Okay, so I wrote the epilogue, realized I was leaving a crapload of stuff out that you guys would need for closure, and went back with my editing cap on. Oh, GOD, what a mission. I re-wrote it twice, and I'm still not convinced its totally on the ball. But, lacking a beta, what can a girl do?
Also, this refers to the events of "The Usual Suspects" and "Lazarine Condition", as well as some of Faith's history in "Laundry Day", so you may want to go back and refresh the old grey matter.
So. Here it is. Be gentle.Epilogue – Sacred"I bring you with reverent hands
The book of my numberless dreams,
White woman that passion has worn
As the tide wears the dove-grey sands,
And with heart more old than horn
That is brimmed from the pale fire of time:
White woman with numberless dreams,
I bring you my passionate rhyme."
– W. B. Yeats –
By moonlight, Faith reflects.
Home and hosed, as the saying goes. All Wraith with their head’s removed or throats ripped our, or torn to bits by P-90 fire. The clearing littered with bodies, and the Kleifa hounds both grieving and feasting on the flesh of their enemies. Rodney had thrown up again.
Teyla was a bundle of nerves and spice, pacing frenetically, that hunting light still lingering in her dark eyes. Beneath the shadows of the trees, Faith caught glimpses of the tapetum lucidum
flashing upon the backs of her retinas.
“Is it always like this?” she whispered as Faith approached.
Faith shrugged. “The burning, the heat, the need? No, not always, but after all this drama-drama I’m not surprised you’re buzzed up to high heaven.” She pulled the other Slayer forward and pressed her forehead to Teyla’s. “Minute we get back its sparring time, before either of us does something fucking stupid.”
She heard Teyla snicker, and left her to her pacing.
John knelt to the side of the carnage, the great hound he had arrived with – Basker, she learnt later – leaning precariously against his shoulder. He had one of the hound’s forepaws in his hands, examining it with gentle fingers.
He looked up at her and smiled – and oh, god, her heart did one of those stupid little happy jigs and her insides went, ‘squee!’
She smiled back.
“His paw got cut up pretty bad,” he told her, gaze unwavering. “I figure we should get him back to Atlantis, get one of the vets to take a look at him.”
She couldn’t help the hand that rested on his shoulder.
“Sounds like a plan.”
Their return to Atlantis was hardly ignoble, despite Rodney’s whinging about his various scraps and sprained ankle and nausea and can’t you fly this thing straight, goddammit, Harris?
To which the answer was collectively, shut up Rodney.
To be fair, the re-emergence of the parfait spoon had given him quite a turn, so they let him grump and carry on. But he quieted with the rest when Faith sat down the back of the jumper to talk to Kysta.
“It was them Kys, you were right. It was Laïka’s huri
that pulled John through, that showed him the hounds. It’s us they want to carry on the legacy. But we’re going to need you help, girl…”
Faith held her while she cried.
After a debriefing that nearly killed Teyla with suppressed energy and sent Rodney into fits of apoplexy at the impossibility of Faith’s inter-stellar, inter-dimensional, inter-cranial
journey, they packed off to the infirmary, only for Carson to throw the two Slayers, new and old, out and in the direction of the gym.
There, the sisters danced. Blow after blow, bantos sticks nearly smoking from friction, strike after strike, they circled, so terribly, terribly alive.
Upon a pause, they stood watching each other, panting softly, feet braced. In the scorching quiet, Teyla spoke.
“It is a…beautiful carnage.”
Faith laughed softly, twirling one stick.
“A lovely savagery,” she returned, thinking of John and Wesley.
Her sister Slayer smiled her slow smile.
And they launched themselves at each other.
Slayerism was good for Teyla. Not so much for John and Ronon. It was now a little more dangerous for either man to spar with the girls. This didn’t seem to deter Ronon, however, who – for no reason anyone else could fathom – seemed to get off on being thrown into walls by women half his size.
It reminded Faith that John was different too.
He could move almost as quietly as she could now, and his gaze was sharper, his movement more self-aware. Training with the Marines was no longer a release for him, but an exercise in self-control. He could break any of them terribly easily with a few neat and deadly twists and twitches. Something about Kleifan had honed him, re-molded him…
But some things never change.
After the first week, he was becoming himself again. Cutlery no longer felt awkward in his hands, pens and computers were just like riding a bike. His stomach re-adapted to processed food, and he stopped getting up to pace at three past four every morning (don’t ask).
And he still wasn’t a talker. At least, not about the sort of things he and Faith really
should have been discussing at some point. So by unspoken agreement, they didn’t talk about the vision; the one with the beach, and the little girl.
Or, for that matter, feelings
of any kind.
But there were quiet looks and smiles and moments where their hands would brush…
And then Faith got sick of the whole acting-like-idiot-teenagers-with-high-school-crushes gig and took matters into her own hands. Their second night back she stripped down to a tank top and panties, barged into his room and locked the door behind her.
“I missed you,” she told him bluntly.
Then she pushed him back on the bed and did things to him that made his eyes roll back in his head.
John quite forgot what he was going to say after that.
Two weeks after, it was time for a change of scenery. Luckily, Lizzie didn’t bat an eyelash when Faith informed her that she was going for an Earthside vacation and taking John Sheppard with her come hell or high water.
