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Come Dancing

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Life was good. No, life was absolutely fantastic. Life was superb. He was doing well in classes and his dads were stationed here until he graduated from high school. He was beginning to work on applications for college, and he had a sub who was amazingly responsive, teaching John more about his own toppiness every single day. Life couldn't get better.

John leaned against one of the columns in the cafeteria, waiting for Rodney to enter, as he half-listened to Megan prattle on about the upcoming school dance. As one of the organizers, she was interested in the music and decorations. Dances were fun, but John wasn't sure if he and Rodney would go to this one or not. It was the first one since they'd had become a couple. He wasn't sure if Rodney even danced. They still had so much to learn about each other.

Rodney came in the far doors, and John waved, smiling as his sub walked toward him. He felt the possessive pride he always experienced when he saw Rodney wearing his white letter jacket, the purple Sheppard across the left side proclaiming his status as Rodney's top. Smiling, Rodney stopped by them and John draped his arm over Rodney's shoulders.

"Hi."

"Hi John. Um, hi, Megan."

"Hi, Rodney. So John, do you want to?"

"Want to what?"

"Take me to the dance," she said, with a slight note of exasperation as if he ought to know what they'd just been discussing. She ran one finger down his chest, along the strap of his backpack. "I'd love to have you for my top."

"Excuse me?" was Rodney's outraged response as John floundered, trying to figure out what to say. He'd generally said yes to any sub who approached him, because why not? Gil had always encouraged exploration, and having a sub who took the first step made it easier. But that was before Rodney.

Megan ignored Rodney. "I haven't played a lot, but I'm very willing and eager to learn. I dance really well, too."

"He's my top!" Rodney yelped, his volume making John glance around, realizing that several kids were watching them, listening.

Flicking Rodney an irritated glance, Megan said, "He's a top."

"Yes, and he's my top!" Rodney took a step forward, inserting himself between John and Megan.

"He doesn't belong to you. He can go to the dance with any sub he wants." She smiled at John, and she had a lovely smile, if not as distinctive as Rodney's. "I'd be really good for you, John. I'd do anything you wanted," she promised, smiling again, this time a faint dimple peeping out of one cheek.

"You little tramp, you have the nerve-– "

"Rodney!" The rudeness shocked John out of his surprise. "You shouldn't call her names."

"Are you kidding me? Are you taking her side?"

"There aren't any sides here. She's got a right to ask." Perhaps he should have been paying more attention to her prattling, John thought guiltily. Had she been leading up to the invitation?

"You're my top!"

"Tops aren't exclusive," John said, even as he wondered why he was protesting. He didn't have any interest in Megan or any other sub. It was just that Rodney's assumption that another sub couldn't invite him to the dance was so... weird.

"No," Rodney agreed, but his expression was stricken, his blue eyes wide and distressed. "You're right. They aren't." And with that, he walked away, his long legs taking him rapidly out of the cafeteria even as John yelled, "Rodney!" after him.

Megan curled her hand around his backpack strap, the backs of her fingers against his chest. "Does that mean yes?"

"No," John said baldly, before collecting himself. Rodney had already been rude to Megan; he didn't need to compound it. "I mean, thank you for the offer. I appreciate it. But I'm not interested."

She placed her other hand on his black sweater, over his heart. "Everyone talks about you as a top, John. You shouldn't let him monopolize you. It's not fair to the other subs."

More weirdness, to think other subs might be talking about him, wanting him. "I only want Rodney," he answered honestly.

"He doesn't deserve you. He's so arrogant and thinks he knows it all. No one likes him."

John felt the cold anger he often experienced in his limited interactions with Rodney's parents. "He's my sub. And I won't listen to insults about him."

"I didn't mean anything by it," she said quickly. "Everyone respects you."

"Then they should respect my sub," John snapped, regretting that he'd gotten involved in this conversation with her, wanting to go after Rodney.

She glanced down before looking back at him. "Well, if you change your mind about the dance, you know where to find me."

"Thank you, but I won't. Rodney is the only sub I want."

~~~

Stupid, stupid, stupid... Rodney raced out of the cafeteria and down the hallway, his backpack thumping against his shoulder blade. He ignored John's yelling after him. A monitor was sitting at the door to the outside, looking bored. "Pass?" he asked.

"Fuck off." Rodney pushed the door open and walked out, not caring that he was leaving school in the middle of the day. He shouldn't be here anyway. He should be in college. He heard a voice yell, "Rodney!" but it wasn't John. He kept walking down the path, then crossed over the grass to the sidewalk before storming toward the end of the block.

How could he have thought John was all his? That they were exclusive? Just because his parents were exclusive didn't mean that was what Rodney should expect in his relationships. Rodney hadn't ever even understood why they didn't play around. Exclusivity certainly hadn't made them happy.

His mother had told him repeatedly that he should enjoy John while he could. His memory replayed her lascivious comments that John was a hot, young top, and that Rodney should learn all he could about being a sub, because he would soon be replaced. John could have a whole string of subs if he wanted: athletes and cheerleaders and popular kids. All of them would be more attractive and not as difficult and irritating as Rodney.

Rodney pictured John and Megan at the dance, just like they'd looked when he'd walked into the cafeteria. Even in everyday school clothes, they'd had been beautiful together, both so attractive, her curvaceous form partially resting against John's. In dance clothes every top would envy John, every sub would envy Megan, and the switches would envy both.

Then John would drive Megan home and they could play. Perhaps he'd tie her up and clamp her like he did Rodney. People said tops tended to play the same way with different subs. Boring tops anyway. A top like John would probably be more creative. He'd do things with her that he'd never done with Rodney.

Rodney stopped walking, bending over to put his hands on his knees, struggling not to vomit. His backpack fell off his shoulder to hit the ground.

"Rodney, what's wrong with you?" Simon pounded up to him, breathing hard. "Haven't you heard me calling?"

"No."

"Paul's going to report you for leaving school without a pass."

Great. Excessive discipline from both his parents and neither would ask why. Not that he would try to explain. They always made up their minds and blamed him for everything, without ever talking to him.

"He's really mad you told him to fuck off."

Rodney straightened, shifted his backpack into place, and started walking again.

"Rodney." Simon followed behind him. "What's wrong?"

"What does it matter to you?"

"We're friends, aren't we?"

Rodney gave him a scornful look and Simon pushed his glasses further up his nose. "We are still friends, aren't we?"

Sighing, Rodney dropped onto the bench at the bus stop, feeling exhausted. "I suppose so."

Simon sat next to him. "I didn't mean to cause problems for you and John. I just... you know."

"Yeah," Rodney answered. "I know." He never used to say "yeah." Living in America was changing him. He wished they'd stayed in Canada, but then he wouldn't have met John, and when would he find a top like him again? Never, his mother would say, as both of his parents wondered what John saw in him in the first place. Fuck, how could he stay home on Saturday night, knowing John was out with Megan? Maybe never meeting John would have been best.

"Why'd you leave school like that?"

"You're going to be in trouble too."

Simon shrugged. "You want to go to the mall or something?"

Why not? Even if he returned immediately, Paul had probably tattled on him already. His parents would still be contacted. The principal took discipline seriously. He was screwed now and so was Simon. "Yeah. That sounds good."

