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[ so you think you're a leader ]
Everybody thinks Bates is an asshole, and yeah. He is. He likes it that way. Keeps people away. Keeps them in line.
He doesn´t have to play buddy buddy with some grunt whose gonna turn around and complain and whine about being put through the ringer in a public forum. Doesn´t have to smile at people he doesn´t think deserves it. Doesn´t have to work on keeping the image of a nice guy.
And the thing is, they´re stuck here, and some stupid flyboy little shit got a job that wasn´t his to get because the panties in charge thought rank meant right.
So Sheppard´s a Major, yeah. So that means Bates has to call him sir. It means Bates has to stand at attention and do what he´s told and not make a peep about what his opinions are or aren´t. Means he can´t say he thinks Sheppard is a lazy, loose, wild-canon slacker who can´t even comb his hair right much less lead this mission.
Doesn´t mean he can´t think it. Showing respect and having it are two totally and wholly different things. If Sheppard can tell the difference between the way Bates looks at him and the way Ford looks at him, it doesn´t matter. Bates is an asshole. He´s just like that.
Because the thing for Bates is, nobody knows who the fuck this guy is. Nobody knew anything about him before he sat down in that chair except that he flew helicopters to and from destination a and b, and that he likes ferris wheels. Hell, Bates learned that the first time he flew with him out from McMurdo. Seven months after that the only new thing he knew about him was that he had the gene.
And this is important, what they´re doing here. Because they´re stuck. They´re stuck, and they´re probably never going home, and maybe in the grand scheme of things they´re just blips on the radar, but inside Atlantis. Inside these walls, this is important. Their safety. Their wellbeing. Their happiness. They don´t have the luxury of knowing that if the Wraith come here, they can tuck tail and run, so the name of the game is stay the course.
So the guy in charge has to be the guy in charge, and Sheppard doesn´t have it. The proverbial it’. The thing that says you listen to what this guy says because he knows what he´s talking about. The thing that says this guy´s been in the shit and made it out alive more times than you´ve even had nightmares about, so shut the fuck up and fall in line or get the fuck out.
Sumner had it. Bates had known that from the moment he met him. Bates has it too. He knows that like he knows his own name. Sheppard? Sheppard doesn´t have it, and probably never will.
It´s just a fact. He´s too nice. He´s too funny. He´s too willing to be your friend. A leader can´t be a friend, a leader can´t be your shoulder to cry on, and that´s what Sheppard is. The first thing he said to Ford when they got back from the mission that got Sumner KIA was are you alright.
That´s not a leader´s first question. A leader´s first question is what´s next.
He´s a good guy, Bates´ll give him that. There was no question in Bates mind whether or not Sheppard should or shouldn´t have killed Sumner there. Bates would´ve done it himself, because he knew Sumner. He knew Sumner and he knew what Sumner would have thought, and that would´ve been that a leader can´t be weak. A leader can´t be a withered husk.
So maybe back on Earth, back on the base, maybe Bates would have liked Sheppard. Maybe he would have had a beer with him, traded stories of Afghanistan, because yeah, Bates was there too. Maybe back on Earth, when they were just two guys in a big group of nobodies, Bates would´ve actually respected him.
But here, Sheppard isn´t what they need here. Sheppard´s all about the guilt of having woken up the Wraith and trusting a woman he barely knows because maybe she can kick some ass and maybe she knows more about this galaxy than anybody else. Sheppard´s all about being one of the guys, and that´s just not gonna cut it, not out here.
He needs to not give a shit how what where when or why this is happening, just that it is, and that´s what it is now, and what are we gonna do about it.
So Bates thinks he should be in charge. Thinks he´s the man for the job. Doesn´t just think it, knows it. Because he wouldn´t be listening to Teyla, wouldn´t be taking her out on off-world trips and letting her see their inner workings, and he sure as shit wouldn´t be taking that loud-mouth scientist that doesn´t know the meaning of covert on them either, no matter how big his brain.
But he´s not in charge, and that´s what it is. This is his situation. This is what he has to deal with it, and just because it´s not right, it´s not how it should be, doesn´t mean it´s okay for him to shirk.
So he stands up straight and he salutes a man he doesn´t think he should be because that´s what he does. He calls him sir and he keeps his mouth shut every time he wants to tell Sheppard just how badly he´s fucking things.
Because Bates has a job here, and that´s what he´s going to do. Weir did one thing right since getting here and that was putting him in charge of security. So he does that. He secures them. He tells Sheppard Teyla is trouble, and he tells him why, and if Sheppard doesn´t like it Bates keeps his mouth shut so he won´t tell him where to shove his pissy little hurt looks because this is his job. This is what he gets to do, this is what he´s here for.
He´s not here to make friends, he´s here to make sure they stay alive.
So everyone thinks Bates is an asshole.
Now ask him if he gives a shit.