Reading Time: 90 Minutes
Series: Ties That Bind
Series Order: 1
Pairing: McShep (many other secondary pairings)
Genre: Romance, BDSM
Word Count: 22,600
Warnings: Graphic male/male sex, anal play, BDSM, violence, and exhibitionism (does any of that really make you not want to read it?). Evil!Carter, Marine!John
Summary: Colonel John Sheppard returns to Earth to debrief and to meet Dr. Rodney McKay.
This story was inspired by the works Coming Home and General & Dr. Sheppard by Xanthe. While this is not a story in the world she created, I did use her BDSM/Dynamic theme with her permission. I want to thank her sincerely for her generiosity and her contributions to this fandom and several others that I read. I highly recommend that you read EVERYTHING she’s ever written. SEE THE SERIES PAGE FOR FULL AUTHOR NOTES. I RECOMMEND YOU READ THEM!
* * * *
“So, this guy you want—the one you wanted from the very beginning to head the sciences can’t come to Atlantis because he’s uncollared?” Colonel John Sheppard frowned. “We have plenty of uncollared subs on the city.”
“Yes, but none of them have a report attached to their file by Dr. Samantha Carter stating they work best when they are collared.” Elizabeth tilted back in her chair and shook her head. “He was her sub when we first made the trip to Pegasus and she refused my offer to join the expedition. Well, in the two years since we left Earth they’ve parted ways. Or I should say—he took off her collar and divorced her. The SGC has had hell separating their work and them.”
“They were married?”
“Yes, then she published some of their work without giving him credit and he cut off her collar in the middle of the lab they shared at the SGC and threw it at her feet.” Elizabeth thread her fingers together as John’s mouth dropped open in horror. “The work she claimed as her own got her nominated for a Nobel Prize and from all reports was more than half his.”
John shook his head. “And now she’s basically prevented him from coming out here to escape her by saying he’s unstable when he doesn’t have a Dom.”
John rubbed his hands against his thighs. “I don’t currently have a sub.”
Elizabeth blinked in surprise. “John.”
“Look, we need him right? We need him for the expedition and he’s brilliant?” John asked, his head taking that stubborn tilt Elizabeth knew all too well.
“Yes. Brilliant. Easily the smartest man of his generation on the entire planet. If we’d had him out here the last two years—things could have been different. There might be more of us alive. But I really don’t know that he’d accept another collar. He’s been sorely mistreated by the woman he loved enough to marry.”
“We’ll meet him when we go through the wormhole tomorrow?”
“Yes.” Elizabeth nodded. “To be honest, I’d offer him a collar if I didn’t have Radek. I’m tempted to offer him a guardianship collar anyway. I don’t like what the SGC has allowed Carter to do him. It’s abusive in more than one way—she should be ashamed of herself for stealing his work the way she did. It’s inexcusable.”
* * * *
John decided 15 minutes into meeting Dr. Rodney McKay that he liked him. He liked him a lot and he pretty much wanted to fuck the hell out of him. He wanted to do dirty, filthy, amoral things to him in front of people. It wasn’t the first time he’d come across a sub that tripped his trigger so hard—but it was the first time in a very long while. He hadn’t even thought about buying a collar since losing Jared in the Middle East. He’d figured that maybe he’d never want another permanent sub.
Politics aside, the scientist intrigued John especially since he’d pretty much regulated himself to other Marines since the sub he’d been with since college was killed. He’d never had a problem finding a willing sub for a night or two—even on Atlantis his bed had only been empty when he’d wanted it that way.
As much as he liked Rodney, he disliked Carter. She dismissed her former sub often throughout the meeting, talked over him whenever she could, and basically made it clear that if Elizabeth offered her a place on Atlantis now—she’d gladly take it. After an hour, John was more than ready to surrender himself to a military briefing but found himself dismissed for the day with a schedule presented to him for the following day.
He followed McKay out of the meeting, ignoring the Air Force Lt. Colonel when she offered her hand in greeting. He rarely touched other Doms and he most certainly wasn’t interested in interacting with one like her. Elizabeth intervened on his behalf before Carter could corral him in the hallway.
He barely made it into the elevator before McKay viciously stabbed the button for the seventh floor. With a sigh, he also pushed the tenth floor. “Do you know which room you’ve been assigned, sir?”
John leaned back against the wall of the elevator. “1031. I thought I might go off base for dinner—it’s been a while since I’ve had real beer. Know a good place?”
“Several.” McKay checked his watch. “I can get you some names and directions.”
“Or… you could take me.” John just grinned when McKay turned to glare at him. “I’ll even pay.”
Rodney flushed and looked away from him. “Is this some kind of joke?”
John frowned and straightened at the way McKay’s voice broke a little at the end. “What?”
“Look, I know Sam told all of you military guys that…” He shook his head and sighed. “I’m not in the mood to be the butt of one of her jokes tonight, okay? She’s done enough to pretty much ruin my life.”
“I’ve never even spoken with that woman,” John returned evenly. “I wouldn’t know what she looks like if we hadn’t just all sat in a meeting together. I’ve been a way from Earth for two years, McKay, and I’d really like a big thick juicy steak, a beer, and to be attended by a submissive who doesn’t think they are about to die. I’ve had two years of desperate—McKay. Additionally, I’d like to get to know you. Dr. Weir is very interested in bringing you to Pegasus for the Chief Scientist position.”
“The IOA isn’t going to let me go uncollared, Colonel Sheppard. That’s already been made clear to me and it isn’t as if I can run out and find a Dom with a security clearance as high as mine who would be able to work on Atlantis. Besides, Carter has decided she wants it and they’re going to give it to her.” Rodney leaned against the wall of the elevator, his shoulders slumping a little in defeat.
John hit the stop button on the elevator. “Look, your ex-wife fucked you. I get that. Elizabeth got the whole story from someone she trusts and believe me when I say that neither one of us want someone that unethical and amoral on our city. Let me take you out to dinner and we’ll see how well we get along.”
“To what end?” Rodney asked, suddenly tired.
“Elizabeth has a collared sub, Rodney.” John took a deep breath. “But, I don’t. I haven’t put a collar on a sub since I buried mine in Arlington.”
“You lost him in combat?” Rodney questioned with a frown. “He was military?”
“Yes, he was a fellow Marine and I lost him in Afghanistan. But it’s been four years and I think I’m ready for someone new and I’m tired of temporary arrangements. So, have dinner with me and we can get to know each other.” John reached out and touched his shoulder hesitantly. “I promise you that I’m not fucking with you.”
“You’d collar me to get me on Atlantis?” Rodney questioned, wide-eyed.
“We’re screwed out there, Rodney. Even if you agreed to collar in name only I’d be willing to do it but you intrigue me and you really turn me on and I’d like to fuck you until you forget how to talk. And, just think how much she would hate it. I’m so much hotter than she is.” John grinned.
Rodney blushed darker and laughed a little. “You really are.”
John relaxed. “And I outrank her.”
McKay’s eyes lit up briefly. “Yeah.”
“And I have a PhD in math.”
“Shut up, really?” Rodney’s mouth dropped open. “But you’re a Marine.”
“Yeah, so what? I took two years in Antarctica after Jared died to clear my head. I had a lot of time on my hands.” John shoved his hands into his pockets. “I defended my PhD about three weeks before I left for Atlantis to play light switch.”
“I was sorry to hear about Sumner… he was a good man, a great Dom.” Rodney flushed. “I knew him before I married Sam when he was stationed at Area 51.”
“Yeah, he was. It was an honor to serve with him,” John looked over his face. Taking in the sudden brightness of the scientists eyes and guessed that perhaps he’d known Sumner privately. “I’ve topped a few of the people that Sumner…well we shared a few subs on Atlantis before he died. We had very similar tastes and kinks.”
Rodney cleared his throat and his eyes darkened a little. “He was… exciting and no one has ever…” He trailed off and bit down on his lip. “I really haven’t had anyone like him since. I regretted not taking his collar when he offered it. Well, I regretted it long after the fact but still he was a good man and an excellent Dom. He would have never allowed the people here to treat me as they have.”
“No, he was protective of the subs he’d topped, even the ones he would have never collared. If he offered you a collar… he cared about you.” John touched his face then, traced his fingers along Rodney’s jaw. “I’m sorry that you told him no as well. You would have faired far better with him than you did with Carter.”
“At least until he sacrificed himself.”
John winced. “At least until then. He saved us all, McKay.”
“I understand you were in the second Jumper… if Caldwell had gotten there seconds later you would have died, too.”
“Yeah,” John admitted. “I fought Sumner over who was going to go first—the son of bitch had me restrained until he was out of the city so he could take the first run.” He reached out and started the elevator. “I let him top me the night before we…” He grinned. “I’ve never subbed for anyone outside of training before but he needed a hard ride and maybe I needed something different since we were both about to die.”
“So, you’re definitely not a switch?” Rodney asked with a grin.
“No, but I don’t regret the hours I spent with him before we went on the mission. I could never regret giving him my submission. It was probably one of the most profound experiences of my life.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Maybe he knew he wouldn’t survive and I would—because he was so careful and perfect with me. I never expected that from him.”
“Do you think he was in love with you?” Rodney asked softly.
John started and then took a deep breath. He touched on the feelings he had for Marshall Sumner and wondered what his fellow Marine had harbored for him. “We respected each other—he was my best friend. If he was in love with me then it…”
“Makes the night you gave him a real gift,” Rodney finished gently. “He was a passionate and careful man, John, and it’s telling he spent the last night he expected to live with you.”
John nodded. “Yeah, it is. He really helped me trust again and I needed that after I went through losing Jared. Submitting helped me clear out the last of my doubts and set my heart at ease.”
“Good.” Rodney cleared his throat. “I think all Doms should truly submit at least once—then they understand what it means when someone does it for them.”
“Yeah.” McKay nodded. “I need to drop a few things off in the lab. Is that cool?”
“Can I come with? I spend a lot of time in the labs on Atlantis but I was only in the SGC for a few hours before we shipped out.”
John followed McKay out of the elevator and through a series of corridors until they entered a large room with enough computers in it to make John very nervous. He figured that the SGC had their own super computer but this wasn’t it. This was something else. “What is this?”
“We’re running simulations and calculations on charging a ZPM. I’m pretty close.” Rodney sat down the computer down on a counter he’d had in the meeting. “Finding the one we sent out to you guys helped a lot. I mean, we had a great deal of data from the one we used to send the expedition to Pegasus but the one from Egypt was almost full and the readings were off the charts. I learned a lot about the containment field. Of course, I only had it for a week to study before Colonel Caldwell took it to Atlantis.”
Sam Carter entered the lab from behind John and he flinched as she breezed be him. “Rodney, I need you to run all of the calculations on the X-302 engines again. They are full of errors. I really expect better…” She turned and frowned at John. “Colonel Sheppard, I didn’t realize you had clearance for this lab.”
“I have clearance for the entire mountain, Carter. Dr. McKay was just dropping off his things so he could take me to dinner. I was lead to believe we were all off the clock until tomorrow.” John raised an eyebrow. “Unless General O’Neill’s orders didn’t apply to Dr. McKay? I can call him and get him cleared to leave the base with me if that is a problem.”
She flushed with anger. “No, I didn’t realize he had plans.” She glared at Rodney. “I thought you said you weren’t interested in babysitting anyone from the expedition, McKay.”
Rodney shrugged on his jacket, his face dark red with embarrassment. “I made an exception because he’s really beautiful.”
John smiled and leaned against the doorway. “My parents blessed me with great genes. Besides, he’s not babysitting me. I’m a real live grown up United States Marine. I hardly need a sitter.”
Carter’s gaze widened a little and she flushed. “Yes, of course, Colonel. I meant no offense.”
“None taken,” John inclined his head. “Come along, McKay, I’m starving.”
Carter made a dissatisfied noise as Rodney immediately moved toward John. “I’ll be gone when you get back and you aren’t allowed in the lab unsupervised tonight, McKay. I’ll see you at 0600 hours tomorrow.”
John smiled then, wicked and full of dirty, filthy things. “Better make that 0900 hours, Colonel, we might have a late night and McKay also promised to have breakfast with me.”
He pulled the door to the lab shut before she could respond and Rodney deflated a little. “She’s going to make me pay for that.”
“Oh no she won’t,” John murmured. “You let me worry about her from now on.”
“Yeah, until you go back to Atlantis.”
“Already decided the answer is no then?”
Rodney snorted. “I told you, Colonel, she wants the posting so she’s going to get it. If she doesn’t—she’ll make sure I don’t. It won’t matter if you offer to collar me or not.”
“If I collar you, McKay, they have no choice but to send you with me to Atlantis.” John put his hand on the small of Rodney’s back and prodded him down the hall. “And they certainly won’t send her out there if you’ll be out there anyways. It would be a waste of resources.”
Rodney’s mouth twisted into a frown. “And my math was perfect until she purposely fucked it up. She does it all the time. I bet if I printed the original from my secure lap top it wouldn’t match what she handed back to me with her so called corrections.”
“Messy divorce, huh?”
“She contested it because she was embarrassed that anyone would actually leave her. And when that didn’t work she tried to have me committed.”
“You’re fucking with me!” John hissed as they got back on the elevator.
“Maybe later but definitely not about that,” Rodney assured. “It didn’t work. The judge in our divorce intervened before they could even do any kind of hearing on it and granted me my divorce. Then he appointed himself my legal guardian for a period of six months to prevent her from trying anything like that on me again.”
“He really is. I like him a lot,” Rodney admitted. “That expired about six weeks ago but so far she hasn’t tried anything really crazy. She did maneuver me into doing something stupid last week and I got turned over General O’Neill’s knee.”
John’s laughed. “He’s really hot.”
“Yeah, it wasn’t the punishment she expected me to get. She wanted me lashed in public and he spanked me in his office while his sub and I talked about hockey.” Rodney went silent as the approached the sign out. His expression darkened.
John took that to mean that the men on the door were ones who made it a habit to give him a hard time. He shot both Marines a look so hard they stumbled out of their chairs and to attention so quickly that both of their chairs tipped over backwards. “At ease, gentlemen. Dr. McKay and I will be signing out for dinner. We’ll be back in a few hours.” He reached and touched Rodney’s arm in way that screamed possessive. “Where are we eating?”
“O’Malley’s shouldn’t be a problem. It’s a week night so probably not much of a wait,” Rodney murmured.
“Good.” John signed them both out and then his gaze connected with one of the men. “Corporal Connors, would you ask the Quartermaster to stock my room with essentials. I left my kit back on my base.”
Connors glanced at McKay in shock only briefly before schooling his expression. “Anything special, sir?”
“A flogger, sixteen inches, American Bison leather and suede mix is preferred and…” He trailed off and looked at Rodney. “How do you feel about a cane?”
“In the right hands…”
John laughed. “You’ll never know better.” He turned back to the Corporal. “34inch rattan cane, 10mm thick. If he can’t get that exactly—then skip it.”
“Yes, sir. He’s pretty resourceful, sir. I expect you’ll get exactly what you ask for.”
“Good, thank you.” John tossed the pen on the book and snagged McKay’s hand. “Come along, Rodney.”
Both Marines nodded, their eyes appropriately averted.
Rodney laughed as the door shut behind them. “You know there going to think you took to me to bed…”
“Even if I don’t… they’ll think twice about fucking with you when I’m not around if they think you’ve subbed for me.” John let McKay lead him to a SUV. “I didn’t take you for a vehicle like this.”
Rodney smirked then. “I got it in the divorce. It was an anniversary present for her actually—so I’m going to drive it until she stops looking at it like I kicked her puppy and then I figured I would trade it in for a really expensive sports car that she could never afford.”
John settled himself in the passenger seat. “I like you a lot, McKay. I want to do dirty, amoral things to you—in front of her.”
“I think I like you back,” Rodney admitted. “Probably more than is safe for me. I don’t have the best track record with military Doms.”
“I’m nothing like her—besides she’s Air Force and I’m a Marine.”
“Yeah, well, the Marines on the base haven’t been great to me since the divorce. But that’s mostly other subs and not Doms. Most of the subs treat me as if I failed some big test and lost the best Domme ever. They all fall over themselves to get into bed with her.” Rodney sighed. “She’s a great lay but she can be selfish about things that lay outside an orgasm. I was so stupid with lust and love that I overlooked the fact that she was way. I wanted her to be perfect.”
“We all fall into that trap, Rodney.” John touched his arm. “Now, feed me and maybe by the end of the meal we’ll have talked ourselves into some serious mattress time.”
Rodney just laughed as he started to SUV. “Are you really that good with a cane?”
“You’re a masochist, right? Marshall Sumner wouldn’t have offered a collar to a sub that wasn’t pretty hardcore.”
“Yeah,” Rodney blushed. “That’s a good description of my needs on that front.”
“I could make you come just from caning,” John assured.
“You’ve had subs do that for you before?”
“I’ve never had a masochist that didn’t when I wanted them to, Rodney. Trust me; I wouldn’t do anything I didn’t do very well. I learned to cane in Singapore and I mastered the flogger in Japan where I also studied erotic bondage.” John tugged on his seatbelt at Rodney’s nod. “I’m not a Dom that plays at sex games. I embraced my dynamic when I was fourteen and never looked back.”
Rodney cleared his throat. “That’s really nice to know—you’d be surprised at how many I come across who really don’t have the first clue what to do with a sub. They never think about anything beyond tying up and fucking.”
“That’s fun, too,” John said with a grin.
“Yeah, it can be.” Rodney admitted. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a man. You should know that up front.”
* * * *
John offered a hand as Rodney moved to sit on a stool at the bar and just grinned when McKay blushed and took it. He ordered a beer from the bartender and leaned back against the bar. The wait time, as McKay had guessed, was short. “Eat here a lot?”
Rodney shrugged. “I don’t like the mess hall for dinner and the staff here is very good whether there is a Dom at the table or not. Sometimes I get crap service if I eat alone—but never here.”
John frowned but it wasn’t something he hadn’t heard before. But before he could respond a young man slid up to the bar beside him, John glanced the twenty-something over with an amused smile.
“Sir, may I attend to you?”
It was a traditional offering—leaving the field open for anything if John wished. Sex or simple companionship was certainly on offer. John touched the young sub’s cheek briefly and shook his head. “No, but thank you. I find myself well attended already tonight.”
The young man looked toward at Rodney who was staring at him, clearly more amused than anything else. “My apologies if I’ve intruded, sir.”
“No apologies necessary, Taylor.” Rodney swirled his plastic stick in the club soda he had ordered. “I would be hard pressed to find an uncollared sub in the place who wouldn’t want to take my place in attendance this evening.”
Taylor grinned and slid away.
John chuckled. “I take it you know most of the unattached subs in Colorado Springs?”
“Not all but I’m familiar with all of those from my pleasure house. We take care of our own,” Rodney murmured.
“And your pleasure house?” John questioned lightly. He glanced over Rodney’s bare neck.
“I trained at de Sade,” Rodney answered. “I don’t display my mark, Colonel, but I believe you’ll probably see it before the night is over.”
John grinned and then leaned in. He pressed a soft kiss against McKay’s slightly crooked mouth. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Rodney huffed out a breath. “You’re a dangerous man, Colonel.”
* * * *
The meal was better than Rodney could have hoped. Sheppard was a dominant to the bone but he never talked to him as if he was inferior and beyond treating him with a great deal of courtesy made no effort to control his choices or dictate anything beyond his own meal. He was also pleased to note that John had one beer and then switched to water when his food came.
John sat back in his place on the other side of the booth. “Okay, so let’s put this out on the table. If I collar you to bring you with me and we have a platonic relationship—there isn’t a Dom on the base that will touch you. Since you wouldn’t be getting any attention—I’d feel obligated to be celibate myself.” He held up a hand when Rodney started to protest. “I know exactly what I’m offering and the ramifications of it. That being said—if you are interested in pursuing something with me we could agree to a year trial period. That’s pretty standard for people are who interested in seeing if their dynamic clicks.”
“I have to say we probably do,” Rodney murmured. “You’re a sadist. I’m a diehard masochist. We have mutual attraction going for us and you’re smart which is relief because I can’t abide stupid people.”
John wiggled one eyebrow. “And I’m hung.”
“Yeah, it was a source of embarrassment when I was younger but I’ve learned to deal with it.” He inclined his head. “I’m not some ultra militant Dom who’ll want to control you outside of the bedroom. I don’t like chastity devices in play but I do like occasionally plug my subs if the situation allows. I prefer to be obeyed without question but that is more a byproduct of my job than my dynamic. I’ll expect you to be faithful and allow no one, outside of family, to touch you unless there is an emergency medical situation without my permission. We’ll eat our meals together whenever the situation allows. When I go to bed I would expect you to be with me unless circumstances are dire.”
“All of that sounds reasonable,” Rodney murmured.
“I’ll never allow you to be publically punished but I will punish you severely if it is required. If you wear my collar, your submission is mine and is for no one else to have so I will never share you physically with another Dom. I am also exhibitionist.”
Rodney flushed. “That’s… okay. Yeah.”
“Are you pierced or tattooed?” John asked his tone entirely neutral.
“I’ve the de Sade mark of course. Sam wanted to pierce my nipples for our anniversary but I didn’t feel… it wasn’t the right time. It strained our relationship as you might imagine.”
“Yes,” John nodded. “But she should have known that you weren’t ready for it so it’s her fault entirely.” He signaled the server and passed her his credit card when she appeared. “We’d like some chocolate cheesecake to go, I think.” He grinned when Rodney nodded.
He was too good to be true, Rodney thought. No Dom like John had ever looked twice at him. He’d never really had a problem getting a Dom before his marriage and divorce from Samantha Carter. He knew he was attractive and he worked hard to keep himself in good shape even while he was married when many subs let themselves go. But beautiful men like John—who could have their pick of the soldiers in their command just didn’t give civilians the time of day.
He’d always considered Marshall Sumner something of an anomaly. Maybe losing his sub had made John want something other than a soldier. He wondered how many scientists on Atlantis had been in John Sheppard’s bed in the last two years.
The server returned all too quickly with their boxed dessert and a check for John to sign. Then they were back in the car and on their way back to the mountain.
“I’ve been thinking about getting an apartment off base,” Rodney admitted. “Additionally, my contract is up for renewal next year. I figured if I don’t get the Atlantis posting that I won’t sign another one. There are plenty of private companies that would wet themselves to get me and the pay would be outstanding.”
“Stop talking as if you’re going to tell me no, Rodney,” John admonished. “It’s irritating.”
He laughed a little. “Well, let’s go see about that mattress time you were talking about and then tomorrow offer me your collar if you think you can spend a year in bed with me. I certainly wouldn’t ask either one of us to be celibate during that time. So we have to know if we can handle the sex with each other.”
“And if we can and I still want it?”
“I’d be an idiot to say no to Atlantis and your collar, John,” Rodney said gently. “Even if it only lasts a year… I don’t imagine any sub would turn you down no matter the circumstances. I had some fairly romantic views on collaring and all of that before I got married. I don’t believe in that crap anymore. I’d much prefer honest and mutual attraction and a good dynamic mesh with my Dom than some convoluted fairytale.”
* * * *
The trip back to the mountain was done in relative silence, just the background noise of the radio at a low volume but the excitement that had started to burn between them was distracting as hell. By the time they’d gotten through the front gates and then through the two security check points—Rodney’s pulse was so fast he could feel it throbbing against the skin of his neck and he was already more than half-hard.
John’s room was standard for a VIP, a king size bed with a nice sturdy head/foot board system with a variety of hooks and loops for bondage equipment. There was an essentials kit lying in the center of the bed and John quickly picked up the duffle. The flogger and a rattan cane in a leather sheath were sitting beside it. Rodney’s gaze flicked over both tools before settling on John.
John unzipped the bag and started to lay out the lubes, condoms, two sealed vibrators, a medium sized solid glass plug that was in a sealed bag from the infirmary (an indication that it had been thoroughly sanitized), wrist and ankle restraints, and a series of chains in various lengths.
John pulled out a tool kit and rolled it out. “I’ve never been interested in cock torture. What’s your take on sounding?”
“I tried it during training—we were required to try everything at least once as long as it was healthy and safe to do so. It’s not something I enjoyed.” Rodney relaxed when John pulled a leather and steel cock ring from the kit and then rolled it close.
John dropped the kit back into the bag and turned to stare at him. “It’s been a while since I’ve topped someone I didn’t know rather well. I normally read the files of the men under my command so I know pretty much all there is to know about them and their training. What’s in yours?”
Rodney cleared his throat and then took a seat when John motioned towards a chair. “I graduated high school at thirteen, finished my first undergrad degree in physics at 15. I have two Masters Degrees—mechanical engineering and astrophysics. I have three PhDs – mechanical engineering, astrophysics, and applied mathematics. As I said earlier, I was trained at the de Sade Institute in Quebec – three full sessions starting when I was seventeen.”
John’s mouth dropped open but he snapped it shut quickly to avoid looking like an idiot. Each session was a three month semester of training and guidance. Most people took their sessions in increments unwilling to devote half a year to it and put off furthering their education. Most subs were never invited back for a third session no matter the pleasure house but de Sade was in a league all by itself. “You pulled three sessions from de Sade?”
Rodney blushed and chewed his bottom lip. “Yes, I know it’s rare—even for a woman but doubly so for a man. I was pleased when I was invited back for a third session with a private Master. I bear the Courtesan mark of the de Sade Institute. It’s one reason why I’ve worked very hard to avoid being publically punished in the past year.”
“You aren’t proud of it?” John questioned softly. “To have achieved such rank among the students of de Sade is an extreme honor.”
Rodney’s eyes widened. “Oh, no, I’m very proud of it—it’s just that some people take the mark to mean that I don’t say no and that even when I say it I don’t really mean it. There was a General from Washington on base a few months back who had read my uncensored file. He tried to invite himself to my quarters twice before I sought refuge with O’Neill and Jack pushed him off on my behalf.”
John’s gaze darkened. “You had to tell him no twice?”
“Yeah, he seemed to be under the impression that a de Sade Courtesan is basically a whore. He figured I was fair game because I wasn’t collared.”
John frowned and looked away. Rodney wondered briefly if he’d put him off. “Your pain threshold is normal?”
“And on a scale of one to ten—one being your threshold—when is it enough to make you come without any other stimulation?”
“Seven but I can maintain for hours if you wish it.”
John walked to him and grabbed his chin a firm grip—forcing him to look up and meet his eyes. “Did you lie to me about the cock torture because I said I didn’t care for it?”
“No?” John asked with a quirked eyebrow. “Are you sure? Because you’re a pure masochist, McKay.”
“I like pain during sex but crying while taking a piss isn’t high on my list of enjoyable things.”
John released him with a little laugh. “I see.”
“I don’t lie about the things I enjoy or hate, John; it’s not the way I was trained. I won’t suffer for you unless we’re both enjoying it.” Rodney’s hands clenched on his knees. “For play I require a safe word—but if I wear your collar—I won’t need or want one.”
John nodded. “Your safe word is Pegasus. Repeat it.”
“My safe word is Pegasus,” Rodney murmured.
John pulled his t-shirt from his BDUs and jerked it over his head. His dog tags swung a little as he tossed it aside. “Strip.”
Rodney took off his shoes and socks and then stood from the chair. He quickly stripped off all of his clothes, abandoning them in the chair he’d been in and forced his body to relax by degrees. He had a feeling he was in for a long night—anticipation thrummed through him at that the thought. It had been a very long time since he’d had the attention of a male Dom.
John shoved his socks into his combat boots and unbuckled his belt as he shot a look across the room to see McKay’s progress. Rodney was standing in place just in front of the chair he’d been seated in for the questions part of the evening—naked.
John wet his bottom lip as he allowed himself to look over the sub’s broad shoulders, leanly muscled chest and stomach before traveling over narrow hips, a nice thick erect cock, and well-corded thighs. The man didn’t have any body hair at all save what was on his head.
“Did they take your beard, too?”
Rodney nodded. “I had the last of my laser treatments for permanent hair removal just before I was given the mark.”
The mark was a nine-point star burst in black ink, no more than an inch long. McKay’s was located above his belly button. The women John had seen with the de Sade mark, Courtesan or not, tended to wear it on their necks for everyone and their brother to see. John was pleased with the level of modesty McKay demonstrated with the mark.
Rodney cleared his throat. “Some Doms don’t like the hair removal—they say that de Sade should leave such decisions about a sub to the Dom who collars.”
“I take it Carter was one of those?”
He nodded, his gaze averted. “She wasn’t pleased about it. Additionally, she wasn’t thrilled that I demanded the right to refuse outside partners in our marriage contract.”
“You didn’t trust her to protect you?” John questioned his tone neutral.
“I didn’t trust her not to share me for her own gain. She’s an ambitious woman…” He trailed off. “It would have been her right and if the right person had asked…”
John walked to him and touched his jaw first. “Ambitious but stupid—didn’t she learn that sharing her toys only gets them broken?” He brushed his thumb over Rodney’s bottom lip. “I’ve always been a very selfish bastard, you know.”
“I get that vibe from you,” Rodney admitted. “You’re…beautiful.” He reached out hesitantly and trailed his fingers down John’s chest. “I want to be perfect for you.”
John cupped Rodney’s left hip firmly and pulled him close. He watched McKay’s beautiful blue eyes darken with surprise and arousal. “We’re going to have a really good time.”
Rodney grinned then and tilted his head as John leaned in to press a kiss against his mouth. The kiss went languid and then hot in a blink of an eye. McKay seemed to melt against him, giving his whole body over to John in an instant. John didn’t mistake it for implicit trust but took it for what it was—a trained response.
He’d had de Sade students sub for him before—but never one at McKay’s level. The training was both a blessing and a curse, really. It could be months before John could recognize a natural response from a conditioned one.
He broke the kiss and jerked his head towards the wall. There were a series of steel rings embedded into the concrete. “Face the wall.”
Rodney moved immediately and did as he was told without a single sound. John took in the line of his body as he gathered the restraints and chains he was going to use to secure the sub to the wall. McKay took a great deal of pride in his body and it showed—from the carefully sculpted but lean frame to the way he held himself. No shame, no artifice, pride without vanity. Sam Carter was an absolute idiot for not doing everything in her power to keep the man she’d collared and married happy.
The smooth steel chains felt good in his hands—it had been a long time since he’d given himself the freedom to truly play with a sub. Time on Atlantis had always been in very short supply. Elaborate scenes were often interrupted with emergency calls so they’d all learned early on to set aside that kind of play for something immediate and satisfying.
John hooked the chains first, letting them fall against the cinder block wall with a nice little thud that quickened McKay’s breathing. “We’ve discussed your training. Would you like to hear more about mine?”
“If that is what you wish, sir.” Rodney shivered just a little when John moved closer, letting his cock brush against one firm ass cheek. “You really are big.”
John placed a soft kiss on his shoulder. “I won’t hurt you that way—that’s never gotten me off.” He lifted one of the sub’s wrists and wrapped the leather cuff around it. As he buckled it, he considered his words. “As I told you earlier—I studied caning and flogging over seas. The caning at Kesakitan Pembawa in Singapore with Dato’ Seri Syed Raja. Flogging and Japanese rope bondage as a high art form at the Lotus House in Tokyo under Master Akira Saito. I did three sessions at La Petite Mort in San Francisco with Master Philippe Dubois just after I finished my Masters degree in Applied Math. I’d already collared Jared but I trained separately from him. Then I did a three week mini-session with him and a Master so I could be…” He took a deep breath. “Exactly what he needed. It was important to us that our dynamics sync as much as possible.”
“That’s beautiful,” Rodney murmured as John ran one hand down his back before cuffing the other wrist.
“So, Jared was a pretty hard core masochist like you—in fact he really couldn’t come without some measure of pain. He started wearing nipple clamps to masturbate when he was only 15.”
Rodney nodded. “Clamps are one of the few things that an underage sub can buy without a parent. I bought my first set within months of my first erection. I was twelve. My father found them,” he paused as John scraped a nail down his back as he went to his knees to cuff his ankles. “He just laughed and brought me home a bunch of books on being a masochist and put me on the waiting list for de Sade.”
“You and your sister both trained at de Sade?”
“Yes, but she was only invited for one session,” Rodney admitted as he spread his legs when John tapped his calf. “It pissed her off that I went back for a second session so I never told her about the third. She was in college anyway, and our parents were dead.”
“You didn’t do them back to back?”
“No, one when I was seventeen. Another when I was nineteen and then the final just after I turned twenty-five. The invitation for the third session… wasn’t exactly unexpected because they didn’t mark me after my second session and I knew I had done very well in the training.”
John chuckled. “That’s a long time between sessions. Your choice or theirs?”
“Theirs. Each time I was invited—I rearranged my whole life to go. Being invited to de Sade is an honor—receiving more than one invitation is a life gift.” He sucked in a breath as John attached the chains to his ankles. “After my second session, when I wasn’t offered the de Sade mark—Jeannie thought it was amusing. I didn’t correct her assumptions that I had failed and would never receive a mark.”
“Have you two always been at odds?”
“Yes, our parents encouraged us to compete against each other so that we would excel. We took it too far sometimes.”
“Then I must congratulate you for not rubbing your Courtesan status in her face because I probably wouldn’t have had that much discipline.” John pressed a kiss against his shoulder blade. “Now, I can do knife play if you want but it isn’t something that thrills me. I’d rather not scar you; your skin is perfect. I’m very adept at play piercing—so that’s the kind of blood play I prefer and I’ve been told the pain is exquisite.”
Rodney nodded abruptly. “It can be.”
John laughed then, low and soft. “How long has it been since you’ve been topped?”
“About nine months,” Rodney admitted softly. “After the divorce was final—I went back to de Sade for a seclusion period. To reinforce my training, they assigned me a Mistress. They didn’t want my bad experience with Carter to put me off women.”
John nodded. “Last man?”
“About four years ago, it was Sumner.”
John hummed his approval. “Excellent.” He checked the chains, the tightness of the cuffs, and then ran his hands down Rodney’s arms starting at the wrist. He went down over the back, fingers pressing into various muscle groups as he went, before crossing over the sub’s ass. “Fantastic ass.” He brushed his thumb between Rodney’s ass cheeks and grinned when the sub pushed back against the pressure. “Eager.”
Rodney laughed, a little husky and a lot turned on. “Very. I want it so bad I don’t care if I can’t sit for a week.”
John clenched his teeth on Rodney’s shoulder briefly and pressed his cock against the man’s ass as a low moan whispered between them. “I’m going to start with the flogger—warm your skin and muscles up with twenty lashes. Then we’ll spend some time with the cane.”
“Can I come?” Rodney asked.
“Only if you can get up for me again very quickly—because you will come when I fuck you.”
“I can have an orgasm without ejaculating. It’s one of the requirements of a male Courtesan at de Sade.”
John wet his bottom lip. “That is really hot, McKay. How many times before you have to ejaculate?”
“I’ve never had a Dom outside of training work with me on it. The most is four and I ejaculated on the fifth orgasm in the scene.”
“I’ll let you know when you can,” John nipped at his skin again. “Just remember—no ejaculation until I’m in you.”
John nodded mostly to himself and then walked away. “Make all the noise you want, McKay. I want to hear you.”
“Then you should flip the privacy light on the door so security will know you’re in a scene,” Rodney said as he glanced towards the buttons by the door. “Blue for scene. Red for medical emergencies. Green for all clear.”
John walked to the panel and pressed the blue button. “We need something like this on Atlantis.”
“If I go, I’ll work on it,” Rodney murmured and then lowered his head.
“Wrap your hands around the chains and brace your knees,” John ordered as he took his place. “What’s your safe word?”
“Pegasus,” Rodney murmured though they both knew already that he wasn’t going to use it.
The first lash of suede and finely cured leather was like a kiss across his back. More heat than pain and Rodney took a deep breath, which he released carefully as he’d been trained to do. Intellectually he knew that this probably wouldn’t be the kind of experience he really needed because they didn’t know each other well enough. Even Marshall Sumner, for all of his talent, hadn’t been able to work Rodney up like his Courtesan Master had during training.
The next strike was sharper, a little on the mean side but the bite of pleasure that followed the quick pain was a pure relief. Sheppard was good—the leather and suede tresses hit the skin but didn’t curl or snap around in a way that some Doms were careless about. He wasn’t lunging into the strikes like an amateur.
The fifth lash had Rodney on his toes, his back stinging with pain and pleasure—a fine sweat beading on his skin. The sixth made him cry out—something he never faked and therefore didn’t do often. Sam had often complained that he was too quiet during sex. He hadn’t had the heart to tell her that his training prevented him from making noise just to suit her—his honesty was just as much a gift as his submission whether she knew it or not.
The slap of leather and suede across his previously ignored ass caused his whole body to bow with a sharp mixture of pain and intense pleasure. His cock connected with the rough texture of the painted cinder block wall he was chained to and he hissed.
John chuckled. “Don’t scrape that pretty cock of yours, McKay; I plan to play with it later.”
Rodney laughed a little too and relaxed as pain endorphins started to rush in his blood. He’d underestimated Sheppard and his whole body seemed to relax in relief. He took the next six lashes—whimpering, his cock jerking and leaking. His hands slipped on the chains as his mental count reached twenty.
Then there was nothing—no wind rushing against his heated, sweat dampened skin just before the flogger hit. He opened his eyes and found Sheppard leaning against the wall beside him with a bottle of water in hand. He put the straw to McKay’s mouth and raised an eyebrow in silent demand.
Rodney drank the water and uncurled his hands from the chains at the same time. “Thank you.”
John nodded and pressed two fingers against Rodney’s neck to check his pulse. Satisfied that he was in a good place, he took the water away and ran his free hand down Rodney’s chest, over his stomach, and then clenched it firmly around his cock. “You’re gorgeous, Rodney. I could make a meal out of you.”
He blushed and closed his eyes. “Thank you, sir.”
John leaned in and kissed his mouth briefly before moving away again. He came back with a hand towel, which he used to wipe down Rodney’s palms and the chains. “Keep a firm grip and you can come when I start the caning as often as you can as long as you don’t ejaculate.”
Rodney nodded and moaned a little when John kissed him again. He sighed when John lifted his mouth away and their eyes met. Sheppard’s eyes had gone all dark green and focused—it was an alluring look on the Marine who appeared kind of laid back to the outside observer.
“I’m going to plug you before I do anything else.” He kissed McKay’s shoulder and then moved away.
Rodney curled his fingers back around the chain as he felt the heat of John’s body as he came back to him. One thick slick finger slid between his ass cheeks with no warning at all and he hissed in a shocked breath as he was penetrated.
“I’m going to,” John promised as he fucked in and out of Rodney’s body with his finger. “I’m going to fuck this sweet little hole of yours until you forget what it’s like not have my cock in your ass.”
Rodney just nodded. There wasn’t a damn thing that he could say suddenly that wouldn’t be just incoherent babbling anyway. Two fingers and then three were added in quick succession. The cool feel of the rippled glass plug going in felt so good that he shivered all over and John laughed softly.
He used one hand to scrape his nails down Rodney’s back as he settled the plug firmly. He twisted it once and then again until Rodney just shuddered and moaned loudly. Confident that he’d gotten the plug in the right position to thoroughly stimulate McKay’s prostate—he went to retrieve the cane.
The cane had a natural stain, a hand wrapped leather handle, and he tested it in the air a few times to check the weight and flexibility. It wasn’t as nice as he own but it was good. John glanced over the dark pink flesh of Rodney’s back and ass. The glint of the butt plug was gorgeous between the cheeks of his all too pretty ass.
He thought for a second that he might even give up Atlantis so he could stay on Earth and court McKay properly if the scientist wouldn’t agree to a spend a year with him as a trial period. He almost snorted at the idea of the trial period; he was never going to let McKay go if he had a choice in the matter and he’d do his damnedest to make sure the sub never wanted to leave to begin with.
He ran one hand over the muscles in McKay’s back. “Any nerve damage I need to be aware of?”
“This is the time to use your safe word if something feels wrong. The night won’t stop – but the caning will. It’s not for everyone and sometimes it’s more stimulation that can be tolerated.”
“The de Sade Institute doesn’t brand a Courtesan on a whim, Colonel. I can handle anything you’ve got.”
John grinned at McKay’s dry, even snappish tone. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“I know my safe word.”
John mapped out all ten strikes and then took his position. The welt was rising on Rodney’s skin before the cane was fully lifted off the flesh—it took seconds. The only sound in the room was a harsh intake of breath and then a low groan.
Rodney came on the fifth blow, his body drew up tight, his cock jerked hard twice—but as promised, he did not ejaculate. The sob of pleasure that erupted in the back of his throat didn’t surprise John but it was an ego boost. No one had responded to him so well—not since Jared and the ache of his loss dimmed a little. It would never truly fade—he wouldn’t want it to but he was ready to love again. He was ready to commit to another sub.
The cane whistled in the air but he pulled back just enough to make sure he wouldn’t break the skin as he connected for the sixth and then the seventh time. He pulled back and let Rodney shake through what looked like another climax. It was stunning and beautiful. Then he delivered the final three across the sub’s ass—being careful not to hit the plug or the tailbone.
Rodney sucked in a breath that sounded more like a sob and released the chains. He stayed up right and said nothing as John moved through his health check before taking him down from the wall. John pulled off the ankle cuffs but left the wrist cuffs attached to the chains as he guided Rodney to the bed.
He put the sub on his back and didn’t miss the full body flinch as Rodney’s skin connected with the cool cotton sheets that covered the bed. “Too much?”
Rodney shook his head. “Perfect.”
“Good.” John grabbed the tube of lube he’d used for the plug, dropped it on the bed near Rodney’s hip, and then crawled up between the sub’s spread legs. “I can cuff your legs if you want—but I’d really like you to wrap them around my waist while I fuck you.”
“I’d like that,” Rodney murmured as John shifted him slightly and then carefully pulled the plug out. “Oh, damn.”
John laughed a little. “We’ll have to get some different sizes to play with.”
Rodney grinned and spread his legs wide as John reached for the lube. “Sounds good.”
“Yeah?” John whispered in question.
He didn’t expect an answer, so he lowered his head and licked across the head of Rodney’s cock to gather the precum the sub had been leaking for at least an hour. He glanced towards the wall and smirked a little at the small puddle the scientist had left on the floor where he had stood. Then he sucked the head of the sub’s cock into his mouth and started to work with his tongue as he pushed three fingers without any pause right into his ass.
Rodney shouted words that made no sense to John. He lifted his head and the smacked the back of the man’s thigh sharply. “In English, at least until I learn enough French to know I’m not damaging you.”
“It’s good,” Rodney whispered rocking back against the fingers. “So, good.”
John looked over his face and then nodded as he pulled his fingers free. He rolled on a condom, slicked it up, and wiped his hand on the sheet beneath them. “The people doing laundry in this place must be on punishment detail.”
“Worst job in the mountain.” Rodney nodded and lifted his hips just a little as John hooked both hands behind his knees and pushed his legs open.
John pressed the head of his cock against Rodney’s hole and then pushed in with one firm stroke that left them both breathless and Rodney squirming against the pressure.
John smacked his leg again. “Be still.”
McKay bit down on his lip but nodded. “Yes, sir. It’s just…”
“It’s just what?” John asked silkily as he pressed forward. “You really like a cock in your ass, don’t you?”
Rodney flushed. “Yeah. I do. Plugs and strap-ons can’t even compare.”
John urged his legs around his waist and braced himself on the headboard as he started to thrust in deep and hard. The chains that bound Rodney’s hands above his head clinked against the iron of the bed frame.
He took six deep, measured strokes into McKay’s body and watched the sub react to each inch of flesh he was given. McKay’s eyelashes were wet with sweat, his blue eyes so dark and the pupils blown so open that John thought he could drown in them.
McKay arched under him, exposing his bare neck and John growled a little under his breath. The knowledge that he wanted to collar Rodney left him so stunned that he hips stuttered just briefly as he pushed back inside. He lifted up, arranged McKay’s legs up onto his shoulders and started to hammer into him—his groin smacking against McKay’s pink ass with every hard grind of their bodies together.
Rodney rocked back against him, completely lost on the pleasure of being fucked. His eyes were wild with it, a litany of moans and near wordless praise fell form his lips with every inward thrust. John met every movement of the sub’s body until they were banging together so hard the slap of skin against skin was making more noise than either one of them.
“Come,” John snapped in demand and thrust deep.
Rodney obeyed instantly; his cock jerking as he spurted cum all over his stomach and chest. John groaned loud as his cock was gripped in the vice of McKay’s ass as the sub came and he gave into his own orgasm with a shudder.
“Jesus. Fuck,” Rodney muttered as John carefully lowered his legs and pulled out. “Just… Jesus.”
John laughed a little weakly and left the bed. “So good.”
Rodney stretched against his bonds and wiggled his over pleasured body as John returned with a washcloth and a towel. He stared intently as John quickly cleaned him. “Do you want me to stay or leave?”
“Stay,” John murmured. “I’m not even done with you.”
Rodney shifted as John unhooked the wrist cuffs from the chains. He moved on to his side to face him. “Thank you.”
John rubbed his thumb over McKay’s bottom lip. “No, thank you.” He leaned in and kissed him—soft and exploring.
They came together gently hands drifting over skin still damp with sweat. John shifted and settled on top of Rodney. He lifted his head and their eyes met.
Rodney huffed out a breath. “You’re too good to be true.”
“Me?” John chuckled. “You.” He shifted and ran one hand down Rodney’s left leg and groaned when McKay shifted under him and raised his legs to cradle him. “How on Earth are you not in a relationship?”
Rodney frowned and looked away briefly. “Sam has rank and there are very few Doms on the base that could take a hit on their career. The ones that could—none of them appeal to me.”
John leaned down and kissed again. Rodney moaned softly and hooked one leg around John as they settled closer together. McKay arched under him as John rocked against him—their tongues dueling against each other.
John lifted away with a groan. “Fuck.”
John grinned and shook his head. “You’ll be sore tomorrow.”
“It’ll be a good sore,” Rodney murmured. “Every time I sit—I’ll think about your cock in my ass.”
John groaned and rocked his rapidly hardening cock against McKay’s stomach. “Yeah, that sounds really good.” He reached out for one of the condoms he’d left on the nightstand and then the lube.
Rodney watched through half closed eyes as John moved to his knees and rolled the condom on. “God, you’re perfect.”
John offered him a smirk. “Get on your knees.”
“Oh fuck yes.” Rodney scrambled to his knees and turned around. He shuddered as John reattached his cuffs.
John scrapped his teeth over one shoulder blade and then bit down just hard enough to leave impressions of his teeth on the skin. Rodney groaned and rocked back against him. A hard smack on his ass stilled him and made his breath catch. John hit his ass again with the flat of his hand and watched the sub shiver.
“Spread your legs and wrap your hands around the top of the head board.” John dragged his nails down McKay’s back, catching several welts he’d left behind from the cane making Rodney take in several deep breaths at once. “Good. Now, hold on.”
Rodney let his head fall forward as John pushed right into his ass without allowing him to adjust. He still had a bit of lubrication from the previous fucking and the little slathered over the condom provided enough for a smooth entry but the friction was shocking and just the good side of painful.
“Ah fuck.” John pressed his forehead against Rodney’s back. “This is… promise me if I get too rough with you that you’ll use your safe word. I don’t want to tear you.”
“I promise,” Rodney whispered his voice thick with pleasure and want. “I promise.”
John set a hard, pounding rhythm that jarred the bed and made their bodies smack lewdly together—the sound of skin on skin filled the room. His hands bit into the side of McKay’s hips, jerking him back to meet each punishing thrust until he thought he might lose his mind.
John reached forward, unhooked the chains and brought Rodney abruptly back against his chest, sitting the sub fully into his lap. He wrapped one hand around Rodney’s cock and pressed him back further with the other. Rodney let his head drop back and rest on Sheppard’s shoulder. His body shuddering with pleasure and pain of deep penetration.
John flexed his hips against Rodney’s ass. “Forget tomorrow, Rodney, you’re going to feel me the rest of the week.”
Rodney groaned and took a deep breath. “If that’s what you want.”
John wanted to own Rodney’s ass. He wanted to collar him and fuck him every goddamned day. He wanted Rodney to suck his cock every morning. John closed his eyes at the thought of Rodney wrapping his mouth around his cock. He started to jack the sub’s cock with long, expert strokes—matching the slow purposeful thrusts of his cock until Rodney was moaning softly.
“Come for me,” John whispered. “Come all over my hand.”
Rodney spilled into his hand with a soft groan—his body shaking as he gave it up. John stroked him through the orgasm, using semen to slick the way then thrust hard into McKay one last time.
* * * *
John wrapped a towel around his waist and went to the door of his quarters. It had only been an hour since he’d sent Rodney back to his own quarters to shower and get ready for breakfast so he didn’t think it would be him. He opened it and raised one eyebrow in surprise.
“Dr. Jackson, does your Dom know you’re knocking on my door?”
Daniel Jackson blushed. “Yes, but I don’t think it occurred to him that you might be naked. We have a problem, Colonel, and you are needed in the conference room.”
“What kind of problem? I’m due to have breakfast with Dr. McKay and Dr. Weir within the hour.”
“They are both in the conference room,” Daniel explained.
“I’ll be there in ten.”
* * * *
Rodney clenched both hands around his coffee cup and didn’t even look up when the door opened. He knew that John had been sent for… to confirm his story. He was sick with misery and so embarrassed. He’d been set up by her and Sheppard and that hurt more than he’d thought possible. John had been so perfect the night before—he’d never enjoyed himself more.
He’d fallen for the entire thing and Sam was finally going to get see him whipped in public. He knew O’Neill wouldn’t be able to get around it—thousands of man hours had been lost on the ZPM project and someone would have to pay for it. That someone was going to be him—fair or not. He had his own work for the project backed up off network but not the work of anyone else. Rodney hadn’t mentioned that because he wasn’t sure it would aid him or condemn him.
“Colonel Sheppard, thank you for joining us.” O’Neill tapped his fingers. “Can you confirm that you had dinner with Dr. McKay last night?”
John frowned and looked towards Rodney who hadn’t lifted his head since he entered. “Yes, I can confirm that. We left the base around 1700 hours and returned at 2100 hours. We signed in and out as procedure requires.”
“And what happened after that?”
John’s gaze narrowed. “I wasn’t aware, General, that I had to account for my private time.”
“John,” Elizabeth murmured. “We normally would never ask you questions about private matters…”
John glanced at Rodney who had started to curl into himself and then at Carter who looked smug and gleeful. He sighed. He hated her a little more in that moment. “I took Dr. McKay back to my quarters and he spent the night with me.”
“I see.” O’Neill frowned. “Our security records show Dr. McKay entering Lab 6 at 0100 hours and staying there for an hour.”
“That’s impossible, sir.”
“Are you certain he couldn’t have left while you were asleep?” Elizabeth asked.
“At 0100 hours I wasn’t asleep and McKay was in no position to go anywhere without my say so. He spent the entire night restrained. We slept until 0700. I sent him to shower and then we were going to meet Dr. Weir for breakfast. If your logs put him anywhere else in the mountain during those hours then you have a serious security breach because he was with me.”
Rodney didn’t know whether to start screaming or crying. He hadn’t cried since he was twelve and screaming was a little dramatic so he settled for nothing. It wasn’t the first time someone had called him a liar but it was the first time recent memory that he’d been backed up. He chanced a glance at Sheppard and found him completely furious. It was a shame; he’d been so relaxed and smoothed out after last night. He felt guilty, suddenly, for doubting him and he wondered if his doubt had caused the Marine’s anger.
“I see.” O’Neill took a deep breath. “I apologize, Dr. McKay for not taking you at your word.”
Carter hissed in a breath. “Sir, we have the records to prove it. He logged into the computers—his code was used to access the door.”
“What exactly is Dr. McKay being accused of?” John asked his voice clipped and far harder than anyone in the room save Elizabeth had ever heard before.
“Someone entered Lab Six last night and destroyed six months of work on the ZPM project. They used Rodney’s access code for the lab and his log in for the system,” Elizabeth explained.
John frowned. “And who, exactly at this table, thinks McKay is stupid enough to do something like that with his own codes?” His demand made several mouths drop open in surprise. “No, really, I mean—he is the smartest man on this whole planet, right? If he wanted to do something like this—I can’t imagine you’d ever catch him at it. And additionally, why would he sabotage his own work? He told me last night over dinner that he’s dedicated upwards of ten hours a day for over a year to the ZPM project almost exclusively.”
Weir cleared her throat. “Obviously this is matter for the SGC and really isn’t something to concern ourselves with.” She stood. “General, we’ll just go so you can start trying to figure out who is behind this. I believe Colonel Sheppard and Dr. McKay owe me breakfast.”
Jack nodded. “Rodney, I’ll need to see you in my office this afternoon. We’ll need to talk about who has had access to your codes and when you changed them last and all of that jazz. I’ll have security work through the security footage and the computer logs to see what we can find out. I’ll have Walter contact you with a time.”
“Thank you, General.” Rodney glanced briefly Carter’s way and then barely managed not to jump in surprise when Sheppard cupped his elbow to lead him out of the room. Sam looked furious and maybe confused. Despite that, he didn’t believe for a minute that she had something to do with it.
John led him to the doorway. “Would you wait outside with Elizabeth? I’ll join you in a few minutes.”
Rodney looked over his face and then nodded. “Yes, sir.” He ignored Carter’s furious intake of breath and left the conference room.
John turned and pinned Carter with a hard glare. “General O’Neill, I believe Carter and I need a private conversation.”
O’Neill shook his head. “I don’t think so, Colonel, for the sake of both of your careers I think I should stay and be a witness to this exchange.”
He glanced at O’Neill then and wondered how many men Carter had screwed over in the past when it came to McKay. “Fine.” He turned to Carter. “McKay is off limits to you, Colonel Carter. I don’t know what petty little games you’ve been playing with him since your divorce and I don’t really give a fuck. I don’t know what you are up to with this current situation but you can trust that I won’t let you railroad Rodney into being punished for something he didn’t do.”
“You have no right whatsoever to tell me what I can and cannot do with Rodney. He’s not yours,” Sam returned evenly. “He was mine and he will be again. Our relationship is absolutely none of your business. I don’t want you to see him privately again.”
John looked over her face and his anger must have shown on his face because Carter took a step back and O’Neill shifted forward in his chair. “If he’d been yours, Carter, he would’ve never cut off your collar. I won’t pretend to understand the relationship you had with him in the past but I know it is over and it will never be revisited. He can barely stand to look at you and what I do with McKay in private is none of your concern.”
“You don’t honestly think he’ll take your collar?” Sam demanded. “You may be pretty to look at Colonel, but you don’t have a chance in hell of keeping a man like McKay interested long term.”
John smirked then. “I’m a thoroughly trained sadist, Colonel Carter. Masochists like McKay think I’m a fucking gift from God. I won’t have any trouble at all keeping his interest forever if I want it.”
“He’s mine,” Carter ground out through clenched teeth. “He’s had his little rebellion but it will end and he will come back to me. If you think otherwise—you’re deluded.”
John stared at her for a few seconds and then took a deep breath. “If you honestly believe that, Carter, you need professional help.” He moved forward and she backed into the table. John leaned into her, until they were just an inch apart. “Stay away from him. You might have the other officers on this base worried about their careers but you don’t have a chance in hell of putting a dent in mine. Others might let you get away with verbally abusing him but I won’t. You disrespect him again and I will turn you over my knee and wear your little ass out so thoroughly that you won’t even think about sitting for days.” He watched her eyes darken with what could only be arousal and he shifted back with surprise. “General O’Neill, I’ll be taking Dr. Weir and Dr. McKay off base for breakfast unless you need me this morning.”
“No, John, enjoy your meal. I won’t need to see you until all of the Pentagon people get here and get settled in for meetings.” O’Neill rocked in his chair. “Dismissed.”
* * * *
John kept his face as neutral as possible until he spotted an empty room he could pull McKay into. Weir followed and shut the door. “Okay, talk to me.”
“Someone erased all of the data we had here; including what we had backed up. Area 51 has a second back up but mysteriously it’s a year old.” Rodney leaned against the wall, pale and shaking just a little. “Sam accused me of doing it and presented O’Neill with proof that I went into the lab last night without permission.”
“Which you and I both know is impossible,” John returned evenly. “Do you think she set you up for this?”
“Yes.” Rodney winced even as he said it. “But I can’t believe she would destroy all of that work just to get me punished, John. I really…” He shook his head. “She’s a much better scientist than that.”
“She’s also a jealous ex.” Elizabeth Weir crossed her arms and cupped one elbow. It was the only tell she had as far as John knew. She was just as pissed as he was.
“Well, could she fake video of you leaving the lab?”
“She might have if you hadn’t backed me up. I don’t think she’d risk getting you in trouble. You outrank her and if she makes you look like a liar she’ll lose face with most of the officers in the command.” He grimaced. “Especially since the thing with Lt. Harris.”
“What thing with Lt. Harris?”
“He’s on one of the gate teams that I occasionally go off world with. We had a joint operation two weeks ago with SG1 and Harris disobeyed her orders.” Rodney flushed. “I fell, it wasn’t a bad fall but it was bad enough that I couldn’t get out of the hole without help. We were pretty much surrounded by enemies. Harris doubled back to get me when Carter ordered him to the gate.”
“And he was punished?”
“She intended to do it herself,” Rodney admitted. “But, Harris requested one of the few implements she isn’t rated to use by the Air Force.” He glanced up and blushed. “The cane. It’s his right to pick how he’s punished. General O’Neill is waiting on Colonel Caldwell to return to Earth so he can do it because he’s approved for caning.”
“And this young man is going to be caned for not leaving you behind?” Elizabeth asked her voice careful and subdued.
“No, for disobeying orders.” Rodney shook his head. “Carter insisted on the punishment or a reprimand. Well, no officer willingly takes a formal reprimand when they can take corporal punishment and it not hurt their career. O’Neill was pissed but he couldn’t deny her.”
“How many lashes?” John asked.
“Thirty, which is insane. I can’t believe he requested the cane.” Rodney flushed. “She’s only doing it to punish me. Harris is just twenty-five years old and he’s always been nice to me. He’s also one of the few subs on the base who haven’t fallen over themselves to go to bed with her.”
“Elizabeth, I’d like to speak with Rodney in private.”
Elizabeth nodded. “I’ll go see about a vehicle.”
“Thanks,” John murmured. He said nothing else until the door closed and then turned to Rodney. “She’s going to get you publically punished even if she has to say you must have given someone your codes or were careless with them.”
“I know,” Rodney looked away. “I’ve never… I’ve never had that done before. I don’t even attend them normally. It’s just so wrong.”
John actually thought public punishments were a good tool for discipline but he kept that opinion to himself. “You thought I was in on it… you thought I’d set you up and was going to deny being with you last night.”
“It’s the kind of thing she would do,” Rodney admitted. “I’ve very sorry I doubted you.”
“Don’t be. We’re essentially strangers and you have every right to be concerned and to worry about the motivations of others when you have someone like her in your life.” John went to him. “We need you on Atlantis, McKay. I think last night proved that we are compatible in the bedroom—wear my collar. Give me a year and we’ll see if we can’t make something out of what we’ve started here.”
“You want to do this now?”
“I want to do this before O’Neill is forced to make a decision about the situation Carter has made. If you’re wearing my collar – he can’t order that you be publically punished because he runs the risk of me taking your place. The last thing he wants to do is to take a paddle to the ass of a Marine of my rank for no real reason when his entire base is made up of Marines who will hate him for it.”
* * * *
Rodney hadn’t been in a sex shop in nearly ten years and he’d never been in one like Godrics. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the money to shop in a store like the one John had insisted on—but Doms generally handled supplies and toys. He’d visited them in college with friends, mostly to window shop and dream about being collared. That was back when it had seemed romantic and amazing to be offered a collar. Sam hadn’t taken him with her when she’d bought the collar he wore the length of their marriage. His fingers drifted over his neck as he remembered the heavy black leather collar his wife had insisted on.
Elizabeth was shopping on her own and John had by passed all of the leatherwork completely. He’d gone straight to the expensive jewelry collars. Rodney wanted to tell him that he didn’t need anything like that but then he thought about Daniel Jackson’s gold collar with its pretty little lock and he kept his mouth shut.
The sales woman laid out several collars—in a range of prices and John quickly dismissed the cheap ones.
He leaned on the counter. “You do know who I am, right? I mean… Sheppard Industries. My Dad is a big defense contractor…”
Rodney’s eyes widened and the sales woman walked away talking to herself about diamond encrusted locks. “No, I mean, it never crossed my mind.”
John shrugged. “We have regular contact with home now and if I have to come home for anything for the family you would come with me. I can’t have my collared sub wearing a twenty dollar collar, Rodney.”
“Still a few thousand dollars in platinum…”
“Is really nothing. My father’s sub is wearing fifty thousand dollars in gold and emeralds. My brother’s wife has a different collar for every day of the week each worth more money than is remotely reasonable.” He pushed aside one of the frilly collars and looked at the sales clerk as she returned with a lock box. “It needs to be sturdy—he’ll work in the field with me. It should be flexible but not flimsy.” John picked up one. “The wheat chain is nice on this one and I like the infinity rings on the other.”
The woman hummed under her breath and opened a cabinet behind her. She opened a box and sat in on the counter in front of him. “How about this, Colonel?”
Rodney gapped at the collar; it was easily 15 thousand dollars in platinum, with a distinct masculine style. It was also as thick as his thumb. The infinity rings were connected it in the front and a pair of thin tags dangled from them for engraving. A lock was designed into the buckle. The matching leash had a tooled black suede wristband. The key was nestled in beside it and was inlaid with diamonds. It was clearly designed to slip onto a set of dog tags.
John pulled it out of its velvet next and tested the weight of it with a little pleased sound. “This is perfect. Was it custom designed for someone?”
“No, I keep a few sets similar to this because we are close to the military base. It is unique and won’t be made again. Each collar is designed as an original.” She flushed under John’s scrutiny. “When a man of rank collars a sub… it can be a status symbol. A man of your additional social position needs something unique and special for his partner.”
“I agree.” John glanced around the store. “Elizabeth?”
Elizabeth came over with her basket overflowing with toys and accessories. She leaned in and smiled. “That’s… perfect. It’ll look great on him and we can get the engraving done while I finish stocking up.”
John laughed and turned to Rodney. “You’re allergic to a few things, right?”
“Bees, peanuts, and citrus.” Rodney reached out and touched the collar. “It’s… beautiful. I’m not sure…”
John looked up from filling out the engraving form. “Any other health conditions we should list?”
“Hypoglycemia,” Rodney answered with a little squint. “It’s…”
John sighed, clearly exasperated. “McKay, are you the smartest man on this planet or not?”
“Of course I am.” Rodney pursed his lips. “I have three PhDs, you know.”
“I do know.” He finished the paperwork and slapped his credit card down on top. “Just making sure you understand your worth because I have a feeling I have my work cut out for me in that area. I’m the son of a billionaire industrialist and a highly decorated officer in the United States Marines. There is a certain standard people expect from me and anyone I claim as my own. You’ll just have to put up with my vanity on this issue.”
Elizabeth snickered and walked away. “Can I put my stuff on your card, John?”
“Knock yourself out, Elizabeth.” John reached out and touched Rodney’s cheek. “You, too, why don’t you go pick us out some toys to take home. Things you like.”
“Anything,” John murmured.
Forty-five minutes later, Elizabeth was supervising the taking of their haul out to the SUV she’d signed out with the SGC and John was in a private room in the back of the store with McKay. The saleswoman had obviously understood they meant to wear the collar home because she’d taken them to the back room to give it to him and then had quickly left, closing the door behind her.
John sat down in the only chair in the room and took a deep breath. “This is…”
“We can wait,” Rodney said hurriedly. “You’re rushing into this and it’s a big thing…”
“I would have done this last night, Rodney.” John put the box on the small table by the chair. “Come here and kneel.”
Rodney immediately did as requested. “Tell me about him, please.”
John took a deep breath aware that Rodney was probably going to ever ask for this once. Most subs really didn’t want to know about their Dom’s past—especially not when it came to his status as a ‘widowed’ Dom. John had often found himself coddled and indulged to the extreme by subs who knew his collared submissive had been killed in combat.
“We met in ROTC in college, Jared was getting a degree in engineering and I was in math. He hated Italian food, loved Chinese, and spoke three languages because his father was career military. He came from a good home and had a younger brother who worshipped us both. I had a mission and there wasn’t room on the chopper I was flying for him to ride along. He had a few projects anyways and I was told he would be staying on the base.”
“But he didn’t?”
“No, some asshole hotshot General changed his orders after I left and sent him on a mission without me. It wasn’t… you just don’t do that with a collared sub. We’d been together for nearly eight years. The helicopter he was in was shot down and when I landed at base camp, he was on the radio requesting evac. I didn’t even give my CO the chance to tell me no. I listened to him the entire flight there and tried to talk him down—calm him down.” John took a deep breath. “He died before I could get there—I listened to him go and all I could do was tell him I loved him.”
“Jesus, John.” Rodney lowered his head to John’s lap and rubbed his cheek against his thigh. “I’m so sorry.”
“I rescued the rest of the men on the mission—he was the only loss.” John touched the back of Rodney’s head carefully, his fingers shaking. “When I got back to base, I took his body to medical for processing and then I kicked the shit out of the man who sent him on the mission. It took half my unit to pull me off him. I was given the choice of Antarctica so that I could get my act together or severe disciplinary action for putting a superior officer in traction. My CO pretty much begged me to go to McMurdo and calm down. So, I did.”
“He had it coming,” Rodney murmured. “Are you doing this for Atlantis?”
“I’m doing it for me and for her. I think we both need you, McKay, and I’m willing to take the risk if you are.” John rubbed Rodney’s bottom lip was his thumb. “I’ll probably be possessive and militant about your protection—I won’t be able to help myself. I’ve always had a jealous nature but I trust you won’t give me any reason to be that way. I’ll never punish you on a whim or set you up to fail so I can hurt you. Your submission is a gift and I will treasure it if you will allow it.”
“Yes.” Rodney’s hand clenched on John’s thigh. “I’ll take this risk with you.”
John exhaled deeply and reached for the box as McKay sat up and bowed his head. The collar felt heavy but good in his hands, the platinum tags that were engraved with his name and McKay’s medical information clinked together. He plucked up the key and unlocked the buckle with steady hands. When he had collared Jared—he’d been so nervous that he’d barely been able to lock the collar into place.
McKay stiffened briefly under his hands and then just seemed to melt as the buckle clicked into place. John turned the key with a little huff of relief mixed with shock. He pulled off his dog tags, attached the key, and then carefully dropped them back over his head.
Rodney lifted his head and looked over John’s face. “You aren’t going to faint are you?”
John laughed and then grinned a little. “No, not at all.” He pushed forward in the seat, cupped Rodney’s jaw, and kissed him fiercely. The sub melted against the kiss and John groaned as he lifted his head. “Things are probably going to be a little tense at the SGC because I’m going to make a few changes to how things work there until we leave on the Daedalus. Dr. Zelenka forwarded a list of needs the city has so you can make good choices about the scientists we’ll take back with us.”
“It isn’t… she’s going to fight this. She could still get the job, John, and I’d be under her thumb in a different galaxy.”
“No, you won’t,” John murmured. “Never again, Rodney, no one would expect me to allow my collared sub to work under the supervision of his ex-wife and former Domme. It’s just not done to someone of my rank and status.”
“Rank and status,” Rodney whispered. “She was only a major when she collared me. The promotion to Lt. Colonel is pretty recent—just before we divorced.”
“She probably wouldn’t have gotten it if you’d divorced her before it went through. Doms who have a sub leave them like you left her—there’s a taint to them after that. She might find it easy to fill her bed but she’ll have very difficult time collaring another sub; especially a scientist like she seems to prefer.”
“Because she’ll do the same thing to them she did to me,” Rodney shifted on his knees as he spoke. “I don’t know what she would have taken from me if she’d seen my private work. There was a lot that I didn’t share with her. I couldn’t risk it. I have about 15 papers ready but I can’t get them peer reviewed in the mountain because of her.”
John leaned down and kissed him again. “You’ll have all the minions you need on Atlantis. Trust me on this. They’ve been in desperate straits since Peter Grodin was killed and Zelenka was too devastated to take over. We ended up putting Calvin Kavanaugh in charge and the entire civilian population has been ready to mutiny ever since.”
Rodney snorted. “There is a reason he went on that mission—everyone on Earth agreed he needed to get kicked off the planet.”
John laughed abruptly and then sighed. “Let’s go or Elizabeth will think I stripped you down in here.”
“I bet the sales clerk is hoping you do.” He jerked his thumb towards the security camera. “We certainly wouldn’t be the first.”
“No probably not.” John touched his face again. “Look, from the outside world this is going to look cold and like the worst kind of business arrangement. That’s another reason why I didn’t go with the kind of collar most people expect for something that could be temporary. And I did come to Earth pretty much convinced I was going to offer you a collar to get you on Atlantis and to save you from Sam Carter’s evil clutches because I’ve got a over developed hero complex.” He grinned when Rodney laughed. “But I mean this—McKay—I mean this with everything I am.”
“I’m only the second sub you’ve ever collared in your life—I think most people are going to get that you mean it immediately.” He touched his collar. “Though this makes a huge statement.”
“Good.” John’s fingers trailed over the collar with Rodney’s. “It’s nicer than what she gave you, right?”
“She preferred those heavy leather jobs that look like they belong on a dog. I was only mildly surprised it wasn’t studded.”
John grimaced. “I spent an hour talking Jared out of one of those collars when we went shopping for his. He thought he wanted a collar like his father’s so it took some time to convince him that he deserved something different.”
Rodney swallowed. “Do you still have his?”
“No, I buried him in it. I kept the key but attached the leash. I don’t know… I just felt like that kept us connected.” John stood and helped him stand. “His was gold and platinum braided together and the lock was separate sort of like Daniel Jackson’s only a little less ornate. I took Jared into the field too often to have him sparkly up to three miles away. He had a field collar as well—we’ll get one made for you later.”
Rodney laughed sadly. “I’m glad you can talk about him with me. I don’t want you to ever think you can’t.”
“Same for you, we aren’t coming into this brand new so I’ll try not to get all stupid and dominant if you bring up a past experience that you enjoyed or alternately hated. I might get a little competitive and I’m never ever going to like your ex-wife.”
“She hasn’t been very likable—not in a long time.”
* * * *
Elizabeth spent most of the trip back to the mountain looking over her shoulder and staring at Rodney’s collar. “I was right; it looks fantastic on him. The two of you couldn’t have made a better choice. Masculine but not utilitarian. I hate those collars that look like something out of a sci-fi prison movie.”
Rodney blushed under her scrutiny but nodded. “They do look kind of stupid.” He folded his hands into his lap to keep from fidgeting with his collar. It had been a year since he’d worn one and it was a heavy reminder around his neck of the choice he’d just made with John Sheppard. “How is Radek?”
“He is good. We had a difficult time and he took the loss of Dr. Grodin very hard—harder than anyone else did. They were close friends as you may remember.” Elizabeth sighed. “I think you’ll be good energy for him. I remember how well the two of you worked together at the Ancient outpost before the expedition. He’s really looking forward to your arrival.”
“I’ve missed him. He’s very quick on his feet and easy to work with,” Rodney admitted. “If the SGC approves my placement—I’ll be picking scientists?”
“Yes, we have forty-six spots to fill between transfers back to Earth and deaths. You’ll have your hands full making decisions on that front. But John and I will be there if you need help with it or if you have questions about our circumstances that aren’t covered in the reports.” Elizabeth smiled then. “And of course they are going to approve. The IOA has already told me that I will have exactly what I want for personnel as long as I don’t resort to outright kidnapping.”
“Even then they might just give her a few swats on her pretty ass and tell her to do better,” John muttered as he maneuvered through the check point that would get them into Cheyenne Mountain.
Elizabeth wiggled both eyebrows at Rodney and settled in her seat to find her ID. The guard at the gate did a double take when he checked McKay’s identification but waved them through without comment. Rodney figured the collar news would be all over the mountain before they even parked the car. He wasn’t wrong.
Daniel Jackson was standing behind the SGC checkpoint, a big grin in place the moment the elevator doors opened. Other subs were always super excited when one of their friends got collared—Rodney had never participated in any of that mess but he’d always found Daniel Jackson hard to resist.
Daniel’s eyes widened just fractionally as he got a good look at McKay’s collar but he never stopped smiling. “I heard.”
“I bet,” John responded dryly.
He laughed and then sobered. “The General would like to see you both in his office. This… huh… complicates things and he has a few questions for Colonel Sheppard.”
“Good,” Elizabeth said brightly. “I’ll just go make my phone call to the IOA. They’ll be relieved to know how well this situation has turned out for Atlantis.”
Daniel nodded, taking in both her words and her meaning. “I agree. They’ll be pleased.”
The walk to Jack O’Neill’s office was done in silence which worried Rodney a little but John seemed relaxed and completely unconcerned so he decided to adopt that same attitude—at least as much as he could. He doubted he’d ever been completely without concern. It just wasn’t in his genetic make-up not to worry about something or the other.
Sam Carter was already seated in O’Neill’s office when they got there. John prodded Rodney to a chair to the far end of the grouping and placed himself between them in a move so blatantly alpha male that O’Neill snorted a little in amusement.
“Congratulations, Colonel, Dr. McKay.” Jack looked over the collar with as much interest as any Dom allowed themselves and then focused on John. “We have a few questions for your sub, John. What is your position on that?”
“You can ask him anything you like as long as I’m present, General.” John agreed. “I’d also like to discuss with you his work load while we are here and who he will be allowed to work with alone.”
Jack nodded. “I take it Dr. Weir has informed the IOA of your new relationship with Dr. McKay.”
“Yes, she’s quite pleased with the turn of events. It made her choice of Dr. McKay as her Chief Scientist easier to manage. She was prepared to fight the good fight but we’ve all had to do a lot of fighting lately—it’s nice to not to have to battle for what we want.” John rubbed his own kneecap with one thumb. Rodney figured it was the only tell his Dom had.
“Right.” Jack O’Neill nodded. “Okay, then.” He looked focused on Rodney. “Dr. McKay, at any time did you ever discuss your access codes for this facility with another person?”
“Just the person who assigned the codes to me,” Rodney answered and shifted in the chair. He knew Jack O’Neill pretty well—though in the last year he’d avoided both the general and his sub as much as possible.
“And for the record, that person was…”
“I received my last set of codes from Colonel Carter three weeks ago. She brought me the sealed envelope from security at the same time she picked up her own. I opened the codes, memorized them and then destroyed the memo in front of her. She did the same for her own codes with me as a witness.”
“Sam, does that mesh with your memories of the event?” Jack raised an eyebrow at her.
“Yes, sir.” Carter’s tone was neutral but her complexion was ruddy with temper. John wondered what had been said in the room before they arrived.
“Dr. McKay, did you give your codes to anyone to use?”
“No, of course not. Everyone has their own.”
“Ninety-six percent of the work done on the ZPM project was input under you log in. It’s been implied that you often encouraged the support staff in your lab to log in under your credentials so that you could claim their work.” Jack sat back in his chair and tapped the stub of a pencil on his desk.
“I have one support staff, General. Dr. Miko Kusanagi. If you check the logs, I’m sure you’ll find that she is often logged into the system with her own identification at the same time I am. I’ve never had any need to claim anyone else’s work for my own. Frankly, I figured out in the third grade that most people are too stupid to cheat off. I’m sure if you asked her she would tell you that she’s never once had my codes or been asked to use my codes to log into the system we shared. The most I ever demand of her is coffee. She makes really good espresso.”
“She does,” Daniel Jackson confirmed. “The best in the whole mountain.”
Jack cleared his throat and threw a mild glare his sub’s way. Daniel just grinned and relaxed in his overstuffed chair with his laptop. “Be that as it may, the accusation has been made. The security footage for the time in question was deleted but we’ve been unable to trace it. I did ask Dr. Kusanagi and she vehemently denied any such thing and then rapidly descended into Japanese. Daniel assures me she wasn’t confessing but merely questioning my parentage in a language I didn’t understand as to not offend my delicate sensibilities.”
“Miko is always very polite in English,” Rodney murmured.
“The only evidence we have, Dr. McKay, points straight to you.”
“Then you have a problem, General.” John’s gaze narrowed. “Because if you persist in this accusation, you are accusing me lying and implicating me as well.”
“I do realize that, Colonel and that’s not what I’m saying at all. However, the President and the IOA is demanding that someone be punished for this breach of security.”
“Some one definitely should,” John agreed. “Who is in charge of the security of the labs? Who is in charge of the security cameras on that floor and who has the access to alter the footage? Who is the Chief Scientist in the facility? Because from my standpoint they are all just as to blame. Since the back-up at Area 51 failed, you should find out who at Area 51 wasn’t doing their job and punish them as well.”
Jack tried not to smile but it danced around his mouth as he relaxed in his chair. “You’re right—I could be spanking people for the next quarter at this rate.”
“But not Rodney,” John responded evenly, his tone serious and deadly. “Any punishment you order for him will be mine to bear.”
Daniel Jackson choked on his coffee and nearly dropped his laptop. Carter turned to stare at Sheppard in horror and Jack O’Neill’s mouth dropped open. Rodney would have laughed if he wasn’t so completely horrified by the idea of John being publically punished by the General for something neither one of them did.
“John,” Jack cleared his throat. “You know damn well I can’t take the strap to you in front of the Marines in this mountain for something you didn’t do. You’re a goddamned war hero.”
“I can punish Rodney in private if you order it but if you insist on a public punishment—I’ll be the one taking it. It’s my right as his Dom and no one can say differently.” John inclined his head. “Or you could have someone other than Carter investigate this matter and find out what really happened. Have someone come in from the Pentagon to investigate or better yet put your favorite down in a chair with a lie detector and ask her the questions you’ve been avoiding for the last year. You can start with whether or not she stole McKay’s work and claimed it for her own and then you can ask if her she tried to get him killed in the field two weeks ago when she ordered he be left behind.”
“I won’t sit here and be accused…” Sam stood up abruptly. “General, you know this is just… McKay has obviously told the Colonel lies. He probably has him convinced to protect him. He’s good at that… getting people on his side.”
“Like the judge that protected him when you tried to have him committed for having the gall to divorce you?” John asked with a raised eyebrow.
Sam blushed and glared at him. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Don’t I?” John asked. He shook his head and focused on O’Neill. “You have to know that I won’t accept Lt. Colonel Carter’s report on this situation at face value. I don’t trust her any further than I could throw her when it comes to her ex-husband. She may be a brilliant scientist and a valued member of your team here—but on the matter of McKay, she is unreliable and irrational. How she escaped divorce court without court-ordered counseling is beyond me.”
Jack glanced from Rodney to Sam. “I’ll call in a pair of fresh eyes to look this matter over. I’m tempted to punish all three people who had access to the lab, the security team for the section, the guy in the security office, and everyone at Area 51.”
Rodney cleared his throat. “I can’t replace the work Colonel Carter did on the project. But I keep a personal back up in the safe in my quarters of all of my work. It’s not exactly procedure so I’ve hesitated to mention it… I don’t know if Miko does the same. But, since the majority of the work was mine to begin with—in the end we might not lose much.”
Jack looked so relieved then that Rodney felt guilty for not telling him sooner. “Why didn’t you mention it this morning?”
“When you were calling him a liar, questioning him about private activities, and accusing him of destroying his own work?” John asked dryly.
Jack raised a hand in defeat. “Yeah, okay. I was an asshole this morning—we’ve established that.” He sat back in his chair. “Your rules for McKay’s work environment until you leave on the Daedalus?”
“He’ll need time to interview scientists for Atlantis as well as read up on mission reports and research that has already done. Since he will no longer be working 15-hour days—I think you should probably reassign any projects he has here at the SGC. I imagine he’ll want to take the ZPM project with him since the research is uniquely suited to Atlantis.”
“Additionally, he does not go anywhere on world or off without me and Colonel Carter is to never be alone with him. If necessary, I can assign a Marine to move around the complex with him to accomplish that goal. If she supersedes my authority or attempts to speak privately with my sub, I reserve to the right to punish her personally.”
Jack nodded. “That is your right, of course.” He inclined his head. “Aren’t you rated for the cane?”
“Yes, sir. I understand you have an officer awaiting punishment who requested the cane.” John shifted in his chair. “Since he’s a Marine, the punishment would be better received from me than it would Colonel Caldwell. We aren’t known to forgive easily when we think we own has been mistreated by an outsider.” His gaze flicked towards Carter briefly. “As you said, I’m a goddamned war hero. He’ll probably think it’s an honor to get his ass tanned by me even if he can’t sit for a week.”
“He violated orders in the field; it should hardly feel like an honor,” Carter snapped and then immediately straightened in her chair at the glare she earned from Jack O’Neill.
“Additionally, I’d like the officer in question sorted to Atlantis with me when I return. I have at least seventy-five billets to fill. I want him in one of them.”
O’Neill nodded. “That is your call, Colonel. I have personnel files for you to go through as well. You’ll have two weeks and then you’ll get a week off before the Daedalus gets here. It will take another week for the Daedalus to prep for the return back to Pegasus. I’ll want you, Dr. McKay and Dr. Weir on hand for that.”
* * * *
John retrieved the cane from his quarters, having handled it privately he felt better about using it in public. When they entered the gym—where the punishment would take place—it was full to capacity. Harris’ unit was up front and there was an empty chair with them. John led Rodney to it and prodded him to sit. He looked McKay in the eye. “He did this for you, Rodney, so you do him the honor of watching every second of it. Understood.”
“Yes, sir.” Rodney swallowed hard.
“I know you hate this. I know you think he doesn’t deserve it.” John touched his face. “I think you also know how very talented I am with this.”
Rodney’s eyes widened a little and a small smile drifted over his mouth. “Yes, sir.”
John leaned in, pressed a soft kiss against his jaw, and then whispered, “Enjoy this— it’s probably the only chance you’ll ever have to see me perform a pleasure act in public where you aren’t in the center of it.”
He lifted away from McKay and glanced over the men who were standing behind the row of chairs. Carter was leaning against the wall near the door and O’Neill was seated with his own sub separated from the rest of the audience. John pulled off his t-shirt and handed it to McKay before walking away from the audience.
Harris entered from the gym dressed only in a dark green robe and walked to the free standing St. Andrew’s cross. His eyes widened in surprise when Elizabeth Weir stepped forward and untied his robe for him.
“Lieutenant.” Elizabeth took a deep breath. “Do you have any physical conditions that Colonel Sheppard should be made aware of before we begin?”
“You consumed the light meal and the full 32 ounces of water as ordered?” Elizabeth asked as she put the robe on the small table that held a bottle of water for John and the cane.
“Very well.” She lead him naked to the cross while John watched, taking in the firm sleek lines of a young man in his prime. “You’ll be secured at the wrist, above the knee, and the ankle. Do you need the waist restraint?”
“No, ma’am.” Harris’ jaw clenched. “I can handle this, ma’am.”
Elizabeth smiled then. “I have no doubts.” She finished buckling the restraints and stepped back with a nod towards Sheppard. It was how they handled punishments on Atlantis. Switching out the roles as necessary.
John unscrewed the cap on his water bottle and drained half the bottle before he sat it down and picked up the cane. He walked to stand in front of Harris so he could meet the man’s eye. “Lt. Chase Harris, you have accepted corporal punishment rather than a formal reprimand being recorded in your file. Is that correct?”
“You’ve accepted that in the violation of orders in the field by a superior officer, you have earned yourself 30 lashes.”
Harris nodded, his jaw tightened. “Yes, sir.”
John moved in closer and lowered his voice. “I looked over your file. Since you’re a masochist, I should’ve ordered a chastity device put into place.”
“I know.” Harris nodded. “I was surprised when one wasn’t provided.”
“We’re going to do this in sets of five. I’m not going to lie—the first five are going to hurt like a motherfucker. By the end of the second set, you’ll be hard as a rock. By the time, we hit the twenty-five mark you’re going to be shaking with it. You can come if you need to but I certainly won’t require it of you. I’ll get you down and out of this room immediately afterward. Is there a Dom in the mountain you trust to keep you down and take care of you tonight?”
“She’s going to be pissed and offended,” Harris murmured his eyes wide with relief and something close to anticipation.
“I really don’t give a fuck if she is offended or upset. Are we clear, soldier?”
“Yes, sir, we are.” Harris took a deep breath.
“Good. That being said—if you can’t handle this and would prefer a chastity device be placed—I’ll order one brought out.”
Harris blushed. “Sir? Really? I’m not stupid. I graduated at the top of my class at Annapolis.”
John snorted. “Then answer my question about a Dom to help you through the rest of your night. It wouldn’t be appropiate for me to do it considering our circumstances.”
“Major Lorne, sir. He’s… I trust him and he’s currently unattached.”
“Good.” John’s gaze slid around the room and he found the Air Force Major he’d been strongly encouraged to consider for his 2IC not far from O’Neill. His expression serious, eyes dark with anger.
John rounded the cross and put his hand on Harris’ back. “I’m going to do a touch survey of your back, ass, and thighs. I’ll keep this as impersonal as I can, Lieutenant but I need to know the landscape a little to keep from hurting you in a way that will require serious healing time.”
Harris nodded and cleared his throat. “I’ve been caned before, sir.”
His fingers traced over a scar on his shoulder. “Shrapnel or bullet?”
“Removed or still in the body?”
John nodded and found the next scar. “Knife?”
“Shrapnel,” he questioned next, his fingers glancing over a knot of scar tissue low on the man’s right hip.
“IED in Iraq, sir. They got it all out.”
“Any nerve damage from previous experiences with the cane or other implements?”
“Nerve damage from the bullet in my left thigh, sir.”
John moved around until he could see the front of the Harris’ left thigh. “Femoral cutaneous?”
John stepped back. “Count them off for me, Lieutenant and remember—Marines don’t cry unless they are ordered to.”
The first blow landed with a smack that practically echoed but Harris shouted out one as if it was nothing. John watched a tremor run up the soldier’s back and shot Elizabeth a glance. She gave a brief nod and crossed her arms. One hand cupped the elbow of doom and John wondered what exactly Elizabeth was already planning to do to Carter for this.
He delivered the rest of the set in a series of long armed strokes that had the cane whistling in the air – welts rose in each place he hit across Harris’ back. He picked up his water bottle and drained the rest of the contents. John tossed it across the silent room, it was the only sign he’d outwardly given to how pissed off he was.
“Harris, state your purpose in my beloved Corps.”
“It is my honor to defend my country, my planet, and the civilians I serve with from all known enemies with my service and my life, sir!”
John nodded his thanks to Elizabeth when she replaced his water bottle with a fresh one and then delivered the next blow without another word. Harris hissed in shock and something probably like awe. “Six, sir.”
John pressed his lips together to keep from smirking. The mood in the room changed in an instant, he felt the tension just bleed out of the Marines. By the ninth below, Harris’ voice was husky, his breathing was labored, and he was, as John predicted, hard as a rock. His cock jerking with each blow. He delivered the last blow in the set and glanced at Elizabeth. Her cheeks were stained pink and her eyes were bright.
“Health check,” John murmured.
Elizabeth stepped forward, checked the man’s pulse with one hand while she forced his head up with the other and met his gaze solidly. “Are you tracking, Lieutenant?”
“Yes, ma’am.” He swallowed hard as she moved her fingers off his neck. “Thank you, ma’am.”
She cupped his cheek and leaned in. “You’re doing so well. Half the Doms in this room would kill to be where John is right now.”
Harris blushed, but his eyes darkened with the pleasure of the compliment. “Thank you, ma’am.”
Elizabeth walked to stand beside John. “His pulse is racing but his pupils are good and he’s not slurring his words.” She tucked her hands behind her back as she walked away.
John glanced towards O’Neill and found the older man relaxed and casually petting his own sub’s hand. Daniel Jackson was perched on the edge of his seat, clearly about to burst out of his skin. Carter was rigid in her place by the door, her cheeks stained with fury.
“Major Lorne.” John inclined his head and the Air Force man came immediately across the room. In a low voice, he asked, “If you are willing, Lt. Harris has requested you help him get settled after this is over. You have private quarters on the base?”
“Yes, sir.” Evan nodded. “Can I take Dr. Weir’s place, sir?”
“Yes,” John gave Elizabeth a nod and she went to stand beside Rodney’s chair.
He took that moment to look at Rodney. He found him bright eyed, a little pink cheeked, his bottom lip was wet and John wondered how much of his scientist’s mind was in the room and how much was dedicated to reliving last night. Rodney straightened in his chair and nodded briefly when he realized John was staring at him.
“Lt. Harris, Major Lorne will begin counting for you. You won’t get a break between the next two sets.”
“Yes, sir,” Harris murmured.
The right kind of cane made the most beautiful sounds when it moved through the air. The Quartermaster at the SGC had definitely acquired him a quality tool. It was strong, flexible without being too whippy. The leather grip was comfortable in his hand and when he connected with Harris’ flesh, it vibrated nicely up his arm.
The two breaks had allowed Harris enough breathing room and time to get the pain endorphins rushing in his blood so the next five lashes had him moaning softly, his head falling forward in complete submission, and his cock wet at the tip.
John knew each blow was pushing the soldier into his subspace but that couldn’t be helped. He wasn’t going to really punish the man for risking his life to save a civilian—no matter whom the civilian was. Though it certainly helped Harris’ case that the civilian in question was McKay.
He delivered the twentieth blow and closed his eyes briefly in an effort to keep his own response contained. The last thing a man of his rank could do was get hard during a disciplinary action.
Lorne nodded and picked up a small hand towel from a hook on the cross. He wiped the young soldier’s face and checked his pulse. They had a whispered conversation and then Lorne approached him. “He’s good. His pupils are blown so he’s pretty far gone emotionally but physically fine and he doesn’t want to come in front of her.”
John nodded and glanced once at Carter. “Yeah, okay.” He sighed. “Just don’t push him too hard and don’t make him wait once you get him alone—I think he’s pretty close to a breaking point.”
“Agreed. I’m not sure if it’s audience, the pain, or you.” Lorne grinned when John flushed. “Could be all three.”
“Caning is a powerful experience in the right hands,” John murmured. He finished off his second bottle of water and tossed it on the table. “Count them off loud for me this time—the last five are going to be as hard as the first five—that should be a damper on his orgasm but keep him deep enough in subspace to make transfer to somewhere private relatively easy.”
“Thank you, sir.”
John ran one hand down on his own chest and wiped the sweat he gathered on his BDUs before he positioned himself and mapped out all ten remaining blows before he began. Lorne called them out, his voice hard and as sharp as a knife as John worked through his own rush and the breathy cries of the sub at his mercy. The last two blows were purposely sharp, stinging and Harris relaxed against the cross in relief.
John took one deep breath and then another. “Clear this room!” His gaze settled on Carter to make sure she understood she was not exempt from the order and after a few seconds of startled anger, she nodded grudgingly turned on her heel and left just ahead of the first Marine. The rest of the audience filed out and the doors snapped shut leaving him alone with Harris and Lorne.
He checked the welts for broken skin despite the fact he knew he hadn’t drawn blood and then pulled a tube of Tollan crème out of his pocket. Wordlessly he passed it to Lorne who pocketed it and then they unlatched Harris together—starting at the ankles and working their way up.
The young man stumbled only briefly before Lorne caught him. “Sir.”
“I got you, Chase,” Lorne murmured. “You don’t worry about a thing.”
“Thank you, sir.”
John helped Lorne get the robe onto the soldier and took a deep breath. “I could strap her for that bullshit.”
“You did well with this,” Lorne shifted his hold on Chase and glanced around the empty room. “That’s the first time in recent memory that I’ve ever seen an audience so quiet. I don’t think any of them uttered a single word after you came in here.”
“The hall should be clear,” John tied Harris’ robe and cleared his throat. “Don’t hesitate to request a medic if he goes lethargic on you. If he complains of any organ pain…”
“Sir, you did an amazing job with this,” Lorne shifted Chase and nodded. “Seriously, I’ve never seen anyone get caned without blood popping on the skin… even when it’s done for pleasure. I’ll keep an eye on him and thank you for trusting me with him. It’s an honor.”
John nodded and stayed where he was as Lorne took Harris from the room. He turned to stare at the cross, his gut knotting with anger and unspent adrenalin. It was hard not to be a little hyped up with someone so responsive. A hand drifted over his damp shoulders, fingers dancing over the tattoo that spread all the way across and up his neck. One of marks he wore of his Master status. Rodney came in close. “Hey.”
“Hey, yourself.” Rodney leaned on him a little. “That was beautiful, John. Thank you for doing that for him, for protecting him when I couldn’t. Everyone was just… stunned.”
John’s mouth quirked. “We should get a video camera… because if you thought that was nice… you should see how you look when you’re that far gone.” He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. “Did Carter complain to O’Neill?”
“He didn’t give her a chance. He told her to shut up before she even opened her mouth and then dragged Daniel away to their private quarters. Like I said, it was amazing.” Rodney chuckled. “If that’s the kind of punishment I have to look forward to—I could become a real discipline problem.”
John laughed and felt himself relax. “I didn’t… I just didn’t think he deserved to be broken down like that in front of his entire platoon. At the most, if he had to be punished it should have been private between him and his team leader. I can’t condone failing to follow orders but the circumstances… and really Carter needs her ass strapped for letting the situation get that out of hand in the field. She should’ve had your back and then Harris wouldn’t have had to disobey her to protect you.”
“I don’t disagree with that. I try not to be a liability in the field, John, but my training has been minimal. When I was her sub, she refused to even let me learn how to use a gun. Since then, I’ve had a few lessons and learned to fire a Beretta. Teal’c taught me to fight with a staff. That’s about it.”
“We’ll fix that,” John murmured and cupped the back of his neck. “We should hit the mess and I’ve got a ton to do this afternoon.”
* * * *
The conversation muted the moment he entered but he ignored it. It was to be expected; he prodded Rodney through the line and was quickly served. They were looking over dessert when Rodney reached for a piece of cake. One of the servers rushed around and snatched it back before he could even touch it. “No, Dr. McKay, that has lemon in it.”
Rodney flushed. “Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention, Daryl.”
“Well, no passing out and forgetting how to breathe on my watch.” The Corporal reached into a case behind him, pulled out chocolate cake for both of them, and replaced the cake on John’s tray as well. “We’re not repeating last year.”
Rodney held out a hand in defeat. “Agreed, that was a sucky day.”
“What happened?” John asked as they left the line and found a small table away from everyone else.
Rodney flushed. “I was really upset and didn’t pay attention to what I was getting. The people behind the counter were new and didn’t realize my food allergies. Anyway, I went into anaphylactic shock and had to have CPR on the floor in here. It was a nightmare and the entire kitchen crew was disciplined—it was just before my divorce and Sam sort of lost it on all of them.”
John didn’t particularly blame her but he did wonder if the woman was more upset that someone else had cause her sub discomfort rather than herself. “You keep an epipen on you, right?”
“Yes.” He pulled two out of his front pocket. “I rarely need more than two. I also have antihistamines.” He patted the pocket in question. “Dr. Frasier keeps me well stocked. So you know all about my medical stuff—what about yours?”
John flushed. “Well, I turned into a bug last year. I’m sure you’ll read that mission soon enough. No allergies or conditions that I’m aware of.”
“A bug?” Rodney raised an eyebrow. “You see, the thing about visiting alien planets is that alien things happen to us. I’m sure I’ll be horrified but at least I know you’re all right now.”
“We were out there for two years on our own,” John murmured. “You’re going to read things about me—things I did to make sure the expedition survived that might make you really uncomfortable. Just… you can ask me anything, McKay, and I mean that. Anything. I’ll do my best to answer honestly.”
Rodney nodded. “Okay, I understand. I know you aren’t like me.”
“Or even Carter,” John continued gently. “She’s a scientist and she might have seen action on this planet and off but she’s not really a soldier. Do you understand?”
“Because she’s Air Force?” Rodney asked.
“No, because she has no honor and no heart.” John huffed out a breath and sighed. “And that makes all the difference.”
* * * *
“The skin looks good,” John murmured as he sat back on Rodney’s thighs. He flipped the tube of Tollan crème in his hand and frowned. “This is prescription strength.”
“Yeah, Janet Fraser gave me a prescription when I was with Sam. She renewed it after the first time you and I played.” Rodney turned his head as his Dom slid off him to lie on the bed beside him. “Is that a problem?”
“No, of course not.” John touched his face. “I just want to be fully informed. Did I hurt you badly enough that you need a prescription instead of the stuff we can buy at the pharmacy off base?”
“Not at all but with the prescription strength version of the crème I can play harder and more often.” Rodney relaxed on his folded arms and rubbed his cheek on his forearm. “It’s not addictive or anything.”
“I know,” John said and set the tube on the bedside table. “Did you hurt yourself when you didn’t have a Dom?”
Rodney blew out a breath. “A little—nothing so delicious as what I get from you. I’m not a cutter or anything like that. I know a few people like that but it scares me. I need a little pain to come so when I masturbated in the past I needed that.”
“What did you do?” John asked with a raised eyebrow.
Rodney blew out a breath and blushed. “John.”
Sheppard’s eyes darkened. “Don’t make me spank you, Rodney. When I ask a question—I expect an answer not an evasion. How did you hurt yourself to get off?”
“Pinched my nipples—I didn’t have clamps and I considered buying a pair but it would’ve been like admitting that I my future was going to be full of self-pleasure. Sometimes I dug my nails into my thigh while I jacked my cock—that worked really well if I was already pretty worked up.”
“Front or back part of the thigh?”
“Both worked equally well,” Rodney admitted. “But the inner thigh is especially nice.”
John nodded. “Good to know.” He leaned in and kissed his mouth. “Don’t hide from me, okay? It’s unnecessary. There is nothing about your dynamic that you need to keep a secret from me.”
“You have to know few Doms in my past have really been at your level,” Rodney finally said. “I need time to adjust to that. I don’t mean to be vague or evasive. It’s just I’ve learned over the years to hide some of my more base needs because revealing them didn’t always serve me or my pleasure.”
“Explain that to me,” John ordered softly and ran his fingers over Rodney’s cheek as he relaxed on the bed.
“Well, sometimes I’ve requested things that either challenged a Dom beyond their skill level or scared them off completely. You’d be surprised how many people identify as a sadist but really have no real clue what a masochist is. I think some of them assume that masochists suffer just for their pleasure and not their own.” Rodney flushed. “In college, I had a Dom get pissed off at me for getting aroused while he used a flogger on me. He was under the impression that it was all just for him and that I shouldn’t get hard unless he was fucking me.”
John sighed and shook his head. “What did you do?”
“I used my safe word which I could tell he didn’t want to honor and told him I’d never play with him again. He didn’t take that well at all. But before I could file a complaint and get him pushed back formally campus administration—I was recalled to de Sade for my final session.”
“And when you returned to campus?”
“He had a collared submissive but he came around a few times before he was warned off. I was a Courtesan and the president of Northwestern was informed of my status. The last thing he wanted was a de Sade Courtesan abused on his campus. I had to play off campus to get what I wanted because the president took his duties way too seriously.”
John laughed softly. “Yeah, okay. I get that.”
“There have been other times—more dangerous situations where my pain kinks challenged a Dom to hurt me enough that it was no longer a pleasure,” Rodney murmured. “People like to say the deviants are rare in our society but it’s not true. Some people have truly fucked up dynamics—psychopathic needs that make them dangerous and even murderous.”
“Agreed.” John sighed. “I’ve met a few like that in my life. In fact, when I was studying in Singapore—my teaching Master killed one of the students in his keeping.”
Rodney’s shifted and stared at his Dom. “John? In front of you?”
“He caned him to death,” John admitted. “The man in question had left the school on a weekend pass and topped a young girl in a neighboring village. He mutilated her.” John closed his eyes briefly. “Dato’ Raja made us look at her remains before he began punishment so we would understand what our fellow student had done.”
“She died from it?”
“She hung herself,” John corrected. “Because he castrated her—I was just 15. I didn’t even understand what female castration was until I saw her body. My father sheltered me and my brothers a great deal and I’d only been in training a few months.”
“And Dato’ Raja beat the Dom who topped her to death in front of his entire student population?”
“Yes, so we would understand how much he valued the life of a submissive—how he held it more precious than the life of even his most gifted and honored student.” John’s mouth twisted in distaste. “To be honest, I don’t know that he would have survived the night if Raja hadn’t killed him. There were plenty of older students who looked ready to end him, too. I was too young to even really grasp what was going on until he stopped breathing.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t go home to your family.”
John blushed and looked away. “I did. I wasn’t the only one but I was the only one that returned when Raja requested that I do so. He gave me space to get my head around the whole thing. He came to my father’s home three weeks after I left the school and had dinner with the family. David was still at the school but neither of them pressured me to return. Raja just explained to me in the bluntest terms possible what my dynamic was and what I would be capable of as an adult if I didn’t train properly.”
“Surely he didn’t think you could or would mutilate anyone?”
“No, but he did believe and probably still does believe that I’m at the top of the spectrum when it comes to sadism. He thought I had the potential to be very dangerous. It’s why I trained at La Petite Mort as well. It’s why I would have accepted training at de Sade if it hadn’t interfered with my educational plans.”
“You seemed to have mastered your dynamic very well.”
“I worked hard at it,” John admitted roughly.
“You said the first night that you didn’t do knife play or really any kind of blood play at all except for play piercing. Is that the reason?”
“Yes,” John murmured. “And I’ve killed in the field. I’ve watched blood play in exhibition and it doesn’t thrill me often. Usually the sub really has to be into it for me to find it arousing and it can’t be a lot of blood.”
“I think that probably makes you pretty rare in your dynamic set,” Rodney murmured. “I don’t need blood play to get off. I’ve done it in the past and to be honest—I enjoy it. It’s not, however, necessary at all.”
John frowned but nodded. “Yeah, okay.” He rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. “I want a good balance between us, Rodney.”
“You satisfy in me in ways I never thought I’d have, John. Even before you locked your collar around my neck I felt bound to you. I feel like my pleasure is tethered to yours.”
“I like the sound of that,” John admitted. He turned toward Rodney and then with a little growl of interest, rolled McKay onto his back.
Rodney grinned when his Dom settled on top of him. “Hey.”
“Comfortable?” John asked as he settled himself between McKay’s legs.
Rodney nodded and hummed his pleasure softly under his breath. “This is my new favorite place to be.”
“Good,” John murmured and leaned in to kiss him. He brushed their mouths together. “Mine, too.”
“Will you tell me about Atlantis?” Rodney asked softly.
“You’ve read the reports.” John nuzzled against his neck. “What do you want to know?”
“What does she feel like when you come back to her?”
John lifted his head. “There is the moment when I get close to the city after flying to mainland, the city comes into view—I’ve never seen a more beautiful place in my life. She rises up out of the ocean in all of these sweeping blue and green towers. Atlantis is like a jewel on the horizon—shining and beautiful and then when I get closer she reaches out to me with what feels like relief and excitement at the same time. The city isn’t alive but there is something about her that’s not just machine. I can’t explain it.”
“I can’t wait to see her,” Rodney murmured.
“I think that you’ll love her as much as I do,” John responded. “Now, I was thinking I’d tie you to this bed, spank you and fuck you until you babble in French. Are you game?”
Rodney grinned and shifted under him in excitement. “I don’t believe in God, John, but if I did I would thank him every day for bringing you to me.”
John laughed. “We’re going to have so much fun, McKay.”