Rodney. You're allowed to fantasize." She had little doubt Sheppard had been featuring heavily in his for several years at any rate.
"I figured you'd go for some buff warrior type specimen." Rodney changed the subject, shooting for casual and missing by a mile.
Oh dear, she thought, carefully setting a first step in the minefield of insecurities that had suddenly been revealed in front of her. "Buff warrior types?" Like Ronon.
Rodney gestured vaguely. "You know... marines and such."
Or Ronon, but damned if she was going to bring him up herself.
"I'm more into cerebral guys," she said slowly.
"Ronon isn't stupid!" Because of course he would feel the need to defend his teammate even when they were carefully not talking about him.
"I'm not into Ronon." She should be. He was exactly the sort of guy a girl like her should fawn over, but she'd never been wired like that. Older, smart, asshole. She'd been pretty consistent about her type since uni. Rodney was a major step in the right direction since he was only an asshole on the surface. Her dad might actually... not hate him... eventually...
"Well no, but..."
She pushed him back into the mattress, straddling his hips firmly so that she could look down at him. "I'm only going to say this once, because frankly you're being a crazy person. Again." He looked like he was about to be subjected to a wraith feeding, so she brought her head down to rest their foreheads together gently. "Not Ronon."
She'd made her choice. Inviting him into their bed, even pretend would be insensitive on so many levels that the thought made her queasy.
And since they were putting things out in the open: "You seemed pretty happy with my choice. Do you think he'd like to join us for real some time?"
Rodney sighed and looked away, "No. Not John." And he sounded so wistful that she couldn't bring herself to push him about it.
"Good morning." Mr. Woolsey moved around the table briskly and took his seat at the head. "Our first order of business is the return mission to Sabra." He pushed up his glasses and glanced around the table. "I believe Doctor Keller will be accompanying you this time?"
Rodney nodded sharply. "Yes. I've been dying to check out the hills behind the settlement. Geology thinks the area is a good candidate for an ore the Ancients used to produce their ceramics. The locals haven't shown a lot of interest in what we have to offer, but I hope that will change once they see Jennifer in action." He shot her a quick smile and crossed his arms, "And frankly if we don't get our hands on some of that ore fast we're in for a major sewer crisis. Do you know what happens when ten thousand years of corrosion meets five years of heavy use? Cuz you're about to and it's not going to be pretty."
"Thank you for that picture, Doctor," Mr Woolsey said dryly, making a note on the old fashioned memo pad in front of him. He peered at Jennifer over the top of his glasses. "Have you been appraised of the planet's cultural specifics?"
"Er." She looked around helplessly, a sinking feeling in her gut. "No?" She'd prepped the standard kit and read up on any health issues the team had reported seeing on their various visits, but no one had mentioned anything about cultural issues. In her experience it was rarely anything good. From planets that wouldn't allow her to treat women, or children under five, to worlds that insisted their mud was cleansing (although in all fairness they'd been right).
"McKay didn't tell you?" Sheppard drawled and she'd had him in her infirmary often enough to recognize that shifty look. It was the one that made her reach for the duct tape so that she could tape the crutches to his arms.
Ronon rolled his eyes, pulled out a knife and started picking out the dirt under his nails.
"The Sabraians wed when they reach adulthood. It is considered a rite of passage," Teyla explained.
Well, that didn't sound too ominous. "Let me guess. They won't deal with children?" And she could see where this was going. "So they think you are all married."
"Yes," Teyla said. "They believe I am joined with a man from my own people. Which is true now of course. They do not demand evidence fortunately."
That was fortunate since the expedition was largely made up by crazy loners and commitment-phobes. "Okay, so who am I married to?" She involuntarily glanced at Rodney who was suddenly suspiciously fixated on his tablet. The butterflies in her belly turned to lead and she had to tell herself to stop being a soppy idiot about something as stupid a sham wedding. "Rodney? Something you want to tell me?"
He took a deep breath and put down the tablet. "Okay the thing is, when we first visited we weren't dating. We didn't even really know each other! And I didn't feel comfortable picking some random woman as my spouse. I mean most of them are my subordinates and that is just asking for another sexual harassment suit, so that left Cadman or one of her psycho kitten friends, which, just no."
Another? Sheppard mouthed at her.
