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SGA Fic: By This Time Next Year for daygloparker - tranquility... best achieved in chaos
SGA Fic: By This Time Next Year for daygloparker
Title: By This Time Next Year
Rating: PG
Category: John Sheppard/Elizabeth Weir. Angst.
Spoilers: Vague ties to season four.
Disclaimer: Owned by others. Pay them.
Written for: daygloparker who requested Atlantis-related business in a foreign country, Weir speaking another language, and a misunderstanding of some kind. And I threw a little of prompt two in there for good measure.
Author’s Note: As always, ceruleantides and eleventh_moment keep me honest and have my thanks.
Summary: The devolution of rules and regs.


“Everything that we are now
Is everything we can't let go
Or its gone forever, far away
I hope tomorrow is like today”
-- Guster, ‘I Hope Tomorrow Is Like Today’


In the end, she dies anyway.


It doesn’t start with a handshake (even in Antarctica they had never been so formal, so familiar), but after the first day there’s loss (and fear, but they knew to mourn when they could) and they’re as good as partners this side of the galaxy after all.


They last, for the most part, longer than she expects; survival born out of instinct and nowhere left to run. Atlantis is home now, more often than not, even as their grasp on the city slips.

The Pegasus Galaxy is a numbers game, sometimes “nine days past,” or “the twelfth at sunrise”. It’s archaic, but sufficient, and she steps in to negotiate every “month’s half” at the trading colony on M4G-112 for the ZPM they so sorely need.

They converse in Russian, or a strange dialect of Russian that seems to have evolved from Slavic roots and then been warped by the influence of Ancient.

“I speak in my own words; you talk as you like,” she says to him, this Russian blend rusty, knowing he doesn’t understand.

But he learns.


Somewhere in all this, he becomes John to her more often than Major. Maybe it’s an accident, probably not.


She is confined to Atlantis (minus the handcuffs but invisibly tethered nonetheless) when the village is threatened by close wraith proximity. It’s a usual risk, if not a constant one, but John is adamant, and she has learned to trust his instincts, the warnings in his file from Earth be damned.

He returns empty-handed (dirty and pale, wounded but alive), the village abandoned and ZPM gone; a month’s regret following.


After Kolya, because she’s not okay, not when it’s raining and water runs cold enough to freeze her completely, John takes her to the range and gives her a down and dirty “load, lock and fire” demonstration.

It’s a precaution, if nothing else.

“Dying,” he says, “is still inevitable.”

She misses every shot but one; it hits the upper quadrant (the target flutters, paper whispering in the bullet’s wake), it would be nothing but a flesh wound, and still he smiles.


At the year mark (Atlantis time, of course; Earth is just a word now, used infrequently, meaning less; the distance between them is great), he takes her to see the planet from the vantage point of space. Against the endless black, their world is an incredible shade of blue, the kind that looks painted and surreal and if she reaches just a little further she’d be able to touch it.


On Earth, they fly to Germany and Russia and meet with the families that have been left behind.

The weight of words she must leave keeps her awake at night, and she walks away from the widows and parents knowing the experience was worth the risk, but wondering, really wondering, if she believes it.

John takes over in Russia, and she knows it’s no easier for him; there is depth behind “duty” and “served” that is clear even with the Ancient-influenced dialect. She doesn’t ask (his file is incomplete, but then again, so is hers), and he doesn’t explain.

They stop for coffee, tuck into a booth in the back and he gives her a glance that she’s sure she would have understood on Atlantis.

“We are here on business,” John says in answer to the waitress’ question. “We work together.”

Only he uses a nuance that implies intimacy, and she doesn’t bother to correct him.

The waitress blushes and leaves.


She is armed with experience in political negotiation and international trading alliances and a handgun, tucked cool and metallic against her back.

And when she is forced to shoot (they come from nowhere, materializing at her left, and when she looks for John, he isn’t there), she does it unwaveringly, load lock and fire and with none of the finesse he’s taught her since. Her aim isn’t perfect, but the shots fly true, and John’s face is white by the time he makes it over to her.

It hits her then, not the killing (not really, not yet), but the dying, and she’s suddenly on her knees in the dirt, too shaky to stand. He’s beside her, a hand gripping her thigh, keeping her here, keeping her focused.

“Come on Elizabeth,” he says, but his voice wavers just the slightest bit, and she wonders where they are, who they’ve become, that they’ve accepted one day they may all die like this.


