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67 Days

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Summary: John was suddenly glad he'd insisted on basic survival training for everyone who went off-world.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Faith-Centered > Pairing: OtherLylFR1515,3774225,15813 May 0713 May 07Yes
Disclaimer: I don't own either show. I'm just playing in their sandboxes.

**This is not connected in any way, to any previous Faith fics I've written.

Written for empressvesica in the sg_btvs fic-a-thon on LJ.

~!~

Day 1

They were running. Again.

This galaxy seriously sucked.

She'd agreed to come all the way across two galaxies to help fight some weird-ass, overgrown catfish vampires, and what did she get? Running away from fights. And when they weren't running or hiding from the Wraith, they were exploring or trading.

Faith had signed up for some serious asskicking, not woosing out in the face of the enemy.

As another energy blast hit the ground a few feet to her left, Faith re-evaluated her position, and decided that when the enemy were in stupid, pointy tipped ships that could send pieces of you in every direction at once, running and hiding was a decent enough option.

She really hated those darts. The Wraith could kill them without ever having to get their hands dirty. It was totally unfair.

“McKay, are you through?” shouted a voice at her back and in her ear. Colonel Sheppard had sent the rest of the team on ahead through the gate, leaving him and Faith behind. That suited her just fine, because she refused to run to safety while leaving others in danger.

”We're good. Where are you?”

“Right behind you,” he said, eyes on the sky. The dart was coming around for another pass, and Faith really wished she'd spent more time learning how to use the P-90's the marines were so fond of, so she wouldn't feel so helpless. Hand to hand was her thing – this killing from a distance didn't sit well with her, though she could now see the advantages to it.

The high-pitched whine of the dart announced its incoming trajectory, which was then interrupted by the loud retorts from Sheppard's weapon as he peppered the underside of the craft. From her crouched position, Faith could only watch in horror as the now-smoking ship started to lose control and spiral downwards.

Right into the still-active stargate.

Luckily, it didn't hit full on, but more slammed sideways. There was a second where time seemed to slow down for Faith, as she saw part of the damaged dart enter the wormhole. Then the dart exploded, and the world around them turned to fire.

As she was thrown back by the force of the blast, Faith's last thought before darkness drew her down was 'I really hate this galaxy'.

Day 1.5

Faith awoke with a groan, the smell of charred everything filling her nose. A quick inventory assured her nothing was broken, but there were several spots of burning pain throughout her body. Turning on to her back, she hissed in pain as something flared hot on her back, and it took her a minute to realize it was her skin.

As she tried to figure out what the hell had happened, a groan off to her side drew her attention. Turning her head, Faith saw the soot-covered form of Colonel Sheppard, and everything came rushing back.

Riiiight. Dart. Stargate. Boom.

A quick check of Sheppard showed him relatively fine, but unconscious. The nasty bump on his head probably had something to do with it, though Faith was glad to see that the bleeding had mostly stopped.

It was then that she looked in the direction of the stargate, and started regretting that she'd ever heard the words 'stargate' and 'Wraith' before. Because where the stargate had once stood, now there was just a blackened crater. There was no sign of the dart that had hit it, the DHD that controlled the gate, or even the gate itself.

Whatever the dart had been carrying, it had apparently been incredibly explosive, because from what she'd read, the gates were practically indestructible.

They were lucky they'd been so far away from the explosion; any closer and they'd be in much worse shape, as the blackened earth could attest. Coming away with bruises, scrapes, burns and a concussion, was looking real good right about now. She must have done something right to be this lucky.

“Okay. First thing, let's get away from this disaster area,” Faith muttered to herself, the sound of her own voice sounding odd in the unnatural stillness of the planet. A few shakes and pokes produced no response from Sheppard, “Yeah, you would make me carry you, slacker.”

Hefting the military commander of Atlantis over her shoulder, Faith headed off in the direction of the only trees she could see, determined to keep her mind off their current situation.

She might start screaming, otherwise.

~!~

Day 2

John awoke with a loud start, the sudden shock of cold pulling him out of his warm haven.

