Characters: Ancient!John Sheppard, Miko Kununsagi, Anne Teldy, OCs
Pairings: Anne Teldy/OFCs
Summary: Anne's spent the last 21 years lying through her teeth
Series: takes place between parts 4 & 5 of "Gubernator" in the Ancient!John 'verse. Part of Locality.
Notes: So, I came up with the idea for this story in April of 2012 and have been waiting for the proper time to introduce it into AJ. So here it is. Parts of it are supposed to be vaguely set in the town I was living in at the time, as is mentioned in the one-shot I wrote a while back about Teldy. I suggest you read it first.
1) The Teldy Family is as follows: Anne, born March 1969; Joseph, January 1971; Aaron, April 1973; Abraham, June 1975; Leah, September 1977; Rebecca, December 1980; Isaac, November 1983. Miranda is born April 1986. Raymond is born in 1959. 2) Miko is a natural gene carrier. 3) Paul Palmer did found the first Baptist church in NC in 1727, but the rest is my own addition. 4) 25% of all Medals of Honor for WWII were awarded at Iwo Jima. 5) The title comes, like Miranda's name, from The Tempest: “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” Although more specifically Satanas means Satan. 5) This story contains noncon.
An Ancient!John Story
9 August, 2007 – Aurora, The Palamede, Pegasus
"We were a race of wanderers," Colonel Sheppard says halfway through the flight. "I guess we forgot that at some point."
Anne blinks, momentarily startled by the confession, and looks up from her reading to examine the Colonel. He seems well enough, although he'd surrendered the flight controls shortly after take-off to one of the Japanese expats, Doctor Miko Kununsagi, claiming that she needed the practice and he'd always found hyperspace boring anyway. At that time, he'd removed himself to the captain's chair in the centre of the bridge and had, until speaking, appeared engrossed in his own book. He had occasionally made vague noises of disbelief, but that was not unusual when he was reading anything from Earth.
On the other hand, she's never known Colonel Sheppard to volunteer any personal information. What little they know about his species has either been drawn from the ruins or inveigled from the Colonel in times of great stress. For him to volunteering anything now is either a sign that some serious shit is going to go down when they reach the Palamede or that his recent string of death and near-death experiences has drastically altered his personality.
"That so, Sir?" she asks, if only because it seems like somebody ought to and Kununsagi's not talking.
"You should have seen it, Major. Once we left our homeworld, the old problems didn't matter anymore. We were all one people, struggling to survive on the planets our ancestors used to look up at in the night and imagine as gods. On Loegria there was war and intolerance and sickness and starvation, but in space all men were brothers, because you can't ride a rocket to a place no one's ever set foot before without implicitly trusting guy in the next chair. I'm not saying it was perfect, but it was the closest we ever got.
"But then we destroyed Loegria. The survivors stopped exploring. They started hiding instead and kept on hiding until we stuck 'Lantis beneath and ocean and ran off to Terra to die."
Anne, who enough about history to know this is probably a vast oversimplification, finds herself saying, "You didn't leave."
"Only 'cause they thought I was dead."
"They thought you were dead?"
"It happens to me a lot," Sheppard shrugs as best he can, sprawled across the captain's chair with one leg hanging over the armrest and the other swinging half-a-foot from the floor. The book he had been reading lies forgotten on the floor and for the first time in a long time there are no shadows under his eyes. Anne does not know Sheppard well and, to some degree, can only say he brought this on himself, but hopes this means Doctor Porter's treatment is working – and that she will soon be reassigned from babysitting duty.
"Even so, here we are, three million light years from where your species began, about to enter a region of space that under any other circumstances Rodney would give his right arm to see, and what are we doing? We're salvaging lintres. Don't tell me that doesn't seem messed up to you."
"It is, but sometimes we have to do messed up things so that one day other people can gaze in wonder at the things we were force to ignore."
Straightening in his chair (if only enough so that what he's doing now might optimistically be called sitting), "If only we should be so lucky."
"I didn't realize you were a pessimist, Sir."
"I've had to learn to be."
"Like your life has been so tough," Anne retorts, closing her book and tossing it on the console in front of her. "So your people have been at war your entire life. At least you had food on your plate and doctors to go to and the reasonable certainty a bomb wouldn't come through your roof in the night. That's more than a lot of people in this universe can say. Hell, that's a lot more than some of the folks on the Expedition could say growing up."
"You think I don't know that?"
"Feel sorry for yourself on your own time. You've got a job to do and a city to protect."
