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Summer ‘Break’ by Will Schuester (Part 2)

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(previously)
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*glee*sga* glee*sga*

June 2, 2011


Will had read the spaceship’s manual and had been slightly scared. Everything was detailed in there, including the many ways one could die. The Daedalaus was already out of Earth’s solar system. He couldn’t go running to Caldwell saying that he made a mistake and that he wanted to go back. When he asked a scientist passing by his room about all the dangers on the space ship, she had dismissed the possibilities. So had the Marine Will had asked next. The rest of those aboard treated the emergency manual like long-time plane travelers ignored the flight attendants’ safety spiel. An airman named Lorne sat the obviously rattled Will on a corner of his bed in his berth and calmed him down. “Really,” he said. “The ship is very safe. Caldwell has made this trip several times to and from Atlantis.”

That news distracted Will from his worries. “Wait! You mean that we are traveling to Atlantis?”

“Didn’t O’Neill tell you?”

“No.” What else didn’t O’Neill tell him?

“He told you about the Wraith though,” Lorne confirmed.

“Yes.”

“Nothing’s worse than the Wraith.” Lorne tapped his earbud. “Lorne to Peters.” He paused. “Can you come to berth C-45? Mr. Schuester was briefed by O’Neill. He needs more details. Bring a pad with video.” He addressed Will again. “Honestly, you follow the protocols and the directions of your Marine escort and you will be back home safe and sound. You will dodge most of the dangers.”

There was a knock on Will’s open door and an older Marine stood there. Peters was a short, compact man with a stern face and twinkling bright blue eyes. “Another O’Neill briefing?” he asked.

“Yes. Please explain all the protocols of the Gate system and Atlantis. Also explain the Wraith.”

“Yes, sir.”

Lorne patted Will on the shoulder. “You’ll be fine and you’ll do a great job laying the foundation that we and the Maepre need. O’Neill wouldn’t have rushed you aboard if he wasn’t confident in your abilities.”

“Ah, thanks,” Will stuttered.

Lorne left and Peters sat down in the only chair of Will’s berth. Peters tapped the computer pad in his hands a couple times and then turn the pad to face Will. Will saw a very ugly, bluish face glaring back at him. “This is the Wraith. What did O’Neill tell you about them?”

“Space vampires.”

Peters thought about. “Sure. That works. They just suck out your life force instead of your blood.”

“What?!”

Peters proceeded to scare Will out of his fear of the space ship exploding by truly explaining the Wraith. Then Peters explained that Will should never meet a Wraith. Like bears were native to Ohio and Will had never seen one in the wild, chances were about equal to him ever being face to face with a Wraith.

The others were more worried about the Wraith, which, while scary, were something that Will was not supposed to experience. Peters reiterated the fact. Will was spending his time at Atlantis and only had one off-world mission and then he was going to be sent home. He could handle this, he could.

Besides, Peters reminded him, he had to set up for his dance lessons, which started in an hour. Peters handed Will a map of the Daedalaus and pushed him out the door because Marines were always early. Being there only ten minutes early was considered late by a Marine.

Will found his dance studio on the Daedalaus by following Rhodes’ map and asking for help only twice.

Will was fifteen minutes early and as Peters foretold, he arrived as a huge group of Marines arrived as well. He was too used to teenagers sliding into the classroom as the bell rang –or were late. Will stepped to the front of the room and hurried to set up his electric piano. Among other things, it would double as a metronome.

Will introduced himself to the roomful of Marines, mostly men but with some women sprinkled among them. Will told them the purpose of the dance lessons and then showed them the Maepre introduction step. He showed it them a second by stepping into the personal space a woman in the front row and then directing her to step back. Then he had all of the Marines pair up and try it.

Within the first lesson, Will’s name was shortened from Schuester to Schue and then his students began to affectionately call him ‘Soft Schue.’ The Marines were tons better than the football team. Hell, they had a better attitude than the Glee Club sometimes. They were focused. They understood that this could ensure peace and were determined to get it.

But just because the Marines wanted to learn something, didn’t mean that they could.

He literally spent hours on the Maepre introduction step. So much could be conveyed with how much a Marine stepped forward and then stepped back. He tried to loosen their body language. He was half tempted to get them drunk and then to teach them to dance. When he approached Lorne with the idea, he laughed his ass off. Lorne happened to be a major and pretty high up in the command structure so he would know where Will could find alcohol. Lorne nixed the idea; he was sure that the Marines would put Will into an alcoholic coma before he could get them to relax. Then Lorne told him that all of Daedalaus didn’t have enough beer for Will’s plan. It was supposed to be a dry ship.

At least, he had the full three weeks working with every Marine being transferred to Atlantis. The guys didn’t actually mind Will and his dance lesson much, since it relieved the long boredom intermixed with few responsibilities. By the end of the three weeks, he had a good handful that would be able to carry out simple dance conversation without insulting the people of Maepre.

Major Eric Peters had been given a team according to Will’s recommendations. The team might be dismantled after the treaty with the Maepre had been cemented. A bigger group was to be used with Will’s introduction to the Maepre. The Maepre had a stage; Will aimed to make good use of it. They wouldn’t have a stage unless it was used and it didn’t take much convincing to get Lorne to agree to a longer performance. Will just had to decide on music and choreograph it. He played with different types of music and arrangements between all of his dance lessons. He hadn’t decided on anything before they had arrived at Atlantis.