~~~

Adam sat at the dinner table, watching the two family tops earnestly discuss relationships between tops and subs. John's sub had exploded into rudeness to another sub today, and John was kicking himself for not reacting quickly enough. Then Rodney had disappeared from school and hadn't returned John's phone calls that afternoon. The rudeness had happened at school, and was a fairly minor issue between two subs, but leaving school was serious enough that it should have been reported to the school principal. Rodney was underage; his parents still handled the discipline. What should John do?

He loved them both so much. His husband, Gil, with his blond hair and broad shoulders, his strong and competent hands that were so capable of putting Adam through his paces until he was a shivering wreck. His son, John, so much like him physically, but closer to Gil in personality. Both were intelligent, brave, and passionate. Gil was generally calm while John seemed almost laidback, though both took action when needed. Although, John looked more ready to explode in frustration than Adam had ever seen him. His eyes were troubled, soft lips firmed with anger and his gaze constantly strayed toward the phone on the wall, obviously waiting for Rodney to ring.

Gil wasn't angry, but Adam could tell GIl was frustrated because he knew that somehow he wasn't giving John quite the right advice and that he was missing an important loop in the braid. Adam was glad his conversations with Rodney on being a sub for a Sheppard had tended to turn to discussions of Rodney himself. It gave him more insight than Gil, who hadn't interacted much with Rodney.

Adam was a normal guy, a soldier who loved his country and his family. He wasn't psychic and couldn't read minds. However, he did have the advantage of the lifebond, which let him know when Gil wasn't happy, (even though he was doing his best to appear calm). It was his own intuition and knowledge of the situation that told Adam he needed to come to Gil's help, and he thought he knew what to say.

"I can't imagine what it must be like to have Rodney's brain," Adam said, before nipping the offered French fry out of Gil's fingers.

"Rodney's brain?" John said, baffled by the apparent deviation from the subject. "He's really smart."

"Yes, just..." Adam chewed and swallowed. "Genius-level smart. Fluent-in-French-and-Latin-and-plays-classical-piano smart. Ready-to-go-to-college-two-years-earlier-than-he-should smart. Four years earlier, if it had been up to him."

"His mom holds him back," John added, and yes, the thoughtfulness in his eyes said he was starting to get the point. "He gets really frustrated about it."

"Adam has a valid point," Gil inserted. "We've been talking about tops and subs, but we need to consider Rodney and how very unique he is. His home situation isn't a good one. His parents have inflicted a lot of emotional damage on him. He doesn't know how to love or trust anyone, and you've already put conditions on your relationship -- to the end of the school year. But did you ever discuss exclusivity?"

"No," John answered baldly. "But I don't want anyone else."

"You need to say that to him. You need to reassure Rodney that he is yours," Gil suggested.

"Part of Rodney's brain may say he can trust you," Adam added softly. "That you're a good top and true to your word. But there's got to be a part of him that's had 16 years of emotional damage that just... reacts. And that's been waiting for you to not be true to your word, to dump him for someone cuter and more popular."

"I would never do that," John said with great emphasis, beginning to look angry again. "Never. Rodney should know that."

"We know that, John," Gil said, taking over the conversation and offering Adam a bite of hamburger. "And you know that. But Adam's right. You may have to reassure Rodney over and over again before he can learn to trust you. He may never be comfortable with you having another sub."

"So do you think I should overlook that he was rude to another sub? That he walked away and ignored me? That he hasn't called?"

"Not overlook it, but don't put the wrong emphasis on it, and temper that with the memory that you didn't reassure him when you should have. Listen to your sub, John. Hear what he needs. Understand why he reacted as he did. Remember the problems that he has because of his parents. And then make sure he understands you and where you stand with him."

John poked at his dinner, mushing his peas around with his fork. He was looking a bit pole-axed, but no longer quite ready to burst out of his skin, which Adam considered an improvement. "I didn't even know he spoke Latin."

Gil reached out, squeezed John's shoulder, and grinned. "You guys have been a little focused on one aspect of your relationship." His grin faded as his face settled into a more serious expression. "This is your first real experience as a top. It's going to be a learning experience. Adam's right; Rodney's a very unique person. Talk to him. Listen to what he says and what he doesn't say."

Later, after John had gone to the living room to study, and Adam was washing dishes, Gil wrapped his arms around Adam's waist, resting his chin on his shoulder. "Thank you," Gil said.

Adam leaned back into his husband's strength, still washing dishes. "Me?" he asked innocently. Part of him hated to admit out loud that the lifebond gave him special insight. People were too weird about those who formed lifebonds, so he downplayed it.

"You always know when I'm missing something, don't you?"

"You knew 'be a strong top but listen to your sub' was a little bit...pale. I think he got the 'listen to your emotionally damaged genius sub' phrasing."

"I've been lucky; never having a sub as complicated as Rodney."

"I'm not sure there are any other subs as complicated as Rodney." Adam laughed. "And certainly not the jocks and soldiers you've topped."

"Hmmm," Gil agreed, nuzzling Adam's neck, one hand cupping his groin. "I like jocks and soldiers."

Adam rolled his hips, thrusting into Gil's hand. "You're not mad at me for interfering?"

"We've always been stronger together, love, or we wouldn't have lifebonded." Gil squeezed caressingly, and Adam's body responded instantly, hardening with yearning and lust. Then Gil removed his hand and gave Adam's butt a teasing swat. "And now you're just going to have to wait."

Adam glanced at the clock. It was barely past seven o'clock. "You don't want to go to bed early?" he asked mournfully, both loving and cursing that his husband could turn him on so easily.

