John couldn’t remember who he had delegated location selection to, but whoever it had been was never getting the chance to do it again.
There were wall to ceiling windows with a lovely view of the city around them. The sun was high in the sky, streaming through the clear glass. Traffic passed unaware on the streets below them, while birds made happy nests along the window ledges.
Then again, he wasn’t going to have to take a shower to get the grim out from under his nails and the stink off his skin. The place was clean, as if someone had thought to send in a maid service before they had arrived. The air was fresh and circulating – keeping the room at a comfortable temperature (even in a heat wave).
“Get your hands off me!” The shout sounded from down the hall, echoing off the walls. And if this floor weren’t completely deserted they were going to have a problem in the form of police officers beating in the door pretty damn soon.
“Where are you taking me?” The voice was closer now, more shrill and frightened. That would make his job both easier and far more difficult. He didn’t like it when people were already afraid when they got to him. He liked to be the one to make them afraid. If they feared something other than him, then the emotions were wasted attempting to preserve the wrong thing.
The doors burst open and John watched as Ronon and Lorne dragged the shouting man into the room. Teyla shut the door behind them, her face an unreadable mask.
The room was empty of furnishings other than a single straight back wooden chair, and a wood table. John was standing behind the wooden table, a rolled up leather case resting under his hand on the surface.
When the other man saw John standing there - saw the table and the case - he stopped struggling. His eyes were wide with fear behind his glasses. There was no mistaking that particular emotion as he was pushed into the chair and was firmly tied in place.
“Kavanagh,” John greeted the restrained man. “It’s so nice you were able to come.”
Kavanagh remained silent, never taking his eyes off John. He wasn’t stupid, John knew, he was aware of where the real threat lay in the room. As intimidating as Ronon was, as ruthless as Teyla could be, as threatening as Lorne could appear, they lacked a certain something that practically radiated from John - lacked a certain coldness, a certain… indifference that made John truly frightening. Because he didn’t care how loud you screamed, how much you begged, that wasn’t what he was after when he came with his leather bag of tricks.
You never found out what he was after – a date, a place, a name, information, promises – until he told you what he wanted. Sometimes it was something simple and easy, and the bag never got opened – the threat of what it contained alone was sufficient to get most tongues well lubricated. Sometimes it was something you had been told not to give – and then he would open the bag and play with his toys. Other times what John wanted you didn’t want to give – and then you got to learn the names of those toys and how John liked to play with them best. And then there were times when you didn’t even know you knew what John was after – those were the times John got to create new and more hideous pieces of art of your flesh.
Kavanagh had witnessed John and his bag of tricks a small handful of times. He’d only ever seen John use his toys once and once was enough. Once was more than enough for Kavanagh. He still had nightmares of seeing John Sheppard, his arms up to his elbows wet crimson with blood splatter on his chest, neck and face, carefully tracing the edge of a knife along his victim’s chest leaving thin red lines of blood in its place.
“Do you know why you’re here, Kavanagh?” John asked conversationally. He was smiling the same smile he often used to great guests to his club – Sanctuary. It was friendly and inviting, while remaining completely devoid of any real emotion. That smile never failed to send chills down Kavanagh’s spine.
“It’s not a difficult question,” John encouraged. “Do you know why you are here?”
Ronon and Lorne had moved to stand next to Teyla, near the door. It gave John more room to move about, gave him a clean area to work in. He was watching Kavanagh with a rapt sort of fascination. He had begun to wonder just how deeply Kavanagh had infiltrated their structure of command and organization after he’d gotten the news from Bates.
When he’d brought the information to Elizabeth’s attention there had been silence for a few moments while she looked out her window over the city. John remembered that moment clearly. She been holding a glass of red wine, half full, in her left hand, leaning against the wall next to her window as she considered the tale he’d brought to her attention. And then she had turned to him, blue eyes still like the frozen water of a clear pond. I have a favour to ask of you, John, she’d said to him.
