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The Wraith are gone, the city is safe -- for the moment, at least -- and John Sheppard has been awake for three days. Finally back in his room, he tries to sit down on his bed, but he's too jumpy to relax. Too much adrenaline, too many stimulants, the terror/thrill of his own imminent death, and the certainty of the demise of Atlantis (both averted at the last possible moment) have left him with his mouth dry, his heart pounding, and a restless feeling like his muscles just can't stop contracting. He's so tired he can hardly think, but sleep appears to be out of the question.

Instead, he thinks about Elizabeth: the joy of seeing her alive, the softness of her body and the smell of gunpowder in her hair when she'd embraced him, the relief plain on her face and glistening in her eyes. He'd been so sure that she was dead, that all of them were dead, that sitting alone in his room it almost feels like a dream to be alive.

John doesn't always think things through. He goes with his gut a lot, and it usually serves him well, but it also gets him into trouble. He's not sure yet which path he's on this time, but he gives up on trying to rest and heads for Elizabeth's quarters.

He pauses just outside, reconsidering. It's late. She's been awake as long as he has, probably for the first time in her life. John has been through things like this before, popping amphetamine pills to stay awake on long missions in Afghanistan, knowing he or his fellow soldiers could be killed at any moment, but it's not the kind of thing a civilian should be expected to endure. He doesn't want to disturb her, but--

He knocks gently on the door, and says in a soft voice, "Elizabeth? Are you still awake?" It's quiet enough that if she's asleep she won't wake up; at least, that's what his intent is. But the door slides open, and she's still dressed, awake but with dark circles forming under her eyes.

"Major? Is something wrong?" John hesitates, then steps inside, letting the door shut behind him. He doesn't answer, doesn't let himself think about what he's doing, just steps forward, slides his hand into her hair, and kisses her. She's still for a moment, surprised, but then she kisses back, her lips opening under his and her hands coming to rest on his biceps. When they come up for air, she asks, "John, what are you doing?"

"Just-- Just celebrating being alive, I guess." It sounds stupid to say it out loud, but there it is. Elizabeth looks like she understands, though, and this time she kisses him. Her mouth is hot and intent, and her hands roam over his body like she's checking to make sure he's in one piece. Yeah, he thinks, she gets it. She presses herself against him like she's just as desperate for human touch as he is; it's not long before she's got one hand down the back of his pants and one up the front of his shirt. Her hands are slender and delicate, a diplomat's hands, not the calloused mess that John's hands are.

She doesn't seem to mind the callouses though when he pushes his hands up her sides, rucking up her shirt enough to get his hands on her bra. He's reaching around to undo the hooks in the back when there's a soft knock on her door, just the same way he had knocked earlier. They step away from each other at the same time, pushing their clothes back into place. John leans against her desk to catch his breath while she adjusts her hair, then touches the panel to open the door.

Rodney looks up at Elizabeth as soon as the door opens, as if he'd been staring at the floor, fidgeting with his hands. John opens his mouth to say hello but Rodney doesn't even look in his direction, just goes straight to Elizabeth. "Oh thank god you're awake," he says, even faster than his usual rapid delivery, "I know this isn't part of our arrangement, Elizabeth, but we almost died, like for real almost died, and I have taken so many stimulants, and I can't-- I just-- I need something to focus on, I need you, can we--" His hands are on Elizabeth's arms and he's close up in her personal space; John can't see his expression since he's facing the other direction, but Elizabeth glances up at him over Rodney's shoulder. Rodney's head jerks up to look in the same direction, and as soon as he registers John's presence in the room, he lets go of Elizabeth and takes a few steps back, leaving a wide space between them. "Oh," he says. "Major. Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt-- I'll just--"

"Rodney," Elizabeth says, with the commanding tone in her voice she uses when she really needs people to listen to her. Rodney quiets and she comes closer and rests a hand on his arm. "It's okay, you're okay, you just need to relax."

