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Starring:

Jax/Angela, Lt. Col. John Sheppard

Co-starring:

Ronon Dex, Dr. Carson Beckett, Dr. Elizabeth Weir, Dr. Rodney McKay, Teyla Emmagan, Dr. Kate Heightmeyer

Special appearances:

Major Lorne, Dr. Zelenka, Lt. Laura Cadman

 1 ≈

          Late, late one night, I open my door after a sharp rap of knuckles, not expecting anyone, especially not him.

          I’ve already turned on some music to ease my mind and pain.

Slide - Dido

          Even Ronon knew I wasn’t looking for company and he really wanted to watch the next episode of Friends because Ross and Rachel broke up on the previous one. But I said: No. I had a rough day on the ice; fell on my ass too many times to think about without my complexion permanently changing to beet red.

          The I-zoola’s are amazing people and fast becoming Atlantis’s primary trading partner for fish and a special herb that staves off frost from crops, but they don’t seem to understand that pebbles on an ice lake make for lousy skating—seems skipping stones is a pass-time for the kiddies.

          Gawd, I hate kids. And what I wouldn’t give for a Zamboni.

          Major Lorne was especially cavalier, trying his best not to laugh at my tumbles. I really wanted to kick his ass when he sauntered over all manly-man and offered his hand in assistance.

          He’s quickly become Dr. Weir’s right-hand pilot when it comes to off-world negotiations. She’s one of my biggest fans aside from Dr. Zelenka, the sweetest man-candy in the universe, so when this opportunity to skate again came so soon after my last brush with everlasting joy, I jumped at it.

          Needless to say, I also leaped, tripped and skidded my whole body across a frozen lake in about ten seconds flat, right at the start of my signature triple Salchow that’s supposed to transition into a sit spin, not a face plant.

          It wasn’t until inspection on my hands and knees that I realized the fault wasn’t my old age—in 1994, I was an alternate for the Olympics team. By the ‘98 Olympics, I would’ve been considered ancient. Of course, anyone over 18 is supposedly too old in some sports terms, but I was going to try…until I nearly got dead and the United States government made me disappear. Lipinsky won that year…at the ripe old age of 15, if I remember correctly.

          Yep, I hate kids!

          The I-zoola’s find ice-skating mesmerizing and especially like listening to my music, which is quite eclectic, so the negotiations took place outside by the lake rink. Dr. Weir was the first one by my side and also the next person to fall on her butt and, therefore, the first one Lorne wished to help—out of duty, I’m sure. Personally, I think all the men—and some of the women—on Atlantis have a huge crush on the lady, but that’s just me. I hope she doesn’t bruise easily.

          So, for the sake of my bones, bruised flesh and muscles I took a long, hot bath, did some grooming maintenance and decided to spend the next twelve hours lying naked within my freshly laundered, Italian made Egyptian cotton 1020 thread-count sateen sheets. Expensive sheets are essential to daily life. My money manager, Jack, doesn’t understand my need to indulge my unlimited Earth funds on such things but sends me what I ask for. I spend a third of my time in bed, not necessarily sleeping since my nightmares tend to make me even tenser than sore muscles, but that’s why dvd’s come in handy. Might as well be as comfortable as possible. As an undiagnosed insomniac anyway, as long as I’m comfy and my mind’s occupied, I’m content.

          I was just about to toss aside my fluffy, soft with age, yellow-white striped JC Penny’s terry-cloth robe. This robe is the only item I refused to part with when the feds took everything else away. It belonged to my mom. Thinking about her makes me want to crawl under the covers and be melancholy. Reliving losing my parents only leads me to think about Charlie. I don’t remember anything about my time in the infirmary or the whole catatonic fiasco after getting the KIA notice. One minute I was howling in rage, tearing through my used shot silhouettes and the next I was in Jack’s embrace.

          Jack and Ronon.

          My family now. As long as I keep them in my head, I know I’ll never be alone. But brooding is a big part of who I am and if I’m not beating the crap out of the heavy bag in the gym, I ruminate on my own. The last thing I want to do is entertain.

          And yet, here he is!

          Sheppard’s standing in front of me, dressed in civvies and looking—oh so hot in light blue—a bit off-balance, like he doesn’t know why he’s here. A tell-tale remnant of the black eye I gave him two weeks ago—by mistake of course—still evident. He should never have gotten in the middle of a tussle between Ronon, me and my elbow.

          Oh, but the boy looks so good when he’s in pain! I’d been willing to kiss it and make it better, but Ronon didn’t think Sheppard would appreciate the effort at the time; mostly because the black eye wasn’t the worst of his injuries. I managed to land a solid kick to an even more tender spot.

          Could’ve kissed that better too.

          So, basically, he’s the last person I expected to see at my door, let alone stepping into my room without a word or invitation. Then he starts pacing near the bathroom on the other side while running a hand through his gorgeous bed-head, black hair. I bet it’s as soft as it looks. It’s not a big space, so he only has a few feet to maneuver in, but the energy bouncing off of him must need some outlet. He’s more wired than the Energizer Rabbit.

          Keeping my expression neutral, even though I’m kind of disturbed by his audacity of moving into my personal space without asking, very manly-man of him—damn that’s so hot!

          No! It’s not hot; it’s annoying—in a totally hot way!

          Gawd, now I need a cold shower and my sub-conscience needs to get out of the damn gutter! It’s all about managing the Id factor: the pleasure principle. Want. Need. Have. Oooo, those words sound so good with his name following them.

          Shut up, Jax!

