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23 August 2008 @ 01:14 am
SGA Fic - Here There be Monsters: SGA/D-Grayman fusion  
Title: Here There be Monsters: SGA/D-Grayman
Rating: PG-13 for violence
Characters: John, Rodney, Tela, Ronon and guest appearance by Zelenka and Carson
Spoilers: None, it's a fusion.
Disclaimer: I Own neither Stargate Atlantis nor D-Grayman.
Summary: “You're, like, what? Fifty, sixty miles from headquarters? Seriously, did you make it this far, see a bunch of fish nets, and think 'that's the life for me?'" Lots of hugs and chocolate chip cookis to wildcat88 for accepting the call and betaing a story fused with something she's never even heard of.

A/N: Looky, looky, everyone! My first fusion! As well as pure, utter indulgence. I love D-Grayman, and the thought of John as an Exorcist was... well, let'sjust say it took me a while to reform after melting into a puddle of happy-goo. I apologize to fellow D-Grayman fans for this, but the idea refused to leave my head until written, proving once and for all that plot bunnies do take muses as hostages. For those who have never heard of D-Grayman, don't worry, you don't need to have read D-Grayman to understand what's going on in this story. But if you're into Manga, it's one I highly recommend.


Here There be Monsters



Shaking the cat wasn't incentive enough for it to drop the golem, and it had the surprising talent to bite John's finger while still hanging on when he tried to pry its jaws apart. Between John's minor abuse and Jumper fluttering his golden wings and beating the cat's head with the spiral tuft of his tail, one would think the cat would start to realize that toting a little four-legged flying ball with a cross on its face was not worth the trouble. Jumper may have been round, but that was just his shape, his structure, not an announcement about him being stuffed with meaty goodness.

Yet the cat fought like he'd scored himself a nice steak. Even for being fat with fur and from fish, John would've had an easier time holding onto a greased salmon. At least the salmon wouldn't have claws.

“Damn it, cat! I generally make it a rule to be nice to animals, but you're really starting to make me reconsider.”
The cat growled and dug its back legs into John's wrist as an answer. Blood was drawn, and John almost lost his grip, but he wasn't letting go, and neither was the cat.

“You little son of a...! We're on a damn wharf with a boat load of damn fish that are a hell of a lot more filling than a damn puff ball. So get that through your damn head, and drop the damn golem!”

“I think you've sufficiently damned the poor thing to hell. Ever thought of asking nicely?”

John ignored the slightly soft man with the cropped brown hair stepping out from around the boathouse. He'd been hiding in the shadows since John managed to grab the cat, waiting for the right moment to make his pointlessly dramatic entrance. Pointless because John had seen him during the dive for the cat.

“I did. But the cat looked at me like I was an idiot, and I took offense... damn it!” He now had matching scratch marks on both wrists, slicking his skin with hot blood.

The man approached with all the confidence of one who always knew what he was doing and what he was up against. Either that or he was really good at pretending confidence. He pulled his hand out from behind his back, dangling a strip of pale meat within sight and smell of the cat.

“I've learned from experience,” said the man, “that cat's don't do polite without incentive.” He waggled the meat. “Here kitty, kitty.”

All the hard work John had put into catching the cat became a monumental waste of time when the cat opened his mouth, releasing Jumper, and slipped easily from John's grasp to the ground. The little monster trotted up to the man, all innocent and dewy-eyed, making plaintive mewling sounds like the pathetic starving creature it wasn't. The man not only handed the meat over but went so far as to give the two-faced ball of mange a pat on the head.

Jumper settled back on top of John's head; its tense indignation vibrated his scalp.

“Hey, you're the one who keeps getting caught,” John said. He gave the golem a scratch between its golden wings, soaking warmth from the small body into his numb fingers.

The man wiped his gloved hands on a cloth produced from the inside pocket of his painfully familiar black long coat. John knew that coat, knew that that was real silver on the shoulders, cuffs, and the cross on the chest over the heart; knew it like he knew the scar on his chest hidden behind two shirts and a coat, the scar his hand always strayed to every time its presence popped back into his mind. But this time he managed not to react.

“So,” the man said, stuffing the cloth back into the hidden pocket. “John Sheppard, I presume?”

John wandered back to the boathouse and the shrunken pile of nets still to be repaired. It was getting late, frigid, the sun little more than a tangerine sliver on the horizon tossing a slice of choppy orange over the sea. John hated relying on the oily lamps that couldn't even attract moths, but if he didn't finish these nets, he didn't get paid. If he didn't get paid, he didn't eat, and it had been three days since his last real meal. He picked up the next net and worked at untangling it from the mass.

“Who's asking?”

“Rodney McKay. Dr. Rodney McKay. And you must be John Sheppard because that's General Kolya's golem nesting in your hair there. Not a lot of golems like that fluttering around. Most take on the appearance of bats. Much less conspicuous. I'm from -”
“I know where you're from.” John draped the net over the sawhorse, moving it one small section at a time in search of tears. “Didn't know the Black Order made house calls. I thought it was up to the apprentice to make an appearance.”

“We don't,” the man, Rodney, said. “Except on special occasions, like now.”

John paused in his search and looked up. “Special occasion? What do you mean special occasion? Last I checked, my birthday isn't for another three months.”

“Oh ha ha,” the man said dryly. He moved into John's sight off to the side where he could lean against the warped gray boards of the boathouse. The man's confidence was momentarily skewed by the grimace of disgust at his proximity to so many fish nets. “No, this occasion is a little less centered around you. It involves the disappearance of your master, General Kolya. The last communication we received from him was an alert that he was sending a new exorcist our way. Then... nothing. Not only that, but said exorcist never showed up, and, needless to say, it got us curious.”

“It had us concerned, Rodney,” a female voice said from farther up the docks. That got John's attention. He lifted his head toward the source but was only able to discern two silhouettes darker than the deepening blue backdrop behind them. One was tall, broad; the other small, slender, and with the right build to be the owner of the voice.

McKay flapped dismissively in their direction. “Yes, yes – concerned, curious, same difference.”

