Title: The Consequences of Passion
Theme: Five Stages of Love - Passion
Summary: Passion only exists when someone has truly got under your skin.
Besides, it wasn’t exactly the most gruelling task in the world.
He grinned broadly as he glanced around to check no one was looking before stepping inside the locker room. Steam was pouring out of the shower area and he could hear the sound of ladies chatting inside. They’d just come back from off world, a bunch of scientists from various departments. Apparently they’d met a group of local villagers, had been investigating some Ancient ruins and, from what he could hear, were still busily discussing what they’d found.
His grin widened. For a marine trained in the art of stealth, this was going to be a piece of cake.
And it was.
At least right up until the moment where, in his hurry to do the circuit of the room he’d been challenged to complete, his feet lost their grip on the slippery floor. He rounded the corner in a skid before losing it completely, ending up sliding unceremoniously along on his backside.
When he eventually came to a stop, he found himself glancing up at a startled blonde woman.
Who proceeded to let out a piercing scream.
“John will no doubt be pleased you are back.”
Evie smiled knowingly, realising that Teyla, who was in the adjacent shower cubicle, couldn’t see her expression. The other woman’s words were both subtle and blindingly obvious.
John didn’t talk much about himself and she doubted that he’d made a grand announcement about the two of them dating. He probably avoided the subject whenever he could, preferring to keep everything between them private.
She couldn’t say she minded. She had no desire to be the favourite topic of the Atlantis gossip mill either.
Still, Teyla was his friend and she guessed that the other woman had a good idea about what was happening even if he had said nothing. Evie had always found her to be very astute and it seemed she was simply looking for confirmation.
“I believe he missed you,” Teyla continued when no answer was forthcoming, “He does seem fond of you.”
Evie’s smiled widened involuntarily. She’d guessed as much herself but it was nice to hear it from someone else.
“Well, I’m rather taken fond of him too,” she admitted, not seeing a reason to deny it.
“He’s a good man.”
“And he’s bloody gorgeous,” Evie added, taking a long breath as she thought about it, “But don’t tell him I said that.”
Teyla laughed, “Your secret is quite safe with me.”
For a moment she contemplated confiding further in the other woman, explaining to her how much more she felt for him than she was letting on. But that idea was interrupted by a scream, causing them both to bolt out of their cubicles on instinct to find out what on earth the matter was.
John hesitated as he saw the note stuck to the door of the locker room.
“Damn it,” he muttered under his breath.
“What?” Ronon asked.
It wasn’t so unusual for the locker room to be handed completely over to the women of the base for a short time, especially when a large group of them had been off world. It was kind of annoying though when he needed something from his locker.
“Look, just keep watch okay,” he said, glancing around to check that no one was watching. It wouldn’t do his reputation any good for a rumour to spread about Colonel Sheppard hanging around the locker room at girls shower time.
“You going in?” Ronon asked, eyebrow raised, clearly thinking this was not a good idea.
“I’ll just be a minute,” John reasoned. He only wanted his towel. The two of them were on their way to the gym for a bit of sparring and he needed it to wipe down.
Carefully opening the door, he popped his head round, prepared to say sorry and duck out again if there was a woman in sight. But no one was there and the sound of running showers could be heard. It was worth the risk. He’d only be a moment. Besides, it wasn’t like he expected any of them to be walking around stark naked, despite what male fantasies about women’s locker rooms might be.
He snuck in, quietly closing the door behind him, and hurried over to his locker. Forcing himself to work steadily rather than rushing, he put in the combination and opened it, pulling out a towel.
Nearly home free.
Which was when a piercing scream flew out of the shower area.
If he’d taken his time to think about it he might not have rushed in there. Or at least he would have realised beforehand what one of the consequences of that might be. But he didn’t think. Instead, well-honed instinct kicked in and he automatically hurried to the aid of the person in trouble.
And found himself confronted with a whole host of naked women.
“Oh jeez! Sorry! I heard a scream and I...”
