She shouldered her back pack and shared a glance with Samantha and Teyla. They’d both insisted that her gate trip no matter how personal was not going to happen without some kind of armed escort. They were waiting on Cadman who hurried into the gate room, snapping a P-90 onto her vest as she skidded to a stop beside Colonel Carter. “Ma’am.”
“Lt.” Sam chuckled. “Ready?”
“For the most ultimate girl bonding thing, ever? Absolutely.” Laura Cadman grinned. “Sheppard cornered me in the armory and tried to get me to spill the beans and I told him it was classified.” She wiggled her eyebrows.
“Oh. God,” Jennifer muttered. “The whole damn city is going to be speculating.”
“Speculation is good for morale. Keeps their focus off the threat level and you know gruesome death at the hands of space vampires.” Sam flipped the safety off on her P-90. “Chuck, dial the gate.”
* * * *
“Cadman, Carter, Teyla, and Jennifer went through the gate. Chuck has refused to tell me where and apparently Sam has encrypted the mission file so well that Rodney is torn between begging to have her baby and having a screaming fit that the SGC will hear without us dialing the gate.” John bounced on his feet. “Any clue?”
“Nope.” Ronon’s expression was neutral. “She told me she had a mission on the way out the door this morning. By the time I was dressed, they had already left through the gate. Carson has no clue. Radek looked at me like he might faint if I asked if so I left him alone.”
“Four women off planet with machine guns and C4.” John punched at the bag. “Chuck did tell me that they’ll be checking in every six hours. There is nothing on the duty roster, by the way, Carter pulled Cadman off guard duty for this without even talking to me about it.”
“Chuck grudgingly admitted that Sam had allotted two days for the mission.” John bounced back from the punching bag. “Cadman told me it was fucking classified.”
“Colonel Carter does out rank you.”
“Yeah. Yeah.” John swung out hit the bag in a quick succession- his taped knuckles hitting the bag with a smack. “She’s also the leader of this expedition and she has no business going through the gate without a full contingent of Marines, especially not after the that big hole thing happened.”
“Cadman is a superior fighter and we both know that Teyla can handle herself.”
“Every time your little doctor goes off world something catastrophic happens. It’s like she’s got a target tattooed on that pretty ass of hers.” John grinned when Ronon growled. “Come on – lets go up to the control room and harass the hell out of Chuck.”
“You talk about her ass again and we’ll be back in here so I can kick your ass and people won’t ask questions.” Ronon shoved him a little as they walked towards the door.
* * * *
“This village has been here for just a few years. The woman I was telling you about married a man from Sadeta but wasn’t from there herself. He’s long gone, culled more than five years ago but she’s been living and moving with these people for as long as I can remember. My people has often traded with them in the past.” Teyla exchanged a look with Cadman who took up the back of their party.
“This isn’t stupid, right?”
“No. Not at all. I would be honored if a man showed such interest in learning my people’s customs.”
“We’ll let Sheppard know,” Sam muttered under her breath and Jennifer laughed.
Teyla sighed. “John Sheppard is just… not my type honestly and besides our team would be damaged by such a relationship.”
“Who is your type? I mean of the men on Atlantis, who does it for you?” Cadman called from the rear.
“I find… Evan Lorne very appealing but since the baby things are … different.”
“Well, we all know who Keller flips over,” Cadman continued. “What about you Colonel Carter?”
“That’s classified, Lt.” Sam flashed her a grin. “Really, very classified. What about you?”
Her face clouded. “Well…” But her attention was diverted by a group approaching. “We have company.”
Jennifer forced herself to relax and take deep breaths while Teyla met with the elders of the village and requested to speak with a woman named Mila. Teyla hadn’t been among these people in more than a year but as always her sure manner and her friendliness cleared the path and they found themselves on the path to a small hut. She could do this. She was going to do this.
The elder left them with Mila when he was suitable convinced that she welcomed the visitors. Mila was older than most of the people she’d encountered in the Pegasus galaxy. The Wraith had a way of keeping the population very young, sometimes too young as far as Jennifer was concerned.
