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The Author is Evil

Evil Textually Rendered?


March 18th, 2007

Fic: Complications (PG) @ 10:40 pm

Title: Complications
Author: SGAtlantisLight
Characters: McKay, Sheppard, Lorne, Emmagan, Lindsay, Everett, Beckett, Halling, Dex, Biro
Relationships: McKay/Sheppard
Rating: PG for this part, but series as a whole is NC-17
Warnings: Medical stuff
Spoilers: A bit of a reference to something from Coup D'Etat
Summary: Part 24 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 Notes: Thanks to the denizens of #lantsfic for beta, ideas, etc.



Rodney checked John's pulse again. It still felt weak and too fast, but he thought it might be picking up. He hoped it wasn't just wishful thinking. He leaned down and forced another breath into John, all the while his mind screaming Come on, come on, come on!

A crowd had gathered, watching them, talking in hushed voices.

"Teyla," Lorne barked into his headset, "what's going on?"

Rodney couldn't make out her answer, too intent on breathing for John. There was a sudden hubbub in the crowd's babble and he looked up to see Lorne down on one knee, fumbling with his P-90. "Major?"

Lorne ran a hand over his face in slow motion. "M... McKay... I'm..." The military man pitched forward.

"Crap!" Rodney stared in shock for a second as several men in the crowd started to step toward Lorne, then something clicked and he was pointing his own P-90 at the crowd. "Nobody move! Not one step closer or I shoot!" He hit his radio. "Teyla! Lindsay! Lorne's down. I need back-up now."

Just as he finished speaking, the scientist pushed through the crowd, eyes large.

"Get your sidearm out now!" he barked. "Shoot anyone that tries to come any closer."

***

"Hurry up!" Doctor Tardiff barked as the team sped into the jumper bay. He slid to a stop, taking in the sight of the knot of military men, including Colonel Everett and the alien Ronon Dex.

"Doctor Tardiff," Colonel Everett greeted, relieving him of his bag. "Let's go."

"Wait. What...? We can't take this many people. There won't be room to bring Major Lorne's team back."

"So leave a couple of your staff here. This is a quick and dirty rescue mission. We can't stay to stabilise anyone."

"You leave your staff here! They aren't needed." Even as he argued, Tardiff was stowing things, double-checking supplies.

"Look, Doctor, in case you haven't heard, Major Lorne is unconscious as well and he's not in anaphylactic shock. That's too much of a coincidence. You aren't going anywhere without a military escort. And you aren't staying on that planet any longer than absolutely necessary."

Tardiff slumped and nodded. "All right, you're right. Haida, Tetradze, stay here. It would be good to reduce it by another two."

Everett nodded and turned to his men. "Schuler, Martin, stand down. Load up, people."

***

Mirial buried her face against Halling's shoulder. Halling hugged her tenderly. "It is done."

"That's a lass," Carson said gently. "You were very brave. I've got some sweets for you, if that's all right with your da."

Halling nodded and Carson held out the package of candy he'd brought. She took it, wiping faded pink- and purple-tipped hair out of her eyes. She pulled it to her chest, giving him an accusing glare.

Carson gave her an apologetic smile and shrugged at Halling. "I'll just let myself out."

As he stood, his radio bleeped out, "Atlantis to Doctor Beckett."

He activated it. "This is Beckett."

"Doctor, we'd like you to return to Atlantis as soon as possible."

"I was just getting ready to leave," Carson answered. "What's going on?"

"We've got two people down on Major Lorne's team and the possibility the rest of the team might have been affected as well," Lenoir answered. "While Tardiff and Biro can handle the situation for now--"

"Ye'd like me there just in case. I understand. I'm heading back now."

***

Lindsay had managed to keep her sidearm aimed and steady while she backed to Lorne, bent down and checked his pulse. Rodney had never been so thankful for Everett's anal insistence on regular weapons training for all personnel who were likely to go offworld. "Pulse is regular and breathing is fine," she'd reported. And so she'd settled next to Lorne with her gun at the ready while Rodney kept John alive.

