Title: The Sacrificial Mage
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard; Teyla/Kanaan; background Weir/Zelenka
Word Count: About 65,000
Disclaimer: Nothing in the story to do with Stargate: Atlantis belongs to me. Some of the other stuff doesn't either.
Warnings: Graphic violence; self-harm which could possibly be triggering.
Author's Notes: I had the honor of writing for lavvyan, who wanted a long, plotty McShep fic with Pining!John, Oblivious! Or Aware! but Rejecting!Rodney (for a good reason), and lots of drama and angsting before the mandatory Happy Ending. She also wanted AUs (preferably Fairy Tale AUs), little to no sex, skin hunger, John or Rodney protecting the other, Team Coolness and Radek. Not necessarily in that order. I think I got 'em all. ;D
I can say with no word of a lie that I worked like hell for this. This story was a labor of love that ended up being a successful NaNoWriMo novel, and then longer besides. I had been excited about the challenge of writing a perfect story gift for a stranger anyway, and when it turned out my recipient wasn't so much of a stranger after all it just made it that much better. (There's a homage to you in here, Lavvyan, above and beyond the entire story itself).
I had a blast with this thing, and I can only hope that lavvyan enjoys reading it half as much as I enjoyed writing it for her.
Fun though this story was to write, I would never have finished it without the help and boundless enthusiasm of a bunch of wonderful people: The entire wrisomifu community with their tireless support and cheerleading; annieb1955, fish_echo and ribbon_purple because of their invaluable help with sorting out how this universe even worked and how I could make the Thing I Desperately Needed to Happen actually happen at all; and anna_bird and squeakyoflight, who were exactly the kind of beta readers I needed, and whose constant requests for the next chapter while the story was still in progress was the best kind of indication that I was doing okay.
Summary: Magic was a substance, like fire or water. It was abundant and incredibly powerful and could be manipulated with the correct application of knowledge and will. But if you didn't use it properly, you'd be immolated or drowned. Or worse: other people would be, and you'd be forced to watch it happening. That was why it terrified him to see the casual, unthinking way Teyla and Carson used magic, because he knew that someday they'd be forced to pay for what they'd taken. Every wizard would, sooner or later. It was the first thing mages ever learned, and Rodney had lived it.
Magic was a zero-sum game. If you didn't sacrifice as much as you were given, you would lose.
( The Sacrificial Mage )