Ties That Bind: Learning to Belong

Learning to Belong
Keira Marcos
Series:
Ties That Bind
Series Order
: 2
Pairing: McShep (many other secondary pairings)
Genre
: Romance, BDSM
Rating
: NC-17
Word Count
: 33,200

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 starts his debrief and Rodney settles into his new role as the collared submissive of a Marine.

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!

– – – –

Rodney had been told during his first session in de Sade that the first forty-eight hours a sub spends in a new collar was to be a period of serious adjustment in both thought and action. The first couple of days with Sam had been on their honeymoon. He wondered now how Carter had let him get away with that—withholding his acceptance of her collar until he put a wedding band on her finger.

She’d never fought the formal commitment ceremony and beyond a few snide comments about his arrogance. Sam had made the entire process rather easy all things considered. The only time she’d balked had been when it had come time to sign the sub contract he’d refused to move forward without.

If she’d been pissed about it later, she never let on and their honeymoon had been full of sex and what he’d thought was love. Even now, he cringed at his own stupidity when it came to Sam Carter. Still, the first week—the first year even had been a dream. He’d loved her too much to worry about their bad dynamic mesh.

Hour twenty-eight into wearing John Sheppard’s collar and McKay was a little off-center. They had a strong dynamic mesh and a lot of lust burning between them. Unfortunately, he also had something of a crush on his Dom and that was worrying the fuck out of him. A relationship with a built in expiration date was not the place to indulge in crushes. It was just stupid and he wasn’t a stupid man.

Rodney found himself putting away John’s things in his room. It had been easier to move the few things John had rather than pack up everything Rodney had accumulated for a two-week stay. An empty packing crate had been brought to him for the transfer of his belongings to the Daedalus so he’d started sorting clothes, books, and DVDs for travel or storage. After awhile he’d decided to put all of his DVDs on his computer to save space and set up a program to do it for him while he worked.

He still had an office but he wasn’t sure he was ready for a public appearance without John and the Marine had been in meetings since they’d separated after breakfast. He’d set up one of his computers to read aloud to him—so he could move around while he reviewed reports. He was going through the science department reports—concentrating mostly on Dr. Peter Grodin and Dr. Radek Zelenka because he figured they were the least stupid of anyone in the expedition.

– – – –

“And I understand at that point—you fought Colonel Sumner and tried to take his place in the first Jumper.”

John flushed. “Yes. He hoped the scientists could find a solution before the second Jumper had to be used… and my Ancient gene made me more valuable than him.”

O’Neill nodded. “But you disagreed.”

“I was emotional and irrational about the entire situation,” John admitted and looked away from the other men in the room. “We had Darts over the city, reported Wraith sightings on most of the levels, everyone was on edge and sleep was a distant memory. I’m not proud of myself for arguing with him and for reacting the way I did. I just still resent the hell out of him for it.”

Jack nodded. “I don’t think anyone can blame you for that, John. None of us have ever… it’s a difficult position to imagine. So what happened after that?”

“He took out the Hive he’d been assigned—the radio chatter between the two remaining ships indicated they had no clue what had happened so we knew we could do it again. Dr. Zelenka finished the second bomb and I prepared the second Jumper for the mission. I left exactly one hour after Colonel Sumner detonated the first bomb as we planned.”

John spread his hands out on the table in front of him. “I pretty much talked the whole way out there—I couldn’t even help myself. I don’t even know what I said.” He blushed when several of them laughed. “I’m sort of known for my stoic reserve, you know, so it’s not a comfort to know that I turn into a Chatty Cathy when I think I’m going to die.” He took a drink of water and then cleared his throat. “I activated the weapon and entered the Hive through their Dart bay. The Wraith aren’t much for security on that front because it’s been literally thousands of years since they’ve had to deal with an enemy who had space craft.”

“At what point where you beamed aboard the Daedalus?” Jack prodded.

John shuddered. “I could see an afterimage of the explosion even as I was materializing on the bridge of the Daedalus. I’ll be honest—that really cool white light made me think I was dead for several seconds and I was sort of pissed because I’d never once bought into that bright light and a tunnel business. Then it was pretty obvious I wasn’t dead and I could’ve crawled into Caldwell’s lap and kissed him right on the mouth but he doesn’t look the type to appreciate ‘thank god I didn’t die’ celebrations on the bridge of his really cool space ship.”

Jack snorted. “He totally isn’t.”

“They beamed me back down to the city and I coordinated with Colonel Ellis on fighting the Wraith in the city while Colonel Caldwell took out the last Hive. I’d really like some of those Asgard laser cannons for the city.”

“We’ll see what we can do,” Jack murmured. “I’ve been reviewing your requests for weapons and personnel. Is there anything you want that you didn’t bother to write down because you didn’t think you’d get?”

“A squadron of X-302s and pilots to go with them,” John immediately answered. “Dr. Zelenka mentioned in a staff meeting before we left that he thinks he can fit them with portable DHDs. That would make them perfect for off-world survey missions.” He paused. “And a couple thousand surface to air missiles. We’ve had success taking out darts with them but we weren’t allotted many on the first expedition. Grenade launchers. A metric ton of C4. Fifty theatre tactical missiles with naquadah warheads. I have a secondary list of weapons ready.”

Jack bit down on his bottom lip. “Anything else?”

“Nothing that would fit through the gate,” John answered honestly. “Because—really—I owe the Wraith a fight and I’d like stick it to them in a really big way.”

“You and Colonel Sumner were of equal rank, did that cause problems?”

John shook his head. “He had a year in rank ahead of me and I went out there were a clear picture of what I was going to be doing and why. Six months in, we had to do some rearranging because Sumner asked me to take over field operations for trade while he handled the gate teams dealing with recon on the Wraith. I think we worked well together and I did my best to be the kind of 2IC he could depend on. We didn’t always agree but until the end of it—we presented a united front to the company.”

“It was reported to Colonel Caldwell that you had a sexual relationship with Colonel Sumner.” General Frank Bayliss leaned in and inserted himself neatly into the conversation.

John frowned and he looked from the army General to focus on O’Neill. “Has this planet gone through some serious shift in what is appropriate for conversation since I left it two years ago?”

Jack sighed. “From their mission reports, Sumner and Sheppard worked well together and did a great job of working with what they had out there.”

“I’m just trying to discern Sheppard’s mental fitness for command. He fought his own men and tried to countermand the order of his CO—a man he claims to have a great deal of respect for. It’s hardly the first time he’s allowed an emotional attachment to another person to cloud his judgment.” Bayliss pressed.

John’s stomach tightened with fury. “Go no further, General Bayliss. The situations are entirely different and my personal relationship with Colonel Sumner is none of your business.”

“You can’t deny that you have a problem maintaining your emotional distance. I happen to a good friend of James Dailey. The man walks with a limp to this day because of you, Sheppard.” Bayliss glared at him.

John’s gaze narrowed. “That’s too bad, General Bayliss, if my men hadn’t pulled me off of him I would have killed him and he wouldn’t be walking at all. Good friend or not—you should really consider the question of why I wasn’t severely punished by my own CO for my conduct. Instead, I got a cushy non-combat job in the middle of nowhere so I could ‘increase my calm’ and finish my PhD.”

“What are the two of you talking about?” Admiral Norris asked. “There is nothing in Sheppard’s file about him attacking a superior officer.”

“There wouldn’t be,” Bayliss retorted. “His CO covered up because Sheppard is the Marine Corps golden boy.”

John looked at the Navy man who had asked the question. “General Dailey ran a recon operation in Afghanistan and he hit my base up for personnel for his missions regularly. While he was on the base he saw my sub and approached me requested that I send Jared to his quarters for the evening. I declined and it pissed him off so badly that the moment my back was turned he ordered my collared sub onto a recon mission without me. I returned to base to find out he’d been shot down. He’s buried in Arlington.”

Norris took a deep breath and looked away. “General Bayliss, I think you’re finished asking questions about things that are absolutely none of your business. If you can’t shut up—you should leave the room.”

Jack O’Neill tapped two fingers on the table to get all of their attention. “Agreed. Questioning Colonel Sheppard about his private activities—past and present are off-limits for the rest of this debriefing.” He cleared his throat when Bayliss started to protest. “Really, Frank, don’t push it. If Daily hadn’t been in the wrong—there is no fucking way Sheppard’s record would be as clean as it is. You should stop to consider that before you ever bring this subject again. Additionally, you might try putting yourself in John’s place. Daily is lucky to be alive because I would have gutted him and bathed in his blood.”

“Let’s discuss the Genii Commander who captured you and fed you to a Wraith.”

John flinched at the casual tone. “Admiral Norris, you are a man of few but really mean words.”

Norris grimaced. “Sorry, how else am I supposed to say it? He fed you to a Wraith. I watched the video of it and I had nightmares…”

“I had nightmares myself, sir. Though you might not believe this—watching it was a lot more painful than experiencing it.” He winced even as he said it. “As for Commander Koyla, I killed the guy that so hard it felt like I did it twice when I was finished. Colonel Sumner was understandably less than pleased about my honoring the deal I made with the Wraith prisoner to escape and I received twenty lashes for it in private. I’m sure he noted it in his own after action report.”

“He did,” O’Neill admitted. “He also wrote that you accepted the punishment from him without protest or complaint.”

“I disobeyed orders. I had it coming. Our standing orders from practically day one were to never willingly let a Wraith get away from us. I was duty bound to capture or kill him. I let him go and I shouldn’t have but at the time, I was hyped up on Wraith enzyme, hard enough to fuck a hole in a tree, and feeling really good about the guy. In retrospect, it’s really easy to see how people who are exposed to enzyme on a regular basis can become Wraith worshippers.” John lifted his head from the chair. “I respected Marshall Sumner and the only time I ever told him no or argued with him is the day he decided he would be the first go on the suicide runs.”

“Most would expect two dominant alpha males like yourselves to have a great deal of conflict,” Norris pointed out.

“Marshall had a degree in Engineering from MIT,” John offered. “He preferred Marlowe to Shakespeare, Mozart to Beethoven, and hockey to football. We had similar up bringings and we might have been the strongest military Doms on the entire expedition but we were both smart enough to keep sex in the bedroom where it belonged. He was my best friend and watching him sacrifice himself was agonizing. I don’t know what else to say on the subject.”

“I think you’ve made yourself clear,” Jack responded. “I don’t have any other questions about your relationship, private or professional, with Marshall Sumner and neither does anyone else in this room.” He picked up a report. “Currently Atlantis is a civilian run expedition. I need you to know that the IOA is prepared to relent on that front if you deem it necessary.”

“I think if you want to continue to see scientific advancement out of the civilians on Atlantis you’ll leave Elizabeth Weir in charge as much as possible. She has always yielded to me or Colonel Sumner during military matters without a single pause. We learned early on how to split the load and when to compromise. I can’t say it’s always perfect but it’s a good foundation to continue. I have a good relationship with the scientists on Atlantis and I don’t see that changing in the future.”

“I’m sure taking their boss as your sub will help you on that front,” Norris muttered.

John raised an eyebrow. “If you are going to continue to make comments and ask questions about my personal choices, Admiral Norris, we’re going to have to agree to set aside rank during the rest of this conversation.”

Norris grinned. “You know, you’re just like your Daddy. I swear that he is an unbelievable bastard.”

“I’ll be sure to tell him you said so,” John said with a little grin. “As for McKay, yes I’m sure my position in his life will make some of the scientists on Atlantis more at ease than ever before – while it will irritate others. He’s the first civilian I’ve topped in… well since I joined the Marines. I gently rejected most of the civilian subs on Atlantis during the last two years.”

“Why?” Jack O’Neill asked with a frown.

“Because I was in a war zone and every day was one big fuck you courtesy of the universe… so when I was in the mood for companionship… I needed someone who wouldn’t shatter on me. Most of the civilians on the base were and continue to be on the brink of hysteria. I’m a little too hard core for most of them.”

“Like the caning thing? I’ve never seen anyone…” Jack trailed off. “Caldwell is the only officer I have in this command who is rated to cane for punishment and I’ve never not seen him draw blood—even when it’s done in a more fun circumstance.”

“I wasn’t trained for that in the states. I spent my formative years abroad. I recognized my dynamic when I was just fifteen years. My brother and I both ended up taking lessons at Kesakitan Pembawa in Singapore. One of things I learned was keseronokan menggigit which is Malay for ‘biting pleasure’. Essentially the art of caning for pleasure and punishment. A true master of the art never draws blood unless he wants to. As it stands, I didn’t think any of the civilians could handle me on Atlantis and they had enough stress as it was. I received my first Master marking from Kesakitan Pembawa with Dato Raja. I took my second from La Petite Mort under Philippe Dubois.”

“And now you’re going back with a civilian collared sub,” Norris summed up. “There will be some hurt feelings.”

“At least until McKay lets loose on them and they realize he is nothing like them,” O’Neill offered and just grinned unrepentantly when John shot him a look.

– – – –

John didn’t like being out of the mountain—it was too far from McKay but when Norris had casually invited him and O’Neill to lunch he hadn’t been able to find a way out of it. The Navy man wasn’t unknown to him—he knew he’d served with his father and probably had commanded both of his brothers in the field on more than one occasion.

They ended up at a steak house with a staff full of submissives that fell all over themselves to serve them. John fielded two offers in the bar while they were waiting for a table much to the amusement of O’Neill and Norris—who were both wearing commitment rings. John didn’t let himself look at their rings long. It just reminded him of what he hadn’t gotten to do with Jared and maybe would never be ready to do again.

Once they were settled around the table and the food was ordered John sat back and waited for whatever bit of news the two men wanted to unload on him in private. He didn’t wait long.

Norris cleared his throat. “Bayliss wants you replaced on the mission and returned to Earth.”

“His reasons?”

“He says he thinks you’re irrational and overly emotional. We can expect him to bring in reinforcements on this issue.”

John nodded. “How much pull does he have with the Pentagon?”

“Not enough,” O’Neill assured. “I saved the planet a couple of times. He can’t compete with that.  We just want you to know it’s going on and he isn’t the only one. He has a few friends that will side with him. That being said, you have a superior and unblemished service record and whatever happened with General Daily was never recorded in anyone’s file. There isn’t even an incident report. His injuries were listed as combat related.”

John snorted his disgust and looked away. “A part of me wishes I’d accepted formal charges instead of the cool down period at McMurdo. People should know what an unbelievable bastard he is.”

“I don’t disagree with that,” Norris murmured. “I made a few phone calls today during our first break. The man has a history of abusing his authority when he comes across a submissive that he wants but can’t get for one reason or another. He has some powerful friends—friends who made sure you got a soft ride out of that mess to keep him out of trouble. It wasn’t just your CO trying to save your career and get you out of sight for a while. The whole lot of them were probably overjoyed when you accepted the mission to Atlantis. Can’t get much more out of sight than off the planet.”

John nodded and sat back as salads and their drinks were delivered. “So, why the interest in keeping me on the planet now?”

“McKay,” O’Neill murmured. “The IOA might be tickled pink with your collaring him because it furthers their goals in Pegasus but there are men in the US military complex that are extremely pissed. He’s a very hot property in research and weapons development. I’ve had six different agencies try to transfer him out of the SGC since his divorce from Carter. His wearing her collar was the only thing protecting him from it in the past. They couldn’t justify taking him from his Domme. Thankfully, the IOA has a crush on his snarky little ass so they intervened with a lot of political power whenever someone made noise about moving him in the last year.”

“And now they think they can control him by controlling where I’m posted,” John inclined his head. “You should tell them if they remove me from Atlantis that I will retire my commission and McKay won’t do any government work at all. They might think my collaring him was a political maneuver at Weir’s instruction but I did put a collar on the man, which means I own him until he requests it be removed. I don’t even need to work—I do it because I enjoy it but I can find other things to enjoy easily. Rodney finds me very interesting right now and there is no telling how long he’ll find me interesting. Additionally, my father would probably sell me to have a man of McKay’s accomplishments on staff. I could build him a lab that would make scientists all over the planet come just reading about it. It could be years before he bored with our arrangement and came back to work for you.”

Jack snorted. “You really are just like your father.”

“I’m not nearly as patient as he is,” John admitted. “And I won’t play games like he will when it comes to politics. I’m not meant for that kind of bullshit.”

“No,” Norris agreed. “That much is obvious. I don’t see them getting anywhere with their agenda but you can expect them to maneuver on you and try to get you to see things their way.”

John laughed softly. “It’s like the whole world took a pill that made them stupid and nosy.”

“We’ll do our best to shut them down before they make a mess of things,” Jack assured. “We just wanted you to know the depth of the problem.”

“Sir.”

John turned and offered a smile to the submissive that had appeared at his side of the table. “Taylor.”

The sub blushed prettily and cleared his throat. “Is Dr. McKay with you?”

“No, he’s back on the base.” John leaned back in the booth and looked the young man over. “Did you need him for something?”

“I understand he took your collar,” Taylor murmured and looked at his feet.

“Yes.” John frowned. “Taylor, is something wrong?”

“No, sir, not exactly. I really need to speak with Dr. McKay but there is no answer on his cell phone. He…” Taylor blew out a breath. “He’s acted as a safety net for me in the past and I have a problem with a Dom that won’t…”

“Go away?” John questioned. “Is he military or civilian?”

“Military, sir. I’ve had to decline his attention four times and the last time… was a bit rough.”

John reached into his jacket and pulled out a notebook and pen. “Name and rank.” He handed it to Taylor. “I’ll take care of it.”

Taylor blushed and took the pad. “Thank you, sir.”

John glanced towards O’Neill who looked furious. “Taylor, this is Major General Jack O’Neill. He’s in the highest ranking officer stationed in the area. If you or any submissive you know of has problems with a military Dom—you can contact him.”

Jack casually pulled out a card and slid it across the table. “I insist on it. My spouse’s information is on the card as well if you’d rather speak with him.”

Taylor took the card in exchange for the notebook. “Thank you, sir. In the past we’ve always gone to Rodney.”

Jack relaxed. “I see. Well, Dr. McKay has always reported such things to me in the past and I’ve handled it. He’s being transferred to another base and won’t be in the area much longer.”

Taylor slid the card into the front pocket of his jeans. “I heard he was leaving. Thank you, sir.”

John nodded. “Not a problem.” He inclined his head in acknowledgement when the sub smiled and then walked away. “Is that a real problem, General?”

“Civilian subs often find military Doms a difficult experience and there are times when a situation can get out of hand,” Jack admitted. “You don’t have that problem on Atlantis?”

John frowned and put away the small notebook. “No, sir, I don’t. We had one incident early on the expedition where a military Dom didn’t honor an agreement. He refused the sub the right to report into Dr. Grodin as part of the safety protocols set up for the play date. I beat him until I felt better about the situation. He spent three weeks in the infirmary.”

Jack snorted. “I see.”

“Our population is and will remain quite small. We can’t afford to have a Dom who refuses to honor the power exchange for all that it is,” John murmured. “If I see a situation on the city where a military Dom isn’t behaving as he should and the sub in question doesn’t complain formally… I take him or her into the gym and kick their ass.”

Jack O’Neill burst out laughing. “Then I look forward to seeing you handle this situation.”

“It’s your base, sir.” John raised an eyebrow.

“The complaint was brought to you and I see no reason to interfere,” Jack responded. “And additionally I could use the entertainment after today’s bullshit.”

– – – –

“And at what point did you realize the city had been invaded by the Genii?”

John took a deep breath. “About fifteen minutes after Colonel Sumner evac’d, he reported in that our Alpha site was secure and the expedition was safe. I’d left Dr. Grodin and Dr. Weir in the control room with a six-man security detail while I handled the grounding stations at Grodin’s instruction. I was half way to the fourth grounding station when the radio activated and I heard the report of weapons fire. I doubled back to the control tower while I listened to Commander Koyla threaten to kill Weir and Grodin if they didn’t hand over the codes to the city. When none of the consoles would respond to him, he accused them of lying about the access codes.”

“Dr. Grodin had the ATA gene?”

“He’d had the therapy successfully,” John answered. “It was rare that he encountered Ancient technology that he couldn’t interact with. Commander Koyla was furious that the city would not respond to him or his people. He forced Elizabeth to show him the armory and the infirmary. His people managed to take a substantial amount of C4 and most of the medical supplies in the infirmary itself. Fortunately, we kept most of our supplies in a separate tower.”

“Dr. Grodin revealed the plan he and Dr. Zelenka had devised to save the city?”

“Yes, under torture and a credible threat against Dr. Weir he told Koyla everything he wanted to know.” John huffed out a breath. “Considering they were surrounded by six dead Marines—I didn’t blame him for believing that Koyla would kill them both. Fortunately, it got most of the Genii forces out of the control room and I started killing them.”

“And you report that you killed sixty-four enemy combatants within the city during the next five hours,” Norris questioned.

“Yes, sir.”

“Then you closed the iris on the gate and Commander Koyla accused you of killing at least eighty more Genii soldiers.” Jack O’Neill leaned back in his chair and rocked a little. “Quite a body count for a single day, Colonel.”

“Colonel Sumner was pleased, sir,” John returned evenly. “After he got over being pissed about missing the party.”

“And you attended counseling after the event for a period of six weeks?” Norris asked dryly.

“Yes, Dr. Weir insisted.” John rubbed the back of his neck. “Up until that point, she really didn’t consider me anything more than a PhD with military rank and obsessive desire for flying, sir. Despite her role as expedition leader, she wasn’t given full access to the military personnel files. She was both shocked and horrified by the amount of blood I spilled that day.”

“And neither Sumner nor you informed her that before you went to McMurdo you were in Special Operations?”

“No, we felt she didn’t need to know. Elizabeth is strong person and highly educated. That being said, she’s also a civilian and the military construct that Marshall and I operated under utterly baffled her. Training maneuvers confused her, our war games alternately horrified and amused her, and she never once attempted to insert herself in military decisions. We split the load as evenly as possible.”

“It was after the Genii incident that you took over field operations for half the gate teams and Sumner inserted you formally into the command structure.”

“Yes, up until that point Lt. Aidan Ford had been his 2IC. I was outside the command structure and my job was to ‘geek wrangle’. Marshall trusted me to keep the scientists alive and not allow them to do anything stupid. I also handled city security. The situation had been set up to be a learning experience for Ford. Sumner felt the need to alter our structure and our mission perimeters based on our experiences with the Genii and the Wraith.”

