Leaning on the rail as he watched the sun set over the waters of Atlantis, John couldn’t help thinking about the circumstances in which he now found himself. Two lovers. Two male lovers, on top of that. He snorted and thought derisively, Not something that OTS really covers in the manual.

At first glance, there was no way they could be together, even just sexually. He and Ronon were both alpha dogs and Carson practically a leaf in the wind, he seemed so vulnerable. Only at first glance thought, as John had found out in the last week or so. Carson had turned out to have a core of steel under those big blue eyes and Ronon a surprisingly soft underbelly, as they’d discovered during his unexpected return to runner status the week before.

Of the three of them in this strange little affair, John had to admit that he was the most emotionally stunted. Not that that really surprised him.

Despite Ronon’s predilection for violence, he could be surprisingly tender and had no problems showing either John or Carson how he felt. Be it anger, fear for their safety, or delight in their bodies and presences, Ronon let them know exactly what he was thinking and feeling. In private, at least.

And Carson was a walking poster for being nominated the ‘heart-on-the-sleeve’ club president. The man wasn’t the least bit bashful about offering smile or hug to either of them, or anyone else for that matter. He couldn’t be stern if his life depended on it.

Scratch that, John thought. He can be a serious pain in the ass when he thinks someone else’s life depends on it. Or even their well being.

“Everything all right, Colonel?”

Canting his head back at Elizabeth, John managed a faint smile as he straightened and answered, “Just thinking.”

She returned the smile and teased lightly, “I thought you gave that up for Lent?”

“Oh right. Is it that time already?” he replied, flashing a brief grin. “Something I can do for you?”

Shaking her head, Elizabeth joined him at the rail and looked out to where the suns gilded the sky and water red and purple. “I just thought I would take a few minutes for myself. This is one of the best spots in the city.”

“It is,” John agreed, leaning again.

A few moments passed in silence before Elizabeth observed, “You’ve been awfully quiet the last couple of days, John. Something on your mind?”

Perfect. She wants to play Mother Confessor, he thought sourly. Barely restraining a sigh, John answered, “Nope. No more than usual.”

“I wish you would stop that,” she murmured, dark eyes catching his. “Self-deprecation doesn’t become anyone, John, least of all you.”

Uncomfortable, as he always was when someone defended him from himself, John shrugged and looked back at the water.

Elizabeth shifted closer to him, body heat radiating through the cool air to reach him. She was just barely not touching him as she told him, “You know, there were a lot of ways I expected my life to turn out, but this didn’t even come anywhere close to being on the list. I’ve got more than I ever hoped for, back then. I’ve always wanted to make a difference on a global scale, but this…this is so much more. I’m blessed in friends, in love, and in a job that feels more like a calling, than a job and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

It took a few seconds for the word ‘love’ to penetrate. When it did, John frowned quizzically at her and repeated, “Love? Since when? With who? Please God, not Rodney.”

Laughing, Elizabeth took his hand, shaking her head. “No. Definitely not Rodney. All I’ll say on the matter is that I value my privacy as much as you do yours, but have no axe hanging over my head should the affair be discovered. Just know that no matter what, you’re my friend and I will protect you. I may not have a spaceship named after me, but I do have some clout back on earth.”

John met her gaze and knew with absolute certainty that somehow, Elizabeth knew about the three of them. It shouldn’t have surprised him, given how sharp she was, but it did. Giving her a wry twist of the lips, John said, “I guess we’re not as discreet as we should be.”

“You are extremely discreet,” she assured. “Just…I know what to look for and I keep a close eye on all of my people. And I will say one more thing before I go.”

“Oh, yeah? What’s that?”

“I think you’re good for each other. I think that given the circumstances, having a support base for you that’s stronger than the usual is a good idea. I also think that there’s a set of empty quarters on my level that’s much bigger than any of your current abodes with your name on it.”

John smiled at her, saying, “You’re a good friend, Elizabeth, but I don’t think I’m ready to start playing house just yet.”

“It’s there when you want it,” she replied, brushing a kiss over his cheek.

He watched her leave, then returned to contemplating the now-dying sunset. By the time it was gone, he’d decided that as good as it was between the three of them, he couldn’t allow it to continue. Ronon was under his command and already too-ready to do whatever John ordered him to do, no matter how dangerous. What would happen if he grew even more influenced because they were sleeping together? And it would only be a matter of time before John said or did something to hurt Carson to the bone.

No, he thought. Better to nip it in the bud now before someone gets hurt for real.

But damn. Even after only two times together, John was going to miss being in their bed.

*  *  *  *

Carson looked up as a shadow loomed over him, a smile instinctively surfacing as he recognized his new lover’s outline. Evenin’ Ronon. Something I can do for you?”

Ronon shrugged and answered, “Just wondering how late you’re going to be.”

“Not too, I shouldn’t think,” Carson told him. “Just finishing up these labs for Rodney.”

Ronon’s nose wrinkled in distaste.

Chuckling softly, Carson admonished, “He’s a good man, once you get to know him.”

“I don’t want to get to know him,” rumbled the big man.

Carson gave the other’s arm a squeeze and said, “I’ll be done directly. Have y’seen Colonel Sheppard today?”

A troubled expression crossed Ronon’s face as he admitted, “I haven’t seen him all day. We didn’t have a mission and he was gone from bed even before I woke up.”

“Ach, I’m sure it’s nothing,” Carson soothed, setting the last beaker carefully inside a small cooler. “And now, I’m all yours.”

Ronon stepped closer. “Is that so?”

Flushing at the double entendre, Carson cleared his throat and stammered, “Well, not here. I mean, not as such. I mean…oh sod it! Stop bedeviling me, y’great lout.”

A slow smile lifted Ronon’s lips as he countered, “That’s not what you were saying last night.”

“Ronon, please,” Carson begged, glancing quickly around the nearly empty infirmary. Fortunately, the two lab techs Rodney had left there weren’t paying them any attention.

A wordless growl echoed softly through the air between them and Ronon told him, “I love it when you beg, in or out of bed.”

All the heat went immediately south and Carson was horrified to find himself hardening right there in front of whoever cared to look. “Dear God, save me.”

Carson jumped quickly out of range when Ronon reached for him. He didn’t trust either of them to propriety if the bigger man actually managed to grab hold. Wagging a finger at the warrior, Carson scolded, “We agreed not outside of our quarters.”

Ronon grinned a shark’s grin. “You and Sheppard agreed. It’s not my fault the two of you are shy.”

