Title: "Five First Nights"
Author: Little Red
Category: Atlantis, Sheppard/Weir
Summary: This isn't, actually, the first time he's married her.
Spoilers: Nothing of relevance. As usual, my canon ends in season 3.
Author's Note: For the awesome miera_c for the help_haiti auction. I thought I'd get a jump on the next few years' worth of Alien Marriage Ceremony fics. Thanks to havocthecat for cheerleading!
The native sandals are itchy, but really, it could be worse.
The lack of Wraith darts is a real improvement over their last few missions. In fact, they've been there almost three hours, and no one's even taken a shot at them, which might be a personal record.
Despite Ford's regular all-clear check-ins from the gate, John's a little on edge. In accordance with ancient tradition, the Kiriki asked them all to remove their boots, jackets and weapons before entering the council building. In accordance with the look Doctor Weir was giving him, he reluctantly agreed. The Kiriki have been nothing but friendly ever since, and they're only here to trade for food, but their track record in the Pegasus galaxy is pretty terrible. Not to mention, this is Doctor Weir's first time away from the city, and as such, John is really trying not to get her killed.
It takes him a moment to realize that McKay is talking to him. "Do you think we're going to get lunch soon? We've been here for, literally now, hours. Don't they have chairs on this planet?"
John tosses him a glare. "It's called diplomacy. It takes a while."
So far, the actual negotiating has been pretty dull. Doctor Weir is giving it her all, even though it's clear that Minister Pradaan is just the warm-up guy. As much as having her away from the city is stressing him out, he's been looking forward to seeing their civilian leader in her element. He googled her credentials back on Earth after she turned his career plans upside down with an offer to travel to another galaxy, and it was pretty clear why the POTUS tapped her to be the most likely person to be able to negotiate with actual aliens. Since Earth, though, the majority of her responsibilities seem to involve coordinating power schedules back in the city and telling him he's doing things wrong, so he hasn't had much of a chance to see her resume in action.
Which is a shame, he's realizing, because she's good. She put the alien minister at ease almost immediately, and since then has been using the Pegasus equivalent of small-talk (farming, trading by Stargate, the Wraith) to forge a sense of connection and gather information. John suspects she's catching even more than he is, but the minister has already told them what the Kiriki need most in trade, the rate of exchange they've gotten in the past, and the reasons the High Priestess might be wary of doing business with unfamiliar aliens. Pradaan also promised to give them a long list of friendly Stargate addresses, and Weir has yet to offer him anything concrete in return.
She's been nothing but professional, but John knows that her smile and the way she wears her red uniform shirt isn't hurting her case.
All in all, it's proving to John that he's going to have to watch out for her if he doesn't want to end up taking all her dishwashing shifts in the mess hall. Considering that she's already convinced him to join this expedition in the first place, choose a French film for movie night, and, two hours ago, take off his boots and put on straw sandals, he probably should have been watching out for her already.
Reacting to some silent alarm or signal that John doesn't pick up, Pradaan suddenly announces, "The High Priestess Kek will see you now."
"About time," McKay grumbles loudly, "We've only been here for two hours."
Pradaan clears his throat, glancing between John and McKay. "Actually, you will not be allowed to accompany Doctor Weir."
John's heart speeds up. Bates never mentioned anything about this, and he's not about to let them take Weir alone into some secret chamber with the rest of them waiting around outside.
"That wasn't part of the agreement," he states, doing his best to ignore any silent arguments about diplomacy and respecting alien cultures that Doctor Weir might be sending his way. "She's not going anywhere without us."
"I do apologize if this doesn't meet with your customs, but the rules for an audience with the High Priestess are quite immutable. As you have seen," Pradaan indicates the sandals, "some of our ancient traditions are still strongly adhered to. When the High Priestesses were the only source of authority on our world, only husbands could accompany their women to meetings of state, to protect the purity of the Priestess. Even as our culture and leadership change, some of these traditions remain. Even I will be asked to wait outside."
Teyla is already stepping forward, presumably to volunteer as bodyguard, but something in the lizard part of John's brain speaks before he can stop it: "Perfect. Good thing I'm her husband."
The unflappable Doctor Weir whirls around to look at him with an are you insane? expression.
It's a good question. He's pretty sure there are regulations somewhere about not faking a committed relationship with your boss, who you've only really known for about two months and who has shown no evidence of having a sense of humor about things like lying to potential alien trade partners who so far have not threatened to kill us even once.
Pradaan looks him over, one eyebrow raised in scrutiny.