"So, I... er married Sheppard," he rushed out, his eyes darting guiltily towards the Colonel. Sheppard managed to sink further down his seat, seemingly without moving at all.
She looked down at her own tablet. They'd first visited back when Rodney had been dating Katie Brown. The woman he'd almost asked to marry him. That was... interesting.
"I'm the other woman," she marvelled.
Sheppard rubbed the back of his neck ruefully, "I like to think of it as an open marriage."
"Oh, you would," Rodney said snidely. "I'd hate for your husband to come between you and your ascended bimbos."
"Hey, you're the one who's sleeping around!" Sheppard shot back. He turned to Teyla and sniffed, "I think I'd like a divorce."
"I do not believe the Sabraians are familiar with that practice." Teyla coughed delicately. "They do however practice polygamy."
There was an awkward moment. Then Rodney pushed his chair back and dramatically sank to one knee. It would have been more impressive if the table wasn't in the way. His nose just peeked over it. "Jennifer, will you be our wife for the duration of this mission?"
Jennifer grinned at the spectacle. "That cool with you?" she asked Sheppard.
He shrugged. "I'm not going kneel, but eh. Welcome to the family."
Mr. Woolsey let out a put upon sigh. "Congratulations... I hope you understand your union isn't actually recognized by your respective governments. You're scheduled to depart in one hour."
They'd been on Sabra for less then an hour when the Grand Meester gave them a solemn look and sent them to couples' therapy.
"It is not uncommon for two men to add a young woman to their bond, but I fear it has sent you terribly out of balance." He patted Jennifer's knee with his wrinkled hand when she opened her mouth to protest. "You mustn't blame yourself, dear. All parties must do their part to make a marriage successful." They had been presented to the full council of elders. An eclectic mix of men and women dressed in robes whose main connection seemed to be that they were all about a hundred years old.
"Uhm," Sheppard said intelligently and tried to scoot back to the edge of his seat again. The Sabraians had been thrilled when Jennifer had been introduced and insisted she sit between her 'husbands' on a giant sagging pillow that made them all inevitably slide to the center in a big pile up of limbs.
"You've got to be kidding me!" Rodney yelped.
"Their union is still very new," Teyla tried to soothe, looking worried. "I am sure with time they will find their way."
"They're idiots," Ronon stated gruffly.
The Meester tapped his chin carefully. "Hmmm, yes, I believe your giant friend sees most clearly. To stand strong, a building needs a firm foundation. Communication!" He slapped his knee sharply, "It is the cornerstone of every bond!"
"I do hope this will not affect our negotiations," Teyla said desperately.
The Meester hemmed and hawed a bit. "No, no, no, of course not." He gave Jennifer a shrewd look, "But I'm afraid I cannot allow your lovely doctor to perform her examinations. Her humors might negatively affect my people. I won't have it!"
Jennifer straightened up on her cushion. "Grand Meester, please. I'm sure some of your people could use my expertise." And she believed it. Low tech societies like Sabra usually had plenty of work for her. Not to mention that she was their only ace in the hole.
"Look this... therapy. How long will it take?" Sheppard asked grimly.
"Forget how long it will take!" Rodney snapped. "What will it entail? I'm not doing anything that involves mud or pigeons! I'm serious about the pigeons!"
"Pigeons?" Jennifer couldn't help ask.
"I'm not talking about that." He pointed hotly at a smirking Ronon, "And you shut up about it as well!"
"I see your humors have been affected even worse than I feared!" The Meester gathered up his robes firmly and stood up with surprising spryness. "You will meet with Jazyda or you will leave our World to seek help amongst your own elders. I insist!"
"Just to talk?" Sheppard insisted.
"Yes, yes of course. You will talk and then you will perform the Shahallah to confirm your unity." An excited murmur ran through the attendants spread around the room.
"And this Shalala entails?" Rodney asked sourly.
"You will meet with Jazyda! I will speak with you no more until it is done." Two young men rushed forward to help an old grandmother wearing a faded red robe to her feet. She carefully picked up her cane and gestured at them to follow.
Jennifer pulled Rodney aside as they were ushered out of the council chamber by the attendants. "Who's this Jazyda person? Do you know her?"
Rodney grimaced, "She's always there for negotiations. Usually snoring away in a corner."
