Ties That Bind: Harder to Breathe – Part One

Harder To Breathe
Keira Marcos
Series:
Ties That Bind
Series Order
: 4
Pairing: McShep (many other secondary pairings)
Genre
: Romance, BDSM
Rating
: NC-17
Word Count
: 45,500

Warnings: Graphic male/male sex, anal play, BDSM, violence, and exhibitionism (does any of that really make you not want to read it?). Evil!Carter, Marine!John

Summary: John and Rodney return to the SGC and make ready to go to Atlantis with a few problems along the way.

Author’s Notes

This story was inspired by the works Coming Home and General & Dr. Sheppard by Xanthe. While this is not a story in the world she created, I did use her BDSM/Dynamic theme with her permission. I want to thank her sincerely for her generiosity and her contributions to this fandom and several others that I read. I highly recommend that you read EVERYTHING she’s ever written. SEE THE SERIES PAGE FOR FULL AUTHOR NOTES. I RECOMMEND YOU READ THEM!

– – – –

Elizabeth was waiting on them when they finished the check in process into the mountain. She said nothing as she guided them both down a hall and towards another elevator. Once the doors were closed she sighed. “Carter is here. There was an emergency with the gate and O’Neill was forced to recall her to deal with it. He didn’t want to bother you and Rodney on your family trip.”

Rodney inched closer to John aware that his Dom was still boiling over on the inside when it came to his ex-wife. “It’ll be fine, John.”

John shook his head, his jaw tightening. “I don’t need to be in a room with her Elizabeth. I don’t think I can trust myself around her.”

Elizabeth blinked in surprise but looked closely at Rodney’s pale features and hit the stop button on the elevator. “What’s going on?”

John shook his head and closed his eyes. Four days hadn’t been nearly enough time to calm himself down on the issue of Sam Carter—he didn’t know how long it would take. “Tell her.”

Rodney sighed. “John.”

“Tell her. Right now.”

Rodney flinched and his gaze dropped to the floor. “I cut off my collar because I asked her to take it off me twice and she refused. The thing with the paper was just the final straw—two weeks before that she restrained me and threatened to castrate me so that I would be a better husband and submissive.”

“Threatened or tried?” Elizabeth asked softly.

“A neighbor rang our door bell when he heard me screaming,” Rodney murmured as John’s fingers clenched in his shirt.

Elizabeth blinked and then clicked the radio in her ear. “Major Lorne, I have Colonel Sheppard and Dr. McKay in elevator four. I need a security escort to their private quarters and tell General O’Neill I need to speak with him immediately.”

Lorne met them personally with a three man team—all men that they’d picked for Atlantis. He glanced them over—took in John’s posture in one sweep and immediately recognized the threat. “All right then, sir, if you’ll follow me. I have another team clearing a path to your quarters.”

– – – –

Elizabeth was shaking by the time she walked into O’Neill’s office. Carter was leaning on the corner of his desk talking to him about something to do with the changes she’d had to make to the gate. Her casual elegance and beauty was so deceptive. Elizabeth crossed the room before she could help herself and slapped Sam Carter across the face with the back of her hand.

“If I had my way—I’d strip you and put you in front of the entire Mountain. Then I’d whip you until you begged me to stop,” Elizabeth snapped out through clenched teeth. “Did you think he wouldn’t tell John? Did you honestly think he would keep it to himself forever?”

“Dr. Weir,” Jack O’Neill said with a deceptively calm voice. “What the hell is going on here?”

“Ask your golden girl, General. Just how much of a pass does she get for saving the planet?” Elizabeth’s gaze narrowed. “It isn’t like I haven’t read Rodney’s medical file, Carter. I know how often he was in the infirmary when he wore your collar. The only reason he isn’t riddled with scars and suffering kidney failure as we speak is because of the Goa’uld healing device you used on him.”

“Rodney is an extreme masochist, Dr. Weir,” Sam snapped rubbing her jaw. “He didn’t get anything from me he didn’t want.”

“Really? Because he’s been in a relationship with a thoroughly trained sadist for fifteen days and hasn’t even needed stitches. It wasn’t his dynamic that put him in the infirmary—it was yours. Did you ever even love him? Do you understand the gift you were given?”

“Who are you to question me about my private relationship with my husband?” Sam demanded and flushed with anger. “This is none of your business. My marriage is private and none of anyone’s business.”

“Ex-husband,” Elizabeth returned icily. “I’d advise you to not make that mistake in front of Colonel Sheppard. He wouldn’t take such a claim well at all.”

“It’s still none of your business,” Carter ground out through clenched teeth.

“Did you ever bother to read his uncensored file?” Elizabeth asked. “You had access to it because you were his Domme.”

“I don’t understand what you’re getting at, Doctor.”

“The year McKay was released from de Sade as a marked Courtesan —from Quebec is the same year that Gerard de Sade retired, you fool. You regularly abused and nearly castrated Gerard de Sade’s Courtesan!” Elizabeth took a deep breath to calm herself down. “Had you succeeded—I can’t imagine what kind of response the Canadian government would have had to it.”

Carter laughed. “He’s not Gerard de Sade’s Courtesan. Don’t be stupid—I don’t even know how he was marked a Courtesan to begin with. He isn’t even that good of a lay. Castrating him would have done him a favor.”

“He is,” Daniel murmured. “He is Gerard de Sade’s Courtesan. When I first met Rodney, he was freshly marked and he let it slip to me one night when we were drinking. It was before either one of us had ever even heard of the Stargate. And Rodney is a superior lover—castrating him would have been a crime. He would have never agreed to it.”

“How would you know?” Carter demanded.

Daniel smirked. “Subs don’t just sleep with Tops, Sam. Rodney and I were lovers on and off for over a year before I was recruited for the Stargate program and met Jack. It doesn’t always have to be about the dynamic, you know? Sometimes it’s just about sex and affection—both of which he supplied without reserve or artifice. I feel sorry for you if you never inspired him that way.”

“You really tried to castrate him?” Jack asked in a low voice. “Christ, Carter. What the hell is wrong with you?”

“It’s not illegal and it was between us—he had no business discussing it.” Her cheeks darkened with embarrassment and fury.

“You lost the right to demand he honor your privacy when you refused to remove your collar—when he asked you to do it twice!” Elizabeth snapped.

Jack reached out and picked up his phone. He punched in a number without saying a word to anyone else in the room. “Fraser, I want a full copy of McKay’s medical records in my hands five minutes ago.” He ended the call without saying another word and then picked up an envelope. “These are your new orders, Carter. I was going to wait until later to do this but I think under the circumstances that it’s prudent that you clean out your office and get out of Colorado Springs. I don’t want Sheppard put in front of a review board for killing you.”

“Sir?”

“You don’t deserve it, really, but I’d have a hard time explaining to the IOA that I let McKay be abused for three years by a member of my own command. It would be a political nightmare considering how much they like the snarky little bastard but he never once filed a complaint—not even when he apparently had every right. Refusing to remove a sub’s collar on demand is a federal crime, Lt. Colonel Carter. A crime that could have seen you face general court martial if he’d come to me. I can’t fucking believe…” He sucked in a breath. “I should’ve asked him. A Courtesan just doesn’t cut their collar off on a whim.”

“General.” Her eyes widened in alarm as she read the orders. “Nevada?”

“I considered Antarctica but frankly I like most of the people at the Ancient Outpost and didn’t think they deserved to put with you. Get out of my office. I don’t want to see you again until I’ve calmed down.”

– – – –

Rodney could count on one hand the number of times he’d been summoned personally to O’Neill’s office for something he knew that wasn’t work related. The last time he’d been turned over O’Neill’s knee which hadn’t been so bad when he thought back on it. It wasn’t like O’Neill had missed the fact that the spanking had gotten him immediately hard. The General had just smirked and smacked his ass an extra one before he released him.

He glanced at John once as they settled into a pair of chairs in O’Neill’s office.

Jack O’Neill cleared his throat. “I spoke with Dr. Weir.”

Rodney flinched and focused on his feet.

“Rodney, I need you to look at me.”

McKay took a deep breath and met O’Neill’s gaze. “Yes, sir.”

“In the past, you’ve chosen to keep clearly abusive aspects of your private relationships to yourself. Your reasons for not trusting me to protect you are your own and I won’t intrude on your privacy by asking for an explanation.” He frowned, clearly disturbed and Rodney felt guilt pool in his gut. “Do you want to file charges against Colonel Carter for refusing to remove your collar?”

“No, sir.”

Jack grimaced and looked away from him briefly before he slouched down in his seat. “Really? Because it would make me feel better if you did.”

“I’d rather not deal with a trial for something that is over. Our  divorce proceedings were sealed but I assure you that they were anything but pleasant.”

“Colonel Mitchell testified in your divorce proceedings,” Jack finally said. “Will you tell me why?”

Rodney blinked in surprise. “You don’t know? You took Sam off SG1 after that.”

“The proceedings were sealed and I wasn’t given any access. Colonel Mitchell respectfully declined to speak of the matter.”

“Sam accused me of committing adultery with Colonel Mitchell,” Rodney murmured. “The charges were dismissed by the judge but Cameron had to testify. I really don’t want to go through another trial proceeding on the events of my marriage.”

Jack nodded. “Okay, fine, just know that you have the option. She didn’t deny that she refused to remove your collar twice. The rights of submissives may be in question in this country because of that ridiculous Ownership Act but that doesn’t change our current circumstances.”

“Circumstances,” Rodney murmured. “They change, of course, and one day Sam Carter could be sitting in your chair, General O’Neill.”

Jack averted his gaze. Rodney knew he couldn’t deny that possibility. Samantha Carter had risen fast in the ranks within the Air Force—she was smart, beautiful, and stupidly heroic in the field. No matter her private failings, professionally she was practically a rock star as long as he wasn’t involved in the equation.

“Of course, I don’t know where I will be when that day comes but I’ve worked for the US Government long enough to understand that there are different kinds of enemies—each dangerous in their own way. I prefer military tops—I always have and I knew that filing charges against her formally would damage her career and taint me. Doing so now could potentially damage John’s.” Rodney shrugged. “That situation is long over and if I’d wanted to file charges I would’ve done it through my pleasure house.”

“Why didn’t you?” Jack asked with a raised eyebrow. “Why didn’t they make you?”

“They don’t make Gerard de Sade’s Courtesan do anything he doesn’t want to do,” Rodney muttered and then blushed with both Jack and John laughed. “Well, they don’t.”

“No, I don’t imagine they do.” Jack raised an eyebrow. “Why keep it a secret?”

“That I’m Gerard de Sade’s Courtesan or that I’m a Courtesan?” Rodney asked.

“Either, both.” Jack waved a hand.

“When I was first marked—I was exhibited in front of twelve de Sade Masters. They were all students of Gerard, his Disciples. Doms that he took into his care when they were first brought to the Institute. Before I was exhibited, I was greeted personally be each of them. They hold positions in powerful places in governments across the planet.” Rodney took a deep breath. “One is a member of the IOA. It is why I’m often so indulged by them and their governments. Gerard trained some of the most powerful and wealthy men on this planet.”

Jack nodded. “Okay.”

“Well, Doms who trained with Gerard don’t make a secret of it. They are proud of it and their Dom marks have his initials worked into them. To say they indulge and coddle me would be something of an understatement.”

“All of his students were male?” John asked.

“Exclusively and they’re all accomplished sadists. He trained one Dom for each year he worked at the Institute. Most of them have dual Master status with another pleasure house—referred and arranged by Gerard.”

“Disciples?” Jack asked.

“Yes. Gerard only trained twelve Doms—it amused him to call them his disciples.” Rodney shifted in his chair. “I am as much their Courtesan as I am his. They consider my safety and protection their concern. If it was well know that I was his Courtesan they would throw their weight around on the issue of me far more than they already do. It would have made life difficult in the past. I don’t honestly know that it serves me to reveal it now.”

– – – –

A great meal the night before, two  hours spent doing filthy things to his sub, and an early morning blow job should have made his day easy. If he thought about it he could still feel Rodney swallowing around the head of his cock as he thrust slow and deep into in his sub’s mouth.

Still, it wasn’t enough to make up for the fucked up shit he’d had to endure since he’d entered his first meeting of the day. John didn’t even know what it would take to get his good mood back.

His bad day started with the arrival of the Commandant of the Marine Corps which sucked because like all Marines John really loved the hell out of the guy. General Randolph Jefferson Rampart was the coolest motherfucker on the planet as far as John was concerned—the problem was that he’d brought General Kevin Jordan with him. Jordan’s icy disdain for John was so obvious that half way through the first hour people in the room started to fidget.

General Rampart had always treated John like a son but that was how he treated most of his officers if they didn’t fuck up. And really, more so if they did fuck up because he wasn’t above dragging anyone over his knee if they pissed him off badly enough.

Rampart snapped his fingers abruptly. “Jordan, stop sniping at my Colonel like it’s your right.” He pointed at John. “He’s mine and I really don’t appreciate your attitude.”

“His poor command decisions and inability to emotionally detach in combat makes him the wrong choice to continue the Atlantis mission,” Jordan returned.

“You don’t have a fucking clue what it’s like to even be in combat because you’ve rode a desk all of your life,” Rampart returned evenly. “You aren’t equipped to have an opinion about his command decisions or his warfare actions.”

John blinked in surprise but wisely chose to stay out of the conversation. If a two-star general in the Air Force wanted to pick a fight with the highest ranking Marine on the planet that was his call.

“You mean to tell me that you agree with his choice to let a Wraith go free?” Jordan demanded.

“I don’t believe anyone at this table has the right to judge him on that mission. His CO handled it the way he thought it should be handled and you read the same after action report that I did. Colonel Sumner believed that Colonel Sheppard was influenced by the Wraith enzyme in his system in such away that it made rational thinking impossible. We are fortunate that he survived.”

