Stargate Atlantis: Leave no man or woman behind

AUTHOR’S NOTE: this fic deals with death. Like…  self-inflicted death of a major character. It’s an AU, it’s angsty and well… THIS FIC DOES NOT HAVE A HAPPY ENDING. Meeko said this about it in 2011:  Just reread this and I’m fucking crying again! Damn you!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Suicide is serious. No one should ever feel as if committing suicide is the best way to deal with problems in their life. If you feel like you’re stuck and have no place to go, no one to talk to, please call any of these numbers:

US: Lifeline  1-800-273-8255
UK: Samaritans 08457 90 90 90
NL: 113online 0900-0133

PAIRING:John Sheppard/OFC (Elsa, character of Meeko’s)

 


 

How the hell was it possible for this to happen? McKay had been 90 percent sure that this couldn’t happen. However, the other 10 percent decided to disagree. John had been promised that the cave would be safe, and had therefore taken Elsa with him, but it had been a bad idea.

They were on an allied planet to help the people heal their sick, and McKay had found some energy spike nearby which he wanted to check out. Elsa insisted that she’d come along, she wanted to get into the excitement for once. Moreover, who was John to stop her? If he did, she’d probably cut him off for a while. It was just a routine check out.

Tracing the signal, they came at some sort of cave. “It’s coming from there.” McKay had said.

“Is it safe to enter? It looks kinda… shabby.” John had said while he pointed the light of his gun at the entrance.

“Yes yes, it’s made out of some sort of quarts; it’s perfectly stable according to the scanner.” Rodney had assured him.

“Okay… Elsa you’re behind me, Rodney you’re watching Elsa’s back.”

There had been a cave-in and he had been stuck underneath rocks. They got separated from the rest of the team. The rocks were too heavy for Elsa to lift, and he couldn’t reach them and so they had to wait for a rescue team. Nevertheless, he knew he had broken at least a few ribs, and a concussion because he wanted to sleep so badly.

“John, stay awake honey, talk to me.” Elsa spoke to him, her hands carefully touching the places she could touch, assessing the damage.

“I’m here.” He muttered, the taste of blood in his mouth. His breath was wheezing, and if he could, he’d probably be coughing up blood.

“Good, you were out for a little while.” Her voice sounded. “Had me a bit scared there.”

“You okay?”

“I’m fine, John. You pushed me away in time.” Her voice sounded like it came from heaven. So pure, so beautiful and so damn familiar.

“Called Rodney?”

“There’s an S&R team on the way.” Elsa assured him, and softly stroked his hair.

“How bad?”

“Very.”

“Sorry.”

“Oh don’t you apologize.” Elsa said sternly. “This is not your fault.”

“Hmm…” he closed his eyes. Sleep… sleep would be good.

“John!”

“What?” he whined.

“Stay with me. Open your eyes.”

He slowly opened his eyes again, fortunately it wasn’t dark. He could see the worry in Elsa’s face.

“Now talk.”

“Why? Sleep is good.” More blood in his mouth, he needed to spit it out soon, but how?

“No, sleep is bad.” Elsa told him. “If you’re going to sleep, I might lose you and I don’t want that to happen.”

He tried to move his head to the right and spat out the blood. “They’ll probably not get to us in time.”

“Oh don’t be such a negative man.” Elsa kept caressing his hair. “Of course they will.”

“They’ll be for you.” He was feeling too damn beaten up and he started to feel the rocks on his body. At least he still felt something.

“Are you in pain?”

“No.” he lied. “Don’t worry.”

“Do you feel your legs?”

“Yes.”

“Your arms?”

“Yes.” John grunted. “I can even wiggle my toes but that kinda hurts.”

“Your breathing kinda sounds… distorted.”

“Noticed.” There was this huge rock on top of his stomach. He was fortunate enough that it hadn’t cut him in half.

~~~~~~

“Colonel Sheppard, this is Major Lorne.” Sound in his ear. Right, ear piece.

“Present.” John managed to say.

“Good to hear your voice sir. We’re starting with removing the blocks.”

“Careful.”

~~~~

“John…” Elsa smiled. “Do you want to hear some good news?”

“Sure.”

“I’m pregnant.” She whispered in his ear.

