sasha_feather: Picture of Ronon Dex, says "Warrior" (Ronon Dex (SGA))
[personal profile] sasha_feather
Title: Escutcheon
Authors: [personal profile] anatratrope and [personal profile] sasha_feather
for [community profile] kink_bingo: "tattooing" square
A wedding gift for [personal profile] anna_bird
Stargate: Atlantis
Established relationship OT4 (McKay/Sheppard/Dex/Emmagan)
Warnings: none
Contains alcohol and drug use, tattooing, light bondage. Also, escutcheons.
Rating: adult
Word count: ~7,000
Disclaimer: not ours, for fun not profit
Betas: [personal profile] jesse_the_k and [personal profile] wintercreek (Fiddled with extensively post-beta! Remaining mistakes are ours alone.)




//Ronon Dex//

"Do you think Teyla is trying to punish us?" Rodney's voice whined through the comm.

"By leaving us in charge? I really don't know, but I can tell you she will definitely punish you for this. Keep it together, McKay. I'm nearly there," John's voice crackled in response.

Ronon shaded his eyes against the sunlight reflecting up off the fallen flier. He felt adrenaline pounding through him, his fists tightening on the cold railing, until he saw Torren's dark hair bob to the surface. His life vest had inflated, and Ronon could see the child clutching a strap trailing from the downed craft, feet kicking, as it floated on a current taking it quickly away from the city.

"He's got that dog-piddle down," Ronon observed.

Rodney glared up at him from the east pier below. "DOG. PADDLE," he shrieked, the comm buzzing with feedback in Ronon's ear, his distant form visibly gesticulating.

"Whatever, McKay. At least we taught him how to swim before you strapped him into your new toy." Ronon vaulted onto the railing as a jumper swooped up to the balcony, door already open. He dropped into the jumper, bare toes bracing against the deck as he regained his balance.

Sheppard didn't even look up as Ronon dropped a hand to his shoulder. "McKay, I've got Ronon. We're going in for Torren now." Ronon dug through the supply locker, snapping a harness in place. He found a second harness and quickly sized it down, his sure fingers now familiar with the foreign buckles. He was ready by the time Sheppard lurched to a halt, hatch opening.

"It's choppy. The dampeners aren't stable enough over the water to get any closer. You good to go?" Ronon grinned his agreement, fists tightening on the rope as the bay doors slid open and he flung himself out into the bright New Lantean air.

He hit the water hard, the current immediately dragging him sideways, and swam toward Torren. The kid laughed and launched into an enthusiastic dog-puddle, more splash than stroke. Ronon laughed back, splashing Torren expertly as he neared, and they horsed around until they heard Sheppard's cranky drawl from the hovering jumper. "You guys coming or what?"

Ronon grabbed Torren, fitting the spare harness onto Torren's slight body and clipping the harness to the line. He tugged thrice on the rope. Torren giggled and flung his arms out against the breeze. "Did you see me flying, Non??"

"Sure did." Ronon rubbed the child's head with rough affection. "You looked good, kiddo. Up we go." Torren obediently pulled his limbs in as Sheppard reached down and hauled them the last few inches into the jumper.

Torren turned his big doe eyes up at Sheppard as the colonel hastily toweled him off. "Again!"

John shook his head brusquely. "Nope. We have to get home and cleaned up before your mom gets back and finds out what we were up to while she was gone." At the sight of Torren's quivering lower lip, John smiled awkwardly, his hands noticeably shaking with relief as he patted Torren's head. "So, you wanna fly the jumper back down?"

"Yeah!" Torren shrugged off the sodden lifejacket and plopped himself on Sheppard's lap.

"Okay, here we go..." Sheppard guided Torren's chubby fingers through the HUD, letting him pull some sickeningly wild loops before taking his hands and smoothing them into a gentle landing on the East Pier.

Rodney clasped all three of them in a bear hug, doling out relieved kisses to everyone before grabbing Torren by the shoulders and glaring fiercely into his eyes. "Look, how many times do I have to tell you, when you take any flying machine out, much less a souped-up Ancient hang glider, you have to make sure to correct for the vagaries of oceanic air currents, double check all of your equipment, and for Chrissakes you never ever ever push experimental engines into a full throttle spin! It doesn't matter if I'm watching, you can still get very horribly hurt, even killed, if we can't reach you in time! Got it? Promise?"

Torren nodded, clearly terrified by Rodney's intensity. "I'm sorry, Rodney," he piped solemnly. Ronon rubbed the kid's dark hair. Torren was an impulsive, sensitive child, and he often took Rodney's abrasive personality a little too seriously.

"Good." Rodney nodded decisively. "Now, what was the takeoff like? Did it pull to the left? I've been trying to fix the thrusters on that thing but it's a lot trickier than in the jumpers, and..."

"ROD-ney." Sheppard rolled his eyes.

All three men winced as their headsets buzzed on, Teyla's voice elevated in concern. "John? Major Lorne says your new flier is floating out to sea. Is everything all right?"

John took a deep breath and touched his earpiece. "Hi Teyla. Good to hear your voice. Listen, everyone's okay, but I have something to tell you..." he turned away from them, muttering softly into the breeze. Ronon could hear him stretch his vowels the way he only did when he was teasing or trying to reassure someone.

