The Veil

Author: ShaViva

Rating: T

Content Warning: Mild swearing, adult themes

Season: October, season 5 ... after Outsiders, slightly AU, you'll see how when you read it.

Summary: The couples on Atlantis begin to suffer episodes of apparent sleepwalking as they are drawn to a deserted part of the city, and it soon becomes apparent that there is something sinister lurking in the city of the ancients. Halloween story! Features the full cast.

Classifications: My best attempt at Horror along with some Romance ... what a lovely combination!

Pairings: John/Teyla; Ronon/Keller; Radek/OC; Lorne/Cadman

Spoilers for: Minor references to Quarantine; Daedalus Variations; First Contact/The Lost Tribe

Acknowledgements: Wikipedia for some very basic information about Halloween.

Disclaimer: The Stargate characters, storylines, etc aren't mine. I am unfortunately not associated in any way with the creators, owners, or producers of Stargate or any of its media franchises – if I was we'd be seeing them on TV for some time to come *sighs dejectedly*. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, equipment, etc are the property of whoever owns them. The original characters and plot and anything else I made up are the property of me, the author. No copyright infringement is intended.

Copyright (c) 2009 ShaViva

oOo

Author's Note:

This story is completely written - I'll edit and post a chapter a day with the idea that it'll be concluding on Halloween Eve. This is my first attempt at this kind of story - the idea came to me the other day and I just had to have a go writing it - so please be kind! I'm still planning on starting posting of my next Lorne background story soon too, for those who are waiting for that. Okay, on with the story.

oOo

Chapter 1: John and Teyla

"Teyla?" Sheppard woke with a start, sitting up and squinting into the darkness. It was quiet and for a moment he felt disorientated, like where he was wasn't where he expected to be. And then he remembered. Teyla was on the mainland visiting what remained of her people. She'd taken Torren with her, leaving John to spend a rare night alone in their quarters. It was Kanaan's turn with their son and Teyla always lingered, still not used to returning to the city without the boy.

Shaking his head, the Colonel slumped back in the bed. It still surprised him how quickly he'd gotten used to being one half of a couple, even though he and Teyla had been together for six months. After Kanaan and the rest of her people had been returned to their former selves she'd tried to make a family with the father of her child but Kanaan had struggled in the harsh reality of living on Atlantis, separated from the rest of the Athosians. The relationship had floundered and then petered out, Kanaan leaving the city to return to his people on the understanding that the two would share custody of Torren.

John had been concerned for Teyla of course, even though deep down his unrequited feelings had rejoiced that she was once again available for him to 'admire from afar'.

Things would have gone on as before with neither acknowledging the feelings of the other if not for their mission on the duplicated Daedalus. For some reason Teyla had taken to heart the plight and eventual fate of that other team Sheppard. They'd met to spar soon afterwards, John expecting the session to be like any other. It had been, except for Teyla's unexpected aggression. She'd met every one of his attacks and countered it forcefully; the two battling silently for a prize John didn't know he'd been competing for. Eventually she'd tricked him into lunging forward, circling around behind him and sweeping his legs out from under him. Winded, he'd been more than a little surprised when she'd pinned him down with her body over his and demanded he reveal his feelings for her. In the face of her first honest, open request he could do nothing less than give her his honesty in return.

The heat of battle had morphed into a heated exchange of another sort until the two had worked out that they belonged together. From then on they'd been a couple, weathering the brief spout of gossip with calm certainty until it was a given that John Sheppard and Teyla Emmagen were 'together'.

"You're getting soft," John muttered to himself. "Can't sleep peacefully without your woman around to soothe you." Chuckling, he settled back into a sleeping position, writing off his disquiet to the fact that he missed Teyla's presence. A short time later he fell back into a restless sleep.

oOo

He woke early the next morning, hours before he was due on duty. Deciding to check in with the night crew in the control room Sheppard quickly went through the motions of showering and dressing, his boot heels echoing loudly in the corridor as he strode through the city.

"Anything to report?" he asked Chuck as he ran up the stairs to the newly refurbished control room, the other man finishing up the first day of his stint on the night shift.

"No Sir," Chuck replied. Pressing a few buttons on his console he looked over his shoulder at the city's commanding officer. "There was a brief power surge in sector five a few hours ago ... I was just finishing up a report for Doctor McKay."

