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Week 13 Rebellion AU Rated R

Title: Rebellion
Author: stella_pegasi
Genre(s): AU, romance, action/adventure
Rating: R
Character/Pairing: John Sheppard/OC, Rodney McKay
Warnings: Non-con, sexual assault, coercion, nudity, consensual sex.
Het/Slash/Gen: Het
Word count: 11, 281
Disclaimer: I do not own them, I would have treated them better.
Summary: Only one thing could convince John Sheppard to return to Atlantia.

Author's Notes: Okay, this comm is definitely broadening my horizons. I rarely write AU but this felt like the story I wanted to do. It's also my first Het…so please be gentle! Ah…no need to be gentle, bring it on.





REBELLION

By stella_pegasi


"This is a foolish idea, Rodney. We know nothing about these people, this planet; we're going to be killed."

"Radek, if you want to go back to the transport, go back; I'm doing this. It's the only way; she's counting on us"

Rodney McKay, Minister of Science on the planet Atlantia, continued to stride down the narrow alleyway leading from the docking bay to their destination. Radek followed along, tugging his cloak around him as if it were a shield rather than to protect him from the cold.

The two Atlantians were on Stravosa, in the outpost of Dovo, to find the one person they thought could help them. They held no delusions that they were going to be successful, but the fate of their planet hinged on whether they could find him.

Radek moved nearer to McKay, "These people are staring at us."

McKay turned, "They are probably staring because you look scared to death; suck it up."

"Oh, and I suppose you are a fearless man now."

McKay halted, "No, Radek; I'm not fearless at all, but what other alternatives do we have? If we don't find a way to rescue her, then all we have worked for is lost, and probably the galaxy along with it, not to mention she will be lost. I, for one, do not want to live under General Cowen's control, and I doubt you do either. Now, come on."

It was dusk, and the golden sun and its pale distant companion sun were nearly below the horizon. The sky, directly overhead, was darkening and the wide band of stars from the center of the Merano Galaxy was becoming visible. Soon, they arrived in the town square, and McKay stopped, pointing to a low, nondescript building on the other side of the crowded area.

"According to the database, that's the Pico Bar; that's where we need to go."

They made their way through the crowd of unruly creatures from numerous galaxies who called Stravosa home. Long known as a haven for the underworld of smugglers, mercenaries, criminals of all kinds, Stravosa was predominantly a picona mining colony. Intel gathered by Atlantian operatives determined the man they sought called this desolate outpost home.

"Look, Drefou, we have new visitors, more paleskins." The deep coarse voice belonged to a seven-foot tall male with iridescent green scaly skin. He moved to block McKay and Radek from entering the bar. His companion stepped up close behind Radek, as he asked, "Why are you here, paleskin?"

McKay forced a smile, trying to keep his voice light, but there was no denying his slight tremor, "We just stopped here for repairs, just going in for a quick drink before we leave. Come on Radek, let's go on in." McKay grabbed Radek's arm and quickly slipped under the large creature's arm, and through the dim entryway. By the time they entered the bar, McKay was shaking as badly as Radek.

"I need a drink," Radek said and ordered two shots of timnari as McKay was gazing about the room. When the drinks came, he down his in one gulp and offered the other to McKay, who, distracted, waved him away. Radek stared at McKay's back for a second, then shrugged his shoulders, and downed McKay's drink, as well.

McKay continued to search the room prompting Radek to ask, "Rodney, who are you looking for?"

"Teldy's intel said that his companions were a really tall guy with long twisted hair and a small woman from the warrior clan of the Gravens. I figure they are going to be easier to find than he will be."

"Rodney, what makes you think he will even help us?"

McKay looked over at his friend, "Because he has to; he owes her."

Radek started to ask what he meant, when Rodney grabbed his arm again and drug him toward the back of the bar, "I think I see them."

Sitting in a corner booth was a very tall man, whose long hair fell in twisted, matted braids, his face sporting a short beard. The woman with him was beautiful, tiny but muscular, her skin a dusky golden brown, her hair the color of copper. Rodney approached with as much bravado as he could muster, and asked, "I'm looking for someone, and I've been told you can take me to him."

The woman jumped up, and threw her arms around Radek, "Ooh…he's so cute. Can I keep him?" She ran her fingers through Radek's already messy hair, and Radek began to turn a bright shade of pink.

The tall man growled, "Let him go." Then glared at McKay, "What makes you think I'd help you, even if I knew who you were asking about?"

"Because he'd be angry if you didn't, once he finds out why we're here."

"Sit," he motioned to the bench and McKay sat, the woman pulling Radek down next to her, "Who are you looking for?"

"His name is John Sheppard; he's originally from Atlantia." He searched for some reaction from the man but only saw piercing dark eyes staring back at him.

"Why do you need to find him; you in some kind of trouble?"

"Yes…no…actually someone once very close to him is in trouble. We need his help to save her." McKay nervously drummed his fingers on the rough table.

"What's your name?"

"Rodney McKay, and he's Radek Zelenka."

The woman cooed, "I like the name Radek; so manly," running her finger along his earlobe.

McKay asked, "Do you know him?"

"Maybe; what's in it for us if we tell you?"

McKay stuttered, "I…I…uh, we'll pay you. I can get credits...I just don't have any on me right now. I need to find him; it's a matter of life or death."

The large man stared at him without saying another word, then picked up the mug in front of him and drank its foamy contents in one swallow. Standing, he said, "Come on, I might know where he is."

With a nervous glance and a nod toward Radek, McKay got up and followed. The woman slipped her arm through Radek's, and they exited the bar. Once outside, the man led them away from the square toward a darkened section of town.

"Where are you taking us?"

"Up ahead, I think it's where he hangs out."

The man led them passed a couple of abandoned buildings and then turned into an alleyway. Several steps into the alley, illuminated only by a weak security lamp, McKay balked, becoming extremely nervous, "Stop, where are we, what's going on here?"

From behind him, McKay heard a weapon power up and the woman's voice, no longer giddy and teasing, said, "We ask the questions here, McKay."

His voice rising in fear, McKay demanded, "I want to know wha..." The sound of dual phase pistols cut through the silence; McKay and Radek uttered small grunts and fell to the ground, unconscious.

From the shadows, a tall man wearing a long, black leather coat, emerged, his dark hair glinting blue black in the dim security light. He knelt down alongside McKay, and turned the unconscious man's head to get a better view of his face. He whispered, "Hello, Rodney."

The tall man stood, his green eyes flashing in the dim light, and ordered, "Take them to the compound."

~~ooOoo~~


Radek regained consciousness first, slowly becoming aware of his surroundings. He was groggy and his vision fuzzy, and as he raised his head, he moaned from the throbbing pain behind his eyes. As his vision cleared, Radek gazed around the large opulent chamber. There was a huge fireplace along one wall, a blazing fire warming the room. Heavy tapestries hung on the walls and the divan he was lying on covered with silky throws and furs. Rodney was lying on a divan across the room. Radek struggled to his feet and made his way to Rodney.

"Rodney, wake up," he gently shook his friend. When Rodney didn't awaken, Radek shook him harder until he managed to wake him up. He helped the groggy science minister to sit up.

"What the hell...where are we?" Rodney dropped his head into his hands, "Oh my head hurts."

"My head hurts, too, Rodney," he replied as he rubbed his chest, which was tender from the stun weapon. "As to where we are, I do not know; however, it is a very nice place."

Radek noticed a table with a pitcher and glasses, "There is water I believe; I will get us some."

As he poured the water, Rodney asked, "Do you think that's safe to drink?"

"We are alive; if they wanted us dead, we would be dead." He walked back to Rodney handing him a glass of water, "Drink; it will help clear your head."

The two men drank the water, then Rodney rose, somewhat wobbly, and walked over to the large shuttered window. He opened the carved wood shutter to find ornate black iron covering the thick glass, beyond, there was only blackness.

"Great, we could be anywhere."

Radek sighed, "I believe we are still on Stravosa; those people probably brought us here. The question is, where is here?"

A door opened abruptly behind them, startling both men. They quickly turned to see their tall captor silhouetted in the doorway, "You're awake…come with me, he wants to see you."

Rodney and Radek followed the man down a long hallway, decorated in the same ornate fashion as the chamber where they awoke. They passed several doorways until the tall man stopped, opening a door on their right. He stood aside as the Atlantians walked through the door.

A man was standing in front of another large fireplace, his back to them, but Rodney and Radek immediately recognized him. It was John Sheppard.

Rodney quietly said, "Nice welcome, Sheppard; do you treat all your guests to a stun gun?"

The man turned slowly away from the fire, his face impassive as he looked at Rodney.

"Hello, Rodney, Radek."

"What is going on here, Sheppard? You're hiding in this place as if you're the lord of the manor, complete with henchmen. What's happened to you?"

Sheppard walked over to a table where a decanter of amber liquid sat, "Timnari? I assure you this is smoother than the rotgut you find in the Pico."

Radek started to answer yes to the drink, but Rodney jabbed him, "Nothing for us. I came here for a reason, and I don't have time for a social drink."

"Your loss," Sheppard poured a drink, then sat down on a large couch, motioning for Rodney and Radek to sit.

"Why are you here?" Sheppard's voice was reticent, wary; his face still impassive, but Rodney recognized the expression in his eyes. He knew that look from his friend, he was inquisitive, interested.

"We need your help."

Sheppard scoffed, "Atlantia needs my help. I had to flee my home world before I was murdered; why would I want to help you?"

"Because if you don't, she'll probably die, and I don't think you would want her to die at the hands of the Cabal."

Rodney smiled inwardly but kept his face solemn as he could as he saw the emotion flare in Sheppard's eyes. He was right, no matter what had happened in the past, he was still in love with her. Sheppard would have to help, he wouldn't be able to live with himself if he didn't.

Rodney noticed Sheppard's hand trembling as he raised his glass, asking, "Who are you talking about?"

"Really…Sheppard, don't be so cagy with me. Isabella will die if you don't help us."

"I'm sure Ladon Radim will save her, isn't the Cabal's governor her lover?"

"Do you even know what's been going on since you fled the planet? Look, I know why you left, but I…I guess we all expected that you would fight for us, find a way to help us. But you abandoned us, left us to mercy of Cabal, left her to the mercy of Radim."

Anger blazed in Sheppard's green eyes, "She preferred Radim; let him save her."

"You bloody fool…" Rodney's eyes matched Sheppard's anger, and he rushed toward Sheppard, causing Sheppard's tall companion to intervene, grabbing Rodney before he reached Sheppard. Rodney struggled against the man's grip but couldn't break loose.

Putting down his drink, Sheppard stood and approached his former friend, his voice gruff, his eyes hard, "I was a bloody fool, but I've learned who I can trust." He looked at his henchman, "Ronon, let him go; he's no threat to me."

Ronon released Rodney, who grimaced as he rubbed his right bicep, "You are a fool; who do you think has put Isabella's life in danger Sheppard?" Sheppard had turned to walk away from Rodney but hesitated at the question. Rodney continued, "Ladon Radim had her arrested and confined in the Carcerem; he's holding her for treason against the Cabal. Unlike you, she's been fighting for her people."

Sheppard voice was husky as he said, "Ronon, take them back to the chamber."

As Ronon dragged them from the room, Rodney continued to plead, "John, please you have to help her…"
~~ooOoo~~


Rodney was pacing. It had been two hours, since they had been dragged from the main salon. Radek had fallen asleep, but he was too angry, his mind was racing. Sheppard still had feelings for Isabella; he could see it in Sheppard's eyes, but the former Atlantia military commander was the most stubborn man he knew.

He dropped onto the divan, leaning his elbows on his knees. John Sheppard was his oldest friend; they had met when they were five years old. His parents died in the crash of their transport, returning from a family outing; Sheppard had survived with minor injuries. From that point on, he lived with his grandparents, whose home was next to Rodney's family home. Sheppard had become more than a friend; Rodney thought of him as a brother. They had gone through the University together but where he chose science, while his friend chose to join the military. He had risen through the ranks quickly, and was named Military Commander of Atlantia two years before the Cabal began to gain power.

He had also fallen in love with the beautiful daughter of the Atlantian Chancellor, Isabella Landry. Rodney had never seen two people more in love, but as the Cabal pushed their way into Atlantia, the tension of protecting the planet had taken its toll on all of them. When the Cabal, with its superior firepower, overthrew the government, Radim Ladon had become the Cabal governor and had set his sights on Isabella. He had framed Sheppard and placed a bounty on his head, a higher bounty for Sheppard's death than for him to be captured alive. They had tried to protect him, tried to mount a counter effort against the Cabal, but the peaceful Atlantia was not prepared to fight the Cabal. Sheppard was the finest military officer in the galaxy, but they had no chance against the enormous resources of the Cabal.

Sheppard had fought valiantly but in the end, he had to flee; if he hadn't, he would be dead. He had vowed not to leave without Isabella, but she had been taken to the governor's palace, detained by the palace guards. He managed to slip into the governor's palace to free her from Radim's control. When he returned without her, Sheppard was cold as steel. Rodney had demanded to know what had happened. His eyes icy, Sheppard had told him Isabella made her choice. He had discovered her in Ladon Radim's bed.

Sheppard had walked away from him that night without another word. It was the last time he had seen his friend until tonight. Rodney sighed; he walked to the window where the first pale streaks of light were appearing on the horizon. Sheppard didn't know the truth, and he couldn't tell him. Isabella made him promise that no matter what happened to her, he must never tell John the truth. As much as he wanted to make his friend understand, what had really happened, trust was all they had left, and he wasn't going to betray Isabella's trust. He'd have to find another way to get Sheppard to help, and he had to do it quickly; there wasn't much time.

The sun was just peaking over the horizon, when the door opened, Ronon and the woman entering the room. The woman was carrying a tray of food, which she placed on a table, then ran over to Radek to wake him up.

Ronon spoke, "McKay you come with me." He glanced at the woman, "Teyla, Sheppard said for you to behave, so don't hurt him."

She giggled, "Hurting this cutie is the last thing on my mind, Ronon."

Ronon took Rodney to different section of the large house, a glass-walled porch. The floor was paved with stone, a freestanding stone fireplace with a warm fire burning nestled in one corner. Sheppard was sitting at a carved wooden round table in the center of the porch, a carafe of steaming liquid in front of him.

Sheppard didn't speak as Rodney sat down, he was staring out at the rising sun. Looking in the direction of Sheppard's gaze, he saw that the house sat on a very high bluff, the village sprawling on the expansive plain below them was most likely Dovo. Rodney used the few moments of silence to observe his friend. He had been so intent on getting help for Isabella that he had not taken time to get a good look at John.

He was thinner than Rodney remembered, his face gaunt, a few more lines than he had before. Little silver hairs scattered in his otherwise black hair glinted in the firelight; his hair was longer, still unruly, perhaps even more so, and it appeared, he hadn't shaved in several days. For a moment, Rodney flashed to a memory of sitting at a dinner table, Isabella teasing John about the fact he didn't like to shave and her father always giving him a hard time about it. Chancellor Landry always bellowing that he expected his military commander to be more proper, yet never once did Landry force him to shave. Sheppard could do no wrong in the chancellor's eyes. Rodney realized something was missing, the enormous smile that covered John's face when Isabella was with him. Sheppard wasn't the only one who didn't smile anymore; neither did Isabella.

Sheppard moved, rousing Rodney from his thoughts, silent as he poured two mugs of steaming roota. Handing Rodney a mug, he asked quietly, "Tell me why Radim had her arrested."

Rodney took a drink, mostly to give himself time to become calm. Then he answered, "As more and more of our rights were abolished, a group of us decided to start a resistance movement. It was small at first, but as things became more difficult, the movement began to grow. Within months, we became a thorn in the Cabal's side, making strategic strikes on military and communication installations. But the Cabal fought back; they took Landry into custody and moved him off world."

Rodney noticed Sheppard's silent reaction, how tightly he gripped his mug, to the news of the chancellor's fate. Landry had become a father figure to Sheppard, and the news about his confinement was not sitting well with his former military commander.

"The Cabal still allows us to travel to other planets for trade, but we have to document everywhere we go. Yet, we managed to get operatives off world; they discovered that Landry is alive and being held on Batevia, where the Cabal has a very large military facility. After her father was taken, Isabella went underground, helping to run the resistance. She led numerous raids on the Cabal and was responsible for a lot of damage to them. Then one a mission five days ago, she was betrayed by a spy and taken to Radim, who had been searching for her for a very long time. He charged her with crimes against the Cabal and confined her to the Carcerem. John, you now what happens there, they torture people.. He loathes her, and he'll make her suffer." Rodney stopped there; he didn't believe there was anything else he could say.

Sheppard rose from the table and stood in front of the window, sunlight beginning to stream through the glass as the suns rose in the sky.

"Rodney, I thought …I thought that she and Radim were…, he exhaled, "That doesn't matter. I'll help you free her," He turned around, the pain in his eyes evident to Rodney, "That's all I'll do."

Rodney replied, relief flooding his voice, "That's enough."

~~ooOoo~~


Isabella Landry was lying on the hard wooden bench that was the only piece of furniture in her cell. She was lucky, if she could call it luck, Ladon had at least put her in a cell with a toilet and a small sink; the water even flowed. That was certainly the only good thing regarding her situation. The bruises and welts across her body from the beatings she received regularly was indication enough of the abuse she had suffered.

The pain radiating from her abdomen since yesterday's afternoon beating concerned her. She was afraid that the last beating had done some internal damage, even though Radim had warned her jailers not to harm her, only to make her uncomfortable; the jailers certainly excelled at that skill. Isabella knew they would be back soon; daylight was beginning to seep into the dark cell, so she tried to sleep to gain some strength. She had barely drifted off when she heard the key turn in the lock on the heavy cell door.

Rising from the bench, she waited for the jailers to enter, steeling herself against what was to come. She was surprised, it was not the jailers but Ladon Radim, who entered her cell.

"Slumming again, Ladon?"

He smiled sarcastically, "I used to think you were a very sophisticated, intelligent woman, Isabella, but you have proven to be a fool. I need to know where he's going."

"What are you talking about, who's going where?

"Minister McKay along with his deputy minister, Zelenka took off in a small transport yesterday morning, according to their papers their destination was a weapons platform conference on Lucan, but they never arrived. I want to know where they were really going."

"How am I supposed to know where your science minister is going?"

"Don't play games with me Isabella. I've suspected for a long time that McKay is a member of your little resistance. How could he not be, since he's been such a good friend of yours?"

"I don't have a clue what you're talking about, governor."

His anger, simmering under the surface, since he entered the cell, erupted; he grabbed her by the hair, slamming her against the cold cell wall. "I've had enough; you are going to tell me everything I need to know about what McKay is up to and about your little resistance."

Through gritted teeth, she uttered, "I will tell you nothing."

Ladon backhanded her, the blow propelling her onto the wooden bench, her hip striking the edge. She cried out in pain, as he roughly yanked her upright; his face consumed with rage.

"You have tried my patience; it's time to teach you a lesson." He drew his fist back and punched her in the stomach causing her to double over. She was attempting to get her breath when he pulled her upright once again.

"I would so much rather be enjoying your body than beating it, but you made that decision for me, didn't you? He glared at her, "It's been a long time since I've seen you naked."

He grasped the neckline of the black prison jumpsuit and ripped the garment from her. Once she stood naked before him, he gazed at her leeringly.

"Oh, so beautiful, even bruised; those breasts, a man could get lost in those breasts…so large and full for such a small woman." He fondled her breasts, squeezing her nipples until she cried out from the pain. "I think you like that, don't you. You like being hurt…and I am happy to oblige you."

He slid his hands roughly down her body, fingers digging into her bottom, then pushed his hand between her legs, probing her. Enduring the pain, she was thankful he was unable arouse her, no matter how hard he tried.

She taunted him, "That as good as you can do? Oh that's right, I remember; you were a lousy lover."

He pushed harder into her with his fingers, then withdrew his hand, punching her brutally in the lower abdomen. He then threw her onto the cold floor and knelt above her, his weight resting on his knee, which was pressed against her mound. "You will be begging me to take you soon."

Radim stood, removed his pistol from its holster and walked to the window where he smashed the glass with the pistol butt. " For now, Isabella, I will leave you here, naked and in the cold."

She was doubled up in pain on the cold floor, icy wind blowing into the small cell. As she passed out, her only thought was for Rodney and Radek to be safe.

~~ooOoo~~


"How did you get these?" Sheppard was staring at the floor plans of the Carcerem.

Rodney grinned, "Radek has a gift for sleight of hand; he went to the Cabal government center with orders for the plans to the new weapons' center. He managed to sweet talk the clerk into allowing him to enter the restricted area, and she let him have the run of the place. He also got these," he pulled another set of plans from the leather satchel they retrieved from the transport, "plans to the governor's palace, just in case."

Sheppard came as close to a grin as Rodney had seen since they had found him. "What is it with that little guy, ever since I've known him, the ladies just fawn all over him. Even Teyla's acting like a school girl around him and let me tell you, I wouldn't mess with her."

Sighing, Rodney said, "He assures me it's his amazing charm, blue eyes, and dimples. I think he's whipped up some kind of love potion; no other explanation."

"Do you have any idea the location of the cell she's being held in?"

"There are resistance members working in the Carcerem, but only in the offices, only Cabal members are guards. They weren't able to find out the exact cell, but they are certain she is being held in the east wing. There are no other prisoners in that area and no new prisoners in the other sections. Process of elimination, she's being held in the east wing...which floor I have no idea."

"I need for you and Radek to remain here, in case something goes wrong and we get caught; you're the backup plan."

"John, we can't go back, not without getting arrested. We were supposed to be going to Lucan for a meeting with Cabal scientist about plans about a new weapons' platform. We didn't show up so, I imagine that Radim is looking for us as well."

Sheppard thought a minute, "We can probably stage a crash somewhere along the route to give you a reason for missing the meeting. We'll deal with that late; right now, we need a plan. Ronon and Teyla are rounding up the crew; when they return, we'll leave for Atlantia."

Rodney hesitated; he wasn't certain if he should ask, but he needed to know, "John, what have you been doing all this time?"

"Doesn't matter, Rodney."

"Yes it does, I know you aren't a criminal, so how are you living like this?"

Sheppard glared at him, "I…I had money from my family; I cashed out everything so I would be able to take care of ..." he paused, "it's enough. This place became available when the owner was killed over a smuggling deal. I'd met up with Ronon and Teyla by then and we were in Dovo when the compound became empty. We moved in."

"Cozy little arrangement," Rodney's tone became somewhat snarky, "You got a thing going with Teyla?"

Sheppard was silent, Rodney waited for his reply, when it came it was short, "No."

"She's certainly beautiful; I just thought…I mean it's been nearly a year…"

"Rodney…stop…don't bring this up again." He folded the plans, saying, "I need to get some sleep, and I imagine so do you. Ronon should be back in a couple of hours; then we leave for Atlantia." Sheppard turned and abruptly left the salon, leaving Rodney alone.

The scientist found his way back to the chamber he and Radek woke up in, after losing his way twice in the large rambling compound. When he made it to the room, he found Radek asleep. Quietly, Rodney stretched out on the divan, a thousand thoughts running through his head. He was trying block out the thoughts, when Radek spoke.

"Rodney, when are we going to leave for Atlantia?"

"We're not going; John's assembling his crew, they are going to go after her. He wants us to remain here, as back-up, in case they get caught."

"Rodney, did John tell you anything about the last year?"

"No, nothing."

Radek sat up on the side of the bed, "Teyla told me how they met John. The Gravens had ostracized her when her family lost their status as leaders of the warrior sect. She thought her family had been treated unfairly, so she challenged the Gravens' decision and lost. To spare her family disgrace, she chose exile. She met up with Ronon, who became a mercenary after the Cabal defeated the army on his home planet. They teamed up, helping people persecuted by the Cabal."

Rodney asked, "They're good guys?" Radek nodded and in a relieved voice, Rodney said, "Thank goodness, I was worried that John…" He let the thought trail off.

"Teyla said they found John in a bar on Rellias IV over nine months ago where he was playing bungo. He was quite drunk and had won a lot of money. A couple of guys attempted to rob him when he left the bar, beating him up before Teyla and Ronon got to them. Ronon made quick work of the robbers, and they took John to an inn, sobered him up, and they've been friends ever since."

"If John joined them in fighting the Cabal, then why didn't he try to help us? Radek, it doesn't make sense; we're his family, Atlantia is his home. He's from Atlantia; I don't understand."

"When they told him what they had been doing, Teyla said he wasn't interested at first; he didn't want to talk about the Cabal. He stayed with them though and helped them financially. They think he made all his money from playing bungo, and I didn't tell her any different. She said after awhile, he came around and started helping them. That was when they began to make a difference, and the Cabal started to take notice of them. They brought others into the group. She said Sheppard recruited specific types of people into the group, not just warriors like her," Radek smiled slightly as he reflected on that statement. "Teyla said John stays here most of the time and does all the planning. She and Ronon are very surprised that he's going to lead this mission to rescue Isabella."

"Did Teyla tell you anything else about him?"

"Nothing, Teyla said he has never spoken about his past. She said he seems lost, that he is rarely happy; most nights he sits in the salon, drinking timnari alone. Rodney, he didn't attempt to return to Atlantia because he believes that she betrayed him, doesn't he?"

"I don't know, Radek. Try to get some sleep, they are going to leave in about two hours, and I doubt we'll sleep while they're gone." Rodney lay back on the divan. Only one thought running through his head, all this time John was in pain because he didn't know the truth.

~~ooOoo~~


Rodney woke with a start; he heard voices in the hallway. Jumping up, he shook Radek awake, and rushed to the door, finding Ronon and two other men standing in the hallway.

Ronon motioned for Rodney, "He's in the salon, wants to see you."

Rodney, with Radek on his heels, entered the salon to find several other people, some in Cabal uniforms surrounding Sheppard, the plans of the Carcerem spread on a table. Sheppard looked up as Rodney walked in.

"This is Petre, he's a computer/electronics expert. He thinks he can bypass the Carcerem security system completely if we run into trouble, but he has a question for you."

Rodney spent ten minutes discussing what he knew about the security systems at the prison. When he looked up to find Sheppard, he saw that his friend had changed into the uniform of a Cabal Magister officer, the elite of the Cabal. Two other men standing with him were dressed identically. For once Sheppard looked familiar, the dark gray tunic coat and trousers reminded Rodney of the black uniform that he wore as commander of the Atlantian military.

"John, where did you get your hands on Cabal uniforms?"

Sheppard was strapping a holster to his thigh; he looked up at Rodney, "We have resources." He picked up a packet of papers from the table, "We also have orders to take the resistance leader currently under arrest on Atlantia into custody."

Rodney pulled official looking documents out of the envelope, "These…these look real."

"They are 'real'," Sheppard, pointed to a man standing near the doorway, "he was once an administrator at Cabal headquarters. He took a lot of blank documents when he decided to join us."

Ronon came over, "We're ready. Ivez is on board the transport, conducting pre-flight; we go on your mark."

Sheppard nodded, "Okay, everyone, let's go; we'll review the mission plan on the way."

As he walked away, Rodney grabbed his arm, "John, I…thanks, I know you don't feel…look, she doesn't deserve this, things aren't what you think."

Sheppard's eyes darkened, "I told you, don't bring this up again; I'll make certain she's safe, that's all." He pulled his arm away from Rodney's grasp, and left the room, his team following.

Radek joined Rodney, "He will save her, Rodney…he will save her."

~~ooOoo~~


The stolen Cabal transport dropped out of hyper-speed, and Ivez radioed Atlantian control that they had orders for the Carcerem. After giving the proper security codes, Ivez received clearance and sat down on the landing platform next to the prison.

Teyla, dressed as a Cabal prison guard, peered out the porthole at the imposing concrete building, which was their destination. "John, you realize that Radim will be notified of our arrival."

"I'm counting on it."

Sheppard stood up, "Isaacs you're up."

They disembarked and walked up the ramp to the security gate, where Isaacs presented the papers. The guard passed them through and they entered the building.

Isaacs walked quickly to the reception desk; several people were working behind a wall, accessible only by a thick glass partition. One of the security guards flipped on the speaker and spoke only one word, "Papers." Isaacs laid the packet into the pass through tray. They waited as the prison administrator scrutinized the orders, and after nearly ten minutes, a buzzer sounded and a burly guard opened a doorway.

"Only two of you," he held the door opened.

Isaacs turned, "Smith, Dex, secure the prisoner." Isaac's didn't use Sheppard's name for fear he would be recognized.

Sheppard and Ronon stepped forward and followed the guard toward the east wing of the building. The elevator took them to the second floor, after walking the corridor, from cell to cell, without finding Isabella. Sheppard grabbed the guard and slammed him against the wall, "You're delaying us on purpose, why?"

When the guard didn't answer, Sheppard twisted his arm tighter; the muzzle of his gun pressed against the guard temple. "Where is she, tell me, or I will kill you."

The guard gasped, "T-t-third…floor." Sheppard hit the man over the head with the butt of his gun, dropping the man to the floor. "Let's go."

They found the staircase and raced to the third floor, a quick glance down the corridor told Sheppard where Isabella's cell was located. A guard was opening the door, a black jumpsuit slung over his shoulder. Ronon reached him as he stepped into the cell, a quick uppercut and the guard was down. Sheppard rushed past Ronon, into the freezing cell, then stopped dead in his tracks, stunned at what he saw.

Isabella was lying on the floor, naked; her skin pale covered in bruises, fresh on top of faded, along with abrasions, cuts, and dried blood. His heart was racing; she was so familiar, so beautiful, even now. Her long dark blond hair, spilled across her face, draped on the floor. She lay curled in a fetal position, and his gaze slid across the curve of her back, the softness of her hip, the swell of her breasts. He dropped to his knees, brushing her hair from her face, he whispered, "Isabella, can you hear me?"

He could barely hear her as she murmured, "N-no…won't t-tell you…c-cold…so cold"

Removing his leather coat, Sheppard tucked it around her, "Isa, it's me…it's John; talk to me, Isa, talk to me." He scooped her up, sitting down on the bench, and cradled her against him trying to get her warm. Softly, he whispered, "Its okay, Isa, your safe."

Dex was standing in the doorway, "Sheppard, we need to go." He handed the black jumpsuit to Sheppard.

"Ronon, help me, I don't want to hurt her; she's been badly beaten."

Together, the two men gently dressed her, then wrapped her in Sheppard's coat. Ronon drew his weapon, and they made their way to the elevator and into the lobby. A barely audible gasp from Teyla was the only sound from Sheppard's team when they realized how badly injured she was.

Isaacs, staying in character, turned to the administrator, who had joined them in the lobby. "Is this how you treat important prisoners of the Cabal. This woman has valuable information that the Cabal requires; this planet is strategically located with vast resources. If an interrogation was done, professionals, not thugs, should have done it. This is not the last you will hear of this." Turning to Ronon and Sheppard, he ordered, "Get her out of her."

Sheppard hurried out the door, carrying Isabella, his team surrounding him. They were almost to the transport when a fast-moving vehicle entered the prison grounds. Dex radioed for Ivez to get ready to take off, but they couldn't reach the transport quickly enough.

Radim and his personal guards exited the vehicle and the governor approached Isaacs, "I am Governor Radim; the administrator notified me of your arrival. I want my prisoner back; you have no right to take her. I was never informed that the Cabal wanted to transfer her; return her to the prison now."

Isaacs smiled, "No the prisoner is coming with me." Isaacs spun away from Radim, but the sound of weapons powering up stopped him, "Governor, that wouldn't be wise. You choose this course of action and will not be governor of Atlantia for long."

The group around Sheppard had slowly been backing up toward the transport. When he realized that the situation was deteriorating, he handed Isabella to Petre, quietly telling him to get her onboard and take down the security and communications grid on his mark. Hidden by the others, Petre slipped into the transport with his charge. Sheppard moved closer to Dex.

Radim was becoming very agitated, "I said bring her back to me, or I will kill all of you where you stand."

Isaacs laughed, "There are four of you and twelve of us, not the best odds for you, governor. I suggest you take this up with the Magistrate, who oversees this quadrant."

Radim raised his weapon, "I said bring her back." He pressed the trigger on his gun, but before it engaged, Ronon shot the gun out of his hand. The bodyguards with him were cut down by Sheppard's team before they had a chance to fire.

Radim had fallen to the ground, and as he struggled to rise, determined to get Isabella back, he recognized Sheppard. He grabbed a weapon dropped by one of his bodyguards, and yelled, "Sheppard, so you finally decided to show up….but not before I destroyed her. Now, you die." Sheppard turned toward him and Radim fired, while still lying on the ground, the plasma beam glancing off Sheppard's left shoulder.

Sheppard staggered, but regained his footing as Teyla rushed up, kicking the gun out of Radim's hand and was poised to strike Radim's head with her foot.

"Teyla, wait, " Sheppard yelled. Instead, Teyla pressed her foot into Radim's chest as Sheppard reached them.

Sheppard dropped to one knee next to Radim, "Big man aren't you? Such a big man that you had to torture a woman for your enjoyment."

Radim's eyes were filled with rage, but he managed to maintain control, "Well, let's just say it was toss-up whether sleeping with her or beating her was more fun; haven't made up my mind yet."

Sheppard stood, breathing deeply through the pain in his shoulder, "I should kill you right here, but I won't. I prefer the Cabal knowing that the resistance defeated you. However, I can't leave you unscathed, she deserves more than that. Get him on his feet."

Ronon and Teyla pulled Radim up, then backed away. Sheppard stared at him as Radim taunted him. "Come on Commander Shep…oops, former Commander Sheppard…you're a coward, you ran before. Let's see if you can fight."

Sheppard struck quickly, with three rapid blows to Radim's chest, when the smaller man almost fell to the ground, he grabbed him by the jacket. A sharp uppercut and Radim hit the ground hard. Sheppard kicked him in the side as hard as he could. Standing over the governor, he said, "All that, and you still won't be as bruised as she is; I should beat you to a bloody pulp. You got off easy this time; but I promise, one day, I will kill you." Sheppard headed for the transport, radioing Petre to take the grid down. Ronon followed him, leaving Teyla standing next to Radim.

Teyla smiled down as the governor, who was withering in pain, "Sheppard let you off much too easy, but I won't." She kicked Radim several times in both his abdomen and hips, then kicked him in the chin; he fell unconscious. "Now, that's better." Teyla ran onto the transport, and moments later, the vessel lifted off.

Petre had managed to disable the communications and tracking systems on Atlantia, and the transport entered hyperspeed before any Cabal ships were scrambled to pursue them. Teyla had attempted to treat Sheppard's wound, but he had brushed her off and headed to the small cabin where Petre had taken Isabella.

He entered the darkened cabin, and sat down on the edge of the sleeping couch next to her. She looked so small and helpless in the pale light from the hyperspeed field outside the small porthole.

She shifted slightly, moaning from the effort, "Isabella, can you hear me?" He reached down, once again brushing her hair from her face, allowing his fingers to trace her cheekbones, the soft line of her jaw, her lips. Along her chin and cheek, a dark bruise marred her beautiful face, making him wish he had done more damage to Radim.

Her face was cold; he slid his fingers underneath her collar, discovering that her covered body was cold as well. Sheppard grabbed a couple of blankets, stored in an overhead bin and then lay down next to her, covering them both with the blankets. As his body heat brought her temperature up, she began to mutter incoherently.

"So….cold…not…g-going to tell…re-resistance…cold…Rodney."

Rodney, Isabella had called Rodney's name. His heart was racing, had she turned to Rodney after he left? If she did, he only had himself to blame, but he didn't want to believe that had happened.

He whispered to her, "Isa, it's John, I came for you."

She settled against him, softy murmuring, "John…gone…doesn't….l-love…" She became quiet and John realized she had fallen asleep. Gone, she was right, he had gone and now she didn't love him. He held her closer, the realization that he still loved her washing over him as he, too, fell asleep.

~~ooOoo~~


Rodney had been pacing the salon, then going onto the wide veranda at the back of the compound to watch the sky for the transport. Radek had given up trying to stop him; just allowed him to roam at will.

On one of his forays into the house, he found Radek having roota in the sunroom. He sat down, absently accepting the mug Radek poured for him.

"Rodney, you must calm down, they are not late, the trip will take four and a half hour's each way, and we allowed for thirty minutes on the ground, that is nine and a half hour's minimum. There is still an hour to go before they can possibly return."

"What happens if they're not able to rescue her? What happens if the mission went sour and they were caught? Then I will have managed to get John killed along with Isabella, not to mention all of his team." Rodney dropped his head, "We should have gone along; at least, we would know by now."

Radek sighed, "Rodney, please; do not despair until you have reason to despair. How do you think Isabella will react to seeing John?"

"I know Isabella still loves him, but when he didn't come back for her, she became convinced he didn't love her. Now, we find out that John thinks she was involved with Radim, and that's why he didn't return. I don't know: they're idiots, they been in love since the second they saw each other. I was there, I saw the sparks between them; for them not to be together is not right."

Radek tapped the table, "Drink your roota, perhaps a little timnari would calm you down?" Rodney nodded, and Radek jumped up to retrieve a bottle from the salon.

An hour later, Rodney was pacing the salon; an hour and a half later, he refused to come inside. He stood on the veranda in the cold until he heard the soft hum of sublight engines, and watched, his heart in his mouth, as the transport landed.

Rodney rushed to the landing pad, his nerves on fire as the hatch opened and Teyla stepped out. When she nodded, he knew Isabella was safe. Rodney didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or collapse.

Teyla rushed over to him, "Isabella is safe, Rodney, but she was tortured; she's been beaten and she's barely conscious. John and Ronon will bring her out shortly. I'm heading for the mine to get Doc Beckett." She smiled at Radek, "Come with me." She kissed Rodney on the cheek, "We will return shortly," and headed for one of the small ground transports with Radek.

Rodney started to board the transport when Sheppard emerged, Ronon behind him, carrying Isabella. He realized Sheppard was wounded, and ran to his friend, "John, let me help you." He flung an arm around Sheppard, supporting him.

"He hurt her, Rodney," Sheppard's voice was husky, "She woke up a couple of times, but was incoherent, just mumbled words. He had stripped her, beaten her, and left her in a freezing cell."

Rodney glanced behind them, at the unconscious Isabella, then assured John, "It's alright; she's alive, and she's here that's what matters. Let's get you both inside."

Sheppard insisted that Isabella be taken to the master suite, there Ronon laid her down gently on the silk bedclothes, taking the blankets and Sheppard's coat off her. He pulled the thick throws over her, then looked at Sheppard, "Buddy; we need to get that jacket off you. That's a nasty wound."

"No, I'm fine; I'll wait until Beckett gets here."

Fifteen minutes later, Doctor Carson Beckett, chief physician for the mining company, arrived accompanied by his nurse, Marie. The normally jovial doctor was a native of the planet Fyne, another planet on the list that Cabal had seized. He had become friends with Sheppard over the past months and had, during an evening sharing a couple of bottles of timnari, learned more about Sheppard's past than Teyla and Ronon knew.

Beckett briefly checked Isabella, then turned his attention to Sheppard, "Let's get that tunic off, John; I need to examine that wound."

"No, take care of her."

"Isabella is sleeping, John; her breathing is even, and despite her injures, she seems to be resting comfortably. You, on the other hand, are obviously in pain. So, tunic off, I'll give you some pain meds, and you can then go sit in the corner and play martyr."

Sheppard frowned, but slipped the jacket off with Marie's assistance, wincing as he moved his left shoulder. "Nasty plasma burn, but it looks like you were lucky, it isn't very deep."

"Hit me from the side, glanced off." Sheppard uttered roughly, as Marie began to swab the wound. Once she had cleaned and applied an antibiotic spray, she quickly bandaged the wound. As Beckett was giving him a hypo of pain meds, Ronon returned with a warm shirt for Sheppard.

"Here, figured you'd need this, " Ronon said as he handed him the shirt. Sheppard nodded thanks and Ronon told him they'd be waiting outside if he needed them.

Beckett helped him put on the shirt, "I need to examine Isabella, which might make her uncomfortable. I think you should wait outside."

Sheppard took a deep breath, "No; I'm not leaving until I know she's okay."

"Then make yourself useful and get towels for me, and a couple of warm wet washcloths." As Sheppard left to retrieve the towels, Marie cut the black jumpsuit from Isabella, while Beckett checked her vital signs and did a quick exam before Sheppard came back in the room.

When he turned with the towels, Isabella was lying uncovered on his bed, the extent of her injuries evident. Her abdomen and chest were a mass of bruises, bruises that could only have been made by a large fist, knuckle impressions visible on her pale skin. He felt the bile rising in his throat as fury at Radim brewed within him. He should have killed the bastard.

Handing the towels and cloths to Marie, he circled the bed, sitting in a chair on the other side. "Carson, how badly is she injured?"

"Actually, not as bad as it appears, fortunately; I believe that the blows were inflicted for pain rather than injury. Most of them are placed in areas where there would be little internal damage, although I am concerned about this deep bruise on her pelvis, there is some swelling there. The most recent bruises, however, seem to be delivered without regard to the damage they might do. I don't believe there is any internal bleeding, however. Her blood pressure is good considering; a little high but I believe that is from stress as well as the pain, and her pupils are responsive. I think she just needs rest and she'll be fine physically."

Sheppard rubbed his forehead, "Physically, but not mentally?"

"She's been through a lot; emotionally, it might take time to heal, but you told me she was very strong and with your help…"

Sheppard interrupted, "She doesn't want help from me."

"You don't know that." Beckett paused, then added, There is one other thing, while you were out of the room, I checked for…well, there's genital bruising. I believe she was sexually abused."

Rage flooded through Sheppard, but he maintained control, "I should have killed him; but his days are numbered. Radim is a dead man walking."

As Marie began to wipe the dried blood from Isabella's body, Beckett walked to the side of the bed and sat down facing Sheppard. "You need to concentrate on healing and helping Isabella get well. I can see how much you care for her, and you need to let her know that. She needs you right now."

Sheppard stood up, never taking his eyes from her, "She has Rodney; she doesn't need me." Sheppard left the room.

~~ooOoo~~


Rodney McKay was angry. He had been looking for Sheppard for nearly forty-eight hours and no one knew where he was. Sheppard had left shortly after Beckett began treating Isabella. He had grabbed a coat, stormed out of the compound, and driven away in a ground transport Ronon had just returned from Dovo after searching the town with no luck.

Rodney asked, "There's no sign of him?"

"No, no one's seen him anywhere in Dovo. I've got people looking in the other towns, but nothing yet. I've checked some of our hiding places; he's not at any of them."
Teyla came running in the room, "Sorry…Rodney, she's awake."

Rodney hurried to the bedroom, and found Isabella sitting up. He smiled broadly, sitting down on the edge of the bed, "Hey, we thought we would never see you again."

"I…wasn't sure about that either. I thought he was going to kill me. Thank you for rescuing me, I.."

"It's all right; tell me what happened?

"After I was captured, Radim…came to see me, told me…I would pay for rejecting him. He had the guards beat me twice a day, but he told him not to injure me badly…just make me hurt." She took a breath, "They gave me water and a little food. Radim came in…I don't know when, he was angry…he….Rodney, you and Radek are in danger. Radim knew that you're members of the resistance; he told me you had left Atlantia and wanted to know where you had…gone. I…didn't know…wouldn't have…told him if I did. He was so mad he ripped my clothes off and he…he hurt me with his hand, then hit me really hard. I remember glass shattering and it got so cold. I don't remember much after that…I was hallucinating, I thought…I thought he had come…for me…, Rodney, you and Radek, you… have to leave Atlantia." Tears were pooling in her eyes.

Rodney clasped her hands, "It's okay, Isabella. We aren't on Atlantia, we're safe here."

"Where…are we?"

Rodney pursed his lips, clearly finding it difficult to tell her, "We're on a planet called Stravosa, near a town called Dovo."

"Why are…we here?"

"I...uh…knew we needed help to get you out of the Carcerem, so I looked for him and…"

"No…tell me…you didn't…" she was becoming agitated.

"I had to, Isabella, because I knew he'd help; he wouldn't let anything happen to you."

Isabella was shaking, "No, I didn't want…you didn't tell…tell… him what I did?"

Rodney pulled her close, "No, I didn't tell him." She was sobbing, and he sat with her until she calmed down and fell asleep once more.

As he left the room, he looked back at her, the bruises on her body were beginning to fade, but the bruises on her heart were as raw as ever. It was time for those to heal as well. He closed the door behind him, headed to locate Ronon. It was time to find John Sheppard; it was time to tell his friend the truth.

~~ooOoo~~


Three hours later, after one of Sheppard's team, who was out searching for him located him in a tavern in Hara, Rodney walked in. Sheppard was sitting at a table in a corner of the nearly empty tavern, a nearly empty bottle of timnari in front of him. He looked like he had slept or showered in days. Rodney grabbed the chair across from him, and sat down.

Sheppard didn't look up but grumbled, "Go away, McKay."

"Ah, John Sheppard, always so lyrical, I suppose the drinking helps."

"Go to hell, McKay."

"Well, probably heading that way for what I'm about to do, but I think I'll have lots of company. You need to come back with me, now."

Sheppard looked up, a gleam of panic in his eyes, "Is she all right?"

"Why should you care? I thought you didn't love her." His reply was a glare that would melt most men into a puddle of fear, but he wasn't most men; he was John Sheppard's friend.

"Isabella is fine; much improved, in fact. She woke up this afternoon, and I talked to her for a while. She told me about what happened to her, and about what Radim did to her. When he was told that Radek and I didn't make it to Lucan, he went to see her. He suspected that we were in the resistance. Apparently, he was very angry and when she wouldn't tell him, partly because she didn't know what we were doing, but mostly because she wouldn't, he stripped her, violently groped her, and beat her. She remembered hearing glass shatter and then she just remembered being cold."

Sheppard poured another shot and downed it, "I should have killed him."

"I can't say that he doesn't need to die for what he did."

"She said your name."

"What, what are you talking about?"

"On the transport, she was incoherent, but she said your name…she…"

Rodney put his hands behind his neck and sighed, "You….you think she…oh…you are a bloody fool. She was just associating words with what happened; Radim asked about Radek and me. I'm a closer friend than Radek….it's understandable she would say my name. What is wrong with you? She thought you came for her, but she thinks it was a hallucination."

Sheppard sat, concentrating on rolling the shot glass around on the table. He wouldn't look at Rodney, "She was mumbling, I told her I was there, she said my name, then said gone and doesn't love. I did leave her and I didn't come back, no wonder, she doesn't love me."

"Crap, Sheppard; listen, you didn't come back because you thought she was having an affair with Radim. She thinks that you didn't come back for her because you didn't love her. I believe 'doesn't love' means doesn't love me'. John, she loves you; she always has."

"Get out of here, leave me alone; you're lying, and I don't want to hear anymore."

"No, you are going to listen to me. I know exactly what happened that night that you fled. It's not what you think, she wasn't with Radim because she wanted to be. She was with Radim because if she hadn't given herself to him, he was going to kill you."

Sheppard looked up at him, "I had a bounty on my head, of course he was going to kill me if he could."

"No, you don't understand. There was surveillance on you…we suspected that, so you were surrounded by loyal military. The only problem was that they weren't all loyal, there was a traitor, who was following you with a vid, ready to kill you when Radim gave the order. Radim had Isabella brought to his private chambers and showed her the live vid feed, told her that you would be dead if she didn't sleep with him. She was afraid that even if she did, he would still kill you, but she couldn't take that chance." Rodney's voice became raw, "She gave herself to Radim to save your life."

Sheppard didn't move; Rodney continued, "You got a tip that Radim had taken her to his chambers, didn't you? A tip by one of your men, Varis; Varis was the traitor. Didn't you think it was too easy to get so close to Radim's private quarters…he wanted you to see Isabella in his bed. He knew you were the biggest threat to him. The resistance caught Varis a few months later and he confessed, he's still being held in one of the hideouts. Radim set you up, to hurt you, then Varis was to kill you anyway. But you gave Varis the slip on your way back to me and foiled their plot. Once you fled, Radim hadn't been able to locate you. Isabella doesn't know about Varis; I made certain it was kept from her. I didn't want her to know you had seen them, it would have hurt her worse."

Rodney looked at his friend, who was sitting before him stunned, "John, she loves you. She never slept with Radim again; in fact, she publicly rejected him and only her father's position protected her from his wrath. When the coup occurred and her father was taken off world, she was in grave danger. That's when she went underground and began to fight the Cabal."

"Why didn't you tell me before now?" Sheppard asked gruffly.

"Because Isabella begged me to never tell you the truth, she was too ashamed and afraid of what you would think of her if you knew. I told you, she doesn't know that you saw Radim ravaging her; she'd be devastated if she knew that. But, by not knowing, she thinks you really didn't love her, and that's why you didn't return for her. Both of you have believed things about each other that weren't true. So, which is it, are you going to be stubborn and not admit to her how you feel, or are you going to be stupid, let her get away?

"Rodney, I…."

"Come on, let's go home." Rodney stood up and held out his hand. Sheppard clasped the outstretched hand and allowed his friend to pull him up.

~~ooOoo~~


The suns were setting as John Sheppard quietly opened the door to his bedroom. Rodney had made him take a shower, and drink lots of roota and eat before he saw her. Now, feeling stronger than he had in days, he entered the room.

Isabella was standing at the large glass door that led to a private patio. She was wearing a long gossamer gown, her body silhouetted by the dimming sunlight streaming through the glass. He was finding it difficult to find his voice. He swallowed and forced himself to speak.

"Isa."

She turned slowly toward him, "It was you. I thought you were there, but I…thank you for…rescuing me."

"I had to…Rodney asked me, and I couldn't…let him hurt you."

She walked a few steps toward him, "Rodney's a good friend; he and Radek sacrificed their careers and their lives to find you and help me."

He stepped closer to her, "Yeah, good guys…I…" he took a deep breath, then just blurted out what he wanted to say, "I know…I know what you did to save my life, Rodney told me."

Isabella visibly sagged, grabbing on to the back of a chair to keep herself from falling, "No, I told him not to tell you. Why…" Tears were streaming down her cheeks.

John rushed to her and took her in his arms, "Isa it's okay; I don't hate you for doing that, you did it because you loved me. I know that now."

"You don't hate me for letting him…"

"No, but there's something you need to know," He pulled away slightly, looking down at her. She was tiny, barely coming to his shoulder, and she looked so fragile in the light from the setting suns. "I was told by one of my men, Varis, where you were being held in Radim's quarters. What I didn't know was that he was spying for Radim. Rodney told me about him, he was the one you saw following me. He had orders to kill me regardless of what you did. He told me where you were, and Radim allowed me to get to his quarters. He wanted me to see you in his bed. I admit it; I fled. I didn't think there was any reason for me to stay on Atlantia for after that. I'm sorry, part of me didn't believe it, but it was easier to walk away than have you tell me you wanted Radim."

She pushed away from him, "You…saw us… you saw me with him? I...I…hated him touching me, but I couldn't bear you dying. The only thing about these months without you was, even though I thought you didn't love me, at least you were alive."

He pulled her back into his arms, "I do love you; I've always loved you." He turned her face to his, tracing her lips with his finger, then leaned down, his lips brushing hers. He felt her collapse in his arms, pressing her lips against his.

As the kiss deepened, they both became hungry for more, John slid his tongue against her lips, and she allowed him access to her mouth, He ran his hands along her back, across the curve of her hips and cradled her bottom in his hands, while she pressed into him, her full breasts crushed against his chest. He slid his hands to the neckline of her gown, then to the tiny crystal buttons. Clumsily, he unbuttoned the gown, pushing it off her shoulders, the sheer fabric slithering to the floor.

Stepping back, he looked at her, gazing at her breasts, her essence, allowing his fingers to trail from her abdomen to her thighs, trying to avoid the fading bruises. Scooping her into his arms, he gently laid her on the silk bedcovers.

"I want you, but I don’t want to hurt you."

Isabella smiled at him, "I'm not as fragile as I seem. I want you. I've always wanted you." She pulled his head toward hers, kissing him deeply, as his hands caressed her breasts, then slid down her body. As she opened to him, she whispered, "I love you, John Sheppard."
~~ooOoo~~



Sunlight was pouring into the compound as John and Isabella walked into the kitchen to find their friends assembled around the table having breakfast. Rodney, Radek, Teyla, Ronon, and Carson Beckett were looking at them with anticipation.

Isabella, now dressed in clothes that Teyla had given her, headed for Rodney, giving him a kiss on the cheek, whispering, "Thank you." He grinned at her, blushing slightly. She then gave Radek a kiss as well, prompting Teyla to frown, which led to laughter from Ronon and Beckett.

Carson chuckled, "I stopped by to see how you were doing, Isabella, but it was suggested that I might not want to barge into the room."

Sheppard looked quite embarrassed, Ronon noticing quickly asked, "Okay, now we've rescued the girl; what's next?"

Rodney said, "Yes, John; I think it's time we fought the Cabal. They are destroying the galaxy. So, what should we do first?

Sheppard put his arms around Isabella, "I think the first thing we do is rescue Chancellor Landry. Let the rebellion begin."

The end…

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
sherry57
Aug. 27th, 2011 10:10 am (UTC)
Oh...very very good hon!! 'Let the rebellion begin'.....bring it on. Are we going to read more of this....please????
I loved all the characters in this. Sheppard, apparently wronged in love and treated so badly by an evil Radim, Rodney playing the agony aunt...nice one. Teyla with her cutie Radek....so funny. Isabella and Sheppard finally finding love together...sensuous and beautiful.
I realy want more in this AU...pretty pretty please!!! After all, Landry is still out there and we don't leave anyone behind...do we???
stella_pegasi
Aug. 27th, 2011 12:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you, so glad you enjoyed. I had fun with this, a little foray into a genre I don't normally write. I think I would like to play with this storyline more, see what other trouble I can get them into...besides as you said, Landry is still out there!

As always, thanks....
sexycazzy
Aug. 27th, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
this is really good! Loved it! Hoping that you will write more of this :)
stella_pegasi
Aug. 28th, 2011 01:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you...I'm thinking about another story....can't leave Chancellor Landry behind! I'm glad you enjoyed.

Thanks again!!!!
esteefee
Aug. 28th, 2011 07:30 am (UTC)
awesome last line.

this is definitely a new direction for you! way to stretch your wings, babe.
stella_pegasi
Aug. 28th, 2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks....

Actually this kind of writing is not new to me, I am playing around with a novel, and there are R rated scenes in it...as I told you before, I just am such a purist when it comes to how the characters in SGA are portrayed...but I'm 'stretching my wings' as you say!! Actually, Isabella is a character, who is Sheppard's love interest in several fics I have written. I've done a couple of AU's before and I'm enjoying this more than I thought.

As I have begun to see comments from others, everyone is so excited about this comm and how incredible diverse it is. This is just so much fun!

Thanks again!
esteefee
Aug. 28th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
it was really interesting seeing John and Rodney as having such a deep past...and the whole Empire feel to this universe.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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