Exactly one week after Ronon arrived in the city, Rodney caught him standing shirtless outside Sheppard's quarters and panting. Envy trounced sensibility. "Very impressive," Rodney said. "Very muscley. And seriously, if you were trying to seduce one of the marines, or maybe Elizabeth I'd say you've got a, oh, I don't know, one in three shot? One in four if you get one of the heterosexual ones. But either way, a great initial move."
Ronon leaned his head to the side. "Thanks for the tip," he said, and rapped his knuckles on Sheppard's door.
"I'm just trying to save you the embarassment," Rodney said. "Colonel Sheppard's bound to see right through your little —"
Ronon arranged his biceps so he could cross his arms over his chest, and just stared. John opened the door, dressed in long shorts and a spandex tee. Rodney looked away, anywhere besides John's poky nipples, and John slapped Ronon on the gut with the back of his hand and the two of them set off jogging down the corridor.
They went fishing together off the pier by the southwest grounding station. John and Ronon and a couple Athosians, and Teyla, and Dr. Weir.
Rodney could see everything from his perch, crouched on top of the generator with a flashlight in his teeth and a naquadah waveguide transformer in each hand. "Be easier if we just shot 'em," Ronon said, swinging his gun around and aiming for a dark patch of ocean. Rodney covered his eyes and ears for the bang, and when he peeled his hands away, Weir was reaching out with a long net to scoop up the layer of blown-apart fish carcasses from the salty surface.
Sheppard boggled at Ronon even as the grin broke across his face. "Cooooool," he said.
Varyana, for some reason, let Ronon hold her newborn baby, and the shriveled little Athosian raisin looked fragile and terrified in Ronon's big brown arms. John wiggled his fingers at it. "Cutchie-cutchie-koo," John said.
From two tables over, Rodney could barely finish his butterscotch pudding.
Rodney stumbled on them sparring by accident. First the internal security monitors showed a big body pummeling a smaller one, and Rodney assumed it was Ronon and Teyla until the small body collapsed against the wall, feigned defeat, and then kneecapped the big body and danced around it mockingly while the big body sat on the floor and refused to give the small body the pleasure of watching it moan, or laugh, or surrender. Rodney hurried down to the gym with his laptop and adapter.
Ronon was back up on his feet and punching barehanded when Rodney got down there. "Don't mind me," he said, sidling past the flailing testosterone puppets, and no one did. Rodney jacked his laptop into the gym sensors and fooled around with schematics to the tune of men spitting, men groaning, the wet-solid clap of fist against flesh.
The the souped-up internal monitors lit up, resolution so good Rodney could see every vein in Sheppard's wiry forearms and the drop of sweat Sheppard licked off his upper lip. He went in low, fists close to his chest, but Ronon had reach on him and caught him in a headlock and they dropped to the ground.
"That's cheating," Sheppard said, squirming against Ronon's grip. Ronon knelt on the floor and managed to look amused and bored and held John tight with one arm while he scritched at his scalp with the other. "Gotcha!" John said, loud enough to get Rodney's attention, and he elbowed Ronon in the throat. When Ronon fell over, John straddled him, forearm against Ronon's trachea. Rodney turned away from the screen and looked across to the mats, to watch it for real.
"Not bad," Ronon said. "You know, if you turn around, you can come in right-handed."
"I did okay lefty," John pointed out, leaning in so his nose was inches from Ronon's.
Rodney unplugged his laptop, closed it, wrapped the adapter cable carefully, thumb to elbow, folded it flat, tucked the whole assembly under his arm and left the gym without looking back. As the doors shut he heard John say, "You're going?" and Rodney didn't bother to turn around.
"Ronon asked strange question today," Zelenka said to Rodney before the others showed up for the staff meeting. "He asks, where does one go for sex in this city?"
"He asked you?" Rodney rolled his eyes. "Talk about the blind leading the huge. Though I guess it makes sense, in a kind of pathetic way, I mean, I guess he figures you look like the type who has to pay —"
Radek's eyes narrowed. "Finish that sentence, Mr. Genius Man," he hissed. "I dare you."
