The rain is heavy outside, the rain of war, of sparks and licks of fire, of eyes dark and angry with flint, of death's warm shadow. It will be warm, when the rain has stopped. The earth will scorch, and burn.
She smells it now, almost.
Aquilia Halo-Tierney is scared. She cowers on the floor, in the dining room of the diner where she works; she remembers dancing in this room with her husband, after hours, when it had been just the two of them; when she'd supposed to be cleaning.
And now the war.
Tears flow from her face; her husband calls her Queenie, sometimes he even calls her Queen, but he isn't here, and over the hail and thunder of destruction she can't even hear his voice in her memories anymore.
He's out there.
She misses him.
She hopes they'll have the chance to meet again.
Dark curly hair, a riot of curlicues, frames her face in curvilinear fashion. She doesn't understand the war; she just wants her husband back.
"Miss Halo-Tierney." They don't call her 'Mrs.' She can't quite see them, though she's staring at them. "You have been chosen," they tell her.
She doesn't know what that means. They take her away.
She doesn't scream. She's already unconscious.
As it turns out, she has been chosen to be the bride of one of the generals of the invading forces. She will be named Gina.
She doesn't know what sort of an alien name Gina is, but she knows that it will never be her name. Her name is Aquilia, and sometimes Queenie.
It is only later that she remembers her new 'husband's' face; she had seen him before, he had come to her diner.
His name was Harry.
Her old husband is smart. Granted, he's not as smart as Myall Holmes, but what he is is nothing to be sneezed at. His name is Meritrope Halo-Tierney. Aquilia had always thought it quite silly of his mother to name him such a silly name; it made her want to laugh all the time; how silly.
Myall Holmes's sister, Dreama Camberwell, is smart, too. She doesn't call herself Dreama, it's just Dream.
Meritrope is assigned to work with her on the military's newest defence project. (He'd not been a part of the military, but after the invasion he'd sort of been given two choices: co-operate, or die. He'd chosen to co-operate, naturally.)
Her husband's name is Black Camberwell, she tells him, and they have a daughter, Shiba Camberwell.
He has a wife, he says, her name is Aquilia. (He doesn't know that her name is Gina, now.)
Dream assures him that they will win; how can they not, they're far cleverer than the enemy, aren't they?
They'll have something left up their sleeves to pull out and win the day, she's sure.
Meritrope has the feeling she says it much more for her own benefit, because he never says it, no one ever says it. One day, he replies, "Of course."
It makes her pause, and a small smile comes onto her face. Of course.
Gina and Harry's first child is named Victorie; Victorie is older sister to the twins, Badger George and King.
Gina loves her kids, but she doesn't love Harry. How can she? She already loves someone, and he isn't Harry.
She has a good house, but it isn't quite a home. A home if full of love, this house is only three quarters full.
One day, she tries to remember her husband's name, but she finds that, for the life of her, she can't recall.
She doesn't cry, at first, she tries harder.
Dream's brother, Myall, comes to visit her in the laboratory; he brings a surprise. It's Shiba, and she's so much older. Dream hasn't seen her for so long. She stares at the tattoos on her baby's face, tears flood down her own face.
They'd rescued her from the work camps, Myall tells her, but he's not quite proud. He could have been proud if they'd rescued her before, before the work camp had gotten her, but they hadn't.
Shiba doesn't talk. Actually, she can't. The work camp had seen to that. She'd screamed too loudly, once too often, so they had taken out her tongue.
She's learnt to sign; she's kept living.
Dream falls into a chair and cries and cries.
Meritrope pats her back.
Shiba watches them all with indifference; Myall leaves, he's wanted elsewhere on an urgent matter.
Victorie is ten when Gina wakes up one morning and feels, for the first time, that she might love Harry. In fact, it is her tenth birthday.
Victorie has a wonderful party, all of her friends are there: Inette, Yara, Beli… the names go on. She is happy, and, in the pictures, she is smiling.
Gina smiles, too.
It's the first time in a long time.
