Seriously. The only one that's pleasing me is The Rules of Attraction because it's only missing a section I took out to obsess over. I can't be the only person who gets pissy about a line, right?
Anyway, the current active WiP collection. For purposes of "active", it means, have worked on within the last month. Or obsessed over a line in within the last month.
Running on Empty, SGA, AU
Word Count: 18,101 words
Notes: This one makes me bitter, as it was supposed to be Big Bang and then it--wasn't. You'll see why.
He's never seen Sheppard do that.
One second, Sheppard is standing at his lab door, materializing like he always does, just to piss Rodney off. Then he's--not.
He's way too close, invading personal space like an army with a scorched earth policy, and Sheppard has a thumb against his pulse, staring at him like he's never seen him before. The hazel eyes flare up in vivid green, hypnotic and drawing, pulling at Rodney's unresisting mind like a magnet.
Rodney doesn't mind too much. "Sheppard?" he says slowly, waiting for Sheppard to crack a smile, say something, but Sheppard's not doing anything even close to that.
He actually gets *closer*, turning Rodney until his back is against the lab bench, spine bending uncomfortably before slim fingers slide around the back of his neck, tilting his head until Rodney realizes he's exposing his throat. "Relax," Sheppard murmurs, voice washing over him like velvet, thick and cushioning, urging him to just. Obey.
He should be terrified; this is like offering himself for *dinner*, for God's sake, and he likes Sheppard, but not like a cow likes a farmer.
He's warmer than Rodney had thought; he must have eaten recently. All hard muscle and bone, making Rodney shape himself to him, making him want to, silky hair tickling his throat as Sheppard's breath ghosts over his skin, damp and warm.
--smelling him? Sheppard lifts his head, meeting Rodney's eyes, and this, Rodney recognizes, but it's not the same. The weight is friendly, skimming, urging him to just. Answer.
"What's changed?" Sheppard asks him, fingers curving around the back of his neck, stroking the sensitive skin just below his hairline. Rodney lets the voice wash over him like the tide. "You're different, Rodney." Another breath against his jaw, breathing him in. "You're familiar."
"This morning. Carson. Gene therapy. It works."
There's a prick of fingernails against the back of his neck as Sheppard goes still, then he strokes the sharp pain away. "I thought it was just to use the tech," Sheppard says softly. "This is more."
"First generation trial; he's still working on it. Volunteer only. I--wanted to try it. So I could use the tech. I was a good candidate."
"Yes, you are. You really, really are."
Sheppard's gone, and Rodney blinks his way back to his cool lab, his aching back, and utter humiliation. Pushing off the table, he turns on Sheppard, but Carson's standing there, looking scared and defiant all at once.
"What *the fuck* did you do?"
Sheppard's always been calm; calm when Sumner died, calm when they fought the Wraith, calm when they face the end of the world every week. This? This isn't calm. Rodney remembers a fight breaking out in the mess one day; something stupid. Something that only made sense if you were one of them. At the time, it had been an interesting theoretical reminder of who and what he worked with, but somehow, he'd never applied it to Sheppard, who had looked vaguely interested before standing up and throwing them apart with casual ease and a roll of his eyes, like he couldn't imagine anything stupider.
Then, Rodney had gone back to eating and asked Sheppard about a coming mission. Now he remembers what he hadn't thought of then; the impression left in the wall from a colliding body moving faster than the eye could follow over twenty-five feet; the silence that fell like a blanket over the room; the way Sheppard had glanced at them both before ordering them back to the barracks.
Sheppard isn't just the commander of a base a few dimensions away, Rodney realizes with a strange, almost painful jolt; he's not just Rodney's friend and the guy who has startling control over Ancient tech. He knew that. He did. But he didn't comprehend it until this second, with Carson and Sheppard facing each other like the two men in the messhall long ago, over something that Rodney can't understand. Sheppard isn't *human*, not even in theory, no matter how well he plays the part. Somehow, Rodney had forgotten.
Carson's eyes dart from Sheppard to Rodney and fix abruptly, like he just realized he's in the room. It's like Sheppard, but not quite the same; it's like Carson's always looked at him, except nothing like it at all.
