Title: In the Blood, ch 30
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Characters/Pairings: Evan Lorne/OFC
Word count: 2289
Rating: NC-17: (near rape recounted)
Spoilers/Warnings: See rating
Summary: Back on Atlantis, the team is treated. Evan surprises Justinia.
A/N: Thanks to jagnikjen for the beta—you are the best!
Evan breathed in the antiseptic scents of the infirmary, glad to be back on Atlantis. He winced as Justinia wrapped his ribs. At the rate he was hurting himself lately, he'd turn into a mummy from Doc's patching. He smiled ruefully at the thought until she turned her face up to him and her loosened hair no longer hid the mark of Achaz's fist on her jaw. It was bluish-black and yellow, and beginning to swell.
I hope I opened his skull on that rock. The uncharitable thought burned in his mind, bringing the warrior that the Air Force had trained to the fore. Beside him, a machine began to beep faster as his pulse raced with his desire to kill the inbred smith.
Justinia turned toward the machine before facing him once more, a frown drawing her brows down. As if she read his mind, she stood and placed a calming hand on his arm. "It's okay, Evan. We're safe now. At least for the moment. Achaz will never lay a hand on me again."
He reached up and gently took her cheek in his palm, running his thumb lightly over the swollen area. "I just wish I'd been there. We knew he was trouble; I should've never left you."
"You left me with good men. It's no one's fault that the Wraith came and Achaz took advantage of the distraction. Now, if you all would stop giving me the wounded puppy looks, I'd appreciate it." She looked around the infirmary, her gaze resting on each of the men in turn—Kemp, on a cot to Evan's left, looked particularly embarrassed. Coughlin and Sheffield just appeared grim, and even Reed had joined his former teammates in the medical ward.
Evan couldn't suppress a grin. More and more every day, his Nia was surprising him with her strength. "I love you, Nia." The simple phrase, spoken aloud in front of so many, including his team, shook him to his core. The sound of the words made him realize how very much he meant them.
Justinia's eyes shimmered as she gazed down at him. "I love you, too, Evan. Now, get up off my gurney and get out of here so I can attend to more serious patients. You're getting to be as bad as McKay." She handed him his shirt and shooed him out the door before going to check on Marie's stitching job on Kemp's forehead.
Evan turned at the door to see Kemp smirking at Nia. She raised one pretty eyebrow at him. "I have rubbing alcohol and I'm not afraid to use it." Her statement had the young lieutenant's face draining of color. Evan shook his head at her teasing. Yeah, she was full of surprises, lately, his Nia. Whether it was the inherent dangers of Atlantis or the natural affability of his men and their acceptance of her or some other factor, she was blossoming into someone he admired more every day, someone he could easily see sharing the rest of his life with.
Justinia fussed a bit over Kemp before allowing herself to be led to a bed in a private room and tended to. Doctor Keller closed the door and pulled the blinds before turning to her.
"What happened down there, Doctor Morgan?"
Justinia swallowed, her lip wobbled and she bit it to keep from crying. Her vision blurred and she blinked rapidly, lest she lose her composure. She knew why Keller had brought her in here to speak with her privately. She'd been alone with a violent man. Her commander wanted to know if she'd been raped. When she thought of how close it had come to that happening, Justinia flinched. She summoned all her reserves to put a lid on her wayward emotions, fighting to keep that lid screwed on tightly.
"I'm fine. The village leader—his name was Achaz—kidnapped me, as you've already heard. He wanted me to stay with him." Justinia was faintly surprised at how calm her voice sounded.
"Did you…stay? With him?" Keller sounded a bit flustered and Justinia remembered what she'd read in her C.O.'s file, about being a child prodigy. In many ways, she and Keller were similar. Brilliant doctors who were uncomfortable with the subject of human sexuality.
"Don't worry, Doctor. He didn't touch me."
Keller raised an eyebrow and stared pointedly at Justinia's jaw. "So who do I have to yell at for injuring my second? And I've told you before, it's Jennifer."
Justinia blushed and ducked her head, the smile that tugged at her mouth making her wince. She glanced back up at Keller's kind face. "He did punch me, because I was…uncooperative. But other than that and a couple of kisses, I'm unhurt."
"I see. Kisses?" Jennifer shifted in her chair, a frown marring her open face.
"They were nothing." Justinia tried to keep her voice clinical as images of the smith flashed through her head. She could feel his thick lips on her, taste his stale breath, smell his sweaty body. She swallowed. "He forced me one time and I let him the next."
Keller's eyes opened wide and she blinked, her mouth agape as her hands stopped mid-air in reaching toward Justinia's injured jaw. "You let him? Before or after he forced you?"
Justinia nodded before allowing the doctor to turn her head this way and that to inspect the bruise. "After. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was trying to escape." She hated how weak she felt, and knew that if Jennifer weren't holding her jaw, it would be trembling.
"Did it work?" Keller let go of Justinia's chin, seemingly satisfied with her inspection.
"It distracted him long enough for me to knock him out."
"You knocked him out? How big was this guy?"
Justinia considered. "Ronon sized? But bigger around."
"You took out a man who was bigger than Ronon?"
The heat that had begun forming on Justinia's face became hotter and she knew she must be turning a very deep brick red by now. "As I mentioned, he was…distracted."
Keller's face was lit by awe and respect as she leaned subtly closer to Justinia. "But…how?"
"Achaz had brought me and his chosen women to an underground shelter in the caves. That's where he was going to—I removed his pants, made him think he was going to get his way. And then I kicked him in his testicles and then his chin. It knocked him out. I grabbed one of his women and made her bring me toward the entrance. Evan found me when the girl escaped; he got me away."