“Hey, hey,” said a voice from behind him, and it took him some time to realize it was Faith, the newest recruit to Atlantis. He struggled for a minute, trying to get his bearings, feeling Faith's hands propping him up as he sat on something bumpy and cold. Blinking his eyes to clear his swimming vision, John realized he was in the middle of a freezing river, up to his chest in the cold water.

“Wha-”

“Just hold still for a bit,” she said, and it was then that Sheppard noticed the searing heat coming from the back of his shoulders and hips. Controlling his reactions to pain was instinct to him now, but that didn't stop him from feeling every brush of her hand as she tried to clean the injuries.

“Your vest took the brunt of it, but you've got burns where it didn't cover,” she explained, and John had a hazy memory of fire and heat and flying through the air.

“What happened?” he asked her once he was sure he could speak without his voice cracking.

“Wraith dart hit the stargate,” she said, and Sheppard felt his blood freeze. That was never a good thing. “There's nothing there, any more.”

“By 'nothing' you mean...”

“I mean 'nothing'. There's a crater, but no dart, no DHD and no stargate.” This time, he was definitely aware of the wobble in her voice. If he didn't have a head full of fuzzy thoughts, he figured he'd be doing the same thing.

“Ah, crap,” was all he could think of to say. He was sure that once his thoughts cleared a little, he'd be able to express himself more fully.

“What do we have by way of supplies?” he asked after a few moments, because one thing was painfully clear. No rescue would be forthcoming with the gate destroyed.

“Both our packs, but that's it. The explosion melted some stuff, but we should have enough for the next couple of days,” she said.

Sheppard tried not to curse again, knowing that that wouldn't be enough. Not nearly enough on this uninhabited planet.

Standing up with her help, he tried not to betray how much he needed the help, but had a feeling he'd failed miserably. Faith was kind enough not to mention it.

“Where are you set up?” he asked her as they moved out of the freezing stream.

Following her to a small clearing not far from the water, he was glad to see a small fire ready to be lit and their packs sitting a short distance away. There was also some areas cleared of stones for sleeping, which he appreciated.

“You've been busy today,” he said, moving to sit on one of the large rocks at the edge of the clearing.

“Not a lot else to do,” Faith said, standing at his side.

“How long have I been out?” he asked after a moment, things suddenly clicking into place.

“Almost a day,” she told him. “I dragged your ass back here last night, but by the time I found a decent place to set up camp that was close enough to a water source, it was too dark to do anything but set up a fire and eat a little something.”

Hearing her, John was suddenly glad he'd insisted on basic survival training for everyone who went off-world.

“How long until they come for us?” she asked him, and Sheppard was silent for a moment, trying to find the words that wouldn't send either of them spiralling into a depression.

“A while,” he said. He'd run the numbers through in his head on the walk from the river, and didn't like any of the answers he'd come up with.

“A jumper?” she asked, going with the first thing he'd thought of, too.

“They'd have to come through the nearest stargate, and it would take years to get them here.” One hundred and seven, to be precise, but didn't think either of them needed that number said aloud.

“The Daedalus?”

“Just left for Earth last week,” he answered, not liking the situation, either. “They're too far out to contact them, and they won't turn around midway; they don't have the power for that this time.”

The latest skirmish with the Wraith had left the Daedalus practically limping back to the Milky Way. The most critical repairs had been done in Atlantis, but there were things that could only be fixed back on Earth. About another two weeks for them to reach Earth, three to four for repairs, then another three weeks back to Pegasus. Tack on a few days for miscellaneous delays and transit time to the planet, and it was going to be well over two months before any hint of rescue.

“How long?” she asked again, more determined this time.

“If the SGC decide to send out the Odyssey once Elizabeth tells them about this, maybe three to four weeks,” he said, “if they don't, a couple of months, at least.”

That was assuming they weren't just written off as dead.

It was going to be a long time before either of them had someone else to talk to.

~!~

Day 3

John surveyed the damage in front of him, and had to blink a few times to really take in what he was seeing.

“What the hell was that dart carrying?” he asked, his eyes glued to the blackened crater that now replaced the stargate. Whatever it was, it had burned long and hot, because nothing from the dart remained. Nothing from anything remained. In fact, he was surprised they were alive, let alone walking around.