Rodney tapped his earpiece, calling instructions to Chuck to have a contingent of marines retrieve the downed flier. Ronon jerked his chin toward the city, catching Torren's eye. "C'mon. Race you back home! You can have a head start." He grinned fondly at Torren's determined jog, then set out slowly after him. It seemed like a good day to let him win.



All four of them took Teyla's dressing-down abjectly, making noises of apology and earnest promises to be more careful next time. She accepted their contrition with customary grace.

John and Torren started fixing dinner--Sheppard even let Torren mash the steamed tubers--and Rodney went to clean Torren and Ronon's salt-encrusted cast-off clothes.

Ronon took a shower, rinsing the ocean grime from his hair, gritting his teeth and fingercombing the tangles out of it. It was getting long again, and he was tired of it floating in his face or having to pin it back. Shaving it off had been a grand gesture at the time, but he found he missed the weight of all that hair, all those memories and places and fears and joys knotted up into it. He took care combing it out and toweling it dry before joining his family at dinner.

Over dinner, Teyla caught Ronon's eye. "Tonight, then?" He smiled gratefully at her and nodded. Sometimes he found her prescience spooky, but today it was welcome.

"My hair," he said in response to the confused looks on John, Rodney, and Torren's faces. "No more 'fry, sorry McKay."

"'FRO. Christ, we should never have tried to teach you Earth idioms."

"I believe Ronon is pulling your arm, Rodney," Teyla put in, her lips curving in a devilish grin.

John and Rodney groaned in unison, and Teyla exchanged a smug look with Ronon. He grinned and kicked Rodney under the table. "I think what we're trying to say here is, 'Gotcha!'"

"Oh, hey, I just rembered! It's movie night!" Rodney exclaimed, rubbing his hands gleefully. "So, Torren, what're you in the mood for? Space adventure, time travel, elves?"

Torren considered. "Star Trek!" he cheered.

Rodney rolled his eyes. "I am not subjecting us to a Star Trek movie marathon." He visibly softened at the obstinate look on Torren's face. For all his bluster, McKay really was a pushover for that kid, Ronon mused. "Okay, fine. I think Zelenka has a copy of the prequel movie up on the shared drive. But we're watching Back to the Future after that." He set the film to downloading and supervised as Torren made popnuts in the air popper they'd ordered in from Earth. Ronon privately thought they tasted like fluffy grass, but everyone else loved them. Torren politely dished a small bowl out and brought it to Ronon and Teyla, then carried a brimming huge bowl with careful steps to the couch, setting himself in the middle next to Sheppard.

"So," John turned to Teyla as he helped himself to a fistful from Torren's bowl. "How was your trip?"

"It was wonderful to spend time among my people. It was incredibly moving to witness Kanaan pledge with Halling, and formally adopt Jinto. I'm very happy for them." She sat Ronon down on a stool next to the couch, laying out the tools and lighting the small brazier she used to keep the wax warm. She began combing his exuberant hair into sections and pinning them down.

"So, I'm still fuzzy on this 'pledge' thing, Teyla," Rodney said, stealing John's pillow and sitting on the other side of Torren. John slung an arm across the back of the couch to rest lightly on Rodney's neck.

Ronon shifted on the stool, watching Sheppard idly tease McKay. Teyla smacked him on the shoulder. "Be still!" She murmured, her husky voice low in his ear. It sent warm tingles down his spine.

"I believe the analogous rite in your culture is 'marriage'," Teyla responded to Rodney's question.

"Well tell him congratulations for me," Rodney said. "So he'll be Jinto's new father? Does that make Jinto Torren's step-brother or something?"

Ronon scowled as Teyla worked a dab of wax into a hank of his hair, twisting efficiently. "That kid better not step on Torren. He's rowdy."

Teyla smiled. "Actually, Kanaan has relinquished daily responsibility for Torren to me. He dislikes the time he must spend in the city to be with our son, and prefers to take Torren for short visits to New Athos. He has found new family with an old love, and he has confided that he trusts me with making decisions regarding our child." She frowned forbiddingly at Rodney. "Though he might reconsider that position if he knew more about the people I leave to watch him..." She dripped a spot of oil into the finished dreadlock, the air around Ronon's head filling with spicy astringent aroma. "I have been meaning to ask you about this. I would like for you to adopt Torren."

Sheppard glanced up, plastering his patented fake smile on, trying and failing to hide the grimace behind it. "Hey, yeah. Ronon would be a great dad. He'll know everything there is to know about knives." Ronon opened his mouth to retort, but Teyla cut him off.

"Actually," she said, tying off the tiny dread and leaning over to kiss John on the cheek. "I meant, all three of you."

"Oh!" Ronon heard Rodney squeak over the roaring in his ears. "Do you mean like godparents...?"

"Well, I suppose we could invoke the gods if you wanted to, but if I understand the cultural connotations of that term, I do not think that is precisely what I mean."

"She means making our family official," Ronon said, flicking a piece of popnut unerringly at John's ear.

"You're still asking us that, after, after what just happened with Torren?" Rodney's face held the kind of earnest, naked hope that sometimes broke Ronon's heart just a little.

"Of course, Rodney," she soothed. "Parents teach their children how to handle trouble and danger, not keep them from experiencing them altogether. It was your flier that he crashed, but it was also you and Ronon who taught him to swim. Besides, without all three of you, I would not have my son."

"Oh," Rodney said, blushing. "Well, in that case..."

