- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Explicit Sex
- Science Fiction
John regretted all of his life choices. Every single one. He looked toward the ceiling and took a deep breath then focused on Ronon who was cleaning his nails with a knife. “You.”
Ronon raised an eyebrow.
“You gave my son knives.”
“On my world, it’s an appropriate weapon choice to start training,” Ronon said. “I received my first set at eight.”
John blew air out noisily.
“At his size, he shouldn’t handle a projectile weapon,” Ronon continued. “But he might stand a chance against a Wraith if he were taught to target their feeding hand or enzyme sacs.”
John’s stomach tightened, and his throat tightened. The very idea of his son being in the hands of the Wraith was actually agonizing. He took a sharp breath and stood up from his desk. “Goddamn it, Ronon.”
“I know,” Ronon said simply. “He’s very small and leaving him defenseless…I can’t do it, Sheppard. Moreover, he’s…a really beautiful child. There was a man once on my world who—he tried to be intimate with me when I was your son’s age. My father killed him. There are a lot of people on this city we don’t know as well as we should, and we can’t take for granted that he’s entirely safe among us.”
“Tried to be intimate with you,” John repeated flatly.
“He asked me to go to bed with him,” Ronon said. “Like it was a normal thing. He was fifteen years older than my own father. Such crimes were punishable by immediate death as children were considered a precious resource. It is the same on many worlds in this galaxy. Your son is the only child on the city, Sheppard, and it matters. It’ll matter to many others once it is discovered. It speaks to the Tauri’s commitment to this galaxy and to our fight against the Wraith. Our allies will see it as a step toward permanence for your people here.”
“I’d never…” John sighed. “I don’t want that for him. He’s not…”
“He’s special,” Ronon said. “Certainly unique to me. I’ve never seen or heard of a child like him in all the worlds I’ve visited. Perhaps it’s because of the conditions most live in—our children never get a chance to explore knowledge. It’s a privilege but one he clearly recognizes. But you can’t change the way others will see him, what they will expect, or what they might try to take from him. You’re trying to control something that can’t be controlled, John.”
He blinked in surprise because he couldn’t even remember the last time Ronon called him anything but Sheppard. John sat down in his chair and took a deep breath. “I don’t want him to ever be in a position where he has to defend himself with a knife.”
“Me either,” Ronon replied. “But neither one of us can truly control that. I’ll give everything I have to protect him but at the end that might not be enough.”
He hated it, and there was nothing he could do about it. “Teach him knife safety first,” he said finally. “Then show him how to disable an adult, no matter their species, so he can run.”
Ronon nodded and stood to leave.
“What did Teyla get him?”
Ronon grinned. “Bantos rods. Little ones though—his size.”
John sighed and slouched in his chair. “For fuck’s sake.”
“She’s starting with meditation and stretching exercises. He needs a little time to reset his mind, she said, after all the academics during the day. He’s young and limber so he’ll take well to those exercises. Being physically fit is his best defense—we’ll make sure he knows that running should be his first option.” He paused. “And when he’s older you should teach him that kickboxing thing that you and Lorne do.”
“Lorne has a black belt in aikido,” John said. “I was trained in Krav Maga. We’ve learned a lot from each other.” He blew out a breath. “I’ll consider that when he’s older. He could probably use some lessons in judo—which is more about leverage than physical power.” He picked up the pen he rarely actually used to write with and flipped it through his fingers. “I want him to be safe. It’s galling to picture him with a weapon in his hand.”
“My father cried the day he gave me my first weapon,” Ronon murmured. “He told me that he’d give anything for me to live on a world where I was safe from the Wraith. He died the first day of the invasion leading his unit in an assault to retake the gate.” He paused. “He took his own life rather than be fed on.”
John closed his eyes briefly. “I can’t imagine that.”
“His last words to me were orders to survive,” Ronon said. “I did.”
“He was your CO in the military.”
“Yes,” Ronon admitted roughly and averted his gaze.
