AN: this is a re-hash of my old story 'Bad Vodka', I was never really happy with it so I decided to give it a new lease of life, and about 2000 more works! Oops. I'd really like to know what you think, and I hope it make much more sense now. It is a lot longer than before and there's an actual plot now too. I'm hoping to get part 2 done before I go on holiday in a few days but if not It'll be done as soon as I'm back in a weeks time. Seriously though I really do hope you like it. Its not beta-ed but I read over it loads of times if you find any mistakes let me know so I can fix them- cheers.
John sat alone in his darkened room- he didn't want the lights on. Lights are for good people, people who are kind and true, not cold killers like him. He didn't deserve to sit in the light where everyone else sat; the darkness was where he belonged. He'd know this truth since his first kill. Not a missile fired from a plane but his first real kill. When he'd seen the whites of his victims eyes, how they'd clouded over first with disbelieve, then confusion and finally defeat. He still saw the face of that young Afghan mans face in his sleep; the shocked face of his first kill so that now...the nights were all he had. In the daytime he was Colonel Sheppard hero of Atlantis, at night he was John- just John. But only when he was alone, never in company. He couldn't afford for his team or the people of Atlantis to see him as he really was. A man who would kill a child, for that Afghan could not have been much older. Oh he knew it was needed; it was kill or be killed back then- still is now, but even knowing that he still felt like a monster. So he protected his team, Elizabeth and Atlantis from himself. He let them think that he would always be there to save them, to play the hero. He sat alone for his men's moral; they did not need to see their commanding officer as he truly was; broken and alone.
He sat thinking… well trying not to think actually. The past few weeks had really taken their toll on him, physically and emotionally, he felt totally drained of life, as surely as if a Wraith had fed upon him. He would never admit to this perceived weakness, he only allowed himself to feel it now, because the warm glow from the enormous amount of alcohol he'd drunk had numbed his senses. He was used to losing men, especially after Afghanistan… yeah bad memories, ouch. The last time he'd seen his old 2CI they been trying to escape from some godforsaken Wraith hive ship above some poor unsuspecting planet. Ford had not been seen since, but he hoped he was still alive… somewhere.
It should never have happened though. He should not have allowed Ford's games to go on for so long, he'd put his team in unnecessary danger. If only he'd been more aware, been a better leader maybe, just maybe Rodney McKay wouldn't have been forced to take the Enzyme. He blamed himself, he should have done his job better; hell he's supposed to protect his team, protect Atlantis but he found he couldn't. Aiden Ford had been changed beyond recognition of the energetic vibrant youth, who'd teased him about going through the gate first time. It was all his fault. Fortunately there were no lasting side affects for Rodney, not physically at least. John suspected that the psychological effects would last a good while for poor Rodney. He'd would try and do his best to be there for his friend although he doubted he'd be able to do much good.
He couldn't shake the tightness in his chest when he though of Rodney taking the damn Enzyme back on the planet. He should never have been in the position where he felt compelled to drug himself up to rescue the team. He was supposed to be safe and warm and protected not running around punching bad guys in the head. John was supposed to be with his team right now, they were having a team movie night (his idea) but he couldn't bear the though of being with them right now. Laughing and joking around, not after he'd failed them so spectacularly. And so instead of watching star wars episode three- again, he was sitting in the dark drinking alone. He traded some cheap vodka from one of the Russian scientists, it only cost him a copy of war and peace he was never going to finish reading anyway and realistically when would he have the time to read a book?
So there he sat alone in his room, not having slept for over thirty hours unable to calm his mind of it woes, drinking and hoping that perhaps if he drank enough he could forget everything and get a good nights sleep. Maybe even a night free from nightmares. His internal demons were driving him to drown them in the finest vodka (labeled, Stalinovy Slzy) available. He lifted the almost empty bottle (or is it a just bit full?) to the rim of his glass, sloshing a bit over the side. The clear liquid dripped down the outside of the glass in teardrops, slowly sploshing onto his tiled bedroom floor with a soft drip-drop noise.
Someone was knocking lightly on his door. He figured it wasn't important or else they would have used the radio to contact him. He ignored the intruding bangs. Whoever it was could damn well wait until morning. When he'd sobered up a bit. They were persistent he'd give em that. Finally the knocking stopped. He scrubbed his face with his hand thankful that the knocking had stopped and drank a little more, a few drops escaping his uncooperative mouth dribbling down his chin. He heard the door of his room hiss open and sighed, he really just couldn't be bothered to turn around and he ask whoever it was to leave. He hoped they would get the message. Lets face it, sitting alone, glass in hand in the dark does not advertise come to my place lets party. Apparently whoever this was had missed that memo because they stood in the door way, letting the light filter into the room. Chasing away the darkness, forcing it to hide in the shadowed corners of the room. Leaving John feeling exposed.
