Destiny of the Chosen
Chapter 1 – Home
For those that have been Chosen,
you must walk with Faith.
In the deep fragmented dreams,
you will find your Way.
To walk through the burning fires,
and tear down the gates.
Like a shape shift apparition,
but with an Angel's grace.
"Sheppard!" Ronon's grin was infectious as he waded through the glistening water towards him, creating a wake like some kind of souped up ocean liner. "Nice moves."
John combed his dripping hair back with his fingers and tried not to look too smug. The figure eight of the roundhouse cutbacks had been almost flawless, but the landing of the crazy aerial backflip that his friend had said couldn't be done had been perfect.
"Wait. What am I supposed to say again?" Ronon made a fist then extended his thumb and smallest finger out. "Totally awesome, dude?"
John struggled not to laugh. "Yeah, but I don't think it suits your … Satedan sensibilities. We'll work on it."
"Seriously, that was pretty cool."
"What can I say?" John shrugged as his rather smug grin widened. "It's all …"
A powerful wave suddenly crashed into him, knocking him off his feet and carrying him further into shore. His feet managed to find purchase in the soft sand just as a firm hand grabbed his arm and pulled him back to the surface.
"In the balance?"
John's grin returned with a spluttered laugh. "Something like that, yeah."
He reached down to steady his surf board as it bumped into his leg.
Just as he'd expected, the surfing conditions were perfect. But what he hadn't considered was how much more incredible it would be with his enhanced abilities.
Oxygen, Hydrogen, Chloride, Sodium, Magnesium … He didn't just ride the wave; he'd become the energy of the wave, the elements of water, so pure and so beautiful that it had taken his breath away.
The turbulent kinetic energy reached critical level, vibrating through his feet, coursing up his spine, a split second before the wall of water went vertical. Lying closely into the wall, he'd held his line. Under the cresting lip above his head, deep within the forming curl of the greenroom, he'd raced along the tube before the exit closed.
He was the wave, deep within the hollow, part of the vortex of spiralling energy. Lost in liquid.
It was good to be free.
"You know what time it is?" Ronon asked.
John flung him a quizzical look. "Got somewhere you need to be?"
"It's beer o'clock."
John nodded approvingly as he smiled. "My favorite time of the day."
Ronon's arm felt slick as it encircled his bare shoulders, and they made their way back to the beach. The moisture was refreshingly cool against his skin as the heat of the sun and gentle warm breeze continued to bear down.
After everything that had happened, he'd so needed this.
He felt the pull at his ankle as the tether to his board started to drag through the sand behind him. He reached down, but suddenly stopped. He grimaced and carefully straightened up as he massaged a deep ache in his lower back.
"Yeah. Probably just slept funny."
"That or old age."
John smacked Ronon playfully with the back of his hand. "It's not the age, buddy, it's the mileage."
"Yeah, you just keep telling yourself that. Old buddy."
John's grin was half-hearted as he carefully reached once more for his board.
The ache wasn't easing.
"Wanna go again?"
"Sure." John wasn't sure. "Why not?"
He froze, his grin morphing into a gasp as his back suddenly went into spasm.
"Sheppard?" Concern rippled off his friend as Ronon once more grasped his arm.
John breathed slow and shallow through the pain as his energies abruptly numbed the area. "I'm fine."
John exhaled slowly as he turned his focus inward. Muscles, tendons, ligaments … all fine. "Yeah."
His friend's silence didn't lessen the penetrating yet questioning stare.
No. Something definitely didn't feel right.
He concentrated and reached out with his energies.
Reality jolted his very essence.
It wasn't him. It wasn't his pain.
"We gotta go."
Ignoring the ache that had returned, John abruptly detached himself from his board and Ronon yanked it from his arms, leaving him free to throw on his shirt and gather up his belongings.
"McKay!" Ronon's demeanor had switched from easygoing to intensely focused.
John didn't need to look to know that his other friend hadn't moved from his fixed position several yards away.
John yelled over his shoulder as he strode up the ramp of the Jumper. "We're leaving!"
"But I haven't even finished …"
"Move it, McKay!" Ronon barked as he followed him inside.
John dropped his stuff in a heap, then promptly stumbled over something that Rodney had left in the gangway of the jumper. He would've landed on his face had Ronon's steadying hand not grabbed the back of his shirt.
"For goodness sake!" Rodney clattered up the ramp, arms full of stuff that Ronon promptly snatched to stow away. "I thought we were—"
"Just shut up and sit down." John didn't have time to explain.
John flung himself into the pilot seat, just as the jumper powered up. Drive pods quickly extended and engaged, and they were in the air and gaining speed before Rodney had even flopped down into the co-pilot's seat.
"Where's the damn fire?"
John increased their velocity. "It's time."
"What?" Rodney's demanded sharply. "Time for what?"
John slid his friend a loaded glance.
