General & Dr Sheppard: 6. Out of Control 


Rodney Sheppard let himself into the quarters he shared with his husband and stood there for a moment, rubbing his neck absently. He was stiff, tired and vaguely pissed off that the mission had been such a disaster, but pleased that McKay was going to pull through. Much as the man irritated him, the last thing he wanted was to attend the funeral of someone who bore such a close resemblance to himself—even apart from the fact that he would have been devastated to see Colonel Sheppard’s reaction to such a loss.


Rodney cricked his neck from side to side until he got a satisfying click and then went into the bathroom. He caught sight of himself in the mirror and sighed; he looked sweaty, tired, bloodstained and dirty. He decided that a bath was in order, and he started filling the tub. He checked the bathroom closet for some kind of nice oils to throw in, but they seemed to have been provided with only the most basic toiletries. Rodney made a face—these people seemed to lack any kind of sensuality. He finally found some kind of muscle-relaxing bubble bath and threw that in, then sat on the side of the tub and swirled the green liquid absently with his fingers until it dispersed.


The bath had just finished filling when he heard John return to their quarters so he turned off the water and went into the other room to greet his husband. John looked as beat as Rodney felt right now and they gave each other a wry smile and then Rodney walked into his arms and they just stood there for a moment, holding each other and saying nothing.


“Dr. McKay is going to be okay,” John said finally, muttering into Rodney’s hair.


“Yeah. I stopped by the infirmary before coming back here,” Rodney replied. John was silent but he had buried his nose in Rodney’s hair and was sniffing. Rodney drew back and gazed at him—and wasn’t surprised to see a familiar dark gleam in his husband’s eyes. He wondered how long it would be before John gave into it, because he could see that he’d used up all his control during the mission and was hanging on by a thread right now.


“I drew a bath. Thought we could both use it,” Rodney said, watching his husband carefully.


“Good thinking,” John nodded, disengaging himself and sitting down on the side of the bed, reaching for his boots. Rodney knelt down between his open knees and brushed his husband’s hands away, undoing the boots for him and pulling them off.


John put a hand on his shoulder as he worked, kneading absently. “Thanks,” he muttered, when Rodney was done. Rodney put the boots in the closet and then John beckoned him back. “Get undressed, Rodney, I want to examine you,” he said.


Rodney shrugged his clothes off quickly, threw the filthy garments into the laundry box and then came to stand in front of his husband, completely naked. He was used to walking around naked when they were alone together—John had always been pretty insistent about getting to look at Rodney in the nude as often as possible. John stood up, and moved Rodney’s head to one side so that he could examine the wound on his neck. He gave a little sound in the back of his throat and Rodney tensed, but then the moment passed.


Rodney’s fingers reached up and found the corresponding spot on his husband’s neck and the Kaeira hummed between them for a moment. “It’s healing,” Rodney murmured.


“Yeah.” John’s long fingers moved down across Rodney’s skin, ghosting gently over the surface as he checked his husband for any other signs of damage.


Rodney felt fine, but he knew John wouldn’t be satisfied until he’d looked him all over himself, so he submitted to the inspection without comment. John turned him around and found a minor scratch on the back of his leg and then his fingers lingered on Rodney’s bottom for a moment.


“Bite mark’s nearly gone,” Rodney observed, glancing back over his shoulder.


“Yeah,” John frowned. “Guess I’ll have to replace it, then,” he said, wrapping an arm around his husband’s waist and placing a wet kiss on the back of his neck.


“Mmmm,” was Rodney’s only reply. He knew that was a given, especially judging by that look of barely leashed control in John’s eyes.


“Can’t have you walking around unmarked,” John continued, his fingers sliding up Rodney’s chest and firmly squeezing one nipple.


Rodney sucked in a lungful of air and reached his hands back to caress his husband’s still fully-clothed body. He loved fingering the black leather that encased John’s long legs and his hands came to rest on his husband’s firm ass.


John continued kissing the back of his neck while fondling his nipples with his hands and Rodney leaned back into the caress, loving the sensation of surrender, enjoying his own nakedness as he pressed against the roughness of John’s fully clothed body.


“Bath’ll get cold,” Rodney muttered.


“Are you trying to distract me from enjoying my husband?” John asked, his voice low and dangerous in Rodney’s ear.


Rodney grinned. “Never!”


“A bath first would be nice, though,” John said, pushing Rodney away with a slap to his buttocks.


“Here. Let me undress you,” Rodney said, turning around. He waited until John nodded his permission and then he slid his fingers into the shiny silver buckle on John’s belt and undid it. He removed the belt carefully and placed it on the nightstand, his fingers sliding over the thick black strap hanging from it as he did so. He gave a little shiver and John stroked his back with one fingernail, trailing it all the way down to his naked ass.


“Apprehensive, Rodney?” he asked, in that dark, growling voice that always made Rodney’s stomach churn.


“Always am when I’m due a session with your strap,” Rodney replied with a grimace. “So, are you going to punish me tonight or wait until tomorrow?” He had no doubt that John would punish him. Neither of them had forgotten his admission earlier that he hadn’t kept up with either his drill routines or his running program while John had been absent.


“Tonight,” John replied and Rodney felt his stomach churn even more. “You’ll be antsy if I make you wait until tomorrow.”


“Oh, waiting’s fine,” Rodney said quickly. “I’m a patient man. I can wait.”


“You’re not a patient man—you’re the most ridiculously impatient man I’ve ever known,” John replied. “But I’m going to make you wait a little because first I want that bath.”


“Want to warm up your arm muscles, hmm?” Rodney said, undoing his husband’s shirt and stripping it off him, then moving his hands down to John’s pants.


“Helps the swing,” John told him with a grin. “So I can make more of an impression on your disobedient ass.”


“Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember why I love you,” Rodney groused, sliding John’s pants down his long legs. John kicked them off his feet and then pulled Rodney close and kissed him firmly on the lips. Rodney melted against him, his arms sliding around John’s naked flesh, utterly surrendering to the kiss.


