Category Archives: death

Stories about death… stories where people die, and what happens afterwards

the muggle war

Title: The Muggle War
Author: busaikko
Fandom/Rating: Harry Potter, Snape/Lupin, R
Summary and notes: This was going to be the first chapter of many in a sprawling epic, set in a future where, after the defeat of Voldemort, wizards went to war with Muggles, using terrorist tactics with apocalyptic results. Unfortunately, I was already floundering when DH came out, and afterwards I froze completely. I doubt I'll ever write the rest. But as bronze_ribbons was already kind enough to beta this, I thought, well, I ought to kick it off the hard drive. It's rather creepy. Happy Halloween!
A/N: Erm. Yes. The whole middle bit of the story does appear to be written chronologically backwards. I keep doing that. I do not know why.

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details of the war

Title: Details of the War (3,287 words)
Author: busaikko
Beta: kimberlyfdr
Fandom: SGA / SG1 crossover AU (Jack POV)
Rating: PG
Summary: AU. It's about kids, and family, and flocking. It's about love and death, with fishing and chips on the side. It's about Jack O'Neill having to explain all of that. . . .
Warning: canon character deaths mentioned (Charlie, Jack's son; Patrick Sheppard)
Series notes: In the War Stories series (check the category 'series…War Stories'). If you don't want to read all that, the Need to Know is that this is an AU where Rodney is in the Canadian Air Force, John's an aerospace engineer, and they adopted a daughter, Max, and a son, Sean (also known as Bean). John was injured in the Ori war; Bean is deaf.

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building bombs DVD commentary

I'm of two minds about DVD commentary: on the one hand, I can talk on and on about myself and my writing; on the other hand, I don't think anyone cares. SO! Here's one of my least popular stories, enhanced with some zombie dialogue, book and film references, and my inane rambling. Enjoy! (Any other stories of mine that you'd like to see mangled, jsut let me know!)

Title: DVD Commentary for Building Bombs (11451 words); Story originally posted here: Atlantis 9 to 5
Author: busaikko with commentary by busaikko
Betas: inkscribe and wingwyrm
Rating: R for violence and adult subject matter
Pairing: Sheppard/McKay… kind of?
Summary: Atlantis 9 to 5 AU: One hot summer during the Cold War, John Sheppard takes a job at Rodney McKay's dad's pharmacy.
Spoilers: Spoilers through all of S4
Warnings: The warning will spoil the ending of the story. If you need warnings, please click on this link. No underaged sex; only one bad thing happens 'on-screen'. And a heck of a lot of good things also happen. Still worried? Leave me a comment, and just download the soundtrack *g*.

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Montsalvat

Title: Montsalvat (3,179 words), for the artword 010 Reversal Challenge
Author: busaikko
Beta: gingertheory
Fandom, Rating: SGA, PG (gen)
Spoilers: SGA S4, especially Mortal Coil and Last Man
Summary: We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs … and discuss whether they were made, or only just happened. (Mark Twain) What if repli!Rodney had kept backups, as all good data-crunchers do?
Warning: character death (totally canon! I didn't kill anyone myself, promise *crosses heart*)
Notes: Montsalvat was the castle of the Holy Grail in the story of Parzival.
Prompt: this gorgeous picture by gingertheory
Download: Story also available as an 8-page PDF file (2.47MB) on gingertheory's website — many thanks!


Rodney remembered making the most recent backup of his team. Protecting data was more than his livelihood — it was his survival. As his closest friends — his family — were currently nanites and data, he was meticulous about maintenance now that their Asuran creators were gone. He backed himself up last, precisely so that he would remember that he'd done it. He remembered his connection with the computer, the flow of data commencing, and then.

Nothing.

Nothing until he opened his eyes. He saw immediately that he wasn't still on the stolen puddlejumper. He was standing in a — well, a meadow, he supposed. The grass slanted down to the shore of a lake: in the far distance, there were mountains. Behind him — he turned to look — there was a castle, rising ancient and organic from the land. Beyond that, woods, sun-dappled, spread into dense primeval forest.

