Title: The Choice
Author: Keira Marcos
Fandom: Sentinel/Stargate Fusion
Series: Sentinels of Atlantis
Series Order: 19
Pairing: OC/OC (Matthew Sheppard/Chase Harris), Jack O’Neill/Patrick Sheppard
Word Count: 11,400
Warnings: graphic language and SEX
Summary: Chase Harris has his first off-planet mission and suffers for it. Meanwhile, Matthew Sheppard has to make a choice about his status at the SGC and in the Navy. Jack O’Neill realizes something important about Charlie and goes to visit his ex-wife.
* * * *
The water was unbearable but not being clean was even more of an issue. Chase curled his fists against the wall and took the punishing spray of lukewarm water while his body shivered with pain. He swallowed a groan and took a deep breath as his heartrate elevated and adrenalin spiked as his senses processed the stinging pain sweeping over his skin.
The mission hadn’t been simple but it certainly hadn’t been the kind of clusterfuck of epic proportions he’d been warned about before he ever stepped through the gate. The planet hadn’t been that far off Earth-norm but it didn’t take much to utterly fuck up a Sentinel.
He took a deep breath, pulling in the damp air that did nothing to sooth the burning deep in his chest. Chase had never regretting bonding with Wil more—and he’d had room for a lot of regrets. They hadn’t been a good fit as Wil had been only a level two Guide and Chase had come online as a level five Sentinel. Chase had done well on his own—far better than he was now, bereft of the small bond Wil had allowed him. He’d given the Guide a foothold into his mind and while the younger man had entrenched himself in Chase’ senses—their bond had lacked mental and physical intimacy. Harris’ wished he’d never agreed to bond and even now, so many months later was surprised they’d been able to achieve a bond at all.
Harris shuddered, his whole body responded to the sound of Matthew Sheppard’s voice. The only thing he could imagine more inappropriate than a badly matched Guide was his attraction to a man who remained a mundane; though there was some who thought that the youngest Sheppard might be an off-line Sentinel or Guide himself. Both of his oldest brothers had come online—each an Alpha Sentinel in their own right and Patrick Sheppard… frankly Chase had rarely encountered any Guide that felt like Patrick Sheppard felt. His visceral response to his CO and Alpha’s bonded Guide was a source of both comfort and embarrassment. He knew that neither man begrudged him the comfort he received just by being in the same room with Patrick but he hated the weakness he perceived in himself.
“Chase.” The water was turned off abruptly and he was being wrapped in a warm cotton bathrobe. “Christ, do you need medical?”
“No.” Chase grimaced and tried to move away from him. “I’m fine, Commander.”
“The hell you are,” Matt hissed as he helped him put on the robe and belt it. “I spend the majority of my time with three online Sentinels, Harris.” He prodded him into the locker rooms, but Chase was so far gone he couldn’t even tell if they were alone. He found out they weren’t when several men from his team started talking at once. “Hush, he’s having a sensory spike. If you’re going to have this man on your team—you need to pay attention to him even when he isn’t using his gifts.”
“He seemed fine, Commander.”
Chase winced because he’d done his best to hide his condition from his team leader—Major Malcolm Ridge. “Sir, I’m fine.”
“Fuck that,” Matt muttered. “Everyone clear out and give him some privacy.”
Chase allowed himself to be put on a bench but he kept his eyes closed, knowing that the lighting in the locker room was too harsh for him to endure for even a few seconds. “I’ll be okay.”
“You were in a near zone in the shower,” Matt snapped softly. “Okay, don’t move. I’ll be right back.”
Gentle fingers brushed over his left cheek and he forced himself not to lean into the touch. It had been years since anyone’s innocent touch had caused so much pleasure. He felt Sheppard’s body heat as the man returned to his side. Chase lowered his hearing instinctively to avoid having any kind of connection with the man’s beating heart. He knew that he would at least do a partial imprint on Sheppard given half a chance. It had been his habit to imprint most if not all of his senses on his lovers in the past. While they hadn’t been able to offer him all the comfort of a Guide—they had been a source of pleasure and even solace when he was suffering.
“Okay, talk to me, Chase. Tell me what’s spiking.”
“Touch and sight. My sense of smell has always been one of my weaker gifts—probably only three times of that of a mundane. The same goes for taste—that’s why I wasn’t labeled a level six by the Center.”
“What can I do?” Matt asked.
Chase shook his head. “Just help me get dressed and return to my quarters, please. I’ll be fine.” He flinched when Matt sighed. “I promise, I’ll be fine.”
“After you suffer needlessly through this,” Matt returned. “Do you think… Chase… you know that your Guide’s death wasn’t your fault. I read the after action reports. He advanced on a target, contrary to orders and exposed himself to a sniper.”
Chase lowered his head. “A sniper I didn’t sense. No one said it—in the reports. But I didn’t know that son of a bitch was there.”
“Until you heard his weapon prime from what your CO estimated was three thousand meters away in a window, sixteen floors up that he couldn’t even see without field glasses,” Matt responded. “With all the white noise in the area at the time and artillery fire—no one could have expected you know about a sniper before he took action. It’s just not possible and there is no need for you to punish yourself for it.”
“That doesn’t make Wil any less dead,” Chase said. “He was my responsibility. I’m the one that had to bring him—home to the woman who loved him and parents who looked at me like I should have died instead. I could tell they didn’t want me at the funeral and it didn’t help that the Marine Corps treated me like a widower. They wanted to give me his flag…” Chase trailed off. “I made sure they gave it to his mother instead. His parents had been very upset when he came online because he was the first in like seventy-five years and his girl… well… let’s just say that she didn’t take the idea of him bonding well at all. She had the gall to lay out rules for what he was allowed to do to ground my senses.” He took a deep breath as he heard the snick of a lotion bottle opening. “What are…”
“You’re skin looks like it’s on fire,” Matt murmured. “You can trust me, Chase. I’m not going to take advantage of you… I know that’s something you have to worry about. The Center spent a great deal of time educating me and my brother David when Andy came online about sexual predators and how… even as an adult Andy would be more vulnerable than most adult males because of his senses.”
“He’ll be stronger than them, too,” Chase returned dryly. “No matter my physical state—if someone abused me I’d go feral on them and for the record I trust you. I just need you to tell me what you’re doing before you do it.”
“Okay,” Matt said as he took a deep breath. “Your skin is red and irritated over most of your back and chest. I need you to shift around and straddle the bench first.”
Chase shifted around the bench. “Can you turn off some of the lights?”
“Already did,” Matt murmured. “The ones above you are off. Just try to relax and untie the robe for me.”
Chase suppressed a shudder as he did as instructed and shrugged out of the robe—letting it pool at his waist. “I can go to the infirmary.”
“They’ll hurt you,” Matt said. “I remember what you said on the plane, Chase. You said it had been over a year since someone could touch you without it hurting until you met me. I don’t… I don’t mind doing this for you.”
