Carson slowly leaned back from over Ronan's body. He had shielded Ronan's head and open surgical wound with his own body when all hell exploded and the lights blew out.
"..bloody hell was that?" he whispered.
He couldn't see Ronan in the abrupt darkness, but the heart monitor beat quietly, steadily.
Thank God they had gotten the wood piece out before he had thrown himself over Ronan. The damage he could have done.
Carson breathed a stuttered heavy sigh borne of fear and relief then shook himself. "Come on now." he whispered to his staff who he could sense standing around him frozen in the darkness. "Torches, get us some torches."
"Torches sir?" he heard someone say."
"Flashlights ye bugger! Hurry now, we have a patient to save."
One by one their flashlights permeated the darkness first Lorne's then Teyla's then Rodney's.
"Are you guys okay?" whispered Lorne brushing shattered glass from his hair.
"Yes." whispered Teyla "I am well." She brushed glass from her shoulders.
Lorne turned his flashlight on Rodney who blinked wide eyed and nodded.
They all turned as the door to the Chair room slid open. Lorne stepped through the doorway first followed by Teyla then Rodney. Inky darkness cloaked the room permeated sporadically by their roaming flashlights. Subconsciously they all slightly crouched when their flashlights turned to the chair to find it empty.
Teyla took a step forward wincing at the noise as her foot crunched on the shattered glass from the overhead lights and looked down at her feet in annoyance; when she looked back up she gasped as her flashlight caught sight of John hunched in a corner of the room his eyes wide and dangerous. His gun gripped in his shaking hand.
She swung her stunner up at the same time he aimed his gun at her.
Astonished, she fired her weapon and so did he.
As soon as the bullet left his gun it was like a curtain fell away and John stood there eyes wide in confusion.
What was happening? He felt the gun in his hand but couldn't see it.
He was in darkness, there were people in there with him flashlights like strobes permeating the inkiness. Soon the flashlights turned to the ground a few feet from where he stood.
His heart thudded to a stop frozen solid in horror as he took a shaky step forward.
"Teyla?" he whispered.
The beam from the flashlights turned towards him blinding him. He held one hand to his face blocking them.
Did he do that? Did he shoot Teyla?
Did he shoot Teyla!?
The last thing he saw was a blast of light shooting at him through the darkness, then nothing.
John was on fire. Like 1000 hot coals had been tossed on top of him to render him to ash. He tried to scream, to escape, his lungs recoiling against the effort.
Rodney started as John jerked on the bed and moaned. A nurse silently came to the bedside checking John's vitals then hurried away.
Sighing heavily, Rodney turned to his friend. John was tethered to the bed by multiple restraints. They couldn't let him escape again, but Rodney couldn't see that happening. John's temperature had roared to a frightful 104 degrees and he had struck out at anyone who came near him..screaming, begging them to stop torturing him, begging them to let him see his team. Ergo, the restraints donned sadly by Carson and the three orderlies it took to hold John down. Carson had told him that it was John's body fighting the withdrawal of the serum and God knows most likely a side effect to what happened to him in the chair room.
To Rodney it felt almost like it was John punishing himself.
He shook his head sadly.
John had shot Teyla.
Pulling the privacy curtain aside, Rodney looked at the adjacent bed. Teyla lay there unconscious, but thank heavens alive. The bullet had passed right through her missing any vital organs. She would make it.
But would their team? Ronan was recuperating, he had a severe concussion and had nearly been paralyzed because of the blast, but Carson said that he would most likely make a full recovery.
When told about Teyla, Ronan stopped talking to everyone, even Rodney. Would he forgive John? Would Teyla ever forgive John for shooting her? Would John forgive himself?
Rodney turned back to John's bed side. His temperature was down a little at 101, but it looked like he was suffering horribly.
John moaned again, twisting against the restraints that held him fast.
Rodney covering his mouth with his hand turned and strode from the room.
He needed to find somewhere private to cry.
Let me go, let me go!
A blurry face leaned over him laughing as he was electrocuted again and again.
What is your name? WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
"I'm Lt. Col. John Shep..Sheppard..I'm John..I'm John!"
Carson stood by John's bed wiping his brow with a cool cloth. Frowning sadly, he watched as his friend feebly try to free himself of his restraints while screaming his own name.
"Aye my friend, you are."
Two months had passed. Ronan had gone with Teyla to the mainland to recuperate. He had been relegated to a wheelchair on Carson's say so and couldn't bear being in the city. Teyla had told Rodney she felt the need to be around her people, to be with her son. Neither had asked about John.
