Title: Over The Ocean
Series Order: 6
Banner Art: None
Word Count: 10,008
Warnings: Canon typical violence
Under extreme stress, a Sentinel’s instinct to protect the Tribe can overpower everything, including their own survival instinct. It is in situations like this when the purpose of the Guide is clear. They are the Sentinel’s only anchor to the rest of the world.
Guide Dr. Blair Sandburg, Ph.D., Sentinel Studies, Rainier University, Cascade, Washington, USA 2001
John was finding that, with Elizabeth Weir, having the facts on his side was the best way to win an argument. He would have to thank Rodney for pointing that out to him. Getting her to agree to the rescue mission was only the first step in his plans for the day though because now he needed to figure out a way to get his Guide to agree to follow his lead. Given how strong-willed he was, taking him out into the field without that agreement beforehand was just insane. The practice runs they had gone through at the SGC had shown him that the two of them could work together well, but this would be real life and real consequences, and being clear was the best bet.
Walking up to where his Guide was directing the exploration of the City, now that it was on the surface, John waited for a pause in the conversation and asked, “Rodney? I need to talk to you about something.”
“Huh? Oh, sure. Lemme finish this and I’ll be right there,” said his Guide in a distracted manner. Swiftly finishing with his list of directions, Rodney also managed to finish a memo to someone and send it before turning back to John. “So given your expression and what I am getting from the Bond, you are expecting me to object to something. What’s up?”
Rubbing his hand over the back of his neck, John nodded and tried to figure out the best way to get his hesitancy across. “Yeah, I am expecting some objections… Rodney, I know that you are a fully trained Guide and you’ve been with the SGC for years, but this will be the first time we have gone out into the field for real and I need to know that you will follow my lead.”
He watched as Rodney’s face froze briefly and then relaxed. The Bond between them had also stopped for a moment and then there was a veritable flood of the feelings he had learned to label as ‘understanding’ flavored with a large amount of fond ‘you moron’. Smiling gently, his Guide reached out to place a hand on his shoulder, “John, I have no problems following your lead in the field. I just ask for the same courtesy when it comes to my areas of expertise.”
Suppressing the desire to breathe out a huge sigh of relief, John nodded. “Good, good. I’m glad to hear that. Now, I need you down at the spaceships in 15 minutes so we can get ready to head out.”
“Elizabeth approved the rescue mission.”
Taking a moment to reinforce the Bond, John leaned forward to press a light kiss on his Guide’s lips and then murmured, “Yeah, we have a go. Apparently the ship you showed me was the deciding factor. Now, get moving. Fifteen minutes Rodney, and wear your field clothes.”
Walking away, John heard Rodney talking to himself and grinned as the Guide asked the world at large, “Field clothes? Where did we leave our packs again?”
Moving swiftly through the hallways of Atlantis on his way back to the Gateroom, John got on the radio to gather together a team to help with the rescue. Despite having been part of the Expedition for a few weeks before they had shipped out, he knew very few of the regular military members, so he was going to have to rely on Lt. Ford to be his ‘go-to guy’ in determining what skill sets were needed and the soldiers to fill them. Signing off on the Lieutenant’s choices, John turned into one of the many small storerooms outside the Gateroom and started hunting around for the crate marked with the Sentinel/Guide logo. It wasn’t there.
After a brief check-in with the Expedition’s supply sergeant, John was informed that some bright soul had moved that particular crate into a room by the Gate that had been designated as their armory. John tried to suppress his faintly embarrassed flush and not thinking of looking there. After all, the crate was from the General and most of its contents were weapons, just not the ordinary everyday type provided for soldiers at the SGC. Quickly secreting what he thought would be useful on his person and in his TAC vest, John took the time to fill his Guide’s vest with the Sentinel safe kit Jackson had provided. With Rodney’s TAC vest looped over one arm, John moved back into the Gateroom and with a wave, drew Lt. Ford over. He needed to use these extra minutes to put names and faces to the skill sets they were bringing on the rescue mission.
“Gentlemen, you have all been picked for this mission because your Lieutenant believes that with you along we have the best chance of success. I agree. If you don’t, step out now.” Eyes on the man who was now his de facto second, he waited for a five-count. No one moved. John grunted in satisfaction. “Time to move out. Follow me.”
There was a breeze coming out of the ‘mountain’ and it smelled strongly of insects, ammonia, and death. John’s nose scrunched up as he got a good whiff of the stench and he had to turn his head slightly to get a fresh dose of his Guide’s scent. When his senses were steadier, he turned his face back into the breeze and listened to the voice whispering in his ear, “Separate out the unnecessary scents, John. Filter out what you don’t need and try to concentrate on the scents you associate with our people, gun oil, sweat, deodorant. You know what our soldiers smell like and I know you were around the Athosians long enough to register their scent too.”
Rodney’s voice was a form of quiet background noise that held within it the directions in how to get the best performance out of his Sentinel. John felt himself falling into the crystal clear state where everything that he came in contact with was processed for relevant data and all the irrelevant was discarded. Inhaling deeply, he found the faint scent of wood smoke, sweat, gun oil, and leather. Humans. Stretching out his hearing to follow the scent trail, John heard the sound of the Athosian leader talking to someone else. Location determined, he started moving forward, Rodney tucked securely against his back.
John concentrated on following his hearing and sense of smell, determinately ignoring the sights around him. His Guide wasn’t so fortunate and the Sentinel could feel him tensing against his back as they passed something horrible. John knew that if they were lucky enough to make it back to Atlantis, his dreams were going to be full of everything he was trying so hard to ignore right now. After an unknown number of minutes and what felt like several close calls, the rescue party reached the cells where their people were being held and John did a quick scan to check on everyone’s health. For the most part it seemed that everyone was okay with no serious injuries.
