Castles in the Sky


Stealth Dragon

Rating – T for torture and emotional angst! Very, very Gen.

Disclaimer – I do not own Stargate Atlantis or its characters. I am making no money from this. Sheppard isn't mine but I sure wish he was.

Summary: At last! The "Shep as an abused slave" story I have been promising. Sheppard is captured and to be a slave to the wraith. It becomes more than a matter of survival, but also a matter of keeping his sanity.

A/N: Guess what. This story is beta'd! Thanks to Lauriel01 and Drufan for their help and continuing help in this. I really need it as this fic was quite the pain to write. It is completely written and partially beta'd, but there are plenty of chapters left to be beta'd so for that reason (cringes), not counting the first two chapters, chapters will be posted once a week until I feel it safe to post twice a week. This was a really hard story to write and I want to make sure that everything is working out before I get gung-ho about posting numerous chapters. Apologies for that. I don't know when I'll be able to post more than one but I promise I will eventually.

Also: This fic was my most challenging of all the fanfics I've written to date, and a bit of a step off the beaten path for me. It is not a story to be rushed through, it is the kind that must build. And though there is plenty of good whump there's even more angst. This is not a whump for whumping's sake kind of fic. It's also set in season three, so Carson is still around.


It was a matter of someone's survival, which was for damn sure. Sheppard hauled ass slapping branches, twigs, and foliage in general from his face. The mutant-mosquito whine of a dart stayed with him like his shadow and the hum of a culling beam was always inches closer the next time it projected. John chanced a glance up to get the dart's position and fired a barrage of bullets from his P-90. He was pretty sure it had about the same affect as a bunch of bees swarming a grizzly. He would have sold his soul for something bigger, like a rocket launcher.

John pulled his attention back to his surroundings in time to leap over a fallen log. Sweat poured down him in rivers and flew off his face in fat drops. He about gave himself a shiner wiping salty moisture from his stinging eyes. Joining with the cacophony of whining darts and humming culling beams was the drum-beat thumping of his jack hammering heart. His respirations trying to keep up with his circulation made every breath sand-paper scraping his throat raw.

Twigs snapped like whips into John's face until he tasted blood at his lips. His radio crackled.

"John!" It was Teyla. "We have the villagers in the cave."

It was about damn time. Sheppard dodged, a sharp right out of the path of a culling beam. "Good! Keep them there! I'm going to try and make my way back to you!" Which would be easier said than done. Military training obstacle courses weren't as sadistic as this forest. All the plant-life was doing a sufficient job in beating the snot out of him.

John made another hard right backtracking to the caves. Minerals in the rocks hid life-signs and made it impossible for any wraith to beam in or beam anyone out, or so said the villagers. McKay had confirmed it with a few readings.

John wove; ducking, jumping and all around making himself a hard target. He wasn't a stranger to multi-tasking and ducked a branch while tapping his com. "All units head back to the caves! Secure the caves!" They'd just needed time for the villagers to get to safety. Mission accomplished, so John switched from running as bait to running for his life.

A sphere of electric blue skimmed centimeters from John's chest. He skidded but didn't stop, scrambling into a left turn away from the source. He crashed through shrubs shredding leaves and branches, and stumbled over a hidden pot-hole in the ground. He'd been running for who knew how long and he was hitting the limits of his reserves. If his heart beat any harder, it was going to explode.

Pulses of blue light whined past his ears and knocked the bark off of trees. John whipped his P-90 back and returned the favor, ducking chips of wood flying at his face.

"Colonel!" Lorne. "What's your status?"

"Really freakin' busy!" Another pulse forced Sheppard to drop to his knee into a roll that landed him back to his feet and back into a run.

"What's your position?"

Sheppard feinted left and the next ball of energy passed harmlessly over his shoulder. "What the hell did I just say? Stay where you are, I'll come to you. And quit talking to me!"

"Sorry, sir."

John would have sighed if he had the breath.

Legs pumping and arms swinging, Sheppard finally burst from the forest into the short grass of the meadow. The way was open, but his cover was gone, and darts flitted above him like circling vultures, only a hell of a lot faster. He could see the cave entrance several meters away, hear the cracking patter of P-90s and someone shouting for someone else to take position at their four-o'clock.

Then he saw them, his men, his team, scattered in front of the cave-entrance like lions defending a carcass. John smiled through the pain of his exertion and scraped every last dreg of energy he had, shoving it into his muscles, forcing extra speed. He was almost there. A few more meters, a few more heartbeats, breaths, almost there and he promised himself a good collapse.

"Sheppard look out!"

John didn't know who had said that and didn't have the chance to find out. Pins and needles exploded at his back spreading fast into his arms and legs. He flew forward, his sight going black as his body dropped to meet the ground.

It never did.

His final sight was the flash of a culling beam, its hum the last sound he heard as he was sucked into black oblivion.