Title: Whatever It Takes
Author: Keira Marcos
Series: Ties That Bind
Series Order: 11
Pairing: Sheppard/McKay, Lorne/OMC, Ronon Dex/Tyre Daos, Beckett/Kusanagi, etc
Genre: Romance, BDSM
Beta(s): Chris King & Ladyholder
Word Count: 19,800
Warning: Explicit sex, BDSM, violence, and harsh themes.
SEE THE SERIES PAGE FOR FULL AUTHOR NOTES. I RECOMMEND YOU READ THEM!
Summary: John finds himself settling deeper into his relationship with McKay while adjusting to the arrival of several new people on the city.
– – – –
“I only have one rule in my office.” Thomas Grant waited until Sheppard focused on him. “There is no rank in this room, John.”
John nodded. “Agreed.” He ran his hand over his head and sighed. “I’m going to ask McKay to attend a weekly private session with you regarding his relationship with Sam Carter. He’ll tell you things that will probably make you so fucking furious you can’t breathe. Considering your familial relationship with Gerard and your past with McKay, I need to know that you can handle the situation professionally.”
“It’s one of the reasons you requested me, right?” Thomas questioned. “Because I have history with Rodney.”
“Yes. He trusts and respects you. He has fond memories of your relationship but doesn’t appear to have any interest in renewing a private relationship with you. If you cannot say the same, I need to know.”
Thomas smiled then. “We agreed sometime ago that our dynamic mesh wasn’t fulfilling enough to pursue a serious relationship and I’ve been led to believe he is very happy and content with you.”
“I hope so,” John murmured. He slouched back on the couch and sighed. “I have nightmares every night that I… didn’t get there in time and he drowned in that Jumper. I bring his body back to the city.”
“The incident was doubly painful for you—someone you had developed a trust and great deal of affection for when he was nothing more than a child turned on you. He betrayed your trust and nearly killed someone you’re in love with.”
John bit down on his bottom lip. “That’s reading a lot into my after action report, Dr. Grant.”
“Thomas is fine.” Grant crossed his legs and sat back in his chair. “Are you denying that you’re in love with Rodney?”
“You trusted Scott Holland. You met him when he was just a young boy and you have fond memories of him.”
“He was a good kid once and I don’t know what happened to make him so… fucked up,” John admitted roughly. “His brother’s death was tragic and it marked everyone who knew him in one way or another but it wasn’t grief driving him the day he took Rodney. Did you listen to the flight recorder?”
Thomas nodded. “Yes, this morning. I assumed it might come up in our conversation. It’s a great deal to process—to realize you’d inspired so much hatred in someone you hadn’t seen in years.”
“He hid it really well at first.” John rubbed his hands on his pants and sighed. “And I didn’t even… I had no idea he harbored a sexual interest in me when he was younger. I was always very careful when I was in the Holland’s home and never touched Jared sexually when we stayed there. We shared a bed, of course, but we never played in his parents’ home. It just didn’t seem appropriate considering how young his brother was.”
“You’re an attractive man, John. Dominance practically pours off of you. Of course submissives are going to find you attractive. Most will express that attraction in positive ways that you’ve been taught to deal with appropriately.”
John frowned at the floor stretched out between them and rubbed against it with his combat boot. “It seemed like he thought I’d made a choice between him and Rodney. He said I betrayed him.” His gut clenched as he thought about the audio recordings Porter had pulled from the Jumper. The ones he’d desperately wanted to hide from McKay but hadn’t. “Rodney asked me how I felt about him listening to what Scott said in the Jumper.”
“Did you tell him it would make you uncomfortable?”
John shook his head. “McKay has every right to know what happened in the Jumper while he was unconscious. Scott intended on killing Rodney and I can’t keep that from him. Yes, it makes me uncomfortable that he’s listened to Scott’s ranting because his hatred spilled all over both of us that day.”
“In the nightmare, when you’re too late to save Rodney and you bring his body back to the city… is it reminiscent of the day Jared Holland died?”
John shook his head. “No.”
“How is it different?”
“The day Jared died… I was so fucking angry that I had no room for anything else. I was furious for weeks—I boiled on the inside every hour that I was awake. It consumed me and I fantasized about killing the man responsible so often that I became indifferent to the idea of murdering him.” John glanced up at Grant’s intake of breath. “Right. That’s not good headspace, huh? I spent a year in therapy getting rid of that anger. I couldn’t grieve Jared as long as I was angry and I used that anger to avoid dealing with the fact that he was gone.”
“In the dream, how do you feel?”
“Like some part of me as been taken away—like my heart has been broken and nothing will ever make it right again.” John took a deep breath and rubbed absently against his sternum. “Like the worst kind of failure.”
Grant nodded. “Before you were at McMurdo, your evaluations paint you as someone very difficult to reach in a therapeutic situation.”
John laughed abruptly and shrugged. “You know what it’s like when you’re a pleasure house for training. They teach us to control and suppress our emotions. When I was younger I think I did a hell of a lot more repressing than suppressing. I was afraid of what I might become if I let myself feel more than I assumed was normal.”
“Because you’re a sadist.”
“Yes. When I was exposed to the depth of my own sadism, it scared the fuck out of me. I felt depraved and wrong—nothing had prepared me for it.”
“Dato’ Raja didn’t let you leave his island until you were someone he could trust with his mark.”
“Do you worry about your dynamic needs?”
“No, not since I was marked.” John shook his head. “That is one area of my life that I believe I have the control required to be a good, safe top.”
– – – –
John leaned in the doorway of Rodney’s lab and watched the line of scientists work their way past his sub’s work area. As much as he adored watching McKay decimate stupidity—there was something awe inspiring about him on ‘brain storm day’. The day, Porter’s idea, had been designed to let individuals bounce ideas off McKay’s big brain and her only rule was that Rodney couldn’t be mean during the bouncing portion. John had been surprised when McKay hadn’t even protested the rule briefly because he figured that Rodney enjoyed being mean to people.
The morale in the department had increased tenfold thanks to the weekly pitching sessions and while McKay often tore the pet theories and projects to shreds he also made suggestions freely without an ounce of arrogance attached to it.
Rodney’s genuine laughter startled him and John’s gaze narrowed on one of the new scientists. The woman had been on the city for only a few days and had quickly settled in. Miko didn’t like her and Porter had told him in passing that the woman was manipulative.
Dr. Kara Summers leaned on Rodney’s work station and smiled at him as she continued to talk about the idea she had for the intergalactic bridge project. Their exchange was energetic and thoughtful. It made John nervous as hell and that was irritating. Then Rodney turned and looked at him. The changes in him were so dramatic that it was stunning—McKay visibly relaxed, his eyes darkened, and his cheeks flushed with so much obvious pleasure that Summers trailed off mid-word.
Sheppard moved away from the door way and walked into the room. “Finished for the day?”
“Almost, Maître.” Rodney closed his laptop and glanced around. “Dr. Summers, if you could submit your idea in an email that would be ideal. It has some merit but it doesn’t mesh with what Dr. Carter and Dr. Lee are doing on their end. Dr. Kusanagi is the lead on the project from our end of things so CC her on the email.” With that he turned to Miko with a raised eyebrow.
Miko shrugged. “I’ll review it but Carter is pretty specific about what she expects from our coding on this end of things and we’ll need to have a discussion with Colonel Sheppard about the security problems involved in looping a planetary gate into the system no matter how much work it might save us on the initial set up.” She looked at John then and every scientist in the room followed suit.
“I’d only agree to a planetary gate being included in the gate bridge if you can prove to me that the gate hasn’t been used in at least five hundred years and it’s a viable location for a Beta site. It’s not a bad idea to have a beta site on the edge of the galaxy so you’ll need to provide me with a list of planets we can explore. All that being said, General O’Neill and Dr. Weir will need to be debriefed on the subject and the reason why you believe it is a good idea to include a gate like that in the bridge.” John took the laptop case that McKay had packed. “Beyond the fact that it will be less work.”
“I’m afraid most of the reasons for choosing a planetary gate would be over your head, Colonel.”
John laughed and one of the other geeks in the room snorted. “Is that so, Dr. Summers?”
Rodney shut his desk drawer with a snap and glared at her. “Obviously you haven’t bothered to read the project notes already submitted on the galactic bridge project or you would know that Colonel Sheppard has completed roughly forty percent of the proof work on the Pegasus’ gates programming.”
“I’ve only read Dr. Carter’s reports and the summaries,” Summers said shortly, her gaze hardening as she looked at John.
“The gates in the Milky Way are second generation design,” Miko explained as she started to pack up her own stuff. “The Pegasus gates are the most advanced the Ancients ever built. It’s like the difference between elementary school and graduate school.”
John held out a hand and took Miko’s laptop, too. “Come along, Princess, we have an appointment with chocolate cake. Carson said he grabbed us some pieces and he’s guarding them zealously.”
“Oh.” Rodney tucked close to John as he guided them both out of the lab. “Cake. That’s awesome.”
– – – –
“She’s a bitch.”
Carson bit down on his bottom lip and filled up Miko’s coffee as the Geisha continued to glare at McKay. “Well, it seems like she might fit right in with the rest of you.”
“The city will probably kill her inside of six months,” Rodney said with a roll of his eyes. “It seems like this galaxy has little patience for people who make assumptions. Miko’s right—she’s a complete bitch.”
John relaxed at the table and watched Rodney pilfer half of his cake. “You approved her to come out here, right?”
“Yeah, based on her academic achievements. Her working theories before she was exposed to the program were crap but most people are just working with the wrong information.” Rodney pushed aside his empty plate and nudged John’s closer to him. “Please finish that before I eat it and then I have to spend an hour doing sit ups to make up for it.”
John stabbed his cake with his fork. “Being a jerk isn’t enough reason to send her home.”
“Right.” Rodney frowned. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
“The city would be virtually empty,” Miko agreed. “Regardless, I do not care for her attitude or for the fact that she’s worked in my lab for two weeks but didn’t mention her little side project until ‘brain storm day’ so she could do it in front of you. It’s poor team work.”
“Or perhaps she just wanted McKay’s undivided attention and the idea was sexy enough to get it.”
Rodney turned to stare at John and frowned. “Really?”
“Yeah, McKay, really.” John laughed. “I know you were taught to study the body language of Doms to anticipate requests and motivations. You’re telling me you missed the vibes she was putting off?”
Rodney blushed. “I really don’t pay attention to other Doms, John, at least not in that way. There is no reason for me to.”
John quirked an eyebrow at him but relaxed minutely in his chair. He knew he met McKay’s needs physically and at some level emotionally but there was a part of McKay that was separate from John. Sheppard dabbled in the sciences when it suited him and he’d been fiddling with the math on the gate bridge project mostly as a little way of thumbing his nose at Sam Carter, something he’d at least admitted to himself.
– – – –
“And I really think we need to just dump Teams 10, 12, 14 in the middle of nowhere on the mainland and keep who survives, because their survival skills are lacking on a level I thought sort of impossible with as much training as they’ve supposedly had.” Lorne set aside his tablet and stared pointedly at John. “How did your meeting with Major Grant go?”
John’s gaze dropped ot the desk. “It wasn’t a meeting, Evan. It was a session. I needed to talk about some stuff and we set up some appointments for McKay.”
“Oh.” Evan frowned. “I’m sorry… it was just on your work schedule.”
“It’s okay.” John waved him off. “You know you can ask me anything. I requested Grant be brought out of here because he’s just about the best trauma psychologist on the government’s payroll and he was already read-in on the Stargate program. There were a few other choices, but they were civilian. I figured that we could use a military psychologist out here for our people. The civilians do a great job of managing stress levels and handling field evaluations but Grant was on the ground in the Middle East.”
“He also has a past relationship with McKay.”
