Coming Home: 14. The Collaring


John woke several hours later, and his cock immediately responded to having Rodney so close and so naked. He lay there for several minutes, trying to ignore his aching erection, but finally he decided that as Rodney’s top he should exert a few rights over his sub’s body, and he began to fondle Rodney insistently. He reached for the lube on the nightstand, and slid his fingers into Rodney’s anus. Rodney came to, and made a little mumbling sound in the back of his throat.


“Too sore after last night?” John asked. Rodney glanced at him over his shoulder.


“Mmm. No,” he muttered, and he moved one of his legs so John had better access. John grinned. One of the things he was starting to really appreciate about his sub was that Rodney never, *ever* said no to sex. He had a sex drive to match John’s and that made John’s cock very happy indeed.


John lubed his rock hard cock, and then snubbed it gently into Rodney’s ass. They were both still half-asleep, and it was lazy morning sex, just casual little thrusts. After the frenzy of the previous night John felt they needed this. He kissed the back of Rodney’s neck as he rocked into him and Rodney sighed.


It was a gentle, relaxed little sex session, and John came inside Rodney and then laid his chin on Rodney’s shoulder and sighed. He was aware that Rodney hadn’t come, and he’d made no effort to bring him to climax.


Something between them had deepened after last night, and John felt it was time to assert more dominance in the bedroom. He’d always held back with his subs before, never done more than play at making them submit, but with Rodney he felt he wanted to go much further. They were both on a journey together, and he sensed that Rodney would be a willing partner, prepared to explore his submission in the same way that John wanted to explore his dominance.


“I don’t want you to come today,” John whispered in his ear. Rodney shivered slightly. “And I want you to keep yourself lubed because I might want to take you at any time,” John added, caressing Rodney’s naked body with his fingers, loving the way Rodney trembled beneath his touch. “When I want you, then I’m just gonna bend you over and take you. You won’t come until I say that you can.”


“Okay,” Rodney whispered, his voice hoarse, and his cock hard and hopeful. John grinned. He’d always liked the idea of keeping a sub shivering on the brink before, but had never had a sub he’d wanted to take to this level. Rodney always responded so beautifully though – it was such a turn on.


“I don’t want you touching your cock today except when you use the bathroom,” John continued, purring into Rodney’s ear. “Your cock is mine. I’m the only one who gets to touch it. And this ass.” He squeezed Rodney’s ass with his hands, and Rodney’s entire body seemed to ripple with pleasure. “This beautiful ripe ass is mine too.”


“Yeah…” Rodney gave a little whimper.


“Mine to touch, mine to bite, mine to spank,” John whispered in his ear. He knew Rodney liked hearing this kind of thing as much as he liked saying it. “Mine to fuck,” he added, in a low, growly tone, and Rodney almost went into a spasm at that.


“That whole not coming thing hasn’t started yet, right?” Rodney asked hopefully. John snorted and pinched his buttock firmly, making Rodney squeal.


“What do you think?” John asked.


“I was just hoping,” Rodney sighed.


“If you’re good today then I might let you come this evening,” John said, grinning.


Rodney sighed and flung his arms open wide. “Just kill me now,” he lamented.


John laughed and turned Rodney towards him, then bestowed a loving kiss on his sub’s mouth. “Stop complaining or I might not let you come all week,” he said, and Rodney’s blue eyes looked so stricken by that thought that John couldn’t help laughing again.


They took a slow, loving shower, with John inspecting every inch of his sub’s body for any damage caused by his encounter with the shadow creature the previous day. Rodney seemed unscathed, although John decided he was still going to take his sub along to Carson for a check-up anyway.


They got dressed and walked along to the infirmary. John squared his shoulders as they got close. He didn’t like having to say he was sorry but his behaviour the previous day had been completely insane, and he owed Carson an apology.


The doctor looked up warily as they came in, and eyed them both cautiously.


“Carson, I’m sorry,” John said quickly. “I hope I didn’t hurt you yesterday?” He saw the faintest hint of a bruise on Carson’s neck, and winced.


“Only a little. I was worried about you though,” Carson said, glancing at John and then at Rodney, and back again. “Rodney told me he’d take care of you, and I told him to call if you needed any medical help. I presume that wasn’t necessary as neither of you called. What was going on for you, John?”


“He’s my top. I’m his sub. He got freaked out by all the touching people were doing,” Rodney supplied helpfully. It wasn’t quite the way John would have put it, but it was pretty close to the truth.


Carson let out a little holler of joy. “So you two finally got together? Thank god! I was beginning to despair of the pair of you!”


Rodney frowned. “Why? I mean…you don’t seem very surprised, Carson.”


“I’m not!” Carson grinned. “This one here has been mooning over you for months for a start, and I knew you’d fall right into his arms if you’d just wake up, get your head out of your own arse, and see sense.”


“Is that right? You’ve been mooning over me?” Rodney grinned widely at that, glancing sideways at John.


“I wouldn’t describe it as mooning exactly,” John replied defensively.


Rodney giggled, and John couldn’t resist putting an arm around him and pulling him close. Rodney came, easily, and John felt that sensation of rightness again. He pressed a kiss to Rodney’s hair and then smiled at Carson, who was beaming at them both like an enchanted matchmaker, delighted with his own handiwork.


“So I’m sorry, Carson. You’ve been a good friend to us and what I did yesterday was wrong,” John said.


“No problem. I’m just delighted you two are finally an item.”


“I’m bringing Rodney along for that check-up he should have had yesterday,” John said. “He says he’s fine but I want an expert opinion.”


Rodney snorted. “If one can actually be an expert in voodoo,” he muttered.


“Be nice, laddie, or I might complain to your top about you,” Carson told him. “I hear that a good strapping can work wonders on a smart mouth like yours.”


“Ha.” Rodney made a face but clearly didn’t feel confident in pursuing that line of conversation.


“Okay – John, I need to take some blood, and listen to Rodney’s heart among other things,” Carson said. “Is that okay, and would you like to be present?”


“Yes, and yes.” John smiled, relaxing. It was never easy watching anyone touch Rodney, but he trusted Carson and now he’d given his permission it felt much easier. Carson smiled back at him and waved Rodney behind a curtained bed. John joined them there, and watched as Carson went about his work.


“I suppose you’re going to want to visit Hicks while we’re here,” Rodney muttered. John gave him a sideways glance, sure that he’d detected a note of jealousy in Rodney’s voice.


“I do, yes. How’s he doing, Carson?” John asked.


“He’ll be fine – we’ll keep him here for a few days. We’re giving him something to help the swelling go down. His skin’s a bit puffy and painful. Right. I’m done with you, Rodney. Now – John, your turn.”


“Me? I’m fine,” John protested.


“And yesterday you sustained a head wound and a mild concussion,” Carson said. “Remember?”


“To be honest I’d forgotten,” John grinned, shaking his head. “A lot has happened since then, doc.”


“Well, I haven’t forgotten,” Carson told him firmly. “So let’s have a look.”


Carson took his time, doing his usual thorough job, and John noticed that the doctor was making more notes than usual, frowning as he did so. He also ran more tests than John thought was strictly necessary.


“Is there a problem, doc?” he asked, puzzled, when Carson was done.


“Not a problem as such, no,” Carson said slowly, examining his notes and then fishing out some old notes and comparing them. John rested his hand on Rodney’s shoulder and Rodney glanced at him, a questioning look in his eyes.


“To be honest, I’m a bit surprised,” Carson said. “That head wound wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t negligible, either, John, and yet today…it’s almost completely healed. There’s also very little trace of that burn on your hand and arm – no swelling, nothing beyond a bit of mild tanning in fact. And Rodney – now, not only does he appear to be completely unscathed after his encounter with that shadow creature yesterday, but his blood pressure is much improved on the last reading I took. In fact, he’s usually borderline hypertensive and yet now…his readings are at the upper end of normal.”


“Well that all sounds good, not bad,” Rodney commented.


“It is – but it’s also unusual, and I don’t like mysteries, especially medical mysteries,” Carson muttered.


“So what do you think is happening?” John asked.


“Well…” Carson glanced at the notes, and then back at them. “I’m not sure how you’re going to take this, but it looks to me very much as if you two have formed the beginnings of a lifebond.”


“What?” John froze, remembering his fathers. He’d spent the past eighteen years distrusting the whole idea of lifebonds, so this was a shock.


“Well, we could just put it down to the restorative faculties of having copious amounts of very good sex,” Carson grinned. “Which you two obviously are – but the results are more marked than that.”


“What does it mean?” Rodney asked quietly. “I mean, you said the beginnings of a lifebond? I take it that we haven’t somehow bonded without knowing it?”


“No. That’s not possible. If you were lifebonded you’d definitely know about it. And if you decide you want to lifebond then I think you’ll find it easy enough but it has to be a conscious decision, and you’ll need to go through a certain mental and emotional process to complete it – it can’t happen by accident,” Carson said firmly. “You have to mean it, and you have to want it. However, I have read about instances where a bond has started to form spontaneously – and that seems to be what’s happened to you. It’s not a problem, and it’s nothing to worry about. In fact it’s a good thing – as your current glowing state of health testifies.”


John stole a cautious glance at Rodney, wondering how his sub was taking this news – it was certainly more than either of them had bargained for. Rodney didn’t seem particularly bothered though – in fact he had a cheerful expression on his face and a lively curiosity on the subject.


“I’ve never really taken much interest in lifebonds before,” Rodney mused. “I always thought they were a bit freaky to be honest. I had no idea it was even possible for people to have the beginnings of a lifebond. I thought you needed training and a big ritual and years of meditation and Shinzoic sex to reach that level.”


John gave a little snort at that. Rodney glanced up at him. “What?”


“Sorry – just the thought of you having Shinzoic sex,” John grinned. “You’d never be able to keep quiet enough.”


Shinzoin was a particularly pure form of dominant and submissive sex, where the two participants took their roles as top and sub to almost spiritual levels. They entered into a headspace where they were completely attuned to each other, the sub willing to surrender every single aspect of themselves to their top, finding an inner, peaceful, silent subspace. It was equally challenging for the top who had to fully inhabit their own topspace, coming to view their sub as an extension of their own will, utterly in step with them, as completely under their control as one of their own limbs. Some people had likened it to a kind of choreography, whereby a couple had an almost telepathic link.


John had seen some Shinzoic couples – they did look very zoned out and at one with each other, and there was a kind of strength and peace in that, but John didn’t have a whole lot of time for the pursuit of that kind of perfection.


“I could!” Rodney protested. “I’m a genius. I can do anything I put my mind to.”


“Well, okay,” John said, in a frankly disbelieving tone, trying to imagine restless, talkative, irascible Rodney as a quiet, obedient, peaceful Shinzoic devotee, and failing completely.


“Getting back to your point, Rodney,” Carson said, “the medical profession still isn’t entirely sure how the lifebond works, but it seems to be the flow of kaeira along the bond that helps in the healing process. Now, kaeira is a bit like other healing energies, such as Reiki, but it has a far more dramatic effect when flowing along a lifebond than Reiki has.”


“You’re making even less sense than usual, Carson,” Rodney told him. “I always thought all that stuff was so much mumbo-jumbo. Kaeira, Reiki….” He shook his head.


“Well they’re hard to medically quantify but we know they exist,” Carson said. “I’ve got some medical papers on them if you’d like to read them.”


“I’m sure they’ll be riddled with errors and inaccuracies, and I’m bound to regret this, but okay. If this thing is happening to me I want to know about it,” Rodney said, making a face.


“Pop into my office next door and ask Nurse Morelli for them – he knows where they’re filed,” Carson told him. Rodney bounced happily off the bed and disappeared. “So, you two finally got together,” Carson said, giving John a speculative glance. “And as you’re both looking so relaxed and healthy, I’m guessing it’s going pretty well?”


