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Learning How To Fly Chapter 9

Chapter Nine


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Chapter 9

*

Elizabeth was surprised to see Sergeant Winchester knocking on her office door. It was the first time he had showed up of his own volition. She set aside her work with a welcoming smile. “Dean, is everything satisfactory with your brother?”

“Everything’s good. Sam’s good,” Dean said with an honest smile. “I’ve got a request.”

“Yes?”

Dean hemmed for a moment more. “Can we launch the weapon’s platform before he leaves?”

Elizabeth blinked. “Is it complete?”

“The platform? Yeah. Or almost. A couple more short nights to debug everything and we’re good to go. We won’t have any drone-based space mines, but it won’t be much of a hassle to drop them off up there later.” Winchester looked a little white as he added. “I’d do it myself if that was what was needed.” Even Elizabeth knew that Winchester hated the vertical part of the puddlejumpers. He always flew as close to the planet as feasible.

“Even so, you’re done two months early, Dean.”

Dean shrugged. “Ash was faster rewriting the system than I gave him credit for and I’ve had enough infirmary time to know what order to change the jumper and enough light duty when I couldn’t do anything else.” In other words, he gave himself two extra months to get the job done so that he wouldn’t ever be ‘behind schedule’ no matter the reports that he had been submitting to the upper brass.

“McKay is going to want to check the platform over beforehand,” Elizabeth warned.

“Can he do it the night before Sam leaves? I can probably give him twelve hours that way. And I’d like Zelenka to be there.”

“I can promise Zelenka, but Dean, if Rodney says it’s not ready, I’m going to have to trust my chief scientist.”

“I know, but I think it is.”

“Very well. I will inform Rodney and Radek of the schedule. Have you given some thoughts to the problem of puddlejumpers ignoring other pilots once you’ve worked on them? How will John be able to launch the platform?”

“I’m pretty sure that I have a solution for that. I just need the colonel to spend every lunch sitting at the controls between now and then,” Dean seemed confident that his plan would work. Elizabeth was sure that Winchester was hiding something but she couldn’t image what.

“All right. I will inform him as well.”

“Thank you ma’am.” Dean smiled at her and Elizabeth had to smile in response.

“It’s my pleasure,” she told him honestly. “I’ll pencil in the weapon platform launch two hours before our normal check-in with Earth and we will play it by ear. I hope that everything falls into place.”

“Me too,” admitted Dean. “Until that time, I’m spending every spare second working on it.”

“Very good.” Elizabeth waited a moment more, just in case Dean had other important news to impart. He was silent. “You’re dismissed, Sergeant. And good luck.”

Dean saluted and was gone.

*

Dean placed the open book on top on the research Sam had been working on. Sam glanced over the page and then up to his embarrassed brother. “Yes, Dean?”

“I want to draw that on your back. The ink will wash off before you have to return to Earth, but the protection should hold.”

Sam pulled the book close and flipped to the front. “Where did you get this from?”

“Missouri.”

“She picked up something from O’Neill.”

“No surprise there.”

“I bet it surprised O’Neill.”

Dean grinned. “It did. He wrote me a message about keeping OpSec… even from psychics.”

Sam laughed.

“So about the protection symbol?” Dean reminded him.

“Is it going to knock you out like the Seal did?”

“I doubt it.” Dean wasn’t meeting his eyes and Sam knew that Dean was hoping that it would, that it would draw the energy from his body like the Seal obviously did.

“I don’t like this.”

“So? That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it.”

“Give me one good reason why I should.”

“I plan on putting one on my weapons platform and this would be good practice.”

Sam didn’t agree to that one. “Not good enough. No, Dean, you are not allowed to put that symbol on me, not if it’s going to hurt you.”

“It’ll only tire me a bit. That’s not hurt. It’s worth it.”

“No, Dean. It’s not.”

Surprisingly enough, Dean let the argument drop.

*

Sam woke up in the infirmary. “That son of a bitch. He rooffied me.”

Beckett looked down at him. “Aye. He did.”

Sam tried to remember everything he had consumed and frowned. He supposed that Dean could have gotten help from the Marines in charge of the kitchen, but the drink that Ronon had offered him was the most suspicious. “Athos wine, my ass.”

“Was that what Dean used?” Beckett asked mildly.

Sam might like the Scottish doctor but he was going to deal with Dean on his own. And Ronon. He frowned. Hadn’t Ronon just left the wine between the two brothers and then left? “Who called the medical team?”

“Pacosky. Just happened by the experimental puddlejumper lab after it was all done.” Beckett didn’t sound like he believed his own words.