“He’s actually topped quite a few submissives on the city,” John said. “McKay among them. It’s one of the reasons why I chose him—Rodney says he’s a very safe top, strong moral character, and a careful Dom. I need more men like him that I can trust on this city to intervene and to protest when something gets out of hand and I don’t notice. I have to think if we’d had someone like Grant out here that the bullshit with Kavanagh would’ve been resolved before he killed someone.”
“It doesn’t bother you then?”
“No, I’m not worried about Rodney turning to him for more than therapy. Rodney’s had his share of sexual partners and I will cross paths with them. It would be foolish and counterproductive for me to fixate on those relationships.” John raised an eyebrow when Evan flushed. “What’s up?”
“One of the transfers from this round has history with Matt. I wasn’t prepared for it.”
“Did you misbehave?”
“No, I didn’t even realize until the man pretty much told me on the Apollo that he would really enjoy getting to know Matthew again if I was interested in having a third join us.” Evan rubbed his face with one hand and then shrugged. “I pushed him off and told him that we were exclusive.”
“Is it a problem?”
“I don’t think so. He doesn’t strike me as a stupid man. I was surprised to learn how many enlisted men Matt has taken to bed. It seems like he almost preferred them when he was on Earth.”
“It’s not surprising. An enlisted man wouldn’t have any power over him career wise. He could give up control in bed but retain it professionally.” John fiddled with his mouse to get his screen saver to go away. The little swirling SGC symbol was annoying as hell and he hadn’t gotten around to changing it. “You’ll have to process all of that misplaced jealous, Evan.”
“Yeah, definitely misplaced. The only person in McKay’s past that I allow myself to get bent out of shape with is Carter. Getting angry at any of his previous partners for taking what Rodney freely offered would be disrespectful.” John frowned. “I don’t like other Doms moving around him being toppy but that’s an entirely different matter than just being jealous of a man or woman that Rodney once slept with.”
“Matt turned down a lot of collars, Evan. He took yours. He came to Colorado to meet you, he came to Atlantis to get to know you.” John raised an eyebrow when Lorne’s mouth dropped on in surprise. “You didn’t know?”
“He didn’t say… no, I didn’t know that.”
John laughed softly. “Yeah, don’t tell him I told you since he was all slick about it. But, yeah, I think you were pretty much stalked and captured like prey. That’s how the men in my family roll.” He grinned when Lorne’s eyes widened briefly and the man flushed.
– – – –
John paused briefly in the conference room, his gaze flicking between Elizabeth, who looked tense as hell, and Koral. He hadn’t been aware that they were due for a meeting with the leader of Dolor. Koral for his part appeared physically quite relaxed but the younger man looked like he hadn’t slept well in weeks.
“Colonel.” Koral stood and held out his hands in greeting. “I’m pleased to see you.”
John prodded the man back into his seat before sliding into a chair of his own. “We weren’t due for a meeting until next month.”
“Koral was updating me on his progress on finding the spy among his people. He’s restricted off-world travel to a select few traders in order to maintain his trade deals but the results haven’t been encouraging.”
“There is some discussion on the council regarding my ability to lead our people,” Koral admitted. “As much as our relationship with you as benefited us… the introduction of so much scientific knowledge has created a faction of people within our society who have completely abandoned our established faith. It has lead to some social unrest but nothing violent – just disruptive.” He twisted the cup of coffee around in front of him. “This is an interesting beverage.”
John lifted an eyebrow. “I’m not sure we could trade you for it, Koral. The geeks would revolt.”
Elizabeth laughed briefly and then sobered. “Koral has a proposal, John.”
Koral focused on John, his eyes dark and serious. “I think if you came back to visit us, Colonel that the situation would come to a head.”
John frowned. “You want me to let that boy challenge me for McKay, right? You think he’s your traitor but you have no proof.”
“I’d kill him. You know that.”
“Yes.” Koral acknowledged. “Such challenges on my world are always met with… death for one of the parties. It would serve two purposes—it would demonstrate the Lantean’s readiness to adhere to our laws and it would likely reveal the true depth of his anger towards you.”
John frowned and closed his eyes briefly. “No.”
“No?” Koral questioned.
“I’ve never committed what I could consider murder. It’s true that I’ve killed in the defense of myself and my people—I’ve killed a lot and in the eyes of everyone I’ll ever know that makes me a killer but I’m not a murderer. I can’t go down that road for you, Koral.” John stood from the table and frowned at Elizabeth who looked a little irritated by his answer. “He’s untrained. You could kill him. Why don’t you let him challenge you for Radek?”
Elizabeth’s eyes widened in shock. “John, I’m not…”
“A killer,” John finished neutrally. “Right and I am.” He watched her shrink a little in her chair and blush in mortification. “Maybe you don’t see a difference between killing in combat and letting an arrogant young man provoke me into a fight, but I do. He’s practically a child. It would be morally reprehensible to allow myself to engage in something so…” He trailed off and took a deep breath. “It’s just wrong, Elizabeth and no one in this room wants revenge more for what happened to Evan and his team—what could have happened to Evan and his team. I killed a lot of people to get him back—came home to this beautiful city covered in the blood of so many different people that I could barely stand to touch myself to clean up.”
“I’m sorry,” Elizabeth said hoarsely. “I don’t know… what I was thinking, John. It just seemed reasonable on the surface.”
Koral’s gaze was focused on the table and after a few minutes of silence he cleared his throat. “I apologize, Colonel, for asking such a thing of you. I know little of what it means to be a man of war but I’ve always believed myself to be an honorable man. My own political concerns caused me to ask something dishonorable of you and that’s the last thing I would want. You’ve always acted very honorably on my world. I understood that after your exhibition. I’d offered you so many submissives in the past—the most beautiful and sexually talented people our society had to offer. Many thought you found us distasteful because we were alien to you but after your exhibition it was clear that not a single submissive on our world would’ve been enough for you.”
John poured himself some coffee. “You guys are my favorite aliens.” He offered Koral a grin when the young man laughed. “Except for maybe the Asgard but that’s only because their technology literally saved my ass.” He sat back down on the table. “Could I let him challenge me and then just give him the beating of his life?”
“To end a challenge without a kill would be a grave insult,” Koral admitted.
John sighed. “The lack of respect the people in this galaxy for life is appalling. Is it because you all live in the shadow of the Wraith or just that you expect to die every day?”
Koral’s mouth dropped open briefly in surprise and then sighed. “I don’t know, Colonel.”
It was disgusting either way. “Is there any other way we can resolve the situation on Dolor to your advantage? I believe our trade deal has always been slanted in your favor, Koral, but we are in a position now to do more for you in return for the potential sanctuary you provide for the expedition.” John glanced towards Elizabeth who only nodded. “Perhaps we could provide you with materials on submissive education. Our pleasure houses on Earth are old and have unique methods of teaching the pleasure arts.”
Koral took a deep breath. “That would be quite a boon for our people. We have taken note all along that you devote yourselves as much to pleasure as you do the work that makes your people survive. Such attention to paid to pleasure is rare in our galaxy, so many must focus on mere survival.” He inclined his head. “In that regard, Colonel Sheppard, Master Marstone requested that I deliver a gift to you.” He stood from the table and went to a satchel near the wall. When he returned to the table he held a shiny, flat wood box. The wood was pale and creamy. “It is his way of thanking you for your exhibition. Marstone was awestruck by Dr. McKay.”
John accepted the box and unlatched it carefully. Inside was a coiled leather bullwhip. The handle was of the same wood as the box and it had a small button. He pulled it from the box and stood. “What is the button for?”
“Press it,” Koral murmured. “On my honor, Colonel, it is harmless.”
John knew his people had already scanned the man for explosive materials so he wasn’t worried that the gift might hold a bomb. He uncoiled the whip carefully and took a few steps back from the table before pressing the button. The handle vibrated gently in his hand and he took a deep breath as an electric current ran down the length of the whip. “Oh.”
Koral smiled. “There is a very thin conductive filament running the length of the whip—it doesn’t add to the harshness of the tool and the weight distribution stays much the same. The current is strong enough to not be pleasant but will cause no permanent damage in hands such as yours. It is a very valuable tool on our world, Colonel.”
John had never seen anything like it. He ran the whip across his palm, accepting the small bite of the current with a shiver of anticipation. The leather was exceptionally smooth and the braiding tight. “I believe our people would be very interested in learning more about the construction of this instrument, Koral.”
“Then it would be a good trade item,” Koral announced with a proud smile. “Good, Marstone thought as much in the wake of your exhibition. Until you performed for us, we were unaware of how the tool would be received among your people.”
John nodded and moved away from the table before flicking the six feet of whip gently towards the floor. Electricity hummed sharply in the air all around him. “Yeah.”
Elizabeth grinned and propped her chin on her hand. “Rodney will be thrilled.”
John nodded and sighed. He wondered how in the hell he could test the bullwhip because there was no way he was using it on McKay until he understood what kind of stimulus it provided. He knew the bite of every tool he used both in discipline and pleasure intimately. Dato’ Raja would’ve accepted nothing less from his students in that regard.
– – – –
Thomas Grant was the highest ranking Dom outside of his immediate family with the training to handle the whip. He wasn’t surprised to find the man working out because the Marines were keeping an eye on him and John had overheard the chatter. The submissives were mostly angling for his attention—a de Sade Dom of Grant’s standing was very attractive for a variety of reasons. He had rank, physical good looks, and the kind of familial connections that were to be coveted on Earth.
Grant inclined his head and rolled to his feet. “Sir.”
John sat the box down on a narrow table that ran the length of one wall. “I received a gift from Dolor that I need… your help with.”
Thomas raised an eyebrow and grabbed a towel off the table to wipe his face. “Mine?”
“You’re house certified with a bullwhip,” John explained and opened the box.
Thomas’ fingers trailed over the leather briefly and with John’s nod, picked up the tool. “What’s the button for?”
“It has fifty hertz of electricity that can be run through it. The power source is alien but I had Carson check it out—it’s safe for play.”
Thomas nodded and flicked the whip with practiced ease before pressing the button. His eyes widened briefly and he took a deep breath. “You’ll be able to get more, right?”
John laughed. “We’re going to trade for the plans, yes. This is a gift from one of their tool makers to McKay, basically. I mean, he gave it to me but it’s for Rodney.”
“Right.” Thomas nodded. “So, how can I help?”
John untucked his shirt from his BDUs and pulled it over his head. “You can hit me with it.”
Thomas nodded and inclined his head. “Might want to close the door and let our audience know it’s okay. I’d hate to get my ass kicked.”
John grinned and glanced towards the doors. “Frost, shut the doors and lock them.” He pulled off his dog tags and dropped them on top of his shirt on the table. “The Major is going to help me test a tool.”
“The piercing too, I think,” Thomas said and flicked the whip again as John removed the nipple ring. “Give me some room, gentlemen. I’d rather not hit the Colonel with this until I’m comfortable with the movement.” He ignored the narrow-eyed glances he received from several of the men in the room.
Declan walked across the room and cleared his throat as he stopped beside Sheppard. “What’s up, sir?”
“I was trained not to use an implement on a submissive that I’ve never experienced. While I’m familiar with a bullwhip—I have no idea what one with current is going to feel like.” John rolled his head on his shoulders and watched Grant with the whip for a few seconds before turning to Declan. “de Sade does something similar, right?”
Declan nodded but frowned. “Yeah, of course. It’s just…”
John laughed. “You do know who he is, right?”
“I’m aware of Major Grant’s connection to Gerard de Sade,” Declan murmured and cleared his throat. “Men, let’s give the Colonel and Major Grant some room.”
“Whenever you’re ready,” Thomas said and watched John as he picked out a place on the wall to brace against. “Do you have any pain kinks, sir?”
