lunabee34: (sga: sparktober by quiet_jay)
[personal profile] lunabee34
John/Elizabeth
1165 words
Rated G
Written for [livejournal.com profile] sparktober and angstier than the title suggests



“It is a great honor,” Teyla says. She has that pinched look on her face, the one that means she’s already steeling herself to be embarrassed by her new allies.

“I understand completely,” John says. “Why is it an honor again?”

Teyla sighs. “Because, Major, when a world is culled, more than just lives are lost. A people’s history, their stories vanish as well. The Wraith would wipe us out as if we never existed.”

“So this festival is a way of preserving the culture of culled worlds?” Elizabeth asks.

“Not just culled worlds but all worlds. If stories are shared, they cannot be forgotten.”

Elizabeth smiles, and John is grateful that after everything they’ve been through these past months, she can still find joy and wonder in their new home. “In that case, we are deeply honored indeed to perform the first play of the evening,” she says. “Although, I can’t help but notice—and this isn’t a criticism, Teyla—but this play seems rather . . . rudimentary.”

“It was written by a child,” Teyla says. “The only survivor of his world. He remembered none of the stories of his people, so the only story he could tell was his own.”

Elizabeth says, “I see,” and then she’s back to looking pensive again. John wishes he could permanently rid her of that facial expression. “I’ll ask for volunteers,” she says. “We’ll be ready in time for the festival.

@@@

“Rodney,” Elizabeth says, and John can hear the fondness underneath the exasperation. “I don’t think locating security recordings of Wraith in the city’s database will help with verisimilitude in your performance. Just be . . . menacing, okay?”

Rodney says, “Like this?” and puffs his chest out.

“Just like that, buddy,” John says and tries not to laugh.

On the makeshift stage behind them, Miko Kusanagi says in a tiny voice, “I am Vestin’s sister. My name is Lelli. I like to play with dolls.” Miko picks up a doll and rocks it in her arms. John would laugh at her as well if he thought she wouldn’t get her feelings hurt. She looks ridiculous. Rodney looks ridiculous. John can’t see himself performing, but he's pretty damn sure he looks ridiculous too. This play is going to be a disaster, and John is starting to wonder if “The Last Days of Vestin” is the Pegasus equivalent of hazing the newbies.

“This isn’t going so well, is it?” Elizabeth says softly, coming up behind him.

John tries to think of something positive to say. He knows how desperately Atlantis needs allies in this galaxy, and he knows how much reaching out to other cultures means to Elizabeth. He scrubs a hand over the back of his neck and looks up at her through his eyelashes. “I’ve seen worse.”

“Where, John? Where?” she says and then giggles behind her hand. The sound warms John down to his toes.

“Okay, you got me.” They watch Rodney lumber back and forth across the stage, back and forth, back and forth, each time trying a different facial expression. John had no idea Rodney could open his eyes that wide without hurting himself. “We’re so screwed,” John says.

@@@

“Are you ready?” Elizabeth asks John as they wait in the wings for the play to be announced. She’s dressed in a simple tunic of rough, brown fabric belted at the waist. Her feet are bare. John thinks she looks absolutely beautiful.

“As I’ll ever be, I guess.”

From the stage, Teyla says, “I introduce to you my friends, the people of Atlantis, performing ‘The Last Days of Vestin.’”

Ford takes the stage. He’s dressed like Elizabeth, and he holds a crude slingshot in his hands. “My name is Vestin,” he says. “I live on Valar. I have a mommy and a daddy and a sister.”

Elizabeth, John, and Miko take the stage as Ford calls out each of their roles.

“My mommy is pretty. My mommy makes salmutis for us to eat.” Elizabeth mimes rolling out dough and cutting it into shapes on a roughly hewn wooden table. “My mommy loves me,” Ford says, walking across the stage and hugging Elizabeth. He dwarfs her, and the whole thing should look silly, but it doesn’t. John thinks about how many kids in this galaxy have pretty mommies who love them and how many of those mommies are likely to survive now that he’s woken the Wraith.

“My daddy fishes,” Ford says as John casts an invisible net into an invisible sea. “My mommy loves my daddy.” John walks over to Elizabeth and hugs her. She feels warm and perfect in his arms. He pats Ford on the head. “My daddy loves me. My daddy loves my sister.” John feels a lump starting to form in his throat. “My mommy is having another baby.” John puts a hand on Elizabeth’s belly, his palm splayed wide, his hand trembling. When he looks at Elizabeth, he’s startled to see tears running down her face.

“I am Vestin’s sister. My name is Lelli. I like to play with dolls,” Miko says. Ford sits down beside her and takes a second doll to play with.

Ford says, “One day the Wraith came to Valar.”

The remainder of the play is silent. Rodney comes onto the stage, his blue eyes wide in his face but not ridiculous looking at all, two spots of color high on his cheekbones. He looks stricken. He puts his hand on Elizabeth’s chest, and she crumples to the ground. John tries to protect Ford and Miko, but only has time to hide Ford. Rodney puts his hand on Miko’s chest, and he puts his hand on John’s chest, and then he stands in the center of the stage with his head bowed until someone pulls the curtains closed in front of them.

“Oh, god,” Elizabeth sobs out, and John rushes to her, takes her in his arms. Her tears soak the collar of his costume, and he slowly runs his hands through her hair, over and over again, as her body shakes. Rodney hasn’t moved. Miko clutches both dolls in her fists and cries silently, big tears welling up in her eyes and running over. Ford sits hunched on the floor, his head in his hands.

Suddenly, the curtain opens again, and Teyla walks through her teammates and down to the edge of the stage. “The people of Atlantis grieve with us—for Valar, for Elaban, for Athos and for all worlds the Wraith have laid bare. Let us welcome them to our galaxy.”

John looks out at the audience, at that sea of grim faces, many with tears in their eyes, and watches them transform—watches smiles and laughter return, sees the welcome they will offer the expedition. He holds Elizabeth close to his heart for as long as he can, and when the moment has ended, he takes her hand and walks with her to meet their new friends.

(no subject)

9/10/12 02:40 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] amore-di-libri.livejournal.com
OMG! Way to leave me crying. I was so not ready for that but it was beautiful. And I haven't read an SGA fic for so long, I'm glad I'm getting back into it with this one. Thanks.

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