"It wasn't supposed to do that," Carson says, taking a step toward him, then stopping when Sheppard growls and sidesteps, not quite blocking but close enough. "The mice didn't--"
"I could feel it on the other side of the fucking *base*." Sheppard advances a step, keeping between Rodney and Carson, lazy menace coating him like another skin, stripping away the trappings of humanity like they were never there at all. Rodney works with this, plays stupid video games with this, watches movies--Jesus, he stole *his Nintendo DS*. "Everyone here can feel it."
"I didn't mean to--"
"Bullshit. You used *mine*." Sheppard takes another step toward Carson, then another, so deliberately slow it's impossible to mistake it for anything but a threat.
He's going to kill him, Rodney thinks dazedly, hand closing over the edge of the desk, trying to look away before he sees something he can't unsee, though he thinks maybe he's seen too much already.
Rodney tries to move, surprised his muscles know how, and knocks into a stool. Sheppard turns on him, and Rodney thinks, faintly, *teeth*, before Sheppard takes a breath.
"You're going to get a lot of visitors today," he says, sounding almost normal. "Carson's going to explain what happened." He looks at Carson again, then there's only air where he was standing.
Shakily, Rodney gets the stool, pulling it to the lab table so he can sit down. There's a strange humming in the back of his head, pulling him; absently, he reaches for one of the new boxes, following the pull until something touches him he recognizes in a flash of light.
Green light. Rodney picks it up, staring at it, then at Carson, still standing by the door. Pushing the box aside, Rodney runs his tongue over his teeth to be sure there's no inexplicable changes, breathing out in relief when it turns out his teeth are as blunt as ever. "So. Not what was expected?"
Carson swallows. "It seems," he says, taking the seat on the opposite side of the table, "my tests weren't entirely--accurate."
Rodney sees two heads pop in his door and closes his eyes, feeling the hum increasing. The entire damn *box*, in fact. Things that he didn't actually think were Ancient. "Just--start at the beginning."
Yeah. The idea was--omg, Vampire SGA! It's weird how that translated to Vampire SGA Almost But Not Quite Porn. In that way that there still is no damn porn.
Untitled Bourne Crossover, crossover, Stargate:Atlantis/Bourne trilogy
Word Count: 27,146
Notes: I hate this one. It just stopped and at the part I was writing to get to which is just insult on top of injury. Also, no porn. I resent this. So. Much.
"Okay, I think this will work," John says two days later without turning around. Jack had often wondered how John could identify him coming in, at which time John had raised an eyebrow and pointed out that he didn't get that many visitors.
Still, though. He was always right. Uncannily so.
"Oh. You have a guest," John says abruptly, turning in his chair. Jack sees his right hand is resting on his thigh, where his gun would normally be. Slouching in his chair, face blank, John's eyes flicker between them, then rest on Jack, excluding Sumner from his attention. "Sumner?"
"You're going to be a handful," Sumner drawls with amusement, following Jack to the nearest chairs. John's face doesn't change at all, but he's tense all over, evaluating them without bothering to hide it.
But. There's a Johnny Cash poster on the wall, and reports state that John tends to start Johnny Cash whenever he seems agitated. Amazon had provided John with a surprising variety of music--and some stuff Jack isn't even sure qualifies as music--but Johnny Cash is what comes out under stress. It could be an act--and he'd bet John would tell him that if asked.
"I *do this professionally*," John had said one afternoon, all the more believable for the cool, impartial delivery. "And I can be whoever I need to be exactly as long as I need to be."
"Then why would you *tell me*?"
"To throw you off! Jesus, you *studied us*. You know perfectly well what I can do. We live our roles as long as we need to, then we discard them. I like this role. But don't make the mistake of thinking it's anything but a role."
"For the rest of my life if necessary, which it is. I might even start believing it. But that doesn't make it any less imaginary."
Jack had nodded agreeably and said, "I think, therefore I am."
John had stared at him. "What the hell does that mean?"
That had been a good night.
Sumner leans forward, elbows resting on his knees. "You're going to be good."
John blinks; for the first time since they met, John is genuinely speechless.
"That's a pretty amazing file. Is it complete?"
Sumner nods in satisfaction. "They left off the stuff they want to keep proprietary. In case we want to start our own unit. Which we could, you know. Bet you could tell us how. Bet you could train them, too."
John blinks, eyes focusing on Sumner. Jack makes himself stay expressionless; John reads him too well. "You won't."