John shifts his weight between his feet. He starts to question why he came here in the first place; what was he thinking? He can't just show up and take advantage of Elizabeth when she's exhausted, when she has other responsibilities, just to have thank-god-we're-alive sex. Rodney clearly needs something from her, probably more than he does, so John decides it's probably time to back off. "I can go," he offers. "I was just-- I can go."

"No," Elizabeth says. "If you two are both going to come to my quarters in the middle of the night, after we've all been awake for more than 60 hours straight, and we're all too-- too amped up to sleep, then I'm going to take advantage of it. Celebrating we're alive, right, John?"

He blinks at her. His brain is too muddled from exhaustion; she can't be proposing what he thinks she is. Rodney is staring too, a small line forming between his eyebrows as they draw together. But then she kisses Rodney, and it's something John never thought he'd see but it sparks something hot in the pit of his belly. It's not a long kiss, but it's far from chaste. When she releases him, she reaches for John, pulls him down, and kisses him too. "Oh my god," Rodney says, voice a little strangled.

"You guys are going to need to help me out here and let me know if you want to do this, because I've had to make too many decisions for too many people the last few days and I'm done." Elizabeth looks at John, then at Rodney. "I won't be offended if you say no."

"Yes," Rodney says quickly, "yes, I'm in."

They both look at John. He shrugs. "Sure," he says, because what the hell else is he going to say? He wants Elizabeth -- he needs Elizabeth, and so does Rodney, apparently. So if Elizabeth wants them both, then that's what she'll get.

There's a bit of maneuvering involved -- none of them have had a threesome before -- but after a lot of clumsy but eager kissing and touching they end up naked, with John behind Elizabeth, kissing her neck, one hand reaching around to fondle her breasts and the other holding her hip. Rodney is on her other side, kissing her lips with his fingers curled around her cheek and his other hand between her legs. The jittery feeling starts to clear now that John's body clearly has a purpose, and the fear of losing everyone subsides with the heat of bare skin pressing close to his.

Rodney's hand moves down from Elizabeth's face, trailing over her shoulder, then moving down her side. His fingers brush over John's arm on the way, and John twitches, unexpectedly sensitive. If Rodney notices he doesn't say anything, just keeps moving his hand down until it's on Elizabeth's hip, then behind to get a handful of her ass.

It's a great ass, by the way. Rodney's fingers brush against John's hip in the process, not necessarily on purpose but he's clearly not shying away from the contact, and John gives up on trying to maintain any kind of attempt to avoid touching Rodney that he might have been making. Elizabeth is breathing hard, arching her neck up toward John's mouth as her hips shift against Rodney's hand, and therefore also shift against John's cock, which is pressing hard into her backside. "Can you--" Rodney starts to speak, then licks his lips, hesitates, and tries again. "Can you get on the bed? Just sit on the edge." John sits on the bed, pulling Elizabeth up between his legs. "Yeah, good, like that," Rodney says, and drops to his knees.

Watching Rodney eat Elizabeth out is possibly the most erotic thing John has ever seen. It shouldn't be surprising to him that Rodney approaches sex like he does anything else -- with single-minded focus and determination, like his goal in life is to give her the most pleasure possible. It's like watching the best kind of porn, except Elizabeth is real and alive under his fingers, leaning back against his chest. Whatever Rodney is doing down there must be amazing because she's making desperate little noises, and when she cranes her head backward to kiss John it's hot and dirty and it's all he can do to not just rub himself off against her back. Instead he tries to focus on her pleasure, massaging her breasts, teasing the hard nubs of her nipples.

Rodney's gotten his fingers into the mix now too; John can see his arm moving as he works them in and out of her, his mouth still on her. Elizabeth moans and starts moving her hips, rocking forward to meet Rodney's fingers. Her hands clench tight on John's thighs, and she starts talking, gasping out, "Yeah, right there, don't stop, don't stop." Rodney makes a muffled noise, like he wants this so badly he couldn't stop if he tried, and John hasn't really thought about Rodney like this before but that little eager noise sends another rush of blood south to his already aching dick.

