Fic: Different Monogamy

Jul 15, 2010 14:13

Title: Different Monogamy
Fandom: StarGate Atlantis
Pairing: John/Radek/Evan (secondary canon relationships)
Rating: R
Disclaimer: I make no gain from writing this, they aren’t mine.

Summary: John has never been the man people want a relationship with.

John leaned against the railing on the upper balcony. Below, he watched as the rest of his team enjoyed the celebration. They had saved Earth and would be returning to Pegasus, rightly the mood was high and jubilant. He’d taken a few moments to smile and nod, accepting hugs before easing away from his team, his friends and family.

He saw Rodney standing close to Keller, smiling at whatever she was saying. Personally John couldn’t understand his friend’s attraction to the doctor. Physically she was Rodney’s ideal, pretty and blonde, but he’d always assumed Rodney would require more. His attraction to Carter hadn’t been one solely based on looks, he knew Rodney also admired her intelligence, wit and courage. Traits he saw Keller was lacking in. But for all John’s dislike of the doctor, he knew she made Rodney happy, and in the end, that was all that mattered for John, that his friend would find happiness.

Ronon stood to the side, his arm comfortably swung around Banks as he talked to Teyla. John could see from the way the marine leaned back into Ronon’s solid bulk she was comfortable with the arrangement. He’d been momentarily surprised when he discovered that Banks and Ronon had started a romantic relationship, but now as he watched them he could see how they fit. It was not just their physical prowess, and face it either one of them could easily kick his arse without breaking a sweat. But they both possess a blunt directness, they would never be a hearts and flower’s couple.

It had been a feeling of exclusion that had led him to leave the group. He knew those feelings were simply products of his own mind. Rodney, Teyla and Ronon were more than just team mates to him, they had become his family. If they had known he thought he wasn’t included they would have frown and called him an idiot (with varying degrees of politeness). But as much as he loved every one of them, he couldn’t find any sense of belonging at that moment.

Now watching them from above he could see where his feelings came from. Their happy ending had found them all coupled up. Even Teyla, although currently separate from her husband and child, had found that same conventional happiness. It was a scene of acceptable hetero-normativity. It was the sort of picture perfect ending created by writers of television programmes, when the heroes find true happiness with the man or woman of their dreams and live happily ever after.

John had to snort at his own thoughts. It appeared that sharing his bed with someone with an arts post-graduate degree for the last three months had severely changed his vocabulary. Before he might have felt awkward and out of place, but now instead of just thinking himself odd, his mind was filled with words like hetero-normative and dominant discourses.

His thoughts were interrupted by the swish of the door opening behind him. The glance over his shoulder confirmed it was Radek. The scientist wore a soft smile. His hair was messy, and half of the hem of his tunic was tucked into his pants, the only thing missing from the usual dishevelled appearance was the lack of a tablet resting in his hands.

“How was your sister?” John asked as Radek came to stand beside him.

“Good, she was happy to hear from me, although she did complain about lack of contact over last few years.”

“Hmm, well, long distance rates to the Pegasus Galaxy are a bitch.”

“Yes, yes,” Radek laughed and then looked down to the lower balcony. “You are not down with your friends?”

John shrugged. “It was a little... overwhelming, all the happy couples.”

“This is not something you want?” Radek asked cautiously.

“Just don’t think it’s something available for me. People don’t think of settling down into a committed monogamous relationship when they look at me.”

Radek frowned silently. “John, what do you think we are doing?”

John gave Radek a confused frown.

“You, me and Evan, what do you think we are.”

John turned his eyes back to the friends below. He didn’t want to answer Radek’s question. He was never very good at talking about these sort of things. It wasn’t that he didn’t have an answer, but he didn’t want it to break the spell. The words, once spoken, would give him nowhere to hide, no longer allow him the fantasy.

“You and Lorne, you’re...and I’m, so.” John could see complete amusement in the raised eyebrow on Radek’s face. “I’m, we’re having fun.”


“No Radek, it’s ok. It’s not like we are able to be like them.” John waved his hand down to the couples in the balcony below.

The amused look on Radek’s face moved to stunned, before flaring into anger. He opened his mouth to speak before snapping it shut. Radek fixed John with a look, for a moment John thought Radek was going to strike him. Then, with a sudden movement, Radek spun on his heel, and headed back inside. John had learnt enough Czech over the last three months, to know he was being called neurotic and idiotic.

