What You Give
Series: Ties That Bind
Series Order: 6
Pairing: McShep (many other secondary pairings)
Genre: Romance, BDSM
Word Count: 35,700
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: Rodney falls in love with Atlantis while John gets used to having a family on Atlantis.
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!
* * * *
Dr. Rodney McKay had never allowed himself to think about being on Atlantis not even after John Sheppard locked his collar around his neck. He’d learned along the way not to set himself up for heartache. He was standing at a view window with his Dom when they left hyperspace and achieved orbit around Lantea.
He’d seen a few planets from space—for the most part they always looked inviting. Even if they rarely were. “The Ancients certainly liked their planets big and blue.”
John laughed softly. “Yeah, they do. We rarely encounter a world that isn’t beautiful at least from an environmental perspective.” He settled one hand on Rodney’s hip and let his chin rest on his sub’s shoulder. “I’m going to ask someone to bring a Jumper up for us. I want you to see her the way I do when I come back from the mainland.”
“That sounds good.” Rodney cleared his throat and took a deep breath. “I’ll take good care of your city John.”
Sheppard pressed a kiss against the back of Rodney’s neck. “I know you will.” He clicked his radio as he took a step back from McKay. “Atlantis this is Sheppard. SITREP?”
“Colonel Sheppard. Welcome back. We’re green across the board and ready to receive you and Dr. Weir.”
“Bates, that you?”
“Of course, sir.” Dean Bates confirmed. “Right where you left me, sir.”
“What’s the weather like down there, Sarge?”
“The sun is shining, the almost-seagulls are singing, and we are reporting a very nice seventy-two degrees outside. Surf is high on the mainland and the Athosians are gearing up for a harvest festival.”
John grinned and relaxed. “Good. Send up a Puddle Jumper. I want to take a good look at my city from the air.”
“Jumper One is prepped, sir. ETA fifteen minutes. Welcome home, sir.”
“Thanks, Sarge. Sheppard out.” John looked around the observation deck. It had emptied out when he’d joined Rodney at the window.
“That thing about the weather was code?”
“No, just the part about the Athosian harvest festival. If things were fucked up down there the Athosians would be having their yearly tribal renewal ceremony.”
John laughed. “Don’t tell Teyla when you meet her—but yeah. It’s six days of prayer, meditation, and ceremonies with very little food and no dancing. It’s so not a party and she makes us attend every year. Even Elizabeth tries to get out of it.”
Rodney laughed softly. “Should I get our bags from our quarters?”
“No, they’ll be beamed down. I assigned one of my guys to take care of our stuff for us.” John linked his fingers through Rodney’s as they exited the small observation area and headed towards a set of stairs that would take them down the three decks to the large hangar the Puddle Jumper would be delivered to.
John hadn’t flown the Jumper on Earth so he was more than a little ready to get behind the stick of his favorite craft in the universe. The Marine piloting the Jumper came down the ramp, stopped in front of him, and saluted sharply.
“Colonel Sheppard, sir.”
“Sergeant James.” John returned the salute. “At ease. We have 132 military assets on board for Atlantis. Get with Major Lorne. He’s three decks up in one of the gyms getting everyone sorted for beam down. He’s the new 2IC for Atlantis so mind your manners. Dr. Weir is one deck above that sorting the civilians that don’t have military Doms. Do not separate pairs for any reason. Arrival on Atlantis is going to be jarring for everyone but especially natural gene carriers. I don’t want any tempers surging under the pressure of the move.”
“Understood, sir.” His gaze flicked once to Rodney and he swallowed hard at the collar he saw. “Congrats on your new pairing, sir.”
“Thank you, Sergeant. Dismissed.”
Rodney said nothing as the Marine departed. At John’s prodding, he entered the Jumper and let himself be put in the co-pilot seat without a murmur of protest. He cleared his throat. “How many of the Marines on the base have you topped, John?”
John glanced at him. “All of the male submissives at one time or another. So, eighteen. The rest are Doms themselves.”
“Eighteen out of forty-eight?” Rodney huffed out a breath. “That’s more partners than I’ve had in my life, John.”
John chuckled and settled in the pilot seat. The ship immediately responded to his mental command to launch the HUD and ran his fingers over the controls. “I’ve missed this. I went into Special Operations so I could fly in the Corp. It was never more than that for me. A lot of guys go in for the action they’ll see—the combat they think they need and want. I always thought perhaps I should’ve gone into the Air Force or maybe the Navy.”
“Why didn’t you?”
John sighed. “I hate to even say this.” He closed the back of the Jumper to insure their privacy. “Frankly, the Air Force didn’t offer the training and discipline I thought I needed. I went from Dato’ Raja’s world right into college. My dynamic was mastered but he left me rough, unfinished. I know that probably doesn’t make sense but Raja never wanted to mold the man I was going to be. He wanted to mold the Dom I was going to be. He could’ve given a fuck less about my education or anything that came after that.”
“So you thought the Marine Corp would offer you the discipline and strength you got from your Pleasure Master. You didn’t think you’d get it from the Navy?”
“A third generation officer?” John questioned gently. “Christ, my Dad is a war hero. My grandfather… they talk about him like he fought World War II by himself. Also, everyone would’ve expected me to follow Dad’s path just like David did. I wasn’t interested in being a SEAL.”
“You think the Air Force couldn’t have handled you?” Rodney asked with a frown.
John laughed. “I think they would’ve gotten fed up with my bullshit quickly actually. Because of my family, they wouldn’t have discharged me outright but my career wouldn’t have been pretty by any stretch of the imagination. They would’ve promoted only when there wasn’t a choice if they wanted to keep up appearances. I’d be lucky to be a Major at this point.”
“But men like Rampart where there to make sure you didn’t fuck up too badly?” Rodney asked with a quirked eyebrow.
“The Marine Corp saved me from myself,” John murmured. “And I don’t regret my choice because it brought me to Jared—and no matter how that turned out I wouldn’t be the man I am if I hadn’t met him.” He reached out and touched his sub’s face with careful fingers. “I wouldn’t be a man you could trust.”
Rodney turned into John’s hand and rubbed his cheek against his palm. “Let’s take a look at Atlantis.”
“Yeah,” John agreed.
Even after all of his years in the Stargate program, being in space never got old. The smooth transition from space to the atmosphere of the planet never ceased to amaze him. The shields around the Jumper didn’t even fluctuate if he was reading the HUD correctly. The ocean of Lantea was the kind of blue reserved for commercials about tropical vacations. Brilliant, clear, and it stretched out as far as he could see.
In the distance, he could see the spires of the city. He’d seen a few pictures in mission reports but nothing to scale—nothing from the air, which he thought, suddenly, was a shame. The city seemed to just grow out of the sea. Its dark blue and green towers sparkling like the Emerald City. He leaned forward and took a deep breath.
“Think you can hang out there for a while?” John questioned softly.
“Oh yeah.” Rodney swallowed back emotion he felt he should keep to himself. “I can’t wait to see if the gene therapy works for me.” He glanced sharply at John and relaxed when he didn’t see disagreement on John’s face.
* * * *
The gate room was bustling with people when they came out of the Jumper Bay so John leaned on the balcony railing and watched his people. They’d been on their own for so long that suddenly having a wealth of resources was almost embarrassing. It was a full two minutes before one of the men on the floor below noticed him.
“Alpha One in the room!” Bates shouted out and every military asset in the room came to a halt, dropped whatever they doing and after a glance in Bates direction turned and saluted John almost as if they were one body.
John offered them all a smile. “At ease, people.” His gaze drifted over their faces, taking in the relief and the happiness that had been missing for more months than he could even imagine. Smiles were easier, faces were fuller now that they weren’t rationing. Even with their own hunting and farming on the mainland—feeding them all had gone basic in the last six months before reinforcements from Earth had arrived.
“Dr. Weir and I are very pleased be home. She’ll be down shortly. As you must know, we have a little over one hundred and fifty people, including civilians, coming down. This is Dr. Rodney McKay. He is the new Chief Science Officer for the city and my collared submissive. You don’t touch him and you will show him all the respect you show me. Understood?”
“Sir, yes sir!”
John nodded. “As you were, we have a lot of work ahead of us.” His gaze flicked towards Aidan Ford briefly and found the young man’s all too expressive face a study in confusion and budding fury. He cupped Rodney’s elbow and lead him towards a large staircase. “Dr. Zelenka is probably in this throng somewhere.”
“If he’s half as dedicated to his Domme as he was when he was in Antarctica he is in their quarters preparing for her arrival on the city,” Rodney corrected gently. “They’ve been separated for nearly seven weeks, John.”
John stopped and stared. “Right. She handled it… well… I just sort of lost track of that.”
Abraham Ellis met them at the top of the stairs. “Colonel.”
“Colonel.” John nodded abruptly. “Good to see my Marines didn’t run you down to the bones.”
“They tried,” Abe complained. “I don’t know how you just don’t toss your entire company off the pier.”
“Sometimes I do,” John admitted. “It’s work to keep Marines occupied, Colonel. You’re relieved of command and Colonel Caldwell has a well appointed room up on the Daedalus for you—I’m sure you’ll find everything to your liking.”
Ellis grinned. “Can’t wait.”
* * * *
John had barely gotten settled in his office when Aidan Ford appeared in the doorway. “Aidan, take a seat.”
“Sir.” Ford’s jaw firmed up and took the chair he was pointed to. “I’m being transferred back to Earth?”
“Yes,” John templed his fingers under his chin and considered the words he’d spent the last several weeks thinking over. “I think your career would be better served Earth side and General O’Neill agrees with me. If you intend to make your life in the Marines—you need more experience than you’re going to get here. We’re officer heavy because of the X-302 squadron we have stationed on the city now. Even the junior officers I have with me have time in rank ahead of you so it’s going to cut down on your command opportunities.”
“I did a good job out here,” Aidan protested.
“Your professional work on Atlantis has been adequate. Personally, however, you’ve struggled and made poor decisions. You resent me and now that Sumner isn’t here to buffer that I can’t imagine things will get better.”
“Colonel Sumner came between us, sir. He never should have disciplined me, it wasn’t his right, and he ordered you to stop seeing me. But he’s gone now and we can pick up where we left off.”
John sat back in his seat in surprise. “Aidan, Marshall didn’t order me to do anything regarding you. I chose to stop seeing you privately because you developed an emotional attachment to me when you promised me you understood what I wanted from you. I thought we had an agreement—an understanding where some of our mutual needs could be met but you proved me wrong when you threatened Christopher Morley.”
“We had a good thing—we could be good again if you just gave me a chance. I deserve a second chance.”
John grimaced and looked away from his all too earnest and young face. If he didn’t know how manipulative and dangerous Ford was, he might believe it. “You threatened to kill another sub, another Marine, Aidan and I can’t ever forget that. You got your second chance with me—to stay in this command and to learn from your lesson but your behavior over the last year hasn’t done you any favors. You certainly did what was required of you—but your enthusiasm for you job is gone and your attitude could stand some serious readjustment. I’m in a war zone out here—I don’t have time to spend on you.”
“I’m in love with you,” Aidan whispered fiercely. “Why can’t you understand that?”
John flinched. “I understood it the first time you said it, Aidan but what bothers me is that you don’t seem to care that I don’t feel the same way about you. Your feelings are selfish and destructive. I also have to think of my submissive and frankly I don’t trust you with his safety.”
Aidan jerked as if John had struck him. “Everyone is saying you collared him to bring him out here. That you did it because Weir asked you to.”
John glared at him. “When have you ever known me to fuck someone because anyone asked it of me? You’ve known me for two years and in any of that time did I ever give you reason to think that I was for sale?”
“No, sir.” Ford straightened in his chair. “Never. Not even when it could have meant trade alliances.” He looked down at his feet. “I’d never hurt him. I wouldn’t do that to you, sir.”
“I really wish I could believe that,” John returned evenly. “You have thirty minutes to sort yourself for departure. Do not go near McKay, Aidan. I have a security detail on him and they won’t hesitate to hurt you first and ask questions later. They don’t want to be the ones to fuck up on this issue.”
“Sir.” Aidan took a deep breath. “I really want to stay.”
“I can’t allow you to remain on Atlantis. You’ll be sorted back to the SGC and once there you’ll find yourself on a three-month leave. I’ve arranged for you to be invited to La Petite Mort in San Francisco for a private session with someone I trust a great deal. His name is Philippe Dubois. My brother is married to his sister. He is a very accomplished Master.”
“I don’t have the money for that, sir. My parents… are gone and my grandmother lives on a small retirement from my grandfather.”
“Due to your combat status and the stresses of the last two years, the Marine Corp has agreed to pick up the bill for the session. Philippe will do right by you if you let him, Aidan. Trust me on this.”
Ford stood his jaw working and his eyes bright with anger. “Is this going to reflect badly on me?”
“Not at all, in fact, it would be viewed from the outside like a reward for your service.”
“Will I be allowed to return to Atlantis after I’m finished?”
“No,” John shook his head. “I spoke at length with O’Neill and we agree that you would be best served with a permanent separation from me. It’s for your own good.”
Ford saluted, turned on his heel, and left the room quickly. John fought the urge to just bang his head on his desk and then clicked his radio. He quickly updated the security team on McKay and then slumped down in his chair.
— – –
Elizabeth knew that Calvin Kavanaugh would argue being replaced but she hadn’t been prepared for the amount of anger he was unloading on her.
“You knew your assignment as Chief Science Officer was temporary, Dr. Kavanaugh. I couldn’t have made it more clear to you. You also knew I was going to bring your replacement back with me from Earth this trip. Where is this anger coming from?”
“It was supposed to be Carter—another Dom. You can’t expect me work under a sub. It’s demeaning and absolutely unacceptable. They aren’t suited for leadership positions and have no business giving orders to Dominants. Moreover, the fact that McKay was allowed to get one much less three PhDs is just insulting. His placements in those programs should have gone to people who could actually do something with the degrees—and not some weak submissive.”
Elizabeth flushed with fury. “Dr. McKay is quite literally one of the smartest people on Earth. He earned all of his degrees with honor and is the best person for the CSO position on Atlantis. I wanted him originally but offered the job to his Domme just to get him on Atlantis. I never wanted Samantha Carter but I was prepared to put up with her to get her sub on the expedition.”
“I heard what he did to her,” Calvin snapped. “No sub who treats their top so disrespectfully should be allowed to even keep their job much less get a position like this on Atlantis. He should’ve been removed from the Stargate program entirely.”
Elizabeth laughed. “The IOA had a special session after that incident to discuss how much money they could offer McKay to keep him in the program. That’s how valuable he is and he is the CSO of Atlantis. If you don’t like it—you can go home on the Daedalus.”
“I’ve been on this mission for two years—I shouldn’t have to leave,” Kavanaugh seethed. “I can’t believe the IOA approved him—I’d heard they said he couldn’t leave the SGC without being collared.”
Elizabeth smiled then, bright and completely malicious. “Oh, he is collared. Colonel Sheppard collared him—it’s amazing how quickly they came together. Wait until you see them—it’s like they’ve been together for years. John is enamored so I would mind your words if I were you. You know the Colonel isn’t the type to tolerate bad behavior. He’s far less lenient than I am.”
* * * *
Rodney prided himself on solving his own problems. He’d never gone to Sam when he had issues with other scientists—not before she collared him and certainly not after. It had become clear to him at the tender age of fifteen that geeks eat their own and if you showed weakness, you’d never survive.
All of that aside, he was profoundly grateful when two Marines appeared out of nowhere and started following him around the base while Radek gave him his tour and introduced him to various people. Some were very welcoming, others were a little wide-eyed and afraid but there were a few who were downright hostile about the change.
He was a submissive and while it wasn’t unheard of for subs to hold positions of power – in some countries, like the US, submissives were barely out of slavery. It had been less than fifty years since the change and many Doms still adamantly disagreed and argued for the Ownership Act that would put subs in the US back on the auction block. Rodney assumed Calvin Kavanaugh was one of those because he’d been furious from the near instant of their introduction.
It wasn’t until he sneered at Miko and made a comment under his breath about her being a whore that Rodney lost his considerable temper. Several pairs of eyes connected with the lotus blossom on Miko Kusanagi’s neck.
“What did you call her?”
Kavanaugh flushed, his eyes darkened with temper. “Who you are to question me about anything?”
“I’m your boss, Dr. Kavanaugh and what you just did constitutes verbal abuse under the employment contract we all signed when we joined the SGC. I realize being raised in the United States that your education on different cultures is sorely lacking so let me inform you. A Geisha is the highest status a submissive can obtain in Japan. They are honored for their talents, beauty, intelligence, and grace under the most trying of circumstances. Had she stayed in her home country, Dr. Kusanagi could have lived in the lap of luxury and never known a days work her entire life. While it is true she is thoroughly trained in the pleasure arts—she is no whore. What she is, Dr. Kavanaugh is out of your league. A man like you wouldn’t even rate an introduction to a submissive of Miko’s status in Japan. She’s a goddamned princess and you’re a peasant.”
“I will not allow a sub to talk to me that way,” Calvin hissed. “People like you shouldn’t even be allowed jobs—you should be at home or in flesh houses where you belong. All you’re good for is to fuck.”
Rodney inclined his head and looked him over as the two Marines moved in closer. “Men like you want subs back on the auction block because that’s the only way you’ll ever get one collared. You think we’re all whores because the only time you get a sub on their knees for you is when you pay for it. I have news for you Kavanaugh when you pay for it—it doesn’t count. Submission is free to those who deserve it.”
“I won’t stand for this.”
“You don’t have to,” Rodney said cheerfully. “Dr. Weir has made it clear you can go back to Earth on the Daedalus. You might seriously consider it—I mean how much sex can you honestly expect to get after this disgusting little display?”
Kavanaugh flushed with fury, turned on his heel, and stalked out of the lab.
Rodney’s gaze lasered around the room. “That goes for the rest of you as well. I get on my knees for one man on this city and one man only. If you can’t handle taking instructions from me—you can go back to Earth.” He held up one hand when one of the Doms in the room started to speak. “Seriously, I don’t want to hear any more bullshit. You can do your job or you can go back to Earth and hope that the IOA finds something semi-interesting for you to do once you get there.”
Ellen Simpson sniffed in disgust. “Do you plan to have a military escort the entire time you work here, McKay?”
“Oh, they aren’t here to protect me—they’re here to protect you.” Rodney jerked his thumb towards Allison Porter who had been by his side since the tour began. “The last Dom that pissed her off had to have plastic surgery to fix his nose.” Allison smiled and cheerfully waved in Simpson’s direction.
* * * *
“So, I hear that Rodney cut a path through the science department that left two or three people so furious they couldn’t breathe.” Elizabeth leaned against the doorframe of John’s office and smirked. “I’m going to look up the security footage later.”
John laughed. “One of the Marines I had on guard duty reported in detail on the entire thing.” He sobered. “You have to know if Kavanaugh persists with his bullshit that I’ll be forced to hurt him.”
“He knows Rodney is your collared sub. I made that clear to him and I also warned him that you wouldn’t tolerate any mistreatment. If he steps over the line, you’re well within your rights to see him punished for it. I think, however, that Rodney will beat you to it. Kavanaugh treats subs poorly and Dr. Grodin often disciplined him in private. Rodney won’t have that option. If he steps out of line with one of the other scientists—he’ll have to bring it to me and Kavanaugh will face punishment in front of the entire expedition for it.”
John blinked in surprise. “How often did Grodin punish Kavanaugh?”
“Sometimes as often as once a week but he never documented the causes. I need a reason to send him back to Earth, John. Trust me, I’ve been looking for one but he’s fairly intelligent and good at his job. Dismissing him outright is difficult without some kind of data to back up the claim that he’s bad for our mission. Grodin kept him under control.”
“And you don’t think Rodney will be able to?”
“He’ll never respect him, John. You and I both know it. Kavanaugh is one of those people that would welcome the return of the Ownership Law in the US.” Elizabeth snickered. “Rodney told him the only reason he wanted a law like that was because that was the only way he’d collar a sub.”
John snorted his own amusement. “It’s not inaccurate. I’m honestly surprised he doesn’t want to go home—I mean all of the subs on the base hate his guts. He can’t be getting laid.”
“That thought crossed my mind as well,” Elizabeth admitted. “If he hoped to find someone among the new personnel—he was a fool to act the way he did today. He told Rodney that subs shouldn’t even be allowed jobs—that they should be in the home or in flesh houses because they were only good to fuck.”
John’s gaze dropped to the desk. “If he talks to Rodney like that in front of me Elizabeth—I’ll use it as an excuse to strap his ass. You have to know that.”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, John. Our positions are political and discipline concerning civilians must be handled carefully—even when it comes to private issues.”
* * * *
Rodney hopped up on the infirmary bed and glanced briefly at his Dom as Dr. Beckett approached with a tray. “I’ll need a report on all of the ATA gene therapy results on the new civilians.”
Beckett raised one eyebrow. “Dr. Grodin never expressed interest in that, lad.”
