untitled drabble #64

Title: untitled drabble #64
Rating: PG-13
Characters: pre-Vegas!Ancient!John/Vegas!Rodney
Warnings: post-"Alii" Ancient!John 'verse; set during "Vegas" in the AJ version of that episode...
Summary: Vegas!verse meets Ancient!John. Kinda
Notes: Because 1) I've always wanted to see what happened when Vegas!Rodney met our John Sheppard and 2) I wanted an AJ 'version of this episode for, like, ever, and for that reason made Vegas!Rodney, not Rod, the alternate McKay who came over in "Alii"... just for this.

Alter Ego
An Ancient!John "Vegas" Story

“I? I am but a mirror, whose only purpose is to show you what your eyes cannot yet see."
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

"You... You know everything," Iohannes manages at great length, finding it hard to string even those three words together. His translation matrix must be acting up again: his nanoids have been wearing out more quickly of late and Terran technology still has yet to reach a point that would allow him to repair them.

"It was a hard choice," Doctor McKay sympathises. Iohannes hates him for it. He doesn't want anything from this man, this man who's been to Atlantis without him. This man who claims to be 'custodia' and have knowledge of his city that no Terran could possibly have. "Certainly you didn't intend things to go as badly as they did. Things just don't always go the way we plan."

His nails dig into his palms. "You don't... You can't..." Who is this man to talk to him about the Wraith War? The Siege? About the Exodus and the ten thousand terrible years he spent in 'cathedra' before the 'potentiae' finally failed and 'Lantis used her last breath to send him across the universe to Terra to track down the others who never returned, only to find a world so primitive that there was no hope of finding help for the 'urbs-navis', let alone ever returning home.

Iohannes has spent two hundred and fifty-seven years on Terra. He's wandered all of it's lands and sailed each of it's seas. He's found nothing but the most basic of technology and the basest of people. He has seen war (so many wars) and sickness and death, but for some reason he does not age and, though he's come close to it more times than he can recount, he cannot die. His only hope has been to return to Atlantis before the end finally comes, and now here is this man, telling him that he's been to Pegasus - that he's been living on Atlantis for 'years' - and that all his suffering has been for naught.

He wishes they'd not taken his Colt.

He starts looking for a door.


Despite himself, Iohannes pauses his search and turns back towards Doctor McKay. "What?"

"I know you'll probably think this sounds ridiculous, even for one with your rather... unique background, but a little while ago my team encountered a rift in space/time. On the other side was an alternate version of reality. It was very similar to ours in many ways. I met a team much like the one I work with, only 'you' were the leader. You were a hero, had saved the world several times over."

"Doesn't sound much like me," he says with a bitter smile. 'Lantis is dead because of him, whatever this man says. Because of him, Tirianus is in pieces beneath the ocean and 'Tethys' is nothing more than debris floating in the Palamede - and that's not counting the Terran battles, the Terran wars.

"I don't think there's much difference between you and that other John Sheppard I met. It's amazing how one incident can entirely alter the course of your life. Of so many lives."

"And just what 'incident' might that be?"

"As near as I can tell? The ZedPMs. In this universe, they ran out of juice before we found Atlantis, but in at least one other they lasted long enough for us to find you in stasis."

He sucks in a sharp breath. So maybe this man does know everything. It doesn't change anything. "What do you want from me?"

"Besides an answer for what a ten thousand year old Ancient is doing working in the Las Vegas Police Department?"

"Right now? Trying to figure out how a Wraith wound up in the middle of the Mojave Desert."

"A hive ship attacked Earth three months ago. We were able to defeat it with a weapon we found beneath a mile of ice in the Antarctic-"

Entirely against his will, Iohannes' eyebrows shoot up. "You found the 'cathedra'?" He remembers the state he'd found the outpost in when the 'porta' had deposited him there. Buried beneath so much ice and snow, it had taken him three days to climb his way to the surface after he'd finally determined the outpost to be as dead as Atlantis had become. To the best of his knowledge, the Terrans haven't been doing the kind of research that might uncover it. But, then again, to the best of his knowledge, he'd thought the Terrans were still woefully uninformed about wormhole travel between galaxies, so he supposes it might be possible.

"If you mean the Control Chair, then yes. A few of us have the right genetic code to make it work."

Iohannes' hands, which had loosened, clench again. It's utterly stupid, but the idea of someone else - one of these Terrans, who can't even possibly begin to appreciate just how amazing the technology really is - sitting in one of his 'cathedrae' makes him jealous beyond all belief. He doesn't care if they saved Terra, which he actually likes now that the inhabitants have figured out indoor plumbing and broadcast television, he is 'pastor'. He belongs in 'cathedra', not some Terran who can't possibly have a clue what he's doing. As is obvious by the way at least one dart must have escaped.

"So, what? You came looking for the Wraith you let get away, found me in the process, and decided to have this little chat with me out of the goodness of your heart?"

Doctor McKay taps the edge of his file folder against the desk. "Not exactly..." For the first time since since walking into the room, the other man looks uncertain, nervous even. "I know everything about you - everything that you did in Atlantis, everything that's happened since you were commissioned in the United States Air Force in '84:

"I know what happened at Tirianus and the Palamede. I know that you gave up everything to stay behind and protect Atlantis for as long as you possibly could. I know that the only thing you own is a car. You have two thousand, three hundred and sixty-three dollars in the bank and are thirteen thousand dollars in debt, not counting off-the-books gambling losses to a guy named Mikey. I know that you passed your detective's exam with the highest scores the LVPD has ever seen, but have been scraping by with progressively poorer and poorer performance reviews ever since.

