After an ill fated mission Sheppard loses not just his wife but also unborn child. As his friends rally round to offer support news reaches them that Elizabeth had given birth before being executed. How will John react.
Categories: Fanfiction Characters:
April 17, 2010 Updated:
April 25, 2012
1. Chapter 1 by lisabeth39
2. Chapter 2 by lisabeth39
3. Chapter 3 by lisabeth39
4. Chapter 4 by lisabeth39
5. Chapter 5 by lisabeth39
6. Chapter 6 by lisabeth39
7. Chapter 7 by lisabeth39
8. Chapter by lisabeth39
9. Chapter 9 by lisabeth39
10. Chapter 10 by lisabeth39
11. Chapter 11 by lisabeth39
12. Chapter 12 by lisabeth39
13. Chapter 13 by lisabeth39
14. Chapter 14 by lisabeth39
15. Chapter 15 by lisabeth39
DISCLAIMER: . do not own Stargate: Atlantis or any of the characters. If I did, Elizabeth would have been back as the true leader of atlantis.
John Sheppard, Military Leader of Atlantis, appeared, on the surface at least, to be as spell bound as the rest of his team. They were listening to the beautiful, but slightly sad musical display that their allies had laid on for their entertainment.
Dr Weir, especially, looked to be enjoying herself. Carefree laughter lit up her features, while her unruly curls were teased by the gentle evening breeze. John smiled softly as she unconsciously attempted to tame the curls, by tucking them behind her ear; something so simple, but so Elizabeth.
To see her so relaxed did nothing to ease John’s conscience, as their argument from the previous night still rung in his ears. He felt some of what he’d said was justified as it was Elizabeth’s safety he was thinking about. Maybe he should have been a bit more diplomatic about it, but when all was said and done, it was his job to detect any dangers. That was where the problems had arisen. He had felt there was something amiss with this mission, whereas Elizabeth had not and nothing he said would convince her otherwise. The fact she had insisted on accompanying them, had only made the situation worse, and his team siding with Elizabeth, didn’t help either.
Thinking over the day’s activities so far, it certainly looked like he had been mistaken. The alliance had been sealed without so much as a raised voice and both sides appeared happy with the terms laid down.
So why, then, did the cold chill he felt on stepping on to this planet persist? Was it, simply, the sudden turnaround of these people to the agreement of an alliance? John didn’t believe the Tronan had simply changed their mind; they were too self assured and arrogant to admit they needed Atlantis’ help. So why did they invite the Atlanteans to their world on the pretence of an Alliance? What did they hope to gain? This, to John, was the crunch of the matter, which caused his unease and had him alert and ready for any trouble.
John risked another glance at Elizabeth, trying to catch her eye. The glare she gave him when she noticed him was enough to make him drop his eyes back to the table. Was she ever going to forgive him for last night’s angry exchange of words?
Flash back to Atlantis, Previous Day
John closed the door softly, knowing he would find her here. This was the one place they could truly be alone. Only in an emergency would anyone dare disturb them. It had long since become an unwritten rule, as if a no-entry was plastered on the door.
Elizabeth had her back to him, with one hand resting on the railing that surrounded their favourite balcony, her expression grim as if concentrating hard on something. She sensed his presence, however, before he as much as uttered a word. It was as if some invisible sensory perception had developed between them and it had only gotten stronger the closer they had grown.
Turning to face him, Elizabeth flashed a nervous smile. He was immediately alert – he recognised the look – it was one that signified he wasn’t going to like what she had to say.
“John… You remember the Tronans with whom we‘d hoped to secure an alliance?”
John frowned, oh he remembered them alright and she knew his feelings about them. So why was she bringing them up? Staring at her, he nodded with an expression of distain, “I’m not likely to forget them in a hurry. Didn’t we decide they had to be the most arrogant and obnoxious people we’ve come across yet?”
Elizabeth wrung her hands, unable to meet his eyes. “That may be so, but John, think of the benefits an alliance with them would give us. Don’t you think that far outweighs their not so pleasant personalities?”
“No. Can’t say I do. Anyway, what I do or don’t think is really of no consequence. They made it perfectly clear their feelings on the matter.”
“Well actually, John, that is not strictly true.” She took a couple of steps towards him, an imploring look in her green eyes.
Sheppard, immediately suspicious, took her by the shoulders and shook her gently, “Elizabeth, what’s going on?”
Elizabeth ran her fingers across the coarse material of John’s top, keeping her eyes averted before taking a deep breath. “It’s just they were in touch a few days ago, when you were off world. They apologised and said they’d been a bit hasty in turning down our offer. They want to renegotiate an alliance that will be of immense benefit to Atlantis.”
“So what did they say when you told them where to stick their alliance?” Seeing her guilty expression, Sheppard’s eyes narrowed in disbelief. “Elizabeth what are you playing at? You can’t be serious, not after the last time!”
“This is different John, this time they approached us, they...” She stumbled slightly, as John suddenly pulled away, causing her to momentarily lose her balance.
He turned his back to her as he leant against the railing. He sighed as he tried to calm down, knowing he wasn’t being fair shouting at her, as she was only thinking of Atlantis. Taking her hand, he drew her closer, “Elizabeth, why would they suddenly change their mind? Nothing’s changed. We can only offer the same as the last time, and that wasn’t good enough for them, remember?”
Reaching out, Elizabeth firmly gripped his left hand whilst subconsciously playing with the wedding ring on his finger. “John I know how you feel, I initially had the same reaction. Don’t forget I was the one they insulted, insinuating I wasn’t fit to be leader.” She pouted as she spoke aloud the indignity she’d felt. They told me I was only good for one thing and that my place was in the bedroom. I’d love to tell them to shove their alliance, however” she paused. “I’ve had a few days longer than you to think on it and what?” She glowered as he laughed at her.
John couldn’t help laughing, as her fresh display of horror and indignation reminded him of her initial reactions. The leader of the Tronans had arrogantly informed John, that for Atlantis’ benefit, Elizabeth should be put to work in his bedroom. The suggestion had so infuriated her, that if John, along with help from Ronon, had not managed to drag her away, there might have been resulting bloodshed. Her strength had surprised them as she took exception to being manhandled back to the puddlejumper. The words that had come from her mouth certainly were not ones they were used to hearing, as she vocalised the indignity she felt.
“John, are you even listening to me?” The Colonel returned to the present with a bang, as he noticed the irritated look his wife was throwing him.
“Look Elizabeth, I don’t like it, I don’t like them and I certainly don’t trust them. I’d have thought the way the treated you the last time would’ve put you off any further ideas of alliances. The sudden need of an alliance is enough to raise my suspicions and I don’t want to take the chance of getting into something we’ll later regret. So I’m sorry, but I can’t agree to a meeting. You’ll just have to tell them we don’t want their offer of an alliance.”
Biting back a sharp retort, Elizabeth tried to remain composed. They could not and would not let an opportunity like this pass them by, but arguing with John would not accomplish anything, but make him more determined. Persuasion, on the other hand, she was a master at. “John, I’ve already argued that fact with them and they’ve explained there’s been a change in leadership and new members of their council.”
She leant back against the railing to ease the ache that had developed in her back, as she subconscious rubbed a hand gently over her stomach.
“John, observing her movements, gave an unexpected grin, “kicking again is he? If he’s as full of beans when he’s born, we’re going to have our hands full.”
“You mean if he turns out like his father, I’ll never get a minute’s peace between worrying what both of you are up to.” She groaned at the thought, heaven help her one was bad enough. “Anyway John Sheppard, don’t try to take my mind away from the Tronans, I can assure you it won’t work.
“As I was saying, the previous government was overthrown because the up and coming younger generation didn’t agree with the way things were being run. They’d all been in agreement for an alliance with Atlantis, so it was the last straw when it was denied to them. All they ask is to be given a chance to prove their intentions are honourable. Others have given us that chance John, know it’s our turn.”
John sighed, knowing he had no response to that. “Okay point taken and although I’m still not entirely convinced, I’ll listen to what they have to say. I have to admit we do desperately need new supplies, so it may turn out in our favour. I take it you’ve already agreed a meeting?”
Elizabeth nodded and hesitantly took a step forward, taking his hands in hers. “I’ve arranged for...us... to go tomorrow, late morning.”
John immediately stiffened, “What do you mean by us?”
“Just what I said, John!” Her tone took on a sharp note. “You, me and your team, will be going to meet with the Tronans and will be participating in a celebration hosted by our new allies, if the alliance is agreed.”
“What? No way, Elizabeth. You can get that idea right out of your head. If you’re so keen to get away from Atlantis for a while, I’m sure Halling would love to see you, but that is the only place you’re going. I can’t believe you’d be so irresponsible to even contemplate going in your present condition.”
Shaking her head, Elizabeth replied irritably, “I’m quite content being on Atlantis and, although Carson has insisted on me cutting down on the amount of work I’m doing, I’ve still got things to keep me from becoming discontented. This mission, though, is different. I’m needed on this; otherwise there’ll be no alliance. The one stipulation the Tronans insisted on, was that I needed to be there to represent Atlantis.”
“Did you advise them this was impossible due to your present condition?” The slow, almost apologetic shake of her head told him otherwise. “Elizabeth, are you insane? How can you even consider taking such a risk?”
“What choice do we have? They won’t negotiate otherwise and with our supplies soon to run out… Please John; we can’t afford to turn our noses up at this.” Elizabeth implored at him. She didn’t particularly want to go traipsing off world, not with her condition so advanced, but she could not see any other choice. She had to do this for the sake of her people and John would just have to accept it, although, judging by the thunderous expression on his face, acceptance was not a word in his vocabulary at the present time.
She tore herself from his grasp and once again leant over the railing, looking out onto the ocean, waiting for his wrath to descend on her. She didn’t have long to wait.
“Well… we’ll just have to manage without their help, because there is no way you are stepping one foot on that planet.” Sheppard furiously shouted at her, his expression ice cold. “So you can just get back in touch and inform them there’ll be no alliance, or maybe I should tell them, in case you agree to some other harebrained scheme.”
“Excuse me?” Elizabeth said authoritatively, causing John to look at her sharply. “Since when has it become your place to make decisions? As far as I was aware, I am still Commander of Atlantis.”
“That may be so, but I’m sure Carson will remedy that, especially if I explain what my foolish pregnant wife has planned for herself now.”
“And you promised me, Colonel Sheppard, that this marriage and pregnancy would not interfere with the running of my city.” She furiously grabbed his sleeve, almost ripping it from his shoulder “So... what? Now you’ve got me pregnant, you’re going back on your word, undermining my authority... but not only that... you’ve also got the audacity to threaten me with Dr Beckett. Well let me tell you…Lt Colonel John Sheppard… carry out your threats if you dare, but if you do… we’re finished.” With that, she turned round, trembling as the tears finally fell, and stormed off through the door.
John stood, stunned, Okay, maybe I didn’t handle that as well as I should have. He contemplated going after her, but past experience told him it would be fruitless, it would be better to let her calm down first.
Unfortunately, she avoided him for the rest of the day and it was becoming clear she was not going to forgive him as easily as he had thought. This was confirmed by a rather annoyed Athosian, “Colonel Sheppard, why would you upset Elizabeth, especially in her advanced state?”
“Teyla, that’s exactly why the disagreement came about, did she tell you why? Of all the ridiculous ideas she’s had, this has got to be the worst.”
The Athosian turned on him in anger, “What is wrong with what she had planned Colonel? Is she to remain confined to her quarters until she has given birth?”
“No of course not Teyla, but there’s a difference between her wandering around Atlantis and going off world with all the dangers it holds.” John’s head swam as all the different scenarios flashed through it; none of them good. He turned his face away from her, as he tried to reign in the tears. “Teyla, I can’t lose her, if anything were to happen to her and our baby...”
Laying a gentle hand on his shoulder, Teyla encouraged the trembling man to turn around so she could speak to him face to face.“I know that, John, but you handled it wrong. She feels you have taken away the essence of who she is. This is not something she has thought about lightly, she has pondered on it for many a day, trying to work out something that would be of benefit for everyone. It stressed her greatly, not only worrying what your reaction would be, but also knowing she needed you by her side. John, she would never be able to forgive herself, if the people of Atlantis suffered because she turned down an alliance as important as this one. Deep down, you know that too.”
“But what if something happens that causes her to lose our child? Will she be able to forgive herself for that? Because Teyla, honestly, I don’t know if I could forgive her.” His voice shook with emotion.
“Yes... you would, John. But why would she be at risk, with us to protect her? For all the faults the Tronans have, violence isn’t one of them. I am sure there is much truth in their need for an alliance; times have been hard for them also.”
“Okay, we’ll do it.” Sighed John, defeated. “But we’re not going on foot, no matter how much she dislikes being in the puddle jumper. That’s my stipulation and we go mid morning, no later. I want to get everyone back to Atlantis before darkness falls.”
Teyla grasped his arms and smiled up at him. “You are doing the right thing, John. Elizabeth will appreciate it when she is herself, however, it is better that she shares my quarters for tonight, and she has only just fallen into an exhausted sleep. It would not be wise to awaken her.”
John nodded sadly, “She will be okay, though, Teyla?”
“Give her time John and she will be,” The Athosian smiled, comfortingly. She is just feeling let down at the moment and her condition is making her emotional.”
“Just look after her for me, Teyla please?” John begged, eaten up with shame, while inwardly cringing, as he thought of the last words he had spoken to his wife.
“You know I will, John. I am sure she will be longing to see you tomorrow, when she has calmed down. Do not worry about tomorrow,” She laid a hand on his arm. “We will all watch over her; ensure she is fully protected.” The Athosian leant forward and  touched her forehead to his, as was the Athosian way, before they each parted company, both hoping they would be able to get some amount of sleep before the mission.
For John, though, it was a long, lonely night missing the feel of Elizabeth next to him, the soothing sensation of her breath on his neck as she slept. He chastised himself for his stupidity and lay awake into the early hours, going over and over everything in his head, until tiredness finally got the better of him and he fell into a troubled sleep.
The alliance with the Tronans is sealed but will it be upheld. Look out for next chapter to find out.
Thanks for reading and please review.
After a sleepless night John is full of remorse but can he get Elizabeth to forgive him
For John, the slow rising sun of the Lantean dawn signified the end of what had been a torturous night. His sheets felt damp beneath him, while his t-shirt and shorts that served as night clothes, clung uncomfortably to his skin; the result of his constant agitation and restlessness.
His relief, though, was short-lived, as all the emotions and turmoil of yesterday returned, bringing with them a feeling of despondency. Would things improve with the dawning of a new day, he wondered, or would Elizabeth and he remain at loggerheads? His stomach twisted with pain and remorse as he remembered the hurt expression on her face before she’d fled the room. He was certainly becoming a master at causing Elizabeth unnecessary heartache and pain.
He lay awake, trying to think about how it could’ve all been prevented and wasn’t surprised when he came to the conclusion it was he, himself, who had been at fault.
The long hours spent deliberating had forced him to look at it from Elizabeth’s prospective. Food supply on Atlantis was becoming scare, due to potential alliances falling short in expectations for varying reasons. An alliance with the Tronans could be the answer to their problems, especially if they were able to secure regular trade. So yes this, he understood, was too important to merely disregard.
What he still was having problems getting his head around, was the need for Elizabeth’s presence, especially after they had totally disregarded her as Atlantis’ leader on their previous visit to Tronan. Had the new government changed so drastically from the overthrown one? John prayed for Elizabeth’s sake they had.
He sighed, wistfully ‘you could rant and come up with every excuse possible,’ he chided himself, ‘it still wouldn’t change the fact that Elizabeth was going with or without your approval.’ His only option was to make sure he stuck to her side like a leech, with his senses on high alert.
Over the past couple of months, with the advancing stages of her pregnancy, he knew he had become slightly over protective; something that both annoyed and endeared Elizabeth, depending on her mood. Maybe it was just over exaggerated this time.
In the meantime, what he needed was something that would take care of his agitation and surplus energy. He knew the ideal thing and the morning was still young enough for him to enjoy some time alone, knowing it was highly unlikely he’d encounter anyone this early in the morning.
He quickly changed and, after doing some muscle stretching exercises, started off at a slow jog, intent on increasing the pace until he was almost running around the outer corridors. Very soon the cool breeze from the ocean presented its refreshing qualities and after the sticky atmosphere of his quarters, he was feeling revitalized. The solitude and stillness of the early hour also, was just what he needed.
This was short lived, however. He groaned impatiently as he became aware of heavy footsteps pounding from behind him.
“Hold up Sheppard, fancy some company?”
John tipped his head and signalled for the new arrival to join him. He was relieved to see it was Ronon, it meant he wouldn’t be submitted to an ear bashing, as the large Satedan had not yet mastered the art of conversation. John marvelled at the appearance of the man, who, by the looks of the sweat marks on his clothes, had done a few laps already, but still looked like he was only out for a Sunday afternoon stroll.
The two men ran side by side, comfortable in the other’s silence. They had done a few laps of part of Atlantis’ perimeter, when John checked his watch. Noticing the time, he suggested they head back, if they wanted to get showered and changed in time for that morning’s mission briefing.
Ronon merely grunted his acknowledgement, which was why John was surprised when the Satedan started to speak as they walked briskly back to their respective quarters.
“Sheppard.” He paused; “If you feel the need to talk...” he glanced uneasily at John clearly out of his comfort zone.
John looked at him, curiously “About what?
Ronon met his expression with an incredulous look. “Sheppard, you just tackled that run as if the devil himself was in hot pursuit and I overheard some of Weir’s conversation with Teyla.”
“John glanced across the ocean, a sour expression on his face. “Is nothing in this city sacred?”
For a moment Ronon remained silent, but his eyes spoke volumes. “I had a wife once too.” He finally acknowledged.
John met his eyes with a tight smile. “I’ve often wondered if there had been someone back in Sateda, family perhaps. You never spoke about it and I never liked to pry.”
Ronon nodded slowly his expression grave, “She died.”
An uncomfortable silence developed between the two men. John, however, knew almost instinctively that Ronon was using this chance to unload a lot of pain he’d kept locked deep inside, so waited patiently for him to continue. He observed the raw pain that clouded the man’s eyes; something he’d never allowed anyone to see previously. John sighed in relief, however, when his patience was rewarded, as Ronon once again instigated conversation.
“My need to protect her is what killed her.” He paused.” She complained I was suffocating her. On the day she died we argued. She stormed out and spent the night at the hospital where she worked, only there was a terrorist attack and the hospital took a direct hit. There were no survivors.”
For a man who favoured his privacy, such a speech must have been extremely difficult, but John was confused as to why Ronon suddenly felt the need to bring it in to the open. “I always thought there was something from your past you didn’t want to divulge, but why now?”
The Satedan looked long and hard at John before answering. “Because you’re heading down that same road.” His mouth twisted into a frown, “Don’t make the same mistake, Sheppard.” Getting up, Ronon strolled off to his quarters without a backwards glance.
John stood outside the shower, testing its scalding water before stepping inside. He could not help but contemplate Ronon’s words. Was he suffocating Elizabeth with his constant attention? He had never thought of it like that, merely seeing it as a way of ensuring her safety. But did Elizabeth feel the same way about it, especially after their recent fallout?
He realised now how badly he had handled yesterday’s revelation. In hindsight, it would be madness to turn down such a lucrative deal. He reached for the shower gel and lathered the suds to a rich crème, enjoying the feeling of the scented balm on his skin. Something was missing though and he immediately felt dejected as he realised what, ‘Elizabeth.’ Normally, they relaxed in the shower together, when their schedule permitted. She loved to lean sleepily against him sighing in bliss as he gently caressed the soap filled sponge over her skin, or massaged the shampoo into her scalp. Suddenly the joy he felt from the warm shower evaporated as he felt an overwhelming need to seek out Elizabeth.
Wrapping a towel firmly around his waist, he glanced at the clock on the wall as he stepped from the shower. He was relieved to see he still had a few spare minutes as long as he forfeited breakfast; there would be plenty time for that after the meeting.
Hopefully he might get the chance to catch up with Elizabeth, in private, before his team started to filter in. It was possible he could find his way into her good books by just being early for a change. He knew his lack of punctuality was something that grated on her nerves and with her present frame of mind it would do more than that if he were to be late today as well. What she would say or do he never wanted to find out.
Finally ready, he made his way along to Elizabeth’s office where the briefing was to be held. His hopes of getting her on her own for a few minutes were quickly dashed when he realised a number of people were already present. Sighing in disappointment, he took his seat.
As the briefing got underway, John was able to convey his change in attitude and was sure he saw a fleeting expression of relief pass over Elizabeth’s face.
It was obvious, with Lorne in attendance and the apologetic expression in his eyes, that Elizabeth had requested the attendance of John’s second in command.
It seemed she had been under the impression that John was going to refuse to lead the mission, he could see why she’d think this but it didn’t help diminish the hurt he felt at so easily being dismissed.
He couldn’t deny refusing the mission hadn’t gone through his mind but only if it would have served its rightful purpose and that was to prevent Elizabeth going also. However it hadn’t taken him long to come to the conclusion Elizabeth would go with or without the attendance of her second in command
Whatever her thoughts had been on the matter, it was soon clarified that no-one but John would be heading the mission, along with his own team. Lorne would be in charge of Atlantis until both leaders returned.
When everyone had been updated on all the relevant information regarding their pending mission, the briefing was brought to a close. The number of people present gradually dwindled, as they left to carry out final preparations for the forthcoming mission.
Finally the only ones left were himself and Elizabeth so John quietly moved his chair closer to her so he would be guaranteed her attention. He had no intention of leaving until he had had his say.
Elizabeth, whose attention was on her unfinished reports, appeared to be unaware of his presence, but the nervous shake of her hand as she worked through the unfinished paper work gave away her pretence. John heard the quiet sigh that escaped from her lips before she gave in and looked up at him,
a closed expression on her face. “Was there something else, Colonel?”
Sitting down beside her, he observed how tired and depressed she looked. “About yesterday.”
Holding up her hand, she interrupted him. “Hold it right there, Colonel, I don’t want to hear any more on that subject.”
John tried to take hold of her hand, but she immediately pulled away from him in anger. He was not going to accept rejection, however; he needed her to listen to what he had to say. “Look, Elizabeth, I admit I over reacted yesterday, without thinking about the proposed alliance seriously.
She raised an eyebrow, “I think that is an understatement, Colonel. The way you reacted was totally unnecessary.”
John leant back in his chair, squirming uncomfortably. “Do you think I don’t realise that now? It’s not the alliance itself that’s the problem; I was concerned for you.”
Elizabeth was about to object, but John laid a hand on her arm. “Please, Elizabeth let me finish. That’s the mistake I made yesterday; not waiting to see the full picture before going off the deep end.” She gave a silent nod, indicating for him to continue.
“I realise our priority has to be Atlantis and, for the alliance to be successful, your attendance is a necessity. Thankfully, the Tronans are not known for aggression, but I need to know your security isn’t in jeopardy either. So I need you to agree to any additional measures I feel are necessary.”
She stared at him silently for a few seconds, before reluctantly nodding her head. Her eyes, as they bore into his, held a warning, which she then verbalized, “But if you do or say anything to jeopardize this mission…”
John couldn’t think of an answer to give, so remained silent. He didn’t want to acknowledge aloud, that he would take any measures necessary whilst on the Tronan home world and challenge anything suspicious, even if it did jeopardize the success of the alliance. She, thankfully, took his silence to mean he understood what she was implying.
Dropping her eyes back to the computer she told him coldly “I suggest you get yourself prepared Colonel, as I intend to head out at the appointed time, whether you’re ready or not.” She clicked her pen, her attention immediately returning to the unfinished reports, which effectively dismissed him.
John wasn’t ready to leave yet, however. He intended to finish what needed to be said. Parking his rear end on the corner of her desk so he could see her reaction, he leant into her personal space. “That’s not all we need to discuss and you know it.”
“That’s all we’ve got time for; anything else can be discussed at a more appropriate time.” She glared at him for a moment before her eyes dropped back down to her desk.
Opening his mouth to say something, John thought better of it and instead simply nodded. However, he couldn’t hold back his final words as he left the room. “I’m not going to give up on us. I made the mistake and I intend to rectify it.” With that he left in search of his team.
Teyla had observed the gratitude and relief in John’s eyes at finally having a short time alone with his team members as they’d carried out their final preparations. She was aware it had calmed him slightly when they’d assured him they’d be on guard for anything suspicious and would ensure Elizabeth was fully protected.
The two remaining team members sauntered slowly towards the mess hall, deep in conversation, although they intending to snatch a quick bite to eat before heading out. Rodney and Ronon had gone on ahead, leaving John with Teyla.
“So what do you suggest I do now Teyla? Leave her to stew, and all the while the situation intensifies inside her head or do I make her listen?”
Stealing a quick glance at her companion, Teyla was not surprised to see he looked equally as disturbed by yesterday’s events as Elizabeth herself did. It was easy to see the dark shadows under his eyes and the weary drop of his shoulders, indicating a night of sleep had passed him by.
Teyla felt frustrated with them, especially John. All the upset could have been avoided if both of them had given a little, but in many ways they were so alike and stubbornness was one of them. It had only succeeded in upsetting them both. Elizabeth had herself spent a very unsettled night and at one point Teyla had considered calling Carson to come and talk to her, but thankfully exhaustion finally won the battle and she fell into a troubled sleep.
As they reached the confines of the mess hall, they quickly collected their breakfast before seeking out Ronon and McKay, who were sitting in a fairly secluded corner. Both John and Teyla were equally concerned when they came to realise Elizabeth had neither appeared for breakfast, nor instructed anyone to deliver it to her office. Thankfully, Carson had come in to snatch a quick coffee, having had his breakfast first thing and he was going to take a tray up to her. The doctor had no intention of leaving until she’d eaten something.
John stirred his spoon about in his cereal absent-mindedly, and then dropped it, causing it to rattle against his plate. “What am I supposed to do now? I tried to get her to talk but she was having none of it. Somehow I don’t think she’s going to let go of this anytime soon.”
Rodney had somehow remained oblivious to everything until now. With his mouth still full of cereal, he looked at John; his expression one of accusation. “What did you say this time to upset her?” Speaking resulted in the food spraying out of his mouth and all over the table.
“Gee thanks for that McKay! If I wanted half your breakfast I’d have asked for it.” John pushed his plate away in disgust.
Rodney was about to say something in retaliation but the threatening rumbles coming from Ronon were enough to silence him.
Teyla waited until silence settled before continuing the previous conversation.
“John, you will have to give her some time. She had a night as disturbing as you look to have had.”
He gave a cursory nod to the members of one of the teams just returned from an overnight trading mission, before returning his attention to the conversation at the table. “I don’t like heading off world with her and this unpleasantness still not settled. What if she doesn’t take seriously any worries I have that her security has been breached?”
Teyla’s worried look mirrored John’s. “What exactly is it about the Tronans that concerns you?
They were unable to continue the conversation, as they were requested over the intercom to immediately make their way to the jumper bay.
Elizabeth had taken her usual seat by his left side, but an uncomfortable silence remained present between them. It wasn’t long before John felt her eyes burning into him. He turned around slightly and gave her a warm look before gently squeezing her hand; an action she surprisingly accepted. There was surprisingly a hint of a smile on her face, which helped John relax. He felt good knowing that although he was not her favourite person at the moment, she still felt the need to have him close by.
Reluctantly returning his attention to flying the jumper, it wasn’t long before they were approaching the Tronan home world. John had forgotten how enchanting the approach was, with the vivid colours of the various plant life out in force. Before long, he was piloting them in for a safe landing, just a short distance from the Tronan settlement.
End of flashback
The meeting with the Chief Councillor of the Tronan people appears to be a success but sometimes things are not what the appear causing John to lose something dear to him.
The Atlanteans fall foul to a face from the past
John gave a restless sigh as he looked towards the Chief Councillor Darwin, who sat on Elizabeth’s left side, whilst John, himself, sat on her right
Although John had gradually developed an admiration and respect for Darwin, he felt the opposite for the hard faced Assistant Councillor Tagan. There was something about him that made John’s skin crawl so he felt an overwhelming relief when it was Darwin and not Tagan who sat down beside Elizabeth.
He suspected Teyla, who was sitting across the table from them, was having the same doubts as he hadn’t failed to notice a frown flicker across her face when she glanced over in Tagan’s direction.
As the day wore on, John found he was gradually able to relax. The talks proceeded with few interruptions, as Elizabeth and Darwin
methodically covered all aspects of the intended alliance. It wasn’t long before the terms of the alliance were agreed upon and finalised.
Their tour around Tronan had been interesting and they’d all been enthralled by the explosions of colour from the shrubs complemented by the stunning green of the grass. The settlement, although not exactly sophisticated, adequately housed the small population of the Tronan people. It was the abundance of crops, however, that drew the Atlanteans’ attention. The promised trade would be enough to provide the population of Atlantis with food for many months to come and the promised supply of equipment, to help harvest their abundance of crops, delighted the Tronans in return.
The tour had drawn to a close with a display of hauntingly beautiful music. The instruments were simple looking, but made entirely by the people of Tronan. It was hard to believe that the music which filled the early evening air came from things as flimsy as the instruments presently held in the hands of their guests.
As they strolled back to the village hall, John was happy to see the lines of tiredness gone from Elizabeth’s face. Her expression appeared animated by all she had seen, so much so that her previous displeasure with her military commander was forgotten as she returned his inquisitive look with a small smile. It seemed the troubles between them had been placed, for the moment at least, on the back burner.
John, himself, felt invigorated by the thought of what the alliance was going to mean. He had been pleasantly surprised by how easily he’d developed a liking for the Chief Councillor. It was obvious the feeling was mutual and John prophesised the development of a deep friendship between Darwin and the people of Atlantis if the talks continued along the same road they were on at present.
To celebrate the new alliance, the Tronans had laid out an amazing spread of food, and well received cool refreshments given the overbearing heat that had developed early afternoon. The group once more took their places around the large oblong table. The inside of the building was pleasantly cool a welcome change from the humid heat of earlier.
