Diplomatic receptions aren't solemn occasions on this world.
Categories: Fanfiction Characters:
Romance, Smut & PornWarnings:
May 21, 2012 Updated:
May 21, 2012
1. Rowing in Eden by havocthecat
Rowing in Eden by havocthecat
The Amphotrae threw parties like nobody's business. Most of what Elizabeth had encountered in Pegasus had been small harvest festivals, or quiet, formal receptions. The advantage of being the woman in charge of the Atlantis expedition was that she got to see every culture at its most formal.
In Amphotrae culture, though, what was considered formal behavior on Earth was reserved for times of grief. To behave with any degree of reserve when not in deepest mourning was a grave insult. Which meant that Elizabeth was in the midst of a raucous, boisterous crowd of diplomats, and she was moving through the room with a smile on her face, hugging anyone that came near.
It was, by far, the most enjoyable, crowded diplomatic reception Elizabeth had ever attended. Ronon had been bringing her drinks for hours, though she didn't know whether it was because ritual beverages - invariably alcoholic - were almost a requirement at Amphotrae functions, or because he wanted to get her drunk. She had a suspicion it was the latter.
He did, though, think Elizabeth was too serious for the party. He'd told her so when he'd handed her the last drink, then whirled away to keep flirting. The room was full of people, and Elizabeth felt calm and mellow, though that was more an effect of the alcohol, since everyone else was raucous and loud.
Lorne and his team were here, but, other than Laura, they hadn't been doing much with the party, mostly because Laura had a digital camera out. Lorne had taken one look and fled, muttering something about making sure the check-in with Atlantis went smooth.
Laura was taking pictures and laughing, in between conspiring with Ronon. She wasn't sure what they were talking about, but the whispers and the muffled laughter was as good an indication as an explosion, when it came to those two. Together, they might break John and Rodney's record for getting in trouble, which was an accomplishment, given that they were rarely off-world together.
She and Teyla had met and parted several times, each time alternating between a hug and the Athosian gesture that was almost its equivalent. Teyla was in her element tonight, swirling around the room with a beatific grace that Elizabeth always admired.
Rodney stood in a corner, the sour tilt to his mouth gone, at least for tonight. It was nice to see him relaxing and having fun. He was explaining himself to a small group of Amphotrae scientists. Some of them were amused, and others were arguing with him. For Rodney, a good argument when no lives were on the line was relaxing.
Elizabeth wasn't sure where John had gotten to. She was swept away for a round of introductions soon after they'd arrived, when the crowd was smaller. She'd been able to keep sight of him across the room, but the mass of people had become too overwhelming, and she'd lost sight of him except for a few glimpses here and there. Eventually, she'd ducked outside. The crowds weren't any smaller, but the open ceiling and fresh air made it more tolerable.
There were also less servers out here. One more drink, and she was afraid the room would start spinning.
Everywhere she looked, there were couples splitting off, and a few small groupings of people as well. There were quiet alcoves along the side corridors, and small rooms too, she presumed. They weren't a hedonistic people, per se, not that it was accurate to apply Earth's philosophies to an alien culture. Their celebrations of life in the face of the threats of the Pegasus galaxy were encouraging.
It was impossible to suppress the laughter that bubbled up, though Elizabeth covered her mouth with her hand and she tried. She did. It was just that she'd never attended a diplomatic reception that had so many random hook-ups before.
When Elizabeth turned the corner, the open-ceiling rooms expanded even farther, into a garden filled with blossoming plants. It was a very good thing for the Amphotrae that their climate was temperate, and a very good thing for Elizabeth that she didn't suffer from hay fever.
A wave of people crowded past her. Trailing behind them was John. A long, slow smile spread across his face when he met Elizabeth's eyes, and she tried not to blush. She pretended not to have been looking for him, but she didn't think he was fooled. "Having fun?" he asked.
Elizabeth slung her arm around John's waist, pretending not to notice when he stiffened. She didn't need to hide her relationship with John. Not on a planet with such strong encouragement toward showing affection, and such strong taboos against reserve.
John was both more private and more sober than she was. He acted nonchalant, even pleased to interact with everyone around him on such a close level. The truth was something far different, and very few people other than Elizabeth could read him well enough to know that this planet and this party were hell for John.