He trailed off, not knowing where to look, both he and the ladies seeming to be frozen in shock. When he realised that Teyla was one of the women, he hurriedly glanced away, not wanting to feel embarrassed around her for the rest of his life. Like a homing beacon though his eyes seemed to lock on to Evie instead and wouldn’t leave. Jesus, they hadn’t even had sex yet and there she was, really naked in front of him and, he couldn’t help but think, looking incredibly hot.
He forced himself to look away, blood pounding in his veins.
What possessed him to take an obvious second glance he didn’t know. Well actually he did, he just wished he could have ignored it.
Finally getting their wits about them, and after a bout of startled squealing, the women all disappeared back inside the shower cubicles.
Which gave John a chance to see what the screaming had been about.
“What the hell-?”
Glad to have something else to focus his mind on instead of his own embarrassment, he grabbed the terrified looking marine by a handful of shirt and hauled him to his feet, dragging him out of the room.
The younger man was already stammering out apologies and explanations, clearly knowing that he was in big trouble.
“I’m sorry, sir. It was just a joke. Some of the other guys dared me to.”
As they re-entered the locker room, Ronon was standing there, looking perplexed. He’d obviously wondered what the fuss was all about but had had enough presence of mind to avoid running into a room of naked women.
Good for him.
“And do you do every stupid thing someone tells you to?” John asked angrily, releasing the man’s shirt. He’d been holding it so tight that some of the stitching seemed to have ripped.
“No, sir,” Anscombe said hurriedly, standing rigidly to attention whilst he continued to explain, obviously not wanting John to get the wrong idea, “I wasn’t trying to peek or anything, honest. It was just run around it once and get out without being seen.”
“Well, I think we can safely say you didn’t manage it!”
“No, sir. Sorry, sir.”
“He was in the showers?” Ronon asked, looking surprised. Well as surprised as he ever did. “With all the girls?”
“Yeah,” John said tensely, not taking his eyes off the younger man.
“That was dumb,” Ronon concluded.
And that was an understatement.
“You and your buddies might think it’s funny, Private,” John continued sharply, standing inches in front of Anscombe, “but I don’t think I need to remind you that the US military doesn’t take a very good view on anything that could be considered borderline sexual harassment!”
That accusation seemed to worry the Private further. Something like that would not look good on his record and would be a pretty poor start to a fledgling career.
“Really, sir. I am so sorry,” he repeated, sincerely, “I didn’t mean to see anything. I didn’t mean any harm.”
Despite his anger, John believed him. It’d been an idiotic thing to do, no doubt, but the guy seemed genuine enough.
John’s attitude softened a little, remembering that he’d been young and stupid once, although admittedly not as stupid as this. He also vaguely remembered what it was like to be the rookie on the team, desperate to do anything to fit in. He’d certainly be having words with Anscombe’s team mates.
“It’s not me who you should be apologising to,” he pointed out, in a calmer tone.
Anscombe seemed to relax somewhat with that, the genuine fear in his eyes gone now that the Colonel had ceased bawling him out.
John edged closer to the shower entrance, careful to keep his back to it so he couldn’t be accused of taking a look. “Ladies, once you’re decent could you come out here please. Private Anscombe has something he’d like to say.”
“I really didn’t mean any harm, sir,” Anscombe said, after a few moments of silence, finally feeling at ease enough to straighten out his shirt.
“I know,” John said with an exasperated sigh.
“I just wanted to fit into the team, you know?”
“Yeah.” He did understand. And the guy was young. He’d learn.
“I’ll apologise, obviously,” the other man continued, still seeming sincere before a slightly too cheerful smile appeared on his face, “Don’t wanna end up with them angry at me for my whole time here, right?”
“No.” John didn’t bother to hide the disapproval in his voice. This really wasn’t something to be smiling about.
“Besides, I might end up dating one of them,” Anscombe pointed out, chuckling and not seeming to realise that neither John nor Ronon were amused, “Don’t want to ruin my chances before I start. Who knew that scientists were so hot?”
