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The Crownless

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Everybody went for the obvious when it came to the ear jokes. John Sheppard had been compared to Spock for as long as he could remember. Everyone would kick themselves if they realized the truth. Because the truth? Was almost always so much better than what man could devise.

He was the grandson of Arwen, the Evenstar, the elven lady, and Aragorn, son of Arathorn, King of Gondor, and he’d come to Upper Earth with his father and brother to wander and claim a bit of it for himself.

But Upper Earth was never as comfortable for John as it was for David and their father. He didn’t want to claim part of it. That was why he’d agreed to join the Atlantis Expedition. He finally had his own Fellowship, not of nine fast friends but two hundred strong.

And Atlantis stilled his wandering spirit. It made him feel at home and he was thoroughly comfortable claiming it, alibi silently. Every death hurt and every adventure reminded him of the old tales. There wasn’t anything John Sheppard wouldn’t do for Atlantis and her people.

He was beginning to wonder if the Atlanteans held him in the same regards, though. He’d been trapped in this place, with its pacifists and boogeyman for six very long months and he was finally beginning to despair of them ever coming for him.

And John really truly hated meditating. Because he wasn’t regular human, Pegasus or Earth variety, and that meant when he meditated, he didn’t get the same results. If he opened his eyes while his mind was mostly blank, he could see an ethereal dark haired woman with slightly pointed ears standing in the edge of the woods. She was draped in black, pale, and oh so familiar. His grandmother had been and still remained the most beautiful woman John had ever seen. She’d also been dead for nearly 20 Upper Earth years so he was a touch baffled and a little freaked out that she kept appearing to him.

And finally, after months of seeing her, she spoke. Well, her mouth moved and words whispered into his ear even though she was at least a hundred yards away. “Have faith,” she said and he could have sworn he felt her hand in his hair. “Have faith, John, son of Eldarion. They will not forsake you. Have faith.”

If she’d asked for anything else, he probably would have been able to comply. But Upper Earth wasn’t Middle Earth and not all humans were the same. He’d been taught well by the people of Upper Earth never to have faith in anyone but himself.

That phantom hand brushed across his hair again and John closed his eyes, willing her away. He couldn’t have faith, however it disappointed his grandmother.

When next he opened his eyes, there was a little boy staring at him from the edge of the woods. John’s heart clenched because his grandparents’ love story was amongst the most sacred tales of Gondor’s people and the part that told of her vision, that which led her back to her love, was always told in a hushed murmur.

The boy was around nine and he had Teyla’s face and toffee skin. He grinned and waved before darting off into the trees and John couldn’t help himself. He had to follow. He ran into the trees, chasing the little boy’s footsteps and nearly tripped when a little girl darted out from behind a tree, twisting just slightly to look up at him and laugh before she hurried after the boy.

It was enough, though, because John knew those ears. She might have been toffee skinned and daintily built, but John had looked at those ears in the mirror every day of his life. Other children’s laughter rang out ahead of the boy and he twisted to see if John was still following before Ronon, a little older and jubilant, scooped up the boy as he ran into his arms, Teyla stepping from behind him to allow the girl to collide with her front which was swelled with child. McKay was complaining about something as he seemed to step out of thin air, waving a pad at everyone even as he kept an easy grip on the toddler in his arms.

John blinked and they were gone. He was alone in a copse of trees just outside the village and for a moment, he was angry. He’d never had the visions, although Dave swore he’d had one a time or two. He wasn’t sure why they would start now and with this particular subject matter. He bowed his head and gritted his teeth.

When he looked up, his grandmother was right in front of him, years younger than he could ever remember her looking. She cupped his cheeks and he closed his eyes, swaying into her. She didn’t have to say it.

“Alright,” he whispered and his rage melted away, leaving peace and knowing behind. “Alright, I’ll have faith.”

She kissed his forehead and when he opened his eyes, she was gone and he was sitting in meditation pose in his hut. He lay back and closed his eyes, chasing the images of the vision. Was this his possible future or was it just what he wanted to see, what would give him the most hope that he hadn’t been forgotten? Only time would tell, he supposed. But he at least truly believed they would come for him, now.