Heaving a sigh, feeling very much put-upon, Carson was about to explain yet again why they couldn’t be open in their relationship when John beat him to the punch.

“Ease off, Ronon!”

The sharp words took them both by surprised and did actually garner the lab techs’ attention. Taking a look at the officer, Carson was startled again, this time by the tight, pinched expression on the normally easy-going face. Frowning, he asked, “Everything all right, Colonel?”

John nodded, even though something was clearly wrong. “Just wanted to let you know that I won’t be seeing either of you tonight.”

Sensing that something more than simply needing space or having a mission was going on, Carson questioned, “And why’s that, Colonel?”

“Because this was a mistake,” John replied quietly, stepping closer. “I took advantage and I won’t be doing it again. Period.”

Aghast, Carson exclaimed, “But ye didn’t!”

“If anything, I took advantage,” Ronon said, just as quiet. “I knew you wouldn’t refuse me after everything that happened on Sateda. I pressed the advantage on both of you.”

Carson shook his head, again astonished, and stated flatly, “Neither of y’took advantage of anyone. It was all mutual, do I remember correctly. And I do.”

“Be that as it may,” John continued stubbornly. “It can’t happen again.”

Wanting to throw his hands up in frustration, Carson instead took a breath to calm himself. “We need to go somewhere private and talk about this.”

“No we don’t. I just came down here to tell you how it was.”

And with that, Carson stood speechless as John walked out of the infirmary. In the grand scheme of things, he really hadn’t known the man long, but he knew him well enough to understand that there was very little that would get the Colonel to change his mind, once it was made up. He cast a helpless look at Ronon and found his shoulder gripped tight by the other man, a determined expression in place.

Ronon guided him wordlessly out of the infirmary before telling him, “I’ll talk to him. Make him see reason. Go to your rooms and wait for us there.”

The order was delivered in a matter-of-fact tone, as though Ronon had no doubts about getting John there, even if he had to carry him. Which maybe he would, although Carson wasn’t sure who would come out the worse in such a confrontation. Giving a clipped nod, he parted ways from Ronon and headed anxiously to his rooms.

Even though it was a short trip from the infirmary to his quarters, by necessity in case of medical emergency during the night, Carson had too much time on his hands to think. Thoughts of what they’d so far shared in such a short time ran vividly through his mind.

The first time, he’d been cornered by Ronon in an empty infirmary the very night Carson had released him after the incident on Sateda with the Wraith. The heat in those dark eyes had seared Carson and he’d backed up without thinking…straight into the Colonel’s arms from behind. He’d been trapped then, but in the best of ways. Neither man had been anything but infinitely caring and hotly passionate and Carson had lost his mind several times that first night.

The second time, he’d been the instigator. Completely unable to resist the sight of John’s bare neck just below the hairline, Carson had slid his fingers into the short, thick crop while pressing his lips to that vulnerable curve. Ronon had walked into the weapons locker to find them rolling on the floor practically attacking each other’s mouths and clothes. He’d helped relieve them of the clothing with a very, very large and wickedly sharp knife that even now sent a shiver of arousal through Carson. And then he’d proceeded to fuck Carson into the floor and practically unconscious while John had taken the warrior at the same time.

Fortunately, it hadn’t been prelude to a mission; he’d simply been looking for Rodney and thought the scientist might be harassing the Colonel about something or other. It was after that extremely memorable encounter that the ‘not out of the bedroom’ rule had been set in stone. Or so he and John had thought. Apparently Ronon was of a different mind.

Reaching his quarters, Carson heaved a sigh and walked inside thinking, Never realized just how big an’ empty this place is without someone else in it.

While he mentally kept his fingers crossed that Ronon could knock some sense into the Colonel, Carson simultaneously prayed the ‘talk’ wouldn’t end up too bloody.

*  *  *  *

Watching Sheppard from the shadows for a few minutes, Ronon saw how disjointed the other man was. The usual grace was nowhere present and obviously, his mind was somewhere else too, or he would have noticed Ronon leaning in the dojo doorway. Sheppard went through his solo moves with a stilted, measured stride that would’ve gotten his head caved in had he actually been sparring with someone.

“What the hell are you doing?” Ronon asked casually.

Sheppard dropped his katana stick and flashed a glare his way before snapping, “I was practicing.”

Snorting scornfully, Ronon observed, “You were waving the stick in the air and hoping to hit an imaginary opponent.”

“Bite me.”

“Okay.”

Sheppard jumped back just in time to avoid Ronon’s lunge at him. “What the fuck!? I didn’t mean it literally, Ronon!”

Ronon showed his teeth, but doubted it would be called a smile.

Swallowing audibly, Sheppard stepped back as Ronon stalked forward, holding his hands up and warning, “Now Ronon, think about this. Don’t do anything hasty here. We’re in a public place where anyone could just walk in and ack!”

Tackling Sheppard to the floor effectively stopped the aggravating words. Ronon took the opportunity to straddle the other man, pinning him to the floor with his arms above his head. Glaring down at his prisoner, Ronon told him, “You can not simply walk away from this, Sheppard. I won’t let you.”

“Oh yeah? What’re you going to do about it? You can’t force me to have a relationship with you. Either of you,” Sheppard retorted.

Ronon growled, angry that he was right and that he could turn off what they had with such ease. “So you’re just going to let your fear get the better of you. You’re going to run, like a coward.”

Sheppard hissed in anger, “I am not a coward! I have never run from anything in my life!”

“You’re running now,” Ronon snarled back. “You’re tucking your tail between your legs and heading as far away as you can! What scares you so much about this? I know you don’t think we can’t make up our own minds. And if you do, then you’re a fool as well as a coward.”

Sheppard bucked up, slamming a foot into Ronon’s spine from behind and levering the bigger man off. In a flash, the Tau’ri had Ronon on the ground, on his stomach, both arms pinned behind his back and pushed up to a painful point. Voice icy cold with fury, Sheppard ordered, “If you ever say that again, you’ll regret it.”

Ronon believed him. Gritting his teeth against the flash of pain in both shoulders, Ronon demanded, “Then what? Why are you doing this? We want you. We care for you. We want to make you happy and not so alone. What is so repulsive about that?”

Abruptly losing steam, Sheppard released him and sat off to the side.

