wildcat88: erika made this (Whump)
[personal profile] wildcat88
Part 1

xxx


A strange clacking sound that was somehow both irritating and soothing woke him the next day.

“Trying to sleep here, McKay.” He didn’t know where the words came from and cringed in horror when something fumbled and crashed.

“Dammit! What the hell… Oh, hey, you’re awake.”

Buddy rolled over to see the stocky man who was always arguing in his dreams. “Um…yeah. Sorry about that. You’re…McKay?”

“Dr. Rodney McKay. Two PhDs, just so you know.”

“Where’d the other guy go?”

“Ronon? Jennifer, um, Dr. Keller told him to eat, sleep, and shower. Not necessarily in that order.” McKay grinned. “You hungry?”

Buddy raked a hand through his hair as his stomach growled. “Is it mealtime? Sorry. I didn’t know. Um, if you’ll show me where everything is, I’ll make…” He trailed off as McKay’s jaw tightened. “I’d like to earn my keep around here.”

McKay sighed. “You don’t have to cook, Colonel. We already have people who do that.”

“Oh, right. Military leader. Maybe I could-”

“Listen, the others will be here in about an hour to talk about treatment and stuff. Why don’t I get some breakfast while you take a shower?”

“That works, too,” he murmured at McKay’s retreating back.

The shower was an experience. After he figured out how to turn it on – and pushed away the memory that tried to surface – he let the cascading water pour over his head and shoulders, washing away the fear and muscle aches. He finally climbed out when McKay shouted that breakfast was ready. The blue shirt and jeans were a bit loose, but they felt familiar when he pulled them on and padded into the den.

McKay blinked rapidly and looked away. “I brought-” he cleared his throat a few times, “I brought scrambled eggs and bacon.”

“You okay?”

“Yeah, fine, never better.”

“Oh, sorry. I thought-”

“It’s just really good to see you looking like, you know, you.”

Buddy accepted a plate and sat down. “Are these my clothes?”

“Well, they certainly aren’t mine,” McKay retorted. “You’re taller, and…well…” He flapped a hand.

When McKay’s hand went up, all Buddy saw was Galed. He dropped his plate as he flinched and turned his face away, one arm raised to cover his head. The dead silence seemed to last forever. He screwed up his courage and glanced at McKay. The man looked horrified – eyes wide, face bone white, chest heaving as he stared at Buddy. The white flushed immediately to scarlet, and his hands shook as he set his plate on the table and walked away.

“I’m sorry,” Buddy apologized as he knelt to clean up the mess. “I don’t know why I did that.”

“Stop,” McKay commanded quietly. “Stop doing that and sit down.”

Buddy placed the pieces of plate on the table and wiped his hands then sat on the sofa and watched McKay pace in circles.

“Look, Colonel, I’ll be the first to admit that I suck at this sort of thing. I’m probably going to say this badly so I’m only going to say it… No, no, I’m going to say it as many times as it takes for you to understand. You have nothing to fear from us, least of all from me. We’re friends, as strange as that may sound. Good friends, and I can count on one hand the number of people I can say that about.”

McKay sat next to him and looked him straight in the eye. “I know your memory’s messed up, but the real you is in there, the one who plays chess and video golf, the one who can spend hours arguing with me about Batman and still speak to me later. You saved Teyla and her son from a horrible death, you rescued Ronon from the Wraith, and you blew past two hive ships to try to help me when I was dying. You risk your life every day for the people here, and they would die for you. We all would.” McKay sighed heavily. “You don’t have to be afraid. We won’t let anyone hurt you. We’re going to find who did this to you, and God help them when we do.” He turned away and picked up his plate. “Here. Help me eat this before it gets cold.”

Buddy picked up his fork and clutched it tightly to stop the tremors. “Thanks, McKay.”

“Rodney. You can call me Rodney. And you’re welcome.”

“Rodney.” Buddy snagged a slice of bacon, chewing slowly as he allowed the emotion to settle. “So, who’s Batman?”

Rodney’s face brightened. “Only the greatest superhero ever.”

They finished eating and cleaned up the broken glass and bits of egg while Rodney proclaimed all of Batman’s attributes. He was describing the capabilities of the Batmobile when the door chimed.

“I thought we agreed…” Rodney grumbled as he got to his feet, stopping when the door opened.

“Sorry,” a small man with frizzy hair and glasses said, “I forgot.”

“What is it, Radek?”

The man leaned around Rodney. “I am here to see the colonel.” He grinned at Buddy. “May I enter?”

Buddy shrugged. “Sure.”

“Thank you. I am Radek Zelenka. I work with him.” Radek rolled his eyes toward Rodney. “I brought you something.” He handed Buddy a box. “It is from my home country.”

Buddy lifted the lid. A heavy glass bowl with intricate design lay inside. “Thanks.”

“It is crystal. Perhaps you would like to put this in it?” Radek gave him a huge yellow bag that rattled.

He tore it open and grinned. “Cool!”

“Peanut M&Ms! Where did you get those?” Rodney demanded.

“I have been saving them for a special occasion. One such as this.”

Buddy’s pulse raced as the two men argued. What had he done?

Finally, Radek said, “I must get back to work. Have a pleasant day, Colonel. Rodney.”

When the doors slid shut, Buddy offered the bag to Rodney. “You can have them. I don’t want to cause trouble for your employee.”

Rodney’s eyes grew sad. “No, they’re yours. I don’t- I was teasing Zelenka. You-” He swallowed thickly. “You eat them.”

The candies clattered as Buddy poured them in the bowl. “Which color tastes the best?”

“They don’t taste different.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course, I’m sure. The coating on the outside has food coloring in it. That’s all.”

Buddy chose a yellow then a red. “I don’t know…”

“Oh, for God’s sake,” Rodney muttered, grabbing a handful. “I’m telling you,” he stuffed one in his mouth, “there isn’t any difference.”

“Is so.”

“Is not.”

“Is so.”

A chuckle from the doorway interrupted the sniping. “Good to know some things don’t change.”

“Carson!” Rodney exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”

A kind-faced man entered. “I heard the colonel was home.” He extended his hand. “Carson Beckett.”

Buddy shook his hand. “Hi. I’m-”

“I know who you are, son. It’s good to see you.”

“Thank you.”

“Carson’s a doctor,” Rodney said. “Of medicine, not real science like me.”

“Pay no attention to him. His people skills were removed at birth,” Carson said, but there was fondness in his voice.

