Title: Acts of War: Four Given Things
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Summary: And then, what?
Warnings: AU, dark, deaths, sex you might not approve of. But neither non-con nor gore.
Author Notes: Many, many thanks to the wonderful not_sally and ringspells.
"You shouldn't be here," said Ronon. John kept looking for a path out of the almost destroyed building.
"There might be some other survivors. I have to keep looking."
Ronon was sitting over a charred pile of rubble. "You know there aren't."
John tried to push his words away with a gesture, faltered, and steadied himself against a wall. "There might be. Maybe somebody hid below, or... Look, I don't know, but I have to keep looking."
"You are hurt."
John winced. "Yeah, yeah, I know. I'll be fine."
Ronon pointed with his chin toward half a dozen bodies trapped under the rubble. "No, you won't. You are already seeing things."
One of them was Ronon Dex. John awoke with a start that turned into a pained wince. He was still trapped under the same piece of equipment he had been stuck beneath for more than a day, unable to escape or to avoid seeing the ruins that had been Atlantis and the corpse that had been his friend.
Able only to move one arm, he picked up Ronon's gun from the place where one of the last explosions -the one that had finally killed the runner- had sent it.
Everybody but him was dead. It was time.
John pointed the gun to his temple.
He heard a soft whine over the sound of the ocean, and before he could react he found himself transported into a hive ship. Hadn't he lost so much blood, he could have killed more than one Wraith before they took the gun away from him and threw him against a wall.
The Wraith commander approached him. "My Queen has an offer for you, human."
John spat blood against the Wraith's chest. "You can tell her to shove her offer right up her--"
"It involves killing the Ori that destroyed your city."
John's face froze. He looked intently at the Wraith. "I'm listening."
* * *
Somebody was calling her name. Elizabeth opened her eyes.
The man was squatting next to her. His nod was professional, hurt, and relieved at the same time. "How do you feel?"
Elizabeth sat on the ground and looked around. "Where are we?"
"A hive ship. I- We picked you up from space."
"Why? I thought you didn't trust me." John didn't seem troubled by her question.
"I still don't. But if you are who you say you are, then you will help me destroy the Ori." Elizabeth had never seen such quiet anger in John's voice, not even when those he watched over had been threatened. This, she realized, was how he sounded when the ones he wanted to protect were dead.
She knew with absolute certainty that Atlantis was dead. Neither her artificial brain nor Elizabeth Weir's original mind were partial to revenge, but she had had access to the files on the Ori. A galaxy ruled by them would be even worse than one under the Wraith, because there'd be no further chance for freedom, ever.
Elizabeth looked over John's shoulder. "And her?"
The Wraith Queen put a hand over his shoulder. "Sheppard and I have an understanding, Doctor Weir."
John said nothing, but there was no rebuttal in his eyes.
There was little but pain.
* * *
The hive ship was dying. There were just too many Ori ships for a single mind to track and fight.
The Queen didn't consider about retreat. The Ori wanted the Pegasus galaxy for the Ascended, and she -- she would burn the galaxy into ashes, condemn her entire people to the long death of hunger, before she let the Wraith be slaves again to them, Ancient or not.
There was a hidden cache of Asuran resources in the planet the Ori ships had pursued them to, and the Queen would do anything to retrieve it.
The human walked to her. He was food, but he was also useful, and dangerous. The Queen would use the latter two qualities for now. She didn't ask permission for what she was about to do. The unblinking hatred of the Ori they shared was a foundation for cooperation stronger than trust. Each knew the other was useful to achieve their goal, so neither would risk the other more -or less- than the strictly necessary.
The Queen put a hand over the human's forehead. Both closed their eyes and fell into a place of vacuum, voices, flashes of energy, and the ghosts of ships darting against each other through the emptiness of space.
"Add your eyes to mine, human. Your skill to my skill. Your hate to my hate."
She could feel Sheppard trying, but he was attempting to achieve the wrong thing. He was trying to mesh with the ship, and a hive ship couldn't have more than one pilot. He had to merge with her.
In the emptiness of the place where Queen, human, and ship heard the pulse of each other, the Queen touched Sheppard's face.
"Be one with me," she said.
The human steeled himself, but as big as his hate for the Ori was, he hated the Wraith almost as much. His will could not bend his mind.
"I will make it easier for you," said the Queen, and the last two words were said in Teyla's voice, from Teyla's lips.
Sheppard shook his head. "You aren't..." The Queen smiled an understanding, compassionate smile that didn't belong to her. "It's not your conscious mind what I'm trying to ease."
Her kiss was sure and joyful, as Teyla's would have been. But Teyla was now a memory buried below the ruins of a dream.
"Be yourself," said Sheppard. The Queen complied.
There was hate in his kiss. For her. For himself. For the Ori. A desire for death that was both satiated and increased as their hands found each other's body and the hive ship danced through the Ori like a soldier killing his enemies, like a Wraith culling for her feed.
* * *
There was a voice in the darkness, soft, quick, nervous. It kept talking about ship systems, weapon interfaces, translation code. It was Rodney's voice, of course, as enthusiastic and rambling as it had been before.
John knew that Rodney's voice was a sort of hallucination, his brain trying to put a familiar face to the information assaulting it from the Asuran implants. The Asuran -he wouldn't call it Elizabeth, and it didn't expect him to- had warned about that and other side effects, but the tactical advantages were too big to pass up. They'd need every edge they could get to kill the Ori, and what came afterward...
John didn't think about that. He suspected he wouldn't be alive by then, and didn't care.
He turned around in his rest pod. The Queen's eyes were open. She was probably being kept awake by the implants, too.
"I spoke with Weir," she said. She didn't need to tell him that it was about their war. It was all they spoke about, everything they thought about, everything they could see. "She thinks she has found records of a lost fleet of small Ancient ships."
"Good," said John.
"My people don't have the Ancient gene. I will have to fix that."
Her kiss was cold, hungry, and vengeful. He responded in kind. The war was in everything they did.