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24 January 2005 @ 02:55 pm
Atlantis vignettes (post-"The Eye")  
Soooo... because my muse was absent without official leave for a while, I decided to issue myself a vignette challenge. I got a semi-randomized list of episode titles from a bunch of shows that I have been obsessed with over the years -- the Star Treks, Babylon 5, The X-Files, etc. -- and started trying to write an Atlantis vignette inspired by each title in order.

Ended up that they started in "The Eye", and I have a feeling I'll keep going for the second half of the season since there are plenty more episode titles on the list (but since these are self-contained vignettes it's not actually a WIP and no one can threaten my life! YAY!).

I'm sharing because driftingatdusk and rosewildeirish told me to. :)

Anyway. Unbeta'd. Read and enjoy or... don't. :) Comments and suggestions are totally welcome. Spoilers only through "The Eye" for this set of them and 'tis John/Elizabeth UST.


- Duet -

John counts off the kill shots and thinks about Kolya.

Six. Seven.

He has only heard a voice on the radio -- cool, older, a slight accent. He can't picture what his opponent looks like, and when he tries to his mind torments him instead with images of Elizabeth, defenseless and afraid at the point of a gun. Dead and broken on her office floor.

He can't think about her, so he thinks about the Genii commander, makes sure his kill count is higher than his. There are only the two of them involved.

He loses his exact count at the Stargate. The bright flashes against the shield are too fast to count. He fires on the control console and ducks for cover and doesn't look at Elizabeth's office because that is where her body will be, and for a second he thinks those quick Genii deaths aren't painful enough to make up for what has been lost.

Just for a moment as he stops outside the control room and gasps for air, he wavers. Elizabeth is in his mind, sick at his callous thoughts and unable to recognize him. She isn't -- wasn't -- about this. The thought only makes him more angry.

He estimates. Fifty against the shield, maybe fifty-five. Sixty-three, total.

Until this is over, Elizabeth is just a number.

"Kolya, I'm having a hard time keeping up. What's the score again?"

His opponent is shaken, slips with his words, and just like that, she's not dead anymore. Elizabeth's voice is all but torn away by the wind and immediate danger and he wants to reach through the radio and hold onto it forever.

It's not about Kolya anymore.


- Necessary Evil -

After the seige, after the storm, after two hours of watching her calmly draw up a repair schedule, he finds Elizabeth shaking on the floor of her quarters.

John had a reason to come here at 0200 after the longest day of his life, something about how they're going to handle the obvious Menarian information leak, something that really doesn't have to be touched on until after they've both had a good night's sleep.

When she doesn't answer her door chime he forgets all about the Menarians and his other prepared excuses and overrides the lock with a burst of panic. Irrational images fill his mind for the three seconds it takes to get through. The nurses missed something, a dire injury that has left her unconscious and bleeding on the floor of her bedroom. One of the Genii escaped the massacre and was waiting for her to finish what Kolya had started. The whole end of the day was a hallucination and she's still captive, still in danger, still dead.

Elizabeth starts in surprise when the door opens but doesn't attempt to hide that she's crying. He's still terrified, still running on adrenaline and rage, and her wide, tear-filled eyes push him right past the point of propriety where he would apologize for barging in and ask if she'll be all right. He's on his knees next to her before he realizes what he's doing and wraps his arms around her like he can physically absorb her hysteria into his body.

She's the one who turns his awkward embrace into a proper hug. Her sobs are loud in his ear, uncontrolled, and her fingers dig into his back like she's afraid she'll be swept away.

He has no words, can't work even a simple "It's okay" over the boulder in his throat. He's shaking, too, holding her tighter when he remembers everything he couldn't let himself feel at the time. The city could have been lost. He was alone against an invading force. McKay was a hostage. She was dead.

He presses his lips to her hair, breathes in the persistent smell of salt water. He didn't fail her.

Elizabeth's breathing becomes easier and her death grip on him relaxes completely, like she has no muscle left to her. After the sobs quiet, she pulls herself up to sitting. She still looks unstable so he helps her move a few feet over until her back is against the side of the bed.

