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This Small Dust

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John tries desperately not to flinch as the familiar metal prongs slide relentlessly inside him, but Simon his new carer, notices anyway, brushing his hair back and fixing him with a disappointed look.

“Why you still make this so hard on yourself, I'll never know. It'll go easier if you relax.” He provided unnecessarily, his voice the very essence of professional detachment. Relax, they’ve all said, like it was easy, as if he was somehow choosing to make this hurt. John grits his teeth around the plastic in his mouth and nods, Simon always requires a response.

John knew the lie, like it was tattooed on his skin. Relax and everything will be fine. It won't hurt so much. Words from a thousand doctors, a thousand pamphlets, therapists and well meaning strangers. Give into it. They may as well have told him to give up.

Well, he had tried that, for years he’d practiced his breathing techniques, done the exercises, obeyed the instructions. It hadn’t made a damn bit of difference. Even Sebastian hadn’t been able to change anything, not really, but not for lack of trying. And he’d tried to give in, give everything, and he’d taken it all and still found him wanting. Right up until the last.

At least this doctor was slow, seemingly engrossed in the task.

“Has he been using the new dilators regularly?” he asked Simon, glancing across John’s body as if he were invisible, a specimen on a dissecting table. They never ask him anything anymore; it’s been noted in his chart that he lies.

“Yes, but as little as possible.We’re working on it. Michelle, his last weekday carer let him get away with much too much. We’re working back into a regular schedule but it’s taking time and you know Omegas, always resistant to change.”

“Yes, entirely. Structure I always say is best with them, keep them strictly to a set schedule and clear set of rules and they’re better off. None of this new age nonsense about ‘self-direction’, keep it simple for them and they will thrive, give them too much choice and they’ll loose themselves,” he says, patting the inside of John’s thigh like he’s a prized pet in need of a little retraining.

He chats as he goes back to working the speculum wider, absently massaging the inside walls of John’s passage with slippery fingers. Surely it’s wide enough John thinks, wishing he could at least tell the man, it’s seriously getting painful now. But the guard in his mouth won’t be removed till the appointment is over, he’d bit his tongue once and a quick note in his file ensured that before every appointment Simon got to hold the back of his head while pushing between his teeth several inches of plastic and metal. A strap behind his head held it in place. John bit down his frustration into the guard, knowing they’d check for teeth marks in the molded plastic, further evidence of its need, but the impulse was too strong.

Simon continued to brush back John’s hair absently with his hand, tactile sensations were meant to be soothing to Omegas. John wanted to push the hand away, instead he pushed into it, let Simon think he’s a good little Omega.

“Has his guardian considered trying the Kashinski Method with him by any chance? I know it’s considered controversial but the results have truly been exceptional, especially in difficult cases like John’s here.” John’s blood ran cold, not that shit again.

“Yes, well it has been suggested but his current Guardian, his father, is a traditionalist and doesn’t go in for these new hormone therapies, preferring the old methods. You know these old families.”

“Quite. Our understanding of Omega physiology would move so much faster if these old families weren’t so caught up in the old traditions. There is wonderful work being done on artificial insemination in Japan, with some Omegas giving birth to twins or even triplets,” He looked down at John almost hungrily, “if only they would let us try that more often here, John would be a wonderful subject to work with.”

“Not worth the effort I’m afraid. His previous guardian tried the works with him, from hormone replacement, IVF, more medications than you’d believe, you name it he tried it. Poor John’s sterile as they come I reckon, though his next guardian will probably give it another go. They always think they’ll be the one,” he snorted a laugh, “might as well bring back the Alpha Fertility Trials, you know they’ll manage it easy as.”

The doctor shook his head nervously, they were crossing into dangerous territory here and they knew it. But it looked like Simon had stumbled onto a passionate topic for the man. The fingers stopped moving, left resting inside him though, John apparently forgotten on the table.

“Sure, they’d get them pregnant but with a 40% higher chance of another Alpha getting born, it’s not worth the risk. As it is, you only get a 12% increased chance of an Omega from an Alpha pregnancy and you loose your bloodline purity. If only they’d let us genetically screen the embryos, we could eliminate the Alphas all together. Their sort of mindless violence should be locked away at birth, not given so many chances, time and time again.” He hissed seething. “They bring them in here and I get stuck taking their samples, but I won’t see them unless they’re restrained. I’m not dealing with that.”

Simon nodded, “At least they’re rarer than Omegas and not half as smart or as pretty.” He said looking down at John fondly. John closed his eyes instead of meeting Simon’s gaze, too often the carers got attached, thought themselves Guardians, wanted more. John hoped he’d taken the hint.

But Simon apparently was thicker than John hoped and mistook it as fear, “Don’t worry, we’ll never let an Alpha near you. We were just talking, just ignore us, hey? Nothing to worry about.” The hair stroking resumed.

“Best get on I suppose,” the doctor sighed, finally pulling his fingers back from inside

He positioned a light down between John’s thighs and proceeded to take the samples needed.

But the speculum didn’t come out just yet, John knew he wasn’t lucky enough for that.

“I’ve worked him open somewhat today, so I’ll fit him with a 2C standard base model, in the vaginal passage and a 1.3C flared base model in his anal passage. Try to work him back up to a 3D on each before his next appointment. His father has scheduled him for an induced heat with full internal and external and it’ll go much easier for him if he’s already loosened.”

“Isn’t that a bit fast, we’re scheduled for…” Simon checks the calendar on his phone “next Thursday?”

John’s breath caught, no one had told him that he was going to be forced through another so soon. He tried desperately to get his breathing under control, Simon would drug him if he saw him panicking.

 

“Not at all, he obviously needs a good heat. Just work him hard and regularly over the next few days and use the overnight dilation device I sent over a month or so ago. I know he’s complained about getting enough sleep, but he’ll soon get used to it. Won’t you?” he says, genially at an unresponsive John.

Fuck you he wants to tell him, You try going through that shit and tell me you’ll get used to it. Instead he bites down harder, breathing through his nose.

The doctor gets out a case and selects the sizes he wants, barely reduces the speculum before he’s sliding in the dilators. John grunts around the guard and Simon is shushing him.

“All done.” He says smiling down at John like he’s a kindergartner who just cried through his shots.

“Alright, let’s get you up and dressed.” Says Simon as he eases John’s feet out of the stirrups. He reaches behind him and grabs the plastic and metal belt resting on the surgical bench and adjusts the internal metal cables to account for the dilators. He holds it against John’s pelvis for a moment, checking the fit before smiling up to him and saying.

“Make sure to tell me if it’s too loose, wouldn’t want those slipping out.” He winks at John like he’s made some inside joke before slipping it under his hips and around his pelvis. The first lock catches just above his penis and around his waist.

Testicles and penis are pulled through the custom made sheath and fastened downward, effectively preventing any ‘mistakes’. The final panel is pulled forward from the back to the front locking everything in and preventing John from ‘interfering with his treatment’.

When he’d first seen the belt resting in Sebastian’s hands, John had raged against him, pushing the belt out of his fingers and on to the floor. I don’t need it!

He’d tried to back away, yelling at him that he couldn’t do that, couldn’t make him. John said he’d been good, had done everything Sebastian wanted, he didn’t need to be locked away.

“Sweetheart. It’s not about that, I know you’re trying, so hard. This will make it easier, can’t you see? No more choices? You won’t have to fight it anymore, it’s my choice. You know you’re not allowed to get hard, now you won’t be able to, it’ll be easier I promise.

Plus, the Institute advised in their last newsletter that any Omega with the chance of running into an Alpha should wear one, it’s too risky that they might go into a rut and I wouldn’t want you getting hurt.” He’d lent in to kiss John then, holding him against himself tight.

“It’s for your own good. You’ll get used to it, I promise.”

He wanted to reach down and feel flesh instead plastic.

But John couldn't. He still resented it. Missed the rare quiet moments when he could slip his fingers down and encircle himself, stifling a moan lest the carer in the next room hear. He wanted the sweetness of pleasure without the damning pressure of Heat or the empty ache of Sebastian filling him. But, he wanted so many things, none of it possible. To John, wants were like dreams, gently fading away in the light of day, the only path left to him, well worn and hard underfoot, chosen by another.

The last lock clicked shut and Simon’s hands were encircling his waist and his voice telling him to get up.

“Time to go home.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 “You can’t be serious!” exclaims Carson in alarm, “Those DNA databases are for genetic screening and medical research not your own private recruitment drive.”

“Oh, stop overreacting. I merely hacked in to see if there was any suitably qualified gene carriers in the system and look I was right,’ he says shoving a small stack of papers in Carson’s face.

“Six just in the preliminary search! But look at this one, it’s off the charts. We have to have him, I don’t care who he is, he can be the janitor for all I care so long as he can sit in my lab for three hours a day turning tech on.”

Though he knew it was unprofessional, Carson himself couldn’t help hoping that maybe another gene carrier on board might just take the pressure off himself in that area, he really was quite uncomfortable handling much of the alien technology they were sure to discover.

