Odd Man Out – Chapter Four – Pretzel (END)

Content Rating:
  • R
  • Character Bashing
  • Explicit Sex
  • Hate Crimes
  • Racism
  • Violence-Canon-Level
  • Alternate Universe
  • Challenge Response
  • Science Fiction
Nathaniel Kavanagh/Peter Grodin, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard, Radek Zelenka/Miko Kusanagi, Evan Lorne/David Parrish

Word Count:
5,999 / 21,116 / 21,116

Author's Note:
The Hate Crimes/Racism is for prejudice, medical negligence, and attempted murder/harm via proxy by sending a character to a known dangerous planet (for sentinels and guides, anyways). I am not kind to Weir or Beckett, but the amount of fail and lack of logic in canon is /epic/ when it comes to these two.

Latent Guide Nathaniel Kavanagh was used to being the odd man out. No one really liked to be under scrutiny, especially by the Sentinel-Guide Network. After the First Siege of Atlantis, he was sent with the incoming personnel to review the state of living there for his fellow Gifted. What he found there was far more than anyone was expecting...

Nate couldn’t stand watching and listening to Carson talking to Hermiod about the best way to remove the Goa’uld from Colonel Caldwell once the appropriate information had been extracted from it regarding its plans. He recognized that it was important, but once the conversation shifted to what to do with the Goa’uld after it had been removed- Carson was in favor of keeping it alive for observation for a period of time while Hermiod wanted to exterminate it completely -he left to roam the blue-tinted city. As he walked, Cian joined him, looking tired but otherwise triumphant.

“You doing alright?” Nate asked, looking down at his spirit guide.

“I’m fine. Since your connection right now is primarily with this plane and not the physical one, it’s harder for me to remain there for any length of time.”

Nate rubbed at the back of his neck. “How, uh, how do I wake up? I’m not as well-versed with empathic fugues as I am with sensory ones.”

“If this were a normal fugue, you’d have likely woken up by now since you’ve been removed from the situation that caused the fugue and have been isolated and fully empathically shielded for the three days since that time.”

“Three days?”

“Three days,” Cian confirmed. “However, the crystals on that planet unnaturally forced you into an active state rather than the slow and steady process you’d been undergoing since you arrived in Atlantis, and then immediately pushed you into an empathic fugue while you were still vulnerable. The city is helping in all the ways she can, but she can only do so much in her current underpowered state.”

“You talk as if the city is alive,” Nate said as they came to one of the piers. He went to the end and took a seat there, his legs dangling over the side. “I’ve noticed quite a few of the others do as well.”

“Hmm. Maybe not alive as you’d classify it, but she has a connection to the psionic plane because of how she’s powered. Over the millennia, she’s gained a sort of consciousness. Think of the city as one big spirit guide. She doesn’t have a sentinel or guide to partner with because of how she’s invested in keeping the city afloat and working, but she does have a special fondness for the sentinels and guides that live within her walls,” Cian explained.

Nate laughed quietly. “Yeah, I can see that. So… what do I do to wake up, then, if it’s not a normal fugue.”

“You could always talk to Peter.”

“And how do you propose I do that?”

“You could try turning around.”

Nate twisted around, one hand planted on the ground next to him to keep him steady. Peter and Rodney stood not five feet away, their spirit guides on either side of them. Nate was hardly surprised to see that Rodney’s was a grizzly bear. It suited him very well. His eyes widened when he saw the mountain lion walking alongside Peter, instantly recognizing her.

Beryl? Your person is Peter? Why didn’t you say anything?”

“I didn’t want to influence you, even though we greatly suspected you were his guide,” Beryl replied as Nate got to his feet, “but I didn’t want you to feel like you were alone, either.”

“I- Thank you.” Nate dusted himself off and then joined the others. Peter wasted no time in reaching out and pulling him in for a hug, his grasp tight. Nate returned the hug with equal strength, though he dearly wished it was happening in the real world. Peter reluctantly released him after a stretch of time, one hand running down Nate’s arm before he took hold of his hand.

“How’re you feeling?” Rodney asked. “You’ve been out of it for several days.”

“Cian told me,” Nate said. “It hasn’t felt like it. Maybe a few hours at most.”