As soon as Rodney realized that they were at the cell, he let go of the Guide strap on John’s TAC vest and pulled a tool kit out of a thigh pocket. Dropping to his knees, he started probing the wall in front of him for access panels. When one of the inhabitants of the motioned towards a specific area, Rodney switched his search area and with a quiet ‘Ah-ha!’ managed to get the wall to open.
Turning his attention to the people on the inside of the cell, John looked for a specific person. When he found her, he quietly asked, “Ms. Emmagan, I’m glad to see that you are still here. Is anyone missing?”
“Yes, one of my people and Col. Sumner were just taken no more than five minutes ago,” she answered, and her voice was just as quiet.
John allowed his senses to flow out and surround her, trying to get a handle on how she was reacting. “The Wraith took the Colonel? Do you know which way they went?”
Shaking her head in obvious sadness, the alien woman sighed and said, “No. Once he was taken from our sight, we do not know where they went.”
“Ah-ha! Gotcha you slimy piece of shit!” At the exclamation from around his knees, John looked down and saw that Rodney had his right hand inside the wall and was manipulating something that sounded remarkably squishy. Whatever it was that Rodney was playing with, he managed to get the bars to the cell to open without a sound. Pulling his hand out of the wall, he flicked it to the side in an attempt to remove a clear liquid from it. “God, that was gross. Remind me to make a pair of surgical gloves part of every toolkit from now on. John, I need you to search for Col. Sumner’s heartbeat.”
Turning to his second, the Sentinel reached down to help his Guide up onto his feet, “In a minute, Rodney. Ford, I need you to set up a big diversion and then I want you to get these people back to the Jumper.” Accepting the Lieutenant’s nod as all the confirmation he needed, John pulled his Guide close for a quick realignment of his senses. Speaking directly into his Guide’s ear, he asked, “His heartbeat? Expecting a lot from me, aren’t you Rodney?”
Shaking his head against his Sentinel’s shoulder, Rodney sent a pulse of confidence down their Bond. “I know you can do this. You were in enough meetings and the like with him to have learned it, no matter how much you might not have wanted to. All you need to do focus.”
Turning his senses outwards, John cast around for any heartbeats in the area and was surprised to find a number in the area. Six of the seven he found didn’t sound like anything he had ever come across before, more insect-like than human. The seventh heartbeat was as familiar and was easily identified as coming from Col. Sumner. Pulling back from the embrace, John grinned at his Guide. “I’ve got him, Rodney. Thank you. Now, I want you to go with Ford and make sure the explosives are put in the best spot possible.”
John watched as a flash of denial moved over Rodney’s face and through the Bond they shared, followed by resigned acceptance. Reaching out the Sentinel ran the back of his hand over the side of his Guide’s cheek and then turned to chase after Sumner’s heartbeat.
Rodney herded some of the refugees ahead of him and tried not to dwell on the emotions coming across the link he shared with his Sentinel. Before they had even left the Wraith compound he had felt a flare of fear and loathing, causing him to ask the young Lieutenant if there was anyone they could send after John as a form of backup. After what looked to him like a series of hand gestures, head tilts, and pointed looks, Ford sent Sergeant Bates back to into the compound. Everything was quiet over the Bond as Rodney and Ford managed to set the C-4 charges everywhere he could and had gotten out without being noticed. Once outside, he had almost been driven to his knees by a tidal wave of grief and guilt coming from John and he’d had to tighten his shields against his Sentinel for the first time ever. Stretching out his own mental gifts in response to the blast, Rodney found the dying mind of Col. Marshall Sumner and offering him the compassion that all Guides were known for, helped him during the last moments of his life.
Thankfully the overwhelmed Guide was able to find his equilibrium quickly and was able to buffer and support his Sentinel through the nightmare of seeing his commanding officer die. Gathering up the love, devotion and affection he had for John, Rodney sent a pulse of the feelings down their Bond. There was no reply. Rodney tried to not let that worry him as he and the other members of the rescue mission got the refugees moving towards the newly named Puddle Jumper.
Thinning his external shields enough to allow him to keep tabs on anyone in his vicinity was hard, much harder than his supposedly ‘life-like’ training sessions had made the process out to be, but it was necessary. There was a knot of weird/sleepy/alien/hunger behind him that was getting bigger with every second that passed and moving ahead of it was the familiar mental signature of his Sentinel. Calling out a warning to the Marine in front of him, Rodney tried to let someone know that something was wrong without causing panic, “Sergeant, we need to move faster. Whatever it is that’s behind us seems to be waking up. A lot of them.”
The Marine nodded and turned his head slightly to call back to McKay, “Roger that sir. I’ll inform the Lieutenant. By any chance, can you tell if there is anyone ahead of us who shouldn’t be there?”
Blushing lightly at not having thought of that particular item, the Guide wrenched his attention away from his Sentinel. “Oh, uhm… Lemme check.” Trying to ‘look’ forward was as hard as looking back had been, but this time, there were no unusual minds waiting to try to draw him in. The only things out in front of them were the minds of the two Marines that John had left to guard the Puddle Jumper. “We’re good. Only humans from Atlantis up ahead.”
“Right. We need to move faster then,” and the Sergeant passed the information on to Ford. Moments later the group started to run.
The run was most decidedly not a fun experience for Rodney, but he did his best to keep up. When they reached their ship, he was panting lightly, but not wheezing and he didn’t feel like collapsing in exhaustion. Despite that, there was no way he was going to let John know that his nasty habit of making his Guide go on runs with him had paid off this quickly. Just no way. Pulling the trigger mechanism for the explosives out of his vest pocket, Rodney held it tightly and paused outside the back hatch of the Jumper, waiting for his Sentinel to show up.
