I don't own Atlantis.

This is partly inspired by the song "Safe and Sound" by Taylor Swift. I wrote this when I was feeling like crap so sorry if it's a little depressing. No mean comments please, this is written to help me feel better.

This is AU, where Helga is the villainous mastermind behind stealing the crystal and Rourke is a better person than he was in the movie.

You'll be all right
No one can hurt you now

"Move out!" And with that, Helga's two trucks started off across the bridge, the rest of the crew too stunned to do anything but watch. Only when they reached the other side did Milo snap out of it and run after them, Vinny yanking him back mere seconds before Helga detonated the bombs. A disheartened Milo stared helplessly after them, tears forming in his eyes.

"I'm such an idiot." he whispered softly, "I'm sorry, Kida." He didn't even flinch when a large hand came to rest on his shoulder.

"It's not your fault, Thatch." Milo finally looked up to see the owner of the hand. Commander Rourke. "We all got duped, myself included. She was using us the whole time, Milo. There's no way you could've known that." The look on the linguist's face was heartbreaking, even for the war veteran. He turned to the rest of the team.

"Go check on Sweet and everyone at the palace." His order was stern and solemn as he put an arm around Milo. "Come on. Walk with me." Milo nodded and let Rourke guide him away from the bridge, the Atlanteans parting to let them through.

They came to a stop in a secluded area beside a pool where fireflies danced on and above the surface. Rourke took a seat on a large stone slab, gently pulling Milo down beside him. Almost immediately, Milo leaned against the larger man's side, his eyes still watering. Rourke carefully dried his tears, taking the young man's glasses and cleaning them with his shirt before handing them back to him.

"I should've seen through her, Milo." he said, "It was my job to keep everyone on this trip safe and to recognize threats. It's what I was trained to do."

"But I'm the one that led her here." Milo said.

"Unknowingly." Rourke added, "Based on your line of work, you've probably never been tricked or used by somebody to achieve their own ends."

"Except when they rejected my proposals."

"Well now you know they were wrong, Milo." Rourke stated.

"Fat lot of good that does me now." Milo shook his head, "I wouldn't have told them anyway, to protect the Atlanteans. I just didn't expect one of us to be the one to kill them." He shook with that statement, "Atlantis is going to die and it's all my fault. Jeez, I'm so STUPID!" Milo slammed his fist into his hand, his tears finally coming out. Rourke couldn't take this and pulled the linguist close so his face was buried in Rourke's shoulder as sobs racked his small body.

"You're not stupid, Milo, you're anything BUT stupid. You're just like your grandfather, seeing only the best in people. Which makes you easy to take advantage of, yes, but it doesn't make you stupid."

"What do I do, Rourke? I wasn't prepared to do this, to deal with a traitor. I don't know what to do now." Milo stared at his feet again while Rourke thought for a moment. There was only one piece of advice he knew to give. It was from the military, but it just might work.

"Fight them." Rourke said, "It's the last thing a traitor like her would expect from somebody like you. When she left, you looked completely defeated. Broken. No longer a threat. That's her weakness right now, Milo. You can use her own strategy against her."

"What strategy? What do you mean, Rourke?"

"I mean looking like you're not a threat. That's what she did the whole way here, so we never recognized the threat. Well now she doesn't recognize the threat you pose."

"I don't pose a threat to anyone except maybe a fly. I'm weak. Pathetic. I-" Rourke cut him off.

"On the contrary, you are more dangerous to her than me. You're intelligent, analytical. You think fast, which can mean life or death in a crisis. Ever battle I've ever seen was won because of someone like you knowing when, where, and how to use grunts like me. She may have the firepower, Milo, but she doesn't have the intelligence needed to use it right. And, you know more about this place than anyone. There's gotta be more than one way out of here. How did they build that bridge in the first place, flying?" Milo's eyes suddenly lit up as if he was remembering something.

"Flying...Rourke, you're a genius! Come on, let's go get the others." Rourke easily kept up with the scholar, despite his confusion as to what Milo was talking about. He figured Milo wound explain it once they found the others.

Don't you dare look out your window
Darlin' everything's on fire
The war outside our door keeps ragin' on

Flying actually WAS Milo's plan. He instructed everyone on how to operate the Atlantean stone fish vehicles, called Ketaks and Martags. The former were the large ones with glowing eyes, the latter were long and narrow.

Witnessing the king's death seemed to have reignited the ember of Milo's spirit, and being charged with saving Atlantis had turned it into an inferno. His brown eyes blazed as he yelled out his rallying cry as the entire armada rose into the air, Rourke's Ketak gliding alongside Milo's Martag as they shot toward the cave that led to the volcano's base.

