Title: The Air That Angels Breathe
Author: Keira Marcos
Word Count: 7,500
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Warnings: Mild Angst, explicit sex, Mutant!Verse
Disclaimer: I don’t own them and if I did the show would’ve been on Showtime.
Summary: John has hid his mutation all of his life and then everything changes in an instant.
Author’s Note: It seemed to me that in a world where people were mutating that being gay would be the last thing anyone worried about so there is no DADT in this universe. This story is a ONE SHOT and I really have no current plans to revisit it. Special thanks to Chris King and LadyHolder for reading and putting up with my neurotic (sick) self.
About the Art: DancesWithGary did the great manip for me with John with black wings which in turn inspired me to write about John with wings!
– – – –
Colonel John Sheppard knew it was one thing for people to know he was a mutant—it was another thing altogether for them to see that he was a mutant. His mutant status was a secret to exactly no one but it was a little late in life for him to resent it. He’d been identified as a toddler and his father, unlike so many other parents, had refused to give over his son to the US government. He’d sued them instead and he’d won.
Among mutant circles, Patrick Sheppard was a legend. The man who fought like hell to keep his son and forced the world see that the children that were mysteriously mutating were still children. Because of him, mutants were free. Free to live just like any other human being on Earth.
John was very proud of his father—how could he not be? John had become the symbol of free mutants at the innocent age of three years old. Still, he’d never displayed his abilities before anyone but his family and no one had ever dared asked him. It was considered a very rude thing to do in their society—some thirty-nine years after the first mutant child was found.
The spontaneous jump in human evolution effected less than ten percent of the children born since 1970. John had always thought he was cursed to have fallen in that percentage but he was blessed to have a father who loved him beyond all reason even if he was a freak.
Thirty-two years of hiding his abilities and in a split second every single reason he had for hiding himself away just disappeared. He tossed his aside his skateboard as he ran down the pier back towards the city—towards McKay who was for some reason he couldn’t even conceptualize dangling from a goddamned balcony. He pulled his t-shirt over his head just seconds before his wings erupted from his back—blood sprayed like a burst of rain from the sudden emergence. John was in the air in under thirty seconds and caught McKay just as the scientist lost his grip on the ledge.
They both dropped in the air abruptly but John caught an updraft and for a few seconds they were almost still—green eyes intent on blue. Rodney’s hands curled against John’s shoulders as Sheppard easily lifted them in the air.
The balcony was empty when they landed. John released McKay reluctantly. His black wings fluttered gently behind him. It felt amazing to have them out during the day, under the sun. Since coming to Atlantis he’d confined himself to flying only at night when he was off duty and even then no more than three times a month.
Rodney cleared his throat. “When I was small—I remember seeing you on TV with your Dad. They always refused to discuss what your mutant ability was so I figured it must be something pretty bad.”
“Not bad,” John murmured. “Just private and unique.”
“Very unique,” Rodney agreed. “That was—amazing. Thank you.” He motioned towards the railing. “It just broke. I wasn’t prepared.”
“Good thing you held on as long as you could,” John murmured. “It would’ve been bad otherwise.”
Rodney shuddered and glanced towards the edge. “You could’ve killed yourself—fallen with my extra weight, you beautiful idiot!”
John’s wings fluttered and he rolled his eyes. “I’ve been flying since I was three, McKay. I know how much weight my wings can handle. I can carry two times my own body weight at least for a short distance.” He glanced towards the door as he heard foot steps and let his head fall back. He grimaced as his wings resisted returning to his skin. They always did—it was natural for them to be out but they relented and were gone by the time the balcony was stormed.
Jennifer Keller was the first to arrive followed by Evan Lorne and Elizabeth Weir. “Are you two okay?”
“Rodney thinks he might have strained his shoulder,” John pointed out and glanced towards the pier where everyone was still standing and gawking. “I’m fine.”
“You’ll both need to come to the infirmary,” Keller insisted.
John shot the young doctor a hard glance. He didn’t like her—mostly for her overt interest in McKay but that wasn’t something he was ready to discuss with anyone. “McKay had an accident. I didn’t. I’m fine.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Colonel Sheppard, I was on the pier. Wings sprouted out of your back and you sprayed blood in a six foot arc behind you when they did.”
John turned and let her see his back. The skin was probably a little damp with sweat and a little bit of blood but the skin was healed and perfect. It always was afterward. “I’m fine.”
“I’ll need to take some blood work,” Keller insisted.
“Absolutely not,” John snapped. “The only time you take blood from me, Dr. Keller, is when I go off world and then you’re only allowed to do a standard blood panel.”
