An Acceptable Sacrifice
Chapter Five

Rodney ate his meal in complete silence, thankful that it was the same tasteless stew he had eaten the day before, rather than something with contents he might have to worry about. He never once lifted his head, never dared to look at Temal. When he was finished he stood and made to lift the plate.

Temal reached out and grabbed at his wrist.

"I--I need to get back," Rodney stuttered. "John, he needs someone there with him."

Temal lifted his head and fixed his gaze on Rodney as he released his grip.

"You come straight here at the next bell--your food will be waiting." To Rodney's amazement, Temal pushed a pile of the dry biscuits across the table to him.

"Take these," he said. "Sigged tells me if you don't eat you'll get sick quickly."

Rodney merely nodded, too shocked to think of anything to say.

"There are showers at the back of this building," Temal continued. "No one will bother you if you use them." And with that, Temal rose and left Rodney still standing at the table.

When Rodney made his way back to the cell, he found the old doctor washing John down again.

"His fever is high," Sigged said, wringing out the t shirt. "But the medication is in him, so we do what we can. We wait."

Rodney moved to John's side. John looked more peaceful than he did before. It might have been his imagination, but Rodney was sure John's breathing wasn't as labored. He drew a shaking hand across John's forehead, pushing back a strand of damp hair.

"Temal," Rodney said quietly. "He said there where showers at the back of this building. Would you sit with John until I get cleaned? And..." He swallowed. "I...I I need to wash John's uniform."

The old doctor took in the lost look in Rodney McKay's eyes and nodded. He'd seen that look far too many times before to deny Rodney some sort of purposeful task. He watched quietly as Rodney gathered together their Atlantean uniforms and headed out of the cell for the showers. Sigged sighed heavily and moved to sit beside John.

"To have someone love you as he loves you is rare, Sheppard. If you get through this, remember all he has done--you won't get a second chance."

***

Carson woke in the middle of the night to the chill of the night air. It took him a minute to realize that he was alone in his bed and that the cool breeze that had wakened him was coming from the balcony. Slowly he slipped out of the bed and padded across the room. He could see Stephen leaning against the balcony railing outside Carson's room, staring up into the night sky.

"Give ye that penny back if you'll tell me what you're thinking," Carson said gently as he mimicked the same actions as his lover had done the night before.

"Just thinking," Stephen said with a sigh. "Who actually said we could be here? What gives us the right to interfere in what happens in another galaxy?"

Carson hugged him tightly, not missing the chill of Stephen's skin.

"Guess it's one of those chicken and the egg questions," Carson said while he pushed his way between his lover and the rail. "It all depends on what you believe in. If we weren't meant to be here, then why give us the ability to get here?"

He wrapped his arms around Stephen's chest. "Your freezing," he said quietly.

Stephen laid his head on Carson's shoulder. "I killed a man. I killed a man I never even knew. I killed him and I didn't even know I had done it. How fucked up is that? John Sheppard's a good soldier and Dr. McKay is vital to the mission, and they're both paying for something that I did--something that I didn't even know I had done." He shook his head. "If I only fought a little harder, tried to stop the Goa'uld taking over—"

Carson pushed himself and Stephen away from the railing, walking him back into the bedroom.

"I know you, Stephen Caldwell," he said, gently admonishing. "You would never do anything that wasn't the right thing to do, if you could help it. You couldn't do anything to stop the Goa'uld from taking you over. Nobody could. None of this is your fault."

Both of them came to a halt at the foot of the bed and Carson leaned in, covering Stephen's mouth with his own. His hands slid over Stephen's shoulders and gently he pushed him down onto the bed.

"Let me make love to you."

Stephen looked into the concerned eyes of his lover and nodded, pulling him down onto the bed beside him. Hands roamed everywhere, stroking skin and warming it after the chill of the night air.

The gentle hands of a healer pumped lazily at Stephen's now wet-tipped cock and Stephen arched into the feather-light touch. A moment later a low moan forced its way from tight lips as Carson knelt between Stephen's legs and sucked him into his mouth. Gently he sucked and licked, drawing the soldier's orgasm from deep inside him.

His tongue flicked across the sensitive tip before dipping fractionally into the slit and Stephen came undone, a low guttural moan as he grasped at the bedcovers the only warning Carson had before Stephen's hips jerked, filling his mouth with the salty essence of his lover.

