General & Dr Sheppard: 9. Double Trouble


Rodney McKay surprised himself by sleeping like a log that night and woke up feeling lazy and refreshed. He sort of ached when he moved, but it was a good ache, like all his muscles had been given a good workout. Rodney stretched, trying to remember why he felt so good, and he had a sudden mental flash of Sheppard leaning over him, dark hair disheveled and a wild look in his eyes, and within seconds, he was hard.


Rodney glanced under his sheets with a growl of annoyance. “We are so not having this conversation again,” he told his mutinous cock.


He tried jerking off, but his usual masturbatory fantasies failed him yet again. He lay there, struggling with himself, wanting the release, but not at the cost of using the memory of lying under Colonel Sheppard’s hard, lean body in order to get off. Eventually, he gave in and took himself off for yet another cold shower rather than have any release, but his good mood was already starting to evaporate. He got dressed and almost ran to his lab, eager to distract himself with his work, a tried and tested Rodney McKay avoidance strategy. To his surprise, he was the last to arrive—he hadn’t realized he’d slept for so long. He noticed Kavanagh, standing at the opposite end of the room to his doppelganger and casting malicious glances at the other Rodney every so often.


“Great to have you back,” Rodney said to Kavanagh, in an entirely insincere tone. “Did Radek fill you in on the work?”


“Yes. I was wondering why you seem to be devoting virtually our entire team to this laborious task with the crystals,” Kavanagh said sourly. “What about all the other projects we’ve been working on? Have those been shelved just so we can get these…people home?” He looked over at Rodney Sheppard as if he was something he’d just stepped in.


“That’s about right, yes,” Rodney told him grimly. “Our mistake brought them here; the least we can do is work on sending them back.”


“Well, as far as I can see, it was actually your mistake that brought them here,” Kavanagh muttered. “If only Dr. Weir had done as I suggested, and limited tinkering with Ancient technology to a properly approved committee of experts….”


“Uh, excuse me, but nobody here is a greater expert on Ancient technology than me,” Rodney pointed out.


“Which would be fine if you didn’t let your ego run away with you,” Kavanagh replied. “That’s why a committee would be a better idea. Now we’ve all had to give up our own projects to bail out one of your mistakes.”


“You don’t,” Rodney said.


Kavanagh blinked.


“No, no, no, you’re right. There’s no reason to tie everyone up on this and we are a little bit behind on our city maintenance projects,” Rodney told him, rocking back on his heels with a brightly malicious smile. “I noticed we had a problem with the sewage system. Things have gotten pretty backed up on the lower levels. You’re an engineer. Here.” Rodney handed him a lap top and a bag of tools. “Get down there and figure it out. Oh, and don’t rush back on our account. It’ll probably take the best part of a week to clear it, but we’ll manage without you somehow in the meantime.” He gave Kavanagh another beaming smile and then turned back to the rest of his team. “Jerk,” he muttered under his breath.


The other Rodney seemed oddly subdued and he sought Rodney out when the others had gone to lunch, which was unusual of and by itself because he usually liked to go to lunch with them, and keep them amused by regaling them with a list of TV shows from his universe that sounded almost like those from their own, but with some none too subtle differences. Rodney still shuddered when he recalled the details of the alternate version of Star Trek.


“So, what’s up with you?” Rodney asked his counterpart, thrusting a donut into his mouth as he poked his head under the casing of the QDD. “You’re being uncharacteristically quiet. Where’s all the sexual innuendo and general obsession with all things kinky?”


“What?” the other Rodney queried. “I have no idea what you just said.”


Rodney lifted his head out of the casing and removed the donut from his mouth with a sigh. “You. Quiet. Why?” he asked, before cramming the donut back in.


“Nothing. Just….” The other Rodney actually looked genuinely worried.


Rodney put his donut down with a frown.


“Would Elizabeth really have put John in the brig?” his counterpart asked.


“Oh, is that still bothering you? I have no idea. Maybe.”


The other Rodney wrapped his arms miserably around his chest and Rodney rolled his eyes. “Oh, for God’s sake—it’s not like you’re joined at the hip. He’s been away from you before. You said that when we brought you here, he’d just gotten back from several days offworld without you. It’s not like you can’t cope without him or anything.”


“No. It’s not that.” His counterpart bit down on his lip. “It’s just the idea of him being locked up, put in some kind of cage, deliberately separated from me and everyone else. I can’t believe you people are so casual about that.”


“Well, that’s how we feel about that whole leash thing and the…that other thing you guys do.” Rodney glanced pointedly in the direction of his counterpart’s ass.


“Really?” The other Rodney just looked puzzled.


“Really,” Rodney said firmly.


They both gazed at each other blankly for a moment.


“John’s pretty upset about last night,” the other Rodney said finally. “We are trying, you know, McKay, but you must understand that our customs are different. I had to actually work on him to get him to allow me to come here without him this morning. He doesn’t trust your people anymore after last night. He’s not sure I’ll be safe. He doesn’t think your people will respect me or my relationship with him.”


“What’s he frightened of? That someone might—ooh—touch you?” Rodney rolled his eyes. “What’s that about, anyway? I saw you yesterday with Kavanagh—and bear in mind this is Kavanagh we’re talking about and not someone really scary. The man is a total wuss and you were clearly more than able to handle him. There was no need for the general to start doing his Indiana Jones routine with the knife.”


“You don’t get it,” his counterpart said, shaking his head. “In our universe, what Kavan-agh did is…it’s like a taboo. Can’t you get your head around that?”


“Not really.” Rodney shrugged. “So his hand brushed your arm and he flicked at your pendant—big deal. Hey, what are you doing?” he yelled, outraged, as his counterpart suddenly snatched up his donut and took a big bite.


“Annoyed?” The other Rodney raised an eyebrow, munching furiously. “Now multiply that feeling of outrage by a million and that’s how John was feeling last night when Kavanagh touched me. It’s that simple. In our universe, I’m protected by my status—I’m respected because of my status—and nobody would touch me without asking John’s permission first. It’s just our way. I know it seems stupid and meaningless to you, but it means a great deal to us.”