“Did we meet before?” Buddy asked. “My memory…”

“No, lad. I just arrived. My work is mostly on other planets these days.” Carson sighed. “It’s a long story.”

Another knock at the door ended the conversation. Soon the room was overflowing – Rodney, Carson, Ronon, Teyla, Dr. Keller, the shrink, and a bald man named Woolsey.

Once everyone was settled in the den, the shrink began. “I’m Dr. Sanders. We met yesterday.” When Buddy nodded, he continued. “We’ve been discussing treatment options, and we have several ideas. Based on previous experience, we would like to start with a combination of drugs, therapy, and meditation. Would that be okay?”

Buddy shifted under so many pairs of eyes staring at him. He didn’t know what answer they wanted, what they expected of him. His heart thudded in his chest, and he jumped when fingers curled around his.

“Colonel?” Teyla leaned toward him. “We will do whatever you are comfortable with. This is your choice.”

“My- Okay. Um,” he focused on her eyes, “what do you think?”

“I cannot choose for you. However, what Dr. Sanders is proposing has been successful in the past.”

“Will it make me, me again?” When she glanced at Dr. Sanders, he followed her gaze. “Will it?” he asked the shrink.

“I don’t want to scare you, but I don’t want to give you false hope, either,” Dr. Sanders said. “Every person is different, and we aren’t sure what happened to you. I think with time and patience, we can break the triggers. The rest will be up to you.”

Buddy looked at the faces around him then forced himself to meet their eyes and was amazed. No hate, no anger, no irritation or superiority or apathy. Instead he found hope, affection, encouragement, love. For him. At that moment, he would have done anything they asked.

“When do we start?”

xxx


“My legs won’t do that,” Buddy protested.

Teyla laughed lightly. “You do not have to sit exactly like this. Merely in a way you find comfortable.”

He squirmed until his legs were loose then put his hands on his knees. “Now what?”

“Can you feel when one of the triggers is activating?”

“Yes.” It was an understatement. His heart seized, his muscles locked up, and his nerves lit on fire. Then it got really bad.

“Some people have had success battling the effects with breathing exercises and meditation. We will start slowly. Close your eyes. Breathe in deeply through your nose. Feel your lungs expand fully. Hold the breath. Listen to your heart beat. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Good. Now, again.”

They repeated the process again and again until Buddy felt the tension melt away. He let his mind drift, focusing on taking each breath. An image flashed – another woman with soft brown hair and sad eyes who taught him to meditate, reached for him, called his name…

“Colonel, I need you to breathe. Breathe!”

Buddy’s eyes flew open. Teyla leaned over him, panic and fear marring her features. She was gripping his shoulders tightly enough to bruise.

“What-” Oh, damn. His voice was hoarse. “A trigger?”

She rocked back on her heels and helped him sit up. “Yes. Do you remember anything?”

The other woman’s face dissolved like a vapor. “No, sorry. What now?”

“We try again. Do not let your mind wander this time.” Teyla ran her hands under her eyes then through her hair. “Now, breathe in deeply.”

Buddy complied, staying far away from the dark place in his mind where memory and pain resided.

xxx


“Good afternoon, Colonel. How are you feeling today?”

Buddy shrugged. “About the same, I guess.”

Dr. Sanders smiled. “Remember, for this to work, I need you to be specific.”

“Oh, right. Um, well, I feel fine. Physically, I mean. Food’s good, temperature’s right. The doc, uh, Keller, said my arm is healing and most of the bruises are gone.”

“And your sleep?”

Buddy glanced away. “Not so good. The nightmares won’t go away.”

“I know. How are you mentally and emotionally?”

“I’m a little frustrated.” Buddy scrubbed a hand over his neck. “Everybody knows all this stuff, and I can’t remember anything. I freak out when I try. Today, I…”

“You what?”

“I hurt Carson this morning.” His face burned with shame. “We were talking and then I was on the floor and he had a broken nose.”

“It wasn’t your fault.”

“Then whose was it?” He jumped to his feet and paced angrily. “We’ve been at this a week and nothing! I can’t leave this room; I can’t do my job; I can’t even be around most people because I might go off. This isn’t working!”

Dr. Sanders sat quietly, watching, until Buddy dropped into his seat. “Last week, you wouldn’t have raised your voice or expressed any anger. You are improving.”

“I want to be normal again. Isn’t there anything else we can try? Besides more drugs. They don’t help.”

“There is one thing. I’m not sure it will work, but I’m willing to try if you are.”

“What is it?”

“Hypnosis,” Dr. Sanders answered. “You aren’t typically the kind of person who would respond well to it.”

“You mean The Colonel isn’t.” Buddy rubbed his eyes tiredly. “I’m not him. At least not right now.”

“Very well. Let’s give it a try. Would it be alright if someone else was here? I would like a second person present just in case.”

“Who?”

“Who would you like?”

Buddy thought for a moment. “Ronon.”

“Because you trust him?”

“Because he’s big enough to stop me from hurting you. And because I trust him.”

Ronon arrived minutes later, and after a few explanations, they began. The world around Buddy faded slowly, his eyelids shut, his entire body relaxed. All that existed was Dr. Sanders’ voice.

“Colonel, you are safe. You are surrounded by friends, and nothing can hurt you. Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Now, I want you to imagine you are walking down a long hallway. There are doors on both sides and each one is marked with a date. Can you see them?”

“Yes.”

“I want you to open the one from yesterday and tell me what you see.”

The door opened and Buddy looked in. “I see Teyla.”

“What is she doing?”

“Laughing. Torren smeared pudding in my hair.”

“Okay. Let’s try another one. Find last week.”

Buddy opened the door and moaned as pain danced down his spine.

“You are safe, Colonel. You are outside the door and nothing can hurt you.”

Safe. Safe. Safe. The pain receded to a dull throb.

“What do you see?”

Buddy took a deep breath and looked in. “Faces. I don’t know them. They’re shouting for help. Someone’s hurt. He’s screaming.”

“Close the door and back up another week.”

The pungent scent of animal dung made his eyes water. “Gromma.”

“What?”

“We’re on Gromma, setting up. Big trade day starts when the suns cross.”

“Go back two weeks.”

Buddy opened the door and quickly closed it again, his face turning red. “Galed found a companion for the night.”

“Go back a month.”

The door open, and he staggered back in horror. “NO! NO! Oh, please, God, stop!”

“You’re safe, Colonel! Close the door.”

Something was holding him fast. “I can’t! Can’t move. Make it stop!”