“Not really, McKay,” a bass voice rumbled, no doubt the taller figure.

McKay ignored him. “Anyway, the generals are supposed to contact headquarters every week, updating us on their current location if it changed, status, and anything else they have to report. Kolya hasn't contacted us in over a month. Teyla may say we're concerned, but everyone at headquarters knows of Kolya's reputation. It's not so much concern that's sent us your way but annoyance.”

“And how did,” John said, going back to the net, “you come across my way, anyway?”

McKay snorted as though it were an answer so obvious even the cat could have figured it out. “You're, like, what? Fifty, sixty miles from headquarters? Seriously, did you make it this far, see a bunch of fish nets, and think 'that's the life for me?' And we have our, um... resources. Needless to say, I've had missing left socks harder to track than you. Which begs the question – why the hell didn't you show up? Oh, and you wouldn't happen to know where General Kolya is, would you?”

John tossed the undamaged net onto the pile and moved on to the next. “Don't know,” he said.

Rodney blinked. “You don't know why you didn't show up, or you don't know where Kolya is?”

“Don't know where Kolya is,” John said. He smooth out the net that was so full of holes it wouldn't have been able to catch seaweed. “Last time we, uh, talked, it was a month ago. And it wasn't so much talking as him telling me it was time to put my lot in with the Black Order, followed by a massive whack on the head and me waking up alone.” Each thread he knotted into the net he gave a hard, vicious, almost vindictive tug. “Happiest damn day of my life, not having to wake up to that -” he shook his head, giving the thread another hard tug to keep his hand from straying to his chest. “Haven't heard from him since and don't care to.”

McKay straightened. “Oh. Okay, then. Back to the first question – why didn't you show up?”

“Like you said. I got here, saw the nets, and thought that was the life for me.”

“Really?” McKay said, bewildered.

When John gave him a flat look, he rolled his eyes. “Oh you are a riot, aren't you? So, bull aside, why didn't you show up? According to Kolya's last communication, you have quite a unique Innocence. Parasite type.” McKay's eyes looked him over twice before settling on his hair that he pointed at. “Don't suppose that's it.”

“Who's the riot now?”

“Well, a parasite type is supposed to be attached to the body... or in it.”

“That would be why they call it a parasite,” John said coolly.

McKay stared at him expectantly, maybe waiting for John to divulge the big bad secret that was the whereabouts of his Innocence on his person. Or maybe he always looked like that, a man too accustomed to getting answers when he asked and thinking that asking gave him the right to know anything and everything there was to know. John didn't have a problem with being asked; it was answering where his issues lay.

Some questions were better left unanswered, especially where pitchforks, torches, and angry mobs were concerned.
“I'm not joining the Black Order,” John said.

Rodney stepped forward, making John tense. “Why not? No offense to your current profession – goodness knows I like a good salmon now and then – but it strikes me as the kind of job that pays little. Very little. And I'm basing that on the way your hands are shaking. I know hunger weakness when I see it.” John gave him an incredulous onceover that had him adding in an insulted squawk, “Hypoglycemia, ever heard of it! Either that or you're afraid of me -”

“Not by a long shot.”

Rodney lifted his chin smugly. “Then I was right the first time. Just how long has it been since your last meal, huh? Or a decent bath to get out the fish smell? Laundry service to shrink those clothes so that they no longer look like hand-me-downs from an overweight cousin? The Black Order's North American headquarters can provide all that and then some. All we ask in return is that you help us rid the world of the Millennium Earl and all his little Akuma buddies. Which, personally, I don't think is asking too much. Have you ever seen an Akuma?”

John's fingers fumbled with the net, his mind turning inward. His mother's face, as beautiful as a sunrise then beautiful as fallen snow even shrunken and pale with sickness. His father in his study, talking to a fat jovial man he called “the Earl”. Mother's voice shrieking from a metal skeleton, trying to kill his father. John had saved him at a price. Pitchforks, torches, and mobs followed... always.

It was all so much like a dream except for the horror on his father's face after John had stopped the thing with his mother's voice. That... that was still as clear as though only hours had gone by, not years.

“Yeah,” John said. “I've seen a few Akuma.”

“And I'm sure you're in agreement that such creatures aren't exactly good for this world.”
“What isn't these days?”

McKay clenched his jaw. “Touché. But Akuma are scarier and meaner and... really not helping matters. But you have Innocence. Parasite type. It's in your nature to fight Akuma. But, if you'd rather hide away in your selfish little world of starvation and net repair...”

John dropped said net, along with his head, heaving a heavy sigh at the feeling that this man wasn't going to leave until he got what he wanted. Which, as far as John was concerned, he would never get.

“I've got my reasons for not showing up and joining the merry band of zombie hunters. I don't need you to fight Akuma.”
“Well, no,” Rodney grudgingly admitted. “I suppose not. But it really would be in your best interests to do so. Free room and board and all that. Not to mention access to medical care and, of course, plenty of food.” He wrinkled his brow. “Did General Kolya say bad things about us or something? Planted the seed of discontent, nurtured it with plenty of badmouthing so that when the time came for you to head our way, you ended up suffering a change of heart and turned back? Is that it? It's common knowledge that Kolya and the Order don't exactly get along.”

John shook his head, tightening his jaw. “I've got my reasons. Entice me all you want, but it's not going to change anything.”
Clasping his hands behind his back, McKay rocked on his heels. The man was persistent to a fault. “Just out of curiosity, between you and me – why?”

Between you and me. Now that was quite the load of bull.

Kolya had always said the Black Order's volunteer policy was nothing more than lip service. What they couldn't get through propaganda and persuasion, they took. But so said General Kolya, the man with his own personal brand ethics and a self-centered moral code. The man who should just have “for the good of the cause but not the Order” branded on his damn forehead.

John had eventually figured that what Kolya had to say probably wasn't worth listening to.

He supposed for that reason – and the sake of a little extra spite – McKay deserved an answer. “It has nothing to do with what Kolya said.”