Will’s first view of Atlantis took his breath away. It was beautiful. Will wanted to dance for it. He looked forward to creating a dance that represented Atlantis to Maepre. Will and the Marines perform the bulk of it. Peters, Jacobson, Lingman and the others weren’t thrilled, but they understood.

When Will asked Peters for a dance studio, the CO handed Will a color coded map of Atlantis, much like the map Rhodes had given him of Daedalaus and told him that red meant ‘Danger-Stay Out.’ Yellow meant ‘Science.’ Green meant ‘Military,’ blue was residential, orange were common rooms and purple were unclaimed. Will just had to find a purple room.

He had to hurry to design an ‘Introduction Dance’ for the Marines to perform for the Maepre. Will was determined that it was necessary for a treaty with the planet. It would include all of the base steps Will had identified from the video recordings. For the Marines to properly perform, they would need music to be piped into their earwigs. Will hated the earwig that he was required to wear every waking moment while on base, but it would be useful for this.

After weeks of searching through his digital musical archive on the Daedalaus (a collection that Lorne had insisted he share with the rest of Atlantis as soon as they had arrived), Will decided on his musical selection: An American in Paris by George Gershwin. No words, so none of the Marines would be tempted to ‘lip-sync’ to the music. The score was a perfect base for Will’s purpose. The melody repeated itself many times. Will used those musical notes to cue a series of steps: introduction, calm, protection, friend and humor, or some variant of those.

Will announced to his students where he had chosen to set up his dance studio. He arranged with Lorne for all of them to be available at a certain time.

After the required sessions, Will gave lessons –and in some cases refresher courses- to anyone that had time. The Maepre were not an ally that they wanted to ignore, so even Marines that hadn’t been forced to endure three weeks of the introduction step on the Daedalaus stopped by to try to learn it. Colonel Sheppard was surprisingly good at the dancing. Will could spot an expensive teacher in his moves, which was a little surprising. Elizabeth Weir’s skill was less surprising. She also had had dance lessons as a part of her diplomatic training. She stopped by the lessons to offer herself as a partner to the hapless Marines. She was too important for such off-world missions, but she was helpful in smoothing out rough edges on steps. She was interested in Will’s interpretation of the Maepre. She wasn’t the only one. Several of the social science professionals quizzed him on his language skills and welcomed him. Will’s Spanish sharpened through use with the PhDs from Spain. His Latin grew leaps and bounds, since it was everywhere. He probably would be able to teach French after this. He picked up tons of words of Hebrew, Yiddish, Czech, German and Russian.

After dance lessons, Will’s vocal skill was appreciated, as was his guitar. He left his keyboard in the ‘dance studio.’ He would sit in the commissary and sing for the soldiers. They were very appreciative and sometimes his students would show off what they had learned in a cleared space.

Finally, Will decided that the Marines weren’t going to improve anymore. He arranged a meeting with Director Weir to discuss scheduling the off-world mission to the Maepre.

It was then that Will explained his plans. “So, the music I chose for the performance I based off of Gershwin’s American in Paris,” he explained.

Elizabeth looked amused. “Did you write a song, or a score, Mr. Schuester?”

“I just modernized it,” Will argued.

Sheppard rolled his eyes. “Isn’t that thing like twenty minutes long?”

“Eighteen,” Will argued. Both of the commanders looked at him so he added, “and a half depending on the conductor. But part of modernizing and arranging it was shortening it dramatically. The Marines have been practicing it. I just need to borrow Colonel Sheppard and Teyla for their part and we’re good to go.”

Elizabeth nodded. “You will, of course, perform for Atlantis before performing for the Maepre. You brought everything you needed for the arrangement?”

Will’s eyes glowed. “Atlantis has the best sound studio ever. It made arranging the piece as snap.”

“Atlantis has a sound studio?” Elizabeth asked.

“Not that I knew of,” Sheppard admitted. He leaned towards Will. “Who showed it to you?”

“No one.” Will told the truth, since there was no one to get into trouble. “I found it while I was looking for a place to set up for the dance studio. It’s actually the dance studio. The acoustics are phenomenal.”

“You found it,” echoed Sheppard. “Do you have the gene?”

Will looked down at his pants. He wasn’t supposed to wear his civilian clothes during ‘work’ hours. He had been assigned a science uniform for the length of his trip in the Pegasus Galaxy. “Jean?”

“Genome,” Elizabeth clarified. “Were you ever tested for the ATA gene?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Do you think that O’Neill has some sort of radar for our kind?” Sheppard asked Weir.

“Also a way to convince your kind to drop everything and come out here,” Weir said. “Remember? You told me no.”

Sheppard stood and waved for Will to follow him. “Let’s go down to the infirmary to confirm.” Sheppard walked with Will and asked, “So Atlantis has a sound studio equipment?”

Will tried his best to explain his favorite room of the base. “Atlantis has a sound studio like Atlantis is a city. It does, but it’s so much more. I took the liberty of recording a few songs just for me.”

“You do any Johnny Cash?”

“I could, I suppose. It’s not normally requested.”

“I’ll see what I can dig up.”

The next day, Will and the Marines performed the dress rehearsal as Weir had requested.
Will couldn’t argue with the performance given to the residents of Atlantis. The Marines were technically perfect and Sheppard and Teyla rocked their part. He knew that something would change during the Maepre performance. It always did between the dress rehearsal and the final show. He just wished that the Marines would relax some and have fun. They were just so stiff.

