It's all probably Zen. Or something. (kiku65) wrote in wraithsteve,
It's all probably Zen. Or something.
kiku65
wraithsteve

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What Is Lost


Title:
What Is Lost
Author: kiku65
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Kinda, sorta, maybe, weirdly Todd/Sheppard.
Disclaimer: MGM owns Atlantis. Pete the plot bunny and my muse own this story. I am their helpless slave, and own nothing except a lot of second-hand sci fi books.
Summary: There is a difference between rescuing someone and freeing them. Todd was only just starting to realise that.
Warnings: Angst by the bucket.
A/N: I hate my brain. And my muse. And plot bunnies in general. Why is it that when I go “I must really work on Thanatos now” and sit down I get struck with some damn depressing Todd/Sheppard story? One day I will write something humorous and probably die of shock. 
 
******

 
 
There is a difference between rescuing someone and freeing them. Todd was only just starting to realise that.
 
Rescue had not been his intention. Nor salvation. If he had done things differently; if he had walked down another corridor, left his lab earlier, left it later, hadn’t kept putting off feeding because of his work, had decided to put it off a little longer... if things had just been different, just the slightest bit different, then he never would have had those intentions at all.
 
He wonders, sometimes, if it would have been kinder to have kept on walking.
 
*
 
Sheppard had hardly split any of the mashed-grain porridge when Todd returned, but he had still managed to spread it over most of his face. It was a vast improvement; a few lunar months ago by Lantean time most of it would have ended up on the floor, and only weeks before that Todd had had to carefully spoon it into Sheppard’s mouth himself. The Wraith wiped the mess away wordlessly, because there was nothing to be said.
 
The human wriggled delightedly under the damp cloth, leaning his face upwards with his eyes tightly closed, and hugged him after he was done. As it often did the hug turned into something fiercer, as though he was frightened Todd might be taken away. Perhaps that was even what he thought. The Wraith let him cling a little longer (and if he drew comfort burying his face in that mop of dark hair then who was to know?), before gently picking him up and sitting down on his bed with the human cradled in his lap, the crown of his head tucked safely under Todd’s chin.
 
He sat still and waited until Sheppard was asleep, then sat still a little more until merciful oblivion took him.
 
*
 
He hadn’t kept walking, and he hadn’t gone the other way. He had journeyed to the cocoons by the shortest route, and when he had seen the limp, slender figure being carried down from a pile of other comatose bodies to the newer storage areas he had halted the drone with a single thought, and ordered him over and seen Sheppard’s face cradled in its arms like that of a sleeping child. And then there could have been no deviations, because there was only one way Todd would have done things, had done things.
 
He had taken Sheppard, put him in his quarters, and only known when he awoke that something was horribly wrong.
 
*

He had stolen paper during the last culling, and a rainbow of coloured ink pots. Sheppard loved creating gaudy messes with them, dipping one finger in then drawing it across the white sheets in vivid stripes, creating crude images of suns and trees and animals. Then he would pick up the finished sheet and hand it gravely to Todd, awaiting verdict with nervousness that could never be banished.
 
Todd would praise them, or point out errors, and sometimes lay them out on his desk carefully. Those times were one of the few Sheppard ever looked truly content. All other moments his face was blank, except the times he tried to smile, struggled to make Todd happy. The lips tilted upward and the muscles moved in the correct order, but the end result was a pitiful thing. A dead thing. The only emotions behind the skin were desperation to please and sadness at the end result, because no matter how hard he tried to hide it Todd could not disguise his own sadness at the mockery in the movement, which had given him joy before and now only gave regret.
 
*
 
Hate and love are two sides of one coin. It was another insight Sheppard had led to.
 
He had freely admitted he hated Sheppard. Sheppard was Lantean. Sheppard was enemy. Sheppard was waging a war on his race and starting to look like he might win. 
 
It had taken longer to admit he loved Sheppard. Sheppard was brave. Sheppard was stubborn. Sheppard laughed in the face of death and when he did he shone like the stars the Genii had stolen from him in the long years of captivity.
 
Sheppard was destruction, Sheppard was freedom, Sheppard was foe, Sheppard was brother, Sheppard was death, Sheppard was life. Sheppard was his best enemy, his truest ally; Sheppard faced him with level eyes and never expected less from him.
 
Sheppard was.
 