“You wish to ask me about my husband?” Mila frowned at Teyla. “He’s been gone so long, Teyla, how could that help you and your friends?”
Teyla motioned that Jennifer sit in front of the woman and they all settled got comfortable. Cadman taking a position by the door; appearing relaxed but her gun was under her hand. “Jennifer is involved with a man from Sadeta and is very interested in learning about his culture.”
“Ah.” Mila chuckled. “He’s a lot of work, is he not?”
Jennifer relaxed then, hours of tension and indecision just fell away. “God, yes.”
“There is something specific you’d like to know?”
“Could you tell me about your husband and how you became… mated.”
Mila’s eyes widened. “I see. I see. Well, I visited Sadeta on a trading mission for my world. My father sent me as an ambassador and the government assigned a soldier to see to my protection while I was on their planet. The mission was going very well but I had a hard time keeping my mind on my mission because this big, overbearing, arrogant soldier never let me do anything that wasn’t on the “plan”. I was to stay on that planet a year and something was going to have to change or I was going to kill him. So, one night in a fit of pure idiocy I claimed the ‘Rite of Consort’ which is how a woman on Sadeta would inform both the man and anyone who witnessed that she intended to claim the man for her own.”
“And after this claiming?”
“The ritual has several parts but the first is the woman’s claim. Once this challenge is issued the man must respond.”
“What does that entail?” She wet her dry lips and took a deep breath.
* * * *
“It is the most barbaric thing I’ve ever heard.” Jennifer snapped as soon as they were out of the village.
“It sounds hot,” Cadman chuckled. “I mean what woman wouldn’t really dig getting hunted down and….” She stopped. “Oh Christ, Jennifer. I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s okay.” Jennifer was shaking as she came to stop beside the DHD. “No wonder he never told me about it.”
Teyla and Sam who had not bothered tried to keep up with Jennifer and Cadman came to a stop at the DHD.
“What disturbs you most? The blood or the hunt?” Teyla asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Both.” But, really, if she were going to be honest with herself—neither. The whole blood letting and hunting a woman down and fucking her on the nearest surface totally seemed to fit with Ronon’s over all personality. “Neither, really, fuck.” She kicked the DHD in frustration. “That bastard thinks I’m weak.”
“He does not.” All three women responded.
Jennifer glared at them. “If he didn’t think so he would have shared this with me. Mila had it clear how important it is… how much it mattered.” Her voice cracked a little and she shrugged off her pack and dropped it on the ground. “I did not sign up for this crap!”
“Yeah, well, life happens to us whether we’re on a mission or not.” Sam stepped up the DHD and started to dial. “Let’s go home and we’ll find a very quiet out of the way place to discuss this and make a plan.”
“A plan?” Jennifer demanded.
“Unless you don’t want to keep the man?” Laura reminded. “Sometimes, Jen, you just gotta reach out and grab a man by the balls.”
Sam turned and looked at Cadman as the wormhole engaged. “Literally, Lt?”
Cadman hooked her thumbs into the sides of her vest as she strolled to the gate. “Every chance I get, Ma’am.”
* * * *
He knew she was back, her gear littered his quarters and the shower was going. Disgruntled at her for being gone for nearly two days he yanked at his clothes as went into the bathroom. She was leaning against the shower wall under a stream of too-hot water. The steam of it billowed around her as he opened the stall and basically invaded.
She gasped as he turned her abruptly and took her around. Silently, he lifted her off the ground, urged her legs around his waist, and then watched her eyes widen as he filled her. Her eye lids fluttered, but she kept the opening as he started to move. Her hands clenched on his shoulders, nails digging in and flexing with each thrust of his body. Her breath rushed from her body in soft gasps and she arched against the wall, her legs tightening around her waist.
Ronon tucked his face into the side of her neck and held her tight. “Mine.”
Jennifer shuddered and gasped, her hands traveled into his hair and she clutched at him, her body shaking as she accepted every thrust of him inside her. “Yes. Yes.”