Sentinels of Atlantis: Tyre & Peter Grodin ~ Art by FanArts Series
Title: The Guide
Author: Keira Marcos
Series title: The Sentinels of Atlantis
Series Order: 12
Fandom: Sentinel/Stargate Fusion
Rating: NC-17 (Male/Male sex, adult language & situations)
Pairings: McKay/Sheppard, Peter Grodin/Tyre, Stackhouse/Markham, Cameron/Vala, Elizabeth Weir/Simon Wallace, Laura Cadman/Aidan Ford, Bates/Simmons
Warnings: Adult themes, violence, discussion of past sexual abuse
Author’s Notes: My thanks to Ladyholder and Chris King for their invaluable feedback.
Summary: The city forces Tyre to come to terms with his needs and the temptation he’s been resisting. Meanwhile, John and Rodney are off world with Cameron and Vala to investigate an abandoned world with an Ancient lab and find something disturbing.
– – – –
Elizabeth would’ve loved to throw aside the two sticks Cadman had forced into her hands and just punch the female Sentinel in the face. Since the aggression was contrary to her accepted self-image, she was at a loss as to how to deal with it and she wasn’t ready to admit how… hostile she felt all the time lately. She had been assured that it was normal for an emerging Sentinel to be on edge and even at times violent in the right circumstances especially considering how dangerous their situation was.
No matter how much her mind might be protesting the changes in her biology—the rest of her was on board. If she didn’t think about it—it was easy to surrender herself to sparring and the physical exercise all of the Sentinels on the city were pressuring her into on a damn near daily basis. The snap of sticks hitting together was actually somewhat relaxing but hell would freeze over before she’d admit it.
There were a few Marines in the gym—there always were when the women were sparring. They were respectful but certainly appreciative. At first, their presence had unnerved Elizabeth but now she found them more amusing than anything else. Laura increased her pace suddenly and Elizabeth found herself on her back and weaponless in the space of seconds.
Laura rolled off her with a grin. “You’re getting better.”
Elizabeth huffed. “I want to punch you.”
Laura snorted and sat up from the floor. “That’s good. Just don’t actually do it—these guys don’t even deserve to watch us have a cat fight.” She came to her feet and held out a hand for Elizabeth. “Let’s go for a run.”
“I have work,” Elizabeth protested.
“You sure you do—you owe me three miles,” Cadman announced with a grin. “Haul ass, Ambassador.”
– – – –
Tyre found the scientists on Atlantis very fascinating. The guidance of the pride on the city had been such a relief that he could barely conceptualize it but he found it easier to follow the ‘geeks’ around. He didn’t understand the term but he’d learned in the few weeks he’d been on the city that it was meant affectionately.
Fortunately, the geeks didn’t seem to mind him at all. Sometimes they asked him to touch things, turn things “on” and he did it without complaint. Zelenka, his fellow Sentinel, seemed relieved to have him around and often gave him tasks to do. Simple things that allowed him to learn about the city that was now his home and the people that were in it.
The soldiers on the city were intent on the protection of the geeks and arranged themselves around the city in security groupings that made a lot of sense to Tyre. He didn’t doubt their dedication at all—not to their people or to the Alpha.
John Sheppard was the biggest surprise. On Sateda, Guardians had been largely educated in military matters only and utilized in leadership roles in the cities for political positions only if they were advanced like Ronon. Sheppard was the strongest Guardian that Tyre had ever encountered but that wasn’t saying a whole lot considering how sheltered he’d been before his own gifts had manifested.
“Do you plan to keep yourself from him forever?” Radek asked. He pointed at a metal box they’d brought with them to repair a transporter. “Hand me that red tool with the large metal notched end.”
Tyre appreciated the description because their language had been a real obstacle for him on the learning front. The standard language everyone who used the rings used didn’t always cover all of the terms the people from Earth used daily. He plucked up the tool and handed it over to Zelenka.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Radek snorted indelicately and disappeared under the console. “It is because he is man?”
“What? Is that a problem on your world?” Tyre leaned back against the wall. “We had no such taboos but Guardians who bonded with males were required to take a wife to encourage the continuation of our kind.”
“We do not have laws like that,” Radek assured. “So if it is not because he has a cock… what is your problem?”
Tyre flushed. “I don’t have a problem, Radek. I’m just not in a good place to take a Consort. I’ve spent too many years on the run. I’m damaged.”
Radek snorted. “Then throw yourself off pier.” He waved one hand in the air but didn’t bother to come back out from under the console. “It is our duty to protect and shelter the Guide. Does duty mean nothing to you?”
“Bonding with any Consort wouldn’t be protective in my case—no one deserves to be exposed to the life I’ve lead,” Tyre murmured. “I wouldn’t put it on someone I hated… much less someone I admire.”
“Peter is a smart man,” Radek offered from underneath the console. “He’s not some child who does not understand how fucked up the universe is. He is not brand new—there are perhaps great pains in his past that none of us know anything about.”
“It’s not the same,” Tyre argued. “Why do I visit with you—you’re so contrary?”
“No, of course, not. No pain is the same but it is arrogant of you to assume that your pain is greater than his or mine. My father was murdered in the street when I was a very young man—my mother died birthing me. I have no family left on Earth—no one on my home world will mourn me if I do not ever return.” Radek slid out from underneath the console and glared at his fellow Sentinel.
Tyre cleared his throat. “Murdered? Your father was murdered by one of your own people? That’s what you mean.”
“Yes—were there not such crimes on Sateda?”
“It was rare,” Tyre admitted. “Those prone to such crimes were often identified and treated before events were so far gone that they were allowed to hurt anyone. It is difficult to imagine how different your world is. The Guardians on our world were dedicated to life and preserving our laws.”
“Sentinels on Earth are not allowed positions of political power,” Radek explained. “We are relegated to public service but rarely achieve any serious authority over mundanes. We are not trusted with such things because they believe we are primitive.”
Tyre quirked an eyebrow. “Not primitive enough if you allow murderers to walk free on your world. On our world—taking the life of another Satedian was an immediate death sentence. No one like that would’ve been allowed to live on our world.”
“Peter is grown man and he looks at you like you’re the only thing in the universe that matters to him. In denying your connection to him—you’re just hurting him. It’s a shame,” Radek pointed at him. “You may live to regret your position.”
– – – –
“He’s careful around me,” Peter acknowledged. “Never touches me but I often find him close especially when I’m working. Sometimes we talk well into the night but he’s never left his balcony.”
Simon watched Peter Grodin wander around his office. “Have you made it clear you’re receptive to his… interest as a Sentinel?”
Peter flushed. “I’d be receptive to any of his interest to be frank, Dr. Wallace. He’s very attractive.”
Simon grinned. “He is exotic and in great shape. Not at all difficult to look at.” He tapped his pen on his empty note pad. “So you aren’t concerned at all that he’s male considering your past?”
Peter shrugged off the oblique reference to his childhood. Simon Wallace knew—he hadn’t been able to get onto the expedition without a full disclosure of the abuse he’d suffered. “I had a few lovers in college that were male. I never saw any reason to cut my options in half when it came to sex. I’m comfortable with a variety of sex practices—it’s the last thing I’m worried about when it comes to the role I would play as a Guide in a Sentinel’s life. I dealt with my childhood a long time ago.” He glanced towards the white noise generator. “Does that really work?”
“I’ve elicited a promise from every single online Sentinel on this city to honor the privacy of theses offices. I trust they will not try to work past the white noise generators. So if you aren’t worried about the sex… what does concern you?”
“I didn’t come online naturally,” Peter began. “Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t meant to come online—maybe I’m not strong enough to Guide a Sentinel. Maybe that’s why he… maybe he senses that I’m not enough or that I shouldn’t be online at all. Dormant Guides on Earth are dormant because they’re wrong somehow.”
Simon blinked in surprise. “Peter, you were never dormant. That situation doesn’t apply to you at all and if you were incapable of bonding with a Sentinel I want to believe that nature would’ve prevented you from coming online.”
Peter sighed and shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Yeah, okay.” He leaned against the window and stared out at the ocean. “Rodney spoke about the empty place inside of him that he had before he bonded with the Colonel. He said when he was a young child—that it practically burned inside him.”
“Is that how you feel?”
Peter shook his head. “No. It feels like I have some shadow there. I reach out to touch it but it glides away before I can get close.” He shrugged. “I don’t know what it means. I meant to talk to Rodney about it this morning but he had to cancel our training session because they went off-world.”
Simon clicked his radio. “Dr. Keller, could you come to my office? I need a consult.”
– – – –
“Stale air, eerily clean Ancient technology…” Vala began. “Check, check.”
John snorted and used his P-90 light to light the way for his Guide who was headed towards one of the consoles. “McKay.”
“I’ll be so careful—they’ll be able to write documentaries about my carefulness,” Rodney assured as he pulled a flashlight from his jacket. “Do me a favor—scan the area and see if you pick up any equipment running. Make sure we haven’t activated a beacon or a signal that will get the attention of the Wraith.”
“Dead facility and creepy animals in the trees,” Cameron offered from his place near the entrance of the building.
“Check, check,” Vala muttered and flicked on the light of her own P-90. “Goa’uld technology was always dusty and disgusting when left unattended for years.”
“The Ancients were obviously more interested in cleanliness,” Rodney offered as he slid under a panel. “The air purification processes on Atlantis are…” He trailed off. “Perfect for a Sentinel.”
“Do you think that is significant?”
“I think they would’ve had to work hard to make their environments safe for primitive Sentinels and Guides. I imagine that everything they did to their technology and to Atlantis after coming to Pegasus in regards to noise reduction, vibration control, and air quality were to make the weapons they found on Sateda easier to integrate into their own society,” Rodney offered, his voice soft and reflective. “They had to readjust everything for their new allies.”
“How do you think they advanced them so quickly?” Cameron asked from the doorway. “I mean the historical records on Sateda show an advanced society for at least twenty thousand years which doesn’t mesh with the time frame. The Satedian year is shorter than hours but not enough to account for that.”
“The Ancients used a time dilation field on the planet,” Rodney explained as he slid out from underneath the console and the entire room lit up bright and too white for comfort. “There are a few records of it in the Ancient database—they had several planets surrounded by the fields during the war effort. One dedicated to research. While hundreds of years passed on the planet—days passed on the outside of the field allowing the Ancients to develop technologies seemingly very quickly to fight the Wraith.”
“And they did that on Sateda?”
“It’s the only that makes sense when you look at the records the Ancients have on Sateda and the actual data we’ve pulled from the planet itself. The Satedians certainly didn’t make up all that history and it explains why they weren’t bothered by the Wraith for so long. It explains, also, how they were allowed to advance so far. No other society in the galaxy seems to be able to compare with the Satedians outside of the Ancients themselves.” Rodney hooked his tablet PC up to the console and then sighed dramatically. “It’s a goddamned zoology experiment.”
– – – –
Peter wiped sweat from his face with the bottom of his t-shirt and leaned forward to brace himself on his knees. Jennifer Keller had been unsettled by the consult she’d done with him and Dr. Wallace. It appeared he’d have to wait for McKay after all because the young Guide had gotten so pale and shaky as he’d described the feeling he was having that Lorne had shown up unexpectedly a little wild eyed. Apparently, her stress had alerted him to a potential problem.
Since no one could really blame Lorne for his over protective attitude – neither he nor Simon had complained when he’d taken his little doctor away with a sincere frown in their direction. Lorne still hadn’t really recovered from his Guide being taken from him.
“You shouldn’t be so far from the city center alone, Peter.”
Peter glanced to his left, not surprised at all to find Tyre there. “I’m never really alone, am I?”
Tyre flushed and averted his gaze. “It’s against the rules that Sheppard set for the civilians.”
“From that point of view, you’re breaking the rules, too.” Peter pulled off his t-shirt, ignoring the Sentinel’s intake of breath and started wiping sweat from his arms and chest. It was really a lost cause—he’d run nearly ten miles. He motioned towards a tower. “There is an active and approved transporter over there. I showed the Colonel this route last week and he agreed that it was okay for me to run it.”
“It’s not safe.”
“My safety isn’t your concern,” Peter returned evenly and then walked towards a catwalk that lead to a large balcony that spread out between the arms of two piers. “I wonder about the people who lived here before—what they did with their spaces and free time. I don’t get the impression they were a people who enjoyed leisure.”
“The safety of everyone on the city is my concern—I took an oath with the Alpha. I take that oath seriously,” Tyre insisted.
Peter sat down on a bench in the middle of the balcony and took a deep breath. “When we open the gate to Earth… someone is going to go back with all of the data we’ve gathered. I’m going to volunteer for it.”
“It’s too dangerous,” Tyre growled. “I heard Sheppard say that the ring might not be able to maintain its integrity for the entire trip. We might not have power the…”
“Someone should go,” Peter responded evenly. “It might as well be me. I’m not valuable as a soldier and there are other scientists on the city who are just as capable as me. And I will be able to search for a Sentinel on Earth. Rodney believes me very gifted—I shouldn’t have a problem making a connection with a Sentinel.”
Tyre sat down beside him. “Is this… what you want?”
“It’s what I need,” Peter admitted. “I’m not sleeping well—I think you might have noticed that. Jennifer is concerned about my shielding and no matter what Rodney teaches me I’m not in a place where I can do well without a Sentinel. I’m a detriment to the expedition as it stands.”
“I–.” Tyre took a deep breath. “Do you think you’ll find who you want on Earth?”
“Who I want? No.” Peter laughed softly. “What I need to live a decent life? Probably.”
“Who do you want?” Tyre asked.
“That’s personal.” Peter stood abruptly, his fingers fisting in his damp t-shirt. “You’ll excuse me—I’ve had a difficult day and I need to meditate. I have a hard time doing it by myself so it might take a while. I won’t be at dinner.”
He was in the transporter before he realized that Tyre had followed him. Peter swallowed back a groan as the man slid into the small space just before the doors shut. He hit the space on the control panel that would transport them across the city. Nothing happened. The lights in the transporter blinked briefly and then went out completely. Blue emergency lights lit along the top of the transporter. He clicked his radio and was awarded with static.
Tyre cleared his throat. “Radek, Dr. Grodin and I are stuck in a transporter on the other side of the city.” He tilted his head and closed his eyes briefly as he waited for a response. He relaxed minutely. “Lt. Cadman, thank you for your response. The air quality is fine.”
Peter said nothing until the Sentinel opened his eyes. “They’re coming?”
“Laura is going to coordinate with Radek and find out what is going on. The transporters all over the city have failed.” Tyre tilted his head and closed his eyes. He took a deep, steady breath. “Sounds like some of the people that are stuck are very upset.”
“Some don’t do well in small places,” Peter murmured.
“Are you such a person?” Tyre questioned.
Peter shook his head and put his t-shirt back on. “Sorry though—it can’t be pleasant to your senses to be stuck with me in this small room.”
Tyre smirked. “It’s better than the perfumed soaps and lotions that the rest of the people on this city drown themselves in. It’s been something to get used to.”
