Manes (1/2)

Title: Manes (1/2)
Rating: PG-13
Words 4,20 (of ?)
Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John/Rodney, Evan Lorne/Radek Zelenka, Sam Carter/Jack O'Neill
Warnings/Spoliers: #21 in th Ancient!John 'verse; set during SG-1's "The Pegasus Project" (s10e3) and containing spoliers for that series thru that episode. Also, for the purposes of this verse,  SGA's "Irresistible" and "Sateda" never happen. his fic takes place during that time instead, between "Misbegotten" (s3e2) and "Progeny" (s3e5). Also, some minor spiloers for SGA's "Coup D'etat" (s2e17), whic hasn't happened yetin this 'verse. Oh yes, and this 'verse's side story, "Fratris Filii." Also, contains homophobia.
Disclaimer Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine.
Summary: In which Daniel and SG-1 finally make it to Atlantis.
Notes We finally get our SG-1/SGA crossover in this fic. For that reason, there is a lot of general housekeeping for this one:
In case you skipped "Fratris Filii," all you really need to know is that Sam and Jack are married as of the end of SG1's S7 and have a kid, Jacob Daniel, aka "Jake," who was born on 22 Janurary, 2006.
SG-1's "Camelot" (s9e20) and "Flesh and Blood" (s10e1) take place on 29 June, 2006 - ie, th Battle of P3Y-229. Vala gave birth to the Orici, Adria, on that date, and Ori ships are now in the Milky Way Odyssy elivers SG-1 to Atlantis on 28 July, 2006.
As a reminder, Iohannes Ascended on 22 May, 2006. The events of "Idolon" take place on 14/15 June, 2006 Almost six weeks have passed since then.This timeline ight help. Maybe.
And, in other important notes Alcaeus s a latin version o Heracules. Ships of that class were built on Nebrius. Taranis was a Nebrian outpost. Cam and Vala didn't come on the scene until S9 of SG1 after tlantis' senior staff returned to Pegasus following the events of "The Siege" and as so have never met Iohannes or Rodney. The quote is fro The Book of Isiah nd if if you can guess who it actually is supposed to refer to, kudos to you, I think. 40 kiloparsecs is just slightly larger than the size of the Milky Way Gemma ean gem Pyxis compass. Oh, an Manes re good/ambivolent household gods or ghosts of one's ancestors.

An Ancient!John Story

Daniel cannot tell where the sky stops and the sea begins a Odyssey egins its approach. Atlantis is still a glittering gem in the distance, but one that is growing rapidly on the viewscreen. He has seen dozens of pictures of the Ancient's lost city, has read hundreds of documents relating to its abandonment, but nothing quite compares to seeing her soaring, shining towers with his own eyes.

The awed silence on the bridge is broken by the crackling of the PA speakers. "Odyssey, this is Flight. You are clear for landing in the main docking bay."

"Understood," Colonel Emerson replies, adding after a brief conference with the pilot, "We have the beacon."

"It's beautiful," Daniel breathes, stepping closer to the viewscreen.

Sam smiles wistfully at him.

(It had been hard enough to get her to rejoin the team when they were still just going on missions in the Milky Way, but she'd been especially leery when the mission meant going to Atlantis. Not that Daniel doesn't think she'll enjoy it - it's a scientist's playground, after all, - but, with the Intergalactic Gate Bridge still months from completion, this trip is going to take at least another three weeks, not counting however long it takes them to find what they need. And two months is a long time to be gone when there's a five-month-old waiting at home for you.

(Well, six-month-old now.

(At least Jack's not going off-world anymore. Her husband might hate his desk job, but he's the only one for the Homeworld Security job and at least it means he's there to pick Jake up from daycare every day. That's something, at least.)

"It is, isn't it?" she says.

"I just wish we weren't in such a rush. It's taken me two years to get here and, with any luck, we'll be leaving in a couple days."

Cam claps his shoulder. "It's just another mission, Jackson."

"One upon which the fate of the entire galaxy hangs in the balance," Vala adds petulantly, poking Cam in the ribs so he'll move over and make space for her in front of the viewscreen. Her eyes are already twinkling with the thought of Ancient treasure.

"And he goes on those all the time."

"Vala's not wrong," Carter muses. "If we don't succeed and the Ori manage to get more ships through the Supergate..."