"I was going to make you Atlantis," a voice said, unhappily, from behind him. Rodney turned with slow precision, and found himself instantly trying to catalogue all the differences between himself and the stranger with his face. "But the Replicators made you an Atlantis, and it just seemed. . . creepy."

Rodney reached out one hand, testing a theory. He touched the other McKay's arm. He could see himself touching, but he felt only a faint resistance in the air. He ran his thumb along the pads of his own fingers, which were warm and rough and slightly moist in the summer heat.

"This is a virtual environment," Rodney said slowly. McKay looked even more distraught. "So. . . I'm guessing that I'm the back-up, you're the virtual avatar of the original McKay, and the Replicated Rodney McKay is dead." Rodney frowned. "I backed everyone up. I must have — I should have given you the data files for the whole team." A horrible thought struck him. "They weren't corrupted, were they? Was there an accident?"

McKay started walking, his hands shoved in his pockets, not looking back to see if Rodney followed. Rodney didn't want to trail along, but he didn't want to be left behind, either. He settled for a stalking pace, and grabbed at McKay when he came even, his hand slipping frictionless over McKay's projected surface.

"Where is my team?" Rodney demanded, shoving at McKay hard, not caring whether he was capable of inflicting pain. He hoped that he could.

"It's a unique situation," McKay said distantly. "That's what Carter called it. Unique. Replicator-me gave me all his back-ups before. . . before your team bought our lives with their own. All of them — you. There's a computer, up there, in the castle, with a copy of the mission report."

McKay breathed deep, as if holding down a restlessness. He rolled his shoulders, rubbed his forehead, and then leaned in, ticking off points on his fingers.

"Ronon talked to his back-up self, who insisted on being deleted immediately. Said being virtual was like a lower Satedan hell. Teyla. . . said this was an offence against the ancestors, but she let me keep the backup in case. . . in case she died before her child knew her. Sheppard and I spoke with Elizabeth. She believes in the soul, she believes in an afterlife, and. Well. The real her is dead. She said we had to let her go. She said she'd made enough sacrifices." McKay shrugged, looking miserable at the idea that being in this place was wrong, a punishment, a torture.

"It's not a bad VE," Rodney said. "You went overboard on the nature, though."

"Teyla and Ronon," McKay muttered, looking around at the mountains and forest with a crease between his eyes, as if he'd never seen them before. Perhaps he hadn't. "Wide open spaces for communing in, small furry things to kill. The castle's mine, mostly. Yours. I built Elizabeth a library. There's an ocean over that way — " he flapped an arm in the direction behind them — "that I modelled on this beach in Hawaii. I thought Sheppard might. . . . " His voice trailed off.

"Let me guess," Rodney said, crossing his arms. "He didn't want to play ghost in the machine, either."

"My Sheppard's off talking to himself again," McKay said. "Maybe he'll come around."

"Sheppard," Rodney said, biting the words off precisely, "has this pathological hatred of prisons and cages. Even the gilded ones. You should have seen him trying not to touch himself, when he realised he was chock-a-block full of nanites."

"It's not that bad," McKay said, stung. "I gave you copies of all the Ancient data we have. You're not networked — the Replicators could have given you spyware or viruses — but you can communicate with the outside. With no crises or idiots to get in your way, think of all the work you could get done." He rocked up on his toes like a child in a toy shop. "I'll show you around. Wait till you see. . . . "

Rodney let McKay lead the way, showing off the castle as if he were the geek version of Daddy Warbucks, trying to buy Rodney's love. The computer was state-of-the-art, the kitchen well-stocked, the mattresses just the right firmness, the houseplants thriving, and the views from the highest tower breathtaking.

Rodney tried to spot the Sheppards from the tower, but all the nature got in the way. A man could feel very small, ringed by the mountains and the forest and the wide unspoiled waters.

"Wait until you see the stars," McKay was saying, waving expansively. "And the aurora. And the meteor showers. And the moons." He grinned, looking pleased with himself.

"I can't stay here alone," Rodney said. He wasn't sure that McKay understood that this wasn't a game. You have to promise me, McKay — "

"No."

Rodney grimaced. "Yes."

"I'll come visit you. Whenever I can. Other people can make avatars."