*
 
They were in the lab when Todd forgot himself and raised his voice. It was a little thing, a reminder not to touch the equipment, but the flinch it produced hurt him more than anything a tampered-with machine might have.
 
He had thought of taking Sheppard to Atlantis, but rejected the idea utterly. They would not understand, they would not know as he knew, and there was nothing they had that could replace what was lost. And more importantly, they might send Sheppard away, and then he would be gone forever.
 
So Todd reassured his charge, stroked his hair, and let him play with a half-completed stunner. By the end of it most of the stunner’s innards lay strewn across the floor, but Sheppard was calmer.
 
Dinner that night was bread, meat, and sweet juice. Todd solemnly accepted the offered chunks of loaf, and ate them without hesitation.
 
*
 
For the first few days he could get nothing from the human; whenever he had entered his quarters Sheppard had run into the nearest corner and pulled his knees up to hug them to his chest, rocking back and forth with his eyes squeezed shut.
 
It was only when Todd had fallen asleep unexpectedly from pure exhaustion that anything had changed. He had woken to feather-light touches on his face, the feel of a trembling finger tracing the starburst pattern over his eye. He had kept still and waited until the finger drew away and a quietly shaking body climbed up to lie against his own.
 
After making sure Sheppard had fallen asleep, Todd had reached out and drawn him closer.
 
It could be said he had never really let go after that.
 
*
 
That night the nightmares came back; he woke to the quivering of Sheppard’s body against his, the smell of salt water and the endless litany of nopleaseno that was the only thing he had said since Todd had found him. He did what he always did when bad dreams returned, patted Sheppard awake, held him while he trembled and cried, then kissed his forehead gently and stroked his cheek with one thumb until he went back to sleep, one hand clutching Todd’s long jacket in a tight fist.
 
Sometimes when Sheppard woke his eyes almost looked aware again, as though he knew what was happening and what had happened, and who he had been before.
 
Those were the bad days.
 
The next morning he was hungry, so he went down to the cocoons while Sheppard had breakfast. The newest food was always stored near the upper levels, and when he got there it wasn’t hard to find one dressed in the robes of a scientist.
 
Todd always woke them beforehand. He felt a certain satisfaction in how long it took to feed.
 
*
                                               
P7X-191 had had many scientists. They had been very advanced, at least before the hive had culled their planet to the bedrock. Todd had asked one of the ground commanders about them, because even then he had had suspicions about the man cowering in his quarters and thinking he was about to be abandoned again, although he knew next to nothing of the human brain.
 
The main raid had been on a science facility in the desert. The commander had seen a machine in it, and when Todd asked the technician who had looked at it he found out its purpose with no surprise at all.
 
They had been very advanced. Lobotomy through electricity was a complicated thing.
 
*
 
He spent most of the day talking – arguing – with his queen. Not that he was suicidal enough to directly oppose her will, but he was persistent. And his words had a certain irony to them.
 
She agreed in the end. Perhaps she had seen that his was a fixed course unless death took him, and she wasn’t ready to be rid of him yet.
 
It didn’t take long to prepare.
 
*
 
The idea had flickered into his head long before P7X-191, but had been dismissed immediately. A passing whim, a brief wish for what-might-be.
 
It came back and rooted during the time Sheppard would do nothing but stare blankly into space, his eyes wide and terribly empty, absently biting the back of his hand.
 
He had created, then rejected, and for three months the cure to their troubles had been frozen in stasis while Sheppard learnt to feed himself, to splash paint on paper, and finally to trust, even if the only one he trusted was Todd.
 
That suited Todd just fine.
 
*
 
He told Sheppard he had a surprise for him, a good surprise, and the human had smiled at once with heartbreaking belief. Even when he had been told to lie down on the organic bench and the needle stuck in the crook of his arm, he had done nothing but blink and smile and nuzzle deeper into Todd’s hold, falling asleep in his arms as he had a hundred times before.
 
When he woke things would be different. Maybe he would never remember his past, and maybe he would, and maybe if he did he would hate Todd, and maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t. Because this was all Todd could give him now, that single needle, and all he could hope for was that it would be enough.
 
 
Todd knew next to nothing about human brains. But he knew a lot about Wraiths’.
 
 
 
 

fin

Tags: fan fiction, fan fiction: todd
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