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03 July 2007 @ 12:10 pm
Vortex 8/9 (Heightmeyer/Sheppard/Weir) [NC-17]  
All disclaimers and fic information is in the header for part one.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

Part 8

Elizabeth slammed through the doorway into her private suites at Atlantis, John following on her heels, hands in his pockets and a dark, sullen glare on his face. "The Wraith came after her again?" asked Elizabeth, stopping in the middle of the room, her arms crossed as she looked to Teyla.

"They sent Michael to distract me, and another Wraith to steal her away while I was distracted," said Teyla. "I believe they have been following her."

"They won't be following her any longer," said Elizabeth. "She needs an escort."

"Hey!" exclaimed Kate. She was leaning against the back wall, arms wrapped around herself as John crossed the room to slouch against the wall next to her and give her a worried look. "Could we please not talk about me in the third person?"

"This is Coven business, Kate," said Elizabeth, still looking at Teyla.

"It's not just Coven business if it involves me," said Kate. She glanced over at John, then at Elizabeth. "I know you're categorically incapable of believing that anyone who's not a vampire can take care of themselves, Elizabeth, but I don't need an escort."

"That Wraith had you in his grasp before I intervened," said Teyla. "You are not a warrior, Kate."

"Who was it that shut down the cameras and streetlights so you could stay unobserved?" asked Kate. "Do I need to repeat it? I can take care of myself."

"One of these days I'm gonna get used to the idea of you doing stuff like that," said John.

Kate smiled worriedly at him. "I hope so," she said.

Elizabeth shook her head at Kate. "Maybe you can," she said. "But I would feel better if you had Teyla with you when you went out at night."

"I'm sure you would," said Kate.

"The Wraith aren't going to get their hands on you," said John. "Look, it's just for a little while, okay? Until Ronon can track them down to their hive and we can wipe them out. Besides--" He smiled at Kate and leaned forward. "I thought you and she were friends."

"Friendship and a constant escort are two different things." Kate pushed off the wall and walked over to stand next to the door. "I need to be alone for a while."

"I'll have Teyla escort you home," said Elizabeth.

"I need someplace safe. Someplace I don't have to worry about the Wraith," said Kate.

"You do not mean--" started Teyla.

Kate sighed. "Yes, I mean Avalon," she said. "That way none of you need to worry that poor, fragile Kate is going to be victimized by the big, bad Wraith. All right?"

Elizabeth and John glanced at each other from behind Kate, as she started muttering and Elizabeth's wall lit up with glowing blue runes.

"I thought I told you I didn't like the idea of having one of those in my quarters if I can't use it," said Elizabeth.

Kate glanced over her shoulder at Elizabeth, still mouthing Latin under her breath, and shook her head, then looked back to press a series of runes. Water rippled against Elizabeth's far wall, where Kate and John had been leaning before. "I'll be fine." She turned and walked over to the gateway. "Don't wait up. I'll see you all tomorrow." Kate stepped through, the pond of water barely disturbed by her passing.

"I'll see you tomorrow night, Teyla," said Elizabeth, her eyes narrowed as she studied the portal.

Teyla smiled. "It is good to see you happy, Elizabeth," she said.

"Who said anything about that?" asked Elizabeth. She frowned at Teyla. "She would be very useful, if only she weren't so stubborn."

"Come on," said John, nodding at the gateway. "Before she closes that thing down and we're stuck out here."

Teyla shook her head and chuckled. "Lorne and I will suffice to manage in your absence, and send Ronon to finish tracking down the hive," she said, making a shooing motion with one hand. "We have done so before. Go."

***

Kate was standing in the middle of the room, torches flooding the room with light, when John and Elizabeth stepped through the gateway. John's shoe scuffed on the floor, and Kate turned. "I should've known you couldn't stay away," she said, shaking her head. "Do you two ever listen to me?"

"Sure we do," said John. "When you're not freaking out massively."

"I don't think running off to Avalon constitutes freaking out massively," said Kate.

"That's because you're in denial," said John.

"Who's the therapist around here?" asked Kate. She gestured, her hand still low, and the the portal shimmered and vanished behind them. "Sometimes denial can be a healthy coping technique, John."

"Is it now?" he asked.

Kate smiled. "I'll let you know when I figure it out." She glanced over Elizabeth, and John followed her gaze. "Feeling all right, Elizabeth?"

"It's Avalon, Kate," breathed Elizabeth, turning slowly as she looked around. "I never thought it was real."

"Ah," said Kate. She smiled. "You need to be very careful about what you say and do while you're here. Which won't be for that much longer now that I remember where the portal is located. We should get you back."

"Kate!" exclaimed Elizabeth.

"I think she's pouting at you," said John, in a stage whisper.

"John! Stop making fun of me." Elizabeth frowned at him. "I don't want to leave just yet. When will I ever have a chance like this again?"