Thinning his shields again, he tried to figure out what was happening behind them. Moving towards their position was the mental signature of his Sentinel, the pale unshielded mind that had to be Bates and behind them were the cold alien emotions of what was likely the Wraith. From them, the Guide got the impression of anger. Cold, hard, passionless anger that just felt wrong to him, as if it wasn’t coming from anything even remotely human. Which from everything he had seen in the Wraith compound, they really weren’t.
“Dr. McKay?” Rodney flinched away from the hand that was waving in front of his face and turned to look at the body it was attached to. From the expression on Ford’s face, he had called for him several times to no avail. At least he hadn’t touched him, something that would have been very painful in his current state. Taking his turn as an indication that the Guide was paying attention, the younger man continued, “Do you have any idea where the Major and Sergeant Bates are, sir?”
Feeling foolish and a bit embarrassed that he hadn’t remembered to let their escort know what he had been gleaning from the various emotional clues permeating the ether, Rodney opened his mouth to report, “They’re actually rather close by, in fact …”
“Time to go people! Get in the damn ship and strap in. Rodney, hit whatever button you and Ford came up with and let’s blow this joint!” yelled John as he came pounding around a corner, closely followed by a panting Bates.
Rodney felt his hand close around the trigger mechanism and then remembered the amount of C4 he and Ford had spread out and where he thought he had put the largest concentration. Using the Bond to stress the urgency of his command he called out, “John, dial your hearing down now.”
Startled, John nodded and ran past on his way to the pilots’ seat. As soon as Bates followed him in, Rodney hit the release for the back hatch and picked his way through the throng to get close to his Sentinel. They were in the air and pushing towards space before he made it to the cockpit, and he had just enough time to grab the back of a chair before the shockwave of something big exploding hit them.
“What in the hell did you two use?” Voice a little louder than normal as he tried to compensate for his lowered hearing, John barked out the question at Ford.
Stuttering slightly in surprise at the sharply worded question, Ford looked over at Rodney, “Sir, we placed it at several sites around the compound. At least one site may have been a power conduit.”
“Well that was a hell of a power conduit. Gotta remember that if we ever need to do this again.” John kept most of his attention on the screen ahead of them, but his voice got softer as he obviously dialed his hearing back into its normal range. “Rodney, can you get any sense of the Wraith?”
Rodney stared at his Sentinel and wondered if he had managed to hit his head as they had left the atmosphere, “John, I may be a damn strong Guide, but there is no way I can sense anyone when I am more than twenty miles away from them. And since we’ve been out of the atmosphere for almost thirty seconds, I am a lot further away than that!” Holding onto the back of John’s chair, Rodney saw the very tips of his Sentinel’s ears turn a very definite red and suppressed a grin. It looked like the good Major had forgotten that even Guides had hard and fast limits on their talents.
“Right. Ford, switch places with Rodney. Rodney, I need to know if there is anything coming up behind us.” He shook his head slightly and the Guide could feel John throw off his momentary embarrassment.
Nodding his head in thanks, Rodney slid into the co-pilots seat and began trying to make sense of the readings scrolling across the laptop he had synced up to the Ancient ship on their flight in. From every indication, there was nothing trying to overtake them, but there were readings on the explosion that had shaken them earlier. Whatever the Wraith compound had been, it had obviously been big, because at least part of the mountain they had entered was now crumpled in on itself and more was falling in with every passing moment. Tapping a new set of parameters into the sensors by way of the laptop, Rodney tried to refine what he was getting out of them.
While the rear sensors were doing their thing, he moved his attention over to the front sensors and took a good look at what they were reporting. There was the background radiation from this system, the standby pulse of the Stargate and two small craft stationed on each side of the ancient ring. “John, there’s nothing coming up behind us, but there is something ahead of us. Two unknown ships on either side of the Gate.”
“I see them. Keep an eye on our six and be ready to dial when I tell you too. Got it?”
No matter how much he may have wanted to keep the fear out of his voice, Rodney could hear it leaking through. And if he could hear it, John sure as hell could, and could likely smell how scared he had been for the entire mission. “I’ve got it. Just make sure you do your part as well, okay?”
Voice a bit more gentle, John flexed his hands on the control yokes, “I won’t let you down Rodney. Now let me know what those ships are doing. Are they moving away from the Gate?”
Dropping his eyes to the laptop, he shook his head. “No, they’re still there. Are we cloaked?”
Nodding slightly, John took the Jumper in a looping course around the area around the Stargate. “Have been since we lifted off the planet. Dial us up, Rodney. Ford, when I tell you, I need you to punch in our IDC. I don’t want to go splat against the shield. Got it?”
Rodney could feel the nerves running wild under the calm façade the younger man was trying to hang on to, but nothing was showing in his voice or his manner. Kudos for training. “Yes, sir.”
Rodney waited until they were a bit closer to the Gate and then started dialing as fast as he could. As soon as the chevrons on the Gate lit up, the small triangular ships stationed to either side of it started firing in their general direction, obviously trying to keep them from escaping. Despite John’s attempts at evasive maneuvers, there was only a very narrow window of approach and they had to stay within that to get through the Gate, the Jumper was hit. With that lucky, horrible hit, their cloak went down and the firing from the enemy ships got much, much better. The next few minutes were a horrible, explosion and adrenaline filled blur that Rodney never ever wanted to remember clearly.
