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Annie Oakley

cosmonaut_elf in reel_sga

Fic: Groundhog Day

Title: Groundhog Day
Author: cosmonaut_elf
Pairing: Sheppard/Lorne
Prompt: Groundhog Day
Rating: Teen
Summary: Sheppard’s having the worst day of his life… over, and over…
Warnings/Spoilers: Dark. Have you ever seen Groundhog Day? It’s pretty dark. Oh, and slash. Nothing too explicit. Also, it comes in at 6919 words, so it's a bit long.
Author's Notes: I meant to post this last night at midnight, but I kinda went out with my archaeology class and watched the new Indiana Jones movie and got drunk. So… it’s here now!
Beta: parislove27and Enviro Pony

John Sheppard yawned and rolled over, slapping his hand down onto the alarm clock. 0430. Early, but not much more so than usual. He pulled himself out of bed and headed to his small dresser-like-thing that held his clothes. He grabbed a pair of BDUs and quietly dressed, thinking of what he had to do that day. He had all sorts of things on the schedule, from training with Ronon to touching things for Rodney. Today was one of the rare days his team didn’t have a mission so he was relegated to paperwork and the normal, boring tasks that staying on Atlantis dictated. His dressing took him no more than three minutes and he was out the door in no time.

Only to almost run smack into Major Lorne. Lorne was taking his morning jog and barely paused in his stride, “Sorry, sir!” Lorne shot him a quick apologetic smile and continued on his way.

Sheppard decided he should as well. He turned the opposite way than the one Lorne had just taken and headed to the mess to grab an insanely early breakfast and head to his rarely used office.

He was half-way there when he heard an annoying voice calling his name. “Colonel Sheppard!”

Sheppard sighed and turned back to face-

Kavanaugh. “Yes, Dr. Kavanaugh?”

“I have vital questions that need to be answered right away!”

Sheppard spared a glance at his watch, “This early?”

Kavanaugh rolled his eyes, “Yes, at this early. I said they were vital.”

Of course. John was obviously an idiot.

He let Kavanaugh ramble on angrily about something he had absolutely no interest in, nor had no reason to be, as he kept walking toward the mess. He was the wrong man to be complaining to about this. He spun around and faced the scientist. “Dr. Kavanaugh. Honestly. It’s too early and I’m in charge of the military, not your petty little problems with the botanists. If you have a problem, talk to Dr. Brown or Col. Carter. I have to go now and do,” he paused. Crap! He had no really great excuse. He had to just wing it, “other things.” He left the scientist staring blankly at his back in the hallway as he entered the mess.

He grabbed some of the pseudo-pancakes the mess was serving that morning and headed to the office. When he entered them it was so clean he almost turned back to double check that it was, in fact, his office and not Lorne’s. He resisted the urge and sat down, one hand flipping pages in the files he was going through and the other handling the fork and his pancakes.

Lorne, dressed back in his uniform and clean after his run, entered the office and actually did back out and check if it was the right room. “Colonel?”

“Major,” Sheppard raised an eyebrow at Lorne’s antics.

“Sorry, sir. I just wasn’t expecting you to be here.”

Sheppard frowned, “Isn’t this my office?”

Lorne blushed and gave a crooked grin, “Well, yeah, but I’m in it more than you are.” He sat down in the chair across from Sheppard. “And is that my paperwork you’re doing?”

“I think it’s my paperwork, actually,” he squinted down at the papers and was pretty sure that it said ‘Lt. Col. Sheppard’ on them. “So, what brings you to my office so early this morning?”

“Actually, I was going to catch up on some paperwork before the mission. Didn’t realize that you’d been here, too. I mean, it’s only your office.”

Sheppard gave a sarcastic grin, “Oh, ha-ha. Very funny.” He leaned back and caught a glance of a picture frame on the desk and frowned. He definitely didn’t put that there. “Is this yours?” He pointed to the picture, one of Lorne and two women in front of an old farmhouse, but didn’t ask anymore about it.

“Oh, uh, those are my sisters.”

“You spend a lot of time in my office, Major?” He wasn’t accusing, and Lorne knew it.

“Your chair is more comfortable,” Lorne replied without hesitating. “And why exactly are you here?”

“Oh, you know, with Teyla on the mainland and Ronon off beating up marines, I really had nothing else to do but take some of this paperwork off your hands.”

“Well, how kind of you, sir. Hey, are you going to go and see that groundhog thing that medical has?”

“That thing that Dr. Keller named Puxatony Phil?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Hmm.” He refused to commit. “Aren’t you supposed to be on a mission?”

Lorne checked his watch, “Not for another hour and a half. But I guess,” He sighed, “if I’m in your way, I could just go and get kitted out now, sir. And wait, quietly sobbing in the corner, until it’s time to go.”