“Ronon… Try now, Colonel. Close the door.”

Buddy slammed the door shut and sank to the floor, wrapping his arms around his knees and burying his face.

“Take deep breaths, Colonel. Remember, you are safe. Nothing in that room can hurt you. Can you tell me what you saw?”

“Black…hideous… They were ripping them apart. The screaming… I can’t…”

“You don’t have to. Relax. I want you to look down the hall. Can you see other doors?”

Buddy squinted into the distance. The hallway blurred, swam, rippled. “It’s hard to see, but I think there are more doors.”

“That’s fine. You did very well. Now, stand up and walk back the way you came. When you see the door marked today, I want you to open it and walk in.”

Holding on to the wall for support, Buddy staggered to his feet and made his way down the hall and opened the door.

His eyes flew open to find Dr. Sanders smiling gently at him. Ronon sat nearby, clenching and unclenching his fists.

“How do you feel, Colonel?”

“Tired. I failed, didn’t I?”

“On the contrary, you succeeded. Your memory is still there, but the block against it is very strong.”

Buddy slammed his fists on his knees. “So, what do we do now?”

“We keep trying.”

xxx


Teyla studied each face at the conference table. “Are you saying he cannot be healed?”

“No, not at all,” Jennifer answered. “We think it is possible, with other methods.”

“We have had daily sessions for two weeks now. You know that by that time I had broken all of the triggers for Kanaan.” Dr. Sanders’ eyes filled with sorrow. “I haven’t made the slightest bit of progress with Colonel Sheppard.”

“You said each person would respond differently,” Teyla replied.

“That’s true, but we should be seeing some improvement by now. The drugs have had no effect, and therapy has progressed as far as it can. He’s told me everything he can remember from the moment he woke up on Brali, but nothing before then.”

“It’s not his fault.” Rodney snapped.

“Of course it isn’t.”

“What is the prognosis?” Mr. Woolsey asked.

“Carson?” Jennifer prompted.

Carson turned on the video displays. “The first image is John’s brain scan from the last post-mission check before he disappeared. The second was taken the day Ronon brought him home. This area,” he circled a bright red spot on the second, “is significantly different than here.” He pointed to the same area on the first which was orange. “The Ancient scanner gives us much clearer definition of what is happening in the brain. These lines,” he traced several curvy green lines, “are the chemical synapses that store memory.”

Teyla compared the lines on the two diagrams. “They have changed.”

“Exactly. Somehow the synapses in his brain have been rerouted. Put simply, they have been tied to the pain center. He physically cannot remember without being in incredible pain.”

“Why is the color different?” Rodney asked.

Carson sighed. “There is still so much about the brain we don’t understand. The color signifies activity. My best guess is that he is constantly forcing the memories away.”

Rodney hung his head. “Of course he is. Even as much as we’ve tried to hide it, this is Atlantis. With that damn gene, he can sense the technology. I should have thought of that.”

Teyla walked to the displays. “Why are these lines so tangled?”

“I don’t know,” Carson confessed.

“They may be false memories,” Dr. Sanders suggested. “We saw similar knots in the scans of some of the hybrids.”

“I do have one spot of good news.” Carson turned on a third display. “This scan was taken yesterday.”

Teyla studied it carefully then glanced back at the first. “This line has been restored,” she said.

“Yes,” Carson said. “One of the synapses has been repaired.”

“How?” Rodney asked.

“We don’t know. Perhaps a combination of being here with us, being called Colonel, maybe even being around the Ancient tech.”

Rodney frowned at the display. “So he has part of his memory back?”

“Not exactly,” Carson replied. “I think we merely have a very small crack in what’s blocking his memory.”

Teyla traced the thick line through the blue spot. “What does that mean?”

“It means we need to try a new approach,” Dr. Sanders answered.

Mr. Woolsey straightened his folders with a tap. “What are your recommendations?”

Dr. Sanders glanced at Jennifer who nodded. “We want to use that repaired synapse to reintroduce his name.”

“Will that not cause him great pain?” Teyla asked.

“Probably, but I’m not sure we have any other options. Once the new pathway is established, his name shouldn’t activate the trigger anymore.”

Rodney frowned. “How does that fix Sheppard’s memory?”

“It doesn’t,” Carson answered. “A conditioned response is just that – John doesn’t access his memories because he associates it with pain. We can work around the pain, but he has to decide to remember.”

“Are there any dangers?” Mr. Woolsey asked.

“Other than him losing his identity forever? Not really,” Dr. Sanders replied. “The chance of a psychotic break is remote. Do not confuse chemical synapses with a chemical imbalance. His brain chemistry is fine. Colonel Sheppard is not unstable.”

Mr. Woolsey nodded. “Very well. If Colonel Sheppard is willing to try, do your best.”

xxx


Ronon slouched on the sofa and stretched his legs, smiling to himself as Sheppard twitched in sync with the sword fight. He did the same thing when he watched sports, like he could help by moving with them. When the fight ended and the talking started again, Sheppard sat back with a frown.

“Any more sword fights coming?”

“One, I think.”

“You’re sure I like this move?”

Ronon rolled his eyes. “Yes, I’m sure. You watch it a lot.”

Sheppard didn’t look convinced. “The sword fights are good, but why would that Buttercup chick ever agree to marry Humperdinck?”

“I don’t know. I always assumed it was some Earth culture thing I didn’t get.”

“Hmm… I like a movie called The Princess Bride. Not what I expected.”

“Well, you like other movies, too, but you quote this one all the time. Of course, maybe you do that to irritate McKay.”

“Where is Rodney? He’s usually the morning shift. Not that I mind you being here or anything.”

Ronon debated on how much to share then decided Sheppard deserved the truth. “There was a meeting this morning with the doctors.”

“Why wasn’t I invited?”

“They didn’t want to upset you.”

Sheppard’s face clouded. “You mean they didn’t want to risk setting off a trigger. Dammit!” He jumped to his feet and paced a few steps, jamming his fingers through his hair. “I am so tired of people walking on eggshells around me. There has to be a way to fix this.”

“Look, buddy-”

“My name isn’t Buddy! It’s…” Sheppard collapsed in a chair and buried his head in his hands. “I can’t do this anymore, Ronon. You guys are stuck…here… I used to think this room was too big, but it’s crushing me. I can’t stand looking at the same four walls day in and day out. You’ve put your lives on hold for me, and that isn’t fair. You’ve-”

“You don’t get it, do you?” Ronon leaned forward until Sheppard looked up. “None of that matters. Not to us.”