They did earn a standing ovation from the audience and Weir declared that they were ready for the mission that would occur the following day. The Marines were getting performance anxiety. Meanwhile Will was quietly freaking out over his first trip through a Stargate.

Lorne elbowed Will. “You’re in Sheppard’s jumper. Best pilot we have.”

Will nodded. “Good.”

The next morning Peters was waiting for Will outside his berth. Peters was his assigned bodyguard and took the time as he directed Will to the jumper bay to detail every off-world protocol. Will had already read and memorized most of them. He knew that wormholes were one way and not to jump into one that someone had just jumped out of. Will knew the wormhole address for Atlantis and understood what a DHD looked like. Will knew that Peters would never be more than twelve feet away and Will was never to be without his Atlantis protective detail.

Will had heard all of this before, but didn’t mind hearing it again. He relaxed during the lecture, enough that riding in Sheppard’s puddle jumper was kinda fun. Sheppard landed the jumper so smoothly that Will didn’t know precisely when. Lingman opened the bay door and Will followed the Marines out of the jumper and onto the ground of a planet in the Pegasus galaxy.

Wow.

Peters ushered Will forward. Will obeyed. Until he was back on Atlantis, he would obey everything that Peters told him. He did swivel his head to see the second puddle jumper land and more Marines pour out of it. As a group, they walked toward the Maepre.

Will was in the middle of the group as they trekked through the woods to the village. To protect the secrecy of Atlantis, they wouldn’t fly the jumpers too near the civilization. The Marines were all on alert, though Will caught one or two of them practicing different steps. Will wished he could encourage them, but he was too nervous about being on a different planet that didn’t seem all that different. Will was never one for being able to identify plants at a glance, so he didn’t know if the trees and shrubs were similar to back home or not. He did notice that they were deciduous, so they probably had seasons of some sort.

The Maepre were waiting near the stage. Will was proud of his Marines as each one found someone to dance the introduction step with on their way to their place on the stage. Sheppard gave Will a thumb’s up at the impressed faces of the Maepre.

Will took center stage and waited. This was it. A treaty depended on the performance. Now he got nervous.

Will heard the first notes of ‘An American in Paris’ in his earbud. He danced the Maepre introduction step, protection step and humor step for a smiling little girl standing next to her father. Then Will whirled away and danced something to represent Atlantis. The next time Will danced to the overlaying melody of American in Paris, it was with a spry older woman. She didn’t just accept Will’s attention; she became part of the dance for a quick whirl around the stage. Will considered this a good sign for diplomacy but a bad sign for the Marines that had memorized the performance. They weren’t prepared sudden changes to the choreography. Will danced her back to her partner and with a quick bow and a heartfelt thank-you smile moved on to the next part of the performance.

The digitized trumpets in Will’s ear were the cue for the Marines to do their part. They were emphasizing the protection step while changing formation. Will weaved among them to add subtlety and depth to their message. From the way that the younger men looked intrigued and the older men looked interested, Will knew that he message was getting across.

The third time Will danced the melody steps, three young women competed to be his dance partner. The one with the darkest hair won out and she was quick on her feet as she danced the complimentary steps. Will returned her off-stage and joined the Marines. “They’ll join us on the next melody cue,” he warned them. Will tried not to snicker at the horrified look on the dancers’ faces.

Will led the entire group, dancing, to the front of the stage where, in unison, they dance the introduction step, protection step and humor step for those in the front row. As Will had expected, a Maepre danced the complimentary steps in tandem with the Marines. Jacobson nearly stepped on his partner’s toes, but other than that, they did well with the unexpected.

Will and the other Marines returned the Maepre to the edge of the stage. They bowed to their individual partners and stepped back and to the side. Sheppard and Teyla took center stage. Together, they danced the story of their first meeting, using the Maepre steps. Will had wanted to show the Maepre that Atlantis would hold their side of the bargain; they had taken in Teyla’s people when the worst had happened. Will watched the faces of the natives, they seemed to understand the purpose of the dance.

Sheppard and Teyla finished their dance, bowed to each other and then stepped forward. They danced the introduction step to the village leader and his wife. The leader and his wife welcomed them off the stage and motioned for them to follow into the ‘town hall.’

Will grinned. Sheppard had a good chance to get his treaty.

Like a switch had been flipped, the Maepre freely mingled with the Marines. There were several tentative dancing conversations going at once. Then Will heard a whine, higher pitched and mechanical. What was that?

WRAITH!!!” someone yelled. The stage erupted into chaos. Peters grabbed Will’s arm and started dragging him.

“There’re caves this way,” Peters shouted over the whine of the dart overhead and the screams of the villagers around them. “Run."

They barely made it. Will was in shape but it wasn’t the same type as in shape as running for one’s life. Peters dragged him the whole way to the cave. He wouldn’t let Will stop to help any of the natives. He didn’t let Will stop for anything at all. He had orders to get Will to safety first and he was going to obey that.

The darts came close some times. It was scary as hell. They finally made it to the caves. Peters pushed Will inside and stood guard at the door. He muttered on his comm to the rest of his team. Will was too busy huffing for breath to catch most of the one-sided conversation. He was mostly aware of natives running into the cave, but they didn’t stop at the entrance, they kept on going deeper into the earth.

“Don’t get too comfortable, Soft Schue,” Peters said. “If we get a chance, we’re running for the Jumper. The Jumper would be safer than this. They were just further away. There’s probably drones on the ground between here and there.”

“We’re not going deeper?”

