Pairing: Sheppard/Lorne, unrequited, but brief, Sheppard/McKay
Rating: PG-13, maybe slightly R
Disclaimer: I don’t own the show, the characters, the actors who play them, or much of anything really.
Author’s Notes: My Secret Santa recipient wanted: a dark fic, although one that wasn’t too dark, a story where Atlantis declares it’s independence (especially Post Season Five), and something with a plot. But devoice of porn. I hope I managed to do the request justice.
Summary: Every once in a while, a love so easy, so true comes along, that it’s practically effortless. This was not one of those times. OR: Oblivious!Sheppared stumbles along the path of love. Slowly. And with the aid of some restless natives.
They’ve been on Earth for six months by the time the IOC pulls its head out of its collective asses and decides that allowing Atlantis to return to Pegasus is the only real option. You can only explain away so many mysterious boat accidents in the San Francisco Bay, after all.
Once the order is out and known, it only takes about a week to get all of their affairs in order. They’re loaded to the gills with food and supplies, they finally have a fully stocked medical wing, and Sheppard has ensured that they have enough ammo to last them throughout another world war.
The mood is predominately a happy one; for all of its crazy, unbelievable, I-can’t-believe-I’m-still-alive happenings, Pegasus is a special place, and the majority of the Atlanteans understand that. One person who doesn’t share their excitement, however, is Dr. Keller.
From what John tells him, in a quiet, almost shamed way that makes Evan’s heart hurt because he knows Sheppard is trying not to get his hopes up, Jennifer Keller had had enough excitement to last a lifetime, and she’d decided that she was at the age where she wanted some stability, and the possibility of starting a family. Rodney did not share her beliefs. As John had been on his way to pick Rodney up for lunch, he’d had the unfortunate opportunity to witness the deathblow first hand. Apparently, Rodney had thought Jennifer mad for believing Rodney would ever want to leave Pegasus.
Evan knew the “and John” that Sheppard wished for, went unsaid.
All in all, the whole ordeal was over with surprisingly quick. Jennifer packed up her belongings, was granted a transfer, and Rodney was back to his old ways relatively quickly.
Like right now, where Rodney is currently stomping around the control room, snapping at people left and right while Sheppard looks on from his slouched position against a console, amusement clear on his face. Evan can’t blame him. Everyone in the room has worked with Rodney long enough by this point to be utterly unaffected by his venomous words and empty threats, but it’s not like that will ever stop Rodney from saying them. The man loves to hear his own voice more than anyone else Evan knows. He’s just lucky that Rodney has somehow grown on him over the years.
“You! What are you doing? I told you not to touch that. What did I say? I said not to touch the crystal. But what do you do? Go and touch it. Do you even understand how important it is? How fragile? One loss of grip from your slimy little fingers and we’re stuck on this hellhole where I am completely unappreciated. Forever. Do you want that? No? Thought not. Now stop touching things and let me do my job,” Rodney finishes with a huff.
Evan shares a smirk with John as he stifles his laughter. It’s nice to know that some things never change.
“So you and Keller…”
Evan pulls himself up short just before entering the doorway. He has a feeling this is one conversation he shouldn’t be apart of. At the same time, he can’t bring himself to walk far enough away so as to be unable to hear anything.
There’s a beat of silence. “Yes?” Rodney asks.
“I know I heard a lot of the conversation that ended it between you two, but I was wondering…” John once again trails off.
“Yes?” Rodney sounds impatient now. “Wondering what?”
There are some mumbled words, before Rodney asks, “What? I don’t speak flyboy caveman speak.”
“Didithaveanythingtodowithme?” John rushes out.
There’s utter silence for a long minute, and Evan can just imagine the look on Rodney’s face. “John…”
“Nevermind, forget I asked. Stupid question.”
“It’s not stupid, I’m just… not sure how to answer. The short answer is, of course, yes, you are part of the reason.”
Evan feels his eyes slip closed at the words, before snapping open again at the next set of words. “But not in the way I think you want me to. John, you’re my best friend. I love you. But… Jesus, I can’t believe you of all people are making me talk about my feelings, by the way- the love I have for you is that of a friend. My best friend. But that’s it. I’m sorry.”
More silence. And then Rodney starts speaking again, almost pleading, “But you have to know, if there were anyone in the world that I would turn gay for, it’d definitely be you. Even I can see that you’re amazingly attractive, and a good catch. I just… don’t have the genetic coding that finds other males attractive. I’m sorry John, I truly am.”
Evan can perfectly picture John’s face at the moment. He’s probably put his stone mask on, not letting any emotions show through, and he’s probably forced himself into his trademark slouch. “Sure thing Rodney, don’t worry about it.”
