Pairing: Anne Teldy
Warnings: after the Haegria in "Exsul" in the Ancient!John 'Verse, homophobia
Summary: An Anne Teldy vignette
Notes: So I had this brilliant idea that the rest of "Medici" would be made up of POVs for female characters... and it's just not working, so you get this rather long drabble instead.
An Ancient!John Drabble
"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."
28 December, 2006 – Colorado Springs, Terra, Avalon
Anne hasn't been home since the summer of '01. Even that had been a bit of a wash, lasting all of the twenty-five minutes it had taken to grab Miranda's things and throw them in the back of her car, and had been punctuated by so much shouting that the neighbors on both sides had called in noise complaints that had embarrassed her parents to no end. It had been worth it, though, to get Miranda out of that house, and even if the next two years had been rough and had probably culled most of her career's momentum, well, Anne couldn't find it within her to be too upset. It was better that Miranda was with her rather than in a grave of her own making, as Anne had feared she'd arrive to find during the whole drive five hour drive from Quantico.
Not counting the shouting incident, she's barely talked to her family since leaving for Annapolis. She used to get silted, awkward phone calls from some of her brothers and sisters each year around Christmas, but Joseph and Aaron had taken Mom's side of things following The Miranda Incident, and her younger siblings are still of the age where basic social nuances – birthday cards, phone calls, thank you letters – escape them.
She'd not called them before leaving for Iraq. The only precaution she'd taken then had been to update her will to make sure her kindly, widowed upstairs neighbor, Mrs. Franks, would get custody of then-sixteen-year-old Miranda if something were to happen to her rather than Mom and Dad.
She'd not called them before she went through the Stargate for the first time either, eighteen months later. She just called up her lawyer and made sure everything was in place to pay for Miranda's college if she were to die.
But this time it's different. This time it's Atlantis, and while Anne doesn't trust half the stories that come out of that place, she does trust the body bags she sees pass through the Gate with each dial-in. The Wraith take no prisoners; they just consume their captives' life-forces and toss their mummified shells out the nearest airlock when they're through. And while she may have burned all her bridges with her parents years ago, they're still her parents. They deserve a goodbye before a casualty assistance officer arrives at their door. So she dials the number and leans back against the creaking headboard of her crap bed in her crappier hotel room, pulling the phone cradle into her lap to give her a bit farther reach.
Anne doesn't think she breathes at all while it rings. She's half-certain that her parents are going to know it's her calling, even with the hotel number showing up on the caller ID, and not bother to answer at all.
But answer they do. "Hello?"
Anne swallows. "Yes, Mom." She wants to kick herself for how small she sounds – how ridiculous and young just hearing her mother's voice can make her feel. She's thirty-seven years old, for fuck's sake. She's a Major in the United States Marine Corps and, with any luck, she'll be a Lieutenant Colonel before much longer. She is signed on to be Colonel Telford's executive officer for the Second Expedition. She's going to be the highest-ranking woman ever to be assigned to Atlantis base, the second-highest ranking officer in the entire galaxy. She is going to kicking ass and taking names, and Pegasus is never going to have seen anything like her. But put her on the phone with her mother and all of that goes flying out the window.
"Why are you calling? Has someone died that I don't know about?"
And just like that, all her childish fondness disappears. "No, Mom. I'm fine. Miranda's fine. I know it's been awhile since I called…"
"Awhile," Mom repeats distastefully. "Is that what we're calling half-a-decade of no contact now? Because, Mary Anne, if it is, I'd rather wait to find out what you might classify as a long time before we try this again."
"I'll do my best," she says through gritted teeth, seriously wondering if it's not too late to just hang up and pretend this conversation never happened. Screw her parents. They don't deserve anything, not after all the shit they put her through – that they put Miranda through. "I just wanted to tell you that I'm being deployed soon. I can't tell you where, but it's very dangerous and there's a good chance I won't make it back. And I-" she swallows, "I left a letter for Miranda, in case something happens, but she's going to have questions. I want to know that you'll answer them for her."
"That child stopped being a part of our lives the moment you packed her into that car of yours and drove off with her."
"You were going to send her to one of those awful ex-gay camp!"
"What else was I supposed to do? She was committing a sin against God-"
"She fell in love," Anne interrupts, all the unfinished threads of their last conversation – their last shouting match – coming to the fore as if no time had passed at all.
"With another woman."
"It's a sin," her mother repeats, with all the conviction of the closed-minded. If Mom had her way, the church wouldn't allow black people in the congregation either, to say nothing of Latinos, homosexuals, and anybody who's ever considered voting democrat. She's a bigot in the way only the wives of small-town preachers can be – casually, and with the whole host of heaven behind her.
"Love is not a sin, Mom."
"Well," Mom snorts, strengthened by the fire of her self-righteous indignation, "you'd believe that, wouldn't you?"
Anne bites her tongue. She doesn't want this argument. She'd spent her entire senior year, from the moment she applied to Annapolis to the moment she left for Plebe Summer, having this argument in one form or another. She loves her parents, or had once, but they were some of the most closed-minded people ever to walk the Earth. She was the eldest child, the eldest girl, and Anne was supposed to stay home and help Mom take care of Joseph and Aaron and Abraham and Leah and Rebecca and Issac – and Miranda, when she came. They didn't care that she wanted more from her life, that she wanted to get the hell out of Carthage and do something with her life beyond change diapers and by groceries and drive the kids to school and Girl Scouts and football practice and make sure they were all in their Sunday best for church more times a week than anyone with half a sense of morality ever needed to go. She'd not been cut out for that life. They had to have known it.
They just hadn't cared.
"You know what, Mom?" she says when she thinks she can talk without it turning into a string of profanities that would have made her first drill master weep with pride. "Just forget it. Forget I called. Forget everything. I won't make the same mistake again. You can go on living with your head up your ass and Miranda and I will go on with our lives, without you."
She slams the phone onto the receiver, viciously, and takes sick joy in the way it bounces off the cradle and towards the floor, dangling as far as its cord allows. Screw them. Screw them all. Sure, Miranda will have questions, but Anne's not ready by half to answer them, so she just has to make sure she doesn't die.