ldyanne (ldyanne) wrote in kill_dr_weir,

Fic: Holding the Line (John/Rodney) Pt 1/4

Title: Holding the Line
Author: Lady Anne
Genre: H/C, Angst, Adventure
Pairing (if any): John/Rodney
Rating: PG-13, language and violence, a little sexuality
Warnings: language and violence, a little sexuality
Words:  This part is 2800, but the whole story is just a little over 10,000
Summary: This is an AU tag for the Long Goodbye. Thalen just doesn't want to let go.
A/N:  This is one of my 50 fic, the prompt was 'hate.'
There is dialogue from the episode included in here, I think you'll figure it out.  Much thanks to chocolatephysicist, my stellar beta.  My story is better because of her eye.  Any mistakes remaining are my own.


John Sheppard was no stranger to hate.

When he was six he hated Penny Myers because she broke his heart. She had kissed John while they sat on the swings on the playground, then she told him she loved Brent Patterson more because *he* gave her a nickel when she kissed him. Even at the tender age of six, John knew that love couldn’t be bought. Still, it hurt a lot that entire year whenever he saw Penny and Brent together – sitting next to each other at story hour, heads bent together over the craft table, fingers all covered with paint painting on the same canvas.

John hated his sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Petty, when she insisted that he ‘wasn’t living up to his potential.’ She hounded him the entire year to do his best, to prove to the world that John Sheppard was a force to be reckoned with. It was the sixth grade, all John was really interested in was convincing his parents to get him a new skateboard, he could care less about living up to his potential.

He hated a girl or two (and even a boy) who dumped him and stomped his teenage heart into the dirt. He’d hated his parents when they wouldn’t let him hitchhike cross country because they never knew what it was to be young (he’d insisted passionately. It was the exact wrong argument to use). Once he joined the Air Force he hated taking orders, but he learned to live with it because he wanted to fly. Then he was ordered to leave his friends behind and he couldn’t do that. Not and be able to look at himself in the mirror ever again. So, he’d disobeyed orders and gone to rescue them.

Then he hated his friends, when, despite John disobeying orders and going back for them, they died anyway.

But not really.

The line between love and hate was such a thin one. Laying in the hospital, recovering from wounds he received trying to rescue his friends; John wavered between love and hate. It could have gone either way. He could have chosen to hate Mitch and Dex for dying, for leaving him to face life alone, disgraced and discredited.

In the end John chose to remember them with love. The love of brothers who had lived hard and died for what they believed. They would always be a part of him.

In the Pegasus Galaxy John found new things to hate. Bugs, he hated bugs of all sizes and varieties. He hated the natives who seemed to be friendly but then turned homicidal. Of course there was the Wraith. They were an evil he couldn’t allow to continue. And some of the Genii he hated, but he couldn’t bring himself to hate all of them. Just Koyla and Cowan – men who should be able to see that their peoples – Lanteans and Genii, should be working together to defeat the Wraith. But they were so wrapped up in their own agendas they were endangering two galaxies. And Ford, he couldn’t quite bring himself to hate Ford, what happened to him wasn’t the kid’s fault. Mostly he hated himself for not being able to save Ford.

But now John knew that he had never really known what hate was before.

Hate was Thalen hunting Phebus even though their people were all long since dead. Hate was Phebus threatening to vent Halon gas into three quarters of the expedition’s quarters unless Thalen (in John Sheppard’s body) was delivered to her. Dead or alive, she didn’t care.

Thalen’s hate would destroy whatever stood in the path of achieving its goal – killing Phebus and ending their war. It didn’t care that the war between Thalen’s and Phebus’ people was over; they were the last two of their people.

As Thalen knew everything John knew, had access to all of John’s thoughts and feelings, John could see Thalen’s memories. He saw the long bitter war fought with neither side willing to give an inch, atrocities committed by both sides, treaties made and broken, cities full of dead. John could remember Thalen’s last conscious moments in the pod, filled with impotent rage that his enemy was within reach but there was no way for him to strike.

Now he finally had a chance to revenge the blood of his people and end the war. Thalen was determined to kill Phebus. It didn’t matter which of John’s friends got in the way, they were just causalities of his war.

John tried to make him understand. He shouted that it wasn’t Phebus that Thalen would kill, it was Elizabeth Weir, unwilling host to Thalen’s enemy. John tried to make the other man see that it was just a matter of time, all they needed to do was wait and Phebus would be dead. But it wasn’t enough for Thalen.

Thalen wanted the satisfaction of killing Phebus himself.

