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02 January 2009 @ 09:51 pm
“Sympathy for the Devil” (1/1)  
Title: “Sympathy for the Devil”
Word Count: 1600~
Rating: K
Genre: Gen, Angst, H/C
Spoilers: Season 5 “Vegas”
Characters: John. Rodney.
Summary: What happens in Vegas, doesn't stay in Vegas, or end the episode. Missing coda.

Notes: Don't read until the eppy airs unless you want massive spoilers. Thank you so much to titan5for the swift beta.

It's amazing how one incident can entirely alter the course of your life.

That's a lie. It'd been more than one, or two, or even three. Try dozens of them. One screw-up after another. Dad drowned himself in Jim Bean to forget about losing his son and wife, discounting the fact that a brother and mother had been lost, too. On John's eighteenth birthday he enlisted in the Air Force to forget about them all.

Once you start running, there's no stopping-- then there's no where else to run.

Smoke irritates his eyes, singes his throat. All he has is fire and blood to wash it away. Deserts burn the same no matter where it seems. This one is twenty degrees cooler, but with less dead bodies. It's quiet, there's no screaming, just the smoldering remains of a metal trailer versus a downed Apache.

It's kind of fitting. He set off on this world alone, and now he'll leave it much the same way.

He'll miss the Camaro. It was the only thing he loved, keeping him company during those long nights on endless, Nevada roads. Too bad he has no one to leave her to, who'll keep the radio in classic condition like he did. Even after an air strike it's surviving defiantly, her red steel the only thing holding him up.

The money's scattered over the seat and floor, his ticket out of Vegas and to somewhere else. He almost fled from his mistakes again, but dollar bills are only good at buying time. John likes gambling, loves the risk more. It's not the thrill of flying choppers, or the adrenaline rush of war, but even a royal flush couldn't fill the hole inside him any more.

Cigar smoke, booze, and bookies-- dingy back rooms were the danger he subconsciously couldn't live without. Broken fingers, black eyes and bruised ribs, the punishment he rightly deserved.

Becoming a cop was supposed to change things, making detective his way to pay penance. They both failed. He was simply too broken.

The bullet ripped a hole in his shoulder, searing through his chest. All the white of his cotton shirt is stained red, dripping into the folds of his jeans, pooling around his belt. His body is a cold, dead weight. With one last burst of energy he staggers, stands, and after three feet he falls back down.

He chokes, the blackness closes in, and he uses what energy is left to flip onto his back. To see the stars one last time. His fingers rest on the silver cross that hasn't been around his neck in over twenty years. Maybe, just maybe, it brought him redemption. John's head lolls to its side, the trailer a cindered mess. Or coming out here did.

Things don't always go the way we planned.

Darkness descends as John’s eyes gradually close, his hearing going soon after. He never notices the sirens, or the sound of familiar rotor blades.


Awareness is a dagger digging into his flesh below the collarbone, and drawing in air a raging fire through his chest. He blinks, body jerking, pain blossoming, and his vision goes grey at the edges.

“Detective! Detective Sheppard!”

Who is that?

“Don't you quit, damn it! I like to pay back my debts and I owe you big time.”

Why would anyone be with him? John doesn't know where here is, but it doesn't matter. Oxygen doesn't go into his lungs and the rest of him is numb and getting number.

“He can't breathe! Do something!”

“We're trying sir, please stay back.”

John's mind drifts in and out with images of spaceships and vampire aliens with goth make-up. The thing behind glass walls, the Wraith tears through his mind, “There has to be another reason for your existence, John Sheppard.”

He feels something warm wiggle between his frozen fingers. Opening his lids is a test of epic proportions. Things are a blur of motion and color, but he recognizes what it’s like to be in flying in the air. The fiercest blue eyes stare back at him, leading to a rumpled suit jacket and a hand that squeezes his own.

“Fight, detective! I know everything about you, remember? You've always been one stubborn sonuvabitch. Now use some of that rebellious nature and hang on.”

It'd be easier to let go, to prove that arrogant McKay guy wrong. Then he remembers seeing the secret warehouse, finding out that the world out there is really not what it appears. It intrigues him, whispering ideas in his ear. Then his body spasms, and there's yelling, and something hard and unrelenting is shoved down his throat.


You know, I once I met another version of you. He was very different.

There are sounds and that's strange because John didn't expect any noise at all. Just long, blessed silence. White static soon becomes beeps and blips. The last time he heard those machines, he wished he'd never awoken up at all. Yet, there it is again, the steady rhythm of his heart.

“You do know I'm a busy man, right? I saw you twitch. I have things to do.”

John eyes are grit and grime, his body something that has no form. It takes hours, or perhaps several minutes to realize he's not dead. Sand and maybe a cactus took root in his mouth and it's impossible to do anything other than moan.


Dr. McKay huffs near-by, smug expression and expensive suit all in the right place. John almost goes back to sleep, but the man looks a little peeved about the impending nap. “Did...is the--” He forgets what the alien...and his brain stutters over the word. Yeah, what the alien is called.

