Pairing: Evan Lorne/Radek Zelenka
Warnings: set between parts 2&3 of "Conunix" in the AJ 'Verse
Summary: some people are melancholy drunks
Notes: This was going to start part 3. And then I realized it was basically a recap of everything that came in parts 1 and 2. And, while I liked it, we did not need 700 words of recap. The story at the end is actually a slightly repurposed summary of the original series I was working on once, long ago....
An Ancient!John Drabble
18 May, 2007 / XXXI Iun. a.f.c. I – Atlantis, Lantea, Pegasus
Long after he's stumbled back to his quarters, the smallest hours of the night giving way to the suggestion of morning, Evan lays in his bed, unable to sleep. He's stupidly tired, his body heavy with exhaustion and alcohol, but his mind is racing. He should sleep – he needs to sleep. There are a thousand things that must be done between dawn and dusk, and sunrise is approaching with a creeping, relentless certainty that makes the minutes appear to fly.
Evan knows this, but knowledge no more makes sleep come than it does anything else.
How did it get so complicated?
He joined the Air Force out of the desperate, gnawing need to do something with his life, something meaningful, purposeful, worthwhile. To that end, traded his life to the service, and yet the moment the going got rough, the service abandoned him, leaving him on Atlantis and calling him a traitor for it.
He knows it's not their fault, not entirely. Icarus did nothing short of move mountains to keep him in the city and, in the end, it was Evan's choice to put on a different uniform and rescue the Émigrés. Perhaps his actions can rightly be called desertion, but the circumstances are so mitigating that few would dare unless they had something to gain by doing so.
The Air Force has done just that, stripping him of everything he was before Atlantis, and the only thing they have to gain is a war with his new home, because if they can win Atlantis, they will have won all the collected knowledge and wisdom – and destructive capabilities – of the greatest race ever to travel the stars. They have to know they cannot win, but men have always done strange things for power, and the idea of a weapon like an Ancient city-ship in any hands but their own has to rub some people back on Earth the wrong way.
The last thing Evan wants is a war. Sometimes, he can almost convince himself that nobody else wants one either. Colonel Carter certainly doesn't. But Colonel Carter does see something in Icarus to fear, something terrible enough to risk Earth's newfound peace to defend against.
Colonel Carter is not a woman who fears easily.
But what is there to fear?
That is the sixty-four thousand dollar question, the one that his mind turns over as sleep evades him. Presumably the answer is on the USB drive Carter had given him, but won't know until he gets Radek to open it on a non-networked computer, taking every safety protocol they can he of and making up a few just for the occasion. And that will have to wait for morning.
/Go to sleep, pastor,/ Rory orders cheerily, in the manner of a child who has been allowed to stay up late. Though time has rounded out the sharp edges of her words, she is still very much a child, and like all children who have aged even a little, she feels herself greatly grown. It is with this youthful air of authority she continues, /You have much to do today. You will do none of it well if you are not rested./
"I'm too tired to sleep," he tells her.
Rory pauses as if to consider this. /That makes no sense. If you are tired, you sleep. If you are not tired, you do not. It does not work the other way around./
"I never said it made sense."
/Mater says she used to tell Pater stories when he was young./
The thought makes Evan smile. He can almost imagine the scene: a young Sheppard sprawled out on the floor of one of the hidden refuges he used to keep across the city, which teams exploring the less used piers still sometimes stumble across, listening to words only he can hear. But only almost. He can no more imagine Icarus as a child than he can imagine Icarus having a childhood.
"What kinds of stories?"
/Long, long ago, in the days when the lost world of Loegria was still blue with untainted oceans and the great nations of Cambria and Cornubia had yet to destroy themselves with greed and avarice, ten gods ruled. Often, they fought amongst themselves, their wars stretching across years and lands, and it was into the aftermath of one of their bloodiest wars that a daughter was born to Death…/
Evan doesn't mean to fall sleep, but sleep Evan does, lulled by the sound of Aurora's voice and the quiet, soothing lullaby she sings.