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Equilibrium by alyse [Reviews - 10]
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Category: Stargate: Atlantis > Threesomes, Moresomes and Bitextual (slash and het)
Characters: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay, Teyla Emmagen
Rating: NC-17
Genres: Established Relationship, Friendship, Humour, PWP - Plot, What Plot?
Warnings: Kinkfic

Summary: She had her team – what was left of them – and what was left of them would be enough. Teyla/Rodney/John.



Story Notes:
Written for Carolyn Claire when she asked what she got for being story number 1000.

Yes, it has taken me this long to write. Hope it was worth the wait, sweetie.

Warning: Use of toys.


Among those with whom Teyla's people traded, the Olem had a reputation as a dignified people. Dignity was a trait that Teyla could appreciate, at least under other circumstances. She feared, however, that she'd been a little misled; right then dignity seemed as alien a concept as many of the Atlanteans' little rituals.

Before they'd come through the Ring of the Ancestors, at the pre-mission briefing - for that was what Colonel Sheppard called it now, 'pre-mission briefing' and not 'team briefing' and the distinction hadn't passed her by - she'd tried to explain that Olem society was a little more... stratified than most planets they'd visited, but that the Olem also had a reputation for being fair traders. The Colonel hadn't said anything but had simply smiled at her, the look on his face screaming 'Genii' even if he wasn't quite foolish enough to voice it.

The smile then hadn't reached his eyes.

The smile he wore now did. It was amazing what the man could say simply with a smile. The smile this morning might have had a slightly mocking edge, but the one now was softer, more innocent. It said, quite plainly, that he was exercising great restraint and would not comment on her current predicament. Not that he needed to comment - in truth the smile said all that needed to be said.

"So..."

It appeared that her judgement about him not needing to comment was about as accurate as the Olem's reputation, and she swallowed a sigh. The amount that the man could convey with a single word was as amazing as any of his looks. She indulged herself for a moment, closing her eyes against his open amusement and requesting patience from the Ancestors.

"The Olem..."

The man could even let his posture convey his amusement, all cocked hip and fluid lines. 'Smirking', as Doctor McKay put it, and for a word she'd never heard before meeting the Atlanteans, it had now become as familiar to her as any word in her native tongue.

She sighed again and opened her eyes, meeting his gaze with as much equanimity as she could muster.

"Kinda... weird rituals, don't you think?"

That innocent look, the one he aimed at her now, hadn't fooled her for a long time.

"I do not believe that this is a ritual, Colonel."

"No, no. Of course not." This time the smirk appeared clearly on his face rather than being merely hinted at by his stance. "Kind of a one off... thing."

She didn't answer him. She knew enough by then to understand that when he was in this kind of mood, indulging him would only prolong the agony. But then it wasn't necessary for her to indulge him; there was always at least one other person willing to play along.

As though reading her mind, Doctor McKay snorted with amusement on her other side.

She suppressed the urge to sigh again. She could understand their amusement even if she would like to think that she would have been better at hiding it had the roles been reversed. However, understanding that amusement and being subjected to it were two very different things. Had she been a less patient person, she might even have been considering whether to demonstrate her lack of amusement to them.

Her fingers twitched by her side as, for a single second, she indulged herself again, imagining the weight of her sticks in her hands and the startled yelp the Colonel always let out when she caught him off guard and hit him where he sat.

The momentary urge passed as she found her centre again, drawing her calm around her like a cloak. In her time as her people's negotiator, she had been asked to partake of some strange rituals indeed; more harvest festivals, it seemed sometimes, than could be accounted for by harvests. But in most cases she had not been singled out for such rituals and, on the odd occasions that she had been, she had been treated with dignity.

The Olem meant no disrespect but this... This was not dignified.

"We should..." Doctor McKay waved his finger around vaguely and when she stole a glance at him out of the corner of her eye he was resolutely not looking in her direction. "Go. Mingle. Do... ritually stuff."

"We get to do ritually stuff too?"

She closed her eyes again. They were enjoying this too much, and the sun had barely risen. There was a whole day ahead of them, a whole day where she had to smile and play nice, as the Colonel would say. A day of pretending that she was something other than she was and trying her hardest not to kill either of them and leave their bodies for the scavengers.

"I hardly think that's necessary, Colonel. We're not exactly lacking in..."

Again Doctor McKay trailed off and she knew, before she'd even opened her eyes, that he would still be resolutely not looking in her direction. Some small, petty part of her said that she would feel better if that were down to embarrassment rather than, as she suspected, an unusual desire not to laugh in her face.

Doctor McKay had also recently become acquainted with her sticks and he was usually quicker to learn his lesson than the Colonel, even if he was considerably less quiet about it.

She was probably being uncharitable. Doctor McKay might be vocal about the things he didn't like, and slow to put himself directly in harm's way, but he was not a coward and not easily cowed. The truth was, they were all a little raw at the moment, and if the Colonel showed it by drilling his men relentlessly and exchanging barbs with Doctor McKay that were a little more barbed than usual, then Doctor McKay demonstrated it by being a little less abrasive than usual.

A little.

She stole a quick glance at the man standing on the other side of her. Colonel Sheppard's face was twisted into one of those expressions that he seemed to reserve for McKay. It was part amused, part curious and part encouraging. As though either of them needed any more encouragement.

"Ritual... objects?" offered Sheppard, his tone a little too bright and cheerful.

There was a snort behind them and the Colonel's smile faltered for a moment. It returned to his face, but not to his eyes. She thought that perhaps she understood. If she turned and looked, the face behind her would not be the one she wished to see.

Instead of turning, she straightened her back and looked ahead. They had already been over this - repeatedly - but perhaps it was time to remind her team of why they were there.

"The Olem -" she began.

"Have tava roots," continued Doctor McKay, his attention again fixed on his handheld device and sounding as bored as he looked, although that was preferable to him studiously avoiding looking in her direction. "Yes, yes. We know. We're here to trade for... root vegetables."

He made the words sound distasteful, as though he could not bear them in his mouth when, in fact, he had acquired a taste for the roots themselves if the way he wolfed them down at meals was any indication. It might not have been. There had been times when she'd simply watched him and wondered if he tasted anything that he ate or whether it simply slid down into his stomach without ever touching the inside of his mouth or throat.

"Of course, that little fact doesn't entirely explain why this desire to trade their tava roots with us has resulted in them requiring Teyla to acquire..."

For once he appeared to think before he spoke, and this time it was Colonel Sheppard swallowing a snort of amusement. She sighed, not bothering to hide it this time.

"The Olem are a traditional people," she began, still clinging to the remnants of her patience. She ignored Doctor McKay's snort and what sounded suspiciously like a muttered traditional perverts. "They have... their ways. And their ways involve a separation between the roles of the men of the village and the roles of the women. We should respect that."

Doctor McKay finally tucked his device back into one of the many pockets of his vest, the move snappish and fully indicative of the fact that he was about to work himself up to a full examination of why the Olem's ways were 'backwards, primitive and, oh, did I mention insane?'

He did not disappoint.

"And we're also supposed to respect the fact that the Olem won't actually negotiate with us - or rather, with you, since Elizabeth has decided, quite sensibly in my opinion, not to let Colonel Sheppard negotiate with anyone, ever again -"

"Hey!"

"Unless you're wearing something that appears to have come out of The 120 Days of Sodom."

She didn't understand the cultural significance of this reference, but she didn't need to. The meaning behind the words was amply conveyed by McKay's tone.

There was another snort from beside her and, really, she was not sure which of them was worse.

"Negotiating is believed, by the Olem, to fall within the responsibilities of their men. They take such responsibilities seriously, and they take their ways seriously. Consequently, to negotiate with me, they must treat me as an honorary man."

"Which means that in order to negotiate with them you have to wear what could best, and most charitably, be described as a strap-on. Let's not dress this up to be anything other than incredibly weird."

The snort of laughter that Colonel Sheppard let out this time was higher pitched but no less irritating, and she didn't need to look at him to know that his hand would be pressed firmly over his mouth in an attempt to hide it. She sighed again and resisted the urge to bang McKay's head against the tree behind him until he came to his senses. Or stayed quiet for more than five minutes, whichever came soonest.

But they were only on the Olem's planet until nightfall before they returned to Atlantis and she doubted that either event would happen before then, no matter how much effort she put into it.

"For them to accept me as a man, I must appear to be a man."

"Yes, because we all wander around with..." Words failed him, for which she was profoundly grateful, and he gestured towards her groin with something approaching embarrassment - a rare thing for him. "That sticking out of our trousers."

She could not resist.

"There is no reason to feel threatened, Doctor McKay."

He spluttered to a halt and stared at her speechlessly. If she turned around just then she was sure that Colonel Sheppard would have found that his shoelaces had come undone, something innocuous to explain why he'd had to double up and hide his face from their hosts, who waited for them... solemnly.

"I'm not... I didn't... I'm not!"

She gave him a sweet smile, with barely a hint of teeth behind it.

"Of course not, Doctor. Which is why we are going to stop... 'discussing' this, and not keep our hosts waiting any longer than necessary."

"Good plan."

McKay merely looked between them, still speechless, while Colonel Sheppard adjusted his vest and swallowed the last of his amusement down. When the Colonel met her eyes again, his were bright with mirth - and she had missed that recently - but his expression was entirely affable.

"Okay, guys. Let's go... negotiate."

"I'm not..."

"Rodney..."