John realized, then, that in some ways Ronon had put him in his father’s place in his life. It was stunning and humbling. He was about twelve years older than the Satedean, but the gap had never felt larger. “You were an only child?”
“No, but I was the only one he had left on the planet as far as he knew and the youngest.”
John winced. “You’ve never talked about siblings.”
“Three brothers and a sister,” Ronon said roughly and stood. “My sister fell at the gate with our father and my brothers…I don’t know. I was culled, and I lost track of them after that. I searched for them when I was turned into a runner, but they never showed up at our rendezvous points. We had six different ones of Sateda and one on our own world.”
“When’s the last time you checked?” John questioned. “Do you think any of them were turned into runners?”
“No, I don’t think so.” He moved toward the door. “I’m still reviewing that material you passed me for his literature work. I’ll let you know when I’m ready for lessons.”
“Thank you, because it all makes my heard hurt,” John said roughly. “I love to read, but I was always more comfortable in math and science.”
“It’s interesting to learn that the grammar rules for English aren’t all that different in what I taught on Sateda,” Ronon said. “The Ancients probably had an unreasonable level of influence on all of us.”
“It’s annoying,” John agreed.
“Mostly because they’re buttholes,” Ronon said and strolled out of the office.
John huffed and made a note to tell Sebastian not to teach Ronon bad habits. More bad habits. The Marines were bad enough. It was really kind of terrible that his own kid could be considered a bad influence on their Pegasus allies. He wondered if there was a form he should fill out about it. The SGC had forms for everything.
With that thought, he opened up his laptop and opened up his email program. Thanks to the almost complete gate bridge, they were trading data bursts with Earth every forty-eight hours. He wasn’t sure he liked the level of communication if he were honest about it. The more they exchanged information, the more Earth was in their business. John was quite proud about how well the expedition handled themselves and the IOA really didn’t understand the dynamics in Pegasus.
He sorted through emails and set everything that Lorne had been CC’d on since his XO would handle all of those. Everything about science-related issues when into another folder for review. Most of the time it was most productive for John to read those when Rodney was around and could answer questions. It was tempting to ignore and pretend he didn’t get the email from Landry, but he opened it.
Lt. Colonel Sheppard,
The gate bridge will be complete in roughly fifteen days. The IOA is sending a representative out to inspect the city. His name is Richard Woolsey, and before he was chosen by POTUS to represent the US within the IOA, he was with the Army Corp of Engineers.
General Hank Landry
John sat back in his chair and stared at the email with a slight frown. It was frankly the friendliest email he’d ever gotten from Landry, and that was annoying. Considering the way his father had invaded Home World Security, he had to think that Landry had realized that John came from a lot of money. He hated the way that crap could influence people. He honestly much preferred Landry when he was moderately hostile and unimpressed with John’s continued survival.
His email program dinged twice, and he snorted as he noted that both Elizabeth and Rodney had used a frownie face emoticon as their subject line. He opened up Elizabeth’s first.
Please let me know if you need any assistance in preparing Woolsey’s visit. He’ll probably concentrate on nitpicking my decisions for the last two years.
McKay’s email was blank much to John’s amusement. Though he figured that the frownie face summed up Rodney’s feelings about the IOA sending anyone to Atlantis. He activated his radio and tapped out the sequence to reach McKay privately.
“It wasn’t his fault,” Rodney said immediately.
“Oh, god,” John said and groaned. “What?”
“What?” Rodney questioned. “Why are you calling me?”
“What? Fine. There was a device that activated when Sebastian walked past it in the Jumper Bay. AR3 brought it back in a cache of tech from a mission, and it was being sorted on a table. Regardless, it wasn’t his fault, and I got it turned off before it did anything really stupid.”
“What did it actually do?”
“Hmmm. Well, as it turns out it was some kind of…” Rodney sighed. “It was headgrabber.”
“Jesus fucking Christ, McKay!” John stood and hurried around his desk. “Where is it?”
“I have it quarantined in a box. It didn’t touch Sebastian, I promise.”