Rodney rolled his eyes in annoyance. “Fucking psionic plane messes with time,” he grumbled. “It either goes faster or slower depending on whatever you need. I guess you needed more of it to recover. I hate wishy-washy stuff like that.”

“We know, Rodney,” Peter said with a laugh. “I find it interesting that it’s taken the form of Atlantis instead of a jungle or forest.”

Nate shrugged. “To be honest, it probably would’ve taken the form of a rocky beach or a mixed coniferous forest like what you’d find in the Pacific Northwest, but I think it may be partially because I see Atlantis as my home and partially because of Atlantis herself, but that’s just a theory. I take it you’re here to try and get me out of the fugue?”

“If we can,” Rodney said. “I had an idea on how to do it, but I don’t know if it’s ever been done or if it’ll work. Most guides come out of empathic fugues on their own given enough time. However, given how traumatically you became active, not to mention the effect of the crystals, I don’t think that’s going to happen without some sort of tether or connection to the physical plane. My plan is twofold. One, I offer you a bond to my personal pack.

“Two… Well, you and Peter would have to spiritually bond here. That would happen first, and then I’d invite both of you into the pack as our second beta pair. I’ve already talked to John about this and he agrees with me. Since it has to be done on this plane rather than the physical one, it falls to me to initiate the pack bond. I know it’s rushing things, but you can have a spiritual bond without a physical one for however long you like, so you can still take your time in that regard.”

Peter squeezed Nate’s hand. “Do you mind if we take some time to talk about this, Rodney?”

Rodney shook his head. “Seems like we’ve got plenty of time here.” He looked at Cian. “And hey, thanks for the whole…” He gestured absently. “…thing with Caldwell.”

Nate scowled. “You’ll want to keep an eye on Beckett. He was trying to convince Hermiod to let him study that fucking thing once it’s been removed. So far Hermiod has said no, but I wouldn’t put it past Beckett to continue to try. I know he’s your friend, Rodney, but-”

Rodney held up a hand. “Don’t. Just… Carson may have been a friend before, but ever since he’s been showing his true colors, especially given the events of the last few months… Well, I guess I’ll have to figure that out in my own time. I’ll just be over there while you two talk.”

He jerked a thumb at the other end of the pier next to the entrance to the city before heading off that way with his spirit guide, giving Nate and Peter privacy to speak. Peter led Nate over to the end of the pier before gesturing for him to take a seat. Once the two of them were settled, Nate opened his mouth to talk, couldn’t find the words, and then closed it again.

“I don’t…” he began, keeping his eyes on the horizon for the time being, “I don’t want you to feel forced or rushed into this.” He let out a harsh laugh. “Hell, we haven’t even gone on any dates. It feels kind of weird to just jump right into bonding.”

“Nate, I know you’re worried, but trust me when I say that I’m not being forced or rushed into anything I don’t already want,” Peter said, reaching out and taking hold of Nate’s hand once more. “I’ve known you were probably my guide from the first time we met. The doctors say you likely would’ve made the switch and become active within the next few weeks anyways if you hadn’t gone to that planet.” He smiled. “Not to mention that I’m pretty sure most of the base think we’re at the very least sleeping together if not dating. I may have caught sight of the betting pool log when I went to visit Nazaryan in Anthropology last week.”

Nate shook his head. “They’ll bet on anything, won’t they?”

“I’ve been told that it’s a fascinating way to study how the inhabitants of a semi-closed community interacts with one another,” Peter said, grinning. “And it doesn’t hurt that they get a cut of the profits. It’s still mostly trade based than money, since we didn’t exactly take funds with us that first year, but they seem to get a kick out of it. If you ever need something you forgot on your last supply order, Anthro is the place to go for most things.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

Nate ran his thumb over the back of Peter’s hand, thinking. “How did you become active, if you don’t mind me asking? When I looked at the initial personnel roster, you’d been listed as latent.”

“You’ve had to review the mission logs for that first year, right?”

Nate nodded. “Yeah. I still don’t know how the expedition lasted until the Daedalus came to the rescue, but that’s in the past, I guess.”