"Never, if I have any say about it," said Kate. "It's not safe for you, Elizabeth."

"You can show me around a little bit first, can't you, Kate, darling?" asked Elizabeth, walking slowly toward Kate.

"You're calling me darling," said Kate. "Are you feeling all right?"

"She's wheedling," said John, frowning. "I don't think I've ever seen Elizabeth wheedle before."

"Yes, well, that's about all of it I have in me," said Elizabeth. "I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted."

"Actually, I'm a little freaked out by it," said John.

Kate nodded. "I can live without it." She sighed. "Come on, I'll show the two of you around Avalon. Around some of Avalon."

"If you insist," said Elizabeth, her mouth twitching with a hint of amusement. "Tell me, what can we find here?"

"Nothing that we can take back with us," said Kate dryly.

"Bet she says that's a shame," said John.

"It is a shame," said Elizabeth. She reached out and took Kate's hand. "But show me around anyway."

"So, uh--" started John.

Elizabeth gave John a look as she reached out to take his hand and pull him over to them. "Show us around anyway, Kate," she said.

***

"Still kinda cozy," said John, looking around. There was a suit of rust-spattered green armor standing against the wall, the helmet detached from the neck, and somehow fastened underneath one arm. "In a creepy sort of way. These torches ever burn out?"

"No," said Kate. She stood near the door, staring into the room, with John just a few steps away, and Elizabeth's fingers interlaced with her own.

"It is a little--" Elizabeth glanced up at the soot marks smeared across the shadowed ceiling. "--disconcerting."

"That's what Teyla said," said John. "Or something like that, anyway."

"It's not disconcerting to me," said Kate, She smiled and turned, letting go of Elizabeth's hand to lean against the door frame. "Elizabeth, this is home. This is what's always been a constant in my life. The presences watching from the shadows are comforting to me."

"Were you here when it was, ah, occupied?" asked John, shrugging and taking a step back, further into the room.

"I'd have loved to have seen it then, but no," said Kate. She looked around wistfully. "That was long before I was born."

"How long?" asked John, his eyes narrowing.

"No," said Kate, dragging her gaze back to John. "I'm not telling you how old I am."

"It's not like you're going to suddenly start aging if you do," said John. He grimaced. "You're not, are you?"

"Oh, honestly, John," said Elizabeth. "You just don't ask someone how old they are. It's rude." She eyed Kate speculatively. "Though if Kate wanted to tell us, I certainly wouldn't complain."

"Of course you wouldn't," said Kate. She smiled ruefully. "Just be glad I gave you as much as a range of time to work with. I know you're going to try to figure it out on your own."

"She knows us a little too well," said John. "You ever gonna just flat-out tell us?"

"Maybe." Kate glanced around the halls of Avalon. "I don't know. Let me have a couple of secrets without pushing for them."

"For now," murmured Elizabeth. "You'll have to stop holding back some time, Kate."

"Look who's talking," said Kate, with a longing glance at the armor. "I'm hungry. Come on, there's one place in Avalon where we can still get something to eat."

"I'm thinking after Teyla's little adventure it wouldn't be a good idea for Elizabeth to eat in here," said John, as Kate straightened and they stepped into the hallway.

"That would be an extremely bad idea," said Kate, walking down the corridor with John and Elizabeth on either side of her. "That would make the guardian that went after Teyla look like a light spring breeze."

"A light spring breeze?" asked Elizabeth. "What do you mean?"

"Teyla had a tornado decide she looked like fun to play with," said John. "She said something they didn't like."

"And for the record," said Kate, stopping before another doorway. "No, Elizabeth, you can't have one."

"She never lets me have any fun," said Elizabeth, glancing over at John with an exaggerated sigh.

"That's because your fun involves things like taking over other people's territory and advancing yourself," said John. "Why can't you get a hobby like embroidery or something?"

"I used to be quite good at it," said Elizabeth. "It was boring."

"Horribly boring," agreed Kate, nodding vehemently.

"I gave it up shortly after you and I met," said Elizabeth.

"I'm surprised you kept with it that long," said Kate.

"It was a way to keep from being idle," said Elizabeth.

"Yeah, I heard they were big on idle hands being evil, or something like that," said John. He frowned and jerked his thumb at the half-closed door. "Is it me, or is that daylight out there?"

"It's 'idle hands are the devil's plaything,'" said Kate, turning to the door.

Elizabeth stepped back quickly, her eyes wide. "Kate," she said. "The sun--"

Kate turned to Elizabeth, sunlight shining against the pale yellow of her hair. "We'll go back," she said.

John's skin was washed-out, except where stubble shadowed his cheek as the light fell on it. "Who wants a tan anyway?" he asked, grinning.

"I'd rather not be immolated," said Elizabeth, holding herself still.

"I'm sorry," said Kate, as she and John stepped out of the nimbus of light. "Let's go back to Atlantis. The food's probably better there anyway."

***

When the moon rose the next night, Elizabeth woke silently and slipped out of bed before John or Kate could notice she was gone. She dressed in absolute silence, pulling on a soft pair of black leather pants and a tight black shirt, then sweeping up soft black boots and a pair of socks.

She stopped at the door, one hand on the knob, to turn back and look at John and Kate, draped over each other in their sleep. Her ruby necklace glinted faintly in the light shining through the window, and her eyes hardened as she turned away, opening the door and stepping out into her sitting room.

Teyla waited silently for her, and smiled when Elizabeth closed the door.

"Did he find it?" asked Elizabeth.

"It is small, for now, but well-defended." Teyla hesitated. "They are attempting to increase their numbers."

Elizabeth's smile was feral. "Not any more. Call Evan and Ronon."

"Shall I--" started Teyla.

"Just them," said Elizabeth. "I'm going to meet with this Queen."

"You have not done that in several centuries," said Teyla.

"It's time I got back into the habit," said Elizabeth.

***

The hive was utterly black, the building abandoned by mortals and boarded up. No light escaped, but the Wraith had given up even moonlight in their private lairs centuries ago, before they were discovered by vampires.

"Tell me again why we're not going to wipe them out," said Ronon.

"Have I gotten soft enough that you feel the need to question my decisions?" asked Elizabeth, her voice whipping out as she glanced sharply at Ronon.

"You haven't gotten soft at all," said Ronon. "I just wanna kill them."

"Why do I keep you around?" asked Elizabeth.

"Because I like to kill Wraith."

Elizabeth and Teyla locked gazes and sighed as Evan chuckled. "He's got you there."

"Let's go," said Elizabeth shortly.

***

Glass bottles reeking of gasoline and oil arced through the hive, smoke billowing in thick, black streaks behind trails of orange fire, only to shatter against the wall. Flames spread across the perimeter of the room, and the Wraith scattered. No matter.

Ronon and Lorne waited outside; Elizabeth could hear the sounds of their firearms, the thudding of fists and scraping of feet against the floor as they fought. Elizabeth stood ten feet inside the room, Teyla next to her, both coolly poised and appraising the Queen.

Their Queen sat motionless on a throne in the middle of the room. "You invade my territory, vampire," said the Queen. Her white-blonde hair faded into the pallor of her skin. She leaned her chin on one cupped palm, the other resting lightly on the arm of her throne.

"Atlantis is not your territory," said Elizabeth. "Nor is the city of Pegasus."

Michael emerged from the smoke to stand next to the Queen's throne, one hand set firmly on her arm, and his gaze locked on Teyla.

"I'm taking it," said the Queen. "Just like I'm taking the witch. Perhaps that little police detective she's so fond as well." The Queen stayed in her seat, the loud crackling of the flames the only sound in the room.

"The witch and the detective are mine," said Elizabeth, her eyes blazing.

"The witch would come to prefer my company," said the Queen. She lifted her hand and toyed with a silver chain laying against her chest. "So fair and pale, with features that already favor the night."

"They're all dying, my Queen," said Michael, staring out the doorway. "I can hear them. All the Wraith of this hive."

"Think of it as a message," said Elizabeth. She didn't flinch from the heat of flames racing throughout the room. "The Wraith had best stay out of Atlantis' territory, and that includes the witch and the detective. The vampires of this city already know that."

She pivoted and stalked to the door, Teyla next to her. A rush of air sounded behind her, and Elizabeth stopped instantly, her hand flicking out in a gesture to Teyla. Teyla whirled, a knife appearing in her hand that she hurled at the Queen. Elizabeth turned to watch as the knife thudded home deep in the Queen's breastbone and she shrieked in pain.

Michael ran forward three steps, looking furiously at Elizabeth, until the Queen whispered his name. He turned and picked her up in his arms, cradling her gently against his chest. "This isn't over," he said.

"Don't push me any further," said Elizabeth. As smoke billowed between them, she and Teyla moved, too quickly for human eyes, outside the building, where Ronon and Evan met them, drenched with Wraith blood and looking at her with thirsty smiles.

"Just like old times," grunted Ronon.

"Make sure nothing's left standing," said Elizabeth.
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ladyniko: 2002 Sorceressladyniko on July 3rd, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
Ya'know... one of these days, LJ will offer up the option of editing your comments... :-p Medie, if I could type correctly here. So, I will type it again to make sure I get it right this time - Medie.

Havoc: evilcutehavocthecat on July 3rd, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)
LJ is forever going to be evil, and I just don't think we'll ever get the ability to edit our comments. But that's fine! I speak fluent typo!

Messing with Elizabeth is a bad idea. OH, YES. And thank you!

I happen to think Teyla kicks some serious ass here too. I had to include them both in the showdown with the Wraith, and I kind of wish I could've included the plotting that they clearly did before the confrontation. Because that was awesome in my head, but never got put down on paper.