Once they made it through the Gate and didn’t crash right into the grand staircase, Rodney breathed a deep sigh of relief and leaned back into the copilot seat and tried not to shake too badly. If he was to be going through the Gate on a regular basis, he needed to figure out a way to deal with this feeling without relying too heavily on his Sentinel. When he felt steady enough to walk without his knees buckling he picked up his laptop and headed towards the exit. Pausing slightly as he saw John leaning against the wall across from the Jumper, Rodney moved over to him to see if he needed any support from his Guide.
John smiled at him, shook his head slightly, and took Rodney’s hand as he turned towards the doors leading out of the newly christened Jumper Bay. Gratefully turning over responsibility for navigating the hallways to his Sentinel, Rodney turned his attention to the emotional currents flowing between the two of them. There was fear, anger, loathing and regret interwoven with relief, love and affection. With a bit of time, they would be okay, he would make sure of it.
Carson Beckett was beginning to regret taking all those classes in Sentinel medicine. Despite several rigorous rounds of theoretical and practical learning, he felt like a rank tyro handling as he handled his first unassisted case of ‘Blessed Protector Syndrome’. Though he had worked at the SGC for several years and treated the Sentinels assigned there, none had acted like this when they arrived for their after-mission check-ups. Thinking that over, Carson thought that might have been due to the base CMO, because Dr. Frasier would never, ever allow anyone to growl at her. Not even General O’Neill.
Taking a deep breath, Carson tried to slow his heartbeat down and even out his emotions. It wouldn’t do to approach the Expedition’s Sentinel/Guide pair all worked up. Walking over to the bed they had staked out, he made sure to keep his hands away from his sides and his eyes down, projecting his want to help for all he was worth. It was enlightening and reassuring to listen to Rodney talk his Sentinel down.
“John, let him by. You need to get examined and so do I,” soothed Rodney. His voice was smooth, deep and pitched in such a way that everyone in earshot was paying attention to him. Certainly, his Sentinel was paying close attention. Cocking his head to the side, Major Sheppard was watching his Guide closely and then with a snort, stepped aside to allow Carson to pass.
Speaking softly, Carson slowly began the routine after mission exam that Dr. Frasier had formulated for O’Neill and Jackson. The object of the exam wasn’t to finish as quickly as possible, it was to allow time for the Sentinel and Guide to calm down and reconnect with people outside of their immediate team. Slow careful movements, everything explained and no blood drawn until the Guide gave a verbal okay were all hallmarks of the exam. Thankfully, Rodney had surfaced quickly and managed to keep his Sentinel calm throughout the procedure. Blood draws done, labeled and a quick run through the newly discovered Ancient MRI, Rodney and the Major were declared healthy, not infected with anything snakelike and free to leave the infirmary.
Carson was taking the time to do a spot of clean up at the bed where the two men had been sitting when he saw Dr. Weir walk into the infirmary. Opening his mouth to try to get her attention he winced instead when she zeroed in on Major Sheppard and asked in an accusing tone, “Major, why do we have over a dozen more refugees? And where is Col. Sumner?”
The growling, which had tapered off to a rusty form of purring when Rodney had a hand on him ramped back up and was now decidedly overt. Opening his mouth again to warn her away, Carson was beaten to the punch by Rodney. “Dr. Weir, while I know that you are not a specialist in Sentinel/Guide behaviors, even you can’t be this fucking stupid. We have just gotten back from a stressful mission and we need some time to reconnect. Until we get that time, neither of us is going to be able to answer your questions in anything like a coherent manner. Ask Lt. Ford or Sergeant Bates. They were there through every horrible bit of it. Carson, do you have someplace where the Major and I can go for a few quiet minutes?”
Surprised at being included in the conversation, Carson never-the-less did know where there was a room that was isolated enough for a short Bonding session. “Aye, lad. Let’s get you two there and when you are ready, you can come out. If that is alright?”
Sighing in relief, Rodney seemed to sag slightly around his bones. Mentally clucking his tongue at the evidence that the Guide wasn’t in the best of shapes, he turned and started over to the room he had claimed as his office. Seeing Dr. Weir’s hand raise out of the corner of his eye, he turned to look at her and shook his head, trying to tell her without words that such an action would be a very bad idea. Apparently she understood because she let it drop. Arriving at his office door, Carson stood to the side as the other two men walked in, “Right, here it is. All I ask of ye, is that ye don’t go poking into any of the boxes in here, all right lad?”
Looking tired and more than a little upset, Rodney herded his Sentinel into the small room. Watching the door close, Carson took a deep breath and smoothing out his expression, turned back to Dr. Weir. Gathering his courage, he attempted to explain what had just happened, “Dr. Weir, how much do you know about Pair interactions?”
Startled was not a good look on the good doctor, Carson decided. But at least she was taking the time to think about her answer. After a few minutes, she nodded, apparently to herself and gazed back at him. “Most of what I know comes from what I have read in the popular media, information from the Sentinel Centers, a few books, and the files that General O’Neill provided me when I took command of the Expedition.”
Resisting the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose to stave off a sudden headache, Carson decided that blunt and to the point was the only way to go. “Right. Time for some practical knowledge then. When a Pair comes back from a stressful mission, unless you are a member of their team, don’t approach them in an aggressive manner. Let the Guide indicate when it is safe to approach the Sentinel, they are always in tune with them and will be able to keep their Bondmate calm. If either Bondmate is injured, don’t try to separate them unless surgery is needed and then the other might have to be sedated depending on the severity of the injuries. When it comes to the health and safety of their partner, Bondmates will always do what is best, not what is expedient. Finally, you need to remember that the Pair will always put each other first, no matter how hard you try to change things.”