“It should.”

“Why?”

“Because…” Sheppard shrugged. “Because it should. If I were me, the real me, what would you be doing right now?”

“Kicking your ass in the gym.”

The corner of Sheppard’s mouth quirked up. “Really? Well, maybe this isn’t so bad then.”

Ronon chuckled when the movie’s next sword fight caught Sheppard’s attention. He didn’t blame the man for being frustrated. He would’ve already ripped the place apart if he’d been stuck in this room for almost a month. Sheppard acted and sounded more like himself these days, and sometimes Ronon forgot that he wasn’t. Then one of those really bad nightmares would hit, and Sheppard would wake up screaming and clawing and wouldn’t look anyone in the eye for hours. The hypnosis sessions were worse, reducing his best friend to a quivering wreck in a matter of minutes. Teyla and McKay had offered to come instead, but Ronon had refused. He didn’t want anyone else to see John like that. The man would be embarrassed enough as it was when his memory returned, and Ronon was determined to protect as much of his dignity as he could.

“Humperdinck really doesn’t die in the end?” Sheppard asked.

“Nope.”

“Well, that sucks.”

Ronon agreed. The bad guys should always get what they deserved. One day, someone was going to pay for what they did to Sheppard, even if it took Ronon the rest of his life to find them.

“Oh, my God. Tell me you are not watching that movie again.”

Sheppard’s flinch was almost imperceptible, but the muscles in his neck loosened visibly when he turned to the doorway.

“Hey, Rodney. This is a great movie. You don’t like it?”

Ronon was impressed at how straight Sheppard kept his face. So much like the old Sheppard it hurt.

McKay heaved a dramatic sigh and stared daggers at Ronon. “You couldn’t have found anything else?”

“Could have. Didn’t.”

“Um, Sh- Colonel,” McKay began, “Teyla and the doctors will be here in a minute. They want to talk to you about another treatment. Is that okay?”

Sheppard slumped. “Yeah, whatever.”

McKay shot a concerned glance at Ronon. “You sure? Because we don’t want-”

“It’s fine, Rodney.”

“If you’re sure…”

“What do I have to lose? Besides my mind?” Sheppard chuckled bitterly.

“Look, Colonel-”

“I said it’s fine, McKay,” Sheppard snapped. Then his shoulders sagged. “I’m sorry, Rodney. I’m just…”

“Yeah,” McKay said quietly. “Me too.”

When the doctors arrived and explained what they wanted to do, Sheppard readily agreed. They shut off the movie and locked the door. Keller and Carson set some medicines and equipment within easy reach, and Sanders arranged the chairs.

“Do you wish for us to leave, Colonel?” Teyla asked.

Fear flashed on Sheppard’s face, and his knuckles turned white as he gripped the arms of his chair. “No,” he whispered. “I think I’m gonna need all the help I can get.”

Teyla took the seat next to Sheppard and slid her hand over his. “We will be right here. Just remember to breathe.”

McKay sat on the other side of Sheppard, and Ronon took his place behind them. When Sanders began, Sheppard quickly relaxed and responded to questions with that dream-state voice that creeped Ronon out.

“Alright, Colonel, you are in a library filled from floor to ceiling with books. Can you see it?”

“Yes.”

“Each book has a name on it. I want you to find the one labeled Teyla. Open it and tell me what you see.”

“Pretty lady with copper hair.”

“Good. Put it back and find the one labeled Rodney.”

Sheppard snorted. “His name is Meredith.”

McKay jerked in surprise. “How did he know that? Who told?”

“How do you know his name is Meredith?” Sanders asked.

“Says so right here,” Sheppard answered.

“What else does it say?”

“He has a sister named Jeannie, a niece named Madison, and a cat he gave away to a neighbor. He’s arrogant and egotistical-”

“Hey!”

“-but he’s braver than he knows.”

“Are you sure you’re doing this right?” McKay asked Sanders.

“Okay, Colonel. Put it back, and find the one labeled Colonel.”

Sheppard’s shoulders hunched to his ears. “He’s dead.”

“He is?” Sanders turned wide eyes to Keller. “What else does it say?”

“I killed him.”

Sanders gaped for a minute. “Really? How?”

“Shot him through the heart.”

“Oh, God,” McKay gasped. “He’s talking about Sumner.”

“Colonel, put that one back, and find the one labeled Lieutenant Colonel,” Sanders corrected.

The tension eased from Sheppard’s shoulders for a second then returned. “It’s blank.”

Sanders nodded. “That’s okay. Check the spine of the book. Do you see anything on it to indicate where it should be filed?”

Sheppard moaned as he went rigid. “Yes,” he whispered.

“Colonel, listen very carefully. You are not alone. You are surrounded by your friends. Do you understand?”

Ronon settled a hand on Sheppard’s shoulder while Teyla wrapped both her hands around his and McKay gripped his arm.

Sheppard’s breathing hitched, but his head bobbed. “Yes.”

“I need you to look around the library and find the section your book belongs in.”

Sheppard whimpered, and his entire body trembled, but he nodded again. “Okay.”

“Can you see it?” Sanders asked.

“It’s dark, so dark.” Sheppard’s breath came in ragged gasps. “Someone’s screaming. They’re all screaming.”

“Focus, Colonel. Find the section.”

“No, please. Make it stop.”

“Find the section. The screaming will stop when you find the section.”

“Oh, God.” Sheppard twisted in the chair. “No more. Please, no more.”

“You can do it,” McKay whispered. “Don’t give up.”

“Please try,” Teyla murmured.

Ronon leaned forward and pressed his head to Sheppard’s. “Come on, buddy.”

Sheppard choked on a sob. “I- I see it.”

“Walk straight to it,” Sanders ordered. “Don’t look around.”

“Okay,” Sheppard rasped.

“What is in the section?”

“More books. Lots of them.”

“Good. Pick one and tell me what’s written on the outside.”

“David.”

Sanders’ smile grew wide. “David what?”

“I- I can’t tell. It’s blurry.”

“Can you still hear the screaming?”

Sheppard’s head jerked. “Yes.”

“Can you sense your friends with you?”

“Yes.”

“Do you trust them?”

Sheppard didn’t hesitate. “Yes.”

Ronon squeezed Sheppard’s shoulder firmly.

“What does the book say?”

“David Sheppard.”