Rodney frowned. “While I certainly respect Dr. Grodin’s priorities, Dr. Beckett, I have responsibilities to the expedition and to Earth that he didn’t have to deal with and all of your medical research falls under my purview. Your research reports regarding the ATA gene therapy are sparse and will need to be beefed up or you’ll find yourself being debriefed on Earth. I’d like to avoid that if possible.”
Carson sighed. “I bloody hate politicians. I’ll work on it.” He pulled on a pair of latex gloves and tore open an alcohol wipe. “Colonel with your permission?”
John nodded abruptly. “Have there been any side effects reported?”
“No.” Carson shook his head. “It either works or it doesn’t. You’ll be able to test it in about three hours. I’ll want you back in the infirmary for that. We usually use an LSD for the initial test. It’s a safe piece of technology to try. Do not be tempted to try anything down there in the labs. We’ve lost people that way.”
“I’ll behave,” Rodney promised as Carson wiped the skin where the needle had entered and then used a swab to swipe a small amount of liquid Band-Aid over the small hole.
“Give that a half hour and then you can use some Tollan crème to even out the skin so there won’t be a mark.” Carson picked up his tablet PC. “Now, I’d like to go ahead and schedule your monthly physical. Do you have a preference on a day or time, John?”
John frowned. “A monthly physical?”
Carson glanced between them. “Aye, lad, a monthly physical and medical evaluation after exhibition. This is SGC policy for collared submissives. There are no exceptions and I need you both to promise me that Rodney will seek immediate medical care if the skin is broken by accident or on purpose during play.”
“The policy for collared submissives under the social ownership of a sadist?” John questioned. “Or everyone?”
Carson had the grace to flush. He averted his gaze briefly. “I’ll admit to being more diligent with subs that I know are in relationships with sadists but it the policy applies for all collared submissives. Uncollared submissives are required to report after play dates for a general physical and a more in-depth one if they play with a sadist.”
John nodded and then leaned against the end of the infirmary bed. “I don’t have a problem with it but I insist on being present during all of the exams.”
“That’s your right, Colonel.” Carson checked over his schedule. “How about every twenty-eight days at 0900? I’ll put it on my calendar and set up reminders for both of you.”
“Sounds good,” John agreed. “I’ll have it added to my calendar as well.”
* * * *
John couldn’t account for how nervous he was when they returned to the infirmary to check on the gene therapy. McKay was ultra excited so that was bleeding over a little onto him. He wanted Rodney to have that thrill of making Ancient tech work and they already knew it had worked to some degree.
Within an hour of the shot, Rodney had turned to him with wide eyes and asked softly if the city always talked to him? John had laughed and explained that what he was hearing was an internal security feed and he’d helped him push it away and then taught him how to pick it up when he needed it.
The LSD lit beautifully in Rodney’s hand and his bright crooked smile made John’s stomach tighten further. It occurred to him then that he wasn’t really nervous—just overwhelmed by how awesome it was to see Rodney so truly thrilled with something.
* * * *
“The thing is—is that I know I’m beautiful,” Matthew Sheppard rolled over onto his stomach and looked across the pier where Lorne had a bunch of Marines in PT. “Just how much time does he need to think about fucking me?”
Rodney snorted and threw a tube of sun block his way. “You’ll get cancer.”
“Seriously, Rodney, I’ve never had to work this hard to get laid. The man just gives me these amused looks and shakes his head like I’m a child.”
“Maybe he likes to do the chasing,” John said idly from his place on the lounge beside McKay.
Matthew sighed and spread lotion over his legs thoughtfully. “Hey, this smells pretty good.”
“I make it myself,” Rodney murmured. “You should get a decent tan but no burning. It’s great if you don’t want tan lines.” He grinned when Matthew laughed softly. “You can’t tell me you’re shy.”
Matthew hummed and shimmied out of his swim trunks without a word. “John? Can Rodney do my back?”
John rolled his eyes. “Yeah, just put on the show for the whole fucking city why don’t you?”
“Excellent idea,” Rodney said promptly. “If he doesn’t get laid soon I might have to stick him in an isolation chamber.”
John settled back in his chair, determined to ignore both his sub and his brother equally. He trusted that Rodney wouldn’t do anything inappropriate with Matthew – well not too inappropriate.
Teyla Emmagen sat down in a lounge next to his suddenly. The unique blend of Athosian soap and leather drifted over his nose and he sighed contentedly. She always smelled amazing. “Teyla.”
“John,” Teyla responded, clearly amused. “I’m glad to see you—I was surprised to learn that you’d collared a submissive.”
John turned his head and glanced towards Rodney who was spreading sun block across Matthew’s shoulders efficiently. “I sort of surprised myself actually.”
Athosians didn’t embrace the dynamic. It had been so odd to meet them. Most of the peoples in the Milky Way the Stargate program had encountered had embraced dynamics, which made many anthropologists believe that the Ancients were the same way. Yet, most of the cultures in Pegasus did not have societies structured similarly. They’d only run across three planets that had a dynamic system in place. They were, by far, the most civilized and well developed as far as John was concerned. All three were allies to Atlantis and fast friends. They’d all been relieved meet each other.
“Will he be going into the field with us in Dr. Grodin’s place?”
John nodded. “Once we get him up to speed on weapons, yeah. He has gate experience but I want him qualified with a P-90 before we start regular missions. I thought I might take him to meet the Dolorians next week.”
“Excellent idea,” Teyla smiled. “A bit of home in a foreign place?”
Dolor was a great deal like Earth—not as advanced technologically but socially the societies were so similar it was almost like using a time machine on Earth. The last four times he’d been invited to Dolor he’d been asked exhibit but had been forced to decline because he didn’t want to top one of their people. It hadn’t been a real problem but their leadership had been disappointed.
“Have you met my brother Matthew?” John jerked his thumb.
“Yes, just this morning.” Teyla grinned. “He was most disappointed to learn that I’m not a Dominant.”
“Well, who wouldn’t be? You’re beautiful.” Rodney asked as he returned to John’s lounger wiping excess sun block on his own chest. He cleaned one hand thoroughly with John’s towel and offered it to Teyla after John’s abrupt nod of consent. “Dr. Rodney McKay.”
Teyla accepted the hand in greeting with both of hers and smiled warmly. “I’m very pleased to meet you. Dr. Weir told me this morning how excited she was to have you here. I’m sorry that I wasn’t on hand to meet you when you arrived. My people are in the middle of a big hunt and I was needed on the mainland.”
“It’s my honor,” Rodney murmured. “John has told me a lot about you and the work you do here. I’d love to learn the stick fighting thing you do. He told me you kick his ass regularly at it.”
Teyla grinned. “So you may kick his ass as well?”
Rodney blushed and rubbed his cheek against John’s chest as he settled against him. “It’s my duty to see myself protected in the field so that my Dom can do his job unhindered.”
John trailed his fingers down Rodney’s spine and relaxed on the chair. “How did things go with the hunt?”
“Very well. The cooling units you’ve supplied us allowed us to do a great deal more work than usual.” Teyla casually pulled off most of her clothes leaving just a small bikini she’d obviously traded someone from Earth for. “Charin sent you some soup. I put it in your cooling unit in your quarters.”
“Thank you,” John grinned. “I love that stuff.”
“As we all know, Colonel.” She frowned at the tube that Rodney offered her. “What is this?”
John chuckled. “Rodney thinks it’s his job to make sure no one out here gets skin cancer. It will protect you from burning under the sun.”
Teyla laughed and took the sun block gamely. “Very well. Who shall rub it on my back?”
Two very subby Marines appeared out of nowhere. John just laughed and closed his eyes as the two men neatly maneuvered Teyla away from him and onto a lounger on the other side of the pier.
“Who said she didn’t have a dynamic?” Rodney asked, amused. “’Cause they were smoking crack.”
“The Athosians don’t acknowledge the dynamic within their society but they obviously fall on one side of the other. I’ve yet to meet an adult among their population that wasn’t one or the other. I imagine given enough exposure to us they’ll start establishing their own rules about such things. Elizabeth has been careful to only give information when they specifically request it. She doesn’t want anyone on Earth thinking we’re acting like missionaries out here.”
* * * *
John set aside his book at the sound of the door chime and walked in from the balcony as he thought the door open. Evan Lorne was standing there in civilian clothes—looking every inch the Dom he played down while he was on the job. “Evan.”
“John,” Sheppard corrected. “Something tells me you and I are about to have a conversation that requires that.” He went to his frig and pulled out two beers. “So?”
“You’re the ranking Dom for your family on Atlantis,” Evan said without preamble.
“Yes.” John admitted. “Matthew?”
Evan sighed and took long draw on his beer. “Sir.”
John laughed. “Evan. I think we know each other pretty well at this point. You can’t imagine I would say no.”
“I just—is he playing this game with me because he wants some play or is he looking to be collared?”
John motioned Evan to sit down. “I haven’t asked him but he’s thirty-three years old which is actually pretty old for a Geisha to remain unattached. They normally collar within a year of being released from the Lotus House and Matthews was released at nineteen. He’s played a lot and had some semi-serious relationships over the years but he’s never collared. I can’t say that’s made anyone in my family happy because we’d like to see him settled into a relationship especially since he’s Geisha.”
“I don’t know much about the Geisha. I trained at La Petite Mort in New York and then I did two sessions at de Sade.” Evan flushed. “Rich kids Dom education as it were.”
John laughed softly. “Yes, I noticed your markings.” The two tattoos wound beautifully together in black and red around Evan’s left bicep. Black for La Petite and red for de Sade. “Geisha don’t masturbate. That’s why they are taken for education so young—Matthew was indoctrinated at just sixteen. They come only on the demand of a Dom, Evan so that’s why you rarely see a Geisha unattached. Miko was collared for many years—she lost her Dom to a brain tumor four years ago.”
“So, if I don’t take him—he’ll find someone who will.”
“It’s a sure bet,” John admitted. “Matthew is never alone for long and it’s only ever by his choice. He finds your apparent indecision confusing but he’ll get frustrated soon enough and find someone else to play with who won’t hesitate because of his training or his status. He’s not an extreme masochist if that’s your concern. I don’t know the ins and outs of his kinks but I imagine restraint and complete loss of control plays a heavy part.”
Evan fingered the label on his beer bottle and took a deep breath. “I’ll speak with him. I’m ready for something serious so if he isn’t I’ll be careful with him.” He frowned. “And really, you can’t let him go naked on the pier anymore.”
John laughed. “Well, I can hardly keep him from showing off his assets. If you don’t want him doing it—you’ll have to put your foot down and mean it. A Geisha does not kneel for the average man.”
Before Evan could respond, the outer door to John’s quarters opened and Matthew stalked in. He was dressed in a flight suit. “Aren’t you supposed to be getting ready for air/space maneuvers?”
Matthew took a deep breath. “As the oldest Geisha on the city—it’s my duty and my responsibility to look after Miko Kusanagi. She’s a red petal Geisha, for fuck’s sake.”
John’s gaze flicked over the pale, white petals of his brother’s tattoo and nodded. “I don’t dispute that, Matt. She’s our family now. I accepted that responsibility with you.”
“Right.” Matt’s fingers clenched into fists. “I was getting ready to go to the X-302 Bay to join my team when she stopped me in the hall in tears, John. In tears.”
“Did someone hurt her?” John asked, standing up—his face tense with building anger.
“Rodney sorted her into a department to continue the work she was doing at the SGC—well her direct supervisor is a fucker and he told Miko that if she wanted to receive favorable reviews that she would suck his cock whenever he wanted her to.”
John’s mouth dropped open in surprise. “Kavanaugh?”
Matthew shook his head. “No, I’ve heard about him. He has a big ‘don’t touch with someone else’s genitals sign’ on him with the entire sub population on the city. Not even the subs that enjoy being humiliated are interested in hooking up with him and he knows it. Some asshole named Phelps. Dr. Scott Phelps. He’s a switch. I think Rodney figured that Miko would be safe in his care.”
“Where is Rodney?”
“In Weir’s office with Miko filing a formal complaint—he sent me to get you. In Japan, John, the discipline would fall to the Senior Dom in her family. She has the right to expect you to…”
“I know what she expects from me,” John snapped and then took a calming breath. “I trained in Lotus, Matthew, I understand. I understood when I brought you both to Atlantis with me what it meant. Master Saito did not let me leave his company uninformed on the treatment and responsibilities of a Geisha in my family.” John exchanged a look with Evan Lorne and then went in search of his radio.
Evan watched Matthew pace back in forth across the room. “You should calm down. Don’t let Phelps think he got to you, too. He probably enjoyed making her cry.”
Matthew grimaced. “I could kill the son of a bitch.”
Evan nodded. “I understand.”
* * * *
Miko was cuddled between Allison Porter and Anne Teldy when John finally located her in small lounge just off the main science lab. He squatted down in front of her. “Little one.”
Miko lifted her head and rubbed at her nose with the back of her hand. “Sir. I’m sorry to be a problem.”
“You are no problem,” John assured gently. “I’d like to take you back to your quarters, Miko. Matthew has run you a bath and he’d very much like to take care of you tonight. Okay?”
“Yes,” Miko bit down on her lip. “I would like that.”
“Good.” John stood up and swept her off the couch. She tucked her face against his neck. “Good. Now I have a list of subs on the base that do things like massages and silly girl things like pedicures. Would you like that?”
“Yes.” Her breath hitched a little.
“Then I’ll arrange it,” John promised. “Thank you ladies for taking care of my family.”
Anne Teldy nodded a little wide eyed and glanced at Allison who was staring at Sheppard with a little hero worship in her eyes. “Allison gives a pretty mean manicure.”
“I do.” Allison promised.
John nodded. “Then come along, Porter. Get whatever you need from your quarters and we’ll see you in Miko’s quarters.”
* * * *
Rodney was leaning against the wall outside of Miko’s quarters when John left them. “He’s going home on the Daedalus. I questioned three other submissives who’ve worked for him in the past six months—all of them uncollared and the two females report the same threats but they didn’t have the self-esteem to complain to anyone. The male refuses to discuss it but I’m pretty sure he abused him, too.”
John’s jaw tightened. “I didn’t know… how could I not know?”
“The sciences weren’t your job,” Rodney murmured. “And Peter Grodin ran a tight ship—but Kavanaugh is an entirely different matter and let some pretty fucked up things happen. I’m pretty sure he knew about Phelps even if he didn’t participate himself.”
John pulled Rodney close as they walked away. “I think I’m about to have a pretty big argument with Elizabeth.”
Rodney laughed. “She knows already. She can’t expect you to let this slide—it’s a family matter not a military one. If this were Earth, you’d be well within your rights to demand the right to physically punish another Dom for abusing a sub under your protection. It can’t be different here just because we’re in the middle of nowhere.”
Elizabeth was standing on a balcony just off the main gate room by the time they made it to the command center. John joined her at the railing and sighed. “I’ve three submissives under my direct protection, Elizabeth. I can’t for a second let anyone think that I’m weak when it comes to their protection.”
“We’ve always divided civilian and military punishment. Black and white, John.”
“This isn’t about me being the military commander here. This is about me being—the head of my family in the city and failing to act opens up not only Miko for further abuse but Matthew and Rodney as well.” John shook his head. “If a military top mistreated Radek—I wouldn’t gainsay your right to respond. He’s your family and this transcends our professional roles on Atlantis.”
Elizabeth nodded. “Agreed. I informed Dr. Phelps that he should report for punishment at 0700 hours tomorrow morning before being beamed aboard the Daedalus to return to Earth. Caldwell is going to beam down and assume command of the city for the duration of the punishment. He’ll be on hand to witness that you are not acting as a member of the military during that time. No uniform. There can be no question at all that this is anything but a personal matter between the two of you—Dom to Dom.”
“He chose the cane.”
“His mistake,” John murmured. No man under his command had ever made the mistake of requesting the cane for actual punishment.
“The standard punishment for the disrespect of a protected sub is ten lashes. I informed him of such.”
“Lt. Ford formally protested his reassignment with me and with Colonel Caldwell.”
“I know.” John sighed. “I fully expected it.”
“You’ve done everything you can for him, John. Far more than anyone else in your position would do. I don’t think anyone expects you to do more. I spoke with O’Neill about the situation myself and he expressed surprise that you went so far as to set up a session for him with your brother-in-law. Above and beyond the call of duty.”
“I made a mistake with him,” John murmured. “I should have known better than to… he was too needy, too desperate for the connection and I should have seen that in the very beginning.”
“Hindsight,” Elizabeth said. “I’d have forced Radek to be in charge of the sciences if I had it to do over again. No, he would have done it willingly knowing what we both know about Kavanaugh.” She sighed. “It’s just added to his burden.”
* * * *
The gym was standing room only but John had expected no less. Miko was perched on a chair between Matthew and Rodney—her back rigid but her face calm and no longer ravaged by tears or fear. The sub party in her quarters had apparently lasted hours. He’d roused Matthew and Miko from one bed only forty minutes before—both naked and curled protectively around each other. John didn’t think sex had happened—Geisha rarely found satisfaction with each other.
Elizabeth had raised one eyebrow at the BDUs and t-shirt he wore but hadn’t said anything. Phelps was already tied to the cross—clad only in a pair of thin boxers. It was the only concession that John had agreed to. The man had wanted pants and shoes as well. Those requests had been outright denied.
John pulled his t-shirt over his head and handed it to Miko—who knotted her little hands in the material immediately. He gave his dog tags to his sub; Rodney accepted them a little wide-eyed. John pushed off the boots he hadn’t bothered to tie, pulled off his socks, and then dropped his pants and boxers in Matthew’s lap without a word.
He glanced towards Elizabeth as he took his place on the line drawn out behind the cross and picked up the cane she’d left on the floor for him. She smirked and glanced him over as much as anyone else in the room. “Nice, Colonel.”
“Just John this morning, Elizabeth.”
She grinned and bit down on her lip. “Very nice, John.”
“Don’t you wish I was at least a switch?” John asked as he flexed the cane to check its core.
“Every Dom in the room does,” Caldwell said and crossed his arms. “Jesus, Sheppard.”
“Well, Dr. Phelps. Shall we get this started?”
“Not even on your best day, Phelps and as far as I can tell you haven’t even had a good day in years.” John did a visual inspection of his back but he already knew how badly he was going to hurt the man. “Tell everyone why we are here today.”
“I insulted your whore.”
John shook his head. “You’re just asking for it, Phelps. What you did—since you’re too stupid to realize being honest is your only salvation this morning—is try to blackmail a protected submissive, a member of my extended family by choice, with the destruction of her career if she did not suck your cock on a daily basis. For the threats and the insult you’ve earned yourself ten lashes.”
Phelps tightened his grip on the bar above his head. “Say what you want—we all know you get off on hurting people.”
“I won’t get off on this, Phelps,” John promised darkly.
Rodney thought that he should have looked vulnerable—naked in a room full of people who were fully dressed but there was nothing vulnerable about John Sheppard—nothing at all. His body flexed with powerful, well-developed muscles, his cock lay unmoved, lax against his thigh—long, thick and impressive even flaccid.
The first blow was so vicious that people all around him flinched. Miko squeaked a little and Matthew put a hand on her shoulder to calm her. By the fifth blow, blood was trailing down Phelps’ back in tiny rivers. By the tenth, the man was sobbing and begging to be let go—and John wasn’t even breathing hard. His cock still lay flaccid, dry against his leg an indication that he hadn’t gotten off on the activity as Phelps had accused.
“Carson.” John took a step back.
Carson Beckett, the medical doctor that Rodney knew only briefly came forward with an orderly and they saw to Phelps removal from the cross. Caldwell cleared the room quickly—leaving John alone with his family. Rodney stepped forward and carefully put John’s dog tags back on—his fingers drifted over his collar key.
“There we go, Colonel.” Rodney cleared his throat. He took the clothes from Miko and Matthew and dismissed them from the room with a jerk of his head. Once they were alone he offered John his boxers. “I think you made your point.”
“Yeah?” John asked as he stepped into his boxers and shook his head. “I hope so.”
“And half the base are going to start jerking off to you in the shower,” Rodney muttered dryly.
John laughed. “What makes you think they weren’t already?”
“Vain bastard.” Rodney took a breath. “Thank you.”
“For defending her so thoroughly, for making sure she was okay last night and most of all for collaring me. I don’t… life sucked before you, John.”
“Well, life was no picnic before you either,” John admitted roughly. “Let’s get some breakfast.”
* * * *
Evan Lorne was waiting for him in his office. John sat down at his desk and raised an eyebrow at the Air Force man. “Did we have a meeting?”
“No.” Evan shook his head, his jaw working. “I just… what you did this morning…”
“You didn’t agree with it?” John questioned.
“I wanted to help,” Evan corrected. “You would not believe what some of the civilian tops on this base have gotten away with under Dr. Kavanaugh. I spent most of my night last night—knocking on doors and talking to subs. Mostly civilian and a few military. Phelps wasn’t even the worst offender—he just picked on the wrong new kid.”