One particular refreshment was held in great esteem by the Tronans, and was only served to honoured guests. It was the presentation of this however that ignited John’s suspicions. Not the drink itself, but the person who carried it in to the hall.
Up until now, the guests’ needs were seen to by servants within the councillors staff, but John had seen Tagan slink out the room only to return carrying a tray of cup- like containers filled with the favoured refreshment, Peirra.
It was not this alone, though, that had John’s senses on high alert. He had just caught sight of a fleeting sneer on Tagan’s face before it was quickly disguised; one that had been directed at Elizabeth. The hairs on the back of John’s neck began to rise as he came to a realization, Tagan did not hold the leader of Atlantis in as high esteem as what he tried to portray.
Did he then hold the same views as his predecessors, that a female had no place in positions of power? John felt a coldness consume him as he thought of the implications of this. Was this where the danger lay? From this man alone? John however had no intentions of standing by and letting him endanger the life of Atlantis’ leader.
He stood up hesitantly, knowing his actions would be frowned upon by their hosts. It was not their reactions that he feared, however, it was Elizabeth’s. The words he needed to utter aloud would likely destroy any newly gained trust that had developed. He sighed in despair; he had no choice whilst he harboured this newly developed mistrust. He spoke up, his voice strong, with not a hint of the stomach churning feeling he was experiencing. “Tagan, why don’t you take some Peirra and we can raise a toast to our new alliance.” His smiled at Tagan, but his expression was also one of warning.
The cold and calculating look in Tagan’s eyes seemed to confirm John’s suspicions, but his words only serviced to make John sound unreasonable.
“Colonel Sheppard, I hear reservation in your voice as to the authenticity of our Peirra.” Tagan’s eyes narrowed, but a false smile was plastered on his face. However, I can assure you, I merely refrain as I do not consume alcohol.”
This was immediately challenged by the Chief Councillor. “Now Tagan, that’s not strictly true. I’ve seen you drink when the situation calls for it and today is one of those times.”
Tagan shook his head, an expression of distain clouding his face as he looked towards the Chief Councillor. “Today I want to keep a clear head so I can ensure our guests are adequately entertained.”
John took a deep breath, trying to blot out the feeling of Elizabeth’s eyes burning into the side of his face. “And I Tagan, feel it would be offensive if you were not willing to join us in a toast to our joint alliance. Unless... there’s something you’re hiding, or perhaps not telling us? He looked up, narrowing his eyes. “Why, for instance, did you feel the need to fetch the Peirra yourself, when up till now your demands have had the poor women run off their feet?” He was prevented from continuing by Elizabeth’s shrill voice cutting him off.
“Colonel,” The tone of her voice made him draw back slightly. Very rarely did she let herself get to the stage where she shook with rage, but John knew he had instigated it with his accusation. This knowledge, though, did not prevent him recoiling in shock at the cold fury she instilled into the words she spoke.
“How dare you deliver such a ridiculous accusation? I think it would be for the best if you waited for us in the jumper. Your presence is no longer desired nor wanted.”
John looked at her in disbelief, for once stunned into silence. Strangely, it was Tagan who spoke up in his defence.
“It’s okay Dr Weir, Colonel Sheppard is a soldier as I am, and it is his job to challenge any irregularities. If it will put your mind at rest Colonel, I will indeed drink along with you. He poured himself a glass of Peirra. “So let us toast to the success of our future alliance.”
John was not fooled by Tagan’s words however; even as he’d delivered his apology, the smile was missing from the Assistant Councillor’s eyes.
Their attention however was redirected to Darwin as he attempted to pacify the Atlanteans, but as they all turned to acknowledge the Chief Councillor, John was sure he caught a fleeting look of pure hatred in Tagan’s expression.
John wondered if Tagan was as keen on the alliance as Darwin thought. John, himself, had his own reservations; first the thing with Elizabeth, now this... Tagan troubled him and he had no intention of allowing the other man the chance to cause mischief. Frowning, John wished he had the means with which to communicate his feelings to the others, but with their attentions distracted it would be no easy task.
Realising Darwin was speaking, John forced himself to listen, whilst keeping a keen eye on Tagan.
“So shall we raise a toast then Colonel?” Darwin continued in his previous pleasant manner, not appearing in the least put off by the unpleasant banter. “Dr Weir seeing as there’s a tiny percentage of alcohol in the Peirra, maybe a cup of fresh cold water would be more appropriate?”
Elizabeth nodded her agreement and gratefully accepted the glass filled with fresh water. She turned her gaze on Sheppard, her green eyes flashing a warning, before she spoke up. “Is this okay for me to drink, or do you want this analyzed also Colonel?”
All eyes turned to John, waiting expectantly for his reaction.
He stood up and raised his glass. “We’ll toast to the alliance, but only if you join us Tagan.”Although the words were portrayed in a jovial manner, the meaning was clear.
However Tagan’s previous reluctance seemed to have dispersed. He immediately raised his cup to toast the success of the alliance, before proceeding to swallow the contents of his cup. Darwin and the Atlanteans, including John, did likewise.
As they went to sit down Tagan turned to directly face John, his eyes holding a challenge. “So Colonel Sheppard, do you still feel we are not to be trusted?”
It was Darwin who came to his rescue. “Tagan, Colonel Sheppard has not shown anything but fairness and sensitivity in what is obviously a difficult situation for him. I implore you to do likewise. It was after all yourself that acknowledged the need for him to take precautions as was fitting for a man in his position.”
Turning to John, he attempted to express his apologies, but John cut in. “It’s okay Darwin, I may have overstepped the mark slightly. To rekindle the previous warmth, I say we drink a further toast to our continuing friendship.”
John was determined not to let Tagan interfere. He was almost sure now that Tagan had definitely not wanted this alliance, but seeing as it was not Tagan but Darwin who was in charge, he would ensure they had as little dealings with Tagan as possible.
Looking up he caught Elizabeth giving him a look of admiration and felt a warm glow fill him as she smiled back at him. Her eyes were alive once again with their usual sparkle, and it was clear she had forgiven him for his earlier indiscretion. From that moment, the former relaxed atmosphere returned to the room. John found himself enthralled by the conversation with Darwin and looked forward to the chancellor’s own visit to Atlantis.He became engrossed in the tales of past alliances told by Darwin and was surprised when he realised they had already stayed much longer than he’d intended. Glancing across he noticed the shadows of fatigue on Elizabeth face and realized it was going to have to be himself that called an end to the meeting as she was to stubborn to give in to the obvious tiredness she was suffering from.
It was, however, during his observation of Elizabeth that he became aware of a sudden chill in the atmosphere between the two women and Tagan. The reason for it became clear as Teyla answered her concern obvious. “Tagan may I ask why you are questioning Dr Weir on this matter and how you come to know of its existence. It is not something the Atlanteans go around advertising.”
Immediately John’s worry and unease returned. “I’d also like to know the answer to that question, Tagan, and how the question of whether our child carries the gene, or not, is any business of yours?” John glared at him, not in the least amused. Teyla was correct, they did not go around advertising this piece of information, so how was Tagan a recipient of it?
Darwin looked confused and obviously irritated by Tagan’s indiscretion.
“Tagan why must you always upset visitors to our home. The Atlanteans have been excellent guests and you have gone out of your way to antagonise them. You are only succeeding in making me regret my decision in appointing you as Assistant Councillor.”
Tagan looked at Darwin in disbelief, his displeasure at being given a dressing down in front of the Atlanteans evident, but he for once remained silent.
The Chief Councillor wasn’t finished, however. “The Colonel has asked how you came about information that is obviously not meant to be discussed outside the confines of Atlantis. I would also like to know how you came by this information.”
Shrugging his shoulders, Tagan turned to look at John.” I was just curious that all.”
John, having recently developed a pounding headache, had little patience for Tagan’s vague answers. Through gritted teeth he growled “Never mind where you got the information, just tell me who you got it from.”
John stood up irritable, trying to shake off the tingling in his legs, putting it down to the long hours spent talking over the alliance. He was also becoming increasingly frustrated at Tagan’s reluctance to answer their questions. Not feeling comfortable with the sudden chilled atmosphere, John questioned Tagan further. “Where did you come across the knowledge of the ancient gene?” John’s voice held some of the aggression that was slowly building up inside of him. He was also feeling a bit disturbed at the strange tingling in his feet and hands, but pushed it aside again. He glanced over at Elizabeth, who was wringing her hands in front of her nervously, and gave John an appealing look
Elizabeth, obviously feeling the need for a reprieve from Tagan’s attention, started to rise, but was quickly stalled by the Assistant Councillor. “Dr Weir, it would be best if you sat down. You need your rest after all.”
Elizabeth gave him a cold look. “I am perfectly rested thank you. She looked over to John, “Colonel Sheppard, I think we have achieved all we can for today; it’s time we were returning home to Atlantis.”
Turning to Darwin she smiled warmly. “It has been a pleasure Darwin; I think our people will work well together. We must arrange at day for you to visit Atlantis so we can return your lovely hospitality.
Taking Elizabeth’s hand, Darwin kissed it gently. “It has been a pleasure also and I would very much like to see Atlantis. For now, though, I’m sure we’ve held your attention long enough and you must be longing to get back to your own people.”
Elizabeth again started to rise from the chair, unaware that Tagan was standing behind her until he harshly pushed her back down. She opened her mouth to speak aloud her annoyance, but John beat her to it. “Take you hands of my wife, Tagan, or so help me I’ll not be responsible for my actions.”
The cruel laugh that escaped from the Assistant Councillor only served to increase John’s fury, but as he attempted to get up and go to Elizabeth’s assistance, he was astonished to find the tingling that had previously been confined to his legs had now travelled through his body. His main concern, however, was the increasing numbness that had started to travel up his legs, making it impossible for him to stand.
He was not surprised to hear a furious shout from Darwin. “Tagan what have you done?” The Chief Councillor looked both appalled and furious, as he looked towards his assistant. The naked hatred in Tagan’s eyes made all of them draw in a sharp breath.
“I’ve only done what you haven’t the stomach for. I’m afraid it was necessary to ensure you consumed the poison also as your moral standards would have resulted in you trying to stop what I’m about to do.” He turned to John. “As you are aware by now, the paralysis is rapidly travelling through your blood stream. Everyone except myself and the lovely Dr Weir; which has worked out exactly as was planned. Don’t worry, it’s not permanent. It will, however, last long enough to buy us the time needed.
Looking around, John was further appalled to see the others were suffering from the same affliction. He frantically tried to think of a way out of what had become a very dangerous predicament, but without the ability to even stand, he was at a definite disadvantage; as were the others.
Elizabeth was therefore on her own and no match for the bulky Tronan. The situation was further curtailed due to her pregnancy. He was about to shout a word of warning but, before the words even left his mouth, Tagan had grabbed Elizabeth by the collar of her jacket, leaving her gasping for air as she pulled frantically at her rapidly tightening collar.
Tagan shook her viciously, as if she were a rat, before snarling at her. “Remain silent and still and I’ll let go. I warn you, though, if you so much as move, you’ll feel pain the likes of which you’ve never felt before. So what’s it to be, are you going to behave?”
Nodding, Elizabeth painfully gulped in air as the pressure was released from around her neck. She glared at Tagan, but knew now wasn’t the time for any attempt at heroics; instead she sat and listened to what Tagan had planned.
“Now to answer some of the questions I’m sure you’re dying to ask. Yes the drink was spiked with a drug that caused paralysis.” Turning to John, he sneered.
“I was forewarned about your suspicious nature, Colonel Sheppard, so I took precautions in case you insisted I drank it as well, which you of course did.”
He slowly walked around the room until he was standing beside John. Crouching down beside him, their faces were only a few inches apart, he spat at the Colonel. “Also it’s not me that wanted the information regarding the gene; it was someone that has become a very close ally, although I suppose you would disagree Darwin.”
He threw the Chief Councillor a look of disgust.” Do you really think I’d want any part in such a weak pathetic government? The arrogance of the previous government was a particularly nasty affliction, but at least they saw things how they should; maintaining their stance and position amongst the many pathetic calls for immunity and alliances. They wouldn’t have lowered themselves to accept the friendship of such an inferior race as those present in this room.”
Shaking his head in disbelief, Darwin was having difficulty in recognising the man in front of him as the same man he had only recently appointed as his assistant. This man seemed cold and distant; almost as if detached from reality. “Tagan, what gives you the right to challenge how things are run here? You do realise that when word of your treachery is revealed, you will have to suffer whatever sentence is placed upon you, which will be high in severity, of that I’m certain, unless you end this nonsense immediately.”
The laugh that came from Tagan was vicious and full of loathing. “It was I who should have had the position of chief councillor, but you cheated me out of it. I will have what’s rightfully mine, but not amongst the pathetic weaklings you have turned our people into.” He paced the room as he spoke. “No, I will be Councillor to a race of people whose bravery in the face of adversity I have long admired. All I had to do to gain this trusted position, was deliver Dr Weir to them.” He paused, to run his finger along her neck indicating the fate that was awaiting her. “So they can try her for war crimes. The sentence for which, if found guilty, is death by execution.”
He laughed loudly, revelling in the horrified expressions of the people around him. “You will know the people I’m talking about, Dr Weir, for under your leadership, great injustices have been inflicted upon them. They are the Genii, or to be more specific, Commander Kolya.”
Shouts of disbelief and fury filled the room. John looked at Elizabeth, although the increasing paralysis was already clouding his vision. She knew what he was implying. Run whilst you can. She immediately jumped up and made a grab for the door, but gave a cry of anguish as she feel backwards when the door was wrenched open from the other side. When she saw the person who had just entered she gasped and backed away, horrified before fleeing to John’s side.
John only just managed to raise his right arm but it was enough to allow her to soak in the comfort from the warmth that oozed from him. His heart bled at what he saw in her eyes. They were filled with immense sorrow and fear and John was helpless to do anything to protect her. The only thing he could do was to try and offer her words of hope. “Elizabeth, wherever they take you, never let go of the thought that we’ll find you. Promise me. You can’t give up, no matter how desperate things become, you must remain strong.”
Elizabeth nodded as she hugged him. He felt the warmth of her breath as it hit the coolness of his skin around his neck, and felt the wetness of the tears that streamed down her face and trickling on to his collar. “I’m so sorry John, I should have believed you. I do love you and always will. If they let me live, I’ll never give up hope. I promise. But John, I need a promise from you in return.”
John stared at her a questioningly.
“You have to promise me, John, that you won’t waste your life seeking revenge if they do kill me. Atlantis needs you now; as do our people. It’s to you they will look for guidance. I need you to do this for me John, please.”
“You’re not going to die, Elizabeth, it’s just talk. They’ll probably throw you in some dark damp cell which will feel like hell, but we’ll not be far behind.”
They were interrupted by the footsteps of the one person they regretted not killing when they had the change. As he crouched down beside them, an evil smile filled his face, his eyes empty of any compassion or remorse.
“Well now, this is a rather fetching scene, charged with so much emotion. It almost seems a pity to spoil it, but I’m afraid I must. Dr Weir if you please. You’ve had time to say your goodbyes, now it’s time to leave.”
“Elizabeth gasped, but stood up, showing no sign of the terror she felt.
“Commander Kolya, I don’t know what this is about, but I can assure you I have no intention of going anywhere with you.”
Kolya smiled, marvelling at the show of strength coming from this woman, but knowing that he would have his wish. “Dr Weir, know one thing, on this you have no choice. You can either come willingly, or you can be taken by force, but come you will. The choice is yours, although I must say it’d be a pity to mark that beautiful soft skin, prematurely. I was keeping that pleasure for after your trial.” He took a few steps towards her and Elizabeth immediately shrunk back, desperately looking for some means of escape, but found none.
John was raging, “Kolya keep away from her or I’ll...”
“Or you’ll what Colonel Sheppard? I don’t think you’re in any position to stop me. A word of advice, don’t try to fight the onset of the paralysis as it passes through your body, it only makes it worse. Don’t worry; it will pass in approximately twelve hours or so; ample time for us to be long gone. He laughed, without displaying humour. As John tried in vain to get up on to his feet, he simply collapsed in an undignified heap.
“And don’t bother looking for the lovely Doctor; I’m afraid this is a final goodbye from both Dr Weir and your child. No matter where you search you will never find them.” Grinning vindictively, he continued. “She’ll be tried in her rightful role as the leader of Atlantis and as such, held accountable for crimes against my people. Unfortunately, if found guilty, and of that there’s no doubt, she’ll be submitted to public beatings until she’s near death, then will be executed.”
He motioned with his head and the room immediately became over run by Kolya’s men, rogue Genii who had deserted from their own military. They quickly overpowered Elizabeth and although she struggled bravely, she was soon bound and gagged.
“Kolya, it’s me you want, not Dr Weir.” Pleaded John. “I was the one who killed your men. Take me instead.”
“Don’t think I haven’t thought about taking both of you, but this way I get revenge on you both. You’ll be the one who’ll suffer for what will seem an eternity, where as for Dr Weir, there will be initial pain, but it will end, eventually. You, however, will suffer daily torment, wondering how much, or how she suffered before she was put to death. That will be my legacy to you.”
John fought against the cloudiness that was impairing his vision. “Kolya don’t do this, what joy will you derive from beating a woman? It’ll only succeed in making you look weak. So be sensible; it’d benefit you more if you took me and left Elizabeth.”
Kolya smiled evilly, but did not reply.
John was incensed. “Kolya you do this and I’ll find you no matter where you hide and when I do, I swear I’ll show you no mercy. KOLYA! I’ll make sure you die a long and painful, drawn out death.”
Kolya stopped for a moment, “I’ll be waiting, Colonel Sheppard.”
He motioned for his men to bring Elizabeth. Although she was gagged, John could still hear her heart rendering shout that appeared to come from her very soul, as she was dragged violently from the room. Her eyes only managed to lock briefly with John’s as he shouted her name, then she was gone, lost to him for what could be forever. But he couldn’t give up. No, he’d never give up looking for her; even if it took him an eternity, he’d bring her home.
He’d promised he’d find her and he intended to honour that promise. Otherwise, the last expression in her eyes, filled with fear and desperation, would haunt him to his grave, and even more so during the dark, bleak, months ahead.
Can those closest to him prevent John falling into the deep depths of despair and sorrow.
Atlantis receives a call from the Tronan Planet
Carson strolled from his office and glanced over to where Atlantis’ Military Leader and his team were waiting for their post mission medical exam. He did a double take. So Colonel Sheppard had decided to grace the infirmary with his presence, without being blackmailed for a change. It was a relief to see the humour and sparkle back in Sheppard’s his eyes.
After all the pain and anguish he’d had to contend with on losing Elizabeth, he’d somehow found a way to survive. It hadn’t always appeared so, in fact there had been a time when his friends feared they were losing him as well. But that was before his visit to the planet Spyros.
Bragan paced back and forth. He needed to speak with his Chief Councillor urgently but Darwin was still entertaining the Atlanteans. Should he interrupt them and risk incurring the Chief Councillor wrath? What would happen though if he didn’t and the situation became serious? His mind made up he quietly pushed back the door to the chambers. He wondered at the unusual silence, but as he stepped further into the room the reason for this became clear. The body of one of the Atlanteans was lying sprawled out on the floor, he recognised him as one of the visiting leaders, Colonel Sheppard.
Scanning the room frantically he was dismayed to see everyone in the room appeared to be in the same state as the Colonel, and then his eyes fell on Darwin. He rushed to his side frantically feeling for a pulse. An overwhelming sense of relief coursed through him as he felt a faint but distinctive beat.
Moving between the fallen bodies he checked all of them in turn for signs of life. He released a sigh of relief; they all had a faint pulse. Suddenly he froze something wasn’t right. It took him a few minutes before he came to the startling realisation Assistant Head Councillor Tagan was missing, but even more worrying, there was only one female in the room, the Atlantean female leader was also missing.
His feelings in turmoil, Bragan knew he had no option but to contact Atlantis, and pray they didn’t hold him or his people responsible for their leader’s disappearance. Punching in the coordinates for Atlantis, Bragan waited with trepidation for the wormhole to be established.
When the wormhole stabilised he immediately activating the radio device that he’d watched being demonstrated earlier “Atlantis this is Bragan, Councillor of the Tronan, please respond, it is imperative that I speak with you urgently.”
Major Lorne already concerned by the lack of contact from the overdue team answered immediately. “This is Major Lorne of Atlantis; we have been trying to contact Colonel Sheppard without success. Is there a problem?”
I’m afraid there is Major. I went to speak to the Chief Councillor on an important matter. On entering the council chambers I found everyone unconscious”
Lorne interrupted the Councillor. “What... how the hell did that happen? Are they okay?” He exhaled sharply, aghast as another thought came to him. Dr Weir. “You need to check Dr Weir first of all, she is expecting a child. Do you have a healer who can look at her until we can get our own healer over to you?”
Bragan nerves were shot to pieces, this was the news he dreaded delivering. “Major we do have a healer and she is checking on the rest of your people at present, although they continue to remain unconscious. However regarding Dr Weir, Major I am sorry but it appears she is missing along with our Assistant Chief Councillor Tagan.” Tagan braced himself for Atlantis’ reaction to the disappearance of their esteemed leader.
All was silent as Lorne absorbed the disturbing news, but quickly recovering his wits he asked in a tense voice “Has a search been conducted of the surrounding area, in case Dr Weir has simply wandered off confused.”
“I arranged that immediately on discovering Dr Weir could not be found anywhere within the chambers” replied Bragan “So far, no sign has been found of Dr Weir, or our Assistant Councillor Tagan.”
“Okay...” replied Lorne. Nausea addled his guts as the implications of Tagan’s words sunk in.
“I will get the assistance of a second team to assist as well as my own team. Contact us again if you get any further news before we arrive.” Lorne terminated the connection with Bragan and turned to one of the soldiers under his command.
“Lieutenant I need you make sure jumper two is ready to head out. I need to speak with Major Bryce as there is a change of plan and we are going to need jumpers 2 and 3. We need to be ready to head out as soon as were ready.” Both men left to organise the final preparations.
As soon as the jumper came to a halt on Tronan, Lorne made immediate contact with Bragan. It wasn’t hard to tell the toll the events of last few hours had taken on the Tronan councillor, he face was right red and beads of sweat stood out on his forehead as he came forward his breathing laboured with the exertion. Beckett went immediately to the aid of the unconscious team and Lorne asked Bragan to accompany the doctor.
Lorne, content that Sheppard and team were in capable hands, headed back to jumper two. His priority now was conducting a thorough and full sweep of the planet, which thankfully was quite small. He needed help with this, hence the reason for jumper three.
Major Bryce would be concentrating on one half of the planet leaving the remainder for him. It didn’t take him long to discover the near impossible task he’d set for himself.
Beneath him there existed dense forests broken up by marshland, both impossible to see through never mind attempting to walk. If Dr Weir was still on the Planet it certainly wouldn’t be here.
Lorne’s felt increased frustration as he thought how much easier it would have been to locate Dr Weir if she’d had the implant. The SGC after successfully completing trials back on earth with the locator chip implant had recently insisted every member of staff involved in off world mission including staff like Dr Weir who only travelled of world infrequently. With this it was easier to locate missing teams, or lost team members and instigate a successful rescue mission, using beaming technology if necessary. However because of Dr Weir’s condition it had to be postponed until she had given birth. None could have guessed the ramification of this.
Lorne was disappointed to learn Major Bryce had no more success with the search than he had. With all avenues exhausted and no new leads forth coming Lorne was left with only one other option, speak with the Tronan citizens. If luck was on Lorne’s side, may be someone if their memory was given a jolt, would remember something suspicious, no matter how trivial it seems.
Firstly though, he needed to check in with Beckett and find the condition of Sheppard and his team. The doctor would be champing at the bit to get back to Atlantis and the familiarity of his infirmary.
Lorne activated his radio and contacted Major Bryce. He trusted the young soldier to safely flight his unconscious team mated back to Atlantis with Dr Beckett. He’d only been posted to Atlantis six months previously but showed a great aptitude for flying jumpers, something Sheppard had quickly caught on to.
“Major Bryce, there nothing more can be done here, you’re needed by Dr Beckett to assist him take Colonel Sheppard and his team back to Atlantis.”
Bryce responded immediately. “No problem sir, have they regained consciousness yet do you know.”
“I’m afraid not Lieutenant, that’s why the Doc wants them back in Atlantis. He can monitor them better with his own equipment.” Said Lorne.
“Thank you Sir, Bryce out” replied Major Bryce.
Content that Bryce would assist Beckett, Lorne now changed his attention to finding Bragan. He didn’t have to look far however, the councillor was frantically trying to reach him, his hands gesturing his intentions. Lorne was quite taken aback by the crowd of people that had formed in the time he was in the jumper conducting the search.
“Major Lorne, I’m appalled at what has happened, as Darwin will be when he recovers. I really must thank your healer for agreeing to monitor Darwin’s recovery; our own healer has never dealt with anything of this magnitude. I pray neither Darwin, nor Colonel Sheppard and his team, suffer any long-term effects from whatever ails them.”
“Well our healer, Dr Beckett, is in the process of escorting them back to Atlantis. If anyone can help them, he can.” Lorne turned his head and with a sweeping glance, scanned the crowd.” We need to question your people, so we can find out if they have observed anything that’s not commonplace in recent weeks, anything they felt didn’t feel right, or strangers that gave them cause for concern.”
Bragan agreed. “If we make our way to the other side of the square there is a platform we can stand on. We will be seen quite clearly from there. It is where the Chief Councillor normally addresses our people. The sound of his voice seems to be projected from there although the reason for this we do not know.
Lorne followed behind Bragan as he quickened his pace and made for the spot he’d pointed out. Standing up on the viewpoint, the attention of the people around him quickly became directed towards the council, and gradually the buzz of voices ceased as they waited for the Councillor’s speak.
“My good people, most of you are aware by now of the terrible thing that has come to pass, but for those that do not I will quickly summarize. He indicated towards Lorne “The Atlanteans came in peace, seeking only to secure an alliance that will be of tremendous benefit to both of us. Tragically someone has seen fit to sabotage our alliance. In doing so they have not only rendered Colonel Sheppard, his team and Chief Councillor Darwin unconscious but their leader Dr Weir whom I’m sure you all remember was with child and Assistant Councillor Tagan are missing and we fear for their safety. The reason for their abduction is unclear, as is the identity of those who have carried out this barbaric crime.”
He again looked to the Major. “Both I and the Major ask that you dwell back in your mind for anything however small that may help in identifying those responsible and allow the safe return of Dr Weir and Tagan. I will now give you time to delve into past memories. If you do remember anything, anything at all, please do not be afraid to come forward. Thank you.” Bragan stepped back until he was side by side with Lorne. “Now Major we wait.”
Lorne though was surprised to see a young female, possibly the equivalent to nineteen in earth years, step forward apprehensively. It appeared she’d been waiting for the sole purpose of speaking with the Councillor.
She placed a hand nervously on Bragan’s arm “My lord if I may speak.” He voice trembled.
The Tronan Councillor smiled encouragingly at her. “Speak up child, do not be afraid.”
“Thank you My Lord, It is just... my brother mentioned a few days ago, that whilst out in the forest hunting, almost one week past, he heard voices coming from deep within the forest. When he went to investigate he spotted Assistant Councillor Tagan, with a group of men he’d never seen before. He said they were dressed in what appeared to be uniforms but different to anything he’s ever seen. However, it was their weapons that had him intrigued; he said they were big and similar to the ones carried by the Atlanteans. One other thing, he is sure he heard Tagan calling one of them Kolya.”
Lorne’s heart missed a beat, things were about to get worse. Far worse if his assumption was correct, it would mean Dr Weir was now in the arms of one of Atlantis’ most formidable enemies, the Genii, and not just any Genii but a rogue faction lead by Commander Acastus Kolya. Kolya was a ruthless killer who would stop at nothing to get what he was after. He’d almost succeeded in killing both Dr Weir and Sheppard on two separate occasions in the past. Now it looked he’d struck again.
However the only ones who could confirm his suspicions currently remained unconscious under Beckett’s care. Lorne sighed in frustration, recent contact with Atlantis had confirmed no change in their condition and Beckett could give no indication when there would be. All that Lorne could do now was to return to Atlantis, to follow up on what little information they had, and hope for the quick recovery of Atlantis’ Military Leader and his team.
Beckett worked around the clock trying to revive the team from the drug induced coma, but lacking knowledge regarding the offending drug, it was a task doomed to failure. Instead it became a waiting game, with everyone willing them to recovery. Teyla and Ronon were the first ones to recover, probably, as Beckett surmised, because of the difference in their body chemistry, compared to that of the earthlings. It was Teyla who mournfully delivered the devastating news of Elizabeth’s abduction and the search, which up until now had been concentrating solely on the Tronan home world, widened, taking in new planets as the search intensified. Gradually the hours drew into days.
John and Rodney finally recovered enough to communicate with Beckett and Lorne a few days after the others, but it was almost a week before Beckett could or would give them the all clear to leave the infirmary. It was John’s condition and mental state that gave Carson the biggest headache; at times causing the doctor to doubt his own instructions. Being unable to coordinate the search himself was pure torture for John, who felt he should have been out searching for Elizabeth and not lying helpless in the infirmary. Feelings of despair, frustration and deep depression overwhelmed him, along with guilt that he was letting her down, failing her. No matter how much everyone tried to persuade him otherwise, he would not be appeased.
Carson had deliberated hard on the best course of action. He knew John was ready to be released from the confines of the infirmary, but was far from being fit for active duty; hence the indecision. He knew that as soon as the Colonel was released, John wouldn’t pay heed to Carson’s advice, but instead would immerse himself heavily in the ongoing search for Elizabeth. To do so, however, would result in him putting himself and his team at risk, as the paralysis was still present to a certain degree and any overexertion seemed to exacerbate it. Carson knew he had only one choice in the matter; with one leader already missing, Atlantis could not afford to lose the other. Therefore, it was up to him to ensure John remained safe until such a time as where he could be deemed fit to join in the search. Carson had to do what was right, no matter how cruel or insensitive he appeared. John had to remain in the infirmary; under guard if needed.