“Yeah,” said Faith, and John realized he'd said it aloud.

“We should set up a more permanent shelter,” he said, turning away from the scorched earth.

“Okay,” was Faith's reply as she turned and began making her way back to their camp. John just watched her go, and pushed down the panic welling up in his chest. Neither of them could afford a breakdown right then, though he suspected Faith was taking this harder than either of them had thought. She'd been saying less and less as the hours went by, until she'd reached her current one word responses.

Running a hand through his hair, John grimaced as he encountered the uneven and bare patches, a last reminder of the intense heat they'd survived. Faith's hair didn't look any better – it looked worse, in fact, because hers had been longer. It was still long, but there was a strange unevenness to it now. He also noticed that she didn't touch her hair any more. All those hair shakes, head tosses and finger combings he'd become used to in Atlantis, were absent here.

Just another sign that this was going to be a long few months.

~!~

Day 4

“Come here,” Sheppard called out, interrupting her thoughts. Not that she'd been thinking anything too intensely while looking into the flames of the camp fire. “Come over here, and I'll even it out for you.”

Faith looked at him strangely for a minute, before realizing she'd been playing with her hair. Her uneven, burnt hair that she'd made a point to not touch since that first day.

“You got a pair of scissors in that bottomless pack of yours?” she asked, her voice oddly rough as if it hadn't been used in awhile. Then Faith realized that it hadn't.

In response, Sheppard just pulled out a straight razor, and looked at her with that annoying level gaze of his. Well, that explained how he'd kept clean shaven since being marooned.

Faith hesitated for a few seconds before pulling her courage together and moving to sit in front of him. Her back was rigid with tension she couldn't get rid of, the adrenaline having been pumping continuously since the gate had been destroyed.

She felt his hands run through her damaged hair, de-tangling with a gentleness she didn't think he had. As the razor began to slice through her hair with a strange raspy sound, Faith felt herself tense up even more. Sheppard must have felt it too, because he started to talk, telling her a completely believable yet fake story of cutting his college girlfriend's hair while drunk after a frat party. She knew for a fact he'd gone to the Academy, but she appreciated the effort because she'd never been comfortable having anyone at her back with a weapon, even if they were friends.

That's when she knew she was in trouble, because trust had never been this easy before.

~!~

Day 7

Boom-Crack. Thud. Thudthudthud.

Faith jolted awake, every muscle in her body tense and ready for action. Her hand was on her knife and her eyes were searching in every direction for the threat.

That's when she noticed Sheppard was missing, and her heart rate sped up accordingly. If something had gotten him – if he'd been hurt – if he had killed himself in some stupid way -

Faith felt panic rising in her, because she didn't know if she could do this on her own without going insane. Sheppard – as much as she hated to say it – was her link to sanity. He kept her in the present, and helped her deal with their current circumstances. Faith didn't know what she'd do if he wasn't there any more. She was leaning on him more and more every day, but couldn't stop herself.

Instinct told her the direction of the explosion, and she took off running, determined to protect what was hers.

Coming upon the site of the noise, Faith had to stop herself from launching at the crouched figure in front of her, her instincts recognizing Sheppard before her mind could register it.

Her arrival registered with Sheppard, and he turned quickly, crouched low to the ground, pistol in his hands and a sharp look in his eyes.

“Faith?” he asked incredulously, and she wanted to smack him. A quick look around showed no immediate threats, but instead a series of small trees lay on the ground, the base of their trunks splintered.

“Son of a bitch!” she swore, the adrenaline leaving her in a rush. “What the hell did you think you were doing?”

“Um, we're running out of fire wood?” He was looking at her like she was the unstable one, and Faith wasn't going to take that.

“So you decided to blow the hell out of the trees instead of cutting it down like any sane person?”

“Cut them down with what?” he asked in that sardonic way of his that made Faith want to smack him again until she stopped to think about that.

Right. They didn't have a handy axe laying around – Weir hadn't wanted her to bring one. This would teach her to listen to civilians about what was 'appropriate' for off-world travel.

“A little warning, next time!” she snapped at him before spinning and returning to their camp, ignoring the look on his face. It was a good thing they had enough supplies for the next few days, because his C-4 stunt had probably driven away any animals in a ten mile radius.