“All right,” He sighs audibly, “lets just take a look then. As you’ve already got this far,” Rodney made no effort to hide his self satisfied smirk.

Well, he’d got his hopes up for nothing apparently. The data was really quite limited, a medical ID number, DNA profile and gender. Carson flicked through the pile with a quickly sinking heart.

“Rodney, most of these barely register the gene and all and this one,” He says holding up the one that had Rodney all excited, “Well, his gene markers are amazing but, did you look past that fact?”

“What?” he says grabbing the profile back.

“He’s an Omega Rodney. There is no way an Omega can come along.”

“Why not?”

“Rodney,” His irritation at Rodney’s obliviousness showing his his voice, “sometimes you really need to look out beyond maths and engineering. Surely you know of Omegas?”

“Of course, pampered, sexual and pretty things. Married off young to the rich and famous. Not much to know.”

“Seriously Rodney?”

The blank look he receives tell him everything. Though he probably shouldn’t be surprised, Rodney’s securely middle class upbringing combined with the increasingly extreme rarity of Omegas probably contributed to him never even having glimpsed an Omega let alone met one.

“So? How does that stop me recruiting one?”

“They have a Guardian, from birth till death, who decides everything. Generally it starts out as a family member but technically the guardian is chosen by the Alpha and Omega Institute, the government body in charge of all Alpha and Omega Services. If the Guardian is seen as neglectful or sometimes for merely acting against the AOI they are assigned a new guardian. Alphas and Omegas can’t marry as they are seen as never fully being able to consent, instead their guardian must see to their sexual needs in whichever way they see fit. And those needs are one of their defining characteristics, periods of intense physiological need, fulfilled only by a series of mating and release. This isn’t a simple matter Rodney.

You won’t be recruiting an Omega Rodney, you’ll be recruiting the Institute and his Guardian.”

“Well,” says Rodney, obviously irritated by this development but not put off, “That’s where I’ll tell Elizabeth to start then.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Elizabeth eyed the folder with distaste, it had been sent over by the AOI and so far had held nothing of any use to understanding just who John Sheppard really was. They had gotten lucky apparently, John’s currently Guardian, his father, was a retired military general and already briefed on the Stargate project. He was willing with certain conditions to allow John to accompany them.

As for everyone else, the yelling was starting to feel like a permanent condition when it came to John Sheppard. Neither the Institute or the anyone on the Stargate Board wanted John on the mission. He was, it appeared, a bit of a thorn in everyones side but valuable enough that they didn’t want to part with him easily or be stuck with the issue of accommodating him.

His file, the single concession she was able to wheedle out of them so far was huge. Reams and reams of medical reports, it seemed John that had been unsuccessful in conceiving and that this had resulted in several behavioral issues or so the specialists theorized. But it was becoming very apparent that the ‘behavioral issues’ long predated even his initial attempts and were in fact a seeming permanent personality trait. He was labeled; defensive and difficult by one, impulsive and strong-willed by another and finally after seeming endless psychological profiles given the diagnosis of Omega Defiance Disorder and heavily medicated. He continued to be so, though at a reduced rate to this day.

So not only was she negotiating an Omega to join them but one who obviously had issues. She wasn’t even sure she wanted him along herself, and if it hadn’t been for Rodney’s vehement claim that there was almost no point in attempting the mission without at least one strong gene carrier, she would have given in long ago.

How on earth were they even going to convince them? Let alone find enough personnel among the staff already recruited to be carers for him. This was fast becoming more difficult than any other international negotiation she’d had to complete to date.

She sighed and closed the file. Time to call in a favor she had been hoping to avoid, her hand reaching for the phone, shook slightly.

“Dad, it’s Liz. I need your help with something.”

 

 

 

 

John bit his tongue and tasted blood. He hadn’t meant to but sometimes he just couldn’t help it, all he could hope for was that Simon didn’t notice. He wasn’t the most observant carer he’d ever had.

Simon was busy anyway, focused on the machine currently positioned between John’s legs. He was fastening John’s feet into the harness-like frame of the device.

It fitted between this legs snugly, only forcing his hips apart slightly. It was more the way it immobilized his legs that bothered John, the way he was forced to sleep on his back, legs bounds straight while ever so persistently an increasingly large phallus was thrust infinitively slowly inside and out of him.

It was both maddening and uncomfortable and not for the first time did John damn the body that he was born with. A body that was both Omega and barely that, too tight to ever be truly comfortable during penetration, too particular to ever be allowed any other type.

Finally Simon patted him on the hip and seemingly satisfied with the two inches or so already inside John, pulled the covers up over him.

“Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.”

Sure, John thought, just as soon as hell freezes over.

He was in for a long night.

 

 

 

At some time just after nine, he didn’t get to have a clock in the room with him but he knew the changing of the shifts, Lisa came in to check on him.

“How are you doing? Think you’ll get any sleep?” she asked sympathetically, slipping back the blankets and peering critically between his legs. He could feel her hand slip down and test the edges of the phallus against his outer labia, already it felt tight and over stretched. She added a little more lubricant and rubbed his lower belly soothingly.

He liked Lisa, a little too idealistic and overly affectionate but she meant well and John could appreciate that. He tried to be civil with her when forced to talk. He didn’t talk that much anymore but he made the effort for her.

“No.”

“I know hun, it sucks. I thought we’d junked this thing, but apparently they want to give it one last shot. Try to get a little sleep at least. I’ll be in later to check on you.” She patted him on the shoulder.

 

 

 

 

Hours later when she returned John was miserable, not only was he still wide away and counting the minutes, he was sore. Simon was obviously being overly ambitious with the depth because it seriously felt like he was being skewered. Sure, he’d taken this size before but not in a while, it hurt.

“Please,” he gritted out, hating the tone in his voice, hating to have to beg, “Turn it down.”

“OK, lets take a look shall we.” She pulled up the specs on her tablet and her frown deepened.

“Damn that Simon, always the new ones, think they can force things with you. I’m sorry John. I’ll have a word with him about expectations. How’s that? Better?”

He nodded relieved.

“Ok, no chance of sleep then hey?”

“None.”

“I’ll be right back.”

A couple of minutes later she returned, glass in hand.

“Here you go,” She said cheerily slipping a pill between his lips and tipping his head up to the glass, “That’ll give you a few hours at least.”

The last John heard was her settling in down beside him to read. Apparently the drug was strong enough for her to monitor him overnight.

 

 

 

 

He woke to the sound of an argument going on outside.

“I can’t believe you left him like that! He was really hurting and until I was forced to drug him, he hadn’t had a minute of sleep.”

“I knew what I was doing. Anyway, he’ll get used to it, a couple of nights lost sleep isn’t the end of the world.” The disbelief was evident in his voice.

“You don’t know anything!” she hissed “Did you even read his file? He needs a good night’s sleep and a low stress environment a lot more than he needs you proving yourself. He’s been through a lot, and we’ve only just got him stabilized and his medication down. You weren’t here through the worst, when he was barely functional from all the drugs he was on. I’m not having a setback again just because you think he’ll be able to cope, he won’t.”

“God you’re acting like a little lost sleep will ruin him. He’ll be fine.”

“Have you ever seen an Omega have a rage fit? Throw things, scream at you to leave him alone. Try to fight his way out? Exactly. You’re way out of your depth with this and you don’t even realize it. You can’t treat John like you treat other Omegas, I don’t care what fancy school you went to, John’s different.

Don’t let his silence fool you, the minute he has you at a disadvantage, you’ll be on your ass and he’ll be off. And you better pray he hasn’t already dug out his tracking chip or it’ll be your job and no reference. Last time the police took three days to track him down, have you ever heard of an IC Omega surviving three days on his own? John barely did, suffering from withdrawal from the meds, not knowing where to go, who to trust. If you want to an easy job, with an omega you can push around, quit now, or I’ll make sure you’re fired myself.” John could hear the venom in her voice, he didn’t know whether to silently cheer her on or get angry for her for warning Simon.

“OK, OK. I might have been preemptive. But we do need to get him ready for his heat. What are we meant to do about that?”

“I’ll talk to the heat technician, see if I can’t get them to go easy on him.”

Simon snorted in disbelief, “Those cowboys and their machines, they couldn’t care less.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Hold on, you’re telling me they gave in? Just like that?” Elizabeth couldn’t conceal the disbelief in her voice.

“Yes, and no. The pressure from various interested parties did force their hand but but they have stipulations and conditions, lots of conditions.” The Base lawyer looked at her with a resigned, weary expression, she knew how he felt.

“Of course they do,” she knew it couldn’t be that easy, “lay it on me.”

“Most importantly you’ll need to find a male Guardian for him, it would have gone to you but as a female you are ineligible so you’ll need to recommend another.”