          I do that a lot these days, talk to myself in the third person. Dr. Heightmeyer finds it intriguing but has yet to insist on a padded cell. She figures it’s my way of coping with all my trauma. Big drama queen, that’s me. And as annoying as Jax is, I still cling to her like a security blanket. Mostly because that’s how people know me here, but also because Jax is my surviving center, my strength, the fighter. Without her, I’d be a sniveling mess. And I hate to cry…more than I hate kids.

          On Atlantis, only a few select hi-ranking officials and one non-Earth resident know my true story. And of them, only Ronon knows the real me. At least what I let him see of the real me. He believes that Jax is nothing more than a mask that I hide behind to keep others at bay. He couldn’t be right and still so wrong.

          To be clear, I don’t have a ‘split’ personality, I have one mind…with divergent agendas—and attention spans—at times. Angela/Jax, Jax/Angela, really there’s only a slight difference. Discipline. Emotional discipline, really. Jax has it, Angela…not so much. I’m completely aware of my coping mechanisms as Dr. H. calls them. It’s just safer to be Jax…especially around him

 

Take My Hand - Dido

          But I must focus!

          Bring on the Ego and Superego, because I’ll need both to counteract those naughty Id impulses. I’m not a psychologist or anything, but I love to read and have the curse/gift of a photographic memory. It came in handy during my high school SAT’s, college GRE’s and the trial that destroyed my life. I remember everything I read, see or hear—and in a recent twist, physically feel, if I concentrate hard enough—as if it’s happening right now. Or now!

          Hah, I made a funny.

          Anyway, over the years I spent in witness protection; let’s just say I had a lot of downtime to increase my mental cache.

          I tighten the belt at my waist and cross my arms, staying near the door, though I let it close, uninterrupted. Tilting my head, I watch him, waiting for who-the-hell-knows-what. I’m completely in awe of this man. He makes the air sizzle by his mere presence—not to mention what he does to my hoo-ha without even trying.

          He rubs the back of his neck then lifts his hazel eyes towards me from under his brows, classic puppy dog look that always seems to make people lose their higher reasoning abilities. Well, not this girl. At least…not…while…he’s a witness to it.

          Truth be told, he has remarkable power over me; one look from him, even if it’s not directed at me, and I’m oooh-god-yes. Almost. There! A quick mental head-slap from Jax usually manages to pull me back to reality, and now seems like a good time for one. Ouch!

          “Jax,” he says softly, his voice unusually deep. “I mean…Angela,” he grins, exposing the dimples of utter destruction.

          “Sheppard.” I’m cautious to keep my tone and voice as neutral as my face. The way he’s dressed, how he’s all sheepish and boyishly gorgeous is a dangerous mix. Where’s Col. Sheppard? Him I can deal with, all business, no subtext, no…damned dimples. Something’s different here. The way he says my real name…it’s unnerving how many butterflies it sends through my belly and the immediate tickle a bit lower…oh yeah, he’s goooood.

          He sniffs and starts pacing again, only occasionally catching my eyes.

          I keep still, pretending to be relaxed when every muscle in my body wants to jump him, soreness and bruises be damned. Whew, thankfully I have an ironclad Superego to overrule that childish Id, not to mention a strong sense of I-never-want-to-embarrass-myself-in-front-of-this-man-ever-again! It’s kind of my motto.

          He quits pacing abruptly and holds up a hand as if it’s a stop sign. “Look.” He licks his lips. He’s got some great lips, full, kissable. “I don’t know how to say this,” he chuckles lightly.

          “Usually, words help.”

          This pulls him up to full height—damn he’s tall—and he narrows his eyes, seemingly amused by my dry but witty repartee. “Okay.” More lip licking obviously meant to drive me crazy or lull me into a submissive state. “I know you…like me.” His gaze dances around the room, briefly hitting mine before looking away again.

          Oh, yeah, there’s a real shocker.

          What’s he doing here? Can’t a girl live out her fantasies in her own mind without the fantasy police coming by in the form of said fantasy to stop the action before it’s even started? I haven’t gone to bed yet and already he doesn’t want me trying to dream about him. This sucks! As needed, Jax returns in full force. My spine straightens and my blood cools a bit, ready for a fight if necessary. I will defend my right to a proper sexual fantasy if I must.

          Taking a deep breath, I hug myself a little tighter, holding on to my imaginary Sheppard clone and I shrug as if there’s nothing wrong with a thirtyish young woman having an imaginary sex toy who just happens to look exactly like the most gorgeous man in the universe. “Lot’s of women like you, Sheppard,” I say as calmly as possible, adding a second, single shoulder shrug. “You’re a nice guy.” Nice guy, ha, that should hit him where it hurts. Oh wait, I already did that.

          “No…that’s not‒” He presses his lips together tightly. Closing his eyes, he starts again. “What I want to say is…ahh…I…like you…too.”

          Towabbawhohuh? My brows practically jump off my forehead, but I have no say in the matter. If they go flying about the room, it’s all his fault. He opens his eyes and flashes the dimples again, like a one-two punch my gut spasms and the tickle in my hoo-ha returns threatening to destroy even Jax’s restraint.

          “What?” I gasp.

          Naw. This can’t be real. He’s playing me. It’s some big joke. Ronon! Has to be. Well, I’ll show them. I can play just as hard. I give him my skeptical single raised brow, what Ronon calls my ‘don’t-fuck-with-me’ weapon. “You saying you have a crush on me, Sheppard?” Only Jax can manage saying that with an amused tone, a straight face, and not falling to kiss his feet…oooh, he’s got big feet…that means… Stop! If it’s a game of wills, he’s met the best on the playground.

