An Acceptable Sacrifice
Chapter Two


A/N many hugs and thanks to my lovely beta and supplier of cookies, Leah ;)
********

Rodney made his way back across the courtyard to the cell he shared with John, with Temal's words playing over and over in his head: "You keep me happy, McKay, and I keep Sheppard off the field."

Rodney knew exactly what 'keep him happy' meant.

Well, fuck, he thought, then gave a strangled laugh. Because yes--that was exactly what Temal wanted, wasn't it? He wanted Rodney.

Rodney had been with men before in college and university, but that was a long, long time ago--he might have been...interested, in men since then--one man recently and in particular--but he hadn't actually had sex with a man in years. And if he were going to, the last person in any galaxy he might have chosen would have been Temal. The idea of that bastard even going near him was horrifying.

This nightmare was just getting worse.

He slipped quietly into the cell. He hoped Sheppard would be sleeping, since rest was the only medicine they had. Maybe tomorrow John would be stronger if he slept the night through. Maybe he'd be able to get around the track again, with Rodney's help.

Maybe Rodney wouldn't really have to go to Temal.

But even before he entered the cell, he was hit with the pungent, acrid smell of urine, and then he saw John.

John was lying on his side with his legs off the cot, which wasn't the way Rodney had left him. Bright splashes of red--blood diluted by urine--streaked across the floor near one corner.

Rodney followed the trail with his eyes to the bucket that they used as a toilet; he took a step nearer to peer inside and his breath caught in his throat. The liquid was bright red with what looked like dark spots that could only be thick clots of blood. Rodney had no idea if the bucket's contents were from John's lungs or stomach, and he didn't know what would be worse.

A soft moan came from the cot behind him and Rodney pulled himself together and moved to John's side. It looked like John hadn't managed to make it to the bucket in the corner of the room before his body had failed him, but he had been able to use it to either vomit or cough up blood.

John must have collapsed on the way back to his cot--Rodney just thanked God that he hadn't ended up on the floor.

Rodney bent down and made to lift John's legs onto the mattress, but he jerked his hands away when he realized John's pants were wet with a mixture of urine and blood.

He berated himself for his reaction, shoving aside the urge to run and wash his hands. Instead, he unfastened the top button of John's trousers and carefully slid the zipper down.

At any other time, undressing the charismatic, easy-going colonel with the 'fuck-me' eyes might have been a fantasy come true (hell, he appreciated a good body--male or female--as much as the next person), but at the moment Rodney was trembling with fear as he slid John's wet trousers and boxers down over his hips. He stopped to pull off John's boots and socks, grimacing when he found them damp as well, then tugged the clothing down and off.

John's skin was pale and hot. Sweat was sitting in droplets across his forehead and his hair was soaking wet, his jacket and shirt drenched and sticking to his body. John moaned when Rodney touched his face, but didn't open his eyes.

"Colonel?" Rodney soothed. "I'm going to get these wet clothes off you, okay? You'll be more comfortable. I'll try not move you any more than I have to... Can you hear me? Colonel? John?"

There was nothing but another pained moan from John, and Rodney decided he'd just have to do the best he could. Slowly and gently, he lifted John's legs back onto the cot, trying not to focus on the splattering of blood down John's inner thigh, because that just made him think of all the bloody urine on the floor, and Rodney didn't know if someone could survive the kind of damage that caused that.

With more caution and reverence than he used when working with one of his treasured ZPMs, Rodney slowly worked John out of his jacket and t-shirt. He moved to the jug of water and basin that sat on a small table under the windows. He wished he could bring the table closer, but it was metal and bolted to the floor like the cots were--probably to prevent the inmates from using them as weapons. Rodney settled for filling the basin with the tepid water and carrying it to set it on the floor near the bed.

Rodney knelt beside it--avoiding the stains on the floor--he soaked John's t-shirt in the basin, then wrung it out and slid the garment over John's bruised face, washing off the sweat and letting the water dry with the heat in John's skin.