John shared a look with Ronon, eyebrow raised. Had they really found someone with less social tact than Rodney?
“And I gotta say,” Anscombe continued jovially, still not noticing the other guys’ reaction, “I didn’t mean to look of course, but your girl is fine, sir, if you don’t mind me saying. Who knew she hid that under her uniform, huh? I can see why you’re interested in scientists.”
John knew the guy was dumb. He just didn’t know he was quite THAT dumb.
He guessed it was meant to be a joking buddy moment, especially from the way that Anscombe was grinning at him. A way of ingratiating himself with his commanding officer. Show him he was just one of the boys.
It didn’t really turn out like that.
John knew that in his position he should be able to hold his temper in check, whatever the provocation, and up until now he’d managed that just fine. But the moment Anscombe mentioned her, with that ‘I got an eyeful and it was good’ grin on his face, the red mist descended, his brain switched off and pure instinct drove his muscles.
Before he could even think about it, his fist had connected sharply with Anscombe’s nose and the younger man had crumpled to the floor, clutching at his face.
Ronon, who had been leaning casually against the lockers, stood up straight, frowning with concern, wondering if he was going to have to wade in and break up a fight.
John held up his hand, showing his friend that there was no need as he backed off. He already felt ashamed about what he’d done and yet at the same time, totally vindicated and still pretty angry.
He was saved from trying to force himself into being more professional by the arrival of a gaggle of women, wrapped in bath towels, who immediately descended upon the prone marine and began vigorously berating him for what he’d done.
John decided to leave Anscombe to their mercy and get the hell out of there before he did anything else he’d regret.
He knew the knock on his door was probably her, and he almost contemplated not answering it, still a bit embarrassed by the whole ‘seeing her naked’ thing. He was also pretty disturbed by the vehemence of his reaction too and that had given him more than enough to think about since he’d retreated to his quarters.
But he couldn’t bring himself to ignore her and when he opened the door she was leaning against the frame, looking at him quizzically.
“Is it true you punched Private Anscombe in the face?”
It seemed that she wasn’t going to pull any punches either.
“Oh,” he said quietly, “so you heard about that.”
“Everyone heard about that.”
Inwardly he cringed but tried not to show it, stepping aside to allow her in. He didn’t really want to discuss it in the corridor.
“It was rather chivalrous, I suppose,” she said, walking passed him, “trying to defend our honour and everything but-”
“It was you,” he interrupted, his voice hard, still angry at himself, “He said something about you.”
Maybe he should have lied to her but he felt like he needed to admit it to someone. He’d lost control momentarily because of her and, to be honest, that scared him a little.
She turned to him, looking curious. “Like what?”
He didn’t really want to say. He didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable and he didn’t like to remember the other man’s words because they still made his blood boil. Taking time to think about it after, it had partly been a protective action but there’d been a little of something else there too. A dumb territorial side that argued that by disrespecting her, the guy had been disrespecting him too.
“He was admiring the view a little too much,” John settled on, hoping she’d catch his drift.
She seemed to and she paused for a moment, taking that in. She didn’t seem very happy about it but not overly mortified either.
“You should have said something to me,” she eventually said.
“So I could have punched him in the nose instead.”
The humour caught him off guard and, for the first time in what felt like a while, he attempted a smile.
His anger had been something of a barrier between them since she’d entered the room, him standing with his arms folded across his chest, her several feet away with her hands stuffed in her pockets. The slight crack in that front seemed to make her more at ease though and she walked up to stand in front of him, hands running up his forearm comfortingly.
“What the hell are you apologising for?” he asked with a puzzled frown.
She shrugged, “I don’t know.”
But she could obviously see he was kind of disturbed by the whole thing and was taking some of the blame for it. He didn’t like that.
“Well don’t,” he insisted. “It wasn’t your fault.”
It was his. Anscombe was just an idiot kid. As a senior officer of more experience, John should have known better. He should have had more control. He guessed it was an indication of how much she’d got under his skin since he’d met her that he’d reacted in that way. It was kind of worrying. He was a man who was inclined to feel strongly about things and past evidence showed that he’d act upon those feelings without thought. He didn’t know how healthy it was to feel that passionately about one person.