"There's no reason... I'm not jealous. That's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard."

"Rodney, let it go."

"I notice you didn't say anything."

"Rodney..."

She ignored them, and strode off towards their hosts, her face already assuming her most diplomatic and serene expression. She did not get the last word very often, but she fully intended to enjoy each and every situation in which she did to its maximum.

She tried not to notice the weight in front of her, or how it moved when she did, picking up the rhythm of her steps and pressing against her, a constant reminder of her manly status.

Perhaps it was no wonder that Atlantean men were so distracted all of the time, if this was what they had to contend with.

~*~

Doctor Weir had once described dealing with the Colonel and Doctor McKay when they were in one of these moods as being akin to trying to herd ca'ats. It was another cultural reference that Teyla hadn't quite understood and Doctor Weir's rather embarrassed attempts to explain the saying had not enlightened her any.

She had no qualms about raising the subject with her team mates - it had been obvious from Doctor Weir's explanation that the phrase was neither complimentary nor overly insulting, but merely exasperated and probably all too accurate. It would not hurt to remind her team mates that perhaps they should curb the worst tendencies of their joking behaviour.

Aiden had laughed, hiding it rapidly behind his hand when Colonel - then Major - Sheppard raised an eyebrow in his direction. Doctor McKay had once again not been attending closely to her, and proceeded to launch into an explanation of ca'ats that seemed to consist of extolling their virtues as he saw them. Independent, self-interested and loud and demanding when wanting to be fed.

She had understood the attraction the creatures held for him even before Colonel Sheppard's muttered comment about people growing to be like their pets. However, she felt that perhaps they could have emphasised to her the ability of ca'ats to be easily distracted by bright, shiny objects. Or even objects that were not as shiny.

"Gentlemen."

Doctor Weir's voice was calm but there was that tiny crease between her brows that said that she was rapidly losing patience with them. Teyla could understand why. They were as fidgety as children who had been into the food stores and gorged on sweet things.

Thankfully Colonel Sheppard took note, straightening slightly in his chair and treating Doctor Weir to a look of complete innocence. It did not fool Teyla and she doubted that Doctor Weir was fooled either.

"I take it then that the negotiations went as well as could be expected?"

"Yes, yes..." Doctor McKay was deep into his third cup of coffee, something that might go some way to explain why he was so fidgety. "As I believe we've already said. Tava beans negotiated for, natives appeased, no one shot, mutilated or injured in anyway, although I do think I'm going to get blisters from that hike back to the Gate, and is it any wonder when these boots never fit properly? Now, was that all? Because time is precious, as I'm sure you already know, Elizabeth, and I need to see what havoc has been wrecked in the labs while I've been absent, and that might be a slightly higher priority than rehashing what was, after all, a, well, not exactly routine but hardly dangerous mission and if I may say so a considerable waste of our talents."

He barely paused for breath before diving back into his cup of coffee while simultaneously eyeing up the carafe in the middle of the table speculatively.

"It's the 'not exactly routine' bit that's worrying me, Rodney," Elizabeth interjected gently, moving the carafe closer to her, which put it out of Doctor McKay's immediate reach. She made the move so smoothly, topping up her own barely diminished cup, that if Teyla hadn't caught her eye just then she would have taken an oath that it had been entirely innocent.

"What?" Momentarily thwarted, Doctor McKay failed to notice the glare sent in his direction by Colonel Sheppard, his gaze fixed firmly on the vessel that now stood out of his reach.

"Honestly, Elizabeth. It went fine."

Colonel Sheppard's most innocent look failed to work on Doctor Weir this time as well.

"Fine?"

"Fine, great, dandy. Nothing went wrong. Is that enough information?" Doctor McKay's nails beat a fast rhythm on the hard surface of the table. "And can you pass the coffee?"

She ignored him, raising her eyebrow a little sceptically at the Colonel. It appeared that Teyla was not the only one who had picked up that habit.

"'Fine.' Why do I get the feeling that you're not telling me everything?"

"Elizabeth, I'm wounded."

"Huh."

"I wouldn't keep anything back that you... needed to know about."

The eyebrow rose a little more.

"What about the things that you don't think I need to know about? Do I get to make a judgement about what I should or should not know? This isn't exactly reassuring, John."

Doctor McKay spoke around his sandwich. "I promise that Colonel Sheppard didn't offer anyone nuclear weapons this time."

"Well, that's... not exactly very reassuring, Rodney."

"No weaponry of any sort."

"What McKay is trying to say," Colonel Sheppard interrupted, straightening in his chair from his customary slouch and glaring at Doctor McKay in a way that finally got the man's attention, at least until McKay inhaled and appeared to swallow sandwich crumbs the wrong way, "is that the negotiations went absolutely fine. Teyla handled the Olem with aplomb-"

"Do you even know what aplomb means?" interrupted McKay, who appeared to have recovered from his temporary coughing fit. The Colonel ignored him and ploughed on.

"- and we didn't promise them anything that we weren't supposed to. And some of us," another glare at McKay, "even managed to keep our mouths shut this time about our ability to build nuclear weapons."

"And what aren't you telling me?"

It was not surprising that Doctor Weir was not reassured by their guilty expressions as they glanced at each other. It was time to step in.

"The Olem's customs in regards to negotiating are a little... different from our own."

Doctor Weir rubbed that small crease between her brows wearily.

"Please tell me that no nudity was involved this time."

"Oh, come on, Elizabeth. That was one time, and it was so not our fault," Sheppard protested. She gave him a look. "No nudity was involved, I swear."

"Well, not exactly."

This time Teyla joined the Colonel in expressing her displeasure at Doctor McKay's interruption with a look.

"Not exactly?"

"No one was required to remove any clothing, Doctor Weir," she hastened to interject, before McKay could add to Doctor Weir's stress. "The Olem merely have rather... defined roles for the men and women within their society. As it is the men who negotiate, I needed to wear a symbol of manhood before I could be permitted to barter."

"A symbol of manhood..."

This time Doctor Weir's expression was one of interest rather than near dread, as her natural curiosity about the beliefs and customs of others took hold.

Teyla timed her reply carefully.

"I believe that Doctor McKay referred to it as a 'strap-on'."

Said Doctor McKay's coffee was spat across the desk. She sat back, not bothering to hide her own smirk as she turned her head to share her amusement with Aiden.

Ronon's face stared impassively back at her.

It still came as a shock, and it still hurt more than she could have imagined, but she swallowed the pain down and turned her attention back to the three clustered at the other end of the table.

"I'm... sorry?" Doctor Weir was saying, her eyes wide and her gaze sliding slowly between the Colonel and Doctor McKay, as though seeking confirmation that this was a joke at her expense.

Teyla regretted her comment now, although she'd never quite understood the Atlanteans' embarrassment when it came to sharing pleasure. Thankfully, Colonel Sheppard stepped in at that point, barely managing to hide his amusement, and she was able to relax, letting the familiarity of the banter and the man's mannerisms to soothe away the sharp edges of her grief.

She was pragmatic - she'd had to be, growing up under the constant shadow of the Wraith - and, for all that her loss of Aiden was raw and sharp edged, she still had the remaining members of her team. Perhaps, in time, she would grow to view Ronon as such.

"That would be the 'symbol of manhood'," Colonel Sheppard was saying. "The Olem called it a... danny."

"Danaii," she corrected.

"... Oh." It was obvious that Doctor Weir didn't quite know whether to be severe with them or give way to her own amusement. "That... must have been... odd?"

She looked at Teyla, as though now seeking her reassurance. When her path had first crossed that of the Atlanteans, she hadn't known what to make of Doctor Weir and her slow, sometimes cloying concern, but in time it had become clear that however polished the act was, underneath there was genuine feeling, even if sometimes it was a little brittle.

She understood that brittle feeling too well.

"I have... seldom been in a stranger situation, this is true. But the Olem are good people and had no intention of making me feel uncomfortable. This was a concession they were willing to offer us so that they could still comply with their requirements while meeting ours. I think that they should be respected for that."

"I'm sure you're right." There was no hiding the small smile that was now playing around Elizabeth's lips as she weighed up Teyla's words in the same way she weighed everything. "But I would imagine that it must have been quite a... strange experience, nonetheless."

"I... have not been asked to do such a thing before, that is true. But the Olem have much to offer us and it was a simple request to comply with. I look forward to the future benefits trading will bring both our peoples. The Olem are famed for their skills in weaving, pottery and leatherwork, and those talents will never come amiss."

That piqued Colonel Sheppard's interest.

"I didn't see any kiln works, or signs of industry like that, although I guess they'd have to have them. It seemed mostly farming. Did we miss something?"

She was not surprised by how much the Colonel had taken in during their sojourn in the village, even though none of that had shown on the surface. He was very adept at observing while appearing to not pay any attention whatsoever.

"No energy readings of note," Doctor McKay offered around yet another mouthful of coffee. Sheppard acknowledged this with a small nod, and she was aware enough of the undercurrents that underpinned so many of the Atlanteans interactions with others to determine that the Colonel's first concern had been what had been hidden away.

"You missed nothing, Colonel. Such activities are small in nature and are located at the women's village."

"The women have their own village?" Once again, Doctor Weir's tone conveyed her fascination.

"Yes, further from the Stargate, deeper in the woods."

"And which we weren't allowed to visit, being men and not having symbols of womanhood..." Colonel Sheppard's voice trailed off as his face assumed one of those strangely mobile expressions of his, all confusion and amusement and chagrin at once.

