Title: foreshock

Disclaimer: not my characters; just for fun.

Warnings: AU in a major way

Pairings: pre-McShep

Rating: PG

Wordcount: 485

Point of view: third

In Pegasus, they found the people weren't that different. They were harder, and hardier, less inclined to play around but not above games. They welcomed strangers with a wariness only the war-torn nations back home had, but only rarely turned them away.

"We need friends," Dr. Weir said, in the quiet way of all earths. "We are strangers here, Colonel Sumner. We don't know this galaxy."

"We don't need anyone but ourselves," he replied, flames dazzling across his palm. "We'll bring this galaxy to heel."

John looked from one to the other, then turned away. They'd work it out, and Colonel Sumner had made it clear his place was only as a light-switch, so he'd go play nice with the geeks. Maybe after, he could sneak away for a test-flight in Pegasus air.

Atlantis sang to him as he walked down the hall, trailing his fingers on the wall. Welcome, welcome, son of Air, she whispered. We have missed you.

"Ah, Major," Dr. McKay said as he strode in. "Touch this." He held out some sort of… something. It looked kind of like a toaster.

John took it from him, turning it over in his hands. On, he thought at it. Nothing happened. He shrugged, giving it back to McKay. "Not working."

McKay frowned down at it before placing it on the table. "No matter," he said. "Next!" He grabbed something else and John looked at the table, full of shiny Ancient toys to play with, most of which were probably broken.

Oh, yeah, he'd go flying later. He'd have to, just to decompress.

"So, what's Pegasus like?" Dr. McKay asked without looking up from his computer.

John shrugged again, examining an Ancient marker. "Kinda like Earth, really," he answered.

McKay snorted. "That's about right," he grumbled.

Flicking a glance at the scientist, John said, "I don't think I told you this earlier, but thank you." As McKay raised his head, John added, "For saving all our lives."

McKay's mouth opened, but he kept silent, like he was searching for words. After a moment, he said, "It was nothing. Just another day at the office, raising Ancient cities from the depths of the sea. Nothing."

John hid his smile by ducking his head. "So, you're pretty powerful, then?"

McKay perked right up, saying, "Strongest water on Earth." Then he admitted, "Though, having all that ocean around did help some."

Chuckling, John said, "I bet." Smirking, he mused, "You know, we're not on Earth anymore. Some of the natives I met, they were elements, too."

McKay glared at him, but it didn't seem that serious. "Well, thank you for that tidbit of knowledge, Major." A smile lurked in his eyes. "Touch this." He held out another doohickey; John took it.

"I'm gonna go flying later," John told him. "You wanna come with me?"

"Actually," McKay replied, jotting down a note, "I've been meaning to go swimming."