Title: Under Pressure
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Series: Dark Horse, Book 2
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis, wearing my Sentinel-wolf-gate dress
Relationship(s): Daniel Jackson/Sam Carter, future John Sheppard/Ronon Dex
Content Rating: Mature, to be safe
Warnings: Mutual Masturbation, relationship negotiation.
Summary: The Pegasus side of events that happen at roughly the same time as Wake Me Up does on Earth. It starts and ends a little earlier.
Previously posted on Rough Trade November 2014
Having his first ever staff meeting around an unconscious man in a hospital bed might not have been the most professional thing John had ever done but he just couldn’t leave this man and his staff didn’t seem to mind.
“Bates?” They’d been in Pegasus about a week. A rough week. A week were they managed to get Atlantis off the bottom of the ocean, adopt more than 40 Pegasus natives, wake a race that made a biblical plague sound like a spring picnic and, oh yea, John had had to shoot his commanding officer dead. So, of course, instant karma meant John had to take Everett’s place as Expedition Leader. Just his fucking luck, honestly.
“Sir, we have explored three towers, including the Control tower. Everyone has temporary housing in the Control tower and we have established a mess. Doing room by room checks as Everett ordered is slow going but we are using it to verify the city schematic Dr. Jackson found us.”
“Good, anyone giving you a hard time about the boundaries?”
“No, sir, as far as I can tell the civilians are still exploring the control tower.”
John nodded. “Carter?”
“Bates is right. We are still exploring the Control tower. We haven’t gotten farther from the Control Room than the Jumper Bays. A team spent all of yesterday on door mechanisms. With your permission, I want to examine our Stargate to compare it with Earth’s. We’ll need to suspend gate activity for three to five days to do all the diagnostics I want.”
John nodded. “Better to do it now.” before they needed it. “The Jumpers?”
“No one has reported a schematic yet, sir, but if it doesn’t turn up while I’m working on the gate, they are next on the list. Full schematic and cloaking tech for Earth.”
“How about shields for us?”
“I’ll work on it.” She nods and makes a note of her PC, chewing briefly on her stylus. “Power requirements will be tricky.” And she’s lost to geek dream land.
John just shakes his head and moves on. “Jackson?”
“I have everyone that can read Ancient elbow deep in the data base. We have been focusing on the Wraith since the culling of Athos. We aren’t getting much.”
“Anything tactical?” Jackson shakes his head. “Technological?” Head shake. “Wraith-biology lessons?” Jackson jaw shoots to one side and he shakes his head again. “Any thing?”
“We found a pretty decent primer on their language. It’s ten thousand years out of date but it confirms that Wraith is basically Ancient. Their letters are a little distorted and they have added symbols for sounds I don’t think a human could voluntarily make.”
“What about that thing you took from the Wraith ship?”
“Their primary data core. Sam and I figured the system failures caused by taking it would make a good diversion.”
John grins. “It did.”
Jackson just smirks. “I think Sam has dropped it in Grodin’s lap.” The blonde sentinel just nods and keeps making notations on her data pad. “He hasn’t sent anything over to us for translation yet but he has asked me for a few hours tomorrow to look something over with him. I’ll keep you informed.
John just nods, glances to make sure Bates is taking notes and continues. “In the mean time, Carson, who’s qualified to dissect a Wraith?”
“I could do it but Biro would be the most qualified. Nieves in a pinch. Or Coulter, she would be the better choice since she’s the xenobiologist we brought with us.”
“Go ahead and give Biro and Coulter a heads up that we’ll need them to do analyze Wraith biology for us.” Perfect job for a medical examiner and a xenobiologist, right? “Not sure when we’ll catch one, though.”
“Best to get two of each type, sir, just to be thorough.” Carson looks a little green at that. God, but John loves Samantha Carter sometimes.
“Noted. That leaves, Gibbs?”
