Title: Sheppard's New Friend
Disclaimers: All characters are property of people who aren't me.
"As you can see, our world is rich with crops of many kinds. Everyone has more than enough and we are definitely willing to trade with others. We also love to learn about different cultures. I only hope we can come to some sort of arrangement."
John smiled. It had been so long since they came across a world open to them. "I hope we can as well, Mylar. We would like to invite a few of you to Atlantis to begin negotiations."
"Major," Mylar replied, "if you don't mind, we would like to hold a feast for you and your team. We would include the negotiations within. Would you consider this?"
"I just have to talk it over with our leader, but I don't see that as a problem. I'll go contact her now."
"Excellent! We shall prepare."
As Sheppard's team headed towards the Stargate, a little girl approached them. Her dress was tattered and her red, curly hair was a mess. Her blue eyes seemed dull in comparison to the bright sunlight. Her gaze immediately went to John.
"Hey, there," he said, taking a tentative step closer. "I won't hurt you."
"Daddy?" she asked softly.
"Major Sheppard, I believe we should help her find her family. They must be worried about her."
John nodded. "Teyla, you and Ford head back and let them know we found"
He trailed off, hoping she would reveal her name.
"Lena," he repeated with a smile. "McKay, head on back to Atlantis and brief Dr. Weir."
He noticed that as soon as everyone had walked away, Lena was standing right in front of him. She immediately wrapped her arms around his waist. "Hi, Daddy!"
Oh boy, he thought to himself. John gently pried the little girl from his waist and knelt in front of her. "I'm not your Daddy, honey. My name is John."
Lena tilted her head to one side. "John?"
"That's right. How old are you?"
"I'm this many!" She replied excitedly, holding up five fingers. "Mommy used to tell me I was a big girl." Lena looked down at the ground. "Mommy's gone now. I was looking for my Daddy. Have you seen him, John?"
"Teyla, Lieutenant Ford. We did not expect to see you back so soon."
"Nor did we," Teyla responded. "However, we found a young girl on our way to the Stargate. She seems to be in search of her Father."
"We were hoping maybe someone would know where he is. Her name is Lena."
A small, collective gasp was heard through the small town. "You must not speak of her again!"
Teyla ignored the quiet murmur. "We do not understand. The child needs her family. Will you not tell us where to find them?"
Mylar led the two away from the crowd that had started to gather. "Please say no more regarding this child. She is unholy. She is the reason her parents are gone! She wonders the countryside looking for them. I do not believe she understands what has happened to them."
"Wait a minute," Ford said. "I highly doubt whatever happened to her parents is her fault. She's a little girl. I would think there was someone in this village who would gladly help her."
"No one!" Mylar exclaimed.
Teyla glanced over at Ford. "Let us return, Lieutenant. I believe we must speak with Major Sheppard regarding this."
Ford had never seen Teyla so angry. He was just glad he wasn't the one she was angry at. "Teyla? What are you thinking?" he asked.
"Lieutenant, I do not believe the Major or Dr. Weir will want to continue any sort of relations with these people. The utter disregard they have for that little girl is something an Athosian would be banned for."
Before either could blink, weapons fire erupted all around them. John and Lena headed in the opposite direction of the sounds. "Ford, come in."
:Major, are you and Lena all right:
"We're cut off from the Gate. Head back to Atlantis and let Dr. Weir know what's going on. We'll try to find cover until this dies down."
:Copy that, Major. Ford out:
John looked back to see Lena slowing down. He quickly swept her up and carried her through the woods. He ran farther into the trees, looking around for a place to hide. Lena began squirming in his arms and he had to stop to prevent from dropping her to the hard ground.
"Lena?" He asked urgently, looking around. The weapons fire seemed to have ceased for the time being.
"My hiding place. It's this way," She said, grabbing his arm and pulling him to the left.
He nodded, idly wondering why this little girl had to have a hiding place. What really happened to her and her family? What was wrong with this insane people trying to kill her? The answers were soon to come, he hoped.
