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Mature People!

Title: Memory
Author: Ky (Venom_69)
Fandom: Atlantis
Category: Post-ep. Angst. Romance.
Pairing: John/Elizabeth.
Rating: Mature People.
Summary: Set after “The Real World.” Based on spoilers and speculation.
Archive: My site. Anywhere else, sure, just let me know where so I can come visit.
Disclaimer: Don’t own them, never will. Promise to put them back in the state I found them. Song’s not mine either. That belongs to Barbra Streisand.
Author’s notes: Written after a conversation with my beautiful girl, Vale. This was supposed to be smut, but I just couldn’t work it in to this particular fic.
Date: 13/07/06
Copyright © to Venom, 2006


Memory, all alone in the moonlight
I can dream of the old days
Life was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again


"Never back down." He tells her seriously, patting her hand as he leaves the infirmary.

Elizabeth stares at the white sheets for what feels like a lifetime, waiting until the Doctor – Carson, apparently – tells her that she is free to leave and re-familiarise herself with the city.

He pats her hand too, calls her ‘love’ and says her office is a good place to start.


A man angrily punches the glass window in her office and it shatters into tiny pieces. Soilders move in, ready to protect and defend her. She waves them away.

She is not frightened.

It’s going to start getting dark soon and Elizabeth has been sitting in her office for God only knows how long. Hours ago, she opened a game of solitaire and stared at it for a while. She opened a few files, but didn’t have any more luck with them, either.

Eventually, she gives up.


Another man asks her if she’s working late. She shows him the game on her screen and they both smile.

John’s words still swirl around her mind, his soft voice dancing like tendrils of comfort through her over-worked brain, but they aren’t enough to chase away the shadows that move through her office and her mind.

Stop it, Elizabeth, she tells her self sternly. You stopped believing in the Boogie Man years ago.

But it doesn’t help.

She still jumps when a new shadow moves across the walls or floor – the people walking past her office must think her mad – and she still questions everything.

Is this real?

Am I crazy?

Were they right?

Elizabeth doesn’t know exactly which ‘they’ she is referring too – Carson or Dr. Fletcher – but the only thing that she knows for certain right now is that she doesn’t really trust anything that she knows for certain.


The man that punched her office window passes her a cloth bag. Wishes her happy birthday. He gives her a ceramic pot.

It sits on her desk.

She has to get out of here.

When she is back in her room – or at least back in the room that they tell her she sleeps in – she can let her confusion show and re-examine everything she owns as though she were a stranger. She can look over any personal possessions that she finds with wondrous eyes without fear of judgement. She walks with renewed vigour at that prospect.

"Never back down." The mantra repeats over and over as she gets closer and closer to her haven.

The details of her life in Atlantis are sketchy at best. The details of a – supposedly – fabricated life on Earth are fresh in her mind. She remembers the painful phone call that she received, the sound of a kind man’s voice telling her that her fiancé had died.

She remembers their home, their life.


“I’ve met someone, Elizabeth.”

She doesn’t turn around, but she has to blink several times before her eyes are completely clear.

She is sad, sorry, but there is a part of her that wants to respond, “So have I.”

Carson tells her a little of her ‘real’ life, but only when she probes.

What does she do? Lead the expedition.

Where does she sleep? She has quarters in the West Wing.

Is she alone? Not exactly.

But he doesn’t elaborate on ‘not exactly’ and no one else seems to know anything.

She can hear voices down the corridor. One of them is male, arrogant.


There is a man next to her, yelling to another man that holds a gun. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not but I am an extremely arrogant man who thinks that all of his plans will work!”

She knows that they will be saved. She knows that there is someone else here in the city that will save them and she trusts him to do so.

The name ‘McKay’ comes into her head and she smiles a little in triumph before ducking through the first room that opens.


He’s worried about her.

John doesn’t understand a thing she’s been through – none of them do – but he’s worried about her.

Watching her, when she was unconscious, her eyes fluttering rapidly behind closed lids, he had wondered what she was seeing. Was the world that she created in darkness a better place to be? Was that why she hadn't woken when Carson said there was nothing really stopping her but her own mind?

She spoke a little of what she experienced, enough to convey her confusion and discontent. But when she looked at him, clearly unable to recall who he was, John knew without a shadow of a doubt that whatever kind of fantasy world she'd created had not been a pleasant one.

Now he doesn’t really want to know what she saw.

He’s been sitting on his bed for the past 5 hours, attempting to read page 256. It’s only when he tries to read the same sentence for the umpteenth time that he thinks he should just go and see her. There’s a temptation to call her on the radio, but aside from the fact that anyone could hear them, John’s not sure that she even remembers how they work.


When his door opens without a knock, John looks up in surprise to see the object of his thoughts standing in the entrance to his room. Elizabeth appears equally surprised.


He is walking towards her. Greenery surrounds them. He is not wearing his uniform, his clothes are casual and she thinks of a farmer. There is something else though…

“The beard is interesting.” She tells him, smiling.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize…”

“It’s OK.”

“I heard McKay’s voice and I didn’t want to…”

“Liz, it’s fine.”

A delicate eyebrow rises. “Liz?”

“Elizabeth.” He amends with a flush. “How are you?”

