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The Author is Evil

Evil Textually Rendered?


June 5th, 2006

Fic: Lady of Light (PG) @ 11:01 am


Title: Lady of Light
Author: SGAtlantisLight
Characters: McKay, Sheppard, Lorne, Emmagan, Beckett, Weir
Relationships: McKay/Sheppard
Rating: PG for this part, but series as a whole is NC-17
Warnings: Cliffhanger
Spoilers: Major references to events (some somewhat different in this AU) in Epiphany
Summary: Part 18 of the Unified Theory series-- an AU where Everett was never drained by the Wraith and kept his position as military commander of Atlantis.
Disclaimer: The characters, the setting, etc. are NOT mine, even if I wish they were.
Author's Note: I realise the time dilation ratio disagrees with what they say on the show. But, if you follow the time dilation of the actual plot-- "It's only been a couple of hours" vs. "Try 6 months!" and Rodney's comment about a week to 10 days being so long that John would die of old age-- you'll see the fiddly bits with the camera were an order of magnitude too short. So, I've gone with the actual plot time dilation ratio, which is about 1/2000.



John lay on the ground of the cave, pain lancing through his body-- in too much agony to even rise. He watched the minutes tick by on his watch until he finally recovered the energy to activate his radio. "Major, Teyla, Rodney, come in."

Only silence answered him.

"Okay, I don't know if you can hear me over the radio, but be careful, there's some sort of energy field in the doorway. Hurts pretty bad to move. I don't know if I can…" He tried to rise, but couldn't, groaning. "All right, you guys should probably stay put." He deactivated the radio, and then spoke once again. "Is Rodney okay?"

There was still nothing but silence. Fear shivered through him. What if Rodney had been stung? Was that why no one had come after him yet? Had they had to rush his husband back to the jumper, relying on John being okay for the few minutes it would take? If it were John out there and, say, Lorne in his position, he'd probably have done that and then sent Teyla back while he took Rodney through the gate. But they should be able to hear him. "Must be something blocking reception," he guessed.

According to his watch, it had been half an hour. Lorne was obviously being cautious...

Or Rodney really had been stung and...

No, no. Caution. That explained it.

Gingerly, he rolled over and sat up. The effort left him trembling with pain. He assessed himself visually as much as possible. His hands were red and hot, pins and needles shooting through. The sensation in his feet and legs was almost as bad. It made him think of a cross between recovering from a limb falling asleep and frostbite, multiplied twentyfold.

There was no way in hell he could stand or walk. He hoped there was nothing nasty outside the cave or, if there was, that it wouldn't visit just yet.

***

It had been nearly 8 hours. The pain had finally receded. John had investigated the small cave, discovering the inky blackness in the doorway was impenetrable. He'd tried everything, including shooting the barrier, which had only gotten him a graze from the ricocheting bullet. He'd chosen to wait for his team to communicate, but so far there hadn't been a squawk, a note, a rock.

"This is Sheppard. Can you hear me now?" he said into his radio. There was still nothing but silence. "Look, I'm going to go check out the perimeter. I'll be back shortly," he said.

Ten minutes after he exited the cave, there was a slight tremor as a rock sailed through the oily black surface of the barrier.

***

Lorne licked his lips. "Maybe it's a cloak?"

Rodney looked at his scanner. "It has many of the same properties as a cloaking field."

"Well, the Ancients did tend to hide all the really cool stuff," Lorne said, trying to inject a little hope into the situation before Rodney panicked.

"Yeah. I would just like to be able to explain these readings better before someone else..." He stopped, clicking his fingers together, as he turned to Teyla. "Get me a branch. You got tape?" he asked Lorne.

***

"Can you hear me now?" he repeated for what seemed like the millionth time and waited.

As expected, there was no reply.