"Yes," John said quickly, as if he were afraid if he didn't say it fast it wouldn't come out at all. "Yes, let's do it." He leaned over Torren and planted a lush kiss on Rodney, lips sliding briefly before breaking the kiss and grinning stupidly into Rodney's flushed look of surprise.

Torren groaned theatrically and grabbed the Ancient remote from Rodney's slack fingers. "Gross, daddies! Movie time now."

By the end of the film, Torren and Rodney had fallen asleep against Sheppard.

Ronon had dozed off himself, until the moment Teyla's deft fingers stilled at the base of his skull. His skin prickled, and he could feel her tracing the obscured tattoo lines in his scalp before applying herself to the last dreadlock forming there. He realized with a pang that it didn't bother him to have her notice it, and a small part of him felt almost guilty for that. Mostly he felt a wash of love and relief so powerful he sometimes thought he couldn't bear it.

Thoughtful, he watched John lift a sleeping Torren and carry him to the other room. John came back a moment later, hands stuffed in his pockets and neck stiff.

"Teyla, uh. And you, big guy..." he said to Teyla's right foot, puffing his cheeks out nervously. "I just want to say."

Ronon could hear the radiant smile in her voice. "Yes, John."

"We love you, too. S'not so hard to say." Ronon stood and smacked him on the ass. "See you tomorrow."

"Yeah, thanks." John muttered, kissing Teyla. "Night, beautiful." She rested her forehead against his, then took Ronon's hand. They paused at the door to her room, looking back.

John woke Rodney with a quick shake. "C'mon, McKay. Bed. Now." He waggled his eyebrows at Rodney.

"Lemme 'lone you...you can be such an assho... Oh!" Rodney grinned eagerly, finally seeing the inviting tilt of John's head. "Yes, bed!" They headed off to their room.

Teyla levered Ronon onto her bed and climbed on top of him, threading her fingers through his new dreads. The roots of his hair ached as she tugged it. "Hey! Watch the hair!" Ronon quipped in a passing imitation of Sheppard.

She laughed into his neck, and he grinned at the ceiling, his body thrumming with contentment.



//Rodney McKay//

They settled on a public Athosian ceremony for the adoption and a private Satedan ceremony involving tattoos for the wedding ritual.

Rodney had mostly nodded along during these decisions, flapping his hands at any attempt to engage him in the details because he knew his vast intellect was better spent working out the new hyperspace drive than dithering over flower arrangements. Ceremonies had never held a particular importance to him before. There had been graduations, of course, but ultimately they were anti-climactic and often boring. There were funerals, always overly religious affairs: Rodney clung fervently to a belief in a rational universe and considered higher powers and deities to be only very poor whetstones on which to sharpen his savage and incisive wit. He'd always thought someday of getting married, but it was in the abstract. He had assumed the hypothetical woman (or her mother) would plan the affair.

But then there was Pegasus and space vampires and his Team. Three gorgeous, intelligent, challenging people who inexplicably loved him, and who were many things: fascinating, frustrating, surprising, irritating, horrifyingly committed to their suicidal hero complexes, but never ever boring. Even in a thousand dreams, a million permutations, he could never have imagined this life for himself. So he did what he always did in Pegasus; he bitched and moaned and rolled with it.

Besides, he was pretty sure there were no suitable legal ceremonies on Earth for marrying three men and a woman, even in Canada. The legal loopholes would be a nightmare, and besides. How much time did they plan to spend on Earth anyway? Their work and their lives were in Pegasus, in Atlantis, now.

He did send a gloating card to Jeannie, inviting her, Kaleb, and Madison to New Athos. She arrived on the next supply run from Earth, bearing four overstuffed bags. "Kaleb sends his best to you all, he couldn't make it. Something about finals week and crushing the hopes and dreams of his students, he thought you might understand."

"What are all these bags?"

Jeannie dug in in one of the bags to reveal hand-me-down toys and began distributing them. "She's outgrown princesses and building blocks, so I thought Torren might find a use for them." She smiled indulgently as her daughter, who had grown tall and lanky, solemnly fitted Torren with a sparkly rhinestone tiara and a velcro tutu. She had even given him her favorite blue-and-silver sparkly cowboy space boots, several sizes too big for him, as an ultimate gesture of her regard. He did an utterly uncoordinated twirl after carefully observing Madison's demonstration, then crawled happily over to the blocks.

"I still don't understand this, Mer."

"What's not to understand? We're getting married. We are consenting, loving adults with a child to think of, and it's a way to demonstrate our commitment to each other and to Pegasus."

"But... a tattoo? You??"

"It's not me I'm worried about. Sheppard's the one with the ridiculous needle phobia. And thanks for that vote of confidence. Don't you think I can handle a little tattoo?" How was it that Jeannie could still push his buttons so easily?

Jeannie raised an eyebrow. "You, Mer? What's next, a motorcycle?"

"Who needs motorcycles when you've got jumpers?" John drawled, slinging an arm over Rodney's shoulders and cocking a hip suggestively. Jeannie grinned as Rodney turned pink and coughed, more relieved to be rescued from the conversation than truly embarrassed. He hurried off to explain the basics of arch design and structural engineering to Torren and Madison, who were eagerly assembling Atlantis in primary colors. But he positioned himself in such a way as to shamlessly eavesdrop on their conversation. This room reflected sound pretty well.