"Oh, you know," said Elizabeth, feigning nonchalance. She leaned against John, who steadied her when she stumbled on a crack in the pathway. She'd have to remember not to drink anything that Ronon gave her. Ever again. Except she probably would. "I live for these sorts of things."
They moved deeper into the garden, and Elizabeth shifted so that her arm was looped through John's. She pulled him close, even though the night was warm. Once they paired off, people stopped accosting both of them for effusive greetings. John relaxed a fraction, and Elizabeth caught him looking down the front of her dress.
"I live for these sorts of things being over," said John. He nudged Elizabeth with his elbow. "Any chance we can cut out early?"
Elizabeth laughed as she bumped at John's side with her hip. "Of course not. We'd insult our hosts."
They would seem dour and humorless, and a culture that didn't know to appreciate life's pleasures. The offense would be unforgivable. Also, what little alcohol they had back on Atlantis wasn't nearly as good as the fruit brandies that were being served by the Amphotrae.
"Yeah, that'd be bad," drawled John. They needed more friends in Pegasus, given that they seemed to trip over new enemies with a greater frequency than statistical probability called for.
Further along the garden walkway, Elizabeth saw a stone arch, the doorway to a smaller, covered building at the center of an intricate path. "It's a beautiful building, isn't it?" she asked.
"I hear these guys get married in there," said John, looking at Elizabeth, not the building.
Maybe it was the six drinks she'd had that night. Maybe she was caught up in the joyful mood of the evening. Either way, it didn't matter, because Elizabeth knew what she was saying, and it didn't stop her.
"Want to get married?" she asked. She didn't look away, or open her mouth to take it back. She let the question hang out there. If she hadn't wanted this, she wouldn't have asked.
John looked at her, startled, and Elizabeth could almost hear the thoughts running through his head while she looked up at him, her smile having just enough of a smirk in it to pique his curiosity. She arched one eyebrow, her expression almost a dare.
"Sure," said John. He grinned at her. "Sounds like fun."
The hardest part was finding someone who could perform the ceremony that wasn't drunk, or sneaking off to one of the alcoves. It would've been easier if they'd split up, but Elizabeth wanted to stay near John, who wasn't about to leave her alone in her inebriated state anyway.
The wedding was more simple, just an exchange of glasses full of a stronger drink than anything Elizabeth has had since her undergrad years. There was also a short blessing by the attendant, who asked the Ancestors for prosperity and fruitfulness.
What Elizabeth actually hoped for was a lack of fruitfulness, but she kept that to herself. She kept what she hoped was a properly solemn expression instead of rolling her eyes.
As they left, another glowing light brightened on the ceiling of the building.
"A lot of people must get married here," said John, looking up.
"I guess so." Elizabeth caught John's hand for a moment, then twined her arm through his again. Tonight, at least, no one would question this.
She glanced over at him, and John was staring at her, an amazed look on his face. Elizabeth grinned at him. They'd gone through with it.
They walked back toward the central area, though Elizabeth wasn't sure what they would do when they arrived. Then again, they didn't have to be back right away. The festivities would last until dawn.
Elizabeth caught sight of a dark, secluded alcove. She changed directions, heading toward it and letting John follow her gaze when he gave her a confused look.
"Don't tell me you haven't noticed?" asked Elizabeth.
"Noticed what?" asked John, looking even more confused.
"This isn't just a party," said Elizabeth, smirking at John. "At least half the people here have gone into alcoves like this all night. It's an orgy, John."
John stopped and stared at Elizabeth. "You mean--"
A couple stumbled out of an alcove a few feet away from the one Elizabeth and John were standing in front of. One of them laughed, and the other grabbed her and tugged her back into the alcove. There was a gasp, and then a long, drawn-out moan.
"You're not saying--" John was staring at her in shock.
"It's practically required," said Elizabeth, chuckling. It wasn't, of course. It was only encouraged. Elizabeth had politely demurred earlier, when she'd had other offers, but seeing John had made her reconsider.
They deserved a wedding night, after all. The sooner, the better.
Ever since he'd agreed to the impromptu ceremony, Elizabeth had been giving John speculative looks he hadn't noticed. A slow heat was building in her, and her tongue flickered out to lick at her lips.
"Well, if it's required," said John, his voice trailing off. Elizabeth was smug. She did know how best to distract him, after all.