“There’s no way out. I asked. You get just one drone finding the entrance they’re all toast. The darts were the immediate danger.”

Will decided that if they were going to be running again that he better stretch. He didn’t want a cramp. Peters was amused, but he kept his eyes firmly on the dangers outside.

“It’s well coordinated, for all that it’ll kill us,” Peters muttered. Will stood at his elbow; Peters wouldn’t let him take another step out of the cave.

“What is?”

“Their attack. It’s always shifting and catching people out.”

Will watched the Wraith darts scream across the sky and suddenly it made sense. Will didn’t know if it was all the adrenaline running through his bloodstream or what, but the darts flying sure looked like… “Choreography.”

Peters shrugged. “It’s deadly, not knowing where they’ll be next.”

“But you can know,” Will insisted. “It’s like watching a competitor’s choreography. Like that one goes in a straight line to there and that one will follow the paths to get to that corner and that one is a half-step behind where he should be.” Will pointed at the individual darts and predicted their movements.

Peters’ jaw dropped as Will’s predictions came true. “Do it again,” he ordered, even as he stepped protectively in front of the civilian. Will obliged and again he was correct.

“Are there holes in their offense?”

“Yeah. It looks like they’re missing a couple of dancers.”

“Can you talk me through the holes?” Peters asked as he dropped his backpack.

Will’s eyes narrowed. “I think so.”

“Okay. If I go out there, you have to stay put. Under no conditions do you leave this cave. You have to stay alive to tell the Colonel what you understand about the Wraith formations. That’s more important than keeping me alive. Is that clear?”

Will blinked. “But…”

“I won’t go out there to help people unless you promise to stay put. My orders are to keep you safe no matter what. You have to stay alive. Is that clear?”

“Crystal. I promise.”

“Good.” Peters looked out among the chaos. “Where am I going?”

“Left.”

Peters’ head swung toward his left.

“Okay, you’re the audience, I’ll adjust accordingly, but really you’re going right.”

For the first time, Peters’ looked worried. “Can you remember that?”

Will gave him a dirty look. “Can I remember stage left and right?”

Peters relaxed and leaned forward. “I’m ready when you are.”

“You’re going to run to the black, twisted up tree, turn left, dart straight across the path to the woods on the other side and then I’ll be yelling directions.”

“Got it.”

“Twenty seconds,” Will told him. Then he leaned over Peters to wave his arms to the oncoming group of Marines and civilians. They were obviously trying to join Will and Peters in the safety of the cave. “Stop! Stop! Left! Left! Left!” He used his whole body to convey the order, which retrospectively was why the natives obeyed almost as well as the Marines.

The Marines obeyed the order and stepped left off of the path and dragged as many of the civilians that they could reach with them. Just as soon as they were off the path, a dart flew by. The civilians that hadn’t obeyed Will vanished in the beam. Will pushed Peters out of the cave and yelled, “Go! Go! Go!” He was also waving at the oncoming group, urging them to come forward now.

Will had no idea how much time had passed. He felt like a safety crosswalk officer. Stop. Go. Left. Right. Back. Wait. Wait. Wait. Run. He directed group after group and was also directing Peters further afield who was sending groups toward Will to bring into safety.

One old man tripped and fell in the path outside the cave. Will jumped forward to help him the final five yards, but was pulled back by a Marine on each side. He also stumbled over the Marine sitting in front on him with a gun. “Stay put,” the Marine on the left ordered Will. “You’re more valuable here.” Without being ordered, another Marine ran out and carried the old man to safety. Will might have argued but another group was waiting for the ‘Go’ signal. Will waved them ahead. The Marine in that group pushed a father carrying two little girls into the path and right into a dart beam.

Will stepped back, horrified. He had just sent the little family to their death. He had…

The bossy Marine on Will’s left turned the teacher his way and slapped him –HARD. “Shake it off.”

“I killed…”

“You led twenty-three groups to safety.”

“But I…”

“Shake it off!” The Marine yelled at him. “You are human. One out of twenty-three! You are allowed to make a mistake.”

“But they’re dead…” The Marine slapped him again. Will knew that he knew that face, but he couldn’t remember his name, all Will could remember were the faces of those who had died.

“More will be by your inaction, than by your action.” The Marine pointed to the same group waiting in the woods. “Reassess and give directions. They won’t move until you say to!”

Will turned and saw that despite everything, there were three groups waiting for Will to give the go-ahead. He took a deep breath and knew that he had to move the groups before a Wraith dart found them. He listened for the discordant music of the darts, saw where each one was and knew where each one was going. Will waved one group to the right, one group back and waved the final group forward. Just that quickly, Will fell back into the rhythm of directing the choreography of the refuges.

Will had no idea how long he continued. He lost two more people: an older couple that had lagged behind their group and Will hadn’t started them forward soon enough. He felt the Marine’s hand tighten on his arm, but continued without needing slapped. He had to get through this. He could get through this. All he knew was that the darts’ rhythm had slowed and the cave was full. It was a good thing the natives had dug it out so deep. There were a couple hundred people behind him. “I don’t hear anymore darts,” Will told the Marine that had hit him.

“Keep bringing them in to safety,” the guy ordered him gruffly. “There might be Wraith foot soldiers out there. The people are safer in here.”

Will nodded and waved another group forward. Finally, Peters stepped into the cave. “You did good, Soft Schue,”

“Five died,” Will argued. “I watched them. I directed them...”