Peter slid down the wall and made himself comfortable on the floor. “So, we’re pretty low on the list I assume?”
Tyre moved around the transporter and sat down beside him on the floor. “Well, since Dr. Kusanagi is stuck in one of the transporters near the central tower and Radek needs her out to help work the problem—she has been elevated to the top of the rescue list.”
Peter felt more than saw Tyre relax as he sat beside him—and his insides clenched with fury and hurt. The man was using his body to ground his senses. He wondered if he even knew he was doing it and figured almost immediately that the young Sentinel was entirely too forthright to purposefully use their small friendship that way.
“How many of your senses do you think you’ve imprinted on me?”
Tyre flinched. “I would never… Peter.”
“Don’t, Tyre, it’s obvious to me even if it isn’t obvious to you. Think about it for a minute and then answer my question.”
The silence in the small room was almost as painful as everything else about his situation but he was determined, suddenly, to make his big stubborn alien realize what was going on between them. Tyre took several deep breaths and let his head thump back against the wall—hard twice.
“Stop that, you’ll give yourself a headache.”
Tyre laughed sadly. “Why didn’t you say something to me?”
“I wanted you to recognize it on your own but more importantly I wanted it be someone you wanted not someone that you needed.” Peter stood up and walked to the other side of the transporter. “So, how many?”
“Everything you’ve let me get away with!” Tyre shouted. “Sight, hearing, and smell.” He rolled to his feet. “I can’t believe I’ve become so weak just by being here a few weeks. I never should’ve stayed.”
“Thanks a lot, asshole.”
Tyre glared at him. “That’s… did you just insult me?”
“Yes.” Peter crossed his arms and dropped back against the wall. “I sure did. I cannot fucking believe you’d rather be on your own fighting the Wraith—not having any kind of home at all rather than be with me! That makes you an asshole because frankly I’m a fantastic person!”
“It has nothing to do with you!”
“It has everything to do with me,” Peter returned evenly. “I’m the only online Guide in the city. If any of the other latents were compatible with you—they would’ve come online already in response to your needs and obvious distress.”
“I’m too damaged! I’ve killed thousands of Wraith—I lived in caves, slept in animal dens, and ran from one world to another for years. I stole from good people, ate things that would turn your stomach, and lived in filth more often than not. Hell, until I came here—I hadn’t cooked the animals I hunted for food in three years.”
“My father molested me until I was fifteen years old!” Peter shouted. “And the only reason he stopped is because I almost killed him! I shoved him down a flight of stairs and broke his back!” Grodin shuddered and closed his eyes. “I didn’t even call for help for him. I just left the house and hoped when I came home he’d be dead. My mother—a woman he beat so damned often that he gave her seizures—called the ambulance and got him medical help.”
“I don’t…” Tyre swallowed hard. “I don’t understand what you mean by ‘molest’, Peter. What did your father do to you?”
“He touched me sexually—forced me to touch him.” Peter took a deep breath. “When I was thirteen years old, he caught me kissing a boy from school. He was furious with me—I thought he would beat me or hopefully just outright kill me but he didn’t. Instead, he took me to my bedroom and…” Peter shuddered and shook his head. “Forced me service him. He said if I was going to be a cocksucker—I might as well start at home. My mother never tried to stop him—not once. I think she was relieved because if he was hurting me he didn’t bother with her. I don’t know who I hate more.”
Tyre reached out for him and Peter held himself away for a few seconds before he gave in to the warmth of the Sentinel’s protective embrace. Tyre buried his face against the side of Peter’s neck and trembled with fury. “Your world is not civilized.”
“Don’t,” Peter whispered. “Don’t give me this if you don’t mean it, Tyre. I can’t… I don’t think I could take it if you walk away.”
Tyre’s fingers clenched in Peter’s sweat dampened t-shirt and moved closer. “I mean it. I’m sorry.” He prodded his Guide towards the wall. “Sorry for being too weak to ever walk away from you.”
The lights for the transporter flicked on and they were transported to their destination.
Peter glanced upwards and sighed. “You are not at all subtle.”
“Huh?” Tyre lifted his head and frowned.
“The city trapped us on purpose,” Peter explained as he pulled him out of the transporter before the doors could shut again. “I guess she was fed up with us, too.”
– – – –
There was a gym in the pride tower—it was purely a Sentinel domain. Not even McKay wandered in when he was working. Tyre entered the room, still vibrating with fury and grabbed the first man he saw—he pushed Lorne against the wall hard. “What does it mean? What he said.”
Evan exhaled sharply. “You mean cocksucker.”
“Yes, what does that mean?”
“It means he shoved his dick in his thirteen year old’s mouth and made him suck him off,” Evan snapped and jerked free of Tyre. “And you’re right—we aren’t at all civilized.”
The rest of the room was silent. Evan glanced towards Cadman who was punching a bag. She’d been doing it for nearly an hour. Radek Zelenka was sitting against one wall with his tablet PC on the floor beside him. They’d all been focused on Tyre during the crisis—intent on making sure the confined space didn’t make him go feral on the man he’d been denying himself for weeks. They sure as hell hadn’t expected to hear Peter Grodin confess to being sexually abused by a parent.
Ronon was running. He’d been running since the transporters had started working. Teyla was in the infirmary helping Jennifer calm down some of the people who’d been stuck when the city had stuck her nose in business that really wasn’t hers.
The scientist lifted his head. “I think you’ve given a perfectly horrendous definition of the word, Major.”
“You need to tell the city to never do that again. She could’ve hurt people—several of the civilians that were stuck are very upset.”
Radek nodded. “I will go to the chair and speak with her once I’ve calmed down.” He glanced towards Tyre. “I didn’t know. I wouldn’t have told you even if I had but I would never been flippant with you about his past if I’d known.”
“He asked to be alone,” Tyre murmured and sat down on one of the exercise mats near the front of the room. “I didn’t want to but he seemed desperate.”
Cadman stopped punching. “Victims of sexual abuse carry shame for it—shame that can be overwhelming at times. He just needs some space to collect himself. I don’t think he meant to share that with you—no matter how much he wants you.”
“You speak from experience,” Tyre’s gaze narrowed. “Is such abuse common place on your world?”
“I wasn’t molested by a parent,” Laura corrected. “I—.” She exhaled sharply. “I came online suddenly—one minute I was a sixteen year old girl struggling under a boy twice my size who wasn’t listening to me say no and the next I was feral Sentinel. I nearly killed him.”
“Good for you,” Radek muttered.
Laura laughed weakly. “Well, he certainly wasn’t prepared. I broke his arm and six of his ribs. Then I shoved him through the windshield of his own truck. By the time I got home—the cops had been called. I was tranq’d before my father could explain to anyone that I had been a latent Sentinel. Female Sentinels are so rare—they thought I was hyped on drugs or worse—that I’d had a psychotic break.”
“How rare in your world?” Tyre questioned.
“They estimate one in a hundred. I’ve only met ten in my life—all of which were in the military service. Elizabeth has been a real surprise.” Cadman sat down and accepted the bottle of water that Evan rolled her way with a smile. “At any rate, for a while afterward I had all of this self-blame for the entire thing and coming online like that was traumatic to say the least. It’s why they let me bond when I was underage. Finding Aidan—it was so relieving that I wanted to crawl into his lap and never ever leave.”
“I came online in combat,” Evan offered. “I was in Iraq—doing search and rescue. My chopper took a hit but I managed to get it on the ground easily. I had two wounded and a flight crew so damned green and young that I felt guilty to even let them sit in on mission briefings.” He sighed. “Well—we took enemy fire from the moment we landed. I knew I was close to coming online—I’d been diagnosed latent when I was a teenager. The first of my senses had emerged earlier in that month—touch and sound. In the three days that we were on the ground trying to get back to the base—the rest of them came online. I left a trail of bodies in my wake but I brought my entire crew and my rescues home.”
