Even as a boy, John Sheppard was something one would call a loner of sorts. Sure he had his friends but he was also content to just sit back and watch things as they occurred around him. His teachers called him an introspective young man even back then. What they didn’t know what that if he shared what he was truly thinking, he knew he would have been committed to the loony bin.
It started when he was maybe six or seven years old while he was playing out in the treeline that came up on the back of his parents’ property. A young girl not much younger than he was seemingly played with a game of hide and seek, ducking behind trees to hide from him whenever he tried to seek her out. Of course he never actually found her and it both baffled and intrigued him.
Whenever he had moments in his life that forced him to retreat into himself, whenever something happened that troubled him deeply that he did not wish for others to see just how deep the hurt cut him, the girl would visit. Neither of them spoke but he and the vision seemed to hold an understanding of one another that he didn’t quite understand yet.
When John’s mother passed away, he ran off to his usual hiding spot and curled up at the bottom of a large tree and just hugged his legs closer to him as he struggled to keep from crying. The sounds of disturbed leaves and twigs caused him to look up to find the girl having made her appearance and sat down, mirroring his position, under another large tree near him. She gave him a supportive smile that communicated her understanding. Her presence gave him a sense of calm that he craved, that he would forever miss from his mother.
As he grew into a man, John fought against his father’s plan for him to continue in his steps into the family business. His mother always supported his interests where the man considered them foolish hobbies. Running off after his time in college to join the Air Force was the straw that broke the camel’s back in that fragile relationship. As was when he was a boy, the girl was always with him when he felt broken.
John would never realize just how much he truly valued the visits he had of the girl until much later. The last time he ever saw her was the only time she spoke to him. After his failed marriage to Nancy and when the divorce was finalized, he had taken to a drunken stumble through a nearby park by his apartment. She came to him and sat beside him on the bench just as she always done before. Only this last time, she gave him a sad smile, though her tone was encouraging. She told him that he needed to be stronger. That the obstacles he would come across next would truly test him but she would not be able to come to him then for reasons that he would understand when the time came. However, he would need to hold out because he would one day find peace and fulfillment that he desired, and perhaps more, but he should not be disillusioned by her absence, but be strengthened by her promise to see him again.
Disillusioned he was. John was angry and depressed. Everything he touched seemed to turn instead of gold but to dust. Losing his comrades, belittled by the service that he loved, he welcomed the escape of life and his punishment to the barren tour of Antarctica playing chauffeur.
Atlantis. He hadn’t signed up for that when he joined the Air Force. He believed them to be some elaborate mental institution and they were just trying to prove him crazy. Throwing his marbles into the wind, he went forward.
O’Neill was crazy. Weir was crazy. That McKay fellow had certainly lost ihis/i marbles way before the rest of them. Maybe he was the only sane one of the lot and for that he would go for the show. He had nothing else to lose. It didn’t hurt that he enjoyed pissing off Sumner with every word that slipped from his mouth. Yeah, he did try to behave as were his orders from O’Neill, but the man was just a bastard.
Yes, John was quite eager to be able to explore his first alien world – even if technically Atlantis was the first place he’d ever gone that wasn’t on Earth. He might even get to meet some aliens, and he couldn’t help but to be a little disappointed initially when they ended up being as human as he was.
Halling had escorted their group to a large tent that was set up in the middle of their community and a strange sense of deja vu came over him. At first he frowned, puzzled at the feeling. When he looked up, John could not help but to blink as they were introduced to a woman, their leader.
“I am Teyla Emmagen. Daughter of Tagan,” the girl, no woman, that had been with him in visions on he saw spoke to them. A small, knowing smile ghosted his lips with the feeling of deep trust and friendship filled him. He felt at peace as he smiled at her.