- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- Character Bashing
- Discussion - Child Abuse
- Explicit Sex
- No Beta
- Established Relationship
- Science Fiction
“Tara, we want to know if you would be willing to try something.”
Tara was sitting up in bed Indian style with her spirit animal wrapped around her.
“What you want try?” She asked. She had been trying to form proper sentences over the last couple of days and it was helping, but she knew she needed more help.
“There is a control chair here on Atlantis, but it’s so much more. We haven’t even tried to see if you are able to interact with the Ancient technology around here. Most of the Guide’s and Sentinel’s on the station have some form of the Ancient gene. If you do, you can handle the tech much easier.”
Tara lifted a brow as she stood and grabbed her pack. Rummaging through it she pulled out a small sphere that she had carried around with her for years. It was one of the first items she had found and interacted with after the crash landing.
“Like this?” She held the sphere in her hand and it glowed a bright white. “Use at night.”
“Well shit.” Rodney plopped on a chair next to the bed. Tara had been kept in isolation in the infirmary and it seemed to have done her a world of good. Also talking to Dr. Heightmeyer has helped to even out her emotions along with Miko coming by every chance she got. John started to wonder about that and the fact that Tara was most likely one of these protectors that Elizabeth had been trying to get more information on.
“Rodney?” Tara’s face was scrunched up in concern, like she had done something wrong.
“Oh, oh no sweetheart. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just you are a descendant of who we call The Ancients. Like John here.”
“Oh hell. It’s possible that Spencer, Alec and David all have the gene. It depends on if it came from our father or not.” John said as he laid a hand on her knee.
Tara turned the sphere off and put it back in her bag. Sitting back on the bed she closed her eyes and wished for Spencer once again. She knew he wasn’t there, couldn’t be there and her mind drifted to the pretty Japanese scientist, Miko. Her and Miko had been getting closer over the last few days and she always felt better with the young woman around. She tried not to think too hard on that. While in quiet contemplation she felt that buzzing again, that ever present hum from the city and Tara reached for it with her mind. She hadn’t tried to use those gifts of hers, but she did now. She reached out and let her subconscious latch onto the hum and when she did her body relaxed as the hum washed over her and enveloped her.
When she opened her eyes back up she made a decision.
“I will try.” Tara took a deep breath as she leaned back on the bed.
“Okay, okay. Give us a couple of hours and we’ll set it up.” John patted her knee then stood and prodded Rodney up off the bed. Tara smiled at them and nodded her head telling them she understood. She wanted this, she wanted to be able to talk to these people that were helping her, especially John and Rodney. After the men left she tried to relax, but her nerves were getting the better of her. Sliding off the bed she started to do a series of Yoga poses that her and Spencer used to do to help get her mind off of the stress they were often under at school.
She knew exactly when Miko came into the room, even if she was currently relaxing in a baby pose. She smiled to herself as she moved into the cobra pose. She looked over shyly at Miko and smiled.
“I didn’t know you knew how to do yoga.” Miko moved to the floor and also got into position. Tara just smiled as she continued to stretch. She couldn’t explain where she had learned it, but that would come later after she was able to communicate better.
It wasn’t long before John came back to Tara’s room to tell her it was time. Miko came with them, she felt compelled to stay with the Sentinel, not leaving her sight. They made it to the room with the control chair fairly quickly. Tara was a little apprehensive but Rodney took her arm and reassured her that everything would be okay.
“It’ll be fine Tara. Just sit in the chair, and since you have the ATA gene you’ll be able to communicate with Atlantis.” She saw that Ronon and Teyla were already there and was glad that Miko had come to.
Tara eyed Rodney wearily but sat down anyway. She put her hands on the arms and the chair reacted to her touch. It laid her back and she felt a gentle scanning. She tried to communicate with that sentient presence that she had felt since coming onto the city. She started to relax more and more in the chair as she felt a deeper communication with the city. The scanning slowly went deeper the longer she sat in the chair. When she closed her eyes she could almost see the light from Atlantis flowing over her, trying to find those places in her that were damaged. Tara was being lulled to sleep as Atlantis tried to be gentle in its scanning. After the scan was done Atlantis went to work on fixing her. Tara started to have dreams of wings and flying. Her mind opened more and more to the City and she felt it knitting her back together, fixing those places in her mind that had been holding her back. It wasn’t comfortable, but Atlantis was trying to be gentle. Of course the sentient nature of Atlantis didn’t stop with her mind, it started to fix things in her body as well. A deep, unawakened part of herself was scanned and probed. Atlantis touched it gently at first then coaxed it out and when that thing, that unawakened part of Tara woke up she screamed as it was pulled and prodded. She begged Atlantis to stop, that it was agony at what it was doing but the sentience wouldn’t listen. It was on a mission to heal her completely.
“Get her off the chair,” Tara heard someone yelling but she couldn’t make out who it was from her screams. When she felt John’s arms holding her she looked up at him and touched his neck. He had her in his lap holding her as her breathing calmed and the pain eased.
“Hurts,” she said as she tore her shirt off her. “What’s on my back?” She groaned out as she curled up into a baby pose, similar to earlier in the afternoon.
“Something is shifting under her skin. What the hell do we do?” Rodney didn’t want to touch her till they knew what was going on. Just as John was about to pick her up in his arms her skin started to split, everyone in the room watched in horror, not knowing what to do or how to help. They all stood transfixed as two large black wings emerged, with blood and gore covering them. Tara was curled into herself, sobbing from the excruciating pain.
“Um, Sheppard, what’s going on?” Teyla asked as she stepped forward and laid a gentle hand on Tara who looked up at her with black almost crystal like eyes. Scales were around her neck and Teyla only arched one brow as she helped the young woman stand on shaky legs.
“Tara,” Rodney looked wide eyed at her and the bands of scales that were around her wrists, just below her elbows and upper arms.