"We need to spend the evening with John."

~~~

Lying on his bed, Rodney counted the days until he would escape his parents' house, then calculated the hours and the minutes. The mathematical chore was simplistic for him, but the tangibility of his eventual freedom gave him hope.

The door opened, letting a shaft of light enter from the hall. The light was quickly cut off as the door closed again. "Rodney?"

"Jeannie?" Rodney asked carefully, not because it could be anyone else, but because his sister normally wasn't stealthy when visiting him after a disciplining. Loud and taunting was her normal style.

"I brought you some dinner. It's the leftover pizza. It's getting cold."

He sat up gingerly, snapping on the lamp by the bed, angling it down so no light would appear under the door. "Thank you. I'm starving." Punching his pillow, he smooshed it to support him sitting on one hip.

"That was bad," Jeannie said, sitting on the edge of his bed, holding the pizza out on a paper towel. "I didn't think they were going to stop."

Rodney took the pizza and started eating ravenously. He'd been sent to bed without supper, although his parents knew that his blood sugar levels would probably crash. Little they cared if he was virtually comatose in the morning. "I was stupid. I gave them the excuse."

Jeannie perched her chin on her fists and her elbows on her knees, her feet resting on the bed frame. "The principal said you swore at the hall monitor and left school."

Rodney grimaced. "Yes."

"That was a dorky thing to do."

"It wasn't my finest decision," Rodney agreed reluctantly, nibbling at the pizza. "John – " He hesitated. He and Jeannie had never been close, except when they needed to present a unified front against their parents. If John had a sibling, they'd probably be best friends and do everything together, like some stupid sitcom. John's family had that kind of relationship. "Another sub asked John to the dance."

"But he's not going with him, is he? John wouldn't go with someone else."

"Her. And I don't know. I didn't stay to hear."

She swatted him, lightly on the side. "You're such a dork. John wouldn't go to the dance with another sub. He's not like that."

"He's a top. Tops can have lots of subs."

"But John wouldn't," she said, her faith absolute. "You're his sub." She gave a wistful sigh. "I want a top who looks at me like he looks at you."

"You're too young to think about tops and when did you decide you're a sub anyway?"

She shrugged, curling her arms around her legs. "I just know I am. Some of us are smarter about these things than other people," she added loftily, giving him a pointed look.

"Oh, ha," he said, knowing that wasn't his wittiest response, but not feeling at his best. How did John look at him? "Anyway, you may not get to see John looking at me anymore. I don't even know if he'll still be talking to me. I was rude to Megan."

She swatted him again. "You are seriously such a dork. He's called a couple of times already. He's not going to give you up."

"You think so?" Rodney asked with yearning.

"I know so. But he's going to be mad about Mom and Dad disciplining you."

"Jeannie!" Their mother's voice called, faint enough that she was probably downstairs.

"I have to go. You better not snitch on me that I brought you food," she warned, crossing the door.

"I won't." Rodney raised the pizza in a salute. "Thank you."

Jeannie gave him a smile and slipped out. Rodney continued eating the pizza, wondering on Jeannie's conviction that John would keep him. He cursed his vivid imagination, but he could picture the humiliation in brilliant Technicolor, walking onto campus, having John approach and repudiate him, demanding his jacket back. Maybe others would be around, and laugh or sneer at him.

But no, Jeannie was sure that John still wanted him. Of course, what did she know? She was a kid, who still believed in fairy tales where the top was a royal lord or lady who came to the rescue of the poor sub in distress. Life wasn't so black and white and people weren't perfect.

Licking his fingers, Rodney hoped for a happy ending.

~~~

John was trying to mask his worry, which kept growing as most of the other kids finished changing and left the locker room before Rodney came in. His sub was walking slowly and panting a bit. Rodney's face was expressive when he saw John, happiness, surprise and worry all commingled as he gingerly sat down on the bench by him. Cupping Rodney's chin, John brought their lips together, bestowing him a firm, lingering kiss. Something within him eased as he felt Rodney's body melt into him. He'd desperately needed that physical proof of Rodney's trust.

"I tried to call yesterday afternoon. And last night," John said, after the kiss ended and Rodney was resting in his arms. The remaining kids around them were rapidly dressing and clearing out.

"Jeannie told me. They wouldn't let me use the phone. I tried to get here before first period, but -- " Rodney grimaced. "They wouldn't let me leave the house early either."

"I hate that they can keep me from you." Damn, he hadn't meant to start complaining about Rodney's parents, but they made him so angry, denying him his rights as a top.

"I think I can run another wire from the telephone line, so I can have an extension in my room. I'd have to leave the ringer off so they wouldn't know about it, but I could call you."

"You can do that?" John smiled at Rodney's nod, a little more of his tension easing. His sub was too smart to let them be separated. "That's great. You're brilliant." Rodney's stomach rumbled in response. "And hungry. Change so we can eat."

Rodney stood and stepped over the bench to stand by his locker, twirling the dial on the lock. He moved stiffly as he did so. John placed a hand over his curved buttocks, feeling the welts even through two layers of cloth. "Let me see."

Flushing, Rodney glanced around. "I don't--"

"We're alone. I have to see."

"They were mad I cut class for the afternoon. Simon – Simon and I went to the mall."

He'd gone with Simon? John stifled the flare of anger at the two of them cutting class together. At least Rodney hadn't tried to hide who had gone with him. "I don't want to talk about that now. Let me see what they did," John said, not letting himself get distracted by non-essentials.

"And I haven't given them a lot of reason lately to discipline me. They always go a little overboard when it's been a while."

"Rodney," John said warningly, feeling the rage build. He could tell it was going to be bad, but delaying wasn't making it easier for him.

"It's really not that bad." Rodney pushed his white gym shorts and underwear down at back, keeping his front covered, exposing the many swollen welts on his beautiful ass. "I've had worse. They'll heal soon."

John brushed his fingertips delicately over Rodney's ass, feeling each welt, having to remind himself that Rodney's parents had a right to discipline him, even if John wanted to hunt them down and tear them apart for touching his sub.

"It'll be much better in a few days," Rodney babbled nervously. "But I was slow running today."

Rodney was afraid of him, John realized. Of how he'd react. Because he'd always had to fear how his parents might overreact. Clasping Rodney's hips, he placed a single kiss on each cheek. "I'm not mad at you for what your parents did."

"I gave them the chance. I got mad."

"And I shouldn't have been letting Megan touch me. I'm your top and I'm not interested in taking another sub."

"You're not?"

"No, I'm not," John said flatly. His dads had been right. Despite his arrogant prattle and confidence in his own intellectual abilities, Rodney was incredibly insecure and waiting for rejection. "You are the only sub I want. And I apologize for not stepping away from her. I won't let another sub touch me again."

Rodney looked thunderstruck, an expression John only got to see for a minute, because then Rodney's lips were on him, and his arms were filled with Rodney's thin body. "God, John, I just – " Rodney murmured incoherently when he stopped kissing him and buried his head in John's neck. "I kept picturing the two of you at the dance and you taking her home afterwards."