As the pair rounded a tree towards the cave, John felt his ankle twist. He cursed silently under his breath, but got up quickly and limped after Lena. John reached for his flashlight and switched it on. The little girl was surprised by the light, but led him to the back of the cave.
"This way, John! We'll be safe back here. No one knows about it."
John stared at the room in front of him. It was stocked to the brim with supplies. "Here, John!" Lena said pointing to a cushion in the corner of the cave, "have a seat."
"Are you sure we're safe in here?" he asked as he plopped onto the floor. The whole room was amazing.
"Mama and Daddy made sure I would be safe in case something happened to them. They studied a lot of the animals in the area. I was in here sleeping when they were attacked by those mean Blue Men."
As she spoke, John had a hard time believing she was only five. She was kneeling in front of him, surveying the damage to his ankle, and talking about her parents dying by the hands of a Wraith as if it were any other normal conversation.
"Is this place shielded?"
"Uh huh," she replied. "I don't really know how it all works, though."
:Major Sh... Copy:
The static of the radio made Lena jump. "It's all right," he assured her. "This is Sheppard, I can barely read you, Atlantis."
:...is Weir. All ... ight:
"I'm fine for the moment." He looked up at Lena. "Can you turn off the shield? I think we'll be able to hear them better with it down."
"Are you sure? What if they find us?"
He eyed her carefully. "I promise I won't let anyone hurt you. Please, Lena."
"Okay," she replied.
At her nod, he spoke up. "Dr. Weir, Lena and I are hiding in a cave about five clicks from the Gate."
:Mylar is saying you're consorting with an enemy:
"Did I hear you right? An enemy? Elizabeth, she's a little girl!"
:Calm down, Major. I've already spoken with your team. They said you were attacked first. There was no one at the Gate when they arrived back to Atlantis so we'll send a strike team in about a half hour to retrieve the two of you. We'll figure out how to go from there:
"Understood. Sheppard out."
He nodded. "Shield up, Lena." He watched as she gathered up a few things from the corner of the room. "We're leaving in about 30 minutes. My friends will come help us."
"John, are you really gonna take me with you?"
"I'll take you back with me so our doctor can check you over."
Lena looked at the floor. "You don't want me? I can't stay here anymore, John. Those people over there think I hurt my Mama and Daddy, but I didn't!"
John stared solemnly at her. "All right, Lena. Help me wrap my ankle and tell me what happened to your parents."
"Okay," she replied, wiping her tears with her sleeves. Lena knelt next to John and began to wrap his ankle. "Mama and Daddy were studying the animals in the area. I was swimming in the lake. I heard Mama screaming. I ran to where they were and hid behind a tree. The Blue Men were attacking them. I didn't know what to do."
"They didn't take them to their ship?"
Lena shook her head. "No. They just killed them. When the people in the village found me next to them, they told me that it was my fault Mama and Daddy were dead. They didn't believe me that the Blue Men came back."
John wondered why they would blame an innocent child. There had to be something more to this. Maybe her parents weren't just studying animals. He glanced around the room. The one way to find out was to look through their things.
"Lena. Why don't you get some things together to take with you to Atlantis."
She grinned. "Okay, John!"
Dr. Weir is probably going to kill me, he thought to himself. "Oh well, at least Lena will be safe.
Elizabeth glanced back at the men trailing herself, Ford, Teyla, and Mylar. She wondered why they were so heavily armed when the person they were seeking was only a little girl. The only reason why she agreed to let them come along was because they knew the terrain and she had lost contact with Major Sheppard.
The signal had been so full of static the first time they spoke, then it was clear as day, and now she wasn't able to get through to him at all. She definitely wanted to get his side of the story before she let Mylar's men anywhere near them.
"Lieutenant Ford, try again."
He nodded. "Major Sheppard, this is Ford. Come in." After a few more tries, they heard static and a reply. "Major?"