“That’s why you love me,” John said when he released him.


“Oh, that. Yeah,” Rodney replied with a sigh. “Seriously, John. You don’t have to punish me. I know you’re tired and I didn’t do anything really bad…”


“Nice try, Rodney,” John said, rolling his eyes. “But I asked you to keep up with your fitness routines while I was gone and I expected you to do just that.”


“I was busy with the reactors,” Rodney pouted. “It wasn’t like I flouted your orders on purpose. I was just so busy with my work that I forgot.”


“Really?” John raised an eyebrow. “So, tell me, did Ronon happen to drop by the lab and remind you on each of the four days I was away?”


Rodney screwed up his face thoughtfully, as if trying to remember. “Oh, okay, he did,” he sighed at last. “But it was always at the most inconvenient times.”


“So you brushed him off,” John said, chucking Rodney under the chin with his fingers, an amused but dangerous glint in his eyes.


“Kind of,” Rodney shrugged, knowing he was on thin ice here and there really didn’t seem to be a viable exit.


“And tell me, if it wasn’t for the fact that you let it slip out there, would you have even told me about it?”


Rodney snorted. “Yeah. Right. I have an IQ of genius proportions. Do I look stupid?”


John chuckled. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. And that’s why you’re going to be sleeping with an extremely hot ass tonight, Rodney Sheppard. You know how I feel about lying. I can forgive you not following my orders a hell of a lot more than I can the lie.”


“It wasn’t a lie. I just didn’t tell you straight away. I didn’t have time!” Rodney protested. “You’d only just got back and then we were transported here and it went clean out of my head.”


“Hmm, well, I agree the circumstances were a little unusual, but we had plenty of time alone together for you to tell me before the mission. You were just hoping I wouldn’t find out, although why the hell you thought that Ronon would cover for you I have no idea.”


“I bribed him,” Rodney replied. “With food and a gun I modified specially for him.”


“Honestly. You’re incorrigible,” John said. “And if you’re going to modify guns, shouldn’t you modify them for me? I’m your damn husband, remember?”


“I spoil you enough as it is,” Rodney replied with a cheeky grin. “What with all the blow jobs and sexual favors.”


“You belong to me!” John growled, reaching for him possessively in a way that made Rodney shiver and his cock stand to attention; he loved getting this reaction out of his husband. “So the sexual favors and the blow jobs are my due,” John hissed in his ear.


Rodney clung to him, enjoying the way their cocks slid together, rising up to meet each other. To be honest, when John had first proposed marriage, he hadn’t been sure. He didn’t know that he wanted to give up his independence, take another man’s name and effectively belong to him. John was old fashioned as well—there were various kinds of marriages a couple could contract in their universe, but John had wanted the traditional kind, where Rodney became his, body and soul. Of course Rodney could still divorce him if it didn’t work out—it wasn’t irrevocable—but even so, it was a big commitment.


“I just don’t see it working any other way,” John had said with a shrug on the day he had proposed. “I know myself, Rodney, and the kind of man I am, the kind of top I am, and the kind of husband I want to be. You’ll never be unloved, and you’ll always be cherished, but I need to know you’re mine. You have to belong to me—otherwise it’ll just feel to me as if we’re playing at it.”


“I do want to marry you, but…I’m not sure I can submit to you at the level you want me to,” Rodney had replied, wanting to let go and accept the proposal, but scared of somehow losing himself in such an arrangement.


“And I don’t think you could be happy with anything less,” John had retorted. “You know what you’re like, Rodney. You also know me—you know I won’t ride roughshod over you, but I do want to own you. I need that from you. Anything else would just feel like you were holding back on your submission, never truly belonging to me, and you and I both know that’s when you’ll act out and get into trouble because it won’t feel real enough for you.”


Rodney had thought about it long and hard. The kind of marriage John was proposing wasn’t easy. In fact, he knew the Lady Elizabeth had talked two couples out of committing to each other on such a level and had persuaded them to opt for an easier arrangement instead; yet the very demands of such a marriage were also seductive.


Rodney’s past was a wreckage of discarded relationships. For a while he hadn’t even known what he was—he’d tried topping, had had a brief, unsatisfying relationship with a sweet woman during his college years, but he wasn’t consistent enough to be a top, and his moods were variable at the best of times, leaving her confused and hurt all too often. He also honestly didn’t like having all that responsibility for another human being resting on his shoulders; it irritated and oppressed him, making him even more moody until she’d ended it. Then he’d tried subbing—to a woman first of all. He’d been attracted to the security and certainty of her zero tolerance approach to relationships, but she was inflexible to the point of cruelty and he ended up feeling sullen and resentful around her, unable to breathe or allow his genius to shine. The man he’d fallen into bed with next had been much more easy-going, but he wasn’t anywhere near Rodney’s intellectual equal and Rodney had run rings around him until the poor guy had told him he was just too much of a handful for him and ended it. After that, there had been a long period of loneliness and unhappiness, punctuated by occasional one-night stands that had, for the most part, gone pretty badly. He’d managed to acquire a reputation for being a difficult and disobedient sub, which he felt was undeserved, and he’d started acting out all over the place, causing Elizabeth to summon him for several public punishment sessions which had humiliated him almost beyond endurance—not least because they were always so well attended by the rest of the base personnel who thoroughly enjoyed witnessing his discomfort.


Then suddenly John had stepped effortlessly into his life and taken control as if by magic, bringing him to heel with love and affection and an underlying strength of character and sternness that Rodney found himself responding to. Nothing in Rodney’s life to date had prepared him for falling in love. He’d never known such happiness or such terror, both of them woven together inextricably, cradling him and restraining him at the same time. With John, he learned how to explore his own nature, to really be who he was, in the safe knowledge that someone would catch him if he fell and hold him tight. John was everything to him, but he was asking Rodney to take one final step that would involve a surrender and level of submission he wasn’t sure he was capable of. Marriage of this most traditional kind meant that he really would become John’s possession. There was no concept of rape or assault within a marriage like this—he would become John’s chattel, his body a plaything for his husband to use when and how he liked, and while the idea appealed, the reality scared him. Not that he seriously thought John would ever harm him, but with their marriage Rodney effectively lost the right to say “no” to anything his husband wanted to do to him.