Idiot!

~!~

Day 15

John woke with a start, looking around the empty campsite with wary eyes. Something had woken him up, but he didn't know what.

Wait – empty campsite. A quick look at his watch told him it was just after dawn, and he knew Faith well enough by now to know that this time of the day didn't register as 'existing' in her world. So where was she?

Getting up, he searched around for any sign of his team mate, but found nothing. She was gone.

Grabbing his sidearm, John cautiously examined the area around the fire and their shelters for any sign of where she might have gone – or been taken. They hadn't seen any sign of people or large, dangerous creatures on the initial survey of the planet, but that didn't mean there was nothing dangerous here. That lesson had been learned the hard way through too many missions and too many lost marines.

Still, no sign remained, and John felt his blood freeze at the thought that she might be gone. He'd done the whole 'stranded alone on a strange planet' thing already, and had no desire to repeat it. The presence of Faith was more comforting than he'd thought possible. Before this planet, John had never thought he'd see the day where Faith's company was a soothing presence.

Some small sounds drew his attention, and it took him less than a second to pinpoint the river as the source. Using every trick he'd learned throughout his career, John stealthily made his way to the water, keeping hidden behind some trees for cover as he assessed the situation.

And what a situation it was. There was no enemy, no wild animals, no alien intruders trying to capture or kill them. There was only Faith in the water, lazily swimming around. Completely naked.

Completely. The pile of clothes on the shore told him that much.

He watched her lithe form cut through the clear water for longer than he cared to admit, catching glimpses of curved body parts as they broke the surface of the water. The stream was clear enough that he had no trouble seeing the distorted shapes of creamy flesh beneath the surface, and called himself all kinds of a pervert as he felt himself harden.

Then, she stood up and started making her way to the shore and John was presented with a full view of what he'd only glimpsed in the water.

With a muffled curse, John forced himself to return to the camp as quietly as he'd left, before complications neither of them could afford, arose.

Literally.

~!~

Day 23

The almost silent shuddering from across the fire kept him from falling asleep. The fire had burned down to embers hours ago, giving out only the barest hint of light and warmth, but there was enough light to barely make out the shivering form of Faith.

The temperature at night had been steadily dropping, to the point where John was starting to idly wonder if they'd get snow soon. He really hoped not, because they really weren't prepared for winter survival.

Faith was having a harder time with the colder weather than he was, which she had pointed out was totally unfair. John was pretty sure it was because of her Slayer metabolism, but knew better than to say anything to her.

Back in Atlantis, he'd watched as she matched Ronon bite for bite at mealtimes. The one time he'd mentioned it, a glare and 'Slayer metabolism' had been his answer, and John was smart enough to let it drop.

It made sense, though. She had greater strength, speed and reflexes, and a lot more energy than most of the marines could deal with. All that extra energy had to be fed in some way, which explained her increased appetite. Since they'd been stranded, however, food had been something they couldn't afford to take lightly, so she hadn't been keeping up her usual intake of nutrients. That metabolism that had been such a blessing in the beginning, allowing her to heal much faster than him, was now a curse. Her body was running almost on empty, and it was taking its toll on her.

He'd noticed her energy levels were dropping, she tired more easily and some of her strength was waning. Now she was feeling the cold more, her body not able to keep her temperature as regulated as it used to. It had gotten to the point where she boiled water and had a type of sponge bath, instead of going down to the water. The last time it had taken them the better part of a day to get her body temperature back to normal.

The colder nights were only making things worse, and John was worried about her getting sick.

Catching the full-body shudder in the dim glow from the fire, John decided he'd had enough. Getting up from his own cocoon of warmth, he grabbed up his blankets and moved to the other side of the fire, stopping to throw another log onto the fire.

“Sit up,” he said as he stepped over Faith. He noticed how she was curled up into a tight ball, the survival blankets wrapped around her. The glow from the fire reflected in her dark eyes as they peered up at him, questioning even as her body shook with the cold. It was a sign of just how miserable she was, that Faith didn't voice a single protest as he unwrapped her from her blankets.

Combining both their covers, John laid down on his side, facing the fire and just looked at her.

