Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, Rodney; John/Rodney
Warnings/Spoliers: this drabble takes place, chronologically, between parts 2 & 3 of "Dei et Viri" in the Ancient!John 'verse, which takes place during "Trinity"
Disclaimer: All characters, situations, quotes et al are properties of their respective owners and I am merely using them under Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine, without intents to infringe upon or defame anyone's legal rights.
Summary: What kind of flowers do you send to an Alteran mass funeral?
Notes: I've been struggling to get part three of "Dei et Viri" on paper. Pixels. Whatever. All I know is, I know exactly what I want, but it's proving harder to get from A (which is this) to B (which is the major point of "Dei et Viri"), so I've made this a drabble and decided I'll just restart part 3 of "Dei et Viri". Blame RL for this one.
An Ancient!John Drabble
"...the smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
and if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
and ceas'd the moment life appear'd.
All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
and to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.”
Walt Whitman "Song of Myself"
The Terran medics take the bodies from the auxiliary control room and move them to the infirmary. With the five they found at the outpost, it means there are twelve of his people in body-bags throughout the room. Iohannes also takes this to mean that four people, not counting himself, left the control room alive that day so long ago, to go with the others through the porta to Terra. They probably Ascended too, and are still out there, somewhere, in some form. He probably even spoke to them, or something, during the three minutes he was Ascended before Colonel Everett and his team arrived.
Somehow, that makes things a little better.
Still, the difference between the bodies they found at the Dorandan outpost and the ones discovered on Atlantis is striking. The first show every bit of their age and are identifiable only by the names on their pendants. But the others...
The one's from the auxiliary control room are perfectly preserved, looking almost exactly as he left them, like they can't have been dead for even twenty-eight hours. It hurts, seeing them like this, but less somehow than seeing the group from Project Arcturus.
Iohannes is standing by Nicolaa's body, thinking just this, when Rodney storms in.
"Why," he accuses from across the room as he enters, "do I have to hear from Katie Brown of all people that you're in the infirmary?"
"I'm fine," he says, getting sick and tired of having to tell people – Carson, Doctor Heightmeyer, and various medical attachés – this as he looks up. "And why were you talking to Katie Brown? I thought you were still avoiding her after the Cadman Incident."
(The Cadman Incident is what they call the unpleasant week where Lieutenant Cadman's consciousness had cohabited Rodney's body following their botched removal from a Wraith dart, in which the most uncomfortable part was, by far, Cadman's misinterpretation of a dinner and biology department review as a date. Katie, thankfully, was very understanding about the whole matter, and that – and the fact that Cadman really is extraordinarily good at her job – is the only reason Iohannes hasn't asked the Lieutenant to pack her bags for the Daedalus' return journey.)
Rodney harrumphs, recrossing his arms and lingering by the door. His eyes, however, don't hold the agitation the rest of his stance projects, and examine Iohannes quite thoroughly as he replies, "It's not as easy as you'd think, even if the size of the Expedition has increased tenfold. But, in this case, she tracked me down, wanting to know what sort of flowers to send you. I told her giving you flowers would probably send you into some sort of existential crisis while you tried to figure out what she meant by them, and then asked why she'd want to give you flowers in the first place. Lo and behold, I discover that you've gotten yourself sent to the infirmary – again – and no one's bothered to tell me. I'm temped to say something disparaging about the American Uniform Code and how, if you'd decided to join a civilized nation's military, I could actually be listed as your emergency contact without eyebrows being raised, but, one, Carson knows better and, two, you actually do appear to be fine, so..." Rodney uncrosses his arms and moves to join him next to Nicolaa's gurney. "What happened to her?"
Nicolaa is unnaturally pale – she was always fair, but in death her skin is almost translucent from the blood-loss she suffered when the window on the other side of her console had shattered. Shards of glass are still embedded up and down her entire right side, and the blood staining her brigandine and matting her hair is only just starting to dry. "A Wraith dart hit the tower she was working in."
"What? When was this?" he sounds startled, hand starting to go to his radio.
"About ten thousand, two hundred and four-and-a-half years ago."
"Ah," Rodney says, hand falling back to his side somewhat sheepishly.
There's something about his silence that makes Iohannes need to talk, to explain why he's here rather than letting the medics take care of it all. But the only words he has are, "Her name is Nicolaa de Luera Pastor."
Rodney, at least, understands what it is to be pastor, to be custodia, and nods. "And the scientist you were talking about earlier? Who was he?"
"-Forcul, yes, you said. But who was he? To you, I mean. Because I like to think, no matter how much you've got the others fooled, I know you, and know that there's more to this Forcul than his being just one of your father's colleague's."