John chuckled. “Most sadists do, Major. Relax, I’ll keep any erection I get to myself.”
Thomas grinned briefly and flicked the whip. “More’s the pity, sir.” He took a deep breath and braced himself. “Five to warm up?”
The whip glanced over his back once and he shivered at the slide of electric current rushing over his skin in its wake, obliterating any pain he might have felt. “Jesus.” He bit down briefly on his lip and then took a deep breath to steady himself just as the second strike hit. His cock jerked against the thin material of his boxers and he let his head fall forward. In training, Raja had been careful with him in this particular arena because John had always been ambiguous about his own pain kinks, which weren’t pronounced enough to truly be considered masochism.
Thomas’ fingers glanced over his pulse point then and John lifted his head. “I’m fine.”
Grant chuckled and backed off. “You do realize that we have a mutual acquaintance who will be overwrought with jealousy that you asked me to do this.”
John snorted. “Funny, I was really under the impression that he was more interested in being under the bite of my hand rather than having me at his mercy.”
Thomas chuckled. “Probably so.” He flicked the whip. “Five mid-level?”
Thomas nodded and then paused. “You did tell McKay about this, right?”
John laughed. “Afraid?”
“Petrified,” Grant muttered. “I know what a bastard he can be when he feels slighted, Sheppard.”
“He’s aware and sort of pissed that I didn’t let him watch.”
“Right.” Thomas flicked the whip. “Relax.”
John hissed out a breath at the next slash across his back and kept his breathing steady through the next four. The current danced perfectly over his skin—warring with the hot slick pain of the welts the leather was bringing up on his back. “Fuck.”
He curled his hands against the wall and shuddered. “Five more—take blood on the last two.”
Thomas cleared his throat. “Sure about that?”
“I was under the impression that you weren’t a blood player.”
“It can’t always be about my own preferences,” John returned shortly.
“Very well.” Thomas took a deep breath.
Sheppard wasn’t remotely surprised when his arousal fled at the next strike. It had often happened in training. The pain was intense and while the current was fascinating on a stimulus level, he wasn’t going to maintain an erection through the rest of the test. The last strikes were so slick and painful that he hissed in shock.
“Again?” Grant questioned, his voice hard.
“Yeah. Just five more.”
Thomas sucked in a deep breath behind John and Sheppard let his head fall forward as he began the final set of lashes. The pain was startling, insidious, and it made him shiver—not with pleasure but with a slow building physical shock that bordered on something hard and relentless that John had always refused to explore when he was in training. The blows stopped suddenly—leaving the room silent and even his own breathing seemed too loud.
“Someone get the Colonel a bottle of water,” Grant ordered sharply as he walked away. He coiled the whip carefully and placed on the table beside the box before picking up another towel and stalking towards the showers. “Frost, take care of him.”
John took a deep breath and stretched his back as he accepted the water from Chris Morley who was staring towards the showers with so much longing that it was shocking. Sheppard chuckled. “Go help the man out, Chris. He won’t say no to you.”
Chris bit down on his lip. “I’m not…”
“Trust me, on this.” John prodded him with one hand and then finished off his water as Chris offered him a small grin and left the room.
Declan pulled a tube of Tollan crème out of his bag and flipped it open. “Dennison, get the first aid kit so I can clean the Colonel’s back.”
John raised an eyebrow but accepted the silent demand that he sit down. He straddled an empty weight bench. “I can go to the infirmary for this.”
“I got it,” Declan muttered as he tore open a disinfectant wipe. “There are just a few places with blood. What’s the verdict on the tool?”
“It’s going to sell like no one’s business on Earth,” John murmured. “Probably the best thing we’ll ever trade for outside the Tollan crème.”
Jeff Dennison leaned against the front of the weight system, a question written all over his face.
John lifted an eyebrow. “Go ahead, Jeff.”
“I…” Jeff trailed off and sighed. “I don’t get it.”
“The first lesson I learned under Dato’ Raja was to never use a tool on a submissive that I haven’t had used on myself. While I trained there—he used everything on me and often drew blood. It was important that I understand pain on every level from both perspectives. Mastering pain—the delivery of pain is an art form.”
“Grant said you weren’t a blood player.”
“Yeah.” John frowned and glanced back at Declan who had pressed an alcohol filled cotton swab against one small wound. “It’s a personal preference, not a dynamic one. I’ve killed a lot, seen a lot of death, and I generally prefer to not see submissives bleed as a result, no matter how exciting I might find it physically. But, there are times when I have to make allowances and sacrifices on that front for the person I’m with. I’ve done it in the past, and I will continue to do it in the future.”
“Right.” Dennison took a deep breath. “You got Grant pretty worked up.”
Frost snorted softly. “I’d have probably come in my pants. The man is a saint for maintaining through that.”
John laughed softly. “You’re a real bastard, Chief.”
“And you’re gorgeous when you suffer willingly, sir.” Declan smeared crème over John’s back with a steady hand and offered Dennison a grin when the younger man laughed reluctantly.
– – – –
John wasn’t surprised to find himself under a scanner in Carson’s office an hour later getting a lecture about his personal activities. “It isn’t irresponsible.”
Carson huffed. “It’s not exactly…”
“Normal?” John questioned with a small laugh. “I realize we’re on different ends of the spectrum here, Carson but I thought you’d at least appreciate my intent.”
“Right,” Carson muttered and tossed aside the scanner with a huff. “I understand the intent and yes, I appreciate it. But the next time you get it in your head to test an untried tool with another Dom, I’d like to be on hand.”
John turned his head and looked at the doctor. “Are you pissed at me?”
“A little,” Carson admitted roughly. “I’m fully trained, Colonel. I could have handled testing the implement with you. You did bring to me for the medical test and the sanitation process. Just because I’m not a sadist doesn’t mean I don’t understand how to …do what was required.”
“Oh.” John took a deep breath. “I didn’t ask Evan, either, you know.” He pulled on his t-shirt with a little sigh. “You’re… I’m a sadist, Carson, and while that entails everything you might imagine—it also includes some mild pain kinks for me. You’re basically family and your relationship with Miko makes getting an erection with you rather inappropriate for me. It’s a matter of respect.”
Carson flushed. “I didn’t realize… really?”
“I couldn’t qualify as a masochist,” John murmured. “But, yeah, Grant made me hard for a few minutes before he surpassed my ability to enjoy it. To be perfectly frank, I’ve never been all that comfortable with it and that discomfort probably plays into how low my pleasure/pain threshold is. I can handle a great deal of pain physically but mentally it quickly becomes a turn off.” John paused and then shrugged. “It probably helped that Thomas Grant is beautiful.”
“Right.” Carson snorted and sighed. He opened a drawer in desk and pulled out a bottle. Then snatched two paper cups from a pile to pour them both a drink. “I met with Major when he came by the infirmary to discuss a few cases with me. I spoke with him about the SGC policies about play dates and making sure he sends the submissives he tops to the infirmary in a timely manner.”
“Right.” John picked up his cup and downed the contents. “He’s got a solid service record and has seen combat despite his profession. He’s a sadist and he plays hard but there are no marks on his jacket to indicate that I should watch him. I tried to make sure I didn’t get any officers that would play power games with the enlisted and junior officers on professional level.”
“That’s good,” Carson murmured. “I keep records, Colonel. I’ve changed our procedures now so that no matter what reason a submissive might offer for injuries it’s reported and carefully documented so I can look for patterns. I don’t know what else to do on that front.”
“I think it’s all we can do when we have to depend on submissives to actually report abuse.” John nudged the cup and laughed softly when Carson filled it the halfway point. “I don’t like it but the balance between honoring privacy and providing protection has always been skewed.”
“Yes.” Carson frowned into his cup and sighed. “It’s what we have to work with.”
– – – –
Rodney put away his towel and walked naked into the main room of the quarters he shared with Sheppard. John was at his desk, working intently at his lap top, and still dressing in the black cotton robe he’d been wearing when he’d ordered him into the showers. “I thought all those junior officers were supposed to handle all of your paperwork for you.”
John grinned and then shrugged. “You’d think but it seems the more help I get—the more paperwork I have.” He closed the computer and turned to look at him. “You look a little tense. Have a hard day?”
“Summers is a problem,” Rodney admitted reluctantly. “Her personal interest in me is obvious now that you’ve pointed it out to me and I can barely stand to be in the same room with her.”
John inclined his head. “Then I can imagine she’ll approach me within the week requesting private time with you.” He frowned even as he said it and then sighed. “Truth is, I don’t have a lot of experience pushing off civilian Tops. They’ve always given me a lot of room.”
“She doesn’t respect you,” Rodney murmured. “It makes me want to shove her through a space gate.”
John laughed abruptly and then shrugged. “There are plenty of civilians who don’t respect what I do… can’t bring themselves to respect what I’m required to do for my job.”
“I know.” Rodney frowned. “I don’t have to like or tolerate it.”
“She hasn’t approached you for attendance, right?”
Rodney flushed. “I’d never keep such a thing from you, John. I trust you to respond appropriately if that is your concern.”
“People tend to expect the worst from me,” John admitted.
Rodney lifted an eyebrow. “I think you’ve rarely lost control of yourself in your life and having met your Pleasure Master, I understand why.”
“Did Raja interest you?” John questioned.
“Yes,” Rodney replied baldly. “I can’t imagine how he wouldn’t interest a masochist. I see a great deal of him in you—the way you move, the way you hold your body and the way you take your pleasure.”
John pulled a kneeling pillow out of the drawer of the desk and dropped it between his feet. “Come here.”
Rodney immediately moved forward and slid gracefully onto his knees. “She doesn’t interest me.”
“You married a woman, Rodney. That’s pretty hard for me ignore.”
Rodney let his hands drop to his thighs as he considered his words. “I enjoy women. I like the way they smell, and the softness of their bodies. I can’t deny any of that but I learned a very harsh lesson with Sam.”
“About your dynamic?”
“About accepting less than what I deserve,” Rodney murmured. “About ignoring my instincts and most important about letting my emotions lead me.” He paused at the shock that flickered over John’s face and he lowered his gaze. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt his Dom. No one had ever made him feel so safe and secure as John did. Sheppard hadn’t repeated the words he’d given him in the infirmary since that day but his obvious affection and love was in every gesture, every touch.
John leaned forward and cupped his face with both hands. “Stop looking so nervous, McKay, I’m not going to push you for something you’re not ready for.”
John kissed him carefully, then sat back in his chair, and untied the belt of his robe. He let the material fall away from his thighs. Rodney’s breath caught briefly as Sheppard spread his legs. “Touch me.”
Rodney hummed softly and slid his hands up the back of his Dom’s legs. “You’re beautiful, you know.”
“Is that what you noticed about me first?”
Rodney paused and then shook his head. “No, not the first thing. You looked so powerful and I’d heard enough about you to be fascinated but I figured… you’d also heard about me already so I didn’t think you’d risk touching me.”
“Risk?” John questioned and shifted as Rodney’s hands trailed up his thighs.
“A man of your training could have had any submissive in the mountain and I cut off my Domme’s collar.” Rodney’s fingers trailed over his balls gently and then upward over the length of his erect cock. “It never crossed my mind that I would be on your radar.”
“Put your mouth on me, Rodney.” John cupped the back of his sub’s head with a sigh and relaxed in the chair as McKay pressed an open mouthed kiss against his inner thigh. “You’re so fucking perfect. Lick my balls.”
Rodney shuddered briefly as he nuzzled his Dom’s balls. He sucked gently and sighed when John ran his fingers through his hair. Sheppard’s fingers clenched on the back of his head.
“Yeah,” John murmured. “Suck me.”