Keller seemed to realize that she was hanging on Justinia's every word and sat back on the edge of the desk. She folded her hands in her lap. "And the major's injuries were from?"
Justinia dipped her head and closed her eyes, remembering the stark fear that had coursed through her body. "Achaz came to and gave chase. Evan got me out of the cave just in time—the entrance was through a hole in the ground of one of the houses. Kemp pulled me out on a rope, but…"
Keller's hand was on her shoulder and Justinia looked up into her CO's tender gaze. "You don't have to finish telling me if you don't want to, Justinia."
Justinia blinked as tears threatened to spill from her eyes. A watery frame seemed to surround Jennifer. Justinia sniffed and swallowed back the tears. "No. It's okay. Like I was saying, Kemp got me out, but Evan wasn't able to follow us out through the hole before Achaz was on him. He fought Achaz and then came after us."
"You've had quite an adventure, even without figuring in the Wraith. I overheard Kemp telling Coughlin that he'd killed one?"
"Yeah." Justinia nodded, seeing the commander's head explode in her memory, feeling the relief that flooded her body, driving out the terror at that moment. "He and Evan killed a commander and a drone who had captured me."
Jennifer leaned forward once more, taking both of Justinia's shoulders in her grip. "Look, you don't need stitches, but I do think you need to talk to someone. Take ibuprofen for the pain and report to Doctor Friedrich."
Justinia frowned. She felt no need to report to the psychologist, Kate's replacement. She was fine.
Keller tipped her head, studying Justinia. "You've been through a lot, even by Atlantis standards. You will report to Friedrich. That's an order."
"Can I get a shower first and change into a clean uniform?"
"Yes, but you're not allowed back on duty until you've seen the doctor. Make it in the next twenty-four hours, understand?"
Justinia nodded. She sat and moved as instructed while Keller finished her exam, then exited the room. She looked around the open area of the infirmary, noting with some disappointment that her team had all disappeared. She sighed. I'll just go get my shower and go see Friedrich, I guess.
She left the infirmary and stopped dead in her tracks just outside the doors. Leaning against the wall was Evan; surrounding him were Kemp, Coughlin, Sheffield and Reed.
"What…? What are you all doing here?"
Evan pushed away from the wall and approached her at the head of the group. He reached out and gently took her bruised cheek in his hand, running his thumb lightly over her cheekbone. His touch was soft and made her stomach shimmer wildly. His gaze—that steady, penetrating look—seemed to hold her captive. The other men faded out of her vision until there was only Evan with her. His voice was dark velvet.
"I thought that would be obvious, Doc. We were waiting for you."
Justinia blinked back tears. The murmurs of agreement from the men, including Kemp's "Couldn't let our Doc wander off alone and find trouble"—which earned him a shoulder punch from Sheffield—made her aware of them once more. She glanced around at the smiling faces, a couple of them a bit battered, but none the worse for wear. Kemp had a slight grimace on his face for just a moment as he rubbed his arm, but his unrepentant grin took over almost immediately. This is my real family. Never had her own parents treated her with even half of the respect and thoughtfulness that these men showed to her as a matter of course.
Evan bent to kiss her and she wrapped her arms around his neck, leaning in to his body as her lips met his. His mouth was warm and gentle, his tongue lightly exploring her teeth, and even though it was not a demanding kiss, Justinia felt wanted, needed…no, claimed. A warm rush bubbled through her system, a sense of belonging that she'd never had before she knew Evan. She almost whimpered when he broke the kiss.
He winced and one hand went to his ribs as he lowered himself to his knees.
"What are you doing? Evan, are you okay?" A glimmer of fear went through her, but he wasn't collapsing; his gaze was locked on her face and he only went down on one knee.
A passerby squealed and Justinia looked around to see the men all grinning like idiots. She glanced back down at Evan, at the warmth and love written all over his face. Her breath hitched and her stomach did a weird little flip flop thing. For some reason, her vision was blurry. Evan took her cold, shaking hand in his big, warm one.
"Justinia. A very wise man once told me that time was precious, especially when it comes to spending it with the ones we love. I've been foolish, taking my time to say this to you."
Her head felt like it was filled with helium and would float away at any moment. She blinked rapidly to clear her vision of the dampness as Evan continued.
"I…I wanted to wait until the moment was right—the perfect dinner, candlelight, the perfect ring—but I almost lost you today and I don't think there's any more perfect time in our lives than now."
She wet her lips and bit them. Evan searched her face, his own looked so sure, like he had no reservations at all.
"Marry me, Justinia. I don't care about what your parents can or can't do to my career or to yours. Marry me. Today. Right now. Not because life is uncertain, but because I love you and I want to spend whatever time we have left together as husband and wife."
She couldn't breathe—her lungs, like the rest of her body, were suddenly filled with joy. No one had ever declared their love for her the way Evan just had. No one else had ever accepted her so totally. There was no one else she'd rather spend her life with, and right now, she didn't care about the consequences. She nodded her agreement, small jerky movements of her neck. A wobbly smile played with her lips as she tried to find her voice.
"Yes." The word sounded like it was torn from a desert and so she repeated it. "Yes, Evan. I will marry you. Today. Right now."
A slow smile spread across his face. He rose and took her in his arms, claiming her mouth. He picked her up and swung her around; the hallway erupted in applause and laughter and voices shouting their congratulations.
Evan let her mouth go and she stared into his eyes—those beautiful gray eyes that had captured her from the first day. She knew that no matter what came their way, with his strength behind her, she could face anything.