Sheppard rolled his eyes and grabbed his pencil again, “Go, sob in the corner.”

Lorne grinned and left.

**

It was 1943, eight hours after Lorne’s team left when the off-world activation alarm went off.

Two people came through the ‘gate in a run, tripping over their feet, skidding to a halt, spinning and aiming their P-90s at the ‘gate in anticipation. Almost right behind them were two others. John recognized the first two as Dr. Parrish – who had given him a P-90? John wondered absently – and Lt. Cadman. The last two were hanging on each other.

“Shut it down!” Cadman shouted a bit hysterically.

John rushed down and now he could see the four better. They were damp and muddy and all were shaking. Behind the scientist and the marine, Sgt. Wilkin was struggling to set Major Lorne on the floor without dropping him outright. He heard Parrish yell for Dr. Keller as he passed him on his way to the injured man.

Sgt. Wilkin – Lewis, John remembered – was struggling to keep Major Lorne awake while fumbling with trembling hands to unbutton Evan’s uniform. “Major? Come on, Major, keep those eyes open for me. Hey,” he managed to get the first two buttons undone and John silently took over. The sergeant shot him a grateful look and moved to sit next to Evan’s head, taking his hand gently and in a complete panic. “You never finished telling me about Nebraska, sir.”

Major Lorne’s eyes were glued to Lewis’ and filled with pain. He drew in a shaky breath as John finished unbuttoning his jacket. When he opened the flaps up the colonel paused in shock. Blood was everywhere. He looked up at Wilkin with wide eyes. “Where the hell is Keller!?”

John dove in, trying to find where exactly the blood was coming from. He found the bleeder in the major’s chest and shoved his hands into the mess, trying to put pressure on it and stop the bleeding.

He was surprised when he felt a cold hand grab his wrist. He looked down at Lorne and saw him looking straight into his eyes. “Lor-.”

“Tell my sisters something nice,” he managed to choke out, his mouth filling with blood.

Sheppard’s jaw dropped, “Evan…”

The major began to convulse and John was vaguely aware of medics pushing him away and taking the major down to the infirmary, Dr. Keller shouting orders along the way.

Sgt. Wilkin stood awkward to the side, watching along with Lt. Cadman and Dr. Parrish, as the medical team wheeled Lorne away. Sheppard couldn’t miss the shocked and guilty faces all of them wore. “He’s going to be OK,” the words sounded hollow, even to him.

**

“The bullet hit his right atrium, there was no chance. He was lucky that he lasted as long as he did.” Dr. Keller voice had just the right mix of sorrow and regret, sounding professional as always.

Carter took a deep breath and laid a hand on Sheppard’s shoulder. “Why don’t you go and clean up. Get some rest. I’ll go tell his team.”

Sheppard nodded absently and walked away.

****

John Sheppard yawned and rolled over, slapping his hand down onto the alarm clock. 0430. Early. Too early. That was odd. He could have sworn he set the alarm for his usual time. He must have just forgotten. It didn’t matter; he had a lot to do today.

The most important thing today was to organize everything for Lorne; his memorial service, the letter to his family.

Sheppard’s mind flashed back to the picture frame sitting on his desk.

He shook his head, pulled himself out of bed and headed to his small dresser-like-thing that held his clothes. He grabbed a pair of BDUs and quietly dressed. This task took him no more than three minutes and he was out the door in no time.

Only to almost run smack into Major Lorne. Sheppard almost fainted.

“Sorry, sir!” Lorne shot him a quick apologetic smile and continued on his way.

Sheppard shook his head. “Must’ve been a dream.” He turned the opposite way than the one Lorne had just taken and headed to the mess to grab an insanely early breakfast and head to his rarely used office, only a bit shaken.

He was half-way there when he heard an annoying voice calling his name. “Colonel Sheppard!”

Sheppard sighed and turned back to face-

Kavanaugh. OK. Déjà vu. “Yes, Dr. Kavanaugh?”

“I have vital questions that need to be answered right away!”

Sheppard spared an unnecessary glance at his watch, “This early?”

Kavanaugh rolled his eyes, “Yes, at this early. I said they were vital.”

“I don’t really want to hear it, Kavanaugh.”

He kept walking toward the mess. He was the wrong man to be complaining to about this. He spun around and faced the scientist. “Dr. Kavanaugh. Honestly. It’s too early and I’m in charge of the military, not your petty little problems with the botanists. If you have a problem, talk to Dr. Brown or Col. Carter. I have to go now and…” Damn it! What did he say in his dream? “Do other things.” He left the scientist staring blankly at his back in the hallway as he entered the mess.