“So what you are saying is that Dr. McKay and Major Sheppard are fully independent of my control?” Dr. Weir asked. Carson could see that she was chafing slightly at the idea of any restrictions on her control over the Expedition’s Pair.
“No. What you need to remember is that we are people with very special skills and limitations and by ignoring or abusing them, we aren’t able to work to our best abilities.” Turning quickly to new voice, Carson saw that the door to his office was open and the Major was leaning against the frame, the expression on his face utterly weary. “And to answer your earlier questions… There was no way in hell that I would allow any human being to remain in that compound. The Wraith eat people. And they ate Sumner, slowly and with great enjoyment.”
Feeling faintly green at the thought of people being eaten, Carson looked back at Rodney. Taking the faint nod he got as the confirmation that the Guide had felt everything that Col. Sumner had gone through before his death, the doctor felt even greener. No one should have to feel that, from anyone. From Dr. Weir’s face she was just as upset as he was, but she was trying to stay on topic and not get sick. “Sergeant Bates mentioned seeing what looked like mummies in the room with you and the ‘Keeper’? Do you know what he meant?”
Scrubbing his hands over his face and through his hair, the Major growled softly and then sighed. “The ‘mummies’ the Sergeant saw were what was left of a human being after the Wraith basically suck the life out of them. I wasn’t able to save the Colonel from the ‘Keeper’. When I arrived, she was already draining him dry and he looked like he was about seventy. I shot her twice in an effort to get her off of him, but as soon as the last shot was fired, she took what had to be another twenty years off of him. The Colonel asked me to stop her before she could take anything more, to kill him. So I did, I gave him mercy.
“That’s when I got ambushed by one of her drones. From what I was able to determine, a ‘Keeper’ seems to be the one in charge of ensuring the ‘Hive’ stays safe while they hibernate over the centuries. She is also supposed to gather any relevant information on new hunting grounds for her Hive and this one found the mother-load. The Colonel wasn’t able to completely hide the existence of Earth and the Wraith know that there is a planet with billions of humans out there to eat. As far as I was able to hear on my way in, Sumner didn’t disclose which galaxy Earth is in, so she attempted to get the information out of me, thankfully without the life-sucking part of the program. Sergeant Bates interrupted at this point and I stabbed the Keeper with one of the Wraith weapons and that is when the Hive woke up. We left at that point.”
Eyebrows raised as she obviously thought over what the Major was reporting, Dr. Weir held up a hand to interrupt, “So, let me get this straight… The Wraith suck the life out of humans, leaving behind something that looks like a mummy. They managed to do this to Col. Sumner and they also found about the existence of Earth, but not its location. The Colonel, through some manner of communication, asked you to stop his torture and you shot him as an act of mercy. Then after capture, you talked to the ‘Hive’s’ guardian, called a ‘Keeper’ and managed to not disclose any other information. Then you killed her and got away, right?”
The Sentinel nodded in agreement. “Yeah, that about covers it. Rodney and Lt. Ford had rigged a large number of explosive devices on their way out of the compound before the Lieutenant sent Sergeant Bate to find me and make sure I got out okay. Getting back to the Puddle Jumper was fairly easy and no one alive got left behind. Rodney blew the explosives on our way out and we can say with some certainty that the compound was pretty much leveled. At the ‘Gate, we encountered two enemy ships and both were destroyed quickly and we came through cleanly.”
“Do you think they were able to get off any transmissions to any other ‘Hive’ out there?”
“We didn’t detect anything as we left, so I am pretty confident that we got away clean,” confirmed the Major. Turning to his Guide, he tried to draw him into the discussion, “Rodney, what do you think?”
“No detectable transmissions, nothing took off from the planet after we ignited our explosives and the two bogies said nothing to us before John destroyed them. So yeah, I think we are okay. Now I am tired, I want to get clean and I’m done with this whole conversation.”
Proving that she had actually listened to Carson’s lecture, Dr. Weir just nodded and let the men leave. Turning back to the doctor, she asked, “Are they okay? I know that Major Sheppard said that the ‘Keeper’ didn’t feed on him, but he was in her control for a period of time.”
Relieved that he had some good news for her, he nodded. “There are a large number of bruises on the Major’s back but for the most part they are fairly minor, and that is about it. Everything else checks out perfectly normal for both of them.”
“Right, let me know if anything changes with either of them.” She walked out of the infirmary rubbing her forehead as if she were in pain.
Carson stared blindly at the door that three people he admired had walked out of. He devoutly hoped that they figured out a way to work together soon, or something major was going to give. He knew that Dr. Weir was capable of working with the Pair, but the learning curve for her was going to be steep. And potentially damaging to her relationship with the two men. Because of his place in the Expedition and his experience with other SGC Pairs, he knew that he would have to function as a go-between for them if only to keep the misunderstandings to a minimum.
“Carson. Yo, Carson!” jerking back from the fingers snapping in front of his face, Carson focused on the face in front of him. “Now that you are back with us, we forgot something. Where are our quarters?”
Laughing lightly at confession, Carson gave them directions to their new home.
“You know, it was very nice of Carson to get someone to find us quarters,” Rodney said as they made their way to their new home after what felt to John like hours of poking and prodding in medical and a quick and dirty briefing with Dr. Weir.
“Uh-huh. Nice.” John knew that he had been getting less and less verbal as they got further away from the infirmary, but he really couldn’t bring himself to care. They were getting closer to a place where he and his Guide could be safe and that was all he wanted to think about at the moment.
