They had stepped through the gate to a world that reminded them all of a Hawaiian paradise, including a beautiful people wearing simple loin cloths and flowers leis and not much else that were all deeply dark skinned with dark hair and eyes.
They had all been smiling in greeting at Rodney, Ronon, and John until they had seen the fourth member of the team, that being Laura Cadman who was filling in for Teyla who was visiting the Athosians.
The moment that they had seen Cadman a collective gasp had gone out among the natives and an immediate hush had followed with all of the natives dropping to one knee.
Things had gotten a little fuzzy after that because all three of the men were hit with small blow darts and rendered unconscious.
The three men awoke in locked cell, weaponless. Ronon even discovered to his annoyance that every single one of his knives were missing. There was no sign of Cadman anywhere.
After what seemed like an eternity, the planet's leader, Chancellor Bugula appeared at the cell door.
"Where is my Lieutenant?" John spat out.
Chancellor Bugula smiled beguiling and replied, "She has been taken to the temple as is her destiny."
"Her destiny?" John choked out.
"She is our goddess returned to us, and she has been installed in the temple where she belongs so that she will bestow her blessings of fertility upon our men that their seed will be strong."
Rodney's eyes grew huge at the implication and he squeaked, "And just how is she going to bestow her blessings?"
"Each night when the sun sets she will choose and take unto her bed and into her body one blessed man."
"Not likely," John snarled.
"She's not a goddess, she's just a person," Rodney tried to reason with Bugula.
"Believe what you will. But she is our goddess returned."
And without another word he left, leaving the three men in the cell fuming and plotting.
As the sun was getting ready to set, a native man came to the door and in quick succession knocked all three men back out with more darts.
They awoke to find themselves securely tied to columns in some sort of temple and gagged. There was a raised dais in the center of the temple and what appeared to be some sort of chaise lounge on top of it. Sitting on the edge of the chaise, wearing some sort of diaphanous toga and heavy golden facial cosmetics was a very annoyed Cadman. There was a heavy gold cuff around her ankle with a golden chain attached to the floor of the dais. Behind the dais on the wall was an enormous mural of a fire-haired goddess with blue eyes, a goddess that did, in fact, look a little like Cadman.
Cadman's eyes found Sheppard's and she nodded ever so slightly, he realized that she had a plan and gave her a nod in return.
A gong sounded and a long line of beautiful, oiled, sun bronzed men entered the temple to stand in front of the dias.
Chancellor Bugula clapped his hands once and addressed Laura, "Tell us, divine one, which man do you choose to bestow your blessings upon this night?"
Laura stood and pulled herself up haughtily. "First let me say that I am angry over the treatment of those that had protected me and returned me to you. It is shameful how you repaid them. Now, those two," she pointed to Rodney and Ronon, "Are to be respectfully shown back to the Stargate that they may return home and spread the word of my joyous welcome here."
Chancellor Bugula paled and nodded rapidly.
"And, has befitting his loyal service in seeing me returned to you, my blessing this evening will go to that one," she pointed to Sheppard.
Chancellor Bugula bowed and replied, "Your will shall be done, divine one."
He stood and clapped his hands twice.
John was quickly untied and strong hands took him from the room. He knew what Cadman was doing, she was obviously buying them time for Ronon and Rodney to return with reinforcements, but he wondered exactly how far this was all going to go.
John felt a familiar little sting and when he awoke, he had apparently been bathed and oiled and dressed in the briefest of loincloths. He was lying a large bed surrounded by a shimmery curtain. He sat up and could see that beyond the curtain the room was enormous with similar pillars to the ones they had been tied to earlier. He could also make out a dozen people of different sizes standing in a ring about thirty feed from the bed. They were covered from head to foot in the same diaphanous material that Cadman's toga had been made from. John frowned seeing dart guns in all their hands.
A gong sounded and John heard a door open on the far side of the room. Chancellor Bugula entered with an entourage of burly men carrying a litter bearing Cadman.
Chancellor Bugula opened the curtain near the bed and one of the men lifted Cadman in his arms and reverently transferred her to the bed next to John. Another of the men secured her ankle chain to the floor near the bed.
Chancellor Bugula addressed John, "You are a most fortunate man to be so chosen by our beloved goddess. May your seed be blessed."
Without further ado, Chancellor Bugula bowed and the entourage left, the others outside the bed curtain did not.
John quickly looked to Cadman and asked, "Are you alright, Lieutenant?"
"Yes, sir, just really really annoyed," Cadman replied with a grin.
