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Fradator (5/5)

Title: Fradator (5/5)
Rating: R
Words:  2,673
Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, Rodney, Carson, Cadman, Elizabeth, Michael; John/Rodney, Carson/Cadman
Warnings/Spoliers: part 5 of #15 in the Ancient!John 'verse (see part 1, 2, 3, 4). General spoilers for "Michael," and little bit from "The Siege, Part 3;" minor character death
Disclaimer: Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine.
Summary: In which someone dies.
Notes: There is a word for this, one which I will not tell you now for fear that it will give all away.
But be warned, this is the result of me sitting down and writing for several hours straight. It is... well, I'm at the point where I'm tired enough not to spot obvious errors.



Fradator

An Ancient!John Story


Pars Quinque


"Control Room, this is McKay. We've got three men down outside Michael's quarters," Rodney barks into his headset, running the last few yards faster than he ever has in his life. "One's been fed upon. They're all alive, but we're going to need a medical unit and a couple teams of Marines down here right away – and, for the love of God, don't send Carson."

Elizabeth's voice is calm and steady over the radio; if Rodney didn't know her so well, he'd could almost have said she's unconcerned. "Teams are on the way." She pauses. "Why not Carson?"

"Because," Rodney says, kneeling down beside the white-haired woman in the grey-on-black uniform of Atlantis' military contingent, "I'm fairly certain Captain Cadman is the one Michael fed upon."

This brings a quiver to Elizabeth's voice. "How is she?"

Pressing two fingers to her pulse point, "Alive, for the moment." He glances quickly up and down the hallway before pulling off his jacket and balling it under her head. Remembering Gaul, he grabs her pistol and (checking that the safety is most definitely on) tucks it into his waistband before continuing, "The other two are just unconscious. There's no sign of John, Michael, or the other SF."

"What happened?"

"I dunno. John and I were in the transporter when the call came through – something about Michael resisting. Obviously he's reverted further than we'd-"

Cadman groans.

"-and I think Cadman's waking up. I'll let you know more when I have something." Rodney clicks his radio off without waiting for Elizabeth's reply. "Captain? Laura? Can you hear me?"

"Rodney?" she asks vaguely, voice as rough and faint as his chain-smoking Grandmère's. It's wrong in a way that he can't even begin to describe.

"Yeah, it's me. Just listen, everything's going to be alright-"

"Don't-"

"Hey, you know me. Would I be saying it if it wasn't true?" he reminds her, brushing an lock of hair off her forehead. He may not particularly like the Captain, but apart from that whole incident with Katie Brown, she's a good egg – a pistol, as Carson would say – and John adores her in a way Rodney would be insanely jealous of if it wasn't so obviously platonic. She doesn't deserve this. No one does, and seeing her like this just reinforces the fact.

Laura's birthday is in two days. Carson's been planing a surprise party, as much as anything can be a surprise on Atlantis. She's supposed to be turning thirty and she looks like she could be ninety years old.

"Go. Help Sheppard."

"I'm not going to leave you here."

She gives him a smiled that could've been called teasing if it isn't so obviously pained, "I knew you liked me."

"Please."

"Face it, Rodney, you're just one big softy."

"Lies." He's only doing this because of Gaul. And Ford. And Everett. And Sumner. And because he doesn't think he'll be able to sleep at night if he just leaves her here.

Besides, trying to help John chase down Michael is only going to get one of them hurt. No, it's better for everyone involved that he stay here and let the people who shoot things for a living do their jobs. Nevermind the fact that it'll be another minute or so before the reinforcements reach his position, or the fact that his job has taken a decidedly shoot things to live turn of late. He's staying here and that's that.

"You can't lie to me. I was in your head, remember?" she whispers, trying to raise a hand to his face. It falters before it's even halfway.

He takes her hand and pats it awkwardly before placing it back on her chest. "Yet you thought I was interested in Katie Brown of all people, so your judgement's obviously impaired, even for a Marine."

"Yeah, that was a bad call. Should've realized you were doing the Colonel."

