Feathers on the Waves is the part of my mutant AU that I stalled on. I wrote myself into a corner where either I went full spaceopera or did a giant time leap and went “and then they were in Pegasus *waves hands in a don’t look at the giant gap kinda way*”
After…4 years(?) and lots of tweaking I managed to write a plot I liked, manoeuvre my characters into position and learn a hell of a lot about how I write.This is what I currently have in my project file…
The unhappy father, now no longer a father, shouted ‘Icarus, Icarus where are you? Which way should I be looking, to see you?’ ‘Icarus’ he called again. Then he caught sight of the feathers on the waves, and cursed his inventions. He laid the body to rest, in a tomb, and the island was named Icaria after his buried child.
Original Departure date + 28.6 weeks
“Ow, you don’t have to poke me that hard, I can feel you’re pissed with me without the shoving my ribs through my chest.” Carson frowned at the hurt tone before pressing on John’s ribs for a third time. John flinched and slid across the bed looking at Carson all hurt. Carson pulled the latex glove off his left hand and after taking a calming breath he rested his hand on John’s bare shoulder and lightly tugged the slim man back towards him as he projected Not pissed, m’ worried for you with a tendril of care, affection, love wrapped through the message. He smiled as John relaxed slightly and let himself be pulled back towards the poking and prodding.
I still don’t think you need to poke me that hard! Slipped across the connection making Carson laugh softly even as John pulled a slightly panicky face glancing around them before reached up to knock Carson’s hand off his shoulder.
“Sorry, lad” Carson muttered, after a moment he added “ I think at least one of these is broken” carefully sliding two fingers along the worst of the bruising, making John shiver.
“Really? Or was that just a…” John asked in a near whisper his hand twisting on his lap as though he wanted to waft it through the air.
“I really do think it’s broken. And I really am sorry” Carson said motioning for one of the nurses to bring him a treatment trolley
“That’s ok, Doc’, it takes more than some rough handling to upset me” John smiled brightly as the nurse arrived and handed Carson a syringe as she nudged the trolley closer with a hip.
“Aye, well, I’m afraid you’ll have to stop picking fights you can’t win for a few weeks, these ribs need some time to fix themselves.” Carson stabbed John with a painkiller and, leaning slightly to close as he passed John his shirt, pressing a kiss against his forehead just as he flicked the shirt up to cover the motion.
“No support?” John asked quietly as he started to lift his arms to slide the tee-shirt down, wincing as he began to move.
“Nope, It can cause problems with breathing and that can lead to pneumonia. Also, sometimes it can cause the broken end of the rib to shift and damage the lung, especially when you cough to clear your lungs because you can’t breath deeply.” At John’s slightly horrified look Carson chuckled and added, “It’s pretty rare for that to happen. Especially without the support bandage.” John gave up on getting the shirt on, dumped it on the bed and carefully started pulling his jacket on instead.
“They always wrapped my ribs in the past.” He shrugged, wincing then shifting uncomfortably to settle the jacket in place “It’s not about winning you know, the Colonel wants them to see me as one of them.” He said slipping off the bed.
“And you really think that they…”Carson hissed before gesturing with a finger and murmuring. “Come with me” as he tugged John out of the room
“Carson?” John asked as they wound their way through the ship towards one of the rec rooms that John tended to avoid. Carson just tightened his grip a started walking a little faster.
When they arrive Carson leant through the doorway to check the room was empty before they walked in. He pulled John across the room and quickly flipped the darts scoreboard over so the back was showing. The board was split in two with the columns headed ‘Us’ and ‘Them’, the scores almost reaching the end of the board. One column filled, extra marks overflowing the line down the middle while the other had barely a handful of lines.
As John stared at the board blankly Carson muttered, “If winning isn’t everything, why are they keeping score?”
John eventually pulled the board off the wall, tucked it under his arm and quickly guided Carson out of the room.
“I’ll walk with you back to the infirmary. Have your staff meeting over lunch, you don’t go alone and you stand in the line with your team.” he ordered setting a fast pace as he half dragged Carson back in the direction they had come.
“John?” Carson asked worriedly, “What are you…”
“I have to find the Colonel.” John said grimly, cutting Carson off as they reached the infirmary door “There are too many marks on here.” He paused, and laughed harshly, “and I never win.”