“Well, there was this Ancient defense satellite,” Peter began. “We were fixing it up in the hope of using it against the Wraith. There were some issues with the wiring- it was at least ten thousand years old, after all -and Rodney had to reroute some power in order for it to fire. I… The Wraith arrived before we could fix everything. I volunteered to stay on the satellite so I could fire it at the Wraith while Rodney and Lieutenant Miller stayed in the cloaked Jumper. The rerouting caused a problem and nearly overheated the damn thing before it could fire again. The Wraith…”

He squeezed Nate’s hand, eyes closing briefly. “The Wraith shot at the satellite, but I was lucky. The control area I was in sealed itself off to keep the air in and the structure mostly stable while the rest of the satellite was destroyed. I had a space suit, but it took a while for the cruisers to move on, so I was stuck there for a while before the Wraith lost interest and Rodney and Miller were able to rescue me.”

Fuck. I’m sorry, Peter.”

Peter shook his head. “Don’t be. I’m still here, and I’m thankful every day for that. I just won’t go into any Ancient satellites any more if there are Wraith on the way.”

“That would be wise,” Nate agreed. He sighed as he watched the clear sky start to get tinged with pinks and oranges. “You sure you want to be stuck with me for a long time unless something bad happens? I can be grumpy as all hell when I don’t have my coffee and tend to get sucked into my work.”

“So does about three-quarters of the population on Atlantis,” Peter pointed out. He nudged Nate with his shoulder. “And yes, I’m sure. We’ll figure out a way for both of us to be happy, and like Rodney said, we can be spiritually bonded without needing a physical bond for a while, so we can date properly if you want.”

“Like an engagement before the wedding?”

“Something like that.”

Nate considered the idea, a small but pleased smile slowly forming on his face.

“Yeah, alright.”

Peter laughed. “Oh, yes, very romantic.”

“What, do you want dramatic poems and speeches filled with flowery language? That’s not really my style, and I think you’d probably think I was the one with a Goa’uld in my head,” Nate pointed out with an unrepentant grin.

Peter laughed again, leaning in to kiss him on the cheek. “Then let’s do this.”

Nate got to his feet and then helped Peter up, leading him away from the end of the pier to where their spirit guides were waiting for them. Beryl and Cian looked quite cozy together, with Cian happily leaning in against Beryl’s larger form. They moved apart, Beryl licking the top of Cian’s head before he got too far away. Nate and Peter faced one another, joining hands as Rodney wandered over to them. Nate took in a steadying breath before letting his shields thin and then drop entirely, freely welcoming Peter in.

He felt Peter’s mental presence rush in like a morning fog, filling all the empty spaces in his mind and soul. Nate reached out in turn, wrapping his shields around Peter like a comforting blanket, easing the day to day strain on his senses as they continuously cataloged everything that was going on around him. Only when the physical bond was complete would either of them have total control over their abilities, but the spiritual bond was a good start towards that goal.

Nate opened his eyes, not even realizing he’d closed them in the first place, and smiled brilliantly at Peter, who wore a matching joyous expression. Peter squeezed his hands before looking over at Rodney. The Alpha Prime cleared his throat.

“Right. Uh, congratulations, you two. That’s step one done. Step two is the pack bond. So…. Do you, Nathaniel Kavanagh and Peter Grodin, accept the position of betas in the my personal pack and in the greater Atlantis pride? Will you vow to look out for the members of the pride to the best of your abilities and to support them when needed?”

“I will gladly do so, Alpha Prime,” Nate and Peter said, the traditional words of acceptance falling from their lips without any hesitation. Rodney let his own shields thin, reaching out to the two of them with a thick vine of psionic power that spoke of belonging and home. His offer was gladly received and accepted by the other two men, and as Nate felt the pack bond snap into place, the blue of the city faded away into a soothing darkness.


Nate escaped from the infirmary several days later when Fyodor finally cleared him to leave. Peter was waiting for him outside the infirmary, looking very pleased to see him. Nate was equally happy to see his sentinel, and wasted no time in giving him a hug. Once they’d finished greeting one another, they set off to get some food from the dining room, as while the infirmary food was alright, it certainly wasn’t as flavorful or varied as what could be found elsewhere.

“So,” Nate said as they sat down at a table with their food, “anything happen while I’ve been in the infirmary?” He lowered his voice. “Anything with Weir?”

