Spoilers: Up to Season 2 “Critical Mass” vaguely.
Warning: Multiple main character deaths, seriously, it's who doesn't die... and obviously there's some violence included in that, nothing particularly graphic, though the topic matter of not just death but murder is generally disturbing, so be forewarned.
Summary: (Written for fififolle) A Kavanagh-is-an-axe-murderer fic, because if people think he's so evil he might as well thoroughly be that at least once. ;) Also has a little Kavanagh/Simpson in a twisted way.
A/N: Betaread by fififolle and rodlox
McKay is easiest, but the arrogant astrophysicist wasn't his first, because he'd be far more likely to get caught. Who'd be an obvious suspect should anyone realize it was a suspicious death? He was certain the name that would be top of the list would be his own, Dr W. R. Kavanagh. Besides which it didn't start off like that, it wasn't sudden – it built up from the very beginning of the expedition, perhaps earlier on in his life than that more subtly. He's a product of his experiences, and his choices, and somehow both sets of variables combined to make him who he is, a cold-blooded killer. But he wasn't one initially, it's never that simple or easy to explain why people are, or rather why they become so.
Over the years he's studied many of the expedition members to varying degrees, meticulous in his records on everyone passing through that is worthy of note and scrutiny. It had simply been keeping a report for purposes of lodging complaints, but somewhere in amongst his bitterness and isolation the idea had evolved; he'd found himself writing down the little details of their daily lives, things he had no purpose knowing, not initially.
Julian - Dr. Yates – a fellow material scientist, was the original, the one he'd not meant to hurt but had felt surprisingly little remorse for. It had been an accident, carelessness on both their parts in regard to lab procedure and protocol that had led to the explosion. There had been whispers of foul play and academic jealousy, but since he'd not had much against the man those rumors had soon faded away, and the matter had been closed easily – apart from Heightmeyer's interference, the extra counselling he was ordered to attend. He'd had to fake the grief; all it took were a few, mostly hidden, elicited tears and she seemed to believe he cared more than he did. It was so easy to fool her, and to get away with the blame that rightly should have been placed, at least partly, on him.
Marie Parrish was the first one he chose for himself, with whom he experienced the real pleasure of the act of murder. He didn't choose her without reason though, everyone he chose he had an issue with, it was no coincidence that she met a watery end exploring the southwest pier. The readings had indicated the area was unstable after recent damage, particularly the ledge reaching out at the end, and he simply hadn't told her – letting fate play out, with him as an observer. He knew she had a thing for the views of the ocean, she always took an excessive amount of time out from working to casually watch the waves crashing against the city. It was risky, but just as he predicted she was the first member of the team to stray that way and that far out, because there was little other purpose to leaning on the precarious railings than to be slacking off in her usual way. Everyone agreed it was tragic, that more care was needed and people were getting blasé about checking up on things – it had officially been Marco's job to make sure the area was secure and safe; there was no reason to suspect him of negligence, let alone maliciousness.
Warbeck had been much the same, a death left in the hands of fate, rather than definitively his fault. But there had still been that thrill at knowing his power over another, knowing he could have saved poor Clive but hadn't. When the team got back the Marines had done all the talking and his awed adrenaline rush had been taken as shock over the loss of a team-mate. No one asked why Clive hadn't been able to be warned when the Darts arrived, no one else had seen the subtle mistake of one setting too far on the radio frequency when they'd been preparing. Clive's paranoia of going off-world induced him to fiddle with everything, having to reset it all his way, which sadly had led to his abduction by the Wraith. Personally, Kavanagh could see little loss – if the man could get himself taken like that then they were lucky he hadn't caused worse, the deaths of others. It had been waiting to happen all this time, he just hadn't stopped it.
Then he'd decided to be more proactive, because there was only so long he could take without getting that fix of the rush that being responsible for and powerful over others caused. He'd tried to find other ways to get it, he'd filed more complaints in the one month lull than he probably had in all his years at the SGC, but it did nothing because no one paid any attention to his points. No one cared a thing about anything he reported, he didn't have any influence and he wanted that power back. After the lull and his decision to cause rather than to wait for an opportunity, he knew the perfect target; the one he'd been wanting to do since the very beginning – the much cherished, but also plenty flawed and overly favored, Rodney McKay.
