Characters: Evan Lorne, Radek Zelenka, Ancient!John Sheppard
Pairings: Evan Lorne/Radek Zelenka, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay
Summary: Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.
Series: part 5 of #38 in the Ancient!John 'verse (see part 1, 2, 3, 4) . Part of Locality.
Notes: Yes, I know this is the shortest yet, but this has literally been sitting on my hard drive for two weeks now and I've hated everything that I've written since. RL has been an absolute b**** lately, and the harder I try to write, the worse it gets. Please, enjoy this.
22 July, 2007 – Atlantis, Nova Loegria, Pegasus
Every single piece of medical equipment in the Observation Room screams out at once, a cacophony of high-pitched wails and shrill screeches loud enough to stop Evan's heart dead in its tracts for half-a-minute, if not more. He springs away from Radek instantly, on hand going instinctively to his chest, feeling for the heartbeat that's been shocked out of step from the rest of his vital functions, the other rising to his ear for his comm.
Evan's earwig, however, is not there. Cursing, he digs around in the cushions for his comm and finds it, inexplicably, on the floor two feet away. Deciding to save the problem of how it got there for another day, Evan slams it back into his ear and activates the first channel he comes to:
"All medical staff to the Observation Room immediately."
After barely a pause Amanda Cole's voice comes over the line, which is gratifying if not exactly helpful. She and Hyun-Sook Che are locked in a smaller isolation unit three floors down, also having fallen victim to Icarus' debilitating memory-dreams. "Evan? What's wrong?" From her tone, she's clearly handling being locked up, however temporarily, even worse than Evan is – or, rather, had been, before he and Radek had finally managed to sort out at least some of their problems.
"It's Icarus. Is Doctor Beckett there with you?" he asks, glancing towards the hospital bed. As far as he can tell, Icarus is just asleep, but every piece of Terran medical equipment in the room is screaming that the patient is dead, dead in every possible way that can be measured by man, and that nothing any doctor could do could possibly change that.
"He was, but he took off running as soon as his comm went off. He should be his way already. It shouldn't be long. It doesn't take longer than ninety seconds to get from anywhere in the IHC to anywhere else – we timed it. Sheppard will be fine. He's too stubborn to die and Carson's too stubborn to let him." Amanda pauses, as if considering what she's about to say. "He's not going to die, Evan. Carson is going to find a cure and we are getting out of this alive – all of us."
Evan's not sure what to say in the face of such relentless optimism.
There once was a time when Evan would have followed his adoptive father to hell and back. He would have done anything for Icarus, because Icarus was the kind of man men wanted to follow. He made people want to be better than themselves – made them think that they could do anything, become anything, because Icarus believed in them and Icarus was never wrong about people. Even before he had been declared a living god, his benevolence, resilience, and physical courage had made him all but divine to his men. He was Alexander before Babylon, Hannibal before Zama, Caesar before the Senate – all the great warrior-kings of antiquity, because there were no modern generals who could compare. He came from an age where personality mattered just as much, if not more than, military prowess and he was the best. In everything, he was the best.
But that time has passed. Once the most incorruptible of men, the unbridled power of a god had made him as perfidious as any goa'uld. And how could it not? Others had done far worse with far less. What had made it so awful is that none of them – not even Atlantis – had believed that Icarus would succumb to the temptation. After all, he'd given up ten thousand years to protect Atlantis. How could a man like that fall prey to the sins that consumed lesser men?
But he had.
He had and one day Evan will be able to forgive him for that, because he's quickly coming to the realization that it was never Icarus' choice become Haereticus. Maybe the timetable had been his to command, but the moment people began to worship him as a god, his fall had been assured. No matter how good a man Icarus had once been, there is no person, of any species, anywhere in this universe that could be handed the unbounded and unchallenged power of a god and not fall prey to its abuses – Evan understands that now. It's been a hard realization, but a necessary one. The man he would have died for did exist: he had just been as broken and fallible as the rest of them and they'd never seen it.
But god or devil, that man is not, was not, and has never been suicidal. He'll sacrifice himself in an instant if that's what it takes to protect the ones he loves, but Icarus would never actively try to kill himself. Evan has to believe that or else give up on everything he still believes in and that way madness lies.
His hand falls away from his earwig. "He's not trying to kill himself," he says, barely loud enough to be heard over the mechanical caterwauling coming from Icarus' medical equipment.
Which is, of course, the moment the medical staff arrives.