"The cave opens up to the other side of the ridge but there's nothing in the immediate area I can survive on." He began pacing, fear and anger clenching his gut. "Okay, that's day two and I'm out of water. We don't leave our people behind, right? I hope this doesn't mean something's happened. How about sending me a signal to show me that you're still there and that Rodney's okay? A note. Hell, I'll even take a damned rock, though, uh, I'd prefer a note 'cause I couldn't see a rock coming." He sighed, rubbing his forehead. "I'm going to turn off my radio for another six hours to conserve the battery and try to get some sleep. Sheppard out."

***

The major quickly rummaged through his pack and pulled out a roll of precious duct tape.

Rodney reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his camcorder while Lorne pulled a section of tape off. "I've got a camera." They waited impatiently until Teyla came back with a slender branch and offered it to Rodney. "Thank you. Okay, so, tape it to the stick. We can extend the camera through, record for a few minutes, pull it back, and play the recorder-- see what's happened with John."

"Kind of a MALP on a stick," Lorne said, busily securing the camera.

Rodney rolled his eyes. "Yes. Very clever. Are you done?"

"We're good," Lorne said.

***

He was cold and thirsty, huddled next to his tiny campfire. By his watch, it was 60 hours since he'd stepped through the doorway and there had been no sign from the team. He tried not to think about what that could mean, but his imagination drew images-- Rodney dying of anaphylactic shock, a wraith attack on the team, a wraith attack while they were getting Rodney to the jumper, Rodney dying during a wraith attack on Atlantis...

He shook his head. He had to believe that they were working on rescuing him, but that something had happened. Maybe Rodney was even now hard at work deactivating the barrier.

Or Zelenka was.

No, he couldn't think it.

"This is Sheppard. I'm pretty sure you can't hear me, but I don't have a volleyball to talk to, so what the hell. I've gone 12 hours without water and my power bars are long gone. I need to find my own source of food and water. There's nothing in the immediate area. I'm going to have to go further out. Um, I'm giving you an indication of where I go, as I go." He sighed. "God, Rodney, I hope you're all right. Sheppard out."

He stood and quickly made an arrow pointing the way out and stomped out the fire.

***

Rodney took the branch from Teyla and fed it into the field. It seemed to disappear into nothingness.

Teyla nodded to the inscription beside the doorway. "I am not fluent in Ancient but I do recognise a few words: welcome and ascension."

"Ascension?" Lorne said. "God, I hope that's not a bad sign."

"What do you mean?" Rodney asked.

"Well, I mean, what if Sheppard...?" Lorne trailed off, seeing the look of horror on Rodney's face.

"It's a matter of evolution," Rodney said, willing himself to be calm. "Anyway, I'm sure we've got more than enough now. Let's see what's going on."

***

John strode through the forest as sunlight streamed between the trees, listening to the birds chittering in the canopy above him and the hint of breeze. Suddenly, the twittering died and a roar ripped through the forest.

John froze, thinking of the thing like a T-Rex his team had encountered once. He gripped his P-90, scanning the forest around him, listening.

The roar came again, from a different direction.

The thing could either move like the devil or there was more than one of them...

"Well, you're either going to eat me, or I'm going to eat you."

***

"What the hell?" Rodney exclaimed.

"What is it?" Lorne asked.

"The battery's dead. It was fully charged. It should be good for a couple hours of continuous... Oh, no!"

Rodney stood and took a step toward the doorway, and then with a grimace turned and started heading quickly back the way they had come.

"McKay, what's up?" Lorne asked, following.

"I've got another battery in the jumper. I need to see what's on the tape before I go in there."

Lorne nodded, and threw back over his shoulder to Teyla, "Stay here!"

***

Whatever the creature was, John had emerged from the forest and into a meadow without seeing it.

"Help! Help! Help me, please!" a man's voice called.

John turned, hearing the roar again, as a dark-haired man ran toward him, a look of panic on his face. "Where is it?"

"It's there, in the trees."

Another roar, closer this time.

"What is it?" John asked.

"The Beast!"