“Good. You?”

John ignores her question and stares at her intently. “How are you really?”


She is being held, tightly, being pulled backwards. She’s frightened. John is across the room, aiming his weapon.

“You will hurt Doctor Weir.” Her captor taunts.

John doesn’t blink. “I’m not aiming at her.”

“I’m going crazy.” She admits quietly, her breath coming out in a rush. “I’m questioning everything. Is that really what I want for lunch or did one of the Doctors in my mind tell me that’s what I want? Do I wear the red shirt or is it blue I’m supposed to be in? Do I live in the East or the West wing? I’m going crazy!”

“Of all the people here,” John replies just as quietly, folding his book closed and rising, moving to stand before her. “You are the least crazy.”

“Then why am I jumping at shadows? It’s like being a small child again and waiting for the Boogie Man to pop out from under the bed and get you. I don’t know what’s real; I don’t know what I trust.” Elizabeth sighs, rubbing a hand across her forehead.

“Didn’t you once tell me to trust what you feel?”

“I don’t even know what I feel anymore.” Elizabeth replies sadly.

She doesn’t really remember telling him that, she's not even sure she knows his surname.


She remembers that she likes to sleep in boxer shorts with little grey aliens on them. They are too big for her, but they make her feel comforted.

The same boxer shorts that are neatly folded on the end of his bed, strangely...

"What are you?"

John blinks, seemingly unfazed by the question. "Human."

"I mean to me?"

Ah. "A lot of things."

"Such as?"

"I'm your friend. Your standing Thursday lunch date. Your second in command. Your military leader...." He pauses, unsure of himself.


She is lying in a bed, naked under the warm blankets. There are arms firmly around her stomach, a solid body behind her own, pressed against her back. The smooth skin pushes against her steadily as the owner of the chest breathes in and out.

She feels safe.

"My lover?" Elizabeth offers, her expression neutral.

His voice is quiet, eyes downcast. "Yes."

So, she thinks, This is what they meant by 'not exactly.' “Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because you've been through a lot in the last week. You didn't need to feel pressured from me for... anything."

"That's sweet." She smiles, a little. "Are you always like that?"

John flashes her a lop-sided little smirk. "Yeah."


She is pacing, agitated. Her thoughts are chaotic and restless, she is unsure.

“We don’t have to keep doing this, you know.” John tells her.

His words are sincere, but she sees the sadness in his eyes and the thought of not being with him scares her more than the thought of people finding out. “Yes,” She replies firmly. “We do.”

“How long?” She asks.

“Almost a year.”


She is looking under the bed. Searching, her eyes dart across the empty space. “I know it has to be here somewhere!”

A hand taps her on the butt. “Stop trying to ruin the surprise Liz, you only have to wait another few weeks.”

“Do I live here?”

“Not officially.”


“Are we going to tell them?” She asks quietly.

The waves are crashing against the sand. They are not in the city, she knows, but on the mainland. Athosians pass by them occasionally, but don’t appear to notice the lovers. He is leaning against a tree, arms around her as she rests between his legs, watching the golden sunset.

“That’s up to you.”

“I like having you to myself.” She admits.

“I can live with that.

It’s the strangest question, but… “Are they mine?” She asks, nodding towards the boxer shorts.

John smiles and she feels a little flutter somewhere low in her belly. “No… but you like to tell me that possession is nine tenths of the law.”


“Aren’t they mine?” He asks. The amusement in his eyes is clear.

“They were.”

He tries to argue, but she has ways of making him forget.

“What happens now?”

“I don’t know.” John admits honestly, gesturing for her to follow him as he returns to his place on the bed.

Elizabeth is unsure at first. It’s likely that she’s been in this bed hundreds of times before, but it was different then.

She was different then.


They are lying in bed, bodies entwined. She is fighting to catch her breath, still shuddering and panting as his fingertips trace soothing patterns across her back. “You OK?” He asks.

She imagines other men asking that. She imagines their smugness, their arrogance and haughtiness, their ego-laced inflections. She doesn’t hear any of it in his voice. “Let’s never get out of bed.”

“Works for me.”

She sits.

“You could talk about it… if you like.” He offers.

“I’m not sure where to start.”

John takes her hand gently. “Just tell me whatever comes to mind.”


She arrives home.

It’s been a long, stressful day and all she wants to do is curl up with her boyfriend, a book in her hand and her dog nearby.

Opening the door, she sees the living room bathed in candlelight. The dining room table is set with their good china, soft tablecloth, flowers, more candles. Soft music plays, instrumental, but she can’t hear it over the pounding of her heart.

There stands her boyfriend.

He smiles at her, waits until she is standing before him, and bends down to rest on one knee, looking up at her.

Elizabeth remembers being proposed too. She remembers saying yes and she remembers the meal that they shared afterwards, how they danced, made love.

But she can’t quite remember his face. His features, usually so distinctive, are distorting in her mind, morphing into the features of the man that sits beside her.

Quietly, as the sun sets outside of the window, she tells John about the memory while he strokes her hand.


She is shocked, numb. “You OK?” He asks.

How can she be? She wonders. The answer is honest. “No.”

“You will be.” He tells her firmly, taking her hand as they turn and run.

She will be OK.