“Yet, Sumner still punished him.”

Rampart shrugged. “Maybe John has a pretty ass and Marshall liked spanking him.”

John laughed abruptly and then bit down on his lip when everyone glanced sharply at him. “My apologies, sirs.”

Rampart snorted and rocked back in his chair. “At any rate, I’m not here to talk about whether or not John remains in command of Atlantis. I believe General O’Neill has already made that decision and the IOA has approved it. I’m here to make sure John has what he needs in Pegasus.”

Jordan glared. “You’re just going to send more men out there with him to die? Wraith fodder for your vanity and his inferior leadership?”

Rampart leaned forward in his chair. “Jordan, you are treading on thin ice with me. It’s bad enough I had to bring you with me and I wouldn’t have done it if the SecNav hadn’t ordered it. The Marine Corps has supplied the ground troops for the SGC since it’s inception and in case you missed it—you Nancy assed prima donna—my men live, fight and die hard every fucking day for this planet and Colonel John Sheppard is no exception. He’s the goddamned ideal Marine and there is nothing inferior about him.”

Jack O’Neill cleared his throat to interrupt Jordan’s impending explosion. “On that note, I think we need a break.” He held up a folded piece of paper between two fingers that he’d been handed by an aide nearly thirty minutes before. “John, this is for you.”

John accepted the note and unfolded it. I need to see you ASAP. MRM. He cleared his throat. “Sirs, permission to be dismissed? My partner has a pressing personal matter.”

“You’ve got thirty minutes,” Jack responded before anyone else could.

John glanced only briefly at Rampart who gave him an abrupt nod and then stood quickly to leave. “Should I order fresh coffee?”

“Let Walter know,” O’Neill murmured as John passed him.

Rodney was actually sitting in a chair in the anteroom outside the large conference room when John emerged. Sheppard raised one eyebrow in surprise but turned to Walter Harriman. “Walter, the General could use some fresh coffee and maybe some pastries would lighten the mood a little?”

Walter nodded. “Yes, sir. I’ll take care of it.” He glanced towards Rodney and then motioned towards a door. “You can use the General’s private break room. He won’t mind.”

John inclined his head towards Rodney who stood abruptly and then nodded his thanks to Walter. He shut the door and flicked the lock casually but Rodney’s obvious upset was bleeding over onto him.

“Did Carter mess with you? She’s supposed to be packing her shit and arranging the transfer of her major work to Area 51.”

Rodney shook his head. “No. No, of course not. She’s been using Miko and Daniel as go betweens all morning. Everything is working fine.”

“You’re upset, Rodney, and I was pretty sure when I left you in the lab this morning that you’d probably spend most of the day tittering on the edge of your subspace and maybe casually berating your minions.” He touched his face with gentle fingers. “You were relaxed and now you’re so upset you’re shaking.”

Rodney leaned into his touch. “I heard that Kevin Jordan is here. I don’t want him to fuck with you because of me. He just isn’t the kind of person who gives up on what he wants.”

John sighed. “Rodney, I appreciate the thought but a man like Jordan doesn’t stand a chance of fucking with me no matter what he does. He could turn me over his knee and slap my ass for an hour and I still wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of getting to me. He can’t hurt me and I won’t let him touch you.”

“Yeah.” Rodney nodded.

John kissed Rodney softly and then chuckled. “General Rampart called Jordan a Nancy assed prima donna.”

Rodney laughed abruptly. “Oh my God. I hate it that there are no cameras in there.” He leaned into John and sighed when a large warm hand slid confidently down his back. “I love your hands on me.”

“I love that I can touch you,” John admitted. “I’ll be honest—I was a little worried at first that you were going to play hard to get.”

Rodney grinned. “I can’t imagine anyone playing hard to get with you, John. Seriously.” He nuzzled against John’s neck and sighed. “Rampart is… a student of Gerard. One of the few that doesn’t advertise it. I don’t think he hides it but he doesn’t feel the need to make it known.”

John stiffened but then forced himself to relax. He’d known Randolph Rampart for years—knowing he was one of Gerard de Sade’s students didn’t change anything professionally.

“Would you like to greet him now?” John asked.

Rodney moved closer. “It would be considered rude if I did not make myself available to greet him.”

“Just greet?” John asked. “He won’t expect more from us?”

“Just greet. Angela Rampart would rip out my heart if I offered to attend her husband, even if you were willing…” Rodney laughed. “She’d get on a plane for a special beat down.”

John laughed. “I like her a lot. I met her five years ago. Jared found her very entertaining.” He checked his watch. “We have twenty minutes of break left. Let’s see if Rampart is still in the conference room.”

They were all still in the conference room—some mingling near the coffee pot. Bayliss and Jordan were off to one side having a heated, whispered conversation and Rampart was glaring at them in a stony silence. He smiled when John prodded Rodney into the room.

“John.” Rampart grinned. “I take it everything is okay?”

John glanced at Jordan briefly but focused on the General. “Yes, sir. You’ve met Dr. Rodney McKay.”

“Oh, yes, but it’s been years unfortunately.” Rampart offered Rodney a truly indulgent smile. “John, may I?”

“Of course, sir.” John let his hand fall from the small of Rodney’s back as his sub stepped forward to accept the traditional greeting of the pleasure house he shared with the general.

“It is my honor to greet the Courtesan of  my Pleasure Master,” Randolph whispered as he brought Rodney close and pressed a chaste kiss against his forehead.

Rodney blushed. “It is my honor to be greeted by a Disciple of my Courtesan Master, sir.” He stepped back when he was released and relaxed against John. “I met your wife last year in Quebec, sir.”

“She told me,” Randolph admitted. “She said your exhibit with Mistress Danielle was one of the most amazing events she’d ever had the privilege to attend. I found myself quite jealous to have missed it but the President wouldn’t let me out of his sight that whole week.”

“I was pleased that she was able to arrange to stay longer so that she could attend. Angela is a rare jewel in our house, sir.”

“I am a lucky man,” Randolph grinned. “As lucky as your Colonel. To earn the submission of a de Sade Courtesan is a life gift.”

“Agreed,” John responded and glanced over Rodney’s face. The blush across his cheeks was probably the most charming thing he’d ever seen in his life. Before Rampart touched him, John would have said that Rodney didn’t even know what the word ‘demure’ meant. But his response to the General disproved that in spades.

“I congratulate you both on your pairing.” Rampart grinned then. “This certainly explains why you are so mellow, John. I spent most of the last two hours wondering why you hadn’t leaped across the table to rip Jordan’s head off.”

John glanced towards the Air Force General and found both him and Bayliss openly glaring at the three of them. “I find myself beautifully exhausted, sir.” He inclined his head towards the door. “Sir, I will return shortly. I’d like to take Dr. McKay back to his office.”

“Not a problem, son, take all of the time you need. I’ll keep these bastards occupied if you run late.”

– – – –

John managed to return well within the thirty minutes O’Neill had allowed him. He poured himself a cup of coffee before taking a seat at the table. He noticed this time that Rampart had positioned himself so that John was flanked by him and O’Neill. It changed the mood at the table dramatically.

“Thank you, sirs. My pairing with Dr. McKay is new and we find separation a bit trying.”

“Not a problem, John.” Michael Norris smiled. “We’ve all been there with a new submissive. I’m pleased to see you so at ease in your relationship with Dr. McKay. I will admit to some worry that the collaring between the two of you was more political than anything else.”

John’s gaze narrowed on the Navy man but he nodded. “Dr. McKay and I are pleased with the mesh of our dynamics, sir. I consider myself blessed in my new pairing.”

“I’d like to talk about the Genii some more,” Norris started. “Do you think a relationship is possible with them?”

John frowned. “Beyond the mutual hate society we currently have with them, sir? I doubt it. They are non-dynamic, find our ways confusing and barbaric, and consider us intruders on what they believe is their ancestral city. As long as Cowan leads the Genii we have no hope of ever winning them over. I could lay a Wraith fleet to the ground right in front of him and he’d find fault with some part of it.”

“Well, you did murder upwards of a hundred and fifty of his people,” Jordan said. “It’d be pretty hard for him to consider an alliance with our people as long as you are in charge of the military on Atlantis.”

John relaxed in his chair and offered the Army general a shrewd smile. “Two hundred and thirty six actually. If I’m to believe they lost eighty against our gate shield the night they invaded the city and I count all of the men I’ve killed in the field since then—the total is two hundred thirty-six confirmed Genii kills. I’ve probably maimed or severely injured twenty more besides that. Since General Rampart made it clear you’ve never been in a battle, sir, I’m going to overlook the fact that you don’t seem to know the difference between murder and a righteous combat kill.”

Jordan flushed with fury. “You have no self-control, Colonel Sheppard.”

“I have a lot of self-control, General Jordan. I have so much I’m sitting here right now absolutely stunned over it actually,” John returned evenly.

“You insubordinate little son of a bitch,” Jordan snapped. “General O’Neill…”

“Jordan,” O’Neill sighed heavily. “He isn’t in your chain of command and while his tone may be insolent and rude—insubordinate hardly fits. I personally think he has a lot of self-control. If you’d called me a murderer for doing my job, you’d be in the infirmary right now getting your jaw wired shut.”

“And if Cowan were no longer in charge?” Norris asked pointedly refocusing the conversation.

“I don’t know. We’ve had very little dealings with anyone else—at least anyone else still alive. Koyla was the most dangerous of them in the beginning and when we finally took him out on Dagan it changed our dealings with the Genii dramatically. They stopped with overt offensives and began a guerilla type campaign against us. Marshall and I spent a great deal of time discussing  the change. I haven’t met the person that took over the Genii military after Koyla’s death.”

“Do you think this man or woman is a bigger threat than Koyla?”

“Their troop movements are smarter. The soldiers we encounter in the field have a harder edge and a definition about them speaks of training that was lacking before.” John admitted.  “I do consider their new military leader a bigger threat than Koyla. Ambition and greed colored Koyla’s actions. Who ever replaced him is a pure military mind. Marshall and I both have considered the possibility that he isn’t Genii at all but we haven’t seen him in the field so we don’t know for sure.”

Four hours later, John was so fed up with Jordan’s snide comments and Bayliss’ smug questions that he’d have liked to whip both men on general principal. Instinctually, he knew most of their behavior stemmed from weaknesses in their dynamics. Men like Jordan weren’t satisfied in private and they took that dissatisfaction out on others in public.

They both had succeeded on their politics and a lot of ass kissing rather than on merit and ability. He hated men like that. Hated that they were in uniform even more but at least they hadn’t joined the Marines. He could only thank God that O’Neill had declared the meeting over for the day.

“John.” Rampart leaned back in his chair. “Would you consent to an exhibition this evening?”

Sheppard blinked in surprise. “Here, sir?”

“Yes, there is a formal theater in the mountain.”

John sat back and let his gaze drop to the table while he considered the request. The Commandant of the Marine Corp had never been the kind of man to ask for anything when he could just order it. John had been ordered to exhibit in the past. Public exhibitions were a form of entertainment that officers were often called upon to offer both superior officers and those that served under them. And as a known, well-trained sadist he’d been popular with the brass when he’d had a collared submissive.

Jared had always enjoyed the display and the attention that it garnered for their pairing on whatever base they were stationed. He’d been comfortable in his submission, very proud of his Dom, and John had no fucking clue how McKay felt about it. He doubted that Carter had ever exhibited him considering how Rodney felt about keeping his Courtesan  status on a need to know basis.

He took a deep breath and glanced around the table. Jordan was leaning forward, looking fucking greedy. Norris was displaying only a small amount of curiosity. Bayliss was trying to look like he wasn’t interested and O’Neill looked ready to jump up and take John’s side if he declined. That was a relief. After Marshall had sacrificed himself, John had been forced to reconcile with the fact that he was once again under the direct command of a man he did not know.

He knew he couldn’t display any weakness in front of man like Jordan and he couldn’t for a minute let a single man in this room think that McKay’s submission was anything less than absolute. He really fucking hated politics but he knew Rampart wasn’t playing that game—he was genuinely interested in an exhibition and nothing more.

“Sir, I would be honored to exhibit for you.” His stomach knotted with nerves he was determined to keep to himself.

– – – –

Rodney nearly fell off his stool when he looked up and saw John hesitating in the doorway of his lab. John Sheppard didn’t hesitate. He wasn’t unsure of his welcome anywhere he went and… Rodney just wasn’t prepared for the change in his new Dom’s demeanor. He frowned and glanced around the lab. “Miko, Felger, Coomes find some where else to be right now.”

John moved into the room with confidence that had been lacking a few seconds before and leaned on the counter near McKay until the door shut behind the last of the people Rodney had shooed from the room.

“Hey.”

Rodney frowned. “What did Jordan do?”

“Nothing but be an asshole for the last five hours,” John admitted roughly. “He’s a real loser. I’m insanely pleased that you never let that prick touch you.” He leaned and kissed Rodney’s mouth carefully and then pulled away to look intently at his face. “Carter never exhibited here you, did she?”

“No, she wasn’t comfortable due to her own lack of training. Additionally, she wasn’t much of an exhibitionist despite her physical attractiveness. Sam has never been satisfied with her body and I never pressured her to deal with it because I wasn’t all that interested in being on display for the men on this base.”

John huffed out a breath in surprise. For all of her faults, Samantha Carter was a stunningly beautiful woman with a great body. It was probably, John thought meanly, the only thing she had going for her as a Domme. “I never would’ve guessed she had body issues.”

“And Jack O’Neill isn’t the kind of CO that would order one of the people under his command to exhibit. The theater is rarely empty—there are quite a few couples on the base that exhibit regularly.” Rodney’s gaze narrowed. “Did Jordan order you to exhibit me, John?”

“No, he would’ve never dared to do such a thing on O’Neill’s base.” John sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “Rampart asked.”

“Oh.” Rodney flushed. “In front of everyone?”