He’d finally agreed, standing in John’s room, white-faced, scared beyond belief, his fingers digging anxiously into John’s arm—and John’s big, bright smile when he heard the words had banished all his fears completely. Of course this was the right thing; to be owned, to be loved by this man, of all people, the one man on Atlantis everyone respected and liked, and the fact that this amazing, handsome, smart man wanted Rodney to be his husband…well, Rodney still couldn’t get his head around that. Of course it was right. When they told Elizabeth, Rodney had feared she’d withhold her consent and try and talk them out of it, the way she had with those other couples, but instead she had been warm in her congratulations, and she’d given a heartfelt sigh.


“Thank God you’re taking him off my hands,” she’d murmured to John. “Not that it hasn’t been an experience, Rodney, but I’m glad that from now on you’re somebody else’s responsibility!”


So they’d gotten married, and even now, a year or two down the line, Rodney knew it was the best decision he’d ever made.


He blinked, returning to the present to find his husband biting on his neck.


“Mine,” John was muttering hazily, the way he did when he got into this kind of mood.


Rodney grinned, wondering why the hell that notion had scared him so much back then, when he was considering John’s proposal. John’s mouth was nipping his neck and it was starting to hurt, so Rodney went very still. He’d learned from experience that when his husband was in this mood, he liked Rodney to surrender, totally and completely, to being marked, or to whatever kind of pain or pleasure he wanted to hand out. Rodney clung on for a few minutes while John completed his marking, and then his husband drew back and slid his finger along the new mark on Rodney’s neck, which completely covered the previous knife mark.


“That’s better,” John growled. “It’s the mark I made now—not his.”


Rodney felt it with his own fingertips, enjoying the tingle he got out of being owned and possessed in this way. Then he noticed some of the bruises and cuts on his husband’s body.


“Hey…looks like you’ve been in a fight,” he joked, pressing his fingers onto a bruise on John’s arm.


“Yeah, more than one,” John replied, but he wasn’t smiling. Instead, there was a dangerous look of intent in his eyes and he was looking at Rodney in much the same way as a wolf looked at a deer. Kaeira buzzed between them, but John brushed Rodney’s hand away, breaking the link. “Don’t share them,” he said, hoarsely. “I don’t want to see any marks on your body except the ones I put there. And I aim to put several on you this evening.”


“Okay, just let…” Rodney began, but John interrupted him.


“I want you,” John said, in a low, guttural tone, pushing Rodney back onto the bed, his movements hard and barely controlled. “Now,” John hissed, holding him down.


Rodney shivered at the tone of John’s voice. He’d clearly reached the limits of his control and all hell was about to break loose; Rodney knew the signs very well.


John was always like this after Rodney had been hurt, especially if someone had put a mark on his body. He became incredibly possessive. After Kolya had scarred him and John had tracked the Genii leader down and killed him, his husband had returned to their rooms in a mood so fierce that Rodney had, for the first time ever, been genuinely afraid of him. They had stayed holed up in their rooms for several hours while John worked out his emotions on Rodney’s willing body. Rodney had never felt in serious danger, but it had been clear that John’s emotions were running high and nothing less than Rodney’s complete submission would satisfy him. John was clearly feeling the same way right now, and Rodney gave himself up to him immediately, understanding how John’s mind worked. His husband could always control these emotions during the actual crisis, like he had earlier that day when Rodney had been held hostage, but afterwards, when they were alone together, he seemed to feel a need to reclaim Rodney, to make him his again, in the most basic way.


John’s hands and mouth were roving over Rodney’s body, stopping to suck or bite here and there. Rodney lay still. He knew John didn’t want to be caressed in return—he just required that Rodney offer himself up to him and allow him to do whatever he wanted to him. Rodney didn’t think he presented a very sexy prospect at the moment. He was dirty and sweaty after the mission, but John didn’t seem to notice that. His mouth was warm and fierce on Rodney’s body and he covered one of Rodney’s nipples with his mouth and bit down. Rodney gave a little squawk of pain and shifted slightly beneath his husband, and John growled like a lion afraid his meal was going to be taken away from him, and held Rodney down with his hands.


“Don’t move,” he warned, returning to his task, his teeth nibbling down on Rodney’s sensitized nipple.


“Ahh…” Rodney squealed as the bite deepened, but he knew John intended to mark him and the bite continued until Rodney wasn’t sure he could take it any longer. At the same time, he knew John would make him take it, that John wouldn’t let him up until he’d marked him the way he wanted to, and this would be one of many marks his husband would place on his body this evening.


Finally the pressure from John’s mouth lessened and he drew back and licked at the red bite mark he’d left on Rodney’s chest. Rodney glanced down at it with some pride. He liked the way he always felt bearing John’s marks on his skin. Sometimes, when he was in the lab, he’d finger the marks through his uniform, remembering how they were made. They spoke to some need deep within him, and, while it wasn’t always comfortable receiving them, the pleasure he got from them for days afterwards more than outweighed the momentary pain of their infliction.


“Turn over,” John said roughly, but it wasn’t an order.


Rodney knew he had to stay still, and John flipped him over, as if he was a doll, rolling him onto his front. Rodney wrapped his arms around the pillow and lay there, tense, wondering where John would mark him next. John sucked a path down his back, following the line of his spine to his waist and then he paused and Rodney knew what was coming next. He took a mouthful of pillow and waited, and sure enough, next thing he knew John was sucking on one of his buttocks. The suck continued for a long time, and then it gradually deepened into a bite. Rodney bit down hard on the pillow, trying to keep still and not wriggle too much under the fierce caress. Finally, John released him, and Rodney could feel his warm tongue lapping on the mark. Rodney sighed and shifted slightly and John gave a growl, pinned him down to the bed and sank his teeth back into Rodney’s other buttock. Rodney gave a startled cry which was muffled by the pillow, but that just seemed to enflame his husband even more and his grip became tighter, his arms holding Rodney fast so he couldn’t move.