"Mind if I come in?" he knew the voice, the melodic lilt it had; it reminded him of the ocean gently crashing upon rocks and sand at dawn. Of light breezes caressing chestnut trees, lightly quivering the uppermost branches, loosening old leaves until they fell evenly to the ground.
"You already have, Beckett." He said deciding nonchalance was the best cause of action. He wanted solace but he could not afford to take it, he left his answer open for interoperation anyway.
Carson was worried about Sheppard; the Colonel had been off his game recently. His spies had informed him that he'd been skipping meals and spending more and more time alone in his quarters. He knew the Colonel wasn't sleeping, so did anyone else who'd looking at John's face over the last couple of days. It was fair to say that Carson was deeply concerned about his friend's mental state. John internalized everything, putting emotions into boxes and locking them away. Carson knew form experience that there were only so many places to hide those boxes, and some were just too big and demand to be opened.
He guessed the reason for Sheppard's lack of sleep was because he was worrying about the latest mission which had gotten totally FUBAR. However Carson had made it quite clear that McKay would be alright once he had gotten some rest now that the Enzyme had been broken down into his system. Ronon and Teyla had minor injuries, scrapes and bruises from beating the hell out of each other and their blood works had come back clear of the Enzyme. The three of them were currently holed up in the rec room, with enough popcorn to sink the bloody Titanic. Yet the Colonel was absent from the fun choosing to sit alone in his gloomy room. Carson was now fairly certain of Sheppard's state of mind. From what he could see the pilot needed a friend more than he needed a Doctor.
He looked at Colonel Sheppard's profile as he walked across the room, the door sliding back into place engulfing the small room in Darkness once more. John sat on the corner of his bed facing the far wall; his shoulders slumped, with a glass in his hand sitting there with not even a candle to chase the shadows away or to show the expression on his face. Carson could only guess at his expression, but the cold despondent voice etched with pain helped to paint a picture. It was not a happy picture. He saw the almost empty bottle of Vodka knowing exactly where it had come from as he had traded a decent CD album for a bottle only last month after his little stint as Dr Mengele. He shivered slightly when he remembers how close they had come to loosing Sheppard. How close he had come to killing John. The Colonel had been there for him, supporting him, reassuring him that it wasn't his fault. Now it's his turn to be a good friend.
"You've been drinking." he said as much to himself as to John Sheppard.
he didn't mean it to sound like an accusation after all, if he'd been through what Colonel Sheppard had the last few months he'd need a drink too, but he know the Colonel had taken it as such when he saw his shoulders slump even further. Sheppard did not turn around to face Beckett, his body language speaking volumes already. He hated feeling so exposed, so open. Alcohol always made him feel vulnerable but it was calming too.
"Yes, as a matter of fact I have." He spoke with defiance but the words were not harsh, but soft and almost broken.
"Are you OK?" asked Carson kindly.
"When has drinking alone ever been considered okay?" John asked, a note of annoyance in his voice. He allowed himself a smirk, when he imagined the Doc's face after that comment. He had to admit though, he did have a point. Carson shrugged of Sheppard's incredulous question and asked his own.
"Aye well… can I join you in a wee drink?" he asked tentatively expecting to be told to piss off and never come back.
"Go ahead; I've probably had enough anyway." Sheppard answered fairly.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Carson asked sympathetically as he pouring himself a strong measure while Sheppard took another long slow gulp from his glass. Carson couldn't help but notice how the Colonel's muscles in his arms and shoulders rippled as his took a drink but Carson tried not to think about how sexy drunk Air Force guys were, especially this one. This was hardly the time for unrequited love, even if he'd been secretly praying to get John drunk for months.
"No. Not really" answered Sheppard after he'd finished taking a good long drink of strong vodka straight up.
"I know the last few weeks have been tough but that no reason to punish yourself John." Carson tried to reason with the man Drunk though Sheppard clearly was. He was swaying slightly as he sat on the edge, keeping his face away from Carson. Beckett had plenty of experience with petulant and depressed drunks; you don't grow up in the UK without knowing a fair few! He guessed at what was bothering John and when Sheppard answered forcefully he knew he was right, John felt guilty. He always has the world on his shoulders… or more appropriately the galaxy.
"Punish myself!" Sheppard nearly laughed out loud! The absurdity of the Doc's comment, what else was he supposed to do? It was his fault Rodney had gotten hopped up on the Enzyme and overdosed! His fault Aiden had been left on that wraith ship. If only he was a better commander he could have saved McKay, saved Ford so that by now Ford would be at home recovering with his family, his grandparents and his cousin. But he wasn't a better CO, heck he shouldn't even have this damn job. He only had Atlantis because of his genes. He had a command because he killed his CO, yeah like that didn't haunt him. Hell, he'd only been promoted because of Elizabeth, she hadn't told him, but come on last time he'd checked there were bets on when he'd be busted back to captain! the air force would never have promoted him if she hadn't threatened them with something. He didn't know what it was, but he knew she had friends in high places. Yes that was Lizzie- friend, leader, diplomat… blackmailer.