          His brows wrinkle and his mouth scrunches up into the cutest little pucker as he tries to find the right words to continue this torment. “Well…not…exactly‒”

          Ah ha! Gotcha. See, that’s the problem with nice guys. They don’t like to lie. He even looks embarrassed.

          When he’s suddenly shifty on his feet and shoves his hands into his pockets, my alarm bells go off. I know what this is about. As much as I’d love to toy with him some more and have him make more of those adorable faces, it’s best to pull off the Band-Aid fast. It’ll sting me for a while, but, I’ve known worse pain. “Don’t worry,” I say coolly. “I’m not going to follow you around The City like some lovesick fangirl.”

          How about a woman stranded on an island with just him and a crate full of chocolate sauce?

          I mentally sneer at my little voice. “I’m too old for that.” But not too old for an invisible clone? Gotta draw the line somewhere. Since we got this whole fiasco straightened out, I tell Atlantis to open my door, but it stops halfway when Sheppard holds up a hand.

          “Wait,” he says. “That’s not…” he sighs heavily, rubbing his neck anew.

          I let the door close. Maybe he needs a massage and doesn’t want to ask because he’s afraid I’ll beat him up again. I’d never do that. Seeing him wrapped in the tiny joke towel I give him at the end of his sessions is more than enough incentive for me.

          “I kind of had a dream tonight.”

          He’s already been to bed? Hmm…Sheppard in bed. I wonder what he wears…

          “Actually for a while now…that…well, involves…you.”

          Huh?

          “And me…from…before.”

          “Before…?” I echo, dragging out the word as a question. Okay, no hyperventilating allowed. Just because John Sheppard said he’s been dreaming about me! Okay hyperventilating is called for, but not at this exact moment. I cross my arms, not hugging the clone so much as locking my hands down so I don’t rush over and tear his clothes off. That’s a nice shirt.

          He shrugs and makes another face. “As in the pheromone thing…before.”

          I barely feel my voice as it leaves my mouth. “You remember?” Why’d he get so lucky? I didn’t get to remember anything…except for those…hmmm…lovely multiple… get a grip!

          He takes a deep breath, runs his hand through his hair and chuckles lightly, nervously. “I can’t forget.”

          He steps closer to me and I’m so ready to pounce…but that would be wrong.

          Not wrong.

          So wrong!

          He’s talking, and I know I should be listening but my eyes keep seeing the top button of his shirt is undone, and there’s…ohgawdyes, dark chest hair peeking through. Mental sigh.

          Okay, so I’m a sixteen-year-old locked in the—not completely falling apart—body of a non-disclosed age…that I refuse to admit even to myself. I figure my eight years in government-funded captivity equates as, well, eight years of no birthdays, so I sort of moved forward in time without aging…at all! I don’t care if it sounds crazy, it’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

          Did he just say he can’t forget our hook-up? Stop ogling and listen to the man.

          “And that’s a problem. See. I’m getting distracted.”

          Did I hear that right? He’s distracted by me? “I’m…sorry?” Not at all! Nope.

          He starts talking faster; using his hands much the same way Dr. McKay does, but stammering like I’ve never seen. It’s really adorable. “No… I’m thinking this thing, this attraction wasn’t given…what I mean to say, is that these…feelings I’m remembering…it’s just that, we…you and I…haven’t had any closure on the topic. And I’m wondering…” he trails off, his embarrassment evident in the blush creeping up his neck.

          Omigawd. Oh. My. Gawd! I may not be the sanest woman in the galaxy, and I freely admit that, but I swear I just heard John Sheppard say he wants another shot at making my body sing.

          Remain calm.

          And what? The red zone is for the immediate loading and unloading of passengers only? Since when did Jax become a flight attendant? Remain calm, my ass. He wants me! If I could do it without embarrassing myself, I’d squee!

          Instead, I clear my throat, force the smile of joy from forming and give him my Jax-serious, narrowed eyes and wrinkled brow. “Sheppard?”

          He looks up with those puppy eyes. So want to pet him right now! “Yeah?”

          Restraint is key. That’s how I manage to keep a straight face and flat tone, even when asking this question: “Do you want to have sex with me again?”

          Please. Please. Please!

          “Well…I…” he shakes his head. “This was a bad idea.” He takes a step toward the door, but I step in the way, holding up a hand.

          You’re not getting away that easily, mister.

          “Let me get this straight first.” He’s dodgy but I catch his gaze. Those gorgeous hazel eyes look almost blue with that shirt…oooh, top two buttons openwhen did that happen? mmm definitely chest hair! Mental head slap… I’m so sick of abusing myself.

          It’s time to abuse mister manly-man; although, he’s not behaving like a ‘drag-you-by-the-hair’ manly-man. This is just some regular guy looking for a hook-up. A really scorching hot, regular guy. But even Angela can handle a regular guy. My Id chuckles with an evil laugh and I have to fight the grin.

          I lick my lips, not out of nervousness, but for the right reason: to make him think of kissing me, of course, I’m not a fool. “You have a theory that our attraction... or infatuation as Dr. Beckett called it, was not thoroughly explored and therefore left...what? Residual urges.”

          He nods, bows his head to the side and does the most adorable shoulder shrug. Ha! I’m not the only sixteen-year-old in the room. “Pretty much.”

          Yeah, he’s looking at my lips. Score! “And in your opinion, another…romp,” I chose that word very carefully and threw in a nod to accentuate it. “Would get rid of these urges so that we can get on with our lives and you will no longer be distracted.” Man, when did I start talking like Teyla?