Rodney shifted forward and sucked the head of John’s dick into his mouth confidently as John spread his legs further. Sheppard shifted slightly in the chair and reached out with one hand to snag a tube of lube from the corner of the desk. He flicked it open with one hand.
“Slick up your fingers. I want your cock tonight.”
Rodney sat back as he released his Dom and took a deep breath as his eyes darkened. “Did you always get fucked in training after you were… punished or whatever?”
John grinned as Rodney slicked up his fingers and bit down on his bottom lip as McKay’s fingers drifted gently over his hole. “Raja never penetrated me if that is your question.”
“I didn’t think he had,” Rodney murmured. “Your relationship is very paternal—no sexual components were evident in your interactions with him.” He slid one finger confidently into John and smiled when Sheppard’s head fell back. “I think pain makes you needy.”
John laughed and shivered a little as Rodney added another finger. “You might be right.” He lifted his head and stared at his sub. “Is that a problem?”
“No.” Rodney worked his fingers in and out of his Dom’s asshole. “It is my honor to give you everything you need.”
John took a deep breath and then groaned softly as McKay added a third finger. He started to twist and push his fingers in deeply—rubbing his prostate with each inward thrust. “Fuck.”
“You’re so…” Rodney trailed off, blushed furiously, and then huffed. “I’m a very lucky man, you know.”
John rocked on his fingers for a few minutes in silence and then took a deep breath. “Enough. Put on your wrist cuffs. Then lay down on the bed.”
Rodney quickly did as he was ordered and spread out on the bed with a grin of anticipation. John selected a pair of nipple clamps from their toy chest, a set of heavy chains, and then the vibrating anal plug.
John crawled onto the bed and settled between McKay’s sprawled legs. He made quick work of securing Rodney’s hands and then sat back on his heels to look over his submissive. McKay’s cock was hard and leaking against his stomach. He leaned down and licked the pre-cum off Rodney’s skin and then sucked gently on the head of his dick for a few minutes before lifting away.
He put on the nipple clamps and tightened them until McKay tensed briefly. “Good?”
“Oh, yes.” Rodney trembled and closed his eyes as John prodded his legs wide open.
John slicked up his fingers, worked Rodney’s hole open with practiced ease, and then slid the slender plug into place. He turned the end, and the plug started to vibrate with a low hum. He lubed Rodney’s cock and then slide astride his sub’s body. “Open your eyes.”
Rodney responded immediately, bright blue eyes focused on John as his Dom slowly settled down on his cock. “Maître.”
“I love the way you fill me,” John murmured as he rocked carefully on Rodney’s cock. “Do you need a cock ring?”
“No, Maître.” Rodney shifted his hips upward briefly and then he settled on the bed.
John smirked a little and hooked nimble fingers into the chain of the nipple clamps. He pulled on them decisively and laughed softly when Rodney hissed. “You like that?”
“Love it, sir.”
John wrapped his hand around his own cock and started to jack himself with slow, measured strokes. “I want to come on you.”
Rodney moaned. “Whatever you need, sir.”
He knew that. Knew that Rodney would give him everything and anything that he had to please him. It was a heady, welcome knowledge that settled over him like the pleasure that burned between them. John tugged rhythmically on the nipple clamps as he fucked himself on Rodney’s cock, his right hand clenched around his own throbbing dick.
“Jesus,” Rodney hissed out and wrapped his hands around the chains that were attached to the bed. “John!”
“Easy,” John murmured. “Don’t come, yet.”
“I won’t,” Rodney promised through clenched teeth. He slumped on the bed and shuddered violently for a few seconds. “It’s time like this that your sadism is truly obvious to me.”
John laughed abruptly and jerked maliciously on the clamps. Rodney shouted out his pain and his hips snapped up against John helplessly. “That’s it. Give in to the pain—enjoy it, let me own you.”
Rodney writhed and surged under his Dom, wallowing in agony and the hot, slick pleasure of being in his Dom’s ass. “John.”
“That’s it,” John murmured. “Just take everything I give you. I’m the only one that can give you this, Rodney.”
– – – –
“It’s different with John.”
Rodney shrugged. “There are many differences between John and Sam. I trust him a great deal and it does serve to highlight how little I came to distrust Samantha. Maybe even how much I never trusted her if I’m going to be entirely honest.”
Thomas frowned briefly and then cleared his throat. “Is there a moment in your relationship with Colonel Carter that you came to realize you were not safe with her.”
Rodney took a deep breath. “I didn’t have a safe word with her. I never felt the need to request one because we had an honest, open dialogue about what was expected of me in our private lives. I never realized it was something I needed until she refused to untie me—she said I didn’t know what I wanted, she didn’t take my complaint seriously, and I had no safety net.”
“Do you believe she would have honored a safe word?”
He took a deep breath and frowned. “I don’t know. I really don’t know. At one time I would have said she wouldn’t have ever intentionally damaged me but I was wrong. I was very wrong.”
“Do you want to talk about the day she tried to castrate you?”
Rodney flinched and then shook his head abruptly. “I wasn’t aware… who told you about that?”
“Gerard. I met with him before I left Earth.” Thomas raised an eyebrow at Rodney’s small huff. “I believe he made it clear to you, Rodney, that he would no longer by a bystander in your life. I was in Quebec the day you were marked. I believed that you understood what it meant to be Gerard de Sade’s Courtesan.”
“He gave me space in the past.”
“You’ve proven beyond any doubt that he made a mistake on that front,” Thomas returned dryly. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Female Dominants have always been… I was always attracted to them despite the fact that I was more physically satisfied with males,” Rodney admitted. “I understand enough about myself to know that’s a remnant of my mother’s influence on my life.”
“Your mother died before you finished your training at de Sade.”
“Yes.” Rodney nodded. “It’s a good thing, actually. I doubt she would have… she would have certainly protested my second session. She doted on Jeannie and would’ve been gravely insulted that her daughter wasn’t honored with a second session and I was.”
“You believe she didn’t love you.”
“I know she didn’t love me,” Rodney said and then sighed. “My birth is the only reason she was forced to keep my father in her home.”
“You and Jeannie don’t have the same father do you?”
Rodney paused and then shook his head. “No. Jeannie doesn’t know but our mother did tell me shortly before she was killed that Jeannie had a different father and that as soon as I turned twenty-one she was going to strip my father of his collar and throw him out of her life. I was horrified by her intentions and told her that it the de Sade Institute would likely sanction her heavily for treating a Courtesan so poorly.”
“But she didn’t care.”
“She was arrogant,” Rodney murmured. “It’s something I get from her—there was some question regarding my own dynamic when I was younger. It wasn’t until I manifested such profound pain kinks that she even agreed to discuss the fact that I might be submissive.”
“She wanted you to be Dominant.”
“She said that she could have at least been proud of me if I’d been Dominant,” Rodney said and then looked down at his hands. “Sam is actually a great deal like my mother was before she died. Beautiful, flawed, intelligent…”
Rodney flinched and then shook his head. “Not physically. She never touched either one of us that way but she was a sadist.”
“Sam Carter isn’t a mentally healthy sadist,” Thomas said then and lifted an eyebrow when Rodney started to disagree. “You know this.”
“Yes.” Rodney sighed. “I know. I encouraged her to get help during our divorce. At one time I even had my lawyer suggest to the court that it be part of our separation agreement—that she would seek counseling for her issues and maybe even a session at a pleasure house. I offered to pay for it.”
Thomas snorted. “Add fuel to that fire, did you?”
“She was livid. She yelled at me in court—said that any dysfunctions we had in our relationship were my fault because I was little more than a child emotionally and that training I’d had at de Sade had turned me into a pain junkie. You know she tried to have me committed.”
“Yes. I’m aware.”
Rodney sighed. “Regardless, the judge for our case was a good man. He took care of me as much as he could legally until I was entirely free of her.”
“Tell me why you didn’t go to Gerard for help when that situation happened—why you cut off her collar instead of seeking help through your house. You have to know that our house would have come down on her like a ton of bricks and she would have begged you for the chance to remove her collar.” Thomas poured McKay a cup of coffee and prodded the cup gently across the table that separated them. “Do you need to eat something?”
“No. I’m good. John played mother hen at breakfast this morning.” Rodney flushed when Thomas laughed. “I suppose you’ll tell him I said that?”
Thomas lifted an eyebrow in surprise and sighed. “Rodney, your sessions with me are private. John won’t ask me about the conversations we have. The whole point of these discussions is to make you comfortable with your past and your present circumstances. He won’t undermine that by sticking his nose in it.”
“I wear his collar so he has the right to…”
“I told him I wouldn’t treat you privately without his word that he wouldn’t interfere. You’ll have joint sessions as well as time progresses but this isn’t about him right now. It’s about you.”
Rodney frowned. “I’m… not sure I like his exclusion to be honest.”
Thomas inclined his head. “You may tell him anything you’d like about our private sessions, Rodney.”
“Right.” McKay took a deep breath and looked out the large window that dominated the office. “The female civilian psychologist they have on the city—she visited me after the Jumper incident and tried to get me to talk about Scott Holland.”
“I saw her report.”
“Did John bring you out here because I refused to talk to her?”
Thomas shook his head. “No, I was actually given my transfer orders three weeks before the incident with Scott Holland. He thought with the influx of military personnel that a military psychologist would be better received by his people. I can’t disagree with that. You’ll be the only civilian I see professionally and that is because of our past relationship. The Colonel thought you might relate well to me considering that.”
“He’s intuitive,” Rodney admitted. “Far more than I expected for a career military man. I find him fascinating on that level. He’s perfectly happy emptying a few guns into paper targets on the range and spending the evening with me in the lab working on the math for the gate bridge project. I don’t quite get him but he keeps me challenged and interested.”
“And he rocks your world privately.”
Rodney blushed. “Yes.”
“Good.” Thomas inclined his head. “Now, are you ready to answer my question?”
“I was ashamed of what I’d allowed her to get away with for so long. I felt weak and powerless in the wake of the destruction of my marriage. Part of me just wanted to crawl into a hole and die.” Rodney cleared his throat and twisted his coffee cup around. “The thing is that when Gerard marked me… he made me feel important and valued and powerful and beautiful. No one had ever made me feel that way and it hurt when he told me that he had a collar for me but he would prefer that I not accept it.”
“It is house tradition for a Master to keep a collar for his Courtesan but most don’t actually collar their Courtesan.”
“If you wanted his collar you should have taken it, Rodney. He would have been honored and so pleased to have you in his household permanently.”
Rodney nodded. “He said as much to me. The thing is that I knew he was right—I knew we weren’t a good match. He would never be satisfied with one submissive in his home and frankly, I don’t like to share. Eventually I would have grown to resent his appetites and the love and respect I have for him would have withered.”
Rodney sighed. “There were quite a few men and women between Gerard and Carter. Sam was everything I thought I wanted—because I thought that having someone that I could partner with in my work would satisfy me. I knew she wasn’t trained in her dynamic but I was arrogant enough to assume that I could teach her to understand my needs as a submissive and she’d be willing to learn. At first she was very eager and attentive. We had a healthy, active, and satisfying sex life as long as I didn’t expect too much from her on the pain front. She learned to hurt me enough to make me come on her command but it was, to be frank, pretty elementary stuff compared to what I’d had in the past.”
“Yet, you married her anyway.”
“I thought I loved her.”
“During your first session at de Sade it was discovered that you had an aversion to anal sex and specifically to Dominant males.” Thomas paused. “I can’t even begin to describe how furious Gerard was when the staff finally managed to get the reason out of you.”
“I over came that,” Rodney protested.
“I don’t think you did,” Thomas said gently. “I think you learned to trust your instructors at de Sade. And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that every Dom you’ve allowed to top you with the exception of Colonel Sheppard was trained at de Sade. Marshall Sumner was the last man to take you before you became involved with Sam Carter, right?”