“Fantastic,” John grinned. “Although…I’m still having trouble controlling my emotions, Carson. I’ve never felt like this before and it’s pretty confusing. What I did to you yesterday….” He sighed and shook his head. “Well, I really am sorry. I was out of control.”


“And how does Rodney feel about that?” Carson asked. “You didn’t hurt him?” he added anxiously.


“What? No!” John shook his head vehemently. “To be honest he’s the one person I know I *couldn’t* hurt when I feel like I did yesterday. Even when it feels that dark inside, one word from him and I’d pull back – but it’s kind of easier if it can take its course – if I can let it out, with him, safely, just the two of us. And he handled it amazingly well – I’m still a bit surprised about that. He seems to kind of have a feel for me.”


“Well, the fact you’ve formed a spontaneous pre-lifebond is an indication of how compatible you are,” Carson said. “Some people strive to bond for years and never manage it, and you two have been together for five minutes and you’ve already got the makings of a strong bond, whether you choose to complete it or not. As for the emotional side of things – I hate to say this because I can see you’re something of a sceptic, but you might like to take a look at the Shinzoin principles. They might help you get that under control. Also, to avoid misunderstandings like yesterday, you should consider putting a collar on Rodney. Nobody would touch him without your permission if he was collared.”


“I’m working on it,” John sighed. “Trust me, nothing would please me more. But…I freaked him out by asking him to move in with me, and after that whole thing with Bates and his training collar…well, I don’t want to scare him off completely.”


“I doubt you would. I think Rodney is the kind of sub who’d love the security of wearing a collar,” Carson told him in a serious tone of voice. John remembered something Rodney had said to Bates, about how he viewed the act of collaring as one of love, and how he’d always kind of hoped for it to be a romantic moment. “And now you two are ‘out’ with your relationship – well, there’s nothing stopping you,” Carson said, patting his arm.


“Well, we’re ‘out’ to you – I’m not sure how Rodney feels about being out to anyone else just yet,” John replied. “We still need to have that conversation.”


Rodney returned, clutching a disk, and John reached out and put his hand on Rodney’s shoulder. If he was quiet, and concentrated hard, he could feel that warm, sweet energy flowing between them, always in the background, just out of focus. He realised how fragile the fledging lifebond was – yesterday, when he’d been unable to touch Rodney, their link had felt blocked, and John had missed it without even knowing it, the loss gnawing at him from the inside, making him irritable and unhappy. Then when they’d been making love last night, it had come back, stronger than ever. He guessed that their bond depended on them touching and tasting each other frequently, and on regular love-making.


They left the curtained-off cubicle, and Carson led them over to the other side of the infirmary where Hicks was being cared for. John felt Rodney stiffen as they approached, and he realised why when he saw Bates standing beside Hicks’s bed. John put his hand back on Rodney’s shoulder, and squeezed, feeling his own hackles rise.


He was surprised to see Bates here – he knew that he and Hicks had been friends, but that had been before he’d given Hicks Bates’s job. He had thought that Bates might be vindictive enough to turn against Hicks for that, but maybe he had misjudged the man, because Bates was standing close, talking to Hicks, and Hicks was nodding and smiling. Something about the little tableau made John feel uneasy, but he wasn’t sure what.


Bates looked up and saw them coming over, and his expression darkened. John felt Rodney tense even more beside him, and he squeezed harder. Carson was right – Rodney needed a collar, and John wanted nothing more than to put one around his neck, to proclaim to the world that Rodney was his, and nobody had better touch him.


“Morning Sergeant Hicks,” John said. Hicks gazed up at him in surprise.


“You came to visit me, sir?” he said, sounding pathetically pleased.


“Of course. I wanted to see how you were doing,” John replied. Hicks’s normally pale skin was puffy and swollen, but it didn’t look any worse than very bad sunburn, and Carson’s team clearly had the condition under control.


“I’m fine, sir. I’ll be back at work by the end of the week,” Hicks said eagerly.


“We’ll see about that, laddie,” Carson said, with a fond smile. “Next week maybe.”


“Take your time, Sergeant,” Rodney said cheerfully. “I mean…no need to rush. Nobody’s missing you or anything.” He cast a sideways glance at John and John smothered a grin. Oh yeah, Rodney was *definitely* jealous, and that gave him hope.


A collar wouldn’t just keep other tops away from Rodney – it would also proclaim to anyone who was interested that John had taken a sub and so that position was no longer vacant. Of course a top could take more than one sub, but that wasn’t John’s style – and somehow John doubted that many subs would risk upsetting the irascible Dr McKay by making a move on him. Rodney did pretty much control the city after all, and nobody would want to be condemned to a lifetime of cold showers for daring to make a pass at Rodney’s top.


John chatted to Hicks for a few minutes but not for too long because he could tell that Rodney wasn’t comfortable standing so close to Bates. John didn’t blame him – he didn’t feel very comfortable with it himself. Bates just stood there, glowering at them both, his gaze fixed on the hand John had on Rodney’s shoulder, clearly considering what that might mean.


Occasionally his gaze flickered up to Rodney’s neck, and John knew that he was looking for a collar. Rodney was wearing his lab coat though, and the lapels partially obscured his neck, making it difficult to see what he might be wearing there.


John was pleased Hicks was okay and he left the infirmary with Rodney, his hand still on Rodney’s shoulder, making the most of their last few minutes together before they left for their respective jobs.


“You didn’t waste your time,” a voice rang out behind them in the hallway. Rodney froze, and John turned, slowly and deliberately. Bates was standing there, fists clenched tight by his side, glaring at them both.


“Excuse me, Corporal – did you have something to say to me?” John asked. Rodney moved a step closer to him, so that their hips were touching, and the link between them thrummed, tautly, as if responding to their heightened sense of danger.


“I’m just thinking how unfair it is. You only warned me off McKay because you wanted him for yourself,” Bates spat. “You pulled rank on me in order to get your hands on *my* sub.”


“I was never your goddamn sub you stupid pinhead!” Rodney snapped. “When will you *ever* get that into that pint sized brain of yours?”


“You were mine. You were *this* close to being mine,” Bates growled, holding up his thumb and forefinger.