Now John wondered if Kavanagh knew what favour Elizabeth had asked of him. And if he did know, if he was going to give the information or play hard to get. John wasn’t sure which way he was hoping this was going to go. Kavanagh had been a thorn in their side every since Simon Wallace’s (un)timely death four months ago.
Finally Kavanagh answered him, his voice rasping into existence. “No. I don’t know why I’m here.”
Hard to get then, John decided.
“Well, that’s a real shame, Kav,” John told him, rolling open the leather case on the table. The warm sunlight coming through the windows reflected off the smooth, metallic surface of a number of tools contained in various pouches, pockets and straps. The heavy thunk as the last bit was unrolled sounded unnaturally loud in the quiet room.
John fingered the handle of a set of needle nose pliers. “You see, I think you know why you’re here. I think you know what you did, Kavanagh. All I have to do is make you realize it.”
It was some hours later and the sun was casting a golden light through the windows, slashing long shadows across the floor. They were in a room, high up enough that the surrounding building didn’t block out the natural light.
John’s fist was sore from the beating he’d given Kavanagh to warm him up. His fingers were aching from holding his tools just so as he’d worked the other man over. His back ached from the unnatural position some of the procedures required. He had a killer headache from listening to the other man scream, and he was starving.
But it was worth it, because Kavanagh finally admitted to having met with the police three days ago to exchange information. He had finally admitted to passing along information in exchange for getting himself out. But he didn’t really want to leave the Family, it had been a lie, an attempt to keep protect the Family, protect Elizabeth and the others.
John had finally had enough.
Because before that Kavanagh had admitted to screwing several women under the protection of various men. He’d copped to scamming money from a number of different family members. Even confessed to having knowledge of Sumner’s actions before the bastard’s death and not providing them after he’d sworn in blood oath to Elizabeth Weir as head of the Family.
Kavanagh was still moaning in his chair when John finally snapped.
“That’s enough out of you,” John growled. Ronon advanced to stand behind Kavanagh’s chair. “I don’t want to hear another sound from you, Kavanagh, unless you’ve got something more to say.”
The silence was blessed relief.
John viciously removed his shirt and tossed it to the side, where it made a slightly wet sound as it landed on the floor. He stalked back over to Kavanagh and dropped to his knees before the restrained and bleeding man. “You see these, Kavanagh?” John asked as he gestured to the multitude of tattoos inked into his chest, shoulders, and arms. There were more, lining his back and legs. “You see them?”
“Yes,” Kavanagh answered his voice wheezing from his lips. John must have broken a few ribs.
“You know what they mean, Kavanagh?” John asked, but didn’t wait for an answer. “They say that I’m a member of the Atlantis Family. Our marks were one of our most closely held secrets, and now the police know what to you look for. You’ve endangered us all.”
“They don’t know,” Kavanagh insisted. “They don’t know. I never told them. I never let them see the marks. I never would have told them.”
“But you wanted to leave,” John stated. “Don’t bother to deny it. On some level you wanted to leave the family. If you thought you could have gotten away scratch free, you would have turned us all in. But you forgot, Kavanagh. You forgot, once and Atlantean, always an Atlantean.” He leaned up; placing his hands on Kavanagh’s broken legs for leverage. “You don’t leave the Family, Kavanagh. It’s a lifetime contract. We’re your blood, Kav. We’re in your flesh. You can’t just decide to leave – even if you’re only considering the idea for just a brief moment – and not pay the consequences.”
Kavanagh hissed a breath, sucking in air between loosened teeth and sneered down into John’s upturned face. “I never planned to leave,” he murmured. “Do you wanna know why I went to the police, Sheppard? I went to set a virus in the database, one that would worm its way through all the files they had collected on us over the years. Turn on the radio or a TV,” he instructed, casting a quick glance at the darkening window with his one undamaged eye. “Set it on a countdown to hatch when the clocks went back an hour at sunset.”