“Yes, sir. I double checked the physical copy we have of the Expedition Charter. There is a Horrible Happenings clause that has O’Neill written all over it. It indicates that in the event of extreme circumstances the Expedition Commander, that’s you, may take any action to ensure survival of the expedition. Promotions, recruitment, negotiation, whatever. It has to be justifiable; you can’t promote us all to generals and expect Earth to give us the back pay but the actions we discussed yesterday would qualify.”
“Alright, for the rest of you, here’s the plan. Major Gibbs will remain my second in command. Bates, I’m moving you up to the number three spot. You are the new Head of City Security. You are now officially a Major. Cadman and Ford are your personal minions.”
“I want the sciences out of my hallways within a week. Jackson’s schematic indicates tower seven is all labs and offices so clear it and get ’em moved in. I want long term quarters ready for move-in a week after that. I don’t want people all over the city but I don’t want anyone living in either the Control or Science towers.”
Bates nods, making yet more notes. “Gate Teams, sir?”
“Every team is going to be lead by an officer. That means more training and promotions since we are all already accounted for. I’m still going through personnel files for candidates. I am open to suggestions. Leaders get to pick their teams but need my approval before they are cleared for missions. Ideas to keep our location secure? ”
“The biggest threat to security of our location is gate travel.”
“I get that, Bates, but we are going to need supplies. That means allies. And that means gate travel.”
“I understand, sir, but limiting the use of our gate address would be a good idea.”
“That’s actually a good idea, sir.” Carter pipes up. “No direct dialing would slow intelligence gathering and limit who has Atlantis’s address.” John gives her a confused look right out of General O’Neill’s play book. “If we establish an Alpha site and dial there going in and out rather than going directly to our final destination it keeps Atlantis’s address one step removed from the rest of the galaxy.”
“We would have to make sure the planet is uninhabited.” Right? They couldn’t just take some nomadic hunters’ gate access.
“At least two security teams, sir,” Bates adds with a nod. “And an Iris?”
“And in the event of a GDO accident?” Carter asks.
“A Beta site. They step through to the Beta site and get forwarded to either the Alpha site or Atlantis by the security team there.”
John shakes his head. “We don’t have the man power to staff two off-world locations and maintain city security and do recon on the Wraith.”
“We don’t have materials for an Iris, either,” Carter is always so helpful.
“Yet.” Gibbs smirks.
John frowns and nods. “We’ll start looking for an Alpha Site after Carter’s done with the gate. Jackson, make a list of addresses to try. I’m going to want any off world foothold of ours to be lead by at least an O-3, no matter their home country or Service. Gate teams, I think require at least an O-2. The three of us,” He gestures to himself, Gibbs and Bates. “Will need to set up a meeting to evaluate service records and conduct interviews. Probably a couple meetings.”
“How many gate teams are you planning on, sir?” Bates asks with a frown. “That could be a ton of officers.”
“Right, which we are going to need because we are going to need more soldiers. Right now we have less than 2 soldiers per civilian and that is not going to cut it. Not to secure the city and do recon and make friends and trade.”
“Respectfully, sir, more soldiers? Where are we going to get those from? The natives? You want us to recruit a bunch of uneducated natives of an alien galaxy to the United States Military?”
John nods. “It’s an established technique.”
“Established?” Bates pretty much sputters. “Give me one example.”
“Abydos.” Jackson’s supplies with an almost innocent face.
“About half of SG-1’s missions have involved the help of an alien civilian of one kind or another since day one.” Sam agrees.
“And how are we going to keep them from over powering us and taking the city?”
“According to our native intel,” AKA Teyla. “Most people in this galaxy are accustomed to Pride life. Gibbs and Carter have seniority because they have already made this their territory but if that’s not enough when we bond,” John gestures between himself and Snores With Dreadlocks. “We’ll be alpha.”
“And you think he’ll just go along with anything you ask of him?”
“I haven’t met a sentinel yet that wouldn’t do just about anything for me, much less their own bonded guide. In his case, I will be both.” John says, fighting not to get pissed. This is why he wanted Dean Bates so high up in the COC, to question John and keep him on his toes, no point in getting mad about it.