Peters put both hands on Will shoulders and shook him slightly. Then he turned Will around to see the people in the cave. “Watch these. You directed them to life.”

“I… I…” Will saw all the faces: young, old, Natives and Atlantians.

Peters pushed Will down until he sat on a rock. “Watch him for shock,” he ordered those around him.

Will heard a chorus of ‘Yes, sir’s. He heard muted orders and crying and words and… music? Will heard the lullaby- for that was what it had to be- a lullaby or a funeral dirge. Will surged forward. He couldn’t stay and listen to that. He couldn’t…

A Marine caught him and stopped him from running. “Stay put,” the young man said.

“I can’t stay,” Will was ashamed of the tears running down his cheeks but didn’t have any control. “Please, please. Let me go somewhere that I can’t hear that.”

“Cohn!” the young Marine yelled. “We’re walking the perimeter.”

Cohn frowned. “Take Jacobson with you, Lingman.”

“Yes, sir.”

It turned out that Jacobson was the one that had slapped sense into Will in the middle of the battle. He didn’t treat Will any less for his breakdown. Will wandered a bit, but not far. The Marines were worried about Wraith around. Will really didn’t want to meet up with the aliens face to face. So when Jacobson suggested returning to the cave, Will readily agreed. He had an important question to ask.

“Can I do something for the families,” Will asked Cohl. “For those who… died?” If he said killed, or hinted that it might have been his fault, the Marines would say no. Some nonsense about caring for his metal health. That had been the excuse Peters had given about not telling him the names of those who had died.

Cohl frowned. Granted he didn’t have any orders to the contrary, but he didn’t like the idea. Peters had tasked him with Will’s mental health. Lingman stepped close and whispered something in Cohl’s ear. Cohl’s frown deepened. “The family did inquire about you dancing their funerals.”

Will leaned forward. “I can do that. Where are the families? I’ll talk to them about what they want.”

Cohl debated internally before nodding once.

Lingman stepped forward and said, “This way, sir.” Lingman led Will to the little knot of women. In the middle was a pre-teen girl, younger than his Glee Club members. In her lap was a baby girl. Will vaguely remembered her being behind the father carrying the two girls.

It took a moment for Will to make the connection. “Where’s the rest of her family?”

“Wraith,” Lingman said.

They were alone in the world, their world. It was Will’s fault. “I could take them…”

“No,” Lingman told Will firmly. “The Wraith are a fact of life in the Pegasus Galaxy. All the planets have a method for adoption. Dance for them, Soft Schue. That’s how you can help.”

Will wanted to argue. He had the house; he could afford it. Then he looked at the girls’ simple clothes and how well they dealt with the tragedy. They were dealing better than Will was and he didn’t even know their names. They would never fit in on Earth, not even in the Glee Club, not with the way they had grown up dancing to communicate. They were strong enough to survive in this harsh world. They might just thrive in this world if Atlantis helped the planet. The village would accept help from Atlantis, because Will had danced the treaty. Will nodded. “I’ll dance for them.”

Lingman pointed to the ground, indicating that Will should stay put. Will nodded. Lingman stepped forward to talk with the girl and the other natives. Lingman conveyed Will’s agreement to dance and asked about funeral dances. The girl whispered something and Lingman nodded. He stepped back to Will’s side.

“She said that whatever you did would work.”

“But…”

“They want to see what you’ll come up with. I think they want to expand their repertoire of dance steps.”

Oh. Will could do that. “How long do I have to practice?”

“A couple hours. Everyone interns their dead pretty quick around here.”

Will winced. “Where can I go to practice?”

“Peters had Jacobson looking for safe, flat land for you. Should have found some by now.” Lingman led Will back to Peters and Cohl.

“What about the older couple?” Will asked the squad just as Jacobson was returning to the cave and Peters returned from reporting in to Sheppard. “Can I dance for their funeral too?”

Peters looked at his team. “Anyone ask you ‘bout Soft Schue on behalf of the couple?”

“No one, sir,” Cohl answered for all of them.

“Could they be visiting from a different village?” asked Will.

“Why would you think that, sir?” Lingman asked.

“Have you ever seen a ballerina run?” Will asked the squad of Marines. They all gave him a blank look. “They don’t walk the same, even when they aren’t dancing. They don’t run the same. The older couple, they didn’t run the same as the rest of the natives, even accounting for the affects of age on the body.”

“And no one is claiming them for the funeral dance,” Peters mused. “Lingman, Cohl. Question all of the natives. Find someone, anyone who will claim them.”

“Wraith worshipers?” Cohl asked.

Peters nodded sharply. “And where they were taken up. It’s suspicious. Schuester.”

Will’s head jerked up as if on a string. “Yes?”

“Good catch. You don’t go anywhere alone. You have a Marine escort at all times. Jacobson and I will keep an eye on you as you practice.”

Will blinked. He was still stuck on the idea that someone –anyone- would worship the Wraith. “What? Why?”

“Because you were able to predict and counter the Wraith darts,” Peters told him. “And the couple saw that.”

“You really think that they would worship the Wraith? Why would anyone worship the Wraith?”

“They can make you old and then make you young at anytime they choose, once you are one of their chosen ones,” explained Peters. “Humans can get addicted to it pretty fast and severely. The Wraith would know about the caves. They have too, they need some humans to survive to continue reproducing their food, but they had been unsuccessful in picking off some at a bottleneck. They probably get most of their meals from that bottleneck. They needed someone on the ground to report why.”