Ronon winced and sat upright, rolling his shoulders a few times to work out the soreness. He cast a look at the other man, noting the defeated set to his shoulders and wondering what could possibly have happened to make Sheppard believe he was unworthy of such devotion and attention. And Ronon instinctively knew that was the case. He saw firsthand the self-lashing words and the way he automatically took on blame for things out of his control or not his fault. It was only one of the things that told him Sheppard was the most fragile of them all.

Sheppard stared into space for a while before finally speaking again, his voice toneless as he explained, “I’ve never really been…in a relationship. One-night stands are pretty much all I can manage. All my life, that’s all anyone’s ever wanted. So I guess I figured that’s all this was. I don’t…”

Ronon put a finger to the other man’s lips, stopping the pained explanation. Just as Sheppard was the first to offer deserved praise, he was the last to speak of how he felt. Keeping his finger in place, Ronon told him seriously, “This is not anything you’ve had before in your life. Beckett and I aren’t those people who said you weren’t worth the effort. We want you and we want to make you happy. You have my fealty, Sheppard. I will never leave you as long as there is life in my body, no matter how many others you seek to forget yourself with. Even if you never come to my bed again, I will honor our time together and my blankets will forever be open to you. I know Beckett feels the same.”

The haunted look in Sheppard’s normally confident and brash eyes sent a painful jab through Ronon. If he ever met the person who put that shame there, he would kill them. Slowly. Then he would find one of those Sarcophagus things he’d heard of to revive them, and do it again.

Leaning forward, Ronon replaced fingers with lips and kissed the other man, lingering even though he didn’t deepen it. Pulling back, he said softly, “We’ll be waiting whenever you’re ready Sheppard. The next move’s yours.”

Ronon stood easily and left the other man where he was, even though it was one of the more difficult things he’d ever had to do. Striding through Atlantis to the doctor’s quarters, Ronon tried not to think of what would happen if Sheppard didn’t show up. It would drive a knife into his own gut, but he was sure the blow would be all the more devastating for Beckett. The other man didn’t give his heart casually, nor even his body, and having bared himself to Sheppard only to be rejected couldn’t bode well.

Not sure what he would find, Ronon entered the doctor’s rooms cautiously. He glanced around and didn’t immediately find the other man. Stepping forward, he saw a lump under the covers on the bed and a reluctant smile drew up. It wasn’t a surprise Beckett was out cold, given the lack of sleep and odd hours he’d been forced to keep, thanks to McKay’s latest experiment. Ronon still hadn’t been able to get the scientist alone long enough to threaten him into letting Carson keep normal hours. He made a point to do so the next day.

Stripping off his shirt and pulling off his boots and socks, Ronon slid under the covers and rolled onto his side. He was a little surprised when those pale eyes opened and Beckett showed no sign of having truly been asleep.

“Do I have bones to mend?”

The dry question caused Ronon to grin outright and he shook his head. “Not this time.”

“I should be grateful, but I was rather hoping you could get him here with your…unique style of persuasion,” Beckett told him, sighing.

Cupping the other man’s face in one hand, Ronon said softly, “Give him time. He’ll come around.”

Ronon wished he could erase the bleak look on his lover’s expressive face, but knew that would only happen if Sheppard walked through the door. So instead, he pulled Beckett close and held him tight hoping it would be enough.

*  *  *  *

Carson was too exhausted to do anything but sleep in Ronon’s arms that night, as strange as the sensation was. Waking up in them, well, disturbed him a little. Feeling the steady rise and fall of the other man’s chest beneath him was soothing, but he’d never been entirely at his ease alone with the big man. When John had been with them, it had seemed easy enough, even natural, but alone was more than a little overwhelming.

So he lay there for a few minutes without opening his eyes, trying to figure out what to do. If he tried to extricate himself, chances were that Ronon would wake and his problem would simply exacerbate. But he had to move eventually. Ronon himself solved the problem when he sighed deeply and shifted, his arms falling slack from around Carson. Moving slowly and carefully, he climbed out of the bed and hurried into the bathroom.

He stared at himself for a while in the smallish mirror on the wall over the sink, thoughts whirling around and around with dizzying speed. How was it possible that Ronon could actually want or care for him? With John between them, it was understandable that the warrior would accept whoever else was in orbit around the officer. Now that John was gone, why was Ronon in his bed?

Are ye really complaining? his subconscious demanded. What’s the problem with having such a one as Ronon to keep ye warm through the night? ‘Specially seein’ how much ye want him. Yer lucky he’s stickin’ around.

Carson grimaced at his reflection, knowing that was true.

He jumped a little in surprise when strong hands rested gently on his shoulders. Meeting Ronon’s gaze in the mirror, Carson didn’t say anything as the other man moved up flush behind him and slowly wrapped himself around Carson. Held in Ronon’s arms, the warrior’s face pressed to the crook of his neck, nuzzling and nipping at his throat and ear, Carson shivered and slowly relaxed against the broad chest.

“I told Sheppard that I wanted him and wanted to make him happy. Same goes for you,” Ronon told him quietly.

Carson sighed deeply, even as he summoned up reasons why it wouldn’t work between them. “We’re so different, Ronon. Most of the time I think you barely tolerate me. How can you want me like you say you do?”

Giving him a wicked grin by way of the mirror, Ronon squeezed his ass as he replied, “Easily.”

Carson’s eyes rolled, exasperated as he retorted, “Be serious.”

“I am,” Ronon insisted. “Different is good.”

“Ronon…”

Spun so fast that he lost his footing, Carson’s gasp of surprise allowed Ronon to take his mouth in a hungry, aggressive kiss, tongue thrusting immediately inside. Strong arms held him up as the will to argue and refuse this fled under a constant, incredible onslaught. Thoughts of inadequacy and being far too plain and mousy for the big man were swiftly banished by the way Ronon devoured first his mouth and then his throat, marking him so that everyone could see. He had a fleeting thought that he’d never hear the end of it from Rodney before he was lifted onto the edge of the sink, Ronon’s fingers digging into his arse.

Carson’s boxers were ripped from him and he moaned as Ronon rutted against him, cocks aligned for maximum friction. His head thudded against the wall, but he didn’t even feel it, holding on for dear life to the counter, legs rising to surround Ronon’s hips. The sensation drove him on, gasping and desperate for more, using the sink to push up against the big man’s shaft. It wasn’t long before all thought ceased and he came hard, spurting over them both. Just as he started to recover, Ronon lost it. A deep, guttural groan accompanied his orgasm and come spilled over Carson’s abs and chest. Still panting, Carson nonetheless wrapped his arms around his lover to hold him through the aftershocks.

