Spoilers: It's a Sunday tag, and all spoiling is restricted to it.
Summary: The team goes to Scotland to visit the Becketts.
Disclaimer: Don't own Stargate Atlantis, etc, you guys know the drill.
“No! Ye can’t just kill a main character! Ye can’t!” Morgan threw the book across the room, nodding in satisfaction at the loud thump it caused. It served the book right. Everyone knows ye don’t just kill off major characters! It’s rude.
She hadn’t heard the first thump on the wooden door because of the book, but as the knocking continued Morgan pulled herself out of her misery to answer. She turned the key that lived in the lock and pulled open the heavy door to see an assortment of five men trying to fit under the awning to get out of the rain. Haha, Scottish weather strikes again.
Two of the men were in uniforms she didn’t recognize, but they looked military. What were they doing here? They all looked miserable and uncertain about what to say. How hard was it to say hello? “Can I help ye?” Morgan asked. Did these people not understand that her favorite character was just killed and she had some serious mourning to do?
“Ah, is your… um, is Mrs. Beckett home?” the one in front asked. He had cool black hair. It was all spiky. Her favorite character had had spiky hair. Well, most anime characters had spiky hair, but still…. Great, all she needed was another reminder. Some people had no decency.
Narrowing her eyes at the man, she asked, “Who are ye?” Town was a good distance away and not too many people ventured this far out in the countryside. Strangers were rare and something even she knew not to let into the house.
“I’m Colonel Sheppard of the United States Air Force. I worked with Carson. Is his mother here?” spiky hair asked again.
“Just a sec,” she said, closing the door. Who knew what they’d do if she left it open. She went back through the living room, stopping to pick up her book and placing it on the table before continuing into the kitchen. Gamma hated it when she disrespected a book. Never mind when the book feels compelled to be completely unreasonable…
Wait! Maybe they’d bring him back! Oh, she was so stupid! Morgan shook her head, disgusted with her moment of stupidity. Of course he wasn’t dead. They never kill the main character. She turned on her heel and retrieved her book. He wasn’t really dead; she just knew it.
A shadow loomed over her as she sat in the armchair reading. With a gasp, she lowered the book to her lap and hastily removed her feet from the chair. Oh great, Gamma was going to yell at her for the feet thing again. Gosh, old people were so strict. Weren’t grandparents supposed to be really nice about that kind of stuff?
“Who was at the door sweetheart?” Gamma asked, showing no signs of having noticed her feet on the chair. Phew, one disaster averted.
Morgan blinked at her for a moment, before a clap of thunder caused the whole house to rumble. Morgan gasped again, slapping her hand over her mouth. Oops. “Oh yeah. It was a couple of Yanks looking for ye. Military guys.”
“And ye just left them out there in the rain? Oh, ye silly lass,” Mrs. Beckett admonished, rushing to the door. The promised five men were still there, looking miserable and wet.
“Good evening gentlemen. I’m so sorry for my granddaughter. Please come in,” she stepped back from the door to allow the men inside. One was more than happy to rush in, while the others were a bit more restrained in their entrance. “My goodness, ye’re all soaking wet! Let me get some towels.” She was gone before any of them had a chance to say a word, rushing over to the nearby linen closet and pulling out a bundle of towels. Good thing she’d done laundry recently. The poor lads were well and truly soaked to the bone! She shook her head at the thought of what would have happened had Morgan been left to her own devices. She came bustling back to the foyer, handing each man one of the towels.
“Mrs. Beckett, I’m Colonel John Sheppard with the United States Air Force,” the first one introduced himself once he had dried his face off, before turning to the men with him. “This is Major Marcus Lorne, Dr. Rodney McKay, Dr. Radek Zelenka, and Ronon Dex. We’re friends of Carson’s, and we worked at the same facility together for the last three years.”
“Oh, I didn’t know Carson was involved with the military. I didn’t know we were up to genetic warfare,” she chuckled. She could imagine two armies lining up on a battlefield throwing DNA at each other. Ah, the things that can make an old lady laugh. Then a thought occurred to her. “He’s not here with ye, is he? Goodness, it’s been so long since he’s had the chance to come home. He used to visit me every weekend; I had trouble getting him to leave!” She sighed wistfully, almost missing those days.
The silence was broken only by the rain pounding on the roof. The men shifted on their feet, clearly uncomfortable. None of the would meet her eye. “Mrs. Beckett,” Colonel Sheppard looked around. “Is there somewhere we can talk?”
“Oh aye,” she slapped her forehead, “What was I thinking? Of course, come in gentlemen. I didn’t mean to leave ye standing in the doorway. I must be loosing my marbles, I swear. Come, we can go to the kitchen and have a cuppa.”
She led them through the living room towards the kitchen. Morgan was sitting in the armchair with her knees to her chest, propping the book up as she read. She looked up as the men passed, eying them warily and looking sinister with the book covering everything below her eyes. One of the men stopped to look at her, his piercing blue eyes seeming to look through her, haunted. Okay, he has issues. Morgan stared back at him, trying to telepathically figure out what he was thinking. She frowned, irritated when it didn’t work. It wasn’t fair; it always worked in the books! The man behind him grunted, and the blue eyed one’s gaze jerked away from her as he hurried to catch up.
Morgan glared at the man who had dared to interrupt her telepathy practice and felt her jaw drop to the floor. He was huge! She hadn’t noticed when he was standing outside in the dark, but he had to be two meters tall! He was all muscles and just radiated warrior. “Ye look like the warriors from my books,” she informed him, pointing to the one in her lap. “What’s yer name?” she asked, suddenly curious.
“Ronon,” he grunted, looking between her and the kitchen.
“Ronin? Like the Japanese warriors?” she eyed him more closely. “Ye don’t look Japanese,” she accused.
“But are ye a warrior?” she persisted. The man just looked at her, and his scariness was all the answer she needed. “That’s so cool!” Morgan squealed, grinning ear to ear. This was just awesome! This was better than her favorite character coming back to life. He might as well be standing right in front of her!
The warrior was just looking at her, and it was starting to freak her out. Oh no, he wasn’t one of the bad guys, was he? She and Gamma were here alone, and no one would find them for days when he parents came to pick her up if he killed them! She gulped, sitting further back in her seat, suddenly scared of the man who a second ago had been the living representation of her every hero.
“How old are you?” he asked suddenly.
“Nine and three quarters,” she answered with authority, as if her age were enough to scare the bad man away.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
Morgan opened her mouth to ask “For what?” when a scream from the kitchen halted anything she might have said. The Ronin looked unsurprised at the shout, and moved out her way as she sprang from the chair to the kitchen. “Gamma!”
Gamma was sitting at the kitchen table with the other men, her teacup shattered on the floor, the dark liquid spreading everywhere. Her shoulders were hunched, eyes shut tight, and her hand held tightly over her mouth as though by muffling the shuddering sobs coming through she could stop whatever was hurting her. “Gamma!” Morgan cried again, rushing to put her arms around her. Glaring at the men accusingly, she asked, “What did ye do?”
The men just looked uncomfortable as Gamma latched onto her and pulled her into a fierce hug. Some of them had tears in their own eyes as Gamma broke down, digging her fingers into Morgan’s back as though it were her only anchor to the world. Morgan lifted her arms to pat her coarse hair, trying to sooth her. Ronon entered the kitchen, hovering by the doorway, and Morgan looked at him pleadingly. The warrior looked at the floor, completely at a loss.
Gamma’s sobs lessened and she eased her grip, pushing away from Morgan to look her in the eyes. Morgan looked into the bloodshot blue eyes, afraid of what she saw there. “Allanah, ye remember Uncle Carson?” Morgan nodded, looking at Gamma like she was crazy. Of course she remembered Uncle Carson. He always gave the best birthday presents. He had even given her the book she was just reading!
“Well lass, there’s been a wee accident at the place where yer uncle works.” Gamma tried to smile, but the effect was ruined by the tears continuing to run down her face. Morgan was really scared now. Adults weren’t supposed to cry! Was she hurt? No, wait… oh; it was Uncle Carson who was hurt. “Is he in the hospital?” she asked.
Gamma shook her head. “No dear, he’s not. Uncle Carson’s with the angels now.”
“He’s in Heaven?” Morgan clarified.
“Aye, he’s in Heaven,” Gamma confirmed.
One of the men at the table made a noise, and Morgan looked over at him in time to see him cover his own red eyes with his hand. Spiky hair sitting next to him put his hand on his back. Morgan didn’t understand. Why were these men upset? Uncle Carson had been fine when he’d left here and now he was dead! There was no other explanation. They had killed Uncle Carson and they had the nerve to sit at their table while Gamma cried!
“Get out of here!” she screamed at them. “It’s yer fault! Get out!”