Peter sighed and then shook his head. “Not yet. We can’t prove that she was the one who told Lieutenant Howard to take you. Howard wants to give you a formal apology, by the way. She feels awful about what happened.”

“I don’t blame her,” Nate said, picking up his fork. “It’d be easy to, but I honestly don’t think it was truly her fault. Did… Was the warning still there on the gate log in the system? Because I can’t help but think the tech on duty would’ve noticed if it was. It wasn’t exactly a secret that I was a latent guide, and Rodney’s pretty adamant about his warnings when it comes to things like that.”

“I’d have to ask, but it may have been replaced by now,” Peter mused. “Rodney’s locked that address out of the system for the time being just in case, and only he can unlock it.”

“And the Goa’uld that was in Colonel Caldwell?”

“Hermiod beamed it out and then sent it directly to the ship’s incinerator. He was going to send it to space at first, but decided it’d be better to not leave any chances of it being recovered and used for anything.” Peter said as he cut into his food. “Neither Beckett or Weir were happy about that.”

Nate snorted sharply. “I doubt they were. Sucks for them.”


“What, you want me to sugar coat it?” Nate asked. “Weir wanted to study the genes behind sentinels and guides to see if there was a way to combine them. I wouldn’t have put it past her to-”

He froze, his fork clattering to table as it fell from his suddenly nerveless fingers. “Oh shit.


“The Ancients- they had similar abilities to sentinels and guides but all in one package, right?”

“Right,” Peter confirmed cautiously. “From all the records here in Atlantis and the SGC describe. What’re you thinking?”

“What do you think would happen if the Ancient, sentinel, guide, and Goa’uld genetic codes were successfully mixed?” Nate asked. “And then there was that whole issue with Ellia, so why don’t we chuck Wraith DNA in there as well? They’re a product of the Ancients messing with things they really shouldn’t have, for the most part, if I remember the records right. I know this is a long stretch, but what if Weir and Beckett are trying to make the next step in human evolution?”

He waved a hand. “Not like a god, but… what about another kind of Ancient, or something close to one?”

Peter rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Elizabeth has always been interested more in Ascension than anything else,” he said. “It could be that she thinks being closer genetically to an Ancient would make that easier to accomplish.”

“You think she’s suicidal?”

Peter shook his head. “I don’t think so. Heavily invested in learning as much as she can about the Ancients as possible, maybe, but I don’t think suicidal.” He paused. “Maybe. I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t really say one way or another.”

“Is that Wraith retrovirus research still going on?”

“I don’t know,” Peter said grimly, “but if it is, it probably won’t bode well for anyone. I’ll talk to Rodney about it once we’re done eating. He should know since he’s head of all the Sciences.”

“You really think Beckett will tell him if it is?”

“I don’t know, but we’ll find out soon enough. For the time being, let’s eat. We’re supposed to be celebrating you being out of the infirmary, not worrying about Beckett and Weir.”

Nate nodded and then turned to his food, though it was hard to keep his mind off what Weir might be planning long-term with the genetics research Beckett was doing, not to mention her general antagonism towards sentinels and guides. He ate steadily, though if he was honest, he couldn’t have accurately described what, exactly, he’d eaten given how lost he’d been in his thoughts. When the meal was over, the two of them left to go find Rodney or John to get their opinions on the whole matter. The Alpha Prime pair agreed it was something to keep a closer eye on, as Beckett’s genetic research projects could cause quite a lot of issues not just for the expedition but the galaxy as a whole if handled incorrectly.

Figuring the situation was left in the best hands it could be at the moment, Nate and Peter passed the rest of the night until they went to bed spending time with the other members of their pack in one of the pride’s private lounge areas. It was nice to have a place that was just theirs and where they didn’t have to worry about their abilities being overwhelmed by too many people or events all at once.

Nate immediately noticed the difference between being a latent and active guide the more time he spent with people, and it was fascinating to finally be able to get a proper empathic read on those he worked with the most. It wasn’t an in-depth scan at all, but as time passed, Nate found he was able to get a basic read on someone’s emotions and react accordingly. The only person he couldn’t get a proper read from was Weir. Her emotional affect was oddly flat and muted when compared to the emotions she presented to the outside world.