“That makes you sound like some kind of possession!” Rodney exploded.


“I am!” Rodney shouted back.


“Well, that’s what I have a problem with!” Rodney yelled.


“Why? It’s my goddamn life, not yours!”


Rodney came up short at that. It was a good point.


“Maybe because I can’t understand how someone who looks like me and talks like me, someone with my intellect, could be happy being someone else’s property. Why would you want to live in that kind of relationship?”


Rodney Sheppard shrugged helplessly. “It’s just our way. It’s what we do. It makes me happy. It makes him happy. It’s voluntary. I went into it with my eyes open and I can divorce him any time I like if I’m not happy with the arrangement. Where’s the problem?”


“Maybe you should try seeing things from our point of view,” Rodney said, trying to come at it from a different angle. “You’re always banging on about how great things are in your universe. The general was going on last night about how we’re so polite, as if it’s some kind of offence! Yes, we are polite. If we weren’t, then we wouldn’t have put up with you two the way we have, or be bending over backwards to help you get home!”


“Well, if we’re so damn hard to have around, why the hell don’t you just throw us through the Stargate and have done with?” the other Rodney snapped.


“Oh, trust me, it’s not as if I haven’t suggested it,” Rodney replied. “Luckily for you, the colonel is a more tolerant man than me and he vetoed it.”


“Well, maybe that’s because he actually likes us. It seems to me that you’re the only one around here who’s freaked out by us and we both know why that is.”


“Oh, yeah?” Rodney knew they were both behaving like five-year-olds, but somehow that was how he always felt himself responding to his alter ego.


“Yeah! You’ve got the hots for the colonel and can’t admit it because of this weird ‘gay’ taboo thing in your universe—although I’ve been asking around about that and there are some couples on this base in same-gender relationships, so I don’t know what the hell your problem is, McKay.”


“Oh, just…just shut up,” Rodney growled, feeling like someone had stuck a knife into his gut and twisted it. The other Rodney’s barbs had always annoyed him, but they’d never actually wounded him until today. Now, because of his recent masturbatory disasters, he was confused and upset and didn’t have a clue what to do about it. He just felt locked up in his own little bubble of misery.




As the days wore on, Rodney’s mood didn’t improve. This was partly as a result of his refusal to jerk off while thinking about the colonel. He was a highly sexed man and had been jerking off three times a day for most of his adult life and now he was denying himself that release and that was just stoking up his frustration even more. Working with Rodney Sheppard didn’t help. It was hard enough struggling with these new fantasies without his counterpart being so easily and obviously in love with the alternate John. That felt like salt being rubbed into a raw wound as far as Rodney was concerned and he just wished he didn’t have to see his counterpart on a daily basis in the lab. Rodney didn’t even have the release of going to Colonel Sheppard for more wrestling, which had worked so well last time, because now just the thought of it had him running back to his quarters for a cold shower. Rodney suspected he might be cleaner now than he’d ever been in his life as a result of all this freezing cold water and he was heartily sick of being so in thrall to his libido.


He tried to avoid the colonel, but that wasn’t easy as the man had a habit of popping up every five minutes, or so it seemed to Rodney. He was always poking his head around the lab door to find out if Rodney was going to the mess hall, or sometimes he’d come into the lab late at night when everyone else had gone to bed and just sit there, keeping Rodney company, those long legs of his stretched out on any available surface, hands behind his head. Sometimes he talked, and sometimes he handed Rodney various tools while he worked and Rodney had to admit it was nice—although it would have been even nicer if he hadn’t felt himself growing hard just from having the other man around. It was getting to be embarrassing and Rodney was becoming more and more desperate.


At least work on the QDD was progressing well. Rodney thought they might be able to test it within a week and that meant that their unwelcome visitors might soon return home. He was sure his libido would return to normal once that happened.


They were busy working on a particularly pivotal part of the whole project one afternoon when the general poked his head around the door.


“Rodney—I need you,” he said.


The other Rodney immediately put down his tools and Rodney gazed at him in amazement.


“You can’t leave now!” he growled. “We are this close to getting the power source re-engaged.”


“Well, it’ll still be here when I get back,” his counterpart said with a grin.


“Oh, for God’s sake.” Rodney threw his tools down and glared him. “Why do you jump to it whenever he calls? What does he want, anyway?”


His counterpart waggled his eyebrows suggestively and Rodney shook his head in disbelief.


“You’re kidding me right? He’s calling you out of here when things are getting interesting just so that you and he can….”


“Rodney,” the general said impatiently from over by the door.


Rodney Sheppard gave Atlantis’ Rodney a cheeky grin and then ran for the door. Rodney stared after him, utterly outraged. He was still outraged when his counterpart returned half an hour or so later, looking relaxed and humming softly to himself.


“Well, I’m glad you’re feeling so happy,” Rodney commented sourly. “What the hell is wrong with you? Running out like that just when we were close to seeing if the crystals could take the power surge. Don’t you two have any self control?”


“He wanted me,” the other Rodney shrugged.


“And that’s the way it works? He wants you so you just go running?” Rodney exploded. “Supposing you weren’t in the mood?”


“Well, then I’d still go running. Although, actually, I don’t think I’ve ever not been in the mood. And that is the way it works, yes. I’m his and he was horny,” the other Rodney said patiently, as if explaining something to a moron. “Look, that’s just how things are in our universe in the kind of marriage he and I wanted to have. What does it matter to you, anyway? Just because you’re uptight and frigid doesn’t mean I have to be, too, because we look the same.”


“I’m not frig—” Rodney caught himself with great effort. “Let’s get back to work,” he said through gritted teeth. Only he found that he couldn’t. He couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that his counterpart was so readily available to take care of his husband’s sexual whims…and while his mind was outraged, his cock was reacting with its usual treachery. They worked for a few minutes, but Rodney couldn’t concentrate.


“Have you ever refused him?” he asked, annoyed with himself for wanting to know more, but unable to contain his curiosity.