Those old fashioned institutions, remnants of the patriarchy, she thought to herself bitterly. Of course, women weren’t able to impregnate an omega but guardianship was so much more than that, that particular however rule seemed to stick no matter how far omega rights has come. She wouldn’t have been happy to take his guardianship but it would be better than the alternatives. Damn them.

As a child she could remember seeing men bring their omegas to her father’s estate, leading them around like young children, speaking to them in that patronizing tone, the one that expects nothing from them in return. She couldn’t help but pity them then, even though she didn’t quite understand what it meant and why the men looked at her strangely and why none had daughters.

“Alright,” she sighed, “I’ll work something out. What else?”

“He’s to be kept on his current treatment regime. They believe they know best and without any AOI certified doctors on staff they won’t OK any changes that aren’t absolutely necessary.”

“Dr Beckett is certified.”

“Only, conditionally. He is allowed to do his genetic research through the Institute but must do so under the supervision of one of their staff doctors. It’s very closed doors I’m afraid.”

“OK, we’ll try.”

“He’s also to be on contraception for the duration. It’s not exactly normal, but these circumstances are unusual enough to warrant it.”

“Only bit of good news yet.” Thank god, she thought, only they would be lucky enough to have him conceive on Atlantis after nearly two decades of failure.

“Also, if and when we reconnect with Earth, they want monthly reports, backdated from the date of arrival, full medical work-up and everything. Plus he is to be surrendered back into their custody if and when he return for any reason.”

“That it?" "More or less, they’ve left detailed instructions for how they want specific situations handled. It’s all in the guardianship contract. And remember,” his voice took an uneasy tone, “they have the right to prosecute under Omega Neglect if any of the contract is ignored or broken.”

“Yes, yes I know.” She rubbed at temple, feeling the beginnings of another migraine, “I’ll read it over carefully.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth looked up as Rodney entered the room, the pinched stress around her eyes obvious even to Rodney.

“Well?” He asked, “He’s coming right?”

“Yes,” she nodded “We didn’t really give them much choice, with the security council specifically requesting it. But, as the leading male civilian you’re going to have to be his Guardian.” The displeasure evident in her voice.

“Finally! Now when can we get him here? I have so much work to do and I need him to get started right…wait" realization dawned "…what? Me?”

“Yes Rodney. It was you or Colonel Sumner and I just couldn't hand him over to the military.”

“But, I don’t know the first thing about being a guardian. Hell, I don’t know anything about Omegas. Why couldn’t you do it?”

She stifled the urge to strangle him. “I’m a woman Rodney. Women can’t be guardians.”

“Well, that’s just..” He trailed off confused.

“Rodney, you wanted him on board so now you have him. He’ll be available in a little over a week apparently. Just enough time before we’re due to leave. I suggest you use some of the time to familiarize yourself with Omegas, go see Dr. Beckett and learn a little about their needs and for god sake read your guardianship contract.” She said thumping a heavy tome down on the desk in front of her.

“As if I didn’t have enought to…”

“Rodney!” she interrupted

“Fine, fine.” He muttered gathering up the contract, “Can’t be that complicated.”

 

 

 

 

Just how wrong he was soon became apparent the minute he sat down and simply goggled ‘Omega’. The generic search revealed that he’d unknowingly dived head first into a political, social and medical maelstrom. Nothing apparently was simple when it came to Omegas. He closed his eyes for a minute, readying himself for the onslaught. Why couldn’t this guy have been a chef? They needed chefs. He could have delivered lunch before each shift in the lab!

Three hours and Rodney was getting frustrated. No one seemed to agree on who or what Omegas were (Intersex? A separate gender? He was still confused), what they wanted (Independence? Support? A family?) or even how many there were (some said 1 per 10,000, some 1 in 100,000 and others said much higher but that they were in hiding).

One thing though soon became very apparent, while there was a plethora of discussions about Omegas, their own voices were strangely absent. On the rare occasion that an omega was interviewed their silence spoke more than their words. They generally spoke in platitudes, genial nothing statements, rehearsed sounding statements. He shut his computer with a sigh, he was getting nowhere.

 

 

 

 

“Carson,” he stormed into the med bay with more than his usual rancor.

“Aye Rodney?”

“Elizabeth made me his guardian.”

“Oh dear.”

“Yep.” He let that troubling bit of information sink in for a moment before demanding, “Tell me everything you know about Omegas. The internet is useless, it’s just full of people ranting on soap boxes about Omega Rights or Omega Protection. The omegas themselves don’t even get a voice.”

Carson hummed knowingly at his annoyance, his own attempts at trying to gain access to them for genetic research hitting close to home. Omegas In Care generally weren't given access to the Internet, too corrupting, and the rare independent ones knew better than to test their luck against the Institute finding out.

The closed doors of AOI society notorious in its ability to control any and all information regarding their charges, Alpha and Omega alike. The one and only reason he knew what he did was because of the limited access he was granted for his genetic research and even that was censured for internal publication within the government and the Institute itself.

“Well, it is an old issue Rodney. Where do you want me to start?”

“Just, tell me what I’m meant to do.”

“Take a seat. This is going to take a while.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next few days were hard for John. Something was off with everyone and noone would tell him what was going on. They kept looking at him with sad, remorseful eyes, like he was dying or something. But no one would tell him why.

Even Simon was being strangely affectionate, his ever present touching ramped up to a frustrating level and John would keep catching him staring, pity evident on his face. He wanted to scream What?! What is going on? What aren’t you allowed to tell me? He had this awful feeling that maybe he was sick, maybe he really was dying and they all thought it was too traumatic to tell him. They did things like that.

They didn’t tell him that his mother was sick until it was too late to say goodbye. They hadn’t even let him in to see her, to traumatic. Best to remember her well, they told him, try not to think too hard about it. He hated them for the first time then, realization had started to dawn.

And the damn heat was still approaching like a sentence waiting to be carried out. Unlike his natural heats, which were unhealthily mild, they told him they were not enough to fulfill his body’s needs, the induced heats were torturous, wild thrashing things.

More pain than pleasure.

The drugs pushed his body into a spiral of agonizing want that could not be satisfied, not matter how wrecked he was, no matter how exhausted and bruised he was. The agony continued till the drugs wore off and for days after he was barely functional, barely lucid. His body screaming from the abuse.

And no one would tell him what was wrong.

 

 

That night, as Lisa came to check on him he broke.

“What is it?” he asked to the darkness, “Am I sick?” the words now out of his mouth, hanging like a spectre in the room.

“Oh Honey, no! Of course not. Were you thinking that? I’m so sorry, of course you noticed. No, honey, you’re fine.”

Breathe, he told himself, it’s not that. Relief.

“What is it then?”

“I’m so sorry John. I can’t tell you. Your father wants to wait till after your heat. But, I promise you John, you’re fine. Try to get some sleep, big day tomorrow, your heat always tires you out.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

"The most important fact to know about why omegas are treated the way they are is that they bare only male children."

Carson sips the tea he's made for both Rodney and him. It's cooled slightly as Rodney and he had sat going over the various roles and responsibilities of a guardian. It's slightly bitterer than he'd normally have, but seemed fitting for this conversation. And judging by Rodney's expression, it's starting to dawn on him what he's signed himself up for.

They've finally got around to the historical context of omegas. But, how he's going to explain a millennia of culture to Rodney, he's really not sure and can feel himself getting flustered. What he does realize is that he's going to need to try. John won't be able to and he'll need Rodney to understand.

"Well, actually they bare omegas, alphas and male betas (that's us by the way), but society accepts that all of them are male and male children means the family name and line can be completely uninterrupted, no dowry needs to be paid, in fact omega children were valuable enough to lift an entire family out of poverty. Their physical attractiveness and passive natures, simply reinforced this tradition.

It was really quite simple. The beta son was given the inheritance, alphas were given to the army to serve their families' commitment to the Crown (or State for the Romans) and omegas were sold or gifted to secure favor. Occasionally, an omega is still gifted, though it's less frequent. Nowadays a man usually applies to the institute, pays an absurd application fee and is appointed an omega. Preference goes to those with family membership but anyone with enough money can buy their way in as well."

"The omegas have no choice in the appointment?"

"If their family has membership, generally the family gets to choose the guardian, upon approval by the AOI. If they've been brought in by the Institute from outside its membership, they are assigned by some mysterious match making process I still don't understand."

Rodney is looking a little queasy, like he wants the conversation over already.

"So, John? What happened with him?"

"He's actually a quite strange. His file says that at eighteen he was assigned a guardian organised by his family, but assisted by the Institute. He was with that guardian for just over a decade but, around the time he was 28 his guardianship reverted back to the Institute and then his father and except for a few temporary guardianships when his father was overseas, he has been with him since then. Almost five years, an unusually long period without a new guardian being assigned.

His file offers no explanation as to who his guardian was or why it didn't last. Generally guardianships are for life, to have your omega removed or to give them back is seen as a serious humiliation. It almost never happens voluntarily."

"Why isn't it in his file?"

