Title: Finding Home
Author: Keira Marcos
Series: Ties That Bind
Series Order: Interlude
Pairing: Ethan Marsh/Chase Harris
Genre: Romance, BDSM
Word Count: 2311
Author’s Note: For Cinna Minion
Summary: Ethan figures out where his home is.
– – – –
Ethan prided himself on being of above average intelligence. He worked hard, played harder, and had built himself a career in the Navy he could be proud of. His knew if his fathers had been alive they would be proud of him as well. Despite the fact that they’d met so late in life, he felt like he’d had a great relationship with both of his brothers and even a semi-close one with David Sheppard who wasn’t his brother by blood, but by choice. They’d made a family of it and that had healed the wounds left behind the deaths of his fathers. All that said, he felt like an idiot for returning to Earth for a mission.
He slouched down on the bench seat and ignored the chaos going on around him. The bus was full of men coming home from various points around the world. It was just one leg of his own journey—a journey that would end with him stepping through a stargate returning to Atlantis. He missed the city and his brothers but he missed someone else more. It had been six months since he’d set eyes on Chase Harris and he couldn’t ignore the little burn of jealousy in his gut. He’d left Chase uncollared, uncontracted, and therefore beautifully available to the interest of others. It was his own fault and if he returned to Atlantis to find… his boy with another he’d just have to deal with it like a man. It hurt a little to think about though.
He considered the rambling weekly emails he’d received from Chase that had been full of little to no real information due to security concerns. Coming back to Earth for a mission hadn’t been on his plate but when an old friend had put the word that he needed help, Ethan had stepped through the gate and come back to Earth to help his friend. His former commander had saved Ethan’s life more than once and Ethan had been more than willing to do whatever the man needed done. A mission that should’ve taken four weeks turned into a six month man hunt that had stretched out across the globe.
He’s spent twelve hours on a plane to get to San Diego only to be sorted to another plane to Nevada instead of directly to Colorado. It was a little irritating but he hadn’t argued or expressed displeasure. A little part of him was annoyed that John hadn’t pulled a few strings to get him out of the mass transport that appeared to be happening though. He really hoped he wasn’t about to spend another few weeks on a fucking ship back to Pegasus. That would be, frankly, agony. More so because once on a ship he would be exposed to all the internal SGC gossip and if Chase had started seeing someone new—it would definitely be known.
John hadn’t been thrilled with the shift back to Earth for a mission that he’d not been debriefed on but Ethan had received more frequent emails from his brother in the last six months than they’d ever exchanged. He’d even gotten some from John’s adopted sister, Miko. Most of hers had been filled with bitter complaints about scientists doing stupid things. Ethan had rashly promised to spank half a dozen people who had irritated the Princess and she’d responded with a picture of herself in full geisha regalia that he’d printed out and tacked on the underside of his trunk lid with the rest of the pictures of his family. He’d gotten a few confused looks when he’d told the men on the team that she as his sister. He let them wonder.
Ethan looked out the window, watched the bus eat up the desert with a small frown. He was really fucking tired of sand. He didn’t want to see sand again for at least… five or six years. Maybe longer. He pulled out his phone and went through his email box out of habit. There were a few new emails, including one with his orders to return to the McMurdo Project as the Atlantis mission was known on Earth. His commander had offered to get him out of the reassignment, and Ethan couldn’t blame him. If he were really going to be sorted to the ass end of Earth, he’d have done everything he could think of to respectfully decline the assignment.
Claire had sent him a few pictures of the kids in response to his own email about a package he’d sent them from San Diego. He hoped to be off the planet before Joseph opened the new drum set or else he’d be getting a phone call full of nothing but French curse words and his high school French wasn’t going to allow him to keep up with Claire Sheppard in a snit.
“I never thought I’d see Area 51.”
Ethan turned to the kid sitting next to him. He was sort of looking forward to the look on the younger man’s face when he was debriefed about the stargate and the SGC. The young submissive had dropped down beside him on the plane in San Diego and proceeded to follow him around like a rather adorable puppy. In another time and place, he might have returned the sub’s obvious interest. The Air Force officer had taken the lack of interest with good grace and just a smidgen of surprise. Ethan figured the kid didn’t get turned down often—he was lovely.
“It’s only going to get… more interesting as the day goes on Lt. Wilkes.”
Wilkes nodded. “Thanks for the… buffer by the way.”
Ethan inclined his head thoughtfully. “For the record, you shouldn’t have to trade the promise of sex for anything.”
Wilkes look startled. “No, I mean. I don’t. That’s not why I offered.” He flushed. “You’ve got to be aware of how attractive you are.”
Ethan grinned. “Yeah, a little. I just wanted to make sure. How long have you been out of the academy?”
“Three months,” Wilkes admitted and flushed. “I did my pleasure training first and entered the Air Force academy afterward. I was lucky to get an endorsement from my Pleasure Master for it as I’d figured I’d have to enlist and do OTS later.”
“Engineering,” Wilkes said and took a deep breath. “So you’ve got someone waiting for you?”
He could only hope. “Nothing official,” Ethan admitted. “I have… I’m a little messed up to be honest.”
Ian laughed. “You kind of look it actually. I think half the subs in the waiting area in San Diego were trying to figure out how to offer you some comfort. The three I was sitting with pretty much determined that a blow job wouldn’t be out of line.”
Ethan flushed. “I… well.”