He grabbed some of the pseudo-pancakes the mess was serving that morning with wide eyes and headed to the office. When he entered them he sat down without hesitation, one hand flipping pages in the files he was going through and the other handling the fork and his pancakes.

Lorne, dressed back in his uniform and clean after his run, entered the office and backed out and checked if it was the right room. “Colonel?”

“Major,” Sheppard raised an eyebrow at Lorne’s antics. He was seriously creeped out.

“Sorry, sir. I just wasn’t expecting you to be here.”

Sheppard frowned, “Isn’t this my office?”

Lorne blushed and gave a crooked grin, “Well, yeah, but I’m in it more than you are.” He sat down in the chair across from Sheppard. “And is that my paperwork you’re doing?”

Sheppard was really confused. Major déjà vu. “I… uh, I think it’s my paperwork, actually. So, what brings you to my office so early this morning?”

“Actually, I was going to catch up on some paperwork before the mission. Didn’t realize that you’d been here, too. I mean, it’s only your office.”

Sheppard gave a sarcastic grin, “Oh, ha-ha. Very funny.” He leaned back and caught a glance of a picture frame on the desk and frowned. He definitely didn’t put that there. “Is this yours?” He pointed to the picture, one of Lorne and two women in front of an old farmhouse, but didn’t ask anymore about it.

“Oh, uh, those are my sisters.”

“You spend a lot of time in my office, Major?” He wasn’t accusing, and Lorne knew it.

“Your chair is more comfortable,” Lorne replied without hesitating. “And why exactly are you here?”

“Oh, you know, with Teyla on the mainland and Ronon off beating up marines, I really had nothing else to do but take some of this paperwork off your hands.”

“Well, how kind of you, sir. Hey, are you going to go and see that groundhog thing that medical has?”

“That thing that Dr. Keller named Puxatony Phil?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Hmm.” He refused to commit. “Aren’t you supposed to be on a mission?”

Lorne checked his watch, “Not for another hour and a half. But I guess,” He sighed, “if I’m in your way, I could just go and get kitted out now, sir. And wait, quietly sobbing in the corner, until it’s time to go.”

Sheppard rolled his eyes and grabbed his pencil again, “Go, sob in the corner.”

Lorne grinned and left. Sheppard stared at the door, wondering if he made a mistake.

**

It was 1943, eight hours after Lorne’s team left when the off-world activation alarm went off.

Two people came through the ‘gate in a run, tripping over their feet, skidding to a halt, spinning and aiming their P-90s at the ‘gate in anticipation. Almost right behind them were two others. John recognized the first two as Dr. Parrish and Lt. Cadman. The last two were hanging on each other.

“Shut it down!” Cadman shouted a bit hysterically.

John rushed down and went to help Sgt. Wilkin as he struggled to set Major Lorne on the floor without dropping him outright. Parrish was yelling for Dr. Keller as he passed him on his way to the injured man and Sheppard thought he might have a heart attack. It was his dream come to life.

Sgt. Wilkin was struggling to keep Major Lorne awake while fumbling with trembling hands to unbutton Evan’s uniform. “Major? Come on, Major, keep those eyes open for me. Hey,” he managed to get the first two buttons undone and John silently took over. The sergeant shot him a grateful look and moved to sit next to Evan’s head, taking his hand gently and in a complete panic. “You never finished telling me about Nebraska, sir.”

Major Lorne’s eyes were glued to Lewis’ and filled with pain. He drew in a shaky breath as John finished unbuttoning his jacket. When he opened the flaps up the colonel didn’t even pause. He dove in, his hands covering the bleeder in the major’s chest and shoved his hands into the mess, trying to put pressure on it and stop the bleeding.

He wasn’t surprised when he felt a cold hand grab his wrist, but his stomach was flipping. He looked down at Lorne. “Lor-.”

“Tell my sisters something nice,” he managed to choke out, his mouth filling with blood.

Sheppard’s jaw dropped, “Evan…”

The major began to convulse and John was vaguely aware of medics pushing him away and taking the major down to the infirmary, Dr. Keller shouting orders along the way.

Sgt. Wilkin stood awkward to the side, watching along with Lt. Cadman and Dr. Parrish, as the medical team wheeled Lorne away. This time, Sheppard said nothing.

**

“The bullet hit his right atrium, there was no chance. He was lucky that he lasted as long as he did.” Dr. Keller voice had just the right mix of sorrow and regret, sounding professional as always. Sheppard just wanted to throw up.

Carter took a deep breath and laid a hand on Sheppard’s shoulder. “Why don’t you go and clean up. Get some rest. I’ll go tell his team.”

Sheppard nodded absently and walked away.

As he fell into bed, his only thought was, “What the hell?”

****

John Sheppard yawned and rolled over, slapping his hand down onto the alarm clock. 0430. What the hell? He got out of bed and threw on clothes, leaving the room in a hurry.

Only to almost run smack into Major Lorne. “Sorry, sir!” Lorne shot him a quick apologetic smile and continued on his way.

Sheppard was going crazy.

He decided he was going to spend the rest of the day in bed.

It was 1943, eight hours after Lorne’s team left when the off-world activation alarm went off, making him jump. He hadn’t been able to sleep, thinking only of what had to be happening. Carter had called down for him earlier, but he claimed feeling a bit sick and she let him go, saying that since nothing was happening he could take a sick day.

He got up and rushed to the ‘gate room.

Parrish was yelling for Dr. Keller as he entered the room.

Sgt. Wilkin was struggling to keep Major Lorne awake while fumbling with trembling hands to unbutton Evan’s uniform. “Major? Come on, Major, keep those eyes open for me.”

Sheppard crept closed, blocking everything out but the injured man on the floor. As he reached his side he heard, “Tell my sisters something nice,” as his mouth filled with blood.

The major began to convulse and John just stood there, watching the medical team.

**

“The bullet hit his right atrium, there was no chance. He was lucky that he lasted as long as he did.” Dr. Keller voice had just the right mix of sorrow and regret, sounding professional as always. He almost wanted to shake her.

Carter took a deep breath and laid a hand on Sheppard’s shoulder. “Why don’t you go and clean up. Get some rest. I’ll go tell his team.”

Sheppard just nodded.

****

By the seventh cycle, Sheppard had had enough. Three times he had tried to explain everything to Rodney and Col. Carter only to have them ignore his recommendations and send Lorne out into the field anyway. They just didn’t believe him.

Out of the corner of his eye, as he sat in the mess hall, he saw Dr. Kusanagi eyeing him with something that looked suspiciously like lust. She saw him looking and quickly turned away.

Fuck it.

****

He winked at Dr. Novak, smiling when she began hiccupping. He knew exactly what to do to make those hiccups stop. He looked across the mess. Lt. Cadman liked to be in control, Nurse Jenkins liked it slow and steady, Dr. Keller liked it rough – something that surprised him at first… until he'd caught Ronon with her in a closet a few cycles back. There were very few faces in the mess hall that he hadn’t seen in the throes of passion. Evan Lorne was among those few. John couldn’t bear the thought of it. Or, at least not in this cycle. The only thing in his mind when he saw the dark haired man was his cold hand snatching his wrist as he died. Sam Carter sat across from him and he shook his head to clear it of thoughts of the blue eyed major, smiling his most charming smile at the Colonel. He was pleasantly surprised when she smiled coyly back.

****

He woke up and threw the blaring alarm across the room, smiling when it smashed to pieces. He turned over and tried to fall back to sleep, blocking out the sounds of Lorne’s running footsteps which he couldn’t possibly hear. It just wasn’t conceivable. His was going crazy.

****

The water looked very inviting, he decided as he stood on the railing. He heard the alarm for off-world activation and sighed. He let go.

****

The 9mm in his hand was steady as he faced the men under his command. He had no qualms about what he was about to do. Back on Earth they called it ‘suicide by police’.

****

“Colonel, if I may,” Dr. Keller asked after what he could only estimate was the 32nd cycle, “Why are you so upset about Major Lorne’s death? It doesn’t seem as though you two knew each other that well.” And it was at that moment John Sheppard realized she was completely right.

****

The next cycle, John travelled off-world with Lorne and his team. “So, Major,” Sheppard began as the three others spread out. “I feel like I don’t know you.”

Lorne raised an eyebrow and gave him an indecipherable look. “Sir?”

“Well, you’re my XO,” he was fumbling, “and I hardly know you. Tell me about yourself.”

Lorne took a deep breath, “Well. I’m from Nebraska. Scotts Bluff, to be precise. I went to the University of Nebraska over in Omaha and got my degree in geology and decided that the ground wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be. Joined the Air Force where they made me a pilot, then went to the SGC where they made me a geological engineer.”

“Scotts Bluff, huh?” Sheppard shrugged, “Never heard of it.”

Lorne smiled indulgently, “It’s nice. It’s very beautiful. Heard of Chimney Rock?” Sheppard nodded. “That’s where I’m from.”

Sheppard smiled, “I thought Nebraska was all flat farmland.”

Lorne almost laughed, “Not out in west Nebraska.” He continued on speaking about his hometown and how great it was and how he used to torment the townspeople with his sisters when they were kids.

And Sheppard felt a bit closer to the XO he’d refused to get attached to after Ford.