“Yes.” John looked away from him. “We never discussed this Rodney and we should’ve—probably first thing. It’s one thing to do this in your pleasure house. I couldn’t…”

Rodney reached out and touched him. “I’d never want to see you lose face in front of the kind of men that were gathered in that room, John. Not ever. Showing a son of a bitch like Jordan a weakness would be like pouring blood in a shark tank.” He leaned into John and let his head rest on his shoulder. “We should’ve expected something like that from Rampart actually. He would never pass up an opportunity to see me exhibited.”

“I know. Did you know he was coming? Is that why you explained all of that about Gerard’s students to me and O’Neill?” John ran his hand down Rodney’s back and huffed out a breath.

Rodney blushed. “Yes, I was aware that he intended on being here. As I said, Gerard’s Disciples believe it’s their duty to see to my welfare. They know I’ve been collared and Rampart was chosen to check things out. He has the most weight to throw around.”

“With me,” John guessed. “He has the most weight to throw around with me.”

Rodney sighed. “They never interfered in my relationship with Carter.”

“Do any of them have any fucking clue how horrible your relationship was with Carter?” John demanded in a fierce whisper.

“No, God, they probably would’ve had her killed if they’d had a single clue,” Rodney whispered. “You just don’t understand what kind of pull some of them have.” He blushed. “Jack thinks he’s kept the NID and the CIA from taking me from the SGC but really it was men like Rampart.”

“You keep a lot of secrets,” John muttered.

He blushed and averted his gaze. “I don’t… John… there is a lot going on and we haven’t been together long…”

“I’m not complaining, Rodney. I don’t expect you to open your past and just spill it out in front of me like a flood.” John shrugged. “I just need to know that you won’t keep personal secrets from me.”

“I won’t.”

“Are you okay with exhibiting here in the mountain?”

“The fact that I managed to keep my Courtesan  status under the radar for so long is something of a miracle, John. I chose my lovers carefully but I knew the risk of being collared by Sam Carter. She could’ve been ordered to exhibit me at any time and I would’ve had no choice in the matter. The only thing I put in our marriage contract was the right to refuse outside partners.”

John relaxed against the lab counter. “You didn’t put any restrictions on me. I would have signed a sub contract with you, you know. You never even brought it up.”

“I have no desire whatsoever to restrict you, John. I know you won’t share me. I know you have no interest in my money and I know that you’ll take care of me in every way you can while I wear your collar.” Rodney moved closer and relaxed completely against him. “She’ll show up for the exhibition.”

Everyone who can will show up for it,” John muttered dryly. “Are you okay with that? I could restrict who has access to officers only and order her not to attend.”

Rodney lifted his head and met John’s gaze, a blush staining his cheeks. “Is it wrong to hope that she does show up—so she can see what she lost? So she can see what she never had any chance of being with me because of her selfishness?”

John laughed. “That could be a little twisted but I really like twisted.” He was still furious as fuck with Samantha Carter but a part of him wanted to rub it in her face that she’d never have Rodney again.

“We should go back to our quarters to prepare,” Rodney murmured. “Will you use the single tail Cat whip with the knotted tresses that you bought at Godrics?”

“Is that what you want?” John asked softly. “That’s a pretty hardcore implement for an exhibition.”

“I trust you,” Rodney murmured. “And I’m proud to be yours. I want everyone to know it.”

John moved closer and brushed his lips across McKay’s. “Are you?”

“Oh, yes. It is my privilege to show everyone in this mountain that I am yours.” Rodney relaxed when his Dom did, pleased that he’d put whatever anxiety John had been harboring to rest so easily.

– – – –

John hadn’t been thrilled with the idea exhibiting for General Rampart without his personal kit. The things he’d bought at Godrics had been to supplement his collection at home.

The items from the SGC Quartermaster were fairly ordinary and not up his standards for such a public display. So, he’d packed Rodney into the SUV and they’d gone back to Godrics for more intensive event oriented shopping.

The saleswoman that had helped with their collar purchase had appeared as if by magic the moment they entered the front doors. “Colonel Sheppard, we are pleased to see you return to Godrics so soon.”

John just bet. He’d dropped a lot of money the last time he’d been in the store. “I’ll be exhibiting tonight and my personal kit is at the base where I’m stationed. I have a few things from the base Quartermaster but…”

“The quality on such tools is not up to your standard,” she supplied carefully. “Understood. What did you have in mind?”

“I really like the single tail Cat we purchased during our list visit. I’d like a flogger, leather and suede mix, of that quality. No less than sixteen inches and American Bison hide preferred. I have both rattan and bamboo canes at home but I would like something different.” He glanced towards Rodney who was viewing a selection of lubes intensely. He grinned. “Perhaps a hazel wood wrapped in leather?”

“I have a 48inch hazel wood, black leather wrap, with a mahogany handle, 15mm thick. The braided leather wrap comes off easily for cleaning, soaking, but will stand up to rigorous play.”

“Sounds perfect. I’d also like to look at jewelry. We purchased one set of nipple clamps already but he’ll be on display for a four star General tonight so I’d like something a little more extravagant than what I purchased last time. I’d prefer sapphires and/or diamonds to match his dress collar. And we’ll need exhibition quality restraints. Black leather, suede lining, hand tooled. I’d prefer not to have anything on him that is been machine made.”

She grinned and John was positive dollar signs were dancing in her eyes. “Colonel, I think we’re going to have a great time this afternoon.”

Rodney gamely followed them over to the jewelry area when John touched his shoulder as he passed him. “We should look at nipple rings.”

John frowned. “You aren’t pierced, Rodney. I didn’t think you were ready for that.”

Rodney blushed. “Not for me, for you.” He bit down on his lip. “In exhibition, the display isn’t all about me.”

“Oh really?” John asked amused. He’d had his nipples pierced for years and often wore jewelry when he was off duty. “My Master at La Petite Mort pierced me on the same day he marked me. Jared thought it was the hottest thing he’d ever seen.”

Rodney grinned. “Jared and I agree.”

John felt some knot deep in his body unravel at Rodney’s easy and effortless acceptance of Jared Holland. “Okay, we can look. I take it you have something in mind?”

“Yeah, I saw the set the last time we were here.” Rodney nodded. “I’d like to buy them if that’s okay with you.”

“That sounds perfect actually.” John brought him close as they continued across the store. “I’d love to wear something you bought for me.”

Rodney led him to the display case and the saleswoman appeared immediately to open the locked cabinet. “The set in the back. The same artist who did my collar—designed that, right?”

“Yes.” She nodded. “She’s one of our more popular artists actually.” She pulled out the tray and put down in front of them. “This is platinum, of course. There is a total of five karats in diamonds on the infinity symbol that connects the chain work that goes to each barbell piercing. And you’ll notice there is a small ring on the back of the infinity symbol you can use to hang a collar key or to add a second chain to connect a belly button piercing. It will look amazing alone or with your collar key. It has a nice weight but not so much that it would be remotely painful unless tension was added.”

John looked over the set. It was beautiful by anyone’s standards but not remotely feminine much like Rodney’s collar. “It’s very expensive.”

Rodney laughed softly and leaned into him. “You are the son of a billionaire industrialist and we have an image to maintain.”

Sheppard hummed under his breath. He liked it a lot. He liked it more that Rodney wanted to buy him something so intimate and personal. “I’ve never bought myself anything like that before.”

“Good.” Rodney slid his card across the counter. “Thank you for allowing me this.”

“Did you want to buy a small attachment chain for the collar key?”

“Yes, please,” Rodney murmured. “What length do you recommend?”

“1/3 inch is preferred. You want it to dangle but not get in the way.” She reached into the case and pulled out a small tray with several different attachment chains. “This one?” She picked up a small platinum chain and laid it with the set. It matched the thin wheat chains in the set perfectly. “Now, I’ll get Julie to wrap this up while we measure your wrist and ankles for the restraint system.”

“Waist, biceps, and thighs as well,” John murmured as he drifted down the counter towards the nipple clamps. “Since he’ll have to strip for that, Nadine, I’d prefer that you do it personally and in private. I’d prefer that no Dom touch him while we’re here today. It’ll mess with the headspace I’m cultivating for the exhibition.” He smiled when she paused briefly. “Did you think I’d forgotten your name?”

She blushed. “Most Doms don’t bother to remember, sir.”

“I’m not most Doms,” John responded and only grinned when Rodney snorted softly. He checked his watch. “We have a little over four hours before we have to be on stage and I’d like to go next store to buy a few things at the leather shop.”

“They have a nice collection of leathers. Did you plan to go nude at the exhibition this evening?”

John shook his head. “No.”

Nadine nodded. “I can call Dean over here. He’s the manager. He could fit you for whatever you needed and bring it over while we handle the fittings for the restraints. It would save you time.”

“Good. Thank you.” John pointed out several set of clamps. “I’d like to see all of these, please.”

“I have a really nice set of clamps in rubies,” Nadine offered. “Blood red rubies always make for a nice display.”

“No!” John shook his head. He couldn’t imagine putting Rodney in rubies. “Absolutely not.” And more to the point, he couldn’t even look at rubies without thinking of Jared. He glanced at Rodney who had moved in close suddenly. “What?”

“You were a little sharp there,” Rodney murmured.

John sighed. “Rubies were Jared’s favorite stone. He wore them more than anything else.”

“Oh.” Rodney smiled sadly. “Then no rubies. I’ve always preferred diamonds and I love the sapphires on my dress collar. I don’t know why you chose that stone though.”

“Your eyes,” Nadine offered and then blushed when they both looked at her. “Your eyes are like sapphires, Dr. McKay. It makes perfect sense. I don’t see how any Dom could resist the idea of it.” She sat our several sets of clamps. “I don’t know how long you will be here but I can order anything you’d like if you don’t find exactly what you want today.”

John immediately reached out and picked up the a set inlaid with diamonds. A platinum infinity symbol on two chains connected the two clamps together. “How many pieces did this artist do with an infinity theme?”

“The collar, the clamps, the barbell set, and an thirty-six inch black suede and American bison flogger. The handle is carved rosewood with a platinum infinity symbol embedded in it. Fifteen suede lashes, ¼ inch wide and six round braided bison lashes. It’s pure indulgence.” She raised one eyebrow and offered a truly saucy grin. “Did you want to see it?”

John laughed. “You know I do. What’s her name by the way?”

“Deidre,” Nadine offered with a grin. “I’ll get Julie to call Dean next door and I’ll pull the flogger out of the back. We don’t keep it with the regular equipment due to it’s expense.”

Two hours later, John was pretty sure that shopping with McKay was the most painless experience of his life. Jared had always hated shopping, hated making choices. Rodney was nothing like that. He chose carefully but decisively. He never hesitated to offer an opinion when questioned but kept his mouth shut when John didn’t ask. He endured measurements for the custom restraint system, leather pants, and boots without a single whisper of complaint.

When it had come time to shed his clothes for the fitting, he’d done it without any hesitation at all and had just raised one jaded eyebrow at Nadine when she’d gasped at the sight of his Courtesan  mark.

Dean Williams from the Snyder’s Leather next door had arrived with little fanfare and sporting a beautiful collar that clearly established his dynamic. He’d been quick, utterly professional, and just a little breathless when he’d been allowed back into the private room for the measurements.

He went away quickly and returned within fifteen minutes with several styles of pants and motorcycle boots for John to try on. John figured he loved Dean and Nadine a little. He showed that love with really nice tips.

– – – –

John Sheppard in black leather pants that slung low on his hips and clung to his tight ass was a sight to fucking behold. Rodney would have stared all night if he hadn’t been ordered into the shower by his very amused Dom. By the time he emerged, they had a little under forty-five minutes until they were due in the theater.

His Dom had pulled on his boots, and had pulled on a t-shirt. Rodney hazarded one glance towards the jewelry boxes they’d put on the dressed and wasn’t surprised to find the one with the nipple jewelry open and empty. The blue one that held the nipple clamps was open as well.

He cleared his throat. “Robe or no robe?” Rodney knew plenty of tops who required their subs to arrive for an exhibition naked.

“Robe. You’ll take it off on stage and it will go back on before you leave the stage,” John answered. “You’re mine and I want it clear that you aren’t available for anything beyond viewing while you’re purposely on display in the theater.”

Rodney flushed with the pleasure of that and glanced over at his Dom. “Did you want to plug me?” He knew John had bought an exhibition plug with a pretty silver knob that would be visible when he was spread and restrained.

John nodded. “Yes and get the body oil. I also want to put on your dress collar.”

Twenty minutes later, they were ready to leave their quarters and he aroused already. The plug was riding deliciously over his prostate every time he moved and the luxurious suede lined cuffs on his ankles and wrists had him really excited. His skin felt soft and amazing thanks to the oil his Dom had carefully rubbed in over every inch of him.

The lighter weight of his dress collar sparkled on his neck. He’d donned his favorite robe—a nice Egyptian cotton that came to mid-thigh and slipped on a simple pair of sandals he could shed easily. He had another robe—blue silk from Claire but he didn’t think silk was the right choice of a military audience.

When they opened the door he was surprised to find Dr. Elizabeth Weir lingering, a frown on her face.

John lifted an eyebrow as he pulled the door shut. “Problem, Elizabeth?”

She glanced between them. “That depends—was this ordered? Because I won’t tolerate my military commander being ordered to exhibit against his will.”

John smiled. “No, not ordered. General Rampart asked. He’s a de Sade Dom.”

She relaxed and fell into step beside John as he moved down the hall. Rodney walked to John’s right and slightly behind him to give the two dominants space to talk. “I see and you’re okay with this?”

“Honestly, I’d rather not do it but General Rampart isn’t playing some game with me. There is a Dom on the base that expressed a heavy handed interest in Rodney a few months back. I’d rather not exhibit in front of him but showing him weakness wouldn’t serve me or my career.”