“Hoorah!” Laura offered with a grin. “And then they knocked your ass out and sent you state side.”
“Yeah, that’s SOP for when you come online in the field—no matter the branch of the armed forces you serve in. I spent a lot of time at the Center getting myself squared away but declined a Guide search because I wanted some time to adjust to my gifts on my own before I burdened a partner.”
“Aidan says it’s no burden,” Laura said and glanced towards Tyre to make sure she had his attention. “He said bonding with me was the most safety he’s ever known in his life. He meant it.”
– – – –
“When you said goddamned zoology experiment,” Cameron started as he pulled out a clip and reloaded his P-90. “You really meant goddamned, didn’t you?”
Rodney nodded from his place at his Sentinel’s back. They were a mile from the gate and in the kind of fresh hell that really belonged exclusively on cheesy science fiction television shows and not in his life. He leaned back against John and used his P-90’s light to check the underbrush near their feet. “I really did. The Ancients were stupid sonsofbitches.”
“I concur! I’m going to write Daniel Jackson a letter and let him know so he can tell them we all think so if he accidently Ascends again,” Vala shouted as she leveled her shotgun at one of the appendages reaching out for her and fired.
“Cameron,” John kicked one of the bugs hard as it skittered across the ground in his direction. “Do you have enough ammo to last until we’ve missed our check-in?”
“Hell no,” Cameron snapped. “I’m getting a sword. End of discussion.”
John laughed softly. They’d all had their own envy of Ronon’s katana-like swords to deal with. “It would help if the geeks would release the weapons we pulled from Sateda.”
Rodney sighed. “They went without maintenance for years. They all need to be cleaned thoroughly. Unless you want them blowing up in your hand!” He shot at a creature when it dropped down out of the tree toward him. “This is ridiculous. What possible purpose could these things have to science?”
– – – –
Ronon appeared in the gate room thirty minutes before Sheppard’s team was due back—frowning. “Dial the gate. The Alpha is in trouble.”
Chuck hesitated for a second and then jerked forward when the Sentinel turned to glare at him. “Yes, sir.”
Ronon pulled out both swords and glanced over his shoulder as his Guide came down the stairs dressed for the field. Teyla pulled out a slim, short sword as she came to stand beside him and they both ignored Stackhouse who was organizing Marines for a rescue party.
“Are you sure?” Evan asked from the balcony above the gate.
“My Guide says so,” Ronon returned evenly.
Evan nodded as the wormhole stabilized. “Don’t come back without him.” He glanced towards the Marines. “Stackhouse, don’t get in his way and watch their backs.”
“Not a problem.” Stackhouse signaled his Marines to follow Ronon’s lead through the gate and touched his lover just briefly before they walked through together.
– – – –
“The Stargate just activated,” John leaned into McKay and reloaded his 9mm. “Don’t let this things touch you, Rodney, they’re wrong.”
“I know,” McKay responded. “I think this was… some kind of Ascension experiment. I won’t know until I read the data but they feel greedy and hungry like…” He shuddered. “Wraith.”
“Exactly like that,” Vala agreed. One of the black insects lowered down out of the tree near Cameron and she shoved her Sentinel to the ground—thrust her shotgun upward into it and fired.
She blushed when her husband glared at her and lifted himself off the ground. He brushed thick black blood off her face with steady fingers and then lifted his own weapon to fire directly behind her. “I hate this place. Let’s not vacation here.”
“Agreed.” She shifted so they were back to back again and started to reload. “I’m down to ten rounds.”
“Ronon is coming.” John curled his hand around the back of McKay’s neck protectively and brought his Guide close. “They’re in the trees, Ronon!”
Rodney felt his Sentinel flinch and then he was pushed abruptly back. “John! No!” He reached out for him but Sheppard stumbled backward and fell—one of the insect creatures attached to his neck. “Fuck! goddamn it, Ronon! We’re in trouble!” He fell to his knees beside John and reached out for the bug. The moment he touched it—John screamed.
– – – –
Safety was one step away but John was refusing to go back to Atlantis with the bug attached to him. Rodney wiped his Sentinel’s forehead with trembling fingers. Agony was burning in him—the thing was feeding. Close enough to a Wraith make the experience as horrific as possible, he was sure. “How do you get this thing off?”
Ronon’s gaze shuttered. “I’ve only seen them come off after the host is dead.”
“That is unacceptable!” Rodney snapped. He leaned down and pressed his lips to John’s head. “John. Look at me. Don’t zone on me. I need you focused.”
“Kill it,” John whispered against Rodney’s cheek. “Kill it like you did the Wraith.”
Rodney flinched but he didn’t hesitate. He reached out for the insect mentally and physically—he wrapped his hand around the body and invaded its mind in the same instant. It was the same insect presence he’d felt in the Wraith but more concentrated and pure.
He said nothing verbally—the Marines already had enough to talk about. But in his mind, he was telling it over and over again to die. John screamed and scrambled against him—his hand clenching on McKay’s shoulder. Then the bug let go and John fell unconscious.
McKay flung the carcass as far away as he could and accepted the piece of gauze someone offered him to cover the wound on John’s neck. “Let’s get him home.”
“Yeah, no problem, Doc.” Stackhouse cleared his throat and started calling out orders.
– – – –
Stackhouse had his still silent team in the ready room twenty minutes later. They were all standing stock-still. He glanced them over. “Write your reports, file them on the server, and do not ever speak of what you saw McKay do—not to each other and not to anyone else. Am I clear?”
“Dismissed.” He waited until they were gone and then curled his hand into Jason’s TAC vest. He brought his lover close and inhaled deeply against the skin of his neck. “Has McKay told you what kind of level we can expect you to be?”
“He doesn’t think any of us will rate below a five,” Markham answered honestly. “Let’s go back to our quarters to shower. I need to touch you. I can’t do that—with them.”
“Yet,” Marcus murmured. “And yes—our quarters.”
– – – –
“When were you going to tell us that you’re one of the latent Guides?” Kate Heightmeyer demanded from the doorway of Simon’s office.
Simon set aside his tea and motioned her in. “I’m going to ignore the implications of your question as you could’ve only heard that in a therapy session with my wife.” He watched his fellow psychologist flush with shame. “When I informed you of the latent Guides—I made it clear that their privacy was my main concern. You can be assured I included myself in that.” He pointed towards a chair in front of his desk. “Sit.”
Kate came fully into the office and the doors slid shut behind her. She sat down in the chair he’d indicated and crossed her arms defensively. “As your psychologist—this is information I needed in order to properly treat you.”
“Latent isn’t the same thing as online and I’m not entirely certain you will remain my therapist once I come online. I’ve considered transferring my field assessments to Captain Hicks because you have an obvious prejudice against Guides. It’s something we’ve never discussed—and something I didn’t even know about you until we got here. You have to know I would’ve left you on Earth if I’d known.”
Kate blushed and looked away. “My father is a Guide. He came online when I was ten and accepted a Sentinel within a few weeks. It ruined my parent’s marriage. They were divorced by the time I was fifteen because my father wanted his Sentinel more than he wanted my mother. I haven’t spoken to him in years.”
“I’m sure he regrets that.”
“I had Keller test me twice to make sure I wasn’t latent,” Kate admitted. “I didn’t want to be. I can’t imagine it.”
“Then I’m pleased that you were not among those gifted we found. It would’ve been difficult for you.” Simon cleared his throat. “I don’t want this to damage our working relationship, Kate, but I don’t see how I can remain your patient when you resent something about me that isn’t within my control.”