“You’ve denied Lt. Ford the opportunity to stay on Atlantis and have him on the books to be sorted back to Earth,” O’Neill pointed out. “Is that wise considering his knowledge of your situation out there?”

“Yes, sir, I believe it is. He needs a change of scenery and I don’t believe he’d do well under my command now that Sumner is gone. Additionally, he’ll be the most junior officer on the base if I get the officers I’ve requested and it will shorten the amount of command time he’s allowed. It would undermine the work he’s already done on Atlantis and be potentially damaging to his career. Additionally, I’ve requested and received permission to offer Ford a three month leave so he can study at La Petite Mort under Master Philippe Dubois.”

“A reward?” Jack asked idly.

“Something like that, sir. I think Ford would benefit from it and additionally he could use a position that would challenge his mind as well as his body. He’s bright and promising officer and as much as it pains me to admit, he’s not suited for Pegasus.”

– – – –

John slouched down in a chair in front of Jack O’Neill and sighed. “Sir.”

“Look, John, if you want me to take care of Ford once you get him back on Earth I need to know the particulars. I realize how much you and Sumner sheltered that boy. I need to know why.”

John took a deep breath. “He thinks he’s in love with me and I made a mistake with him early on that probably didn’t help that at all.”

Jack sighed. “You topped him?”

“He’s attractive and eager,” John murmured. “He wasn’t the only one I was with on the base and I thought he understood that I wasn’t after anything serious. I thought that right up until he threatened the life of another sub I was seeing privately. Ford has a problem going on his dynamic that he needs to recognize and address.”

“You think he’s a switch?” Jack asked idly.

“I don’t know what else would account for his behavior, sir. Submissives aren’t normally territorial like we are unless they are collared. Even then most would never threaten another submissive.” John shrugged. “He hasn’t had any formal private training and only received what the Marine Corp offers our personnel at the time of join up. I think he identifies as submissive because he grew up without a father and is confusing the need for a parental figure with the need for a Dom. He has submissive needs but he has some dominant drives that he’s absolutely ignoring.”

Jack nodded. “Switches often have a hard time mastering their dynamic. Very well, I’ll keep an eye on him while he’s at La Petite Mort. You’ll ask your brother-in-law to send me status reports?”

“Yes, sir. Philippe understands what I’ve asked of him and why. Will you keep Ford in the SGC?”

“It’s my preference. He has the experience and the clearance for it. You wouldn’t want him back on Atlantis after his session?”

“No, I believe it’s best if he doesn’t serve under me again. Distance will help him come to grips with his emotional attachment to me and put it in a proper place. I’m a hard Dom and he confused my dominance and attention for affection.”

– – – –

“Lance Corporal Jeffrey Dennison!” The entire mess hall stilled around him and then every Marine in the room scurried to their feet.

“Here, sir.”

John crooked his finger at the Marine. “C’mere.”

“Sir.” Dennison swallowed hard but immediately left the table where he’d been eating and walked quickly to stand in front of Sheppard. He glanced only briefly at General O’Neill who was leaning in the doorway. He saluted perfectly and fell into parade rest at John’s abrupt nod.

“Dennison, you ruined my lunch.”

Dennison’s eyes widened. “Sir?”

“It was turning out to be a great lunch, too. You wouldn’t believe some of the shit I’ve had to eat on my base in the last two years. I had three inch thick filet mignon on my plate, Lance Corporal, and because of you I couldn’t even finish it.”

“Sir, I don’t…” He trailed off when he hazarded a look at John’s face. He paled at the cold fury he saw there. “My apologies, sir. What can I do to make it up to you?”

“I need a sparring partner. You just volunteered.” John turned on his heel and stalked from the room. In the hall, he paused and shouted, “Marines, do I have to issue you all an engraved fucking invitation?”

Jack O’Neill laughed softly as about one hundred Marines fell all over themselves to get out of the mess hall. “Christ, Sheppard, I think I love you.”

“I’m an easy man to love, sir.”

By the time John reached the gym, the Marines from the mess hall were assembled. He raised an eyebrow at Colonel Cameron Mitchell who was leaning on a wall beside Jack O’Neill. The Air Force man hadn’t had a damn thing to say to John since his arrival and hadn’t sit in on any of the debriefs. John knew he’d been off world when they’d come through the gate but still he’d thought that O’Neill’s 2IC would have made time to say hi at least. It rankled and insulted but that was a matter for another day.

“Marines, I pride myself on being a patient and rational man.” He took the eight-foot wooden staff one of the men offered as he entered the taped off sparring space and passed the man his t-shirt in exchange. “Often, I’m so goddamned patient that I surprise even myself. Today, I find my patience tested. When you misbehave on or off the base, you make the Marine Corps look bad. When you misbehave on or off this base, it reflects poorly on the General. Now, I know that’s the last thing you want to do. I know you want to make the General look good no matter the situation you’re in. Isn’t that right?”

“Sir! Yes, sir!”

“See, that’s what I thought. That’s what the Corps taught you.” He pinned Dennison who was pale and shaking with a hard look. “Isn’t that right, Lance Corporal Dennison?”

“Sir,” he started hoarsely. “Yes, sir.”

“Good.” John smiled but it was so thin and feral that people all around them stepped back from the ring and Jack O’Neill snorted in amusement.

“Dennison, exactly how many times does a submissive have to tell you no before you take them seriously?”

“Just one, sir.” Dennison stiffened and his eyes darkened.

“Just one?” John questioned as spun the staff in his hand. “Really? Just one time?”

“Just one, sir,” Dennison repeated, his face flushing dark red.

“I see. You train with the Jaffa Teal’c, right?”

“I attend class four times a week, sir.”

“Good, let’s see what you’ve got.” John spun the staff in his hands and then struck. His technique was different—borne of lessons with a vicious Malaysian Dom starting when he was just fifteen years old and a beautiful alien woman in another galaxy who regularly kicked his ass without breaking a sweat.

Dennison was on his back in under a minute. John slapped his thigh hard with the staff and several people in the silent audience hissed in sympathy. “Get your ass up, soldier. A Marine on his back is a dead Marine.”

Dennison rolled to his feet. “Yes, sir.” He picked up the staff.

“Out of curiosity, Lance Corporal Dennison, how many times does Taylor Smythe have to tell you no before you leave him alone?” John asked and then struck before Dennison could respond catching the man in the side hard enough to take his breath just before he hooked his foot behind one leg and sent the man sprawling. “I sincerely hope Master Teal’c doesn’t take your weak ass performance personally, I know this isn’t a reflection on his teachings.”

Dennison groaned and struggled to his feet. “No, sir. Master Teal’c is badass, sir. He could kick your ass, sir.”

John grinned and rocked on the balls of his feet. “I heard. If I have time, I plan to volunteer for it. I always view an ass kicking as a learning experience for everyone involved.” He advanced again and Dennison held his own for a full minute before John sent him sprawling again. “For instance, I hope you learn the difference between one and four by the time we’re done here today.”

Dennison took a harsh breath and rolled to his feet. “He’s de Sade, sir.”

John didn’t even give him a chance to get steady on his feet. He tossed his staff to a Marine near him and kicked Dennison’s feet out from underneath him, flipped him over and shoved his knee into his back. “And what the fuck does that mean, Lance Corporal?”

Dennison didn’t struggle or squirm. “They’re all pain junkies and whores, sir. They want a rough pursuit.”

“You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, Corporal,” John hissed. “Only twenty percent of the submissives trained at de Sade are masochists. In fact, twice as many masochists come out La Petite Mort every year than de Sade. The fact that you don’t know that really fucking pisses me off.” He released him and rolled to his feet. “You’re confined to the base for the next six months. I’ll gather some reading material for your ignorant ass. Your education is sorely lacking.”

“Sir!” Dennison’s eyes widened.

“Don’t fucking argue with me, Marine, or it’ll be a year at McMurdo instead,” John snapped. He took his shirt when it was offered and stalked out of the gym. “I hope the rest of you know how to fucking count!”

“Sir, yes sir!”

O’Neill followed him but John noticed that Mitchell didn’t. He sighed as he entered the officer’s lounge on the floor and dropped on the couch.

“Pain junkies and whores.”

“He isn’t the only one that thinks that,” Jack admitted. “There is a reason why McKay hides what he is.”

John grimaced. “I could have broken him in a couple of pieces.”

Jack laughed. “Oh, I think they all know. Stupid kid didn’t know when to shut up.” He poured himself some coffee. “Mitchell found you amusing.”

“Does he think I’m vying for his job or something?”

Jack shook his head. “No, additionally he knows if you got his – that he would get yours. If I’d lost the fight to keep you on Atlantis, I was going to put Mitchell out there and keep you here in the Mountain.”

John nodded. “Okay, so I promised Rodney I would take him off base for diner. He doesn’t like the mess hall.”

“Have a good evening, and thanks for the alternative therapy.” Jack jerked his thumb towards the gym. “I think I’ll have Teal’c do the honors on my behalf in the future.”

“He’s not on base right now is he?”

“No, he’s off world attending his son’s manhood ceremony. Unfortunately he’ll be gone for the rest of the month,” Jack explained. “I’ll see about him taking a trip to Atlantis. I think your Marines out there could probably use a little of what he’s got.”

John grinned. “I could introduce him to Teyla. It would be… very interesting.”

– – – –

“I heard Colonel Sheppard was in the gym today with another Dom.”

Rodney looked up from his calculations and stared at Miko. “Yeah?”

“I heard he kicked his ass,” Miko whispered and then blushed when several other scientists in the room turned and looked at them. “For bothering a submissive off base.”

“Dennison?” Rodney questioned. “I found a text message from a friend when I checked my phone. I haven’t had a chance to call him back.”

“Dennison,” Miko confirmed. “A few of the Air Force officers are pissed that O’Neill gave the matter to Sheppard to handle.”

“Who?” Rodney asked and gave Miko his undivided attention.

“Major Maypeace, Lt. Colonel Pensky, and of course Carter.” Miko shrugged when Rodney raised an eyebrow. “I know. Carter has never bothered herself with discipline unless it involved her personally. She’s very angry with Colonel Sheppard, as you must know.”

Rodney nodded. He did know. “Did they complain to O’Neill?”

“No, I don’t think anyone is that stupid.” Miko crossed her arms over her chest. “You’ve not asked me about Atlantis.”

Rodney glanced over her all too pretty face and wondered if he could actually protect an uncollared Geisha on Atlantis. “Do you want to go to Atlantis?”

Miko frowned at him and gave him look that clearly indicated she was reevaluating how smart she thought he was. “Of course, I do. I’m concerned. If a Dom mistreats me here, I can protest to my house and Lotus comes down hard on abusers. I would have little safety on Atlantis without a collar.” She looked away. “And I don’t know that I ever want another collar.”

“I understand,” Rodney murmured. And he did—probably far more than anyone else Miko would ever meet. He touched his own collar and frowned. “Let me think about it and we’ll see what we can do. Dr. Weir might have a solution already in place for such things. The IOA doesn’t have a policy on uncollared subs unless it involves me.”

Miko snorted and then rolled her eyes when more scientists in the room looked at her. She sighed loudly and then said clearly for everyone to hear, “In my country people were taught to mind their own business. And those that could not learn by example were regularly whipped.”

Rodney laughed at the furious huffs that caused.

– – – –

Sam Carter was sitting in a chair in John’s temporary office. He almost turned around and left at the sight of her but he prided himself on his self-control.

John walked around his desk and dropped into his desk chair. “What can I do for you, Colonel Carter?”

Sam closed her laptop and sat it on the corner of his desk. “We got off on the wrong foot, Colonel.”

“I don’t think we did,” John responded. “You’re manipulative and abusive both in private and in public. I have no use whatsoever for people like you, Colonel.”

She frowned and looked away. “There are several projects that I need McKay’s input in before he leaves. I’d like to go over your rules for my interacting with him.”

“You’re to never be alone with him—I’ll assign a Marine to be with him during his office hours so you won’t have to worry about accidently breaking this rule. It’s not my intention to trick you into a situation where I can discipline you. If you email him—I expect to be CC’d. My security clearance is as higher than his and equal to yours so there is nothing you could need to email him about that would violate national security protocols.”

Carter nodded, her lips pulled into a thin line. “Understood.”

“You’ve read my file.”

“Yes.” Carter nodded.

“I imagine you’ve heard that I lost my first collared submissive in combat?”

“I did hear that,” Sam acknowledged. “My condolences, sir.”

John inclined his head but he didn’t think for a minute she was sincere. “You have to know that because of that I will be vigorous in my protection of him. You’ve demonstrated, in the past, a complete lack of regard for his physical and emotional safety. I will never trust you with him and I will damage you if you ever attempt to come between us.”

“I married him,” Carter snapped. “And he left me. Do you honestly think your collar is enough to keep him at your side? Really?”

“Submission and loyalty is earned, Carter. It is hardly McKay’s fault you  never bothered to earn either from him.” He opened his own laptop and glanced towards his office door. “Dismissed.”

She stood up and grabbed her computer. “Thank you for the time, sir.”

– – – –

Rodney had decided not to watch any more videos from the Atlantis mission files. Between the Iratus bug attached to John’s neck and his Dom turning into a bug, he was just done with that. At least until he came across a mission report about John being kidnapped and tortured for the entire expedition to watch.

He’d been somewhat prepared for the bug thing. John had mentioned it but nothing prepared him for this. He watched five minutes of it and then turned it off. Then, because he couldn’t stand no knowing—he turned it back on. Forty-five minutes later, he knew he was too upset to speak to John about it—he went in search of Dr. Weir.

Rodney found her several floors down in an office not far from Dr. Jackson’s. The little room was mostly barren but the furniture was nice. He cleared his throat as he hovered in the doorway.

Elizabeth looked up from her computer and smiled. “Hey, come in. Did you need a break?”

Rodney nodded and glanced briefly at the Marine who had appeared outside his office a few hours before. The young soldier had followed him silently wherever he went since so he’d been enduring it with  more grace than he’d normally be capable of. He was obviously there at John’s order. It wouldn’t be fair to question the soldier about it.

“I need to shut the door, Corporal.”

The young man looked from him to Dr. Weir who for her part just smiled indulgently. “I’ll have report the private meeting to Colonel Sheppard, sir.”

“That’s fine,” Rodney murmured and pulled the door shut on the Marine. He blew out a breath. “Am I going to have to endure that on Atlantis?”

Elizabeth laughed and shrugged. “I have no clue but if you do—please don’t make things difficult on the men he assigns to the duty. John is a hard commander and he’d beat a soldier bloody if you were allowed to come to harm in their care.”

Rodney  nodded and slid into a chair in front of her desk. “Koyla.”

Elizabeth paled slightly and closed her computer. She set it aside and pulled her coffee cup in front of her. She cupped it between her hands and stared at its contents for a few seconds before she spoke. “He’s dead.”

“I read that part,” Rodney acknowledged. “What I want to know is how you could let him and that Wraith torture John for six fucking hours before…” He closed his eyes. “I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s alright. It was the longest six fucking hours of my life,” Elizabeth admitted. “I had to have most of the civilians in the control room sedated in the infirmary before it was over. When we finally figured out where they were holding him hostage—Marshall Sumner was so enraged that I was afraid of what he would do when he finally went through the gate. I don’t even know how many they killed on that planet to get John back.”

Rodney closed his eyes. “He got really old by the end of the video transmissions.”

“Yes.” Elizabeth nodded. “Marshall was pretty convinced he would be bringing home an old man or a body. When they dragged him back through the gate young and sedated, I couldn’t even speak I was so relieved.”

“Sumner said in his report that when they found John he was practically feral and that all the Genii in the compound were dead.” Rodney touched his collar. “Some of them have been fed on by a Wraith but most were—butchered.”

“I don’t have access to John’s uncensored military records but I’m sure if you hacked your way in you’d find out that he’s probably had black ops or special ops experience.”

Rodney blushed. He’d hacked John’s file earlier in the day actually. “Yes, I imagine I would.”

Elizabeth laughed softly. “You’d better not get caught, Rodney.”

“I’d never do anything that would get John punished on my behalf. I know him well enough to know that he’d never allow anyone else to punish me.” Rodney cleared his throat. “It was horrible. I don’t know that I’ve seen anything like that in my life.”

“John would never hurt you, Rodney.” She grinned. “Well, he’d never hurt you more than you’d like.”

Rodney’s face heated and he sighed. “He’s perfect, Madame.”

Elizabeth quirked an eyebrow and smiled. “I just bet he is. Did you watch the bug footage?”

“Yes, both incidents.” Rodney pursed his lips. “If anything like that were to happen to him again you should expect me to totally freak the fuck out.”

Elizabeth burst out laughing. “Good to know, Dr. McKay.”

“Right.” Rodney huffed out a breath. “It’s just—how could it have taken so long to find him?”

“We’ve never successfully downloaded dialing data from a DHD that was actually useful.” Elizabeth finally said. “The gate system in Pegasus is complex and the code for the DHDs is so complicated and beyond the skill level of everyone on Atlantis that it’s laughable.”

Rodney frowned. “Do you have reports on that?”

“Yes,” Elizabeth answered and opened her laptop. “In fact, if you look at Radek’s DHD experiments and gate diagnostics—you’ll see what I’m talking about. He made sure to include a big information packet for you on the gate system.”

Rodney nodded. “I’ll look because we can’t let that happen again. Not ever.”

– – – –

John didn’t know what to expect from Rodney if he were going to be strictly honest with himself. Jared had been a soldier—they’d had the same interests for the most part. Their sex drives had been very compatible and their dynamic mesh as perfect as John could’ve ever hoped for.

Jared had been devoted and supremely submissive. He never argued—never questioned authority. When John let himself think about that, he wondered if his innate submissiveness had contributed to his death. He doubted seriously that anyone could order Rodney into the field against his will or without his Dom.

“Sir, can I speak with you?”

John glanced up and saw Corporal Dennison standing in the doorway. “Yes. Close the door.”

“Thank you, sir.” Dennison relaxed marginally as he shut the door and moved to stand in front of John’s desk. He fell into parade rest at John’s abrupt nod. “I’ve never had formal training as you must know.”

“I’m aware that you’ve only had what the Corp provides in basic training,” John responded. “I don’t hold that against you, Corporal. But your failure to self-educate irritates the fuck out of me as you might have guessed.”

“Yes, sir. I took note of your irritation,” Dennison responded a little dryly. “It’s never been my intention to be viewed as abusive, sir.”

“I don’t think you’re abusive, Jeff. I think you’ve the potential to be a bully and I abhor a bully. There is a thin line between being dominant and being a tyrant. You also have an outdated view of what a submissive is and should be. I figure that’s your father’s fault—I understand from your personnel evaluation that he keeps his submissives as pets.”

“Yes, three including my mother,” Dennison averted his gaze. “I wasn’t… I’ve never liked the way my mother was treated in his home but it’s her choice.”

“Yes, it is.” John pointed to a chair. “Sit. Look, I’m not going to change my mind about your base confinement. You don’t deserve off base privileges. You embarrassed me and shamed the uniform we share.”

“No, sir, I understand that. I wouldn’t ask you to change your mind.” He huffed out a breath. “Exactly.”

John raised an eyebrow. “Spit it out soldier.”

“I want to go to Atlantis with you, sir.”

“I knock you on your ass in front of most of your company and you want to go to Atlantis with me?” John asked, unwillingly amused. “You’re not a switch are you, Corporal?”

Dennison laughed. “No, sir, not at all. I’m a good Marine, sir. I work my ass off and I’d be good for the Atlantis mission. I’ll do whatever is required of me to get into one of the open billets for Atlantis.”

John blew air between his lips and tapped a stack of folders. “These are the men and women the Pentagon and O’Neill have given me to choose from. If you’re in the list, I’ll consider it. That being said—if you fail to toe the line on Atlantis and mistreat a submissive—military or civilian—you’ll beg me for mercy and don’t make the mistake in thinking you’d get it.”

“I understand, sir.”

John nodded. “I had the quartermaster deliver a set of books to your quarters.”

Dennison nodded. “Yes, sir, you did.”

“You come from a fairly wealthy family, Jeff, why weren’t you given formal training?”

He blushed. “I’m the third son and my mother isn’t his wife, sir. My father figured paying to educate me in any way was a waste of his money. It’s why I joined the Marine Corp. I needed to make my own way.”

“Except both of your older brothers are dead now.”

Dennison looked down at his combat boot and stared for a minute. “Yes, both were working in the towers on 9-11.”

“I’m sure your father has requested your return to the family.”

“He made some noise about it but I gave my life to the Marine Corp, sir. I’m not interested in leaving the service. I have two younger brothers that he can mold into his image.”

“Understood. Read the books I ordered for you and make it your business to educate yourself because I won’t keep an ignorant man in my company long term. Stupidity can be excused, Corporal, but the only reason for ignorance is laziness and sloth doesn’t even exist in John Sheppard Land.”

“Of course, sir.”

– – – –

“I heard you kicked ass in the gym today,” Rodney murmured as he ran his soapy hands down his Dom’s back.

John laughed. “I just made myself clear.” He let his head fall forward. “Tell me about Jeffrey Dennison. What’s his reputation on the base?”

Rodney sighed. “Strong, eager for play but uneducated. I’ve never known him to abuse anyone but his interest in Taylor was pretty serious. Taylor, however, is a two-session de Sade trained submissive and he’s something of a snob.”

John laughed softly. “Well, he’s beautiful and entitled to be something of a snob. He also has every right to say no.”

Rodney hummed and concentrated on running his fingers over the swirling black inked tattoo that spread out over John’s shoulders and up his neck. Several curling tendrils disappeared into his hairline. “This is beautiful. I’ve only ever seen pictures in books of this Dom marking. I never thought I’d see one.”

“My brother David is marked this way,” John admitted.

“He’s a La Petite Mort Master as well?” Rodney asked letting his hand slide down and skim over the black ink ‘war bracelet’ mark that circled around John’s right bicep.

“He collared a Consort and she only agreed after he took his Masters training with her house. She’s a beautiful snob, too.” John took a deep breath as Rodney’s hand continued to dance over his skin. “It’s been a long time since I’ve let someone outside of a medical situation bathe me.”

“You’ve had partners since you lost Jared,” Rodney said softly. “Why deny them this privilege?”

“It’s intimate, personal,” John admitted and relaxed under Rodney’s fingers as he skimmed across his ass and whispered just briefly between his cheeks. “It’d been a while for that, too.”

“Since Jared?”