John raised his glass to his lips and polished off the contents, the vodka burned the back of his throat slightly as it went down. It had burned helluva lot more earlier, but he was pretty much completely numb now. He put his now empty glass on the floor emotion filling him he hung his head in his hands trying to hold back the tears he knew would soon flow. He snorted and wiped his eyes to keep the tears a bay. He felt so miserable and alone… he was always, always alone. There really was only so much comfort to be had in random space bimbos. He longed to belong to someone, to be loved by another; he knew he did not deserve it so he didn't look for it. Men like him, they live alone and they die alone. It was another of his truths. He wished that there was something else he could do to ease the pain, the vodka had helped by numb most of his body but it could not numb his heart.
Dr Beckett crossed the few feet between them quickly and sat down next to John on the bed. There was a distinctive sound of clinking glass as Carson put his full drink down next to Sheppard's empty one. John's face was buried in his hands and he didn't even bother to look up when the kindly doctor placed a heavy and warm reassuring arm around his shoulders. John allowed himself to be drawn into the embrace leaning his muscular body into the doctor's warm side. He had not been held like this for a long time; too long. He felt his bottom lip wobble and instead of silent tears he now sobbed softly for the loss of something he'd never had. After a moment the quiet crying eased to nothing more that wet eyes and the odd sniffle, he look up, staring at Carson Beckett whose own eyes spoke of nothing but concern for a dear friend.
Carson just couldn't help himself seeing such a strong man, one of their leaders on this crazy expedition, so broken it almost broke him too. He was a doctor it was his job to heal people and right now his friend clearly needed to do some healing, if Carson could help then he would. He sat there his arm still loosely around John Sheppard's shoulders not really knowing what to do. He didn't care about appearances and whether this was inappropriate behavior for an Air Force Colonel and a civilian doctor, he did what felt natural so pulled John into a full all encompassing embrace both his arms encircling his friend. John rested his head on Carson's shoulder and felt a rush of gratitude towards him, he could feel his eyes begin to sting again. Carson needed to let Sheppard know that it was ok to be feeling bad, so he spoke nonsense platitudes into the mussed hair near his lips.
He could feel John's warmth next to his body and he felt John shaking through the cotton of his t-shirt, hear the muffled sobs. When John looked up again he saw such pain and loneliness in his gorgeous, expresive hazel eyes which were now red and puffy from crying it made Carson want to love him forever, reassure him and just be there for him in any way he could.
Carson felt a rush of emotion for John, gazing in to his eyes, Carson realized that he would do any thing to save this man beside him. He put his hand up and wiped the tears from John's cheeks a small smile forming upon his lips, he now understood that in his capacity as doctor he had seen Colonel Sheppard with no clothes on but never naked, until now.
"You'll be alright." It was much more of a question than a statement of reassurance, and Carson wondered who he was trying to kid.
John didn't know his eyes contained that much water and with his heart fit to burst he let it all out as allowed Carson to hold him tight. The weeks of worry, self doubt and lack of sleep all rushed out in one release. He look up at Carson and saw the doctors eyes fill with concern for him, he'd not seen eyes look that way at him for many years. Not since his mother had been alive. As Carson leaned in and wiped the tears from his cheeks John felt embarrassed, he'd never cried like this before, certainly never in front of anyone.
He ran a shaky hand through his hair messing it further,
"I'm fine now, thanks." he managed to sound reasonable composed he though, which considering he was emotionally distraught and drunker than an Irish man on St Patrick's day was rather impressed with himself.
"I think I'm gonna try and get some sleep." John shifted his weight and felt a chill when his side lost contact with Carson's,
"I should go." Said Carson then he too moved and stood up.
John followed suit and raised himself of the edge of the bed where they had sat with some difficulty. His movements slow and sluggish, he guessed he was really quite drunk.
"Do you need a hand?" asked the doctor a note of amusement in his voice, as he reached down and helped Sheppard to his feet. John stood his hands on the good doctor's arms to support himself. Carson held onto John as he swayed his hands holding John's arms mirroring the Colonel's stance. He held his gaze and looked deep into those hazel eyes and felt something stir deep within himself and he knew that he wanted the man in front of him, to love him and to hold him. Before he could think about what he was doing he leaned in and kissed John lightly on the lips. It was little more than a chaste brush, he caught john's eyes and kissed him again. He tasted the salty tears mixed with vodka and wrapped his arms around John and when he felt John do the same they kissed intensely for what seamed like an eternity. Carson pulled back and looked john in the eye, as he did, john fell to the floor his legs no longer able to support him and the doctor realized just how drunk John Sheppard was.
