John Sheppard wasn't claustrophobic, but the Ancient healing pod was starting to get to him. He could not see or hear anything beyond the faint light and soft hum of the pod. He forced himself to relax. He only had another hour to go and then he was finished with this pod and these blasted treatments. Closing his eyes he tapped his fingers on the bed of the pod in a familiar rhythm. If any of the Atlantis Rangers was able to hear the rhythm, they would recognise it as having the same beat as that of Rodney's heart.

Just one more hour and then he would be out of this miserable contraption and Rodney would be back from his test flight to the mainland with Sergeant Griffon. John had been furious when he had discovered that Rodney had volunteered to go on Jumper Six's shake down flight with the marine pilot. It was not that he didn't trust Radek, but the jumper had been badly damaged when it had been shot down. Sheppard hummed to himself and tapped his fingers a little harder. Today was the last day of the week he had given himself. The moment McKay set foot on Atlantis he was going to drag Rodney's ass into his quarters and they were going to have a sit down and a nice long chat.

Sheppard shifted slightly. The Legendary had lost weight and John knew for a fact that he wasn't sleeping. He did not care what McKay said but two hours of fretful drowsing per night was not sleeping or even remotely healthy. The scientist also wasn't eating and there had been several mild hypoglycaemic episodes. When it became clear that Rodney was avoiding John and the rest of their team Sheppard had shamelessly bullied McKay's staff into showing up and giving the ill looking man sandwiches and other treats at odd times.

Humming softly under his breath John allowed himself to drift in the sound his fingers was tapping. Only fifty more minutes.


John stalked through the halls of Atlantis. His hands were balled into fists so tightly that his nails were biting painfully into the palms of his hands as he tried to stop himself from shaking. The last twenty-four hours had been hell. Getting out of the healing pod and hearing the frantic calls from Radek to Rodney had been bad enough, but what had followed had been even worst. The hours spend trying to figure out where the downed jumper was, coming up with a working plan to get to Rodney and Griffon, and then get them back. He knows Elizabeth was upset with him for all but ordering Zelenka into accompanying him on the rescue mission, but frankly he couldn't give a rat's ass about that, because it was Rodney.

Then there was the frantic moment where he didn't think that he had made it. That he was too late; that he had lost Rodney forever. Of course getting Rodney back had been a relief, but the trip back had been just as difficult. The moment the downed Jumper's door had opened John had been nearly overwhelmed by the completely unshielded presence of a virtually feral gryphon. There had been no hiding Rodney's nature from Zelenka. The Czech scientist had merely raised an eyebrow and helped Sheppard get the wet and bedraggled Legendary into their Jumper. They had taken the trip back up to the surface as slow as possible, in order to give the Rodney time to decompress and to get his shields more or less into working order.

When they had arrived back on the city, the Jumper's doors had barely opened before Carson and Keller had stormed in. Sheppard had been amazed by how skilfully the young doctor had wrapped her own shields around the struggling Gryphon, before whisking him off to the infirmary. That had been almost five hours ago. McKay had been released thirty minutes ago. John had given him time to get back to his quarters and to get settled, but that time was now up. And now, now they were going to have a conversation that was a long time coming.

Reaching the door to McKay's quarters, Sheppard took a deep breath before giving Atlantis a set of prearranged instructions using his gene to override any other protocols. Entering the room he waited for the city to shut and lock the door and to raise the sensory and white noise shields. Taking another deep breath to help him calm further he extended his senses throughout the room.

Rodney was in the bathroom; John could smell clean water and the spicy soap that the scientist preferred. He quietly made his way across the room and waited next to the bathroom door for the other man to exit. His muscles coiled tightly he stood ready to pounce.


Rodney wearily rested his forehead against the steamed up mirror. He closed his eyes and tried to even out his breathing. Fuck, this day had been too close. He had really thought that this was it. This was how he was going to die. All alone trapped on the bottom of an alien ocean without ever telling John how he really felt. And he had hated himself for that. He hated himself for being such a coward, for denying not only his feelings but John's as well. Pushing away from the mirror Rodney wrapped the towel around his hips and shivered, he was still cold. Even a twenty minute hot shower hadn't driven the cold from his bones, and that was saying something. His entire biology was designed to withstand cold temperatures. That's why he did so well in both Siberia and the Arctic, not that he would ever admit it to anybody.