The kiss Ronon gave him while still mostly out of it, so gentle and earnest, chased away the last of Carson’s doubts.

*  *  *  *

Even if there hadn’t been a big, honkin’ hickey on Carson’s throat, it would’ve been easy to see that the doc was still shackin’ up with Ronon. The smaller man practically made googley eyes at the warrior from across the table. Everyone picked up on it pretty much instantly in the briefing room, but Rodney was the most vocal. Until Ronon threatened to hang him upside-down and cut off his balls for giving Carson shit about it. Elizabeth stepped in before violence was actually achieved and John watched the whole thing with a seething jealousy that took him by surprise.

He paid attention to the mission briefing with most of his attention, but a tiny portion of himself argued about the reaction.

You’re the idiot who stepped off, remember?

Yeah, well, they could’ve at least waited a couple of days out of respect.

Respect for what? You said you didn’t want to be part of it. There was nothing to respect.

Fine. Then they at least should be discreet about it. There’s no need to rub my face in it.

I doubt they were thinking of you at all when it happened.

Which is what rubbed him raw. If they could so easily carry on without him, then why had Ronon bothered to come after him in the first place?

“Colonel Sheppard? Did you want to say something?”

Realizing that he’d entirely lost the thread of the conversation, John covered, “Ah, no. I’m good, thanks.”

Elizabeth quirked an eyebrow at him, but let it slide and he paid attention to the rest of the briefing with a fierce concentration. He had no desire to be at the lack-of-mercy of that snide inner voice that had a disturbing similarity to Rodney on a rant.

The mission was, fortunately, uneventful. Ronon took rear, he took point, and Teyla and Rodney stayed between them which was just how he needed it to be. The village the MALP had shown images of turned out to be deserted, but recently.

“I wouldn’t say more than a week, at most,” Ronon reported.

John nodded, looking around the ghost town with a sense of déjà vu. This was the third such village they’d found in the last week. “I don’t like coincidences.”

“What are you thinking?” Teyla questioned. “A disease? Local bandits capable of space travel?”

Shrugging, John said, “It’s not the Wraith, but I think there’d be at least some evidence of fighting if people were being carted off by nefarious types.”

“Right. I’ll start getting samples,” Rodney volunteered.

With another nod, John ordered, “Stay in sight, or take Ronon.”

Rodney grumbled something under his breath, but didn’t argue.

As they walked away, John called, “I want him back in one piece, Ronon.”

Ronon smirked without actually agreeing as he walked off behind Rodney.

“Children,” Teyla observed, smiling at him. “I sometimes wonder if we would be better off leaving the men at home.”

John’s eyebrows rose. “I’m not sure which way to be insulted by that statement first. Was I included in the men, or the women category?”

“It depends which day it is,” she teased.

Snorting, John replied, “Thanks.”

She sat on a nearby stone bench and asked matter-of-factly, “How long will you punish Ronon and Dr. Beckett with your fears?”

John gaped at her, but recovered quickly and snapped, “It’s not fear and I’m not punishing them!”

Humming noncommittally, Teyla looked around the countryside.

Defensive, John exclaimed, “It’s not!”

“Of course not.”

“I hate it when you do that.”

“I was merely agreeing with you.”

“Exactly!” John paused, then wagged a finger at her. “You know what I mean.”

Looking at him thoughtfully, Teyla asked, “Will you feel the loss any less if something were to happen to either of them and you were not sharing their bed? Will it hurt any less?”

“That’s not the point,” John growled. “It never was.”

“Then what?”

“Ronon is under my command. Nominally, so is Beckett. It’s against regs for my to get involved with either of them, let alone both. And then there’s that whole ‘no gays in the military’ thing. They might overlook Beckett, since he’s a civilian, but Ronon? Forget it. Not only is he directly under my command, but he’s an alien. To the folks back home, I might as well change my flag right now to whatever his looks like. Hell, they’d do that even if it were you and me.”

“Which is why Elizabeth and I are very discreet,” Teyla informed him.

John’s worldview promptly shifted 180 degrees.

A faint smile lifted the corners of her mouth as Teyla said, “I wasn’t originally going to say anything, but Elizabeth feels that the best way to protect the smooth running of Atlantis is to protect the emotional well-being of her people. That includes falling in love, having children, and even retiring from active service to marry, should a love-match happen between our peoples. You seem to think that you are unique, Colonel Sheppard, but you are not. This month alone, there have been two engagements between the Alosians and Tau’ri. We are both very fond of you, Ronon, and Dr. Beckett. Your situation is a little more…unusual than most, I will grant you, but the heart of the matter is not.”

He knew about one of the two engagements, had okayed the new quarters request himself, and assumed the second had come from a scientist who didn’t need to report to him. Shaking off the triviality, he floundered a moment then protested, “What about the fact we’re all men?”

She shrugged. “I believe that your military has a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy? If someone under your command were to take exception to your new situation, Elizabeth would simply tell them to seek redress elsewhere. She has no intention of losing any of you.”

Standing, Teyla walked over to him and patted his shoulder before following Rodney and Ronon further into the village.

John stayed put, thoughts whirling.

*  *  *  *

It was harder than Ronon thought it would be to concentrate on the mission at hand. He’d been a warrior without a war during most of his marriage and so hadn’t needed to worry about it. And it had been so long since he’d been at the beginning of a new relationship that he’d forgotten just how much his body craved contact with his beloved. Thoughts and images of Beckett intruded throughout the boring day. Flashes, really…how he looked when coming…sleeping…the feel of him resting with such trust in Ronon’s arms.

Sheppard’s scowls actually helped the situation, recalling him to duty whenever his thoughts wandered too far. He wasn’t sure whether they were because he hadn’t left Beckett when Sheppard had left them, or because the other man had figured out he didn’t really want to stay away and didn’t know how to swallow his pride. Maybe both.

Probably both, he thought, snorting.

“Something funny, Ronon?”

Ronon looked over at Sheppard and replied, “Yes.”

“What’s that?” McKay prompted. “I could use a joke after digging around in the dirt all day.”

Before he could respond, Sheppard interjected hastily, “It wasn’t digging and it was only for a couple of hours. We’re almost at the gate and I’ll even let you be the one to tell Weir we found nothing.”

McKay grimaced at the officer and retorted, “You’re just trying to get out of paperwork.”

“Curses. Foiled again,” Sheppard commented, dry.