That bite seemed to go on for hours—John had him in such a tight grip that he was unable to move at all, and all he could sense was his own submission, thrumming through him, as John’s teeth marked his ass. It hurt, but it was a good hurt, making his cock tingle, and enthusing him with the thrill of his own lack of power. He could feel the energy passing between them as he willingly surrendered himself to his husband and John took his surrender as his right, as his due, and that was more of a turn-on than anything else.


Finally, John’s grip lessened and he moved his mouth away from Rodney’s buttocks. Rodney glanced back over his shoulder to see the two bite marks, one on each buttock, red and proud. He knew these marks would last for several days and that thought made his cock harden even more.


John’s face loomed over him, his hazel eyes dark, unrecognizable and full of sexual energy. Rodney shivered.


“On your back. Open your legs,” John ordered, but again he didn’t wait for Rodney to obey, but flipped him over and shoved his legs open with hard, brutal movements. “You’re mine. I’m going to take you,” John said, in that same low, dark tone.


Rodney nodded and reached blindly for the lube on the nightstand. Sometimes, when he was like this, John forgot about lube and while Rodney could take a dry fuck if he had to, or if that was what John intended, he preferred not to if he could avoid it. He popped the lid with his thumb, squeezed a liberal amount over his hand and slid a finger into his ass.


John growled again, grabbed his hand and removed the finger. “Mine,” he hissed. “Don’t touch. All mine.”


Rodney nodded, and squeezed the lube onto John’s fingers and then lay back, legs open wide and inviting, just hoping John would actually use the lube and not go straight in there. He was relieved a few seconds later to feel John’s hard, lubed fingers entering him. John leaned over him again, placed one arm over Rodney’s chest to keep him still, pressing him into the bed, and then rammed his finger hard into Rodney’s ass. Rodney gasped—it didn’t hurt, but it was fast and furious, taking him by surprise. John was gazing down on him, a strange look in his eyes, one of complete dominance, just teetering on the brink of losing control. He had become a predator, a wild animal intent on stamping his ownership on Rodney’s flesh, and the darkness in his eyes made Rodney shiver and his cock go into a spasm of need. John scared him when he was like this, but excited him, too, and he knew he couldn’t have one without the other.


John slid another finger into him, and then proceeded to finger-fuck him so fast and so hard that Rodney was gasping out loud with every thrust, trying hard not to move, willing himself to submit to his husband’s demands, but longing to scream and writhe under the harsh caress. John put his head on one side and gazed at him, their eyes locked as he plundered Rodney’s body with his fingers. His eyes raked over Rodney’s chest, lingering on the bite mark over his nipple and on his neck, his pupils becoming dilated with arousal as his fingers continued their furious pace. Rodney wanted to come, could feel himself on the brink and he arched up, unable to stop himself moving. John gave another low, guttural growl at the movement, and threw himself across Rodney’s body, wrenching his husband’s buttocks open with his hands and sliding his thick cock deep inside him in one fast move.


It took a moment for Rodney to register the change in sensation because it had happened so quickly, and then he felt a familiar warm burn, and a feeling of fullness, and his ass was stretched around John’s thick cock and it hurt and felt so good at one and the same time. John was on top of him, looking down, that strange look still in his eyes. He adjusted his position so that he was fully embedded inside Rodney, up to the hilt, making Rodney whimper, and then he rested his body on top of Rodney’s and claimed a deep, savage kiss from his husband’s mouth.


Rodney opened up immediately, but really it was a one-way process as John ravaged his lips with his own. Finally he drew back, leaving Rodney gasping for breath, his body still adjusting to the sudden intrusion of John’s hard cock into his ass. John moved his mouth down and took Rodney’s bitten nipple in his mouth and sucked down hard. The nub of flesh was already sensitive and Rodney squealed and tried to wriggle, but John held him completely immobile as he sucked. He finished with that nipple and turned his attention to the other, sucking down hard again. Then he looked up, an utterly feral look in those dark, sex-hungry, hazel eyes, grabbed Rodney’s hips, and slid out of his ass and then back in again with a hard thrust. Rodney grunted but lay there, his legs open wide to receive his husband, and John fucked him pitilessly, so fast and so hard that Rodney wondered how he was even managing to stay conscious.


“Nobody touches you,” John said, and Rodney remembered an arm across his chest and the stink of that savage as he’d held a knife to his throat and he knew John was remembering it, too, and that this was all about banishing the memory, and his husband reclaiming what was his.


“Nobody but me,” John hissed. “You’re mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.” He said the words in time to each powerful inward thrust, over and over again, like a mantra, and Rodney could feel himself on the verge of coming. He was John’s—body and soul. He belonged to his husband, and was happy to offer up his body to him, a willing sacrifice on the altar of John’s need to possess him. Rodney came, spurting out over his own belly, and John looked down on him fiercely, triumphantly, and then, without warning, he withdrew, and came, deliberately, on Rodney’s neck and chest.


Rodney lay there, utterly winded, feeling John’s warm come cool on his body, next to his own. Then John was sliding down on top of him, taking him in his arms, holding him tight and moving against him while making a keening sound in the back of his throat.


“It’s okay,” Rodney said softly, wrapping his arms around his husband and soothing him with little caresses along his back. “It’s okay. I’m safe. He didn’t hurt me. You got me back. It’s okay.”


He had seen the dark side of John’s soul—had known it existed when he married him—and was honored that John felt safe enough to share it with him. John managed, by and large, to control his possessive streak, and Rodney guessed that very few people in their universe knew just how deep it went, but when they were alone together, he was able to let go, to descend into the darkness and surrender himself to it, and Rodney was always there to hold him when it was over.


John was still shuddering, his breathing coming in fast, hard gasps against Rodney’s neck.