"Honestly, I don't know. What is apparent is that the institute removed the information before they handed over his file. Why, I have no idea, frankly I'm not sure I want to know, there are very few reasons for the institute to do that and none of them pleasant." The information sat heavily between them, "I guess it'll be up to John to tell us if he wants us to know."

"Sure, it's not like it matters now anyway. He'll be leaving all this behind anyway." Rodney waves a dismissive hand across the whole issue. As far as he sees it, Atlantis will be a new start for everyone, himself included.

"Back to the issue at hand." Rodney reaches for his tablet and opens a new document. "That tome that Elizabeth lobbed at me says I need to make sure he's supervised at all times. Obviously, I won't be able to do it all as I'll be needed all over and can't be dragging him with me. He'll need to stay with you or one of your nurses." Carson had seen this coming but couldn't see any way around it.

"While I agree there will be times when he'll need to be in the infirmary, particularly during heats, which you will be staying with him for." He fixes Rodney with a cool look, "we all have other jobs Rodney. I won't be doing yours for you."

"No of course not. Just when I'm too busy."

"No, Rodney..." But Carson can tell that this is an argument for another day, Rodney has already dismissed the issue and is packing up to leave, his mind already too far away. Well, Carson thinks to himself, at least that'll give him a chance to include John more thoroughly in his research both of omegas and gene carriers. He's always been fascinated by omega biology, it'll be extremely interesting to study it up close. He's so busy planning the various tests he can run, be barely notices Rodney leaving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#

John is past exhausted, locked in the familiar agony of a body that keeps wanting even when he can't give anymore, can't take anymore.

He's past screaming, past begging now.

He's here and not really anymore, because his whole body hurts in some deep cellular way, to his bones, his skin, his muscles, his veins burning.

He looks at the needle fixed into his arm, the drip sending this poison into his body, poison that won't let this hell end. Not until they decide he's suffered enough, that the heat is strong enough to satisfy his fucked up biology.

He wants to wrench his arm so the needle is dislodged, he's done it before. Ripped a long streak of skin open and watched the blood and liquid pool on the floor in relief. But they'd just taped the wound in gauze and used his other arm, securing the needle more securely and adding more drugs to make up for the lost quantity. Utterly futile.

He's secured in the familiar body harness, they change the position from time to time, giving different muscle groups the chance for a break, using to harness to keep him secured to whatever machine they deem necessary.

Right now he's upright, the harness tight around his chest and hooked up by cables to the ceiling. He's not carrying any of his own weight anymore and can feel the stiff leather digging into his shoulders and waist, no matter how they pad it, long experience tell him, it'll leave bruises for weeks.

He's secured over a saddle shaped machine. The technician had lowered him on to it slowly, fitting a plastic phallus in each hole as he guided him down from above. John had barely been conscious at the time, but had woken at the intrusion of yet another wider, deeper device impaling him and with horror recognised what he was on.

That was when the begging started. He knew this machine, Sebastian had adored it. Said he loved to observe John. He wanted to watch his face, see him in his true state.

He'd leave him completely unrestrained except for the thigh belts keeping him cinched tight down onto the saddle. And he'd watch him, sipping a whiskey and listening to John beg. Beg to be taken, to be relieved, to be released.

To this day John doesn't know what he was begging for, he'd trusted Sebastian enough to know. Then Sebastian would shush him, telling him to take it like a good omega. And he would, because once it was over Sebastian would pull him off the machine and tell him how amazing he was. He'd take him into the bathroom and they'd sit in a warm bath together, John slack against him with exhaustion. Sebastian would wash his hair and tell him how he loved seeing him like this. Lax and needy. He'd tell him how the only time he was perfect was after a good working-over and make him promise to be better or they'd have to do it again. Again and again.

But the technician wasn't interested in listening, asking Simon to quiet him down. The gag at least gave him something to bite down on. Better than beg.

Simon didn't seem to mind, he was playing some sort of game on his phone, Something involving animals and guns, John couldn't make his eyes to focus long enough to tell. He wanted Simon to touch him again, something, anything to change the sensation of being entered over and over again. Though he usually hated it, he wanted Simon to brush his hair back and tell him it would be fine.

He missed Michelle. She's sat with him through every heat and talked incessantly, telling him how well he was doing, how strong he was being. But even she had left him. Quit after one heat where he'd been unable to stop begging. He'd fixed on a phrase, begging for it to be turned down and repeated it over and over and over again. Or so they'd said. He couldn't remember. But after that she'd left, she didn't say goodbye.

Finally the angle changed and the saddle shifted forward and down. Finally, finally he felt the orgasm drawing close. It's a raw thing, his muscles too tired and too abused to process the pleasure properly anymore. But it meant one step closer to finished.

Simon shushed him gently and told him that he was almost done. Just a couple of hours now. Be a good omega and it'll all be over soon.

But he's not sure he can take it, he's getting too tired. Too tired of fighting. Too tired of accepting. Too tired of telling himself that he just needs a new strategy, someway to make this work, to make this better, be better. He can't anymore and it's these last few hours that make him realize it. He can't do this much longer. He can't.

 

#

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning arrives with a hazy melt into consciousness. He knows he must have been given painkillers by the way everything seems fuzzy around the edges but the throbbing ache between his legs and the screaming of his muscles seems to have been little impacted.

He shifts under his sheets though, luxuriating in the temporary freedom from the belt, they knew he wouldn't be up for anything for a while yet and that he needed a chance to recover. Unless he left the property, he wouldn't have to wear it for at least a couple of days. He wanted to reach down and press against his aching, swollen passages, at least feel the damage, but he knew better and didn't want to risk the belt again so soon. The best he could do was press his legs together tightly and practically at moan at the combination of pain and relief, the wonderful feeling of skin against skin instead of plastic.

He heard footsteps approaching the door, it was open as always, and Lisa walked in carrying the breakfast tray. They'd usually make him stay in bed the first couple of days after an induced heat, let his body recover. But something was off about her today, she seemed strangely nervous, fearful even.

Then he remembered. He had been to messed up during the heat to remember, but now it all came back, the dread and paranoia of the last few days. A new guardian? They'd finally found someone to take him after all, finally found someone desperate enough for an Omega to agree to take him on?

But, that wasn't right. A new guardian would mean a celebration in the house, the staff would be naively delighted for him, like they had been the first time, telling him of how wonderful it would be. No, not a guardian. Maybe Father had finally agreed to sign John up to one of those experimental medical trials the Institute had been suggesting. John closed his eyes, willing away the horror filled images that swelled across his mind. No, he knew John wouldn't endure that, he wouldn't let himself go through that again.

"Good morning," says Lisa, all false cheer as she sets the tray across his lap, "How are you feeling?"

"Same as always." He nods looking down at the tray of brownish stuff they call Protein Enhanced Porridge and large cup of greenish coloured tea with distaste. The only other thing on the plate is a paper cup filled with nutritional supplements, behavioural medications and probably more painkillers. He'd stopped asking what they were giving him in his teens when the frustration of their constant refusals to tell him became too much, it would make no difference knowing anyway, he'd still have to take them. She saw his distaste.

"It's boring I know, but you remember how upset your stomach gets after a heat and anyway you'll need to eat up quickly, your father wants to see you."

Great, John thought, he's decided to deliver the bad news himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

His father wasn't a cruel man, John knew this. He'd never set out to make John suffer. But he was a man bent on following traditions and respecting the family name. When he looked at John, it wasn't without affection, often tinged with disappointment or frustration, but John knew he did try to do the best by his son.

The best however, was exactly what John fought against, with every part of himself desperately searching for another way, for some measure of freedom and the more he fought, the tighter the cage became.

He was never going to escape his classification as an IC omega now, it was too late. He knew it, everyone did. He just had to accept it himself and finally let go of all hope. He knew when he did, it would be the end, he'd find a way and then it would be over at least, it didn't feel so far off anymore. Till then, well, he'd keep telling him, keep fighting him, every step, even when already he could feel those cold cage bars pressing deep groves into his skin.

He walked into his father's study like an old man, slumped over and supported by Lisa. His every step a trial, the uncertainly of his muscles holding out growing with each step. He saw the shock in his father's eyes, he rarely saw John like this, bowed and in pain. What little contact he had with John was never near a heat, not after the first few time that John had screamed at him and physically tried to harm him for making him go through it. He'd not seen John this wrecked in a very long time, the memory probably softened with the passing years.

John's anger however wasn't softened, he was still so enraged, and he held on to it lovingly, letting it keep him sane. All he wanted now was to hurt this man, make him suffer like he make John suffer. Make him take it all, like John had to.

But he knew, there was no point. No choice this man could see but the ones he'd already made, without the induced heats John would become dangerously ill they told him, and he believed them. It was probably true, John didn't care, he'd rather that.

But, he looked so old all of a sudden. Like somehow seeing John like this physically aged him somehow. And he looked so sad, so terribly sad.