John winces on the inside, while trying to look as trustworthy as possible, at least until Doctor Weir pulls him aside and fires him.
"Well," Pradaan says drily, like he knows exactly what John is doing and is going to let him get away with it anyway, "That is fortunate, then. This way, please."
He follows behind Weir, the same primordial part of his brain indicating that he probably doesn't want to expose his back to her when she probably wants to kill him.
When Pradaan leaves them at the chamber door, she whispers over her shoulder, "You just got very lucky, Major Weir."
Maybe she does have a sense of humor about things like this. Or, at least, the potential for one. "Is that an 'I do'?"
She gives him a look that seems to strongly suggest he not say anything else for the rest of the mission. "You're not fired," she replies, "but don't make a habit of it."
He's making a habit of it.
In all fairness, they haven't had too many reasons to celebrate since arriving in Pegasus, but he makes a point - consciously - of inviting Elizabeth to join the troops for any happy gathering that might spring up, and he makes a point - a little less consciously - to spend more than his fair share of the party in her company.
It's practical, for a lot of reasons. It's good for the military and scientific contingents of their expedition to see their figureheads getting along. It's good to be getting along, which happens more and more lately, outbreaks of deadly alien plagues notwithstanding. If he fills her glass of Athosian wine and gets her to relax a little, she's more likely to say things like "Use your best judgment," when agreeing to a mission plan.
He likes being trusted in his position. He started this expedition as a genetic aside, without much of a command role at all, but now that he's here, it matters to him. As much as things might be easier if he didn't care, her opinion of him matters, too. He likes her. He never thought he was really the type to enjoy having a partner to share the responsibility of command decisions - but then, he never thought he'd be responsible for something like this.
Their latest alliance isn't much of a victory - the Utreit don't have much to offer beyond yearling fruit trees, wine, and wooden toys for the Athosian children - but having one more alien culture who doesn't want to kill them is really victory enough on its own. Even if John didn't feel like celebrating, he gets the feeling that the Utreit wouldn't give him that option. He's spent all evening ferrying puddle-jumpers of aliens and humans to the mainland for an Athosian-hosted party, and Elizabeth's office is his last stop.
"It's good for morale," he reminds her.
She glares, but it's a weak one. It's been a few weeks, but she still hasn't quite come back to herself after their encounter with her 10,000 year-old time-traveling doppelganger. He's thought about bringing it up with her, trying to empathize, but really, he doesn't have a clue what it would be like to watch yourself die. It was strange enough just to observe from the sidelines.
"We can't both go," she argues.
"You negotiated the agreement, so you have to go. There's an important ceremony. And I'm the only one who can fly you there."
She raises an eyebrow. He's come to recognize this look as almost giving in.
"Eat, drink, and be merry...?" he offers. There's a mug of wine with her name on it, and even though nothing should ever come of it, he likes the way she looks at him when she's a little buzzed and happy. They have a properly respectful working relationship, but it helps his ego out to know that she finds him at least a little bit attractive.
She gives in, of course, and piles on board the jumper with all the other late stragglers.
For the ceremony, the Utreit brought fruit, and candles, and props. It feels a little like Christmas Eve at his grandmother's church when Teyla lights his candle from hers and then he lights Elizabeth's. There's singing, and words he can't quite repeat, and at some point, pointy fruits are being handed out in baskets, and Chieftess Talaa indicates that they should be feeding each other instead of themselves. Elizabeth grins as she bites down and purple juice squirts from the fruit, and he can tell she's at once amused by the strangeness and delighted that their new allies are inviting them to join them for something like this.
The fruit in her hand tastes salty, but good.
It's later, when he's poking around the food offerings, that Ford comes up to him with a shit-eating grin on his face. "You know you just got married?"
John pauses, because he thought he had the kid's sense of humor figured out, and this doesn't fit in with the usual selection of jokes.
"We all did, actually. The whole fruit thing was a big communal wedding ceremony and fertility blessing, I guess. Klana was explaining it to Teyla." Ford pops something grape-like in his mouth. "I can't wait to tell Doctor McKay."
Nothing should surprise him anymore, he thinks, shaking his head. The anthropologists must be loving this.
The wine he chooses is sweet, but with a hint of salt that reminds him of things he doesn't think about except perfectly innocently, of Elizabeth grinning and eating from his fingers, eyes locked with his, sharing some secret something of a joke with him that no one else gets to see-
His dick twitches with misplaced hope, and suddenly he feels considerably more drunk.