“Colonel, under the circumstances…”
“Experimenting on mutants is illegal,” John snapped and everyone on the balcony but McKay flinched. “Or didn’t they teach you that at medical school before they patted you on the head and sent you out into the world to play with grown ups?”
Keller blushed furiously. “It’s my job to make sure everyone on the city is well, Colonel. And that includes the twenty-six mutants that live here. I don’t want to experiment on you—but I do want to make sure your body chemistry is normal for you.”
“I fly two or three times a month, Dr. Keller. This wasn’t a new thing. I’ve been flying without the benefit of an aircraft since I was three.”
“All the same…”
Keller crossed her arms. “Then I have no choice but to take you off duty until which time you allow a physical examination.”
“You do that,” John returned evenly. “Forcing me into an examination or limiting my ability to function in my role in the Air Force based on my mutation is a violation of my rights. You file your paperwork and then I’ll file mine.” He stalked off the balcony without looking at anyone else.
Rodney took a deep breath and looked out over the too blue sky of New Lantea. He didn’t much like the new world they’d settled the city on. “I’ll go to the infirmary on my own and I’ll see Dr. Biro for my injury.”
Jennifer took a deep breath. “Surely you see that I’m right, Rodney.”
“No, I don’t see that you’re right, Jennifer. Experimenting on mutants is illegal in my country, too.” He brushed past her and left the balcony. “Dr. Weir, will you school Carson’s replacement on such things before she’s allowed anywhere near the Colonel again?”
“Yes, Rodney.” Elizabeth called after him. “Major Lorne, will you check on the Colonel and make sure he’s okay as discreetly as you can?”
Elizabeth looked at the young doctor as they were left alone. “You were aware that Colonel Sheppard was a mutant before this incident, correct?”
“Everyone knows he’s a mutant but no one knew…” Jennifer paled. “There has never been a documented case of a mutant having the ability to shift or alter his shape, Dr. Weir. Colonel Sheppard literally sprouted wings. I know there were tests done on him and DNA work for the ATA gene therapy but that is locked in the infirmary records.”
“I know. I locked them,” Elizabeth returned. “John only consented to the research because we needed to have others on the city with the ATA gene and he had the strongest one we’ve ever found. Carson Beckett personally promised that his genome and his DNA would never be reviewed to investigate his mutation.” Elizabeth prodded the young doctor away from the broken railing. “ You will not take Colonel Sheppard off active duty and you will not pester him about what happened today. If you do—I’ll send you back to Earth.”
Jennifer opened her mouth but then closed it abruptly. “You know he should be examined.”
“I know his basic human rights are more important to me than your curiosity.”
– – – –
John glanced over his shoulder and sighed. “You’re not very stealthy, Lorne. You did pass SERE training, right?”
Evan Lorne laughed and slid out onto the balcony. He offered Sheppard the t-shirt he had discarded on the pier. “I had Franks take your skateboard back to your quarters, sir.”
John pulled his t-shirt over his head and nodded, purposely ignoring the dried blood on his back. “Thanks. Is this… a problem?”
“Sir.” Evan frowned. “My younger brother has a mutation. You know it’s not a problem for me.” He sighed. “Though… I’ll admit to being a little jealous.” He shrugged when John glanced his way. “What pilot do you know that wouldn’t want wings? Jesus, that’s just made of complete and total win.”
John snorted and choked briefly on laughter. “Thanks.”
“Why do you hide it? I mean—it’s rare. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a wing mutation before. McKay’s mutation is pretty slick but not unique.”
John nodded. Rodney was what most people on Earth called a ‘technopath’ – it made him a stunningly brilliant engineer and an asset to the expedition that could not easily be replaced. “I’ve met two or three that can do what Rodney does—but none to his ability. He’s a force of… nature.”
“Keller is something else,” Evan finally said. “She was looking at you like she wanted to see what your insides look like.”
John shuddered. “She isn’t the first. The doctor that diagnosed me as a mutant and reported me to the government looked at me like I was his meal ticket. My father decimated him in a matter of weeks and then took on the rest of the world.”
“He’s a great man,” Evan said and leaned on the railing. “By the time my brother was born there were laws in place to protect him because of what your father did. I keep hoping he’ll come out to visit so I can meet him.”
“His job in Homeworld Security keeps him busy,” John admitted. “But he wants to see the city. This will get back to him.”
“Was hiding what you could do his idea?” Evan asked softly.
“No, not at all. He never expected me to hide at all but he respected my wishes and guarded my privacy so zealously that anyone who did know was afraid to say it in public. It became a habit to hide it—I’m not ashamed of what I am. It just became intensely private but”—his gaze flicked to the part of the city where the accident had happened. “Nothing is more important…”
“Than McKay’s life?” Evan questioned with a raised eyebrow.
