stardrive_pilot: Promo (Sprawl)
The first time he came back to Earth, he'd been stunned to find it was no longer home. There's nothing quite like figuring out that the planet you'd lived on your entire life didn't feel like the place you belonged anymore to throw a guy a little off his balance. Of course, that was over a year ago, and he's as used to feeling out of place back on Earth as he ever will be.

What he's not used to is the fact that he's here and this is now and it's all actually happened. Every day, he still expects to wake up with the sound of the ocean in his ears and the spires of Atlantis sparkling in the pink-tinted light outside his window. And every day since he wound up back here, he's woken to the very mechanical and very different sounds of the SGC, his eyes fighting to adjust to the cool dark of his underground guest quarters. He misses the windows that look out over the city, the balconies, the sunlight, even the sound of the water in those silly little fountains the Ancients had all over the place.

He misses all of it, but none of it's what really matters. That's just the trappings, the superficial stuff a soldier gets used to having change around them with new postings. He's used to changing settings, used to never quite feeling like he's settled in anywhere. He's even used to leaving behind friends. Those are things he's handled before. They'll get better with time, but other things won't.

He was the military commander of the whole damn Atlantis Expedition and now, what, they're going to stick him on SG-4 like none of that ever happened? His team's split up, his command's gone, and it's awfully like all those times he's been shunted aside and made somebody else's problem because nobody wanted to deal with him. And this time, he's SG-4's problem.

Or they're his. He hasn't quite figured that out yet.

It was probably a good idea when Landry sent him packing.

Of course, it didn't feel like a good idea, felt like he was just being shoved aside like they all were from the moment they dragged those damn Ancients back to Atlantis from their stupid busted spaceship. He spent the whole damn trip simmering resentment, tapping his fingers on his knees and glaring out the window, like that could make the commercial airliner into the Daedalus and his destination into Atlantis.

He doesn't like being this far away from the SGC, even though he knows the Daedalus could lock onto his subcutaneous transmitter and beam him up and there in moments if it was needed. Could, sure. Would? That he's not so sure about.

In the end, though, he'd had no choice. Landry had insisted he take his leave somewhere that wasn't Colorado, and what the hell.

He might as well go somewhere nice, right? So he's settled on Hawaii. It's not like he has to worry about cost; a Lieutenant Colonel's pay goes a hell of a long way when you're in another galaxy.

Of course, it's not Atlantis, but it is something he's missed: the beaches in Pegasus might be pristine, but there's a buzz and atmosphere to a sweet surf spot that you just can't get when there's nobody else there. There are more people than he's used to, and it's still a little weird being surrounded by all the symbols of modern life everywhere he looks, but still, it's better than he could have thought. It brings a smile to his face for the first time in far too long to be standing on the beach, leaning on his board and looking out to sea, his things in his USAF-issue duffel bag flung on the sand at his feet.

It's been a hell of a time since he last stood here, and those are some sweet breakers waiting for him.


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John Sheppard

October 2012

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