Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis and all related items do not belong to me. The universe in which I am playing also does not belong to me; it belongs to the lovely irony_rocks. Only this Story and its related original ideas and characters are mine. No copyright infringement intended.
Characters/Pairing: Mainly John and Cameron, but the others make a small appearance. This fic is John centric with hints of John/Elizabeth and Cam/John. Whether these are hints at a ship or hints at just friendship, I’ll let you decide.
Spoilers/Timeline: This is completely AU to Atlantis, but there are spoilers for Genesis, by irony_rocks.
Feedback: Is always appreciated, please let me know what you think.
Notes: Okay, I fell in love with this universe the minute I read about it. So much so that it wasn’t just the prospect of finding one of those few and far between John/Elizabeth fics that were well written that drew me in; John/Rodney might be my favourite ship, but John/Elizabeth runs a very close second.
I loved the idea of Mutant-SGA and Genesis is just so well written, with a great plot, and in-character AU characters (there’s really no other way to describe it, but I’m sure you all know what I mean), that I just couldn’t resist the urge to play. The fact that my muses had abandoned me for a prolonged period of time and were finally willing to come out and play again meant that I wasn’t about to ignore the urge to dabble in irony_rocks’ fab new AU. Especially not when she left an open invitation!
So, here’s the fic. I hope you all enjoy.
(Note, that this might just end up being the beginning of a longer story. Depends on how well it's received and whether or not I can get the muses to cooperate!)
In Dark Corners
Something was happening, something that looked at odds with the very fabric of the universe itself. He had seen a lot of weird things in his life -- he saw one in the mirror every morning -- but nothing quite like this.
A swirl of...something had formed around her, wind whipped through her hair, and the world seemed to slow within the funnel she now stood at the centre of. Light seemed to ebb and flow in and around her as her head suddenly whipped back so hard he thought it might come off.
Then, as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped and she fell. He spotted the man that had also been trailing them step towards her, watched as he held her down…and he knew he couldn’t just watch any longer.
The man turned in alarm as he appeared beside them, eyes widened in shock. He took off suddenly and, as much as the carnal creature inside demanded that he give chase, the murmuring at his feet was more urgent. He crouched down, gently lifting her upper body into his arms and whispered her name.
Her eyes fluttered and she seemed to be muttering to herself, saying things that didn’t seem to be coming from her own mind. He knew what her power was, knew how hard she had struggled to control it -- he had studied both hers and her partner’s pasts carefully in the last few days -- and he wondered if the whatever-it-was had just thrown her precarious control into disarray. A moment later, however, her eyes seemed to focus, rather unnervingly, on him.
“Hey, you okay?” he asked softly.
“John?” she whispered, her hand reaching out to him.
As she softly trailed her fingers down his cheeks, across his jaw until they rested gently on his lips, he saw something in her eyes. It wasn’t a look of gratitude; it was the look of someone who really knew who you were. She looked right through him, he could feel it as she reached into his mind, almost as if she wasn’t aware she was doing it, and he jerked in surprise.
She reached inside him, reached out to the beast he tried so hard to repress, and…stroked it. Tried to calm it; not forcefully, just openly, as if she was offering it a piece of herself and was willing to accept it for what it was in return.
And then she blacked out.
John let out a breath, realising then that he wasn’t alone. As he looked up at the small group of people around him, as he let the mumbling Scotsman kneel by her side to check on her, he realised one thing: ‘These people aren’t scared of me.’
He didn’t think to tell them that maybe they should be.
Somewhere, in the dark recesses of his consciousness, he knew he wanted to kill her. There was a subtle, violent edge to his mind that just screamed at him to overpower her, to take her, to make her submit to him. It was the same part that knew she never would and the violent urge that followed that realisation was the same reason he tried so hard never to listen to that voice.
He hadn’t been with the unit long, wasn’t really even all that sure he knew why he had agreed to join it in the first place, but the part of him that he knew with all certainty was still human wanted to follow her. Almost as much as the other part wanted to own her.
Elizabeth Weir was a strong woman, something that drew him in as much as turned him away. She was focussed, single minded in her beliefs, and…for some reason, she believed in him. The fact that he was pretty sure that a small part of his mind was desperate to bend, break, and own her made him feel almost guilty about that knowledge.
When he had handed her back her business card all those months ago, he really hadn’t ever intended to turn up at that warehouse. Hadn’t ever intended to see her ever again, in fact, but there had just been something about her that had made her a curiosity. So he had followed her, had watched what had appeared to be failed attempts at recruiting her unwitting companions, had studied her, and had intended to simply prove to himself that he wanted nothing to do with her.