John tried to smile and projected a feeling of fatigue down the Bond when his Guide looked at him questioningly. When Rodney moved closer and put an arm around his waist in a clear bid of support, John felt himself flush slightly and tried not to let the guilt he felt at manipulating his Guide leak out. Thankfully, they had reached the door to their new quarters at that point and he didn’t have to answer anyone’s questions, so being silent wasn’t going to cause problems.
It was a relief to be able to walk through the door of their new home and being able to lock the door with the confidence that no one else could get in was an even greater relief. John took a deep breath and was assaulted with the overwhelming stink of Wraith coming from his Guide and it was suddenly too much. Moving out of his embrace, John spun Rodney around and began stripping off all of his clothes.
Rodney had been talking about decorating their room when the world decided to spin and he just wasn’t prepared for that at all. And then the world decided that stripping him was a good idea, too. “Hey! What the hell are you doing?”
When he batted at John’s hands and tried to keep his clothes on, all he got was a growl and a show of bared teeth for his trouble. Pushing the issue caused John to grab his hands and force them down against his legs. “Okay, I get it. No moving. Why are you doing this?”
John obviously wasn’t paying any attention to what he was saying; instead he was working very hard on getting him out of his TAC vest. Whatever was causing this weird reaction was at least partially on the vest, because his Sentinel raised it to his nose and snarled at the material. Then he started emptying everything out of the various pockets and compartments onto the table beside their door. Rodney pulled the vest out of John’s hands and reached for the cord he was holding, “Hey! I had that organized.”
Obviously not a good idea there. Interrupting a Sentinel as they spazzed out over something got Guides tied up. Rodney thought as he stared down at his newly bound hands. Apparently he really wasn’t supposed to move or even try to help with whatever bug had crawled up John’s ass at this point. Clearly something was bothering John because he was sniffing his vest one inch at a time, and when he reached the left shoulder area of the vest it just got worse. Now he was growling and had his mouth close to the fabric, breathing in the taste of whatever was on there.
Abruptly, the Sentinel dropped the vest onto the table and began sniffing each and every piece of equipment he had pulled out of it. Several items that he had used during the mission were apparently cause for alarm, and John placed them on top of the vest. Turning back to his bound Guide, he began sniffing him from head to toe. When he got to his right hand and growled, Rodney felt the light bulb go off over his head. The reason John was acting this way was because his Guide was covered in the smell of Wraith. Rodney quickly tried to think of a way to calm his feral Sentinel down while indulging in a little inner ass-kicking for missing the obvious.
While he was thinking, John had moved on and was now sniffing at Rodney’s knees and growling continuously. It almost sounded like they had a large, pissed off cat in the room with them, but it was all coming from the man who was now trying to shove his legs apart. Rodney started humming lightly as he allowed his body to be manipulated. Despite the negative reasons for John to go feral on him, the attention he was being paid felt good.
It felt even better when John ran his hands up the insides of his legs and massaged the area right at the join of thigh and hip. Sighing lightly at the stimulation, Rodney rocked his hips into the hands pinning them in place. Mentally throwing his hands up he decided to just ride the whole experience out. Nothing bad had happened yet and he was enjoying himself too much to care.
John had gotten the strongest source of the Wraith smell off his Guide and was now making sure that he found and removed the remaining bits. There was some around the left shoulder where the vest hadn’t completely covered the fabric of Rodney’s shirt, the knees of his pants were soaked in the smell, there were smears of the stuff on the thighs and the less said about his boots, the better. John had to get his Guide out of his uniform quickly.
The quickest method to get him free of the stench was to cut the offending garment off, and that meant his combat knife. As soon as he had it in his hand, however, his Guide had started babbling at him and was no longer smelling sweetly of sex pheromones, his scent was being tinged with anxiety and worry in addition to the Wraith stench. John returned the knife to its sheath and framed Rodney’s face with his hands and kissed him gently, trying without words to tell him to calm down, that everything was fine. All he wanted to do was get his uniform off of him. Feeling Rodney’s hands patting his chest, John got an idea.
With a final small peck to the crooked lips he reached down and took the bound wrists in his hands and untied them. Once his wrists were free, Rodney immediately started undoing the buttons on his BDU’s and shrugging out of his clothes. John made sure that he had a hold of each piece of clothing before it could hit the floor of their new home and placed them atop the already soiled TAC vest. As soon as Rodney was down to his bare feet and his boxers, John sniffed him from head to toe again. All that remained on him was a few traces of Wraith smell on his hands, thighs and a shoulder. It was nothing that a good hot shower and a lot of soap couldn’t take care of.
John gently turned Rodney towards the open door that his nose said led to what had to be their bathroom and gave him a light push in that direction. He had to get rid of some unpleasant stuff and that required opening their door and there was no way in hell that he was going to allow anyone to see his Guide while he was basically naked. Gingerly picking up the pile of soiled uniform and vest, he thought the door unlocked and open and dropped the whole bundle outside into the hallway before allowing the door to close again. His chore done, John took a deep breath and almost gagged. The smell of Wraith was still inside with them. A quick check of the table by the door showed that the smell wasn’t coming from there, and with a start John realized that he was damn near covered in it from his hair to his boots. Quickly stripping everything but his dog tags off, he set his weapons on the table and dropped his gear outside as well.
Padding back into their suite, John followed the sounds of a shower running and walked into the bathroom and noticed that one of the access panels in the room had been popped open. After a careful check to make sure that no tools were inside the panel, he closed it carefully. Because really, getting electrocuted wasn’t high on his list of things to do right then and he needed to remember that Rodney didn’t have an active expression of the ATA gene so he wouldn’t be able to use all the nifty gadgets like he could. The shower, when he got in, was warm and wet and his Guide was standing under the spray with his eyes closed and his face tilted into the water.