"Huh." McKay paused with his cup at his lips, staring into space. "The women are the ones who make leather goods? That puts a whole new slant on some things."

Colonel Sheppard ducked his head in response but not before she caught sight of his telltale smirk.

"I think we're getting a little off topic again, gentlemen," Elizabeth said briskly, sharing a look with Teyla that spoke volumes. "And Teyla, while I appreciate that the Olem may have other aesthetic goods that they can offer us, we really need to concentrate on locating sources of local produce to supplement the stores that the Daedalus brings us rather than becoming too reliant on them. We're not quite at the point where we need to think longer term than that."

"I was not thinking of the Atlanteans' needs, Doctor Weir," she reminded the other woman gently. "My people do need such goods and we would be willing to trade with the Olem for them."

She held Weir's gaze, thankful that the other woman didn't immediately offer such items from the Atlanteans' own stocks. The Athosians had their pride and had never looked to others to provide what they could barter for honestly, and it appeared that Doctor Weir was finally grasping that.

"Of course. Just let us know when you would like to use the Gate, so that we can schedule a return trip. And, who knows. It may be that there comes a time that we need to widen our own trading pool."

It was a small concession, and she took it in the spirit in which it was offered, inclining her head gracefully.

"And I'm sure that if that day ever comes, Elizabeth, you will step... manfully into the breach. And if you need a manhood, I'm sure Teyla would lend you hers. Since the Olem decided that as new bosom-buddy trading partners, she'd need it again and gave it to her."

Doctor Weir raised an eyebrow at McKay, but it hardly dampened his smirk. Or Colonel Sheppard's, who leant closer to McKay and murmured something that sounded like, "Bosom buddies?"

She couldn't resist, and wondered anew how much influence they were having on her own behaviour.

"I'm sure that if Doctor Weir needs to enter into negotiations with the Olem, that they will bestow upon her a... manhood fitting of her status." She held Elizabeth's gaze so that it was clear that she was not the one being mocked. A small smile curled one corner of Doctor Weir's mouth, which was the only indication she needed that her message had been received and understood.

Colonel Sheppard swallowed down what could only have been the beginnings of a laugh before turning to Doctor Weir, his eyes suspiciously bright. "I don't know. I thought Teyla's was... um..."

"Oh, for God's sake," McKay interrupted, his face drawn into a familiar scowl. "I was not, repeat not in any way, shape or form intimidated by Teyla's fake penis."

The Colonel's smirk merely deepened as he leant closer to Doctor Weir, his body language suggesting that he was sharing a confidence even though his face was turned towards McKay and his eyes never left McKay's face. "It was quite impressive."

"Not that impressive," rumbled Ronon from beside her, the first observation he'd made throughout the briefing.

Four pairs of eyes turned in his direction, to meet an expression that was most definitely a smirk.

It appeared that Colonel Sheppard's influence was spreading.

"Okay..." Doctor Weir said, drawing the word out slowly as she once again met Teyla's eyes, the look in her own clearly signalling her amusement. "Once again, we're veering off topic and once again, thank you for sharing your observations with me, gentlemen." She almost made the words sound genuine - almost - but the expression on her face gave her away, equal parts amusement and exasperation.

The dismissal was clear, and she inclined her head again, rising smoothly to her feet as her team did likewise, McKay gulping down the last dregs of his coffee and eyeing the pot longingly.

She watched him bustle out, brow already creased and hands already twitching as he worked out what needed to be done, muttering under his breath about who was likely to need reprimanding for work carried out in his absence and whose work could wait to be reviewed. She knew him well enough by now to not even need the words that spilled so readily from that attractively crooked mouth to know what was going on his head. There was a strange comfort in that, even if it did feel some days like herding ca'ats.

The Colonel, as always, trailed out in McKay's wake, hands in his pockets and a smile still playing around his lips. That expression was as familiar to her by now as McKay's ever present frown.

Doctor Weir followed them, datapad clutched in one hand, her expression sliding towards to distraction even as she turned her head towards Teyla for a brief goodbye smile. By the time Doctor Weir had reached the doorway, she was fully engrossed in the reports scrolling across the screen. The back of her neck shone palely in Atlantis' light as she navigated her way smoothly out of the room despite the fact that her attention was focused downwards.

All that remained was the unfamiliar.

Ronon Dex was watching her. She did not know him well enough yet to read the expression on his face, to know what thoughts, if any, spun through his head. The only thing that she was sure of was that they would be nothing like the thoughts that went through Aiden's head - had gone through Aiden's head.

She could not imagine what thoughts raged in Ford's head now. For all that she'd touched the minds of the Wraith, it had been like looking through an ill-made window; distorted and unreal, muted by distance and completely alien.

The hunger had been real though, had curled through her and gripped her, coming through like the cold frost and freezing her where she pressed too closely to the glass. That hunger would be in Aiden now, eating out his soul piece by piece, never to be entirely sated.

Never to be entirely human.

Dex was still watching her, his expression growing curious. It brought her back from the dark place she'd been inside her head. "Yes?" she asked, keeping her voice low and even.

He shook his head, like an animal shaking out its pelt, the move unconscious and speaking of the power that lurked within him.

"Got time?"

"Of course," she said, thinking longingly of following her team mates - her other team mates - but not permitting any of that to show. "Was there something you needed?"

"To fight," he said simply. His directness was something that was easy to get used to, almost a relief after days of having to couch things diplomatically and considerably less clearly. "You up for it?"

She once again raised her eyebrow, and caught the answering smirk.

"Of course."

It would be a relief to let go for a while, to answer his directness with a directness of her own. There was an ease to be found in losing herself in the rhythm of battle, and she longed for it suddenly, for something with its own clear and simple rules.

And perhaps, she told that small part of her that whispered of responsibility, she would learn more about this man who could never take Aiden's place.

~*~

The subtle shift in Dex's body told her which way he would lunge. She turned, twisted and his foot grazed her side instead of taking her down as intended.

Dex learnt from his mistakes, she allowed him that much; at least on the battlefield. She was still reserving judgement on his ability to learn off it.

He rocked from side to side, eyes watching her from beneath a tangle of hair. She placed her weight on her back leg, tightened her grip on her fighting sticks and waited him out.

She didn't have to wait long, and this time there was no warning. She wasn't quite quick enough to avoid the foot that connected, hard, against her thigh. She stumbled, and he was on her, his grip tightening on her arms as he attempted to catch her off balance and throw her to the mat.

She let him, using the momentum the move gave her to roll smoothly away. She took a certain grim satisfaction in kicking him in the face as she did so, and felt no need to pull the blow back at the last instant as she did with Colonel Sheppard. When he rose to his feet and wiped the back of his hand across his mouth, it came away red. He was still watching her, but more warily now, and she took a certain grim satisfaction in that too. She doubted that he would be quite so quick to underestimate her in future.

She shifted her stance again, a subtle invitation to him to try something else. She felt the stretch of it along her thigh but she let no discomfort show on her face. She would show no weakness to this opponent; she was not so foolish as to expect any quarter and she would give none.

It ached though; Dex was obviously not one to pull his blows either and she would have to finish this quickly before her muscles stiffened and slowed her down or it would be her body on the mat.

The knowledge made her reckless, far more reckless than was her wont. She launched into a flurry of blows that she would have chastised the Colonel for making. Perhaps he was rubbing off on her more than she realised.

The moves left her left flank open and he took the opportunity it offered, landing a blow before she could dance away. She stumbled, recovered, continued; blow after blow after blow.

He blocked most of them, leaving his arms to take the brunt as he tried to land his own blows. He seemed to prefer to fight with his body rather than with the sticks, using it both as offence and defence, and she incorporated that knowledge into the fluidity of her moves.

She had always preferred to use her wits, and they didn't let her down. She landed a blow across his hand, loosening his grip, and was already moving before he could recover. His stick was kicked across the room, his legs kicked out from under him - and while that hurt, she moved smoothly through the pain - and her staff was at his throat before he could react.

She stood over him, chest burning with exertion, holding his gaze steadily while the sweat slid down her back, and waited for him to yield.

Or perhaps not. He may not have yet had his fill of battle but for once he seemed inclined to caution and, after holding her gaze for long moments, he nodded once, briefly, and she could finally relax.

The muscles in her thigh were cramping, but she refused to limp as she moved away, setting her face as still as stone as she inclined her head gracefully to acknowledge him.

She was not foolish enough to take her eyes from him as she wiped her face and neck with a towel, and tried not to resent the way he rose easily to his feet. He was too proud to have yielded to her unless she had won their bout fair and square, as the Colonel would say, and she was too proud to let him, and so she read no more into it.

He was still watching her, a light in his eye and his head tilted inquisitively. She raised her chin proudly, and raised her eyebrow as well, another thing she may have picked up from Sheppard.

"Yes?" She kept her voice cool.

"You fight well."

She wasn't sure whether that was supposed to be flattering - and the idea that Dex would choose to flatter her was a disturbing one. She refused to give him the satisfaction, still holding his eyes calmly as she replied, "As do you."

He grunted in acknowledgement. "You teaching the Atlanteans those moves?"

She nodded, wiping the towel over her neck and still not taking her eyes off him. He reminded her sometimes of the reptiles on Athos - deceptively slow looking until they struck. They were the one element of her home that she found she did not miss after the move to a new world.

"Good. They could use it."