Bates nods sharply once and subsides.
“A message to Earth,” Daniel speaks up after a long moment of silence. “We have to let them know about the Wraith.”
“Can we even do that?” John looked to Carter.
“Can’t be sure. Probably.” Carter is quiet for a moment. “I’ll know the actual power requirements for a window to Earth once I’m done with my diagnostics. Whatever I can get you won’t be long, I’ll need a way to compress the data. I’ll let you know in a week?”
“Alright, Jackson, work with Gibbs on a draft of what we want to say. Carter, as soon as you can. Dismissed.”
He has been reading silently for almost a half hour when a foreign mind brushes the edges of his. He’s not sure he likes it but the gentle mental touch seems to be the Pegasus native Guide’s form of knocking. “Teyla.” He verbally greets.
“Colonel Sheppard.” The woman moves to the opposite side of the hospital bed. “His name is Ronon Dex. He is a son of the Alpha Sentinel of Sateda. Before meeting you, I would have said the people of Sateda are the most advanced people I have ever seen. Possibly the most advanced in this galaxy.”
“How’d you meet him?” John shifts awkwardly, briefly wondering if he’d stepped on her toes by assuming that he and this guy-
“His fathers chose an Athosian woman to bear their young. Marna carried four children. Tyre and Ronon for Sateda. Toran and Lony for Athos.”
“That’s popular back home. Single gender bonded pairs using the same third for children. Makes a stronger family-group.”
Teyla nods once. “Lony and I were set to bond. She had just completed her training on Sateda and Ronon was to accompany her to the bonding location but they never arrived. That was one year ago.”
“Do you think she was on the Wraith ship when we?” blew it up.
Teyla shakes her head and places a hand over her heart. “I would have felt her. There is a place inside me where she has always been. At times I can feel her terror or her excitement. The thrill of success.”
“Strong emotions. You’re picking up her emotions? Even after all this time?”
“As you say, strong ones. Always. Sometimes I wonder if she is at hand and I simply cannot see her.”
“Well, we can be sure she’s not on the city.”
“No, the Wraith would have made her a Runner. It is what they do with those your people call ‘sentinels’.”
“A Runner?” John likes running. Running is good for you.
“A horrible fate, to be a toy for the Wraith and their hunting parties. I had a uncle once who Ran. My father and others from the village found him and tried to remove the tracking device the Wraith had put in him.”
“Did they?” manage it? Did they save him?
“He died in the attempt.”
“Oh.” Shit. “We have really good doctors.”
“You will attempt to locate her?”
John shifts, made uncomfortable by her surprise. “We don’t-. We can’t leave a sentinel to,” be used. He shifts again. “Anything that we can take from the Wraith,” is a good thing. Is more than fair. They deserve to lose.
She nods, undoubtedly understanding what he can’t bring himself to articulate. “You realize he is not asleep?”
“Yea, he woke up during the meeting. In his place I’d probably play opossum, too.”
“Opossum. It’s a large rodent from back home. They pretend to be dead when they are threatened or trapped.”
“Have you done this thing you speak of? Not ‘opossum’ but been a pair’s third.”
“Oh, yea. Three times. A pair in my dads’ pride, they watched over me while I completed my education when I was really young; an officer from a different unit in Afghanistan and her Guide; and a girl I grew up with, my best friend Nancy, and her sentinel.”
Teyla’s eyes grew wide with a new kind of shock. “You left six children on your homeworld?”
“More like 10, there were a lot of twins. Probably more by now. I left them some of my… stuff.”
“Twins are a great blessing!”
It’s not like they are his. Well, they are, but they have parents that care for them. John shrugs, the twin thing is probably because of fertility drugs or something. Do they have fertility drugs in Pegasus? John shakes his head to clear it, “Must run in the family.”
“Sheppard! This-! It is-!”
“She’s trying to say that you shouldn’t admit to such a thing.” The man’s voice is rough and low, like molasses. Scratchy molasses. That could probably use a lozenge. “Your allies will require you breed for them.”
