Author: Keira Marcos
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
McSheplets Challenge: 41- Secrets
Word Count: 2264 (Complete)
Author’s Note: Non-series related
Summary: He didn’t know who started it but there was a wall on the Northeast Pier that the populace of Atlantis called “The Confessional”.
Disclaimer: I don’t own them. I don’t pretend to. I won’t make money off of them. I rarely spend my time doing things that actually make money—much to my husband’s utter horror.
* * * * –
He didn’t know who started it but there was a wall on the Northeast Pier that the populace of Atlantis called “The Confessional”. The first note appeared written in block letters with a Sharpie marker and simply said, “I’ll never forget the relief in his eyes when I shot him”.
Over the first few months, when they were all certain they’d die in alien city, in another galaxy, far from Earth… other messages started to appear, in different color Sharpie markers, different but generic handwriting but all equally blunt and horrible.
“I miss my mother.”
“Every day I think about killing myself—but I don’t because I don’t want to be buried here.”
“I dream about the Wraith every night. I stopped waking myself with my own screams six months ago.”
“He’ll never love me the way I love him.”
“I’m just using her for sex; and I don’t feel guilty about it which makes me an asshole.”
After contact with Earth was established, he figured the confessions would stop but they didn’t. They came randomly; sometimes without regard to major events on the city or in the galaxy. He could have ended it any time by putting up a security camera but like the other inhabitants of the city he found the ‘The Confessional’ oddly comforting. The honesty was a relief even if it was shrouded in secrecy.
“I never trusted him the way I should have, and now he’s gone.”
That confession appeared a week after Ford disappeared through the gate and Rodney couldn’t help but agree. He wondered if ‘the confessor’ of that little secret felt as guilty about it as he did.
“I lost count of how many people I’ve killed.”
“I know I’ll die alone but I live in hope that it won’t be in vain.”
“My father hit me because I was the only person at home when my mother dropped dead. He blames me. I blame me, too.”
“She doesn’t love him; she loves the man she thinks she can make him be.”
Rodney traced his fingers over those letters and sighed, he thought that was about him and Katie Brown. It certainly fit that situation completely. He rationalized that most women thought they could change the man they ended up with… he wasn’t the only one who faced that situation every time he had a new relationship.
“I was raped off-world but I didn’t tell anyone because I don’t want to get sent back to Earth.”
Rodney grimaced over that one and wondered if the person who wrote that ever got any help. It was written in tiny letters, each letter looked shaky as if the person who wrote it was hanging on by a thread. Most thought it was a woman—but Rodney believed it was a man. As it was when that confession had hit the wall, all the women had been scheduled for ‘discussions’ in the infirmary. He never knew what came of that situation. Carson had discussed it privately with Elizabeth and nothing was ever said again.
He closed his eyes. Elizabeth. There was a whole section—all written neatly down one panel about Elizabeth.
“I was in love with her but never told her.”
“She was the best of us—brave and beautiful—I always resented her for it.”
“She didn’t have the stomach for war—they should have sent her home instead of letting her get killed.”
“I miss her every day.”
“She took me to her bed one night—she was amazing, relentless, and desperate. The next day she couldn’t even look me in the eye.”
He moved away from Elizabeth’s panel with a sigh. There were over one hundred messages there and each more depressing than the last. It was difficult to see how a woman he’d admired and respected had touched so many in so many different ways—not all of them positive.
There were three panels dedicated to sexual confessions, ranging from favored kinks to actual experiences.
“I like to get spanked.”
“I called my boyfriend ‘Daddy’ in bed last night and he freaked out.”
“I can’t get off unless my lover ties me up.”
“I don’t want to die a virgin.”
“In the twelfth grade, I let the captain of the football team suck me off every day, for a month. I wonder if he still tells people he’s not gay.” The day that one appeared Rodney had laughed so hard he cried. Then he’d felt compelled to add his first secret to ‘The Confessional’ : “I’ve slept with sixteen men—all but one were US military and ten women—none of which were US military.”
He’d expected a backlash but what he’d gotten was the kind of response that a judiciary committee on Earth would have literally had a conniption over.
“I gave my first blow job in uniform during boot camp; my drill sergeant said I was his best recruit. He was a bastard but he had a pretty cock.”
“I fucked every guy on my team, twice. The first time aliens made us do it.”
“My first CO told me that a man is only as straight as his options. It was the only truthful thing he EVER said to me.”
“McKay has the best ass on Atlantis. I jack off thinking about bending him over a bench in the lab and fucking him until he can’t say another word.” He’d sputtered and blushed furiously for a week over that one—especially when three different people had added “Amen” to the end of it.
“I think Caldwell could do with a good buggering; it might improve his mood.”
Colonel Caldwell had pitched a total fit over that but Sheppard had informed him that he had no intention of investigating it because it would amount to a witch-hunt and possible violate DADT. He’d grudgingly ordered two Marines to scrub the wall clean but the city had erected a force field over the wall every time they got near it with their cleaning supplies. Rodney had been ordered to cut power in that section and he’d had to tell them that the section didn’t have power at all. It was a waste of the ZPM to power a section no one used. Caldwell blamed John but it happened even when he wasn’t in the city and he’d admitted defeat. It turned out that Atlantis was an excellent Secret Keeper.
