Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Prompt: 035 Sixth Sense
Word Count: 1.680
Summary: Colonel Sheppard feels the aftereffects of what he experienced in "The Last Man".
Author's Notes: I guess some of the readers here are familiar with my Protect and Survive series (which can be found over on ff.net) and my Defining Moment one-shots. This one takes place between Protect and Survive: Might Just Save Your Life and Protect and Survive II: Raising the Stakes and is also a kind of bridge between the two universes. I'd really wanted to write it, but it didn't really fit in the pieces already published, so I decided to make it a Fanfic100-piece. Hope that's okay with you. And of course it's betaed by mackenziesmomma who is a real role model, because she still manages to correct my stuff although she already seems to have an insane workload ;) And here's the LDT.
Same old song
“Same old song,
Just a drop of water in an endless sea.
All we do
Crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see.
Dust in the Wind
All we are is dust in the wind.”
Sometimes… it feels like he’s living in two different dimensions. It sounds stupid, but that’s just how it feels. Like he’s living in his timeline, but sometimes it feels like pictures or sounds from another timeline seem to be interfering with it. Just for a moment, so fleetingly that he only realizes it felt like this when they are gone, but they are there. He knows that this is either a case for Rodney or their new base psychiatrist, but he has no intention of telling either of them.
It’s been like this ever since he returned from his little trip into the future because of some “glitch in the program”, as Rodney has called it. And ever since then, he has acquired just another reason for insomnia and wandering around the base in the late evening. Often enough it takes him to the mess hall, because he likes the wide open windows and the illusion of being not fully alone, even when it’s deserted, simply because there could be someone coming in at any given moment.
So he isn't surprised when he finds himself in the entrance of the mess hall just another time. What surprises him, though, is finding someone else in the mess hall. Major Lorne. Who would have thought.
As he looks at his 2IC, suddenly another picture overlays his sight, only for the fraction of a second. But it’s clear enough that it nearly burns itself into his memory. It’s not much… just a glimpse of a man in Air Force Dress Blues standing in front of a headstone in Arlington… looking like a broken man. And that man is Major Evan Lorne. He blinks. Good God, he really needs to see someone about this.
For a moment he hesitates walking up to Lorne, who’s standing at the railing of the empty mess hall, unaware of who is watching him. But he’s been trying to catch Lorne in a quiet moment for nearly two weeks, and now is the best opportunity he’s probably going to get. Maybe he’ll now find out what’s bothering Lorne so much that his usual matter-of-fact nature has been replaced with a kind of wound-up jumpiness. He’s got an inkling as to what – or rather who – could be the reason for this, but he wants confirmation, at least indirectly. Hoping he won’t get another disturbing image, he walks up to him. “Evening, Major.”
Lorne jumps a little and nearly drops the cup of tea he’s cradling. He clears his throat and gets back to his usual serious bearing. “Evening, sir.” Well… so far, so good. He has acknowledged him. But… how to go on? He’s always found it a little hard to find access to Lorne when it was about stuff that isn’t strictly business. His 2IC is a good officer – sometimes he feels like he’s a better officer than himself – and a good man, but he’s also a very private man.
He considers taking a careful approach as not to startle Lorne and drive him even farther into his shell, but in the end his rather blunt nature wins and he wants to say something, but Lorne beats him to it. “Sir… permission to ask you something?”
He shrugs. “Sure. What is it?”
Lorne takes his time, obviously because he isn’t quite sure if he should really say something or not. Then, “Sir… that future you got told about… was there anything good in it?” That does take him by surprise a little. Lorne of all people asking something about the future the Rodney from the alternate timeline told him about… is a little strange. After all, Lorne was the only one not fretting about being excluded from the in-depth debriefing of that, saying that he preferred ignorance over everything else in these matters.
He looks at his 2IC again… and another alternate version of the Major appears in front of his eyes, for a second or two. Again in Dress Blues, but this time… he’s smiling, and his whole concentration is on the woman in white in his arms… a red-head… it’s Cadman. And yes, he remembers the future Rodney mentioning something along the lines… So, if this is really a clue to the incidents in that other timeline, Rodney wasn’t the only one marrying a fellow member of the expedition crew. He wonders if the first picture and this on have anything to do with each other, but for the sake of the Major and himself he chooses to ignore it and don’t make any connections. “Yes. Yes, there was.”
