So, this is the sequel to my story 'Loose Ends'. I wasn't really planning on writing one but my muse wouldn't leave me alone. If you haven't read 'Loose Ends' I would suggest you do but you can give it a try anyways if you think you can keep up.
This is hurt/comfort and angst for all my friends on here who love to see our flyboy broken then put back together! I'm hoping to update every two days and will try really hard to not fall behind but I am still making a few changes in the last few chapters.
Reviews are loved! It's great to hear your feed-back both positive and negative, just remember to speak kindly :)
And, as always, I don't own Stargate, just saying.
So, here we go:
Teyla sighed as the doors to her quarters slid closed with a hiss, muffling her son's wailing cries. She had just placed little Torren down for a much needed night's sleep, leaving the young boy in the capable hands of nurse Benson.
The Athosian winced as a particularly loud scream broke through the barrier. She felt horrible leaving the kindly nurse with such a fussy charge. The simple act of leaving her child in such a state went against all her motherly instincts but Torren was not in any true physical or emotional distress and as a mother she had no intention to coddle the child and create a spoiled youngster. No, the small boy simply did not wish to sleep, had not for the past week, refusing to rest even when his eyelids hung too heavy to remain open for short periods of time. Carson had come as a true comfort during these long nights, assuring her that this was only a phase and would pass in time.
The poor doctor had been unable to sleep recently as well, finding himself too anxious to rest. It had begun slowly, Carson fighting the call of his sheets by an hour or so each night to create more time to work on his speech. You see, a group of the 'big-wigs' were hosting a medical convention/seminar concerning emergency triage, focusing mainly on doctors stationed on remote bases. So after the exchange of multiple political favors and flat-out bribery they had landed their main speaker, one Carson Beckett, the man who laid claim to the most remote station by far. This was all against the poor Scot's will, of course, and while knowing the subject backwards and forwards Carson grew increasingly nervous each day. He was, after all, a naturally shy man.
So each night the doctor took little Torren off her hands for a few precious moments and, while Teyla didn't understand the more technical details, she would gladly look over Carson's latest additions and revisions to his speech draft.
"You ready to go?"
Teyla's thoughts were interrupted as Colonel Sheppard approached her, wincing in sympathy as he heard Torren's slowly decreasing whimpers. Her C.O and friend was dressed in what the soldiers on base called 'civies'. Faded jeans, plain maroon t-shirt, and a pair of flip-flops. She, herself was wearing clothes from earth, they had been given to her by Elizabeth when she had first started living with the expedition. The delicate blouse was loose fitting and light weight with a tasteful pattern. While Teyla found the shirt comfortable she was still adjusting to the shorts, which were made from the same material as Sheppard's. The issue was not how short they were, for they ended at an acceptable length on her legs but she found the thick fabric more constricting than her Athosian clothing. Teyla would have quickly changed back into her own wardrobe but she and John were on their way to meet a group of senators and high officials for a tour of Atlantis and a certain level of secrecy was required.
Immediately after the cities remarkable landing in San Francisco Bay, Homeland Security had enforced a long list of precautions to avoid detection from civilians. As it was, everyone who exited the city was required to wear Earth clothing as well as leave at dusk or dawn in order to remain as inconspicuous as possible. A group of people loading and unloading boats in the dead of night was unusual and afternoon hours of the bay were always busy. As it was the police were enforcing the sailing restrictions under the guise of a possible 'Drug Drop-Zone' of the local drug cartel while the Air Force had proclaimed the area a 'No Fly Zone' for 'pilot training'. The cover stories had immediately drawn the attention of a great number of conspiracy theorists. Groups would mill about on the pier searching for 'proof' but the military was not worried, knowing that their theories of aliens, mutants, and sea monsters would actually enforce the credibility of the cover-story.
The easiest things to avoid detection would have been to move the city but the incredible flight of Atlantis had drained nearly all the city's power, leaving her 'stranded' in the bay for the time-being. Due to this John and Teyla were heading to meet the group at the pier at 2200. They were not to arrive for another thirty minutes but Sheppard was compelled to 'inspect' the security for himself before they arrived.
"I am ready, John." Teyla responded, placing a hand on his forearm in order to gently guide him into a faster pace, wanting to move out of ear-shot of her child quickly for her own heart.
It only took them a few minutes to reach the East dock, holding a light-hearted conversation as the traveled the corridors.
John could barely withhold his grin as he walked onto the small fishing boat. 'Walking' may not have been the correct term as it was more closely attributed to stumbling. He had yet to recover his sea legs, Atlantis only having been on Earth for two weeks. One may have found that a bit strange, he had after all lived on a floating city for the past five years, but in truth with Atlantis' inertial dampeners one was never even aware of the rolling seas until on the many balconies. The boat was small and low-tech in order to avoid unwanted attention, it's dingy sides a once brilliant emerald green now faded and mottled with barnacles. A distinct contrast when tethered to the grand but subtle beauty of Atlantis with her impressive technology built into her elaborate architecture.