She flushed and looked away. “I’ll transfer your files to Captain Hicks and meet with him to discuss my notes. You won’t need another field evaluation for a month so he’ll have plenty of time to prepare himself for it.”
“It’s for the best,” Simon admitted. “Now, I need to go check on Dr. McKay and Colonel Sheppard. They’ve had a trying day.” He paused and then cleared his throat. “Transfer Elizabeth’s file as well. There will be times when we will need to see him as a pair. It would best serve her if he was her psychologist of record.”
“I should discuss that with Elizabeth.”
“If you wish, she won’t disagree with me.”
– – – –
“You’re hurting him!”
“I know!” Jennifer shouted back before she could help herself and then took a deep breath. “As soon as he came through the gate, Atlantis started opening all of these files on Iratus bugs and treating injuries suffered from an Iratus bite. We have to get the wound as clean as possible otherwise the damn thing’s DNA will infect the Colonel.”
Rodney paled and then put one hand on John’s shoulder. “John, dial it down all the way. Trust me—take your pain to zero. You know I won’t let anyone damage you.” He pressed his lips against John’s forehead as his Sentinel relaxed completely. “That’s it—just close your eyes so Jennifer can get this done as quickly as possible.”
Jennifer pulled an Ancient device off her tray. “This came out of a wall safe in my office and the city has provided with me instructions on how to use to heal his wound completely.” She paused and watched while Rodney made the decision. When he gave an abrupt nod—she activated the device. “This should identify any foreign DNA that I missed.”
“Okay.” Rodney ran his fingers through John’s hair gently. “Just hurry and don’t leave anything to chance.”
– – – –
Simon Wallace had stayed seated near the end of the observation deck as every member of the pride had entered sometimes individually and sometimes with their mate to check personally on the status of their Alpha. Even most of the latent Guides had made an appearance. Elizabeth had come and gone three times—each time her body tense with the desire to do something but he figured she had no idea what.
Jennifer Keller had spent half the night by John Sheppard’s side—cleaning the wound repeatedly until the Ancient healing device had given an all clear. It had taken her seven and a half hours to get all of the Iratus DNA out of the wound and off the skin of his neck.
McKay had alternated between helping her and ranting at her for the pain she was putting his Sentinel through. She’d taken every angry word from him and hadn’t backed down once. Right now—she was asleep on a gurney a few feet away from Sheppard and McKay.
Evan Lorne was in the observation room—it was as close as he could get to his Guide because she’d declared the isolation room off limits to everyone until they were convinced that the emergency was over.
“She did amazingly well in there.”
Evan nodded. “She’s a brilliant doctor. Carson Beckett recommended her personally when he had to leave the mission. I’m told he said that she was the best he could recommend take his place. That’s saying a lot since he’s a super star in medical circles.”
Wallace nodded. “Yes, I’ve always found Carson to be shiny and bright. So full of good humor and elegant ideas—truly one of the most lovely people I’ve ever met—inside and out. He had a great deal of faith in her—something she hadn’t a lot of in her life because of her age and looks.” Simon shrugged when Lorne glared at him. “I’m married, Major, not dead. Your Guide is the kind of beautiful that should’ve put her on the cover of magazines—not in medical school. We can be thankful, I suppose, that she doesn’t give the turn of her face a second thought. God help us all if we’d been sent out here with someone ignorant of Sentinel/Guide biology or someone who would’ve folded in the face of McKay’s temper tonight.”
“They tell me he couldn’t help himself,” Lorne said dryly. “He can be glad he didn’t actually touch her.”
“John was bleeding psychically all over Rodney with his emotional and physical pain,” Simon reminded. “McKay really wasn’t himself and won’t be for days. The city is very stressed out right now—I hope you’re keeping an eye on the mundanes. Any one of them could blow and just go wacko at the least provocation.”
Lorne laughed. “Wacko?”
“It’s a serious technical term,” Simon returned gravely but his eyes were sparkling with humor.
“We are keeping an eye on them. Vala has briefed everyone on the reason why they are so upset and stressed out and has encouraged everyone to chill out in their quarters.”
“Anyone unduly irritated by the influence Rodney and John have on them?”
Evan shrugged. “A few civilian scientists seem to be a little more bent than strictly necessary, one of your people among them. I’ve offered to take the three of them to the mainland for the duration but they all said no. Heightmeyer said she might be needed on the city if one of her patients has a serious problem.”
“I never should’ve brought her out here,” Simon admitted. “She’s not handling the stress of the expedition as well as I would like.”
“Well, doc, it isn’t like we could prepare for this.”
“Yes, yes and no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.”
Evan grinned and shook his head. “Don’t stay up here all night, doc.”
“My wife will collect me when she’s tired of my brooding,” Simon assured.
– – – –
“I am at a complete loss as to how to ease you in this,” Tyre whispered against the skin of his Guide’s neck. “I don’t think we can complete the full bond until you settle down.”
Peter moved closer and curled his fingers against Tyre’s skin. “I don’t know why I always end up in the shower.”
Tyre chuckled. “Well, at least you took off your clothes this time.”
Peter blushed and rubbed his mouth against Tyre’s bare shoulder. “Heard about that did you?”
“Heard it actually—I was already on the city and I had my hearing wide open. I couldn’t help myself. I was really in tune with the Alpha. So I listened to him and McKay climb into bed with you and hold you while you slept.” Tyre moved in closer and sighed when Peter slid one hand down his side. “It’s been years since I’ve been touched like this.”
“Years?” Peter questioned.
“Since before Sateda was culled,” Tyre admitted. “On my world, when a Guardian comes online he forsakes all intimate contact until he bonds with his Consort. It encourages them to bond as quickly as possible. I’d been online for a year when Sateda was culled. The woman I was developing a relationship left me soon after I came online. She said she couldn’t wait for me to bond and more importantly she couldn’t be the wife of a man who would never love her as much as he loved his Consort.” He let his hand trail down the center of Peter’s smooth chest. “Your people don’t have body hair?”
Peter blushed. “I had Jennifer remove it earlier in the week. She said Sentinels prefer it…I imagine Consorts on your world shaved quite diligently if permanent removal wasn’t an option.”
Tyre hummed softly. “It was actually an option. I had mine taken when I came online. It was a uniquely painful process but the relief of it was worth it in the end.” He pulled Peter closer and ran one hand down his Guide’s back and over his ass. “Tell me how to ease you.”
“You could fuck me,” Peter murmured as he was pushed against the wall. It heated under his skin and he sucked in a breath. “This is the freakiest place in the universe to live.”
“Is that… would that be…” Tyre sighed.
“No.” Peter touched his face so he would meet his gaze. “Just no. It’s been nearly sixteen years and five years of therapy. Trust me on this—I’m in a good place. I’ve had male and female lovers in the time since then without having any kind of problems or flashbacks.”
“Flashback?” Tyre questioned with an eyebrow.
“Remembering something so vividly that the memory takes you from the current moment,” Peter explained and then hissed in a breath when Tyre moved closer and rubbed his hard cock against his thigh. “Don’t tease me.”
“I’m not playing some game with you,” Tyre promised. “I’ll give you exactly what you need for as long as you need it.”
“That’s so good,” Peter murmured and sighed into Tyre’s mouth.
– – – –
Rodney shifted on the hospital bed and touched his Sentinel’s face. “He doesn’t have a fever.”
Jennifer nodded and put aside her scanner. “If you can wake him up—you can go back to your quarters. The skin is good and the healing device worked like a charm.”