“Morgan!” Gamma scolded, but Morgan would not be quieted. Everything had been just fine until they showed up and now they needed to leave so everything would be okay again. She looked about for something to throw, and settled for her own shoe. The first sneaker slipped off without a problem, and she flung it at spiky hair, who raised his arm to block it. “Morgan!” Gamma shouted again.
Ignoring her, Morgan leaned down to unlace her other shoe. “Get out!” she shrieked again.
Ronon started to walk over to her, but stopped when Spiky hair raised his hand. “It’s all right Mrs. Beckett, we’ll go. I’m very sorry, again.” Taking out a piece of paper from his pocket, he handed it over to Gamma. “This is the number of the people we work for. If you or your family need anything, don’t hesitate to call.”
Gamma looked at the card, nodding, before seeing the men to the door. Morgan sat down at the table, listening for the door opening and closing before the strangers disappeared into the storm they came from. Morgan hoped they got hit by lightning.
Bright, sunny weather greeted them two days later as the entire Becket clan gathered outside Killaughlin Cemetery to say their final goodbyes to a cherished family member. Morgan scowled at the sun, missing the rain that would have been much more appropriate for a funeral. Mum always said that when it rained it meant God was crying. Why wasn’t he crying for Uncle Carson?
She sat down on the ground on a small hill, watching her family talk to each other and the priest, and just generally mill around as the last of the dirt covered her uncle’s empty coffin. She clutched the book Uncle Carson had given her to her chest, wishing he were here instead of the book. The headstone wasn’t even there yet. It was still being carved, Da had said. Mum promised it would have an angel on it, so that someone would always be watching over him. Morgan thought it sounded nice, but where was that someone when Uncle Carson had died?
She put the book down and fingered the grass, picking a couple of the pretty flowering weeds that dared to grow in her presence. Mum would be angry if she knew Morgan was sitting in the dirt in her fancy dress. She should probably get up, but looking at her family, she knew they’d never notice. They were all too busy talking to them.
It was bad enough they’d killed her uncle, but then they had to go to the funeral too. The two men were in the military uniforms again, the other two were in suits. They had all taken a turn shoveling the dirt into the grave. That made Morgan angry. It was a job that was supposed to be done by the family, not just anybody. Poor Uncle Carson had bad dirt in his grave and nobody cared but her.
“He was a hero, you know,” Morgan jumped in surprise as Ronon sat down next to her. He was so quiet she hadn’t heard him coming. Morgan frowned, ignoring him. These shoes weren’t heavy enough to be worth throwing and she wasn’t risking her book.
“He saved my life, a couple times,” he told her, looking at the spot where the coffin was buried. “He was a good man and he died saving lives.”
Morgan looked at Ronon, torn between intrigued and angry. “He was a doctor, of course he saved lives,” she scowled at the perfectly obvious statement.
Ronon shook his head. “It was more than that. He didn’t sit in a hospital all day and wait for his patients to come to him in some safe room. He put himself in danger a bunch of times to help his friends. He died because he refused to abandon a patient, and then tried to save the guy and the other doctor he was working with by leaving and taking the danger away with him. It worked.”
Morgan scraped away the dirt covering a rock, wedging her fingers beneath it to pry it out of the earth’s tight hold. “He really did all that?” she asked, awed that she could be related to such a man.
Ronon nodded. “He did. And he’d do it again even if he had known it would kill him.”
Morgan said nothing, looking at her book again. She’d finished it last night after Gamma had gone to bed. She’d been right. Not two chapters later, the main character’s friends had found a miracle that had brought him back to life, and they’d all worked together to beat the bad guy. She gripped the book tightly, the binding giving easily under the pressure like the well-used book it was. Why couldn’t Uncle Carson’s friends find the miracle to bring him back to life?
Ronon fidgeted next to her and Morgan noticed for the first time how sad he looked. She tried to imagine what kind of person Uncle Carson would so willingly give his life for. She decided she knew. “I bet ye’re a hero too,” she whispered conspiratorially.
Ronon looked at her, surprised, before shaking his head sadly. “I’m just a man.”
Morgan shook her head, decided now. “No, ye’re a hero,” she informed him, leaving no room for doubt in the statement. “I bet yer friends are all heroes too. Uncle Carson knew how to pick friends.” With that said and done, she opened her book, skipping ahead to the page where the friends all gathered to begin their quest to save their ‘dead’ friend.
Ronon looked at her like she was crazy, but she knew the truth. All would be well in the end, just like Uncle Carson always said. He was smart like that.
Long Live the King