Lorne nods to himself. “Think any of that could happen here as well?” Rodney McKay and Jennifer Keller? A few weeks ago he would have said “Not fucking likely.”, but now he’s not so sure anymore. He couldn’t get much out of either of them… and it seems Ronon wants to have a say in this matter as well. Ah, better not start thinking about this now. Only gives him headaches every time he tries it.
As for Lorne and Cadman… he’s not really sure. He’s seen the two of them together, dancing around each other from the day she arrived back here – he has his suspicions about the two staying in touch after she left last time and about who it was that made her come back – and although everyone, maybe even including herself and the Major, thought she’d get back together with Carson Beckett, he always had his doubts about that. There had just been too much… something between Cadman and Lorne. However, for some reason he doesn’t understand that seems to have turned into a bad something somewhere along the way… two weeks ago, to be precise. And he’s here to fix it… or at least give Lorne a little push towards fixing it himself. “With a little luck… yeah. What makes you ask, Major?”
Lorne shrugs and purses his lips. “Just curious. Not about the details… but about the general thing. Makes keeping up hope a little easier.” That it does. And now that the Major has opened up a little to him, he feels safe enough to go in for the kill.
“How’s Cadman, by the way?” Hit and sunk. At the mentioning of the Lieutenant’s name, Lorne’s walls are up again immediately. He knew he was on the right track.
“Okay… far as I know.” Yeah, Major, go and try sound totally impartial about it.
“Far as you know? What happened to reading bedtime stories?” Let’s see how far he can push Lorne.
“I’d rather not talk about it, sir.” Oh well… better not push him that far again, because he really doesn’t want to alienate his 2IC. However, there are a few business issues that have to be cleared up.
“Same as you don’t want to talk about why it always feels like the temperature’s dropping a few degrees when you and Carson are in the same room?”
“Exactly, sir.” The Major turns away from him, obviously embarrassed that someone noticed. And that this someone happens to be his CO of all people. Whatever happened with the three of them – Cadman, Lorne and Beckett – it seems that none of them is willing to rip the band-aid off and get it out in the open. But he doesn’t want conflicts like this to simmer among the people in his city.
“Well, then… better mend your fences with these two, and fast. You know who you’re scheduled with for tomorrow’s mission, right?” In fact… it’s not exactly a coincidence that the security detail accompanying
“Absolutely, sir.” Does he detect a note of insecurity in Lorne’s voice? Well, that would be a first.
“Good. I expect you for debriefing the evening after tomorrow.” The Major nods, relieved that they are back in terrain they both know how to treat in.
“Yes, sir.” He wants to add something… some hint at how he thinks the Major's chances with Cadman are, but for that it’s simply not the right time, yet. Lorne wouldn’t take such an invasion of his private space all too well, and he needs to be a little careful, if he wants his 2IC to ever open up a little more to him.
“And enjoy your little camping trip, Major. I hear the caves are great for rock collectors.” Ah, finally a smile on Lorne’s face. A little reluctant, but still there.
“They’re called geologists, sir. You want me to get you something special?” The slight grin on the Major’s face surprises him a little. He simply can’t get used to that man showing his dry sense of humor in the most unsuspected moments.
“Nah, not for me. Try and find something nice for Torren, though, would you?” If the Major is surprised at this request, he sure is good at hiding it.
“Course, sir. Anyway… have to call it an evening, now. I’ve got a mission tomorrow.” Is that a little payback for reminding him of who’s on his team tomorrow?
“Night, Major.” Lorne just nods.
“Night, sir.” With that, the Major turns to leave the mess hall, but he decides to stay just a little while longer, satisfied that at least one issue is starting to get settled. Now, if clearing up the possible mess between two members of his team could be cleared up as easily… and of course, not to mention his own mess…
TBC in Raising the Stakes (Prologue).