“Shh,” Rodney whispered, holding him tight. “You’re okay. I’ve got you.”


Finally his husband’s breathing slowed and he looked up at Rodney and Rodney was relieved to see light again in those intense hazel eyes. At least John had recovered more quickly this time than he had that time after he’d killed Kolya. Then Rodney hadn’t been sure he’d be able to bring John back from the brink and it had taken several hours.


John winced, and ran a hand over Rodney’s bitten neck.


“Sorry,” he muttered.


“I like it,” Rodney replied with a grin.


“So do I,” John said in a wry tone. “I’m not sorry about marking you. I’m just sorry for the way it happened—for losing control.” He shook his head.


“I don’t mind that, either,” Rodney told him, caressing him gently with his fingertips. “I can handle you.”


“Hmmm. That’s good,” John murmured.


“Besides, it’s nice. I’m usually the one who loses it, not you. Makes me feel like you’re human after all,” Rodney said.


“Of course I’m human. What else would I be?”


“Well, a minute ago, half-lion, half-wolf, I think,” Rodney said, pointing out the come that was drying on his body. “I suppose I should be grateful you didn’t actually piss on me.”


“It’s a thought,” John said wryly, and the eager light in his eyes made Rodney think he might not entirely be joking.


“Oh, God.” Rodney rolled his eyes. “Well, if you do that, you’re the one who explains to these people why we need a new mattress. I couldn’t bear to witness another of their horrified reactions.”


“You okay?” John asked anxiously, drawing back and tracing a finger over Rodney’s skin.


“I’m fine. It was intense, but weirdly sexy. I always come really hard when you’re like this, even if I’m also high on, you know, sheer terror,” Rodney told him.


John bit down on his lip. “Sorry,” he said again. “I just…. The thought of him with his arm around you, with his knife against your throat. It makes me….” His hands balled uselessly into fists.


“Hush,” Rodney said, drawing him back again. “I’m okay. We’re both okay. Relax. You can come down now. In fact…I think it’s time for that bath. That should relax us both. Come on.”


He got up gingerly, feeling like he’d just gone ten rounds with a Wraith, and held out his hand. John took it and Rodney dragged him off the bed and into the bathroom. He topped up the tub with more hot water, and then got in, pulling John between his legs. Rodney lay back, his arms wrapped loosely around his husband and he kissed John’s dark hair affectionately as they soaked. John had taken more bruises in the day’s fights than Rodney had realized and he ran the soap over his husband’s skin, removing the dirt, grime and sweat and bringing John back down again. John sighed, lying back against Rodney’s chest, and Rodney smiled, fondling him absently. He loved having his husband cradled in his arms like this. It wasn’t often that John would let himself just be held and Rodney liked to make the most of it.


They luxuriated in the bath for a long time, until it started to grow cold, and then John got out and they toweled themselves down. They returned to the bedroom and Rodney walked purposefully towards the bed, wanting nothing more than to throw himself into it and catch up on some sleep, but John paused by the nightstand and gave a heavy sigh.


“Not so fast, Rodney. We have something to take care of,” he said.


Rodney turned, wondering what the hell he meant, and then his eyes alighted on the strap. “Oh, God, no. Not now,” he moaned. “Honestly, John, can’t we leave it? I was a naughty boy and I won’t do it again. Can’t we let it go at that?”


“No, we can’t, and you know that,” John told him, a regretful tone in his voice.


Rodney did know that, on some level. Right now neither of them wanted to do this, least of all Rodney, but he also knew that if they didn’t, a tiny chink would open up in their relationship. This was one of the fundamentals on which their lives were built—it couldn’t be shirked just because neither of them was in the mood.


“How do you want me?” Rodney sighed at last, giving in to the inevitable.


“Against the wall. Hands braced, legs open,” John ordered, but Rodney had done this enough times to know how it went. He walked over to the wall, placed his hands flat against it, planted his legs wide and jutted his ass out. Then he watched over his shoulder, his stomach doing several anxious flips, as John unfastened the strap from his discarded belt and prowled back over to him.


“Five for missing the drills, five for not running and ten for not telling me about it,” John told him.


Rodney groaned. “Twenty? That seems a lot,” he complained.


“All deserved, as you well know,” John snorted.


He took up position behind his husband and Rodney faced the wall again, bracing himself. A few seconds later, the first swat fell on his bottom. He felt faintly aggrieved; he’d already been bitten there—twice—this evening, and now this! John’s punishments were always hard and to the point. Rodney had never yet mistaken a serious punishment spanking for a pleasurable erotic one and this was no different. There was no warm up, just the snap of the strap and the sting of pain on his ass. John was always fair, but equally firm, and Rodney knew that complaining and pleading didn’t work, although that didn’t usually stop him trying it, anyway.


He was tired, irritable and seriously pissed off to be in this position and it had been a long, exhausting day. The strap whipped across his buttocks, hard, unrelenting and extremely painful. Rodney rested his face against his hands and began to sob, little whimpering sobs. He was surprised—he didn’t often cry so easily—but somehow, at some point during the strapping, he realized he needed this release the way John had needed his own release earlier.


John’s arm didn’t falter, and the strokes came slowly and steadily, and soon Rodney was crying in earnest. Not so much because it hurt, although it did, but because they both could have died today and instead they were here, alive and together. All the fears and tensions of the day left his body as John’s strap made its inexorable marks on his skin, claiming him once more, over and over again, with its searing fire—and he didn’t have to be strong for John anymore; he could just let go and accept the punishment he’d earned what felt like a lifetime ago.


Then it was over. He heard John put the strap down on the nightstand, but Rodney didn’t move. He just stood there, sobbing softly into the back of his hands. Then he felt John’s fingers on his shoulders and he was turned around and pulled into a warm embrace and John was kissing his hair, and sliding his hands down his back, comforting him.