"Yes, well, you live, you learn. So why don't you put a little more effort into the living and the less into the reminiscing, hmm?"

"We both know how this is going to end."

"Don't talk like that. You've still got years left."

"To spend in some backwoods nursing home under an assumed name, with my family thinking I got blown apart by an IED!" The force of her words sends Laura into a coughing fit which can only be more painful than it sounds. "I can't live like that, Rodney. You've got to promise me-"

Marines: martyrs, every single one of them. "I will do no such thing, Captain. You're going to go to the infirmary and are going to let Carson wait on you hand and foot until we find a way to reverse this. It's going to be as embarrassing as anything to watch, but you're going to let him do it and be happy about it, end of story. So stop talking like that."

"Pull the other one."

"Captain-"

"Rodney," she says firmly, looking him straight in the eye (her own have never looked so bright, staring out at them from a body that's no longer her own; he wonders how he's never noticed they were such a remarkable shade of hazel before). "Promise me."

"I-"

And that's when the medical team arrives.


Carson's clear-headed enough to let Doctor Biro run lead on Cadman's case, but not enough to stay in the treatment area while they take care of her. Instead, he checks the two SFs over – they turn out to be concussed but otherwise unharmed – before retreating into his office. And since Rodney's not actually as cold-hearted as he likes his underlings to believe, he follows after.

Still, just because he's emotionally aware enough to not want Carson to be alone after learning that his girlfriend has had sixty years of her life sucked out of her, he's not actually good at this sort of thing. It's all he can really do to pat the doctor's shoulder awkwardly and try to keep him from hyperventilating.

He doesn't know how long this goes on, only that it's long enough for John to show up.


"Hey Carson," John says softly, sauntering into the office with a quarter of his usual energy. "Laura's awake if you want to talk to her."

"I-"

"I think she'd really like to talk to you," John continues, his voice slipping into a tone Rodney's only heard him use on Atlantis and Aurora. Cadman must be much worse off than Biro had let on if John's pulling out that one out. "It will probably do you a world of good too."

Gesturing with the wad of Kleenex in his hands, "I don't want to upset her."

"I think the only thing that would upset her is if you stay in here. It doesn't even have to be for long, just long enough to let her know you still care."

"Of course I care! Why else do you think I'm carrying on like this."

"I know that, Doc. But I'm not the one who needs to know."

Sighing, "Aye, you're right," Carson agrees. Then, hauling himself out of his chair, "I've dallied too long as it is. Does nae one any good for me to be moping about in here."

"I just came from talking with her. There's no one with her now."

"Thanks, Colonel – and you too Rodney."

"Yes, glad to help," he says, waiting until after Carson's out of sight before confiding, "Thank God you came when you did. I've no idea what to do when people start crying. I was about ready to call in Teyla for backup. So, you catch Michael? I've been off-radio since we got here."

John scowls, but there's no real heat in it. Even his hair looks depressed, laying entirely too flat on his head. "I got a whole clip in him, but it didn't slow him down in the least. He managed to get to one of the jumpers and dialled-out before we could stop him."

"How? He doesn't have the gene."

"Yeah, but the launch sequence is automatic, no gene required, and jumper's permutatum overrides the one in the Control Room, so..."

"So he got away?"

"Pretty much." John rubs a hand across his face. "We followed after, but he'd already ditched the jumper and gated to another planet by then. Zelenka collected the last fifty or so addresses, but it's a safe bet he went from there to a Wraith-controlled planet."

"Taking with him the knowledge that Atlantis still stands," Rodney finishes. This means another Siege. Maybe even another suicide run and another chance for him to lose John in a way a thousand times worse than Carson's losing Laura right now. Yes, they have a ZedPM now and a means for recharging the others almost completed, but so had the Ancients and they'd not been able to hold them off forever. They'd given up and fled – an option which the Expedition doesn't even have, not when the Wraith want nothing more than to follow them to a new, rich feeding ground.

"And he knows about me."

"You really think knowing that you're an Ancient will make that much of a difference when they come for us again?"

"Never underestimate the ability for the promise of revenge to paper over all other differences."