It felt like it had been forever. John still wasn't breathing on his own, but it was becoming easier to force air into his lungs. Where the hell was the Atlantis medical team? He'd heard Lindsay report to them what seemed like hours ago.

As he sat back, fighting down panic, there was a quiet whisper of sound and he looked down to see John's chest rise and fall. The crowd around them gasped and murmured, but Rodney merely sighed in relief.

A shadow crossed over them as the jumper flew overhead toward the nearest clear landing place.

"Took you long enough!" Rodney snapped when the Atlanteans appeared. "Where's Carson?"

"Still on the Mainland," Doctor Tardiff answered, hurrying slightly ahead of the Marines bearing heavy weaponry surrounding the medical personnel.

Rodney moved back out of the way as people swarmed around John and the Major. He turned to find himself face to face with Colonel Everett. "How are you feeling, Doctor McKay?"

"Like my husband nearly died on me!" Rodney snapped. "And how has your day been?"

"I meant physically. Any signs that you might have been drugged, too?"

"Oh." Rodney took a quick inventory of his body's condition and shook his head. "I don't think so."

Everett nodded. "Good. Ronon, you're on Doctor McKay until the jumper hatch is sealed and we're in the air."

"Got it," Ronon answered.

"I really don't need a b--"

"Save it, McKay. Under normal circumstances, I'd trust you to protect yourself, but until we know you haven't been drugged, I can't make that assumption."

Rodney nodded unhappily and watched as the medical team got John and Lorne onto gurneys while Ronon glared protectively at his elbow.

***

Skile, the tavern keeper stood at the edge of the crowd, cursing his misfortune. First, the man called McKay had stopped at two drinks before Skile had worked out what he was going to do and how to do it. Then the man called John or Sheppard had had this strange reaction, either to the drug or just something in the food. Skile had held onto some hope when the Major had keeled over, but McKay was too fast on the uptake.

He wondered if he'd ever have the chance again. Perhaps someone would be interested in information.

He turned and headed back into the tavern, his mind playing over the words "my husband nearly died on me" repeatedly. Yes, perhaps such information might be worth something.

***

Teyla looked up at the door again and sighed quietly when it wasn't her teammates.

Doctor Biro smiled at her in sympathy. "They'll be here soon."

Teyla nodded, attempting a serene smile. She was well-practiced in the expression, even when she wanted to fidget or pace. She had felt so helpless listening as Doctor Lindsay had conveyed not just John's condition, but Major Lorne's as well. She had regretted that she hadn't sent Doctor Lindsay to the gate while she went to her teammates, but every minute was important and she was the faster runner. "This anaphylactic shock, will Doctor Sheppard recover from it quickly?"

Biro began setting up equipment near a couple of the beds as she talked. "Oh, he should be fine in a day or so, assuming no organ or brain damage from lack of oxygen."

Teyla stilled, trying not to think about such a thing. She looked up, hearing the clatter of gurneys in the hall. John was very still, his face blotched here and there. Rodney walked alongside, looking worried and grim. They stopped next to her and transferred him to a bed, quickly hooking in monitors and an IV and oxygen. She peered in the direction of Lorne's gurney, but couldn't see much through the crowd of medical personnel.

"Doctor McKay, this is your bed," Biro said, patting the bed on the other side of John's.

"Can't I just sit--"

"Ah-ah! After you're cleared."

Rodney muttered, but sat on the bed, facing John's, slipping his tac vest and jacket off and silently offering his arm. His acquiescence worried Teyla. He only fell this quiet when truly worried about others.

Biro made quick work of drawing blood, running through the same questions she'd asked Teyla-- dizziness, nausea, weakness, blurred vision, shortness of breath, and so on-- and then moved to Lorne's bed while Tardiff checked over John, calling for various medicines and tests, rattling off numbers and facts that Teyla had no hope of understanding.

She looked across, shifting till she could meet Rodney's eyes, giving him a supportive nod. His eyes locked with hers, saying all the things he couldn't speak-- all his worry and pain and fear. And Teyla did what she always did-- she listened.

***

Carson strode into the infirmary and toward the sink, handing off his jacket to a nurse. "Sol, fill me in," he said to Tardiff.

