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A Question Of Trust

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A Question Of Trust
by Damion Starr


"Sir! Sir, where are you?!" Lt. Aiden Ford yelled into his walkie-talkie over the angry clattering retorts of the semi-automatic weapons around him. He diverted his attention, only for a moment, to fire off a few more rounds, but the bullets just kept bouncing off the Wraiths' armor. "Major!"

"Lieutenant," This time, there was a reply.

"Major, where are you? The 'Jumper's surrounded. We're holding 'em off, but we need to get out of here, now!"

"Then go," Aiden froze, unsure if he had actually heard what he thought he heard.

"W-what?" Ford finally managed to stammer out.

"Get out of here, while you still can,"

It was then Aiden noticed something in his CO's voice, something he hadn't heard before. Pain. "Sir, where are you? We can come get -"

"No, get out of here, Lieutenant. That's an order," And the frequency went dead.

Aiden sat down heavily on one of the benches running along the interior of the Puddle Jumper. 'Get out of here, Lieutenant. That's an order.' Aiden swallowed, hard. He couldn't do it. He couldn't leave a man behind. He couldn't leave John Sheppard behind. Aiden admired and respected [loved] his commanding officer way too much to just leave him to be Wraith food.

"-Sir!" Aiden blinked and looked up. Sergeant Markham was staring at him. "What do we do now, sir?" Markham repeated. Aiden glanced around at Teyla, McKay and Stackhouse, and made his mind up in a second.

"I'm going out to find Major Sheppard," He declared, standing and loading his P-90 with expert fluency. "If we're not back in 15 minutes, leave. That's an order," Aiden spoke directly to Markham, who nodded solemnly. Ford crouched down in the open rear cargo hatch, where Stackhouse and Markham were keeping the Wraith at bay. "Okay, I need you guys to cover me," Aiden's intense gaze scanned the field for openings.

"We gotcha, sir," Stackhouse responded.

Aiden hesitated, sub-machine gun clenched in both hands, every muscle in his body taunt. 'Wait for it...wait for it...' Ford silently chanted. 'Now!' Aiden shot off like a rocket, running blindly into the Wraith swarm. Bullets and energy blast flew all around him, but he mentally blocked it out. He focused solely on his goal: John. Unfortunately, he also blocked out the arm flying at him.

Aiden was caught high on the chest and knocked flat onto his back, breathless. Before he could recover, the Wraith that had knocked him down went on one knee beside him and slammed a hand, palm down, on his chest. Aiden cried out in pain as he felt his body being turned inside out. He arched his back, every muscle in his body suddenly feeling too small. His energy, his life, his very *soul* was being sucked out of him through his rib cage. Suddenly, before the attack could take it's toll on Aiden's appearance, bullets ricocheted off the Wraith's armor, knocking it back just enough so it broke contact with Ford's chest. Aiden dropped back to the ground and, as the Wraith tried to recover, whipped out his large field knife. Before the alien could attack, Aiden drove the blade upward with all of his strength...straight into the underside of the Wraith's jaw.

Nausea swept through Ford, but he still put all of his power behind the knife. Blue blood slowly oozed down his hand, hot and revolting. He grit his teeth as his stomach threatened to upset. With a flick of the wrist, Aiden twisted the blade, driving it in further until the tip ground against hard bone. The newly opened gash sent a fresh wave of blood down Aiden's arm, covering it to his elbow. He gagged and tore his knife out of the Wraith's skull. The alien fell bonelessly to the grass, landing slightly on top of the Lieutenant. Aiden scrambled out from under the heavy creature and rolled just as his lunch was dumped onto the dirt. Aiden remained there for a moment, on his hands and knees, shaking, then slowly pushed himself to his feet. He resheathed his field knife and wiped his blood soaked arm on his pant leg, then set off at a jog toward the woods.


Aiden managed to get quite a distance before his encounter with the Wraith caught up with him. He tried to push on, but finally tripped over a rotting log and simply fell to the ground. He lay there for a moment, fighting to catch his breath and trying to will his fatigue and pain away, then rolled over onto his back. "Sir?" Aiden croaked into his walkie-talkie. He cleared his throat and tried again. "Sir? You there?"