          His mouth twists slightly and he dodges my gaze again. But he keeps checking out my lips. Score. Score! “Sounds ridiculous when you spell it out like that,” embarrassed laugh.

          Ooooh, could he be any cuter! He should be illegal. Now, how to continue with honor and dignity but without letting him in on the fact that I’ve given my invisible clone the night off in the hope that the real thing will stick around.

          “Well...” I say, raising that single brow again, “it might have some merit.” This time I flash a half smirk. “Theoretically speaking. And…” Should I say it? Couldn’t hurt now that I think about it. Go for it. “I never was a one-night-stand kinda girl.” Sheppard’s eyes narrow as he tries to decide if I’m playing with him or not.

          Like any woman could say ‘no’ to that mug and bod. Please!

          Still, do I want to take the chance that another round might tarnish the previous experience? I mean, there was alien technology involved, heightened arousal from the lust-o-rama gizmo. Maybe if we go at it, he won’t find me…well, all that.

          A warning label might not hurt. Let him know I’ve been out of practice…with a real-live partner anyway. It has been a long time.

          “But, still, you may want to reconsider,” I say slowly, keeping my tone flippant as I continue. “The last guy I had sex with—that wasn’t under some alien influence—told me I was a lousy lay right before he shot me in the chest. Not exactly a glowing personal reference.”

          Sheppard’s eyes widen in shock and something else seeps in, a tenderness that sends an electric zing straight to my hoo-ha. Oh man, he’s got some seriously sexy eyes on him. I can’t be the only woman he can do this to…can I?

          He’s closing in on me and my heart’s beating in my ears. He’s not looking away anymore. No more embarrassment. My mouth and lips are dry, but I manage to find my voice. “The first part, I can live without ever hearing again. And the second part...?”

          He’s right in front of me now, staring down at me with that melt-you-to-the-core gaze.

          Oh, yeah, just some regular guy, my ass!

          He cups my face in those amazing, warm hands, tilting my head so that our eyes meet. His aftershave tickles my nostril. He shaved for me? Did I just whimper? No, I couldn’t have.

          He’s looking at me like I’m an ice cream sundae with hot fudge and a cherry on top…and he’s very, very hungry. I’ve never been looked at like that before. It’s kinda scary. “You planning on shooting me, Sheppard?”

          Shut the hell up, Jax!

          “Call me John.” Then his lips are on mine, soft but demanding, tantalizing…pure passion and lust that’s what he’s offering up to me. And wow—major shout out to whoever taught this boy to kiss, he’s got some dangerous talent and‒

          Ohhhh my…when his tongue hits mine, I swear I see stars. 

Lose Control - Evanescence

           I sort of lose track of time, space and my robe shortly after. I’ll never understand his power over me—not just me either since Jax is me and I am her, where the hell does my self-determination go? In the back of my mind, I hear my Id laughing: lust is not an emotional response needing management, but a physical indulgence.

          I guess that makes sense. I’m not in love with this man. Though in all honesty…but Jax would never let that happen. I simply find him irresistible and on this, I am of one mind. He’s so pretty. And a great kisser…and…oh, screw it. I give up.

          I don’t know if I stumbled and hit the wall or if he pushed me against it, but there I am, trapped between two hard—oh yeah, definitely hard—places and I’m giggling. I never giggle. Okay, that’s a lie. I rarely giggle. And he’s smiling against my mouth, his hands caressing my cheeks and breath teasing my lips. “So, I guess you’re okay with testing my theory?” He kisses me again until I moan deep in my throat.

          “Strictly for scientific purposes, of course,” I mutter as I play my tongue over his bottom lip before gently tugging it between my teeth. He pulls back enough to look into my eyes and I see a little-boy gleam in his…like he’s just gotten the best toy in the world.

          Oh, crap…now I’m a boy-toy?

          His mouth covers mine again and his tongue starts doing all sorts of naughty exploring. Yeah…I can live with that.

          The man is all muscle, not bulky or over-pumped, simply chiseled, sculpted muscle that my fingers seek and grip after ripping open his shirt. Yeah, I did it, tore those last few buttons right off…such a bad girl when my Id gets involved. And I let my hands and fingers do the walking. He’s got an amazing chest and tight abs, but it’s his arms I adore. I’ve always had a thing for toned, strong arms. I push his shirt off and grip his shoulders, pulling him against me, wanting the feel of his skin on mine. But he has other ideas and so do his hands.

          Finally breaking the latest kiss that seems to last forever, he leaves me panting as he trails his hot lips and tongue down my neck to take up residence where his fingers are currently toying with my tender skin.

          Now, I’ve never really been fond of my upper torso, the excess baggage never looked particularly attractive from my perspective, too big, not perky enough and always managed to get in the way without a decent sports bra, but with the way he’s paying homage to it… ohmyyes… that… mmm tickles…I’m starting to have a new-found respect for my assets, especially when his mouth closes around me, gently sucking.

          My fingers dig into his hair pulling him closer. “J…oh…n,” I manage out of nowhere. I could have sworn my voice had been replaced by a cat’s purr. I’d never done that before…but hey, I’d never had a mini-orgasm from a guy simply looking at me either. I have a strong suspicion John Sheppard is a man of many firsts. And I so want them!

          He’s too busy to answer and simply, ‘hmm’s’ against my skin as his teeth tug ever so slightly on my…uh…oh that there…the vibration from his voice combined with the pressure and searing heat from his tongue sends me right over the mini-edge and my body shudders with pleasure—it has been a long time!  He grins between my breasts as he grazes kisses towards the next one.