“Rodney, what’s happening to me?” Tara’s eyes filled with tears as she looked down at her arms. She felt something on her legs and she pulled off the BDU’s not caring who was in the room with her. There, on her legs were bands of scales around her ankles, just below her knees and her upper thighs. Lifting her shirt she felt along her stomach at the band that wrapped around her waist. Rodney was examining the wings and saw the scales that connected to her neck and went down her spine. He was not going to touch her underwear and his face pinked as he stepped to John.
“I have no idea. Maybe this is from you being feral? Maybe from the Wraith feeding? I have no fucking idea. John, why do you have that look?”
“You have you’re ‘I know what’s going on but you aren’t going to like it’ look.”
“I don’t have a look.” John arched a brow at his Guide as he tried to work out in his head what was going on.
“Yes, you do. You have a look, now what the hell do you know?”
John pressed his lips together in a thin line and glared at Rodney.
“The Temple of the Sentinels that you had led us to Tara. There are indications of a Sentinel called a Protector. Elizabeth has been working to translate everything she’s found. You may not like everything you hear.”
“Oh really? So, being trapped in another galaxy for nine years, trying to keep the connection to my Guide alive, although quite thin, running from Wraith, fighting my way through a slave arena, almost getting sucked into a marriage I didn’t want, and a myriad of other shit that has happened to me, and you think I can’t take hearing that I’m some sort of Sentinel freak?” She crossed her arms, her wings flared out and her eyes flashed a dark fire.
“Wait, you almost got married?”
“That is what you took from that John? Really? I don’t suppose the rest of what she said has you shocked either?”
“Well some we knew, some we didn’t” John tried to suppress the grin on his face but he didn’t quite succeed.
Rodney closed his eyes and counted back from ten. He knew he couldn’t lose his cool as he stared at his Sentinel.
As they were bickering Miko had been fascinated by the scales and she snuck behind Tara and ran a finger down the ones on her spine.
“Beautiful,” she whispered as Tara shuddered. “I’m sorry did I hurt you?”
“No, no it, they just, sensitive, that’s all.”
“Oh,” Tara didn’t stop Miko as she pulled the back of Tara’s boy shorts and she took a quick look.
“Miko!” Tara pulled away and looked shocked at the Japanese woman who stood there with her cheeks bright and her eyes shining with amusement.
“Sorry.” But Tara could tell from her tone that she wasn’t sorry at all. “They wrap around your hips and, well, what I could see is your rather firm..”
“MIKO!” Four voices shouted at her at once. Miko crossed her arms and pouted slightly.
“What?” She asked innocently.
“I just have to ask why none of you realized that Tara is speaking normally?” Teyla tried to steer the conversation away from the scales, because until they knew what was going on she wasn’t going to speculate herself.
“You’re right Teyla. Forgive me Tara, but now maybe you can tell us your story?”
Tara grabbed her BDU’s and put them back on. Then she took a few moments to take a few deep breaths. When she was able to finally relax she experimented with the wings. She could open them wide or pull them in close to her body. She could tell they didn’t go lower than her waist , she also felt that they weren’t as corporeal as they felt. She concentrated like she would when calling her spirit animal, and they disappeared.
“Huh, psionic Wings, that’s a new one.”
“Tara, I think Dr. Kellar should check you out first, then we will talk.”
“I, yeah, okay.” She was still a little shell-shocked at what has happened, she hoped that the Dr. can figure out what the hell was going on.
Chuck had made a copy of the USB drive for Spencer and a lieutenant was given the task of showing Spencer to a room. It was basic, but Spencer never needed much. He was given access on the computer that was there as his laptop was with his overnight bag which was still in the SUV. He was sitting watching the video over and over. He knew he was obsessing, but he couldn’t help it, there she was, his Sentinel and it made him both happy and sad at the same time. He was also happy to see his brother. He had been angry at John for leaving him. He knew the fight with their father was bad, and it left a hole in the family, something no one talked about, and with Spencer believing Tara was still alive it just fractured them even more. He let out a loud sigh as he touched the monitor and tears sprang to his eyes. He was so caught-up he didn’t hear the knock on his doorway at first.
“Well, I see genius little brother’s still get lost in their head and zone out.”
Spencer turned and looked-up into the face of one of his brother’s that he hadn’t seen in almost four years. When he decided to join the FBI, and Gideon’s unit at that there had been another terrible fight in the family. They all thought he was crazy for putting himself in the line of Gideon’s fire. He had laid out all his reasons for joining in a logical way, but they still worried for him. And maybe they had a right to. The events in Georgia would never have happened if he hadn’t joined the BAU. Though he admitted to himself that he was glad he had. Hotch and Morgan had been good for him. They helped ground him, and it had helped keep him sane. All of this went through his head at once when he looked up at Alec.
“You, you’re here. Last I heard you had been in Germany.” Spencer stood up and took the few steps to stand near his brother.
“Yeah, well they put me through some tests and found that I have something unique that the SGC wanted.”
“I know about the Stargates. The General told us about it when we got here. We had to sign a ridiculous amount of paperwork. I also saw the Gate opening, but that was it. And, well this video.” Spencer indicated the computer and the video that he had been watching. “I can’t believe that John left not only us but the damn solar system. I don’t know how I feel about this, especially after reading some of the mission reports that came with the data burst that this video was in. I mean I thought all my brothers were a little stupid and reckless, but this, this takes the damn cake. And I can’t believe you are here to. Have you done anything reckless and stupid that we would never have known about?” Spencer knew he was rambling, but he was upset, tired and emotionally drained.
Alec smiled that ridiculous Sheppard smile, shook his head and pulled Spencer in for a hug. At first his brother protested but then his arms came around him and he sagged.
“She’s alive Alec. Tara, she’s alive.” Spencer shook in Alec’s arms as emotion swamped him once again.
“Hey kid, I missed you. We all missed you, and I’m sorry Spence, I’m so sorry. I was an idiot.”
Spencer pulled away and sat down on a bunk and wiped his eyes.
