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Stargate: Atlantis
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard
Episodes: Letters from Pegasus & selected S2 episodes
Rating: PG
Summary: Long, long ago...

My fondest thanks to Sheila for the beta and her constant encouragement.
Thanks also to adafrog and oc-pixie for their help with Aurora / The Hive.

In a Galaxy
by Night Spring

"Once upon a time, in a galaxy far..."
"Once upon a time? What's this, a fairy tale?"
"Hey, who's telling this story?"
"You are."
"Well, then. So."

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away...

Letters from Pegasus: John

The scream of Darts overhead, the wails of desperate anguish, the heart-stopping flash of Wraith beams through the air -- the bitter bile of guilt and despair lies thick in his throat and chokes his stomach. McKay at his door bearing Athosian wine and defiant chin proves a welcome distraction, and he lets him in, not caring what exactly is on the offer. An hour, two-thirds of the wine, and meandering riotous conversation about absolutely nothing later, Rodney casually observes that life in Pegasus will go on unchanged long after they are gone, then shelters John in silence as he cries.

Letters from Pegasus: Rodney

He had come, wine and heart in hand, seeking everything and hoping for nothing; instead, he finds himself holding another man's soul. He sits, cradling the utterly precious and terrifying beauty of its light in clumsy fingers, knowing one wrong move, one wrong look would shatter it into a thousand million pieces of frigid glass. Slowly, he lays his hand on a trembling shoulder, and vows ten days or tens of thousands, every single one for these tears soaking through his heart.

John finally falls asleep in his arms as Rodney sits waiting for the dawn.

The Intruder: Earth

Stepping out into the sun from the depths of the mountain, he blinks, overwhelmed by utter unreality. There's a world spread out before him he doesn't recognize, as alien to his skin as the fog-mist that created them each their own illusive Earth. Then, he'd known what to expect of his mind, no nasty surprises lurking in half-forgotten corners. Now, however...

Then Rodney's there with car key and talk of fast food and soft beds, the only real, known thing in a foreign landscape, and John drags Rodney into a secluded corner and kisses him because he can.

The Intruder: Daedalus

Rodney crawls off the F-302 and sputters he never ever wants to get that close to a sun ever again, and John smirks and throws a friendly arm around his shoulder, only the tight grip of his hand telling Rodney everything he already knows a thousand times over.

Either of them can fly into the heat of a merciless sun. Together, if they're lucky. If not...

So he grimaces and shrugs off John's hand like he's annoyed, and grips it tight once before letting go, and complains about his nose peeling all the way back to Atlantis.

Duet: Cadman

Way to survive what I think may be my worst nightmare, he'd said, but Cadman really didn't seem too badly off.

Rodney, however, jumps when he touches him, and John never feels more helpless as Rodney huddles in on himself, shaken by his own reaction. He considers calling Heightmeyer, but after all that just happened? Just, no. Cautiously, he sits next to Rodney, waiting -- for what, he doesn't know. When Rodney finally speaks, a barely audible whisper: "She... she had my body. She... I don't want to know what..."

John found he really didn't want to know, either.

Duet: Ronon

Running. He can't believe he's been talked into running.

The third time Ronon is just there when he needs to lug something heavy or reach for something high, he realizes he's acquired a shadow.

When asked what he wants, Ronon just shrugs.

When asked if Sheppard put him up to this, Ronon just says, "He values you. A lot."

Next thing he knows, Rodney finds himself following Ronon to John.

And when John turns to him in surprised pleasure, something tight within Rodney suddenly breaks.

Running. With John and Ronon. He feels in control of his own body again.



John collapsed onto bed and buried his face in his hands. How could he throw such bullshit about trust at Rodney? It was himself he couldn't trust. Damn regulations always bit him whenever he thought himself above them. What hope had he ever of remaining objective? This was Rodney.

Rodney collapsed onto bed and buried his face in his hands. How could he fail this trust he'd sworn to keep? Damn his overactive intellectual fervor, his reckless pursuit of science. He'd finally found something more precious to him than knowledge, only to cast it so carelessly aside? Please, god. John.

Conversion: Infirmary

"What do you mean, I can't see him? What's going on?"

"I'm sorry, Rodney. He said not to let you alone with him under any circumstances."

"What? Why?"

"He... wouldn't say. But I think he's afraid of hurting you, Rodney."

"He saw Elizabeth."

"Aye. And that went well."


"Rodney... He did say... If and when he's no longer mentally competent, you're to make his medical decisions."



"What the... I can't, Carson. I don't want... How can I... He really said...?"

"Aye. He said to do whatever you need to do."


"Rodney? ... I'm really sorry, Rodney."

Conversion: Cave

Damp. Dark. Moist.

So soothing, so comfortable. Like coming home.

Eggs. He was here for the eggs.

What were the eggs for, again?

Human. He was human.

Get the eggs.

Human. He would be human.

Why human?

So damp, so moist. So comfortable. Like he belonged.

Stay. Let go. Be free.

Human. He was human. Had to be.


Pain. Sharp, cutting fire raging his nerves, spiking through every bone and muscle.

Can't move. Hurts.

Rest. Relax. Stay.

Giving up so soon, Sheppard? Leave me to grieve you, alone. Of course you would!

Gritting his teeth, he ran for the light.

Aurora / The Hive

The explosion fills his eyes, a blinding light of people never returning.
Ten thousand years drifting through space, ten thousand years trying to come home.
The Daedalus' scanners confirm there's nothing left to salvage.

The empty space fills his eyes, an endless void of a vow ever lasting.
Ten days or tens of thousands, all of it, for him.
The Daedalus' scanners confirm there's nothing left to salvage.

Back home, they come together and hold each other tight.
In sorrow for what is lost, in joy for what is safe.
And pray they would always, somehow, find each other again.

"So did they live happily ever after?"
"Oh, I don't know. Did they?"
"Huh? How would I know? It's your story."
"Well, how would
you tell it?"
"Well. Let's see...

"In the beginning, in a galaxy far away..."
"Hey, you are mixing up openings."
"Who's telling this story?"
"You are."
"Right, then. So."

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

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