Word Count: 1,732
Warnings: (highlight to read) non-con/sexual abuse
Notes: Written for dark_fest 2011. My prompt: Gene carriers are bound together, which would usually work if you didn't hate your bondmate. (mind-control/unwanted soul-bonding)
He feels it the second he beams into the City.
He doesn’t worry about it, not at first, because there’s a fight to concentrate on and people to rescue and he’s here to do a fucking job, damn it, not to worry about the way that the part of him that’s always been able to sense Ancient things suddenly amplifies in the back of his head. He can put a lid on it, ignore it, so that’s what he does.
Except then the fight is over and the battle is won, at least for now, and Evan comes face-to-face with his new commanding officer for the first time.
Sheppard is tall and lean in a way that screams an easy kind of danger rather than the lack of a threat. He’s got a head full of the most ridiculous hair that Evan’s ever seen, hazel eyes, a smirk that seems to never go away.
“Sir,” Evan says, and the word seems to wrench the lid off of that part of his brain that’s been screaming something’s different and he almost chokes on air.
Sheppard’s smirk drops for a split-second, replaced with something that might be shock, before he puts it back in place. “So it’s you, huh?” He cocks his head at Evan, evaluating him critically before he nods. “Could be worse.”
“What could?” Evan asks. Sheppard looks at him strangely before shaking his head.
“Come with me,” he says, turning and walking away, and just like that, Evan’s following him without having made the decision to move. He tells himself that he’s just following his commanding officer and maybe hates himself a little for the lie he so easily believes, even as he knows he’s lying.
Sheppard leads him down to the infirmary and stops in front of an isolation room. There’s a young man inside, probably in his mid-to-late-twenties. It looks like he’s in a coma.
“You have the gene,” Sheppard says. It’s not a question, so Evan just waits for Sheppard to continue. “Atlantis – there’s something here. It does something to gene carriers.”
Evan stares at the young man on the bed. “Kills them?” he asks woodenly.
Sheppard snorts out a laugh. “If only.” He finally turns from the window and looks at Evan calculatingly. “Something in the City binds gene carries together,” he says flatly. “Pairs. Couples.”
Evan stares at Sheppard blankly for a minute. “Couples,” he finally says. His eyes travel back to the man in the bed. “So I’m with-”
Sheppard shakes his head. “Meet Stackhouse. His partner’s name was Markham, and when his Jumper went down last week-” Sheppard jerks his thumb at the man on the bed. “Pretty much all we can do is make him comfortable.”
“He’s going to die?” Evan asks, slightly panicked, because there’s being melodramatic about dying of a broken heart and then there’s it actually happening.
“Probably.” Sheppard sounds bland about it, but Evan can see how tightly his fists are clenched. “Happens about ninety percent of the time someone’s partner dies. They hang on for a week, maybe two, but that’s it.” He pauses. “We’ve only had a handful of people survive losing their partners.”
Evan knows there’s a question to be asked; fuck, there are probably a thousand questions to be asked. He can only stare at Stackhouse, frail and unmoving in the bed, and try to grasp at his thoughts as they race through his head. Finally, he turns back to Sheppard. “So I’m – I have – who?”
Sheppard’s sardonic smirk is back, and Evan feels that thing in the back of his head scream and twist until he’s gasping out loud and taking a jerky step in Sheppard’s direction. Sheppard puts a hand on the back of Evan’s neck and the feeling calms instantly. Sheppard’s hand moves, curls around his neck until Evan’s looking up at Sheppard’s face. Somehow, he’s entirely unsurprised when Sheppard speaks. “You’re mine.”
And then Sheppard lets go of him and walks away, and Evan feels the dizzying rush of the floor rising to meet him as he blacks out.
When he comes to, Sheppard is sitting by his bedside in the infirmary, fingers flying over a datapad. Evan clears his throat, but Sheppard doesn’t look away from the datapad. “Sorry. Forgot you weren’t used to that.”
“What-” Evan clears his throat again. “What happened?”
Sheppard shrugs a shoulder inelegantly. “Takes a while to learn how to be separated from your partner.”
“So I have to spend the rest of my life in close proximity to you.” Evan closes his eyes as he states it matter-of-factly; in the past week he’s traveled through a wormhole to a new galaxy, found out that space vampires exist, fought a horde of said space vampires, and seen his former commanding officer get the life sucked out of him by one of those very creatures. This, this is just the terrible icing on the weird cake of the week, and Evan thinks okay, okay, I can handle this.