“Yeah, he sure did.” John tapped his fingers. “So, who is the worst? And don’t spare me the gory details—Elizabeth and I know we dropped the ball on this one.”
“Kavanaugh abused his position and took advantage of the situation at nearly every opportunity. He was entrusted with the care of all of the submissives in the sciences and if anyone dropped the ball, it was him. Dr. Katie Brown. She’s in botany. She’s been in the infirmary twice in the past two months—both times with injuries you would expect from an extreme masochist. Except she doesn’t have a masochistic bone in her entire body. Both times there was a note in her personnel file that she was disciplined by the Chief Scientist. No reason is listed either time.”
“And Dr. Brown’s explanation?”
“The first time she was disciplined for not calling him ‘sir’ during an oral report. Ten lashes with a single tail, steel tip. An implement he is not rated to use for formal discipline and even if he were—steel tips are illegal unless federal charges are levied. The second time he flogged her—twenty lashes—for taking a long lunch. He ordered her to report to the infirmary after each incident and report the injuries as private activity related. No one in the infirmary even questioned it.” Evan’s hand tightened into a fist on his thigh. “I found at least ten people in the science department that were disciplined for what they said were ‘made up’ causes. Kavanaugh did document each discipline as it happened but never stated a reason. That’s pretty standard.”
John nodded. “Okay.” He took a deep breath. “We can’t touch him on them, can we?”
“No, but honestly I don’t think he’ll last long before he mouths off to McKay and McKay orders him punished. Dr. Weir handles civilian discipline?”
“Under most circumstances yes. If they disobey orders in the field—discipline falls to their team leader unless the team is lead by a sub—then the leader takes the punishment to Elizabeth or I depending on the status of the person to be punished. They agreed to that when the joined a gate team.”
“That’s standard at the SGC, too. Private punishment?”
“Team only unless the act endangers the entire mission and then the punishment is elevated. Unless it’s you,” John admitted. “I’ll never allow you to be punished in front of the expedition. If we have a situation where discipline is required—it’ll take place in this office and remain between the two of us.”
Evan nodded. “Okay. Can I ask why?”
“It’s not SGC policy, I know but we’re out here on our own for the most part and the men underneath us depend on us for guidance and leadership. I won’t spank your ass in front of them. But I’ll tear you down in private and make you beg for mercy if you fuck with me, Major.”
Evan grimaced. “I have no doubts, sir. Do you know why Phelps chose the cane?”
“Because it’s well known that I cane for pleasure—I’ve topped enough subs on the base for it be known. He stupidly assumed because I was trained for pleasure—that I didn’t know how to discipline with it.”
Evan grinned suddenly. “Do you discipline naked all the time, sir? Because if so—there could be a rash of incidents.”
John laughed and actually blushed. “I was just making a point.”
“Oh, you made several,” Evan assured. “You’re really hot.”
“Fucker,” John muttered and rolled his eyes.
* * * *
Rodney squared his shoulders as he entered the small lab off the East Pier that he had ordered all of the civilian submissives on the base into. The meeting wasn’t much of a secret but John had made sure to put security on the hallway to prevent interference.
“Good afternoon,” he said and put down the tablet PC he’d had in hand most of the day. “As you know, this morning Dr. Phelps was disciplined for using his position to coerce sex from a submissive in his department.” He glanced only once at Miko who blushed prettily. The women surrounding her moved closer as if to shield her from the rest of the room. “She wasn’t the first he’d tried to abuse this way—but she was the first to say no and report the matter.”
“Why is Dr. Kusanagi under Colonel Sheppard’s protection?” Katie Brown asked softly. “Is he going to collar her as well?”
“No. Miko is a Geisha. She began her training as a Geisha at the young age of just thirteen. I realize that’s a little different for some of you to understand since the legal age for most countries is sixteen. The Lotus House, however, protects submissives and honors them with the best training available in Japan. She was not trained to be a sex worker; she was not touched sexually as a child. In fact, most of her training—like all Geisha—wasn’t even sexual until she was seventeen years old. She was collared right out of the Lotus House but her Master passed a few years ago. After a mourning period, Miko removed her Master’s collar. When she agreed to come to Atlantis with me—she asked that she be placed under the guardianship of Colonel Sheppard because he was trained at the Lotus House and is educated in the full ramifications of having a Geisha in his family—since his own brother is one.”
Katie offered a small smile to Miko. “Her mark is red—I’ve never seen one before. I’ve seen quite a few white ones—but never red.”
“A red petal Geisha is a princess,” Allison Porter said with a lift of her chin. She looped an arm around Miko as she spoke. “There is no higher honor among the Geisha than to be branded with red petals. It’s like being branded with the fleur-de-lis by La Petite Mort or the Courtesan mark by de Sade.”
Rodney watched the room adjust to that and then cleared his throat. “There have been abusive situations in this department since Dr. Grodin was killed. Some of you were punished by the Chief Scientist for imaginary offenses or pressured into sexual situations against your will. Anyone is prepared to file a formal complaint will be taken very seriously. I am prepared to take it as far as you want—from reprimands to public punishments like we endured with Dr. Phelps today.”
“We appreciate that, Dr. McKay but surely you understand that you don’t have any more power to punish a dominant than we do.” Dr. Lily Brandon leaned forward and cleared her throat. “What can you do? Will the Colonel administer all of your punishments for you?”
Rodney conceded her point with a nod. “Actually, if I asked it of him he certainly would. Dr. Beckett has agreed to handle any low level punishments on my behalf and we can always escalate to Dr. Weir if necessary. When you are on the job—no one has the right to treat you as a submissive. It’s a violation of the expedition charter and of international law. We all signed the same contract so absolutely no top on this city can plead ignorance on this issue.”
Katie Brown edged forward in her seat. “Dr. Grodin offered to administer play contracts on us in the past. Would you be willing to do that for me?”
Rodney took a deep breath. “I certainly can if you want, Dr. Brown. I don’t have a lot of personal experience with play contracts but I was trained at de Sade so I know the ins and outs of the contract process. If I administer your contract—I would require bi-monthly health checks with the infirmary the entire length of the contract. If the relationship ends in a collar—that requirement would of course end.” He paused. “And if the top you have your eye on won’t agree to my administering the contract?”
Katie frowned and lowered her gaze. “Then he obviously isn’t serious about me and isn’t worth my time.”
Radek Zelenka spread his hands evenly on the table as he leaned forward. “I’m collared so this really doesn’t apply to me—but Dr. Grodin often worked as the ‘safety’ net for uncollared subs on the city when they agreed to play with a new top. Requiring them to check in and use their safe words if they were in need of assistance.”
Rodney blinked in surprise. “Was this ever necessary?”
“A few of the military tops can be a little difficult,” one of the men in the room offered. “Grodin only ever had to retrieve one submissive and Colonel Sheppard was involved.”
“Involved how?” Rodney asked, his voice carefully neutral.
“I believe he beat the top unconscious,” Radek said dryly. “There was much blood and lots of cursing and a public apology.” He smiled then. “Really, Rodney, you needn’t worry—the Colonel is the safest top on the base and never topped any of us. He restricted himself to military personnel during the entire two years we were out here alone.”
Lily Brandon sighed. “Not because we didn’t offer—cause we did. I think practically ever uncollared civilian offered at least once. Especially after the Genii invasion—he was on edge and rough around the edges for weeks.” She blushed when McKay looked at her hard. “He is very attractive, Dr. McKay.”
Rodney was all too aware of his Dom’s attractiveness. “No civilians ever?”
“Not even off-world,” Katie Brown said. “We’ve found a few worlds that are dynamic but he never mingled with the locals. After the Genii incident—he took three male submissive Marines off-world to one of the abandoned Ancient outposts and stayed gone for a week.”
Rodney sighed then. “I suppose they were the envy of the entire city?”
Radek chuckled. “They came back looking well fucked and thoroughly used if that is your question. The Colonel was in a much better mood after that.”
McKay snorted. He had no doubts and wondered, briefly, if John would be in the mood for story time tonight. The idea of hearing about him topping three big strapping Marines at the same time had so much appeal. He looked down at the tablet PC and then sighed. “Okay, Dr. Brown, let the top you have in mind know that I’m available for contract negotiations on your behalf. Send me a list of any demands you might have for the arrangement and we’ll pull the standard contract to create a draft for everyone to review and work with. Anyone else who would like to use me as a top-block is welcome to do so as long as I’m forewarned.”
“And as a safety net?” Dr. Brandon asked and then blushed.
“Yes, of course. Just let me know. Additionally, Matthew Sheppard would be more than happy to do this for you as well. He is military but keep in mind that he is a Geisha and is probably one of the most thoroughly trained submissives on the base outside of Miko and myself.” He paused as he said that and shared a look with Miko. “I am a de Sade Courtesan as you may have heard already and as such I’m the ranking submissive on this city. Second in that ranking system would be Lt. Commander Matthew Sheppard. Miko has requested to be exempt from such hierarchies and I agreed. That being said she did agree to accept students if there are any among you who wish to further your education in the pleasure arts.”
“Who was your Courtesan Master?” Lily Brandon asked.
Rodney hesitated and then took a deep breath. “Gerard de Sade.”
* * * *
“Rodney told his staff about his training.”
John’s gaze jerked up and he looked at his younger brother with shock. “What?”
“He revealed his Courtesan Master’s name. I thought…” Matthew deflated and sat down in a chair. “I thought you said he didn’t want anyone to know?”
John sat back in his chair with a frown. “He didn’t trust his ex-wife not to share him so he didn’t want her telling anyone. He’s not ashamed of what he is Matthew—surely you know that.”
“I do.” Matthew smiled then. “So he trusts you to protect him.”
“Yes, it appears that he does.” John glanced out his window and then let the pleased feeling settle in him. “Do you know the context?”
“He had a meeting with all of the submissives in his department and they had a discussion about how they were treated after Grodin was killed and he basically took them all under him in a submissive hierarchy. It’s not uncommon in closed societies like we are dealing with.” Matthew took a deep breath. “I did the same thing with the military submissives the second day I was here. Lt. Ford never did it while he was here and there were some situations of mistreatment that were never reported up the chain of command because the people in question didn’t feel they had a voice within the officers on the base.”
“Anything I need to know about?”
Matthew shook his head. “Water under the bridge as it were—nothing that damaged or caused significant trauma. Just bullshit and some bullying. There was one top on the base that a lot of the subs had a problem with but he was killed during the siege.”
John frowned. “Not Sumner?”
“No, of course not. I’m kind of pissed I never met the man—subs on this base worshipped him like they worship you. An NCO. First Sergeant Tom Watkins. Apparently he was something of a son of a bitch and didn’t honor safe words.”
John’s jaw tightened. “Why didn’t someone come to me about it?”
“You’re kind of a hard ass, John.” Matthew winced when his brother glared at him. “And though you don’t mean to, you make a lot of subs very nervous. It’s a good kind of nervous so when they get your undivided attention they don’t want to talk about anything bad or unpleasant. They really want to please you. It’s just part of our dynamic and not anything you can help. Honest.”
“I don’t like it.”
“Rodney and I are working on a system to stop any abuse of power or position. It won’t be perfect because it still depends on a sub to speak up for themselves. But neither Rodney nor I have self-esteem problems and we can only hope that will lend itself to those we are taking under our protection.”
John could only nod and frown. It was bad enough he had to worry about the Wraith; he just didn’t need the extra crap. The moment he thought it—he regretted it because he figured that attitude from him and Weir had contributed to the problem with Kavanaugh. Sumner had always been too busy to deal with civilian issues and left that to John and Elizabeth. It had worked out well for the most part.
Two hours later, long after Matthew had disappeared and John had gotten through two meetings he had a Sergeant in front of him a little flustered and a lot mad.
“How can I help you Sergeant Snyder?”
“Sir.” The man took a deep breath. “Your… Dr. McKay has refused me the right to contract with Dr. Brown on the grounds that our dynamics don’t mesh and she just accepted it. I’ve been seeing her socially for weeks, sir.”
John blinked and cleared his throat. “I see. Well, Rob, I didn’t realize you were interested in entering a contract with Dr. Brown.” He pointed to a chair. John picked up his tablet PC and called up Katie Brown’s file. He knew Snyder’s dynamic pretty well, it wasn’t all that different from his own. “Okay, Dr. Brown trained at La Petite Mort for one session and then she did a year abroad in Italy at Amores Breve Morte.” He frowned. A submission contract was an agreement between two people—far more than a play date but not quite a collar. “I agree, Rob, I realize you find her attractive and I won’t deny she’s a beautiful woman but you’re a hardcore sadist and she doesn’t even tip toe on the edge of pain play.”
“I could change for her, sir. I like her a lot.” He huffed out a breath. “I really do.”
“You can’t change your dynamic, Robert, and you know it,” John admonished. “Regardless, she did turn the matter over to Dr. McKay and he’s made his decision. She chose to honor it because she trusts his judgment on this matter. You’ll have to content yourself with a little play and find someone else for a long-term commitment. I think you can trust the fact that McKay knows a thing or two about sadists and their appetites for pain and sex. Do you really want to break a sweet woman like Katie Brown under the brunt of your dynamic? Because you would. There is a reason why I never topped her—or any of the other civilians on the base.”
“Yet, you collared a civilian.” Rob raised an eyebrow.
“Rodney is a de Sade Courtesan, Sergeant and a pure masochist. The most extreme masochist I’ve ever known and I’m lucky for it.” He inclined his head. “Have you met Chase Harris?”
“Lieutenant that came with you from the SGC?” Rob nodded. “He caught my eye but he seems a little shy. I don’t really approach superior officers to sub for me unless they make their interest known.”
“It’s a solid practice,” John acknowledged. “I disciplined him for disobeying orders at the SGC before coming here. I imagine you’ve heard the story.”
Rob grinned then. “Yeah, I heard a story about something like that. It’s the talk of the barracks among the men and women you brought back with you. They said you took really good care of him, sir.”
“Well, it wasn’t hard,” John acknowledged. “I think you’ll find him interesting if you make the effort. He’s young but I think he would probably be interested in something serious. Major Lorne knows him personally and they’ve played. Why don’t you go through him to see if your interest would be received?”
John laughed. “Is a very sweet woman, Rob. Play with her if she agrees but don’t make the mistake of wanting for more. Dr. McKay also knows what it’s like to take a collar from someone who has no hope of ever meshing their dynamic with his. He’s protecting her from heart break and you should let him.”
Rob nodded. “I’d never want to hurt her, sir.”
“Oh yes you would,” John countered with a little shake of his head. “As I said—you can’t change your dynamic. For subs like Katie, pain will always be perceived as a punishment. It wouldn’t be long before sex with you would feel like a punishment for her, too. I doubt she’d be strong enough to back away before the damage was done. After all she let Kavanaugh get away with beating her for not calling him ‘sir’ in a meeting.”
Rob snorted out his disgust. “What the fuck are we going to do about that guy?”
“Weir is trying to get him out legitimately,” John acknowledged. “But I figured I would just wait until he pissed my sub off and then kick his ass.”
“Good plan, sir.”
* * * *
His sub really was the most unsubmissive person he’d ever met in his life. John leaned against the doorway leading into a small lab off the Southeast Pier and listened to McKay berate two different people at the same time about two different topics in three languages. It was, in a word, awesome. Several people were standing on the sidelines staring in a mixture of horror and admiration.
“You’ve been here a week!” Kavanaugh finally shouted. “How the hell could you possibly even imagine you know more about this city than I do?”
Rodney barely spared him a glance as he slid back under the console he was working on and snapped is fingers for a tool, which Allison Porter gamely supplied. John had figured out early on that McKay was never without Porter, Zelenka, or Kusanagi. They were like his geek bodyguards and after Miko tattled on Phelps, it had started to work very well.
“Where is the secondary subsystem power relay for the desalination tanks—tower, floor, section, and panel?” Rodney asked from underneath the console.
Kavanaugh frowned. “I’d have to look at the city plans…”
“Tower 10, floor seven, section eight, panel eighteen to the right from the door,” Rodney responded. “I know every inch of this city, Kavanaugh. I spent three weeks on the Daedalus memorizing the entire super structure, every conduit, every circuit, every control crystal in every room on every floor and tower as it was available in the data burst Dr. Weir provided to the SGC during the siege. I’ve also studied every system and every power relay that has come online since the introduction of the ZPM.” He banged on the inside of the console and threw out the tool. “Fucking Ancients must have been Lilliputians.” His body tensed as he put some muscle into whatever he was working free. “So, when I tell you this goddamned console will work if you introduce a new control crystal…” Another bang and then the entire room lit up like Christmas. Rodney slid out and glared. “It will fucking work. This isn’t even rocket science, Doctor. If you can’t follow simple instructions—then you need to reconsider your career at the SGC and on this city.”
Kavanaugh glared at him. “You will talk to me with respect, McKay.”
Rodney snorted and stood. “I give respect where it is earned, Kavanaugh and a man who failed out of his one and only session at La Petite Mort isn’t the kind that will earn it. Ever.” He glared and lifted his chin when Kavanaugh took a step toward him. “I really wish you would.”
John almost wished it too because if Kavanaugh hit him—John could be justified in nearly beating him to death and wouldn’t that be so much fun for all. But the part of him that couldn’t, for a second, willingly let another person hurt Rodney intervened. He cleared his throat. “I see you’ve got Hydroponics online. Brown and Parrish will beside themselves with glee over this.”
Everyone in the room turned to look at him and Rodney sighed. “Didn’t take much. We’ll need to fix some of the plumbing problems in this area but the real Geek of the Day is Dr. Porter—she successfully grew a customized control crystal in her lab this morning.” Rodney patted the console. “We just finished it installing it.”
Allison blushed and rocked back on her heels. “Thanks, Dr. McKay.”
John raised an eyebrow. “You grew a control crystal?” He looked to Kavanaugh. “I thought you said it we couldn’t grow crystals for Ancient tech?”
“She used Asgard tech,” Kavanaugh explained through clenched teeth. “Excuse me.”
Sheppard said nothing as Kavanaugh stalked from the room and then focused on his sub. “Where is the power relay for the Jumper Bay’s sky doors?”
Rodney quirked an eyebrow at him. “Central tower, floor six, section C2, panel 26 from the left of the transporter.”
John glanced towards Radek Zelenka who grunted as he reviewed the city plans on his tablet PC. “That’s kind of freaky,” John confided.
“It’s the least of my abilities,” Rodney tilted his head. “What’s up? Am I late for something?”
“Actually, we both are. Dr. Beckett wanted to see us in the infirmary but we couldn’t raise you on the radio. There is a dead space out here.” John neglected to mention that he’d freaked out a little until one of McKay’s minions had explained where the senior science staff were and how the radios weren’t working out there for some reason.
“Oh.” Rodney frowned and then sighed. “Radek, check the radio thing?”
“I have Dr. Brandt on it—there is a bit of interference from the superconductor in lab ten in this area.”
John nodded and watched Rodney pack up what gear he’d brought with him. Neither said anything until they were down the hall and heading towards the large catwalk that would take them to a transporter back to the central tower. “So, you know what’s up with Beckett?”
“Oh. He mentioned something about my medical records from the SGC.” Rodney flushed.
* * * *
Carson Beckett was waiting on them with a smile on his face. “Ah, there we are. I trust you had no problems locating him, John?”
“He was Kavanaugh-baiting,” John explained. “I was loathe to interrupt him since he was turning the man an alarming shade of purple.”
Beckett laughed. “Ah, well good then.” He motioned them towards a small room near the back of the infirmary. “Just to keep things confidential.”
John forced himself to relax as they entered the room and the door whispered shut behind them. The window darkened immediately and John figured that was Carson’s doing. Rodney gamely hopped up on the bed in the room and Carson took a seat on the stool. There was another chair but John chose to lean against the wall. He was insanely uncomfortable with the entire thing and he couldn’t figure out why exactly. It wasn’t about Carson not trusting him to take care of Rodney—the doctor was just doing his job.
“Okay, now, Rodney. I’ve reviewed your medical files that Dr. Fraser sent our way. She also sent me a detailed personal letter regarding your past care.” Carson pursed his lips. “I’d like to speak with you about several things but some of them concern your ex-wife and former Domme. Are you comfortable having this conversation in front of Colonel Sheppard?”
Rodney glanced towards John and nodded. “Yes, of course. Secrets don’t make for a good relationship, Dr. Beckett.”
“Call me Carson,” the doctor murmured and then scooted forward a little. “How often did your ex-wife use the Goa’uld healing device on you during the course of your marriage?”
Rodney flushed and knotted his fingers together. “During the last six months of our marriage, daily. Usually first thing in the morning before we went to work.”
“And the device can heal broken bones and nearly all skin injuries without scarring correct?”
“Yes.” Rodney nodded and swallowed. “But broken bones do show up in scans later as healed breaks.”