“He turned you down. Accept it, Corporal,” John said firmly. “And now he’s mine.”


“Is he? I don’t see a collar on him,” Bates said, with a grim little smile. “Seems to me like he’s still fair game.”


Rodney made a tiny little sound at the back of his throat, and John had to put a warning hand on his sub’s arm to stop him throwing himself at the other man. His own anger was simmering just beneath the surface, but he knew that Bates was taunting them, and refused to rise to the challenge.


“Listen to me, you nasty little punk,” Rodney said, in a low, furious voice. “He’s my top, I’m his sub, and I will never, ever belong to you. As for a collar – if he ever wants to put one on me then I’ll wear it with pride – unlike that nasty choke chain you wanted to put around my throat. Now back off, because I’ve seen him when he gets jealous, and trust me, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of an angry John Sheppard again.”


Bates gave another twisted little smile. “Getting your submissive to fight your battles for you, Colonel?” he taunted. John burst out laughing – which visibly punctured Bates’s unpleasant little bubble.


“He’s doing a pretty good job of it,” he replied with a shrug. “Mess with him and you mess with both of us, Bates. Now, Rodney’s made his choice. Accept it, and move on with your life because if you ever lay a finger on him, ever again, then I promise you I’ll kill you with my bare hands.”


John didn’t raise his voice as he said that, but he left nobody in that hallway in any doubt that he meant it. He put his hand back on Rodney’s shoulder, and they both turned and walked away, leaving Bates behind. John felt a little glow of happiness as they walked. Rodney had said that he’d be proud to wear his collar! John let his finger slide gently up and down Rodney’s neck as they walked, thinking how good it would be to see his collar resting there, proclaiming Rodney as his for all the world to see.


They got into the transporter – the lab was the first stop, and when they got there, Rodney made to leave but John reached out, pulled him back, pinned him against the wall of the transporter and kissed him hard. Rodney sighed, and melted against him – John loved the way his sub did that – it aroused him so much. He wished they didn’t have to work, as he’d like nothing more than to push Rodney to his knees and be on the receiving end of another of his truly spectacular blow jobs, but they were late as it was so he had to be satisfied with a kiss. He made it a damn good one though, and when he finally released Rodney his sub blinked at him, looking a little dazed.


“Okay…so…that’s really put me in the mood to work,” Rodney grumbled, grinning anyway.


“I know how engrossed you can get. I just wanted to make sure that some little corner of your mind remembers me while you’re busy blowing stuff up in the lab,” John told him.


“Contrary to what you may think, most of what I do does not involve blowing stuff up,” Rodney retorted.


“Yeah. Whatever.” John placed a hand on Rodney’s butt. “Just remember that your ass is mine – whenever I want it.” He squeezed, and then opened the door and pushed Rodney out. Rodney stood there for a moment, gazing down at the front of his pants forlornly.


“And the whole not touching myself/not coming thing?” he asked, blue eyes looking adorably hopeful.


“Still a rule,” John grinned, closing the door to the sweet sound of Rodney’s sigh of protest.




Rodney hummed to himself all morning as he went about his work. He brought in donuts and coffee for his team again, and was in a thoroughly good mood. Yesterday had been tough, but today was going to be good. He could feel it. In fact, he really *could* feel it. His ass ached pleasantly whenever he sat down, and sometimes, when he was least expecting it, he had a momentary little flashback to the events of the previous night. An out-of-control John had been edgy, but exciting, and Rodney had felt he understood his top on an almost intuitive level. John’s moods were complex, and occasionally dark, but now Rodney felt less like the novice in their relationship. John might have a better handle on their relationship generally, but he also had this odd vulnerability, and Rodney liked him all the better for it.


Rodney sighed, feeling absurdly at peace with the world. He was doing a job he adored, was in love with a man he adored, and having the most amazing sex of his life, and generally speaking he didn’t think things could get much better. It was astonishing how much his life had changed since coming to Atlantis. He winced when he remembered what a completely fucked-up person he’d been just a few short months ago.


Rodney sat down at his work station and smiled to himself as he felt the pressure on his well-fucked ass. His cock hardened a little, hopefully, and he sighed. John had been very clear in his instructions this morning, and Rodney was not, despite what other people might think, the kind of sub who disobeyed an order from a top he loved and respected. He could go to the men’s room and masturbate, but he didn’t want to. He liked giving John this amount of control over his body. It turned him on knowing that John had ordered him not to touch his own cock. It kept him on edge, and he knew that when John did finally allow him to come, that it would be spectacular.


Rodney radioed John around lunchtime but found, much to his annoyance, that his lover had been called over to the mainland, so he grabbed a sandwich, feeling his happy mood dissipate somewhat. A couple of hours later he got a call asking him to go and take a look at puddle jumper one and he set off grumpily. He hated being interrupted in his work, and the puddle jumpers weren’t exactly a priority for him.


“What am I – a mechanic?” he grumbled to himself. “It’s always McKay fix this, McKay fix that. McKay, my computer isn’t working. McKay, one of the puddlejumpers needs a new sealing joint. Blah, blah, blah.” He reached the puddle jumper, clutching a box of tools in his hand, and slammed his hand on the door mechanism. The jumper opened and Rodney stepped inside, still grumbling to himself. “The city could be about to explode and there’d still be some idiot somewhere asking me to go fix the damn coffee machine,” he muttered. The door shut behind him and he put his toolbox down on one of the bunks.


“Talking to yourself?” a voice behind him said, and he jumped, and then felt a familiar fizz of arousal zoom through his body as two arms slid around him. “I just got back from the mainland, and all I could think about on the journey home was your ass,” John whispered in his ear. “I want you to bend over the flight console so I can take you.”


Rodney swallowed down, hard. There was something so incredibly sexy about just being available for his top, whenever John wanted to take him. He was turned on as all hell, but at the same time, knowing he wasn’t allowed to come made the event even more meaningful. He wanted to come, because just hearing his top speaking in that low, sexy growl made him hard. But at the same time, knowing he couldn’t come meant that his body really was his top’s plaything, for John to enjoy whenever he wanted, and that turned Rodney on even more.