Tardiff followed him over, talking as Carson washed up. "Both Doctor Sheppard and Major Lorne are still unconscious. It appears to be some sort of sedative drug in both cases. Neither Doctors McKay or Lindsay or Miss Emmagan appear to have been drugged. Major Lorne appears to be normal other than being unconscious. We're not sure at this point whether Doctor Sheppard's anaphylaxis is related to the drug or simply food-related. There aren't any allergies listed in his file. He wasn't breathing when Doctor McKay and Major Lorne found him and he'd been gone some ten minutes, so there's a range of a few seconds to a full ten minutes of possible oxygen deprivation."

Carson nodded grimly. "Neurological workup?"

"Being done, but reflexes and pupil dilation are both normal."

"That's a good sign, then." Carson dropped his voice. "How's Rodney?"

"Quiet."

"All right. We'll need to make sure he eats in a few hours if Doctor Sheppard hasn't recovered consciousness. We might as well keep the bed next to John free. I doubt Rodney will want to leave his husband's side."

Tardiff nodded. "Understood."

Carson slipped into his labcoat and walked over to John's bed. Rodney sat in a chair next to it, fingers intertwined with John's. "Rodney?"

Rodney looked up, his eyes strangely blank. "Carson."

Carson squatted down so he was on eye level with Rodney. "I've talked to Doctor Tardiff. John's pupil dilation and reflexes are both normal."

Rodney nodded. "He told me."

"Well then you know that's a good indicator that you got to him in time."

"I know."

Carson stood and gave Rodney's shoulder a squeeze. "All right. I'll let you brew in peace, then."

Rodney gave him a weak smile. "Thanks, Carson."

***

"And would you agree with Miss Emmagan's impression that the council was surprised to learn of the problems with her teammates?" Everett asked Doctor Lindsay.

She nodded, looking skittish. "Definitely. They were as worried as we were."

The door to the private infirmary room opened and Beckett walked in, frowning. "I see ye've appropriated my infirmary for debriefing now, Colonel."

Everett gave the doctor an apologetic smile. "Doctor Tardiff didn't want them leaving till their bloodwork came back, but I needed to debrief them while the details were still fresh in their minds."

Beckett's eyes narrowed. "I'd prefer if ye didn't put my patients under further stress, Colonel."

"I understand your concerns, Doctor, but I have a job to do. Make no mistake about it, our people were attacked today. I need to know whether the people of P3X-177 can be trusted-- whether this was an individual acting alone or a coordinated effort against our people."

"Well, it sounds to me like you got your answer from these two, so they'll be returning to their beds now."

Everett stood, crossing his arms. "Very well, Doctor Beckett. I would like to speak with Doctor McKay at some point, but I'll wait."

Beckett nodded. "See that you do."

***

John groaned almost before he was conscious, only aware of the jangle of his nerves, the nausea in his stomach, and the dryness of his mouth. Something warm squeezed one hand. He became aware of beeps and soft voices, bright light filtering through his eyelids. Something was pressed against his nose.

"Hey," Rodney's voice said beside him. "John? Can you open your eyes?"

"Mnng." His tongue felt as dry as paper.

"John?"

He blinked, flinching against the light.

"Hey. How are you feeling?"

He tried to speak and found himself coughing.

"Sorry, sorry. Let me get you something..." Rodney moved away from him.

John closed his eyes, trying to remember what had happened to make him feel like this. He had a vague recollection of itching, fighting for breath, feeling dizzy and sick and...

"Okay, can you sit up?" Rodney helped him sit up and fed him a couple of ice chips. Rodney eyes were full of worry, watching him closely.

"Should I be worried?" John managed when his mouth felt wet enough.

"What?"

"You. Being nice."

"I'm nice!" Rodney protested.

John grinned.

"Asshole!"

Rodney was looking more relaxed as Carson came up to John's bed. "I see you're awake, John. I've got a few questions to ask you. I'm sure you know the drill."

***

It was the next day before John and Lorne were released to a day off, both with a clean bill of health and with a requirement that John return soon for allergy testing.