“Alright then—so you’ve had three broken ribs, a hair line fracture of your left collar bone, a fractured tail bone, three broken fingers, and one broken wrist. All of this while you were married to Lt. Colonel Carter.” Carson ignored John’s furious in take of breath. “How many of these injuries were related to play and how many were outright abuse by your Domme?”
“She never outright abused me, Carson.” Rodney took a deep breath. “It was always disguised as play but not all of that was play related. I broke my ribs when I slipped and fell by our pool one Saturday. She immediately called for help from the SGC and by the time Fraser arrived—had healed my broken ribs and a punctured lung with the Goa’uld device. Since Sam is the only person at the SGC that can use it—one of them was signed out to her to carry with her on missions. She’d just come home from the mountain. It was fortunate for me that she’d forgotten to put it in her locker before leaving.”
“Alright then. Your left collar bone?”
“At the Ancient outpost. We were arguing over who should get under a console to fix a problem. I told her that she couldn’t do it because it was dangerous and she said I shouldn’t do it because the space was too small. She was right—the space was too small. I kept the damn thing from exploding but I banged my shoulder jerking myself out and cracked my collarbone. She fixed it in our quarters with the device.” Rodney rubbed the back of his neck. “I also got spanked for disobeying her—but that night was actually kind of fun for us both. Our marriage wasn’t always bad you know—I wouldn’t have stayed if it was. I’m not some battered sub on an after school special.”
John closed his eyes briefly and stared pointedly at his combat boot. He figured the last of the injuries were play related. There was no way they weren’t and it made him furious.
“The fingers and wrist were restraint injuries. She wasn’t trained as thoroughly as she should have been because she focused more on academics—I knew this about her when I married her. I did teach her a lot while we were married and she was an apt pupil well up until the last six months of our marriage. The restraint injuries were as much my fault as hers. I was pretty high on endorphins and didn’t realize I was seriously hurt until after the fact.”
“The tailbone,” Carson questioned.
“About two months before we separated—she told me she wanted to learn how to cane. We did a lot of practice on pillows and once her aim was sound we even did a few practice runs with me unrestrained. She was decent at it for someone who’d never had any formal training. I let her tie me up.” Rodney’s hands clenched on his knees. “She broke my tailbone and bruised my kidneys severely. She was extremely apologetic—healed me at home and we visited Dr. Fraser the next day for a full health scan.”
“Then a month later she tried to castrate you,” John muttered through clenched teeth.
“Yes,” Rodney admitted. “Her appetites for control and complete submission were getting stronger and I had no hope of meeting them. She didn’t want an equal in the bedroom or in everyday life—not a true power exchange dynamic. She wants, needs a pet—really. She thought she could break me down with pain or fear. When that didn’t work—she decided to try taking my testicles.”
Carson was pale and breathing a little hard. “Alright, then. I’d like to do a full scan for my records. Did she break the skin or damage the testes in anyway?”
“No. I visited Dr. Fraser the next day for a full health scan and I’m still fertile if that is your question. We were interrupted before she even got a scalpel out. She slapped my testicles a few times with her open hand to make them hurt but—that wasn’t anything I hadn’t taken from her before.” Rodney twisted his hands against his uniform pants. “The castration thing isn’t in my medical records, Carson. I never even told Fraser why I wanted an exam that day.”
Carson sighed. “You should have lad, you really should have. I won’t make a note of it but I need you to promise me that you will never keep such things from me. I know that Colonel Sheppard is one of the safest tops on this base. I trust that he will take care of you but I need you to trust me with the truth at all times.”
“Okay. I’ll do my best.”
“You said she used the healing device daily,” John murmured—his voice hoarse with anger and disbelief. “Skin injuries?”
“Her favorite implement was the flogger and she always drew blood,” Rodney admitted. “But if she didn’t heal me—she would have to wait a week or more before she could play like that again.”
John had about a thousand questions but the delicate balance he’d created within himself to keep the anger at Rodney’s former top at bay wasn’t anything to be trifled with. He could only thank god they were separated by a galaxy of travel. John really didn’t think he could tolerate being on the same planet with her at the moment.
“Alright, lad, let’s get you in a set of scrubs so we can do a scan and check you over.” Carson stood up from the stool and looked right at John with an unreadable expression. “Colonel, we can wait outside while he does that.”
John took it for the hint that it was and gamely followed Carson out into the infirmary and into the small closet turned office. “I know.”
Carson hands were shaking as he sat down. “She… John.”
“I know. I could kill her. You can’t imagine what he’s like in private, Carson—you don’t even understand the gift that she desecrated daily for months. If you knew that you’d all be for dialing up Earth and paying her a visit.”
Carson opened his bottom desk drawer and pulled out a small bottle of scotch and two glasses. He poured them both a shot and handed one to Sheppard. “When I saw them on Earth—at the Ancient outpost they had this great energy between them. They were a dream team when it came to their work. I assumed, stupidly, that it was a by-product of their private dynamic. He didn’t talk to any of us—not really and I just thought she was a hard Domme. It’s not uncommon among women in the military. He never looked unhappy.”
“I think for the most part they had a good marriage—and then it sort of fell apart and she acted out badly when she realized he wasn’t happy with her. She fought the divorce and tried to have him committed. I don’t think Carter is used to losing in life and she took the entire situation badly and with a great deal of temper. I honestly don’t know how she escaped court ordered counseling. I mean, how can a top get out of counseling after watching their sub and husband cut off his collar?”
Carson flinched at the thought. “I don’t know. I really don’t.” He tossed back his scotch and then sighed. “Thank god this is my last duty of the day—I need far more than a shot.”
“I know the feeling,” John set aside his empty glass and took a calming breath. Then he pulled two suckers out of one of his pockets and offered one to Carson who took it with a sad smile.
* * * *
He hated what he’d revealed about his marriage—more so, for the anger and the desolation he could see all over John’s face. But if he’d had John leave the room—Rodney knew he would have just had to repeat it later. It isn’t like John didn’t have access to his medical records, both because he was his top and because of his position in the city.
The medical scan had gone very quickly thanks to Ancient technology and Rodney was in the lab space he’d claimed for himself less than thirty minutes later. It had been unused when he arrived but had a central location—and everyone had quickly gotten used to coming to him there for reports and assignments.
There was a secondary work space that always had a body in it—Kusanagi, Zelenka, and Porter seemed to rotate on some schedule that McKay wasn’t privy to in and out of it—so he was never alone. Rodney didn’t resent it exactly; he understood that it was a show of support and solidarity.
Zelenka was currently at the workstation—working as industrially as he always did. Out of everyone on Atlantis, Rodney found the Czech scientist the most interesting and the closest to a true peer. Very little he said went over the man’s head and so Rodney liked it best when Radek found his way into the secondary workstation.
The alarm klaxon caught them both off guard and Zelenka barely managed to land on his feet as he stumbled off from his stool towards the door. Rodney exited just ahead of him—heading straight toward the cause for alarm. He knew of only one place on the schedule for the day that could be causing that kind of alarm.
He’d sent a maintenance crew headed by Kavanaugh to take a part and fix one of the grounding stations that had been ignored and left broken for the better part of a year. It had been broken during the Genii invasion. The invasion where John had killed upwards of seventy people with his bare hands.
He clicked his radio twice to get the channel that everyone on the base could hear. “This is McKay—I need a medical team to Grounding Station Six and an evacuation of all personnel from Towers 6 and 9. Drop what you are doing and move immediately. Porter, Silas, and Chotak meet me on the East Pier. Do not approach the grounding station until I get there. I have Zelenka with me.”
He ignored the chorus of affirmatives and clicked over to the private channel he shared with his Dom. “John, we might need a Jumper to evac the maintenance crew to the infirmary. Additionally, it might not be a bad idea to prep the entire city for evac. If this grounding station goes—it could be bad.”
“How bad?” John demanded.
“Bad enough that we lose the East Pier and the city sinks under stress,” Rodney explained as he and Zelenka entered the transporter. “I don’t know what they’ve done. I won’t know until I get there.”
“Understood, Sheppard out.”
Rodney clicked to the all-call channel so he could listen to John hand out instructions. His top’s voice always soothed him and this was no exception. He waited until John was finished and then activated his own comm. “Kusanagi, I need you in the control tower to monitor output on the ZPM and the systems in the East Tower.”
“I’m already on my way, Dr. McKay,” Miko returned, her voice calm. “I take over as soon as I get there.”
“Good. Good.” Rodney huffed out a breath as they rounded the corner and found the people he’d ordered to the area plus a few more. He wasn’t surprised to find John and Anne Teldy there. Both were pulling on safety gear. He turned off his comm and accepted the utility TAC vest from Porter. It had a variety of tools he might need. “Chotak, SITREP.”
“There are no answers on the comm for any of the team assigned to the grounding station. The city sensors registered a low level explosion and we lost security footage within seconds of the explosion.” Chotak was pulling on a pair of fireproof pants. “Sensors show five life signs; we had a six man crew on the job.” She offered him a pair of pants. “Sparks, sir.”
Rodney took the pants with a frown and put them on. Uncollared subs were often more conscious of getting scarred up—blemishes made them unlikely to find a top that would keep them. He shook his head at the gloves she offered and started reviewing the sensor data. “None of them are moving, where is our med team?”
“Lorne is bringing them on the Jumper.” John pointed on the city map to a small landing pad just off the section they were in. “He’ll land here and lead them into the grounding station. Dr. Weir has pulled everyone but us into the central tower and we are ready to evac if things are more fucked up out here than not.”
Rodney nodded and passed the tablet PC to Zelenka. “Watch power output—if it starts spiking we need to move.”
John shoved a breathing mask at him and glared when Rodney started to protest. McKay gamely put it on and they pushed through the doors that lead to the grounding station. The entire wall leading up the station was black with soot but the smoke was quickly dissipating.
The first body was Kavanaugh. Rodney tried not to be disappointed that he was breathing. He didn’t know what that said about him so he pushed it aside and decided not to ever worry about it. He activated his radio. “We’ve located Dr. Kavanaugh—looks like he has a nasty bump to the head and a few burns. Zelenka is marking his location in his live report for the medical team.”
“Location received, Rodney.” Carson huffed over the connection. “I am one minute from your position. He is bleeding?”
“Not externally,” Rodney stood up and they all started to move. “We are moving in. Miko, how are our read outs?”
“I’ve shut down all the power I can to the East Pier to prevent any surging. I sent down a gene carrier to stand by to pull the ZPM if we have a problem, yes?”
“Yes, good thinking.” Rodney knelt next to Diane Stova and checked her pulse. “I’ve found Dr. Stova—she is badly burned but alive. Pulse is thready. Radek is marking her location. The smoke is a little thick here—everyone should have on breathing masks.”
“Understood, Rodney,” Carson murmured. “I’m right behind you—we are prepping Dr. Kavanaugh for removal back to the Jumper.”
Rodney shared a look with John and then stood up. “The further in we go the more advanced we can expect the injuries to be. You should request another Jumper.”
John nodded and walked away to arrange it.
Rodney’s stomach clenched as the got the grounding station itself. The rest of the team were sprawled if they were dolls tossed aside by a careless child. He waved a little with his hand and his team spread out to check on the different members of the team.
He wasn’t really surprised to learn that Julia Riser was dead—she was closest to the grounding station and the only submissive on the team. He knew then that he never should’ve agreed to let her go with Kavanaugh.
He’d let the man pick his team—a mistake that had cost the youngest member of his science team her life. Julia had only been out of MIT a year and he’d recruited her personally at the SGC. He’d been thrilled to bring her to Atlantis with him and she’d giggled for two days after she’d been chosen.
Rodney went to work on the grounding station—barely aware that it had only been fifteen minutes since the explosion. It was easy to find the source of the overload—a mistake that could have been made ten thousand years before when the thing had been designed for all he knew. Quietly, he explained to Radek and Allison the cause behind the explosion—aware that his comm was still activated and the rest of the city was listening.
After he was confident that it wasn’t going to explode, he pulled more of his engineering team out of the main tower and down to the other grounding stations to make sure the flaw wasn’t in all of them.
Ten hours later, he watched the security footage and confirmed that Calvin Kavanaugh had sacrificed Julia Riser to what he believed to be the most dangerous part of the repair job. At least he’d been right about that. Rodney made a copy of the security footage and attached it to his after action report on the incident. He’d never call it an accident and when one of the Marines doing clean up and called it that—he’d pretty much tore him a new one.
He walked down to the infirmary, barely aware of the security detail he’d picked up somewhere along the way and went straight to Kavanaugh’s bed. The scientist was awake and propped up to eat dinner. He’d been bitching about the food before Rodney’s arrival.
“Well?” Kavanaugh demanded.
“Riser, Stova, and Jenkins are all dead. Jamison and Mannis are both in critical condition.” Rodney lifted his chin slightly and flicked his gaze over Kavanaugh’s untouched dinner. “Dr. Beckett has told us you’ll be fit to leave the infirmary in the morning. You’re to report to main conference room at 0900 hours to explain yourself and the events of this incident.”
Kavanaugh glared. “Riser made a mistake and it blew up.”
“I do hope you’ll spend more time on your full report than that,” Rodney said. “The IOA will be very interested in knowing the full details of an explosion that lead to the death of at least three highly trained scientists—one of whom graduated MIT at the top of her class and won the Draper Prize shortly after she received her PhD. Especially since we have you on video ordering that Riser should do the repair while you gave her explicit instructions because it was dangerous and she was just a submissive. You’ll want to have a really good explanation as to why when she protested the action that eventually caused the explosion—you dismissed her concern and called her a stupid little bitch.” He held up a hand when the man started to speak. “Nothing you could say at this point to me, Dr. Kavanaugh, could salvage this situation. One of us is leaving this city and I’ve got news for you—it won’t be me.”
* * * *
John found Rodney huddled in a chair on their balcony. The small balcony was definitely one of the benefits of not living alone. He’d moved to new quarters shortly before returning to Earth because he’d known he would come back with a collared sub. It had never once crossed his mind that he wouldn’t talk McKay into it at least until he’d met the man. The suite of rooms were nice but the balcony was the best part for John.
John slid into the chair and wrapped himself around McKay. “Hey.”
“I never should’ve let her go with him.”
“Shh. You aren’t to blame for this—it was something she needed to learn and from all reports shouldn’t have been dangerous at all. No one could have…” He sighed. “Just not your fault, okay.”
Rodney shuddered and closed his eyes. “I can’t… he’s a coward and a bastard.”
“I know.” John pressed a kiss against his neck. “Let’s get some sleep, okay? Tomorrow is going to suck.”
* * * *
Elizabeth Weir watched the footage attached to Rodney’s report for the fifth time and then closed her laptop abruptly. Radek was lying in their bed with his tablet PC, naked except for his glasses and collar. She smiled, but her heart wasn’t into anything more than wrapping herself around her scientist and holding on tight. It could have easily been Radek in Julia’s place. However, Radek wouldn’t have allowed anyone to bully him through such a mistake.
Neither one of them had slept well and now she only had about an hour before she had to meet with everyone in the main conference room. “We should eat.”
Radek set aside his PC and rolled from the bed. “I made coffee already. Should I dress and get some food from the mess or will you be okay with the fruit and cereal we have on hand?”
“Fruit and cereal are good,” Elizabeth whispered “He killed her.”
“Yes.” Radek nodded. “Not on purpose, but surely yes. He told her to do the job because he valued her less than any of the others because she was submissive.”
“Three people dead because of his arrogance and the other two…” Elizabeth trailed off. “Mannis is maimed for life; they’ve already removed four of his fingers on his left hand. He might end up losing the whole hand. Jamison lost an eye and hasn’t woken up, yet. His skull was cracked—he might have brain damage for all we know.”
“He’ll blame it on the girl.”
“We have proof that she disagreed with his orders but he bullied her into doing it,” Elizabeth responded. “I won’t let him ruin her in death, I promise.”
* * * *
John said nothing as the security footage ended and everyone turned to look at Calvin Kavanaugh. The man had a few bandages on his arms and the back of his neck was burned. He’d lost most of his hair. All of screamed the fact that he’d run first and far ahead of his team.
Rodney cleared his throat. “Now that we have that out of the way we can discuss the charges I’ve prepared to have filed against you. Due to the secrecy of our mission, the trial of course will be closed and decided by the members of the IOA committee. Thankfully, this is included in our employment contract—so there is no need to discuss where the trial will take place.”
“Trial?” Kavanaugh demanded. “It was an accident, McKay. You can’t put me on trial for an accident.”
“Oh, I can’t put you on trial for anything,” Rodney said. “But I’ve prepared a report for the IOA along with a list of recommendations for charges to be filed against you. Three counts of involuntary manslaughter, five counts of gross indifference to human life, and one count of the intentional verbal and physical abuse of an acknowledged submissive.”
“I didn’t abuse anyone physically.”
“She’s dead, Kavanaugh, you can’t get more physical than that.” Rodney picked up his coffee cup and drank deeply from it. “Now, I understand, per US law if you are found to be guilty of causing the death of a submissive during a power exchange—that you can be branded physically by the federal government as an ‘unsafe top’.”
“That was not a power exchange,” Calvin snapped, his eyes dark with fury.
“It shouldn’t have been—we’re all supposed to be equal on the job,” Rodney acknowledged. “But you don’t treat submissives equally at all, Dr. Kavanaugh, and you said to her during the course of the task the following: ‘Riser, if you can’t follow instructions—we can send you to a pleasure house for a session. I’ll take up a collection.’, ‘Riser, you’d look better on your knees than Stova so why don’t you take off the bottom panel for us.’, ‘Riser, be a good little sub and get down there and pick up that coupler.’, and finally ‘Riser, if you don’t do as your told right fucking now you stupid little bitch, I’m going to spank your ass myself.”
Kavanaugh flushed. “You don’t…”
“In fact,” Rodney continued as if the man hadn’t started speaking. “That’s probably as close as you’ve come to topping a sub in the past seven months. Unless you count the fake disciplines you handed out to the subs in the science department.”
“You arrogant son of a bitch,” Calvin seethed and started to rise.
“Careful,” John murmured. “You don’t want to give me an opportunity to vent my temper on you, Dr. Kavanaugh. Trust me when I say that you’d be hauled away from it damaged for life.”
Kavanaugh sat back abruptly in his chair and turned away from them. “You people are entirely unreasonable. No one Earth will believe this bullshit.”
“Well, that’s up to them since they’ll have to deal with you if they chose not to charge you with a crime. Either way—you’re no longer a part of the Atlantis mission.” Elizabeth viewed him with a narrow gaze. “You’ll be escorted back to your quarters by a protective detail. Your access to the city is restricted and all computer equipment has already been removed from your quarters. I realize one laptop was a personal machine. Once it has been sanitized of all research pertaining to the city and its ability to network with our systems removed it will be returned to you. We dial Earth on Wednesday and you’ll go back then. I’ve arranged for several packing crates to be sent to your quarters.”
“I’m one of the few senior scientists you have left, Dr. Weir.” Kavanaugh protested.
“Yes, I know, personally I’d like to get you off the city before you kill any more of us with the sheer power of your ignorance,” Elizabeth ground out through clenched teeth. “You’re restricted to quarters—mostly because John isn’t the only person on the base that would like to beat some humanity into you. Your meals will be brought to you. Dismissed.”
* * * *
The Dolorians were without exception the best allies they had in Pegasus. They were a people rich in natural resources who welcomed the Lanteans with open arms. In return, Elizabeth and John had bent over backwards to do everything they could for the world. Including making sure their fully functional Ancient shield always worked to the best of its ability.
It was the first mission she wanted McKay on and John hadn’t disagreed. It was a safe mission and one vital to the continued survival of the expedition. He picked his team carefully—and took Evan Lorne around for a meet as well since he was second in command of Atlantis’ military forces.
They were met at the gate by a delegation—all smiles and truly pleased faces. The Dolorians were dynamic and to say they’d been thrilled to meet the Lanteans was something of an understatement. It was like meeting long lost cousins for both sides. John had practically hugged their leader the day they met much to Teyla’s amusement.
Koral had been their leader—chosen by birth since his sixteenth birthday and he had three collared submissives. One female and two males. One of the males was his formal mate, which had surprised Teyla far more than it had the Lanteans.
“John!” Koral held out his hands like a brother and embraced John in a firm grip. “You’ve been missed.” His eyes lit on Rodney and he smiled. “Now, who have you brought with you? Surely, you’ve not collared a submissive in the few short months we have not seen each other.”
“I have,” John acknowledged. He brought Rodney close with one hand. “Dr. Rodney McKay—meet Administrator Join’der adem Koralis. He prefers to be called Koral.”
“Sir.” Rodney inclined his head carefully, having been briefed on sub protocols on the planet by Radek Zelenka. He knew he wasn’t to offer to touch the leader—it would be considered an insult.
Koral’s eyes darkened with pleasure and surprise. “I’m thrilled for you, John, truly. You will spend the night?”