The pilot's grin grew three-fold as he heard Teyla stumble behind him as she too attempted to board the low-tech vessel, knocking things over and rocking the boat with more intensity than the surrounding waves. Everyone, including John, would have expected the Athosian to possess more grace and pose than she was currently demonstrating but sea-going vessels were not common in the Pegasus galaxy. The leisurely joy of sailing was not widely appreciated, seeing as the middle of a large body of water left you a perfect target during the sudden cullings. That being said, Teyla's lack of grace was understandable but still quite humorous.
Finding a firm footing, John turned and offered her a hand up which she accepted readily.
"Thank you, John. I have yet to grow used to this." She said as he steadied her until she was safely in her seat.
"It takes a while." Sheppard replied, grinning as he fell into his own bench. The two marines stationed on the small fishing boat wore 'civies' as well, and with their unshakable sea-legs guided the boat away from the city and through it's cloak, leaving them open to public view.
The pier appeared deserted as the small vessel approached, which did not please the Colonel. He had arranged for a small team of soldiers, dressed in casual wear, were to be 'meandering' the area while the local police took their usual fifteen minute routes to keep up appearances, though as it was none of them were visible.
Killing the motor, John, Teyla and one of the marines stepped from the boat peering about them in search of their undercover colleagues.
A familiar voice cut through the night air, drawing their attention towards the main streets leading to the docks. Daniel Jackson appeared through the shadows, his glasses glinting as the caught the dim light of the pier.
"Doctor Jackson." Teyla was the first to speak, a smile on her lips. She and the archeologist had become friends during his many trips to and from Atlantis. Though he was quite busy pouring through the endless personal diaries of the long-gone ancients in the city database, Daniel had spend much of his down time speaking with Teyla. The Athosian was more than willing to feed the man's genuine interest in her people and culture, and was curious about his own childhood back on earth.
"Hey, Teyla. Mind if I catch a ride back with you?" Jackson asked, knowing he already had a seat.
John shrugged. "I'm sure one of the senators wouldn't mind a swim."
Of course, if the Colonel could have had his way, all the senators would be swimming. This being the second tour, the officials had already irritated John on the first trip, having made snide remarks about the city and the efficiency of the staff.
"Great." Daniel replied, enjoying the mental image of the dripping wet suit hanging wrinkled as an un-named senator clamored onto Atlantis' pier.
Both Teyla and Jackson fell into quiet conversation, but instead of joining in, John found himself peering through the dark mist of the docks. A dense fog hung in the air like a thick blanket, clinging to everything in a foreboding manner.
While the unease Sheppard had felt when they had first arrived had diminished it was still present, clenching his gut in an unrelenting grasp. Quietly, he directed the two marines to check the surrounding area and locate his missing squad. Sure, they were meant to be undercover and avoid detection but perhaps they were a little too good at their jobs.
Only a few random people milled about on the docks, mostly loitering around or tossing stones in the pitch black waves. The Colonel had quickly scanned the pier when they had first arrived, dismissing the wanders. None of them having the air of a soldier.
A young man, standing only a short distance away however, caught John's attention. He was on the heavier side with his gut hanging over his belt. A thick mop of dark hair covered his head but in the fading light Sheppard could not be sure of the color. While his physical appearance was not remarkable it was his posture that drew John's gaze. The man was hunched over the railing and appeared to be intently studying the churning water but John, with his keen eyesight, watched as the man glanced their way every few seconds. Fingers twisted nervously in front of him, breaking apart occasionally to touch his jacket pocket.
"John?" Teyla said softly, noticing the crease that appeared along Sheppard's forehead whenever he was worried or confused. His stance had instantly changed, his muscle tensing and hand hovering over his concealed pistol. She had regretfully left her own weapons on Atlantis, having been assured that everything was well handled. Sheppard himself had left his own gun behind for their previous visits outside the city but today, in the short moment just before he had left his room to meet Teyla he had had an unexplainable urge to bring his pistol.
He had learned to listen to such feelings rather quickly in the Air Force, for those snap decisions had saved his life too many times to count. The unconscious compulsion to dodge to the right instead of the left, to duck at just the right instant.
"I'm not sure, something's not right." John replied, as both Daniel and Teyla tensed, preparing for anything that may come their way. Reaching for his radio, the Colonel attempted to contact his undercover unit.
"Unit One, come in please."
He was answered with silence, only the hiss and crackle of static breaking through.
"Unit One, report. Johnson, Wayne." John called for the marines he had sent out in search earlier.
The silence was nearly deafening, broken only by the occasional cry of a gull.
Glancing around her, Teyla slowly and carefully inched towards a stack of wooden crates behind her. She was about to pick up the small, discarded metal pipe which had caught her eye when she noticed the slight shift of a body hidden behind the pile. Teyla backpedaled quickly, but was not fast enough for she quickly found her wrist encircled in a strong grip.
While her attacker had decent strength, the man, for she knew it was a man having seen the thick hair covering the hand and wrist, was not expecting a woman with her level of skill for she almost instantly broke his grip. Unfortunately, the man was a quick thinker and while she escaped his grasp, he slipped his other arm around her neck. She once again could have easily removed the hold but the cold metal of the barrel of a gun, pressed into the small of her back, stilled her.