Three Months Ago

“Colonel, mind if I sit?”

With a mouth full of sandwich, John waved to the seat opposite him. He pulled his tray back towards him, making room for Radek to settle at the table. He was surprised to see anyone else in the mess hall at this time. He’d finally manage to catch a moment to sit down and have something to eat. It was days like this when he wasn’t so certain he enjoyed his command position. Long days off-world, or fighting to save his people were never as tiring as organising and supervising the exploration and repair teams sent throughout the city. By the time he was able to stop for lunch, it was after three and there was only egg sandwiches left.

“You’re here late, Doc.” John gave his sandwich a glare, as if it was the sandwich’s fault for being egg.

“I found myself distracted.” Radek smiled with the look John had come to recognise on the science personnel. Even after five years, Atlantis still offered up secrets and wonders. It made the scientists look like toddlers that had just discovered cookies. “There is just so much in the Janus lab.”

“Just don’t get yourself abducted Doc.”

“I’ll leave that to Rodney, yes.” Radek grinned as he peeled away the cellophane from the cheese segments. “I miss cheese.”

“Isn’t that cheese?” John returned a grin.

“This, no, this is plastic made to pretend to be cheese. You Americans do not know food.”

John laughed. “I remember. When I was stationed in Germany I got addicted to Cambozola.”

“Oh yes.” Radek got a dreamy look on his face. It was a look common to those that had been stationed in Pegasus for a while. The food was better since that first year, but still, they all missed the convenience of a local deli.

“My Aunt, she had a cherry orchard. Growing up we used to spend the holidays there. Fingers got stained black.”

John listened as Radek shared stories of his childhood, visiting his aunt and spending the holidays picking cherries off the trees. He’d known Radek for five years, considered him a friend. He trusted Radek’s abilities almost as much as he did Rodney’s, enjoyed his sense of humour and quiet courage. But it surprised John how little he really knew about Radek’s life back on Earth. He found himself being enthralled by Radek’s stories.

“Well Colonel, I should get back to work.” Radek said, collecting the trash from his lunch on his tray. John nodded, surprised when he glanced at his watch to realise an hour had passed.

When he got to his office he found Lorne sitting at his desk. His XO had obviously been updating his paperwork while John had been busy running around the city. He felt guilty for a moment that he left the tedious work to Lorne, but delegation was something he embraced.

“Glad to see I’ve been busy when I was listening to stories of summer days in cherry orchards.” John smirked.

“Ah you had lunch with Radek then.” Lorne said pushing a pile of files to the side of John’s desk. John raised an eyebrow in response. “He’s shared the stories with me before. It actually sounds idyllic, wouldn’t mind retiring there.”

“I’m not sure Radek’s Aunt would agree to that Major.” John said with a laugh.

“I’m sure we can convince her to leave it to Radek in the will Sir.” Lorne grinned as he headed to the door.

John was sure the expression on his face made him look stupid when the realisation hit him. His second in command had for all intensive purposes just come out to him. He was not so much of a hypocrite that he would report him, or have an issue working with the man, but he was also aware that Lorne had chosen his words carefully, making it easily deniable.

He was still standing like an idiot when Lorne stopped at the door. “I know for a fact that Radek still has some cherry brandy, Colonel, if you ever wish to stop by.”

For the rest of the week John couldn’t get the words out of his mind. Was it simply a friendly invitation? The two men couldn’t display their relationship, couldn’t risk the fallout of an Air Force Major being discovered in a homosexual affair. As someone considered a friend to both men, he might just be providing them with an opportunity to interact as a couple. But it may have been more, John kept re-examining Lorne’s words, trying to find a hidden invitation in them.

He went over the words, every nuance, every aspect of Lorne’s body language in that two minute conversation. He knew he might have been reading too much into the invitation. Two men, lovers, didn’t just invite a third to join them. Unless, he thought, they wanted to spice things up. It had been at the very same moment as that thought when the explosions had thrown himself off his feet. He made a mental note not to fantasy about sex off-world as he picked himself up and ordered his team to the gate.

They made it back to Atlantis under heavy fire, but except for a number of cuts and abrasions unhurt. When he slid to a halt on the gate floor he noticed Lorne leaning against the railing in the control room. When their eyes met, John saw a hard look returned to him. He felt the Major’s eyes still on him as he led his team from the room to do the post run-for-their-life medical check-up. He couldn’t work out what the look meant. Considering their record, coming in under fire was a positive outcome.