“Kevin Jordan,” Elizabeth said with a raised eyebrow. “When did that asshat arrive?”

John laughed. “You have the best spy network ever. He came in with General Rampart but they pretty much hate each other. How did you know about Jordan?”

Elizabeth glanced back at Rodney. “I know all kinds of things about Rodney.” She grinned. “I have excellent spies.”

Rodney huffed out a breath. “Just don’t short change Miko on whatever you promised her—you’ll regret it for years.

Elizabeth laughed softly. “She has expensive taste in coffee and chocolate. I delivered promptly and I stocked up for the future. I do hope she is one of the scientists you intend to bring to Atlantis?”

“It’s my hope but she’s uncollared and a Geisha. She’s expressed some concern about being in Pegasus without a Dom.”

“I’m sure we can work something out,” John murmured. “I did do a session at Lotus. I could probably petition her house to grant me legal guardianship if she wants that level of protection.”

“She has no family to speak of,” Rodney admitted. “She would likely welcome it. As a widowed Geisha she has special status within her house but she refused her deceased Dom’s son the right to act as her guardian. She didn’t trust him.”

The exhibition theater was full, at least three hundred people had shown up. John hadn’t expected any less. Between punishing Chase Harris and embarrassing the hell out of Dennison—he’d done enough to get the Marines attention on the base. He escorted Elizabeth to her seat on the front row beside General O’Neill and then took Rodney to the elevated stage.

O’Neill had told him when they’d returned to the base that the other couple who had been on the schedule had surrendered their time to him—which meant he had a full hour of exhibition ahead of him.

He put the duffle down on the empty table provided and glanced at the stylish St. Andrew’s Cross in the middle of the stage. It was slanted in slightly. Covered in black leather with shining silver hooks. The back of the room and the walls on either side of the stage were mirrored.

John unzipped the bag as he ordered Rodney to remove the robe. He didn’t even look up to make sure his command had been met—but instead set out the flogger and the single tailed  knotted cat whip that Rodney had specifically requested. Then he put out the cane. He could feel the audience shift behind him as he removed each tool.

Rodney laid his robe on the table as John removed the chains he’d use to secure him to the cross. The chains that connected his collar to the nipple clamps made a soft pretty noise as he moved.

John looked at him then, took in the sleek, muscled lines of his sub’s body with a predatory smile. His skin was practically glowing under the stage lights.

John pulled his t-shirt over his head and tossed it on top of McKay’s robe casually and ordered Rodney to the cross. He’d chosen heavy chains for the exhibition because he’d known they would thud against the cross every time McKay moved or strained against what was going to happen. They felt good in his hands and would weigh heavily on the cuffs Rodney wore. The psychological effect of the heavy chains would work well for both of them.

He secured Rodney quickly and efficiently. Then returned to the table finish setting up his implements. He picked up the flogger first and shook out the lashes with a flick of his wrist. He’d loved the custom made flogger on sight, just as he was sure Nadine knew he would. Rodney had molested it for several minutes while they’d waited to pay, running his fingers through the suede lashes and fingering the round braided cords with longing.

When he turned back to the cross, Rodney was utterly relaxed against it. His head bowed, his breathing even. “Are you tracking, Rodney?”

“Yes, sir,” his response was a husky but clear and decisive.

“We’re going to start with the flogger. Thirty lashes. When I tell you to come, I expect you to orgasm immediately but you will not ejaculate. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

John flicked the flogger again and then snapped it like a whip. It made a gratifying and sharp sound. He took his place on the stage, setting the toe of his boot three inches back from a barely visible line directly behind the cross. He wondered which Dom on the base had marked the stage as he braced his leg and swung.

He lashed across McKay’s shoulders—in sets of two until he reached ten. Then he paused and did nothing for a full thirty seconds—the audience seemed to be holding their breath as he held the flogger back.

Then he started again, directing the strikes across the broad part of Rodney’s back—again in sets of two. By the fifteenth blow, Rodney was arching into it and moaning lowly. Cherry red welts were rising rapidly with every strike. He struck twenty and paused. “Come!”

Rodney shouted in shock and his cock jerked against his thigh—smacking lewdly—skin against skin as he met John’s demand. John watched his sub shake through the dry orgasm silently and didn’t respond to the harshly whispered “Jesus fucking Christ” he heard from somewhere in the audience.

Exhibitions were to be done in silence but he wasn’t surprised by the shock of some of the people witnessing. He let the comment slide. He cleared his throat to let whoever had lost control of their mouth know that he wouldn’t tolerate another outburst.

Rodney relaxed against the restraints and stopped shaking. Then John began again, snapping out the final ten lashes expertly and mercilessly across his ass. McKay’s breathing was labored and harsh by the time he hit thirty.

John shook out the flogger as he returned to the table and picked up the leather covered hazel wood cane. He’d played with it in their quarters during Rodney’s shower. Abusing one of the pillows on their bed as he checked the action of the highly flexible and whippy cane.

It had also allowed him to check his range of motion in relation to the chains attached to the nipple piercings. He’d been pleased to discover that the set didn’t limit him at all. It moved with his body, laying flat against his chest as it had been designed to.

He flexed and stretched as he walked back across the stage. Silently, he ran his hand down McKay’s back and then shifted around so he could look at his sub’s face instead of just his reflection.

Pink stained cheeks, blown pupils—which was expected under the circumstances. He pressed two fingers to Rodney’s pulse point to check his heart rate. “Tracking?”

“Yes, sir.”

John leaned in and pressed a soft kiss against his mouth. “Good. You look amazing.”

“Thank you, sir.”

John moved around the cross, whipping the cane as he went—the sound of it whistling in the air had people in the audience breathing hard. Subs, John thought. More than one in the room would take Rodney’s place so fast it would look like they teleported if they were offered the opportunity.

He braced himself, whipped the cane. It hummed and bent in the air beautifully. “How about forty?”

Rodney took a deep breath. “Your will is mine, sir.”

Several people on the front row inhaled sharply. John hummed a little under his breath. “Forty it is. You’re going to come for me on strike sixteen and again on strike thirty-two. You will not ejaculate. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Beautiful,” John murmured. He braced his left foot about an inch from the line. “Let’s work.”

Within five, the welts on his subs back were so sharp and nasty that John felt his cock jump against the leather he’d all but poured himself into. He’d been hard since he’d secured Rodney to the cross, but this—this was something else. McKay was moaning softly, his body was relaxing into the pain—he could practically see the pleasure rolling off his sub in waves.

This was what he enjoyed about exhibiting—about being watched. Every single person in the room, riveted on him and the man that belonged to him. It was the kind of thrill he couldn’t get any other way.

By the time he hit his stride, sweat was pouring down his back. He felt the energy of the crowd change as he struck for the fifteenth time. John paused and rolled his head on his neck. Then he swung, striking across Rodney’s ass with a blow so vicious half the people in the room hissed in sympathy. John almost laughed.

Rodney bowed against the cross, shouted John’s name, and shuddered through a dry orgasm so intense that he started to sob with it. John moved in close and ran one hand down his back as he trembled through the end of it and calmed down.

Then he came in closer, slid his hand around between Rodney and the cross and tugged maliciously on the chain that connected the nipple clamps to his sub’s collar. Almost casually, he ran his hand down Rodney’s stomach and wrapped it around his swollen and leaking cock. Rodney groaned softly and arched into his Dom’s hand.

“You’re not done, are you?”

Everything at your leisure, sir,” Rodney answered.

“Good boy.” John pressed a soft kiss against the side of his neck above the collar and moved away, running his hand possessively over inch of flesh he crossed as he dragged his hand away from Rodney’s cock.

Rodney took a deep calming breath as John moved away from him, his body felt heavy and over pleasured. Hot, stinging pain spread out from each individual welt he’d already been gifted with so much power that he could barely stand still.

He closed his eyes as he felt the air shift behind him—and the cane struck again. The thud and sting were almost equal in intensity—crossing over his back, ass, and then god his thighs in sharp amazing blows.

He clinched his ass around the anal plug as he took each strike of the cane—he’d never thought he’d have a lover like John in his life. No one, not even his Courtesan  Master, had ever mastered his kink so well in such a short time.  John worked his body like it had belonged to him for years instead of just a couple of weeks. He’d never wanted to be fucked so badly in his life as he did at this very moment.

His mental count reached thirty and he forced himself to relax. Rodney took a deep breath, then another, reminding his body that he wasn’t allowed to spill his seed. Thirty-one. Thirty-two. He could only thank his training as his cock jerked with the relief of being able to release but he clenched down on his internal muscles and prevented ejaculation just as he’d been taught. It was like pressing his thumb against a faucet on full blast but it was enough to give his Dom exactly what he wanted.

He took the last eight strikes, shivering with pleasure and pain in equal measure. His muscles trembling under the pressure and the satisfaction of being exactly what John needed. In that moment, they were so closely linked that nothing and no one else in the universe even mattered. John Sheppard—a Marine, a war hero, the ultimate among alpha males—was the absolute center of Rodney’s existence.

For a man who regularly lost himself in his mind—it was stunning and so relieving to lose himself willingly in pleasure and pain in the hands of the man he’d given himself over to. The man who had collared him. He dropped further into his subspace, giving over everything to his Dom. Fingers slipped over his pulse, John touched his face gently and their eyes met.

“More.”

It wasn’t a question, Rodney knew that. He glanced over John—taking in the fine sheen of sweat that covered his chest. The chained nipple piercings had his nipples hard and  a little red. He wondered briefly in John had any pain kinks of his own. Most sadists liked at least a little pain whether they wanted to admit it or not. The heavy belt on his narrow waist, highlighted the muscles of his stomach and the burgeoning erection that was snug against the leather of his pants. He really wanted to suck him in that moment but he doubted his Dom would allow that.

John moved around him, and then reappeared with a bottle of water. He pressed a straw against his lips and Rodney drank gratefully. Fingers pressed against his pulse briefly and then John was gone again. The energy in the room seemed to change around him then and he knew that John had picked up the six foot Cat whip with the twelve knotted tresses.

“We’re going to with twenty,” John said. “The next time I order you to come you’re going to give it all up for me. Understood?”

“Oui, Maître.” Rodney huffed out a breath. “Yes, sir.”

John took a deep breath and braced himself. The ritual of that allowed him to settle his mind and cool his blood down a little. He was as worked up as Rodney was and his sub was gone on what had already been done to him that he’d switched to French on him even if he’d managed to correct himself without a reminder. John wondered if that response was something that Gerard de Sade had trained him to say.

He snapped the whip once and then again—letting both Rodney and the audience hear the action of the implement. It excited his sub and got the audience used to the sound so no one forgot themselves and spoke aloud again. The lashes were nothing—glancing blows against heated and nearly raw skin. But by the tenth, Rodney was visibly shaking, his breathing ragged. He took the last five in complete silence and John could practically feel the audience leaning forward behind him.

John paused and waited until Rodney took a deep breath. “Come.”

McKay jerked against the cross, the heavy chains thudded loudly against the leather covered metal and came in several harsh bursts of semen.

John took off the chains that held his ankles and then unhooked the chains that were attached to Rodney’s wrist cuffs from the cross. Using the chains, he shifted his sub so the audience had a full, unhindered view of his back and ass.

“Kneel.”

Rodney moaned lowly as John wrapped the chains around his hands and made fists. He took several deep calming breaths as he his body relaxed. The act of kneeling itself forced him deeper into his subspace.

“Take out my cock and suck me.”

Rodney shuddered but lifted his hands. He quickly unbuckled John’s belt, pulled at the laces that held the leathers together across his Dom’s cock, and his breath hitched as he freed John’s erect and leaking cock.

He sucked him in one practiced move. Relaxing his throat—and taking John as deeply as he could. John swallowed back a groan of his own as Rodney instinctively swallowed around the head of his cock.

He gathered up more of the chains and fisted his hands. It forced Rodney closer, his hands pressed against John’s hips. McKay shuddered and moaned but relaxed even further—giving himself over to his Dom’s every whim.

John shifted back and then thrust, slow and deep back into his sub’s mouth. Rodney took it easily, eagerly. He’d been hard for nearly an hour and he knew he wasn’t going to last much longer—he pulled out, let the head of his cock rub against McKay’s mouth and then pushed back in.

“That’s it—take it,” he demanded roughly and then came. Rodney groaned around the thrust of his cock and several people in the audience groaned with him.

John pulled his cock from Rodney’s mouth and brushed the head across his jaw, his neck, and the sub relaxed against him as the last of his Dom’s cum hit his back in a carnal display of ownership that absolutely no one in the room could misunderstand.

– – – –

Rampart was leaning on the wall outside the exhibition theater when they came out. Elizabeth was standing beside him, her arms crossed and her eyes were bright with excitement. John thought the look was very good for her.

“Sir.”

Rampart cleared his throat. “John, I stuck around so Jordan wouldn’t.” He glanced briefly towards Rodney who was leaning against John, clearly still in his subspace. “I figured I would walk with you to the infirmary. I understand from O’Neill that everyone gets a check-up after an exhibition.”

John nodded. “He told me as much, sir. We have a similar policy on Atlantis.” He looked at Elizabeth. “Dr. Weir?”

Elizabeth smiled at the formal use of her name. “I was just keeping General Rampart company and any chance to glare at General Jordan seemed like a good one. He was… in a state out here.” She moved closer to John. “He’s going to be here until we leave, John. You can expect him to ask for Rodney. I just… need you to be prepared for that so you won’t lose your temper with the man.”

John nodded. “Relax, Elizabeth, I’ve fended off superior officers on that issue before.”

Elizabeth’s mouth firmed. “Not since Jared, John. Think about that and don’t let Jordan surprise you with it. He’s the kind that would make it sound like a request but he’d consider it an order no matter how illegal that is.”