“I like to think I would’ve done it for anyone,” John admitted and then he blushed when Evan smirked. “Seriously.”
“I believe you would but it’s good that you realize that because it was Rodney you didn’t even hesitate. You were moving even as it happened. He never would’ve survived that fall.” Evan looked out over the sky. “I really don’t know how you’ve kept yourself out of the sky so much here. I’d be up there every damn day.”
“I learned long ago not to give into the lure of the sky.”
Evan grinned then. “Now you don’t have to deny yourself.” He waved his hand to encompass the sky. “It’s your day off, sir. Just keep your radio on so I can contact you if I need you, please.”
“Not today—I want to check on McKay but thank you for not being an asshole because I’m a freak.”
“Don’t,” Evan snapped and looked away from him. “Don’t call yourself a freak. I spent most of my time in high school kicking people’s asses who called my baby brother a freak. It’s unacceptable.”
“So is kicking people’s asses,” John returned dryly. “Unless they’re Genii, Wraith or Wraith worshippers.”
– – – –
Rodney was getting ointment rubbed into his shoulder by a nurse when John arrived. The infirmary was quiet and the door to Carson’s office was shut tight.
John glanced around at everyone. “What did you do?”
McKay shook his head. “Nothing.” He glared at the closed office door and then sighed. “She’s young and sort of silly, John. I know she’s not one of those people that would experiment on us but her enthusiasm and curiosity just pisses me the fuck off when it’s directed at…” Rodney blushed and looked away. “You.”
John leaned against the bed. “You know we’ll be alerted if she tries to do DNA work on me. The security protocols in the DNA lab are your design after all.”
“Someone will report your mutation back to the SGC,” Rodney snapped roughly. “I don’t… I’m sorry, John.”
“No, don’t apologize.” John reached out and touched his arm. “It’s okay. Really. It’s kind of a relief to have it all out in the open.” John waved a hand. “It’s not like it’s ever been a secret that I was a mutant and my father is the Director of Homeworld Security. He’s already proven he’s an absolute monster when it comes to my protection.”
Rodney chuckled. “No doubt—he made the world see his point of view before everyone else had even bothered to form an opinion. I don’t think there is another man in modern history that has shaped the public opinion of the entire world like that.” He paused and inclined his head. “I honestly don’t know why he didn’t encourage you to show your wings—I bet you looked like one of those cherubs when you were little. All gorgeous green eyes and pretty fluttering ebony wings.”
The nurse rubbing his shoulder choked on laughter when John blushed scarlet. “People would’ve thought him an angel.”
Rodney shot Sheppard a long, accessing look. “He’s no angel.”
John grinned and ran his fingers through his hair. “No, but I had a boyfriend in college who thought I might be a fallen one.”
“That fits,” Rodney agreed.
“Colonel, did you want me to clean your back, check for tears that didn’t heal?” Marie questioned. “You let lose a lot of blood—it’s probably the first time you’ve shifted in such an emergency.”
John gamely pulled off his shirt for Marie and hopped up on the bed beside Rodney. “Not the first time, actually. The first time was the day my parents realized I was a mutant. We were staying in this cabin in Alaska and I was absolutely fascinated with these eagles that were nesting in this large tree. My parents couldn’t keep me from the window in the second floor of the cabin. One afternoon, I crawled out the window and onto the roof.” He shifted forward a little as Marie started to wipe the blood from his skin. “This feels good.”
She cleared her throat. “Do your wings need to be cleaned?”
John shook his head. “No, I mean—they’re nested in my skin right now. Most of the blood that sprayed out came from them—shaking loose the membrane that holds them in my back. You don’t really want to know more than that. It’s pretty disgusting on a biological level.”
“That’s why you have this large black tattoo all over your back?” Marie questioned. “It’s your wings merged into your skin?”
Rodney leaned back so he could look. “So you climbed out onto the roof?”
“Yeah, and then into the tree. I’d just turned three. By the time my parents realized I was missing—I was up in the tree about six stories up and in the eagle nest. They were a mated pair and let me sleep there most of the afternoon with their eggs. My parents called in the National Forest Service because the cops couldn’t figure out how to get me out without hurting the eagles or the eggs themselves.”
“I’d spank your ass,” Marie muttered and blushed when John looked over at his shoulder at her. “I mean—not now of course.”
John laughed. “Well, they woke me up—getting so excited down there and I went to the side of the nest to look down and part of the side of the nest broke away. One of the eagles tried to catch me—they think because he ripped my shirt away and as I fell… my wings burst from my back. I remember screaming but it was more shocking than painful. The fireman had put out a net and they caught me but I flew for a few seconds.”