“It’s not particularly fair,” Chase responded evenly. He opened his eyes briefly only to have them flutter shut of their own accord as Matt started to rub lotion into his back. “This is…I’m going to have some physical responses to this, sir. I don’t want you to be insulted.”
Matt laughed softly as he spread the lotion carefully over skin that was hot under his hands. “I won’t be insulted.”
“Most straight men would be very insulted.”
“I’m not entirely straight, Chase, but when I joined the Navy I had to make the decision to limit myself to women,” Matt said carefully. “I haven’t been with a guy since my junior year of college. I really… I really wanted the Navy and I wanted to fly. My Dad was in the Navy and at the time my brother was still serving. John had joined the Air Force—mostly I think in an effort to escape our father’s sphere of influence. I know the desire to serve was extremely strong in him. He couldn’t turn his back on it—no matter how much it cost him in his relationship with Dad.”
“I’ve heard a lot about him,” Chase admitted as his body actually started to relax. The steady, but gentle press of Matt’s hands on his skin as he rubbed in the lotion was a luxury like he’d never known. “The Marines on the base talk about how dedicated he was to finding Cameron Mitchell’s Guide and how he found her by dialing all of those planets and using his empathy to search for her. I can’t imagine how strong he would have to be do that. I don’t even think his Guide could’ve done it.”
“John was always strong. My memories of our mother are vague but John… he told me stories about her when I was growing up. He remembered everything about her—from her perfume to the tiny flowers that were on the lapel of the suit my Dad buried her in. Sometimes I think half the things I remember are actually things John remembered and told me so often I took the memories for my own.”
“I can imagine.” Chase swallowed hard as Matt’s hands moved downward, his thumbs pressing into the small of his back—circling and spreading the lotion. “How did you know where my lotion was?”
“This isn’t yours. It’s mine.”
“It smells like mine,” Chase responded dryly.
Matt laughed. “When Andy came online, our entire family went Sentinel friendly on the chemical front. Lotions, shampoos… the works. We didn’t want to take any risks with him. He’s so young and a sensory spike is a nightmare for him. The first few weeks, he would just start screaming with agony if he encountered something proved to be too much for his senses. Of course, we were already far more Sentinel-friendly than I was aware… I guess left over habits from when John was a part of our lives. I’ve always purchased soaps and personal products that were gentle enough for a Sentinel to tolerate. It was more habit than anything else.”
Chase nodded but didn’t speak. He couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for John Sheppard the day he had to choose between his family and his instinctual duty. His own father hadn’t been all that thrilled when he came online—mostly because the percentage of female Guides was statistically much lower. When he’d bonded with a male, his father had informed him that he would only be allowed to bring the Guide into the family home if their bond was platonic. His relationship with Wil had been platonic so he’d skipped the argument on that particular topic.
“Okay, I’m going to come around and sit in front of you. How do you feel?”
“Better,” Chase admitted. “I’m sorry to take your time like this.”
“I’m not. It isn’t like this is a hardship for me.”
Chase shifted on the bench as Matt sat down astride the bench in front of him, his naked knees coming into contact with the BDUs the other man was wearing. Cautiously, he opened his eyes and was relieved that while he couldn’t see well that it didn’t hurt. “I can tell actually.”
Matt laughed, clearly startled. “I suppose you always know when you’re turning someone on.”
“I know when people are turned on, yes. I don’t always know they are interested in me but we’re alone…so it must be me.” He took in a deep breath as Matt’s big, warm hands stroked over his neck and then his shoulders before moving down steadily. Fingers glanced over his nipples, almost impersonal but not quite. He shuddered and they both stilled. “Sir…”
“Matt, call me Matt. It’s just me and you here.”
“Matt.” Chase opened his eyes completely and took in Matt Sheppard’s entirely too attractive face. His eyes were bright with arousal, his face a little flushed. His gaze dropped to Sheppard’s full mouth and he could only nod when Matt started to move his hands again. Fingers rubbed the unscented lotion into his the skin covering his stomach muscles. “It’s been almost two years since I’ve had sex with anyone but myself.”
Matt’s expression darkened briefly. “Your Guide was…” He trailed off. “Did he know that after you bonded you couldn’t tolerate anyone’s touch but his?”
“He was aware,” Chase admitted. “But I agreed to a platonic bond. He freaked out three times during my imprinting and afterwards didn’t speak to me for nearly three days. I made him hard—and I don’t think he ever forgave me for that.”
“I could destroy your CO for encouraging you to take him as a Guide. It didn’t serve either one of you,” Matt murmured. “Don’t let anyone else do that to you, Chase. One of your fundamental rights as a Sentinel is a Guide who is well-suited to you both in their gifts and in their temperament.”
“O’Neill isn’t going to aggressively encourage me to accept another Guide. I don’t have to worry about that anymore.” Chase paused and sighed. “The whole Mountain is going to know you helped me through this—there will be speculation. Most mundanes aren’t capable of settling a Sentinel without an intimate relationship.”
Matt slid his hands down Chase’s arms with a sigh. “I’m not worried about rumors. I’ll tell O’Neill that you had an episode and I was on hand to help you with it. My records with the Navy indicate that I’ve had training at the Sentinel/Guide Center on dealing with Sentinels in emergency situations. I took the mundane education courses so I could take care of Andy if I was the only one around. He’ll protect me from anything stupid.”
“Do you think…” Chase sighed. “Neither your brother David or your father tested positive for the genes that mark Sentinels and Guides.”
“I don’t have them either,” Matt admitted. “I do, however, have a strong ATA gene. Apparently almost as strong as John’s. Are you asking me if you think I’ll come online?”
“I don’t think… I’m not a Sentinel. I spoke with David at length after he was diagnosed and I have none of the symptoms or problems that he talked about. He’s had them for years but didn’t think anything of it since he’d failed to test positive as a Sentinel. He’s had allergies all of his life and sometimes in the past smells were so strong that they turned his stomach.” Matt focused on Chase’s hand as he massaged his fingers carefully.
“So, a Guide.” The ache that gathered in his chest as almost painful. He pushed back the longing and tried to relax. His cock was hard against his thigh, the silky cotton of his robe wasn’t doing much to hide it.
“Yes, if it happens for me.” Matt was silent for a few seconds and then he sighed. “Don’t… please don’t get attached to me, Chase. We don’t know if I’ll come online or if we’ll be compat…” He groaned as Chase hauled him forward suddenly and covered his mouth with his own—sucking in the last part of his warning.
Chase shuddered as he dragged Sheppard closer. The Navy man opened his mouth to the pressure of his tongue and the taste of him was so intoxicating and heady that he almost came. He ran his hands over his t-shirt covered back. A barely audible moan flowed into his mouth as he cupped Matt’s ass and pulled him forward so his legs were draped over his own. Dragging his mouth from Matt’s, he let his lips whisper over a cleanly shaven jaw and he tucked his face against the soft, fragrant skin of Sheppard’s neck.