Will shook his head. “Isn’t that a kinda farfetched theory based on the fact that I think that they weren’t from the village because they didn’t run the same?”

“Schuester,” Peters said firmly. “There is no other village. This is the only one village on the whole planet.”

“Oh.”

“Good catch, by the way,” said Peters. He looked to the other Marines. “You have your orders. Find family of the older couple.”

The Marines saluted and executed a quick left face and scattered. Will idly wondered if he could work such steps into New Directions choreography.

“This way, sir,” Jacobson pointed out towards the woods.

Will nodded and followed. The field Jacobson had found was relatively flat and had few dips and holes. Will mapped out the approximate size of the stage and planned out his choreography. He practiced until a native found them to tell them that it was time for the funeral dances.

As the visitor, Will was dancing the first funerals of the Wraith attack. Part of him wanted to be last, so as to see how everyone else danced funerals on the planet, but he did have a plan now which he had practiced, and he would change it if he saw something ‘necessary.’ That would make his own dancing jerky and not nearly as smooth as the dead deserved. Like with Regionals, there were advantages to both positions in the schedule.

Will started off slow, dancing out meeting people, polite introductions (step forward, step back). Then he danced the confusion of the Wraith attack, of finding safety and then of directing others to safety. He danced how the father must have felt, carrying his daughters and seeing Will and being so close to safety.

Then he stopped dancing the father’s part. Will danced his own, alone, he danced looking for the small family. He twirled frantically around the stage. He had planned on doing a full circuit.

But then the older daughter was there, standing in front of him. She held her baby sister in her arms.

Will slid to a stop. He had to so that he didn’t run them over and all three of them would go crashing to the stage floor.

She stepped forward. Will stepped back.

She waited. So Will finished the introduction: he stepped forward and she stepped back. She looked up at him. She arranged her baby so that she could hold the infant with one hand. With her free hand she pulled Will’s head down until his forehead touched hers. Teyla had done something similar when introduced to Will. Will was forced to look into her eyes. He was forced to face what he had done and yet…

All he saw was forgiveness.

Peace.

Will collapsed to his knees in front of her. He was sorry, so sorry. For this girl whose name he would never learn. The Marines refused to let him ask and refused to tell him. He was sorry for her father and her sisters, more nameless faces that would wake him from nightmares months from now. He needed her peace.

He accepted her peace and bowed his head.

The girl placed her baby sister into Will’s arms and stepped back.

He had a dance to finish, a promise to fulfill. Will looked down into this child that would never remember her father’s face, but was content in his arms. She too was at peace. Will knew that he was reading into the situation, but he had to. He felt free, like the cloud had lifted. Rain would come again, but he would survive. If these two could be content while surviving their personal hurricane, so could Will.

So Will danced as if he was singing in the rain. He danced it, shared it with the child. He danced it for the daughters. He danced for the rest of the village. He stepped high for the Atlantis solders. Finally (putting himself in last place, where he belonged) he danced for himself. He would be going home. Home to safety.

He finished the dance at the older sister’s feet. He handed her her baby sister, bowed and walked away deep in thought. As much as he wanted to see the other funeral dances, he had to think some things through.

Will decided that the Warblers had the right idea: in the off season, New Directions should be singing at nursing homes and other places where the residents were in a much worse situation than High School could ever be. Will needed to get Glee Club’s attention off themselves. He wouldn’t be successful, mostly because they were teenagers, but he might be able to give them memories for when they matured.

Emma would have some suggestions as to where the Glee Club could perform, Will decided as he walked aimlessly in the quiet woods outside of the town. Even if the performances didn’t put things in perspective for the kids, it would help Will keep from getting embroiled in the petty life of McKinley High. Will needed the opportunities, like when he and Sue went to the children’s cancer ward. That was one of the most precious memories Will had of the previous school year.

Someone grabbed Will’s arm. He had a moment of surprise, of realizing that that hand was the wrong color and too strong and then the bone in his upper arm snapped. He screamed in horror and surprise. He screamed in pain.

His scream was drowned out by the sound of bullets firing and something that sounded like electricity. The Wraith still had a grip on his arm when he fell over dead. Will scrabbled at the hand, trying to pry it off his arm. When he was free; he cradled his arm against his body as he scrambled away. Back. Back. Back.

A Marine stood over the Wraith and shot it over and over and over again.

Someone touched Will’s good shoulder and Will lurched in the opposite direction.

“Schuester? Soft Schue? Will? Will?”

Will understood his name at last. He turned his head, blinked and saw Lingman. Lingman. A Marine. He was safe with a Marine, with this Marine, Lingman.

“Soft Schue?” Lingman called out to him.

Will nodded back sloppily. Yes, that was Will’s nickname.

“What hurts?” Lingman asked.

Will raised his bad arm and fireworks shot up and down his body. His eyes closed involuntarily. A hand touched his good shoulder again. Will flinched, but not as bad as before. He opened his eyes and Lingman was crouched down right in front of him.

“Did he touch anywhere else?” Lingman asked.

Will’s confusion must have showed on his face.

Lingman reached a hand toward Will’s chest. “Did he touch you here?”

Will looked down to Lingman’s hand firm against the middle of Will’s chest. Why would Lingman….? Oh, that video, the instructional video that he had been shown in his briefing about the Wraith. That was how the Wraith fed.

“Did he touch you here?” Lingman asked again.

Will shook his head. No. He didn’t think the Wraith had fed. He wasn’t any older, was he?

“Can you stand?”

