Title: Wake Me Up Inside
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG-1
Relationships: John Sheppard/Evan Lorne, Carson Beckett/Radek Zelenka, Rodney McKay/Ronon Dex (eventually), Markham/Stackhouse
Genre: ShapeShifter (Mythological Creatures and regular animals), Angst, Alternate Reality
Rating: MA (more for the future chapters)
Warnings: Flashbacks/dreams/talk of past verbal, psychological and physical child abuse, brief mention of non-con mating in conversation, angst, m/m sex, explicit language, violence, explicit sex, brief mentions of past torture and kidnapping, Sentient!Atlanits, Matchmaker!Atlantis
Author’s Note/Warning: In the chapter below, Rodney talks about his verbal, physical and psychological abuse and bullying from his father. He goes into detail about some of the incidents. It may be triggery for the reader. Please use caution when you read this chapter!
The quote below has been around for a while but as far as I know does not have an original author. I’ve been told that it was inspired by a quote from J.R. Tolkein, but it was about wizards, instead of Dragons.
Word Count: 17,902 / 35,000 (This update is 2,707)
After a sleepless night due to nightmares, Rodney had a very short temper and unfortunately, his colleagues kept pushing him to the limits.
Eventually, he shored up in his office. One of his minions put up the sign next to the entrance of his doorway: “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”
Rodney does not know who put that up by his door but he thought it was very appropriate and it made sure to keep the idiots away.
By dinnertime, his dragon wanted to be let loose so he grabbed a quick dinner before going to the west pier to change into his dragon form.
Once he transformed, he let his mind blank as his dragon seek out the highest place among the clouds and let the breeze float across his skin. He flew with some of the Pegasus Galaxy birds. They did not mind his animal form.
Every hour or so, he found himself circling around Atlantis, to make sure that she was still safe. Rodney knew there was another reason that his dragon kept going back to Atlantis: Ronon. His dragon kept seeking out his mate but Rodney kept trying to encourage it to explore the wildlife on the mainland for a little while. It only worked for so long.
Eventually, Rodney was getting tired so he decided that he should transform back to human before he went back to his bedroom for the night.
As he was putting on his pants, he smelled Evan with Arianya and Carson approach him. He knew that he couldn’t ignore them.
“What do you want?” Rodney grouched at them.
“We heard about your day in the lab. Anything you want to talk about?” Carson offered softly. Carson knows that if he pushes Rodney too hard, too fast, then he would clamp up faster than a petulant child.
Carson, Radek, John and Evan talked during dinner about Rodney and Ronon. They decided that at least a few of them needed to talk to Rodney because they could tell that he would spin out of control, fast, unless they got him to open up about his past. Evan and Carson volunteered to talk to Rodney, since they knew that Rodney relied on them for emotional support. Rodney was close to Radek and John but he tended to pull away from them when it came to his emotions and his past. Since Arianya wanted to be with Evan, she went with Evan and Carson to talk with Rodney.
“I have a lot on my mind and…. I didn’t sleep well last night.”
Rodney nods his head. “The lion didn’t help me this time.”
“Ah, Rodney, I’m so sorry.” Carson goes over to Rodney and gives him a brief hug. “Do you want to head back to your room to talk about it?”
“If you two don’t mind?”
“No, it’s fine with us. Arianya has already been fed and John mentioned that he had to work tonight so I was going to be by myself anyway.”
“Radek mentioned working on an annoying problem so he was planning on working late tonight too. I also stole some of Radek’s moonshine.” Carson lifted up a bottle of the moonshine as evidence.
“Alright. Follow me.”
Rodney turns and led the way back to his quarters on Atlantis. He realized that it had been a little while since he had properly picked up his room so he did a quick picking up of clothes before Evan and Carson settled in the couches in his living room.
Carson brought up a bottle that he’d been holding. “Shall we drink some of Radek’s lethal moonshine?”
“I’ll get the glasses.” Rodney gathered the clean glasses that he had and Carson poured some moonshine in each one.
“To finding one’s mate and matchmaking Atlantis!”
They clicked their glasses before taking a sharp shallow of the moonshine.
“Now that you have some liquid courage, do you want to talk about what is going on? Why are running from your mate? I know that you were born like I was into a shifer family and had your DNA changed due to Atlantis.”
“Before I talk some more, would it be alright if I held Arianya?”
“Sure.” Evan handed Arianya over to Rodney. Evan knows that Rodney enjoyed handling Arianya occasionally. She seemed to provide some emotional support so it doesn’t entirely surprise him that he asked for her.
