Word Count: 3,627
Rating: R/some language, slashy non-graphic sex
Prompt: hc_bingo , 'forced soulbonding.'
Seriously, John thought, this shit always happened to him.
He wasn’t even supposed to be on Earth; he sure as hell wasn’t supposed to be tagging along with the illustrious SG-1 as they traipsed along on some asinine first contact mission. He’d only come through the Gate at General O’Neill’s request – what O’Neill asked of you, you did, because that man had saved everyone’s ass innumerable times and John’s in particular on several memorable occasions. And yeah, he’d been staying with Mitchell, because they’d been friends for years and an overstuffed couch was easier to sleep on than quarters in the Mountain. It hadn’t been so bad, really, because O’Neill only needed him for two meetings, a week apart, so John was on an impromptu mini-vacation, mostly hanging out on Mitchell’s couch and watching random television shows while he ate macaroni and cheese and drank all of Mitchell’s beer.
And then, Mitchell had asked him if he wanted to join SG-1 on a mission, something easy, “just so you can say you have,” Mitchell had cajoled, and hell, why not? So he’d geared up, trying to make idle conversation with Teal’c (impossible) and Jackson (worse) before finally turning to Carter and asking what she was doing, now that she was Earthside again, even though he already knew about what she was doing at Area 51. She humored him, chatting about this project and that until Mitchell finally came in, muttering something about Vala that had Jackson blinking and not-quite-running from the room. He reappeared a few moments later, dragging the talkative woman behind him, and John hid his grin behind the P90 he was checking at the lecture he was trying to deliver about credit cards and online shopping.
They’d left Earth and arrived on P9R-396 not long after, and it had been the predictable meet-and-greet that he’d done a hundred times in Pegasus, with the added bonus of Mitchell’s off-color jokes and the amused glances that Vala kept throwing at Jackson when she thought he wasn’t looking. Everything had been smooth sailing until John had walked into the Sacred Ceremonial Temple of Bahsir and shit had started glowing and humming left and right.
Ancient tech. Of course.
So now he was standing in some sort of ceremonial temple while acolytes ran around him like chickens with their heads cut off (a phrase he’d never understood and, if it were true, one he hoped never to fully grasp), yelling in a language that wasn’t quite Ancient but wasn’t quite not. This had, of course, happened to him before; Pegasus was full of shit that the Ancients had left behind, and it more often than not caused some sort of fuss when he accidentally turned it on, but SG-1 had seemed pretty surprised when John had been whisked away and given a ceremonial robe to change into. He’d done so with little fuss, knowing from years of experience that it was easier to go along with it than to protest. It was always harmless.
Usually harmless, at least.
John looked up as he heard the slightly accented voice drawing nearer. “…don’t think that you fine folks understand,” Vala was saying as an acolyte shoved her into the room. Vala was also wearing a robe now, similar to John’s own, and he frowned at the realization; usually he was the only one who had to be purified or who had to purify something. Others weren’t usually dragged into it. “I’m already married, see, so this is completely unnecessary.”
The acolyte paused at Vala’s words. “You are bonded to another?” she asked suspiciously. Vala’s head bobbed up and down jerkily.
“Yes, bonded,” she repeated. “To – to Daniel, he’s in the other room. We’re bonded. And Sam, Sam is too, she and Teal’c, they’ve been together for ages. Isn’t that right, Sheppard?” she added, throwing a desperate glance at John.
John smiled at the acolyte, trying to project his best I’m-totally-not-bullshitting-you manner. “Yeah,” he said, and the acolyte dropped Vala’s arm. “Vala and Jackson, they’re… bonded. And so’re Sam and Teal’c.” He turned up the charm in his grin. “Sorry to disappoint, but it looks like I won’t be getting married this trip. Bonded. Sorry.”
The acolyte frowned. “But you have activated the Stone of Bonding,” she said slowly, as if explaining the concept to a particularly dense child, or a cow. “The ritual must be observed.”
John shook his head. “The ladies are already taken,” he said. The acolyte frowned deeper, grabbed Vala by the arm, and dragged her from the room.
John stared at the so-called Stone of Bonding. It was a round ball made of the glasslike substance that the Ancients had favored, now lit blue thanks to John, set in a circular stone pedestal. It stood about three feet high and was maybe two feet wide. There were two rectangles, about hand-sized, opposite each other on the face of the pedestal. They, too, were made of the Ancient glass, and were lit blue.
John looked at it and thought off, but as so often seemed to be the case, the universe gave him the finger and the device stayed brilliantly lit.