If Pacosky hadn’t been in on the original plan, Sam would eat his shorts. They had all conspired against him. Or rather, they had all conspired for Dean. He knew that he didn’t matter much to the two men. Ronon and Pacosky had helped Dean because they were his friends.

“How much damage did the jerk do to himself?”

Beckett motioned to the gurney next to Sam. “Exhaustion, again. He shows every indication of waking soon and being up and abo’t for tomorrow’s lift-off.”

“The jerk.” Sam assured himself with Dean’s even breathing. “It was the last thing on his list. Wasn’t it?”

Beckett nodded. “He had sent Rodney an e-mail saying that he could begin beta-testing. If Pacosky hadn’t found them, Rodney and his team would have.”

“I am going to beat him black and blue,” Sam muttered.

Beckett chuckled. “Brothers are like that.”

“Self-sacrificing idiot.” Sam started musing. “Hmmm, Heightmeyer should be informed of that tendency.”

Beckett was impressed. “I would not want to get on your bad side, young man. You hit in people’s blind spot.”

Sam tried to look innocent, but Beckett wasn’t buying it. “I suppose I should have expected it. You are the Winchester in pre-law.” Beckett patted his arm. “Rest. I’ll release you in a couple hours and you can plot your revenge.”

Sam was tired. He stifled a yawn. He could afford to rest now. He would check Dean’s art on his back when he was feeling more awake. It had better wash off as promised. If not, he would explain it as a practical joke to Jess.

*

Dean was strangely more nervous about the weapon platform’s launch than he had been about McKay beta-testing the programming. If Ash had been nervous, he hadn’t shown it, but he had been completely sober all week. Ash’s programming had passed with flying colors. Rodney had actually complimented it and made noises about some other programming jobs that Ash might be able to do. Of course, Dean had been asleep for most of Rodney’s talking.

The lucky jerk.

Sam had had another long talk with Heightmeyer and though she was suspicious of his motives, she did agree that the situation needed looked into. Dean would find out about that at his next session.

Sam bumped shoulders with his brother. “It’ll work. I helped you, remember.”

Dean smirked and relaxed. He had hidden the hanky with John Sheppard’s blood in the crystals. No one would find it. Between the blood and the time that Sheppard had spent in the renovated puddlejumper, this should work.

“Work, damn you,” he whispered to the weapons platform.

“Sheppard to Winchester,” Sheppard called over the earwig.

“Winchester here.”

“I’m in the Chair. Weapons platform launch in ten.”

“Understood,” Dean answered. He patted the jumper and mentally told it to close the bay door. It closed and locked. Dean brushed against the Seal painted on the exterior of the jumper. A matching Seal was also painted on the inside of the bay door. Dean was taking no chances; only a good guy would be able to get inside to change the programming of the platform. “Weapons platform ready for launch. Over and out.” Everything was put away. There was nothing left for him to do here. “If we run to the Chair room, Sheppard will have the heads-up display on and we’ll be able to see everything,” Dean told Sam.

Sam was already heading for the door. “What are we waiting for?” The two ran to the Chair room and if Sheppard had procrastinated the launch for them, no one mentioned it.

Dean and Sam and even Ash held their breath as Sheppard launched the weapons platform into the atmosphere. All eyes were glued to the heads-up display.

“It has achieved a stable orbit over Atlantis,” Dr. Zelenka announced.

McKay agreed, “It’s a success.”

“Congratulations,” Weir told Dean. She was only the first one to say those words to Dean. Sam stood and basked in his brother’s glory.

The grin Dean sent him from across the room was blinding.

*

Sam gathered up the last of his belongings –he had packed everything before the weapons platform had been launched into the atmosphere- and had to smile. He was leaving with so much more than he had come, material and otherwise. Dean clapped a hand on his back. He was tired but triumphant. He had every reason to be so. “Are you ready? Dial-up is in about twenty minutes.”

“I’m ready.”

“You know, if you really wanted to stay, I’m sure Jack could work it out for you,” Dean offered. He knew that Sam would never accept but he had to let his brother know that it was an option.

“Jack?” Sam repeated, deliberately changing the subject.

“General O’Neill,” Dean corrected as he rolled his eyes.

“You’re on a first name basis with an Air Force General,” Sam realized. “It’s not just because he likes you. You two have spent some time together.”

Dean shrugged and hefted Sam’s duffle bag and walked out of the room. Sam had to hurry to catch up. “Don’t worry, Samantha,” Dean teased. “It’s not like we’re going steady or anything. No need to get jealous.”

“How did you and Jack get to be such good friends?”

“I’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you,” Dean sighed playfully.

“You mean that there are more crazy secrets floating around our government?”