“I think the problem with all of us is that we are all stubborn, strong-willed jackassess.” Spencer huffed as he patted the bed for Alec to sit next to him.
“Well, no shit Sherlock. We have our Dad to blame for that.” Spencer snorted as he shook his head.
“You know, I’ve got a BA in psychology, I’ve been in the FBI for almost four years, a profiler and yet I have the hardest time understanding my own family. I don’t know if it was living with my Mom for those first six years or what.”
“Kid, none of us have taken the right steps to understand each other. Then John suppressing his Sentinel gifts, you trying to hide your Guide gifts, and Dave and I jealous that you both had those gifts in the first place. We are just a bunch of hot-headed stupid men. Even you, genius.”
“I never asked for this, but I was never ashamed. John never let me be ashamed. We have a lot to make-up for.”
“Say, instead of staying here on the base, cause I know how itchy you get in closed-up environments like this, you go to my apartment. It’s not far, most of us live close to the base on our downward rotations. I have the next few days off starting tomorrow. I’ve been on four missions in a row and, well, they don’t like when you do too many at once. We can talk more. Maybe I can call Dave and he can get away from the office for a few days?”
Spencer looked sideways out of the corner of his eye to his brother. He wanted them back, but never knew how to take that first step. It was hard for him to forgive, but he was just too tired holding in all that anger. If his ordeal in Georgia taught him one thing, it was that life really was too short and too precious. He had been thinking about how to get his family back and this seemed like the best time.
“You think he’ll come?” Spencer looked down at his hands that he was twisting together, he didn’t want to see Alec’s face at the moment, he didn’t want to be disappointed.
“I know he will genius.” Alec bumped Spencer’s shoulder.
Spencer pressed his lips together and let his mind go for a moment. He was afraid to ask for more, but if they were going to do this, they should do this right. He stood and looked at the map on the wall and almost laughed out loud. Even here he couldn’t get away from maps. Shaking his head he turned back to Alec.
“You think Dad will come?”
“I think if you called and asked he’d drop whatever he was doing and get his ass here. We’ve all missed you kid, and I know we all messed-up. I shouldn’t have pushed you, and I’m sorry for the things that I said before you stormed out of our lives four years ago. “
Spencer took a deep breath as he took in his brother’s apology. He didn’t forgive easily, he wondered if it was a Sheppard trait. He looked at the computer, then looked at Alec.
“You want to see the video?”
“Damn right I do. Fire it up Dexter.” Spencer almost smiled at the old nickname Alec had always called him. He never took offence when his brother’s called him Poindexter, he knew they didn’t mean it to be an insult. Everyone else that thought to call him that, well he had four older brothers that were highly overprotective of him. He just shook his head and couldn’t help the giggle that escaped.
Sitting in front of the computer he started the video from the beginning with Alec practically on his lap.
“I’m sorry Pen. I’m sorry for not believing you. How did this even happen?”
“I’ve only just been able to piece together everything. But, it was her own father Alec. it was Jason. He had some kind of, I don’t know, obsession with me? I don’t know if he wanted to try to bond with me or what, but I realized early something wasn’t quite right and I kept him at a distance. Though I did enjoy his mentoring, it didn’t mean that I trusted him completely. He’s a Sentinel who is suffering from Atrophy Alec. He refused his guide a long-time ago, and I think it started him on this bizarre downward spiral. How he could hurt Tara, I don’t know. I only got a letter from him when he left the Bureau a few months ago. Hotch has been trying to find him, but believe me, the outside contacts that he’s cultivated over the years, Jason could be hiding right next to us and we may not know it.”
“You could ask Dad to put the security team on it. Especially Jackson. You know how good he is.”
“Yeah, I don’t know. I just, one thing at a time?” Spencer felt very raw and vulnerable at the moment so when he felt through the tether Hotch and Morgan coming towards his room he almost breathed a sigh of relief.
“Hotch, Morgan, everything okay Hotch?” Spencer could feel how raw Hotch was at the moment.
“I will be. I’m more worried about you.” Hotch came into the room and pulled Spencer to him. The younger man sighed as he settled more. He felt his brother watching him, but he didn’t care. He needed the comfort Hotch was always willing to give him. No one, except Alec, even blinked when Spencer slipped his hands under Hotch’s shirt. Spencer took a shuddering breath and felt more settled than he had since they were met at the airport by Daniel.
“Hey Pretty Boy, you okay?” Morgan stood to the side and just laid a hand on Spencer’s shoulder, grounding him further.
“Yeah, yeah now I am.” Spencer pulled away, the blush he couldn’t help creeped up on his face. “I ah, I guess I should introduce you. Alec Sheppard, this is my boss Aaron Hotchner and his Guide and my best friend Derek Morgan.”
The men all shook hands and Hotch and Morgan swung looks over at Spencer.
“Oh, ah, Alec is my brother.”
“Spencer?” Hotch asked, slightly confused.
“Umm, Patrick Sheppard is my father, Hotch.”
Hotch and Morgan stood rooted to their spot staring at Spencer for a stunned moment.
“Patrick Sheppard, the Patrick Sheppard, head of Sheppard Industries? Millionaire industrialist?” Hotch finally found his voice as he looked dumbfounded at Spencer.
“Yeah, that’s him.” Spencer started to back away as he folded a little into himself. This was one reason he didn’t tell people. It was always hard for him to get comfortable with the amount of wealth he grew up in.
“Hey, Reid, I’m just surprised that’s all. You never talk about your family very much and this, well, was unexpected. And maybe something you should have told us in Texas?”
Spencer winced at that and remembered how much he had had circumvented them away from his father.
“What happened in Texas, Dexter?” Alec waited, with arms crossed while Spencer closed his eyes a moment.
“We were called in to investigate a series of murders amongst some of the wealthiest businessmen in the area. I ah, I knew Dad was at the technology arm of the company when we were there.” He furrowed his brows as he looked between his boss and his brother. “I sort of, pointed the investigation away from Dad. He didn’t need to get involved and I know for a fact he wouldn’t have been involved.”