John offered her a smile. “Elizabeth, relax, I’m not going to get myself in trouble. I should get Rodney to the infirmary before Frasier sends out her minions to retrieve us both by force. I hear she’s a little dictator like Carson.”

Elizabeth nodded. “I’ll be sitting in on tomorrow’s meetings, by the way. I figure it’s time I threw my weight around a little.”

“I look forward to it,” John grinned and turned to Rampart. “You don’t have to escort us, sir. You must be tired from your day.”

“Let me take care of you two,” Rampart admonished. “Neither one of you deserve to have to put up with Jordan right now.”

“Yes, sir.”

John touched Elizabeth’s shoulder carefully and then followed Rampart towards an elevator.

– – – –

Janet Fraser’s mouth dropped open. “What the hell did you use on him, Colonel?”

John frowned at her tone as helped Rodney lay down on the infirmary bed on his stomach. “You weren’t there?”

“No, S & M exhibitions don’t interest me at all,” Janet snapped. She redirected several lights so she could review the welts on Rodney’s back. “What did you use?”

“Flogger, a cane, and a single tail Cat with knotted tresses. Ninety lashes total. Back, ass, and thighs only. His testicles are a little red and angry—because he had four orgasms.”

Frasier raised an eyebrow. “He ejaculated four times in an hour?”

“No, just one ejaculation.” John reached out and grabbed her hand when she started to touch one of the welts. “Don’t touch, Doctor, he’s still deep in his subspace.”

Frasier frowned at him and jerked her hand free. “I can’t treat him if I can’t touch him, Colonel.”

“You can’t touch him,” John said lowly. “If you touch him—you’ll hurt him and he’ll enjoy it.”

Frasier flushed and jerked off her gloves. “I didn’t realize… really?”

“Really. His pain kinks are extreme and I can’t allow you to pleasure him.” John glanced towards Rampart who was leaning on the wall a few feet from the bed. The General smirked a little and John sighed.

Frasier rearranged a light. “Anal intercourse?”

“No, I don’t enjoy that kind of penetration in exhibition. I consider it private.” John relaxed. “He was plugged—before we left our quarters. I removed it after the fact.”

Janet nodded and frowned. She leaned down a little. “Rodney, can you open your eyes for me?”

McKay gamely opened his eyes. “Hey, Janet, can we hurry this up?”

She laughed. “Not likely, you know the rules.”

Rodney sighed and cushioned his head on his arms. He shivered slightly at the way the movement stretched the skin across his shoulders.

“Did that hurt?” Janet asked with a frown.

Rodney sighed. “Yeah, it feels amazing.”

Janet frowned. “Okay, how about organ or bone pain?”

“None, I’m good.” Rodney rubbed his face against his forearm. “Really good.”

She sighed and went back to reviewing the network of angry welts and rising bruises on his back. “I’ve never… seen anything like this. At least nothing on this level that wasn’t bloody.”

John cleared his throat. “Blood play doesn’t interest me much, Doctor. I haven’t drawn blood by accident since I was seventeen and my training Master whipped me until I passed out for the transgression.”

“Not at La Petite Mort then,” Janet murmured. “They don’t use corporal punishment on Doms for discipline.”

“No, in Singapore,” John admitted.

Janet nodded. “This makes me wish I’d made an exception and watched. I treated Lt. Harris after he was punished—I was very surprised by the quality of his marks and the lack of skin breakage. I’ve treated people who’ve had a cane discipline before and it’s never pretty.” She went to a cabinet at the back of the room and pulled out a tube of crème. “Let’s get this applied, Colonel. I’d like to see how he responds to an application before I release you to your quarters for the night.”

John took the crème. “Not a problem.”

– – – –

Elizabeth was already ensconced near the head of the table next to General O’Neill when John arrived. He knew he wasn’t late but he checked his watch anyway. Again, he found himself tucked between Rampart and O’Neill who was looking kind of remote and kingly at the head of the table. John wondered what Bayliss or Jordan had said to piss him off before the meeting had even started.

Norris cleared his throat. “Colonel, I wanted to express my thanks for the exhibition last night. I haven’t seen anything quite like that in a very long time. You are indeed blessed in your pairing as you said.”

John held back his surprise at the Navy’s man clear admiration. “Thank you, sir. As General Rampart said, earning the submission of a de Sade Courtesan is a life gift.”

“Do you know who his Courtesan  Master was?” Norris asked. “I know some Courtesans choose not to share that information…”

“I am aware, yes.” John shared a glance with Rampart who shrugged. “But, Dr. McKay prefers that information remain private as possible.”

“Understood,” Norris smiled then. “I have a pretty good idea actually but it’s a curiosity I’m content to leave unsatisfied as long as your Rodney wishes it. You’ll tell him how much I enjoyed last night?”

“I will,” John assured. He picked up a pen from the center of the table and opened his notebook. “So, Admiral Norris, how do you feel about giving me a Team?”

Norris raised an eyebrow. “Well, John, Navy Seals tend to be a handful. Are you sure you want a Team on Atlantis?”

“I’m not unfamiliar with SEALs,” John offered him a grin. “My brother David served and my brother Ethan is currently serving. I live on a floating city—I think I might have some use for a Team.”

“I certainly can’t deny that a floating city on another planet could use some SEALs,” Norris agreed. “Let me make a few phone calls and see what I can shake loose for you. You’re due to ship out in seven days?”

“The Daedalus will be in orbit within five days and we’d like to have the resupply ready for the Expedition within five days of it’s arrival,” Jack said as he rocked back in his chair. “There doesn’t appear to be anything that’s 911. I sent out quite a bit on the original trip. Ammunition and food and a few nuclear weapons.”

“The nuclear weapons were great,” John offered. “And the Fruit Loops went over very well.”

“I really enjoyed the pop tarts,” Elizabeth admitted. “Chocolate pop tarts.”

“I know how to pack a deep space carrier,” Jack admitted with a wry grin. “The IOA didn’t approve the beer.”

“Then we totally didn’t see any beer,” John promised thinking about the forty cases of beer that had appeared mysteriously in the Jumper Bay roughly fifteen minutes after the last Wraith was killed. “And the ZPM—that was slick.”

“So,” Elizabeth sat back and cupped her coffee in both hands. “How about the X-302 squadron that we requested?”

“I have the craft to spare,” Jack admitted. “But, I’m not interested in parting with any of the pilots that are currently at Area 51 or at McMurdo. That being said, there are roughly fifteen or so pilots qualified here within the SGC and Area 51 for the X-302 that aren’t in a squadron. Major Lorne and Colonel Sheppard among them.” Jack quirked an eyebrow. “So, John, if you can get butts in the seats you can have the X-302s.”

John nodded. “Shouldn’t be a problem. How many ships will you part with?”

“Twelve total and you can’t seduce any pilots off the Daedalus or Area 51.”

John smirked. “I won’t have to.” He rolled the pen in his hand and started writing down names. “My other brother is a Navy pilot, as you know. I won’t have a problem gathering a few for a party or two.”

Jack stared at him for a few seconds. “Patrick Sheppard has three sons. Matthew Sheppard cleared for the X-302 but I never got a chance to meet him before the Navy took him back.”

“Yes,” John nodded. “Matthew and I have a brother through our mother.  We didn’t grow up together.” John jotted down a few more names. “We should probably check Ethan for the ATA gene—Matthew has it and so do I, of course, but our older brother doesn’t. He had a different mother.”

Jordan cleared his throat. “There is a researcher at Area 51, Colonel. She is working on the ATA gene—the therapy that Carson Beckett sent back to Earth is interesting of course but we have to consider the fact that natural genes are stronger and than the artificial one implanted.”

John raised one eyebrow at Jordan. “And?”

“The President is considering a proposal to compel strong gene carriers like you to donate sperm for artificial insemination.”

“Well, unfortunately, the President and the researcher at Area 51 will be very disappointed.” John held up a hand when Jordan started to speak. “Sir, I’m incapable of reproducing. As you must know, I’ve had several physical issues in the last two years while stationed on Atlantis. One of those incidents was exposure to the Wraith retrovirus. I was for all intents and purposes turned into a bug.”

“And this made you sterile?”

“Nope.” John rocked back and forth in his chair. “The Iratus DNA that was left in my body after I was cured—destroyed my ability to reproduce.”

“You have alien DNA?” Jordan demanded, hoarse with shock.

“Well, yeah, but I had alien DNA before I ever went to Atlantis. I mean I have the ATA gene. Some Ancient definitely crawled on top of one of my ancestors in the past.”

Jordan glared. “You have alien bug DNA.”

“Yes, sir.” John shrugged. “It didn’t do much beyond kill sperm production—and well I got a few things out of it.”

“Like what?” Bayliss questioned with a frown.

“That’s classified,” Rampart interrupted. “If you had the clearance to know, gentlemen, you’d already know.”

“Classified?” Jordan demanded icily. “I certainly have the clearance to know. I’m in line to be the Director of Homeworld Security.”

“Being considered for a position and actually having a position are two entirely different things,” Elizabeth said pleasantly. “It’s my understanding that the IOA has put forth a series of names to be considered for the position since the person who takes General Hammond’s place will need to be able to function with both military and civilian contacts very well. A man with your unpopular politics doesn’t play well in educated circles. Your open support of the Ownership Act is a serious concern.”

John decided right then and there that Elizabeth had a lot weight to throw around despite her deceptively slim appearance. He would have laughed his ass off in different circumstances. Additionally, he was a little irritated that she was obviously trying to redirect Jordan in her direction. He’d never hidden behind a woman in his life and he wasn’t going to start with her.

“What exactly are you saying, Dr. Weir?”

Elizabeth leaned forward. “The Ownership Act is offensive, ignorant, and inhumane. It’s a ten steps backward for the United States and will make us look like primitive savages that’s what I’m saying.”

John blew out a breath and shared a look with Rampart. “So, I was thinking that I’d really like some ATVs. I bet my geeks can make me fuel cells to run them so we wouldn’t leave a carbon foot print on any of the planets we visit.”

Rampart made a humming noise. “Sounds like a good idea. It would open up your maneuverability in the field in tight quarters when you can’t use those Jumper things.” He tapped his own pen as he thought. “How about a War Master?”

John grinned. “Yeah, that would be great. Did you have some one in mind?”

“Declan Frost. Navy Seal. He has a civilian sub he won’t ever part with—so that’s a concern.” Rampart glanced at Norris who only nodded.

John jotted a note down on his legal pad. “Sean Taylor, right?”

“Yeah, he collared that boy right out of college. He definitely won’t leave him on Earth to go to war with you.” Rampart frowned. “Dr. Weir?”

“Is he the best choice?” Elizabeth questioned.

“He’s the best at what he does. Period,” John admitted. “And we need some one like that on Atlantis to combat what we’re facing with the Genii and with Wraith maneuvers.”

“What does his submissive do for a living?”

Rampart shrugged. “Sean is a student. At last count he had four degrees. He’s a La Petite Mort Consort and I’ve never seen him with his Dom in public when he wasn’t leashed.”

“Why don’t you invite them to Colorado Springs for a conversation, John?” Elizabeth asked. “If Declan Frost has this much to offer—I think we can find something interesting for Sean Taylor to do on Atlantis. He doesn’t really have to do anything. If his Dom is all you say he is—he’ll earn a place for himself and his sub.”

– – – –

“You were never like that with me.”

Rodney flinched and looked around his lab before focusing entirely on his ex-wife. “How did you get past the Marine in the hall?”

Sam quirked an eyebrow. “With General Rampart on the base all of the Marines are squaring away their quarters.”

Rodney sighed loudly. “You’re supposed to be gone, Sam.”

“My transport to Nevada got delayed.” Sam shut the door casually and walked toward one of the white boards. “Are you going to tell on me, Rodney?”

“You don’t think I should?” Rodney questioned neutrally.

“Gerard de Sade’s Courtesan isn’t afraid of me, is he?” Sam questioned with a smirk.

“How did you find out?”

“It’s not a difficult leap of logic to make—the year you were marked a Courtesan and the year that Gerard de Sade left the de Sade Institute.” Sam shrugged. “You’ve kept it a secret for a long time. You didn’t even tell your wife.” She turned and looked at him. “You never trusted me.”

“No, I didn’t.” Rodney cleared his throat. “You should leave, Sam. You were ordered to never be alone with me by a superior officer and my Dom. He’d be well within his rights to discipline you. Is that what you want?”

She laughed. “He isn’t going to discipline me. General O’Neill would never allow it.”

Rodney didn’t argue that point. Jack O’Neill owed his and Daniel’s life to Sam Carter and that debt had caused the General to overlook her flaws. He wondered if he’d reported her refusal to remove her collar if that would’ve changed anything. At the time, he hadn’t thought so.  He had been so lost and devastated at that point that he’d believed he had no allies in the mountain not even his oldest friend, Daniel Jackson.

“Leave.”

“We haven’t finished our conversation,” Sam responded. “I watched you in the exhibition and you were never like that with me. I feel cheated, Rodney and I feel like you lied to me our entire relationship.”

Rodney flushed and looked away from her. “Leave this room.”

“I want to know why.”

Rodney closed his laptop and unplugged it roughly. “I will not disrespect John by having this conversation. You had a year to ask these questions, Samantha and you spent it making me miserable. We have nothing to discuss now.”

He was reaching for the door handle when John opened the door. Rodney groaned and let his gaze fall to his feet. This was not good.

John glanced between them and cleared his throat. “McKay.”

“I told her to leave,” Rodney whispered. “Three times and I was leaving because she wouldn’t.”

“That’s actually not true,” Sam crossed her arms. “He invited me here to talk. He’s just using you to make me jealous, Colonel Sheppard.”

The last reaction Rodney expected was for John to burst out laughing. Genuine amusement made the Marine even more attractive, crinkling the skin around his eyes a little. Rodney exhaled in surprise.

John pulled him close with one hand, sliding it around his neck confidently. His fingers gliding over his collar as he did so. He pressed a kiss against Rodney’s forehead. “Go to our quarters. No detours. I’ll join you shortly.”

“Yes, sir.”

– – – –

John leaned on the door and after a few seconds flicked the lock. “You and I have a real problem.”

Carter flushed. “He invited me in here.”

“No, he didn’t. He wants absolutely nothing to do with you.” John moved to the phone and dialed O’Neill’s office. “General, Colonel Carter and I have a personal issue and we need to see you.” He paused. “Yes, of course. We are in Lab 3 on twenty-six.”

“He still loves me,” Sam said when John hung up the phone. “He’ll never want you the way he wanted me. He married me, Colonel.”

“He has nightmares about you!” John snapped and went to the door when there was a sharp knock. He unlocked the door and let O’Neill in. The General was in a polo and a pair of jeans.

Jack sighed and glanced between them. “This is Rodney’s lab.”

“Yes.” John acknowledged. “She violated my standing orders on her allowed interactions with my collared submissive, sir.”

Jack blew out a frustrated breath. “Why are you even in the mountain, Colonel Carter?”

Sam crossed her arms over her chest and focused on her combat boot. “My transport was delayed. I wanted to speak with Rodney before he left for Atlantis. He was my husband, General, I’m entitled…”

“You’re entitled to nothing!” John interrupted. “He wants nothing to do with you. He was so traumatized by the events of your marriage that he secluded himself at his pleasure house. I’m surprised his Courtesan Master wasn’t recalled to de Sade to deal with the trauma.”

Sam scoffed and relaxed against the counter. “He’s weak, Colonel, and he doesn’t have any hope of keeping your interest long term. Surely you realize that.”

O’Neill sighed. “Public or private, Colonel?”

“Right here, right now,” John returned. “Out of respect for you, sir. I’ve no interest in embarrassing you by punishing her for her behavior in public.”

Sam’s mouth dropped open and she straightened away from the counter. “No, absolutely not. You will not discipline me. You don’t have the right.”

“I can file formal charges if you want to go that route,” John returned. “If you go on trial—we’ll drag everything that happened in your marriage out into the public. Then, because you violated my directive concerning private interaction with my collared submissive—I’ll get to watch you disciplined by a Federal Discipline Master.”

“And that would make you happy?” Sam asked snidely.

“No, because it would force Rodney into a situation where he would be forced to reveal embarrassing and painful things. Regardless, the outcome would be the same except you would lose your commission and be scarred for life with formal charges.”

Carter looked toward O’Neill. “Sir?”

“I was there when he told you to never meet with McKay in private.” O’Neill walked to the phone and dialed a number. “General Rampart, would you please join me in Lab 3 on twenty-six? We need a secondary witness to a discipline.”

“I want another woman in here,” Sam ground out through clenched teeth. “Captain Anne Teldy.”

John glared at her but nodded when O’Neill raised an eyebrow in question. “You realize that she’s my in my command on Atlantis, Colonel Carter?”

“I’m aware of her assignment. But I trust her to be honest if I’m abused in this room.”

John didn’t roll his eyes but he came close. He couldn’t imagine laying his bare hands on Samantha Carter—no matter how physically attractive she was. He clicked his radio and ordered Anne Teldy to report to the lab on the ‘all call’ channel.

Teldy beat Rampart to the lab by a full minute which made John wonder if his officers were stalking him around the Mountain. He wouldn’t have been remotely surprised to find that to be true considering recent events.

O’Neill cleared his throat to get everyone’s attention. “In order to get everyone up to speed on our current situation—Colonel Sheppard ordered Lt. Colonel Carter to never engage his collared submissive in private. Lt. Colonel Carter violated that order just a few minutes ago by seeking to and engaging a private conversation with Dr. McKay in his lab.”

Ann Teldy blew air out between her lips in a show of shock but nodded abruptly when O’Neill raised an eyebrow at her.

“Colonel Carter, do you deny the circumstances?”

“No, sir.” Carter shook her head. “I was alone having a private conversation with Dr. McKay when Colonel Sheppard entered the lab in violation of his policy concerning myself and my ex-husband.” She lifted her chin. “I do maintain that he doesn’t have the right to punish me because his collaring of McKay was all politics.”

Teldy snorted at that and cleared her throat when Rampart and O’Neill looked at her. “Anyone who watched their exhibition knows the exact nature of Colonel Sheppard’s relationship with his submissive and it isn’t a political arrangement at all.”

O’Neill unbuckled his belt and pulled it off. “If we pull a discipline strap from the Quartermaster, everyone on base will know what happened in this room within the hour.”

Sam blushed. “The belt will do.” She pressed her lips into a thin line and unbuttoned her jacket. She jerked it off and dropped it on the counter. “How many lashes?”

“Twenty,” O’Neill said firmly and put the belt on the counter. “It’s the standard punishment for a Dom interfering in an established partnership.”

She started to pull her t-shirt over her head and John shook his head abruptly. “No, you can keep your clothes on.”

“Why?” Sam asked.

“Because I’m a sadist and even with all of these witnesses you could still try to claim that this is sexual. You wouldn’t be successful but I’m not really interested in facing an inquiry over this.” He picked up the belt and glanced at Teldy. “Captain, you can count for me?”

“Yes, sir.”

John watched Carter brace herself against the wall and pushed his emotions as deeply as he could. She’d brought this on herself—made it happen and that made him furious. He palmed the buckle and wrapped the belt around his fist several times. He tried to push his temper deep, to find the right headspace to discipline without personal involvement.

But his attachment to Rodney and their growing relationship made that completely impossible. He exhaled sharply and shook his head. “General O’Neill, I can’t do this.” He unwrapped the belt and set it down on the counter. “I don’t think I can keep from damaging her and that’s what she wants.  She set this up and I don’t know why but I’m not going to play this game with her.”

Jack picked up the belt. “Colonel Carter did you interfere in the transport process so you could stay on the base longer?”

Sam turned and leaned against the wall. “I might have.”

“Why?”

“Because I wanted to speak with Rodney. Sheppard is taking him…”

“From you,” John finished. “I’m taking him away from you.”

Carter flushed with anger and averted her gaze. “He’s mine.”

“No, he isn’t,” John said then. “Christ, you know—he was right. I should pity you.” He paused when she visibly flinched. “You couldn’t have the man you wanted so you settled for the man that wanted you. He loved you so much he was stupid with it. Then he started to see through your shallow bullshit and you tried to destroy him so he wouldn’t leave you.”

“You don’t know what the hell you are talking about. I never did anything to him that he didn’t need. You don’t have the first clue what a submissive like him really needs because if you did you would’ve never put your collar on him. Right now he’s a challenge to you but you’ll get tired of fighting him for control and then you’ll wish I had castrated him.”

John flinched and Randolph Rampart moved so quickly that no one had time to stop him.

Rampart fist his hand in her shirt and jerked her up on her toes. “You tried to castrate Rodney McKay?” He demanded in a hard, low voice.

She paled at the cold fury in Rampart’s eyes and stopped struggling against him. “You have no right to question me about private matters.”

“You tried to castrate Gerard de Sade’s Courtesan?” Randolph shoved her away from him and held out his hand for the belt O’Neill still had. O’Neill handed it over without a word.

Sam paled. “You can’t…”

“John, permission to act as your Disciplinarian on the personal misconduct of Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter concerning your collared submissive, Dr. Rodney McKay,” Rampart demanded as he palmed the buckle and wrapped the belt around his hand.

John took a deep breath. “Granted, sir.” He couldn’t very well tell the goddamned Commandant of the Marine Corps no and everyone in the room knew it.

Rampart glanced her over. “Take off the shirt and drop the pants. You can keep any undergarments you’re wearing.”

Sam was shaking by the time she let her BDUs fall to her knees. The silk panties and the bra weren’t going to be much of a barrier and John almost felt sorry for her. “Twenty?” She questioned softly.

“Only because that’s all I’m allowed,” Rampart returned. “Brace yourself, Colonel, and feel free to scream. I wouldn’t want you to bite a hole in your tongue.”

People could say all they wanted about de Sade when it came to not teaching caning but very few people on Earth disciplined like a de Sade Dom. They were careful, knowledgeable, and completely without mercy.

The first strike had her rising up on her toes, her nails scraping at the cinder block wall as she tried to maintain her position. Blood broke by strike ten and she was sobbing uncontrollably by the fifteenth. Her knees buckled at twenty and she hit the floor hard.

Rampart tossed the belt on the counter and stalked from the room. John had no doubts where he was going and what he was going to do when he got there. They had seven days left on Earth and he had a feeling he was going to meet Gerard de Sade before then.

“Carter, get help and stay away from him.”

O’Neill cleared his throat. “Captain Teldy escort Colonel Carter to the infirmary for treatment and stay with her until the transport is ready to leave the base. She doesn’t leave your sight.”

“Yes, sir.” Anne glanced briefly at John and then moved to help Carter dress quickly. She had her out of the room in under a minute.

John took a deep breath as the door shut on the two women. “I could kill her, you know.”

“I know,” Jack said quietly. “This is my fault.”

John couldn’t disagree with that. “We all have blind spots, sir.”

“She took a bullet for Daniel in the field,” Jack said softly. “In our second year as a gate team. She stepped right in front of it without a second’s hesitation. She almost died.”

“Was he wearing your collar at that point?”

Jack nodded. “Yes. I collared Daniel after we returned from Abydos together. A year later, the Stargate opened and the government had to take Daniel’s theories about the Stargate seriously. We returned to Abydos on a scouting mission—Carter went with us. That’s how we met.”

John sucked in a frustrated breath. “I need to go talk to Rodney and get him calmed down. He was working his way towards really upset when he left here. There is no telling what kind of scenario he’s cooked up in his big brain.”

“You think she did this to get you to hurt her?” O’Neill asked. “To what end?”

“I don’t know.” John waved a hand in frustration. “To make Rodney rethink being with me?  Maybe she thought he would get angry with me or maybe she thought I’d hurt her enough that she could file a complaint that would keep me on Earth. Either way—it was always about Rodney. It’s about punishing him for leaving her—for embarrassing her.” He took a deep breath. “When I first came in here she tried to lie and tell me that he invited her in here to talk.”

“Go settle Rodney down, John.”

“I think we need to be more concerned about Rampart,” John admitted. “The last time I saw him that mad he had an entire company disciplined. It took sixteen officers, five days, and four crosses to handle the punishment detail.”

– – – –

Rodney was on a kneeling pillow. John hadn’t even been aware that he had one. He knew they hadn’t bought one at Godrics. The lights in their quarters were dimmed and several candles were lit. The room smelled like lavender and a soft coiling musk.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Rodney murmured and opened his eyes. “I was just trying to take myself down before I had a panic attack. We haven’t discussed punishments at all and I don’t know what to expect here from you.”

John frowned. “You think I’m going to punish you for her behavior?”

“I should’ve left as soon as she walked in the door. It isn’t like she could’ve kept me there physically.” Rodney shifted on his knees and focused on the space of floor that separated them. “Did you discipline her?”

“I came close. I even brought in witnesses to do it but I realized that if I started I might do… more than was legal under the circumstances. Which I think was part of her plan to begin with. She was obviously planning for something like that to happen. She had to know you would tell me even if I hadn’t walked in on her being there. She tried to do it once before—that night she needed you to work on that project at Area 51. She came to our quarters but two of my guys were on guard duty.”

Rodney frowned and shook his head. “You know I didn’t invite her.”

“I know.” John held out his hand. “There is more.”

“What?” Rodney curled his fingers into his Doms gratefully.

“She mouthed off to me and said that one day I’d probably wish she had castrated you.” John watched Rodney pale. “Rampart was one of the witnesses O’Neill called in for the punishment. He sort of lost it and demanded the right to act as my Disciplinarian since I didn’t trust myself not to lose it on her.”

Rodney moaned softly in distress. “He’ll tell Gerard.”

“Yeah, no doubt.” John pulled him off the pillow and settled him on the bed. Carefully, he arranged Rodney in his arms and took a deep breath. “So, I’ve never met him.”

“That’ll be fixed soon.” Rodney rubbed his face against John’s chest in distress. “He’ll be very disappointed in me, John. I don’t… I don’t think I want to see him.”

“You know I won’t let him hurt you,” John whispered. “He can’t treat you like a student, Rodney. You’re mine.”

“He’ll probably demand that you punish me for not reporting her behavior to him.”

John figured that he and Gerard de Sade would come to blows over something like that. “I’m not someone he can give orders to.”

Rodney looked away. “It wouldn’t be a pleasant experience regardless.”

“Why didn’t he come back to the Institute to take care of you when you went into seclusion?” John asked.

“I asked him not to. I haven’t seen him since I was marked and…” Rodney took a deep breath. “You have to know that I fell in love with him during training.”

“I can’t imagine how you could’ve avoided it,” John returned evenly. “I sort of got a little lost emotionally near the end of my training in Singapore.”

“Gerard sent me from his company because he knew that while he could satisfy my body and perhaps even my heart—he thought that my mind would wither and die in his life. He was right. I was afraid if I saw him while I was still so hurt because of Sam that I might accept the collar he keeps waiting for me.”

John flinched. “Gerard de Sade has a collar for you, Rodney?”

“Yes, of course.” Rodney blushed. “Every Courtesan has a collar waiting for them in the hands of their Courtesan Master. It is a tradition within our house. I’ve never worn it but he will keep it the rest of my life and should I die—he will expect me to buried with it.” He touched John then. “Not wearing it—he’d never demand that I wear it but he would want me to have it.”

John nodded abruptly and closed his eyes as his mind filled with the image of that moment when he’d locked Jared’s collar in place for the final time. “When I buried Jared—I brought him home personally. Flew with him the whole way—never let him out of my sight. Once we were here,” John paused and swallowed hard. “I took care of his medals and his uniform despite the fact that the Corp had provided us both with a full military escort. The last thing I did was put his collar back on him.”