It didn’t feel natural, either, so he discounted the possibility of a serious psychiatric anomaly or other neurodivergence for the time being unless proven otherwise. Something about how smooth her emotional affect was set every nerve jangling in his mind and body, and Nate found himself spending the least amount of time around her as he could when not in required meetings. The only time her affect changed for any appreciable amount of time was when she was temporarily possessed by Phoebus.

While Beckett had wanted to open the other pod to allow Phoebus’s husband to possess someone as well, both Rodney and John refused to allow it, instead putting the possessed Elizabeth into one of the isolation rooms to wait things out. The amount of ill-will and malice that Phoebus put off when speaking out loud about her husband in the sweetest of terms had set Rodney off, which in turn put John on immediate alert, so once Elizabeth was secure and the entrances to her isolation room put under armed guard, the two escape pods were taken through the gate and jettisoned into a star that had a completely uninhabited planetary system orbiting it just in case.

Weir hadn’t been all that happy about it once she’d been released from her confinement several days later, but the recent events with Caldwell and the past experiences the SGC had with various entities attempting and then successfully taking over the consciousnesses or bodies of various personnel over the years had been laid before her with scathing and ruthless efficiency by Rodney, who didn’t take kindly to the idea of his sentinel being used as the vehicle for someone else’s consciousness, especially when no one knew how it would’ve affected the bond they shared. Her continued insistence on putting people in unnecessary danger was starting to affect even the non-sentinels guides in the city, especially given how well-liked John and Rodney were. Sure, the scientists would bitch about Rodney, but it was with the same air of complaint that one talked about a strict but otherwise well-liked professor. Weir, on the other hand, was beginning to be seen as someone who couldn’t be trusted to make logical choices when it came to the running of the city.

It all came to a head when Beckett announced that not only was he relatively sure he’d perfected his Wraith retrovirus, but that he was ready to test it on an actual Wraith. No one could figure out how he’d managed that, as Rodney had quite firmly shut down any and all further research on and with the retrovirus, locking it down with his own personal code. He suspected that Weir or Beckett had to have made an unauthorized backup somewhere, something that infuriated him to no end.

Nate was impressed with how the Alpha Primes managed to keep it together as the senior staff meeting about the retrovirus began. The moment Beckett suggested that they should capture a Wraith and bring it back to Atlantis to test the retrovirus and prove that it could neutralize the Wraith by turning it into a human, John let out a low and rumbling growl that shocked everyone into silence.

He got to his feet, glaring at Beckett in a way that he usually only reserved for the Wraith and Kolya. No one dared to speak, let alone breathe overly harshly as John placed his hands flat on the table in front of him. Rodney looked as pissed as his sentinel was, a matching icy glare being directed at his former friend.

“Doctor Beckett, may I ask who authorized the continuance of your research?” John asked, his voice low and deadly. It was impossible to miss the way Beckett’s gaze darted over to Weir before refocusing on John. Rodney placed a steadying hand on John’s arm before getting to his feet as well.

“Carson Beckett, Elizabeth Weir, you are hereby declared as intolerable and anathema to the Tribe here on Atlantis, the Pegasus Galaxy, and likely the Milky Way as well due to your continued refusal to listen to reason. You will be sent back to Earth under guard when the Daedalus arrives. Once there, you will be placed under heavy lock and key under the care of Alpha Prime O’Neill until such a time as the appropriate punishments can be levied against you. The declarations of anathema and intolerable will follow you throughout the rest of your lives and cannot be reversed by any authority save for the Senior Alpha Primes, and I have it on good authority that neither Sandburg or Ellison will agree to it once they hear the shit you’ve tried to pull,” Rodney spat. “For your information, we are not bringing another Wraith here as long as we have a choice and the city still stands. We’ll have to figure out a new expedition leader and chief medical officer, but that’s easy compared to what you could’ve been inviting had you gone ahead with your plans.”

“You can’t do this!” Weir protested, rising sharply up from her chair. “You’ll ruin decades of hard work with this, not to mention our careers. Neither of us will be able to work with the Stargate Program ever again, let alone anywhere that employs sentinels and guides.”

“So you do know some things about us,” Nate said dryly. He clapped several times in succession. “Congratulations. I’m glad to know that something has finally sunk in.”