– – –
Original Departure date + 28.6 weeks
Evan rolled his forehead across the knuckles of his clenched fist as the door quietly shut behind the most worrying of the officers under his care. He indulged himself in a deep sigh before dropping his fist out of the way and letting his head thump onto the desk. He relaxed the firm grasp he had held on his emotions while Major Sheppard had been in the room, confident that the thick, careful designed walls of his office would block any accidental bleed. After a long moment he lent across the deck to pick up the phone,
“Private, I want everyone except the scientists in the mess. Two hours. Ask McKay for provide cover for the bridge crew, I don’t want a single excuse.” He dropped the receiver back down, logging on to his laptop and beginning to sort through the personnel file of John Sheppard with the determined clicks of a man who knows exactly what he needs. After a moment he paused and let a video play, turning it off as soon as he found what he needed. For a moment he considered calling Sheppard and ordering him to keep watch over the bridge before shaking his head and hardening his resolve.
After organising the files he wanted and polishing the speech he wanted to give Evan wound his way through the ship to the mess and volunteered the 6 marines lounging at the back to clear the tables and chairs. As they worked he carefully set up the large screen intended, but never used, for movie nights and queued up the video he had selected out before letting the screen fade to the familiar SGC logo screensaver. He took his place at the front of the hall as the men and women under his command filed in chattering before fading to silence and creating neat rows at the weight of his cold gaze.
“I was told that I was being sent the best, brightest and most suitable to present a good face to any strangers we might meet. I was told that I didn’t need to worry about mixing American with Non-. I was told that every single one of you was an asset to your respective force, honourable, exemplary and perfectly capable of behaving yourselves.” Evan kept his tone flat and calm, he held his body carefully still despite the rage that tried to take over him. “I have always held those under my command to a high level of behaviour and I expect that they can extend that good behaviour to their interactions with every single person they work and live with. I don’t care if it makes you uncomfortable. I don’t care if it goes against what every other commanding officer you have ever had has told you. I don’t care if it goes against what you learned at your mom’s knee. You will not disappoint me by beating up innocent men and women, you will raise yourself to the level of you european counterparts because I am deeply disappointed by the fact that they are the only group under my command that I don’t want to lock in their quarters.” Evan let his gaze run over the room, careful taking in the uncomfortable shifting of the European forces before letting his eyes settle on Sheppard, lurking near the back of the room, every muscle tight.
Evan took a deep breath and let the men and women in front of him stew for a long moment, “ I have had complaints, and I had been ignoring them I presumed that it was a bad mix of close quarters and over sensitivity to anti-mutant sentiments. I presumed that it was scientists being shocked by roughness they encountered when training in hand to hand. Someone is making me look bad, gentlemen, and I will not stand for it.” He reached behind him and grabbed the board Sheppard had brought to him, as he slammed it down to rest on the floor a group of marines subtly shifted, “One more complaint. One more board listing… One more hissed slur. And I will use the full force available to me to ensure I know exactly who is the problem is and then I will deal with you. I always know what is going on and even if you think that you are with your closest friends I will find out.”
Hitting play the Evan carefully watched the men who had shifted before as on the screen the image of a court-martial popped up and panned to where John Sheppard, in Dress uniform, was carefully delving into the mind of an American serviceman. As the man on-screen jerked at the intrusion in to his mind Evan slowly began to walk around the edge of the room, watching carefully as he went. Behind him the man in the video groaned as John began searching for memories of the act serviceman was accused of. On the edge of the camera’s view two Sergeants hovered behind the pair, waiting to either hold the accused down or escort Sheppard from the court. Lorne smiled grimly when several men shifted uncomfortably as on the screen Sheppard suddenly pulled back from the man’s mind.
Sheppard turned to the court and in a dead tone recited, “On the evening of the 12th of July, Major Thomas watched Private Lowe leave ‘The Frog and Fiddle’ alone. He followed her to the roadside and when she started to hail a cab he offered to drive her back to base. On the edge of town he pulled over and proceed to rape Private Lowe. He clearly heard her say no and repeatedly tell him that she was in a relationship. When he was finished he then drove her back to base and repeatedly threatened to damage or end her career if she reported him. He then repeatedly harassed her until the conversation that lead to his arrest was overheard.” The video cut off as the Sergeants flanked Sheppard at a nod from the Judge and led him from the court.
Evan slowly walked back to the front of the hall and, taking care to meet the eyes of every person in the room he reiterated the message the video had been intended to make clear, “Major Sheppard is fully trained in several court approved methods of psychic interrogation and I will not hesitate to put us all in that particular uncomfortable situation if I hear, see or even suspect that some of you are hitting, bullying or harassing other members of the expedition.” He waited, carefully counting to twenty in his head before he finally snapped “dismissed” and waited for the room to empty. Meeting John’s eyes he held one finger up to indicate that the man should stay. Evan watched as the room emptied, most of them walking past Sheppard easily, passing him with a nod or a quiet ‘Major’. He watched as the same few as had twitched before skirted the edge of the crowed to squeeze through the door as far away from John as they could get.