“And the leash.”

“Yeah,” John whispered with a nod. “I thought I was alone in the church at that point and suddenly my Dad was there and he was… just holding me so tight I thought we both might shatter.”

“It’s good that you had family with you.”

John nodded. “Tell me about Miko Kusanagi.”

Rodney accepted the abrupt change of subject without question. “Well, she collared the same day she was marked as a Geisha. The pairing was arranged.” He prodded his Dom fully onto the bed and curled up next to him. “He was much older—he had children her age. She was the fourth submissive in his home but because she is a red petal Geisha—she outranked everyone in the household including her own Dom when it came to Japanese society. The other subs in the household resented the hell out of her mostly because the man absolutely doted on her. She wanted for nothing and when she said she wanted to be educated in the US. He packed up the entire family and moved them over here.”

“That probably didn’t help the resentment factor.”

“Not at all—it didn’t help that Miko was originally supposed to go to his oldest son but the old man took one look at her was instantly besotted.” McKay laughed. “Which isn’t much of a stretch because she’s beautiful. Shortly after she earned her second PhD, her Dom was diagnosed with cancer. He sent his entire family back to Japan and set up a private trust fund for Miko that none of his sons could touch.”

“Good man,” John murmured.

“He was and he adored Miko. She took care of him throughout his illness… even when he was hospitalized for the last few weeks of it. She said she was holding him when he died.” Rodney frowned and rubbed his cheek against John’s stomach. “She went back to Japan with his body and immediately sought refuge with Lotus to prevent his oldest son from claiming her. Fortunately, her Dom had already formally returned guardianship to her Geisha Mistress.”

“I bet that feud is still brewing,” John sighed. “Will that make my getting guardianship of her difficult?”

“No, Miko is a widowed Geisha. She wore her Dom’s collar for years after he died. Her mourning period is viewed as a sacrifice and it has earned her a special consideration within her house. If she petitions to have you be her guardian—no one will dare question her.”

– – – –

John heard the word Geisha whispered about twenty voices strong before he even looked up. He watched Matthew stroll through the mess hall in sharply pressed Navy dress blues with an amused smile.

God, he’s beautiful.”

John glanced at Evan Lorne and laughed. “Yeah, it kind of runs in the family.”

Evan’s mouth dropped open just as Matthew slid onto the bench beside John and plucked a French fry from his tray without saying a word. He chewed thoughtfully and then sighed. “The Jumper is a goddamned orgasm.”

“It certainly is,” John agreed. “Major Evan Lorne. Meet my younger brother— Lt. Commander Matthew Sheppard. He’s going to be our flight leader for the X-302 squadron on Atlantis. He has the ATA gene—almost as strong as mine.”

“Commander,” Evan murmured. His gaze hitting Matthew’s Geisha tattoo briefly before meeting his gaze. “You’re the pilot that brought the Jumper in from Area 51?”

Matthew grinned. “Well, after a fashion. I bullied my way into the pilot seat  with one of the pilots I’m courting for the Atlantis squadron. He was tasked with bringing the Jumper to the mountain for a mission.”

“How goes the courting?” John asked.

“Great,” Matthew smirked. “In fact, I have three more pilots than I have room for so we’re going to do some simulations in space combat situations and I figure I’ll make them thread the needle a few times in the flight simulator as well.”

“Thread the needle?” John asked.

“Yeah, that’s what the guys at Area 51 call taking a glider or an X-302 through the Stargate. They told me that’s what the Jaffa call it so they adopted it.” Matthew snagged another fry off John’s plate. “So, I heard you exhibited two nights ago.”

“Yeah,” John nodded. “General Rampart asked.”

Matthew nodded. “I heard that as well. There is a lot of talk about the exhibition at Area 51.” He shot his brother a look. “Apparently you’re a rock star. You’ve got subs around this place talking about you like you’re a god. Additionally, they’re all heart broken that you don’t even look at them.”

John laughed. “Shut up.”

Matthew glanced around the room. “What are they staring at?”

“You.” John glanced around sharply at the Marines in the room and they all averted their eyes at the same time. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Geisha in the Marines—male or female.”

Matthew frowned. “No, I imagine not. They don’t actually encourage us to serve at all, you know. Even the Americans ones are thoroughly indoctrinated into the proper life of a Geisha. It usually involves a wealthy Dom and remaining as physically perfect as possible.”

John did know that. He nodded. “Yeah, I know, kid.  You didn’t steal any of O’Neill’s pilots did you?”

“Nope,” Matthew grinned and shot his brother a sly look. “I can’t say some of them didn’t offer but I told them I couldn’t take anyone that has a permanent assignment in Nevada.”

John snorted. “Should I feel guilty for letting you stroll around in dress blues asking pilots to fly with you?”

Matthew laughed. “Well, our Daddy did teach us to use all the weapons available to us.” He looked at Evan and then around the room at the Marines who were now studiously ignoring their entire table. “You’re real badass, John. It’s been years since I’ve been on the same base with you. I had no idea you were one of those officers.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” John asked and slapped Matthew’s hand when he reached for more fries. He glared at him and then turned to a table near them. “Corporal Jensen, get Lt. Commander Sheppard some fries before I spank him for stealing mine.”

Jensen stood immediately. “Something to drink, sir?”

Matthew glanced the man over with a smile that John was sure had men and women falling all over themselves to get whatever he wanted and the young Marine all but melted into his boots. “A diet Coke would be good, Corporal and plenty of ketchup. Your Colonel doesn’t believe in ketchup.”

“Not a problem, sir.”

John snorted. “Don’t you dare smile at any of my men like that ever again, Matthew.”

Matt laughed. “Oh, come on, John. You can’t expect me to be a monk on Atlantis.” He glanced around the room and then focused entirely on Evan Lorne. “Not with this kind of eye candy.”

John’s mouth dropped open when Lorne actually blushed. He sat back in his chair and glared pointedly at Matthew as the Corporal returned with his fries. “What’s the officer break down on pilots you’ve brought for your little party?”

“Mostly junior grade—Air Force, Marine, and two Navy. The Navy guys I brought with me because they have the ATA gene. I figured the more people we can put in a Jumper the better. I know you have a lot of civilian pilots on Atlantis for the Jumpers but in combat situation having a civilian at the stick isn’t ideal.”

“No, agreed.”

“There is one pilot—Major Devin Hughes. It’s going to make the mission senior officer heavy but the US Military doesn’t make it a habit to put enlisted men in the pilot seats of their billion dollar alien inspired air craft. Hughes is a special ops pilot like you, a Marine. He’s newly promoted and is about three weeks off a six month tour in Iraq. He was at Area 51 qualifying for the X-302. He did very well. He’s uncollared so we don’t have to worry about a Dom.”

“Sounds good. Why do you sound worried?”

“Because that’s going to put two out of the four senior officers on your base in the submissive category.”

John frowned. “You don’t honestly think I have a problem with that Matthew?”

“No.” Matt shook his head. “You know I really hate it when you use my whole name in that tone. It’s like I’m sitting next to Dad.” He dragged a few fries through ketchup and chomped on them inelegantly.

“Didn’t Master Nori teach you better manners?” John pushed some napkins his way. “You’re going to get your uniform dirty.”

Matthew sighed and took the paper napkins with a put upon expression that made Lorne laugh and then turn his head abruptly when John glared at him. “Master Nori taught me many many things, John.” He inclined his head. “And you made me swear on my very own life that I would never ever discuss any of it with you.” He winked at Lorne. “You’d never know he was such a prude.”

Lorne coughed. “You’re lucky he can’t kill you.”

“Don’t I know it.” Matt slouched down in his chair and casually unbuttoned his jacket. “Do I have to bunk down in barracks?”

John shook his head. “No, absolutely not.”

Matt chuckled. “John, I’ve bunked in barracks before. Trust me—I can handle myself. I know Dad gave you this big lecture about me but you know I actually am trained for combat.”

“That’s not even the point,” John responded with a frown. “Besides, none of the officers in the Mountain are in the barracks. We’ll find space for you or you’ll be housed off base. I’m not billeting you with enlisted personnel.”

Especially, John thought, after the way every man and woman in the room had turned and watched his baby brother stroll across the mess hall. Ethan technically was the youngest—but John had never viewed him as ‘the baby’.  Maybe it was because Ethan was a Dom, too. That thought made him feel like shit—he really didn’t think submissives were weaker but he’d been taught early in life by his father and his Pleasure Master to respect, honor, and protect submissives.

“Stop glaring at them, John. They can’t help it.” Matt shrugged out of his jacket and swung it easily around on his chair so it hung neatly and wouldn’t get wrinkled. “I’m really beautiful.”

Lorne chuckled. “Yeah, you are.”

Matt winked at him and John elbowed him. “I have a package for you from Claire.”

He nodded. “Yeah, I had her pick some stuff out of my suite at home and pack since I won’t have a chance to return there before we ship out. Dad and Jonah sent us both some stuff. It should be here tomorrow.” Matt finished his drink and frowned down at the empty cup for roughly ten seconds before a second suddenly appeared. He flashed the Marine who had delivered it a small smile. “Thanks, Lieutenant.”

“Not a problem at all, sir.”

“Jesus. I think I should leave you here,” John muttered. He knew he was only half kidding but just grinned when Matthew glared at him. “What?”

“You aren’t leaving this planet without me, John. You don’t even have the first fucking clue what it did to us when we were finally read in on your mission.” Matt’s jaw tightened and he looked away from him and Lorne both. “I thought we were going to have put Dad in the hospital. He fucking lost it. It took me and David both to pull him off General Rampart.”

John’s mouth dropped open in surprise. “Excuse me?”

Matt looked at him. “He let the SGC send you on a suicide mission to another galaxy, John. Dad ripped people new assholes from here to Russia. He woke up half the sitting members of the IOA in the middle of the fucking night when he found out. How do you think he got so involved in the SGC? They were afraid if they didn’t get him deep into the loop that he would expose the entire operation by suing the holy fuck out of everyone he could get his hands on.”

John flushed and took a deep breath. “I had no idea.”

“No, you were too busy trying to get yourself killed,” Matthew responded neutrally. “No, don’t shake your head at me. You would have never gone to Atlantis if Jared hadn’t been killed. You would’ve never risked him on a one way mission to another galaxy. But it was perfectly okay to throw your own life away.”

John wanted to protest and say it wasn’t like that but he couldn’t. “You’re making Lorne uncomfortable, Matthew.” It wasn’t even a lie. Evan Lorne looked like he wanted to seek cover in the worst possible way.

“He’s a real live grown up Air Force Officer. I’m sure he’s endured worse,” Matt returned evenly. “Besides, I’m sure sitting down at his table for Thanksgiving must have been the earliest example of combat training known to man. Especially with all of those politicians.”

Evan laughed, relieved at the turn of the conversation. “It was like Little League SERE training that’s for sure.”

“I bet.” John cleared his throat. “Dad really took a swing at Rampart?”

Matthew smirked. “Yeah, Christ, it was a brawl in our formal salon the likes of which most of that furniture hadn’t seen since you and David were teenagers fighting over the same submissive. We all ended up in the kitchen with ice on our faces by the end of it.”

“He hit you?” John demanded so loudly that most of the Marines in the vicinity half rose out of their chairs.

“We aren’t sure who gave me my black eye. But I got roses from Rampart every couple of weeks for six months,” Matt chuckled. “You should’ve seen those assholes on the Ronald Reagan the first time they came. He sent them with a full Marine escort in the fancy dress uniforms complete with swords. They all thought I was being courted formally.”

John laughed before he could help himself. “Jesus.”

Matthew smiled. “And Dad bought me a new car and David sent me to a spa in Paris.”

John rolled his eyes. “You aren’t still milking that are you?”

“Not at all,” Matthew responded with a little grin. “My Geisha Master told me to stop because there apparently is a very fine line between being a Geisha and being a drama queen and I was precariously close to crossing it.”

John glanced around the room and pressed on his radio when Teldy warned him that Rampart was on his way to the mess. “Thank you, Captain.” He glanced towards Matthew. “Put your jacket back on. The General is on his way down here.”

Matthew did so without a word of complaint and took the time to grab a napkin and clean his hands carefully.

Rampart’s gaze zeroed in on them immediately and Matthew rose gracefully to his feet as the General walked toward them. It wasn’t until Matt took the hand that Rampart offered and slid elegantly onto one knee that John realized that Rampart’s second pleasure house must be Lotus.

“It is my great honor to greet a Geisha of my house,” Rampart said as Matthew rose.

“It is my pleasure to greet a Master of my house.” Matthew lifted his face in invitation and Rampart kissed him right on the mouth.

John was insanely glad he hadn’t greeted McKay that way—he probably wouldn’t have taken it well at all.

Rampart released his hand and brushed his fingers over Matthew’s Geisha mark. “Have you met the princess, yet?”

“No, I’ve only been on base for thirty minutes. Have you, sir?”

“I took the time yesterday to greet her formally. She mentioned that you would be arriving today.” He cupped Matthew’s elbow guided him back to his place at John’s table. “John you are a very brave man. I understand you’ll be taking them both to Atlantis with you?”

John glanced at his brother and then at Evan Lorne who didn’t look all that comfortable with the events that had transpired. The Lotus House was shrouded in mystery—the Japanese had only been allowing non-Japanese submissives into their pleasure houses for twenty years and even then admittance was exceedingly rare.

“Yes, sir. I may space him and half the Marines in command before we even get to Pegasus. But Miko is a like a breath of fresh air.”

Lorne slid down the table gamely so Rampart could join them. “Can I get you some food, sir?”

Rampart shook his head. “No, Major, I ate with the General an hour ago.” He checked his watch and glanced around the room. “Matthew, I thought I would take you and the princess off base for dinner this evening. My wife is in town and would like to see you both. If you’re available?”

