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It was late in the evening and Evan was in the mess, drinking a cup of coffee and working on his reports when McKay accosted him. "If you hurt him, I'll make your life a living hell," McKay said bluntly as he dropped his tray opposite of Evan and sat down.

Evan set down his coffee cup and leveled a look at him over his laptop screen. "Hello to you too, McKay."

McKay waved away the sarcastic comment on his manners with his knife. "Yes, whatever, hi. I'm serious, Major. If you hurt Sheppard I will make sure that you never have a moment of comfort in this city again."

Evan grabbed hold of his patience and tried to reply civilly. "It was a one time deal to get him out of a hostage situation. I wasn't planning on jumping him now that he's back, so you don't have anything to worry about, 'kay?"

McKay dropped his utensils and gaped for a moment. "You can't do that to John!"

"Do what?" Evan asked, raising an eyebrow. It wasn't as if Evan had collared the guy. And after Evan had stuck his foot in it in the infirmary with John, he thought it best if he just let it drop and leave his commanding officer alone.

"Dump him like that!" McKay hissed at him, his eyes narrowing. "Look, he's a good guy, he deserves better!"

Evan raised a hand to his face and pinched the bridge of his nose. Why did McKay always have to give him a headache? "Okay...let's rewind this conversation and try this again. What specifically makes you think that I've got designs on the Colonel?"

"You got him to submit to you," McKay muttered, picking his fork and knife back up and poking savagely at the meat on his plate.

Yeah, reminding him of that wasn't helping Evan's headache at all. He lowered his hand and looked steadily at McKay. "He's a sub. That's what subs do to tops. And I did it solely to get him out of a jam that you got him into by not keeping your big mouth shut! Look, if you care about him that much, why aren't you topping him?"

McKay's jaw knotted and he looked down and away from Evan. After visibly struggling with himself for a moment, he looked back and said tightly, "Because I screwed up. I screwed up twice."

Evan blinked as McKay continued, "We were working our way toward getting together when Chaya happened. I scared the fuck out of him by getting jealous. He might have eventually gotten over that, but then I screwed him over with the Duranda thing and that just proved to him that I'm too chancy to trust with his submission." He laughed bitterly. "It's the first time I've ever been considered a dangerous top by anybody."

"He seems to think you're okay as a friend," Even offered tentatively, not knowing what else to say.

McKay dropped his gaze down onto his plate to stare at it. "And I've had to work my ass off to get that much. If he hadn't gone bonkers on the planet with the Wraith mind-game machine and shot me, I think he'd still have not forgiven my stupid mistakes as much as he has." He poked listlessly at a potato-ish thing on his plate.

"Er," Evan replied, really not knowing what to say now. This was not a side of McKay he'd ever gotten to see before.

"I watched him submit to you today and for once he wasn't faking it," McKay continued softly. "Despite what you may think because of what happened this go round, this isn't the first time he's had to play the simpering sub with either me or Teyla in order to keep the natives happy. But it was the first time I've ever actually seen him go into sub space. He looked happy." He looked up at Evan somberly. "You made him happy."

Even broke his gaze away from McKay and looked down at the screensaver running on his laptop. This conversation was getting really uncomfortable, but not in the way it usually did with McKay. "I don't think he's looking for a top, McKay. Besides, it takes more than the ability to put a sub down into their head space to have a relationship."

McKay rolled his eyes. "I know that!" He pushed Evan's laptop and his tray of food aside and leaned forward. "Look, this isn't the first time we've seen John have a flashback. But you're the first person who's been able to take care of him during one!"

That admission startled Evan. "You're kidding me, right? I would have thought that at least one of you guys would be able to do something for him."

McKay dropped his head and sighed. "Ronon and I try, but honestly? We both suck at it. And he just gets more freaked out if Teyla gets too close to him when he's in the middle of one. It's gotten worse since those two run-ins we've had with that Traveler, what's her name, Larrin." He ran a hand over his face and said feelingly, "God, I hate that woman."

Evan agreed with the sentiment. That woman was a really fucking scary top, ruthless and utterly self-absorbed. He wasn't comfortable leaving any sub he knew around her. But getting back to the subject at hand - "And because of that, you think I should become his top? Just because I've been compassionate to a sub in distress?"

McKay smiled but his mouth had a sad tilt to it. "I can be his friend, but...but I've screwed up too much to be more. I'm not right for him. He needs somebody with a gentle touch and you've got it." He reached down and fished a thumbdrive out of his pocket and handed it to Evan. "There's something I want you to see. Stick that in your laptop."

Evan gave him a wary look, but did as he requested.

"Now click on the folder labeled, 'evidence'," McKay instructed.

Evan opened the folder to see a number of files. He looked back up from the screen to McKay. "Any particular file you want me to look at? There are a lot of them here. And what are you expecting me to see?"

"Start with the last medical report," McKay replied. "You'll see what you're looking for soon enough."

Evan clicked on the one with the latest date and began reading it. He quickly stopped. "Why do you have copies of the Colonel's older medical records?"

McKay waved away the question impatiently. "That's not important right now. Just read it, okay?"

"This had better be worth all the hot water I'll be in if anyone finds out," Evan groused, but began reading again. McKay had no concept of personal boundaries, but he didn't do shit like this without a good reason, usually.

The report was chilling in its matter of fact statement of injuries and probable cause. Evan had to take a moment to calm himself before he looked back up at McKay. "Are all the medical reports in this time frame like this?"