As Lisa helped John lower himself into the chair across from his gigantic desk, the man seemed to shrink in on himself. Smaller than he'd ever been. Lisa left them then, quietly shutting the door behind herself.

"John," he started the emotion unmistakable in his voice, "I know I've never been able to give you what you needed.' He sounded so broken, so lonely somehow, the anger in John simmered a little less. He'd always seemed so strong, resolute, a power to be fought against. John didn't know how to read this, this shadow of his oppressor.

"We were so happy when you were born, it'd been generations since we had an omega in the family and it was like some sort of blessing was bestowed on us, we were the perfect family.

But when William died, I was so lost, he'd given me two beautiful sons and was the better part of me for so many years, all I wanted was that for you. To find you a guardian that you could have a family with, bare beautiful boys like I had. Don't you see that I wanted the best for you?"

John refused to answer, this was an old and weathered argument, neither would find ground here.

"But you always fought everything I tried to do for you"

To me, John thought viciously, What you did to me. But he obviously saw the accusation in John's eyes because he suddenly lost the far away look and stiffened up in his chair, resolute again.

"I wish I could give you what you need. But I know now, I never could, you wouldn't let me. The best I can do for you now is this; you're going away John, somewhere new, somewhere far, far away. Away from everything and everyone you've ever known.

And I don't know if it'll be better, maybe it'll be worse for you but at least I won't have to watch you gradually decay away. At least it'll be a new start, you'll get a second change. Because damned if I don't feel like I didn't give you a first."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

 

They gave him something as they woke him, probably Valium, he thought, as he felt his muscles relax with the familiar drug. A heavy dose though, sinking relentlessly into his body till he felt heavy and slow.

Lisa was tearing up as she helped him dress, much to warmly, in thick thermal under-layers. A heavy coat was handed to the soldier, Major Lorne he recalled, as he was led out to the car. The heavy binder used to record his medication regime and various other information was also provided, but that was all. The sum total of his life he realized somewhat cynically, his history measured in dosage and time.

Lorne stood by the jeep, alone and smiling.

"Ready to go?" he asked, as if expecting an answer. John stalled slightly in his step, the smile didn't feel predatory, but you never knew.

Lisa answered for him, "We've given him 20mg of Valium on top of his normal regime, so he might be a little groggy for the drive. Medications needed for today are in here," She hands over the familiar day case, "and enough for the next week, have been sent ahead. He'll be more cooperative if you repeat the dose in another four hours."

She snorts at Lorne's obvious surprise at heavy the use of the drug.

"Soldier," the distaste evident in her address, "you're not a Carer or a Guardian, don't even think about second guessing those who know better than you. You've got no idea what you're doing." She dismisses him with a glare and turns to John, clearly upset.

"I'm so sorry John! I would never let them do this to you if I had any way to stop them. You're too precious to be handed over to the damn military." She spits out the last words directed at Lorne. She pulled him bodily into a hug, "Try to obey John, they're not like us here."

He nods, the only response he knows how to give, no tears building, no tightness in his chest like he'd expected. He felt only a strange lightness, weightlessness, as if with every moment that led away from the house, from her and his father somehow shifted, lifted the weight of years behind him away.

Finally, he thought to himself as his father pulled him into a stifling embrace, finally.

 

 

#

"So how much have they told you? Precious little I imagine, with that sour lot," he huffs out a laugh, sparing John a glace and a raised eyebrow.

He'd led John to the front seat of the Jeep, a welcome first for him, much to the displeasure of Lisa, to which he seemed immune. He'd snickered as he'd lent over and did up John's seatbelt, with a curious look, before pulling out into the drive.

"Not much of a talker I see. Well, we've got about an hour to the airstrip, and if you're not too drugged up to hear me. I'd love to know just what you've been told, maybe fill you in on what little I can."

"Where am I going?" He asked, his voice strange to his ears, the drugs thick in his blood. 

"You don't know?" The disbelief harsh sounding, unintentionally cruel.

John didn't answer, his silence answer enough, and the drug was really starting to kick in anyway, making his thoughts slow and heavy.

Lorne raked his hands through his hair and sighed audibly.

"I'm not allowed to tell you very much, they're worried that you'll go into shock or something. But what I can tell you is this; currently we're on the way to the closest Airforce Base to fly out, after several change of planes eventually we'll arrive in a research base in Antarctica. You've been assigned a new guardian there, Dr. McKay in fact." His voice took an unidentifiable pause then before continuing, "apparently you have been identified as possessing a gene they need in their reasearch there. Well, there and where you'll eventually be headed. Don't worry," he says doing his best to be reassuring, "it's got to be better than here right?"

John wanted to agree but the eventual slide into unconsciousness was undeniable, well at least he could skip the flight he thought wryly to himself, he hated the omega flight harnesses. Gotta be better than here.


The flight out took so long that he was starting to feel a real sense of trepidation finally, the reality of it settling into his skin if not his consciousness quite yet.

They’d dosed him again twice more throughout the trip, so much of it was a blur. He could remember being strapped into the military plane seats, not an omega harness thankfully, he imagined that they didn’t get many Omegas in these types of planes.

He remembered getting given a bowl of that instant gruel meant to be gentle on an omegas stomach ‘Perfect for all round nutrition!’ the packet helpfully provided. More like perfect for lazy carers. But they hadn’t forced him to finish it when he’d only been able to stomach half the bowl and only insisted he drink the bottle of plain water provided with it. Simon would have been disgusted at their lack of commitment he thought ruefully.

Lorne had proved to be rather kinder than John would have expected for a soldier, helping him to the bathroom, leaving the door open slightly but turning his back to allow John at little privacy, a privilege rarely given.

“Sorry for this,” he’d said gesturing at the open door  “but with all the drugs you’ve got in your system, I can’t take the chance. Plus the instructions say not to leave you alone in here.”

Lorne had cracked open the binder as soon as they’d gotten settled in their seats, pulling out a notepad and pencil, and in true boy scout fashion had proceeded to read his way through it and take extensive notes.

When they were seated back down and John was finally awake enough to focus he’d turned and given him a searching look.

“Can’t say I understand all of this. I’m really only meant to follow through on what the list says to do, but if I was on this much medication, I don’t think I’d be awake at all, let alone walking.”

He looks like he expects a response, a difficult thing for John, unused to conversation.

“Years, of practice.” He grits out. Annoyed to have to spell out the obvious.

“I bet.” He replies sympathetically and for the first time ever, he cracked open the binder and shown John his own dosage list, page after page of medications, with different dosages and rates of use dependant on his behaviour and test results. The box of pills and injections Lorne had been given, trivial in comparison to the list written down inside.  Lorne whistled, low and impressed and flicked the binder shut.

“Don’t suppose I was meant to show you that. But I figure a man’s got a right to know what he’s getting.”

John only nods, his head swimming with all the new information.

“And on that note. I gotta give you these.” He opened the box and pulls out the pill container labeled 6pm, “got two more of these to go before we get there. Might as well sleep it off anyway. It’ll be full on once Rodney gets a hold of you.” The chill settles in deeper to John’s skin, dusting his thoughts with fear.

He pours the first few pills into John’s hand and helps him hold the bottle of water to his lips as his hands shake to much. The second lot goes down easier.

Lorne reaches past him to grab the bottle from his hands before he drops it. Damn, John thought, those drugs work quick. He falls asleep to the feeling of Lorne shifting him to rest against the window of the plane, Lornes own jacket eased under his head.  

 

#

He was boxing up tools and equipment ready to be sent to the gate room in preparation.

"Dr. Mckay?"

"Yes?" he answered annoyed, he'd told those fools from biology to stop bothering him, no, they couldn't take 10,000 more sample containers and yes he was sure.

"I have a..." he looks at the tablet is his hands, "John Sheppard for you." The curiosity evident in his eyes.

"Yes, yes." Rodney has no time for this, he looked up from his pad and pulled in a shocked breath. 

In theory Rodney knew all Omega were considered attractive, in practice, the man who walked hesitantly into his lab was nothing like he'd imagined and more. But there was something, something else, something Rodney couldn't quite work out that instead of his usual urge to dismiss on sight, he felt drawn to. The man seemed sad, drawn in and hurting in a way that was permanent, he had a heavy presence to him, that seemed to be just accepting it all, like a second skin, like being here was just another indignity he'd come to expect, another in a long line and Rodney knew indignity well enough. He knew the expectation and could feel it wash off this man in waves.  

He shook himself and tried to brush it off, no use to him getting caught up in his thoughts now, too much to do. 

"Rodney," an annoyed looking Lorne turned up beside him, "We've been looking for you everywhere. You were meant to meet us at the helicopter pad. You knew today was the day John arrived. You did know didn't you?"

"Of course! But I don't have time to waste waiting around for him."

"You him?" He said addressing the stupidly attractive man currently looking around the lab with a mixture of curiosity, confusion and a distinct sense of fear. Rodney brushed it off as nerves, he was in Antarctica after all. 