“Yes, at least until that last night with Marshall.” John swallowed hard as Rodney slid gracefully to his knees behind him and started to soap his thighs and then his feet. “I don’t allow that often but there will be times in the future when I want it.”

“At your leisure, John,” Rodney murmured and gently prodded him so he would turn around. “Can I suck you, sir?”

“Jesus, what a question.” Sheppard ran his fingers through Rodney’s damp curls. “Yes, of course.”

With a soft sound of pleasure, McKay dragged his soap slick hands up over John’s thighs and then sucked the head of his Dom’s cock into his mouth. He moaned when John’s fingers tightened in his hair.

Rodney loved the silky glide of a cock on his tongue and between his lips. But what he loved most was the soft sounds of pleasure that he pulled from his Dom, the way John’s hand tightened in his hair, and the way his body flexed against him. He rarely wanted to control anything when it came to sex but he loved giving head—being the center of his Dom’s attention.

He especially loved taking John’s big, thick cock in his mouth. It had only been days and he couldn’t even think about not having the privilege, the right to touch the man that collared had him.

“Fuck, Rodney, your mouth is perfect.” John shuddered and pressed in slowly, the head of his cock rubbing against the back his throat. McKay groaned and flexed his hips involuntarily as his Dom worked his cock in and out of his mouth.

Rodney moaned in protest and regret when John pulled free of his mouth. “I wasn’t done with that.”

John laughed. “Let’s finish washing up and we’ll play a little. I have something in mind.”

Rodney eagerly stood up. “Yes, sir.”

Fifteen minutes later, McKay was pretty certain that John Sheppard was a wretched son of a bitch but he was pretty okay with it. The chains that bound him to the footboard of the bed clanged gently as he shifted on his feet.

The restraint system on the bed allowed for a variety of positions and scenarios. Currently he was bent over the padded footboard, bound at the knees, ankles, and wrists. John had layered pillows for his chest and head so he was very comfortable and pretty damn tired of waiting for the party to get started.

It was just fortunate that he’d had a lot of training, otherwise he would be begging or demanding or maybe both at the same time.

Soft suede and tooled leather tresses trailed over his back suddenly and he bit down on his lip to keep from pointing out that it was about damn time.

“You’re an impatient man, Rodney.” John flicked the flogger and sighed. “It’s going to be something of a trial for me but fortunately for you I’m patient and willing to work for everything I get. What I will get from you Rodney… is your complete submission, your patience, and your loyalty.”

The flogger shifted over his back and then down his ass and over his thighs. He was fairly certain he’d already given John his submission. In fact, he’d definitely been paying a lot of attention when the collaring thing had happened. He wisely kept that smart assed observation to himself.

John laughed softly. “You aren’t saying a word, Rodney, but you are definitely arguing with me.” He smacked his ass with his open palm. The smack of skin against skin was so startling that Rodney bit down on his lip to keep from gasping aloud in shock.

His cock jerked against the padding and he blinked rapidly at the sudden tears that rushed into his eyes. It wasn’t the pain—pain hadn’t made him cry in a very long time. Emotion flooded his system—visceral and completely unexpected. A lump swelled his throat as he realized how desperate he was to please John Sheppard.

He took a deep breath and John’s hand connected with his ass. The pain was stunning, delicious, and bordering on too much and it was just a hand. He’d been flogged bloody in the past and hadn’t had a response like this.

“Relax,” John murmured. “You’re muscles are so tense that it’s going cut your rush.” He dropped the flogger on the bed and ran both hands over McKay’s back and ass.

Rodney huffed in surprise. Yeah, that was exactly it. Every muscle from his back downward was so tight they were starting to hurt in the wrong kind of way. He took several deep breaths and started to relax his major work groups one by one.

“Good,” John murmured as he backed up and retrieved the flogger. “That’s very good, Rodney.” He swished the flogger across his back. “You’re so pretty this way… all tied up and spread open for my use.”

“Thank you, sir.” Rodney relaxed on his pillows completely and closed his eyes.

“The first time I had you—when you were laying on my bed with your legs spread for me,” John began and then swiped across his thighs with the flogger sharply. “I wanted to bury my cock in your ass and claim you. I wanted to own you in that moment… and I still want to own you.”

Rodney started to speak but John swung the flogger—it bit across his ass—a mixture of small thuds and stings. “Be quiet.”

He hissed and arched against the chains briefly as John started to work his skin with the flogger. McKay closed his eyes and slid from one snap and into the other. When the lashes started to blend together, he just let go. His cock jerking and aching against the padded bench but he didn’t come—he certainly hadn’t been given permission to.

“I have a theory about your training at de Sade,” John murmured as he paused. Fingers drifted casually over Rodney’s neck to check his pulse. “You must have driven your instructors crazy in the beginning. I bet you were so eager and willing to do anything to please your instructors but you were impatient to learn, to know. A beautiful and perfect contradiction.”

The lashes came quicker this time, in sets of five. Rodney lost himself in the pleasure/pain after twenty and stopped counting. His skin and muscles were singing from the rough treatment. “John!”

John slapped the flogger across his ass viciously as a response. “Did I give you permission to speak, Rodney?”

McKay moaned softly and then shook his head. He rubbed his face against the pillow under his head.

“I know you want to come. I bet you were so eager to learn to have an orgasm without ejaculating. You’ve owned your pleasure since your first erection and no one has ever called you on it.” John started in on his back—lashing evenly across his back to the left and to the right. “Your pleasure is mine, Rodney and I’m going to prove it to you.”

Rodney pressed his face against the pillow briefly and then lifted to take a deep measured breath. He had nothing to say to that because it was true. Not even his Courtesan Master had ever called him on it. His pleasure was his—he’d conquered, controlled, and owned it for years. He’d never given himself fully to a Dom and he hadn’t even realized it.

Rodney shuddered and closed his eyes in shame.

“Shh,” John whispered as he leaned in and dropped the flogger on the bed. He pressed soft kisses up his back, lips whispering over the abused flesh gently. “It’s okay because you are going to give it to me. I won’t tolerate anything but your complete surrender and we have plenty of time to work through this part of our relationship. I won’t rush you, punish you for something you can’t help, or hurt you if I get frustrated with your progress.”

John pressed his body against the aching flesh of his thighs, ass and back. He nuzzled against the back of Rodney’s neck above the collar. “Do you need a break?”

Rodney cleared his throat and blinked rapidly as he lifted his head. “No, sir.”

“Good.” John pressed his cock against Rodney’s ass and then lifted off of him. “Because I’m not finished hurting you. I want your skin cherry red when I fuck you.”

John picked up the flogger again and braced himself. Rodney was relaxed in the restraints now. His skin was pale in some places and pink in others where he’d taken lashes from the flogger. He inclined his head and then hummed a little as he considered the flogger. “I miss my stuff on Atlantis. I’d really like to paddle your ass.”

Rodney wiggled a little as if he might like that and John laughed. “How about the cane?”

Rodney turned his head so their gazes could meet. He gave a simple nod and John retrieved the cane from the dressed. Sheppard pulled it out of the sheath and then dragged the entire cane through his fist to check the wood.

He flexed it in his hand as he walked back to Rodney. “Remember your safe word?”

Rodney lifted his head and frowned at his Dom. “I told you that I wouldn’t need a safe word if I wore your collar.”

John glanced him over coolly. “And when did I decide that you get to tell me anything, Rodney?”

McKay blushed and lowered his head. “My safe word is Pegasus, sir.”

“Good.” John trailed his fingers down Rodney’s backbone and briefly between the cheeks of his ass. “We’re still learning about each other, Rodney. I need to know that I can trust you to stop me if I push you too far. You said our first night that you’d only suffer for me if we were both enjoying it. But I can’t enjoy this if I’m worried about taking things in a direction you can’t handle.”

Rodney was silent for a minute, letting himself drift at the edge of his subspace and the gentle pain his Dom’s fingers were giving him as they moved from one thin welt to the other. The flogger had done a great job of working him up. His blood was practically singing in his veins. “My Courtesan Master taught me that my honesty was as much a gift as my submission.”

“I agree with him,” John responded neutrally and wondered if Rodney would ever volunteer the man’s name.

It was one of the few secrets that John could never demand from Rodney. He’d never once slipped up and said the Master’s name so John figured that Rodney held that information sacred. Some Courtesans never revealed that information to anyone not even the Dom that collared them. It was a quirk of their pleasure house that John was willing to endure.

“We need a different word,” Rodney murmured. “Something that wouldn’t come up in casual conversation—something that I could say to you that couldn’t be mistaken for anything else between us.”

John nodded.  “I agree but for now it’s Pegasus.” He lifted the cane and mapped his strikes visually. “No wiggling.”

“Yes, sir.”

The first strike made McKay moan so softly that John almost missed it. By the fifth, Rodney’s whole body seemed to bloom red—flushing with pain and pleasure. His pale skin allowed him to hide nothing and John was grateful for that. It provided excellent feedback on how far gone Rodney was.

On strike ten, McKay all but melted against the bed and the chains that bound him went slack as the last tension seeped out of him. John slowed down, pacing the strikes thirty seconds apart instead of five. At twenty, Rodney started to shiver and John stopped.

He set the cane aside and retrieved the lube from the dresser. Dropping it on the bed, John ran his hands firmly down the reddened and abused flesh of Rodney’s back, over his cherry red ass, and down his thighs.

He said nothing until Rodney’s body stilled under his hands. “So perfect, Rodney. Gorgeous.”

John pressed soft kisses down the center of his back. He cupped Rodney’s ass with both hands and spread him open for his mouth. McKay gasped in shock when John slid his tongue over his clenching entrance.

“Ah, fuck, John.”

John laughed and casually smacked Rodney’s ass cheek. “Shh. This is my hole. I can do what I want with it.”

Rodney blew out a breath and relaxed under the attention.

John sent one hand questing for the lube and flicked open the cap. He slicked two fingers and pressed them into Rodney’s asshole. McKay hissed in response.

“Hurt?” John asked, his tone silky and knowing.

“Yes, sir.”

“More?” He asked with a small laugh.

“Please, sir,” Rodney answered with a shudder. “Please.”

John hummed softly under his breath and applied his attention to working Rodney’s ass open for his cock. He added a third finger and stretched the muscle expertly. “You know,” he began softly. “It’s been years since I’ve fucked a woman. My father and brothers tease me about being monosexual.” He sighed. “But it’s not really about women—it’s about men. I really love the way a man feels underneath me. I like the strength and the restraint a man has to demonstrate in submission. It’s often missing in female submissives.”

Rodney rocked back against the fingers briefly before forcing himself still. “I understand.”

“I thought you might,” John murmured. He rolled on a condom and slicked it up with lube. “I’ve thought about fucking you all day.”

“Me, too.” Rodney whispered against the pillow.

John pressed his lips together to keep from groaning as he pushed into the hot, tight grip of McKay’s ass. The fit was surreal it was so perfect. Rodney moaned underneath him and rocked back against the penetration.

“Don’t you dare come.”

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

John wrapped one hand around Rodney’s hip and the other over his shoulder to brace himself before he started to move. The pace was almost languid but each thrust was brutal and deep. He didn’t even bother to demand silence from Rodney because he could tell that his sub was just gone on all of the stimulation.

By the time he was pounding steadily into Rodney’s ass—the sub wasn’t even using words at all. Their skin smacked together, John’s balls were thudding against McKay’s where they were pinned deliciously against the padded footboard of the bed.

“Ah, fuck, John please!” Rodney scrambled against the bed. His whole body clenching and pulling against the restraints. “Please!”

John tightened his hands on McKay and thrust in deep one more time. He ground their bodies together and with a sharp intake of breath, he started to come. “Yes, now. Come now.” He groaned when Rodney’s ass tightened impossibly around his cock and ran one hand down the sub’s back as he shook apart beneath him.

– – – –

John buckled the leather wristband and then reached for the single diamond stud he would wear in his ear. It had been a gift from his father on his sixteenth birthday. One of many, actually, but one of the few he still had besides the awesome four person jet plane his father had built him. The car had long been sold, CDs replaced with digital downloads, and the clothes grown out of.

He glanced around McKay’s quarters—pleased with his new surroundings. The VIP room had been nice but it hadn’t felt normal, lived in as Rodney’s room did. There was shelving everywhere all over it—leaving only a six-foot space of wall for bondage hooks. He laughed a little; Rodney had been embarrassed when John had taken note of the fact that his bondage loops were being used to hang up clothes. He’d taken them down with a blush and put them in the closet.

He tucked in the black undershirt he’d pulled out to wear and then pulled on the dark green silk shirt. He fastened his slacks but left the belt hanging loose as he pulled on a watch and checked the time. McKay was now, officially, three minutes late.

His second full day of debriefing had been a pain in his ass and he really wanted out of the mountain. John frowned but cleared it when the door opened and McKay came in. He was surprised to find that his sub was already showered and dressed to leave. “Hey.”

“Hey, sorry, I was here and then I got called away because some idiot from Area 51 can’t read instructions. I thought I’d be back before you came off duty to shower.” Rodney crossed his arms defensively and huffed out a breath. “They’re still no closer to figuring out who or what deleted the files on the ZPM project but I’ve gone ahead and replaced the data that I had. We lost about six percent of it total.”

“Who or what?” John repeated.

Rodney relaxed and let his hands fall to his side. “No one actually had to be in the room to do what they did. Most of the people in this mountain could have made it look like someone entered the room at a specific time and erased the data.”

“So you’re saying it could’ve been done remotely?” He frowned. “Then why erase the security footage? Why make it look like someone was there physically?”

“I was set up to look vengeful and stupid, John. Whoever did it—wanted everyone to think I not only was I untrustworthy but that I’m reckless on top of that. Using my own log in but making some half-ass attempt at covering my tracks by deleting the security footage.” Rodney’s mouth twisted. “They would have certainly gotten away with it if I’d followed my normal routine.”

“You would’ve been alone when the break-in happened,” John summed up.

“Yes, alone and the security footage for the hall where my quarters are located were deleted, too.” Rodney flushed. “Not yours though. I made copies of the video recordings of me coming and going from your quarters with a time stamp and sent it to O’Neill. I don’t want anyone to doubt you for a second.”

“It’s cool.” John buckled his belt, leaned on the dresser and looked McKay over. “I can handle whatever anyone tries to throw at me—including your silly ex-wife.”

Tan, tailored linen slacks, a light blue linen shirt that had been left unbuttoned enough so that his collar was clearly displayed. His only other jewelry was a nice watch. No rings or bracelets and his ears weren’t pierced.

“I can change if you don’t…” Rodney flushed when John shook his head.

“You look great—I was just surprised by the lack of jewelry. Most subs tend to drape themselves in leather and precious metal and stones.”

Rodney raised an eyebrow. “Ah, well, I have a few pieces but I’ve never bought jewelry for myself—so the ring and matching wristlet I have is from a Dom I dated in grad school. I gave everything Sam ever bought me back. You don’t strike me as the kind of man who would appreciate me wearing things that were a gift from a previous lover.”

“No, I wouldn’t.” John’s gaze narrowed at the thought. “We’ll work on it. There isn’t much call for it on Atlantis but when we’re on Earth—people will expect you to look at certain way because of my family. Speaking of, I’ve ordered you a dress collar from a family friend. I went with sapphires and diamonds.”

Rodney nodded and John wondered briefly how much of his tongue he’d swallowed so he wouldn’t argue with him. “Okay.”

“Not going to argue?”

“No, I mean, I don’t want to embarrass you or your family so if you think I need a dress collar—then I need one. I realize what kind of circles your father socializes in and what is expected. I already agreed to cater to your vanity on this issue. I rarely need to have the same conversation twice.” Rodney sighed and looked around the room.

John just laughed. “Let’s go eat. I’m starving.”

Rodney relaxed a little and gamely gave his Dom his hand when John held out his own. “Okay.”

The checkout of the mountain was a replay of the first night except this time the two subby little Marines on guard duty at the checkpoint knew exactly what John looked like it his top space and how talented he was. It was generally accepted that the cane was the most difficult tool to master and those who did it well—pretty much did everything on Earth well. John did it beyond well—John was an artist.

The two Marines didn’t say or do anything rude but it was obvious that John made them nervous and aware and not because he was a superior officer. John eyed them both a little but didn’t say anything as Rodney signed them both out of the facility.

The drive to the restaurant was done mostly in silence—well, John played with Rodney’s satellite radio and Rodney concentrated on relaxing and trying to figure out what he was going to talk about when John prodded. The Colonel was an intelligent and highly educated man—so it wasn’t that Rodney was picking and choosing topics based on what he thought his Dom would understand but based on what he thought would entertain John.

He’d chosen a place in Denver—so the drive gave him plenty of time to sort out all of the details of his day while John abused the search function on the radio. He listened to a bit of everything—talk radio, music, news, sports, and comedy.

“So the food?”

“Malaysian. The real deal—not Americanized for popular consumption. I think you’ll like it. I figured you probably hadn’t much of a chance to find the real deal since you were in Singapore last.”

John smiled and relaxed in seat. “Cool.”

“I requested a private dining room.”

“I could use some time when I’m not on display,” John murmured. “I don’t know what those jackasses from the Pentagon want from me or what they want me to admit to…”

“Sumner was well-liked, well respected in the Stargate program. I think some of them would have been relieved if you’d won that fight and got on the first jumper,” Rodney admitted honestly. “They hate that your circumstances were so bad out there that it came to that and they didn’t get there in time to stop it.”

“I don’t disagree with them on either of those points,” John admitted roughly.

“But if he was sitting in your place, John, they would be questioning him about the loss of the most powerful ATA gene carrier we have in the program. They would be demanding he explain himself and why he let you make the first sacrifice.” Rodney pulled up the valet parking and shrugged when John glanced his way. “You know this.”

“I do know it.”

The valet came around immediately, opened the driver side door for Rodney, and blinked when he realized he was collared. McKay just shook his head and went around to join John on the sidewalk. “I think he expected the Dom to be driving.”

“I prefer to drive,” John admitted. “But I know nothing about this area so I’m making do.” He pressed his hand against the small of Rodney’s back as they moved towards the entrance of the restaurant. “Did they make any noise about the food allergies?”

“No, she even repeated the list back to me to make sure she understood everything.”

The doors opened before they even reached them and a man in an immaculate black suit stepped forward. “Colonel Sheppard. Dr. McKay. Welcome to the House of Malay. I hope your trip to Denver wasn’t a difficult one.”

“It was fine,” John answered.

“My name is Richard; I will be your concierge this evening. The chef assigned to your meals has been thoroughly informed of Dr. McKay’s food allergies.” He offered John a reserved smile as they were lead down the hall and through a set of delicate paper doors. “I trust you’ll find your dining experience this evening superior but I will be on hand the entire time in case that is not the case.”

“Thank you, Richard.” John glanced around the private dining room and smiled. “Everything looks good so far. Will our chef visit us personally before the meal?”

“He will make himself available to you within the next ten minutes to discuss your meal for the evening,” Richard assured. “Your attendant will be on hand shortly to handle tea preparations and I will return after the chef has visited with the wine of your choice. Should you choose to indulge this evening; I would be pleased to arrange for your travel home.”

– – – –

“Colonel Carter said I could go on the Atlantis mission.”

Rodney looked up from the report he was reading and stared at Bill Lee for several seconds. Three hours into his day, and all of his good subby emotions from his night with John were all but gone. “That was obviously a mistake on her part. Everyone who comes to Atlantis has to have field experience and/or pass the USMC field test. You’ve never even been in the gate room when there is an established wormhole.”

Lee flushed. “That’s… that wasn’t a rule for the first wave of the expedition.”

“It should’ve been,” Rodney responded coolly. “And in case you can’t read, Bill, the expedition is sitting in the middle of a warzone. Therefore, I repeat, no one is coming with me to Atlantis who can’t handle themselves in the field. That means—at least five trips through the gate without having nearly killed themselves or someone on their team OR going through field training with the Marines on this base.”

“You’re being completely unreasonable; I’m going to go to Carter about this.”

“You go right ahead. Tell her to schedule an appointment and I let her know when Colonel Sheppard will be available to have a meeting with her.”

Bill wrinkled up his nose. “Hiding behind your new Dom already, McKay?”

Rodney touched his collar. “No.”

“You won’t keep this one any longer than you kept Carter, you know.”

“I left her, Bill, try to keep that in mind.” Rodney motioned him out. “I’m probably the only sub she’s ever had that got to leave instead of dying in some suspiciously random accident.” It wasn’t even untrue, granted he was the only one she’d actually ever collared but at least three of Carter’s subs had died or been killed while pursuing a relationship with her. “So, I guess I’m lucky I survived my relationship with her.”

Bill glared at him. “Why is there a Marine stationed outside your door?”

“Colonel Sheppard ordered him to. He’s one of the guys going back to Atlantis.” Rodney shrugged. “I know nothing more than that but if you want to ask the Colonel why—you go right ahead.”

Bill flushed and Rodney smirked. He knew Lee was probably about the shyest sub on Earth. There wasn’t a chance in hell that he would ever ask a man like John Sheppard a question and probably wouldn’t even speak with him unless he was ordered to. The man could barely function around Carter but worshipped her from afar like many subs in the facility. Rodney wondered if Bill Lee would take a collar from Carter or if his worship was more a theoretical thing. Bill probably wasn’t smart enough for Carter to steal from.

He said nothing else and eventually the scientist turned on his heel and left the office. The Marine at the door shifted so he was standing with his back to the door frame and could see into the interior of the office. “Do you need a break, sir? I can shut the door and not let anyone else in.”

“No, that’s quite alright Corporal. I want to get this finished before the Colonel is finished with his afternoon debriefing.” He paused and took a deep breath. “How is Lt. Harris?”

The Corporal focused on the wall above Rodney’s head. “Colonel Sheppard did the best he could by him considering the circumstances.”

“Right.” Rodney sighed. “I… I wish I could have stopped it from happening.”

“We all know who to blame, Doctor and it isn’t you.” The young man stiffened in the doorway and lifted his hand to the earpiece he’d been given by Sheppard. All of the Marines that Sheppard had chosen so far had been fitted with the radio system so they could get used to wearing it before they got to Atlantis. “Colonel Sheppard.” He paused. “You wanted me to inform you when Colonel Carter arrived at Dr. McKay’s office.” He nodded and clicked the radio off. “Ma’am, you may enter but the door will remain open.”

Carter passed the soldier with a frown and dropped into the seat in front of Rodney’s desk. “I’ve had complaints, McKay.”

