A/N: Aw thank you guys for the kind comments. I know this was unbeta'd so thank you for seeing past all my mistakes that I and spellcheck had missed. This is the final chapter. Granted it is short, but I always get sad when it comes to an end. :(
He was standing on the other side of the fence looking in at an air force base, watching the numerous soldiers run around for a drill. He looked on as the pilot climbed up the side ladder into the cockpit, run through the checklists that Sheppard had done so many times, and shut the canopy before taking off for a mach 1 run. The excitement that ran from the tip of his toes to the end of his hair had the same intense purity of when he had first witnessed it at the impressionable age of 8.
A soft voice filled his ears, drowning out the jet engines powering up. "This was a poignant day in your life; it changed your destiny to what you are today."
"What am I today?"
"You are a soldier willing to give your life for what you believe in, not one that sits on the sidelines and shuffles the papers in order to preserve your own comfortable way of living. That is why you could complete the ascension successfully."
He spun to face her. "I've ascended?"
"Not this time." She faded away.
"Then where am I?" He asked as the light surrounding him started to dim and he could hear faint beeping in the background. He closed his eyes and when he reopened them, he lay in the very familiar infirmary of Atlantis.
"He lives!" McKay shouted. "Jennifer. Come quick."
The next face that Sheppard saw was the pretty blonde doctor leaning over him, smiling as she checked his stats and his pupils' reaction time.
"You're going to be ok, Colonel. Gave us quite the scare, thought we almost lost you to the Ascended. McKay found the ascension device in storage and we reversed the process."
"I saved your life than just that way!" the scientist was literally bouncing on his toes, "I dragged to you to the jumper once you collapsed, and then I flew the jumper through the stargate and got us home all before it was too late to save you. Even Carter was impressed." He paused for a quick breath before continuing, "I gotta go get Ronon, let him know you woke up." He scurried out before John could even respond.
Sheppard didn't trust his own voice but he had to ask, "Where's Teyla?"
Jen looked over at him, "She's doing much better now that her system has purged the remnants of that drug the Wraith injected her with. She's asleep for right now, but I suggest before you insist on leaving the infirmary, you should stay through the rest of the night. Ok?"
He was exhausted and for once didn't feel like arguing. "Ok. Thanks doc."
"I'll see you in the morning." She smiled as she left, passing Rodney and Ronon on their way in.
"Hey buddy." Sheppard grinned up at Ronon who gently punched him in the shoulder.
"Glad you decided to stick around."
"Of course, I couldn't give you guys up, not even for the chance to play god." He glanced over at Rodney, "What's the matter?"
"I thought you really were going to give the Wraith the path to ascension, and it got me thinking."
"No, seriously. Think about it. If Wraith can start the path of ascension, but not complete it. They are stuck in limbo right? Then we make a device that sticks them all in limbo. Poof. Gone. Wouldn't that work?"
"How much caffeine have you had today, Rodney?"
"Only 8 cups. I've cut back." The pudgy man was almost giddy with his idea. "I've got to go tell Zelenka. I'll be back later." He disappeared before Sheppard could respond.
"I've got to get some sleep." Ronon said before he turned to pull up a chair.
"Night Chewie." Sheppard said, thankful for all of his friends. As he felt his eyelids grow heavy, he realized how exhausted he really was. Once his eyes closed, he felt her breathing next to his ear.
"I came to say goodbye. You will not need me anymore."
"I'm not sure my sanity could take it, but if I ever am in a jam, I wouldn't mind a visit once in a while."
He felt her smile in the dark, "You have made it this far in life without my manifestation, I am sure you could go on without me." Her voice started to seem further away, as though the connection was passing over a longer distance.
"I'm sorry I didn't trust you the whole time, but…"
"You couldn't have known who was what. But, your subconscious is your own now."
Her presence slipped away, leaving Sheppard feeling very empty but satisfied. Though, this was something he was probably going to keep to himself. He wasn't even sure of his own sanity of the event, much less trying to explain it to someone else. Regardless of the means to surviving, at the end of the day, his team was safe and alive, Atlantis was ready to fight another day, and they had one more bit of knowledge of the Wraith's world that could be used as a means to defeat them. All in all, it turned out pretty darn good. Now, he just needed to catch up on his sleep to be ready for whatever else the Pegasus galaxy had to throw at him. He sighed softly as he let sleep overtake his tired mind and drifted into a deep, dreamless slumber, safe at last.