Chapter One: Reunion, Part I
I don't own anyone or anything affiliated with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel: the Series, Stargate, or Stargate: Atlantis. This is fanfic created solely for amusement, not profit.Author's Note:
AU. Set some eight years post-Chosen for Buffy, and a few weeks post-Season Three of SGA. This was started before the beginning of SG:A s4, so this ignores anything post s3. Also, I'd like to thak kribby and jedibuttercup, who pointed out some rather massive errors. This chapter is much better thanks to them, and any remaining mistakes are my own.A/N 2.0:
Many thanks to Ponder, who is now providing her wonderful services as beta.Chapter One: Reunion, Part I
They were opening the gate to send Carter home. John stood by the command console and tried not to let his relief show, but the look he got from Elizabeth suggested he wasn’t too successful. Not that he disliked Carter or anything, after all she did (help
) save Atlantis when they were fleeing from the Asurans and ended up floating dead in space, but he’d gotten used to his closest CO being thousands of light years away. It made things so much easier.
Using the stargate to send Carter and her crew back to Earth was a huge extravagance, one which had Rodney bitching about depleting their newest ZPM. John may have been a touch overzealous in explaining how it was their duty to send Carter through the gate, since her new ship had gotten smashed to pieces while rescuing Atlantis. Rodney had complained bitterly that John was ruining his romantic dreams, which was pretty damn funny, especially to Carter.
Elizabeth managed to appease Rodney about the energy consumption by coordinating an early re-supply from the Mountain. John smiled happily at the thought of new food, new guns, and new personnel. It didn’t take much more than that to make his day. And Rodney would get to have fun yelling at the new crop of scientists.
“…for all your efforts, Colonel,” Elizabeth said to Carter, when John managed to tune in for the end of the farewell speech.
“I was happy to help,” Carter said, smiling like she didn’t miss her new ship at all.
Then it was good-bye noises as the Colonel and her crew loaded up their gear and the stargate activated. Chuck sent through the IDC, the Mountain welcomed Carter home, and off they all went, trooping through the gate together. There was a brief wait while the gate shut down and things got sorted out on the other side, then the SGC opened the Earth-to-Atlantis gate, and the latest round of marines came through, pushing pallets loaded with boxes and carrying duffels full of equipment. There was also a cluster of scientists in there, and John made his way down the stairs to sheep-dog them out of the way.
Major Evan Lorne directed the rest of the traffic, corraling the military contingent while sending the goods down the hall under Cadman’s command. They both had clipboards and happy faces, and John grinned when Cadman coo-ed over a stack of boxes liberally marked in red ink. Carson was right next to her, on his knees as he separated medical supplies from the military.
Zelenka collected the scientists from John and led them away for a briefing, since past experience and Atlantean common-law decreed that Rodney wasn’t allowed to talk to the newbies for the first three days. John wandered back to stand next to Rodney, who was still on the balcony and staring forlornly at the stargate. Probably imagining Carter’s triumphant return.
For some reason the nonexistent Carter-McKay affair was really bugging John. It had been kinda funny before, and had given him plenty of ammunition to tease Rodney, but actually having Carter around made things suck pretty bad. Carter was the SGC golden girl, bright and pretty and smart, while Rodney was…Rodney. Carter put up with Rodney, and there was something about her attitude towards him that grated on John’s nerves.
Which was strange, because Rodney and Carter got along pretty well.
Carter was never mean or rude, but there wasn’t nearly enough fondness to her exasperation, in John’s opinion. Because whatever your opinion about Rodney, you couldn’t deny that he was amazing. Yet Carter didn’t seem to get it.
John got it. Hell, all of Atlantis got it. There were people and villages and whole planets
that were alive only because of Rodney, not to mention Atlantis itself. And yeah, Carter came through for them at the last minute, taking her faster-than-light ship on a test run to Atlantis and bringing a partially charged ZPM for a hostess gift. That ZPM had given them enough juice to get the city out of space and find a new planet to land on, but after that it had been dead.