Will looked up. Lingman again, he was still talking. A second Marine stood at Lingman’s side. Was he the one who asked the question? Will finally recognized the Marine. Jacobson. Jacobson, the one who had slapped him twice. Will leaned away from Jacobson, he didn’t want hit again, even if it made him think clearer.

Jacobson rolled his eyes. “We gotta get him back to Atlantis,” he told Lingman. “’Tween the shock and the broken arm, he’s in bad shape. Bind him up so that we can get him to the Jumper, pronto.”

“Yes, sir.” Lingman set down his pack and pulled out gauze rolls. “This is going to hurt, Soft Schue.” Lingman touched his arm and pulled it straight and stars burst on Will’s sight. He felt a hand holding him in place by his good shoulder. When Will could think again, his arm was snug against his chest and the pain dulled to a steady throb.

Jacobson had a hand in front of Will’s face and a canteen swinging from his wrist. “Take ‘em.”

Will had to lift up a bit to see the little white pills in his hand. He looked up questionably.

“Pain pills,” explained Jacobson. “It’ll make the trip to Jumper easier.”

Made sense. Will reached out and picked up the pills with shaking hands. He managed to swallow them and wash them down with water. He was vaguely aware that Jacobson had his back to Will, watching the forest for more dangers.

“Done?”

“Yeah.”

“Alright, get him up,” Jacobson ordered.

Lingman muttered a quiet, “Yes, sir.” He crouched on Will’s good side and heaved him up. Will scrambled to put his feet under him. Lingman provided support on one side and Jacobson provide support on the other. They both waited until the black cleared again and Will’s stomach stopped trying to regurgitate the medication.

“Ready?” Jacobson asked.

Will nodded.

Cohl and Peters ran up to the group. Cohl veered off to confirm that the Wraith was dead. Peters charged Will and his protective detail. “What did I tell you about your escort?” Peters demanded.

“Uhmmm,” Will couldn’t remember.

“You go nowhere alone.” Peters told him.

Oh, yeah. That was it. Will had forgotten amidst the revelations he had gained from the funeral dance.

Peters looked to Lingman, “No attempt to feed?”

“None, sir.”

“Damnit,” Peters swore. “They never would have sent only one drone to abduct him. I’ll take point, Cohl, drag. We need to get Schuester back to Atlantis and then bring back more squads to flush them out.”

Will spent most of the march to the Jumper in a daze. Jacobson’s pain meds worked like a charm. He went straight from the Jumper to the infirmary and from the infirmary to the Daedalaus and then to Earth. He wasn’t allowed anywhere else since they were keeping a close eye on Will’s mental health. They were making extra allowances since Will wasn’t a soldier and hadn’t had the years of training that the rest of the Atlantis staff had. The cast on his arm was merely a poor excuse. Peters and his team were regular visitors in the infirmary and they made time to see Will off.

Will had tried to apologize once while confined to the infirmary. Peters had waved him off. “You are a civilian, not a soldier. We know better than to expect you to act like a soldier. You’re not supposed to act like a soldier. Hell, it took Dr. Jackson years to sometimes act like a soldier and he still wanders off like a scientist from time to time.”

“We’ve gotten scientist baby-sitting duty too often,” Cohl added.

Jacobson smirked. “That’s how we knew to keep a close eye on you. Civilians never do as they’re told.”

Jacobson was never nice to Will, except when giving him pain pills. That reminded him. “Did you restock?”

Jacobson’s face turn blank. “Restock?”

“The pills you gave me,” Will reminded him. “You should ask a nurse for more since you’re here.”

“Sure,” Jacobson agreed readily.

“Or were they from your personal stash,” Peters teased. Jacobson turned slightly red. “So you do like our temporary dance teacher after all.”

Lingman whispered to Will about a jarhead’s precious pain management stash and how they were for emergencies and normally for self-medication. In light of the new information, Will caught Jacobson’s eye long enough to offer a sincere ‘thank you.’

Jacobson shook off the comment with a gruff ‘welcome.’

Cohl changed the subject to when Will was being released from the infirmary and when Will was being sent home and that was the end of that.

Cohl and Peters kept Will undated on how many Wraith drones that were killed on Maepre. They told how Colonel Sheppard was trying to convince the Maepre to change planets. The natives didn’t want to move. They were convinced that since Will had returned to Atlantis that the Wraith would stop looking for him on the planet. They also agreed to a treaty, so Will’s mission had been a success.

In sharing secrets, the Maepre finally revealed to the Atlantians that their way of walking and dancing was intentional. They used it to identify Wraith worshippers, Genii and other outsiders that could bring trouble. The Maepre told the premiere team that they were aware of second older couple that had to be Wraith worshippers and how they had been told that only Will had the capacity for knowing where the darts would be. Since the Wraith had not returned, the Maepre were sure that the truth had been believed.

While in the infirmary, Will was visited by McKay and Sheppard. They set up a huge monitor that stretched the width of Will’s gurney and showed Will the recordings of previous Wraith aerial battles. McKay then evaluated Will’s percentages of knowing where the darts were going. Though all of McKay’s testing and snide remarks (Sue had nothing on the acid of the physicist), Sheppard figured out why the Wraith wanted Will alive: each Wraith Hive had a slightly different ‘choreography’ in the sky. Anyone who could identify and remember them like Will could would give an edge to his allies.