          After a few seconds of pure bliss, my mind returns so I can finish what I wanted to ask, though my question comes out stilted because he’s still assaulting me so wonderfully. “Not to be rude... but...is this… you… being… Kirk?”

          “Fuckin’ Rodney,” he grumbles against my skin, his voice again sending that tickle deep down. But he pulls his warm mouth away and I do whimper. His eyes burrow into mine as he straightens and he presses himself against me, pinning me even closer to the wall with his arousal growing, rubbing into me. His chest hair tickles my breasts, an erotic sensation I’ve never known before. I want him to kiss me, but he’s just staring into my eyes, a bit angry it seems.

          With his hands on my sides, he easily lifts me higher so we’re at eye level. My feet no longer touch the floor and he urges my legs open with his knees, resting me against his hips. I bend my knees, clutching his waist and push the pads of my feet against the wall for balance. He’s still wearing his pants and the bulging fabric rubs my already tender spot and I gasp at the tactile feel of his confined hardness. I don’t realize I’ve closed my eyes until he says a husky, “Look at me.” And I open them. “Why would you think that?”

          I’m at a loss for words really, considering…everything, but the look in his eyes is not just tinged with anger but also a hint of sadness, a little boy who’s been scolded for something he didn’t do. I want to look away, have to look away, but can’t. And he’s waiting for an answer.

          “Let’s face it... you could have any woman in Atlantis. Or considering that Ancient chick from Proculus, the hottest in the universe for that matter.”

          Besides that, the rumor mill has him as the slut of Atlantis. I’m hoping like hell the rumors aren’t true. Most can’t be possible, I mean, where would the guy find the energy to be banging so many different people? Just by a time-management factor, alone, it’d be impossible.

          “Why me?” I ask. “Not exactly a challenge, you see.”

          His gaze softens and his left hand begins new tantalizing travels down my side and slips between our closeness, skimming over my belly, making me gasp in anticipation. “You just said it.” He chuckles deeply, spreading feather light kisses along my jawline. “Seems, I wanted to be with the hottest woman in the universe.”

          “Wow!” I laugh hard and bang my head against the wall. “You’re good!”

          “Rumor has it... so are you.” He slides his hand between my legs and my laugh chokes off into a gurgled ohmygawd!

          There’s a rumor about me being good? I’d never heard that. I know there’s one about me trying to kill myself…twice …and one about Ronon and me being this galaxy’s version of sex-crazed bunnies, but that’s a given, considering how much time we spend together and that no one seems to understand how I don’t find him as…a…stimulating…oh my what’s…he…ahhh.

          His fingers find their next target and start to move in slow, delicious circles. My grip on his arms tightens, fingertips digging into flesh and he grins at me. For the first time, I realize how fortunate I am to no longer work in the kitchen. Now that I’m the city masseuse—and quite busy at that—my hands are always soft and I keep my nails short. So maybe it’s fortunate for him since I tend to have a very strong grip and know my pressure points. Including one… right… there.

          He moans with pleasure as a shiver runs down his spine. He captures my eyes again. “Where did you learn that?”

          “What?” I ask innocently before pushing the button on his neck again. “That?” He moans louder and quivers again. With my other hand, I hit the opposite side of his neck. “Or that?”

          His breath catches and his eyes roll back for a second then he attacks my lips as I laugh with delight. Down below, there’s more pressure and a subtle flick of his thumb and…ohhhhh…I throw my head back, digging my teeth into my bottom lip so hard I’m sure to draw blood. Now it’s my turn for my eyes to roll back, but his free hand comes up and grips the side of my face; thumb caressing my cheek as his fingers slip into my hair. “Focus, Angela,” he orders in that husky voice. “Look at me.”

          Angela! He said it again. No. Call me Jax. She can handle you.

          My breath catches as my eyes lock back onto his. Okay, so my eyes aren’t exactly focusing… more like swimming through a hazy pool because those stars come back and start pulsing in my brain. The intensity of his gaze…oh boy, am I in trouble…makes my stomach flop as if I’d just taken a huge drop on a roller coaster.

          I love that feeling!

          I can’t take it anymore. I grab him with both hands and pull his mouth back to mine, dining on his lips, grazing them between my teeth, tasting every part of him with my tongue. I want to devour him and he knows it. And by the rumble he releases, I pretty certain he doesn’t mind. “So…we’re both…so good…” I sigh between kisses, on rapid-fire breaths. “We were…bound to…bump…” uhhhh…mmmm.

          “And grind,” He whispers teasingly against my lips, sending fire through my body.

          “Into…each…other?”

          His teeth catch my bottom lip with gentle pressure then he releases me with a push from his tongue. “It was inevitable.” His fingers suddenly stop their torment leaving me stunned, my mind dizzy. His eyes take on that serious, anger tinged gleam again and my heart slams into my ribs. “But I don’t like rumors.” He leans in, brushing his face against mine then pressing his mouth to my ear as his free hand leaves a trail of tickles down my right side. “I like you. I want you.”

          Then his fingers find a new destination, and my breath hitches at the intimate entry. Oh my it's been too long! He’s stoking me with every motion, making me pant and hum with desire. Muscles tighten as the pressure builds, until I see flames behind my eyelids, sending me into pulse-pounding oblivion. “Gawd Johnny!”

          Thank the Ancients for soundproof walls, that’s all I have to say.