"Sector five?" John repeated with a frown. "Anywhere near Janus's lab?"

Chuck called up a schematic of the city, zooming in on the tower where the secret lab had been found a few weeks before. "No Sir," he said, pointing to the floor one level below the hidden room. "It's one of the still unexplored areas – there's a little flood damage but it looks like it could be in pretty good condition considering it was under water for so long."

"Okay, send the report to McKay," John agreed. "If he thinks it's worthwhile I'll take the team over there tomorrow."

"After Teyla gets back," Chuck concluded with a hint of amusement.

"Are you trying to suggest something there Chuck?" John asked, his expression carefully bland.

"No Sir," that hint of amusement dropped away abruptly from the gate techs face.

"Good," John paused for a moment before continuing. "That fact that I prefer having my girlfriend around is a closely guarded secret you know."

"Of course it is Sir," Chuck relaxed again, a faint smile on his face.

"Anything else?" John asked casually.

"No Sir," Chuck replied.

"Okay ... carry on," John waved a hand to the other man's console, nodding once before turning and heading out of the control room again. With any luck they'd be serving breakfast in the Mess hall and he'd be able to get in first for a change.

oOo

"John?" Teyla came abruptly back to herself, her heart pounding loudly in her ears. It was pitch black and cold – her eyes were open but she couldn't see well enough for that to help. Worse still, she didn't know where she was, her last conscious thought enjoyment of being back in the city with John as they settled down to sleep.

Unfamiliar sounds competed for attention in the background. Water dripping intermittently. The ocean, faintly from below. Rustling fabric, close by. And breathing ... slow and even.

A wave of fear washed over her and she froze. Someone else was there.

Reaching out a hand blindly, Teyla felt for the wall, stumbling slightly as she moved carefully forward. When she found it, her skin crawled at the damp, slimly feel of cold tiles in the darkness. It was probably just the residue of repeated exposure to water but because Teyla couldn't see it ... the unknown created the impression of something alien and disgusting.

Pausing, she strained to pinpoint the source of that breathing.

There ... in and out ... slow, steady ... and somehow familiar.

"John?" Teyla called out again uncertainly. "John!" she said it louder, her voice bouncing off the walls behind her.

"Wh – what?" Sheppard was assaulted by a host of impressions as he woke from the depths of a dreamless sleep.

Hard floor. Coldness all around. Darkness.

Where the hell was he and why had he been sleeping on the floor?

"Teyla," he called out.

"Oh, thank the Ancestors!" her voice shook with nerves and relief.

"You okay?" John asked, straining his eyes and just barely picking out a darker shape a few steps away.

"I am ... well," Teyla tried to reassure him but her voice was too uncertain to be convincing.

"Where the hell are we?" John demanded, moving forward and reaching out for her hand. When she took it he almost flinched at how icy it was. Wherever they were it was a sure bet they'd been there for some time.

"I do not know," Teyla replied worriedly. "I awoke only moments before you." Clutching his hand tightly, she stepped into his embrace, resting her head against his chest and breathing in deeply. The familiarity of his heart beat in her ear, his scent in her nostrils was more calming than anything else could have been.

"Lights," John said forcefully, actively thinking the command at the city controls.

Nothing happened.

"Great," John muttered. Fumbling for his ear piece he was dismayed to find it missing - of course he didn't sleep with it on but had been hoping he'd instinctively picked it up back in their room. "Damn it!" he said loudly. Without lights or a radio, finding their way back to somewhere familiar was going to be a problem.

"What is it?" Teyla asked, concerned.

"It's okay," John rubbed a hand down her back in comfort. Realising that she was wearing only a brief singlet and long sleeping pants, her arms and torso completely bare and covered in goose bumps, he quickly pulled off his shirt, glad he had a t-shirt underneath. "Here," he said, draping the still warm shirt over Teyla's shoulders.

While she gratefully slipped her arms into the sleeves John looked around the room again. His eyes had begun to adjust to the darkness ... with the small amount of moonlight coming through the narrow window he had just enough visibility to see that it was what looked like an abandoned lab. Grabbing Teyla's hand he moved over to the console, bringing her with him. Waving a hand over the activation panel he wasn't surprised when nothing happened.