Daniel touches his hand to the glass. They're almost directly over the city now. Pretty soon they'll be too close to see the towers properly. "I guess we'll just have to enjoy it while we can."

"That's the spirit," Cam says, finally removing his hand from Daniel's shoulder.

A few minor course corrections brin Odyssey even with a (relatively) small, squat building on the edge of one of the city's piers. The roof has retracted partway, offering a gap several times larger than the 304 needs to clear it Odyssey escends slowly, and before Daniel's eyes have fully adjusted he hears Sam gasp, "Look at the size of that ship," gesturing at the Ancient warship under repair on the far side of the hangar Aurora, unless the Expedition has managed to acquire another Ancient vessel. "It's got to be at least twice as large as any Asgard ship I've ever seen."

"Forget that," Cam says, shaking his head. "Look at the size of thi hangar. You could fit twenty 304s in here, at least."

"I expect it was designed to hold th Tethys-class spaceships Colonel Sheppard told me about. They were the real powerhouses of the Ancient fleet, analogous to the Navy's supercarriers Palantis-class ships, lik Aurora, an Alcaeus-class ones, lik Orion, were only what the Ancients scraped together when they needed more ships for their war with the Wraith. They're little more than destroyers in comparison."

"Someone's been doing their homework," Vala snorts.

Daniel finds himself crossing his arms defensively and forcing himself to restrain the urge to stick his tongue out at her. "I've been emailing Colonel Sheppard."

"Stalking is more like it."

"He's the last living Ancient in the universe. Forgive me for wanting to know everything about the Ancients and their culture that he's willing to share." Granted, that sharing was decidedly more military-centric than the Ancients themselves had been, but still. Daniel will take what he can get.

Sam turns away from the viewscreen. "Is he still though? The las livin Ancient, I mean."

"Well, he's certainly no dead," Cam offers, following her out to the passageway and towards the forward airlock.

"Just Ascended."

"I don't get it. If this Colonel Sheppard person is Ascended, why did is he hanging around here? I mean, the Ori have got the people of two galaxies believing that Ascension is the best thing ever. What's he know about it that we don't?"

"The Ascension is a recent thing, a punishment of some sort for helping us out as much as he has. He's not been very upfront about the details."

Cam shakes his head, pressing the controls that open the airlock and lower the gangplank. "What I don't get is how it's a punishment. Like the lady said, everyone else and his uncle thinks it's the greatest thing ever. Hell, Jackson, you've Ascended a couple times yourself. Why's he so against it?"

"He just is," Daniel shrugs. "Maybe he has his reasons and maybe they're good ones, but he's not shared them with me. My best guess though? The Ancients took the idea of non-interference pretty seriously, whereas Colonel Sheppard's a big fan of interfering."

"I'm pretty sure there's more than that," Sam adds, going down the gangplank first.

"Like what?" Vala asks, following right behind.

"I don't know, only that it has to be more than that. If it was just not liking their social policies, he wouldn't be so secretive about it."

They're met at the end of the gangplank by Major Lorne, who's certainly come a long way in the world since his days on SG-11.

"Colonel Carter, Doctor Jackson," he grins at them, "nice to see you again. Colonel Mitchell, Miss Mal Doran, it's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Major Lorne, the XO of Atlantis' military contingent."

"I've heard good things about you, Major," Cam says, holding out a hand.

Lorne takes it, assuring him, "I'm sure not all of it was lies," before turning to Vala-

-who, rather than shaking his hand, places both her hands on the Major's biceps. "Well aren' youa handsome specimen."

Daniel moves to pull Vala away, apologies already on his lips, but Lorne manages to extricate himself admirably. "Sorry, Miss, I'm already taken."

"Pity," she says, looking barely put out at all. "Lead on then, Handsome."

"That I can do," Lorne laughs, taking them to what looks an awful lot like a ring platform set flush into the floor not too far away, which makes sense, Daniel supposes. Most goa'uld technology is based off of salvaged Ancient tech. Still, it surprises him enough that he almost misses Sam's question-

"So, Major, if you don't mind me asking, who are you seeing?"