Well, that wasn't too helpful. "All right. Is there a safe place for us to go?"

"No, no, the Cloister is too far. It's upon us!"

***

"Batteries... batteries... batteries!" Rodney said, locating them and quickly switching out the dead cells for fresh and accessing the tape.

Lorne leaned over his shoulder. "Looks like someone had a campout."

Rodney looked grim and fast-forwarded, watching as the shadows crept and not much else happened. "The tape's full. Two hours."

"What?" Lorne asked, looking at him in confusion.

"I maybe had the camera through the field for 30 seconds, so we're talking at least a ratio of 240 to 1."

"What the hell are you talking about, McKay?"

"That energy field is a time-dilation field." Rodney pointed to the screen as he grabbed up another tape and a set of batteries and began heading back toward the cave. "During the time we were throwing a rock through the doorway and then putting together our MALP-on-a-stick, John had time to build a campfire, eat a number of MREs and power bars based on the wrappers, get bored, stomp out the fire, leave us an arrow in stone, and leave, which means the ratio is significantly more than 240 to 1."

"Then why didn't he come back?" Lorne asked.

"Obviously because he couldn't," Rodney said. "We need to hurry. Hopefully not too much time will have passed before I can get to him."

***

John blinked awake slowly to take in the sight of a girl of perhaps twelve or thirteen years leaning over him, a cool cloth on his face. "Hi," he said, his voice feeling rusty from disuse.

The girl turned and yelled. "He's awake again!"

He flinched. "I am now!"

He was aware of the passage of time, a vague sense of days spent in dazed, pain-filled slumber.

A door to the house opened and closed and he saw a woman walk in. She shared some features in common with the girl and was wearing a dress in a similar style and colouring.

"I am Teer," the woman said.

"Have we met?"

"When Avrid first brought you here. You were terribly injured from fighting the Beast. Avrid carried you almost halfway across the Sanctuary."

"And I healed you," the girl exclaimed proudly.

"You did?" John asked. "You're a little young to be a doctor."

"Hedda is one of the few among us who possesses the healing power."

"Well, good. Thank you," he said, feeling lost.

"It's we who should thank you for saving our brother from the Beast."

"It's funny, I don't remember winning," he answered.

In fact, he rather distinctly remembered losing, convinced he was going to die with no one but a stranger for company. The Beast's roars had gotten louder and louder, but he hadn't seen anything, even after firing several bursts at the source of the sound.

All he had ever seen was a slight distortion, a twisting of the air, that appeared, moved, disappeared only to reappear somewhere else, ghostlike. But it had been a real entity when it threw him. And the claws that had raked across his back were real, opening him up as if his tac vest, clothes, and skin were tissue paper.

***

He lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling that had become so familiar over the last two weeks.

Teer, Avrid, and Hedda had brought him food, clean clothes, water, other necessities. They'd tried to coax him out of the house, but after his conversation with Avrid, he hadn't much felt like leaving his bed.

"There is no way to leave, John, other than to ascend," Avrid had said.

No one from Atlantis had come for him. He couldn't imagine that it would take a great brain like Rodney's all that much time to take down the field, unless it were truly impossible. Or unless Rodney was...

He rolled over and pulled the blankets over his head, shutting out the sounds of the people of the Cloister, and tried hard to believe that someone would come for him, that Rodney would come for him. It was just taking a while. That was all.

***

"Hold it, wait a minute, wait a minute. You can't go in there. How will you get out?" Lorne demanded.

"I'll figure that out when I get in there," Rodney answered. "I'll have significantly more time inside than I will out here."

Lorne grabbed his arm. "You can't go in there until we know it's safe."

"It's safe, Major. John obviously was okay."

"We don't know that. Anyone could have built that fire, gotten into his pack and eaten those power bars."

"The arrow--"

"Might not have even been meant for us," Lorne interrupted.

"I don't have time for this. Get out of my way."

