Chapter Five: Life Changes
At the moment of take-off, Dean's mind started screaming Hide! With a radio check-in from the other ship, it was clear in that second that he was invisible. Sheppard following a few seconds behind him, the enemy ships attacking them. They no longer had a target, but that just meant some close calls instead of direct hits. However, Dean didn't even want the close calls at the moment and he made sure to push the ship to stay up with Sheppard's.
He heard Sheppard in his mind and wondered if he had activated the private coms again. But figured at the moment he didn't care as more shots blew past the front window travelling in space until they finally fizzled out. He looked to the guest he had on board.
"Got a name?" he asked to distract himself from his current fight and let his body just react.
"Teyla." Came a breathless reply. He let himself take in Teylas reaction for a second. He was about to ask her how she was doing, but the raised eyebrow directed at him kept him silent. She offered him a soft smile; he nodded and replied to her with a smile of his own before turning around to focus back at the task at hand.
As they cleared the planet, Dean let out a curse which he knows was over the PA system, as he caught sight of the fighters that was blocking their way. He felt trapped, which of course he was. Stuck in a tin can of a ship, in the vastness of space thanks to Carter he knew just what would happen if a hole appeared in the ship and trapped between two waves of enemy ships. As the panic rose he wondered if he could control himself, however when he was at the point of losing his shit the soothing music from before kicked in. He pushed his personal panic down and focused again, this time using the music to keep himself grounded and focused with the problem in front of them.
"So what we planning here?" Dean asked as he slowed to stay with Sheppard, the conversation from the other ship filtering into his head only. He knew that from the odd looks he got at his question. He smirked at Cadman and tapped his head before looking forward again.
"We should draw them away from the Gate, double back." Sheppard offered and Dean scanned the group around him.
"What about a game of cat and mouse?" Dean offered, they had two ships they might as well put them both to good use.
"What do you suggest Major?" came the question from his new CO and Dean licked his lips, the possibilities running through his head in seconds.
"Your plan works, but I'd go with one ship, the other moves slightly off side and takes them out as they pass, then you just have to worry about the others." he stated knowing that if they split up the ships, there would be less of a chance for one or both of them to be taken down.
"Okay, think you can handle the shooting?' came a quick reply a few seconds later and Dean nodded without a thought on it.
"Since I was five," he promised and moved the ship over to the suggested point and waited. He watched as the Jumper decloak. The fighters waiting at the gate saw it within seconds, another group approaching from the planet. The Jumper swung around and took off towards the other group and Dean cleared his mind and looked for a targeting or firing system, half of his mind still on the ship he wanted to take out. Before he could find the button, a missile was fired and took out the lead ship, which exploded and took out the second that had been flying too close to avoid the fallout.
"Well then, that works," he chuckled softly. Without another thought he was taking out the other two that had started to follow Sheppard and then moved to the Gate, letting the ship decloak just as he fired two missiles at once to take out the last two ships. Spinning the ship back around, he watched as the last of the ships exploded and Sheppard was moving back to the gate. Dean moved out of the Gate area and rolled his neck.
"Think it's time to cut our visit short," Sheppard said and as a view screen appeared in front of him, showing the ground launch of another group of fighters.
"Have to agree with ya there, sir." Dean smirked again as he looked over at Cadman, "best first day ever!" he said with a whoop which was followed by a few of the marines. Cadman and their newest alien addition laughing tightly at it. It released a little tension but they were still in a war zone, at least it had done what Dean had hoped and felt like he could actually breathe normally.
"Ford, dial the Gate. We have people to get home to," he stated and Dean lined his ship up behind Sheppard's then, the other ship slipping into the open and welcoming wormhole long before the enemy ships appeared in the space around the Gate.
As soon as they were across the wormhole the music started up loudly, in a slightly new tone. Dean found himself humming all the same as the base took control of the ship from him and lifted it up into the bay, finding its allotted space without a problem. "Welcome to Atlantis, I hope that it is everything you dreamed of." he offered to the beautiful chocolate skinned woman behind him with another wink.
The backdoor opened and the Marines found their way out first and moved to Jumper One to help get the survivors out of the ship and spread out as the medical crews started their rounds and began to perform triage around the scattered Jumpers and their parts. The three of them left in the cabin made their way out slowly just as Sheppard and his team did the same. The two men nodded to one another before moving into the bay to offer help where it was needed.