"You and me both, Lieutenant."
He gestured to the people outside the curtain. "Do you know if they're going to stay there?"
Cadman swallowed hard and dropped her voice to a whisper for his ears only, "Yes. The situation isn't as benign as it seems, sir. I was able to get some information while I was being dressed up like this. Those aren't knock-out darts, they're poison. And if you attempt to injure me or if you refuse my attentions they will kill you, sir."
"Wonderful," he muttered in return.
"Rodney and Ronon will be returned the to Stargate at midnight, that's about four hours from now, sir."
"Why not immediately?"
"Because everyone is outside the temple praying to me to "bless your seed", sir. They will be out there for hours."
"So no rescue for at least five hours and poison darts at the ready."
"That about sums it up, sir."
John's hands fisted in rage. Cadman reached over and gently laid a hand over one of his fists. "I know what you're thinking, sir, and sacrificing yourself won't get me out of this tonight. They would just send in another man to take your place."
"Dammit," John sighed.
He unfisted the hand under hers and turned it over to gently grip hers and he asked, "Why me, lieutenant? Why not McKay or Ronon?"
Cadman gave him a wane little smile and said, "Plausible deniability, sir. You and I can decide as officers that whatever goes on here goes no further than us. I don't think Rodney or Ronon could do that well."
"No, I see your point. But, lieutenant, I will accept whatever charges or consequences you want levied when this is over. You have my word."
"This isn't your fault, sir."
"Maybe not, but you're still my responsibility, Lieutenant."
"Can you maybe call me Laura for now, sir?"
"Only if you call me John," he replied with a smirk.
"Deal," Laura said with a nervous giggle.
John teased, "Are goddesses supposed to giggle?"
That brought on more giggles and broke a little of the tension between them. Those outside the curtain also seemed to relax a little.
John reached over and toyed with one of the earrings dangling against Laura's hair. He brushed his knuckle gently over her smooth cheekbone, his expression a little pensive and he admitted. "This isn't how I imagined this happening."
"You've imagined this?" Laura asked, gesturing between them.
Blushing, John admitted, "Once or twice..."
"Really?" Laura asked in awe.
"Sorry. I probably shouldn't have said that."
"I'm glad you did. So tell me, how did you imagine this happening?"
John scooted back on the bed and stretched out on his side, leaning up on his elbow. Laura followed suit and mirrored him.
"Nothing specific, I just though you'd be someone fun on a date. Someone that I could convince to do crazy stuff like surfing or skydiving or something."
Laura grinned at his admission and found it utterly charming that he had thought about dating her, not just getting her between the sheets. "I've never been surfing."
John reached over and trailed his fingers down her arm, her pale skin on display. "You'd need good sunblock."
"I can always steal Rodney's"
"True, he makes it by the gallon, I'm sure he can part with some."
"I would have..." Laura said impulsively.
"Would have what?"
"Gone on a date with you, if you had asked me, and we didn't have to worry about regs."
John nodded and trained his eyes on the bed between them. "Do you think we can When Harry Met Sally this one?"
Laura swallowed hard. "I don't know. I don't think it's worth the risk though. Do you?"
John sighed. "Dammit."
Laura threw him a smirk and teased, "I think you said that already, John."
John frowned and said absently, "We don't have any condoms."
Laura giggled again, she just couldn't help herself. At the flat glare he gave her in return she said, "Sorry. It's just that condoms sort of defeat the whole "blessing" purpose."
"Yeah, I know, I'm just thinking out loud. Tell me you're on some sort of birth control?"
"Yes. I normally wear the patch. They took it off when they bathed me but we shouldn't have any issues with that, I've been on them for a couple of years now and the infirmary says my hormonal levels are perfect."
"Good, that's one less thing to worry about. Getting you pregnant on top of everything else is not high on my list... Not that, you know, getting you pregnant is a bad thing, if you wanted to have a baby, but this is not how I would want to conceive a baby with you."
Laura just sat there blinking as he rambled. When he was finished and looked up from where he had again been staring at the bed, his brow furrowed with worry, Laura took matters into her own hands and leaned in and kissed him softly on the mouth.
The kiss surprised John but he went with the flow. When they pulled back from it he asked softly, "What was that for?"
She smiled and replied, "For just being you."
"Oh," he grinned, "that I can do."
They took their next kiss a little deeper and it was clear to both of them that there was an undeniable attraction between them.