“You’re so beautiful when you surrender like that. I love you so much,” John whispered, and that just made the lump in his throat even bigger and now he was bawling like a child into John’s shoulder. “Cry it out,” John whispered, stroking him like he was a cat. Rodney did just that and when finally he’d finished, and his sobs had morphed into whimpers, his breath hitching in his throat, John guided him over to the bed and helped him to get in. Rodney felt his husband slide in behind him, John’s groin pressing against his warm, sore buttocks, and then John wrapped his arms around him and they both lay there for a moment, too exhausted to sleep.


“Don’t ever leave me,” Rodney whispered, putting a hand on his husband’s arm where it crossed his chest.


“Never could,” John replied, kissing the back of his neck and then, reconnected with each other, the energy flow running easily between them like warm honey, sweet and satisfying, only then did they finally fall asleep.




Rodney McKay sat in his bed in the infirmary feeling utterly bored. The truth was that he only actually enjoyed being in the infirmary and under Carson’s scrutiny when he wasn’t actually ill or injured. That was much more fun because he got to be fussed over and indulged on his terms and when he’d had enough, he could just walk out again. Being actually injured was another matter entirely and he hated it. For a start, there was nothing wrong with his brain, so he didn’t see why Carson wouldn’t at least let him work on his laptop while he was incapacitated. His arm hurt and he had a dull headache most of the time, but he was pretty sure that even with those handicaps, he could still work on the theoretical side of restoring the QDD even if he wasn’t allowed back to his lab. Instead he was stuck here, bored witless.


“Carson!” Rodney yelled, for the seventh time that morning. “Carson!”


The doctor emerged from a side room with a wary expression on his face and stood at the end of the bed. “Rodney,” he said in a calm, but ever-so-slightly world-weary tone.


“There’s no reason for me to be taking up valuable bed space in the infirmary. I could be sitting in my bed in my quarters just as easily,” Rodney told him, because at least then he’d be able to use his laptop without any nosy doctor interfering.


“We’ve been through this, Rodney,” Carson said, his voice strained. “Several times. You have a concussion and that means I need to keep an eye on you for 24 hours. If you left the infirmary, I wouldn’t be able to see you—and if I can’t see you, I won’t notice if you faint, or fall over, or start having bad headaches.”


“Well, obviously I’ll tell you if any of those things happen!” Rodney protested.


“Not if you’re unconscious on your bathroom floor, you won’t,” Carson retorted. “And as for the issue of freeing up an infirmary bed—we’re hardly rushed off our feet.” He gestured around the empty room.


Rodney thought about it and then let out a heavy sigh.


“I know you’re bored, Rodney, but please try to be patient,” Carson said with a sympathetic smile.


Rodney sighed again. “Can’t I at least have a visitor?” he asked.


“You could, but there doesn’t appear to be a queue of people lined up outside the door,” Carson replied. Rodney gazed down at the sheet, feeling glum. Carson came around the bed to stand beside him and squeezed his arm gently. “You’ve already seen Elizabeth, Teyla and Colonel Sheppard this morning,” he said. “And people do have work to do. I’m sure more people will drop by later. I know Ronon said he would.”


“Great,” Rodney sighed. “No offense, but Ronon’s hardly the world’s greatest conversationalist.”


“Then you’ll just have to hope he brings you something nice to eat,” Carson said and Rodney brightened at that thought. He was already sick of the blue Athosian ‘grapes’ that Teyla had brought along a couple of hours ago. He’d gorged on them happily enough for ten minutes, but that novelty had long since worn off.


“I’d feel much happier if I could just have some coffee,” Rodney said sweetly, glancing up at Carson hopefully.


“Nice try, Rodney, but the answer is the same as it was the previous eight times you asked. No,” Carson told him. “Caffeine is a really bad idea for you right now with that head wound.”


“Damn it, Carson! I’m sure that’s why I have this bloody headache!” Rodney protested. “My body needs a certain amount of caffeine just to get through the day. It’s used to it!”


“Well, view this as a good opportunity to break yourself of the habit, then,” Carson replied with zero sympathy.


Rodney glared at him. “Oh, go away,” he sighed. “You’re much more fun when I’m not actually ill.”


“I could say the same thing about you,” Carson muttered under his breath as he walked away—only to return a couple of seconds later with a broad grin on his face. “You wanted a visitor, Rodney? Well one has just arrived!” he announced in a pleased tone, before scuttling off again.


Rodney sat up, excited, and then slumped back down again when he saw who it was. “Oh. It’s you,” he muttered, as Rodney Sheppard sauntered up to his bed.


“Nice to see you, too,” the other Rodney said, with that stupid grin of his.


Rodney glared at him sourly, thinking how incredibly unfair all this was. Here was he, badly injured and practically at death’s door, while his counterpart was fresh as a daisy, that ridiculous curly hair of his looking clean and freshly washed, and he was wearing…he was wearing….


“Is that one of Colonel Sheppard’s shirts?” Rodney asked, gazing at the dark purple fabric suspiciously.


“Yeah. You only gave me uniform stuff. The colonel gave John some casual clothes as well and I liked this, so I thought I’d wear it,” the other Rodney said. It fitted him a bit snugly, because he was broader across the shoulders and chest than the colonel, but he looked much more comfortable in it than Rodney knew he would have felt in such a garment.


Rodney gazed at the other Rodney in surprise, wondering why he always looked so comfortable in his own skin, seemingly completely unaware of how stupid he looked. Right now he was also looking incredibly relaxed and there was a goofy little smile playing on the corners of his lips…and…and….


Rodney frowned. “Oh, my God, is that a hickey?” he snapped, seeing the red mark on the side of his counterpart’s neck. “Aren’t you a bit old to have a hickey?”


“You’re never too old and it isn’t a hickey—it’s a bite mark,” the other Rodney told him with a happy smile.


“You let him bite you?” Rodney crossed his arms over his chest, feeling deeply threatened for some reason.


“Sure. Well, to be honest, it would have been hard to stop him, the mood he was in last night, but, yeah. I like it when he bites me. You should try it sometime.” Rodney Sheppard gave him another one of those bright smiles.