Matt shifted closer, tucking one leg so that he was practically wrapped around Chase and ran his fingers through shortly cropped hair. “This isn’t a good idea.”
“I know.” Chase rubbed his mouth on the skin of Matt’s neck and then shifted again as he inhaled deeply. “I’ve never wanted anyone in my life the way I want you.”
“I know,” Matt admitted fiercely. “Christ, I know.”
“We can’t do this,” Chase said as he tightened his hold. “It’s too risky for you. They can’t… do a damn thing to me but your career could be damaged by even the rumor that you’re sleeping with me.”
Matt nodded his agreement but didn’t try to separate himself from the young Marine he was doing his level best to wrap himself around completely. He sought the Sentinel’s mouth again and just groaned when Chase met the kiss eagerly and with no sign of reluctance. Their tongues stroked over each other—sharing taste and what they both knew was the only amount of intimacy they could have at the moment.
The rattling of a door had Matt scrambling out of Chase’s embrace quickly. “I locked the door so you could have privacy. It’s probably medical. Ridge probably reported it.”
“It’s the General,” Chase said roughly. He stood up and took a deep breath. “Thanks, you helped settle my senses better than most of the conservators I dealt with at the Center.”
* * * *
Jack O’Neill was leaning against the wall, reviewing a report on his iPad when the door to locker room four when the door finally opened. He looked up and regarded the young man he’d internally claimed as his son. Matt Sheppard looked flustered and frustrated and there was a faint scent of arousal lingering around him. It wasn’t all his own. Chase Harris came out a few seconds behind him—dressed in a pair of thin cotton pants and a t-shirt. Standard attire for an off-duty Sentinel.
“Have you leveled out, Chase?”
“Yes, sir, I’m five by five.” Chase glanced towards Matt and took a deep breath. “Commander Sheppard helped me out a lot. I’d have probably had to retreat to the Center without him.”
Jack nodded. “I’m going to take you off Ridge’s team and resort you to SG1.” He glanced towards Matt, who was the team leader for the newly reformed SG1. “You’ll lose Livingston but I think the trade off is a good one.”
“Not a problem, sir. Should I go tell him or…”
“He actually requested it,” Jack admitted. “There are a few men on this base who don’t have the balls to be in the field with their CO’s kid.” He returned his attention to his iPad and sent out the transfer order he’d been preparing. “SG1 is off duty until we get Harris squared away. Captain, I want a full report on your condition when you returned to the Mountain on my desk in the next forty-eight hours.” He lowered the tablet. “And you can tell me right now why you didn’t tell anyone you needed help.”
Chase flushed and looked at the floor. “I’m not… frankly sir, I’m used to suffering on my own. There weren’t even procedures to deal with me in medical situation on my last assignment.”
“That isn’t the case here,” Jack snapped and then took a deep breath to calm down. “I’m kind of furious with you, Harris. I’m your CO, yes, but more than that I am your Alpha. Tell me what I have to do, Sentinel, to earn your trust.”
“Sir.” Chase stared at him, horrified. “It’s… nothing…” He took a deep breath and then another. “It’s not like that. The only time I’ve had the support of a pride in my life is during off duty situations. Even then, my father limited my contact with the local pride when I first came online in high school. He disapproved of my brother’s relationship with his Guide and didn’t want me…tainted.”
“I see.” Jack closed his eyes briefly. “Okay, I expect to see you at my house this weekend. You and I are going fishing, Captain, and we’re going to have a very long, very embarrassing, and probably life threatening discussion about everything. Understood?”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“Good. Go to the infirmary, Dr. Fraser is waiting on you.” Jack pointed at Matt. “You come with me, we’re about to have a Step-Daddy Sentinel to son talk. It should be absolutely the worst thing you’ve had to deal with since your Dad gave you the Sex Talk.”
Matt laughed but gamely followed O’Neill as he walked away. He glanced back at Chase and waved the younger officer off when he saw how worried he looked. “Relax, Captain, I’m too old to get spanked.”
O’Neill snorted but said nothing as he prodded Matt into an unused office and shut the door. He flicked the lock with a practiced twist of his wrist. “I don’t even know what to say to you.”
Matt blushed and waved a hand around in distress before throwing himself in a chair. He frowned at the floor and then rubbed the tile with the toe of his boot as he considered what to say. “I want him but I shouldn’t. I understand that he’s vulnerable and sad and he probably still reaches out for that selfish little bastard his last CO encouraged him to bond with. He’s a widower, O’Neill. I get it.”
“What you obviously don’t get is that he’s not nearly as vulnerable as you think he is. He’s a little damaged, yes. That selfish little bastard he was bonded with did have a mental and physical link with him. That link was destroyed more than a year ago and yes, the Sentinel in him suffered greatly for it. But he wasn’t in love with his Guide and their bond was tenuous. They don’t talk about it much at the Center but there have been occasions where such bonds broke under the strain when the Sentinel or Guide stumbled upon a better match.” He set his tablet down on the desk and leaned on the beat up piece of furniture. “But that wasn’t what I wanted to talk about.”
Matt frowned. “Sorry for making out a little with a hot Sentinel in locker room four?”
Jack snorted and rolled his eyes. “Apology not accepted.” He inclined his head and stared at his step-son. “You trust me?”
“You know that I will protect you to the best of my ability, right?”
Matt flushed. “Is this a Sentinel thing or a commanding officer thing? Because you’re a member of my family and I know that changes things between us on the professional front. I wouldn’t, under any circumstances, expect you to risk your career to protect me.”
“There are precious few people on this planet that have the ability, the political power, or the fucking audacity to threaten my career. I saved the goddamned planet, you know.” Jack crossed his arms and stared pointedly.
Matt grinned. “A couple of times.”
“Damned right.” Jack nodded and looked at his feet. He crossed them at the ankles and sighed. “Making out a little with a hot Sentinel is a violation of the current regulations. That being said there is little anyone could do to you. You’re a decorated officer with an excellent war record and you have the ATA gene. In this command, even if I wasn’t your father’s Sentinel… you could practically write your own ticket. Strong ATA genes are stupidly rare. The regulations are going to change—six months to a year at the outside.”
Jack picked up the tablet and thumbed through a few documents until he found Matt’s SGC file. He scrolled down to the right section and then offered Matt the tablet. “Tell me what you think of this.”
Matt accepted the tablet and blinked in surprise at the section that had always been blank on his records. “You want to change my status to latent Guide.”
“But my blood tests…”
“Your father came online as a very powerful Alpha Guide, Matt. Both of your brothers are online. Your nephew is online. I know you’re latent. I can’t explain how or why and I’d rather not tell the Center my suspicions. The Sentinel in me sees you as a member of my Pride and not because of your Dad.” Jack sighed. “The choice is yours. You don’t have to accept it. It won’t change much for you but protect you from allegations of conduct unbecoming if you find you can’t keep hands off a certain attractive Sentinel.”