"Steady now, you're okay." He pulled John roughly up and onto the bed the other man almost unconscious by now. Skinny though Sheppard was he was a complete and utter dead weight when inebriated. He is going to have the hangover from hell when he wakes up thought Carson as he took John's heavy boots off. He carefully positioned John's limp body on the bed so that his head was turned to the side to prevent him from choking on his own vomit should vomiting occur. Which given the mostly empty bottle of Vodka on the floor Carson thought it was likely.
He looked at John's smooth almost child like face as he pulled a blanket over him and wondered what would happen tomorrow when the veil of darkness and drunkenness passed, would anything change between them; would John Sheppard still want to kiss him? To be honest Carson doubted that John would remember much of the evening.
As he turned to leave John stirred "please… don't go, not yet."
"I've just got to go and check on the rest of ya team, I can come back later if ya'd like?" He really did want to stay and take care of John but if anyone saw in the morning, well Sheppard's career could be over; he wouldn't risk it for the sake of a drunken kiss. He'd check in on Sheppard before he goes to bed and again in the morning. He doubted his skills as a Dr would be needed but his skills as a friend might be.
"No, its okay…" Sheppard mumbled from under the covers. He swiped the door panel and let himself out, making his way towards the rec room for a cup of coco with the team before making sure they all get to bed at a sensible time of the night.
John couldn't believe he'd kissed Carson, what the hell was he thinking… oh right drunk, so not thinking. How would he be able to look him in the face now? Shit! He'd totally blown it. He'd liked Carson for ages but being in the military he could not peruse it. Beside he didn't deserve someone as nice, caring, loving and handsome as the Doc. The Doc deserved someone special like Elizabeth or even Rodney. Not some screwed up, killing, flyboy. Oh god, he'd cried too. Carson would never speak to him again! His thoughts were fuzzy and incoherent, he was having major trouble remembering things. He recalled kissing Carson but he couldn't remember the events which followed. He figured since Carson had just ran out the door that he wasn't all that impressed by John's kissing technique. Oh god, what if he's not gay? What if he tells Elizabeth? He career would be over, and he have lost a good friend. No, he refused to lose anymore friends. He couldn't, wouldn't go through that again. There was just too many hurts, too much pain.
He made a snap alcohol induced decision; he needed to end this once and for all. He reached into his bedside cabinet fumbling around for the two packets of Tylenol he knew he had there. He found them hiding behind his gun oil. He pressed the small pills out of the silver foil packaging dropping one or two onto the floor. He swayed the entire time, barely able to keep his head upright, his neck felt like rubber. Tears streamed down his face and he hiccupping through his shame filled sobs. When the last pill was freed from its confines he retrieved Carson's full glass of Vodka from the floor spilling over half of it onto the bed covers. He placed the bitter tasting pills on his tongue one after another, washing them down with Beckett's unfinished drink. The empty glass toppled from his floppy hand to the floor, smashing into three large pieces and a few scattered fragments. Time had no meaning for him as it played with his mind, slowing right down so that even simple tasks seamed to take a lifetime to complete and then spurting forwards in a rush making his dizzy.
In his drunken haze another though crossed his mind and he picked up the largest piece of broken glass with his right hand, he stared blearily at the glass as it twinkled in the moonlight coming in from his window. He regained his composure enough to question his actions, but when the image of Sumner's head snapping back, his dead husk falling to the floor he pushed aside his reservations and let the alcohol coursing through his veins take control of the situation as only alcohol can. Taking it from bad to worse. He swiped the sharpest point of the glass across his left wrist slowly. He winced a bit as the glass cut but fortunately his nerves weren't up to much at the moment otherwise it would have hurt much more. The cut was shallow at first but gradually got deeper and he progressed across his wrist. His blood oozed and turned crimson red as it became oxygenated by the contact with the air in the room. He watched with morbid fascination as blood trickled down into his hand, forking off to weave tracks down his fingers. It dripped steadily from the side of his palm, tinkling on to the floor. Time was playing tricks again and it seemed to drag on for hours. He was having some difficulty keeping his eyes open, his lids fluttered shut the dizziness made him lose his balance and he fell down onto the bed. He curled up, drawing his knees o his chest and he pulled the covers over him with his right hand, concealing his self-inflicted wound from view. He waited for the dizziness to stop as he lay on his side facing the wall away from the door. He soon drifted into a peaceful dreamless sleep.
(the vodka Stalinovy Slzy is a real make from the Czech Republic it means Stalin's Tears- in case you were wondering)