Though Will could map out the sky choreography from the recordings, it wouldn’t do Atlantis much good: they had destroyed most of those Hive ships. What Will could do was find similarities, the common denominators between all the Hive ships. Those pieces of sky choreography, Will pointed out to Sheppard and Lorne. Since all the Hive ships had the same origin, there were several. He also pointed out the paths of safety. The pilots knew and understood the tactics used in dart dogfights, but they needed a plan against the darts while they were on the ground.

Will offered every scrap of information he had gleaned from his experiences. Then it was time to return to Earth. Earth. Safety. Lima, Ohio. McKinley High and New Directions. While Will was adjusting to the shift in safety level, he had a couple horrifying nightmares of Sue Sylvester as a Wraith. Other than that, Will did pretty good. The nightmares about the family of three that had died were reoccurring, but every time that happened, Will remembered the forgiveness of the older girl and their dance. The base shrink released him to travel home with a few admonitions. Will had to list what dance steps he was going to take back to New Directions. The dance steps from Maepre kept Will busy. He had a lot of fun new ones to teach his students. He wanted to make sure he remembered every one. The he realized that he could use the Wraith formations also. If he moved the dancers from that Wraith formation to that Wraith formation…

Atlantis’ shrink was smart. Will had a way to distance himself from the attack on Maepre. He also had his first two weeks of lesson plans for New Directions. In honor of Maepre and the people living there, his students would tell stories through dance alone.

Now if only Will could get the image of Wraith Sue Sylvester out of his head, he would be fine. It was scarier than real life.





*glee*sga* glee*sga*

August 17, 2011



Will jogged out to the football field in sweats and a t-shirt. Coach Beiste was watching all the players with an eagle eye. “Hey, Coach,” he called respectively. “Can I join your team for their workout?”

Shannon Beiste didn’t look pleased with the request, but she wasn’t going to ask questions in front of the high school boys. “Do a warm-up lap,” she called out. “Mr. Schuester will join you on the longer run.” She waited and the boys hadn’t moved yet. They were too busy staring at Will. “Well?” The entire team took off at a jog. Shannon waited until they were out of hearing range. “Will, what’s going on?”

“I need to stay in shape,” Will told her honestly. “And I prefer team efforts. I don’t want to run by myself. I’d never improve. I’d stop before the week was out, finding more enjoyable things to do.”

“What about your cast? This is going to make you sweat and them your cast will get itchy.”

Will lifted the cast slightly. I have an experimental cast. I’m supposed to sweat to prove that it won’t get itchy. And it’s coming off soon.”

Shannon didn’t believe him. “This isn’t about running so that you can sleep despite of the PTSD induced nightmares.”

Will looked genuinely shocked. “You think I have PTSD?”

“I think you gained a lot of maturity in a relatively short amount of time. You have a broken arm. That means trauma that happened before now.”

“But I don’t have a disorder about it,” insisted Will. “I just wasn’t as good at running as I wanted to be. I almost got someone else hurt. I want to be ready, just in case.”

“You’re going back?”

“Hopefully next summer.” Will bounced excitedly. “I was going to ask if you could come as my assistant. If you want… I mean, it won’t be as nice when I return home next time and the house isn’t clean and a fridge isn’t stocked–are you ever going to tell me how much that cost you? Every piece of advice that you gave me before I went helped me out there. Your level head in every situation would be even more important on the spot.” Will saw the team approaching the two teachers. “Think about it?”

Shannon frowned. “I can’t help but to think about it.” As the team passed and Will joined them she yelled. “Step it up! Faster! Higher! We’re not on the playground.” Shannon waited until they were out of hearing before muttering, “But we are on the playground of life.”

She realized that if Will was serious about getting into even better shape for the summer, and that he wanted to bring Shannon with him for his summer job, than she better improve her physical abilities as well. She jogged as inner loop to the team’s outer loop and yelled insults at them to make them move faster. Will laughed at every insult. He had changed… for the better. Shannon could always use some improvement and an active reminder that this was the playground of life and not to take it so seriously.

*glee*sga* glee*sga*

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
lita_of_jupiter
Nov. 25th, 2011 11:21 pm (UTC)
having never watched Glee I was a little out of it. but still it was a lot of fun and I loved how the dance was used to comunicate
faithburke
Nov. 27th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
glad you enjoyed it. Glee is not a fav show but i am a sucker for talented singing and good choreography.
lita_of_jupiter
Nov. 27th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
I like the dancing clips they show as preview's but I just cant sem to get into it
faithburke
Nov. 27th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
not worth your time, really.
lita_of_jupiter
Nov. 27th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
I'll stay with youtube then... and musicals, they have good coreography
darkestnight12
Nov. 26th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
This was sorta amazing. A-MAZ-ING. ;DD Love the focus on Will's awesome~!
faithburke
Nov. 27th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
lol. thanks for the review!
payperv_iew
Dec. 16th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
Will is not a favourite character of mine, but damn you made him likeable. Also, Bieste dealing with marines is the best mental image ever!

I agree with what you said earlier about Glee not being much, so thanks for giving me some fic that makes sitting through it worth it outside of Coach Bieste and Sue :)
faithburke
Dec. 16th, 2011 11:01 am (UTC)
happy grin. glad you enjoyed it.
Coach Bieste is my fav character, but Will stole this show.
madmiles
Feb. 2nd, 2012 04:24 am (UTC)
I read this with a smile on my face.
faithburke
Feb. 2nd, 2012 10:47 am (UTC)
Always glad to brighten someone's day! The review brightened mine.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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