And then he smiles at her. He always looks so sad to her eyes, so tormented by all that he has done and all he could not do, but this lights up his face, making him look as young as he must have been before he went into stasis. From all she's heard, he's spent his entire life at war. He's probably killed more sentient beings than she's seen in her entire life, but at this moment that burden appears lifted from his shoulders. Anne doesn't know why. It can't have been anything she said. And yet he says-
"I like you, Major."
"You're not half so bad yourself, Sir."
That makes his smile grow even wider, if only for an instant. Then he gets a distant look in his eyes that makes his entire face darken. "You don't deserve what happened to you."
Anne feels her own smile slip off her face as her stomach ties itself into knots with fear. She's spent the last twenty-one years building her career on the basis of that lie – a lie that only three people in the universe know the entirety of, one of which doesn't even believe – and to hear it now, so casually referred to by a relative stranger… It's all she can do to say, "Nobody does, Sir," in a voice that sounds remarkably steady and wait for the other shoe to drop.
It doesn't, and by the time the blood stops rushing through her ears, Sheppard's been engaged in a discussion about interior design by the ship's AI, the subject apparently forgotten.
In 1727, the Baptist church came to North Carolina in the form of Paul Palmer. He brought with him his wife, three bibles, and a body man by the name of Jasper Teldy who'd been trained a little in the ministry before leaving school for reasons the family mythology never thoroughly explained. When Palmer went in search of better missionary prospects a few years later, he left Jasper with one of the bibles, eighteen pounds of debt, and the church they'd founded on the Albemarle Sound.
The Teldy's have been preaching ever since.
Anne's father was the eldest of six children, each named after the six brothers his father had lost fighting in the Second World War. His namesake, Joseph, had died in the last days of Anzio, four months after his next-youngest brother, Robert, had drowned during the landings and four weeks after his eldest brother, Donald, had taken a lucky shot to the back of the head. The others, like her father, had all served in the Pacific and, unlike her father, died hopping islands before Truman came to his senses and dropped the atomic bomb on Japan.
That's how her father always put it: came to his senses, as if Truman had intentionally been holding off on dropping the bomb while his uncles were alive. It was no good telling him that the atomic bomb hadn't been around to drop until the final days of the war. He trusted scientists far less than he trusted God and felt that if the folks at Los Alamos had spent a little less time poking about with radiation and a little more time praying, the bomb would have been ready a hell of a lot sooner.
The upside of all of this is that her grandfather walked away with two Medal of Honours after the war: one given to him by the president for his brother Joseph's gallantry in Italy, the other for his youngest brother Raymond's service at Iwo Jima. They sat on her grandfather's mantelpiece until his death, after which they sat on her father's, one on either side of Jasper Teldy's bible.
Three of her uncles became preachers, like her father. One joined the Marines and died in Vietnam. The youngest, also a Raymond, became a high school history teacher, but he was also sort of a playmate for a while. Being twelve years younger than her father, he was also only ten years older than Anne. Until he left for college, they were consigned to the same kids table at holidays and the same row of pews on Sundays. He'd never been Uncle Raymond to her, just Ray, who used to babysit her on weekends; Ray, who used to let her tag along to his football games; Ray, her friend, her friend, her friend.
In 1967, Joseph Teldy, not yet a preacher, married Marianne Coffey. Eighteen months later, Anne was born. Over the next fourteen years, Joseph, Aaron, Abraham, Leah, Rebecca, and Isaac would follow.
Anne was already a freshman in high school when Isaac was born.
Anne was also already in love.
The object of Anne's affection was her best friend, a girl by the name of Lisa Day. Her hair was a riot of wild blonde curls, which would fall in waves over her shoulders – one of which would always be bare, the collar of her sweatshirt slipping down her arm in a way that would drive Anne to distraction. She always smelled of cheap cherry lip balm and was the best, most wonderful being Anne could imagine.
At fourteen, Anne was too sheltered to even think what it might be like to brush those curls aside and touch the smooth, pale skin Lisa showed to all the world. No, she only wondered what it might be like to brush those cherry red lips with hers just once. The question of whether they tasted as they appeared consumed her. Some nights she would lay in bed, six-year-old Leah and three-year-old Rebecca in their cots on the opposite side of the room, and touch her fingers to her lips, imagining what might happen if they were given a rare moment alone…
Her father would have killed her if he'd known. So would any number of her brothers, uncles, and cousins. The Teldy's took the bible literally, none more so than Joseph Teldy.
She never told Lisa how she felt, mostly because she already knew the answer. Lisa was beautiful and Lisa was sexy and Lisa went through boyfriends the way other people changed underwear until one day one of them knocked her up and told her he had no intention of marrying her, so she better get rid of it. Lisa's parents wouldn't hear of it, so she paid some quack five hundred dollars to do it for her and got a fatal case of sepsis for her efforts.