“We came packed for an overnight trip,” John acknowledged. “Koral this is Major Evan Lorne he is my second in command on Atlantis now—for military operations. Everyone else you’ve met before. Rodney will be checking on the shield for your settlement and we’ve brought you a new power source.”
“Excellent.” Koral clapped his hands and motioned them towards the forest. “We have a meal waiting, of course. You should keep your Dr. McKay close. I’m afraid there are many who would find him very tempting and attractive. An educated submissive is… rare as you know on our world. Rare and due to your influence very valuable.”
John wordlessly pulled out the leash and clipped it on McKay’s collar. Rodney leaned into him briefly so he would know he was completely okay with being leashed. He knew John didn’t like doing it when they were off world like this—it would make things dangerous if they were suddenly in a fight.
They walked through a small forest and then paused while Koral activated a small portal that allowed them to enter the shielded city. John had told him when they’d first found the Dolorians that the shield had only been erected in time of emergency but Radek had been able to fix it so it could be used all the time though it had a few problems and an unreliable power source. That was something they were going to fix today. Porter had grown new crystals for the unit and they had a Mark II generator to put on it.
The SGC had agreed because Dolor was one of Atlantis’ evacuation sites. It was one of the few places in Pegasus the expedition would be safe if they lost the city. It made sense to foster a good relationship with the people and keep their city as safe as possible.
Three hours later, Rodney was half inside a console in an Ancient outpost replacing the crystals one at a time. They’d had to take the shield off-line for the repair so Atlantis had sent a unit of Marines to guard the gate during the repair. John was in the outpost along with several Dolorians including one of their engineers who had been pestering Rodney with questions the entire time.
Rodney answered politely but often abruptly as he worked. Lt. Chase Harris was practically glued to him and placed himself between the Dolorian Dom and McKay much to the annoyance of the alien. Rodney found it kind of amusing. It also prevented John from jerking a knot in the man’s ass so it was working out.
“And this won’t cause a power surge between the shield emitter and the console?” Chase questioned before the Dolorian could.
“No,” Rodney pulled another crystal free. “And even if it does the organic nature of the crystals allow for such surges to be absorbed and utilized. It’s very efficient. The Ancients, for all of their failings, were quite good engineers.”
“Failings?” Harris asked.
“Well, they lost against the Wraith.”
Chase laughed. “Point.” He shared a look with his CO who was leaning against the wall. “So the red crystals are always for control purposes?”
“Yes, blue is for secondary systems and green are usually redundant circuits. You can use a green in place of a blue but never ever in place of a red,” Rodney murmured as he worked. “Neither the green or the blue have the structure to handle what the red control crystals can and you’ll just blow out the entire system which is more work for me and I’ll be pissed.”
John laughed from the doorway and shook his head. “And then I’ll have to discipline you.”
Chase grinned. “I don’t think I’ll get so lucky the next time, sir.” He wiggled one eyebrow and John laughed outright.
“I don’t know, Chase, you’re terribly pretty when you’re so worked up you don’t know your own name,” Rodney said from underneath the console. He slid out abruptly and started rummaging through his duffle. “I’m ready for the generator, Colonel.”
John pulled a large case to him and flipped it open. “Need help with the placement?”
“No, sir, but thank you.” Rodney lifted the generator out of the secure foam that had held it in place for the trip from the Earth. “Chase, move.”
Chase scrambled out of the way and in turn, the Dolorian engineer had to move as well. Rodney just shook his head at the two of them and slid the generator into place in the console where the former power source had been.
“You do know how dangerous this power source is if it is misused?” Rodney questioned softly as he began connecting. “It’d take out the entire settlement if someone meddled with it.” He shot the engineer a look and the man flushed. “You don’t have the ability to reverse engineer it. In fact, our people couldn’t reverse engineer it if we spent the next ten years trying. The only reason we can build them is that we received the very detailed plans from another race. Plans we’ve already made available to you in their entirety.”
“Understood, Dr. McKay.”
“I hope so.” Rodney slid back under the console to finish his connections. “You’ve a beautiful world. I’d hate to come back and find a smoking crater where your city used to be.”
“I’m sure Doren completely understands,” John said from his place near McKay’s feet. “Almost done?”
“Two minutes,” Rodney responded. “Well, Chase, you’ve spent the last three hours practically up my ass did you want watch the big finale or not?”
Chase wiggled under the console and John laughed. “Trying to turn my baby officer into a geek, McKay?”
“Well he does have his BA in engineering and I’m on his committee for his master’s work through the SGC,” Rodney informed and then coughed. “You know, Ancient tech is surprisingly dusty.”
“It should be sort of slimy what with…” Chase chuckled.
“Yeah, you’d think with all of this lubrication…” Rodney chuckled. “That dust wouldn’t be a problem.”
Chase snickered. “You’re horrible.”
“I really am,” Rodney conceded. “Okay, John, can you initialize the console?”
John frowned. “I’d rather not do it with you underneath it, Rodney.”
“If I’ve messed this up—John—it won’t matter where I’m standing in the room. I wasn’t kidding about the explosive power of the generator.”
John frowned and took a deep breath. He let his fingers drift over the console as he thought ‘on’ at it and the small room lit beautifully—brighter than it ever had before. “Looks good.”
Rodney wiggled out and checked the readings on this tablet PC then he smacked Chase’s leg. “Enough pretty lights.”
* * * *
“It is very unfortunate the Lanteans do not share their submissives.”
John raised one eyebrow at Doren as they walked back towards the town square. “It’s never been a problem before.”
Doren glanced over his shoulder to look at Rodney and Chase. “You’ve never brought him here before. Many of our leadership find your Dr. McKay very interesting and attractive.”
“Are you warning me, Doren?” John asked carefully.
“We’ve never encountered a collared submissive so confident and educated, Colonel Sheppard. Some might question your ownership of him because of it. It is difficult to believe such a man giving his submission to anyone much less… well, you’ve never exhibited for us, Colonel Sheppard and you know that some find that very disconcerting. You are essentially unknown to us. We are only able to gain a solid relationship with your people because of Dr. Weir and her Radek. Our people find them an exciting and interesting pair but Dr. Weir…”
“Isn’t a sadist,” John murmured. “Many of your people find the most joy in their dynamic when they are pleasuring their submissive through pain.”
“Yes and we do know that you are personally much like we are. Yet, you’ve yet to demonstrate the ways of that side of your people. It makes a few leery of you and in turn your people—no matter how much we have to give each other.”
John nodded his expression grim. “I do understand, Doren. What would you suggest?”
“We’ll have exhibition after the evening meal, Colonel. Perhaps then you can demonstrate for us.” He glanced back at McKay. “And at the same time allay any concerns some might have about the validity of your partner’s submission to you.”
John had brought a kit because he figured that it would be requested of him but not because they’d doubt McKay was committed to him. “Very well. I’ll speak with Koral.” He frowned. “Though I am concerned that in the years we’ve known each other that some of your people still do not understand that our submissives aren’t slaves—that they are valuable and equal to us in all things. The balance between submission and dominance is diminished if that is not so.”
“Some on the council are very old fashioned,” Doren admitted. “We have not kept submissives as slaves in nearly two hundred years but they are still in many ways subjugated on our world. It has been our exposure to you in the last few years that have done the most to change our perspective. Some of your most trusted and learned scholars are submissives and it makes us wonder how many great minds we have lost over the years because of old fashioned ideas of what a submissive must be.”
John nodded and casually pulled Rodney’s leash from his front pocket. Within seconds, Rodney was at his side without a verbal command and Doren blinked in surprise. John clipped the leash into place and ordered Chase back to the gate so that he could return with other Marines.
Teyla and Major Lorne were at a small table in a formal courtyard with Koral when they returned. “Colonel.” Teyla glanced up briefly. “We were pleased to see the shield go back up so quickly.”
“The repairs went as planned,” John acknowledged. “And shouldn’t need more than seasonal maintenance as long as no one alters the work McKay has done.” He prodded Rodney onto a bench beside Lorne and in a rare show of trust, he pressed McKay’s leash into the Major’s hand. For his part, Lorne didn’t even blink. He tucked the strap of the leash around his wrist and under his watchband and started pointing out what food on the table was safe for the scientist to eat.
“Koral, may I speak with you privately?” John raised an eyebrow in question.
“Of course,” Koral stood quickly and with one glanced towards McKay and Lorne. “My office is just inside.”
John shot Teyla a look that told her to be on guard and only nodded when Teyla smoothly moved from her place to a place beside Rodney—preventing anyone from sitting beside him. He followed the leader of the Dolorians into his home and down a small hall to his private office.
“Is something amiss?”
“You could say that,” John murmured. “I realize we share a lot of the same customs—but we are two different peoples. It is the only reason I’m not allowing myself to be insulted by what Doren has told me.”
Koral sat down abruptly. “Colonel, I’m afraid you have me at a loss.”
“On my world, Koral, questioning the validity of Dr. McKay’s submission to me is a gross insult. It’s the kind of insult that has started wars in our distant past and often results in public punishment for the one doing the questioning even today. It insults him and it insults me—it also demeans our relationship in the basest way possible.”
Koral’s face paled. “Surely you understand that no one here meant to insult you.”
“What I know is that I’m being maneuvered into performing for you under the guise of some perceived fault in my pairing—which is insulting in the extreme. You only need ask, Koral. I actually came here prepared for the eventuality that I would be asked to exhibit. It’s something I’ve only ever declined because frankly having watched your people—I was afraid I would cause a problem among our peoples if I topped a submissive here.” John looked away briefly. “And the men and women in my military command might have come my bed in private but exhibiting them was out of the question.”
“Something you explained and I completely accepted.” Koral rocked a little in his chair, clearly nervous. “You know this.”
“I thought I did, and then I had to listen to Doren play verbal games with me all the way back to the city. He implied that he did not believe I was strong enough to have gained the submission of Dr. McKay.” John’s gaze darkened. “On my world, I would be within my rights to put him on a discipline cross and give him ten lashes with the implement of my choice.”
Koral eyes widened in shock. “If that is your wish—it will be done. We would certainly expect your people to adhere to our social constructs on such a matter. We can do no less.”
“If he weren’t parroting the words of a half-dozen members of your leadership council I might take you up on your offer,” John responded tightly. “I see no reason to punish him for the errand he was sent on by others.”
Koral flushed. “I admit there was some discussion after the meal. As he must have explained, Dr. McKay is like no other submissive we’ve ever met on our world or any other in our galaxy. Some find his intelligence and his confidence challenging while others find his lack of subservience an insult.”
“As it was explained when we came together in our alliance—our submissives are not expected to subjugate themselves to anyone but their own Dom. The fact is that I would never allow him to sit at the feet of another Dominant. His submission is mine. I own it and it is for me alone,” John explained coolly.
“Yet, you passed his leash to Major Lorne?” Koral asked carefully.
“Major Lorne is my second in command, a brother in war. I trust him to protect and to shelter what is mine. I consider him family.”
Koral nodded. “I see.” He looked down at his desk and then sighed. “I have a lot of stupid old men on my council, John.”
“I’m aware,” John returned. “I’ve sat in more than one meeting with them. They are petty and without discretion. It is something we have long overlooked—because among our people—to be questioned about private matters is a grave and insulting matter.” He stood abruptly. “I will exhibit in the evening after the meal. Make it clear that I will accept no offers for my submissive once it is over and would, in this circumstance, find it profoundly offensive.”
Koral nodded quickly. “Of course.”
“I know your submissives do not receive formal training on Dolor.”
“No, just those who exhibit Dominant traits.”
“On my world, both seek training so we can embrace and explore our dynamics to the fullest measure. There are several schools that cater to these needs. Dr. McKay attended the most elite on the planet and received the highest honor by being branded a Courtesan. I realize that word has no meaning to you so to put some perspective on it—among the submissives on Atlantis he has no equal. He ranks highest among them. In our not so distant past, he would have been exhibited only in front of the wealthiest and most powerful on our planet. Kings would’ve vied for his attendance.”
Koral’s eyes widened in shock. “Is it an insult that we request this of him?”
“No, he is trained for it—trained to perform. He won’t be insulted by it but just know that among our people seeing his submission to me and the pleasure I can provide him is considered an immense honor.” John’s jaw tightened. “I’ve seen how submissives on your world are treated after they exhibit—I will not allow such treatment of Rodney. Understood? No one touches him. No one offers for him. He will not be spoken of as if he were a thing to be used. He will not be auctioned for the night.”
“Of course, Colonel.”
* * * *
Evan Lorne considered himself a confident man. He was dedicated, loyal, and did his best to excel in all situations but if Sheppard didn’t come get McKay’s leash soon he figured he was going to pass out from the stress of it. He could only thank God that Teyla had moved to sit on Rodney’s left—blocking anyone from sitting beside the scientist. The table was full of people now and there were some lingering in the courtyard.
“Are you shaking?” Rodney asked under his breath.
“What?” Evan shook his head. “No, of course not.”
Rodney laughed. “I only bite when I’m ordered to, Major. You’re safe.”
Evan flushed. “He wouldn’t have you leashed if he wasn’t concerned and if something fucked up happens while you’re… in my care my career is basically over. You really don’t recover from letting your CO’s collared submissive get hurt or taken. Just ask SG6 back on Earth. They lost Daniel Jackson for two hours on Earth in the Mall of America of all fucking places and they’ve been stationed at the Ancient outpost ever since. It’s been three years, McKay.”
Rodney snorted and then lowered his gaze when several people looked their way. Several of the Dolorians had been looking at him far more than what he considered proper and the engineer Doren had tried to speak with him just once before Teyla informed him that Lantean submissives weren’t allowed to speak to anyone outside of their family when they were leashed without permission from their Dom. Rodney was surprised the Athosian knew that and even more stunned when the woman had gone on to explain that Major Lorne was in collar negotiations with Colonel Sheppard’s younger brother was therefore considered family.
Evan had blushed at that bit of news so Rodney figured it was true. He wondered if the Major had any idea what he was getting into collaring a Geisha. Matthew was very skin hungry after nearly two months of celibacy. It was one of the reasons he’d taken to sleeping wrapped around Miko Kusanagi. She was literally starved for physical contact, too.
He felt John’s arrival before he was even touched and relaxed as Major Lorne gratefully transferred his leash and slipped from the bench to let John take his place. The Colonel was no more relaxed than he had been when he’d gone into the house but his temper seemed to be under control. Rodney wondered Doren had said that had pissed him off so badly but he wasn’t going to ask in front of others.
“Teyla was explaining that submissives on your world weren’t allowed to speak to those outside their family when they are leashed,” Doren started. “Could you explain the history behind this custom, Colonel Sheppard?”
John sat aside his water and nodded. “Of course, like on Dolor there was a time when submissives were slaves on our world. Our world is made of many countries, however, and over time, each country abolished the practice of keeping slaves. The principals of social ownership remained, however.” He covered one of Rodney’s hands with his own. “When they are leashed, a submissive is required to attend to only the needs of his Master and no other. To make that easier, they are not expected to participate in any conversation that takes place around them. It allows them to relax and find their subspace without interference or distraction. As far as he’s concerned, I’m the only person at this table and that will remain so until I remove the leash or I allow him to acknowledge someone else.”
“We’ve never seen your people leash a submissive on a visit here,” Doren continued. “In fact, we weren’t even sure you utilized leashes.”
“I’ve not had a collared submissive in many years, Doren.” John’s fingers tightened around the suede handle. “My first was killed in combat several years ago. So you’ll forgive my… diligence in keeping Dr. McKay close to me.”
Rodney moved closer, pressing against him aware that John was fairly close to losing his temper with the young Dom who obviously didn’t know when he was treading on thin ice. The last thing they needed was a diplomatic incident with one of their best allies because John lost his temper with a stupid kid. Rodney didn’t figure Doren to be much over twenty-five years old.
Koral quickly turned the conversation and that was how Rodney found out John had agreed to perform after the evening meal. He forced himself to relax against his Dom and accept the information. It explained a lot about his top’s demeanor. They’d discussed the possibility he would be asked and agreed that it would be fine. Rodney wondered what Doren had said to him that made him get out the leash again and what had been said between John and Koral.
He finished his meal in complete silence so by the time they were dismissed from the table to prepare for the exhibition—he was in a good headspace. One that John didn’t disturb as he led him to private quarters and quietly told him to strip.
He watched John pull both the cane and the bullwhip from the duffle they’d brought. “I want to plug you before we go out there.” He opened the plug case. “Your choice.”
Rodney let his fingers drift over several anal plugs, he skipped the glass—that was really more for play that would lead to him getting fucked and John had already said he would never fuck him public. He pulled out a textured, rippled, black latex plug with a shiny silver knob at the end for easy handling and John grunted his approval. It was the same plug they’d used to exhibit for Rampart.
McKay closed the case and put it back in the duffle then shook out the short silk robe he would wear to the stage. John had confirmed he was allowed that when they’d been packing for the trip. He rubbed the blue silk between his fingers thoughtfully. Claire Sheppard had gifted it to him just before they’d left for Colorado because she’d seen out shopping and it matched his eyes.
John pulled out a tube of lube and another bottle of body oil and Rodney smirked a little. The oil was scented with Egyptian musk and sandalwood. They both loved the way it smelled and it made his pale skin practically glow even after it was absorbed.
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
John huffed out a breath. “That prick Doren questioned the validity of your submission to me because you’re not a quivering little twit who crawls around after me on his hands and knees.”
Rodney frowned. “Does he know you at all?”
“No, I’ve rarely interacted with him or any of the other so-called scholars they have around this place.” John opened the lube and glanced his sub over. “I really want to fuck you right now.”
Rodney wet his bottom lip. “You could you know—fuck me and then plug me. Then you could take me out there and spank me until I come all over myself—all the while I’ll have your cum in my ass.”
John’s vision blurred a little. “You’re a filthy bastard, McKay.” His voice was a little hoarse with admiration. “Get on the bed.”
Rodney obliged immediately and presented his ass for his Dom. “Like this?”
“Fuck yes,” John muttered. “Just—this is going to be quick.”
“Good.” Rodney leaned forward on his arms and pressed his forehead against his forearm. “Do you want me to come?”
“No ejaculation, I want you hard and smelling like I fucked you when I take you out there,” John finished stripping off his clothes and crawled into the bed. “You can have an orgasm though.”
He prepped Rodney quickly—working open his hole with practiced ease and within minutes was sliding in long and hard. John wrapped his hands around McKay’s hips and just hammered into him again and again. The smack of their skin was stark in a room filled with only their heavy breathing.
John let himself come after only twenty strokes and slammed in deep as he did so. Rodney shuddered around him in orgasm and moaned. “God, that is so hot.” He pressed a kiss against McKay’s back and then reached for the plug.
Carefully, he pulled out his cock and slid the butt plug right in to take his place. McKay’s ass gripped it without a problem and he tugged on it a little. Rodney groaned softly and rocked against the action.
“Stand up,” John murmured as he left the bed and grabbed the bottle of oil. He opened it and poured a generous portion into his palm.
He worked the oil into Rodney’s skin evenly—covering him quickly but thoroughly. He stopped to play with Rodney’s uncut cock but didn’t let himself linger long. He wasn’t out to torture his sub that way. He finished putting on the oil and then inclined his head. “Want to put it on me?”
“Yeah.” Rodney went and wet a washcloth. He picked up the liquid soap out of their duffle. Then quickly cleaned his Dom’s cock and balls before reaching for the oil. By the time, he’d finished rubbing and exploring—John was hard again and they were both breathing hard.
“Jesus.” John sighed. “It’s like I didn’t even come.”
Rodney chuckled as he pulled out the robe John had brought—similar to his but black silk. He wondered if Claire had bought that one too and figured she probably had. It was the same style, designer, and quality of the one he’d been given.
Lorne and Teyla were outside in the hall when they emerged. Lorne had his gaze on the ceiling and Teyla was sitting in meditation.
“Sir, I reported into Dr. Weir as scheduled. She came through with Dr. Zelenka when I reported the Dolorians had requested you exhibit and you agreed.”
John nodded. He’d figured she might. “I trust she brought a military escort?”
“Yes, sir. Stackhouse and Markham.”
“Very good, Major. Would you let Koral know we are ready?” John relaxed; Elizabeth had chosen another couple to come with her while adhering to John’s policy for her and Zelenka traveling off world.
“Did you need anything from me, John?” Teyla questioned.
“No. You don’t have to stay if it makes you uncomfortable,” John responded.
Teyla smiled. “I must confess to being curious so I would like to remain unless you will be uncomfortable.”
“We won’t be uncomfortable,” Rodney murmured. “Just don’t be afraid to leave if it becomes too much. We won’t be upset or offended by it.”
“Thank you,” Teyla nodded abruptly and quickly walked away.
* * * *
The exhibition hall had a small stage in the front and the audience curved around it in a half circle. The wall behind the stage was mirrored so the audience had a view of everything on stage. Several chains were suspended from the ceiling of different lengths and there were bondage loops in the floor. They’d put leather wrist and ankle cuffs on McKay before leaving their room so they wouldn’t have to do it on stage.