“Did it touch anyone?” John demanded as he left his office.
“I…well. Yes, I got between it and Sebastian, and it latched onto my wrist, but Miko grabbed the tentacle thing and made it let go. Then we put it in a box.”
“Where are you both?” John asked.
“Stay there. I’m on my way, for fuck’s sake.”
He skidded into the transporter and hit the closest location he could to McKay’s office and tried to remain calm as he walked toward the office. “When did this happen?”
“About ten minutes ago,” Rodney admitted gruffly. “We’re just regrouping now. I pulled the security footage so we could figure out how close someone has to be to activate it.”
“AR3 has a gene carrier,” John reminded. “Why didn’t it go off?”
“Because Major Teldy is in her quarters with a broken leg and her team was in the field with Lt. Wilkes. We found the lab in question about five months ago we’ve been cleaning out various rooms for a while now.”
“How the hell did someone pick a headgrabber and not know it?” John demanded as he entered the lab and strode straight toward McKay’s office with a glare toward the scientists who were lingering in the work area.
Sebastian, amusingly enough, had his own desk in McKay’s office. He stared for a few moments before he stepped fully into the room and the door shut behind him.
“O’Neill has been caught be a headgrabber twice, but in both situations, things were so out of hand that no one got any sort of photographic evidence of it. Moreover, the drawings that Daniel Jackson eventually provided were all of the device open,” Rodney huffed and motioned toward the large monitor on his wall.
John watched his son walk through the Jumper Bay and just short of reaching the table, devices started to light up, and the headgrabber unfolded with a snap like a jack-in-the-box. He blinked. “Let me see that again.”
The footage started over, and McKay slowed it down just as stuff started to light up.
“It’s not far off how it would’ve reacted to me. Take stills of this device active and inactive so we can educate everyone in the field what to look for. Does it have any security on it?”
“I don’t know, yet,” Rodney admitted. “My goal will be taking it apart and trying to retrieve the data.” He rubbed his wrist.
It was heavily bruised. “You should get that checked out,” John said even as his stomach knotted. They were too far from the Asgard to get help if McKay or Sebastian had actually be given an Ancient download.
“It’s fine—just a bruise,” McKay assured.
John focused on Sebastian who was sitting at his desk with Avery in his lap. The penguin was asleep. “Hey.”
Sebastian raised an eyebrow. “Honestly, as far as headgrabbers ago I’d much prefer to come across the Ancient kind.”
John sighed. “Your mother let you watch Alien?”
“And the sequel. Mom said the others weren’t worth watching no matter how hot Sigourney Weaver was in them,” Sebastian said as he picked up Avery and put him in a little basket on the desk.
“Well, she’s not wrong,” Rodney said.
“He’s too young for horror movies,” John protested and huffed when his son just smiled at him. “Seriously.”
“I live in a galaxy full of space vampires,” Sebastian reminded. “Fictional monsters in movies from Earth are…well kind of hard to take seriously.” He shrugged when John couldn’t help but make a face. “Did you read the family emails, yet?”
John frowned at them both. “No, because I got distracted by the both of you doing stupid things. You’re both grounded to this office for the rest of the freaking day.”
McKay laughed and picked up his coffee cup. “Go away, Sheppard, we have genius stuff to do.”
“Right,” John said with a huff and stalked out of the office.
He detoured to the mess and got himself some cookies. Because he was still irritated, he didn’t send any McKay’s way. They clearly didn’t deserve cookies. Back in his office, John sat back down at this desk and concentrated on the family emails. He sorted through the pictures and passed those onto Sebastian before opening up the one from his father.
You probably already know Matt is coming out there. I tried to interfere, and I’m not sorry. I am honestly furious that both Matt and O’Neill told me to stay in my lane on that subject. Obviously, I need to broaden my lane. Regardless, I trust you’ll take care of your brother even though he’s a grown man. I know you haven’t seen him since he was sixteen. I can’t say he’s matured much since then despite the doctorate in aeronautics.