“…want me to what?” came another voice down the hallway. John’s head jerked up as Mitchell, again wearing the same type of robe that John sported, was herded into the room by three acolytes. John shifted uncomfortably. He hadn’t realized that the acolytes would have no issues with two guys getting hitched in their ceremony, that women didn’t necessarily have to be involved.
Who knew, John marveled half-sarcastically to himself, that a bunch of barely-civilized religious nuts on some world halfway across the Milky Way would be more progressive than Earth, a supposedly superior civilization?
John loved irony. He loved it even more when it fucked with other people’s lives, rather than his own.
“Hey,” John greeted awkwardly as Mitchell was more or less manhandled into place on the other side of the stone pedestal. “What’s up, Mitchell?”
Mitchell gave him a resigned glare and a sigh. “We’re about to get married,” he drawled. “Think you can call me Cam?”
John smirked. “Whatever you want, sweetheart.” Cam rolled his eyes.
“I’m divorcing you as soon as we get home,” Cam muttered as all but one of the acolytes drifted out of the room. The remaining acolyte lit two candles that she placed between John and Cam on the pedestal, forming a square with the glowing panels. She then brought out a jug of water and a shallow basin from beneath the pedestal and washed first John’s and then Cam’s hands, drying them with a soft towel. When she finished, she bowed her head to them and left, securing the door behind her.
John turned back to Cam, awkward tension back in the air as the door shut. “So.”
“Vala said you lied to them, told ‘em she and Sam were married off so they didn’t have to, you know, marry you,” Cam said. “That was pretty decent of you.”
“I try,” John shrugged. “Normally, I’d say we could just hang out till they let us go, but I’m pretty sure if this thing is still on when they come back, they’ll be kinda pissed.”
Cam shrugged. “Probably.” He hesitated. “Sheppard, for the record, this shit only happens to you, and you’re never accompanying us on another mission again.” He pressed his right hand to the panel, and the ball briefly lit lighter.
John smiled across the glowing pedestal. “If I have to call you Cam, you have to call me John,” he said, just to be contrary. “And, for the record, don’t ever get transferred to Pegasus. This shit happens all the time there.” With that, he pressed his own hand firmly to the pedestal.
He heard Cam’s strangled gasp at the same time as he gave out his own. The ball lit brightly, enough that John closed his eyes against the glare. He felt the sensation in the back of his head almost immediately. At first, it was similar to all of the other Ancient tech he’d felt buzzing around in there over the years, from Atlantis herself down to the toaster he’d discovered only last month. It changed quickly, though, flashing pictures and emotions across a screen in his mind, faster than John could follow. He saw a pond in the woods, a man standing beside a plane, a woman and a baby. The same man showed up in a wheelchair. Hundreds of people, gathered in what might have been a barn, talking and eating. A schoolyard. A girl with long blonde hair. A Cessna 172 Skyhawk. An F302. The sensation of freefall. A Stargate.
Thousands of pictures flew through his head, and John saw them all, recognized all of them, digested them as memories of his own. The woman flashed by again, the one who had been holding the baby, and John knew that it was Cam’s mother, his Momma, who made apple pies so delicious that her sons begged for it. The man in the wheelchair grew older but still smiled, his Daddy. The baby grew, got taller before he got wider, and became Cam’s brother Cole. John knew all of this as the images continued to stream through his mind.
It seemed like hours when he finally opened his eyes to the room again. He was slumped down against the side of the pedestal, whose light had gone out at some point. John was a little surprised to find himself gasping for air. He could still recall what he’d seen with an almost brutal clarity – all of it, good and bad, from kissing Amy Vanderburg to crashing in Antarctica. John struggled for a minute, closing his eyes as he tried to get his breathing under control.
John felt worried, suddenly, without knowing why, and opened his eyes to find Cam crouching in front of him, one hand hesitantly hovering over John’s left knee. His expression smoothed as John focused on his face, and John felt the worry in his gut dissipate.
“What the fuck was that?” John gasped, and Cam’s face twisted.
“I’m not sure,” he admitted, glancing away. “But I think this is a little more involved than marriage on Earth.”
“Agreed,” John said, standing and wincing as joints popped. He thought through what he’d seen and froze, turning to face Cam. “How much – what did you see?” he asked, trying to keep his voice calm.
Cam looked as unsteady as John felt. “That depends. How much did you see of me?”
“Everything,” John said softly. “I know your whole family. I remember the day Cole was born, being the best man at his wedding. I remember when Daddy’s plane went down and he lost his legs.” John closed his eyes, reeling.