"I don't think I have to," Rodney pointed out. "But that's neither here nor there. What did you tell Ronon? He'd have better luck on the mainland? Or, better yet, I'm sure we could find a planet stocked with nubile young men and women that would just be thrilled to bits to get a great big badass with a sweater vest and a gun on permanent loan, don't you?"
Radek sighed. "I told him he could most certainly get any sex he required simply by asking." Radek sighed again, a long, low, longing-type sigh. "I mean, look at the man."
Through the kerned open doors, Radek and Rodney stared out at the balcony, where Ronon and Elizabeth leaned on the railing and looked down at the gate below. Ronon's ass was perfect and round in his pants, and his hair hung over his broad, solid, creamy shoulders. When John got close and then smacked Ronon on his perfect ass, Rodney's dick got hard. "He's all right if you like that type," Rodney said to Zelenka.
Rodney lay in bed, reading deep space probe data by the light of his bedside lamp. When Sheppard's voice crackled over the radio, he pretended to ignore it for what he deemed an adequately chill interval, and then answered.
"Yeah? What's up? I'm kinda busy over here."
"Oh, never mind, it's okay," John said. "Sorry to interrupt."
In the distance, Rodney could hear Ronon's voice saying, "Got more of this beer?"
"Well, actually, it's more of an ongoing project, there's really no reason I can't take some time —" Rodney started to say, but Sheppard was gone.
According to the internal sensors, John was in Ronon's quarters for close to four hours before he stumbled out into the corridor with a bottle of moonshine in one hand and his jacket in the other. Rodney flipped on the audio.
"I'm telling you," John said. "It's a lot better if you don't overthink it, seriously, buddy."
"Good night, Sheppard," Ronon said, and let the door close. John stood there for a long time, then slung his jacket over his shoulder like Gene Kelly and set off for his place, across the northern promenade where the internal sensors were spotty and then gone.
Rodney looked around the lab. Most of the team had left for bed, and the lights were out except for Rodney's workstation and Miko's. "What's got you up so late?" Rodney asked her. "Are you still working on that crackbrained solar generator? Because I'm telling you, we ran full simulations and there is virtually zero chance of constructing a buffer that will be compatible with our naquadah generators and the city's internal power systems."
Miko smiled at him and nudged her oversized glasses up higher on her nose. "No, Doctor," she said. "I thought I'd stay and complete some probe analysis, because I saw that you were still here and thought you'd be annoyed if you looked up and everyone was gone."
Rodney snorted. "Hm," he said. "Yes. Well, your intentions were sound. You can go now. I've got work to finish up and the truth is you'd just be in my way."
"Probably," Miko agreed, closing her laptop. "Is Colonel Sheppard still with the new guy?"
"What?" Rodney asked, too loud. "I'm not in charge of Colonel Sheppard, thank you very much. He can come and go as he pleases and spend the night with whomever he wants, and it's certainly none of your business."
"You're right," Miko sighed. "Sometimes it seems like everyone's life is more exciting than mine."
Rodney looked at her. "Hm," he said again, thoughtfully. "Possibly. I wouldn't have the data to make a scientific analysis."
"Perhaps I'll see what Radek is up to," Miko said, shouldering her backpack and heading for the door.
"Yes, you do that," Rodney said, his eyes on his monitor where Sheppard had reentered the sensor's sweep and was weaving down the hall to his room. Rodney thought John was walking a little bowlegged, and he doubted it could all be credited to the drink.
"We're going to the mainland to do yoga on the beach," John said, after the meeting.
"It's not yoga," Ronon said. "Athosian martial arts."
"Whatever," said John, unhooking his thigh holster and stowing his weapon in his locker. "You should come, McKay."
Rodney flashed on the two of them, half-naked and sinewy in the sun, bending their bodies into all sorts of perverse poses and thrusting their genitals at one another while the waves lapped the shore. Rodney had to breathe very evenly through his nose to clear the image of John peeling off his black t-shirt, settling into a half-lotus and then arching his back to take in Ronon's enormous uncircumsized Satedan cock while Ronon kneeled over him, arms out to the side in the crane posture.
"I don't think so," Rodney said, steadily. John managed a very convincing look of dismay before he turned and left the room with Ronon.