Sheppard lurched forward with a cry, both hands flying toward his face. Ronon looped his arm around Sheppard’s chest, pulled him back and held tight. Teyla hugged him and pressed her face to his neck. McKay gently tugged his wrists down.

“Colonel, your friends will protect you. Don’t be afraid.”

“Stop!” Sheppard begged. “Please stop. Don’t hurt them anymore.”

“Colonel, don’t look around,” Sanders said. “Look at the book.”

“Can’t.”

“Yes, you can. Concentrate, Colonel. Focus only on the book.”

“Fight, buddy,” Ronon encouraged him. “You’re not a quitter.”

Sheppard moaned, breath rattling in his chest. “Okay.”

“Nothing can hurt you, Colonel. Tell me the name on the book.”

“David…” Sheppard began to pant again. “Sheppard,” he whispered.

“Good. Put the book back and choose another. What does it say?”

“P-P-Patrick Sheppard.”

“Excellent. Pick up your book, Colonel. What does it say?”

“Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard.”

xxx


He was surrounded. Bodies pressed in on all sides. She stood tall in the midst of them, defiant. He struggled against the hands holding him back.

Suddenly fear filled her face. “Go! That’s an order.”

He fought harder, but the hands wouldn’t let him go. Her eyes begged him to save her.

“Elizabeth!”

She dissolved before his eyes.

“NO!”

The bodies around him began to morph. Hair grew long and white. Skin paled to gray. He scrambled but couldn’t get free.

“Hello, John Sheppard,” one hissed.

A hand slammed into his chest. He arched against it, screaming in pain.


He bolted upright, gasping for breath as the scream echoed in the room. Gagging, he staggered to the bathroom and dropped to his knees, clinging to the edge of the cabinet as he dry-heaved. Once he got his body under control again, he pulled himself to his feet, splashed water on his face, and gulped down a few sips. He looked at the reflection in the mirror and panicked. Who the hell was that?

He stumbled into the other room, glancing around wildly. A small bed. A poster of a man. A musical instrument with strings. A board with wheels. Everything familiar. Nothing he recognized.

A small piece of paper next to the bed caught his attention.

You are Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard. This is your room. Call me when you wake up.

McKay

PS – Use the radio.


The little memory that he had flooded back like it did every morning, at least for the past several days. His name was John. He lived in Atlantis. He was safe. Rodney, Ronon and Teyla were his friends.

John sank onto the bed and waited until he could breathe then picked up the radio. “Um, hello?”

“What the hell… Hang on. No, no, no. I told you not to touch that. Was ebay having a sale on PhDs? Just…whatever. Sheppard? You there?”

“Rodney?”

“Yeah. Listen, I’m tied up at the moment. No, not literally. Well, almost. Anyway, let me give Teyla a call. She’ll be there in a few minutes, okay?”

“Sure.”

John set the radio down and turned around slowly. His room was fairly presentable. He straightened the sheets on the bed and tossed a couple of shirts into a pile in the corner. A cool breeze on the back of his legs reminded him that he needed to get dressed. He tugged a t-shirt over his head and slid on a pair of jeans and was hunting for socks when his door chimed.

“Come in.”

“I cannot,” Teyla replied. “The door is locked.”

“Oh, um. Hang on.” John frowned in concentration until Rodney’s instructions popped in his head. He waved at the crystal array and grinned happily when the door slid open. “Hey, Teyla.”

“Good morning, John. How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine. How are you?”

“Hungry,” she admitted with a laugh. “Torren was ill last night, and I missed dinner.”

“Is he okay?”

“He has a cold according to Jennifer. He will be fine. He is sleeping at the moment.”

“If you need to be with him…”

Teyla smiled. “Kanaan is caring for him today. Would you like to get breakfast?”

John glanced at the corridor. “In the mess hall?”

“Yes, if you feel up to it. Otherwise I can get something and bring it here.”

He blew out a shaky breath. “No. I want to go to the mess hall.”

“Very well.” She put a hand out when he stepped toward the door. “You may want to put on your shoes.”

“Oh, right.” He stuffed his feet in sneakers, laced them quickly, and stood. “Okay.”

John followed Teyla through the hallway to a transporter, his heart pounding in excitement as she poked at the map and his body tingled. He loved transporting. Rodney had told him he would love flying jumpers and going through the gate more, but he wasn’t sure he believed it. How could anything be cooler than transporting?

Most of the breakfast rush had passed according to Teyla so the hall wasn’t crowded. He grabbed a tray, chose several delicious-looking foods, and followed her to a balcony table. The breeze carried a hint of rain, and he spotted dark clouds on the horizon. The sun shone brightly over them, however, and he dug in, content to listen to Teyla chatter about the latest news from New Athos.

A face flashed in his mind – a small boy with curious eyes and a Wraith mask. The boy was talking to the woman he’d failed to save in his dream. He clenched his eyes shut, willing the memory away.

“John?” Teyla peered at him with concern. “Are you feeling well?”

He nodded then shook his head. “Who is Elizabeth?”

Teyla grew very still. “Why?”

“I dreamed about her. Did I kill her?”

“No, you did not.”

“But she’s dead, isn’t she?”

“What makes you say that?”

“It hurts, here,” he tapped his chest, “when I dream about her.”

Teyla sighed sadly. “The Elizabeth you knew no longer exists.”

“What happened?”

“It is a long and complicated story. One that you already know.”

“I don’t-”

“Yes, John, you do. You were there for all of it.”

“I don’t remember.”

“You do not or you will not?”

He leaned back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“The memories are there, John. You know they are. I can see you fight them. Why?”

“I- They-” John’s head throbbed as the memories fought to be released. “I’m scared of what I’ll find there.” He stopped, searching for the words to describe it. “It’s a dark, ugly area in my head. Everything is wrapped up there, and I can’t sort it out. The parts that do come out – in my dreams – are, well, I’m not sure I want to remember.”

Teyla stood and picked up her tray. “Come with me.”

He gathered the remnants of his meal and followed. They dumped their trash and transported to another section. She led him to a room with muted colors and stained glass.

“A gym?”

“Yes, and more,” Teyla answered. “This is where I meditate.”

“Teyla-”

“Sit,” she instructed.

Sighing, he plopped on the floor and got as comfortable as he could. They practiced a few breathing exercises. Her voice was calm and soothing, and he slowly relaxed.

“Do not fear your memories, John. Your past has made you into the man you are – a good man, one who gives selflessly, who protects those around him.”

He scrubbed his hands on his knees, trying to control the rising panic. How could she be so sure?