"I'm not going to be the caretaker of your holodeck." McKay's jaw was squaring stubbornly; but there were advantages to arguing with himself. Rodney changed tack. "You could live without Zelenka and the rest of your minions? You could live without any hope of ever seeing Sam Carter in a real bikini?" He poked McKay with a finger. "You could live without your team?"

"I'm not having this conversation," McKay said, and disappeared.

"Damn," Rodney said. He flinched at the sound of his voice getting lost in all the emptiness.

He went down the dizzying spiral of stairs, raided the kitchen for his dinner, and settled down at a table in the computer room to write some pernicious viruses. Outside, the virtual sun went down. Dim lights in wall sconces came on automatically; there were candles — what the hell had McKay been thinking?

Rodney was working on the details of increasingly bizarre and satisfying fantasies of revenge on his corporeal self when he heard a door slam, somewhere down below. Sound carried in the perfect silence, but it was hard to hear anything over his heart racing as if it wanted to achieve escape velocity. He walked down to the landing that overlooked the entrance hall and looked down.

Sheppard looked up.

"Hey, Rodney, nice candelabra," Sheppard said, smirking as he'd never be so uncool as to carry lighted candles around. For a moment Rodney let himself hope. "Classy digs. Do you have a crown, too?"

"Fuck you," Rodney said. Sheppard laughed, loud and careless. Rodney's heart sank. His Sheppard — the replicated Sheppard — was bitter and depressed, and only amused by things like successful plans to kill Wraith and/or Asurans. This Sheppard, oblivious to Rodney's disappointment, found the stairs and took them two at a time. He wasn't even breathless when he got to the top.

"You should see the stars," Sheppard said.

"Why? I'm not making myself at home here." Rodney glared until he was fairly sure that his bad mood had transferred to Sheppard, and then turned and headed back to the library. "Go on, say what you came here to say."

Sheppard's shoes squeaked on the wooden floor. It was really irritating.

"Backed-up replicant me wants to be deleted," Sheppard said, matching Rodney's pace to walk side by side, his arm just brushing Rodney's. Or it would have, if they could touch.

Rodney hmphed and turned into the library. He had covered two tables with reams of notes. Sheppard walked around the library while Rodney sorted them. Occasionally, Sheppard would reach out and trail his fingers over the spine of a book (all the books were tastefully hardbound), but mostly he prowled. He opened windows and looked out, he walked the length of the balcony, leaving the doors open and letting in a cold draught, he climbed the stairs to the stacks, where Rodney could track him moving by the irritating sound of his shoes. But somehow Sheppard knew when Rodney was done, appearing just as Rodney set the three necessary pages neatly on the table. Rodney crossed to throw the rest into the fireplace while Sheppard touched the chair, and table, and finally papers in the same way. Rodney wondered if he could feel them at all.

"Sit," Rodney said. His voice was too loud; the library echoed and Sheppard's shoulders jumped. Rodney kicked the chair. Sheppard sat, slouching backwards, his hands in a relaxed curl on his thighs, watching Rodney with a very good juvenile delinquent-in-the-principal's office stare. "This is a program that will shut me down. I'm assuming McKay doesn't plan on listening to me. I'm assuming that's why you're here. You'd have to run it on the outside, of course."

Sheppard crossed his arms; after a moment he bent forward, as if trying to hold himself in. "I can do that," he said, and Rodney glowered. It wasn't fair for this Sheppard to sound so gentle. "I'm sorry." Not fair to sound so apologetic. "This is a beautiful place. You're a great guy. It's just — "

"I know." Rodney gestured expansively towards the books, the castle, the stars. "One man's refuge, another man's prison, isn't that the cliché?"

"I wish I could feel things here," Sheppard said, looking annoyed, and Rodney laughed. It was a good, repli-Sheppard kind of laugh, mostly impotent anger.

"No," he said. "No, you really don't."

Sheppard shrugged and nodded and straightened, his face politely reserved, and God, did Rodney admire that power of repression. "So is this the end of the line?" Sheppard asked, and Rodney couldn't bear the man's rusty sympathy any more.