:Ford, this is Sheppard. We're heading towards the 'Gate. It's slow going because I had a little mishap, but we should be there in about 20 minutes:
Elizabeth stopped in her tracks when she heard the click of three weapons. "Mylar, if they open fire on my officer, so help me!"
"Stand down, gentlemen," he said, but gave them a look to be prepared.
"Major, we are with Mylar." Teyla asked.
:Stay there. We'll come to you! What's your position:
Ford told him then faced their new... friend. "Mylar."
"We will do as Major Sheppard requests," he replied.
She nodded. "Maybe you could tell us why a little girl is such a threat to your people. From what I hear from my team, she's not much in size."
Mylar inwardly sighed. He did not want to talk about this in front of the three men from his village. They would not understand why he and the council did what the did. "That is a long and involved story, Dr. Weir."
"So let's hear the Cliff Notes version," McKay insisted. Mylar looked confused. "Just summarize what happened."
"Very well. Lena's parents were explorers and loved to study the ecosystems, plants and animals. It all fascinated them. Our people do not study these things. Whatever is on our world, it was put their by our Goddess so we do not question or study it. They told us that the Blue Men, as Lena called them, had returned.
"Naturally, no one believed them. We created a story that the Goddess had possessed her parents and Lena would soon follow. When they were killed, we told our people that Lena was the one who killed them as she was progressing down the same path. However, there is nothing wrong with the child."
The two men looked utterly shocked. And Elizabeth couldn't exactly blame them. They had been lied to by their town council. "Mylar…"
"Lan, I cannot speak for the council, but for my part, I am deeply sorry."
Lan nodded and turned to the other. "Let us return to the village. We are no longer needed here. Our people must know the truth."
As soon as the men walked away, John limped into view, holding onto Lena for a little support. "Hey guys!" he called.
Ford rushed over to help him. "Major. Are you two all right?"
"We're fine." John glanced up at Mylar. "What the hell is he doing here?"
"That's a long story, Major Sheppard," Teyla replied.
He shrugged. "Just give me the Cliff Note's version." They stared at him. "What?"
"Are you certain you want to back, Lena?"
The young girl nodded. "I am, Lizabeth."
"Even after the way they were treating you?" she asked.
"Yeah," Lena replied. "Not all of them were bad. And my Daddy's cousin is gonna to take me in. She said I can visit John anytime I wanted too! Can I see him now before I go? I wanna tell him the news!"
Elizabeth smiled. Lena had become so attached to the Air Force pilot and vice versa. It was almost difficult keeping them apart for Lena's short stay in Atlantis. "Of course. He's with Dr. Beckett right now."
The pair found the man in question on one of the beds. He looked a little cross as Dr. Beckett was bandaging his ankle again. "I don't care, Major Sheppard. If you want your sprain to heal, you'll have to stay off your left foot."
"What seems to be the problem, Major?"
"Major Sheppard seems to think he can walk up and down the stairs of Atlantis without the aid of his crutches. The swelling hasn't gone down at all."
Before Elizabeth could say anything, Lena ran over to him. "I was going to let you meet my family and see my new house, John, but I won't let you if you don't use those!"
John sighed. "Fine, but I don't have to like it!"
"No one ever does, Major," Elizabeth said with a smile.
Lena looked back at her cousin, then up at her new friend. "John, will I ever see you again?" she asked
He carefully knelt in front of her. "Of course," he replied. "I'll visit you whenever I can. We're going to be trading food and other things with your people."
"And we can play games together when your ankle gets better! We'll have a lot of fun!"
"Definitely!" John said with a smile, standing.
Elizabeth joined the pair. "Lena, you are welcome to visit us at any time."
"Thanks, Lizabeth! You guys were so nice to me. Thanks for helping me get my family back!"
"It was our pleasure."
Again, she looked back at her cousin. "I'd better go. Behave, John, and listen to Dr. Beckett!"
"I will!" He promised.
Elizabeth and John watched as she ran off. "Penny for your thoughts?" she asked him.
"I'm glad she ran into me. She makes being lost a little worthwhile."