"You're a... doctor?" the man guesses, the fear evident in the way he can't seem to keep from backing away.

"God no! I'm not some voodoo witch doctor. I'm a scientist, engineer or overall genius, take your pick, preferably the last." He says proudly, somehow wanting to impress this man, before remembering why John was here, "Alright, lets see what you can do! Follow me."

He strides off, John is left to follow helplessly. Lornes knowing sigh the only indication that this was normal. 

"Sit here!" He orders, pointing to a strange chair in the center of the room.

 

 

 

 

John felt the familiar horror return, that was it then, just another experiment. The ice outside, offering a soothing promise. 

He eases himself reluctantly into the chair, his muscles protesting and still so sore, he hoped this wouldn't get too physical or humiliating once the foot section came up, he really didn't want to be exposed in front of this many people, but it wouldn't be the first time. But just as much, he didn't want to be forced down, the small crowd of soldiers gathered in the room didn't look like they'd be particularly gentle. 

He was so preoccupied with the pain, he lost himself in the rush. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There isn't a single moment in John's life when he didn't know, when he forgot. When he was allowed to forget exactly what he was.

The truth was that John didn't think he was able to forget because most of the time he felt that, being an omega was all that he was. Everything.

But now. Right now John was flying. Literally circling another world. Away from everything and everyone he'd ever known and he forgot.

He wanted to scream out, finally. Finally a moment crowded with enough joy, exhilaration and freedom, he forgot who he was and just existed.

His body still aching from the heat felt so distant suddenly. He was warm and alive, home. 

“I don’t understand.”I can't... He said finally, "Please, I don't..." Finishing the sentence felt impossible.

"John," Dr McKay's voice cut through the joy like a scalpel though skin, a wound, "think about where we are in the solar system." 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

The room lights up with a flash of iridescence, the solar system blinking into existence around them, all of it circling above and around in glittering perfection. Actual perfection, all the physics perfectly right, all the distances, all the measurements, Rodney could barely believe it, somehow this all correct, John had done what none of the other gene carriers were capable of doing, and perfectly. Rodney turned around again and again, just taking in the glory around him.

“Told you we needed him! This is perfect!” gloats Rodney triumphantly to the gathering crowd.

“Aye, that may be true,” says a baffled Carson, cautious in his praise, “But I don’t think John here is doing so well.”

Rodney, turns finally to look at the man on the chair himself.

“John?” Carson starts, “John, can you hear me?”

John is quiet again, and deathly pale, the few words he’d managed to get out lost in the chaos of the earlier scene. The images have faded too now and John is staring blankly, sightlessly at the space above him. Seemingly lost in whatever mental interface the chair is projecting to him. He moans a little, gripping the arms a little tighter.

“Ok, We’ve got to get him off this thing now Rodney.” The concern in Carson’s voice, harsh sounding in the quiet of the room. He approaches the chair cautiously, as if it might harm him too.

“What? No! He only just sat down.” Rodney’s voice shrill with annoyance.

“He’s going into shock.” Carson calls out to his nursing staff, as John’s whole body seems to shudder, “Get me my kit and a gurney!”

“no…” John’s voice is fragile, distant, “I’m...no.. no drugs. I’m ok.” He fights pull his head up from the chair, sluggish and dazed.

“Ok, good. It’s good to hear your voice, John,” the relief clear “My name is Carson Beckett. I’m the head doctor here on the base, you must be John.” Carson’s voice purposefully soothing and calm, though Rodney can hear the underlying tension. “I need you to sit up and deactivate the chair. Can you do that for me John?”

“I don’t…” John seemed reluctant, dazed, his head falling back against the headrest. But he pushed up anyway, trying to follow the instructions.

“That’s it. Push your feet down too. Good.” Carson has his insistent doctor voice down pat. No room for argument.

The light dimmed on the chair finally and John slumped forward slightly, exhaustion evident in his hanging shoulders, loose arms slumped over his knees.

“Alright John,” Carson’s soothing voice continues, “We’re just going to take you to medical now. No need to worry.” He’s waved over the nurses with the gurney.

“No, I…” John starts but it’s obvious he can’t finish the sentence, the toll of the chair and whatever else he’s on simply too much.

Between himself and a nurse, Carson has John up and on the gurney, leveraging him sideways to lay flat while he pulls across the straps. Checking his vitals as he does so.

“Just relax John. That’s it.”

They ease the gurney away from the chair and out towards the med centre.

“Rodney,” Carson’s displeasure evident, “You too. You asked for this, so you best do your job now and help me look after John. See what you’ve got yourself into.”





#

John didn’t want to get up, not ever. He wanted the honey, slowly seeping through his mind, down his spine, the welcomeness and warmth to stay. He wanted to let it engulf him, he wanted to disappear.

 He could still hear them though and he’d done what the doctor had asked, fought his way out of the calm long enough to obey. Knew he had to. Think of our place in the solar system. It had come so easily, naturally like all the chair wanted to do was please him, it knew exactly what the doctor wanted, even if John didn’t.

John didn’t know if he’d managed it properly but he was just so tired, tired of anything but this tender embracing quiet.

This alien familiarity, unknowable feeling of arriving home, all of it and so much. God, he thought to himself, I’ll never have this. It was like the all the chair wanted was to connect with him, accept every part of him, whole and complete and now this other doctor wanted him drug him again. The real world, slashing open his fantasy, raw and bleeding him empty again.  

“no…” he forced out, “I’m...no.. no drugs. I’m ok.”

But they forced him to sit up anyway, pulled him away from the only time he’d ever felt at ease.

Back into the body screaming in pain, back into a room now crowded with so many people. Watching him. He wanted to curl up away from them all but the doctor pushed him down and pulled the straps tight, holding him flat against the gurney, exposed to it all again.




#

John had fallen asleep almost as soon as Carson had finished his examination. He had been the perfect patient, nothing like Rodney, moaning and whining every time he was the least bit uncomfortable.

Rodney had stuck by throughout though, thankfully. Carson just didn’t feel like arguing with him about it, but he did seem to get that much at least. He’d stood by, worried look on his face as Carson had checked John’s breathing and taken his blood.

“He’s going to be alright?”

“Yes Rodney, probably just a stress reaction to the long flight and you forcing him onto the chair straight away. You know that you can’t treat him like a tool or even one of your scientists. He’s your responsibility now. I did try to warn you about what you were getting yourself into.”

“Yeah, I think I’m finally realizing that,” Rodney looked like someone had just handed him a prison sentence, and Carson supposed, in a sense they had. Rodney would be as much tied to John as the other way round. He knew eventually the other shoe would have to drop and it looked like it finally had.

“What am I supposed to do? You saw what he did out there. We need him!” the grim situation, clearly presented before them. They did need him. Though Rodney knew beforehand what the chair was theoretically capable of, the evidence of how powerful John’s gene really was silenced all other objections. He had to come with them. That was the one truth Rodney couldn’t deny.

 

“Alright,” Rodney sighed, time to figure out a plan, or at least figure out what he was going to do next and the first step was getting more information, “is he going to be asleep long?”

“He’ll be out for a few hours at least, hopefully won’t wake till the morning.”

“Call me if he wakes up?”

“Where are you going?” Carson questions but nods anyway, no point keeping Rodney here while John’s asleep.

“I have some databases to hack.”

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

John awoke to a bright, clinical light overhead and the crinkle of overly starched hospital sheets. He felt off in a way that was new, and utterly discomforting, like he was missing something, wanting something. 

That was new too. For so long he’d been drifting, surviving, desperately desiring something felt odd, but welcome too, like a new taste.

He wanted to be back in that chair, he discovered. What the hell was that? 

 He closed his eyes again, resisting the urge to shift and alert the nurses to his wakefulness. He lay quietly for a moment, listening to the scattered movements around him. 

No one seemed to be paying him much attention, though he knew it wouldn’t last. 

“How’s he doing?” A voice to his left asked quietly. 

“Fine Rodney, he’s been asleep all night. He tossed a bit earlier but seems to have quieted now.”

“He didn’t wake all night?”

“He really needed the rest. It can’t have been easy uprooting everything he knew and being dragged halfway across the world. Plus, I haven’t had a chance to do a proper examination yet but it looks like he has just gone through a rather painful heat.”

“Heat’s hurt them?”

“Can do. Omegas bodies prepare for several weeks prior to going into heat and generally only experience some mild discomfort afterwards, but not John’s as his are artificial. Most Omega’s only go through a heat four times a year at most,” he can hear rustling from the doctor reading his file, “John has to have them induced more often since his natural heats aren’t adequate. Artificial heats are especially difficult on the body since there is no process of preparation and the frequency with which he is required to endure them means that he probably doesn’t have adequate time to recover between inductions.”

“So he’s in pain?”

“Yes, and exhausted.”

“Shit. I need him in top condition so that he can work. If he can’t focus how is he meant to control the Ancient technology?”

