by The Grrrl

Title: Discretion

Author: The Grrrl

Author's email: thegrrrl2002@gmail.com

Author's URL: http://thegrrrl2002.slashcity.org/

Archive: Ask first.

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Pairing: Weir/Dex, Sheppard/McKay

Summary: Good food under the stars on a quiet, warm night, quiet voices murmuring all around them--it had the feel of a typical dinner party; one of many Elizabeth had attended back on Earth...sort of.

Author's notes:Thank you to chelle for looking this over, and for the hand-holding.

Elizabeth shook her head. "No, thank you though," she said with her most pleasant smile. "But please, can you tell us how much longer Colonel Sheppard will be?"

His absence was beginning to make her vaguely uneasy, although really, she shouldn't be. Yet she wasn't the only one--across the table, Rodney stopped, spoon halfway to his mouth, and frowned at Sopko. "Yes, the Colonel--shouldn't this little meeting of the military minds be done?"

Sopko nodded. "I can check on him if you like, but I assure you, he's fine."

His wife, Meena, leaned over. "The Commandant is fond of telling stories. Long, detailed stories of his heroism." She nudged Sopko. "Perhaps the Colonel does need to be rescued."

Teyla smiled. "I'm sure the Colonel is enjoying himself."

Ronon leaned toward Elizabeth and murmured, "He shouldn't have gone by himself."

"Ronon," Elizabeth warned, turning to him. He met her gaze, eyes steady, and she gave a small shake of her head. These people were friends; Teyla had known them all her life. To openly imply they thought John was in danger would be an insult. "I'm sure Teyla is right."

His eyes narrowed, but after a moment, he sat back. "Okay."

Which was not quite an acquiescence, Elizabeth suspected. It was more along the lines of "five more minutes and I'm going after him, no matter what you say".

"You know, I think I will have a little more wine," she said.

Sopko waved a server over, and the young man refilled her glass with a smile. Elizabeth nodded and smiled back at him automatically. Rodney went back to eating, spooning berries and cream into his mouth with gusto. Teyla continued her quiet conversation with Meena. Ronon scraped the last of the cream from his plate, then eyed Teyla's plate, sitting untouched in front of her.

Good food under the stars on a quiet, warm night, quiet voices murmuring all around them--it had the feel of a typical dinner party; one of many Elizabeth had attended back on Earth. More often than not with Simon at her side, warm and comforting, making easy conversation with heads of state. To be doing the same thing in a different galaxy was almost unreal. And Simon--Simon *could* have been at her side right now, if he had simply chosen to.

In spite of everything, she still missed him.

Instead she was sitting with aliens--Sopko on her right, talking and laughing, and Ronon to her left, silent and suspicious, his eyes moving constantly, monitoring the length of the patio and the trellises beyond. Ronon who loomed over her, silent and forbidding.

"Sheppard," he said quietly.

Rodney's head jerked up. "Colonel," he greeted. "Decided to finally join us?"

Elizabeth looked over to see John approaching the table. "You're back," she said unnecessarily.

"Yes, I am." John's expression was a little vague, and there was something odd about the way he was walking--slower then usual, more careful.

"Did you have a pleasant discussion with the Commandant?" Teyla asked.

John fell bonelessly into the empty seat next to Rodney. "Oh yeah. He certainly had a lot to say." He seemed to suddenly notice Sopko and Meena sitting at their table. "And it was a fascinating conversation," he added. "Really, really...." his voice trailed off. "Fascinating."

Sopko laughed, and Meena waved her hand dismissively. "No further explanation necessary, Colonel."

John flashed a smile at Elizabeth, rubbed his nose, then turned and grinned at Rodney. "Hi, Rodney."

Rodney twisted in his chair and pressed forward until he was nose to nose with John. "Oh my god," he said, staring into John's eyes. "You're stoned." He turned to Elizabeth. "He's stoned."

Elizabeth blinked, startled. "Colonel? Is this true?" She sensed Ronon growing tense beside her.