"But, most importantly, I know you have the same strength of character as that other John Sheppard I met. You belong on Atlantis and, if you're willing, I can bring you back there. If you help us."

Iohannes turns back towards the door. As much as he wants - needs - to go home, he doesn't think he can bear going back to a dead city. He lost the right to call Atlantis home long ago, when he abandoned her like all the rest. It doesn't matter that she was dying, that she was dead. He should have died with her there instead of attempting to find help on Terra. The only thing he has to look forward to if he returns is the final straw that will likely push him to seeing if he can't end this farcical existence once and for all.

"Licinus. Wait."

His hand slips off the door handle. He's not heard that name in years.

McKay walks around the table and tucks a business card into Iohannes' jacket pocket. "Please. Think about it. You know where to find us."

I always thought this McKay was rather manipulative in canon; also? Kind of stalkerish. But it does make so much more sense for it to have been Vegas!Rodney than Rod in M&MM. Poor Iohannes, in any universe he's got to be the best there is at guilt. Useless guilt, at that, as Rodney would point out.

As I think I was talking about with popkin16 way back when I was doing my rewatch, Vegas!Rodney is so hard and cold and manipulative because he has to have ::lost:: so much more than canon!Rodney because John wasn't part of the Expedition than the start. Vegas!Rodney can grow so easily out of the one we see in "Rising" without John - give him friends, a purpose, etc, and then have them all be killed; put him in a position of having to be in charge and make a few mistakes that cost a lot of lives....

He would get real good at guilt, wouldn't he? Though, personally, I think he's a bit of a romantic too. Imagine seeing what John and Rodney have by "Alii" and knowing "that could be me" - if only he finds ::his:: John...
One thing that's always bugged me about AUs like Vegas is that, if John weren't on the original expedition, how would they have been able to do much of anything? His genes were the key to a lot of things, including Carson's ATA therapy, which would mean almost no-one would have been able to interact with Atlantis or the puddlejumpers, or anything else, really. Would Atlantis ever have lit up for the expedition without John there? In Rising things only started coming on when he stepped through the wormhole, right?
very true, but in my idea of the Vegas!AU, there wasn't any Atlantis left to turn on - the ZPMs were all dead, which is how he got pulled out of stasis and was forced to go to Earth. The city was already on the surface when the Expedition found it. And, yes, they'd no be able to do much with it - leading to a LOT of deaths, especially early on, and quite possibly no contact with Earth for much longer than in canon.
Yes, and that makes sense. Ah, fanfic: filling in the writers' plotholes over and over. But hey, we're legit now; fanfic was on Jeopardy the other day.
Yep; it was the answer to one of the clues. I was pretty ecstatic about it. My parents were watching from the hospital, and apparently they were like, 'Steph would know this one,' and I was like, 'OMG, it's fanfiction!'. I don't think the contestants got it, though. :(
Yes, Alex Trebek has uttered the word 'fanfiction' on national TV; we are totally legit now. Truly, it is a litmus test.
i need a youtube clip of that.... well, actually, no, the guy drives me up a wall, but still. totally legit
Aw, really? You don't like Alex Trebek? I guess I've been watching Jeopardy so long (gad, over twenty years) that he's kind of a fixture. My whole family stops what we're doing at 7:00 every weekday to watch Jeopardy.
i hate him. he's the worst part of the show. so swarmy and self-righteous and contemptuous when it's obvious the only reason HE knows the answers is because he has cuecards
Huh. I'll admit he occasionally phrases things a little weird, but I kind of like him. Ah, well, to each her own, right? How are you doing today? Parents still being crappy?
eh, they've been out of the house most the day, so no, though dad did demand his rent check - which I put on his desk yesterday and he didn't see. mostly it's been okay, though no luck on the job search yet. just trying to plug through
Yeah, I feel you on the job search; mine is still a big fat nothing, too. My parents say I'll pay them rent and stuff as soon as I get a job; they see I have virtually no money and all of it is going to health insurance premiums right now, so there'd be no point anyway. That's kind of crappy what your dad's doing, though. ::hugs::
dad is dad. he's trying to be supportive. operative word being "trying". my favourite part is when he says he doesn't care if I "waste (my) life writing the next great american novel" so long as I pay him to live in his house.
Ah, see, my parents are like, you need to be doing something productive; whatever you do is fine, but there needs to be money in it. Failing that, at least do something useful, like volunteering. I agree; I'm too old to not have a job! Sigh. Parents.
yeah... dad alternates between me wanting to have a good job that could become a career and just wanting me gone
I ache for this John, who feels he's lost so much. But going to Atlantis means he can change all that - I just know it :) It's the same reason Last Man!Rodney was so determined to save John: he knew that with John around, things would go better. Though I'm not sure how the relationship with go between this John and Vegas!Rodney. This Rodney is so much...I want to say "meaner", but that's not quite it. Harder, perhaps.

But I do hope Vegas!John says yes. (My head!canon is John is saved in the desert at the end of the episode, and nothing anyone says will convince me otherwise.)
Harder. Colder. Definately. But he's had 5 years on Atlantis without John and a lot more losses to contend with than canon!Rodney, so that makes sense.

Poor John. No Vegas!verse is happy for him. Ever.