If he wanted to irritate her, he failed. It had been a long time since she had risen to childish insults, and she had no intention of doing so now.

"It is a fair trade. They have taught my people many things."

For some reason this seemed to amuse him, his lips curling up as he peered at her from beneath lowered brows.

"Yeah."

There was a tone to his voice that she couldn't quite place, something that may have been mocking and knowing all at the same time. Or perhaps she was misjudging him, casting her own unease in his direction and finding it reflected back at her. She didn't dignify him with an answer, but she wasn't foolish enough to turn away from him entirely while she reached into her bag for a cloth to wipe the sweat from her face and neck. She was aware, however, of his eyes tracking her movements as he stood there, managing to loom without ever moving a muscle.

When she rose to her feet again, his eyes had left her and were focused on the opening to her bag. She couldn't help it; she dropped her own eyes in that direction, relying on her other senses to warn her if he moved towards her.

It was not difficult to guess what had caught his attention.

"I did not need that in order to win this time." She could not help her tone, which was arch and too knowing, especially given what was resting on top of the contents of her bag.

He smirked, and it was beyond strange seeing Colonel Sheppard's expression on his face. "Never said you did."

She cocked her eyebrow, made her expression as playful as her tone had been. "Even the Olem do not view ability in battle as belonging solely to the men."

He moved closer to her, and she could smell the slight tang of sweat rising from his body. It wasn't unpleasant, but it felt subtly wrong somehow. The Athosians and the Atlanteans both had a different scent - the Athosians of the sweet spices rubbed into the seams of their garments when made, an ancient blessing. And the Atlanteans always had a faint trace of something else, some mixture that reminded her of the scent in their labs, harsh and chemical and strange. The first time she'd used their soap, she'd smelt that same scent rising from her own skin. It had left her feeling on edge and uneasy, as though she'd lost the last connection to her people and had taken on the Atlantean mantle entirely. Until she had been able to wash away the last trace of it, the separation from her people had hurt anew.

Ronon, however, smelt of nothing but himself and that merely reminded her of what else had been lost.

"Can't afford to."

He was still too close to her but she didn't back away. She seldom backed away from a challenge if the odds were in her favour, and sometimes when they were not.

He was still looking into her bag, and she watched a small smile curl the corners of his mouth. She didn't give him the satisfaction of asking, though, any more than she had been willing to give him the satisfaction of beating her while sparring. She waited him out instead. She had always been patient, and these days her patience was well honed.

He rocked back on his heels, a subtle shift in position that once again told her to expect a jab. "Don't think you could have won with that anyway." There was a light in his eyes still, some invitation extended to her to share this joke, and Ronon seldom made jokes. Yet. She suspected that he was in many ways as reserved as the Colonel, although the Colonel showed his reserve by making jokes and Ronon by making none. "It's not as impressive as mine."

She didn't smile, didn't twitch, just raised one eyebrow, haughty as any leader.

This time his smile was broader, and it distracted her enough that the sudden tap of his sticks against the ones still loosely held in her hand came as a surprise.

"Hasn't got the reach."

She allowed herself a small smile of amusement of that, acknowledging a blow well aimed and inclined her head again as he moved back, just enough to give her room to breathe. "I have enjoyed our sparring today. Thank you."

He didn't answer, but she was growing used to that. Instead, he nodded again and turned away, hefting the sticks in his hand as though balancing their weight. Perhaps he was; like her he seemed seldom still, always aware of what was to hand and what could be used.

She dropped her eyes to her bag again as he left, eyeing it thoughtfully before wrapping her sticks in her towel and stowing them carefully inside.

~*~

Victory always made her body sing and there was an additional satisfaction in challenging someone's misconceptions of her capabilities. She also had to admit that there was also a pleasure in sparring with someone capable of challenging her. While she enjoyed her sessions with the Atlantean military members - particularly Colonel Sheppard - she missed not having to hold back, to be able to let go completely and experience the fierce joy of sparring with an equal.

At least on the training grounds. The Atlanteans were different enough from her people in their ways and their beliefs to challenge her away from them.

She found now, however, that the sweetness of Dex's defeat - and his acknowledgement of it - quickened her stride in spite of the ache in her tired muscles.

Perhaps there were other, more subtle aches also driving her forward.

The living quarters she'd been assigned - close to both the Colonel's and Doctor McKay's, as though to emphasise the fact that they were a team both on and off-world - were far enough away from the centre of Atlantis' operations for the corridors to be quiet at this time of day. She met no one as her steps quickened until her bag, slung casually over her shoulder, bounced against her hip. There was a strange pleasure in that, feeling the percussion of it against skin already sensitised by the thrill of combat. The bag was old - a present from her father who had been as skilled in leatherwork as the Olem - and it was soft and worn smooth by long handling. It was warm from the bright sunlight that had streamed into the training room, or perhaps it had picked up the heat from her own body, and it padded the familiar weight of her sticks as they knocked against her.

The whole rhythm of her movement was familiar, something honed through years, but this time offset by the unfamiliar weight that also knocked against her hip and sent a strange thrill through her that had nothing to do with her sensitised skin.

By the time that she reached the doors to Colonel Sheppard's quarters, her heart had picked up the quick rhythm of her steps and was beating a pleasant thump-thump of anticipation inside her chest. She knew that the door would not be locked against her. It had not been locked against her for months, since before the four of them had become three, although the fact that she could enter whenever she wished had only taken on any significance when the loss of Aiden had begun to bite.

It still bit sometimes, even for one such as Teyla who had grown familiar with loss to the Wraith. There was something worse in this loss; the Wraith had not drained away Aiden's life but his heart. They'd left his spirit a tarnished shell of its former brightness.

Lost in thought, her fingers brushed over the smooth, pale panel outside Sheppard's door. It was cool beneath her touch, holding the chill that much of Atlantis seemed to, but it felt good against her heated skin and for a second she wanted to sink into it, let it dissolve her like foam on the tide.

Her fingers curled. There were other things that could take away the pain, make it float away; other things that dissolved and rebuilt her and made her new again.

Her palm flattened and she was in.

The light in the room was muted, the windows dimmed to shut out the late afternoon sun. She paused just inside as the door slid shut behind her, letting her eyes adjust to the contrast with the bright corridor outside.

They were watching her, both faces turned towards her and their bodies stilled for a moment. Colonel Sheppard's - John's - hand was curled under the pillow, and she knew without a doubt that his fingers would already be wrapped around the butt of his gun.

Rodney's fingers were entangled in the Colonel's dog tags, his eyes wide and sweat drying on his body.

Drying on both their bodies, and for a moment she felt that familiar disconnect, the sense that she should not be here, should not be witnessing this. That she was intruding and that this time she would not be welcome.

The feeling passed as soon as John let out the breath he was holding, the tension draining out of his body along with his sigh. His hand came out from underneath the pillow and reached for her.

She went willingly.

His palm was hot and slightly damp beneath her fingers but his mouth tasted as sweet as it always did. His fingers tightened around hers, the pressure then easing as their tongues touched, before they flexed again when Rodney finally relaxed, letting out a ragged breath as his hand tightened on John's hip and he started to move.

She swallowed the sigh John let out as Rodney pushed back into him, holding it deep inside her.

Her breath mingled with his as she pulled back slightly, sliding her hand down and letting her fingers tangle with Rodney's where they still gripped the links of John's tags. She stroked them over Rodney's hand, feeling the tension in those long, clever fingers.

Moved them down further, slipping over John's warm belly, carding through the hair there and feeling the play of muscles beneath the skin as Rodney moved within him.

They were beautiful. So very beautiful and as always she was honoured - awed - that they would let her see them like this. Let her be part of this, as much as they were able.

She sat back, curling her leg under her, and just watched them, her hand still resting on John's belly, rising and falling with each breath he took. His fingers left hers and fell against her thigh, tangling in the soft fabric of her skirt. The calluses on his fingers felt rough against the smoothness of her skin and each time Rodney moved - each time he pushed into John, shifting him upwards on the bed - she felt John's knuckles scrape over her skin, catching on the fine hairs there; soft, subtle movements that nonetheless made her breath catch in her throat.

John's eyes had drifted shut, his breath coming out in soft gasps and sighs through his slightly parted lips. They were flushed, red and a little swollen, and she felt a soft twinge of regret at missing what she knew was the cause - Rodney, kissing him until he'd surrendered.

John always surrendered, yielding to Rodney even when he wouldn't yield to her.

He was yielding again now, the tension building in his body, cording the veins in his neck and tightening the leg he'd wrapped over Rodney's hip. She could feel that same tension thrumming through the muscles of his belly under her lax fingers.

She let her hand drift, feeling the coarse hairs on his belly rough against her finger tips as she trailed them down until she could feel the heaviness of his maleness brushing against the back of her hand.

She loved that - the feel of it, the weight of it, slick against her skin - and she teased him a little, running her fingers up and down his stomach, bending her hand so that it stroked along the top of his cock where it curved towards his belly. He arched into her touch, groaning a little, and she raised her gaze, meeting Rodney's eyes, hot and hungry as he pushed deeper into John.

She stroked again, curling her fingers so that her blunt nails dug a little into John's skin, ratcheting the tension in his body up a little further. It earned her another groan as John reached down with his free hand to drag her fingers where he wanted them. He failed; this was a dance she knew well, the give and take of sparring with John. She wasn't going to let him win that easily.

She never let them win easily.