Similarly, Rodney was kept in the infirmary. Otherwise, he would have worked himself into the ground, trying to look for something they had missed. His condition would not have tolerated it.
At first, the knowledge that Lorne had coordinated a search and rescue mission helped pacify John slightly, but only in the early few days. As the hours and days rolled by with no sightings or news forthcoming, it was all Carson could do to keep him within the confines of the infirmary.
Finally, with much relief on the part of Carson, the two men were deemed fit enough for active duty by the beginning of the second week. As expected, John paid no heed to Carson’s instruction to refrain from strenuous activities. Instead, the moment he was released from the infirmary, his sole mission was to get his team together and head out for an immediate search. Ronon and Teyla, having been affected in a far lesser degree than John and Rodney due to being native to the Pegasus galaxy, had already been involved in the search, but upon the Colonel’s release, they returned once again to their own team to support their team leader. Despite still feeling an unnerving weakness from the disappearing paralysis, Rodney, for once, did not utter a word of complaint or reluctance in response the plan John had concocted; if they were going to look for Elizabeth, then so was he.
It was a morose and unusually silent team that finally headed out on the first of what would become many soul destroying searches. Soon it became a defined pattern; they arose early, only just managing to swallow a rushed breakfast, before heading out on their day long search, only to return, exhausted, late in the evening, where they simply collapsed into bed exhausted, with no more information and no closer than they had been on day one.
It was inevitable, therefore, that the long arduous hours and strenuous pace at which they drove themselves would finally take its toll. Of all the team though, it was John who changed dramatically. Gone were his smart witty comments or sharp wit and his incredulous love of life for his people and Atlantis. Instead, left a man, sullen and withdrawn, prone to mood swings and during the infrequent times he was actually on Atlantis; he would disappear for long periods, seeking his own solitude. No amount of persuasion or quiet advice from his friends helped to lift him from the pit of depression and despair he found himself in. Eventually, when he was on the verge of an emotional and physical breakdown, Carson was forced to intervene and once again declare him unfit for duty. He had become by now a dangerous liability to not only his team, but to himself also.
It was the result of this that eventually forced John to take stock of the suicidal path of destruction he was travelling. This realization also brought with it a sense of guilt and shame. Elizabeth had asked one thing of him and he was letting her down. He forced himself to push his grief and depression back into the recess of his mind, giving into it only when he was in the privacy and confines of his own quarters. Elizabeth had been right; Atlantis needed him more now than ever before, if only to survive. Having already been robbed of one leader, Atlantis couldn’t cope with the loss of another.
However, even with the Colonel succeeding, on the surface at least, to regain control of his emotions, the mood within the city remained sombre. Everyone was waiting for news but dreading it at the same time. With the decreasing opportunities and the growing realisation that it was a search doomed to failure, it was as if the city became encased in a blanket of darkness and a feeling of melancholy was apparent in all who resided within her walls.
The city was in mourning.
The loss of Elizabeth also affected people deeply back on Earth. She had been greatly admired, respected and even loved by many in Stargate Command and even the President of the United States was saddened by her loss. There was also great anger towards Kolya and his men. To abduct her under normal circumstances would have been bad enough, but to do so when she was clearly in the advance stages of pregnancy was horrific and indescribable. It was the understanding of the majority, however, that this was what Kolya had planned. To have the child of the leaders of Atlantis in his possession to manipulate how he saw fit, would be a dream come true for him and they knew he would take great joy in making Elizabeth aware of his intentions, simply to cause the woman even more suffering. No-one could bear to think of the pain and suffering she was already being inflicted with, but one thing most people silently hoped for was, if she were to be executed, then let it be as quick and painless as possible.
Even whilst thinking this, though, it did not stop them holding on to hope. Hope, all be it very slim, that she would be found alive. Hope that John would find her and bring her home and lastly hope that Elizabeth and John’s child wouldn’t have to grow up thinking of Kolya as his/her father.
End of Flashback
Although it was now three months since Elizabeth abduction, three months of pure hell and immeasurable heartache, Carson was certain no-one was going to give up this sliver of hope until evidence pointed to the contrary. While there remained a chance, hope remained alive.
Thanks for reading and a big thank you to my beta Susan
Hope you enjoy and please please review.
Atlantis receives word from the IOA that they want te search concluded but someone comes to their aid
As the search intensified rumblings began to filter back to Atlantis of discontent among the IOA and it was clear intervention from both the IOA and Stargate Command in the not too distant future was inevitable. When it finally came though, it both shocked and angered everyone involved in the search.
John looked at the incoming message with trepidation, it was a request to contact the SGC and, if his suspicions were correct, it was regarding the very thing he’d hoped wouldn’t happen. He turned round as he heard the door to Elizabeth’s office open. He wasn’t surprised to see the rest of his team come sauntering in. It was strange how they all seemed to find comfort from this room. It was as if by being here they were somehow closer to Elizabeth. Today though something must have alerted them to his troubled thoughts as no sooner were they in the room and Teyla was studying him.
“John what is wrong, have you received news.” Teyla looked at John
He noticed the same look of concern mirrored on all their faces. John frowned. Was he really that obvious? “I’ve had word to call the SGC on an urgent matter. I’ve kind of guessed the reason.”
“It may not be what you think John,” replied Teyla.
“It’s probably a request for the reports that you were supposed to have sent them like.... yesterday” said McKay. “Any way can’t you just call them, maybe then we can get some lunch before heading out. I hope the Genii got their details correct this time if we get a repeat of yesterday...”
Ronon glowered at McKay “We all know whose fault that was.”
“McKay spluttered on the power bar he was devouring. “How was I supposed to know she was his wife?”
“The next time McKay, keep your mouth shut and leave the talking to the rest of us with a bit more diplomacy,” advised Sheppard. Anyhow, I can’t stand around debating the pros and cons of M6T378 as I said I’ve got to contact the SGC and before you say any more, I’ve sent the reports through to them so no it’s not about that.”
“Do you want us to wait with you John” asked Teyla softly.
John sighed, “No its okay I’ll go to the mess hall so McKay” he glowered at the Astrophysicist, “can fill his stomach. Though come to think of it McKay how can you need food after that breakfast you demolished this morning.”
“It’s okay for you,” moaned McKay. You don’t have to be careful with your blood sugar.”
With a shake of his head John turned on his heel and left, hurrying to the operations center to contact the SGC and General Landry. Ronon and Teyla followed McKay to the mess hall.
The three team mates sat down at a table in the almost deserted mess hall.
“I only hope Colonel Sheppard does not receive bad news from Earth”, sighed Teyla “I don’t know how much more he can take. Elizabeth’s disappearance has taken a heavy toll on him.”
McKay looked up startled, “You don’t think they’re going to stop the search do you. Not even the IOA would be that unfeeling. They’d be signing Elizabeth’s death sentence.”
Ronon looked hard at McKay before he dropped his chin to his chest. He murmured “We may already be too late.”
“Ronon, don’t let John hear you saying that,” scolded Teyla “he hasn’t given up hope, and neither should we until we have evidence that suggests otherwise.”
“I’m not saying we should give up,” replied Ronon “just stating a fact. Anyhow we’re about to find out, here comes Sheppard now.”
One look at Sheppard’s thunderous expression and his stiff tense posture was enough to tell them, that whatever had been discussed hadn’t gone well.
John was beyond furious as he stormed into the mess hall. He couldn’t believe the audacity of the IOA. He filled his tray, although he’d almost lost his appetite, and sat down at the table ”Well the IOA have exceeded their self this time.” have demanded the search be stopped, not even scaled down which would have been bad enough. No they’ve went one step further, they want it discontinued. And if that isn’t bad enough they’re also going to appoint a new expedition leader, their actions are disgusting.” The muscles in his jaw flexed as he lapsed into silence.
“What! They can’t do that!”Cried McKay “What about Elizabeth?”
“We it seems they can and they’re adamant. General Landry said it is the IOA’s belief that it is too late to save Elizabeth. According to them it would be money wasted.” John slammed his fists down on the table. “God damn it, she deserves better than this.”
“What about the SGC? What’s there take on it?” asked Rodney still displaying signs of shock.
“General Landry didn’t divulge much but I did detect undercurrents of anger and disbelief. He did say O’Neill is going to try and discuss it with the President, and to hang fire until after then. So for the meantime we continue as we have been doing. Sheppard flexed his fingers and when he looked up there was a hint of defiance in his eyes. My mind’s made up though; if the IOA get their way and the search is cancelled they will be receiving my resignation, although I have no intention of returning to earth. I intend to carry on searching with or without their agreement. I’m not giving up on Elizabeth, not until there is undisputable evidence that she has been killed.”
Teyla leaned over the table and placed a hand on Sheppard’s arm, “And you will not be alone John. I, for one, intend to stick by you.”
Ronon smirked “I guess you’d better count me in also, can’t have you getting into tricky situations without me being there to rescue you.”
“I suppose I better come as well,” piped up Rodney, “you’ll be in need of a genius, and there’s no-one better than me.”
Taking a deep breath, Sheppard shook his head “I can’t let you do it guys, it’s neither going to be pleasant nor easy. We’ll be watching our backs all the time, because the IOA will not accept it without a fight.
It was Rodney that spoke first “I think I know Teyla and Ronon well enough to know they want the same thing as I do, to continue the search for Elizabeth. If this is the only way left open to us, then I say we go for it, as you said we owe it to Elizabeth. If the situation was reversed I think she’d make the same choice.
John gave a hint of a smile “Okay if everyone is sure that’s what you want, then all I can say is thanks. For the time being however we wait, see what the outcome of O’Neill’s meeting with the President is before taking any further actions.”
Major General O’Neill leaned forward to grasp the phone from its cradle. He was finally getting to use his position at Home World Command in the Pentagon to his advantage and he’d never felt the need to abuse that power as he did now. Atlantis was in need of a spokesman to lobby their grievances and he guessed he’d just appointed himself as it. He steeled himself in preparation as he heard the voice on the other end.
A short time later he replaced the phone; a smile of satisfaction on his face.
The figure currently staring out the window turned round curious as he heard the receiver being replaced “So did you manage it.”
O’Neill gave a triumphant snort before standing up and joining his friend and Commander of the SGC Hank Landry. “It’s all arranged for this afternoon and I’ve a feeling it won’t be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. The President holds a soft spot for our Dr Weir so I can’t see him being entirely happy with everything the IOA has demanded.”
For a brief moment a worried look, crossed the faces of both Generals. Laundry was the one to verbalise what he was thinking. “I think everyone has a great deal of respect for Dr Weir. She deserves every chance of being brought home whilst it remains a possibility.” He paused. “However Atlantis can’t run as it is at present, something needs to be done and fast. It’s not a reflection on Sheppard’s capabilities but he can only do so much, he’s is only human after all.”
O’Neill nodded solemnly “I’d be lying if I denied having similar thoughts, but what we don’t want, is for the IOA to have the final say on who it’s going to be. We need someone with a military background but who is also efficient in other fields as well.”
Landry raised a wry eyebrow, “You have been giving this some thought. And do you have anyone specific in mind.” He tossed Jack a devilish grin. “Someone with all the correct credentials”
“How did you get the ability to read me so well,” groaned O’Neill. Then as he realised Landry was waiting for him to verbalise it, he huffed “Okay as you seemed to have already guessed, its Carter.”
“And how do you plan on getting the IOA to change their mind about something they are totally opposed to.” Landry’s expression showed curiosity
“Well... by suggesting Carter’s positive advantages, she is a scientist as well as military which might soften the blow slightly” Jack grinned deviously “and by getting the President to use his persuasive powers on the IOA.”
“I’ve no doubt Jack, if anyone can pull this off then you can. His expression became more serious. “I only wish it were as simple to retrieve the present leader of Atlantis, what she must be going through if she is still alive doesn’t bear thinking bout.”
Both men lapsed into silence as they contemplated the complexity of the present situation.
Jack arrived for his appointment with the President promptly and was soon shown in to the presidential office.
“The grey haired man, sitting behind a large mahogany desk, looked up and smiled in acknowledgement. “Jack come in and please take a seat. Punctual as always I see. I think I can guess the reason for your sudden urgency to speak with me. You want me to challenge the IOA’s decision, regarding the search for Dr Weir. Am I right?” He met the General’s surprised expression with an interested look.
The general’s eyes twinkled “Well yes, that and some other relatively minor issues.”
The President shook his head in amusement, “Why do I feel this is going to be far more in depth than you hinted. So Jack... cut to the chase, what is it you really want?”
“Well Sir, for starters, you’re correct in your assumption, I am totally against scaling down the search for Dr Weir. There is still no concrete proof that Kolya has carried out his threat or even indeed intends to”. His tone became grave. “To do as the IOA has suggested would be like signing her death warrant.”
Leaning forward in his chair the President sighed. He looked at Jack, his eyes holding just a hint of sadness. “Jack... neither do we have any proof that Dr Weir is still alive. We may, as the IOA states, be throwing away money needlessly.”
Giving the president a sharp look Jack countered him “But what do you feel in your heart is the fairest thing to do.”
Giving an exasperated groan the President replied “Jack I think you already know the answer to that. However it’s not my personal feelings I should be airing. I have to think what’s best for the majority as opposed to the minority.”
Jack frowned “It’s the majority who are going to benefit in the long run if you decide to go by what your heart tells you rather than the alternative. The only ones I can see benefitting from what the IOA wants, are the IOA themselves.”
The President sighed in exasperation, although he knew Jack was being truthful. “Okay here’s what I feel should happen One... the search should continue and in fact, if at all possible, extended. We’ve had rescue missions that have far outlived the present one, that have still been concluded triumphantly. If there’s a chance of finding Dr Weir, even if it is a slim one, we need to take it. We owe her that at least. Secondly... and of utmost importance, Kolya must be found and held accountable for his actions. Thirdly... if we allow the IOA to win on this, we will lose not only Atlantis’ civilian leader but her military one also. Lastly and I’m not sure of feelings on this one. There is on matter I agree with the IOA on, Atlantis needs a new leader at her helm even if only temporarily. Sheppard is too preoccupied to do the best by Atlantis.”
Jack tipped his head but looked towards the President. “Well actual Sir, I’d already come to that decision myself, but I probably wouldn’t agree on the IOA’s choice of candidate. There needs to be more of a military input, someone who can not only stand in for Weir but Sheppard also.”
The President smirked knowingly, “and you would happen to know of someone suitable would you General?”
Coughing nervously Jack was aware of a faint tinge of red creeping up his neck.
“There is one person I thought could possibly fill the bill. She’d be quite capable of handling the potentially explosive atmosphere that heralds Atlantis at this time. But not only that, she also possesses the tact and calming influence needed to guide everyone through this emotional period.”
The President raised an inquisitive eyebrow “And does this truly remarkable vision carry a name by any chance.”
“Well there’s only person I could think of, who would fit the bill,” he glanced at the president from the corner of his eye, “Colonel Carter.”
Jack gave the President a strange look when the man suddenly snorted, but waited patiently for his answer.
The President laughed as he replied, “Relax Jack I only wanted to see you squirm, Carter was already my first choice, if she is willing that is.”
Jack looked indignant as he realized he’d been played and by the President no less. He replied in an injured tone “She’ll be ready as soon as you give the word.”
The President smiled “Okay leave the IOA to me, we’ll soon have Carter enroute to Atlantis. Meanwhile she has permission to drill up new recruits and they can be trained to carry on with the day to day missions necessary for Atlantis’ general wellbeing. This will allow some of the Atlantis teams, who are already familiar with the Pegasus Galaxy, the freedom to plan more detailed and extensive missions in the bid to locate Dr Weir. If she’s not found, it will not be for lack of trying.”
The President pushed his chair back before standing, signifying the end of the meeting and Jack immediately took his leave, anxious to report back on the outcome to Hank and the rest of the SGC.
John lay with his booked poised precariously on the edge of the bed as he thought of the recent changes. He found Carter’s presence comforting and his acceptance of her instigated the same feelings around the rest of Atlantis’. With his reduced responsibilities to Atlantis, John was able to concentrate on coordinating more methodical and larger search Their many allies were also rallying assistance from other planets. They held Dr Weir in high esteem and were determined to assist in whatever manner needed.
His mouth twisted in a frown, aware he was losing the battle with himself. Shutting the book he’d been trying to concentrate on for the past fifteen minutes, John swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. He knew what was distracting him, but he really didn’t want to make the decision his head was telling him was the correct one.
Lifting up his cup he attempted to swallow the dregs of coffee that remained, but immediately spat it into the sink in disgust, it was stone cold. His thought returned to the previous distraction. He couldn’t justify delaying it any longer, it was long overdue.
Oh he knew the reason for his avoidance, he simply didn’t trust his emotions, not to overrule his commonsense, and the person he was avoiding was still one of the hated Genii, the same race that had taken Elizabeth from him. It didn’t matter how many times he heard they weren’t responsible, that it was a rogue fraction of the Genii that had carried out the terrible deed. John still saw them as one and the same. Radim was of the same race that had dragged his terrified wife from the safety of his arms. The same race, which had laughed ruthlessly, at the look of horror on their victim’s face as they described, in graphic details, what they’d planned for her. How could he therefore be expected to differentiate between the two? But he also knew he’d no choice, somehow he needed to bury these feelings of repulsion, if only to ensure their full co-operation. If anyone could find news of Kolya’s whereabouts or where he’d likely flee, then it was the present Genii leader, Ladon Radim. He alone would know Kolya’s way of thinking, his way of working, and the planets that would provide the rogue Genii with a safe haven where he could simply disappear.
Thnaks for taking the time to read
Thanks to ny beta Susan
John receives news that my well break his heart
As John prepared to gate out to the Genii home World with his team he was full of mixed emotions, the strongest of which was hatred. They arrived a short time later and found Radim waiting for them. At least the Genii had done one thing favourable; killed Commander Cowan Previous dealings with Cowan when he held leadership had not gone well and he’d proved to be devious and untrustworthy. However Radim believing Cowan’s plans were not what his people needed had orchestrated a coup, and subsequently became the new Genii leader.
Radim after initial introductions lead them back to the village that had been used initially to disguise the Genii’s advanced technology. The two leaders walked together but John held on to his distrust, past dealings with the Genii had made him suspicious of all Genii. Radim however appeared to be more aware then John gave him credit for.
“Colonel Sheppard, I’m aware of your feelings regarding myself and my people and if the situation were reversed I’d harbour the same feelings. However if I can just clarify, I have always held Dr Weir in high esteem and in no way would I do or go along with anything that would threaten her well being. She is a worthy leader and has always been fair and trustworthy in her dealings with us.”
John gave an angry grunt but as they’d reached their destination didn’t get the chance to challenge Radim. He was aware that Elizabeth trusted this man despite John’s own reservations. So far Radim hadn’t done anything to make them doubt his sincerity but John himself would remain sceptical until something convinced him otherwise.
As they took their seats around a table that looked like it had been specially prepared, John groaned silently as he found himself next to Ladon It seemed the Geni leader was determined to break down some of John’s reservations.
“I realise Colonel this ill feeling and mistrust that exists between us cannot be extinguished in one visit, but no harm can come of trying to establish some kind of truce. At least that way we can pool our resources in hunting down Kolya.”
His expression still holding a touch of menace, John replied coldly “Why is his capture so important to you. Don’t tell me it’s simply because of what he has done to Elizabeth, because I somehow, very much doubt it.”
“Your right it’s not the only motive I have for his capture, Commander Kolya has also been charged with causing inhuman suffering and atrocities against his own people. However that doesn’t mean I don’t want him to pay equally as much for his horrendous crime against Dr Weir.”
John knew their success at finding Kolya held a far greater success rate if they worked alongside the Genii but to do that he needed to let go of at least of the mistrust he felt. As much as his instincts told him not to do it he didn’t have any choice. To deny the help of the Genii would only cause Elizabeth’s more suffering.
It was agreed, the Genii Commander would use his trading knowledge and alliances with other planets to seek information regarding Kolya’s whereabouts. The Atlanteans in return would provide military back up and the puddle jumpers to allow them access too many of the more remote locations.
However it was to be a further three months before any news was received.
Trovell had become disillusioned when he realised Kolya’s so called visions were fabrication, until finally he came to the realisation things were not going to improve. After he contacting the Genii homeworld and hearing his plea for clemency was accepted, he deserted the renegade army.
As part of his plea bargaining for clemency he’d agreed to inform them of all he knew regarding Dr Weir’s abduction, specifically what happened to her after she was taken from the Tronan planet.
Trovell looked around warily as he was lead into the room where the interview was to be held. He was glad to be rid of Kolya, but wary of what the future held for him. In particular, he was dreaded explaining about Commander Kolya’s treatment of Dr Weir. His escorts stopped and Trovell sat down in the seat they were indicating to him. He scanned the sea of faces to see if he recognised anyone from when he previously lived here before he had thrown his life away and joined up with Kolya. He had been young and foolish full of what he thought were true visions but it instead only led to disappointment. As he sat waiting, his mind wandered back to his time with Commander Kolya.
Trovell felt proud, Commander Kolya had just promoted him, and he now led his own team. His first task was to secure an alliance with the people on a planet called Spyros. Trovell was aware of how increasingly difficult it was to find somewhere that would provide them with sanctuary but he had faith that a compromise could be accomplished. The people themselves were peaceful and survived living off the land. They remained ignorant of the advancement in technology and the weapons they had managed to procure were only sufficient to fight off any wild animals that sought to venture in the vicinity of the village. Kolya had somehow obtained the knowledge that the village had suffered recently at the hands of the Wraith. The rogue Genii were going to offer them protection in return for sanctuary. Trovell felt a strange high with the knowledge Kolya was leaving the success of the alliance to him. Kolya had left with a dozen of his men a few days previously although none of his men had been informed of his intended destination. However he’d been adamant that the alliance must be sealed prior to his return as it was to Spyros he intended to return.
A few days later Trovell stepped through the stargate onto Spyros. He quickly explained the reason for his visit and was surprised at how quickly his suggestion of an alliance was accepted. It appeared Kolya’s assumption was correct, the people were becoming increasingly concerned about the mounting attacks by the Wraith and the offer of protection from the Genii must have seemed like a god send.
In some ways he envied these people they seemed content with their simple existence despite the many hardships they’d endured over the years, the Wraith cullings being the hardest off all. They accepted Trovell and his men with open hospitality and often insisted on sharing what little food they had with their visitors. Trovell in return insisted his men didn’t impose on the villagers when it wasn’t necessary and that they treated the villagers with respect.
A few weeks later Kolya arrived on Spyros. As Trovell hurried over the brow of the hill which descended into the valley where the village was situated he noticed Kolya having a heated discussion with the village healer, what it was likely to be about he’d no idea.
However as he got closer he could see another woman behind Kolya. She was heavily pregnant and he felt sympathy for her plight. H offer of protection er hands and feet we bound to a rope of heavy chain that continued upwards till it met a metal her hands bound in front of her. Her head was hung low, her shoulders slumped and she was swaying on her feet. As she feebly lifted her head he could see cuts to her forehead and right cheek, whilst the left side of her face was a mass of bruises. Also the moment she had lifted her head he recognised. She was Dr Weir, the Commander of Atlantis and sworn enemy of his people.
Commander Kolya had done what he’d long since promised; he’d captured one of the city’s leaders so he could exact his revenge for their crimes against the Genii.
End of Flashback
Trovell jumped slightly realising Radim was asking him to explain what Kolya had done with Dr Weir and whether she was still alive.
Looking around and feeling the murmurs of anger and discontent Trovell realised with dismay the injustice that had been dealt on the Atlantean Leader. Once again he’d been misled by Kolya. His people didn’t appear to hate the Atlanteans at all; in fact they seemed to hold Dr Weir especially, in high esteem
Indicating to Radim, his intentions he began to explain “Kolya had given orders that I was too seek sanctuary on a planet named Spyros in return for giving them our protection. I first came aware that Kolya had captured Dr Weir when she was taken to Spyros a few weeks after we secured the alliance. Whilst there the only ones that had dealings with her, were Kolya and a few other soldiers from the senior ranks. She was only ever seen being escorted for either interrogation or punishment. Both were ordered frequently by Kolya and this seemed to be frequent possibly even a daily occurrence. Nothing else seemed to be happening it was as if Kolya was waiting for something. Then a few months into her captivity Dr Weir gave birth but the child did not survive.”
He stopped briefly as he heard Radim’s sharp intake of breath, however the Genii Commander signalled for him to continue.
Kolya was enraged, he’d wanted the child alive to use as a weapon against Colonel Sheppard and Atlantis. I never saw what happened afterwards although I heard what I’m sure was Dr Weir screaming and it seemed to go on forever before an eerie silence descended. Shortly afterwards Kolya stormed out of the room his face contorted with rage.
Radim interrupted him his eyes wild with fury, “So he killed her because her child was still born.”
Trovell shook his head “No... he did kill her, just not then.”
Ladim felt his heart sink at the confirmation he had been dreading. How am I going to explain it to Colonel Sheppard?. “If not then, when did he do it, and why?”
It was a few weeks later, maybe slightly longer. For some reason, I never knew why; he suddenly decided to give the order.” He looked at Radim his features drawn with anguish. “No one was expecting it.” He paused “He issued orders for her to be taken out to the court yard where he took out his own gun and shot her. He stood grinning down at her, as she lay dying knowing his would be the last face she saw.”
His voice changed to display his anger. “That’s when I saw Kolya for what he was. A Cold blooded Killer, with no remorse.”
Radim signalled for Trovell to be taken back to the cells. Now he was left with the terrible task of informing Sheppard that his search was over. Elizabeth was dead. This was going to be a task he wouldn’t forget in a very long time.
John maintained a deadly silence as he listened to the news that both his wife and child were dead. Eventually having heard as much as he could stomach he stormed from the room almost removing the door from its hinges in his haste. His team could ask any questions they wanted answering but he didn’t care to know anything else. He’d lost his family and nothing else he heard would change that.
It was Teyla who came looking for John and strangely this didn’t surprise him. The gentle Athosian understood his need for some time on his own, but he also
knew she would come to come to his aid when she felt he’d been alone long enough. He’d come straight to the place he always fled to when in need of comfort and where he felt Elizabeth’s presence the strongest. He thought back to the times they’d come here together, wanting a break from the demands their positions placed on them, he still could feel Elizabeth as she snuggled into him sighing contently as she felt the warmth of his embrace. He heard the door to the balcony open softly knowing Teyla’s instinct had brought her here.
Her soft voice reached out to him “John I know you’re in pain, but I’m here, and I’ll always be here if you need me. You shouldn’t suffer alone.”
He nodded and felt his eyes mist over, “They’re gone Teyla, both of them, I’ve lost Elizabeth and our child.” He gave way then to the terrible pain, and grief, wondering if he’d ever feel whole again.
For some time after that terrible day, when all hope was taken from him, John fell once again into dark depression. Up until then, he’d held on to the slim chance he could still save her. No matter how small the flame of hope had become as long as it still flickered there remained a chance. Now that hope had been forever extinguished, leaving in its place an overwhelming emptiness. He swore then to avenge his beloved wife and child, not caring if he lost his own life in the battle that would follow.
He sunk to the floor of the balcony his trembling limbs no longer about to support him. He held his head in his hands and his knees drawn up to his chest, hearing the words repeated over and over again, John I’m sorry but Elizabeth is dead... Elizabeth is dead...Elizabeth is dead. He was lost, Kolya has taken from him his reason for living, and the person he fought to come back to every time he went off world. Never again would he hold Elizabeth in his arms or see the excitement in her eyes as she explained the meaning of the writing on a newly acquired ancient artefact. Kolya had stolen this from him and destroyed it without a moment’s hesitation.
The only thing that would drive him now was his need for revenge, and he’d get it however long it took. He would have his revenge, for Elizabeth, for their child and for himself. For Kolya there would be no permanent hiding place and when Kolya surfaced he’d be waiting.
Thanks for reading
next chapter will be posted soon, please review.
John visits Spyros, the planet where Elizabeth met her death.
Thanks to everyone who has reviewed so far.
Big thanks again to my Beta Susan for her excellent help and advice.
There was one other mission John needed to attend to, before going after Kolya, to visit Spyros the planet where Elizabeth’s execution had taken place. Colonel Carter had voiced her reservation. Radim however realised John needed this for closure. He couldn’t deny feeling a sense of relief however when Colonel Carter advised him that John’s team would not be going alone. Major Lorne’s team would also be there in case back up was needed.
At a scheduled meeting in Atlantis, they planned the mission to Spyros carefully. Radim and a few of his men would be the first to step onto Spyros to test the water before the Atlanteans ventured onto the planet. Colonel Carter felt there was a distinct possibility that Kolya may have said something that would put the villagers on their guard against a possible attack by the Atlanteans.
Although the villagers had taken exception to Elizabeth’s death, according to Trovell’s statement, the alliance was still intact although the Genii had left soon after Elizabeth was shot. It therefore didn’t appear as if Radim would have any problem being accepted by the villagers. He was Genii and wore the same uniform as Kolya.
Radim expected his enquires to take a few days, and initially it was slow going, until Radim mentioned Elizabeth’s name in front of Rosa the village healer. He was stunned by the information she gave for him and knew he needed to get Sheppard over to Spyros immediately.
The Colonel stepped through the stargate on to Spyros. He was immediately struck by how damp and cold the day felt and pulled the edges of his jacket together although he still shivered slightly
He noticed Radim standing a few feet away, talking to a tiny robust woman in her late fifty’s. Sauntering over to them, he felt unnerved when he realised the woman’s piercing eyes and intense stare were for him alone. It was as if in that short time of contact, she was looking in to the very depths of his soul.
He was startled therefore when she stepped forward and laid a hand on his shoulder, her expression a mixture of sadness and admiration. “You are as she described, and she also was right when she told me you would find your way here, no matter how long it took you. Your wife was a special person John Sheppard; she remained strong and proud to the very end.”
John stepped backwards as if burnt by her touch. Finally, his composure regained he looked down at her, his eyes ablaze. “My wife....how do you know who my wife was?”