“What? Oh…kind of. Once. I was working on something really exciting in the lab one week and he thought I’d been working too long and too late. He warned me about it, but I was too caught up in what I was doing and forgot to meet him that evening.” The other Rodney paused and pushed a piece of wavy hair behind his ear so it wouldn’t get in his way while he was working.


“What happened?” Rodney asked, hating himself for his fascination.


“He came to the lab. I told him to hang on because I was just finishing something….” Rodney made a little face. “Next thing I knew, he’d thrown me over the table and was ripping my pants down. Man, that was hot.” He grinned at Rodney. “Kind of scary, too. And I could tell he was pissed and wanted me to realize I wasn’t taking our wedding vows seriously. He spanked my ass a few times, then took me there and then, over the lab table.”


“Oh, God,” Rodney breathed, wondering how it would feel if Colonel Sheppard stalked in here one night and instead of sitting down and putting his legs up, pushed Rodney down over one of the tables. Rodney closed his eyes, trying hard not to think of the colonel’s warm breath on the back of his neck, or his insistent hands fumbling with the fastenings on Rodney’s pants. He couldn’t imagine anyone being that full of desire for him that they’d feel a need to take him then and there, but the idea turned him on so much that his cock immediately hardened in his pants.


“I need to…uh, check something out,” he said, turning away from his counterpart and running for the door.


He made it back to his quarters and threw himself down on the bed while struggling to get his pants open—and this time he didn’t stop himself. He wrapped his hand around his hard cock and imagined being pinned down by Colonel Sheppard, imagined the colonel thrusting into him hard while he writhed, helpless but willing, beneath the other man. Rodney came, harder and more explosively than he could ever remember in his life before and then he groaned and buried his face in the pillow.


He really didn’t have any idea what was going on. He had never thought very much about his sexuality before, but he knew that he liked women sexually. It had just never occurred to him that he might like men that way, too. True, he’d never found it easy to persuade women to sleep with him, but he assumed that was mainly because most people tended to dislike him. Although, now he thought about it, there had been some very sweet women in his life, such as Katie Brown, who had seemed genuinely interested in him, but he’d felt so awkward around her that their relationship had never come close to getting off the ground, or into the bedroom, and he’d never really pursued it. He backed off the moment a woman showed any interest in him. Was there a reason for that? Rodney wondered what had been stopping him. Now he looked back, he could see that he’d always enjoyed being around Sheppard. The colonel had never physically intimidated him the way the military boys usually tried to; he laughed with Rodney rather than at him, most of the time, at least, and Rodney had never felt more easy around anyone in his life than he did around Sheppard. Which all added up to what? Rodney had no idea. He just knew that he’d jerked off to thoughts of being fucked up the ass by his best friend on the base and now he felt utterly humiliated and angry with himself as a result.


In the absence of anyone else to take it out on, Rodney took it out on himself—both versions. He punished himself by becoming even more ferocious with his freezing shower regime, and he punished his counterpart, who looked so much like him, and who was so at ease with the very concept that was so frightening to Rodney, by sneering at him whenever he came with-in earshot. The relationship between the two men, which had never been good at the best of times, deteriorated rapidly as a result, and Rodney found himself becoming more and more isolated in his own work space as his counterpart gravitated towards the other members of his team—which in turn just made Rodney feel even more jealous of the ease with which he got on with them all, particularly Radek.




Things came to a head two days later, when they were in the last stages of getting the QDD ready for a test run. Rodney was busy under the casing—he’d taken to spending most of his working day under there simply to avoid his counterpart—but he could still hear the other Rodney chattering on to Radek and Miko and anyone else who would listen, as they all worked on the crystals. Rodney knew that he could be talkative, but at least he usually kept it work related. The other Rodney seemed to hold forth on any topic under the sun.


“So, Will and Grace?” Radek was asking.


Rodney gritted his teeth, hating this particular game and not understanding the appeal it held for the rest of his team.


“Will and…? Ah, right, you mean Will and Jack,” the other Rodney said, with that irritating giggle. “Will’s a strait-laced accountant, Jack is his naughty roommate just longing to provoke Will into taking charge of him. Jack barely makes it through an episode without someone tanning his hide. All very droll, although, personally, I can’t stand the show.”


“Desperate Housewives?” someone else asked.


“Desperate Houseslaves,” the other Rodney shot back. “A bunch of neurotic submissives hanging around the house waiting for their tops to come home and using the time to think up various schemes for outwitting them. Irritating. They could easily be out at work doing something useful. I can’t stand subs who give up any idea of independent thought the minute they find some stupid, dumb top to take care of them.”


“Oh, I’m sorry,” Rodney said, poking his head out from under the casing. “Because that’s different to the way you act how, exactly?”


His counterpart glared at him. “Well, the fact I’m here, for a start, working on this, and not sitting in our quarters in a thong and some handcuffs, waiting for John to come home.”


“Oh, I really didn’t need that mental image, thank you very much,” Rodney growled.


“Well, shut up and stop interrupting, then,” his counterpart said.


The rest of the team all sighed and turned back to their work.


“Don’t tell me to shut up in my own lab,” Rodney snapped, sliding out from under the casing and getting up.


“Well, stop insulting me, then,” the other Rodney said.


“I think we will take a coffee break,” Radek said smoothly, gathering up the rest of the team and ushering them out of the door. He’d taken to doing this every time the rows between the two Rodneys got too heated, which was becoming more and more frequent.


“Insulting you? How is that insulting you?” Rodney demanded when he was alone with the other man. “You’re the one who drops his pants every time the general beckons.”


“You shouldn’t talk about things you don’t understand,” the other Rodney flared.


“Oh, but I do understand. You’re his sex slave and you have to do everything he says,” Rodney told him with a malicious grin. He knew how much it annoyed the other man to be called a sex slave.


“I’m not a—!” The other Rodney took a deep breath and managed to get control of himself. “You don’t get it, McKay, because you’re too scared to get it. All you can do is ridicule it because you’re frightened that if you don’t, you might actually like the idea.”