Rodney nodded. It had worked great after it had decided that the wound was completely clean. Apparently, it had a companion sanitization device that the city hadn’t given them, yet. Maybe it was broken or the Ancients had taken it with them. “John, we can go back to our quarters and get naked if you wake up.”
John shifted under the blanket and opened his eyes after a long exaggerated yawn. “You’re doing all the work.”
Jennifer laughed and walked towards the double doors. “Keep an eye on him, Rodney, and call me if he has any kind of hinky symptoms.”
“Hinky?” Rodney frowned after her and then focused on his Sentinel. “We can’t trust a doctor that uses the adjective ‘hinky’.”
John reached out and touched his face. “I don’t know—she hung tough with you for seven hours. We should put that in a report. She might hold the record now.”
“Fuck you,” Rodney muttered and leaned down to kiss him.
John fisted his hand in Rodney’s hair and then settled down in the bed. “Yeah, let’s do that.”
“In our quarters,” Rodney admonished against his mouth. “Seriously. The observation deck has been Grand Central Station.”
John groaned but released his Guide. “Let’s go then.”
– – – –
Graham slid from the bed and reached for his clothes. “I shouldn’t stay. You have early PT tomorrow.”
Dean reached out and ran his hand down his back. “Just stay.”
“Your men will know,” Graham murmured. “You’re the ranking NCO on the city, Dean, and you’re latent. We can’t risk exposing our relationship until you come online and you have some kind of defense against a regulation’s violation.”
“I don’t care,” Bates muttered and pulled him back into the bed. “Sheppard isn’t going to file charges against me.”
“Yeah, but a few of those grunts could get it in their heads to kick your ass,” Graham snapped and pushed gently on his chest with both hands. “Don’t make this harder than it is. It sucks leaving.”
“I hate waking up without you,” Dean admitted and then released him. He rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. “That sucks, too.”
“It does but I have to… let me protect you as much as I can.”
“It’s my job to protect you.”
Graham chuckled. “Yeah, you keep thinking that.” He patted his stomach and sighed. “You’re in really great shape.”
“All the better to fuck you with,” Dean muttered and rolled over on his side. “And if you stayed we could do that again.”
Graham leaned down and kissed his mouth. “I’m so pleased with your progress but the answer is still a big fat no.”
“Do you have some gay sex chart in your quarters?” Dean questioned as he watched his lover of a few weeks leave his bed. He really did hate to see the man go. It pissed him off on some level he’d rather not address. “If so—are you scoring me because I think I’ve done some great work lately?”
“You have,” Graham acknowledged as he buttoned his BDUs. “I’d give you an A+ on blow jobs alone.”
Dean flushed. “Asshole.”
“Yeah, you’re pretty great in that area, too. It’s like you were always gay.” Graham gasped when Bates reached out and hauled him back into the bed. “Hey!”
“Just for you,” Dean settled on top of him. “You know that, right?”
Graham stilled under him and tilted his head a little so he could get a good view of Dean’s face. “Yeah, I do. I mean—I don’t see you checking out your Marines when they’re all sweaty and hot during PT.”
“You like seeing them all hot and sweaty?”
“I like seeing you all hot and sweaty—the man candy you bring with you in just the icing on a very amazing cake.” He wiggled a little and laughed when Bates growled at him. “You’re all I want, Dean. I mean that. I know you have some insecurity in this because I’m the first man you’ve ever been with and you can’t make some public claim of me. I get that but you have nothing to worry about.”
“I don’t think you’ll…” Dean sat up and straddled him easily. “I do want everyone to know that you’re mine which is pretty foreign to me all things considered. I’ve never been possessive of the women I slept with in the past.”
“Never made any sort of emotional connection to one of them?”
“I did my undergrad work after I enlisted because I thought I might want OTS eventually. Anyways, I met a woman while I was taking classes.” Dean slid off him and lay down beside of him with a sigh. “By the time she graduated she made it clear she didn’t want to be a Marine’s wife so I walked away from her.”
“I do have to go,” Graham whispered and then leaned in to kiss him. The kiss was soft and exploring. They separated with a mutual groan. “I’ll be in my lab so be sure to give me a great show at PT.”
Bates dropped back on his bed and watched out of the corner of his eye as Graham finished dressing. The scientist checked to make sure he was grabbing the right radio off the dresser and with a small wave slid out of his quarters.
“The leaving part really does suck,” he told his ceiling with a sincere frown.
– – – –
“I thought we could have dinner.”
Graham glanced up from his computer and cleared his throat. “What?”
“Dinner.” Dr. Henry Benning repeated. “That meal at the end of the day, I thought we could eat that meal together in my quarters.”
“Oh.” Graham smiled. “Thanks, Henry but I’m actually seeing someone and…”
“Some grunt,” Henry surmised. “Don’t think you deserve better than to be some dirty secret one of those guys? I’m not saying I blame the guy—I wouldn’t turn you down, obviously, but it isn’t like he’s free to really be with you, Graham. You should have better than that.”
The anger was unexpected mostly because he wasn’t entirely certain it was all his. He’d had a horrible day—his head had started hurting by midmorning and the mess hall had been noisy at lunch. Graham had barely managed to grab food to take with him.
“I knew what I was getting into when I started the relationship,” Graham explained evenly and closed his laptop. “I appreciate your concern, Henry, and your interest is flattering. Your arrogant assumption, however, that I don’t know what I want is extremely insulting.”
“I’m sure your Marine is exciting,” Henry allowed. “But for how long? Life is short out here, Graham; don’t think a man like you would be better off with one of his own?”
“A civilian or a scientist?” Graham asked with a raised eyebrow. “You do remember that I spent six years in the Air Force, right? I only left two and half years ago to get my PhD. The only reason I left is because I’m bisexual and I was tired of worrying about those stupid regulations.”
“And now you’re in the same boat,” Henry offered snidely. “Except your sneaking around this city at o’dark thirty to protect his career instead of your own.”
“Enough!” Graham snapped and pushed back from his desk. “This conversation is over.”
He walked past Benning and started in surprise when the scientist grabbed his arm. Graham reacted before he could even conceptualize it. He grabbed Benning by the front of his shirt and shook him.
“Don’t you ever fucking touch me again!” Graham shouted and then shoved Benning hard against a wall.
“Whoa, whoa, docs, what’s up in here?” A Marine entered from the hallway and made a grab for them both. Graham jerked away but Benning was too stunned to fight the soldier off. “Dr. Simmons? What’s going on?”
“It was nothing,” Benning ground out through clenched teeth and pulled his arm free of the Marine’s hold. “Just a small disagreement.”
“Is that so?” The Marine asked dryly. “Dr. Simmons is that what happened?”
“Yes, Corporal Stanley, just a misunderstanding,” Graham murmured and ran a shaking hand over his face.
“Really?” Stanley asked. “Because that’s not what I heard and it’s definitely not what Colonel Sheppard heard.”
Graham flinched and looked up to find John Sheppard standing in the doorway of his lab. “It was nothing, Colonel.”
John glanced between the two men and then inclined his head. “Thanks for the assist, Corporal. Escort Dr. Benning to his quarters for the evening. Make sure he’s comfortable.”
Benning flinched. “I didn’t do anything!”
“I’m not saying you did,” John returned. “But you look upset and shaken. I thought perhaps you’d like to eat in your quarters? Doc, this situation clearly got out of hand in a way neither of you anticipated. Let’s clear the room and get everyone calmed down or I’ll have to involve a psychologist.”
Benning sighed. “Okay, Corporal Stanley, I heard there was going to be meat loaf.”
