– – – –
“I thought you were going to get Teldy?” John asked as Lorne slipped into the office and shut the door.
Lorne laughed. “Well, I went by her office because she wasn’t wearing her radio. She’s on her lunch break with her submissive. So I chose not to interrupt them.”
John lifted an eyebrow and glanced at Matthew. “Earlier you were talking about the fact that you and the Major Hughes were submissive. Do you have a problem being in command of Dominants?”
“Not at all,” Matt said as he slouched down on the couch with his computer. “I can’t say the same for some Dominants I’ve served with but I don’t take shit from lower ranking officers. I never have. Of course, the Navy has never rated me for discipline and certainly never will. I assumed I would elevate any punishments to you or Major Lorne.”
John nodded. “Yeah, I normally handle discipline on Atlantis—at least I did when Marshall was in charge unless the infraction was severe and then they just wished I was doing the work. Marshall specialized in bloodletting and he never spared the rod.”
Matthew nodded. “Lorne would discipline me, I take it?”
John frowned and considered that. “Yeah, I guess so.” He glanced at Lorne who looked intensely uncomfortable. “Major?”
“Sir.” Evan blew out a breath. “I don’t think I could. I’m rated for the flogger and the strap but he’s a Geisha for fuck’s sake.”
Matthew laughed. “It isn’t like I’m fragile, Major.”
“No, I get that,” Evan muttered. “I don’t think you’re fragile but I can’t ignore what you are. My CO’s little brother and a Geisha. If you ever put me in the position where I have to punish you—I’m going to be really, really unhappy with you for a very long time.”
“You wouldn’t be the only one,” Matt jerked his head in John’s direction. “Relax, I’ve never been disciplined by a superior officer. Not once. I follow orders, will never argue with either one of you in public, and I don’t fuck up. I’ve served for ten years without a single blemish on my record—I can’t imagine a situation where I would be stupid or provoked enough to earn a punishment. I haven’t even been spanked in private since I was marked.”
“You’ve also never collared,” John returned evenly.
“I’ve had several long term relationships that involved sub contracts, John. One that lasted more than a year. It’s just not in my dynamic to be a challenge in private or in public. Most Lotus Geisha are notoriously even tempered. If I hadn’t had the right mindset for Lotus they would’ve sent me to Heian for training and marked me as a dragon Geisha instead.” Matt shrugged. “It was never even discussed as an option.”
John thought it was odd considering their family. “Has anyone in the military been disciplined because of you?”
Matt nodded but focused intently on his computer. “Yes. Dad has punished eight civilian different Doms for bad conduct since I was marked. I’ve reported three to a superior officer in the past for not giving me the space I require.”
Evan cleared his throat. “If you could explain that, I would be grateful.”
“I don’t like to be touched unless I invite it,” Matt admitted softly. “I usually have no problem making my boundaries clear to civilians but there have been times in the past when I’ve required outside help to deal with a military Dom. It rarely happens with lower ranking Doms—the problems I have with them are hardly ever personal.”
He figured he’d kill a Dom over Matthew. It must have shown on his face because Lorne and Matthew were both looking at him, concerned. “What?”
“You just looked… murderous,” Evan muttered. “Sir, I really don’t think you have to worry about that kind of thing on Atlantis. Your Marines are rabidly leery of pissing you off.”
– – – –
“I heard you made Miko cry.”
John looked up from the report he was reading and raised an eyebrow at McKay. He watched his sub lock the door on their room and push the ‘scene’ button to insure their privacy. They were rarely in the room when it wasn’t engaged. “It was a good cry.”
“Oddly that doesn’t make me feel better,” Rodney retorted. “In fact, it could make me jealous.”
John laughed. “She was just a little overwhelmed with the guardianship thing. She didn’t expect my father and David to take the petition with me. My father made her family officially with Lotus.”
Rodney nodded. “She said as much. I’m relieved for her. It was grossly unfair of her Dom to die and leave her so vulnerable to the world.” Rodney shrugged out of his shirt and headed towards the shower. “Have anything in mind for dinner?”
“Rampart is off base with Matthew and Miko so I’d like to stick around to make sure I’m readily available if I’m needed. I really don’t dig them being out of the Mountain without me but it isn’t like I can leash them.”
Rodney laughed. “Control freak.”
“I dealt with my control issues years ago, McKay. I’ve got the marks to prove it.”
Rodney glanced his Dom over and smiled. “Did you wish to join me in the shower, Sir?”
“You only ‘sir’ me when you want dick. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that.”
Rodney laughed. “That’s soo not true. That isn’t to say I’m not interested in your cock at this moment. Because I surely am.”
John rolled out of the bed. “I think we can work on something. Get the water proof lube out of the toy box.”
– – – –
Matthew pulled off his jacket as he walked towards the elevator that would take him up the floor where his quarters had been assigned. He knocked sharply on his brother’s door three times as he passed to let him know he’d come home. They’d used the signal since Matt had been a teenager so he figured John would know immediately what it was.
His answer was a sharp whistle when he was a few feet past the door. He grinned and pushed the button for the elevator. He pulled his dress shirt out of his slacks and unbuttoned it while he waited. Matt hated clothes—and spent as much time as he could in as little as possible. He blamed his Geisha Master for it. He’d spent most of his training naked.
The doors opened and he slipped in, his gaze carefully averted from the six Marines who were already crowded into the elevator.
“Good evening, Commander.”
“Gentlemen,” he checked his watch. “Is the mess still open?”
“No, sir. There is a snack area on fifteen.” The Marine nearest the control panel pushed the button for floor fifteen at Matt’s nod. “Have a good evening out, sir?”
“Wasn’t as stressful as I anticipated. Fortunately, General Rampart’s wife tends to make social gatherings painless.” Matt took off his watch and shoved it into his pocket. “Food was good but I didn’t eat much.”
“Nerves?” One of the subs in the elevator asked.
Matt glanced at the younger man and shook his head. “Not at all. I’m not really allowed to be nervous. The meal was a bit on the fattening side. Italians love to pile on the calories.”
“You can’t be on a diet,” one of the Doms in the elevator muttered.
Matt grinned. “Well, I don’t keep this body without work, Sergeant. Lotus is particular about my appearance and I’m required to present myself formally once every two years for inspection. If I fail to meet the expectations of my Geisha Master—I could be recalled for training.”
“That’s because you’re uncollared,” the sub guessed.
“Yes, of course. They’d never presume to inspect me if I were collared.” Matt rubbed the back of his neck as the doors opened. “Good evening, gentlemen.”
“Need an escort, sir?”
Matt paused and frowned at the Marine. “You tell me, Sergeant. Do you think I need an escort?”
The Marine flushed. “It’s not my intention to imply you can’t handle yourself, sir.”
Matt inclined his head and raised an eyebrow. “But?”
“But Colonel Sheppard would kill us if you were… there are a lot of Doms on the base.”
“I’ve been pushing off unwanted attention since I was fifteen, Sergeant.” Matt patted his arm as he exited the elevator. “But thank you for your concern. Get some sleep—I heard the Colonel will be sorting you lot for beaming tomorrow. Yawning in his company would really piss him off.”
He laughed softly at the indecision on all of their faces as the door closed on them and walked down the hall. The snack area wasn’t hard to find, the smell of coffee wafted down the hall like a siren’s call.
Matt ignored everyone else in the room and selected a large bowl of fruit salad from a refrigerated case and grabbed some sugar free juice as he went. He grabbed a newspaper and settled in at a table. He was alone for exactly one minute which was something of a record.
He looked up as the chair across from him scraped across the tile. The man was in civilian dress like himself so rank and last name were a mystery at present. He was a big guy, broad shouldered—attractive in a hard way. Not really his type but Matt figured he was looking at a superior officer and that required a political response from him.
Lt. Colonel, Matt thought, Air Force. He’d taken the time to check the chain of command at the SGC over on his flight from Virginia. “Colonel.” He inclined his head. “I heard from the guys at Area 51 that you’re something of a genius in the cockpit.”
“I’ve had my moments. The X-302 doesn’t do much for me but I did my time in F-15s before coming to the SGC.”
Matt nodded and twisted the cap off his juice. “I spent most of my last tour in the F-22. I have to admit the Raptor out performs it’s predecessor in air-to-air combat. But the X-302 was the ride of my life.”
Pensky grinned. “Until you sat down in the Jumper?”
Matt shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. The Jumper is slick but the X-302 is agile and powerful. The Jumper is like flying a brick. Don’t get me wrong—the fact that you can fly it with your mind won’t ever get old but the 302 is bang on a better ride.”
“I wasn’t on your list for Atlantis,” Pensky started and then raised an eyebrow.
“No, sir, I was told not confine my pilot search to men with less time in rank than myself. The mission is already officer heavy—General O’Neill gave Colonel Sheppard a list of pilots to chose from and I worked with those names based on flight status, location, and their ratings on the X-302.”
Pensky nodded. “Figured as much. I heard you’re something of an artist yourself in the seat.”
“I’ve been flying since I was legally old enough,” Matt admitted. “I had my wings for nearly five years when I joined the Navy.”
“Why not the Air Force?”
“The Navy is something of a tradition in my family. John was the surprise, though looking at him today I couldn’t imagine him being anything but a Marine.” Matt shrugged and speared a piece of mango in his salad.
“No, I’d say the same.” Pensky’s expression darkened slightly and he glanced around the room. “The Marines on the base think a lot of him.”
Matt’s gaze narrowed. “Yes, they do. They have every reason to.”
“I’m sure,” Pensky returned. “His work on Atlantis has proven what kind of officer he is.”
Matt had a feeling that wasn’t much of a compliment from Pensky. “Yes.” He smiled then. “Some men are made with the strength to lead and to sacrifice and some are not.”
Pensky shot him a look and leaned back in his chair. “Yes, I suppose your right. Let’s talk about something besides your brother.”
Before Matt could respond a Marine appeared at his side and cleared his throat. The same Marine he’d seen in the elevator. “Sergeant Stackhouse, right on time.”
Stackhouse inclined his head. “Sorry it took so long, sir but I had to store some things in the armory. Are you ready to return to your quarters?”
“Yeah, I think so.” Matt stood and nodded abruptly at Pensky. “Colonel, if you’ll excuse me.”
Pensky frowned and glared briefly at Stackhouse before nodding. “Good evening, Commander.”
Matt gathered up his things and didn’t say anything when Stackhouse took his jacket off the back of the chair. They were out of the snack area in under thirty seconds. “That was timely.”
“Radios, sir.” Stackhouse tapped the one in his ear. “Package acquired and will be delivered to assigned quarters as ordered.”
Matt frowned at him as he was basically herded into an elevator. “Who were you talking to?”
“Major Lorne.” Stackhouse flushed as he pushed a button to get the elevator started. “Pensky is… more than a little put out with your brother, sir.”
Matt leaned on the back of the elevator wall with a sigh and shook his bowl of fruit in a little show of frustration. “Why?”
“Well, Pensky just wishes he was so badass.” Stackhouse motioned him out of the elevator ahead of him. “Just petty jealous as far as I can tell and from what I hear there was some noise from some of the higher brass in the Air Force that Sheppard should be replaced with one of their own. They didn’t want a Marine lead company as part of the expedition to begin with. I heard General Jordan said we were all blunt objects and that Sheppard should be replaced with a more savvy officer.”
“John has a PhD in Math of all things,” Matt muttered. “He’s like half a klick from Geekdom.”
Stackhouse snorted. “Wow, I won’t repeat that you said that.”
“I’m not afraid of John.”
“Good to know,” John said casually as they rounded the corner and encountered him leaning on the wall next to Matt’s quarters. “And it’s definitely more than half a klick.”
Matt sighed. “All I wanted was some food.”
John laughed. “Dismissed, Sergeant and thank you.”
“Not a problem, sir.”
Matt frowned and put in his code as Stackhouse retreated. He wasn’t surprised when John followed him into his quarters. “I don’t need babysitters, John.”
“This isn’t my base, Matt, and the guys are a little hyper vigilant. Especially since Carter got past them and spoke with McKay privately against my orders. It’s not personal. They’re stalking me, too, if it’s any consolation. I can’t even hit the head without it getting noted.”
Matthew sighed. “Would it be easier on you if I found someone to hook up with until we leave?”
John frowned. “Hell no.” He exhaled in frustration. “Matt, I’d never want you to take someone to your bed to ease the way for me. Why the fuck would you even ask that kind of question?”
Matt shrugged. “Politics are politics.”
“I know damn well neither Dad nor David have ever pressured you into attending someone to further their goals.”
“No, of course, not. That’s not what I meant exactly. What I meant was—if I had someone else interested in protecting me—would it be easier on our circumstances here?”
John frowned and shook his head. “No, because frankly right now I’ve got about a hundred guys in this mountain all pretty vested in making sure you don’t get touched unless you want it. I don’t think a Dom with a personal stake would help matters unless there is someone…”
“Well, you know who I have my eye on.”
John laughed then. “You certainly made an impression on him today. I think the man damn near swallowed his tongue.”
Matt sighed and tossed aside his jacket. “Yeah, I get that a lot on first impressions but he hasn’t… well, it’s normally pretty easy for me to get whatever I want. He hasn’t put off a vibe to let me know I would be welcome in his space.”
“Give the man a break, Matt. He’s adjusting to a new commanding officer, a new mission, and being the 2IC of a company full of special forces and Marine infantry.”
