Authors Notes: 1. I am very grateful to Fugacious Love for editing this story.
2. This story was written for sgaflashfic 'secret superpower' challenge.
Warning: Religious people, or those who find 'old fashion values' offensive/inconvenient shouldn't read this story.
This is a little story which happened not very long after the events described in the 'Instinct'.
And in which I'm cheating.
Atlantis, one of the Southern balconies, afternoon.
Radek was sitting at the very edge, swinging his legs over the three-hundred-feet abyss, soft wind moving his fluffy hair.
"Here you are, Doctor!" Lorne didn't dare to come any closer – there was no railing around that balcony. "You've got us all worried."
The scientist didn't move. "Had you ever thought that both Testaments are the Books of Human Failure?" he asked softly.
"I'm the last man who'd know, Doctor. I'm not a philosopher, I'm a soldier. This place is full of PhDs - worried PhDs for that matter. Dr. McKay was still hiccupping when I left. They told us you disappeared right in the middle of Dr. Weir's office. Why wouldn't you come with me and talk about the Testaments with…"
"The worried PhDs wouldn't be able to see me right now."
"Look at your detector." Zelenka didn't turn his head.
"How do you know…?" Lorne began and stopped, looking at the life-detector in his hand. It was a single life-sign right in the middle of the screen. His own sign. According to the machine he was alone. "But I can see you," Lorne said uncertainly.
It was a quiet laughter. "You have a special power."
"Right. Special power to see scientists who use one Ancient device to blind another."
"I'm not using a device. My mother taught me this."
"Taught you what?"
Radek sighed. "I was very small when I was a kid. Very weak. Easy target for bullies…"
"Bullies like me. Why wouldn't you get away from that edge, Doctor? It gives me the willies just to look at you."
"You never were a bully," the little scientist said with great conviction and continued, "So my mother told me that when I'm scared, I should say: 'Evil, don't see me.'"
"Uh huh. When I'm scared, or ashamed, or… very sad, I can make people… lose me. When my father died I was invisible for days. Only my mom could see me. She was a very kind woman…"
"So you're saying…"
"That you're kind. That's why you can see me now."
"I killed thirteen people, doctor. I…"
"Did you enjoy it?"
A body with a bloody mask instead of a face lies on the sun-baked clay…
"No! What sort of a question was that? Who could enjoy that?"
Zelenka shrugged. "There're those who could. Come, sit with me," he tapped at the floor next to him. "I'll be invisible for another twenty minutes or so."
Lorne approached cautiously and grimaced, looking into void below the balcony. Then he placed his P90 and life-detector on the floor, and sat down, not too close to the edge, leaning back, resting the weight of his body on his arms. "How come you're not afraid?"
"I'm not afraid of heights." Radek looked at his companion for the first time and smiled. "So tell me, do you really believe that when God commanded Abraham cut the throat of his son, he expected to hear 'sure, my Lord'? Or Abraham should've said 'no pain you inflict on me, my Lord, can make me harm a child'? Not the child, not my child, but a child? Meaning any child? Wouldn't that make us equal to God? Wasn't that what God really wanted?"
Lorne cocked his head to one side. "It was not our people who killed that guy. It was the Wraith-girl. Entire thing was an accident."
Do you really believe that? Radek's stare was saying. He sighed and turned away. "Let me tell you a story. A fairytale. Once upon a time lived a doctor, who had a special power. He lived in old Warszawa and worked in a hospital, and wrote books. It was difficult times, right between two great wars. Many orphans survived on the streets by stealing all they could steal. So, the doctor had pity on one of those children and brought him home. Then he brought another one, and one more… It wasn't long before the government decided to give him some old building, so he could organize a school for those orphans.
"Then all hell broke loose. The country was invaded, and invaders didn't see any reason to keep those parentless children alive. They put the kids on a train and sent them to a concentration camp. The Doctor didn't have to go with them. He didn't have to, but… he joined the children on that train." Zelenka was silent for a while. "You know, I used to hate that guy."
"Because I thought he was a lie. That there're no people like him. That I could never, ever be like him…"
"How did they escape?"
"They didn't," Radek moved his shoulder. "The children and the Doctor were killed in a gas chamber; their bodies were burned and used as fertilizer."
It was a stunned silence, the soldier looking at the back of the scientist's head with a betrayed expression on his face.
"You cheated. That wasn't a fairytale. That guy, the Doctor, didn't have any special power."
It was a sob, or a snort of quiet laughter. "Like our good doctor Beckett says – aye. I cheated. That was not a fairytale. But the Doctor had a special power – he was kind."
"You know what? That guy who adopted the Wraith-girl wasn't a hero. He was a fool! And kindness is not a special power!"
"Here, in Atlantis, it is. Very special." Zelenka turned his head to his companion, his eyes twinkling behind the glasses. "I walked to this balcony through the corridors full of people – and you were the first one who was able to see me."