“Yes.” Rodney nodded. “I can’t deny that.” He flushed and looked out the window. “I enjoy anal sex a great deal.”
“I know,” Thomas said and then grinned broadly when McKay blushed.
“But I will admit to forbidding anal intercourse with several male Doms since I was marked by de Sade and I’ve only ever let one female use… a strap on with me and that was the Domme that was assigned to help me after I was divorced. I never consented to Sam… penetrating me with anything.”
“Consented.” Thomas took a deep breath. “And how many times did she ignore your wishes on that front?”
“Just the once… the same night she tried to castrate me,” Rodney admitted and focused on his coffee. “In fact, it was when I pitched a fit about her putting a rather large, unlubricated dildo in my ass—that she told me that she had decided that I would be more manageable if I didn’t have testicles. I was helpless—tied up the way I was and I admit to freaking out in a major way when she pulled out a first aid kit and unwrapped a scalpel.”
Rodney looked up at Grant’s intake of breath. “She was interrupted before she could do anything.” He frowned at the table between them. “What disturbs me most in retrospect is that she hadn’t planned on using any kind of pain killer at all. I don’t know why that bothers me now expect to say that I think highlights how little she understood about the kind of pain a masochist can tolerate. Her actions speak to how little she cared about me.”
“Do you blame yourself for her loss of control?”
“No.” Rodney shook his head. “But I do blame myself for not realizing how far gone she was until it was almost too late. I was ashamed and I didn’t want anyone to know how bad it was. I didn’t want anyone to know.”
“Did you think Gerard would be disappointed in you?”
“I knew he would be disappointed that I didn’t seek him out when things got bad.” Rodney took a deep breath. “I didn’t want him to regret marking me.”
“Rodney.” Thomas sighed. “Gerard would never… could never regret giving you his mark and he would be disappointed to know that you fear such a thing.”
“You won’t tell him.”
“Of course not.”
Rodney nodded and took a deep breath. “Okay.” He looked down at his hands. “I’m glad Scott Holland is dead. When I found out he was dead—I was relieved.”
“Did you think he was competition?”
“No, not once. John isn’t a boy—he knows exactly what he wants and needs to satisfy his dynamic. Scott Holland was never in my league in that respect and I never felt threatened by him. I was still relieved when I found out he was dead because he was making things stressful for John and if he’d survived the crash I probably wouldn’t have. He’d have killed me in that Jumper before John could get to us. I was defenseless.”
“Again,” Thomas murmured. “You were defenseless again. Tied to that bench in the back of the Jumper and you couldn’t get free to protect yourself—to save yourself.”
“Yes.” Rodney paled and closed his eyes. “Exactly that.”
– – – –
Corporal William Jenkins had a black eye. It had obviously been treated with Tollan crème but it was still largely visible and John didn’t like the look of it all. A cursory examination of the roster had proven that the young man hadn’t been in the sparring rotation all week and he hadn’t been to the infirmary to treat his face either.
“Jenkins.” John pushed off from the wall as he watched the eight man team that Jenkins was a part of come out of the gym showers. “Come with me.” He noticed immediately that the rest of the team paused and started looking around at each other. “Problem, gentlemen?”
“Is this official or personal, sir?” Jenkins questioned. He glanced towards another man in his unit. “I have a social contract with Sergeant Keener.”
John’s gaze narrowed on the Marine. “Keener, you’ll join us as well. And it’s not personal, Jenkins, my relationship with Dr. McKay is exclusive.”
John left the gym and didn’t look back to make sure that the two of them were following him. Mentally, he reviewed what he remembered about Keener. He was de Sade trained, two sessions if his memory served. Keener was a second wave while Jenkins had been with the expedition since the beginning. Jenkins had no formal training to speak of but that wasn’t always a big deal, especially for de Sade Doms. In fact, some preferred to train their submissives themselves and didn’t like the intrusion of house training.
They entered Declan Frost’s office a few seconds later and Frost looked up from his computer to frown. “Sir?”
“Frost.” John turned and leaned on the Navy’s man desk. “Jenkins, Keener—sit.” He focused on Jenkins intently. “Will, we’re about to have a very blunt conversation.”
“Yes, sir.” Jenkins nodded abruptly and exhaled sharply.
“I’d like to think I know you pretty well,” John began. “And I think we can both agree that I’m very familiar with your dynamic and sexual needs.”
“Yes, sir.” William nodded abruptly and flushed prettily. “Very familiar.”
“Do you trust me, Will?”
“With my life, sir.” Jenkins said without hesitation. “I’ve never served under anyone I trust more both professionally and personally. You’re an outstanding officer and a… well… a god in private.”
John laughed briefly, startled by the description. “Alright then.” He leaned forward and forced Jenkins to look him right in the eye. “What the fuck happened to your face and why haven’t you been to the infirmary to get it checked out? Because the last time I checked, dynamics don’t change overnight and your idea of pain play doesn’t extend beyond suede floggers.” He pointed a finger at Keener without even looking at him. “I didn’t ask you, Sergeant. I suggest you keep your mouth shut.”
Jenkins took a deep breath and lowered his gaze. “I didn’t want it on my medical records because Beckett would have reported the injury to you.”
“Why didn’t you want me to know? Are you worried that I might have a problem respecting the boundaries of your private relationships?” John demanded.
“No, sir, not at all.” Jenkins took a deep breath. “As I mentioned, I have a contract with Josh.”
John nodded and glanced towards Keener who looked furious. “Right.”
“One of the new Marines that came back with Major Lorne this time expressed some interest in me. We had a relationship at the SGC before I shipped out for the Atlantis mission. He was pissed when I volunteered for the mission because I refused his collar so I could go on the mission. Derek had volunteered as well but either you or Sumner cut him from the original mission. Well, he finally made it out here and when he found out I was involved with Josh—he got pissed and ordered me to end it.” He waved a hand at his face. “This is what I got for refusing him.”
“Did you hit him back?”
“No, I didn’t get a chance—Team Six came into the locker rooms and Derek left. That was six hours ago.” Will slouched down in his chair. “I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, sir.”
“Josh, why don’t you tell young Will what is wrong his thinking on this issue.”
Keener cleared his throat. “He failed to consider the fact that I’m going to beat Derek Boyer half-dead the first chance I get. The prick has been hiding from me since I returned to the city from a mission an hour ago.” He shrugged when Sheppard glared at him. “He outranks me, sir. Filing a formal complaint and punishing him will hurt both my career and Will’s. You know that an enlisted man can’t get away with punishing an officer no matter how much he deserves it. But I figure if I kick his ass in private—he’ll keep his mouth shut out of embarrassment.”
John bit down on his lip to keep from grinning at the man. Keener was a man after his own heart if he were at all honest. He glanced towards Frost who was nodding his agreement to the younger man’s plans. “Well, let’s make things a little safer for you on the career front.” He clicked his radio to the military channel. “All Call. Company assembly, Gym 3.” He clicked to the officer only channel. “Martinez, you’ll take over gateroom duty. I’ll need Major Hughes in the Gym with me. Keep two men for gate duty.” He didn’t wait for a response. “Frost, gear up, I think we’ll spar first.”
“Always a pleasure to make you break a sweat, sir.”
– – – –
Rodney showed up about twenty minutes into his bout with Frost and sat down with his lap top on a bench to stare pointedly. John thought it was fucking adorable and wasn’t at all surprised when Sean Taylor joined him a few minutes later with Miko at his side. Her disapproval was almost a physical thing in the room. John was suddenly very pleased that he’d never been attracted to Miko—if he had to face that kind of disapproval from two collared subs he’d be the most brow beaten Top on the city.
He ended the match with a wave of his hand and pulled off his head gear. “You’re a complete bastard, Chief.”
“That’s why you love me so much, sir.” Declan stretched and pulled off his gloves with a smirk. “Keener, you can take my place.”
John tossed his gear in the box as he left the ring. “Boyer, you’ll take mine.” He glanced up when Boyer made a sound that could’ve been construed as a protest. “Got a problem, Captain?”
Boyer rolled to his feet. “None, sir.”
“Good.” John glared at him briefly and then took a towel from a pile near McKay. “Show me what you’ve got.” He dropped down on the bench next to McKay and rested against the wall.
Twenty-two minutes later, two medics rolled Derek Boyer onto a gurney and John strolled out of the gym thoroughly pleased with himself and quite impressed with Keener. The younger man was a complete bad ass. Rodney and Miko trailed along behind him not entirely certain what had happened.
– – – –
“What’s on your mind?”
Rodney shrugged. “That’s an interesting question for a genius. I’m thinking about the calculations for the hyperspace engine we want to implement in a Jumper and the work on implementing a DHD in the X-302s. We thought it would be a lot easier than it’s turned out to be but we did find a remote dialing device prototype in the Ancient database.”
“Are you playing a game with me, McKay?” Thomas asked, clearly amused.
Rodney huffed. “Well, not every day can be crammed full to the brim with angst, ya know. Things are good with John and I haven’t had any nightmares which is a surprise because I was prone to them in the past. Drowning, well that was always a pretty big fear for me as a kid.”
“Second Tuesday,” Rodney corrected. “Eight day week—two Tuesdays. I don’t know why there aren’t two Fridays. That seems so much more interesting. Except for perhaps it wouldn’t be Friday if there were two.”
“Your standing appointment is on Monday afternoons, Rodney.” Thomas inclined his head. “Yet, you’re here—on my couch, strangling your own fingers, and you’ve been rambling since you arrived. Now, with all that in mind, I think I’ve the right to assume that something might be bothering you.”
Rodney sighed. “I’ve lived on military bases most of my career.”
“Most of the Dominants I’ve been in any kind of relationship with have been career military but it crossed my mind lately that they weren’t really field assets in the traditional way. Sam was in the field—but she wasn’t defined by her war record.”
“And John is.”
“He’s such…” Rodney chuckled. “Marine. He’s a marine. He has a PhD in Math and I find that part of him stimulating to say the least. Sometimes we can work on a problem together in the lab—late into night. He has a vicious, dark humor and I find him quite challenging intellectually.”
“But?” Thomas questioned. “Because there sounds like there is a ‘but’.”
“It’s just…” Rodney blew out an impatient breath. “It’s rather cliché how intensely hot he is when he’s being a marine. I’ve never found that kind of thing attractive before.”
“Well, the man is very attractive.” Thomas quirked an eyebrow when Rodney glared at him briefly. “It’s not like that is a secret, Rodney. The man is gorgeous and powerful and very dominant. He is Alpha on this city and that’s saying something considering how Top heavy this place is.”
Rodney nodded. “Top of the dog pile. I get it. I just didn’t expect to find it so arousing.”
“It bothers you?”
“It confuses me,” Rodney admitted. “But I’m working on it and I’m pretty sure it’s okay if I like to watch him spar with the Navy SEALS.”
Thomas laughed abruptly. “I see.”
“I mean—it’s certainly not how I would normally choose to entertain myself.” Rodney flushed. “It started when we were back on Earth. We visited his pleasure house in Singapore and I watched him—spar with this young, very beautiful Dom.”
“And it aroused you—watching him dominate someone else.”
“Watching him dominate another Dom. Yes, it was arousing.” Rodney flushed and bit down on his bottom lip. “I was pretty sure that my training prepared me for all of my kinks—so I’m kind of surprised to find a new one at this age.”
“You watched Gerard Top other Doms.”
“Yes.” Rodney nodded. “I watched Doms submit often when I was in my second session. Gerard was very strict about how Doms were trained in Quebec when I was there. They weren’t allowed to be marked until they truly understood submission.”
“Did it turn you on then?”