Matt dropped down on the bed. “Yeah, okay.” He shot his brother a look. “Still, it wouldn’t hurt if you could push him my way as discreetly as possible.”
John rolled his eyes. “I’m not discreet.”
– – – –
“Jesus, I’d keep him leashed, too.”
John glanced towards Evan Lorne and then nodded. “Yeah.” Rodney made a humming noise and poked his Dom in the side. John laughed and pressed a kiss against his temple. “Not even tempted, you know that.”
“He is pretty,” Rodney acknowledged grudgingly as Declan Frost checked his coat and then his subs. The submissive, in question, was young and very beautiful. His Consort mark clearly visible above the gold collar he wore.
John wasn’t surprised by the leash or how the people in the bar split away give Frost room to move toward them. He wasn’t in uniform but he screamed military—so much that the crowd which was mostly military or military cadet seemed to understand instinctively that fucking with the man would be a mistake.
Frost offered his hand as John shifted away from the bar. “Colonel Sheppard.”
“Master Chief,” John took his hand. “Thank you for agreeing to meet with us. Meet my partner, Dr. Rodney McKay.”
Declan inclined his head gently. “Dr. McKay, it’s my honor to meet you.”
Rodney smiled. “It’s a pleasure to meet a Master of my house, Master Chief.”
John continued, “My 2IC, Major Evan Lorne, and the mission Flight Commander, Lt. Commander Matthew Sheppard. We have a private dining room waiting on us, Master Chief.” He glanced briefly at Sean. “I did not ask for submissive seating. Should I?”
“No,” Declan murmured and touched his submissive’s back. The young man moved in close. “Not at all. Private dining is appreciated, however.”
Evan slipped off the stool he was on at the bar. “The crowd is pretty tight, Chief.”
Declan nodded and maneuvered his submissive into Evan’s place at the bar in between Rodney and Matthew. “Thank you, sir.”
John watched with amusement as the man who had been watching Matthew since they arrived made his way across the bar. He’d wondered when the man would make his move—so he wasn’t surprised to see him moving toward Matthew after Lorne left the bar.
Matthew was dressed in civilian clothes—tight, well-worn jeans, and a Navy t-shirt that stretched over his shoulders and showed off his upper body.
Matthew looked up just as the Dom slid up to the bar next to him. “Sir.”
Matthew smiled. “Thank you.” He turned into the Dom and leaned in to whisper something.
John watched the top’s body language change and wondered what Matthew was telling him. It must have done the trick because suddenly a business card was being pressed into Matthew’s hand and he was being kissed very gently on the mouth.
Matthew turned back to them as the man moved away and tucked the card into his front pocket. “Sorry about that.”
John shook his head. “I guess we can’t blame him.”
He glanced around and sighed. “Major Lorne.”
Evan raised an eyebrow at Matthew. “Yes?”
“Come here and sit with me will you?” Matthew patted stool and only blushed when Evan laughed but gamely slid up onto a stool beside him. “Thanks.”
“Not interested in more offers?” Evan asked.
“Not from what was coming this way,” Matthew returned.
John glanced around but didn’t find anyone paying too much attention their party but he figured Matthew might have a better idea of when a man or woman was paying too much attention to him.
The maître d’ appeared at John’s side to tell him their room was ready before he could question Matthew.
They settled around the table in the small dining room in pairs which Evan and Matthew took in stride. They ordered quickly.
“So, you read the briefing?”
Declan nodded as he casually unleashed his sub. “Yes, sir. If I didn’t know your service record, and hadn’t signed a fifty page confidentiality agreement I would think you were insane.” He touched Sean’s arm. “Sean, this is Colonel John Sheppard, Dr. Rodney McKay, Major Evan Lorne, and Lt. Commander Matthew Sheppard.”
“Sirs,” Sean flushed under the scrutiny.
“It’s a pleasure to meet a Consort of my house, Sean.” John shook his head and passed the wine list back to the server. “We’ll pass on liquor this evening.”
They all ordered quickly and John sat back with his water glass. “So, I’m not crazy. What do you think?”
“I think I’d like to kick some ass, sir.” Declan trailed his fingers over his sub’s arm. “But I’m concerned. I’ve taken Sean into some dangerous situations in the past but this is a different matter altogether.”
“Yes.” John nodded. “I can’t say he wouldn’t be in danger. It’s a beautiful place to live but it’s the gateway of a war.”
Declan looked briefly at Rodney and then refocused on John. “And your own submissive?”
“Rodney is the Chief of Science for the mission. He’ll be in the field with me on occasion. He’s taking the place of a man who was killed in action. I worry about it, of course, I have a collared sub buried in Arlington.” John forced himself to relax under the other man’s scrutiny. “But I imagine you know that.”
“I’d have butchered the man,” Declan returned shortly. “They’d still be looking for all of his bones. That makes you a better man than me, Colonel.”
“No, it just makes me a man with a unit on their game,” John returned. “I had every intention of killing him. I can’t say I won’t if I ever see him again. I think most people get that because we’ve never crossed paths again.”
Declan nodded. “Alright then, you’re taking your brother as well.”
“A unit of Army Rangers, two SEAL teams, and a Special Operations unit from the Marines.” Declan huffed out a breath. “That’s forty special ops soldiers—plus what?”
“Twelve pilots and eighty infantry—all Marine Corps. You’d be the highest ranking NCO on the base and my War Master.”
Declan nodded. “I’ve spent the last two years at the Army War College. I’ve been out of the field a while.”
“For Sean,” John supplied. “He needed to write and defend his dissertation. That you’d sacrifice career time for the man you collared doesn’t make you less attractive for my command, Declan. Your name was the only name that General Rampart put out when we considered this posting.”
Declan lifted an eyebrow. “I love that man.”
“We all love that man,” John acknowledged. “So what do you say?”
“I’ve little time to think about it, right?”
John shrugged. “If not next week, then you could come out later. I don’t want to pressure you.”
“No, I’d want to go out with you with the rest of the new men if I go.” Declan paused as the server reentered with their food. “All of that being said, I didn’t spend the money I spent on Sean’s education for him to lay about my quarters.” He grinned then. “Not that he doesn’t excel at laying around my quarters when I want it.”
John laughed. “No, I can see that.” He inclined his head towards Rodney. “McKay has an idea about that actually.”
Rodney shifted back in his chair as his meal was settled in front of him. “Yes, your degrees?”
“BA in Sociology, Masters in Psychology, Masters in Political Science, and a PhD in Anthropology. I speak and write ten languages.”
Rodney nodded. “I was only allowed two slots for linguists and I imagine he could pick up the relevant languages necessary to help the mission.” He turned to John. “But that might mean field work if we find stuff. Elizabeth would find his skill set very interesting I’m sure. She didn’t replace Dr. Gaul.”
John nodded. “Field work at your discretion, Chief. I’d never put him in the field without you.”
“Good to know,” Declan acknowledged. “I haven’t informed Sean of the mission as he doesn’t have the clearance for it. I can’t make this decision without informing him fully of the situation.”
Rodney picked up the leather computer case he’d brought with him and unzipped it. He pulled out a stapled document. “We took the liberty of vetting Sean through the Pentagon. He’s practically perfect in every way. This is the same exact confidentiality agreement that your Dom signed.”
Sean looked at Declan and took the pen McKay offered when Frost nodded abruptly. “Okay, I might as well sign it but if you’ve given away our first born, Declan, I’m going to be pissed.”
Declan smirked. “Nothing so extreme.”
Sean signed the document with one quirked eyebrow in all the places that Rodney indicated. “I imagine we’ll discuss in detail later?”
“Yes,” Declan assured. “And I’ll have a decision in the morning, Colonel.”
“Works,” John responded. “Let’s enjoy the food then.”
Sean handed the agreement back to the Rodney and turned to Matthew. “What did you tell that Dom?”
Matthew laughed and relaxed in his chair. “I told him that I was in the company of my CO and I couldn’t afford to show weakness in front of him because he’s a hardass.”
John threw a piece of bread at him. “Little bastard.”
Matthew laughed. “It wasn’t untrue. You are a hardass but it’s worked for me in the past. I can’t always afford to accept the attention of a Dom in front of a superior officer. It puts me in a weak position.”
John hated the idea of that and it must have shown on his face because Matthew just shook his head. “What?”
Matthew shrugged. “I’m a trophy, John.” He glanced at Sean and then Rodney. “I’ve had a lot of superior officers express interest in me that way only to get very irritated to find that I was seeing a junior officer or god forbid an enlisted man privately. Going uncollared as long as I have has made some view me not only as a trophy but a serious challenge.”
“How many collars have you turned down?” Sean asked.
“Ten in the last year,” Matthew admitted with a blush. “It’s stupid really because most of them barely knew me. They just saw…”
“A pretty piece of ass for public appearances?” Rodney asked.
Matthew huffed a little in amusement. “Something like that. It’s insane really.”
“So you aren’t interested in being collared?” Evan asked.
“No Geisha wants to remain uncollared their whole life, Major. That being said, I promised my Geisha Master that I would collar for love or not collar at all.”
“That was important to him?” Sean asked.
“The year I earned my Geisha mark, he had a former student killed in a power exchange. It changed him—made him rethink what he taught the submissives in his care. The Lotus House has often in the past encouraged their students to collar for security and social position. My father fielded four serious offers in the first year after I earned my mark—they offered to buy me. I was nineteen. You can’t imagine how many Geisha in Japan have been sold by their families to wealthy Doms.”
“Japan has never allowed Geisha to be slaves,” Sean protested.
Matthew shrugged. “There are many forms of slavery, Sean. Most Geisha are female and come very traditional Japanese families. They do what they are told by their father mostly without exception. The transaction is passed off as a compensation for the money spent on training. Training a Geisha is an expensive endeavor. When I was trained—it cost our family a hundred thousand dollars.”
“de Sade and La Petite are about that for the full Monty,” Rodney acknowledged. “I’m also encouraged to donate money to the scholarship fund.”
– – – –
John sat back on his sub’s thighs and ran his hands down Rodney’s back slowly. “The skin looks great.”
Rodney sighed and rubbed his face against the pillow his head was laying on. “The crème is good stuff.”
“Very good stuff,” John agreed. “What did you think of Declan and Sean?”
“Sean reminds me of Jonah. He’s pampered, indulged on a level that speaks of a great deal of love and a great dynamic mesh. He’s a masochist who adores is Dom.” Rodney huffed as John settled on top of him. “They are an exclusive pairing and Frost definitely doesn’t share and he doesn’t stray.”
“You sure?” John asked.
“Yeah, he sat at a table with an uncollared Geisha and barely spared Matthew a glance. He also rarely went more than five minutes without touching his sub. If Sean is an example of his type—then Matthew is definitely the kind of sub Declan Frost would find interesting at least for play. I don’t know many tops who would say no to a night with a Geisha no matter their dynamic. Additionally, Sean would never presume to tell his Dom no if he wanted to add a third to their bed.” Rodney shifted under him. “Not to be a pushy bottom, but are you going to fuck me or not?”
John laughed softly. “Yeah, McKay, I’m definitely going to fuck you.” He rubbed his cock casually between the cheeks of Rodney’s ass. “I’ve been thinking about fucking you all day.” He slid off of him. “On your back.”
Rodney rolled over on his back and wrapped his hands around the bars in the head board. “Like this?”
“Just like that,” John murmured. “We’re going to try something a little different.”
Rodney nodded but didn’t verbally respond. He watched John pilfer through the toy box they’d put together in the time since they’d met. John selected a tube of lube and three lengths of blue silk braided rope.
Rodney shivered as John returned to the bed. The ropes had come from Godrics. John had actually bought ten different lengths of rope—the kind used in Japanese rope bondage. He’d been wondering when his Dom would bring them out.
“Feet flat on the bed,” John murmured as he crawled back into the bed with him. “When I bought these—all I could think was wrapping all of this beautiful silk around your body—bending you literally to my will.”
Rodney sucked in a breath as John stretched the silks beside him on the bed. “They’re pretty.”
“Yeah,” John murmured softly and took a deep breath. “I bought this color because I knew it would look so good against your skin.” He bit down on his bottom lip as he picked up the first length of rope. “I have thirty feet of black silk rope. Philippe Dubois sent it to me just before I went to Atlantis. He said he hoped that I would find someone to tie to me—to bind. I’ve never used it on anyone. I’ve been thinking about how all of that black silk would look on your pale skin. I love how pale and smooth your skin is—it’s a vivid memory of our first night.”
“I don’t tan,” Rodney murmured. “I have to use lots of sun screen.”
John looped his fingers around Rodney’s ankles and spread his legs wide. “Keep your legs just like this.”
“Yes, sir.” Rodney relaxed on the bed.
“I love it when you move under me,” John murmured. “I like watching you squirm when I have you chained to the wall so I don’t want you to think I don’t. But there are times, like now, when I don’t want you to move an inch unless I move you.”
“Votre volonté est la mienne,” Rodney murmured.
John rubbed Rodney’s stomach thoughtfully. “And that means?”
“Your will is mine,” Rodney answered.
“And Maître means Master.”
“Yes,” Rodney answered.
“During the exhibition you called me Maître,” John shifted upward and rearranged Rodney’s hands around one slat on the headboard instead of two. “Is that a pretty bit of words Gerard trained you to say?”
“Yes.” Rodney took a deep breath as John picked up the rope and tied one end firmly to the headboard before he ran the rope down and started to wrap it around his wrists and down his arm—almost to the elbow before tying it off. “Does that upset you?”