“Your parents must have freaked the fuck out,” Rodney muttered.
“Well, my mother did. She was horrified but my father was just relieved I was alive. There were already hundreds of documented cases of mutants around the world so he wasn’t concerned that I’d suddenly sprouted wings. I was the right age for a mutation if it was going to happen to me.”
“You mother was never on TV or in court with your father during the…” Rodney waved a hand.
“She blamed him for my mutation—since all of the mutants that had been identified were male at the time—everyone thought that the Y chromosome was responsible. It was nearly four years later that they found the first female mutant,” John explained. “She left him when he filed a lawsuit against the government because the Defense Department filed custody papers for me.”
“She thought you should go to the government.”
“She didn’t want a freak in her home,” John whispered and glanced back at Marie who had stopped moving. “It’s okay, Marie.”
“No it isn’t. She needs help; what a horrible woman, Colonel. I’m very sorry. How any mother could abandon her child and husband during such a time is beyond me.”
“So, it’s just been me and my Dad since then—he’s done a lot of dating but he never came close to marriage while I was still at home.”
“And you haven’t seen your mother since?”
John grimaced. “She came around briefly last year when I was on Earth for the declassification press junket. Dad doesn’t know—I didn’t figure he needed the hassle of her on top of everything else. She’s remarried with two kids—she introduced me to her normal children as if I was some lab experiment. A boy and a girl.”
“Why did she bother?”
“Because one of her grandchildren mutated when she was just six months old.”
“Wings?” Marie questioned.
“Gills,” John admitted with a small laugh. “Pretty little girl though. Her father took it a lot better than our mother ever did. I gave him some contact information but I made it pretty clear that I didn’t want anything to do with the woman that gave birth to me. I think they both understood.”
“Kayla and Kevin Phelps,” John rolled his eyes. “Twins no less. My sister is a doctor and my brother is a architect.”
“They sound pretty boring,” Rodney admitted conversationally. “I mean they are hardly intergalactic explorers or anything.”
“I thought you wouldn’t agree to a physical exam, Colonel?”
The pointed question brought all three of them to a halt and they turned to look at Jennifer Keller who was standing in the doorway of Carson’s office with her arms crossed. Marie cleared her throat. “I was just cleaning off Colonel Sheppard’s back for him, Dr. Keller. He’s not here as a patient—as far as I can tell his main goal was to flirt with McKay.”
John chuckled and pulled on his t-shirt. “It’s my SOP.”
Rodney shook his head as he watched Sheppard slide off the of the infirmary bed. “He’s just a cock tease that’s all.”
John grinned. “I resent that, McKay. I really do.” He gave Keller a long look and then walked away at the doors he paused and turned. He tilted his head slightly and leaned in the door way. “I have the new season of Dr. Who.”
“1800 hours?” McKay questioned. “I’ll bring dinner.”
Rodney huffed when John let the doors shut and then looked to Marie. “Can I go now?”
“I think we should scan your shoulder,” Marie admitted and glanced towards Keller. “Dr. Keller?”
Jennifer nodded. “Do you think he tore any muscles?”
“No, but it can’t hurt to check.” Marie lifted her chin stubbornly. “Dr. Beckett let me run the scanner if you don’t have time to do it yourself. I can see that you get the results.”
“I’ll do it.” Jennifer motioned Rodney across the infirmary to the large Ancient scanner. She cleared her throat as Marie walked away. “You know—I’d never try to hurt Colonel Sheppard, Rodney. I was just surprised and I let my shock get the better of me. I’ve participated in sanctioned mutation research for years. It’s why I was chosen for the expedition—why Carson brought me out here because he needed help with the ATA gene and with the Hoffan virus therapy.”
“I’m aware of your work in genetics, Jennifer.” Rodney let himself be put in the scanner without physical protest. “I approved the job offer you received. I am the Chief Scientist on this expedition after all. I have oversight over your research as a scientist if you’ll remember.”
She blushed and sighed. “I know you’re upset with me, Rodney, but it would be nice if you gave me a break.”
“It’s against my better judgement to give anyone a break,” Rodney returned evenly. “And you owe Colonel Sheppard an apology, not me.” He said nothing else while the scanner was running and sat up abruptly when it was over. He stared at her for a few seconds and hopped down off the bed. “And for the record there are absolutely no sanctioned mutant research projects on this city. Period.”
Jennifer blushed. “That’s been made clear to me.” She touched his arm and smiled. “Also, we had plans for dinner tonight, remember? I’m sure Colonel Sheppard will understand when you tell him that you forgot.”