They reached the Stargate only moments later, fortunately, and were spared any more quibbling. One of the things he liked least about McKay was the man’s inability to shut up. A smile twitched at his lips as he thought, Which is completely different from Beckett’s inability to be quiet. Beckett’s voice is enjoyable to the ears, at least. Especially when moaning or begging for more.

The wormhole whooshed into existence and the team strolled up the ramp with as little fanfare as they’d strolled down it five hours before. Something he’d never enjoyed before, but he hadn’t had anyone waiting for him before, either. Not since joining the Tau’ri, at least. Travel through the wormhole was never pleasant, but he had something to look forward to, once he tracked Beckett down in either his infirmary or McKay’s lab. He growled internally, realizing he’d forgotten to corner the scientist about making Beckett keep too-long hours and decided to make an issue of it on the other side.

It was something of a surprise to find Beckett waiting with Weir on the upper level, chatting easily with her. Before going to join his lover, Ronon grabbed McKay by the shirt and hauled him backwards, provoking a yelp of surprise and fright from the other man. He growled in McKay’s ear, “The experiments you have Beckett doing until all hours stop now. He needs rest to stay healthy. If I catch him taking time away from his sleep because of something you asked him to do, Weir will not be able to find your body. Understood?”

McKay squeaked a reply, cleared his throat and tried again, “Got it! Understood! Not a problem!”

Ronon let him go with a contemptuous look and stalked over to where Beckett and Weir stood giving him odd looks. Assuming an innocent expression on the way, he greeted, “Dr. Weir. Colonel Sheppard and McKay are ready to give you reports.”

It was said to Weir and, once the pronouncement had been made, Ronon took hold of Beckett’s arm and loomed, just a little.

Clearing his throat and turning a quick shade of red, Beckett muttered, “I have t’be goin’ now, Elizabeth. I’ll be seeiny’later.”

Ronon ignored the soft chuckle that echoed behind them as he escorted Beckett out of the gateroom towards their quarters. He had more important things to think about…like what part of Beckett’s body to memorize next.

*  *  *  *

John watched Ronon hustle Carson out of the gateroom and gritted his teeth at the way the big man just loomed over the doctor. Not that Carson objected. From the flush that quickly chased over his face, he definitely didn’t object.

“Colonel?”

Dragging his attention away from the two men now out of sight, John gave Elizabeth a fake smile and told her, “Nothing to report. No one in the village. No one around the village. No one on the planet, probably. Same as the other two. McKay took samples and he’ll be going over them to see if it was a disease or something. No signs of a struggle and no clue why they just vanished. Gotta go.”

He hurried from the gateroom before she could protest, taking the same route that Ronon and Carson had only a minute earlier. If it had just been Ronon seeking privacy, the warrior would’ve covered a significant distance. But he was hampered by Carson and, presumably, rampaging hormones.

Taking a guess, he turned east towards the nearest secured room.

*  *  *  *

Ronon shoved Beckett’s pants down as he continued to plunder the willing mouth. The doctor moaned, legs spreading of their own accord, and kissed him back. When Ronon grasped hard erection, Beckett shuddered and jerked in his grip. Grinning fiercely, he spun Beckett around and pushed him down, over the table. He slapped his hand between the sturdy legs and squeezed the soft skin, thumb pressed against the small opening to his lover’s body.

“Christ, Ronon!” Beckett groaned.

The door slid open behind them, but Ronon didn’t turn to look. There was only one person who would not only dare to interrupt them, but had the capability to open the lock on an Ancient’s door. Somehow, Ronon knew Sheppard wouldn’t actually interrupt and so continued with what he was doing. The awareness of having his commander watch hardened him further and Ronon twisted his cock ruthlessly to bring him back from the edge. Thinking of the man watching, he demanded, “What do you want, Beckett? Tell me!”

Beckett’s hands spasmed tighter on the edge of the table as he gasped, “Fuck me, already! Bugger me God damned senseless, Ronon!”

Removing his hands from Beckett’s body to push his own pants down, he heard Sheppard’s harsh breathing and his lips stretched in a fierce grin. No matter what he said, Sheppard still wanted them and wanted to be with them. Did he want to be the one fucking Beckett? He hadn’t yet had the pleasure, after all. Or did he want to be buried in Ronon’s ass again?

Ronon pushed his cock into the tender opening, careful to keep from making any sudden moved that might damage his lover. He groaned as his shaft was once more squeezed tight in Beckett’s newly opened flesh. He’d been the first and, so far, the only. A wave of possessiveness rolled through him and Ronon growled, “Mine, Beckett! You’re all mine!”

“Ah Christ, ah fuck, forgot how big you were,” Beckett panted. “An’ get over the melodramatics and fuck me already, would ye? I’m no a glass of china!”

Loving how the accent thickened as his lover’s brain functions lowered, Ronon thrust the rest of the way in.

Beckett howled in pain, but then reached back as he ordered, “Fuck me! Do it! Oh God, don’t stop!”

Ronon set up a hard, fast rhythm that was soon helped by his leaking cock. From across the room he heard Sheppard’s barely-audible moaning and the rub of fabric that told him the other man masturbated while watching. Aroused to a wild degree, Ronon bent over Beckett and humped savagely into him while stroking him off as fast as he could. The only sounds were that of flesh in flesh, wet and meaty, and Ronon breathed deeply of the musk scent rising from his lover. All too soon his body slipped his control and he slammed a final time before coming deep in Beckett’s body, grinding down into the soft ass as far as he could. Beckett jerked beneath him and cursed as wet heat splattered over Ronon’s hand, signaling that his lover had also come.

Moments later, he heard a grunt from behind and knew that Sheppard, too, had come. The door slid open and shut only seconds after that and Ronon wished he had the strength to drag the other man back.

As it was, his cock softened only slightly in the tight hole and Ronon licked up the damp spine as he asked, “Can I have you again?”

“I’m dead now, ye great lummox. Do as ye will.”

Laughing softly at the tired words, Ronon bit sharply at Beckett’s shoulder and slowly began moving again.

*  *  *  *

Running wasn’t something that John usually did, not unless gunfire was involved anyhow. After witnessing just how well Carson and Ronon did without him, though, he had no choice but to push himself into somehow forgetting. He didn’t want to think about how just how good they looked together or the fact that he’d jerked off while watching. He took a shower, changed into jogging pants and tee, and proceeded to run around the entire city at a grueling, even punishing pace. It was a steady pace, though, and John forced his body to keep it for as long as possible.