“Really?!” Oh, he regretted that enthusiastic outburst.

“Yes.”

“Oh that’s good to hear.” He sighed happily. “Yay.”

“Yay?”

John nodded, and regretted that too. “I love you.” He said after spitting out some more blood.

“Okay, I’m going to try to get that rock off of you.” Elsa got up and started to push against the rock.

“No stop!” John blurted. “Ouch!” *crack!* “You broke something that wasn’t already broken.”

“I need to be able to access your chest!” Elsa told him. “You’re probably bleeding internally, or have a collapsed lung or …”

“Nothing you can do now.”

“But…”

“No.” he told her sternly as possible. “You’re not strong enough, I’m stuck and if you keep pushing you’ll only hurt me more.” He took a deep breath. “Can I sleep?”

“No John.”

“Please?”

“No.” Elsa pouted.

“Don’t you have like… morphine on you?”

“Yes. But no, I’m not going to give you some.”

“Please?”

“No.” Elsa sighed. “Sing me a song.”

“I can’t sing Elsa.”

He came to in the infirmary. Not on Atlantis. The SGC? “Welcome back, Colonel.” Dr. Lam greeted him. “You had us worried there.”

He tried to speak and she shushed him. “We had to intubate you, and you’re still hooked up on machines to help you breathe.”

He frowned. What the hell had happened after he’d passed out? “The rescue team came in time to rescue you, but there was another cave-in and you got hurt more.”

Another cave-in? What about Elsa? He was worried. He was still there, he hadn’t tested yet if he was able to move something, but where was Elsa and why was he back on Earth?

“I’m going to give you a mild sedative so you can rest a little, okay?” She grabbed a syringe and injected it into his IV line. He was out in no-time.

“Colonel?”

John grunted and opened his eyes. Oh yes, he was on the SGC, back on Earth with a tube in his mouth. And it was Dr. Lam speaking to him, not Keller.

“The swelling in your brain has come down so there’s no need for us to keep you in a coma.”

What?!

“You’ve shown that you can breathe on your own, so I’m going to extubate you, okay? I want you to take a deep breath and when I say cough, cough.”

He nodded and felt horrible when the tube came out. Moreover, he was thirsty. “Elsa?” his voice croaked.

“I’m sorry Colonel.” Dr. Lam shook her head. “When the second cave-in happened, she got hit on the head and died instantly.”

No… no way. Not his Elsa. “Liar.”

“She wasn’t the only one that died that day. Captain Hayden and Sergeant Turner were with her when this happened. You, and Major Lorne were hit by the second wave as well, but you both survived. Major Lorne is back on duty in Atlantis.”

“Why not me?”

“Your injuries were too severe; you had to be transported back to Earth so we could get specialists to help you.”

“No. Dead.”

“You were lucky, Colonel.”

“Not.” He wasn’t lucky. How was he supposed to go on without Elsa? He felt tears streaming down his face. How was he supposed to go home to Atlantis, work there, and be reminded of his Elsa at every turn?

Dr. Lam was cleaning his face with a wet cloth. “I’m really sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Colonel. For what it’s worth, she died instantly.”

His Elsa, gone. He couldn’t believe it. She was in a way much stronger than him, she had opened him up about his feelings, and because of her unashamed behavior he learned not to be ashamed of anything. But his Elsa. Gone. What was he supposed to tell her father? What was he supposed to do now?

He could feel ice chips in his mouth. Oh that felt good. He swallowed. “When can I go back?”

“Not for a while, sir.” He saw a frown appear on Dr. Lam’s face. “You need intensive physical therapy, we’ve made sure you can go to the best rehabilitation centre in the US.”

“Why?”

“Sir, I can’t even begin to tell you how badly hurt you were… still are.”

He gave her a pleading look. He had endured a lot over the years, she couldn’t frighten him in sending him to a rehabilitation centre.

Dr. Lam pulled up a chair and sat down next to him. “We had to keep you in an induced coma because your head received some blows from the rocks when trying to get out with Major Lorne. We have no idea so far how this has affected you. You seem to be able to speak, so that’s good. You’re responsive, so that’s even better. You had a Glasgow Coma Scale, or GCS, of 7. We nearly lost you.”

“Meaning?”

“Colonel, how much do you remember?”