-which is probably meant to be good-natured ribbing, if not genuine curiosity, but makes the Major stiffen. It's slight and passes quickly, but it's enough that Daniel picks up on it. By their reactions, he doubts that the others do, though Vala might've. She never lets anyone see anything she doesn't want them to.

Lorne glances over his shoulder briefly. Lightly, he answers, "Doctor Zelenka."

Sam's eyebrows climb, but Daniel's willing to put money on that being on the Major's forthrightness rather than the answer itself Don't tell, after all, is half of DADT. Still, "Good for you," is all she says before risking a glance at Cam.

Cam, luckily, doesn't seem to realise the implications of the Major's statement. With any luck, it'll stay that way. Major Lorne is a good officer. He doesn't deserve to have his career cut short simply because the American military chooses to prosecute homosexuals.

"So you're looking for Moros Lal's Sangraal," Colonel Sheppard says from the top of the stairs as they enter the lower level of Atlantis' Gate Room.

The room itself is large, open, and, like everything else Daniel's seen of the city so far, achingly beautiful. Sunlight floods the room from every direction, huge, magnificent stained glass windows colouring it amber, gold, and Alice blue. It is warm and inviting an homel in a way the SGC's concrete bunker will never be, and for the first time Daniel understands why John had been so eager to leave the Mountain when the senior staff had gated to Earth last year.

John himself is dressed in a curious mixture of Ancient clothing and Expedition uniform: unlaced combat boots, BDU pants, and a pleated, laced vest that might be the Ancient version of a doublet or a flak jacket underneath an open, sleeveless robe. A pair of old-fashioned bracers cover both his forearms. A Tau'ri handgun is strapped to his thigh. There's silver embroidery running down the front of the robe - intricate geometric patterns that mimic the pattern of the stained glass that shine and glisten in the light, - but other than that the whole outfit is completely black. No, blacker than black. The exact opposite of every other Ascended being Daniel's ever seen, but still seeming to shine with its own impossibly pure light.

Unbidden, a verse from the Hebrew Bible comes to mind unbidden How you have fallen from Heaven, morning star, sun of the dawn. You have been cast down do the earth..., and Daniel's seen too much of the universe not to wonder if some prophetic hand was in play at it's writing - or, like the ruins on Arkhan, a time-travelling one. Either way, there's something decidedly alien about John now, something that wasn't there before.

Something transcendent, bordering on divine.

As if echoing this thought, the writing on the stairs flares beneath John's feet as he starts down the steps towards them. "I gotta tell you, that has a lotta people upstair ver nervous."

("Is he always like this?" he hears Cam ask quietly, equal parts impressed and incredulous.

(Lorne snorts, as if this scene is nothing. "His flair for the dramatic has gotten worse since he Ascended.")

Daniel ignores both asides and walks towards the base of the stairs. "Why's that?"

"Any weapon that can be used against th Haereticican be used against them as well. Within reason, of course - only about forty kiloparsecs or so."

"I don't suppose you can make this easy for us and tells us where it actually is - or how to build one of our own?"
John shrugs, stopping on the second to last step. "Science was never my thing. There might be something in Father's notes, but I doubt it. He was never interested in the higher planes."

"Your father?"

"Yes." John says, turning to look at Vala, who'd been the one to ask. "You know him as Janus."
She gives him a puzzled look. "Oh no, not me. I'm not from Earth. I've actually spent surprisingly little time on it, considering."

"I know."

"You know?"

"You're the mother of the Abomination they call the Orici."

"I know that she may not be the most well-behaved of children, but I wouldn't go so far as to call her a Abomination," she bristles.

"It's a title," John smiles apologetically at her. "The term for someone who retakes human form while retaining their Ascended knowledge. Moros and Ganos became Abominations too. Just most people are smart enough not to remind them of that. At least, not to their faces."

"Oh. Well. That's different then. But," she adds somewhat teasingly, "not very nice."

John gives her a real smile this time - one that reaches his eyes and makes him seem far more human. Mortal. Ephemeral. "I know. They used to call me that too."

"Now that's just mean," Vala says, sauntering over. "I'm sure they could've come up with a better nickname tha Abominationfor a handsome specimen such as yourself."

To Daniel's surprise, the Ancient flirts back. He actuall winks t as he tells her, "I didn't say that was th only ame they called me gemma."