McKay shed his robe without a word when John ordered it and glanced out at the crowd once. Lorne, Teyla, Weir, and Zelenka were on the front row with Koral and the Dolorian council. Stackhouse and Markham were on the second row directly behind Dr. Weir. The place was standing room only and John figured there were easily two hundred people in the there. It was a damn good thing they didn’t have a fire marshal or half the crowd would have been tossed out already.
He ignored the whispered conversations; the excited titter of voices as he attached chains McKay’s cuffs and then hooked them up to the ceiling restraints provided. “Good?”
“Need it tighter?” John asked softly. “This isn’t like a cross.”
“I won’t fall on you,” Rodney promised.
John pressed a kiss against his shoulder and then attached the other restraint. The easy affection between them must have shocked some of the audience because there were more whispers—louder whispers. “The leg spread isn’t as wide as a cross so that should help your balance.”
Rodney nodded and took a deep breath as he spread his legs for the ankle restraints. “You know they can see the plug.”
John chuckled. “I’ve never seen them use one on this planet. Maybe we could trade them some.” He smacked McKay’s ass a bit hard as he rose. “I’ll pull it out at the end—so they can all see what it is.”
Rodney shuddered at the thought of John’s cum dripping out of his ass in front of all of the audience that had gathered.
“This will surprise them,” John murmured. “So just be prepared. These people—they play at this part of things no matter what they say. I’ve watched enough exhibitions to know. It’s why I never topped one of their submissives. None of them are prepared for a man like me.”
* * * *
Elizabeth took a deep breath as John shed his robe. It was the second time in a month that she’d seen the man naked and her heart was racing a little. Radek squirmed a little next to her and she stilled him with one hand. They’d come to Dolor for him—the look on his face when Lorne had reported in what was happening was enough to have her packing her sub off for a little trip. Radek had been practically panting at the idea of watching Sheppard and McKay perform. She knew most of the city was pissed to be missing it.
Both men had oiled up—the oil worked well to define muscles and make their skin look like the silk they’d come out of their room dressed in. She’d only blinked once when she’d seen the evidence of an anal plug in McKay. They’d used the same plug on Earth when they’d exhibited for General Rampart.
Koral leaned in. “What…” He huffed out a breath. Clearly irritated that he had to ask. “What is the silver…”
Elizabeth raised one eyebrow. “It’s an anal plug—the rest of the toy is inside. It stimulates from the inside, making it more difficult for the submissive to maintain control over his orgasm. You don’t have anything like it?”
Elizabeth saw a very nice trade deal in her future. “We can work something out.” She refocused on the stage as John finished the restraints and leaned in to have a final conversation with Rodney. The care and affection he was exhibiting with his sub alleviated a lot of the guilt she’d carried for weeks. She’d thought perhaps he’d collared Rodney because he wanted him but there was the knowledge that he’d have done it regardless for Atlantis.
Individually both men were attractive—stunning really but together they were a wet dream. Both so at ease in their skin and in their dynamics. She really hoped that in the year to come they would find their way to a permanent connection.
* * * *
“We’re going to start with the cane,” John said sharply—his voice carrying around the now silent hall. “On strike ten you will orgasm but no ejaculation and then again on strike twenty-five. After that, we’ll move to the whip and you will have an orgasm whenever I tell you to come but you will not ejaculate. Understood.”
“When I’m ready for you to spill…” He tapped the silver knob with the cane and McKay shivered. “I’ll pull out the anal plug. Understood?”
“Wrap your hands around the chains,” John said as he took his position. “If you let go or go weak in the knees, Rodney, you won’t sit for a week. Understood?”
“Understood, sir.” Rodney wrapped his hands around both chains but didn’t stiffen up.
Just the sound of the cane moving through the air made Rodney’s cock twitch so he took the first blow with a hiss of pleasure. By the eighth blow, his cock was jerking and John had gone dark and focused. They might as well be alone in the room—and their audience seemed to understand that because silence reigned.
On the tenth blow, Rodney’s whole body went tense and he shuddered through an intense orgasm—his cock straining so hard it looked painful. Several people in the audience moaned softly. That he didn’t ejaculate stunned most of them silent again. John knew they were all counting the blows—some wishing they were chained in McKay’s place others just stunned by the beautiful and controlled violence of the act. Precum dripped from McKay’s cock and dropped to the pristine floor beneath him in a startling display.
The audience shifted, eyes glued to the performance as John hit his stride on strike nineteen before flowing without pause into the final set of five. The whistle of the cane, the smack of wood against flesh, and McKay’s soft cries of pleasure echoed in the room. Then, it was over and Rodney was shuddering through another dry orgasm, the plug flexing in his ass making the silver knob shift between his ass cheeks.
John opened the bottle of water he brought with him and took a drink. Then he took it over to Rodney and helped him drink from it. When they’ve both had enough, he set the bottle aside and kissed Rodney hard—pushing his tongue into his mouth and all but fucking him that way. His fingers digging into his hips, scraping over the over sensitive flesh of his back then he released him.
The six-foot bullwhip uncoiled sleekly and several people in the room gasped. It’s another tool that John has never seen used on Dolor. He glanced once at Koral to make sure everything was cool. John hadn’t stopped to ask if a whip was illegal or taboo among their people. Koral just nodded abruptly, his eyes bright and as eager as anyone else in the room.
The whip had a different sound—the whirl of it in the air, the snap it made as John struck the air twice above Rodney’s left shoulder was like gunfire. The first strike glanced across McKay’s back and he bowed against his restraints and moaned. The sound echoed through the silent room, louder only by a very small margin of two hundred people breathing heavily.
The skin of Rodney’s back, ass, and thighs was cherry red with a neat structure of welts that looked agonizing. Not a single drop of blood to be seen. John wasn’t worried about that. The Dolorians were a vain people—and liked their submissives to be as physically perfect as possible. He’d rarely seen any of them draw blood in an exhibition or even in the three punishments he’d witnessed since meeting them.
He delivered a particularly vicious blow across Rodney’s left ass cheek and paused. “Come.”
McKay met the demand immediately—his body arching into the orgasm, his cock jerking twice at the force of it. He sagged just a little but his knees stay firmly locked. The audience shifted and a few whispers were passed around but they are silent before John delivered his next blow.
By the twelfth strike of the whip, Rodney was shaking with pleasure and moaning without reserve. His cock was leaking copiously, a small puddle of pre-cum pooled underneath him. On the twentieth, John ordered him to come again and Rodney sobbed out his top’s name in a voice full of awe and relief as he met the demand.
John delivered six more blows—striking across McKay’s shoulders evenly and then he stopped. He watched a tremor of awareness slide down Rodney’s back as he moved closer.
McKay hissed a little in shock and pleasure when John pressed against him and his cock rubbed across the heated flesh of his ass. He’s never wanted to be fucked more in his life but he knew John had a rule about that and he wouldn’t be dissuaded. A part of Rodney even appreciated that anal penetration would always remain a private thing between them. That part was unfortunately being drowned out by the little voice in McKay’s head that was bouncing around practically begging for a hard fuck.
John pressed a kiss on his shoulder as his fingers drifted down his back and between the cheeks of his ass. “So pretty, McKay. Every cock in this place is hard for your gorgeous ass and it’s all mine.”
“Yes, sir,” Rodney whispered and let his head fall forward slightly as John tugged teasingly on the plug. “John.”
Sheppard curled his fingers around the plug and jerked it out in one vicious maneuver that ripped a scream from Rodney’s throat even as his body bowed and he came in a stream of semen across his thighs and the floor in front of him. The crowd shifted and started clapping but John ignored the applause. He knew his fellow Lanteans weren’t clapping their hands like they were just a rock concert. Applause wasn’t an appropriate reaction on Earth—but they weren’t on Earth. He dropped the plug into their duffle bag without a glance towards their audience.
He walked around to stand in front of his submissive, not too surprised to find McKay’s pupils blown and his face flushed with exertion. He casually checked his pulse with the press of two fingers against his neck and then reached up to undo the wrist restraints. Rodney shifted on his still bound feet and took a deep breath.
“On your knees,” John ordered as the room fell silent again.
Rodney gracefully and gratefully slid to his knees in front of his Dom—obviously unconcerned to be kneeling in the remnants of his own release. He bowed his head and took several deep breaths. His body relaxed by degrees but he kept his posture exact, respectful as if he dared anyone in the room to question what he was giving John.
John dropped one hand heavily on his sub’s head and said nothing until Rodney lifted his gaze and looked at him. “Suck me.”
Rodney groaned and he eagerly shifted on his knees and took John’s cock into his mouth without a sound. Swallowing him deeply in one move that had more than one man in the audience groaning aloud. Sheppard kept one hand on his submissive’s head—not offering pressure but affection as he took the pleasure Rodney offered selflessly.
John came with a low groan and shuddered when Rodney swallowed around the head of his cock as he released into his mouth. McKay cleaned him thoroughly and then released his cock with an audible pop in the silent room. He rested his cheek on John’s thigh, closed his eyes, and shivered a little with the pleasure of the entire experience.
The audience started to clap again. The noise of the crowd was offensive to them both but they pushed that aside as John shifted away from McKay and pulled on his robe. He released the ankle cuffs quickly and efficiently then put Rodney’s robe on—tying the belt with a sharp tug despite several groans of protest he heard. He gave Koral a sharp look and the man just nodded abruptly.
John dropped his chains in the duffle, rolled up the whip, and then reached for the suede sheath that he used to cover the cane. He handed McKay a bottle of water and ordered him to drink the whole thing as the crowd started to drift out from the exhibition hall. Elizabeth and Koral approached the pair.
“We only use the whip for severe punishment,” Koral started out and glanced towards the cane that John was wiping down with a cloth. “I’ve never seen… anything like that Colonel. I don’t think any of my people has. You’ve been holding out on us.”
John shot the man a measured look. “McKay is a thoroughly trained masochist, Koral. None of the submissives within your population would have had the experience or the training to respond that way to me. I would’ve destroyed them and you know it.”
Koral nodded and glanced towards Rodney briefly before focusing entirely on John. “You can be assured that no one as any doubts about you, Colonel. You’ve laid them all to rest.”
“I would hope so,” Elizabeth said brightly, but her eyes were a little hard now—no longer soft with the pleasure of what she’d been privileged to watch. “John, I realize you intended to spend the night but I’d like you back on Atlantis tonight.”
“Of course, Dr. Weir.” John zipped the duffle. “McKay and I will get dressed and join you at the shield entrance in ten minutes.”
* * * *
Doren was lounging by the doorway of the room they’d been given when they entered the small hall. Teyla and Lorne both frowned at him but said nothing as John moved forward, his hand against the small of Rodney’s back.
“Well, done, Colonel.” Doren’s gaze drifted over McKay. “Dr. McKay.”
“Thank you, Doren.” John prodded Rodney into the room and then stopped to stare at the Dolorian. “Whatever you’re thinking—whatever you think you might be able to get from him it’s not ever going to happen.”
“An educated man like him doesn’t belong with a soldier, Colonel. Surely you realize that.”
“I realize nothing of the kind,” John returned icily. “You don’t know enough about my people to understand how insulting your behavior has been since we arrived. It’s the only reason I haven’t hurt you already. Questioning the validity of a collared sub’s submission is insult enough but to express interest in one without my permission as you have … on my world I could chain you to a wall and beat you until I felt better about you living.”
Doren’s gaze widened in shock. “Striking another Dom is not permitted on Dolor.”
“I’m not Dolorian,” John returned. “And Koral has already said I can demand and receive the right to punish you for the insults you’ve already delivered to me. Do not tempt me, boy or you’ll find out exactly how much your leadership values their relationship with the Lanteans when compared to letting me cane your ass.”
Lorne snorted when the man stumbled away and all but ran out of the building. “Rude little bastard.”
John nodded his agreement. “We’ll be ready in five minutes.”
Teyla walked towards the room across the hall. “I will gather our things while Major Lorne stands guard at your door.”
Evan gamely took his place by the wall with a nod and a glare in the direction that Doren had fled.
* * * *
“I’ve never…” Radek blushed and looked towards Markham and Stackhouse. “I’ve never seen a de Sade Courtesan perform.”
Markham shook his head and looked away—his collar glinted in the light. “Their performance at the SGC was… similar and just as stunning.”
Radek leaned closer to his Domme. “It was amazing.”
“Yes,” Elizabeth curled her fingers against Radek’s arm. “And these people did not deserve the privilege of it. They played some game with John to get him to do it and I don’t like that. It’s dishonorable.”
“If it were more than Colonel Sheppard could take, ma’am, he would have returned to Atlantis.” Stackhouse tightened his grip on his weapon and glanced around the small courtyard that housed the arch that would lead them out of the shielded city. “Our relationship with Dolor is one of our most valuable in Pegasus, right?”
“Yes,” Elizabeth agreed. “And they used it to manipulate John into performing.” She hated the idea of it and it had tainted her own enjoyment of the event.
* * * *
John motioned towards the private room as they entered the infirmary for their post mission physical and Carson agreed readily enough. It was hardly a secret at all that they had performed for the Dolorians. Most of the city was irritated to have missed it.
He helped Rodney undress with careful hands, aware that he was still a little irritated and not remotely interested in being rough with his sub because of it. Carson hissed in a breath as he saw Rodney’s back for the first time. “Easy there, lad. Do we have any broken skin?”
Rodney frowned at him. “Of course, not. John only breaks the skin when he wants to. I’ll be fine after an application of Tollan crème.”
Carson picked up a scanner. “I’ll be judge of that, Rodney. Any muscle or organ pain that I should be aware of?”
“No.” Rodney shook his head and turned his head so he could focus on John while Carson did his scan. “Hey.”
John touched his face and rubbed his thumb over Rodney’s bottom lip. “You were amazing. You can’t imagine what it feels like to have you respond so beautifully.” He laughed when McKay blushed and closed his eyes. “Just relax here while Carson does his scan.” He leaned down and kissed his forehead. “I’m going to get Biro to check me out so we can get out of here faster. No touching, Carson, he’s still in his subspace and aroused.”
Rodney sighed just a little when John closed the door to the isolation room. “I have my own supply of crème. You don’t have to give me any.”
“Frasier made a note of the prescription she wrote you,” Carson murmured. “Any rectal discomfort I should know about? Exhibitions can get… a little hurried.”
“John doesn’t do that in exhibition. He had a plug in me but we put that in before we ever went on stage,” Rodney flushed. “He says intercourse is private.”
“I don’t disagree,” Carson said gently. “But you didn’t answer my question.”
Rodney sighed and wiggled a little as if to experiment. “No, I think I’m good. I’ll let you know after I use the bathroom if there is any pain or problems. John is pretty thorough on the preparation front even when it’s just a plug but we had sex before… we went out.”
Carson chuckled. “Oh, to be a fly on the wall of your quarters on any given day.”
* * * *
Matthew Sheppard had been told he was beautiful most of his life—it had been his physical attractiveness even at the tender age of seventeen that had put on the path of a Geisha within the Lotus House.
He turned on the showerhead and ran one hand down his stomach as he glanced around the room. The maneuvers on the main land had gone mostly like he’d anticipated—he’d done SERE training shortly after he’d gotten his wings so it hadn’t been anything he hadn’t done before.
“You gave the Marines a run for their money.”
Matthew glanced towards Evan Lorne who was braced under another showerhead a few feet away. “I can play hard to get when I need to.”
Evan laughed softly. “I’ve no doubts, Commander. We’ll have to keep a chart and see who can evade them the longest.”
“As long as we don’t let John play,” Matthew responded with a smirk. “I think he has an unfair advantage or two.”
“You aren’t implying that the Marines would let him win… are you Matthew?”
Matt glanced over his shoulder at Major Devin Hughes. The Marine was a switch and one very popular man on the city. He’d offered to play with Matt on the Daedalus but Matt knew if he wanted to get and keep Evan Lorne’s attention he had to stay on point and not allow himself to be distracted.
“Not at all, Devin. The Colonel has three times more training that most of the military assets on the base and he’s been on this planet for two years. I think he’d have an unfair advantage.” Matt turned off his showerhead and grabbed a towel from a bench in the middle of the large shower area and started to dry himself casually.
“Want some help drying off, Sheppard?” Devin asked with a grin and raised eyebrow.
Matthew shook his head. “I got it but thanks.” He winked and walked into the smaller dressing area. The small space he’d set up for himself before the shower was right across from the spot that Lorne had claimed.
Lorne appeared a few seconds after him. “How many offers do you get on any given day, Matthew?”
Matt glanced at Lorne, surprised by the hard tone he used. “It depends, Major. Most of them are pretty casual like what you just witnessed—easily ten or so a day since I got here.”
“And you’ve told them all no.” Evan glanced his way and then discarded his towel. “Just not in the mood?”
Matthew huffed out a breath and dropped his dog tags over his head. “I wouldn’t say that, Major. I’m just…” He frowned and wondered exactly how honest he should be with Lorne. “I want something serious. I’m tired of casual play. Didn’t we already have this discussion?”
Lorne said nothing else as they dressed and Matthew forced himself to push the disappointment down. Apparently Evan Lorne had thought about it and decided the answer was no.
“Have a good evening, Major.”
Matt shouldered his bag and slid out of the shower area before Lorne could respond. Since he figured he was entitled to a little pout, he brushed through his medical scan and had refused everyone but Beckett the right to touch him during the entire process.
If they were surprised to see him in such a foul mood, they didn’t let on at all. Beckett handled him carefully, respectfully, and with all the deference that his status deserved. Matthew liked the doctor a lot and found his easy acceptance of a Geisha in a snit rather relaxing all things considered.
He chose the transporter near the infirmary without thinking about it but before he could close the doors—Evan Lorne slid in. Lorne flicked a hand over the door controls and raised an eyebrow at him.
“Barracks or mess hall?” Matthew asked without looking at him.
“You’re very used to getting exactly what you want,” Evan observed. “I don’t know if that is a product of your upbringing, dynamic, or training.”
Matthew blushed. “Mess hall or barracks, sir?”
Evan exhaled and laughed softly. “You don’t even know, do you?”
Matthew turned and glared at him. “What do you want from me, Major? Are you trying to get me to respond inappropriately so you can punish me? Is this some kind of power play so you can establish the chain of command because you’re sandwiched between me and my brother?”
Evan blinked in surprise. “God, Matthew, no that’s not…” He sighed. “That’s not what I want.” He moved then—close and sighed again when Matthew relaxed against the wall of the transporter. “I want you.” He ran the tips of his fingers over his lotus blossom tattoo. “I want you and I don’t know what you want from me.”
“I thought I’d made myself pretty clear, Major. The whole city has watched me all but throw myself at your fucking feet.” Matthew looked away from him. “I’ve never had to… why do you have to be so difficult to get?”
Evan grinned. “Jesus, Sheppard, you’re gorgeous.”
“It runs in the family,” Matthew muttered.
“It sure does,” Evan moved closer and pressed his body against Matthew. “Most of the Doms on this city look at you like their last meal and it drives me crazy.”
“If I wanted one of them I could’ve already had them,” Matthew whispered and shuddered as Evan’s hard cock brushed against his thigh through the fabric of both of their uniforms. “I want you. You’re all I want, Evan.”
Evan moaned softly and took his mouth quickly. The kiss was everything Matthew wanted—dominant, relentless, and he opened his mouth as soon as Lorne’s tongue brushed over his lips. He dropped his bag and slid his leg up against Evan’s thigh in acceptance.
Matthew moaned softly when Lorne lifted his head and then pressed a soft kiss against his forehead. “You’d better not be messing with me, Lorne. I am combat trained.”
Evan grinned and kissed his mouth again. “I’m not messing with you, Matthew. I promise. I’ve sought permission to court you formally.”
Matthew’s eyes widened in surprise. “John didn’t mention it.”
“Good, I wouldn’t want you to be receptive just because he approved,” Evan admitted roughly. “I’ve been there once before and I don’t want to be there again.”
“I saw you at a party about ten months ago in DC. You were the only Dom in the whole room that didn’t even notice me.”
Evan snorted softly. “Oh, I noticed you but I was already engaged for the evening and I’m not the kind to divide my attention. The sub I was with deserved all of my time.”
“I respected that,” Matthew admitted. “I went home alone that night because of you—every other Dom in the place just paled in comparison.”
“Have dinner with me in my quarters,” Evan offered. “We’ll continue this conversation.”
Matthew nodded. “Yeah, we can do that.”
* * * *
“You are such a diva,” Miko said from her place on Matthew’s bed. “That’s the sixth pair of pants you’ve tried on in the past hour.”
Rodney snorted from his place on the couch. He could hardly believe he’d been pulled out of the labs to… help Matthew pick an outfit. “I didn’t sign up for this, you know.”
“Yeah, well everything can’t be spankings and orgasms around here, McKay.” Matthew shimmied out of a pair of jeans and tossed them aside. “I should have brought more clothes. I can’t believe how little I got to bring with me. I’m having Claire send me a care package.”