“I’m sure. You had no business telling anyone in this Mountain they could go to Atlantis. It was arrogant and premature.” Rodney closed his laptop and set aside a set of folders. “I’ve made most of my selections but I want to discuss them with Dr. Weir first. Is there something you needed?”

“We’ll wait until Colonel Sheppard arrives,” Sam responded primly. “I asked for this meeting before he went into his first meeting this morning so he’s aware of it.”

Rodney’s stomach tightened in that strange way it always did when Carter was up to something. If he thought back on it—she’d always given him that feeling. The realization was stunning. He glanced up as John entered the small office and shut the door behind him.

“I have a twenty minute break, Colonel so please no small talk.” John leaned on Rodney’s desk and snagged a piece of candy from a dish on the corner.

“I want access to Rodney’s backup that he kept in his safe on the base. Additionally, I want all of the personal research he did during the three years that he wore my collar. I owned him; therefore all of that work belongs to me.”

“You think he hid work from you while you were married?” John asked casually.

“I know he did. I certainly didn’t know he was creating a backup of all of his work here so there has to be personal work that he never let me see. Legally, it belonged to me and he had no right to keep it from me.”

“Is that how you justify not giving him credit for the work that got you nominated for a Nobel Prize?” John asked with a raised eyebrow.

“If he’d deserved credit, I would have given it to him.” Carter returned evenly. “He belonged to me, Colonel Sheppard, and I don’t have to defend my choices to anyone.”

John took another piece of candy and casually unwrapped it. “If he kept work from you while he was your collared sub—it’s your own fault for not realizing his duplicity and calling him on it. The fact that you think he would hide work from you makes me question the validity of his submission to you. If his submission wasn’t valid… then your relationship was a fraud and you are due nothing. If he did, in fact, hide work from you—it would, in my mind, nullify your entire relationship.”

“You can’t determine that.”

“I already have, Colonel.” John inclined his head. “Unless you’d like to sue us. If you want to go that route—I’ll file a counter claim for the work I believe you stole from your ex-husband and claimed as your own. Since he is now my collared sub, and I’ve no doubts about the validity of his submission to me—everything he has, was, and will be is mine.”

“You’d drag this through the courts?” Sam asked her tone incredulous.

“Without blinking an eye,” John returned evenly. “You’ve taken everything you’re ever going to take from him, Carter. Content yourself with that or we will see you to court. I have money to burn.” He stood up from the desk. “This issue is closed unless you’re prepared to get a lawyer.”

“You know this is… he didn’t have the right to keep anything from me.”

“I could punish him if you like,” John offered with a wicked smile.

She snorted. “I’ve seen the way you punish, Colonel Sheppard, and I have to say I wasn’t impressed.”

“Oh, I didn’t punish Lt. Harris.” John shoved his hands into his pockets. “That was never my intent with him and General O’Neill was well aware of it before I even started. If you have a problem with that—talk to O’Neill about it.”

Rodney slumped back against the chair as Carter left the room, the door snapped shut behind her. “I could… if she gets a lawyer I could give her enough to satisfy her, John.”

“Not if my life depended it,” John returned evenly. “I mean that McKay. That woman has gotten all the advancement she’ll ever get on your work.”

– – – –

Daniel Jackson slipped past the Marine standing in Rodney’s door a little wide-eyed. “I heard that he had a guard on you—I didn’t believe it.”

Rodney glanced towards the Marine who had moved out of the doorway and was standing just outside his office. “I’m not sure if it’s because he’s been in a warzone for two years or because I’m the first he’s collared since he buried Jared Holland.”

Daniel grimaced and propped his laptop on the corner of Rodney’s desk as he pulled the chair closer. “I had to come in here because Jack is reprimanding Sam and she requested that I not be present.”

Rodney frowned. “What happened?”

“The security guy from Area 51 traced their breach back to her personal computer. She’s the reason their back up failed. The thing is – she did it months ago, right after your divorce became final so she says she was emotionally over wrought.”

“That doesn’t explain the delete she did here.”

“She didn’t do it, Rodney. She wasn’t even on base when it happened. Jack and I took her out last night to calm her down because she’s been so… well… crazy. I don’t even know what happened to her be honest. I suggested we check her for a Goa’uld but Jack rolled his eyes at me. She just didn’t used to be this way.”

Rodney looked away. “I have a pretty good idea actually.”

“Really?” Daniel asked with a frown.

“Yeah,” Rodney sighed. He glanced towards the door. “Corporal, can you please close the door?” The Marine frowned at him and then at Jackson. “Yes, I know you’ll have to report this private meeting to the Colonel.” The Marine snorted and shut the door.

“Well at least he sent a cute Marine to watch after you,” Daniel said. “When Jack puts personal escorts on me—they are always big, burly bastards who scare the crap out of everyone who looks at me.”

Rodney laughed and went to his coffee pot. “Did you know that Sam is a switch?”

Daniel accepted the coffee, but his eyes were wide with surprise. “No. I had no clue at all. Are you?”

“No, not at all. I think that’s one reason why we didn’t work—she has some submissive needs that I had no hope of ever meeting. Additionally, we were both sort of rebound for each other. I’d just broken it off with someone and Sam… well Sam had realized she was never going to get what she wanted.”

“I don’t understand.”

“She offered me a collar three weeks after you came back from Ascending, Daniel. O’Neill was so overcome with grief the first six months you were gone—everyone just gave him a lot of space. Then in less than a year you were back and any hopes she had of ever taking your place were permanently tabled.”

Daniel looked away, anger clouding his all too attractive face. “Jack said he wasn’t with anyone while I was gone.”

“He never touched her but it wasn’t because she didn’t offer. Hell, I’ll be honest—I offered once or twice. But all I sought was to give him some comfort—something sort of familiar that he could hang on to. It was… something I thought you would have approved of. What she offered was nothing of the kind.”

“I wouldn’t have minded if you… not you.” Daniel sighed. “I hate that he was so lonely and sad all that time I was gone. The thing is that I don’t even know why I stayed Ascended as long as I did. How could I do that to him?”

“Maybe you had something you had to do first—something to protect us or Earth. We’ll never know but you did come back and no one could ask for more than to see someone they lost to death returned to them.” Rodney dropped back in his chair. “Sam collared me because I have an impressive educational background, was trained in one of the best pleasure houses in Canada, and I was enamored with her. She couldn’t have what she wanted so she settled for someone who wanted her the way she wanted him.”

“But then you stopped wanting her.”

“She used my work to get herself promoted and nominated for a Nobel Prize so she could get as much of his attention as she could,” Rodney returned evenly. “Can you blame me?”

“No, not at all.” Daniel sighed. “She really did that, didn’t she? She denied it all to Jack and he believed her. He trusted her so much and now with this thing at Area 51… I don’t even know what he’s going to do.”

“She can probably get away with claiming emotional distress as long as she wasn’t the one who did the damage here.”

“We were all on our way back from Denver when it happened.” Daniel scrunched up his nose. “But she definitely wanted it to be you and was really happy when she found proof that supported her assumption. Then pretty pissed when she found out you were in Sheppard’s bed all night. The collar thing sort of made her blow a gasket. She tried to say that it was all for show because Weir wanted you on Atlantis.”

“What did Jack say?”

“He told her that it didn’t matter why Sheppard collared you – because he did and that your relationship is private and none of anyone’s business.” Daniel’s fingers glanced over his own collar and connected with the miniature padlock. “I didn’t know she wanted him.”

“I don’t think he realized what she really wanted either,” Rodney explained. “It’s not like he kept a secret from you or anything. As far as I know, he didn’t touch anyone sexually while you were gone. He was just devastated, Daniel.”

“I’ve spent years rebuilding what we lost—I know how badly he took it,” Daniel admitted. “There is a reason neither one of us are on SG1 anymore, Rodney. A big reason we rarely go on missions. I can’t risk doing that to him again.”

“Do you worry about the age difference?” Rodney asked suddenly.

Daniel shook his head. “No, when he’s ready go… he’ll Ascend. I’ve been teaching him and I’ll go with him. I’ve known since I returned that I could Ascend pretty much at any time… I’m just living my life and waiting on him to be ready.”

It was beautiful, Rodney thought and then nodded. He really couldn’t say anything to that. He touched his collar then and sighed. The situation with John Sheppard was new and exciting—he’d never had a Dom like him; not even Marshall Sumner who had thrilled him evoked the emotions and physical responses that John did. Their private arrangement—a year trial period—wasn’t anything unusual but it wasn’t something he’d ever done before. He’d only worn one other collar before and that had been Sam’s.

“Your collar is the talk of the Mountain,” Daniel confided. “It’s so unique and beautiful. I mean when the guard at the gate passed the news on that you’d been collared – most everyone expected to see a standard short-term collar. You’d barely known each other a day.”

“He came back to Earth believing he was going to collar me because they want me on Atlantis but I’m the first sub he’s collared since he lost… well in four years and I’m only the second one ever. He said he was tired of temporary arrangements and wanted something different—we think we can build something together.” His fingers grazed over the tags on the collar. “In the past, people collared this way and then built a relationship. My parents did that.”

“Mine, too.” Daniel grinned. “It takes some of the pressure off, huh? I mean you already know up front what he expects from you so you don’t have to worry or try to work to figure out how to please him. My mother always said that dating as a sub was just a nightmare and it really was. I would have been on my knees the day I met Jack O’Neill if he’d suggested for a second that it would have been welcome.”

Rodney grinned and then sighed when there was a discreet knock on his door. “Did you get me the list of people you recommend for anthropology and archeology? I have one slot for each.”

“Yeah, I sent you an email with their personnel records. I’ve already put it out there to them in a casual both way both were really interested despite the fact that you’re a horrible mean man.” Daniel stood and answered the door. “Hey, Miko. I was about to challenge Rodney to a Free Cell tournament, want in?”

Miko clutched her laptop to her chest and frowned. “You still have not paid up from the last one.”

Daniel grinned. “I have a new shipment of coffee coming in next week.”

– – – –

John had three piles of folders on his desk. He was calling one Wraith Fodder, the second was People Who Probably Won’t Kill Us All and the other was Jesus Fucking Christ. Thankfully, he’d only gone through the Air Force personnel so far. He wasn’t counting the ten-man team Special Forces team he’d requested and received from the Pentagon. The door to his office opened under a hesitant knock and he called out for the visitor to enter. He was surprised by the appearance of Lt. Chase Harris. “Lieutenant. How are you?”

“I honestly figured I would spend a week or more in the infirmary after the punishment because I chose the cane.” Chase fell into parade rest in front of John’s desk and averted his gaze. “I wanted…”

“Have you been to the infirmary for a health check?” John asked gently.

“Yes, Dr. Fraser cleared me for limited duty. She was… pretty surprised by my exam. She even stopped being mad because I didn’t report to the infirmary afterwards like everyone is supposed to do.” He blushed. “She never watches—so she didn’t understand that I was pretty much gone on it.”

John leaned back in his chair. “You know I’ve requested you for Atlantis. Are you cool with that?”

“I’m ready for a change of scenery, sir.”

“You won’t be uncomfortable with me in the future?”

“No, I’ve worked with plenty of superior officers who have disciplined me and it wasn’t even really like that—I’ve gotten four offers.” The younger man paused as if he thought maybe he’d said too much.

“I bet,” John smirked. “You certainly won’t hurt for companionship on Atlantis but you realize I won’t be one of those who ever offers?”

Harris blushed. “I’m happy for Dr. McKay, sir he hasn’t had an easy year and I think you’ll be good for him.”

“I’ll be honest—I don’t like taking a sub down like I did you and then giving them over to someone else. So, I need you to be very frank with me, did Lorne take care of you?”

“Yes, sir. Major Lorne and I have played before. He’s a very safe but demanding Dom.” Harris lowered his gaze. “It was… he was perfect, really. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in subspace like that for so long.”

John tapped his pen on the desk in front of him. “If you thought caning was going to be so rough that you’d be out of commission for a week or more—why did you pick it?”

“Colonel Carter isn’t rated for the bull whip or the cane. I’ve been caned by Colonel Caldwell before—at my request so I knew I could handle it. I didn’t… I’d rather spend a week in the infirmary than twenty minutes getting flogged by her.”

“Very well. I’ve already pushed through your transfer orders for Atlantis. Sign out a computer and get yourself to speed on mission reports—everything military and science. Some of the science will be so far over your head—like on the moon. In addition, you’ll notice that sometimes the scientists stray into their native language during their verbal reports, especially if they are excited or stressed. Mostly I want you to concentrate on events and consequences when it comes to their work. I’ll have finished picking my officers by tomorrow afternoon so stay close because I’ll want a meeting.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Dismissed.”

Chase did an about face and quickly exited by the door didn’t snick shut so John raised his head and found Evan Lorne preparing to speak. He motioned him inside. “Come on in then.”

“General O’Neill gave me my new orders,” Lorne murmured. “I didn’t… I didn’t know I was up for 2IC in your command.”

“I had a choice between you and a Marine,” John motioned him to sit. “We have a semi large support staff made up entirely of Air Force and I hope to get a squadron of X-302 pilots. I think you’ll be a good balance for the company and most of the Marines on this base and on Atlantis are used to taking orders from Air Force officers.”

Evan nodded. “It’s… I’m a little surprised to get the opportunity, sir. I’ve only had my own gate team for about six months.”

“Are you worried you can’t handle it?” John asked with a quirked eyebrow.

“Not at all… it’s just frankly I’ve been overlooked for command positions before and I figured my career might be stalled out.” Evan rubbed the back of his neck. “I figured when they brought Cameron Mitchell in to… I just assumed I was pretty much done here, sir.”

“O’Neill recommended you,” John explained. “So, he didn’t think you were done by any stretch of the imagination. Cameron Mitchell already had his rank when he transferred in. I was told that he requested the SGC so they made room for him.”

“Yeah.” Evan picked at one of the pockets on his BDUs. “I don’t have a collared sub as you know. Is this a concern for you?”

“No, it doesn’t concern me. I know some like to see their senior officers in an established relationship but I don’t see myself pressuring you to make a choice like that. You’ll be attractive to the subs on the city—military and civilian because of your position, looks, and obvious dominance. Just don’t emotionally destroy anyone by failing to level with them.”

“No, sir. I would never be dishonest with a submissive about what I need from an encounter.”

“Are you good with the transfer to Atlantis? I assumed that O’Neill had already informed you it was a possibility.”

Evan was silent for a few seconds and then he nodded. “I’m ready for something new, sir, and I like to be challenged. I have the ATA gene, as you know, and I’ve flown the Jumper we have at Area 51. It’s pretty slick.”

He passed Evan a handful of folders. “These are the people I want for support positions on the city. We have ten open slots in the control room and in logistics. Only one officer out of that lot. There are currently forty-six Marines on the city and they all requested to remain in Pegasus. I’ve given all but two a yes.”

“The two you are sending home?” Evan asked.

“Lt. Aiden Ford and a Lance Corporal Bernard Casing. Casing has developed a taste for killing that gives me cause for concern. Sumner and I benched him six months ago and put him on city security because his team leader reported that he purposely engaged a Wraith drone in hand to hand combat. Granted he won the fight which is quite an accomplishment—but we don’t need men like that out there.”

“No, agreed.” Evan grimaced and started organizing the folders he had in hand. “And Ford?”

John took a deep breath. He really didn’t want to discuss it but if Lorne was going to be his 2IC, he needed a full picture of the city. “He’s going to resent the hell out of McKay, to be frank. Within a week of being in Pegasus Ford offered himself to me and I made it plain I wasn’t interested in anything permanent. He said he understood and I topped him three times in about a six-week period. I was also in a similar arrangement with another Marine. He was as young as Ford but rather innocent on the whole. I’ll be honest—he was a dream sub. Responsive, completely without guile, and little coy games that some subs play. I was never going to collar him but I enjoyed him. Aidan cornered him one afternoon and told him to stop seeing me or there would be deadly consequences. He told him that accidents happen in the field and soldiers die all the time.”

Lorne’s mouth dropped open. “What?”

“Yeah, I know. Well, Christopher is a good kid and he went to Sumner. Sumner was furious with me and the situation but he listened to my side of things. I’d never been anything but honest with both of them. Chris was young and inexperienced but he knew the score. Aidan just pretended to accept what I was willing to offer while he angled for more.”

“What did Sumner do?”

“He put him on the cross and gave him fifty lashes with a bullwhip for threatening the life of another soldier. I haven’t touched either one of them since. I encouraged Chris into a relationship with one of the civilian scientists—they are very content with one another. Ford has been sullen and bitter ever since the incident.”

“And you believe he will react negatively to you having collared a sub?”

“Yes, I do. He’s a good soldier but he has some switch tendencies that make him emotionally unstable in ways he can’t handle—maybe he isn’t equipped to handle. He had the most basic of training when he joined the Marines as a sub something they do for anyone as they enter the service if they haven’t attended at least one session in an approved pleasure house.”

Lorne nodded. “The Air Force has a similar arrangement—we also give leave for those can get into a private pleasure house if they get the opportunity after they join. Are you going to recommend him for something like that?”

“I have a family member who is a Master in a pleasure house in San Francisco. I’ve already made the call,” John admitted. “He’ll have an invitation waiting on him when he beams down from the Daedalus and hopefully they can help him master his dynamic and find some balance with the duality of his nature.”

“There is a small conference room down the hall that I could have set up for you—more space. When do you expect the full personnel files on the Marines?”

“Mid-afternoon.” John picked up another pile. “These people are Wraith Fodder. I appreciate their enthusiasm but they don’t have any combat or field experience to speak of and I’m not running a day camp in Pegasus. We’re too far from Earth to be a training ground.”

Evan nodded. “Yeah, okay. I’ll… hmm… think of something.”

John laughed. “And this pile.” He dropped a heavy hand on it. “I think O’Neill hates me or something. I thought we were on the same page but obviously that’s a big no.”

Evan grinned. “They could be recommendations from the Pentagon, sir. Everyone has a list of people they would kick off the planet if given the opportunity.”

“Well, they are all ‘hell to the fuck no’ and I don’t care if you are polite about it or not.” John handed him a thumb drive. “Here is all of my digital work including my acceptance of the Special Operations team that the Corp has sent my way. They are already on the base.”

Lorne nodded. “I noticed them, actually. They sort of stand out—even among Marines.”

“Jeff Dennison has requested permission to join the Atlantis mission. He is the list of Marines that O’Neill offered me. He has a great deal of gate experience.”

Lorne blinked in surprise. “Dennison actually asked to join the mission? Before or after you kicked his ass, sir?”

“After,” John answered amused. “I know—I was floored. I like him despite myself. I made it clear how I would expect him to behave on Atlantis.”

Evan nodded. “Alright, so he’s a yes?”

“Yes, but at the bottom of the list. If there are more qualified people in the Mountain, they get first priority. I also want to do a list of men to leave behind with O’Neill for future rotations so if you have to bump him put him on the rotation list so he’ll know he’ll see Atlantis eventually.”

There was a brisk knock on the door and McKay stuck in his head in. “John, I need…” He flushed. “Oh, sorry.”

“It’s okay. We’re just discussing people we’re going to take with us. Evan is my 2IC for Atlantis.”

Rodney slid into the room and pulled the door shut. “Oh, cool. Congrats Major.”

“Thank you, Doctor.” He started to rise. “Do you need me to leave?”

“No, actually, it’s good that you are here,” Rodney said as he rounded John’s desk and put an open file in front of him. “This is Dr. Allison Porter.”

John raised one eyebrow and picked up the 8X10 glossy of a very beautiful woman. She had a gold diamond studded collar on. “Is she on your staff?”

“Well, that’s the thing. She’s at Area 51 and I want her. She has degrees in biomechanics, biology, and mechanical engineering. Considering the technology in Pegasus from the Ancients to the Wraith—she’s perfect for the mission.”

“She tell you no?” John asked amused. “I can’t force her, Rodney.”

“No, I haven’t even asked her yet.” Rodney opened another folder and put it on John’s desk. “This is her Domme.”

“Oh.” John raised an eyebrow and started sorting the military personnel file. “I see.”

“Yeah.” Rodney sighed. “They’ve been paired for ten years—I mean they met in high school so there is certainly no separating them.”

Evan leaned forward. “Who?”

“Captain Anne Teldy, Air Force Specials Ops.” John checked over her record. “Ten medals, including the Purple Heart. She transferred to Area 51 with her sub two years ago.” He grimaced. “All of that experience wasted at Area 51 doing security.” He pushed the folder Evan’s way. “You want Porter so you want me to romance Teldy into coming to Pegasus with her sub.”

“Yeah, or you know just have her transferred to the SGC and order her.” Rodney shrugged. “I don’t know how that stuff works but I want Porter. We need Porter and Teldy’s record is spotless. I wouldn’t have even come up here if I thought she was trouble.”

Evan thumbed through the file and nodded. “She’s cleared to fly the X-302, sir. Her flight ratings are among the highest I’ve ever seen. I don’t know why she isn’t in your pile to begin with.”

“Officers with civilian subs often get overlooked for advancements if they don’t push hard,” John murmured. “Her sub is happy at Area 51 so she’s making do.” He looked up and met with Rodney’s earnest face. “You really want me to steal them from Area 51?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll invite Teldy to the mountain for a conversation. If she suits my needs as an officer—you can have Porter.” He checked his watch. “Find some place to deliver us some food for our quarters. Chinese is preferred.”

“Not a problem,” he murmured and then leaned on the corner of the desk. “The General punished Carter for messing up the backup at Area 51 on purpose.”

“I heard,” John tilted his chair back. “Have you heard anything else about the security breach?”

“Some grumblings here and there—nothing concrete. Most of the scientists in the base are adjusting to me leaving, the entire experimentation schedule had to be reorganized and some non-mission essential projects were shelved indefinitely. People are out of sorts about that.”

“Are you catching any grief?”

“No, they are mostly afraid of you. I have a few bitching at me for being turned down to go to Atlantis but mostly they are keeping away from me. The Marine you have following me around the base is helping on that front.”

“You’d better not use my men to bully other scientists, Rodney.”

Rodney grinned. “I wouldn’t dream of it, sir.”

– – – –

Rodney figured he was pretty much in love with his Dom’s cock. It was the understatement of the century to say that John Sheppard was hung. Eight inches was hung. Nine and half inches transcended the word hung and approached godlike status, at least in McKay’s estimation. He’d always enjoyed a cock—far more than was probably normal for someone who should like both men and women equally.