Nate shrugged at his sentinel’s exasperated reprimand. “Did I say anything that wasn’t true? It’s been made clear to her time and time again what her actions will cost her, so she can’t say we didn’t warn her. Doctor Beckett should’ve known better given the various oaths he’s had to give to earn his degree and licenses. There’s a damn good reason genetic research is so heavily regulated in most countries that have some form of ethical laws. We might not be on Earth any more, but those ethics still apply here. Besides, if you mess with the Wraith, that’ll just give them even more ammunition to hate us and to want to exterminate us and all the other humans in this galaxy and the Milky Way. Did either of you even consider that?”


Nate fell silent at John’s command, straightening up in his chair in an instinctive response to the tone he used. John regarded Beckett and Weir for a long moment before speaking. “You’ll be placed under house arrest in your quarters,” he said. “Before that happens, however, they will be stripped of all personal and expedition-assigned electronics save for your headsets, which will be continuously monitored and recorded. Meals will be brought to your quarters at each of the appropriate times throughout the day. Guards will be outside your doors to ensure that you comply with the house arrest.”

“How is this any different from keeping us prisoner?”

“If you’d prefer to stay in the holding cells until the Daedalus gets here, Doctor Beckett, that can be arranged.”

Beckett went quiet, subsiding in his seat. Weir glared at John, her arms crossed over her chest. Nate had to hold back a laugh, as she looked like a petulant child who’d had her favorite toys taken away from her because she’d been naughty. While Weir and Beckett were kept in the meeting room, Rodney assembled a team of both scientists and military personnel- not all of whom were sentinels and guides, in case he was accused of favoritism or prejudice himself -to go search their quarters and purge them of all electronics except for their headsets and the associated charging cables.

The mood on the city was tense until the Daedalus arrived, and only when Weir and Beckett were safely on the ship and on their way back to Earth did the inhabitants of Atlantis begin to relax. Missions save for those needed for trading were suspended until they got a new civilian leader and chief medical officer unless it was absolutely necessary to go out, but most everyone seemed fine with that. It had been a long time since any of them had been able to relax in any fashion, and for the most part, the Wraith seemed to be keeping to themselves.

They were still a very large and looming threat, of course, but as long as they believed the city was still destroyed, they wouldn’t be actively seeking out Atlantis’s people. The trading teams would keep an ear to the ground for any increased Wraith activity while they were out, but they wouldn’t go looking for a fight, either. Nate and Peter took advantage of the down-time when they weren’t working and spent time getting to know one another. They quietly moved into shared quarters, not wanting to make a fuss about the whole thing.

Nate arrived back to their quarters later than he’d wanted one night, having had to help deal with a newly emerging guide among the Marines. He was tired and wanted nothing more than to cuddle up with Peter and relax, maybe by watching a movie on one of their laptops. When the door to their quarters slid open, Nate was caught off-guard by the candles on the low table near the window and the scent of some of his and Peter’s favorite dishes wafting his way.

Peter was sitting on one of the cushions at the table, reading a book as he waited patiently for Nate to arrive. He looked up when the door slid shut behind Nate, a brilliant smile warming his face as he focused on his guide.

“Nate! You’re here.”

“I am,” Nate confirmed as he took off his shoes and uniform jacket, hanging the latter on a hook and setting the former neatly near the door. “Sorry I’m late, though I must admit, I’d have hurried back faster if I knew you and dinner were waiting for me.”

“Glad I rate above dinner,” Peter joked, waiting patiently for Nate to join him at the table. Once that had happened, the two of them tucked into their food, and Nate could feel the stress of the day melt away with each passing second. He stretched out a leg and tucked his sock-clad foot under one of Peter’s thighs, seeking just a little more physical contact with his sentinel.

“Cold feet?”

“Nah, more like I felt like being able to touch you.”

Peter leaned back, one hand wrapping around Nate’s ankle. “And if I wanted to touch you all over?”

Nate shot him an amused look. “Do you just want sex?”

“Would you be mad if I said no?”

Nate straightened up in his seat. “Of course not! If you want to physically bond with me tonight, I’d be honored.” He laughed softly. “I was sort of wondering when you’d ask.”

Peter shook his head in amusement as he cleaned up the dishes. “I guess I should’ve said something earlier.”

“Maybe so, but I think it’s sweet that you wanted to do this properly.”