John leaned down and gently kissed the other man, trying hard to share how grateful he was that he was alright, that he hadn’t been harmed, that he hadn’t seen what he had seen and that he was there to offer up the support of his arms for his shaken Sentinel.
All Rodney wanted to do now that he had the shower running was to stay under the lovely hot water and relax. No running for his life, no space battles, no alien insect-like things trying to crawl through his shields and into his head. Just water, him, enough soap to get the stench off of him and maybe John. That is if John had decided to be verbal and actually talk to him instead of growling and tying him up.
It was funny, Rodney mused as he turned slightly to let the water slide down his back, that despite how nonverbal John was being, he wasn’t really scared of him, even with his apparent bondage fetish. He was actually reassured that John had let everything but the need to make sure his Guide was safe go, and if that included language, Rodney wasn’t going to complain. Well not right then at least. Later, when they had both gotten clean and had some food and sleep, then he would talk to his Sentinel about the whole non-verbal, knife-waving, caveman thing.
Rodney didn’t bother to open his eyes when he heard the shower door open and felt John walk in. The Bond between the two of them was humming with contentment, relief, a faint overlay of concern, and a sparkle of lust so he wasn’t worried. When John kissed him, all Rodney could do was lean into him and enjoy it. It wasn’t like it was a hardship after all.
Warm hands began moving over his skin, spreading a thin layer of soap and mapping each and every inch of him, clearly checking for any sign that he had been injured. As John carefully moved him about in the shower, thoroughly lathering his skin and hair, he made sure that Rodney was completely clean of soap and shampoo before he pressed the soap cake into his Guide’s hands, silently asking for the same treatment. Rodney opened his eyes and slowly began to lather up the broad chest in front of him, making sure to cover every inch. Each arm got a gentle, yet thorough massage, ending at the hands that were so capable at dealing death and yet handled him with such gentle skill. Rodney carefully massaged out the tension lingering in the muscles of John’s wrists and hands and felt the Bond between them relax as well.
When Rodney dropped to his knees to wash the rest of his Sentinel, he got a very interested response from one section of John’s anatomy. But he wasn’t going to be playing there, at least not right away. With a gentle hand and a firm touch, Rodney washed every inch of the man before him, including his Sentinel’s feet and got a small giggle when he ran the palm of his hand on the underside of a foot. Turning John around, he lathered his hands again with the soap and began to explore the backside of his Sentinel. In more ways than one. Grinning lightly at the thought, Rodney made sure that the other man was thoroughly clean in all the right places before moving above the waist. Lightening his touch in an effort to not cause any pain, he slowly washed John’s back; the skin was marred with what was going to be a sincerely impressive array of bruises. Pausing as he came across bloom of color, Rodney made sure to kiss each and every one. As the physical connection between them drew them closer, he allowed his love and affection for John to echo down the Bond. Washing his Sentinel’s hair was soothing to the both of them and when John started to purr, Rodney smiled, pleased that he had done that.
Rodney fell into the emotions his Sentinel was transmitting across the Bond to him. Love, affection and a good healthy dose of lust, were dancing up and down the link instead of the worry, fear and anger it had carried on their mission. Slowly, John backed him into the wall of the shower and began running his hands all over his body, pausing to kiss every spot they had identified as being Rodney’s personal hot spots. Overwhelmed at the rush of sensation, Rodney turned his head slightly and moaned at how good his Sentinel was making him feel.
John smiled against the skin of Rodney’s neck as he heard his Guide moan. His voice was sweet music to his ears, even when it contained no words. John took the time to suckle at each interesting bit skin on Rodney’s neck that he came across, leaving faint marks behind, marks that only another Sentinel would be able to see. Since there weren’t any others in the Expedition, John wasn’t worried about any raised eyebrows from the regular humans.
Upon reaching his Guide’s perky nipples, John took the time to pay some intense attention to them. For a man who didn’t have enhanced physical senses, Rodney’s nipples had turned out to be almost as sensitive as John’s own and were a joy to play with. Over the weeks of their Bonding, John had discovered that he could bring Rodney right to the edge of orgasm with the right mix of suction, teeth, and tongue. At the feel of water running into his mouth he came to a decision and releasing the puckered flesh reluctantly, he raised his head. For all the fun he was currently having, the shower wasn’t the area he wanted to play in at the moment. John drew Rodney out of the humid little room and as soon as they were out of the shower proper, the water shut off.
It took only a quick glance around to see that whoever had unpacked for them had taken the time to place a set of towels out for use and grabbing the top one, he began drying his Guide off. John used his sense of smell to determine if Rodney had any lingering evidence of Wraith stink on him and found nothing but a clean aroused Guide. Excellent. Under the guise of drying off, he was able to do a quick self-exam, and came up clean. Satisfied that everything was as it should be, John grabbed Rodney’s hand and pulled him back into the main room of their new home.
Head tilted to the side, he paused to listen to the area around them and came up with nothing. Their room might as well have been in any Sentinel safe facility on Earth it was so quiet. And that was a major change from noisy barracks rooms where anyone with ears could hear them, John sighed in relief and turned back to his Guide. John felt the tips of his ears burn slightly in mild embarrassment at getting caught being so territorial by an amused and indulgent Rodney.
Giving the other man a rueful shrug as an answer for his actions, John dragged Rodney over to their bed and lightly pressed on his shoulders, asking without words for him to lay back on its surface. Agreement and lust surged through the Bond as the other man realized where they were and what John was asking of him. The bed wasn’t the largest, but there was still enough room for Rodney to splay his limbs out and turn over all control to his Sentinel.
