Thank you to everyone who took part--your prompts were very challenging!
Title: Summary Executions
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Pairing: John/Rodney; Teyla/Sora
Note: A collection of shorts written in response to title prompts from my f-list. There is now a remix of "He Came to My Hand like the Nesting Dove" by lilyayl, "Yet You Are More Than Traps Or Nets (The Longer and Uncut Remix)".
For vegetariansushi, who asked for, "everything ends badly! (in haiku)"
The Tragic Death of
Sheppard, and All the Ways He
Failed To Find True Love
Yes, everyone dies:
Atlantis is sunk after
being strafed by Wraith
culling beams, then nuked;
poor kidnapped Rodney is Wraith-
sucked, rescued too late,
only to drown, while
trapped in the back of a crashed
his final words are:
"John... John... this is all your fault
you moronic dick."
John's final words are,
"Shit. I always knew this would
happen," as he bleeds
out in the Chair, a
fragment of ceiling broken
off and fallen down,
spearing him through the
belly. "Also? I'm not gay."
Fade to black. The end.
For order_of_chaos, who asked for, "Overheard Down the Rabbit Hole (by just about everyone, including the cat)."
Overheard Down the Rabbit Hole
This is a short, hilarious cross-over AU, in which John has an accident with a quantum thermos and finds himself transported into the midst of the Mad Hatter's tea party. The Hatter's cranky, "Typical. Of course you'd turn up after we'd started. Get with the program, Colonel," seems strangely familiar. As does the Cheshire Cat, who, bizarrely, has dreds; whenever he fades away, the last things left are his smile and the constellation of ivory-bladed knives adorning his hair.
The party continues until all the guests have said something disparaging/embarrassing/funny about John's secret past. And then the pretty girl in the blue pinafore and the angelic glow makes a pass at him, and the Mad Hatter goes red in the face and chokes on his tea.
Then, after a couple of rounds of "eat me" "drink me" (in which John turns into a bug, a woman, a dolphin, and his own evil twin), the White Rabbit turns up, saying, "What mischief have you gotten yourself into now, lad?" and injects him with a needle the size of carrot. John goes woozy, blinks a few times (in extreme close-up), and wakes up in the infirmary, entirely himself again, staring up at Carson's worried face.
The moral of this story: Gossip is a universal constant. And also? Don't eat or drink anything that asks you to, especially if the writing is in Ancient.
For williwawz, who asked for, "Teyla's Unfortunate Shotgun Wedding."
Teyla's Unfortunate Shotgun Wedding
This tale of dark, political intrigue, with serious moral themes, is a sequel to the light-hearted McShep romp, "And Baby Makes Four."
"Teyla's Unfortunate Shotgun Wedding" begins with a long sequence set on the Athosian mainland, in which Teyla roams the beach on a spirit-quest, pondering her place in the universe, and the importance of peace... at any cost! As a result of this epiphany, Teyla secretly manipulates events so that she and Sora of the Genii accidentally-on-purpose touch the Ancient Impregnation Device previously discovered (to hilarious effect) in "And Baby Makes Four".
In a pretty flash of blue light, Teyla becomes pregnant with Sora's baby, and Sora with Teyla's baby. After consulting with Carson, and a touching, NC-17-rated sex scene in which Teyla puts forward a case for keeping the babies, and Sora agrees that this will benefit both their people (with a clear subtext that they are both in love, but neither realises the other feels the same way), they go public. This results, just as Teyla predicted, in the Athosians insisting it's all Sora's fault and that she must marry Teyla as a matter of honour, and the Genii insisting it's all Teyla's fault and she must marry Sora (in a transparent stratagem which will gain visitation rights to Atlantis for Sora's "family").
After much negotiation by Elizabeth (and several behind the scenes crises which require Teyla to protect Sora by fighting homophobic marines, Wraith, and a giant squid with her bantos sticks) the two duly get married, in a tense but flower-bedecked ceremony held under a marquee at the alpha site.