“No, never. In fact,” Rodney began with a sigh. “I would go so far as to say that it made me very uncomfortable to watch such things in the past. I don’t believe—no—I know I would not want to see John submit to anyone.”
“Yet, you expressed interest in watching him test the whip he received from Dolor.”
Rodney blushed. “If I may be frank, Thomas, I don’t believe you stand a chance of dominating John.”
Thomas laughed and sighed. “Too right, actually. He was in charge the entire time and I felt like a first session school boy by the end of it.”
“Besides that was more about seeing the instrument itself and of course, watching John hurt. I liked… I liked watching Dato’ Raja put ink on him. He shivered through most of the evening while his mark was re-inked and added to.”
Thomas closed his eyes briefly. “You’re an evil man, Rodney.”
– – – –
John tugged on the pack his submissive had shouldered on and lifted an eyebrow at McKay as he glanced over the rest of his team. “Did you pack your extra lap top battery?”
“Good, because I’m not sending anyone back to the city to get you another one.” John looked him over again and then moved on to Teyla and then Miko. It was a habit, one that anyone that went through the gate with him endured. After he’d given everyone a visual inspection, he nodded to Chuck. “Okay, Chase, your team has point. Rodney, Miko, Carson—I expect the three of you to stay in the middle at all times. Understood?”
They all three nodded.
“Did everyone put their sunscreen on?” John questioned as he put on his sunglasses. “First one of you bastards who comes down with sun poisoning is going to get a lecture from McKay about skin cancer. I had him prepare a lengthy one in advance.”
The wormhole splashed predictably and Chase motioned his team through and with a brief nod in John’s direction went through the gate.
“Stackhouse, on Beckett’s six and keep Miko in your sight at all times.”
– – – –
The planet was wet and hot in a decidedly not great way. The research station had taken a full week to set up but at least they were done with that part. Rodney’s team of scientists had arrived mid-way through the construction to help with the installation of instrumentation for studying the energy fields that surrounded the planet in an effort to figure out why this planet was called the Wraith Killing Grounds. It was ironic that a planet that could have been a refuge for half the Pegasus galaxy was also quite inhabitable long term. It was rarely under a hundred-twenty and the Marines had been bitching very quietly about it.
John set aside the second of four 9mm he was diligently cleaning out in front of the tent he’d been sharing platonically with his sub for almost an entire week. It was the longest mission he’d allowed Rodney to participate in and he’d been amused by how the scientist had approached the tasks set out for him. He’d pretty much run roughshod over everyone but John and no one had been foolish enough to bitch about it within John’s hearing.
John inclined his heads toward a camp stool. “Sit, Dr. Summers.”
“I wished to speak with you about Rodney.”
John quirked an eyebrow. “He’s your boss, Dr. Summers. If you have a problem with something that Dr. McKay has done you can file a formal complaint with Dr. Weir.”
Summers flushed and sighed. “I suppose you’re being dense on purpose. I looked you up, you know. Your training, your education—I can’t for the life of me figure out why you’re wasting your time in the military. Additionally, I don’t know how you can continuously expose someone so brilliant and well trained to danger when Rodney could be living in the lap of luxury on Earth.”
“If McKay wanted luxury on Earth, he could have it. He certainly doesn’t need anyone to take care of him financially.” John finished field stripping the weapon in front of him on the table and set about cleaning the different components. “As for your opinion on how I chose to live my life—I couldn’t even begin to measure how much I don’t care what you think about my career choices.”
“You’d be surprised how many people have presumed to tell me what my submissive deserves since he accepted my collar,” John interrupted—his voice cool and precise. “What he deserves, Dr. Summers, is respect.” He set aside the weapon after he reassembled it and started to clean his hands. “He is a brilliant man—smarter than anyone I’ve ever met—without exception. I realize you want him but it’s not going to happen as long as he’s wearing my collar. I don’t share and he’s made it very clear to me that he’s content with my preferences.”
“Is that so?”
“It is.” John holstered one of the weapons he’d cleaned and picked up the others to take them back to the various scientists he’d pulled them off of. “You’re here because you’re supposedly very smart and at the top of your field but nothing in your résumé is so grand that I won’t whip you mute if you cross the line with Rodney. I don’t make it a habit to discipline civilians, Dr. Summers, but as I’m sure you’ve heard I’m certainly not unwilling to do it. Leave McKay alone and you won’t have to experience it.”
– – – –
Rodney accepted the 9mm his Dom offered and put it in his leg holster. He’d noticed that while he’d been without a weapon, the Marines on guard duty had doubled. John dropped down in a chair near the communications station they’d set up for relaying information back to the gate and frowned.
Rodney watched him for several minutes before nodding. “Miko, you can return to the city. Summers, Braxton, Jordan—I want one more round of sensory data manually collected so we can do a final comparison and calibration. I’d like to be back on the city within the next twenty-four hours.” He paused when he noticed that only Miko was moving. “I wasn’t speaking to hear myself talk, people, start moving!”
John smirked as the scientists, save Miko, all ran from the tent. “Summers approached me.”
Rodney grimaced. “Yuck.”
“And you say you’re a genius,” Miko muttered.
John laughed softly. “I pushed her off but I don’t know if it’s going to be enough. She wasn’t… aggressive in a way I’m used to so I’m not sure she’s going to take no for an answer.”
“Right.” Rodney sighed. “I suppose she doesn’t really play the kinds of dominant games that you would expect.”
“Honestly?” John began and quirked an eyebrow. “She came off kind of whiny.” He grinned when McKay laughed. “Started that whole mess about what you deserve.”
“It’s interesting that most people didn’t give a good goddamn what I deserved when I was uncollared and under Carter’s thumb at the SGC because of my contract,” Rodney muttered and sighed. “She’d bore me to the point of tears.”
“Unhappy tears,” Miko agreed.
– – – –
Rodney didn’t let himself tense up when Summers sat down beside him with her lunch but he did make sure there was enough room between them that she couldn’t pretend to accidently touch him. Her passive aggressive approach with John and the overt interest put him in mind of Sam Carter and that wasn’t a good place for him despite his recent foray into therapy. The science team had returned to Atlantis earlier in the afternoon and John had sent him back as well. The station they’d set up on the planet would be run by a two marines.
He hadn’t expected John to leave civilians on the planet but he’d heard a few people including Summers complaining about it while they’d prepared to leave.
“I wanted to talk to you about putting a scientist on the monitoring team on PX7-897.”
Rodney shook his head. “There is no point. The data will be processed here and the environment is a medical risk. The Colonel will be switching his people out regularly to keep down the risks of radiation poisoning.”
“There are plenty of scientists in the department that could handle the situation on the planet just as well as the grunts Sheppard will assign. The project is too important to leave with the military.”
“This decision was made already, Dr. Summers. If you don’t like the choice I made on the planet regarding the use of the people in my department, I suggest you file a complaint with Dr. Weir.”
“I’ve told you repeatedly that you can call me Kara,” she snapped and then took a calming breath. “I shouldn’t have to file a formal complaint when it would be easier for you to change your mind and assign several scientists to the project to rotate in with the marines Sheppard is sending.”
Rodney turned to look at her. “I have no interest whatsoever in calling you by your first name, Dr. Summers and I’m not going to change my mind because you don’t like the choice I’ve made. I’m the Chief Science Officer on this city and the decisions I make regarding work schedules are not up for debate. You will return to your lab as assigned and start work on the next project on your list or you can go back to Earth when the Apollo returns.”
“If you can’t make difficult decisions regarding the staffing of projects… then perhaps you shouldn’t be the CSO,” Summers ground out through clenched teeth. “Dangerous or not—there should be a scientist on the planet collecting the data.”
“I’m sure Dr. Weir will take your complaints about my management of the science department seriously,” Rodney returned coolly. “You can leave, Dr. Summers, I’m not interested in sharing a meal with you.” A tray dropped down in front of him then and Rodney offered Ethan Marsh a hesitant smile. “Good afternoon.”
“Rodney.” Ethan slouched down in the chair in front of McKay and glared openly at Summers. “I believe he told you to find somewhere else to sit, Dr. Summers.”
Rodney bit back a laugh when Summers stood up abruptly and left the table—leaving her half-eaten lunch behind. Ethan made an abrupt hand gesture and the tray was removed from the table by a marine without comment. “Thanks.”
“I can assume you’re going to tell John about her.”
Rodney inclined his head in agreement. “He already knows she’s a problem. I don’t keep secrets from him, Ethan, for any reason. Besides, I’m sure she’ll be filing a complaint about my management of the science resources.”
Ethan frowned. “How far would she get with that?”
“Not far at all,” Rodney admitted. “When I agreed to come out here, Dr. Weir gave me final say over the science department unless it directly conflicted with military objectives. John didn’t want scientists on that planet any more that I did. They would serve absolutely no purpose beyond being a target for who or whatever might come through the gate.”
– – – –
John put his back to the tree and put a new clip in his P-90. He felt like he’d been put down in the middle of someone else’s war and while he wasn’t certain who the Wraith were fighting—he figured that they couldn’t be all that bad because they were holding their own. “Harris.”
“I’m here, Sir.” Chase shifted around the tree until they were shoulder to shoulder. “The big one went left and the smaller, yet still bad ass mother fucker went to the right. There are ten Wraith between us and the gate. Stackhouse, Markham, and Garrison are fifteen meters to the south of us and Morris is unconscious. He looks like he was stunned. I dragged him under some brush.”
“Keep an eye on his location as much as possible.” John took a deep breath and shifted around the tree until he could do a visual check on Stackhouse’s location. He raised his hand and motioned them forward. Marcus gave him an abrupt nod and turned to the two men he had with him.
“Harris, you’re on my six.”
Both of the suns had set shortly before the Stargate had activated and all hell broke loose. The darkness that would have provided excellent cover on Earth was of little use against the Wraith. It had only taken them a few weeks in Pegasus to learn that the Wraith had excellent night vision. The night hunting they seemed to be fond of was more of a psychological warfare as far as John was concerned. The hallucinations that some of the older ones were capable of inducing could be disorienting for some of the people from Earth. They’d stopped effecting John after he turned into a bug. It wasn’t the only gift that event had left behind but the others weren’t something he liked to dwell on unless he had no choice.
He held out a hand and Chase stilled behind him. John tilted his head as the Wraith drone approached and pulled out his k-bar. They were at least four klicks behind the rest of the hunting party and his plan to flank them so they were in a better position to help the two Pegasus natives the Wraith were hunting wasn’t as tight he’d like. They didn’t know him—he sure as hell couldn’t trust them to respond the way men from Earth would react. The last thing he wanted was it to turn into the wrong kind of threesome.
It went down so quickly that it was almost surreal. Garrison took a stunner to the chest shortly before the last Wraith fell and then John had a face full of alien weapon.
Chase Harris leveled a 9mm at the smaller of the two aliens, not the one actually holding the weapon on Sheppard. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
“Why did you help us?”
“Killing Wraith is my first and most important mission objective,” John replied dryly looking briefly at Chase who flipped on his laser sight. “I’m Colonel John Sheppard.”
The man’s gaze flicked between John and then Chase. He shifted his body slightly in front of his shorter companion. “Is he yours?”
John’s gaze widened briefly. “He is a soldier in my command. All of the men here are but no he doesn’t belong to me.”
The young man in front of him raised an eyebrow. “You don’t claim the most attractive of your soldiers?”
John grinned. “He thinks you’re pretty, Chase.”
“I am pretty, Colonel. You have no idea how hard it is being this beautiful.”
The alien snorted. “Yes, he does.” He lowered his weapon. “I’m Ronon Dex. This is my companion, Tyre Daos.”
Chase lowered his weapon slowly and thumbed off the laser sight.