Rodney had been the one to find several near-empty ZPMs. Rodney had been the one to cobble together a way to extract their energy and combine them into one. Rodney had been the one to recalibrate Atlantis to both hold the sheild and deploy the energy beam. Carter had helped, of course, fighting off the Asurans (who smashed her pretty ship in retaliation), but they’d still be sitting ducks without Rodney.
Rodney. Who stared at the bustling stargate with a defeated expression. John wanted to hit something. Instead he wraped his hands around the railing and watched troops come through the gate.
“Thank goodness that’s over,” he said, and Rodney looked at him in surprise. It surprised John too, because he’d meant to say something innocuous, and that so wasn’t it.
Rodney opened his mouth to reply, but John never heard it. His gaze was on the stargate, and he watched as the impossible happened.
A group of marines came through the gate, three abreast, and then there was a flicker in the gate energies. The swirling lightning-blue of the gate faded and pulsed, turning to a swirling green
. The wormhole field crackled, and a marine stumbled through the gate and fell to her knees on the floor.
John felt the world spin, vertigo like he’d never known as his brain was pushed and stretched and flooded. He was frozen under that green pall, and for a moment he felt a rush of hoperegretsosorry
before he managed to pull out of it with a snap.
“Oh, fuck me,” moaned the marine on the floor, clutching her head, and the gateroom went nuts.
John practically vaulted down the stairs, yelling orders, and pushed confused people away from the gate. Carson sprinted over, getting to the downed marine even before John could. Elizabeth and Rodney were glued to Chuck’s side at the command console, Rodney yelling curses at the readout as his hands flew over the keys. They were trying to close down the gate, or bring up the sheild, or something
, but the gate wasn’t responding at all.
John’s world went crazy for nearly thirty seconds, then the gate started to flicker again, and just as quickly as it changed, the gate went back to normal. The walls and floor were again washed in bright blue light, and the world settled under John's feet, swinging back into place with a certain solidity. A sigh of relief pushed from his chest before he knew it was there.
Everyone stopped for a moment in the calming blue glare, then Rodney’s voice grounded John as he yelled at Chuck to get General Landry on the comm-line.
But Landry came through on his own, his voice tight and wary over the speakers even as Chuck batted away Rodney’s hands and reached for the console.
“Atlantis, this is Stargate Command. Do you copy?”
It was a classic line, and John had heard it thousands of times, but this one left him nearly weak with relief. Whatever happened with the stargate, it didn’t seem permanent. Personnel streamed out of the gateroom under Lorne’s watchful eye, and Carson was sorting out the shocky marine on the floor, so John headed over to Rodney and Elizabeth to find out what was up.
“Stargate Command, this is Atlantis,” Elizabeth said, and her voice didn’t shake at all, even if her mouth was pinched and her eyes were wide. “We seem to be experiencing some difficulty with the stargate. How is the connection on your end?”
There was a moment of silence, then Landry was back. “Readings are normal, now. I don’t suppose you have some idea of what happened?”
Rodney snorted, and it had to be audible over the open comm-line. “Maybe if I can shut the damn thing down and run a diagnostic on it first.”
“There was a lieutenant headed through the gate when it changed,” Landry said. “Did she --?”
“Arrived safely,” Elizabeth said, eyes cutting to Carson, who had helped the woman to her feet and gave a confirming nod in their direction. “Was there anyone else in the wormhole at the time?”
There was a brief sense of unspoken horror at the thought, but Landry dispeled it. “Only Lieutenant Sheppard. She was on her way through when….”
John didn’t hear any more. He watched the world move as though in slow motion: Rodney turning to him as though jerked on a string, Elizabeth’s confusion, a slow pan of the room as John turned from the command center and looked down at Carson and the lieutenant standing together on the floor.
A marine with shiny brown hair pulled into a ponytail under that stupid regulation hat. BDUs and boots, P90 and backpack, collar tab and arm patch, and it was all wrongwrongwrong
to see this piece of his past standing in Atlantis. His baby sister.