Even as she spoke, John was nodding with a guilty expression. Sopko cut in, "Please, don't be concerned--it is a ritual among our people, to share a pipe with friends--"

John kept nodding, and pointed a finger at Sopko. "Friends. See? We're friends." He smiled happily.

Ronon made a doubtful noise.

But John seemed to be under the impression he had taken one for the team. "We shared a pipe," he said proudly.

Fighting back a smile, Elizabeth asked, "And you're feeling all right?"

"I feel great. I haven't felt this good since college." He looked around the table. "Not to imply I've ever done anything that I shouldn't have. Ever."

Rodney rolled his eyes.

Teyla leaned in and caught her eye. "It's only a mild euphoric--I assure you, he will be fine in a few hours." She sounded apologetic. "I have experienced it myself."

"I can't believe you're stoned," Rodney repeated. He was still staring at John, ignoring Teyla. "Maybe we call Carson?"

John patted Rodney's shoulder, then squeezed it. "Rodney, I'm fine, really. Stop worrying." He trailed his hand down Rodney's arm, then rested his hand over Rodney's hand. He noticed Rodney's plate. "Oh, those look good."

"As long as you're okay," Elizabeth said. She looked to Teyla, who nodded reassuringly.

"I am, Elizabeth," John said. He stole a large, red berry from Rodney's plate and popped it into his mouth, licking the cream from his fingers. "I'm fine."

Rodney watched, his expression unreadable. "Hey, get your own," he finally said.

Elizabeth took a swallow of her wine, which maybe she had had a little too much of because watching John lick his fingers suddenly made her feel very, very warm. He was an appealing man, undeniably handsome. And her body was all too eager to remind her that it had been over a year since she had sex with an actual partner. She told herself once again that it was a small price to pay for being leader of an expedition to another galaxy, but that refrain was getting old. She was only human, after all.

John raised his brows and pointedly took another berry from Rodney's plate.

It would be nice to have someone to talk to, someone to confide in. Maybe even to lean on, just a little. Someone like John, although realistically she knew it could never work between them. So closed off, so far away, he'd be like quicksilver in her hands, all charm and facade. She wasn't sure he'd ever really be there. Then there was Rodney, certainly an attractive man, oddly charming, but no, a relationship with Rodney would just be too much, too draining. She would end up knowing too much of him, he had no filters on his emotions whatsoever.

There were other men on base, handsome, charming soldiers and scientists. Sometimes she felt as though she was surrounded by lovely, appealing men, all of them out of her reach because of her position as leader, and it was damned unfair, especially when she had to watch one of them eat berries with his fingers.

"No, not the blue ones. I like the blue ones," Rodney was saying, fending John off with his spoon.

"Colonel Sheppard," Teyla said, "perhaps you would like my dessert? I'm afraid I'm too full to finish it."

John's face brightened.

Meena quickly said, "Please, I can have them bring us more."

"No, this is fine, Meena," Teyla told her.

"Hold it--" Ronon cut in. "If you have more, I'll take some."

"We have plenty," Meena told him, and called the server over.

John cradled Teyla's plate in his hands. "I have my own now," he informed Rodney.

"Good for you. You might want to try using an actual spoon, perhaps?"

Ronon chuckled.

Elizabeth got the impression John preferred to steal dessert from Rodney's plate, because getting a rise out of Rodney was one of his favorite pastimes.

The server reappeared with an entire bowl of berries, plus a second bowl piled high with rich, yellow cream. With a flourish, he set them down next to Elizabeth's plate, and smiled at her again. "For you," he said.

"Oh, no, please," Elizabeth said with a laugh.

"Over here with those," Ronon said.

"Of course." But the server's dark eyes lingered on Elizabeth. "Perhaps more wine, then?"

He might possibly be flirting with her, she thought. He was rather handsome, in a square-jawed, movie star kind of way and for a moment she was tempted to flirt back, in a very inappropriate manner.

Instead, she shook her and head said, "Thank you, but I couldn't."

He moved closer, bending down. "Are you certain--"

"Hey, she said she didn't want any," Ronon told him, reaching in front of Elizabeth and grabbing both bowls. His arm brushed again hers, a shock of warm skin and hard muscle.