"Yes," McKay confirmed grimly. "Look at the court records next. The last one pretty much sums most of those up."

Evan clicked on it, dreading what he was going to see. As he read through the file, he could feel his blood pressure getting higher and higher. When he was finished, he closed the file with a vicious click. "Anything else you want me to see?" he gritted through his teeth.

"The one labeled newspaper clippings," McKay replied, his voice flat."Try not to damage anything after you're finished. The divorce was rather publicly contentious in certain social circles and it got ugly."

Evan's jaw knotted as he clicked on the file. He'd never really thought it possible to actually see red, but as he continued to read through the various articles in the file he began to see them through a crimson haze. Once done, he shoved the laptop away from him so he wouldn't be tempted to throw it across the mess hall. "Christ! McKay, how did you get all that?Why did you get all that?"

McKay pulled the thumb drive out of the laptop and put it back in his pocket. "I saw the scars on his back once, a few years ago. I was always curious as to what happened but I thought it was related to some previous mission gone bad until Ronon came back with him from his father's funeral. He told me that a woman named Nancy showed up and John turned white as a sheet as soon as he saw her. John booked it to the rental car and wouldn't respond to him at all until they'd got back to the visitor's quarters of the military base they were staying at. Said he'd never seen John freaked out like that. That's when I started looking." He ran a hand through his thinning hair. "It was after I read the court reports that I truly realized that I...I was probably not the top John needed."

"No kidding. Do you realize what a stalker you are, McKay?" Evan shot back. "His medical records? Sealed court records?"

McKay flinched and looked away. "Like I said, that's when I realized that I wasn't the top for him." He sighed tiredly. "I'm perfectly well aware that I'm a nosy, jealous, selfish top. Nowhere near as bad as that bitch, but still." He looked back a Evan, his eyes liquid with emotion. "I care deeply for John Sheppard, Major. I care enough to know that I would be very, very bad for him. She broke him, Lorne. She broke him into itty bitty pieces and I won't let myself break him any further." He waved a despairing hand. "I...I love him too much to do that to him. And putting him back together again is out of my skill set."

Jesus Christ on a crutch, thought Evan, rubbing the back of his neck uncomfortably. "I hope you at least screwed with her credit rating after you finished reading through all this stuff."

McKay smirked, his eyes hard. "Her credit rating, her security clearance, her mortgage, her personal computer, her work computer, her cell phone, her Blackberry, her driver's license, her insurance, her retirement funds, her home security system, her checking and savings account, and all her bills. Every once and a while I check to see what she's managed to get fixed and fuck it up again. Oh, and I hack her Facebook account too, just to make sure that everyone knows that she's a slimebag abusive top that subs need to stay away from."

Evan was impressed with the comprehensiveness of McKay's electronic revenge. "Good." Evan still wanted to go hunt her down and kill her, though. Tops like that were a blot on society.

"Yes, yes, I am very efficient at avenging those that I care for," McKay replied impatiently. He leaned forward again. "But that's not why I wanted you to see those things. I wanted you to know why it's so significant that John submitted to you and why you have to be careful with him."

"He doesn't want a top, McKay," Evan reminded him, clutching his hands into fists. He sighed, then reluctantly added, "Besides which, I think I've fucked it up already."

McKay glared at him and demanded, "How?"

"Basically, I stuck my foot in my mouth," Evan admitted wearily, reaching out to spin his coffee cup on the table. "He said something that I misinterpreted. I said something stupid. He was hurt by it and shut back down again."

"What did he say?" McKay asked.

Evan scrubbed at his face. He didn't relish admitting his fuck up. "It was more what he didn't say when I made a joke about him making me feel bad about not getting him off."

McKay made a wry face. "Figures. John's issues always seems to boil down to what he doesn't say."

"Yeah, well," Evan replied. "He got pretty angry when I apologized for stepping out of line. Said he wasn't fragile."

McKay rolled his eyes at that. "He's such a liar."

"No, he was right," Evan argued with him, slumping back into his seat. "He was abused by a top that he should have by all rights been able to trust with his life and he survived it. The subs that are fragile don't. Think about Ronon for a second. Same thing, really."

"Point," McKay reluctantly admitted. "So, you insulted his stoicness by apologizing for making a joke that wasn't funny." He crossed his arms and tilted his head inquisitively. "What did you get from what he didn't say? Seeing as how that's the stuff you really need to look at when dealing with him."

Evan sank a little lower into his chair and looked up at the ceiling. "He wasn't adverse to playing with me some more. When he was yelling at me about the fragile thing he admitted that he'd been trying to ask for it. Then Keller came in because of the noise and he shut down on me." He shut his eyes and sighed. God, he was such an idiot for not seeing John's efforts for what they were.

McKay kicked him in the foot. "Stop it with the self flagellation! So you made a mistake in dealing with him and his emotional stuntedness. Welcome to the team! We've all done that - me, Ronon, Teyla, Lady Elizabeth when she was still here. Well... maybe not Teyla. But still! You're not alone in misreading him by a long shot."

Evan straightened up and grimaced at the rebuke. "Yeah, okay, I see what you're saying. But...he's most likely reconsidered the idea."

"You're missing the point!" McKay said, waving his hands in aggravation. "He's never shown anybody that much interest before. For him to actually say that to you is practically begging on his part! Go apologize to him for being an idiot and you know," he gestured emphatically at Evan, "Be nice to him! Show him a good time! He's a lot better with action than words anyways. Lorne, he needs someone like you after that piece of shit he was married to."