He focuses on the people around him, sees Mary and Peter nuzzling by the fire, others dancing, Teyla laughing with her people, touching and closeness that doesn't happen when they're in the city facing down death and security rotations. He sees Elaine, the microbial specialist who likes to invite him to the biology lab poker night. She's looking at him a little too intently, starting to move toward him, and he bails.
He sneaks out as well as he can through the crowds of people, slipping between the Athosian tents to the treeline. The buzz in his head isn't clearing, but without the immediacy of light and people and sound, he can breathe easier.
"You look like you're here for the same reason I am."
She's mostly in shadow, but he can see her wry smirk. "Too much togetherness for you?" he asks.
Elizabeth nods and leans against the tree next to him, matching his pose. "It's so different here than in the city. Or on Earth."
It is, and his throat is tensing, and he can feel the alien wine in his system urging him to make impulsive choices. He doesn't think she'd say yes, but he doesn't know if she'd say no.
"But I guess that's what you meant. This is what they have in this galaxy. Drink, be merry, for tomorrow..."
"Do you think about that?" he asks.
He's never asked her that before, asked whether she also stays up nights trying not to think about how doomed they all are. "About us? Yes."
That's what does it. He moves toward her, and somehow isn't surprised when she doesn't pull away. It's not irresponsible, not a violation of command decorum. They're stranded here, without a ZPM, possibly for the rest of their lives. They could die tomorrow. The Wraith won't stay off their trail for long. She's another human being who understands.
Her lips part, eyes slide closed, and he kisses her.
She kisses like she already knows him, like she's been all over his skin before. He can feel her breath in the moments when they part, lazy and unrushed, even as blood pounds through him. He pushes her against the tree and he can feel her chest hitch in surprise against his before she pulls him closer.
They could die tomorrow, the Wraith could find them, but that's not what he's thinking as he presses his hips against hers. The bark is rough against his one hand and she's as soft as he ever imagined, and he does imagine this. Normally, their whole lives are between them. Right now he wants her.
"Closer," she says into his mouth, and he hears the invitation just clearly enough to tug her shirt free and moves his hand along her back, taking in skin he never gets to touch or see. He wants to kiss her neck, wants to taste the salt on her skin like the salt in the wine, but if he moves away from her lips, she might speak, and the moment will be broken.
He says something in his kiss, maybe God, maybe Yes, and she's grabbing his hips with her hands, pulling him against her, and he doesn't care if he's dry-humping his boss behind a tree just meters from a hundred people, because it could be the last night, and she feels better than anything he's felt in months. Since she was alive, after Kolya nearly killed her, and she grabbed his hand after he saved her life. Since they weathered the storm, huddled in the briefing room while lightning surged through the corridors and the shield held off the water. Ford was there, and Teyla, and Athosians and McKay and Beckett and the only person he can remember now is her, like it's always been just the two of them, like he's always been hard in her hand between layers of cloth, wanting to feel more, needing to make her feel as good as he feels-
"We can't-" she moans into his ear, something desperate and needy, and it takes a moment for her words to register, but he breaks away, dazed. He doesn't remember undoing her pants, but he pulls his hand free. He can smell her, over the trees and the wine and the bonfire behind them.
His own words come from nowhere, "I know," although what he means is yes, now, and I won't regret it.
He sees something come over her face, and when she speaks, she sounds distressingly sober. "I was going to say, 'we can't do this here.'" She pinches her lips together and wipes them with the back of her hand. "What are we doing, John?"
He wishes he had a clever answer, something besides, "Something reckless?"
"You know how I feel about reckless," she says, like she's talking herself out of it.
He steps back. Later, he'll regret it as much as he'll tell himself he's grateful, but he's confused and exposed and not sure what this means, if he just wants to get laid once or wants to be with her, and he really never considered that possibility before. They have a galaxy to save, and die trying.
So he gives up. He winces at her, redoing his belt buckle as he tries to compartmentalize this somewhere between a fantasy and a really bad idea. "Sorry."
"Don't apologize," she says, and squeezes his shoulder with a force that makes him not pull away, even though he wants to. "Later," she promises unexpectedly. "Not now."
It's not the brunt of what he's feeling, but he's a little relieved when she walks away.
The third time he marries Elizabeth Weir by accident, it's her idea, and he's not a fan.
This is different than the Kiriki, when he arbitrarily declared her his wife and, miraculously, it didn't blow back on them. That was her first field mission, they were in a new galaxy, and they did all kinds of stupid things back then as a matter of course.