"Never." John ran his hands up and down Rodney's back, his touch strong and reassuring. "Never. I've got the best sub at school. I don't need another one. I don't want another one. Now get dressed," he said, clasping Rodney's hips, making him stand. "I want to feed you."

~~~

John was waiting for him, leaning against his car, looking heart-stoppingly gorgeous in his black sweater and blue jeans. Rodney was grateful he had John's jacket over his own blue sweater, because the weather was getting cold, though John didn't seem to feel it as much as he did.

Rodney didn't stop walking until he almost bumped into John, their feet touching, happy and pleased when John took the cue, sliding his arms around Rodney and kissing him. "Here," he said, plucking one of Rodney's cuffs off the top of the car. Rodney held out his right wrist and then the left, letting John buckle the soft leather cuffs onto him.

"Not the ankle ones?" Rodney asked, realizing John only had two cuffs.

"They're in my backpack," John explained, taking a moment to fuss with how Rodney's sweater and John's jacket rested against the cuffs, making sure the leather was easily visible. "We're watching Jeannie today, right?"

"Yes."

"Okay." John opened the car door and Rodney got in, wincing as he settled into the seat and buckled his belt. John got in the driver's side, and buckled his own seat belt. "Now tell me what you and Simon did yesterday," he said, starting the car.

Rodney bit his lip. "I thought you didn't want to discuss this."

"I didn't want to discuss it at school. But now I want to know how you ended up going off for the afternoon with Simon."

"He followed me when I left school. He apologized for what he'd said about us and suggested that we go to the mall. I didn't want to go home, so..." Rodney shrugged, worried how bad it must sound to John. "We went to the downtown mall. Simon bought some comics and a couple of albums. We used to do that occasionally last year, catch the bus after school and hang out. But only as friends."

John bobbed his head. "Okay. But from now on, I want you to tell me when you're going to be with him."

"Yes, definitely." Rodney waited, studying John's profile. "Is that all?"

"We both have friends and we'll want to spend time with them. I just need to know where you are, that's all."

"You don't want to..."

John raised an eyebrow, glancing at Rodney. "What? Forbid you from ever seeing him? Dictate who your friends are? I'm not that kind of top, Rodney. I'm not going to try to control your life. But I don't want you to disappear on me again."

"I won't, John. I promise."

"Good." John pulled the car over, stopping by Jeannie's school. She was standing with a group of friends, chatting, but broke away and came running, climbing into the back seat. "Hi, John," she said, throwing her arms around his neck, hugging him.

"Hey, kiddo. How was school?"

She babbled about her day until they reached home. Rodney let her chatter wash over him, relieved by the way John had reacted so far, but still feeling a low-level of anxiety. John seemed too restrained, like he was deliberately keeping himself under control.

"Jeannie," John said, taking her hand and giving it a squeeze as they walked into the house, "Rodney and I need some time alone, okay?"

"You're not going to hurt him, are you? Mom and Dad were horrible last night."

"I'm not going to hurt him, Jeannie. The rest is between us."

"Okay," she agreed. "I told you so," she whispered, pitching her voice high and tilting her head toward Rodney, who rolled his eyes at her.

"If you really need us, knock on the door." John gave her a hug. "Otherwise, just do your homework and then you can watch TV."

"I like watching TV while I study."

"Homework and then TV. It's better for your focus."

Jeannie gave a little pout, but she disappeared upstairs to her bedroom without argument.

John took Rodney's hand and led him up the stairs. Rodney's nervousness escalated with each step. John's kisses and touches had been reassuring, but Rodney realized he didn't have a clue of John's intentions, and now they were alone and he would be at John's mercy.

"Strip," John said, shutting the door behind them.

Rodney obeyed, taking everything off except the cuffs. He yearned to cover himself, but kept his arms at his sides, looking at John, who had removed only his shoes.

"Foot." John patted the end of the bed. Rodney put one foot up, letting John buckle on the ankle cuff. They repeated the process for the other foot. John seemed unhurried, meditative, although his eyes as they roamed over Rodney's naked body were filled with passion.

"You're mine. All of you."

"Yes, John."

John's expression darkened. "They touched you. They hurt you. And there's nothing I can do about it."

"I told them they shouldn't. That you were my top. That just-– " Rodney bit his lip, not waiting to provoke John by admitting that had made his parents even angrier.

"That made them madder, didn't it? They think you're still theirs."

"I shouldn't have said anything. I messed up. I –- "

John's shoulders gave a little shake, his features relaxing, like he was tossing away a burden. "Shhh." He placed one finger on Rodney's lips, silencing him. "They're not important now, just us."

Rodney watched nervously as John took a thin strip of material out of his backpack, and then stepped behind him, slipping it around his eyes, and tying it securely behind his head. The darkness was disconcerting. He couldn't remember being blindfolded for years, not since he was a child, playing games at birthday parties, games that usually ended with him being the butt of a joke. "John?"

"You have to learn to trust me."

"I do trust you," he protested.

"No, you don't, or you wouldn't have stormed off yesterday."

"So what are you going to do?" Rodney asked, even more unnerved as John took his wrists and clipped them together behind his back.

"I'm going to show you that you can trust me. That you can surrender to me and I won't let you down."

He tugged, but the clip didn't budge. His hands would stay bound until John released them, which both scared the hell out of him and made his dick start to harden. "Can we do that without the blindfold?"

John's lips covered his, giving him a kiss. "Relax."

"I'll try," Rodney said, hoping John wouldn't hear the doubt in his voice.

John didn't respond again, not verbally, instead attaching his lips to Rodney's neck, sucking and licking at the love bite he always kept fresh, a constant visual reminder of his ownership. Rodney shivered with pleasure, all his thoughts and senses focused on that spot. He loved it that John was so proud to be top, such a different attitude from his parents, who constantly seemed embarrassed by him.

John's lips left Rodney's neck, landing on one nipple and then the other, sucking softly. His fingers strummed up and down Rodney's sides. Rodney wanted to struggle, wanted to free his hands, so he could be the one touching John, worshipping him, but he couldn't move, could only accept, as John's lips abandoned his nipples, his tongue next lapping at the head of Rodney's erect cock. "Let me hear you," John ordered, and Rodney moaned with ecstasy.

The licking, touching and kissing continued, as John moved around Rodney's body. He bestowed sensual attention on his shoulders, his thighs, his belly button, even the inside of his elbows, as Rodney stood, fixed in place. He had no knowledge of where John might touch or kiss next. He could tell John was still dressed, because he felt the occasional brush of cotton and denim.

John was especially gentle on Rodney's ass, his tongue a balm on painful flesh. "When you're healed, I'm going to test your limits. Our limits." His forehead rested against the small of Rodney's back. "But I'll never hurt you. Not like this. Not without reason or out of anger."

"I know, John," Rodney said softly. "I know you won't hurt me." Someone who could be so loving and reassuring while he was bound and helpless could never be a danger to him.

"They think they're tops but they're just bad parents. We both screwed up and you paid the price. It drives me crazy--" he seemed to struggle for breath, "--that they touched you. I want to -– " His hands tightened almost painfully on Rodney's hips. "I see red. I feel like I could lose control. But then they might use that to keep you from me."

"Don't let that happen," Rodney begged.

"I won't. I'll take care of you."

Rodney heard the sound of a zipper being undone, and John was in front of him, kissing him hungrily, taking both their cocks into his hand. At that moment, Rodney wished that he wasn't wearing the blindfold. He wanted to see their reflection in the mirror on the door, his own pale body, wrists still clipped behind him, John all in black and blue, cock and ass exposed with his underwear and jeans shoved down to his thighs. He rested his head on John's shoulder as John stroked his hand up and down their cocks. "Feels so good," he mumbled.

"I want you to come. I want us to come together. Come on, Rodney. Come."

And Rodney did, shaking helplessly in John's arms.