**

When they stumbled through the ‘gate, Lorne’s chest bleeding profusely, John almost broke down crying. Even being there, he wasn’t able to save the major.

****

“Hey, what’s this?” He grabbed the picture frame that Lorne had put on his desk some time before the first cycle. He stared hard at it now.

It was of Lorne and two women, huge grins on their faces, standing in front of an old farm house.

Lorne gave an embarrassed chuckle and leaned forward to point out the people as he identified them. “That,” he pointed to the older woman, no more than 35, with short blonde hair and pretty blue eyes, “Is Evangeline, my older sister. She’s married now, has a couple of boys. And this,” he gestured to the other woman, in her early 20s, with long dark hair and greenish eyes, “Is Evelyn, my younger sister. She’s in the military now. Navy.”

Sheppard nodded, and set the picture down, looking Lorne deep in the eyes. “Don’t go,” he whispered past the lump in his throat.

Lorne looked up, “What?”

“Scrap the mission. I have a bad feeling.”

Lorne paused a moment and said, “I’ll go talk to Col. Carter.”

She said no.

**

This time, when Lorne and his men stumbled through the ‘gate, Sheppard was surprised by the deep ache in his chest.

****

Sheppard snatched Lorne’s arm as he ran by, stopping him mid-stride with a quick, “See me in my office when you’re through,” before sending the confused major back on his way.

He realized that he must have sounded a bit angry, but shrugged his shoulders and took the back way to the mess hall, ensuring that he wouldn’t see the annoying Kavanaugh. Grabbing a non-apple that their last trading partners had given them, he avoided the pseudo-pancakes he had grown tired of after the first hundred cycles or so, and headed to his office. Lorne was just arriving and the major let him enter ahead of him.

“Sit,” Sheppard ordered.

The major did so with no hesitation, falling into soldier mode automatically.

“I’m grounding you.”

Evan frowned, a questioning look in his eyes, but said nothing.

“That’s all, you’re dismissed.”

Lorne clinched his jaw, pausing a moment, before snapping to attention, turning on his heel and leaving.

John dropped his face into his hands. What was he doing? Lorne had done nothing wrong, and it was obvious. He decided that he had to do something other than just sit and think. He headed toward the gym.

Evan was already there, punching the hell out of a punching bag, still in his uniform. He hadn’t even bothered to change into workout clothes. He turned to leave but was stopped when Lorne spat out, “Why, sir? I didn’t do anything.”

“I know, Lorne. I just…” He sighed, having no good excuse for the man.

One of the sticks the Athosians used for practice skittered to a halt in front of him.

“I don’t know what’s wrong, sir, but I want to get it out in the open.”

Sheppard bent down and grabbed the stick, tossing it lightly from hand to hand. “I don’t think this is a good idea, Major.”

“Well, it’s either this or I go to Carter.”

Sheppard gave a slight, rueful grin, “Major…”

“Come on, sir. We both know I didn’t do anything wrong. If you want to ground me, fine, but you’d better have a damn good reason.”

Sheppard sighed, “OK. “

“Good. Fight me.”

**

Sheppard went back to his quarters covered in bruises, but smiling, Lorne right behind him.

“So then I saw him on the TV and couldn’t believe it. I had played pool with that guy visiting my cousin up in Montana. He seemed so nice! Who knew he was a mass murderer?”

Sheppard laughed along with Lorne and plopped down on his bed, Lorne falling into his desk chair in a relaxed heap.

“Seriously,” John asked, “You had no idea who it was?”

Lorne shook his head, a faint smile still on his face, “He was really nice at the time. Now that I look back on it I wish I would’ve punched him or something.” He shrugged. “Your turn. Something no one else knows about you.”

“I don’t know,” he rubbed the back of his head as he adjusted his pillow.

“Come on. It can’t be as bad as mine. Losing to Ted Kaczynski in pool? Pretty bad.”

“I… never wanted to be a pilot.” Why was he admitting this? He had never done so, not even while drunk. Speaking of which…

He got up, grabbed two glasses from a drawer and poured a couple of fingers of Zelenka’s rot-gut, “Booze?”

Evan took the glass with confusion, “Really? Well, what did you want to do?”

John gave a subconscious shrug and mumbled, “Math teacher,” as he took a swig.

Evan almost choked on his alcohol as he laughed, “Really?”

John blushed, “Don’t laugh. It’s not that funny.”

“Nah,” Evan’s grin couldn’t possibly get any wider, “It’s kind of cute, actually.”

“Cute?” There was no way he just heard Lorne say that.

By the look on Evan’s face he hadn’t meant to say it either. “Wow, how strong is this stuff? I didn’t realize that Zelenka made it so strong. It’s not brandy, but it does the trick.”

“You said ‘cute’.”