“But the Navy will flag my file and if I come online… they might try to reassign me. They’ve always been interested in placing unbonded Guides on ships to help maintain any unbonded Sentinels they have on board.”
Jack frowned and then sighed. “Let’s be clear, Matthew. I don’t care what the Navy thinks they can do to you. You leave this command and this Mountain on my say so. If you want reassignment, you’ll get it but I’m not particularly inclined to listen to what anyone else has to say about it.
“As far as I’m concerned, the day I bonded with your father—I gained a mate, three sons, and a grandson. You’re not going anywhere you don’t want to. If it comes down to it—and things get politically difficult—you can resign your Navy commission and take a prior-service slot in the Air Force.
“Because of your genetics, your parentage, and your flight record—the Air Force wouldn’t hesitate to accept you. They owe your brother, John, a lot for what happened to him when he was in the Middle East. They nearly let a grieving father destroy your brother’s career and the careers of several others. I’m not above laying a guilt trip on anyone I can get my hands on.”
Matt took a moment to consider all that O’Neill had said. Some of it wasn’t news to him. He knew how his father’s Sentinel viewed him and what that meant for his future at the SGC and beyond. Though he liked to think he deserved the command slot on SG1, a part of him did think that he was given it because Carter was still gun-shy about taking her Guide off planet and because O’Neill wanted the best for his step-son. “I… can you tell me about Charlie?”
Jack blinked in surprise and let one arm drop to his side. He curled his hand around the edge of the desk. “He’d be about eight years younger than you if he’d lived. He was curious…intelligent and demanding. He loved to play baseball and enjoyed soccer. Charlie… thought fishing was a punishment and would do his best to scare off all the fish so he wouldn’t have to help me clean our catch.” He smiled at the memory that brought to his mind. “He hated chocolate… said it tasted too…” Jack trailed off and the blood drained from his face.
Matt jumped up and caught a hold of O’Neill has he swayed slightly. “Christ, I’m sorry. I don’t know why I asked about him. I… fuck.” He held O’Neill still with one hand and rummaged through his pocket for his phone. His father’s number popped up in his favorites and he hit dial. “Dad, are you in the Mountain? I did something stupid… he needs you. We’re on twenty in an office just a few doors down from locker room four.”
Jack jerked free from him then and was out of the office before he could even think about restraining him.
* * * *
He’d spent two weeks in a country he still couldn’t talk about. The trip home hadn’t done much but give him the opportunity to wash off the blood and push it deep enough that he could pretend he was alright. Sarah hadn’t liked him to bring the job home—hadn’t like to even see his uniform near the end. The end. The day that Charlie… his mind shut down as he left the elevator and headed for his SUV.
Sentinels and Guides were regularly taken from their parents when they came online at an early age. His mind flicked memory after memory at him. Charlie’s sensitive skin. His extreme distaste of certain foods because of the way they smelled. His complaints about his ears hurting… grief burned in his gut as fresh and as horrific as the day it had happened.
He’d locked his gun cabinet before he left. Jack had put the weapons he kept at home in a cabinet the day Charlie took his first steps and he always locked it. The day of the gun accident… he’d come home to find his wife fresh faced and unconcerned in the front yard of their house. The memory slowed down in his head—the sun on her face, her welcoming smile, the brief shot of relief that had slipped over her face just before he kissed her. Her flippant and easy response that Charlie was “running around somewhere”… it all hurt so much suddenly that his knees weakened.
He caught himself against the wall leading out to the underground garage and tried to calm down but it was too much. Had it been too much for Charlie? Had he come online in the two weeks that Jack had been gone? What had Sarah done? Had she known? Had she hidden him for fear of losing him to the government Sentinel program?
“Jack.” He shuddered when Patrick’s hand settled on the small of his back. “What’s going on? Talk to me.”
“I need… I need to go see my ex-wife. I need to see the house.”
Patrick nodded. “Okay, that’s where we’ll go.”
“I can go alone.”
“No, you can’t,” Patrick corrected carefully. “You’re no condition to drive. I’ll take you. We’ll do this together.”
“I…” Jack nodded.
“Okay.” Patrick cleared his throat. “Mattie? Go tell Colonel Carter that O’Neill is gone for the day.”
“Sure, not a problem.”
“Matt.” Jack reached out for him. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I promise.” He wrapped his fingers around Matt’s wrist and pulled him closer. “I just remembered something.”
“About Charlie,” Matt finished. “What did you remember?”
“I think he was a Sentinel,” Jack whispered. “I think he came online and he couldn’t handle it.”
“You think that it wasn’t an accident?” Matt asked in a horrified whisper.
“No, it was an accident. But there was more…” Jack released him and leaned against the wall. “I have to know. He hadn’t been tested for the Sentinel/Guide genetics. The gifts didn’t appear to run in either of our families so he wasn’t automatically tested at birth. He would have been tested at twelve due to the laws back then.”
“I was tested at twelve,” Matt said. “Okay, we’ll take care of things here. I’ll let Colonel Carter know you’re gone and that you’ll be gone tomorrow as well.”
“Ordering me around, Commander?”
Matt smiled sadly. “No, sir, just suggesting that perhaps you could give yourself a break.”
* * * *
The house hadn’t changed and he had to think she probably hadn’t changed his room either. It had been the same—shrine like—when he’d last been in the house. He’d thought it unhealthy and had encouraged her to pack up his things or to allow him to help her do it. She’d refused to discuss it.
“I need a minute to settle. I don’t want to lose my temper with her.” Jack reached out and Patrick slid his hand into his—their fingers sliding together easily. “I always locked the gun cabinet.”
“And the key?”
“In the wall safe in the office,” Jack murmured. “That day it was in the lock. The key was in the goddamned lock and I couldn’t… understand it but Sarah never went into my office and refused to go near a weapon. I tried to get her to learn for protection but she couldn’t do it.”
“Was the key in the safe the day before?”
“I’d been gone on a mission—two weeks in a third level of hell backwater country with more terrorists than goats. It was a relief to come home—to a clean, sweet smelling house and equally clean and sweet smelling wife. I was looking forward to taking Charlie to a baseball game. We’d been planning a trip to Denver for a couple of weeks before I left on the mission.” Jack sighed. “I loved her. It wasn’t consuming or as passionate as it was when we first got together but it was… nice, solid, and a comfort.”
Jack nodded. “We’d been talking about having another baby. She wanted me out of the Air Force or at least a steady base command with very few side trips. My superiors weren’t all that interested in letting me go on the wet work front but I’d requested a transfer and it had been granted.” He took a deep breath. “Okay, I’m ready.”