"Memorise this," he said, slapping the handwritten pages of the program. "Every Ancient bracket, semicolon, and bang, and where to save the file. I assume you can do that."

"Have I ever failed you when it counts?" Sheppard said, obviously trying to sound jokingly annoyed, but he was still speaking when his face showed he realised just how inappropriate the words were. Rodney jabbed his finger impatiently and pretended that he hadn't noticed. That was what friends did, he thought; friendship was this horrible sticky mess of forgiveness and weakness, of knowing how to lie to someone who knew you were lying. That, he would not miss when he was gone.

He allowed his mouth to tug into a smile as he watched Sheppard frown over the pages as if trying to literally imprint them on his brain. Rodney could take some comfort in the fact that he wouldn't actually miss anything. The stars would shine down; the moons would hang in the sky, soft and virtually untouchable. Rodney had given himself just enough time for a walk down to the lake (he thought he ought to see it once), and then the whole VE would cease to exist. No life flashing before the eyes, no deathbed regrets, no afterlife, no more Rodney. That was the wonderful thing about being a computer program, you got to design your own perfect death.

He could see that understanding in Sheppard's eyes when he finally looked up, face still wrinkled in concentration. Sheppard was horribly awkward at goodbye; it was a relief when he finally jerked his thumb back over his shoulder and disappeared.

Rodney stood there in the library, for a while, and then he walked down the stairs and out the door, through the meadow and down the hill to stand on the stony shore of the quietly lapping water. The aurora was a thin veil of blue dancing over the forest beyond the castle. It was beautiful. And then it wasn't.


"Rodney?"

Someone was calling his name. Which was very annoying. Seeing as how he was supposed to be dead. Dead, and not standing on the walkway outside the castle, damn it.

Rodney didn't reply, he simply crossed his arms and glared at the intruder until McKay had stumbled his way up the path to where he stood.

"Did Sheppard lie to me, or did you bully him into not doing what I trusted him to do?"

McKay winced, his shoulders trying to fold into themselves. He looked — thinner, older, unshaven, sleep-deprived. Sick. Exhausted.

"How long has it been?" Rodney asked. "Since you shut me down."

"Not that long," McKay said. He tipped his head to the side. "Sheppard didn't want you to be alone," he said, in a rush. "He thought — none of the Asuran copies wanted to be revived and you didn't want to be alone, and he came to me, all right? He paused you in the middle of your stupid elaborate suicide attempt and came to me. He asked me. . . told," McKay corrected, with the faintest of smiles, "he told me there was another way. It just happened to be impossible, at our current level of technology. But you know Sheppard. He just assumed I could do it." McKay curled his hands around his elbows. "He was so persuasive like that."

Rodney turned and walked around to the side of the castle, to where someone had put in a boxwood maze. There were benches outside the maze entrance, and he sat down, looking out at the distant mountains, rising impossibly high beyond the far shore of the lake. McKay settled down next to him, his knees popping loudly.

"If you woke me up from what I thought was a very successful death just to tell me that Sheppard's dead, I will find a way out of here and I will hurt you," he said, in as comfortable a conversational tone as he could manage. McKay sucked in air as if he'd just lost atmosphere.

"Technically," McKay said, his voice thin to the point of breaking. He coughed and tried again. "He's been declared missing. He might be dead. Complete toast. We're not sure. We don't have a body or anything. He's just. . . gone. But the thing is," he added hastily, and Rodney turned a murderous look on him, "we were trying to help you."

"I don't feel helped. I feel betrayed and bereaved. Thanks ever so much."

"It's still buggy, is the thing," McKay said, too stubborn to shut up. "I could have used another six months — better yet, a year. We finished the rough framework, the basic personality and the body, of course, but the memory is spotty and I'm not sure about the logic. There are blanks we meant to fill in — John was working on it. He said it was kind of fun. He said he used to build model planes. He meant to finish it properly. He didn't. . . he didn't mean to die."

"You built, what? Some kind of VE companion? I hate to break it to you, but I'm not that kind of doctor."

"Look," McKay said, sounding exasperated. "Look." Rodney stared at him, thinking that this would be when the desperate exculpation began, but Rodney waved impatiently up towards the castle, pointing.