He hurried over to the console, and quickly unbuttoned his pants and pulled them down to his ankles, then bent over the console, leaning forward and holding on. It felt weird to be standing like this, ass exposed, waiting for his top to fuck him, but also damn sexy. They were in a puddle jumper for god’s sake! He felt waylaid, surprised, and that was a good feeling. John flicked a couple of switches, locking the hatch and activating the cloak, and Rodney heaved a sigh of relief. The last thing he wanted was for Radek’s inquisitive face to come peering through the window to see him in this utterly compromising position.


He felt John come up behind him, and then his top began running his hands over Rodney’s upturned ass, and Rodney sighed, feeling that buzz he always felt when John touched his naked skin.


“You feel good. Nice and hot and ready for me,” John whispered. “Open your legs wider for me, Rodney. Wider. That’s good. Did you remember to keep yourself lubed for me?” Rodney gave a little gasp as a finger slid, unexpectedly, into his ass. “Oh yeah. That’s real good.” John purred. He leaned forward and deposited a kiss on the back of Rodney’s neck, making Rodney shiver. “Who do you belong to, Rodney?” John asked, sliding his finger insistently in and out of Rodney’s anus. Rodney closed his eyes.


“You,” he whispered, turned on beyond belief. Damn this was hot! John was so completely compelling and commanding, and Rodney had never felt more submissive in his life. He had never done more than toy with his own submission before, enjoying it insofar as he got off, but never giving any more of himself than he had to. He’d never have been able to do this for another top, to offer himself up for sex without expecting to be able to come himself, at least at some point during the proceedings, even if he had to hold it. Hell, he’d have told another top where to go for even suggesting it, but with John it felt so arousing that his entire body quivered with sensation.


He’d read a lot about the submissive headspace – it was hard to avoid articles yammering on about it as if it was an elusive holy grail requiring some special knowledge to reach. Rodney had never given it a whole lot of thought before. If he came, then sex was good. If he didn’t then he was pissed off.


This was different though. There was pleasure to be had simply in the situation itself. There was pleasure to be had also in the evident pleasure John got from taking him. Rodney sighed, and laid his head down on the console, opening his legs up as wide as possible, relaxing his internal muscles so John could enter him more easily. This felt incredible!


“Oh that’s good. You’re so good,” John murmured to him, his hands stroking Rodney’s bottom insistently. “I’m going to take you now, take you so hard….”


Rodney felt his buttocks being spread even further, and then the now familiar feel of John’s hard cock nudging at his anus. There was always a moment of burning as the ring of muscle was breached, but then came that entirely pleasurable sensation of John’s large, powerful cock filling him to the hilt.


Rodney clung onto the console as John slid into him, keeping him nailed into position. Rodney heard his top give a little hiss of pleasure as he lodged himself fully inside him, and then John’s fingers slid under his tee shirt and tweaked his nipples. Rodney gave a startled little squawk and John hushed him, his breath tickling Rodney’s ear.


“Mmm, that’s it, take me…” John purred, moving his hips back and forth. Rodney started to pant as that large cock filled him, thrusting deep inside him with every movement of John’s hips. It had only been a few days since Rodney had first allowed John inside his body but it felt like a lifetime.


This was how it *should* be, Rodney thought to himself. John’s cock felt so right inside him. Their bodies fitted together so perfectly. He would never have imagined even a week ago that this could feel so good. His anus had stretched to accommodate John’s size, and while it sometimes felt a little sore from such frequent use, the sense of pleasure he got from taking John into his body in this way more than made up of for it.


“Damn you’re good…so tight…” John was saying, and Rodney mewled with pleasure, arching his back as John started pounding into him in earnest. Rodney’s cock was hard and weeping but he held back his own orgasm, forcing himself not to give in to the waves of pleasure coursing through his body, and then John gave a triumphant shout and it was over.


There was a brief hiatus, during which Rodney wanted nothing more than to take his cock in his hand and bring himself to climax, but he rode it out, the sweat standing out on his body with the effort of it.


Finally John slid out of him, and he heard his top zipping up his fly, and then John was stroking his bare ass again. “That was fantastic,” John said. “You can get up now.”


Rodney stood up, shakily, and turned around. John looked down on his hard, weeping cock, and smiled. He pulled Rodney to him, and wrapped his arms around him. “That’s good. That’s so good. You held on,” he said. “I’m proud of you, Rodney.”


“It *was* good. Damnit, I’m shaking,” Rodney replied, holding on tight to his top’s warm, protective body. John’s hands went down to his butt, and squeezed.


“You have no idea how hot that was. I mean…sex in the puddle jumper, and you…just taking it like that. No arguments, no backtalking – god I love you, Rodney.”


“Mmm.” Rodney basked in his top’s praise. Not having an orgasm was worth it for this – and he knew that John would make his orgasm, when he was allowed it, all the sweeter. He wondered what his top had in mind for that. He had come to know John well enough to suspect that his top already had a plan for it.


“I want you to meet me here tonight,” John told him, as if reading his mind. “After work. Go back to your quarters and get changed. Wear something hot. Then head back here and meet me at seven. I’ll be waiting.”


“What did you have in mind?” Rodney asked.


John drew back and traced a finger over Rodney’s lips. “That’s a surprise,” he said softly, before claiming another sweet kiss. Then, reluctantly, he disengaged himself and left.


Rodney sighed and began readjusting his clothing. He could feel John’s come seeping out of him, and needed to go to the bathroom to clean up, but he loved how it felt. He had to wait a few minutes for his erection to subside enough for him to be able to pull up his pants, and he roundly cursed his top for *that* little inconvenience.


Finally, he was able to make himself presentable, and he grabbed his toolbox and left the jumper in a much happier mood than when he’d arrived.


Rodney wore a silk shirt in a shade of vivid blue and the tightest pair of black chinos he possessed for his rendezvous with John later that evening. He even rubbed some gel into his hair, and when he looked at himself in the mirror he thought he’d come a long way from the dishevelled figure he’d been just a few weeks ago.