“Yeah. Right. What’s to like about being someone’s fuck toy?” Rodney snapped.


“That’s not what our relationship is about!” the other Rodney retorted angrily. “That’s what gets me, you refuse to see it as it is. You have all these stupid misconceptions and you keep on repeating them over and over again.”


“I don’t see how they’re misconceptions,” Rodney said, crossing his arms over his chest smugly. “You walked in here, wearing a collar, being dragged around on the end of a leash and you never stop talking about the 101 degrading ways you and he fuck, and…”


“Shut up,” his counterpart said, his face looking white and pinched. “It only upsets you because you can’t stop thinking about it.”


Rodney uncrossed his arms, stung by the comment. “That’s not true,” he said defensively, because it pretty much was.


“Yes, it is.” His counterpart scented blood and went in for the jugular. “You are the most fucked up man I’ve ever met, McKay. You want to know what it’s like—you’re fascinated by it. You’ve been asking me questions about it non-stop since I arrived, but you keep pretending it’s because you’re revolted by it, because it disgusts you, but that isn’t it at all. You and I look the same, and talk the same, and maybe deep down we want the same things, McKay. Things are just a little more sedate, a little more buttoned up in your universe, but you heard Carson—you and I have exactly the same DNA and that’s what’s eating you up inside, isn’t it? If we’re the same, then does that mean that you want what I want? That you’d enjoy what I enjoy? And you’re too damn scared to take the journey to find out. You’re a coward, McKay.”


Those words hit home and Rodney stood there, gaping like a fish. He’d been so busy being freaked out about the idea of being gay that he’d been conveniently suppressing his even greater anxiety that he might actually also be sexually submissive, just like his counterpart. That didn’t fit into his world view at all. He was a brilliant, assertive man and the idea of being someone’s possession just didn’t appeal…except that his counterpart was a brilliant, assertive man as well, and he didn’t seem to have a problem with it.


“We may have the same DNA, but there’s a reason why our universes are different,” he hissed. “We’re not like you.”


“Or maybe, if you scratch the surface, we’re more similar than you’re comfortable with,” the other Rodney hissed back.


“Yeah, right, because you’ve seen me whoring myself out the way you do,” Rodney growled.


The other Rodney looked as if he’d been slapped. “What did you say?” he asked in a tight voice.


“You heard.”


“John is my husband. Since when is sleeping with your husband ‘whoring’?”


“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you told me that you’re his possession, that people can’t touch you without asking permission. Did you sell yourself out for his protection? Do you feel so scared when you go offworld that you want some kind of bodyguard to keep you safe? Isn’t that how it works? You take care of him in the bedroom, he makes sure you stay alive. That’s how it looks to me.”


The other Rodney gave him a look of total disgust and then turned on his heel.


“Yeah, why don’t you just go running off to Daddy,” Rodney called after him.


His counterpart paused. “He’s not my daddy. He’s my husband,” he said in a low, hoarse voice, his fists clenching and unclenching.


“It’s not a relationship of equals, whichever way you look at it,” Rodney said in a superior tone.


He turned away loftily to resume his work and was therefore completely unprepared for what happened next, but suddenly there was a noise behind him and next thing he knew, his shoulder had been pulled around and he was face to face with a grimly angry version of himself. He had a brief, weird moment of thinking that he’d never known he could look so scary or determined, and then the other Rodney lunged at him, landing a punch to his mouth. Rodney reeled from the force of the blow and from shock, and put up a hand to find blood trickling down his jaw. He responded by launching himself at his counterpart, arms flapping wildly as he tried to land a punch of his own. He was surprised by how strong the other Rodney was though—and how well-trained in fighting—and he ended up in a head lock, the other man’s arm wrapped around his neck.


“Take it back. All of it,” Rodney Sheppard hissed, tightening his grasp.


Rodney elbowed him in the stomach and his grasp weakened enough for Rodney to break away from him and turn to face him once more.


They flapped their arms at each other, both too angry to back down and neither of them exactly fluid or graceful in their fighting style.


Rodney closed his eyes and punched around wildly with his fists, hoping to land a blow. He was dimly aware of a commotion at the doorway and then suddenly someone grabbed him from behind and pulled him off his counterpart.


“Knock it off!” someone yelled at him, but he was still to wound up to think straight and he tried to lunge forward again, only to find that he was held completely immobile in a pair of strong arms. The red mist cleared and he realized it was the colonel who had him held fast, while his counterpart was being similarly restrained by the general.


“What the hell is going on here?” Sheppard demanded angrily. “Radek mentioned something ugly was brewing, which was why we put in an appearance, but I had no idea you two would be stupid enough to finally come to blows.”


“It was his fault!” Rodney glared at his panting, disheveled doppelganger. “He went crazy and hit me! Look.” He tried to point to his bleeding lip, but it wasn’t easy while both his arms were being held behind his back.


“Is that true, Rodney?” the general asked, releasing his grip on his own Rodney and turning the other man around to face him.


“He was asking for it,” the other Rodney said mutinously.


“Did you take a swing at him?” the general asked insistently. “Did you throw the first punch?”


The other Rodney said nothing. He just gazed at the floor, all the muscles in his body tense.


“I was walking away!” Rodney said. “He just went ballistic and threw himself at me.”


“Rodney?” the general asked in a soft voice. “Is that what happened?”


“Pretty much,” the other Rodney said at last, finally looking up to meet his husband’s gaze, his blue eyes glittering rebelliously.


“You hit him first? Not in self-defense?” The general rocked back on his heels, still gazing at his husband intently, his lips pursed grimly into a thin line.


“Nope. Not self-defense. I hit him first,” the other Rodney muttered, never taking his eyes off his husband.


“You got any explanation?” the general asked.


The other Rodney’s gaze flickered over to Rodney bitterly for a moment, as if he was expecting something, and then he sighed. “No,” he said finally in a tight voice, looking down again.


“Rodney?” The general put both his hands on the other Rodney’s shoulders and tried to make eye contact with him. “Help me out here. What’s going on?”