Rodney blinked at her. “Actually, considering the circumstances of the day I feel like I should spend some time with John.”
“I realize you’re angry with me but I think we should talk about this.” She moved in closer. “We’re building something good between us, Rodney, and the Colonel surely wouldn’t want to interfere with that. He knows you’re not gay.”
Rodney thought that was entirely unlikely since he and John had exchanged more than one hand job in the showers after a mission. He sighed and forced himself to really look at Jennifer Keller. She’d been on the city for six months and the CMO for about three months—since Carson had returned to Earth to take care of his ailing mother. They’d been casually dating for a few weeks but he hadn’t considered it to be a serious thing and was surprised she thought they were building something. She wasn’t even the only person he was dating since he sort of counted John even if Sheppard didn’t think they were dating.
“I’m going to have dinner with John and watch some Dr. Who,” Rodney finally said. “He had a pretty big day today and I think he could probably use some best friend time.”
“You almost died,” Jennifer returned. “I think you’ve had a pretty big day yourself.”
“I almost die once or twice a month,” Rodney said evenly. “It’s not all that exciting or worrisome anymore. Besides—even when I was hanging there I didn’t think I’d die which probably indicates that I should see Heightmeyer before my regular appointment.” He motioned towards the doors. “I should go, John will be waiting.”
– – – –
John was coming out of his bathroom dressed in a pair of track pants when Rodney entered. He continued to dry his hair as he watched Rodney set up their dinner trays on a low coffee table in front of John’s couch. “Hey, you look… more irritated than when I left you.”
Rodney sighed. “Keller thinks we’re in this serious relationship or something. I don’t know what to do about that.”
John lifted an eyebrow. “She isn’t the only one—I mean you stopped hanging out with the team so much. You asked her to go to Earth with you for your presentation in front of the UN…” John trailed off and flushed when Rodney looked at him hard. “Well, you did.”
“I figured she would look good on my arm and you were busy.” Rodney crossed his arms over his chest. “Remember? I asked you what you were doing with your leave and you said—you and your Dad were going to Aspen for skiing.”
“Oh.” John blinked in surprise. He’d forced his father onto that trip so he would have an excuse to be on Earth during the presentation in case Rodney got into trouble. He sighed. “So you’re not serious about her?”
“No. I mean—she’s beautiful and brilliant but you know I don’t even like kids and she mentioned on our third date that she’d like to have three.” He paused. “To increase the chances that one of her children would mutate.”
John’s mouth dropped open. “Seriously?”
“Yeah, seriously. She’s dating me for my genes, John and that’s not even remotely sexy.”
“You’ve had a vasectomy,” John muttered and then it was his turn to blush when Rodney lifted an eyebrow at him. “I’ve had your balls in my hand, McKay. I know what one of those scars feels like. I’ve got one myself.”
“Yeah, that’s another thing. She apparently missed the fact that I’m bisexual and she thinks I’m leading you on or something.” Rodney inclined his head. “It doesn’t help that you flirt with me all the time in public. She probably thinks you’re her competition or something.”
“I’m so much better looking that she is.” John pulled a t-shirt out of a drawer and jerked it over his head. “Don’t you think?”
Rodney glanced him over. “You know very well what you look like. I’m not feeding your ego anymore today.”
John grinned and settled on the couch next to Rodney and picked up the remote for the TV and the Playstation. “I set this up before I got in the shower. How is your shoulder?”
“Good. The ointment helped and Keller did a scan to make sure everything was cool. It was.” Rodney cleared his throat. “I had the vasectomy done when I was in college—it’s not in my SGC records and Carson never felt the need to add it. He said it was my business.”
“It is your business,” John agreed. “So, what are you going to do about Jennifer?”
“Apparently, I ditched her to have dinner with you and watch Dr. Who.” Rodney admitted and opened his coke. “It’s not something… you know… I’m sort of an asshole and I’m really of the opinion that my life partner should be not an asshole. And she kind of is a little bit of a jerk.”
John snorted and bumped him gently. “Did you really want to take me with you to the UN?”
“Yeah,” Rodney admitted. “But you were going to be with your father and I know you don’t get a lot of time with him. I might not have a father who cares about me but I understand how close the two of you are. I didn’t want to interfere.”
“We would’ve both gone with you,” John admitted. “We watched you on TV and made sure we were on the SGC’s call list if something happened.” He started the DVD with a sigh and opened his own drink. He really needed to do something about this thing with McKay.
– – – –
John looked up from his tablet PC and lifted an eyebrow at one of his Marines hovering in the doorway. “Something you need, Sergeant Givens?”