Rodney’s hesitance comes across clearly. “Are you sure? We’re okay?”
“Yeah buddy, we’re good. Don’t worry. Now what do you say to a laps around the corridor with the racecars?”
Evan turns and begins to walk in the opposite direction as he hears them set off for the closet containing the racecar equipment, his head filled with thoughts, and a weird uncomfortable feeling in the pit of his stomach. It’s this weird mixture of sympathy, pain, and…hope?
After that, things seem to get weird for a while. Sheppard and McKay still hang out every once in a while, but it’s definitely not to the degree that it once was, and it’s rarely alone. Evan thinks that John is probably having a harder time getting over his feelings for McKay that he implied he would.
Instead, John starts hanging out with Evan and Ronon a little bit more. Evan knows John and Ronon have always run in the mornings together, but they seem to spend more time just… talking now. Evan admits he doesn’t really get it. Neither man seems to be that big of a talker to him, both appearing more comfortable acknowledging feelings in grunts. More power to them, though.
With Evan, they’ll go flying, or head out to the mainland and explore some of the forest. Go hiking, or fishing. John even tries to teach Evan how to surf at one point.
It doesn’t go well.
And then there are the quiet moments for them as well. When Evan has his art supplies out, and he’s trying to capture the unbelievable Atlantean sunset, while John strums away on his guitar.
Those are Evan’s favorite times.
Even when Sheppard appears to get past the awkwardness of being around the ex-love of his life and starts hanging around McKay again, Sheppard surprisingly doesn’t drop his down time with Evan, instead splitting between the three of them equally. It’s a pleasant surprise, and Evan tries not to feel any sort of hope.
Of course, now that things seem to be heading in the right direction in their personal lives, the Pegasus galaxy decides to throw them a curve ball and fuck everything up. And, of course, John Sheppard is smack dab in the middle of it all.
They’ve been back in Pegasus for two months when it happens. Sheppard, because he’s the sort of guy who won’t send his men in where he wouldn’t go himself, is on a seemingly routine first contact mission. They’re looking for trading partners, and they’d heard good things about the planet from some of the other Pegasus natives. Everything appears to be going according to plan until Evan gets a call on him comm. asking him to get to the control room.
When he gets there, SGA-1 minus Sheppard are all standing in the middle of the gate room, dirty and pissed off.
“What’s going on? Where’s Sheppard?”
Rodney, of course, is the one to answer the question. “Sheppard, because he’s an idiot, decided to once again sacrifice himself ‘for the greater good’.”
Evan raises an eyebrow, and Teyla speaks up. “We were in negotiations with the Falorians when the city was attacked by way of the gate.”
“Wraith?” Evan asks hopefully, only to slump when Teyla shakes her head.
“No, these people were human. According to the Falorians, they were… bounty hunters of a sort. Men who go from village to village, taking innocent people,” Teyla’s voice drops, and she swallows. Evan has a feeling he isn’t going to like the next part. “Then, once they’ve been sufficiently cowed, beaten down, they’re sold off to the highest bidder.” Another pause. “As slaves.”
The room takes in a collective breath as the full weight of what’s happened settles upon them.
And then Evan takes action.
Over the next two weeks, the entirety of Atlantis focuses on finding and reclaiming their lost military commander. All of the field teams are stripped of their outside missions, instead sent out to search every planet that might have some inkling as to where to find John Sheppard. They come close a few times, but are somehow always just that little bit too late.
On the fifteenth day since Sheppard went missing, Evan is called into Woolsey’s office. The other man’s facial expression alone is enough to cause Evan worry. He just knows that whatever Woolsey is about to tell him isn’t going to be good.
“Major Lorne…” Woolsey sighs, and pinches the bridge of his nose between two fingers. “I really don’t want to be the one to say this, let alone enforce it, but the SGC, as well as the IOC, have asked us to suspend our search for Colonel Sheppard.”
Evan knows he’s staring at Woolsey, but he can’t seem to stop himself. He’s pretty sure he’s in shock. “Excuse me, sir?”
“I know. It’s horrible, and if Sheppard were here and it was another member of Atlantis…”
Evan finds himself interrupting. “Exactly, sir. Sir, with all due respect, this is completely bullshit. Colonel Sheppard has risked his life hundreds of times for the men and women of this expedition. Hell, for the entire planet Earth. He would never, in a million years, just give up on someone this easily.”
Woolsey lets out another sigh. “I agree Colonel, but my hands are tied. They claim that at this point it’s standard procedure to declare him M.I.A. and suspend all investigations into his whereabouts. I don’t like it, and I don’t agree with it, but what else can I do?”
The words are out almost before he’s aware he’s thought them. “You tell them to shove it. Sir.”