Despite his better judgment, Evan finally caved, just a little. "Tell you what, Doc. I'll go apologize and see what happens next." He fixed a gimlet eye on McKay. "But if he's not interested anymore, then that's the end of it, understand? I am not going to force myself on an unwilling sub 'for his own good'," He said, making air quotes with his fingers at the end. "Not for all the hot water in Atlantis."

McKay looked offended as he threw his hands up. "I didn't imply that you had to force him or anything!" He gestured towards Evan. "I mean, I've spent all this time talking to you about it because you're not the type of top to do bad things to a sub!"

Coming from McKay, that was practically a ringing endorsement of Evan's character. Under other circumstances, he'd have been amused by it. "Is that all you wanted to talk to me about?" he asked, rubbing his aching forehead with one thumb. "I really do need to finish those reports that I was working on."

"You'll talk to him tomorrow?" McKay asked, pulling his food back in front of him and picking up his fork.

Evan grimaced, but nodded. He'd been hoping to postpone it a bit, but he knew that getting it over with quickly was probably best. It would get McKay off his back all that much faster. "Sure."

"We're done then," Rodney said with a dismissive wave of the hand. He speared one of the potato-ish things and stuffed it into his mouth.

Evan pulled his laptop back toward him and absent-mindedly pecked away at his report, his mind turning over just how he could approach his commanding officer as an interested top after having pissed him off to begin with.

***

John lay in bed, his right arm draped over treacherously watery eyes. God, it had been so long since he'd truly submitted that he'd forgotten about his stupid fucking tendency to crash emotionally the day after. He'd been fine until after dinner, when he'd hit the wall. God, he fucking hated being the fucking cliché of a fucking weepy, needy sub. He was going to be useless for days if he didn't get a grip.

The chime on his door rang, interrupting his thoughts. John wiped his eyes with a corner of his bedsheet to get rid of the unwanted moisture, got up and opened his door, hoping that he looked better than he felt. His heart did a flip when he saw who his visitor was. Damn it, it was Lorne.

Lorne looked at him, concern growing in his eyes. "Hey, you okay? You don't look so good. You haven't been hit with sub drop, have you?"

John's eyes welled up again and he had drop his head and take a moment to blink them clear. Damn it to hell. He'd not even been able to keep up a front that he was fine for five fucking minutes. "What do you want, Lorne?" he managed to rasp out.

Lorne hesitated, then asked, "May I come in?"

A chill went up John's spine at the idea of inviting a top into his quarters alone. Lorne threw up his hands and hastily said, "If you want, call somebody to have them check on you occasionally while I'm here. Tell them if you miss a check-in with them to come and get you. Please, I just want to talk."

John considered the idea. It was a safety measure that the police had started recommending subs do when they planned to do a scene with a top that they didn't know well. Most folks would think it kind of overboard for the circumstances, but since Lorne had been the one to suggest it...John grabbed his radio off the nightstand. "Ronon?"

"Yeah?" he heard Ronon rumble in his ear.

"I need you to do me a favor. Can you check in with me every thirty minutes or so?"

There was a pause before Ronon replied, "You've got a top at your place. Is it Lorne?"

John cleared his throat awkwardly. "Uh, yeah."

Ronon grunted. "Okay, he's decent. Talk to you in thirty."

John clicked off and Lorne said, "Good choice. He won't get distracted and forget to call."

"Yeah," John replied neutrally. There was no need to say out loud that Ronon was also quite capable of doing some serious damage to Lorne if John missed a check in. He gestured Lorne toward his desk chair and Lorne took it. John wedged himself into a corner and wrapped his arms around himself, feeling vulnerable as all fuck. "You wanted to talk?"

"I wanted to apologize for what happened in the infirmary," Lorne said. John noted that he kept his hands very carefully placed on his thighs. "I didn't mean to imply that you were fragile. You're not."

"No, I'm just damaged goods," John replied bitterly. Fuck, he'd not intended to say that. He should have never let Lorne in. He was feeling too raw to deal with this.

A dangerous glint flashed in Lorne's eyes briefly, before calm overlaid his features again. "I disagree with that."

"What would you know about it?" John said derisively, since he was already fucked anyways from having opened his big fat mouth to begin with. "You don't know anything about me."

"I know that some fucktard top abused you and treated you like shit," Lorne shot back, that dangerous glint coming back, but not focused on him. "That's always been pretty fucking obvious. But that doesn't make you damaged."

You could have fooled me, thought John wearily. He shut his eyes and willed them not to tear up again. "Then what do you think it makes me?"

He heard fabric shifting and opened his eyes to see that Lorne standing in front of him, just out of touching range. "It makes you a survivor," Lorne said quietly. "I worked the Abused Submissives hotline in high school and college. I know how many don't make it out of situations like that alive. You beat some pretty scary odds."

John shuddered, remembering how close he'd come to Nancy killing him in a fit of rage that night. The damned tears welled up again and he scrubbed his face with his hands angrily, refusing to let any fall. "Fuck. I don't want to talk about this."

John heard him shift again and sensed that he'd come closer. "You have a really bad case of sub drop, don't you?" asked Lorne.

John dropped his hands away from his face and let his head thump back against the wall, his eyes still closed. He sniffled, trying to clear his clogged sinuses and rasped, "Don't worry about it."