          Okay even though the first was a mini, I’m counting that as two. What the hell is going on here? Not that I’m complaining. At all! But since when did my body become this orgasm machine? Back in my previous life, I’d be lucky to get one, not even in my dreams do I get multies. Now, either John Sheppard has some other ‘gene’ that makes this possible or there really is some remnant left over from the lust-o-rama device.

          “Say that again,” he whispers in my ear. Demanding.

          I’m breathless and finding it difficult to focus now that he’s finally freed himself of confinement and is slowly but firmly massaging his length against me. “Johnny?”

          “Yes,” he groans. “Again.”

          “Johnny,” I pant on a rush of air.

          He pulls back, gripping my eyes with his. “Again.”

          I smile as I hold his gaze and whisper hotly. “Johnny.”

          And swiftly, he’s inside me, hot and hard, and my head slams against the wall as the stars burst into novas. He grunts with satisfaction, capturing my mouth and slipping his tongue inside as his hands grasp my breasts, thumbs taunting me into a quivering frenzy; giving me time to adjust to his size.

          What’d I say… big hands, big feet. You can thank me later.

          Ignoring Jax, I clasp my hands behind his neck as I tighten my legs against his sides, noticing he’s still wearing his pants. That’s not fair, why does he get to be partially dressed…but the insane thought dies as he starts to move. Withdrawing ever so slowly only to return in a torturous long, hot invasion that makes my body ache for more. So, this is what 100 percent John Sheppard feels like…ohyes! I probably won’t be able to skate, dance—or hell for that matter—walk for a week.

          As the pleasure builds, my Id takes over. Want John. Need John. Must Have all of John! Trapping him between my legs, ankles crossing behind his back, I push hard against him, pulling him deeper. He breaks the kiss as a gasp catches in his throat at my counter-argument to his languid approach. I give him a sly half grin as a challenge.

          “Damn,” he mutters. His eyes are as glazed as mine, but he’s not lost yet as evidenced by the smile he gives in return. Pulling his warm hands from my flesh, he smacks them into the wall on either side of me, and pushes himself harder, slamming our bodies together, chest against chest, and planting his lips on my neck, grazing my skin with his teeth, down to a shoulder. It’s a fast, perilous ride, as we huff and grunt in unison. My head batters the wall—so worth it—with every powerful drive.

          It’s not long before an unbelievable, full-body quake erupts within me, sending hot lava through my veins, muscles spasm and relax—putting the earlier thrills plus that long hot bath to shame—and I collapse against him, his name catching in my throat. A moment later, his body trembles and he moans into my neck.

          But he’s not done with me yet. Somewhere along the way, I remember equating him with the Energizer Rabbit…massive understatement! Stamina is not something this man lacks. And… oh, what’s…?

          His strong arms surround me, crushing my body to his even as he roughly grabs my hair and yanks my head back so he can smother my mouth with his and suck out my soul.

          I lose the wall support and hold on to him as he maneuvers to the bed, guiding us down in tandem without so much as pulling out of the kiss. Oh yeah…he’s a god among mortals! The coolness of my sheets rub my back and John’s sweat-slick skin slides on top of me. Hmmm, die happy now. But, oh no.

          “He lied,” John whispers, his teeth tugging on my earlobe before locking his mouth to mine with an intense, hungry groan. What? Who-ooooh! He’s moving again, plunging deeper, faster almost violently working his way inside me. I try to raise my hips to meet his, but his weight keeps me down. Then his hands slip over my thighs, urging me to release the hold I have around his waist.

          I moan my resistance into his mouth, but he pulls away, looking down at me and says the two most dangerous words in the human language. “Trust me.” And he deploys the dimples of utter destruction and my willpower is forgotten. Sure, let him lead the way. And boy-howdy does he!

          He molds me to his desire. So many thrusts, each one more forceful, powerful than the previous, but every one of them hits me oooh right there! And I realize what he’s actually trying to do…the man’s gonna fuck me into an orgasm induced coma!

          Oh, what the hell. Why not? Can’t think of a better way to go…

          And then I’m gone. I know I screamed…don’t know exactly what I screamed, but there was definite volume on the back end of that one and then the universe exploded behind my eyes. I think I actually blacked out there for a moment.

          The tingles and joyful spasms ebb and I open my eyes—pretty much the only thing I can move at the moment—and I see mister manly-man—yep he’s definitely one of them—in all his finally unclothed, amazing glory as he stands over me, gazing at my pliable form with those hungry eyes and…holy shit…still very much aroused.

          What’d he do, take a Viagra just to make sure these urges never return? I mean, c’mon, give a girl a break…we can do this again some other time…again and again and…

          “That’s three,” he says with a self-satisfied grin.

          “Four,” I croak, my voice as weak as my newly muscle-free body.

          He shakes his head as he lays down, half on and half off me. “Nope…” he’s trailing kisses over my forehead and face down my neck to my chest again. I’m starting to understand men’s fascination with breasts now…especially what they can do to them if they have the talent. “Three.”

          I’m trying to figure out why it’s important. Is he running a tally? Does he have a pool going with some of the guys? What’s the big deal? He says three, I say four…seems like I’m the winner either way.

          He must have noticed my attention waning because his tongue stops doing that oh so lovely motion around my nipple and he looks up at me, grinning. “You had three last time.”

          Okay…? I don’t have the breath to say anything so I just raise my brows in question.

          He licks his way up to my collarbone then nips at my chin and plants little kisses on the sides of my mouth. “If we want to beat this thing…” He’s grinning down at me. “We have to do better than last time.”