~~~

John cuddled his sub close. Rodney was sleepy, sweaty, and practically comatose, the way he always should be in John's arms. "You were so good," he praised him. "You trusted me and let me play."

"And you didn't let me down," Rodney sighed in John's ear.

"One day I'll be the only one to mark you. To discipline you. I won't share you then."

"I wish that could be true," Rodney answered, sounding wistful and barely awake.

"When you're away from your parents," John said, feeling like he was making a solemn vow.

"You'll be at the Air Force Academy and I'll be at Northwestern." Rodney was coming out of the endorphin-induced lethargy; his voice getting crisper. "The dean will be able to discipline me."

John stroked Rodney, struggling with the realization that Rodney would be under his parents' control and then they'd be at separate schools. He'd never done anything to merit being disciplined at school, so it was simply an aspect of college he hadn't considered. "What if the student's top is at Northwestern too?"

"It depends on the severity of the infraction, but the dean will consult with the student's top, and allow the top to handle the discipline in most cases." Rodney raised his head from John's shoulder, his blindfolded eyes trying to look into John's. "But it doesn't matter anyway, right? You're going to the Air Force Academy."

"That's been my plan," John acknowledged, trying not to picture some dean, someone John didn't even know, making Rodney place himself in the punishment rack.

"I don't expect to get disciplined at Northwestern anyway." Rodney dropped his head, cuddling again. "I've been waiting to go to college for two years. Two years of stupid required classes because my parents are assholes. I'm not going to screw it up."

"No," John agreed. Rodney was determined and goal-oriented. The professors would probably love him.

"We should get dressed," Rodney said, with a wistfulness that John shared. "They'll be home soon."

After pressing a last kiss on Rodney's lips, John pulled off the blindfold and unclipped his hands. He grabbed Rodney's dropped shirt, wiping up the come splattered on Rodney's thighs. Rodney took the shirt from him, dabbing at the smears on John, helping him restore his underwear and jeans, before finding clean clothes and dressing himself. Rodney's willing surrender had made John feel great, relaxed and powerful and toppy, but the thought of Rodney's parents diminished his good mood. He'd accomplished what he needed with Rodney, demonstrated his trustworthiness to his sub, but now he had to handle his parents.

~~~

The lethargy Rodney felt after his orgasm was rapidly dispersed by the sound of the front door opening and slamming shut. His parents' quarreling voices drifting up the stairway.

"They're home! You should go."

"I have to finish dressing, Rodney," John said, his voice mild, but there was an unnerving intensity in his eyes. Dropping to his knees, Rodney picked up one of John's sneakers, holding it ready for John to push his socked foot in.

"You're a good sub." John ran his fingers through Rodney's hair as he tied the laces.

"I'm sure you have studying to do," Rodney babbled. "I do too. And your parents will expect you for dinner." He tied John's laces tightly, repeating the process with John's other shoe.

"Mmmm," John agreed noncommittally. Instead of going downstairs, he poked his head into Jeannie's room, where she was stretched out on the bed, reading and listening to music. Rodney hovered in the doorway, as John chatted with Jeannie for a few minutes, thanking her for the privacy. Rodney appreciated that she blossomed under John's attention, but right now was a bad time.

Rodney followed John as he walked down the stairs and toward the front door, alarmed when John veered toward the living room, where his parents' argument had subsided in favor of preparing for their evening drinking. His mother was seated on the couch, shoes kicked off, while his father made martinis at the small bar.

Booze – at least they agreed on one thing.

"Mr. McKay. Mrs. McKay," John said respectfully.

His mom accepted her drink, taking a small sip and licking her lips. "John," she answered, cordially. "We don't have to guess what you two boys have been doing this afternoon."

Rodney blushed, though he didn't know why. He was 16, John was 17. They were almost at the peak of male sexuality. A healthy lifestyle encouraged exploration and openness to developing as tops and subs. All the books said so. Why did his mother make something that was perfectly natural sound so salacious?

"They're young men," his father said, taking a heartier gulp of his drink. "They haven't dried up like some people."

"Clearly, John still knows how to get a sub's juices flowing. Or maybe even a switch? Have you ever been with a switch, John?" She idly swung one nyloned leg toward John, her blue dress riding up one thigh. Rodney curled a hand around John's arm, an instinctive reaction to the presence of someone hitting on his top.

Or at least, a sub like him. A sub who couldn't accept sharing his top.

"You disciplined Rodney last night. Excessively."

"Excessive is in the determination of the sub's top," his mother said, and her leg stopped swinging.

"We know our son and what discipline he needs," Rodney's father snapped.

"I'm his top."

"John, please," Rodney cut in, fearing his parents' reaction would be bad. Mega-level bad. "Please, let me walk you out to the car."

"I would appreciate if you would let me handle Rodney's discipline from now on."

Rodney's father snorted. "So we'll tell the principal when he calls that we'll ignore our son's discipline problems? Let a top who isn't even legal age handle it?" He dropped onto the couch by his wife, blue eyes scornful, the couch giving a woof sound as the bulk of the body sank into it.

"You won't be getting another call from the principal."

"I didn't realize you were a miracle worker. The teenage top," his father sneered. "Wins the big game and makes his ill-mannered sub perfectly obedient. What do you do for an encore? Flog the cheerleading squad?"

"Besides, it's not only school. Rodney's rude to us and his sister. Even to people in the stores. We couldn't relinquish our parental rights. Unless we were sure that his discipline was properly administered." Rodney's mother licked her lips, and she could not be suggesting what Rodney thought... that they watch John discipline him. "Or we could accept a substitute, I suppose." And oh fuck, she didn't mean that they could discipline John? It wasn't uncommon for a top to take a sub's punishment, but Rodney feared Gil would go ballistic if John made that offer, and he'd rather take a hundred swats with the paddle than allow his parents to go at John. They'd be like sharks after fresh chum.

John's face had gone tight, looking like he had before he'd attacked Mitch. Rodney could feel a slight tremor in his frame. "If you won't let me handle his discipline, will you let me be there?"

Rodney's dad slammed the rest of the drink. "We'll think about it."

"I would appreciate that," John grated out, his voice unnaturally hoarse.

"It's not much to watch. Rodney doesn't yell much anymore. We have to swing harder to make sure he gets the point."

"Yes, that's agreed now, they've agreed to think about it. Your dads will be expecting you for dinner, please, John." Rodney lightly squeezed John's arm with both hands. "Please." He nuzzled at the side of John's face, knowing that making such a perfect, obedient sub gesture might aggravate his parents, but desperate for John to leave.

John nodded stiffly and turned, his arm fitting comfortably around Rodney's waist as they walked out of the house and to the street, stopping by John's car. "They're going to ignore my request, aren't they?"

"Probably," Rodney admitted. "But it won't matter because I won't give them any reason to discipline me."

John's hands slid into Rodney's back pockets, resting on his ass. "Then they'll look for reasons, won't they?"

"Well, maybe, but seriously, I won't give them any. But no matter what, please don't let them put you in my place."

"It's my right," John said stubbornly, and for once, guessing correctly did not give Rodney the thrill of victory.

"I couldn't stand it. I couldn't." Rodney buried his face in John's neck, breathing deeply of his skin and the musky smell left from when John had claimed him. "Please. Anything but that."

John held him, their bodies fitting perfectly together, hugging him. "Okay," he agreed, but with evident reluctance in his tone. "I won't put myself in your place. But that's only for them. If I decide to take your punishment with anyone else, it's my decision."

"Absolutely," Rodney promised fervently, mentally swearing that he would never, ever again need to be punished.