"McKay, stop. You're not thinking straight."

"This is my husband, Major. I'm not going to let him grow old and die while I stand here arguing with you. Get out of my way."

"I'm well aware of who he is," Lorne said. "But we can't lose both of you. You need more information, equipment; we can't rush in and make mistakes."

"I'm going!" Rodney pushed him aside.

"McKay! Rodney! You need more information and you know it."

Rodney turned, his mouth set in an unhappy line, his shoulders slumped. He shoved the camcorder and batteries into Lorne's hands. "Do a 3-second count, pull it out, and radio me the results. I need to get back to Atlantis and get equipment together. Go-go-go-go-go-go-go!"

Lorne turned and started jogging back to the cave while Rodney returned to the jumper and fired it up.

***

Slowly, John had adjusted to life in the Cloister, such as it was. People moved about placidly, didn't seem to argue or compete or strive. It was boring, boring, boring.

It was hard to push down his fear.

But slowly the days turned to weeks and weeks to months...

And John knew something horrible had happened to Atlantis.

***

He was blinking awake again, lying in his bed surrounded by Teer, Avrid, and Hedda.

"We thought we'd lost you again," Avrid said.

"What happened?"

"I've never seen such bravery. Were it not for you, all may have been lost."

"I don't remember winning this time either," he answered. Even with Teer by his side, there was no facing the Beast. Nothing he did appeared to touch it.

"He's not fully healed," Hedda said, reaching for a cut across his cheek.

"I'm fine," he assured her, pushing her hand aside.

***

"We've loaded weeks of supplies and everything I could think of," Rodney said, striding down the hall with Elizabeth and Carson.

"What're we not thinking of?" Carson asked.

"Now take a minute, and be certain," Elizabeth said. "If your theory is correct, you won't be able to make many of these trips."

"I don't have time," Rodney snapped. "Look, all I can hope to do is fix this within his lifetime."

"His lifetime?" Carson asked.

"You didn't consider the ratio we got from Lorne's measurements, did you?" Rodney asked. "At a ratio of 2000 to 1, if it takes us a week to ten days to fix this, he will probably have died of old age."

"Oh my God," Elizabeth gasped.

"Yes. Hence the rushing. Now, you ready? You don't look ready."

Carson answered, "I'm ready."

"I need to pick up a few of my books to help with the translation."

"Well, we'll pick them up on the way, and I hope you've got us a real Jumper pilot because I don't trust him," he said, pointing at Carson, "and I can't fly the damned thing in a straight line."

***

He'd gone back to the cave to see if there wasn't something, anything, there to show that the Atlanteans had tried to rescue him. There was nothing. He had found his P-90 in the tall grass of the meadow, so it hadn't been an entirely useless trip.

Unhappily, he opened the door to his house.

He was surprised to find Teer sitting on the floor waiting for him.

"You don't have to wait up for me."

"You've been gone most of the day."

"Sorry, I should've told somebody," he apologised.

"I knew," she answered. "I was following your journey in my mind. I was with you since you left the Cloister."

"Is that some special power of yours you haven't told me about?"

"Yes."

"Oh!" The thought both intrigue and disturbed him.

"I've been with you each time you've searched for a means to leave us. As Hedda has the power to heal, I am able to see images in my mind. It's not uncommon for those on the path to ascension to gain such abilities."

"I wish you would have told me. I could've used you out there. It took me forever to find this!" he said, trying to keep the conversation light.

"Before my mother ascended, she could move things with her mind. You can imagine how wondrous that would be for a child. Sit with me."

John went and sat on the floor next to her.

"I was the one who sent Avrid to find you."

"You did?"

"Because I knew you were coming that night, and I knew where you would be in the field; and I have known since I was a child that you would sit here with me as you do now. I've been able to close my eyes and see your face my entire life, John. You are the one."

He stared at her with wide-eyed shock. "The one what?"

"The one who will lead us to ascension."