          “Oh,” I manage, flashing a barely-there smile of understanding. Yep, definitely trying to kill me.

          And then he’s on me again, his mouth claiming mine in a searing kiss meant to send me straight to heaven. I try to reach for him, touch him, give him something of what he’s giving me, but his hands firmly grip my wrists and lock them over my head. At first I struggle, but it’s no use, I’m pretty much Jell-O now.

          “No,” he says firmly, gazing into my eyes with an unmistakable fire. One hand easily holds both my wrists in place as the other traces a finger over my forehead, around my sweaty cheek to my bruised lips. His fingers dance over my throat and for an instant I’m reminded of the Bugman attacking me in the corridor…wanting to do worse than kill me.

          John must have seen a flicker of memory in my eyes because he releases his hold on my wrists and his hand at my throat suddenly moves to my waist and he rolls his weight off me. As he pulls away, I see the fire in his eyes replaced with something else…guilt.

          My heart slams into my ribs with such force I think it might break bones. I clench my jaw, grinding my teeth, close my eyes and turn my face from him. He wasn’t supposed to know. I never wanted that thing to come between us…even though I never in my wildest dreams believed there’d be an ‘us’ to come between.

          I’m gonna kill Ronon!

          “He didn’t tell me,” John says softly, his hand lazily tracing zigzags over my flat belly.

          I hadn’t realized I’d said anything aloud. After a few moments of seething, I open my eyes, finding him hovering above with his hands on the mattress on either side of my head, legs planted between mine. The guilt remains, but not as overwhelming as before. He’s drinking me in with his eyes as he rubs against me.

          I’m raw and a bit sore… but I don’t care. I want him, again. And again!

          “Then…how?” I ask quietly, trying not to be distracted by the amazing feel of him against my skin.

          “I just remembered is all,” he says without meeting my gaze. He shakes his head. “I’m sorry.”

          Oh no, no mood spoilers in this room. We’ve got a record to beat. Now that my hands are free, I cup his face and force him to look at me. “Not your fault.”

          “Yes–”

          “John, nothing happened.”

          “But…I almost…I wanted to…hurt you.”

          “No, you didn’t. The virus was in command, not you. You stopped it. You saved me.”

          “But–”

          “No!” I leave no room for further argument. I use my eyes to dig into his mind and force him to see that I believe it wasn’t him that attacked me so he has no choice but to believe it as well.

          Then, I let my Id come out to play again, grinning as I return my arms overhead, linking fingers together so I don’t move, which won’t be too difficult considering I’m still pretty much Jell-O. “Your theory still has another test, correct?”

          It takes a moment for the guilt to leave his gaze, but as his eyes take in my apparent vulnerability, that adorable sideways smirk appears before he kisses me again: a long, luscious even innocent kiss that makes my brain fuzzy with renewed desire. He pulls back and stares at me, running his hands up my body, cupping my breasts before traveling back down to my legs. The fire quickly returns for both of us and he attacks my lips with new-found hunger sending all kinds of zings to my hoo-ha all over again.

          I’m so hopeless, it’s pathetic. But it feels so good! Gotta love that Id girl…she knows what she likes.

          Though the kiss is passionate and bruising, he chooses a different way to torture me this time. Slow, gentle, exceedingly tender, leaving me whimpering with pleasure and begging for him to pound my flesh to his will. He obliges eagerly and finally allows himself the powerful release that sends me spiraling into number five. Yeah, sue me. I’m still counting that first one.

1.5

          John stares at his reflection, not recognizing himself. Where the hell did that come from? He’s never behaved like that before. Never treated a woman so…he doesn’t even want to think about it.

          He splashes cold water over his face then grabs the hand towel. As he dries his eyes, he catches his reflection again only to quickly look away. Something indescribable came over him the moment he stepped into the room tonight. Seeing her freshly showered, standing in that ratty old robe, he felt overcome with hunger. Hunger only she could sate.

          He closes his shirt with the only remaining buttons available, reliving the last couple of hours in a few moments. Damn…it’s…he’s never been that intense, that insatiable before.

          He’s been feeling that way for a while, believing he had it over-powered. He buried it deep down and ignored the growing tension in his body. He tried to put her out of his head. Stay busy with work. Go on missions. But it never failed. Something would alert him to her presence. She never seemed to notice him, however.

          After a while, he started seeking her out. I’ve actually been stalking the poor woman.

          A week and a half ago, he found her alone in the Westside gym, dancing slowly to the most sensual music, an alluring vision of beauty and grace he wanted to caress, but he hid in the shadows of the corridor, not letting on that he was watching. Still, he got the impression she knew someone was there. When she finished, she looked around cautiously, on edge. He felt horrible for putting her on the defense after she’d been so relaxed, but he said nothing, stayed hidden.

          A few days later, he caught sight of her and Ronon sparring in the Eastside gym. They don’t use sticks, it’s strictly hand-to-hand combat. She’s so much smaller than Ronon and yet manages to keep her own, actually forcing the man to his knees with an arm twisted behind his back. John wonders how she did that but is afraid to ask because then she’ll know he’s been spying. Ronon won the match, but only because she got distracted and looked over her shoulder to see who was in the door. John couldn’t hide fast enough and she saw him. He avoided her eyes. Ronon took advantage in that instant and tossed her to the floor like a ragdoll. She’d gotten revenge, however: a solid head-butt that knocked the big guy silly for a few seconds.