Stanley glanced briefly at Sheppard and then nodded. “Sure, thing, Doc. Let’s go. Did you want some of that weird juice from the mainland or a soda? You know we’re almost out.”
Graham dropped down in his chair and said nothing until Sheppard had walked fully into the room. The Colonel leaned on the desk next to him. “He touched me.”
“I heard,” John admitted. “I sent Stanley because he was closest and I was trying to get here without alerting the whole city and giving everyone flashbacks of me dashing through the city in my PJs to kill a Wraith.”
Graham snorted. “That was hot.”
John blushed. “Are you okay? Because you’re unreasonably furious and Benning was just mostly frustrated. Maybe a little confused, too, because he thought you and he were pretty good friends. Friends with the potential for more.”
“I hurt him,” Graham murmured. “I could tell he was lashing out because he… has feelings for me I don’t return. Feelings I didn’t even notice which makes me something of an asshole. But I just got so angry and it felt foreign.”
“Like it wasn’t you that was angry?” John questioned.
“Yeah,” Graham admitted and sighed. “Am I picking up on someone else’s bad temper or something?”
“Not exactly.” He pulled a chair over to Graham and dropped down into it. “I think you viewed his interest in you as inappropriate because of the building connection you have with Bates and when he touched you—it was akin to pair bond interference for you on some instinctual level.”
“We don’t have a bond.”
“You’re both close to coming online and you don’t have the ability to create a mental bond. So, you’ve both made an effort to bind yourselves together with sexual intimacy. Benning touched you and in doing so he tainted that physical bond you’ve created with your Sentinel.”
Graham flushed. “I don’t think Dean would appreciate us discussing sex, Colonel.”
John grinned. “I’d dearly love to see the chart.”
Laughter in the doorway caught them both off guard and Graham relaxed at the sight of Bates in the doorway. Dean came in and the doors closed behind him. “Me, too.”
Graham blushed. “You’re both assholes.”
“Are you okay?” Dean questioned seriously. “Stanley told me he had to separate you and Dr. Benning.”
John stood up and patted Graham on the shoulder, patently ignoring Bates little growl. “Go easy on yourself, Graham, and call Keller if your headache gets any worse.”
He walked to Bates and paused at the Marines’ side. “I’m going to keep an ear on Benning the rest of the night, Dean. Don’t make me kick your ass.”
Bates pursed his lips briefly. “I’ll behave, sir.”
John snorted. “You do that.”
Graham stood up from his chair and picked up his laptop. “My case is over there in the cabinet. Would you get it?”
Dean walked to the cabinet and pulled out the laptop case inside without saying anything. He brought it to his lover and then stood there staring.
“You know I think it’s sexy when you do that so I don’t know why you think you just staring will be enough to make me talk about what happened in here. I’m not one of your Marines.”
“Fine,” Dean said and crossed his arms. “Tell me or I’ll go find one of the Sentinels and get a full report from them. They all keep an ear on you because of your latent status. I’m sure Ronon will tell me what I want to know without asking questions.”
Graham glared and shoved his laptop inside the bag. “That’s… bullshit you know.”
“It sucks to be you,” Dean agreed. “Spill it.”
“He asked me out and I told him no. I said it was flattering but I was already involved with someone. Then he went off on a little tangent talking about me being a relationship with a soldier and how I deserved to be in an open relationship instead of just being someone’s dirty little secret.” He paused when Bates visibly flinched. “I don’t see it that way.”
“And then what happened?” Bates questioned.
“I told him the conversation was over and started to leave. He grabbed my arm and I sort of lost it…” Graham shrugged. “I can’t even explain why I was so angry. Sheppard said…”
“I heard what Sheppard said,” Dean admitted. “I was only a minute behind him. He used the all-call channel to send Stanley to your lab.”
“Good, fine, we’re on the same page.”
“Close enough,” Dean agreed and inclined his head. “Let’s go to my quarters—you look like you need something from me.”
“Like what?” Graham demanded with a glare.
“I thought I’d fuck you through the mattress.”
Graham’s mouth dropped open but he shouldered his laptop with all good speed. “Excellent thought.”
– – – –
John waved his hand over the sensor outside Benning’s quarters and wasn’t surprised when the man answered immediately. “Dr. Benning.”
“Colonel Sheppard.” Henry stepped back and waved him inside. “I didn’t… I don’t even know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything actually. I heard the whole thing and I have a good grasp of your feelings for Graham Simmons. When I first recognized them—we were on Earth and I dismissed it as a non-issue because you were both civilians.”
Benning nodded and sat down on the edge of his bed. “I didn’t mean to upset him like that and I don’t know why I touched him.”
“He’s projecting a lot of need right now—sexual and emotional. You’re sensitive to it because you’re very attracted to him.” John glanced around the quarters—surprised to find as neat and orderly as he would expect from one of the Marines.
“I’m only discussing this with you because I’m worried about your safety and I need your word you won’t discuss it with anyone else.”
Benning nodded, clearly miserable. “Of course, Colonel. I know how to keep a secret.”
John smiled sadly. “I know—after all you’ve worked for the SGC for years.” He sighed. “Graham Simmons is a latent Guide and the grunt he’s involved with is his Sentinel. We think they’ll come online together within the next few weeks.”
Benning’s eyes widened in surprise and then he just dropped down onto the small couch near his bed. “So I don’t stand a chance of…”
“Having him?” John questioned gently. “No, I’m sorry, you don’t. And Henry, even if you had managed to start something with him before he became aware of his status—you’d have lost him when he came online. No one can compete with a Sentinel and eventually the pair bond drives outsiders away no matter the status of the bond between Sentinel and Guide.”
Henry nodded. “He’s special—I’ve always thought so but I never could risk approaching him when he was in uniform. I didn’t want to hurt his career or make him uncomfortable.”
“You just want to take care of him,” John murmured. “Guides inspire that, Henry, even in mundanes to some degree.”
“So I’m not really in love with him?” Henry questioned. “It’s just a reaction to his Guide gifts emerging?”
John sighed. “I sincerely wish that was the problem for you, Henry, because if it was your feelings would fade after he bonds. But you were in love with him at the SGC and it’s only gotten stronger for you here because you work so closely with him everyday.”
Henry dropped his head back on the couch and took a deep breath. “This is… fucked up.”
“I would never try to interfere in a pair bond. I know how important it is for his safety to have a good bond with his Sentinel and vice versa. I was there when Cameron Mitchell lost Vala. I wouldn’t—do that to either one of them.” He lifted his head. “Is his Sentinel going to come kick my ass for touching his Guide?”
“They aren’t bound currently. They can’t bond until they’re both online. His Sentinel is clearly very protective of him but he’s not so far gone that he would hurt you. So, no, you have nothing to worry about on that front. We really aren’t primitive animals on a regular basis. We have to be pushed pretty hard and pretty far to really blow.”
Benning nodded. “I understand.” He cleared his throat. “I hate to—could you ask Dr. McKay to assign me to someone else’s team? I’d like to think Graham is still my friend but I’m going to need some small measure of distance.”
“Yes.” John nodded. “I’ll talk to him tonight and we’ll get you moved to a new assignment. Maybe the mainland project?”
Benning nodded. “That would be great actually. I’d love to be involved in building the village. I haven’t gotten to design anything useful that wasn’t a weapon in years.”
– – – –
“Fuck that’s good,” Jason whispered fiercely as Marcus pushed his legs back and nuzzled his balls.
In the beginning, they hadn’t known what to do with each other—had spent weeks kissing and jerking each other off every chance, they got which hadn’t been often in basic training. Sometimes, Jason missed those days when they’d fumbled through loving each other—had been nervous and careful.
