Title: between the lines of fear and blame
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things SGA belong to MGM, et al. The title is taken from “How to Save a Life” by The Fray.
Notes: TeamSGA entry into challenge #1 – clichés – telepathy. For
The day was bright and warm, with a gentle breeze that rustled the trees, causing early fall colored leaves to drift in swooping circles towards the ground. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, not even drizzle of white. Just an endless expanse of brilliant sky blue.
And Faith was damn sure that those birds that were singing joyfully
somewhere close by probably were candidates for Disney’s next flick.
PX4-769 was officially the most light hearted, peaceful place she’d ever been to.
She hated it.
Missions to other planets were boring, Faith thought, barely restraining herself from yawning right in the face of the little old man that was in front of her, rattling on about this and that, and honestly, she’d already forgotten what it was he was lecturing them about. Being good trade partners or some shit, she could guess. Because that’s what they were usually at these little get togethers for. This was her third mission through the ‘gate and the third time that she’d been stuck with Sheppard and his band of merry misfits.
Okay – so merry
didn’t exactly describe any of them. She was down with that, though. People didn’t have to be happy all the time. Some people, like McKay, seemed to thrive on never being happy. Others, like Sheppard, seemed to walk around amused with the world, like it was their own private joke. She got that, really. Hell, she’d felt like that before.
But John Sheppard irritated the fuck out of her. He was…what was the word she was looking for? Not cocky in an obvious way, but just there under the surface. Oh, and the fact that he only had maybe two or three facial expressions total
was more than a little weird. And even when he was upset, he still sort of seemed laid back. Like he didn’t have the energy or will power to spend on being, you know, human
In fact, if he’d made her slayer sense tingle in any way, she’d have thought that he wasn’t human. He was cute enough. She definitely wouldn’t kick him out of bed or anything, provided she could tolerate him long enough to get him into
bed. Only the knowledge that Weir would be damn pissed if she injured her favorite flyboy – and therefore might not let her go through the ‘gate – kept Faith from decking him when he smiled that tolerant, sort of condescending, shit-eating smile of his at her. Like he knew she didn’t like him and didn’t care
. Fuck. Like he knew it and thought it was funny
One of these days she was going to get a chance to wipe that smirk off his face, and it would take all the king’s men to put him back together again. Or Doc Beckett and one of those Ancient machines they’d found two weeks ago. The ones that she’d caught him practically cooing
over. There was nothing sadder than a man that made lovey-dovey noises to computers or any other kind of machine. Other than maybe - maybe
- a sweet ride.
“That okay with you, Faith?”
“Hmm?” Faith murmured, looking at Sheppard with confusion. Obviously there was some sort of question that had been asked. And she was supposed to be paying attention, not day dreaming of the many and painful ways she was going to hurt him. “Um. Yeah? Fine.”
Sheppard smirked, and there was that urge again. The one that was insisting that, yes, her hand would
feel a lot better after it became intimately acquainted with Sheppard’s nose, thanks.
Everyone back on Earth would laugh their asses off if they knew how well-behaved she’d been since she got here. The threat of losing ‘gate access was a pretty good one, and there was no way in hell
she wanted to get cooped up in Atlantis for any drawn out length of time. Weir would do it, too. She was just that evil. And there was only so much of a beating the Marines would take before they stopped sparring with her.
“You sure?” Sheppard asked in a drawl that both irritated Faith and made her go a little weak in the knees. That was the one thing about him that she could honestly say that liked – the slow, lazy drawl of his voice. It was the kind of voice that she just knew did interesting things in bed. Too bad the rest of John Sheppard left her cold.
“Yeah, Flyboy. I’m sure,” she snapped, still not knowing what it was that she was agreeing to. If he thought that she was going to back down just because she didn’t know what the hell was going on, he was wrong
Sheppard grinned brightly and clapped his hands together, turning to look at the other three members of the team. “Okay, you heard her. You two,” he gestured at Teyla and McKay, “get back to Atlantis and we’ll see you in two days. Ronon, set up base camp near the ‘gate and stay in radio contact.”
Goodbyes were said and the others left while Faith was still standing there, trying to puzzle things out. Okay. What? Huh? Faith blinked at Sheppard stupidly when he turned back around, still smiling.
Swallowing down the sense that she’d just done something pretty dumb by not making sure she understood what she was agreeing to, Faith forced herself to ask in a voice that most definitely did not shake with anything other than irritation, “What’s going on? Why are they leaving?”
Sheppard smirked. “The Bozaii have asked that two of our people participate in a bonding ritual as a sign of trust.” The smile widened, as did Faith’s urge to rip the sunglasses off of his face and snap them in two with her pinky
. “McKay had something in the lab to get back to. Teyla promised to visit the mainland tomorrow morning. And Ronon…well, the idea of spending two days stuck in a room with him doesn’t appeal to me.”