"Jesus fucking Christ," Lorne said under his breath, and John felt a hand gently wrap around his left bicep. "Too late, I'm already worried about it." John felt Lorne's hand squeeze his bicep briefly. "Let me help you, John. You shouldn't have to deal with it all by yourself. I'm the one you submitted to, by all rights I'm the one that has the responsibility to make sure that you recover from it okay, too."

Geez, Lorne sounded like one of those courtly tops from the 1940's romance movies his mother had liked to watch. John opened his eyes to see Lorne through the watery blurriness, looking earnest and worried. "Do you actually believe that romantic shit?"

"It's not romantic shit," Lorne disavowed. He shifted closer and grasped John's other bicep as well, his palms warm on John's skin, his grip loose and non-threatening. "John, it's just what a good top is supposed to do. If I treated a sub the way it looks like you've been treated, my mom would have taken her strap and beaten me to death with it a long time ago. It's just wrong to leave a sub without any support when they're coming down from a scene."

John gave a half-hysterical laugh, feeling like he was teetering over the edge of something. "You are something else, Lorne. I feel like I'm in a cheesy romance novel right now."

Lorne sighed and then slowly drew John into his embrace. John allowed him to, too tired of struggling with his emotions to resist. Lorne ran a hand up John's back cradle the back of his head as John hesitantly relaxed into the hug and murmured, "It's Evan. You can call me Evan. And you're not a some silly sub in a romance novel. You're a man with a bad case of sub drop who could use some TLC to help level out his brain chemistry. Come on, let me do this for you. I'm just trying to be a decent caring person here, okay? No strings attached, I promise."

"Okay, Evan," John replied faintly, finally convinced. Evan tightened his embrace briefly in response, before beginning to stroke his hand up and down John's back. It felt good, and John found himself letting go of a hard coiled tightness in his body that he hadn't realized was there. The shaking emptiness drained slowly out of him.

After some time had passed, John's radio clicked. "You okay?" he heard Ronon say.

John shifted within the Evan's embrace and toggled his radio. "I'm fine."

"Later then," Ronon replied, and the radio clicked off.

Evan paused in rubbing John's back. "Listen...I came over to apologize to you."

"For making the assumption that I was fragile, I remember." Which was ironic considering how brittle John felt at the moment.

"Not just that," Evan clarified. He cleared his throat. "I also wanted to apologize for not picking up that you were trying to make me an offer to play with you more. I'm sorry I made a joke out of it. I was just trying to lighten things up. I didn't mean to reject you."

John cringed at the memory and drew away from him. Evan let him out of the embrace, but halted his withdrawal by grasping him by the arms again. "I'm not trying to pressure you into anything," Evan said hastily. He looked at his hands grasping John's arms, winced and released him, jamming his hands into his pockets. He took a step back, pulled one hand out and ran it over his hair uncertainly. "I mean, if you've changed your mind about your offer, I will respect that completely, sir." He licked his lips. "But if the offer still stands, then...I would be honored, very honored, to play with you again whenever you want."

John's mouth twitched upward a bit, obscurely reassured by Evan's sudden awkwardness. He couldn't resist saying, "You do realize that you sound like a teenage top asking his first sub to play, don't you?"

Evan crossed his arms and gave John a wry look. "Okay, yeah, maybe I do. But I mean it. If you're willing to give me your submission again, I'd be more than happy to tie you up and make you come your brains out." He winced again and added, "That is, as long as bondage isn't on your no-go list. If it is, I'll be more than happy to do something else to achieve the same effect."

God, the offer was tempting. Tops usually made assumptions about his dynamic that were all wrong based on what he did for a living. Nancy had flat out ignored it entirely once she'd gotten him completely under her thumb. Evan had been the first top in way too long that truly seemed to catch on to what John's dynamic truly was. John chewed on his lip, wondering if it was worth the risk. His team seemed to think that Evan was a decent sort for the most part and the only 'bad' thing John had ever really heard about Evan was that he was considered too 'soft' a top by the subs that liked to play really hard. He crossed his arms and tilted his chin up. "Bondage is good, if the ropes are soft."

One corner of Evan's mouth quirked up. "Will silk ones do?"

John's dick twitched at the thought. He had really loved the feel of silk ropes on his skin the few times he'd had been tied up with some. He said, with a casualness that he didn't feel, "I suppose, if that's all you have on hand."

Evan reached out and encircled John's wrist with his hand. "Tell me what I can't do besides grabbing your hair and shoulders or calling you Pet," he murmured encouragingly.

John's breath caught. This was always the hard part. "No hitting me. No...no humiliation. No fucking me in front of other people, not unless I really trust everyone there. No chastity devices." Evan's eyebrow lifted up at that but he didn't ask why, much to John's relief. "Um, orgasm denial can be iffy for me. You...you've got to be careful how you approach it." John swallowed thickly. This last one was usually the deal breaker for most tops. "Pain...um, pain in general is a no."

"Kinky," Evan said with a slow smile. "I think I can rise to that challenge." He leaned in and whispered into John's ear. "There's more to sensation play than just pain, after all."

John swallowed heavily and shivered, barely staving off the sudden urge to drop to his knees and beg for a fucking then and there. "Uh, good," he managed to say.

Evan drew away and his smile broadened. "It's a little late for dinner, but the Marines have set up the theater for movie night tonight. What do you say we go see it?"

