Some more ShepFord angsting and loving to bring some life into this community. Enjoy! As always, feedback is most welcome...
title: incomplete 1/4
fandom: star gate: atlantis
mail: rotschopf (at) rotschopf.org
rating: overall NC-17
warnings: angst, romance, sexual situations, some humour, language - it's a text document, there's tons of it.
disclaimer: still not my pleasure slaves. no harm intended. no profit made. for entertainment purposes only.
started: May 24th 2005
completed: June 27th 2005
beta: silentauror, frogg and poisondreams, thanks a lot, my lovelies.
feedback: yes, hit me! harder!
archive: TDDM, my lj, skyehawke, poisonsdarkfics, wraithbait, area52 only
spoilers: The Rising, Hide and Seek, 38 Minutes; massive spoilers for Suspicions
summary: without you, all I'm ever going to be is incomplete.
as always, all my stories can be found at groups.yahoo.com/group/TDDM
A/N: this is what happens when a goth!girl is exposed to too much mushy music.
A/N2: based hugely on my own transcript for Suspicions. Thus, everything you recognise is so not mine.
I don't know when it happened, or why. I only know that it hurts like hell. We were good. Or so I thought. One night, we were lovers. The next day, he acted as if he didn't even know me. At least, not on a more private and intimate level. He can't ignore me completely; he's my commanding officer, after all. But as soon as we get off duty, it's as if I don't exist. I don't know what's changed. All I know is that it breaks my heart every time he looks in my direction to deliver an order in that cold voice he lately seems to have reserved only for me.
But let's start at the beginning. I first met John Sheppard shortly before we left for the Pegasus galaxy. He seemed like an easy-going and nice-enough guy, and General O'Neill praised him for his flying skills. I was still surprised when Dr Weir insisted on him accompanying us on the Atlantis mission, but who was I to question my superiors? Colonel Sumner didn't like him, or his record for that matter, but I did. We seemed to have this strange connection from the beginning, where we only had to look at each other to know what the other was thinking. Then, we met the Wraith for the first time, and I admired him for taking control of the situation so fast. Amid all the ruckus that had been risen by McKay's panic mongering and the abduction of Colonel Sumner, he had managed to keep a clear head and organize a rescue mission.
We'd been able to rescue most of the prisoners, save for one Athosian and Colonel Sumner. I could see it in his eyes that he was giving himself a hard time because he'd lost two men. It made him the perfect candidate for assuming command of the military forces; he wouldn't risk the life of his men lightly. I couldn't believe my luck when he named me his second-in-command.
I guess I started to fall in love with him when Jinto accidentally set the creature free the Ancients had captured to study ascension, landing me in medical bay after an encounter with it for the time being. Of course, I chalked it up to hero-worship rather than to admit that I was developing feelings for him. He spent every free minute he could spare with me, telling me about the efforts to outsmart the creature and generally keeping me company. He made a point of being there when I was released, surprising me when he drew me into a hug, telling me he was glad I was okay.
The true depth of my infatuation hit me when I had to kill him in order to save him from the Wraith bug. I don't think I'd ever been as terrified in my whole life as in that moment when I knelt at his side, the paddles of the defibrillator in my hands, ready to kill him. Something had passed between us in that moment, something that made me realize that I'd fallen for him. I panicked when I wasn't able to revive him, which was partly the reason of my decision to be the one blowing up the rear hatch of the Puddle Jumper. I couldn't have lived with the knowledge that I'd killed him.
Luckily, we made it through alive. Major Sheppard spent the next few days in medical bay, and this time, it was I who paid him regular visits. We didn't talk about what had transpired between us just before I'd stopped his heart; we didn't need to.
The first night he spent without constant supervision by Beckett, he came to my quarters. He just pulled me into his arms and kissed me. It was everything I'd hoped for and nothing I could have ever imagined. He stayed with me that night, holding me through my nightmares. Almost a week later, we made love for the first time, and he surprised me yet again by letting me top him. I never would have thought that a man like John Sheppard would submit to me. But he did. Over and over again, for over a month. It was the happiest time I'd ever experienced in my life. I felt safe, I felt happy and I felt loved. Until that night. The first and only time I let him into my body. I felt complete on a level I'd never even imagined possible. I fell asleep in his embrace, only to wake up alone in the morning.
At first, I didn't think anything of it because it'd happened before. More than once, he'd been called away by duty. But he'd always made sure to leave a note so I wouldn't worry about his whereabouts. This morning however, the note was missing.
In retrospect, it should have set off the alarm bells in my head, but it didn't. I thought he'd been too much in a rush to scribble something down in that untidy scrawl I've come to love. How wrong I'd been. I went down for breakfast, spotting him in a corner together with McKay and Beckett. I smiled at him, but the glare he shot me dispersed every notion of happiness I'd had to this point. Averting his eyes as soon as he'd delivered his punch, he turned back to McKay, resuming his conversation as if he hadn't just broken my heart.
I stood there for a moment, clenching my teeth against the oncoming wave of emotions. *That* I hadn't expected. I felt helpless and vulnerable, not knowing how I should deal with this new development. I'd had no clue what had happened, but at this point, I decided to just let it rest. If I'd somehow pissed him off, he would come to me on his own terms and in his own time.
Only, he didn't. On the contrary, if we didn't have to go on mission after mission, I think he would've ignored me completely, which would have been easier for me, I guess. But as it is, we still go on missions together; I'm still his second-in-command, but I'm neither his friend nor his lover any longer. He's treating me with the cool distance a superior officer would treat any subordinate, which brings me back to the beginning. It hurts. I never thought I'd know how it feels to be incomplete. Now I do, and it doesn't seem as if it will change any time soon.
"Dial the gate!" Major Sheppard screams. Of course, I do as he says. I dial and see him sending his IDC as soon as the wormhole is established. "Atlantis, this is Sheppard. We're coming in hot."
We don't wait for the confirmation, but step into the event horizon, the Wraith still firing their weapons after us. As soon as we re-materialize in the gate room, I turn around, aiming at the still uncovered event horizon. I hear Dr Weir shouting to raise the shield again. Before the iris closes, another shot comes through, hitting McKay.
"McKay!" John and I run to McKay's side, John turning him onto his back while I'm supporting his head. I look at John as he presses two fingers to McKay's throat, trying to determine if the scientist is still alive. I know he's worried. Dr Weir radios medical bay, ordering them to the gate room. John sighs in relief. He glances at me, nodding. "I got a pulse." I stand up and offer him a hand. I'm more than a little surprised when he takes it, and I have to suppress a shiver at the tingling his touch sends through my body. "Thanks."
"Any time, sir," I reply neutrally.
He looks at me for a long moment, only breaking eye contact when McKay is put onto a gurney and rolled out of the gate room. "I-- erm-- I'll be in the med lab and see how McKay's doing." He turns around and walks out. I'm too dumbfounded to really notice if he looks back at me again or not, and I wonder if there was even the slightest chance of us making it at least back to the state of friendship. At any rate, he isn't ignoring me anymore.
"You look exhausted, Lieutenant." I jump and turn towards Teyla. "Maybe you should get some rest before the debriefing."
"I'm too wound up. But thanks." I try to smile, and she links her arm with mine, walking me to the door. "Teyla--"
"Humor me." She looks up at me, and though she's smiling, I can see the determination in her eyes. I sigh, which elicits a chuckle from her. "That is better." We walk together in silence until I realize that we're not on the way to my quarters. I look at her, raising an eyebrow. She just continues to smile and steers me towards one of the large balconies. Once the doors close behind us, she walks over to the railing, leaning against it with an intense look in her eyes. "I just wanted to let you know that I am here if you need someone to talk to," she says softly, her gaze sweeping over me.
"Do you think I do not know how much it hurts, Aiden?" She shakes her head softly. "Because I do. More than you or John will ever know. I have accepted that he will never see me as anything but a friend in me."
"What makes you so sure about that?"
"Because of you, Aiden. It has always been you, and I doubt that will change anytime soon."
I snort. "That's why he's been ignoring me, right?"
"He is *not* ignoring you, Aiden," Teyla insists. "He gives you some space to think about your feelings."
"Is that why you wanted to talk to me? To get us together?"
She frowns. "Why else would I want to talk about this if not to put an end to both your suffering?"
I nod. She doesn't know, then, that John and I already *had* been together; at least, from my point of view. I grasp her shoulders, looking down into her gentle face and realizing how strong she truly is. I can't begin to imagine what it must do to her to seemingly see the man she's interested in lusting after his second-in-command and still come to me to make things right for us. "Teyla, you know I trust you, right?"
"I hoped you did. But it is still good to actually hear it."
"What I'm going to tell you isn't for anyone's ears but yours, and I know you will keep our conversation confidential." I take a deep breath. "You can't help me with this. He's not waiting for me to make a move. He's waiting for me to get over what we shared for over a month."
Her eyes widen slightly, the concern in her eyes morphing into compassion. "What happened?"
"I have no idea. We were good. Or so I thought. Then, one morning, he started acting as if he never knew me. He still does. Today was the first time he's acknowledged me as more than his second-in-command."
"Oh Aiden." She puts her small hands on my shoulders, tilting her head slightly and waiting for me to return the gesture; I do. "I am sorry. I had no idea."
"You couldn't have known. No one does."
Her hands slide down my arms, pulling me into a gentle hug. It feels good to finally have told someone what was happening. I pull her against me, resting my chin on top of her head. My gaze wanders over the balcony and comes to rest on no other than Major Sheppard. He looks angry, almost enraged. Something else passes over his face, something I would define as jealousy in any other situation, but not under the current circumstances.
"If you two are quite finished here... Dr Weir is waiting," he says icily, glaring at me when I break the embrace, but don't step away from Teyla.
"Yes, sir." Teyla raises an eyebrow at me and follows John inside. I take a few seconds to compose myself before I enter the city again. John's reaction to finding Teyla and me has been a surprise indeed, and though I know it's ridiculous, I can't help the tiny flicker of hope flashing through my mind. It seems that he cares after all.
When I enter the conference room, John and McKay are already there. McKay has his foot on the table, massaging the sole. John looks quite disgusted, and I can't blame him; it's rather disturbing. I walk over to an open laptop, trying to look busy when, in fact, I'm watching John from the corner of my eyes.
"Could you please not do that here?" John finally says, sounding exasperated.
"My foot is still numb, if you'll excuse me..." McKay retorts without missing a beat.
"Well, at least your mouth still works fine."
I can't help but chuckle. I always enjoy the verbal spar between those two, but lately, it's been absent. At least, any time I've been around, and it fills me with yet more hope that John feels comfortable enough around me again to banter with McKay.
The arrival of Dr Weir and Bates interrupts my train of thoughts, and I sit down. I frown, watching the doors closing. I look at John, who wears a mask of guarded confusion as well. "Shouldn't we wait for Teyla?" I ask, not missing the brief flicker of gratitude in John's eyes.
"Teyla wasn't invited," Dr Weir replies curtly.
"She's a member of my team."
"She's also an Athosian, Sir," Bates says before Dr Weir can reply.
John shrugs. "So?"
"If we've been compromised, and every indication suggests that we have... It's almost certain that one of them is responsible."
I look at him again, trying to gauge his reaction, and I wonder how Bates manages to stand up to him at this point. "We're talking about Teyla," John says in a controlled manner, which tells me a lot about how enraged he really is.
"I don't like either, Major--" Dr Weir reasons, ignoring John's demand to go and get her in on the meeting, "--but the safety of this base and its personnel are my main concern right now. As it should be yours. The Wraith have shown up on five of the nine planets your team has visited, and given the fact that two of those worlds were unpopulated... We can pretty much assume that they have been alerted to your missions by someone on this base."
John's eyes have been darting nervously between McKay and Dr Weir, and I cannot help the flare of jealousy that shoots through me. To me, they seem pretty close; too close for my own comfort.
McKay looks directly at Dr Weir. "If someone on this base was communicating with the Wraith, then why hasn't Atlantis been attacked?"
John nods, pointing at McKay while he tries to catch Dr Weir's eye again. "Good point."
"Maybe we should just stop using the Stargate indefinitely," Bates suggests, looking at all of us expectantly.
I can't help but snort and glance at John again, who has his eyes fixed on the annoying security chief. "We can't do that," he states, shaking his head slightly.
John stares at Bates as if he has grown a second head in the short amount of time we've been sitting in the conference room. "Because we need ZPMs to power this place," John retorts, pointing out the obvious, but it does little to sway Bates.
"They seem to be running fine right now..."
"Okay, when the Wraith do show up - and they will - how do we defend ourselves?" John says cynically, his glare on Bates intensifying with every word he says.
"Or for that matter, how do we get back to Earth?" McKay mumbles.
I lean back in my chair. It feels like I'm watching a damn' tennis match and I simply tune them out at this point, going back to watching John unobtrusively. It's not hard to realize that he's not happy with how things are proceeding, and I can't blame him. On the other hand, I do understand Dr Weir and Bates' reasoning since a traitor among us would pose a very real threat.
"He's not!" I jump slightly at John's tone, not having paid attention to what Bates or he have been saying the past few minutes. "I am."
"Yes, sir." John's glare doesn't waver for a few more seconds before he glances back at Dr Weir, obviously waiting for her reaction to whatever he's been saying.
"We're not going to start treating anyone like prisoners," she finally says calmly.
"Well, that's good," John snarls sarcastically.
"That said," she goes on as if she again hasn't heard John's comment. "Steps should be taken to safeguard the more sensitive areas of the facility. It's only reasonable."