"Oh!" He relaxed. "I thought you were going in a different direction with that." He smiled, trying to take the tension out of the moment.

"I've seen that as well. That's why I waited for you."

"I'm... I'm flattered." He shook his head. "But I'm also married. I'm sorry, Teer."

She nodded. "You are still hoping he will come for you?"

"Yeah," he answered. "I mean, he has to be working on it-- figuring out a way to get me out of here. Maybe that's why he's taking so long."

She nodded. "No doubt you are correct."

He nodded, praying she wouldn't notice that his positive assurance didn't reach his eyes.

***

He'd been telling them about thunderstorms, frustrated at their complacent attitudes.

"You're not meditating, you're hiding," he'd argued.

Avrid looked mystified. "From what?"

"You know the answer to that."

Avrid looked like he didn't understand, but Teer did. "He means the Beast."

"Yes, I do. Now I don't know how any of you expect me to feel like I belong here, but every time that thing comes around, I'm out there alone."

And that's when it happened-- the Beast attacked within the Cloister.

At first, as before, the people scattered, hiding and leaving John to deal with it alone. Anger and frustration burned through him as he turned to face it.

***

Rodney chafed, watching the minutes tick past and knowing every minute was over a day for John.

"Ha! The telemetry was not entirely gibberish. Bring up the HUD," he instructed the pilot. "I've been able to determine the location of the power source inside the field, here."

"What good is that?" Carson asked.

"Once we know where the generator is, one way or another, I should be able to turn it off." He smiled, relieved. Soon, soon, they could get to John.

***

The Beast had grown to a massive height as John faced it, being tossed this way and that. Then, suddenly, he was surrounded by the villagers.

"We've come to stand with you, whatever happens," Avrid said.

"No," Teer said, "we've come to fight." She looked up at the towering form standing in the center of the Cloister. "And we are not afraid of you."

The Beast roared in rage.

"The Beast is of our own creation, and it is long past time we sent it away."

All of the people walked forward and encircled the Beast, which growled and roared, shimmering into and out of existence. The universe seemed to pause for a moment, holding its breath, as they all stared up at the Beast. There was a horrible scream and then the creature disappeared.

John stood for a moment, unsure, but there were no growls or roars or screams or distortions. Teer turned to face him. Avrid and Hedda joined her, standing to either side.

"That's it?!" John said, at once relieved and incensed. "That's all it took?!"

"You were right, John. We were afraid. The Beast was the final burden we had to shed, manifest from our own fears. You gave us the courage to face it. Come with us."

The faces of the villagers were beginning to glow. As John watched one of them seemed to burst into pure light and take to the sky.

"I'm not ready for that yet," he answered. "I'm not sure I'll ever be. Besides, I have to wait. I have to know."

Behind her, more and more villagers were sloughing off their earthly forms and taking on pure white light.

"You can't remain behind alone. You would go mad from the loneliness. Come with us."

She extended her hands to him and he stood on the brink, thinking of Rodney, of Teyla and Elizabeth and Carson and Radek and Ford, of Atlantis singing in his veins.

It had been six months. Someone would have come for him by now if Rodney were alive.

And yet... and yet...

"Come, John. Perhaps he is already on the other side awaiting you..."

He paused a moment longer, then reached out to take her hands.


Next part

 
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Comments

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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! Yeah, that would make an interesting plot twist.
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From:nightspring
Date:June 5th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
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"It's only been a couple of days" vs. "Try 6 months!"

I think you mean "couple of hours"?
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 03:54 pm (UTC)
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Yes, thanks. Fixed it.
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From:sp23
Date:June 5th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC)
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Oh no, he didn't! He wouldn't go with off and ascend with flat-faced Teer. Hold on, John. Rodney's coming.