Rodney's eyes suddenly widened. "You mean …?"
"Yes, Rodney. It's that time."
His friend instantly looked panicked, and the inevitable deluge of words tumbled out. "But it's too soon. You sure? Did something happen? Oh my God, something's happened."
John took a deep measured breath to still his energies. "Calm down, Rodney. Yes, I know. Yes, I'm sure. And no, not as far as I can tell."
Rodney was silent for all of about ten seconds as he registered his exact answers. "But …"
"Colonel Sheppard, this is Atlantis tower, do you copy?"
"This is Sheppard."
"Sir, I have a message from Doctor Beckett."
His heart skipped a beat. "Go ahead."
"He doesn't want to alarm you, but you need to return to Atlantis as soon as possible."
John smiled as he glanced at the large bouquet of hand-picked flowers that lay on the console. "Already on my way, Chuck. ETA 38 minutes."
"Understood, Sir. I'll let them know."
"I told you, didn't I? I said that checking out the local wildlife and 'catching some waves' was a bad idea. Something always happens whenever we go off-world. And, oh, surprise, surprise, I was right. As usual."
John tried to ignore his friend. The closer he got to Atlantis, the stronger the connection became, and right now it was hard enough for him to fly in a straight line.
Her cry was instant as a fragmented wave of agony hit him.
I'm on my way, Teyla.
He didn't want to completely block her out, so he closed his eyes and his powerful energies reached out to soothe her pain. He wanted, needed to feel that connection. Especially now.
He could feel the babies' confusion, their unease. They didn't understand.
It's ok, little guys. Daddy's coming.
Their tiny heart beats rippled and calmed within his energies, a sensation that never ceased to thrill or amaze him.
"So I guess this is it then." Ronon's quiet tone broke through his consciousness.
John opened his eyes. "What?"
"You. Gonna be a dad."
John smiled as his excited anticipation flooded through him. "Yeah."
"Who'd a thought it?"
John raised an eyebrow at Rodney. "Meaning?"
Rodney smiled. "You didn't just get the girl. You got the family. "
John suddenly grunted and exhaled slowly through gritted teeth as another bout of pain sliced through him.
"You okay?" Rodney's tone was wary.
The contractions were not only increasing in strength, but in regularity. His energies instinctively reached out again to soothe and calm her pain.
"Wait a second. Can you … feel them right now?"
John could only nod his affirmation.
"Wow. What does that feel like?" Rodney asked, his incredulous tone bordering on disturbed.
John winced. "Painful."
"Yeah, I remember."
John's smile was slight, his mind and energies elsewhere. "Sympathetic labor pains?"
"No," Rodney scoffed as he folded his arms. "I was actually referring to the fact that I helped to deliver Torren."
John smiled. "I know you were, buddy. And—"
Another wave of pain suddenly crashed into him, taking his breath away.
Once again he reached out to soothe her pain. Damn, the contractions were seriously close now. He was running out of time.
John! Where are you?
His energy shivered at her heartfelt cry. She was more than worried.
Still a couple of minutes out. You okay?
I need you …
His heart skipped a beat. He could feel her fear.
I'm almost there, I swear. Just hold on, baby.
John … I can't …
He tightened a hold on their connection. It wasn't like her to feel so uncertain. But then she'd never given birth to twins.
Yes, you can. You can do this.
John inhaled sharply as another wave of agony punched him squarely in the gut.
"Contractions are getting pretty frequent …"
Rodney's powers of observation never ceased to amaze him.
John nodded on a slow exhale. If Teyla was going through it, then he would go through it with her.
But he had little time to respond as another powerful punch came again.
"Crap," he groaned and folded over, clutching his stomach.
Where was Carson? Why wasn't he giving her anything for the pain?
He reached out, once again to reassure and soothe away her pain.
But the more he focused on her, the more his confusion grew.
They'd talked about a water birth, but he could feel no water surrounding her, no gentle music to ease her tension.
The cramping agony slowly started to spread.
He tried again, but her pain still wasn't easing.
His powers had never been so powerful, so why weren't his energies working?
What the hell was going on?
Rodney's concern wasn't a priority right now.
His heart and energies stumbled at the sudden silence.
Something was terribly wrong.
He opened his mind and deepened their connection. His breath faltered as his energies abruptly shuddered.
He could feel it.
There was more than just her pain and their confusion. There was a strange presence, a distinct yet faint foreign pulse of ice cold heat threading through his energy …
Ice. Cold. Heat.
As old as time itself.
He needed to see.
The second he summoned his Sight, pain pierced through his eyes like a heated blade and his vision imploded.
Reality abruptly collided with fantasy. Images collapsed, emotions ruptured.
White light faded to a flushed pink. Distorting …
There was no beach. No Rodney, no Ronon.
Pink whirled to crimson. Hindering …
He was alone.
Crimson to blood red lava. Suppressing …
It wasn't her pain; it was his.
