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Title:  The Bitterest Tears
Author:  [livejournal.com profile] cookiemom6067 
Fandom:  Stargate Atlantis
Episode:  Enemy at the Gate
Rating:  G
Genre:  Character Vignette, Slash (unrequited)
Word Count:  563
Author's Notes:  I found it difficult to write this, mainly because I am so sad that the series is over. Written for [livejournal.com profile] sga_episodefic 's Season 5 tagathon  Minor spoilers for The Seige, Tao of Rodney



The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.    Harriet Beecher Stowe

John usually didn’t have a lot of time to contemplate the end of his life. During the Siege, he’d had minutes between bolting from the chair (“So long, Rodney”) to taking off in the ‘jumper with a nuke on board. It was true that the borderline, or even genuinely suicidal mission was something that he seemed to undertake with above-average frequency, and he hadn’t died yet.

Today was different.

Today, he knew he was Earth’s last hope, unless Atlantis got here a lot quicker than expected. The F-302’s hadn’t prevented the kamikaze darts from destroying the chair at Area 51. The hive was coming – right now. John floated above the atmosphere, in a dark ship powered only to sustain his life. There was nothing to do. Nothing – except wait.

Wait, for the moment to implement his final, desperate plan: sneak up to the hive before it has a chance to detect his ship; shoot his way into the dart bay; blow the ship, the hive and himself to kingdom come with a tactical nuke. Not the sort of plan you want to ponder too much. Unfortunately, to prevent the hive from detecting him, he had to sit in a powered-down ship, waiting for it to come close enough. Sit, and wait.

Sitting, waiting and pondering were an invitation for regrets. And John had a few regrets.

He regretted that he and his father had never spoken again, from the time of their falling out to his father’s death.

He regretted that he wasn’t closer to Dave.

He regretted all the ones he could not save: Holland, Mitch, Dex, Ford, Elizabeth….

He regretted that he wouldn’t see baby Torren John grow up. He regretted that he would never see any of his “family” again: Teyla, Ronon, Beckett, Rodney…

He regretted, most of all, all the things he did not, could not say.

He regretted none of those unspoken words more than the ones that were not spoken to Rodney McKay. Oh, he’d hinted at his feelings, but never said anything out loud. He’d come close so many times. A lifetime of deflecting and hiding was not something he cast off easily; not even when Rodney had been on his deathbed (“You love me?” “The way a friend loves another friend.”)

John’s stomach knotted with unshed tears. Rodney would never know how John felt. It was too late.

He watched the hive come closer; massive and menacing in his window. It was time to get the show on the road. He powered up the engine and cruised slowly toward the behemoth. In their arrogance, the hive was not shielded, and John flew unchallenged to the dart bay doors. A quick strike, and he was in. No darts intercepted him. They were in position around his beautiful blue home world, ready to start scooping up his people to satisfy their voracious appetites. Regrets might haunt his last minutes, but he would never regret saving his planet from that. He landed, undetected, in the cavernous bay, and broke radio silence.

“Stargate Command, this is Sheppard. I'm arming the nuke. Do me a favor. When Atlantis shows up ... tell (Rodney) 'em I said goodbye (I love you).”

As he contemplated his final, solitary moments, the last thing he expected was to hear Rodney’s voice: “Sheppard! This is McKay…”
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