“I don’t know that you are but there is no point in putting it off,” Patrick said softly. “She’s been looking out the window for the last few minutes. How is she going to react to me?”
Jack shook his head. “I don’t know. If what I suspect is true… I can’t even imagine what her reaction is going to be.”
They said nothing else as they exited the vehicle. She opened the front door of the house when they were half-way up the sidewalk. Jack paused on the first step of the porch and looked at his ex-wife. She had aged well—was still beautiful and she looked at peace. There was a part of him that felt like a real bastard for intruding on that peace but he had to know. There was nothing for it.
Sarah smiled. “Still a big liar.”
Jack grinned and walked up onto the porch. “Did you get remarried when I wasn’t looking?”
“I came close but… it didn’t work out,” Sarah admitted and then shrugged.
“Okay, then, Sarah, this is Patrick Sheppard, my Guide. Patrick, this is my ex-wife, Sarah O’Neill.”
Sarah’s mouth dropped open and her eyes grew wide briefly before she got a hold of herself and offered Patrick her hand. “Well, it’s good to meet you.”
“You as well ma’am, but we shouldn’t touch. It would… alter my scent profile and I have a feeling that Jack is going to need me to ground him sometime after this conversation.”
Sarah raised one eyebrow as she let her hand drop. “Okay. Please, both of you come in. Would you like something to drink? Coffee, Jack?”
“Coffee would be great,” Jack murmured.
He let Patrick lead him into the house and they both followed Sarah back into the large, sunny kitchen. His stomach tightened briefly as his gaze shifted around the room. His grief had festered out of control in this house—so much so that he hadn’t been fussed to take what would’ve and almost did become a suicide mission. He was prodded into a chair and said nothing while Sarah prepped the coffee maker.
Sarah turned to stare at him and leaned against the counter. Her face was a study in confusion and leeriness. Did she already know what he wanted to ask? He sighed and without thinking about it, reached out for Patrick. Her face went curiously blank as Patrick rubbed his thumb over the top of his hand. He relaxed, so comforted by that simple touch that he could’ve slid right out of the chair.
“How are you a Sentinel, Jack? The Air Force would’ve tested you. You didn’t show up latent while we were married,” she said as her mouth tightened into a thin line. “I asked you if you were a latent Sentinel.”
“On our third date,” Jack said with a sigh. “I remember. For the record, despite the fact that I am an online Sentinel—I’d probably still fail to test positive for the gene the Center searches for to determine Sentinels and Guides. We don’t know why but research is being done. I can’t really talk about that part. I never lied to you, Sarah.”
She nodded and turned her attention to the coffee maker. “Well, thanks for letting me know before one of our old friends brings it up.”
Jack blinked because it had never crossed his mind. “Oh.”
Sarah laughed and shared a look with Patrick that spoke volumes. “You basically got remarried, Jack. Don’t you think I would have told you if I’d gotten remarried?”
Jack shrugged. “Eventually. Probably. I don’t know. It didn’t… I mean… you ignored the last three times I called you.”
She had the grace to blush. “I was trying to make some changes in my life, Jack. I’m entitled to do that.”
“I’m not saying you aren’t.” Jack leaned back in the chair and glared at the table he’d refinished when Charlie was three. He reached out and took a deep breath. “Oh.”
“What?” Patrick shifted closer. “Jack?”
“He…” Jack closed his eyes as his fingers drifted over the finished wood. There were minute impressions in the sealant. “Charlie touched this table when I was working on refinishing it. I couldn’t see it before—but his finger prints are in the finish.” Glass shattered and his gaze jerked from the table and hit Sarah. A coffee cup lay in pieces at her feet. “I’m sorry.”
“No!” She shook her head and bent down to pick up the pieces. “I’m sorry. I didn’t expect that.” She smiled hesitantly. “It’s okay to talk about him, Jack. I’m just surprised because you never seemed to want to talk about him before.”
“I couldn’t… I couldn’t talk about him.” Jack watched her sweep up the glass and figured he should have gotten up to help her with it but he couldn’t even think about letting go of Patrick’s hand at that point. “Not without wanting to follow him where he went.” He reached out with his free hand and touched his son’s finger prints again. The smallness of them was pure heartache but also it was an amazing comfort.
“We aren’t meant to outlive our children,” Patrick murmured as Sarah arranged cups on the table. “He’ll need milk for his coffee.”
“He takes it black,” Sarah returned shortly.
“Not since he came online,” Patrick corrected as gently as he could. “The milk cuts the flavor and cools it down—otherwise he can have a sensory spike. We try to avoid those as much as possible.”
Sarah nodded and retrieved the milk. “It must be difficult. How long have you been online and alone, Patrick?”
“Jack and I came on within days of each other,” Patrick admitted. “There is some speculation that we came online because of each other.”
“Why?” Jack asked suddenly. “Why did you ask me if I was a latent Sentinel on our third date?”
“You were military,” Sarah began. “You had a strong… I guess the only term that comes to mind is ‘prey drive’. You weren’t the first military man I’d dated but you were the only one who moved like a predator no matter where we were and what we were doing. Also,” she paused with a sigh. “Also, I wanted to no part of a serious relationship with a latent Sentinel. I knew what would happen… my sister got her heart broken that way. I didn’t want any part of it.”
“I see.” Jack sighed and let go of Patrick’s hand so his Guide could take care of their coffee. He was really the only who could get it right and they’d had to experiment with the process the morning after they bonded.
“Why are you here, Jack?”
Jack frowned. “I kept the gun cabinet locked. The key was in the safe. The day… the day Charlie died, the key was in the cabinet lock—just hanging there. I thought, all this time that I had left it in the cabinet by mistake. That I had caused Charlie’s death.”
“Jack it was an accident—it wasn’t your fault.”
“I should have taught him to respect weapons,” Jack murmured. “I used to tell myself that over and over again. I would lay awake at night and think about all the times I could have brought it up with him. If he’d known how to handle a gun safely—they wouldn’t have been a novelty, a forbidden thing for him to play with when he finally got the chance.”
“It was an accident.”
“You believe that,” Jack said after a half a minute of silence. “All the way down to your bones, you believe it. No doubts at all?”
Sarah paused and she stared down at her coffee. “What are you trying to say, Jack? You were with me in the yard when the gun went off. He was the only one in the house… the gun was beside him on the floor. The MPs said it was an accident. The local cops said it was an accidental shooting as well. What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking that he was a little boy with a lot of allergies, he was sensitive to smells and things that tasted too strong. Those last few months he often complained that he couldn’t sleep and he started wearing long sleeves in the middle of summer. I asked him about it and he said the sun made his skin hurt. I thought…I thought he had a sunburn but looking back on it, I don’t think that was the case.”
She said nothing for a long minute—instead she drank from her coffee cup and then sat back with her eyes closed. “The first week you were gone… he had a difficult time sleeping. I thought he’d caught a flu bug or something. He was lethargic and argumentative. He threw up twice and had a complete melt down when I asked him if he wanted to go to the doctor. He’d never been afraid of the doctors on base before—but he didn’t throw up again and he said he was feeling better.