He wasn’t going to admit someone he barely knew that he’d known nothing but his own hand for the last six months. He considered the collar set he’d purchased in San Diego—he couldn’t help himself and he felt stupid and weak for the purchase. It was the first collar he’d ever bought and cost him a years worth of combat pay. Ethan didn’t resent the expense, Chase was amazing and he deserved beautiful things. The truth was, he had no fucking idea how he’d gotten to the point where he wanted to offer someone a collar. He’d never come close to that sort of emotional attachment before.
The bus lurched to a stop and Ethan stayed put. He wasn’t going to jockey for position to get off the bus when all there was to greet him was more fucking sand. He hated Nevada. He really did. Not even Vegas fully redeemed the state as far as Ethan was concerned. The chatter around them increased and the language got a rough edge as they started to discuss someone outside the bus, not something unheard of among enlisted men. Ethan stood and whistled sharply.
“Gentlemen, we have an officer on board. Watch your mouths.”
Ian stood with a blush and just nodded when one of the Marines took his bag. “Thank you, Sergeant.”
“Not a problem, sir,” the Marine said with a smile. “Looks like there’s some brass waiting for you.”
Ian looked briefly at Ethan before moving through the line as the men got out of the way so he could exit the bus.
One of the SEALs he’d brought back with him cleared his throat noisily. “Sorry, Chief, there’s a… distraction on the other side of the bus and some of these assholes haven’t seen something that pretty in a year.” He grinned. “You should take a look, he might be enough to get you of your funk.”
Ethan started to protest that he wasn’t in a funk but that would’ve been an actual lie so he shouldered his bag. He wasn’t interested in gawking at a submissive that he wasn’t going to bother with anyways so he ignored his fellow SEAL on that front and allowed himself to be moved along with the crowd out of the bus. The speculation regarding the distraction was pretty intense so by the time he cleared the stairs he was just a little curious himself.
He turned and his gaze landed on someone he’d thought to be in another galaxy. Chase was leaning on a classic muscle car with California plates looking like a starving man’s last meal. The leather pants he wore were cut low at his hips, the petals of La Petite Mort mark were hinted at. Ethan wet his bottom lip and Chase quirked an eyebrow at him.
Ethan dropped his bag shortly before he reached the younger man, so when he crowded up into Chase’s space, his hands were free. “You.”
“Hey Chief,” Chase murmured as Ethan prodded him up onto the car. He spread his legs and tugged his Dom close. “I’ve missed you like crazy.”
“Forget that long email I sent you about hating sand and Area 51. I fucking love Nevada,” Ethan said and Chase laughed into the press of Marsh’s mouth. He was so relieved that he was prepared to ignore the whistles and cat calls from the men behind him. “What are you doing here?”
“Training a bunch of pansies to fly the X-302. Every single one of those weak bastards threw up, repeatedly.” Chase rolled his eyes. “We haven’t even broken atmosphere, yet! If they can’t handle it on planet how the fuck can I teach them to go through a stargate?” He wet his bottom lip and curled his fingers into Ethan’s belt loops. “You look exhausted and underfed but still gorgeous. I want to climb you like a tree.”
Ethan grinned and ran trembling fingers down the side of Chase’s face. “I’m going to spank your ass.”
“For what?” Chase asked with a grin. “I’m okay with just because.”
“You didn’t tell me you were here.”
“You don’t like surprises?” Chase asked with a raised eyebrow.
Ethan leaned in and kissed him again. “Not as a rule but this one is pretty awesome.” He settled one hand on Chase’s hip rubbed the petals of the sub’s mark with his thumb. “I… I’m in love with you.” He glared when Chase smirked at him. “If you Han Solo me—I’m going to make you regret it.”
“I just spent seven weeks in the worst assignment outside of McMurdo the SGC has just so I could be here with you when you got sorted to the Apollo for the trip back to Pegasus,” Chase said. “I love you like crazy. It’s kind of stupid how much I love you. I haven’t gotten laid in six months. I ran out of batteries three months after you left Atlantis and Miko took up a collection for me. I was too relieved to be embarrassed.”
“I didn’t expect or ask you to be celibate,” Ethan murmured.
“Well, you kind of ruined me for other people,” Chase confided and took a little shuddery breath. “It was a complete asshole move on your part.”
“My poor boy,” Ethan murmured as he nuzzled the skin of Chase’s bare neck. He clenched his teeth briefly and Chase groaned softly. “I bought a collar set in San Diego.” He lifted his head and met Chase’s gaze.
Chase’s face went soft and his eyes brightened. “Did you want to put it on now?”
“I’d like some privacy actually.”
“Oh, Chief, I think I can swing some privacy.” He scooted off the car when Ethan took a step back and checked his watch. He pulled out a radio and slid it into his ear. “You and I are off duty for the next ten hours and I have my own quarters on the Apollo.”
“Why a ship?”
“Orientation on the guys that rode the bus with you. They’re all Atlantis bound. You’ll have a full course load—the Colonel figured you wouldn’t have a problem orienting them for the mission.”
Ethan nodded. “Okay.” He picked up his bag. “Is this your car?”
“Yeah, I already arranged for it to be stored.”
“I like to drive pretty things,” Chase said with a laugh. “I restored it myself, started in high school.” He paused. “By the way, I was promoted while you were gone.”
“Captain Harris then?”
“You betcha.” Chase activated his radio.
Ethan groaned. “You’ve been hanging out with Jack O’Neill.”
“Apollo, I have two to transport,” Chase announced with a little laugh.
Ethan barely had time to wonder when home had stopped being a place and become a person for him before lights flashed and they both disappeared.