Instead she kissed him, letting the soft curves of her breasts press against his shoulder. His fingers twined again in the fabric of her skirt and he moaned into her mouth, shaking now beneath her touch.

Rodney leant over them, his face avid and hungry as he watched them kiss. John's other leg now wound around his waist, pulling him deeper, still deeper as John's breath sighed into her mouth, caught on the edge between a moan and a whimper. She took pity on him, wrapping her hand firmly around him and feeling him buck into her touch.

His breath was coming in broken gasps now, and she pulled back to watch his face, still stroking him firmly, feeling him hot and hard beneath her touch.

Rodney was panting too, soft grunts forced from him with each thrust into John. The sounds were arousing rather than off-putting; unmistakably male and unmistakably Rodney as his body moved in another dance, one with which she had grown both familiar and fond. Rodney's skin was slick beneath her touch as well, as heated as John's and as treasured. She slid her hand over his shoulder, following the line of his arm and then back up to trace the line of his spine.

He turned his head to look at her, eyes soft and glazed as his release approached. His parted lips fell into that familiar lopsided line that made her want to kiss him, press her lips against his and trace the line of them with her tongue.

His breath tasted of the cream they used to cleanse their teeth and she had to smile, easily able to imagine Rodney, eager and serious, using it before he kissed John.

Before he went down on John. She'd arrived too late to see that but could picture it anyway, Rodney's generous mouth wrapped around John while his fingers slipped inside, loosening him.

The idea was as arousing as the sounds Rodney was making against her mouth, as the feel of John's erection beneath her fingers. It was with some regret that she let her hand slide from the back of Rodney's neck, where it had come to rest, and moved to take John into her mouth.

"No."

The word came out strangled but there was no doubting Rodney's sincerity as his fingers wrapped around hers, trapping them against John's erection. "I want to watch him come."

She could feel the calluses on his fingertips against the back of her hand but his touch was true, guiding her hand up and down John, folding her fingers tighter. It was mesmerising, glimpsing her fingers through his, watching both of their hands move on John. The rhythm they used had a smooth twist and slide to it that didn't speak of her moves nor of Rodney's but some amalgam of both of their techniques. But in spite of her fascination with what their hands were doing she couldn't resist glancing up to John's face, meeting his wide and desperate eyes and holding them.

He closed his, his head falling back and his neck arching as he gave himself over to their touch. Gave himself over to them, and a sharp heat twisted itself in her belly, leaving her wet and wanting and fierce.

She tightened her grip further, not quite to the point where it would hurt him but enough so that it had his hips leaving the bed, following where she led.

Rodney followed too, his grip loosening as hers tightened until his hand was merely following the rhythm she set. He was also lost. She could feel it in the breath that puffed over her skin, stirring her hair in ragged gasps; in the way that his fingers were now tightening and then loosening around hers. Could feel it in the way that John's body was now pushed up into her touch as much by Rodney's movements as John's.

John's eyes opened again, wide and desperate, first fixed on her face and then moving inexorably to Rodney's as she watched him. She loved watching him, especially like this; when he watched Rodney, when he watched Rodney fucking him.

Fucking him. It was the phrase that they - Rodney and John both - used to describe this act and one that seemed to sum it up, catching the rhythm of the dance, the quickening slide and thrust and buck.

Fucking. Fuck. Fucked, John's fingers curled helplessly into a fist and then relaxed, his eyes never leaving Rodney's as though Rodney was the only one who could do this for him, give this to him. Make any of this make sense to him.

There was always a certain vulnerability to John then, when he let the walls slide down just a fraction and let Rodney see the need inside. Let her glimpse it too, and while she was honoured by that, made hungry by that, if she had one regret it was that John only let her see the reflection of it.

No, no regrets. Her people did not linger on them and had she failed on that count, this would be a small regret against the other things she had not had time to savour.

They let her in; let her see this although they did not need to. Let her touch, let her taste, let her feel.

Let her feel. There were not words enough to thank them for that and she had not been raised to be greedy, even though she hungered for more.

More of this, of John's body twitching beneath her touch. Of Rodney's mouth twisting as his climax approached. Of the heat pooling in her belly, wet between her thighs.

That hunger, at least, would be satisfied by one or both of them. For now, their need was greater than her own.

For now.

She tightened her grip, rubbing her thumb across the sensitive part beneath the head. John liked that - always liked that - and had it not been for Rodney's prohibition she'd have lowered her head again, let her tongue flicker against that tight bundle of nerves, just to feel John buck upwards and listen to the curse words that poured from his mouth.

She was obtaining quite the education in Atlantean expletives, had been even before this... arrangement and they'd proved useful when thrown back at Sergeant Bates in the heat of more than one moment. But when John said them - when John pleaded and cursed and begged and came - they were closer to poetry than the gutter, just because he made them so.

"Fuck... yes... please."

She licked the salt from the skin of his shoulder instead, stretching still further to trace the line of his throat, where the blood pulsed fast and frantic beneath the skin. John whined, high in the back of his throat.

"God, please..."

She pressed her mouth against his ear. "Come for me, John. Come for both of us."

He did, the breath catching in his throat as his neck arched. He spilled over her hand in slow, languid pulses while his heart beat rapidly beneath her lips. She twisted her hand, stretching it out, making it last as long as she could and he twitched beneath her touch, eyes wide and lost, even if they were fixed on Rodney rather than on her.

Rodney, who was now as lost, fingers digging into John's hips as his own sped up. There was sweat gathering on his brow, in the hollow of his throat, and she itched to lick it off, taste him. She tasted John instead, raising her wet fingers to her mouth and sucking off the bitter taste of him that lingered there, holding Rodney's eyes the whole time.

Rodney groaned, deep in his throat, following it up with a muttered, "Oh God," and she smiled, flushed with success. It made her bold, bolder than normal even, and she reached down again, sliding her fingers through the white mess spattered on John's belly. When she brought her fingers up to John's lips, sliding them into his mouth, Rodney groaned again, beyond words now. His fingers were digging hard enough into John's hips to turn the skin around them white with pressure and she knew that they'd bruise, that John would be wearing those marks for days. She'd worn bruises like that on her own skin, feeling the sense memory of their touch for days afterwards.

The memory sent another flush of heat through her, the ache between her thighs growing until she knew that she could simply shift, rock back and forth, and let her own body bring her release without either of them touching her. John was still sucking on her fingers, his talented tongue circling them, pressing against the calluses on the pads, sliding across the webbing between them. The thought of sliding those fingers, slick with his saliva, into her body, sent another twitch through her, bringing her closer and closer to the edge.

Rodney beat her to it, pushing John's body up and spreading John's thighs wide as he emptied himself into John with another deep groan. It was her neck, however, that Rodney reached for, her head that he pulled to him and her mouth that he lost himself in as John's body was twisted between and beneath them.

She sank into the kiss, her fingers slipping from John's mouth to his chest, resting against his heartbeat. Her other hand was now wrapped around Rodney's neck, matching his grip with hers, and the rapid pulse of his heart beneath her touch was a counterpoint to John's.

Finally Rodney released her mouth, rocking back on his heels, that crooked mouth open and panting. His hands loosened their grip on John, fingers sliding over John's skin in an absent caress as his eyes softened. She didn't need to look back at John to know that his face would wear a similar expression, full of everything the two of them never said in her hearing.

As Rodney moved back, she felt John's fingers slipping back up between her thighs. They didn't twine themselves in her skirts this time but slid higher and again she didn't need to look down at John's face to picture the smirk that would be there.

She closed her eyes, feeling Rodney's hot breath against her face as he leant closer again, fingers moving to her neck then down, sliding over the contours of her breast. Then John's fingers were sliding into her, just as she'd imagined, his thumb rubbing against her and sending shockwaves through her body.

She came hard, reaching out blindly and seizing Rodney's elbow to steady herself and pushing herself down harder onto John's fingers, riding the waves out.

His thumb kept its rhythm, sending aftershocks through her until she couldn't take it anymore and reached down, gently tugging on his wrist until his fingers slipped free of her body. Even then he didn't stop tormenting her, bringing his fingers to his lips and sucking on them, his eyes now holding hers and that familiar smirk adorning his face.

His eyes were soft, though, soft enough so that she felt no urge to cuff him for it, as she'd seen him cuff the back of Rodney's head more than once when their scientist's sense of self importance got away from him.

"Hey," he said, stretching out, all sleek lines and satisfaction. His smirk had settled into something else, something warm and sated and that in turn warmed her.

"Hey yourself," she said lightly, still a little nonplussed by the way that this simple word seemed to convey so much to the Atlanteans, depending on the inflection used. As words went, it was very useful. Nothing more was needed, and that sat well with her, because she was pleasantly wrung out and tired, her body still singing.

"Well," said Rodney, interrupting her thoughts, such as they were. "That was very..."

John stretched again, the satisfaction even more evident. "Yes, it was." And the smirk was back, less soft but no less pleasing for that. There was something almost irresistible about a John looking that pleased with himself. Rodney even had a phrase for it, one she repeated to herself sometimes in the solitude of her own head, pleased with the way it sounded and the sights it conjured up.

Well fucked.

Well fucked indeed.

Rodney humphed softly to himself, but she had grown used to his lexicon of sounds and this one was as satiated as John's familiar satisfied smirk. His fingers were still sliding over John's skin in that absent caress and while she doubted if he - or even John - was aware of it on a conscious level, she found a certain measure of strange comfort in it anyway. Whether they intended it or not, that absent affection between them always made her feel welcome. In the strange way of the Atlanteans, it spoke to her of home.