The server flashed Ronon a disdainful look and pulled back. "I see."

"You know what? I think I will have a little more," Elizabeth said, allowing the server to top off her half-filled cup.

"Yeah, me too." Ronon held his cup out to the server, who filled it with a weary expression. Ronon grinned at Elizabeth--or bared his teeth, she wasn't sure which. She was never sure about anything with Ronon; there was something about him that made her uneasy. Maybe it was his sheer physical size that unsettled her, or maybe his sheer physicality. Or maybe it was the gut-level, visceral appeal of all of the above.

That sort of thing was fine when you were a teenager, but for someone in her position-- not so much.

Ronon turned and began scooping berries into his plate, then paused, silently offering her a heaping spoonful. She shook her head.

"If you see any more of the blue ones, in that bowl?" Rodney said to Ronon, "I'll take those."

"Blueberries," John said helpfully.

"No, they're not blueberries, they don't taste anything like blueberries," Rodney told him.

"But they're blue."

"That does not make them--oh please, why am I arguing with you?" Rodney twirled a finger in the air. "You're half out of your mind."

"Blueberries," John repeated, clearly enjoying himself.

Ronon dumped the bowl of cream onto his plate. "Get your own blueberries, McKay," he growled.

Elizabeth changed her mind--this was nothing like the state dinner parties she used to attend.


It was a hot, still night, but the air grew cooler as she headed down the stairs to the riverfront. She was impressed by how much these people had been able to accomplish. They spent most of their time inside the mountain, hidden away from the Wraith, yet the area along the riverfront was landscaped with large bushes festooned with sweet-smelling flowers and the entire area was lit with quaint, earth-like streetlights. It was pleasantly comforting.

She heard familiar voices below, and paused on the landing, looking out over the railing. John and Rodney, down at the river's edge. Rodney's voice carried clearly as he grabbed hold of John's forearm and pulled.

"Would you please stop walking so close to the edge?"

John let Rodney tug him away. "Come on, what do you think, I'm going to fall in?"

"Yes, yes you could, and then I'd have to jump in after you and god only knows what's in that water. Alligators probably, and snapping turtles--"

"Oh, that would be really cool, wouldn't it?" John craned his head toward the water.

"Yes, way cool. Will you get back here?"

Elizabeth smiled to herself. The friendship that had grown up between them pleased her. It was something she never would have expected when she selected them for this expedition--it seemed like a million years ago that she had pored over their personnel files. In many respects they were complete opposites, so very different in temperament and outlook, and yet within the teasing and arguing there was an easiness to their interaction that spoke of affection and respect.

She envied it, sometimes.

"Did you see that?" John asked, pointing. He had wandered back to the water's edge.

"What? No, come on, John, let's just--"

That was interesting. She was sure she had never heard Rodney call John by his first name before. Curious, she watched Rodney take John by the arm once again and pull him back.

"Maybe it was a shark, Rodney." John stumbled, and Rodney caught him. "A big blue shark."

"Sharks aren't blue, whales are," Rodney said.

"Just like the berries." John laughed softly into Rodney's shoulder.

"You're an idiot," Rodney said, so quietly she could barely hear it. But she was touched by the affection in his voice.

"But if I fell in the water, you'd jump in and save me," John said, raising his head. "You always save me."

It was uncharacteristically sweet, and Rodney said something to him that Elizabeth couldn't make out, but it made John duck his head and smile and truly, this was a side of both of them she had never seen before.

Then, to her utter astonishment, John lifted his head, swayed forward and kissed Rodney.

It was a quick, stealthy kiss, of the sort that promised more, and Elizabeth knew at once that it wasn't the first kiss between them. Her face grew warm, and she turned away, embarrassed to have intruded on their privacy. She hadn't known, and maybe she should have, should have known her people better and there had never been any indication that either of them were--

"You didn't know?"

Elizabeth jumped at the sound of Ronon's voice. "No, I--I had no idea," she admitted. "You did?"

"For a while, yeah. I could smell McKay on him," Ronon said by way of explanation.

It was a jolt to think about exactly how Rodney would get his smell all over John. "Oh," she said.