Two. Days. Faith was almost sure she’d heard wrong, but the glint in Sheppard’s eyes said that, no, she’d heard right and he was laughing it up at her expense.
“What made you think –“
Before Faith could finish, the Bozaii leader was back for them. He reached one spindly hand for her wrist, and she hurriedly squashed down slayer instinct to rip it right from his arm, instead letting herself be man-handled.
Right up to the point that she felt the cool metal around her wrist, and heard the snick
as it snapped into place. Yanking her hand back, she glared down at him. “What the hell’s that for?”
“The ri-tu-al,” Sheppard sing-songed, dragging the word out like she was a fucking two-year-old.
She felt a little better when he got a matching bracelet snapped around his own wrist, though the whole matching jewelry
thing was totally not her gig. She didn’t do it with boyfriends, lovers, or Colonel’s she could barely stand – no exceptions.
Except, now she sort of was.
This mission was turning out to be a royal suckfest.
Something fluttered in the back of her head, amusement clear for the briefest of moments. ”Maybe now she’ll take these missions more seriously.”
take them seriously,” she snapped at Sheppard, tacking on a silent jackass
to the end.
The way that Sheppard’s eyes went wide was comical. The next words out of his mouth? Not so much so.
“I didn’t say that out loud, Faith. And that’s Colonel Jackass to you.”
This was seriously fucked up.
“You can say that again.”
Faith turned to glare at Sheppard, her eyes narrowing. “I didn’t say
it to begin with.”
He actually had the decency to look embarrassed. “Oh.”
With a roll of her eyes, Faith went back to staring at one of the walls of the room her and Sheppard were supposed to be sharing for the next two days. Two days of pure hell, from where she was sitting. Where the hell did these freaky alien people get off? Oh, they said it was all about trust and knowing each other. But why the hell did she need to know Sheppard? Wouldn’t it have made more sense if she’d had to be connected to one of the weird ass elders of this little town? Then, at least, they could see into her head and know that she was trustworthy. Well, mostly. Or, hey, even better idea would have been for one of them to connect to Sheppard
Not her. And certainly not her and him
. This was an exercise in futility and, if she wasn’t damn sure that it would piss Doc Weir off and probably make it a damn long time before she got to go through the ‘gate again, she’d be out of this bracelet and back in Atlantis ASAP.This isn’t exactly a treat for me either, you know,
Sheppard’s pointed thought intruded on Faith’s mental rant with all the subtlety of a bucket of ice water. As if all her brain had needed was a reminder that this worked two ways, she was hearing his
thoughts.… don’t see why she’s so upset… not like it’s a big deal… two little days… wonder why she hates me so much… never did anything to her… should’ve made McKay stay here with her…
“I wish you had,” she shot over at him, not bothering to hide her scorn.
Sheppard blinked, confused. It was almost funny the way that his face went slack. Faith could practically see
him reviewing what he’d just been thinking about. The moment he figured out what she meant, that slackness shifted to something sort of like shock.
“You’re joking,” he deadpanned. “You’d rather be here with McKay – listening to him bitch and moan about what possible effects this might have – than with me?”
Faith’s response was an arch of one eyebrow, keeping her thoughts on the wall and not what exactly she thought of that kind of stupid comment. Of course she’d rather be here with McKay.
For his part, Sheppard wasn’t trying nearly as hard to keep what he thought of everything from her. Most especially the part where he was alternating between thinking she was nuts and, all right, being hurt
that she disliked him so much. Seriously, she wouldn’t have pegged him for the type that got his panties in a bunch over something like whether or not someone gave a flying fuck about him.
“Shit,” Sheppard said on an exhale. “Okay – enough. What the hell did I do to you? I’ve been nice about this whole thing, but you’re taking it a bit far.”
Faith rolled her eyes. “You didn’t do anything.” There. That was as honest as she was going to get. He hadn’t
done anything. It was his personality that got on her nerves, not something he’d done.
He frowned. “Okay. So… I didn’t do anything. And yet you still can’t stand to be in the same room with me. Right. Was it something I didn’t do? Was there, oh, some sort of secret handshake or greeting I was supposed to do when you set foot in Atlantis, slayer? Some arcane bullshit to appease your pre-destined-warrior sensibilities?”
For one second, all Faith could do was stare at Sheppard like he’d lost his mind. Then she laughed. And laughed. And laughed. Because, seriously? This was one of the more fucked up situations she’d ever been in – sharing thoughts with someone she couldn’t stand – and here he was cracking wise ass jokes that she half-believed he was sort of serious about. That was sad.
Her gaze flicked back to Sheppard, and she saw that the corner of his mouth had twitched hesitantly upwards, and for one brief second she thought, Maybe he’s not all bad.
Of course, he had to ruin it a second later when he said dryly, “Hey, thanks. Coming from you, that’s almost a compliment.”
The rest of the night she did her best to ignore him – thoughts, words, actions, and all.