“What was going on Spencer? You know Dad has always cooperated with the police.”
“It was a call-girl Alec.”
Alec’s eyes widened as he looked shocked at Spencer,” Dad would never….”
“I know. Dad would never seek out a prostitute like that, but still I was protecting him.” He slid a look over at Hotch, who he could tell was trying his hardest not to be upset with him. “I know you’re upset Hotch, but Dad doesn’t live in Texas, he was only there for business. He was leaving the day after we did anyway.”
“You still withheld information Reid.” Oh shit, Spencer pulled back and sat on the bed.
“It wasn’t relevant Hotch. Besides, his lawyer was already in the meeting you had set-up. If Dad had been involved in anyway, they would have told you. Patrick Sheppard is, for all his faults, brutally honest. He expects no less from his sons. It’s also why we haven’t exactly been close the last few years.”
“We are talking about this when we get back to DC.”
Spencer pressed his lips together in a hard line. This was something he had been thinking very hard about.
“I don’t know if I’m going back to DC, Hotch.”
“Spencer, you can’t mean that?” Derek sat next to Spencer on the bed and frowned at his friend.
“I do Morgan. The General already told me that the Daedalus, a ship that has been in the works for a while, well it’ll be launched in the next couple of months. It’s going to the Pegasus system and I’m going to be on it.” Spencer squared his shoulders and sat-up with resolve resonating throughout his body, “I need to be on it Hotch.”
“Spencer,” Aaron couldn’t help feeling devastated and yet happy for him. Pressing his lips together he shed his stoic mask and let a small smile show. “We will miss you Spencer.”
Spencer visibly relaxed. He knew what Hotch’s feelings were for him and if he hadn’t already found his Sentinel, well he didn’t want to speculate on what ifs. He slowly stood and walked towards his boss and wrapped his arms around him.
“I know Aaron. I’ve always known, but you aren’t mine and I’m not yours. But, you will always be important to me.” Spencer had lowered his voice so only Hotch could hear and he didn’t protest when those arms held him a little tighter. He felt when the Sentinel took a deep shuddering breath and knew when he pushed those feelings down even further.
“You do what you need Spencer. We’ll always be there for you, no matter what.” Spencer took his own shuddering breath to settle his emotions then pulled away.
“Thank you, Hotch,” he said in a normal voice that betrayed what he was feeling, “That means a lot to me.” He looked over at his brother and truly felt more settled than he had in a long time. “I’m ah, I’m going to be staying at Alec’s place. If my brother and Dad do come, I would like for you to meet them.”
Aaron smiled and reached out to gently squeeze Spencer’s shoulder.
“I’d like that very much, Reid.” Spencer felt the distancing and he knew what Aaron was doing. He was pulling away from him to help protect himself and Spencer didn’t blame him. He knew he needed to as well. He was glad that Aaron and Morgan had been there for him these last few years, but he needed to sever that tether they had with him. He wanted nothing to stand between him and Tara. He felt it in his heart that was slowly breaking that now would be the best time to do it. It didn’t mean that it didn’t hurt, because it did. He cared more for Aaron and Morgan than he wanted to admit, even to himself.
“Well, we need to get going. The General has offered his place for Morgan and I to stay at while we are here.”
“Okay. Then I’ll see you later, Hotch.”
“Goodbye Reid.” Aaron turned and headed out the door with Morgan following behind. Spencer was worried that Morgan hadn’t said a word to him, but he knew they needed to talk, and he knew it was going to be an emotional, messy one at that. Rubbing his face he fell back on the bed and let his back hit the wall.
“What’s going on Spencer?”
Spencer took a deep shuddering breath and held together, he knew he just needed to hold it together for a little while longer and not fall apart.
“Hotch and Morgan, they’ve been helping me the last four years. The strain on my bond with Tara is sometimes, overwhelming. I have a tether with them but, now, I need to break that tether and Hotch knew it.”
“He has feelings for you doesn’t he?”
“Yeah, they both do, and I have feelings for them but I can’t Alec. I have hope again. After seeing Tara, seeing my Sentinel on that video I have hope again. I need her Alec and this time, this time I know where she is and that she’s alive.”
“I just got you back little brother and you want to run off to another galaxy?” Alec sat next to him and bumped his shoulder. “I get it. And you should go. Of course Dave and Dad are going to have a fit.”
Spencer slowly smiled as he bumped back, “Yeah, I know, but hopefully they understand this time.”
“Kid, just show them the video and I’m sure they will.” Alec took a moment then looked over at Spencer, “Well, I need to get back. My CO is probably wondering where I am. I’m off shift at 18:00 hours. I’ll take you to my favorite place for dinner, how’s that sound?”
Spencer brushed his hair out of his face and smiled as he looked at his brother, “Sounds great.”
Tara was sitting on Jennifer’s table getting a thorough once over. The Doctor was trying very hard to keep the shocked look off her face as she checked out the scales.
“I’m just going to check the area around where your, um, wings manifest.” Dr. Keller was not sure what she could even do to help Tara. She would study the x-rays and blood work to see if she could find the anomaly. When she moved behind Tara and gently probed the reddened area where the wings had virtually burst out from she saw that it was healing fairly fast. Tara hissed slightly but tried not to flinch away.
“You look fine. There doesn’t seem to be any infections and the area is healing quite fast. The scales also look fine. Honestly I don’t know what else to tell you.”
“It’s alright. I don’t know what’s going on either. Thank you Doctor. I just want to be able to take a real shower, maybe get different quarters. Then I think John and Rodney want to find out what happened to me.”
“I have no reason to keep you here any longer. If you see any changes at all in the color or feel of the scales let me know right away?”
“I will. Can I get dressed now?”
“Of course, please. I’ll give you a minute then let John and Rodney in so you can have a moment.”