“Imagine yourself in a green field. The sounds of nature are around you. Relax. Focus on your heart, your lungs. Feel the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the breeze. Breathe.”

His muscles turned to jelly. His breathing slowed to normal, and his heart beat in a steady rhythm.

“Open your mind. Let one memory in. You are in control of which one. Choose a happy memory.”

He was in control. He could do this. One memory. Just one. He opened the dark place in his mind, flinching at the pain and guilt.

“Breathe, John. Deep steady breaths.”

He glared at the darkness, forcing it back until he could see a tiny, fragile thread. He clutched the thread and slowly let the memory in. He took a ragged breath and smiled.

“Will you share it with me?” Teyla asked.

“McKay and I are in a corridor racing remote cars. You’re there. You’re laughing, really laughing. You have Torren in your arms. I don’t know where Ronon… Ronon’s in the infirmary because Michael- Oh, God. Michael.” His heart hammered in his chest as the images flew at him. “Oh, my God. All those people.”

“Do not think about Michael. Tell me about the corridor. What are we doing?”

“We…we’re having a good time. We’re having fun. We had fun.”

“Yes, we did,” Teyla whispered.

John’s eyes flew open when her hands touched his face.

She leaned in and pressed her forehead to his. “You saved me from Michael. You saved Torren from him. That is a debt I can never repay.”

“I don’t know. You’re doing a pretty good job right now.”

“We need you, John. We need you to remember who you are.”

“Because there are more Michaels out there?”

“No. Because there is only one of you.”

xxx


“Are you sure this is a good idea?” John asked.

McKay handed him another beer. “This was what you did for me when my memory was failing.”

“And it made you better?”

“Nope. It made me drunk.”

John’s face scrunched in confusion. “So how is this supposed to help me?”

McKay popped the tab and took a drink. “I don’t recall saying it would.”

“Rodney.”

“What? You said you needed to get away for a while.”

“I meant from the memories.”

“Getting drunk will definitely help with that.”

John rolled his eyes. “I don’t want to get drunk. I’ve spent every day for the past week reconstructing my memory. I wanted a break.”

“We’re having one. Fresh air, sunshine. Too bad Sam isn’t here.”

“Sam?” John frowned in concentration. “You mean Colonel Carter?”

“No, Sam the whale. From Old Lantea.”

“The one that almost killed us.”

McKay snorted in derision. “He saved my life. Twice in fact.”

John scratched his ear. “I seem to recall him making us deaf.”

“Aw,” McKay waved a hand. “That was just temporary.”

“Lucky for us. Otherwise…” He trailed off as more of that day returned.

“What’s wrong?”

He rubbed his temples. “So much has changed since then. Carson, Elizabeth…” He swallowed thickly. “I left her, Rodney. I left her with the Replicators.”

“And I made her a Replicator.” McKay sighed heavily. “Look, I know you blame yourself, but don’t. You did what she wanted. Atlantis was more important to her than her own life. You honored her request and saved the city.”

“And the second time? When I let her walk through that gate into space?”

“God, John. We all did. And it’s the same answer. To protect Atlantis. She did what she thought was necessary.”

John chugged his beer and slammed the can on the pier. “Maybe getting drunk is the right idea.”

“No, it’s not.” McKay stood and offered a hand. “Come with me.”

“Where?”

“Just come on.”

He let McKay pull him up then followed him to a transporter. They arrived in a hallway where recessed lighting illumined the walls. Pictures covered the surface as far as he could see.

“What is this?”

“I should have thought of this earlier,” McKay said. “Elizabeth started this when we found this section during our first year here. We’ve had to redo it several times thanks to floods and rough landings.” He cut his eyes at John then started walking. “This is the Hallway of Remembrance. The pictures on this wall are the people we’ve lost in the past five years.”

John studied the photos, struggling to put a name with each face. Sumner. Grodin. Abrams. Dumais. Gall. His heart constricted. Ford. Carson. Elizabeth. Heightmeyer. So many others. Names of planets and peoples that he’d failed. Hundreds. Thousands.

He couldn’t lift his eyes. “And the rest?” he whispered.

“They’re the ones we saved.”

John gasped as he stared down the hallway. Thousands of faces stared back. “What?”

“These people we saved from a culling. This group over here from some kind of plague. We rebuilt this village after a forest fire, and these two after a hurricane. We rescued this guy here from a prison island. These are the Athosians. You know Ronon. That group there…I can’t remember what we did, but they send the best dessert stuff every year in thanks.”

“What are these marks?” John traced his fingers over deep grooves in the wall. “There must be thousands of them.”

“The Wraith we’ve killed. Ronon keeps that up.”

John couldn’t decide between being elated and horrified. “That many?”

“We’ve tried to find ways to live in peace. None that have been successful yet. It’s a matter of survival.”

“You sound more like a soldier than a scientist.”

“Now, that’s just insulting.”

John grinned at him. “What are friends for?”

xxx


“I’m not falling for that again,” John insisted. “That is not a traditional Satedan sport.”

“Chicken,” Ronon taunted.

“You have got to stop hanging around the Marines. Next thing I know, you’ll have a buzz cut.”

“Not likely.”

John wiped his face with a towel and reset his stance. “I’m never going to be as good as you.”

Ronon feinted then turned and punched. John blocked, wrapped an arm around Ronon, and found himself flying through the air. He sucked in a breath, trying desperately to refill his empty lungs. Ronon smirked and offered a hand up.

John accepted then braced his hands on his knees. “You…suck.”

“No, you suck. I’m really good at this.”

“Modest too.”

Ronon grinned and slapped him on the back. “You ready for round three?”

“Not a chance.” John gulped from his water bottle and took a seat.

“You can’t quit now.”

“Sure I can. I’m the team leader, remember?”

“Not yet. Keller hasn’t cleared you for full duty.”

“My next check up is tomorrow. She will then.”

Ronon waggled his eyebrows. “Not if I tell her how out of shape you are.”

“I am not out of shape. I just prefer to do my fighting a different way.”

“You mean you’re lazy.”

John laughed. “Absolutely. I never claimed to be anything else.”

They left the gym, taking the long way back to quarters. John relished the sights and sounds around him – crew passing with smiles and nods, Atlantis humming at the edge of his mind, the whispers of conversation and echoes of laughter. His memory had mostly righted itself after three more weeks of daily sessions with Sanders and Teyla. Sometimes the order of events was hazy, and he still woke with a scream lodged in his throat from the occasional nightmare, but all in all, he was John Sheppard again. For better and for worse. He chose to not dwell on things he’d said and done when his team had first brought him home. They had seen him at his worst and they still cared so who was he to be embarrassed over a few freak outs?