Teyla stepped forward and laid a restraining hand on the Colonel’s shoulder.
“John may be you should listen to what she has to say. She seems to be speaking kindly of Elizabeth.”
Taking a moment to really look at the woman Sheppard realised Teyla was correct in her assumption her appearance didn’t appear to be that of someone who showed malice. Instead her smile appeared to proclaim her understanding and her eyes held kindness. Could he trust her though, he’d freely given his trust in the past only to have his fingers burnt. It would take more than a kind words and a sympathetic look to earn his trust. The fact this woman had also been present when Elizabeth was executed left a bad taste in his mouth. His eyes narrowed, but his tone was void of emotion, apart from slight sarcasm. “So...are you implying you spoke to my wife, Elizabeth?”
The healer’s gaze remained steady however and if she noticed the sarcasm she didn’t comment. She deepened her smile “Yes and please call me Rosa.” She was about to say more but John interrupted her before she had the chance.
“Were you here when it happened, when they killed Elizabeth?” he snarled
Rosa’s smile vanished in reaction to the accusation in John’s tone
“How could you do it, stand by while they murdered an innocent woman and her unborn child. How could you do nothing to prevent it...?”
As Rosa looked at John the brightness left her eyes and they misted over but her attention didn’t falter. “I was here on Spyros when Elizabeth died but by the time I reached her it, was already too late.” She lifted her chin up, and straightened her posture. “I also have to admit, in the beginning when Commander Kolya first brought Elizabeth to our planet, I had no time for her. I foolishly believed him when he said she was a ruthless killer who had even tried to kill her own unborn child as it was encumbrance to her and to her work.
John’s answered in a cold voice “Elizabeth would never endanger the life of our child. She longed for the day she’d hold our child in her arms.” His lip curled up in a sneer. “If you’d taken the time to get to know her you would have worked that out for yourself instead of taking the word of a ruthless mercenary like Kolya.”
“If you will allow me, I’ll explain but we can also take a slow walk back towards the village. This as I am sure you have noticed is not one of our finer days.” Rosa replied in the same calm tone.
John felt like he’d already heard more than enough and he felt the bile rising in his stomach. But the reason for the visit in the first place was to hear how she died and absorb finality from it. However there was another reason, he needed to see where she was buried. His desire was to take Elizabeth away from here and bury her on the mainland, with the Athosian who she’d developed a kindred ship with. There she’d never be alone and he could visit frequently. So for the time being he’d listen to what the healer had to say and try to swallow the hatred that was building up inside of him.
His expression solemn, John gave a reluctant nod, indicating to Rosa to continue.
For a moment it looked as if she was going to place a hand on his arm but his expression seemed to stop her and she simply continued talking.“As you will see shortly the people of this planet are simple and seek only peace. However the Wraith have caused untold hardship and terrible fear. Many a family has been ripped apart by ruthless cullings.” She paused contemplating her next words. “Then a race of people arrived on our planet offering us a life line, the offer of protection against the wraith in return for sanctuary. “
Rodney mumbled “The Genii”
Rosa nodded her expression hardening slightly. “ At that time it felt as if they were a god send. They seemed to be genuine and trustworthy and took care they didn’t cause any upheaval in the village. The soldiers camped a short distance from the village on the other side of that hill.” She pointed to a slight hill just outside the village. And everything would have been fine, I’m sure, but for the arrival of their Commander. He had with him a prisoner who he said was in urgent need of my attention. The prisoner was Elizabeth.
Teyla spoke softly “You were the healer whose care Elizabeth found herself in?”
Rosa looked taken back for a moment but Teyla explained how she’d come by the knowledge. “A Genii soldier by the name of Trovell was arrested, and found to be one of the Genii with Kolya, the Genii leader and was the one who first came seeking sanctuary.”
Teyla frowned at Rodney then returned her attention to Rosa. “You said you didn’t take to Elizabeth straight away, why?”
Rosa’s eyes dropped to the ground a sour expression contorting her features.
“Because of Kolya.” she sadly shook her head, “although if I’m truthful... I can’t say that’s entirely true. Some of the blame sits squarely on my shoulders. I should have remained impartial at least until there was definite proof.”
“What did Kolya say about Elizabeth that caused you to dislike her before you even spoke with her?” John questioned through gritted teeth.
“John I realise how hard this is for you to listen to and what I am about to tell you may even be harder, but if you can bear with me for just a little longer. What I am describing was only my initial feelings and they changed. It was Elizabeth herself that made me change my option. If you want I can simply miss out Kolya’s version.”
As much as he’d like to say yes, John knew he needed to hear it. It was better to hear it from Rosa than give Kolya the satisfaction of revealing his sordid version.
This time Rosa stopped walking and took hold of both john’s hands but instead of fighting it he found a strange comfort in her touch. As he observed her he was shocked to see the pain she was fighting hard to hide.
His voice was gruff as he spoke “I need you to tell me everything.”
She gave him an encouraging smile before dipping her he’d to acknowledge him.
Kolya’s explanation described her as having committed crimes against the Genii as a whole and against him personally. According to Kolya they were supposed to have been in a relationship and the child she was carrying was his. He said he only found out her treachery by accident, that he’d found her trying to kill their child by purposely throwing herself down some stairs. He said he subsequently found out that this had happened on a number of occasions but worse still she was then linked to the murders of a family that had befriended her. They had somehow discovered her double dealing and when they threatened to betray her she killed them. She was to remain on Spyros were she could be kept under supervision until the child was born. Kolya was then taking his child and Elizabeth was to be handed over for trial.” Rosa sighed deeply her expression one of remorse “ I am so sorry John “when I look back on it now, I should have realised, it was just Kolya was so convincing.”
Teyla placed a hand tenderly on the elder woman’s arm. “You only believed what you were told and you didn’t yet know Elizabeth.”
“No, I didn’t, but I wish now I did, because a few days later Kolya left and didn’t return for several days, leaving only a handful of his men. If I had realised Elizabeth’s innocence then we could have helped her escape. Instead I reluctantly tended to her injuries which Kolya said, were caused by her own attempts at freeing herself of her child.
“You said you believed Elizabeth... eventually... so why not when you first spoke with her. You’re not telling me Kolya was there 24/7” snapped Rodney
Rosa responded quietly, “Possibly if she’d spoken to me at that time I may have believed her, but she never uttered a sound. Not even when I treated her injuries instead she suffered her pain in silence. Later on she explained she feared for her child. She could handle them hurting her, but not if she lost the child because of it. She felt if she remained silent she’d give them no reason to punish her.”
Rodney, red faced after hearing the inhumanity served on Elizabeth, snapped back “How could you not see the truth? Come on, anyone seeing Kolya then seeing Elizabeth, would know who the innocent one was.”
Teyla was the one who stepped in once again to act as peace maker. “Rodney we were not present and as such it is unfair to pass judgment.”
Opening his mouth in an attempt to argue his point Rodney was effectively cut off with a growl from Ronon. Instead, the disgruntled Astrophysicist walked on ahead grumbled under his breath.
Teyla gave the healer an apologetic smile “Please Rosa, I’m sure Colonel Sheppard wants to hear what you have to say, I apologise for the interruption.”
Acknowledging her acceptance she continued “Nothing changed for about a week but gradually I started to notice things that didn’t add up. For one thing Kolya’s arrogance and cruel nature became more apparent. He’d also insist on taking Elizabeth daily to where he was camped, for questioning. She’d frequently be returned to my care with new injuries. Injuries he denied any knowledge of but instead blamed Elizabeth for.
John looked confused for a moment “So he allowed her to remain in your care instead of imprisoning her in the confines of his camp. Why, that’s not normal for him?”
Realising they were nearly at her cottage Rosa slowed down. She wanted to be finished with this before she reached her home. There was something John needed to see but he needed to find out about Elizabeth first. “Anyway I returned one night, late, intending only to retrieve important paper work I’d left laying where Elizabeth was being kept. It was a small building at the side of my house and I used it to treat people so there was a bed in it and it was also secure, the reason Kolya allowed her to remain there. I unlocked the door quietly so as not to disturb her as it was late, Elizabeth was curled up on the bed weeping. It was the first feelings she’d ever displayed and only because she didn’t expect to be found. She was apprehensive when she saw I’d discovered her but by this time I was having serious doubts regarding Kolya’s description of her. She’d never once attempted to harm the baby in my presence and she’d ample opportunities. Thankfully she eventually opened up. Whether it was because she longed for someone to confide in, or just couldn’t bear the silence any longer, I don’t know. When she started she couldn’t stop, not until she’d told me everything starting from her row with you the day before her capture, of being dragged out of your arms by Kolya and how they had accused her of crimes against the Genii themselves. I was shocked and couldn’t believe how wrong I was about her, but she didn’t hold it against me. That’s when I decided I’d do whatever I could to help her and her child escape from Kolya’s clutches.”
John smiled sadly “That was so typical of Elizabeth; she’d forgive anyone as long as she felt they meant it.” He breathed deeply as he felt the pain building up in his chest. “Why did you not do as you promised, there must have been time enough to help her escape even before she gave birth.”
Rosa head drooped as the feelings of regret and sorrow returned to haunt her. “John if you only knew how much I wished for the same, and I did try, frequently, but she didn’t want to risk the life of your child. With her ever advancing condition she was terrified that she’d be caught, and that they’d kill not only her but the child she was carrying also.”
Giving an anguished cry, John replied “She should have realised that if Kolya wanted both of them dead he’d have done it sooner. It was obvious he was keeping Elizabeth alive as he was anxious to get his hands on our child. She should have taken the chance. He glared at Rosa accusingly “You should have made her.”
“I’m sorry Colonel but that wasn’t the only reason, she was adamant she wouldn’t attempt to escape at the expense of myself and my people. She refused to discuss it, even when some of the villagers, who realising the situation, tried to persuade her also.”
John voice held accusation. “You were many against one. If you’d really insisted she wouldn’t have been able to resist. Not all of you.” He clenched his fists, tormented by what could have been. His voice was trembling as he felt a burning sorrow that was making it hard for him to breath. His voice was hoarse as he attempted to speak “How could you let this happen?”
Radim laid a hand on John’s arm but John shrugged it off as he shot him an icy glare his eyes blazing.
His team, aware that John was on the verge of losing all reason, immediately stepped forward to intervene but Radim continued unperturbed.
“Colonel if you’d only listen for a little longer before you condemn these people.” Radim paused to take a breath. “You of all people know what Kolya is capable of. Rosa and her people wouldn’t have stood a chance against them and you know yourself Elizabeth wouldn’t want that. There would have been horrific bloodshed and still no guarantee the outcome would have been in the least favourable.”
Teyla gently pulled Radim back, “Give him a minute, John has already realised the truth in what you have said.”
Looking closely at John everyone quietly breathed a sigh of relief, for the dark manic look had dispelled. However in doing so in its place was left a near broken man.
Rosa knew the one thing that Elizabeth had left behind in her care would be the means to partially repairing John’s present state of mind. Speaking softly she told him how Elizabeth had every faith that he’d eventually find his way to Spyros. How she’d entrusted something she held dear to her heart into Rosa’s care until the day he arrived. Looking at him a soft expression on her face, she motioned with her head for him to follow. “Come, I will show you. What I have for you is safe in my home and that’s where we will head now.”
John and Rosa walked on ahead, whilst Ronon, Rodney and Teyla followed only a short distance behind. Radim walked on his own, an unseen smile on his face, for he was aware of the surprise awaiting John. This was the reason for his extended presence on Spyros, the motive behind his request for the Atlanteans to make haste to Spyros.
Rosa led Sheppard into a small dimly lit house; John immediately sensed its homely and welcoming atmosphere. He didn’t have time to dwell on it for long however, Rosa was beckoning him to follow her into another room, to the left of the one they presently occupied. She also gestured for John’s team mates to follow.
As the Colonel followed her, he heard a faint but very distinctive cry and he froze in astonishment. His eyes darted between Rosa and the small bed that had the appearance of a cot. With dawning certainty he knew, this was Elizabeth’s last gift to him, one she knew he would treasure and protect for the rest of eternity.
Rosa bent down to retrieve a little bundle wrapped in a soft bright coloured blanket; John’s eyes however were glued to the inside of the blanket. Staring out from within the confines of the blanket was a tiny little face with sparkling green eyes and an abundance of dark curls the likes of which he’d never seen on a child so young. It was the child’s eyes though that had him mesmerised for they were the double of Elizabeth’s. He knew then, without a doubt, this was their child and Elizabeth’s last living legacy. Their child had miraculously survived.
Rosa took a step forward, “John Sheppard this is your son, Connor Jonathan Sheppard
Next chapter will be up as soon as I fix a few problems and get it beta read.
Is the child, John's lost son, or an attempt to deceive him.
Thanks as always goes to my brilliant beta Susan.
All mistakes are mine alone.
Sheppard’s mouth fell open and his legs threatened to buckle beneath him. He drew in a sharp breath trying to ward of the hysteria that threatened. No it wasn’t possible, someone’s idea of a sick joke.
Rosa stepped forward silently insisting. She held the child out for him to see and green eyes stared up at him equally as mesmerised. Still he resisted.
Rosa took another step forward, and Sheppard resisted the urge to back away from her. Rosa’s eyes glanced from Sheppard to the child she still held in her arms. “Look at him Colonel, see for yourself.”
His heart hammered, everything felt surreal. Could it be his insatiable longing to hold his child had caused his brain to conjure up a fantasy? There was every possibility he was lying unconscious in the infirmary back on Atlantis and this whole trip to Spyros was simply a figment of his imagination.
Not until he felt a light pressure on his fingers did he realise how close he was to Rosa. Looking down in shock he froze.
The child within Rosa’s arms had reached out and taken hold of Sheppard’s thumb. A smile lit up the small child’s face and his eyes sparkled. They were emerald green. Sheppard knew of only one other person with emerald green eyes. Elizabeth.
In that moment he knew this was not a dream. This was real. His arms reached out almost ahead of his brain. Before even taking time to rationalise the child, his son lay secure in his arms. Gazing down his eyes wide, he felt the chill seep from his heart, leaving behind a warm glow.
He held the most precious thing Elizabeth and he had ever created, an undeniable link to the immeasurable love that existed between them. Their son.
His inner turmoil caused his chest to tighten and his muscles to clench, as he felt his happiness, become clouded by grief.
It shouldn’t have happened. I shouldn’t have let it happen. Elizabeth, why didn’t you listen? If she’d only listened to him, paid more heed to his fears, none of this would have happened. He paled. Appalled. How could he think such thoughts? Elizabeth was not to blame. He was. What had become of his promise to always protect her from harm? He had been negligent and because of it Elizabeth was lost to him forever-
A soft pressure on his shoulder broke through his dark thoughts. Glancing to his left he realised it was Teyla. Noticing the concerned look on her face he sighed. Am I that obvious?
“John, do not dwell to deeply on things that cannot be changed. You have a wonderful gift in your son. Allow him to show you how to love again; it is what Elizabeth would want. ”Teyla’s lips turned up slightly as she glanced down upon his son. “This may seem a strange quirk of fate but I feel it was Elizabeth that made it possible.”
“What if I can’t live up to her expectations?” he questioned. “What kind of life will he have if he loses me somewhere in the near future? Teyla we, cheat death on a daily basis. What if my luck finally runs out?”
Holding his gaze Teyla replied, “John, the same fears would have existed even if Elizabeth were here too. You spoke of these and decided it was a chance you were willing to take.”
His voice was barely audible “Not without Elizabeth.”
“You will not be without her, not completely. You have your memories. If you allow them, they will help you to develop a happy and fulfilled relationship with your son. Elizabeth held great faith in your ability to be a good father to your son. I know her faith in you will be upheld.”
“I don’t know Teyla. I want what’s best for him. Taking him away from here may not be it.” The muscles in his face were taut and his expression reflected his gloom.
Tightening her grip on his arm slightly, her voice soft and soothing, Teyla said “John, at present the loss of Elizabeth is still fresh in your mind. That pain will gradually lessen, until one day the memories you shared will provide comfort instead of the usual pain. Meanwhile you have your son to comfort you. Allow him to do so; his place is with his father. You will not be alone, we will all be willing to assist you.”
Sheppard struggled to speak as a spasm constricted the muscles in his throat. Teyla was right, but he was afraid. Afraid of being a failure in his role as a father, afraid of not living up to Elizabeth’s faith in his ability to be the father she wanted him to be.
Within him, however, there lived an even greater fear. A fear of forgetting all the little things that reminded him of Elizabeth. He feared they would fade with time. The biggest and the most special was the love they shared. A special and deep love. Something he instinctively knew he would never have again. He didn’t want to lose that feeling. Ever.
“John, do you want to continue or shall we now return to Atlantis?” Teyla’s asked softly.
Sheppard eyes darted around everyone. He’d sunk so deep into his thoughts that he’d forgotten their presence. He wanted nothing better that to take his son, and turn his back on this planet. To forget the evil that had occurred here, but he couldn’t. Peace would never be his until he knew the whole story, no matter how much hurt it caused. He needed to hear it for himself and for Elizabeth.
Standing up he braced himself, forcing the pain and angst into the far recesses of his brain. His voice held none of his inner angst as he spoke
“No we came here for a reason and we don’t leave until it’s accomplished.”
Ronon stepped forward and slapped him lightly on the back his action signifying Sheppard had his support. The remainder of his team quietly voiced their support for his decision.
Rosa had subtly retreated, allowing the group to come to terms with the mixed emotions she knew they would be experiencing. She however looked up and smiled as Teyla closed the gap between them. The younger woman obviously had something she needed to discuss. Her instinct was proven correct.
“Can you tell us how John and Elizabeth’s son survived? We were led to believe it was not so.” Teyla enquired.
The remainder of the group turned their attention to Rosa. The survival of Sheppard’s son raised many questions, this being the most important.
Rosa mentally prepared herself, for the first of which she was sure would be many questions. Answering them would be far from easy but it had to be done. She could tell they were strong and capable people and would not want anything held back.
Casting her eyes in the Colonel’s direction she wasn’t surprised by his lack of emotion. Only his eyes told of the angst he was experiencing.
Rosa admired his display of inner strength and courage. He carried his pain and heartbreak bravely, possibly too much so. His unwillingness to open up, to anyone, would make it difficult for him to share his true feelings. From past personal experiences Rosa knew how dangerous this could become.
Sensing the tension, Rosa knew they were anxious for her to answer the question. Her heart pounded and she took a deep breath, attempting to control her anxiety before answering them.
“That is what we led Kolya to believe.” Rosa didn’t try and keep the contempt for Kolya out of her voice. Her hatred for the Genii Commander was real. “But the truth differed vastly. It was Elizabeth herself that devised the plan. Her bravery and determination allowed it to succeed.”
Rosa shut her eyes momentarily, preparing herself for the heart breaking tale she needed to share. As she reluctantly opened them, her attention was drawn as if by some invisible force, to the shadow of a building almost hidden from view. She felt a familiar ache in her chest as she recalled its significance.
Within its walls Elizabeth had lived out the time allotted to her by Kolya before meeting her death.
What had previously been a place of comfort and healing now signified only pain and suffering. Tainted by the evil that had been performed with in its walls it now remained for ever vacant. Locked and secured to prevent entry, it was a symbol of the inhumane cruelty that existed all too freely.
In attempt to banish it from her mind, she turned her back to it and sat down on the one of the only two chairs in the room. A sudden feeling of despair and exhaustion further dampened her already low spirits.
She fought to concentrate on the slightly irritating voice of the one she’d heard being called Dr McKay. It was obvious as she listened to him speak; he was going to question every little thing she had to say. However she quickly swallowed her rising irritation for the man. After what these people had gone through, it was right that they had their suspicions. She therefore remained silent while the Doctor vented his misgivings.
“Sheppard, tell me you’re not believing this garbage. Not with what we know of Kolya.” McKay turned and glared at Rosa. “You’re trying to imply that Elizabeth had her child, Connor I think you claim his name is. Then somehow he is miraculously snatched from under Kolya’s nose without him being in the least suspicious. Then... you claim you have kept him here awaiting our arrival, how did you know we were going to turn up, oh wait... you’re about to tell us you read the future by looking into some crystal ball-
“McKay,” growled Sheppard, his jaw tense.
“What?” McKay looked at Sheppard indignantly, “you’re just going to accept the child is yours, no questions asked, and no lingering doubts.” He used his arms to emphasise his words, disbelief showing clearly on his face.
“I only have to look at him to know he is mine.” Sheppard replied his voice low and dangerous whilst his eyes flashed a warning.
“So you say he is yours. Okay let’s say we accept that.” McKay was oblivious to the dark look from Sheppard. “Have you forgotten about Kolya…?”
Sheppard went to take a step forward, his eyes ablaze, but Ronon put an arm out to stop him.
“Do you seriously think I would forget the bastard who took away the most precious thing in my life?” spat Sheppard furiously.
McKay’s face became void of colour as he realised what he had said. “I…I, look Sheppard I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.”
Shaking his head Sheppard glanced quickly at McKay “You never do McKay but it never seems to stop you.” His disappointment was clear in his voice.
Teyla immediately spoke up alarmed at the rising tension. “John I do not think Rodney meant to be unkind. I think he was trying to protect you from further pain. His manner is perhaps unfortunate. However maybe we should allow Rosa the chance to explain before we say anything further.”
The two women’s eyes met briefly. Teyla’s seemed to be asking for understanding. Rosa however could understand why she was being regarded with suspicion. It was natural given the circumstances. She needed to convince them of her sincerity and maybe then they would stop regarding her as their enemy.
Firstly though she turned her attention to Dr McKay, “I can understand your suspicions Dr McKay and I can say truthfully, if the situation were reversed I would feel as you do. However I hope your uncertainties will be laid to rest as I explain the truth of what occurred.
McKay’s eyes nervously darted from Rosa to Sheppard before he gave a verbal nod.
Rosa’s expression turned grim. “The plan we devised to ensure even an inkling of success... It was something neither of us took lightly.
However, ultimately the decision rested with Elizabeth. I have to say though, on hearing her decision, I initially objected to it rather strongly.”
“Why?” asked Sheppard in confusion.
She glanced down to the floor, remaining silent for a moment. With a heavy sigh she lifted her head looking straight at Sheppard. “Ensuring the success of Elizabeth’s plan meant exposing her to much pain and humiliation, mainly at my hands.”
Her lips trembled as she remembered discussing this with Elizabeth, the cause of their one and only fall out. “I who prided myself on never rising to, or participating in violence. I said I couldn’t do it, that there had to be another way. But she was stubborn and refused to even contemplate any other option, no matter how much I argued with her. She had made up her mind and there was no changing it.”
A slight smirk fleetingly appeared on Sheppard’s face although his eyes remained haunted with pain. “I think we’ve all experience that side of Elizabeth and when in that frame of mind she is,” his eyes darkened and for a moment he looked crestfallen. “Was... a force to be reckoned with. If she thought she was in the right,” His eyebrows creased into a frown “which for the most of the time she was, nothing but infallible evidence would convince her otherwise.”
“That I can imagine!” Rosa gave a hint of a smile “You would have been proud of her Colonel, I can truthfully say I have never seen anyone so determined to succeed as Elizabeth.”
He softly massaged his eyes, willing the dull pounding in his head to disappear. Sensing McKay’s impatience, he again looked to Rosa. “McKay does have a valid point. Kolya is certainly no fool, past dealings have proven that. How did you manage to pull it off?”
Rosa gave a small smile, “Actually it was partly due to Kolya himself. You see he decided the safest and most convenient place for Elizabeth, was within the confines of the building attached to my property. It, up until then, had served as a place where the sick came to be treated. At the time I objected, strongly. I didn’t want the only place I could effectively carry out healings to be turned in to a prison, all be it on a temporary basis.”
She noticed Sheppard screw up his eyes as the sunlight suddenly darted in through her window. “Colonel why don’t you take a seat, it will ease the weight in your arms also.” Her lips turned up slightly as she looked at Connor. “He may be small but he is sturdy.”
Sheppard frowned, and opened his mouth as if to decline the invitation. Instead he sat down, immediately looking at home in Rosa’s chair, with Connor now sound asleep in his arms.
Rosa noted the dark circles around his eyes and his pallor. He looked like he badly needed a full night’s sleep. If only she’d been able to save Elizabeth, Sheppard could have been spared his present pain.
When she’d established Sheppard was sitting comfortably in the chair she continued with her painful recollection. “Elizabeth wanted Kolya to believe her child was dead when born. To do this we needed to convince Kolya my feelings towards Elizabeth were unchanged, and that I treated her with contempt and disgust.” She stopped as her voice started to waver, her heartbeat pounding.
Sheppard took advantage of the temporary silence.”I still don’t get how Kolya entrusted you with Elizabeth’s care. You weren’t even Genii, just a stranger who appeared to dislike his prisoner as much as he did himself.” Sheppard’s voice although filled with concern lacked the sarcasm that had dripped off McKay’s tongue.
“Finally you’re showing some common sense,” sniped McKay.
Sheppard’s eyes narrowed and his voice was sharp. “McKay if I were you, I would think very carefully before opening my mouth again.”
Not one for subtle hints McKay was on the verge of retaliating, but Ronon beat him to it. Grabbing him by the back of his collar he growled, “McKay, enough.” The threatening look from Ronon was enough to clamp his mouth shut.
Sheppard’s expression softened. “Look McKay, I understand your feelings of caution and even your distrust. However, if I truly thought Rosa wasn’t being 100% honest with us, I’d be the first one to question her on it.”
For a moment McKay had the grace to look crestfallen. “I felt with the discovery of your son, you were blind to the true situation.”
Shaking his head Sheppard replied, “Rodney you know me better than that. Haven’t I proved time and time again that I don’t allow personal feelings to override the safety of this expedition.”
“Yes but this is different, you’ve just been given back your son.”
Teyla decided to step in as mediator. “Rosa so you understand, all of us on Atlantis, John in particular, have been deceived in the cruellest way possible. To develop feelings of trust again, especially for strangers, is exceptionally difficult. People we deemed to be trustworthy have so often proved the opposite.” She glanced fleetingly at John before continuing. “The loss of Dr Weir under normal war conditions would have been devastating but eventually it would have been accepted. What no one on Atlantis can accept is the way it happened. It was cowardly and cruel.”
“I would feel the same if the position was reversed but I can assure you I am not your enemy. I simply played a role needed to ensure Elizabeth’s plan succeeded.”
“I am sure we have all had to do something unpleasant to ensure the success of something more important” replied Teyla sympathetically. “Maybe you could explain why Kolya was so lax with his security around Elizabeth.”
Nodding grimly Rosa replied. “The reason is really quite simple. Commander Kolya had not thought of the implications of taking a heavily pregnant woman prisoner. The thought of having to deal with the, not so far away birth, repulsed him even though he was sticking to the story that the child was his. He also insisted she remained in chains, even whilst it remained necessary for her to be confined to bed. The guards on duty were the only ones with a key.”
Sheppard eyes narrowed “They kept the chains on her for what reason, to feed their sick minds? What, did they think she was going escape from a heavily guarded and locked room?”
“John,” Teyla bent forward and laid a hand on his arm.
For a moment their eyes meet before Sheppard replied. “Its okay, I’m fine.” Teyla looked uncertain but Sheppard insisted “Really, I’m fine.”
The skin of Rosa’s knuckles paled significantly as her grip on the arm of the chair tightened. This was affecting them all, the sooner she told it the better.
“As I said earlier, Elizabeth felt for the plan to succeed, it was essential that the guards and Kolya believed that my initial feelings of disgust and dislike remained just as strong. The plan we concocted had a greater chance of success due to Elizabeth’s confinement to bed. She was still suffering the after effects of their harsh treatment and physical exhaustion and therefore unable to see to her own personal care. I also implied there was a great risk of her giving birth prematurely if she did not remain in bed. Kolya was desperate for her child to born healthy so he didn’t challenge me on it.” She stopped to take a shaky breath finding it more and more difficult to continue. Her hands trembled as she desperately gripped the arm of the chair.
Teyla bent down and laid a hand on Rosa’s shoulder. “Do you wish to take a break for a moment? I am sure Colonel Sheppard will understand if you do.”
“No I will continue, but maybe we could take a walk outside. It tends to get somewhat stuffy in here.” She looked across to Sheppard as she spoke.
Nodding, Sheppard stood up cautiously. He looked down at his son, still sound asleep. A feeling of pride consumed him when he realised his son obviously felt protected and secure enough to settle down and sleep. He looked up sheepishly when he had realised Teyla was speaking and he’d not heard her.
“Sorry Teyla, I was miles away.”
She smiled in reply “I can understand why. However if you are intent on going outside it may be best for him to remain here. Now the sun is up there is an incredible heat coming from it.”
For a moment he seemed reluctant but eventually with a slight smile he held his son out for Teyla to take. “You’re right it is probably better, but only until we return.”
Smirking Teyla replied, “Of course Colonel, though give it a few days and you’ll be begging me to take him so you can take a break.”
“Will not,” replied Sheppard with an indignant expression.
Teyla give a grin “We shall see.”
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Sheppard learns how, against all odds, his son survived
Thanks as always goes to my brilliant beta Susan
All mistakes are mine alone.
Sheppard strolled beside Rosa, hands in his pockets and his head bent slightly to shield his eyes from the sun. He silently cursed himself for not having the mind set to remember his sunglasses.
As they walked up the slight incline, which led to another part of the village, Sheppard initiated the conversation. “So tell me the details of this plan.”
Rosa nodded tightly her face pinched and pale. “I have to warn you Colonel, it will be disturbing. Do you truly want to put yourself through this?”
Sheppard drew in an intense breath in an effort to brace himself. He gave a sharp nod.
Rosa’s expression became sombre. “As I said earlier Elizabeth’s injuries were serious. The slightest movement would trigger pain. However her cuts and bruises needed attention, at least daily, including those caused by the restraints.
Sheppard’s clenched his fists, his eyes haunted. God Elizabeth you didn’t deserve any of this.
A pressure on his wrist made him turn his head slightly. He was shocked to realise he was trembling.
