Questions and Answers – Amaruk Wolfheart

Spoilers: set during season one, "Poisoning the Well"

Warnings and Pairings: none and none

Notes: I've decided that I'm tired of waiting for a positive Wraith fic to show up and, since I now know how to properly upload stuff (thanks, Daine!), have deduced that the only thing left to do is take the matter into my own hands. Here is the result. 10/2/10: The only changes that have been made are fixing the formatting (basically the dividers that ff decided to eat) and a slight alteration for clarification.

-Rutile's Spectacularly Amazing Disclaimer- The writer of this fic owns absolutely nothing. Deal with it. The End.

One of Dr. Carson Beckett's assistants pushed a small metal cart into the room and over to the still form on the table. She tried to move silently, and winced when one of the cart wheels squeaked. Immediately, she berated herself for behaving so childishly. Admittedly, she'd never been alone in a room occupied by a Wraith and it made her nervous – even if the Wraith in question was undoubtedly dead.

Major Sheppard's team had captured the Wraith, then used it as a sort of guinea pig to test a drug that the Hoffan people were trying to create – a drug that would, hopefully, prevent a Wraith from feeding on a human vaccinated with it. The results had been disastrous. Half of the Hoffan people inoculated died, and so had the Wraith that Major Sheppard mockingly referred to as "Steve."

Gingerly, the assistant pulled back the edge of the sheet covering the dead Wraith's head, revealing a face even paler in death. She had gone with Dr. Beckett several times to collect tissue samples from the imprisoned creature for work on the vaccine, and the Wraith had made quite an impression.

She studied the face. It was not contorted in pain, as she'd half-expected, but virtually expressionless…except for a hint of a smirk. A smug, mocking, triumphant smirk. The assistant found herself wondering whether human prisoners who died (whether inadvertently or not) at the hands of their captors looked this way: almost taunting their jailers that they could no longer be interrogated or questioned. As a matter of fact, the longer she looked, the more pronounced the faint emotions became.

The assistant again realized her thoughts were wandering. What was the life of a Wraith like anyway? They, the humans, knew next to nothing about Wraith culture, beliefs, family structure (if any)… Only their technology and how to kill one were of real importance to the military part of Atlantis, and to most of the scientists as well. Few people at all seemed to think of looking at Wraith culture.

It made her wonder… Were the two races really all that…? She let the thought trail away. The Wraith were the enemy – nothing more.

Dr. Beckett's assistant continued to stare at the corpse. It seemed as if, at any moment, its chest would rise as it breathed again, the eyelids slit open cautiously, calculating, and the limp hand under the cover clench into a defiant fist.

The dead Wraith was almost trying to speak… She could just barely hear its silkily quiet voice laced with arrogance and contempt…

"…Are you brave enough to ask the question...?"

The whispery voice seemed to echo in the empty room, hanging on the air, taunting her. She bit her lip, starting to feel rather foolish, but that smug look challenged her, ridiculed her. She could almost hear the Wraith's soft, cold laughter. The assistant realized that she was gripping the edge of the cart so tightly that her knuckles were white. She swallowed the growing lump of uneasiness in her throat and asked.

"Are we really all that different, humans and Wraith?"

The corpse's faint smirk appeared to widen into the condescending grin it had so often favored the major with in life. She found herself sweating now, palms slick on the metal cart, and the Wraith knew. Its voice was mocking.

"…And are you brave enough to hear the answer…?"

The assistant leaned forward slightly, almost inexplicably afraid of what that answer might be, but equally eager to hear it. Her eyes were wide and her pulse quickened in apprehension. Her muscles were so tense that she was actually shaking. She could almost see those vicious yellow eyes opening, the pale lips forming an answer…

Dr. Carson Beckett walked in, briskly pulling on a pair of latex gloves with two snaps that were eerily loud in the near-empty room and badly startled his assistant. Her head jerked up in surprise and the cart almost crashed into the table.

He commented on her frightfully pale face and nervous manner, suggesting that she get a glass of water and take a moment to calm down. She nodded distractedly and hurried out of the room, away from the dead Wraith. She heard the other door, the she'd entered through, open again and Major Sheppard say something to Dr. Beckett, but she didn't stop to listen.

- . - . -

The assistant later stood on one of Atlantis's balconies with a half-emptied glass of water in one hand, letting the ocean's cool breeze calm her. Surely she'd been letting an overactive imagine get the better of her, even hallucinating… And yet, she could not force the Wraith's voice from her mind, nor could she ignore the question she'd asked it.

"…Are we really all that different…?"

She jerked again in shock, spilling the rest of her water into the ocean. It was the Wraith's voice again, echoing her thoughts, but it was gentler now, musing.

"…Perhaps… Perhaps not as much as we thought…"

"Perhaps," the assistant agreed aloud. Then the Wraith's voice (or spirit, or consciousness, call it what you will) was gone. She could feel its absence in the way one feels a sudden change in light that one cannot see. She took one moment more to watch the waves of Atlantis's sea rise and fall then went inside.

- . - . -

The corpse was still there – lifeless, cold, expressionless. The smirk had faded away, and it no longer seemed close to life. Its voice did not return, but its words remained…

Maybe… Just maybe… Could it be that we are not so different after all…?