"Jazyda has taken twelve spouses," one of the young women accompanying them said sharply. "You would do well to take her counsel."
"Twelve spouses?" Jennifer echoed faintly. "All at once?" The old lady turned around and offered her a lecherous, toothless grin.
Jennifer swallowed nervously and hoped fervently this Shahallah wasn't some kind of sex ritual. That scenario really wasn't hot outside of role-play.
Jazyda used her cane to brush aside the curtain that closed of a small round wooden building at the center of the village and waited pointedly for them to get inside.
Sheppard peeked inside, one hand seemingly casually on his gun, before he ducked through. Rodney let out an aggrieved sigh and followed him. Jennifer entered, followed by their host, the curtain falling shut behind the old woman. She blinked as her eyes adjusted to the gloom of the windowless hut.
Jazyda let out a pleased little sigh as she settled down on the worn pelts and blankets and pulled Sheppard's sleeve. "Young man, pour us some tea will you?"
Her words came out slightly slurred due to her lack of teeth, but Jennifer was surprised to find that she had a strong, clear voice.
Sheppard looked around until he spotted the simple clay pot steaming near the back of the room, pouring tea like he'd learned tea ceremonies at his mother's knee.
The woman took her cup and smacked her lips appreciatively, "Our young Meester has a way to go before he'll be truly venerable, but he sees sharply." Jennifer raised an incredulous eyebrow, because the Meester looked as ancient as the rest of the elders.
"But then, your troubles were plain for all to see." Jazyda slammed her stick on the ground across from her. "Sit!" Then pursed her lips when they quickly complied. "Hmmm, yesss."
Jennifer looked around. She was sitting in the center of the men like before, with Rodney a hair's breadth to her right and Sheppard to her left.
"Let's see. You." She pointed at Rodney. "Go sit in the middle." She waited for them to finish their shuffle before she let out a contended breathe. "It is as I had thought."
Jennifer peeked past Rodney and saw what she meant with a sinking feeling. The men were sitting so closely together that their legs almost touched, with Jennifer herself mirroring the position on Rodney's other side. It was quite a break from when the Colonel and she had sat together, both instinctively keeping out of each other's personal space. Sheppard met her eye briefly and then looked away, his jaw tight.
"The bond is true between you." Jazyda drew a line on the sandy floor from John to Rodney, "And you." A similar line followed between Rodney and Jennifer. She shook her head sadly at Sheppard. "Yet I sense a distance between you and your man that was not there before. Tell me. What is your grievance with your wife?"
Sheppard cringed and send a longing look at the exit. "I don't have a problem with Jennifer." He stumbled over her first name awkwardly and Jennifer and Rodney shared a desperate look. They were hardly going to present a picture of marital bliss if he couldn't even say her name comfortably.
"From what I can tell you don't have much of anything with your Jennifer," Jazyda corrected him. "And you girl," she asked. "What made you agree to this bond when you accepted only one man?"
Jennifer gulped. "It wasn't like that," she said feebly. "I fell for Rodney but I always knew..." She faltered suddenly understanding his awkwardness. Using his name felt oddly intimate. "John would be part of the package." She had known. When she hooked up with Rodney she'd been well aware that his team was part of the bargain. She just hadn't thought much of it, being friendly with all of them. Even Ronon, despite their aborted affair.
"So you were so eager to please your man, that you forgot your own happiness," the old woman told John. She pointed at Jennifer. "You wanted one of them so badly you decided you would bear the other and you!" She turned to Rodney who wilted under her glare. "Let them."
"I didn't make them do anything!" Rodney sputtered defensively.
Jazyda picked up her cup and drained her tea in one big gulp. "This is good though."
"It is?" Rodney asked doubtfully. Sheppard fondled his gun, looking like he was seriously considering shooting his way out of the hut if he was asked any more questions.
"You both love this man." The old lady carefully got up with creaking limbs. "Common ground. It is a good basis for a bond."
Jennifer bit her lip and sought out Sheppard's eye, only to catch him staring at Rodney and something in his face made Jennifer's heart clench. She held her breath and waited for the moment to break.
Finally Sheppard cleared his throat and looked away. "Wait, that's it?" he asked uncertainly.