She doesn't apologize for the emotional scene. He should get her a glass of water, he thinks, or a handkerchief, but he's unwilling to shake free the hold she still has on his hands. Quiet tears are still streaming over her cheeks, but she doesn't acknowledge them.

"I don't know how you do it," she says, and suddenly he isn't sure if she's crying because she was terrified within an inch of her life today or because so many other lives were lost and she was helpless to prevent it.

He doesn't explain to her that they're not people when he kills them, just moving targets. "That's why you have me here," he reminds her. "To handle the barbarians at the gate."

She pulls one of her hands free to swipe at her nose. "It must be hard for you." Her words are tight and she's searching his face for something, some kind of reassurance that he doesn't know if he can offer her.

He has never had to explain himself to someone who didn't understand before.

He can't say he's sorry, either. Not when the alternative means that she isn't here to feel so badly about it.

He tells her the only thing he can. "It's necessary."


- Past Tense -

John has been dreaming a lot lately, but not about the Genii.

He dreams about Afghanistan, but like it's happening now. Ford is there, and Teyla, and Colonel Sumner for some reason. He begins the dream each night convinced that Elizabeth is missing, has been taken hostage, but none of the others know who she is.

The violence was more chaotic then, less us-against-them and more of a deseperate free-for-all where you could only pray that every grenade you threw wouldn't land as friendly fire. It was worst on the ground. The air was no less confusing, only a bit more detached. The kills seemed cleaner from that altitude, like a flash against the 'gate shield.

When he wakes up, he showers and dresses and wanders through Atlantis to ground himself in reality. More often than not, he runs into Elizabeth on his travels. Even on nights when he doesn't find her in her usual haunts -- the control room, the balcony, the mess hall -- he suspects she's awake somewhere.

She looks tired all the time now. He doesn't think anyone else has noticed.

The next inhabited planet he visits has a teeming marketplace. In a back corner, near another vendor who McKay thinks might be sitting on some valuable technology, is an old woman in red.

"This will cure you," she says out of nowhere, handing him a box of loose herbs. "In tea, this lulls the demons to sleep."

McKay gives him a strange look when he buys it.

"Smells like peppermint," is his excuse.


- Face of the Enemy -

Sora looks small and fragile inside her cage, like the young farmer girl he thought she was when they first met.

He asks her the usual questions, about her people's plans and advantages and strategic positions. She gives him the answers willingly, but perhaps that's because she knows as well as he that the Genii operation will be almost unrecognizable now after so many of their best soldiers were lost.

She has not once asked to be released.

Elizabeth comes with him once and asks what steps Sora would suggest they take to negotiate an end to hostilities. The prisoner says the same thing that he's told her a hundred times -- that no peaceful arrangement will be good enough.

"Nothing short of total Atlantean surrender will satisfy my people now. Perhaps not even that."

Elizabeth leans closer and uses the same voice he heard her use with a crying Athosian child who had just banged a knee on an unexpectedly slippery staircase. "Don't you want to go home?"

Sora doesn't answer, but looks at him like she expects he will understand.


- Past Tense, Part II -

At 0400 they have the mess hall to themselves.

"Tell me about your dreams," he says, toying with the edge of a reusable tea bag made from a square of cloth and a piece of string.

Elizabeth frowns. She doesn't give pieces of herself away that easily. It took an act of God for him to even find out her birthday, a bit of crucial intel he's holding in reserve.

"What makes you think I'm having nightmares?" Elizabeth Weir is rarely coy, and this is perhaps as close as she gets.

"You can't tell me you're awake at this hour for the company."

She smiles. Her eyes narrow just a touch like she's thinking something snarky -- more and more he suspects that she always has something biting on the tip of her tongue, held back only by years of diplomatic training -- but to his surprise she gives him a direct answer instead.

"I dream about what could have happened when the Genii were here, mostly. You?"

Tonight it was Kabul again, a mission gone bad, only Teyla was the one in the cockpit next to him and there were gale-force winds outside keeping him from reaching his target.

"Me too."

She reaches across the table to squeeze his hand, gently, a show of friendship and sympathy that she's allowed to offer as a woman and a civillian, and he realizes that's what he was hoping she would do.