They're professionals now, with nearly three years of experience under their belts of alien negotiations that didn't hinge on anybody having any particular familial relationship to anyone else. They have ten civilians with them, scientists and anthropologists and an agricultural planner, and Lorne's team along as well to help in herding the scientists all together. What the native King is proposing, and Elizabeth is agreeing to, will be very public, will no doubt make it into five or six official logs, and will require him to wear a cape.
"It's a cloak," Elizabeth points out, "and at least you get to wear something warm."
His Majesty, as good-natured as he is oblivious to John's distress, laughs at the joke he assumes Elizabeth is making. "We have done this many times. It is always a joyous occasion." He waves his hand toward John's face, a gesture he's seen other Ceteans make, though he hasn't yet figured out the meaning. "And we have many strong children."
If they ever trade with a planet that requires him to get someone pregnant, he doesn't care how many ZPMs they have, he's putting his foot down.
"This isn't a good idea."
Elizabeth frowns and raises an eyebrow. "Cold feet?"
He finds Elizabeth's sometimes awkward sense of humor adorable on good days, but this day is getting less good by the minute. He ignores her and addresses the King. "And you have no problem with the fact that we're not actually married?"
"Your culture does not have the true joining," His Majesty says, waving his hand again. "We often join the leaders of outworld tribes to their mates, for their ways of bonding are crude. You are hers, are you not?"
At least Elizabeth has the decency to look awkward at that. John, for his part, has absolutely no desire to discuss the complicated nature of his relationship with Elizabeth Weir with an alien nobleman who refers to himself in plural.
"You don't speak?" the King presses. "You lead together. You are mated."
"Sort of," John hedges.
"Yes," Elizabeth rephrases, and shoots him a look that both says They have a ZPM and You're sleeping on the couch.
He tries to reply with a look that says There are lots of professional reasons why we shouldn't do this, totally apart from the fact that we started sleeping with each other really not that long ago, and it's not a secret, per se, but I'd rather this offworld wedding thing didn't get back to the IOA, wouldn't you?
The King laughs again, and knocks Elizabeth in the shoulder with a meaty club of a hand, bedecked in rings. "There is always Gratia, our daughter, who is in need of a mate, if you wish to be rid of him. Now the court of our wife will attend you."
John doesn't really think she'll trade him to an alien princess, but he's not sure he'll see the inside of Elizabeth's quarters for a while. He should have known better than to respond to a woman's marriage proposal - even one as that's just a "John? Will you?" after an alien king explains the absolute necessity of joining their immortal souls to each other in order to be valid trade partners or whatever - with "This isn't a good idea."
Not that it isn't unprofessional to pretend to join their immortal souls on an alien planet, but he's not sure it's less professional than spending the past four months blissfully swanning in and out of her bed during his off-hours, saying things like "I can't believe we waited this long," and "I love you," and "Please tell me you wear these under your uniform to briefings," and thinking things like Yes, finally, this is it, like all the pieces of his scattered, trans-galactic life have fallen into place.
Despite of all the this is it-ness of finally, finally being with Elizabeth, he was in no way thinking about marrying her. He would never have started a physical relationship with her if he didn't know this was something long-term and precious and important, but forever has such a short shelf life in a galaxy where aliens are hunting them for food that marriage wouldn't really be worth the paperwork.
And he's not marrying her now. This is all a show for an alien culture that doesn't understand the concept of men and women sharing leadership without mating for life.
He's getting cold feet.
The ceremony takes place after the scientists have had their information swap with the Ceteans, at the beginning of the ceremonial banquet, and since he can't think of an emergency good enough to necessitate abandoning the entire mission, he shows up and gets ready.
"Just don't laugh," he orders McKay as one of the anthropologists tells him what to expect and Teyla adjusts the heavy cloak around his shoulders.
"I won't," Rodney assures him. "I'll wait until we're back in the city with a ZPM."
John shouldn't mind the thick fabric, since it can't be more than forty degrees in the open-air banquet hall when standing too far from the fireboxes on the floor near each table, but he's too warm anyway. Elizabeth, on the other hand, has nothing but a thin, bare-shouldered dress. The Ceteans don't seem to have a tradition about not seeing the bride before the wedding, but he supposes that makes sense if they repeat their marriage ceremony every time a new trading partner comes to town.
"It's to represent her burdens being lifted, and a space made for yours," Leighton, the anthropologist, says with far too much glee, examining Elizabeth's dress like there isn't a person inside it. "They have their own story of Atlas, in a way - a mythical king who pulls the world around the sun by a yoke on his shoulders."