“You’ll need to go easy on him. It’s a lot to take in and from what we saw yesterday, it's probably not good for him to be exposed too often to that level of mental connection.”

No, No, No! John thinks, put me back. I want it! But he doesn’t move, no point arguing anyway. 

“But I need him back in the chair and in my lab.”

“That may be but until I deem him ready, he’s not going anywhere.”

Rodney seemed to huff at that but does not argue. 

“What about your searches last night? Discover anything helpful?”

“Wasn’t sure what I was looking for so I just hacked in and downloaded everything I could find from the Institute’s servers. There were a bunch of unreleased medical trials with John’s name featured and some transcripts of police reports I haven't had a chance to look at yet. There was also a long list of file numbers and blacked out documents that appear to only exist in hard copy at the Institute. Not sure what to do about that, but at least I have a bit more than they were willing to hand over.

I’m also not sure whether John will want me to read all of it. I mean it was probably removed for a reason. I’ve got it  anyway, just in case. Actually, I downloaded everything I could find on the Institute, not just John.” He said casually, like it was nothing, “might as well you know.”

John couldn’t help wondering just who he had been given over to, just casually hacking all of the AOI’s servers and he apparently worked for some top secret government organisation arming incredible weapons (he knew that much about the chair). 

“I’m going to wake him up now Rodney. He needs to take some medication and to eat.”

“Fine, fine. I’ll just…”

“You’ll just sit here and properly introduce yourself.”

John heard the voices getting closer and a hand gently shake his shoulder. He tried to ignore it, but it was insistent. 

“John? You need to wake up now. Come on Lad.” He opened his eyes to the gentle smile of the doctor. “That’s right. Easy now. you’re in the medbay of the Antarctic base. I’m Dr. Beckett do you remember me from last night?”

“Uh...” his mouth felt dry and the words painful, unsure how to continue he fell back to the comfort of silence. He looked around the clinic, stark and typical for a temporary clinic he supposed, and back to the doctor.

“How are you feeling?”

“Fine,” he gritted out. No point in answering anything else, he’s learnt that lesson young. 

“You’re far from fine!” the Doctor replied, “But, I’m sure but we’ll do our best to help you feel a bit better. Any nausea?”

“Yes,” always, of course

“Ok well, I’ll give you something for that as well.”

John nods disinterested. It’s not like he has a say anyway. 

“I’ve brought you some food and your medication.” the man gestured for the bowl of the damn porridge again resting beside the bed. “Can you try to eat all of this, if you feel up to it, and take these with food as they can upset the stomach.”

John nodded. He watched Dr Beckett inject a clear liquid into his  port and felt it slide cold and slippery up his arm. 

“Just something to help you relax.”

John nods, leaning back against the pillow as the weight settles in his bones. Probably more diazepam. 

The pill cup is next, held up to his lips expectantly. John hates being hand-fed and having pills shoved down his throat is even worse. He opens up obediently. 

Beckett slides the tray table across John’s body, urging him to eat. John ignores it in favour of turning towards the man in the chair beside his bed, Rodney his mind provided, the doctor, scientist who brought him here. His stomach clenches, heart races. 



~~

 

Rodney watched the exchange with growing trepidation. What was he even meant to say to this man? He just wasn’t equipped for this!

“Uh… hi, My name is Dr. Rodney Mckay. We met briefly yesterday,”

John watches him hold out his hand as if expecting him to shake it. Confused by the gesture, he fails to react before the hand is withdrawn uncomfortably, Rodney falls back a little, scratching his head nervously. 

“Look, I’m sorry about yesterday. I didn’t…” he trailed off, obviously unused to offering apologies,”Listen, what you did yesterday. In that chair. That was amazing! It’s why you were brought here. See, you have this gene and it controls this ancient alien technology from another galaxy called Pegasus, which we will use when we go to Atlantis through a wormhole called the stargate…”

What! Alien? Altantis! John can’t keep up. 

“Rodney!” Dr Beckett interrupts, “how about we don’t overwhelm with all this him just yet.”

“Right, right...sorry. Yes. Sorry. I keep forgetting. I’ll just...” he turns to Dr Beckett helplessly, who fixes him with a supremely unimpressed look.

“John, what Rodney here is failing to explain is that you were brought here to help him with his work. You have a rare gene which is able to activate some ancient technology that we are researching.”

“The chair?” John guesses, unwilling to meet either of their eyes when he adds, “it’s a weapon.”

“Yes!” Dr. Mckay bursts out, “An ancient defence system! It told you that, didn’t it? It communicated with you!”

John shakes his head, “not communicated...I just knew?”

“Yes, that makes sense. A linguistic based connection would be too slow, it must be have direct neurological interface.” Dr Mckay pulls up his tablet and makes some notes. 

“Did you experience anything physical? Any visual disturbances? Auditory?” His voice sounded excited, expectant. 

John couldn’t answer, unable to describe the warmth, the feeling of rightness, of belonging. And that he wanted it again. He felt the drop in his stomach before the fear took over, the panic. 

 “John?” the doctor enquired, “Are you alright?”

He shook his head, nausea waves shuddering through his body, his stomach turning. The doctor took the hint, producing a basin from seemingly nowhere as John’s stomach inevitably failed him. 

A look of horror flashed across Dr Mckay’s face, as he watched John heave what little he had been able to stomach into the basin. 

“Jesus! Shit. Carson?”

The Doctor was ahead of him, uncapping a needle and emptying the contents into John’s drip. 

“This should help,” he swaps out the basin for a clean one and passes it to a nurse who had entered after hearing the commotion. Dr Beckett rubs his hand up and down John’s back, he tried not to flinch at the touch.  

Once the worst of it had passed, John raises his eyes back up, but, Dr Mckay had vanished.

“Think you can lay back?”

John nods, and eases himself back against the pillows, his exhaustion returning. Well, at least that got rid of some of the drugs he reasons. At home they would have redosed him, but that seems unlikely here. 

“I’m sorry John, we shouldn’t have put all that on you so soon. Rodney can be abrasive but he does mean well.” His hand resting on John’s shoulder, a false assumption of comfort, failing to notice the stiffness under his oblivious fingers. But the familiar darkness returns soon enough, John relaxes into the medicated nothingness. 



***

Carson walks in to find Rodney pacing back and forward distractedly in his lab, muttering and scowling, John’s file in one hand and a data printout in the other. 

“I’m not qualified for this Carson but, we need him, look at this!”

He thrusts the printout into Carson’s hand, who quints at it confused. 

“This is the data from the chair. It works! Carson, with his activation, we proved what we can do with it!”

“Aye, but what about John? Can’t you see now why it’s impossible to bring him along. He needs to be home, where he’ll be looked after, not dragged halfway across the known universe”

Rodney stalls in his pacing for a moment, but then quickly starts up again, smiling confidently. “Dragged? I’m not going to drag him! Of course, I’ll ask him if he wants to come along. Who wouldn’t?” 




**

 

John wakes up feeling better, more clear-headed than he has in years. He keeps still, going over what he can remember from the day before, Right, he thinks to himself. I threw up the drugs. He makes a mental note of that strategy. There was no way he would get away with that at home, but maybe here. 

As the sleep wears off, images flash through his mind, his father, a flight, a doctor, the chair… forwards in time, till they come resting on one word ‘Atlantis’. Rodney may have been brief, but John caught all of it. They were using alien technology to go to another galaxy and they planned on bringing him along with them. 

“Ah, you’re awake. And looking a lot better it seems.” Dr Beckett, smiled as he entered, the hated cup held in his hand.

“Now we’ve missed some of these, I’m sorry about that by the way. So I’ve revised some of the medications to compensate but for some we can’t double dose. So you’re going to feel a little underdosed, can’t be helped I’m afraid.”

Before John can reach for it, the cup is again held against his lips. 

“Now, we have a few things to do before I can release you to into Rodney’s care. I’ll need to take some blood, and the AOI will be sending their representative over later to go over your care plan.” he checks of something on his file, “You just completed a heat?”

John nods, his blood running cold. 

“I know it’s not pleasant, but since it was induced, I’ll need to check you for tears and damage.”

“I’m fine.” Stupid, stupid, Shut up! He tells himself. 

“I’m sure you are, but I have to check. I’m sorry John, you’ve got a history of hiding injuries. Legally and medically, I just can’t take the chance.”

Fuck

“I’ll just fetch Rodney and we can get started.”

 

***

 

 

 

 

John can hear their voices, arguing as they make their way down the corridor.

“Carson! You can’t seriously expect me to be here every time he needs a checkup! He’s meant to be helping me, not the other way around. I have work to do!”

“Yes, yes. I know you have an extremely important lunch to be having” the sarcasm clearly cutting, “Listen, I don’t expect you to be there every time, but you’re his guardian now and this isn’t going to be pleasant for him. Your job is to look after him.”

Rodney huffs but doesn’t argue. 

Their voices die down before they enter the clinic, whispering to each other, but John can’t hear them anyway over the spike of fear that courses through him. 

