here comes the next chapter of Incomplete. Enjoy! As always, feedback is most welcome...
title: incomplete 2/4
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: still hugely based on my own transcript for 38 minutes.
When we reach the control room to debrief Dr Weir and McKay of our findings, I feel slightly more in control of my emotions. Enough to put on my mask of an easy-going and hyperactive soldier, who feels excited about everything and anyone. If only they knew...
So, I plaster a grin across my face. "It's huge." I'm actually proud of my acting skills. I think I'm sounding just the right degree of excited.
"Define huge," McKay says, exasperated.
"Fifteen million square miles," John replies gleefully. "Well, give or take..."
I can't help but chuckle. Obviously, he's found a new hobby, apart from ignoring me: irritating the hell out of McKay.
McKay's eyes widen. "Well, that would make it approximately the size of... I have no idea, but it sounds huge."
"How long would it take us to get there?" Dr Weir asks, the excitement about our discovery audible in her voice as well. Only now, I realize that Bates is also with us, and he looks entirely too happy.
I glance at John, trying to determine if he's reads into Bates the same intentions as I do. "Twenty-five minutes by Jumper from ground to ground," he says as neutrally as possible. "I saw some sweet breakers on the south table... There may be surfing in our future!"
I have to grin. Sometimes, he just manages to break any kind of tension with one of his smart-arse comments. Sometimes, I hate him for it; you can't stay angry with John Sheppard for any amount of time. "We should send a team to go get soil and water samples," Bates speaks up, and I already want to strangle him.
"He's right. If the land's arable, it could solve a lot of our food production problems," McKay says in a bored tone, but then, he sounds bored most of the time. Especially when he thinks that someone else steals his show of boasting knowledge.
"Actually, I was thinking of something else," Bates concedes, earning himself a raised eyebrow by John.
"No surfing?" John asks, disappointment coloring his voice.
"No, sir. We can't resume off-world missions as long as the Athosians remain in the city."
"So, you want to dump them on the main land?" John snaps at Bates, and I have to hand it to the security chief - he doesn't flinch at John's sharp tone.
"You make it sound like we're sending them out to die, Major..."
John glares at Bates. "Well, how the hell would *you* know?"
"It looked pretty wild down there," I offer, not liking the direction the conversation is taking. Bates *has* to realize that he's about to lose John's respect forever.
"A second ago, we were going surfing," Bates retorts, his tone mocking and taunting.
"Well, that was *after* we check for monsters and-- *bugs* and other space related things!"
"I can't imagine it would be any worse than their original home world--"
"That could be just failure of imagination on your part," McKay mutters, but Bates continues undeterred.
"--and in any case, a survey would tell us what we need to know."
John glances at Dr Weir, who has been watching the scene and obviously pondering her options. He raises one eyebrow as Dr Weir returns his gaze. "You're not seriously thinking about this." She shrugs. "We're the reason they had to leave their planet in the first place!"
She nods. "This is a complicated situation, Major."
He almost gapes at her, realizing that she might as well go with Bates' suggestion; I can't blame her. It's an easy solution and would definitely remove the spy from the base, if there even was one. "Well, what does that mean?" The question in itself is redundant since I can see in his eyes that he knows exactly what she means. He just wants to hear it out of her mouth for confirmation.
"It means I'm not about to rule anything out at this point," she says curtly, giving John a look that doesn't bear any argument.
He glances at me. I try to convey with my eyes that I don't support her decision. I'm not sure if I got my message across, but the expression on his face softens slightly. He watches from the corner of his eye as Dr Weir, McKay and Bates leave, never really taking his eyes off me. Once they are out of earshot, he smiles. "Thanks."
I frown. "What for, Major?"
He sits halfway on the table. "For speaking up. You haven't done that very often recently."
"They don't see me, so why would they listen to me?" I ask, more myself than the Major.
"I see you," he says softly. "That's why you're my second-in-command, not Bates. I know I can depend on you and that you've got more brain in your head than you let anyone know. Even if the others don't hear you, I do. And it matters to me."
For once, I'm glad that my skin is dark because if he saw my blush right then, he'd know that something is up. "Thank you, sir."
"And would you please drop the 'sir'? I think we're way beyond formalities."
I have to strain to keep from blurting out just what I think about us being beyond formalities. Who does he think he is? Does he really expect me to act as if nothing had ever happened between us *beyond* formalities, but still call him 'John'? "I don't think that's such a good idea, sir."
"Do you really want to know, John? Do you really want to know what's going through my mind right now?"
"I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know, Aiden."
I close my eyes. How can he not know what he's done? How can he just sit there and look at me expectantly as if it were the most normal thing in the Pegasus galaxy? I look at him, hoping that nothing in my eyes is going to betray my thoughts. "When this crisis is over, we're going to talk. But leave me my space until then, John, okay?"
He frowns, but nods. "Alright. But we *are* going to talk about whatever is bugging you."
"Yes, sir." I turn on my heels and march out of the control area and straight to my quarters; I have some thinking to do.
The Athosians have taken the decision out of Dr Weir's hands and have decided to take their chances with the mainland. I can't blame them. The base hasn't been exactly a friendly environment for them in the past few days. I successfully managed to turn down John's request to accompany him to the mainland again; he didn't look very happy about that.
I'm actually surprised when he smiles at me as I enter the gate room for our first off-world mission after the last Wraith incident. I nod at him in greeting, noticing that Sergeant Stackhouse's reconnaissance team is coming with us.
Dr Weir joins us and smiles at the Major. "Anxious to step through the gate again, Major?"
He glances at the puddle and smiles. "Yes, I am."
"We all are," Teyla adds.
He grins before he turns back to Dr Weir. "You like us to bring back anything special?"
"Uh, no, thanks."
"Groceries? A new outfit? Flatware?" he continues teasingly, which makes me laugh again at his attitude. It reminds me why I fell in love with him in the first place. And why I got hurt in the first place, too.
She smiles. "Hmm, no. Just yourselves - in one piece, please." She looks up at Grodin. "Dial it up. - Be safe."
Both teams line up to step through the gate. I have no other choice but stand beside him, touching him from elbow to heel. I feel the slight tremor that runs through his body and can't help but press into him. He returns the gesture before he starts moving towards the event horizon and disappears into the puddle. Of course, I follow him. As a second-in-command should follow his commanding officer.
We step through a gate surrounded by ruins covered by runes. The anthropologists that accompany us instantly go to work while Stackhouse's team, Teyla and I secure the immediate area. I can hear John talking to an anthropologist and turn around, surveying the ground. The scientist returns to his work as Teyla and I walk up to the Major.
"Did you say there were natives here?"
"They are very shy people," Teyla replies softly. "They probably went into hiding the minute we came through the gate."
"Is there any way you can coax them out? Have them give us a hand?"
"It is-- unlikely. But I could try."
He nods. "Lieutenant, go with her."
I stare at him incredulously. He can't be serious. He's not about to send me away, risking me being away from him should the Wraith show up again. I look at Teyla, desperate for some support. She grins widely before she looks at John. "It would be better if I went alone."
"You will be alone." He nods to me. "With Lieutenant Ford."
Teyla looks at me, waiting for me to come to a decision. I'm almost tempted to just disobey a direct order and stay with him, but that wouldn't help matters at all. Teyla and I both walk away from the teams, up a slope and into the woods. Almost immediately, she starts to call out in a foreign language, which must be the tongue of the natives. She looks at me and stops. "I am sorry, Lieutenant. I know you did not want to come with me."
"It has nothing to do with you, Teyla. It's just-- I can't believe he's sending me off like that. Away from potential harm." I freeze.
"Exactly," Teyla replies softly, putting her hand on my arm. "He is not trying to provoke you. He is trying to protect you."
"I'm a big boy; I can take care of myself," I retort.
"I am sure he knows that. But sometimes, we cannot help but protect those we care about most, how unwise or uncalled for it might be."
We resume our walk, Teyla again trying to coax the natives out of their hiding places while I'm trying to come to terms with what Teyla just said. With what *I* just realized. Is it really possible that John is trying to protect me? If yes, from what? He knows that I can stand my ground against the enemy. And it still doesn't explain why he just vanished one morning, ending whatever we'd had.
Teyla and I cross a clearing and step into open forest again. Nothing indicates that the natives Teyla had told us about are near. "Maybe they're not around," I say, voicing my opinion.