Caldwell had retaliated by shorting the city on sugar for a full three months. Which Rodney knew hadn’t won him any favors among the city’s population. In fact, it had spawned three more statements all speculating on what it would take to put the ‘Grinch Who Ruined Cookie Day and Stole Our Happiness’ in a good mood.
The messages had gotten more frequent after Elizabeth was lost. People lingered at the wall in groups; discussing what was written but never adding to it while anyone was around. Everyone respected the sanctity of the wall—it was their refuge from the brazen lies that kept them all sane.
“I miss Carson so much.”
“She’s too young to be here; what the fuck were they thinking?”
“I hate him. I learned more from him in a week then I did in grad school and I hate his fucking guts. I’d kill him but I realized ten days after I got here that he’s the only thing keeping us alive out here. I hate that, too.”
McKay knew there was more than one message on the wall about how people hated him. He used it to gauge how well he was doing with his staff. When they were really frustrated with him—the panels would get dense with mean little jabs, the air in the hall would reek of Sharpie marker, but the city would be a top performance and that was all that mattered.
“I resent her for sitting in Elizabeth’s chair; but it’s not her fault.”
He touched those words and wished he regretted writing them. He knew Sam had seen them; he’d been there when she’d toured the wall for the first time, nearly a month after she had arrived. She’d touched them, her fingers shaking slightly as she skimmed the deceptively neat block letters. Everyone made sure to keep things plain as to not point an immediate finger at themselves, McKay included. No one could truly hide their handwriting, he knew that. He knew an expert could scan the wall and pick out every writer he just hoped that the SGC never bothered with it.
“He never wanted me enough to risk his career. I hate him for it.”
“I never wanted to leave Earth but he needed him more than me.”
Rodney sighed and moved to a relatively bare section of the wall. He’d written something there three days ago—within hours of ending his relationship with Jennifer Keller.
“I’ll never love anyone the way I love John. I’d keep him if he’d let me.”
It wasn’t the safest thing he could’ve said even if there were ten men on the city named John. It had to be one of the most common first names on Earth but anyone looking at it would assume it was about Sheppard. He’d assumed they would think it was a female confessor—but he was very wrong. Because the responses were pointed:
“Is good choice. The Colonel is very pretty attractive.”
“If we had a contest he’d get voted the ‘Most Fuckable Man on Atlantis’.”
“You should tell him.”
“Grow a pair! He might love you back.”
“Thank God the regulations changed—was your discretion removed at birth?”
He shook his head and blushed. It was really too bad there was no way he could follow their advice. John’s friendship meant too much to him to fuck it up. He glanced up above his confession and found a new one written in black, with bold strokes.
“She’ll never love him as much as I do. I was SO relieved when he dumped her.”
Rodney realized he wasn’t alone precisely three seconds before he was grabbed—he was pressed firmly but carefully against the wall. “What the…”
“Shh.” Lips brushed against his ear lobe. “I’ve spent the last three days trying to figure out who wrote it—hoping it was you but just knowing it wasn’t.”
Rodney relaxed. “John.”
“Don’t take it back, Rodney. I couldn’t… no one has ever wanted to keep me. At least no one outside of weird alien chieftains intent on using me as breeding stock.”
“Who wouldn’t want you forever?”
“I could make you a list,” John murmured. “I’m sorry for coming here—for breaking the rules. We aren’t supposed to watch others touch their secrets.” He lifted away and took a deep breath. “The one above yours… that’s mine.”
“I really didn’t dump her,” Rodney murmured. “I just… well shit.”
John chuckled. “You dumped her.”
“I’m an asshole.” He sighed and then frowned. “Wait… that football one is yours, too. Right? And the one about me and the lab bench?”
John turned him around and pressed him against the wall. “You aren’t supposed to guess, McKay.”
“You aren’t supposed to be sneaky and watch people either,” Rodney returned and poked him in the chest. “Am I right?”
“Yeah.” John leaned in. “Jesus, I’ve already fucked you in every lab on Atlantis in my mind.”
“I can’t believe you wrote that about me on the wall,” Rodney muttered.
“You loved it,” John responded. “You were more amused than embarrassed when it went up.”
“You love me.”
“Yeah.” John admitted.
“Why didn’t you ever…” Rodney trailed off. “I wasn’t worth your career?”
“I’d have gotten sent back to Earth and you would have been here on Atlantis,” John leaned in and pressed his forehead against McKay’s. “I decided to have a little bit of you rather than none at all. My career… shit the Air Force can kiss my ass.”
“I would have left with you; you have to believe that.” His hand dropped to John’s hip as they both moved to get closer. “You’re my home, John.”
The first kiss was stunning—honest and as brutal as anything Rodney had ever known. The desperation burning off John’s skin and into his was so intense that he could only hold on and open his mouth under in the hot demand of John’s lips and tongue. They thumped back against the wall and McKay snaked one leg around John’s and pulled their bodies flush together.
John lifted his mouth away and sighed. “I’ve wanted to do that since Antarctica.”
Rodney closed his eyes briefly. “I really should kick your ass, you intensely beautiful idiot. You owe me five years of fucking and I’m going to collect.”
John laughed and let his forehead rest on Rodney’s. “Yeah, we’ll make a schedule. You can do one of those time management spreadsheets for me like you do for your minions when they really piss you off.”
“You make me stupid,” Rodney muttered. “But I forgive you.” He reeled John back in for another kiss, his fingers digging into Sheppard’s arms.
Check out the podfic for this story by cookiemom6067.