"Ford? I thought I told you to get out of here,"

Aiden smiled. "Sorry, sir. Change of plans,"

Silence, then: "God damn you, Ford," The Major's voice didn't hold the anger that, perhaps, it should have. Sheppard's voice seemed more...sad than anything else.

"I don't think He's done that yet," Aiden murmured to himself, unaware that he had hit the button.


"Oh, uh, nothing," Aiden mentally kicked himself. "Sir, where are you?"

"...I have no idea,"

"Great," Aiden groaned. He pushed himself to his feet and brushed himself off. "Well, you still have your side arm?"

"Yeah," John half-moaned.

"Fire it. I'll try to find you that way," There was a long, tense moment where Aiden wasn't sure if John was even conscious or not, then a gunshot shattered the forest quiet. Aiden listened carefully, then took off at a dead run in the direction of the sound. "Fire it some more," He gasped into his walkie-talkie, out of breath again despite his military training.

It took four more shots and a few wrong turns before Aiden finally found his CO. John was laying on the ground against a small hill, handgun still clutched in one hand. "Sir," Aiden panted as he jogged up to his commanding officer, oblivious to Sheppard's condition. "Sir, we have to go," Aiden fell weakly to his knees beside John, exhausted and on the verge of unconsciousness. "We don't...have.." Aiden trailed off when he saw the huge bug wrapped around his friends' neck. "My god," He whispered.

"Not pretty, is it," John said with a grimace and a weak smile. "I can't seem to get the damn thing off,"

"What have you tried?" Aiden asked automatically, unable to look away from the creature.

"Uh, pulling mostly," John laughed pathetically. "Big mistake,"

Aiden sat down and buried his face in his hands. This wasn't happening. No way in hell was this happening. His commanding officer was not wounded on their first off-world mission. 'Calm down, just calm down.' Some part of Aiden's mind spoke up, but whether it was the military or civilian part he couldn't say. 'This is no big deal. Just get that thing off him, get him back to the Jumper, and it's straight back to Atlantis.'

"Ford," Aiden looked up. John was slightly taken aback by how haggard and aged his Lieutenant looked. "I ordered you to leave,"

"Yeah, well, I just can't leave a man behind. Sorry, sir,"

John blinked. That struck way too close to home.


Both men jumped when Sgt. Markham's voice issued from Aiden's walkie-talkie. "Yes, sergeant?" Aiden replied.

"You have ten minutes, sir,"

'Ten minutes? Really? Huh. Thought it was less. A lot less.' "Thanks, sergeant," Aiden looked back over at John and sighed. "So, what should we do?"

"I think we should get this damn thing off me,"

"I know that," Both men were too exhausted for banter. "I mean how?" John's eyes trailed down to the weapon strapped high on Aiden's thigh. Aiden followed his gaze, confused, then it dawned on him. "No,"

"Lieutenant -"

"No way!" Aiden scrambled to his feet, ignoring the rush of vertigo. "No way in hell! I am not willing to take that risk,"

"I am,"

But Aiden didn't seem to hear John, and he began to pace, speaking to the air. "It is way too dangerous. That thing is latched on to your neck -"


"If I'm off by even a centimeter, you'd -"


"You' would..."

"Aiden!" John, frustrated, finally stuck his foot out and tripped his 21C, sending him sprawling over the Major's legs. Before Aiden could recover, however, John swept him up into his arms and kissed him.

Time froze, as did Aiden, his eyes wide. He didn't know what to do or feel. A part of him wanted this, had wanted this since he'd first met John Sheppard, but another part, the military part, most likely, was screaming at him that this was wrong, and exactly how many and which rules they were breaking.

But as Aiden lay there on John's legs, held in John's arms, being kissed by John, that soldier in his head was soon silenced. Aiden closed his eyes, and kissed John back, cupping his cheek in one hand. John gently nudged Aiden's soft lips apart with his tongue and they began a playful battle for control.

The kiss broke after a few more tender, lingering kisses, and both opened their eyes.

"I trust you," John said quietly, solemnly, falling into Aiden's gorgeous ebony orbs; the windows to his soul.

"But what if I -" Aiden's _expression spoke volumes of his genuine doubt in himself.

"You won't," John interuppted, resting his forehead against Aiden's.

"How do you know?"

"I just do,"


The End