What was genius about it was the plan's simplicity, combined with the right amount of research and skill to find something that was innocuous and yet deadly to the man. Furthermore he'd had to pinpoint the right time to plant it, when McKay would be alone and unlikely to have his Epi-pen on him, when he might perhaps miss the first signs of anaphylactic shock setting in, and most importantly when he felt safe and busy enough to risk removing his headset for that crucial period needed. It had taken quite a long time, a lot of studying of McKay, too, before he'd gotten all the data he'd needed to even calculate the chances McKay would indeed die under certain scenarios – but he'd cracked it. Five months in the planning, and he'd succeeded. Nothing compared to the feeling of hearing the news come in, gasps around Lab Eight as people expressed their utter disbelief, and the almost musical quality of the clatter of glass breaking when Kusanagi dropped the carefully prepared tray of morning coffees.
Rather appropriately Weir had retracted into herself following McKay's death, and Sheppard was equally affected but in a vastly different way, pushing himself to do his job better, getting out more even though he was quite difficult to be around, acting tougher on the military contingent in a stark contrast to his formerly casual attitude to commanding. Weir took to barely doing anything with anyone judging from gossip, and Beckett was obviously so concerned over both his friend's death and the behavior of his remaining friends and colleagues, that he didn't pay enough attention to his work. He missed all the potential signs of Teyla's poisoning but then he couldn't blame him, you'd really have to know something was up to be able to tell. It was an all too subtle Pegasus galaxy poison, native to Athos and luckily also found on the mainland. No one had even twigged when Eleria, the herbal expert, had died, taking all that wonderful knowledge of the plants with her. She wasn't the only one to know of it, but the chances they'd find out what it was before it had killed Teyla were very slim indeed. As it was they hadn't, everyone mourned it as yet another tragic death, and he noted they almost seemed to not want to ask why.
The Athosians performed their rituals, elaborate ceremonies on the mainland because it was apparently rare to have a body to say goodbye to, and then got on with their lives as they knew they must and always have. Some left and some stayed, they were fractured without her and for a small while he'd wondered if what he'd done was bad for Atlantis, having their native support flailing but no doubt Halling made a great new leader and he had no plans, nor need, to kill any more of them because he doesn't have much to complain about in regard to her people, that wasn't the issue at hand. He'd been inclined to agree with Bates, more so once he'd found out her 'ancestry' - Teyla had been a threat, an abomination and he'd weeded her out for the sake of the rest of the city, the galaxy even. The last thing anyone needed was the Wraith taking Atlantis and mastering the Ancient hyper-drive and god knows what other technologies.
Sadly, the slow drawl of death through poisoning hadn't been particularly thrilling; interesting and satisfying, yes, but it didn't provide that kick of power once all was done, and he hadn't been able to resist Heightmeyer. For a woman who prided herself on knowing everyone, she really hadn't known him at all, and when he'd come across her late at night, on the balcony he knew all too well she frequented, she'd thought nothing of it. He'd loved the look of shock on her face, the terror in her eyes, as he'd strangled the life out of her. Never before had he taken to real violence, it left far too much evidence for his liking, but disposing of the body over the side as planned had dealt with that.
Obviously they could still tell she hadn't done it to herself but by the time she'd been detected and hauled out there'd been no real clues; they hadn't even been able to discern where she'd fallen from. Though not everyone had been as clueless as those officially investigating. Simpson had noticed things. All his careful planning was at risk and all because she seemed to care about him in some strange way. She kept trying to draw him out, back into the community. He'd resisted, but he'd soon realised it was simpler to go along with her; she stopped paying so much attention that way. It made things a lot easier with Weir, too.