Granted, after nearly ten years together they knew exactly how to get each other off—when to fuck hard and deep and when to go slow and easy. He sighed and ran his fingers over the dark, stubble cover Marcus’ head. For some reason his lover hadn’t bothered to discuss with him—he’d gone to one of their friends and gotten his hair buzzed off almost to the scalp.
“I love you,” Marcus whispered as he licked up the length of Jason’s cock. He moaned softly as he caught precum on this tongue and then sucked the head in eagerly.
Jason shuddered as he surrendered to the physical pleasure he knew so well. Marcus’ hands drifted over his thighs, spreading him wider. He groaned in shock when Marcus released his cock and lifted upward to run his tongue from his belly button all the way up over his sternum.
“You taste amazing,” Marcus whispered. “I love how silky your skin has gotten since Keller removed the hair.” He flicked his tongue over Jason’s nipple and moaned when it tightened under his attention. Marcus settled his weight on top of him and rubbed his cock against the crease of Jason’s thigh.
Jason wrapped his legs around Marcus’ slim hips with a pleased sigh and arched up into his hot, wet mouth. He loved getting his nipples licked and sucked but normally they both were too worked up too quickly to allow for a lot of foreplay. Marcus moved to the other nipple and Jason shivered when he scraped his teeth over it.
“I love how you always respond to me,” Marcus whispered. “Since the beginning—always so eager for my touch. The first time I kissed you…” He paused and shifted up so they were eye to eye. “I was so freaked out and for a second I thought you were going to push me back and then kick my ass.”
Jason grinned and touched his face gently. “Instead I wrapped around you like a vine and rubbed off on your stomach.”
“That was so fucking hot,” Marcus admitted. “I jacked off thinking about you doing that for a month. In my bunk, with you just a bed away.”
“Watching,” Jason admitted and then grinned. “I always watched you jerk off. You barely moved your body but I could see enough to know what you were doing. I could get hard and come just from watching you. I couldn’t believe you wanted me. I couldn’t believe we were both risking getting dumped by the Corps just to touch each other.”
Marcus leaned down and kissed him gently. Jason immediately opened to the kiss, his hands gliding up over Marcus’ back as he did so. He sent one hand questing for the lube and when he found it under his pillow—he pulled it out and dropped it on the bed beside them.
Marcus lifted his head with a small laugh. “God, you aren’t even remotely subtle.”
“Not trying to be,” Jason muttered as he shifted under him. “I want you to fuck me, Marcus. I need you inside me.”
Marcus sighed and shifted back on his knees. “We have a mission tomorrow and that means a post-mission medical.”
Jason glared at him. “You can’t possible think that Keller doesn’t know we fuck. She’s not military and she understands what we are.”
Marcus rubbed his lover’s thighs. “We’ve had these rules for a long time—it’s not easy letting them go. They kept us safe and out of legal trouble, ya know.” He picked up the lube and flipped it open. “How do you feel?”
“On edge—needy,” Jason admitted roughly and rubbed his feet against Marcus’ thighs. “I want you in me.”
Marcus slicked up his fingers and grinned as Jason grasped his own knees and pulled his legs back to his chest. The room was saturated with the musky scent of male arousal; Stackhouse took a deep breath as he slid his fingers into Jason’s entrance. Years of anal sex made this part easy but they both liked a lot of lube. In the past few months, he’d found too much friction on his dick painful rather than a pleasure.
Marcus slicked up his cock and then wiped the excess lube on the sheet beneath them. He cupped Jason’s hips and lifted him off the bed easily. Markham slid one leg up on Stackhouse’s shoulder and sighed softly when Marcus pressed into his ass with one sure stroke.
The pleasure was intense in ways it had never been before. Marcus stilled and sucked in a deep breath as everything in him responded. All of his senses opened up gently and sought out Jason.
“Oh.” Jason shivered and reached out for him. “Marcus.”
They shifted their bodies easily and Marcus lowered on top of his Guide with a moan. Something shifted in his mind and he reached out mentally for Jason. His need was met immediately. Jason wrapped his body and his mind around his Sentinel.
“God, Marcus, please.”
“I’m here,” Marcus whispered. “I’ll always be here.”
They started to move—easy and slow, enjoying the luxury of the most pleasure they’d ever known together. Marcus took Jason’s mouth in a kiss and groaned at the first real taste of his Guide’s mouth. It was overwhelming and so intensely satisfying just to kiss him that he stopped moving to give himself over completely to the exploration of his Guide’s mouth.
Finally, when he’d had enough—he lifted up and started to fuck into Jason with long, measured strokes. Markham curled his hands around the metal headboard of their bed, hooked his legs high up across Marcus’ back and rocked into the penetration shamelessly.
Marcus snaked one hand between them and jacked Jason’s cock roughly. “Come for me, baby. I need…” He sucked in a breath. “Come on, baby, give it up for me.”
Jason tightened around his Sentinel and came with a deep groan. He striped his own chest with pearly white cum and relaxed on the bed with a sated sigh. Marcus inhaled sharply and pressed in deep one more time before coming himself—his body surged hard against his lover as he emptied into him.
Marcus was still for a few seconds and then he pulled his still half-hard cock from Jason and leaned down to lick the cum off his Guide’s chest.
Markham relaxed under the attention and then pulled Marcus into his arms as his Sentinel calmed. They lay tangled together, breathing hard.
“I thought it would hurt when I came online,” Marcus whispered against Jason’s neck. He moved closer and arranged his lover so they were spooned together. “Zelenka looked like someone was trying to kill him.”
“You’ve been coming online for weeks, maybe even months.” Jason rubbed his hand down Marcus’ thigh and moved closer. “We should check in with the infirmary.”
“Not yet,” Marcus murmured. “I’ll get on the radio in a few minutes and take us both off duty. I don’t think… I can tolerate having others around you right now.”
– – – –
John shifted Rodney away as he slid from his bed and pulled on a radio. “Sheppard to Bates.” Several seconds passed and then Bates answered. “Stackhouse is nesting and will be off duty for the next few days. I’ll need you up for his shift in an hour. He’ll put in a call to the control room in a few minutes himself but I figured you could use the heads up.”
“Thank you, sir. Did Markham come online with him?”
“Yeah, they had a very natural awakening—the kind of thing pairs dream about,” John murmured. “They’re housed in the middle of the barracks so I’m concerned. Ford and Cadman are already sorting themselves for guard duty. Interruptions at this point could be very badly received by Stackhouse.”
“Understood. I’ll inform the patrol teams and then set up a meeting with the rest of the company for you.” Bates paused. “And if you’d like you could tell them about my status.”
“If you’re ready for that,” John said in agreement. “You know that’s your call and I’ve already updated your records so you can’t be charged with anything stupid once we get back in touch with Earth.”
“I think I’m ready but more importantly I need…” Bates trailed off. “I’d rather not explain it, sir.”
John chuckled. “You don’t really have to. I understand completely.” He signed off and pulled his radio out of his ear.
Rodney reached out for him, still mostly asleep, as he slipped back under their blankets. “Too much sex.”
John laughed. “No such thing.”
“The city is full of it,” Rodney complained softly and nuzzled his mouth against John’s sternum. “Everyone just fucks and fucks and fucks.”
“Some might blame us,” John whispered and pressed a kiss against his Guide’s hair.
“Dirty rotten liars.” Rodney shifted closer to his Sentinel and drifted back off to sleep.
Sheppard spread out his senses and settled them over his city. He touched each person gently—spending more time with the latent Guides to make sure that Jason’s awakening hadn’t induced them to wake as well.
Content that everything was as it should be—John relaxed and let the peace and the quiet of an alien city lull him to sleep.
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