When he’d returned from the lab to find a sex sling suspended from the ceiling hooks over the center of his bed it had taken an extreme amount of willpower not to just come all over himself. John had looked up from the book he’d been reading and smirked at him. Rodney had quickly locked the door, hit the scene button as instructed, and threw off his clothes quickly in favor of the shower.

When he emerged from the bathroom, he found John lounging naked on the bed with a leather cock ring fitted snugly into place.

“I checked in with Dr. Frasier. She said we could forgo condoms if we didn’t intend on inviting outside parties into our pairing.” John stroked his cock slowly and Rodney felt his stomach clench in anticipation. “You should have seen that poor boy in supplies react when I went down there and got the sling.”

Rodney laughed softly. “You’ll fuel his fantasies for months on that.”

“I’m sure,” John grinned. “Come here, Rodney.”

McKay shuddered as he put one knee up on the bed and cleared his throat. “It’s been—I haven’t had a man inside me without a condom since I was in my final training session at de Sade. My Courtesan Master was the only one to have me that way.”

John rolled to his knees and wet his bottom lip as he unhooked the straps on the sling that would secure Rodney in it. “If we like this—I’ll buy one to take back to Atlantis with us. It shouldn’t be too hard to set up in my bedroom. We’ve had no problems putting bondage rings in the walls or ceiling. The city walls just absorb the hooks wherever they are pressed and they don’t give under any circumstances unless we want them to come out. Picture frames and posters adhere with no adhesive. It’s pretty slick.”

“I’ve read the reports. It’s something I’m looking forward to having researched,” Rodney said as he settled into the sling with minimal fuss.

John’s eyes darkened when the sub relaxed completely and confidently pushed his wrists through the Velcro cuffs above his head. “You’re so fucking pretty like this, Rodney.”

McKay blushed pink and lowered his gaze as John secured his legs—wrapping Velcro restraints around his knees and ankles. “Thank you, sir.”

John hummed a little as he shifted his sub in just the right position for what he wanted. “Comfortable?”

“Very,” Rodney assured.

John pressed his thumb against Rodney’s soft, pink hole and met his gaze. “You’re not sore from last night?”

“I was tender this morning but I’m good now. I used some crème to take care of it…” Rodney sucked in a breath as John pressed into with his dry thumb. It was a bit rough but not painful.

“Good,” John murmured and removed his thumb. “I love you like this—open, ready for me to play with and use.”

Rodney watched as John picked up a set of nipple clamps. It was one of the few things he’d picked out for himself at Godrics the day they’d gotten his collar. They were nice, more like jewelry than a tool of some kind. Sheppard used the swing to move him closer and leaned down to suck one nipple until it was tight with arousal.

McKay’s cock jerked hard and already leaking against his stomach as one of the clamps was tightened into place. He hissed when John pulled on it gently and wiggled eagerly as John’s mouth settled over the neglected nipple. It hardened completely in his mouth within seconds, but John took his time—working over the hard flesh with his tongue and teeth until Rodney’s breath was coming out in pants.

John lifted his head and fitted the clamp. “You’d look good pierced.” He tugged on the chain and then hooked the end that was meant to fit to a cock ring into a ring on the swing. He moved the sling a few times letting Rodney know what to expect from the arrangement. The sharp little tugs on his nipples were perfect. “I want to do some really wicked things to you. I need to know everything that gets you off, Rodney.”

It had been a long time since anyone had been interested in learning how to pleasure him. Rodney shifted in shock but John was already moving away—picking up a tube of lube that Rodney’s eyes crossing a little. It was one of the ones that he’d picked up at Godrics and slipped into John’s little handheld basket with a blush. John had just chuckled a little and ran his fingers over the glass plugs display. Eventually, he’d picked out six different ones. They hadn’t come out of the case the woman in the shop had put them in for travel.

The lube was already starting to heat by the time John slid one finger into his asshole. The friction was delicious and on the third stroke in—the lube was so warm it was almost unbearable. John added a second finger abruptly and started to scissor inside of him, grazing McKay’s prostate with every inward stroke.

“At the Lotus House—I wasn’t allowed to leave my session until I’d made my teacher come so hard he passed out.” John grinned a little. “He was a pretty toppy dominant – that goes without saying but he liked to hurt when he was fucked. I’ve rarely encountered a dominant with masochistic traits—I mean they happen but they are rare. I tied him up and flogged him until he begged to come.”

Rodney shuddered. One of the first things that de Sade taught a sub was only beg when it was desired by their top. He hadn’t been so gone on pleasure or pain that he begged involuntarily in perhaps ten years. The idea was so hot that his cock jerked against his stomach with a sharp smack of skin against skin.

“Did he pass out?”

“He did,” John murmured. “Two hours later when I let him come. I was invited to train as a Master with their house but I couldn’t accept it. I’d been accepted at a college in the US and I was due to report for classes.”

“But you were already a Master then.”

“Yes, within the Kesakitan Pembawa House. Lotus wanted to mark me as well.”

Rodney nodded. The swirling tattoo across John’s shoulders and up his neck had caused quite a stir among the people at the SGC during the discipline of Chase Harris. People had been talking about it out in the hall while he’d waited for John. Only one person had brave enough to ask Rodney what it was but he hadn’t had to answer. Daniel Jackson had launched into an explanation into the significance of the tattoo and what it meant that practically everyone had listened to.

The intricate patterned tattoo that wrapped around his left bicep like an ancient war bracelet was clearly the mark of La Petite Mort—it was one of the more popular pleasure houses in the United States. It made John Sheppard a Master twice over—in two different pleasure houses. It wasn’t unheard of but it was uncommon that a Dom took that much training because it was very expensive. Extensive training was usually the mark of a dedicated and talented submissive.

“I have a standing invitation,” John admitted. “Maybe we could take some time off together—both take a session at Lotus. Would you enjoy that?”

“Training with you?” McKay blinked in surprise and then hissed as John unceremoniously added a third finger. The penetration stung and delighted at the same time. The lube was hot now—not painful exactly but thrilling all the same.

“If we decide we mesh—I’d like to train with you. Learn all of the ins and outs of your pleasures. I’m sure the Lotus House would bend over backwards to get you in their clutches for a session because of your Courtesan status.” John looked him over. “A couple’s session would be fun—we’d share a special mark.”

“What does it look like?”

“Well, Geisha are marked on their neck with a blood red or white lotus blossom on the right side. Those who chose to train as a couple are normally marked with a symbol special to them.” He rubbed McKay’s belly with his free hand and then lifted his hand to run his fingers over the infinity loops on McKay’s collar. “It would be on the left side of the neck for us both.”

It sounded amazing and intimate. Rodney hated him a little in that moment for teasing them both with something they might not ever achieve together. He bit back a protest when John pulled his fingers from his body and sat back on his heels.

Casually, as if he had all night, John lubed himself up and wiped his hands on the sheets. Rodney tried not to wiggle when Sheppard moved the swing around and clenched his hands on the built in handles. The swing positioned him perfectly and he relaxed as John pulled him in and slowly pushed his big thick cock right into McKay with one smooth thrust.

John hissed. “Fuck.” He let his head fall back as they settled together. “You’re like a furnace.”

“Too much?” Rodney questioned.

“No. It’s perfect,” John admitted and then bit down on his lip. “Thank God for cock rings.”

Rodney relaxed in the swing and closed his eyes as John started to rock him back and forth onto his cock. It was, in a word, awesome. A big, thick cock fucking into his ass with long sure, unhurried strokes, his body bound, he felt helpless and used and owned. The head of John’s cock rubbed against his prostate with every single thrust and it left him shuddering and on the cusp of orgasm within minutes.

“I love your ass.” John snapped his hips and jerked the swing back to him abruptly—making for a hard, deep thrust that pulled a startled moan of pleasure and pain out of his sub. “I could fuck you every single day, McKay.”

“God, yes,” Rodney whispered. “Every day.”

“You want it hard?” John demanded. “Tell me.”

“Yes, hard.” Rodney wiggled—his body arching against the restraints as John started to rock the sling back and forth faster—harder. “Fuck, John. Fuck!”

John sucked in a deep breath and tightened his grip on the sling. He slowed them until they were still, his cock buried deep in Rodney’s ass. Silently, he shifted the sling and lifted his sub until they were face to face. He hooked a chain to keep Rodney in the position and then shifted both of his hands onto the handles of the sling. When he pulled, McKay lifted off his cock and then lowered again as he allowed the sling to shift back down.

“Good?” He asked softly.

“So good,” Rodney answered, his voice husky and pleasure soaked.

“Are the clamps still getting a good tug?” John questioned with a little grin.

“More than,” McKay sucked in a breath as John started to use the swing to work him up and down on his cock faster. “It’s perfect.”

And it was perfect—he’d never known anyone like John Sheppard and probably never would again. Rodney wondered idly just what he’d be willing to do to keep the Marine—what sacrifices he would make in the end to stay in the man’s life, in his bed.

Three hours later, they were lingering over pie in the mess hall both of them looking exhausted and as fucked out as anyone would expect a new pairing to be. They’d gotten a few amused looks from some of the Doms in the room but everyone was mostly minding their own business much to Rodney’s relief.

“So, question.”

Rodney glanced up at his Dom and set aside his coffee. “Okay.”

“Cameron Mitchell.” John glanced towards the Air Force Colonel and Dom who was at a table on the other side of the room from them. “He hasn’t said a word to me since I came onto the base and he’s been staring at us since we came in here. What’s his problem and I should be getting pissed off right about now?”

“Carter was on his gate team,” Rodney murmured. “Mitchell came in and took over SG1 when Jack O’Neill was promoted to General. The other two members of the team were alien—Teal’c and Vala Mal Doran. Teal’c is a one hundred old Master—ultra Dom. Vala is a sassy bit of goods—a switch with quite a following on the base but she hasn’t expressed any interest in collaring anyone that I’m aware of.”

“Does he want you or does he hate you?” John asked dryly. “Because the look is intense.”

“Maybe a little bit of both, he offered about six weeks after my marriage to Carter had ended. The divorce proceedings were in process and the judge had only recently taken legal custody of me to keep her from putting me in a mental ward. Honestly, I didn’t trust him to be sincere. He was too close to Carter and I didn’t put it past her… well I was right. I don’t know how much of a role he had in it but the day after I told him no—Carter filed papers with the court saying I’d committed adultery. It’s an archaic law but I was legally still married to her—which meant that even without her collar I was supposed to receive her permission before pursuing a sexual relationship with anyone.”

John’s jaw tightened and he shot the Air Force Colonel a glare that had the man straightening in his chair and looking away. “What happened?”

“I had to take a polygraph and be physically examined to prove that I hadn’t been penetrated,” Rodney flushed. “Mitchell was put on the stand where he told the court that he offered and was turned down. I had figured he would lie and say that I had performed some sexual act on him that wouldn’t leave any evidence for the doctors to find. I was honestly surprised that he didn’t lie. I don’t know if Carter had given him permission to approach me or not—when my lawyer asked that question—her lawyer protested vehemently because Mitchell hadn’t taken a polygraph on the events. Mitchell refused to answer the question and the judge dismissed her complaint.”

“Jesus.”

“Yeah, shortly after that situation Carter was promoted to a position in the Mountain that made her going off world on missions problematic.” Rodney shook his head. “I don’t know if Mitchell requested her removal from SG1 or not—what I do know is that he rarely speaks to her and the rest of the team gives her the cold shoulder, too.”

“So you think he had permission from her and she set you both up for an adultery charge?”

“Yeah, but Mitchell and I have never discussed it. I think he must have understood after the fact that I didn’t trust him because he’s made sure to treat me respectfully and professionally ever since. He’s one of the few tops on the base that never tried to throw their weight around with me after I divorced Carter. I had to file papers with the court so that I could return to my own pleasure house for seclusion. I was afraid if I didn’t she’d try to accuse me of adultery again.”

John nodded. “Okay. How can O’Neill continually give her pass on her bullshit?”

“She’s smart and she rarely gets herself caught in a situation where anyone has proof of her lies or bad acts. Additionally, she’s saved the whole planet a few times and the President likes her a lot because of it.”

“You’re smarter than her.”

“Of course,” Rodney agreed immediately. “She doesn’t think so but if push came to serve—I could certainly prove it.”

John grinned and sat back in his chair. “Okay, I’m going to sit down and have a chat with Mitchell. Why don’t you head back to our quarters and get settled for the night? I’ll join you in an hour.” John stood up.

Rodney nodded and relaxed when John stopped to press a kiss against his mouth before he walked across the mess hall.

John slid into a chair directly across from Cameron Mitchell and said nothing until Rodney was out of the room. “Colonel.”

“Colonel.” Cameron pushed aside his tray. “Do I have something to explain to you?”

John smirked and sat back in his chair. “You could give me some tips on how you get through a day without strapping Carter’s ass.”

Cameron snorted and then laughed aloud. “You realize half the room is waiting for us to come to blows.”

“I figured,” John murmured. “Did she give you permission?”

Cameron’s gaze darkened. “Yes. She said she didn’t care. It’s the last time I took her word for anything.”

John grimaced and refilled his coffee from the carafe that Cameron had on the table. “Did you tell O’Neill?”

“Up until recently, O’Neill has been deaf and blind to Carter’s faults so I didn’t see much point. I just requested that we be separated,” Cameron murmured. “They have a lot of history—a lot of saving the world together so he figured he knew her better than anyone else around here. He’s not pleased to be mistaken.”

John shook his head and glanced around the room. “Why was he alone? I don’t buy that any top in this place is afraid of Carter. He’s attractive, well trained, and an utter dream in bed.”

“O’Neill put a ‘do not touch’ order him after that jackass from the Pentagon tried to push McKay into something he didn’t want. He was on base only a few days after their divorce was final,” Cameron admitted. “Every Dom on the base was told to leave McKay alone unless he did the inviting. We kind of figured Carter burned him on military tops because he hasn’t given a single one of us an opening.”

“Does that jackass have a name?” John asked dryly. “Because no one says it.”

“General Kevin Jordan—Air Force, two stars, and a career desk jockey.”

“He said some of the military tops on the base threw their weight around with him after he cut off Carter’s collar.” John lifted an eyebrow as he took a drink of coffee.

Cameron grimaced. “Yeah, a few before I could get the situation contained. You know what kind of challenge that represents to men like us—and Carter was not kind in her public assessments of McKay after the fact either. She made it pretty clear that McKay needed to be taught a lesson about his place in the world and a few of the Marines took her at her word.”

“Anyone I need to worry about?” John asked.

Cameron snorted. “Christ, no, every Marine on this base worships you. And anyone who still thinks McKay needs a lesson in being a submissive would never presume to tell you so.”

“You wanted him.”

Cameron looked away briefly. “Yeah, I did. I still do. I’ve wanted him since I set eyes on him but I would’ve never made a move while he wore Carter’s collar. She ruined any chance we might have had at anything because she knew my loyalty to my team would… she asked me to lie in court and I opted to barely testify instead. I regret that. He never trusted me and he’ll certainly never give me the chance to earn it.”

“No, he won’t,” John admitted. “Why didn’t you tell him the truth when you had a chance?”

“Because I didn’t defend him the way I should have. I don’t deserve… I just didn’t deserve what he had to offer. I played right into Carter’s hands and I’ll never forgive myself for that bullshit. I’ll never forgive her either.” Cameron’s grip tightened around his coffee cup. “I made that clear to her at least.”

“So tell me what you know about Kevin Jordan and what happened between him and McKay.”

“He’s in line for the Director of Homeworld Security position when George Hammond retires. Hammond can’t stand him but he has rank and the connections—both military and civilian to fill the position. The President isn’t going to be concerned about personal feelings when it comes to filling the job.”

“I’m surprised O’Neill wasn’t offered the job.”

“He was,” Cameron murmured. “But you’ll pry O’Neill out of this mountain over his long dead body. He has no interest in an office in DC—maybe if Daniel Jackson hadn’t come back from being Ascended… no.” He shook his head. “I think O’Neill would have eventually retired completely if Daniel hadn’t come back.”

John’s gut clenched briefly as he considered the sub he’d lost and how he’d feel if Jared were miraculously returned to him. It boggled his mind.

“Do you have details on the Jordan thing with McKay?”

“As far as I know he came into Rodney’s lab and all but ordered him to visit him in his VIP quarters on the base. McKay pushed him off with a lot of snark and a few vicious insults that a man with two stars sure as hell isn’t used to.”

John laughed aloud and then rolled his eyes when a couple of Marines at a table near them jumped a little. “I bet.”

“Well, to say that Jordan took it badly would be something of an under statement. He showed up at McKay’s door later that night and Rodney pushed his medical emergency button. Well, McKay has severe allergies so when he pushes his medical emergency button—security and medical mobilize in seconds.” Cameron grimaced. “I got there about a minute after Janet Frasier who is just about the meanest Domme I’ve ever met in my life.”

“I met her briefly when I came through the gate,” John acknowledged. “The tiny doctor with the pretty brown eyes.”

“And a riding crop hanging on a hook by the door of her office,” Cameron added with a grin. “She’s totally bad ass when it comes to punishing her staff for wrong doing.” He sighed. “At any rate, Janet was fit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so angry before.”

“Had he hurt McKay?”

“No,” Cameron shook his head. “But the real problem was that apparently Carter had told Jordan that McKay liked it hard and enjoyed being pursued roughly.”

John swore under his breath and the Marines at the next table shifted as if to interfere. He finally turned to them. “Appreciated, gentlemen, but I assure you the day I can’t kick a flyboy’s ass unassisted I’ll retire.”

Cameron grinned at them and winked. “He’s pretty hot so I might not even mind it so much. Seriously guys, we aren’t going to brawl in here.”

“So what did McKay say?” John asked.

Cameron grimaced. “He reluctantly admitted that Sam wasn’t wrong and that he did prefer to be pursued but that didn’t mean when he said no he was to be ignored. O’Neill told Jordan to step off and to keep his distance from McKay for the rest of his visit and then sent out a note to the rest of the Tops in the mountain ordering us to give McKay some space because he didn’t need or deserve any of our bullshit.”

“He didn’t warn me off,” John murmured. “I spent most of that first meeting staring at McKay. I’m pretty sure Rodney was the only one who didn’t notice.”

Cameron laughed. “Yeah, I heard Carter was more than a little peeved about all of that. I don’t think she really considered her relationship with McKay over.”

“I noticed,” John murmured.

“Did you collar him for Atlantis?”

John raised an eyebrow. “Are you always so blunt?”

“Yes.” Cameron’s jaw tightened. “Look, just don’t hurt him. He’s been through enough and he doesn’t deserve to be treated like a commodity or some political pawn in Weir’s little games with the IOA. He’s a goddamned de Sade Courtesan for fuck’s sake.”

John raised an eyebrow. “How did you know that?”

Cameron snorted. “Carter told me.”

“To answer your question, we do need him on Atlantis but I collared him because I wanted to keep him. I’m just lucky he agreed because otherwise I would have been trying to maneuver myself into O’Neill’s command for a short term reassignment so I could court him properly.”

“You would have done that?” Cameron asked softly. “Given up Atlantis?”

“As long as it took to get him,” John admitted. “In the end the IOA might have relented on sending him to Atlantis uncollared just to keep me out there.”

Cameron laughed softly. “Carter would’ve had a complete melt down if she’d been forced to watch you romance and court her ex-husband into a collar.”

“It would’ve almost been worth it,” John confided.

“Gentlemen.”

Both turned to look at O’Neill who was dressed in PJs. John looked him over. “I would’ve never taken you for a Batman fan, sir.”

O’Neill set his empty coffee cup on the table and pulled a chair over so he could sit at the end of the table. “I had a nervous Marine knock on my door ten minutes ago to tell me the two of you were down here chatting.”

Cameron gamely poured his CO some coffee. “Pie, sir?”

“What do they have?”

“Apple, cherry, and pecan,” John murmured. “I was considering another slice myself.”

Cameron glanced around. “Corporal Dawson, care to get us some pie?”

The Corporal stood immediately. “Not a problem, sirs.”

They all three quickly gave out their preferences. John sat back and watched in silence as O’Neill doctored his coffee. He was a little horrified by the amount of sugar and creamer that had gone into the cup. The pie was on the table by the time O’Neill was apparently satisfied with his coffee flavored cream.

“So, are you two going to have a brawl in here?” O’Neill asked. “I only ask because most of the tables are new so if you want to work out some aggression on each other I’d prefer you do it in the gym.”

“No, sir, we’re good,” John murmured. “I think we’re on the same page.”

Mitchell nodded. “John just had some questions about… General Jordan and figured I might have the answers.”

O’Neill sighed. “That fucker.”

John laughed and stabbed at his pie. “Is he one of the ones at the Pentagon that doesn’t want McKay going to Atlantis?”

“Yes, but his reason is way more personal. He actually told me in my office that it should be in McKay’s contract with the IOA that he has to attend visiting VIPs on the base since he isn’t collared.” O’Neill flushed with anger. “Then he said he would be relieved when the Ownership Bill passed because it would put men like McKay in his place.” He smirked then. “Of course, that’s when I reminded him that McKay isn’t an American citizen. He’s twice turned down offers of full citizenship in this country.”

“Do you think he’ll move on me?” John asked.

“Yeah, but nothing you can’t handle,” Jack murmured. “Jordan stays just on the right side of the law. I haven’t let him back in the Mountain since that day. I am kind of afraid McKay might find some accidental way to end up him if I did.”

John just laughed but then sobered when he glanced up and saw Carter advancing on them. “Great.”

Cameron sighed softly and pushed aside his half-finished pie. “Colonel Carter.”

“Sirs,” Sam inclined her head. “I need Dr. McKay in the lab and I was informed that Colonel Sheppard was in the mess by the Marine posted outside his quarters.”

John raised an eyebrow. He hadn’t posted a Marine on their door. He shrugged when O’Neill glanced at him for confirmation. “Is it an emergency, Colonel?”

“No, but it’s important. There are some calculations we need redone for a report that Area 51 needs first thing in the morning and Rodney did the original work. It would be faster if he made the corrections. I have a team of ten who have worked nearly twenty hours today on this. I’d like to get them off to bed before the sun rises.” Carter lifted an eyebrow at him.

John stared at her. “Are these real corrections or have you altered the original work to fuck with him because it amuses you?” He held up a hand when she started to speak. “If you lie to me, Colonel Carter, I will see you reprimanded for it.”

Carter blushed prettily. “I might have done that a little in the past to mess with him but in my defense he’s done it to me, too. He gives as good as he gets on that front, Colonel. This is important and time sensitive work. I’d never play games with it.”