Elizabeth doesn't scream when she comes. Instead, she turns her face into John's shoulder and presses her mouth against him to muffle the sound while her body arches and trembles. He holds her through it, arm tight across her waist until she collapses back into him, breathing hard. Rodney stands up, and John doesn't mean to look at him but he does. Rodney's eyes are dark and intent in a way John has never seen before, his hand and mouth glistening with Elizabeth's fluids, his cock hard and thick, curved up until the tip touches his stomach. His eyes meet John's briefly, but then he's leaning in and kissing Elizabeth, open-mouthed, and she kisses him back like she loves the taste of herself in his mouth.

John swallows and lets his hands move to her hips, pushing against her so she can feel the full length of him against her back. He doesn't have sex that often, but he has never wanted anything more than he wants to be inside her right now. "Condoms?" he asks, rocking against her to make his intent clear.

She pulls back from Rodney's mouth to answer, "Yeah, in the drawer. God, John, I want you to fuck me." He bites his tongue to keep himself under control, because she can't know what it does to him to hear her talk like that. As he moves away to dig in her bedside table, he hears her say to Rodney, "That was amazing, I had no idea you were so good at that."

"Yes, well, you never really let me," Rodney replies. Earlier he mentioned an arrangement, and now, John's starting to put the pieces together. Clearly this isn't the first time Rodney and Elizabeth have had sex, and John isn't entirely sure what to think about that. He finds the box of condoms and pulls one out, and when he turns back Rodney is kneeling on the bed and Elizabeth's hand is on his dick, slow and steady. Rodney's head is down, shoulders moving in time with his heavy breaths. It's strange seeing him like this, quiet and unguarded, taking what's offered but not being pushy. Then again, John is also here to take what's being offered -- what Elizabeth is offering them both.

He puts on the condom and Elizabeth lets go of Rodney and lays back on the bed, looking up at John hungrily. She's beautiful. She's beautiful all the time, but he doesn't let himself think about it too hard, usually. Like this, though, flushed and naked, hair mussed and lips swollen from kissing, he lets himself appreciate it. He doesn't deserve her but he wants her all the same, and even if it's just because of almost dying and exhaustion, she's made it clear that she wants him too.

John moves over her and kisses her again, and again, until she says, "Come on, come on," hooks her leg around his hip and reaches between them to guide him into position. He pushes into her easily; she's already slick from her own arousal and from Rodney's mouth, and both of them groan when he's all the way in.

"Jesus christ," Rodney mutters, laying on his side next to Elizabeth and settling a hand on her breast. "You're so--" He glances at John, then back at Elizabeth. "Beautiful," he finishes, leaning in to kiss her. John starts moving, slowly at first, every inch of her body around him and gasp of her breath reminding him that she's alive, that they're all alive.

It's good. It's really good -- Elizabeth is hot and tight and eager, and she keeps her leg around his hip, pulling him in and using it as leverage to push back against him. She arches into Rodney's lips as they travel down her neck, then move on to her breasts, his short hair brushing against John's chest in the process. Elizabeth's hands are on Rodney's head and on John's arm, and he tightens his fingers in the sheets and tries to go slowly, to treat her gently, to make this more about her than it is about him.

Rodney lifts his head and turns to John, his face surprisingly close. For a moment John thinks Rodney is going to kiss him, but then Rodney whispers in his ear, "Harder, she likes it harder." There's something about the heat of Rodney's breath on his ear that sends shivers down his spine, and he snap his hips hard, driving into her. Elizabeth moans, and Rodney smiles. He's still so close John can feel it against his ear. "Told you," he says, then slides a hand down between them to rub her clit.

John never thought he'd want Rodney to talk more, but he finds himself desperate for that throaty whisper in his ear, for Rodney to tell him about what he's done in bed with Elizabeth, about what she likes, about what drives her crazy. "Tell me more," he says, not quite looking at Rodney.