"Just... take care of my brother, John. I mean, obviously he doesn't deserve you, much less Teyla or Ronon, and believe me I'm still baffled about that. But I will make you pay from another galaxy if you let him get hurt. Physically or emotionally. And that goes double for Torren." She menacingly poked John in the chest. "We-- Look. We had a shitty, broken home life growing up. Mer and the kid both deserve better."

Rodney's ears burned, but he couldn't look away.

"I... I know," John said, helplessly. And suddenly Jeannie's arms were around him, and his arms were around her.

"You do, don't you?" Jeannie said. "Huh." And then she kissed him on the cheek and laughed. "Welcome to the family. Such as it is."

That's it, it was time to rescue John. "Jeannie, you meddler, are you trying to sabotage my marriage?" Rodney shouted. "Stop terrifying him with physical affection!"



That night, comfortably sandwiched between Ronon's body and John's, Rodney counted his blessings. Well, not blessings exactly, but-- hell. Blessings: 1) Tonight he'd had the privilege of sucking Ronon's beautiful cock, right before he'd 2) fucked John Sheppard into the mattress while 3) Teyla kissed them, her hand between her legs, which led him to 3a) Teyla's right breast and 3b) Teyla's left breast and 3c) Teyla's belly and 3d) Teyla's hips, and 4) Teyla's many other beauties (his lips were still tingling from the taste of her), and if he didn't stop on this line of thought he wasn't going to get any sleep at all, and he had a big day tomorrow-- he was a fool who was getting married tomorrow. The thought made his whole chest fill up with a warmth it could barely contain.

He felt John's lips move against his ear-- John was forever nuzzling his ear-- and heard faint words say, "Jeannie's wrong, you know. About you not deserving us. If anything I'm the undeserving one."

"Jesus Christ, does everything have to be a competition with you?" Rodney said sleepily, fondly, and turned to wrap himself around John. "Stop worrying and go to sleep."

A few minutes later, John and Ronon and Teyla were all sleeping (Rodney could tell by their breathing and snoring patterns), and Rodney felt himself drifting off too.

Perhaps he did believe in a higher power after all. Not that he would ever admit it.



//John Sheppard//

"Are you sure about this?" John asked Ronon, just once. Ronon caught his eye in that way of he had sometimes of looking right into you, searching for something. There were depths and depths to those eyes.

"I'm sure," Ronon said, and that was enough, or almost. Ronon leaned down and kissed John, hard. John smiled into his mouth and felt blood rush south when Ronon nibbled on his lower lip.

"You guys look like an American football locker room," Rodney observed. At the look on John's face, he spread his hands. "What! I hacked into your hard drive that one time I was laid up and you were all out on a mission! You know, you should really share some of that stuff."

They finished gearing up, snapping on TAC vests and holsters. Rodney had been responsible for packing up the extra bags, with the fun things, and John kept an eye out to make sure those made it into the jumper.

It had never been easy for Ronon to go through the stargate, John knew; too many memories, too much uncertainty. Too often it was his escape route into someplace worse. But it was easier these days with his team, his family, all around him, with the city to come back to.

Rodney dialed Old Athos, and John landed the jumper in a small valley and cloaked it. The air outside was hot and dry, and the sun so bright he immediately whipped out his shades. He nodded at Teyla to take point, and they made their way up the hillside toward the abandoned city.

"Remember when we met? You tried to woo me by showing off local art and culture." He grinned at her, jerking his chin toward the caves and their ancient paintings of the Wraith. Teyla swatted him reprovingly, and the sound of her laughter made John's heart flutter against his ribcage.

The temple was up ahead of them, domes clustered like mushrooms, glowing orange in the sunlight. A few trees, stunted by drought, shaded the temple walls that ringed the building. The wall had collapsed in a few places, but mostly the temple looked well-maintained. Rodney checked his life-signs detector. "It's deserted," he said. "We have the place to ourselves."

To everyone's surprise, Rodney volunteered to go first as they picked their way through the rubble-strewn halls. "Well, I don't want to have to watch you all get tattooed and then have to endure it myself," he explained.

When Ronon took the needle out, Rodney went a little pale. "Have some scotch," John offered. Rodney took a generous sip from the flask, sat down, and held out his arm.

"Are we sure this is sanitary?"

"Do you want me to lick it?" Ronon said.

Rodney laughed, and John chuckled, relieved at how uncharacteristically relaxed he seemed. He and Teyla moved almost unconsciously around McKay, putting their hands on his shoulders.

"Are you ready?" Ronon asked him.

"Wait a minute. You don't have a stencil or anything? You're going to freehand my tattoo?"

Teyla stroked Rodney's shoulder soothingly. "Ronon is a consummate artist, Rodney. Trust him; he knows this design intimately."

Rodney took a breath and nodded. John sucked in a breath in sympathy as Ronon held Rodney's arm immobile, the delicate skin of his wrist glinting in the flickering light of the brazier. He pressed the needle, loaded with black dye. Ronon's wrist flicked tightly, and the needle jumped a miniscule distance, piercing again. Angry red marks lit up around the dye, blooming on Rodney's almost translucent skin.

John found himself rubbing circles in Rodney's shoulder blades, then reaching over his shoulder and squeezing his free hand hard, teeth clenched in vicarious pain.

Ronon glanced up at John. "You weren't kidding when you said you hated needles."

