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11 January 2011 @ 09:31 pm
Silhouettes - 1/1  
Title: Silhouettes - 1/1
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: John Sheppard/Elizabeth Weir
Spoilers: Takes place sometime after The Real World, veers off into AU from there.
Summary: Partial AU. When John breaks quarantine he ends up just as trapped as Elizabeth.
Notes: Many thanks to hihoplastic and cartography for constantly listening to me whine and appeasing me. ♥

She stands on the cliff that overlooks the ocean, smiling wryly at the memory. He comes up beside her. "So this Scotland?"

"As well as I can remember it," she replies, turning back to him with a sigh. "We can go back and look at the busty blond from high school if you want."

He blushes, because they both know he never intended to show that in this sharing of memories they've been doing. Already she's much more attuned to manipulating the nanites and channeling exactly what she wants to show and what she doesn't.

"How long have we been here?" John asks.

"I don't know. You said I was only out for five hours when you touched me? It felt like months. Who knows how much time is passing out there." She glances at him, and he sees the accusation. She hates that he broke quarantine for her. It took him telling her Pi to the twentieth digit and various other mathematical facts for her to even believe he was who he said he was - and he's not sure she's completely sold on the idea even now.

"I'd do it again," he announces, in one of those moments he knows he should shut up but can't.

She lets out an exasperated sigh. "I know. But you shouldn't have. Now we're both trapped here."

He shrugs, unrelenting in his opinion. He stares at her and as his usual emotions towards her roll in his stomach they're suddenly in his room on Atlantis, except the walls around them are all steel.

It's a crappy metaphor for wanting to protect her and get into her pants and he hates it.

She glances at him and, without a word, changes the setting so that they're standing in the SGC.


They don't talk about how he found her.

They don't talk about how he told her to run and then he was gone, or how they both thought she woke up and he was free of nanites. They don't talk about that clicking moment where they both understood - undoubtedly - that they weren't in the real world.

They don't talk about how, when they figured it out, they both wound up in the mental hospital that was her original hell.

They don't talk about the month they spent there, or how close they came to giving in, or how it wasn't until John was dragged forcefully away from her that she screamed so loudly she literally shattered the building around them.


"And this would be?"

"My bachelor pad," he grins at her, waving his hand around the house. "Or at least the one I had when those fog aliens tried to kill us."

She moves to look at some photos perched on a counter, including one of Ford that he must have subconsciously placed there. As she picks up the picture it changes, mutates into the moving faces of all those they lost on the expedition. She remembers all of them.

"Sorry," she murmurs.

This place makes the guilt feel heavier when they have nothing else to think about. The subconscious is becoming significantly less sub and more conscious, and he wonders sometimes if the nanites killed them and this is just his own personal hell.

He motions through the window to the pool below. "You know, I have a pool."

She raises an eyebrow at that. "Oh?"

"Yes," he nods, "and there are a few rules." He pauses dramatically and she keeps her eyebrow raised at him. "Bikinis only."

"You only wear bikinis?" she retorts, the corners of her lips quirking upward in amusement.

"Not what I was thinking about," he pouts.

"If I'm in a bikini I expect you to be in a Speedo. That's only fair."

"Fair to who?" he whines. "Bikinis are perfectly acceptable swimwear."

"So are one-pieces."

"You're no fun."

She rolls her eyes and, to his surprise, in the next second she's in a black bikini. It's respectable, but he can see her legs and stomach and cleavage and it's so much more skin than he's ever seen on Elizabeth. He can't help it when his jaw drops.

She smiles brilliantly at him. "You shouldn't make rules you can't handle."

He knows then that, no, if she's there it's never going to be hell.


"I wish you weren't here," she says quietly as they walk the halls of the Louvre, and the words make his chest tighten.

He turns to look at her and hates the fact that she looks so strong but he knows just how close to crying she is. She spent months telling him that their people would get them out of this. That they would get back to Atlantis. Even her optimism has its limits and he's pretty sure she's given up. Without Atlantis, he isn't sure what they have.