It wasn't more than two minutes before he heard his name being yelled out and he winced. So yes, he might have just taken off from the infirmary without permission or medical leave, but he had been needed. With that in mind he didn't put up too much of a fight when the irate Scottish Doctor pulled him away from the growing crowds and down towards medical. A little sleep never really hurt anyone and he could use a scan of his head to make sure that he didn't actually cause any permanent damage this time.
Dean had never had a scan happen so quickly or painlessly before. He would give it to the ancients that they knew their tech. Medical was fantastic. It would help with advancements back on Earth and Dean knew that he could expect to see SG-1 as soon as they figured out how to get there and back. He let his mind float with thoughts of his friends as he waited for Carson to come and talk to him.
It must have taken longer than he thought since the next thing he knew after his thoughts of the final prank war with O'Neill before he shipped out, when his vision shifted and changed into the view of an extraterritorial planet. It would have reminded him of home if it wasn't for the fact that the sky was a dark green, which specks that sparkled like diamonds spread across the entire area. The trees were purple, based with leaves that ranged from black to pink, and were void of animal life. The entire area was deadly silent and Dean just wanted to run away, however the ground was composed of blue mud but what can you do. He also found himself stuck and unable to move, frozen on the spot which caused his heart to flutter slightly when he noted two people approaching.
They didn't seem to have any problem moving across the area, and as they gained ground Dean noted the fact that they were hovering more than walking and his eyebrows raised slightly at that, even his dreams wanted to fuck him over. When the two beings stopped in front of him, he couldn't help but feel like he had met them before.
There was a male and female and Dean scanned them quickly before anything else could happen. Neither of them looked like fighters, but that didn't mean anything to a hunter. Everything and anything could be dangerous; however Dean wasn't getting any bad vibes from them at all. The woman was a spit of a thing, average height for a woman, and probably 90 pounds soaking wet. She had remarkable pale skin, like she had never been outside of her house for her entire life, and red hair flowing down her back. Her eyes a clear shade of hazel. Dean pulled his eyes from her, a name falling into place for her as soon as their eyes met, Ananiel. Anna, the watcher.
Dean shook his head, information filling in. Memories he wouldn't claim as his own, but all the same he could remember being there. Then he turned to take in the second being. The male felt familiar and welcome, like he had always been there. Dean could feel himself reaching forward without a thought then stopped himself and looked him over. He was as normal as a man could be, stood around six foot, he filled his clothes out but it was hard to see just how built he was. His hair was dark, matching the black leaves on the trees around them, just as before it was the eyes that caught his attention. A deep blue that reminded Dean of the ocean back home, and again he felt the name click. Castiel. There was no words to describe the being any further but Dean felt that it wasn't needed.
"We are glad to have you home Brother," Ananiel called to him, a friendly smile on her face and he turned his attention to her.
"I'm not your..." he stopped himself, the memories pinging around in his head. He felt something towards these two, but they could not be classified as family feelings. At least not good ones, it reminded him more of the fights that his father and Sam would have.
"Many years have passed, we are only saying hello," Castiel stated his face blank; Dean looked back to him, their eyes meeting.
"Well hello, and goodbye," Dean stated closing his eyes and trying to wake up.
" Deast... Dean," he started and changed his mind half way through, stating Dean's Tauri name instead, "we will send you back to your reality in a few moments, we must talk alone for a few minutes."
"What if I don't want to hear what you have to say?" Dean replied without a thought. This smelled like what caused most of his problems back home and it looked like wouldn't really change here. Unlike most creatures he fought in the past Castiel just smiled at him, almost as he was expecting this.
"I am glad to see that the years have not changed you brother, we were worried," he stated simply looking to the chick beside him. Dean frowned, he didn't like that these aliens were calling him a brother, or that they seemed to know him so well. He found himself crossing his arms, not willing to really take them seriously.
"Can we get on with whatever this is? I have a doctor to bug and people to see," he stated hoping that this could be wrapped up, ignore the fact that these two could probably explode his brain with a single thought, it was better to not think about those factors.
"We are only checking in at this time. Returning home will start to mean more to you as the time passes. We wanted to tell you that if you ever need or want to ask something of us that all you must do is say our names out loud and we will find and reply to you directly."
Dean sighed softly. Why the crazies always had to find him he wasn't sure, but they always did and it was a little bothersome really.
"Well, thanks for that update, think you can send me home now?" Dean stated letting his arms drop down to his side and looking at both of them for a few seconds before they looked away from Dean and to one another. He felt like there was a conversation that he wasn't taking part of. He closed his eyes and the next second when he reopened them and the world had shifted back to normal.