“No, not at all.” John leaned down and kissed his mouth before moving to kneel between his subs legs. “Just the opposite actually. It’s something of an ego boost that I can take you down so far that you revert to the trained responses of your Courtesan Master.”
“He’s an important part of my past but you’re my present.”
“And your future?” John asked softly.
“If that is your will,” Rodney whispered and watched as John picked up another length of rope.
John glanced upward and met his gaze before he looped a rope around one ankle and tightened carefully. He ran his finger under the silk. “Silk isn’t like other binding materials—I need you to show some restraint. If you pull too much on this you could cut off your circulation and I’ll punish you if you hurt yourself.”
“I’ll stay still.”
“You’d better,” John warned. He pushed Rodney’s leg forward until his knee touched his chest. “Yoga?”
Rodney laughed at the sudden question. “Actually, yes, not recently because you’ve been messing with my schedule but I like to get an hour in every day.”
John grinned and wrapped the rope around Rodney’s bent leg several times and then tied the end to the head board. Afterward, he checked the tension by sliding his fingers under different sections carefully. “I love this—how the skin looks against the silk. You’re made for this kind of bondage.”
He quickly bound the remaining leg and then left the bed. Laughing when Rodney groaned in protest. “Relax, this isn’t a race.”
Rodney glanced at his dick which was leaking on his stomach and couldn’t have disagreed more. He shot his Dom a dark look and John laughed aloud. “You know this isn’t the kind of sadism that makes you hot.”
John leaned against the dressed and glanced Rodney over. “Everything about me makes me hot, McKay. It’s a curse.”
Rodney exhaled loudly and let his head fall back on his pillow. “Cocktease.”
“I’m not a cocktease,” John murmured. He plucked the nipple clamps out of their toy box and strolled back to the bed. “In fact, I’m going to have to punish you for calling me that.”
Rodney glanced at the clamps and wet his lips. “You’re right. I besmirched your character. I should be punished.”
John grinned and crawled back onto the bed. “I’m glad you agree. We’ll see how you feel when I finally let you come.”
Rodney shuddered. “At your leisure, Master.”
“Pretty words,” John murmured. He laid the clamps on the bed and ran his hands slowly over McKay’s spread legs before cupping his balls and rolling them with his fingers. “Any tingling in your toes?”
“No, not yet.”
“Let me know,” John leaned down and blew warm air over McKay’s balls. “I don’t want you to lose circulation.”
John moved upward and flicked his tongue over one already hard nipple. The flesh hardened further under his attention and reached out for the clamps. He attached the first one carefully—tightening it until Rodney hissed under his breath. “Too much?”
John glanced upwards and then tugged on the clamp. He watched Rodney’s eyes widen. He grinned and shook his head as he bent to suck the neglected nipple. Once he had it hard and red—he screwed on the second clamp.
He ran his hands down Rodney’s bound legs with a small sound of approval. “You’re perfect like this.”
Rodney flushed with pleasure and shivered slightly as John shifted him on the bed and spread his legs wider. “Thank you, sir.”
John slid off the bed and went back to the toy chest. He came back with strap of leather with two small loops worked into the leather. “You know what I enjoy most about you?”
“That I like to hurt as much as you like to hurt me?”
Sheppard laughed and crawled back onto the bed. “Well, there is that. But, no, what I like most is that you don’t play games with pleasure. Your honesty and lack of pretense is what I enjoy most. I never have to worry that you’re pretending to enjoy something.”
He wrapped the leather cock ring carefully around Rodney’s cock and balls. Once in place, he hooked the chains from the nipple clamps to the small rings in the leather. John rubbed the back of Rodney’s spread thighs as he shifted on his knees.
“God, you do it for me,” John muttered. He trailed his fingers over Rodney’s bound balls and brushed his thumb over his soft, pink puckered asshole. He pressed in and the muscle relaxed slightly. “I’m going to fuck this needy hole.”
“Please,” Rodney murmured.
John hummed softly under his breath and leaned down. He clenched his teeth on Rodney’s inner thigh tightly enough to make his sub’s breath catch in shock and pleasure. Then he moved and bit down again.
Rodney shuddered violently and the just melted into the hot pain of his Dom’s teeth. Bound as he was, he had no purchase and couldn’t even lift his ass to get more of what John was giving him.
John nuzzled against the warm skin at the juncture where his thigh met his groin and Rodney gasped as teeth pressed sharply into too sensitive skin.
“Ah fuck!” Rodney tightened his fingers around the bar he’d been gripping for more than thirty minutes and shivered.
John laughed softly and nuzzled Rodney’s balls with his open mouth, flicking his tongue over both in turn before he drifted to the untouched flesh of Rodney’s left leg. He sank his teeth in sharply, just short of hard enough to draw blood. John moved slowly, confidently—sinking his teeth in repeatedly until Rodney’s inner thigh was bright red.
Finally, John sat back on his knees and reviewed his handiwork. “Would you believe my Pleasure Master at Lotus taught me that?”
Rodney let his head fall back on the pillow he was propped on. “He’s a god. I’m going to send him flowers.”
John grinned and rubbed the skin of Rodney’s thighs briskly to encourage blood flow. “Good?”
“So good,” Rodney whispered as John reached for the lube.
John slicked one finger and pressed it firmly without pause right into Rodney’s ass. He watched his scientist clench and then relax against the immediate penetration. “I’m not going to stretch you much with my fingers.”
“Yeah, okay.” Rodney swallowed hard. “That’s good.”
He added more lube and twisted his finger to get the hole good and slick. “If it’s too much, you have to tell me.”
John slicked his cock and then tossed the lube aside. He braced both hands on Rodney’s spread thighs and pressed the head of his cock against his asshole.
“Look at me,” John demanded roughly.
Rodney’s gaze connected with his Dom’s and he took a deep breath as John pushed into him in that moment.
Rodney swallowed hard. “Oui, Maître.”
The burn and stretch of penetration was stunning. He felt impaled, claimed. John pressed steady and slow—and didn’t stop until his balls rested against Rodney’s body.
John’s fingers bit into the stinging flesh of his thighs as he braced himself and started to pump in and out at a near brutal pace. Rodney felt at once both cherished and used. Owned. He’d never truly been owned before and the knowledge left him breathless.
John fucked him so deep and hard that the burn edged up his back in hot waves of pleasure so intense he thought he might pass out from it. Then his Dom bowed up against him, slammed in hard and came with a throaty groan.
John tugged on the chains attached to his nipple clamps and Rodney hissed in response. Still buried deep in his sub’s ass, he rocked back and forth jut a little—enough to rub the head of his cock over Rodney’s prostate. Using his thumb, he unsnapped the cock ring and watched McKay’s eyes roll into the back of his head at the sudden release of pressure.
Rodney’s cock jerked and he spurted cum in stream white rope all over his stomach and chest with a soft cry of relief.
– – – –
John had never been one to love or hate casually yet he had this roving and entirely casual hatred for Kevin Jordan. The man was smug, mean, and without a moral compass. Sheppard knew his own moral compass had been some what rearranged by his training and combat.
The situations of war made killing easy. Easier than it ever should be. John couldn’t even remember the last time he’d felt guilty over a kill. It never felt good to kill—he couldn’t fathom that. He didn’t want to think he could reach that point but he’d known plenty of men who had. But Kevin Jordan wasn’t shaped by war and death—he was just a bastard for no reason.
Bayliss and Norris had left the mountain but Jordan had managed to insert himself into his conversation with O’Neill and Rampart. Declan Frost was at the end of the table surrounded by after action reports for every mission on Atlantis. He’d been making notes all morning.
“Master Chief, care to offer an opinion about the military situation on Atlantis in the past?”
Declan looked up from the laptop he had in front of him and stared at Kevin Jordan for several seconds before he closed it abruptly. “I don’t Monday Morning Quarterback superior officers, General Jordan. It would be inappropriate for me to offer an opinion on combat decisions on past missions on Atlantis or here at the SGC as I have absolutely no experience off-world.”
Jordan glared at him. “Refusing to answer a question put to you by a superior officer is insubordination.”
Declan sighed. “Fine. One, I think the Pentagon and the SGC is short changing the mission on personnel and supplies. Two, the mission was undersupplied and understaffed from the start. I can’t believe we sent an expedition off-world to a different galaxy with just seventy Marines and fifty civilians. Additionally, the original mission only had three officers, one of which was six months out of Annapolis with exactly one month of gate experience. The second officer, Colonel Sheppard, wasn’t even part of the chain of command when he was sent out—a mistake so astronomical I can’t even fathom who thought it would be a good idea. Whoever benched a Special Ops Marine and regulated him to geek wrangling for six months needs their ass spanked. I’m surprised Sumner let that slide so long but what I know of the man—supports his belief in following his orders to the letter.”
Declan dropped a legal pad on the table as he started shifting through the materials in front of him. “The equipment is bullshit. The Pentagon has declined to supply most of the weapons Colonel Sheppard requested on the grounds that they aren’t necessary. Frankly, I don’t think men and women who’ve never even seen a space vampire should get an opinion on what it will take to kill one. He was also denied body armor because most of the natives in Pegasus don’t have projectile weapons—yet nearly every single loss we’ve suffered on Atlantis within the military ranks has been because of projectile weapons fire.”
Jordan started to speak but Rampart cleared his throat. “Shut up, Kevin. You asked the Master Chief what he thought. It’s not his fault you don’t like what he has to say.” He focused on Declan. “Anything else?”
“We were also denied UAVs.”
“They are expensive,” Jordan protested.
“Yes, well, it can cost anywhere from twenty-five thousand to one million dollars to properly train a soldier for advanced combat like the men and women at the SGC see every single day,” Declan returned evenly. “A mini UAV, which is often retrievable and reusable, can cost as little as one thousand dollars. A UAV system on Atlantis could save lives and time. Each field team is four to five members. If I sent a team of Navy SEALS through the gate—I’m easily sending four million dollars of work and training on a mission into an environment we know nothing about. So, please, sir, cost is hardly the right argument to bring to that discussion.”
“So you want a UAV system,” Jack O’Neill summed up.
“It’d be nice,” Declan returned dryly. “And I’m not thrilled with the weapons. I hate the P-90 but I’ll work around it. It’s a decent compact weapon for civilians but I’d like to see some M16s, sniper rifles, .50 caliber machine guns, and a two or three Howitzers would make me feel better.”
“Howitzers,” Jordan repeated.
“Yes, sir, it’s a small canon. It would be ideal for gate deployment. We could refit several of the MALPs the SGC already has on the Daedalus which would make them mobile on their own and very handy in a conflict where we have to hold a Stargate off-world for a long period of time.”
“I know what it is,” Jordan snapped.
Declan raised an eyebrow. “Yes, sir, of course.”
“Do you think because you’ve seen combat that it makes you more a patriot, Master Chief?” Jordan asked icily.
“No, sir, it just makes me more likely to understand how important body armor is in a combat situation.”
Jordan glared him. “So what is your assessment of the Wraith siege? Do you think Colonel Sumner made the best decision?”
Declan’s jaw tightened. “I think that Marshall Sumner is a big damn hero, sir.”
“That’s not what I asked you.”
“I think I would have fought him to take the first mission, too.” Declan shifted the folders around in front of him and started to drop them in a box near his chair. “General O’Neill, permission to be dismissed?”
“Granted, Master Chief, I understand Dr. Taylor is working on closing your home and settling your business affairs with my office.”
“Yes.” Declan checked his watch. “And we’re an hour over due for lunch—he’ll skip the meal entirely if I’m not around.” He slid the laptop into the box on top of the files. “I’ll be in my temporary office if you need me, Colonel Sheppard.”
“Thanks, Master Chief.” John rocked in his chair as the Navy man left the room. He turned and looked at Jordan.
Rampart cleared his throat. “Jordan, do you make a habit of putting NCOs in the position of criticizing their superior officers in front of them?”
“That wasn’t my intention.”
“Bullshit,” O’Neill muttered. “It was inappropriate and he didn’t deserve it. You make me tired, Jordan. Really tired.” Jack stood and John came to his feet immediately. Jack glared pointedly at Jordan until the man stood as well. “You’re dismissed from the rest of the meetings and I’ll have my admin arrange for your transportation back to DC today.”
“I planned to be here the rest of the week.”
“Yes, well, I have a finite amount of space in this mountain and a few members of the IOA will be on sight this evening. I need VIP quarters and you just volunteered to give yours up.”
John blinked as O’Neill turned and stalked from the room. He decided right then and there that he was definitely going to try to stay in the Marines long enough to get a few stars because he definitely had the attitude to pull that off—he just needed the rank for it. The thought amused him and he smiled before he could help himself.
“What the fuck are you smiling at Colonel?”
John coughed. “Oh, actually, I was just thinking that O’Neill’s really hot when he’s mad.”
Rampart burst out laughing and rocked in his chair. “He is.” He pointed John’s chair. “Sit back down, John, I’d like to talk about Frost’s concerns and we’ll see what we can hammer out with the Pentagon.”
Jordan cleared his throat. “Actually, General, I need to speak with Colonel Sheppard privately for a few minutes.”
John raised an eyebrow. “Anything you want to say to me you can say in front of General Rampart, sir.”
“Fine. I have several hours to kill until transport can be arranged. I want McKay in my quarters until I’m ready to leave.”
John prided himself on the fact that his mouth didn’t drop open. “No.”