The fourth time he passed Command, he heard Elizabeth call his name but pretended that he didn’t and kept going. Sweat soaked his shirt and pants. His legs felt like rubber. Breath burned in his chest. Exhaustion clogged his entire body and still he kept running. It had been too long since he’d done any serious training and John silently berated himself for slacking off. He also made a vow to step up the training for all teams that went through the gate.

It wasn’t until someone stood in front of him at the last second that John had to stop. He barely avoided crashing into Ronon and glared at the bigger man. It probably wasn’t as effective as it could’ve been, though, given he was panting for air and shaking.

“What the hell are you doing?” Elizabeth demanded, stalking up to him. “Are you trying to kill yourself?”

John didn’t bother to explain, instead walking slowly in circles so he wouldn’t cramp up.

Throwing her hands up in disgust, Elizabeth ordered, “Ronon, take him to medical and get him seen to.”

“I’m fine,” John gasped, waving her off. “Peachy.”

Her lips thinned together for a moment before she observed caustically, “I can see that. You can go to medical under your own steam, or Ronon can carry you. Carson’s expecting you.”

“God forbid we disappoint Beckett,” John muttered snidely.

He regretted the words as soon as he said them and gave Ronon a guilty look. The warrior looked back at him impassively, showing no sign of how or if the words affected him.

Elizabeth wasn’t so forgiving. She stalked forward and snapped quietly, “Get your head out of your ass before I do it for you, Colonel. Am I understood?”

John nodded and offered a weak smile as he replied, “I’m going. See? This is me being a good little Colonel and going to medical.”

The walk there was agony, but he figured that it served him right. Ronon didn’t say a single word the entire way there, which was actually worse than the pain rife throughout his body. Just before the doors opened, he looked at Ronon and said, “Look, I’m sorry about what I said, okay? I didn’t mean it.”

“Then you shouldn’t have said it.”

John sighed and preceded Ronon into the infirmary.

“And there’s our star track running,” Carson greeted cheerfully. “Feeling better, are we?”

Groaning as he climbed onto an exam bed, John answered, “No, but thanks for asking.”

As Carson took his vitals, John couldn’t help but be hyper-aware of the other man. The faintest trace of sex lingered, as if Ronon had rubbed his come over the doctor’s body, though he knew Carson would be horrified to know that. John kept his mouth firmly shut, even as he breathed it in, leaning closer.

“Something wrong, Colonel?”

Snapping out of it at the professional question, John straightened and shook his head.

“Good. Time to pee in a cup so I can see how dehydrated you’ve made yourself.”

John grimaced at the little cup Carson gave him and admitted, “I don’t have to go.”

“At all? You were running for almost two hours.”

“At all.”

“All right then. Lie back and we’ll start you on fluids right now.”

“Can’t I just drink a lot of water?”

Carson gave him a pointed look and reminded, “You were on a day-long mission before trying out for the Olympics. Now settle back or I’ll strap yer dense arse to the bed.”

John sighed, but did as he was told. Truthfully, it was a toss-up as to whether or not he had the strength to remain upright anyhow. Moving efficiently around him, Carson started an IV in John’s arm, humming softly under his breath as he did so. The noise soothed him and John drifted into an exhausted sleep even before the line was finished.

The last thing he noticed before darkness took him was gentle fingers combing through sweat-soaked hair.

*  *  *  *

Smiling fondly at the man asleep in the bed, Carson shook his head and continued to comb through John’s tangled mass of hair. “Ach, my boy. You need a good swift kick in the arse now, dontcha?”

“I’d be happy to do it,” Ronon volunteered darkly.

Carson grinned at his lover and pointed out, “He’s punishing himself far more than we ever could.”

Ronon didn’t look convinced.

After adding a muscle relaxant and a sedative to the line to make sure John didn’t wake up too soon, Carson went over to his other lover. If he didn’t know better, he would swear Ronon sat pouting on the opposite exam bed. Taking the big man’s hands in his, Carson asked, “Want to get something to eat? I need to report to Elizabeth anyhow.”

“I’ll stay and watch Sheppard,” Ronon replied. “Bring me something back.”

Carson nodded, not questioning the warrior’s need to stay with the injured of their trio, even if it had been self-inflicted. Pressing a light kiss to his lover’s mouth, Carson left the infirmary for Elizabeth’s office. She was talking with Teyla when he arrived and he waited until she noticed him and waved him inside.

“We were just talking about John,” she greeted.

“I’m sure,” Carson agreed. “He’s fine, though. Dehydrated and with an electrolyte imbalance, but I’ve gotten him on fluids and given him a muscle relaxant for when he wakes up.”

Shaking her head, Elizabeth asked, “It’s not his body I’m truly worried about.”

Carson gestured helplessly with his hands. “Aye, but what can we do? Ronon and I have both done our best to reason with him, as have the two of you, I understand, but it doesn’t get through to him.”

“Do you think a transfer would work?” she suggested. At his horrified look, Elizabeth continued hastily, “The threat of one, I mean. I would never do that to John.”

“Honestly? I think it would make him dig in his heels. All we can do is let him make the decision for himself,” Carson replied, sagging a little with relief.

“And in the meantime?”

“In the meantime just give him room to make a decision, no matter what it might be.”

“Even if he hurts himself?”

Carson shook his head. “John would never truly harm himself. He knows his body too well and feels his duty too keenly to abandon it for any real period of time.”

She gave him an admiring look and told him, “The way you and Ronon are handling this is, well, incredible. I don’t think I would have the same wherewithal.”

“You do not need the same wherewithal,” Teyla stated, rubbing her shoulder. “Nor will you, ever.”

When Elizabeth smiled lovingly up at the other woman, Carson took that as his cue to leave and did so after a promise to keep them updated on any changes in John’s condition. Stopping on the way back for food, Carson loaded up a tray and headed back to the infirmary. When he got there, it was to find Ronon in John’s bed and nestled up behind him, one arm thrown over the officer’s waist.

The sight literally stole Carson’s breath and he did something he never had before. Walking over to the door, he locked it and then climbed into bed with his lovers. Settling on John’s other side, Carson lay chest-to-chest with his unconscious lover and rested his cheek over the slow, steady heartbeat. When Ronon’s fingers laced with his, Carson shifted to look up into the other man’s eyes and smiled.

*  *  *  *

His entire body felt sluggish and unresponsive, but then, his brain wasn’t really working either, so John thought it only appropriate. Two warm weights surrounded him; one behind, one in front and on top. It was pretty easy to figure out what, or who, the weights were, but he didn’t feel like fighting any more. Maybe the run had done more good than not, because waking up nestled between the two men felt more right than anything else had in a long time.