"Sheppard?" Rodney said. The man walking down the drive waved back at McKay's frantic signalling but didn't hurry. McKay couldn't stay in his seat: he stumbled to his feet and marched off to meet Sheppard halfway. Rodney wasn't about to stay behind and sulk, not when he could go be angry in person.

McKay reached out, but his fingers just brushed lightly over the edge of Sheppard's shoulder.

"Oh," McKay said, very quietly. "I forgot about that. I can't touch you." He stared at Sheppard, blinking rapidly, and then jerked himself out of the VE.

"He's taking my death hard," Sheppard offered, looking embarrassed.

"Well." Rodney was at a loss for words, as if this was the most painfully awkward date ever. "How are you taking being dead?"

Sheppard shrugged. He looked up at the castle, looked back at Rodney, and then nodded his head: walk with me. The path was steep; the sun was summer-strong; Sheppard's hand was firm on Rodney's shoulder, keeping him from stumbling. He hadn't been touched in. . . so long.

"I was just talking with myself a few hours ago, it feels like, though Rodney says it's been weeks. He said I died four days ago. I vaporized or something. It sounds like a pretty cool way to go." Sheppard shrugged, his whole posture loose and lazy, but his eyes were sharp. "I'm missing a few years. Rodney says I have bugs. Which just goes to figure. Fucking Pegasus bugs are always out to get me."

Rodney couldn't help himself, he had to laugh.

"The thing is," Sheppard said, looking out at the mountains and giving Rodney the impression that he was being studied peripherally, "everyone's got bugs, or so I told myself. I probably won't be who you think I am."

"No," Rodney agreed. "You're more talkative."

Sheppard grinned, preppy-feral, and stuck out his hand for Rodney to shake. "Hi there," he said; there was something competitive about his firm grip. "I'm John." He let Rodney's hand go and started up the hill. "So, are you going to show me around your castle?"

"Hey," Rodney said, crossing his arms and refusing to budge until Sh — John? — John turned around, his hands going out in impatience and amusement.

"What?"

"I'm glad you're here," Rodney blurted out, when he was finally able to put words to what he was feeling. "I am. I really am. I didn't want to be — "

John walked back, threw a companionable arm around Rodney's shoulders, and tugged him up towards the castle.

"Jeez," John said, his voice low but so close it was loud, "you're a sap, McKay. I'm starving, what about lunch?"

Rodney snorted. "That must be one of those bugs — you couldn't starve here if you tried. And also, if you lay a finger on my stash of Crunchie bars, you'll be vaporized again. And, oh." He poked John in the side with his elbow. "My name's Rodney. Not McKay. It's going to be a bitch, figuring out who we are."

"Whatever," John said. "I think we have all the time in the world."

leave no man behind

building bombs

Title: Building Bombs (11451 words)
Author: busaikko
Betas: inkscribe and wingwyrm ♥ you so much!
Rating: R for violence and adult subject matter
Pairing: Sheppard/McKay… kind of?
Summary: Atlantis 9 to 5 AU: One hot summer during the Cold War, John Sheppard takes a job at Rodney McKay's dad's pharmacy.
Spoilers: Spoilers through all of S4
Warnings: The warning will spoil the ending of the story. If you need warnings, please click on this link. No underaged sex; only one bad thing happens 'on-screen'. And a heck of a lot of good things also happen. Still worried? Leave me a comment, and just download the soundtrack *g*.

Audio-fic and audiobook: You can download busaikko reading this story here, in mp3 and m4b! Enjoy!

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here, where the world is quiet

Title: Here, where the world is quiet (6,468 words)
Warnings: Mention of all the following is made: character death (child), past child abuse
Rating: NC-17
Author: busaikko
Betas: Aunty Marion, Bronze Ribbons, Islandsmoke, and Schemingreader, with additional input from the 'zine editors. Love to you all!
History: Written 7-22-2006; revised 3-12-2007; published for the first time in the Snupin 'zine Chocolate and Asphodel in November, 2007.
A/N: The title for this story is from Algernon’s The Garden of Proserpine.
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