To John, Elizabeth doesn't look unburdened so much as cold. She flashes him a pained expression, and he rolls his eyes encouragingly. Even if it's inexplicably terrifying to him, this is what they do. On the list of what they've suffered through for their people, this particular trial hardly ranks in the top twenty.
Leighton promises that the whole thing, blessedly, should take less than ten minutes.
The Cete King and Queen go through the ceremony first. This sort of mate confirmation might happen even more often than John thought, because all the natives in the hall have the script down pat without prompting. He barely has the chance to figure out what's happening before the crowd recites that the King's burdens are shared, and the monarch hands the Queen his scepter. There's a metaphorical exchange of body parts - hands, mind, voice and heart - and the crowd blesses their fertility even though the Queen is already obviously pregnant, and it's done.
Theirs takes longer, because once the King reaches his banquet table and calls them forward to the center of the gathered spectators, he pauses the ceremony to pontificate for a few minutes. He lauds the new brotherhood of their alliance and promises the Ceteans will bestow their rich and superior culture to the outworlders as well as access to their Ancient relics. John's grateful that the King is the one holding most of the crowd's attention, but it's still embarrassing, standing in the middle of a sea of aliens and coworkers, dragging a cloak on the ground. Elizabeth is rooted in place, trying to look diplomatic, but he can see her shivering and wishes the King would hurry up. She doesn't have a scepter to give him to symbolize sharing her leadership with him, so she's white-knuckling the handle of the ornate ceremonial basket they gave her as a stand-in.
She turns away from the King to look at him, and for one terrifying, heart dropping second, he forgets this is fake, and he wonders if he'll ever ask, and if she'll ever say yes. He feels like he should say something to her right then, before the ceremony starts, tell her that he might still think this is a bad idea, but part of him knew their bond was unique long before he ever woke up with her curled into his chest, and that part of him wants to mean this.
Someday. He stops himself from doing or saying anything reckless, but by the look she gives him, wide-eyed and breathless, some of it must have been clear on his face.
"The King's burden is carried by two," the crowd intones. She hands him the gilded basket in her hands and smiles knowingly when he takes it, because the words are redundant after the last three years of shared leadership, but it's nice to hear it summed up so neatly. He gives her his hands and his mind, she gives him her voice and her heart, and until the King dramatically blesses their ability to be fruitful and multiply, John forgets why the IOA would be so scandalized.
When the ceremony's over, he wraps his cloak around her shoulders.
"Your teeth are chattering," he points out helpfully.
She glares, but even that expression looks softer. "Thank you. Don't worry, I won't ask you to do that again. Probably." He thinks it's unfair he didn't get to kiss the bride. He knows it's not really his wedding night, per se, and they have a treaty to finish celebrating, but he's still annoyed that they're not headed back to Atlantis tonight. She looks adorable in the alien cloak.
"Next time, you can just marry me off to the King's daughter. Gratia, was it?"
Elizabeth smirks. "I just might."
He's been officially, really, actually married to Elizabeth Weir for only about thirty seconds when the alarm goes off.
John actually says aloud, "Are you fucking kidding me?"
His new wife shoots him a look that's almost entertained, in a wry way, as though she expected that something like this might happen. Given that the Wraith had actually attacked the city the morning after he got up the guts to propose to Elizabeth all those months ago (and no, he refuses to accept that might have been an omen), maybe he should have expected it too.
But really. His wedding day has already been a long, trying disaster. There was time travel, for God's sake, actual time travel, and then four whole hours in the infirmary before Beckett finally cleared him to get up, grab Elizabeth and whoever else was nearby to witness, and say his I do-s before he entirely missed his own wedding day.
Elizabeth grabs her earpiece from Teyla and demands an explanation from the control tower, while John's still busy having a silent rage session over the mounting injustice of it all. "Unscheduled offworld activation," she reports. "It's the Genii emergency code."
"You're kidding," he says again, but she's already on her way out the door and he's following her, because clearly, the happiest day of his life wouldn't be complete without a visit from the Genii.
She glances behind her with a pained apology.
"Oh, fine. Let's get this over with."
This isn't, actually, the first time he's married her, but since it's the first time they actually intended to do so, he sort of expected this time he'd get a proper wedding night. At least when he proposed, he had the chance to give her three or four quality orgasms before the Wraith arrived in the system and started shooting things. The Karouk, the only human species they've encountered so far that are actually less trustworthy than the Genii, don't seem to have that particular decency, and since they're firebombing the Genii settlement and the Genii haven't yet broken their most recent treaty with Atlantis, they have to help.