Lorne blushed and downed the rest of the rot-gut in one fell swoop. “So I did.” Apparently, the major subscribed to the ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ school of thought.

Before Sheppard could blink, Evan was on him, kissing him furiously.

****

John Sheppard yawned and rolled over, slapping his hand down onto the alarm clock. 0430. Damn it! What did this stupid universe want from him!? He was fed up.

It was that rat. That groundhog-thing. John just knew it.

He pushed the blankets off of him and got dressed.

That damned rat that the medical staff was holding. It was his fault. He headed to the armory, pushing past the ever reviving Evan Lorne.

“Colonel?” He heard the question in that voice, that voice that sent chills down John’s back because all he could hear was that voice saying “Tell my sisters something nice” over and over in his head.

He kept going, his heavy steps startling the people he passed.

“Colonel Sheppard!” He spun immediately on his heel, coming face to face with Kavanaugh.

“Doctor Kavanaugh.”

And he punched him. Sheppard kept going. After his brief stopover in the armory, he made his way to the infirmary, having to double back towards the residential section. Dr. Kavanaugh was just waking up, two other scientists half-heartedly trying to help him.

John shot them all with a stunner, taking perverse pleasure in shooting the annoying scientist. Kavanaugh squeaked as he went down. Not as fun as punching him, but still.

In the infirmary he didn’t even bother talking, he just stunned everyone, taking the cursed rat with him and heading to the jumper bay, haphazardly stunning everybody he saw on the way there. He had to move fast, soon everyone would be waking up and Col. Carter would be sending Lorne and his men after him.

<”Colonel Sheppard?”> Speak of the devil. She sounded pissed. <”What the hell do you think you’re doing?”>

He toggled his radio and entered the jumper, shutting it tight behind him. “I’m ending this, Sam.”

Through the view screen he saw Lorne still in his workout clothes, with a TAC vest and a P-90. “Sorry, Evan.”

He took off; piloting the jumper up into space and letting the rat out of the gym bag he had put him in previously, sitting the thing on his lap. “Ok, little guy. Here we go.”

Puxatony Phil had some special gene that mimicked the ATA gene and he was, Sheppard found out, a surprisingly good pilot. Except for the weaving.

<”Col. Sheppard, if you do not come back, we will come after you.”>

The jumper’s flight became more sporadic as they entered the atmosphere.

“Don’t drive angry,” he helpfully reminded the little not-groundhog.

As the flames began to lick at the window and they accelerated, John had one last thought. ‘At least Evan lives this cycle.’

****

John spent the whole cycle golfing. He ignored everyone, locking the door so that no one could get to him. When it hit 1943, he ignored the squawking of his radio and hit the ball as hard as he could, trying to take his mind off of the fact that his Evan was dying while he was practicing his drive.

****

The weight of the P90 was comfortable in his hands as he walked calmly down the hall towards the ‘gate room. He shot anybody in his way. It was almost time for Lorne’s team to leave, but he wasn’t going to let them.

No, not this time.

He shot everyone, taking the room by surprise. Lorne ducked, reaching for his 9mm but, before he could, John pressed the barrel against the back of Lorne’s TAC vest. He froze and Sheppard pulled him up roughly by the neck of his vest and held him tight against his own chest, pressing the P90 up into his ribcage. They were surrounded by armed marines, unwilling to risk shooting both of their commanding officers.

“Colonel Sheppard?” Ronon and Col. Carter were in front of him, Sam holding out her hands pleadingly. “John, this isn’t the way to solve things.”

Sheppard ignored her. “Chuck!” The Canadian tech’s face appeared over the railing of the control room. “Dial PX9-332!” Chuck looked torn. John dug the semi-automatic hard into the major’s ribs, making the smaller man wince. It would probably bruise. “Do it!”

Carter nodded up at the tech, “Go ahead, Sergeant.”

The ‘gate activated and Sheppard walked Major Lorne back and through the blue puddle. They reached the other side and the major began fighting, taking him down embarrassingly easy.

As Sheppard struggled underneath him, Evan began to question, “What the hell is wrong with you!? What do you think-!”

Sheppard’s flailing hand found a rock and he hit Evan with it, hard, and the major collapsed on top of him. Sheppard allowed himself to breathe a sigh of relief and wrap his arms around Evan.

He wasn’t going to die this cycle.

John kissed Evan’s forehead gently, then pulled back sharply, surprised at his own actions.

****

The next cycles passed and Sheppard found himself watching Evan more and more, and slowly he realized what the aching in his chest was… he was falling for the major.

That was it.

This stupid timeline… He knew how to stop it.

****

John Sheppard yawned and rolled over, slapping his hand down onto the alarm clock. 0430. Per usual. Only this time, he was full of hope.