McKay brightened, opening his mouth no doubt to say something chipper.

“It was what he did.”

McKay's jaw clicked shut, his expression turning neutral. “What did he do?”

John tossed the half-finished net back onto the to-do pile. It was officially too dark to see, too cold for his finger to work, and he had plenty of nets finished to earn him enough coins for another crust of bread, maybe with a little cheese. It was better than nothing, so said the snarling empty pit that was his stomach. He turned toward McKay but didn't look at him.

“Mean things,” he said. He moved away from the nets, brushing past McKay. The lights of the town were greasy stars in the darkness, smoke a faint stain beneath the salt and fish-scent from this distance. Wharf Master Bill would be in the Sea Maid Tavern this time of night, hopefully so wasted that John could coax a few more coins from him. The man was at his most amiable when drunk and a complete ass when sober.

Along the way, he passed the former silhouettes and glanced at them, trying not to do a double take. The woman was as beautiful as she had sounded, with cinnamon skin and hair the color of copper and just as bright. Though small, there was power, strength, and grace in her stance that John didn't have to see to know she wasn't one to even consider taking advantage of. The man... even a drunk would know better than to take him on. His size alone said as much; the steady gaze bordered by a mane of dreadlocks shouted it. She carried two ornately carved sticks in her belt, him some type of gun in his holster. John could smell the Innocence in both weapons, like new grass on a summer's day. He gave them both a short nod of acknowledgment, and that was it.
John waited until he reached the road to look back at the three exorcists. They had converged, talking too low for even John's ears to hear, but thankfully hadn't decided to follow him.

The road doubled back up a small escarpment no more than four feet high and from there made a wide turn into the town that swallowed John into its shadows and dirty yellow lights. Night was the only time John liked to go into town, when the “respectable” people were all tucked away in their homes and the night rats too drunk to pay him much mind – if he was lucky. And so long as he kept his head down, his shoulders hunched, and oozed timid harmlessness, then he was. He took side streets and back alleys to get to the tavern, coming upon its back entrance barely lit by a busted glass lamp with a single, guttering candle.
John hesitated. The noise coming from the tavern was a thick mixture of bawdy conversation, laughter, and drunken music. The Sea Maid was usually noisy, but when music played, that meant it was packed. When it was packed, a lot more people took notice of John even with his head down and shoulders hunched. People weren't fond of strangers in this town, especially with all the disappearances that, on the fortunate side, had been taking place long before John had arrived. But then the good folk of this village weren't ones to waste time and brain power on logic and liked giving those they didn't know a hard time with threats and bullying just to buy a few hours peace of mind.

As long as it didn't involve pitchforks and torches, John didn't really care. There were worse ways to be dealt with, and that's what made John nervous. He reached for the tarnished handle.

Hands gripped the shoulders of his coat, flipped him around, and slammed his back into the wooden wall hard enough to shove the air from his lungs.

A sharp featured, bearded, and tattooed face heaved a put-upon sigh. “Sheppard, what are you doing here? Don't you have nets to fix? Fish to gut? People to kidnap?”

The small knot of four men gathered behind him snickered, and the bearded man grinned. John narrowed his eyes.

“Gee, Steve, I was just going to say the same thing. The kidnapped part, I mean. But I decided it wouldn't be as fun without an audience. The constable, mostly, or one of his deputies...”

Steve's grin became a sneer. He shifted his hold from the shoulders to John's collar and gave him a firm shake. “You watch your mouth, stranger. I was born in this town, I know everyone here. But you... you're nobody. A damn drifter without a home who sleeps with damn alley cats on the docks. Who do you think the constable'll believe once we start shouting our accusations? Huh?”
“Well, seeing as how we've already done that about, oh, ten times was it? Neither one of us. Hell, he might toss us both out of town just for the sake of a little peace and quiet.”

Steve scoffed. “Oh, you think so, stranger? You really think so? Why don't you and I have that row we've been promising -”

You,” John said. “You've been promising.”

“And we'll see who gets booted.” With that, Steve drew his fist back and let it fly. The impact was like steel against John's jaw, a force that knocked him to his hands and knees. Steve grabbed him by the back of his coat and readied another blow.
A cresting mosquito whine froze the bigger man's fist in mid-air. Behind him, a voice rumbled, “Fists can break bone, but you should see what this baby can do.” The big man with the ropes of hair shifted into John's view, the barrel of his unusual gun pressed to Steve's temple. “Just give me a reason, pal.”

Steve sucked in a quick breath. “You think you can get away with it? The constable'll lock you up and throw away the key.”
“But that still won't change the fact that you'll be dead.” Rodney entered the alley, cradling, of all things, the cat in his arms. “Now, if you don't mind, I'd much appreciate it if you moved along. Mr. Sheppard and I have some business that needs completing.” He looked at John with an expectant arch of his eyebrows. “Right?”

John answered with an indifferent shrug.

“You won't get away with this!” Steve snarled.

But Rodney merely flapped a dismissive hand. “Whatever. Just go.”

The men slowly but finally started backing away toward the other end of the alley. Once reached, they took off at a run.
John climbed to his feet, wiping the blood from his mouth, and glared at Rodney through narrowed eyes. “I didn't need your help.”
“Yes,” McKay said, eying him carefully, “because you were handling them so splendidly from the ground. And I wasn't kidding. We need to talk.” John opened his mouth to tell him what he could do instead of talk (along with where he could shove that cat), but Rodney's raised hand stopped him. “I know, I know. You don't want to hear it, you don't want to join the Order, blah, blah, blah. I get it. That's not why we followed you.” His features softened. “There's something else I want to talk about... something I want to ask you. About Kolya.”

John turned enough to drop his back against the wall, touching his lip where Steve's fist had connected. The tips of his fingers came away with blood, and he sighed. Not even the scratches on his wrist had fully clotted. He really needed to get some food into himself before he bled out. “There's nothing to talk about. The SOB ditched me. I don't know where he is and good damn riddance for all I care.”

Rodney pointed at John. “That's what I want to talk about. You said... you said Kolya did something to you?”