"I need a shower," Rodney said abruptly. It was another thing she'd grown used to - that way of his of changing the subject rapidly, as though his mind were running on more than one track and he could switch easily between them.

"Yes, you do." John was smiling as he said it, mischief evident in every line of his body now, and he curled his leg, pushing Rodney lightly in the chest with his toes. "And take Teyla with you."

"Should I be offended?" she asked lightly, still on that pleasant post orgasm high.

He gave her another of those wide-eyed, innocent looks. "Oh, I like sweaty girls. But there's a limit, and I think you may have passed it."

This time she did cuff him but lightly and half way through the move turned into a caress, fingers sliding through his sweaty hair and leaving it even more disarranged than usual. "Perhaps it is just as well then that Rodney is available to wash my back."

Rodney had pulled back, finally sliding out of John's body, and now he stood and stretched, his spine popping in a way that would have made her wince if she were not already as used to the sounds of his body as she was to the rest of him. "I think I may need some time before round two. But I'll wash any parts of you that need it."

His attempt at a leer never failed to amuse her and it didn't this time either, but Rodney wasn't offended by the belly laugh she gave. On the contrary, he puffed up even more, appearing as satisfied by her response to his banter as he was at spending himself in John's body.

She patted John's chest again absently, and followed Rodney to the small bathroom. Apart from the need to wash the sweat of both a satisfying sparring match and even more satisfying sex from her body, the hot water would serve to ease the ache in her muscles. She collected her bag on the way, knowing that the Athosian herbs she had in there would help and leave her smelling like herself, if a little less pungent than she did at the moment.

She let Rodney use the shower first - although it hadn't occurred to him to offer otherwise - while she stripped her clothes from her body and hung them neatly up where they could air. Her hair she twisted up into a rough knot. It would not hold for long but long enough - she would not need to go back to her own quarters with wet hair that would invite questions. She'd learned caution to go with the other things that the Atlanteans had taught her.

Rodney was considerate enough to leave her sufficient hot water and she was grateful for small mercies, although she suspected that Rodney's speed was more about his desire to return to John, still sprawled on the bed, than any forward planning. It gave her enough time to wash herself thoroughly, feeling the soothing heat of her soap sinking into bruised muscles even as the familiar homey scent sank into her spirits. It would be something that she'd miss if the Atlanteans ever returned home - their showers, with hot water aplenty raining from above, an obsession that apparently the Ancients had shared.

Rodney, however, had not left the bathroom, as she discovered when she stepped - still dripping but refreshed - from the small recess that acted as a washing place. It didn't take her long to discover why - Rodney was seldom circumspect in his interest in anything, and she'd left her bag open by the sink when she'd pulled the herbal soap from it.

It wasn't her fighting sticks that had caught his attention. Instead, his fingers were running over dark leather, his expression distant and thoughtful.

She should have known, she thought a little wryly as she patted herself dry, that given the strange obsession men seemed to have with phallic objects, he would home in on it as if it called to him.

She thought of calling him on it, of making another remark just to bring that outraged flush to his eyes and cheeks and enjoy the heat of his frustration, but when he looked up at her there was already heat in his eyes and it stopped the words in her mouth.

"Put it on."

There was no preamble as he thrust it at her, impatience clear in the snap of his wrist and the arch of his eyebrow. No, not impatience. Not exactly. Just an undeniable energy in him.

She took it, staring at him for a long moment, measuring his request.

"Please," he added belatedly, as though he believed that it was the abruptness of his request that had made her pause. She kept her gaze steady, questioning, and finally he added, "I want to watch you fuck John."

She should have anticipated the request. After the first pleasant shock of it surged through her - and it was pleasant, curling heat through her belly again - she thought that perhaps it had been inevitable. They'd certainly been fascinated enough by her wearing it and now she realised that that fascination had not been entirely composed of amusement.

"Please," he added again, still holding it out to her, pointed towards her like a weapon. She reached out and took it and perhaps it was her imagination or perhaps it too had taken heat from the training room or from Rodney's hand, because it felt warm beneath her touch, almost bloodwarm. Still, she hesitated.

"And how will John feel about that?"

"Oh, please." This time the word had an edge of irritation to it and he waved his hand in a swift, abortive gesture as though that would cut off her complaints as effectively as his words. "As though he hasn't been thinking about it all day. Why do you think we didn't wait for you?"

Again another surge of pleasure went through her, but this time it had little to do with the reawakened demands of her body. "I thought perhaps you grew tired of waiting for me while I kicked Ronon's ass." The phrasing might have been John's but the amusement - and affection - underlying the words was all hers.

Rodney gave another one of those dismissive little snorts of his. "Right. It had nothing to do with the fact that John pretty much dragged me down here after the briefing finished because he couldn't wait for me to fuck him. Which, in turn, had nothing to do with the fact that watching you walk around all day with that strapped to your front -" He made a little indicative gesture to the object she still held in her hand. "- made him hotter than hell." He paused thoughtfully for a moment. "Not that I'm complaining of course."

He brightened then, bouncing on the balls of his feet the way that he did when things noticeably went his way. "Did you really kick Ronon's ass? And where are you picking up these phrases anyway?"

"I bettered him. This time." As diplomatic as always, but it still made him brighten further and she wondered if perhaps she wasn't the only one made uncomfortable around their newest team member.

"You know, that's actually a seriously hot image. Seriously, seriously hot."

Perhaps not.

"Do you have designs on Ronon now too, Rodney? Now that you have successfully conquered both the Colonel and myself?" Teasing him was so easy, made even more enjoyable by the way he usually grew flustered.

Not this time. This time there was another snort and a finger stabbing in her direction. "Like fucking you and the Colonel doesn't already eat up most of my valuable and limited free time. I don't need anyone else adding to my harem, thank you very much. And you're changing the subject, namely you and John and the fucking thereof."

The idea was an intriguing one, she admitted to herself, running the straps of the danaii through her hands. Intriguing and more than a little arousing, and not only for herself. A quick glance in Rodney's direction was all that was required to let her know that, in spite of his protestations earlier, the idea was enough to make 'round two' a distinct possibility.

"If you believe that John would be agreeable..."

"Oh, he would," Rodney hastened to reassure her, his voice just shy of wheedling. "And just imagine it. He's already slick and loose, still wet. Still open. You'd love that, sliding into him, watching his face. I've seen you watch him when I fuck him, the way you watch. Yes, you'd love that, wouldn't you?"

The words might have been crude but when they were delivered with Rodney's trademark mixture of glee and intensity she took no offence in them. She was used to Rodney's enthusiasm driving him forward and to him assuming that it would have a similar effect on everyone around him.

And the idea was an intriguing one, setting up an itch beneath her skin.

The leather was supple as it slid between her fingers. The Olem had created something beautiful as well as functional and she thought of John's face, the way it twisted with its own hungry beauty as Rodney pushed into him, the way he laid himself open and bare to Rodney's gaze.

"I would," she answered, her voice rough and low.

"Oh." There was hunger and need and satisfaction in Rodney's tone, and his eyes were wide when she met them. "We're doing this then?"

She didn't answer him but instead began to fasten the danaii around herself again with fingers that were suddenly clumsy. Or perhaps that was her answer, the only one that was needed, because Rodney's fingers were suddenly there too, less clumsy than hers, straightening the leather smoothly, and sliding buckles closed with an easy touch.

As he moved back to look at her, his fingers slid over her skin, leaving shivers in their wake.

"Oh God."

Although his hands hadn't shaken, there was no ignoring the quiver in his voice as he roamed his eyes over her, his expression both hungry and disbelieving. "That's just..."

Teyla said nothing, struck suddenly dumb by the look in his eye. "Here," he said, moving around behind her. She twisted her head to look at him but he didn't meet her eye. Instead he settled his hands firmly on her hips, his thumbs sliding absently back and forth over her skin and sending yet more shivers through her as he turned her to face the mirror.

She barely recognised herself. The danaii curved up from her, from between her thighs, as though it were part of her. The leather had been worked to be slightly darker than her own skin, and for a second she could imagine that the darkness was from her blood rushing to fill it, to lift it upwards, hard and hot and heavy with her arousal.

It was a heady sensation, and she couldn't resist reaching down, watching fascinated as her fingers stroked lightly along the length. Rodney's grip tightened on her hips and he sighed roughly into her ear. When she looked up and met his eyes in the mirror, the look in them was pure hunger.

She let him look his fill, feeling strangely powerful and aroused. She knew the effect that the sight of her body always had on him, but it felt different this time, as though she were there and not at the same time. As though Rodney still saw her and yet saw something different, alien and other but desirable all the same.

She reached down again and stroked it harder this time, feeling it bob slightly beneath her touch but with less give than she had expected. She felt an echo of the move too, as the pressure pushed it intimately against her, right where she needed that touch the most.

Her gasp was drowned out by Rodney's muttered, "Oh God," again, and his eyes this time were even wider, his tongue sneaking out to wet his lips as it always did when he was aroused.

"That's just... seriously, seriously hot."

She did it again, feeling the smile curving the corner of her mouth as he swallowed audibly, and then she grasped it firmly, stroking herself as she stroked them.

"I could fuck you with it, if you would like," she offered, her voice low and honeyed, holding his eyes in the mirror.

He swallowed again, eyes still wide and dark. "John first." Not a refusal then, and she filed that away for future consideration.

"Now?"