By the time Keller had finished probing him, cleaning out the scraps on his arms John decided he really needed a drink. He knew he had beer still left in his room, but instead he headed to a lower floor where Radek had his quarters. It would have been easy to tell himself it was because he needed something harder, but he was never one to delude himself. Cherry brandy would be nice, but that wasn’t the reason he was heading to Radek’s.

When the door opened, John could see Radek was surprised to see him. Without a word he stepped back to allow John entrance to the room. Lorne was sprawled on the bed, seemingly idly scrolling through something on Radek’s computer. When he saw John come into the room he gave him the same hard look that John couldn’t fathom in the gate room.

“Um,” John said, dragging a hand through his hair. “If it’s a bad time.”

“You could say the timing is bad.” Lorne replied, fixing his eyes on John.

“I’m sorry, I was just, you mentioned brandy.” John stuttered out, unsure what he’d done to piss Lorne off. He turned back to the door, unwilling to outstay his already depleted welcome.

“A week ago Sheppard.” Lorne’s voice was flat, emotions pulled tight under the surface.

“Evan,” Radek interrupted before anything more could be said. “Colonel, John, please have a seat. Evan is upset, yes, but only because he thought you had decided no.”

John glanced between the two men, still confused by Lorne’s reaction to his arrival. He slowly took a seat as Radek went to a cabinet pulling out a vintage style bottle and poured some brandy into a glass for John.

“You are as bad as he, I think perhaps it is your military yes, that makes you not able to speak with openness.” Radek said as he passed John the glass. “So I will speak clearly, so we all know. We asked you here not just for drink but for our liking you. The perceived rejection did not stop that liking, so you in danger makes Evan moody. Now his worry for safety can make him sexy, but for now he’s just been all hostile.”

Evan let out a snort of amusement at Radek’s words and finally set aside the laptop. “He’s right, you know, I worry when you get into trouble off-world, not enough to distract from my duty or anything, but I worry. And it annoyed me today, knowing I was worried because I like you...a lot, and since you didn’t return those feelings I shouldn’t still feel that way.”

John set aside his drink with a smirk. “Damn Lorne, the Doc’s right, you really are bad at this.”

Lorne glared at the Colonel, although there was no heat to it. “Like you are any better Sir.”

“Perhaps not,” John said with a slight laugh and he stood up. He took one step to Radek, and took his face in his hands. The hard kiss that followed was a declaration, a statement clearer than any of the words the three men had be fumbling their way through.

Present Day

“Man, Sheppard, when you piss off Radek, you don’t do it by halves.” Evan said as he came into John’s rooms.

“I thought you were on transport duty?” John questioned, purposely avoiding the original topic.

Evan dug a beer out of John’s fridge, settling on the bed. “The General decided he wanted to fly the Jumper back himself, something about the good old days. So what did you do the rile up our Czech genius?”

“He didn’t say?” When Evan shook his head, John shrugged. “Not entirely sure, we were talking about the happy ever after relationships, and he got that look on his face and the next thing I know he was being all expressive in Czech.”

Lorne gave a small laugh. People often presumed Zelenka was the calmer scientist. People often focused on Rodney’s outbursts, seeing Zelenka as the calming influence, but this was to overlook the fact that of the scientist population, it was only Radek that could stand toe to toe with Rodney. Both men knew their lover was as fiery and explosive as Rodney, just more selective over who witnessed the outbursts.

“He asked what I thought we were, and I suppose he didn’t like my answer.” John shrugged again.

Lorne studied his bottle for a moment. “What was your answer John?”

“You and Radek, you have something. I suppose you’re a lot like my team in that, your own happy ending. Although I don’t see any weddings on the east pier in your future. Face it Major you just don’t have the curves to pull off the white dress.”

Lorne snorted and threw the beer cap at John, watching it bounce off his shoulder. “So me and Radek, happy ever after, so what about you?”

“As I said to Radek, I’m not what people are looking for when it comes to happy ever after. I’m good looking, a great fuck if I say so myself, but not someone anyone wants to settle down with.”

“I gather this is when Radek started swearing?” When John nodded, Lorne’s voice took on its hard tone. A tone that usually preceded someone getting a bullet through the head. “Then with all due respect Colonel you’re a fucking idiot!”