The first sign of their enemy that they saw was the enormous Gyro-evac already rising into the air with the crystal dangling from underneath it as Helga's hands steadied the container rising out of the truck.

Then she saw them.

"THERE THEY ARE!" Milo yelled. As if on cue, the battle began. Bullets filled the air as the armada broke formation, dodging gunfire. Engage all hostiles, Rourke's mind said. And after watching Vinny, he quickly found the Ketak's weapon. With military precision, he aimed and fired. But not at the soldiers. Instead, Rourke targeted the crates of ammunition near each group of soldiers, limiting their resources. He also targeted the rocket launchers that had been set up to fire at the flying craft. One gunshot seemed to cut through the air more than any other, and Rourke saw why when he looked in the direction it, along with the scream that followed it, had come from.

Milo's side turned red as his hands flew to it and he cried out in pain, the force of the gunshot throwing the linguist into the side of his Martag, which rolled onto its right side while turning back around toward the Gyro-evac. The roll caused Milo to fall out of the Martag, down toward the gondola...right into the hands of Helga's enormous goon, who had no problem grabbing the scholar's injury, making him scream again. A bullet whizzed by Rourke's head and he quickly took out the flying machine pilot who fired it. From the corner of his eye, he saw Helga drop a weight onto Audrey and Sweet's Martag, destroying it. Thankfully, Mole was there with his Ketak, which they jumped onto and flew away.

On the balloon, Helga pointed her gun at Milo's head as her goon held him against the railing with his arms twisted behind his back. Milo's face was twisted in a look of agony caused by both his injury and the way his arms were being held. As Helga raised the gun, Rourke took aim and fired his Ketak's weapon. The energy bolt knocked the gun out of her hand and sent it falling toward the floor of the cavern.

Enraged and unable to reach Rourke, Helga instead whirled around and slammed her entire foot into Milo's gut. He immediately doubled over and fell to his knees, his head bowed toward the deck as his now freed arms wrapped around his midsection, coughing and gasping for air. Between Helga and the goon, Milo would be dead within minutes.

Not on MY watch! Rourke whipped his Ketak around and swooped low to the deck and jumped off, landing with one foot on either side of Milo, who now lay curled up on his side. The goon recoiled, not prepared to fight a man almost the same size as him. He was a challenge for Rourke in that he was younger and stronger, but Rourke was more skilled and overtook him quickly, throwing him off the side and onto an unsuspecting plane pilot.

At the same time, Rourke's Ketak collided with Milo's out-of-control Martag, simultaneously taking out one of the secondary balloons, causing the huge craft to start dropping. Panicking, Helga started throwing barrels off to try and lighten the load. While she was distracted, Rourke swept up Milo and jumped over the side. A piece of debris from the Ketak or Martag had wedged itself in the balloon's propellers, allowing Rourke and Milo to get down to where the crystal hung. But they only got a second's rest as they heard the sound of glass breaking. Helga was climbing down toward them with a fire axe. Rourke tried to shield the injured linguist with his own body, but the top of the container wasn't large enough for all three of them. Before Rourke could think of something to do, the smaller man disappeared over the side.

"Thatch!" Rourke yelled.

"Oh, did the baby of the group fall?" Helga said mockingly, "Better get down there, Lyle." She swung at him, making him lean backward over the edge, "He's gonna have lots of little owies when he gets down there." Rourke barely dodged her second lunge as he swung on the chains to the other side of the container. Now their positions were reversed. Helga pulled her axe out of the side of the crystal container and turned to face him.

"Too bad," the woman taunted, "I actually liked you, Lyle."

"Don't call me that." Rourke growled.

"What, Lyle? It's a nice name." She stepped backward, preparing for a wide angled blow he knew he wouldn't be able to dodge.

Instead, she dropped the axe and screamed in pain, clutching at her ankle. Rourke stared in shock for a moment as she began to change, her body crystalizing, turning her into some terrifying creature from a nightmare. And then Rourke saw the cause of her transformation.

Milo. Brave little Milo, clinging to one of the chains for dear life, a piece of crystalized glass in his hand. He was obviously starting to lose his grip, his side still bleeding, sweat coating his skin. As Helga finished her transformation, Rourke grabbed Milo, wrapping an arm around his chest and hauling him up to the top of the frame, just beneath the balloon. Helga stood looking up at them with fiery pits that used to be her eyes.