Her smile in return is utterly brilliant, with only a trace of it's usual lewdness lingering in the way she gives John an almost perfunctory once-over. "You can tell me all about it later, Good Looking. After we get this boring briefing over with."

John just laughs, like she's the most amusing thing he's ever seen. And though he does not take her hand when she offers it, he's still clearly escorting her when they turn and head up the stairs, leaving the rest of them blinking in their wake.

Sam's the first to recover her senses. "What just happened?"

"I'm not sure," Daniel tells her, removing his glasses to polish them, as if dirty lenses might have been the issue all along, "but I think Vala just made a friend."

"Is that even possible?" Cam snorts.

"Up until five minutes ago, I would have said no, but thi i a different galaxy. I suppose anything's possible."

"You guys coming?" John calls from the top of the stairs. "The Conference Room is this way."

"Coming," Sam shouts after him, and, for lack of a better explanation, they do just that.

The briefing is, astonishingly, brief for once. Nearly all the details have been sorted out during their journey across the void; all that remains is to figure out what support personnel Sam, Cam, an Odysse will need on their mission to dial the Supergate while he and Vala remain behind to research the locations of the Ancient outposts of Castiana and Sahal.

It's so brief, in fact, that the only thing of note is John and Vala's continued flirting, which is both bizarre and infuriating - and maybe even a little bit amusing, not being directed Daniel's way for once.

Vala is outrageous about it, of course, but that's just Vala. Nine times out of ten she doesn't mean anything by it, and, on the rare occasions she does, it's usually only to gain access to some artefact or bit of knowledge her mark has. But John... John is utterly casual about it, to the point where Daniel decides he must not even realise he's doing it.

To tell the truth, though, it' Rodney's eaction to all of this that he finds the most interesting, which is probably cruel of him but, hell, Daniel's still not quite forgiven the guy for almost killing Teal'c a few years back. Because it's only whe Vala ays anything that Rodney reacts, as if it' he fault John is flirting with her. As almost everything Vala says is a double entendre of one sort or another, his frown steadily turns into a scowl and then into a glare until it becomes almost a full-body flinch every time she opens her mouth.

Sickly, Daniel's almost hoping for a confrontation (or, at the very least, an explanation), but John rushes out of the Conference Room almost the moment the briefing ends.

Cam darts after, eager as always to become pals with their off-world allies, as if doing so might prove to anyone who might question it that he's earned his position on SG-1.

Elizabeth shakes her head after them. "Flyboys," she says, offering Daniel a conspiratorial smile. "It's impossible to get them to stay still for long."

Rodney snorts, gathering his things. "You should see him to to meditate."

"That bad, huh?"

"Like staring at a statue, actually. Nine kinds of disturbing."

"Well," Elizabeth declares, rising, "it should tak Odysse at least another two hours to unload our supplies, so you have some time to rest or explore the city if you'd like."

The noise Sam makes upon hearing this is almost indecent. "I'd kill for real shower, actually. Something with more than a minute-and-a-half of room temperature water and institutional soap."

"I think we can manage that. If you give me a moment, I can show you to the guest quarters. Doctor Jackson? Whenever you're ready, just find Colonel Sheppard. He's agreed to help you and Miss Mal Doran with your research. And Rodney-" she turns to say something to Doctor McKay, only to find he's not there.

A quick glance shows he's across the Control Room, on the opposite balcony.

He and Colonel Sheppard are standing face-to-face, closer than you usually see men - even lovers - standing in public. It's hard to tell from this distance, but they don't appear to be arguing, just speaking softly.

After a minute or two of this, John lifts his hands slowly, placing them on Rodney's shoulders in a movement that is achingly full of both practise and intent. Then he tilts his head forward and touches it to Rodney's. It's perfectly chaste and they break apart after no more than a few seconds, but Daniel can't help but feel he's intruded on something more intimate than sex and looks away before they can catch him watching.

When he looks back, Rodney is gone and John is still standing there, alone, a bright, still figure amid the barely-contained chaos of the Gate Room.

Daniel quits the Conference Room, intending to catch John before he can slip away, but is is waylaid almost immediately by Cam's hand upon his arm.

Cam himself is barely past the Conference Room door, still on the opposite balcony from the Ancient. "Holy shit," he says, looking a kicked puppy. "I didn't see that coming."