"Why do they keep it a secret?"

"As part of the US Military, Colonel Sheppard is not allowed to have a relationship with another man," she explained.

Ronon stared at her, clearly not comprehending.

"It's an old prejudice," she added.

Finally he nodded. "I won't tell anyone," he said, in all earnestness.

"I know you wouldn't." If there was one thing she would never question, it was Ronon's loyalty to John. Whether that extended to her, she wasn't sure.

"...put you to bed," Rodney was saying to John. His hand cupped John's neck.

"That's a really, really, really good idea." John grabbed Rodney's jacket with both hands, trying to pull him closer, but Rodney twisted away.

"I think, ah, we need to be a little more discreet, Colonel?"

"I'm tired of being discreet," John complained, but he allowed Rodney to usher him down the path. "I'm always discreet."

"Yes, you are. You are a paragon of discretion," Rodney told him. "When you aren't stoned."

"Rodney, I am not stoned. I'm relaxed." Their voices faded as they crossed the bridge into the mountain tunnel.

"Well," Elizabeth said, feeling a little dazed. John and Rodney. Rodney and John. Kissing. More than kissing. Getting their scent all over each other.

It was kind of surreal, actually.

"I guess it works for them," Ronon said. He was still standing close beside her, looming over her in the darkness.

"Clearly." She looked up at him, trying to read his face in the dark. "And this isn't causing any problems for you, or the rest of the team?"

Ronon shrugged. "Why would it?"

Of course they would be professional about it. She wondered if Teyla knew. She wondered if everyone else on Atlantis knew about it except her. "No reason," she said. "Just--sometimes people have issues with that kind of relationship."

"Huh." Ronon appeared to think about it. "I don't."

"Good." She felt reassured. Sometimes Ronon's bluntness took her by surprise, but she was growing to appreciate it.

Ronon motioned toward to steps. "Heading back? You shouldn't be walking out here alone."

Elizabeth nodded, and together they made their way down to the riverside, heading toward the mountain dwellings. Ronon walked between her and the river, and she wondered if he believed what John had said about the sharks.

"Anyway, you know how McKay is," Ronon said suddenly. "And he's a lot less like that after sex."


"Calmer. Less agitated. Sex is good for you. Clears the mind. Helps you stay focused."

Elizabeth couldn't help but smile. "Oh?" She wondered if Ronon was keeping himself focused with someone. Teyla maybe? And was everyone on base having sex except her?

"You don't agree?"

"I..." she paused, uncertain, because Ronon was watching her curiously, and because while she did agree in principle, it wasn't always so simple, there were certain situations--

The hell with it. "Yes," she said. "I completely agree."

He nodded at her, dreads bouncing on his shoulders. She was tempted to touch one, to see what it felt like.

They walked the rest of the way back in silence, leaving the riverside for the shadowy mountain, Ronon striding beside her, taking one step for every two of hers. When they reached the long hall they caught a glimpse of John being tugged into his room by Rodney. He resisted for a moment, taking hold of Rodney's wrist. He then laughed at something Rodney said--an astonishingly low and dirty laugh, one that Elizabeth had never heard before. Rodney grabbed a handful of John's jacket and John disappeared into the room, door slamming shut behind them.

Ronon turned to Elizabeth. "I'd like to make you laugh like that," he said.

"What?" Elizabeth's head spun. Either she had way too much wine, or Ronon really did just--

"I bet I could. If you gave me the chance." Ronon was gazing down at her, looking hungry, as if she were another bowl of berries or maybe even those mashed potatoes from the mess.

It made her feel even warmer than watching John lick cream from his fingers.

"You think so?" she answered.

He smiled at her challenge, then bent down, so that his face was inches from hers. "Yes."

He had very nice lips, Elizabeth noted. And eyes. His eyes were actually quite soft and expressive, a contrast to his general demeanor. Crossing her arms over her chest, she recalled his earlier words and asked, "Oh, so are you implying that I'm agitated? That I'm in need of focus?"

"No. That would just be a bonus."

"I see."

"What do you think?"