“How is my little princess?” Rodney said to Arianya. He kissed her forehead while she curled up in his chest, with her head against his neck breathing in his scent. Initially, when she arrived on Atlantis, she would only tolerate Evan’s touch. Slowly, she allowed other people to touch and hold her. Rodney was happy that she included him in her small circle of people allowed to hold her.
“Right. Back to what we were discussing. I would like to say that it’s the greatest thing to have found my mate but it comes with a lot of emotional baggage.”
“Didn’t you always yearn to have a mate, especially when your friends and family were going through their first change and finding out about them?” Evan questioned. He knew what it was like to go through the same situation.
“But what?” Evan said softly.
“Ever since I was born, my father made sure I knew how useless I was. He would purposefully set-up challenges for me that would have been fine if I was a shifter, but almost impossible if I was human. If on the off chance that I did win, he would still hit me. He….”
Carson and Evan remained quiet because they knew that Rodney needed to get a lot of this off his chest so the wounds can start healing. Evan’s happy that Arianya seemed to be providing some emotional support as well. Rodney kept pacing the living room area as he talked.
“He used to tell me how pathetic and weak I was. If I tried to stand up for myself, he just hit me that much more. Since he was a shifter, my strength compared to him was pathetic.”
“Didn’t the teachers at your school question you or your parents?”
“I was really clumsy kid, didn’t you know?” Rodney stated with a sarcastic voice and a smirk on his face.
Evan cursed mentally at the lack of adult help that Rodney had access to when he was growing up.
“What about the doctor’s?” Carson asked.
“Same story seemed to please them too.” Rodney responded in a slightly monotone voice.
Carson mentally cursed out those doctors. They went completely against what they were sworn to do as a doctor.
“It also didn’t help that my father was a very wealthy, influential man and he always got what he wanted. Besides, for the right price, people were willing to look the other way.”
“What about your mother?”
“She barely had a backbone. Since my father was the adult shifter in our family, he was your stereotypical over-ruling alpha. It was his way or you get the fucking shit beat out of you. I’m somewhat surprised I’m not more fucked up.”
“I’m not. You have an extremely strong mind and will.” Carson responded, even though it seemed like Rodney did not hear him.
“If I was really bad, he would call me every name in the book and then beat me up so badly that a few times he broke a few of my ribs and fractured both of my wrists. I remember another time when I was practicing the piano, he slammed the piano key cover down on my hands. That time, he broke a few of my fingers and one of my wrists. I had to miss school for a week and then someone had to help me do my homework.”
As Rodney kept talking, Carson and Evan realized how lucky they were to have grown up with the family and friends that they did.
“After that, I swear my father had my piano teacher tell me that I lacked complete passion and artistry for it and I should give it up. So I did. I fell in love with science after that.”
“You have done wonders for the field, Rodney.”
“I know but it’s not right for a parent to crush one kid’s dream so hard and fast. A child is supposed to think that they’ve the world at their fingertips, not to be constantly reminded that they are pathetic and feeble-minded because they aren’t a full shifter.”
“You aren’t, nor have you ever been weak or lacking. You have such hidden strengths and depths that it does not surprise me that Ronon likes you and that you are his mate.”
“There is a part of me that can’t get my mind around the fact that someone as hot as Ronon wants me. In addition, I know he’s a great guy and his loyalty is astounding when it comes to John and Atlantis but I heard a rumor that he saw a loved one die. He saw his planet being overrun by the Wraith and then the Wraith decided that they liked to chase their food so they made sure that he was completely isolated from everyone for seven fucking years.”
“Exactly. Not your average person would survive that. He’s mentally, emotionally and physically strong. Bullocks. Even his shifter animal has impassable skin.” Carson stated.
“I…I know but compared to him, I feel really lacking. Yes, I survived my abusive father but compared to Ronon, I lived a grand life, especially once I left home. Well, except for one incident in graduate school.”
“What do you mean?”
“Shortly after I entered graduate school, when I was 19, my father somehow found out that I was dating a guy. He couldn’t tolerate me further disgracing him and the family. He discovered where I was living and showed up one night. I happen to be with my then boyfriend. To prove what a disgrace I was, my father kept offering him more and more money so that he would break-up with me. For a short while, my then boyfriend kept refusing. Eventually, he was offered a sum that was big enough. Apparently, I’m only worth $500, 000. It was a shitty lesson to learn so young.”
Carson and Evan wanted to give Rodney a hug but they knew that he wouldn’t find it comforting. They just hoped that Arianya was providing enough comfort for now.
“Is that why you are running from Ronon? Fear that your father will make him break-up with you too? Or is it fear of letting someone get too close to your heart?”
“I know that your mate is supposed to always be by your side and that they aren’t supposed to go against you but…I still have some internal doubts. I thought I’ve made peace with my past but finding out about Ronon has brought up a lot of my past, especially when you add in the fact that I’m a shifter now too.”
“Have you dated anyone since that incident?” Carson asked softly.
“Yes. I dated one other person since then but it only lasted a short while. Since then, if I wanted companionship, I usually either rented a guy for the night or went to a bar and got shitfaced drunk before attempting to pick someone up. Luckily, I was still cute enough that I was able to get someone to at least go to the local alley or bathroom for a quick fuck. Even though I was drunk, I wasn’t so far gone that I knew to practice safe sex.”
“Your father could offer Ronon the world and Ronon would still chose you, Rodney. He’s not going anywhere. He’s wanted to date you for a long while now, even before he was turned.”
“What do you mean?”
“I know that John told me that he’d been watching you for a while before he started with the gifts. He was sniper stalking you. Hell, it looks like Atlantis did a similar thing with you that she did with me and John. Consider yourself lucky.”
“I know I should but I don’t want him to discover the real me and find out that I’m a fake.”
“You aren’t. You are a very courageous person who has impressive inner strength.” Evan responded.
“But he’s abandoned me in my dreams.”
“Are you sure? Maybe your mind is trying to make you think that so that it would be easier for you to run away from him.”
Rodney would like to think better of his mind but he’s knee-jerk reaction has always been to pull away from people than to lean on them for help, especially since he had no one to rely on when his father was abusing him.
“Have you thought about going to therapy for this?”
“That science is even more voodoo than what you do, Carson.”
“It might help you, Rodney. May allow you to finally get past what happened to you.”
“Maybe but many people would still consider me sane, just with some extra emotional baggage.”
“Yes. You are still sane, or as sane as anyone could be for being on Atlantis for so long.”
After a couple minutes of quiet, Evan asked, “What are you going to do with Ronon?”
“I’m going to talk to him, maybe not spill all of this but at least explain in basic terms what happened to me and why I react a certain way to certain situations. Hopefully, he will be willing to take things slowly. If he is, then we might try some dating. I do want to get to know him better.”
“You have a funny way of showing it.” After realizing what he said, Carson added, “It’s not your fault. I know he was hurting when you flew off like you did last night.”
“I will talk to him tomorrow. I’m too emotionally raw at the moment. I want to be on more even ground before going forward with him.”
“Sounds good. I’m happy that you are willing to try things out with Ronon. I think he will surprise you.”
“I know. I just hope I don’t keep fucking things up like this.”
“I strongly encourage you to go to therapy, Rodney. Seriously. Dr. Heightmeyer is an excellent doctor.” Carson commented. He was on the committee that hired her for the expedition. He also knows that many of the residents have said good things about her.
“I’ll….think about it. I do want to move on from this. It’s just between becoming a full shifter and finding my mate…”
“We are here for you. I’m sure Ronon would be there for you too, if you’ll allow him.”
Arianya gives Rodney’s neck a little nuzzle in support of him as well.
“Thank you. All of you. If you don’t mind, I would like to try to unwind before collapsing for the night. It’s been a long, exhausting day. Arianya, why don’t you go back with your Dad? Thank you for your snuggles.” He leans over and kisses her forehead and lightly nuzzles her cheek. She giggles a little bit. Rodney hands Arianya over to Evan.
“Thank you for letting me hold her.”
“No problem. She is a great cuddler. Have a good night’s rest. Remember, if you need anything, at anytime, please let us know.”
Evan, Arianya, and Carson headed out of Rodney’s room. On the way back to their rooms, they talk about Rodney and his childhood.
“No bloody wonder Rodney doesn’t want to talk about his childhood. I’m almost tempted to go back to Earth and kill the bastard myself.”
“Me too. I would be more than willing to provide the grunt support with guns. I know John and Radek would be willing to help out too.”
When Rodney finally goes to sleep, he doesn’t dream about his father at all. He only dreams about Ronon and his shifter animal, the Nemean Lion. He thinks about what it would be like to have someone fully support you: emotionally, physically and mentally. He loses himself in these feelings until the next morning.