But he couldn’t help himself.
He realised he probably looked miserable and he wasn’t surprised that she changed the subject and tried to cheer him up.
“I do believe,” she said with a slight smile, “you saw me naked.”
Despite himself he grinned a little.
“Just a little bit,” he admitted.
“And don’t think I didn’t see that second glance.”
“I thought you might have.”
“I don’t think it’s very fair, do you?”
“I didn’t really have a problem with it,” he reasoned with an easy shrug. Then he grinned, able to picture the moment more fondly now he was sure she wasn’t angry with him for it. “And if it’s any consolation; ‘wow’.”
She smiled too, blushing only a little, but smoothed it back to a straight face.
“It’s still not fair.”
He frowned at her curiously, detecting a hint of something there. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying strip, flyboy.”
He raised an eyebrow at that. “Now?”
“Why? Are you busy?”
Her fingers played with the hem of his tee shirt, tips just brushing the flesh underneath, trying to convince him that he wasn’t.
Not that he needed any convincing.
God, this was a bad idea. If he was acting like this now, he didn’t like to think what sort of thing might happen if he was to really fall for her. What if they were on a field mission somewhere and she was in danger? What if she went missing off world? He wished he could be confident enough with himself to know that he wouldn’t do something stupid to help her, that he wouldn’t put others at risk. But you never knew these sorts of things until you were tested and, as far as he was concerned, he was tested today and had failed badly.
It was weakness.
But turning her away would require much more strength than he had.
He felt a bit like a nervous teenager as he pulled his tee shirt over his head and tossed it away. Slightly unsteady fingers went to the button on his pants but she tapped them away.
“Give a girl a chance,” she explained when he looked at her questioningly.
He didn’t bother asking what she meant because she was then kissing her way down his neck, lips trailing over the stubble there in a way that felt insanely good.
No, not good, a small part of his brain was telling him. He shouldn’t be getting so involved.
But a much larger part of his brain was telling that part to shut the hell up and it was winning.
The slightest hint of a groan left his lips as her mouth nipped ever so lightly at his collarbone, tongue dipping in to the hollow of his throat. Her hands slid up his arms before each travelled off on its own path. One pressed at the small of his back, holding him closer to her, whist the other explored the expanse of toned muscle across his shoulders.
Moments later it only took the smallest of pushes to get him to sink back into the sofa behind him and if he had had any ability to think coherently left, he would have wondered if being so easily under her control was a good idea.
He didn’t care as she sat straddled across his lap, knees either side of his hips, hands wandering his chest as she slowly kissed him.
He didn’t remember the last time anyone had paid him this much attention. His body was humming with it and all he really wanted to do was surrender. He had to admit it had been a long time since he’d wanted anything this much.
Her hands continued to run over his torso and his breath was getting shorter with every caress, his heart beating more rapidly. She was going to kill him at this rate, there was no doubt about it. How the hell was she doing this to him?
His head sunk back into the chair, eyes closed and back arching a little when her tongue ran over his nipples. Damn, he was sensitive, every nerve ending just burning up and a whimper catching in his throat. It was a sound he’d be embarrassed about at any other time.
He couldn’t believe how fast his pulse was already racing and it seemed to double pace in anticipation when her fingertips followed the trail of hair down from his navel to the top of his pants. The muscles of his abdomen clenched tight and he writhed a little beneath her. Her fingers stroked at the sensitive skin over his hip bones and he took a hissing breath.
“Are you picturing me naked again, yet?” she said, soft and teasing into his ear.
“I’m way ahead of you,” he managed to half choke out, pressing his hips up to show her he really wasn’t joking.
Passion made you act crazy, that much was clear. It clouded your judgement and it made you do things you never would otherwise. But, he realised, as he felt the button on his pants loosening, it definitely had its benefits and it was easy to tell why, in the end, most surrendered to it.
And who was he to argue with the majority?