"But I'm glad I'm not alone." Her hand grabs loosely onto his and he feels what she's feeling, all that she's feeling, and it makes him take in a sharp breath.

"We'll get out this," he says, barely a whisper, because he feels like someone needs to hold up the torch of hope.

She smiles sadly at him, as if reading his thoughts. "You don't have to protect me."

"I'm not," he argues, voice becoming more heated. "We don't leave people behind, right? They're going to save us."

"What if they can't? I thought the nanites were taking me over and winning when you grabbed me."

"Well, obviously that changed."

"John... what if we don't wake up?" And there it is. The question neither of them has been willing to acknowledge until this moment.

He knows this is when he should say something profound and moving, something that will make her find her hope. He wasn't lying when he said he was never good with profound.


"We could ascend," she offers, days later while they're standing inside the Pantheon after a completely unrelated pause. "That way we could always go back, or-"

"No," he says quickly. She frowns.

"Why not?"

Because it's giving up, he thinks. The last time he seriously considered ascension he was attached to a bunch of pansy Ancients and he thought that his people had forgotten him, left him.

"Maybe you can ascend," he says, "but I can't."

She frowns. "John, you probably know more about ascension than any of us-" the sentence makes her pause. "Than me," she reiterates, not including the rest of Atlantis and stepping out of 'Dr. Weir' mode.

"Yeah, sure, if 'knowing more' is knowing that you sit around doing nothing all day then just... 'release your burden,'" he says. "Whatever that means."

His voice is rougher than he intends, and she, of course, picks up on it. She stares at him for a long moment before mentioning something about the architecture around them.

She doesn't bring it up again.


"That's not what he said at all!" John argues, waving his hand at the movie in front of them. Elizabeth rolls her eyes.

"Then fix it yourself!" She tosses a few pieces of popcorn at him in exasperation. He smirks and catches one in his mouth.

They're sitting in the Mustang he had as a teenager with a huge outdoor movie screen in front of them and a showing of Ghostbusters. Neither of them remember it well enough to have it even close to the actual movie, but it's not really about that anymore.

They've been stuck for almost a year and they're rapidly running out of things to do, which leaves arguing over movie lines.

It's easier than arguing over whether or not they'll ever get back to Atlantis.


It's Christmas, and they only know because Elizabeth has kept a calendar of the days as they pass. They're on Atlantis and he isn't sure if it's a Christmas gift or a punishment, but it is much easier to decorate the gateroom when you think it and it's done.

He finds her in her office, her hand skimming the top of the desk. He leans against the door frame and lightly rasps his knuckles against the glass wall and her head jerks up as if there's anyone she's going to see but him.

She bites her lip lightly, and he knows in that moment she did expect someone else. She expected Rodney to come in and whine about Zelenka, or Caldwell to come in and tell her the latest from Earth.

This is why they don't go to Atlantis often.

"John." She steps towards him with a small smile, her hands in her pockets as she moves to lean on the door frame opposite of him.

"Hey, we can go make snowmen," he points out with a wide grin.

"You're just going to start a snowball fight," she replies in amusement.

"Aw, come on, a snowball fight would be awesome!" he argues, shifting on his feet like a child who can't hold still.

She lets out a small laugh and leans her head forward. A strand of her hair falls in front of her face and without thought he reaches out and tucks it behind her ear. She blinks at him and looks up, and he looks up too and notices the mistletoe that now resides over them. "Oops," he offers with a slight blush, "how'd that get there?"

She laughs again.

And really, it's mistletoe, so he can't help it when he kisses her.

She's warm and soft under him and for just a moment he forgets about everything else. Her hands move to his face and rub against his skin. Her body molds perfectly into his. He doesn't ever want to let her go.

She pulls back first and lets out a small oh of surprise. “John,” she says, because he isn't looking at anything but her. He looks around and realizes that he's moved them to his bedroom.

“Oh, um,” he licks his lips. “I just had to... get my Johnny Cash poster... for the decorations...”

“You had to get your Johnny Cash poster for the Christmas decorations?” she asks, her eyes narrowing at him. He nods.


“Oh,” she says, and there's an awkwardness to it that's beyond endearing.