Stepping through the door into his bedroom he barely had a second to realise that he wasn't alone before he was grabbed and pushed into the wall. His hands were pulled up over his head and clasped tightly in a hand while his feet were kicked apart and his towel pulled off, all in one dizzying moment.

Having secured the Legendary to his satisfaction Sheppard let his senses enfold McKay. He pushed his body flush with the naked man, running his free hand over every bit of skin he could reach, while at the same time nuzzling his neck. He relaxed his hold on Rodney's wrists slightly when he felt the spike of fear in the other man. He murmured softly in his ear while gently soothing Rodney with soft petting strokes. John listened intently waiting for McKay's heartbeat to slow down. He gently brushed against the Gryphon's mind being careful not to push.

Rodney was calming down in spite of himself. It had taken him a second to recognise John but the moment he did he started to settle down. The soft almost nonsense murmuring and petting was also working against him. He felt himself relax more and more and as he relaxed he felt himself leaning into John.

Feeling the Legendary relax the Prime changed from soothing petting to exploring again. He needed to see for himself that the Gryphon was okay. He took note of the bruises and the abrasions and he could still smell the blood from the cut on Rodney's forehead. He nuzzled into McKay's neck licking that spot just under his ear moaning at the flavour. It was even better than he remembered; dark, rich and spicy.

Tilting his head to the side to give John better access Rodney shivered at the sound of the moan. It was probable the best sound he had ever heard in his entire life. He relaxed further and widened his stance as he allowed his body to lean into John's.

Sheppard smiled as McKay tilted his head and leaned into him. Running his free hand down the naked man's back he cupped Rodney's ass and pulled them even closer together. He groaned when Rodney's erection pressed against his own. Capturing his lips John pulled Rodney into a gentle kiss. When the Legendary gasped at the feel of their hard-on's pressing together John took the opportunity to slip his tongue in, chasing that addictive taste.

Rodney was surrounded by John. And it felt so right. He closed his eyes and surrendered himself to the kiss, forgetting for the moment his doubts and insecurities. Unconsciously he lowered his hard won mental shields in the comforting presence of his Prime.

John groaned as Rodney's shields drop and that amazing glow washed over him. He pressed closer and deepened the kiss, sliding his left leg in between Rodney's. Using his right hand he squeezed McKay's left ass cheek all the while digging deeper and deeper into Rodney's mind.

Rocking on John's thigh, Rodney was so lost in a sea of sensation both physical and mental, he did not even realize as he spiralled higher and closer to an orgasm he was pulling John deeper into his mind, opening up doorways that had been shut for as long as he could remember. He unconsciously started to create the first pathway that would start the bonding process.

John was not sure when Rodney had lowered his shields or when he had slipped into the Gryphon's mind so lost was he in the kiss. But as he felt the first tendril of what could only be the beginning of a bond pathway form between the two of them he tore away from the naked Legendary with a curse. Backing away he fought with himself to clear his mind from the bond lust that had overtaken them. He wanted to hit himself over the head for his carelessness. This was not the reason why he came to McKay's room. He came here to talk, to discuss this thing between them. Not take advantage of his friend when it was clear that he was in a vulnerable and compromised state. Yes he wanted to bond with Rodney, but not like this. Not when he was not one hundred present sure that was what the Legendary wanted.

Without John holding him up Rodney slid down the wall to collapse into a sitting position. He shook his head trying to clear the haze that had overtaken him. He grew cold when he realised just what had nearly happened. Bringing a shaky hand up to rub over his face he blindly reached out with his other hand to try and find the towel Sheppard had pulled from him. "I…" Rodney began before stopping and swallowing. "I need you to leave." He finished shakily.


"Now, John!" Rodney all but shouted from where he was huddled next to the wall.

Turning toward the door John took a step before stopping and swinging around to face Rodney again. "Yeah no, not happening McKay." He stated decisively. "I am not leaving until we have talked about this." Sheppard snarled. He was suddenly furious with the Gryphon. Who the hell was he to do this to them both. Who the hell was McKay to think he could show this to John only to pull away. They both wanted, no they both needed this and he was damned if he was going to allow Rodney to keep this from him.

Finding the towel and covering him with it Rodney snorted. "There is nothing to talk about Colonel."

