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Joy to be Claimed, Chapter Five

Author: wild_force71
Fic Title: Joy to be Claimed
Rating: 15
Fandoms: JF/Heroes/SG1/SGA





Dominic arrived that evening, took one look at RJ and sent everyone away. Casey ignored him as though he hadn’t heard, still watching RJ from the balcony, but the others left, taking Fran out to eat to welcome her home.

“Who called you?” RJ asked. He was ignoring Casey as comprehensively as Casey was ignoring Dominic, and with about the same effect.

“No one. I think Lily talked to Fran.” Dominic shrugged and rolled his eyes, managing to broadcast ‘girls!’ without actually having to say it. “She got worried, wanted to come back.”

“So you immediately send her away.”

Dominic waved vaguely at him. “Are you telling me you can’t feel that? I can feel it flare from here.”

“It’s nothing.”

“It’s not nothing, your animal spirit is surging. That’s dangerous, RJ.”

“Just because it took you six years to find your animal, you don’t get to overcompensate with us,” RJ warned.

Dominic blinked, turning away and striding across the loft. RJ ignored him, staring intently at the nearest wall until he heard, “Well?”

Turning, he saw Dominic standing on the training mats, shirt and shoes off. Casey had moved, unfolding his arms and gripping the railing, but he didn’t speak.

“I’m not going to fight you.”

“You’re gonna fight someone. Might as well be me.” Dominic spread his arms. “Come on. I’m not going to just show you my throat.”

Casey shifted again, but he still didn’t move to interfere.

“Come on, RJ. Afraid of a little rhino?”

“Dom,” RJ said warningly.

“What? Wolf getting angry?” Dominic grinned. “Come on, RJ, I can stomp you on your best day, never mind today.”

“Dominic,” Casey said quietly.

“Stay there, Casey.” He was still watching RJ. “It didn’t take me six years. And I told my father straight away.”

RJ hissed in a breath; Dominic could see the wolf scrambling for freedom. RJ’s grip was slipping, even as he watched…

“Dominic,” Casey said firmly from behind him.

“Don’t worry, Casey, he can’t hurt me.”

“No, I…”

Dominic half turned to look at him. “I’m telling you, stay…”

“Duck!”




“Don’t you have enough of my blood by now?” John groused.

“New tests, new blood.” Carson tapped his arm, studying it. “It’ll just take a moment.”

“What are you testing for, anyway?”

“The Meta mutation.”

“Excuse me?”

Carson turned to pick up the needle. “Don’t they tell you anything, Colonel?”

“Not as a rule, no. I’m not Meta.”

“There’s new research from Earth to suggest that the ATA may mask the Meta mutation. They want us to test all our gene holders.”

“Have you had Rodney in?”

“Natural gene holders only. There’s some evidence that the artificial ATA won’t take in Meta. One of the many reasons it fails.”

John looked away as Carson slid the needle into his arm. “Ow.”

“Nearly done.”

Good.” John grimaced. “Have you been tested?”

“Aye, Dr Keller’s doing it now. It doesn’t take long, since we know exactly what we’re looking for.” He withdrew the needle, pressing a piece of tissue over the mark. “Hold that for a wee minute. I’ll be right back.”

Alice was standing behind him when he turned away. John eyed her critically; for a computer program, she was sometimes remarkably lifelike, and right now she seemed far too pale.

“What’s wrong?” he asked quietly.

“McKay’s sensor program is still not quite…” She hesitated, eyes unfocused, before finishing, “…working correctly.”

“Then go back off line. Why are you even here? I thought you were staying off line until he was done.”

She gestured in the general direction of Carson’s office. “Your medical file was altered.”

“Yeah, they’re looking for…you know you’re not actually standing on the floor, right?”

“Am I not?” She looked down at the floor, stamping one foot. “I can’t judge where the floor is.”

“Look, go back off line. Everything’s fine, it’s just a routine thing.”

“Do they really consider you a mutant?” Alice asked abruptly, and her voice was sharp and angry.

“We don’t call them mutants,” John said automatically. “And no, they don’t. I told you, this is routine.”

“It is not,” she muttered.

“Ok, now you’re standing in the wall. Can you please go off line? I promise if I get in trouble I’ll call you.”

“All clear, Colonel,” Carson said brightly, pulling back the screen around his bed. “You can go now…and send Major Lorne and his team down, if you would.”

John nodded, reaching for his jacket. “What about you?”

“Clear as well. I’m not expecting to find anything in any of our people, to be honest.”

“Right. Keep me updated.”

Carson waved him off, focusing on his file. “Right,” he said to no one in particular. “On to the next lot, then.”



“I tried to warn you.”

“You’re enjoying this far too much.”

“Yeah, well.” Casey lifted the edge of the towel, eyeing the emerging bruise critically. “One of us may as well.”

“For the record? Yelling ‘duck’ when he’s already on me doesn’t count as warning me.”

“He wasn’t on you. He was all the way on the other side of the loft. He just moves that fast.”

Dominic peeled off the towel, gingerly tracing the edges of the bruise. “He’s in more trouble than I thought.”

“Good thing you showed your throat.” Dominic rolled his eyes, and Casey continued more seriously, “This isn’t just his spirit surging, this is something different.”

Dominic turned to follow his gaze, wincing as abused muscles protested. RJ was sitting in full lotus under the windows on the far side of the loft, lips moving as he whispered to himself.

“I don’t know what to do,” Casey murmured, lowering his voice even though RJ was ignoring them completely. “The wolf never liked following, even with RJ’s influence. The only way I can get it to back off now is by giving up on telling it to.”

