Summary: After a routine medical
mission Jennifer disappears. Can Lorne and Ronon find the truth?
Set between Kindred and last man
It had seemed wrong at first to gather
as a team without Teyla.
It had seemed wrong to dance, eat and laugh.
Now though as they gathered that rare Saturday
night off it seemed right.
Jennifer Keller shook the dark thoughts
away as she looked at what was normally a conference room. The table and chairs had been cleared away. The table had been
reutilized as a buffet against the left wall.
A week ago as a way to boost rapidly falling
morale Sam had organized a night for as many SGA teams as possible to relax, dance and eat.
As a doctor Jennifer looked across the
crowded room and knew Sam had been right. They had all desperately needed this. Though not a psychologist Jennifer knew they
were all suffering a bit of survivor’s guilt and PTSD.
Nobody had given up on Teyla.
Teyla would be the first to tell them to
take care of themselves.
If they were too exhausted they’d
be no help to Teyla or protecting Pegasus from Michael.
Jennifer leaned against the wall by the
open balcony doors a plate of food in one hand and a drink in the other.
She wasn’t surprised to see the sole
occupant of the balcony leaning against the railing. The wind ruffled his short dark hair.
Jennifer approached Sheppard quietly not
wanting to disturb his thoughts. Though she knew with certainty who was occupying those thoughts.
Jennifer stood next to John and waited
for him to acknowledge her.
Jennifer turned and offered her friend
the plate of food and drink. “Thought you could use this since I know you haven’t eaten today.”
A smirk crossed Sheppard’s face that
didn’t quite meet his eyes. “Checking up on me, Doc?”
Jennifer shook her head slightly. “Only
as a friend. Eat.”
John took the plate and cup from her with
a grateful nod. “Thanks.”
“Do you two realize the party’s
in here?”Evan Lorne asked with a grin as he poked his head through the open doorway.
“The good doctor here was making
sure I was fed.”Sheppard explained holding up the plate.
Lorne nodded as he stepped onto the balcony.
“Somebody needs to.”
The music switched to a new song and Jennifer smiled as the familiar strains of Toby
Keith’s ‘Whiskey Girl.’.
“I love this song.”Jennifer
commented as her right foot began to tap to the beat.
Lorne closed the space between them and
offered Jennifer his right hand. “Dance?”
Jennifer smiled as she accepted his hand.
“I’m surprised your dance card isn’t already full, Major.”
“I think I can make room.”
Evan gently pulled Jennifer into the main
John watched them go with a sad smile knowing
Teyla would’ve loved to have seen that.
“You’re full of surprises,
Evan.”Jennifer stated with a laugh as they danced around the perimeter of the makeshift dance floor.
Lorne grinned. “You can thank my
grandmother. She insisted that all grandchildren take dance lessons by the age of ten.”
“Well I warn you I trip over my feet
more than I dance.”Jennifer replied as she tried not to look like she was watching her feet.
“I’ve got you.”Evan promised
as he eased back and lifted his right arm showing her how to twirl.
Jennifer followed his instructions as ‘Whiskey
Girl’ reached its last verse. Just as she thought she had executed the twirl her right foot slipped out from underneath.
Jennifer tried to catch herself but Lorne was faster.
Evan’s right arm snaked around Jennifer’s
waist quickly steadying her. “You okay?”
Jennifer nodded. “Yeah, thanks.”
Jennifer stepped back as ‘Whiskey
Girl’ ended and Taylor Swift’s ‘Tim McGraw’ began.
“One more?”Evan asked smiling.
“As long as you don’t mind
having sore feet. I promise I’ll step on them at some point.”
“I’ll consider myself warned.”Evan
stated as he held out his hand.
Jennifer smiled and accepted his hand as
he once more pulled her into the crowd. Even though she considered Evan Lorne nothing more than an adoptive big brother she
could never resist his smile. Why the man was still single she didn’t know. Jennifer made a mental note to set him up
on a blind date with one of her nurses.
“Somebody must have a country mix.”Jennifer
commented as she raised her voice to be heard over the music.
“Doesn’t bother me.”
“Me neither. I like it.”
Jennifer followed Evan’s lead or
thought she was. Her left foot connected with his right and she flashed him an apologetic look.
Evan laughed. “Don’t worry,
Doc. I’ll live. Besides you are getting better……and we’ve got at least another hour.”
“I think it’s going to take
more than an hour to work out my two left feet.”
“I’m game if you are.”
“Sure, why not.”Jennifer said
as Evan moved them around another couple. “If you can teach me to dance without breaking your toes I’ll buy you
breakfast for a month.”
John munched on some potato chips as he
watched Evan maneuver Jennifer around the dance floor. He chuckled in spite of himself when he saw her trip and then stomp
on Evan's foot.
“Is that a smile?”Sam Carter
asked as she moved out onto the balcony.
John sidestepped the question and motioned
behind her. “Evan’s trying to teach Jennifer to dance.”
Sam stood next to him and leaned back against
the railing. “Looks like he might be succeeding.”
“It’s still early.”
“You know why I organized tonight,
John nodded. “Yeah and it was a good
idea. I just can’t get in the spirit of it.”
Sam turned to face him. “She’d
want you to enjoy yourself.”
“It doesn’t mean you’re
giving up. This doesn’t mean anybody’s giving up.”
“She’s depending on me to bring
her home, Sam.”
“You will.”Sam promised. “We’ll
John’s eyes tracked back to the room.
Sam pushed herself away from the railing.
She took the nearly empty plate and set it aside.Sam gently grabbed John’s right hand.
“Come on, you owe me a dance.”
John raised an eyebrow. “I do?”
“I’m sure it was somewhere
in the last poker winnings.”
John grinned. “You think you won
that last game, huh?”
Sam melted into the crowd as the music
switched to Kenny Chesney’s ‘When the Sun Goes Down’.
“If you don’t believe me, how
about a rematch later?”
“Just tell me when and where.”
Way too early the next morning Jennifer
stepped out of her quarters. She yawned and headed toward the infirmary to pick up her pack and the other supplies she’d
need for the mission.
Jennifer rounded the corner and nearly
collided with Evan. “Sorry.”
“No worries.”Evan replied as
he handed her one of the cups of coffee he was carrying. “Was just coming to see you. Thought you could use that.”
“You’re too good to me.”Jennifer
commented as she eagerly took the cup of warm liquid and took a sip. Instantly the mix of caffeine and sugar roused her sluggish
senses a bit more. “Thank you.”
“Anytime.”Evan replied with
a grin. “Besides, I need you alert. Your bad luck is bad enough when you’re awake I don’t need you stumbling
around half asleep.”
Jennifer punched his left arm. “I
don’t have bad luck.”
“Whatever you say, Doc.”
“My track record isn’t the
Evan barely suppressed a snicker.
“Okay my track record on off world
missions sucks, I’ll admit that.”Jennifer replied with a smile knowing he was teasing. “But if I remember
I saved your ass last time.”
Evan followed her into the infirmary. “Debatable.”
Jennifer shot him a mock glare as she gathered
the supplies she needed.
Evan held up his hands. “Okay, okay.
More than debatable.”
Jennifer shrugged into her backpack and
zipped up the medical bag and pulled it off the table. “You know I could’ve left you there to fend for yourself.”
Evan stepped out into the hall. “I
had things under control.”
“Whatever helps you sleep at night,
Major.”Jennifer stated with a grin as they walked into the gateroom.
“Gang all here?”John asked
as he counted heads. “Good, let’s go.”
The last chevron locked into place and
the event horizon bloomed. Jennifer fell into line behind John and Rodney with
Evan behind her. Ronon was on a separate mission and Jennifer found that she missed his presence whenever he wasn’t
She hadn’t yet allowed her heart
time to figure out what that meant. Or if he even gave her a second thought.
Jennifer stepped through the gate and the
wormhole took her and all thoughts of Ronon and anything else ceased.
Jennifer stepped onto MXV-23 and felt her
feet drop out from under her. She fell into Rodney.
They’d fallen smack into a dust storm.
The huge winds smacked sand into her face
stinging Jennifer’s cheeks and nose. She struggled to see but was blinded by the swirling sand.
She coughed and tried to get to her feet.
But Jennifer felt her feet sliding and her body being pulled by the wind.
Suddenly hands encircled her waist. Jennifer
stiffened, then relaxed realizing it was Evan. She could tell from the hold on her waist. Similar to how he’d held her
during their dancing lesson.
Something hard and plastic was shoved into
her hands. Jennifer traced it and discovered a pair of goggles and a thin plastic mask.
Nearly gagging now from the swirling sand
Jennifer put the goggles on first. Just as she put the mask on she felt Evan take the medical bag from her. Immediately Evan’s
free hand was on hers leading her.
Wherever they were moving to it was quieter.
The storm was still fierce, but somehow the wind had lessened a bit. Almost like they were in the eye.
Finally she was able to hear voices over
the com channel.
“Doc? You okay?”Evan’s
worried voice penetrated first.
“Think so.”Jennifer replied
her voice raw. “Why didn’t we see this storm coming?”
“Apparently this planet is more like
the Sahara instead
of Australia like we originally thought.”Rodney explained.
“These things pop up out of nowhere…..no way to predict them. It should subside soon.”
“We need to find shelter.”John
stated. “I don’t want to be wandering around blind.”
“Thought you trusted me a bit more.”Rodney
“You’re not exactly a hundred
percent accurate.”John retorted as he turned the group to the right.
However just as John spoke the wind slowly
Jennifer blinked against the harsh sun.
Slowly each team member came into focus. All of them looking like a desert version of a snowman.
“You were saying?”Rodney asked
with a wide smile.
“I already don’t like this
planet.”John grumbled as he started walking again shaking sand off his hair and uniform.
“What? You don’t like the beach?”Evan
retorted with a grin.
“I like the beach fine…..I
just don’t like to eat or breathe it.”John replied. “Can we just get to the village without further incident?”
Once at the village Evan helped Jennifer
set up in one of the small houses. The locals had been thrilled when Jennifer had offered vaccinations for the children on
a previous mission.
It took most of the day to get to everyone
but things went smoothly. Jennifer rubbed the back of her neck tiredly as she began to pack up her supplies.
“You ready to go, Doc?”John
asked as he stood in the doorway.
Jennifer nodded as she closed the medical
bag. “Yes. Rodney driving you nuts?”
John smiled. “No more than usual.
The walk to the gate was uneventful. No
Just a quiet walk through the desert.
Jennifer shifted the weight of the medical
bag to her other hand.
Evan reached out a hand to take it from
her but Jennifer shook her head with a smile.
“Anybody know what the movie tonight
is?”John asked as they approached the gate.
“Thought it was Rebel without a Cause.”Jennifer
“Are they sending us classics again?”Rodney
asked as he began the dialing sequence.
“Something against classics,
Rodney shook his head as the six chevron
“I’m starved, let’s go
home.”Sheppard stated wearily as the last chevron locked into place and the event horizon appeared.
It was only after Rodney and John stepped
through the gate that Jennifer saw it. Evan was ahead of her on the stone steps about to go through.
Something glittered in her peripheral vision.
Jennifer had no idea what it was. Her instincts
were screaming at her that it was bad.
With no time to shout a warning Jennifer
shoved Evan into the wormhole.
Jennifer moved to follow when she felt
a weapons blast rip through her body. She didn’t even have time to cry out as she fell through the event horizon just
as it disappeared.
Evan hit the floor of the gateroom hard.
Pain shot through his right shoulder, but he ignored it.
He braced himself waiting for Jennifer
to land on top of him.
She never came.
Evan shot to his feet as the event horizon
closed. He looked widely around the room and met Sheppard’s desperate gaze.