Title: Virgin Suicide
Author: LJ user "Starrylizard"
Characters: original character (Heightmeyer, Sheppard, Beckett)
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Rating: Teen - warnings for adult or dark themes and angst (no death)
Notes: This was originally started for the sgaflashfic virgin challenge. The idea for this being that of a "gene virgin." Kindly betaed by Rinne.
Summary: He stepped to the edge of the platform…
He stepped to the edge of the platform, staring down from the tower to the endless expanse of ocean below. He shivered slightly, clutching the still silent piece of technology to his chest. Perhaps, he thought, it would work if he was in need. Perhaps if he just believed strongly enough, the gene would finally activate within him and he would win. He'd never lost anything in his life. That was how he ended up here; they only took the best of the best of the best, and that was what he was. Surely something as insignificant as a single gene couldn't let him down. He couldn't, wouldn't let himself fail like this. He was better than this. He never failed, but now the city was mocking him; mocking how far he had come, mocking his perfection, his brilliance, and he couldn't abide by that.
He stepped off the platform, falling without a sound toward the ocean below.
As he was falling through the air, he realised the device still wasn't responding to him and he was going to die, but at least he had tried. For the first time he could remember he had failed, but at least he wouldn't have to live with it.
Dr Kate Heightmeyer looked carefully at the man in front of her, taking in his straight-backed military-trained posture, his steady intelligent gaze, but it was his eyes that gave him away; the slightly mad gleam just below the surface, as if he knew the secret to life itself. It wasn't anything new; she'd seen that same look often enough now, but she thought that she'd never be comfortable with it.
"So you know why you are here. Why did you do it?" She kept her tone neutral, quiet. She knew the answer she would get. It was always the same.
The man looked straight at her, but he was obviously not seeing her, instead the memory was playing in his mind's eye.
"It doesn't matter why. I just had to. That's all. I couldn't fail."
His eyes focussed on Heightmeyer's own, that same look of almost religious zeal that she'd seen so many times now stole across his face. "She saved me. I belong here and I will protect her with my life."
He'd been so sure of himself, sitting patiently with the other soldiers outside the Daedalus' small medical bay, waiting for the gene therapy to take effect. After a few hours, one of the medical crew had walked along the rows of men and women. The man had quietly handed each waiting soldier a small crystalline cube. He watched to see if it lit up at their touch and carefully marked a tick or a cross next to their name on his list, before taking it back and moving on to the next person in line.
He'd never doubted the cube would light up for him. He never lost at anything, never failed, and yet when he touched the cube, there was no response. No green light. Nothing. "Sorry son." The medic had sounded genuinely sad for him, as he placed a small cross next to his name and tugged the cube from his unresisting hands. He watched, slumped against the wall now, as the woman next to him made the cube glow green. He clenched his fists at his side, his jaw suddenly tight. He had failed. He never failed.
He felt the wind rush past him, hard enough that he couldn't even get the breath to scream. He let go of the useless shield device he had held clutched to his chest, hoping against hope that the test had been wrong, the cube somehow broken, the gene therapy effective. He was wrong.
Then, inexplicably, he was losing momentum. A gentle light surrounding him as his headlong rush into the ocean slowed until, barely moving at all, he floated gently toward the nearest pier. Unharmed, even as he knew he had just tried to kill himself, but how? He curled into a tight ball, clutching his knees to his chest, the spray from the ocean quickly soaking him through to the skin, and he laughed uncontrollably.
"She saved me," he whispered.
"She saved me," he screamed to the night.
When the medics arrived to fetch him, Beckett just shook his head. "You know the drill lads. Let's get him to the infirmary and then we'll alert the Colonel and Dr Heightmeyer."
Beckett leaned over the man, even as he continued to grin and whisper over and over again. "She saved me. She accepts me."
"Aye, that's right son. Atlantis accepts us all as we are and she doesn't appreciate people jumping from her towers. Let's get you inside all right? It's a tad chilly out here."
He'd watched, as the medic had handed a copy of the list over to the Captain, who had nodded his thanks and begun to work his own way along the line of soldiers. The Captain congratulated those with the gene, patting the successful gene-bearers' shoulders and discreetly handing them a slip of paper. The Captain didn't stop in front of him. He had failed.
It hadn't been hard to get a copy of the paper. The new gene-carriers were all too happy to gloat. There was to be an initiation ceremony, a true test of the gene they now carried for all of those brave enough to try, they told him. Of course, they all thought themselves brave.
They'd stepped off the tower one by one, each holding a small shield device that Dr McKay had apparently reverse engineered from a similar Atlantian device. The small shield's inertial dampeners would prevent them from coming to harm and they whooped with joy at the rush they received from stepping out into the bright Atlantian sunshine, secure that the gene would protect them.
He'd watched, unnoticed from the sidelines. Rejected by his own body's inability to accept the gene. Rejected by the city they called Atlantis. He had made up his mind then to return later that night. To once again test himself. He had to have the gene. He couldn't fail.
Dr Heightmeyer emerged from her office to find Colonel Sheppard waiting in the corridor. She slid the door closed behind her.
Heightmeyer sighed, looking weary. "He's your man. That's the second jumper we've had from this lot. The other one is unstable. I suggest sending him back. This one is all yours. He'll defend the city with his last breath. She saved him."
Sheppard nodded. "Good, I'll alert Weir and have the Lieutenant assigned to a team."
The psychologist nodded, still not at ease. Sheppard inclined his head. "Look, I know you don't like this, but you knew this would happen anyway, and as long as we power the safeties on the tower, no one has to get hurt."
Heightmeyer dropped her gaze and pinched the bridge of her nose as Sheppard walked away.