Genre: AU romance
Word Count: ~84044
Warnings: mentions of other relationships
Notes: Many thanks to betas dossier, mecurtin, enviropony, (who lent not only her sharp eyes but her expertise as well) and mirabile_dictu.
Summary: John Sheppard finally accepts the title to Pegasus Farm after ten years of working in Europe and South America. When he meets prickly horse trainer and former Olympic hopeful Rodney McKay, he falls hard for him, while John's friendship shakes up Rodney's life, making him want to take chances again. When his old friend Teyla Emmagan is left homeless after a betrayal shuts down Athos Circus, John invites the tattered remnants of the circus troop to come and stay with him. He begins to turn Pegasus Farm into a home, and put the ailing farm back on the equestrian map, but soon discovers that rejecting an offer to buy may put them all in danger.
I love Know How To Fall. It's a lush and sweeping romance set against Pegasus Farms that twists between sweet and heart wrenching. Auburn's research is fantastic, and the equestrian details really come alive; I've read it five or six times, and I get something new from it every time. John, Rodney, Teyla and Ronon are wonderful, very much the people we're used to seeing on screen, despite the fact that they're all transplanted into the completely AU setting. They aren't the only ones, the casting spills across two series in hilariously perfect ways. Pegasus Farm is as much a character as the people, I kind of want to go and live there right now.
The black stud was right up at the fence now, inhaling John's scent and watching him. The horse shook his head a little, parting a long, tangled forelock, and sidled closer. John had always been able to sweet talk horses. He stayed where the horse could see him and his movement easily.
"Yeah, I'm going to find some tack and get out here in the morning," John promised them both. He'd bring carrots and apples too, not being above bribery. "You and I are going fly."
He'd still swear he knew that name…Rodney snapped his fingers and began digging through a pile of magazines until he found one with a shot of three polo ponies and their riders on the cover. The number four rider on the brown horse had sped between two defenders and hung to the side, his mallet just contacting the ball to hit it toward a goal. The cover article was on the pro riders of the polo circuit. The nine and ten goal handicap superstars were all interviewed, but the picture was of John Sheppard, who had an eight goal handicap and rode for a team supported by an oil-rich Argentinian named Reynaldo Vega. When he wasn't on the polo field, Sheppard was riding event horses in Europe for several other wealthy South American owners. Jesus. The guy probably drove Formula One on weekends, dated supermodels, and stood in for James Bond on the weekends. It had to be the same guy.
"That's it." He waved the magazine at Elizabeth. "That's him."
He urged Spats faster and took the angle Anne had mentioned as they approached the panel fence preceding the in-and-out. Spats never hesitated. He lofted over the fence on the wider diagonal. At the height of the jump, Rodney felt the muscles in Spats back flex as he arched to lift his hind feet high and clear the top and he couldn't help the grin that bared his teeth. They landed and raced for the in-and-out faster than anyone else had, but with the space to make it work, no fumbling to fit in an awkward extra stride or clearing the first part just to tangle in the second.
Her hands tightened on the wheel as she realized the truck wasn't going to pass or slow down. The county road didn't offer much in the way of verge. The blacktop crumpled into dirt and ditch with no place to pull off. The first trickle of fear slid down her spine. Teyla pushed her foot down on the accelerator.
The old truck jerked forward, the frame shaking as she fed it gas and worked the stick and clutch. The whole body jolted as the abused and worn-out transmission finally shifted with an ugly clunk and the stressed-out engine began to rattle and cough, but it tore down the road. Her purse slid off the passenger seat and spilled over the floorboards. Teyla felt every pot hole and ridge as she sped down the road. The broken spring in the seat poked her with every bounce. The speedometer crept twenty, then thirty miles faster than the speed limit. Much too fast for the state of the road.
"How did you get here?" he demanded. "Days before Christmas? And who let you in?"
"I climbed on my broom and flew," Jeannie replied. "Some teenager opened the door and showed me in. This place is a maze. Mer…"
He stared at her, easily reading the worry and exhaustion in her eyes. "You didn't need to come."
"Oh Christ," Rodney whispered. "The barn's on fire."
He cut the connection to Lorne and hit the speed dial for the fire department and began talking as soon as it picked up. "This is Rodney McKay at Pegasus Farm. There's a barn fire. There's intruders and they've lit one of the barns. There are horses and people inside."
The Bonus Soundtrack
Know How to Fall
Camptown Races - The Duhks
Black Sheep Boy - Okkervil River
The Sound of Settling - Death Cab for Cutie
The Circus Is Leaving - Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
World of Bees - Guy Blackman
This is Me - Girlyman
These Are Your Friends - Adem
Merry-Go-Round - Antje Duvekot
Ride With Me - The Lemonheads
Go Down Easy - Over the Rhine
Black Pear Tree - The Mountain Goats & Kaki King
All the Pretty Little Horses - Caroline Herring
A Voice to Calm You Down - Anna Ternheim
Goodnight Trouble - Sarah Slean
Fiery Crash - Andrew Bird
I Go to the Barn - Band of Horses
Just Some Guy - Anthony Rapp
Home - Edward Sharp & The Magnetic Zeroes