Nine months later, upon the birth of the two girls, the Athosians, Genii and Atlanteans sign a peace treaty, and Teyla and Sora's children are named Faith and Hope as a sign of the new age of peace and cooperation the treaty will bring. As everyone is toasting the treaty, Sora pretends Faith needs her diaper changed, and leaves the room. When Teyla follows, she finds Sora in tears, and after much talking at cross-purposes, it is revealed (due to Faith doing something adorable, like grabbing both their hands at once in her tiny fists) that they do truly love each other.
The story ends with an epilogue, in which Teyla is musing, as she teaches Faith and Hope the first bantos kata, that what the Earthers have never understood (with their simplistic moralising) is that sometimes the ends do, indeed, justify the means, and that sometimes perceived misfortune can actually be salvation in disguise.
For thady, who asked for, "And They Died Happily Ever After..." [spoiler for Sunday]
And They Died Happily Ever After
Well obviously, this is my epic Ascension story! In which John is killed saving Atlantis from an army of Goa'uld infected Wraith!
In a desperate eleventh-hour, last-ditch defence, John takes his shirt off (revealing his tempting, manly chest) and lets himself be captured. Sure enough, the Goa'aith drag him to the Queen for interrogation and she plays with him a bit before feeding off him. But little do the Goa'aiath know that John is infecting them all with Carson's exploding tumors! With every breath he takes! The whole lot of them blow up spectacularly, including John, and their hive ship crashes into one of Atlantis' moons -- making night turn into day for the watching Athosians on the mainland.
Anyway, then John Ascends, thanks to Chaya, who seeded the instructions in his mind when they shared, hoping that he would join her after he'd lived out a full life with his own people. And he does, at first, because he doesn't like any of the other Ascended Ancients. But then he gets bored and goes wandering, and has many Ascended adventures, learning the limits of his power, and having various run-ins with the Ascended "police" officer, Logos, assigned to watch him for bad behaviour.
Then, one day, he hears a call, faint and far away, tugging insistently at the back of his mind, and he knows that finally, finally he can stop filling in time and go home. When he gets to Earth, he finds a wispy-haired and frail Rodney lying in bed, surrounded by Madison and Madison's wife and kids.
When John puts his hand on Rodney's chest, Rodney opens his eyes and looks right at him and says, "What took you so long?"
And then Rodney Ascends, and he and John go off adventuring through the universe together.
And that is the story of how John and Rodney died happily ever and ever and ever after.
For ekaterinn, who asked for, "Somebody In This House Has Rocks In His Head (And I'm Not Saying Who)."
Somebody In This House Has Rocks In His Head (And I'm Not Saying Who)
Oh, this one is a favourite of mine! This is the action-packed, Indiana-Jones-style AU adventure, in which John is a geologist who likes to make bad rock jokes. I had to do a lot of research to write this one!
It begins with John being recruited because SG-1 finds what looks like a planet that was built by the Ancients; they call it planet Ichor, because it's kind of swampy. Rodney is sent there by Carter (instead of to Siberia), as the head of science.
Anyway, on John's first day, as he's walking from the gate to base camp with the rest of the new recruits, there's an earth tremor and he accidentally gets pushed off a small cliff when the guide, Kavanagh, loses his footing. When John hits the bottom of the gully, his hand lands on a semi-buried Ancient device, and the whole hill starts to shift about, and then, from beneath the sloughing clay and vegetation, the entrance to a hidden Ancient outpost appears.
Rodney turns up a short time later with the med-team, puffing and yelling at everyone in sight, starting with Kavanagh and ending with John.
"Are you okay?" Rodney demands, impatiently looking over John's bandaged arm, a little worry line creasing his forehead.
"It's just a sprain," John says, because really, at this point in his career, anything less than being caught on the side of a volcano during an eruption isn't worth getting het up about.