He’d hacked into McKay’s files and read the logs about the time while he was gone. He was pretty sure Rodney knew he’d done it, but the man had never said anything. The colonel who’d replaced him had been recalled by the SGC at Woolsey’s request. Lorne had never looked happier. Dr. Sanders allowed him to talk or not. John mostly talked, appreciating an unbiased sounding board as he worked through his memories. He had a lot of junk, but a lot of good stuff, too. Good friends.

“You okay?” Ronon asked.

John nodded. “Ronon, six months… I-”

“Don’t.” Ronon blocked his path. “I only did what you’ve done for me, more than once.”

“Still…”

“No,” Ronon insisted. “This is what we do. We’re a team. We’re…”

“We’re family.

xxx


“What do you mean you aren’t going to tell us?” McKay’s lips pressed into a thin line. “We are not going to let this go.”

John sighed as he gazed into the burning eyes of his teammates. It hadn’t been an easy decision, but it was the right one.

“Sheppard,” Ronon growled. “They deserve-”

“Stop.” John held up a hand. “I know what you think, big guy. I know what all of you think. Hell, I’ve thought it. But those people didn’t know what they were doing. Not really. They were trying to mete out justice for one of their own, just like we would do.”

“John, they almost destroyed you,” Teyla said. “Surely we cannot allow them to do so again.”

“No, we can’t. I sent Lorne with jumpers and two squadrons of Marines. They have very specific orders. To find that machine and destroy it. Nothing more. No one gets hurt.”

Ronon slammed his fists on the table, the sound echoing through the empty mess hall. “That’s not enough!”

“It’s going to have to be,” John said. “Because that’s all there is.”

“Are you sure?” Rodney asked. “We’ve got the technology-”

“And that’s why we can’t. We have a lot of power which means we have a lot of responsibility and we can’t go beating up other planets like the neighborhood bully. We were careless. On Loutif where we started the stampede. A man died. We can’t keep doing things like that.”

Ronon turned away to stare at the sky. McKay’s gaze dropped to the table. Teyla smiled and squeezed John’s hand. The minutes ticked by in silence until Rodney glanced up with a crooked grin.

“I guess I can live with it if you can.”

“Ronon?” John asked. “You with me?”

Ronon grudgingly faced him. “Still don’t like it.”

“You don’t have to like it; you just have to accept it.”

The tension seeped out of Ronon and he slouched in his chair. “Fine. What’s next?”

John grinned. “Popcorn and a movie?”

Teyla brightened. “Popcorn? Do you have caramel?”

“A whole tub of it,” John said.

“We are not watching The Princess Bride again,” Rodney proclaimed. “Ever.”

“Oh, come on, McKay. I love that movie.”

“Not. Happening.”

Ronon sat up. “What about-”

“No Star Wars either. You can recite it by now.”

“I like Mad Max,” Teyla announced.

McKay looked horrified. “Seriously?”

John soaked in the chatter, savoring every word, reveling in the familiarity. Ronon and Teyla always offered up the same movies, and Rodney always squawked. It was what they did, and it worked. Sometimes they came to a consensus, and they would throw popcorn at each other and quote along with the movie until McKay threatened to reprogram the locks to their quarters and auction all their belongings on the Atlantis intranet. Other nights, the debate transformed into a discussion and hours later they would yawn, wave goodnight and head their separate ways.

Either way, the evenings were happy memories, and John held tightly to them, refusing to ever take them for granted again.

The End.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-25 08:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kriadydragon.livejournal.com
Oh my gosh how I love this! That was just... and just... Speechless! *Squishes you*. It was perfect:D. The pain John went through so made me want to hug the stuffing out of him, the way he was healed realistic and not rushed, with no easy answers (and I think most everyone knows how much I love that ;)). And his team... oh, team *squishes them* So much comfort and love, and a nice Rodney. I adore nice, caring Rodney.

*Squishes you again*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 12:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Yay!! *happy dances* I'm so thrilled that you liked it. I'm so sorry it took this long (I almost fainted when I saw the original post was from November. *hangs head in shame*) but the story took on a life of its own. :) I never tire of team love and a caring Rodney.

*squishes you back*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-25 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] titan5.livejournal.com
Wow, very cool and very intense. I love his friends/family sticking by him - all those months he was missing as well as when he returned, all broken and damaged. LOVED McKay's comment about getting PhDs on ebay - that was great!! His response at the end to the people that took his memories was very John Sheppard.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I love McKay snark. He says what the rest of us are thinking. :) And I'm happy to hear John's response at the end worked. I debated on that for a while.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-25 08:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seramercury.livejournal.com
That was an amazingly awesome trip now whump lane! Woo! :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Hee! Trip down whump lane. I love it. Thanks!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-25 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tearful-eye.livejournal.com
ooh, i loved this! it's really intense & the way the team helps john through his recovery... just beautiful, ♥.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you! I love the team together.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-25 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thunknwhump.livejournal.com
Great job! It sure is a moral dilemma ... poor John getting the brunt of it :p *not really sorry*. Loved the slow process of getting his memory back and that you included every team member for a huge portion of it :D They´re family .. indeed :D

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thanks! Every team member plays a different role in John's life and he needs all of them.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-25 09:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] reen212000.livejournal.com
Wow! That was impressive! All the whumpage, but more importantly the aftermath. Darn Talos device! If I may say so honestly, you've come a long way, baby. Your writing style is way more confident! Writing this stuff is so different from posting it. Freaks me out every time I post. I like to think I've grown a bit, the more I post. But with this fic you've created, you've blown me away! Your voices are pitch-perfect, and a frustrated and ailing John was very well done and realistic, in my opinion. You rock!

Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! Someone who reads Trek novels! Woo hoo! Actually this idea came from a different Trek novel (though the Talos Device story is one of my very favorites). I can't remember the name of it though! Eek!

If I may say so honestly, you've come a long way, baby.

Oh, I'm so happy you said so! *hugs you* I've learned so much about writing from reading wonderful stories by a variety of fanfic authors (such as yourself) and I'm delighted beyond words to know that I'm getting better. Lots of practice and a fabulous beta who refuses to let me slack off *hugs [livejournal.com profile] kristen999* is a good combination.