“Companion,” John repeated and then upon fully inspecting the shorter of the two of them decided that Chase had chosen his target very wisely. The man called Tyre was wearing a thin solid dark metal collar with no lock. It looked for all intents and purposes—permanent. A series of letters that he didn’t recognize were carved into it. “I see.”
“Do you?” Ronon questioned. “Most don’t.”
John inclined his head. “Stackhouse, introduce our new badass friend to your companion.”
Marcus Stackhouse shifted closer to John, his hand curling around Jason Markham’s wrist as he did so. “Ronon, this is my submissive, Jason.”
Ronon’s gaze drifted over Markham’s face and then fell to the field collar he wore. John watched him relax by degrees but his eyes were still alert.
“Sire, we have little time,” Tyre whispered and moved closer to Ronon. “We should leave before more Wraith arrive.”
Ronon inclined his head in agreement and then he curled his fingers with his companion’s. “We thank you but we must go.”
John held out a hand. “They can’t bring Darts or a ship near this planet—it’s sort of Wraith proof but the atmosphere is deadly if you’re exposed to it for a long time.”
“We know,” Ronon inclined his head. “We come here often to thin out the hunting parties and get rid of the Darts.”
“Often,” John repeated. “You come here often.” His stomach tightened. “What did you do to the Wraith to make them hunt you like this?”
“We survived,” Tyre whispered, he pressed against Ronon and their fingers curled tighter against each other—whitening with the pressure at the knuckles.
“It’s a game for them,” Ronon said shortly. “They track us with a transmitter and hunt us for sport.” He brought Tyre’s hand to his mouth and kissed it gently. “Show them.”
Tyre released his Dom’s hand, holstered his weapon, and then efficiently stripped out of animal hide vest, a worn rough-woven shirt. He turned, knelt in front of Ronon gracefully, and bowed his head in submission. The scar was three inches long and started at the top of his spine.
John’s jaw tightened with fury. “Did they do it to you as well?”
“No.” Ronon’s eyes darkened. “Just him.” His fingers drifted through his submissive’s hair. “It was all they needed to do. I don’t have the medical skills to remove it myself and we can never stay in the same place long enough to find someone qualified and willing to remove it.”
John nodded abruptly. “Stackhouse, Markham – sort back to the gate and dial Atlantis. I need to talk to Dr. Weir.”
– – – –
Rodney was lingering in the doorway of the Jumper bay when John finally returned with his guests. Most of the city had heard about the submissive that Carson had operated on in the field and how he’d removed a Wraith transmitter from the young man. What they’d been told wasn’t nearly enough but it was enough to be absolutely horrifying. Seven years, being hunted by the Wraith—survivors of a world that had been completely decimated.
John came out of the Jumper first, his expression hard and his eyes dark with carefully banked fury. The Wraith, Rodney had heard, had only put the transmitter in the submissive. It was such a cruel thing to do to a pair. He tried to put himself in that position and had to wonder how long he would have lasted before he would have begged John to leave him and escape if he couldn’t fix it. Though he rarely considered situations that he couldn’t fix given the right equipment and time to think.
John moved toward him without hesitating and backed him up against the wall of the Jumper Bay. “Hey.”
“Hi.” Rodney’s fingers clenched against his TAC vest. “Did you want me to arrange dinner in our quarters?”
“Yeah, I’m going to get them settled in the infirmary and assign a few marines to guard duty until we know what they want to do.” John inhaled against his neck. “I keep thinking what I’d do if they did that to you.”
“Well, of course, I’d find a way to disable it so we could come home and get Carson to remove it,” Rodney whispered in return. “Then I would build a really big bomb for you to give them as a thank you present.”
John laughed reluctantly and shifted back a little before kissing him on the mouth—warm and affectionate. “Take a shower and put in the stainless steel plug you like so much.”
“Yes, sir.” His hands lingered on John’s hips as he remained where he was. “Any preferences for dinner?”
“No, I don’t even remember what’s on the menu for today.” John leaned in and kissed him again before lifting his head and raising an eyebrow. “Anything you want to tell me?”
Rodney glanced ruefully at Ethan Marsh, who had been part of the escort team that had taken Carson into the field for the surgery and sighed. “He doesn’t trust me much, does he?”
John raised an eyebrow in surprise and then seemed to consider his words carefully. “I think it’s more about watching my back than trusting you. It’s different between us—we weren’t raised together. I think Matt or David might have given you time to tell me on your own whereas Ethan isn’t as secure in his relationship with me to be that patient.”
Rodney nodded thoughtfully. “Okay, I can buy that. Summers crowded me a little at lunch. She didn’t touch me and she didn’t make any overt moves that I could construe as anything personal. She did demand that I call her by her first name which I declined and she’s probably going to file a complaint with Weir against me for not agreeing with her about her work assignment. I don’t know why—but she really wanted to stay on that planet.”
“It could lead to important work,” John admitted, “if we can figure out how to duplicate the circumstances on the planet without the radiation problems. It could turn the tide of the war with the Wraith but I think it’s more about her asserting professional power over you since she’s been denied access to you in private.” His fingers curled into the material of Rodney’s uniform shirt. “It’s a dominance game and that means the next move is mine—she isn’t going to like it.”
Rodney winced by nodded. “Right. As public as possible, I assume?”
“Yes.” John admitted. “It has to be. She certainly picked a public place to try dominant you.”
“It didn’t feel…” Rodney sighed and nodded. “I do see your point.”
John grinned and shook his head. “This is my arena more than yours—Top games really have never been something you bothered to pay attention to. If you had—you’d have known from minute one that I hated Sam Carter. It never would have crossed your mind that I might have been working with her that first night.”
“Really?” Rodney asked and lifted an eyebrow.
“You didn’t notice that every time she talked over you—I interrupted her within a minute? The worse she treated you—the worse I treated her. Elizabeth was so close to bursting out laughing that several times during that debrief she had to get up and pretend to fill up her coffee. She doesn’t even drink coffee.” John grinned when Rodney flushed.
Rodney nodded. “Do you want me to witness what you do to her?”
“It’s better if you don’t – she doesn’t deserve your personal attention,” John kissed him again. “Go now. I’ll be done in about an hour.”
– – – –
Had it been a military Top—he would have just crowded the Dom into the sparring ring and kicked their ass. It wouldn’t have been the first time he’d used his strength to settle that kind of argument. He’d fought more than once over Jared when they’d first gone into the field as a pair. But there was no room for that kind of physical brutality with a female civilian. It made what he had to do all the more difficult—getting physical was the next step in their little game as she’d already been warned off verbally and yet she hadn’t managed to earn herself discipline.
If Dr. Kara Summers saw it coming, she made every appearance of being surprised. Her startled scream echoed through the near silent mess hall as John hauled her out of her chair and shoved her roughly up against a wall—face first.
He caught both of her wrists in one hand when she tried to pull free of him and used his body to press her down. “You and I have a big fucking problem.” His fingers tightened around her wrists—compressing them painfully.
“Let me go,” she hissed and jerked against him.
“I don’t think so, Kara. You don’t seem to understand personal boundaries and that means I have no choice but to teach you. I’m sure you’ve heard quite a lot about me—both on Earth and here.”
She nodded mutely.
“Good.” He fisted his free hand in her hair and held her in place a lot more gently than he would have preferred. “Do you know what I am?”
“I heard the rumors—Pewaris Darah,” Summers spat out. “That’s what you are and that’s all you are.” She bucked against his hold and hissed when he tightened his fist in her hair.
“You can’t imagine how wrong you are—if that was all I am, you’d be wishing I’d put you out of your misery by now,” John hissed against the side of her face. “From this point forward, you are not allowed to speak to McKay without a second party in the room during work situations and not at all when you’re not working. Any email communications between the two of you will be cc’d to my account and I assure you, Kara, if you fail to adhere to this policy—I will put you on the cross and I’ll hurt you. Do you understand me?”
John laughed while several people around them made shocked sounds. “What do you think you’re going to accomplish by pushing me?” He jerked her back from the wall by her hair and in a maneuver that many in the room didn’t expect, shoved the pretty doctor to her knees. “Do you still think you have any control over this situation?” Several people in the room exhaled and John didn’t bother to look around—he knew that Elizabeth had arrived sometime after he’d hauled Summers out of her seat but she wasn’t going to interrupt. “Do you think someone is going to interfere? I have news for you, Kara, they aren’t going to come to your rescue unless they think I might kill you.”
“Stop calling me that!”
“It’s what you demanded my collared submissive call you,” John returned icily and jerked her upward slightly, making her back arch. “Now, I’m going to ask you one more time—do you understand the behavior I expect from you?”
“Yes, Sir,” she whispered, she started to tremble in his hands. “I understand.”
“Good.” John released her without another word, turned on his heel, and stalked out of the room—not bothering to give her a second glance.
Elizabeth caught up with him as he entered the transporter. He waited until the door closed before turning to face her.
She huffed and then laughed softly. “John.”
“Was I supposed to tolerate it? I don’t think my response was out of line but if you don’t agree—you should say so.”
“I would have done no differently,” Elizabeth admitted. “I heard that she asked if she could see him privately and you told her no.”
“She approached me, yes. She also made it clear that she thought I wasn’t good enough for him,” John explained dryly. “I told her it was never going to happen as long as he wears my collar and then the moment she can she tries to assert authority over him—to dominate him professionally when she couldn’t get what she wanted in private. I can’t allow that, Elizabeth.”
“She filed a complaint an hour ago about her assignments. It’s all very passive aggressive and that pisses me off—she’s just as bad as Kavanagh.”
“At least he was obvious about it,” John pointed out.
“It’s interesting seeing you respond this way when you seemed hesitant with Carter at the SGC.”
John opened his mouth to respond and then closed it abruptly. He considered his words and then cleared his throat. “It’s…different. Sam Carter makes me feel violent in a way that makes me uncomfortable. I didn’t trust myself to punish her the way she deserved. I haven’t trusted myself in a long time in that way but it’s different now.”
Elizabeth nodded. “I see. Very well, I witnessed enough of the incident that if she complains to me, and she might, I can respond accordingly. I’ll also pull the security footage of it and file it for future reference just in case.” She punched in her destination. “It was fine. Some Dominants need a physical lesson to understand their boundaries. She trained at de Sade, by the way, so you won’t have to worry about her complaining to her house. She’s not an idiot.”
“She thinks that I don’t deserve him because I didn’t train at de Sade,” John realized and sighed.
“Well, many Dominants in that house have voiced their belief that Courtesans should be restricted to their own house when it comes to collaring. They claim that no one else can truly understand the dynamic of a de Sade Courtesan.” Elizabeth started to exit the transporter and then turned to look at him. “And, just so you know, that was hot.”
John grinned as she strolled away. There was just no telling someone’s kinks. He pushed in another destination and made his way towards Sean Taylor’s office. The civilian submissive was one of the few civilians in the military tower—his open cheerful office was right next door to Declan’s. Neither had asked for the placement but Elizabeth had seen to it regardless. Absolutely no one wanted to create issues in what was clearly the most rigid relationship on the base. Making sure Sean Taylor felt comfortable and secure on the city was a priority if they wanted to keep their War Master.
“Sir.” Sean stood as John paused in the doorway. “The Master Chief is on maneuvers on the mainland.”
John nodded. “I remember.” He leaned on the door frame. “You’re handling the exhibition schedule, correct?”
Sean regained his seat and opened his laptop. “Yes, Sir, would you like to be added to the schedule? Dr. Weir approved weekly exhibitions on Saturdays. I have three one hour slots to work with.”
“Yes, are there any openings within the next two weeks?”
Sean was silent as he called up his schedule. “I can clear one for you, sir, all three of the Doms scheduled for this Saturday have left instructions to give you their spot if you request exhibition time.” Sean paused and inclined his head when John let his shock show. “Many on the city are looking forward to seeing you and Dr. McKay together, Sir.”