"Okay," he says, jumps off a cliff, "didn't really want the poster."

"I kind of figured that out," she offers, jumps with him. He moves closer to her, more on instinct than anything else, until his face is practically touching hers.

She bites her lip and pushes herself up to peck him on the lips. She pulls back before he can react but the kiss is enough to make him lean down and kiss her again.

Behind them, his bed gets bigger and the end of it knocks into them and send them tumbling onto the mattress. She springs up and back down and breaks out into laughter.

He wants to hear that laughter forever.

He thinks, as long as it's there – as long as she's there – he can deal with forever.


They try to allow other “people” into their world. First Rodney, then Teyla, then Ronon. They try to spend time away from each other, doing their own things.

“This isn't right,” Elizabeth tells him quietly. “It isn't them.”

“Yeah, it's kinda weird,” he agrees. “Although I did enjoy beating Teyla and Ronon at sparring.”

She shoots him a skeptical look. “Hey, it could have happened!” he says.

“Right, maybe when you were a super bug-”

“Elizabeth,” he whines. “We agreed not to talk about that.”

She smirks. “We agreed they would be realistic.”

“They can't be, they're not real.” John shrugs. She nods.

“Just us, then.”

“Just us.”


"Do you regret it?" she asks quietly. She stands behind him with her hand just barely touching his shoulder.

He sits in an alley with an alcoholic buzz and a bloody fist that he pummeled one too many times into the brick wall. It hurts like hell only because she insisted everything stay real. If he's honest, that's why he punched the wall in the first place, just to feel. To wonder how something could be so real and so completely fake at the same time.

It's philosophy John Sheppard style, with a bloody fist and an angry yell.

“What if you're not you?” he slurs. The hurt on her face almost makes him take it back, but he's beyond the point of caring.

“You know I'm me,” she says quietly. They've shared a lot, and he does know that he could never imagine the things on Earth that she's show him, things the nanites don't even know about.

But he wishes she wasn't. He wishes he was alone in this fucked up world of nothing. “I wish you weren't here.” He throws her words from ages ago back at her. Her hurt melts into understanding, and he hates that too.

“Come on John,” she says softly as she pulls one of his hands in hers. They wind up in D.C. in her old apartment. She gently bandages his hand. There's no point in it, of course, if he wanted he could just make the cut go away. But he doesn't, and she doesn't let him just keep it either.

Her hands are cool against his skin and he closes his eyes at the sensation, almost blocks it out, but he can't. He can't ever block her out. He leans forward and kisses her sloppily, feels her breath hitch and dampness on her cheeks that seeps into his skin.

The guilt hits him hard and he pulls her to him and just holds on. “Sorry,” he breathes against her skin. He couldn't save her, can't save her now. “I'm so, so sorry...”

“It's okay John,” she says, but her voice is as broken as she is.

“I don't,” he says, so quietly he isn't sure if she heard until she pulls back slightly so that their faces are only inches apart. “Regret it,” he clarifies. “I'd do it the same way again.”


“Because you're here.”


They sway to an old, mangled waltz. Her head rests against his shoulder as she softly hums along with it.

“Romantic,” he accuses. She laughs softly.

“John, I've been around no one but you for years. It's a miracle I haven't strangled you,” she says.

“You wouldn't dare,” he says. “You're a pacifist, and besides, I'm awesome.”

Her hands wraps around the back of his neck and he can feel her smile against his chest.

“It's only violence if you hit a real person,” she says. “I also think that perhaps your opinion of yourself is a little...”

“Correct?” he asks.

She laughs. “I was gonna say inflated, actually.”

“Well, I'm not... inflated yet, but if you want that-”

She slaps his arm and he grins widely. “You're an eighteen-year-old.”

“You love it,” he says.

She lets out an exaggerated sigh. “I suppose.”

He kisses her and she feels his growing “inflation” and laughs. He frowns at her. “That's not the reaction I was going for, Elizabeth.”

“Oh, I'm sorry,” she offers, not sounding at all apologetic as she kisses him. “I was just temporarily deemed hysterical by how much I want you.”