“Show your throat,” Dominic said thoughtfully.

“If you have a better idea…”

“No. Our animals work in harmony with us. It’s not supposed to be a struggle like this.”

“I can hear you,” RJ said abruptly. He rose to his feet—and Dominic might have been imagining it, but he thought his friend was moving more smoothly than usual—and headed towards the stairs.

Casey stood, blocking the stairs. RJ considered him for a moment before turning and heading for the back door.

“Dom,” Casey said quietly. Dominic scrambled to rise, gasping as sore muscles screamed in protest, but he made it to the door ahead of RJ.

“That isn’t going to help,” RJ said, turning to Casey.

“You run to your friends, not away. You know that, or you should.” Casey hadn’t moved, though he had to know RJ could get past him without even trying. The blockade was really more symbolic than practical.

“You can’t help with this.”

“We won’t find out if you leave,” Dominic pointed out.

RJ spun on him, snarling, but whatever he’d been about to say was lost as he lifted one hand to touch his eye. Dominic mirrored him without thinking, hissing as he touched sore, puffy flesh.

“Not your fault,” he said firmly.

“And when Lily startles me? Or Fran? You want Fran walking around with a black eye?”

Dominic tensed without meaning to at the thought of his gentle Fran getting hurt, but Casey spoke up before either of them could. “You didn’t hurt her before, you won’t hurt her now.”

No. That was different. That was still me, just—really messed up. This is something from outside me.”

“Your spirit animal can’t be influenced by anything outside you,” Dominic pointed out. “Even Dai Shi couldn’t affect Jarrod’s lion.”

“I know that!” RJ shoved both hands through his hair.

Casey and Dominic had both tensed at the show of frustration; it was so out of character for RJ, neither was quite sure what to do.

“Our animal spirits are part of us,” he said after a moment. “This—whatever—it looks like the wolf, it feels like the wolf, but it’s something outside me.”

“Whatever’s outside you,” Casey said firmly, “it’s staying inside the loft with us.”

“Everything outside me?” he murmured. “That’s going to be a tight fit.”

Casey laughed softly, relaxing from his guard position. Dominic was relaxing as well when he saw something that made him tense up all over again.

“RJ, your hand…”

“Oh, I know,” he agreed without looking. “Something doesn’t like that I wore a morpher.” Thoughtfully, he added, “You’d think they’d have complained while I was actually wearing it.”

Casey considered him. “Put it on.”

“You want him to put it on over that?” Dominic asked. The mark on RJ’s wrist was darkening, more like a bruise now than the burn it had first resembled.

“No. Can you wear it on your other wrist?”

“I don’t think it’ll help.”

“Maybe.”

RJ sighed, glancing at the cupboard to one side of the floor. Casey crossed to it, digging out the small wooden box and tossing it to Dominic. Dominic lifted out the morpher, running a finger over it lightly.

“Sure?” he asked, watching RJ.

“No.” RJ half smiled. “Are you?”

Dominic lobbed the morpher, underhand. RJ caught it and immediately spun, throwing it away across the loft. Casey caught it almost without looking, stepping towards him.

“Back,” RJ hissed, and both Casey and Dominic backed up without hesitation. “That…hurt,” he added, oddly calm.

“RJ?” Casey said carefully.

RJ held up the hand he’d caught the morpher in. A purple bruise, matching the one on his other wrist, spread across his fingers.

“Right. Morpher…bad idea.” Casey turned away, jumping the stairs to head to the kitchen.

RJ sighed, closing his eyes. Dominic watched him until Casey came back, brandishing the first aid kit. “RJ? You ok if I...”

“I’ll do it,” Dominic said, holding up a hand.

“Why?”

“Because the rhino’s not in competition with the wolf.”

“It’s not the wolf,” RJ reminded him.

“It’s still appearing as the wolf. It’s still acting like the wolf. But the wolf,” he caught the first aid kit, pulling out the bruise cream, “has no argument with the rhino.” He caught RJ’s eye. “Cos he knows the rhino’ll stomp him if he tries anything.”

“The rhino got stomped last time, I seem to recall,” RJ said idly. “No,” he added, as Dominic finished with his fingers and reached for his wrist.

“Sure?”

“Very.”

Dominic nodded, putting the first aid kit back together. “Alright. Don’t blame me if it keeps you awake.”

Casey glanced over his shoulder at a noise from downstairs. “The girls are back. And Theo.” It was almost an after thought.

“Go tell them what’s going on,” Dominic suggested.

“Love to, except we have no idea what’s going on.”

“Go tell them that then. RJ and I’ll hang out here.”

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
serpentine85
Feb. 22nd, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
Wow!
I've finally caught up, and I am thoroughly enjoying this! I really like how you've set up the characters and given insight into their relationships and dynamics throughout the chapters to date. The premise and developing plot are very well thought out and interesting. I am really looking forward to seeing where you go with this.
wild_force71
Feb. 22nd, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
I'm really glad you're enjoying! :D This is chapter, what, five, out of thirty odd, so you should be able to enjoy for a while yet...

I'm just on my way to answer the meme, so give it a few and it should be up!
rivulet027
Apr. 7th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
So if the ATA gene didn't take in Radek does that mean he gets special powers?

Love what your doing with RJ, don't know what your doing, but love how your explaining it so far.
wild_force71
Apr. 7th, 2009 07:46 am (UTC)
Everything will be explained, I promise.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )