An Acceptable Sacrifice
Chapter Six




The next night started as it had the night before and the night before that, with Rodney stripping as soon as he entered Temal's cell then quietly kneeling between the mans knees and sucking him.

It never stopped there, though. Rodney always ended up on his back or his hands and knees, with Temal fucking him. And it felt good, every time, no matter how much Rodney didn't want to be there, no matter how much he wished he could stay with John. No matter how often he remembered why he was there, with Temal--that he had become a whore, with the currency John's life.

He hated himself, but he was fairly certain that anyone would prefer the almost gentle way Temal had taken him the last two days to being viciously raped by Petron that first night. Wouldn't they? It didn't mean there was something wrong with him, did it? Surely it didn't.

Rodney lay on his back on Temal's cot, his legs hitched up over the tall alien's lean shoulders. Temal slid painlessly into Rodney's well-lubed and stretched ass.

"See, Rodney," Temal gloated, panting with pleasure. "You enjoy it, don't you? How I can make you feel."

Rodney bit back a gasp as Temal reached forward and started to work on his flaccid cock.

"I want you to come for me Rodney," Temal crooned. "I want to see you come hard and panting. I want you to come with my name on your lips."

Rodney gritted his teeth as he felt his cock harden under Temal's tender--

Rape! Rodney's mind hissed at him. This was rape no matter which way you looked at it, wasn't it? Rape was when you didn't have a choice, and what choice had Temal ever given him?

Submit or let John die. Which was no choice at all.

Temal pulled back until he was almost out of Rodney, then slid back in one smooth movement. Temal's his cock grazed Rodney's prostate, which sent pleasure--as irresistible as it was unwelcome--coursing through his body. Rodney moaned under Temal, lifting his hips pushing into his hand.

"It feels good doesn't it, Rodney?" Temal demanded. "I can make you feel good. I could make you beg me for release--but not tonight. Tonight, I want this. I'm going to see you break again. Break for me."

He quickened his pace on Rodney's cock, wrenching his orgasm out of him.

"Call my name, Rodney when you come," Temal ordered him, fisting Rodney's cock faster. "Call my name and give your friend another day of life." He slid his thumb over the top of Rodney's cock as he started to thrust almost frantically into his ass.

Rodney sobbed, lost somewhere between shame and desire, trapped between the reactions of his body and the revulsion in his mind. He felt that familiar rising spiral of pleasure, the tremor in his thighs as he fought off his orgasm--and then he was coming anyway.

"Temal," he said quietly.

Rodney kept his eyes closed. He didn't want to see the mocking smile or the self-satisfied expression on Temal's face.

He felt the man's hands slip down over his hips, heard him groan as he pushed deep inside him. He clenched his muscles around Temal's cock, and felt Temal dig his nails into his ass. Then Rodney felt Temal jerk and pulse inside him, and he knew Temal was coming finally, filling him with bitter fluid.

Slowly, Temal pulled out of him and Rodney opened his eyes. The alien nodded and Rodney brought his legs down off of his shoulders.

"You better go," Temal said as he wiped himself with a cloth. "You have little time."

Rodney rolled off of the cot onto his knees, catching his breath. He felt Temal's hand on his shoulder, almost a caress, but when he jerked his head to stare sharply at him, Temal pulled his hand away.

"Go," Temal said again. He turned away from Rodney to get dressed, but Rodney could still feel his eyes on him.

He wondered what Temal wanted.

Slowly Rodney got to his feet. He found his trousers and pulled them on, but didn't bother with his shirt--everyone in the prison knew what he had been doing, anyway.

Everyone, that was, except John.

Rodney grabbed the shirt and made for the door.

"Petron is back tomorrow," Temal said. And was that regret in his voice? Rodney didn't even want to try to guess. "I don't know if it will just be me tomorrow night. It depends on whether he has brought something pretty back with him. An hour before lock up, Rodney."

Like usual. Rodney nodded. "I'll be here," he said thickly. He had no choice, after all.

He headed back to his cell.

***

John felt cold, he shivered. He was wet? Was he wet? He fought to open his eyes and then something--no, someone--was turning him onto his side. Something cool drifted over his skin, and then there was the scratch of coarse cloth.

He tried to talk, to ask what was going on, but all that came out of his mouth was a weak moan.

"It's okay, John. You're okay. I--I just need to get you cleaned up, okay?"

Rodney finished drying John, then wiped the plastic-coated mattress before rolling John gently onto his back.

Rodney shook his head. If anyone had told him before he left for Atlantis that he would end up stuck in some alien prison washing John Sheppard's backside--not to mention allowing himself to be fucked by an alien to keep someone else alive--he would have told them they were out of their fucking mind.

And yet here he was.

He sat himself down beside John.

"I'm so fucking tired, John," he said softly. He brushed John's sweaty hair back from his forehead. "I don't know what to think anymore. I'm scared, too. I'm so fucking scared I'm going to lose you, that you'll die before I can even tell you how I feel. I don't know what's right any more. Temal--he's playing mind games, John. I know it, he knows it, he knows I know it..." Rodney half-laughed, half-sobbed. "But it doesn't stop me from wanting what he's doing, instead of the alternative." Rodney took a shaky breath, though his hand didn't waver or pause as he gently carded his fingers through John's hair. "He made me call his name tonight when he made me come."

Rodney scrubbed his hand viciously over his face. "God, I didn't want to. I swear on my life, John, I didn't want to. And he said tomorrow the guard--Petron--will be back. God help me."