His fingers thread through hers without his consent, his thumb brushing the soft skin of her hand until she offers him a tired smile that makes his heart do something unexpected in his chest.

Part of him starts to panic.

---
 
 
feel: worriedworried
hear: "we are" - ana johnson - it's all smish's fault
 
 
 
רותם שחר (Ro)roothekittykat on January 24th, 2005 12:29 pm (UTC)
those were great! they were all absolutely wonderful!

though, I think Necessary Evil was my favorite :D

will there be a Past Tense 3?? ::looks hopeful::
Little Red: sga - love of a hero - lizmylittleredgirl on January 24th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC)
Heee! Thank you! :)

And no, there won't be a past tense 3... for these are based on episode titles from other shows and "Past Tense" was only a 2-part episode ;) But there may be more tea-drinking in their future since I *do* plan to write more vignettes, so we'll see :)
(no subject) - roothekittykat on January 24th, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mylittleredgirl on January 25th, 2005 06:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
Human Collaborator Flunkie Pool!fic Muse: J/E - SOSjoyfulfeather on January 24th, 2005 12:33 pm (UTC)
*reads and adores all of them*

Especially love Duet and Past Tense (both parts). Also, very cool to include Sora in one of them.

You should definitely keep doing this!! Little Red vignettes for every episode would be awesome. :D
Little Red: sga - s/w do sex - unrehearsed_mylittleredgirl on January 24th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC)
*squeeeeeee* Yay!!

I'm not sure if I liked Sora on the show or not... I mean, I did in that I squeaked "Sora!" whenever she was on-screen, but... yes, well, whatever. But the fact that she's still on Atlantis is COOL and should be somehow exploited. After I first saw "The Eye" I had a horribly angsty plot bunny about her... somewhere in it John totally does sex with her but only because Lizzie won't have him. 'Twas very bizarre, and has not yet gotten beyond the "wtf?" stage of my creative process ;) But she really is too hot a guest star to not have done *any* of our male leads.
Rose Wilde-Irishrosewildeirish on January 24th, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC)
Very nice! More, please!

"Tell me about your dreams," he says..."What makes you think I'm having nightmares?"
Oooh, that's telling. Dreams don't usually mean nightmares.

Little Red: sga - gimme hope lizzie - nostalgiamylittleredgirl on January 24th, 2005 01:55 pm (UTC)
Oooh, that's telling. Dreams don't usually mean nightmares.

*nods* Definitely. But they both know that's what he meant... and it *is* rather telling of Elizabeth to let that slip. I mean, despite the Sobbing Ball Of Mess that she was in one of those vignettes (for which I think her Very Bad Day kind of absolves her!), she's pretty careful about what pieces of herself she gives away.
Christidaisycm83 on January 24th, 2005 01:35 pm (UTC)
You are wonderful. So are these.

Duet was nice and all shaken up and determined!Sheppard. I loved Necessary Evil though, because they can and should comfort each other, because Weir doesn't have to be emotionless to be an effective leader and really, that should be focused on more often.

I love that you used Sora, too. I hope the show does in future episodes.

And Past Tense, Part II? That last line is brilliant.
Little Red: sga - love of a hero - lizmylittleredgirl on January 24th, 2005 02:01 pm (UTC)
because Weir doesn't have to be emotionless to be an effective leader and really, that should be focused on more often.

I totally agree, and I think that her civilianness really allows her to not have that annoying SamScullyJaneway chip on her shoulder. I don't, however, mind that she seems to be a fairly private person on-screen... because it's possible to be that without having metric craploads of issues. But if she *does* get honestly emotional in front of someone... I think any apology she would make or shame she would feel, if any, would have more to do with decorum than the fact that she worries she has Lost Everyone's Respect. I think she's smarter than that. I love the non-issue that her being a woman has been so far on this show. :)

And Past Tense, Part II? That last line is brilliant.

*giddy bouncing* I think that line sums up the way I view this pairing and why I am so damned in love with them. YAYYYYY. :)
Danielledivinejoker on January 24th, 2005 02:29 pm (UTC)
*kisses Little Red's feet*

I think your muse should take unexpected vacations more often if you get these little beauties in return.