John's face falls at Bates' triumphant expression. "I recommend that no-go zones start with Stargate operations, the labs, power generation and the Jumper Bay."
"I want to meet with every Athosian on this base. I mean, they've been here three months-- I only know a handful of them by name."
He looks me in the eye and his look speaks volumes of what he thinks about the whole thing. I quirk an eyebrow and look back at Bates, who looks decidedly too happy about the situation. "I could start setting up interviews as soon as we're done here."
Dr Weir nods. "In the mean time, all gate travel is suspended until further notice."
John doesn't even wait for Dr Weir to conclude the meeting and shoots out of his chair. He brushes past me, his hand lingering on my arm for a moment. I turn to look at him, but he's already gone, Dr Weir and McKay in his wake.
When I get up myself, my eyes fall on Bates, who has his face buried in his hands. "Alright there, Bates?" I ask, not exactly sure why I bother.
"Yeah. It's just damn difficult dealing with the Major's attitude concerning his team." He looks up at me, a calculating look in his eyes. "You were pretty quiet yourself, sir."
"Well, there was no point in voicing my opinion when the Major basically said what needed to be said."
"You agree quite a lot with him, don't you?"
"I guess that's why I'm his second-in-command and you're only the security chief," I reply haughtily; Bates is starting to grate on my nerves. "If you'll excuse me, Sergeant. I've got places to be." I march out of the room, frowning at the two soldiers guarding the main staircase to the first level; that was fast.
I shrug. There's nothing I could have done about it. Dr Weir is still the one in charge of everything around here and responsible for everyone's security. I just hope they're going to find whoever is responsible really quick.
I'm on my way to the mess hall when McKay runs into me, nearly knocking me to the ground. "Sorry, Lieutenant! Didn't see you there!" he calls over his shoulder, not pausing in whatever pursuit he's following. I snort. It's not the first time someone runs into me because they didn't see me. At first, it pissed me off, but nowadays, I really can't be bothered.
Shortly before I reach the mess hall, a group of excited scientists pass me by, talking about McKay and Zelenka having found a way to open the sunroof in the Jumper Bay and John planning to take a Jumper out. It's not hard to make my decision. I grab a turkey sandwich from the mess hall before I make my way to the Jumper Bay. I see him disappearing around a corner and jog after him. "Sir!"
He turns his head, keeping up his steady pace. "Ford," he replies as a greeting, his light tone giving me hope that this might actually work out.
"Heard they got the sunroof open on the Jumper Bay," I say as neutrally as possible. I don't want to give him the idea that I'm actually seeking some quality time with him, though the thought of bringing up our relationship has definitely crossed my mind.
"Also heard you're planning to take a Jumper out..."
"I figure that's what the door on the roof is for," he replies teasingly, still walking towards the Jumper Bay. I'm sure that, by now, he knows where our conversation is leading.
"Anyone else call shotgun?" I ask, still careful to keep my voice devoid of the emotions, which are flooding me just from being this close to him. And alone.
"Just going to drive around the planet, check it out...," he says, almost sounding bored. But we both know that this is just part of the game we've been playing ever since we've arrived in the Pegasus galaxy and that I'll eventually accompany him on this flight.
I decide to go along with the game and pull a face. "Oh, you're just checking out the planet... Oh, never mind, then. That's cool I mean--," we're heading up the stairs that lead to the Jumper Bay, "--I've got better things to be doing than cruising around the planet in a *space* ship," I add for good measure, trying to sound disinterested.
He doesn't disappoint me. He turns around, looking at me with a secret smile playing around the corners of his mouth. "You're like a kid, do you know that?" he says without the bite his tone's been lined with recently whenever he needs to talk to me.
I grin, though his comment hurts me in a way he would never fully understand. "Yes, sir! I also brought along something to eat on the ride."
"How about a nice..." I show him the bag, which contains our meal. "... turkey sandwich?"
He sighs softly and smiles. "Let's go." He turns again and continues to jog up the stairs, looking back and smiling again when he sees me following him close behind. We head towards Jumper Three and board it, the hatch closing behind us with a hissing noise. I sit down at the controls, feeling his eyes on me, boring into me and scorching me even more. I close the bulkhead doors before I answer his gaze with my own. He looks away quickly, a faint blush tinting his cheeks. I cheer inwardly. I still do have an impact on him, it seems, and, though I know it's foolish, it feeds my hope to get to the bottom of this after all.
"Flight, this is Jumper Three. We are go for bay launch."
The sunroof opens, and I can't help but watch with rapt attention. The technology of the Ancients still fascinates me, though I'm not really unhappy to not be one of the gene carriers.