Laura rolled on her back, tugging John on top of her. Neither his loincloth or her toga offered much of a barrier between them and even though the making out was hot and heavy, Laura could tell that another part of John's anatomy wasn't getting with the program.
John pulled back and met her eyes. "I don't know if I can do this."
In her peripheral vision, Laura could see the observers and their dart guns. She whispered, "Pretend it's just us here. We've been dating for a while and went to some crazy costume party and now we're back at my place and you're going to put on all your best moves."
John laughed softly in spite of himself. He said before kissing her gently, "Like I said, someone who'd be fun on a date."
Somehow they managed to get their bodies on board and they had sex that was gentle and tender and actually ended up being quite good, something that surprised them both under the circumstances. John's release had been heralded by an observer ringing a gong. John had flopped on his back, trying to catch his breath and wrap his head around what he had just done. Laura refused to let him wallow though and she tucked herself along his side, her head pillowed on his shoulder, and amused herself by running her fingers through his crinkly chest hair.
"Thank you, John," she whispered and pressed a kiss to his chest.
She shivered and admitted honestly, "For not making me do this with a stranger."
John's arms circled around her protectively and pressed her even closer against him. He bent his neck and rubbed his cheek against her hair. He didn't know what do say, so he didn't say anything.
They slept for a while and when they awoke, all the observers, save one who was now on the far side of the room, had left. A tray of fruit and cheese and a flagon of water had been left for them along with a pair of silky white robes. Their discarded toga and loincloth were no where to be found.
Deciding to kill time, they donned the robes and made themselves comfortable on the bed with the tray between them.
A hour later they were lying side by side on their backs comparing places they'd been deployed when the unmistakable sounds of Ronon's gun firing outside their room made them both sit straight up. A moment later Ronon burst through the door and stunned the lone observer in the corner. Right behind him was Lorne and a full tactical team.
Their rescue was right on time.
They lied their way through the debriefs and reports, giving up only the concocted story they had agreed upon.
Their medical exams didn't show anything out of the ordinary either, and they were believed when they told Keller that nothing had happened. Laura had quickly slapped on a new birth control patch even though her blood work showed that there wasn't any issue with her hormonal levels with it being off for such a short period of time.
There was a lot of talk about the two of them in the city's rumor mill, but the distance they kept from each other after their rescue was the same as it had been before the incident and eventually the rumors wore themselves out.
Three months passed and the incident was all but forgotten in the normal frantic glut of incidents that the city sprouted.
Laura had just showered after sparring and put on baggy sweats and was trying to figure out how to spend their mandatory day off the next day when the door to her quarters chimed. Still rubbing her wet hair with a towel she answered it to find John standing there on the other side.
He appeared a little nervous, eager even and she asked in confusion, "Colonel?"
He held out a lotion bottle with a hot pink bow and said, "I got this for you, it's some of McKay's stash."
She took it and grinned. "You remembered that?"
His expression soften and he replied honestly, "I remember everything."
Laura blushed and looked away.
"So, um, did you know that technically you're still listed as part of the Daedalus crew?"
"No," her eyes flew back up to meet his.
"Yeah, it had something to do with job classifications and budgeting. Basically bean counters fudging things."
"Oh. I didn't know."
"Me either until I checked into it."
"So why is that important, sir?"
John grinned. "It's important because it means you're not technically in my chain of command."
"And? I'm still not following you, sir."
The eagerness was back on his face and he said lightly, "And... it means that we wouldn't technically be breaking any regs if I asked you if you wanted to go surfing with me tomorrow, just the two of us. Maybe pack a picnic or something."
Her smile was instant and she replied, "I've never been surfing."
"I know. So whatdaya say, let me teach how to surf?"
"I'd love to go surfing with you tomorrow... John."
She caught the relief that flashed in his eyes, who would have ever thought John Sheppard got nervous, and he said, "Great, I'll see you in the morning then, Laura."
He turned on his heel and left and the door closed. Laura made her way back to her bathroom and combed out the snarls in her damp hair. Her eyes kept falling on the bottle of sunblock and its pink bow and she smiled. In the months since the incident, she had been feeling a little like she might have missed out on something great and John had just alleviated that sense of loss with his heartfelt words and flirty charm.
She looked back to the mirror, her skin was scrubbed clean and her damp hair straight down her back. She bore no resemblance to the painted and adorned goddess that had been chained in the temple. She left the bathroom and turned off the light. As she made her way to bed she chuckled out loud as she remembered that John had wanted to date her long before he ever saw her in a toga.