Jordan glared at him. “You need to learn how to play the game, Colonel. You can’t expect to continue to advance your career if you don’t utilize all of your assets.”
“My submissive is not an asset,” John ground out. “He’s just mine and I don’t share, sir.”
Jordan glanced him over and smiled. “Don’t you ever wonder if you hadn’t been so selfish in the past that your Jared might be alive today?”
It was like getting hit in the face. John stood before he thought better of it and Rampart barely caught him around the middle before he reached for Jordan across the table.
“Easy!” Rampart snapped and jerked John back from the table. “Calm down, son, or I’ll spank your ass myself.”
John relaxed against the general as O’Neill returned to the room. “I’m fine, sir.”
“The hell you are,” Rampart muttered but he released John. “Jordan, you’re dismissed. Get the fuck out of my sight.”
O’Neill glanced around at the occupants of the room and glared pointedly at Jordan when he started to open his mouth. “General Rampart ordered you to get the fuck out of his sight, Jordan and since he outranks us both—you’ll have to complain to the Secretary of the Navy if you don’t like it.”
Jordan glared pointedly at Sheppard. “They won’t always be around to protect you from yourself.”
“They aren’t protecting me; they’re protecting you.” John laughed bitterly. “That’s what they did in Afghanistan, too. Protected that self-righteous, soulless son of bitch and left me to bury the man I was going to marry.” He jerked his arm free when Rampart grabbed it. “You stay the hell away from everything and everyone that belongs to me, Jordan.”
“And if I don’t?” Jordan demanded.
Rampart grabbed John again and jerked him towards the door that lead to Jack’s office. “O’Neill get this son of a bitch out of the Mountain before we have to get the Colonel’s uniform dry cleaned. Blood is a bitch to get out.”
John let Rampart shove him into a chair in front of O’Neill’s ask. He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. Before he could speak Randolph Rampart braced himself on the arms of John’s chair and bent down right in his face.
John didn’t flinch, but it was a near thing. “Sir.”
“You listen to me—if I’d thought for a minute that your career could have survived the inquiry that would have lead to James Daily being formally punished for Jared’s death there is nothing and no one that would’ve stopped me from pursuing charges against him. You put me in a shitty fucking position in Afghanistan, Sheppard, because you made it goddamned impossible for me to get justice for Jared legally.”
John sucked in a breath and blinked rapidly. “Yes, sir.”
“I sacrificed justice for Jared to save your ass, John, so I expect you to honor that sacrifice every fucking day.” He grabbed John’s chin and forced him to meet his gaze. “Do you understand me?”
“Good.” Rampart released him and sighed. “And if Jordan ever lays a hand on McKay—I’ll help you hide whatever you leave of the body.”
John rubbed his face briskly over his face. “You can’t even know how many times I’ve asked myself that question. Jared was overtly submissive… sexual without even trying. He got a lot of attention from the brass especially since we performed well in exhibition.”
“What Daily did was not your fault,” Rampart muttered. “You don’t honestly think I share my wife, do you? I never have.”
“It cost you?” John questioned.
“Sometimes,” Rampart acknowledged. “But my service record always won out in the end. What Daily did to you and Jared wasn’t your fault. The man has a serious problem with boundaries and one day he’s going to get himself killed over it. His friends won’t always be there for him.”
John snorted and then clicked the radio headset in his ear three times to get to the private channel he shared with his sub. “McKay, where are you?”
“In my lab with Dr. Porter and Captain Teldy.”
“Stay there,” John ordered. He clicked the radio again. “Captain Teldy, stay in Rodney’s company until I come to collect him.”
John clicked off his radio, took it out of his ear and shoved it into his pocket. “McKay hates him. What kind of man wants someone who hates them? I can’t imagine how he’d treat him. What the fuck kind of person does he think that I am that I would just give…fuck.”
“Kevin Jordan doesn’t care about anyone else but himself. That’s why he can’t keep anyone long enough to collar them.”
Jack O’Neill entered the office and shut the door sharply. He dropped down in his chair and frowned at John. “Kevin Jordan has relationships with some powerful people, John. I need you to swallow whatever you feel for him as deep as you can. He’s a fucker—that’s no question—but it is likely that he will end up as the Director of Homeworld Security. If that happens, he’ll have some power around here. Not as much as he thinks he will—but enough to make us a little miserable.”
John figured he could take a sniper rifle and fix that particular problem. “I’ll maintain, sir. I haven’t hunted down and killed the man that murdered Jared. You can’t imagine how much restraint that takes.”
“Oh, I understand,” O’Neill admitted. “Better than most.”
John slouched down in the chair. “They knocked me out, you know. Sedated me. By the time they let me come out of it—Daily was on a different base. My CO had me on a plane home to my father before I even understood what was going on. My father and brothers never let me out of their sight during the funeral and they escorted me all the way to the plane that took me to McMurdo.”
O’Neill snorted. “Did they honestly think they could stop you if you really wanted to move on Daily?”
“I think they all just wanted to remind me what I would lose if I lost control,” John murmured. “I still had family to consider. Drowning in Jared’s loss seemed really inappropriate even then.” He shrugged out of his jacket and loosened his tie. “I can’t believe I lost it like that.”
“Well, he’s had you pissed off for a while. The emotion had to go somewhere.” Rampart came out of his own jacket and jerked his tie off. “Jack, how about a drink?”
Jack nodded. “I can swing that.” He walked to a small cabinet at the back of his office and pulled out a bottle of bourbon and three glasses.
– – – –
Rodney flipped through the security cameras and watched dispassionately as Kevin Jordan stormed into his VIP quarters. “I wonder what he’s done to put John on edge.”
Allison Porter leaned in and frowned. “Anne?”
Teldy rolled to her feet and clicked her radio twice. “Major Lorne, do you have time to speak with me? I’m in Dr. McKay’s lab.”
“Already on my way, Captain.”
Anne clicked off the radio and glanced towards Rodney’s laptop. “Dr. McKay are you violating any base rules with that?”
Rodney flushed. “Perhaps.”
“Then could you please close it before Major Lorne arrives? He still technically works on this base and would be compelled to report your violation of security protocols.”
Rodney gamely closed the window and reopened his work program. The door to his lab opened and Lorne entered quickly. He closed it sharply and glanced around the room. “I heard Sheppard order you to stay here, Captain. What do you know?”
“Nothing,” Anne admitted. “He contacted Dr. McKay first to determine his location and then radioed me with the orders.”
Evan frowned and clicked his radio. “Stackhouse, location on Alpha One.”
“General O’Neill’s office.”
“Location and condition on the asshat?”
“In his quarters,” Stackhouse answered. “Condition—extremely pissed.”
Evan glanced at McKay. “Understood, Sergeant. Make yourself visible.”
Rodney cleared his throat. “Miko is working in the control room. She just sent me an IM telling me that O’Neill ordered Jordan off the base. They are scrambling to get him transportation out of the mountain and back to DC.”
Lorne exchanged a look with Teldy. “Geeks make the best spies.”
Anne grinned. “Noted, sir.”
There was an abrupt knock on the door and Declan Frost entered, prodding his sub in ahead of him. “Okay, what’s going on?”
“We don’t know,” Teldy admitted. “What do you know?”
“Not much, I had myself dismissed from a meeting with Jordan, O’Neill, Sheppard, and Rampart. Jordan is a difficult man.”
Lorne glanced at Rodney. “That’s the Master Chief’s way of saying he’s a total bastard.”
Rodney nodded sagely. “Alright then, ‘difficult’ is Navy for ‘bastard’.”
“Something like that,” Declan admitted. He looked at Lorne. “Alpha One is Sheppard?”
“Alpha One when he’s on base. Phoenix when he’s in the field,” Lorne answered. “I don’t know why—it’s a Marine thing.”
“Phoenix is his pilot call sign and Alpha One is their acknowledgement that he’s the top of the food chain in their command,” Teldy offered from her place leaning on the lab counter. She shrugged when both men looked at her. “I asked. You know they think Sheppard is Jesus, right? I mean… not really Jesus but definitely very much like the Second Coming.”
– – – –
Rodney was getting really tired of the officer party in his lab when the door opened and John did that sexy leaning thing in the doorway. It was almost as hot as when he’d done it naked the night before. John glanced around the room and eventually focused on Sean Taylor.
“Dr. Taylor, I understand Elizabeth has been working with you on a position on the city.”
“Yes.” Sean fidgeted under the Colonel’s attention. “I’ll be managing civilian resources and helping her with diplomatic issues and treaties.”
“Cool.” John inclined his head. “Rodney, are you finished for the day?”
“If that is what you need, sir.”
“It is,” John admitted. “Major Lorne, I hate to impose on you but it would be a favor if you’d keep an eye on Matthew for me. I pushed off two offers for him this afternoon alone and he’ll probably eat in the mess hall tonight. He’s just not interested in entertaining right now. He could use a buffer.”
“Not a problem, sir,” Lorne answered as Rodney shut down all of his work.
Lorne sighed as John curled his fingers around McKay’s wrist as they left the room. “Jesus, what did Jordan do?”
“Yeah, he looked like he wanted to kill someone,” Sean whispered.
– – – –
His Dom’s mouth tasted like bourbon. It was startling since Rodney had sort of figured that John wasn’t much of a drinker. He huffed in shock as he was prodded onto his back across their bed. “Are you drunk?”
“No.” John let his weight rest on Rodney. “I had a single drink in O’Neill’s office. Rampart is the kind of man who treats emotional upset with alcohol.”
Rodney stroked the sides of John’s face lightly with fingers. “You’re still upset.”
“Jordan all but ordered me to send you to his quarters for the afternoon and when I told him no…” John groaned and rolled off of Rodney and onto his back. “He asked me if I thought that if I hadn’t been so selfish in the past with Jared he would still be alive.”
“He’s an utter son of a bitch,” Rodney rolled onto his side and let his face rest on John’s chest. “Did you want me to get online and ruin his credit?”
John laughed abruptly and ran his hand carefully down the back of Rodney’s head. “Yeah, that would be great as long as you don’t get caught.”
“Please, I could make it look like a mountain goat in Tibet did it,” Rodney boasted and then he grew serious. “I could ruin him, John and I will if he messes with you. He won’t even know what hit him. Everyone has secrets and I’ll find all of his if he doesn’t go away.”
“O’Neill thinks he’ll be made the Director of Homeworld Security.”
“Over my dead body,” Rodney muttered.
“What can you do about it without it coming back on you?” John questioned softly.
“He isn’t the only one with powerful friends,” Rodney admitted. “Before I married Sam—I took more than one powerful man to my bed John. I’m a Courtesan after all.”
John grimaced. “I really don’t want to know a lot about your past lovers, Rodney, it’ll just make me really pissy but if you want to reach out to someone in your past so you can make Jordan miserable I can’t say I would be upset by that. He’s a fucker.”
Rodney quirked an eyebrow. “Really? You’re such an exhibitionist—I would think you’d like to hear about it, too.”
John flushed. “Well, maybe but definitely not right now.”
Rodney shifted off the bed and casually stripped off all of his clothes. “How can I ease you, Master?”
John’s gaze darkened at the words. It was funny how such a traditional and old fashioned question could trip his trigger. He didn’t trust himself with anything at this point, however. He slipped from the bed and stripped off his own clothes.
He threw back the covers on the bed. “Let’s just take a nap and then we’ll go somewhere for dinner.”
Rodney gamely slid into bed, shivering against the cool cotton sheets. He relaxed when John slid in behind him and gathered him close.
– – – –
Evan Lorne took a deep breath and knocked on Matthew Sheppard’s door. It hadn’t even crossed his mind to tell Sheppard that he was definitely one of the Doms on the base that would like to crawl on top of his little brother. It certainly wouldn’t have served him or his career to refuse his CO a favor, especially considering how furious and on edge Sheppard had looked.
The door swung open and the Geisha gifted him with a pretty and utterly open smile. “Major Lorne.”
“Call me Evan,” Lorne said as he rubbed the back of his neck. “The Colonel asked me to escort you to dinner this evening. He figured you might need a buffer and he’s unavailable.”
Matthew raised an eyebrow. “I heard your guys chatter. Do you have any idea what happened?”
“No, not really. I do know that O’Neill practically threw General Jordan off the base and that the Colonel was pretty angry when I saw him.”
Matthew sighed. “I told my father that Jordan was going to be a serious problem. The man has a serious hard-on for McKay.”
Lorne sighed. “Jordan and McKay had an altercation in the past—I heard that O’Neill warned him off.” He leaned on the door frame. “So dinner?”
“Can we leave the base?” Matthew asked as he pulled off a t-shirt and went in search of a different one to wear. “I could use some air and you know to see the sky. I spent the day in a simulator.”
Evan looked over Matthew’s carefully sculpted frame with undisguised interest. “Yeah, sure, anything on your mind to eat?”
“Something uncomplicated. Burgers and fries would be fine. I’ve been good all week so I can splurge on something really bad for me.” He pulled on a polo and picked up several pieces of jewelry. “That is if you’re comfortable being with me in public. I get looks where ever I go.”
“I can imagine. I’ve never seen a white Geisha before. I’ve met a few that were half-Japanese but never…” He shrugged. “Are you the only one in the military?”