Frowning now, "Why do they hate your people so much? I mean, I get that you guys were at war, but I thought that was just a control of the galaxy thing. Why would they want revenge, especially when as far as they're concerned they won?"

"We made them."

"You what?" Rodney squawks. This is news. Deep and troubling news he should've heard about two years ago.

"It was an accident, of course. No one could've foreseen Larenta Eyno's research having the result it did. But the fact is we made them. And the created will always seek to destroy their creators."

"That certainly complicates things."

"It does, doesn't it?" John laughs mirthlessly. "And here I am ten thousand years later, the only one left to clean it all up – and making the exact same mistakes."

"It's not your fault."

His words earn Rodney a sardonic smile. "It's adorable that you think that."

"I am not adorable."

"Of course you aren't."

"What is it with people thinking that today? Did I get the days mixed up? Is it April Fool's already? 'Cause, seriously, if anyone is going to be mistaken for adorable in this relationship, it's going to be you – and you're the one with the C4 fetish."

"What can I say? I like explosives. They remind me of Father." John glances quickly out the door, as if afraid someone might have overheard his reminiscing, and bites his lower lip.

It's then that Rodney remembers that Laura is their explosives expert, the one they'd gotten to replace Ford after John had been forced to shoot him. For a moment, John's whole friendship with the Captain suddenly makes sense. Not much, but enough.

"Cadman will be fine," he tries to assure his amator. They're hollow words, but John needs to hear them, looking sucker-punched as he does. But before he can think of better to say, there's a commotion in the main infirmary-

-and shouting-

-and the call for paddles, asystole-


Laura Cadman is declared dead at 0952 local time, from heart complications arising from the Wraith feeing process.


He doesn't expect John to come to his quarters that night.

(Hell, Rodney hadn't thought he'd make it to his quarters that night, but Carson had insisted he didn't need someone to stay with him and, well, hadn't given him much choice about the matter.)

He's not asleep when John comes in. It's pitch black and he's facing away from the door, so he doesn't see him enter, but he can hear the shift in Atlantis' song when he does. It's less sorrowful, more concerned, and Rodney thinks this alone would've woken him if by some miracle he'd actually managed to fall asleep.

John, however, doesn't appear to realize he's awake. He just climbs into bed with him, barely pausing long enough to toe off his boots before plastering himself against him. John's arm is a little too tight around Rodney's chest and the buttons on his shirt dig a little too deeply into his back, but he scarcely dares to breathe, not with John like this.

It takes Rodney a minute or two, but he's fairly certain John's doing everything in his power not to cry.

And, well, that is unacceptable, so he tries to twist around to face him-

-and John stills immediately. He probably would've jumped out of the bed entirely if Rodney hadn't been holding on to the arm wrapped around him for dear life. "Ancient or not, you're allowed to have feelings," he says quietly.

"I just killed another one of my best officers, Rodney. Atlantis wouldn't still be standing if I let out everything I was feeling."

Rage, deep and instinctual, flares in his chest. "You didn't kill her, John."

"I convinced Elizabeta to let Carson test the retrovirus."

"It's not your fault," Rodney repeats as forcibly as he can.

(He wants to build a time machine so he can go back ten thousand years and let Janus have it for making his son believe that the entire universe was his responsibility; so he can go back twenty-three days and talk himself out of going along with Operation Bellerophon in the first place; so he can go back twenty-eight hours and set off the fire suppression system in Michael's quarters, personal consequences be damned, so he can't hurt Laura.

(He wants to march straight to Elizabeth's quarters and make sure that she knows exactly how much she messed up on this one; to track down Teyla and ask her if she still believes the Wraith are capable of compassion; to find a mirror and see if he can still look himself in the eye.

(He wants to take all the blame John's feeling and put it on himself, because John tortures himself enough already and he won't sit back and watch him do it again, for something for which he is completely blameless.)

"Michael killed Cadman, John. Her death is on his hands, not yours."

"No it's not."

"Yes it is."

"No, it's-"

"She asked me to do it."