“Yes, sir.” He entered the room completely and let the door shut behind him. “I thought… sir… you know I work with leather. I’ve a really nice black piece from the Athosians. I was going to use it for knife sheaths because we go through a lot and that kind of equipment gets lost sometimes in the shuffle when it comes to the supply runs.”
John nodded. “You do great work, Tom. What’s going on?”
“It seems to me, sir, that you don’t have anything protective to wear if your…” He blushed. “If your wings are out. None of your uniforms are cut to fit you and you probably can’t do a lot of flying if it’s cold.”
John sat back surprised. “What did you have in mind?”
“If you’d let me take some measurements—I can make a few pieces that you could put on around the wings. Probably lace down the side like I did for those pants you ordered last year.”
John loved those pants mostly because whenever he wore them Rodney’s eyes bugged out a little. “Yeah, okay.” He glanced around the room. “We’ll need to go somewhere else for the measurements.”
Which is how he found himself in Gym 3 with his wings out. Only a few Marines were in there when he and Tom had started but that had changed quickly. John didn’t mind their curiosity but was relieved when Bates shut and locked the doors to prevent anyone else from coming in.
Tom cleared his throat. “Sir, can you extend them out completely so I can see how the muscle groups move?”
John complied and several people around the room took deep breaths. He glanced at Evan Lorne who was leaning against the wall near the door. “Apparently, Major, pilots aren’t the only ones who’d like to have wings.”
Evan grinned. “It’s a pretty righteous gift, sir. You should let me paint you.”
John lifted an eyebrow. “Are you hitting on me, Major?”
“Nah, sir, I like to be the pretty one in my relationships.” Evan grinned when several men in the room laughed. “Besides—I don’t think I can compete with the smartest man in two galaxies.”
“The Admiral might like to see a painting or something,” John admitted in an effort to avoid dealing with the subject of McKay. If his men had ever had their doubts about how he felt about McKay—yesterday had laid those to rest. He took a deep breath and fluttered his wings. “Hey, wow, that tickles.”
Tom Givens chuckled. “Sorry, sir.” He stepped back and made a few notes on his notepad. “Do you think you could…hmm… I need to see how your skin moves when you fly, sir. To prevent bunching and to increase the comfort. Can you make your wings move without lifting off?”
“Yeah, my Dad made me practice for years on the ground before he let me in the air for real. I didn’t get to fly without a net under me until I was fifteen and even then he required my hard deck to be less than twenty feet.” John took a deep breath. “You’ll have to give me some room though—I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
He extended his wings and curled his toes against the padded floor as he gave into the desire to move his wings. They always wanted to move when they were out—and if he were honest even when they were in his skin.
“You should keep the fit tight,” Lorne offered from the sidelines. “So you don’t mess with his aerodynamics and increase his drag. He’s probably used to flying without a shirt.”
Tom nodded. “Right. Good thought, sir.”
– – – –
“The Marines say you have wings.”
John glanced up from his place on the floor and continued to stretch as Ronon took a place in front of him to do the same. “Yeah, you missed all the excitement.”
“Yep. He pulled a muscle but he’ll be right as rain before the next mission.” John leaned forward to stretch out his back. “Did you have fun on New Athos with Teyla?”
“Yeah,” Ronon said with a little grin. “Music, dancing, and lots of wine—lots of sex. It was a pretty great time. You should’ve come along.”
“I kind of wished I had at first but I’m really glad that I stayed here.” John lifted off the floor and took a deep breath. “If I’d come back and found Rodney had fallen… and died.” He shuddered at the thought.
“How come you’ve never shown them before? Everyone is saying it’s a big deal.”
“It was private,” John admitted. “But, I couldn’t let Rodney fall.”
Ronon blew out a dramatic breath. “Well, my father always said that when you tell someone you love them—you should do it big or not bother.”
John blushed. “Ronon.”
The Satedan just laughed and tied off his dreds. “Let’s go—five miles to make up for all the food I ate for the last week.”
– – – –
Rodney rushed out onto the Southeast pier and pushed through a crowd of Marines until he got to Major Evan Lorne and what looked like a modified stationary cannon. “Major Lorne!”
“Hey, McKay,” Lorne said cheerfully ignoring McKay’s shout of shocked horror.
“What the hell is this thing?” Rodney shouted.
“It’s sort of an air cannon. The guys in artillery modified it so we could launch soccer balls.”
“At Colonel Sheppard?” Rodney demanded. “What the fuck?”
“Hey, relax, Doc. This is just a little PT. He’s never had an opportunity to really…” Lorne trailed off and waved a hand. “Have fun with it. That’s all. He’s out far enough that when he catches them they are losing velocity. We wouldn’t try to hurt him.” Lorne frowned at him. “Seriously. He’s our CO—that’s like sacred, McKay.”