He arrived at the puddle jumper at five to seven to find John already there. Rodney had to pause to catch his breath, because John looked amazing. He was wearing a pair of those tight black leather pants that made his legs look so long and lean, and a loose, slinky black shirt that skimmed his body, showing off its hard lines, open at the neck to reveal tufts of chest hair. He wore a black leather vest over the top of the shirt, and a silver earring was dangling from his ear. Even his hair seemed extra spiky. Rodney took a moment just to look.


“You’re drooling.” John put his finger on Rodney’s jaw, and pushed his mouth shut.


“You’re walking around looking that hot and I’m supposed *not* to drool?” Rodney replied querulously. John shut him up with a quick kiss, and then pulled him into the puddle jumper.


“Are we doing a repeat of earlier?” Rodney asked.


“Nope.” John shook his head, shutting the hatch behind them.


“You mean, we’re actually *going* somewhere?” Rodney asked, surprised, as John strapped himself into the pilot’s seat.


“Yep.” John nodded in the direction of the passenger seat.


“Where?” Rodney couldn’t think of anywhere they *could* go particularly. It wasn’t as if the Pegasus Galaxy was exactly teaming with nightlife and bars.


“You’ll see,” John replied mysteriously.


It was only a short trip across the ocean and they landed in a familiar place. Rodney was grinning as they stepped outside. John grabbed a basket from one of the bunks, and then took hold of Rodney’s hand and started leading him down towards the beach.


“Back to the scene of the crime huh?” Rodney said, remembering that fantastic first date, and that equally fantastic first kiss.


“Mmm.” John paused for a moment to kiss him again, and Rodney leaned in close.


“If I’d known it’d lead to all this hot sex I wouldn’t even have hesitated,” Rodney murmured afterwards. John rolled his eyes.


“You have a one track mind,” he said.


“Excuse me – I’m the one who hasn’t come all day and you’ve come twice so I can be forgiven,” Rodney retorted.


“Good things *come* to those who wait.” John grinned at him infuriatingly, pulling him along again.


They walked along the beach and Rodney stopped as he saw the table standing on the sandy shore, and the blankets laid out around a warm, welcoming fire.


“You planned this?” he said, blinking in surprise.


“Yeah. I’ve been ferrying supplies over to the mainland for the Athosians all day so I just took some time out on the last trip to set all this up,” John told him.


“For me?” Rodney asked, because this was the most ridiculously romantic thing he’d ever seen, and he wasn’t exactly the kind of sub who’d ever attracted romantic gestures from any of his previous tops.


“Who else?” John rolled his eyes again. “Come on.”


He pulled Rodney over to the table, and Rodney sat down, still surprised. It was starting to get dark, and the stars were just beginning to appear in the sky above them. It was a beautiful evening – still warm, with hardly any breeze.


John sat down opposite him, and lit the candles on the table. Then he opened the basket he’d brought with him. He took out a big plateful of food and put it in the middle of the table.


“I’ve got another one in the basket if you’d prefer, but I thought…” John paused, and took a deep breath. “If you like – we could share this one.”


Rodney gazed at him. This was a loaded question, the subject of far too many romantic comedies and the substance of ludicrous amounts of romantic literature going back centuries. Rodney had felt uneasy about it before, but after yesterday he found that he didn’t have any doubts. He was with John, and he would always be with John. Once he’d got his head around that, everything else just slotted into place.


“Sounds good,” he replied, his voice hitching slightly with emotion, taking him by surprise. John’s smile lit up his entire face, and Rodney felt warm inside. He’d just done something right – something very right.


John slid his fork into the food and offered it to Rodney. The candle flickered, lighting John’s face, and the fire warmed them from a few feet away. Rodney took the mouthful of food from the fork, and John reached out and rested his hand on Rodney’s. Rodney chewed – it tasted delicious, and he wondered how much John had had to bribe the mess staff to make it.


“Good?” John asked, taking a forkful himself.


“Fantastic,” Rodney replied, swallowing the morsel down.


John poured them both a glass of wine and Rodney took a sip, still feeling slightly stunned by all this. It was all just so romantic – the table on the seashore beneath the starry sky, the beautifully prepared meal, the fire crackling nearby, and the inviting waiting blankets. And now he was sharing a plate with someone. He’d never imagined that would ever happen.


In the past, he’d always been faintly horrified by the idea – it seemed romantic but it meant giving up control over his food and Rodney wasn’t comfortable with that. Now though, he could see it wasn’t like that at all. It wasn’t as if he had to wait for John to feed him all the time – if he wanted a donut in the lab he could still help himself. It was simply that when he and John were sitting down for a meal together, his top would hand feed him, and Rodney found that wasn’t a hardship at all. In fact it was kind of relaxing.


Usually he shovelled his food down so fast that he barely tasted it, but John fed him slowly, taking bites himself between the forkfuls he gave to Rodney, and it was such a shared experience.


He’d never really *shared* a meal with someone else before, both of them taking pleasure in each bite, and he loved the intimacy of John holding the fork to his mouth, and occasionally wiping some sauce from his lips with a finger, or brushing his cheek with the back of his hand in a fond caress. Rodney was surprised by how connected he felt to his top sharing the meal with him. It gave them time to really talk, and they touched each other far more than they usually did while eating.


Rodney found he was concentrating on his top more, watching him cut the food with those long, elegant fingers, seeing the reflection of the dancing candlelight in his eyes as he held up each morsel. And all the time the waves rolled onto the sea shore, just beyond the table, and the faint breeze rustled through John’s hair, and the fire crackled and danced in the darkness.


“My parents never shared a plate,” Rodney murmured. “Neither one of them wanted to give up control to the other. So I never really understood what the big deal was before. All those bloody movies on the subject….”


“I know!” John grinned. “I dated one sub who loved those damn movies so much. I thought if I had to sit through one more sappy romcom about a couple who were meant to be together sharing plates with the wrong people or whatever I’d go insane.”