He was clearly waiting for a yes or no--a man of action, most definitely, and she realized this was less complicated for him than it was for her, and yet, did it really have to be that complicated for her? She thought of John and Rodney, in their room, reaching out for each other, depending on each other, in all kinds of ways.

"I think...I think you should come in," she said, opening her door. She entered her room. Ronon followed. This was crazy, maybe she could blame it on the wine but really, she had only had two cups and felt entirely in her right mind. She tried to tell herself that just because John and Rodney had found something together didn't mean she was justified in indulging herself, but this was Ronon, and certainly, she wasn't taking advantage of him, was she?

When she turned, Ronon was right behind her. Eye level with his chest, and she had to tilt her head back to look up at his face. Damn, he was big. He smiled at her, tentative, dreads framing his face and he looked remarkably warm and eager and ridiculously young.

So, she was a dirty old lady.

She was good with that.

Ronon reached for her, but she held a hand up, stopping him. She went to the lamp, turning it on. She needed to see this. No secretive fumbling in the dark.

Soft yellow light filled the room, and Ronon looked wonderful, his smile broader, less tentative now. "Okay," he said, his eyes gleaming.

She went back to him, placing her hands up on his shoulders, her heart beating rapidly against her chest. "Okay?" she teased, and she had to go up on her tiptoes to reach his mouth.

His lips were soft and lush, and he kissed her with a profound gentleness. His hand cupped her head, stroking her hair and she curled an arm around his neck, drawing him close. When she licked his lips, he made a low sound deep in his chest that might have been laughter and opened his mouth. He tasted like berries and his body was warm and hard, he didn't sway at all when she leaned into his chest and hooked a leg around his thigh, rubbing herself up against him. He wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her flat against his body, and she could feel the swelling of his cock against her hip. It made her ache, made her wet and wanting.

She pulled him down into a kiss, and his mouth was gentle, until it wasn't anymore, becoming rough and wonderful. She nuzzled his face, pressing her cheek against his beard, then nipped at the smooth skin of his neck. He groaned, and that was heady and exciting, that she could do this for him, make him groan, make him forget about how long it had been for him. He groaned again and she felt the rumble within her body and she wanted him naked, right now, she wanted skin and hair and heat but she couldn't get his shirt off, not with the way she was plastered up against his body.

Then Ronon moved. Quick and cat-like, he grabbed her by the waist and swung her toward the bed, nearly throwing her upon it. She landed and bounced, laughing, steadying herself with a hand on the wall as she sat up and pulled her shirt off. This was the kind of sex she hadn't had in ages, spirited and fun, a chance to shake off the confines of who she was and who should be and just revel in getting naked and hot with someone.

By time she finished stripping her clothes off Ronon was naked too, more gorgeous than ever, well-muscled and broad, with golden skin and a thick, eager erection. She was a little ashamed of her reaction to his physical appearance, but he was big and hot and male in a way that made her go liquid inside. He seemed to take up all of the bed as he crawled up over her, his eyes taking her in until she could feel his gaze on her skin, and it was exciting and overwhelming and god, she had missed sex.

He kissed her mouth, then moved down to her neck, kissing and sucking, making the anticipation build within her. He cupped her breast and covered it with his warm, wet mouth and sucked hard, just the way she liked it, and god, she could come from that alone. She made a small noise, and that seemed to excite him even more, rubbing his hands over her hips and then her thighs, along the inside of the thighs and right there, fingers moving over wet flesh, sliding inside and making her arch and shake.

"You like that," Ronon whispered against her throat.

She nodded. "Oh god yes."

He moved his fingers some more and she clutched his shoulder, fingers digging in and wow, hard, solid muscle and it was all so good, insanely good. But his cock was pressing against her thigh, burning into her skin and while the fingers were nice she very much wanted that, instead.

"Come here," she said, pushing Ronon back.

He rolled off and sat up, pulling her onto his lap. "Like this?"

She straddled his hips, taking hold of his cock. "Yes. Like this."

His cock was heavy in her hand, thick and hot, and when she stroked it he closed his eyes and gasped out loud. All that naked yearning on his face, and she wasn't sure how she had ever thought of him as big and looming and forbidding, not with the way he gently cupped her face and kissed her, one arm curling around her waist and stroking the length of her back.