Eventually just Sheppard remained, staring at the floor. Evan walked towards him slowly, pausing some distance away as John stepped back into the wall with a flinch, his eyes widening as his jaw tightened as though to take a blow. Evan moved to lean on the edge of one of the stacked tables close to John. He waited until John started to relax, his eyes flitting along the floor to look at Evan’s feet before finally flicking up to, almost, make eye contact. After a moment Evan said “John, I didn’t do this to…” He sighed and slowly slid along the table until he was stood nearly shoulder to shoulder with John. Letting his voice drop to nearly a whisper he turned his head to face John’s ear. “It’s cruel, I know that and if I could have avoided this. If there was another way… I would much rather that they be scared of you, than abusing you.” He pulled away, finally giving John the space he needed before saying, “Disregard my previous instructions, I would prefer it if you would restrict yourself to sparing with Stackhouse and Markham. Let’s not put people in a position where the rules are unclear.”
“Of course, Sir.” Came the soft reply, they both stood in silence for a long moment.
Daedalus, Beckett, McKay, Sheppard quarters
Original Departure date + 28.7 weeks
John woke sharply and lying completely still, trying to control his borderline hyperventilation as the last bolts of terror from his nightmare faded away. His body ached keenly with the long forgotten injuries that his mind had reenacted and his head felt like it was splitting to a thousand tiny shards. As he stared up at the ceiling enjoying the quiet that filled the ship at night all John could think was that Jack had trusted him with his deepest secret. He had half broken John to shove it into him but then let him keep it when Jack could have stolen it back as easily as he put it there. The greatest gift he could give and I would give anything to have never known. John thought.
From the bunk underneath John heard Carson grumble softly and twist in the bed. John let a tendril of his mind snake out and touch the edges of Carson’s mind. Milliseconds before he could check if the other man was sleeping or not a hand reached up and gentle fingertips touch on to his wrist to assess his health. John quickly pushed feelings of safety and wellbeing into the touch, earning himself a huffed laugh from the bunk below as blankets rushed and Carson’s head appeared next to him.
“Humm, nothing physically wrong with you to be causing all that pain, mind you being stiff as a board like that won’t be much of a help to your ribs. And that frown is a tension headache in the making” he murmured running a hand over John’s forehead, soothing as he lightly brushed damp hair off John’s face “ I’m right here if you want to talk lad. It’s been a rough week.” Ignoring the slight flinch as he leaned forwards Carson pressed a kiss to John’s temple before sinking back on to the lower bunk. John lay curled on his side unmoving from the position he had shifted to as Carson slid back into bed. After staring at the opposite bunk for long enough to realise that sleep wasn’t coming, John slid from the bunk landing silently next to Carson’s head. Sliding to sit on the floor he rested his head back so it lay on the warm curve of Carson’s shoulder. The thin blanket between them doing nothing to stop the heat seeping through. With a soft sigh John let his eyes slide shut letting Carson’s familiar love, hope, calm wash through him. After a few moments Carson slide away from under his head, John flinched as Carson’s arm curled around his chest and carefully pulled him up on to the bed so he could lie on top of the blankets.
John gave into the feelings of warmth, affection and pure love Carson was projecting at him, he relaxed under Carson’s arm and let his body flatten out to press against the other man. Slowly he let his shoulders and neck relax, his cheek sliding along the bed covers until the top of his head pressed against the underside of Carson’s chin and his forehead rested against the bare skin escaping from the light tee-shirt Carson had on. Carson let out a gentle sigh and tightened his grip on John for a moment. John focused on staying where he had put himself, fighting his instinct to pull away and press against the wall. Eventually he felt Carson stop projecting and fall asleep, the gentle flow of love and contentment staying steady even as he slid in to deep sleep. John forced his body to relax, taking deep breaths and blanking his mind.
Carson slowly became aware of a deep ache in his ribs, a dead arm and a nagging headache, caused by the tight muscles in his back and neck, as he slid into wakefulness. He slowly breathed deeply in and frowned as the pain in his chest stayed constant instead of becoming sharp as he had expected. He carefully started to arch his back to stretch out the muscles but stopped sharply as he realised that the pain wasn’t his and the cause of his dead arm was the weight of John’s head pressing down as the other man slept deeply enough to not even wake when Carson moved, for the first time since Carson had met him John was fully relaxed and pain free. He smiled and after a moment he reluctantly began to pull his gift back, letting John’s pain and tension become his own again. Beside him John shifted uncomfortably in his sleep and Carson curled his arm around the other man tightly to keep him from pulling away and being slammed by the full weight of his pain in one go. As he felt John slide back into consciousness Carson pulled his gift back fully and loosened his hold, letting John pull away to press against the wall.