“Right.” John nodded. “Alright, I’ll take the last hour as long as it won’t be an issue.”
“Of course, Sir. I’ll make the changes and notify Sergeant Stackhouse that he’ll moved on the schedule. I assure you, he won’t mind.”
John rubbed the back of his neck. “If he appears to be at all uncomfortable with the rescheduling, I expect you tell me, Dr. Taylor.”
“Of course, Sir.”
John sighed. “Did Elizabeth contact you about our guests?”
“Yes. I’ve been trying to arrange housing for them near the gateroom. I assumed, considering their situation, they would prefer to be housed near the gate. Living all that time as they did—their instincts are geared more towards survival than anything else. I’ve also had their measurements forwarded to me by Dr. Beckett so I can work on a wardrobe for them both from the base stores. At the very least, they both need basics—including new boots. I’ll make sure that everything will fit in field packs if they choose not to stay with us.”
John nodded his approval. “I’m hoping they’ll stay—we could certainly use field assets like them. Teyla and the Athosians have been very useful but these two have the kind of intel I could only dream about before when it comes to the Wraith.”
“I’ll do my best to make a home for them here, Sir.” Sean offered him a hesitant smile. “At least we can give them a safe place to rest, Sir. That’s more than they’ve had since the Wraith culled their home world.”
“Agreed. Make sure their quarters are well stocked and set up a full pleasure kit with a focus on bondage and some of the lighter tools. I don’t get the vibe that Ronon is a sadist and I’m usually a pretty good judge of that. Coordinate with Major Grant—I’ve requested that he speak with them instead of Dr. Heightmeyer.”
“Makes sense, Sir. He’s in a much better position to deal with soldiers—especially soldiers such as these two men. I’d hope to stop by and see them personally. Would that be okay?”
John paused to consider that and then nodded. “Yes, you won’t be viewed as a threat and a personal touch might take the sting out of the extreme change in their circumstances.”
“Of course, Sir.”
“Thanks for taking care of them,” John murmured and then looked around the office. “Don’t work too long tonight, I know Declan is scheduled to be gone overnight.”
Sean grinned. “I have my marching orders, Sir.”
John nodded. “I’m sure you do.”
– – – –
Rodney was wearing a pair of transparent silk black pants when John entered their quarters. The thick leather field collar that he still wore was a nice contrast against the luxury of the silk. He looked over the food and nodded. “Let me take a shower and I’ll join you in a few minutes.”
“You don’t want company?”
John shook his head and leaned in to kiss McKay. “No.”
“Have I done something wrong?”
“No, of course not.” John pulled him close and inhaled against his skin. “I just… it’s difficult imaging being in his position… powerless to do anything but fight the Wraith practically non-stop for seven years. I like to think I’m a strong man.”
“I think I would have gone crazy,” John admitted.
“I think…” Rodney cleared his throat and sucked in a breath. “I think you would do anything and everything necessary to survive. You’d do whatever it took to get us through the day. I have absolute faith in that.”
– – – –
Evan found Matt on the observation deck looking at the two men that John had brought home with him. “Hey.”
“Hey.” Matt frowned and took a deep breath. “It’s a horror story, right? You have to wonder how many people in this galaxy the Wraith are hunting for sport—how many Runners they make on any given day and how long the average one lasts before they just give up and die.” He shoved his hands into his pockets. “How much longer would they have lasted? What would Tyre have done if Ronon had been killed? How can you avenge something so fucked up? How did he stand it? Having that thing in him—knowing that it was the reason they weren’t safe—that he was the reason they weren’t safe.”
“I don’t know,” Evan admitted. “They are survivors and no one knows what they have in them until they are face with it. I’d like to think I would be able to handle my shit if the Wraith did it to me or if they did it to you.”
Matt shuddered. “Just the idea of a Wraith cutting in my body—putting a transmitter in me makes my heart hurt. I don’t know how he didn’t try to cut it out himself.”
“I imagine Ronon prevented him from trying,” Evan murmured. “I certainly would have.” He hooked his fingers into Matt’s belt and tugged him close. “This has you really upset.”
“I don’t think I believed the Wraith were evil before—not even after watching one feed on John. When John talks about the Wraith he makes it seem like they are animals—like they are just doing what instinct demands from them. But this? This game they played with Ronon and Tyre… this game they play with other Runners is so fucked up that it defies comprehension.”
Evan nodded. “Did you hear how they both responded when Carson asked Ronon to remove the collar?”
Matt snorted. “Yeah, Ethan told me about it. There haven’t been permanent collars on Earth in three hundred years. I can just imagine how some people on the city are going to react to it.”
“They’ll have to adjust—we have no right to interfere in how they conduct their relationship in private or public. Our laws and regulations certainly don’t apply to them—even if they agree to remain part of the expedition and help us with our fight against the Wraith.” Evan leaned against the window and brought Matt close. “It worries you—the permanent collar?”
Matt shook his head. “Carson verified with Tyre that it was consensual. They both appeared surprised that he’d even ask that question. Carson told me that on Sateda that instead of a Dominant offering a collar—a submissive requests to be collared. If the Dominant was willing—they would present themselves to a council designed to insure that pairings were well suited and if they passed all of the tests—they would be granted a collar. Their government controlled access to the permanent collars.”
“And that doesn’t bother you?” Evan questioned, clearly skeptical.
“I think it’s romantic,” Matt admitted and then blushed when his Dom laughed. “I’m serious—it’s a commitment on a level that we don’t allow ourselves anymore. I think permanent collars on Earth are taboo for more than one reason and it’s not all about submissive rights. There is a level of commitment between Ronon and Tyre that no pairing on this city can compete with. They’ve already lived and killed for each other. They swore their lives to each other when they were little more than eighteen years old and now they may well be the last of their people.”
“I guess that is kind of romantic,” Evan admitted roughly. “Though I have to say I think the permanent collar is a symbol of slavery.”
Matt’s mouth quirked in a small smile. “I think that some submissives on Earth would be quite content to be in sexual slavery with their Doms, Evan. Dynamics may be similar when it comes to kinks or whatever—but we are all unique.”
“What about you?”
Matt grinned. “I think in another time and place, Sir, I would have been content to be available for your every sexual need and do as little as possible beyond keep myself beautiful for your pleasure.” He laughed when Evan sucked in a deep breath. “You like that idea, don’t you?”
“In passing, but I love the man you are and the pride you have in your career. I wouldn’t change you for anything.”
“I know.” Matt nuzzled against Evan’s neck and kissed him. “I know that very well.”
– – – –
Ronon Dex stirred when the lights went out in the room above them. He knew they were under observation and he certainly didn’t blame the Lanteans for it. Tyre shifted against him and he turned on his side to watch his lover open his eyes. “There you are.”
“Not a dream then,” Tyre whispered. “It doesn’t seem real—what has happened.”
“I know.” Ronon shifted them until he could hold Tyre against his body. “Their leader has offered us a place here if we want it—Sheppard says we can fight the Wraith with them.”
Tyre nodded. “I remember parts of that conversation. The drugs Beckett gave me started to wear off long before he said they would. I suppose because we’re not the same as them.”
“I noticed,” Ronon admitted. “I didn’t want to risk them drugging you again—in case we had to move quickly.”
“What did they do with it?”
“Sheppard took it—he said he wants to study it to see if the scientists here can find other Runners and rescue them. I’ve never met anyone like these people—to actually set out to antagonize the Wraith.” Ronon exhaled sharply and shook his head. “There is a group of people living on this planet—on what they call the Mainland. We’ve been invited to live among them as well.”
“They aren’t like us,” Tyre surmised. He touched his collar. “They maybe won’t understand how to behave with us. I believe we’d find acceptance among the Lanteans far easier and we could make the Wraith pay for what they did to us—for what they did to our world.”
Ronon nodded. “I admit to not being quite finished killing Wraith.”
Tyre laughed softly. “Not as long as there is one alive to kill, I agree.” He snuggled in close. “How does the scar look? Is it as horrible as the one the Wraith left behind?”
“There is no scar,” Ronon murmured. “Beckett used a special healing device on you and he removed all of your scars.”
Tyre shifted and turned to stare at his Dom. “All of them?”
“All,” Ronon kissed his mouth gently. “You are as perfect as the day we met.”
“What about yours?” Tyre asked in shock. His hand trailed down Ronon’s side to his thigh. He’d taken an arrow there two years ago—when they’d been attacked by a primitive group of hunter’s on a planet that was supposed to be uninhabited.
“I asked him to take care of you first—we can arrange for me later if I decide it’s important,” Ronon lifted an eyebrow when Tyre frowned. “How many times do I have to tell you that you come first? That you’ll always come first?”
Tyre huffed and sighed. “As you will, Sire.” He moved in close to Ronon and curled his fingers into the weird material of the shirt his Dom was wearing. “What is… where are our clothes?”
“Being cleaned,” Ronon admitted ruefully. “They’ve had staff in and out of here since we were brought to the city—including a pretty little collared companion who asked me all kinds of questions about clothes. I think they mean to resupply us with clothes and essentials whether we stay or not.”
“We should find some way to earn their generosity,” Tyre whispered. “Though I can’t imagine what we could offer in exchange for what they’ve already done for us.”
“We can stay and serve with them—fight the Wraith at Sheppard’s side,” Ronon murmured. “It’s what honor demands of me—he has done more to serve me in his helping you than he can ever imagine.”
“He seemed really angry when he found out the Wraith just made me a Runner.”
Ronon closed his eyes and nodded. He trailed his fingers through Tyre’s hair with gentle fingers. “Perhaps he was putting himself in my place—I believe he has a collared companion of his own but I didn’t meet him.”
“Good.” Tyre sighed and closed his eyes. “We’ve always served best under commanders who are committed. They are more stable in the field.”
– – – –
John pushed his cock deep into his sub’s ass, his fingers digging to Rodney’s hip even as he buried his face against the back of his neck. “Christ.”
“I love this,” Rodney whispered. He covered John’s hand with his own, thread their fingers together. “I love how you feel inside me.”
John pulled closer, and started to fuck into him leisurely. It was rare for them to be like this—relaxed with no restraints, no toys. The stainless steel butt plug lay abandoned on the sheets in front of McKay where John had tossed it after he’d pulled it out of Rodney’s ass.
“Can you come like this or did you need more?” John questioned as he continued to thrust slowly into him.
“You’re all I need,” Rodney admitted hoarsely and shivered as John scraped his teeth against his shoulder blade. “Everything. You’re everything, John.”
John untangled their fingers and slid his hand around. He cupped McKay’s balls, rubbed them with his thumb before wrapping his hand around his cock and stroking gently—too gently. Rodney shuddered against him and pressed back against him—wiggling in his lap with a groan of pleasure and distress.
John laughed softly. “This is mine, Rodney, I can play with it anyway I like.”
John rubbed the head casually for a few minutes as he pushed deep into McKay’s body repeatedly. “You’re mine.”
“Yours,” Rodney agreed softly. “As long as you want.”
John released his cock and then slowly pushed McKay onto his stomach so that he could settle on top of him. Bracing his hands on either side of Rodney’s head—he reared up and began to fuck into him in roughly. “Always, Rodney. You’ll always be mine.”
“Yes, John, yes.” Rodney shivered, his hands curling into the sheets beneath them.
“Come,” John demanded softly and then he groaned against McKay’s shoulder as Rodney’s ass tightened around his cock as he surrendered. “That’s it, Rodney, give it all up for me.”
“I love you,” John whispered fiercely as he pushed in one last time and came hard—his body shaking with release. He pulled out slowly, rubbing his face against the smooth skin of McKay’s back.