“John?” Rosa frowned at him, a flicker of worry crossing her face.
He silently raised his hand indicating for her to continue. Thankfully she didn’t challenge him. Instead, Rosa continued to explain what Elizabeth and she had planned.
Although it seems extreme, Elizabeth’s injuries were what tipped the scales in our favour. She didn’t need to make a show of being in pain. She already was. We needed more than this though. It was critical that Kolya’s suspicions were not aroused. We needed Kolya to believe my beliefs and feelings regarding Elizabeth were unchanged. It had to seem as if I still found her vile and unworthy of my care.”
Rosa paused. Her chest heaved, and beads of perspiration stood out on her brow. Her eyes darted around as if searching for something, causing Sheppard to raise his eyebrows in confusion. However she seemed to find what she sought and with a wave of her hand, beckoned Sheppard to follow. Soon they were sitting on small white columns, which Sheppard found to be surprisingly comfortable.
Sheppard looked up curiously as a dark shadow loomed from the side of him. Ronon and McKay had joined them. Both men displayed expressions of concern. He construed they were following close enough to listen but attempting to give them some privacy at the same time. Sheppard had no reservations as to who had advocated it. It had to be Ronon. There was no way McKay would happily remain in the background without persuasion. It was no surprise therefore when McKay pushed his way forward to question Rosa. Sheppard had to admit though it was a question that he himself was about to ask.
“Why were Elizabeth’s injuries so important to the success of your so called plan?” asked McKay, his tone almost accusing.
Rosa lifted her head, and Sheppard noted how haggard she looked. Her eyes were heavy with unshed tears.
“Treating Elizabeth’s injuries always caused her great pain. The harsher I treated her, the greater her pain. Kolya derived a sick gratification from Elizabeth’s suffering. It was an added pleasure for him when he discovered that I too liked to make her suffer. If only he knew it couldn’t be further from the truth. I hated every minute of it.” She paused “To know she was crying and in pain, because of my doing, was almost unbearable.” She paused again her eyes filling with pain. “I only held out because Elizabeth begged me to. She was far stronger than I will ever be.”
“You did what you had to do” although his words lacked conviction and his jaw muscles tensed as he visualised Elizabeth’s pain.
If Rosa picked up on the slight contradiction from Sheppard she didn’t comment on it.
“Knowing that doesn’t help,” replied Rosa, a look of regret reflected in her eyes.
“Didn’t you accomplish what you set out to do?” questioned McKay, a distinct lack of accusation in his tone this time.
Rosa looked up, her face brightening slightly. “Yes we did. Kolya eventually got bored and seemed relieved to leave Elizabeth to me. The security detail also lessened. Kolya knew I objected to their presence, and agreed to my request to scale them down. Finally I was able to care for Elizabeth in the way she should have been treated from the very beginning.”
Silence loomed until finally McKay spoke up. “How did you manage it?”
Rosa looked confused. “What part are you referring to Dr McKay?”
“Connor of course,” glowered McKay. “How did you manage so save him from Kolya?”
Rosa pushed back a strand of hair that insisted on falling forward in to her eyes.
“We needed a strategy that would protect Connor from Kolya. Elizabeth and I spent a harrowing few weeks trying to come up with something that had any chance of succeeding. Elizabeth however eventually came up with a suggestion that could grant us a potentially favourable outcome. Convince Kolya that her child didn’t survive the birth.”
“And how was that going to work? I think even Kolya would notice the conspicuous lack of evidence, like a body.” Rodney challenged an evident sarcasm to his tone.
“McKay if you just shut up for a minute maybe Rosa will have a chance to explain,” snapped Sheppard. He returned his attention to Rosa, “Ignore McKay his mother forgot to teach him manners.”
“I do not mind, I can understand his lack of patience.” replied Rosa with a barely hidden smile “This, he compensates with his loyalty to his friends. Am I right Dr McKay?”
He choked, his eyes wide with embarrassment, but just as quickly his normal blustering personality took over. “Well it’s about time they started showing me the same respect. I don’t know how they’d cope, if I decided I’d had enough 0f not being appreciated, and up and left them in the lurch. I’ll tell you, without me, Atlantis wouldn’t survive.
Rolling his eyes, Sheppard retaliated “You can’t take all the credit McKay. In fact, many of the occasions were down to something you did, or caused, in the first place. Now, can we possibly get back to the reason we are here in the first place.”
McKay fell silent a hint of shame reflected in his eyes.
A gruff voice broke through the awkward silence “The plan went ahead.”
“Yes Ronon it did. It was in actual fact the only one we could come up with that had even a remote chance of success” Rosa agreed calmly.
Rosa was intrigued by the man who literally towered over her. He gave off an aggressive air, yet she didn’t feel in the least intimidated by him. She sensed his intense loyalty to his friends, the Colonel in particular. However, now was not the time to wonder about her new acquaintances. They were waiting to hear something of greater importance to them.
“Dr McKay you were questioning how we expected our plan to work without concrete evidence. That was also the question we asked ourselves over and over again. We didn’t foresee any major problems during the time Elizabeth was in labour or immediately afterwards. The difficult part would be when we told Kolya of the tragic loss of the child.”
Sheppard, screwed his eyebrows into a frown. “Surely Kolya would insist on being present. Not necessarily in the same room, but near enough to be fully aware of what was happening.”
Shaking her head Rosa calmly replied. “You’re forgetting that I already had his confidence. A few hints here and there, about the act of giving birth.” She smirked “Kolya quickly decided he didn’t want any part in it. Neither did his men.”
A look of concern replaced Rosa’s previous calmness. She couldn’t fail to notice the beads of sweat building up on the Colonel’s brow and neck. That alone wouldn’t have concerned her, at this hour of the day the heat did become exceptionally uncomfortable. It was the screwing up of his eyes, and the wince he gave every so often when he though nobody was looking.
“John are you feeling the effects of the sun? Maybe we should head back in doors.”
John’s eyebrows shot up and he looked slightly uncomfortable. “No... I’m fine.”
Rosa wasn’t convinced, especially when she also observed the appearance of lines under his eyes. She was smart enough to realise however, John wouldn’t admit to feeling under the weather. It was going to up to herself to take action.
“Still the sun is incredibly uncomfortable I think we would all benefit from a short break from the sun’s rays.”
Stepping forward to help Rosa to her feet Sheppard smirked. “But you spoiling my chance of getting a sun tan. Just think of all the jealous faces if we went back with tanned.
Laughing, Rosa slipped her arm through Sheppard’s “May be so, but returning with sun stroke will not make me very popular with your own healer.”
They headed back in the direction taken previously.
“Do you want to know how we managed to overcome the seemingly impossible?” Rosa stared up at Sheppard as she spoke.”
Sheppard nodded slowly.
“A close friend from a few doors away, had her daughter staying. The daughter was not much older than Connor, when they first came to live here. Now she was preparing to give birth herself. Unfortunately she went into labour prematurely and gave birth to twin boys.”
Rosa’s attention wandered for a few seconds as she remembered that bitter sweet day. “Although one was born alive and well, the other tragically died from complications surrounding the birth.”
Although he raised his eyebrows, in realisation, Sheppard remained quiet. Content, for the moment at least, to listen to what Rosa was telling them.
“They were sympathetic to Elizabeth’s situation and were enraged at her treatment. However what the grieving new mother suggested, has to be the most selfless act I have ever known, and the bravest. She offered their dead son so he could be the proof we needed to deceive Kolya. They felt this way something good would be derived from their son’s tragic passing.”
“If it were my son I don’t know if could’ve done that,” replied Sheppard, with mixed emotions. It wasn’t that he wasn’t grateful because that wouldn’t be true, but at the same time he felt shocked. He didn’t understand how grieving parents would even contemplate such a thing.
“I doubt many people could. Now though, we were faced with another problem. Two weeks still remained until her due date. It left us with one option. We needed to artificially start her labour without delay. I knew of a plant whose properties did just that ”
Sheppard faltered slightly. “What about the risks involved? Surely something like that , you would have no control over.”
“It has been known to have an adverse affect on the mother, child or both, but we were out of options. It was a risk we were forced to take”
Silence reigned for a few moments as they gingerly edged their way back over the stream that ran through the village.
Once over safely Rosa continued with her explanation. “Thinking back on it now, so many things could have gone wrong. Luck, or whatever else you would like to call it was certainly on our side. It was hard on Elizabeth, to experience an exhausting labour, and not get to see her child. It was the one thing that did upset her. However she took comfort knowing he was alive and safe.
Sheppard sighed. He could feel Elizabeth’s anguish, the pain of not being given the one and only opportunity to hold their child before he was whisked away from her forever. He realised why, if Kolya… Wait a minute Kolya .Nausea burned in his gut and he reared back like he’d been slapped. “What did he do to her?” He tried to swallow around the tension, feeling his throat close instead. “His whole reason for abducting Elizabeth was to get his hands on our
Ronon stepped forward ready to support his friend.
However it was Rosa that suddenly drew their attention. She swayed and had to grab hold of a nearby fence to remain standing. The colour drained from her face and she appeared to be inhaling only small painful bursts of air.
Alarmed Sheppard immediately went to Rosa’s aid forgetting his own pain and anguish. Ronon and McKay also followed, but when they saw Sheppard had it under control they stepped back to give Rosa more space.
Sheppard placed a hand on her arm to give her support and gradually eased her down until she was sitting on the ground. She leaned back against the fence and finally managed to give him a weak nod. Her pallor gradually receded until her normal colour returned and she appeared to breathe easier.
“Sorry I don’t know what came over me there,” apologised Rosa.
“This must be hard on you Rosa. I’m sorry for asking you to relive it.”
“To be honest, I think I have just tried to bury how badly it affected me.” She struggled to her feet as she spoke, assisted by Sheppard, although he still looked as her anxiously. “I don’t think I have ever truly come to terms with what happened. I feel so guilty for my part in it.”
“Don’t be. I doubt Kolya gave you any choice,” Sheppard tone held more conviction than previously.
They were prevented from discussing it further as Teyla came hurrying towards them.
“Teyla,” before he could say anymore Teyla interrupted him
“John, it is okay. He is still fast asleep and Radim is watching over him. I only came out for some fresh air and so Rosa didn’t appear well.”
Rosa waved her hand dismissing their concern. “In all honesty I am perfectly well. It was only a little turn and I am fully recovered.”
The others weren’t particularly convinced but Rosa was adamant. They were in agreement though to return to Rosa’s dwelling, now only a few feet away. Assisted by Sheppard and Teyla, Rosa led the way back.
Thanks go as always to Sue my beta or better known on fanfic net as Iratus. All mistakes however remain mine alone.
This chapter is actually longer than intended, but I decided against splitting into two chapters. At least it will make for a longer read.
Thanks to all those who have reviewed so far and as always only the plot belongs to me.
So, here’s chapter 10 of, Gone But Not Forgotten. Enjoy everyone. (Hopefully)
Rosa met Radim’s eyes, as the group re-entered the building. She answered his unspoken query with a shake of the head. No, she had not explained everything to Sheppard. Not yet anyway. Radim stepped back beside her as the Colonel walked over to the crib where his son still lay asleep.
An unsettling silence descended on the room as they watched and waited. Five sets of eyes focused on Sheppard as he turned away from his son and looked directly at Rosa.
“Kolya... what did he do?”
Rosa just caught the hint of anger in his voice, an anger she knew he disguised so well.
“What did he do to Elizabeth?” Sheppard repeated.
Rosa looked to the floor. She faced a dilemma. Tell it as it was, or tone it down, and save John from a little of the heart ache. She sighed. Who was she really trying to protect, John or herself?
Lifting up her head she glanced up a John. He was waiting for her answer and she instantly knew she could not deceive him. Not even if it was for his own good. As painful and heart rendering as it was, he needed and deserved to know every last detail.
The awareness of this however, did nothing to stall the nausea building up in her throat, or calm the shaking from her hands, as the lay clasped in her lap.
With another painful sigh, she forced herself to pull it together. “After being informed by the guard that Elizabeth had given birth, Kolya came to see the child. His triumph rapidly changed to disgust, when he walked over to where the child lay.
She paused briefly, pushing a stray lock of her greying hair back from her eyes. “He swung around so quickly it took everyone by surprise, and grabbed Elizabeth by the collar of her nightdress, almost swinging her clear of the bed.”
The hatred she had felt towards Kolya, and still did, ignited once again as she recollected the malicious words he’d snarled at Elizabeth. “You evil bitch. You killed him just so I would not lay claim on him. But I promise, you will live just long enough to regret it.”
Remembering what happened next sent an ice cold shiver down her spin. “The veins on his face and neck were raised and pulsing. His eyes were dark and filled with a terrible rage. Elizabeth had obviously noted the change in him, as I heard her give a gasp. I tried talking to him, to calm him, by trying to make him see no one was to blame. It was a cruel fate of nature.” Her chest heaved as she sadly shook her head. “It did no good... he was either too far gone, or didn’t want to listen.”
Ronon growled and muttered something incomprehensible.
“Ronon!” Teyla’s sharp reproach effectively silenced him.
Teyla then turned back to Rosa, “Ronon offers his apologises,” she gave Ronon a sharp look as she spoke, daring him to disagree. But for once he had the grace to appear sheepish.
Holding up her hand Rosa said, “There is no need for apologies. It is only understandable in the circumstances.”
Teyla gave a slow nod of her head “Then please... we would like for you to continue.”
Rosa gave a nod of her head in return. “ Certainly. Kolya released Elizabeth only so he could issue orders to his men waiting outside. Although Elizabeth was trying hard not to show her fear, I had been around her enough times by this stage, to see it was an act. I went to comfort her, but managed only to quickly squeeze her hand before Kolya’s men pushed me aside. It seemed their Commander wanted everyone removed from the room. Everyone that was, except Elizabeth, himself, and his men. Whether Kolya still trusted me I do not know. But for whatever reason, he told the guards to release me and turned his attention back to Elizabeth.
“Surely he wasn’t doing all this because he still held Elizabeth accountable for her own son’s death?” asked McKay in disbelief. “The man’s insane.”
Bile burnt the base of Sheppard’s throat, McKay’s words still resounding in his ears. How anyone , even as vile as Kolya, could come to such a sick conclusion was beyond his comprehension. However as he listened to Rosa’s explanation, he realised it went far deeper than that.
“Kolya had just lost out on something he’d worked obsessively to gain. Power. Just imagine the supremacy, the super power he would have experienced if he had the child of one of his most hated adversaries at his disposal. To Kolya there would be no other that would award him with the benefits as this would.”
“My good” gasped McKay. He intended to use it to gain control of Atlantis. That has always been his biggest ambition.” He looked to Sheppard his eyes wide open. “ At least we can be thankful he never got the chance.”
“Elizabeth believed, he also had something else in mind. Something much more sinister and personal to you John.” Rosa said quietly, whilst keeping her eyes trained on Sheppard. “I imagine there would be none more painful, or sole destroying, than having your child kidnapped and raised by his abductor. Imagine years later fighting against a ruthless and deadly adversary, the leader of which displays the face of your son. A son who now glares at you with unbridled hatred. This is what Elizabeth feared Kolya had planned for Connor, and why she wanted him safe, no matter the danger or pain it brought down on her.”
Sheppard’s face darkened and he couldn’t help glancing over to where Connor still slept. Not for the first time he felt an abundance of love and pride for Elizabeth. Her bravery had saved their son from something far worse than death. What did she have to endure though as a result? “We’ve all seen,” He visibly shuddered, “or been... on the receiving end of Kolya’s sadistic need for revenge. He would make Elizabeth suffer, whether he felt she was at fault or not. It’s how his sick mind works.”
Rosa’s heart pounded in her breast as she recollected the horror that followed “I begged them to leave her be. That she was in no fit state to be out of bed, never mind on her feet. It was of no use. Elizabeth was wrenched out of her bed and the two guards held her whilst Kolya rained blows down on her, over and over again.”
Sheppard’s eyes darkened “Why did no one come to her aid? What of the villagers.” His jaw muscle tensed. “You can’t expect me to believe no one heard the commotion.”
Although Teyla’s outwardly appearance remained calm, her voice was cold and clipped. “Given the lateness of the hour her voice would have carried over the silence. Why then did no one come and investigate?”
. “The men of this village are unlike you. They have never fought against another and were already fearful of Kolya. Knowledge of his vindictiveness and cruelty has quickly spread throughout the village. A few of the villagers had already fallen foul of his intolerance. As much as it ashamed them, they were too afraid to get involved.”
“So Elizabeth was, alone, with no means of protecting herself from Kolya’s violence,” said Sheppard.
“I did try to pull Kolya off....” Rosa’s eyes glazed over for a few seconds and her attention seemed to wander. She was back in the room, experiencing the terrible constriction with in her chest and tasting the nausea that built up in her throat. But one thing haunted her more than anything else, the screams, terrible screams. Then, an unearthly silence.
Sheppard looked to Teyla with a raised eyebrow, Teyla shrugged her shoulders.
“Rosa!” Teyla’s voice was soft to avoid startling Rosa unnecessarily.
A faint flushing of pink appeared on Rosa’s cheek. “Oh, sorry, I guess I wandered for a moment there.” She didn’t repeat that she was haunted by the cruel look on Kolya’s face as he lashed out at Elizabeth time after time. I am ashamed to say my dismal efforts came to nothing. Kolya merely shrugged me of as if I were insignificant.”
Teyla laid a hand on Rosa’s arm “We realise, you on your own, would be no match against Kolya.”
“Listening to Elizabeth’s agonising cries, how I wished I was. It seemed to last an eternity. Then suddenly it was over. His rage spent, Kolya glared at Elizabeth in disgust, as she lay semi conscious on the floor. He grunted something the sounded like, see to her, before storming out the door.”
Although Sheppard appeared mute, Rosa observed the small things that pointed to his inner anguish. Like the way he clenched his fists tightly into the side of his legs. The way he constantly bit at his lip and the rippling of his jaw muscle.
Teyla stepped closer and placed a hand on Sheppard’s shoulder. Their eyes met briefly, Sheppard’s eyes reflecting his pain and Teyla’s letting him know, she would there for him. If and when he felt the need. It was to Rosa though that she tailored her words. “What of Elizabeth?”
“After Kolya left, the women who had assisted me earlier returned. Together, we were able to get her back into bed. We treated her injuries as best we could, whilst trying to avoid causing her greater pain. Thankfully, I had medication that adequately took the edge off her pain. I refused to leave her that night and I know she took relief from that. But one thing tore at my heart that night, more than anything else. It was later when we were alone. After all she had endured she looked at me and still managed to say with a smile.” Rosa we did it. My son is safe and eventually he will be reunited with John. I know it will happen. I feel it in my heart.
“My heart ached for her that day. Yet at the same time, I also felt great admiration.”
Sheppard managed a tight smile, despite his grief “That’s my Elizabeth.”
Teyla nodded solemnly, “It was also what made her a great leader, and she will always be remembered as such.”
The wrinkles of tension around Sheppard’s eyes and rippling of his jaw muscles told of his pain. There was warmth though in the words he spoke. “She was the most unique and loving person I have ever met.”
The remainder of his team nodded in agreement. Every one of them had something to thank Elizabeth for.
It was strangely Ronon who stepped forward, until he was standing by Sheppard’s side. His voice sounded gruff as he verbalised an unusual show of emotions. “If it wasn’t for Dr Weir, I’d probably be dead, or still a runner.”
Teyla gave a genuine smile “Ronon is right. I and my people also have much to be grateful to Elizabeth for. But she will never truly be gone. She will live on through you and your son John.”
John looked over towards his son, his sadness reflected in his eyes. “The son she longed to be born, but never got to hold in her arms...”
“But that is where you are wrong,”
Rosa gave a bitter sweet smile as the others looked towards her with varying reactions.
“During and immediately after the birth, yes. However after his attack on Elizabeth, Kolya’s visits were infrequent, to say the least. It was still too risky to allow her to see him during the day hours. At night however it was not so, only one guard was needed then. Kolya did not see the need for more as the building was secure. With there only being one guard, it was easy to lure him from his post. Especially as the guard understood Elizabeth would be unable to move due to her injuries.”
“So she had the comfort of being able to hold him.” Sheppard said in a voice barely audible.
“Actual John, she had almost a month with him. I have no idea, given what happened later, why Kolya left her alone for so long as he did. It is possible he thought Elizabeth would not survive her injuries. In the early days I wasn’t convinced she would either.”
Rosa watched John as he sat in stunned silence. It was blatantly clear that Elizabeth would rather suffer the pain, than be denied the chance with Connor. But it must be tearing at his heart, to even imagine the torture she’d been subjected to. Rosa noted the narrowing of his eyes and the tension oozing from his body. What was he thinking?
Rosa realised he would never outwardly discuss or display his emotions, Instead he kept them locked up inside causing himself constant torment.
Teyla’s soft voice filled the air, releasing some of the tension that everyone was experiencing
“Elizabeth would have treasured her time with him. Take comfort in that at least John.”
A warm smile lit up Rosa’s face. Indeed she did. In fact I have to say, it was the first time I had seen Elizabeth smile and mean it. “She was enchanted by him. It was such a beautiful sight to behold, especially given all she had endured.”
Sheppard’s downcast eyes now looked towards Rosa, whilst his slumped shoulders straightened. “I can almost picture her,” he replied softly.
Rosa nodded but remained silent, knowing this moment was special to John.
She also knew it wasn’t going to last. Not when he was made aware of what happened later. For the time being though, she was thankful he had this small reprieve.
“Surely the guard would have been suspicious. McKay screwed up his face expressing his distaste. “Babies aren’t renounced for being exactly quiet. My niece must be the most annoying. She squawked nonstop. And Jeannie had the cheek to fall out with me for not visiting.
“McKay you never visited your sister in what 6 years. No wonder she took the hump.” Sheppard said with a touch of sarcasm.
Rosa smiled indulgingly “Babies are a bit like you Dr McKay. They need comforting, but have yet to learn a quieter way of asking for it.”
A few sniggers were heard from the others.
“Oh that’s right. Have a good laugh at my expense, why don’t you!” huffed Rodney.
Rosa’s eyes twinkled with amusement as she calmly continued “I have to say, at first we were wary of his cries alerting the guard, but he never cried. Not once. The villagers too, did their bit. They felt guilty at their inability to protect Elizabeth. In an attempt, to in some small way gain redemption, they took it upon themselves to keep the guard occupied.”
“Who cared for Connor when Kolya was around?” questioned Sheppard anxiously.
“He stayed with Marana and her daughter, the mother of the twins. When wrapped in blankets no one could tell the difference. At night they would fetch him round, and enter by a hidden side door that Kolya had overlooked.”
“But what of her injuries?” Teyla asked with a frown. “How did she manage?”
“It was hard for her, but Elizabeth was determined to spend every minute she could with him. In the early days she was pretty much out of it with the pain medication. However she still had enough wit about her to refuse to take them. Even though it meant she was in agony.”
Sheppard smirked, “I can so see her doing that. She used to drive Carson up the wall, with her refusal to take any medication he prescribed. He even threatened to confine her to the infirmary on one occasion.”
Rustling from the crib as Connor tossed restlessly, drew Sheppard’s attention.
“Do you think Connor knew who she was?” asked Sheppard with hope in his eyes.
Rosa smiled, “You know I think he did. He’d look up at her, just as mesmerised by her as she was with him. Every time she spoke to him, his eyes lit up. Not once did he ever get grumpy or restless when with Elizabeth. It was as if he knew their time together was short and he wanted to treasure it.”
“I wish I had been there to see them together,” Sheppard sighed “one of my biggest regrets.”
“You must take comfort in the fact, that during this time Elizabeth was the happiest I have ever seen her. She held onto, only one regret. That you were not there to share her joy. There was one other thing she asked of me. Something of extreme importance to her, but it had to be delivered only when appropriate. Elizabeth left that responsibility with me.”
Sheppard’s eyebrows were furrowed and his eyes screwed up into an expression of bewilderment.
Rosa gazed at him long and hard. She felt there would never again be an opportunity such as this. She feared however, that instead of comforting Sheppard as it was intended, it would in actual fact have the opposite effect. Exhaling a deep breath Rosa realised it would always carry that possibility. She knew then what she must do.
Gently grasping the sleeve of Sheppard’s shirt, Rosa was aware of how her hand trembled uncontrollably. Thankfully, despite her trepidation, Rosa delivered her speech with a soothing calmness.
“Elizabeth loved you so much and spoke of you continually.” Rosa observed the strong hold John held over his emotions. If she hadn’t been standing so close she’d have missed the sudden rigidity of his body, the only telltale sign of the misery he must be feeling.
She took his hand gently as she spoke, amazed when instead of tensing as she thought he would, he actually seemed to relax slightly. “Her deepest regret was that she had disregarded your fears. If she had listened none of this would have happened. She was desperate to relay something to you, but only when you were in a frame of mind to listen. She told me you were just as stubborn and strong minded as she was. However, much time has passed, and I feel this is something you should have before it gets much later.”
Slowly easing herself out of the chair, Rosa stretched up to the shelf just behind her chair. Her hand skimmed over the surface, feeling for the small metal box that contained irreplaceable memories of her own long gone family. It also held something that John would treasure with a passion.
Finally, the box was located and Rosa rested it on her knee after sitting back in her chair.
Murmurs of curiosity were heard, when she retrieved a small package from within the box. Holding it out, she smiled, her eyes resting on Sheppard. “This is what Elizabeth wanted you to have.”
Sheppard licked his lips nervously, what else could Elizabeth have left. His hands were sweating, as he took a couple of steps closer to Rosa. He wiped some of the sweat on his trouser leg, before reaching out with his right hand, to grasp the mysterious parcel. Slowly he unwrapping what appeared to be some kind of dry leaf. He felt a strange comfort consume him as he looked down at what was hidden beneath the layers. It was a letter from Elizabeth.
He knew everyone was looking at him expectantly. The problem was, no matter how many times he opened his mouth, the words refused to come. He felt like he’d been struck dumb.
“John may be this is something, meant for you alone,” said Teyla.
He looked at Teyla and gave her a dazed smile. “I’ll just go...,” he gestured wordlessly to the door. Making for the nearest exit, his stride quickened the nearer he got, and concluded with a loud bang as the door shut behind him.
McKay’s eyes darted from Teyla’s to Rosa’s and to the door that Sheppard had just about torn off its hinges. “Am I missing something?”
“Rodney...” Teyla rolled her eyes. “Rosa has just given John a letter that Elizabeth wrote to him.”
“So I take it, he doesn’t want to share it with us?” replied McKay in a disgruntled tone.
“Her words are personal to John. He may in time decide to divulge what she has written. For the time being however its best if we leave it to him,” explained Rosa, calmly.
His chin dropped as the implication of Rosa’s words sunk in. “Oh... right.”
Sheppard was finding it difficult to co-ordinate his fingers enough to open the letter. It was as if they had a mind of their own. Eventually after a few frustrating minutes he held it straightened out in front of him.
Glancing around he noticed an old wooden bench, that although had seen better days, still appeared stable enough to hold his weight. He hoped.
Gingerly sitting down he was forced to blink a few times before the words came into focus. As he immersed himself in the letter, he could almost swear Elizabeth was sitting here with him, explaining what she needed him to do.
“John, please don’t blame yourself, for what’s happened. Knowing you as well as I do, I know you’ll already be doing just that. But believe me John, when I say, you are not to blame. If anyone could have prevented this from happening it would have been you. You have been here for me always, without fail. My rock. How I cherish our time together and wouldn’t have changed any of it. However, now it is time for you to put the pain behind you and build a happy life for our son. John Sheppard, I love you and it is our love that will allow me to remain strong until this is over. Good bye my love. Remember were ever I am, our love will remain with me always.
Sheppard’s eyes hurt with holding back his tears, and he swallowed continuously in an attempt to disperse the lump from his throat. One thing, however, would remain with him and carry him through the rough period ahead. Pride. His pride for an incredible woman, who even in the most despondent of circumstances, thought only of the welfare of her family.
He sat reading the words over and over again, until the cold gradually penetrated his tac vest. Reluctantly, he got up, and slowly sauntered back to where the others waited.
As he entered the room, his heart lightened somewhat. His son, now awake, had everyone entertained by his squeals of delight, as he played with Teyla’s hair. If only things had worked out differently it would be Elizabeth standing holding their son, enthralled by his antics. The sparkle left his eyes as he turned to Rosa.
“How did she die?”
The laughter in the room died in the wake of Sheppard’s words
Rosa pushed her hair back. Something Sheppard had noticed she did when anxious or nervous. Her left cheek also twitched.
“We had a plan in place to get Elizabeth to safety, but Kolya found out.” Rosa gave a despondent sigh.” It just was so unfair. After the outcome of Kolya’s appalling actions, everyone joined together to get her free.”
“Why wait till now though? If they felt able to take on Kolya, why not do it before Elizabeth was beaten up?” Sheppard protested.
“We didn’t stand a chance against Kolya. Not on our own. But a previous ally, whom we had lost contact with for many long months, suddenly sent a messenger through the portal. An extremely harsh winter, much worse than they ever experienced in the past, cut of all access to their portal. It was only when the snow melted, that they managed to send the messenger.
“Do they have no other means, with which to depart the planet?” asked Teyla.
She shook her head. “Unfortunately no. They do not have any access to flying crafts. Like us without their portal, the Multan are isolated. The messenger returned home after listening to our predicament. A few days later I received word that two Multan were asking for me. The Multan council had agreed to our request for assistance. Past dealings with Kolya had left them itching for revenge.”
Sheppard’s eyes narrowed. If it were true, then why did Elizabeth still die? He didn’t believe Rosa to be lying. So, just what did happen? Rosa, he realised, must have been on the same wave length. Before he could open his mouth to question her, she gave him the answer.
“John... I will understand if this makes you angry and resentful. And yes, Elizabeth should have survived, and would have if things had gone as planned.”
“I take it, from what you’re implying, something went wrong?”