His scheme for her was as slow as with Teyla, as excruciating. He'd started it not too long after McKay's death, knowing he'd have a brief window of opportunity. He'd collected together as many of McKay's papers as it was possible to get a hold of and he'd practice copying one a day, learning the inflections of his handwriting. Months later he'd finally felt confident enough to try it out on Weir, leaving her a sweet note from her deceased friend, left somewhere innocuous, where she might make the mistake of thinking she'd simply missed it all this time. He wanted it to cut at her, open up the wound again, over and over, until it became utterly devastating. Every few days he'd set up another. She appeared to share this with no one, probably afraid she was going crazy or at least hoping she could deal with the cruel joke herself, but he never heard anything of it from anyone.
She came out of her office less and less in the day and retreated as soon as possible to her quarters each night. That was when he turned it up a notch, instead of notes he wrote full-on heart-wrenching letters, trying to crank up the guilt he wanted her to feel. She'd made mistakes, bad choices, she'd put everyone at risk time and again. Slowly the voice in the correspondence changed into his, and accusations flowed. He finished it off with the most harrowing letter of all, McKay's “suicide note”, blaming - guess who – her. Not that it had done what he'd hoped it would; Weir was stubborn.
He'd underestimated her and he'd changed his tack when he'd failed. He'd wanted to break her down but instead he'd had to take the matter into his own hands. She'd been taking sleeping pills for a while now, the medical records showing what dosage, he'd simply changed the ones in her bottle so what was perfectly fine before put her out much quicker. Timing it right, he'd gained access to her quarters after she had collapsed and then he'd helped her along her way with a few dozen more pills down her throat and conveniently placed the forged McKay note that blamed her on the bed next to her body.
He'd thought he'd get away with it all, despite the inconsistencies with the meds she'd taken versus the ones she'd been prescribed, but Julie – Simpson – had discovered what others had missed; she was too clever for her own good in the end. He'd thought she had stopped watching him; she hadn't. He'd presumed he'd quelled her need to look out for him by his participation in more social aspects of life on Atlantis, but she'd obviously been studying him as closely as he'd once done to everyone else before he'd found his current preoccupation. That had been what she'd noticed, the occasional lunch break alone spent hunched over transcribing – when he'd been copying McKay's notes – and the undue attention to Elizabeth Weir. Julie had been concerned at first, but later it seemed almost jealous the way she described it. She'd asked if he'd had feelings for Weir and he'd laughed at that, which had perplexed Julie because really with Weir dead that wasn't the appropriate response. Technically he had felt for Weir, but not the usual care, only hate.
That unfortunate response about Weir must have got the scientist thinking because the next time she confronted him about it she knew about a fair few things he'd never expected anyone to be able to guess, and he'd realised she'd eventually put it all together. He tried to distract her with what she wanted – him. He gave her his full attention, as much charm as he could muster, taking her mind off what he could have possibly done by getting her to focus on what he was doing now. Little niceties in the lab, gifts here and there, trips to the mainland.
He'd had a dinner organized too, but they'd never gotten to that. His plan hadn't worked on her, it had sucked her in further and she'd finally found out he was responsible for Weir – ironically, with a little more snooping she'd gotten to while he'd been working on distracting her. Her downfall had been that she'd thought he could be reasoned with, calmed; she didn't get that this wasn't a mistake, an accident, some odd joke gone wrong. She knew about the notes. but she'd put it all together wrong. Either way, right or wrong, she knew something was going on and he'd had no choice but to kill her. It had pained him more than any of the others, he'd had no wish to, but it had ended up a necessity. It was odd though, to see her eyes staring up lifelessly, odd because he was so used to her, close even, that it inspired something that disturbed him, a sense of guilt perhaps. Whatever it was he flipped it off as a thing unworthy of dwelling upon, he had more important business to deal with; he'd had no definite plan for killing her, hence no idea what to do with her body. Hiding it would only work as a temporary solution...