“Wraith. Yes, it's dead. You prevented him from sending out a signal to his buddies,” McKay says. Then his features darken. “Didn't I tell you not to engage?”

John doesn't recall much, so he grunts when he tests his mobility, which is zero.

“Automatic bullets do a real number on the human body. Medicine was never my thing, but trust me when I say, you're lucky.” McKay shifts uncomfortably. “You're at an advanced medical facility and rest assured you'll be given the best care.”

“Why?” John croaks.

The answer is lost in the heavy pull of sleep and it's too much,this whole being alive and not dead thing. It's even weirder that there's someone around at all.

The next bout of consciousness there's a woman there with amazing bronze hair. The time after that some huge guy.

When being awake doesn't entail only three or four minutes, John is greeted by McKay again who is arguing with the dude who thought the alien..er Wraith was going to blow up Earth.

“I told you. We need to get this to our people at NORAD. Dr. Beckett has the strongest expression and maybe he can activate it,” the little guy insists.

McKay grabs the tiny purple cube and tosses it in annoyance at the table next to John's water pitcher. He observes between heavy lids in confusion.

“Oh, he is awake,” the guys says. “Good afternoon.”

“Hey,” John replies with little emotion.

The other scientist stares at his watch. “I have a meeting with Dr Weir. Maybe we'll pick this up another time.” He turns to John. “Hope you're feeling better, detective.”

There's a long pause before McKay is talking. His tone is still smug, but it's soothing in its own way. He goes on about one topic or another. John's shoulder is killing him and he's not very good around people when he's in so much pain.

“Why are you here?” he blurts in the middle of McKay's one-sided conversation.

McKay looks offended. “Because...well...” he clears his throat. “I thought when you're able, I could get a detailed report from you.”

“You're not a good liar,” John says, but doesn't allow him to interrupt. “Who were those other people earlier?”

“Oh. They were other members of my team.” John doesn't get it and McKay sighs. “What you did. Well, what can I say. You're a hero and we thought you shouldn't be alone.”

It's hard not to laugh, but McKay is serious and John doesn't know how to deal with such things. There might be some other versions of him out there who save the day, but that's not him. John had been running away again and now he's –he doesn't know what he's doing. The purple cube looks like a single die from the craps table and he grabs it to have something to occupy his hand.

The thing glows bright purple and a tingling sensations ripples down his arm. “Whoa,” is the only coherent thing his mind comes up with.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” McKay oohs and awes, his face that of a kid at Christmas.

John's too mesmerized by the sensation of Technicolor-color and overcome by math that doesn't look familiar.

I don't know what I will,
but until, I can find me.

“Detective Sheppard. When you are fully recovered. I have a proposition for you. One that can make a difference to millions of people.”

John stares at McKay. “What do you mean?”

“I think you should meet my team.”

I'll show you your destiny , John Sheppard.

daneffewdaneffew on January 3rd, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
Yes thank you. I was very upset that John was out there all alone at the end.

Also you might want to check the last line of the story I think you might of meant destiny not density.
kristen999kristen999 on January 3rd, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
got it...thank you..silly me..that line was a last min add-on :-P Glad you enjoyed it.

Edited at 2009-01-03 03:21 am (UTC)
(no subject) - ladyniko on January 3rd, 2009 09:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - astridv on January 3rd, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
wildcat88: Whumpwildcat88 on January 3rd, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
YES! *ahem* I mean, yes, that's the way that ep should end. I love this.
kristen999: barkristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you my dear! Glad you enjoyed it!
wraithfodderwraithfodder on January 3rd, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
Oooh, great tag! Yes, leaving poor Shep to die alone in the desert was, sigh, very sad! I'll be glad to accept this as the real ending! :) (And oh, shouldn't that be destiny, not density?) ;) - last line :)
kristen999kristen999 on January 3rd, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
yeah, someone beat you to it...got it..thanks. :D

but I had to do something to the end...it was really an amazing eppy.

Edited at 2009-01-03 03:16 am (UTC)
(no subject) - wraithfodder on January 3rd, 2009 03:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spacedmonkey on January 3rd, 2009 09:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
d_odysseyd_odyssey on January 3rd, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
Yay! Perfect! Vegas screamed and cried for a real ending. This fits perfectly into the episode. Love how you wove the comments and lyrics into John's recovery. First being that someone actually went after him. I was yelling at the television, at Rodney to scan the area, "Hey, Rodney, what about Sheppard?" This hits the spot. Full of emotion and introspection and yay, team! Thank you for putting Ronon and Teyla in there. Love the last sentence, just the right ending. Thank you very much! Now, can we film this? *g*
kristen999: beginningkristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I had no doubt that Rodney and a team would get there if for the very least to get the Wraith body and tech, it was the time factor that was left in the air. I think this was one of the best character studies of our John Sheppard, using this version as a 'down another road', I just wanted this version t o be given a second chance, too.
viggofestviggofest on January 3rd, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
I too figured/hoped he'd flipped over to see the sky. I expected a shot of the stars above to close it out.
And I couldn't figure out what was on his chain. Was it really a cross or did you create that?
Either way, nice coda!
kristen999: computerkristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!

