Thank you, again, for everything you do, and for just being here, and being you.
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard, with some special guest stars!
Length: ~2300 words
A/N: Thanks to 20thcenturyvole, randomeliza, slodwick, and stop for their advice and reassurance.
You asked for: Someone’s watching them.
They have these rituals, these things that they do.
Radek has two sets of pencils. One he keeps in whichever lab he is most currently haunting, the other in a drawer beside his bed. If he feels it starting when he is not conveniently adjacent to either of these places, he’ll just scribble on whatever is available with whatever is available. Or not. He is perfectly capable of storing the images up, like precious possessions, holding on for as long as he can until he has to let them go.
He likes the process of release. His fingers, trained to delicate work, grip the pencil he has chosen: tight, at the nub. He coaxes lines onto the page as surely as he threads together Ancient wires, returning disparate pieces back to where they belong, making them whole. The images flicker through his mind like slides through a steady, slow projector, and he sets them down, one by one by one. Lines come together, lips; and it’s beautiful, both as it happens and in his memory, his recreation.
Radek likes beautiful things.
You wouldn’t think it to look at her, but Teyla’s mind is a tumultuous place, full of fire and frisson, of everything she refuses to show. It is not an easy thing to keep herself together, but Teyla has had a lot of practice. And now, she has help.
She tends to know before anyone else. The tension rising in her shoulders, in her chest—and where once this spelled danger, the kind of outburst that led her to strike Bates, it is colored now by a sense of anticipation. She heads to her room, or to the gym if she can have it to herself, and she spreads herself out on her mattress, the mat. Deeply, she breathes.
In her mind, behind her eyes: they are up against a wall, fingers twined tightly in each other’s shirts. Desperate: short, panicked breaths that lengthen as they begin to breathe into each other, mouths joining, fingers loosening. Teyla’s own fingers—the muscles in her hands and every part of her body—relaxing, unwinding, relaxing.
It’s such a relief for them, every time.
It’s a relief for her, too.
The first time, she cried.
She felt stupid, immediately afterward. It was her fault: she’d let him go. Or so she told herself, watching shamefully through threaded fingers. But the longer she watched, the more she saw, the more Katie realized that she’d never had him in the first place.
Doesn’t want him. Wants sympathy.
One time, immediately afterward, she sneaks out of her lab and into one of the public toilets. Bent over one of the sinks, splashing a bit of cool water on her face, she gasps when the door opens on one of the stalls and Dr. Kusagani creeps out. Her eyes are red.
Katie passes her a paper towel.
Then another time, a week or so later, she’s near that bathroom again when they finish. She’s shaky and she just wants a moment, a moment to herself somewhere cool and private. But inside, there’s Dr. Kusagani, sitting on the floor with her legs drawn up under her chin.
Katie hesitates for a moment, then clumsily sits down beside her. Their thighs press together, knees knocking.
The next time she feels it starting, she doesn’t wait. Straight to the bathroom: and Miko is waiting for her. They stare up at the ceiling as the images play across their field of vision, hands clenched together, Miko’s smaller palm in hers. She watches his hands make their own caresses and remembers lying in a field with Marissa Price, threading daises into each other’s hair.
The day was sunny and warm like fresh-picked fruit. It’s cold in here, but when Katie turns her head, Miko tastes like strawberries.
Nobody asks and nobody tells.
She asks so nicely, the first time. Carson finds it hard to say no to her. She’s like a steamroller, rushing right over his objections with a smile and a sigh and a wiggle of her hips. Crashing over him with the strength of pure, unshakeable confidence and belief in her own abilities. Rather like Rodney, in a way.
She likes it when they do this. She likes it when they do anything, but this, this especially because she can do it, too; she can arrange Carson’s legs the way Sheppard’s are arranged, she can free Carson from his boxers the way Sheppard has been freed, she can suck Carson’s cock exactly the way Sheppard is being sucked.
But this all has very little to do with Sheppard.
The POV shifts as she moves her mouth on him. Carson’s not sure how this works: this field of Ancient technology—whatever field it may be—is not his area of expertise. But maybe it likes him, him and his once blessed, twice cursed Ancient gene, because it bends and swoops for him, aligns itself in ways he’s pretty sure it doesn’t for the others. Zooms and rotates until for all intents and purposes, he’s staring out of Sheppard’s eyes.
He can feel her hair under his hands, her beautiful, silky hair, and he threads his fingers into it, rubbing against the hot furnace of her scalp. “Laura,” he says, “Laura”; and she looks up, pausing with red lips encircling his cockhead, blue irises superimposed over brown.
“Say my name,” she says, voice low, rough. “Say it.”
Her mouth opens wide and wet, swallowing him up, and though he can’t see or hear it, he can feel Sheppard’s lips moving with his own: “Oh God, oh God, Rodney, oh God.”
Prayer, he has tried. Punishment. Cold showers and hard slaps, but he can’t, he can’t. In his head, everywhere he looks. In him. It’s in him.
Lorne stands in the corner of his bedroom with his arm braced against the wall. His forehead is pressed into the poor cushion of bone and clenched muscle. His hips are thrust forward, his legs spread. His hand is very, very busy.
He denied himself even this much for so long. Told himself he was sick, delusional. Almost went to see Beckett, Heightmeyer, but didn’t, couldn’t. Finally made himself wait at least fifteen minutes until after it was over and then brought himself off, hard and fast. And that worked for a while.
It’s not working now. He can’t wait any more. Not another second, not with the image of Sheppard spread out across the sheets. Naked, spent cock spit-slick and glistening against his thigh. Pale, broad shoulders hovering above him, opening him up. Opening, yes: fingers pushing into him and spreading...