John looked over her face, his eyes hard. “Very well, does he have to be in the lab for this and can he do it in our quarters?”

“He can input the corrections from his laptop,” Carter murmured. “But he isn’t logged into the system currently. I sent him an email with a CC to you as required.”

“I’ll wake him and get him to make the changes.” John stood. “If he tells me this was a waste of his time you can be assured I’m going to be very irritated with you.”

Carter’s gaze hardened but her smile stayed firm. “I promise you, sir, it’s not a waste of time. I’ll dismiss my team and be waiting on the changes from McKay.”

Five minutes later, John was staring at the two-man team on his door. “Okay.”

One of them blushed. “Sir.”

“Who put you on my door, gentlemen?”

“Yes, well.” One of them rubbed the back of his neck. “We saw Dr. McKay leaving the mess and we shadowed him back to your quarters to make sure no one… got in the way. Then we just decided to stay until you came back.”

John shoved his hands into his pockets and considered that. “You two are part of the Special Forces Recon team I requested for the Atlantis mission, right?”

“Yes, sir. Marcus Stackhouse, sir and this is my sub Jason Markham.”

John’s gaze flicked over Markham’s collar and he nodded. “Very good. Your concern is noted and appreciated. I’ll be in the rest of the night.” He input his code as they both retreated down the hall and shook his head a little in amusement.

A part of him was very concerned—he wondered just what the hell Markham and Stackhouse thought McKay needed protecting from. Then he remembered that Carter had come to their quarters without any attempt to contact him before doing so. It was a stroke of luck for her that the two Marines had been there to deflect her.

Only a small light was on in the room, and McKay was curled up in a fetal position in the middle of their bed. John grinned and then sighed. He would love just to crawl into bed and wrap himself around his sub for the rest of the night. However, he wasn’t the kind of man who didn’t follow through with what he said he would do. John walked around the bed and sat down. McKay woke instantly, his eyes snapping open.

He relaxed when he saw John. “Hey.”

“Hey, Carter needs you to do something with some calculations for an experiment needed in the AM for Area 51. She said she sent us an email on it but you weren’t logged into the system and probably hadn’t seen it. She said it wasn’t an emergency but it was important.”

Rodney sighed and shifted under the sheet. “I hate her. She couldn’t have decided she needed my help earlier?”

“Apparently she’s had a team on it all day. I did tell her if she was fucking with you that I would be very irritated.”

Rodney chuckled. “God, I would have loved to seen her face.” He slid from the bed, naked and went to his desk. “If it’s what I think it is—it shouldn’t take much time. Well, far less time for me than for anyone since I did the original work on the hyperspace engines for the X-302.”

John stood and pulled off his shirt. “How long?”

“Half hour at the most,” Rodney murmured as he opened up the email. “Yeah, it’s for the hyperspace engines. I was hoping to get an invite to Nevada for the test flight but I’ll be on Atlantis by the time that happens.”

– – – –

Anne Teldy had heard enough about Cheyenne Mountain to be damned excited to be called in for a meeting. Her sub worked with some freaky technology at Area 51 and she’d personally flown some interesting planes. The rumors about the Mountain and the super sci-fi fighter she’d test piloted a few years back and flew in regularly to keep up her flight time all added up to something way cooler than what she was currently doing.

Allison had been nearly vibrating with excitement since the call came through so Anne figured she was in for a surprise or two. Allison was exposed to classified reports that Anne wasn’t privy to and that was one of things she’d accepted about her sub working at Area 51. It rankled occasionally but Allison had never been happier or more challenged. Her sub had given up a lot to follow her around the world from posting to posting so when the job offer to Area 51 popped for Allison, Teldy made sure it happened.

They’d been escorted down into Cheyenne Mountain by an Airman and a Marine Private. The fact that the two were sharing guard duty spiked Anne’s curiosity in the extreme. Most of Area 51 was manned with Air Force personnel and the Army was in and out of the facility a lot—but Marines were practically extinct in Nevada.

“You know something, right?”

Allison started and scrunched up her face. “Well, I know they are staffing a big mission and the work they do here in the sciences is six times more exciting than what I get at Area 51. If we get an offer here—we have to take it—for you if nothing else. You’re being wasted in Nevada and you could get serious career advancement here.”

Anne put her hand on Allison’s arm and the sub immediately relaxed in the chair and turned toward her. “I’m okay with where I am. It’s give and take, okay and I dragged you all over this planet for seven years and you still managed to get two PhDs. I want you to have work that challenges you and rewards you—the kind of work you studied for.”

“I know, Anne, I do.” Allison smiled. “But this could be the best of both worlds for us. It really could.”

Anne nodded but didn’t have time to respond because an Air Force officer entered and she stood to salute. “Sir.”

“Captain.” Her salute was returned. “At ease, I’m Major Evan Lorne. The Colonel will be with us later. We both want to thank you for getting here so quickly—time is short and we need to make decisions fast. We’re going to do a very quick debrief on what we do at the SGC and then you’ll meet Colonel Sheppard.”

“Great.” Anne shared a look with Allison who stood and tucked in close. “What is the SGC?”

“Stargate Command,” Evan smiled. “I realize they keep you lot in the dark at Area 51 but I’m sure you’ve heard a few rumors. First, would you like to know where the X-302 comes from?”

“Yes.” Anne nodded. “I would.”

“It’s a hybrid of alien and human technology. We designed it with the help of the Asgard, an alien race we met through the Stargate several years ago. I don’t know what you’ve heard—so this is going to be quick and dirty.” Evan motioned them into a conference room and sat down at the table. “Dr. Porter, you’ve worked with some of the technology we’ve retrieved and brought back to Earth so I suspect you’ll be more knowledgeable about what I’m about to tell you.”

Two hours later, Anne Teldy knew enough about the SGC to know for certain that it had her name written all over it. Allison was all but bouncing in her chair, as she reviewed report after report on the laptop Lorne had presented her with. Lorne had explained the joint operation thoroughly—so she knew she’d be working with a lot of different people including military personnel from Great Britain, Russia, and Canada.

By the time, the ultra toppy Marine Colonel walked in the door her head was spinning a little. She shared a small smile with her sub—because they tended to have the same taste in men and Colonel Sheppard was beautiful. The sub that entered with him was altogether yummy in a different way. Broad shoulders, beautiful blue eyes, nice mouth, great face, loose limbed, and relaxed in a way that spoke to his satisfaction and trust in the person who had collared him. Anne decided they were a good match practically from the first second she saw them.

“I’m Colonel John Sheppard and this is Dr. Rodney McKay,” John said as he sat down. “Now, Lorne has brought you up to speed on the SGC and Atlantis?”

“Yes, sir.” Anne straightened in her chair.

“I’m going to be frank, Anne, Atlantis isn’t always a safe place but it’s a good mission with the best kind of people attached to it. Every day we are balancing the discovery of technology with protecting Earth and non-combatants in Pegasus. In the past, it’s been more of a struggle than it will be in the future. We have a good connection with Earth now and I believe that’s going to make all the difference but things can get royally fucked in a matter of minutes and it is likely that your sub would be in the middle of it. Is this something you can handle and do your job?”

Anne looked down at the table as she considered her words. “Allison has been in combat situations before. As long as she’s never ordered into the field without me, I don’t have a problem with it. She can handle a variety of weapons and has a black belt in Judo. She has understood since I joined the military that it is her duty to protect herself in the field if I’m not able to for whatever reason.”

“Good.” John opened the file in front of him. “Three years ago—you took a public punishment on behalf of your sub but the records on the incident are sealed.”

“Yes, sir.” Anne sat up straight and met his gaze, her eyes hard. “She punched my CO at the time in the face.”

John and Evan exchanged looked and Rodney looked up from his laptop. John cleared his throat. “And her reason?”

“He offered her a collar.”

John’s gaze narrowed and went icy in a second. “It was my understanding that you and Dr. Porter have been paired since you were juniors in high school.”

“Yes, I presented her with her first official collar on her eighteenth birthday.” Anne glanced briefly towards her sub. “And she hasn’t appeared in public without my collar since that day.”

“Your CO offered your collared sub a collar,” John repeated, stunned.

“Yes and a place in his household as a pet. He said his wife was getting old and Allison would make for a pretty conversation piece.” Anne clenched her fist briefly and then purposefully relaxed. “She broke his jaw and his nose.” Porter blushed scarlet and looked down at the table.

“And you took twenty lashes with a bullwhip for it,” John said.

“Yes.” Anne circled Allison’s wrist with her fingers in a gesture of support. “The only thing I regret about the entire incident is not breaking his face myself. In lieu of filing formal charges against him for approaching my sub, I asked the Air Force to give Allison the job she wanted at Area 51.”

John nodded. “Rodney, tell Dr. Porter about the job she’s being offered on Atlantis.”

Rodney set aside his computer with a huff. “Did you get pictures of him before the medics got there?”

Allison laughed a little. “No, but someone else did. I have a few on my PC if you want to see.”

“We like to keep a Dom hall of fame – sort of as a prewarning system for other subs on the base.”

Allison glanced towards Sheppard and Lorne and grinned at the look of surprise on their faces. “We have something similar at Area 51—divided into two categories: Not If They Were the Last Dom on the Earth and I’m going to Disney World.”

Rodney laughed. “Yeah, we have the same categories. So, your job on Atlantis. I don’t know how much Ancient tech you’ve been exposed to….” He trailed off purposefully.

“I’ve worked with the Puddle Jumper at Area 51, visited the Ancient outpost in Antarctica a handful of times but only when I was able to beam in and out on the same day. So, I haven’t had a lot of time down there.” She glanced towards her Dom and mustered on. “I’ve had the ATA gene therapy, so I’ve also used an LSD and a medical scanner. Additionally, I’ve been working on the genetic and mental components that make the Ancient technology work. I’ve managed to duplicate the connectivity between gene carriers and the tech on a very small scale.”

“You went to Antarctica,” Teldy repeated. “Those—‘Anne, I have to run off base for a while but I’ll be back in about six hours…’ you were being beamed to Antarctica with alien technology.”

Allison flushed. “I told you it was Top Secret. I even asked you if you wanted to apply for a higher security clearance so I could tell you and you said not to worry about it.”

Anne huffed. “You are so getting it.”

Rodney grinned. “Okay, so you’re job on Atlantis would be similar to what you’re already doing—but you would be leading a team of scientists. I’ve actually created an entire department for this purpose. You’ll be studying Atlantis, how she was built and how we can begin to repair her. Additionally, we’d like to start building technology that incorporates ATA tech for security purposes.”

“I get my own team,” Allison repeated. “With my own little minions?”

Rodney held up two fingers. “You get two minions and technically you’re all my minions so – you know you can’t plan universe domination without me.”

Allison leaned forward. “Dr. Ardith Murray. She’s at Cambridge. She’s doing to this huge study on nanotechnology. I’ve gotten a look at most of her research—she’s about a hundred years ahead of her time and she’s never even seen the data on the Replicators and the nanite tech we have at Area 51. Can I have her?”

“Great Britain does supply scientists to the mission, so we can check—I can’t make any promises because we aren’t allowed to kidnap, bribe, or threaten unless it’s vital to planetary security.” Rodney opened his laptop. “Anyone else?”

“Dr. Laura Cadman, former Marine—currently at MIT. She just finished her PhD. She’s one of those Dommes who catches and releases so I’m not sure if she has a collared submissive right now.”

John raised an eyebrow. “Catches and releases?”

Allison blushed. “It’s a sub-term for Doms who make a habit of collaring subs in order to insure their fidelity during a specific time period. I’ve known her since undergrad and she’s put transitory collars on at least ten subs but she’s honest about her intentions so she doesn’t leave a path of destruction in her wake.”

“Good to know,” Rodney murmured. “Okay, Cadman actually has clearance for the SGC already—she did a tour here when she was in the Marines. I can submit a request for Murray but her own government has to approve her before we can even approach her. Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a little crazier than the Americans when it comes to security clearances, which is saying a lot.” He looked up from his computer. “Do you have dual citizenship or did you give up your Canadian citizenship?”

“I have dual citizenship. I won’t give it up as long as there is a chance the Ownership Act will pass. How about you?”

“I’m strictly Canadian. I’ll never take US Citizenship.”

– – – –

John reached out for the phone on his desk without looking up from the file he was reading and picked it up. “This is Sheppard.”

“John Patrick Sheppard, Jr!”

John blinked in surprise and sat up straighter in his chair. “Dad.”

He heard his father exhale which made him slump and close his eyes. He’d heard that exhale enough in his life to know he was about to get his ass handed to him. An intense load of guilt just poured over his head.

“When you said—‘Dad, I’m going on a classified mission and I’ll be out of contact for a while’—it never once crossed my mind you were fucking leaving the planet! I have it on good authority, young man, that you came back through the Stargate nearly four goddamned days ago. So, why is it that after two years I find out you were back on the planet because you dropped twenty-five thousand dollars at Godrics?”

John huffed out a breath. “You have my credit cards flagged?”

“You’re goddamned right I do,” Patrick snapped. “You little son of a bitch, I can’t believe…”

“Hey,” John laughed. “Don’t talk about the woman who spawned me like that!”

Patrick puffed out his own amusement. “When will I see you and meet him?”

“How do you know I collared a man? Did you get a report on what I purchased?”

“No, no report—I just know you and you’re practically monosexual—as perverted as that is.”

John grinned. It was an old joke in his family. “I have about three more days of work and then I have a week of leave…I was waiting until I could come home to call. How did you know, Dad?”

Patrick cleared his throat. “How’d you like my ship, son?”

John sat up and damn near fell out of his chair. “The Daedalus? That’s… you built that?”

“Yeah,” Patrick murmured. “You would not believe the measures I had to go to hide the Asgard engineer the SGC sent me. I had to build him an underground bunker in Nevada with the kind of security that would be the envy of militant isolationists everywhere if they knew about it.”

“It saved my life, Dad, literally. It’s beautiful and amazing.” John rubbed his face with one hand. “Actually, considering that you probably know him. His name is Dr. Rodney McKay.”

The dead silence that followed was a little disconcerting and he tensed in preparation to be pissed off at his father.

“You’ve got to be fucking with me,” Patrick snapped. “Really? Christ? Do you know how many times I’ve invited that little bastard to my lab only to be told he’s not interested in private contract work?”

John laughed, intensely relieved. “No, no clue. He didn’t mention it.”

“I bet he didn’t,” Patrick muttered darkly. “I’ve tried to meet him twice in the past year—when he divorced Carter I figured I could probably lure him away from government work. He’s never even responded personally.”

John frowned. “Are you sure he got any of the offers?”

“Why wouldn’t he have?” Patrick demanded. “He’s the hottest commodity in R & D on the planet, John. I’d give him a house if he spent a day working for me. I’d give him your place in my will if he signed a contract with me.”

“He didn’t mention it to me and he knows I’m your son. I think he would have brought it up.” John growled a little. “Christ, just when I think that bitch couldn’t do anything more to him… I wonder how many people she rejected on his behalf after their divorce was final.”

“At least six from me, the last one was an orgasm on paper. My lawyer had to get a drink and a smoke after he finished that contract,” Patrick huffed out a furious breath. “I take it their parting wasn’t pleasant?”

“She tried to have him committed to prevent him from divorcing her,” John said lowly. “It’s… she’s made it a point to make him as miserable as possible in the last year. So miserable that he didn’t plan on renewing his contract with the SGC after it expires next year. He’s pretty close to bottom on the self-esteem front because of it. He tried to say the collar I bought him was too expensive.”

Patrick made a little humming sound. “Considering who he is—I think you spent too little.”

“It suits him—clean, elegant. He isn’t the kind of sub that would be comfortable in diamonds on a day to day basis.” He paused. “Of course, I’ve put in an order to Hector for a dress collar. Platinum, sapphires, and diamonds.”

“Why sapphires?”

“The same reason you’ve got forty thousand dollars in emeralds on Jonah.” He paused and considered that he hadn’t spoken to his father in two years. “You’re still with Jonah?”

“Of course,” Patrick said. “And… well Claudia.”

“Claudia.” John chuckled. “Really?”

“She’s very pretty—like cake and Jonah wanted her. What Jonah wants he gets,” Patrick admitted. He cleared his throat. “So, I’ll see you and Rodney in four days?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Call for our plane, don’t you dare fly commercial.”

“I don’t think I could handle a commercial flight to be honest,” John admitted. “I’ll call tomorrow and confirm all of our travel details. Should I pick up a suite at the Jefferson?”

“It isn’t like I rented out your wing, John,” Patrick snapped, clearly disgruntled. “I’ll call in a favor and get Matthew home for the time you’re here. David is aware. We played ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ to see who the got the privilege of calling you and cussing you out for this bullshit.”

John grinned at that visual. “Good. He’ll have to wait until tomorrow to jump my shit. I have a rule about it happening more than once a day.”

“He’s already cleared an hour on his schedule in the morning for that conversation,” Patrick explained. “I’m really… was this a business decision to get McKay on Atlantis or was it because you wanted him?”

“I came back to Earth to collar him, if that’s what you’re asking but I haven’t felt this connected or attracted to someone since Jared. I didn’t think I’d ever feel that again.”

“I’m glad,” Patrick murmured. “Really glad. I look forward to finally meeting the esteemed Dr. McKay.”

– – – –

“John, do you want to tell me what you’re looking for?” O’Neill glanced around Carter’s office. “I could call her at Area 51 and ask her.”

John sat down in the desk chair and checked all the drawers. Only one was locked. “I’d rather she not know at this point.” He plucked up a letter opener off the blotter and shoved it into the flimsy lock. It gave away under the pressure with a hard click. He pulled it open and sighed. “Jesus, that…” He reached down in the deep drawer and picked up a stack of thick envelopes.

“What are those?” Daniel asked leaning forward.

“Not hers,” John admitted roughly. “What is the SGCs policy on job offers from private companies?”

Daniel blinked. “Well, all the civilians have pretty lenient out clauses. All of our mail is routed for inspection if it comes to the mountain—after the security check for you know bombs and anthrax, it’s passed to the individual unread. Our outgoing mail is heavily monitored as you might imagine.”

John nodded and started flipping through the stack. Every single one had been opened and they all had McKay’s name on them. “These are job offers—for Rodney—dating back thirteen months.” He dropped the oldest two in a separate pile. “Those she can justify because he was still her sub at that point. The others are all dated after he took her collar off and filed for divorce.”

Jack reached out and picked up one of the envelopes. He pulled out a stack of stapled paper, his jaw tense. “How badly did I fuck up with him, John? I mean, really? I knew there were some petty little lab games going on but nothing like this…”

“He wasn’t going to renew his contract,” John admitted. “He still might not. He only agreed to a year with me to see if we worked.” He looked away from both of them. “That’s not for public consumption.”

“Understood,” Jack murmured. “Do you think she left him behind on purpose—that she tried to get him killed on that mission that got Harris punished?”

“I can’t speak to that because I wasn’t there,” John replied evenly. “You should ask Harris and the rest of the people on the mission.”

“Well, he wouldn’t have been the first one of her subs to die unexpectedly,” Daniel said as he picked up a package from the pile and started to open it.

“What?” John asked with a sincere frown.

Daniel lifted his head and blinked innocently. “Well, there was Captain Hanson… Jonas. He went crazy off world and declared himself a god. He was killed by the native population when we turned them against him. Then there was the Tok’ra guy—alien—she killed him because he was brainwashed and tried to kill the President. Then there was Pete, the cop, they were together for about six months. He was killed by Osiris when he got nosy about Sam’s job and followed her while we were on a mission. There was that Tollan guy but I’m not sure he counts since Anubis wiped out their entire planet.” Daniel took a deep breath. “I think there was one when she was at the Air Force Academy—training accident but she only ever collared Rodney.”

John exchanged a look with O’Neill who looked as gobsmacked as he felt. “Are you fucking with me, Dr. Jackson?”

Daniel looked up from the contract he was checking out. “What? No, of course, not. We call her the Black Widow Domme as a joke, which I know is horrible but there you go. I mean they don’t all die but if she sticks with them for a while… things happen. Come to think of it—Rodney had two or three really close calls while they were married. She just has really bad luck.” He put the paper he was reading back in the envelope and dropped it on the pile. “This is pretty fucked up, Jack.”

“Yeah, Danny, I know.” Jack grimaced.

John reached out and took a post-it off a pad, which he slapped on top of the two he was going to leave in the drawer. He signed his name with a Sharpie, dropped them in the drawer and closed with his foot as he stood. “That should about cover that.”

Jack snorted. “Going to pick a fight from a galaxy away, Colonel?”

“She’s lucky that I’m not suing her to see his research returned to him that she claimed as her own,” John returned evenly. “If she’d actually won the Nobel Prize, I probably would’ve.” He held up a hand when O’Neill started to speak. “I confronted her about it and she said she didn’t give him credit because she owned him and his work and that she didn’t think he deserved credit for what she legally owned. In the same conversation, she demanded all of the personal research she believes he hid from her while they were married on the secure back up he told you about.”

Jack’s mouth tightened into a thin line. “She didn’t use to be this way.”

“Well, woman scorned and all of that,” John muttered. He picked up the fifty or so envelopes he was taking with him and glanced around the office. “Why did you send her to Area 51 if you don’t mind me asking?”

Jack flushed. “She really pissed me off. I’m seriously considering transferring her to Nevada permanently. As it is, she’ll be gone for the next thirty days so you won’t have to see her again. It could be viewed from the outside as a promotion since she’ll be in charge all of the research at Area 51.”

“But she won’t think it’s one,” John guessed.

“Not at all, when I offered it to her six months ago she said she hated Nevada.”

Daniel laughed sadly. “I think she needs to gain some perspective. Maybe the change of scenery would be good for her.”

– – – –

Rodney glanced up as John entered his office. “Hey.”

“Hey.” John put a stack of mail easily twenty inches thick on the desk in front of him. “I was trying to figure out how to break this to you—but it won’t be kind or easy no matter how I do it. These are all job offers—offers that Sam turned down on your behalf in the past ten months. Most of them aren’t worth your time but a few of them are absolutely amazing. Every one of them got a form rejection letter from a fictional assistant.” He dropped a fax on top of the file. “This is the one she sent to my father’s company six different times.”

He sat back as he felt the blood drain out of his face. “What? Really?”

“Yeah, really. Some of them are just consulting jobs and others are full time positions. I don’t know if you have done consulting work in the past but she’s probably cost you millions of dollars in side work in the past year.”