“Nothing. He was being his usual annoying self, so I took a swing at him. I lost it, John. That’s what happened,” the other Rodney said.


“We talked about this. We agreed on how you would handle these emotions. You promised—”


“I know what I promised, but I screwed up!” the other Rodney snapped. “Okay?”


“No, it’s not okay,” the general said. He turned to Rodney McKay, a very grim expression on his face, and Rodney was so alarmed that he took a step back and trod on the colonel’s toes. Sheppard released his grip on his shoulders, but Rodney hoped he wasn’t going anywhere as he didn’t want to face the general’s wrath alone. The man had thrown a knife at Kavanagh just for brushing his husband’s sleeve, so God knew what he intended to do to Rodney. However, the general didn’t touch him. Instead he just bowed his head at Rodney, taking him by surprise. “I must apologize for my husband’s behavior, Dr. McKay,” the general said. “I’m very sorry he assaulted you in this way.”


“Oh. Right. Good. Well, that’s fine,” Rodney said, his voice breaking slightly as he spoke. “So, you’re not going to…kill me or anything?”


The general shook his head, frowning. “I don’t think the colonel would let me,” he said, “but, anyway, I have no intention of killing you, Dr. McKay. It seems clear to me that my husband was at fault here, and I’ll punish him to your satisfaction, I hope.”


“Uh…what?” Rodney looked around, shocked, and met Sheppard’s equally shocked gaze.


“Rodney,” the general said, turning back to his husband. “You know what to do.” The general folded his sleeves back to the elbow, and then unhooked his strap from his belt. The other Rodney just stood there, his blue eyes dark and resentful. “Rodney,” the general said, in a hard tone. “Don’t make me tell you twice.”


The other Rodney moved his hands reluctantly to his waist and undid his pants. Rodney watched him in fascinated horror, suddenly understanding where this was going.


“Uh, no!” he said, hopping forwards. “There’s no need for this. Really. It was just one of those things.”


“Rodney,” the general said, ignoring him completely, “Come here, please.” He swung a chair around and put his leg up on the lower rung, and then reached out, grabbed his husband’s wrist and swung him effortlessly over his knee.


“Please don’t do this,” Rodney squeaked ineffectually. “It was my fault. I provoked him. I said some stuff…. Look, I’m really not surprised he punched me. I’d have done the same in the circumstances. I deserved it. Honestly!”


The general paused, one hand holding his husband steady over his knee, and gazed at Rodney impassively. “My husband will take responsibility for his own actions,” he said firmly. “He knew he had a problem with you and I showed him a way of handling it. He chose not to do as I told him and he’ll be punished for that.”


He turned back to his husband and pulled his pants down to just below his ass, exposing his buttocks. Rodney’s heart did a flip of sheer panic and he turned around frantically, seeking out Sheppard for support.


“Colonel, tell him this isn’t the way we do things around here!” he pleaded.


“I don’t think there’s anything I can say that will stop him right now, and this looks like a private matter between them so I’m reluctant to interfere,” Sheppard replied, giving Rodney an extremely dark look.


“What? Oh, come on! It was just a little scuffle!” Rodney protested. “Look, General, I’m sorry! It really was my fault. If you could have heard what I said to him! He doesn’t deserve this. Honestly!” He glanced down at his counterpart, but the other Rodney put his head down and grasped onto his husband’s legs with his big hands, seemingly completely resigned to his fate and appearing to signal to Rodney that he should be, too.


“Ready, Rodney?” the general asked.


“Yes, John,” the other Rodney replied quietly.


The general lifted his strap and brought it down on his husband’s exposed ass with a hard thwap.


Rodney gazed, horrified, at the red mark it left in its wake. He didn’t know what to do, but the last thing he wanted to do was stand by and watch this happen. He could feel his own hands moving uselessly, frantically, at his sides. He was honest enough to know that this was largely his fault, and he couldn’t bear it. Another loud thwap and Rodney winced. He remembered that his counterpart had told him that sometimes being spanked relaxed him and he wondered if maybe this wasn’t as bad for him as it looked, but one glance at Rodney Sheppard’s face disabused him of that notion. The other man was biting down on his lip, presumably to keep from embarrassing himself by crying out in front of an audience, but his face was flushed and he looked utterly miserable.


Rodney swallowed hard. He didn’t want to witness this and he seemed powerless to stop it, so he edged slowly towards the door. He was nearly there when a hard voice rapped out.


“Stay right where you are, Dr. McKay,” the general commanded.


Rodney stopped and turned, his heart in his mouth.


“As you said, you provoked this, so you can stay and see it through,” the general told him. “This is his punishment—watching it can be yours.”


Rodney looked over at Sheppard for help, but the colonel just gazed stonily back at him and gestured with his head that Rodney should stay where he was. Rodney took a deep breath, searching for a way out, but found none and realized he had no choice but to watch as the punishment continued.


The general brought his strap down several times on his husband’s ass, leaving a criss-cross pattern of red marks. Rodney winced with each stroke. It seemed to go on forever and Rodney didn’t know where to look. He didn’t want to look at Sheppard, because he seemed really pissed off with him right now, but he didn’t want to look at the general, either, because there was such a darkly determined look on his face as he brought that strap down on his husband’s ass that Rodney found it frankly alarming. Looking at his counterpart was even worse. The other Rodney’s hands were wrapped around his husband’s long legs to hold himself steady, and he gazed at Rodney blankly, his eyes registering the force of each hard stroke. Rodney longed for it to be over, while at the same time finding it horrifyingly, fascinatingly arousing.


Finally, the general stopped. He pulled his husband’s pants back over his red ass, and swung him onto his feet again.


“That was the public part of your punishment. Now go back to our quarters, Rodney. I’m not done with you yet. We have some things to take care of in private,” the general said.


The other Rodney fastened his pants, gazing at the general’s boots the entire time, and when the general finished talking, he nodded and started walking.


