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Team Dynamics

by Resonant

"So listen," Ronon said with his mouth full. "Teyla and me."

"Yes, yes," Rodney said, because it wasn't as if it were some sort of secret. "Congratulations, salutations, etc. You going to finish that?"

"Little soon for that."

"What? You've been staring at it for fifteen minutes and you haven't even touched it."

"Not that. Teyla."

"What?" Rodney finally looked up, to find Ronon looking down. "Don't tell me she turned you down. Did you do the belching thing? Because I told you, women have no appreciation for the work that goes into that."

"No. She says no. Unless I take both of you too."

"She -- excuse me?"

"For team dynamics. Says Athosian sentry teams have a saying: Four beds, or one."

"Wow." The Athosians didn't look like they had that much fun. Maybe underneath all that homespun, they were all -- well, it didn't even bear thinking about. "That's too bad, but I'm sure you won't have any trouble finding someone. Your alleged gifts are quite legendary even among people who are supposed to be focused on science."

"No." He lifted his chin. "I told her OK."

Rodney blinked. Ronon was examining his thumbnail now as if he had the I Ching tattooed there. "You -- all right, I can see where it's possible to put a bizarre sort of romantic interpretation on your behavior toward Sheppard, but me?"

Ronon shrugged one enormous shoulder. "You don't like to do anything unless you can do it better than anyone else."

Huh. His relentless pursuit of excellence had never before earned him any points on the relationship side of things, but he supposed there was always a first time. "I'll talk to Teyla," he said.

Rodney had seen Teyla frightened, but ordinary day-to-day nervousness never seemed to touch her, even when she was proposing group sex as a team-building strategy. "I fear that any pairing off within the team would threaten the stability of the whole," she said. "Among my people, it is accepted that sometimes one must sacrifice the possibility of love for the greater good; it is a form of heroism. But I would not wish to pressure you into an alliance you would find no pleasure in."

"Yes, well, even if the sex itself were no good, I'd be the envy of everyone in Pegasus. But Sheppard's going to say no."

"We thought perhaps you would explain it to him," Teyla said.

"He's going to say no if he hears it from me, because guys like him get nervous when the sacred boundaries of the buddy relationship are broached. He's going to say no if he hears it from Ronon because frankly Ronon is scarily submissive as it is, and people who get off on obedience usually adapt better to the military lifestyle than Sheppard has. You --" He looked Teyla up and down. "Well, I don't see how anybody could say no to you. You might have a chance, assuming he's never done anything to you that he feels guilty about."

"I fear," Teyla began.

Rodney sighed. "Really don't need to know the details. The conclusion is that it doesn't matter who makes the presentation because there is absolutely no way that, fine, fine, I'll go talk to him."

Fine. Fine. Rodney was a problem-solver, and he just had to look at this as another problem. A problem that involved trying to persuade your team leader that the very cordial working relationship your team enjoyed would be improved by the addition of -- god, there was no way in hell. He was doomed.

It was just the sort of thing that would happen in Pegasus, a place where astrophysicists were routinely hung upside-down or menaced with knives or encased in sticky cocoons in the pantries of space vampires. He supposed in Pegasus you could count yourself lucky if you were sleeping with your teammates voluntarily, rather than as a result of some fertility rite or alien aphrodisiac tossed at you by the undeniably rather freaky natives of the galaxy.

In fact -- this idea made Rodney's conviction of impending doom lighten somewhat -- if Sheppard took it badly, that was exactly what he was going to blame it on. That last place they'd been, Turawhatsit, with the bronze-age farming tech and the surprisingly advanced chemical and biological weapons -- he was going to say that clearly they must all have been accidentally (or intentionally, by person or persons unknown) dosed with a powerful mind-altering drug.

Unless it was true --

That left him panic-stricken for about six seconds, and then he remembered that he'd been wanting to do unprintable things to each and all of his teammates for months now.

He didn't even bother to rehearse his speech, because there was no way of saying it that wasn't patently insane. He just came right out with it, at the first available privacy: "Ronon wants Teyla, because who wouldn't, and Teyla's not averse, naturally, but she's concerned about the effect on team dynamics -- let me finish, because it gets better. Her proposal, which is apparently something of a tradition among the Athosians, is that you and I ought to get involved in the whole thing, too, so we'll have equality all around and no hard feelings."