Rodney's chin goes up, and his eyes slit with anger, and even on ten minutes acquaintance John knows that's a bad sign. "Oh my god," Rodney says, "They've sent me another insane person!" He waves wildly at the semi-destroyed hill. "You were caught in a landslide. Have you no sense of self preservation? Or do you just have rocks for brains?"
"Pretty much," John says, admiring the flush on Rodney's cheeks and the way anger is brightening his eyes. It makes him look like a force of nature. "I'm especially fond of gneiss."
"Niece?" Kavanagh says, and that pretty much seals John's first impression of him as a self-important ass.
Rodney rolls his eyes. "Thank you for that stunning demonstration that there are worse things than having rocks for brains."
"Yeah," John says, "My head could be filled with a lot of empty space instead."
"Oh, ha ha." Rodney's gaze rakes over John again, more assessingly this time. "That's the kind of physics joke I'd expect a geologist to make."
John just grins at him, while Kavanagh stomps off in a huff.
After that, Rodney puts John on his own team, saying he's obviously a trouble-magnet and needs close watching. And then, after many hair-raising adventures with the gadgets in the Ancient outpost, John and Rodney end up trapped in a cave, huddling together for warmth, just because I've always wanted to write trapped-in-a-cave sex.
And so they bicker and get into trouble and have lots of hot sex (not always in caves) and save each other's lives, and life is good, even if there are rather too many bad rock jokes for Rodney's taste.
When the Ichor mission is over, it looks for a while like they might be split up. But then the opportunity to join the Atlantis expedition comes along and, after the most laconic declaration of love ever (John), and the most flustered and accidental (Rodney), they both sign up so they can stay together.
For hetrez, who asked for, "Save Their Shoes From Gravel."
Save Their Shoes From Gravel
I've never been very happy with this story--it didn't turn out quite the way I wanted it to. It was an experiment in form, in which multiple AUs segue into each other when either John or Rodney speak the same line. So, for instance:
The ballet AU, in which John is a dancer worried about an injury ending his career and Rodney is a choreographer who wants to create something outside the limited box that ballet allows. They team up, forming an experimental dance company, hiring Ronon and Teyla and Cadman as dancers and Elizabeth as manager.
Worried about John's re-injured hamstring, Rodney is in a foul mood (partly because he's kind of in love with John, partly because his leading man may not be able to perform at their debut, and partly because he's cross at being petty and caring about losing his leading man when it's John's career on the line), and so rants at Cadman after catching her chewing on her new shoes to soften them up.
The segue comes mid-rant: "Does this look like a charity to you? Quite apart from the risk of catching some rare and horrible strain of foot in mouth disease, you'll leave marks, and then you'll be buying your own goddamn replacement shoes..."
"...and then you'll be buying your own goddamn replacement shoes with every black-market item we own, you moron," Rodney said to John.
John ignored him and steadily emptied the gravel from their cell wall onto the muddy surface of the exercise yard.
And so the segues go, back and fourth between the ballet story, the great depression story, the marathoning-across-America story, and the alien-world prison story (which is the main, framing story).
For cricketk, who asked for, "He Came to My Hand like the Nesting Dove."
He Came to My Hand like the Nesting Dove
This is my infamous vampire fusion story, in which John is the dark lord of Atlantea, and Dr McKay is a vampire hunter bent on ridding the world of evil.
Needless to say, it doesn't quite work out that way, with Dr McKay finding himself drawn deeper and deeper into Sheppard's seductive fold, only to discover that the dark lord has a secret history...
Sheppard was once a soldier, enlisted to fight the wraith-like vampires when they first invaded Atlantea, but was captured and infected by a vampire queen and turned into a creature of the dark. However, due to a freak mutation in his genes, the transformation was only partial, and so he became a creature of shadows, rather than a true vampire. He doesn't take human life when he feeds, and those he considers his, he protects against all threats. The villagers of Athos, living under his protection, are safe against the depredations of the vampiric scourge ravaging the rest of Atlantea, and in fact are living well, as Sheppard is the largest buyer of livestock in the land!
