Spoilers: Set during S4, no spoilers
Word Count: 1,705
Written For: medie
Prompt: Sora on his team, encounter with the Genii, Teyla & Sora conversation
Summary: We initiate the angel becoming its wings, invented so as not to deny themselves.
There were days when, as Sora paced her glorified cell in the lower echelons of Atlantis, she feared she would never see the sun again. She feared she would never see the fields of her planet again, nor the underground structures her people had carved over centuries' time.
She feared she would die in Atlantis, and that it would not be anybody's choice.
Sora paced the span of her room, and feared she was forgotten.
One day, the door to Sora's quarters slid open, and instead of a Marine carrying a tray of food, Teyla entered.
Sora stood and bared her teeth. "Friend."
"Sora." Teyla did not give her the satisfaction of a flinch. "We met with the Genii. They did not ask about you."
She sat down again, to hide the clench of her fists. "So you came here to gloat?"
"No." Teyla smiled, the same smile she used, Sora remembered, when she was bargaining from a vast advantage. "I came here to ask you to consider what options you have left."
"And what are those?"
"We can talk further in the morning." Teyla bowed her head as she stepped backward, and the door slid shut again.
Sora counted to a thousand before she allowed herself to scream.
The transition was a slow one, at first imperceptible if it had not been for Teyla's visit. The next morning, the Marine who brought her food smiled at her. Though he stepped outside for the space of her meal, the door stood open until he returned to collect her tray.
As she ate, she listened to the voices in the hallway, the sounds of conversation having been denied her for many months.
When the Marine returned for the tray, she handed it to him and bowed her head.
His smile was a startled one, and she liked what it did to his face.
She smiled back.
Over the next week, he returned at each breakfast--a change over the seemingly random rotation of faces Sora had experienced thus far. His rank, she thought, was higher than the others, based on the deference she heard in those hallway conversations.
After two weeks, she couldn't help but return the inane pleasantries he offered her each morning, and she thought to ask his name.
He paused, already turning to escape to the hallway. "You can call me Lorne."
Sora turned the name over on her tongue. "And you're a major."
"Yes." He eyed her as she sipped her orange juice. "When you're done with breakfast, would you like to take a walk?"
He nodded, his face going military-blank.
She spun her tray on the table and pointed at it. "If you'll join me for my meal." He blinked, and she watched the confusion move across his face. The word "no" began to form on his lips, so she picked up the roll on her plate and held it up. "I insist."
She could pinpoint the moment he caught her implication, and in that moment, he was sitting across from her at the table, and they broke bread together.
Their walks never wended past anything tactically important. (She remarked upon this one day, and while his apology was insincere, his smile was not.) One afternoon, however, they passed a room where two soldiers were sparring, and Sora couldn't school the longing from her face before Lorne noticed.
"You miss it?" he asked, pausing mid-step.
She contemplated denial, then shrugged. "I miss being challenged."
A look that passed over his face. He nodded once, almost to himself, before interrupting the soldiers. "Hey, mind if we use the room?"
"No problem, sir." They finished a quick bout, then retreated from the mat, wiping brows and shaking limbs.
Sora sneered at their curious glances, and at the staff Lorne offered her. She stretched, calling on the exercise that had kept her from stagnating in her cell.
She watched Lorne watch her, and then she attacked.
In the week that followed, Lorne won three bouts. Sora won four.
The two soldiers that observed them became four, then a dozen.
They declared their eighth match a draw.
Teyla was watching.
Though Sora remained confined to her quarters most of the day, their walks through Atlantis, as well as their sparring, chipped away at her solitude.
One morning, someone else brought her breakfast. She recognized him as one of the soldiers who had watched her sparring, and so she endeavored to be tactful. "Where is Lorne?"
His eyes shifted sideways. "Atlantis business, ma'am."
"Ah." She speared at her breakfast without seeing it. She did not invite him to join her.
The soldier cleared his throat. "If you'd like, I can escort you around this morning. It's been cleared."
She considered refusing, but the day's brightness was just beginning, and the room suddenly felt smaller.
"Yes," she answered, and she tried to sound grateful. "I would like that."
Three days passed before Lorne returned again, and when he set down the tray of food, there were two meals upon it.