John threw himself against the barrier that made him a prisoner in his own mind but Thalen forced him into a corner. Thalen laughed at him as he shoved John farther and farther away. John retreated from the tidal wave of Thalen’s hate, reluctant witness to the things his body was doing under Thalen’s control.

John screamed when Ronon was wounded because he had *trusted* that the person he was speaking to was John Sheppard. Shit. Even after seven years of running from the Wraith, Dex wasn’t prepared for that. John saw the familiar faces of his friends and his soldiers flash before him and he wondered with sick dread which one was going to be the next to get caught in the line of fire.

He was almost relieved when Teyla caught him… them. At least Thalen would no longer be able to hurt people using John’s body. He almost dared to believe that it was over as he lost consciousness. He thought that maybe he might be himself when he woke up. But then he woke up and realized what Phebus was prepared to do in order to guarantee Thalen’s death and it chilled John to his soul. He knew it wasn’t Elizabeth who wanted John Sheppard dead. It was Phebus who ordered Teyla to kill Thalen or she would flood the city with halon gas. John understood the choice Teyla had to make. One life or many. It wasn’t a hard choice to make, not really if you did the math.

John watched dispassionately as Teyla prepared her weapon. He was sorry that it was Teyla who would be forced to kill him to save the city. But he was glad, too. Teyla understood that John would rather die himself than let the people under his protection be murdered. He hoped she knew that he was actually kind of glad that she was there to do it. It felt… kinder than if it had been one of his marines doing it because it was their duty. Teyla was doing it because she knew it was what John would want. His only hope was that she would be able to forgive herself in the end.

John prepared himself to die. How many times had he been prepared to die in the Pegasus Galaxy? Hell, he’d been prepared to die that first step through the ‘gate when none of them really knew what was on the other side. They were just lucky to walk into an Ancient outpost instead of stepping through an orbital ‘gate.

It was the last minute, but of course McKay saved the day again. Really, John was going to have to have a talk with him and encourage him to save the day a little faster. Or send him a fruit basket, it could go either way.

Barely allowing himself to believe it, John just sat blinking up at Teyla, letting the relief wash through him. He was still alive.

It was in the quiet of that moment, feeling fortunate to still be alive that John saw what Thalen was planning. Up until that moment there had been too much else occupying John’s mind to really look into Thalen’s thoughts and see that he had long term plans. But now he saw and he didn’t know why he was surprised, really.

They had lied.

The imprinting didn’t just fade away after a few hours. There were drugs on the little pod the aliens had been found in, drugs that had to be administered. One would disperse the second personality. Until that happened, Thalen was in charge. And the other drug…

John threw himself against the barriers that were keeping him a prisoner in his own mind. It was no use. He was well and truly screwed.

“Good one, John,” he shouted at himself. “You did this to yourself.” He had stood there and allowed himself to be hijacked by an alien entity. Sure, he had had misgivings about the whole thing, but then Caldwell had objected and it almost made it imperative that John do it. Just to prove the guy wrong.

Thalen only laughed at him as he faked going into convulsions. Phebus was on her way and Thalen had no intentions of dying at her hands. No, if anyone died it would be Phebus. Thalen was pretty determined about that.

John felt something like his gut twist as Teyla gazed down at him in worry and concern while Thalen played the part of John Sheppard to perfection.

Thalen laughed at him even as he played on Teyla’s emotions, “Teyla, come on,” he implored using the voice he knew John would use. A voice that Teyla would know and respond to, “You can’t leave me like this.”

It worked because Teyla knelt beside him, “I will not let her harm you,” she assured them.

John screamed at her to go. Just go. Because no matter what happened between Phebus and Thalen, Teyla was likely to get caught in the crossfire, just like Ronon. John had too much blood on his hands already. He wanted to ask about Ronon, find out how Ronon was, but Thalen just sneered at him to be silent. It hadn’t even been because of John’s concern for Ronon that Thalen had called for the medical team. Thalen knew that the more resources he could force the Lanteans to waste (Thalen actually thought it was a waste to call for a medical team, a waste of resources. It twisted in John’s stomach and if he could have, he would have thrown up. But his body was no longer his own to control) on other matters, there would less people to join in the search for the two soldiers, leaving them free to pursue their own private war.

Go, John tried to tell her. Instead it came out, “You don’t know how determined she is. You can’t let her win.”

Thalen was smart. He hadn’t survived a war by being stupid. He knew how to play Teyla. He knew what the convulsions looked like when the imprinting wore off. The hate was thrumming through him now. Thalen was determined to win this battle, win the war. He would see Phebus dead.

And he played the part for Teyla, writhing in apparent convulsions before falling to the floor. Playing possum.

He could hear the concern in Teyla’s voice, “He is going into convulsions.”