Rodney closed his fist around John's wet hair, enough to make John's eyelids flutter, though they didn't open. "Don't you die on me, John Sheppard," Rodney nearly snarled at him. He used his grip to give John's head the tiniest of shakes. "Do you hear me? Don't you fucking die on me after I've sold myself for you, after I've given up every last piece of self respect--!"

Rodney abruptly let go and buried his head in his hands.

"God," he said. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It's not your fault. I'm sorry. I shouldn't take it out on you. I'm sorry." He let out a shuddering breath. "Just, please don't die, John. Please, don't die."

John listened, each word echoing around his troubled, fevered mind. Slowly, he forced his eyes open as he managed to turn his head to the side.

"Rodney?"

Rodney looked up with a start, tear tracks on his face, his eyes puffy and red.

"You're awake." Rodney's voice sounded strange, it was small and broken.

John gave Rodney a pained smile. "Yeah," he said hoarsely. "Thirsty."

"Thirsty," Rodney said quickly. "Right. Of course you are. Hold on." Rodney scrambled onto his knees as John watched dully and made his way to the table. He filled one of the wooden bowls with water, then brought it back to John.

"Still here?" John croaked.

Rodney blinked at him as he held the bowl to John's lips, then his eyes widened as he understood. "Yeah," he said quietly as he took the bowl away. "Yeah, John. We're still here."

"Thought it...was a bad dream," John said.

Rodney wiped a little water from John's chin. "It's not a dream, John. You're hurt, hurt badly. I can give you something for the pain, if you need it?"

John shook his head. "I want to be awake," he said rustily. "You need to stop. Heard you. Stop, Rodney, please."

Rodney closed his eyes. "I can't," he said evenly. "They'll make you run, John. You'll die."

"Rodney," John tried to reach for him, but as soon as his arm left his side white-hot pain flared behind his eyes and he couldn't hold back the scream.

In an instant Rodney was over him, gently holding him still as John still tried to move, despite the pain. "Stop it! Stop it, just fucking stop it! You could push that piece of rib through your lung, you stupid bastard!"

John finally stilled, panting, and Rodney moved back, taking great gulps of air as he tried to calm himself.

"You've got pneumonia, John," he explained more quietly. "And your chest is all busted up. You need to stay still." Rodney pushed a strand of newly sweat-soaked hair away from John's eyes. "For God's sake, just stay still."

"Kiss me," John whispered.

"What?"

"Kiss me?" John repeated. He managed a faint, hopeful smile.

"Oh, God." Rodney bent his head and ghosted his lips across John's. He watched as John's eyelids fluttered, as John fought uselessly to keep them open.

"Please, R-ney," he whispered. "D-n't go -ack." John's eye's closed as his energy left him.

"I've got to." Rodney rested his head on John's cot and closed his eyes. "I won't let you die. Atlantis needs you.

"I need you."

***

Ladon Radim sat fuming in a holding cell on the Daedalus.

"You have no right to do this, Dr. Weir," he insisted angrily. "We have an alliance! Would you treat others that stand with you in your fight against the Wraith in this manner?"

Elizabeth stood at the other side of the small table.

"You know why you are here, Leader Radim," she said. "I want John Sheppard and Rodney McKay freed. And before you say another word, might I remind you again that it was the Genii who sought out an alliance with us, and that was only after you had casually planned to kill several of my people in your coup. For your part, you have been nothing but a thorn in our flesh ever since." She leaned forward, her eyes narrowing. "I have absolutely no problems keeping you here until this situation is resolved."

Ladon Radim made to counter her remark and get to his feet, but two strong hands came down hard on his shoulders, shoving him back down.

"Don't," Ronon said. He dug his fingers into Radim's shoulders just to make sure the Genii knew he meant business.

Elizabeth stood and made her way to Radim's side.

"You said you needed proof that McKay and Sheppard are innocent," she said. "I have your proof." Elizabeth lifted her hand to her earpiece. "Colonel Caldwell, could you ask Hermiod to join us?"

A few minutes later Stephen Caldwell, Carson Beckett and Hermoid were there in the room with Elizabeth, Ronon and Radim.

Ladon gasped as the little naked alien made its way towards him.

"I have been informed by Doctor Weir that you need proof of the incident in which Colonel Caldwell was host to a Goa'uld," the alien said.

Radim swallowed hard. "Yes."

"Colonel." The alien turned to Caldwell. "If you would, please."

Stephen Caldwell put the metal briefcase that he had brought with him onto the table and opened it.

"Every procedure that takes place in Atlantis is recorded," he said. "My--" he broke off, unable to continue as the memories of what had taken place when he tried to destroy Atlantis flashed through his mind. He steeled himself, and took a breath, feeling his lover move closer to his side.

"This is a video recording of my interrogation by Colonel Sheppard and Specialist Dex," he told Radim. "Although I was conscious of what was going on, I was unable to communicate with the Colonel until I was..."--his breath hitched--"until the Colonel shot me with a taser. The electric shock gave me the opportunity to tell Colonel Sheppard what he needed to know to disarm the bomb."

Stephen slipped the video into the recorder and Ladon Radim watched. When it was finished, Stephen changed the video.

The little alien spoke up as Radim watched what looked like nothing so much as a nimbus of white light surrounding Colonel Caldwell's head, and then what looked like a finned snake suddenly appearing in a jar. "Removing the simbiot was a very delicate operation, and was only achieved using Asguard technology. The simbiot itself died shortly after being removed from its host." there was no hint of emotion in the alien's voice. "As you can see, the operation was a success and Colonel Caldwell has long since returned to active duty."

Radim stood very slowly, feeling Ronon Dex crowd in at his back. Elizabeth stood directly in front of him.

"We want our people back," she said.

Radim nodded slowly. "All right," he said.


Chapter Seven