Despite having not done much more than lay around in the infirmary for most of a day, John still crawled into their bed almost as soon as he got home. Rodney stripped and climbed in with him, curling around him.

"I can't take you anywhere, you know?" Rodney griped, hand slipping under John's tee shirt to slowly caress the skin of John's belly.

"I haven't done a single stupid heroic thing since we've been married," John answered, scooting closer.

"Trouble seems to find you anyway."

"Yeah. And you didn't get shot and Major Lorne didn't start turning into a bug and who knows what other adventures while I was gone. I'm not sure I'm the trouble magnet here."

"Huh. You may be right," Rodney said. "Now turn over."

"Um. What are you doing?"

"Well, I was planning on having oh-my-God-you're-still-alive sex if you'd just cooperate..."

"Oh. I could get behind that." John grinned. "Or in front, as the case may be."

Rodney laughed and everything was once more all right with the world.

At least, until next time.

 
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Comments

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From:jade_1459
Date:March 19th, 2007 04:05 am (UTC)
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Oh, poor John.

The concern and worry expressed by each of the characters was wonderfully written. Rodney's silence, Teyla's struggle to remain outwardly seren, Carson's protectiveness.

Though, I have to wonder... how many parts are you planning for this series? I've read through it a number of times and with each pass I find new plot threats and twists that I hadn't noticed the read before. So many threads laced throughout... I have hopes that this'll either be a very, very long series, or else the climax is going to be mind blowing!

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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 19th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
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I've come to the conclusion that since this is an episodic series, much like the show itself, and is mostly following the timeline of the show in AU, that it's likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Every couple of chapters is sort of a complete episode-- while there are story arcs continuing from chapter to chapter, for the most part each "episode" should stand on its own (other than the "Previously, in Stargate: Atlantis" stuff that gets carried over), be a natural ending-point, but still leave room for future story arcs.

So, it's not really a WIP, per se. It's an episodic series much like mice1900's "Moments Sacred and Profane" or thefannishwaldo's "The Human Body" series.

I don't know that fandom really has a name for that. I guess "episodic series" works well enough. If I had the gumption, I'd probably go back and re-number the chapters to place them into "episodes" but I'd rather be writing than fiddling... ;)

Thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying.
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From:lyonza
Date:March 19th, 2007 04:26 am (UTC)
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WOOT!

I wake up to a story! *does Snoopy dance*

The best way to start my working week. Thanks so much, I was anxious alongside Rodney, you captured the nuances so well.

*waits patiently for the next one*
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 19th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! Working on Sympathy for Eve next and then I'll get back to this one.
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 19th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. That was one of those pieces of dialogue that come to you that you know you just have to stick in when you finally get to that point in the story.
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From:sgafan33
Date:March 19th, 2007 07:40 am (UTC)
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Great series! Looks like there's another thread here for a future story. Thanks for continuing this.
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 19th, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! Glad you're enjoying.
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From:goddess47
Date:March 19th, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC)

Nicely done

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I love this series and can't wait to see where it goes... whether it ends or not... I vote for not... ;-) Lots more chapters welcome....
[User Picture Icon]
From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 19th, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)

Re: Nicely done

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Hee! Thanks. As for whether it'll end, see my answer to the first comment above.
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From:desala
Date:March 19th, 2007 05:48 pm (UTC)
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Very nicely done chapter! Ooo, what's up with the tavern owner? Creeeepy.
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 21st, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
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*Looks mysterious*

You'll see...
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From:carma_chaos
Date:March 19th, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC)
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Fantastic chapter, again. Two lines stood out particularly for me:

"I haven't done a single stupid heroic thing since we've been married," John answered, scooting closer.

"Trouble seems to find you anyway."

Just so in character.

Also, I think it can finally be declared that your fic has proven how much of a sci-fi geek I am. I saw Tardiff and my mind went Torchwood! Tardis/Cardiff - see. Yes, I'm a geek.
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 21st, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)
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Thanks!

And Tardiff was actually named ten chapters ago or so, so I stuck with it, even though I had someone in chat make the same connection... ;)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 19th, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC)
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It's good to see John awake and on the mend.