Lorne grunts, his hips jerking.
Sheppard lifts his legs, cants his hips, leaving himself more open, more vulnerable. For a while, Lorne tried to tell himself that that was what he liked, what he was responding to: seeing his CO stripped of all his defenses, seeing him reduced and weak and trembling for it. That would be okay, somehow, that would be something he could understand. Who wouldn’t occasionally fantasize about having that kind of advantage over one’s commanding officer? It’s perfectly natural to want to get some of his own back.
But he doesn’t. He wants—
Sheppard’s eyes go wide as McKay pushes inside, and it’s wrong (so wrong)—it shouldn’t be this way. It’d be one thing for the military to use the scientists to get their rocks off, but this is something else: Sheppard looks like he’s surrendering. The Colonel, giving himself up to his civilian scientist; and Lorne squeezes his eyes shut tight, presses his face against his clenched fist. It doesn’t change anything. He can still see it everywhere, everywhere he turns.
With a sudden burst of energy, he turns and flings himself down on the bed. Jerks his pants and boxers the rest of the way down his hips, kicking his legs like he can’t get the uniform off fast enough. The hand that isn’t busy slithers around, insinuates itself between his legs, between the straining cheeks.
The finger slips inside just as McKay bears down, and Lorne once again follows Sheppard’s example and comes.
Nobody asks and nobody tells because if they did, they would have to stop. All of them.
Elizabeth is sick of lies. She’s sick of people looking at her with bright eyes and steady smiles while spilling falsehoods through their upturned lips. She’s sick of people ignoring her questions like they didn’t hear them, or changing the subject and turning away. She’s sick of blatant trickery and petty untruths; she’s sick of outright misstatements of fact and of the sin of omission. But mostly, she’s sick of lying to herself.
So. This is the truth.
She wanted John Sheppard pretty much from the start. He was—undeniably—beautiful, and he was—unexpectedly—charming and funny and smart. Even more surprising, wondrous, tantalizing, he embodied so many of the traits she herself wished she possessed. Yes, he was rash, overhasty, but he was also a good leader. He cared about his people.
He cared for her. Just: not in the way that she wanted him, that she needed him to care.
That was okay. It was okay. She had other responsibilities, she wore another’s ring. But after the trip home, that first time, she began to allow herself to hope. It wouldn’t be easy, but they’d faced other challenges, other challenges worse than this.
It’s in the first couple of months after their return, with the sting of Simon’s betrayal still sharp in her heart, that she discovers, along with the rest of the city, that John Sheppard isn’t someone, something, she’s ever going to have. He isn’t hers to fight for, or to win.
She takes it well. Throws herself into her job, her work. Smiles at John (and at Rodney) in meetings, in the halls, with every neutral gesture, omitting, an omission. And when she feels that certain shiver up her spine, she settles herself down, leans back in her chair, and she watches.
Like the rest of the city, she watches.
She’s not going to lie to herself: it turns her on. She shouldn’t be surprised, she decides. She likes the male form, and they are, both, beautiful men. But together...together, coming together, they make Elizabeth want something beyond John Sheppard, beyond his dark eyes and slow smile, beyond the hand he curls around the back of Rodney’s neck, pulling him down until there’s no distance, no space between them. Something of her own.
Elizabeth’s sick of lying to herself. She’s sick of denying herself, too.
One night she waits until they’re done, collapsed and sweaty in each other’s arms as the picture fades from in front of her eyes. Leaving and locking her office, she walks purposefully through the halls, replaying images in her mind: the way Rodney reached aggressively forward; the way John didn’t yield but pulled tighter, pushed back.
She raises her fist and knocks.
Ronon opens the door. Wide awake and suspicious, bare arms braced against the doorframe: “Yes?” he says.
“May I come in?”
He blinks. “Okay.”
“So,” she says as the door slides shut. “What did you think of that?”
She’s not one of the ones—and she knows there are some—who think that the things that they see, feel, experience are mere illusions, delusions brought on by stress or sickness, by desire or lust. She’s perceptive; she knows what’s real. And Ronon, she perceives, will not be one to delude himself, either. He takes things at face value.
In the face of her question, Ronon shrugs. “It’s okay.” His lips curve up, though the inflection of his voice doesn’t change. “I prefer something else.”
Elizabeth relishes the opportunity for honesty. “So do I,” she says, and takes off her shirt.
Kate changes into her pajamas, cool cotton sliding against hot skin. It’s late, but Kate does not consider the work day done until they’re finished, until she’s finished watching. She pushes the files she’d been perusing prior to their starting off the bed and slips between the sheets. It’s been a long day, but though she’s tired, she’s not weary. She’s...relaxed.
In this city, with everyone moving, rushing around her, Kate is still. She waits and they come to her, with their problems and concerns, their hopes and fears and triumphs and failures. She listens to them all, and she offers what counsel she can, although sometimes, she knows, just listening is enough.
Some have come to her about the things that they see. The worried ones—I think I’m going crazy—the excited ones—Wow, free porn!—the angry ones—I think it’s sick, disgusting—and the romantic ones—So clearly just what they needed, what we all need... It’s her that they speak to, confide in. The city’s secretkeeper.
Kate has thought about what it means, that the city has given them this, this secret and this responsibility. When she closes her eyes, she can still see them, curled side by side, Atlantis’ favorite sons; and though nobody’s asked her, though nobody asks, she thinks that it’s meant to be their boon: that they can take comfort in the comfort they take in each other.
Nobody asks and nobody tells because this is theirs, all of theirs, and they’ll wrap it warm about their shoulders as the city rocks them safe to sleep.