“Yes and I can only place the blame on my own foolish misjudgement.” Rosa’s eyes expressed her own self condemnation. “I made the mistake of thinking Elizabeth would be safe for just a little bit longer. Her injuries were severe, and she was still too ill to travel. I didn’t mention the reason for the delay to Elizabeth. I was well aware if I had, she would have insisted the gamble with her life was worth the risk. I realise now she would have been right.”
“Did you not think, given Kolya’s reputation, the risk was worth taking?” asked Sheppard quietly.
Sheppard refrained from letting the criticism he felt, leak into his voice. Rosa had to live with the result of her decision. That on its own would haunt her daily. Placing the blame on her shoulders would not change the outcome, and Sheppard knew she must have had her reasons, right or wrong.
I foolishly believed that her injuries would prevent any further retaliation from Kolya. Something, that has caused me many sleepless nights since. It is torture to realise that because of my careless beliefs, Elizabeth paid the penalty.”
Teyla stepped forward, expressing her sympathy, “You are not to blame. Only Kolya is responsible for Elizabeth’s death.”
“Many of my people tried to tell me the same, but still the regret persists. We were just so near accomplishing her rescue.”
Rosa turned back to Sheppard. “And I still hold onto the belief that it would have been successful if we hadn’t been betrayed by one of our own.”
“Why would he betray his own people?” asked Teyla with scorn.
“Out of fear. The Genii, it seems, were more alert than we gave them credit for. It appears the visits from the Multan’s hadn’t gone undetected as we believed. A couple of the Genii pulled him aside, and threatened to take him to Kolya if he didn’t satisfy their suspicions. He broke down and told them everything.”
“So in saving his own skin, he condemned Elizabeth to death!” Sheppard said in disgust.
“I don’t think that was his intention. He thought that Kolya would only be interested in going after the Multan’s. Tragically it didn’t happen that way.”
Mixed emotions were flooding through Sheppard’s head. He was angry. Because of one man’s cowardly behaviour, Elizabeth paid the highest penalty.
His heart, heavy with a crushing despair, fought to maintain a normal rhythm.
All he could think of was Elizabeth and the torture she must have gone through
To feel freedom in her grasp, only for it to be wrenched away in such a cruel fashion must have been devastating.
“What happened when Kolya found out?”
I am saddened to say I wasn’t even with Elizabeth when it happened. She was been cared for by one of my aids, Alicia. Elizabeth had taken an instant liking to Alicia, and the feeling was mutual. A tearful Alicia later told me, Kolya and his men had marched into the building and pulled Elizabeth from the bed without a word of explanation. Alicia knew from Kolya’s expression something dreadful was about to happen. Although Alicia stood no chance against Kolya, she was feisty enough to have a go. Unfortunately it only resulted in her getting knocked unconscious.
To Sheppard, although he heard quite plainly what Rosa was saying, it seemed like she was fazing in and out. In his mind he was standing beside Elizabeth, feeling her fear, seeing the anguish in her eyes but it didn’t matter how hard he tried, he was powerless to stop it. He shouted her name-
“John... John can you hear me,” Teyla grasped his arm.
“What’s wrong with him?”
Sheppard heard the voices. What did they want? He gasped and the vision cleared until he could see the anxious faces of his friends staring at him with concern. He realised the last voice he’d heard had been McKay’s
He tried to smirk but it came out more like a grimace, “Why McKay you do care for me after all.”
“What?” McKay spluttered. Why wouldn’t I.” He gave a cough and his cheeks herald a pink tinge. “No... that is so not what I meant,” he said. “You were the one that shouted out like a mad man and almost had me in the throes of heart failure.”
“McKay” Ronon’s threat was also repeated in the look he gave McKay. He stood shoulder to shoulder with Sheppard.
“Well he did-” grumbled McKay.
A growl from Ronon halted McKay mid sentence. Sheppard looked bemused, but didn’t say anything when he realised Teyla was about to speak.
“Ronon, I know Rodney is merely concerned for John.” She glanced towards Sheppard. “John are you sure you are well. You did give us quite a start when you shouted out.”
“What are you on about?” He remembered his now fading vision. He hadn’t realised he’d shouted out for real. “Oh I get you. It’s nothing really.”
“John you shouted out Elizabeth’s name with such terror and pain,” replied Teyla softly.
“For a minute it felt real, like I was there as it was happening. I’m fine now.”
“John are you sure,” said Teyla
Sheppard could tell they weren’t entirely convinced. Heck he was having trouble convincing himself. But he wasn’t about to admit it. “Definitely sure. So how’s about we let Rosa continue.”
“Well, maybe she can start by explaining why no one came to help Elizabeth. Am I right in surmising no one helped to defend her against Kolya?” asked McKay
“Rodney, maybe we should allow Rosa to finish, before bombarding her with questions,” Teyla gently scolded.
“What I’m simply- he tailed off as he realised Teyla was indicating towards Sheppard with her head. However just as he went to comment, Teyla’s fierce shake of her head, effectively silenced him.
Sheppard caught the silent exchange from the corner of his eye. He sighed inwardly. He knew Teyla was trying to prevent him from suffering more pain, but he needed this.
As painful as it was proving to be, he needed to know everything. That way his mind would stop conjuring up such horrifying images. Even if the facts proved to be as terrible as the things his imagination pictured, they were still facts. Nothing more nothing less. He hoped.
He nodded to Rosa as she looked towards him questioningly.
“To answer Dr McKay’s question. Most of the villagers were out working in the fields, and weren’t aware of Kolya’s actions. However, two elderly women from the village saw Kolya and his men drag Elizabeth up the hill that led to their encampment. They were able to find someone, who raised the alarm. Its primary use was to inform the villagers of imminent danger, such as an attack by the wraith.”
Teyla raised her eyebrows, “Has it been effective?”
“It has, on more than one occasion, saved a good few lives.” Her chest heaved as she sighed. “I just wish it had been so on this occasion. Quickly returning to the village I was soon surrounded by many of the woman from the village. That is how I learnt of Kolya deplorable act. The men from the village, outraged, had started to advance on Kolya’s encampment. I caught them up as we reached the beginning of Kolya’s camp.”
Rosa stopped as a sob stuck in her throat, and the tears she’d successfully held back up until now, flowed freely down her face. She fought to contain her sobs. “I knew... from the expressions of those who stood in huddles, just outside the camp. “I knew we were too late.” She paused “The husband of a close friend came over when he caught sight of me. He told me that they’d heard a noise, like that of a gunshot, from within the camp. The Genii tried to stop me from going to Elizabeth, but I paid them no heed. I was however thankful for the villagers who came with me as support. I recognised Elizabeth well before I reached her. They had not even allowed her the dignity to get dressed, and she was still in her bed wear.”
Rosa lifted her hand and wiped away the tears that were now flowing like a river.
Teyla too, bowed her head to hide her tears.
Sheppard stood emotionless, only the darkness of his eyes gave tell to his inner torment.
McKay stood with his head bent to the ground. His hands clasped in front of him were trembling.
Ronon stood tall and alert ready to give support to his friend and team mate. He wasn’t aware of the tension from his jaw muscles, a sign that he hadn’t quite concealed his feelings.
All of them listened as Rosa described the last remains minutes of Elizabeth’s life.
“She was lying on the ground, but thankfully still alive when I reached her. I will never forget the sadness her eyes as I bent down and took her into my arms. I could see she had been shot. I also knew from the position of the bullet, and the amount of blood, there was little or no chance of saving her. I think Elizabeth knew it too. She looked at me and said, tell John I’m sorry. Tell him I tried to come home to him. I really did. A few minutes later she went limp. It was all over. Kolya had succeeded in taking her from us.
Silence descended on the room as the full impact of Elizabeth’s fate sank in.
Sheppard walked over to the window, keeping his back to the others. Inwardly he was battling with the incredible pain that Rosa’s words had caused, the finality of everything. Maybe subconsciously, he’d held on to some unrealistic hope that Elizabeth would be returned to him. Now he didn’t even have that. His last thread of hope severed. The love of his life was lost to him forever. One solitary tear fell, the only show of emotion he allowed himself to give. He barely heard Teyla’s words.
Rosa, where is she buried?” Teyla enquired softly. ”Maybe, if John visits Elizabeth’s grave it will help him feel closer to her.”
The distress that Teyla’s words, caused Rosa, became obvious as the colour drained from her face. Her glance rapidly changed from Teyla to Sheppard, her eyes wide and full of despair. “They... Kolya... would not allow us to bury her. We fought them hard on this, but it was of no use. He insisted they were taking her body as proof she had been executed. The men from the village tried to take her, but Kolya’s men opened fire on anyone who tried, killing a few of our men.
When the alarm sounded, one of the Multan had returned to his homeworld to alert his men. We could do nothing, but pray they returned in time to stop Kolya taking Elizabeth’s body, through the portal
“I thought most of them would be on Spyros by this time? Surely they could have taken on Kolya and his men,” asked McKay.
The Genii had taken to hanging around the vicinity of the portal. In order to prevent discovery, only a couple of the Multan’s came to discuss the details of the rescue mission. Unfortunately there was something we were unaware of. They were already suspicious that something was a foot.”
Teyla, who had been sitting on the floor amusing Connor, looked up “Do you know what aroused their suspicion?”
“Not at the time. Later however we worked out. They had been doing some planning of their own. On a couple of occasions, strangers were observed coming through the portal. When one of our elders went to question them, he was more or less told to mind his own business by the Genii. It seemed they were arranging something, or other, with these newcomers. I am certain this was also the reason; Kolya had shown so little interest in Elizabeth. He was too tied up with this other matter. With their frequently meets with the newcomers, they had also become aware of the increased visits from Multanian the Multan’s homeworld.”
Sheppard stood looking aimlessly out the window. “The Multan... am I right in concluding they never arrived?”
“Unfortunately John, as much as I would like to tell you otherwise, I would be lying. You are correct in your assumption. Kolya again remained one step ahead. He had instructed his men to open the portal so they could move out immediately. Within half an hour they were gone, taking Elizabeth’s body with them.”
Sheppard felt like he had been robbed of Elizabeth twice. Both times, Kolya being the culprit. The room felt as if it were starting to close in on him. He felt he was suffocating and needed to get out. Now. He muttered something about fresh air and walked out without a backwards glance.
Teyla went to follow him, but Ronon stopped her. “I’ll go.”
As Ronon hurried out in search of Sheppard, Rosa turned to Teyla. “I am so sorry for having to tell him such a horrible story.”
Teyla holding Connor in one arm, placed her other arm around Rosa’s shoulders. “Do not hold yourself responsible. John needed to hear it. He would not have rested until he did. It is far better that he hears it from you, than from Kolya. If we ever apprehend him.”
“Do you think there is a chance you will still find him?” asked Rosa hopefully.
“I pray so, for the Colonel’s sake. I fear peace will never be his until we do.”
Teyla’s expression was grave as she expressed her concern. “Elizabeth was his life. Even before they fell in love, there was a connection between them. One of the hardest things for him is the realisation he could do nothing to prevent Elizabeth from being taken.”
Whilst the women sat and spoke amongst themselves, Rodney stood staring out of the window. He frantically scanned the immediate surroundings for any sign of Sheppard. People who didn’t know him, thought he was cold hearted and uncaring, but he wasn’t. He cared a great deal for his friends, especially Sheppard. He just had difficulty showing it.
A voice from the other side of the room momentarily startled him. “What?” asked McKay, disgruntled.
“I said, he’ll come back when he has had time to digest things,” repeated Radim joining McKay by the window.
McKay looked at the Genii Commander with just the tiniest bit of dislike. He’d forgotten he was still in the room. “What’s with the silence? I’m sure you could have got your two cents worth in. Or were you afraid Rosa would discover your past involvement with Kolya. I’m sure she’d find it eye opening. Like for instance, if she found out you once tried to take Atlantis when part of Kolya attacking force”
Although Radim’s eyes narrowed, he answered politely. “I did not feel it was my place.”
McKay raised an eyebrow, but was prevented from commenting further by the return of Sheppard and Ronon.
Rodney noticed Sheppard’s red rimmed eyes and opened his mouth to mention it. Just in time he stopped. He felt like kicking himself. Was he as insensitive as his friends claimed him too be? It certainly wasn’t what Sheppard needed to hear.
The rest of the team and Rosa remained silent as John took his son from Teyla’s arms.
“Elizabeth and I couldn’t decide on a name. I wanted to call him Jonathan, but Elizabeth said it would confuse him. He frowned “Especially, given people would shorten it to Jon in no time. She wanted to call him Connor. I’m happy she got her wish.”
“Actually, she called him Connor Jonathan Sheppard, so that you both had your wish,” replied Rosa with a smile.
John’s lips turned up at the side, hinting at a smile.
Sheppard looked down on his son, who appeared to be fascinated by the pockets on his father’s tac vest. He was saddened to realise he’d missed out on his son’s first few months. Months he’d never get back.
He immediately made a promise to Elizabeth, Connor and himself. He promised to be the kind of father his son could depend on. Someone who would stand by him, through the bad times as well as the good.
He was relieved the inner calmness he’d achieved earlier, during him minutes of reflection, remained.
On escaping the room, Sheppard found himself drawn to the building, where Elizabeth had spent her days as Kolya’s prisoner. Standing with his back to the door, he thought of all the things Elizabeth had been forced to endured. Yet not once had she given in or broken. She had remained strong, even when she knew death was beckoning her. He couldn’t let it all be for nothing, which it would be, if he gave in again to his grief and pain.
. Elizabeth had gifted him with something to live for. Someone who needed love and would give the same in return. Their son. Within Connor there would always be a tiny bit of Elizabeth.
Together they’d remember that one remarkable woman, who had stolen both their hearts. Elizabeth sweetheart, we’ll never, ever forget you. As he spotted Ronon striding towards him, he already felt a calmness settle over him. He knew what he had to do and he now he was ready.
End of Flash back
Although still in pain, Sheppard grasped and held on fast to the line, Elizabeth had thrown for him. He turned to the people before him. To the group who were much more than work colleagues. They were his family.
“It’s time we took Connor home. Time to show him Atlantis.”
Teyla had volunteered to help Rosa pack Connor’s things, ready for his departure. Standing holding Connor, Sheppard noticed Rosa’s shaking hands and the deep breaths she took. She was also unusually quiet. From what he’s noticed of Rosa today, he knew she took enjoyment in conversing with people. This silence didn’t seem like her. Then it struck him. He looked to Teyla, who he knew had also been studying Rosa discretely. Teyla obviously sensed his eyes on her and looked up. He tipped his head in Rosa’s direction and was awarded by a silent but definite nod.
“Rosa, regarding this fatherhood thing. As much as I love Connor, it’s going to take some getting used to. Connor too will find it hard to settle with people who are strangers to him. How would you feel about maybe coming to Atlantis, to help me out? It can be just until Connor settles. He gestured with his hand. Or heck, as long as you wish.”
Rosa’s jaw dropped in astonishment, she was speechless.
“Rosa, some of my people, Athosians, also reside on Atlantis, and the rest live on the mainland. They will be more than happy to welcome you if you decide to stay.”
Sheppard mistook her silence for indecision. “You would be helping me out. Who would look after Connor when I have to work. Especially when it entails missions off world?” He gave her, his famous puppy dog look. “He knows you. What do you say?”
“John I don’t know what to say. It is more than I ever hoped for. I was hoping to convince you to bring Connor back to see me, on the odd occasion you had time on your hands. But this is so much more.” A smile spread across her face and her eyes misted up. “If everyone is in agreement I’d love to accept.”
“That’ll be a yes then,” grinned John “Well what are you waiting for. Pack only the things you’ll need immediately. I’ll organise a jumper to collect the rest of your belongings, should you choose to stay permanently.”
“I am also sure, John will arrange for you to visit your people, whenever you wish. Teyla glanced over to Sheppard, her left eyebrow raised. “Will you not John?”
Sheppard gave a smirk, “I think that can be arranged.”
Rosa thanked both of them by embracing them one at a time. She commenced packing her previous expression of sadness gone and replaced by a huge smile. This time is just wasn’t Connor she packed for but herself also. She didn’t know yet how long it would be for but she was sure she’d suffer no regrets.
Sheppard meanwhile contacted Carter, back on Atlantis. He expected to face more than just some difficulty in convincing her of the advantages having Rosa stay on Atlantis. However he was dumfounded when she didn’t challenge him. Not once. May be it was the shock of learning there was going to b another Sheppard to contend with, male at that. He smirked to himself. Now why should that give her any cause for concern?
As soon as they were ready to depart, Rosa took a final look at what had been home to her for many years now. Although she was sad to leave it behind, she was just as equally looking forward to her new home, with her new found friends, and her beloved Connor.
She’d always held a fear that one day, his rightful father would come to claim back his son, and she’d never again get to hold him in her arms. How wrong she was.
Maybe soon, in the not too distant future she’d confide in him this strange feeling she’d carried with her, regarding Elizabeth. First though, she needed to find concrete proof.
She didn’t look back, as she took the last couple of steps up to the portal, and to her new home. Rosa had the feeling that on Atlantis, there would never be a dull moment.
As she took the final step, to what was to become a new life for her, she imagined Elizabeth smiling down on her, thanking her for making the correct choice.
Okay you made it to the end. So did you enjoy it, or is there something else you like added or something you’re anxious to know. The only way to get an answer is to review. So go ahead push that button. Don’t leave it until later you know you’ll only forget. And as always thanks for reading.
Next chapter will be posted very soon.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Stargate Atlantis or the characters. If I did Atlantis would be still on the air and Elizabeth back as leader.
Author's note: A huge thank you to my beta Sue (Iratus), for her hard work and patience. As always any mistakes are my own.
Sheppard’s eyes twinkled with silent laughter as he watched the antics of his son, whose second birthday they were about to celebrate. Connor jumped up and down on his chubby little legs, wildly waving his hands as he tried unsuccessfully to see what Major Lorne held in his arms.
The look on Lorne’s face was equally hilarious. His eyebrows creased into deep lines as he focused fully on preventing his charge from seeing the contents of the box he carried. Then to Sheppard’s utter delight the Major pouted and stamped his feet in frustration and in full view of his Military Commander. Sheppard rubbed his hands, already thinking of the sweet taste of blackmail. Major Evan Lorne almost flummoxed by a two year old.
It had to be said his son wasn’t just any ordinary two year old, Connor had already lived and experienced more things, in his short two years, that any adult back on Earth. There was no doubt though, he was a trouble magnet; trouble seemed to follow him wherever he went. Sheppard’s skin crawled and he winced as he visualised the next few days, Dr Beckett red faced and flustered dashing between the influx of patients as they hobbled into his infirmary with varying injuries to toes, ankles and feet. The cause... a two year old tear-away, trying to master, what was probably the first tricycle ever to be seen in the Pegasus Galaxy. Boy was it going to be an eventful few days.
Thankfully Rosa the healer, who had made Atlantis her home, was effective in controlling her young charge. She mastered it, without feeling the need to threaten punishment, or raise her voice. Not that it took much for Connor to listen to her, well, most of the time.
John was aware that next to him Rosa was his son’s favourite person. The closeness between them was due to the bond that had developed, when he was a small baby in Rosa’s care back on Spyros. She had partially filled the empty place in his heart that would have belonged to his mother. Not that Sheppard had forgotten his promise to Elizabeth. They talked about Elizabeth to Connor all the time, and showed him pictures of her. He knew she was in heaven, not that he was yet old enough to understand it all, but in time he would.
Sheppard’s heart flipped and his breath came out in short gasps as he fought to ward of the impending panic attack. He’d been afflicted with these shortly after bringing Connor home but with Beckett’s guidance they’d subsided remarkably. It was caused this time by the thought of what today’s date signified and every year from now on. It was not just the anniversary of Connor’s birthday; it had also come to signify, to Sheppard, the anniversary of Elizabeth’s death. It may not be the official date she died but to him the birth of his son also marked her pending death, her usefulness to Kolya now extinguished. As John saw it one would always bear relationship to the other. A constant reminder of what they’d lost.
A small voice pulled him from distraction. He looked up to see Connor shouting and waving as Lorne picked him up ready to carry him into the jumper, organised now for their short trip to the Athosian mainland.
Sheppard watched them leave the jumper bay his lips still curled up into a smile. Glancing at his watch his eyes widened, were had the time gone. He cursed McKay once again, how come a minor repair suddenly needed repairing urgently. Why was it so urgent it have to be done today of all days.
The engineer ordered by McKay to fix the jumper, looked up hesitantly as Sheppard approached, warned no doubt by the unmistakable noise of boots on the Atlantean floor.
“Colonel Sheppard, it’ is all but finished. I’ve just to tighten the last bolt and then you’re ready to go.”
Angling his head to the side slightly, Sheppard acknowledged the engineer with slight nod. “Make sure McKay doesn’t give you anything else to do. It’s an official day off and that means everybody, apart from those who volunteered to man Atlantis.”
The man grinned, “I’ll certainly be sure to remind him Colonel.” Picking up the few stray tools he put them in the tool box. “I’ll no doubt see you later Colonel.”
The engineer was almost out of the jumper bay before Sheppard registered he was gone, his mind already on something else
Remembering the passing time, Sheppard after signalling a thank you to the disappearing engineer, quickly followed him out of the Jumper Bay. All that was left to do now was to collect the various bits and pieces, he needed from his living quarters, round up McKay, and it would be Athosian mainland here we come.
As he got nearer to McKay’s office, the shortest route to his own quarters, he could hear the astrophysicist’s shrill voice as he screamed at some poor victim. Clearly the atmosphere in Atlantis hadn’t penetrated McKay’s thick skin. Sheppard made a sharp detour; there would be time enough to listen to McKay’s gripes on the journey to the mainland. His faced suddenly screwed up into a grimace he was going to be tortured. With only McKay for company, on the way across, there’d be no chance of escape.
Suddenly he sniggered, one small boy, was all he needed to exact payback, when they landed. McKay and children weren’t a good combination, but boy, the grumpy scientist was no match for the determined boy. Connor would have McKay in a fluster in no time. Way to go son.
Having reached the door to his quarters, he swiped the security lock and entered. He refused to acknowledge the clothes scattered about in various locations. Time for that later. His mouth opened wide, losing the battle to stifle a yawn. He knew the ideal cure; cold water would invigorate his skin and chase away the remaining cobwebs. He grimaced as he stared at his hair but then nothing he did, ever had any effect. It still insisted on sticking up in various different places.
Looking into the mirror he caught the reflection of Elizabeth’s portrait smiling back at him. She was wide eyed and the emerald green of her eyes sparkled as she struggled to hold back the laughter whilst her photograph was being taken. Afterwards she’d slapped his arm, attempting unsuccessfully to keep a straight face as she scolded him for trying to make her laugh. The picture was taken three months before the fated trip to the Tronans and the little bump, that signified her condition, was already in evidence. The portrait was his most treasured possession.
With the passing of time, the pain of losing her had diminished, slightly. He was finding it easier to talk about her and of their precious time together. His love for her remained just as strong and he never wanted to let go of that.
He still lacked closure and wouldn’t have it until Kolya was tracked down and killed. The knowledge that after all the time that had passed, there still was no reported sightings of the Genii Commander was like a knife in John’s side. But he’d wait for the inevitable to happen, and it would, even if it meant waiting till he was old and grey, sooner or later Kolya would surface and John would get his wish. Revenge!
John’s own survival through the painful transitional period following news of Elizabeth’s death had been eased by the recovery of his son and the commitment and support of everyone who had stood by him. From his team, his work colleagues and remaining fellow Atlanteans, to the SGC, O’Neill, and to a small degree even the President himself, they’d all done their bit and because of them he had found the will to survive.
It was however, Rosa, initially a stranger, who had managed to get under his skin. She’d silently chipped away at the defence he’d built around himself. The only people he’d ever allowed to get beyond his defences were Elizabeth, Rodney and eventually the others in his team.
In some ways she reminded him of an older Elizabeth, both held similar qualities, vulnerability hidden beneath an incredible show of strength, courage and unwavering patience. Since Rosa had come into his life, he found himself for the first time experiencing what it would have been like to have a normal home life.
His own home life had been far from normal. Blamed by his father for the death of his mother and a brother that sided with his father had turned him into a loner. He’d finally escaped the unpleasant atmosphere to begin a career within the air force and he’d seen them only on a couple of occasions since.
Now with Rosa he was finally getting a taste of what could have been and he found it comforting. He knew Rosa derived her own reward from it, the empty space in her heart now filled by him and Connor. Not long after she’d joined him in Atlantis, Rosa told him the heartbreaking tale of how her own family met their deaths at the hands of the Wraith. She understood what John was going through, but whereas John was spared his son; Rosa had been left totally alone.
Her comforting words and support were what he needed when he felt he couldn’t go on. She was his living proof that even in the darkest of despair, there was an end in sight. All that was required of him was to reach out and grab it.
John was suddenly kicked out of his memories by the crackling of his head set. His eyebrows knitted together. “Calm down McKay. No one would dare finish the food before your arrival...” He shook his head in despair as he continued to listen...
“I’ve been working on this for days now you want to deprive me.”
“And how the heck am I depriving you” Sheppard gritted his teeth as he fought to contain his annoyance.
“You could’ve let me see Connor before Lorne rushed him off to the mainland.”
“You were the one who complained about the work that needed completing before you could enjoy our appoint day off. Any how you’ll see Connor shortly, if we leave anytime soon that is.”
“Well his present is delicate and not meant for the rough hands of other children.”
“You were the one who insisted on building him a miniature working puddle jumper. You do remember he’s two McKay. Not twenty two.” Secretly Sheppard couldn’t wait to get a shot of the toy puddle jumper. After all Connor would need a demonstration. In fact, change that to several demonstrations.
“Well if you spend all day standing deliberating on every word I say, everyone else will be returning before we even get round to leaving.”
Releasing an exasperated sigh John replied coolly “If it’s okay with you I need to collect a couple of things from my quarters. I’ll meet you in the jumper bay in five.”
Your organization skills are sorely lacking. Tell me how you do it. How do you manage to attend the daily morning briefing fully dressed?
Feeling his indignity rising Sheppard was about to retort with a scathing reply but the sudden quietness from his head peace told him Rodney hadn’t given him the opportunity. Well there was still later, McKay needn’t think he was getting away that easily.
Well McKay would just have to wait. Sheppard had one last thing to do. His attention returned to the portrait of Elizabeth and his eyes misted over. “Elizabeth our son is two today. Which means, it’s also two years since we lost you? It’s been hard, you’ve no idea how hard but I promised you I’d survive, and I have. If you could only see how our son has grown, he’s quite the little dare-devil and okay I won’t argue with you I know he’s only taking after me but... well he is my son, okay our son. Any way, you know you love my adventurous side, so what the heck. But I promise to always keep him safe and raise him to be someone you’ll be proud of.” He leaned forward and placed his lips on hers before gathering his things and heading out to meet up with an extremely impatient astrophysicist.
On a planet on the far side of the galaxy, a pale, almost skeletal woman, toyed with the remnants of the rags she wore, vainly attempting to keep out the bitter wind. She stopped for a minute’s grace, her gaze unfocussed, but her mind was actively searching for something, or someone.
Her moment of solitude was abruptly brought to an end however as she heard the harsh voice that instilled great fear. She knew he’d caught her daydreaming when the excruciating pain of the lash, he carried with him always, made contact with the already bruised skin on her back. She held back a scream that’d built up in her throat but was unable to prevent a whimper of pain escaping. Never would she give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry. Only when she was once again encaged for the night, in the tiny damp room, would she allow the tears to flow, knowing there was no one around to gain pleasure from her torment.
The guard pushed her forward roughly, jarring her already painful muscles, and they screamed out to her. This continued until she was back in line with the other women. She knew better than try to explain she’d been instructed to fetch water for the women. To speak up would only earn her a severe beating, but she cringed at the accusing looks of the women as they realised she’d returned empty handed.
The captives, all women, were emaciated. Their thin legs trembled and almost buckled as the strength needed to stay on their feet diminished. Already today, one woman had fallen and cruelly left where she lay, minutes from death, but at last she had the chance to be free.
As she was once again shackled to the ankle chains, she tried to ignore the ringing in her ears, but it was making her head pound every time she forced herself to lift her head. Her face was pale and drawn as she looked through tired eyes that saw never ending despair. Why had she been born to suffer like this? Surely somewhere there existed a place where she’d be treated kindly? But she knew if there was, she’d never see it. All that existed for someone like her was cruelty and emptiness.
She sighed and forced her trembling limbs back into action. She couldn’t help but wonder, how many of the women wouldn’t return at the end of today’s shift. They were made to do hard labour from first light until the fall of darkness, with only the barest of sustenance to sustain them. Now because of her own stupidity, they were being denied the much needed water.
So many of the women, had found release from the only outlet open to them, death. Sometimes she wished for death, seeing it as a release from the hell she faced every day. But some unseen force or feeling always prevented her from taking the final step, the same feeling that had caused her to daydream today.
Rosa’s eyes shone and silent laughter build up from deep within her chest as her little charge came thundering towards her. Pretending to scold him, she scooped him up into her arms “Connor Jonathan Sheppard, how many times have I told you to walk, and not run around like a little wild man.”
Connor’s face lit up and his emerald green eyes twinkled with glee. His large green eyes along with the wayward curls, some of which framed his face, gave him the appearance of a little cherub. He already was a master at bending everyone to his will, especially his Uncle Lorne. But not today. Rosa had seen the equally as stubborn expression on the Lieutenant’s face as had shown on Connor’s.
She almost laughed aloud as she saw the various expressions appear fleetingly on the face of her young charge as he tried to work out how to get a successful outcome to his quest. Her mouth twitched as she saw him looking at her slyly from under his thick mop of curls. She had an idea what was coming.
Cupping Rosa’s soft face in his small hands to get her attention, Connor pointed to Lorne “Osa tell Cona...” he looked at her with a beseeching face. “Pese”
Rosa held him in one arm and ruffled his hair with the other while she smiled down at him. “But if I tell you it will not be a surprise now, will it. Anyway what about daddy, is he not getting to see it too?”
Connor frowned, “Where dada, dada no cum?”
Rosa pointed to the approaching jumper “Look, Daddy is just arriving.”