Cam’s voice cut in. “Your mom’s name was Emily. She died when you were eight. Your dad was Patrick. You and he didn’t get on. You have a brother, and he has two little girls, but you’ve never met them.”
“Kayla and Mandie,” John said softly, cracking a sickened smile. “So you know all about my shitty childhood.”
“Yeah,” Cam agreed, just as softly. “Sorry.”
“You have to remember it now, too,” John pointed out. “I’m the one who’s sorry.”
The door cracked open then, and the acolyte who had started the ceremony walked back in. She blew out the candles and took John by one hand and Cam by the other, leading them through a smaller door on the other side of the ceremonial room. They found themselves in a darker room, strewn with pillows and blankets. The only piece of furniture was a large bed in the center of the room. The acolyte let go of their wrists and backed out, again shutting the door behind her.
John’s nerves reappeared instantly, and there was a tugging in the back of his mind that added to the overall uneasy feeling. He and Cam walked around the room, looking anywhere but at each other, until they had each completed their own inspections and come to similar conclusions.
“So,” Cam said again, and the feeling in the back of John’s mind intensified. He realized, suddenly, that it was an indication of what Cam was feeling; his nervousness was fuelling John’s own, and probably vice versa. John took a deep breath and blew it out, fighting for control over his emotions, and felt the knot in his stomach unwind slowly. Cam blinked, looking surprised.
“I think we’re still linked,” John said by way of an explanation. “I’m feeling what you’re feeling, you‘re feeling what I’m feeling.”
Confusion washed through the part of John’s mind that was now Cam, followed by tolerant amusement. “So bonded isn’t the same as married,” he concluded.
“Apparently they’re related,” John replied, gesturing around them. “We did get the honeymoon suite.” Cam’s eyes settled on the bed, and John felt the anxiousness return. “We don’t have to do anything,” John addedquickly, giving Cam a lopsided smile. “I’m pretty sure there’s no Ancient sex detector in here.”
Cam’s smile was slightly queasy as he stepped a little closer to John. “Let me try something,” he said, closing his eyes and concentrating. John sensed when the feeling in his mind intensified, and unconsciously reached out and grabbed Cam’s arm. He gasped as the feelings flooded his head.
John felt a thousand different things at once. Amusement, enjoyment, anticipation, affection, frustration, worry, lust, and longing all swirled together and apart again as he clutched at Cam’s arm. The feelings faded slowly and John forced his eyes open. Cam was staring at a point over John’s shoulder, a faint blush on his cheeks.
“What was that?” John asked, not sure where the sudden heat in his face had come from.
Cam shrugged. “I thought about you.”
“Thought about…” John stuttered, and Cam was backing away slightly, smiling a little too self-deprecatingly.
“Now you know my secret,” Cam offered wryly. “Well, not that you didn’t know before.”
And Cam was right, John suddenly realized; he searched through Cam’s memories inside his own head and found himself there, smirking and slouching, and felt the same swell of emotions stir again.
John reached out before Cam could get too far from him and closed his eyes, concentrating on Cam in his mind and hearing the surprised intake of breath as he channeled his own thoughts through their bond. He drew his own mind back slowly a moment later, and when he opened his eyes, Cam was standing much, much closer, close enough to touch, close enough to –
And then they were kissing, mouths sucking greedily at jaws and lips and necks. John’s hands pulled at Cam’s waist until they were flush against each other, and Cam’s hands wound their way around John’s shoulders and up into his hair. John could feel every point of contact between them and shoved the feeling though the bond. Cam groaned helplessly, grinding against him.
John propelled both of them towards the bed, shoving Cam down as he stood to unfasten his own robe. It fell to the floor with only a few tugs; the garments had clearly been designed with this part of the ritual in mind. Cam, meanwhile, was wriggling his way out of his own clothing, and he’d only gotten it bunched around his waist by the time John decided that he should help in the process. He yanked at the bottom of the robe and it slid the rest of the way down, pooling on the floor by the edge of the bed.
Cam reached up and caught at John’s shoulder, puling him down onto the bed. John landed awkwardly on his side, but Cam’s hands were already working, pulling until John could lean in and take Cam’s mouth with his own. The kiss was wet and sloppy, leaving both of them gasping and grinding against each other. They settled into a fast, hard rhythm, and it wasn’t long before Cam gasped and thrust up sharply. The feeling in the back of John’s head exploded, pleasure and release and sated happiness, and he came with a choked moan a split second later.
John had enough presence of mind to roll off of Cam before collapsing entirely. They lay on the bed, both trying to collect themselves for a few moments.
“That was intense,” Cam said eventually.