Woolsey’s eyebrows are raising so high they’re practically his hair by now. “I beg your pardon?”
“Tell them we won’t do it. We won’t give up on Sheppard. We refuse to. In fact,” he begins, shock fighting it’s way to the surface as the words are given voice, “if they try to stop us, tell them that we’ll secede. We’ll cut ourselves off from Earth, lock the gate, and they won’t have a choice.”
“You aren’t serious.”
Evan almost doesn’t believe it, but, “I’m dead serious, Sir.”
Of course, it’s all easier said then done. At the end of the day, once Evan has won Woolsey and the rest of Atlantis over, and they relay their threats back to Earth, completely with a two-hour deadline, Earth rather predictably attempts to call their bluff.
Unfortunately for them, they’ve underestimated just what living in another galaxy can do to band a group of people together. Even though everyone is in varying stages of disbelief or just plain shock, they stand firm. They have enough allies and trade partners, they’re fully stocked enough to last them quite a long while, and it’s not like Earth has been home for them in a long while.
At the conclusion of the two hours, Evan dials the gate to Earth himself and waits to hear the verdict.
Landry is firm. The SGC and the IOC won’t be giving in. Fine.
Evan allows the handful of people who spoke up against being cut off from Earth to travel through the gate unharmed, and then he orders the gate to be closed, and Earth’s address to be blocked out.
There’s silence for a few moments, as everyone digests the life-changing event that occurred, and then it’s back to work.
“Now let’s go find ourselves a Colonel,” Evan declares.
Because that’s the way the universe works for them, things begin to turn around regarding locating Sheppard almost immediately. It’s like everyone was just waiting until Atlantis declared their independence, to step in and help locate their missing military commander.
In the end, it’s barely a week later that they locate Sheppard. One of their trading partners had been able to provide a possible location where “slave auctions” were being held. Luckily for them, the man is right. They enter through the gate using the jumpers, fully stocked with as many drones as they can handle.
A few sticks of grenade and a rocket launcher later, the slave traders are sufficiently subdued.
They find Sheppard locked in a dark, windowless room in the basement of a large central building. He’s obviously been beaten, starved, and deprived of any sort of outside light for an extended of time, given his appearance and reaction to the hall light that filters in through the door, but he’s alive.
Sheppard, being Sheppard, is ridiculously bashful about the whole cutting-Atlantis-off-from-Earth-for-the-s
Sheppard is released from the medical bay a week after his rescue, provided that he allows himself to fully heal before he sets off on his next death-defying stunt saving some innocent victim, like a cat. Sheppard, rather predictably, is a horrible patient. He’s cranky, and whiny, and he refuses to follows the doctor’s orders, which means he ends up in more pain than he started with.
Through it all though, Evan can’t help but feel content, maybe even happy. Sheppard is here, on Atlantis, alive. Maybe not whole yet, but soon. And sure, life may not have turned out exactly as he thought it would a few years back, but he’s happy. Or content, anyway.
And once Sheppard has fully recovered and is back to his old flyboy ways, life gets even better. Sure, they have more responsibilities now that they’re this little independent civilization, what with trade agreements, and exploring new areas to possibly expand, and ensuring that everything on Atlantis is up and running right, and the little things that have changed since their little coup. But they still manage to make the time to go on their hikes and joyrides in the jumpers, and Evan still paints while John tinkers on his guitar or works on a Millennium problem (which he somehow thinks Evan is blissfully unaware of).
Life is good.
The kiss that changes it all from good to great comes at a random, quiet moment.
Evan’s not prepared for it when it comes, ironically enough. He and John are standing in front of the gate, ready to dial back to Atlantis from a routine mission gone bad in which Evan’s team rescued John’s, again, while Rodney and Parrish argue about something science-related behind them, and the other members of the two teams mingle quietly, when he sees John turn to look at him out of the corner of his eyes. Evan turns his head in kind, meeting John’s eyes steadily. John’s smiling, the small, almost bashful smile that is so different from the great big one he slaps on in a tense situation, and he’s oddly beautiful. The dirt covering his face and the scrapes running down his cheek seem to almost add something to John’s looks.
Evan’s so caught up in pondering how only John Sheppard could make something like that look good, that he’s caught completely by surprise when John leans in and lays a simple kiss on his lips. It’s close-mouthed, and both of their lips are slightly chapped, but it’s perfect. There’s the soft brush of lips against one another for a few precious seconds, and then John’s pulling back, smile slightly wider.
Evan opens his mouth to ask, and then closes it again. He doesn’t need to ask. He just smiles back at John even wider.
Of course, he can’t resist one tiny remark. “It took you long enough.”