“Being with Elsa in that cave, stuck.”

“Nothing else?”

“No.”

Dr. Lam nodded. “We had to put you in a coma because the pressure on your brain was getting dangerously high, also, we had to fly in a neuro-surgeon to stop some bleeding in your brain. We’re lucky that you came out of the induced coma yourself.”

Okay, so that was bad.

“You probably can’t move right now, which is either an effect of the brain injury, or the fact that your spine received a blow too. Your ribs are fully healed now, and we fixed your collapsed lung.”

He tried to move. He could wiggle his fingers, but not his toes. Did this mean that he’d never see Atlantis again?

“Future?”

“It’s uncertain sir. We really hope we can get you back in shape.”

“Tough?”

“Yes, it’s going to be tough. But you’re a fighter, you’ve shown us that much.”

Although right now he felt as if he didn’t have anything left to fight for. Elsa was dead. He had been ready to start a family with her, marry her, and retire on a ranch or something. If he was hurt this bad, he doubted that he’d ever see Atlantis again, nor fly, nor spar with Ronon or Teyla, nor banter with McKay.

No, as it was right now, he’d be on medical leave. Indefinitely. With nothing to do in his life. Absolutely nothing.

They had stuffed him in a wheelchair and dropped him off at the rehabilitation centre, where he found out that the cave-in happened six months ago.

At first, he tried his best at recuperating, but grew frustrated when his legs didn’t want to budge. His arms were getting stronger, but he wanted to be able to walk, and it felt like an impossible task.

After two months of being there, McKay, Teyla and Ronon finally came to visit him. All three not knowing what to say to him, even the small talk failed. He grew agitated with them and told them to leave him alone. Well he wasn’t really telling them to, but he was yelling at them. He was jealous of them, and they felt sorry for him and he didn’t need that right now. He was feeling bad enough already.

Four months later, he decided to give up. He wanted to go ‘home’. He didn’t have an apartment yet, but the military would provide him with one. One that was wheelchair accessible and adjusted to disabled people. He felt like a complete loser.

However, he wanted to make a trip to Washington first. He had found out that Elsa’s father had insisted on burying her close to home, and he wanted to go to her grave, mourn her decently. Not with just crying himself to sleep every night.

He managed to get there all by himself and had booked a hotel room for the night. When he arrived at her burial site, he was overwhelmed by how well it looked, it was beautiful.

God needed another Angel and decided to take ours.

Elsa Gutierrez

1974 – 2009

Beloved daughter and fiancé.

There were flowers on her grave, fresh flowers, lilies, orchids. He felt that it was a bit wrong of him to bring a huge bouquet of red roses, but put it on her grave anyway. Then, he cried like a baby. “I’m so sorry honey.” He sobbed. “This is my damn fault… I shouldn’t have let you go in there with me until I had checked it out myself… I’m so sorry. Please forgive me…”

“You’re forgiven, John. This wasn’t your fault.”

He looked up to see Mr. Gutierrez standing next to him. “How did…”

“I come here every day.” He told him. “Just to talk to her, update her on your situation…”

“But..”

“Yes John, you’re like a son to me, as you were Elsa’s husband-to-be. I do keep my eye on you; it’s what Elsa had wanted.”

“Sir, I’m so sorry, she shouldn’t have been in there with me.”

“But she was. Because she wanted to.”

John nodded.

“You look well.”

On the outside, maybe. He had shaved himself before he went to see Elsa. He knew that she wouldn’t like to see him with a beard. On the inside, he felt like a wreck.

“I’ve been waiting for you to come here.” Mr. Gutierrez continued. “I have something of Elsa’s that you probably want back.” He got something out of his pocket. John knew immediately what it was. It was the ring he had given Elsa when he had proposed her.

“Thank you, sir.” He swallowed his tears away.

“Remember John, Elsa is always with us.” Mr. Gutierrez patted him on the shoulder and left John alone with Elsa.

He looked at her stone again. “I will try honey. I will try and pick up my life but… without you, without being able to fly, I don’t know what to do.” He said softly. “I can’t use my legs, the SGC won’t allow me to travel through the gate to Atlantis, they promoted Lorne to Colonel so he’s the CO now… I don’t see myself sitting behind a desk all day long.”