“The second week he spent a lot of time in his room but he didn’t complain about anything. A few nights before you were scheduled to be back; you called. The connection was horrible but he didn’t care. He was glued to that phone the entire ten minutes you talked to him. He slept better that night and the next day he asked…” She closed her eyes and her breath caught. “He asked to go to the library. It wasn’t an uncommon request. We split up and browsed around for a while but he didn’t check anything out. We came home and the day after that…”
“The safe?” Jack questioned carefully.
“I…” Sarah shook her head. “I don’t remember, Jack. Maybe I went into it but I don’t remember at all. That day… that whole day is a blur for me. After we found Charlie… I just remember blood and the ambulance and watching everything fall apart.” Her hand tightened into a fist. “Do you think he killed himself, Jack?”
“No,” Jack said immediately, his fingers still tracing over fingerprints that were seventeen years old. “No. I do think he came online. I think he’d probably had that gun for several days and was going to return it to the gun cabinet so I wouldn’t know he’d had it.”
“Why? Why would he have gotten out one of your guns?”
“To protect you,” Jack whispered. “To protect the house. It is instinctual, Sarah, the desire to protect. He would have had no guidance of any kind and he acted on pure instinct. Whatever he read at the library must have calmed him down about his condition. He was probably afraid of being discovered and taken away from us. He was a smart kid and he also knew he’d be in a world of trouble if I caught him with a weapon. Maybe he was afraid of me.”
“Oh, Jack.” Sarah bit down on her bottom lip and tears slipped down her cheeks. “No. He never feared you. You were his Daddy and the center of his world, you know that. From the moment the nurse put him in your arms, he was yours. Sometimes the bond between you was so strong that I felt like a third wheel.”
“I’m sorry for that. I never wanted to not include you.”
“Boys and their daddies,” Sarah murmured. “I didn’t resent it. He was our son. He came to me when he was hurt and when he was afraid. I know he loved me. I don’t doubt it.”
Jack nodded and pushed aside the coffee he’d only had a few sips from. “I wanted… I needed some closure on this but I’m sorry if I’ve made you sad, Sarah. It wasn’t my intention.”
She shook her head and closed her eyes briefly. Then she wiped her face with both hands and tried to smile. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Charlie, Jack. Sometimes I can swear I hear him running upstairs or the two of you in the backyard with that silly ball.” She stood up and left the table. “Is there any way to be sure?”
Jack frowned. “We could have him exhumed and have DNA tests conducted but I don’t want to disturb his grave.”
“I have some of his teeth,” Sarah said finally. “If it is important that you know if he was a Sentinel. We could test those. I want you to have the closure you need, Jack.”
“I don’t think I need the DNA tests,” Jack admitted. “It feels right to me and that is enough. I’d rather the government not take an interest in Charlie, even though he’s gone. If I were a younger man, they’d probably encourage me to have children with a surrogate.”
“Really?” Sarah frowned. “Why?”
“He’s an Alpha Sentinel Prime,” Patrick explained. “And he leads the Pride in Colorado Springs. It’s a recent development but it will be public knowledge soon enough.”
* * * *
Chase knew who was on the other side of the door. His fingers trembled as he touched the doorknob. He leaned against the door and sighed. It was such a mistake to let the man in his room, in his bed but he knew he wasn’t going to deny himself. It had been so long since he’d felt like he did when he was under Sheppard’s hands. Before… he’d had a choice. Before he’d touched him. Before he’d tasted him. Before he’d inhaled the scent of his skin. Before all of that there had been a choice but now he stood with a few inches of wood between him and almost everything he’d ever wanted.
He heard Matt take a deep breath on the other side of the door and he twisted the knob and opened the door before the Navy man got the stupid idea he was being rejected. Sheppard gave him a look and then slipped into the room with a little huff.
“You’re pretty when you’re put out.”
Matt flushed and shot Chase the finger as he stalked to the opposite side of the room. “I nearly sent O’Neill into a feral drive asking him about his son, Charlie. I feel like a complete asshole.”
“He had a lot of grief,” Chase finally said. “Several of the Guides in the Mountain and at the Center have talked about it. He needed to process it all. Losing a child… well for a Sentinel it is so damaging that it’s unbelievable. Despite the fact that O’Neill has been offline all of his life—his body was still processing his environment and the people around him as if his senses were online.”
Matt’s mouth dropped open. He pulled out Chase’s desk chair and dropped into it—defeated and a little hurt. “I didn’t mean… I never meant to bring that up for him. I just… he’s really connected with me on that level, maybe because I’m in his command or because I’m the youngest or maybe because I’m the closest of my dad’s sons to the age Charlie would be now. I was just curious.”
“It’s natural,” Chase said. “In many ways you gained a second father who is just as invested as your well being and life as the man who actually fathered you. A Sentinel is fundamentally incapable of not seeking to take care and shelter his Guide’s children. It’s why surrogacy is so accepted and plentiful in our communities. General O’Neill can smell your genetic connection to his Guide.”
Matt nodded. He leaned forward slightly and braced his hands on his knees. “O’Neill changed my status, Chase. He marked me a latent Guide.” He glanced up and saw the shock on Harris’ all too attractive face. “He has no doubts about my status, Chase. None.”
“But you won’t test positive with blood work.”
“My father still doesn’t test positive genetically but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is an extremely powerful Guide. The Center is already starting to review their genetic research and they’ve started by mapping his full genome. They never bothered to fully map the Sentinel/Guide genome. They found a pair of genes that they thought were common to all of us and marked the job complete by the 60’s.” Matt rubbed his hands on his BDUs and sighed. “I should leave you alone.”
Chase laughed. “Because you outrank me? Because I’m on your team? Because everyone in this Mountain will know you’re bi?”
“Because I want you and you’re going to find another Guide to bond with and probably break my heart in the process,” Matt returned evenly.
He wanted to deny that it was a possibility but he couldn’t. Matt wasn’t online, maybe never would come online and Chase couldn’t imagine living his entire life without the security of a bond with a Guide.
“I can’t make you any promises,” Chase murmured. “It’s a risk we’ll both take. The fact that I’ve already bonded once will make the Sentinel in me seek it out again—maybe not as militantly as I would have in the past if I found someone truly compatible.”
“Because you’re still hurt by his loss.”
“Instinctually, yes, I’m still hurt. I wasn’t in love with him. I don’t know that I could have ever valued him beyond a good friend. Our bond lacked intimacy and we both knew it. We came to accept it as something we could not change. Our differences… both in terms of gifts and personalities were too vast to overcome.”
