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Stolen Moments

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Though most people didn't realize it, Ronon was the youngest member of their team, by several years. Yet, as Sheppard watched him today, as he lifted his young Athosian bride in his arms, and his deep laughter could be heard through the tent, he thought that it was one of the first times that the warrior looked as young as he actually was. Love had brought with it the easing of his guilt and his burdens, and allowed him to once again find a measure of happiness. It made John glad to see it, and as he shared a smile with Teyla and Rodney, he knew that they saw it too, even if Rodney rolled his eyes as John's sentimentality.

Teyla, Rodney and John sat together in the positions of honor usually reserved for the groom's family, and shared their amusement at the boisterous behavior of their usually reserved teammate. It felt good to see Ronon happy and at peace after so long, and to see the romance that they had indulgently watched flourish the last months come to fruition at this happy occasion. Kersa was a good choice for their teammate, and they had all approved of the relationship, as if they truly were the elders of Ronan's family, which in many ways they were.

The day grew long, and they joined the crowd in toasting the couple's happiness, while they said their farewells and took their leave to their new home to begin their honeymoon. The whole team had pitched in on the construction of the new dwelling where the couple would begin their lives together, in the Athosian custom. Even if the couple would spend most of their time on Atlantis, they would always have a home here, just as Teyla still did.

After Ronon and his new bride were safely departed and they would no longer be conspicuous in their absence, Teyla took John and Rodney by their hands and led them out the back of the tent to her home. It was simple but not stark, and John always felt peaceful here, in a way he couldn't when they were all on Atlantis. He thought the others did, too. Teyla's smile always came easier, and while Rodney still made snarky and impolite remarks, they were less frequent and less barbed here. They never brought work here, and disagreements were left on the other side of the door. This was their place of sanctuary, where they could all be together with minimal disturbances or reminders of life on other planets or in other galaxies and the many conflicts that awaited them as a result.

Teyla had brought him here, not long after John's brush with the virus that had him tried to morph him into some wraith-like creature, along with Rodney, who had been unwilling to stray from his side. They were, none of them, lovers, yet. That had come later - a simple progression that went almost unnoticed and unremarked upon by any of them until things had already been irrevocably changed between them.

John didn't regret any of it, and as he followed Teyla and Rodney to the sleeping chamber, he knew that they didn't either. None of them believed in regrets; they all realized that time was too precious to waste on them, and they had each other to hold onto in those moments that weighed on their souls. This wasn't one of them. This was a celebration, as they reaffirmed their love and commitment to each other as surely as Ronon and Kersa were doing at this minute.

They were not married, and it was unlikely that any of them ever would be, because none of them felt the need for anything beyond this bond that they already shared, but it made their own union no less special for them. As they undressed each other on the way to the bed, John paused to kiss each of his mates tenderly and deeply, saying a little prayer to whatever fates had brought them all together. It had taken him traveling across two galaxies to be in this place, with these two special people, to the only true home he had ever known. He wouldn't have given up a single moment of his previous life, because they had all brought him to this, and as he lay here making love to the two people who made his life worth living, he felt like on of the luckiest men alive.

Every kiss they shared and every touch between them was special, even in those moments when they were tinted with frustration or desperation. As their bodies moved together, two or three, becoming one, giving themselves over to pleasure and release, it was an act of love. The rules of his country and his command may prohibit this relationship, but he wouldn't, he couldn't have given it up, even if he had cared to. They all knew the risks, and they dealt with them the best that they could, as they did any obstacles they faced – together.

It was that feeling, of synergy, of faith and friendship and love, as much as the feel of Teyla's tightness clenching around him, or Rodney moving in and out of his body in concert that drove him to ecstasy. As he felt his body clenching in pleasure, as he reached his peak, he heard Teyla's cry echo his own, and Rodney's following soon after, and his heart beat in triple time, even as his body relaxed into lassitude. They tumbled together to the sheets, and held each other close, forgetting for a moment everything beyond these walls, and their time together.

Ronon was across the village, beginning his new life with his bride, and John could only wish him the happiness and peace that he had found for himself in the arms and hearts of the people that he loved. It was what gave him the strength to face each new day and each new challenge, whatever the future may hold for any of them. Together they were strongest, and wisest and the bravest, for each other, and for those that they held dear. That was all that anyone, in any galaxy could ask of them.

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