Blistering heat suddenly splintered, mutating into glutinous magma, crawling through his body, searing and scorching every inch of his veins as it snaked towards his lungs, towards his heart.
This was his own personal hell.
He frantically dug deep, struggling to focus his unstable energies into action, creating dam after dam to stop the flow, but it wasn't enough.
Every single one was slowly devoured.
He couldn't breathe …
She couldn't breathe.
Excruciating heat, indescribable pain.
She gasped as her eyes shot open, the agony suddenly vanished as she drew in much needed oxygen to her lungs. She took slow deep breaths, trying to steady her racing heart as her hands moved across her stomach, soothing the babies' unease.
Yet she couldn't shake it. The feeling. She'd felt the strength of his reassuring energies. She'd heard his gentle utterances of love …
He'd been coming home.
A solitary tear slid down her cheek.
It had felt so real. But it was just one more exquisite dream to torment her.
So many times she'd thought she'd felt his energies, sensed his presence only to find that it had been David; his energies so similar but yet so different. He'd tried to soothe her discomfort, tried to help ease her fears. But the very touch of his energies were so much like John's that it had been … too much for her to bear.
So many hopes, so many tears had fallen as reality had brought her tumbling down.
Yet not once had she ever felt pain.
Her heart stumbled.
Could it be …?
The sound of silence was her only companion.
Only a dream. The deep ache in her heart strengthened as her hope faded.
It had been twenty-three days since she'd truly felt his magical warmth.
Twenty-three days since she'd seen his playful smile.
Twenty-three days …
It felt like a time without end.
She exhaled slowly through pursed lips, then carefully sat up and swept her hand over the side light sensor.
All was silent, all was still.
For the first few days, Teyla went through the motions of living. She breathed, she hoped, she smiled and she spoke. But as the days dragged into weeks her composure had started to waver. Her nights were empty, her mind too active. When sleep finally came, the real merged with the imaginary, and the pain in her heart twisted a little bit more every time reality finally came crashing down.
She gently stroked the hardened swell of her stomach.
She'd understood that carrying twins would be different, and her bump was considerably larger than it had been with Torren. Her nausea had thankfully faded, but the heartburn and breathlessness, which hadn't been a problem at this stage of her pregnancy before, had been overwhelming. Her appetite had frustratingly dwindled along with her ability to exercise. Her emotions were all over the place, but what distressed her more was how her condition was beginning to affect Torren.
She could still hear John's voice, could still see his handsome face as he'd asked Torren to make her smile whenever she was sad. In the first few days, it had melted her heart as her son had tried to carry out John's wishes. But as the weeks dragged on, it had become harder to endure and her emotions had quickly gotten the upper hand.
He'd stopped asking for his 'dada' when she'd burst into tears. Since then, Torren was more subdued around her and his soulful, dark brown eyes watched her every move.
Never had she resented their almost telepathic connection more than she did now.
After that, for his sake, she'd readily agreed to have Torren stay with his many willing Uncles and Aunts. He needed time away from her and her tumultuous emotions. But he wasn't the only one whose attitude had changed towards her.
As her bump had grown, many had started to regard her differently, treating her with kid gloves, falling silent whenever she'd entered a room. It was utterly suffocating so she'd retreated to her quarters, but there was no sanctuary to be found there. It only served as an agonizing reminder of John's absence.
She sighed, long and deep. Once again, sleep would evade her. Perhaps a long warm shower would help.
She pulled the bed covers aside. As she passed his side of the bed, something red caught her eye. It was one of his shirts, fallen down behind his chair.
She carefully reached down and picked it up. The rumpled red and white plaid flannel was one of his favorites.
She brought it to her face, her eyes slipped closed as she inhaled deeply.
It was faint, but it was still there. It still smelled of him.
Her strength evaporated, and she sank down into his chair.
Jennifer had said that thirty-six weeks was the term for twins. She was already eighteen weeks gone.
Would John be here to see their sons come into the world or would she hear their first cries alone?
"Where are you, John?"
But silence was still her only answer.
She bowed her head, buried her face in his shirt, and wept.
To those of you that are reading my stories for the first time, please make sure you read The Legacy of Janus and Blood of the Heir first. To those that have, welcome back! I'm so sorry that it took so long but … I won't bore you with the details. I just hope it was worth the wait. As always, please let me know what you think.
My thanks to my ever patient friend, Firedew, who is kindly acting as my beta once again. Without her, this would've probably been on its 100th rewrite by now.
Aerial backflip: Also known as the 'Flynnstone flip'. Named after the guy who first created the move, Flynn Novak.
Ronon's surfing hand gesture is one you may have seen Joe Flanigan and Jason Momoa make a few times. It's called the Shaka and originates from Hawaii.
Usual Disclaimers apply; I don't own any of the characters, or the Stargate world…that is purely for MGM's pleasure. I am merely playing in it for a while.