“Wait.” The general put a hand on his shoulder and pulled him back. He took his husband’s head between his hands and bestowed a firm kiss on his forehead, then released him and pushed him towards the door. The other Rodney kept his gaze fixed on the ground as he left. He didn’t even look at Rodney as he passed him; he just hurried out of the door. The general fastened the strap back to its hook on his belt and then nodded at Sheppard.


“Colonel, I trust there won’t be any need for you to mention this to Elizabeth. You know that Rodney has been punished. He couldn’t stand being placed in your brig, even if only for a few days.”


“I understand.” Sheppard nodded. “I don’t think Elizabeth needs to know about this. In fact, I don’t think what happened here should leave this room.”


“Agreed. Thank you,” the general nodded. He turned and walked towards the door and Rodney found himself taking a couple of steps back, seriously scared of the other man right now. The general paused when he got to Rodney and gave him a disdainful look. “I hope my Rodney isn’t the only one who learned a lesson here,” he said.


Rodney bit on his lip and tasted blood from where it had been split earlier. “Sorry,” he muttered again.


“Good,” the general said, and then he swept from the room.


Rodney gazed after him, utterly horrified. “Oh, shit,” he whispered, turning back to Sheppard. “Man, that was intense. Oh, shit. Oh, God.”


Sheppard didn’t say a word. He just stalked out of the room, ignoring Rodney complete-ly. Rodney gazed after him for a moment, shocked, and then followed on behind him, running to catch up with him just as the other man reached the transporter.


“Colonel! John!” he cried out.


Sheppard paused, his back to Rodney, every line in his body taut.


“I’m sorry!” Rodney said pathetically when he caught up with him. “I had no idea he’d do that. I mean, how could I?”


Sheppard seemed to take a moment to visibly get control of himself and then he turned, and the expression on his face was so furious that Rodney shrank back, away from him. “Rodney, right now, I really don’t care. I suggest you go back to your room, or the lab, or wherever the hell you’re headed, and think about your role in that little fiasco.”


“My role? I know I provoked him, but I had no idea he’d hit me!” Rodney protested.


“Really? Okay, what did you say to him?” Sheppard asked, crossing his arms over his chest.


Rodney flushed when he remembered his accusation about whoring. “Okay, I wasn’t very nice, but even so…he hit me! He hit me, remember!” Rodney massaged his sore lip, scraping off some dried blood he found on his chin.


“Rodney, you’ve been spoiling for a fight with him since he arrived. Now, I don’t know what your particular problem is with him, but he’s a nice guy so I suggest you sit down and have a good long think about it. Whatever is bothering you— Figure it out, Rodney because I don’t want anything like that to happen again. Understood?”


Rodney gazed at him, shocked, and found his mouth had gone completely dry. He wanted to argue and protest, but the expression on Sheppard’s face was far too forbidding for him to even think about that, so instead he just nodded dumbly.


“Good. Now, if you’ll excuse me.” And with that Sheppard stepped into the transporter and was gone.


“Since when was he appointed the boss of me?” Rodney grumbled to himself as he walked down the hallway back to the lab. “I’m the Head of Science and this is primarily a civilian expedition. He’s just here to protect us.”


He went into the lab and slammed the door shut behind him. His heart sank when he surveyed the debris in the lab. Things had been knocked over and broken in the tussle, and despite what the colonel had said about keeping quiet about the events of the past half hour, the room itself told its own story. Rodney set about clearing things up, muttering to himself the entire time. The truth was that he felt desperately guilty about what had happened to his counterpart, and that feeling of guilt wasn’t helped by the way Sheppard had just talked to him. Rodney finished clearing up the lab and then decided to head back to his quarters. He couldn’t face doing any more work today and he really couldn’t face seeing Radek and the rest of his team and putting a brave face on it and pretending nothing had happened—especially as his split lip would make it obvious just how much of a lie that was.


Rodney let himself into his room and went to his bathroom to gaze at himself in the mirror. His hair was askew from where the colonel had restrained him and he had a little red bruise forming around his mouth. His lip was swollen and bleeding a little. Rodney took a handful of water and washed away the worst of the dried blood on his jaw and neck. He considered going to see Carson, but he really didn’t want to answer any of the doctor’s questions right now and the injury hardly looked serious, so instead he went back and threw himself down on his bed. He was still in a state of shock about what had happened and a dozen images kept rattling around inside his brain in an endless loop; his counterpart’s pale, furious face when he’d finally pushed him too far; the way Sheppard had held him back with strong, forceful arms; the other Rodney’s mutinous gaze as he glanced up at his husband through his eyelashes, still clearly furious. Then there had been the ease with which his counterpart had gone over the general’s knee, without protestation, as if it was something he’d done on hundreds of previous occasions, which, Rodney supposed, he had.


There had been something about the ease of his submission to his husband’s authority, though, that made Rodney tremble. He closed his eyes, trying to squeeze out the memory of that spanking, but it haunted him. He knew he was aroused by it, at the same time as hating himself for that very fact. He felt terrible for the other Rodney, too, and that made him feel even worse for feeling in any way aroused, and he didn’t understand his arousal in any case. But the image that stayed most in his mind was the way the general had kissed his husband before sending him back to their rooms. It was clear that despite the fact the other Rodney was in big trouble, and despite the fact the general had warned him that his punishment wasn’t yet over—despite all that, the general was still holding out the promise of ultimate forgiveness. There was a big difference between that and the angry way in which things had been left between himself and Sheppard. Rodney stared up at the ceiling, feeling utterly wretched. He thought he’d actually prefer to be going through whatever the other Rodney was going through right now, if at the end of it he got to be forgiven, because at this moment in time, he felt utterly and completely alone with his guilt.




Rodney Sheppard returned to his room and stood there for a moment, trying to catch his breath. He wondered if he should undress so he was ready for punishment when his husband returned, but John hadn’t told him to do that and he was anxious not to do anything right now that would make the situation worse, so instead he just stood there, eyes down, waiting.