“Hey, buddy! Thanks for joining us.”
“Where am I? How did I come to be in this place?”
“A city called Atlantis. Athos was culled.” Teyla answers quickly. “Colonel Sheppard and his people came for us.”
“You attacked a Hive ship?”
John can’t tell if the guy is surprised or angry. The confusion he’s picking up makes him think the guy doesn’t know either. “Their security is really bad.”
“How did you find me?”
“You talk in your sleep. My Head of Security found you and we got you to our ship.”
“I have never felt anyone like I feel you.”
“Back at you, buddy.”
“Do you wish to bond?”
Stupid question. “Every Guide wishes to bond.”
Ronon is not fooled. “Do you wish to bond with me?”
John glances at Teyla. The other Guide nods and leaves. “I do.”
John unsnaps and removes his soul cover. Moment of truth time. He swallows and turns his right wrist to face the man. “Is this you?”
John’s Soul Mark has been a source of consternation for him, his entire family and a good chunk of Earth’s Sentinel-Guide Community since he came online at seven. It’s not an animal anyone has ever seen or heard of. There aren’t even any legends he could find about a black lion with raven wings and no other changes.
“It’s a volion.” Snores with Dreadlocks relaxes on the bed but doesn’t change his tone at all. “And it has been my Spirit Companion since I was very small.”
John breathes a sigh of relief. “Can I see yours?”
The alien sentinel, his alien sentinel to be exact, had been wearing a tooled leather vambrace that covered almost his entire right forearm. Carson had replaced it with a generic fabric soul cover for treatment. The small band of fuzzy black cotton is removed to show what might be the word “wolf” rendered in freckles and moles. John doesn’t have to look at it very long before it is his fluffy, shades of black and gray wolf, complete with curious head tilt and snow on its nose.
“I ask again. Do you wish to bond?”
“I do.” But he has one last thing to clear up. John really doesn’t want to ask, damn Bates right to hell, but he needs to be sure.
His sentinel’s eyes narrow. “But?”
“But I’m the leader of this expedition in the name of my homeworld and I can’t yield that position. To anyone.”
“Why would you?” Ronon sounds honestly confused. “On my world, if you want an endeavor to succeed, you have a Child of the Ancestors lead it.”
John frowned at the other man. “Child of the Ancestors?”
“People like you and the Ancestors. People with mind powers. Those that are guarded by people like me.”
“Guides. I’m a Guide. You are a Sentinel.”
“Sentinel.” Ronon nods, accepting the term.
“Your people have any special bonding… rituals?” John doesn’t wince, no matter how much he might want to. It’s a valid question.
“Rituals? No, just fucking.” And John can really get behind that.
“Alright. I’m going to get Beckett. He’s a doctor. He’ll check you over and release you.” Probably. “I’m going to get a shower and find our room.”
Guide-Doctor Carson Beckett has Ronon dressed and released before Guide Sheppard returns for him, so Ronon takes himself Guide-hunting. Following his Guide’s scent is easy, the man smells of high-quality gunpowder, leather, some warm spice Ronon can’t name and the trees that are always green, even in the deepest winter.
One level up and three turns later his Guide’s scent is joined by that of a male unbonded sentinel. This one that was not at the meeting by his bedside. Two levels and another turn later the two scents part ways.
Ronon is torn. He wants to find the sentinel and warn him off of Sheppard but his Guide. Ronon is so close, his Guide is just on th- his Guide was standing in the doorway to his left in nothing but a towel.
“You’re growling.” Sheppard’s green eyes are wide and charmingly startled. His heart rate is elevated.
“He was aroused.”
“I’m a guide.” Sheppard says it like it explains everything and Ronon has to admit that it does. Sheppard can’t help that unbonded sentinels crave unbonded guides. But Ronon can. Ronon’s scent on and in Sheppard will make all other sentinels keep their distance. His body will guard Sheppard as his mind will balance him, as they are meant to.
