Title: Simple Truths
Category: Angst, Episode-related, H/C
Disclaimer: They aren't mine because if they were, they'd be having a LOT more fun with each other.
Author's notes: See part I.
“Are you unwell, John Sheppard? Do you feel any ill effects from our joining?”
John’s head rocked back and forth against the cold stone as he said, “No. No, I’m good.”
And he was. He stopped banging his head and focused on a point across the cell. He was alive, albeit a little older, but that was, purportedly, a temporary thing. He had just had a mind-blowing total-body climax. And they were one step closer to fooling their captors and paying that Genii bastard back for all the pain and suffering he’d put John and his people through.
So what was he complaining about—that Dave gave him the ride of his life?
John shook his head. It wasn’t that simple.
Dave—a Wraith—had made him feel a pleasure so powerful he’d actually stopped breathing in the wake of it. And now they were engaged in a post-coital chat that made Sheppard’s role in this little tete-a-tete very clear—he was the wife, not Dave. Absurd as the notion had started out being, it brought to light one very significant fact: bring Dave back to Atlantis for a quick hitch, and it would be John doing the cooking and cleaning, having the headache, polishing Dave’s boots.
God, John, are you really that petty?
Could it be that John was freaked out not by the sudden revelation that he could find pleasure in another man—male, he corrected—,not at the discovery that it was a Wraith that could bow his spine in a parabola of pleasure, but at the fact that John was the submissive partner in this little survival dance?
“Huh,” he said aloud, and he heard Dave shifting at the bars above him.
So I guess I am just that shallow.
Taking a deep breath, John levered himself slowly to his feet, feeling an age he hadn’t yet achieved, chronologically speaking, and suddenly having a lot more sympathy for General O’Neill and his bad knees.
“Is there any way we can avoid the whole not-breathing thing?” John asked, like he might say, “Got any ideas about the weather topside?” or “So who do you like in the game Sunday?” He’d be damned if he’d let shallow interfere with their chances of survival; there would be plenty of time for complications and self-recrimination later.
“I can moderate the degree of pleasure you experience, if that is what you wish. But you must not struggle to release your life-force; that you must still offer openly and willingly.”
Right. Open and willing. Vulnerable.
Shifting his weight a little as though having to accommodate something heavy on his shoulders, John considered that he was learning first-hand what it meant to be the woman beneath him when they made love, open and offering, out of control in a way that John had never been in the position—literally or otherwise—to experience.
I have to trust him to know when to stop.
John shifted in place again, and Dave said in a low voice, “Do you have any pain?”
John shook his head absentmindedly, “No.”
Then, like an afterthought, “How do you know when to stop?”
Dave’s tone suggested he did not believe John’s casual introduction of the question. “Instinct and experience, John. Remember that I am many years older than you. This is not the first time I have done this.”
And could I feel any more like the fumbling teenager in this relationship?
But John looked up, caught Dave’s gaze, held it. “How old are you, anyway?”
The smile seemed less predatory now that John knew what it might mean, what it could mean: pleasure—the thought thrummed through him and he had to shift once more.
“We do not count time in the same way that humans do, but I believe that my age converts to two and one-half thousand of your years.”
John whistled admiringly and then gave Dave a sharp look. “How do you know how we measure time?”
“Of course we have studied our food, John. And we have…acolytes.”
“Oh, right, right. Wraith worshippers. Can’t forget your little devotees.” And if there was something bitter and self-denigrating in the remark, they both chose to overlook its implications.
“You have met some of our Helpers, then?”
“Yeah.” Tersely. This wasn’t something he would discuss with the enemy. Although come to that, John was having a hard time discerning enemy from friend. He had, after all, made a pact with the devil against another human in order to escape and destroy said human.
Sometimes simple is better.
The third session was just as mind-blowing, but he didn’t stop breathing, and John guessed from Kolya’s horrified look that Dave’s work must have been effective. The colonel certainly felt considerably less spry as the guards led him gingerly—like I might break—back to the cells once more.
The difference was obvious, too, in the fact that John could not get up from the floor under his own power, preferring to lie on his side, staring up at the lighter space of the cell window, waiting for Dave’s face to appear.
When it did, John had to stifle a gasp. The change was breathtaking. The lines of hunger had been smoothed away, years pared from Dave’s flesh like a woodcutter carves away the rough bark to get at the smooth center of a prized piece. Even the dark demarcations of the tattoo were richer in the half-light of their dim cells, and the teeth, gleaming like a beacon, shone brighter than before. Only Dave’s hair remained the same, matted and tangled, but John supposed there was little the wraith could do about hair care in this place.
Never a stylist when you need one. John snorted and then sobered.
Despite the after-effects of having been prematurely aged, the pleasure he’d gotten still swam through him lazily, sending sparks to his extremities and leaving his eyes at half-mast.
He gave Dave a slow smile.
“Almost there,” he observed, and Dave gave him a nod.
“You are well, Sheppard?”
“Oh, yeah,” he drawled, smile expanding. “I am co-pa-cetic.” And maybe a little stoned.
Dave laughed. “Sleep now. You’ll need your strength.”
John slipped into the dark stream and let it carry him off.
He awoke when they dragged him from his cell for what was to be the last time, one way or another. Dave’s graceful motions coincided with John’s own less coordinated efforts, but they succeeded in subduing the guards.
John had to look away as Dave forced the life from the Genii, knowing what that felt like, feeling guilty for having a different perspective. He shrugged it away as Dave turned with a vicious smile and motioned John onward.