David is preparing a care package for you and Sebastian—let him know what you both need or want.
John considered the list he and Sebastian had spent some time working on. He made a note to revisit it and make sure that the kid hadn’t been overly minimalistic about things. It struck him that he didn’t have a lot of personal possessions on the city and he’d once lived in a house full of things that belonged to him. With a frown, he sent McKay an email so he could get Sebastian to talk about what he left behind in California.
Then he started an email he’d been kind of reluctant to write even though he’d had Mason Blake’s email address since the day O’Neill had told him about Sebastian.
I’m honestly at a loss as to what to say you, so I’ve avoided doing this for months. Please accept my condolences on your loss. My time with Karen was brief but wonderful, and it was very painful to hear about her death. I couldn’t imagine being in your place. Sebastian has told me a bit about you, and I know you wanted to make a family with him and Karen. I’m sorry that the opportunity was taken from you. Sebastian obviously misses you a great deal but is at times hesitant to speak of you.
I think you probably have a very good idea of where we are. The next time we’re available, I believe he would be thrilled to see you if that is something you can handle. I can’t pretend to truly understand your grief, and I won’t pretend to. If you can’t handle seeing him, yet, just let me know, and I’ll handle it on this end.
I’m writing to you because we’re going to receive a care package and Sebastian has asked very little to be included. I wish I knew if it was because he genuinely doesn’t need much or if he’s afraid of making people think he’s spoiled. Did he leave anything behind that you think he would truly like to have with him? Could you arrange for some things from his room to be sent to us? When I took custody of him, he only had a crate of clothing and an eBook reader. I assume it was due to the security circumstances around his removal from California.
Any help on this issue would be much appreciated.
– – – –
John rubbed his thumb over the bruise on McKay’s arm right above the wrist bone. Too close, he thought. He pressed a kiss there, and Rodney’s breath caught then shifted Rodney on his back as he slid on top of him. “You need to be more careful.”
“I’m sorry he was almost hurt.”
John huffed. “You were hurt.” He brushed his mouth against McKay’s. “I trust you do everything you can protect my son, Rodney. I just need you to watch your own excellent ass, also.”
“John,” Rodney said against his mouth. “I…”
“You can’t…” John whispered harshly against his jaw and swallowed hard. “I let you in my life in a way I never expected to do, and you can’t just leave me. I didn’t even know I needed you like this.”
He rubbed his mouth along the beard roughed skin of Rodney’s jaw and took a deep breath. They both smelled like his soap since they’d showered together. “Yes, well, you never see it coming.”
John laughed a little. “You sure about the soundproofing thing?”
“Yeah, it was just a little tweak in the privacy settings in the security features for the apartment,” Rodney said and huffed a little when John slid downward and flicked his tongue over one nipple. “We can still hear him though if there’s a problem.”
“I have my radio set to beep if he activates our channel,” John murmured. “I told him, and he made some an inappropriate comment about me getting lucky, so I’m going to give him a terribly embarrassing sex talk in retaliation tomorrow.”
“I want to fuck you.”
McKay exhaled sharply. “Yeah, that’d be great.”
“But?” John questioned as he licked over the head of Rodney’s cock.
“I just kind of got the impression that you preferred to bottom.”
“I do,” John admitted. “But tonight I want in you. I need to feel as much of you as possible.” He reached out and grabbed the lube from the nightstand. “Just you and me.”
“Just us,” Rodney murmured. “No condom?”
“We’re both clean,” John said. “And yeah, I’d like to take you raw and come in you.”
“Territorial bastard,” McKay muttered but grinned when John just raised an eyebrow. “And yeah, we can stop using condoms. I mean…it’ll be messier.”
“Yeah, exactly,” John shuddered as he licked the length of McKay’s cock and opened the lube. “That’s what I want.”
“You want me to smell like you,” Rodney said. “Your cum.”
“Yes,” John agreed and ignored the surprise on Rodney’s face. He didn’t know if McKay was surprised by the admission or what. “How long’s it been?”
