This is a disclaimer.
AN: tigriswolf made me do it! I don't even like Stargate: Atlantis!
Life On Mars
"I am not convinced this is wise, John," Teyla says doubtfully.
"I know it's not wise," Rodney snaps. "You have no idea who this kid is! Anybody can have the Ancient gene. He might be an imposter. He might be a Goa'uld! He could be plotting to kill us all right now."
Everyone turns to look into the room the boy is sitting in. He's perched on the edge of the cot, eblows resting on his legs, staring down at his upturned hands. They'd stripped him and put him in coveralls because he was carrying a gun, a sealed plastic tube of salt, three knives, a small ball of string and a ballpoint pen. Rodney had insisted that the pen was probably the most dangerous item of the lot, but so far Zelenka had only suceeded in looking like an idiot in front of the other scientists as he ran tests on it.
"What's that in his hand?" Rodney demands.
"His talisman," Ronon says. "I gave it back to him." The steady glare he levels at his friends dares anyone to object. Of them all, he got furthest when questioning the stranger: brief details of his life, a mention of a little brother, an angry denial of any knowledge of how he came to Atlantis. John suspects Ronon likes him, understands him a little. Respects him, even. Ronon has a healthy respect for anyone who carries that many knives, understands the concept of honour and can swear in six different languages that they recognised and several that they didn't.
John has a healthy respect for Ronon's judgement. Besides, he agrees with him. The kid - no, the man - didn't do anything wrong. He just... appeared. Pretty much out of nowhere, according to Rodney.
"It wasn't like I was even doing anything important, or dangerous, or even complicated!" he says for the thousandth time. "I was X-raying that dumb chest to find out what was inside, and pouf, he shows up like a genie out of a bottle. You're telling me that's trustworthy? People popping out of thin air?"
John sighs. "Look. All the indications are that he's an innocent victim of alien technology. All the indications except Rodney's Spidey-senses," he amends when Rodney glares. "And it's possible he's a victim of alien technology because he has the Ancient gene, and has it pretty strongly. I wanna see what he can do with it. If he's a natural, he could be quite an asset to Atlantis. He nearly took me down in hand-to-hand. And no-one carries a gun like that Colt without knowing exactly how to use it, and use it well."
"He could be a crazy murdering psychotic lunatic," Rodney snaps.
Sam Carter sighs. "Tell you what. I'll talk to him again. Then I'll decide if I let you take him up."
Sounds fair to John.
He looks up when she walks in, but doesn't stand. "Colonel," he says.
"Dean Winchester," Sam says. "Correct?"
"Are you ex-military?"
He chuckles. "Kinda. I mean... my Dad was in the Corps. Vietnam. When I told one of the Marines who searched me, they told me where I was, and who you were. Another galaxy. Sam'll be pissed."
For a moment, the use of her own first name makes her blink, and then she understands. "That's your brother?"
He nods again, looks wary. Sam gets the impression that wary is Dean Winchester's default setting.
"Mine's older. Pain in the ass, I tell you."
He smiles briefly. "So you're the good cop."
"I'm not any kind of cop," Sam says. "I'm a leader with a hell of a lot of responsibilities and people who depend on me, and I want to be absolutely sure that I won't be letting them down by letting you out of those cuffs."
He meets her eyes, unhesitating, unblinking. They're surprisingly lovely, green and hazel, honest and open, and they remind her of Jack, because that's the look he gets late at night, just before dawn, when all his walls are gone and she can see straight into his soul.
"You won't be," Dean says. "I promise. And I keep my promises."
Sam can tell that at a glance.
Meanwhile, Sam Winchester is going crazy.
Well no, that's not true. Bobby is going crazy. Sam is already gone. So far round the twist he couldn't find it with a telescope. And Ruby is not helping; she keeps parroting stuff about his powers and Lilith and Dean not being in Hell that really isn't helping Sam's peace of mind, because if Dean isn't in Hell and he's not on Earth as far as any of them can tell then there's only one other option and Dean would hate it up there, he really would, he'd pitch a fit if he had to watch The Sound of Music for the rest of eternity and not have his baby close and really, all Sam can hope for is that Dad and Mom are up there too and can make him stop yelling and see sense and OK, maybe Sam is getting a little hysterical.
Breathe, man. Breathe. Pull the Impala over and breathe. Dean is not dead. Sam would know, deep in his bones. He'd know. Therefore Dean is on Earth. Therefore, Sam can - and will - find him.
Breathe. That's it.
"You want me to what?" Dean yells, his voice echoing through the jumper bay. "You gotta be outta your mind. I don't fly."
John rocks back on his heels and takes a moment to come to terms with this.
"It's not so bad," Ronon says. "He just wants to know if you can do it."
"Oh, I'm ace, I promise you that," Dean yells. "A total natural. Flying is awesome as long as you're anyone but me! I do not fly. Let me have a go at that chair thing instead."
"Listen, kid," John says. "I had to talk a lot to get you out here, let alone near the chair. You want to go home? Prove you're trustworthy. You wanna do that? FLY THE DAMN JUMPER."
Dean, much to Ronon's barely-concealed delight, stands his ground for another fifteen minutes. In the end, Sam has to order him to do it, and even then he grumbles.
"We're keeping him," Sam tells John and Ronon.
"He can't follow orders for shit," John snaps, the profanity slipping out without him even noticing.
"Exactly," Sam says happily.
When they come for him, Sam is so surprised he doesn't even fight. For one thing, they're human. For another, they're military. Air Force, not Marines, which is even stranger because the only connection he and Dean have to the military is, of course, Dad.
They blindfold him and dump him in the back of a car. Sam's a little disappointed he didn't get the full-on sack-over-the-head treatment, and doesn't hesitate to tell them so in full Dean style, but the driver just puts on some country music and ignores him. Sadistic fucker.
Evetually, there's the clanging of gates and the changing of guards and then a long elevator ride, corridors smelling of concrete, and an uncomfortable chair. Then someone takes his blindfold off.
The guy's a few years older than Dean at most, blond and blue-eyed with glasses and a brisk look. He's also in Air Force blues or whatever they're called, and Sam decides that he could probably take the guy down. Probably.
"So, Samuel," the guy says. "Mind if I use that one? Only one of my friends is a Sam, and as she's blonde and somewhat prettier than you, it's a little weird. I'm Daniel, incidentally. Anyway, Samuel. Is your brother Dean a murderous raving lunatic with a bent for bank robbery?"
"OK. So what is he?"
Sam stares. The guy is perfectly sincere, sitting opposite him at the cold metal table with an interested look and his hands folded in front of him. "Why would I tell you anything?" he asks slowly.
Daniel smiles. "I know where your brother is," he answers. "What I don't know is whether or not I can trust either of you enough to tell you. I gotta admit," he says, looking down at the file in front of him, "I want to. You're John Winchester's sons, correct? Jack pitched a fit when he found that out. He said he'd be damned if he let General Landry do anything to either of you, and Landry said he was just following protocol, and basically they're still at it. Over the phone, unfortunately. I love listening to Jack yell at people who aren't me."
"This... Jack knew my Dad," Sam says, rather dazedly.
"Apparently your father saved his life. Chopper went down in Nam, practically on top of your father and his company, and the rest was pretty much history."
Sam carries on staring.
"I could really do with a bone here, Sam," Daniel says. "You're not your father, you know. No matter what he did, it will only protect you so far in here."
Slowly, Sam nods. A bone. He can do that. For Dean.
"OK," Daniel says. "So again. What is your brother like?"
"He's... Dean," Sam says eloquently. "He's annoying and exasperating and tells me what to do all the time and he insists on pretending he's not as smart as he really is and he's kind of a slut sometimes and he really needs me to look after him because he's been through a Hell of a lot, quite literally in fact and Dad's dead and to be honest I'm not sure I even know how to exist without him anymore."
Daniel looks away quietly while Sam gets himself back under control.
"I'm gonna go have a word with Landry," he says softly, getting up. "Someone'll bring you food, and coffee. I think it's roast beef today. Mitchell requests it every other week, and sometimes they give in just to shut him up."
"You haven't asked about the police reports or anything," Sam says.
Daniel waves a hand airily. "I'm sure those will clear themselves up," he says cheerfully. At Sam's disbelieving look, he smiles. "Don't worry, I'll be back to interrogate you. Just...later. I have a brother too, you know."
OK, so Dean was forced to admit the flying thing was kinda awesome.