*squishes mylittleredgirl*
Little Red: sga - love of a hero - lizmylittleredgirl on January 25th, 2005 06:26 am (UTC)
*is squished*
Yay! :) And... I'm really glad you liked them! It's weird to me to write things that don't totally feel like me, at least not while I'm writing them. So I'm psyched that it still worked!

And, gawd, John and Lizzie are so hot together they really will write themselves if given the chance ;)
stexgirl2000stexgirl2000 on January 24th, 2005 03:07 pm (UTC)
I like. A lot. Mmmm, angst and dreams...
Little Red: sga - wet!john/lizzie - shewaselectricmylittleredgirl on January 25th, 2005 06:27 am (UTC)
Yay! Thank you. And mmm indeed... angst and dreams are niiiiiice fic toys.
pellucid: s/w the eye (made by liz--thanks mylittlpellucid on January 24th, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC)
Oh God! Gorgeous!!! First of all, ditto to everything everyone has said. "Necessary Evil" is totally the post-ep scene I wanted to see--absolute freaking out followed by resumption of status quo with a bit more unspoken understanding. And the woman with the tea! And yes, the last line of "Past Tense, Part 2" is brilliant!

*bows before your muse and then clings ridiculously* ;)
Little Red: sga - love of a hero - lizmylittleredgirl on January 25th, 2005 06:31 am (UTC)
"Necessary Evil" is totally the post-ep scene I wanted to see--absolute freaking out followed by resumption of status quo with a bit more unspoken understanding.

I agree... and also, which I don't think I managed to get across as well as I wanted to in this, was the idea that Elizabeth really enables John to have the totally necessary emotional freakout himself... because she's not one of the guys, and so there's no reason to feel weird about her being all "ACK OMG *CLING*!" and in comforting her he gets to go through his own thing that he really wouldn't have done otherwise.

And the woman with the tea!

There should be more random sages running around the Pegasus Galaxy, I think.

*clings back* YAY!!

also: ICON TWINS!
Melody: ElizabethWeir By Nostalgia_ljpellmelody on January 24th, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC)
Still Your #1 Fan
Once again, I bow and marvel at your writing. What a very cool idea with the episode titles!

*kneels and genuflects, banging head on concrete*

I SOOO needed that. After all the discussion in the yahoogroup, and my own little happy fantasies running round in my head after seeing it on TV (You know, I TELL these people, who tell me how stupid I am for downloading episodes, that it really isn't the same as watching it on TV, but they don't believe me) and catching things I missed while watching it on my computer, this was soooo wonderful.

Elizabeth frowns. She doesn't give pieces of herself away that easily.

Yup, this is Weir in a nutshell. She guards her heart and her personal life, perhaps in fear that, to make any real committment she might lose something of herself in the process; or as her line of work has dictated over the years, she's afraid of giving promises she can't keep and hurting someone. Maybe both. God I love her. :)
Little Red: sga - s/w - mediemylittleredgirl on January 25th, 2005 06:59 am (UTC)
*babbles*
What a very cool idea with the episode titles!

I'd say a good 3/4 of my stories have titles ripped from Star Trek episodes *anyway*... so this seemed a logical next step :)

*kneels and genuflects, banging head on concrete*

Um... please be careful with that. *pets you and fetches ice*

(You know, I TELL these people, who tell me how stupid I am for downloading episodes, that it really isn't the same as watching it on TV, but they don't believe me)

I was totally surprised by how true that is!!

She guards her heart and her personal life, perhaps in fear that, to make any real committment she might lose something of herself in the process; or as her line of work has dictated over the years, she's afraid of giving promises she can't keep and hurting someone. Maybe both. God I love her. :)

OMG ME TOO. I love that she's... like, sane. These are totally normal issues for a person to have, and are not taken to a ridiculous or crippling extreme where you start to wonder how she gets out of bed and comes to work every day. And with such things, it's even possible to imagine that it's just her personality to be more reserved and doesn't spring from a Horribly Traumatic Event. SO much Lizzie!love. Just... so much. :)