A breeze snaked down the alley. Air that should have smelled of fish and smoke turned thick with acidic decay, filling John's lungs like a punch to the gut. He gulped to keep from gagging, and his heart thudded.

He knew that smell.

“Rodney! Ronon!” The woman, the one Rodney had called Teyla, stepped into the alley while pointing back the way she'd come. Her face was colorless, and her eyes so round John could see the whites even in the shadows outside the light. “Akuma! There are Akuma here!”

John's spine snapped rigid. All three of them exchanged looks before rushing out to join her in the open street.

Rodney's head darted left and right. “Where? Where are they? Where?” But all they could see was the constable and two deputies heading their way, flanked by Steve, his goons, and several curious patrons; Steve pointing directly at them.

“That's them! The stranger and them two!”

The stench of decay surged like a poisoned fog all around them, threatening to choke John. Both he and Teyla hissed in unison, “Akuma!”

Rodney paled. “Who, them? How can you tell? I mean, I know how Teyla can tell; she can sense them. She was cursed or something...” At Teyla's glare, he stammered to a stop.

John tilted his head toward the approaching group. “I can smell them, and what I smell is coming from that group.”
Teyla's hand hovered near her sticks, and Ronon did something to his weapon, making it whine louder. Rodney dropped the cat, letting it dart back to the safety of the alley. He gulped audibly. “Crap. Crap, crap, crap...”

“You there!” the constable called, pointing a gloved hand at John. “You causing trouble? I warned you what would happen if you did. I'm locking you up and throwing away the k -!”

The sheriff froze and stared like a mechanical doll that had finally wound down. One of the deputies, one John had never seen before – with a pale, sallow face and almost dead eyes - stepped forward, and the scent of decay was like a consuming flood.
John tensed. “I think that guy is -”

The sallow faced deputy exploded in a shower of flesh and cloth. A monster stood in his place, a six-foot thing the color of a days-old corpse, hair like bleached spider silk, and a mouth full of needle-sharp teeth. It rose, its coat of black leather fluttering like a giant bat, and spread its clawed hands.

“Exorcists,” it hissed with a voice that was like two voices speaking at once, “come play with me.”

“Son of a bitch, that's a level three!” Rodney shrilled.

The sheriff and deputy burst like cocoons, leaving only death masks on bloated skull-shaped pods bristling with cannon arms. Chaos burst with them, making the night vibrate with the screams of the living. The pods fired blood bullets at random, killing for the sake of it. Whoever the bullets hit turned to stone and crumbled to dust.

“Damn it!” Teyla cried, yanking both sticks from her belt, sticks that glowed with a halo of white when they touched her skin. She leaped into the hail of bullets and began to dance – which was the only way John could describe it: her body twisting, her feet tiptoeing as if on air, and the sticks a white blur flinging light that sliced through each and every bullet.

She was joined by pulses of red turning the bullets she missed into vapor that faded away. Ronon rushed forward, firing that odd weapon of his.

“Could use a little help, here, McKay!” he called.

Rodney started. “What? Oh, yeah, right.” He moved forward, close to the fray but not within it. John saw only his back and the sudden tension of his shoulders. Suddenly, the bullets froze, shivering in the air. Grinning feral as a wildcat, Ronon turned his weapon on the nearest level one Akuma and blasted it in its death-mask face. One, two, three shots and the thing burst into red flames. It split down the center, and the trapped spirit floated up and away with a whispered, “Thank you.”

The third-level Akuma, protected behind the second first-level, hissed and dove for McKay. If McKay saw it then he was too busy focusing on keeping those bullets still for Teyla and Ronon to dispatch to notice. And Ronon and Teyla also had the second Akuma to deal with that was moving quick and agile for an armed pod.

There were people everywhere, running from buildings, into buildings, or standing there either too petrified or too stupid to move. Too many eyes to see, too many witnesses, too many potential deaths for John's psyche to put up with, and a third-level moving in for the kill. John gritted his teeth and cursed then ran.

Then invoked. Bones shifted, skin hardened, and his rasping breaths rattled out as chittering hisses. He'd once changed on purpose, in the privacy of a small hotel room, just to see what he looked like, and understood why his father had freaked, why so many strangers wanted him dead. He was a chitinous thing, a dark blue insectoid, thorned and beaked, spindly and bony but about as weak as an enraged grizzly. And he lost yet another pair of boots to heavily clawed feet.

John raced over the ground faster than any horse, leaped and tackled the third-level right out of the sky just as it was reaching for McKay. They tumbled over each other, John ending up on top but the Akuma using the momentum to flip him away. He landed on his feet and charged again. The Akuma rose out of reach, up and away, laughing.

“You are fun, monster.”

John hissed and clicked. The Akuma had backed up toward the neighboring building. John ran to it, scurried up the wall to its roof, then tackled the Akuma. They sailed through the air, knocking frozen bullets aside as they clawed and bit at each other. The Akuma grabbed the back of John's neck and flung him into the wall of the tavern, driving him through the wall, across the floor and out the back wall. John tumbled to a stop on his back, panting, chittering, with the world spinning around him. He shook it and the throbbing pain off when he saw the level three hovering above the tavern.

With a snarl and a sneer flashing serrated teeth, John scurried up the wall. The Akuma fled, laughing like a child doing nothing more than playing a merry game of tag.

“Come and play, exorcist,” it sing-songed. It rose, higher and higher above the second first-level Akuma.

Then it froze, and even the distance didn't hide its twisted expression of alarm.

“Sheppard!”

John scuttled around the building. He saw McKay's profile and a tension so extreme every tendon stood out on his neck, his teeth gritted and his jaw twitching, and sweat a solid shimmering slick on his face. Not a single Akuma or blood bullet was in motion.
“Get the bastard!”