Slowly, he worked his way down John's body, leaving the washing of his urine and blood-splattered legs until last, hoping the cool water would help bring down John's temperature. Once he was finished, he pulled the blanket loosely up over John so that he wouldn't chill, then slumped down on the floor with his back resting against John's cot. He let his head roll forward and he supported it in his hands, resting his elbows on his knees. "Oh, God," he whispered. "This is my fault. I couldn't stop them. I'm sorry, so sorry. They held me down while they hit you." He took a ragged breath. "I tried, I--"

"He doesn't look as though he'll last the night." A quiet voice came from the other side of their cell door, and Rodney startled, lifting his head to see an old man looking into the cell.

"You know, I thought a damned prison would be a bit quieter," Rodney snapped. "Doesn't anyone actually get locked up in here? What do you want?" Rodney said, suddenly tired to the core.

"They don't have to lock us up inside," the man explained patiently. "Not until it starts to get dark. Even if we got outside, where would we go? And they would just pick us off from the gun towers. But that isn't important. What is, is your companion. May I?" The man said cautiously, gesturing at John.

"May you what?" Rodney tried in vain to sound menacing, but the words came out as more of a choked sob.

"Have a look at him," the man said.

Rodney glared at him, about to tell him they weren't performing in the freak show tonight, but the elderly man just walked into their cell and dropped to his knees beside John before Rodney could get his tired mind into gear.

"They made a right mess of him," the man said quietly. He pulled back the blanket that Rodney had covered John with.

Rodney gripped the man's wrist and pushed him away from John.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Rodney yelled at him, part of him perversely grateful to have an outlet, to turn his terror into anger. We're not--"

"I was a doctor," the man said simply, cutting Rodney off. "I'm not sure what I can do for him, but I might be able to help."

Rodney didn't let go of his wrist, feeling the old bones, thin as twigs, beneath his fingers. "How the hell do I know you were a doctor? You might just be some sort of pervert who's into seeing hurt men." Rodney was shaking--with anger and fear, exhaustion and the hopelessness of their situation.

The man blinked at him, then made to move away. Rodney slumped back into his position at the side of John's cot, and lowered his head back into his hands.

"I'm sorry," he said quietly. "He's got a fever. I--I tried to cool him off...I just don't know what else to do." He turned and lifted his head. "He'd know, if it were the other way around. He wouldn't just let me--" It was like he choked on the word. He couldn't even say it.

The man moved back and patted Rodney on the shoulder, then knelt down again by the head of the cot. He gently ran his thin fingers over John's shoulders and chest, tracing the bruises and gently palpating swollen flesh.

He bent his head to John's chest and gently pressed his ear to the bruised skin, listening as John's chest rose and fell. The man sighed and shook his head, and Rodney's hands clenched.

The old man then moved his hands down over John's stomach, again mapping out the vivid bruising that ran over John's side and down around his back.

"He's bleeding," Rodney said quietly and pointed to the bucket.

The old man noted the bloody stains on the floor beside it and nodded.

Carefully, the man pushed the blanket fully off John, then after waiting for consent from Rodney, his hands ran over John's groin, palpating the soft flesh, and then down over the deep blue-black bruising on his thigh.

"Broken ribs, most definitely," the old man said at last, sitting down on the floor across from Rodney. Rodney opened his mouth to snort out something like, 'Wow, you're kidding," but the old man started talking again before he had time.

"I'd say at least six, yes, six that I can feel movement in, and one of them is bad, very bad. His lungs are also full--he must have aspirated blood at some time and the broken ribs have made it impossible for him to cough it up. He's developed pneumonia."

Rodney straightened, wide-eyed. "Pneumonia? But it's only been a day!" he protested.

The old man shook his head and sighed. "It only takes a few hours to develop. There is no hardening in the stomach or the groin, so I don't think he's bleeding into either, but I do think it's likely that either the kidney's or the ureters are damaged, going by the evidence." He glanced again at the floor. "And his right shoulder is dislocated. The clavicle is broken as well, and it's off-set."

Rodney felt as if his own lungs were collapsing as he fought to breathe through his rising panic.

"He's going to die," he said quietly.