John ignored him, staring resolutely at the spot behind Rodney's right ear. It was, under normal circumstances, one of his favorite places, especially because licking it was guaranteed to make Rodney flinch, then glare at him with pupils gone wide. He most definitely wasn't going to look at Ronon's intense gaze, or the delicate, precise flicking motions of his wrist. He certainly wasn't going to think about the angry red skin and dark inky lines flourishing on Rodney's arm, or the long thin needle.

"Ow ow ow ow. OW." Rodney hissed, wrenching his hand out of John's. "Christ, Sheppard, if you break my hand I swear I will reprogram your shower so it never gets hot."

"It's our shower, too." Ronon muttered, his deft hand tapping one last time. "There. Don't touch it." He swatted Rodney's free hand away.

Teyla leaned over Rodney and pressed a kiss to his lips. John saw a trickle of smoke escape their mouths. Rodney stiffened, then seemed to melt into her. John ached a little, not sure whether it was her mouth or Rodney's that he suddenly, overwhelmingly wanted. He sucked in a breath and glanced toward Ronon, who was cleaning and sterilizing the needles.

John felt Teyla's arms winding around him, gently tugging him away from Rodney.

"Here, John, this is meant for after the first ink but I think it will do you some good now." She pulled him down by the brazier, which smelled like sweet burnt hay. Teyla threw a handful of dried leaves onto it, followed by a thick black liquid. The fire hissed and John coughed against the smoke. "Breathe it in. It will help you relax. Here." She picked up an ornate object with an open bulb at the end, fitted the bulb over the brazier, and drew a deep lungful of smoke. Her eyes brimming, she pulled John in roughly, pressing her lips to his and releasing the smoke from her lungs to his.

He felt a rush of dizziness, an urge to cough, followed by a profound, heady heightened sensation. Teyla scraped the back of his neck with her blunt fingernails, and he felt the burn of it in each hair follicle. He shivered, suddenly realizing why she had filed her nails.

"Jesus, Teyla!" His vision swam within the haze of smoke that felt as though it hung loosely, heavily, within all of his muscles. He gripped her arm, flailing, and pulled himself in for another kiss, to reassure himself that she was here, with him.

"It's all right, John. " She pulled away and caught his gaze. He thought for a bizarre moment that she was reading his mind. "We are here, safe, with you." She smiled, her eyes warm, her mouth tilting wickedly. He felt his fear knot abruptly into arousal in the pit of his stomach, knowing that whatever that look signaled, it would definitely be worth it.

She took his hands, guiding them over her hips, and pressed them against her waist, to the knot of her sash. She leaned in close, her hands cupped lightly around his, her lips brushing up against his cheekbone. "I want to blindfold you, John. Your body knows to trust us--let your mind believe that trust through your skin." She twined her fingers through his, slowly unwrapping the scarf and pressing the soft material into his clenching fist.

John pulled her in for a dry kiss, his throat constricting. He drew the scarf tight and brought it to his face, fumbling a little. It pinched his hair, and he swore under his breath, shifting uncomfortably. He felt the heat of Teyla's arms, her hands efficiently smoothing his hair and tightening the knot. He was strangely, instantly comforted, and in a far corner of his mind he thought of the horses he grew up with. Blindfold the skittish horse to lead it through the fire...

Teyla brought him back toward Ronon and McKay. "Rodney." She purred. "It is my turn. Please take care of John."

John heard Rodney's breath hitch, and his own quickened in response. From the sound of Rodney's ragged breath, he was either in a lot of pain or very aroused. From the shuddering press of him against John's hip, he guessed it was probably both.

"Does it hurt?" he whispered into Rodney's hair. There was that spot, behind his ear, and he nibbled it experimentally, gratified at the tiny moan it elicited.

"Yes it hurts, I've just been stabbed about a million times with a needle. But it doesn't, at the same time. It feels... incredible."

"It's the shallah smoke." Ronon's voice was intense. "It makes the pain feel more, and good. It's been part of the ritual for generations." He chuckled. "Can't wait to find out how you take it, Sheppard."

The smoke was filtering through the room, and Teyla was biting back little gasps as Ronon set to work on her tattoo. It sounded like it hurt, but John felt heat flood through him when she let out a soft moan. He could smell the slightly sweet smoke and Rodney's stupid aftershave and the layer of sweat condensing on his skin.

Rodney took John's hand, closing his fist around all but his pointer finger, then guided it to his wrist. "Here, I'll show you." Rodney set John's finger to his skin, and John could actually feel the bump of the new ink, the skin inflamed around it. Rodney drew the finger in a circle, then traced the intricate twists of the design. He could almost see it through the calluses on his fingertips. John thought it must hurt an incredible amount. He opened his mouth, his muscles tensing to draw his hand away, and suddenly Rodney was kissing him desperately.

Rodney grabbed John's other hand, shoved with his whole body, and John fetched up against the crumbling stone wall, his wrists tight in Rodney's grip. He could feel every irregularity in the wall through the thin cotton of his shirt, and Rodney's body heat radiated against his skin, almost unbearable in contrast to the chill of the stone at his back. The knot of the blindfold dug into his scalp, and he started to see white specks flickering against the absolute black of the band. "Fuck, McKay..." he felt Rodney reach down between his legs and grab John's enthusiastically hardening cock through his pants, squeezing. A bolt of pain hit him low in his spine, transmuting into a flood of pleasure. He gritted his teeth and moaned, tasting the sweat on Rodney's neck.

Teyla's voice was low. "You will wait for us." Rodney did that whining sound he always made when Teyla was deliciously mean. But he backed off, making space for John to gasp, recovering.