Rodney stood outside John's door. He had barely left his quarters since being discharged from the infirmary. Rodney knocked.
"Sheppard, I know you're in there; unless you want me camped out on your doorstep open up."
The door swished open to Sheppard standing grim faced, hollow eyed looking like he hadn't slept in days, a gun held down by his side.
"What do you want Rodney."
"I," Rodney stared at the gun by his friend's side. They had confiscated all his weapons so he wasn't sure where John got it from.
"I was wondering if you were hungry and.."
"No." muttered John turning his back and walking towards his bed.
Rodney stepped into John's quarters. "..and….I was thinking maybe we could go to the mess hall..you know..grab a bite."
"I said no, Rodney." John sat on the edge of his bed and stared at the gun in his hand.
Rodney rubbed the back of his neck and sighed. He walked over to the corner of the room and absentmindedly caressed one of the golf clubs jutting out from the golf bag resting there.
"You thinking about taking up golf, Rodney?" whispered John still staring at his gun.
He sat down next to John and pulled out two power bars from his jacket pocket. He put one on John's lap as he tore open the other one and munched quietly.
He could see it in John's demeanor. John felt that he had failed his team. Rodney knew what that sort of thinking could do to someone like John.
"Sheppard, they finally caught the monster that did this to you. They brought him back; he's in one of the holding cells."
The SGA-1 team had been put on indefinite leave until everyone had time to heal over the terrible events that had occurred.
Rodney took some of that time to try to explain to John what had happened. He was the only one that John would even look at yet speak to. The trust issues John struggled with were taking a toll on him. He knew he belonged in Atlantis, but he had also known he had belonged on Castima. He couldn't help but miss the family he never had; this confused and saddened John. Rodney had told him that he had been held underground in a bunker much like the one the ancient weapons had been found in hidden from their sensors by the type of metal that encased it. The search teams had come upon it by a ground search on foot miles from the city walls.
John could recall sporadically what had happened to him. Events like flashes of light blinking on and off in his mind. Everything else, every feeling in between ever second of his night filled screams left him feeling dead inside.
He had tried to kill his teammates.
That thought consumed him.
Rodney got up and stood in front of John. "Did you hear me Sheppard? The guy who did this to you is here!...John!"
John shook himself out of his reverie realizing what Rodney had said; a sudden blaze of anger rushing through him. Rodney quickly stepped aside as John got to his feet; the sudden rage in John's eyes making him get out of the man's way.
His eyes widened as he heard John cock his gun, then followed him as he strode out the room towards the waiting cells.
The door swished open and the guards spun in surprise as John strode into the room gun raised.
They raised their guns in accord, looking hesitantly at each other.
"Col Sheppard, sir, put the weapon down!"
John's gaze was only towards the holding cell where Raylan Emitan stood looking quite small and stoic at the same time.
"You did this to me!?" Raylan yelled as he saw John. He moved to the edge of the cell.
"Soldier! Lower your weapon and let me out of here at once!"
John stumbled as if he walked into an invisible wall.
"John?" Rodney asked.
"I said lower your weapon, Soldier!"
Rodney watched John's arm waver and start to lower.
John was somewhere else, he was in a darkened room and all hell was upon him.
"John…John!" hissed Rodney.
John turned to him, his eyes full of anger and sadness.
Rodney slowly pulled the gun from John's hand and grabbed onto his friend's shoulders.
"You are John Sheppard." He stated then motioned towards the cell. "He didn't win John. He didn't win."
John slowly nodded; Rodney's words seeping into him. He turned to the cell and to Raylan's indignant stare.
"I am…" he pointed his finger and stabbed it towards Raylan.
"I am Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard. You lose."
Raylan's stare faltered. John's eyes flashed and he turned to the guards.
"Take everything you found in their storage facility; as for this man, the Athosians will know what to do with him "
The guards, who had lowered their weapons, nodded in agreement. It looked like their leader was on his way back.
John turned to leave his heart heaving.
Rodney grabbed his arm to steady him. "I gotcha John. I gotcha"
A week later
After a week of words and tears and soul wrenching screams in the night that Rodney, who had pulled a cot into John's room and wouldn't "get the hell out or else" had bore witness to and John knew Rodney would go to his grave before he'd tell another single soul; John, Rodney and Lorne sat at a table in John's quarters playing poker.
Laughter echoed through the room. John still was an echo of himself, but he had finally started to open up and had looked Lorne in the eyes as Lorne told him that no one blamed him for what had happened. That it wasn't his fault and the men under him were looking forward to whenever he was ready to lead them again. John had smiled at that. Sadness still drenched in his eyes.