John leaped from the building to the first level, and from the first level he pushed off with everything he had straight at the third-level Akuma. Whatever hold McKay had on the creature broke when John impacted it. The two grappled in open air, clawing and biting. Akuma claws shredded his coat and shirt and broke through most of the scales to vulnerable flesh. But John had his advantage, his snout right next to the thing's neck. He opened his mouth wide enough to spread the two thorned mandibles and impaled them into the carotid on either side of the neck. He yanked his head back, tearing the Akuma's throat wide open. Black blood gurgled from its mouth. The skin melted off a metal skeleton, the skeleton crumbled to dust, and as John fell he watched the misty wisp of a once trapped soul fade away, whispering, ‘thank you’.

Then John hit the ground. His exoskeleton protected most of him, but the third-level's attack had weakened him, and he could feel bones shifting in his ribcage and shoulder. But no pain, which meant he wasn't quite that bad off. He tilted his head back to see Teyla and Ronon making short work of the final Akuma. It burst into dust, the metal skeleton within it, and the spirit vanished with a relieved sigh.

Everything was quiet... for about a minute. Someone shouted, “There's another one!” A woman standing just outside the tavern, and she was pointing at John.

John rolled to his feet – or tried to. He managed to get to all fours when pain shot through his arm and he dropped onto his damaged side. He forced himself up enough to hobble back away from the gathering masses, this time bearing bludgeons, from broken chairs to clubs, instead of pitchforks - and no torches this time. John limped and flopped like a wounded animal until he hit the wall of another building. Uninjured and with food in him, there was no way these fools would have come near him, and if they tried he would have been long gone by now.

As it was, the one arm able to support him shook and bent, threatening to drop him. His whole body shook with fatigue and creeping pain. In this form, he normally didn't feel pain, and to feel it now meant he was starting to shift back.

In retrospect, it was a miracle he'd lasted as long as he had and took out a third-level Akuma in the process. He would like to have said it was his lucky night, but the approaching mob had shot his luck all to hell. And all John could do was bristle, hiss, and swipe razor claws at them like the animal he was, sinking deeper into mindless panic the closer the mob came, swinging their bludgeons at him.

Then he shifted back, falling onto his side when the pain overwhelmed him like a flood and his arm gave out.
“Damn it,” he whimpered, and the mob flowed forward fast as water from a spillway.

Teyla stepped in front of him, a slender wall between him and the heavily armed mob, stopping them more out of surprise than fear.

“What do you think you are doing?” she demanded, her sticks still in hand and glowing angelic white. “He saved your lives!” The mob had seen what those sticks could do, and surprise turned to fear and anger aimed directly at her.

“He's one of them!” Steve (and of course the SOB would still be alive) snarled.

“He's a monster,” a woman wailed.

“He's one of us,” bellowed Ronon, joining Teyla, and if the shiny sticks weren't enough to unnerve the populace, his gun sure as hell was. “And if you think we're just going to step aside and let you take him,” he twirled that gun, “you're going to end up dead wrong.”

That got the group to back off, inch by hesitant, angry, frightened inch. McKay limped over, joining Ronon and Teyla. He was clutching his head with one hand, the lower half of his face smeared with blood dripping from his nose. He gave John a dazed look.

“We need to get out of here,” he slurred. “Don't – don't think these folks gonna listen to reason.”

Ronon gave him a short nod, and while Teyla held the mob off with her glowing sticks, he grabbed John's arm. His bad arm, making him cry out.

“Sorry,” Ronon said, grabbing the other arm. “Can you walk?”

“Can try,” John said through gritted teeth. Being pulled to his feet was hell, pulling the muscles over his broken ribs and the skin around every cut and laceration, and his arm dangling useless and numb. He leaned against Ronon's taller frame and had no choice but to let the big man practically drag him away from the mob. Every stepped jarred John's body, burning him alive with split skin and broken bones. He managed not to cry out, compensating with grunts, moans and whimpers. He could feel moisture sliding down his skin, too warm to be sweat.

“Almost there,” Ronon said.

John forced his head up to see a large box carriage pulled by two gray draft horses parked on the road. A fuzzy-headed man in a white coat and glasses was driving. He looked at the four in alarm.

“Things did not go well, I take it?” he said with an accent John's fuzzy brain thought to be Russian or at least from that general area. He was in no state or mood to be accurate.

“Understatement,” Rodney said. “Get us the hell out of here. Back to headquarters.”

John's heart thrashed, but his body barely had the strength to keep his head up. Ronon pulled him into the carriage, all the way to the other side. The interior was large, padded seats on either side and another in the back that Ronon laid him out on. Teyla helped Rodney in, thumping the wall to get the wagon moving before Ronon had a chance to close the doors.

It was lit by two small lamps on either side, casting enough glow for John to see his shredded clothes and torn skin: four rakes across the chest, two the stomach, several around the ribs, and his back felt like it was on fire. And he was so slicked with blood he couldn't see where the bruises were forming.

Ronon knelt beside him with clean cloths in hand that he pressed to the heavy bleeders. It was more agony – stabbing and burning – but John only had the strength to wince.

“You're gonna be all right,” Ronon said.

“Need food,” John rasped.

Rodney snorted and grimaced. “And you guys thought... I ate too much. You'll just puke it up.” Teyla was next to him, cleaning up his face.

“Heal. I'll... heal, some. Just need food...” Crap, he was so tired. “Don't... don't wanna go...”

Ronon squeezed his shoulder. “We're going to help you.”

“No,” John begged, shaking from more than the pain. But lethargy overpowered fear, and his eyes shut against his will.

-----------------------------------

Things smelled of alcohol and a sterile cleanliness that made John's stomach turn over and over. He parted sticky eyelids to a hazy world of bland colors – gray and white mostly – interrupted by patches of flesh tones. Things took a moment to clear into smooth gray walls and faces hovering over him. Three he recognized, one he didn't and that one was dressed in the white smock of a man with the skills to cut things open...

The man smiled. “Glad to see you back with us, So-”

John's stomach turned inside out, and empty or not, it was bound and determined to expel something. Bile rushed hot into his throat. John jackknifed upward, shoving the smiling man aside then clamored from the bed. He searched wildly for a bathroom, a waste bin, a way out of this damn room, anything. There were beds everywhere lining gray walls polished smooth as marble, and metal poles next to the beds. He saw the entrance to this place at the other end, a smaller entrance that had to be a bathroom; he moved toward both without a clue as to which one he would choose and puked along the way.

