Summary: In an warped reality where Kolya got what he wanted in "Common Ground", Atlantis now faces a new danger. With their millitary commander left fragile from his recent near death experience, it's up to the woman who holds his heart to give him the strength to protect the city he loves. (Predominatly Sparky but will feature minor mentions of other couples).

Updated: 05 Mar 2011; Published: 20 Feb 2011

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Story Notes:
This is basically an AU of one of my other stories in which the events of "Common Ground" tore John and Elizabeth apart and it affected John greatly. The idea litterally ripped me to shreads, so I decided to make myself feel better by writing a what if exploring the idea that if a twist in the path led to a different outcome.....a happier outcome for John/Elizabeth.

Disclaimer: I do not own anyone in the story though the timeline is part of my imagination. Any original character is a product of my imagination.

Author's Chapter Notes:
Before I begin let me mention the few things that are going to be AU to prevent confusion.

1) John will only suffer one wraith feeding.
2) Ladon Radim will decided to turn himself over to Kolya to end Sheppard's suffering.
3) Sheppard will still make daring escape but without Todd (though he will appear later)

You better run like the devil,
'Cause they're never gonna leave you alone!
You better hide up in the alley,
'Cause they're never gonna find you a home!
And as the blood runs down the walls,
You see me creepin' up these halls.
I've been a bad motherfucker
Tell your sister I'm another

Go! Go! Go!

-My Chemical Romance: House of Wolves

Prologue: Run Through the Jungle

If you run from a wolf, you may run into a bear-Lithuanian Proverb

Just keep on running, Colonel John Sheppard thought as he ran through the woods.

He was surprised about how easy it was to escape Kolya's clutches, especially since the man was in close proximity of John at the time of his escape. He would expect, since the Genii commander said it himself that it would take quite the effort to catch an "extraordinary soldier" like him, that Kolya would hve sent a shit load of his men after him. But instead the Atlantis Military commander came face to face with at most five members of Kolya's band of merry Genii. And they were pretty easy to kill. It was an easy escape, but Sheppard couldn't help but wonder why the lack of effort?

What also surprised John that he had the strength to run as far and as fast as he did considering the fact that just a half an hour ago he was fed off of by a Wraith. The feeding mark bestowed upon him by the Wraith was on fire but his body just did not want to rest. He had to be injected with the enzyme at some point during the feeding. He did not like the fact that it was what probably occurred since he feared he would turn into a lunatic like Ford. Though John had to admit...Ford was right the shit did make one invincible...only for the moment.

Don't even think about that John Sheppard, John mumbled to himself, just think about finding the gate and getting home.

Yes home, aboard Atlantis, home with his team. John focused himself about the ancient city that quickly became his home and the people that quickly became his family, especially his team.

The invincible Ronon Dex, who could fall but quickly find a way to get back up, the man who would stay by his side no matter what the Colonel decided, good or bad or the mistakes he made. The mysterious and strong Teyla Emmagan, who through all her struggles remained courageous. He knew once he got home she would be the one who would comfort him. Not only her but Thomas More, who basically took John in as his own son while he left his kids behind in the Renaissance. The man was probably tearing the Pegasus galaxy apart trying to look for him. Hell even McKay's cockiness and arrogance kept him going. John knew with his team he had the comfort of knowing that he was not going to have to face the nightmares of this event alone.

And then there was Elizabeth, his beautiful Elizabeth. Oh how lucky he was to have her! He had met many women in his lifetime, some from different planets but no one was like her. She was smart, caring, strong and intelligent. She had this strong presence within her, the type of presence that even to this day, John can't even describe.

John Sheppard never thought a unique beauty like Dr. Elizabeth Weir would ever fall for a rule breaking, laid back, goofy soldier like him. But he didn't question it. He enjoyed every single moment of their relationship. Every affectionate gesture she made towards him, whether it be a touch on the arm, a kiss on the lips or in the midst of making love, was the same as flying a plane. The same feeling of excitement and freedom rushed through his veins.

When I get home the first thing I am going to do is, he began to muse, but suddenly his happy thoughts were cut short when he felt a sharp pain in his ankle. The next thing he knew he went tumbling down a hill, probably creating a plethora of cuts and bruises on his body as he fell.

The result was even more damage to his body. Like being fed off of by the wraith was enough.

"DAMN IT ALL!" He growled as he got onto his hands and knees. He was not going to give up! He was going to make it back to Atlantis even if he had to do it on his hands and knees.

"That sounded like Sheppard," A familiar voice rang out.

McKay He thought. It couldn't be. Kolya had made sure he took him some place his team couldn't find him. He must have been delusional. He continued his task of crawling to find the Stargate. Nothing was going to stop him from coming home.

"SHEPPARD IF YOU COULD HEAR US SAY SOMETHING!" What John thought was Mckay's voice called out.

"You cod's head," a proper British accent retorted, "do you want Kolya to know we had disobeyed his commands for Sheppard's release? Oh when I get my hands on that heretic I am going to roast the fucker like a Yuletide hog."

Maybe his team was out there after all. John began crawling faster towards the voices. But wait did he just hear something about his team making negotiations with Kolya...against his commands?

"I thought your days of being a quote unquote being a serial killing arsonist were over More," McKay retorted.

"For Kolya," More growled, "I shall make exceptions!"

"Hush both of you," A soft female voice called, "I see something."

As John lifted his head from his prone position, he saw a familiar female figure descend through the trees.

"Teyla?" He called out. It was real after all! His team came to rescue him.

Teyla dropped her p-90 to the ground and ran to her military commander's side. On instinct she softly pulled John towards her and laid his head on her lap. As she ran her hand through what was once thick black hair now spotted with gray, she felt him shaking. She understood considering what he just went through.

"I've found him," Teyla cried, "he's injured pretty badly."

Ronon was the next person to appear. He quickly knelt at his companion's side and placed his hand on his shoulder. John quickly began to relax. Despite the fact he had a lot of questions of how the team found him, he had never been so happy to see them as he was at that moment.

"You gave us quite the scare," Ronon said giving a reassuring smile, "I didn't know if I could have handled finding a new sparing buddy."

"You didn't have to," More said as he walked over to Ronon's side. His hand fiddled with the Rosary he often wore around his neck, "god listened to our prayers by the way McKay told me to tell you he is glad you are alive and he would tell you himself but he made a promise to Elizabeth to page her as soon as we found you. Now I am guessing you need a little aid getting back to the gate."

"I got him," Ronon said as he lifted John in his arms as he done many times before.

And as Ronon carried him away, John sighed in was over...for now. He knew Kolya was still out there waiting to strike, and when he did he would be ready...

More and Teyla followed slowly behind, trying to make sense of what happened today and what was soon to come. John didn't know the real reason they were there and the reason for his freedom. But this change of events now posed a greater danger to their military commander.

"Do you think we should tell him yet?" Teyla asked in concern.

More stopped in his tracks and turned his head to look over his shoulder. There was something sinister brewing beyond the endless woods of this planet. Just when they thought the Wraith were their biggest threat there was something far more dangerous coming their way, which without proper preparation could cost them Atlantis and their lives...

"No," he said looking ahead, "he needs to rest, with great tribulations coming his way, he needs his strength...let's just hope Sheppard pulls through because without him...we are doomed."