A few days later
John opened another beer as he stared out over the sunset lit ocean.
Sighing heavily he took a swig; his feet dangling off the pier.
He looked at his hands. They had the blood of innocent people on them. He didn't know how he could live with it; what he could ever do to make up for what he had done.
He needed his team back. They gave him something to believe in, the strength to carry on when he had nothing left in him to give. John heard a subtle cough behind him and smiled.
Good ole Rodney.
Rodney sat next to him "This seat taken?"
He smiled and handed Rodney a beer. "Nope."
They sat quietly for a while watching as the sun slowly set behind the waves.
"Uh... Rodney?" said John still looking out on the water.
He turned to the most aggravating, strongest best friend a man could ever ask for.
"Thanks?" Rodney put his beer down and pulled out a power bar and started munching on it. 'For what?"
John glanced at him and saw Rodney giving him a side glance while trying to hide his smile behind his chewing.
John laughed and patted him on the shoulder. They sat in a comfortable silence until the sun completely set below the horizon.
"Come on," said Rodney getting to his feet and brushing power bar crumbs off his shirt.
'What.." said John.
"Come on, I want to show you something."
John exhaled taking one more swig of his beer draining it then got to his feet following Rodney up the pier.
"Where we going, Rodney?"
"Wait and see, Colonel; patience begins a p."" chuckled Rodney from up ahead.
John grinned and followed his friend back to Atlantis.
John and Rodney stood in the corridor outside John's quarters.
"You wanted to show me my quarters?"
Rodney rolled his eyes. "You could be so dense..go inside."
John smirked and entered his quarters stopping just inside the doorway at the sight that greeted him.
"Hello, John." said Teyla holding a giggling chubby Torren.
Ronan stood next to her leaning slightly with a cane but looking like the fierce mountain of a man John remembered his friend to be.
"Hey buddy." He grinned at John.
John just stood there, his mouth open eyes blinking rapidly; his heart swelling then stuttering in his chest.
"John?" Teyla took a step toward him and John took a step back bumping into Rodney.
Torren reached for John with his wiggly arms giggling and then John broke, covering his face with his hand.
"What I did to you..what I..!"
Rodney maneuvered John to his bed and sat him down on the edge.
"John…John." whispered Teyla sitting next to him. "It's okay. It's alright. We're all right"
She looked at Ronan who had pulled up a chair from the table and sat down gently in front of the bed. He smiled at Rodney who sat on the other side of John, then at John.
"Sheppard. It's okay. We're all right."
Teyla touched John slightly on the shoulder. John glanced at her through heavy eyes.
"John, we..we had to come to terms with what had happened. I..I felt the need to be with Torren. I wanted him to see me..to see that I was still here. I needed to feel I was still here."
"And I couldn't be here Sheppard" Ronan's deep timbred voice caused John to turn to him. "I just..I was in no shape the way I was..and after what happened.. I needed some time."
"But, you're both okay? Are you okay?" whispered John his eyes glancing from Teyla to Ronan then to his own lap.
"Yes John we are okay; still healing in here..." She placed her hand on her chest and nodded at Ronan who nodded back in agreement. "But we are okay." She placed her hand over John's heart. "We need you to heal too John."
"I..I thought I'd never see you guys again. The things I did…I…"
"John," Teyla interrupted him. "The things that were done to you! You are a good man. We are sorry we left you how we did. We are a team. We belong together and if you give us a chance we will prove it once again."
John looked at her wide eyed. "If I give you a chance? What I did to you..both of you…"
"Yeah" smiled Ronan, "But we figured that the John Sheppard we know deserves a second chance."
"Yes," said Teyla."And he's earned something even more."
John looked at her expectantly.
John stared at Teyla, Ronan and Rodney.
His team. He had his team back.
He felt his heart soar released from the heaviness that had locked him in for so long. With their help he could make things right, he could make up for what he had done.
He was Lt. Col John Sheppard and with his team beside him he could fly.
The overwhelming emotion he felt put him at a loss for words.
But he couldn't help but laugh out loud when Teyla placed the bubbling Torren in his lap and Torren thumped him on his chest with his chubby fist, hiccupped then giggled wildly.
And if someone looked into John's quarters at that moment, they would see a group of people shattered through circumstance but laughing as broken hearts started to heal through the power of friendship.
That's it folks. My first fan fic. I hope you enjoyed it. Please review if you like. Feedback is the fuel that helps run my creative bus.
Thanks to everyone who gave their input and who faved and followed this story. I appreciate you all.