Winter Sunlight

More apocafic ... ish

I seem to be de-apocofying my apocafic. *g* This is for another prompt at the Gen Battle.

Don't get me wrong, the last fic is how it went down, character deaths and all. But ... maybe, somewhere, in an AU of an AU, this happened:

Prompt: Teyla - homesick; kind of dark; 1100 wds

Rodney falls into darkness knowing that at least he managed to take the other bastard with him...

Except he doesn't. Instead he wakes in the sickbay on the Daedalus, his chest hurting like it had been cracked open.

For a while he lays there, staring at the ceiling. A brusque corpsman comes by, pokes at him and tells him a doctor will be able to look at him shortly, make sure there's no internal bleeding before they let him go. They're awfully short-staffed, he's told, but someone will bring him dinner later.

He's hungry now. And thirsty, but the corpsman already left, and there's no call button, and now they're ignoring him.

O'Neill wanders in a little later. "Told you the body armor would save your ass, McKay. They told me you're bruised as hell, but you'll live."

Rodney glowers at him. He's finally managed to get his bed upright, but he's desperately bored and no one will give him anything to do. And he's starving. Sure, people are busy, there are casualties everywhere -- he understands this; all you have to do is look around at the crowded sickbay. They didn't have to yell at him when he asked if he could have a computer.

He's mentally preparing his list of complaints when O'Neill says, "You did good, McKay."

Rodney blinks at him. "What?"

"Don't make me repeat it." O'Neill pats him on the shoulder; Rodney stiffens, not sure how to deal with the sudden switch to unexpected and somewhat unwelcome friendliness -- it just makes him wonder what O'Neill wants from him. "You handled yourself all right down there. I take back ... some of the things I said about you."

"Thanks ... I think." Rodney narrows his eyes. "Wait ... what did you say about me?" But O'Neill is already gone.

He learns over the next few days that Carter's superweapon was a broad-spectrum stun pulse, a modified application of zat technology -- Rodney hates to admit it, but it's kind of, almost, sort of brilliant. It knocked out everyone in Atlantis; most of them -- the survivors of the fighting -- are currently being held down on Atlantis itself, since the two Earth ships are damaged from the fighting and burdened with wounded.

Rodney is surprised to discover that the enemy woman with the copper hair is actually in the sickbay; he sees her one of the times he comes in to get more pain pills for his cracked ribs. He'd thought she was dead on Atlantis; apparently, though, she was only very badly hurt. He's actually a little surprised that he recognizes and remembers her, but she's very distinctive looking. Lying under a blanket with tubes going in and out of her, she looks very fragile and small.

He gets a handful of Tylenol 3 rattling around in the bottom of a plastic bottle (for all their complaints about limited supplies, blah blah, he saw lots of pills in that cabinet; they're obviously just lying to him) and he's beating a hasty retreat past the rows of beds when something snags at his leg.

He looks down in surprise to see that a small, surprisingly strong hand has latched onto the lower edge of his jacket. The copper-haired woman looks up at him from beneath an oxygen mask, blinking sleepily.

"Um," Rodney says, trying to dislodge her with surreptitious tugs, terrified that she's going to try to throw up on him or something. He hates being around sick people; he never knows what they're going to do, and they're always shedding germs and unpleasant bodily fluids.

"Could you please --" Her voice is barely audible. Her free arm is in a cast, but she somehow uses her eyebrows to point at a paper cup beside the bed.

Rodney reluctantly peeks in and discovers ice water, with most of the ice melted. "Uh ... you need a drink?"

She inclines her head in a weak nod. "I am sorry," she whispers. "They are very busy -- I have been waiting a long time..."

Rodney remembers his own tenure in Corpsman Hell. Bracing himself, he picks up the cup, nervously nudging the oxygen mask out of the way (after looking around for medical personnel who might take umbrage at this), and tilts it to her cracked lips. Somehow he manages not to spill it all over her. After taking a few sips, she tries to reach for a small tub of Vaseline with a Q-tip stuck in it. Despite brief horror, Rodney realizes what she wants, and (feeling very proud of himself) dabs a little of it tentatively on her dry lips before replacing the mask.

When he's all done, she smiles at him, and the weird warm feeling is not unpleasant. Then she whispers, "Do you know -- are there survivors? On Atlantis?"

"Yes," he tells her, and her eyes light up in a way that makes him feel about ten feet tall.

"Who?" she whispers, and he has to watch the light go out of her eyes as he says that he doesn't know. Never bothered to ask. He doesn't even know if Weir, the only one of them he's met (however briefly), is one of the surviving prisoners.

"Thank you anyway," she whispers.

Rodney starts to turn away, and then he pauses, remembering what it was like for him, while he was waiting for the doctor to finally check him over and release him. No one came to see him; all the corpsmen were running around doing mysterious medical things, and no one could be bothered to get him a cup of water or bring his laptop. Would people come to see her, he wonders, if they knew she was here? Would they even be allowed?

"Do you want me to check for you?" he asks. "I could look -- I mean, I'm not promising ..."

But she's smiling again, some of the shadows chased away from her eyes -- and it feels good, in a way he can't quite understand, to be able to make her look like that. "Yes, please, if you can," she whispers, reaching out, and he hesitantly allows her dry, cold fingers to curl around his. "And ..." she whispers, "... if Elizabeth or John still lives, could you tell them that Teyla is alive, please, if they don't know?"

"Teyla -- that's you?" he asks, and she nods. "Elizabeth or John?" Another nod.

"Elizabeth Weir," she whispers, "or John Sheppard," and then her eyes close, and Rodney thinks in horror, Oh no, I broke her, before he sees that her chest is still rising and falling.