He’s lying to himself again, but this one is easier to take.
Sheppard is finally looking at him when Evan opens his eyes. “There are ways to deal with it,” he says when Evan looks at him. “For a while, yeah, you’re stuck kind of close to me, but it’ll get better.”
“How close is close?”
Sheppard shrugs. “Ten yards at the most, for now.”
Evan closes his eyes again and leans back into the pillow, hoping fervently that when he opens his eyes Sheppard will be gone, that he’ll have hallucinated the whole thing due to some sort of Wraith-related attack. He can feel Sheppard’s amusement from the chair.
“If it makes you feel any better, I’m not going to run off and let you pass out again,” Sheppard informs him. “Does funny things to me when you’re not doing well.”
Evan thinks to Stackhouse in a coma, waiting to die, and suppresses a shiver. “Can I leave?” he asks, and Sheppard leans his head back and calls for a doctor, who bustles in and checks him over and turns to give Sheppard instructions, which the man nods through like he’s heard it before. Which, Evan notes, he probably has; this can’t be the first time this has happened.
Finally, though, they’re standing and making their way out of the infirmary. Sheppard detours him to one of the City’s transporters, then taps on an area that Evan knows is reserved for the command staff’s quarters. He wonders a little at his surprise; of course he’s going to have to sleep in Sheppard’s room.
In Sheppard’s bed, he realizes as the door slides open and he follows the taller man through. Because there’s only one bed in the room, and it’s definitely big enough to sleep two. Evan glances around the room, taking in small details with a critical eye – no clothing on the floor, few personal items. A set of dogtags draped over a picture of a young man with dark skin, grinning crazily at the camera.
Sheppard glances towards where he’s staring, and his voice is absolutely emotionless as he answers the unasked question. “Aiden Ford. He was my partner.”
We’ve only had a handful of people survive losing their partners, Evan hears again in his head. Of course Sheppard is one of those few. It does explain a few things, though; Sheppard’s ease with the whole thing, for one, and his being able to walk away from Evan without passing out. His attitude, too, probably, why he’s brusque and seems unfriendly. Surviving something you’re not supposed to survive changes you, and waking up from that kind of ordeal to find your partner is dead – Evan can’t imagine it.
“Sorry,” Evan says quietly.
Sheppard shrugs. “Me too.” He levels his gaze on Evan. “Lose the clothing and get in bed. On your stomach.”
Evan scrambles to obey before he quite knows what he’s doing, and he remembers following Sheppard before like he couldn’t help himself. It’s like that again, this flurry of fingers pulling at zippers and buckles, stripping out of his clothing and settling on his stomach in the middle of the bed. “What-”
“I told you,” Sheppard says calmly from the side of the bed. Evan turns his head to see Sheppard stepping efficiently out of his own clothing. “You’re mine.”
“You are now,” Sheppard says blandly, and that’s that, because Sheppard tells him to stay put and to relax, and it’s literally the only thing Evan can do as Sheppard’s fingers trace down his back, part him, push inside, as Sheppard pulls back and slicks up, thrusts forward and buries himself inside Evan with a groan. Evan can’t help the whimper that escapes his mouth as Sheppard moves inside him, too much too fast. It’s not good, not at all, or at least it isn’t for him; Sheppard’s hips are rocking faster and faster until he shudders over Evan’s back and comes with a sigh. Evan can feel it inside him, sticky and warm, and Sheppard pulls out and rolls off the bed, heading for the bathroom. He reappears a few minutes later with a damp towel, which he uses to clean Evan carefully before rolling him onto his side.
“Sleep,” Sheppard advises as he heads back into the bathroom. Evan closes his eyes, but sleep doesn’t come; he doesn’t expect it to, not tonight, not even when Sheppard comes back and crawls in beside him, tucking himself along Evan’s back and tossing a possessive arm around his waist. No, all Evan can think is that he’s in over his head here, that he’s bonded with someone who is clearly going to dominate his life, that he doesn’t even like the man pressed behind him. All he can think is how he’s undoubtedly going to be assigned to Sheppard’s Gate team, because they have to stick close together. And he can already see himself doing his damndest to keep Sheppard safe and alive, because his mind keeps drifting to Stackhouse, dying slowly because his partner hadn’t made it.
Evan keeps his eyes firmly shut and prays for sleep, prays that he’s already asleep, prays to wake up back on the Daedalus, just another weird dream on his way to save Atlantis.
When he opens his eyes, though, it’s to the inside of Sheppard’s quarters. It’s to the rest of his life.