"Like a date?" John licked his lips nervously. "Evan, I...I was looking for something more casual."

Evan dropped John's wrist and he shuffled awkwardly, running a frustrated hand through his hair. "Yeah, okay, sorry, I didn't mean it that way." He gave John a wry look. "I was thinking of it as more of a...friendly thing." He knitted his fingers together and studied at them. "I usually hang out with subs for a bit before we do a scene."

John's face heated in embarrassment and he dropped his gaze away from Evan's face, flustered. "Oh." He cleared his throat noisily. "Well, then, um...yeah, okay, a movie would be fine, I guess. To, you know, hang out together." He mentally ordered his stomach to quit with the queasy rolling. "I assume that there will be some decent explosions in the movie?" John added, desperate to somehow get past this particular conversational clusterfuck.

"They're Marines. If there aren't some really damned good explosions in it, they'll have to turn in their macho bad-ass cards," Evan replied, a faint glint of humor curling in his tone.

John shoved down his nervousness. Evan wasn't making a bid to own him. It was just a movie. A movie and then some sex. That was all he was committing to. "Alright then," John replied. "Let me get some shoes on and tell Ronon where I'm going."

"Sure," Evan replied, and he flashed John another small smile before going to wait by the door.

***

Evan could tell that John was nervous as all hell about going to the movie with him, so Evan kept it light and didn't touch John other than to briefly and gently guide him over to one of the couches that littered the makeshift theater. John stiffened further when curious eyes looked over at them and Evan carefully contained his sigh and made sure that John had some space rather than put an arm around him. Ronon and Amelia showed up right after they'd gotten there, followed shortly by Teyla, Kanaan and Torren. McKay and Dr. Keller straggled in right before the movie started. And as Evan had expected, every single one of John's team gave him the equivalent of the parental top's hairy eyeball - the one that said, screw him over and you will die, so don't even think about it. He returned every one of those looks with a sober nod, acknowledging their concern.

It wasn't until half way into the movie that John finally unclenched enough to relax a little into Evan's space. "I can't believe they're using a Warthog and trying to it off as an F-22," he muttered in a undertone to Even.

Evan grimaced back at him sympathetically. A-10 Thunderbolts were ground attack aircraft. Sure, a Warthog had actually managed to shoot another plane out of the air once, but that had been a fluke. Besides which, the damned things were ugly as sin. He leaned toward John and murmured in his ear, "Hollywood wouldn't know a real fighter aircraft if it jammed its fuselage up their collective ass."

That bit of Air Force bonding seemed to dissolve more of John's reticence. He smiled in agreement and leaned against Evan a little, munching on some popcorn that Teyla had passed their way. Evan allowed himself to relax marginally and put his arm on the back of the couch behind John. Teyla gave him a knowing look and he suddenly realized that putting his arm behind John was the typical beginning move of a stealth reach around hug used during many a movie date. Mortified, he reluctantly glanced over to John to see what his reaction was.

John was intent on the movie, chewing calmly on his popcorn. Evan barely contained his sigh of relief and tightened his grip on the back of the sofa. There was no way he was going to move his arm for the rest of the movie.

Despite the stupidity of the misidentified planes, the explosions did actually manage to be up to par, so the movie wasn't a total loss, Evan decided after the lights came up. "Not bad," he said to John. "The pyrotechnics engineer knew what he was doing, at least."

John nodded in agreement. "Yeah. That last scene was pretty impressive." His face grew a little more guarded. "So...your place?"

All of Evan's toys were there and he hadn't seen any in John's quarters. "If you're comfortable with it," he replied. "If not, I can go get some stuff and meet you back at your's."

John gave a brief shake of his head. "No, your place is fine."

They both stood up and Teyla came up to them, leading Kanaan on his leash, Torren crashed out on his shoulder. She nodded at each of them in turn. "Colonel, Major. Did you enjoy the movie tonight?"

John tilted a hand back and forth. "It wasn't bad. Good explosions, but they screwed the pooch when it came to the aircraft. That was not an F-22 by any stretch of the imagination."

A small smile quirked up on her lips. "I see." Teyla then arched an eyebrow at Evan, pinning him with a penetrating look. He found himself shifting into parade rest stance under the weight of it."I am to understand that you two have decided to play tonight?" At John's reluctant nod, she added, "Have you spoken about limitations and safe words?"

John's face flushed as Evan answered crisply, "Yes, ma'am." He felt like he was in high school again and answering his mother as she quizzed him about how to top safely before he could escape with his date to his room. "Although I prefer to keep it simple concerning safe words. Unless we've agreed to roleplay, if a sub says anything like 'stop', 'quit' or 'no', I stop."

She nodded in acknowledgment and her smile grew warmer. "That way is best, particularly in a new or casual relationship. May we accompany you back to your quarters?"

Evan barreled over John's scandalized, "Teyla!" with, "Sure, we're heading back to my place." He understood that she wanted to know where they were going to play. She possibly even wanted to set up a watch outside in case things got out of hand. Given how badly John had been abused, Evan was glad to see that his teammates cared enough to make sure he was safe.

John flushed a deeper pink and Evan gave him a small shrug and smile. After they'd walked to Evan's quarters, said goodnight to Teyla and Kanaan and closed the door behind them, John said awkwardly, "You'll have to forgive her. The team's kind of..."

Evan caught one of John's hands and squeezed it. "Hey, don't worry about it. I get it. They just want to make sure you're okay. At least she was pretty polite about it. I've been grilled by worse."