I've been thinking about how I have her as so unapologetic for the unusual emotional outburst in "Necessary Evil"... and maybe that doesn't work for her character. *shrugs* I think it falls under her practical side -- they were her quarters and it's not like she really imposed herself on him or lost her shit in the briefing room or whatever. Plus, what's done is done. But it's possible that him seeing the underside of her shell for that moment would subtly change the dynamic between them and how much of her he gets to see. (hopefully, eventually in a naked way!)
Re: *babbles* - pellmelody on January 25th, 2005 11:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *babbles* - mylittleredgirl on January 25th, 2005 01:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *babbles* - pellmelody on January 26th, 2005 09:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *babbles* - mylittleredgirl on January 26th, 2005 10:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *babbles* - pellmelody on January 26th, 2005 11:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
señora beaverhausen: [ csi: ny ] in my arms I'll catch yousombras_azules on January 24th, 2005 04:15 pm (UTC)
my muse was absent without official leave for a while

I may have "borrowed" her for a bit. Sowwy. Ignore all those whip scars on her back.

Wish I watched that show, cause I miss reading your stories :(.
Little Red: xf - msr original 'ship - liminallizmylittleredgirl on January 25th, 2005 06:35 am (UTC)
*hugs* Yeah... I think our television interests have totally diverged. :(

Ignore all those whip scars on her back.

I noticed those! I thought they were cosmetic.
NEXT TIME I'M IN CHURCH, PLEASE NO PHOTOS: don't try and deny it anymoredaygloparker on January 24th, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
*loves on "Past Tense II" so, so much*
Little Red: sga - s/w do sex - unrehearsed_mylittleredgirl on January 25th, 2005 06:48 am (UTC)
*squeee*

Thank you. This whole "UST" thing is new for me... ;)
Nikenikej on January 25th, 2005 02:41 am (UTC)
squee
She reaches across the table to squeeze his hand, gently, a show of friendship and sympathy that she's allowed to offer as a woman and a civillian, and he realizes that's what he was hoping she would do.

*melts into a pathetic happy puddle on Multimedia Lab floor*
Little Red: sga - love of a hero - lizmylittleredgirl on January 25th, 2005 06:48 am (UTC)
Re: squee
Heeee!! I have melted you with SQUEEE.

*loves you*
a universal sigh: SGA - S/W - side by sidenaushika on January 25th, 2005 07:08 am (UTC)
*ded from squee*
Little Red: sga - s/w - mediemylittleredgirl on January 25th, 2005 09:20 am (UTC)
*pokes body tentatively*
spacefiend: Sheppard/Weir - Homespacefiend on January 25th, 2005 09:20 pm (UTC)
oooh. Very, very nice! I like!

must write more!!
Little Red: sga - love of a hero - lizmylittleredgirl on January 26th, 2005 06:36 am (UTC)
Thanks! *smiles at your icon* I will indeed have to try...
anr: sheppardweir momentsanr on January 28th, 2005 01:42 am (UTC)
*loves you so, so much*

There just aren't enough words to explain how wonderful this is (sorry!) so I'll just point out this:

His fingers thread through hers without his consent, his thumb brushing the soft skin of her hand until she offers him a tired smile that makes his heart do something unexpected in his chest.

and SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE like a mad-woman because hand-holding is so my fic-kink!
Phrenitis: Fandom Hurtsphrenitis on February 10th, 2005 01:54 am (UTC)
Until this is over, Elizabeth is just a number.

Well frell me senseless that's a bloody brilliant line. And, of course, that last line had me lifeless for a while. But that one's already been mentioned and you don't get mucho praise for it until you've exploited your talent by writing more vignettes.

And the flakey must end. Much too good to withhold from john_elizabeth community. Even with flake excuse.
Little Red: sga - cute when sick - duckadorkmylittleredgirl on February 10th, 2005 02:39 am (UTC)
Well, it wasn't *just* flakiness... I wanted to see if I really was going to write more before I posted it anywhere with people I didn't really know. But I guess because they're vignettes it's not *really* a WIP (I have learned THAT lesson!).

And YAYYYY I'm glad you like that line! Because I like it too. And as much as I love the idea that John was all OMG ELIZABETH IS DEAD right from the beginning of that episode... I don't think he really had a chance to think about it until she was suddenly alive again. Thank you so much!

Gah. Bedtime. But vignettes! Soon! :)