Summary: Rodney McKay has been the lead expert in all things abnormal since he first built a non-working nuclear bomb in sixth grade and used it to frighten away the poltergeist in his school. The FBI, Interpol, MI-6… he's worked with them all, traveling the world to save the day again and again. It was the curse of his status as an unbonded Guide that he never found a place, or a Sentinel, to call home. But when people start brutally dying all over the planet, Rodney ends up teaming up with CIA Agent John Sheppard and finds something he'd never even realized he was missing.
Warnings: Minor Character Death
Notes: This is a Sentinel/Guide AU. If you don't know what that is, you are totally missing out.
Serra Nova Dourada, Brazil
The air was charged, sparking almost against his skin and against the meager scattering of trees. Halling remembered a time when the land he now stood on had been a jungle, the wildlife as abundant as it was farther north, in the Amazon. The loggers had left little behind of the beauty that once was.
The air sizzled and Halling frowned. His eyesight was sharp, left over from his days as a young hunter before he'd turned into the farmer he'd become out of necessity, and almost immediately he spotted the bright flash of disturbance near to the horizon.
Halling watched as the flash became a strobe and then calmed to a soft pinpoint. Under his gaze, the pinpoint grew, slowly at first and then quickly, all at once becoming a sort of portal just feet above the barren ground.
Out of the portal, a silver shape breached the light's barrier and then came crashing, nose first to the ground. Fire-sparks flew wildly in the air as the large… vehicle skidded to a stop.
Halling's mouth tightened. He continued to watch as the ugly ship rocked and then glowed with a light similar to that of the portal that had sputtered closed. The glow coming from the ship now dominated the area and then it morphed into half a dozen distinct shapes.
They looked human, from the distance, but as one turned towards him Halling noticed the long white hair and green-skinned face.
"Demons," he whispered and then rushed back inside his house.
His son, Jinto, played on the dirty floor, two handmade dolls blabbering nonsense to each other. He looked up as Halling brushed past him, collecting several amulets and herbal potions he'd saved just for an occasion like this.
He would not leave his son unprotected.
"Dad?" Jinto asked, seeing the worry in his face.
"Jinto," Halling took the chance that he still had a moment's time, enough to kneel down in front of his son. "There are demons, just outside."
Jinto's face paled, having heard stories from him and his late wife. "Must we leave?"
"We can't," Halling told him. He swallowed harshly. "Jinto, you must promise me that no matter what happens you do not leave this house. I'm setting up a ward outside, they will not be able to enter, but it will not protect you if you go outside."
"I understand," Jinto said, his young eyes fearful. Halling nodded, kissing the boy on the forehead before he stood. "Wait, Dad!" Jinto called. "You can't go outside either!"
Halling smiled sadly at his son. "I must."
He opened the front door and stepped into the sunlight. He didn't see the demons, not yet, but then again they'd been around the back of his house.
The protection spell he knew worked as a source from the main door of entry, in this case the front door of their small hut of a house. He prayed he had enough time.
Halling hung the amulets on the door handle and coated them with the potion. He murmured ancient words that he'd been taught when he was a boy of Jinto's age. He called upon the high spirits to watch over the house. He called upon his ancestors to keep his son safe. He called upon the earth to prevent any who wished harm to enter.
"What are you doing, human?" a low, raspy voice asked from his right.
Halling's eyes snapped open as he turned to face the nightmarish creature. It's eyes were yellow, like a predator as it stared at him with sharp teeth.
"Demons are not welcome here," Halling told it.
The creature's head tilted to the side in a questioning and curious gesture. "Demon? I am Wraith, no mere demon."
Sweat beaded on his forehead to drip down the side of Halling's face. His eyes moved over the demon- the Wraith's shoulder to where his son watched from the dusty window, terror stark on his boyish face.
The Wraith hissed, turning to see the boy as well. It struck at the window, only to be repelled back. Black smoke wisped up from where it had come in contact with the house's ward.
"I see," the Wraith said. It turned back to Halling. "You may prevent me from reaching your progeny, but you cannot stop me from having the boy watch you die."
"I'm sorry," Halling said to Jinto, knowing that this was his end. "I love you."
Jinto pounded on the window, tears streaming down his face. "No!" his cry rang, muffled by glass and wooden walls. "Dad!"
The Wraith struck with talon-like claws into Halling's chest, anchoring onto him. Halling's back arched, pain like fire burning through him before it was replaced by a sort of strength.
For one brief moment, he felt as if he could break the Wraith's yellow-eyed hold.
Then the weakness returned, his skin wrinkling against his bones, and Halling's world disappeared into dust.
Inside the house, Jinto continued to scream, his tears running freely down his cheeks like rivers making canyons in the dust that had coated his face. The Wraith detached itself from the husk of the body that had been left of Jinto's dad and turned to grin at him.
"You cannot stay in there forever, boy," it said. "You will come out from your prison and when you do, I will be waiting."