Rodney picked up one off the pile and noted the return address in Virginia. “Your Dad wanted me to work for him?”

“He tried to meet you twice but was rebuffed—even after he won the contract to build the Daedalus,” John explained.

“She was trying to break me; make me think I had no options but this place and her,” Rodney said. “We should both pity her.”

“She doesn’t deserve pity,” John snapped. “Damn it, Rodney.”

“It’s… most of these I wouldn’t have taken anyway. I don’t build weapons for private companies unless they have contracts with the SGC specifically. I’ve done some work for the Navy in the past but not much. But she had no business answering these for me like it was still her right.”

“How did that work when you were married to her?”

“We’d go through all the offers I received—and pick the ones that seemed interesting. I kept all of the money I earned. I put it in our formal contract that she wouldn’t gain access to my money as my Domme unless I was incapacitated or died.”

“Did you ever trust her?” John finally demanded.

“I don’t… I don’t think so. Not when I look back on it now, I can’t imagine how… no. I didn’t trust her and I’m an idiot for not realizing it.” He touched the pile again, hesitant and then forced himself to start separating them out into known and unknown. “I’ve done some work for a few of these companies in the past year so she probably didn’t damage my relationships with them.”

“She still cost you money,” John muttered.

“Granted, but I’ve got a great deal of money already. Her career in the Air Force prevents her from contract work like this – all of the consulting work she does is with government contractors and we both know the real money is outside of that in companies that have more going for them than a few contracts with the government. Like your father’s.”

John nodded. “Yeah, but he did get his start with government contracts. It was never what he really wanted though. He would have never left the Navy if he hadn’t been discharged due to injury.” He winced. “Speaking of, I got my head handed to me this morning. He is very pissed with me.”

“I bet,” Rodney muttered. “He only found out about the program in the last year when he was tasked with building the Daedalus. It never even crossed my mind that you were his son. I feel sort of silly.”

“Most people assume that all of his sons are in his business but David did ten years in the Navy, Matthew is still in the Navy and of course there’s me. My family has served this country before it even was a country,” John explained.

“And your mother?”

John took a seat because that was a conversation and Rodney was obviously looking to be distracted from the evidence of what Sam Carter had been trying to do to his career outside the SGC. “Matthew and I share the same mother, David’s mom was my father’s first collared sub. Cancer took her when he was just two years old. Dad was alone for a year before he took a female sub on the ship that he was stationed on. When she accidently, maybe on purpose, got pregnant with me—the Navy discharged her at her request and Dad set her up with a house. Matthew came eighteen months after me. So, there she was with a stepson and two infants of her own and no Dom because he was at sea nine months out of the year during that time. I think she would have probably left him but he was promoted to Commander and there are privileges a sub has when they are collared by a high ranking military officer.”

“Then?”

“Beirut. I was five,” John murmured. “He wasn’t even supposed to be there. He took two in the chest and one in the left leg. They were pretty sure he was going to die—but he didn’t. He retired and came home with a cane.”

Rodney grimaced. “And she left him.”

“With three children under the age of six. Yes, she did. She didn’t realize until later that Dad didn’t even need to work. David’s mother had been a very wealthy woman and she left everything to my father when she passed. When it became known that he was in the money bracket that people need private security for—she tried to come back. He didn’t allow her to even see Matthew or me. I know she made a bid for custody to try to blackmail him into giving her money but lost. Back then, a sub rarely got custody of minor children—I think it’s probably rarer that it should be even today. The courts always side with the Dom which isn’t always the best choice.”

“But in your case it was,” Rodney said.

“Yeah, it was. I met her when I was twenty-four. I was fresh out of OTS, all shiny in my uniform and at a party for a four-star admiral who was retiring. My Dad knew him so he asked me to attend in his stead because he couldn’t. Anyway, there is this breathtakingly beautiful submissive flirting like hell with Jared. It was funny since Jared was very awkward with women, even other submissives. She made it clear she was available to go home with the two of us and but I wasn’t even tempted before I realized who she was. She introduced herself and I remember thinking—I totally see why Dad collared her.”

“What did you tell her?”

John flushed. “That wasn’t interested in spanking my own mother’s ass. She was floored and maybe a little  horrified but that only lasted about ten seconds before she asked if I was Matthew, John, or Ethan.”

“Ethan?”

“Yeah, hell of a way to find out that I had another brother in the world. I couldn’t even answer her—I just turned on my heel and took Jared home. I told Dad later and he found out about the other brother.”

“And?”

“Navy SEAL. Come to find out David even served with him. She left him when he was days old and his father had another sub in the house before he could even walk. He’s a good guy—kind of gung-ho crazy like SEALS are but a good guy. I’ve only met with him a handful of times because of duty schedules but Matthew has regular contact with him. He’s spent a few holidays with us since his parents died when he was in his twenties.”

“Will I meet him this time?”

“No, I sent him an email—he’s tied up heavily over seas.” John tossed his feet up on the corner of McKay’s desk and watched his sub shift silently through the stack of envelopes. “What about your family?”

Rodney visibly flinched and then sighed. “My parents died when my sister and I were in college. My sister is married with a child in Canada. Her husband is an English professor—I rate her wedding day right up there with my parent’s funeral.”

John winced. “Wow, McKay, that’s pretty horrible.”

“I know,” Rodney muttered and crossed his arms. “An English professor.”

“Rodney,” Sheppard laughed softly. “Is she happy?”

“I wouldn’t know—we haven’t spoken since I divorced Carter.” Rodney looked down at his desk. “I should get back to work.”

John checked his watch. He really didn’t have time to delve into the situation the way he wanted. “She’s in Vancouver, right? Well, contact her and let her and her Dom know that we’ll be visiting them. You could be gone from the planet for a year or more—you need to connect with your sister before we leave.”

Rodney sighed. “Yes, sir.”

John moved around the desk and pressed a kiss against Rodney’s frown. “Think positive.”

– – – –

John hadn’t even bothered with his private email since he’d gotten back to Earth so when he logged into it he wasn’t surprised to find it bulging. Letters from his brothers and father came monthly until right around the time John figured his father had been debriefed on the Stargate program. He read David’s updates on his wife and kids dutifully—looked at pictures of his niece and nephew. They were great looking kids – to be expected from his family and he was looking forward to seeing them. He hated that he’d missed so much of their lives and would continue to miss a lot.

It hadn’t taken much to finish his own work or set up travel to Vancouver to see Rodney’s sister. He picked up the post-it he’d used to write down the hotel number, hit the speakerphone, and dialed it. He’d considered briefly asking the airman he’d been assigned to handle it—but something told him that the earnest and clearly submissive corn-fed Iowa boy O’Neill had given him with a little wink wouldn’t be demanding enough to get John what he wanted.

He only said his name before the clerk cut him off with a stutter and asked him to please hold for the manager. In less than a minute, a woman came on the line—a little breathless.

“Colonel Sheppard, good afternoon. I am Daphne Demarc, the manager of the Loden.”

John relaxed back in his chair. “I need a room; my father suggested that I book the penthouse if it is available. If not, I definitely want a suite.”

“On what dates?”

John rattled off the dates and faced nearly thirty seconds of silence where he was sure the woman was bumping someone out of the penthouse. He wanted to feel a little guilty about that—but he fought space vampires for a living so he thought maybe he’d earned some special treatment—even if she was only doing it because of his father’s money.

“The penthouse is not a problem, sir. Will you be traveling alone or with a sub?”

“With my sub. Please have the suite stocked appropriately.”

“Male or female?”

“Male.” John rocked back in his chair as O’Neill entered. He nodded when Jack raised an eyebrow and continued his conversation when the older man made himself at home in a chair in front of his desk. “The bed in the penthouse is set up for full body bondage?”

“Yes, sir. It was especially designed for us and will meet all of your bondage needs including sling suspension if you wish it with no problems at all. Would you like any special equipment in the room that does not come in the standard package? A cross, perhaps?”

“No, not a cross. We won’t be there long enough to indulge in anything complicated. I believe we’ll be fine with the essentials. My sub is allergic to citrus and peanuts—make sure the suite is cleared of any products that might contain either one of them. This includes soaps, shampoos, lotions, lubes, etc. We’ll have dinner in suite the night of arrival and breakfast both days we are there. The rest of our meals will probably be elsewhere. Steak and lobster for the dinner. The chef can pick the sides. Breakfast at his discretion but I like meat and the family we’re visiting are apparently vegetarians—but again keep anything with citrus or peanuts out of the room.”

“Not a problem, sir. Have you arranged for a vehicle while you are here? I can take care of that for you if you like.”

“Black BMW Z4. We’ll be touching down at 1600 hundred hours on a private flight.” John picked up a pencil to play with it. “Put everything on the family account.”

“Of course, sir. We look forward to having you and Dr. McKay at the Loden.”

John’s gaze narrowed. “How did you know my subs name?”

“When I input the family expense account information—Dr. McKay’s name popped up as your submissive and an authorized user. Is this inaccurate?”

“No, I just didn’t realize my father had already taken care of that. Thank you, Madame Demarc. We’ll see you tomorrow afternoon.”

“Good day, sir.”

John hit the end button and tossed aside his pencil. “Sorry about that, sir.”

Jack waved him off. “I did come around unplanned. I’ve cleared all of the personnel you’ve picked and Major Lorne will be on hand this week to get them sorted for the trip back on the Daedalus. Dr. Weir left an hour ago for a trip to visit her mother but she took a phone. Did you want me to set you up with a cell phone?”

“No, Rodney has one and I’ve already given that number to my family for contact purposes.” John picked up a paper clip and started to twist it. “Have you met Rodney’s sister?”

Jack glanced at the paper clip John was destroying. “Years ago at a Christmas party at Sam’s house. Jeannie and her husband have a conservative relationship, John. He collared her in college and she dropped out of the Masters program that she and Rodney were in. McKay was furious, of course, because not only had she given up her dreams for a collar but she’d done it with a man who was extremely conservative. It’s good that you aren’t going to be staying in their house. I don’t think either one of you would last very long.”

“Why?”

“Kaleb Miller doesn’t like Rodney at all. He suggested to Sam that she should send him for retraining.”

John’s gaze narrowed. “I’m surprised Carter didn’t lose her mind. I was lead to believe she was kind of a hard Domme.”

“She is,” Jack murmured. “Switches often come off very hard when they top—I think to compensate for the submissive needs they don’t often like to express. At any rate, she told him to mind his own fucking business and the dinner party much ended right then.”

“And the fight between Jeannie and Rodney?”

“Daniel told me a little about it—Jeannie apparently pretty much worships the ground Sam walks on and I can imagine so if her husband is as hard and relentless as he appears to be. She said some pretty vicious things to Rodney when he ended his marriage to Carter. She said that he didn’t understand commitment and the sacrifice of being a submissive. She said Rodney was a selfish egomaniac and Sam would be better off without him.”

John’s gut tightened in fury. “So, if you have to come bail me out of jail…”

Jack grinned. “Won’t be a problem. I can always beam you out if they want to get stupid about it.”

– – – –

John leaned in the doorway of the quarters he’d been sharing with Rodney. His sub had two nice leather suitcases open on the bed, one was full of t-shirts, socks, boxers, the all cotton pants John preferred to sleep in, and a few pairs of sweats. The other was empty.

“What’s up?”

Rodney glanced up at him and waved both hands. “You didn’t bring a lot of clothes with you and we haven’t bought you much. We should go to the Gap or something.”

John laughed. “Yeah, okay, we can do that.”

Rodney huffed a little and retrieved a second suit bag from his closet. “For your uniforms?”

John nodded. “Yeah, I’ll go down to the Quartermaster and get him to help me with that. I have a few new uniforms being fitted. He’ll figure out what I can take with me now.”

“Alright, that’s good. I didn’t want to have to worry with getting what you’re currently wearing cleaned before the trip.” Rodney glanced over the dark green uniform. “It looks good on you, though. Marines always look so comfortable and at ease in their uniforms… at least the Doms. I think some subs find the uniforms restrictive.”

“It doesn’t allow them to show off their attributes like they were taught and encouraged to do from a pretty young age.” John unbuckled his belt and started in on his buttons. “Let me change into some jeans and we can hit the mall.”

– – – –

John hated the mall. He’d figured two years off planet would make even a little nostalgic about everything Earth had to offer. Malls apparently didn’t fall into that category.

As a result, he made extremely short work of buying all the things that Rodney though he needed from slacks to new jeans. Rodney bought a few things but mostly concentrated on making sure his Dom. It had been years since John had allowed a sub to concentrate so much on his needs and wants.

Armed with six ridiculously full shopping bags they in a small café in the mall and ordered sandwiches.

“When did malls become such a meat market?” John asked under his breath as they watched a large group of college-age students walk by.

“Well, the mall has a lot of activities for young couples who can’t get into the established sex clubs. They are closely monitored, of course, and a lot of parents encourage them to come down here and play. La Petite Mort has a play facility on the third floor of the mall that has a very strict Dom on duty. You have to be at least eighteen get in and there is even some instruction if you pay for it.”

John nodded. “Yeah, okay.” He said nothing else as their number was called and Rodney went to retrieve the food they’d ordered.

A sleek and terribly young submissive strolled through the café entrance as McKay arranged their food. John glanced him over and sighed when the sub shot him a sultry look.

Rodney laughed. “God, John. Don’t look offended.”

“He probably isn’t even legal,” John muttered and shook his head abruptly when the submissive moved in their direction. The young man pouted but went to the counter to order.

Rodney ran his fingers over John’s wrist. “You can’t really help how you look. Maybe that’s why Dato’ Raja was really so concerned about your training because he knew your looks would seriously attract subs even those you have no business touching.” He jerked his head towards the counter.  “Like that delicate little flower there.”

John laughed aloud and bit down on his lip as practically everyone in the café turned and looked at them. “Sometimes it’s easy to  see, you know like with that kid. But other times, it’s not easy at all.”

Rodney nodded. “And that is the best argument against the Ownership Act – because a Dom could own any number of submissives that never any hope of meeting his dynamic needs. It could lead to call kinds of abusive situations.”

“It did in the past,” John responded and frowned. “It’s just obscene that we could possibly take a step backward like that.”

“Agreed,” Rodney murmured. “So, about my sister and her husband.”

John lifted an eyebrow. “Did she say no?”

“No, no, she answered my email immediately actually. Jeannie is looking forward to meeting you and said she was thrilled to know that I’d taken a collar from such a good family.” Rodney frowned. “Which translates into wealthy family.”

John laughed. “Well, that’s not really a surprise, right?”

“Right.” Rodney sighed and pushed aside the basket his food had been in. “Did you want some cookies or something?”

“Yeah, get some of those double chocolate ones to go and then we can get out of here.”

– – – –

“I can handle this if you’d rather…”

John glanced over at McKay has he loaded the washer. “You aren’t my slave, Rodney. I can take care of this. Don’t you have some stuff in the lab to do before we leave?”

“No, Miko is handling all of that.” Rodney hopped up on one of the unused washers and arranged himself in a lotus position as John dumped detergent into the load of clothes. “Did you at least separate?”

John rolled his eyes and shut the machine. “Stay out of my laundry, Doctor.”

“As you will, Doctor,” Rodney returned and rested back on his hands as his Dom walked toward him. “Wanna do some higher math for me? Because this would be like a really hot. Like porn.”

John shook his head and ran his hands up Rodney’s thighs. With a rough jerk, he pulled his sub forward and Rodney unfolded his legs eagerly. He wrapped his legs around his Dom’s waist when John pulled him closer.

“Hey.” Rodney dropped his hands on John’s shoulders. “We’re in public.”

“We certainly are,” John murmured. He nuzzled against Rodney’s neck. “I don’t even care.”

Rodney relaxed against his Dom’s hands and hummed under his breath as John sucked on his neck. “I love your mouth on me.”

John sighed against him and lifted so he could take his mouth in a kiss. Rodney shuddered as he opened his lips to the tip of his Dom’s tongue. The kiss was lingering, hard and then soft by turns until Rodney was just shaking with want. John ran his hands down McKay’s back and slid his hands under his ass.

Rodney moaned softly and moved closer. Then the door swung open and a group of Marines shouting at each other good-naturedly entered.

John pulled away with a sigh as the three Marines stumbled over each other to apologize and leave the room. “No, gentlemen, it’s quite alright. Dr. McKay was just going back to our quarters.”

“I sure was,” Rodney muttered dryly. He hopped off the washing machine and paused to lean into John when his Dom touched him. “I’ll call the airport to confirm that the plane’s arrival time in the morning.”

“Thanks,” John murmured and kissed his temple. “Make sure the pilots file the flight plan. I don’t want to have to wait once we get there if they get distracted.”

Rodney nodded and moved away. “Of course, sir.”

John pulled a knife out of his pocket and returned to the stack of clothes that still had tags on them as Rodney left the room. “Don’t let me keep you guys from your purpose.”

“We can come back later, sir.”

John glanced at the sergeant and then at the two bags he was carrying. “You won’t be in the way and besides—that’s probably every thing you own.”

He younger man laughed. “Kind of and my Dom’s, too.” He motioned to the two guys with him and they spread out to different machines in the room. “Did you need us to take care of that for you, sir?”

John shook his head. “No, but thank you. I like to handle my own things.” He clicked the radio in his ear. “Major Lorne, I’m available for that oral report. You’ll find me in the laundry on six.”

“On my way, sir.”

– – – –

Rodney slid his personal laptop into a protective sleeve and then into the laptop bag. He wasn’t looking forward to the trip at all—at least not the first part. Okay, so if he were going to be honest he wasn’t looking forward to meeting John’s family either but the reasons varied.

He figured that Jeannie would probably be an asshole to him and he wasn’t exactly looking forward to being compared to a dead man. Rodney flushed with shame that he’d even thought that. Jared Holland. The man had been dead four years and Rodney still felt as if he were stepping into the place of a ghost.

John came through the door with a full laundry bag. “Hey, we need to get this all packed up so we can leave early enough to get through security at the airport.”

Rodney nodded and cleared his throat. “I picked up your suit bag from the Quartermaster. He said he squared you away with what you mentioned you would need. Also, I pulled out the larger suitcase since we’ll be gone a week and laundry might be more hassle than it’s worth.”

John dropped the basket on the bed. “You look upset.”

“I just haven’t seen my sister since before I divorced and your whole family is going to be at your father’s house.” Rodney huffed a breath.

John walked to him and pulled him into his arms with careful hands. “You don’t have to worry about anything, McKay. We’ll just take things one day at a time. If the visit with your sister is too stressful—we’ll leave early.” He kissed his forehead and then brushed their mouths together. “And there is absolutely nothing to worry about with my family. They are all looking forward to meeting you.”

Rodney nodded and relaxed against John. There was no getting out of the trip so he might as well just accept the situation and go with the flow. John would handle everything and he would have to trust in that.

The End

Return to the Series Page

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.

93 Comments:

  1. I’m not typically into BDSM, so I was surprised when Xanthe’s stories ended up appealing to me much more than I expected. I’m enjoying yours as well. I suspect in both cases it’s because of the strength of John and Rodney’s bond, which calls to me.

  2. OMG another update and I have an exam in…less than two hours! You are evil! Loading this into my phone to read after… Squee!

  3. Okay, I have to say that I haven’t even read this and I am already thrilled. Just wanted to let you know this.

    Thank you for posting again!

    ~L

  4. Wow! I really like the dynamic you’ve created.

  5. I do like BDSM, but only when the relationship is about love and trust, like this one. You have really written a wonderful story,

  6. This is wonderful. I enjoyed the story very much. So glad to see the second chapter. I couldn’t stop reading it. You kept me up 2.5 hours past my bed time!! *laughs* It’s all your fault,

  7. Enjoyed the update – Looking forward to more.

  8. another well done chapter
    I especially liked the scenes with Dennison, looking forward to reading more about him!
    thank you- already craving next chapter

  9. The dynamic between John and Rodney is so amazing. They’re hot together yet each worries that the other won’t stay after their trial year is up…. silly boys!

    Your secondary characters make the story complete. Cam staying away from John because of what Carter did to him and Rodney; Carter not wanting to give up on Rodney; Stackhouse and Markham!; Teldy and her partner…. they make a richer story even with small scenes….

    Nice work….

  10. I am so glad you posted more on this story! I really adore the world you’ve built and would love to see even more. Rodney and John are so cute together and I really enjoy all the supporting characters. Thank you again!

  11. :: Blows out breath. :: Wow. So I just read that whole thing. And damn woman, you rock.

    I like how John & Rodney are having to actually put some sincere effort into making the who relationship work. The fact that they both want it does show through, but that they are willing to bend, question and learn about each other also is telling.

    Carter & her manipulations? Oh, hell no. That woman needs to get her ass beat six ways to Sunday for what she pulled. Not cool at all.

    Uhm… The scenes with Jeannie are going to be painful, aren’t they? And the stuff with the Sheppards might just be as well. Interesting events to come.

    Cameron Mitchell. Wow. At least you owned up to what you had done. To someone. And were sincere in it. Good man. But damn that was painful.

    I like Markum & Stackhouse so far. They seem like they can read a situation well. When is Declan showing up?

    Beyond that? All I want to do is curl up around this and hum like I do with good, good chocolate. Rich, creamy, slightly bitter & so damn good!

    ~L

  12. Great timeing I downloaded it to read for relaxation the next few days when frustrated with my mother
    Won’t be back until Wednesday evening as my sister wants company when dealing with here
    Thanks for the next chapter before I go it will relieve the frustration
    Shaz

  13. Now I need more. I hope it’s on its way soon. I loved that they finally exposed Carter, especially to Jack.

  14. Good heavens, it’s 1 am! Thank you for another wonderful chapter.

  15. oooohh, so can’t wait for more!!!!

  16. Wow! It was like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one. Thank-you!

    What an awesome part this was. So many things to take in. From family, and it sounds like Kaleb is going to be an ass in this fic – Jeanie – eh… Ethan – another brother?! Oh, my. Also, I like Patrick and I can’t wait for him to meet Rodney. And he saved his son. Built the Daedalus – v. cool. Cam. 🙁 Carter really does have so much to answer for, and every time I think it can’t get worse – it does. The nerve of her to go and ask for Rodney’s research. Hmph. And all of the job offers that John found? Grrrr!