She rose up on her knees and he grabbed onto her hips, guiding her down and groaning as she slid down over him. It was perfect, and god, she had missed this, being full and stretched. She held on tight, pressing herself against his broad chest, her mouth on his, grinding her hips against him, rubbing her clit and yes, this was perfect.

"Wait. Elizabeth. Are you--" Ronon gasped, breaking off the kiss. "Protected?"

It took her a moment to realize what he was asking. "Yes," she answered. "IUD. It's still in place." He looked puzzled, and she hurriedly concluded. "I'm protected, yes."

"Okay." He pressed his forehead against hers. "Good."

She rose up on her knees and sank back down, so wet that his cock slid easily inside of her, again and again, Ronon holding her, supporting her, letting her move, letting it build up inside of her until it all broke loose and she came, crying out sharply. Before she could catch her breath, before she even stopped shaking she found herself on her back, Ronon still inside of her, his face fierce with pleasure.

She wrapped her legs around his waist and pushed her damp hair out of her eyes. "Go for it," she said breathlessly.

She felt limp and sated and damn, he could fuck her as hard and as long as he liked.

With a low growl, he thrust into her with long, steady strokes. Running her hands over his shoulders and down his powerful, straining back, she loved the way his muscles moved under his skin, loved the quiet little sounds he made, as if afraid to make too much noise.

His breath quickened, and his hips jerked, straining against her. He came silently, his cock pulsing inside of her, his body tense. Finally he relaxed and let out a long, slow breath, his head hanging down, dreads hiding his face.

Then with a toss of his head, he flicked them back. And grinned at her.

"That was really good."

She found herself grinning back. He had a terrific smile. And she had put it there. "It was wonderful, wasn't it?"

He pulled out carefully, then collapsed down beside her on the bed. She turned and pressed herself up against his side, stretched a leg out over his and resting her head on his shoulder. Ronon's hand rested on her hip, his thumb gently stroking her skin.

She felt good, better than she had in a long while. Lighter.

"Elizabeth," Ronon said.

"Hmm?" She thought she might have dozed.

"You should know Atlantis feels like home to me now. It didn't at first, but now--now I have a place," he said quietly. "I haven't had that in a long time."

"I'm glad, Ronon. I'm glad you stayed, and I'm glad you've found a home with us." She put an arm around his chest and held him. She couldn't imagine what it had been like for him--seven years of being hunted, she had no frame of reference, and it was almost beyond belief that he had survived. Then, with sudden dismay, she asked, "Is that why you did this? To thank me?"

Ronon snorted. "No. I did this because I like you."

"Well, good." She felt a little embarrassed. "I like you, too. Obviously."

Ronon rolled to face her. He still looked happy, and that tugged at her heart, because she hadn't realized she wasn't the only one who was lonely. "Good."

A slow, sweet kiss, then he asked, "Should this be secret, too?"

Secrets--how many secrets actually were there on Atlantis? She kissed him again. "Ronon, I'm sorry," she said regretfully, "but I'm not entirely sure we should keep on doing this."

Then again, she had had no inkling about John and Rodney. But Ronon had known. And for a woman in her position, with the brass at the SGC not exactly happy over having a civilian leader--

"Which means you're not entirely sure we shouldn't, either." Ronon pulled her closer, wrapping his arms around her.

On the third hand, the SGC was far, far away, and Ronon was right here, next to her.

"I can be discreet," he reminded her. "And I mean really discreet. Not like Sheppard and McKay discreet."

"Ronon--I don't know."

"Listen, what you do is important. You're our leader. It's very important for you to stay focused and calm. It's important for both of us." His voice was stern, but she could see the laughter in his eyes.

He made the impossible seem possible. And, after all, wasn't that what they had been doing over the past two years? "You might have a point--I am feeling very 'calm' at the moment," she told him.

"What? I barely got started."

She laughed.

"I like that," he said, touching her mouth.

She liked it, too. Although she liked his answering smile even more.

And she was extremely good at being discreet.

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