He never got to a permanent one, someone discovered her, and he hadn't been able to face going into the labs – he hadn't gotten a story straight and besides which it was clearly murder and there would be incriminating evidence this time. He knew her death would be the death of him, so he had waited for them to come. He wasn't unprepared though, he'd gripped his axe on the other side of the door patiently until they turned up to take him. He'd got a few swings in before Ronon had disarmed him; one straight in the torso for Myers, who'd been first through the door, and another at Stackhouse as he'd pulled it out and heaved it round, randomly hitting the soldier midarm. He'd never found out what had happened to either; he doesn't really care, he's mostly curious. He knows full well that isn't normal but he's changed from barely caring, to not giving a damn about social standards.
Shoved down against the cold hard flooring of Atlantis, he'd laughed at Sheppard and Caldwell as they'd stood over him. He'd thought they'd shoot him point blank, but the bullet never came, as easy as it would be for them to claim necessity. He'd resisted arrest, he'd probably killed Myers in the process, as well as likely maiming Stackhouse, but they weren't rash like he'd expected, and perhaps wanted. The encounter had been bloody, his memory of it blank in parts due to his rage but no one facing him had lost their head, literally or figuratively. Ronon had dealt with him quickly, forcefully, but there had been no over-the-top backlash. They'd all judged him but they hadn't acted on it, there was no cowboy court style execution. He'd been sent home.
He's had all sorts of tests and treatments, none of them working - there is no cure. They've put him on suicide watch, but that's about all. He doesn't know what he'd have to do to get them to do him off, he doesn't care by now but he rather hopes they might do that. He even managed to kill a guard when he'd arrived, a fluke; security is now tighter than ever, and all they do is mention subtly how ingenious he is, them trying to open him up with the strange brand of flattery, it's textbook and he isn't exactly going to fall for that. Everyday is boring in here, his mind wasting away along with his body – he'd prefer death, his job isn't done but life inside has little appeal.
He doesn't know what they want with him exactly, but he knows why he stays in military medical care rather than get put down for murder one. They don't dare put him in a prison considering the security threat, he knows too much to muck in with the generic rabble of society. It's easier to keep him out of the public eye, the case all hush hush, if he's here under their control. But as to why he still exists, why they don't just do him in, a great big conspiracy to cover this up... he thinks he knows their failing, their sin.
They want to believe he can be sane and good and decent again, that they can fix him, but he knows it won't happen. He accepts it won't, cherishes what he has, who he is. They despise him, but not enough to stop believing he can change. It's essentially the same mistake Simpson made. Thinking people aren't brutal, that everyone wants world peace, love and understanding.
They know they probably should put him on whatever equivalent there is to death row for the insane with top secret knowledge, but good people don't do that kind of thing, and that's what separates them and him. He does what he believes necessary, even if his views of the world aren't quite the same as everyone else's, and they won't do that because they want to cling to the idea they're better than they are and it does them a disservice. It's why and how he managed to get away with picking people off one by one, no one wants to ask the tough questions even when the answers are right there in front of them. They don't want to make the tough decisions in case they're wrong, and that's the cost of being good and proper. The really bad people of the world are those who can help but stand by idly doing nothing, ignoring or simply not paying enough attention to the truth of what's going on.
Whatever he's done he knows exactly why; he stands by his decisions and all the consequences of them. Nothing goes unpunished, be it in life or death, pure chance or a perfect consequence, a culmination of all wrongdoings. He could never let himself turn a blind eye to what has gone on, yet they have, for their own benefit; to preserve their sense of decency, the illusion of being that much better than him. But he sees through it all and he laughs at them. They'll be judged, if not by him or themselves then by someone else sometime else. There is no escape from your past, it leads directly into your future. All you have are choices; how to react, how to deal with it.
He likes to think, for all his sins, he did good, or at least no worse than those who ignore theirs – that he's made up for their sins by his. No one believes him but he really doesn't need their reinforcement or approval, he's learnt to live without it, without caring what others think because they never thought much of him. Though he hazards a guess that they might think of him more these days and there's some small amount of pleasure felt at that, even though it misses the point. He did it all to save them, to make things better for everyone, and like everything else he's done they'll never see that, never recognize who he is, but then again, he doesn't need their recognition, either. He only wishes he could see the fruits of his labor, how he's helped, but that's another price he pays. At least he knows Atlantis is better off, even without him. He's played his part.
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