"Why not? If that file is anything to go by, we could use a few hundred men like you."
"The process isn't always very--successful." John's voice is so flat that Jack wonders if it's actually coming from the wall.
Sumner leans back, waving it off. "Trial and error. We have the Asgard, after all. Shortcut a lot of the--"
Sumner straightens. "No?"
"No. You won't."
"There are five of you. If you won't, I'll get one of the other ones. With the files, we won't really need any of you, but I'd like to have an example around."
John's gone dangerously still. "You can't--you can't start that again." Jack can almost see the connections being made; the Asgard, their questions, his own work, jumping to the conclusion that carefully analytical mind should make. "It's--what they do--"
"Volunteers only, of course," Sumner says with a disapproving frown. "My men would sign up."
"Not if they knew what they were going to--"
"Be faster, stronger, smarter than anyone else? Autonomic nervous system control; you can release your own adrenaline when you need it. Minimal sleep, metabolism regulation, high pain tolerance--"
"Endorphin release," John whispers, eyes blank. "Forty seven hours to work out how to do that--"
O'Neill pushes the nausea aside. Not yet.
"Eidetic memory. And conditioned response. Conditioned obedience in your group, or so I heard." Sumner cocks his head. "You think anyone wouldn't want that? Any commander?"
"Obsessive compulsive disorder. Psychotic breaks. Schizophrenia, paranoid and catatonia. Light sensitivity--"
"Small price to pay."
"No sense of self."
"They're soldiers. They'd do it for their country."
"They're *people*," John says suddenly. Both hands clenched into fists. "When they're done with you, you aren't a person. You're not even an animal. You're a *program*."
"You're a volunteer."
"I didn't volunteer for *that*." Jack can feel the snap, and Jesus, it must have been weeks coming, months coming, maybe years, maybe since the day John realized what he'd become. "They don't. Serve your country. Save American lives. Avoid a war. Tell that to a man who already took an oath to serve his country and he'll believe it. I believed it. I watched too many men die--too many--I *saw* what war does--" John's hands begin to shake, pressed into his thighs hard enough to leave fist shaped bruises. "You have three people watching me. I can kill you both and get out the door before they can remember how to run. This facility--."
Sumner tilts his head in curiosity. "Why do you care?"
John goes still, eyes flickering to Jack, fixing and focusing, searching his body and his face for confirmation or denial. Then, abruptly, John blinks, slumping into his chair. "Fuck. You."
Sumner smiles. "Like I said. You're going to be good." Standing up, he looks down at John. "I look forward to working with you, Major Sheppard." With a nod and a salute in Jack's general direction, he strolls out the door, leaving Jack alone with a former assassin that's possibly, very likely, still deeply pissed off. Probably not smart.
Jack tries a bright smile. "So. Think you can work with him?"
"What was that?" John asks, voice low and precisely pitched; Jack's pretty sure even the microphones aren't going to be able to pick that up without computer assistance.
John erupts from the chair, and it takes everything in Jack to stay still. "What the fuck were you trying to *accomplish*? I could have killed you--"
"Why does it matter?"
And there it is again; John stops as suddenly as someone running into a wall.
"Those men? You don't know them. And they aren't people to you anyway." Jack watches John take his seat with a lot less than his usual control. "In fact. How did you feel? When you thought we were using you to make a new Treadstone?"
"I." And John stops, swallowing. "It wasn't--"
John doesn't answer, looking at the far wall of observers, but Jack's pretty sure he's not seeing anything in this room. "You aren't going to do it."
Jack sighs. "What gave it away?" John's too good with body language. "I knew I couldn't keep--"
"You did, but no. By the way, did you know when you're thinking, you look like you're trying to listen to a conversation between imaginary people? It's an effective conversational deterrent. No. I didn't," John's eyes narrow, voice grinding like he's pushing the words between clenched teeth, "get that far."
"You wouldn't. Do that." John sits back, mouth a tight, unhappy line. "I know you. I need to finish something." Getting up, John turns his back on John. "Sumner's waiting for you in the observation room. It's irritating."
Jack stands up, feeling shaky but not sure why. "I'll be back."