"It's likely," The old man said flatly in reply. "But not definite." He put his hand on Rodney's shoulder, though Rodney was so numb it was nowhere near comforting. "We can at least fix his collarbone while he's unconscious, which will help, at least. The broken bone is, well, 'floating' is the best way to put it. It's being held in place with a little muscle tissue, which means it could perforate his lung at any time. We need to see if we can strap up those ribs to lessen any movement, as well. His kidneys we can do nothing about."

"Is there any way I can get him medicine? Painkillers?" Rodney asked desperately.

The old man scratched his head thoughtfully. "Perhaps, through Temal. He runs just about everything in this prison."

"Temal's the reason my--my friend is like this!" Rodney exclaimed, shooting the old man a deadly look.

"I know he put your friend in this position in the first place," the man said calmly. "But he is also the only one who can possibly help." He spared Rodney a sympathetic look before he got to his feet and started to walk to the door.

"Talk to Temal, Doctor McKay. You need something for his infection and for his pain. In the meantime, keep him as comfortable as you can. I'll be back to watch over him when you go for your meal."

At Rodney's look, he said quietly, "We all have to make deals with the devil at some time in our lives. I don't need to fight for my meals any more."

Speechless, Rodney watched as the old man walked away.

***

John Sheppard was lost in a fog, but still aware of distant voices. One he recognised and one he didn't. They spoke too softly for him to catch all that was said, but someone was hurt--someone was badly hurt. He strained to hear above the pounding in his ears. Was it one of his team? Was it Rodney? Oh, God, Rodney...!

He had to find him. He was Rodney's protector--if Rodney he was hurt he had to help him.

The word dying seemed to penetrate slowly through his brain. Rodney was dying? John had to help him, had to get to him, but he couldn't find his way through the dammed fog, and his body felt like it was on fire.

"Rodney!" he found his voice. It was ragged and weak, but he called again. "Rodney? Please, please, come here. I need you. Are you hurt? Rodney? Rodney--you can't die!" He reached out, trying to find him. Moving hurt terribly, and his arms were so weak they were shaking. "Don't die! Please, please don't die! I need you, need...I need..."

Rodney sat on the floor wringing out his t-shirt before patting it across the hot skin of John's cheek's and forehead. Not having a shirt on made him feel horribly vulnerable, but he'd been able to get some fresh water, and it was the only available cloth they had.

He guessed he had about twenty minutes before he had to go to Temal; he was determined to stay with John as long as he could before that.

He tried not to feel like someone waiting for their execution.

It will keep him alive, Rodney told himself fiercely, though his hands shook as he carefully tended to John. He'll live through tomorrow because of this. That's all that matters.

Rodney only hoped that John would actually survive the night.

John was delirious. What was worse, John was delirious and calling and reaching for him, telling him he needed him, telling him not to die. Rodney closed his eyes against the panicked tears which were threatening to fall.

Even in the state he was in, John was still trying to look after Rodney, wanted to know he was safe. The words "I need you," played over and over in Rodney's head.

"I'm here," Rodney soothed, pushing sweat soaked hair away from John's face. He grabbed one weakly-flailing wrist, setting it at John's side again. The skin was wet and hot. "I'm fine. I'm just fine. It's going to be okay, I promise."

Rodney froze when John started to cough and wheeze. He remembered the old doctor's words about stopping unnecessary movement, in case the fragment of rib pushed through John's lung.

On instinct, he moved over John's body, trying to still his movements as gently as possible.

When the coughing fit subsided, a small trickle of black liquid seeped from the side of John's mouth and John's eyes were open.

"Ro-dn-y," John rasped, blindly groping out again.

Rodney's eyes locked onto John's as he grabbed John's hand, holding tight. "I'm here," Rodney said. "It's okay. I'm right beside you."

"Rodney." John wheezed again and Rodney bent his ear to John's mouth to hear what John was trying to say. But John didn't say anything. Instead, Rodney felt dry, cracked lips touch his cheek in a light kiss. And then John closed his eyes.

"Oh, no," Rodney breathed.

He leaned over, touching his forehead to John's, feeling the heat from John's body bleeding into him. Rodney closed his eyes, quietly shuddering.