Sora didn't comment on it. Instead, as she set out their breakfast, she eyed his movements. He was cautious with his left arm, she noticed, and there was a fading bruise just above his jaw.
When he sat down, she reached across the table and touched a finger against his face. "Careless," she remarked.
His grin was sudden and unexpected. "You were worried about me."
"Yes," she replied, her hand still light against his chin.
"Thank you." For a moment, his hand covered hers, tightened. "Maybe next time you should come with us."
She pulled away, startled, and the meal continued. Conversation with Lorne was, as usual, quite different from sparring with him, though just as pleasurable.
Sora found herself contemplating other pleasurable things.
After the meal, they sorted plates and glasses in concert, hands brushing against each other, sometimes accidentally. She watched a slow flush travel up Lorne's neck, and a low laugh escaped from her lips.
He looked up, caught her gaze. His eyes widened, and she caught her breath.
When he spoke, his voice was husky. "Are you up for another match?"
Lorne did, as it turned out, make good on his word, for while Sora was still shut out of potentially sensitive conversations, she began, slowly, to gain her freedom back. She could take meals in the mess with the others (though she continued to breakfast with Lorne in the mornings), and she had access to the makeshift gymnasium and the sunlit corridors. And, best of all, she began to accompany Lorne's team on exploratory missions.
Teyla drew her aside, before the first time. "We are trusting you," she said, her voice low as a hiss. "I believe you have honor, as does Lorne. Do not betray us." Sora wanted to lash out, but the gate beckoned, and the team waited. She offered a hand to Teyla, and she was surprised when Teyla took it.
The planets were never ones she had visited, and never technologically-advanced. There were dangers, however, and blades bit as deeply as bullets.
After one mission, and a battle with a mindless and lethally-barbed tree, Lorne escorted Sora from the infirmary to her quarters. It was a long walk, and as they descended into dim, unoccupied corridors, Sora watched a scowl spread across Lorne's face.
As the door of her quarters slid open, Lorne caught her elbow. "I can ask them to give you new quarters," he said.
Sora shrugged. "It isn't necessary."
"You were a prisoner here." He stared into the shadowed depths of the room. "You shouldn't be so alone."
Sora laughed, and touched her hand against his chest, his throat. He looked at her, and she answered, "I'm not."
And she drew his face down to hers, and they kissed.
The fourteenth planet she visited was uninhabited, but the ruins of an Ancient laboratory sprawled over a dormant volcano.
The team split up, and she and Lorne crept through the remains of the jumper bay. The shape of the bay was different from the ones Sora had seen before. There was a pattern of metal etched into the floor, a large ring with jagged outer edges.
"Does it mean something?" she asked, and began to step forward.
A high-pitched whine cut through the air, and Lorne yanked her back, yelling "No" as a flash of light blinded her.
When she could see again, she found a Genii soldier pointing a gun at her, and another with his arm around Lorne's throat. Without a thought, she pulled a knife from her wrist sheath, threw it even as the soldier fired on her, knew her aim was true when a choked scream was punctuated by the gun hitting the floor.
She rose from her crouch and circled. The other Genii soldier was panicked now, his grip choking Lorne. He was familiar, and Sora searched her memory, pushing fear aside before it made her reckless.
"I am Genii," she pronounced, and the word loosened the soldier's grip, for a moment. "I know you."
The soldier's eyes narrowed. "You fought by my brother's side, before he died at the city of the Ancestors."
"Many of us died." She held another knife in her hand, and under her gaze, Lorne shifted in the soldier's grip, releasing the arm he had instinctively clutched. "Will you release him?"
"You are not Genii," the soldier spat. He fumbled for his gun, and Sora snapped her arm back, taking the opportunity Lorne had given her.
The knife buried into the soldier's shoulder, and he screamed. Lorne broke free, used momentum to slam him into the ground before disarming him.
She tied the soldier's hands behind his back, and he turned his head to curse her. "You are not Genii," he repeated.
"I was," she replied, and the words hurt less than she expected. "Maybe I will be again, someday."
Lorne splayed a hand against the small of her back, and when she looked at him, his eyes were sad, worried. "Are you okay?"
Sora shook her head. "We need to report back to Atlantis," she said.
But before they did, he smiled at her, and she put all her reassurance into a kiss.
A/N: Title and summary adapted from Ingred Zelada's The Angel Begins. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.