***

Rodney cautiously made his way round behind the block of cells with the bundle of dirty clothing in his arms. His idea was a simple one—he could still feel Petron's hands on him and he wanted to wash that feeling away. And John would need his uniform when he was well enough to get up, so it needed to be washed. Rodney figured he could do both at the same time. Later he would wash his own uniform, but John was the priority here. John's needs came first.

There were a few prisoners in the shower room, but no one came near Rodney. No one even spoke to him. With shaking hands Rodney stripped out of the prison uniform he was wearing and put it to one side, then he dropped the bundle of clothing at his feet. He stepped into a shower stall and turned on the water. It was lukewarm. Rodney suspected that the heat from the sun warmed the water stored in the massive tanks scattered around the complex.

He closed his eyes and turned his face into the spray and just stood there as the water cascaded over his body.

"I don't suppose you have soap?"

Rodney's eyes sprung open and he whirled in the direction of the voice to see Temal standing leaning against the wall. Rodney noted numbly that all of the other prisoners were busily gathering together their belongings and quickly heading out of the room.

"No...I..." Rodney's words refused to come, and he found himself just standing naked under the running water, staring back at Temal.

God, he hoped Temal didn't want anything from him. Rodney didn't want to have to drop to his knees, or brace himself against the shower cubicle while Temal fucked him. He just wanted a few minutes of peace, a few minutes to get clean. That was all...

Slowly, Temal pushed himself away from the wall and moved to stand directly in front of Rodney. Rodney didn't move, waiting like an animal, unsure which direction the captor would suddenly move.

But, "Here," Tamal said, and he tossed a block of what looked like soap onto the pile of clothing at Rodney's feet. Then he turned and left.

Rodney sagged under the spray, letting out a breath of relief that left him feeling light-headed and shaking. He felt like he'd been given a reprieve--Temal could have done whatever he wanted, there was no way Rodney could refuse him, but the man had left him alone.

Rodney wasn't sure what that meant, but he wasn't going to waste it. He snatched up the soap and started scrubbing his body quickly, almost roughly, determined to be as clean as possible before anything happened.

Half an hour later, Rodney was back in his cell. He draped the wet clothing over the backs of the two wooden chairs and sat down on his cot beside Sigged. He didn't' speak for a long time. Sigged just waited, letting Rodney gather his thoughts.

"Temal told me I didn't need to wait in line for my food," Rodney said finally. He didn't lift his head.

The old man nodded. "I suspected as much when you were back so quickly."

Rodney lifted his head so he could look at the old doctor. "He brought me soap." Rodney motioned towards the table where he had dropped it.

Sigged reached over and squeezed Rodney's arm. "I told you," he said kindly. "Temal can get almost anything." He squeezed Rodney's arm a little harder, making sure Rodney was really looking at him. "Just remember why you're doing this." He motioned towards John. "He's resting more peacefully, and he took a little more water when you went to get cleaned. Perhaps you should get some rest yourself before the next bell."

"Thank you," Rodney told Sigged, hoping he could convey how much he meant it. Sigged just smiled kindly as he left.

Rodney was alone with John. He was exhausted, physically and emotionally. One last look at the rapid, shallow rise and fall of John's chest, and Rodney stretched out on his cot and allowed sleep to overcome him.

The hours passed quickly, too quickly, and Rodney was jarred awake by the incessant noise of the evening meal bell. Quickly he slipped off the cot and moved to John's side. He filled one of the wooden bowls with a little water and held it to John's lips.

"John!" He slipped his arm under John's neck and lifted him up a little. "John!" Rodney's voice was louder, more demanding, and to his relief John's eyes fluttered open.

"Rodney?" John said in a whisper. "Hey, Buddy."

Rodney's heart lurched in his chest. "Oh, thank God, thank God," Rodney murmured. "You need to drink. Please. A little, for me, John. Please, just a sip."

He held the bowl to John's mouth and found himself swallowing as John swallowed.

A moment later he was cradling John in his arms as the coughing fit subsided.

"Sorry," John rasped out.

"Don't be fucking stupid! You have nothing to be sorry for." Rodney tried to snap, but his voice came out as something frighteningly close to to a sob. Gently, he laid John back down on the cot and watched helplessly as John closed his eyes again.

"That's the longest he has been awake," A familiar voice came from behind him. Rodney turned to see Sigged standing in the doorway. "You should go--you have to eat."