"Not now," he whispered. "Not now, you idiot! Why'd you have to go do that now? All this time, and you never did anything, and now, when you, when you--"

He swallowed thickly, pulling himself upright, then lurching to his feet. He darted from the cell, past the aging doctor who was in the courtyard, talking to two other prisoners. Rodney filled his lungs with big gulps of air, trying to calm his churning stomach.

John. Just think of John. This is for him..

"Temal? Where is Temal?" he shouted at a group of men, who were sitting on the ground by the big tanks of water.

One of the men pointed towards the building that they went to at mealtimes, and Rodney turned on his heels and made his way there.

Temal was sitting with the group of men that had attacked John.

Temal raised an eyebrow when Rodney ran towards him and then suddenly came to a halt in front of him. Temal flicked his eyes over Rodney's naked torso, and Rodney resisted the urge to cross his arms in front of his chest as he sucked in air and attempted to control his breathing.

Rodney opened his mouth, to beg, then looked at the faces of the other members of Temal's gang, and pulled himself straight.

"Please," he said quietly, looking directly at Temal. "May I talk to you?"

He hadn't been so polite since the aborted alliance with the Wraith, and wasn't that just a horrendously apt comparison? But it seemed to work, because Temal nodded and muttered something to his people that Rodney didn't quite hear. Rodney sighed in relief as each of them stood and walked out of the building.

Temal eyed Rodney with the same, leering interest. "What is it you want, Lantean?"

Rodney swallowed hard, trying to force down the bile that was burning his throat. "He's going to die," he said. "You hurt him so badly he's going to die without medicine. You said you could help."

Rodney stared at Temal, then dropped his gaze to the ground. Meek. Be meek and polite. For John. "I know you can help," he said, his tone pleading now, rather than demanding. "Please...Whatever it is you want, I'll do it. If you just help him. Anything."

Rodney looked back up at Temal and tried to keep what he was sure was utter despair off his face. "Please," he said brokenly, wishing that part were an act. "I'm begging you. I'll do anything you want."

Temal regarded him impassively for a long moment, long enough that Rodney was afraid the man might refuse, leave him with no option at all.

But, "Anything?" Temal repeated, a cold smile touching his lips. Rodney nodded mutely, revulsion warring with relief so strong it threatened to bring him to his knees. Temal's smile widened. "I heard Sigged was asking for medicine for infection and pain. That right?" he asked almost coyly. "That what you want?"

"Yes," Rodney said, keeping his voice low, deferential. "We need all of that, as much as you have. And John can't be moved. The old--Sigged said you can do that."

Temal nodded. "I'll have what you need for him in an hour. I'll give the medicine to Sigged when you come to my cell."

Rodney nodded again--he couldn't make his mouth form the words 'thank you'--and turned to leave, but before he got through the door Temal's mocking voice came from behind him.

"Make sure you're clean for me, Lantean."

Rodney paused for a moment, then turned to face Temal again. He gave a slight nod of compliance before fleeing back to John.

***

Sigged was sitting with John when Rodney got back. "He's been saying your name over and over," he commented, while sponging the beads of sweat on John's shoulder's and chest. "He seems to think you're hurt."

Rodney nodded. "I know," he said, walking over and hunkering down on the floor at John's side. He looked at Sigged. "Will you stay with him while I'm gone?"

Sigged smiled and nodded. "I'll be with him."

"Temal says he'll give you the medicine John needs once I go to his cell," Rodney told him. He lifted John's hand and held it between his own. John's flesh was burning. "Can you help him?" Rodney asked quietly. He brought John's fingers up to his lips and kissed them.

"The next three days will be the telling ones," Sigged said thoughtfully. "If he survives the next three days, he has a fighting chance."

Rodney swallowed and nodded. Three days. "I need to get myself cleaned up for Temal," he said.

Sigged nodded in grim understanding. "I'll be back in an hour to I'll take you to Temal's cell," he said. "Then I'll come back and sit with your friend."

"Thank you," Rodney said hoarsely.

"Would he do this for you?" Sigged asked.

Rodney took a deep breath. "He would take a bullet for me if he had to."

"Good," Sigged said shortly. He nodded and left.

It was easy, Sigged thought to himself, to take a bullet that killed you quickly. It was harder to have someone kill off a little part of you every day, and he knew from experience that that was what Temal would do.