On each breath in, John could both smell and taste his Guide’s surrender and he loved it. He dropped the damp towel on the edge of the bed and moved over the other man, covering him with his body, trying to touch as much skin as he could. Taste, touch, sight, smell, and sound were all allowed to run wild over the other man and together they formed the unique physical signature that the Sentinel identified as Rodney.
Minutes or perhaps hours later, John found himself sucking on his Guide’s cock and hummed lightly in contentment. Rodney’s voice was spiraling upwards from the attention, and he grinned to himself in satisfaction. A shaking hand tugged at his hair, and he reluctantly let go of his treat to move back up the other man’s body. After a deep kiss that left both of them gasping, John pulled away to search for some of the lube that they had packed in their personal gear. Whoever had unpacked for them had left it in the logical place, i.e. the drawer of the nightstand and had even been nice enough to take the plastic wrapper off. John spread some over his fingers and returned to his place between Rodney’s spread legs and nudged them a bit further apart. As he trailed his slicked fingers down the cleft of his ass, John hummed in approval as Rodney pulled his legs up and out of the way, opening himself up fully to his Sentinel’s regard.
John felt him start to relax and the muscles unfurl as slick fingers moved across the tightly furled entrance to his Guide’s body. Gentle movements into and out of the ring of muscle managed to spread the lube over the area in a thick layer, and slowly worked it in so everything was nicely slick. Taking the time to add more lube, John ran his tongue up the length of Rodney’s cock, savoring the taste of his precum as he gently pressed for entrance with one finger. He felt every flutter of Rodney’s muscles as he relaxed and welcomed John’s finger into his body. The second was accepted moments later and John could hear, smell and feel his Guide get more and more desperate as he was teased and stretched.
The third finger went in as easy as the second and John took a moment to admire the sight his Guide made as he was spread out on their bed. Pale skin glowing in the overhead light, the blood vessels below the surface were dilated with excitement and lust, and his head was thrown back as he tried to ride the fingers that were spreading him wide. Beautiful. Gently removing his fingers in a hooked glide that had Rodney moaning, John grabbed the lube and slicked his cock up. Hissing at the sensation, he mentally dialed touch down so he could get through the next few minutes without exploding all over the place. With a brief pause to wipe his messy fingers on the damp towel, John lifted one of Rodney’s legs and wrapped it around his waist. Guiding his cock into the prepared hole, he pushed gently, slowly sliding into his Guide’s warm body in one smooth thrust.
John took a deep breath as he raised his sense of touch back up to normal and held onto his control with an iron hand. If he let it loose, everything would be over too soon and that just wasn’t acceptable. Each thrust in was slow, controlled and aimed at Rodney’s prostate and designed to drive him insane. With every thrust, Rodney cried out as his body clenched around John’s cock and from the amount of writhing and moaning his Guide was doing, John’s plan was working.
John pushed at the back of the thighs wrapped around his waist so he could open Rodney up even more. Driving deep, he looked down at the man below him and felt his heart swell. Love, lust and need all swirled in his mind and John pushed the feelings down the Bond to him. When Rodney convulsed and came, John knew that he had felt all that his Sentinel had to share. As he pushed through the aftershocks of Rodney’s orgasm, he felt his Guide’s shields reach out and envelope him and with the touch of his mind, John felt himself come.
Slumping forward in exhaustion and contentment, John pushed his nose into the warm fragrant area and the base of his Guide’s neck and breathed deeply. This was home, safety and sanity. All rolled up in one prickly, arrogant, utterly loving man. Sighing softly, he felt himself start to purr as sleep lipped at the edges of his mind.
Being loved to within an inch of his life by his Sentinel was a form of bliss that Rodney would always treasure. Not that he would ever tell anyone that, but he would wallow in the feelings all the same. What he wasn’t going to wallow in however, was the wet spot. There wasn’t enough love in two galaxies to make that mess palatable.
“Get off of me, you over-grown, Guide tying caveman!” Rodney muttered as he pushed at John’s shoulders. “My hips aren’t meant to stay at this angle you know. Move!”
With an audible grumble his Sentinel lifted his hips and his cock finally slipped free of Rodney’s ass. Which promptly caused the wet spot to get bigger, and now it was really, really gross and was he sliding in lube back there? Sighing in disgust at the prospect, he shoved again at the dead weight currently purring all over him. “You need to get up and clean yourself up. We didn’t use a condom and you know that can lead to problems. Plus I need to either mop up the lake under my ass or change the sheets.”
“You have absolutely no post-coital poetry in your soul, do you Rodney?” mumbled John. Doing some growling of his own, Rodney poked the shoulder nearest his hands. “Alright already, I’m up!”
Rodney watched as John walked back into their bathroom as naked as the day he was born and grinned. His Sentinel was a beautiful, sexy man and all his. Shifting to get out of the bed, he felt the slip and slide sensation again and grimaced. The man was also over-generous with the lube, but better safe than sorry and they had done it bareback after all. Using the towel at the edge of the bed for a quick wipe, he checked out the damage to the sheets and decided that removing the bedspread would be sufficient. Bed clean up taken care of, it was time to finish the personal hygiene portion of the evening.
Bathroom maneuvers had been something that had taken them a while to deal with, but at this stage in their relationship, they had most of the hiccups ironed out. Or so Rodney smugly thought. They didn’t run into each other as they brushed their teeth, made a last pit stop using what passed for an Ancient toilet and the washcloths from their spot cleanings were rinsed and hanging in the shower. Smooth.
But when it came to sleeping together? Well, that hadn’t taken any effort at all. Feeling John’s warm arms around him, his love supporting him and his heartbeat soothing him to sleep, Rodney reflected that he had been right. This was bliss.