All this only took moments, and in these few moments John had his pistol drawn, pointed unwavering at the man.
He was thin, tall, and wiry, with no muscle to speak of. His hair was wispy, not from age for the man was only in his thirty's but from early on-set balding. His facial expression showed little concern toward the weapon pointed in his direction, but if one had looked close enough in the fading light he would have caught a glimmer of uncertainty though it was well masked.
"Let her go." Was all John managed to say before the familiar cock of a gun sounded behind him.
"Put your gun down, slowly." The man who held Teyla ordered, his voice rumbling with a deep base tone.
Mentally kicking himself, John lowered the pistol and knelt to place it on the ground. He had forgotten about the man at the railing, his attention drawn to Teyla during the struggle. Glancing over his shoulder, John first saw the trembling barrel of the gun held by the expected man before noticing a new addition to the group. This man was average looking. Brown hair, brown eyes. Thick framed glasses sat on a nose that appeared to have been broken on multiple occasions.
The original man holding the gun was shaking, and a nervous sweat glistened across his brow. He held his gun loosely with unskilled fingers, leaving it easy to disarm him but John would not have done so even if Teyla were not in such a position. Sheppard had seen first hand that an untrained and flighty opponent is just as, if not more, dangerous than a well-trained professional and were always more unpredictable.
"On you knees. Now!" The tall man demanded, watching as both John and Daniel sunk down, hands held in placating gestures.
"Alright, alright." John mumbled. "Don't have a cow."
Shaking hands secured both Daniel's and John's arms behind their backs. Almost the instant they were submitted to the harsh bondage, cloth gags were forced between their lips and dirty, burlap bags were pushed over their heads.. Teyla herself received the same treatment from her position in front of them.
"An interesting statement, John." A female voice said, the echo of the surrounding alleyway from where it originated distorting it until it was unrecognizable. While the trio could not see anything but the dull brown of the potato sacks, a tall red-headed woman confidently strode from the shadows. Her hair was of medium length with a gentle, with an unhealthy curl, hanging ragged just over her shoulders. Red lips were spread in a cheshire like smile revealing her white teeth.
O'Neill groaned as they finally turned down the water-front street. The tour had been delayed by what Jack could only be an illegally long train.
It was no secret that the Colonel did not do well with senators so he made no attempt to hide his sigh of relief as the docks finally came into view. The trip had been a thing straight out of Jack's nightmares, the senator's whining about everything. The car was too hot, the car was too cold. O'Neill would have rather taken a group of thirty toddlers to the zoo than deal with the spoiled officials again. Now, more than ever, did he want to disappear in the maze of corridors and passageways that encompassed Atlantis.
Cautiously, Jack slowed the black SUV down to a crawl before pulling to a stop.
"Finally." One of the senators grumbled, reaching for the door handle.
"Stop." O'Neill ordered at the same moment he clicked the locks on. "You will stay here while I check the perimeter. You will only exit the vehicle when I give the all clear and you will stay quiet and only speak when I require it." He stated in a low growl, having reached his limit with the smart comments.
Each senator glared as he finished his list of 'rules' but otherwise were compliant.
Unlocking only his own door, Jack stepped from the van with pistol in hand. Reaching up to his ear piece he tapped the device on. "Colonel Sheppard, come in please."
"Colonel Sheppard." He repeated, gripping his weapon a little tighter. Uneasiness settled low in his gut as he peered into the darkness. The docks were more deserted than usual, the stillness only broken by the occasional alley cat. Puddles covered the pavement making glistening patches of silver in the moonlight.
"Hello? Anyone out there?" Jack called out, his voice a harsh whisper. The glint of metal drew the General's attention. A small, knife stood upright in the dirt beside a large pile of boxes, having obviously been placed in such a position. Taking one final look around him and with his ears open, ready to react at the slightest noise the General knelt to pick up the discarded weapon, examining it closely. It was an efficient-looking dagger with a wicked curve along the blade. The handle was skillfully constructed hard-wood with no design but along the top, near the blade crude symbols were carved. The unknown language was intriguing, for sure, but it was the dry, now brown blood along the blade that had Jack concerned. He had a sickening feeling he would find it's DNA analysis compelling to say the least.
Consciously holding the knife by the very edge of it's handle, Jack slowly made his way back to the van. Throughout his investigation, he had been able to hear the constant chatter from the senators but now they had fallen silent, watching him intently through the tinted windows. Perhaps they weren't as completely unaware and dense as Jack had thought.
Only a short way from the vehicle, O'Neill activated his comm link. "Unit One." He spoke quietly over the speaker, calling to Atlantis. They had chosen to use a such a generic term even on secure channels as a further security measure, hoping that if they were to be over-heard it would be assumed he was only communicating with a boat patrol instead of the hidden city.
"Unit One here." The familiar voice of Chuck cut through the static, making the General wonder if he ever went off duty.
"This is O'Neill. We may have a problem." He simply stated, slipping back into the drivers seat, intent on getting the politicians back to a secure area before continuing any further.
Alright, what do you guys think? Everyone got themselves into a bit of a bind already. Please review!