***

John was in no position to hear him, but Rodney nervously chattered to him anyway, while he prepared himself as best he could for his meeting with Temal.

"It's been a long time," he told John. "I have to admit, I'm a little... anxious about the whole thing, Colonel." His voice faltered, "John," he corrected.

"You just need to hold it together, though, and we'll both get through this, okay? Everything will be fine." Rodney took a deep breath and stepped out of his clothing. He started to wash himself.

"The old guy--Sigged--will be here soon, he'll have something for the pain..." Rodney took a deep, suddenly shaking breath, then dropped to his knees, shuddering. "I don't believe in God," he said quietly. "I think I've told you that before. I wish I could, you know--believe that someone was watching out for us." John was silent, still unconscious, the only sign of life the reassuringly constant rattle from his lungs. "But it's just us," Rodney said. "The only thing that is going to get me through the next hour is knowing that they won't make you run tomorrow." He nodded quickly, as if confirming it to himself, and climbed back to his feet. "This is to keep you alive."

Rodney pushed his finger into his tight anus and winced. "Jeeze." His voice was quivering. "I can do this, right? I mean, it's not like when you decided to fly that puddle jumper into that Wraith hive ship. It's not like this is a one-way mission--it's just an hour."

Carefully, he started to stretch the tight ring of muscle, using the fingers of his trembling hand.

When he was done he went to the water basin and washed his hands then, snagged the grey prison uniform from the foot of the other cot.

The trousers were much too big for him, and he pulled on the cotton ties to make them fit better around his waist. The tunic top fitted him a little better. At least the clothes were clean--his Atlantis uniform was filthy, and John's was even worse. If he was able to, he would wash both of them uniforms tomorrow. Maybe even John's boots. He hoped he would be able to.

"Ready?" A voice came from somewhere to Rodney's side, and he startled, looking up to see Sigged standing by the cell door.

Rodney nodded and spared a glance in John's direction, before moving towards the door.

"As ready as I'll ever be," he said.

Sigged caught Rodney's arm. "Have you done this before?"

"What?" Rodney shot him a withering look, "No! Becoming some animal's bitch is not something I've done before!" He made to push past the doctor, but Sigged held on.

"I meant been with a man," Sigged said apologetically. "I didn't mean--"

Rodney's body language softened slightly. "Oh, right. Yes, yes I did. But it was a long, long time ago." He tried to smile. "Somehow I don't think this experience is going to be the same." He found himself looking into the concerned grey eyes of someone who had suffered far too much in this particular hell.

"Promise me you'll stay with John," he said.

"I will come straight back," Sigged said. He pushed a small jar into Rodney's hand.

"I brought this for you," Sigged said. "Use it. I'll wait outside."

Rodney looked at the jar and unscrewed the cap. Inside there was a thick, yellowish ointment. It didn't take a genius to realise what it was for.

Quickly Rodney unfastened his trousers. He dipped two of his fingers into the jar, scooping out a fair amount of the odourless goo, and then pushed as much of it inside his ass as he could.

He wiped his hands on his trousers--he figured they'd end up as a right-off by the end of the hour, regardless of how he treated them now--and replaced the lid. He refastened his trousers and put the jar on the table by the bowl.

"Ready," he said to Sigged man as he made his way out into the courtyard.

Sigged nodded and walked with him to the far side of building. The door of the last cell was lying open and both of them came to a stop outside it.

Temal was sitting at a table--a table Rodney's cell didn't have--looking at some small bottles.

"Sigged," he said without even glancing up. "Something for the infection and something for the pain, right?"

"Yes." The old doctor nodded and stepped inside with Rodney following.

Temal looked up at Rodney, and gave him a slow grin. "Since you're here, you get these." He handed the bottles to Sigged, then turned back to Rodney. "If you want him to stay off the exercise field, you had better be good and,"--the grin turned predatory--"you had better keep coming back."

Rodney nodded, tried not to swallow visibly. "I will." Sigged gave him one last, anxious smile, then slipped the pills into his pocket and headed out, closing the cell door behind him.