"See wha coming?"

"That the last Ancient in the universe i gay."

Daniel blinks. "So?"

"So?" Cam hisses, incredulous. "So you didn't think this might be important to mention earlier?"

"Not really, no."

"Hasn't anyone explained the Uniform Code to him?"

Daniel exhales, relieved tha this eems to be Cam's most major concern. He likes Cam, he really does, but sometimes he jus says hings that reveal his bible-belt upbringing. Or the homophobia of his military culture.

"Yeah. I just don't think he cares."

"He should. They'll chapter him out if they find out."

"I honestly don't think he cares."

Cam shakes his head. Then, running a hand through his hair, "So what was all that with Vala then?"

"The flirting? I don't know. I think it's just their version of small talk."

"Weird, man."

He pushes his glasses back up his nose. "I'm not so sure. I mean, Colonel Sheppard's father, Janus, was known to have dozens - if not hundreds - of lovers. Growing up surrounded by that, I'd be more surprised if Joh didn' flirt with everything that moves."


Daniel grins at him. "Something like that, yes. Though I'd imagine the Colonel would be considered something deviant by their standards. The Ancients were functionally pansexual," he explains, "but they also considered humans evolutionarily beneath them, sort of like we regard chimpanzees."

"Whoa, man!" Cam yelps, holding up a hand in the universal simple fo shut the fuck up. "The dude's gay, I got that. I really didn't need to know the rest, Jackson," he shudders. Then, almost thoughtfully, remarks, "I guess that explains the hair then and all that, y'know," he waves his hand along his jacket's zipper, "embroidery."

Daniel just rolls his eyes, reminding himself that his friend isn't actually a bigot - he just sounds that way sometimes. "Doctor Weir said it's going to be at least two hours befor Odysse is ready to head out again, so you might want to get some rest. Sam's gone off in search of a shower, so you're going to be on your own."

"You and Vala going into research mode?"

"Going to try to, at least."

"Try not to get distracted? I know this place is Daniel Disneyland, just... find the weapon first, okay?"

"No pressure."

"So what's it like to be Ascended?" Vala asks. She's walking backwards in front of him and John as they head to th Pyxis- Atlantis' map room, - and every now and then Daniel will have to reach out to manoeuvre her out of the way of a water ballast or warn her of approaching stairs. "I only ask because everyone else seems to think it's the best thing since toasted marshmallows-"

"Sliced bread," Daniel corrects.

"Whatever. I just want to know why everyone else wants it and you don't."

John shrugs. "I like this plane of existence."

"Isn't the next one supposed to be better or something?"

"So they tell me."

"You don't know?" Daniel asks, trying to edge into the conversation. He's spen year studying the Ancients and now that the impossible has happened and he's finally accorded the chance to talk with the very last one. He doesn't want to waste it talking about Ascension (a topic he's more than familiar with, thank you very much, even if he doesn't remember any of it); he wants to talk about Ancient culture and history and the events that led to the Schism between them and the Ori.

"Didn't exactly see a lot of it while I was there," John admits, stopping at the end of a long hallway - a hallway with apparently nothing down it other than a few wall sconces on one side and huge stained glass window on the other. "Spent most of the time on trial."

Regardless of his efforts, Vala manages to appropriate the conversation once again. "Trials suck."

"The first one's interesting, but after you've been through a couple..." the Ancient agrees.

"They've tried me nine times but only ever convicted me twice, and both those times I was able to break out of their detention facilities inside a week."

"This was only my fourth time, but it never works out well for me. I always manage to talk myself into worse trouble, which is how I ended up with three life sentences instead of one."

"What'd you do? Kill somebody important? Rob a planet?"

"I interfered."

"You interfered?" Vala asks, tugging on the end of one of her ponytails, "Interfered with what?"

"Doesn't matter. It's the crime I plead guilty to."

"See, that's your problem right there, Good Looking. Never plead out. Pleading out implies that you're guilty, and you should never, ever, admit you've done anything wrong."

"Well, it was either that or let them convict me fo Haeresis, and that would've been much, much worse."

Vala flips her ponytail back over her shoulder with a frown. "What's that?"

"He means Origin," Daniel explains, thankful for the chance to interrupt. "And not to rush you, but we really need to get started on this research, so if you could...?"