"They are near. But you are a stranger to them. They will not come out of hiding as long as you are with me," she explains, peering into the scrubs. When she realizes that I'm not making any move to leave, she looks at me again, smiling. "They are not a dangerous people, Lieutenant. I will be fine."
I raise an eyebrow at her. The Major will have my head if something happens to her while she explores the woods on her own. On the other hand, I'm aware of Teyla's fighting capabilities. She could give every single soldier on base a run for his or her money. I nod. "Alright, I'll wait here." I take position under the nearest tree and watch her walking deeper into the brush. "Call me on the radio if you need me!" I call after her; then, I'm alone.
It doesn't take long before I can hear the gunfire starting, mixed with the distinct sound of stun blasts. Every instinct in me screams to return to the gate and help protecting my team, but I can't just leave Teyla to her fate. "Teyla!" I realize that she's out of earshot and call John on the radio. "Major, what's the situation?"
"Lieutenant, we're taking fire!" His voice is strained and I can hear the stunners hitting the ruins over the radio. "You're going to have to circle around to get back to the gate!"
"Teyla's not with me, she went to get--"
"Find her! Get her back!"
John closes the connection, and I jog off to find Teyla, trying to ignore the continuous fire I can still hear in the distance. Teyla meets me in a clearing not far from where she left me, looking at me with concern in her eyes. "What is happening?"
"Wraith attack. We have to circle around to get back to the gate."
"Let us move!" She breaks into a run, and I have a hard time keeping up with her. Even in full gear, she's faster than I am. We arrive at the gate, only to find the area deserted. "We are too late," she says. "Either they have gotten back safely through the gate, or the Wraith took them."
"I don't think they took them," I reply quietly. "They were under fire, which means they most likely would have fed upon some of either team. But I don't see any corpses."
She tilts her head, narrowing her eyes. I don't have time to ask her what it is, because she tumbles me to the ground, and a stun blast hits the ground where I had been standing only seconds ago. We scramble to our feet and start to run, firing at will. I see a Wraith aiming and firing at me, and I dive out of the way of the stun blast. Then, everything goes black.
I wake with a jolt and sit upright. "John..."
I feel gentle hands pressing me back into the mattress. "I'm here, Aiden. It's alright," he murmurs softly, rearranging the pillow under my head. "How are you feeling?"
I try to clear my head. The last thing I remember is the Wraith attack on our last mission. I look around, realizing that I'm in medical bay. Apparently, Teyla managed to get us both back safely. My eyes come to rest on John's face, and I'm taken aback by the open worry and-- protectiveness? I find there. "Better, now that I know you're safe," I admit, not caring about what he might read into my confession.
"I'm fine, I promise. I was more worried about you when I woke up here and was told that you were missing. And-- Teyla," he adds hastily. He cannot hide the blush and sits down on my bed. "Bates almost had Elizabeth convinced to not let you through the gate."
"Figures." I sit up gingerly, my head still hurting.
"Most likely, I would've knocked out the control guy and lowered the shield long enough for you to get through," he admits, not shying away from our close proximity. "I thought I'd lost you when Teyla carried you through the gate. You were so still..." He closes his eyes for a moment, trying to compose himself again. "Do you remember what happened, Lieutenant?"
I'm a bit dumbfounded that he would switch from the almost intimate conversation to a strictly protocol-compliant version so easily. Then, I see Beckett hovering nearby and nod, letting him know that I understand. "We were on our way back when we came under fire. Didn't even see them. We returned fire, then broke for the gate. I was shot from behind. She saved my ass back there, Major."
"Of course she did." It's apparent in his voice that he's as unhappy with the situation as I am. He looks tired and weary, most likely hoping that the crisis will be over as soon as possible.
I want to say something more, but McKay comes into medical bay. "Major, I--" He comes to stand behind us. "Oh, Ford. How are you feeling? Pins and needles all over?"
John punches me softly in the thigh. "Oh yeah, welcome to the club."
I have to grin. "No, sir, I managed to dive out of the way of the stun blast. I must have hit my head on the way down." I absentmindedly rub the bump at the back of my head, feeling John's incredulous gaze.