They buried her the first day of spring break sophomore year.
That summer, Cynthia Banks moved into town.
It took six months for Anne to fall head over heels for Cynthia.
She tried not to, she really did, but she'd known almost from the moment they met that Cynthia would be The One.
Cynthia was a brilliant girl, smart in the kind of way that would have gotten her noticed by the SGC if she'd directed her interest to one of the sciences. She devoured the classics, worshipped James Michener, and had a revolving door of dime store bodice rippers she'd read between bouts of Dostoyevsky and Gabriel García Márquez. She was deep and dark, determined and dangerous, and as enduring as the sea.
They have their first kiss in the middle of a rainstorm.
It's not planned. Cynthia wasn't even supposed to be at school at that hour, but a freak rainstorm had cut Anne's track practice short and while her teammates had dashed for their cars, Anne had dashed for the road, because raising seven kids didn't leave a lot of room for her parents to by their eldest a car.
She hadn't even gone half-a-mile before Cynthia's GTI pulled to a stop in front of her.
"You didn't have to do this," Anne had said once she was safely inside, water sloughing off her clothes in waves and leaving her shivering to the bone.
"Yes I did," Cynthia had said simply, pulling a towel off of the back seat and wrapping it around Anne's shoulders.
To this day Anne still doesn't know if it was she who leaned in or Cynthia who pulled her forward. All she knows is that Cynthia's lips were soft and her breath was hot and that she'd have given anything for it to never end.
As the eldest girl, Anne was supposed to stay home and help Mom take care of Joseph and Aaron and Abraham and Lean and Rebecca and Isaac – 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 her hick town and do something with her life beyond change diapers and buy 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.
It all came to a head a week before her senior year is set to begin.
She'd applied for Annapolis without her parents' knowledge, going so far as to forge their signatures when required. Only once she had the acceptance letter in hand did she tell them what she had done, and the ensuing fight nearly blows off the roof. But there was nothing to be done unless they wanted to explain to the United States Marine Corps exactly why they didn't want their daughter, the great-niece of two Medal of Honour winners, attending the Naval Academy.
Maybe the victory over her parents made her sloppy. She should have known better than to kiss Cynthia where her family could see her, but she was just so angry and Cynthia had been so supportive and all she wanted was to be happy for one minute, just one.
She doesn't think Ray meant to knock her out – knock her down, yes, but not out. He couldn't have predicted how hard her head would hit that rock when she fell. He is her uncle. Anne has to give him at least that benefit of the doubt.
She's tried coming up with other excuses too. She's tried telling herself that Ray was drunk and upset, that he was under a great deal of stress from work; that he'd taken her side in the Annapolis argument and felt betrayed when he caught her making out with a black girl behind the old barn, but in the end that doesn't excuse anything. In the end it was still rape, whatever his reasons might have been.
She didn't tell her parents.
She didn't tell Cynthia.
She didn't tell anyone, because telling them would have meant telling them why Ray felt the need to push her face down in the dirt and pull her pants down around her ankles in the first place. And if she told them that – that she'd been caught kissing Cynthia with her beautiful ebony skin and full breasts and dark hair all in cornrows, - they might actually have thanked her uncle and prayed that he'd cured her lesbianism once and for all.
She found out she was pregnant on a Tuesday in October.
She would have gotten rid of it, only she could still remember Lisa's face, so pale and shaken when she left that hack doctor's operating room and paler still when they laid her in her casket too young.
So Anne told her parents and bit her tongue while they exploded, calling her whore and tramp and worthless, but she never named names and, in the end, there was nothing they could do except hide her away from the rest of the world so that no one would know their shame.
Miranda was born at five-fifteen on a cold, dreary April morning. As far as the world was concerned, she was merely Joseph and Marianne Teldy's eighth child and fourth daughter, but to Anne she was the most beautiful baby in all the world, and for that reason she refused to hold her, or feed her, or even look to long in her direction for fear the truth would come out.
A month later, she reported Annapolis for her Plebe Summer.
She was only seventeen.
9 August, 2007 – Aurora, The Palamede, Pegasus
Fifteen minutes before they're set to drop out of hyperspace, Colonel Sheppard takes back the flight controls from Doctor Kununsagi.
Before he does, he drifts over to the weapons console Anne's claimed for the duration of this mission. From the pained look on his face, she assumes he wants to say something supportive but has no clue what. He settles for patting her awkwardly on the shoulder, but it's enough to get his point across.
She might not always have a place in the United States Marine Corps, but she'll always have a place on Atlantis.