"Kinda used to it," John answers with a glimmer of sarcasm, sitting down at the laptop and cutting off communication. Jack takes a second to contemplate the ultrastraight back, then nods to himself, going out. It's John. It's not supposed to make sense.
Sumner's waiting for him outside the door. "How'd he know I was in there?"
"No clue. Guess maybe."
Sumner raises an eyebrow, but Jack's not up to working out the motives of their problem child. Gesturing, he goes to the small office he keeps here, looking for his whiskey. It's that kind of a day.
"Please," Sumner says, taking the seat across from him. Jack gives him the glass and sits down, feeling broody and off-balance. "He's ready, Jack."
"Yeah." Jack stares at his glass. "What happened back there?"
"The imaginary conversation thing's true," Sumner offers unasked. Jack gives him a withering look, but Sumner ignores him. "He does it, too. Does now, anyway."
Jack straightens. "What does that mean?"
Sumner gives him an amused look and takes a drink, supremely indifferent to the fact that apparently, Jack's out of the loop. There's no way he can be out of the loop. He *is* the loop. "Marshall."
"Jack." Setting the glass down, Sumner smirks. "It looks like he's decided what kind of man he wants to be. When the Asgard are done, that's the baseline he'll start with. He picked you."
*sighs* Dammit. Dammit.
A History of Violence 4, AU, SGA
Word Count: 3,363
Notes: The problem I'm running up against is Lorne POV--I think switching to Rodney might solve it, actually. Or even John, though that would be a trip. Considering.
The problem is, there's not a lot to figure out.
Five levels down, unused since the last purge when they'd beat the Goa'uld. The city's too big to keep fully powered for long; they just don't have that much excess. Somehow, though, this area's got some, sluggish and lit like a bad horror movie, old bloodstains marking the floor along with scrapes from boots and long strips of electrical burns on the wall from when the well-armed Jaffa were let down here and the doors locked behind them. Formal execution had never been on the agenda.
McKay follows almost by rote; wherever he's at in his head, it's nowhere near here. It's not what Lorne had expected. The fear, sure, anger, yeah: McKay was as possessive as Sheppard and territorial to boot. But there was something else that made Lorne wonder, glimpses of a raw rage hovering dangerously close to the surface. Something Lorne had seen for days that flickered away beneath terror as Chaya slowly pulled John from his team, from Rodney, as the shifting mood of Rodney's scientists led inevitably to a quiet war.
McKay versus Chaya:
"I don’t know what she's doing to him," Rodney whispers. Lorne glances back. He has a pretty fucking good idea exactly what Chaya's doing to him, and from the look on Elizabeth's face, Chaya's not adverse to sharing. And that, Rodney knows, too.
And Jesus, that alone should have-- "Why the fuck didn't you shut him down?" Lorne says, unable to help himself. Fucking lot of good it does now, but five days ago, the second they realized what she was doing, before she got Elizabeth, before the bodyguards and the Proculans she'd brought with her cut off their access-- "Jesus," Lorne whispers. "So fucking--"
"Sumner did it," Rodney says, so softly that Lorne almost didn't hear him. Coming to a stop, he looks back and sees Rodney listing against the wall. "Just because he could. He'd--John doesn't remember what--not all of it. I remember because he told me. The sarcophagus fucks with retrograde memory, but it can take a while to kick in. He doesn't know he told me the sequence, and he doesn't know why. I'm not sure he even remembers it now; I never asked."
Lorne watches McKay ease himself against the wall, eyes closed. "He trusts me," Rodney says finally. "Did. Does. When I use that, he won't, because he'll know I don't trust him."
Lorne stares at McKay a second, surprised by the feeling underneath the words, thinking of Sumner's body when he finally, finally died, of McKay watching it; like McKay looks at Zelenka, with a hatred that never burns out. For John, maybe, that ceaseless, unforgiving rage with the memory of a lifetime.
Somehow, it had never occurred to Lorne that McKay needed Sheppard just as badly as Sheppard needed him; looking at him now, shaky and uncertain, the simmering rage unfocused, it seems fairly obvious.
Licking his lips, Lorne wonders if he could have used those words on Sheppard. McKay's right; Sheppard never would have forgiven him. Then again, he wouldn't live long enough after Sheppard woke up to know that for sure.
"We'll stop her."