"I think we're okay now." Rourke said. Milo nodded, Rourke's strong arm being the only thing holding him up. Suddenly, Helga leapt up onto the frame. Rourke thrust his arms out to brace himself against the shift of weight, realizing his fatal mistake just seconds too late.

"NO! MILO!" he yelled, unable to do anything but watch helplessly as the linguist fell away from him, getting smaller and smaller. Rourke winced when he saw Milo hit the ground, his body crumpling on impact. He felt his eyes sting when Milo just laid there, motionless, where he'd fallen. Above his head, the piece of debris came loose from the propellers, setting them spinning again. When Rourke shifted his weight to look at Milo, the frame's opposite side was raised toward them.

And with it, the crystalized Helga. She gave a last shrieking cry before the blades shattered her, the flying shards finally cutting the chains and freeing the crystal, which plummeted to the ground. Rourke managed to shove it out of the way as the flaming balloon crashed down where he had just been. The others landed with their ketaks and began attaching the crystal to one. But Rourke frantically scanned the area until he saw a small crumpled form lying nearby. He ran to it and sure enough, it was Milo.

He had obviously broken bones and received a new, bloody wound somewhere. He whimpered softly in pain, and Rourke dropped to a knee beside him, taking the smaller hand in his own.

"I fought back, Rourke." Milo gasped and choked out, "Just like you said."

"You did so good, son." the commander nodded. This was heartbreaking, seeing the once energetic and determined linguist so badly hurt and in so much pain. He was trained to expect such pain and get through it. Milo wasn't, and it showed in the quiet sobs that shook his tiny form now, the tears that rolled down his face as he struggled against his pain just to breathe. Biting back his own sob, Rourke brushed the hair out of Milo's face and straightened his glasses for him. Suddenly, the ground started to shake. Rourke carefully pulled Milo against him, trying not to hurt the young man even more

"The volcano...She awakes!" Mole cried. The Ketaks and Martags started taking off again. Suddenly, the hook and loop the crystal was attached with broke off. Rourke quickly ran to it, wrapping the chain around it and securing it.

"GO!" he yelled to whoever was flying the Ketak as lava started bubbling and bursting out of the ground. As the Ketak started off again, Rourke's eye was drawn back to the dying linguist. He knew he couldn't just leave him here, Milo deserved better. He ran over and quickly scooped Milo into his arms. Then he leapt onto the crystal container, holding on with one hand, the other arm holding Milo tight against him so he wouldn't fall again. The lava flowed mere feet under them, but Rourke held fast to Milo, determined not to let him fall again.

You and I will be safe and sound

As soon as they were back, an Atlantean pried the container open, releasing the crystalized Kida. But Rourke was oblivious to all of it as he took Milo to the outside of the crowd and gently laid him down.

"We won, Milo." he said softly, "Look up. See the crystal? We won." His eyes filled with tears as he said it, though.

"Atlant-tis...s-safe?" Milo asked.

"Yes." Rourke croaked out, "Yes, Milo. You saved Atlantis. Your grandfather would be so proud of you." Before he could stop them, he felt tears leave his eyes. A shaky hand reached up to dry them.

"L-Lyle...don't..." Milo said, "Not over m-me..." This had the opposite effect, as Rourke couldn't even make himself say "don't call me that." In truth, he didn't mind it coming from Milo. He shut his eyes and squeezed Milo's hand against his chest. Milo felt the powerful heartbeat beneath the man's muscular chest and the warmth of Rourke's large hand around his own. Rourke thought back on the entire trip, and how protective he'd become of the linguist, who now lay dying in front of him. Shaking his head, he lifted Milo up to lay against him, brushing the man's hair out of his face again.

"Don't, Milo." he said, "Don't leave me here alone." Where had that come from? It was so unlike him, and yet, after spending an entire trip with Milo, it was hard to imagine separating from him.

"I have nobody." Milo said softly, "The museum will say I am crazy and have me either locked up or chained to the boiler. My family is dead. I am single. I have no one to love." Me shut his eyes sadly at the last part.

"Wrong again, Thatch." Rourke said. "I don't think you're crazy. If you got locked up, I'd bust you out. And you have someone to love, Milo." He leaned in closer, "You have me." Yes. Now it all made sense. He'd fallen for the scholar, and he'd fallen hard. There was no sense in denying it. If he couldn't keep Milo from dying, he at least wanted Milo to know what he felt.

"Y-You, Lyle?" The commander sighed. How easily Milo could break his resolve.

"Yes, me. I love you, dammit, and I'm not just gonna sit and watch you die. Where the hell is Sweet?"

"Milo?" said a woman's voice. Rourke turned and saw that it was the princess. Kida, as Milo had called her.