"Jumper Three, you are good to go," Flight control informs us, and now it's John who looks like a small kid, who's been allowed to play with his favorite toy.
"Yes, we are," he says, and I have to smile. He always sounds so excited when he's allowed to fly one of his precious Jumpers, and I can't blame him. I know how much flying means to him. It's as much a part of him as going through the Stargate has become a part of me.
He launches the Jumper and quickly gains altitude once we're in the open. "It's strange not pulling any Gs," I say, trying to make small talk because anything else I'd like to say will destroy the fragile peace we seemed to have formed.
"Yeah... kind of miss it. Although, at this rate of acceleration, we'd be dead by now."
I have to admit that my knowledge of physics ends with knowing exactly what different grenades do; I only say: "Yeah?"
"Oh yeah. Without inertial dampening, we'd be hit by so many Gs our eyes would pop. The skin would pull away from our faces, our brains would squish up to the back of our skulls and our internal organs would be crushed into these chairs," he elaborates, looking perfectly comfortable with his description. I shoot him a dirty look, while he only raises his brows at me. "What about that turkey sandwich?"
I have to suppress a groan. Leave it to John Sheppard to play me like a finely tuned instrument. I hand him the sandwich, glaring at him; he looks definitely too smug for my own comfort. "Flight, we're going to take a low orbit around the planet. We'll advise when we're back in radio range," he says, opening his turkey sandwich.
"Copy that, Jumper Three. Good luck!"
John closes the radio, busying himself with flying the Jumper through the atmosphere. "You know, we still haven't named the planet yet," I say, trying to start a conversation again.
"I'm sure, the Ancients have a name for it," he says dismissively, without looking at me.
"How about-- Atlantica or something like that?" I grin, knowing that I'm playing right into his hands and already expecting his next comment.
"I thought we agreed you weren't going to name anything anymore?" He raises his eyebrows at me, his expression telling me that he'd exactly known what I'd been going to say.
I shrug, happy that our friendly banter seems to be restored to a normal level again. If that's all he's going to give me, I'm going to play along. I'm looking out of the front window, when I suddenly see something, which looks like-- "Sir," he follows my line of sight, "is that-- land?"
John sits upright in his seat. "Yes... it *is*."
I can't contain my excitement. Ever since we'd come to Atlantis, we'd always assumed that the planet was completely covered with water; finding land was like Christmas coming early. "Wonder how big it is?"
As soon as I planted the idea in his mind, a display appears on the main window. "Big," he says, sounding just as awed as I feel.
My face hurts, but I can't seem to stop grinning. "Really big."
"Let's check that out." He brings the Jumper back down, flying low over an area covered mostly by trees and underbrush. "Looks pretty untouched down there," he says, taking the Jumper even lower. "But those breakers look sweet. Ever gone surfing, Lieutenant?"
"No, not really." I suddenly picture myself on the beach alone with John, not caring about anything at all. "We should send Stackhouse's team to check out the area. Wouldn't do for anyone to run into bugs."
He smirks. "I certainly don't have any need for more bugs, I'm telling you." His smirk turns into a lopsided grin. "What do you say we fly back and let our favorite Canadian know what we've found?" he suggests lightly, but I can't help the jealousy that's flaring through me again. The looks they exchanged at the last meeting come back to me full force and dampen the initial euphoria of finding something other than water on this planet immensely.
"Yeah, sure," I mumble.
"What's going on, Ford?" he asks immediately.
"Nothing, sir. I'm perfectly fine," I hasten to say, but I realize that, as soon as the words have left my mouth, I piqued his suspicion.
"Don't give me that, Aiden. I know you better than that," he says softly, though he doesn't take his eyes off the flight path as he pilots the Jumper back to the city.
"It's nothing, John, honestly. McKay ran into me earlier because he didn't *see* me." I'm actually proud of myself for finding an alternate explanation for my behavior besides my raging jealousy.
His face softens. "I'm sorry to hear that. I know that people don't appreciate you as much as they should."
"Do you appreciate me?" I blurt out before I can stop myself.
"Of course I do. What kind of question is that?" He shakes his head, landing the Jumper safely in the bay. "If I didn't appreciate you, you wouldn't be my second."
I swallow past the lump in my throat. He appreciates me. As his second in command. Nothing more. "Thank you, sir," I reply curtly, getting out of my seat after I have opened the bulkhead door and the rear hatch. There's only one thought on my mind: I have to get away from him as fast as possible before I tell him how much his comment hurts.
Coming up in Chapter 2:
"Oh, yeah, that's what he's been ignoring me for the last two weeks after we fucked for over a month, only to now act as if nothing ever happened!"
Take care & happy reading!
luv & hugs