They enter pushing a wheelchair, but John is already standing. He knows what to expect. 

“I can walk,”

Beckett looks ready to argue, but Rodney doesn’t give him a chance, “Fine, fine. Let's get this over with shall we?”

They make their way to the clinic examination room where a nurse is fitting some temporary stirrups to the table there. 

“I’m sorry we don’t have all the proper equipment yet. Better than nothing, right?”

John shrugs. Better not at all. 

He has John sit up on the table, legs hanging over the edge while he checks his breathing, takes blood and does all the other normal checks. The dreaded mouthguard nowhere in sight and John’s not going to mention it. Rodney spends the entire time ignoring them, slouched in the chair, reading over and busily correcting something on his laptop. 

But when Beckett gestures for John to shift backwards fully onto the table, he does shut the computer and place it aside. Stepping up beside the table, shifting uncomfortably like he doesn’t know what to do with himself. Good, john thinks amused, we can both be uncomfortable together. 



***

 

Rodney doesn't know what to do with his hands, he doesn’t even know John, but he’s expected to comfort him! Not for the first time did Rodney second guess himself over bringing John. But he just couldn’t think of any other way. 

Carson has John’s feet up in the stirrups, a strap gets pulled across each foot and another across his waist with an apologetic look. 

As John’s legs slide open, a quietly distressed noise escapes from the doctor but is quickly stifled behind a professionally bland expression.

“I’m just going to give you a little more pain relief,” he reaches behind him for the medical kit.

“I’m fine,” John’s voice carefully emotionless. Not more of that shit, just another fucking over eagre doctor.  

“I really think…” Carson starts to disagree, pulling out a needle and vial, but is stopped short...

“No more,” Shut up! Shut up! “please”

Beckett stops, the plunger and vial held up ready, stunned. 

“John?”

But John doesn’t respond, he’s too busy watching the vial in the doctor’s hand.

“You’ve got to be hurting,”

John just closes his eyes, shutting himself off. You’re gonna give it to me anyway. Beckett looks over at Rodney helplessly, who shrugs back.

“He said, he’s fine.”

The doctor looks unconvinced.

“Rodney, you have the right to refuse pain relief on John’s behalf,” Rodney opens his mouth to agree, but is stopped by Carson raising his hand, “However, before you decide, I’m going to show you why I’m recommending it.”

Rodney backs away further, shocked at the suggestion.

“Hey no. That’s not…”

“Up here. Now Rodney.” Carson steps aside, gesturing to the other man, “This can be what an induced heat does. You will be deciding when and how often John will need one, so you better understand what it does to a human body.”

Laid out carefully still, Rodney observes, John doesn’t look like he’s in pain, face turned away slightly.

“John?” Rodney asks, wanting permission. Fuck you, not like you need it. But when none is forthcoming, throws his hands up in the air.

“God damn it! Fine.” he stomps over to the end of the table, rounding the corner only to shudder to a hold, face growing pale, he looks horrified. Take a good look, John thinks, that’s it, stare. 

“Oh,...”

John’s pelvis is a kaleidoscope of bruising, running in bands around his upper thighs, and waist where he had struggled against the straps. But that was nothing compared to the damage further down. 

Rodney can feel his arms tighten around his laptop,

“What. The. Fuck!” his voice turning shrill, “What the actual fuck did they do to him? This is a crime right? I’m looking at a crime?”

Carson’s eyes turn sad, “Sometimes doctors have to harm so we can heal, like surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. When it’s unavoidable, when doing nothing will hurt our patients more, we have to do these things.” he sighs, “I wish I could tell you that there’s any other way, but there isn’t, not yet anyway. Without it, John will get sick, might even die. But this,” he gestures to the bruising, the damage, raising his voice slightly, looking directly at John, “I promise you, John. Next time, will be better than this .” His disgust clear. 

Rodney, still shaken, angry, takes a deep breath.

“John, if you don’t want anything for the pain, I’ll tell Carson that. But if it was me, I would really want something,”

No response. Fuck you. 

“Either you tell me or I’m going to give it to you myself.”

John looks down over his own body to where Rodney is standing, past the purple and blue bruising on this thighs, and through the spread of his own legs. I’m not going to beg, I not going to beg, I’m not going to beg...

“No”

Rodney meets his eyes and nods, a decision made. 

“Ok. No drugs” 

He moves back to sit beside him and takes John’s hand in his, unsure if it’s to offer John or himself comfort. 

“This is really going to suck.”

Well, fuck me, John’s brain provides shocked, he actually listened. 



***

 

John breathes steadily through the familiar waves of pain and discomfort. The sliding of lube slick metal past swollen and fragile flesh, the cold discomfort of air reaching inside place shouldn't, fingers soon to follow. The medical doctor talking to him, soothing words as he narrates the process. Heard it all before doc.

Instead stangely, he’s focussed on the hand holding in his own, there’s something different about it, but he can’t quite figure out what that is. The scientist, Dr. Mckay, isn’t even looking at him, he’s watching Dr. Beckett, grimacing and clutching John's hand even tighter as the doctor begins to insert the prongs. 

“Take it easy Carson, geez!” Mckay complains, as he watches them ratchet open against bruised flesh. He looks pale, upset. That’s different. 

Beckett’s also surprisingly gentle, choosing the smallest size and taking his time. John barely notices the pain, it’s nothing new.  

However what is new, is John wanting to grip tighter to the other man, to hold on... Why?

Dr. Mckay is looking down at him, a grimace on his face, but something different in his eyes...something...

“I don’t know how you can be so calm about all this, it’s goddamn impressive.” 

The insane urge to speak to him, to offer something reassuring...not sure... I’m fine, honestly...his helpful brain provides… 

Practice, years and years of practice. 

Rodney grunts sympathetically, “Shouldn't have to be fine.”

What?! Shit, that was out loud? 

John’s startled for a moment losing his composure, the room suddenly feeling too small, crowded, the pain sneaking in under his defences. He can’t help arching his back against the table, an instinctive effort to move what little he can away from the thing inside him.

“I’m almost done. I’ll try to make it quick.” Dr Beckett places his free hand on the inside of John’s thigh sympathetically, but it's somehow nothing like Rodney’s...it feels different. Fuck off, don’t want your sympathy, just get it over with . He wants to shove the other doctor away.

“Just get it over with already!” Rodney’s voice echoes. 

What? John’s staring at him in confusion . How did you? 

He’s practically hanging on to John’s hand, he looked panicked, sweaty and pale.

“Ok, we’re done.” Beckett pulls back on the device, easing it out of him in one smooth pull, “it’s not pretty, but no serious damage. You’ll need to avoid vigorous exercise and obviously, no penetrative sex.”

John mentally laughs, T hat's not my call asshole, talk to the guy to my left. 

“We’re done? You’re finished?”

“Not quite, I’m sorry John but the instructions are very clear.” he pulls out a familiar belt from a case by the door. 

John feels his heart skip a beat,  shit. 

“What is that!?”

“Excuse us, John. Rodney, come with me,” The Doctor's voice allows no argument, he takes the other man by the elbow and leads him into the dispensing room and closes the door. No sound, but John can still see them partially through the window arguing. 

Beckett pulls out a document and shows Rodney, who gestures back wildly, angrily. Beckett shakes his head, and holds up his hands. He pulls out another folder, this one thicker than the last and rifles through it, before finding what he was looking for and shows it to Rodney. They read silently for a moment, both looking a little overwhelmed. Mckay snaps the folder shut and practically throws it to the other doctor, before storming to the door and slamming it open, calling back over his shoulder. 

“When we get to Atlantis, that thing is gone. I’ll have that right to decide that once we get there, that stupid contract says so.”

“Aye, it does. But we aren’t there yet….”

“Fine.”

They walk back over to John. Dr Beckett picks up the belt.

But Rodney holds out his hand to stop him and turns to John, “If you come with me, I’ll make sure it’s off you.”

John nods, agreeably. Sure, sure, I’ll believe that when it happens. 

Beckett is gentle as he can be, but still can’t help needing to apply some force getting the locks to click shut. John tries to breathe through it, panting slightly. But finally, it’s done and Beckett slips John’s feet out of the stirrups and back down to the table. He lifts John’s surgical gown back over his body, fussing with the hem. 

There’s a knock at the door. 

“Yes?”

The small nurse from earlier peers in, shadowed by Lorne, the soldier from the plane.  

“Elizabeth wants to speak to John,” he said, slouching against the door frame, “I’m to bring him to her.”

Rodney seems relieved, and unsurprised about the odd request to see his omega alone, “Tell her I’ll come to get him in half an hour, I have to get back to my lab.” and with that, John is presumably dismissed as Rodney practically runs out of the clinic. 

Lorne gives John’s current state of disarray a sympathetic glance before asking, “Wheelchair?”

“John?”

Small miracles

“I can walk,”

“That’s fine, let’s get you dressed,”