Elizabeth tugged on the waistband of John's pants and backed them up into an open, shadowed alcove. He was wearing his usual off-world uniform, minus his jacket, and his black t-shirt was stretched across his chest in a way that made Elizabeth want to take it off.
In a concession to the fact that they were at a diplomatic ceremony, no matter how raucous and debauched it was, Elizabeth had worn one of the few dresses she'd brought to Atlantis. It was a black gown made of satin. She'd long ago learned that floor length skirts let her forego heels.
When in Rome - or Pegasus - do as the Romans do. Or as the Amphotrae do. Which meant Elizabeth retained enough presence of mind to keep backing them up, even with John's mouth on hers and his hands on her waist. The back of her thighs bumped up against a table.
"That's enough of that," said Elizabeth, smirking. She planted her hands on John's chest and pushed him back far enough so that she could sit on the table.
It was dark enough that she couldn't see John's expression, but the low chuckle she could hear coming from him made it clear he didn't mind any of this. "This is a little kinky for you, Elizabeth," he murmured. "What if someone walks in?"
She wrapped her arms around John's neck and pulled him to her for another kiss. "Do you really think anyone here is going to care?"
"It is very dark," said John. They spent a few moments sitting in the dark and kissing. John's mouth was on hers, his tongue flickering against Elizabeth's lips as she untucked his shirt. He leaned down, his body pressing close to hers as his teeth scraped along the column of Elizabeth's neck.
"Either we do this now, or we wait until the party ends at dawn." Elizabeth dragged her nails down his chest. Her touch was just light enough that John's breath came out in a long, slow hiss. "Do you want to wait that long?"
Instead of answering, John stepped forward and started tugging Elizabeth's skirt up. She braced her hands and lifted up her hips to help him. He tugged her panties down and let them drop on the floor. He pushed the straps of Elizabeth's dress down and smoothed his hands across her chest. He brushed against her arms and her belly, then lower.
"I've been watching you walk around in that damn dress all night," said John. His hands were gentle on Elizabeth's thighs as he pushed them apart.
Elizabeth leaned back on her arms as John let his fingers glide across her. She rocked her hips into his touch. "I noticed that," she said, sucking in a deep breath.
"You're so dirty, Elizabeth, wanting to fuck right here, where anyone can walk in." John's fingers stroked along her clit, and Elizabeth laughed. This was what she wanted. John's fingers teasing at her, driving her higher and higher.
She felt warm, flushed with alchohol and desire. Her world had narrowed down to the feel of John's skin against hers, to the press of his mouth against her body.
He leaned forward and kissed Elizabeth hard, his mouth crushing against hers. She sat up, pushed John backward, and reached for his belt buckle. She fumbled a bit, especially when John pushed two fingers inside of her.
"I don't want you fucking me with your fingers," muttered Elizabeth, her fingers clumsy on the button of his pants. She shoved his pants down, finally, though it took most of her concentration, and stroked her hand along the length of his cock.
John hissed and grabbed the table with his free hand. "Jesus, Elizabeth," he ground out. He pushed into her hand, and Elizabeth laughed with a merriment she wouldn't herself express on any other day.
"Having fun?" Elizabeth's smirk turned into a gasp as John pulled her hand aside, moved closer, and slid inside of her.
There was no answer from John, just a grunt as Elizabeth twisted her hands in John's shirt, pulling him against her. She didn't let him move away; she held him close with one hand as he moved inside her.
She brought her other hand down and touched herself where their bodies were joined. A few minutes was all Elizabeth needed before she came, shuddering against John and muffling her cries against his shoulder.
Her orgasm pushed John closer to the edge. His breath was harsh in her ear. Elizabeth's hands were on John's hips, urging him deeper. When John came, thrusting into her one last time, he didn't bother to muffle a hoarse cry.
"I thought you didn't want to get caught," murmured Elizabeth, chuckling.
"I got into the spirit of things," said John, grinning. He squeezed Elizabeth's hand, and the look in his eyes told her everything he couldn't bring himself to say. She just hoped that she didn't have any marks on her neck, what with the way John had been sucking on it.
Their last kiss before Elizabeth hopped down from the table was softer. She smiled at John as she slipped her panties back on and straightened her dress. "Let's get back to the party. Teyla will be wondering where we've gotten to."
She might kill Elizabeth for sneaking off and getting married. Or at least give her that look. But it would be worth it.
Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!
Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
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