"You hit your head." It was more a statement than a question, but I still can hear the relief in his voice.
"Major, I need you to see something," McKay says urgently, and John gets up from the bed, rolling his eyes.
"I-- I'll be fine." John turns around again to smirk at me before both he and McKay head out of the room. "Not that you care," I mutter in addition, frustration spreading like a wildfire through me again.
"Have some faith in the Major, will you?" Beckett says, examining the back of my skull carefully.
"Well, excuse me, Doctor, if I don't agree with you," I snap, instantly regretful when Beckett looks sternly at me.
"The Major carried you from the gate room to medical bay, son. Except for the time he was in a meeting with Dr Weir, he didn't leave your side. So don't tell me he doesn't care for you. You know he does."
"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!" I realize that I had shouted the last part and that I'd given away too much, since Beckett's eyes widen comically. "Sorry. TMI, I guess."
He pulls over a chair, sitting down in front of me. "The Major does care about you, Aiden. I don't know why he's acting like he does. I guess you'll have to ask him. But never ever doubt that he cares."
"You seem to know him a lot better than I do," I say, noting that it doesn't come out half as sarcastic as it was meant to be.
"I know him as a friend, yes. And I know that he's always fussing about you as a *person*, not as his second-in-command."
"Teyla thinks he's protecting me," I offer, trying to get as much out of Beckett as I can. I want to know if Teyla's and my assumptions are correct.
"Maybe. With John Sheppard, you never know. He likes to show off an easy-going and sometimes dumb persona, but he's much deeper than that. I doubt that anyone here on base truly knows him." He puts a hand on my knee in a comforting manner, smiling at me. "Be patient, lad. Wait until this crisis is over, then go and talk to him. I'm sure he'll tell you."
"What if I don't want to hear what he has to say?" I ask quietly. "I'm in love with him, Carson."
"Of course, you are. It wouldn't bother you so much if you weren't. But you'll have to be patient. If there's one thing I know about him, it's that he doesn't like to be rushed. He might make the occasional rash decision, but when it comes to personal matters, he needs some time."
"Well, I would've thought that our time together--"
We are interrupted when John enters medical bay again. He smiles sheepishly. "Sorry about that." He walks over to my bed again and sits down. "It turned out that Teyla's locket is a transmitter. It's broadcasting a continuous signal, which is probably why we're attacked on every other planet."
"Her locket. The one you gave to her on her home planet?" I ask, dumbfounded that Teyla of all people is the one responsible for the repeated attacks.
"Yes. McKay thinks that I activated it with my gene. Which is actually why I have to go again. McKay called a meeting to debrief Dr Weir and Bates on the situation. I just didn't want to let you hanging in here." He gets up, smiling boyishly at me. "I guess I'll see you when Beckett lets you out of his clutches." He squeezes my shoulder and heads off to the meeting.
Only when the doors close behind him, I look back at Beckett. "Oh, do stop smirking."
If anything, his smirk widened. "I told you he cared."
"That still doesn't explain a lot of things, but I guess I'll have to wait." I sigh dramatically for effect, which actually elicits a chuckle from Beckett. "If I'm good to go, Doc--"
"Who said you can leave, son? You have a bloody concussion!" I groan, but Beckett shakes his head. "Lie down again. You're staying here overnight."
"Do I have to? I can rest in my room just as well," I say, almost cringing at my whining. But I really don't want to stay here through the night. The beds aren't very comfortable and I want to have some privacy to mull over the events of the day.
"Alright, you may go." He gets up and fetches some pills with some water, which he hands to me. "You will go straight to your quarters, lad, and you will not think about the Major in any other way than what's relaxing."
I feel the blush creeping into my cheeks, even as I swallow the meds. It's one thing to talk to Beckett about being in love with my commanding officer, but to be practically ordered to wank over said commanding officer to relax is an entire different matter. "Yes, sir," I mumble feebly, carefully standing up from the bed.
"I'm a Doctor, Lieutenant. A medical one. You can keep the 'sir' for another lad," he replies teasingly, winking at me before he almost pushes me out of the room.
Coming up in Chapter 3:
He averts his eyes. "Don't tell me you still haven't gotten over that stupid crush," he murmurs, but still loud enough for me to hear.
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