The comfort didn’t negate his bladder’s growing need to be emptied, though, so he cleared his throat and jostled the blurry Carson-shaped weight on his chest and muttered, “Carson. Gotta go, man.”

Carson sighed, rubbing his eyes as he sat up to reply, “You’re not going anywhere, Colonel, not for at least another day.”

“No, Carson, I gotta take a leak,” John clarified. “As in, if I lay here much longer, you’re going to regret it because those fluids you gave me did their job.”

The doctor gave him a suspicious look, but obliged by standing and then helping John off the bed. His legs felt like complete rubber and he kept his arm around Carson’s shoulder. They walked silently to the bathroom where Carson kept a firm, if embarrassing, eye on him. The trip back to the bed was worse, because John’s body decided it just didn’t want to go that far. If Ronon hadn’t been up and handy, there would’ve been a tumble to the floor. John grimaced as the big man simply scooped him up into his arms and strode the last few feet to the bed, setting him down gently.

“I can not be in this bad of a shape!” John protested. “What the hell’s wrong with me, that I’m so weak today?”

Carson looked mildly guilty as he replied, “I gave you a pretty strong muscle relaxant last night. It’s probably what’s giving you trouble this morning, but you should be fine by the afternoon.”

John sighed, but it was more exasperation at himself. He’d worried Carson, so of course the man would respond as he always did; on the safe side and to the comfort of his patient. Half smiling, he commented, “If you wanted to keep me in bed, all you had to do was get out a pair of handcuffs, Doc.”

Carson blinked at him, clearly unsure if he was being serious or really flirting.

“Don’t tease him,” Ronon rumbled.

Wincing, John muttered, “I deserved that.” And then, louder, “I’m an idiot, okay? I got spooked and I thought I was taking advantage, but I can see that the both of you can clearly kick my ass in your own ways. I give, okay? This is me, surrendering to the inevitable. So, can you get back in bed now before I say something stupid enough that you change your minds?”

Carson took his hand and said, “I think we went about this the wrong way, John.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. I think that we overwhelmed you,” Carson continued. “So perhaps starting over and going more slowly would…”

“If you both don’t get your asses back in this bed, I will make life very unpleasant for you just as soon as I can walk without falling over,” John threatened.

Before they could, though, Rodney’s aggravated voice came over the comm. with, “What the hell are you three doing in there? Carson, I need you to take a look at something for me.”

Carson pressed a soft, lingering kiss to John’s lips and told him, “Tonight. My quarters. If y’aren’t there, Ronon will hunt you down and we’ll simply tie ye to the bed, as requested.”

John grinned. “I’ll be there with bells on.”

“That’d be interesting,” Ronon observed. “Where would the bells go?”

Swallowing nervously at the intrigued look in Ronon’s eyes, John explained hastily, “It’s just an expression, Ronon.”

Ronon’s smirk wasn’t very reassuring.

*  *  *  *

By the end of the day, John was indeed back to normal if very, very sore. He walked slowly, but he did walk, and headed up to see Elizabeth on his release from the infirmary. She was in her office and watched with open amusement as he gingerly lowered himself into the seat. Wagging a finger at her, he warned, “Mind out of the gutter, my thighs are just killing me from my run.”

“Of course,” she agreed demurely.

John sighed and said, “So, it’s come to my attention that I owe pretty much everyone an apology for my behavior over the last couple days.”

“What makes you think that?”

“You’re going to make me grovel, aren’t you?”

“It has crossed my mind, yes.”

“Of course it has,” he muttered. Offering a wry grin, he said, “I’m sorry, okay? It won’t happen again.”

Elizabeth paused a moment before saying, “If it does, then I will have to remove you from Atlantis for your own safety, Colonel. Am I understood?”

Realizing just how badly he’d scared her, John nodded seriously. “Understood. And, I am sorry. Sometimes I get a little…focused…and forget other people have negative thoughts about how I shouldn’t endanger myself with stupid behavior.”

“And how are things now?” she questioned obliquely.

John grinned. “If I don’t show up in Carson’s quarters tonight, Ronon’s going to hunt me down and they’ve got my permission to cuff me to the bed. Although, I have to say I didn’t like the look in Ronon’s eyes when I mentioned that I’d be there with bells on. I think he’s taking me literally.”

Laughing softly, Elizabeth offered, “I think some of the kids have bells.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“No problem.”

“I’m not going to hear the end of this for a very long time, am I?”

“I suspect not, no.”

“Perfect.”

*  *  *  *

Carson and Ronon decided unilaterally that John was still too weak to do much, even though he felt perfectly fine. After several minutes where he was treated to a medically-schooled massage and an enthusiastic footrub, he wasn’t inclined to argue. The touched turned from soothing to erotic without notice and John moaned as Carson’s mouth sucked at his upper back before kissing his way down the spine to his ass. Ronon remained obsessed with his feet, nipping at the fleshy arch and sucking on an ankle.

John about jumped out of his skin when Carson’s tongue slid over and then into his hole. “Jesus! Carson! What’re you…ohGodshitthatsgood.”

A warm chuckle vibrated against his hole as Carson slowly ate him out, thrusting his tongue in deep and then wriggling it around. Arching back, John’s legs spread to give him more room to maneuver, eager for more. His throbbing cock hung between his legs, missing the friction of the bed for only a few seconds until Ronon’s big hand wrapped around it, stroking him.

Shuddering at the dual sensation, John’s hands twisted in the blankets and he moaned, “Not gonna make it, guys, too close!”

They ignored his warning and, sure enough, he came hard only a minute later, jerking in Ronon’s grip and spilling over the bedspread. He collapsed into the wet spot without care, panting.

“Now there’s a sight,” Ronon observed.

Carson agreed with a breathless, “Aye. Not one you see everyday. Did you want to do the honors, or shall I?”

John knew he should care about who fucked him, but he really didn’t. As long as he eventually got both inside him and then had a chance to nail Carson, which he hadn’t yet, he was happy.

“Mind if I go first?”

“Ach no, be my guest. I’m sure I can find something to keep myself occupied.”

Thick, blunt fingers coated with lube pushed inside his hole moments later and John moaned into the pillow. Ronon stretched him slowly, but firmly, and John abruptly wished that he could give his first time to his lovers, instead of a one-night stand whose face he couldn’t remember. Pushing onto his elbows, John looked back at his lovers and said hoarsely, “I think I love you guys.”