“No there are three others and two more actually in session with Lotus right now that will probably be marked as a Geisha. I am the only white male Geisha, however. My father’s life-partner is half-Japanese and a Geisha. I received my training through his house legacy. Both of my older brothers received the legacy as well.” He strapped a leather bracelet to his wrist and then plucked a diamond stud from a tray on his dresser. “Did you want to change out of your uniform?”
Evan nodded. “Give me a few minutes and I’ll join you at the first check out.”
– – – –
Matthew spent the ten minutes he was waiting on Lorne lecturing himself thoroughly about not flirting with anyone but Lorne. He was used to working an entire room without even trying. He hadn’t focused all of his attention on a single person in years.
“Sir, did you want a chair?”
Matt looked at the two Marines at the checkpoint. They were both practically vibrating with interest. “No, but thank you.” He shoved his hands into the front pocket of his jeans and took a deep breath. “I’m just waiting on Major Lorne.”
The elevator at the end of the hallway dinged and Lorne strolled out dressed in a pair of faded black jeans and a black t-shirt. He had two motorcycle helmets in hand. Matthew swallowed back a groan of distress. There was no way in hell he was going to be able to stay aloof and unaffected if he was wrapped around the man on a motorcycle.
Ten minutes later, they were out of the Mountain and Matthew was evaluating how hot it was to have a Harley Davidson between his legs. It certainly helped that he was plastered to a very sexy Dom. He hooked his thumb behind Lorne’s belt buckle as they pulled up to a stop light.
Evan’s leather gloved covered hand pressed briefly against his as he balanced the bike. Shortly, they were back on the move and Matt relaxed against Lorne. It was nice to let someone else handle everything.
Lorne spent the entire trip to the restaurant cursing himself soundly for sending his car back to New York and keeping the stupid bike because it would be easier to store while he was on Atlantis. He loved the bike and he couldn’t even lie to himself about how great it felt to have Matthew Sheppard wrapped around him.
He pulled into the parking lot and quickly parked. Matthew slid off the bike and pulled off the helmet with a breezy smile and Lorne felt his heart trip a little. He was in so much fucking trouble.
– – – –
“I’ve formalized the chain of command—including the eight pilots that Matthew recruited.” Evan looked up from his lap top to find John Sheppard staring at him intently. “Sir?”
“You took Matthew off the base last night,” John started neutrally.
Evan straightened in his chair. “Yes, sir. He wanted some sky time—the Mountain can take some adjustment.”
John nodded. “It can. I don’t know that I could work here for a significant amount of time to be honest. It’s stifling. Did you have any problems?”
“He garners a lot of attention but he’s also very good at putting Doms at an arms length without even talking to them,” Evan admitted. “I didn’t have to do much beyond be there and occasionally glare at people. There was a woman who made her interest extremely clear. I pushed her off when Matthew made it clear he wasn’t interested.” Evan flushed then. “Though it would’ve been nice if you’d warned me in advance that one of the Doms on the base interested in him was Cameron Mitchell.”
John raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Mitchell hasn’t said anything to me about it. Are you sure?”
“Oh yeah, I’m positive.” Evan rubbed the back of his neck and sighed. “He was definitely one of the men on the base giving me hard looks this morning at breakfast when Matthew joined me. It’s no secret I took him off the base last night.”
“How many ‘hard looks’ do you think?”
“Well, half of your Marines are looking at me like I might need my ass kicked which I figure is just them being protective of their CO’s baby brother. At least ten Doms on the base, Marine and Air Force, look at him like he’s the last meal they’ll ever have.”
“Does this surprise you?” John asked. “Remember how they looked at him when he arrived?”
“Yeah, when they didn’t know who he was,” Evan returned. “Now, they know who he is and they still look at him like that.” He sighed. “Are you sure it’s wise to take an uncollared Geisha to Atlantis, sir?”
“I’m taking two,” John reminded. “A lot of the men and women in this mountain don’t have much to fear from me but trust me every man and woman on Atlantis would be at my mercy if they abused a submissive under my guardianship.”
“Yeah, okay.” Evan stood. “Are you ready for the officer meeting?”
“Yep.” John gathered up his notebook. “Did you pass the memo on chain of command to them?”
“Yes.” Evan frowned. “Some of the Lieutenents are only separated by days when it comes to time in rank but they all outrank Aidan Ford. You were able to get approval for his transfer back to Earth?”
“O’Neill approved the transfer,” John admitted. “Let’s get this out of the way. I promised my father a phone call this afternoon and then the Master Chief wants to go over our weapons list.”
– – – –
“I have a confession to make.”
John lifted his gaze from the reports he’d been buried in for nearly four hours and stared pointedly at his little brother. “You know I do have the authority to spank your ass—twice over.”
Matthew grinned and glanced around the room. The rest of the officers for Atlantis had been locked in the room with them for hours. “John, I’m bored.”
“That stopped working when you were ten, kid.” John rocked back his chair and tossed his pencil aside. “We’ve done all of the fun stuff—you know. We’ve all used our allotted time on the gun range, the flight simulator, and that really cool virtual reality combat generator.”
“What are the geeks doing?” Declan asked. “Because they ordered pizza.”
John sighed and clicked his radio. He’d been listening to Rodney all morning ordering his staff around over the radio system he’d set up to get them used to communicating the way the people did on Atlantis. Half of them still reached for the phone and had to be told to use the radio so it was a learning process.
“McKay, what are you guys doing?” He raised an eyebrow at the silence that greeted him. “Rodney?”
“Well, we’re…” Rodney paused. “Shut up Allison, do you want them all to come down here?” He huffed. “Eating some pizza.”
John laughed. “McKay, don’t make me come down there and turn you over my knee in front of all of your geeks. What are you doing?”
“Oh, well, just building a bomb. It’s totally non-working.”
“Non-working model,” Rodney confirmed. “We’re just going to test the gate delivery system. General O’Neill approved the test.”
“I just bet he did,” John muttered. “What gate delivery system?”
“Oh, I’m building you guys a weapon delivery system to use with the gate.”
“Rodney.” John paused and took a deep breath. “You didn’t take a part our brand new UAV system to do this, right?”
“Of course not, John. The UAV system isn’t powerful enough to launch a bomb. The UAV is really light weight and… well… this bomb is not.”
“The non-working model of a bomb,” John repeated. “That’s what you said, McKay.”
“Totally non-working,” Rodney confirmed. “Did you want come see it?”
John laughed. “Is it finished?”
“Not yet, no. I’m waiting on Allison to finish welding the frame. She’s fussy and completely OCD.”
John glanced at Teldy who was frowning. “Is Dr. Porter certified to use a welder, McKay?”
“Of course, and I wouldn’t even let her hold one of if she wasn’t certified,” Rodney explained. “Her Domme is sort of scary and I respect scary women.”
Anne laughed softly and went back to her computer. “She is certified, sir.”
– – – –
“So it’s kind of like a sling shot?” O’Neill asked with a frown.
“No.” Rodney frowned at him. “It’s not like a sling shot. I really thought when you let them put stars on your collar you’d stop asking questions like that.”
Jack smiled then. “Nah, it’s like permission to go about my business as usual.”
Rodney huffed and sat back in his chair. “When the UAV system came in—Dr. Porter and I checked it over to make sure it hadn’t been damaged during shipping. Then we repacked it with the rest of the technology we’re taking back to Atlantis.”
“And you didn’t take it apart?” John asked with a raised eyebrow.
“No, of course, not. I know exactly how it works—I designed something similar years ago. But Dr. Porter said that it would be cool if the UAV system could paint targets for bomb delivery which sparked…” He waved his hands. “A very large discussion with Dr. Cadman, who likes to blow things up, and Dr. Kusanagi, who likes to build things that blow up. Dr. Porter was brought on board to give input on laser targeting and then I pulled out my designs for a UAV delivery system and we figured out payload.”
“Which is when Dr. Jackson found out about the brain hurricane going on in your lab?” John asked amused.
“Yes, and he found the whole idea very exciting,” Rodney answered.
“I find the idea very exciting,” John admitted. “But we have UAVs that can drop bombs.”
“Yes, of course,” Rodney acknowledged. “But we’ve never used it through the gate on a different planet. With this, we could paint targets on another planet and launch weapons from the gate room without sending a single military asset through the gate.”
John’s gaze widened fractionally. “That’s interesting.”
“Very interesting,” O’Neill murmured. “Let’s find something to blow up.” He held up a hand when John glared at Rodney. “Pretend to blow something up.”
– – – –
The phone call came just when John stopped looking for it. He didn’t question how a civilian had been so easily transferred to his office phone. He paused when he heard the line click and then spoke. “This is Sheppard.”
“John. Gerard de Sade.”
“I’ve been expecting your phone call,” John admitted. “Did you keep me waiting to get me off balance?”
“No, I had to visit someone before I came to Colorado to meet you and see my Courtesan. Dato’ Raja sends his regards and a gift. I believe you will be pleased.” Gerard de Sade sighed. “I understand from Randolph that that you and Rodney will be unavailable after Thursday so I’d like to see you both tonight. I have a suite at the Westin in Denver. Randolph and his wife Angela will join us for dinner after I’ve spoken with you and Rodney in private.”
John relaxed in his chair. “He’s pretty upset about the situation. He didn’t want you to ever know how bad things were with Sam Carter.”
“I get that,” Gerard admitted. “One of the reasons why I almost didn’t take him as my Courtesan was his disbelief that he was worthy of my attention and protection. He’s an arrogant man when it comes to his intelligence but personally—no matter how hard I tried his self-esteem often lay tattered at his feet.”
“She hurt him a lot more than he even wants to admit and I need your word you won’t add to that burden with your own anger. I won’t present him to you otherwise—because he may be your Courtesan but he gave himself to me. He’s mine and it’s my duty to protect and shelter him. Even if that means insulting you in the process.” John’s jaw clenched but he forced himself to relax.
“I just want to see him, John. To see for myself that is his undamaged. Trust me any temper I had to vent on this issue has been spent already.”
“What did Dato’ Raja tell you about me?” John asked, aware that he hadn’t seen his Pleasure Master in years and he should’ve taken the time to correct that while he was on Earth.
“That you are a hard man with heady appetites for pain and sex. He believes you to be the best of all of the students he ever trained—and you were the first and last Dom he ever marked personally for his house. The same thing he told me years ago when he suggested I see that you were invited to de Sade. An invitation you declined,” Gerard finished with a dry tone.
“I had other responsibilities but there are times, especially now, when I regret it. I don’t know much about your house or the training that Rodney endured before he was marked.” John rocked in his chair and sighed. “What time?”
“I’d like to see Rodney before dinner and we have reservations for a late meal at 7:30.”
“Then we’ll see you at 6:00,” John checked the clock on the wall as he spoke. “I trust that you don’t expect him to attend you.”
Gerard laughed softly. “No, Randolph already warned me that would not be well received. It pleases me that I can trust you not to share him with others—he is too special to be treated that way.”
“I agree.” John paused. “Why did you chose him as your Courtesan?”
“Because he was the first and only student I ever had in training that I wanted. He’s shameless, submits without hesitation, and has the most extreme pain kink I’ve ever encountered. The Marquis himself would’ve wanted Rodney.”
– – – –
Rodney was shaking by the time they reached the elevator that would lead them to the top floor of the hotel. John had leashed him when they’d left the SUV with the valet in an effort to calm him down and it hadn’t put much of a dent in his anxiety.
John had given Rodney space on the trip into Denver. Handling the driving and following instructions when necessary to get them to the hotel. The scientist had used the space to work himself into a state.
A uniformed employee had met them at the entrance and lead them through the lobby and to a private elevator with little fuss. John reached out and pressed the stop button on the panel. “Give us a few minutes.”
The employee nodded and averted his gaze. John wondered how often elevators got stopped between floors for business such as his.
John shifted Rodney around and pressed him against the wall. He moved in close and nuzzled his mouth against the skin above his collar. “Relax and take a few deep breaths for me.”
“I haven’t seen him in ten years,” Rodney whispered. “I don’t want him to be disappointed in me.”
“That’s impossible,” John whispered. “You’re the epitome of his life’s work as a Pleasure Master. The pride he has in you will not be diminished by her bad acts. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir.” Rodney’s hands clenched in John’s shirt and he shuddered.
“None of that,” John murmured and kissed his jaw. “You’re Gerard de Sade’s Courtesan. You have absolutely nothing to be afraid of.” He pressed another kiss against his jaw and then took his mouth in a soft, exploring kiss that made Rodney moan.
John let Rodney shift and move against him until he relaxed against the wall and just gave himself over to the kiss. With a sigh, he lifted his mouth. “You know you have nothing to fear of this man—he bestowed the highest honor he could give a sub on you. How could he be anything but proud of you?”
Rodney nodded and blushed. “I know.”
John kissed his forehead and started the elevator. He rubbed the suede of the leash’s wrist band thoughtfully as they were escorted to a large set of double doors.
The doors opened under the hand of a young and beautiful submissive. A La Petite Mort Consort to put a fine point on it. He blushed prettily under John’s scrutiny and ushered them both in without speaking a single word.
He was wearing a heavy leather collar with thick metal loops dangling from it—a collar designed and used in intense bondage sessions. John had never once put a sub in one but he found them very interesting. Gerard’s name was carved into the leather.
A second submissive, a dragon Geisha, equally young and beautiful came forward for their jackets. He was wearing a jewelry collar sprinkled liberally with diamonds. Gerard’s name was prominently displayed on a bar of gold that stretched between two ropes of gold like a spreader bar.
