John Sheppard and the Planet With No Whump
It was a beautiful day, like something out of a children's book. Lambs gambolled fluffily in the verdant meadows. Rabbits bounced fuzzily through the fragrant blossoms. The clouds were little puffs of air from an angel's fragrant breath. Birds sang their sweet melodies from leafy branches. Butterflies fluttered languidly, and the sunshine was not too hot and not too cold, but Just Right.
Sheppard eyed it all somewhat nervously. It seemed far too good to be true. Was that a cackling villain, hiding behind yonder rock? Was the sky going to part like curtains on a stage, revealing the blood-drenched storm behind it? Was the ground going to open up and swallow him?
He took another cautious step. A bunny rabbit looked at him with cute brown eyes.
Two hundred yards from the Gate, and no-one had attacked them yet. He had walked two hundred yards, without something happening to cause him searing agony.
"See," Rodney crowed. "I told you the whumpers didn't know about this place yet. Hence–" He raised the basket. "–the day off and the team picnic. Bliss!"
Sheppard was about to reply, but suddenly the perfect cerulean sky was torn apart with the sound of weapon fire. There was blood everywhere. Blood! It spurted! It gouted! Sheppard prepared to leap in front of Rodney to protect him, to take the bullet meant for his friend, because no physical pain could equal to soul-rending mental agony of… blah blah blah.
"Ronon!" Teyla said sharply.
Sheppard let out a breath. He watched Ronon sheathe his weapon, standing unconquered on the field of frazzled and very dead bunny rabbits. "What did you do that for?" Rodney protested.
"Rabbit looked at me funny," Ronon said. "Bet it was a vicious plot bunny. It's dead now."
They carried on, Sheppard leading them. They soon reached the adjacent field. Birds gambolled fuzzily in the fragrant meadows. Blossoms bounced fluffily through the fragrant rabbits. Butterflies sang their sweet melodies from verdant leaves. Butterflies stomped languidly, and the sunshine was not too hot and not too cold, but Just Right.
"Can we stop now?" Rodney asked.
Sheppard snatched the map out of his hand. Suddenly, searing agony overwhelmed him. There was blood – blood! – and he felt the sharp stabbing torment of soul-crushing pain. But he couldn't give in. He had to stay standing, to carry on, to stagger heroically, to save the day, to keep going, to–
"Sheppard." He heard them but dimly through the soul-crushing agony and the siren call of approaching and photogenic heroism.
"What?" He thrust out his chin; straightened his shoulders. Mustn't show them how much it hurt! Must stay standing, and save them from…
He stopped. Above him the sky was blue, and all the creatures around him were cute and fluffy, with big brown eyes, just like on a Hallmark card. "Sorry," he said. The agony receded. "Wrong idiom. It's just a paper cut." He managed a sheepish grin. "It's hard to get used to it, isn't it? Them not being there, I mean. Watching. Waiting. Plotting."
They all stood in silence for a while, a little too traumatised to move. All those memories! The shows weren't too bad, but what came in between them… Sheppard remembered when "tags" were the things he wore round his neck, not things laden with agony and anguish.
"We'll stop here," Sheppard said, because someone had to say something. They had won if they didn't.
It was a beautiful day. Rabbits were gambling in the leaves. Lambs were carousing with the birds. On leafy clouds, butterflies were singing carols and everything was green and lovely and Just Right.
Sheppard pulled out the food they had packed. Strawberries, cream…
Something darted past his face. He started up… and everything sheeted white. He saw and heard no more…
Until much later, he returned sluggishly to consciousness. "Wh–what happened?" he gasped.
"You fell head-first into the bowl of cream," Teyla told him gravely. "You stopped breathing. We had to revive you."
It all rather went downhill from there.
Sheppard was not entirely sure how it was possible to receive a deep laceration from a blueberry, but somehow he managed it. The internal bleeding caused by a sausage roll was baffling, but it really hurt. He choked on some flaky pastry, and burnt himself on some iced tea. Trying to save Rodney from a mean-looking butterfly, he tripped over a pebble, and got a poorly head. The rabbit blood, spattered over his skin as a result of Ronon's handiwork, was apparently corrosive, and the lambs turned very strange when they scented strawberries, in a way that involved disturbingly sharp teeth.
"You know," Sheppard rasped, some hours later, as they carried him back to the Gate, scattering blood in his wake, "I'm through with days off. Let the whumpers have me. Do your worst, girls! Do your worst!" His defiance – which was very pretty – ended in a broken gasp. "Whatever they do to me, it can't be worse than this."
And, as the four travellers left, a very faint sound of cackling could be heard from beyond the rabbits…
Note: Ronon was probably right. It was probably was a vicious plot bunny. I've got a vicious plot bunny, which sits over my computer to inspire me to whump Shep.