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Week 14: A Forgotten Memory

Title: A FORGOTTEN MEMORY
Author: stella_pegasi
Genre(s): Friendship
Rating: PG
Character/Pairing: OT4
Spoilers: None
Warnings: couple of minor "bad" words.
Het/Slash/Gen: Gen
Word count: 1,197
Disclaimer: I do not own them, I would have treated them better.
Summary: An off world mission stirs an old memory for John Sheppard.

Written for Week 14: Driftwood picture prompt. The picture is gorgeous, and it immediately conjured up all manner of possibilities. However, I first chose too broad a story line…I didn't want to write another 10,000+ story this week…so I struggled…until my wonderful friend sherry57 and her amazingly clever daughter, Alex, each offered a thought…I combined them for this story. Hope you enjoy!





A FORGOTTEN MEMORY

By stella_pegasi


Wet sand crunched under Sheppard's boots, as he made his way down the narrow overgrown path toward the beach. Rodney was behind him, alternately grunting or whining; the acerbic scientist hated to walk on flat land much less on a steep slope. Teyla and Ronon were following closely behind.

"Sheppard, why are we climbing down this cliff? It's rainy, cold, and gloomy; can't we just go back to Atlantis?"

"You're the one who always complains that we never visit a planet with a beach, McKay. So, there's the beach."

"I think I qualified that as a 'tropical beach,' not one that looks like it could be in Norway."

Sheppard shook his head, knowing there was never any winning with McKay. One thing the grumpy scientist was right about was the gloomy weather, Norway indeed. As he neared the bottom of the slope, he was struck by how similar this beach looked to the stretch of Maryland shore where his family once had a beach house. His mother had enjoyed going to the beach in the winter, and he remembered cold, gray days like this one. He shook off the memory and waited on the shore for his team.

"Colonel, the City Praetor said that many Ancient artifacts washed ashore during the last storm. Where do you suspect these items are coming from? Could there be some outpost in the ocean?" Teyla was handing the slightly out of breath McKay a bottle of water and a power bar she had retrieved from the jumper.

"That's the best guess I have. We know the Ancients established outposts underwater before, since we've been in one. I suspect the items that have been washing up here on Mender are from an outpost that's been destroyed."

Rodney added, "Or crashed or submerged, they've done that before as well. Whatever it is, according to the items we have in the jumper, it was a science station of some sort."

Sheppard smirked, "And that is why we are on the beach Rodney; I wanted to get a look at the area where the Praetor indicated the artifacts were found. Okay, Teyla, Ronon, head that way; Rodney and I will head down the beach."

They parted, and Sheppard and Rodney trekked to the south. The sky was dark and ominous, in the distance, across the bay heavy rain was falling. He was listening to Rodney ramble on about some of the items the Praetor had allowed them to take back to Atlantis. He hadn't allowed Sheppard to touch any of the devices or boxes until they had a chance to survey them. They had walked about fifteen minutes, and Rodney was beginning to pester him about returning to the jumper and Atlantis, but he wasn't paying attention. Farther up the beach, Sheppard spotted a structure of some kind; his curiosity was peaked, and the colonel picked up his pace.

"Where the hell are you going?" Rodney was jogging to keep up.

"There's a strange-looking structure of some kind down there, I want to take a look at it."

Rodney made a face, but followed, while keeping a wary eye on the darkening sky. As they got closer, they could see the structure was more like a lean-to. Timbers of varying length leaned against the framework haphazardly, making the hut-like structure appear unstable. They were about twenty yards away when Sheppard threw up his hand, then pushed Rodney down into the tall sea grass.

"Ouch, Sheppard, you fell on me, do you realize how much you weigh?"

"Quiet Rodney, someone's hiding in that hut."

The only audible sound was the soft lapping of the bay against the shore, and the rumble of thunder, in the distance. Sheppard motioned for Rodney to stay put, and he circled behind the sea grass, keeping low until he could approach the hut from the rear. Sliding closer, he heard a soft whimper and when he was close enough, he could see the form of a small boy huddled inside the timbers. He lowered his P-90 and motioned for Rodney to come forward.

Rodney whispered, "Nothing in there?"

"There's a kid inside, seems pretty scared."

Sheppard cautiously walked toward the large opening in the front of the structure, "Hey, don't be scared, my name's John; what's your name?"

A frightened voice said, "Keni."

"Keni, come on out, so we can talk to you."

The small boy, about ten years old, crawled out from the timbers. He was thin, his hair the color of straw and his eyes a bright blue. Sheppard dropped to one knee to talk to him.

"Keni, are you lost or do you live nearby?"

The boy pointed to a path just past the timber structure, "My house is up there."

"It looks pretty dangerous to be playing around these timbers. What are you doing down here alone?"

"I come down here some; my father was making a fishing hut for us to stay in at night. But he was taken, and didn't get to finish it."

"You said your father was taken; what happened to him?"

Keni dropped his head and whispered, "The Wraith."

Sheppard stood up, "Keni, it's getting darker, and it's going to rain soon, let's get you home."

He tapped his COM, "Teyla, Ronon, head back to the jumper; looks like heavy rain heading this way. Rodney and I found a little boy on the beach; we're taking him home, then we'll join you."

The path leading to the bluff was flatter than the path, they took to reach the beach; within a few minutes, they were standing on the bluff. Keni led them to a small wooden cottage about fifty yards away, down a narrow lane. When they reached the cottage, Keni ran inside calling for his mother; seconds later, a tired looking woman came to the door. Sheppard introduced himself and McKay.

"I am Jenar, thank you so much for bringing him home. I try to keep him from spending time at the shelter, I'm really afraid he'll get hurt. But it's hard, trying to keep the fishery operating and take care of Keni and his younger brother."

"Keni told us his father was building the fishing shelter for them, but that he was taken in a culling."

"Yes, about two years ago, he had just started on the shelter; the boys were so excited. The shelters provide protection while the fishermen wait for the muscili to run. The muscili are iridescent, and the glow they give off as they school in shallow water is beautiful, not to mention they are very good to eat. Colonel, again, thank you for getting Keni home safely."

Sheppard and Rodney headed along the bluff toward the jumper. They walked in silence for about five minutes, finally Rodney asked, "You've been really quiet, since we left Keni's house."

"That shelter just reminded me of something I hadn't thought about in years. When I was five, Dave was around ten, we were at our beach house on the Maryland shore. Dave was really into Indians at the time, and he wanted a tee-pee, so my father decided to build one. He had all the materials to make a tee-pee delivered to the house and brought a couple of guys from his company down to build it. My father even helped; I can remember him hauling the poles to the site. Dave and I got to hand the guys' things and carry stuff; I was fascinated by it all."

Sheppard paused, as the rain began to fall, then continued, "When the tee-pee was finished, Dad let us spend the night in it, he even stayed with us. The only night that we ever spent in it with Patrick Sheppard; he never had time or took the time. My mother, or some of our cousins would camp out with us, but he never did again. After mom died, my father sold the house; we never went back to the shore."

It was Rodney's turn to be silent, finally, he said, "I never had a tee-pee."

Sheppard chuckled, "Well, that explains a lot…" the rain began to fall harder, Sheppard started jogging, "Come on Rodney, I can see the jumper."

~~ooOoo~~


The next morning, Rodney caught up with Teyla and Ronon in the mess hall. He grabbed his food and sat down with them.

"Rodney, have you spoken with John this morning?"

"No, I haven't seen him? You lose him?"

"Actually, he didn't show up to run with Ronon this morning. I've tried to contact him, but he is not answering his COM."

"Did you check his quarters? Maybe he's sick or something."

Ronon answered, "Not in his quarters; I checked."

Rodney tapped his COM, "Chuck, you know where Colonel Sheppard is?"

Rodney listened for a moment, then told his waiting teammates, "Sheppard gated off world around 0500 hours."

Teyla appeared puzzled, "We do not have a mission scheduled today, where did he go?"

"Chuck said he loaded building supplies into the jumper. He returned to Mender, and I know why. Let me tell you a story."

About an hour later, Rodney, Teyla, and Ronon walked down the beach, the shelter in sight. Sheppard was in the process of evenly stacking the timbers around the shelter's frame. Although the temperature was cool and the sky overcast, Sheppard had shucked his leather jacket and BDU shirt; his t-shirt was soaked with sweat.

They watched for a few minutes, until Ronon finally said, "Hey, Sheppard, want some help?"

Sheppard whirled around, a grin on his face as he realized his friends had come to help, "Glad you're here; I think this is a bit bigger job than I thought."

Rodney snarked, "You could have asked." Sheppard only handed him a coil of rope in reply.

Several hours later, the task complete, Sheppard and Teyla headed for Keni's house. When Jenar came to the door, she was surprised to see the colonel.

"I wasn't expecting to see you again, is something wrong?"

"No," Sheppard answered, "but I would like for you and your sons to come down to the beach. We have something to show you."

Jenar appeared puzzled, but agreed to join them on the beach. It was dusk when she arrived with her sons and other family members. The excitement on Keni's and his younger brother's face when they saw the fishing shelter was priceless. The shelter was now straight and sturdy; the timbers were tied, as well as nailed together, and the entire shelter was covered with marine grade canvas Sheppard had convinced the combat engineers to give him. He had found some extra rubber flooring and had made a nice smooth and somewhat comfortable floor for the hut.

Tears were flowing from Jenar's eyes as she looked at Sheppard, "You didn't have to do this for them, but thank you."

Sheppard was somewhat embarrassed, "It's ok. Keni's a good kid; he deserves it."

Jenar smiled, "For the first time in a very long time, Colonel Sheppard, there is something to celebrate." She turned to the people who had accompanied her, " I believe a feast is in order."

By sunset, Jenar and her family and friends returned laden with food and drink. Ronon and Teyla had built a fire pit, and a large fire was roaring, warming them. A local beer-like drink was doing a decent job of warming them as well. After an enormous feast, Keni and his uncle taught Sheppard and Ronon how to fish for muscili, whose iridescent glow was as beautiful as Jenar described.

That night Keni, and his brother slept in their fishing hut, while Sheppard and his team kept watch over them. As a silvery moon rose in the early-morning hours, Sheppard sat next to the fire, another mug of local beer in hand. He was pleased at how the day had turned out. His friends were with him, Keni and his family were happy; sometimes, painful forgotten memories can become memories worth keeping.

The end…

-

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
tinah
Sep. 1st, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful, heart-warming story!
esteefee
Sep. 1st, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
aw, sweet. \team/ I love the graphic so much!
stella_pegasi
Sep. 1st, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
The driftwood picture itself is gorgeous, a gorgeous hunk just improves it!

Thanks, glad you liked.
stella_pegasi
Sep. 1st, 2011 05:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you, so glad you enjoyed! I've been on a little bit of Nostalgia!John bent for a bit!
sherry57
Sep. 1st, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
Great artwork...perfect expression on Sheppard's face for this story. And what a lovely story! I always love stories that give us a little hint of Sheppard's backstory and the way his team reacted to it to help him was lovely. In this story, Sheppard can now have happy memories from what were not very happy memories before....sharing them with his friends and family...awwwww!! Sweet!
Ideas for stories can only come to life with a good writer hon. Alex and I are so happy to give you the few words of an idea but you know how to take these few words and make magic out of them!
stella_pegasi
Sep. 2nd, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
First I must thank you and Alex for bailing me out when I hit the wall...and couldn't get my head around this prompt. You two gave me very valuable words that I was able to turn into something, at least that made sense.

Thanks to both of you! This is your story!
sexycazzy
Sep. 1st, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
Brilliant! Loved it :D
stella_pegasi
Sep. 2nd, 2011 12:36 am (UTC)
Thank you...so glad you liked the story!
rissabby
Sep. 1st, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
Nicely done.
stella_pegasi
Sep. 2nd, 2011 12:37 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, appreciate your comment.
sgamadison
Sep. 1st, 2011 09:49 pm (UTC)
Aw, this was a sweet story--lovely cover art to go with it too. I liked the fact that the team came together to do something nice--for no other reason than because it *was* nice. :-)
stella_pegasi
Sep. 2nd, 2011 12:40 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed the story and that you liked the banner..the prompt photo was gorgeous, and adding Sheppard didn't hurt!
tlyna
Sep. 3rd, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
Very beautiful look into the caring part of John's character and what a wonderful way to give him good memories to replace the sad.
stella_pegasi
Sep. 10th, 2011 01:54 am (UTC)
Thanks so much...I'm so glad that you enjoyed it.
hoktauri
Sep. 3rd, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)
Man, I love stories like this! \TEAM/ and making new memories to both honor and heal the old--very well done.
stella_pegasi
Sep. 10th, 2011 01:56 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it...nice every now and then to let them have a little nice...as sgamadison said.

Thanks!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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