He stayed with Elsa until it got dark and went to his hotel room. He raided the mini bar, got hammered and went back to Colorado the next day.

“Are you still sitting in the dark?”

That was Sam Carter talking. She had obviously received a key from the military to occasionally check up on him, but she came almost every day. To kick his ass. He just tried to ignore her.

She opened the curtains and sighed. “Really John. How can you live like this?”

She walked to the kitchen and started to clean his house. He had carton boxes of take-out food all over the place, empty beer cans, empty whiskey bottles.

“When was the last time you had a shower?”

“Can’t remember.” He muttered. “Don’t care.”

“Well I do. Get your ass under the shower!” she pulled his wheelchair out of the corner he was sitting in and pushed it towards the shower. “And shave. You look like a hippy. I’m taking you out today.”

“I don’t want to Sam.”

“Do I look like I care?” Sam shot at him. “Look at you John, you’re pathetic. You should be grateful that you’re still alive, breathing and being able to watch the sun go down every day.”

“It sucks.”

“You’ve pushed everyone away. Your team, General O’Neill…”

“Not you.”

“No, because I don’t want to give up on you just yet. Now take that damn shower, get dressed, shave and come with me. I’ll clean up when you’re busy.”

Sam took him to a hairdresser to get his hair cut. Then she took him shopping for groceries. She bought so much food that he thought that she was up to something. “Sam, what are you doing?”

“You’re organizing a barbeque tonight for your team, General O’Neill, Teal’c, Vala, Cam and me.”

“I am?”

“Yes.”

“Thanks for informing me. I don’t want that.”

“You need to have some fun.”

“They all hate me.”

“John would you please shut up?” Sam was getting impatient with him. “You’ve lost touch with everyone you care about. Would Elsa want this?”

“Don’t talk about her!” he shot at Sam. “You have no right!”

“Oh, testy.” Sam mocked him. “Well boohoo poor you. It’s been what? 18 months? You’re a man, suck it up and continue to live!”

John stayed quiet for the rest of the trip. Sam made him buy a new grill for the backyard. She even mowed the lawn for him so everyone could sit outside on chairs he didn’t know he had.

He pretended to be normal when everyone came round to his house. They all had a few beers, all the food Sam had bought had gone and they had some laughs. Well John tried to laugh. They were talking about memories, memories of Atlantis, memories of missions. Memories of movie nights. And it all reminded him of Elsa.

But maybe this was a good thing. Rodney had married his long time fiancé Haley James, and she was expecting a girl. They were happy, and they were allowed to stay on Atlantis. Well, John knew that already because McKay was invaluable and Haley was so smart in her field. Teyla had hooked up with some Athosian man, and Ronon had hooked up with an Athosian female. Of course, time may stand still for John, but life on Atlantis went on. He was sad to hear that they had lost Elizabeth to the replicators, but Woolsey had taken over and he was doing better than anyone had hoped.

At the end of the day, John was glad he had been given one more chance to see his team, and talk to them. They were doing well, and were missing him, but nicknaming Jumper One Sheppard was a bit too weird for his taste. Haley and Rodney had asked his permission to call their baby girl Elsa Johanna McKay in a private moment and he thought the gesture was sweet so he gave it.

But he had also realized that he truly didn’t belong anymore. He had nothing to live for, his heart was dead, even though it was still beating, he knew that people saw sadness in his eyes – he had seen Vala staring at him with sympathy – he knew he had to eat and drink to stay alive, but what if he just stopped doing it? It was no use. He was an empty shell. He simply couldn’t understand how other disabled pilots could live on. There was nothing left for him. His parents were gone, his brother wasn’t talking to him.

There was no place for him on this world. Not anymore.

He took another swig of the Whiskey and looked at the pills he had managed to collect over the year or so. He then shook his head and found his gun.

Salvation came to him quickly.

One Comment:

  1. I still cannot bring myself to read it again 3 years later. Just seeing the last line as I’m typing this reply is enough to need a roll of paper towels – screw a box of tissues. These types of endings happen so often in real life that – as depressing as it is to read in fanfic, it is just as refreshing not to see a glorified happy ending as well. Not everyone gets them, no matter how much they try and fake it.

    As always, I love my Buggy!

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