          Three days ago, John followed her to the private room she uses for target practice. Again, he watched in silence, spying on her for no other reason than to see her in motion. She looks good with a gun in her hand. Not to mention how aroused he got seeing her throw the daggers with such precision. She has so many amazing talents; he doesn’t understand why Ronon’s not attracted to her. And yet, at the same time, he’s grateful. She seemed tense and watchful. She must have a spidey-sense because she always seems to know when he’s around. It’s unnerving as hell. But then again, he’s the one doing the stalking.

          So, he didn’t lie earlier. She has been distracting him; ever since seeing her skate on I-zoola two weeks ago. Something came over him that day. A wave of desire that’s been messing with his attention span. He thought he could bury it. Ignore all the impulses his body kept throwing at him on a daily basis. He thought he had it beat.

          Then he heard her confession to the girls in the poker game. After that...he was lost.

          And then tonight, the dream…or memory—whatever—returned, clearer than ever. Her flesh in his hands, the look in her eyes as she gazed at him with unrestrained passion, the trembles of her body as she climaxed. He wanted all of it again. Her name became a siren song in his head, refusing to let him sleep…ever again, if he didn’t act. He had to have her. Had to feel her. Just one more time. That’s what he swore. It’s infatuation…strictly physical. Some leftover chemical imbalance because of the Ancient device.

          This powerful lust drove him through The City, pushing him right into her room without so much as a word. By the time he got here, he was so agitated, he felt like he was going insane. John shakes his head. He can’t imagine what might have happened if she’d denied him.

          But she hadn’t. And she called him Johnny. He likes that for some weird reason. No one’s ever called him that before. He’s always been John. Or John-John to his mom. But never Johnny. It sounds so…juvenile. And yet when it comes on a rush of ecstasy…he really likes it. He really likes her saying it.

          John tosses the towel aside and steps into the bedroom. She’s facing him, lying on her side in the fetal position under the top sheet, lost to the world. She looks so young. So innocent. Who’d have thought?

          He’d shoot that guy who lied to her if he could. Of course, the asshole said that just to kill her a little more before bothering to shoot her. John knew she didn’t fall for it, though. She’s got skills, and she knows it. Though, if he’s right about the timeline, he’s the first guy she’s been with in eight or nine years.

          Damn! Nearly a decade! And here I thought three years was a prison in the making. Okay, two and a half, anyway.

          Still, he’s sure she only mentioned it as a way to play with him some more. And she’s good at that. His discomfort amused her and she didn’t try to hide it. She toyed with him, keeping him off-balance, making him work for everything.

          But at the same time, he gets the impression that she might have said it as a way to get him to leave, like a warning or hazard sign. There was a look she had, right before he kissed her the first time. A second before she asked him if he was going to shoot her, he caught the briefest glimpse of panic. But then it disappeared, replaced with steely power and determination. Not to mention a hell of a lot of passion.

          She’s a puzzle, that’s for sure. But he likes that about Jax.

          Or is it Angela?

          Who was he really with tonight? He calls her Angela because that’s her real name…but he’s not so sure if it’s really her. There’s a split-second change in her stature and especially her eyes when she’s one and not the other. Ronon calls it her Jax mask. It gives nothing away. Almost like a black hole. John has no idea how she feels or what she’s thinking from one moment to the next unless she tells him. But even then, he doesn’t know if she’s telling the truth. It’s impossible to know if she’s lying.

          He’s never been attracted to someone so inscrutable. She keeps him on edge which makes his stomach twist a bit.

          John moves to the side of the bed and stares down at her. So innocent. It makes his heart beat a little faster. He’s never known anyone like her. She’s tough but undeniably vulnerable, sexy but almost demure in her sexuality. She’s also extremely bright but refuses to let her intelligence shine. She’s a conundrum, an enigma and he’s drawn to that.

          His memory flashes and he remembers Jax lying on the gurney after collapsing in the mess. Her gaze was so open, so hopeful when she looked at him, apparently seeing her lost love in his eyes. And then a moment later, realizing her mistake and all that emotion vanished in an instant.

          It happened again when she started hallucinating in the infirmary and he managed to calm her down, tricking her into believing he was Ryan by calling her Angela. Then, boom, Jax returned threatening Beckett, of all people. Of course, it was right after the doctor stuck her with a needle full of sedative. That didn’t go over well at all.

          John finally heard her whole story from Gen. O’Neill a couple of months ago, after the shock of her half-brother’s death sent her into a catatonic state and the General’s visit managed to pull her back out. When he thinks about what Angela’s been through, it’s easy to understand why Ronon’s so protective of her.

          God, Ronon. If he finds out about this I’m so screwed!

          “Mom!” Angela shouts in her sleep, suddenly flipping onto her back, her face losing the innocence and taking on unimaginable pain. “Daddy!” She sobs, clutching the sheet to her chest. “...nooo...”

          John sits on the edge of the bed, but she doesn’t wake. She’s crying silently, whimpering. It’s heart-wrenching to see anyone in this much emotional agony. John traces a finger over her forehead, trying to smooth the wrinkled brow. “S’okay, Angie,” he whispers. “Everything’s okay.”

          She shakes her head, biting her bottom lip. “Don’t leave me…please,” she sobs. “Daddy…” Her begging sends spikes of pain into John’s heart, but it’s what she says next, in a hushed voice, that nearly stops it. “I’m scared.”

          John stretches out on the bed next to her, pulling her into his arms and letting her cry on his shoulder. “Don’t be afraid, Angie.”

          She whimpers and sobs some more. “m’all alone.”

          John holds her, whispering soothing words. After a while, she drifts out of the nightmares and rolls away from him. She doesn’t wake before he leaves.

₪†₪