"The problem has been laid bare. Surely you did not think I could solve all your problems for you? You may now perform the Shahallah and discuss amongst yourself." She started shuffling towards the exit. "Communication is..."
"The cornerstone of every relationship," Rodney muttered disgustedly, staring fixedly at his hands. "Yeah, yeah, we heard. Just what is this Shambalah thing?"
Jazyda threw open the curtain, temporarily blinding them. "You will climb the hill to the south until you come to a birch forest. There you will collect three eggs from the Shaha."
Rodney squinted at her suspiciously. "This Shaha. Does it happen to be some kind of dreaded beast?"
"It is a bird." Jazyda held her hands about two inches apart. "With blue feathers."
"Anything else in the hills we should know about?" Sheppard questioned. "Monsters? Wraith? Mole people?"
"The bird is poisonous, isn't it?" Rodney said grimly.
Jazyda leaned heavily on her stick and squinted at them. "Your humors really are very bad. If you stop by the last house, Kesha will give you a pan and some cinder."
"What do we need the pan for?" Jennifer asked.
"To bake the eggs of course." She rubbed her belly theatrically and made the universal hmm sound to signify something was delicious. "Now please leave."
Sheppard walked ahead to radio Ronon and Teyla, leaving Rodney and Jennifer alone.
"Well," he muttered awkwardly. "Jeannie said I'd be crap at marriage."
Jennifer patted is arm, eying the Colonel in the distance. Everything about the line of his posture screamed that he'd had enough communication for one day. "It's okay, Rodney. I already knew you loved him," she assured him absently.
He froze and when he spoke his voice sounded strained. "I'm IN love with you."
"Yes of course." She took in his stricken face and instantly felt guilty about forcing him to deal with this so plainly. The nature of his relationship with the Colonel had slowly snuck up on her, until one day the knowledge had just been sitting there in the forefront of her mind as if she'd known all along. It was this great unspoken thing that neither of them seemed willing or able to put in the open. Rodney loved her, but one thing didn't negate the other.
They caught up with Sheppard at the edge of the village where he was trying to talk to a young woman with a vague resemblance to Jazyda. She was brandishing her pan as if she couldn't decide whether she should hit him with it, or hand it over, all the while keeping a maximum distance from him. Word of their bad humors had already spread through the village it seemed.
Finally Sheppard just grabbed the pan and yanked on it until she released it, running back inside her house with a shriek. "Thanks!" he yelled after her. He swung the pan, testing out its weight. "Okay," he bit out. "Let's go make an omelette and get the hell out of here." And never speak of this again, his tense shoulders screamed.
Rodney shrugged and started off after him.
The irony struck her halfway up the hill when she stopped to catch her breath. Just yesterday she'd been ready to welcome Sheppard into bed with them, just to make Rodney happy.
She looked at the two men ribbing each other on the path ahead. The Colonel, John, slowly relaxing in front of her eyes as Rodney segued into a monologue about the perfect recipe for omelettes and started complaining that they could at least have given them some veggies or cheese after making them sit through that and why did they have to hike up a mountain (hill) lugging cutlery around for a single bite sized egg anyway?
The criticism Jazyda hit Sheppard with fit her like a glove. The threesome had been a means to an end. A gift for Rodney. She hadn't really considered how she felt about it (beyond horny). It was clear to her now that she was going to have to. Because she hadn't just failed to take her own feelings into account. She hadn't considered John's either. She smiled ruefully at herself and started walking again, following the guys at a more sedate pace.
She'd seen the closeness between them but didn't know John well enough to read him properly. Rodney was one of the few people that could and given how unobservant he generally was, that had really sent her alarm bells ringing. She thought of the longing she'd seen on John's face in the hut when the old woman had laid his heart bare and thought she'd had a pretty good idea how he felt now.
Whatever it was that had kept them apart wouldn't survive once they finally moved on their feelings. If they invited John into their lives it wouldn't just be a one time thing. It couldn't be.
Up ahead, Rodney had been designated the pan carrier for the rest of the hike and was cursing up a storm as he turned it around in his hands.
They loved that man.
A common ground.
As she joined them and listened to Rodney shrieking about conductive properties and unique qualities and the waste of using it on common household tools, she hoped it would be enough, because she thought she might be willing to gamble a relationship on it.