Both subs were shirtless and dressed in white leather pants. John was instantly curious why Gerard would pick prizes from two pleasure houses and not have a Courtesan from de Sade. Instantly, he regretted that line of thought because he knew the answer before the question completely formed. Rodney was his Courtesan and of course, Gerard would always leave him a place to return. A place where he would have the highest standing in the household.
Both subs were staring pointedly at Rodney and John cleared his throat just as Gerard himself walked into the room. He took in the scene with a small smile.
“You’ll forgive them, Colonel, it’s not often they are in a room with someone they feel they can’t compete with. Andre, see to the rest of the arrangements for the meal. Raiden, I’ve chosen the black suit—make sure it’s ready for me to put on. Both of you will retire to the bedroom.” He jerked his head towards the door he’d just left and both subs immediately left the room.
“It’s not a problem,” John murmured. “They are an interesting pair.”
Gerard grinned and poured himself a drink, his gaze drifting over Rodney’s leash briefly before he motioned towards a group of chairs by a large, lively fire. “My younger brother says I’m insane to put a Consort and a dragon Geisha in the same household. He half expects me to report the outbreak of the third world war in my bedroom at some point.” He sat down in a chair and watched the two of them settle on a loveseat. “Randolph was fairly blunt in his assessment of the situation at the SGC regarding Rodney.”
“I would expect nothing less of him,” John admitted. “I’ve done what I can to correct it.”
Gerard nodded. “I have no doubts.” He stared at the contents of his glass for a long minute. “You lost a sub in combat, John.”
“And if I asked you not to take my Courtesan into war?” Gerard asked with a raised eyebrow.
“I would tell you that if you wished to control where Rodney went and what he did that you should’ve collared him.” John put a hand on Rodney’s arm when McKay jerked. “Shh.”
Gerard grinned then. “Yes, I imagine you would. Dato’ Raja says that you’re a stubborn and often unreasonable man. I figure you’re just the kind of Dom that Rodney needs.”
“We find that our dynamic mesh is very good,” John conceded. He casually unhooked Rodney’s leash. “Rodney, stand, strip, and greet your Courtesan Master.”
Rodney shed his clothes gracefully, laying out the shirt and slacks on the couch without hesitation. He walked naked across the small rug and knelt on the submissive bench in front of Gerard. “Sir.”
Gerard sat aside his drink and moved forward in the chair. He touched Rodney’s face with the tips of his fingers and then cupped his head carefully. He pressed a careful, chaste kiss against McKay’s temple and then another across his unresisting lips.
Then he rested his forehead against Rodney’s and took a deep breath. “I would’ve killed her if she’d castrated you. You know that.”
“Yes, sir.” Rodney trembled under Gerard’s hands and closed his eyes when Gerard pressed another warm, affectionate kiss on his mouth.
Gerard cleared his throat and slid back in his seat. “Return to your Master before I forget myself, Rodney.”
Rodney stood gracefully and returned to John’s side. Accepting the hand John offered, he allowed himself to be pulled back down on the couch naked.
John watched Gerard pick up his discarded drink and down the contents in one uncouth swallow. A part of him felt like he was intruding on something that was none of his business but he couldn’t fathom leaving Rodney alone with the man and he couldn’t for a second entertain allowing anything more than what had already happened to happen.
“You reported to Madame Lenore at the Institute that you cut off Samantha Carter’s collar because she refused to remove it when you asked. You also declined to press charges against her for the incident.” Gerard returned to the bar and poured himself another drink. “That pissed me off, Rodney, but I’ve always trusted your judgment and I’ve never interfered in your personal relationships. I’ve had my Doms keep track of you over the years—but they all knew you were off limits to them. They knew they had to respect your boundaries.”
“I know, sir.”
“If you weren’t collared…” Gerard muttered. “It’s not my right to punish you and it’s been impressed on me that if I attempt to tell John Sheppard what he should do that I should be prepared to eat my words.” He grinned when John laughed. “I’ll leave you to wonder if that was Randolph’s advice or Dato’ Raja’s. At either rate, I have no say in the condition of your pretty ass, Rodney but you should know that I’ve lifted my hands off philosophy when it comes to your general welfare. I will not tolerate you being mistreated or misused in the future.”
“Sir,” Rodney swallowed hard. “Surely, you don’t think…”
“Hush,” Gerard admonished. “The woman you loved enough to marry tried to castrate you and you never said a word. I don’t trust your judgment when it comes to your personal relationships. You’re the very heart of me, Rodney, and I won’t ever tolerate you living the way you did in Sam Carter’s questionable care.” He glanced at John. “And any man or woman who would have you wear their collar now or in the future will just have to fucking deal with it. Understood?”
Rodney bit down on his lip. “Yes, sir.”
“John?” Gerard asked with a raised eyebrow.
“I’m fully aware of how long your reach is,” John said in the way of answering. “And I don’t blame you for your position.”
“Hmm,” Gerard dropped back down in his chair and frowned. “I heard you’ve got a little problem brewing with Kevin Jordan.”
“Do you know him personally?” John asked.
Gerard shook his head. “No, he hardly qualifies to move in the circles that I socialize in. I know, because I asked around, that he did one session at La Petite Mort in New York as a very young man but nothing more than that. He’s never collared a submissive that anyone is aware of but he often over reaches himself and wants things and people that are beyond his scope. Randolph will be keeping an eye on him in the future. He won’t be the only one. I have another Dom—an Air Force General—who will make sure that General Jordan doesn’t get his place in the government that he wants. I don’t know the ins and out of your mission—but you can trust if things get difficult I will find someone will be glad to read me in.”
“I understand that as well,” John admitted.
Gerard checked his watch and sighed. “I need to dress and Randolph insisted that he and Angela would be up for before dinner drinks. I don’t think he trusts me around you, John.” Gerard grinned when John laughed and stood up. “There are worse things than to be under the watchful eye of such an attractive man, is there not?”
John grinned. “You should see him yelling at Marines—it’s the stuff of sexual fantasies of half the men currently on active duty.”
Gerard leaned down and brushed a soft kiss against Rodney’s mouth and then with a smirk ran his hand down the side of John’s face and tilted his head. “My Courtesan is a lucky man, John. I would’ve wished someone so beautiful and perfect for him if I weren’t a completely selfish bastard.” He kissed John then—just as soft and affectionate as the one he’d given Rodney. “Thank you for allowing me to see that he remains as perfect and gorgeous as the day I marked him. I am pleased with your trust.”
John exhaled sharply as Gerard released him and left the room without another word. “Christ.”
Rodney laughed softly. “That was hot—if I weren’t selfish and jealous I could fantasize about the two of you fucking for the next month.”
John flushed. “Get dressed.”
John sighed. “And later on—when we have some time to spare you’re going to give me a very detailed accounting of what it was like to have that man fuck you.”
Rodney blushed. “As you will, Master.”
Ten minutes later, Gerard emerged with one of his subs. The Consort had changed into a nice suit and he was now sporting an intricate emerald studded gold collar. Gerard inclined his head. “Master John, you may greet my Consort—Andre.”
John offered his hand to the sub and the Consort smiled beautifully as he John pulled him close. “It is my honor to greet a Consort of my house.”
“It is a honor to be greeted by a Master of both of my houses,” Andre murmured and lifted his chin elegantly for a kiss.
John touched the Consort mark on Andre’s neck with gentle fingers and kissed his mouth. It was rare to find a submissive who had taken the time to train in two houses. “Dato’ Raja has always made the most interesting choices.”
Andre smiled. “Yes, sir.” He took a step back as protocol dictated. “May I greet your submissive?”
It wasn’t an unheard of request and in this circumstance it wasn’t exactly unexpected. There was an unofficial hierarchy among subs and it didn’t get any higher than a de Sade Courtesan—they were valued, and prized students of the oldest pleasure house on the planet. Rodney was in a class all of his own—the Courtesan of Gerard de Sade, the figure head of the de Sade family.
Rodney offered the Consort his hand at John’s nod of consent and Andre took it a little more eagerly than he had even John’s. “I am pleased to greet the collared submissive of my Courtesan Master.”
Andre blushed, his blue eyes sparkling with pleasure. “I am honored to greet the Courtesan of my Master.” He trembled as Rodney pulled him in and pressed a kiss against his mouth.
“Jesus,” Gerard muttered.
John couldn’t help but agree. It was probably the hottest fucking thing he’d seen in years. He exhaled sharply as the two subs separated and Andre returned to his Master’s side. “Will your dragon be joining us?” Speaking of the Geisha who had disappeared into the bedroom earlier.
Gerard chuckled. “No, I’m afraid not. Raiden is being punished.” He inclined his head towards the door at the ding of a soft bell. “He adores being punished—so I’m loathe to disturb him when he is in such a state.”
Andre went to the open the door. General Rampart had discarded his uniform in favor of casual clothes. His wife, as cool and elegant as ever, was wearing a simple silk dress that clung to every inch of her.
“John!” Angela exclaimed with a warm smile. “Look how beautiful you are. I swear I never get tired of looking at your father’s sons.” He shortly thereafter found himself with an armful of the General’s wife.
“Angela,” John set her back a little and glanced briefly at Rampart who just smiled indulgently at his wife. “You’ve met Rodney, right?”
“Yes.” Angela winked at Rodney and hugged him, too. “I had the pleasure of seeing him in exhibition last year. I was very jealous until I remembered how intensely awesome I am.”
“You are awesome,” Rodney conceded as her fingers drifted over his collar.
“This is gorgeous,” Angela glanced John’s way. “I heard his dress collar came from Master Hector.”
“How did you hear that?” John asked with a frown.
“I have my spies,” Angela declared airily and brushed soft white blond curls over shoulder. “And perhaps my sister is currently attending Master Hector.” She grinned when John laughed and extracted herself from Rodney’s space when her husband cleared his throat. “I’m starving, Rand, shall we eat soon?”
Randolph held out his hand and she came to him immediately and tucked against his side demurely. “Yes, I believe we shall.” He ran his hand down her bare back and settled it on her hip possessively.
Gerard chuckled. “First, Andre, bring the box Dato’ Raja sent for John.”
John watched Andre glide away from his Dom and enter a small dining space in the suite. He returned with a glossy ebony box which he sat on an empty waist high table near the door. The box was easily forty inches long and narrow. He took a deep breath. He’d seen boxes like it before when he’d trained.
He flipped the latches with steady hands and opened it as casually as he could. Inside, in a bed of red silk was a polished black cane—thirty inches, 3/8 mm thick. He’d watched Dato’ Raja make canes similar to it when he was in training as a young man. The handle was carefully wrapped leather. The cane itself was a beautifully polished and treated African Blackwood.
Rodney’s breath hitched at his side. “That’s… too pretty to use.”
“No it’s not,” John returned dryly. Rampart and de Sade both laughed softly. He turned it slowly on the silk until Raja’s signature was visible to his sub. “Dato’ Raja makes his own canes for both teaching and private use. I wielded a cane much like this in my final year of training but I was not permitted to take it with me after I was marked. As far as I know, this is the only cane to ever leave his possession.”
“It’s beautiful,” Angela leaned in and with a glance towards John who only nodded ran her finger tip down the length of it. “Just lovely. It will sting so nicely, Rodney.”
“Yeah.” Rodney swallowed and shared a look with Andre who was flushed and staring at the cane like it was a sex toy instead of a piece of wood.
“I’m jealous of that,” Andre whispered loudly to Rodney.
Rodney shot him a glance. “Shut up, I know what you get every night.”
John snorted and shut the box carefully.
– – – –
“Get enough to eat?” John asked softly as he settled Rodney close to him on the dance floor.
“More than,” Rodney muttered. “I’ll be on the treadmill for hours to work off that dessert.”
He relaxed in his Dom’s arms and let his body flow with his. As with everything John did—he was an excellent dancer. His body was elegantly put together and he used it very well. Rodney shifted closer and curled his fingers in John’s shirt.
“I’m so proud of you,” John whispered against his ear and then clenched his teeth hard on Rodney’s earlobe. “You’re amazing.”
“I love how you touch me,” Rodney nuzzled against John’s bare neck. “I never understood how other subs were so possessive and jealous. Daniel Jackson is twisted when it comes to seeking retribution on subs who try to get close to O’Neill.”
John chuckled. “I just bet. You don’t have to be jealous, you know. I’ve no interest in other subs.”
Rodney lifted his head and met John’s gaze steadily. “Really? Not even a woman?”
John rubbed his thumb over McKay’s bottom lip as they moved with the music. “No, not even a woman. What about you? You married a woman… you’ve probably had twice as many women as I have. Do you want me to seek out and collar a woman for you?”
Rodney blushed and shook his head. “No, you’re all I need, sir.”
John hummed a little and kissed his mouth. “Don’t say pretty things unless you mean them, Rodney.”
Rodney smiled then and lowered his gaze. “I am happy to be everything you want, John.” He glanced around the room and his gaze settled on Gerard and Andre. “It’s good to see him so enamored with a submissive.”
John followed his gaze and took a deep breath. The small club they’d ended up in after dinner was private and would under other less wealthy circumstances qualify as a sex club. The small dance floor was full but not packed—Dominants didn’t make a habit of crowding each other. Accidental touching was never received well even if it was eventually forgiven. Gerard was on a small couch and Andre was straddled across his lap completely naked save his collar.