"Try again McKay." The Prime snapped as he prowled through the room being careful to keep well outside of the Gryphon's personal space.

He heard the scientist sigh tiredly. "Why are you here John?"

"I am here because I am worried about you Rodney." John said softly as he squatted down in front of McKay. "I am here because a few hours ago I didn't know if you were still alive. I am here because I couldn't find you and it nearly killed me."

Holding up a hand when it appeared that Rodney was going to say something, John shook his head. "No it is my turn to talk now and your turn to listen." He watched as the Legendary frowned and closed his mouth. "Good." Sheppard sighed as he sat down cross-legged in front of McKay. "I am worried about you Rodney. You are not sleeping well, you have lost weight and overall your health has been steadily declining. I am also aware that you are having trouble with your shielding." Rubbing his neck John slumped forward just a tad. "The Shifts and Rangers in the city are aligning into a pack. I already had to break up two fights between Teldy and Bates, because both are jockeying for position and you know as well as I this would not be happening without your influence."

Rodney winced and turned his head to look away from John. The Prime was right, it was Rodney's fault.

John sighed softly. "I don't know why you are fighting this so hard Rodney, but I really wished you wouldn't. I am your friend and I really wish that I could be more. I do care about you. I have for a long time even before I found out that you were a gryphon. We both want this, but I need you to make the first move. Even if you don't bond with me, I will be not fine, but I will cope." Rodney could hear the sad smile in John's voice even though he refused to look at the Prime. "At least let me help you." They sat there in silence for a while, John waiting and Rodney stubbornly refusing to say anything or even look at the other man.

Getting up John stopped and looked down at Rodney, "I will never purposely hurt you and I will never betray you. That I promise. Please think about what I said." With that he turned and walked across the room, stopping at the door John dropped all his shields and tried to broadcast his love and respect for the other man as loudly as he could. He stood for a moment waiting for some kind of reaction before raising his shields again and stepping out of the room.

The moment the door closed and he sure that he was alone Rodney dropped his head to his hands and wept.


John stirred and pushed his blanket down and turned onto his back. "Didn't we already have this conversation about how creepy the silent staring thing in the middle of the night is and how it does not suit you?" he asked around a yawn. It had taken him hours to calm down after his talk with McKay earlier and even longer to manage to fall asleep.

Nudging the light on mentally, Sheppard sat up and took a look at the scientist standing in his room. McKay was barefoot, dressed in a pair of sweat pants and a faded t-shirt. The legendary was wringing his hands together clearly trying to work up the courage to say whatever it was that he wanted to say. Either that or trying to bolster himself for the answer he was looking for. "Did you mean what you said earlier?" He whispered softly.

It wasn't all that often that Sheppard contemplated cold blooded murder, but at this very moment, after weeks of watching McKay run himself into the ground, he would have gladly and viciously slaughtered whoever it was that had so obviously damaged Rodney so much. With a sigh he dropped his shields opening him up completely to the other man. "Of course I meant it McKay. I would not have said it otherwise."

He watched as Rodney closed his eyes and shivered. John was tempted to grab Rodney and pulled him down on the bed next to him and hold him until all the pain and bad memories just disappeared. But he knew he couldn't, this was Rodney's show now. He had handed the ball (so to speak) over to McKay and thus the next move was his.

Rodney turned and John could feel him activate a complete shielded lock down. The Prime blinked as the Legendary turned back to him and slowly and completely dropped his shields, leaving him entirely open and vulnerable.

"Rodney…" John gasped out and it took every single ounce of will power not to pounce on the man. "You better be sure you know what you're doing, because I have to tell you that in a few more minutes I will not be able to stop myself." He groaned out. He watched as McKay first seemed to steel himself and then just slumped forward.

"I'm tired John. Tired of being scared all the time. Tired of lying to the both of us. Tired of hiding. I want this." He took a step closer to the bed. "I have wanted this since that moment when you threw me over the balcony, even if I didn't admit it to either of us." Another step, moving him closer to John, stopping next to the bed he raised his head and squared his shoulders. "I am Meredith Rodney McKay Gryphon Legendary and I would be honoured if you will grant me the privilege of bonding to me as my Prime and lifemate."