When he felt steady enough on his feet, he stumbled after Rodney to the ambient heat of the fire and they sat down to wait for Ronon to finish Teyla's tattoo. Sheppard could hear their tiny movements, feel the way the air displaced around him. Teyla was panting softly, and he could picture how she must look, flushed with pain and pleasure, Ronon's swift, able hands piercing her over and over. John could feel the seam of his pants against his own straining cock. He took a fortifying swig from the flask.

When Teyla was finished, she immediately went to work on Ronon's arm, marking over a design that he had drawn there while he voiced low instructions.

Rodney was holding John's hand tenderly, tracing the lines and creases of his palm with his fingertip. It was soothing, almost, except that any touch was sending bolts of sensation coursing through him.

Too soon, it was John's turn. Ronon was grasping his arm and pulling him up into the chair, tying his wrists and forearms down.

The pain was exquisite, sharp, intense but bearable; and Ronon's hands were steady and knowing. John heard a keening sound and was embarrassed to realize that it was coming from him. He was more turned on than he'd ever been in his life. The smoke, the scotch, the needle, the fear and the heat in his belly-- he wanted to climb into Ronon's lap but his wrists were tied to the chair. He twitched and moaned. Ronon laughed and pressed a sharp elbow into John's ribs to shut him up. John bit his lip and tasted iron and salt.

When Ronon finished, Teyla wrapped a bandage over the mark, and John felt a sharp disappointment-- he wanted to see it. He whined low in his throat, breathing shallowly as he felt Ronon's weight displace the air around him. Ronon smelled spicy and astringent from the wax and oil in his hair. The scent of it mingled with Ronon's breath, familiar and damned sexy, as he leaned in close, almost but not touching him. John's vision went starry against the black of the blindfold, and synaesthesia overtook him. For a moment, he could almost taste Ronon's clean lines, hear him through his skin.

"What do you think?" Ronon's low voice shuddered straight through him.

"I think if you don't untie me right now..." John growled, so caught up in sensation that he forgot to finish his empty threat.

Ronon cut him off with a chuckling kiss, his close-cut goatee burning against John's face. John was so wrapped up in kissing him back that he almost didn't register the fact that Ronon had sliced through his restraints until he felt his hands clutch the soft, curling hair and sweat-slick skin on the back of Ronon's neck. He breathed in relief as he felt Ronon's knife part the knot at the back of his head, letting the blindfold fall away.

His hands seemed to move of their own power, and worried the bandage off. He stared at the newly inked design, cutting off the urge to scratch at it. It was an abstract tree, black, with blue swirling letters in a script he thought must be Satedan, bordered by a thick black circle with nine white letters spaced evenly around the rim. It was gorgeous and perfect, and he didn't know what it meant. He glanced at Ronon, drawing breath to ask, then stopped at the look on Ronon's face. John felt a rush of strange joy at having these unknown words placed like a promise forever on his skin, that there would always be new ways for them to know each other.

He reached up to cup Ronon's cheek, tenderly, then grinned wickedly and pressed his thigh into Ronon's crotch, gratified at the hard length he felt through Ronon's breeches.

"John," Teyla said, sounding breathless. When he finally met her dark, dilated eyes he saw that she was just as turned on as he was, and then he noticed that she was totally naked. He looked around. Rodney was naked too, and had plastered himself against Teyla's back, nibbling intently on her long neck. "Am I late to this party?"

"Don't worry, we waited for you," Rodney said, his voice giddy, a little high. "Teyla insisted."

Ronon stripped John then, which was a thing he liked to do, and sometimes John was able to admit that it was a thing he liked too. This was one of those times.



//Teyla Emmagen//

Teyla felt the warm rush of sun as she stepped through the gate onto New Athos. She always felt a pang, coming to a land that did not smell or sound quite right. But home was in her people's faces, smiling in welcome. Her chosen family--her heart--was in Atlantis, but here was her blood--blood of her kin coursing through her veins and theirs, and the sad echoes of the blood spilt, the family lost, in the brutal wars of attrition her people had faced. She shook her head to dispel the sad thoughts. Today was a day of joy.

She turned in time to dodge Torren, who sailed through the gate, tumbling gracelessly and laughing. Ronon had taught him the trick of 'flying', and now Torren insisted on being launched through the gate at every opportunity. Rodney picked him up and did his best to brush the dirt and grass from the squirming child, and they all walked down the path to the settlement.

Half the city had come out for this ceremony--all those not needed on duty--as well four dozen Athosians. Her team were all wearing their most formal clothes, all brought over from Earth; Teyla had chosen a gray tailored suit jacket and skirt that fit snugly to her body in some places but draped elegantly in others. Her hair was up in intricate braids, put together by Keller's steady hands. Ronon and Rodney were wearing dark gray suits and John had on his dress uniform. Overall, the effect was somber, but their faces made up for it, lit up with happiness and warmth. Doctor Parrish came around just before the ceremony and affixed corsages to each of their suits, bright red and pink flowers, with a small bouquet for Torren. Her son was wearing his typical play clothes and clinging to a frayed animal toy. Madison and Jeannie stood next to him.

The ceremony was thankfully not a long one; it was after all intended for children and kept their attention spans in mind.

"We perform this ceremony in honor of those that are lost," Halling reminded them. "And to remind ourselves to value every moment we have with our children, with all of our loved ones. We hold to each other tightly, in love and honor, in forgiveness, in sorrow, in joy."