Tara just nodded then slipped back into her clothes. She ran a hand through her hair and wondered just how much more screwed-up her life could get. She was almost relieved when she put her shirt back on and it hid all but the just a bit of the scales on her face, neck and shoulders. A few minutes later John and Rodney came into the infirmary.
“Hey,” John smiled as he walked up to Tara. “How are you feeling?”
“I,” Tara frowned and looked down at her hands that were twisting together. “What if he hates me?” she said so quietly that if John hadn’t been a Sentinel he wouldn’t have heard. His heart twisted a little as he thought of his brother so far away.
“Hey, look at me,” John waited till she lifted her head and looked right at him, tears pricked the corners of her eyes. “My little brother will not hate you. Spencer fell in love with you the first time he saw you. Though he’ll give you a twenty minute lecture on how love at first sight isn’t possible and it’s only the brain’s chemical reactions to seeing a possible mate, but we all knew better.” John placed a finger under her chin and lifted further to look at him. “There is nothing you could ever do to make Spencer hate you. Not even wings and scales.”
Tara slid off the table and wrapped her arms around John, burying her face against his chest, she tried very hard not to cry. When his arms came around her and held her close John hoped that his words were true. He was not above kicking his brother’s ass when they finally found a way to get him here.
“Why don’t I show you to some proper quarters, you can shower and get into some fresh clothes. We can have dinner and you can finally tell us what the hell happened. I know Dad spent a lot of time and resources to look for you, we all never stopped looking for you.”
Tara could only nod as she took a deep shuddering breath to help settle the fear and anxiety that welled up inside her. She wanted to be upset with Atlantis, but she just couldn’t. She knew the City was just trying to help. She couldn’t stay mad, this was just one more strange thing in her life that she was going to have to come to terms with.
“I’d like that.” John gently rubbed her back, being careful of healing scars and the scales. Scales and psionic wings he thought and just shook his head. Of course all the crazy things he has seen it hasn’t really fazed him. Letting her go he squeezed her shoulder a moment then started out the door with Rodney then her following.
Rodney hadn’t said anything, he was too overcome with emotion to trust himself. When John stopped at a room that was just down the hall from his and John’s he was surprised. Not many of the expedition were on the same floor as them. They tried to dampen their gifts so as not to make anyone uncomfortable but it didn’t always work.
“After talking to Elizabeth about these protectors and figuring out that, that is what is going on with you, I have a feeling you won’t be comfortable too far away from me. Believe me I’m still trying to come to terms with that myself, I don’t need anyone taking care of me,” he smirked at Rodney who he felt glaring at him through their bond. “But, I guess I’m stuck with you kid.” John quirked up the side of his mouth in a crooked smile then leaned down and kissed the top of her head.
“This is mine?” Tara walked in and looked around.
“Yeah kid, it’s yours. There’s a white noise machine and a dampener in case you need it. Also some t-shirts and BDU’s. I’m sorry that is all we have for now. But once you’re up for it maybe Teyla can take you out shopping to some of the markets that we’ve got good relationships with.”
“Thank you. I know you have a lot of questions but let me take a shower and change. Come back in, say an hour? You could maybe bring Teyla and Ronon.”
“I bet Dr. Kusanagi would like in on this too.” John couldn’t help the cheeky tone and Tara blushed and ducked her head.
“I, I don’t know what that’s about. I, I like her, but…I want Spencer, I need him John.” She looked up with such anguish in her eyes that it broke his heart.
“I know and we will find a way, I promise. We’ll let you alone and be back in an hour.” He chuckled as he ruffled her hair.
Tara glared at him as she moved away and into the bathroom. She heard the quiet snick of the door as John and Rodney left the room. Taking off her clothes she looked down at herself, running her hands along the bands of scales around her waist and her hips. They were softer than she thought they would be. They felt strange as she slowly fingered them. She felt along the ones around her hips and found they dipped down and circled around her sex. She turned and looked in the mirror and noticed they indeed wrapped around her buttocks and joined up with the bands on her upper thighs. She was not going to speculate on what this all meant. She had a feeling that the bands had something to do with her feral nature and maybe, something to do with her guide. Sighing she once again concentrated on manifesting the wings and experimented with them. Snd found she had a good amount of control over them. Folding them back gently against her body she wiped a hand down her face then stepped into the shower.
She was getting dressed in fresh clothes when there was a knock on her door.
“Enter,” she called out and then smiled when John and Rodney came in with trays of food and bottles of water.
“Thought you might be more comfortable eating in here for now.” She walked over and took one of the trays from Rodney and set it down on the small table. She grabbed a sandwich, a bag of chips and a bottle of water then sat on the bed. It was a few minutes before Ronon and Teyla showed up with Miko in tow. Everyone found a place to sit and waited expectantly.
“Dr. Daniel Jackson came to CalTech and gave a lecture. I had just presented my thesis for combining my Archeology and Chemistry degrees. I had a minor in linguistics and Dr. Jackson sought me out. Both Spencer and I were excited by what he was doing so he asked me onto the project, at least during the summer. It was the Stargate. He knew I was doing some side projects for my Archeology professors on translating some ancient Egyptian texts. Myself and one other person became his assistants. My part was mainly research and I found obscure information here and there on the Gate. It was a puzzle and well, I’m worse than Spencer when it comes to puzzles.” She picked-up her sandwich and took a bite, swallowed then some water before she continued.
“The Summer was over and we went back to classes. The next Summer Dr. Jackson came back and I helped him again. But it was after that everything changed. I got a letter from him and papers that I had to sign. They were non-disclosure agreements that I wouldn’t reveal the work that we had done. It was standard fare, I’d worked cracking codes for NSA, CIA and other government agencies before, so I signed. Then I didn’t hear anything from him, at all. I wrote to him but all my letters came back. I tried calling and nothing. I put it behind me and continued school. By this time I noticed my father starting to act strange around Spencer. I knew, well I knew he had rejected his guide. It was his partner, Special Agent David Rossi. I never could get out of him why. My father wasn’t homophobic. He didn’t think anything of same-sex Sentinel/Guide pairs. The only thing I could come-up with is that it had something to do with Uncle Dave and some of his, well, seedier connections.” Tara put down her food and stood to stretch.
“He was in Atrophy wasn’t he?” Rodney asked as he watched her pace.
“Yeah, and he kept trying to form a tether with Spencer, who kept rejecting it. He was fascinated by Spencer and his mind. But, we already had a platonic bond and Spencer wasn’t strong enough to have a bond and a tether, at least not when we were so young. My Dad and I fought over it. I told him if he didn’t stop I’d call the S&G center for not only child abuse, but interfering in a Sentinel/Guide bond.”
“I remember Spencer calling Dad and asking about what you guys could do legally about him. I think Dad was going to get some security involved.”
“Yeah, on top of the conservator. Who was awesome. He kept Dad away when we were in the apartment.”
“But that doesn’t explain how you got here.”
“A Colonel Maybourne came to CalTech. It was an invite only seminar. Remember that Rodney? You were at our apartment ranting and raving that you didn’t get an invite, but two, and I quote, “genius, upstarts, ‘Oh i’ve already got my Sentinel/Guide’ children get an invite? Don’t they know who I am? Dammit, why wasn’t I invited? And you two, you’d better tell me all about it.’ Spencer and I sat there laughing so hard that you got mad at that too.”
“Well, you were upstarts.” Rodney glared at her, “Why did we help her again? I think I liked you better when you grunted and growled.” He crossed his arms across his chest.
“That was the thing Rodney, it was the NDA’s. Anyone who worked on the ‘Project’ and signed an NDA got an invite. There were only twelve of us. I guess a race called the Goa’uld were starting to cause problems. Maybourne only gave us the briefest of explanations. He didn’t go into much detail, what he did tell us was that a ship had been reverse engineered and they were going to launch in the next year. If we wanted in, we had to sign another NDA and we would be fully informed. Spencer and I, well, give two sixteen year old kids the idea of going into freakin’ space? What do you think we said?”
“You jumped at the chance. God, Dad would have kidnapped the two of you and locked you up.” John stood and tried not to be mad at Spencer.
“We were on the cusp of our seventeenth birthdays and the ship was going to be done by the time we turned eighteen. We planned to..well….you know…” Tara couldn’t help the blush that creeped up on her face.
“Bond? You guys hadn’t done it yet? Like no sex at all?” Miko looked stunned.
“Well, we weren’t completely celibate, but we didn’t you know.”
“Miko,” Tara blushed even deeper. “No, we haven’t.”
“You haven’t had sex? Like at all? It’s been like nine almost ten years and you’ve gone without?”
“I wasn’t’ exactly in my right mind Miko. I mean, you can’t really give consent if you can’t communicate.”
“Ohh, right.” Miko crossed her leg and swung it a little as she settled back to listen.
“Anyway, Maybourne showed-up, but so did my Dad. I was in the library studying and Spencer was working on a project in the Engineering lab. I got done with planning out what I was going to do for my capstone and left the library and started walking to our apartment. Next thing I knew I was waking-up on a spaceship that had already launched. The Captain was told I was some kind of dangerous Sentinel, but was mission essential. I was locked in a room for the trip and the only thing I had was my satchel. There was a letter from my father confessing what he did. I was devastated.” Tara shook her head a moment to clear her emotions. She couldn’t believe just how much her father’s betrayal still hurt.
“When we got past the Milky Way, things went horribly wrong. The builders of the ship and the Captain didn’t account for the changes in pressure, gravity pull and other basic astrophysics. For three days there were nothing but problems, but I didn’t care. Being in that room, ultimately saved my life. We crashed on the first planet we came too because the gravitational pull was just too great. We broke through the atmosphere going way too fast. My door was crushed. I was pretty banged up, but was able to crawl out of the room. The Captain, co-pilot and most of the expedition was dead. There was one woman, Gina McCullum. I was able to get her and I out of there. I ran back in and packed up food and emergency supplies. The atmosphere was thicker than Earth’s but it was breathable. Gina had a bad ankle but I wouldn’t let her give-up. We walked for days, I lost track of how long when we found a Gate. The symbols, they were different than Dr. Jackson’s, but I tried to think like a linguist. I punched in seven symbols and hit the activation and damned if a wormhole didn’t open up. I grabbed Gina and ran through.”
“You didn’t know what was going to be on the other side.” Rodney looked at her in both awe and horror.
“I had no choice Rodney. I couldn’t fall apart and we couldn’t stay where we were. Eventually the atmosphere would have done us in.”
“What drove you to your feral state Tara?” Teyla asked, her admiration for the young woman only getting stronger.
Tara sat back down on the bed and wrapped her arms around her waist.
“We landed on a planet called Sorna. At first the inhabitants were really awesome. They fed us, gave us really nice clothes, helped us with some supplies. We had no idea what the hell we walked into.” Tears pricked the corners of her eyes as she pulled her legs up to her chest. “They were sacrificing us.”
“Wraith worshippers.” Teyla said as she got up and sat next to Tara on the bed.
Tara nodded her head, “I couldn’t save her. The Wraith came and they took Gina, I zoned, then I felt it trying to feed on me, but it couldn’t. Something about me, the Wraith can’t feed on me. But they can hurt me. It tortured me for hours, trying to figure out what I knew. Because I wasn’t part of the flight crew I had no map in my head. I let PvsNp run through my head. Charlie’s research, I memorized it, and it confused them.” She smiled up at Rodney who was grinning like a loon.
She laid her head on her knees and shuddered to calm the emotions that had welled up inside her.“ I was just a kid, lost, everyone dead, I had nowhere to go but I ran. I ran back to the Gate and dialed wildly. When I went through I came out onto another planet. This time, I found people that helped me. I was shown that I needed to be careful, that some of the Gates were in space. I was led to a science like building. They showed me a series of symbols, which I realized were Gate addresses. I wrote them all down on some thick paper made from bark that they gave me. I transferred it as much as I could. But each day just got harder and harder.” She looked down at her wrists and hung her head as shame filled her.