"Before some casual playing around?" John asked, his face skeptical.

Evan laughed. "You've obviously never met my mom."

John blinked in surprise. "Wow, really? She must have been pretty strict."

"In some ways," Evan acknowledged with a shrug. "She cared a lot about making sure I learned the right way to treat a sub when I was younger." He then tugged at John's hand, pulling him further into the room. "But enough about my mom. I believe that you wanted to be tied up tonight?"

John throat clicked as he swallowed hard. "Uh, yeah. You did mention something about that earlier."

Evan brought them to a stop by his bed, tilted John's chin down with one hand and kiss him on the lips briefly. "That I did. Be a good boy for me and take off your clothes while I get those silk ropes for you."

John swallowed heavily again and began stripping as Evan went to the foot of his bed where his toy box was. He rummaged around in it till he found the short lengths of rope that he wanted to use and pulled them out. They felt soft and light for their size in his hands and Evan felt a pulse of dominance arise within him. The red cords were going to look so good around John's wrists. Evan slung the ropes over his shoulder, shut the lid of the toy box and stood up to regard John.

John, now naked, self consciously covered his chest with his hands. "Um, I kind of got out of the habit of shaving. Sorry."

Evan tilted his head a bit, looking him over carefully. John was quite hairy and shaving had probably been an all-day affair for him. Seeing as how they barely had two spare minutes to rub together some days, Evan could see how John would've decided that the effort of doing more than his face wasn't worth the time and hassle. Evan found himself intrigued by the idea of feeling all that hair rubbing against him as he played with John. He stepped close and ran his hand across John's taut abdomen, the crisp hair there sliding between his fingers. "Don't be sorry. I think I like you au natural."

John's head snapped up in surprise and he looked warily at Evan for a moment before a bare trace of a smile touched his lips. "Well in that case, I aim to please."

Evan laughed and pulled John down for another kiss. "And so you do, John. Now please me some more by getting on the bed and putting your arms up. I've got some tying to do."

John dropped onto the bed with a slight bounce and settled himself in, his arms obediently over his head, a ghost of a smirk on his face.

Evan grinned, pleased to see that John was relaxed enough now to be a little playful. He uncoiled the first length of rope and wrapped one end around John's wrist, knotting it securely. He threaded the other end through one of the rings bolted to the wall and tied it off and then repeated his actions with John's other wrist so that John's arms looked like outspread wings reaching up for the first downbeat to achieve flight. Evan inspected his work. "How's it feel?" he asked as he inspected John's hands and wrists, "Circulation okay? No pinching?"

John gave an experimental tug, then flexed his fingers. "I'm good."

Satisfied that he'd tied John safely, Evan got out of his clothes and straddled John's chest. "You look so good under me," he commented as he stroked John's cheek with the back of his hand. John stared up at him with dark, hungry eyes. "Such a good boy," Evan murmured, grabbing his half hard cock and guiding it to John's lips. "Lick me. Get me good and hard for you."

John strained forward to wrap his lips around Evan's cock, his tongue moving across the sensitive bundle of nerves on the underside just under the head. Evan's smiled at John's eagerness and tilted his hips forward more, pushing his cock further into John's mouth. He remained motionless as John licked and sucked, watching with avid attention at the way John fell deep into subspace as he worshiped Evan's cock with his mouth. It was with no small amount of reluctance when Evan eventually pulled himself out of John's mouth. John made a protesting noise and Evan gently shushed him, saying, "Yeah, John, I know, I know you love my cock, but I have other plans for my good boy. Be patient."

Evan settled back a bit so John wasn't able to get his mouth back on Evan's cock. He noted that John was already down pretty deep from the blowjob, which was flattering as all hell. He'd not ever had a sub go down for him as quick as John did and he wondered if had anything to do with the fact that he'd ordered John to blow him both times. He tucked that idea away for latter consideration. Right now he had other things that he wanted to do.

Evan reached out and raked his nails lightly down the length of John's arms, feeling John shiver underneath him. He watched in fascination as John's skin pebbled up in goosebumps and then repeated the action on a different patch of John's arms. John shuddered under him again and moaned a little. Evan set to work in earnest then, scraping his nails across John's arms, his shoulders, his chest. John began to slowly writhe under him and Evan scooted down his body to scratch his nails over John's stomach and sides.

He ran his nails up John's sides and John bucked underneath him, giving a sudden bark of laughter. Evan stopped, suddenly worried. Most subs he knew were not into tickling. Then John arched upward again. "More," he moaned softly. Evan's eyebrows lifted in surprise. Okay, then, apparently John wasn't like most subs.

With permission given in that one word, Evan placed his fingers back on John's sides and began deliberately tickling. John laughed and squirmed under him, but did not fight as hard to get away as Evan knew he could. He'd seen John sparring with Ronon. After all, he was only human, and the sight of the two of the hottest subs on base getting hot and sweaty with each other had fueled more than a few of the tops in the expedition's midnight fantasies. Having John writhing under him like this was a huge turn on and if the cock poking him in the ass was any indication, John was liking it too.

An idea came to Evan and he shifted off of John entirely and grabbed his right ankle. "Be a good boy and hold your foot still while I tickle it," he ordered. He then loosened his grip so that John could pull away easily and ran a finger delicately up the sole of John's foot.