He finds her late at night, sitting alone in the front of a jumper, regrets on the surface but maybe something like relief and freedom underneath. It’s not surprising, really. He has an uncanny knack for being able to search her out, and she doesn’t suppose she’s made it very difficult to be found at the moment.

He joins her in the copilot seat (Ford’s seat, she remembers) and she meets his gaze, unconcerned with what it could mean.

“Dying is inevitable,” she says.

She allows him to pull her to him, gentle but firm, fingers lacing and locking and she’s caught in how everything they were before is what they can’t return to.

And when she looks back later (memories escape like a box of spilled photographs; his hand at her neck, sliding down her back, fingers tracing scars, counting ribs, his kiss strong and insistent and tasting of promise with a faint hint of failure), after it happens the first time and they’re still surviving (together now, it really is that simple) over coffee and arguments with Rodney and long jogs through the city, she understands living on borrowed time.


She dies, of course.

It was never about the if, only ever about the when.


But then again, she survives, too.

Sometimes there’s a twist (nanites or quantum mirrors or second chances that defy inevitability), and for awhile she’s stuck in the what if and how because if there is surviving against the odds, then there is time travel and miracle cures and the familiar is so close it almost hurts.

In the end (not really, because she knows how that story goes), she is Elizabeth, whole or not quite, but breathing and thinking and just starting over with that is okay.

John struggles to find the words to reassure her, slides into a Russian proverb. “Where you have lived; you are reborn.”

And he puts the Ancient emphasis in all the wrong places (where I am from, I was born, she thinks), but it doesn’t matter; he might be on to something anyway.



12 whispers :: tell me a secret
longtimegone From: longtimegone Date: January 21st, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just finished watching the whole of SGA in about two weeks, and I have some serious Weir angst. I loved reading this. Thank you for sharing!
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: January 24th, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! And I know that feeling; a little Weir angst is nostalgic. ;)
(Deleted comment)
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: January 24th, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! :)
tater_mae From: tater_mae Date: January 21st, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
WOMAN!! you kill me! all the time! ilu!
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: January 24th, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL. *loves* Glad you liked it, hon.
peanutbutterer From: peanutbutterer Date: January 22nd, 2008 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
“Dying,” he says, “is still inevitable.”


It hits her then, not the killing (not really, not yet), but the dying, and she’s suddenly on her knees in the dirt, too shaky to stand.

Chilling, haunting and beautiful.
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: January 24th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was afraid of going too bleak, but your comments are what I hoped for, so thank you! :)
daygloparker From: daygloparker Date: January 23rd, 2008 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
(First, I was not ignoring this; I was punishing myself for not having finished my own.)

HOH. MY. GOD. I love, I love I love I LOVE the way you interpreted the prompt, because it wasn't what I had in mind except it was everything. And! And! Russian and Ancient!Russian, and John trying to speak both but not really know both, and! The jumper! Elizabeth with a gun! Vaguely Replicator!Elizabeth! THIS IS A FABULOUS STORY, AND EVERYTHING I COULD HAVE WANTED AND MORE.

I love your tone. I do, I do. :)))))))))
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: January 24th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was a day away from going to anr in tears... ;)

I am so glad you liked it! Honestly, I was a bit intimidated to write for you because "go forth and walk under a brighter sky" is frickin' amazing (and your Lost fic? Three? DUDE). Oh hey, I am your sekrit fic stalker, hai! So anyway, there was lots of flailing.

BUT YAY OMG. I thought it might be fun to tweak the prompt in a way you might not be expecting. *grins*
sunny_serenity From: sunny_serenity Date: January 24th, 2008 01:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I do love the season 1 nostalgia you've conjured here. *mems*
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: January 24th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I hadn't written season one in awhile, and I quite enjoyed venturing back there again. :)
soapbox_solo38 From: soapbox_solo38 Date: November 9th, 2008 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. Wow. Reading this after all this time without Weir and the inevitable angst of her dying makes this poignant and sad and feeling like there was hope here, once, but it's faded away under everything else - and that's fine. That's acceptable.

The snippits had me wondering where the story itself was based, because I expected a full plot to emerge after a while, but you don't do that; you take individual bones and mix them all together in a way that leaves the reader to fill in the flesh, knowing something of how it should look, but not the true shape. I'm not sure I get all the implications even after a reread, but this is an amazing piece of work, and that only adds to it. *puts in Memories*
12 whispers :: tell me a secret