He still wasn’t entirely sure what had kept him on her trail right up until the point where she had collapsed outside the warehouse. He was sure, however, of the reason why he had stuck around.
Shaking his head, John inhaled sharply, his senses picking up the stench of unwashed masses strolling aimlessly around him. He knew that, in reality, it wasn’t so much that they were unwashed, just that his extra, shiny new senses gave him that wonderful pleasure of being able to smell even the slightest drip of sweat. When amplified by the crowded museum, the words ‘unwashed masses’ fit well enough for his internal description.
‘John, can you see anything?’
He shook his head and thought, ‘not yet,’ loudly. The internal wince that was projected into his mind told him he was still thinking too loudly.
He wasn’t really sure what he felt about letting Elizabeth into his mind, even if it did work quicker and more efficiently than any form of radio contact. He supposed that the knowledge that she could do it anyway, but actually wanted his permission, made him trust her not to go poking around in there. Whether he was more frightened she might find something she didn’t like, or that something might find her…well, he didn’t really want to analyse that thought just yet.
‘Cam says to tell you to watch the woman on your right. Blue jacket; blue shoes; and a nice a- and I think you get the picture.’
John tried to play down his smirk, ignoring the odd look he was receiving for from the elderly couple who had witnessed his almost-snort of laughter, as he turned to his right. Sure enough, there was something different about the brunette. Short of transforming fully and using all his mutant-given abilities, he was unable to get a direct ‘read’ from her, but there was definitely something about her smell. Whether she was actually a mutant, or just one of those unfortunates that seemed to be surrounded by whatever gene caused the transformation, but had been lucky enough not to actually transform, he didn’t know.
And she really did have a nice a-
The internal prompt almost made him jump out of his skins. ‘I don’t know,’ he thought back. ‘You and Cam are the only ones who know who we’re looking for and she might have altered her appearance. She’s definitely...something.’
He turned slowly around, looking up at the security camera in the far corner and just giving it a look. Rodney had had no trouble hacking into the museum’s security and, with Elizabeth’s ability to communicate with them all internally, the mission was running smoothly. He rolled his eyes once at the camera and turned back to studying the occupants of the room. There wasn’t really much else he could do and, besides, he was beginning to get a little bored. Whether or not The Genii were actually actively recruiting in the area still remained unseen and he was getting a little bored of the endless stake outs of really boring places that turned out to be nothing. The fact that this one was a specific person they were looking for (a specific person that may or may not be the girl Mitchell was eyeing up) still didn’t make it any more thrilling. Nothing ever seemed to happen.
Okay, so the explosion at the beach front hadn’t exactly been nothing, but he firmly maintained that that was McKay’s fault.
This time he did jump out of his skins. Well, one of them at least. If the panic already ensuing at the fact that ‘Blue Jacket; Blue Shoes; and a Nice A-’ had just sneezed and burst into flames hadn’t been enough, having him transform into a blue, scaly monster had started an all out pandemic of fear.
“Nice one, Shep!” Mitchell called out, yanking the fire extinguisher from the nearby wall and fumbling with the key pin.
“Blame the brains!” he replied, quickly trying to repress the carnal voice in the back of his head. He heard a different voice creep in with a sheepish, ‘sorry,’ and decided he’d let this one slide. He supposed that seeing a young girl erupt in flames might surprise even Elizabeth.
As he tried to approach the girl, he became aware of a few things; that the museum was now empty -- save for two quaking security guards, who were aiming guns in John’s general direction -- and that the loud screaming was coming from the girl Mitchell had just covered in foam. Her eyes flicked up from her waving, smoking arms and focussed on John. And the screaming got louder.
“She was on fire and I’m scary?” he asked incredulously, glancing at Mitchell.
“Shep,” the man said, gesturing ineptly. “You might wanna…” John frowned. “I think it might be the yellow eyes. Maybe the scales,” Cameron continued, shrugging. “Just a hunch.”
John closed his eyes and took a breath, feeling his other side regress and breathing in the sensation of scales sliding beneath skin, as if he was wrapping part of himself in silk. His mind recoiled slightly before settling back into the dark corner of his consciousness and, a moment later, he glanced sheepishly at Mitchell.
‘John, Cameron. You have company.’