He laughs, and kisses her back. “Well, okay then.”

Her hands slip into his waistband, and really, his thoughts pretty much cease when that happens. She smiles against his lips and he can't help but smile back.


It takes three years and ninety-eight days for Elizabeth to break down completely. When he wakes up he's in a house he doesn't recognize and within a second he appears by Elizabeth's side.

She's sitting curled tightly up on a couch and her body is shaking. When she lifts her face to look at him her cheeks are tear-streaked and her breathing uneven. “I can't do this.”

He has no idea what to do. He's been living in his head... or hers... or however it works and yet he still has no idea what to do. He's never been good with crying women. Elizabeth crying is especially baffling.

He swallows and moves to sit next to her. “They're coming.”

“No, they aren't,” she says.

“Elizabeth, it's gonna be-”

“John,” she says. He stops. “Don't. Don't do that... just... don't. No more lies.”

He looks down at the floor.

“Why are we still here?” she murmurs quietly.

“Maybe they just haven't figured out-”

John. We both know it isn't right. If they can't get to us, why haven't they pulled a kill switch?”

He wants to lie. He wants to kiss her and feel her weight under him and make her just stop thinking. She's better than that, though.

“I don't know.”

“What if...” she pauses, looks away from him. “What if they're testing us right now? What if they're studying the nanites?”

“They wouldn't do that,” John says.

“Wouldn't they?” she demands. “We studied a Wraith.”

“That's different-”

“How? What if they don't know we're still in here John? What if we got shipped off to be studied?”

“No,” John says, absolutely sure. She looks at him with wide eyes and he knows she wants to believe him. “Elizabeth, our people wouldn't do that. McKay wouldn't let that happen.” Elizabeth looks skeptical. “Okay, so he's not great with words and people, but Teyla wouldn't let it happen either. Carson would pull the medical card if he had to.”

She nods slowly, takes in a shaky breath. “Then... why are we still here?”

“I don't know,” he answers honestly. She throws herself at him, wraps her arms around his chest and he can feel her tears against his shirt. Slowly he rubs a hand up and down her back and listens to her as she sobs.

“Where are we?” he asks her as he tucks a strand of hair behind her ear.

“My parents' old house,” she replies. “My mom sold it after my dad died.”

He has no idea what to say, but he doesn't think Elizabeth needs words so he just tightens his grip on her. She lies against him until eventually her breath evens out and he knows she's cried herself to sleep.

He kisses the top of her head and just holds her.


She lies against his chest and he takes in the familiar warmth of her as they look at the stars above. He looks up at them and rearranges them into a clear picture of Scooby Doo.

She laughs when she sees it. “John, stop it.”

“It's a perfectly good cartoon, Elizabeth.”

A shooting star flies past. “Make a wish,” John says.

She turns to face him and he sees the sadness on her face, knows what she would wish for. Then she smiles at him, and the lie makes his heart ache.

“I wish that your hair was more manageable,” she says, running a hand through it.

“Elizabeth,” he whines, “you can't say your wish!”

She grins and leans back against his chest. He kisses the top of her head. Later, he sees more than one shooting star.


They're in a park and he makes it into a picnic. "This is too much food," she says.

They don't usually eat, there's no purpose behind it anymore, but she doesn't know that what he really wants is to start a food fight. That's why there's no less than five types of pie spread out on an elongated picnic table.

"It's a picnic, Elizabeth," he says, as if that answers her question.

She frowns at him, no doubt already picking up on the fact that he has ulterior motives.

"John, I really don't think-" she pauses. Her eyes widen.

There's a brilliant flash of light and she's gone. Not just gone from the picnic but gone.

He can't feel her, can't find her and that hasn't happened since they first broke the nanites' control.

"Elizabeth?" he yells, though he knows she can't hear him.

Did Atlantis finally get to her? What if the nanites got to her? What if she's dead?

The trees around him die.


John spends a week alone, then another and another. Eventually he starts to drink all the fake alcohol he can imagine, until Rodney shows up and stares at him. "What are you?" he asks. "A bad country song? Do you want me to get your ex-wife and a dog here too?"