“Since I had something in my ass?” Rodney asked in amusement and hissed out a shocked breath as John slid one lubed finger right in. “Jesus.” He lifted his hips as John pressed in deep and tagged his prostate. “Fuck.”
“Don’t let my preference confuse you, McKay,” John said lowly. “I’m about to own your ass.”
“Why is that sexy instead of awful?” Rodney demanded and jerked violently as John added another finger. “It’s been…I have a plug, but I haven’t used it in about six months. It’s smaller than my own dick, and you’re bigger than me…”
“Longer but you’re definitely thicker,” John murmured.
“It’s not very thick either—I just use it for prostate stimulation.” He rocked down on John’s fingers. “I love it.”
“You should’ve said,” John murmured. “I’ll play with your ass anytime you want. We could even plug you while you fuck me.”
“Yes, let’s do all the filthy things later, but right now you have to get your dick in me right now.”
John slicked up his cock and tossed aside the lube then hooked his hand behind McKay’s knees. He pushed them back, and Rodney’s breath hitched. “Can you handle this position?”
“Yeah,” Rodney and cupped his knees. “Absolutely.”
John shifted and ragged the head of his cock over McKay’s balls, and the rim of his asshole then slid in just a little. He rocked back and forth as he watched Rodney arch into the stimulation. He personally loved that first sharp burn of penetration, and it was clear that Rodney enjoyed it as well. John pushed in all the way with one slow thrust, and McKay groaned.
He slid his hands over Rodney’s thighs and started to move. A harsh, heavy wave of pleasure slid down his spine. It had been over a year since he’d fucked anything, but his own hand and the pleasure of being inside another person was like no other. John felt like he’d been slowly starving and he hadn’t even known it.
“You feel so good,” John murmured. “I knew you would. Tell me how you want it.”
“Just…” Rodney shuddered. “Fucking hell, just like this.” He lifted his arms over his head and fisted them in a pillow then rocked downward to meet the slow roll of John’s hips. “Yes.”
“Do you need my hand?”
“Yes, god, I do, please.”
John wrapped one hand around McKay’s dick and started to stroke him—a little harder and faster than he was moving. The distinct difference in pace had McKay clenching down on him and rocking urgently onto his dick and up into his hand. It was delicious and perfect. It was too much, and it had been too long, so he started to come long before he intended. He pushed in deep and began to grind against Rodney’s prostate even as he came.
“Oh, fuck,” Rodney shuddered and came all over his hand.
John worked him through it and stilled when Rodney relaxed on the mattress. “Okay?”
“I think you just took fifty points off my IQ,” Rodney murmured. “And I’m not even mad.”
John laughed. “You have plenty of points to spare.”
– – – –
Sebastian rubbed the back of his head as he followed Avery back from the bathroom. He figured he could probably let the penguin go by himself, but his Dad told him that he should supervise to make sure the whole potty situation worked adequately. At the end of the bed, Avery paused and made a little nooting sound.
“I’m gonna build you a ramp,” Sebastian said as he picked Avery up. He put the penguin down on the bed and crawled in.
Light danced along the wall and across the floor. Tiny flickers of gold filled the air briefly, and he sighed. “Can it wait? Daddy’s busy, and I’m exhausted.”
The lights slowed faded, and for a few seconds, he thought he heard laughter. He glanced at Avery who usually responded immediately to any strange noise and found the penguin asleep. He touched the lamp on his table, and the light went out. There were still gold sparkles in the air, but they were fading fast in the inky darkness of the room.
“You can sparkle if you like, I don’t mind.” He yawned when the sparkles came back yawned. “We’re gonna have an important visitor from Earth, so you’ll have to be on your best behavior while he’s here or it could cause trouble.” The sparkles brightened briefly as if the city was agreeing. “Thanks, ‘Lantis.” He closed his eyes and curled into his pillow. “Leave Daddy and Dr. McKay alone, okay? They need their sleep.”