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A Face Full of Dust

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John Sheppard was a realistic man, for the most part; he took most things in stride and tried to figure out the best way through it, over it, under it, or by sneaking around the corners. If that didn't work there was usually C-4.

Finding out that aliens were real and that some of them wanted to kill and/or enslave all humans in the galaxy? Okay, he'd seen those movies. Being told that he's a descendant of a highly advanced race who are mostly extinct/have ascended to a higher place of existence? That's kinda cool, especially since it gives him the ability to control and use their awesome technology. Traveling to another galaxy in a few seconds? Definitely cool. Finding space vampires who want to eat him and all other humans? *Not* cool, but there were bound to be some kind of bad guys in the Pegasus Galaxy.

Having Earth leave and suddenly coming face-to-face with a not-so-mythological real-life vampire, the kind that wants to drink his blood rather than suck him dry of his life-force? He struggled a little with that one. His subconscious informed him that that kind of vampires was not real, could not be real. Having a skinny little woman the size of Teyla fighting creatures bigger and stronger than herself and using a sharpened piece of wood to stab them in the heart kinda righted his worldview a little. Well, the first part was familiar enough, not the second. After all, he was used to Teyla being stronger and faster than any other humans. He was used to her being an excellent fighter as well. The little blonde fighting the vampires in front of him appeared to be even stronger and faster than his teammate. And he immediately began thinking of a creative solution for how to get her to join the Atlantis Expedition.

Then while he was busy watching the blonde execute some breathtaking moves one of the vampires suddenly appeared right in front of him, and before John knew what was going on he had an up-close view of the vampires ridged face and his very, very sharp teeth. Instinctively he attempted some evasive maneuvers, but unsurprisingly they didn't work. The real-life monster holding him was too strong for him.

Just as the vampire, and seriously his mind would not stop repeating that word, had bent his head to the side to gain better access to his neck John suddenly got a face full of dust and ashes. After several minutes of coughing and spitting a worried pair hazel eyes were in his direct line of sight.

"Are you alright, mister?"

She sounded so innocent, so not like she had just fought and killed at least five mythological creatures who was just not supposed to exist. In fact, she wasn't even breathing hard after the impromptu dust-up. John instantly rolled his eyes mentally at his own choice of words.

"Since when are vampires *real*?" So much for trying to ease into this conversation, but in his defense, he had nearly gotten killed by way of a set of sharp teeth belong to the living dead.

Those hazel eyes shifted from concerned to sympathetic, "Vampires are not real. Those guys were just thugs with masks on. Not sure why one of them pretended to bite you, but..." She shrugged her shoulders carelessly.

"Don't lie to me, I can tell the difference between a mask and the real thing. I saw one of them shift from a human face to... whatever those ridges were. And their eyes turned yellowish." He wanted answers and this girl was clearly disinclined to give him any, much to his annoyance.

"I don't know what you think you saw, but if you think one of their faces changed then maybe you should go see a doctor. Or a psychologist." The blonde frowned. "I didn't see you hit your head. Were you injured when you got to this alley?"

John ignored her attempts to distract him, "How do you explain the dust?" The alley they were standing in was actually pretty clean and free of trash and other debris so this should be interesting.

She raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow at him. "He threw it at you?"

John actually snorted at that and began coughing again. Great, looks like he didn't get rid of all of it the first time.

"Really. I was a little busy fighting, so it's not like I saw what he did to you before I threw him off of you and he ran away."

"He didn't run away, he turned into dust after you stabbed him with your stake." He looked more closely at her, trying to see where she had put the piece of wood, and then added. "What's you name?"

As he'd been talking she was slowly edging away from him, and by the time he asked her name she was almost back out on the street.

Still evading his questions she simply said; "You really should go see a doctor. This train of thought can't be healthy. Goodbye, mister. Be careful and avoid dark alleyways in the future." And then she was gone.

John swore as he ran out onto the street, but there were a lot of people there and the blonde was too short to see in among all the other people walking up and down the street. It was times like this he really missed the much less crowded market places in Pegasus. He didn't even get her name, much less a chance to ask if she wanted a new job.