"Don't want you here," John slurs. "No fakes."

"Well obviously you do or I wouldn't be here, would I? Although getting me and not Elizabeth is a little... bizarre, to say the least." Rodney frowns and scrunches up his nose. "What is that smell? How you can smell in a false reality?!"

"Elizabeth is gone," he mutters. "Can't fake her."

"Yes, that's adorable," Rodney says, amazingly condescending in any form. "You know, we could go shoot something. Or you can keep mentally killing your liver. Whichever."

John frowns and stumbles to his feet. "Fine. Get me a gun."

"Like this? Oh, that's brilliant," Rodney mutters.

Another month passes.


John is alone.

Not just alone, but lonely.

For the past few years of his life he hasn't talked to any of his friends, he's had no one but Elizabeth, but never once has he felt lonely.

Now it's overpowering.

"Are you moping again?" Rodney demands.

John groans. "Why are you here again?"

"So you'll stop with the soliloquies," Rodney says. "And because clearly you need a genius around to help you figure things out."

John rolls his eyes. "If you're in my head doesn't that mean that you're calling me a genius?"

Rodney balks. "What? No! Of course not! Clearly some of my genius just soaked into your subconscious!"

"Right. That's logical," he says. Then he sighs. "You're not coming, are you?"

"You do know I'm not really me, right?" Rodney asks, avoiding the question all together.

"Not what I asked," John says.

"Maybe I saved Elizabeth with my genius," Rodney says. Then, quieter, "Or maybe-"

"Yeah," John cuts him off. "Or maybe." He won't say dead, not when it relates to this. She was infected with the nanites first, if anything went wrong... he stops the thought before it can fully formulate.

"But it is Elizabeth," Rodney says. "Maybe she's negotiating with the nanites."

John snorts. "Maybe."


"John," the voice comes to him quietly while he's sitting in a puddle jumper in the middle of space. (He doesn't need it, but she insisted on truth in this world and he won't break that.)

He thinks, at first, that he's imagining it.

"John," it comes again, louder. "Rodney" is asleep beside him. He gets to his feet and moves to the back of the jumper to see Elizabeth, dressed in full-Ancient garb and literally glowing. He blinks.

"I didn't make you," he says.

"You didn't," she agrees. "I'm me. Well, more or less."

"What does that mean?" he asks, eyes narrowed.

She smiles, but it isn't happy. "More than I was here, less than I was in the real world."

"You ascended," he says.

"Yes," she agrees. He turns away from her because on the one hand she got away and she's ascended and if there's one place he can see Elizabeth being that isn't Atlantis, it's the world's biggest library. On the other, far more selfish hand, he's still here.

"You can too," she says, and he wonders if it's just how well she knows him or if she's actually reading his mind. "You've always been able to, you know it. Come on, John, it's time to leave."

"I'm not you," he says.

Elizabeth moves closer to him until her forehead is pressing against his and he feels her, in the same way he felt Chaya before but this is Elizabeth and it's all of her and then there's something else.

When she pulls back from him he stares at her, and when she won't look him in the eye he knows.

"You can't stay."

"I shouldn't be here to begin with. There are... a lot of rules."

"See, that's something else I can't get behind."

"We can go back, John," she says. "We can descend."

"But we won't remember anything, right? If we do that?"

"Our bodies won't be able to remember our time ascended-" she begins.

"But we won't remember this," he says, more insistent than he usually is because she doesn't have much time and there's a chance this is the last time he'll ever see her.

"I don't know," she answers. "But this isn't life, John."

It isn't, but she is.

"Aren't you supposed to know everything?"

"No one knows everything, knowledge is fluid," she says, then rolls her eyes and lets out a groan.

"Been hanging out with those ascended guys, huh?" he guesses.

"They get a bit annoying," Elizabeth sighs. "Which is why you need to ascend, to keep me from becoming a walking fortune cookie. We can decide the rest later."

"Elizabeth," he says, struggles, hopes her name alone can convey everything he's feeling. "How did you ascend?"