Rodney, despite his confused feelings for Sheppard, continues his quest, going on a hunt for the infamous vampire queen. He is captured before he can deploy his super-weapon, but before the queen can feed on him, Sheppard comes, killing all who stand in his way. He fights the queen in a terrible battle that ranges far and wide around the queen's domain. But in the end, Sheppard prevails, although he's dreadfully wounded.
This is the moment of truth for Rodney... does he finish Sheppard off, or admit that not all evil wears the same face? He stands poised with his diabolical weapon aimed at Sheppard's chest. Before he can make up his mind, Sheppard cracks an eye open, and says, "What the hell are you still doing here? Run! Before the queen's minions find you!"
And then, as though in a dream, Rodney finds himself dragging Sheppard out of the castle, stealing a carraige, and dashing for the safety of the Athosian village, muttering as he goes, "I'm under some kind of, of, of whatsit, compulsion or something. I must be. As irrational as the idea is, it's the only possible explanation." But he reaches over and strokes Sheppard's hair when they jostle over a bump in the scrubby, unpaved side-road.
And so they come to the Athosian village, where Teyla helps John heal, and after a lot more bitching and general orneriness, Rodney admits that he's illogically smitten with John, who might not be totally evil after all, and then, after John laughs at him for a bit, in a teasing kind of way, they kiss and live happily ever after.
Title: Summary Originals
Note: Two story summaries written in response to title prompts from my f-list.
For phoenikoi, who asked for, "Cloud Country."
This is the story of a rainmaker called Nebula who doesn't know what she is. All her life she's lived in the desert. Her dreams are filled with the gentle touch of clouds against her skin, the lap of waves, the sigh of rain, even though she's never felt these things. The people in her town don't even notice anything strange about her, because everyone is obsessed with water, with the drought, with the local swimming pool.
At seventeen, Nebula wins a scholarship to go away and study at a university near the sea, but the day before she's due to leave her mother has a stroke. Life happens then, the way it so often does; Nebula doesn't leave her mother, who has shrivelled into a half-empty husk with dry, scaly skin and a smell like rotting leaves.
She stays in the desert and does her duty and dreams of clouds.
For dalekboy, who asked for, "The Underwater Ocean."
The Underwater Ocean
This is a science fiction story set on an alien planet. The landmass is mostly honeycombed rock, and beneath it, protected from the wind and the extremes of tidal surges, lies a double ocean. The bottom layer is salt water, and sitting on top is fresh water.
Deep down in the bottom layer lives Rosette, a translucent ribbon-creature that wafts and shivers through the gentle sea. She's part of a tribe of such creatures, and one of their favourite pastimes, as they lie in wait for prey, hooked together to form a net, is to tell each other stories of the terrible heights, where the water lets in faint glimmers of light, and sometimes opens up right to the naked sky instead of safe rock. None of the ribbons who have ever dared to go up into the heights have ever returned.
"They exploded," says one of Rosette's hatch-mates, with an awful blurble of digestive gases.
"They were eaten," says another.
But Rosette has always been an unusual ribbon, and one day she is bored, so very bored, and drifts up, up, up until the water begins to lighten and is so full of oxygen it makes her dizzy. Then, just as she flips her flukes to shimmy back down into safety, one of the infrequent swells rushes through the water, tossing her up higher into the light.
Her skin burns with the lack of salt, and it feels like all her insides are breaking apart, and when she tries to coil her tail, it won't bend, all turgid with osmotic pressure as water creeps into her cells. The world fades around her, and she's sure she's dead...
...and then, some unmeasurable time later, she finds herself floating beneath the skin of the ocean, the light tracing strange new patterns on her re-shaped body, and all around her nudge other translucent spheres, whispering Welcome, brave child, welcome and asking for news of those left behind.