Rodney slowly shook his head. "I'm not leaving him until I have to go to Temal's cell."

Lifting the bowl that he had used for John, Rodney moved to the table with the water jug and poured himself some water, then he took the dry biscuits Temal had given him earlier and started to force them down.

Sigged sighed and shook his head. "I'll return when it's time." And with that he turned on his heels and left.


Rodney sat for the next hour, just staring at the rise and fall of John's chest. It was practically hypnotic. He thought, All the times I've wanted to be close to you while you sleep.

The shadow of the sun moved across the sky and Rodney forced himself out of his fugue. It was time to prepare himself for Temal and Petron.

Again as he stretched his still sore-ass and inserted the ointment, he babbled nervously to John, trying to keep his mind off what he was doing, and what would come next.

"It's not like I don't know now what I have to do, eh? I mean, how many ways can they fuck my ass? The faster I make them come, the sooner it will be over and I can come back here to you."

Standing, he fastened his pants. Then he headed out of the door towards Temal's cell, just as Sigged crossed the courtyard to sit with John.

***

Temal was sitting on his cot inside his cell when Rodney arrived.

"Strip," he ordered without even lifting his head.

Rodney did as he was told, slipping out of the prison uniform as quickly and efficiently as he could. When he finished, he moved to stand in front of Temal.

Temal made no effort to move, and all of a sudden Rodney felt the need to do something, if only to alleviate the suspense. Without another word, he dropped to his knees. Rodney reached up and brushed his hand across Temal's crotch, feeling the man harden instantly.

Temal smirked, then leaned back, spreading his legs open. He watched lazily as Rodne gently kneaded the hard column of his penis, and then as Rodney pushed his way wordlessly between Temal's legs. Rodney kept his gaze low as he slowly worked to free Temal's cock from the confines of his pants.

His heart hammered in his chest. Partly, it was because Rodney was waiting for the arrival of Petron, and partly because he wasn't sure if this was what Temal really wanted. His hands shook unsteadily as he pulled Temal's prison pants further down over his hips. And then a picture of John flashed for an instant in his mind: struggling to breathe, black liquid running from the corner of his mouth.

Rodney lifted his gaze for a moment, locking eyes with one of the men who held John Sheppard's life in his grasp, then he lowered his head and licked slowly and gently at the tip of Temal's heavy cock.

If Temal had actually been Rodney's lover, Rodney could not have been gentler. He listened to the quiet moans and gasps as Temal carded his long fingers through Rodney's hair. Rodney could feel Temal tremble, could feel him tighten the muscles in his thighs and he set about finishing his task.

"Enough." Temal stopped Rodney with a hand--surprisingly gently--on Rodney's forehead. He eased himself out from between Rodney's swollen lips. "Get up here, on your hands and knees."

Rodney's heart sank. He had been sure Temal was close, sure he could have gotten away with just Petron taking his ass.

Reluctantly, Rodney eased himself up off his knees and climbed onto the cot. He tensed as Temal moved to stand behind him. Cool hands brushed over his backside and then a finger slipped inside him.

"Petron's been sent on escort duty, I won't be sharing you tonight," Temal said. A second finger was pushed into Rodney's still-tender ass. "I see you're prepared." Rodney whimpered as a finger brushed across his prostate. "We're not all animals, Rodney," Temal said quietly as he withdrew his fingers.

Rodney swallowed hard as Temal placed his cock at his opening and pushed forward sheathing himself in one smooth movement.

Slowly, Temal fucked the body beneath, him hitting that sweet spot inside of Rodney over and over again, bringing his victim nearer and nearer to climax. Rodney sobbed, tears pooling at the corners of his eyes, when Temal reached around and pumped Rodney's cock in time with him fucking him.

This was all wrong. Temal hit his prostate once more and brushed a thumb over the sensitive head of Rodney's cock, and Rodney bucked and came hard with great sobbing breaths. Temal followed as Rodney tightened around him.

Panting, Rodney felt Temal slip out of him.

"You should get dressed and get back before the last bell," Temal said matter-of-factly, while he himself pulled up his trousers. Temal went to the small table in his room, not looking at Rodney again.

Rodney slowly climbed off of the cot, quiet tears streaming down his face, as he realized how easily Temal had broken him.

With shaking hands he pulled on his clothes, making back to his cell just as the bell for lockup sounded.



Chapter Six