“Yes, sir, that sounds great. I’ll make myself available to greet Dr. Kusanagi within the hour and we’ll arrange transportation. Do you have a place in mind?”

“Let our princess choose,” Rampart said as he touched his shoulder. “And the time. She’s the one with real work around the place.”

“Yes, sir.” Matthew took a deep breath as General Rampart strolled back out of the mess hall.

“Did he just…” John frowned. “Matthew?”

“No, John, he wasn’t asking for attendance. General Rampart is ridiculously in love with his wife and hasn’t touched anyone but her in more years that he probably even remembers.”

“Why does he call Dr. Kusanagi ‘the princess’?” Lorne asked.

“She’s a red petal Geisha—she is a descendant of Japanese royalty,” Matthew explained. “While she isn’t technically a princess she is considered a princess within our pleasure house.”

Lorne nodded. “Would you be required to greet him that way if you were collared?”

“I’m not required to meet anyone that way but the hand and the half-kneel is the traditional greeting that any male submissive that is trained at Lotus is taught to offer. The kiss—wouldn’t be appropriate if I were collared.” His fingers stroked over his bare neck and Lorne’s gaze followed their path. “But, I’m not and the kiss was acceptable.” He grinned. “Even nice if I were to be honest. General Rampart has a great mouth.”

John laughed and shook his head. “Just don’t make plans for tomorrow night—Declan Frost will be here and I’ll want you to come with us for dinner.” He glanced at Lorne. “You, too.”

“Yes, sir.” Lorne pulled out a PDA and thumbed through a few screens. “He’s scheduled to land at 1700 hours. We’ve arranged a hotel room off base until he accepts the mission because he is bringing Dr. Taylor. Should I make reservations for the six of us?”

“Yeah, somewhere with private dining rooms is preferred.” John glanced towards Matthew. “And no exhibition space. I don’t want to have to fight Doms off this one all night.”

Evan nodded. “Not a problem, sir. I’ll call around and throw your name at a few people and see who leaps the highest to kiss your ass.”

Matthew laughed and only bit down on his bottom lip briefly when John glared at him. “I don’t think being my guardian gives you leeway to glare at me.”

“No, probably not, that’s a side benefit of being your CO,” John returned evenly.

– – – –

Jack O’Neill sat back in his chair and tossed aside the file he’d been given with a grunt. “You don’t play fair, Colonel.”

John laughed. “I’m a Marine, sir.”

“Yeah, obviously.” Jack rolled his eyes and glanced Matthew over with amused interest. “Your Geisha status isn’t in your file. Did you know that?”

“Yes, sir.” Matthew inclined his head. “Lotus House forbids it and the Navy honored their policy.”

“Very well, Commander, during your stay in my mountain I consider your safety my concern. I’ve received and processed the paper work making your brother your official personal guardian from Lotus. I have another Geisha in the mountain and my standing orders for her apply to you as well. If you want play in my mountain with my men—you’re going to have to ask for it. It is generally known that you are Colonel Sheppard’s younger brother so I imagine if anyone can’t wait for you to express interest—they will feel comfortable approaching him instead.”

Matthew nodded. “I understand, sir. I’ve a busy schedule and I’m honestly not interested in companionship at this time.”

“If someone catches your eye and you find yourself tempted,” Jack started dryly. “I expect you to report your liaison to your brother for safety purposes. I realize you’re a grown man but letting a Geisha get abused in my mountain would be detrimental to my own career.”

“Sir, I don’t believe you have anything to worry about. The hardest tops in the mountain are Marines and no one would risk John’s wraith just for a one-off. I’ll probably find it fairly difficult to play at all while I’m here.”

Jack quirked an eyebrow. “I’d say you’re right about that. You’re very attractive so I imagine temptation will win out in the end.”

Matthew grinned. “It normally does, sir.”

Jack laughed and then sighed. “Set up your simulator time, Commander. I want a final list in forty-eight hours.” Jack tapped his pen gently. “And how does this effect chain of command?”

“Major Lorne had ten months time in rank ahead of Matthew,” John explained. “I’m still distributing duties so nothing is concrete. Evan is evaluating Teldy and the junior officers for the work load. To be honest, it’s kind of weird knowing I won’t have all of that crap on me.”

Jack nodded. “Time line on Frost’s arrival?”

“He’ll be arriving tomorrow with Dr. Taylor. I have Major Lorne arranging dinner for us off base. Did you want to come along? You and Dr. Jackson?”

Jack paused and considered it. “No, he’s more likely to be comfortable saying no if I’m not there. I don’t want the man pressured to take his sub off the planet if he isn’t comfortable.”

– – – –

Dr. Miko Kusanagi was one of those women that made men forget themselves and pretty much everything around them. She perched carefully on a chair in front of John’s desk and had only glanced briefly at Matthew as John had lead her to the chair. She had her hair pinned intricately, a trademark of female Geisha. He’d never seen one with short hair.

He sat down in his desk chair and opened a folder in front of him. “Lotus has agreed to my petition for guardianship. We have a few papers to sign to make it legal.” John glanced briefly at Matthew. “You’re not a blood relative so they did have a few concerns. I signed an agreement with your Geisha Mistress indicating that I would not use you sexually against your will.”

Miko blushed. “My apologies, Colonel. I had no idea she would require something like that.”

John rocked back in his chair. “I wasn’t offended. It is her duty to see to your emotional and physical safety. I want to speak with you very frankly, Miko. Are you comfortable with Matthew remaining in the room during that conversation?”

“Yes, Sir.” Miko slid a little back into her seat and her small hands curled around the laptop she’d been carrying when she’d entered his office.

“Very well. You mourned your Dom a very long time. You removed his collar nearly a year ago but from all reports have not entertained a Dom in that time period.”

Miko nodded. “Yes, Sir.”

“Your Geisha Mistress is very concerned about your celibacy and has requested that I encourage you to seek out an intimate relationship. I told her that while I would certainly negotiate on your behalf and monitor a relationship if you wished to have one that I would not pressure you to seek sexual activity.”

“It’s not so much that I’m uninterested in companionship.” Miko shook her head. “I work a great deal and there are very few people in the mountain that I trust. Most of them are other submissives and they would not offer the dominance I require.”

“What would you be interested in when it comes to a Dom?” John asked.

“I do not have any pain kinks and I prefer total domination and bondage.” Miko blushed and looked down at her lap. “And I’m thoroughly trained in Tantric sex principles.”

“Miko.” John waited until she lifted her gaze. “You’re completely safe with me—in every respect. I would never seek you sexually. I don’t make it habit to crush submissives with my dynamic.”

Miko nodded. “Yes, Sir. I understand.”

“I understand you have no family left in Japan.”

“A few distant cousins on my father’s side,” Miko murmured. “Nothing immediate and due to the money that my Dom gifted me with before his death… I’ve made sure to keep myself separate from them. My parents sacrificed everything to have me train at Lotus. When my bloodlines were researched and they found a royal bloodline through my mother… it changed my life for the better but it also made me a target for the ambition of many especially since my parents passed away during my last year of training.”

“Once we sign these papers, Lotus will consider you a member of my family. This will not change even if you take a collar in the future. My father and brother, David, have already signed.” John lifted an eyebrow when her eyes widened in shock. “We are uniquely knowledgeable when it comes to the responsibility of a Geisha. My father has formally accepted you into our family, Miko. He brought these papers personally from Japan. Two hours ago he was kneeling in front of your Geisha Mistress promising on our family honor to treat you as a daughter the rest of his life.”

“I didn’t expect…” Tears welled in her eyes and she bit down on her bottom lip. “He has not met me.”

“He is in General O’Neill’s office. The Prometheus beamed him to and from Japan this afternoon to handle this matter personally. We didn’t want to overwhelm you,” John explained gently. “My father is a Lotus Master and has had a Geisha at his side for nearly nineteen years. Unfortunately, he couldn’t bring Jonah with him today—he doesn’t have the security clearance to be in the Mountain.”

Miko took the pen that John offered and took a deep breath as he turned the papers around on the desk for her to review. “You’re doing this because Dr. McKay asked?”

“No, I’m doing this because you deserve to be protected,” John corrected. “And that won’t change even if someday in the future my relationship with Dr. McKay changes.”

The tears she’d been blinking away slid down her cheeks when his hand covered hers. “Yes, Sir.”

“Good,” John murmured. “Now let’s get this out of the way. I know you have dinner plans with General Rampart this evening and I wouldn’t want to get in the way of that.”

Miko nodded abruptly, brushed the tears from her face with a shaking hand, and signed the document neatly in all the places John pointed out to her.

Matthew rose gracefully and took the pen when it was offered to sign as a witness. He helped her stand once he was done and kissed her mouth chastely. “Welcome to our family, princess. We are honored with your faith and trust.”

John made a quick call to General O’Neill’s office and arranged for his father to be brought to his temporary office. He wasn’t surprised to find his father being escorted down by O’Neill personally.

Jack O’Neill had proven to be the hands-on sort of leader that John had heard about while he was on Atlantis. A lot of the Marines on the expedition had served with the General before stepping through the gate to Atlantis. Jack O’Neill glanced around the room and then with a little wave, pulled the door shut leaving them alone.

“Sir, may I present Dr. Miko Kusanagi.” John prodded Miko forward gently. “Miko, Dr. John Patrick Sheppard, Sr.”

Patrick shot him a mild glare at the use of his full name and the title he rarely allowed anyone to use but smiled sincerely at Miko. “Miko, it is my honor to greet a Geisha of my house.”

“Sir,” Miko trembled slightly as she slipped into her hand into his and flowed to both knees. He released her hand and she gracefully placed both palms flat on the floor at his feet. John hadn’t seen a formal bow in more years than he could remember. It wasn’t inappropriate; just old fashioned and stunning to watch. She lifted as gracefully as she had bowed and took the hand he offered. She gained her feet easily and lifted her face elegantly. “It is my pleasure to greet a Master of my house.”

Patrick smiled then and kissed her brow. “You are beautiful, little one. Welcome to our family.”

– – – –

Anne Teldy lifted an eyebrow at sub as Allison slid into the small office she’d been assigned at the SGC. “What’s up?”

“Matthew Sheppard arrived.”

“I heard he was supposed to.” Anne rubbed the back of her neck. “And?”

“Anne, he’s a Geisha.”

Teldy’s mouth dropped open. “I was under the impression that Matthew was the Colonel’s full brother.”

“He is.” Allison dropped in a chair in front of Anne’s desk. “He’s…he brought the mess hall to a halt just be walking into the place. Half the Doms in the room couldn’t even eat for looking at him. Then General Rampart comes into the room and greets him as a Geisha because apparently he’s a Master within Lotus and de Sade. I’d heard that Rampart was a sadist—and I didn’t think that Lotus trained sadists.”

“Rampart is a student of Gerard de Sade,” Anne shrugged. “His Doms pretty  much go where they want as far as other pleasure houses go. I was just entering La Petite Mort for training when one of his Doms came into the school for their secondary training. He was one of the toppiest sons of bitches I’ve ever met.”

“More than Sheppard?”

“I’d say even with Sheppard. To be honest, John Sheppard is exactly the kind of Dom that Gerard de Sade would’ve wanted to train before he retired.” Anne tapped her fingers on the desk. “Be careful around Rampart, Allison, I wouldn’t want to cross him.”

Allison nodded. “I’ve always heard he was a good Dom. His wife adores him and he committed to her within months of collaring. As far as I know, he’s never invited a third into their relationship.”

“Well, Angela Rampart is a Courtesan. I would hope he would respect her enough not to bring another sub into her home against her wishes.” Anne raised an eyebrow. “Is that all you wanted to tell me?”

“No,” Allison blushed. “You know that Miko Kusanagi is going to Atlantis with us?”

“Yes,” Anne nodded. “I saw that Sheppard petitioned Lotus for guardianship of her.”

“Right, well, she offered to teach me.” Allison blushed. “You know I turned down the Consort path at La Petite Mort because I wanted to get my Master’s degree instead.” She touched the mark on her neck. Only Consorts were marked with the fleur-de-lis. Submissives who only did two sessions at La Petite Mort were marked with a single lily in bloom. Allison’s had been painted to match her eyes—startling, sky blue.

“Teach you what?” Anne asked with an amused smile.

“Acupuncture, massage. Just a few things that I never had time to learn before I left La Petite Mort.” Allison blushed. “Of course, we would need you on hand for practical lessons.”

“And you’d be cool with that?” Anne inclined her head. “You’ve never made it a secret that you didn’t want to share.”

Allison lifted her chin. “We agreed.”

Anne laughed and stood up. She walked around the desk and leaned on the edge in front of her sub. She touched Allison’s face with gentle fingers and brought her forward a little in her chair to plant a soft kiss on her mouth. “Yeah, we did. That’s why I’m asking.”

“She made it clear she would keep her part of the instruction completely non-sexual. I just wanted to get our place squared away. Once we get on Atlantis and other subs learn she’s willing to teach…” Allison shrugged. “She’s a red petal Geisha. That’s not an opportunity many people would pass up. Even if she never divulges the real juicy stuff that Lotus taught her.”

Anne hummed. “Yeah, okay. I guess I could make time to put us both at the tender mercies of a Geisha.” She leaned in and kissed her again. “You taste like candy.”

“I had a few watermelon jawbreakers while I was working,” Allison whispered as she was pulled from her chair. “I didn’t lock the door.”

Anne sighed. “I’m going to spank you for that.”

Allison grinned and looped her arm’s around her Domme’s neck confidently. “I’m a bad, bad girl.”

– – – –

PART TWO

Keira Marcos

In my spare time I write fan fiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on Facebook. It’s not the usual kind of hobby for a “domestic engineer” in her 30’s but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people’s expectations.

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