Meritrope is working when he hears a crashing sound. He turns to see that it is Dream; she's crying again. This time, he won't be allowed to pat her back.
Her husband is standing there, with her; he's come back from the camps, just like their daughter before him.
Dream stumbles forward with tear-blurred eyes and they hug.
Meritrope looks away; it's Dream and Black's moment; he has no place in it.
It is five years later, and they have won; the enemy is retreating. It's not something he would have imagined, ever, but it's happening.
Dream doesn't smile, she is hard and determined. It's these bastards who took her family away from her; it's these bastards who hurt her daughter!
They're outside, with the armed troops, operating the equipment. Myall is outside, too; somewhere, but not with them.
All over the place, the enemy's ships are leaving, fleeing. They can watch it all from where they stand.
They need to get closer, they are informed, later. The troops offer them an armed escort. They're going to take down the central vessel.
All he hears is the screaming. He imagines that Aquilia had screamed. All he hears is the screaming, and the dying voices. When they take down that ship, there's going to be a thousand, a hundred thousand voices, all screaming out, all crying out as they die; as their ship comes crashing back down to earth, and burns up, burning everyone still alive inside.
He knows that they're the enemy, he knows that like anyone else knows it, like Dream or Myall knows it, but he can't feel any satisfaction from killing them. Killing is killing, no matter who it is who ends up on the killed end.
In another life, he might have been indifferent. In another life, before Aquilia. In his new life, after Aquilia, he wishes it could only stop, that all of it would stop. He's tired.
The child with her isn't really a child, not anymore. She's fifteen, or sixteen. There are two others, and they shared her appearance is enough ways to conceivably be her brothers.
Aquilia is with them. He sees her look at him and look right through him. She's frightened; they are her children.
He thinks maybe that's the moment when he dies, the moment when she looks at him and only sees the enemy; sees her children's deaths.
In his eyes, she's still his wife. He can't let her children die, he has to take away the fright.
The only thing Dream can manage to say to him for his apparent stupidity is, "Fuck." She gets down on the ground and holds his hand.
"It's okay," she says, "it doesn't look that bad."
He doesn't believe her. He can't breathe; he's choking on something. When it spills out of his mouth it feels warm. Strange, he thinks. He tries to remember the ship Aquilia was headed onto. He's pretty sure it wasn't the biggest ship; it was one of the smaller ones. They aren't that close to the big ship, it's still a way in the distance. If he turned his head, he could probably see it, he thinks.
Dream is still holding his hand. "It's okay," she says, but it's in a whisper so quiet he almost doesn't catch it.
With shaking, bloody hands, he takes the tablet from her. "They don't have to die," he chokes, and punches in the code that will ground the big ship. He sees her eyes fill with tears, and then he doesn't see her anymore, though she's still right there in front of him. His hand and the tablet fall to the ground.
For a long moment, Dream doesn't move to pick it up.
They don't use the grounding code; instead, they wait for the ship to take off, and freeze it in the air.
It comes hurtling back down from the sky like an injured bird, and bursts into flame when it impacts.
Dream can feel the impact from where she's sitting beside Meritrope, still holding his hand. Beside her, the soldiers are almost knocked from their feet. She has to activate the force shield to protect them from the flying debris. It flies all around them, hitting their force shield like bugs hitting a windshield.
The ones who aren't killed with the impact die later, when their forces go inside with guns.
Dream listens to their screams, but none of it touches her; Meritrope watches with dead eyes.
In the end, she knows she was right. All along, she was right. They have won.
Alternate Reality Characters – Normal Reality Characters
Aquilia 'Queenie' Halo-Tierney/Gina – 'Dusty' Mehre
Black Camberwell – Caleb Miller
Dreama 'Dream' Camberwell – Jeannie Miller
Meritrope Halo-Tierney – Malcolm Tunney
Myall Holmes – Rodney McKay
Shiba Camberwell – Madison Miller
Tears flow freely by planet p
Disclaimer I don't own Stargate: Atlantis or any of its characters.
Pretty lame. Thanks for reading.