His eyes squinted because of the bright sun. Connor looked at Rosa then followed to where she pointed. The dimples on his cheeks stood out as he squealed loudly, his eyes now bright with exuberance. “Jumpa, Jumpa, dadda here.” He wriggled frantically trying to get free from Rosa’s vice like arms, but she held him tight.
“Patience, now give your daddy time to get out before you go running to him.” As John came in to view, from the back of the jumper, she gently placed Connor on his feet. “Now be careful, no running about as you were earlier” she sighed and raised her eyebrows in despair as he took off at top speed paying no heed to her warning.
But Connor had no thought for going slow, he wanted to see his dadda and the quicker he went the sooner he’d be with his beloved dadda.
Rosa shook her head in exasperation no matter how many times Connor fell, it never seemed to curtail him. Ever since he found what legs were for he wanted to use them to go as fast as possible even when it resulted in one leg getting entangled with the other and he found himself crashing awkwardly to the ground. His only reaction was to get up and scold his legs before taking off again. It appeared he was as fearless as his dad and as stubborn as his mother had been. Rosa cringed when she thought of the trouble he’d be the instigator of as he got older. She smiled to herself, she wouldn’t want him any other way.
Although it was Connor’s party there was also entertainment, food and refreshments arranged for the adults at John request. It was a long time since his people had the chance to relax and enjoy themselves and for everyone’s sanity it was time they did. Colonel Carter had arranged for cover so most of Atlantis’ personnel could attend.
John was thrilled at how successful the party was proving to be. The Atlanteans and the Athosian were not the only people to attend; also present were the Genii leader Radim, Darwin the Chief Councillor of Tronan and his now Assistant Councillor Brogan. Tagan, not long after his involvement in Elizabeth’s abduction, had found out the true nature of the rogue Genii, at the end of a Genii gun. He was buried where he fell, the Tronan people having ostracised him did not want him buried anywhere near their own dead, he was no longer one of them.
At first John hadn’t been to keen on extending an invitation to anyone other than themselves and the Athosians who were hosting the party. Colonel Carter had argued the point; her argument being it could only improve diplomatic relations and further cement their alliances with the Tronan and the Genii. Carter as usual had been right; the meeting of all four races had proved to be an overwhelming success for all involved.
As darkness fell gradually the exhausted children were put to bed, content with their day of fun. Though Rosa had volunteered to take Connor to bed, John refused. It was a rule he’d made for himself, to always be there to tuck his son in bed. Unless he was unavoidably detained or on an overnight mission.
Sheppard smiled down at his son as he lay asleep in his arms. He was astonished at the energy the two year old had displayed. Even as some of the younger Athosians succumbed to the call of sleep, Connor had still been going strong. Eventually though, exhaustion had caught up with him and he’d curled up on his dad’s lap and fell into a deep sleep.
Sheppard gently placed his sleeping son onto the bed and changed him in to his pyjamas without as much as a murmur passing from Connors lips. Placing the blanket over him Sheppard bent down to kiss him goodnight. He wasn’t ready to leave Connor just yet. Most nights, after his son was tucked up in bed, and asleep, Sheppard would sit beside him thinking once again of the miracle that had allowed their reunion. He knew he’d always carry the fear that something or someone would take Connor from him. But then didn’t everyone hold that fear, especially with the dangers they faced.
Sheppard knew though if anything happened to Connor, he wouldn’t survive, not a second time. Losing Elizabeth was torture and still, even after all the time that had past. There were days he felt his tightly leashed emotions fighting to break free before splintering into tiny fragments, the grief too much for him to bear.
Standing up reluctantly John tiptoed out of the room. He was just in time to see Ronon and Teyla disappear, their hands brushing, their bodies close but not quite touching. John smirked and his eyes sparkled, so maybe it had finally happened, they had realised what everyone else knew.
Now he’d be able to hit on the head, all the weird and obscure suggestions, on how to hook them up. What was the last suggestion? Oh, lock them in a closet together. Lieutenant Cadman’s suggestion if he remembered correctly. I mean, come on, could anyone really see Ronon allowing himself to be dragged into a closest, they’d be dicing with death.
He was happy for them, they deserved it; both have lived through harrowing experiences. One thing was certain the Atlantis betting pool was going to be busy.
Stepping outside he wasn’t surprised to see darkness had fallen, the shadows of the trees snaking about in the darkness alongside the flickering light from the campsite fires gave the place an eerie atmosphere. It was hardly surprising then, that when he felt a weight on his shoulder, he jumped in fright. He turned round to see Radim giving him a strange look.
“Couldn’t you have at least spoken before you accosted me?” He glowered at Radim.
Without waiting for a reply, Sheppard sauntered down to the sandy bank, of the shallow stream, that ran through the far end of the settlement. Spotting an abandoned chair he pulled it closer, and sat down. Radim followed him and now stood only inches away.
Sheppard couldn’t help but notice that the Genii was unusually agitated, He constantly wrung his hands, moving from foot to foot and his jaw twitched every few seconds.
“Are you okay, you seem to be unsettled about something, I noticed earlier but just thought you were finding the party a bit overwhelming,” enquired John.
Radim looked hard at John for a moment, before perching on the large brightly coloured stone, on the other side of John’s chair. “Actually there is something on my mind, and I’ve been debating all day whether to wait until later or to just come out and tell you knowing it would spoil everything you had planned for today. Seeing you and your son together I finally decided to wait until the closure of today.”
Sheppard looked confused and just a little intrigued “Spit it out Ladim, whatever it is.”
“It’s about Kolya,” The nervous twitch from his jaw got more intense and his eyes held a wary look
“What about Kolya.” John growled at the mention of the person he loathed more than the Wraith. His eyes were black with hatred as he spoke.
In the two years they’d hunted for him, nothing concrete had been found. Sheppard was adamant, he’d never give up; he’d find Kolya even if it took years and when he found him he’d have his revenge. Now it looked like his determination was finally going to be rewarded
“I think we’ve got him this time. In fact I know we’ve got him.” Ladim looked at Sheppard as he spoke, knowing the bomb shell he’d just dropped.
“How can you be sure, it’s not as if we haven’t been in the same situation so many times in the past? I don’t need to remind you, the outcome of those?” Sheppard’s eyes were as hard as flint and he spoke through clenched teeth.
“Because one of my men, a man I trust implicitly, has infiltrated a group of people presently deep in talks to do a deal with Kolya. He is at present a guest on their planet and will be until the deal reaches a conclusion. Brackow has found a way to be present when the deal is being discussed so he can track Kolya’s movements closely. Better still he can give us the best location for a planned ambush.
John jumped up, his eyes flashing with barely controlled anger. “And you say you knew about this even before coming here today but decided to keep it to yourself. We get our first crack at apprehending him and you decide to do nothing.” He flexed his hands, the muscle on his jaw pulsing. Had he been wrong in placing his trust in this man? “So, because of your delay, we may lose the only chance we’ll ever get.”
Radim gritted his teeth, irritated, but he couldn’t kid himself, he’d known how the Colonel would react, “Colonel Sheppard do you think I do not realise how important this is to you? If I thought there was any chance of losing him again I would have taken immediate action. However, Brackow has strict instructions to inform me of any movement from Kolya no matter how irrelevant he thinks it may be.”
He walked over to Sheppard and hesitantly placed a hand on his shoulder before continuing to speak, his voice softer. “Today belongs to you and Connor. I know how important finding Kolya is to you, but tomorrow will be time enough to go after him, Do not allow him take this day away from you and your son.
John knew Ladim was right but they’d been waiting so long for this “And what if by tomorrow he’s disappeared underground again and we’ve lost the only chance we’re ever going to get,” he returned his tone of voice strong but lacking his previous anger.
A deep gruff voice joined in the discussion “He won’t.”
“What makes you so sure?” John stood up so he could see the big man better. “What if it’s already too late?”
Shaking his head Radim replied. “This deal Kolya cannot afford to lose out on and it does not conclude until two days time. Tomorrow is a day of rest for the people of this planet. No talks will be allowed and this will work in our favour. From what Brackow has told me Kolya is a fair distance from the village settlement and from the Stargate. Our ambush of Kolya and his men should be concluded before the village gets knowledge of it.”
Ronon grinned viciously, “Good”
Radim glanced at the large Satedan, not for the first time relieved he was not his enemy, and then turned to Sheppard awaiting confirmation.
“I’ll need to run it past Colonel Carter first, but if she gives the thumbs up, we head out early tomorrow morning.”
The atmosphere was slightly subdued on the return to Atlantis, everyone now aware of Radim’s revelation. Carter quickly given the go ahead but implied the importance of attending the pre-mission briefing before retiring for the night.
John found it hard to sleep. His mind was in turmoil every time he closed his eyes to sleep. He was haunted by flashes of the day on Spyros and the look on Elizabeth’s eyes as she was dragged away by Kolya. It was a look that he’d never forget, not as long as he lived. Gradually the day’s activity caught up on him and his eye lids drooped as he imagined he smelt Elizabeth’s shampoo as she lay snuggled up beside him. He finally fell asleep with a promise on his lips.
A promise to Elizabeth. A promise to get her the retribution she was owed.
Please review and tell me what you think. Let me know if there’s anything else you want added or changed.
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Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Stargate Atlantis or the characters. If I did Atlantis would be still on the air and Elizabeth back as leader.
Author's note: A huge thank you as always to my beta Sue (Iratus), for her hard work and patience. As always any mistakes are my own.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Stargate Atlantis or the characters. If I did Atlantis would be still on the air and Elizabeth back as leader.
Author's note: A huge thank you as always to my beta Sue (Iratus), for her hard work and patience. As always any mistakes are my own.
Sheppard and his team strolled into the gateroom, closely followed by Major Lorne and his men. John looking upwards as he heard footsteps on the walkway above him. His lips parted into a smile as he acknowledged Colonel Carter. The smile however didn't reach his eyes, as he though back to earlier. To when he'd first told her of his plan.
Carter's reaction had both surprised and angered him. She had been initially unshakable in her belief that Sheppard's personal involvement, ruled him out of taking any part in the capture of Kolya. The reason. He'd endanger not only himself, but his team as well, by being blinkered to everything else but the need for revenge.
She'd been adamant that Lorne and his team would head the mission accompanied by the rest of Sheppard's team.
Sheppard had been beyond annoyed, he'd been furious. However, it seemed some of Elizabeth's diplomacy had rubbed off on him.
He'd kept a tight rein on his anger. Vocalizing his fury would simply add fuel to the fire, and prove she was right. Instead, he'd calmly pointed out why Carter would be making a mistake, if she stopped him from taking charge of the mission. His main argument being, he and his team had more dealings than any other team. They had a better understanding of how Kolya's thought process worked.
In the end she'd agreed, all be it reluctantly. As he left Carter's office he couldn't help the smirk that spread across his face. Elizabeth, if she were alive, would have been shocked, but pleased with the way he'd manipulated Carter.
However a felling of unease still hung over him. It wouldn't take much for Carter to change her mind, and until they were at the point of no return, he'd remain in edge.
He came back to the present with a bang as he realised Carter was given him an odd look. Aware that he was sloughing he straightened his posture and gave his boss his undivided attention. "Have we a go Ma'am?"
Carter leaned forward, resting her hands on the railing overlooking the gateroom. Sheppard didn't miss the way her eyes narrowed as she looked down upon both teams. He drew in an anxious breath as Carter momentarily hesitated, before finally acknowledging the request with a single nod.
Her words were for her Military Commander alone. "You're clear to head out. However Colonel..."
Sheppard looked at her warily.
"No heroics or unnecessary risk taking."
Sheppard winced. The intense look, along with the clipped tone, were a subtle warning, come home with as much as a scratch and you'll be in big trouble. He groaned. It wasn't enough that he'd Carson to contend with, now he'd Carter as well.
Mind you, he could've told her there was nothing to worry about. Not after the promise he'd made on Spyros. A promise he'd made with unwavering certainty. He wanted and needed revenge, but not at the expense of his own life. That didn't mean he was going to let Kolya walk away unscathed. But he didn't say any of this to Carter. Instead he plastered a smirk on his face. "What… it's not as if I do anything to provoke trouble. It just seems to follow me."
Carter shook her head in disbelief "Colonel Sheppard, you and your team give me more paperwork than all the other teams put together."
He pouted then whined, "That's because we always get the missions where people want to shoot us."
Carter shook her head, why did I accept this position again? "Oh... and Colonel. Don't you think you'd better wait for Commander Radim to make an appearance?"
His eyebrows puckered into a frown, As if I could leave without him. Didn't she know they needed Radim to lead them to his informant?
Chuck's timely interruption however dispersed the need for further discussion.
"It's Commander Radim's IDC, Ma'am."
"Okay Chuck, retract the shield," replied Carter
Within a matter of seconds Radim and his men were standing in the gateroom. The Genii Commander's attention fell firstly on Carter, who was in the process of negotiating the flight of stairs that lead to the gateroom.
Walking up to him, Carter's lips spread into a smile and she held out her hand. "Commander Radim, welcome once again to Atlantis."
Radim grasped her hand in a firm handshake. "Thank you Colonel Carter. I hope I have not delayed you." He turned his head slightly so he could speak with both Carter and Sheppard. "Something came up as I was about to depart. I felt it warranted my attention sooner rather than later."
Ignoring the barely audible grumblings from her second in command, Carter shook her head. "No, your timing couldn't be better. We only finished with the briefing a short while ago and I'm sure Colonel Sheppard has been glad of the extra time to check last minute details.
She turned to her Second in Command who by now stood to her left. "Colonel Sheppard, will you show Commander Radim to the jumper bay."
Before additional distractions could delay them further, Sheppard gave the order for both his team, along with Lorne's, to head immediately for the jumper bay. He then signalled for Radim and his men to follow.
On the way to the jumper bay, Sheppard appeared oblivious to the conversation going on around him. Something far more important occupied his brainpower. The impending mission, and the comprehension that finally, Kolya was going to be his.
A short while later the Jumpers gently dropped down into the gateroom, and after a brief farewell to Carter, they disappeared through the activated stargate.
Both cloaked jumpers arrived on Aragon a short while later.
In the brief time it had taken them to get from Atlantis to Aragon, Sheppard had been aware of an uncomfortable tension in the pit of his stomach. The palms of his hands were sweaty and he'd been incessantly pulling at the collar of his shirt in an attempt to stop it chaffing with the heat.
He sighed. His insides were in turmoil. He'd waited so long for this. Why then, couldn't he shake of this feeling of apprehension? Everything up till now had gone without a hitch. And there lay the true reason for his present misgivings. Everything was flowing along just that bit too calmly, too easily. Unlike like past dealings with Kolya. It was still early though, still plenty of time for things to change, and he'd no doubt it would. It was inevitable.
However whatever happened, Sheppard had no intention of leaving. Not until he'd accomplished what he set out to do. To get the revenge he'd promised. For Elizabeth and for Connor.
After landing in a small valley, they cautiously disembarked from the jumpers. Both teams scanned the area for signs of trouble, leaving Sheppard to question Radim further
"So where do we meet this informant of yours?"
"Not far from our present location. Brackow has given me detailed directions, so it should not take us any longer than ten minutes." Radim answered.
Sheppard gave a sharp nod of his head "Well... what are we waiting for, let's head out. Radim you take point, I'll follow just behind." He turned to Lorne would had now joined them. "Lorne, you and the remainder of your team take the rear, and everyone... keep your eyes peeled. We can't afford the risk of early detection."
They proceeded in silence. John scanned the area as far as his eyes could see. Aragon, it appeared, consisted of rocks and forests with only the occasional shrub. The reason for the jumper's present location. Anywhere else would have given them major problems when landing. Also, they had the added advantage of being near the gate.
A fine mist hung over most of the planet causing a penetrating coldness. The Atlanteans pulled the edges of their collar tight, in an attempt to contain what little warmth their body exuded. No sound could be detected, other than the constant noise of their own footsteps scuffing against the stony track that drew out before them.
Ronon was the first to detect, the faint but distinct sound of twigs cracking underfoot. "Sheppard!"
Sheppard nodded "I heard it. His hand fell to his side, ready to reach for his gun if the need arose. He knew the others did likewise. The hairs on his neck rose further, as a man stepped out from behind a clump of trees, just a few feet in front of them. His height almost equalled Ronon's. Sheppard glanced to his left as he heard movement, not surprised to find the Satedan taking a protective stance between him and the newcomer.
Radim however, without any signs of reservation, strode forward until he stood face to face with the stranger. The two men shook hands, before embracing.
"Brackow, how have you been? You're looking well. Your family asked me to tell you, they have missed you." Radim turned to Sheppard with a smile. "Colonel this is Luan Brackow, the soldier I spoke to you off. He will be able to tell you anything you wish to know regarding Kolya, and his present location. I vouch for both his integrity and loyalty."
Brackow, if aware of the mistrust shown by the Atlanteans, ignored it. Instead he returned Radim's smile. "Commander Radim, it is good to see you again. It has been quite some time."
As the two Genii' soldiers updated one another, Sheppard took the time to scrutinise Brackow. The Genii soldier appeared to be confident, but more importantly, Sheppard couldn't detect any deceitfulness in his manner. However, previous experiences had shown him that appearances can be deceptive.
So, although on the surface, Sheppard appeared to be relaxed, anyone looking close enough would notice the tension in his muscles, the rigidity of his posture. Whilst his left hand relinquished its grip on his gun, his finger tips continued to caress its surface. His eyes too were constantly on the move, watchful for any signs of an ambush.
He knew he wasn't the only one reacting in this manner. He could almost feel the tension oozing from Ronon, who remained vigilant at Sheppard's side. From past experiences he deduced the Satedan's fingers were itching at the trigger.
Despite all this, Sheppard appreciated they'd no option. To guarantee success they had to take a chance with Brackow. Only he could divulge the information needed to secure Kolya.
On hearing the mention his own name Sheppard's attention returned sharply to the two Genii soldiers. "Well once this matter has been dealt with, your work here will be done. I am sure Colonel Sheppard..." Radim glanced fleetingly towards Sheppard, "will find no objection, if you wish to return with us."
Sheppard glared in disapproval. What was Radim playing at? He could just see Carter's face if he walked out from the jumper, with Brackow in tow. No security clearance, nothing, only Radim's word that Brackow could be trusted. On the other hand... if say... Brackow did deliver what he promised and helped get rid of Kolya, maybe... just maybe, Carter could be coaxed.
So instead of responding with the retort he'd intended, Sheppard stepped forward and accepted the hand of the Genii soldier.
Brackow spoke first. "Colonel Sheppard, Radim has explained your need to track down and confront Commander Kolya. He has also explained the reason why. For a long time now I have suspected Acastus Kolya of overstepping the boundary of humanity. If you will accept my assistance, then together I believe we can rid the galaxy of the evil his presence exudes."
After answering the Genii with a curt nod, Sheppard cocked his head in the direction of what appeared to be a large cluster of dwellings. It was hard to tell for sure from this distance. "Would that happen to be the village?"
That is where Minister Tinselly resides and is the only village to exist on Aragon. Kolya however, is residing for the duration of his stay in alternative accommodation. That in its self will likely work to our advantage. Due to the remoteness of the site allocated to Kolya, the villagers are not inclined to venture anywhere near it. Therefore it is highly unlikely they will become involved in your confrontation with Kolya."
"I hope so, our fight isn't with these people," replied Sheppard. Murmurs of agreement came from behind Sheppard.
"Has Kolya shown any signs of increased activity today?" asked Teyla.
Sheppard raised his left eyebrow unaware, until now, that Teyla had come to stand on his opposite side.
"No" Brackow's eyebrows creased into a frown "Though... I feel you have made a wise decision in not delaying. Even by one day. Negotiations between Kolya, and Minister Tinselly, do not appear to be progressing as well as initially predicted. The reason for this I have not heard
Sheppard's eyes darkened, there's no way he's getting away. Not this time. "We need to get this done. Now!"
"We're going to be able to do that from here... how?" grumbled McKay.
"There is a reason for meeting you here, rather than somewhere nearer," replied Brackow, ignoring McKay's irritation. "Here you will find the quickest and most direct route to Kolya. One that also ensures you will remain a safe distance from the village. To go by any other, would have greatly reduced your chances of remaining undetected. Unfortunately, as much as I'd like to be a part of your attacking force, and to see the shock on Kolya's face, I'm afraid I cannot. I will need to return to the village soon. Before my absence is detected. I feel I will be of greater value to you there anyway. It will give me the chance to hear first hand of any changes to Kolya's plans. Although it will not be easy, I can try and find a way of getting this information to you."
The lines on Sheppard's forehead deepened as an idea came to him. "Lorne, do you still have that spare radio."
"Yes I do. I thought Commander Radim may need it."
Sheppard shook his head, "No. Teyla saw to that earlier." He turned to the Athosian with a grin. Teyla was always one step ahead of them. He returned his attention to Brackow. "You could keep in contact by radio. Make things a lot easier."
Brackow grinned, "A perfect solution." A frown replaced his previous smile. "If I can decipher how it works."
"That's the easy part," Sheppard smirked. "Lorne will give you a demonstration."
Lorne came forward with the radio and a few minutes were spent showing Brackow how to operate it. When he felt confident with how it operated, Brackow secured it in an inner pocket, ensuring its invisibility from prying eyes.
McKay rolled his eyes and sighed impatiently "Okay now we've got that out the way, do you think you can show us this great route you've planned. At this rate I wouldn't be surprised if we find Kolya is long gone."
Sheppard sighed, but kept his mouth shut. He realised it was just McKay's way of displaying his anxiety. Also he did have a point. They couldn't afford to waste any more time. "Anything else we need to sort out, can be discussed whilst we walk.
After nodding his agreement Brackow lifted his hand. "Come I will show you the route."
He headed up a steep incline, his long legs tackling the troublesome boulders that were scattered around with agility that none of the others, apart from Ronon, appeared gifted with.
"Oh... and how do you suppose we're ever going to be able to move quickly, when these infernal stones keep hampering us every step we take," glowered McKay.
Brackow merely raised an eyebrow, before replying calmly. "The ground gets easier on the foot as we get closer to the village. There is much more vegetation and fewer boulders and rocks."
"I hope you're right because at this rate I'm going to need new boots... Ouch..." McKay hopped about holding one of his legs, having kicked one of the offending boulders in a moment of lost concentration. "See... what did I tell you... I'm going to be crippled."
The rest of them looked at McKay with a mixture of exasperation and amusement.
"McKay... we could always leave you behind," Sheppard warned.
Opening his mouth to retaliate, McKay saw the glint in Sheppard's eyes and quickly changed his mind.
It was a relief for everyone, when Brackow eventually came to a halt beside a crumbling stone wall. And true to Brackow's words instead of the annoying stones, a large rectangular field lay ahead of them, dotted with an overgrown purple shrub.
It was towards the far end of this field that Brackow pointed. "If you look to the bottom of the field, you will see it is bordered by a forest of thickset trees. That is where we are headed. The trees encircle all but one side of the dwelling where Kolya is residing. Unfortunately this is where the risk of discovery will be the greatest. For not only is it without the cover of the trees, it is also where Kolya's men travel to and from the village. It will be necessary to guard this track closely, whilst also taking care to avoid detection. It is also the track I will travel along when I leave you, to return to the village."
Lorne looked at him a puzzled question on his face "Won't they question why you are walking along an almost deserted track,"
Brackow shook his head firmly "I frequent it at least daily, delivering messages. Sometimes it can be as much as three or four times in the one day. It depends on the flow of communication between the Minister and Kolya. " He turned his head to the side until he had Sheppard in his vision. "It will give me the chance to detect how many of Kolya's men are out with the confines of their present location." He patted his chest where the radio was hidden. "It may also give me the chance to get acquainted with this here device at the same time."
The teams spoke in hushed whispers, painstakingly made their way through the overgrown alien plant life. McKay almost drove everyone to despair. He constantly moaned of how the strange plant was being detrimental to his health, or exacerbates his allergies. For the most part however they managed to ignore him.
A direct line across the field to the trees would have proven extremely difficult if it weren't for Ronon and Brackow. The depth of the shrub exceeded everyone's height by far, with the exception of the tall Satedan and Genii. It was their directions everyone relied on.
Sheppard for the most of it, although alert as always, was immersed in his own thoughts. What would happen when he'd gotten what he came for? Would he really find the peace he so desperately sought? At least he'd get retribution for Elizabeth. First though, they needed this to succeed, and to do so, they needed to ensure Kolya was apprehended, or killed if necessity called for it. He'd given his word to Carter that Kolya would be captured alive if possible. However, if at any time it looked like Kolya was about to skip through the net, then he wouldn't hesitate in firing the shot, fatal or otherwise.
He'd been aware of Ronon's subtle glances. It wasn't exactly a surprise therefore when he heard the Satedan's voice.
"Kolya won't get away Sheppard. Not this time."
Sheppard didn't reply, he knew Ronon didn't expect him to.
They reached the dense forest not long after, and edged their way through in silence. Even McKay whining had ceased, silenced by the eerie stillness that hung over the forest. Sheppard eventually signalled with his hand for them to halt. The trees had thinned out slightly and he crouched down to observe the lay of the land. About twenty feet in front of them stood the small holding, and hopefully Kolya.
Brackow came to crouch beside Sheppard. "If you look over to the left you will see the roof of one building. However there is another, just slightly in front and to the side of this one. The one presently hidden from view is where you will find Kolya. He has men patrolling the area. Whether he truly fears an ambush, or it is simply routine is hard to tell."
"Whatever the reason, we'll need to deal with them first." Sheppard paused again to scrutinize the land. He'd hoped the buildings would be nearer. They'd need to get closer and without being detected.
"Colonel Sheppard I am afraid this is where I must leave you," Brackow said.
Sheppard nodded, gratitude evident in his eyes "Thanks for your help and if you do need a lift you'll be more than welcome."
The initial misgivings Sheppard had felt for Brackow were gradually fading. He'd come to the realization that placing trust in this man may not be a bad thing after all.
"I may take you up on that offer Colonel. I hope everything goes as planned, and that Kolya reign of terror will come to an end, once and for all. I will be in touch if I hear anything you need to know."
After Brackow left, Sheppard issued orders to everyone. They'd precede one team at a time, and hopefully reduce the risk of their movements being detected.
Lorne and his men would be taking up positions along the side of the track that had very little camouflage. There were however less men in his team and once in position they'd have a clear view of the track it's self.
Radim and his men were to take up position to the side of the building and report any movement from the guards patrolling the ground.
Sheppard's team would be taking the greatest risk. They would be observing the front of the building. They were also going to attempt to get to the second building, where they could take cover, but still have the added advantage of being able to observe the Genii whilst close by. Sheppard hoped that from this position they'd get a glimpse of Kolya.
Getting from where they were to their designated observation points however, proved to be painstakingly slow. They had to crawl most of the way, to avoid detection. Finally though, they were in position.
Sheppard and his team lay on their stomachs, scrutinizing the Genii camp. The second building certainly looked like it would provide an advantage for them. First though, they had to get there, and not before immobilizing the security detail.
"Once we've taken care of the guards, we'll need to somehow draw the rest of them into the open," John whispered.
"With What?" Ronon queried.
Sheppard shrugged his shoulders." I don't know... Thought you'd have something up your sleeve."
"Well... we could just shoot them all," replied Ronon, his eyes demonstrating he wasn't been flippant.
Sheppard's eyebrows shot up and he released an exasperated groan, "May be Teyla or even McKay, will have a better idea.
""How do we get rid of the guards," asked Rodney, his eyebrows creased in a worried frown.
"Don't fret McKay, I think that is something for Teyla and Ronon." replied Sheppard.
Ronon grinned, and Teyla gave a nod of acceptance.
"It is best if we go now. I have been observing them closely and they appear to be quite relaxed," said Teyla. "I feel they will not expect us."
"Okay, but be careful. We need you in one piece. When they've been taken care of, check out the building. If everything looks okay, signal to McKay and myself. We'll then join you."
Teyla and Ronon left leaving Sheppard alone with McKay. Sheppard contacted Lorne first, then Radim. They didn't have anything to report and Lorne told him so far there didn't appear to be any sign of activity on the section of track they could see.
Sheppard had only just hung up on Radim when his radio bleeped. He frowned, why's Brackow calling so soon? It couldn't be much more than a half an hour since he left.
Sheppard flipped the switch and waited for Brackow to speak. If Brackow had been compromised he didn't want to give anything away.
When Brackow spoke, there was marked agitation in his voice. "Colonel Sheppard I have just spoken with some of Kolya's men. They'll be near your location soon. One of them told me they have been recalled back to camp. It seems the minister paid Kolya a visit earlier this morning. By the time he left, the alliance had broken down irreparably.
"If the minister has called a halt to the talks... why would the Genii discuss this with you?"
"Their tongues are loosened with alcohol and I think secretly, they are relieved. Many of them are restless and wanted only to be on their way."
"Why now though... just as we arrive." The lines on Sheppard's forehead deepened into a frown of suspicion "Something doesn't sit right with me."
"I assure you Colonel they remain unaware of your presence. They were boasting about their illicit dealings and how many of the worlds they'd visited, feared them. I imagine the Minister has gotten wind of this. He is a fair leader and does not believe that one world should seek to rule another. If he has found out about Kolya treatment of previous allies, he will not allow him and his men to remain.
"Okay, if what they've told you is true, we can make it work to our advantage."
"Do you want me to return and assist you," Brackow asked.
"No, it's best if you confirm what you've heard with the minister. And Brackow, try to deter anyone who suddenly take a notion for kicking Kolya and his men of the planet. As I said earlier, my fight isn't with them, but inevitably some of them will be injured... or worse... if they get mixed up in the conflict."
His conversation with Brackow at an end, Sheppard once again updated Lorne, and Radim. Lorne would take care of the returning Genii allowing Sheppard to continue with his original plan.
He noticed a couple of the guards were already missing from their look out points. With only a few guards left, it shouldn't take Ronon and Teyla long to dispose of the remaining ones. For the time being he and McKay waited for their signal.