John prayed that Caldwell didn’t suddenly acquire a heart and order him released. But he didn’t need to worry about that. His relief was palpable when Caldwell ordered, “Do not release him, no matter what happens.”

Oh, yes, John Sheppard owed Steven Caldwell a really big apology if he lived through the day.

Desperately John suddenly wished that it was Caldwell there with him now. Caldwell would not have been swayed when Thalen cracked his eyes and peered up, “Teyla?”

Thalen was pouring it on thick and it would be funny that Teyla was buying into the act if John didn’t know what Thalen had in mind.

“Is that really you?” She searched his eyes and for just a second John thinks that she wouldn’t fall for it, but Thalen knows just how to play it.

“You’re never going to believe me, so…” Thalen turns away from Teyla but his every sense is attuned to listening for Phebus. Thalen knew she was coming, he can feel it. “I’m not even going to try.”

There was the sound of a weapon being primed to fire, loud as doom and Elizabeth… no that was Phebus speaking, “Stand away from him and up against the wall.”

Teyla tried to protect him all the way until the end. “He is unconscious,” she protested. She bends over John’s body, shielding him from the soldier standing in the doorway. John feels so fucking helpless. And it’s not just the restraints on his hands. It’s being a prisoner in his own mind, unable to stop Thalen from doing what he wants to do. Not able to protect Elizabeth from the thing inside her.

Thalen was smart though. He followed Teyla’s cue. Closing his eyes he feigned unconscious. Thalen’s mind (John’s mind) races, sorting scenarios, figuring angles, wondering where Lorne’s team is and how long before they’ll arrive to complicate things.

Elizabeth speaks, but it’s really not Elizabeth. The voice is a little different, harder, without mercy, “I don’t know how many bullets I have left in this thing, or I would have already shot you,” Phebus tells Teyla.

Something hard and metallic is pressed into John’s hands. He doesn’t even have to look at it; both he and Thalen know a Wraith stunner with their eyes closed.

Even as Elizabeth snarls, “I said back off!”

John can hear Teyla move away and Thalen waits. His timing has to be exactly right. There are too many things that can go wrong now. Thalen has always been patient and now his moment of triumph is almost at hand.

“Unconscious or not, I wanna see his face…”

Phebus has always been stupid. Thalen doesn’t really understand how she managed to live so long. It had to be just plain dumb luck. Because he could judge where she stood in the room by her words. He knew when she was close enough that all he had to do was sit up. The Wraith stunner wasn’t a precision weapon. You just had to be close for it to be effective. And Thalen was close, he was very, very close when he pulled the trigger.

Elizabeth went down like a stone.

Teyla moved like a blur to kick the weapon away, but Thalen was ready for her, too. He knew that she wouldn’t trust that he really was John Sheppard as he professed to be. He turned the weapon on her. She fell next to Elizabeth, the P-90 clattering to the floor beside her.

Thalen reached out and pulled the weapon to him. He sat, cradling it close to him. Thalen liked the P-90. It was a lovely weapon, it had weight and kick and he would know when he killed Phebus with it. He would feel it in the recoil, taste in the air. He laid the weapon aside for the time it took to draw Teyla’s knife from the sheath at her side and slit the ties around his wrists. They had sliced into the skin and there was a red, abraded line where they had been. Thalen ignored the pain, he was a soldier with a mission and a little pain was not going to stop him. Neither was the screaming of the host inside him.

After he freed himself, Thalen picked up the P-90, stroking a loving hand down it before expertly priming it. He had John’s knowledge after all. He knew exactly how it worked.

“Are you going to watch?” Thalen taunted John. “Haven’t you always wanted her dead? You never liked her decisions, you’ve always thought you could do better.”

Thalen might be able to use John’s thoughts and twist them with his friends, but there was no way he was doing that to John himself.

“Fuck off,” John told him.

Thalen chuckled as he moved to stand over Elizabeth’s body. John could feel his rage against Phebus and her people; he felt the hate and the utter satisfaction that at last he, Thalen, was the victor.

Thalen lifted the gun and pulled the trigger all in one smooth motion. Faster than John could even realize that it had happened, there was a line of blood welling up between Elizabeth’s eyes. It ran in a rivulet to form a puddle beneath her. As he watched, the

John felt like he’d been shot himself. Elizabeth was dead.

He wanted to curl up in a corner. He wanted to scream and throw things. But Thalen wasn’t done yet.

“Oh, no,” Thalen told him, “we’ve got things to do.”

They were gone before Lorne and his men showed up to find Teyla unconscious, Elizabeth dead beside her. 

Part 2
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