“No thank you!” Rodney snapped. “Doesn’t it hurt?” he asked curiously, still freaked out, although he wasn’t sure why.


“Yeah, but it’s such a good hurt,” his counterpart told him with what could only be described as a lascivious wink.


Rodney gazed at him, appalled by what that expression looked like on his own face. “There, see—just not getting the concept of ‘good’ and ‘hurt’ being used in conjunction with each other,” he commented.


“Well, maybe that’s because you’ve never tried it,” the other Rodney told him. “Are these grapes?” He peered at the bowl on Rodney’s nightstand.


“Yes, they are. Well, no, they’re not, but they’re near enough. Teyla brought them in—for me,” Rodney said pointedly.


“Well, I’m you,” Rodney Sheppard said cheerfully, helping himself to a handful.


“You so aren’t,” Rodney snorted.


“Sure I am. We look the same—apart from me being better looking—we talk the same, we walk the same, we’re both Head of Science on Atlantis, we both have the same hottest guy on the base wanting to jump our bones, we both…”


“Hold on!” Rodney held up his hand. “Back up there. Who wants to jump my bones?”


“Colonel Sheppard.” The other Rodney rolled his eyes. “You must have noticed.”


“Colonel Sheppard is straight. As am I,” Rodney replied firmly.


“I have no idea what that means. Is it the same as being gay?”


“No, it’s the opposite,” Rodney snapped.


“I’d have thought the opposite of ‘gay’ would be ‘sad,’ but whatever,” the other Rodney shrugged.


“So he is absolutely not interested in me that way,” Rodney continued.


“Oh. Okay. So, him being absolutely not interested in you would clearly explain why he was out of his mind with worry about you during the mission, and why my John had to take over command because your John was acting all crazy. It probably also explains why the colonel crept under those blankets with you in the puddle jumper and held you all night. Definitely not interested in you. At all.”


“He was trying to keep me awake! And warm!” Rodney protested. He had to admit that he had been touched by the colonel’s concern for him—he hadn’t expected him to hold him like that, and he’d felt curiously reassured by the way the other man had wrapped his arms around him and whispered in his ear. People never usually cared that much about him and it still surprised him that the colonel, of all people, had been worried about him.


“Oh. Right. Okay,” the other Rodney nodded. “Just from where I was sitting, it looked more like he wanted to kiss you.”


“He does not want to kiss me!” Rodney remembered the warmth of the colonel’s breath against his ear and on his hair and how safe he’d felt lying there with him.


“Ah—but you want to kiss him right?” Rodney Sheppard grinned.


“No!” Rodney shouted. “And if you keep on like this, I’m going to get Carson to throw you out.”


“Okay. I hear you.” Rodney Sheppard put up his hands in mock surrender. “So what’s your problem with it, Rodney? Why does the idea freak you out so much?”


“It doesn’t freak me out. It’s just not who I am,” Rodney snapped. And he was pretty sure it wasn’t. Not that he’d had sex with that many people, but they’d all been women. All two of them. Not that it had gone very well, admittedly, but he assumed that was a matter of practice, and if they’d just kept on seeing him, he was sure he’d have gotten better at it.


“So, how are you?” Rodney Sheppard said, ignoring that last comment and stuffing the grapes into his mouth.


“I’m fine. Well, no, I’m very ill, apparently, according to Carson, and people should be nice to me, especially because I’m suffering caffeine withdrawal and my behavior is therefore unpredictable.” Rodney paused for a moment, and his counterpart grinned at him again.


“Um…I should probably…you know…thank you or something for the last minute rescue, although really, did you have to cut it so fine?”


“We got you out of there, didn’t we?” his counterpart said, leaning on the side of the bed.


“There is a chair.” Rodney gestured with his head.


“Yeah…not feeling like sitting down right now.” The other Rodney gave a wry grin.


“Oh, God. He spanked, you didn’t he?” Rodney could feel his face flush a bright shade of vermillion at that thought.


“Yup,” the other Rodney shrugged.


“Why? What did you do?” Rodney asked, horrified and fascinated at one and the same time.


“Didn’t do the drills he set for me while he was away. I was an idiot and let it slip to him during the mission.” Rodney slapped his hand against his forehead.


“My God, he spanks you for not doing exercise?” Rodney shuddered, remembering that Colonel Sheppard had him down for some drills of his own. In fact, he’d been busy sitting here trying to think up ways of getting out of them, but now he wasn’t so sure that was such a good idea. The colonel had been behaving weirdly since these people arrived and Rodney wasn’t entirely sure how he’d react to him avoiding the drills. Not that he thought he’d spank him as such, but…. Rodney tried to close down that mental image, but it just sat in his head, tormenting him. “That’s just…terrible,” he sighed at last, still preoccupied by the thought of Colonel Sheppard throwing him over his knee.


“I know. It sucks. Exercise is for dogs,” his counterpart said.


“That’s what I always say!” Rodney exclaimed.


“But John wants me mission-fit the whole time, so we do these drills, and I have a running program, too.”


“It sounds awful,” Rodney sympathized.


“It is,” his counterpart agreed in a melancholy tone.


They shared a rare moment of bonding.


“You could just say no,” Rodney said eventually. “When he tries to spank you.”


“Not really,” his counterpart shrugged. “You see, when I married him, I agreed to submit to him in everything. So he owns me and can do pretty much anything he wants to me.”


“What?” Rodney exclaimed, aghast. “That’s terrible!”


“No—it’s fantastic,” the other Rodney replied.


“But…but….” Rodney tried to imagine what that would be like and failed. “Are you saying he could really hurt you and you couldn’t even charge him with assault?”


“I suppose so, but he wouldn’t. That’s not the way it works, and besides, he’d get a hard time from the other tops if he was abusive towards me. But I know he never would. It all comes down to trust,” the other Rodney said softly. “I trust him. It’s that simple.”


“I don’t understand you.” Rodney shook his head.


“No. But then you don’t understand yourself, either, so no surprises there.”