"He's dying." Rourke said, "Please, there's gotta be something you people can do. Please, help him. At least take away his pain." He moved aside and Kida saw what he meant, and she couldn't stop her eyes from watering. Such an innocent young life didn't deserve to end now, especially not with what the larger man had just said. They deserved to be together after what they'd just been through, willingly and knowingly risking their own lives for her and her people. Even now, Rourke carefully dried the tears and blood from Milo's face, their hands still linked as their own doctor shook his head sadly, saying he could administer treatment, but Milo would die before he was done.

"Lyle..." Milo rasped, "It's okay."

"No it's not, Thatch. This is not okay! Get it through your head. I. Don't. Want. To. Lose. You. Not now, not ever, got it?" He wasn't actually angry. He knew Milo was struggling with everything he had just to remain conscious. But putting on the facade of anger was the only thing keeping him from bawling his eyes out right there.

Suddenly, the Crystal sent out its beams of light again, one of them slamming into Rourke as if it were solid and knocking him aside. It stopped on Milo, the other beams rushing to join the now white beam of light. Just as Kida had been, Milo was slowly lifted upward, his eyes closed as if he were asleep. The pain was completely gone from his face, and while Rourke wanted Milo back down here with him, he was comforted to know the scholar was no longer in pain. If this was his death, at least he didn't suffer.

But unlike Kida, Milo didn't become bonded to the crystal. Instead, its light became so bright, it was blinding and obscured him from view. The stones spun around it as they had for Kida, and the light grew even brighter, until a loud crack, like a sonic boom was heard. Then everything was dim and still again. A single beam of light shone down. And then Rourke saw why.

This beam was carrying Milo.

His eyes were still closed, a blissful look on his face. But what brought out gasps of awe was the fact that his wounds were completely gone, as if they'd never been there. As he got lower, Rourke saw that Milo now had an Atlantean crystal pendant around his neck. Cautiously, the commander stepped into the light and held out his arms, receiving the fully healed Milo. When the beam disappeared and Milo's weight dropped into his arms, he wasted no time hugging the small man close. Milo blearily opened his eyes.

"Lyle?" he whispered. The man could only nod.

"It was not your time." Kida explained, "You are still needed in this world and you have much ahead of you."

"Kida, I don't know if he-" Rourke was cut off when Milo threw his arms around him.

"Thank you, Lyle. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have fought Helga, and Atlantis would be dead." Milo's smile faded for a moment.

"I wish I could be with you that way, Lyle. But I can't go back to the surface. There's a war on, and they'll be initiating the draft soon. You know someone like me wouldn't last in the army...I'm sorry, Lyle, I really am." Rourke knew he meant it and he was right about the draft. If he was forced to enlist, Milo would never come home alive.

"Then I'll stay." Rourke said, "I'll stay, here in Atlantis. With you."

"Lyle...are you saying you would give up all you've ever known, everything and everyone you have up there, all of that...just for me?" Rourke nodded.

"Without you, all of that means nothing." Milo smiled. God, Lyle loved that smile!

"Then you're going to need this." Milo opened his fist to reveal a second crystal pendant. Rourke bent down and let the linguist slip it over his head. Then Milo threw his arms around Lyle again, and this time Lyle hugged him back, holding him close to his heart, running his fingers through soft, smooth brown hair. This was happening! This was real! And it only became better when he heard a soft, almost whisper.

"I love you, too, Lyle."

To Rourke's surprise, the rest of the crew was happy for them. Milo and Rourke said their goodbyes and received many "We're really gonna miss you"s and a can of bacon grease from Cookie, which neither of them was eager to take, but Milo did to be polite. The two sat with the crew and Kida for one last photo before the others piled into the large fish shaped craft. As it lifted off, the wind from it ruffling their hair, Milo turned to Rourke.

"So, what about the paycheck you would have received?" he asked. Rourke simply put an arm around the linguist and hugged him.

"I don't need money anymore. I'm already the richest man in existence, because I have something far more valuable than money. You." Milo smiled and jumped up into his arms. He gladly hugged the small man close as they looked out over Atlantis.

They had found the paradise neither knew they sought. The Atlanteans gladly provided them a home, clothing, food, and anything else they needed. Rourke knew there was some sort of imminent war on the surface, and he was thankful they had Atlantis, a place that was basically another world. Where finally Milo, HIS Milo, would never be hurt or insulted or made a fool of again. At last, he knew Milo was Safe and Sound.

I know, this may not be my best, but it was mainly written to make me feel better on a day when I felt like total crap. And it achieved that goal, so no flames please.