John would happily take Beckett's excuse that, really, he shouldn't be flying around in a puddle-jumper so soon after returning from freaking time travel, but Elizabeth is already heading for the jumper bay, and there's no way he's letting her out of his sight with his current run of luck.
So here he is, on his wedding day, flying his blushing bride into the middle of a war zone.
"I say we let them both wipe each other out," he suggests from the pilot's seat, not for the first time since arriving on the burning Genii colony planet. The Genii settlement is far from the gate - this was, after all, originally a refuge from the Wraith and distance gave them a warning system - and though the Karouk attack has mostly been by air, they have a base camp on the ground 10 klicks from the settlement valley.
Elizabeth pats him on the shoulder. "I'm not going to say I agree with you."
He rolls his eyes at her. "I know you do."
"Their timing could have been better."
That's all the time they have for banter before they get in view of the valley. John doubted the Genii's sincerity in demanding Elizabeth come to help arbitrate a ceasefire - as a race, they have a bad track record of taking her hostage - but there's no way they could have engineered this level of damage themselves. The aerial bombing seems to have halted, at least temporarily, but most of the settlement is already on fire. John directs the other two jumpers to follow him to a landing site at the edge of the settlement where the Genii message said that refugees and the leaders are gathering.
Once on the ground, Beckett takes charge, barking orders to his medical team and anyone standing to help all of those who aren't. Elizabeth and the Genii leaders are talking loud and fast, and John leaves her to start organizing the teams and the jumpers to assist the locals with fire control, ferry the children and wounded to the Stargate and on to other Genii worlds, and secure a perimeter against possible ground assault. He originally intended to personally guard Elizabeth the whole time they're on the planet, but he's more than happy to leave her under Major Lorne's supervision when she agrees not to go with him to the Karouk base camp to make contact with the enemy leaders.
John's not thrilled about getting shot at, repeatedly, but that's the way his day has been going. The braided Athosian bonding necklace itches his skin, and that's really the only reminder he has that this day was a) supposed to be over hours ago, b) supposed to be enjoyable, and c) supposed to end with nudity and lingering kisses and probably some sappy declarations of love - pretty much the opposite of taking fire from enemy patrols while Ronon and Teyla fan out to flank them.
He loses track of how long it is before he sees Elizabeth again, but he's exhausted and pissed off and she doesn't look much better.
"Now the fun begins," she says, grimacing.
"At least they'll talk to you." He's trying to come up with something positive when it's clear the negotiations are probably fruitless and the Karouk leader only agreed to anything because Ronon was about to shoot him. "So far, this night isn't really going like I hoped," even though, he realizes after checking his watch, they're already well into the next day.
She looks away, distracted by something the Genii governor is saying over her shoulder. "What do you mean?"
"What do I mean?"
She looks back, and he can tell the moment she figures it out when an embarrassed flush crosses her face.
"Of course not," she replies hotly. "I'm sorry."
He wants to make a joke about the magic already being gone, but he's tired and cranky and it might come out less humorous than he intends. Besides, he should know better by now than to try and talk to her about anything besides a dire emergency when she's in the thick of urgent negotiations.
Instead, he asks, "Can we rank this among the worst wedding days ever?" At least they only have to do it once. Even if this isn't a particularly auspicious start to their married life, at least it's a start.
Governor Dathan is talking to her and her attention is already gone. Offhandedly she promises, "I'll make it up to you next time."
It's a full six days before they're both back on Atlantis at the same time for more than half an hour, and another thirty-six hours or so to get checked through the infirmary, sleep for ridiculously long blocks of time, and put out the metaphorical fires around the city long enough to get a few hours off.
When she comes into their quarters, half an hour after she was supposed to be off work, she says, "You would not believe the mess in the chemistry lab."
He waits for her to finish pulling off her jacket before informing her, "I'm locking the door."
"You do have that power," she acknowledges with the amused smirk she always gets when he uses his ATA gene for entertainment purposes. "Do I get to ask why?"
Whenever he's seen her over the past week, for seconds or minutes at a time, his eye has been drawn to the delicate, feminine version of the Athosian bonding choker around her neck, and his heart always jumps a little. Even if he has to share her with the entire galaxy at the least convenient times, she chose to be his, and that choice is openly displayed for all to see.
"It's our wedding night."