He started to nod then stepped back, turning towards the hidden shelving. "No, wait, we'll need..."

She didn't hear the rest that he muttered to himself as he rustled through the contents, apparently as familiar with John's shelves as his own. She was not surprised by that, although she was a little surprised by the silver foil packet he eventually produced.

"Um..." He waved it in her direction a little sheepishly. "It will keep it clean. You know, in case you decide to use it on... you. Or someone else." His gaze grew unfocused for a second and it didn't take a great deal of imagination for her to realise that he was picturing her with the 'someone else'.

"You know, I think that might be even hotter. Do you think Elizabeth...?" He caught her look and stopped. "Yes, well, um... Maybe not." He gave her a quick, uncertain and slightly apologetic smile before moving to roll the condom down over the danaii. It sent another shiver of pleasure through her, pressing against her each time he smoothed his hand along the length.

"I think you may have been correct," she said in answer to his questioning look, his fingers pausing mid-stroke as he caught the sound she made. "I think it might have been the Olem women who make these."

Rodney, as always, was quick on the uptake, his mouth parting slightly as he took it in. "Okay, still very, very hot. Are you sure you don't want to... Okay." The last word was slightly huffy. "But you know, it's not like you don't get your fair share of watching gay sex."

She raised her eyebrow, fully aware that it was a 'John' expression, and followed it up with a smirk, just to make sure that the origin registered. Another disgruntled sniff, but he straightened up and any irritation seemed to pass quickly as he once again looked her over and drank in the sight of her, naked and hard.

He swallowed again. "Now. Yes, now would be good. Please?"

The need in his voice sent another of those shivers through her and, driven by a need of her own, she didn't wait to answer him but stalked through to the bedroom, with him, as hard and urgent, trailing in her wake.

John was still sprawled across the bed, loose-limbed with one foot resting against the mattress. It created a shadowed vee between his splayed legs and her mouth watered at the sight. The urge to simply stride over to the bed, push his legs up to his chest and slide into him was strong but she hung on to the remnants of her patience, still a little unsure of her welcome. John's arm was flung across his eyes, and for a second she thought he slept, until she caught the sound of his breathing. Even but not deep enough for true sleep, although she thought he might hang on the cusp of it.

It wasn't deep enough for him to fail to catch the sounds of their approach, and as they walked closer to the bed - her footsteps soft but Rodney's loud enough to herald their coming - he stirred, and his arm lifted.

"I thought you guys had drowned in there," he began, the sleepiness in his voice enough to tell her that she'd been right. And then he caught sight of them - caught sight of her, standing there with the danaii proud and erect before her - and his voice faltered even as his eyes widened.

She should have felt stupid - had expected to in fact - but the naked hunger in his gaze, in the way that his tongue darted out to lick at his suddenly dry lips, drove all thoughts of how ridiculous she must look from her mind. It left nothing but her own hunger and the knowledge that Rodney had been correct about John's desire in its wake.

John said nothing, propping himself up on his elbows, his gaze fixed on the dark leather that rose between her thighs.

"Rodney said that he wanted to watch me to fuck you, John." She barely recognised her own voice, husky as it was with hunger and knowledge. John's tongue darted out again, and his eyes finally crept up to meet hers.

"Did he now?"

John didn't sound like himself either, although it was a credible effort. But beneath the trademark sarcasm there was a waver that spoke of his need.

"He did. He said you wanted it too."

She moved closer to the bed now, placing one knee on it and watching John's gaze fall again to the erection between her legs. Her fingers came to rest on John's knee then slid fractionally down the inside of his thigh.

His legs parted and she suppressed a small smile of satisfaction, contenting herself with leaning closer and watching his pupils dilate as he watched her.

"He says that you've been thinking about it all day. That you've been wanting it - wanting me - all day. Is that true, John? Do you?" Again, he didn't have an answer for her beyond shifting his position in a way that screamed of his need.

"Because I do," she continued throatily. "Want that. Want to fuck you like Rodney does. Slide into you and listen to the sounds that you make, the ones I have only heard Rodney wring from you." Behind her, Rodney was a warm presence, letting out a sound of his own, all heat and strangled need.

John swallowed, no longer bothering to put on an air of nonchalance. "Well." His voice was breathy now, his pupils dilated. "Since you asked so nicely."

She slid her hand higher, pushing at his thigh, a firm steady pressure that had him doing exactly what she wanted, pulling his knees up to his chest. She paused to take a deep breath, feeling the need thrum low in her belly and throb in her cunt, liquid heat and desire.

"Wait, wait." Rodney's hand settled in the small of her back and she resisted the urge to shrug him off, not wanting to wait, not wanting to do anything but push John's leg up even higher and slide deep into him. She knew how it would feel for him when she first breached his body, knew that burn and that ache. But she also knew how good it would feel once that burn passed and she had no doubt about her ability to make him feel good, not when he was watching her with such hunger in his eyes. "We need lube," Rodney continued, his fingers twitching against her skin, seemingly as impatient as she felt.

"I thought you said he would still be slick, Rodney." Her voice came out hoarsely, and she swallowed, not missing the hiss of John's indrawn breath as his body reacted to her - her words or her tone. Both seemed to heat him.

"Yes, yes, but..." Rodney didn't complete his answer, moving quickly past her to scrabble in the drawer for the tube of slick liquid they used. "Here." He didn't wait to apply it, instead coating his hand and reaching impatiently for her 'erection' while John still watched silently. "You need to..."

"I know, Rodney," she said, bucking into his touch as it pulled the danaii against her, the friction again sending little frissons of sensation throughout her body. "I have done this before."

"You... have?" Rodney's hand paused in its stroking and she bit her lip, resisting the urge to grab his wrist and make him move. "You mean..." He waved his free hand between John and the danaii and, being Rodney, there was a world of meaning in what should have been a vague gesture.

"Not..." She choked off a laugh, relieved when Rodney's hand began to move again, almost absent-mindedly. It served, however, to pull the small nub of leather between her legs where she needed it. "It is a sure way to prevent conception, Rodney."

"Oh... you mean..." His brain finally caught up with his mouth and he stopped again, staring at her, his eyes wide and his lips parted. "Oh, God. Why didn't you mention this... okay, that's just... We could have...! God, both of us..."

"Another time, Rodney," she said gently, not bothering to hide how the idea affected her. It was a thought for another time, and there would be another time, she knew it. She tugged on his wrist until his fingers released her, his attention still focused on her revelation and whatever pretty pictures it conjured in his head. John was still waiting - waiting for her and that knowledge settled somewhere deep inside her, leaving her impatient and needy - and she moved closer to him, pressing the head of the danaii against his opening. John sighed, watching her, a half smile playing around his lips. She wrapped her fingers around John's thighs and pushed her hips forward.

There was more resistance than she expected, and the slick, wet head of the danaii slipped against John's skin until she steadied it with one hand, guiding it. It took a little more pressure - reluctantly at first because she had no desire to hurt John - but finally, with a twist of her hips, the thick head breached John's body.

It was fascinating to watch it slide in, inch by slow inch. Watch John's body stretch around it as his hands came to rest over hers, resting on his thighs. She glanced quickly up at his face, wondering if it was too much, too soon, but all she could read there was the same tightness he wore whenever Rodney did this - no more discomfort than that and edged, as always, with pleasure.

"John?"

She paused, fighting the urge to move, to slam into him as she'd watched Rodney do so many times. But Rodney always waited until John was ready. Rodney always knew when John was ready, what John needed, although she did not know what signals Rodney looked for - it was something that still lay between them and them only.

John's eyes fluttered open, the look in them lost and glazed. "Oh," he breathed. "Oh, God. Teyla."

She had to fight it again, that urge to slam into him, driven by the sudden surge of triumph she felt at hearing that need in his voice, that tone she'd only heard when Rodney fucked him. "Is this all right?"

"Oh, fuck, yes."

The words - and the fervour in them - drove a laugh out of her, and she moved again, a little faster this time, not missing the moan or the way his body clenched around her as she pushed back in.

And she did feel it, feel his body clench around her. Felt it in the way that the danaii pulled against her, rubbing in just the right place to make her moan and shake and want more. She moved again, and again it was as though the danaii were part of her, as though it really were she inside John, fucking John and making him look at her the way he looked at Rodney, open and vulnerable and so needy it made her heart ache and her body throb.

John shifted, pulling one knee back up towards his chest and bringing the other leg up to rest against her shoulder. It wasn't heavy but she took the hint, leaning her body forward and pushing back in harder this time, deeper. John's throat convulsed around the moan he swallowed, and his head tipped back, eyelashes shadowing against his face.

Rodney's hand settled against her back again, resting there heavily for a moment before it was gone. The bed shifted as he moved and she adjusted for it, pushing into John again, lost in the slow slide of her body against his, in the way he pushed up into every thrust.

Then Rodney settled back on the bed, kneeling down next to John. His hand drifted down John's chest, fingers curling in the hair there and tugging lightly, thumbnail catching John's nipple and flicking, driving another moan out of John. His other hand curled in John's hair, urging his head back as Rodney's mouth came down to settle on his.

When Rodney pulled back he was sweating, lips parted and eyes wide. "God," he stuttered out. "You're so hot." He looked up, including Teyla in the statement. "Both of you. So fucking..."