Dean stopped and looked at him. “I’m sure there are, but that’s not what I meant. It’s a Dad thing and since I don’t want you dragging my ass to go see Heightmeyer now, when you are about to leave, we are not going to get into it now.”

Sam grabbed Dean’s arm. “What did Dad do?”

Dean shook him off and plowed ahead. “It doesn’t matter now. For all intents and purposes, he shoved me onto Atlantis. There. Happy?” Dean stepped into a lift and Sam hurried to follow. At least the city was cooperating. A week ago or even yesterday, Atlantis would have closed the doors before Sam could join Dean on the lift.

“Do you think Atlantis knows I’m leaving?” Sam asked idly.

Dean’s eyes shuttered. The answer was ‘yes.’

Sam had to grin. “I guess Atlantis really doesn’t like me.”

Dean shrugged.

“I suppose that I can learn to share with a city, you just have to teach a city to share with me. I hear from Ronon and Pacosky that you are a great teacher.”

Dean shoved him. “Shut up. Your wormhole’s waiting.”

The lift doors opened and Sam and Dean walked in step towards the gateroom. Dean paused just before. “You take care of yourself, you hear me, Sammy?”

“How can I not since I’m protected by the great Shaman Dean?”

“I’m serious, Sammy.”

Sam sobered. “I know. I’ll start laying down salt and sleeping with a knife in reach. I’ll figure out a way around Jess. I will be careful. But I’m not the one walking into death traps.”

“It wasn’t a death trap,” Dean immediately protested. “It was something else and I have a city full of people to back me up, even if most of them don’t believe. You don’t have that back up. You have to do it all yourself.”

“You also have the city-herself,” Sam reminded. “You’re in strange galaxy full of man eating space vampires. I’m on a safe campus. I’m safer, Dean, admit it. I’ll take precautions, I promise. Just… You too.” Sam skipped past the awkward moment to drag his brother in for a hug. He squeezed hard. “Be safe.”

“You too,” the words were muffled in his jacket.

“Weir to Winchester, come in Winchester.” Both of their earwigs were filled with Weir’s voice. They released each other and tapped their earwigs in unison, “Winchester to Weir.”

“We’re dialing the wormhole in five minutes.”

“Acknowledged,” they said. “Over and out.”

Sam took his duffle away from Dean and smiled. “I’m glad that you are here, Dean. This is where you belong.”

Dean rolled his eyes and took the first stepped into the gateroom. “You better not turn into a girl and start crying at the end of the story.”

“I’m not the sissy who’s been in the infirmary, what is it, six times since you arrived? I hear you are almost as bad as the first contact team.”

“Oh no,” John Sheppard stepped into the conversation with a grin. “Your brother is much worse. At least I have a scientific reason for ending up on the ground. Winchester never has a good excuse.” John shook Sam’s hand. “Thanks for coming though. We don’t like losing our people.”

“Thank you for keeping an eye on my brother,” Sam said in response. “He needs it.”

Dean quietly protested and Sam shook the hands of his brother’s other friends. Dean had a lot of friends and Sam was still saying his goodbyes as the wormhole dialed. Last minute, he took out his earwig and handed it to Ronon.

Sam turned to catch Dean’s eye. Dean smiled and waved. Sam waved back and then took the one giant step back to Earth.

For right now, this was how it was supposed to be.


*
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The End

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
amanofmydreams
May. 21st, 2010 08:59 am (UTC)
Very nice, I know there is one more, but I truthfully was hoping to find out about just what Dean is and a demon or two to try and show up. BUT the story was still wonderful and Sammy knows whats happening and hopefully that doesn't cause too much trouble...or rather it does and you will write another story ;-)

Either way this was a great story and I am so glad that I stayed up way past the time I should be going to bed to read it. Now I shall read the last little bit and have to go and dream about it until i go to work tomorrow.

Thanks for sharing!
shamangrrl
May. 27th, 2011 01:36 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. I love smart!Dean, and he's rarely written that way. I also have a weakness for Jack and Dean playing off each other. I hope that sometime you'll continue this 'verse. Thank you so much for posting it.
lita_of_jupiter
May. 10th, 2013 12:58 am (UTC)
I have read and re-read the story many, many times... and today was the first time where I could understand where the cloth with John's blood came from despite having looked for such a mention specifically after one of mine read through, which included a few times where I was wondering about the non sequitur of the match between Ronon and John and if there had been a bet about Sheppard being clocked on the nose...
*facepalm*

I am feeling very embarrassed right now, but this reminded why I love your stories so much, I can read them thousands of time and find new things
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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faithburke

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