Rodney frowned at him and then sighed. “Well, have you tried making him chase one? It’s important that you develop his speed and agility as well as his ability to catch.”
Lorne grinned. “See—that’s the spirit.” He turned to one of the Marines. “Franks, let’s load it up and change the trajectory to see what he does.”
– – – –
Rodney was lounging on his balcony when John landed lightly on the railing, his bare toes curling charmingly around the edge for purchase. He frowned at him. “You let your men shoot at you, Colonel.”
John chuckled. “They worked hard on that rig. I made them fire it a few times for me to watch before I consented to trying to catch the balls.” He stepped down onto the balcony, his wings shifting delicately in the air behind him as he did so. “Lorne said you got a little bent with him.”
Rodney flushed and set aside his tablet PC as John walked to his lounger and without so much as a quirked eyebrow slid into his lap. His jeans were old, thread bare in places and his wings were still fluttering in the air behind him.
“You do look like a debauched, fallen angel.” Rodney flushed when John just grinned and settled his weight on his thighs like it was something he did every day. “Are we doing this now? Because I was kind of under the impression that I only got to touch you when we had really fucked up missions and have the showers to ourselves afterwards.”
John’s eyes widened briefly. “Is that why you never… fuck… McKay. Teyla’s right we’re both socially retarded.” He sucked in a breath as Rodney’s hands clamped on to his hips and pulled him in. “That second time—I just figured that was all you wanted because you didn’t let me kiss you. So, after that I just took what I could get.”
“Of course, I would’ve let you kiss me.” Rodney frowned at him. “You didn’t try.”
“You turned your head, Rodney.” John pressed his forehead against McKay’s. “And then gave me the most perfect hand job ever.”
McKay laughed a little. “Okay, wow. I was a little embarrassed because I came so fast. You just touched me… and you said my name.”
“That was hot,” John admitted. “I thought I would get a chance to take you back to my room and do some filthy things to you but you bailed as fast as you could.”
Rodney’s fingers trailed up his back but jerked as he encountered his wings. “Is this okay?”
“I can put them away if they bother you.”
“No,” Rodney shook his head. “You don’t have to hide them from me.” He paused and took a deep breath. “You’re not an asshole.”
“Nah, I’m good people.” John sucked in a deep breath as Rodney’s fingers trailed through the soft downy feathers at the base of his wings—where they emerged from his back. The touch was delicate, intuitive, and insanely arousing. “Oh fuck.”
“Yeah?” Rodney questioned.
“God, yes.” John shuddered and tilted his head just a little so he could kiss Rodney’s mouth. The kiss was soft, exploring and they both pulled away from it sighing.
“Let’s get you out of these jeans,” Rodney murmured as he worked one hand through the buttons. “Commando, Colonel?”
John chuckled. “When I was little—I would fly naked. It drove my father crazy.”
“I’m sure you had a sound reason,” Rodney responded and grinned when John shifted off his lap and took off the jeans with the kind of casual grace he’d never master in a million years. He quickly pulled off his t-shirt and shoved his track pants and boxers down and off. John tossed him a small bottle of lube from his jeans pocket and his erection jerked a little as he caught it. “Jesus.”
“Well, birds don’t wear clothes.” John settled back into McKay’s lap with a little sigh and groaned against McKay’s mouth when Rodney immediately pulled him as close as possible. “You did put the privacy lock on your door, right?”
“Yeah.” Rodney ran his fingers over John’s thighs and cupped his ass. “This okay?”
“God, yes.” John shuddered and wrapped his fingers over the top of the lounger. “How private is this balcony?”
“As far as I can tell no one has a good view of it,” Rodney responded as he nuzzled John’s neck, sucking on the skin he found there. “You’re probably only fueling my angel sex fantasies if that is your worry.”
John laughed and then groaned in the next instant as he shifted and rubbed the head of his cock against Rodney’s belly. “I want to ride your cock.”
Rodney huffed and bit down hard on John’s neck in retaliation. “You can’t say shit like that to me and expect me to last more than a minute.” His hands drifted back up John’s back and Rodney allowed his fingers to dance gently between his shoulder blades where the wings emerged. “Your wings are a little damp. Did you fall in the water?”
“No, I took a shower in the big communal shower off the barracks. It was pretty cool. I’ve never had a shower big enough to do that.” John admitted and reached down between them to wrap his hand around McKay’s cock. “Get me ready.”
McKay flipped open the lube and took a deep breath. “How long has it been for you on this?”