~~~

John's dads were already home when he arrived. Gil put his hands on John's shoulders. "What's wrong?"

"I hate Rodney's parents. I hate them," he spat out.

Gil's hands squeezed on John's shoulders. "They disciplined him?"

"They disciplined him and they refused to promise to not do it again. Or to let me be there. Though they offered to let me discipline him while they watched or to discipline me instead."

"No," Gil said flatly.

"Dad – "

"No, John. It's still my decision whether anyone else can discipline you. I refuse. And you should never discipline Rodney in front of his parents."

"Yeah, I guessed that," John said snidely, because sure, he'd needed advice on how to handle Rodney, but he wasn't stupid. Disciplining Rodney in front of his parents would ruin all the trust he'd built.

"John," was all Gil had to say. John flushed at the rebuking tone. He shouldn't vent his frustration at Rodney's parents by being disrespectful to his Dad.

"I'm sorry, Dad." He nerved himself, and added, "I'm thinking of going to Northwestern instead of the Air Force Academy."

"For Rodney?"

"It's a good school. One of the best. I don't have to go to the Academy to join the Air Force."

Gil exchanged a look with Adam, who raised his eyebrows but stayed silent, letting Gil handle the discussion. "Yes, but you're going for Rodney. Changing all your plans for your sub."

John bit his lip. "I wouldn't have thought of it, if not for Rodney, but that doesn't make it a bad decision."

"I didn't say it was." Gil ruffled his hair, like he was still a kid. "You're going to be an adult soon. It's your right and responsibility to make your own decisions for your future."

The muscles in John's stomach unclenched at Gil's support. He was fortunate to have the best parents in the world. They taught him to take care of himself and then trusted him to do so. "It would be a big change. I'll be in a different state than I planned. I need to apply soon and see if I can get any scholarships."

"And they may have a different deadline and requirements too." Gil gave John a little push toward the kitchen. "Come on, let's talk logistics while I cook dinner."

~~~

One of the delights about being a parent was guiding your child toward maturity, helping him through the stages of adolescence and to adulthood, watching as he crossed the milestones of life.

Even if sometimes that just meant taking him shopping.

"Adam and I thought we'd take you shopping tonight, John," Gil said. "And get dinner at the food court in the mall."

John looked less than enthusiastic. He didn't mind shopping but neither was he particularly excited by it. Rodney looked downright dismayed. Undoubtedly Rodney associated shopping with traumatic family scenes of some sort, as most McKay family activities seemed to require.

The kids shot each other looks of unhappiness, but neither objected. "Shopping, Dad?" John asked.

"We thought we'd get your Christmas present early, and you need to be there to try on your leathers."

John perked up noticeably. "Leathers?"

"You shouldn't grow much more now, and you're becoming a mature top. It's time."

Even Rodney looked happy now, raking his eyes over John's lean body. "Black. You're going to wear black, aren't you? It's your color."

And indeed it definitely was. John tried on several colors to be sure, modeling leathers in red, different shades of brown, and gray, but everyone agreed black suited him best. They settled on a matching jacket and pants, the leather soft and supple, clinging to his frame. The zippers and the button were silver, but otherwise the clothing had no adornment, nothing to detract from the lines of John's body.

Gil wrapped his arms around Adam's waist from behind, resting his chin on his shoulder, as they watched John, wearing the final selection, pivot slowly in front of the mirrors. Rodney stood off to one side, looking dazed. He'd looked dazed most of the evening and Gil realized he'd been wise to not let Rodney help John in the fitting room. Changing clothes had taken long enough without Rodney on his knees, and Gil was getting hungry for dinner.

"You'd look good in leather too," Gil said quietly to Adam. John looked so much like Adam had when they first met. Adam had been one of many raw recruits that Gil had trained, all dressed alike in khaki with matching short haircuts, but he'd instantly caught Gil's attention and never lost it.

"I prefer silk and cotton, so I can feel your touch better. Unless you'd like me to wear leather?" Adam asked.

"No," Gil replied instantly. Adam would be hot in leather, even if it was a rare choice for a sub to wear. Gil shared Adam's view that for off-duty clothes, caressable fabrics suited him best. He loved to feel his husband's muscles.

"That looks excellent on you, sir," the salesman gushed.

"He'll wear it out, won't you John?"

"Yes, Dad. Thank you both."

"Yes, thank you," Rodney echoed, as they walked out of the store together.

John carried his clothes in a bag, swinging them just a little. His smile said he reveled in looking so identifiable as a top.

"You are so hot," Rodney said, before attacking John, kissing him passionately, his hands flattened on the back of John's leather jacket, holding him tight.

"The mall's not a good place, John; too many little kids around," Gil said. He was proud to see that John obeyed the implicit order instantly, softening the kiss, gentling his sub with long, soothing strokes, until Rodney was relaxed in his arms. He was trembling a bit, but no longer so desperately hungry. John was becoming a fabulous top, firm but considerate, attuned to his sub's needs.

"He's becoming a true top," Adam said quietly, bumping his shoulder against Gil's.

"Yes," Gil agreed, curling the fingers of his right hand into Adam's left. "Our son."

~~~

Rodney had never needed or desired to fit in. He wouldn't have succeeded anyway. Genius and mundane rarely mixed. He'd only been to a high school dance before because Simon had badgered him, and they'd both lurked on the edges, afraid to ask anyone to dance and yet highly scornful about participating.

He was surprised to feel excited about this dance, showering and scrubbing his skin, wanting to be smooth for John's touch. His hair required a ridiculous amount of fussing and gel to look perfect. Staring at his reflection, he considered the wisdom of getting one ear pierced. Would he look good with an earring? He'd ask John. Maybe John would want to do the piercing

Usually he yanked his clothes on carelessly, but tonight he was conscious of every detail. He fixed each button of his blue silk shirt slowly. The color matched his eyes, a fact he was sure John would notice. Smoothing the black trousers over his hips, he made sure they didn't crease, checking that yes, the pants hugged his ass nicely. Black socks, shoes, and belt, his fingers trembled a bit as he did the buckle. He hated when his parents disciplined him with a belt, but people acted like it was the hottest thing ever when a top used one on a sub. Would John want to experiment with it?