He gently detaches her fingers from his own, and beats a hasty retreat before he can make any more promises that will get him in trouble.
Still leery of this SGC, but Rodney, awwwww. (Of course John is alive if that was a stun pulse, but he's pretty screwed isn't he? I shall fantasize an alternate alternate AU is which Rodney is won over by Teyla and helps them escape and flee. I can do that, right?)

I like this because it shows how once there's a little chink in the armor of obnoxious, it just keeps growing. Teyla brings out the best in everyone.
Actually your AU AU AU is kind of where my thoughts were headed, too. I was just looking at the other prompts thinking, "Hmm, which of these could I use for the next installment..."

I felt vaguely guilty about writing this because I do feel like I'm undermining the strength of the other piece. But I can't help being a sticky pool of sap some days.
I love seeing alternate takes from the same base (I'm working on a dark!fic with an even!darker!alternate resolution myself). I don't think this story weakens the original, personally, though I can see that concern; I think it helps that you've explicitly stated that the other one did happen that way, and that this is an alternate take.

As for this story specifically, I really like seeing Rodney respond to even the smallest gestures. (The "Oh, no, I broke her" is great, btw.) And I do like having the option of telling myself they're all okay without having to make it up myself. Heh.
Yeah, I think they work fine as companion pieces, bookends; one doesn't supersede the other. And thanks!
Okay, well obviously I loved the other story as a one-off. But...

I'm impressed with where this story is going (this feels like the beginning of a longer story to me) in that it looks like you're going to explore the whys of the AU of the last. Which could well be fascinating.

Also, I love that it begins with Teyla. She's a good place to start. Especially with Rodney in such a newborn place. :)
Thank you very much!

Like I said in the comment I just wrote, I think these two AUs work well as companions to each other; neither supersedes the other one. I would like to eventually pursue this a bit more, if I get inspired.
The other one works as a stand alone, but this is excellent. Rodney's POV really lends itself to slowly peeling back everything that's wrong with this Stargate program and I love it.
Oooh, I like this.. I still see the two as separate stories. The first story blew my mind with all its unanswered questions and moral dilemmas; it's wonderful to have this as a companion piece. And that's a lovely scene you've written there, Rodney's timid care for Teyla and Teyla's concern for her friends.
Oh no you don't! If you start this de-apocaficing, you have to end it! I was good with the crazy wonderful apocafic that you wrote, not needing more, loving its sharpness, it's speed and action, and then you give me this! This slow, sweet moment of character awakening, but which feels like there will be more! Now I'm not saying it isn't great, but it's a very different sort of feel and tone, feels like it needs to be longer and fleshed out and resolved. The first story was like a fast, exciting concerto, while this smacks of an unfinished symphony.

No rest for the wicked! Crack those fingers over the keyboard and spin us our tale of redemption and hope! Finish this tale and make me proud!

(It's Friday night, I'm slightly drunk, and I'm on I may be a little less measured in my responses than normal. Just FYI. LOL!)
*laughs* Well, we'll see if I'm inspired to write more! (The way my fandom experience has been going this week, though, probably not.)

Painkillers? Not fun! I hope whatever it is has gotten better ...
Oh, awesome! Yeah, this is a great riff off the other story, like there should be a link at the bottom of the story saying, "And one 'verse over, things went down differently." I'd love to read a continuation to this story, with Rodney talking more and more with Teyla, and visiting John and Elizabeth too (just to tell them about Teyla's aliveness, you know), and then - heel face turn from the SGC, and Atlantis flies off into the Pegasus galaxy, the Daedalus in hot pursuit!

Um, yes. Possibly getting a bit carried away there. *g*

I like the idea that this is just one universe over from the other ...
Huh. You know, I don't think this takes away from the impact of the first piece (which was marvellous in its ouch-inducing ways) all that much. The first story was all doom and gloom with Rodney doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, but it had a very clean-cut ending. By adding to it, you've added a great deal of personal angsting and bleakness to wallow through - just seeing how lost and confused (and wary, so wary!) Rodney is here hurts me more, in a way, than him dying for a misguided cause.
Hmm, interesting! I guess for me the ambiguous ending seems more hopeful than the closed door of the previous story -- because here, things could get better, at least.
I fully believe that Teyla could indicate thirst using her eyebrows alone, so loved that touch. :P Rodney's 'Oh no, broke her' is fantastic as well, as is his general discomfort around Teyla. Really like the burgeoning bond between them - I get a sense that Rodney's an outsider here just as much as she is, so it's fascinating to see them interact.
I find both of them rather fascinating...AU's have been coming and going with me lately, but mostly going. I rather like these, though, they have darkness and despaire and everything else I like to read in a fic involving Rodney.

I found that both of them were filled with a different kind of darkness than you usually write, and was wondering if that was because the show was over-or you just were writing it just because.

Also, I was re-reading you're story 'Running On Empty', and was puzzled when you never mentioned what it was that made the screaming noise in the woods that set Sheppard and Rodney on edge...unless I missed by some chance.

Both stories are exceptionally well written, however, and I'm looking forward to reading more! :D
Thank you very much!

Running on Empty -- it was just supposed to be some kind of wild animal. Mountain lions can "scream" like that, so I was thinking it was maybe something like that, but since it's an alien planet, it could be anything at all. I didn't even realize people were going to wonder about it! *g*
I don't think this detracts from the impact of the original and I like this glimmer of hope for them.

I think they work well as companion pieces, neither one trumping the other.
Yay! I did like the first piece, but I have to admit to being a bit of a sap too!! Excellent as always.