“You’re allotment for personal items was three hundred pounds,” Miko said with a frown. “And they didn’t even count sex toys as personal items.”
Matthew flushed. “Yes, well.” He pulled out a pair of black leather pants. “Too much?”
“Leather is never too much,” Miko announced and finished off her braid with a flourish. She coiled the three braids she’d made together into a neat and intricate bun and pinned it. “But, I really like the cargo pants from earlier. They were certainly the easiest for you to remove.”
Matthew nodded and tossed aside the leather pants in favor of the faded tan cargo pants. “You’re right and I can wear my sandals with these. My feet still look good from…” He flushed and rolled his eyes. “The last pedicure is still good so that’s something.”
Rodney sighed. “Claire is an odd one about feet.”
“She won’t even get naked in public if her toes aren’t painted,” Matthew confided. “She’s got punished twice in the last year for refusing to leave the house without painting her toenails and making them late for dinner or whatever.”
Rodney laughed. The truth was that he liked John’s family more than he should and he could just imagine how that was going to hurt a year from now when they parted ways.
After year, he would be entrenched in his position on the city—and John will be free to find someone else. Someone he could fall in love with and marry. McKay wasn’t going to kid himself on this front—he wasn’t what John wanted for life. Their dynamics clicked but that was all. His stomach tightened in complete misery and suddenly Matthew was sitting right beside him.
“What’s wrong?” Matthew frowned. “Did you get a stupid email from Earth? You look like someone killed your cat or something.”
“No.” Rodney shook his head. “Just thinking ahead that’s all.” He cleared his throat. “I had to get rid of my cat when I married Sam Carter. They pretty much hated each other.”
“You should have kept the cat and took her to the shelter,” Miko offered from across the room and Rodney laughed softly.
“So cargo pants and a t-shirt?” Matthew asked.
“Yeah, and wear that leather wristlet that you like so much. Keep your neck bare—tops hate a bare neck. He’ll be thinking about collaring you all night. Wear the onyx stud and put some product in your hair, it looks ridiculous.” Rodney put aside his computer. “So, he did two sessions at de Sade and two at La Petite Mort. I’ve never been with him but I’ve always heard good things about him from other subs at the SGC. He’s topped a variety of different kinds of subs in the mountain including some with a few pain kinks. For the most part he stays away from masochists.”
“So, I shouldn’t be nervous?”
“You tanned yourself naked on the pier. I think your motivations are pretty clear and you have nothing left to hide,” Rodney responded dryly. “And he approached John first—that should tell you how serious he is. You got his attention, Matthew, now go play and see if you want to keep it.”
“Right.” Matthew went off in search of hair gel. “And don’t be nervous.”
“Geisha do not get nervous,” Miko informed him coolly. “Geisha are grace and intelligence and all things beautiful and wanted in the world. He can be nervous. You will be his fantasy made real.” She pointed her little finger at him. “Else I will send you home and your instruction will begin anew.”
Matthew came out of the bathroom and met her gaze seriously. “On the honor of our house, Princess, I will make the man think he’s died and gone to heaven.”
* * * *
Rodney leaned in the doorway and watched John at his desk for a few minutes before he cleared his throat. “I should get a full medical scan again—obviously the people at the SGC and here totally missed the fact that your sister-in-law infected me with her Frenchness.”
John smirked. “Maybe she just uncovered your inner Frenchness? I mean, you are Canadian.” He leaned back in his chair. “What’s up?”
Rodney flushed. “Matthew called me to his quarters for a ‘clothes emergency’ and I actually showed up.”
Sheppard laughed before he could help himself. “A clothes emergency?”
Rodney blushed. “I’m the smartest man in this galaxy, Colonel and I just lost an hour of my life helping your little brother decide which pair of pants makes his ass look the best. It’s not funny.”
John tried to sober up but his eyes were practically dancing. “No, not funny at all. I can see how this could be considered disturbing.” He paused and took a deep breath. “Which pants did he go with?”
“Oh shut up, respectfully.” Rodney threw himself in a chair in front of John’s desk and huffed. “Tan cargo.”
John dropped his head into his hand and laughed really hard. When he could, he sat up in his chair and wiped away the tears. “Jesus. Okay. So, did Miko help?”
“Yeah.” Rodney sighed. “Matthew has a date with Major Lorne this evening and it’s this big production. I mean—where do you go on dates in this place anyways?”
“Well,” John sighed. “Things are rather limited of course—usually it’s movies, dinner in private quarters versus the mess, and trips to the mainland. Sometimes people go off world to Dolor. They welcome our business and I imagine after our performance we’ll be able to get some pretty good stuff out of them for the next quarter or so.”
Rodney nodded and rubbed his knees with both hands. “Elizabeth seemed upset.”
“She doesn’t like the games they played to get us on stage,” John murmured. “And sometimes their ways don’t mesh perfectly with ours and the results can be frustrating. We swallowed our pride a lot in the past with all of our allies—down played our ways and how our relationships work to fit in. I guess you could say we are feeling the burn on that front a little more now that we’ve reconnected with Earth.”
John tapped his stylus against the screen of his tablet PC. “But, that’s not a hot topic right now. The Apollo is coming out with a representative from the IOA and General Jordan. Elizabeth is sending out an email later today. We have a lot of things to do for the next two weeks.”
Rodney frowned. “Great, barely on the job a week and I’m already going to have to jump through hoops and justify myself to a bunch of politicians and that Nancy assed prima donna.”
John snorted; both he and his sub had spent way too much time being amused with General Rampart’s assessment of Jordan. “When is the last time you were reviewed by the IOA?”
“Six weeks after my divorce was final,” Rodney admitted and flushed. “They were curious as to my plans and when I assured them that I was content with the SGC they backed off mostly. I got some more money and they offered to buy me a house off base if I wanted. It was also made clear to me that I could have a private lab and all the minions I wanted if I didn’t want to work with Carter anymore. They offered to set me up anywhere in the world.”
“They must like you a lot.”
“No,” Rodney shook his head. “They just like my brain. It was unnerving being in a room with all of those greedy, selfish people without a collar on. It had been years since I’d had to fend for myself and I didn’t like it at all which pissed me off. I was uncollared for most of my adult life and never had a problem making my own way.”
“Carter did a lot to erode your self-esteem, Rodney. Surely you see that.”
“I do.” He looked at his feet. “I look back on things and I’m horrified by what I let her get away with because I confused her dominance and control with care and love.” He cleared his throat. “I won’t make that mistake again.” John was frowning when he lifted his head and met his gaze head on. “I need to get back to work. Matthew’s emergency wrecked my afternoon schedule.”
John nodded. “Of course. I’ll swing by the lab and get you for dinner in a few hours.”
“I’ll have a simulation running—I’d rather not leave it for very long.”
“Then I’ll bring dinner to you,” John conceded. “But you aren’t skipping a meal and having a power bar for dinner either.”
Rodney held up one hand in defeat. “Wouldn’t dream of it.”
* * * *
“I just don’t know what the hell the Colonel could see in McKay and really? How the fuck can he trust him with a collar? He cut off Sam Carter’s collar in front of half of the SGC.”
Declan Frost shifted on the weight bench and listened to the two Marines. They were a part of the original expedition and so far like most of the Marines from the first mission hadn’t socialized much with the new people.
He glanced around the room and caught sight of Stackhouse and Bates—both men were right below him in the chain of command. Bates had accepted the change far easier than he’d expected. The two soldiers bitching to the left of him had been talking softly for at least ten minutes.
“You need to mind your own business, Scott. The Colonel would strip the flesh of your bones and pick his teeth with what he left of your bones for the way you’re talking.” Chris Morley shifted on the weight bench. “Give me twenty more.”
Scott Felix put the weight on as requested “Come on, it has to piss you off. I mean you had something going on with the Colonel for a while…”
Chris rolled off the bench so quickly that no one had time to respond. He shoved Felix against the wall hard enough that the thud made Declan’s bones ache in sympathy. “You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about and your speculating about my private life is starting to fucking piss me off.”
Declan sighed. “Gentlemen, separate immediately.” He glanced around the room as Morley backed off and lowered his hands—fists clenching against his sides. “Clear this room, right now!”
He pulled a towel from the bench as his demand was met and wiped the sweat off his face. “Congrats, Corporal Morley. I’m stunned you lasted as long as you did during that conversation.”
Morley flushed and averted his gaze. “He had no business…”
“No, he really didn’t,” Declan acknowledged. “Neither one of you have any business discussing the Colonel’s relationship with Dr. McKay. It is absolutely none of your fucking business.”
“Sir, yes sir.” Morley swallowed hard.
“You’ll both report to Colonel Sheppard’s office in thirty minutes where this issue will be resolved.” Declan paused when they both paled. “You can’t think I would disrespect the Colonel by keeping this from him.”
“No, sir,” Felix ground out through clenched teeth.
“Shower and make yourselves ready to meet with the Colonel, dismissed.”
* * * *
John took a deep breath and rocked back in his chair. “Is it wrong to wish you’d kept this bullshit to yourself?” Evan Lorne laughed and Declan Frost shrugged. “I like Chris Morley too much to punish him for this.”
“He really isn’t the problem and he held it together far better than I would have under similar circumstances. He didn’t lose it until Felix started in on his past relationship with you.” Declan raised an eyebrow when John sighed.
“That kid shivers when he gets hit with a cane,” John murmured. “If that mess hadn’t happened with Ford I would’ve probably contracted with Chris. He’s too young to take a collar from a man like me but I would’ve kept him for a while and I think he knew it. He didn’t resent me when I told him to play elsewhere and I thought he was pretty serious about the civilian he was with but apparently they parted ways because the scientist went back to Earth.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I sent Ford back to Earth. Should I do the same with Morley?”
Declan shook his head. “No, not at all. He’s not unduly attached to you and from what I can tell he plays a lot on the city. He’s hooking up with one of the new pilots and they seem pretty intent on each other. I’d say that most of the military subs on the base have a little bit of a crush on you but that can’t be helped. You’re very Dominant and physically very impressive.” He grinned when John rolled his eyes.
Evan laughed. “Don’t let him fool you, Chief. He didn’t strip off all of his clothes in front of the entire city because he doubts how pretty he is.”
John threw a waded up Post-It at Lorne. “Fuck you both.”
“Oh that’s right—you were making a point,” Evan offered sagely and turned to Frost. “So this guy Felix?”
Declan shook his head. “Corporal Scott Felix. He’s part of SGA-8 and applied for OTS twice before he was transferred to the SGC. He volunteered for the Atlantis Expedition and was one of the first request to remain on the city as far as the digital records are concerned. He’s a submissive—he did two sessions at de Sade.” He glanced over the tablet PC in his hand. “He’s never been collared and doesn’t appear to have any serious relationships on the city.”
“Before you ask—yes I’ve topped him,” John admitted roughly. “I’ve topped every military submissive from the original expedition but after that mess with Ford I kept it as relaxed as possible. I took Felix and two other Marines off world when Sumner gave me a week’s down time. That’s the only time I had him and trust me—the experience wasn’t the kind that give subs emotional attachments.”
“If Felix is de Sade it’s entirely possible that his problem with Dr. McKay has nothing to do with you, sir.” Evan shrugged when John looked at him. “When did McKay attend de Sade? Did they ever have cross sessions?”
John opened up his laptop and called up the personal copy he had of McKay’s file. “Yeah, Christ—it looks like they were in Quebec at the same time. Felix’ first session coincides with McKay’s second.” He groaned in irritation and clicked his radio to his private channel. “Rodney, what are you doing?”
“I’m in my lab with that simulation I mentioned earlier.” Rodney paused. “Did you need me?”
“Yes, I’m in my office. How long?”
“I can come now. Radek can take over.” Rodney clicked off his radio without saying goodbye.
John closed the radio connection and tapped the pencil he kept on his desk that had no purpose. Even since their reconnection with Earth, paper hadn’t made a come back—well except for Post It notes. He’d noticed a lot of Post It notes but he figured people were just renewing their addiction to the sticky little pieces of paper. His office door opened for Rodney only a few minutes later.
McKay paused when he saw Lorne and Frost in the room but lifted his chin just a little before he walked to stand beside John’s chair. “Sir.”
John turned in his chair and cleared his throat. “Kneel for me.”
Rodney flushed but did as he was instructed, kneeling between his Dom’s legs easily. “Sir?”
“Now, you know that I consider your training at de Sade private and I would never question you about the other students you might have crossed paths with without a serious reason.” He touched McKay’s cheek when the scientist flinched. “I realize how intensely private training can be. You know that.”
“Yes, sir. I know.” Rodney shifted on his knees. “What’s this about?”
“Do you know a man named Scott Felix? He would’ve been at de Sade during your second session.” He watched Rodney’s cheek flush. “I see you do.”
“I’m aware of him, yes. Why?”
“He’s a Marine in my command—a member of the first expedition.”
Rodney nodded. “I’m aware of that as well. We crossed paths at the SGC before the mission.” He clenched his hands on his thighs. “His problem with me has nothing to with our training at de Sade. I was in my second session so I wasn’t in classes like first session subs are. I had an assigned Dom and… Gerard de Sade was a militant son of a bitch about second session students interacting with anyone but him and the Dom they were assigned for training. I wasn’t allowed to speak to other students during my second session. And you know I spent my third session in complete isolation with him.”
“So when we demonstrated in Vancouver?”
“That was a special seminar. They pair students together if they require intensive training during their second session. I never… Gerard didn’t want me to under the hand of a student Dom during training.” Rodney focused on his hands. “Corporal Felix is a… it’s about Sam, John. He was enamored of her and she topped him for six months before she met me.”
“So he went from thinking he was getting the collar of a beautiful Domme to nothing,” Lorne muttered.
Rodney nodded abruptly. “Yes.” He sighed. “So… what did he do?”
“He got in a physical discussion with another Marine over the Colonel,” Declan answered.
Rodney snorted. “Is ‘physical discussion’ Navy for a fight?” He looked at his Dom. “It’s like they have their own language.”
“They do,” John murmured. “The rest of us just have to put up with it. So, did you ever have any direct contact with Felix before he left Earth?”
“You’re asking me if he got in my face over Carter?” Rodney questioned with a raised eyebrow. “No, Sam may have had her issues but she protected me zealously from others during our marriage. There were people in the mountain who weren’t even allowed to argue with me in email much less in person. If he’d gotten in my face his career would’ve been over.”
John nodded. He doubted seriously he’d be able to tolerate a soldier under his command getting in McKay’s face. “Yeah, okay. I get that. Has Corporal Felix approached you since you arrive on the city?”
Rodney frowned and considered that. “I think he might have been part of the clean up at the grounding station but I’m not entirely certain. At the time, I was far more concerned with the positions of my own people. I don’t remember interacting with him or speaking with him. If I did, it was regarding work and nothing personal. I don’t believe he’s been on duty in the labs since I came on board. From what I can tell—Sergeant Bates has been putting Doms on guard duty.”
John knew that. He’d insisted on it—mostly in an effort to put his foot in the science department. Specifically men he trusted to keep one eye on McKay but he wasn’t in the mood to admit such. “Alright then, go back to torturing your minions. You don’t need to be here for this.”
Rodney quirked an eyebrow and tilted his chin in indication that he expected to be kissed before he got up which made his Dom laugh. John pressed a kiss against his willing mouth. “Thank you, sir.” He rose to his feet effortlessly and left the room without looking at Declan or Evan.
Declan cleared his throat. “So, it’s true? Gerard de Sade is his Courtesan Master? That’s the rumor.”
“It’s true,” John murmured. He raised an eyebrow. “Is that a problem because you look a little pale, Chief?”
“It’s just that Sean sort of admitted to me recently that he’d served Dr. McKay’s Courtesan Master.” Declan waved a hand in defeat. “Gerard de Sade?”
John understood perfectly. “Have you met him?”
“Once,” Declan admitted. “In New York. I exhibited for him and he came back after the performance to speak with me and the sub I was topping. It was shortly before I met Sean. I found him intense and very impressive.” He blew air out between his lips and slouched down in his chair. “I’m sort of jealous.”
“McKay trembled when he greeted Gerard,” John admitted. “I’ll be frank that our pairing is a little too new for me to be comfortable with that.” He glanced towards the door. “I’ll see them individually. Morley first.”
Declan stood and went to the door. He opened it and motioned Chris in with a jerk of his head. John said nothing until Chris was in front of his desk standing easily in parade rest.
“Declan tells me you’ve got the patience of a saint,” John said and rocked in his chair.
Morley blushed and averted his gaze. “I did my best, sir. I apologize for losing my temper the way I did. It’s not acceptable behavior.”
“No, but its understandable behavior,” John murmured and glanced him over with shrewd eyes. “Did you want to go back to Earth with your Dom, Chris? You had a social contract with him.”
The Marine flushed and shook his head. “No, sir. We had a good dynamic mesh but there was no emotional connection and I’m ready for something permanent. We enjoyed each other but he won’t ever offer me a collar.”
John nodded. “Alright. I’ll put you on the discipline schedule for in the morning. Ten lashes for fighting unless you’d prefer a reprimand on your file?”
“No, sir, I’d like to keep my file clean. Ten lashes is more than fair.” He blushed. “You, sir?”
John grinned. “Like I’d miss a chance to spank your ass. Dismissed.”
Chris laughed. “Thank you, sir.”
Declan sighed as Morley all but sprinted out of the office. “Want to do this in private?”
John shook his head. “Probably not a good idea. I might beat the shit out of him if I don’t have a buffer.”
“Hell,” Lorne muttered. “I’m not sure we’d be a deterrence. Maybe we need to call in Dr. Weir. She seems like she’s level headed.”
Declan laughed softly and went to the door. He opened it with the push of a button. “Corporal Felix.”
John said nothing as Scott Felix entered the room and took up a similar position to the one Chris had fell into much easier. It was obvious that Morley hadn’t been very worried about his own punishment. “Apparently you have a big mouth Corporal Felix. It seriously pisses me off that you didn’t take a swing at Chris so I could put you on the cross in the morning, too. Thanks to your big mouth, one of the best field assets I have on this base is going to be disciplined tomorrow. As far as I can tell he hasn’t been disciplined since basic training.”
Felix flushed. “I’ve apologized to Chris, sir.”
“I think you should handle his laundry for the next month,” John offered all too casually. “Now as your CO, I don’t the legal right to punish you for this but you realize that I can take personal offense to this situation. As far as I’m concerned, you’ve come precariously close to questioning the validity of Dr. McKay’s submission to me. I can’t even tell you how much that irritates me.”
“Sir, that was not my intention.”
“It was your intention to question Chris Morley about his past private relationship with me and to imply that you don’t think I should’ve trusted my submissive with a collar.” John rocked back in his chair, his expression neutral, his eyes glittering dangerously. “Since I don’t have any satisfying recourse in this situation I’m taking the only option currently available to me. You’ll be sorted back to Earth on the next supply run. I won’t make any recommendations concerning your next post—good or bad.”
“Sir?” His eyes widened in shock. “You’re kicking me off Atlantis?”
“I don’t trust you,” John returned. “You’re lack of discretion stuns me considering your private training. I was under the impression that de Sade taught you better than that.”
Felix flushed with fury as he jerked physically at the insult of John’s words. “Understood, sir.”
“I expect you to be front and center to witness Corporal Morley’s discipline tomorrow. Dismissed.”
Declan said nothing until the door shut behind you. “I could kick his ass in the sparring ring.”
John shook his head. “He probably isn’t the only person on this city to think what he does about McKay and our relationship. There are plenty of Doms that would never take the risk of collaring a man who had cut off a collar in public but most of them would never bother to ask why so they wouldn’t know he only did it because she refused to remove it twice.”
Lorne’s mouth dropped open. “Excuse me?”
“Yeah,” John said with a sigh. “Not common knowledge and he declined every opportunity to file charges against her both with the SGC and the de Sade Institute. In his own way, he punished her the best way he could and I won’t push him to go further than he’s comfortable on that issue no matter what kind of discussion takes place because of it.”
* * * *
Allison Porter and Miko Kusanagi argued like sisters. Snarking at each other and attacking each other’s work was completely fair game but Dr. Ellen Simpson had learned the hard way that jumping into to take sides between the two submissives was like slapping a bull’s eye on her forehead. Rodney watched Porter and Kusanagi turn on the interloper like sharks scenting blood. The argument had lasted for nearly four minutes before Simpson lost her professional façade.
“Neither one of you have the right to argue with me,” Ellen snapped suddenly.
Rodney cleared his throat. “Doctors!” All three turned to stare at Rodney. “Dr. Simpson personal status as a Dominant does not give you leeway to make assertions as to the validity of their arguments and if you think being ‘right’ is a by product of your dynamic you need to haul your ass back to Earth for a refresher course in basic human biology.” He paused and glanced all three of them over. “And for the record, you’re all three wrong. Get the fuck out of my lab your presence is not helping me enhance my calm.”