You know, I never did like Teer, and I'm sure she knew that Rodney was working diligently on rescuing John, and just didn't tell him. The trollop! *g*
[User Picture Icon]
From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC)
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One wonders, if she saw John, surely she saw Rodney... which, well, you'll see once I get the next chapter written.
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From:seekergeek
Date:June 5th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
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No, John. No touchy the bad Ascending woman! Rodney will rescue you!
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 03:56 pm (UTC)
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Hehe. Just wait... ;>
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From:sapphiresfic
Date:June 5th, 2006 04:54 pm (UTC)
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OH NO! John don't do that! I hope he doesn't asscend!
Loved the chapter; great twist on Epiphany.
Can't wait to read more!
[User Picture Icon]
From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! More will be coming shortly. I'd really like to write the next chapter *right now*, but the Sympathy for Eve readers have been patiently waiting as well.
(no subject) - (Anonymous)
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
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;>
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From:sg1atlantis
Date:June 5th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC)
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A cliffhanger! You are so evil!

*grins* But, I love this chapter, even with the cliffhanger. *waits patiently for more*
[User Picture Icon]
From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! Yes, I'm evil like an evil thing.
(no subject) - (Anonymous)
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 03:59 pm (UTC)
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*Singsongs "Yoouuu'lll see...."*
[User Picture Icon]
From:tvfiend
Date:June 5th, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC)
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grrrr. you and your cliffhangers!
[User Picture Icon]
From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
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But the chapter was getting so long! Yes, yes. That's the only reason... ;>
From:(Anonymous)
Date:June 5th, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for fixing the time ratio thing. According to the 1/250 ratio, one hour would have translated into ten days for John. Unless they took 18 hours to get him out, the math just did not compute.

Your way definitely made more sense and Damn it, Rodney better hurry!!!
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
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From:berlinghoff79
Date:June 5th, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC)

NO Fair!

(Link)
If he's going to ascend, I'm going to be soooo pissed!

First I think, yay no "TeerSex" and then this cliffhanger! You already have one grieving Carson and several others who are suffering from/because of this or that.

There's enough potential in the "I-was-sucked-into-a-freaky-energy-field-and-spent-six-months-away-from-you-and-my-real-life-and-you-didn't-care-because-of-a- maybe-bee"-discussion/fight.You don't have to separate them.

So, please happy reunion next chapter without part-time ascension,please, please,please!?!

[User Picture Icon]
From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 04:12 pm (UTC)

Re: NO Fair!

(Link)
*Grins* You'll see...
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From:jo_zed_pee_em
Date:June 5th, 2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
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NOoooooooooooooooooooo!!! BAD JOHN! BAD BAD BAD!!! PUt your hands DOWN RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!! *growls*

you know I think this could be yet another series that I am just never gonna survive! We should rename you the Evilcliffiewoman!! :)

More more! xx
[User Picture Icon]
From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 04:12 pm (UTC)
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EvilCliff for short?
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From:severusslave
Date:June 5th, 2006 11:21 pm (UTC)
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*!!!* O_O
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 04:13 pm (UTC)
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*Grins*
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From:tazzles
Date:June 6th, 2006 12:32 am (UTC)
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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! OMG I just squealed! Out loud.
How dare John do that! How dare he! Giving up on Rodney like that. I'm disgusted. And you truly are evil for finishing it there. Evil, evil, evil.
OMG! They're gonna either get there just in time or they'll just miss him. The wait is going to be torturous.
[User Picture Icon]
From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 04:15 pm (UTC)
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;>

Well, hopefully the wait won't be too long. This last one was more due to Real Life issues than lack of desire to write.
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From:krysalys
Date:June 6th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC)

AUGH!

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I bet Teer sensed the others just coming through the Veil, and won't tell John 'cause she's so damned close to getting him to come with her!
AUGH! Bitch!
C'mon Rodney, run like the wind!
----}-@
[User Picture Icon]
From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 6th, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC)

Re: AUGH!

(Link)
Hey, Rodney's been jogging, so...

The Author is Evil

Evil Textually Rendered?