“Well, come on,” he said, opening his arms to the shivering Faith. To her credit, she only hesitated for a second before crawling into his arms, her back to his front. Wrapping the blankets securely around the two of them, John wrapped his arms around her shaking form, rubbing his hands up and down her arms as he pulled her tighter into his own warmth.

It seemed to take hours, but finally she stopped shaking and her breathing evened out in sleep, John following soon after.

~!~

Day 32

“Seriously?”

“Seriously!”

“Really? Faith, I don't-”

“Funky, ugly face.”

“True.”

“Black leather or tight-fitting wardrobe that makes them think they're all that, but is really just over-compensation.”

“Okaayyy...”

“Super strength and speed.”

“I guess.”

“Similar social structures – drone/minion as canon fodder, soldiers/regular vampires as the planners or commanders, Queen/Master as the top dog.”

“Okay...”

“Suck the life out of you in stupid ways.”

“Well, obviously.”

“Think humans are a lower life form. Cattle or food vs Happy Meal on Legs.”

“'Happy what-'?”

“Over-the-top, grandiose speeches about our 'inferiority' and how they will crush us under their boot heels, just before we escape and kick their asses.”

“Oh, yeah.” smuggrin

“See? They are so totally space vampires.”

“Or comic book villains. It could be called 'Atlantis and the Attack of the Space Vampires' or something, with a dashing hero with superpowers that totally kicks their ass before cleverly foiling their plot for domination of the known galaxy!”

Silence.

“You were a comic book geek, weren't you!”

“NO!”

“I'm so telling McKay when we get back.”

“...”

“Unless he already knows!” smirk “Did you two geek out about Spiderman vs Superman already? That's so sweet. It's geek love.”

“Shut up!”

~!~

Day 46

“They're not sending the Odyssey, are they?”

John kept his gaze on the fire in front of him, not looking at her as he answered, “No.”

The silence stretched between them, the rain pounding on the roof above them.

“Did you ever think they would?” she asked quietly, and John wished it wasn't raining so hard so he could escape the shelter and avoid having this conversation.

“Not really,” he told her, shifting in place as he tried desperately to look anywhere but at Faith. He'd never deluded himself into thinking he was irreplaceable, and he was nowhere near important enough to recall the Odyssey from the Milky Way. He'd held out some hope that maybe Faith was important enough – and had friends with enough pull – to send the Odyssey, but he doubted the SGC had even mentioned they were missing in passing, let alone a full report to Faith's friends, no matter what kind of influence they had on the IOA.

He was betting that this was the perfect situation for the brass to say 'See? Atlantis ran perfectly well without him there,' and to set plans in motion for a future recall back to Earth. They could promote Lorne or put someone else in his place, and Elizabeth wouldn't really have much say in the matter.

John had been keeping track of the days, and once they'd reached the thirtieth day with no sign of rescue, John knew they were stuck for another month, at least. In an effort to keep his fear and anger at bay, he'd started building this bigger shelter for them. A week later, and they had a nice little hut they could stand in, with a vent for the fire so they could retain a lot of the warmth from the fire.

Of course on days like these where there was a torrential downpour, it meant they were stuck in the same small space. Together.

Ever since they'd started sharing a bed to keep warm at night, John had found it even harder to keep his mind – and his hands – off her body. At night, he had an excuse, but not during the day.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her blanket wrapped form start to shake, and prayed to every god he'd ever heard of that she was shivering and not crying. Deciding he couldn't watch this no matter the cause, John shuffled closer, putting an arm around her shoulders and pulling her into his side.

They'd become much more tactile since they'd been stranded here, and John couldn't decide of that was a good thing or not. They ran, they fought and they talked, and he hoped it would continue once they got back to Atlantis. He actually like her, and found he enjoyed her company. There was less insulting of his intelligence than when he talked with McKay, less grunting and terse replies like when he talked to Ronon, and less wry, indulgent smiles than what he got from Teyla. Elizabeth was a whole other type of conversation, which he refused to dwell on. But with Faith, it was like talking to an equal who understood what it was like to not be the favourite her whole life. He felt like he'd finally found a friend who could relate to him, and didn't judge him on past actions.