The slight snick of metal on metal as the door shut sounded a little bit like the end of the world.

Rodney stood stalk still while Temal stood up and walked around him, coming to a halt directly in front of Rodney.

He grabbed Rodney's chin in his hand and raised it up a little, so he could look down and directly into Rodney's eyes. "Oh yes," he said. "You'll do fine." And Rodney couldn't help wondering if it was because of the fear Temal saw there, despite how hard Rodney was trying to hide it. It's for John, he thought desperately to himself. Just think of John. It helped.

"Strip," Temal said, releasing him and moving to sit on the cot.

Rodney swallowed hard and started to remove his clothing. He chided himself inwardly for shaking so badly, but he just couldn't seem to stop.

Temal just smiled. "Come over here, Lantean," Temal said. He seemed quite happy with what he saw.

John. This is for John. I can do whatever he wants. Rodney crossed the small space to where Temal sat.

The big man lifted his hand and tugged on Rodney's flaccid cock. Rodney winced and then groaned in disgust as his traitorous body responded to the heat and movement.

Temal nodded his approval at the reaction of Rodney's body. "Kneel between my legs."

Rodney shakily did as he was told.

"I want you to suck me," Temal instructed. "Get me good and hard, so I can fuck you good and hard," Temal grinned.

Rodney nodded and moved forward, slowly stretching out his arm and tugging gently on the ties of Temal's trousers.

"I can't," Rodney stammered, "could you--I don't want--" Temal stared coldly at him, and Rodney fought to pull himself together.

"Could you stand for me until I undress you?" Rodney managed.

Temal cocked his head to one side and gave Rodney a curious look.

"I don't want to hurt you trying to pull those off," Rodney explained in a whisper. His mind was racing--everything he did here and now, would determine if John had a fighting chance to live. Temal had to like him, had to want him to come back

Understanding crossed Temal's face and he stood up. Rodney carefully pulled the trousers free and down over the man's hips, revealing the hard, leaking cock.

Rodney took a breath and looked up at Temal.

"Having second thoughts, Lantean?"

John. Rodney shook his head.

Temal grabbed him by the hair, forcing him to his crotch. "Suck me," he demanded, and Rodney opened his mouth to let Temal push his cock inside.

Rodney tried to steady his breathing, to keep from gagging as the thick shaft caught him at the back of his throat, but it was nearly impossible. The more he fought to breathe around Temal's cock, the further down his throat Temal pushed.

Rodney's hands came up to Temal's hips. He was panicking, trying to move back, fighting his instinct to bite down to save himself from choking. His watery eyes caught Temal's, and held his gaze. Temal must have seen the desperation there, because he stilled and moved back, not removing his cock from Rodney's mouth, but giving him time to catch his breath.

Meek, deferential, for John. Rodney smiled his thanks around Temal's cock, then began to suck as gently as he could, trying to wrack his churning brain for what he remembered he liked. Hopefully Temal would like the same thing. Hopefully Rodney would be good enough.

"You must care a lot for your friend, Lantean." Temal's fingers tangled in Rodney's hair and Rodney closed his eyes and gently licked the head of Temal's cock, as if the gentleness of the action was his way of answering the question.

"Enough," Temal said, pulling away. "Kneel on the bed. Head down, ass up."

Rodney did as he was told, moving wordlessly to the bed and positioning himself the way Temal wanted. This is for John. The near-constant reminder was the only way he could force himself to stay still, compliant.

Temal gave his ass a hard slap, and Rodney couldn't help the flinch. Luckily it just made Temal laugh. "You're no great beauty, Lantean," Temal said. "But parts of you are magnificent. I'm going to enjoy this."

Thank God, Rodney thought. Hopefully it would be over soon.

"Starting without me, Temal?" a voice came from the back of the room, and Rodney turned sharply around.

"The first night is mine, Petron, you know that," Temal snarled back, and Rodney watched in horror as one of the guards stepped into the room. Rodney recognized him--it was the one who lost the wager about John's making it three times around the track.

Rodney looked from Temal to the guard, and Temal must have seen something on his face, because he said, "Where do you think I get my supplies, Lantean?" Temal shrugged. "It's necessary to share here to survive comfortably."