John arched his back and screamed in laughter, his toes curled spasmodically, but his foot gave only the barest twitch and stayed within Evan's hand. Evan felt a huge surge of toppiness and his dick twitched. God, it was so hot when a sub was that obedient. He settled in and tickled John's foot lightly for a good long while, pausing occasionally to make sure that John had an opportunity to catch his breath between fits of helpless laughter. Even as John howled and twitched, he never once pulled his foot out of Evan's loose grip.

"God, you are such a good boy," Evan moaned, releasing John's foot entirely and crawling up to kiss John sloppily. "Such a good, perfect boy," he repeated, scrabbling open the nightstand drawer with one hand and pulling out the lube. John lay pliant under him, breathing heavily, his cock bobbing with every breath.

Evan slicked up the fingers of one hand and tossed the bottle onto the floor, saying, "Spread your legs, good boy. I want to see that tight little ass of yours."

John folded his legs back until his knees were almost at his shoulders, lewdly exposing himself. Evan admired the view for a moment, then grabbed John's cock and began sucking it as he worked a finger into John's opening. John gave a low groan and Evan felt a shudder roll through his body as he pressed on John's prostate. He slowly worked John open, sucking and licking his cock as he did so until John began to beg abjectly, "Please, please, please..."

The sound of John begging went straight to Evan's cock. He released John's cock from his mouth and pulled his fingers out, quickly slicked himself up and pressed his cock into John's ass. He was slick and tight, so tight around Evan's cock and Evan paused and prayed that he'd be able to hold his own orgasm off long enough to fulfill his promise to make John come his brains out first. Once he'd gained a little control, he grabbed John's thighs, and pressed down on him with his full strength, pushing John's knees down until they touched the bed. John went limp under him, deep into subspace. "That's my boy. You know what I'm going to do now, don't you? I'm gonna fuck you, hold you down and fuck you hard. I'm gonna fuck you, then order you to come. Can you do that for me, John?" Evan ground his hips, forcing a moan out of John. "Can you be a good boy and come when I tell you to?"

John licked his lips and then nodded dreamily. "Good boy," Evan said, and began driving into him with short, sharp thrusts.

Evan lasted longer than he'd thought he would, riding on a topspace high, but when he felt John begin to shake he knew that the sub had reached his physical limits. Evan doubled-timed the speed of this thrusting and shouted, "Now!"

John strained upwards, crying out inarticulately as he came, the first spurt hitting the wall behind him in an impressive display. Evan hung on long enough to fuck him all the way through it before finally succumbing to his own orgasm, shuddering and moaning as he emptied himself into John.

Panting, Evan gently eased himself out and released John's thighs, massaging them with shaking hands as he helped John move his legs back into a more comfortable position. He then staggered up off the bed and untied the ropes with fingers that felt thick and heavy. He massaged John's arms as well, force of habit causing him to check for rope burns and strain. John's wrists were a bit red from his struggles, but everything looked good otherwise. Evan dropped down next to John on the bed and ran a still unsteady hand over John's brow, wiping away a drop of come there. "Hey, sweet boy," Evan rasped, his throat dry. "How're you doing?"

John blinked up at him slowly and stretched. "Mmmmm," he replied, smiling blissfully.

The corner of Evan's mouth lifted. "That good, huh? I'm flattered." He leaned down and kissed John softly on the lips. "I'll get you a towel."

Evan hauled himself back up off the bed with a grunt and managed to weave his way to the bathroom. He quickly cleaned himself and brought back damp washcloth and a towel to do the same for John. Evan tried not to feel too smug as he wiped come off John's stomach, chest, face, hair and the wall. Once John was dried off and the washcloth and towel thrown in the direction of the bathroom, Evan turned off the lights and finally gave in to post-coital exhaustion, flopping down on the bed and wrapping himself around an already sleeping John.

He awoke with a jerk, and blinked at stupidly at the alarm clock in the moonlit filled room, wondering what woke him up. Then the empty spot where John had been registered and Evan scrambled out of bed, looking around for him wildly.

"Hey," he heard, and he turned to see John standing in the doorway to the bathroom. Evan's let out an explosive sigh of relief and the tension bled out of his shoulders and back. "I didn't mean to wake you up," John said apologetically as he came back into the room.

"That's okay," Evan replied, waving off John's apology with one hand. "How're you feeling? Are you stiff anywhere? Sore?"

John wouldn't look at him as he gave a one shouldered shrug and picked up his underwear from where he'd left it on Evan's desk chair. "I'm fine."

Evan stepped forward and grabbed his wrist. "John, are you sure?" John dropped the underwear and looked at him, startled and tense and Evan made himself let go and back up. He held out his hand in a supplicating gesture. "Look, it's important to me to make sure you're all right, okay? I don't know about any other tops you've had, but I want...no, I need to care for all my subs afterwards, make sure that they're unharmed, that they're not suffering from sub drop." Evan slumped and then ran a hand through his hair, feeling frustrated and unhappy. "I feel like shit if I don't, okay? It's, it's not about you."

John blinked at Evan's admission. "Oh." They stood there for a bit, the air awkward between them. Then John licked his lips and said cautiously, "So...if I said I was a little stiff, what would you do?"

"Give you some ibuprofen and offer a massage," Evan replied promptly, meeting John's eyes steadily.

John shifted position slightly. "And if I were...worse?"