I'm pretty sure it was a cross from the HD pics I've seen. I noticed the silver chain when he packed up his office and got a better look at it in the desert scenes.
.padawan_aneiki on January 3rd, 2009 03:20 am (UTC)
I second that. That was very depressing, him out there dying all alone. *sniff* I mean, I realize...alternate reality, hello not everything has happy endings, but this is JOHN we're talkin' about!! *sniffle*
kristen999: dressblueskristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
It was a very difficult thing for me to see and experince. I just wanted in my head this other ending, even if it was another John.
Kathnakedwesley on January 3rd, 2009 03:20 am (UTC)
“You do know I'm a busy man, right? I saw you twitch. I have things to do.”

Ha, yes! Perfect Rodney. Thank you for this. That ending was even harder to watch this time around. It's just so painful to think of him out there, all alone.
kristen999: eatingsnackkristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I think no matter what version of events a person subscribes about the ending. Rodney and SGC knew he was out there and they had to 'clean up' the scene, so I think it came down to a time factor of getting there.
(no subject) - nakedwesley on January 5th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
valleyavalleya on January 3rd, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
Wonderful! So very good! I knew there was hope for our AU Sheppard! Thanks for sharing!
kristen999: familykristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it!
titan5: Vegastitan5 on January 3rd, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
THANK YOU for saving that episode for me. It was so wonderful up until the ending and I just couldn't deal with John being left alone in the desert to die, especially by Rodney. In my mind, THIS is the real ending. I also loved the bit of his history you filled in and the future Rodney offered him.

Oh, and sorry I missed that destiny thing (smacks self in head). Now we know why I'm not usually anyone's beta - I suck. Fortunately for me and everyone else - you ROCK!! Now I have to go cry because there's only one episode left.
kristen999: vegaskristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I wanted to give a glimpse of broken back-story and an other chance for this John. I don't think he was left all alone, we never saw what 'happened next'.

Oh and the destiny thing was my fault. I added that line before I posted.....told you about my type-os!
(no subject) - titan5 on January 4th, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Wendy: sgaguitar2sexyboys on January 3rd, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
Perfect ending. Thank you :) *sniffle*
kristen999kristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:42 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it.
negolith2: Grr Arghnegolith2 on January 3rd, 2009 03:35 am (UTC)
Here I was, about ready to write a tag, and you beat me to it! :) (I still may do it, who knows)

Awesome tag. There was just no frakkin' WAY he'd be left to die alone in the desert. Not after what he did, and even though he's an egomaniac, Rodney has enough of a sense of honor to make sure something would be done.

And besides - it's Rodney! No matter what alternate dimension, he wouldn't leave Sheppard all alone to bleed to death in the desert! Gyahh!! Okay, okay, deep breaths....

I'm better now. I want chocolate, but I'm better now.

And I would like to add - the Wraith have good taste in music. =^.^=
kristen999: flyboykristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
I saw the un-aired version so I had a head start..lol

I'm glad this made things better. I know Rodney and the SCG wouldn't have left him alone, I mean there was a scene to still recover and I think we just didn't see them when they got there.

The Wraith do have great taste in music!
(no subject) - negolith2 on January 4th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
kriadydragon: Shep iconkriadydragon on January 3rd, 2009 03:35 am (UTC)
*Happy sigh* Thank you so much for this. Though the ep was great, that ending made me so dang sad for Sheppard and generally kind of depressed. Your tag made it all better :D
kristen999: gun2kristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I wanted this tag wne I saw the eppy, so I wrote it for myself and others.
sffuzzywritersffuzzywriter on January 3rd, 2009 03:38 am (UTC)
thank you for giving me a terrific reason not to HATE this episode for the way it ended!

::grins:: EXCELLENT!
kristen999kristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
No problem! I think its a stunning episode, the ending was fitting for the story, I just wanted more.
linzidaylinziday on January 3rd, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
Oh thank god! This is now how I will officially remember the ep ending because otherwise THEY JUST LEFT HIM THERE! What's wrong with those people? Rodney spent so much time saying how this John Sheppard was not the John Sheppard he'd met... and then he just goes and leaves him to die alone in the desert? Not if this Rodney is even a fraction of our universe's Rodney. Our Rodney would have done anything to get to Sheppard, even if he thought he was dead.

Um. Yeah. So. Thank you. Your ending is better. :)
kristen999: joekristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it. I don't think John was left to die, I just think they needed time to get to him.

Thank you!
ga_unicorn: sga sheppard shadowsga_unicorn on January 3rd, 2009 03:44 am (UTC)
This was the perfect tag for Vegas. Well done and thank you for sharing it.
kristen999: jrkristen999 on January 4th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you, glad you enjoyed it :D