"More what?" Rodney asks, and god, that is so Rodney that John can't help smiling.

Elizabeth laughs, a breathy, half-gasping laugh, and says, "Talk dirty to him, Rodney, I think he likes it." It's stupid to be embarrassed about it, when he's got his cock buried inside her and Rodney's hand between them, but John feels his cheeks heat up all the same. Rodney is looking at him consideringly, like some new scientific problem has just been revealed to him, and then he leans in and starts talking.

"She's always on top with me, you wouldn't believe how good she is at it. It's hard and fast and she rubs herself in little circles just like--" Elizabeth arches her back and cries out at whatever Rodney is doing with his hand. "--just like that, god, I love to watch her get herself off, love the way she takes control." John is too turned on to be embarrassed about being into dirty talk anymore; his breathing is heavy and he thrusts into her harder and faster; it seems to be what she wants, too by the way she's writhing around under him and breathing a steady stream of incoherent curses and encouragement, come on and feels so good and oh fuck and John. She reaches up to grab on to his arms, fingers digging into his biceps. "But watching you fuck her is-- She wouldn't let just anyone do that, would you, Elizabeth? You're both so gorgeous, I'm going to be thinking about this for weeks."

Rodney shifts his position a little so he can get better leverage against her while still keeping up his narration in John's ear. His shoulder brushes against John's and he leans in again, saying, "Look, see how she's tilting her head back? And how fast her breathing is getting? She's going to come, you just have to keep it up, just a little faster-- Yeah, like that, god, fuck her just like that," and Elizabeth cries out, fingernails cutting small curves into John's arms, thighs tightening around him. He fucks her through it, so close but not quite there himself.

Rodney takes his hand off of Elizabeth and John drops down to his elbows, kissing her helplessly as he drives into her. Rodney's hand lands low on John's back, and Rodney and Elizabeth are both whispering in his ears now. Elizabeth breathes, "Come on, you're almost there," and Rodney murmurs, "I want to see you come," and John does, letting out a choked moan as he comes hard enough to see stars.

He forces himself to roll off to the side so he doesn't crush Elizabeth and tie off the condom before he can fall asleep. Then he blinks blearily up at Rodney to find him practically vibrating with energy, his hand hovering uncertainly over his own cock, which is still hard and leaking. Elizabeth sits up and pushes Rodney back down onto the bed so he's sitting against the pillows. "Jesus, Rodney, you're full of surprises tonight," Elizabeth says, then leans down and takes his dick into her mouth.

The sound that comes out of Rodney's mouth is positively filthy, and John rouses himself to sit up and scoot closer. "Just so we're clear," he says, putting his hand on Rodney's shoulder, "you're not reporting this, right?"

"What? No?" Rodney sounds confused, and John takes that as a confirmation and kisses him. For a moment he thinks he's read this all wrong, but then Rodney is kissing back, tongue pushing into John's mouth, hands coming up to trace over John's shoulders, his arms, his chest, his abdomen. Rodney is so worked up it doesn't take long at all before he's panting against John's mouth, saying, "Elizabeth, I'm-- I'm--" and then groaning out his release.

They all lay on the bed for a minute afterward, limbs tangled together with no space to spread out. It's Elizabeth who finally breaks the silence. "As much as I enjoyed that, let's try not to keep getting almost killed, okay?" John laughs, and tightens his arm around her, feeling the curve of Rodney's smile against his shoulder.

It feels like it could last forever, this moment of quiet and calm, but there are rules, at least for John. Rodney and Elizabeth may be able to get away with-- with whatever it is they've been doing, as civilians, but it's a different matter for him. Elizabeth may not be military but she's still effectively his CO, and as for Rodney, well, he's out of bounds in an entirely different way. John gets dressed and heads back to his room, alone.

If nothing else, he can finally sleep, confident deep in his bones that yes, they're all still alive.