After that, everything was kaleidoscopic, all flashes of color and light, and John couldn’t say when or how Dave had been shot, what had led them to the escape route they had chosen, who it was that they had killed along the way. All he knew was that they were bursting into blessed light above the underground bunker, both of them gasping in the clean air, lungs sore with exertion, pulses pounding with adrenaline rush and then the big come-down.
John looked at Dave, “You okay?” got a nod in response.
When the Wraith suggested that he feed again from John, John was emphatic in his refusal. He turned away from the shadow of hurt that flitted across Dave’s face. He was sure he was imagining it, anyway.
He didn’t want to tell Dave that the pleasure might incapacitate him, that he needed to be clear-headed if they were going to get to the gate and be finally free.
What became perfectly clear a little further on was that they were lost and Dave was dying. John felt a frisson of fear slide up his spine at the thought of it; he didn’t want Dave to die.
He tried to tell himself that it would serve no one’s purposes if the wraith died before he could give John back the life-force that he’d taken. He wheedled himself into thinking of Dave as a convenience, his life-raft. But John knew in some less-simple part of himself that he admired Dave, respected his efforts to save them both, maybe even empathized with his hunger.
Sighing, he said, “Okay, new plan.”
When Dave took the final draught of life from John, it was on a wave of all-consuming pleasure that flooded John until he drowned in it. Back arched, hips thrusting upward for an incomplete fulfillment, shrieking to the empty skies, John gave and gave and gave, until Dave turned away from him with the merest whisper, “I’ll return,” and John lost consciousness.
When he recovered sight and sound once more, Dave was bending over him, baring John’s chest and saying, “Take what you will.” There was a reverence in his voice that made John focus, brought his eyes wide open to look deeply into Dave’s own.
The hand was gentle on his chest, for the place was raw, and for a moment Dave’s free hand ghosted again over John’s cheek, along his throat, across shoulder and chest, downward, downward.
And without the thrall as an excuse, before Dave had begun to give back what he had taken, John gave assent, let the long fingers open him, wrap around his shaft and bring it to hardness. His breath was labored in his sunken chest, his skin sagging around his eyes, and John could only imagine what he must look like, envisioning the wrecked husks of other men he’d seen, of Sumner gasping his last, eyes milky with age. Only he was animate and consenting, not a victim at all, waiting in wonder for what came next.
One part of John responded immediately, and as Dave let the life trickle into him with the hand at his open wound, warming John and filling him, so did the wraith’s other hand make John warm, make him fill with life, with an aching want that the human could not name, that he had no words for.
The trickle became a steady stream, and John sucked in a deep breath, feeling an elasticity where before there had been only brittle need, and an expansion of self until he felt Dave’s need, too, Dave’s desire to return to John what he’d taken.
The hand at his chest was an intimate caress, the hand at his shaft an insistent one, and then Dave was bending over him, stroking his inner thigh, urging him open, and as the stream became a river, a flood of life filling him, Dave’s mouth wrapped hot and wet around John’s shaft, and he shouted his pleasure, feeling the cycle of life through his heart, filling his belly, his core where his Chi coiled, and into his shaft, which he thrust upward into Dave’s willing mouth.
Every part of him alive with a knowledge he could never express, not even in the wordless cries that poured from his open mouth, which gabbled at air for breath, John arched and came, arched and came, and Dave sucked down his willing life even as he pushed it back into John’s heart with a hand that felt like it was touching him in a place so hidden John had never known he owned it.
How long it went on like that, John didn’t know, except that when it ended, it was abrupt, and he found himself whining for a return of the hot hand at his chest, the hot mouth at his member. He should be spent, but he was full, full to overflowing with a vivid energy he could almost see.
And then John heard familiar noises in the woods, and while Dave was busy at John’s fly, the colonel struggled to gather words again from the shattered pieces of his human understanding.
He could not remember what he shouted, except that it worked. Dave stood, unharmed, and gave John a long look, and John nodded so that only Dave knew, casually stunned him, and then turned to face his human friends, dreading that he might find in their faces a mirror of the shame he did not—could not, would not—feel.
He would be human for them, in thanks for the worry that wore their faces to sharp angles. But a part of him, he knew, was wraith. He couldn’t explain how he knew, wouldn’t tell any of them even if he could.
One word echoed in his head: Brother.
Could they live as brothers? Could there be a lasting peace between them?
For the crowd of uniforms at his back, John mouthed bravado about bets, knowing it was too simple an answer. In his deepest part, the one that Dave had found and touched, the human knew he could never kill the wraith who had given him life, who had risked his own life to save John’s, world-altering, planet-shifting orgasms aside. There was a point of honor here.
He called me “brother.”
So John fought through Ronon’s angry disbelief, Rodney’s panicked assertions, Elizabeth’s careful cautions, and won a final duet for the two of them, the cloaked jumper landing silently on the Wraith world, darts whining high overhead.
Dave regained consciousness almost at once, leading John to believe the wraith had been faking it.
“Are we alone?”
“You know we are,” John answered, smiling and stepping away from the cloaked jumper with its hatch wide open to the night.
“I see,” Dave said, staring up at the familiar sky and then down at John’s P-90.
They repeated the pattern of words meant to ensure the line between enemies would never again blur.
Neither believed it, and John was tempted to step forward into Dave’s outstretched hand, to let him touch that secret place once more.
Keep it simple, stupid, John thought, instead stepping into the hidden hatchway of the jumper.
“Goodbye, Dave,” he called softly as he moved to close the door.
If he heard, “Goodbye, my brother,” before the hatch hissed shut, John did not let it complicate the familiar formula of flight.