A submissive of Andre’s quality garnered quite a bit of attention but Gerard had put every single Dom at a distance with one hard glance as he’d ordered his sub to strip. General Rampart had begged off on going to a private club so John had felt compelled to go. He figured both Gerard and Randolph both suspected that and Gerard hadn’t bothered to give him a way out.
“Both of his subs remind me of parts of you,” John murmured. “Andre is so submissive and eager to please. Raiden is volatile and challenging.”
Rodney chuckled. “You think I’m all of that?”
“Oh yes,” John nuzzled against his jaw. “You realize we were maneuvered into this club so Gerard could watch us together.”
“I know,” Rodney shivered when John’s hand slid down his back to rest at the small of his back. “Don’t be insulted.”
“I’m not insulted,” John promised. “I just wish he’d been this concerned with your safety and happiness when you were married to Carter.”
Rodney sighed. “Can we not talk about her?”
John raised an eyebrow at him. “Is that attitude you’re copping with me, McKay?”
“That depends,” Rodney started loftily. “Will you spank me if it was?”
John grinned. “I just might.”
An hour later, they were back at the hotel and Gerard stayed with them while the valet had retrieved their SUV.
“I don’t know where you’re going but Randolph assures me you’re pure badass when it comes to your job.”
John inclined his head. “I do my best.”
“Keep our Rodney safe, John. I don’t know what I’d do to you if he came to harm when you could’ve prevented it.” Gerard’s gaze clouded. “I know what you’ve lost in the past so I believe that you’ll go to great lengths not to suffer that kind of loss again.”
“I can’t fathom that there is anything I’m not capable of when it comes to that,” John admitted. “I will protect and honor your gift.”
Gerard smiled then and cupped the back of John’s neck with one large warm hand. “You’re a pretty bastard, Colonel. I see why Randolph finds you so interesting and worthy of his time.”
John’s hand drifted to Gerard’s hip before he could help himself. “You’d tempt a saint, you know that right?”
“You’re no saint,” Gerard returned and brushed their mouths together. “Which is good news for our Rodney. He wouldn’t know what to do with himself if left in such hands.” He released John and held out his hand for Rodney.
Rodney took it only after John’s abrupt nod. “Sir.”
“Courtesan,” Gerard murmured. He kissed his temple. “Keep yourself safe and honor your Master with all that I taught you.”
“I will,” Rodney whispered. “I would do nothing to shame you, Maître.”
– – – –
Declan carefully inspected the weapon his sub had field stripped and reassembled in record time. “Good.” He jerked his head towards the target at the back of the gun range. “Give me fifteen in the chest.”
Sean ignored the whispers of the Marines behind him and the soft hum of Colonel John Sheppard who had strolled onto the gun range with his sub shortly before he’d started this part of his field test. He’d always hated guns but when he’d knelt before a career military man he accepted guns in his life and in his hand. He’d done so willingly. Declan was his universe and he’d do anything to keep himself safe for his Master.
He took position, leveled his weapon and emptied the gun into the target. Declan moved in close and laughed softly. “Relax and breathe, baby.”
Sean nodded and lowered the gun. “Yes, sir.”
“He makes you nervous?” Declan asked softly.
“Very,” Sean muttered and flushed. He put the weapon down on the counter. He felt his face heat when his Dom laughed. “Please don’t laugh at me; it’s unkind.”
Declan kissed his neck and moved away. “Reload. Corporal Jayes, set up the range for moving targets.”
Sean picked up the handgun, ejected the clip, and put in a new one. The range alarm sounded and he went to work—his gaze darting through a series of friendly and enemy targets quickly. He took the first ten shots quickly and only hesitated briefly when a life sized target of a Wraith flipped up out of the floor. He put two in it’s head. The alarm sounded, ending the simulation and John Sheppard walked to him and leaned on the counter beside him.
“Congratulations, Dr. Taylor, you’re the first man in this mountain including your Dom not to make a single noise when the Wraith target jumped out of the floor.”
Sean flushed. “I don’t have permission to freak out, sir.”
John raised an eyebrow and glanced briefly at Declan Frost. “I see. Tell me why you shot the Wraith in the head when you took chest shots on all of the other targets.”
“I could empty a 9mm into a Wraith’s chest and it wouldn’t slow one down. But Dr. Beckett wrote in his report on Wraith physiology that their skull isn’t any thicker than ours and despite their dietary needs—their central nervous system isn’t all that different than ours. A head shot is guaranteed to stop one with this weapon.”
“And you made that decision in the two seconds it took you to respond to the target?” John asked with a raised eyebrow.
Sean put the weapon on the counter. “I’m a genius, sir.”
Declan laughed softly. “Geeks will inherit the Earth, sir.”
“Truer words, Master Chief, have never been spoken.” John glanced over the range. “Very good, Dr. Taylor, you just set the standard for civilians for the rest of the expedition.”
Sean glanced at Dr. McKay when he sighed dramatically and blushed. “That’s probably not fair to them, sir. I was uniquely motivated to develop these skills years ago.” He touched his collar briefly.
“I bet,” Rodney murmured.
– – – –
“Can we go to the exhibition tonight?”
John looked up and glanced his sub over. “Who’s exhibiting that you want to see in action?”
Rodney blushed. “Frost.”
John lifted an eyebrow and sat back on the bed. “Really?” He put his laptop down on the bed beside him.
“Yeah, Sean is a La Petite Mort Consort.” Rodney sat down on the edge of the bed. “Can we go?”
“I think he would be offended if I didn’t,” John admitted. “There aren’t a lot of officers on Atlantis that will exhibit. Evan Lorne isn’t an exhibitionist and made it clear when he enlisted that he wouldn’t exhibit if he ever collared.”
“Teldy?” Rodney asked.
“No, she’s never exhibited Allison. There was a small incident early on in her career when she was ordered to exhibit and declined the order because her sub is civilian. Apparently, she and Allison have a sub contract prohibiting public exhibition.”
“Wow.” Rodney huffed out a breath. “Ballsy move on Porter’s part.”
“Not so much, I imagine it was Anne’s idea. I’ve seen contracts like it before. It protects the officer from facing actions over disobeying orders and it keeps them off the exhibition stage,” John explained and leaned forward. He cupped the back of Rodney’s head and pulled him in for a kiss.
The kiss was firm but gentle exploration and Rodney melted into it without a single hesitation. John hummed and pulled his sub into his lap. He pulled his mouth from Rodney’s and rested back on the bed. “Do you think I’m going to let you watch Frost and get hard for him, McKay?”
Rodney blushed and wiggled a little on his Dom’s thighs. “Sir.”
“You think I don’t understand your dynamic well enough to know that watching another sub worked over like I work you over would get you hard?” John asked silkily. He rubbed Rodney’s thighs as he talked. “You’d be hard by the time he strapped Sean to the cross.”
Rodney quirked an eyebrow and ran his pointed along the seam of his Dom’s BDUs. “You, too. Then we could come back here and you could fuck me.”
“I could fuck you right now,” John half-threatened. “You’re playing with fire.”
“I enjoy the fire that burns in you,” Rodney admitted. “Almost as much as I enjoy suffering for you.”
John glanced at the clock and sighed. “You can’t say stuff like that when we have somewhere to be.”
– – – –
John had attended exhibitions of all kinds in the past—some so extreme that he didn’t even like to think about them. He didn’t know what he expected from Declan Frost and his beautiful submissive but it wasn’t what he got… except maybe it was.
Sean was tied to the cross with heavy chains. Piercing needles were lined up along his forearms and across his shoulders. The skin was pink already. Tiny silver chains were attached to the needles and were trailing over his shoulders and were attached to a vicious set of nipple clamps.
Sean was already shivering with pain and pleasure—his cock hard and wet at the tip.
Declan flicked a bullwhip confidently and it whistled in the air before it snapped with a crack so loud it sounded like weapons fire.
Rodney shifted in his seat and John slipped his hand over his sub’s knee to still him.
On the stage, Sean’s body with the exception of his cock was relaxing by visible degrees as Declan worked the whip in the air. He did it six times before he paused and then hit his sub for the first time. The blow landed across Sean’s ass so sharp and cruel that John winced in sympathy.
Sean shuddered and moaned softly. Rodney tensed under his hand and John was insanely grateful he’d plugged Rodney before they’d come to the exhibition. He had a feeling that he was going to be more than a little ready to fuck him stupid by the end of the exhibition.
John turned back to the stage and realized that Declan hadn’t told Sean how many lashes he had ahead of him. It made his cock jerk against the seam of his BDUs. Rodney shifted and leaned into him. John trailed his fingers up Rodney’s leg and then lifted his hand away. Rodney shifted in closer and John let his arm drop around his sub’s shoulders.
On the stage, Declan Frost struck for the twenty-fifth time and ordered his sub to come. Sean shuddered and arched against his restraints and came in complete silence. John’s eyes closed briefly and completely involuntarily as he remembered Sean Taylor telling him he didn’t have permission to freak out. That level of submission and loyalty wasn’t unheard of but it usually came from decades of work.
“Be still!” Declan snapped and Sean stopped moving.
John sucked in a soft breath at that and Rodney pressed in closer still. He kind of figured McKay would practically be in his lap before the exhibition ended.
Declan flicked the whip again in the air and then started again. By the fifth strike, Sean was hard again and leaking. His breathing was deep and even, the muscles in his slim and very fit body jumping involuntarily. It was his only movement and his stillness under such punishment was insanely hot.
Sean’s body clenched tightly and his cock jerked as he came on the sharp demand of his Dom. The entire audience shifted and John glanced briefly down the front row. His gaze connected with Rampart’s. The older Marine smirked.
Declan rolled up the whip and dropped it on the small table that held his equipment. He drank a bottle of water and then took a fresh one to his sub. Sean only took about half the water and Declan poured the rest over his back which made the sub shiver and moan. It was the first sound John had heard him make during the entire exhibition.
Declan leaned in and kissed Sean’s mouth gently. The Master Chief was a hard man and John thought it was nice to see him with his sub so deep in his own headspace. It spoke to the kind of man Declan Frost was.
Sean lowered his head and took several deep breaths as Declan moved away. John blew out a surprised breath when Declan pulled out a cane. He knew the Navy man was rated for the cane when it came to discipline but pleasure caning… he pursed his lips and wondered if the exhibition was going to move into a blood letting. He wasn’t necessarily opposed to it—he’d done it with subs who liked it in the past but it wasn’t his favorite thing. He also sort of figured that Rodney would probably dig it.
The cane whistled in the air and struck across Sean’s left thigh. The welt was bright and red—and blood beaded gently on the skin. John relaxed; it was easy to see that Declan had drawn blood on purpose. The next five strikes were whippy and sharp but no blood was drawn.
He struck three more times and then another—he drew blood. “Come!”
Sean bowed against the cross and came. Mouths dropped open around the room and John stared in shocked silence. He’d rarely seen a sub actually ejaculate three times in under an hour and never in exhibition.
– – – –
“Strip,” John ordered as he pushed Rodney into their quarters.
He slapped the ‘scene’ button as he shut the door and locked it. By the time he reached the bed, Rodney was naked and sprawled. The slender silicone plug still snug in his ass.
He shoved his shoes off, stripped out of his clothes in record time and crawled on top of his sub. John reached down between Rodney’s legs and tugged on the plug.
“This is going to be a rough ride for you, McKay.”
“I really fucking hope so,” Rodney wiggled under him and spread his legs wide. “I’ve been good all day, John. I deserve a rough ride.”
John laughed softly and pulled the plug out abruptly. The sound of it’s removal was obscene but it only spurned them both into wanting more. He tossed the plug aside and pressed the head of his cock against Rodney’s hole. “Just like this?”
“Yeah, God, just like this.” Rodney arched into the penetration. “Fuck.”
John pressed in deep with one hard thrust and let his head rest on his subs. “I love how you feel on my cock.”
“I love how you fuck me,” Rodney whispered and shuddered when John pushed his hands above his head and curled his fingers around his wrists. “How you touch me, hold me, and want me.”
“God,” John murmured and took Rodney’s mouth in a hard kiss.
When he lifted his head, he started to hammer into Rodney—watching him respond to each thrust. McKay relaxed under him by degrees—losing himself in the pleasure of being fucked until he was shivering and whispered John’s name like a mantra.
“Come,” John whispered.
Rodney shuddered through an orgasm—his body tightening, his cock jerking against his stomach in a series of obscene smacks.
“I love how you do that,” John admitted. “You’re perfect and I’ve never wanted anyone the way I want you.” He buried his face against Rodney’s neck and closed his eyes as he fully acknowledged the confession he’d just made.
He clenched his teeth on Rodney’s shoulder and then lifted his head. “I want you to come when I do so when I tell you to come—you’re going to give it up to me.”
Rodney shuddered. “Yes, sir.”
He pressed in hard and rocked deep. “Come!”
“Ah, fuck.” Rodney arched under him and came in a stream across his stomach and chest. “John!”
– – – –
John finished taping his knuckles and dropped the role of tape into his gym bag. He’d worked Rodney over for four hours and fucked him three times before his sub had surrendered to sleep. John was still, however, very wired. Adrenalin still rushed in his blood.
He stretched out on the floor and went through a series of exercises to loosen up his body. The gym was semi-populated. It was rare that he passed the large room when it wasn’t hosting at least ten Marines engaged in a variety of different PT scenarios. Every piece of gym equipment known to man seemed to fill one side while the other side—easily as large as a professional football field was open for whatever the men and women in the mountain needed to do.
John lifted his head and rolled to his feet. “Master Chief.”