Before John could come up with a response, the door was swishing shut behind Lorne, leaving John alone in his room again. He couldn’t understand what he kept saying that was pissing off both men so much. He wasn’t demanding more than they wanted to give him. He’d been so careful not to overstay his welcome, to be too needy with the two men. But it seemed, no matter how hard he’d tried, things were again turning bad.

He took hold of Lorne’s abandoned beer and stretched out on the bed. He had always known the situation couldn’t last, but he’d hoped that they could have lasted longer. He’d told himself from the beginning not to get attached; it was just about sex, really good sex with really hot men. But he’d stumbled. He’d allowed himself to start enjoying the company of the two men, outside of the bedroom, or shower, or that one memorable time on the balcony.

Usually when those he slept with grew tired of him and left, he didn’t spend a lot of time on self-examination. His philosophy had always been enjoy it for as long as it lasted and then move on. But tonight he couldn’t stop replaying the conversations of the day. Had he appeared too needy? He’d tried to hide behind a mask of disinterest, but had Radek or Lorne read his desires and wanted rid of him before things had gotten messy?

He punched the pillow a couple of times, unable to get comfortable. But since it was only just after seven it was unlikely that he could escape into sleep. Eventually he gave up the illusion of trying, and after draining the last of the beer, pulled himself off the bed. He found himself wandering the corridors of the city. It felt different in his head, and John had to wonder if Atlantis was feeling homesick for Pegasus as he did.

He found his way to the mess hall. Seeing Rodney sitting at a table with Keller he grabbed a coffee and headed over to them. Rodney gave him a distracted nod as he slid into a chair beside him. It made John smile. This was the Rodney he knew and yes, loved. Rodney never gave anyone a warm welcome, never even seemed to be pleased to see anyone. But if Rodney didn’t want to see you, or had no tolerance for you, you know immediately, and usually vocally.

“Hello Colonel.” Dr. Keller smiled at him.

“Doctor, McKay.” John acknowledged and reached over to steal a couple of fries from Rodney’s plate. He received a glare, but since he hadn’t lost any fingers he counted it as a win.

“I was just telling Rodney about the teaching opportunities at Berkeley.” Jennifer gave John a polite smile, but John could see the wistful look in her eyes.

John barely contained his snort. It was hard enough to picture Rodney in a classroom, let alone trying to teach idiotic undergrads in hippy central. He’d willingly bet good money that Rodney wouldn’t last a semester without killing half his student population.

Rodney looked over to John with a smirk. “I’m sure I’d make it through to the second semester before I started shooting people.”

John laughed, ignoring Keller’s frown. Rodney was the best friend John had ever had. They knew each other, shared the humour that left others speechless and slightly uncomfortable. They had lived through experiences no one else could comprehend, and that showed in times of crisis as well as the simple but deep knowledge of each other.

“So what has you all gloomily?” Rodney asked as he pushed the piece of steak on his fork through the ketchup.

John took a moment to grimace at the sight. Only Rodney could ruin a good steak by covering it in ketchup. “I’m not gloomily.”

“Don’t make me get Teyla to talk with you.”

John shuddered, only part of it was feigned. He could handle Teyla beating him bloody with those sticks of hers, but when she sat down and wanted to talk, he wanted to find somewhere to hide. “That’s just mean.”

“I was taught to use every weapon in my arsenal Colonel.” Rodney said smugly.

John made a derisive noise. “I just want to get Atlantis back home.”

Rodney nodded his agreement, but Keller frowned a little. “Surely they’ll keep the city here, for defence of our world.”

“Atlantis belongs in Pegasus. We have responsibilities there.” John kept his voice under control.

“But Earth is our home, we should put our efforts here.” Keller countered.

“We started the war in the Pegasus galaxy,” Rodney gave John an almost apologetic look. “It’s up to us to finish it.”

“So you’re a solider now Rodney.” Keller glared.

“If I have to be,” Rodney just shrugged.

“You’re far better than some grunt Rodney, far more to offer the world than spending your days trekking over foreign planets.”

“Of course I am,” Rodney proclaimed. “And without me we wouldn’t even have this city, let alone a way to keep the Wraith from dining out on Earth. Atlantis is my home Jennifer, I thought you realised that.”

John slipped from the table, inching away from a conversation he knew was going to get heated. What a night, he thought, not only did he screw up his own relationship, he was now moving onto other people’s.