They planted a young tree, their hands together tapping down soil taken from three planets and watering it with desalinated Atlantean water. It was a seasonably warm day, and the sun shone brightly on their shoulders. Ronon was the first to remove his formal jacket, and soon everyone else followed his example.

She saw John shake Halling's hand later and exchange words with him. Halling bent down and touched his forehead to John's. What words they spoke, she didn't know, and would not ask.

Lorne and Jeannie each insisted on taking dozens of staged photos, which took longer than the ceremony itself, and there was food to eat, and greetings to be exchanged with everyone present. Teyla was glad she'd worn comfortable shoes and not been talked into the strange and impractical Earth style that Dr. Keller was so fond of. Even so, her ankles ached a little by the end of the afternoon, and she surreptitiously stretched them, leaning on John's shoulder.

They broke into a cask of ale for the adults, and the children were kept busy with the much put-upon young men and women of the tribe, who organized face-paint and tumbling games, complete with prizes of candy from Earth. Teyla smiled at the wistful look on John's face as Torren, hollering, charged determinedly after the other children in a footrace. He caught her looking, and pressed his half-finished mug into her empty hands.

"I never thought I'd say this, but I'd almost rather be giving piggy-back rides than standing around drinking beer." He rested his head on her shoulder, wrapping an arm around her waist. She stroked his long fingers absently with her own. Ronon disentangled himself from Keller and Amelia, who were still not quite holding hands in public, and came over to plant a kiss on each of them.

Mr. Woolsey approached, his face flushed clear up into his hairline, an easy smile brimming over his full mug. Teyla believed it was his third.

"I would like to extend my heartfelt personal congratulations on your union." He raised the mug in solemn salute. "And may I just say, Ms. Emmagen," he leaned in conspiratorially, "your people throw one hell of a good party! I haven't had this much fun since that time Chuck, Zelenka and Lorne invited me over for that game of Strip WiiSports!"

Teyla nodded graciously, studiously avoiding looking at John's face. "Thank you, Mr. Woolsey."

He gave her the briefest of sunny smiles. "I must admit, I am curious about your tattoos. I hear this is an old Satedan ritual?" He looked sideways at Ronon.

"S'right," Ronon agreed as Teyla stretched out her arm for Woolsey's inspection. She couldn't help the color that sprang to her cheeks as he brushed his fingers against the skin of her wrist, peering for a closer view. The smoke's effects were almost, but not completely, dissipated.

"What is it? A bush?"

"It's a kind of tree. It's been the symbol of my clan for generations. We take it on our skin when we marry."

He didn't mention the tattoo on his scalp he had shown his spouses, a delicate stylized version of the new one blooming on his wrist. He had come to Teyla's door late one night six months ago, his hair shaved off, and the sight of the swirling design on his scalp had brought tears to her eyes. She had kissed his slack lips, fiercely, solidly for long seconds, heart hammering in her chest. She had gasped in relief when she felt him come back to himself and wrap his arms around her. It had been the moment she had dreaded and desired in equal part, knowing that without it she could not have asked for the gift he would later bestow upon each of them in the temple.

She saw John quietly lay a hand on Ronon's neck, his callused fingers twining themselves around the nubs of the new dreads growing there. She smiled gently at both of them, the memory of Melena like a private weight in the air around them.

"We were going to transplant one here on New Athos, but had to go with a native tree instead. I thought Parrish was going to break out in hives at the idea of introducing an alien plant into the ecosystem," John volunteered, breaking the tension with his exaggerated drawl.

"It's a remarkably intricate piece of work, Ronon. It's very like the escutcheons of medieval Earth, if I'm understanding the meaning of the symbolism properly," Woolsey remarked.

John choked. "Excuse me... escutcheons?"

Woolsey glanced up at him. "Yes, Colonel Sheppard. I fancy myself a bit of an expert on the subject, actually, though my studies are merely a... hobby of mine." Teyla noticed that John's ears had gone bright pink, and he appeared to be biting the inside of his cheek. Woolsey patted Teyla's hand and cleared his throat. "Well, I must be off. I do have a city to run." He tottered unsteadily in the direction of the gate.

Teyla quirked an eyebrow at John. "Let us in on the joke?"

"'Escutcheon' also means 'the distribution of male or female pubic hair'." John snickered. "I read it in a medical dictionary during my undergrad. Remembered it because, you know, Mensa."

"Woolsey should really get laid." Ronon observed, and they all dissolved into laughter, giddy on alcohol and love.

Rodney looked up from the datapad he and Zelenka were poring over, and marched up to them, mouth sloping sideways in that endearing way he had when he didn't know what was going on. "What'd I miss? Guys?" Teyla, laughing helplessly, hauled him in for a happy kiss.

--------
~Fin~
--------

Date: 2009-07-09 05:38 am (UTC)
anatratrope: TOS Kirk being choked (choking kirk)
From: [personal profile] anatratrope
Hooray! We posted it! *smishes you*

Date: 2009-07-09 07:55 am (UTC)
wintercreek: Blue-tinted creek in winter with snowy banks. ([SGA] team: bright new world)
From: [personal profile] wintercreek
Oh, goodness, I adored the core of this when I betaed it and now that it's blossomed into such a lovely fic I adore it more. I think this turned out beautifully - the section breaks and allotments of POV are perfect for the shape of the story. Well done, you two! <3

Date: 2009-07-09 10:43 am (UTC)
anatratrope: a giant rubber duckie floating near a bridge (Giant Duckie)
From: [personal profile] anatratrope
Oh, thank you! You pointed out just exactly the issues that had been nagging us! Really, the fic is so much better thanks to you!! Thank you so much for your help on it!