Rodney smiled. “And yet here we are…doing something more romantic than I think I’ve ever seen in any movie.”


“Well that’s not hard. I bet most of the movies you watch are sci-fi,” John pointed out.


Rodney laughed. “Yeah,” he agreed softly.


John got a dish full of rich, dark chocolate mousse from the basket, placed it on the table between them, took a heaped spoonful, and held it to Rodney’s lips.


“Oh shit,” Rodney sighed as he tasted it. “That’s so good.”


“So I was thinking,” John said, and Rodney picked up on a note of tension in his top’s voice. “Carson knows, and Bates knows…and well, we’re kind of sharing a plate now so I’m figuring that you’re okay with the rest of the city knowing about us?”


“Yeah – that whole keeping it a secret thing was a dumb idea in the first place,” Rodney said, with a shrug. “I just assumed we were going to crash and burn so I didn’t want the inevitable disaster being any more public than it had to be. I’m over that now. In fact, I want every sub on this base to know that you’re taken so they can stop throwing themselves at your feet whenever you walk past.”


“Because that happens every day.” John rolled his eyes.


“Don’t tell me that Hicks hasn’t propositioned you!” Rodney retorted. “He was giving you the biggest puppy dog eyes I’ve ever seen.”


John grinned. “He did make a pass at me, yes, but that was awhile back, before I even realised I wanted you, and I told him back then that I wasn’t interested. He’s a nice enough kid but…I think I’d find him kind of boring.”


“Well one thing I can promise you is that I won’t ever be boring. I might drive you insane, but it won’t be dull,” Rodney said, taking another spoonful of the delicious chocolate mousse as John held it up to his mouth.


“Yeah. I figured that. I think that’s partly what attracted me. You know, the first thing I thought when I saw you was that you were gonna be trouble – and I wasn’t wrong there.”


Rodney snorted at that.


“The second thing I noticed about you was your ass,” John added, in that low tone that always turned Rodney on. “And I’ve been kind of fixated on it ever since.”


“The first thing I noticed about you was your hair,” Rodney said. “And then I tried not to notice you at all until that day you marched into my lab wearing your towel. It was hard not to notice you then.”


“You were being difficult,” John grinned.


“And you were showing me that you knew how to handle me,” Rodney said, gazing intently at John’s wet lower lip.


“And I do,” John murmured, his eyes fixed on Rodney’s face.


“Yeah,” Rodney agreed, softly.


They gazed at each other silently for a long moment, the breeze caressing them gently, John’s finger rubbing insistently along the inside of Rodney’s palm, and then John moved, and drew one more thing out of the basket beside the table. It was a small box, and Rodney vaguely recognised it – he’d seen it in John’s room, on his nightstand, beside the picture of his parents.


“I wanted to give you this,” John said, placing the box in front of Rodney. “If you’ll do me the honour of wearing it?”


Rodney felt his mouth go dry as he looked down on the box. He reached out, and fingers that were usually so dextrous were fumbling now as he picked it up. He glanced up at John who looked as nervous as Rodney had ever seen him, the casual, laid-back mask just barely in place. Rodney knew that he was getting to see a side to his top that John never allowed anyone to see.


He opened the box, slowly, and found a sleek collar, made of shiny white gold, nestled inside on a bed of plain black silk. He picked it up, the cool metal trailing sensuously through his fingers. Attached to it was a simple strip of gold, and engraved on that, in elegant italics, was a name: John Sheppard.


Rodney turned it over, and his breath caught in his throat as he saw one word engraved on the underside, where it would never been seen, where it would rest, hidden, against his flesh: Mine.


Rodney gazed at it, feeling suddenly wordless and winded. Nobody had ever wanted to collar him before, and he’d never wanted to be collared, but now he found that he wanted it more than anything else. He wondered what it would be like, to walk the hallways of Atlantis as a collared sub, with John Sheppard’s name on his collar, proclaiming his ownership in such a classy way.


“If it’s too soon…” John said anxiously. “After Bates…I wasn’t sure….”


This was nothing like Bates’s collar though. This wasn’t an ugly choke chain, designed to restrain and restrict and strangle into submission. This was a beautiful item of jewellery, designed to be given as a gift, a token of love and affection.


The elegant engraving on this collar was a world away from Bates’s blunt expression of dominance. Collars typically bore the name of the top – never the submissive – so that anyone meeting the sub would know who had collared them, and therefore who they would be messing with if they hurt that sub, or made a move on them.


Rodney ran his fingers over the engraving. Mine. It was so perfect in its simplicity.


He glanced up, into John’s worried eyes, and realised that he still hadn’t given his lover an answer. He got up, walked to where John was sitting, and knelt down beside him, and then he placed the collar in his top’s hand.


“Yours,” he whispered, and he saw a flash of joy in John’s eyes.


Rodney bent his neck to accept the collar, placing his hands on John’s knees. He was trembling slightly as he felt John’s fingers gently touching his throat, and the cool caress of metal against his skin, and then there was a little snap as the collar was fastened, and he was, for the first time in his life, a collared sub.


He had never expected it to be such a profound moment. He was collared. He was John’s sub now, for all to see, and he felt a sense of relief wash over him. There was no agonising, no decision to be made. He belonged to John now, and he always would, whatever happened. He knew there would never be anyone else for him.


He felt John’s fingers on his chin, lifting up his face, and then John took his head in his hands and pulled him in. Their lips met, causing sparks to fizz through Rodney’s body. John’s mouth was firm and loving on his own, and Rodney opened up, feeling lost in a haze of the most intense emotions.


He was kneeling, a collared sub in front of his top, being kissed, and suddenly, out of nowhere, he felt that warm, sweet sensation flowing between them, more powerful than ever before.


John kissed him for a lifetime, and Rodney clung onto his top’s knees, utterly adrift in the moment. Far away he could hear the waves lapping on the shore, and overhead the stars were twinkling in the night sky, and his entire life had become this one, perfect point in time.