"Before she breaks him?" McKay says bitterly, and there it is, what Lorne needs to see, pushing past the fear and despair, what makes McKay so fucking dangerous. "She's an Ancient; she can get where Sumner couldn't."
And there's no one to ground him after; Lorne takes a deep breath. "If she does, she'll break his conditioning too." And that's asking for a bloodbath; the SGC had trained Sheppard to kill and like it, but Atlantis broke his controls. McKay's been that, and without it, God alone knows what Sheppard's using to gauge himself. He's navigating by air currents and mood. "We need to get to him."
"She won't let him near me," McKay answers. Pushing off the wall, Lorne watches him snap out of that frightening fugue, studying the corridor thoughtfully. "Smart of her," Rodney murmurs as he checks the crystals by the first door, shaking his head when they don't light up. "Not so good at strategy."
Lorne blinks as McKay takes out the crystals, pocketing them before he goes to the next door. "What do you mean?"
Rodney checks another door and takes the crystals. "You know who I haven't seen around?" he asks, rhetorically, because it's not like Lorne's been around that much.
I'm most annoyed by the fact I have the ending done, and the beginning, just not the middle. Gah.
This Is How the Story Changes, dS, post-COTW
Word Count: 25,100
Notes: It's done! It is done! Except two betas liked it, one beta thought it was flawed, and the fourth hasn't voted.
Interestingly, Fraser's started not being quite so corpse-like in bed. There's movement, and maybe some pillow-shifting, and while the line of his-side, his-side is still there, it's blurrier. Like, a hand went over one night. Kind of shocking. A foot pushing his knee out of the way. Blanket stealing, which is a really *bad* habit but not one Ray really fought at first, because he's an old hand at getting them back and Fraser's hand-eye coordination is kind of shot at two in the morning.
Fraser's *relaxing*. It's--actually, it's pretty damn cool. Right up until tonight.
Grabbing the edge of the blanket, Ray rolls hard before Fraser gets it one single *inch*. "Stop that," he mutters, only half-awake, curling it under his body and lying on top of it. He's almost asleep again when he feels the pull again, slow and almost *stealthy*, and he's shifting over to let it go just as the first stream of cool air hits him.
Fully awake, Ray gets his edge and rolls on his stomach with the blanket until there's no cold, humid air, and Fraser has no blanket at all. This kind of thing has to be dealt with fast and hard or they'll be fighting for covers the rest of their lives, and Ray isn't looking forward to dealing with that shit every night.
Fraser's voice is lower than Ray ever remembers it being, with a husky edge that freezes his next words in his throat. Swallowing, he looks over at Fraser, messy-haired and slightly flushed, surprised by the sudden start of heat low in his belly.
No, not surprised. Resigned, maybe. Accepting. Letting out his breath, Ray gives himself a second. "Stealing blankets is not buddies, Frase."
A beat. "My apologies, Ray," in the most normal Fraser voice imaginable. "I'll be more careful."
Rolling back over, Ray checks his distance from the line, then shifts over until he's nearly on it, letting Fraser pull back his half of the blankets and settle himself again. A few minutes later, Fraser's asleep, and Ray stares up at the ceiling, unfinished boards holding back the entirety of the storm howling outside, which ain't nothing compared to the drama going on in Ray's head at the moment.
He thinks he maybe should be freaked out, or running for the couch, or the border, or *something*. But mostly, he's just relieved, bone-deep and spreading through him like warm honey, relaxing parts of him he hadn't even known were tense, had been tense for too long. The other answer to the question, maybe; *why did you say yes?*
Finally, something murmurs in his head that sounds a lot like Fraser's voice. Figure it out now?
Yeah, got it.
This is just depressing. You know the worst part? THIS IS PLATONIC BLANKET STEALING. GOD. SHOOT ME NOW. WHAT, ARE THEY TOO GOOD TO MAKE OUT NOW? WTF, FRASER?
Not included in this issue: Rules of Attraction (since I have it open right now and am deeply contemplating a single subject verb agreement compound sentence structure, Untitled dS Fic #2, where Ray is totally not trying to accidentally marry Fraser in Canada so their daughter has a two parent household (broken homes lead to crime! he argues), and Strangerverse Some Number that's depressing me to look at. Because really. What the hell was I thinking?
My tooth hurts. And I want porn, dammit.