He stopped Lorne in the hallway and told him to meet him after his run in his office and grabbed breakfast for both of them, avoiding Kavanaugh with a swift, “Leave me alone or I’ll hurt you.”

He avoided the strawberries that he remembered Evan mentioning an allergy to a couple of cycles back and instead grabbed the not-pears the major had professed a fondness for.

He met the man in his office, the other showing obvious signs of rushing through his morning routine to meet him. “Sir?”

Sheppard ushered him into a chair and tossed him one of the fruits. “Hey,” the major looked genuinely pleased at his prize, “I love these things!”

“Yeah,” Sheppard gave him a grin, happy at the reaction. “Listen, Major.” He took a deep breath, “don’t go out on your mission this afternoon.”

“Why, sir?” Lorne tossed the pear gently in his hand.

“I have a really bad feeling.”

Lorne frowned but nodded. “Alright. Have you cleared it with Col. Carter?”

Damn. Carter. “Yup.”

Evan raised an eyebrow. “You want to talk about it?”

Why not? “I’m living the same day over and over again.”

“Have you seen Dr. McKay for this?”

John rolled his eyes, “Yeah, a couple of times.”

“OK. I believe you.” He rubbed the non-pear across his BDU top, lightly brushing it off, “So what now?”

John took a deep breath, “Golf?”

**

“OK, so now you know about my secret, what’s yours?”

Lorne gave an embarrassed grin, “It’s pretty bad.”

“Oh, come on. It’s can’t be that bad.”

“Fine. I once played pool with a convicted mass murderer.”

“What? Where would you have possibly met a mass murderer?” Sheppard tried to sound shocked.

“Montana. Honestly. My cousin was getting her bachelor’s out there and she took me to a bar. There I meant Ted Kaczynski. Nice guy. Funny.”

“Was this when you were getting your bachelor’s degree at Nebraska?”

Lorne frowned, “When did I tell you that?”

Damn. “It’s in your file.”

Lorne raised an eyebrow and snorted, “Like you ever read my file.”

“Elizabeth made me,” that part was true. The part he left out, however, was that he read about half, skimmed the rest, and called it a day.

“Alright.” Lorne sounded suspicious. “Anyway, what now? What happened in the other cycles?”

He knew this question was coming. It had a few times before, but Sheppard had always lied, brushing off the questions as unimportant. But this time, he was trying to accomplish something.

“You die. You always say the same thing,” he looked at the floor between them, Lorne lounging in his desk chair and himself relaxing on the bed. “‘Tell my sisters something nice.’ What does that mean, exactly?”

Lorne shrugged, not meeting John’s eyes, “I was always worried that if I died the Air Force would tell my sisters something like, ‘There were brains everywhere and he was in a considerable amount of pain when he died’ and I never wanted them to think that. I’m their brother. They shouldn’t have to think that I suffered in my last moments.”

“Tell me about them.” Evan raised his eyes, a questioning look on his face. “Evangeline and Evelyn. Tell me more about them.”

Evan frowned, “I never told you my sisters’ names.”

“Your file, remember.” He was in trouble.

“Sure, but I seriously doubt you would remember that small detail from my file two years ago.” Confusion still evident, he looked down at the drink in his hand. “Keller’s brandy. What are you trying to do? You give me my favorite fruit this morning, you know where I grew up, my sisters’ names, my favorite liquor. You even told me that story about you wanting to be a math teacher. God,” he got up, furious, “Have you been spying on me? Who told you that I thought smart guys were attractive? I feel so stupid!” He set the glass of brandy down forcefully on the desk. “All this stuff about living the same day, and now you know everything about me… Are you just trying to get me in your bed? Is that it? I can’t believe I ever thought you weren’t just like everybody said you were.”

Sheppard frowned, hurt.

“You’re just a chauvinist Kirk-figure who only wants one thing.” Lorne glanced at his watch. “I can still make the mission if I hurry my team. I can’t believe you, Colonel.”

**

Sheppard broke down at 1943, when his radio came to life. He couldn’t do it. He just wasn’t up to the task. He was a failure and because of that, Evan Lorne was doomed to eternal death.

****

Sheppard woke up and quietly shut off the alarm. He rose and got dressed, walking out of his door like every morning, making sure to not run into Evan.

“Good morning, sir!”

Sheppard gave a wan smile and turned to go down to the mess hall. He felt a hand on his shoulder. “Are you OK, sir?”

John almost shuddered with the touch. “Yeah. I’m good.”

Lorne didn’t look convinced, “Come on, let’s get something to eat.”

This was a first. Out of the hundreds of times that he had relived this day (perhaps more, he had to admit, he just couldn’t keep count), Lorne never deviated from his run.