It hurt, horribly, like getting a knife to the side and having the muscles of his shoulder pulled like taffy. He dropped to his knees, heaving, shuddering, and hugging himself with one arm because moving the other felt like glass was being ground into the bone. There wasn't a place on his body that didn't stab or burn.

When the dry heaves stopped, he lurched to his feet, staggering to the door and just trying to breathe through pain and the erratic clatter of his runaway heart. “Gotta get out of here.”

The man in the smock blocked his path, looking both stern and quite ready to deal with anything John might try. “Whoa, hold up there, lad. You're not going anywhere.”

Shrinking from him, John ran into the cold metal frame of a bed and flinched. His heart thundered so loud he was sure everyone in the room could hear it. They converged on him, slowly – Ronon, Teyla Rodney, all approaching like he was a wild animal – just like last time, and the time before, and before, with each village or town John had sought refuge in. They always converged in the end, waving pitchforks and torches, screaming for death. And sometimes there was death, because the idiots didn't consider the consequences of cornering a wild animal.

Ronon even had his weapon pulled, but the Scotsman waved him back.

“Put that bloody thing away! Stunning won't help his condition, and I'll not have him put in a worst state.”

John looked from the Scot to each of the three exorcists then to the door. He slowly, clumsily, backed away, limping to the next bed and crawling over it.

“Son,” said the Scot, “we're just trying to help y -”

“I don't need your help.” John continued backing up, making for the door at a shuffling limp. “Food, fresh air, you letting me go, and I'll be fine. So until then just get the hell away from me!” He turned and ran.

More like hobbled. He managed about ten steps when a ball of red energy grazed his shoulder, startling him. He fell to his hand and knees. A glance back showed him the four, plus two nurses and a man in a white coat moving swiftly toward him. He scrabbled to his feet, ignoring the throbs and stabs, pushing his body into a run. He collided with the door, fumbled with the latch, but it wouldn't open. Panic put a stranglehold on John and shoved a choked bellow from his throat as he pounded the door with his fist with a force that broke skin, adding to the pain.

A pale hand slid into his vision, flipped something John couldn't see, and pushed. The door creaked open. John looked up at Rodney now standing next to him. The other man's features were pale but set, his blue eyes quietly resolved. He tilted his head toward the hallway outside.

“Come on,” he said.

“Rodney, are you sure -” said the Scot.

“Unless you want to strap him down, Carson,” McKay said, glaring at him. He put his hand on John's shoulder – which, John suddenly realized, was bare. He was shirtless, but most of his body was wrapped in bandages from waist to collarbones, extending down to his arm resting in a sling. The bandages, once pristine, were flecked with blood.

He flinched at Rodney's touch, causing the man to pull his hand away as though he'd been burned.

“Sorry,” he said, leading the way into the hall.

Wary and high strung as John felt, he still followed. Anywhere was better than that room. “Where are we going?”

Rodney replied. “To get that fresh air you wanted.”

The corridor was long, arched like the cavernous hall of a cathedral, with flying buttresses and pillars, and walls that shimmered like pale mica – copper and sea-green, it seemed. They didn't go far, just a ways down and through an opening on the left leading out onto a balcony overlooking a storm-gray sea and overcast sky. It was a long ways down, the crashing foam like white veins in marble. A chilled salty wind brushed across John's skin, making him shiver, and he had to grip the balustrade just to keep himself standing.

“Look left,” Rodney said.

John did. He saw a narrow path supported by natural pillars winding to the mainland, only part of the path had fallen away. John's heart sank fast.

“Please don't take this negatively when I say that there's no escape,” Rodney said.

John shot him a panicked look. “Don't take it negatively? How the hell am I not supposed to take that negatively!”

Rodney balked, swallowing convulsively, and took a cautious step back. “In that there's no escape, but that doesn't mean we won't let you go. We only brought you here because you were injured -”

“Which would have taken care of itself if you'd just given me food.”

The other man seemed to perk up at this. “Really? How... I mean, what kind of regeneration are we talking about? Full, partial...?”

John shrugged and hissed from the pull of bruised muscles and stitched cuts. Another caress of cold wind made him shudder. “Depends. It's not like it's sudden or anything. Small cuts'll vanish in minutes, but the bigger stuff might take hours, maybe a day or two.”

Rodney blinked, suitably impressed. “Wow. But only after you eat. Not when you're hungry.”

“More like... at my best.” John winced at what felt like confessing every painful detail of his weakness. Although at this juncture, it probably didn't matter. He was weak, at these people's mercy, and they would have found out sooner or later. And for all he knew, Kolya had already told them in that recommendation letter he'd sent. The jerk was only enthusiastic about talking with the Order when it involved some recent scientific discovery.

“And I wasn't at my best,” John continued. “Hadn't eaten all day, and what I had the day before barely counts as a snack.” He sighed, heavy and weary and cold from more than just the biting breeze. He backed up until his spine touched the wall and slid down it to the floor, pulling his knees up and wrapping his good arm around his chest. It was odd – he'd expected the wall's touch to be arctic. Instead, it seemed to warm his skin. Either that or he'd reached the delirious stage of hypothermia.

Rodney stared down at him a moment, his gaze so pensive his brow wrinkled. After that moment, he blinked, breaking his own trance, then removed his coat and handed it to John. “Take it before you freeze to death. Carson'll chew me up and spit me out if I give him reason to believe I let you turn into a human ice cube.”

John snorted. “Human.” He took the coat anyways, tucking it around himself. It was still warm, the silver weighing it against him, making the change in temperature immediate.

“Oh, you're human,” Rodney said. He sat across from John with four feet of space between them. “Trust me. What you change into may not look like it, but you are.”

“Tell that to the people I went ballistic on.”

Rodney shrugged. “Mm, self-defense is a bitch that way.” Removing the long-coat had revealed a plain brown vest over a white shirt with a watch on a gold chain tucked into the pocket. Rodney pulled that watch out, popping it open and clicking it shut over and over. It was as though the man's hands were incapable of holding still for longer than two seconds and needed preoccupation. “Look, I know why you're scared, and I - I know why you don't want to be here.” Still holding the watch, he freed up a finger that he pointed at John's chest. “I, um... I saw the – the mark – scar. And I'm assuming – just assuming, here – that Kolya probably had something to do with it, right?”

John's hand acted on its own, sliding through the coat to his chest, and he glared at nothing in particular.

Rodney nodded, paling. “It's common knowledge that the man is sadistic. Although I thought they were just exaggerating to tease me. They kept saying he was going to cut open my head to study my brains.” His color went from pasty white to pasty gray. After a moment of swallowing, he continued.

“But they also said that to Teyla and Ronon first time they arrived. But that's beside the point. I'm a genius,” he blurted, and his expression turned so smug it almost made John chuckle out loud. “Super genius. Above the norm. When I was a child, I was solving complex equations that grabbed the attention of every renowned scientist and mathematician all over the world. People came from miles just to test me and see what, if any, limits awaited me. And let me tell you, if there are limits, I have yet to find them.”

Then the smile faded, and the sallow complexion returned. “When I levitated my first cup, they wanted to study me, cut me open, even. They wanted to see what made me tick. And my father – my father told me to let them. That what I could offer the world outweighed my own importance.”

John looked away, down at his knees, briefly.

Rodney said, “The only reason it didn't happen was because a guy named O'Neill found me. He's, uh, one of the generals for the Order. He brought me here to headquarters, had me work with General Ling – a scientist. Good guy, Ling. He didn't want to cut me open or anything. But it still meant leaving my mother and sister behind. I was sixteen at the time. So, long story short...” he took a deep breath, like a man steeling himself for the hard part. “I know what it's like. To be a freak or considered a freak – however you wish to put it. And I know how scary it is. And I can assure you, speaking from personal experience, that no one here is going to study you or hurt you or – or – whatever else you think we're going to do...”

John looked back to the ocean between the supports of the balustrade, feeling suddenly so drained that his mouth started to move without his brain's full blessing, as though it had been waiting forever for this very moment and wasn't going to wait any longer.

Or was simply going with the flow of all this confessing, because there was more than one way to be weak and incapable.

“Kolya liked to cut me open to test the extent of the regeneration. Always my chest. Sometimes just the skin. Sometimes to the bone. Through the bone. He'd even let it get infected... just to see...”

Rodney's jaw dropped, and his color now made all previous paling like normal skin-tones. “Holy… was he nuts! What if that had killed you! It's not like we can just go to the nearest Accommodator store and pick up a new Accommodator here. We're at war! And he happily butchers you like a -a -lab rat!” He shivered. “That's just – wrong, very, very, very wrong.” And he shivered again, harder, like a horse trying to shake off biting flies. “And you let him do this? You let him or... he made you? Did he make you? Because I don't really see how that's possible but – I mean, I know we just met, but you don't strike me as the type who would put up with that... at least not for long...”

John looked down, rubbing the back of his neck uncertainly, because it was a damn good question and one he hadn't stopped thinking over since Kolya had ditched him.

“Thought I had to,” he said. “At the time. After my dad disowned me, I did a lot of wandering, ran into Akuma in a few towns. When people saw me in my other form they, um... you know. They weren't happy about it. I was chased, a lot. Sometimes I fought back, but people got hurt and that only proved them right. Then Kolya found me, took me in. He said I was out of control, dangerous, and that the only way he could help me was by letting him study me. So I did.” He shrugged. “I owed him, trusted him.” Then bit his lip and shrank into the coat. “I... thought he could cure me.”

“Did he tell you that?”

John shook his head. “I just assumed. I never really asked, he never really said, and it was a hope that stuck hard even after everything he'd taught me about Innocence. I was just a kid – fifteen, I think. It didn't really hit me that this wasn't going away until I was twenty-eight. All I wanted was for it to be gone so I didn't have to worry about hurting people anymore.” Or people hurting me, but he didn't know Rodney to tell him as much.

“If you ask me,” said Rodney, “you seemed pretty in control in that fight back at the town. A monster wouldn't save the life of a man he didn't know. I think Kolya lied to you just so he could study you. I may not know the man, but from what I've heard he seems very much the type.”

Then he said. “Hey, Sheppard, look at me.”

John did. Rodney no longer looked pale.

“You belong here,” he said. “With us. You're one of us, and for that reason, you have nothing to worry about. No one's going to cut you open or put you in a cage or anything like that.”

“Even if I attack innocent people in a fit of rage?” John countered.

Rodney raised a finger. “Fit of self defense. At least that's how I interpreted it. Like I said, self-defense is a bitch. Besides, also like I said, a monster wouldn't risk his life saving the life of a man he didn't know. End of story.”

Soft flapping pulled John's attention to the balcony entrance and a little yellow ball with feathered wings fluttering his way. He straightened, his heart beating lighter on feeling the weight of Jumper settle on the top of his head. “Hey, buddy, where've you been?”

“Trying to eat us out of house and home,” said Ronon from the entrance. He tossed a wad of off-white cloth toward John who caught it one-handed. He shook it out into a long-sleeved shirt.

“Carson was worried you were cold,” Ronon said.

Teyla stepped up next to him. “He is worried, period, and is anxious for your return.”

Rodney rose. “Tell him to meet us in the guest room five doors down. I'll explain everything to him there.” He held out his hand to John. “So, what do you say? It's cold, it's dinner time, I'm starving, and you need to heal. Cake could be involved if it's Tuesday.”

“It is,” said Teyla.

Rodney brightened. “Oh, excellent.” He waggled his fingers impatiently.

After five seconds of deliberation, John took the proffered hand. Rodney pulled him to his feet, and Ronon steadied him with a hand on his good shoulder. He let John lean against him as they headed back in.