Rodney freezes, suddenly very glad that John's grip on him has been too tight for him to turn around and knowing all too well what he's talking about.

"She said it would be more merciful to let her die – that if I didn't do it, she'd find someone else, some other way. That this way Carson would never have to know. That Michael may have taken everything else from her, but at least this way he wouldn't have won."

"How?"

"Healing's difficult. It's easy to make a mistake, especially where something complicated like the heart is involved. I'm so bad at it, I didn't even have to try."

"Oh John," he breathes.

"It's alright. I owed her that much. I just..."

"It's still not your fault."

"Isn't it?"



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(He wants to march straight to Elizabeth's quarters and make sure that she knows exactly how much she messed up on this one; to track down Teyla and ask her if she still believes the Wraith are capable of compassion; to find a mirror and see if he can still look himself in the eye.

(He wants to take all the blame John's feeling and put it on himself, because John tortures himself enough already and he won't sit back and watch him do it again, for something for which he is completely blameless.)


The first part made me hiss, "Yesssss" under my breath - I think it's a good thing nobody else is up, because they would think me weird :P I'm glad you had Rodney address that, even if it's the only time it will be. And oh, oh, that second bit, about Rodney wanting to take John's feelings of blame, Oh Rodney. He just loves John so much, and John is such a good guy.

Poor Laura. Poor Carson.

I may be a little teary.

Edited at 2012-07-05 06:19 am (UTC)
I know. I feel so evil.

I'm not even sure where the idea came from, only that a couple months back I was thinking on things I could do for this story and it suddenly hit me Cadman must die. And it was too good not to do.

In fact, I've kinda been planning this since the scene where she shoots Caldwell.
Hahaha, that just seems so dramatic. Cadman must die. That's definitely an excellent twist, one I didn't see coming.

Wow, that was awhile ago.
yeah. I know. I've issues.

I think the correct term for what I've here is "Jossed." *buffs nails*

But god I'm tired. Exausted, but I can't fall asleep.
You definitely pulled a Joss.

I was wondering why you were up so late. sorry you can't sleep though :(
I sat down and 4-ish to write this and didn't stop until it was written. I really wanted it done before I left. Only just got up though...

At least I can rest happy knowing that I have successfully pulled a Joss. That makes me very happy.
Haha, you definitely pulled a Joss. I figured someone was going to die, but I had *no* idea it'd be Cadman. And I was sad to see her go, and I'm not even all that crazy about her character!
I was sad too see her go too, but it had to be done. I mean, sure she's mentioned breifly in "The Return," but we never see her after "Critical Mass" and so...

Who'd you think was going to die?
Honestly, I had no idea. I figured it wouldn't be Teyla, because she has that whole - *waves hand* - Michael kidnapping arc thing. And I didn't think it was Ronon either, despite him not really having a story arc - just a couple episodes that focused on him. Possibly an OC? Maybe a minor SGA character like Stackhouse? Honestly, I'd forgotten about Cadman.
Yeah, it couldn't be Teyla or Ronon - though one day I really will get around to writing stories for all of them. As for OCs, I'm kinda of the opinion that a series with as many background characters as SGA doesn't really need them.

Stackhouse, huh? That could've worked. But like I said, I've been set on it being Cadman for a while now.

(12 hours of driving hell. God. Save me.)
Okay, I can safely say I did not see the thing with Cadman coming. ::is blindsided:: Oh, John. I think my favourite part is Rodney wanting to go back in time to smack Janus around.
::buffs nails::

Is it a good blindsided or bad? 'Cause I was worried people would suspect something when I kept mentioning Cadman in every insallment in this chapter. Thought it might be too obvious a Joss. [I think you know which one I'm hoping for; I feel so delightfully evil for pulling this off under everyone's nose.]

But, yeah, I kinda want to smack Janus around too. He was such a bastard that John doesn't even know how much of one he actually was.
Oh, definitely the good blindsided; I was sure you were up to no good with Michael escaping, but I had no idea that Cadman was going to pay the price.