Carson immediately crawled up to him, sliding under him to hold him fast, rubbing his back and pressing kisses to John’s face and then giving him a long, deep kiss. When they broke apart gasping for breath, Ronon took over. He leaned forward to steal John’s mouth in a hungry, hard kiss while three fingers now invaded John’s body. They took turns kissing him, keeping his head spinning with slight oxygen depravation, and then Ronon pushed his cock inside John and they both groaned at the invasion.

“John, John please, suck me,” Carson begged, hands running restlessly over John’s head. “Please, I need you.”

Not one to disappoint his lovers any more, and hungry for his own taste of Carson, John shifted slightly to take the thick, uncut dick in his mouth. He sucked hard, eager for as much as he could get. His mind split when Ronon pushed the rest of the way inside, bottoming out inside him in one short drive. John gasped, choking a bit on Carson’s shaft when it went too deep. Ronon set up a fast, hard rhythm, driving in and out of him with an apparently incredible certainty that he knew exactly how to drive John crazy.

Between Ronon’s forceful fucking and Carson thrusting deeper and deeper into his throat, John couldn’t tell which way was up and abruptly gave up trying. He was one massive sensation, shuddering and struggling to breathe whenever he could. His ass and throat burned simultaneously and he wanted more, finally forcing himself all the way down on Carson’s cock, who shouted and humped wildly into him. That, in turn, sent John flying over the moon, his body releasing in an even more devastating orgasm. Ronon lasted a few more seconds, rutting into John’s ass until he came, grinding down as far as he could go while loosing his come.

They collapsed in a tangle of limbs and John panted, heart thundering in his chest, but couldn’t stop licking at Carson’s cock, which remained in reach. Since Ronon undulated inside him now and again to come more, John figured it was just about the best sex he’d had in his life. Sighing deeply, he nuzzled at Carson’s balls and realized he hadn’t had the chance to taste them.

Carson stopped him, though, and whispered, “Too much, love. Leave off for me, okay?”

Sighing in disappointment, John pressed one more kiss to his lover’s cock and settled down for the night with his cheek on one of Carson’s thighs. “Ronon asleep?”

Chuckling, Carson confirmed, “Down for the count, my own. Are you all right like this?”

“Oh yeah,” John agreed.

He drifted to sleep to the feel of Carson’s fingers lightly massaging his scalp.

*  *  *  *

John woke for a second time in a pile of bodies only this time, different parts of him were sore. His ass was one big hurt, thanks to Ronon, but it didn’t really matter. Parts of him were content in ways that never had been, which more than made up for the physical complaints. Nuzzling at Carson’s stomach, they’d somehow shifted up or he’d shifted down, John yawned happily and stretched.

“Ready for another round, are ya?” Carson asked sleepily.

John chuckled. “Not unless someone uses a heck of a lot more lube this time. I think Ronon was a little too impatient last night because ow.”

Carson sat up abruptly and demanded, “Are you hurt? Here, let me look at you.”

John pushed him back down and said firmly, “I’m fine, Doc, just sore as hell.”

“Trying to sleep here.”

John snorted at Ronon’s irritated announcement and nudged him rudely. “What are you, Rodney?”

“Don’t ever mention his name in this bed again,” Ronon growled.

Th’both of you’re impossible," Carson sighed, squirming out from under John until he got off the bed. “I have rounds to make. Anyone care to join me for breakfast?”

John thought about it, then pulled a pillow down and wiggled back against Ronon. “I’m good. You, Ronon?”

Ronon growled again, only it wasn’t in irritation this time. His hand slid down John’s back to squeeze the ass now against his cock. John grinned as he felt the flesh harden slightly between his cheeks.

Carson came back into view and wagged a finger at Ronon, ordering, “Not until tonight, Mister, you just leave him be.”

John’s mouth opened, dismayed that Carson was taking it that far, but Ronon beat him to it with, “He’s not injured.”

When Carson’s hands went on his hips, John knew they were beaten and sighed mournfully.

“I am immune from puppy dog eyes, so y’can both knock it off,” Carson informed them.

John grinned a bit when Carson kissed them both on the cheek like a prim school teacher and then headed for the bathroom to get ready for the day. Shaking his head, he carefully rolled over and draped himself over Ronon's broad chest. His fingers slid through the chest hair and he smiled, observing, “This is nice.”

Trailing fingers up and down John’s spine, Ronon told him, “I have an idea about where you can put those bells.”

John blinked, then frowned up at him. “I said it was just an expression, Ronon. I was joking.”

“I’m not.”

*  *  *  *

Rodney looked around the cafeteria, frowning. There was something out of place, but he couldn’t quite figure out what. Shaking his head, he went back to his laptop to work on his latest gate puzzle. He’d managed only a couple of minutes before that sound, whatever it was, disrupted his concentration again.

Irritated, he looked around but again saw nothing strange. Sheppard and Ronon were talking to Carson across the mess. Elizabeth was just entering and heading for the lunch line. Zalenka and that annoying visiting scientist were chatting cozily nearby. Everything was as it should.

Then he figured out what the noise was; a very faint, very muffled bell. Multiple bells, actually, at least three, probably four. It was barely audible, teasing just along the edge of his hearing range. And yet, no one was carrying, or wearing bells, and it wasn’t the holiday season, so why was he hearing them?

“Something wrong, Rodney?”

Startling at Elizabeth’s question, Rodney exclaimed, “I’m hearing things!”

“Like?” she questioned, sitting across from him.

“Bells!”

She frowned. “You know, I’ve been hearing them most of the day as well. I can’t quite figure out where it's coming from.”

Relieved that he wasn’t going crazy, Rodney was about to say something when Sheppard, Ronon, and Carson walked by. The noise was definitely coming from one of them, he realized, but which one? And where the hell would they hide four bells so as to make the sound almost nonexistent? His eyes went wide as he realized the answer and Rodney choked on his own tongue.

“Rodney! Are you all right?” Elizabeth exclaimed.

Waving her off, flushing hotly as he wondered which man had the bells up his…securely hidden in…Rodney’s eyes widened further when Sheppard’s hips jerked just a little forward, as if nudged by something inside him.

Dear God! he thought. All three of them together? How do they…what happens if…who’s on top of whom…

Rodney hunched down in his seat and tried not to attract Ronon's attention. He was pretty sure that if he let on he’d figured it out, he wouldn’t live to see another day.