O MOI GAAAAAAAAAD

Date: 2009-07-09 06:55 pm (UTC)
anna_bird: Spike, Buffy, and a mug o' blood (Default)
From: [personal profile] anna_bird
\o/

Okay, reading now.

Re: O MOI GAAAAAAAAAD

Date: 2009-07-09 07:03 pm (UTC)
were_duck: Ellen Ripley from Alien looking pensively to the right in her space helmet (Default)
From: [personal profile] were_duck
\o/ !!!

YOU GUYS YOU GUYS YOU GUYS

Date: 2009-07-09 07:26 pm (UTC)
anna_bird: Spike, Buffy, and a mug o' blood (Default)
From: [personal profile] anna_bird
Yeah, really not the type of gift you can bring to the wedding. :D And yet, infinitely better than a card! *cuddles smut*

Oh oh oh! How do I BEGIN?? I love you guys? Is that clear? Eeeeeee!

TREE TATTOOS! ESCUTCHEON! *dies* (Can't stop the caps, Mal.) Honestly, I love the ceremony of it, how it's more serious and ritualistic and painful than a straight-up modern-day marriage or wedding ceremony.* And it comes from Ronon and Melena and Sateda! I loved that, and I suddenly have these images of tree-covered Satedans, mmmmm.

I love that John's the one with the needle phobia. (After all, Rodney seems like the obvious choice for physical weaknesses in fic and canon, right? I LOVE IT when in stories like this he's too busy for shit like that! Yeah!) I love that they have to talk him through it. And gah, so hot. *fans self* *turns on AC* *expires from too much fic heat, as is in TX* I think you guys hit a perfect combination of hot and sweet, with Torren and Jeanie - JEEEEEANIE!!! - and the way their family functions.

Also, this:
"And may I just say, Ms. Emmagen," he leaned in conspiratorially, "your people throw one hell of a good party! I haven't had this much fun since that time Chuck, Zelenka and Lorne invited me over for that game of Strip WiiSports!"

AHAHAHAHAHA your Woolsey, these images, they kill me! Also your John, he is 12 with his pervy medical knowledge and I love him.

I love this so much. A teapot and cookies AND THIS. You guys are so awesome!




*Then again, I have heard horror stories about bachelor parties and stripper stilettos. Sigh. (Or squee, depending on the story.)

Re: YOU GUYS YOU GUYS YOU GUYS

Date: 2009-07-09 08:11 pm (UTC)
anatratrope: TOS Kirk being choked (choking kirk)
From: [personal profile] anatratrope
YAY!!! Our job is complete! We did try to have it done for the wedding, but... YOU know how slow we both are at writing! It turned out much better this way, and you were away from internetland anyhow!

I woke up this morning and thought, "Oh my God, we didn't warn for the haircut!" and then I laughed... kind of a lot.

I'm so happy you like it!! I love Woolsey, too! Guy needs to let loose a little bit, though--good thing Lorne and Chuck and everyone are showing him a good time.

And yes, oh scaredy-John! I'm confident they'll win him over to the pleasures of hardcore play-piercing once he embraces his inner masochist. (that is a very intense and very awesome kink bingo fic by [personal profile] telesilla)

LOVE YOU TOO!!!

Re: YOU GUYS YOU GUYS YOU GUYS

Date: 2009-07-10 03:00 am (UTC)
anna_bird: Spike, Buffy, and a mug o' blood (Default)
From: [personal profile] anna_bird
Hey, if slow writing turns out stuff like this, I think I have newly raised levels of patience! :)

Jesus, I think I've finally found a squick. Not that the story isn't extremely well-written (and Rodney's voice, my god, she gets it perfect), especially in the needly parts, but then I clicked through to the pictures on BME, and no. Which is weird considering how often I get stuck with needles; or maybe not!

*smooshes you both* Your Kirk icon is killin' me. I think I need to stock up on TOS icons onver on this account.

Re: YOU GUYS YOU GUYS YOU GUYS

Date: 2009-07-10 03:01 am (UTC)
anna_bird: Spike, Buffy, and a mug o' blood (Default)
From: [personal profile] anna_bird
Re: squick, I'm referring to the link following the telesilla story, not this one!

Re: YOU GUYS YOU GUYS YOU GUYS

Date: 2009-07-10 03:03 am (UTC)
anna_bird: Spike, Buffy, and a mug o' blood (Default)
From: [personal profile] anna_bird
*smishes back*

Slow writers, whatever! It's been like forever since I was online anyway. And OT4!

I flail at commenting

Date: 2009-07-24 10:27 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: Fully unclothed dorsal Paul Gross from Slings & Arrows (naked & proud)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
obviously....

This went from kinda cool to WOW in the trip from beta to gamma!

flappy hands! flappy hands! flappy hands!

Date: 2009-10-17 12:59 am (UTC)
livrelibre: DW barcode (Default)
From: [personal profile] livrelibre
This story is pretty much pure happiness. It contains so many things I love: ot4, created families, tattooing, substantial Teyla and Ronon and their cultures, etc. All kinds of love!

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