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Return to the "Lonely City" universe

And, coincidentally enough, this story was inspired by me asking myself, 'Gosh, what would happen to Radek if the events of "The Return" (1&2) occurred in the Lonely City universe?' Nothing nice, is the answer, of course, and so the story had to be written.

The result is "By the Waters of Babylon" which is still, strictly speaking, a work in progress, but I've got about 10 chapters written now, and I plan on posting one or two per week, just to keep everyone on their toes, and will almost certainly have it done before I post the most recently written chapter.

Here then is the prologue, written with the express intention of making everyone who reads it go, 'Noooo!'.

Title: By the Waters of Babylon

Author: Taylor Dancinghands -taylor@willendorphians.com

Characters: Zelenka/McKay/Atlantis

Category: slash, h/c, AU

Warnings: Angst, tears, the works

Rating: NC-17, explicit m/m sex depictions

Archive: Generally yes, but please let me know where

Summary: What if of the events of "The Return" (pts 1 & 2) happened in the Lonely City 'Verse?

Spoilers/Season: "The Return" (pts 1 & 2), and everything up to that point in season 3.

Author's notes: This is the latest installment in the AU which began with "Touch of a Lonely City", and continued with "Making Love to Lonely City" and "What Lies Beyond Hope". Some critical features of this story are established there, so you probably want to read these first.

Beta: Thanks eversomuch to mice1900 for stepping in at the last minute and assuring that I did not embarrass myself w/ silly spelling mistakes and too many dashes.

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, never will, not claiming to. Just wanna play with 'em a little. Can't I, can't I, huh?

By the Waters of Babylon

By Taylor Dancinghands

I. Exile

By the rivers of Babylon,
there we sat down, yea, we wept,
when we remembered…

~Psalms 137


"You can't do this!"

Rodney was aware that he was repeating himself, but he couldn't think of anything else to say. He had no words for how very wrong it would be for the Ancient commander to do as she was suggesting.

"So you have said, a number of times," Helia replied with infuriating but intractable patience, "but you have not yet made clear to me why."

"Because it will destroy him," Rodney answered, as close as he'd ever been to pleading with anyone. "I don't know how much clearer I can make it."

"And I still do not know what you mean by this," she replied. "We have stated already that we will be able to remove the nanocites without physically harming him in any way. This is certainly preferable to having him leave here with the nanocites in his body which, as you have pointed out, will result in irreparable brain damage."

"I'm not talking about physical damage," Rodney said, just barely holding himself back from accusing the woman of being purposefully obtuse. "I'm talking about psychological damage. He's been sharing his mind with this city for over a year and a half now, for god's sake. You can't just expect him to walk away from that at a moment's notice."

The object of this heated discussion presently stood alone, in the center of the gate room, staring down at his hands, where his fingers pulled at one another in nervous misery. Radek Zelenka had expressed a certain resignation about his fate from the moment the returning Ancients took control of Atlantis, and had asked Rodney not to make a fuss, but that was just not the kind of man Rodney McKay was. The anxious, sorrowful cast of his lover's eyes, and the terrified alarm of the city's presence in his own mind would not let him be.

"We can," Helia answered him coldly, "and we have. Under no circumstance will Dr Zelenka, or any of your people save your selected representative, Mr. Woolsey, be allowed to remain here. I do not know how much clearer we can make *that*."

"Dammit!" Rodney could not remember ever being this desperate, save, perhaps, for the time that he had stepped in front of Acastus Kolya's gun to save Dr Weir's life. She was here now, standing beside Sheppard in the gate room, pack on her shoulders, ready to leave. She had not tried to convince Rodney against making his case, as she'd known it was futile, but she hadn't offered him any hope either. She'd lend him support, had she any to lend, Rodney knew, but she was just as helpless as he.

Carson Beckett remained as well, as he'd begun by explaining Radek's unique circumstances to the Ancients, before they made them all step though the gate. They'd listened with concern at first, as the doctor had detailed how debilitating it would be for Radek to be removed from the artificial intelligence which controlled the nanocites dwelling in his brain and body. Then they'd sent the technician to bring the console with the handheld device that they claimed would harmlessly remove the nanocites from Radek. That was when Rodney had felt the city reel with dismay, and seen Radek's face fall in despair.