"I'd take you to the infirmary and then go find Ronon and Teyla to have them kick my ass from here to kingdom come," Evan croaked, hoping that the question was theoretical. The thought that he might have inadvertently harmed John made him sick to his stomach.

His distress must have shown on his face, because John immediately replied. "Whoa, hey, I'm fine! Um, stretched more than I'm used to, yeah, but I'm fairly certain that I don't need a trip to the infirmary." He smiled at Evan uncertainly. "I'll...I'll take you up on that offer of ibuprofen, though. I'm not as young as I used to be and it's been a while since I've been bent in half like that." He made an awkward, half-guilty gesture toward his clothes. "I was going to take some when I got back to my place."

Evan wasn't pleased at the realization that John had intended to sneak out like some two-bit whore while Evan slept, but he pressed his lips together and kept silent. He didn't have any right to expect John to stay if they were just casual. Instead, he nodded and pulled the bottle of ibuprofen out of his sock drawer. He got a couple of pills out of the bottle, got a glass of water from the bathroom and came back into the bedroom. John was now perched on the edge of the bed, still naked. Evan wordlessly handed him the pills, then the water.

John gave him another uncertain smile, popped the pills into his mouth, washed them down with the water and set the empty glass down on the nightstand with a click. He clasped his hands in front of them and rested his elbows on his knees. "Um, thanks for the pills," he said, looking down at his hands.

Evan sat down next to him. "No problem." He scratched his head, thinking hard about how to approach asking John if he was going to stay now, then asked, "What woke you up?"

John's mouth twisted into a grimace and he turned his head away. "Nightmare," he muttered. He then sat up abruptly and scrubbed at his face before tucking his hands under his armpits defensively and looking at Evan. "My ex-wife."

"Ah," Evan replied. "She was the fucktard?" he asked. Thanks to McKay, he already knew the answer to that question, but Evan felt that he should give John the opportunity to tell him if that was what he wanted to do.

John's mouth twisted up again and he shrugged. "One of them." He looked over Evan's shoulder, his eyes distant, and after a bit added, "She was the worst."

Dismayed to hear that Nancy hadn't been the only one to fuck John over, Evan ran a hand over his face. "Damn," he said softly.

John twitched a shoulder and his face closed up. "Not your fault."

From the the blank expression on John's face, Evan realized that it was probably best to drop the subject for now. "Do you want to stay? Or should I get dressed so I can walk you back to your place?" Evan asked.

"I get a choice?" John replied sarcastically."I thought that you'd insist that I stay here so you could be a nervous nursemaid all over me."

"You always get a choice," Evan shot back, annoyed. "If sleeping next to me is gonna cause you nightmares, you damn well bet that I'd prefer to take you back to your own space so you can sleep in peace!"

Abashed, John ducked his head. "Shit, sorry, Evan." He puffed out a sigh and dropped his hands back into his lap. "I guess my nightmare made me kinda edgy. I shouldn't have taken it out on you."

This time it was Evan's turn to twitch a shoulder. "Eh, it happens. I'm not at my best right now, either." Not after waking up in a panic over not knowing where John was. He was still feeling a little rattled over that, if he was honest with himself. He'd never had a sub try to sneak out on him before.

John grunted an acknowledgment and then the room fell quiet for a moment. Then John straightened up and looked at Evan. "Do you always wake up like that or was it because of me?"

Evan flushed and looked away, embarrassed. "Um...I wasn't quite awake. I was expecting you to be there and you weren't and I, I panicked, I guess. Thought you might be hurt or something."

John eyed him narrowly. "I can take care of myself."

"I know that," Evan reassured him hastily. He then sighed and waved a hand haplessly. "Look, I can't help it, okay? It's hardwired into me to be a top, you really gonna hold genetic imperative against me like that? We're protective of subs, it's what we do."

John broke off glaring at Evan to roll his eyes. "Yeah, yeah, I know." The corner of his mouth then quirked up. "But seriously, I can take care of myself."

"Never doubted it." Evan replied, lightly. "But you do need rescuing from the Genii and other bad guys occasionally," he pointed out teasingly.

John's eyes became shadowed and he looked away from Evan again. "Yeah, I guess there is that."

Evan kept silent, not sure what to say to that. He had no idea why his teasing had hit John so hard. Several stifling minutes passed between them before John shifted, pulling his mind back from where ever it had gone.

"I don't sleep well with others," John admitted softly, still looking at the wall. Then he looked down at his hands. "But if you want me to stay a while..."

Evan placed a hand on top of John's. "I'd like that, yes." He squeezed the hand beneath his gently. "As long as you're comfortable with it. You can leave whenever you need to, just wake me up before you go if I'm asleep, okay? I'd really appreciate it."

"Deal," John replied. He then gave Evan a sharp look, "But you're not going to walk me back home."

"Of course not. Teyla's going to do that for me," Evan pointed out. "You know she will. She's most likely got a watch set up at the door."

John hung his head and sighed, defeated by that particular truth. "Yeah, she probably will."

Evan tugged at John's hand. "C'mon, let's go back to bed, get some rest."

They rearranged themselves back on the bed, Evan pulling John over to drape half on top of him and wrapping an arm securely around his waist to anchor him and keep him from falling off the too-small bed. Once John shifted to a comfortable position, Evan drew up the covers and tucked them in securely. "Sweet dreams, John," he murmured, brushing his lips against John's hairline.

"You too," John replied. Evan drifted off shortly after that, hoping that John would do okay for a change and still be there in the morning.