Temal turned back to the guard. "Not tonight, Petron. He's mine."

The guard just smiled. "And what if I say differently, Temal? After all it's me who keeps Sheppard off the field."

Oh no. Oh no, oh no. He had to keep both of them happy? Do it--or he'll kill John to punish Temal. Don't think about it. Don't think.

"Fine, fine!" He said loudly. "I'll take both of you! Just do it!" He turned back on the bed and got into the position Temal had instructed him to. "I'll take both of you." He took another breath and lowered his head to the blanket.

He heard a laugh, though he didn't know which of them it came from, then the next thing he felt was someone's nails digging into the soft flesh of his buttocks, pulling them apart. There was no preparation or warning as the thick cock rammed into him.

"I see Siggah got to him first," someone said, and Rodney realised the man fucking him wasn't Temal. He almost moved away--at least Temal was the known quantity--but he controlled himself, staying still with an effort. You're keeping John alive, he reminded himself mercilessly. Just fucking take it.

"Which is just as well," Temal growled at Petron. "How many times have you damaged them so much they couldn't be used for days because you don't wait?" His voice became mocking. "A little patience goes a long way, Petron--or are you afraid you won't stay hard long enough?"

Petron's only response was a grunt and to slam into Rodney even harder. Rodney bit his tongue so he wouldn't make a sound.

He felt fingers in his hair, and then Temal yanked his head up. Rodney looked up at Temal's face and opened his mouth.

He sucked and licked Temal as Petron pushed ruthlessly into him. He listened to the guards grunts and moans. "Still tight, nice and tight--loving it aren't you, Lantean? Want it, say you want it," Petron babbled. He hit Rodney's buttocks and Rodney couldn't hold back the involuntary noise of pain.

John, he chanted wordlessly to himself, his hands fisted around Temal's sheets. John, John, John, John--

"Say it's good. Say you want it, Lantean."

Rodney gave a muffled grunt around Temal's cock. Petron's hand came down again, striking him even harder. "Say it!" Petron screamed.

"Shut up!" Temal snapped. His grip on Rodney's hair tightened when Rodney tried to pull back, do what Petron wanted. "No one wants to hear your bleating."

Rodney closed his eyes in relief, grateful that Temal had spared him at least that humiliation. It was hard to concentrate with what Petron was doing to him, but Rodney did his best to lick and suck Temal, gratified when he heard Temal's groans of pleasure.

Temal jerked his head forward again, obviously close. His hips jerked as he pushed his cock to the back of Rodney's throat, once again threatening to choke him.

Rodney's ass was burning, and he could barely breathe. He pictured John--John healthy and smiling, piloting one of the jumpers, and that managed to keep him from losing it completely, even as he was beginning to see grey at the corner of his vision.

And then, finally, there was the sudden warmth and bitter taste of semen pulsing into his mouth. He swallowed as fast as he could, taking gulps of air as the cock in his mouth softened with every spasm, making more room for air to pass into his lungs.

A grunt and a groan came from behind him, along with another stinging slap, and Petron emptied himself into Rodney's ass.

Both of them let Rodney go then, and Rodney slumped onto the bed nauseated and shivering.

I did it, John. I did it. John had one more day.

"You've got five minutes, Lantean," he heard Petron say disinterestedly. "If you're still outside your cell when the bell sounds, you'll be shot."

Rodney looked up, startled, to see the guard straightening his clothes.

"Four minutes." Petron grinned at him as he tucked in his shirt.

Rodney scrambled off of the bed and grabbed at his clothes.

"You don't have time!" Temal exclaimed, looking directly at him. "Run! Get back to your friend!"

Snatching up his clothes in his hand, Rodney endured this next humiliation--he staggered naked out through the cell door and ran to his own cell, listening to the jeers and catcalls of the other prisoners as he passed them.

Rodney slammed the heavy door of his cell behind him and slid to the floor, exhausted and trembling, just as the bell sounded. Sigged was already gone, and Rodney hoped that the doctor had made it to his cell in time.

"I did it, John," Rodney said. "You don't have to run tomorrow." Then he leaned over and threw up.



Chapter Three