Rodney took position at the power junction shunt down causeway C, just outside Ronon's quarters. He spent an hour repairing the naquadah conduit, and then another hour modifying an Ancient system that controlled something called "ambient fragrance" which had been considered nonessential up until Rodney found himself on causeway C with time to kill.
When Ronon's door opened and he came out, the hall carried the faint scent of bergamot and red Pegasus wine. The door shut behind Ronon and nobody else came out. Rodney dropped to the floor and took the scanner out of his mouth. "Hey there, big fella," he said. Ronon just stared at him.
"Look, Doctor," Ronon said, throwing himself at Rodney and pinning him against the wall with an arm across Rodney's chest. "We should talk."
"Back off, and I'll think about it," Rodney said. Ronon let go.
"Here's the deal," Ronon said. "One of us should be boning Colonel Sheppard. I'll give you the rest of the day to make your claim, and then I stop being polite."
"Um. What?" Rodney asked.
"I'm leaving now," Ronon said, and then sniffed at the air. "Nice," he said.
Rodney let the words play over in his head, and then took in a deep breath, on the off chance the ambient fragrance would poison and kill him.
"McKay to Sheppard."
"Yeah," came Sheppard's lazy drawl. "What's up?"
"Meet me in the lab, Colonel, I need your input on something."
"So?" John sat down on one of the tall stools, at the far end from where Miko and Zelenka were hunched over a monitor together and giggling. "What's the latest from the lab of Dr. Rodney McKay?"
Rodney looked at Miko, who must have felt him looking because she grinned shyly under her enormous glasses and then slipped her arm around Radek's and squeezed his hand.
"Never mind," Rodney said. "I'm not ready yet."
John watched him for a while, green eyes unblinking. Then he shoved his hands in his pockets, shimmying his belt even dangerously lower on his hips, and scowled at Rodney. "You're a freak, you realize that?"
Rodney sighed, and when he closed his eyes to block out John's taunting grin, he saw Ronon, dressed in animal skins, laying hungry claim on John's irresistible suck-me lips.
In Antarctica, Colonel John Sheppard joined the training sessions late, and after two days he was head of the class in endurance, zero gee maneuvering, and controlling the drone chair. Rodney found him in one of the conference rooms at the base facility one night, tangling tongues with a broad-shouldered marine. John jumped back when he saw Rodney come in.
"Oh, Doctor McKay, I wasn't —"
"I'll see you at oh-six-hundred, sir," the marine said, zipping up his fly and hightailing it out of the room.
"Your business is your own, Major," Rodney had said. "Don't let it interfere with my mission."
"Yes, Doctor," John had said. The next day Rodney could have sworn the Major made eyes at him during the parachute drops, but he never said a word about it.
The last night of the first week they were trapped in Atlantis, with Athosian kids running amok getting their sticky hands all over Rodney's nice clean Ancient machinery, John and Rodney were the last two up, sitting sprawled on the couch in the lounge and watching half an episode of Becker, stuck on the tail end of John's football videotape. John had kicked his legs across Rodney's lap, and Rodney was busily trying to find places to put his hands that managed to be innocent and casual and idle all at once, and wound up fixated on the little strip of hairy flesh between the top of John's black socks and the hiked-up legs of his grey trousers. He spent the evening trying not to touch John's skin, and succeeded.
Several months later, in sickbay, Rodney sat with John, holding a damp cloth to John's neck where the Eratus bug had leeched on.
"How do you feel?" he asked John, when the Major's eyes blinked open.
"Rodney," John murmured. "I love you, man, so much. Thank god you're here."
Rodney dropped the cloth on the bed and stood up. "I should go find Carson," he said.
Exactly one month after Ronon came to live in Atlantis, at twenty-three hundred hours, Rodney lay in his bunk and stared at the ceiling, which was square and boring. His room smelled cloyingly tangerine-ish but it hadn't poisoned him yet, and in his bathroom the citrus scent cranked all the way up to eleven. He threw his arm across his face to block out the sickly sweet scent, which reminded him of guilt and Ronon.
"Ronon to McKay."