I never, ever tire of hearing the voices are good. Thanks again!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-25 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roo1965.livejournal.com
Good grief -talk about angst and mental whump! by the bucket load here and well done too. A nice build up to the 'correction'and the results, and oh the meeting between Ronon and John on the planet- I love that ROnon just scoops him up and runs for the Gate. The slow resolution to the memoery triggers was excellent- no quick fixes under an Ancient zappity thing- just patient work with friends and family helping him every step of the way. *pats John carefully* and waits for the next h/c whumpfic to turn up....

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I love Ronon's passion and determination. He doesn't do anything halfway. And rarely will you ever see a quick fix from me (though I am tempted sometimes). I don't break them to the point they can't be fixed logically and realistically.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-25 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drufan.livejournal.com
This was tight. What a fabulous story with a little message running through there. Family. Really loved this. I could also squish you!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thanks! *squishes you*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-25 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skeddy-kat.livejournal.com
This was very well done. I hated John's pain, but I loved the way the team pulled together to help him. Everyone was so perfectly in character. Thank you for sharing.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I'm delighted you liked it.

Everyone was so perfectly in character.

*beams* I love hearing that. Thank you!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ninja007.livejournal.com
Well done!

I always wondered what would really happen if something like this happened to John. I always thought the military wouldn't give anyone a chance to help John, would automatically take him to a military hospital, and not give his friends a chance to help him. I've read different takes on the theme "what would happened if John were incompacitated".

I really enjoyed the way you handled it. Marvelously done!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think the military could go either way on helping him. I think in this instance, Atlantis stood the best chance of helping him, and the military would understand that, especially with Carter back on Earth to give input. She and O'Neill would understand the benefit of having the team around him.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 02:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] space1traveler.livejournal.com
Another READ ALOUD good time. John Whump for everyone! So good, good, good!

Thank you so much, excellent job! Team care for John always a WINNER!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thanks! I'm delighted you liked it. Shep whump and team comfort are always a good combination.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] writerjc.livejournal.com
Fabulous! You make me love these guys (and girls) even more. :) So many excellent spots of dialogue, and heartwarming teaminess. Terrific characterizations. A wonderful story, well told!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your encouragement along the way.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 02:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] padawan-aneiki.livejournal.com
Ooh rather fab m'dear. Good read!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 03:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yellowvalley.livejournal.com
That was fantastic! Thanks for the great read. :D

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thanks! Glad you liked.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tridget.livejournal.com
Wonderful! I loved the process involving the doors and the boooks. The team's involvement was beautifully touching.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you! All I know about psychiatry I learned from TV so I'm especially happy to hear those parts worked. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 04:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coolbreeze1.livejournal.com
Great story! Poor, poor John. I like how you dragged this out over time. John was broken then slowly rebuilt. The recovery process was awesome. I love your stories but this one seemed particularly well written. Thanks for posting!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-26 01:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thanks so much! To be honest, it took me a LONG time to figure out the recovery process and since it was supposed to be an aftermath fic, the comfort/healing was really important. I'm delighted you enjoyed it.

this one seemed particularly well written.

*hugs you* Thanks for saying that! I really appreciate it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-27 12:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cazzblade.livejournal.com
Just awesome! It's very late here so I really don't have much constuctive to say other than its brilliant and I squeed on several occasions :D

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-27 12:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm delighted you liked it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-27 01:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alzarin-red.livejournal.com
Oh, wow! That was just wonderful. Thank you for giving me an enjoyable evening of reading.

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] pisces227.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-03-27 11:49 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com - Date: 2009-03-31 01:32 pm (UTC) - Expand

Fantastic!!!!

Date: 2009-03-28 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sidhartinas.livejournal.com
Hey! you gave me a hell of a time by reading this fic. I believe the writting was brilliant!!! I loved how the characters sounded like sooo themselves!! I also found some specific touching moments and some images I won't forget, like Shep breaking the bowl, and Zelenka entering the room just to gave Shep a gift, that was such a sweet scene! Not to mention the incredible whump! Thanks, please never stop.

Re: Fantastic!!!!

Date: 2009-03-31 01:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thanks so much! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. I have no plans of stopping any time soon. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-30 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kristen999.livejournal.com
Finally got a chance to re-read this. You know how much I really enjoyed this story but I wanted to say again how creative I thought you dealt with John’s recovery. What was done to him was horrible with the words associations and his memory and you stuck to your guns, the therapy not a quick fix, but a long, difficult process.

The ‘panic’ attacks were very well crafted, not overly dramatic, yet very real. That’s a tough sell as I don’t buy John quivering in the corner after his ordeal, but the programmed reactions was just so well done.

Awesome job as always, giving us something layered and perfectly paced.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-31 01:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for all your help!!! I couldn't have done it without you. I'm delighted to know the recovery sounded plausible. I was a little worried. A skittish John is always a fine line to walk so I really appreciate knowing that it worked.

*smishes you*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-30 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheppard4lily.livejournal.com
Awesome! Love it to pieces! *hugs Shep and team*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-31 01:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-31 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rissabby.livejournal.com
Excellent story.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-01 12:41 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-05 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bhgstoryteller.livejournal.com
Wow! I am truly impressed with your writing here. I'm new to live journal, but not to SGA fic. The way you describe John's feelings comes alive and easily seen in my minds eye. I think you are spot on with the feeling of family with all his team members. I have to give special applauds to your idea of a Library and using the books as each of his memories. I also liked the way you ended it. It was spot on. John would see the what and whys of a group of people seeking justice. The solution of destroying the machine was honorable and we all know how honorable John Shepherd is. Good job.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-06 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for the lovely compliments and welcome to LJ! I'm delighted you enjoyed the story.

easily seen in my minds eye

I so appreciate you saying that! My goal is for the story to be very visual, for you to feel like you're watching it instead of reading it. As for the books and the library, I'm so happy to know that made sense.

Thanks again!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-06 02:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abracah.livejournal.com
Another wonderful story. I love Sheppard rediscovering who he is!! Nicely done. I also enjoyed the bits and pieces you used from the past! Great touch!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-06 01:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm thrilled you liked it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-19 05:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shepsgirl72.livejournal.com
Brilliant story. What an awful thing to do, to corrupt someone's identity so much that even the mention of their name or where they are from brings them this much agony. Great angst and team support, and the recovery was just about right, not too quick, but not too drawn out either. In fact, the pace fo the whole story was spot on.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-21 12:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Thanks so much! I'm delighted you enjoyed the story. Pacing is always tricky so I'm always happy to hear when I get it right.