“No, you don’t,” Chase admitted roughly. “I had every intention of requesting that the Sentinel/Guide Center sever my bond with him on our return to the states. They would have agreed because of the circumstances and our obvious incompatibility but it would have marked him for life. I would’ve been able to seek another bond but many Sentinels would have seen him as… unsuitable because of my rejection. I didn’t care. His protection was my responsibility, yes, but it wasn’t a responsibility I wanted.”
“He rejected you first, Chase. He turned his back on everything the two of you could have been together because of some misplaced social more that means less than nothing. It isn’t about sex—I’ve seen obviously platonic pairings at the Center who look genuinely happy together.” He stood and paced around the room. “Do you… I don’t want to take advantage of you.”
Chase snorted and snagged Sheppard’s arm as he passed him. He hauled him close and covered the man’s mouth with his own. Matt was stiff for all of ten seconds before he relented and opened his mouth for the plunge of the Sentinel’s tongue.
Half a minute later, he was shirtless and sprawled on the bed grappling with the Navy pilot for dominance. Neither one of them really wanted to win that particular little scuffle so he just laughed when he landed on his back. Chase cupped the back of Matt’s neck and sighed. “You’re a pretty bastard, Sheppard.”
Matt flushed. “Fuck you. Girls are pretty.”
“I’d love to fuck you,” Chase murmured and smirked when Matt’s eyes darkened and he shifted on him—rubbing his cock against a firm thigh in the process. “But I’d prefer to be on the receiving end of things to be honest.”
Matt raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Really?”
“It’ll be easier for you to handle me if I zone if I’m not the one in control of things. I don’t want to hurt you and this is too important to me to fuck up.” Chase bit down on his lip as he watched his would-be lover process that information. “It’s been a while since I’ve had anyone in bed with me.”
“You’re afraid you’ll go feral,” Matt murmured. “Feral on me.”
“It’s crossed my mind,” Chase admitted roughly. “I’ve thought about taking you to bed since I set eyes on you.”
“Well, that’s not surprising,” Matt grinned, sat up, and confidently slid astride Harris’ hips. “I mean, look at me.” He pulled his t-shirt out of his waistband and pulled the material over his head carelessly. He tossed the shirt aside and wet his bottom lip as he inspected the Sentinel spread out in front of him. “When you were with men in the past—did you prefer to be on top or bottom?”
“I need…” Chase sighed. “I really need both to be honest. I’ve never been completely satisfied with women though I certainly made an effort in that arena.”
“Because of your dad,” Matt frowned. “How did he grow up in a Sentinel/Guide family and be such a jackass?”
“Both of his parents were killed when he was young. He was adopted by mundanes and as far as I can tell… he’s dormant.” Chase grimaced at the shock on Matt’s face. “I know. He doesn’t have any physical issues which means he has emotional or personality issues that developed before he could even achieve a latent status. It’s rare and to be honest, after I came online I found being around him extremely uncomfortable. It made our relationship difficult. It was easy to see why my brother didn’t hesitate to chose his Sentinel over our family. I’d certainly never expose my bonded Guide to the man if I had a choice.”
“He never met Wil?”
Chase rubbed Matt’s thighs as he shifted under him, pressed his cock against the firm ass that was settled in his lap. “No, we were deployed the entire time. I didn’t worry that he’d be asshole to Wil because our bond was obviously platonic—a condition I assure you that my former CO found relieving.”
“I hate that guy and I don’t even know him,” Matt muttered. His hands dropped down between his legs and he caught Chase’s belt buckle with nimble fingers. “You want me inside you?”
“I really do,” Chase whispered fiercely.
“Let’s get naked,” Matt suggested with a small laugh. He scrambled off the Sentinel and only offered the Marine a grin when Chase was just as quick about rolling off the bed to divest himself of his clothing. He was tossing aside his boots as Chase dropped a tube of lube on the bed and tossed back the covers to reveal pale blue Egyptian cotton sheets. All the Sentinel friendly linens in the Mountain were pale blue—a visual way to make sure they were properly supplied. Harris spread himself out on the bed with a smirk.
“And you say I’m pretty.”
Chase grinned and rubbed his stomach idly. He spread his legs and quirked one dark blond eyebrow at Matt. “I’m an apex predator in my prime, Sheppard. I’m fucking gorgeous.”
“I certainly can’t argue,” Matt murmured as he put one knee on the bed and took a deep breath. “Point of no return.”
Chase offered him a hand—offering was the easy part and he knew that. He relaxed when Sheppard’s fingers slid against his and pulled the older man into bed with him. “Relax, this doesn’t have to be more than it is. The last thing I want to do is pressure you.”
“I’ve been told all of my life that bedding a Sentinel is a huge responsibility,” Matt murmured against the give of his mouth as they met in a series of small, soft kisses. He settled on top of Chase with a sigh and groaned when his hard cock brushed up against the Sentinel’s thigh. “Don’t dial down any of your sense so much you can’t tell me when you’re in trouble.”
Chase grinned and tapped his cheek with a little shake of his head. “I’m not a virgin, Sheppard and you aren’t the first mundane I’ve slept with.” He grew serious. “The first since my bond was broken, of course. I’ve rarely ever had any problems zoning during sex, I promise. It’s a lot of stimulation to process.”
He ran a hand down Sheppard’s back, enjoying the play of muscles and the texture of the minute imperfections of his skin. The fine amount of body hair on the man wasn’t irritating for the moment but he figured long term it might become a problem due to friction. There was a very good reason that Guides didn’t have body hair. Even the smallest amount of hair could lead to skin irritations. The pleasure of having a warm solid body on his was enough to drive those concerns completely out of his mind after a few seconds.
Matt’s mouth on his was demanding but never rough. He should’ve known he would be like this—in control, hands sliding over his skin—firm and talented. Pilots, he thought wryly, there were was nothing quite like being under the hands of one. Chase wanted to put his mouth all over Sheppard—wanted to toss the Navy man on his back and just slide his tongue over his skin and into places no one had ever bothered to taste before but he refrained. The first time in bed with a mundane was not the time to unleash his baser instincts. Some of his lovers in the past hadn’t been able to handle it and the last thing he wanted to do was drive Sheppard off with the more primitive aspects of his nature.
Matt slid down his body confidently, pausing to flick his tongue over one nipple. Chase hissed and arched into the contact which made Sheppard pause briefly before he continued. He spread his legs further as Matt’s mouth trailed down his sternum—grazing over his abs in his trip downward. He shuddered when lips grazed the head of his cock.
Matt laughed softly against his skin before licking boldly—taking the pre-cum that had gathered on the head. “Too much?”
“Shut up and suck me,” Chase demanded and reached out. He settled one hand on Matt’s shoulder.
Matt hummed softly and sucked his cock in without another word. The hot, wet feeling of a mouth on him was for an instant overwhelming but he pushed at his sense of touch until the sensation backed off the knife edge between pleasure and pain. Though even the hint of pain hadn’t been any kind of turn off.