Rodney switched on his comms. "Yes? What? What now, you hairy mercenary?"
"What's your problem, guy?" Ronon rumbled, sounding for all the world like Barry White.
"Me? I'm misanthropic and paranoid. What's your problem?"
"Horny," said Ronon.
Rodney sat up and rubbed his face, hard. "Yeah, well, I don't blame you," he said.
Ronon sighed. "McKay, get your ass over here."
Rodney forewent washing his face.
Ronon's room smelled even more strongly like bergamot, in a way that felt like it could get Rodney drunk from breathing too much. Fortunately, he'd been asthmatic all his life. He caught his breath and then exhaled painfully when Ronon threw him down on the bed.
"Nice," he said.
"Whatever," said Ronon. His lips were surprisingly soft. Rodney kissed him, hungrily at first and then he saw that he could get the big guy to growl by teasing him a little.
Rodney sucked in his gut as Ronon tore off his t-shirt, ripping it over Rodney's head and casting it onto the floor in a marvelously feral move. Ronon's lips and teeth folded over the head of Rodney's cock, and Rodney clawed for a handful of dreadlocks and pulled.
"You were right," said John, from his chair in the corner. "This is great, Ronon."
Rodney refused to open his eyes, even when he felt Ronon's mouth slide from his cock. "You coming?" Ronon was asking.
"I dunno," John drawled. "Let's see how it plays out."
Rodney opened his eyes, threw a handful of blanket across his erection and glared at Ronon. "You did what? You asked me over here to perform in some sort of, pornographic dinner theatre? That is perverted. I mean, seriously perverted. Have you met Kate Heightmeyer? Because I think once you tell her —"
"Shut up, Rodney," Sheppard said. He emerged from the shadows in boxers and black socks and sat on the edge of the bed. "Anyway, it was my idea."
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Oh you have got to be kidding me, even now you have to be a martyr?" He looked at Ronon, who was also sitting on the edge of the bed, fully naked, tattooed, and idly maintaining his own erection one-handed while he watched John and Rodney with amusement.
John pulled Rodney up by the shoulders and deposited him so they were sitting eye-to-eye. "Are you really this dumb, McKay? Because for a bright guy, you are really, just, really dumb."
Rodney studied the blanket. "Honestly, Sheppard, I'm so surprised you'd think something like this would be okay. Tell me, is there anything about my personality or the way I've conducted myself that led you to believe that I would respond favorably to something like this? I'm waiting."
"You showed up," Ronon pointed out.
"Yeah!" John agreed.
"Yeah, but that was when I thought it was just —" Rodney stopped.
"Ohhhh," John said, nodding slowly. He stood up. "That's cool. I could just — lemme just find my pants, here, and I'll be out of your way."
Rodney groaned. "Stop, Sheppard. I might be dumb but I'm not going to very well pass you up when you're right in front of me, am I?"
Ronon looked at Rodney. "'Bout time. Guy hasn't shut up about you for a month."
Both of John's hands flew up. "Your brains, Rodney. And your insufferable personality."
Ronon grabbed the blanket and tossed it away, leaving Rodney cold and naked on the bed. His hands went instinctively to his groin, but Ronon beat him to it, and was sucking, greedily. "Ohhh god," Rodney said, and slid further down on the sheet.
John crawled onto the bed on Ronon's side, toeing off his socks and nudging Rodney with his knee in the process. Rodney's dick shuddered in Ronon's mouth, and Ronon let out a purr of satisfaction. "Wait a sec," John said. He clambered up and planted his hands on the pillow, one on either side of Rodney's head, and peered down expectantly.
Rodney couldn't open his mouth to speak if he'd wanted to, and Ronon's broad tongue was hot and strong and agile and Rodney's entire body convulsed every time Ronon swallowed to take him deeper. John's hair sprouted in a little crown atop his head, and his lower lip looked ridiculously ripe and Rodney, shuddering with pleasure, grabbed for John's ears and tugged him down into a kiss.
"Hot damn, I have wanted to do that for a long time!" Rodney said, after he'd inhaled. And then his knees locked and he climaxed and clawed at John's shoulders and let out a long, blubbery moan and when he opened his eyes, Ronon was grinning at him, wet-lipped.