“With a real cock?” John asked amused. “About three years, but I blame you entirely for that.”
“You have a toy?”
“I have a few,” John admitted as he brushed his lips against the side of Rodney’s neck and started to stroke his cock in a easy rhythm. “I like to plug when I jerk off.” He took a deep breath when McKay pushed one slick finger into his ass and then shivered a little—his wings snapped in the air behind him before he settled against Rodney’s chest with a soft sigh.
Rodney took a deep breath as he pushed a second finger inside and John buried his face against the side of his neck. “Feel good?”
John nodded and moaned against Rodney’s skin. “Yes, so good.” He rocked back on Rodney’s fingers slowly.
Rodney pressed the lube into John’s free hand as he added a third finger and pushed in deep to hit John’s prostate. “You’re ruining me for the rest of the intelligent life in this universe.”
John chuckled and poured a generous amount of lube into his hands. He pressed a soft kiss against McKay’s mouth and then lifted away so he could watch as he coated Rodney’s cock with lube. “No one deserves you as much as I do anyway.”
Rodney’s eyes widened briefly and he pulled his fingers from John’s ass. “John.”
“Rodney,” John murmured and leaned into kiss him again.
Their mouths melded briefly, tongues gliding together gently before he lifted away and hit the button that would lower the lounger’s back. He let it go down just enough to put McKay on an incline and then he lifted up. The glide of Rodney’s cock into his body was so perfect and surreal that he closed his eyes. His wings spread out behind him—expanding fully and trembling with his pleasure as he settled in Rodney’s lap.
McKay shifted under him and groaned. “Fuck, John.”
John opened his eyes slowly and rocked back on McKay’s dick with a gentle motion. Blue eyes met green and Sheppard shuddered. “You’re mine, Rodney.”
“Yes,” Rodney agreed as he wrapped one hand around John’s cock to jerk him off.
The fell into a slow, easy rhythm that belied the heat burning off their skin. McKay’s hands clenched on John’s thighs as he lifted his hips. The air swept around them stirred up by the fluttering of John’s wings behind him. “So good,” John whispered, his words slurring with pleasure and relief. “Love this, love you.”
Rodney sat up and wrapped his arms around John’s back just under his wings. He nuzzled against Sheppard’s throat and groaned out his shock and pleasure. “You’re everything to me, John. Everything.”
John curled into him, hitching closer and clenching down on Rodney’s cock as his wings retreated into his back. He shivered minutely as McKay rolled them on the lounger, pulling out of his ass as they shifted, and put him on his back. The scientist was sliding back into him before John had time to voice a complaint. He hitched his legs up to Rodney’s broad shoulders and curled his hands around the edges of the lounger for purchase.
“Fuck me, Rodney.” John lifted up off the lounger and rocked into the thrust of McKay’s body shamelessly. “God yes, give it to me.”
McKay wrapped his hand around John’s cock and started to jerk him hard and rough—Sheppard arched and came with a startled gasp that sent Rodney right over the edge. He emptied into John’s ass with hard groan and slowly lowered them onto the lounger. “I think you could kill me with that.”
John offered him a smug grin and sighed when Rodney’s rapidly softening cock slipped from his ass. McKay manhandled him until they were curled together on the lounger and pressed his face against the back of John’s neck with a contented sigh.
“Tell me about it.”
John shifted in his arms and glanced out over the horizon. The sun was setting and the double moons of New Lantea were rising. “It’s like nothing in the human experience—the most freedom I’ve ever known. I developed a hatred for the ground when I was a child because it was nothing at all like the freedom of the sky.”
“Is that why you became a pilot?”
John sighed. “I was worried… worried that one day the wings would disappear or I’d have an accident and my mutation would go dormant. It happens and I was petrified of losing the sky. My father understood and did everything he could to make sure I was safe and that all of my dreams came true.”
“Are you concerned about people knowing?”
“I feel safe here and I don’t worry too much about the people on Earth and the Mutant Protection Act. There are too many us that are adults now for normals to risk trying to control us. The fall out would lead to a war.” John turned in his arms and met his gaze. “I meant it you know.”
Rodney rubbed his thumb over John’s bottom lip. “You don’t say things you don’t mean.”
John leaned in and kissed him carefully. “So, we’re doing this.”
“We’ve been doing this badly for a while,” Rodney conceded. “Maybe it’s time we try to do it right.”
“Hmmm, so you’ll stop dating blonde doctors?”
“And you’ll stop flirting with that new guy in Geology.”
John smirked. “I didn’t think you’d noticed the guy in Geology.”
“I notice everything about you, John.” Rodney cupped the back of his neck and pressed a firm kiss against his mouth. “I love you, too.”