Sheppard looked at him with his head on one side and half a smile lurking around his mouth, and then he slapped Rodney on the back and said, "Better get some sleep and try it again in the morning, buddy. It actually sounded like you were suggesting that all four of us ought to go to bed together."

"Good, you were listening. That was easier than I thought. I'll just let the others know, and --"

"McKay, you can't be serious." The smile was fading from Sheppard's face, replaced first by genial confusion and then almost immediately by something hard that it had taken Rodney months to recognize as fear. "I'm going to pretend we never had this conversation. What you do -- what you three do -- in your off-duty hours is none of my business, and I'm not the kind of commander who goes looking for things to punish people for, but, jesus, McKay, actually inviting me to participate -- that's a little much, don't you think?"

"No, no, you've got it all wrong." The sourness in Sheppard's voice told him he'd already lost, but he couldn't seem to stop talking. "I'm not talking about some kind of swinger's agreement where we treat each other like strangers, Sheppard." He hadn't been fully aware of that until this moment, and he hadn't appreciated how amazing it was, the chance to be part of something like this. "We're talking about a relationship."

"That," Sheppard said tightly, "is even worse."

For several days Sheppard avoided them, a pretty easy task for someone who had a lifesign detector and a morbid fear of intimacy. Finally, though, Sheppard approached the three of them. "Follow me," he said. "Got something I want to show you."

Out on the north side of the city was a tower whose transporters weren't tied in with the rest of the city systems. Carson had figured it was an isolation ward, while Sam's idea was that the Ancients had been testing new technology. Whatever the reason, it was the only truly inconvenient part of the city, and so no one had chosen living quarters or offices or lab space there.

The four of them stood in silence as the main city transporter took them as far as it went, and then walked in silence the quarter-mile to the unconnected sector's transporter. Sheppard wasn't acting like a guy who was leading them into a trap to chew them out or punish them, but he wasn't acting like a guy who was about to change his mind and say yes, either; he was tight-mouthed and silent, and he held his shoulders stiffly, the way he did when he took a reprimand he couldn't answer back to.

At the top of the highest of the three towers, Sheppard led them through a door, down a short hallway, and through another door. They all stood looking at the third door for a moment, and then he motioned for Rodney to open it.

The room inside was airy and bright, washed with soft, diffuse sunlight from all four directions, and in the middle of it was a bed whose surface was bigger than Rodney's entire quarters.

"Wh -- where in the world did you find --"

"Never mind that." This meant Sheppard was going to say yes, right? Rodney wished he looked a little happier about it, rather than like he was facing a firing squad. "I just --" Sheppard squared his shoulders. "So, listen, this section is invisible as far as the rest of Atlantis goes. And I've told Sam we've got a new round of team-building exercises, so no one's likely to notice a change in anybody's hours."

"Wow, that's -- that's really --"

"It's fine, McKay. Just -- listen, keep it private. I'll cover for you guys if you don't do anything stupid. And -- look after each other." He backed out. The door slid shut behind him.

Rodney sat down hard on the giant bed. "Son of a bitch," he said.

"What are we going to do?" Ronon said.

"There's nothing we can do," Rodney said. "He's nobly sacrificed us. Now he gets to wallow in his martyrdom, and I guess we're supposed to go on without him, and won't that be good for team dynamics." He gave the door a baleful look. "I'm beginning to think we might be justified in drugging him."

"Hard blow to the head might work," Ronon said.

"It is very provoking," Teyla said. "He is depriving not only us but himself."

"You don't want to do it without him, though," Ronon said.

"No," Rodney said. "I mean, yes, hell yes, I want to, but it doesn't seem -- no."

"We will wait for him," Teyla said.

Ronon nodded once. "Want a backrub instead?" he said.

Rodney had his shirt off so fast he nearly got a zipper pull in the nostril.

John looked bleakly at the closed door. He'd done all he could for them, gotten them time and privacy and access to a room big enough for three, and none of them could say he wasn't being supportive. Now he withdrew to the end of the corridor, where he could waylay anybody who came this way.

The door was small. Nothing distinguished it from all the other doors around it. No one would be able to look at it and see that anything unusual was happening behind it, except for him.

Inside there, though ...

He looked at his lifesign detector. Those three dots were his team, body, mind, and spirit, everything he longed for.