Instantly alert, both men turned to face the security guards. At Mitchell’s nod, John transformed again, ignoring the startled squeal from behind them. He let his tongue dart out of his mouth for a second, trying to get a stronger scent than his nose allowed. He frowned, his yellow eyes turning his vision to sharp black and white, highlighting each slight movement.
His lips slid into a lazy smile that, on his human self, might have been welcoming. Instead, it was decidedly predatory. His claws slowly sharpened as his senses led him forward. A quick glance at Mitchell kept his friend from advancing with him and John was pleased to see that, somehow, Cameron had had time to draw and aim his weapon and make sure that Blue Jacket was safely behind them.
His eyes narrowed as he sensed other mutants approaching the area and walked towards the two shaking security guards. The two – one male, one female – slowly walked backwards as he approached. John’s right hand twitched, his claws involuntarily flexing. Whilst the movement hadn’t been intentional, it had both guards flickering alarmed glances at each other.
Without warning he pounced. His hands shot upwards and gravity seemed irrelevant as he scaled the walls. He grabbed hold of the vent above the large open doorway and hauled it off, moving out of the way of the man crouched inside.
Ronon shot into action the moment he leapt from his hiding place, mauling the two new arrivals that came running into the room. At the same time, John dropped to the ground again, dodging the bullets from the security guards guns and running towards them in an almost-crouch. By now they weren’t even pretending to be human.
The female was, whilst firing her gun at John with one hand, shooting small pellets out of her wrist and aiming them at Mitchell. The male had started to shed his human form altogether. He had been large before, but suddenly John found himself facing a behemoth; a large cord of muscle bound into a body that John had only ever imagined in green before. He smiled. He’d been looking for a challenge.
At the same moment he charged the behemoth-man, he smelled Teyla entering the room, no doubt having taken the most direct route to them and walked through all solid matter in her way, and saw that the female had become distracted by her presence. It was, however, at that moment that the behemoth struck and John was pretty sure that every bone in his body had just been directed in a new direction they had never intended to take.
“Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Owe!”
“If you’d quit your fidgeting, maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much.”
“And if you’d quit poking the bits that are broken maybe it wouldn’t hurt at all,” John shot back, glaring at the Scottish doctor, who was giving as good as he got. John sighed. “Really, Dr. B, I got it. I heal faster than most.”
“Aye, and if you’d just let me clean out the wounds, you’d heal even faster.” Carson sighed and muttered, “Whoever said doctors made the worst patients should try treating stubborn mutants.”
“You’re an idiot.”
John frowned at the latest arrival and glanced at Mitchell, who was waiting for his turn on the receiving end of Beckett’s torture. “Who invited the peanut gallery?” he asked, indicating Rodney.
“Seriously, do you have no sense of self preservation? You basically ran into a brick wall!”
“That, in fact, might have been a more sensible idea,” Teyla commented from her lotus position on the bed opposite John. “Brick walls do not tend to hit back.”
“In order to hit back,” Rodney yelled, “he would have had to actually hit first. Or at all.”
“Hey! I got a few shots in.”
“The accidental scratch behind his elbow whilst you were screaming like a girl doesn’t count,” Rodney said, glaring.
“You know,” John said, wincing as Carson prodded yet another tender rib, and turned to face Cameron. “I’m not sure I signed up for this. Verbal bashings weren’t in my contract.”
Rodney huffed. “Clearly you specified actual bashings as a necessity, because I can’t see any other reason why you would run into the Incredible Hulk.”
John opened his mouth to continue defending his honour and was quite convinced he might have to do so for quite some time. However, it was at that point an unfamiliar voice interrupted.
“Who are you people?”
John sighed and ran his hand through his hair. He leaned out over the back of the Nautical, their designated ‘safe house’, and was eternally glad that he didn’t have to explain anything to Blue Jacket; whom it turned out was actually a Post Graduate Physics student from the local University, called Cassandra Frasier. Elizabeth and Teyla had absconded with her the moment Carson had cleared her as being in a perfect state of health. Aside from the whole uncontrollable bursts of fire thing.
The girl was younger than he had initially suspected, had been quite unaware of her status as a mutant, and was actually the God-daughter of Elizabeth’s half-brother’s best friend. Elizabeth and Cameron had been tailing the girl for a few days, but she had slipped away from them earlier that morning, died her hair, and then proceeded to be inexplicably stupid by turning up at the gallery to her friend’s exhibit, as planned.
As far as the case went, however, Elizabeth had never really given them any substantial details beyond ‘the Genii might have a use for her’. The entire mission had been a bit of a headache for John from start to finish, actually, and the knowledge that the girl actually breathed fire (well, he figured she might be able breathe it) didn’t make him inclined to be in the room whilst they were telling her all about it.