They fell into a comfortable silence as they tidied up, one that carried into their disrobing. Neither of them were in a rush, not when they had plenty of time to do as they pleased. Nate laid back on the bed, very glad indeed that they’d found one that was big and long enough for the two of them. Peter took his time soaking in his fill before joining him on the bed.

He reached out and ran a hand along Nate’s arm, his fingertips skimming over the warm skin there. Nate smiled, content to be the sole focus of his sentinel’s very direct attention for however long Peter needed. Being the focus of a sentinel was a heady thing on any given day for a guide, but especially so for one in the middle of a bonding.

Peter examined every inch of Nate’s arm and hand, leaving nothing unscented, felt, tasted, or unseen. He repeated the process with Nate’s other three limbs, ignoring the scent of rising arousal in the air. He moved on to Nate’s head, kissing him deeply after skimming his fingers along the planes of his face. Glad to have something to do besides just lay there and get increasingly keyed up, Nate returned the kiss, letting out a plaintive whimper when Peter broke away.

“Hey, it was just getting good!”

“Turn over for me?”

Nate waited until Peter had sat back before doing as asked, curious to see what his lover had in mind. More of the same, it seemed, though this time he mapped out Nate’s back half, making Nate jump when he bit at the flesh of his guide’s ass.

“Careful back there; I’ve got a meeting in the morning.”

Peter pressed a soothing kiss over the reddened area before moving on, his fingers skimming over each nook and cranny as he went. Nate giggled at the feeling of Peter’s lips against his ankles, feet twitching in response to the stimulation of the sensitive skin there.

“Sorry,” he said, half-turning to make sure he hadn’t kicked Peter in the face. “I should’ve warned you. I can’t even get a massage without reacting like that.”

Peter shook his head, love and amusement rolling off him in waves as he sat up. “I’m fine,” he assured him, letting go of his ankle. “Turn over once more?”

Nate did so, spreading his legs in a clear invitation for Peter to investigate the one area he had yet to center his senses on. Much to his temporary annoyance, Peter bypassed his cock entirely and focused instead on his torso, completing his sensory map there before finally moving downward. Nate bit back a few more giggles as Peter sniffed at his cock, well aware of how silly the whole thing was in the moment, the muffled laughter turning into an outright and audible moan when Peter brought his tongue into play.

That was hardly fair, especially when he was on a relative hair-trigger from how drawn-out the rest of the mapping was, his skin feeling tight and warm as the arousal built. Peter drew away only when he was satisfied with his imprint and then reached for the bottle of sentinel-safe lube that they kept on the bedside table. Nate was eager to feel his sentinel’s talented fingers within him, and it wasn’t long before his wish was granted.

He was lucky to have just enough control to hold back his orgasm until Peter’s cock was firmly seated in him, barely lasting a few well-placed and -timed thrusts before he was making a mess of himself and his sentinel. Peter didn’t stop moving, chasing his own orgasm as he kissed Nate senseless. The final part of the bond between them snapped into place as Peter tipped over the edge, binding the two of them mind, heart, and soul.

Later, when they were all cleaned up and resting comfortably in one another’s arms, Nate poked Peter gently in the arm.


Peter hummed in acknowledgment, freely wallowing in the echoes of bliss that still slid through their bond.

“If you ever sniff my dick again, I’m going to have a lot of questions.”

Peter burst out laughing, the sound filling their bedroom. Nate joined in, still laughing as Peter pushed him onto his back and propped himself up over him. He smiled up at his sentinel. It may have taken a long road to get there with a lot of bumps along the way, but he was finally home, and he wouldn’t give it up for anything in all the universe.

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About Pretzel

Aka Scarlet_Gryphon on AO3. I enjoy writing and reading about pretty boys, good plots, and awesome worlds. Writing is my stress relief.


  1. Good story, i enjoyed reading it, and thanks for sharing it with us

  2. Great ending

  3. Lovely story and a perfect ending.

    Congratulations on finishing!

  4. So good. Thank you for writing.

  5. Great story. Thanks for sharing and congrats on finishing it!

  6. A lovely story.
    Weir and Beckett definitely seem to have left ethics behind when they went to a new galaxy, along with most of their reasoning skills!

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