“You knew, when you started building this place,” said Faith, interrupting his thoughts. Looking down into her upturned face, all he could do was nod his head, glad to see there were clear, with no trace of recent tears. He didn't know if he could deal with a teary Faith.

“Why didn't you say something?” she asked him, shifting closer to him, bringing her face closer to his. All he could do was shrug in response, captivated by her dark eyes that had never held any distrust of him. She'd always had faith in him, from the first moment they met, and he knew that that was abnormal for her. She'd said it herself, 'Prove you're worth my time,' to one of the marines who'd questioned her; but with him there'd been an instinctive trust between them, each knowing that the other could always be counted on to protect their people.

John didn't know who moved first, but suddenly his lips were pressed to hers in a tentative kiss. Bringing his hand up, he turned her head slightly, opening his mouth and deepening the kiss. Tongues duelled and lips moved, stealing breath from his lungs as he tried to devour her whole. Minutes or hours later, they broke apart and just stared at each other.

Running a thumb along her cheekbone, John knew she was just as lost as him. He watched her lick her swollen lips, and couldn't resist the urge to taste them again.

“If we do this,” he said, nipping at her lips, “there's no going back.”

“I know,” she said, running her hands into his hair and pulling him down to her.

He was lost.

~!~

Day 59

Faith looked up from sharpening one of her knives to see a shirtless John coming back from the river. His hair was still damp, and she watched as he threw his wet shirt and jacket over some branches to dry. Licking her lips, she couldn't help but admire the way the muscles bunched and moved across his back as he worked. They'd been working out and sparring since they'd first arrived, just another way to pass the time, but it had the added result of tightening up some of his muscles that she'd never paid attention to before.

By his own admission, he never did any hand to hand outside of his sparring with Teyla and the minimum of training with the marines. Now, she could understand it, because he was trained as a pilot. He wouldn't be required to know fourteen different ways to eviscerate someone with a shoelace, unless he crashed in enemy territory, and then it was more of an 'escape and evade' scenario.

Faith took it as a personal achievement that he was now able to keep up with her. Of course, she was in a weakened state due to the limit on their food supplies. Once she was back up to full strength, she would still kick his ass, but she was confident that he could hold his own with the marines now.

It was hot as hell. Their sparring matches had turned into a type of foreplay, usually resulting in them going at it right there. She'd never enjoyed being slammed into a tree as much as she did now.

All that hidden strength in that lithe body revved her up like she hadn't expected, and never experienced. He was hers and she couldn't find it in herself to care.

He was hers.

She didn't know where the soul deep possession came from, but Faith knew herself – knew her inner slayer – enough to know that she wouldn't let him go. Couldn't let him go. Ever since that first night, something had changed in her; something that she couldn't fight or regret.

Mine.

“Faith,” John called out warily. She could see the stillness in him, as even with his back turned he was aware of her thoughts, and heat flooded her body.

“Yes?” she called back in what she hoped was a calm tone. By the way his body tensed even more, she figured he hadn't been fooled. More heat began building up in her as she saw him prepare for an attack, her own muscles tensing in anticipation. He knew her body and her reactions better than any lover she'd ever had – more than Robin had ever known her – and it was one of the hottest things she'd ever experienced.

Finally, she couldn't wait any more and she pounced, but he was prepared. At the last second, he turned and caught her, turning her momentum to his advantage as he threw her to the ground. Her own grip on him pulled him on top of her, and for a few moments they rolled and tussled for dominance. Faith's strength won out in the end, though neither of them would complain.

He was more than happy to lose this particular battle.

~!~

Day 67

They'd turned on the radio a week before, the start of the estimated window for the arrival of the Daedalus. They purposefully didn't mention it, but caught each other casting anxious glances at the radio each day.

So when the call finally came through, they were stunned for a moment, unbelieving that they were finally getting off this planet.

“Colonel Sheppard, please respond.”

As Faith threw herself into John's arms, screaming in joy, he realized that he could finally make love to her in a bed. A real, honest to God, bed. With pillows and a mattress and blankets that weren't shiny and silver and crinkled when you moved.

He had priorities, after all.

END

The End

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