    I love that John is getting down to the very bottom of Rodney’s submission. What a cool relationship they’re building. I’m a little concerned about the Ownership Act that’s been mentioned. The implications are just ugly. But, the idea of the two of them taking training together? Lovely. Matching marks. Mmmmmm. 🙂

    I love what I’m seeing with the staffing choices. I love that Dennison asked for Atlantis – after! John kicked his ass. LOL

    I know I missed things that I wanted to mention – I might have to come back and comment again. 😉

    Thanks so, so much!

  17. I was thrilled to see a Part II tonight!

    I have to say, you’ve got me totally hooked. I was never into BDSM fic until now.

    And I love your Jack/Daniel. Can’t get enough of them.

  18. *fangirling for ya*

    You totally made my day with this.

    Seriously.

    *sighs happily*

    I freaking love the way this ‘verse is unfolding. You may have been inspired by Xanthe’s work, but this is unique and very definitely keira!fic… and I love it.

    Once again, you’ve totally sucked me into another tale. Thank you for posting another chapter so quickly! I definitely needed my fix of keira!fic – it always makes everything better.

  19. oh god I am so hooked. LOL. I was so waiting for that whole visit part that I was completely shell-shocked when the story suddenly ended already. So yeah, can’t wait for the next part *sheepish grin* Guess I should get back to work, or ahem, start working on my school projects now. Wonderfully distracting story, definitely the best way to start a week. Yeah, loved this ‘verse so far 🙂 All the characters and pairings… and I just may have squeed a lot. Heh. So thank you! <3 Bella

  20. Please ::::*puppy dog eyes* ADOPT ME!

    • Well– I have questions before I consider adoption proceedings:
      1. Who is your favorite Superfriend?
      2. Are you a dog or cat person?
      3. Do you hate Star Trek: Voyager with the fury of a 1000 suns?

      • Sorry for butting in but must say:
        Batman is the awesome.
        Cat’s rule the world.
        There is only Spock.

      • My adoption form

        1) Are you tossing in the wonder twins for the count? Even so I have to go with Wonder Woman. Amazon’s rock!

        2) Cat, but then even the dogs I’ve had fermly beleave that they too are cats.

        3) Yes! But not the parts where it was a major Kim/Harris fest. That was some good fun. Dame that Be’Lanna!!

        So will you adopte me? I come with two kittens. The warmonger and the sweet loveable tormentie.

  21. I’m sure I’m making myself disliked by many, but I never really liked Xanthe’s universe. It was never the sex, very hot, and your sex as well. But the rest, how people acted outside of the bedroom made me uncomfortable. So it is interesting that I like you universe. The changes are not so very great, but enough that, I supose, the edges I do not like are not there. People comunicate better, have more choices and rights. It is difficult to explain, but I just wanted to say that I really, really like your universe.

    • I think in Xanthe’s world– you were supposed to be uncomfortable with some of things that happened. What I loved most about her world-building was that it was harsh to the point of painful. It really pushed my comfort levels and to me that is what a good writer does. I think Xanthe is one of the best writers in the fandom for this fact alone.

  22. SWEET! I was re reading WMHB when I got the email that you had uploaded the next part of this series, I swear I went “SQUEE!” like a ‘lil kid and started reading right away.

    Your writing never fails to make me salivate for more, and make me want to read them again and again. I love “Carter as evil switch” and reall hope she gets whats coming to her.

  23. This is how a week is supposed to begin. I spent a good part of the morning reading chapter 2 – beautiful. I found I like everything you wrote: slash, het, now BDSM. Your stories are perfect from my point of view. You said this new series was already 140000 words… this means it’s finished and we can expect new postings in a short time? Hope so!

  24. Yeah, part 2 already. Just sent it to my Kindle to read, and can’t wait.

    Loved the first part and may stop doing what I am supposed to be doing to go read the second.

    Thanks so much for sharing,
    BB

  25. That was great. I can’t wait for more I was excited when I saw the update. I hope the next one is as quick.

    I loved the conversation between John and his dad. That he was involved in the program already was a great idea.

  26. Wow. I was so happy to see that you posted part two. I really love the growing relationship between John and Rodney. Love that Daniel and Rodney are really good friends. They would have to be for Daniel to say that it would have been okay for Rodney to be with Jack while he was ascended. I have noticed in some of your stories that you have Cameron at least try to hook up with Rodney before John. Why is that? I do not have anything against the pairing. I was just noticing a trend. I really love your SG-1 team after Jack got promoted. Did they find Vala the same way they did in Canon? I really do not see Daniel being allowed to search for Atlantis.

    I know that I’m being greedy but have you made any progress on the AUs that you brought up last year. I am just guessing but is this the one that has John as a marine. I really like John as a marine. Love that you had him get PHDs. I really did hate that the show brought up John’s possible mensa level intelligence but never really explored it. I am really looking forward to seeing John and Rodney run Atlantis as a married couple and with Daniel chasing after Jack. As always your writing is awe inspiring.

    • Re: Cameron

      If I wasn’t a diehard McShepper– I’d totally pair Rodney with Cameron Mitchell every single time. I think they would have a very good chemistry together. He’s a strong character with a good sense of humor who wouldn’t destroy Rodney’s personality if they were together. If he was in a relationship with Rodney– he’d take him for all of his good and bad parts. Cameron’s like John in that respect.

  27. I love your characters and especially the fact that you’re playing with Sam. She was very nice in the other series but to see her being evil…well we all love an evil Sam sometimes. I also like that you don’t have Rodney giving John everything immediately…he really needs to work on the whole trust thing and that Jack is having to rearrange his view of Sam is great. Not that Daniel is surprised but come on now folks it takes a lot to surprise Dr. Jackson. Your doing a great job hon.

  28. it was amazing, i need to reed that twice because there are so many thinks and stuff to feel and thing.
    I love when you make come the john’s family, Patrick rock in this fic again.
    Love to see Stackhouse and Markham, Teldy and Allison.
    I’m not a bad girl but i hopa than Carter have is ass spanked for the thinks who she has do to Rodney.
    Love the character of Dennison, he’s not enough stupid for miss the fact than John is a good damned Colonel.

    You’re amazing, i can’t wait for the new part.

  29. Very happy to see the new chapter posted so quickly. With both you and Xanthe posting new stories this week, I’m in fan fiction heaven.

  30. Okay I love your writing so very much! I loved this chapter a whole bundle – my favorite chapters are filled with stuff, cause I am so very character and description driven.

    I absolutely cannot wait until meeting the family!

    Thank you for sharing. :>)

  31. Yeah– John is practically Mary Poppins but that’s okay because that’s kind of how I like him.

    With O’Neill– Rodney never once formally complained about Sam to the SGC or even his pleasure house. Outside of Miko Kusangi– Rodney hasn’t confided the full measure of his misery in his marriage to anyone.

  32. I truly love all your stories and the way you write.

    Just one little thing – could you check your geography of Canada? Vancouver (British Colombia)is as far away from Ontario as Los Angeles is from Michigan.

  33. Oh, hey…is the *Taylor* that they keep running into at the restaurant, the one with the problem with Dennison…is that our Taylor? Sean Taylor? I know that Rodney said he was from the same House, and you haven’t really given us any more detail on him…but…is it Sean?

    Oh, and Dr. Cadman?! LOL So, she studied bigger and better ways to blow things up? LOL OMG – I can’t wait to see her as a minion in one of Rodney’s labs. 😉

    Also? The scene when John flogs and canes Rodney again is so emotional and beautiful…I think that Rodney and John both have a lot left to learn from each other. Oh yeah.

    Thanks!!

  34. I loved this so much!

    Some of the best lines ever. I laughed so hard I almost got in trouble (no I’m not reading, I’m doing work – oops!)

    One of the things I like best about your writing is that things are easy between them but not EASY if you get my drift. They have their struggles, etc. but they are communicating and not working against each other.

    Love how this is developing.

    Oh and the pictures are great. Didn’t realize you were “using” the original Weir until you posted the pics so I had a totally different mental image in mind. Like this very much!

    I will probably wear out my monitor re-reading this until the next part comes out!
    😉

  35. This was a great chapter. I can’t wait for more. I am intrigued by the ideas of your and Xanthe’s stories. Are there others like them out there that you know of. For either SGA or SG1?

  36. I checked the site last night and read the first chapter. Imagine my surprise when I went back this morning and there was a totally new chapter up! Love the writing, love the series, and this ‘verse is one of my favorites, especially your take on it. Definitely looking forward to more.

  37. I’m very impressed with your world building, in all of your stories that I have read so far. This series is just as rich and interesting as “What might have been”. I like how Carter is sort of sideways to her canon personality. Not normally an “Evil Carter” fan, but this one works well for the dynamic of the story. Thank you for sharing this world and keep up the great work.

    🙂

  38. I’ve been obsessively checking this site every day in case you posted a new update and I was so happy when I saw this! Long and full of plot, it’s exactly what I’d hoped for.

    I’m really appreciating the Asian and French influences in this series – Lotus house in particular really intrigues me. I do have one question about the sub social structure in that house, though. From context, I haven’t been able to figure out if ‘Geisha’ applies to all graduates of Lotus house, or if it’s a special rank similar to Rodney’s courtesan status. The way Rodney thinks that he won’t be able to protect Miko because of her Geisha status seems to imply that it’s something quite unusual but at other points in the story the term seems synonymous with anyone who carries a Lotus house mark.

    It would make sense to me that Lotus house would be heavily heirachical if it’s based on the traditional Japanese Orian ranking system, so I can’t help speculating that there might be other ranks – tayū perhaps?

    I’d really be interested in finding out more about Lotus house and how the skills they teach would be different from those taught at La Petite Mort, Kesakitan Pembawa and de Sade.

    • I could write a whole ARTICLE on what I did with the Lotus House in this series– most submissives from wealthy families in Japan go to one of two houses. Lotus or Heian. The Lotus House caters to pleasure slaves– submissives that have no pain kinks at all. Only the most gifted and talented submissives out of Lotus or Heian are marked with as Geisha. Those that aren’t marked as a Geisha are given marked with their house name in Japanese. Lotus Geisha are marked either with a white or red lotus blossom. Miko is a red-petal Geisha — which means she’s essentially a princess in her house– the red petals represent the fact that she descends from Japanese royalty. Matthew Sheppard is a white-petal Geisha. Heian Geisha are marked with a dragon– most of them are men.

      You have to know that training either for a submissive OR a Dominant is expensive. Being trained and marked is a status symbol more than it is anything else.

      • Thank you for the explanation – it makes so much sense! Given Miko’s red-petal status, I’d be amazed if her family would let her go on the Atlantis mission without some assurance of her safety given how dangerous it is.

      • Ooooooooooh.

        Matthew’s a white petal Geisha?!

        Okay, I officially adore you.

        • My thoughts exactly!!

          🙂

          • I am eagerly looking forward to more on the whole training house system. Absolutely fascinating!

            I wonder, is there a best training house? So far a few have been mentioned in various countries, but say de Sade, La Petite Mort and the Lotus house, are they at par? Loving the whole concept!

  39. Again….Loved….Loved….Loved! The characters that swirl around our boys, the way you did away with DADT entirely was brilliant. I just love your style.

  40. I am loving this so much, I’m not even going to bitch about it not being more of What Might Have Been.

    This is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing, and I can not wait for more!

  41. Enjoyed this chapter and patiently await more. The Ownership Act aspect of this is interesting, with DADT and DOMA huge points of contention now, where the Gov is appallingly controlling aspects of an American’s personal life. A would hope a society such as this would be beyond those archaic forms of privacy invasion, but you get the wrong people in office for a while…Very good use of politics, including the bits about the pushy generals Thanks.

  42. Yay, so happy 2nd chapter has been added so soon. I felt like a stalker checking this site evry day for up dates, so it’s great that you have twitter now:)

    Cant wait for Rodney to Johns family I love Patrick Sheppard in What Mihgt Have Been seris he was kick ass.

    x

  43. I’m actually sort of surprised and not surprised that I liked this story so far. On one hand BDSM is an iffy subject for me. On the other hand I’ve loved most everything you’ve written. I liked how you brought in the Sheppard family in WMHB and enjoyed seeing them in Ties That Bind.

    Out of curiosity, have you ever considered writing a SG1 centered fic instead of SGA? I *really* liked how you portrayed Jack and Daniel in this story and I wanted to know if you ever intended to write something featuring them. Or, if you don’t want to write an entire story, do you intend to do interludes to a series you’re already writing from their POV? I’ve seen some authors pull that off EXTREMELY well, and others… not so much.

    *shrug* Thought I would ask. Great job so far!

    • I will admit to having a Jack/Daniel fic sitting on my backburner in this universe– it would be a prequel of sorts because I’d really like to explore Jack as a widowed Dom and of course– that moment when Daniel returned to him would be the center of the fic. That being said it would probably tear my heart out to write it.

      • Oh, yes, please, please, please write this. Jack/Daniel is my favorite OTP from all the fandoms I’ve read. A story from you with Jack/Daniel as principal characters sounds like heaven to me.

      • I would soo love to see a Jack/Daniel prequel. I know that it would be painful to write,probably more so than it would be for us to read, but I promise lots of chocolate and tissues.

      • Cannot wait until you get to that part of the story. Am loving McShep, but Jack/Daniel was one of the first slashes I read and is near and dear. Thanks for all the great, great storytelling.

        BB

      • Please, please, please. I am such a jack/daniel fan. Thank you for sharing your stories. They are wonderful.

  44. Okay, despite (or perhaps because of) a truly horrifying day, I’ve read this all again and will attempt to be more coherent this time.

    While I respect Xanthe’s work and admire both her prolific production rate and her skills – I have to say I like your world better.

    Yes, you’re Just That Good.

    I’m fascinated by the way you’re turning the usual perceptions of familiar characters on upside down on their pointy little heads. I want to smack both Jeannie *and* Kaleb – before I’ve even ‘met’ them in this tale, and they’re generally portrayed as sympathetically as Sam has been.

    I’m totally intrigued by your world building. I love the concept of the training houses – I can’t wait to learn more about it.

    I’ll chew my fingernails up to the elbow waiting for the next chapter! I’ve always loved possessive/protective!John – I adore the way you have him sheltering and surrounding Rodney – and yet still demanding more of him than Carter – or even his Courtesan Master.

    I don’t care if you think it’s rough as guts. I just want more! More! More! In fact, feel free to dump all 140k words in my inbox. *grin* Unedited. Unformatted. Hell, send it by carrier pigeon, written long hand in purple crayon.

    Oh, and yeah… I wanna read that Jack/Daniel prequel when you get around to moving it off the back burner.

    In fact, I think we should all get together and should follow the rules of engagement that were set up for Rodney in WMHB… you deserve to be indulged and pandered to, with a veritable army of devoted minions to attend to your smallest whims.

    *gives you my very best sweet lil ole lady smile*

    *waves my Official Keira Marcos Fangirl (geriatric division!) pom poms for you*

  45. What a fabulous chapter. McShep is one of my very favorite pairs and I love the way you write how their relationship is growing. You must like your primary relationships the way I do, the majority of the problems come from outside and when they don’t get along they work it out fairly quickly. I also love your secondary characters, they have such richness and texture. Can’t wait for more, so much to look forward to, thanks for all the hard work. Barb

  46. I love everything you write. Its all golden. I check your site every day , I should comment more but if I don’t you should know what every you posted was awesome. I already read the first chapter 3 times and the second twice. I’m waiting and watching for the next part.

  47. So I just reread this, and I think it was even better the second time around. Can’t wait for the next part!

  48. So loving this series… i loved thed the Xanthe series and yours is just as good. The dynamic you have between John and Rodney is perfect. I like the Evil!Carter character… it works for me. Also, bringing in the Jack/Daniel friendship to the equation is great. I was so disappointed when i got to the end and didn’t have anymore to read… can’t wait for the next part!

  49. I had just gotten over the ‘obsessively checking your website for updates’ phase and you go and post something new and terribly exciting and addictive and here we go again … it is so beautiful. I read a lot of fan fiction and Xanthe’s stories were really the only ones I liked reading that included hardcore BDSM and I am glad that your work finds some of its roots in her world.

    The story is wonderfully written, really well researched (aside from the Canadian geography bit 😉 but hey, I wouldn’t know had I not lived there during high school and it just made me laugh a little) and the attention to detail is absolutely stunning.

    I loved the bit with Cameron – he is one of my favourite ‘other characters’ in WMHB, vying with Matthew and Declan for the spot of favourite OC ever. I really really hope you’ll make him happy in later installments, when he realises that Rodney is not his dream sub, because maybe their dynamic wouldn’t really mash or something and the person (if I am honest it really should be guy) of his dreams falls into his lap, maybe chooses him, even though he is a toppy top and usually persues the sub. My imagination conjures up endless scenarios of what happiness could look like for Cameron Mitchell 🙂

    How does the whole switch thing work? Do they seek other switches and then change whenever? I just imagine it would be quite difficult to synchronise, because whatever person they end up with, on days when they are feeling toppy, the other person would have to feel subby (is that even a word?). Carter seems mostly a top, so would she be with someone like Ford, who seems mostly a sub? And no this is not a suggestion that they should be paired, actually I find it kinda creepy … the my ex and your ex decided to hate us together thing.

    Anyway, thank you for this new Universe. Will wait patiently whilst checking obsessively 🙂

  50. Just finished my second read through and this part was perhaps even more satisfying than the first, if that’s possible. Love the introduction of Lorne and can’t wait to see the Sheppard family in action… especially Matthew. Coming from the SPN fandom prior to SGA, I have to admit I have a major soft spot for Matt Sheppard. And after peeking at the pairing on the series page, I’m all the more excited. He’s hands down my favorite ‘other character’ in WMHB and I don’t see that changing here. Besides for more Marine!John being all toppy, the prospect of subby Matt meeting his dom has me on tenterhooks. Wonderful all around!

  51. Awesome chapter!! The story telling is fantistic and I am so loving this story!!

    Love how you are exposing more and more of how Carter was screwing with Rodney and how John is now there to protect him!

    Going on to the next chapter!!! Wonderful way to spend my day off! Just relax, sit back and read! Thanks! ^_^

  52. Fantastic chapter! I love how you’ve written the characters and built this world. The details are fascinating and makes a compelling read. I adore your John and Rodney, especially that Rodney is allowed to say no and isn’t a slave to John. All the characters are interesting and I look forward to seeing the military and science contingent on Atlantis and am really excited to meet the Sheppard and Miller families and the interactions to come. Great verse – can’t get enough!

  53. Oh god, I’m going to have to get on my knees and beg for you to give us more Jack & Daniel. Maybe a side story of their history? 🙂 OMG!! I’m loving all the teasing little bits and poor Jack just falling apart when Daniel ascends – the way it SHOULD be!

    I enjoyed John and Rodney slowly getting to know one another in this section – and more about the world and upcoming family relations.

  54. Another great line…

    …”loose limbed, and relaxed in a way that spoke to his satisfaction and trust in the person who had collared him.”

    Does it ever! Canon Rodney is so high strung and so tightly wrapped that it’s no wonder he has a bad back. Seeing him described as ‘loose limbed and relaxed’ illustrates the differences in this ‘verse so very clearly.

    *applauds*

    Minutiae, I know…but after multiple readings I can engage my brain enough to admire the sheer craft of your writing – rather than simply being swept away by the impact of the tale.

    *sighs happily* I’m anticipating maximum squee-age when you post the next bit!

  55. I read these fics again and again everyonce and a while. I save them to my harddrive so that I don’t have to have ‘net to read them. I have saved everyfic on your site execpt this one. It won’t let me. It just says this file cannot be saved.

  56. I’m just re-reading these and for some reason the story stops right after John calls the Loden Hotel and asks if it’s set up for full bondage. I thought I’d let you know since you seem to have changed your layout and this is the first time it’s happened.

    Oh, and this is a fantastic series. I really appreciate that you’ve put faces to the characters. It makes the whole story just a little clearer and very enjoyable.

  57. Am continuing to enjoy your story here. I love the humor, between John and Jack and even Cameron. Jack’s dismay as he continues to find out Carter’s depravity after all their history is really sad. Looks like Rodney has a lot better life as well as good times on the horizon.

  58. You know, re-reading the part about John’s debrief, it struck me that I had mostly forgotten that there were wraith in this story. (I know, wtf, right?) Now I’m looking forward to seeing John’s plans to take the fight to the wraith. And Ford and Dennison – I hope they’re learning their lessons diligently! And Rodney musing on involuntary begging and how he doesn’t do it? So totally delicious in light of the most recent part!

  59. Dudette, I am always in search of good BDSM fanfic and this is fantastic. Gotta read it alone with the door locked! Seriously. I, myself, have been a member of my local club and know where those subs are coming from when they complain about the Good and the OMG Bad. I’m gonna keep reading for now… TTFN

    Oh, and I laughed my butt off when I read “I’m going to be frank, Anne…” Don’t think you were going for it but Anne Frank (!?) ROTFLMAO

  60. Soo, I’m currently re-reading, and I thought I should drop a comment because I feel bad I didn’t do so the first time I read this series 🙂
    I really love the development of John and Rodney’s relationship, how they trust each other and how they rely on each other. And what I like best is the outside view on their relationship we get in this part; how Anne Teldy without even knowing them at all immediately decides they’re a good match, that’s just lovely.
    Anne and Allison are completely awesome, by the way! I love their relationship and that they’ve been together since highschool, it’s so cute and romantic.
    I also really like the details – just normal, every day kind of stuff that doesn’t often get mentioned in fanfiction, like John doing his laundry.
    I have a question, though: this bad dom rating categories, “I’m going to Disney World”, what does that mean? It might be a cultural thing, but I just don’t get it.

  61. I am reading this AGAIN. I won’t say how many times I’ve read this and What Might Have Been, I’m not really sure. Still loving it. What does it say about me that this is comfort fic that I turn to when I really need the comfort? Sometimes I just read my favorite bits, sometimes I read from beginning to end. Ive finally read this more than Lord of the Rings But, yeah, really comfort fic. Thank you from the bottom of my 52 yr old heart

  62. I think I found the thought of John doing laundry like that way more amusing than it actually is. In my mind the only thing more amusing is the thought of O’Neill in Batman pjs.
    And geeks totally rock. They totally have the best conversations.
    ““I get my own team,” Allison repeated. “With my own little minions?”
    Rodney held up two fingers. “You get two minions and technically you’re all my minions so – you know you can’t plan universe domination without me.””- I loved this exchange.
    And Major Lorne was one of my favorite recurring characters on Atlantis, so I love seeing him here.

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