He studied his reflection in the mirror as he put on John's letter jacket, wondering again about an earring.

"You're so pretty," Jeannie said, opening his door and hanging on it, one hand on each handle as she swung it back and forth.

"I am not pretty," he protested, poking at his hair, making sure the layers lay correctly. He grinned, unable to repress his excitement. "Do you think John will like how I look?"

"He's crazy about you." She wrinkled her nose at him. "He had to have one flaw."

"Ha," he said, but for once, her teasing was clearly good-natured rather than bitchy, and only made him smile wider.

The doorbell rang, and for a moment, Rodney seized with fear. He still had to survive the gauntlet of his parents, and he could imagine a dozen ways that they could be irritating or a hundred sudden excuses to forbid him from going.

"Don't worry." Jeannie bounced away from the door long enough to punch his shoulder. "John won't leave here without you."

God, yes, John. He couldn't trust his parents, but he could rely on John. "Don't wrinkle my clothes!" he yelped, grinning crazily at her.

She pounded down the stairs ahead of him. He grabbed his overnight bag, and tried to follow her with a less rambunctious tread, but wasn't sure he succeeded. Appearing sophisticated was almost impossible when he was so excited. John stood in the hallway, talking to his mother, dressed in a black shirt and his black leathers, looking ridiculously hot.

"Rodney," he said, and it was like their bodies were perfectly in tune with each other: John's right hand resting on Rodney's waist, his left hand cupping Rodney's face, as Rodney leaned forward and they shared a greeting kiss.

"Don't you two look like the perfect top and sub? Roderick, get out the Polaroid. You have to get a picture of our boy on his first real date. It's certainly taken long enough."

"And I'm glad it did," John said, turning Rodney and resting one arm around his waist, posing for a picture. "I'm very pleased to be your son's first top."

Evelyn rolled her eyes at John, but Jeannie breathed, "That's so romantic."

"Isn't that your camera?" his Dad asked snidely, but left to get it.

~~~

Rodney's parents sucked so bad, with their snippy comments and caustic grumpiness, but John focused on his mantra that only Rodney mattered.

Rodney and Jeannie, he decided, pulling her in front of them to pose for a picture of all three of them. John didn't care about Rodney's parents, but Jeannie was a good kid, and deserved better than their constant put-downs and a fear of excessive discipline. Mr. McKay waved the Polaroid picture he'd already taken to encourage it to dry before setting it down and framing the shot. Mrs. McKay sipped her drink, looking like she was waiting for her next chance to criticize her husband or children.

Final picture taken, and with a last hug to Jeannie, they escaped to the car. John drove back to his house, his hand resting on Rodney's knee whenever he wasn't shifting gears.

His dads were cool, also taking pictures, Adam grabbing Rodney's overnight bag and promising to leave it in John's room. John didn't plan on letting Rodney go home all weekend, if he could manage it.

"Are you sure you want to go to the dance?" Rodney asked as they headed out to the car.

"Don't you want to?"

"We could go to your room and play instead."

John pushed him against the car, kissing him hard. "Eager to be on your knees for me?" he asked, satisfied at Rodney's full-body shiver. "No, I want everyone at school to see us together."

"They see us at lunch," Rodney said as he got in the car, but it was a comment rather than a protest.

John shut the door and got into the driver's side. "And I want to dance with you. It's not all about playing." He brushed his knuckles on Rodney's cheek before starting the car, and Rodney gave a quiet whimper at his touch.

There were yet more pictures at the dance, a photographer hired to take pictures of everyone as they entered. Standing behind Rodney, John crossed his sub's arms over his chest, holding his wrists tightly. Rodney gave a moan, his body slumping against John's, and the camera flashed.

Collecting their ticket from the photographer's assistant, John escorted Rodney toward the dancers; feeling very satisfied that the status of their relationship would be immediately obvious when the picture was developed.

The dance was a casual one, not a prom, so it was held in the school cafeteria, the tables folded away, and a dancing area marked out by decorations.

"Red streamers, of course," Rodney muttered, at the ceiling. "Couldn't they have used some other color?"

"It's Nancy's color. And she's the country's top top."

"Have you paid any attention to his politics?"

"He's done a lot for sub rights."

"Oh, that'll be great. My rights will be respected as World War III breaks out."

John traced Rodney's lips with a finger. "This is a dance, not a political debate." He pulled Rodney onto the dance floor as "Whip It" started. He'd always liked Devo and the song had a good beat.

"I don't dance much, did I mention that? I have an impeccable sense of rhythm, but – "

"Rodney! Just dance."

~~~

Being at the high school dance was definitely more enjoyable with John as his top. John, who was smiling and happy and so hot and Rodney still didn't understand how he'd ended up with him. He couldn't help glancing around a bit, wondering what the other kids thought about him and John. Seeing Megan in the group of subs all dancing together gave him a small sense of satisfaction, especially since John didn't even seem to notice her.

They danced almost every dance, only occasionally taking a break to share a Coke. As they rested, standing on the sidelines, watching the other dancers, John wrapped an arm around Rodney's waist. Other tops talked to John sometimes, but no one tried to dance with either of them. Rodney didn't need explanations when John dragged him away from the dance floor and into the darkness between the rows of lockers. His mouth had been salivating all evening, watching John's body moving in sleek, black leather.

John pushed on Rodney's shoulder, and Rodney responded promptly, dropping to his knees. He buried his face in John's groin, breathing deeply to inhale the scent of the leather, rubbing his face over the smooth fabric, until John's dick was straining against the fly.

John gave an exasperated, "Rodney!"

With a grin, Rodney undid the button on John's leathers and unzipped the fly, tugging his boxers and pants down his narrow hips. John's cock sprang forth, seeking its natural home, and Rodney happily took it in his mouth, loving the feel and taste of it. He lost himself in licking and sucking John's cock, aware of nothing else but his dedication to giving John the best blow job ever.

He felt John's hand cup the back of his neck with a slight pressure and let his mouth go slack, providing a willing receptacle for John to thrust deeply into his mouth and come. Rodney swallowed and diligently licked him clean, giving a final kiss to John's flaccid cock before he restored his clothes to order. He stayed on his knees, resting his face against John's thigh, willing his own erection away. He knew instinctively that John wouldn't let him come at the dance. Maybe in the car afterwards, but more likely after they were home, in John's bed, and John had fucked him and was resting, sweaty in his arms.