Sheppard moves back into the room and Ronon follows him. “So how do you want to?” do this.
His guide isn’t much for words but he finds that he is comfortable with that. He is much the same.
Ronon steps into Sheppard’s body, putting his hand on the improvised waistband of the towel. With a nod, Sheppard drops his hands and allows Ronon to pull the cloth away. His Guide is gorgeous, shorter than him and pale with long, lean muscles. “You’re different than I am.”
“What do you mean?”
“Your cock. It looks different.”
“I take it your people don’t circumcise?” Ronon doesn’t know this term. “Remove the foreskin of young boys?”
“No.” Is that a problem?
Sheppard gives him a small smile. “Cool.”
Ronon slides a hand into the hair at the back of Sheppard’s head and leans in slowly to take his first taste of the man that will forever be his.
Sheppard pulls him close, his arms going around his waist.
Ronon slides his hands down Sheppard’s naked back until they each find a butt check. He pulls up and apart, lifting his guide and exposing his hole to the empty room. The smaller man groans throatily.
Ronon ends the kiss and rests his head on Sheppard’s shoulder. His nose buried against the base of the other man’s neck. “Beckett gave me condoms and told me how to use them. Do men get pregnant on your planet?”
Sheppard laughs out loud. “No, no, we don’t. It’s in case of disease and for your sense of touch. Sometimes, intercourse can be a little,” intense.
“Is that not a thing here? Sexually transmitted diseases that primarily infect your genitals and can be fatal.”
Ronon just shakes his head. He’s never even heard of such a thing.
“Ah.” Sheppard pulls away and looks up into his sentinel’s eyes. “I hope you don’t think you’re fooling me. I can feel how tired you are. You’re exhausted.”
“Beckett did say to take it easy.”
Sheppard nods. “As far as your body knows you were abducted and tortured by Wraith last week. We can just sleep with our shields down. Start the bonding process.” Sheppard crawls right into the middle of the bed, naked as you please.
“Sounds good.” Ronon toes off the boots the doctor gave him, quickly sheds the rest of his borrowed clothes and joins him.
They sit facing each other, knees touching. Sheppard’s entire body relaxes as he enters a meditative state. He can feel Sheppard’s mind waiting at the edges of his shields.
Sheppard is water. The ocean. Full of deadly depths and life-giving resources. Confusing tides and beautiful sights.
Ronon knows himself to be air. The wind. He shields his mind in the heart of a funnel cloud. Constant motion. Deceptive grace. The very thing you need to survive ripping your life to pieces.
Together they will become a hurricane, an unstoppable force to run in fear of. Ruler of the sea, built of sky. Conqueror of land.
Well they would be, if Ronon could get shields down.
He closes his eyes and tries visualizing the twisting air calming and thinning. He really tries. This time imagining his shield-storm weakening and disappearing into a cloudless sky. But it won’t. It doesn’t budge. He even tries dissipating the energy into the earth, shattering the storm on the face of an unyielding mountain and no.
Sheppard’s movement catches Ronon’s attention. His guide stretches himself out on one side and gestures for him to do the same.
“Can I touch you?” Sheppard gestures towards their feet, like he can’t guess exactly what his guide wants to touch.
Ronon just nods.
Sheppard grins. “This’ll do it.” He grabs a bottle over from the bedside table and pours some liquid in his hand. Ronon takes some too and helps Sheppard bring their cocks together. United, they fist their cocks and began to work out a rhythm.
Ronon can feel an echo of his own pleasure in the back of his mind, slowly getting louder. It doesn’t take long for him to realize it isn’t his pleasure but Sheppard’s. He grabs it with both of his mental hands and pulls it to the front of his mind. He accepts it and makes it part of himself. He accepts Sheppard’s mental touch and using it he sends what he is feeling back to his Guide. It strengthens their connection, doubling its size despite his control failure.
The last thing he hears as he passes out covered in sweat and semen is his guide’s voice.
“My name is John. John Sheppard, Ronon Dex.”