"No power down here," he commented lightly. "I don't suppose you've got your radio on you?"

"No," Teyla said simply.

"Me either," John admitted. "Can you remember anything about how we got down here?"

"Nothing," Teyla said starkly. "My last recollection was kissing you goodnight in our bed ... in our room."

"Mine too," John pulled her closer, putting his arm around her. "I'm sure there's an explanation here that'll have Rodney talking a mile a minute. All we need to do is find our way to the nearest transporter so he can start looking for it."

"It is very dark," Teyla said worriedly, wrapping her arm around his waist.

"I can see a little," John countered. "Come on ... if we take it slow we should be fine."

"Very well," Teyla kept her body close to his as they walked slowly across the room, John trailing a hand against the clammy cold wall to guide their way. When they hit a corner he turned and continued forward until finally they found the entrance.

The corridor outside was also dark ... John could see just enough to find the wall again. As before they walked slowly forward, keeping close to the only thing that wasn't completely unknown.

"How're you doing?" John asked, instinctively speaking in a low tone even though there was no real need for them to be quiet.

"I find the darkness to be most disturbing John," Teyla admitted.

"Yeah, it's a little creepy," John agreed. They'd been spoiled - the city automatically turning lights on when it sensed their presence and then off again when they were gone. "Don't worry – we should get to the end of the corridor soon – hopefully there'll be a transporter there."

Teyla nodded, letting John guide her forward again.

Thankfully John's words proved true ... they found the end of the corridor only moments later. It didn't have a transporter but John managed to find the stairs, deciding to go up one floor at a time until he found somewhere with enough power to contact the control room.

He recognised the floor above immediately ... standing in the corridor the memory of seeing metal suited aliens taking Rodney and Doctor Jackson was still vivid in his mind. "Finally we're getting somewhere," he said, urging Teyla to walk faster now they had more light to see.

Reaching Janus's lab he strode inside and straight across to the console.

"Rodney, this is Sheppard," he accessed the comms to call his team mate, not sure what the time was but not really caring if he woke the other man up.

"3am?" Rodney's grumpy voice came back abruptly. "Don't you have anything better to do than call me at 3am?"

"I need you down at Janus's lab McKay ... right now," John ordered, his tone waking Rodney up in a hurry. "Bring a blanket and a torch."

oOo

Hours later John and Teyla sat in the conference room, going over the events of the early morning as they knew them. Present was Richard Woolsey, Rodney, Ronon, Jennifer Keller and Evan Lorne. Details were sketchy ... although they'd taken Rodney back to the room they'd awoken in there was nothing to indicate why they'd been there nor how they'd managed the trip down there while sleeping.

"No signs of anyone else being present Sir," Lorne reported, having checked out the scene in detail personally. "It's unlikely someone could have taken the two of you there without being noticed anyway. I'm accessing video surveillance records but that won't help us much – most of the likely route from your quarters to that room are outside security coverage. It should show you leaving your quarters which might give us some idea of what was going on."

"Your physicals came back as normal," Jennifer reported next. "I can't see a medical reason for you to forget how you got down to that room. Unless you both have a history of sleep walking?"

"Not me," John replied, looking at Teyla quizzically. She shook her head wordlessly. "Teyla either," John answered for her.

"There might be something in that room that could explain it," Rodney broke in, looking up from the laptop he'd been tapping away at. "I had a report from the gate techs about a power surge there – about the same time yesterday in fact. That might be a coincidence but it's worth checking out further."

"Agreed," Woolsey nodded. "For now I suggest Colonel Sheppard and Teyla retire to get some rest. Major Lorne will see if there's an explanation on the security footage and Doctor McKay will look for a scientific explanation in the room itself. Let's wait until we have the results before we draw any conclusions."

Calling the meeting to a close he pushed his chair back and walked unhurriedly from the room. Major Lorne nodded to Sheppard before following Woolsey out, Rodney close at his heels.

"You okay?" Ronon looked from John to Teyla and then back again.

"Apart from having a blank spot where we apparently walked half the city while sleeping, we're just great," John shrugged. "I hope to hell Lorne or McKay find something."

"As do I," Teyla said, stifling a yawn.

"Come on," John rose, pulling her to her feet. "Let's get some sleep," he urged, nodding a farewell to Ronon and Jennifer as he led Teyla away.