Rodney wouldn't have it any other way.

~~~

"Come up here," John said, tugging on Rodney's shoulders. His sub seemed content to sit on his knees, his head resting on John's thigh, but John wanted to hold him.

Rodney stood up to lean against John and be embraced by him. "The sub sucking off his top between the lockers is such an embarrassing stereotype in every bad teenage movie," he moaned into John's neck.

"All the good ones too," John said, cupping Rodney's dick through his pants. "I love that you hold it for me." He slid his hand to Rodney's ass, not wanting to tease him too much. He had plans for after the dance.

Rodney shivered. "I love that you ask it of me. Being all I can for you."

"Rodney – "

"Yes?"

"I've decided to apply for Northwestern."

Rodney raised his head from John's neck to see his eyes. "You're going to the Air Force Academy."

"I was. But now I'm going to Northwestern."

"Because of me?"

"I checked out their catalog. They have dorm rooms for top-sub pairs. We could get in one of those. And if your professors have any problems with you, they'll have to come to me."

Rodney bit his lip. "It's a really competitive school, John."

"I'm an honors student, Rodney. I do all that studying so I can get As in the advanced classes. I'll get in, no matter what it takes."

"The early decision deadline has already passed. You'll be applying with a bigger group."

John didn't take offense at Rodney's doubts, thanking Adam for making him understand it was Rodney's way of not getting his hopes up. "I'll find a way to make them accept me. And if they don't, I'll move with you and get a job for a year and apply next year."

"John." Rodney didn't say more, just pressed closer. His eyelashes fluttered against John's skin and John wondered if he was resisting tears.

"You're okay with that, right? I can't protect you from your parents, but I can take care of you at college."

"John. Fuck. No one has ever wanted to protect me. Or rearranged his life to stay with me."

"It's worth it, not to be separated from you."

"Can I blow you again? I need to – John, I need to do – no one, no one has ever wanted to protect me."

John laughed, low in his throat. "Later. Come on." He pulled Rodney down the row of lockers, back toward the sound of the music. Madonna was singing about feeling like a virgin, but Rodney had been a virgin when John took him for the first time. And no one else was going to have him, not if John could help it. "Let's have one more dance."

~ the end ~

Epilogue

Rodney waited until they had finished playing, until John had taken his normal care of wiping them off, and they were tucked under the covers, bodies loose and warm, pleasantly satiated.

"John," he said, and the thought hurt so much, but Rodney made his voice calm, "I want you to play with another sub when you're gone. If you need to. I'll understand."

So much for the afterglow making this conversation easier, because John's body instantly tensed. Rodney could feel the tightening of the muscles in the arms around his body, in the legs tucked into the bend of his knees.

"What did you say?" John's voice was scary, the way he sounded whenever he dealt with an abusive top or had to protect his subs from someone.

"You'll be in a war zone. I know that life will be difficult. You may need to play, to release tension. I just wanted you to know that I'll understand." Even if the very thought made him nauseous, made him want to puke and scream. Nobility sucked.

"And life here? At home, all by yourself?" John turned Rodney onto his back, looming over him, threading his fingers through Rodney's, pressing their hands into the pillow on each side of Rodney's head. His legs settled between Rodney's. "Do you expect me to understand if you let another top play with you?"

"What? No!" Rodney shook his head vehemently. "I'm your sub. I wear your collar. No one else will ever top me." Even if John repudiated him some day, Rodney couldn't imagine ever having another top. No one could ever know him like John.

John's muscles relaxed infinitesimally. Rodney had thought this conversation would be easier in the dark, but he wished he could see John's expression, and didn't have to rely only on the clues from his body. "How can you think I'd want another sub?"

"You're a top. Tops can have multiples subs. You'll be risking your life every day. You may need to release your tension. Celibacy isn't healthy."

"This isn't my first tour."

"It's your first in an active war zone."

John's body settled comfortably on top of Rodney's, chest to chest, groin to groin, and Rodney wanted to groan, because he could tell this conversation wouldn't end until John discovered everything. Sometimes his top was too sensitive to what Rodney wasn't saying. "This is about your fight with Jeannie, isn't it?"

Why did John have to be so ridiculously perceptive? "She's been studying top-sub dynamics," Rodney admitted unhappily. "She said my jealousy was unnatural for a sub and that I'll drive you away."

Now John's body relaxed fully, letting Rodney support all his weight -- always a desired presence. "Since high school, Rodney. You haven't been willing to share me since high school. Do you really think that would bother me now?"

"People change! War is stressful! She had charts and statistics and profile data!" Rodney burst out, relieved to confess all.

"If she's been studying top-sub dynamics, then she should know the first rule is not to interfere in them. Particularly not with a traditional top." John's voice had gone flat, making Rodney wince, aware that John would give Jeannie a stern talking in the morning. John wasn't the easiest top to have, as Jeannie had learned not long after Gil and Adam had died together.

"You interfere in top-sub dynamics," he protested weakly.

"Rarely and only if a top is being abusive. I've never encouraged playing around."

"She meant well! She doesn't want me to lose you."

"And you listened to her?" There was definite incredulity in John's tone.

"War zone!" Rodney defended himself helplessly. "And I've seen those military subs, with those rippling muscles. They'd drop to their knees at the snap of your fingers." Fuck, his jealousy was showing again, but he couldn't help it. He knew how desirable John was considered. Rodney had never been in his top's league and few people had ever understood John's attraction to him.

"Rodney," John breathed, before giving him a slow, reassuring kiss. "I'm not going to take another sub. You don't have to give me permission so it doesn't hurt."

"I – " Rodney's throat closed up. Damn John for always understanding.

"You're the only sub I want."

Rodney could sense John moving, shifting his weight, tugging on Rodney's hands until both were over his head, held down by one of John's hands. He heard the snap of the lube tube and the sound of fingers on skin – John was lubing his cock, Rodney guessed, his thick, large cock.

"Put your legs around my hips," John said, and Rodney obeyed, feeling the instant press of John's cock at his hole, still stretched and eager to accept more. Rodney moaned happily as John shoved in, wishing he could bury his hands in John's hair. John's grip on his wrists wasn't that tight, but he knew John didn't want him to move.

John settled into a steady rhythm, long, gliding strokes, driving his cock deeper into Rodney's body, forcing him into greater ecstasy with each stroke across his prostate.

"Only you, Rodney. You're the only sub I've ever wanted," John murmured against Rodney's lips. "The only sub I'll ever want. And I'll kill any top who tries to touch you."

The threat and promise made Rodney shiver. He loved John at his toppiest.

Then Rodney heard John gasp as his orgasm hit him, felt the overflow of come out of his ass, and his own cock spurted in automatic reaction. John released Rodney's hands, and braced himself on one elbow, using his free hand to spread Rodney's come over his soft belly.

"That'll be dried and gross in the morning," Rodney noted, but he didn't protest. He'd learned long ago to let John do what he wanted to his body.

"I'm going to enjoy our last shower and scrubbing it off you." John turned Rodney's pliant body onto his side and tucked himself around Rodney, returning to the position they'd been in before Rodney had started the conversation. "So are we clear?" John asked, nuzzling at the back of Rodney's neck, making the links of his collar clink together.

"I'm the only sub for you, no matter what," Rodney responded sleepily, his eyes fluttering shut.

"Forever."

~ the end ~