The next morning brought with it more irritation for Faith. For one thing, Sheppard was an early riser. Not so much a problem when she didn’t have to share a room with him or, worse, weird ass alien telepathy shit
. But she did, to both of those things. No matter how little noise he tried not to make when he woke up and crawled out of one of the bed on the other side of the room, it was still more than enough to start dragging her up out of sleep. Slayer hearing really was a pain in the ass sometimes.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, he was thinking
Faith groaned and rolled over, trying to bury her head under her pillow. Unconsciously attempting to blot out his thoughts from her head. …another exciting day of seeing how little it’ll take to piss her off… really don’t get what I’ve done to make her hate me…
So there they were, right back on the same track they’d been on the night before, and she’d only just woken up.
Her thought bled through to Sheppard and his movements in the room stilled. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to wake you.”
Faith flipped him off in response, and his answering chuckle was quiet. His thoughts went blessedly quiet, though. Either he was getting better at not thinking so loud or he just didn’t have that many thoughts in his head to begin with.
She was almost willing to bet on the latter.
“You know what?” Sheppard’s voice was a whip crack of noise, sudden and sharp and biting. Maybe she’d thought that last part a little too loudly. “I’m getting real tired of this, Faith. I haven’t done a damn thing to you, something you admit
. You don’t even know
me and already you’ve decided that you don’t like me.” He paused, and Faith pulled the pillow off of her head, eyes still shut. His voice was angry, scalding.
“I don’t need to know you, flyboy,” she said after a minute. She cracked one eye open to see that he was staring at her, face and mind blank.
Then he sighed. He ran a hand back through his hair, making it stick up even worse than it normally did. “You like Teyla. You like Ronon. Hell, you even apparently like McKay.”
“There’s nothing wrong with Rodney,” she snapped, sitting up in bed. Her t-shirt had twisted on her during the night and she straightened it with a few quick tugs.
“Yeah, I know that,” Sheppard shot right back. “He’s one of my best friends. But he’s hard as hell to get along with and new people generally don’t take to him. But you? You seem to like him… and yet you genuinely hate me
.” He frowned. “I don’t care if you like me or not. Sure, it’s confusing as hell since I don’t know what I did to you. But the backbiting and bitching? That’s too much. Fine – you don’t like me. Get over it.”
With those parting words, he stormed out of the room.
Get over it? Faith scowled and rolled her eyes. Sliding out of bed, she padded to the antiquated bathroom. She turned on the rustic shower so that the water could warm while she went through her morning routine, then stepped under the water.Get over it?
, she thought again.Yeah, just get over it already
, Sheppard’s thought was a whisper of irritation in her mind. Believe it or not, I’m a nice guy once you get to know me.
Faith reigned in what she thought of that
before he could hear it, and leaned her head back so that her hair could get wet.
A nice guy? Like that mattered to her. She didn’t go for nice guys. Sheppard reminded her too much of –
Faith’s mouth dropped open, water falling in. She coughed and spluttered for a second, spitting out the metallic-tasting water.
He reminded her too much of someone she’d known a long, long time ago. A guy that had taken advantage of her back in the days before she’d worked up the walls that kept her safe now. She’d barely been fifteen. He’d been seventeen, about to turn eighteen. A real cocky son-of-a-bitch, but so laid back that nothing ever seemed to faze him. She’d wanted him. He’d wanted her.
She hadn’t wanted to be tossed aside like garbage the second he was done with her, though.
That was how the world worked. Take or be taken.
She’d been taken that time. Never again. Some of him must have rubbed off on her, because she’d changed almost over night. Two could play the arrogance game, and if she was a little late learning it, so what, right?
And John Sheppard reminded her of that guy. Same general attitude, same arrogant smile.
Faith shivered under the water. “Fuck,” she groaned, hating getting in this kind of headspace. Hating it more that she knew that maybe she hadn’t been completely fair to Sheppard. Everyone had told her he was a great guy. A hero
. Suicidally reckless, but damn good at what he did.
Not an asshole.
Not like her
Still, it was one thing for her to know she might have been wrong, and another thing entirely for her to apologize to him or some shit. She’d start with being civil and work her way up from there.
What she hadn’t counted on, she realized when she finally went back into the room they were sharing, was the stupid telepathic bullshit. The knowing look in Sheppard’s eyes hit a little too close to home, and Faith felt laid out and stripped bare in front of him. If he said a word about anything he’d accidentally overheard while she was working through her issues
, she’d lay him out on the ground, civility or no.
The corner of his mouth twitched, and understanding faded to amusement. “Want to go find breakfast?”
Faith snorted, releasing a breath she hadn’t even knew she was holding. “Yeah, sure, Flyboy.”Don’t think this makes us all buddy buddy,
she added silently, not bothering to hide her smile when Sheppard grinned at her.Wouldn’t dream of it, Slayer