He was flat on his back and looking up at the medical clinic's ceiling, he could hear people moving around and the music was back in his head. This time Dean didn't open to the music he actually pulled back slightly, his dream or not dream fresh in his mind. Was there an alien on base that was fucking with his head? Should he be planning for the worst case? He wondered if he should inform someone about what was happening. He thought about it for a few minutes, right up until the point Carson was standing over him and talking. He pushed away the idea of telling someone. The last thing he needed right now was to be locked up for the rest of his life for the simple fact he was an unknown factor.
"...that ever is as it should be. You might have a small headache, but you know the signs and I am relying, gonna stress that, on you to come back if it gets worse."
Dean finally tuned in to hear the last of Carson's rant and just smiled.
"So, I get to go to the party," was Dean's one and only comment back to the medical man. Who in return huffed and shook his head.
"Aye, yes lad you can go to the shindig. Keep in mind that I will be there to watch ya, so take it easy."
Dean was already pushing his way up off his back and rolling over onto his feet.
"Also keep in mind that we need all of our military personnel in one piece."
"Will do Doc," Dean stated pulling his jacket on and making his way to the door.
"You have a check in tomorrow," Carson called after him turning to another patient as Dean walked out the door and he knew that he would have to hunt the Major down. That was a problem he could deal with tomorrow; he still had a few people to get fixed up before heading to the celebration.
Dean had made a quick detour to find his pack, so he could at least get a change of clothes, and hopefully a shower. One of the scientists was able to redirect him to a community shower area they had found on their sweeps so far, and Dean headed that way. Making quick work of a shower, which had just the right water pressure and as hot as possible for Dean to stand. He toweled off before getting redressed, he was hoping he could get a bed assigned to him at some point, otherwise he would claim any bed that wasn't in the medical bay.
By the time he got to the party it was already in full swing, the newest additions were mingling with those that came from Earth, and Dean smiled seeing the children running to and from. Somehow there was cake and the children were enjoying the icing and the sugar high that came with it. Someone handed him a glass and he sniffed it, champagne, probably whatever Jack had sent with him. He found himself sipping at it and making his way to the open deck area.
Sheppard was already there, alone but it didn't seem like he minded that much. Dean moved over to stand beside him, leaning over the railing as they looked at the new world they found themselves on. The ocean reminded Dean of Earth, but that was about it. The water stretched on, for as far as a human eye could see, and it reminded him that they were on an alien world.
"Interesting first day," Dean finally started the conversation after a few minutes of silence. John just nodded in response, Dean knew that he was playing today over in his head, trying to think of someway that it could have played out differently. Hell, Dean had been doing that since he woke up from his dream. He rolled his neck before turning around and looking into the command centre, people running around. Laughing, bonding with new friends and enjoying the peace that had overtaken the group of gathered survivors.
"You know there wasn't any other way," Dean said finally having enough of the pouting; the man would have to suck it up and push forward. It had been working for Dean since he was four so he would be more than willing to teach the older man just how to do so.
"Still, what if..."
"Oh, fuck off Sheppard," that got his attention and he turned, anger appearing on his face, that was a good thing. Anger made you fight, live and keep going. If the other man had to hate him then so be it, "Come on Sheppard, it's a party, your party really. They are celebrating that you made sure that all of these people would live. They know just what that takes and they are still enjoying themselves. Yeah it sucks we had to do something bad to someone good. But at the same time, don't fucking spoil this party for me."
There was a long time with nothing, just the two of them glaring at one another before John broke eye contact and looked back over the ocean. Dean observed him carefully, waiting to either be punched or watch him walk away. It was a little surprising that John didn't do either; he just turned and faced Dean. His face blank but his eyes telling another story and Dean waited. Jack had told him years ago that his mouth was both his greatest asset and also his weakest, and one day it would get him killed. The man was probably right, but that day wasn't today.
"You make a point, one that could get you court marshalled, but a point all the same." Sheppard informed him with a deep sigh before he pushed on, "we will party tonight, and tomorrow we will figure it out."
Dean nodded, wasn't what he was looking for but all the same it was a step, and he would go back to work tomorrow.
Seconds later the woman from earlier joined them, Dean smiled softly to her. Normally he would be looking for some fun for the night, but being on a closed base put a little bit of a crimp in his normal bedroom ideas.
"Teyla, are your people settled?" John asked as she moved closer to the two of them.
"Yes, thank you, they have all been given a place to sleep and a quick tour of the areas they are in," she smiled back to John and Dean, before she pushed on and Dean could see why they had picked her to be a leader. "I would also like to say thank you from all of my people for your help getting them here safe and sound, the children also speak of Dean and his stories."