"I was thinking about it for awhile, then something you said made it all sink in," she says, cryptically in a way that fits an Ancient and not her.

"Something I said while we had a picnic?" he asks skeptically.

She smiles. "Yes, I-" then she jerks her head and looks up at the jumper's roof as if there's more there. She closes her eyes. "I have to go. We have to go."

She leans forward and kisses him, and he feels a spark of something and then... nothing and everything.

It's indescribable and when he opens his eyes and pulls away from her he knows they're not in the other reality anymore. This isn't real either, not in the sense of hard and concrete living, but it isn't fake or manufactured.

"You ascended me," he says.

She grins. "Just helped a little."

He narrows his eyes. "You cheated."

"Well, I'm technically only allowed to talk to other ascended beings. Which, you are now, so that follows the rules," she replies.

"That sounds a lot like cheating, Elizabeth."

"Someone taught me that, sometimes, that's okay."

John frowns. "I'm not going to start talking in riddles, am I?"

"Only if you want to."

"What now?" he asks.

They could descend, go back to Atlantis. They could spend more time ascended and learning, although that seems pointless. He could haunt Rodney. That seems less pointless.

"I don't know," she replies. "But it's our choice now. We'll figure it out, always do."

It isn't the false optimism he's seen for years, (a year? months? a month? he supposes time is a thing of the past now,) and that, more than anything, makes him hopeful.

"Alright then," he agrees, with the universe at his fingertips and Elizabeth at his side, "let's figure it out."
Current Mood: chipperchipper
smb_books: Sparky Returnsmb_books on January 12th, 2011 03:04 am (UTC)
Wow, this is amazing. I should be a lot more verbose about this, but I just keep coming back to amazing. Great visual imagery. Pacing is good, J & E are in character. Really enjoyed this and looking forward to more - thank you for sharing this! :-)
Alytenacious_err on January 15th, 2011 01:03 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. :)
Little Red: sga - sw want - magnavox_23mylittleredgirl on January 12th, 2011 05:10 am (UTC)
Awwww. The ending is so sweet! :) I love the emotion in this, and I have a really longstanding kink about John getting drunk and despondent when he's working out his issues, so that made me extra happy. This entire thing is lovely. Great job!! :)
Alytenacious_err on January 15th, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
Haha, ngl, I also have that kink so I quite enjoy getting John drunk from time to time to work through his angst. I'm glad you liked it, thanks for reading! :)
(Deleted comment)
Alytenacious_err on January 15th, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
Aw, I'm sure he can have an ascended food fight now. And annoy all the other ascended beings. ;)

Thanks for reading!
Halima: Λ we've been through a lot togethercartography on January 12th, 2011 10:47 am (UTC)
Alytenacious_err on January 15th, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
Halima: Λ all that matters is right nowcartography on January 15th, 2011 12:47 pm (UTC)
southernred2: return1southernred2 on January 12th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
This is a great twist on TRW. I was always hoping to see more results of John's reckless actions but just figured TPTB didn't want to prolong the Sparky. Bastards.

This would have made a great second part to that episode.
Alytenacious_err on January 15th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. And yeah, I always felt the same way. I mean there was so much potential there, but they just finished it when time was up. Jerks.
Andy: yellow_heartankareeda on January 14th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Awwwwwwwwwwww, that was absolutely sweet and touching! Wonderful idea! ♥♥♥ Amazing work!

She blinks at him and looks up, and he looks up too and notices the mistletoe that now resides over them. "Oops," he offers with a slight blush, "how'd that get there?"

*giggles* Oh John! ♥
Alytenacious_err on January 15th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
Heee, thanks! Glad you liked it! :)
Vicky: [Atlantis] Sparkyvickysg1 on January 14th, 2011 05:13 pm (UTC)
Awwww!! That was amazing! Lovely fic! I love the idea of them be stranded in this reality together, and then ascending!

Perfect, really! If only...
Alytenacious_err on January 15th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
☮ + ♡ + ☺: sga - e; loved you in the morninghihoplastic on January 16th, 2011 04:54 am (UTC)