He could picture them together, strong and beautiful, pink and tan and honey. They might make Teyla come first, just because they could, because they knew she'd surely be able to do it more than once -- Ronon's lush mouth, Rodney's clever fingers -- or maybe two would take on Ronon, bend his strong body weak with pleasure. Or Rodney, because he would talk, and they could tease him into incoherency, just to hear his words trail off into moans ...

"Do you think he seriously doesn't want to?" Rodney said. "I mean, frankly I don't think there's anybody gay enough not to want Teyla or straight enough not to have at least the passing fantasy about Ronon --"

"You are very kind," Teyla said, and hugged him with one arm, and he leaned into her.

"He ran eight miles this morning, and went running again after dinner." Ronon sat down on his other side. Teyla smelled like green tea and woman, and Ronon smelled like leather and man, and the last time Rodney had spent this much time with an erection, his voice had still been breaking. "Believe me, he's interested."

"I don't know if you two are aware of the full extent of his stubbornness," Rodney said. He reached around Teyla to scratch her back, working his fingers between the laces to get at the spot between her shoulder blades. She beamed at him like a cat. "I'm serious. I don't have confidence, though I hate to say it, that we can outlast him. I think he's quite capable of turning us down till the city sinks."

Teyla went on beaming, but now she had a slightly wicked look. It was also rather catlike, actually. "I have a plan," she said.

It wasn't just the sex, which anyway they were doing with extreme discretion thanks to John's room-finding skills. It was Ronon's arm slung over Rodney's shoulder as they returned to the jumper, Rodney holding Teyla's hand as she lay in an infirmary bed. It was the way Teyla brought Ronon civilian clothes from the mainland and the way Ronon sometimes dashed a cup out of Rodney's hand before he could drink without offering any explanation.

John waited till he ached and jerked off till he was raw. He borrowed porn from Savoie and closed the files after thirty seconds. He pictured every possible combination of two and every position he could think of for three, and fell asleep afterwards with the image of the three of them cuddled up together naked in the big bed, Teyla's head pillowed on Rodney's broad chest and Ronon's long arms holding them both.

He had never been so prompt with paperwork, so complete with reports, so faithful in his workouts. But you had to sleep sometime.

At first John thought it was his imagination. But after a while he was pretty sure it wasn't. Ronon got closer and closer as they ran, crowding him so that he had to choose between rubbing damp upper arms, enveloped in the scent of new sweat, or being scraped along walls and railings.

Teyla's sparring positions got closer, too, until a practice came to resemble a game of Twister, with him draped over her back until he could feel her muscles flexing against his chest.

And Rodney began with letting their knees touch in the mess and escalated until he was falling asleep at native dances with his head in John's lap, turned away to bare the vulnerable side of his neck so that John had to sit on his hands to stop himself from tracing the muscle with his fingertip.

By the time he was certain, it was too late to say anything about it. Anyway, they'd lie; the could hear them now. "Nope." "Perhaps it is your imagination, Colonel." "This paranoia of yours is getting worse; have you seen Heightmeyer?"

Besides, if he said anything, they might stop.

Rodney had been skeptical of the plan, but the first time he let his elbow brush John's in a staff meeting, John had actually leaned into it. Right in front of Sam and everybody -- crossed his arms and leaned, so they were touching from shoulder to elbow.

In Rodney's current state of frustration, that much contact was enough to require solving difficult equations in his head. He suspected it was even worse for John.

"OK, fine," he said to Teyla in the meditation room later. "You win. You were right. I congratulate you on your perceptiveness. But this is as hard on me as it is on John, and I'm not sure he'll break first."

"Tell me about it," Ronon said. "I feel like a garta in the spring."

"Fine." John threw open the door. "Fine, you win, I'll --"

Inside, Ronon was peacefully mending the ragged edge of a sweater while Teyla and Rodney played cards.

Of course stepping through that door was a great act of courage and whatnot, but honestly it was hard not to laugh when Sheppard stuck his head in with his body all braced like he expected twenty kinds of illicit hijinks to hit him in the face.

"Finally." Ronon dropped his work, and Teyla laid her cards in a neat stack (as if after the nice orgy she might want to finish out the game) and stood. But Rodney wasn't betting on anything at this point. Even now he wouldn't put it past Sheppard to back out.

Fortunately, Ronon understood that they'd reached the end of words. He wrapped a hand gently around John's upper arm and stared at him.