“Yeah,” John agreed. Further thought was still beyond him.
“I could feel everything you were feeling, too,” Cam said thoughtfully. “On top of what I was feeling.”
“M-hmm,” John replied. “Same here.”
“Intense,” Cam repeated.
“Sleep now,” John said, turning his face into Cam’s chest. “Discuss later.”
John felt rather than heard Cam chuckle. An arm draped over his back, pulling John close, and he went willingly, soaking up the warmth from Cam’s body. The last thing he noticed before drifting off to sleep was Cam pulling the covers up over both of them and tucking John in, close to his side.
He dreamed about a farm, a place he’d never seen with his own eyes, stretching out endlessly before him. Cole stood next to him, gazing out over the fields intently, and John turned to see what he was staring at. Then they were suddenly both running through the tall grain, laughing and playing around, and then they were swimming together, jumping from a rope swing at the top of its arc and feeling like he was flying before he dropped below the water’s surface. John woke lazily, still thinking about the swimming hole, feeling Cam’s hand tracing absently up and down his spine.
“That’s when I knew I wanted to fly,” Cam murmured above him, and John wondered if Cam had chosen that dream for him or had simply been along for the ride. “Jumping off that old rope swing into the swimming hole. I felt like I could reach heaven if I tried hard enough.”
“That was a memory?” John asked, still struggling to clear his mind from its sleep-induced haze.
Cam shrugged. “More or less,” he said. “It was a combination of things from when I was a kid.”
“Huh,” John said. “You showed it to me.”
It was a statement, not a question, but Cam nodded anyway. “I wanted to show you a good childhood memory,” he replied, sounding faintly embarrassed. “Yours mostly sucked, but you have mine now, too. So you can think about that instead.”
John closed his eyes briefly and brought back Cole, the field, the swimming hole, the feeling of contentment, of peace that it brought with it. “Thanks.”
Cam shrugged against him. “Don’t sweat it.” He shifted and pulled back a little, and John realized that they were both still naked, still sticky beneath the covers.
“We should probably get cleaned up and try to find the others,” John said, realizing suddenly that he had no idea how long it had been since the ritual had been started. Cam seemed to have the same thought – or had John thought it to him? – and they both rose from the bed, finding towels and fresh robes on the floor near the door. They cleaned and dressed in silence, thankful that the awkward feeling from before didn’t return, and soon they were heading back into the first ceremonial room.
The acolyte was standing near the pedestal, and she turned to smile at them. “The Ceremony of Bonding is complete,” she recited. “May those bonded here today find their path straight and true, free of trouble, and easy to follow.”
“Unlikely,” John muttered, and Cam elbowed him in the stomach as they continued to head for the far door. It opened with a click and let them out into a small holding room, where the rest of SG-1 sat.
“Hey,” Cam said, striding forward as Vala jumped from her seat, rushing forward to wrap him in a hug that resembled a deathgrip.
“Was it truly horrible, dear?” she asked, and John interjected, “Hey!”
John could feel Cam’s amusement in the back of his mind. “Not so bad,” he said, gently untangling her hands from around his neck. “I’ve been through worse.”
John shot a glare at the back of his head, figuring that he’d see it even if he didn’t see it, now, and felt Cam’s mental laughter in return. Carter approached him next.
“They told us about the ritual,” she said, glancing between Cam and John. “Said you’d share all of your memories, that you’d have some sort of mental link from now on.” John nodded at her. “The acolyte said that the bond would ‘strengthen with time and grow brighter with presence,’ whatever that means.”
Cam shrugged. “Still figuring it out,” he said, and it was true, even if John had the feeling that they both knew what the acolyte had meant. “She mention anything else?”
“Not really,” Carter answered, giving John a thoughtful frown. “There’s apparently some sort of epic poem written about the whole thing. Daniel’s checking it out.”
“An epic poem,” John said dryly, “Today just keeps getting better and better.”
“So you’re married now?” Vala interjected, suddenly standing close to John, who stepped back in surprise. Cam turned around and stepped between them in one smooth movement, shielding John from Vala’s overexuberance.
“Pretty much,” Cam confirmed.
“I’m throwing you a party,” Vala declared, linking her arm through Cam’s. “As soon as we get back home, I’m going to organize a gala the likes of which the SGC has never seen!”
Teal’c raised one eyebrow as Vala led Cam from the room. “Colonel Sheppard,” he said as John trailed behind them. “I would advise caution. Vala Mal Doran is quite serious about her celebrations.”
“Thanks,” John said weakly.
Seriously. This shit really only ever happened to him.