John's sort of like an abused dog in regards to Janus; he doesn't know that he's supposed to know that Janus is a shithead, so he keeps going back for more. Hmm, that sounds more like a victim of domestic violence, actually, as far as metaphors go. I want to know what 'Lantis thought about all this with Michael. How did Iohannes manage to justify it all to her, and what was she thinking when Michael was doing his escape routine?
I'm never up to any good - plus, Michael kinda has to escape, or, at least, he does if I'm going to keep some sense of correlation between this 'verse and canon. I'm glad it worked though.

Atlantis' issues with Michael will be addressed, hopefully in the next installment. But you're right about John and his relationship with his father. No actual physical violence, but enough emotional to more than make up for that.

One day I'm going to write a Janus fic. I've got to get to a certain point in this 'verse before I can, but I really, really want to do one.
I'm teary eyed about it too, but it needed to be done, I think. At some point, oh, several months ago when I was plotting out this 'verse in my head, I realized that Iohannes' reactions in "Michael" would be more like Ronon's than canon!John's - and that the only way that Michael would still be able to escape is if something really bad happened.

And then it hit me: Cadman must die. And then it was very... well, painful to write.
In the end, Elizabeth has to take some of the responsibility - she agreed to the retrovirus experiment, even though she had concerns about it's morality. She should have realised that she would have to order Michael's death if the experiment didn't work.

The ultimate responsibility really lies at Carson's door though - after all he did create the retrovirus. Carson thought that turning Wraith into humans would make them nice instead of just pissed off. He forgot that morality and our sense of who we are is as much cultural as genetic, so making them human wouldn't make them people.

Now Carson is paying the ultimate price for his actions with the death of the woman he loves. How ironic that one of Janus' descendants is repeating the mistakes of his ancestors.

From watching the show, I can see why Teyla sympathised with Michael - of all the people in Atlantis, she's the one that saw him behaving like a real human, and was fooled into believing it was real.

My heart bleeds for John, who lost yet another person he cares about, and thinks it's all his fault. Rodney loves John so much, he'd gladly shoulder all the blame. And the kicker at the end, where Cadman asked for John's help ....

OK now I'm off to cheer myself up by reading something happy.
Elizabeth needs to take some responsibility, yes. The question remains if she actually will - or if John will let her. John is always big about taking all the responsibility on himself.

It is Carson's fault too - which is part of the reason that he has to pay the ultimate price for his actions. But you've got to remember that the only alien they know, John, is so much like them that they often forget that other races don't share their morality. That doesn't excuse anything, but you can get where they're coming from.

Teyla has the most reason to sympathize, yes, - but she also has the Wraith dna in her. I'm not aying that it's intentional, but maybe she was predisposed towards liking, or wanting to like Michael. Plus, she tends to see the best in people.

But, definately. I was trying to figure it out in the car today, but eventually decided that the exact numbers didn't matter, that everyone John has ever known, with the minor exception of the remaining members of the Expedtion, is dead. And, 'cause of Janus, he feels that all the descendants in the universe are his responsibility, but especially those from Earth, who are actual descendants of his father's. Add to that that Cadman was one of his officers, and that he feels he should've done a better job protecting her...

John's roll in Cadman's death is definately as a mercy killing. But we see in caonon how much he kicks himself for Sumner's death, and he barely knew the man. With Cadman...

well, you get the picture.
Never was a Cadman fan so probably not feeling the grief I should be. Elizabeth on the other hand challenges me, in canon and in fanon. Sometimes she is so wrong but She carries the weight in your story and in canon.
I was never the biggest Cadman fan - I liked the idea of her more than the follow through - but you can see why other people would like her. Even Rodney, however grudgingly.

As for Elizabeth... well, you'll just have to see
I thought Cadman was a poor excuse for a Marine. She got away with a lot in the episode because tptb still think that women talk a lot and can't keep their eye on the ball. Elizabeth? Do what you will, I'll still love her.
Cadman wasn't a very good marine, no - not that we saw anyway - but she was a character. As much as I wanted to dislike her, I never actually could.
I felt the same with Jeannie Miller. She was a character, as much as I disliked her at first, she grew on me.
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