John's eyes were open now, focused on Rodney, a small smile playing around his lips again. He shifted a little, rolling slightly onto his side, bracing himself on his elbow and tugging at Rodney. Rodney kissed him once more, hand splayed along the side of John's face, fingers curling there helplessly as John's tongue dragged a moan out of him. She knew that tongue well - knew what it could do - and the moan didn't surprise her. She felt one catch in the back of her throat at just watching them, but it seemed that John wanted more than a kiss. His hand was tugging at Rodney's hip, pulling the other man up the bed.

She realised what he was trying to do before Rodney did, and the idea - the image of what she knew was coming - dragged that moan straight out of her.

Rodney's wide mouth might be made for kissing, made for licking and for driving her and John out of their minds, but watching John suck on Rodney's cock always thrilled her. There was something about the way that John's eyes closed, the way his expression grew blissful as he focused totally on the taste of Rodney, on the feel of Rodney, salty and heavy against his tongue.

But John's eyes didn't close this time. They stayed open, focused on Rodney, on watching Rodney as Rodney was watching John, watching his cock slide in and out of John's mouth. Then John's eyes flickered in her direction, catching her watching both of them and his lips curled slightly before he sucked Rodney even deeper, making him shake and curse.

"Oh, fuck yeah. John."

Rodney's large hand curled around John's head, cradling it, guiding John to take him deeper. And John loved it - she could tell from the way that John's cock twitched, in the moans he let out around Rodney's cock.

The sight made her speed up, fingers digging into John's hips as she moved him where she wanted him, pulling John's body against her and angling her thrusts until he jerked in her grasp, his fingers coming down to wrap around his cock. She aimed for that spot again and again until sweat was dripping down her back and sides and her breath was catching harshly in her throat. Throughout it all, she held his gaze steadily, letting him see what this was doing to her, how this was making her feel. And in return, he let her see as well. Not a reflection, not this time. All for her, all that want and need and desire staring steadily back at her even as Rodney's dick slid over his lips.

The pressure of the danaii against her body was intense and she finally gave up on thrusting, simply burying herself deeply into John's body and grinding her hips against him. It rubbed the danaii against both that sweet spot inside him and the one between her legs.

She was wet, burning, close to falling apart at the seams. And so was John, his hand speeding up on his cock as he swallowed Rodney down, dragging another curse out of Rodney. It was too much for Rodney, who pulled back, ignoring John's whine of protest.

"Wait... here..." As bossy as always, Rodney pushed John onto his back again, pulling his legs up - both of them - until John's knees were almost touching his shoulders. Teyla didn't protest - this new position had John making those urgent little noises again, all shivering gasps and moans, and she could see better now. Could push herself up onto her knees and stare down at where the danaii moved in and out of John's willing body.

"Oh, yeah, that's..." Rodney was staring down too, still holding onto John's ankles, his expression awed. "God...Make him come, Teyla. Come on. Make him fall apart."

She slid her hand between John's legs, pressing her thumb against his perineum and fancying that she could feel the danaii moving within him, pressing up on the inside as she pressed down on the outside. It was a heady sensation, adding to the heaviness between her legs and she shuddered, bucking harder into John and feeling him shake beneath her. She caught herself, rolled her hips, sliding over that spot inside him over and over again until all she could hear was the sound of her heartbeat in her ears and John's jagged little gasps.

And then he was coming, legs jerking in Rodney's grasp as he spilled white jets over his belly and chest. She kept moving for a few more moments, striving for her own orgasm, before he pushed her away, panting heavily, obviously too sensitive now for what she wanted - needed.

She growled low in her throat, thwarted, but then Rodney's weight settled against her back, hand firm on her belly, gently easing her out of John's body. John winced slightly as she withdrew and that sobered her, even as the satisfied sigh he let out as his legs settled back on the bed convinced her that he had no regrets.

"Teyla."

Rodney's voice was a rough rasp in her ear and the tip of his erection pressed against her hip, warm and wet. His hand moved, sliding up her back to come to rest between her shoulder blades as he pushed her down. She went willingly, settling between John's thighs and sliding her tongue over his belly, lapping at his come. John moaned, still sensitised, twitching away from her and she smiled against his skin, teasing him.

"I can't..." he laughed, pulling away. "God, the pair of you are going to kill me."

Rodney huffed and when she glanced over her shoulder at him, his sharp white teeth were already tearing at a small silver foil packet. "Yes," he said as he spat a small piece across the room. "But I'm sure you have no complaints about that."

She looked back at John and his expression was soft and affectionate, encompassing both of them. "No, not really." His fingers reached out for her, stroking gently down the side of her face and she sucked his thumb into her mouth, nipping at it playfully as Rodney caught hold of her hips from behind and slid into her.

She moaned around John's thumb, sighing as he replaced it with his mouth. He followed her, not letting go of her lips as Rodney pulled her back against him, filling her. It satisfied that deep ache inside and she spread her thighs, bracing herself and pushing back into each of his thrusts.

John finally released her mouth, fingers dancing over her skin as they moved over her breasts. He caught at her nipples, pinching and pulling them the way that she liked, one after another, before his hand dipped lower, settling between her legs. It stroked jerkily along the danaii once or twice and then he pulled back, leaning over to dispose of the condom he'd removed into the waste bin by the bed. He flashed her a grin, full of trademarked wickedness, and settled on his back on the bed, sliding easily underneath her as once again Rodney pushed her forwards until her hands came to rest on the bed.

She twisted her head, straining to see what he was up to without losing the delicious friction that Rodney had set up inside her. Then the danaii jerked against her and she gasped, back arching as she twitched around Rodney's cock.

She dropped her head between her shoulder blades and John grinned up at her, his expression looking peculiar upside down. And then he repeated what he had done - sucking the danaii into his mouth the way that he had sucked on Rodney, sucking on it as though it were real - and she gave in, torn between the two sources of sensation, not knowing whether to thrust into John's mouth or push back against Rodney's cock.

She settled on a rhythm somewhere between the two, twisting her hands in the bedclothes as they both drove her wild.

John finally pulled off, wriggling back out from underneath her, his face twisted ruefully as he wiped his hand across his mouth. It appeared that he preferred the taste of Rodney to that of leather. But there was amusement in his face as well as desire, and she resisted the urge to laugh again, caught up in the heady feel of Rodney within her.

John's fingers came back, sliding up and down the length of the danaii, seeming to know exactly where to pull, exactly how to twist to have it press where she needed it most. She gave up trying to fight it; instead she let them do with her as they would, feeling the orgasm building slowly and inevitably within her. John's fingers moved again, tipping lower to slide between the leather and her skin, rubbing over her clitoris, pressing hard just where she needed him.

She came apart, sharp cries driven from her lips as Rodney pulled her up, jerking up into her again and again as he followed her over the edge, his teeth finding the curve of her shoulder as he muffled his cries against her skin. The pain was sharp and perfect, stretching out her orgasm until the only thing that anchored her in the present was the sensation of their hands on her body.

Her limbs turned to water, but Rodney caught her before she fell forward, easing her down to the bed as he eased out of her. His breath was hot against her shoulder, and John settled down in front of her, his eyes still soft as his fingers skated lightly over her skin before moving to undo the straps.

"That was..." For once Rodney seemed to be at a loss for words, or perhaps merely at a loss for breath. "We're keeping it, right?" he panted.

She no longer had the energy to laugh, but John did it for her, a huff of amusement against her skin that had her lips curling in response in spite of her exhaustion. "Yes, Rodney. I think we're keeping it," he said as his fingers rubbed gently over the red marks left on her skin where the leather had chafed. The touch stung slightly but that did nothing to dampen her high. The small pain simply reminded her that she was alive. Alive and - in John and Rodney's parlance - well fucked.

"Besides," John continued, his touch now caressing rather than soothing. The warm rumble of his voice and the feel of his skin against hers edged her down towards sleep. "I'm assuming that at some point you're going to want to...?"

Rodney humphed again and she rolled on her side, towards John, no longer bothering to hide her smile, sleepy though it was. "Really?" Rodney's voice held a note of wistfulness. "Fun though that was, I was kind of hoping that Teyla might want to use it on... someone else."

"You may not watch me use it on Elizabeth," she said firmly, ruining the severity of her tone with a yawn.

John chuckled but there was a small, thoughtful pause behind her before Rodney said, his tone aiming for diffident, "So does that mean that you were thinking of using it on Elizabeth, but that we just don't get to watch?"

She swatted her hand behind her, but John's pillow got there first.

"Ow! What was that for? It was only a suggestion."

Teyla smiled again, shifting slightly to get comfortable. She felt John's lips brush against the top of her head, his fingers stroking back a loose strand of hair and tucking it behind her ear. Safe and warm, sleep beckoned and she no longer felt the urge to resist, to rise and move to her own quarters. For perhaps the first time since this thing between the three of them had begun, she was wholly content, wanting nothing more and settling for nothing less. She had her team - what was left of them - and what was left of them would be enough.

John settled back down in front of her, tugging the covers up over them. Rodney - still grumbling slightly although she refused to stir enough to make out the cause of his complaint - settled down behind her, throwing an arm casually across her waist and pulling her back against him. It should have been cramped but it was not; it seemed that this bed - John and Rodney's bed - was big enough to fit the three of them when they pressed against each other like this.

It was both comforting and fitting somehow.

There seemed no point in fighting it - this - any longer and she gave in, closing her eyes and letting sleep claim her. The last words she heard, as she slid gently into slumber, were Rodney's.

"So... if Elizabeth is out of the question, how about Ronon?"

The End






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