However it took Ronon and Teyla longer than Sheppard anticipated. Sheppard felt a knot of anxiety building up in his stomach, and the more time that passed, the bigger it became. Eventually he'd had enough and reached for his radio, ignoring McKay comments about how it was his idea to maintain radio silence.
Just as Sheppard went to activate it, McKay thrust an elbow into his side. He turned to glare at the astrophysicist "What the hell McKay!"
McKay remained oblivious to the glare, his attention instead, focused in something else. "Look... I take it that's them?"
Looking in the direction McKay pointed, Sheppard let out an instant sigh of relief. Teyla stood signalling to them, only to be joined by Ronon a few seconds later.
Sheppard glanced at McKay and smirked "Are you ready for this?"
"Sure... I'm always prepared to get my butt blown off," McKay grumbled.
"I've been telling you for ages your brains are up your arse, McKay."
"What... He spluttered. That's not what I meant. Can we just get this done, like yesterday?"
The two men edged forward, whilst remaining alert for any sign of the Genii. Finally they were within a couple of feet of the court yard. Hiding behind what appeared to be a large bale of foul smelling hay, they discovered both buildings to be only a short distance in front of them. They'd only one problem. Getting to Ronon and Teyla, without being seen.
"Now seems as good a chance as ever," whispered Sheppard. "There doesn't seem to be any of Kolya's men lurking about. Thankfully neither did the building, that housed Kolya and his men, have anything that resembled a window.
Luck unfortunately didn't appear to be on Sheppard's side. At the same time the two men stepped from behind the hay, so too did a group of Genii, step out from the doorway. For a moment both sides froze. Sheppard the first to react, pushed McKay roughly back behind the safety of the hay bale.
"Oh heck, how'd I guess this would happen," groaned Sheppard as he joined McKay,
He'd just time to radio Lorne before all hell broke loose.
The Genii started firing at them which caused Ronon and Teyla to return fire. For a few moments it looked like Sheppard and McKay were sitting ducks. They vainly fought of the Genii, who were fortunate enough to escape injury from Ronon or Teyla's gun.
Recognising voices behind him, Sheppard didn't try and hide his sigh of relief. Both Lorne and Radim had joined them.
Although the Genii outnumbered the Atlantean's it appeared they weren't as well armed. Within a surprisingly short time the Atlanteans had gained the upper hand.
Sheppard noticed the last of the Genii were attempting to retreat back into the confines of building they'd not long left. Recognising Sheppard's hand signals, Lorne's men quickly cut them off.
Although caught in the midst of the battle Sheppard remained vigilant for any sign of Kolya. He'd thought he caught a glimpse of him earlier, but had been prevented from checking it out by a couple of Genii who had been set on taking Sheppard down. By the time he's successfully disillusioned them, there seemed to be no sign Kolya once again.
Momentarily distracted by his need to find Kolya, Sheppard didn't notice the Genii rise from behind the remains of an old trailer. He turned his head in surprise as heard Ronon shout out to him. At first he didn't feel the burning in his side, nor the blood seeping through from just below his tac vest. It was as he felt himself being thrown to the ground that the pain struck.
Disoriented, he struggled for breath, whilst at the same time trying to ward of the threatening darkness. Gritting his teeth he forced himself to look up, although still pinned to the ground by something big and heavy.
As his vision cleared his eyes faltered on the eyes of another. Eyes that sneered back at him but at the same time appeared smug. Kolya's eyes. Sheppard's voice betrayed him as Kolya turned and walked passed him, his footsteps gradually becoming fainter as this distance between them grew larger until they were no more.
Sheppard heard shots fired from somewhere above him, but not in the direction he hoped. He tried to speak, to shout, but his lungs were fit for bursting. Then it was over. The weight gone and much needed air rushed into his lungs causing him to gulp a breath greedily.
"Sheppard, you okay."
Although his ears were ringing Sheppard could still here the concern in McKay's voice. Clutching at his side he managed to roll on to his back and recognised the identity of his attacker, Ronon.
"What the hell?" As he struggled to sit up, the pain in his side intensified and he looked down to see the blood stain growing. Okay... it wasn't just Carson that would kill him this time. Carter would have a shot at it herself.
"My god Sheppard why is it always you that ends up with a bullet." said Rodney. "If it hadn't been for goliath here you'd be a lot worse off."
Despite McKay's grumbling, Sheppard could see the worry and concern in his friend's eyes.
Understanding dawned on him. Obviously aware of what was about to happen, Ronon had shielded him whilst taking out the culprit. The shots he'd heard had come from Ronon's gun. His gut somersaulted, he come that close to not making it back, to leaving Connor without any of his parents then he remembered the reason for this. Kolya. Kolya is escaping, He needed to stop him.
He looked around desperately. Although most of the action had diminished, with the remainder of the Genii' surrendering, there was no sign of Kolya. "Kolya, where's Kolya."
By now Teyla too had joined them. They frantically scanned the area for Kolya, and just when they thought they'd lost him, Teyla spotted him.
"He's headed for the trees, just over there." She pointed out to where Kolya could be clearly seen making a bee line for the trees.
Unfortunately his escape route appeared to be a mere few feet in front of him. Even if they managed to get a clear shot, the distance had become too great.
Sheppard immediately grabbed his gun, ignoring the throbbing in his side.
"John you can't go, your bleeding. Let Ronon and I go after him," pleaded Teyla
""I need to do this. Alone"
Sheppard, became angered when he felt a strong grip on his shoulder. He furiously shrugged it off.
"Easy Sheppard. Teyla's right," replied Ronon.
Sheppard gave Ronon a cold hard look. "I've fought with much worse than a simple flesh wound. Now let go. You're wasting valuable time"
"Sheppard, okay... take the risk if that's what you want, but at least let us come with you," pleaded McKay. "We're all in it, and have been from the very start. We all want this... for Elizabeth. Any road." He glowered slightly, "If you think I'm going back to face Sam alone, you can think again fly boy. Have you seen how scary she gets when she's mad?"
Teyla laid a hand on his back "If you must go, at least let my try and contain the bleeding."
Sheppard sighed as he took in the grim determination on the faces of his friends. He knew Teyla was right. He'd struggle if the bleeding continued as it was. Hopefully with a bit of pressure applied, it would slow it down until he'd dealt with Kolya. Dealing with Carson afterwards would be fun, but what the hell.
He looked at Teyla and nodded, "Okay do what you need to do, but make it quick. He's not slipping through our fingers a second time."
What to know what happens next, well go ahead push that button. Because the more reviews the happier the plot bunnies are and the harder they'll work. Don't leave it until later you know you'll only forget. And as always thanks for reading.
It's been quite sometime since I updated so here's hoping there's still interest in the story.
As always a big thanks to my beta Sue and all mistakes remain my own.
Sheppard’s gaze focused on Teyla as she rose with natural grace, the dressing she’d applied, now firmly secured with a makeshift bandage. Tilting his head slightly, Sheppard continued to regard her from behind his eyes. He noted the concern that lingered under her weak smile.
With some hesitance, he scanned the faces of his men as they continued to establish some order amongst the present turmoil. Expressions of disillusionment, and unease, were visible on at least half of those present, confirming Sheppard’s suspicions.
During the time of Sheppard’s reluctant incapacity, Lorne’s team along with Ronan and McKay had successfully overpowered Kolya’s men. It would seem the success of this hadn’t, unfortunately, raised moral.
Sheppard pulled at his collar suddenly feeling the impact of the increased temperature. The fine mist of earlier had lifted leaving no protection against the unyielding rays of the sun. This wasn’t the basis of his current discomfort however. Realisation, that the present negativity of the men was likely interrelated with his injury, was what caused Sheppard's distress.
Sheppard felt the pinch of frustration, as he recollected the initials reaction of Atlantis on hearing of Kolya had resurfaced.
Nearly everyone wanted the option of seeking redress for Elizabeth’s death. Every since her death a melancholy seemed to radiate through the halls of Atlantis. Subsequently the necessity of her people, to see justice served, almost equalled his own. The knowledge that ultimately this was possible had raised their spirits and expectations. They’d departed from Atlantis with grim determination and confident of success.
It had soon diminished when they found they were powerless to act, as their Military Commander was almost annihilated by a random bullet. Awareness of his survival had restored some of their earlier zeal. It was their disquiet at having to deal with Kolya’s men, whilst Kolya himself appeared to have gotten away, that Sheppard now sensed.
His determination to continue, despite his injury, wasn’t helping either. Although they wouldn’t question him on it, given he was their Military Commander, Sheppard knew they felt he was making a rash decision.
In any other circumstances, he would have been of the same thought. He’d confidence in their ability to accomplish what they set out to do. It wasn’t even as if he had reason to assume different today. Each and every one of them had proved their worth. The reason for his decision was something entirely different and couldn’t be discussed with anyone. Not even with his own team.
An unpleasant dryness in his mouth, reminded him of the bottle of water Teyla had thoughtfully left by his side. His fingers, as they reached out, curled around the plastic bottle, pleasantly surprised by its coolness despite the heat from the sun. Unscrewing the cap, he tipped his head back and took a couple of large gulps. His thirst quenched, he swirled the water around in his mouth his parched tongue bathing in its coolness.
Tucking an index finger under the cuff of his sleeve, he pulled it back exposing the face of his watch. Sheppard glanced down at his watch his eyebrows quirked, and he felt some small, momentary relief. His senses it seemed hadn’t been entirely accurate. Less time had gone by than he’d originally thought. Even so, he couldn't shake off the impression they were wasting precious time. Time he knew, Kolya would be using to his advantage. Well not any longer, it was time for action.
The stiffness in his legs warned him against hurriedly springing to his feet. So too, did the numbness in his posterior, and he came to the conclusion sitting for so long, on the not so flat rock surface, wasn’t such a terrific idea. Almost reluctantly and with some difficulty, he manoeuvred himself forward, longing for the impression of solid ground under his feet.
The relief he felt on finally discovering the ground beneath his feet disperse a good deal of the tension that plagued him. Now sitting on the edge of the rock, with his hands stretched out behind him, he found himself debating the easiest way to complete the mission. Catching sight of his vest in his peripheral vision he acted out of instinct, and stretched out his left hand to where it lay abandoned on the dust covered ground. Almost instantaneously a hiss escaped from his lips as the searing pain, brought on by the movement, radiated through his side.
A familiar scent wafted up his nostril, and he bit his lip in an effort to hold back a moan of pain. Aware of Teyla’s fingers as they lightly brushed his shoulder he somehow managed to utter a few words as she bent down effortlessly and placed her hand on his vest. “Eh... thanks Teyla.”
Thankful that the pain had all but diminished, he directed his attention more fully on Teyla as she stood up gracefully, the vest held firmly in her hands.
His lips parted, ready to express his thanks and he extended his arm-the right one this time-to take the vest from her grasp. His eyes widened however, at the admonishment in her eyes, effectively halting him in his tracks, and he shut his mouth with a snap.
With raised eyebrows he silently waited for the verbal reproach that was sure to follow. The arch of his eyebrows became more distinctive with the ensuing silence and he looked at Teyla baffled by her lack of response. His confusion increased as he observed the reason for her unusual quietness, his vest it seemed had suddenly become a significant source of interest. Why, he wasn’t sure. From his current position, it was an effort to see much at all. Having to squint against the sun made it near impossible.
His present position he could do something about unlike the situation with the sun. Sunglasses would be the ideal solution, if he’d had the presence of mind to bring them along, which he hadn’t. Placing his hands flat on the rock surface, he used them as leverage and struggled to his feet. Feeling slightly lightheaded, Sheppard rested his hand on the rock now behind him immediately feeling the benefit of its support.
Finally, he was able to follow her gaze, right... let's see why you’ve developed such a keen interest in my vest. The wrinkling of his brows deepened, as her fingers drifted over the ragged edges.
The vest had ties just under the arms and kept both the front and back in place. Whereas the right side showed only few signs of fraying, the only thing remaining of the laces on the left were a few threads. Remnants of the lining could be detected hanging loose inside the vest and distinct stains on the lining looked suspiciously like blood. His own he reckoned.
Okay, he thought, it looks like I’m going to need a new tac vest.
Ha! consider yourself lucky it’s only a vest you’re in need off, spoke a voice in his head. He felt the rush of blood to his ears. It was true.
He only now realised how close he’d come to having his life snuffed out. He snorted. So much for the vest protecting me.
It was just his misfortune that the bullet had found the only real flaw in the vest.
Although designed to withstand the impact of a bullet the designer hadn’t given much thought to likelihood of a bullet penetrating the laced edges or slipping in between them. In fact, it was probably the bullet hitting the tie that saved his life.
The bullet must have impacted with the ties and then somehow travelled down the inside of his vest, ripping the flesh from his hip as it went. He’d known it hadn’t imbedded itself in his hip, even before Teyla had treated his injury. Why. Because he could still remember his surprise when it dropped at his feet although at the time, he’d been too preoccupied to dwell on his lucky escape.
This awareness, of what it could have cost him only succeeded in planting the first seeds of doubt in his mind. Could he continue to take such risks? What of the people who depended on him, like Connor and Atlantis, or their allies, who for some reason, would only trade in his presence.
You know why you must take the risk the voice in his head chided. He did as well. The only way to guarantee Connor’s safety was to remove the source of the threat. Namely Kolya.
Shutting his eyes, he pushed the negative thoughts to the far depths of his brain. It was imperative he remained focused.
He opened his eyes as he felt someone brush against him and gave Teyla a hesitant half smile as she stopped a few inches in front of him, the vest still firmly gripped in her hand.
“John, why do you feel the need to place yourself in such a position? What of your promise to your son.”
For a brief moment, he felt anger at her reference to his son. It lasted only briefly, as he remembered Teyla had no way of knowing his proposed actions were to shield his son.
For a long, poignant moment, he remained motionless. His eyes dropped to the ground his expression hidden under his lowered eyelids. Teyla’s words had inflamed the ambivalence that simmered away below the surface. Not predominantly for the choice he’d undertaken, but for the continuing secrecy of those actions.
Turning his head slightly, he directed his gaze with purpose until finally he had Ronon and McKay in his sight. He could hear McKay’s ranting from where he stood, and Ronon’s expression left Sheppard in no doubt as to his feelings. Clenching his fists against his thighs he tried unsuccessfully to ward of the rising tension. How could he make them understand that every instinct pointed him in this one direction, his blood boiling, with the anticipation of the forthcoming clash with Kolya?
The light touch of Teyla’s fingers on his shoulder startled him and he turned his head back until their eyes locked. The expression on her face and arched eyebrow puzzled him until her remembered with a start she was still waiting for an answer to her question.
Sheppard lifted his chin his eyes fired with dogged determination, the rigidity of his chin, a tell tale sign of his obstinacy.
Teyla, however, wasn’t going to be easily dissuaded. Her eyes glistened with similar spirit, eyes never straying from his as she spoke. “John, will you rethink your actions.”
Her voice although persuasive held an almost soothing lilt to it. The small vertical line between her brows creased as her gaze dropped to the bandage on display beneath his bloodstained combat shirt. “I do not think you should take this risk.”
For the briefest of time, John hesitated irresolute, a response Teyla quickly took advantage of.
“John no one will think any less of you, especially, given your injury.
Teyla had no way of knowing that her words were going to have the opposite to that she desired. Instead of making him rethink his decision, her words essentially renewed his commitment.
“But I will.” He exhaled impatiently. “Look Teyla, I’ve already told you of my decision, and it’s not going to change. This is one thing I can do for Elizabeth, and nothing you or anyone else have to say, will make me change my mind.
Teyla shook her head sadly “Do you think this is what Elizabeth would want? To have you place your own life in danger so that she may be avenged?”
Despite the muscles on Sheppard’s arm flinching, beneath her touch, Teyla didn’t remove the hand she’d placed on his arm. Her eyes held his unfaltering. “I would imagine she would be dismayed at the very idea if she were here.”
A dark shadows crossed Sheppard’s face, and he gulped an agonised breath. “Well... she’s not here is she..., and we all know the reason why... because I failed her.” This time he abruptly pulled his arm away, his eyes cold “I won’t do it again. Not this time.”
He turned his back on Teyla, unwilling for her to observe the battle that raging with in him, as his conflicting emotions strived for supremacy.
What if in the process of freeing Connor, from the danger posed by Kolya, he also succeeded in depriving his son of both parents? On the other hand, he didn’t want to have to face an even greater agony. The damage to his son, if he did fail to act.
If he allowed Kolya to escape as he’d done in the past, the day would happen when Connor would fall victim of the wrong Kolya exuded. That, he could not live with.
Visualising this in his head, along with the horror he felt, had made him realize there could only be one conclusion. So in the early hours of this morning, after much tossing and turning, he reached a final decision. Kolya must be taken care of, permanently.
It was imperative, however, that any repercussion fell on him and him alone. This undertaking not only gifted him with the firmness of purpose. It also enabled him to remain steadfast against his team’s opposition.
Movement in his peripheral vision, along with the words uttered by a curt voice, enticed Sheppard from his deep thoughts. He felt the tightness of his sleeves as his muscles knotted with tension. With his feet still firmly planted where he stood, he turned his head slightly in the direction of the reluctant spokesman.
“She’s right, Weir wouldn’t want this, said Ronon.
Sheppard’s eyes turned a shade deeper as they flashed with anger, but the pain of his loss could be heard in his words as he addressed his team. “Elizabeth wouldn’t want our son to suffer a similar fate as she did.”
Teyla nodded her expression softening “His safety is of great importance to the rest of us as well John, but so is yours. We can deal with Kolya if you will only allow us.
“Leave Kolya to me,” Ronon replied, his smirk lacking in humour.
The ensuing silence stretched out for a few minutes as they waited for his answer. Even McKay, who had followed in Ronon’s wake, didn’t seem inclined to break the silence.
Sheppard stood unclear of the best way to proceed. Dare he tell them? Could he chance the risk and hope they’d not only understand, but support what must be done. Not only that, but also accept he alone had to be the one who undertook the risk, so great was the chance of discovery. Would it be fair to burden them with this?
There again, what choice did he have? Although his intentions regarding Kolya, had remained, up until this moment, confidential unto himself, he sensed his team’s rising curiosity.
Unconsciously rubbing his neck, he glanced at each of them in turn, with rising trepidation, before heaving an eventual sigh. Instinct told him there could be only option, whether it turned out to be correct one remained to be seen.
Thanks for reading. Next chapter shouldn't be long if the interest is still there. Pleasew review and let me know what you think
What has John decided? Will he confide in his team, read on and all will be revealed.
Thanks to my beta Sue although all faults remain my own.
Ignoring the rolling feeling in his stomach Sheppard struggled to gather his wits together. Looking at the familiar faces in front of him, he realised he’d been ignoring one crucial element. They weren’t just people he worked with; they were people he cared for. They also cared deeply for Elizabeth. Although he didn’t want them directly involved, they still, in all fairness, should be aware of his plans. Ronon, he knew, would have no misgivings, and it is just possible that Teyla and McKay may think likewise.
This new revelation, although not enough to vanquish his reservations entirely, gave him the boost he needed.
Pushing himself up straight, his face although tight as he addressed them, held none of his early unease. “I know you think I’m being bull-headed in wanting to continue and okay... maybe I am, but... I do have a reason.” He hesitated but only for a second. “I... Ah... need to ensure Kolya is taken care of, permanently.”
McKay’s eyes widened in disbelief “What... you mean like in... Eh...dead?”
Sheppard dropped his eyes rubbing at the ground with his boot, but his voice held conviction. “Yes Rodney that’s exactly what I mean.”
Flustered, McKay flapped his arms “How are you going to explain that to Sam? You said...”
Scratching behind his ear, he replied grimly “I know what I said McKay, but I couldn’t exactly respond differently could I.”
“But...” McKay stuttered, his eyes widening.
“This I like,” Ronon growled as he pushed McKay aside, and gave Sheppard a resounding slap on the back.
“Mind the injury big man,” Sheppard groaned as he gingerly rubbed his side.
He turned to Teyla with a wry grin “What about you Teyla, what are your thoughts.”
Teyla studied him, her expression intense “If you feel this is what must be done John, we will stand by your decision.”
He gave Teyla a tight smile “You may want to hear the rest first.”
In all honesty, he hadn’t harboured many doubts about their reactions, to what he’d told them so far. It was what he hadn’t told them that had his stomach in knots. Inhaling deeply, he somehow summoned the strength to deal with the backlash that would result. “Eh... there’s one thing I haven’t mentioned. I’ll be doing it alone.”
McKay frowned, “You won’t be alone we’ll be there.”
“No McKay, you won’t be there.”
The sharpness in Sheppard’s voice seemed took McKay aback, and a red flush crept up his neck “What do you mean I won’t be there. You’re going to take the Gorilla here, and Teyla, but leave me? Since when, have I become an unimportant member of this team?”
“Relax McKay I never said I would be taking Ronon and Teyla. They’re staying as well.”
Sheppard swore softly as he heard a thud behind him. Ronon who had been sitting perched on a rock-the same one Sheppard himself had sat on previously- now stood towering over him, eyes flashing dangerously.
“Like hell Sheppard,” growled Ronon.
Teyla placed a restraining arm on Ronon, her eyes flashing a warning. Taking a solitary step forward, she laid her left palm on Sheppard’s chest. “Rodney and Ronon have spoken wisely, you cannot do this alone. Allow us to do this in honour of Elizabeth.”
He shook his head grimly. “Teyla... earth’s rules and regulations, differ vastly to the ones here in the Pegasus Galaxy.” He glanced at Rodney, “McKay you know the likes of what I’m referring to. Earth will not condone taking a life, even Kolya’s, without just reason. Despite the atrocities Kolya has perpetrated, they will not see revenge as just cause.”
Bitterness had slipped into Sheppard’s voice, and his eyes had darkened ominously, but if McKay had noticed he gave no indication. “You... you’re crazier than I thought if you think you can take on Kolya single handily...” he flapped a hand in Sheppard’s direction, “never mind injured.”
Sheppard’s jaw clenched and unclenched, and he barely held back his anger. “It not like I’ve got much choice is it McKay. There too much risk involved. What do you think will happen if we’re found out? I’ll tell you. We’ll be whisked back to earth before we can so much as blink and Court Marshalled if we’re lucky. Ronon and Teyla may not suffer quite the same fate, as they are not of earth, but their fate will likely be just as unpleasant.”
The colour drained from McKay’s face. “They can’t... they wouldn’t, look at the trouble he’s caused.” They should be grateful.”
“They can and you know it,” replied Sheppard.
McKay stiffened his chin, consolidating his words with an expression of rebellion. “Anyway if you’re going so am I.”
Ronon quirked an eyebrow, “Face it Sheppard you’re stuck with us."
Sheppard groaned. Had they even listened to a word he’d said, he’d be hard fetched to find three more stubborn people in any galaxy. He glowered at them but felt his resolve weakening at the determination displayed in all three faces.
His resolve shattered altogether as he listened to the soft lilt of Teyla voice. “You are not alone in wanting this John. It is a need felt by all. Elizabeth was very dear to all of us, allow us to do this for her.”
With a sigh of resignation, Sheppard lifted his right hand up. Okay... Okay, if you insist, but don’t say I didn’t advise you.
“Now that’s settled maybe we can stop wasting time,” Rodney griped, “we’ve already missed lunch, now dinner's going to consist of dried up leftovers. And it’s my favourite today, meatloaf.”
Sheppard rolled his eyes bantering good-natured “What’s it with you, and food, McKay.”
“Well... it’s not like we only ate a few hours ago, is it.” McKay’s brows puckered with an irritated frown.
Dipping his hand into his pocket, Sheppard felt for the small package he’d planted earlier. “Here.... and you can at least, look, grateful” He thrust the power bar into McKay’s hand.
McKay’s responded with a glower, but half of the power bar disappeared into his mouth all the same.
Sheppard couldn’t disagree with McKay; too much time had been wasted, although their reasons for thinking this differed. He couldn’t help but think they were giving Kolya the possibility of escape, and if they didn’t quickly act the events, so far, would all be for naught.
Gingerly straightening his back he challenged the pain and felt relief when he experienced not much more than a twinge. Regrettably the same couldn’t be said a few moments later, as he struggled into his vest.
It wouldn’t have been so conspicuous either, except Teyla had decided it would be easier if she held the vest open for him and of course didn’t miss his grimace of pain.
“What... it doesn’t hurt...” his voice dropped off as her hazel eyes narrowed. “Well not much.”
Unfortunately, he’d thoughtlessly placed his right arm through first, which of course meant he had to struggle that bit harder with the left arm. This time it wasn’t a little grimace, it felt as if someone had taken hold of his innards, and was attempting to tear them apart.
Okay maybe it hurts just a little. Turning his head, to avoid Teyla’s worried look he squinted at the others instead only to be greeted by Ronon’s impression of condemnation. The Satedan strolled forward and pulled the vest into place, but to Sheppard’s relief didn’t show any inclination to speak his mind.
Having now tentatively eased himself into his vest Sheppard glanced up, surprised by the sudden, mighty chill in the air. Preoccupied, he’d failed to notice the sky darkening, substituting the brilliant blue of earlier, with dull swirling masses of grey. As they moved out the first few droplets of rain splattered onto Sheppard’s forehead and trickled down his face. He absentmindedly wiped at the wetness his focus already tuned to the arduous task that lay ahead.
Lorne glanced up curiously, sensing Sheppard’s approach. Seeing his boss up on his feet gave freedom to the apprehension swirling around inside of him. The injury mustn’t be as serious as what they had first surmised. His heart had been in his mouth when he had seen Sheppard felled by the bullet. Thankfully, it seemed his fear had been superfluous, at least for the time being. Sheppard still faced the daunting task, of tracking and apprehending Kolya, but it appeared his injury, wasn’t going to limit him.
He understood why Sheppard needed closure, and Lorne hoped Kolya’s capture would give him what he needed. Personally Lorne wasn’t so sure. Could there ever be closure for something as vile as the circumstances that had robbed them of Dr Weir?
In similar circumstances, Lorne hoped he’d be able to handle himself with the same bravery, and dignity Sheppard had. Stepping forward in acknowledgement, he stood just to the side of Sheppard and indicated towards the mass of prisoners.
“Colonel, we’re almost done here. Most of the Genii have surrendered. I’m sure Commander Radim will be willing to take responsibility for them.” He looked at Sheppard hopefully. “That way, it frees up my team, giving us the opportunity to assist with the hunt for Kolya.
Sheppard shook his head. “No, we’ll handle it. You’ll need to help Radim restrain the prisoners.
Lorne nodded solemnly, feeling the sting of disappointment “Good luck then Sir.”
Although he returned his attention to what he’d been doing prior to the interruption, his eyes marked the progress of Sheppard’s team until they disappeared from view, the forest engulfing them.
“Good luck.” Lorne’s repeated words were like whispers in the wind.
Next chapter things go decidedly downhill but for who. I promise not to keep you in suspense for to long
Sorry about the ridiculously long delay. I have a rather back case of writer’s block. Unfortunately this chapter is very short, and I don’t normally do short, but at least it is something to be going on with. I will endeavour to get the next chapter up soon, and should lead to the confrontation Sheppard has long been waiting for.
Sheppard pulled his collar tighter around his neck, as a slight shiver travelled the length of his back. Not that it helped much. In fact, if anything, it made the situation worse. His collar was already saturated from the globules of water trickling from his hair. He sighed, irritated by his own show of weakness. His was finding his wound to be a constant source of irritation, but not only that, it also seemed to be making him more susceptible to the cold. Well I’ll just have to suck it up and bear it, he thought grimly.
Anyhow, something more pressing was giving him bigger cause for concern. With the rain falling at a relentless and brutal rate, and the wind ferocious in its determination to uproot weakened trees, his concern was that some, if not all, of the clues would be lost to them. It would make an already difficult task near impossible.
It seemed at least one of his team held similar thoughts. However, whereas Sheppard was content to keep his misgivings to himself, for the time being at least, McKay didn’t adopt the same train of thought.
“This…. This is just pure stupidity. We can’t continue in this… this” He flailed his arms. “It’s ludicrous.
We’ll never get as much as a sniff of Kolya’s trail now. Oh, and did I mention the likelihood of pneumonia?” McKay perfected a loud sneeze as if to prove a point.
The glare, Sheppard directed at his friend, stung with irritation, but nevertheless he turned to Ronon, his voice surprisingly calm “What do you think, can you still do it.”
“Don’t see why not,” Ronon replied without hesitation.
I agree with Ronon… Teyla said.
Aware McKay was about to interject, Sheppard took a firm grasp of his arm. “Have the courtesy to let her finish McKay.” His words earned him a scowl from McKay, but it also instigated the desired effect.
Giving a brief smile, Teyla continued. “Although we are exposed to the worst of the weather, we will not be for much longer. I believe, as does Ronon, Kolya is heading for the area where the trees grow more closely together, in the belief it will offer him greater protection.
“And it benefits to us by not only awarding more shelter,” Sheppard replied immediately understanding what she was getting at. “There’s also a much higher chance of any evidence which, potentially, could lead us to Kolya, being safeguarded. “
Turning to McKay, with a barely concealed smirk on his face, Sheppard gripped the Astrophysicist by the shoulder. “So… decision time McKay? Are you coming with us, or would you rather take your chances here. On your own. “
Shrugging of Sheppard’s hand and spitting daggers McKay grumbled. “Don’t make out as if I have a choice. Without me there to restrain you, from making nonsensical decisions, I dread to think what kind of trouble you would find yourself in.”
“Well… now that’s settled, maybe we can proceed as originally planned, though I hate to think of the precious time we’ve already squandered” Sheppard retorted.
A comfortable silence fell over the group as they patiently followed Ronon’s lead. The only sound heard, was the wind howling in their ears, and the crunching of broken twigs beneath their feet. Thankfully the rain seemed to be easing somewhat making visibility much clearer, and with the wind drowning out most of McKay’s persistent grumbling, Sheppard felt himself relax. Just ever so slightly.
Coming soon, If Sheppard is finally granted his confrontation with Kolya, will he learn Kolya's secret
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