It was bad enough when John was in trouble, but then Lorne going down as well, that was bad and very tense as I waited for Rodney to drop too. At least we know who was behind the drugging, though it's quite worrying that the tavern owner heard Rodney's comment about John being his husband. That's the sort of info Kolya and his ilk would be very interested in!

I liked how we saw each person's concern: Teyla trying to keep her serene face on, yet feeling the turmoil underneath; Rodney going all quiet and Crson being just as worried about that as about John and Lorne.

Loved the ending and Rodney's great plan and biting remark when John didn't get with the programme quick enough :).

Can't wait to see what happens next.

Laura.
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 21st, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)
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Thanks! It was fun to have all the reactions in chat when I was working on it and they saw that the cliffhanger I left it on last chapter wasn't as bad as it got... ;)
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From:sapphiresfic
Date:March 19th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
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Yea! New chapter! I loved it! I'm so glad that John and Lorne are awake. I wonder if the people on the planet can really be trusted and what they had done. I wonder what the effect will be for Rodney making a comment about John being his husband.

Can't wait for more!
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:March 21st, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
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Thanks! You'll just have to wait and see.
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From:slashpuppy
Date:May 3rd, 2007 04:13 am (UTC)

Unified Theory 24

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Oh that was just too darn good! Lots of fab dialogue, tension, stress, angst, humour, plottiness and portents of future shenanigans... this chapter had it all.

My favourite bits:
Rodney understanding immediately that something bad was going on...
"Crap!" Rodney stared in shock for a second as several men in the crowd started to step toward Lorne, then something clicked and he was pointing his own P-90 at the crowd. "Nobody move! Not one step closer or I shoot!" Oh yes, smartest man in *two* galaxies! :-)

John trying to appease Rodney:
"I haven't done a single stupid heroic thing since we've been married," John answered, scooting closer. Aw, *pets John*

Rodney being Rodney:
"Well, I was planning on having oh-my-God-you're-still-alive sex if you'd just cooperate..."

Really looking forward to the next chapter! :-)
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:May 3rd, 2007 04:49 am (UTC)

Re: Unified Theory 24

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Thanks! I've gotten so busy with the DiversiFICation Awards and Real Life stuff, this has suffered for it.
From:darkmuadib
Date:June 26th, 2007 02:33 am (UTC)

loving it

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hey
so im loving the series, awesome...err any more "episodes" as you called it earlier on the horizon?
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:June 27th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC)

Re: loving it

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Thanks! I'm hoping to, yes. I've got a convention in less than two weeks that I'm the assistant conchair for, so my attention is on other things right now.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 3rd, 2007 12:31 am (UTC)
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I can't believe I'm only just finding out about this series now...
Brilliant job, really funny and angsty and SMART *adds encouragement to looong list of fans*
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:August 6th, 2007 08:15 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! I need to get back to it and write more. It's a fun series.
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From:sparrowhawk17
Date:September 2nd, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC)
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I'm not exactly sure how I stumbled upon this story but I absolutely love it. It is a very interesting take on the 'what ifs' of the series. Excellent job.
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:September 3rd, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! I'm always happy to have people stumble upon my stories... ;)

This series is just so perfect for 'what ifs' since there are so many points where a timeline could have diverged and made things entirely different, though often nastier.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 28th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)

The whole series

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Absolutely brilliant, I don't usually like stories that long but have two of yours now and loved them both. I have been waiting for stories about Kavanaugh changing to a more likeable and interesting person and you did that withn style. I even started to warm to Everett, although John and Rodney are my favourite couple, they have so much angst which makes their stories more richer and sensual. Thank you so much for a fabulous read, Poppy.
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:October 18th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)

Re: The whole series

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Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it. I have more in mind, but I got owned by No Precious Time.
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From:bluetoads
Date:October 18th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
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Wow, I can't believe I missed the update and it's been posted for months! It's good to see John woke up. Loved your ending line. Looking forward to seeing the next installment.
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From:sgatlantislight
Date:October 18th, 2007 03:13 am (UTC)
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Thanks! I do still have plans, even though it's been forever. I just got sidetracked by No Precious Time.

The Author is Evil

Evil Textually Rendered?