Letting out an explosive breath John looked up at the man standing next to his bed. Wow he really didn't think it would go this way. "Are you sure Rodney." He asked softly for the last time, because as much as he wanted this he needed McKay to want it just as badly.

McKay snorted. "Seriously." He demanded with a raised eyebrow.

Taking Rodney's hand John stood. "I John Sebastian Sheppard agree to take you Rodney McKay as my bonded mate and Legendary. Besides," John continued with a wry smile. "We are already practically married, might as well get the perks that go with the rest."

Punching John playfully on the arm Rodney stepped into his personal space and rested his head on John's shoulder. "I should be terrified but for some reason I'm not." He whispered into the dark haired soldier's neck.

"No reason to be Mer." John answered as he ran his hands up the scientist back, finally allowed to touch as he wanted.

"Seriously, I mean seriously, you just didn't. No just no Shep…" John rolled his eyes and shut Rodney up by kissing him, slipping his tongue into the other man's mouth when he tried to continue talking.

Rodney tried talking for a few more seconds before giving up and giving into the kiss, gently tugging at John's mind. The bond pathway that had been interrupted earlier in the evening flared into life again.

John hissed as he felt the flare and started pulling insistently at Rodney's t-shirt. He needed the man naked.

Cursing as his hands tangled with John's Rodney took a step back and ripped his top off over his head. Linking his lips John let his eyes rove over the other man taking in every detail of his chest, committing it to memory, slowly imprinting.

Snapping his fingers McKay frowned at his soon to be mate. "Get naked Sheppard." He growled as he struggled to get out of his pants, lust evident in his voice.

The lust filled sound of Rodney's voice was enough to shake the Prime out of his imprinting haze and he was naked before the scientist managed to step out of his pants. He smirked when he heard the hitch in McKay's breath as the scientist looked at him. "Like what you see McKay?" John asked as he stalked over to where Rodney was standing.

Licking his lips Rodney just nodded, his eyes slowly trailing first up and then down John's body. "You know I do." He breathed and John smirk grew just a tad bit predatory. Rodney was right, he did know. He could see the Legendary's arousal in the flush of his skin; hear it in the hitch of his breathing and the beating of his heart. He could smell it on the air and he still had the taste of it on his lips.

Placing a hand on McKay's hip he slowly pulled the other man closer. "You do know that I will never let you go now, right?" he demanded as he pulled them together.

Rodney shivered and simply nodded, speech was beyond him at this moment.

"Good" John murmured as he slid the hand on Rodney's hip across to the small of his back. His other hand he lifted up to tangle in McKay's hair. He hummed in pleasure at the feel of Rodney's skin and hair and pulled the other man in for another breath stealing kiss.

Turning them around, he slowly lowered Rodney to the bed without breaking the kiss. Gripping John by the shoulders Rodney pulled the dark haired colonel on top of him. Sliding his hands down to cup John's ass he arched his back and ground their pelvises together. The sparks of pleasure fuelled the growth of the bond. The tendrils of the bond sparkled like diamonds in his mind's eye. Rodney would swear later that he could literally feel their minds being tied together. Although that was misnomer, the bond was not so much tying them together as weaving them into each other.

John shuddered at the feel of Rodney's hands on him and he undulated his hips creating a sweet friction between them that was nearly mind blowing. Rodney groaned at the feel and tightened his grip on his mate. He could feel the echo of John's pleasure through the fledging bond and surrendered the last of himself to John.

Speeding up the motion John deepened the kiss. The bond was creating a feedback loop feeding Rodney's pleasure into him which heightened his own pleasure which in turn spilled over to Rodney, building his pleasure higher as well.

This was he had been looking for. For as long as he could remember there had always been something missing, up til now sex was fun, but this transcended everything. Sinking into the Gryphon's pleasure he fully welcomed the part of his soul that had been missing.

With Rodney's surrender and John's acceptance the bond exploded.

Rodney's mind was filled with light and love, wiping away the last of the shadows. The shadowed handprints on his mind that had echoed the bruises on his throat and wrist, faded so long ago, but never truly healed until now. John senses were filled with light and love, grounding him and enfolding him. Giving him for the first time in his life a solid base to stand on. They would never be lost again, never alone again.




As was intended by nature. The bond, fully established, hummed between them. John had barely enough cognizance left to pull the light blanket over them and to turn down the lights before Rodney pulled John with him into sleep.