Matt hands slid over his thighs and Chase spread himself wide for the other man’s exploration immediately. Blunt fingers slid against his hips and slipped under him, lifting and clutching at his ass. He curled his hands into the sheets as Sheppard swallowed around the head of his cock and tried to push the pleasure back.
“Christ, you’re going to make me come,” he whispered fiercely. “Matt, please, fuck.”
Matt groaned around his dick and rocked into him, his hands spreading Chase’s ass as he tightened his grip on the younger man. Harris groaned and threw one arm over his face and surrendered with a full body shudder. The tips of Matt’s fingers slipped between the cheeks of his ass and brushed over his hole with each rocking motion.
He came in a hot rush, jerking against Matt’s hold with a groan. Chase dropped down on the bed and groaned as Sheppard slowly let his cock slide out of his mouth. He opened his eyes and took a deep breath as he watched Matt sit back on his heels between his legs. The Navy man looked a little smug but he figured he was entitled so he just laughed a little—shocked and mildly embarrassed that he’d come so quickly.
Matt grinned and reached out for the lube. “The best part, of course, about being a Sentinel is your excellent refractory period.” He flicked the lube open and then paused. “Condom.”
Chase nodded and motioned lazily towards the night stand. “Top drawer.”
Matt pulled out an unopened box and tossed it towards Chase before returning his attention to the lube. “You don’t have any problems with latex? These aren’t Sentinel ‘friendly’.”
Chase shook his head. “I’ve never had that many allergies. Most of my skin responses are stress related. I have more issues with hearing and taste than anything else.”
“Good to know,” Matt murmured. He slicked up two fingers as Chase finally managed to pull a condom free of the strip he’d yanked out of the box.
Harris tossed the box aside and tore the condom open with steady hands. He sat up and ran his free hand up over Matt’s thigh. Wrapping one hand around the length of Sheppard’s cock, he took a deep breath—taking in the unique scent of Matt’s arousal instinctual. “You realize I’m probably forming a partial imprint on you?”
“Yeah, I know. I’m not worried.”
“You should be,” Chase muttered, he stroked his cock a few times and then ran his thumb over the pre-cum wetting the head. He released him and brought his hand to his mouth. Chase licked the cum off his thumb as he met Matt’s gaze. “Apex predator and all of that.”
“Yeah,” Matt said in agreement. He leaned forward and pressed his mouth against Chase’s as Harris moved to roll the condom on. The kiss was hard—possessive. He lifted his head and pushed the Marine back on the bed with a little smile. He stroked the man’s chest, grazing his already half-hard cock as he sat back and reached for the lube again.
Chase watched through half-closed eyes as Matt slicked up two fingers and he spread his legs in welcome. He tried to stay quiet as he tilted his hips and those slick fingers grazed his entrance. Biting down on his lip, Chase wrapped fisted his hands into the sheets to ground himself and rocked into the stimulation, once more riding that sharp edge again.
“Easy,” Matt murmured. “I’m going to push in now—just take a deep breath and relax as much as you can.”
Chase nodded but his entrance clenched as a shock wave of pleasure burst as Matt slid one slick finger into him. “Oh.”
“It’s okay,” Matt whispered as he followed the motion of Chase’s body—taking each shift and jerk critically. “That’s it—just take it.” He fingered him carefully and soon added another finger.
“God, Matt.” Chase rocked down on the invading fingers. “More. More.”
“We’ll get there,” Matt promised. “I’ll give you everything I have.”
Chase nodded, more desperate than he wanted to admit and shivered through another wave of pleasure. He really wasn’t sure he could survive being fucked by Matthew Sheppard—his touch alone was making him insane. The press of a third finger into his ass made him shiver with anticipation. “Please.”
“Close now,” Matt said gently. “So, close, Chase, just relax for me. Dial it down a little—you’re taking too much at once.”
Chase groaned but found it easy, too easy to follow Matt’s instructions. “Matt, please.”
Matt pulled his fingers free and slicked up the condom with shaking hands. “We’re going to kill each other with this. We’ll die in bed and everyone will be embarrassed for us but we aren’t going to give a fuck because we’ll be dead from the best sex ever had in this galaxy.”
Chase laughed and reached out for him. “Come here, Sheppard. Come down here and be my man.”
Matt shivered as he slid into Harris’ arms and slid one hand down between them to position himself. He rubbed the head of his cock against Chase’s hole slowly, shifting and slowly working just the head into him again and again until Chase was pushing down on the invasion—trying to take more with each shallow penetration.
Chase was getting ready to show Sheppard exactly how foolish it was to be a fucking cock tease with a Sentinel when the Navy man slowly but surely thrust completely into him. “Yes.”
“Yeah,” Matt agreed. He lowered some of his weight onto Chase and rolled his hips as he started to fuck into him. “You good?”
“Fantastic,” Chase hissed out under his breath as he wrapped one leg around Matt and used the foot of his free leg to brace himself on the mattress. “That’s perfect, Sheppard.”
Matt laughed against his mouth. “You call me Commander while I’m balls deep in you, Harris, and I’m going to make you regret it.”
Chase laughed breathlessly. “Sir, yes, sir.” He arched under Matt and groaned as Sheppard picked up his pace. He tucked his face against the side of Matt’s neck and trembled. “I love having you inside me.”
Matt groaned and took his mouth in a hard kiss. Chase clutched at him—his fingers slipped on sweat dampened skin as he forfeited the last of his control to the pleasure of being fucked. He shifted his legs and bucked up against Matt’s body, silently demanding more. Pleasure ripped into him—tore open his mind and left him shivering as he came in a hot, near painful rush.
Matt slid into him again and then pulled out slowly before he pushed in hard and came. His hips jerked roughly as he spilled into the condom. “Fuck.”
Chase nodded his agreement and couldn’t restrain a small shudder when Sheppard carefully pulled from his body. He rolled onto his stomach as Sheppard left the bed to dispose of the condom and disappeared into the small bathroom. The Sentinel in him immediately followed his lover with his senses, cataloging the changes in his scent now that arousal was fading and the way his heart was slowing. Water ran and then was shut off. He wasn’t surprised when Matt returned to him with a warm wet wash cloth.
He accepted Sheppard’s gentle and careful cleaning with a sigh. Then rolled over his back at the older man’s prodding. “I could take care of this myself, you know.”
Matt grinned. “I got you dirty—cleaning you up is the only polite thing. You probably need to shower before you sleep.”
“Yeah.” Chase nodded. “Will you join me?”
“If that’s what you want,” Matt said carefully.
“Then I will.” Matt leaned down and kissed his mouth carefully. “I’ll get the shower started.”
Chase cleared his throat. “Will you stay the night?”
“If that’s what you need,” Matt said as he glanced over his shoulder at him.
“It is.” Chase relaxed when the man nodded and disappeared into the bathroom. He was in way over his head.