Dean felt himself blush slightly and shook his head, mumbling something that no one could catch. However, it seemed that Teyla could as she reached over, her hands finding his shoulder and touched her forehead to his own.
"Thank you for caring for the children, they are our future and should be treasured, you understand this and are welcome to speak with them at any time." she informed him, pulling back and repeating the greeting with John. She was whispering to him as she had to Dean. "Now, I was informed to pull both of you back into the party, people are wishing to speak with you both."
Dean felt his nose wrinkle slightly; and their eyes meet before they both nodded.
"Well, lead on MacDuff," Dean replied waving his arms for her to go first.
"Who is this MacDuff?" Teyla asked and Dean laughed loudly as they made their way back inside, the room warm with the bodies that were moving around.
"I'll explain it to you another time; it's from a story of our home world."
"I look forward to this," Teyla said and Dean just hoped that he could remember his Shakespeare well enough when it came to be that time. It was only a few seconds before children had encircled the three of them. A number of the smaller children climbing up their legs. Dean found himself with two on each leg and somehow the little monkeys had worked their way up his back and were clinging to his neck.
They didn't have to make their rounds. For the next two hours people made their way to them. As the night went on the children were reclaimed by their parents, until there were only two left, one still hanging from Dean's neck and the other resting in his arms asleep.
"Teyla?" he asked and she moved over from a group of female marines to Dean's side.
"Yes, Major Winchester," she asked sliding into his side smiling at his new friends, helping him to remove the child from his back. She claimed the seat beside him, the child finding its place on her lap and settling in watching the room.
"It's Dean, and where are..."
"I will keep that in mind," she told him, cutting him off before he could ask his question.
"They are the responsibility of the group, we take turns helping them. Their parents were taken shortly after Marich was born." she advised him, pointing to the small child that was asleep on Dean's lap.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked," he said reaching a hand out to brush the child's hair to the side of her face. Her sleep undisturbed, a soft mumble coming from her lips as she snuggled in closer to Dean's chest, his heart tightening at the movement; remembering when Sam was that small and would do the same , but that was years ago.
"You did not know. If you wish we can put them to bed, it is past their normal bed time," her tone that of a parent but no frown or anger was found on her face. The little boy looked up at her.
"No buts, go find Halling he will put you to bed. I am sure that Dean will speak with you tomorrow." she said placing him on the ground. She gave the boy a quick tap to his bottom to send him on his way before turning to Dean. "I can take..."
"Its fine," a blush rising on his cheeks, "I mean if you want -I just- she doesn't- I'm okay with holding her." he finished, finally turning away from her to avoid showing just how embarrassed he was. The music rose slightly and he pushed back at it again, not welcoming the emotional withdraw.
"You are unlike the others here," she said after an extended silence between them.
Dean could only shrug, she was right about it. He knew what lived in the dark back home, he had since he was four and he had been in the fight actively since he was eight.
"It's a good thing, my people do not trust easy, but they allow you to comfort their children without a thought. You will fit in very well, but for now I shall leave you two alone, I will come gather her soon." She smiled and moved back over to finish the conversation with the marines, a few of the women shooting him a look and giggling.
Dean rolled his eyes and reshuffled Marich upwards onto his shoulder, as he stood and moved across the room away from most of the prying eyes. He made his way back over to the balcony where he and Sheppard had been having their talk on earlier. He found Sheppard and Weir chatting with one another away from the party. He knew he had already been seen and smiled as Elizabeth took her second Major in, and he was sure that they made a sight for sure.
"Perfect timing, Major. Here's something I'd like the two of you to sleep on."
"Okay," the word stretching as Dean waited for her to push on and John spoke up before Dean could, asking just what that would be.
"Who you'd want as team members," she said with a smile. Reaching into Dean's personal space to touch the top of the child's head before moving to the door.
"Teams?" Dean asked as Sheppard voiced the same question in time with Dean from his position next to Dean. They looked to one another for a second before turning back to her.
"Well, yes." she said looking at Sheppard first; "You are the ranking military officer now, or do you need to be reminded of that? We all need to get back out there;" She was addressing both of them now, "do what we came to do." offered with a smile at both men.
"You do realise that can get us into all sorts of trouble, right?" Sheppard asked and Dean smirked slightly at it, Elizabeth put an arm around both of their shoulders and an almost wicked smile appeared on her face. "I wouldn't have it any other way. Good evening gentlemen. I expect your team list on my desk tomorrow," she informed them with a wink before moving back into the party.