When John finally released him, Rodney sank back on his kneels and gazed up at his top, completely enraptured. The cool metal of the collar had that thrill of unfamiliarity against his skin, and he could hear the faint chink of the links as he moved his head.


“Mine” – the word was pressed into his flesh, secret, between him and his top.


He was collared.


John was getting up now. He reached out a hand and pulled Rodney to his feet, and Rodney went, uncharacteristically silent. John led him over to the blankets, and guided him down onto them so that he was lying on his back, and then straddled him.


It was like the first time they’d kissed, out here on this same beach, as John took hold of Rodney’s arms and pushed them over his head and claimed his mouth again, only this time it was exponentially different, because this time he was collared. He belonged to John now, and the metal around his throat proved that, for all to see.


Rodney gazed up at his top, dazed, as John started to unbutton his shirt. His top took his time, working slowly, his fingers sliding sensuously under the fabric to tease Rodney’s nipples and stroke his chest.


There was no light pollution on Atlantis, and overhead the stars burned a sharp white against the inky black sky. The three Atlantean moons shone in various degrees of brightness, none of them as large or as bright as Earth’s moon, but their combined light achieving a similar effect. Rodney shivered; it was hard to get his head around the fact that he was here, on an alien beach in a different galaxy entirely, being undressed by the top who had just collared him.


“You warm enough?” John asked, pausing in his unbuttoning.


“Mmm,” Rodney replied. “Just….” He honestly didn’t have the words to describe how he was feeling, and why he had shivered. He just gazed up at John helplessly.


“I know,” John said softly, understanding. He dipped his head down and kissed Rodney again, a gentle, reassuring kiss this time, and that warmed him from the inside out.


John finished unbuttoning his shirt and slid it away from his body, and Rodney moved his arms, obediently, so that John could strip it from him. Then John ran his fingers through Rodney’s chest hair, and gently spidered them over his collar bones, before bending his head to land a soft kiss on each of Rodney’s nipples. Rodney sighed as John’s tongue lapped out and teased his nipples into little points of arousal. Then John licked a trail up to his jaw and sucked down on his neck, before nibbling affectionately on his earlobe.


Rodney lay completely still on the blankets, surrendering himself to his top’s attention. John moved back, and unzipped Rodney’s pants, then pulled them and his boxers down to Rodney’s ankles. He swiftly stripped Rodney completely naked and threw his clothes onto the nearby chair. Then he paused, and leaned over Rodney again, just gazing at him.


Rodney saw a reflection of himself in John’s eyes, lit by the orange flames of the nearby fire. He was lying there, stretched out on the blankets, completely naked save for the strip of metal encircling his throat, and he could see by the expression in John’s eyes that this was as profound a moment for him as it was for Rodney.


John reached out a hand and touched the collar, never taking his eyes off Rodney’s face as he did so. Rodney gazed back, aware that they were dancing an age-old dance, a top claiming his collared submissive for the first time.


He held his breath as John looked down on him with a fierce expression in those hazel eyes. John was still fully clothed, and Rodney felt like an offering, lying here, naked, laid out at his top’s feet for the taking. John reached out and slid a finger along Rodney’s cock, which hardened immediately.


“Good,” John whispered. “I want you to be hard for me whenever I touch you, Rodney.”


Rodney nodded, thinking it was unlikely he’d ever have a problem with that particular order.


“You can come whenever you want this first time,” John told him. “But I want you to come more than once tonight, so bear that in mind.”


Rodney nodded again, because he seriously doubted that would be a problem, either. He had known John had something good planned for this evening, but he had never imagined it would be *this*. At that moment, John moved his head, quickly and unexpectedly, and Rodney gave a gasp of surprised pleasure as his top’s mouth enveloped his cock with one smooth movement.


“Oh shit,” he murmured, grabbing handfuls of the blanket. John had never blown him before, and Rodney realised, through a haze of pleasure, that it felt fantastic. John drew back a little, and grinned at him over Rodney’s bobbing, glistening penis.


“Keep still for me, Rodney,” he ordered. “I want you completely still – I want you to surrender to me. Come in my mouth whenever you’re ready, but don’t move. If you move I’ll punish you.”


Rodney shivered. John had never spoken like this to him before, and it was sexy as all hell. He didn’t want to be punished – he wanted John to be pleased with him, wanted to give his top everything he asked of him, so he lay there, as quiet as he could be, while John returned to work.


It was hard not to gasp, and move his hips, as John’s warm, wet mouth descended on his hard penis again. It felt so damn good! Rodney tried to relax every muscle in his body, gazing up at the black night sky overhead. For awhile he was just his aching cock, merging into the warmth that was John’s tongue as it pleasured him. It felt fantastic, and his entire body became boneless as John sucked down hard.


Then the stars above him seemed to be dancing, dizzily, crashing into each other and forming an intense white starburst that exploded inside his mind, and he felt himself coming, his body delivering wave after wave of orgasm, all the more hot and hungry for having been denied all day.


John’s mouth remained a constant presence on his cock, milking him for all that he was worth, swallowing his come down until Rodney was done. Then John licked a few last pearly drops from Rodney’s slit, and sat up. Rodney was unable to move. He just lay there, gazing at his top adoringly.


“Thank you,” he whispered.


“Ssh. I’m not done with you yet,” John replied. “Watch me.”


Then he stood up, and slowly began to undress. His body was lit by the light of the fire, casting him in an orange glow as he slid his vest from his shoulders. Then he unbuttoned his shirt, going as slowly as he had whilst undressing Rodney, never taking his eyes off his naked sub, lying on the blankets beneath him. Rodney gazed back, utterly transfixed.


John removed his shirt to reveal his flat, lean stomach, and firm, hairy chest. Rodney let out an involuntary sigh as John undid his leather pants, and slid them slowly down his long legs, before finally kicking off his boots and socks.


Then he stood there, naked, his big, proud erection pulsing in the light of the fire. Rodney felt a thrill igniting in his belly. John was his top, and he was about to take his collared sub. His recently sated cock gave a tiny twitch of pleasure at that thought.


It honestly didn’t get any better than this.




End of Part Fourteen




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