“Was there a reason why you dropped by to irritate me?” Rodney snapped, the rare moment of bonding clearly well and truly over.


“No, I don’t think so…. Oh, yes!” His counterpart gave that stupid little giggle of his and clicked his fingers excitedly. “I came to tell you not to worry about the lab. It’s in safe hands.”


“What?” Rodney sat up straight with a frown.


“The lab. I’ve been working there all morning; just thought I’d drop by and reassure you. I’ve got them all working on the QDD. Man, it’s great to be working with Radek again—he’s fantastic. Not as brilliant as me, of course, but then who is? But he’s a good, solid engineer. Nice to hear that Czech accent again.”


“What do you mean you’ve been working there all morning? Who said you could work in my lab, with my people?” Rodney demanded, throwing the sheets aside, and sliding off the bed.


“Well, there’s no point me sitting around waiting for you to get better before starting work modifying those crystals. It’ll take weeks as it is, so I thought it made sense to get a head start.”


“Where are my clothes?” Rodney demanded, looking around the infirmary helplessly. “Carson! What have you done with my clothes?”


Carson came running out of the side room. “What now?” he demanded and then he saw Rodney and his eyes widened. “Rodney, what are you doing out of bed?”


“What does it look like? There is no way I’m letting this irritating idiot loose in my lab,” Rodney snapped. “Now give me my clothes.”


“No,” Carson replied, standing in front of him, his blue eyes flashing.


“What? Carson, we don’t have time for this. I’m fine. I’m not about to keel over or anything, and while I’m lounging around here, God knows what he is doing in my lab. Anything could be happening!”


“Like what?” the other Rodney asked.


“You could be blowing things up,” Rodney growled.


“Or sucking people in from other universes?” His counterpart raised an eyebrow.


“That was an accident! Look, that lab is mine. You are not in charge of it and you do not give my people orders!” Rodney snapped at him.


“I already have. They like me. Apparently, I’m nicer and more laid back than you. I told them that’s because I’m getting laid all the time and you aren’t.” His counterpart grinned at him.


“You…you…!” Rodney lunged towards him across the bed only to find himself restrained by Carson’s surprisingly strong arms.


“Now, now, Rodney, calm down,” Carson said, his voice sounding suspiciously amused.


“It’s my lab,” Rodney said desperately, trying to squirm, but Carson had him held fast.


“I know, lad, I know,” Carson said softly. “But you’re not well enough to be there right now. You lost a lot of blood yesterday and that was a nasty head wound I sutured. You’re not well enough to go back to work yet.”


“I’m fine.” Rodney felt the room swimming, and then there were two Carsons in front of him, and he could feel himself going down. Strong arms caught him and directed him back onto the bed.


“There. See,” Carson said grimly. “I told you.” He helped Rodney to get under the sheets and then stood there, his arms folded over his chest. “Now, you are not going anywhere. I’ll sit here and guard you myself if I have to.”


Rodney Sheppard gave a snort of amusement at that.


Carson turned to glare at him. “And you are leaving,” he said.


“Okay. On my way,” the other Rodney grinned.


“I still don’t see why…” Rodney began.


Carson fixed him with an extremely stern stare. “Be quiet, Rodney, or I’ll call Colonel Sheppard in here and tell him exactly why he has to detail two of his soldiers to guard you,” he said.


Rodney thought about that for a moment. It wasn’t a good thought.


“Dammit, Carson, when did you become so bossy?” he complained.


“Tell me about it,” the other Rodney said, slapping Rodney’s arm. “Him and John between them—always bossing me around. Nice to know you have the same problem.”


“Aren’t you supposed to have left?” Rodney glowered.


“Get well soon, Rodney.” The other Rodney grabbed another handful of his grapes and then, with a cheery wave in Rodney’s direction, he left.


“Seriously, Carson, what’s going on? Why are you being so mean?” Rodney asked, feeling extremely aggrieved; he’d always been able to push the doctor around quite easily before and he had no idea what had happened to the normally mild-mannered Scot.


Carson had a strange look in those blue eyes of his and he gave an odd little smile. “I found out something that surprised me, that’s all,” he murmured. “It got me to thinking….”


“Oh, God—it’s them again, isn’t it?” Rodney sighed, leaning back on his pillows, feeling utterly exhausted after his recent exertion. “First the colonel, now you—they’re having this weird effect on everyone.”


“It’s made me feel much more confident,” Carson told him softly.


“I noticed,” Rodney sighed.


“Knowing there’s a Carson out there who…well, I don’t want to go into details, but it’s just made me feel a wee bit more sure of myself. You could learn a thing or two from them as well, Rodney.”


“Like what—how to wear a collar?” Rodney made a face.


“No, but you have to admit that Rodney Sheppard seems very happy with his life. I’m sure you could take a few lessons from that. Now, hold still. You’re looking very pale, lad, and I want to make sure you didn’t do yourself any harm as a result of that wee bit of stupidity just now.” He put his fingers on Rodney’s wrist and took his pulse and then checked his head wound. “No harm done, but I’m going to keep you in here for an extra day or so just to be sure,” Carson told him.


“My entire life sucks,” Rodney sighed, banging his head back on the pillow.


“Aye,” Carson agreed with a smile. “It’s not easy being you, Rodney.”


Rodney closed his eyes, feeling worn out. He wished Colonel Sheppard would come and visit him again. In fact, he wished he was here right now. It had felt so nice back in the puddle jumper, being close to someone, being touched, being held. He hadn’t been close to anyone in a very long time. Generally speaking, nobody was ever that keen on being close to him and he’d stopped yearning for physical contact as a result. No point wanting something you couldn’t have. Unless…unless you could? He had another flash of that memory, of the colonel’s warm breath ghosting over his ear, of the colonel’s hard body underneath his, of those strong arms wrapped around him, keeping him still, keeping him warm, keeping him alive. Rodney relished the memory, replaying it over and over again in his mind, using it as a comfort blanket until he fell into a deep, exhausted sleep.



End of Part Six



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