“Rodney seems in good voice tonight.” Radek’s amused voice interrupted John’s musings.

“Um, yeah,” John responded rather stupidly. He hadn’t countered on running into either Radek or Lorne tonight, hadn’t been able to bury his disappointment enough to maintain a professional demeanour.

Radek watched John silently for a moment, then grabbed his arm, pulling him along the corridor. “Ty seš takovej vůl” he muttered to himself.

John allowed himself to be dragged down the corridors to the living section of the city. He was more confused than anything, mentally exhausted by the events of the day. He found himself pushed into Radek’s quarters. He saw Lorne sitting on Radek’s bed. John expected the Major to be angry with him, but instead he looked amused.

“I know you, yes, you get an idea in your head and take it upon yourself to be the martyr.” Radek began. “It like flying into mothership with a nuclear bomb.”

“God,” John groaned. “You’re as bad as Rodney, it’s been 4 years, can’t you guys let it go.”

“I wasn’t even on Atlantis, and yet I’m not letting it go.” Lorne laughed.

“The point is,” Radek said, in a tone usually reserved for McKay. “You have decided to do it again, you have some stupid thought in your head, and have decided to act on it without talking it through with anyone else.”

“Radek, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but it isn’t like that.” John said.

“Isn’t it? I saw you John, you wanted what you saw when you looked at your friends.”

John tensed. He couldn’t understand why they were doing this. Usually when the end came people just got rid of him. A clean break for all that were concerned, and then the pretence that it never existed. He hadn’t thought Radek or Lorne were going to be different, and he certainly hadn’t expected a scene of bitter accusations.

“Look ok I get it, there is a part of me that would like to be that important to someone, but it’s not like I’m going to force either of you into something you obviously don’t want.”

Radek let out a frustrated huff of air, but it was Lorne that moved. The look of amusement on his face seemed to strengthen as he walked over to John. He cupped John’s face in his hands, his eyes still twinkling as he brushed his lips against John’s.

“Radek is right, you really are an idiot.” Lorne laughed. “Tell me something John, in the last month how many times have you had sex with us, together or separate?”

John frowned as he thought back over the last month, it had been a hectic month, what with saving the Earth and all. “Three times.”

“Good, now the next question, in the same period how many times have we just hung out, again together or separate?”

“There hasn’t been a lot of social time Evan.”

“I know, damn pesky Wraith, but think John, including those times we grab a sandwich together, or you bug Radek when he’s doing Jumper repair, or you just waste time avoiding your paperwork by hanging out in my office.”

John frowned, put like that he spent time with them at least every couple of days. The only person he spent more time with was Rodney. “Yeah but that’s...”

“That’s a relationship John, yeah it’s different than what McKay and Keller have. And the likelihood we will ever get to stand on a public balcony and express that relationship is virtually non-existent, but that doesn’t change the fact that what we have is a relationship.”

“But we’re not.”

“Not what? The norm? No we aren’t. But you’re not a body we use when we’re bored. Radek and I have thought of you as a partner for a long time now, so step up Colonel, if it’s a relationship you want, then you’ve got it. If it’s just sex, then there’s the door, because neither of us only want to have a small part of you.”

John looked over his shoulder to the door.


The restaurant was good. The bill will be covered by the government, a small thank you for saving the Earth, and a farewell before they left to return to Pegasus. Things had finally been finalised, they would all return to Pegasus, to go home.

John laughed as Rodney waved his fork in the air, ranting about his sister’s husband belief that lasagne could be made without meat or cheese. He watched with a calm smile when Jennifer gently placed her hand on Rodney’s wrist to quieten the movement before the roasted potato on the fork got flung across the room. Rodney managed to give her an acknowledging smile without breaking the rhythm of his diatribe.

“Meat I can understand.” Radek said as he finished his mouthful of lamb. “But cheese?”

Rodney shook his head derisively. “Seems being a vegetarian isn’t insane enough for them, they have to be vegans.”

“Your sister is odd, I agree. Cheese brings the best of things.” Radek let a small private smile play on his lips.

John found himself smiling. It had been cheese that had changed his life. A discussion months ago that led him to Radek and Lorne. He knew Radek was thinking the same, just that small smile told him the thoughts in the Czech’s mind. They would never have the ease to openly touch, to communicate the way Rodney and Jennifer did, but they had their own rhythms.

fanfic, fandom: sga, pairing: john/radek/lorne

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