All she said was, “Okay, but bring him back intact, will you? I really can’t be replacing my military commander at this stage of the game. Too much paperwork.”
Faith sympathized, and so promised not to let him loose any important moving parts. When juvenile Slayers were involved, it was always a risk.
A day later, Dawn prodded the ‘gate open and zapped them back to Terra Firma.
They stayed a night in Colorado before flying out. Faith visited Dawn and her gang at the local Slayers and Watchers lodging. Michael was there, watching shyly from a doorway until Dawn dragged him forward for a friendly punch on the shoulder and an affectionate noogie. Jack and Cassie arrived back from classes half-way through lunch and joined in the catch-up conversation.
Jack stood with Dawn at the door as she left.
“Say hi to Angie for me?”
“Sure thing, Mini-Man.”
Jack scowled at her. Then Dawn squeezed his hand, and the expression smoothed. Cassie and Michael met Faith’s gaze from the hallway, and they all exchanged conspiratorial looks.
By moonlight she reflects…but there’s barely any rest for the wicked.
She hears approaching steps and the window slide open behind her. Louise emerges onto the rooftop and settles beside the elder Slayer.
“Figured I’d find you out here.”
“Everyone behaving downstairs?”
Lou grins. “Yeah. All the kiddies are down for the night, sleepin’ like the little angels we know they aren’t.”
Faith echoes the expression. “But we can pretend for a bit when they’re being quiet.”
Lou laughs and borrows the cigarette for a drag.
“Amen,” she breathes.
Faith peers through the dark, across the grounds, to the distant glisten of London.
“Where’s John?” she asks Lou.
Her old lieutenant hands back the cigarette. “The older girls are interrogating him. They’re being gentle,” she adds quickly, at Faith’s sidelong look. “Nothing sharp, I swear. And Angie’s keeping an eye on them.”
The elder Slayer grins, thinking of Wesfred House’s live-in junior Watcher. She’s a good kid, really, when she isn’t trying to wrestle Spike into submission and shove his smokes up his nose when he visits, or throw the more troublesome Slayers off buildings and into large, cold bodies of water.
“I’d better go rescue him.” She gives Lou the cig. “Finish this for me,” she tells her before heading inside.
She finds him in one of the armchairs by the old fireplace. Some of the younger girls are clustered around his feet on the hearth rug – teens, as the littlies have gone to bed – while their college-age counterparts have ranged themselves ‘round the other chairs and the big three-seater sofa.
Lou may have exaggerated the whole interrogation thing, through the girls expressions are intent, and her man doesn’t look entirely
comfortable, despite the slouch and ridiculously large mug of coffee he’s holding.
Things are quieting down now, the Welcome-Back-from-Wherever-the-Hell-You-Were party winding to a sleepy close. The girls on rostered petrol are filtering back to the house, either joining the group in the living room or saying their good-nights and sloping off to bed.
Faith watches Angie greet them as they get in and tick their names on the ‘returned’ list. The junior Watcher looks up, and seeing her old comrade standing at the foot of the stairs, goes over and slips an arm through Faith’s. Together they take in the scene in the living room.
“He’s not a bad catch, y’know.”
Faith gives Angie a sardonic smile. “So glad you approve.”
Angie flaps a dismissive hand, smirking. “He took the ‘shovel talk’ very well. Mind you, it’s impressive in its own right.”
“Lemme guess, especially coming from a twelve-year-old with superpowers?”
“Yeah-sure-you-betcha.” Attending three years of high school with Jack O’Neill’s clone obviously left its mark. There’s a reason the house puppy was named ‘Bart’. “Now go get him and get to bed. You both look wiped out.”
Faith doesn’t argue.
So, here they are, back in Faith’s old bastion of command, Wesfred House just outside of London. Back with her Slayers; her orphans plucked from the foster system, along with their siblings, and given a home. Back to her second family, to the place they live and grow and are loved fiercely by those around them.
She in turn loved it here. Loved giving these kids a more-than-fighting chance. Loved being surrounded by them, from the baby potentials Angie bundles off to kindergarten three days a week, to the young adults taking the train into London for University or work each morning. Still loves it, though Lou’s in charge here now, and Faith couldn’t be prouder.
“It’s nice here. They’re good kids. Kinda scary sometimes, but good.”
Faith smiles in the dark, half-asleep and ridiculously happy.
His hand moves in a gentle circle over her stomach as he continues.
“You had a good thing here, but you stayed in Atlantis…”
“I’ve got a good thing there too.”
She can feel his own smile against the back of her neck, the warm upward pull of his lips. It tickles, and she rolls over, pressing her face to his shoulder.
“Yeah…it’ll be good to get back to it. Our magic castle.”“’Antis! Sidy!”
Their daughter’s voice hangs unspoken, but heard, between them.
,” Faith breathes, as she tilts up her face and kisses him.AN2:
Aaaand thats the last you'll be hearing from me for a little while. Assignments call my name, as does the novel, but fear not, in between those I'll be working on a few one-shots and maybe another chapter fic detailing the Colorado gang and a history of how the Stargate and Slayer programs got involved with each other. Oh the fun, the fun of it all.
In the mean time, tell me how much I suck...or not.