Disclaimer: Stargate: Atlantis and all characters therein are the property of MGM. This story is for entertainment only and the author is in no way profiting from it, nor exercising any claims to Stargate Atlantis.

Title: A Time to Heal

Author: Pyrodragon2006

A/N: This is a new story I've been toying with for a while but didn't have time to write. Its independent, but does take place directly after the episode Common Ground, so major spoilers! I'm still working on Fate's Fickle Humor, but my muse has a fickle humor, too, so its slow going. This one is for my beta, my sister, Cindy, who turned 19 today. Happy Birthday!!!

Teaser Chapter... A Time to Die

A short time into the future...

John came awake to a nightmare, trapped in darkness, some sort of rough cloth covering his eyes, but the position of the rest of his body was all too familiar. His hands were bound down to his sides as he sat in a chair, the rough metal of the shackles biting into his wrists as he instinctively began to struggle. Shackles also rubbed at his ankles, keeping his legs secure, and sending his half-lucid mind spiraling down into the depths of uncontrollable panic.

No! Not again, never, would die first! Must get out, get away, run-!!

He jerked his body around wildly, to be free the only thought, heedless of the pain or the slick blood that began pouring from newly torn flesh, or the agony stabbing through his head.

Hands! Hands touching, pulling-! No!

He would not be Kolya's toy, an amusing diversion until he finally found the release of death, then thrown away, discarded where no one would ever know his fate. Fight! He had to fight until he got free, found a way- or forced them to kill him. He seized on that thought, using it to boost flagging energy. Mustn't let them near, let them take the blindfold off to force him to watch death come once again. This time he might break... He would stay, hide, in the darkness. A voice tried to intrude, to trick him into stilling, coming out, but he would not allow himself to weaken and hear what it was saying. What he was saying.

His body betrayed him eventually, desperate flailing around slowing, then stopping, as strength ebbed. Hands were on him again, sending alarm, along with overwhelming fear, coursing through his veins, but he could no longer even keep his head up. Cloth was pulled away, allowing bright light in as well as agony spiking through his head. His vision blurred, colors and objects running together, making no sense, so he squeezed his tortured eyes shut despite the pain the move caused. A light touch near his right eye and subsequent shaft of shooting agony, galvanized him to resume the frantic, and useless, squirming as he jerked his head away. John attempted to curse, yell, insult whoever had him, but this time he'd been robbed of his voice as well. An attempt to swallow added his throat to his growing list of pain as it throbbed and burned mercilessly, reminiscent of the morning after screaming his throat literally raw at the homecoming game. This time, it wasn't so pleasant. Even his slimmest illusion of control- his ability to insult and make light of things- gone. Pressure on either side of his face stilled his head, and he sensed a presence just in front of him. The energy he had momentarily found had fled once again, leaving him too weak to break from the grip.

"Look at me!"

The stern command in that cold, demanding tone sent cold shock to his core, bringing with it the welcome veil of unconsciousness, but also dreams of safety, of Atlantis...