John let out a desperate "oh!" and then swung around to meet Ronon's mouth, and John slid his hands down Ronon's huge arms and kissed him and Rodney had to close his eyes again and just lie there and feel the heat on his face, his chest, his groin.
When he opened his eyes John was kneeling beside him, his palms on the headboard and his ass in the air. Ronon was hauling himself onto his knees, straddling Rodney, and Rodney looked up to see Ronon spit in one massive hand, then bring it down to slicken his broad, curved cock. Rodney reached out for the nightstand.
"Don't you have lube on your world?" he scowled up past the broad plains of Ronon's hard brown stomach.
"Yeah, Ronon," said John from the wall. "Rodney's impatient."
Ronon spat again, climbed across Rodney and rammed his cock into John's ass, and John fell forward and smacked his head against the wall with a solid, excited grunt. "Ohhh yeahhh," John said. Rodney closed his eyes and just listened to the thump, and the moans, and the smacking sounds, and John fell on all fours and Ronon threw his hard, brown body against John's wiry one, and when John got a moment he opened his eyes and smiled over at Rodney Rodney.
"Glad you're here?" John asked, then grunted as Ronon pounded him into the bed again.
Rodney let himself take a good, long, lingering look over John's body, his hard thighs and flat gut and solid, square pecs, and Rodney took a bracing bergamot breath and shimmied under John's arm, under John's chest, and positioned his mouth just below John's. Over John's shoulders, Ronon scowled, and then grabbed Rodney's face pulled him up to kiss him hard. When Rodney fell down into the mattress, John leaned over and kissed him, and Rodney took John's face in both of his hands and his dick got hard again where it brushed up against John's thigh. John reached down, just to adjust, and Rodney nearly came again from the touch. "Colonel fucking John Sheppard," he murmured, and John's mouth was hot on his, and sweet, like mint. "Fucking Colonel John Sheppard, I should say, more accurately," Rodney said when he got a breath, and Ronon's hand pounded the wall above to Rodney's head.
"Yeahhhh!" grunted Ronon, triumphantly. "Yes!" He thumped the wall again and John drove forward into Rodney's chest.
"Ohhhh," said John, and he tensed in Rodney's arms and then melted, damply, with a drawn out moan.
John's quarters smelled like clean laundry and a splash of aftershave, which meant that either the Ancient systems weren't functioning in this part of the city, or someone up there was really looking out for Colonel Sheppard. A week later, the citrus menace continued most everywhere else; Rodney's quarters still reeked of tangerine, and even the lab was plagued with a noxious lime-pine effluvience.
"Where are you going?" Rodney asked, from the bed.
"To play pitchstick. Satedan sport. You wanna come?"
Rodney thought about it. "No," he said.
John picked up a foot-long piece of pine and slid it into a pouch on his belt.
"Like the way you handle that stick, though."
John grinned. "You should see what I can do with a MiG."
"Wanna have some more sex, later?" John asked, putting on his goggles.
"HELL YES," said Rodney. "Because I can."
John furrowed his brow. "What, now?"
Rodney sighed. "Can I help it if I'm the luckiest person in Pegasus, and, having not had a lot of luck aside from being blessed with a superior intellect, though sadly not the arena in which to flourish, I would like to take the opportunity to enjoy said luck? Not only am I the most brilliant and indispensible member — nay, the linchpin — of this expedition, but I am in love with a gorgeous fighter pilot who happens to want to sleep with me! You wish you were me."
Rodney stopped to breathe.
"Right," John said.
Rodney thought a minute. "Regardless. The point stands." And then, because he could, he just sat there, staring lecherously at John standing there in an unblemished white t-shirt and his cargo shorts, goggles stuck to his forehead giving him a look of perpetual surprise, and that beautiful, fuckable mouth.
Ronon came out of the bathroom, toweling his dreadlocks. "You people are weird," he said, tucking his pitchstick over his shoulder. "You ready?"
John hooked on his radio and opened the door, and after they left, Rodney sat on John's bed for a long time, looking through glamour shots of outdated airplanes and the stash of porn John had saved on his laptop.