They got to the mess hall, the meeting with Kavanaugh delayed by Lorne glaring the man down until he left, and got their trays. “All right, John,” Lorne settled in and dug out his fork, “tell me exactly what’s wrong.”

“John?” Sheppard raised an amused eyebrow.

Evan blushed, “I figured we were both off-duty and you look like you need a friend more than an XO right now.”

“Well, Evan,” he emphasized, “you’re right. But you’ll think I’m crazy if I tell you everything.”

“Try me.”

“I have.” Now Lorne was thoroughly confused. Sheppard cleared his throat and leaned forward, “I’m living the same day over and over again.”

Evan raised an eyebrow, “How many times?”

“I’ve lost count.” He hesitated before sighing dejectedly, “Promise me something, Evan.”

“What?” Lorne looked a mixture of shocked and concerned for Sheppard’s mental health.

“Don’t go out today.”

It took only a split second for Evan to reply, “OK. I won’t.”

“You believe me?”

“Who wouldn’t?”

John thought for a moment and realized… Major Evan Lorne had never doubted hi. Whenever the major had started to agree, Col. Carter had ordered him to go. He just had to ask. “Why do you believe me?”

Lorne looked thoughtful. “There’s a look in your eyes. Like something really bad is going to happen if I go.”

**

Lorne met with Col. Carter and scrubbed the mission, citing a ‘really bad feeling’. She, apparently familiar with his ‘bad feelings’ acquiesced and even put the planet on the ‘maybesortabad planet list’.

Then, he spent the day with John.

“Why are you determined to hang out with me?”

Lorne shrugged and spun the nine iron around absently as John lined up his shot. “I’m bored I have no mission now, thanks to you, and all you want to do is say, ‘I keep living the same day over and over’ and then just leave it.” He mocked pretty well.

“Yeah well…” he had no comeback.

“Look, I heard Dr. Keller just got that new Spartan movie in. You want to go steal it?”

John raised an eyebrow at Evan’s downright evil grin and smiled.

**

“What are you two doing?” Keller’s voice entered the office as all of the lights went on.

John looked up guiltily and heard Evan groan behind him. He put on a cheery grin, “Hey, Doc! Do you mind if we borrow that new Spartan movie?”

She raised an eyebrow but walked over to the bookshelf and handed the movie to him, “Was the stealth gear really necessary? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like the face paint, but you could’ve just asked.”

“Not as much fun,” Lorne grinned and she sighed the sigh of one resigned to life in a mental institution.

**

John  looked away from the movie and down at Evan who had fallen asleep sitting upright, but had slowly slid down to have his head resting in the colonel’s lap. His hand absently stroked the short, dark hair. Lorne shifted under the attention and woke up slowly.

He suddenly realized where he was, “Oh, sorry sir. I, uh…” He shot up into a sitting position and Sheppard felt a little abandoned.

“It’s OK, Evan,” his hand shot out to play with Evan's hair again, “don’t worry about it.”

Evan blushed and looked up at John’s face. He seemed surprised by something he saw there. “I wondered how long it would take you to figure it out.”

“Figure what out?”

Evan spoke softly, as if afraid of rejection, “Just how much I care about you.”

John leaned close, his hand bringing Evan’s face closer to his, “I love you, Evan.” He kissed the smaller man with all of the desperation that watching the man he'd fallen in love with die a hundred times. “You’re alive,” he breathed gently.

Lorne smiled softly, “I’m alive.”

****

The alarm went off and John glanced at the time. 0430. “Damn it,” he let out softly, disappointed in himself letting Evan get away. He was so close and he lost him. Again.

“A bit early for cursing, isn’t it?” Evan’s arm reached across him as he stretched to turn off the alarm.

John was stunned.

“Geez, articulate this morning aren’t you?” John couldn’t answer. Evan raised an eyebrow in concern, “Are you alright?”

“You’re still here. You… It’s over. I did it.”

Lorne smiled, “We’re still here.”

And John kissed him, hard, and made a promise to himself to never kiss Evan with anything less than the complete devotion he was kissing him with now.

He wouldn’t lose Evan Lorne again.

Comments

Wonderful story. Thanks.
on the one hand, meep. on the other, excuse me while I do the 'quiet ball o'squee' thing at the ending and all the cute moments throughout the fic.
Poor John. His life really sucks sometimes. Except for, you know. The end. Cool fic, nice take on the concept.
\o/

AWESOME!
Awesome!! Great use of the plot, I never would have seen that coming. It felt like a really fresh use of the device and I completely enjoyed it. Plus, awww. Evan likes smart boys!
That was a great story. I love lorne making john fill all warm and fuzzy :D