“This,” she looked to the side and let tears leak out, “this wasn’t the first time. I tried before. But something always saved me. I’ve been running, and just surviving for so long. There were nights I’d go to sleep and I’d see his face,” her breath caught as she curled up more into herself. John moved to the bed and pulled her into his lap and wrapped his arms around her. He cursed Maybourne and Jason Gideon. How a father could do this to his daughter, he would never know. “It hurts, all the time. I feel this tiny delicate thread of our bond and there are times I just can’t take it anymore.” She fisted her hand in John’s shirt and cried.
“Oh little bird, we didn’t know what to do. Spencer, he never gave up hope. And I feel pretty shitty for giving up on him.” John closed his eyes as he fisted his hand in her hair. He kissed the top of her head and let her cry herself out. He looked over at McKay and tried to imagine losing him like she had. He didn’t think he would survive it.
She sniffed as she buried her head against John’s chest. “I remember the first time you called me that. It was after Spencer took me to meet all of you.”
“You had all these streaks of color in your hair. You looked like a wild lost little bird. Here was my thirteen year old genius brother, bringing home a genius thirteen year old Sentinel. Dad about had a heart attack when he met you at the airport.” John laughed as he held her tight. “The kid was already stupidly in-love. We couldn’t separate you for the life of us. Spencer is never very tactile with anyone outside the family. Yet, he could barely let you go long enough to shower and change clothes. There is one thing about that kid is he doesn’t do things by halves.”
“I think, somehow, that’s a Sheppard trait.” Rodney puckered his lips as he raised his brows smirking at his Sentinel.
“Shut-up.” John mocked.
“And now, now look at me. I have wings and fucking scales. What the hell is that all about? What if he thinks I’m a freak, or ugly. What if hates who I’ve become?” She bit her lip as her eyes once again filled with tears.
John closed his eyes a moment and tried not to curse. He gently wiped at her eyes then placing his thumb on her chin he pulled her lip from her teeth.
“Tara I am sure Spencer will still love and want you. You have a profound bond and when we get his scrawny little ass here, It will strengthen and grow.” He wrapped his hands around Tara’s shoulders and made her look at him.
“I’m not that same girl anymore John.” She wanted to curl up in the safety of his arms. She wasn’t feeling like the Sentinel who did whatever it took to survive. She felt like a lost, scared woman who thought she’d never see home. “I killed people. I killed, sometimes, innocent people. I did horrible…” She shook as memories assaulted her. Memories she buried deep down inside her.
“Honey, you did what you needed to so you could survive. You found us, and now, now there’s a chance to get Spencer here. I’m sure they have seen the video and If I know O’Neil at all, he has a plan.”
“If anyone could come up with a stupid, crazy plan that shouldn’t work but will, it’ll be Jack.” Rodney was angry and trying to keep it in. He was angry at so many people but it wouldn’t do to let it out at the moment.
Tara nodded her head as she uncurled from John’s lap and stood-up.
“You don’t need to tell us everything Tara. But, I know what it is like to run and keep running. I also know what it is like to be away from those you love. Take heart little one, you will be reunited with your mate.”
“Thank you Ronon and Teyla. The last few days, I wouldn’t have made it without you, any of you.”
“You still up for the Spirit Walk?”
Tara looked down at herself a moment then straightened-up, “Yes, yes I still want to go through with it.” She said in a stronger voice than what she felt.
“Alright. Then we’ll plan for it. We’ll talk tomorrow, why don’t you try to get some sleep. I cannot imagine the day you’ve had.”
“Thank you, all of you.” She tried to paste on a smile as they all got up to leave her alone for the night. “Um, John, can I talk to you, privately?” John nodded at Rodney that it was okay. The others left the two of them alone.
“What is it?” He leaned against the wall and cocked his head to the side.
“Something, well, this is awkward because basically you’re my brother-in-law and this is just, I mean, I don’t know…” Tara breathed deep and slowly let it out so she could try to stop rambling. “I need to imprint on you. Its this, driving imperative. I’ve held it back this long, but I can’t any longer.
“Okay. What do you need.”
Tara could feel her face heating up and she wanted to let her instincts take over.
“I need you to take off your shirt.” She ducked her head to the side as her embarrassment rose even more.
“My shirt,” John’s snarky tone was not lost on her.
“Would you stop trying to make this harder than it is?”
“Okay, just give me a moment.” He lifted his t-shirt off him and stood in the middle of the room.
“Can you, you know sit on the bed?” Rolling his eyes he sat on the end of her bed. Taking off her main shirt she unfurled the wings and shook them out slightly. She inhaled deeply then sat on her knees behind John. First she bent her head down and inhaled. Closing her eyes she committed the scent to memory. She then pressed her body close to his and wrapped her arms around him. It wasn’t unlike other times when they would be playful, or when he would be very brotherly to her but he inhaled sharply when her hands started to map out his stomach and chest.
“Shut up Sheppard.” She growled. This was already awkward enough as it was but then when she licked as stripe down his neck to his shoulder she felt the bond starting to form. Immediately that something other that had been pushing at her since she came to Atlantis started to settle. She shivered a little as she leaned back on her heels. The imprint was settling quite quickly.
She moved off the bed and cocked her head to the side a moment, “I ah, I’m done.”
John stood and grabbed his shirt and slipped it on before turning to her.
“I feel it too. It’s different. One day we’ll have to start testing how far we can be from each other.”
“None of this is freaking you out?”
“There are space vampires wandering around this galaxy, bugs that can twist your DNA, intelligent cities, and other humans that will sacrifice you so much as look at you. You being this Protector, doesn’t even faze me. It’s the least innocuous thing I think I’ve experienced since we came here.”
Tara just shook her head as she hugged John close to her.
“Thank you John, for everything, but you’re right, I’m exhausted.” The day had caught-up to her and she was practically falling asleep on her feet.
“Go to sleep little bird. We’ll talk more in the morning.”
She nodded her head and sighed in contentment as John walked out the door. She shed her clothes and slipped into bed and couldn’t help fingering the scales that she could reach. They were soft, but sensitive and the ones around her sex were the most sensitive. Like most Sentinels she had most of her body hair removed through laser surgery. It only left hair on her head and eyebrows. When she touched the triangle patch on her upper, inner thigh she felt a surge of lust shoot through her. She slipped a finger inside her pussy and found she was quite wet. She wondered if that was the scales, or her own longing to feel her guide inside her. Thoughts of Spencer entered her mind as she worked her fingers inside herself. She thought of him above her, moving inside her and finally after all these years completing the bond that they shared. She cried out as she arched her hips, one hand furiously rubbing herself trying to find release and the other exploring the scales that wrapped around her hips and her sex. She could almost feel her beloved with her, moving in her and when it all became too much she arched almost violently off the bed as she came. Flopping bonelessly back on the bed she moaned at the images in her head and hoped that John could keep his promise that Spencer would find her. It wasn’t long before she was finally drifting off into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Alec finished out his shift then went back to find Spencer who was curled up on the bed, reading. He chuckled to himself and thought that some things really never did change.
“Hey kid, ready?”
“Oh, um yeah.” He looked around and noticed that someone had brought him his go bag. He thought that maybe it was either Hotch or Derek but they didn’t say anything to him. He wondered just how deeply they were hurt, which was never his intention. He stood up and grabbed his things then followed Alec out of the room.
“There’s a bar and grill in town called Hannigan’s. They have the best food, nothing fancy but the steaks remind me of Dad’s grilling out at that enormous gill he used to have.”
Spencer smiled as he pulled his legs up to his chest after he got settled in the car. “Yeah I remember that. It was before he did that built-in.”
“Which you convinced him to do after you spent a half and hour espousing the virtues of propane versus charcoal.” Alec shook his head as his eyes swung to Spencer.
Spencer leaned back in the car seat as he looked over at his brother. When Patrick had first brought him to Virginia at six years old he was petrified. William Reid had tried to stop the custody suit, but he lost. Spencer wasn’t even sure why, other than having a son that was a Guide gave him great prestige at the law office. The only thing that Spencer had asked for was his mother to be taken care of. Patrick had obliged, easily. Diana had been special to him. He hadn’t meant for the affair to happen, but he and Amelia had been having problems in their marriage and she eased the pain of their separation. They both knew that in the long-term they wouldn’t have worked. Patrick was still completely in-love with his wife. It was his one indiscretion and he was honest with Amelia when he went back to Virginia. When Diana found out she was pregnant she wanted to protect the baby, but she also didn’t lie to Patrick. She told him it was his, but she didn’t want anything from him. Patrick, however, made it plain and clear that he wanted visitation at least. Diana and William agreed. Then Patrick began to see how stressful life was for the boy. William didn’t seem to care much for Spencer and when his Guide gifts kicked in Patrick knew he needed to sue for custody.
Patrick talked it over many times with Amelia and they both decided that he should bring Spencer to live with them. Patrick had sat John and David down one day and told them what was going on. While they were old enough to understand what their father had done was wrong and they were upset about it, they were also excited for another brother.
Diana’s schizophrenia worsened and William didn’t even try to help. When Patrick had a conference in Las Vegas he also had custody days with Spencer. Arriving at the house Patrick was appalled at the condition the house was in and that Spencer had no clean clothes and the refrigerator was near empty. Furious he found William at his office, looking every bit the lawyer he was. He also had food and clean clothes. When questioned by Patrick, he admitted that he left it all to Diana. Patrick’s outrage and cold fury only fueled him to sue for custody. Diana didn’t protest. In a moment of total clarity she knew she couldn’t take care of Spencer properly. William tried to put up a challenge, but Patrick was not only the biological father, but he showed the courts how much he tried to keep in Spencer’s life. He won his suit and brought Spencer home.
“Hey, genius, where’d you go?” Alec looked over to Spencer as concern clouded his expression.
“Sorry, just thinking about when Dad brought me home.”
“Do you know how excited John was? That he finally got to meet this baby brother that Dad had kept at arm’s length from us?” Alec chuckled as he thought about the day Spencer came to live with them.
Spencer looked out the window wondering how he was going to feel if Patrick and David did come.
“He knew right away what I was. He was so overprotective it was nerve-wracking.”
“It wasn’t just you kid, he was like that with all of us. It was Mom’s influence.” Spencer’s shoulders slumped at the mention of Amelia Sheppard. He knew the woman never treated him any different. She welcomed him with open arms and it took him a while to open up to her. She had been the type of Mom that he had only dreamed of. It also made him feel guilty because he loved his own Mother, but knew she couldn’t take care of him like he needed. When Amelia died, before Spencer had found Tara, he had shut himself off from everyone. The only one who knew how to coax him back out was John.
“Hey, I’m sorry Spencer. You know Mom loved you too. Dad was always honest with her about what happened.”
“I know, I just miss her. She never got to meet Tara. You think Amelia would have liked her?”
“Kid, Mom would have loved her. She would have been ecstatic for you.” Spencer was silent the rest of the way to the restaurant. The brothers had a quiet meal, Alec asking him all about the FBI. Spencer asked Alec what it was like to go through the Stargate. The talk was nice and by the end of dinner Spencer wondered why he stayed away for so long. When they finally made it to Alec’s apartment Spencer was exhausted, but a phone was put in his hand.
“I don’t care, call Dad.”
Spencer stared down at the phone a moment as Alec stood in the doorway to his guest room where Spencer would be staying.
With shaking hand he dialed the office number from memory. When a voice came on the line he asked for Patrick Sheppard. Spencer was near tears by the time his father came on the line.
“Hi Dad. It’s Spencer.”
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