After a second, John shuddered, hard enough for Rodney to see it. His eyes shut, and his lips parted, and Ronon put a hand on the side of his face and bent to kiss him.

After a moment, Rodney moved to a spot where he could see both of them better, because, hello, hot, and nearly collided with Teyla trying to do the same thing. She smiled at him and slipped her hand into his, and he thought giddily, It's finally going to happen. It may go all to hell afterwards, but it's really going to happen.

Ronon didn't just kiss John; he handled him, tilting his head and pulling his body close, arranging him -- big hands spread over back and drawing up a thigh. At first Rodney wanted to tell him, Take it easy; you'll scare him off. But the more Ronon moved him here and there, the more he seemed to relax.

When Ronon let him go, he actually swayed a little. "OK," he said, "yeah."

Teyla gave Rodney's hand a squeeze and stepped forward for her turn.

John was less passive with her. He put an arm across the small of her back to support her weight, running his other hand up her ribs under the loose shirt she wore. Her head fell back and he kissed her throat and her collarbone. When he said, "Teyla," his voice broke, and she raised her head and smiled at him.

And then he released her and it was Rodney's turn.

He didn't even realize he was angry until he had crowded John back against the wall. "It's about damned time," he said, hip-checking John even though John wasn't trying to get away. "We could have had this months ago, but you couldn't trust us."

"I didn't think you'd wait," John said, pushing back against the pressure of Rodney's hips; he'd probably been hard since he'd walked into the room, maybe even before, and he sucked in air through his teeth at the pressure. "I'm sorry, OK?" he said. "This is weird."

"Unlike the rest of your life, which is perfectly normal," Rodney said.

He opened John's mouth with his tongue like licking edamame out of the pod. John yielded, groaning, and Rodney went deeper. Ronon and Teyla weren't kissing or undressing, just watching. That seemed right, somehow. The three of them had talked, and touched, and their relationship was already that kind of relationship. Now they all had to make a mark on John before they could proceed.

God, that was exactly what it was -- it took Rodney's breath away, suddenly. All three of them were laying a claim on John here, one after another, demonstrating a right to touch him and taste him any way they liked, and that was incredibly hot in a slightly dirty way, that shared claim.

They'd be worthy of his trust, they'd never hurt him, but he was theirs.

John made a little noise when Rodney released him, an inhale with some voice in it, not anything he'd do on purpose. He leaned against the wall without opening his eyes.

"OK, he gets it," Rodney said. "Now, everybody naked."

Teyla slanted a knowing look at him, but didn't argue; when she put her hands on the hem of her top, Rodney paid attention to his own clothes, because the alternative was to stand there looking at her with his mouth open, and he didn't want to be that much of a dork.

Naked, Ronon and Teyla were a matched set, like the jumbo size and the travel size: sleek and strong and brown. John was pale and hairy and lean; he looked like a different animal altogether. He'd recovered a bit of his cool, enough to smirk at Rodney and say, "Problem, McKay?"

"This is amazing," Rodney said. "I don't know who to lick first."

Ronon made a backward leap onto the bed, which shook but didn't collapse. He lay there with his arms outspread, big body perfectly relaxed, big cock just touching the lower curve of his navel. There was a small black letter or word tattooed just under his right pectoral muscle, and another on his hip, in a spot that was a small dent on an ordinary guy but was in heavy shadow on somebody as built as Ronon. Rodney put his thumb on that one, wrapping the rest of his fingers around Ronon's hip.

"Bet it says, Bite me here," John said.

Rodney snorted, but he did it anyway.

Ronon tasted fantastic, clean but not soapy, and he let out a rumbling groan when Rodney began following the contours of his chest with his tongue, heading up for the other tattoo. They were all pretty wound up already -- after all these weeks of waiting, even being in the same room was enough to get them started -- and Ronon was twisting and making noise.

Behind him, he could hear Teyla -- a gasp and then a low, throaty laugh -- and then John -- a bitten-off curse, like whatever he'd done to Teyla, she'd paid him back double. God, he wanted to see that, but he also wanted to follow this amazing curve of muscle that marked off the line of Ronon's pelvis, down to where the smell of him was strongest. To play with him and see what he liked best and what noises it was possible to get out of him.