Daniel insisted on being in the room with Sam when they examined the box that Sam and Dean had both believed to be haunted but apparently wasn't. Sam was fairly certain that most of the SGC thought he was nuts, but then he was beginning to understand that they thought Daniel was nuts too, so that was OK. Besides, General O'Neill - Jack - was still furious that anyone had had the temerity to accuse John Winchester's sons of, well, anything.
"If it weren't for your father I wouldn't still be here," he told Sam. "Nice way to repay him, letting a bunch of paper-pushers arrest his kids."
"But you don't believe the ghosts thing," Sam says.
"I don't believe in much of anything, to tell you the truth," Jack said bluntly - unusually bluntly, Sam suspected. "But Daniel seems to. And Teal'C thinks you're telling the truth. That's good enough for me. Oh, a word of advice: stay away from Vala."
Teal'C had, quite frankly, scared the crap out of Sam. Dean would like him. And Vala makes him think of Ruby on Ecstasy, for some reason.
But anyway. The chest. It's an antique, the kind of thing Bela would have gunned for. Daniel said carbon dating had put the thing at two milennia, let alone two centuries. That, apparently, meant it was alien artefact. Any minute now it willcrack along the sides and something with two heads and a lot of nasty-looking tentacles will probably crawl out, proving that Lovecraft was right all along.
OK, so Sam isn't sold on the whole Stargate thing. They haven't even let him see it yet. And even if they had - interstellar travel is bad enough. But trying to make him believe Dean is in another galaxy? Come on.
It's not the sort of thing you say out loud to two of the most powerful Air Force generals short of the Joint Chiefs, though.
The little doctor with the glasses is running around making all kinds of adjustments and fiddling with cables and talking about intergalatic portals and reversing the polarity of the neutron flow or something similar as Daniel and Sam bend over the box. General Landry is glaring at the whole thing from the observation room, where Vala is perched on a table kicking her heels and Teal'C and Mitchell are watching interestedly and Jack is muttering about someone named Carter needing to be here for this and then Sam opens the lid and there's a light and a noise like nails on a chalkboard and then he and Daniel are somewhere else entirely.
It's a lab, but it's nothing like the one they just left. Bigger, for one. Better lit, probably because it has actual windows instead of being underground. Directly beside them, there is another box that looks exactly the same as the one they just opened, except it's in pieces and hooked up to monitors that are all blinking rather ominously, in Sam's opinion. There are several long tables littered with computers and equipment and cables, and Daniel whoops when he sees it.
"Jack is gonna be pissed," he says gleefully. "Oh boy. We're gonna have to stay for at least two weeks. At least."
"Are you telling me this is another galaxy?" Sam whispers, and then there's a yell from behind him.
He jumps and swings round in sudden hope, and then Dean's right there, and everybody else finds something else to do for a couple minutes while they hug.
"You can't keep him," Jack says.
"Why not? He's perfect. Picked up Lantean in no time. Being fluent in Latin helped with that. John likes him; so do Lorne and the rest of the men. Teal'C likes him. So does Daniel. The brother has the gene too. And Daniel thinks he's the best thing since hieroglyphs. Been talking about wasted potential all week. It's getting a little scary, actually. He's got that crusader look again."
It's a persuasive argument that she's making, but Jack stays firm.
"What about this apocalypse bullcrap?"
Sam huffs. "You're the general. You figure it out. All I'm telling you is that they would be an asset to either Atlantis or the SGC, and you know it. Besides, we've covered aliens. If you let Daniel play around with the supernatural, you might get him to stay on Earth for a little longer."
Jack stares up at the ceiling of his bedroom and sighs. "I suppose. I'll think about it. OK?"
Sam smirks to herself in the darkness. "OK."
"Another galaxy," Ruby says flatly. She doesn't seem impressed with their news.
"Well, it wasn't Hell, and I'd know," Dean said around a mouthful of cheeseburger. Then the conversation descended into a series of sighs and groans that Sam suspected were a little too close to Dean's come face for his peace of mind.
"I think Carter might've wanted you to stay," he says.
"The puddlejumpers were pretty awesome," Dean says. "And Ronon and Sheppard and the others were cool. But seriously, Sam, you saw that city. Where would I put my baby?"
Ruby abruptly turns, wanders over the road and starts kicking trashcans, swearing between every kick.
"Do you even know what half of those words mean?" Dean hollers over to her. Sam steals his fries, smirking.