Declan Frost lifted an eyebrow. “Did I upset you during the exhibition?”
John frowned and shook his head. “Not at all.” He stretched his arms over his head and bent into another set of stretches. “Did Frasier keep Sean in the infirmary long?”
“Just long enough for me to feel a little bit insulted,” Declan admitted. “He’s sleeping now.”
John nodded. “Thanks to you—it took me four hours to work McKay down.”
Declan chuckled. “I would expect no less from a Courtesan of my house. We did the piercings for him, by the way.”
John lifted an eyebrow. “I never did a session at de Sade, Master Chief.”
“de Sade masochists are introduced to blood pain with play piercings. In fact, in their final exhibition with their Courtesan Master—they are pierced extensively over most of their body and displayed before an audience of Masters from our house. I’ve attended the debut of four Courtesans since I received my Master markings.”
John nodded thoughtfully. “La Petite Mort trained me for play piercing but my full kit is on Atlantis. Sean is a lot more hard core than I anticipated. He looks like an angel, you know.”
Declan chuckled and gamely caught his CO’s foot when John offered it. He braced himself on the floor and let John lean into him. “He does. I met him when I was recovering from an injury. The Navy pushed me stateside for a year so I enrolled in some classes.”
John offered his other leg and braced one hand on Declan’s shoulder to get a better stretch. “I never would’ve touched him. He looks too soft, too sweet for men like us.”
Declan nodded ruefully. “Exactly what I told him actually but it was difficult but because I wanted him like hell on fire.”
“Understandable.” John lifted away from Declan and then rocked on his feet. He motioned towards a punching bag and Declan gamely followed him over. “But you changed your mind?”
“He exhibited with another de Sade Master on campus,” Declan admitted as he braced the punching bag and set his foot. “I wanted to kill that son of a bitch by the time the exhibition was done. Sean practically wallowed in pain throughout the entire exhibition and came so hard it was like he’d never come in his entire life.”
John took up his position and started to hit the bag in even punches. “And that changed your opinion about what he could handle from you?”
“Definitely,” Declan admitted roughly. “He had another year on his Masters degree and I wasn’t going to interfere with that so I invited him to my apartment after I told him that I only had eight months left state side.” Declan blew out a breath. “After that we were only separate when we had class. The Navy pulled me back for a tour in Iraq and I thought it was over.”
John shot the Navy man a glance and started to hit the bag. “You walked away from him after eight months?”
“I couldn’t fathom taking him overseas,” Declan admitted. “I was gone for six months and he was waiting for me on the dock in San Francisco when I docked.”
“Quite a homecoming.”
“Unexpected and so welcome that I didn’t even understand how much I wanted it until he knelt at my feet in front of a couple thousand people and begged me to never leave him behind again,” Declan admitted.
“And you haven’t?”
“No, I haven’t. It’s taken work but the Navy worked with me whenever they could—especially when I almost didn’t re-enlist so that he could go for his PhD.”
“Which put you at the Army War College,” John murmured.
“Not a bad gig,” Declan admitted. “I enjoyed teaching and it gave Sean the time he needed to finish his PhD. I’ll never part with him, sir, you have to know if the situation on Atlantis isn’t manageable that I’ll want to bring him back to Earth.”
John nodded. “I understand that on a level most wouldn’t. I won’t lose another submissive, Master Chief. I don’t think I’d survive it.” He rolled his head on his neck and started another series of punches. “Never thought about OTS? You got your Masters in Engineering while you were teaching, right?”
“Yes,” Declan admitted. “But OTS is… frankly sir, you spend too much time at a desk to suit me. Teaching was different—I’m not meant for a ton of paperwork.”
John sighed. “Thank God I have a bunch of junior officers to handle that crap for me.”
“We’re officer heavy but can’t really help that because of the pilots,” Declan admitted. “You want a fight?”
“No,” John muttered. “Yes, but not here. There are too many people in this gym and really in this mountain that I don’t trust. I don’t…”
“Want to get hurt by accident and end up at their mercy?” Declan summed up. “Yeah, I get it. But you have to know I’ve got your back, sir.”
“I do know,” John acknowledged. “I have a few enemies around here when it comes to McKay and I want to be at the top of my game personally.”
“I get it,” Declan murmured. “Want me to put on some hand pads?”
John nodded gratefully. “That would be good.”
– – – –
Jack O’Neill took a seat at the head of the table. “First, I have some mountain business and then we can get started on this final meeting on the supplies for Atlantis.”
John glanced at Rodney who had stiffened in the chair beside him. “Sir?”
“I’ve had an analyst from the Pentagon going over our security situation in the mountain and we’ve discovered the culprit behind the deletion on the ZPM research.” Jack rocked back in his chair. “Dr. McKay?”
Rodney cleared his throat. “Yes, General, Major Davis has discussed his results with me and as the ranking scientist currently on the base—I recommend that Dr. Bill Lee receive thirty lashes for his transgression or be dismissed from his position if he refuses corporal punishment. Having reviewed his file, I do fear that the punishment would be difficult for him psychologically and there should be a full medical team on site for it. I don’t recommend it be done in public.”
“That’s counter productive,” Jack pointed out. “If other civilians don’t see the punishment…”
“Yes, sir, I realize that.” Rodney exchanged a look with Daniel Jackson who gave him a small nod of encouragement. “But, I feel that we should balance that with the mental health of Dr. Lee. Emotional abuse as a side effect of physical punishment is illegal as you know.”
Jack frowned and sat back in his chair. “You consider him that delicate emotionally?”
“He’s never been collared, doesn’t have a masochistic bone in his entire body, and has what I would consider a pet mentality. Public punishment could destroy what self-esteem he has.” Rodney focused on the table in front of him. “While he did put a dent in the project—I was his target. He hoped to discredit me enough to get me removed from the mountain to please Carter. I don’t even think she encouraged it. She didn’t have to. I’m angry and disappointed in him—but not so much that I would want him damaged emotionally.”
“You’re a better man than me,” Jack muttered. “Okay, Rodney, Dr. Lee will be punished in private with Dr. Frasier and I’ll order him held for observation for forty-eight hours after that. Did you want to witness?”
“No,” Rodney answered immediately and looked away. “I’d rather not. There is already a level of animosity there that I wasn’t even fully aware of. There is no need to add to it.”
John couldn’t have agreed more. The rest of the meeting passed quickly enough but afterward there was no time to talk because they went separate ways to start organizing the beam up of supplies.
– – – –
“I heard I missed out on a ‘thank God I’m alive’ celebration when I beamed you onto my ship.”
John glanced up and grinned at the sight of Steven Caldwell in his office doorway. “O’Neill tattle on me?”
Steven laughed. “Yeah, he did.” He strolled into the office and shut the door. “And for the record you can crawl into my lap anytime you like, Colonel.” He grinned when John laughed. “I think we have everything on board and about eighty percent of your personnel are tucked away in barracks for travel. All of the Marines are up and settled.”
John nodded. “I sent them up first because McKay figured the civilians would get antsy being in orbit for a day without him up there to run roughshod over them and verbally berate them.”
Caldwell laughed. “No doubt.” He took a seat in front of John’s desk. “Anything I need to be concerned about for the trip?”
“I don’t think so. I’ve set up orientation classes and a heavy PT schedule to keep the Marines occupied. The officers will doing classes and battle scenarios. McKay has a big project for his geeks and Elizabeth has something for the soft sciences as well. We won’t have our people running all over your ship like crazy.”
“Good to know,” Steven murmured. “I heard you collared McKay.”
“I did.” John raised an eyebrow. “Is that a problem for you?”
“Not at all, I’m actually relieved for you both. No man with your stress should be alone and McKay deserves a strong and caring Dom. His marriage didn’t serve him in the least.” Caldwell rubbed his head and grimaced. “Carter never appreciated what she had.”
“No she didn’t,” John admitted. He glanced towards his office door when there was a brief knock. “Enter.”
Rodney slipped inside and glanced only briefly at Caldwell as he walked to stand beside John’s desk. “I’ve got an asshole on the line from the Pentagon who says we can’t take the prototype we made of the Gate Weapon Delivery System.” He pointed towards John’s phone. “Line twenty-six.”
John sighed and shared a glance with Caldwell before he hit the intercom button and stabbed the line. “This is Colonel Sheppard.”
“Yes, Colonel Sheppard.” The man cleared his throat. “Major Thomas Weller. I requested to speak with you because Dr. McKay isn’t being reasonable about the weapon launcher project.”
“I see.” John raised an eyebrow at Rodney who flushed. “It’s my understanding that the project is actually still in development. The research belongs to Dr. McKay, Dr. Allison Porter, and Dr. Miko Kusanagi until which time it’s completed, patented, and then licensed to the United States government for our use. If you think I’m going to let you or anyone at the Pentagon run roughshod over his intellectual property you’re sorely mistaken.”
“Since it’s still in development, the prototype should remain on Earth and turned over to another scientist, sir.”
John snorted. “You mean turned over to a military scientist so you can get around paying them a license fee for their work.”
“Sir!” Weller protested. “They are government contractors.”
“Yes, and they each have a clause in their contracts that protects their intellectual property from being taken from them without proper compensation.”
“Colonel Carter never had a problem with Dr. McKay’s projects being moved to Area 51 after a certain stage,” Weller snapped.
“You’ll watch your tone with me, Major or I’ll take the time to give you some face time before I leave Earth,” John responded icily. “I am nothing like Colonel Carter and I won’t have my submissive’s potential or work subjugated under the fist of the Pentagon. If you don’t like it—I’ll take all of his work private and renegotiate his current contract.”
Weller took a deep, audible breath. “Yes, sir, I understand. I’ll inform General Landry at Area 51. You can expect a phone call from him.”
“I look forward to it, Weller.” John stabbed the button to end the phone call with his index finger and rocked back in his chair and glare at the phone. “I fucking hate pencil pushers with more ambition that sense.” He clicked his radio to the ‘all call channel’. “Dr. Kusanagi, Captain Teldy, Dr. Porter—report to my office in thirty minutes.” He closed the channel.
“God, John.” Rodney leaned against his desk. “I would’ve loved to have seen his face.”
“Me, too,” Caldwell offered dryly.
– – – –
“I heard you made General Landry have a full grown conniption.”
John glanced at Elizabeth Weir as she leaned in his office doorway. He figured he was a bad influence on her posture. He was fairly certain she hadn’t leaned on things when he first met her. “He had some choice words with me concerning my unreasonable and greedy position on Rodney’s intellectual property rights.”
Elizabeth snorted. “I just bet. The one good thing about Atlantis is that by the time the IOA gets our research it will be too late for them to try to take it without compensation. It certainly won’t happen on my watch.”
“Good to know,” John checked through the drawers of the desk one more time to make sure he hadn’t left anything behind. “Is everyone ready?”
“We’re just waiting on you and Rodney,” Elizabeth admitted. “Is he ready?”
“He’s doing a final look around his quarters here,” John admitted. “We sent up the majority of our stuff last night but to be honest I think he’s a little nervous.”
Elizabeth nodded. “When he’s ready. I’m going to go ahead and go up.”
“Thirty minutes at the outside.”
He found McKay sitting on the bed they’d shared. The room looked odd—stripped of all of McKay’s things. John closed the door and leaned on it. He shoved his hands into his pockets and blew air between his lips.
McKay jerked and looked up. “Sir.”
John inclined his head and looked over his sub. “Do you want to go to Atlantis?”
“Yes, of course I do. I wanted to go in the beginning. It was a big disappointment when Sam turned down the chance to go on the original expedition.” Rodney rubbed his legs briskly.
“Do you want to go to Atlantis with me?” John asked gently.
Rodney flushed. “I can’t imagine wanting anything more.”
“You seem off balance,” John admitted.
Rodney bit down on his lip. “Is there anyone on Atlantis, John? Someone who is waiting on you to return? Someone who thinks they have the right to welcome you back?”
John blinked in surprise. “No. The last person I was with sexually was Marshall Sumner and before him it had been a few months—another Marine. It wasn’t anything serious and he doesn’t have any expectations.”
Rodney nodded. “Okay, I just…” He waved a hand. “I’m being stupid.”
John frowned. “The last thing you are is stupid… so what’s up?”
Rodney blushed. “I’ve never been beamed with the Asgard technology. It’s stupid to be nervous about it—but I’m putting my life in someone else’s hands and I don’t even know who is up there doing it.” Rodney waved a hand.
“Well, the first time I was beamed I was sure I was dead so I sort of understand that. That whole bright white thing is a mindfuck in the right circumstances.” He grinned when Rodney laughed abruptly. “C’mere.”
Rodney gamely stood and walked to stand in front of him. “It’s fine. I’m just being silly.”
“It’s okay.” John murmured. He clicked his radio. “Colonel Caldwell, we’re ready.”
John reached out and cupped Rodney’s head. He pulled him close and covered his mouth with his. Rodney, for his part, melted against his Dom without a single hesitation, his eye fluttering shut as he opened his mouth for his Dom’s tongue.
John lifted his head at Elizabeth’s abrupt laugh and Rodney took a deep breath. “See that wasn’t so bad.”
Rodney frowned. “I think you cheated, John.”
Steven Caldwell sat back in his chair on the bridge of the Daedalus with a laugh. “Ready to go Colonel?”
John nodded, his gaze intent on Rodney. He rubbed his thumb over his sub’s bottom lip. “Yeah, I have everything I need.”