"Jesus, he looks good like that," John said in a reverent tone, and Teyla hummed agreement, but Rodney didn't look up to see whether they meant Ronon or him.

In a very short time, Ronon rumbled, "Stop."


Ronon lifted his head to give Rodney an incredulous look. "Because I don't want to go yet."

'Go' -- that was a new one. "Why not?" Rodney said. "You're young." He might have sounded a bit out of sorts. Damn it, he'd been enjoying himself.

"Come on, McKay, don't hog all the good stuff," John said, and threw a leg over Ronon's hip, and lowered himself down to basically rub his entire body on Ronon's. Ronon's hands came up to grope John's ass and Rodney considered adding another pair of hands to the mix, but before he could move, Teyla pulled him around for a long, teasing kiss that was not unlike a sparring session, though less painful.

She was smooth all over -- it seemed body hair was sparse in Pegasus, maybe something to do with the ultraviolet rays -- a neat, compact armful, very pleasant to hold. Her hair tickled the back of his arm where he wrapped it around her shoulders. He framed her breasts with two arcs of thumb and forefinger, and she made a happy noise, so he gave himself a moment to look at them before bending to taste them.

She backed him up until he sat down on the bed -- hands on his wrists so he couldn't let go -- and then straddled one of his legs, grinding wetly against his thigh while he licked one nipple and then the other. She put her whole body into it, so that when he slid his hands down he could feel the muscles in her abdomen working.

"God, stand up," he said.

She did, putting one foot on the bed. The height wasn't perfect, but the bed was low, so he only had to bend his head a little.

She was soft and very wet, and two fingers slid into her faster than he planned, but she didn't even make a sound, just tilted her hips forward for him.

He'd never gone down on a woman who participated quite this much, her fingers getting under his tongue as she moved against his mouth. On the other hand, he'd never gone down on a woman quite this successfully, either, especially without benefit of some practice to figure out how she liked it. With Teyla he never had to wonder how she liked it, just to lick whatever bit of skin she guided to his tongue until she locked her hands around the back of his head and let out a cry and he could feel her muscles spasming around his fingers and under his tongue.

The moment she let him go, John grabbed him for something that started out as an effort to get a taste of Teyla, but quickly became a deep and rather frantic kiss; whatever he and Ronon had been doing, he hadn't come yet.

"She's a pretty inspiring sight, isn't she?" Rodney started to stand up.

John pushed him back down again. "Who's looking at her?" he said, shoving Rodney's legs apart to kneel between them.

Rodney looked down on John's bent head and the pale nape of his neck in shock. Maybe this was going to work out after all.

It had been some years since Teyla had had the sort of deep sleep given to a woman who is fully and repeatedly satisfied, or one who goes to her rest surrounded by the warm skin of those who love her, and she slept rather longer than she intended.

When at last she awakened, it was to a complicated triangle: Ronon fucking John, slow and powerful, while John and Rodney kissed in the leisurely fashion of people who are just getting started on what they hope will be an extended project.

"Sorry," John said, smiling sheepishly. "Didn't mean to start without you."

She piled two pillows and lay back for a better view. "I have no objection," she said.

Ronon tried not to skimp on training, but his brain was in the tower room. Hadn't been so easily distracted by thoughts of sex since he'd been a recruit first out of his mother's house.

By the time he'd cleaned himself and made the long walk, Teyla was already there. Beautiful, on her side curled around a book in the middle of the big bed, with one knee drawn up. The pose exaggerated the curves of her beautiful ass and the shadowy promise between her legs, and Ronon stopped dead, staring. Her clothes usually said, I am a warrior. It was rare to see her wearing anything that said, I am a lover.

When she saw him she set her book aside, smiling, and sat up. Stretched, arms over head, encouraging him to look at the rest of her, her smile changing from friendly welcome to knowing invitation. He dropped his sweater on the floor and crawled up the bed to press her back against the wall and kiss her.

After a moment, he realized he was waiting. For a body at his back, a voice in his ear, hands bigger than Teyla's on his hips, his shoulders, the laces of his pants. Questions, instructions. No warm-blooded man ever had cause to complain of Teyla's fingers, but more hands were better

Teyla's hands smoothed up his thighs to the top of his pants. "Perhaps we might remove these," she said.

He lifted her hair and kissed the side of her neck. "No rush," he said. "Let's wait for the others."











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October 20, 2011