John laughed from the doorway of the lab and all four occupants turned to find him lounging there. “It’s the basic math that’s flawed not the concept.”
Rodney pointed at him abruptly. “Don’t help them cheat, John, it’s not going to help them learn.” He returned his gaze to his computer. “Kusanagi, Porter—you’re off duty. Go find somewhere else to be. Simpson, did you finish the energy projection report on the naquadah generators?”
Simpson flinched. “No, I passed that project to Dr. Samuels.”
Rodney lifted his gaze from his computer, his eyes narrowing in a way that spoke to his growing displeasure. “I told you specifically to do that project personally. Had I wanted Dr. Samuels to do it, I would’ve assigned him.”
“It’s a waste of my time,” Simpson returned.
Rodney closed his laptop abruptly. “Miko, Allison—you were leaving?”
Miko shot Simpson a look full of pity as Allison hustled her past John.
“Dr. Samuels has dual PhDs in Quantum Mechanics and Astrophysics,” Rodney started. “You on the other hand have a single PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Tell me—how you can possible think your time is more valuable than his? I personally assigned Dr. Samuels a very large project on stellar drift in Pegasus in an effort to determine how the gate system in this galaxy compensates for the phenomena. You can’t possibly think that the energy output on six naquadah generators is more important than furthering our knowledge of the goddamned gate system!”
Simpson flinched. “He’s… he had time to do it.”
Rodney clicked his radio. “Dr. Samuels, report to my lab immediately.” He clicked off his radio without waiting for a reply. “His time is mine manage not yours, Dr. Simpson.”
John moved out of the doorway when Jason Samuels appeared at this side and said nothing as the scientist entered the lab and shut the door.
Samuels put a tablet PC down on the counter near McKay and cleared his throat. “I’ve finished the energy projections on the naquadah generators. The report is filed on the server and in your email, Dr. McKay.”
Rodney pinched the bridge of his nose in a sign of pure frustration. “Jason, are you or are you not the department head of Stellar Cartography?”
Samuels flushed. “Yes, sir. I am.” He averted his gaze, his fingers twisting together. “My staff and I are working very hard on the stellar drift project. Your proof work on the proposal is outstanding. We hope to have a basic star map of Pegasus inside the next year.”
“Why did you take a work assignment from Dr. Simpson?”
“She told me…” Jason trailed off and paled. “It was a mistake, Dr. McKay. It won’t happen again.”
“I can understand how you might be confused by the changes that have been made in the Science Department since my arrival but I was very clear in my email to everyone that in my stead the only person in the department who is allowed to change the work schedule or assign projects is Dr. Radek Zelenka. You had no business taking an assignment from Dr. Simpson. You’re the head of your department, Dr. Samuels, and as such, it is your responsibility not only to maintain the integrity of your research and adhere to the schedule I’ve assigned you. If you ever do anything like this again—I will send you back to Earth without a recommendation for future employment. Understood?”
“Understood, sir.” Samuels gathered up his PC and swallowed hard. “Are we still on the schedule to meet in the morning?”
“Yes after breakfast. Bring your entire team,” Rodney said as he pointed towards the door. “Leave.” He said nothing else until the door closed behind the younger man. He turned to Simpson. “Are you lazy or just under the assumption you shouldn’t have to work if you have submissives you can pass the crap jobs off to?”
Simpson flushed with fury. “I’m not lazy.”
Rodney hummed softly and went back to his computer. He worked silently for several minutes and then closed it again. “Good then, you can turn in the report you owe me within the next forty-eight hours.”
“The work has already been done!” Simpson snapped.
“Not by you,” Rodney returned. “I’ll be using Dr. Samuels report to check yours for errors and if you even think about going to him to get a copy of his file—I’ll know. He couldn’t lie to save his own life. Forty-eight hours and report to Dr. Beckett’s office at 0800 hours for discipline. Five lashes for failure to follow orders.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Are you serious?”
“I couldn’t be more serious,” Rodney said. “You can take the five lashes or I can put a reprimand in your file and sort you back to Earth. Your choice.”
“Dr. Weir won’t allow this!”
“You’re welcome to complain to her,” Rodney returned evenly. “Just don’t be surprised if she adds lashes to your sentence for bothering her with crap she doesn’t want to be bothered with. Leave. I believe you have a lot of work to do for the next two days.”
John strolled to the small table near the back of the lab and said nothing until Rodney was seated across with him with another small computer in hand. “That was seriously hot. I almost wish you were rated for physical punishment. I’d love to watch you spank someone.”
Rodney blushed furiously and averted his gaze. “John.”
“I’m serious,” John grinned, unrepentant. “This berating your minions thing is seriously hot.” He checked his watch and sighed. “I have food coming for us both.”
“Okay.” Rodney sat aside his computer. “Will you tell me what happened with Corporal Felix?”
“He provoked Christopher Morley into a fight,” John answered and then sighed. He’d never wanted to discuss Chris or Ford with him. And now he felt he had no choice. “During the first year of the expedition I regularly topped Chris and occasionally Aidan Ford. I’ll admit to finding Chris interesting in my bed but I wasn’t ready to collar someone so soon after Jared and honestly, Chris wouldn’t have been enough to keep my attention long term. Aidan developed an emotional attachment to me and threatened to kill Chris if he didn’t stop seeing me privately.”
Rodney’s mouth dropped open. “Oh.”
“Yeah,” John said and rubbed the back of his neck. “Chris reported the threat to Marshall Sumner and Sumner lost it, rightfully so. Aidan was bullwhipped in front of the entire company. He wasn’t given a choice of a reprimand in his file. We rarely do that in the Marines but the infraction was extreme. Because of the situation, I broke off my private relationships with both of them. Aidan took it badly but Chris moved on. I knew he was disappointed but he wasn’t emotionally devastated.”
“And what happened with Felix and Morley?”
“Scott Felix questioned Chris about his private relationship with me and questioned him how he felt about my having collared someone who had cut off a Dom’s collar. He apparently spent several minutes hammering home the point because Chris lost his cool and shoved up against a wall.”
Rodney blushed and averted his gaze. “I realize my behavior with Sam must make some Doms uncomfortable and I wouldn’t blame you if you were worried about… John, I can’t imagine doing that to you. I can’t imagine a circumstance where I would be forced to do something like that to you.”
“Hey.” John reached out to touch him and then sighed when the door opened. He raised an eyebrow in surprise when he noted who was bringing them food. “Corporal Dennison, I’m pretty sure I placed my food order with Corporal Mayes.”
Dennison flushed and set both trays down. “Yes, sir. Corporal Mayes took a blow to the head in PT this afternoon and I’m part of his unit. We sorted out all of his evening duties between us and reported the changes to the Master Chief. Chad is in his barrack wishing he was unconscious.”
John nodded. “You guys did actually take him to the infirmary, correct?”
“Yes, sir. He was released as long he has someone to keep an eye on him.” Dennison inclined his head towards the trays. “I made sure the guys in the mess knew I was getting that for the two of you. They assured me no citrus.”
“Thank you.” John plucked a carton of juice from the tray and shook it. “Let Corporal Mayes know that I expect him to report to the infirmary for another evaluation in the morning.”
“I will, sir. Have a good evening, sir.” Dennison turned on his heel with John’s abrupt nod and left the room.
Rodney arranged the trays silently and then cleared his throat. “Is it… what are you going to do about Felix?”
“Morley is getting ten lashes for fighting in the morning but Felix didn’t fight back so I can’t discipline him. If I could discipline a Marine for being an asshole I could beat half my company on a damn near daily basis.” John tore the plastic wrap off the top of his juice bottle with a sigh. “I don’t worry that you’d cut my collar off, Rodney.”
McKay flushed. “I wouldn’t. I can’t imagine it, John.”
John glanced over his face and unwrapped his sandwich. “Roast beef?”
McKay offered his. “Chicken?”
John happily exchanged the sandwich and opened up his chips. “This is going to sound pretty arrogant but it never once crossed my mind when I was getting ready to collar you that you might cut off my collar. I’m just not… worried.”
Rodney chuckled. “Arrogant maybe but certainly not misplaced. You aren’t the kind of person who would hold another to you against their will. That’s why you aren’t worried—why you’d never worry about something like that. Besides…” He trailed off and sighed.
“Besides what?” John questioned.
“I’d never cut off another collar in public. It hurt me as much psychologically as it did her. It was like stabbing myself in the chest no matter how desperate I was to get out of my relationship with her. I could’ve made one phone call and de Sade would’ve forced her to remove my collar for me.” Rodney flushed. “Gerard would’ve cut it off for me if I’d called him. Maybe I should’ve.”
John’s stomach clenched at the thought of Gerard de Sade cutting his collar off Rodney. He pushed the anger and strange fear deep down and exhaled sharply. “You should’ve gone to him for protection, yes. It’s his right and you denied him that. You wear his mark, Rodney. You’ll wear it the rest of your life—it’s his duty to protect you even from yourself.”
Rodney nodded and fidgeted with the pretzels he’d spilled out of a bag onto his tray. He eyed John’s pudding cup and grinned when his Dom gamely plucked it off his own tray and put it on his.
“So what’s this simulation you’re running?”
“I’m trying to develop a program that will allow your recon teams to pull all of the recently dialed addresses out of a DHD in the order in which they were dialed. I think I can probably pull at least ten in sequence. I’m using the DHD in the gate room to test it but I’ll want to test it off-world eventually.”
John raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Dr. Grodin said that wasn’t possible.”
Rodney pursed his lips and then frowned. “Well, he was wrong. I hate to disparage a dead man and perhaps it was because he didn’t have the time to investigate the gate system the way I have but I’m the foremost expert on the Stargate in the program.”
“And you can gather information like that from a DHD.”
“I’m already pulling the last three dialed addresses. I can’t tell if they are incoming or outgoing but I think that I can probably do that as well eventually. I have the programming it’s just a matter of deciphering the ridiculous and often redundant code of the Ancients,” Rodney explained. “They may have built beautiful things like this city but their computer programming just isn’t elegant at all.”
“You’ll be able to develop a program that we can use in the field quickly?”
“Yes.” Rodney nodded. “Allison is actually helping me create a firmware update for the LSD that would allow wireless interaction between the LSD and the DHD. So this information could be gathered without having to crack a DHD in the field. Something you might not have to do if you’re under fire.”
John was silent for a minute. “You watched the footage of me being fed on by a Wraith, didn’t you?”
Rodney flinched. “Yes, before we left Earth.”
“Dr. Weir explained that it took so long to find you because no one had figured out how to retrieve addresses from the DHDs. I can’t let that continue to be a problem, John.” His hands clenched. “I have to be able to find you if someone takes you again.”
John reached over and wrapped his hand around one of Rodney’s wrist. “Hey, Koyla is dead and I assure you the Genii don’t even try to capture me anymore. It bothers the fuck out of them that I survived being fed on by a Wraith.”
“I bet.” Rodney looked down at their hands. “I’ll blow up their whole goddamned world if they try that shit again, John. It’s not even all that hard to do.”
John grinned suddenly and leaned in. He placed a firm kiss on McKay’s mouth. “That’s pretty hot, too.”
Rodney rolled his eyes. “Only a Marine would find threats of planetary destruction sexy.”
“The right kind of planetary destruction is sexy.” John kissed him again. “Are you sure I can’t fix their math? It’s driving me nuts.”
Rodney laughed. “Yeah, go fix it. It’ll drive them crazy tomorrow trying to figure out how you did it.”
* * * *
John shifted on his back and reached out for McKay. “Come here.”
Rodney crawled up the bed and law down on his side beside Sheppard. He trailed his fingers down the center of John’s chest, dipping playfully into his belly button before grazing the hard, silky flesh of his Dom’s cock.
“I love your cock.”
John laughed softly. “I took note of that fact early on, actually.” He sucked in a deep breath when Rodney licked his bottom lip. “How does the plug feel?”
“Hard,” Rodney murmured.
John chuckled. When he’d pulled out the medium sized glass plug, Rodney’s eyes had nearly crossed in excitement. Sheppard curled his hand around the back of Rodney’s head and pulled him in for a soft kiss.
McKay relaxed into the kiss, surrendering his mouth to John’s easily. He sighed when his Dom rolled them over and spread his legs quickly to give John a place to settle.
John shifted and then rubbed the full length of his cock along the crease of Rodney’s thigh. “Before I ever had intercourse, I had this friend. We’d lay naked together and rub off on each other’s skin. Sometimes for hours.”
Rodney shivered and lifted his hips with a little involuntary groan. “When I was sixteen I had this little girlfriend.”
John chuckled. “I bet you had all kinds of girlfriends.”
“Girls were easier,” Rodney admitted. “I was afraid of anal intercourse at the time and I didn’t have to worry about a girl trying that with me.”
John quirked an eyebrow. “Why were you afraid of it?”
Rodney exhaled sharply. “This boy at school showed me a video tape of what I know now to be a rape. I didn’t understand what it was then or even what he was trying to do.”
John shifted off his sub abruptly and settled close to him on the bed. “How old were you?”
“Fourteen,” Rodney shrugged. “He was a bully and he liked scare submissives. I shudder to think about what kind of Dom he must be as an adult. I wasn’t the only one he scared with that tape before one of the teachers caught him with it and confiscated it. But I didn’t let a Dom near me until I was in my first session at de Sade. They recognized immediately that I had a problem and I had what amounted to therapy sessions with a Dom at the school who specialized in sexual trauma for long hours during my first session.”
“It’s a surprise that they invited you back for a second session if they believed you were damaged sexually,” John murmured.
Rodney chuckled. “Perhaps they wouldn’t have if I hadn’t mastered that fear quickly. I had a lot of help getting through it—first with plugs and then with a very experienced and careful Dom. When he finally took me that way—I was so ready for it I begged.”
John hummed under his breath. “I bet you were so pretty. On your knees with that gorgeous ass in the air or on your back with your legs spread?”
“On my knees,” Rodney admitted. “I didn’t take a Dom face to face during training until Gerard during my third session. de Sade discourages emotional attachments during training and face to face fucking can be too intimate for some submissives.”
“Hmm,” John pressed a kiss against his forehead. “So about this little Domme?”
Rodney chuckled. “She wasn’t very dominant to be honest—I hope she came into her dynamic as an adult because she was beautiful and so sweet. She tied me to her bed two or three times a week for more than a year.”
“So she was your first?” John questioned.
“Yeah, and I was hers.” Rodney turned so they were face to face. “You haven’t topped many women, have you?”
John flushed. It wasn’t something he discussed often because it… wasn’t normal. He might let his family joke about his monosexuality on occasion but that was about the extent of what he allowed. “Dato’ Raja recognized pretty early in my training that I preferred men. During my second year, he put two female submissives in my sole care. At the time, it really pissed me off but he was just making sure that I could meet a woman’s needs.”
“So for a year he didn’t let you have a submissive at all and then in your second year he gave you two females.” Rodney chuckled. “You were right—he is the most vicious Dom on Earth.”
John laughed with him. “Well, I had them for six months. One was a masochist and she… swallowed in pain. The other was submissive to the point of pet status. Dato’ Raja separated them from me when he realized they were emotionally attached. I got a lecture for not noticing but in my defense—I never see that shit coming.”
Rodney snorted. “I believe you. Do you even notice how your Marines look at you? Hell, I think even the Doms in your command would roll over for you.”
John blushed and averted his gaze. “Shut up.”
Rodney laughed and moved closer. “Well, you can’t help out beautiful you are. If you were submissive, the houses would have fought over who would train you. I imagine Matthew wouldn’t have been the first Sheppard to be marked a Geisha if that had been the case.”
John leaned in and kissed his mouth. “You like the idea of that? Me, dolled up like a Geisha in full ceremonial dress?”
Rodney wet his bottom lip. “Yeah, that’s pretty hot. Would you wear the face make-up?”
John snorted. “Absolutely not.” He grinned. “But I’ve known Matt to put on eyeliner when he puts on the full regalia.”
Rodney hummed. “I bet his ceremonial kimono is green like his eyes.”
“Yeah, green and black,” John murmured. “I missed his marking ceremony and his presentation. Jared was very disappointed to have missed it. We did get to see it in video though. Not the same, but it was better than not seeing it at all.”
Rodney cleared his throat. “So you really don’t like to take women to bed at all do you?”
John took a deep breath. “I had three in training and that’s it because La Petite Mort gave me a woman during my first session with them. I trained with a Dom exclusively at Lotus. Then I met Jared and we were exclusive almost from the very beginning. I was taken with him from the moment I touched him.”
“Was he the same way or did he make you chase him?”
John laughed softly and shook his head. “No, I walked into our mechanical engineering class and he was sitting in the front row. I sat down beside him and looked over at him.”
“And your ego was born?” Rodney quipped.
“Something like that,” John admitted. “He knew what my Dom mark meant.” John ran his hand down the back of his neck. “He was… for lack of a better word enthralled.”
Rodney grinned. “I sympathize with his situation. I can’t imagine meeting someone trained like you at that age. I probably would’ve had an erection the entire time I sat there in that class.”
John leaned in and kissed him. “He did. I left the class after it was over and he followed. I let him follow me all the way back to my dorm room.”
“I’m sorry you lost him,” Rodney murmured. “Life is so unfair sometimes.”
“It’ll never be okay that he died the way he did but for the first time in a long time I don’t hurt when I think about him.” John stroked his fingers down Rodney’s cheek. “That’s what you’ve given me, Rodney and I believe Jared would be relieved to know you’re here with me now.”
Rodney flushed and averted his gaze, which made John laugh softly. With one swift maneuver, he prodded his sub onto his back and settled between his spread legs on his knees. With practiced ease, he pulled the glass plug from Rodney’s ass.
Without a word, he cupped McKay’s hips, lifted him off the bed just enough to provide himself a perfect angle for penetration and then pressed the head of his cock against Rodney’s slick entrance.
Rodney rocked into the pressure and moaned softly as his Dom slid into him with one thick push. “I love how you fuck me, John.”
John shifted his hands under McKay and cupped his ass as he started to thrust. He leaned down and pressed in as deep as he could. “Wrap your legs around my waist.”
Rodney eagerly obeyed and gasped in surprise when John lifted him off the bed and sat back on his heels. “John!” He shivered as he was penetrated as deeply as he’d ever known. “Fuck.”
“Too much?” John questioned softly as he nuzzled against Rodney’s jaw.
“No, God, you’re perfect.” Rodney hands fluttered against his Dom’s shoulders briefly.
John grinned at McKay’s obvious confusion about where to put his hands. “Touch me. I love your hands on me.”
Rodney slid his hands over John’s shoulders and then wrapped his arms around his neck to give himself balance. His fingers curled against John’s hair. His eyes fluttered shut as Sheppard shifted under him.
“No,” John murmured. “Don’t close your eyes. Look at me, Rodney.”
McKay moaned softly but obediently opened his eyes. He held John’s gaze without looking away as John shifted them again and then started to work his cock into him in deep relentless thrusts. Each movement rubbed the head of his leaking cock over John’s stomach.
“You’re so perfect,” John whispered, his fingers digging into Rodney’s ass. “I love how you take my cock.”
McKay’s fingers clenched against the back of John’s head as he started to rock back and forth in his Dom’s hands. “I love taking your cock.”
John groaned and took his mouth in a hard kiss that they both fell into desperately. Sheppard laid him out on his back and rocked into McKay with a series short, hard pushes that had his sub moaning into his mouth. He got one hand between them and wrapped it around McKay’s cock.
“Ah, fuck, John!” Rodney arched him. “Please!”
John increased his pace, tightened his grip on McKay’s cock and fucked into him deep and hard. He felt the changes in his sub’s body and pulled his mouth from Rodney’s. “That’s it, baby, come for me. Come all over me.”
Rodney shouted out his relief and pleasure in a wordless stream of sound and when lax under John as he spattered his own chest and his Dom’s hand with cum. He spread his legs and ran his hands down John’s back as Sheppard emptied into his ass in a series deep thrusts.
After a few minutes, John pulled from him and rolled onto his back. “That was… very good.”
“Yeah,” Rodney murmured and trailed his fingers through the semen on his chest. “I haven’t come without pain in years.”
John lifted his head and turned to stare at Rodney stunned. “Say that again.”
Rodney blushed. “You heard me.”
“Rodney.” John turned on his side. “When you masturbate do you always hurt yourself?”
“I haven’t masturbated since you took me that first night, John.” McKay flushed. “But in the past—sure. Usually nipple clamps and in college before I did my third session at de Sade I did some play piercing. Gerard made me promise not to do that any more on my own.”
John rolled back onto his back with a very smug smile. “I’m going to need some time to be proud of myself here.”
Rodney laughed softly. “How about I get us a wash cloth while you do that.”
“How about a shower?” John questioned. “Go get it started.”
He turned his head so he could watch McKay leave the bed—taking the glass butt plug with him. Suddenly, he thought himself a very lucky son of a bitch.