Title: Thursday's Child
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Rating: PG gen teamfic
Summary: Four childhoods.
Author's note: Thanks to siriaeve for the beta. This fic is just me trying to get a grasp on the characters in my head, so I'd welcome opinions.
Nobody believed him when he told them, but John had been a shy and withdrawn child with no friends and no interests beyond spending time in his own head. It took years for his parents to train him to "get his head out of the clouds". To smile when people talked to him, and pay attention to a world that was far less interesting than the one he could imagine, the one where he could fly. He knew his smile must seem fake, and that his words were a repetition of clichés. Everything was only an act. He couldn't tell if he was relieved or disappointed when he realized several years later that no one cared.
In her head, Teyla made up stories about what really happened when you were taken by the Wraith. Her favourite was the one where they chose her because of her pretty necklace, and brought her up in their ships and made her a Princess. She would talk them into not scaring people anymore, and then come back and bring lots of food and beautiful clothes to Athos. Then Kanaan's little sister and mother were taken by the Wraith, and now when she allows herself to think of those fantasies she gets a sour feeling and closes her eyes against the shame.
Ronon's mother was kind, but always tired and she couldn't cook. On his way home from school, Ronon would detour into the woods and gather wild herbs and plants. There were always a few grandmothers and grandfathers out there doing the same. They would show him where the plants were, then rely on his keen eyes to spot the more difficult ones in repayment. When his mother lay down because of her headaches, Ronon would sneak into the kitchen and add his treasures to their evening meal. It made their meals palatable, but he fell out of the habit when he discovered that sweet carup syrup tasted good on just about everything.
Before his sister was born, you would never hear a word of complaint from Rodney. His parents decided when he turned three that he was old enough for them to stop responding to his tears and tantrums, and after two weeks of endless screaming from the boy, he seemed to get the message. When his father lectured him on fractals he listened, his blue eyes focused and his hands in fists at his side. But when Jeanie was born, she needed so much more care than her brother. It was on their third trip to the hospital for Jeanie's persistent cough that Rodney learnt other people would listen.
When he was six and his minders had found all his hiding places in both houses, John's favourite place to disappear was the barns. He got used to the smell of horses and manure while looking for all the out of the way places where a little boy could wedge himself and not be bothered for ages.
One day, he climbed the wall of Ivory's stall, using the tack much like he did the handholds on a jungle gym. His foot slipped as he was getting over the edge. He fell and Ivory was upset and stepped on his arm. There was an explosion of pain and everything went black for awhile. The pain wasn't so bad when he woke up, so he went back to the house and washed and changed for bed like the big boy he was, knowing if he said anything they would never let him in the barn alone again. But the pain of what he later learnt was a broken arm got to him, and he didn't know how to lie yet so he told. He regrets the padlocks they put on the barn doors for the rest of his life.
One day, Teyla was shoved hard by Turin, one of the boys she played with. She sat, her butt smarting, wiping angrily at the tears pooling on the edges of her eyes. The stick she grabbed slipped in her sweaty, tear-streaked palms, but the smack of it across Turin's ankles was satisfying to her five-year old ears. It was worth the punishment of digging up smelly rekko roots for dinner.
They wouldn't let her join the stick classes at first; she was too young. But when she appeared every morning at the back of the clearing where they trained, home-cut sticks clenched in her chubby fists, the instructor gave up one day and went back to correct her form.
Ronon had an imaginary friend. Jacken was a tall, fierce warrior. His sword cut through Wraith armour as easily as it did the tree branches they needed to build a fort together. He and Jacken would sneak through the house using Jacken's stealth skills to steal cookies and surprise his father who was always reading when he was home. They would go on adventures in the forest, pretending to walk through the gate to other planets. There would be giant monsters to fight, grateful villagers to rescue, and Wraith to kill. Ronon got in trouble at school for fighting like Jacken did. His parents only sighed and asked him not to call his teacher a witch.
Jacken always kept seventeen knives in the mane he called hair. Ronon thought that was very cool.
Rodney was given a doll when Jeanie was born as a "psychological tool" whatever that meant (it took him several days to figure out how to spell and look up the words in the dictionary and even then it didn't make much sense). Rodney took the plastic doll apart on the first night and endured the scolding from his father when he had to put it back together for him. The next day, his mother and sister arrived home from the hospital. After that, Rodney didn't see the point in carrying around a fake when he could have the real thing. He would put the doll in the cradle or crib and carefully gather Jeanie in his arms, supporting her head like all the baby books he had read said too. They would go and sit in his favourite chair, and Rodney would ask her how she was doing, waiting for the day when she would be able to respond.