She smirks. "It's ten in the morning."
"I like to be original. Besides, I believe you said if we got married again, you'd make it up to me."
A different smile spreads across her face, the one that makes his stomach tighten with anticipation, the one he spent two years waiting for before he took a deep, terrifying breath and propositioned her, and she said yes without even hesitating.
Elizabeth wanted him, and it was one of the best feelings in his life, one that he's lucky enough to feel again and again, every time she gives him the look she's giving right now. Energy floods through him. She's beautiful, and willing, and his wife, and he's moving toward her without thinking.
Her lips are already parting and he knows exactly how her kiss will feel, how quickly the way she tastes and the warm feel of her tongue will get him hot and lightheaded and needing to get her clothes off now, but he makes himself wait, just for a second.
"I love you," he says, which has always been more important than I do or an alien fruit-sharing ritual or the time she handed him a Cetean basket of her metaphorical burdens.
A slow smile spreads across her face. Her hands rest on his shoulders, hot to the touch through his shirt. It took years for her to touch him like this, but she always felt this way -- like she was building a space for him, full of trust and hope and connection, giving him somewhere to come home.
He loves her, and the fact that she loves him too, that they met years ago in Antarctica of all places, that he followed her here, that he survived and she survived and she said yes makes it impossible to stand still.
She tastes like Elizabeth, like coffee and the hint of salt spray she gets on her skin from spending time outside, and he can't keep from moaning when she wraps her fingers around his belt loops and pulls him tight against her. He's already aroused just from her kiss, from the insistent way her body presses against him, and she breaks the kiss after long minutes with a smug look. She always has that expression when she makes him need her so quickly, but it's been eight days or even longer -- the time travel aspect makes that a bit fuzzy, and he's not really thinking clearly as her thumbs slide inside the waistband of his pants and he leans forward to catch her mouth again with his.
She doesn't let him. "I really do have to take a shower," she apologizes. "Like I said, you have no idea about the chemistry lab."
Now that she mentions it, she does smell a little more chlorinated and... burnt than usual. "You're telling me this now?"
Her fingers are still holding tight to his belt, thumbnails tickling his skin. "Had enough of our white marriage?" He raises an eyebrow at her joke, and she continues, "I never said you couldn't join me."
John isn't sure what his face looks like, but she laughs as he helps her pull off her shirt. "I thought we decided not to try this again?" There had been a few safety incidents early in the can't keep our hands off each other phase, one involving stitches, and after having to explain that one to Carson Beckett, they made an unofficial pact to keep sex to flat, padded areas, except in times of dire emergency.
"We'll think of something," she promises, smoothly stepping out of her pants before tossing her bra at him. "At the very least, you can help me wash my hair."
He follows her into the shower, but doesn't help her wash her hair. She closes her eyes blissfully as she turns her face upward into the ambient rain-style overhead shower system, and he can't help but kiss her neck, right above the braided collar she'll never take off.
He talks because she likes it, and it's true: "You're beautiful," he tells her as his hands follow the trail of water down her sides, her back, her hips. "I've been thinking about getting you naked all day."
"I thought you did that every day." He can feel the giggle in her throat against his lips.
His hand brushes the inside of her thighs, one finger moving back and forth through the edges of wet curls. She shivers, and he loves that, loves the impact he has on her body just by touching her, loves that he can have that impact (almost) any time he wants, just by asking.
"Kiss me," she requests, and he doesn't refuse.
When he kisses her it's heated, all water and breath and steam and the feeling of Elizabeth moving her hips against his hand, her tongue in his mouth, her wet hair brushing against his face as he pushes her back against the edge of the shower enclosure. He knows how to touch her, from hours and days and over a year now of studying her moans and muscle twitches and the hitch of her breath, knows she wants three fingers inside her and his thumb pushing hard against her clit, barely moving, and knows that if he waits just long enough before giving that to her, she'll come all the harder when she does.
He uses his body weight to hold her to the wall as her hips pulse against his for more contact, and because when she worms her hand between them to wrap around his dick he can't help but push closer.
He curses, "Fuck," because her wet hand feels so ungodly good that he can't believe they had to wait this damned long, that they didn't throw duty aside and do this in a transporter on the way to the control tower with alarms ringing everywhere, that he isn't even inside her yet. "Fuck, Elizabeth."
He can feel her separating her legs, bracing herself with a hand wrapped around the door railing, and his dick jumps desperately in her slowly pumping hand to do just what she wants, but he remembers the stitches just in time.
"What are you-" she starts, but then he pulls his hand out from between her legs long enough to grab her hips for leverage, and kneels down. The feel of her hand against his erection is replaced by cool air and the everpresent rain of hot water, but it's all right, because he knows what's coming, and so does she.
She braces her feet as he guides her hips to where he wants them, and he can see through the water that her head is already leaning back against the tile, before he even tastes her.
Her muscles squeeze around his tongue as soon as he pushes it inside her, the same reflex that always makes it hard for him to keep from coming on the first thrust, and he can't help but smile around her skin as he finds her favorite spots. She's slippery with water, changing the feel of how his mouth moves against her, but she tastes like she always does, the slightly sour taste he loves so much that he sometimes imagines it when it's been too long since he's had her like this.
"God," she says, and something else, but he hears mostly just the rush of blood in his ears and water on tile and the way she moans and thuds her head back against the wall as her hips move forward, giving him access. A glance up shows that she's white-knuckling the hand rail, and he grabs her hips to help her stay standing as her muscle movements become more spastic and her free hand grabs his hair and she makes a choked moan that's clearly trying to be his name and please and now all at once.
He lets go of one hip to fuck her with his fingers, and she tenses around him one last time and she unwinds, her fingers pulling at his hair and her body shaking and her voice gasping out something raw and primal and his for the rest of his life. Her orgasm is long and he keeps his fingers inside her, all the blood in his body rushing back to his erection as he feels her pulsing inside until he's so hard he's ready to beg her to take him back to bed and let him inside her.
He helps her slide down the wall as she comes back, loving the water droplets falling on her flushed cheeks, and she smiles.
"We're definitely doing that again," is the first thing she says, after a minute.
He nods, because it was hot as hell, but he doesn't say anything out loud because she's crawling over him, making him slide back until he's pressed against a wall of his own.
He only gets out "Eliz-" before she swallows his question with her kiss, and really, it doesn't matter what he was going to say or what she's planning, because he's hard and horny and she's wet and naked and there, delicate fingers of one hand brushing the underside of his erection as she kisses him. The tiles behind him are cool and she and the water are hot to the touch, and the overwhelm of sensation is so much that he almost forgets to breathe. He grabs her hips, wanting her to sink down onto him right here, right now, but instead she squirms backwards, and his mouth drops open when she leans over and sucks his dick into her mouth.
God, her mouth, and the water and her hand braced on his hip and the way her whole body moves when she sucks him, in and out, her hair channeling streams of water over the base of his shaft and he has no leverage but it's all he can do not to thrust into her mouth anyway, desperate to make this last longer and for release and to be inside her and her hand is doing something but he can't think anymore and he grabs her shoulders and groans helplessly and comes harder than he has in months.
It's at least a minute before he can breathe and see properly again, and Elizabeth is kneeling between his legs, looking utterly pleased with herself.
The water drops feel sharper than they did before, pinging on his heightened nerve endings, but he's too relaxed to move right away.
When he remembers what started this, he says, "Happy wedding day."
She kisses him before getting up. He stays right where he is, watching her wash her hair, enjoying the view.
"You know," she says, "We still haven't technically consummated our marriage."
He wants to, he really wants to, but he's spent and has a training session in the firing range starting in less than an hour. "Tonight?" he suggests.
"Tonight you're going with Teyla to New Athos for Jinto's coming-of-age ceremony, I thought."
He sighs. He forgot that he was looking forward to that. The kid was like a nephew, even if he doesn't get to see him much anymore, and the party celebrating the end of the week-long solo survival trial was something Jinto had been talking about almost as long as John knew him.
"You could come?" he suggests hopefully. After all, the delay in their official wedding ceremony from his infirmary stay and the time travel and all meant that most of the Athosians who had planned to attend had missed it.
"Scientific review panels," she explains. She points above her toward the water stream. "Would you?"
The water would have shut off automatically when they stepped out of he shower, but he knows how much she hates dripping all that water on the bathroom floor. He shuts off the water with a thought and the touch of his hand to the wall.
"When am I going to see you next?" He'd somehow thought, naively, that the universe might give them a little time to honeymoon on the job.
"You mean have time for sex?" She purses her lips. "Saturday?" She reaches a hand down to help him to standing.
Saturday really isn't that bad, all things considered. "Well," he points out, feeling a little sappy as he looks at her choker again, "We do have the rest of our lives."
Elizabeth grins. "I'm willing to bet it doesn't take that long."
He kisses her to seal the deal.