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09 December 2009 @ 03:17 pm
24 Gifts Of 2009 - Day Nine - Dog Tags (Genuis!Ryan Verse Fic)  
Technically, this is Genuis!Ryan Verse, but... it's not part of the main timeline. It was a random idea that came to me. It's heartbreaking, but in the end it's okay.

Ryan had been back home in Eureka, following the decision to pull almost all the scientists out of Atlantis and replace half the military personnel, for 3 months and had fallen into a routine of work until his mind got tired, then go for a run until his body was. He knew that no one really understood the sudden change in him, and only Jo seemed to understand why he constantly wore his dog tags, rubbing them between thumb and forefinger when he was trying to think through a problem.

"You worked with the military a lot, huh?" Jo asked one day when she was responding to a minor issue at Global and wandered down to Ryan's lab afterward.

"I was on a team with two of them and a local," Ryan admitted. "You probably get this Jo, but... the four of us were pretty much constantly in one bizarre, terrifying, potentially deadly situation after another, and we always watched each other's backs. I trust the people here, but... there's no Cadman to blow a hole through a wall if I get captured or buried alive. There's no Lorne to commiserate with about Cadman's insane love of explosives. There's no Leri to tell stories about her family and cook these weird little meals that are so good. It's..."


"Yeah," Ryan admitted. "Crazy, right?"

"This is Eureka, crazy comes with the territory," she replied, squeezing his shoulder. "I'm sure they miss you, too."


Six months later, Beckett shows up in Eureka, eyes rimmed with red, and Ryan knows someone is dead. "McKay or Sheppard?" he says, going with the two people Beckett had been closest with.

"Not them," Beckett replied, his voice gentle, regretful.

"Weir?" Ryan asked, hoping he didn't sound hopeful because he liked Weir, he didn't want her to be dead, but it was better than what his gut was telling him.


Ryan was vaguely aware that they were still standing in the middle of Cafe Diem, an audience that included most of the biggest town gossips watching, but he couldn't disguise the way his voice cracked. "Cadman and Lorne?"

Beckett nodded. "Bates forwarded the report to Sheppard, who sent it to me. They were visiting Leri, and they were ambushed by Kolya. The other two members of the team made it back with their dog tags."

Ryan turned, bracing himself on the counter as he squeezed his eyes shut to try and block out the pain. "Is Leri..."

"As I understand it, the village was gone by the time another team was sent. There's no sign of any of them."

Ryan nodded, a sharp nod that felt as bad as the stabbing pain in his chest. It didn't become easier when Beckett peeled one of his clutching hands off the edge of the counter and dropped a chain with tags on it into his hand. "What...?" Ryan began, voice raw.

"They both left instructions for you to get one of their tags. Major Lorne's other tag is going to his parents, and Laura's other one is on my chain," Beckett explained. "They wanted you to have them."

Ryan nodded, looking down at the tags, then slipped them over his head and tucked them inside his shirt alongside his own tags. "If you get any news about Leri..."

"I'll make sure it's passed along," Beckett promised. "I'm sorry."

"Yeah," Ryan said, his hand raising to touch the lump caused by the presence of all four tags, one of Leri's Atlantean tags having been a gift to him before he left. He shook his head sharply. "I have work to do," he said. "Vincent, where's my Vinspressos? I don't have all day to sit and wait for your coffee, it's nowhere near that good," he snapped.

Once Ryan had the coffee in his hands and was out the door, Beckett sighed. "I guess I won the bet," he said softly, regretfully.

"Bet?" Jo asked, arms crossed over her chest as she stood in front of Beckett, slipping into the old protective mode she had when it came to Ryan ever since the lab accident that had briefly had them all believing he was dead at 17.

"Some of us had a pool about whether Dr. Atwood would stay the same no matter what, or buckle and become McKay when pushed hard enough. I'm sorry to say, I was right when I said he'd become McKay, snappish and tense," Beckett said. "Losing the rest of his team was just that final push."

Jo's expression softened slightly. "I'll get Zoe to go see him in the lab, she can usually pull him around when he's in a mood," she said. "If not, I'll see if I can get ahold of his friend Harkness, last time Ryan went off with Harkness for a couple weeks, he came back in much better shape than he'd been in years."

"You'd earn the gratitude of all of us that worked with him on the project," Beckett said, careful about what exactly he said. "He's well liked by almost all of us, except for the scientist he's repeatedly threatened to kill, but at one point or another I think we all entertained those thoughts about that particular man."

Jo nodded. "Hopefully there'll be good news about that third person," she said. "Ryan deserves good news."

"That he does," Beckett agreed.


Three months later, Ryan was back in Cafe Diem, snapping at Vincent to hurry up with the Vinspressos, when the doors behind him opened.


He froze, then slowly turned to see a thinner, much more beat up, version of AR-5 standing in the doorway with Sheppard, McKay, Beckett, and Weir. Ryan stared for a moment, then a grin broke out across his face and he crossed the room to join the other three members of his gate team in an embrace.

"Kolya paid off the other two idiots," Cadman said. "We're okay, though."

"I should have known you three were just trying to give me a heart attack," Ryan replied, laughing even as tears rolled down his face and his hands gripped the fabric of Cadman and Lorne's shirts like they'd disappear if he let go. "If you're not getting me shot, blown up, or shoved off a cliff, you're not doing your job."

"Jacen blew up half of Kolya's compound," Cadman said. "Boomers and Shredders." She grinned. "It was beautiful."

"My brother was not happy with the Genii," Leri agreed, one hand cupping Ryan's neck, tears glistening in her eyes. "He didn't like them before, but now they've made a blood enemy."

"Good," Ryan said before moving forward into the embrace again, all four clinging to each other.

The End

It's not really mentioned in the story, but... Beckett and Cadman are indeed a still a couple, and while he left Atlantis, she was still there because she and Lorne didn't feel right leaving when Sheppard wasn't there to take a stand on behalf of the Athosians and the Dahara. Sheppard was removed because he loudly protested the scientists being removed from the city and the Pegasus natives being removed from gate teams.
jujuberry136jujuberry136 on December 10th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
I'm so glad they weren't dead! *phew*

LOVE that Jack Harkness (and the Doctor by extension?) was suggested as a means of helping Ryan.