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Whose Life?

Sheppard comes home. Post-“Common Ground.”


Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis belongs to MGM Studios. No infringement intended.

* * *

“If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I’d never have believed you’d been fed upon,” Dr. Beckett said, one hand on Sheppard’s wrist as he counted the pulse beats.

“I believe it,” Sheppard replied absently. He stared at the hand under Beckett’s fingers. It looked like his hand, and felt like his hand. It had been dry and wrinkled a few hours ago.

Dr. Beckett let go of Sheppard’s wrist and stepped away from the examining table. “Of course. I only meant…you’ve been completely restored. I don’t see any aftereffects from the Wraith’s…feeding.”

“Fine.” Sheppard hopped down from the table and nodded. “Thanks, Doc.” He glanced toward Dr. Beckett, but didn’t quite meet his eye, and walked out of sick bay.

Teyla was walking towards him in the hallway. “Colonel Sheppard?” she asked.

Sheppard paused, looking again at his hands. He took a deep breath, gave his head an experimental shake. “I think so,” he answered, then continued on his way, leaving Teyla staring after him.

Later, he met Ronon for knifework practice. Circle, search for an opening, thrust, evade. They moved silently, falling into a rhythm. The knife in Sheppard’s hand felt smooth and comfortable. His body warmed with the exercise. It felt good to be doing something simply physical. He liked the way the floor felt under his feet, the way his breath moved in his lungs. Ronon’s face was grim with concentration, and his dreadlocks bounced on his shoulders.

They were both breathing heavily when they stopped for a break. They sat beside each other on a bench at the side of the practice room, drinking water from bottles and wiping their faces with towels. “It’s good to have you back,” Ronon said.

“It’s good to be back,” Sheppard replied easily.

“The Wraith restored your life.” The undercurrent in Ronon’s voice added that he’d have preferred to kill the Wraith, even so.

“Did he?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, he restored somebody’s life to me. But was it mine? I mean, he took my energy, life force, whatever…he must have used that up as soon as he got it. He was starving when they brought him to me. Then he took the lives from those men of Kolya’s, and then he gave some back to me, but whose was it? Was it theirs? Or maybe it was his, the Wraith’s. Maybe once he sucked it up it turned into his.”

Ronon was looking at him fiercely, as if to burn any Wraith-ness out of him with his eyes. “You’re no Wraith.” Again, the unspoken comment: If you were, I’d have to kill you.

“No, but….” Sheppard looked at his hands again. They were his hands, no doubt about that. They felt like his hands, they moved like his hands. His whole body felt like his. There was nothing at all he could put his finger on and say, This isn’t mine: this is part of somebody else’s life.

But still. “I guess it’s no different than a blood transfusion or something like that.”

“Exactly,” Ronon agreed.

“I’m still me. Just the way I was before.”

“You’re the same John Sheppard. Do you want to go again?”


They put down their water bottles and picked up their knives. Circling each other, they resumed the rhythm, searching for openings, evading attacks.

Sheppard studied the spot over Ronon’s heart. He would attack right there, when he got the chance. It would be the perfect place to sink his weapon.

The knife felt good in his hand, like part of him.

It was good to have his life back.

end | optional epilog

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