He still wasn’t sure how he’d gotten into this position. It had been a very long time since John had looked at him the way he just had, or since Rodney had screwed up so publicly and spectacularly. This was like being back at the early days of their relationship, when they hadn’t figured each other out, and when Rodney hadn’t been sure what the limits were. Now he did know—and that made it worse because he had a full appreciation of just how much shit he was in right now.


The door opened, but Rodney just continued to stand there, eyes down, unmoving. John stepped into the room, locked the door behind him, and then came to stand in front of his husband with a deep sigh. Rodney kept his gaze fixed on the floor.


“If that had happened back in our own universe, then Elizabeth would have ordered you into the punishment room before your feet could touch the ground,” John told him in a hard, stern tone.


“I know. I’m sorry,” Rodney said in the general direction of his boots.


“Do you know what that means, Rodney? What that really means?” John demanded. “I’d have had to punish you in front of possibly the entire base and you know what I feel about that. All those people…looking at your bare ass,” he growled.


“Well, you didn’t seem to mind punishing me in front of people who were looking at my bare ass a few minutes ago,” Rodney muttered rebelliously.


“Excuse me?” John took hold of his chin and pulled it up so that Rodney was looking at him.


“Nothing,” Rodney said sullenly.


“That was damage limitation,” John told him, his hazel eyes flashing. “You know their rules. I was trying to make sure you didn’t end up in the brig.”


Rodney’s heart did a little flip and he gazed at his husband anxiously. “What? I…. Would they have done that?” he whispered, appalled.


“I don’t know because these people are frankly weird, but it seemed like it was a distinct possibility after what happened in the mess hall the other night.”


“I suppose so.” Rodney took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. “Oh, God,” he whispered.


“It’s all right. I had a conversation with the colonel after you left and he agreed that nobody would know what happened in there except for the four of us.”


“Oh. Right. Good,” Rodney said in relief. He was surprised to find that he was shaking just at the thought of the brig and John put his arms around him and held him.


“Okay. It’s okay. Shh. It’s not going to happen,” John told him, his hands soothing reassuring circles down his back. Rodney clung on for a moment, until he felt calmer.


“So, I’m still in trouble I take it?” Rodney asked into John’s neck.


“Oh, yeah,” John replied, kissing the side of his face affectionately.


“I honestly am sorry. He was just being such a total bastard.”


“I know. I guessed that much. If it’s worth anything, I will say that he looked really shook up when I left. I felt kind of sorry for him.”


“Don’t,” Rodney growled.


“He’s so like you used to be, with all your faults and all your good points, too. He was quick to take the blame and he was genuinely upset about what happened to you. He’d have done anything to save you that punishment.”


“Well, perhaps if the colonel would just step up to the plate and tan his hide occasionally, then things like this wouldn’t happen. Plus, he’d be much nicer to be around.”


John chuckled. “Maybe, but I have to say that doesn’t seem to be the way things work around here.” He kissed the side of Rodney’s face again and then shifted.


Rodney clung on for as long as was humanly possible.


“You’re just delaying the inevitable, Rodney,” John told him.


“Hmmm, but I figure the delay is worth it,” Rodney replied.


John chuckled again, but then pushed him back, more firmly this time.


Rodney sighed, and gazed at his boots again. “You did already punish me,” he reminded his husband.


“Yeah, but this was big, Rodney, you know that,” John said. “I haven’t seen you like this in a long time and that just tells me I’ve failed you as a top and as your husband.”


“What?” Rodney glanced up in surprise.


“How did it get to this stage, Rodney? I thought I was taking care of it, keeping you grounded, and then I find you brawling?”


“You haven’t failed me,” Rodney said miserably.


“Look, Rodney, I know we’re in a different universe, but as far as I’m concerned, the same old rules apply—and that means that if you act out, I’m responsible. I knew that when we got married and I was happy to shoulder that responsibility in exchange for all the many benefits that also go with being your husband and your top.” John gave him a wry grin. “So, if you’re getting into fist fights, then I’m doing something wrong.”


“No, you’re not. It was my fault for letting McKay get under my skin.”


“And my fault for not realizing just how big an issue this was for you and dealing with it more thoroughly,” John told him. “Now, I didn’t enjoy punishing you just now and I sure as hell won’t enjoy the punishment I’m going to give you in a moment, so that’ll be my retribution for not taking better care of you.”


“This sounds bad,” Rodney sighed.


“It isn’t good,” John replied, going over to the closet. “When I was on the mainland a few days ago, I cut myself a switch,” he said. Rodney’s heart did an anxious flip. “I didn’t think I’d actually need to use it, certainly not for real, but now I think I do,” John said, opening the closet and retrieving a long, thin, whippy-looking switch.


Rodney took a deep, appalled breath. “Please, John. I’m sorry,” he said wretchedly.


“I know you are,” John replied with a nod. “And I have already given you a good strapping, but I think you deserve a thorough switching too. Imagine how I’d have felt if they put you in the brig, Rodney. And imagine if we’d been back home. Do you think Elizabeth would have let you get away with less than a thorough caning for this?”


“No…. But….” Rodney caught the flash in John’s hazel eyes and bit back that protest. “No,” he whispered.


“I really need this message to go home,” John told him. “Because I can’t keep you safe here, Rodney.” He couldn’t keep the note of worry out of his voice and Rodney’s heart ached for him. “They don’t understand us or our ways. People can touch you and apparently I’m supposed to just stand by and be fine with that. You don’t get the protection your status should afford you and nobody respects my role in your life. Hell, they don’t even understand my role in your life, even after we’ve explained over and over again.”


“I know. That’s partly why I threw that punch at McKay,” Rodney said softly.


“So I need to keep you as safe as I can, Rodney, and if that means taking care of things so that you don’t break any of their rules again, then I’m happy to punish you long and hard until that message goes in.”


Rodney nodded. “I understand,” he muttered. “I was an idiot back there. There are other ways of dealing with McKay. I, of all people, should know that!”


“You should feel sorry for him rather than rising to his bait,” John told him. “He’s clearly struggling with some really hard issues right now.”