On his head, Jumper went rigid at the same time a fat, furry shape darted out of the shadows to rub up against Rodney's leg. John scowled at it then at McKay.

“You brought that cat?”

Rodney picked it up, cradling it possessively to his chest. “What? It's a stray; no one wanted him. And he likes me.” He gave its head an affectionate scratch.

“It tried to eat my golem, McKay.” John glared at the cat saying this and could have sworn it smiled smugly back.

Jumper growled.

“We'll just train it not to eat golems.”

“How about you just get rid of it.”

“How about you just get used to it. I was here first so it stays.”

“Not if it starts eating all the other golems,” said Ronon.

“It won't!” Rodney squawked. “I'll train it! You just wait and see! Cats can be trained, and I'll prove it...!” His voice reverberated down the massive halls.

And it struck John as odd, again, how such a massive place of stone that should feel so cold, felt so warm.

The end



John's Invocation
John's Invocation

 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: The Hush Sound
 
 
 
scarletamethystscarletamethyst on August 23rd, 2008 07:28 am (UTC)
Very fun to read, loved how you changed things in SGA to fit into DGM, even letting Ronan have his gun; poor John tho, turning into an Iratus bug? Just thinking of John in the exorcist uniform and fight Akuma with his team makes me smile tho.
(Anonymous) on August 23rd, 2008 08:22 am (UTC)
WOW!!!!! What a great, awesome, fantastic, wonderful, incredible good story!!!!!!

I have no idea what "D-Grayman" is but it sounds interesting, very interesting...

It's wonderful how you put the four in this sort of AU and kept them in character and let them behave like we know they would from the show. It just feels right and natural.

I liked the way you put the others from the show in it (Steve, Koyla, Radek, Carson and O'Neill) and that they too behaved like we know them.

The John whump and angst: Great! It was so him, the fear of hurting someone in one of his "rage-fits", the fear of what Rodney (and later Carson) will do to him when he gets in his "clutches", the tiredness of the constant running away from humans (with torches and pitchforkes) - you described it wonderful.

Most time of the story, I was able to "see" and "hear" the story like a little movie in my head. I soooo love it when that happens and because of that I enjoyed the story more than I already enjoyed it. (hope you understand what I mean)

So, I just wanna say Thank you! for this really, really great story (which is now one of my favorites) and I really hope that we will see John as an Exorcist again... (and thank you to your plot bunnies, which kept your muses hostage til you wrote this one... Cookies for them! *whoa, runs for cover*)

Saphira
-who runs off to read it again-
titan5titan5 on August 23rd, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
I have to admit that the only reason I started reading this was because of who wrote it. I usually hate these totally AU stories. That said, I LOVED this. I almost cried when it got to the end because I wanted more. This would make a nice series (hint, hint)!
wildcat88: Teamwildcat88 on August 23rd, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)
I really did enjoy this. The team was so in character yet slightly different with Rodney in charge. My favorite part was the balcony scene at the end as he gently relates his story and calms John who hasn't known much kindness. Nicely done.
(Anonymous) on August 24th, 2008 04:48 am (UTC)
I have never heard of the story this is fused with, but you're right - I really don't need to in order to follow this. The context clues explained things nicely, and I enjoyed seeing the characters in the new setting.

I like how their abilities matched up so nicely with them. I enjoyed John as a sort of advanced iratus, and I was particularly taken with the irony of him tearing someone's throat out in that form. I love alternate universes, but I approach them with some hesitancy because I hate to see the characters deviate too much from their original state. I was glad to see that you've kept them the same, though obviously changed slightly from being immersed in this world instead of their own.

And appearances by Zelenka and Beckett! You did very well with the subtle weaving of Stargate here - 'Jumper' indeed, and Rodney bonding with the cat. And Steve! It makes for a very interesting dynamic to have Sheppard as the newcomer, while the rest of the team has already formed a clear connection. I love how you can already see the beginnings of their usual banter-y friendship near the end.

And you used the 'experiment' thing, which is one of my guilty whump favorites. Overall, this story was very enjoyable, and well-written, in spite of not knowing much about the D-Grayman mythology. Thanks for the read!
Anne Marierawa_02 on August 24th, 2008 08:00 am (UTC)
I would really, really like more of this please.
giusytrisogiusytriso on August 24th, 2008 10:26 am (UTC)
I admit I'm not into Manga, but I loved your exorcist!John. The Akuma menace sounds scary and I'd love to read more of this serie from you.
As for your drawing.... omg, I coulnd't help noticing 'the hair' on the beast. Ohh...that's really John!! Well done!
scifigeek72scifigeek72 on August 24th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
Great story. I have no idea what D-Grayman is but it sounds really interesting.
radioshack84: shepradioshack84 on August 25th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC)
Wow, this was cool! I don't have a clue what D-Grayman is, and it sounds way too fantasy-ish for my liking, but your wonderful description and ability to mesh SGA with it only leaves me wanting more...I so want to see the 'team dinner' and John's healing process hehe :)

I don't normally even read crossover fics, especially when I'm not familiar with one of the things being crossed, but it was you, so I had no choice. Great drawing, btw. Matches the awesomeness of the story. Thanks! :)
ninja007ninja007 on August 25th, 2008 09:03 am (UTC)
Hey, just wanted you to know that RL is beatch slapping me right now, but I do intend on reading it. I'll post feedback when I do....

Sorry for the delay on the candy...
(Anonymous) on August 27th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC)
Liked this. Good use of the themes for the two. Makes me want to read Grayman...

further chapters?
holly_bataliholly_batali on September 7th, 2008 08:21 am (UTC)
Wow! This is great! Never read Gray Man, but the SGA version was fantastic! Planning on continuing? (hint hint)
(Anonymous) on February 22nd, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
ooo that was really good hehe i love both SGA and D-greyman. you pulled it off really well thanks you for the story :)
antonomasia09: John Sheppardantonomasia09 on June 25th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
This was incredible! I'm not familiar with D-Grayman, but you got the characterizations of the Atlantis characters perfectly, and I really believed the world that they were in. I would love to read a sequel!