"Dammit," he said again as the technician took up the device and moved towards Radek. "Don't you understand?" Rodney could barely believe he was going to say the words that were about to come out of his mouth, but he was out of ideas, out of hope, and out of time. "He loves her!" he plead, "and she loves him. You can't do this to them… Please…"

Rodney's heart sank when he saw the grimace of distaste that crossed Helia's features. "As much as you are to be commended for managing so well with things so far beyond your understanding," she said with disdain, "surely you understand that the… personality which has developed in Atlantis' information systems is an… aberration? This and other… eccentricities which have understandably cropped up during our absence will be corrected and restored to their proper condition in due time. It's clear that many of you have formed… attachments to many aspects of Atlantis, but I must remind you that this city is not yours and never has been. You have been able caretakers, but that is all you ever could be."

At last, Rodney felt despair crashing down on him. He had nothing. Turning back to Radek, he met his lover's eyes, seeing, for probably the last time, the light of yet another intelligence within them, just as heartbroken as he was. Radek stood up straight, lifting his head as the technician approached and closed his eyes, facing his fate as bravely as he could. The Ancient tech lifted the alien device and pointed it at Radek till a faint greenish light shone forth, then he passed it over Radek's body slowly, from his head to his feet.

Rodey saw Radek reach his hands out, involuntarily grasping for something being torn out of his grip, and then his eyes flew open and he gave a agonized, heartbroken cry. Rodney was striding to Radek's side the very second that the technician lowered his device, and was able to catch Radek as his knees buckled, before he could crumple to the floor. Sheppard was at Radek's other side a moment later, helping Rodney to support his weight, but Radek had fallen silent, hanging lifelessly in their arms.

"You said it wouldn't hurt him!" Rodney cried accusingly at Helia, feeling Atlantis' bereft terror and grief at the back of his mind.

"There may be some momentary shock to his system," Helia said carelessly, "but if you examine him I think you will find that he has not been harmed."

Carson, who had been standing by the technician's console, curiously eying the device he'd used, was already moving towards them, and a moment later was standing before Radek, lifting his head to lay fingers on his throat and feel his pulse, and looking carefully into his eyes.

"Aye, it's likely he's in shock," Carson said, "but I won't know what else is going on until we get him to an infirmary."

"Then I recommend that you take him to yours," Helia said, "with all due expedience." She turned her back on them then, clearly finished with the whole distasteful business, and returned to consulting with her own people. There was nothing more to be said, and nothing left to do but go home… back to Earth, though Rodney hadn't thought of Earth as home for some time now.

The gate was still open, the shimmering blue surface of the event horizon awaiting them, and they stepped up to it together, five abreast. Looking back over his shoulder as he stood at the threshold, Rodney felt the presence of Atlantis in his mind one last time. Over the years that he had known her, he had shared joy, desperation, excitement, curiosity and even arousal with the sentient city, but never before had he felt such sorrow from her. And Rodney shared that feeling as well.

They had been lovers, after a fashion, he and Radek and Atlantis, and now one lover hung wounded and insensible in his arms, and he was leaving the other, most likely to be 'corrected' out of existence by the heartless beings who had claimed that he could never be more than a 'caretaker' to the city he loved. He silently mouthed those three words before he stepped through the event horizon, knowing that she would see them and understand. Then, feeling Sheppard tug on the other side of Radek's unconscious body, Rodney followed him forward, over the threshold.

Rodney McKay was one of the world's foremost experts on wormhole physics. He knew that the wormholes that connected two stargates transmitted data in discrete packages, sending items in whole, and never in part, and yet Rodney knew that today, those principles had failed him. Rodney McKay was a whole person when he left Atlantis that day, but when he arrived on Earth, only seconds later, he knew that some vital part of him was missing, left behind or lost, somehow, in the wormhole, and he knew it was lost for good.


Moving right along...


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 31st, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
While I am delighted that you are still writing (and in this particular universe to!)... did you have to end on such a cliff-hanger? *frets over Radek*

I'm very sorry for Rodney, but I like Radek more, and in this universe he always seems ot be the one that gets hurt... and poor Atlantis, I'm surprised she let them take him/ them away from her.

Oh, alright, I'm worrying about all three of them.
Jun. 1st, 2008 04:37 am (UTC)
Is that a Norrington cat in your icon there?

Jun. 2nd, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
My default icon (above) is a Gilette kitten. For this post I've used my Sparrow and Norrington kittens, I cadged them from the Sparrington LJ ages ago.

Sorry for the delayed response, wasn't expecting peeps to be talking to me here.
Jun. 5th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
You know, I've always thought of myself as an equal opportunity whumper, but my focus does tend to be on Radek, I suppose. He does definitely get the worst of things in this story too, but, as always, I promise a happy ending... eventually.
Jun. 6th, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
Here then is the prologue, written with the express intention of making everyone who reads it go, 'Noooo!'.

Nooooooo!!!!! ;-)

Lovely beginning... can't wait to see more!!!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )