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Common Ground tag fic!

Title: Dying, dying, young.
Author: Lilas
Spoilers: Common Ground tag-fic. Everything up to that is game.
Characters/Ship: McShep
Beta: The lovely Hila
Notes: This is all this fandom’s fault. I’ve been waiting for h/c fics for 2 days now and nothing, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I better be seeing some fics now!


It was the middle of the night and John Sheppard couldn’t sleep. He’d tried, god knew he’d tried, but every time he closed his eyes he was back in the cell old and shriveled and dying and he woke up in a cold sweat, lights blazing to life as he sprang out of his bed and ran to the bathroom to check his reflection. Still young, still unharmed, still breathing, still living. He’d sigh in relief and stumble back to bed and try to sleep again.

This time, he’d given up. It was almost four in the morning, and although he was off duty today, he still felt it was too late for sleep and too early for getting up. Instead he stared at the ceiling, thinking about his prison cell. Another prison cell, always a prison cell, with no way out but with the enemy who would later kill your friends, your family, and ended with—No. He wasn’t going there. But it would happen again. It seemed like he never learned.

A small nudge in his mind let him know that someone was standing outside his door, hovering, unsure what to do, wondering if he was awake or asleep. It could only be one person, and John wasn’t sure he wanted the company or not.

After they’d returned to Atlantis, Weir had hugged him and told him to never scare her like that again. John had smiled and said “No promises.” He’d felt the cold wave that spread from her to the rest of his team as the smiles left their faces and their lips tightened to small, angry lines. He didn’t think he wanted to know. Then he’d been dragged to the infirmary for tests and check ups and general mother-henning. And for once, he’d found he really didn’t mind. He was tired, physically and emotionally, and being surrounded by his team, his family, he found he could relax and finally let the idea he was alive sink in.

Those feelings had only held during the light of day, when everything hadn’t been so dark and difficult to see, when dreams hadn’t haunted him and made him relieve his capture. The pain, the fear, the knowledge he was slowly dying hadn’t been as oppressive while awake and talking to his team and hadn’t made him shiver under his blankets, hugging himself tightly so he wouldn’t get up to check his mirror one more time.

The nudging came again, more urgent, and with a nod he allowed Atlantis to open his door. He watched as the body covered in shadows straightened in surprise and cautiously stepped into the room, glancing one last time up and down the corridor, checking if anyone was there. The door closed with a final click and John stared at his guest from under his blankets, hands tightening against his sides, fighting against the constant need to check his appearance. No one moved for what seemed like forever and John was beginning to wonder if he was dreaming when the blankets were suddenly pulled back and he was shoved to the side to make room for another body.

He felt strong arms wrap around him and pull him into a hug. His face automatically burrowed into the junction of neck and shoulder, breathing a familiar sent. He felt lips on his scalp, kissing him lightly, breathing him in, which only caused him to hang on tighter to himself while squirming closer to the body next to him. He closed his eyes tightly against the sudden tears, and instead took a deep breath, forcing himself to relax.

“Rodney…” His voice sounded hoarse and tight, nothing like himself.

He felt the arms around him tighten, the lips pressing stronger against him. “I’m sorry if I woke you,” Rodney mumbled. “I just… I needed to make sure you… I needed to be here. I couldn’t…”

“How old do I look?” John interrupted, refusing to look up, afraid to see Rodney’s face, afraid to think about his dreams, the possibility that he was still old and dying.

He felt the arms shift, hands pushing him away from his hiding place and forcing his chin up until he was looking at anguished blue eyes; a look he was sure mirrored his own. He couldn’t help the shiver and closed his eyes tightly until it passed. Why wasn’t Rodney speaking? Why wasn’t he reassuring him that everything was all right, that he was young again, that the Wraith had given him back his life and hadn’t left him alone on the planet, a dying corpse as old as Sumner had been.

John only opened his eyes when he felt lips on his own, kissing him slowly and leisurely, as if they had years left to live. Rodney looked stronger than anything John had ever seen, and with a sudden sadness he realized Rodney was being strong for him. He was taking on John’s role because it was his turn, because John needed someone to be strong for him when he still felt like a husk of what he knew he was supposed to be.

“You look like you did ten days ago,” Rodney finally answered, voice low and tickling John’s ear. “You look like the Sheppard that took on twenty-five Wraiths to save his friend and the Sheppard that saved this city on several occasions through sheer will power.” Rodney kissed him again. “You look like the John that bandaged my finger when I cut myself last week, and the John that left his room in a hurry last morning because he was late for a strategic meeting.”

John nodded, eyes tightly closed, and wrenched his face away from Rodney’s hands to bury it again against the scientist’s chest. Slowly, John let his hands loosen against himself and brought them around Rodney’s waist, bringing him closer to himself. He felt the grip around his own body tighten similarly and sighed softly.

“Rodney…” he mumbled, not really sure what he wanted to say but needing to say something.

“When you wake up,” he continued, as if John had never spoken, “I’ll be here to tell you everything I just said all over again. To let you know you haven’t aged, to let you know it was real.”

John nodded rapidly and let a small burst of laughter that teetered on the hysterical. “Is this why people call you a genius?”

“It’s easy to be a genius in the middle of morons.” John could hear Rodney’s smile in his voice. “Go to sleep, John. I’ll be here when you wake up.”

John closed his eyes and let sleep take him back to his dreams, his nightmares. He let himself back into the cell with the Wraith staring at him hungrily, the pain consuming him and eating him alive. And when he woke up, a scream on his lips and sweat drenching him, he felt arms tighten around him and lips telling him he hadn’t changed, that he was still the same. And he let that lull him back to sleep over and over again until finally, he slept through what little was left of the night.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 27th, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC)
Wow, that was incredibly touching.
Aug. 27th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
Loved it...very sweet...makes me wish we'd get to see that side of Rodney from time to time.
Aug. 27th, 2006 05:30 pm (UTC)
Very sweet and tender. Throughout the episode, I felt that John had a sense of acceptance, but I like the insecurity that is shown here. And of course that's why people call Rodney a genius. ;)

This is all this fandom’s fault. I’ve been waiting for h/c fics for 2 days now and nothing, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I better be seeing some fics now!

I was and still am expecting heaps of h/c fic. We can hope yours was the great example of what is to come. =D
Aug. 27th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, oh, I'm looking forward to the outpouring of more post-CG fic (especially of the McShep kind). Yours was beautiful. I love how you didn't have Rodney babbling and filling each silence with something. This fic feels very quiet and angsty. Wonderful.
Aug. 27th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was really afraid Rodney was super out of character. I'm glad to see people seem to think he's acting enough like himself not to yell at me. Glad you liked it!
Aug. 27th, 2006 05:57 pm (UTC)
Beautiful, thanks for sharing :D
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 27th, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
well, you already know what I think of this fic, really *licks it again*
Aug. 27th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
Very nice follow up to an excellent, but scary as heck episode!
Aug. 27th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
Very touching, i loved both of their reactions in this.
Aug. 27th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
That was a lovely little tag! I don't know why you were waiting for the rest of us with that floating around in your head! But anyway, as requested, another H/C ficlet (Shep H/C Community). I hope it meets your expectations. :D
Aug. 27th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
Absolutely loved it. Seemed so very real. Well done. Thanks.
Aug. 27th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, excellent. Exactly the sort of tag that episode needed!
Aug. 27th, 2006 08:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, I liked this so very much.
Aug. 27th, 2006 09:17 pm (UTC)
Aug. 28th, 2006 05:03 am (UTC)
i really enjoyed this.
Aug. 28th, 2006 10:56 pm (UTC)
That was lovely. A nice little peek into the repercussions of what was done to Sheppard.
Aug. 29th, 2006 03:08 am (UTC)
What a beautifully intense story. Wonderful episode tag for Common Ground. I hurt for John, and was glad he allowed Rodney to be there for him. Thanks for sharing.

(found this thanks to a rec from amothea)
Aug. 30th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
Oh i liked this. Really emotonal and heartbreaking stuff. john needing to be reminded he's not old, sniff, sniff. Thanks for sharing!
Jul. 26th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
I loved this story!
I was upset ( from a mcshep pov ) how they only showed Ronon getting mad!!
I think Rodney handled himself Amazingly during the episode. I likehow John wasn't just "FINE" after almost dying.

Sometimes I wish that they would let fans write episodes that way we'd get a satisfying ending..
Sep. 4th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
Very sweet and tender way of dealing with the emotional anguish of that episode. Thanks for sharing!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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