No, he was really glad he didn’t have to explain that one.
“Hey, you okay?”
Turning from his perch, John let out a hiss of breath at the movement of his broken ribs. “I’ll heal.”
“Yeah,” Cameron said, easing into a position beside him. “You know that you’re not exactly Ronon, right?”
“Are you saying I’m less of a man than Ronon Dex?” John asked, a smirk playing at his lips, and Cameron almost snickered.
“No,” the FBI agent said, letting out a breath and actually looking serious for a minute, “I’m saying you’re less of an indestructible-impenetrable-skin kinda mutant than him and it’s probably, I mean I might be wrong, but it’s probably not such a good idea to try and run head on into an immovable object.”
“He moved,” John protested. “A bit.”
“Yeah, side stepping Ronon doesn’t really count.”
“I’m feeling particularly undervalued here.”
This time Cameron did snicker. “Nah, just think of it as a friendly piece of advice. We’re getting kinda used to havin’ you around. Be a shame to go killing yourself.”
“Elizabeth wants you to go see her after she and Teyla talk to Cassie.”
“What’s with that anyway?” John asked, not really sure Mitchell would break his partner’s trust by telling him. “It’s not like Elizabeth to withhold information on a case.”
“My guess is she didn’t want you all thinking this was personal for her. The Genii want something from Cassie Frasier and we might just have stopped them from getting their hands on her.”
“For now,” John amended and Cameron nodded.
They stood in companionable silence for a long time, before John glanced at his…friend? He wasn’t quite sure that any of them knew him well enough to be considered his friend, but he like to think that maybe, just maybe, he was almost there.
“Does it ever get less weird?”
“I’m afraid you’re gonna have to be more specific.”
They both chuckled and John conceded that the man had a point. It wasn’t as if anyone could say their lives had been anything but weird over the last few years. John didn’t say anything right away, still trying to figure out the best way to word it, but it seemed that Cameron knew anyway.
“I don’t think it was ever really weird for me,” the man said, and John glanced at him. “She always said she knew me better than I knew myself and I never could lie to her. Letting her into my head wasn’t weird, because she’d always been able to get in there.”
“Sometimes,” John said quietly, “I think she’s been in mine before, too.”
“That so bad?”
John gave a humourless laugh. “There are places in my mind that I don’t even venture into.”
Cameron didn’t really say anything to that. John wasn’t really sure there was anything he could say. Somehow, though, that didn’t really matter to him; he’d said it and the world hadn’t ended.
He watched as the shoreline behind them receded further into the distance and had to wonder exactly what was coming. There was an air around them all that spoke of bad things in their future. It hung around Elizabeth like an almost tangible essence that his inner voice called out to, but he wasn’t sure if it wanted to protect or destroy. He wasn’t really sure he wanted to know. It seemed, mostly, that it was just the primal side of his own self that wanted to take over, but other times, times when he let himself sink right into his own thoughts, he sensed a tinge of something more malevolent.
He wasn’t entirely sure what was coming, he only hoped he was in control enough to protect the people he was beginning to think so much of.
He only hoped he wouldn’t end up being the one who destroyed them.
The End...for now, anyway!
Well, that wasn’t exactly where I’d intended to go. I wasn’t actually sure I even had a direction, to be honest! However, I would quite like to write a sequel with Cassie at some point (hence her introduction), but I’d really like to hear what you all think about that at first. The fire thing wasn’t my initial intention, but I felt it worked in this instance.
I would also like to say that I did read the thread on Elizabeth’s powers and I decided that I just liked the telepathy and chose not to really delve into anything else. Which I guess wasn’t hard, since she’s not really in this fic in person, although, she’s likely to be in any sequel I decide to write. I’m not sure if the whole ‘projection of thoughts’ thing was implied by irony_rocks, but it’s something I’ve always associated with the idea of telepathy; if you can pick up thoughts, you can plant them. Therefore, transmitting your own thoughts, like a radio would transmit your voice, seemed like a natural progression to me. Plus, I just love the thought of it really scaring the crap out of John at times :)
Also, I had a huge inconsistancy in the initial version of this fic, in the flash at the beginning and then again with the 'mission' involving Cassie, and had to re-write bits of it. I think it's all been sorted, but, if you spot something, please let me know!
Edited because I uploaded the wrong version (the flashback at the start wasn't in canon with Genesis) *headdesk*