“I know,” Rodney said wryly. “Anyone can see that they’re completely in love with each other and they’re both single, so what’s all the denial about? I just wish I could bang their heads together, the pair of ’em,” Rodney sighed, exasperated.


“It’s not the same for them as it was for us. It’s harder in this universe. Hopefully, one day they’ll figure it out, but if not—it’s not our responsibility, Rodney.”


“I know,” Rodney nodded.


“Our only responsibilities are to each other—you to me and me to you. That’s what this means.” John placed a finger on his pendant and Rodney felt the Kaeira flow lovingly between them. “And I’m not going to shirk those responsibilities, Rodney. You mean too much to me,” John told him. He removed his finger and Rodney sighed, missing the contact already.


“Get undressed, Rodney,” John told him. “Then kneel on all fours at the end of the bed.”


Rodney did what he was told, shaking slightly as he got undressed. John had never used a switch on him, but he had caned him before, a long time ago, but only once, and he thought that had been bad enough. This was worse, far worse, because they were closer now than they’d been back then. A switch, like the cane, was a serious instrument of punishment, and Rodney knew that it would hurt like hell.


When he was naked, he took up the position John had indicated and tried to compose himself. His ass was already sore from the strapping, but he knew he could take more and that John would make him take it in any case. There was a long silence and Rodney kept his gaze fixed on the sheets, trying to clear his mind. Then he felt the touch of the switch on his ass as John rested it there, taking aim, and he closed his eyes. He heard it first, before he felt it, and then a blaze of pain shot through his buttocks as the switch bit into his flesh. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. Damn, but that had hurt.


Another silence, another whistling sound and another wave of fire sweeping through his ass cheeks. Rodney gave a startled yelp at just how much it hurt and half rose on his haunch-es, more as a reflex action than anything else. John put a firm hand on his back and pushed him back down again.


“Hold still, Rodney, we’re not done yet—not by a long shot,” he said in a grim voice.


Rodney lowered his head, accepting. The next stroke elicited a shout of pure pain from him and by the fourth, he was shaking hard with the effort of holding position when he wanted to do anything he could to evade the bite of that switch. John was absolutely implacable, though, as he always was when delivering a punishment, and Rodney knew he wouldn’t stop until he was completely satisfied that his husband had learned his lesson.


John delivered three more hard strokes before he was finally done, and by the time he finished, Rodney was trembling in earnest. Then John put a hand on his shoulder and helped him off the bed. Rodney glanced over his shoulder to see seven very distinct and evenly spaced red lines on his already reddened ass.


“Damn thing hurts like hell,” he told John as his husband drew him in for a stern but loving kiss.


“I know. You took it well though, Rodney. I’m proud of you,” John told him. He drew back and escorted Rodney over to the wall. “Now take some time to think about everything that happened today,” John told him. “When you’re done, come to bed and I’ll hold you.”


Rodney nodded, and stood there silently. His bottom stung like crazy, waves of pain radiating out in little circles from the epicenter of each precisely delivered stroke, and he felt utterly miserable. John was right, their situation was precarious; they were stuck in a universe where nobody understood them, where people had a problem even accepting them, and they had to be as careful as possible. Things seemed so familiar here that he’d allowed himself to be lulled into a false sense of security. They were guests, visitors, and while it wasn’t their fault that they were here, they still had to rely on the goodwill of these oddly familiar strangers. He’d been stupid—and self indulgent—in allowing McKay to get to him. He felt a lump rise in his throat at the thought that he might have been thrown into the brig. How would John have felt if that had happened? These people didn’t understand how devastated John would have been by that—to be forcibly separated, to have other people take control of his husband, to have them imprison him against John’s will and without his permission…these people didn’t have a clue how big a deal that was for them. If it had happened, John would have been distraught—and it would have been Rodney’s fault. Rodney rested his hands against the wall and his head on his hands. The tears came slowly, leaking between the cracks in his fingers. He didn’t move, or make a sound, just wept silently for a long time, until he was all cried out. He supposed he should go over to the bed as John had instructed, but he knew he didn’t deserve to be held after what he’d done so he just stayed there.


Finally, after an hour or more had passed, he felt warm hands on his shoulders.


“That’s long enough,” John told him firmly, and he was turned around and led back to the bed and pushed beneath the sheets. He lay on his side and felt John slide in beside him and turn off the light, then an arm wrapped itself around his waist and he was pulled back against John’s naked body. John kissed the back of his neck repeatedly and finally Rodney felt himself starting to relax.


“I know what’ll help,” John whispered. Rodney stifled a gasp as John moved, jostling Rodney’s sore ass, and then John was back again and Rodney heard the pop of the lube tube.


A few seconds later, John’s fingers slid carefully between his smarting butt cheeks. Rodney sighed and opened up to allow better access. He wasn’t honestly in the mood to be fucked, but if that was what John wanted, then he was willing enough. John stretched him, slowly and purposefully, without any sense of sexual urgency, then withdrew his fingers and replaced them with his cock. He slid into Rodney carefully, tenderly, inch by inch, and came to rest, embedded deep within Rodney’s ass. Then he wrapped his arm around Rodney and kissed the back of his neck again and Rodney realized that a fuck wasn’t what John had in mind right now. Rodney floated away hazily. He never enjoyed being punished, but he did always like the place he ended up in his head afterwards. His body felt heavy and drowsy; there were feel-good endorphins whizzing around in his bloodstream, and the familiar, beloved sensation of John’s cock embedded in his ass.


“Go to sleep now,” John told him, stroking Rodney’s stomach gently with his fingertips. “I’ll stay inside you.”


Rodney closed his eyes with a contented sigh, feeling completely wrapped up in his husband’s love. He knew John would be as good as his word. This wasn’t about sex right now, it was about comfort, and John didn’t intend to come. He was just going to stay inside Rodney until he slept. At some point he’d allow his cock to soften inside Rodney’s body and during the night it would probably slip out, but right now, Rodney could feel it filling him, large and reassuring, reminding him that John was there, in him and with him, and that he was safe, and warm, and very, very much loved.



End of Part Nine





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