John doesn't say anything. He just raises a single eyebrow and gestures to the wall behind them. Several of the wall panels have pivoted open, revealing a medium-sized room, empty save for a small central dais.

"This is the Map Room?"

"Yeah. It's not exactly designed for research, but it's a lot easier to use if you don't know what you're looking for. At least, that's what the other Terrans tell me. Personally, I'd rather fiddle around with a workstation somewhere than use the holographic interface, but that's just me."

"Why's that?"

"Ganos is a condescendin meretrix ho is constitutionally incapable of understanding that people might have wants or needs that might run at cross-purposes to her own and her hologram is little better, with the added bonus that it doesn't care if you know it thinks you're an idiot or not. And bear in mind that she designed this program fo small children But don't take my word for it," John gestures violently at the dais, upon which the image of a dark-haired woman has just flickered into existence, "talk to her yourselves."

"You mean Morgan le Fey used herself as the template for this program?" Daniel's not sure how he feels about that. Morgan le Fey had been determined to stop Merlin from building the Sangraal. Her hologram might not be willing to help them complete his work, even if it had been created several thousand years before the events in question.

"Yeah," John says, studying the hologram intently, "that's Ganos." It looks like he wants to say something else, but then his eyes snap to the ceiling and he begins spitting out curses instead. "Sorry. I've got to run. Another one of our trade partners has dialled in, wanting to introduce their friends t their god, the Ancestor."

"That doesn't sound too bad," Vala says.

"Yes, well, this time someone's brought the Genii," John informs them, running a hand through his hair. "I've gotta go, but I'll be back as soon as I can." His eyes - which are now glowing with a bright, white light that casts no shadows - jerk back to the hologram. "Try to be nice an helpful, Ganos," he orders it.

Ganos' hologram shows no emotion as she states, "Invalid query."

"Of course it is." John snorts before running his hand through his hair once more. Then he turns and disappears into the ether, leaving no trace behind that he was ever here.

continue to pars dua

Poor John. How is he going to convince these people he's not a god? *sigh* Poor Rodney too - seeing John flirting with Vala must have been difficult, no matter how secure the relationship is (emotions are so illogical :P). John totally noticed that Ganos is a Real Girl XD

I love that tender moment between John and Rodney - simple and intimate. I love that neither man thought, "McKay?" I just ship John/Rodney so hard :D
... Yeah. I didn't even ::think:: to have either of them think "McKay." So that tells you something.

And, yeah, he totally did. But that's for part 2.

As for the John/Vala, I really wasn't planning on their friendship. In fact, my initial plans had them being very hostile to each other, with John not liking her because she was the mother of the Orici and she wants to take back treasure, but it sorta happened as I was writing it and, well, I realized they had a lot in common after all. Ergo, friendship....

It's was a lot like the whole Ascension thing really. I hadn't planned on John Ascending a second time, but it's changed a lot of my plans for the better so....
And, yeah, he totally did. But that's for part 2.

I figured.

I like the John/Vala friendship. I think it'd be an interesting dynamic, though I do feel for Rodney (both John and Vala are gorgeous, it'd be easy to feel intimidated by that. Especially since they get on really well). I wonder if John and Vala will keep in touch? An e-mail here or there...I bet those two could get up to some crazy stuff.

I'm glad John Ascending is going to work out so well :D I know it's an interesting plot device!'s an interesting plot device.

It really is. I was worried at first, but it solved so many of my problems for the S2 finale and is allowing me to explore so many pats of the Alteran culture that I've been dying to share/develop for ages now. I am a worldbuilder at heart, and anything that allows me to work at making the beautiful culture that was pre-Exodus Atlantis is wonderful for me - because, of course, an Ascended!Iohannes must by necessity come to terms not only with himself as the last Alteran on this plane of existence - which is difficult, as he's always defined himself as categorically unlike the others, even if we know this not to be entirely true - as well as himself as an Ascended being - which allows us to explore the higher planes and the politics and policies there, particularly as they relate to the Haeretici/Ori. Which allows me to bring SG-1's Ori plot into a bigger role on Atlantis than it ever was on the show.

Plus, you gotta admit that anything that forces John and Rodney to talk about their feelings is a good thing.