09 January 2009 @ 04:53 am
Fic: Lifesong (Gen: Elizabeth-centric; "We'll Always Have Pegasus" Challenge)  
Title: Lifesong
Author: [livejournal.com profile] rushingwind
Main characters: Elizabeth Weir, Lya (the Nox)
Pairing: None.
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Season 5's "Ghost in the Machine" (just barely)
Beta: The greatly-adored [livejournal.com profile] cat_latin (thank you thank you!)
Archive: No. You may link here, but don't archive elsewhere.
Disclaimer: Not my characters, please don't sue me.
Summary: There is no greater bliss for Elizabeth, there never has been. This beautiful existence is enough.

Author's Notes: Written for the "We'll Always Have Pegasus" fic challenge over at [livejournal.com profile] lostcityfound. Based on the following prompt: Elizabeth Weir and Lya the Nox - "This journey ends. Now another begins."




She can’t stop screaming.

She screams wherever she goes, flitting through the spires, rushing across balconies and through corridors. Restless and agitated, she hurries everywhere faster than her screams can follow.

The agitation isn't from anything she's doing, but from what she's not doing. It isn't what she knows; it's what she doesn't know.

People and places flash in her memory, things she doesn't remember and yet thinks she should. Some places seem so very near and yet so far. It confounds her, and makes her angry in a way she's never felt before. She doesn't understand why she's so confused, so angry, and most of all, she doesn't understand why she's here.

Sometimes she feels cold metal and anger, aggression—such terrible aggression. Ill will that screams at her and through her, commanding her to hate, to destroy, to topple everything in her path.

Other times she remembers pain, and screaming, she runs from the memory. Leaves billow within her gusts, blasts of wind that flatten all in its path. Those are times she can't see or feel at all; she's nothing but metal and steel, a whooshing wall of air too mechanical to be mistaken for a breeze.

She thinks she should know these people, these strange people who walk the city. Blue, red, yellow; those strange uniforms look so familiar. She remembers the city’s tallest spire and a shimmering Stargate within, but doesn't quite know what it all means, not yet.

I didn't choose this path! the wind cries, I didn't want this life, it wails, but it seems no one is listening.

The wind doesn’t even hear itself.






A hand reaches out to her in the cold of space. Against all odds, she’s been reactivated, her senses awakening one by one.

“Come,” the woman invites, a pleasant smile on her face. How she can speak (and how Elizabeth can hear) in the vacuum of space is beyond her scope of understanding.

Her mind is sluggish and foggy, as if emerging from a long sleep. Fatigue wasn’t a sensation she was accustomed to anymore; something she hadn’t felt since she’d been human, so long ago.

“I’m a replicator,” Elizabeth says back. “I’m a danger to you.”

The other woman shakes her head, her eyes shining brightly. “You are no danger to me.”







Millennia pass, it seems. Time crawls by, tepid and stale, one eon like the next. Her impatience has turned to anger, a blaze that consumes her.

She knows nothing now but heat and light. She can no longer soar through the city’s spires, the air no longer her element. No, now she burns; burns so hot and angry she doesn’t often find herself thinking things through.

Sometimes her anger is righteous. She burns hotter when enemies approach, how dare anyone, not my city! Then she flies again, straight through the sky in a thousand tiny streaks of heat and light. The fire burns above the city, around the city; she becomes one with the fire. Not my city.

A soft voice caresses her mind every time, ‘thank you thank you,’ and she pauses to wonder who would speak to her in her hellish fury?

"Those who would help you," another voice whispers back.

Still she burns, all understanding and reason ablaze in her mind. She's so angry.

She burns because she was left behind, forgotten by her own companions. She feels so alone, tortured and alone, and she doesn't remember what happened; doesn’t remember why she’s here all alone.

The voice, the city’s voice, the same one that thanks her whispers to her now, ‘not alone, never alone.’ Images flutter before her like whispers, pictures of a life she doesn’t remember living.

With every ‘thank you’ comes another fragmented memory, and over time her rage isn’t quite so scorching.

She was human once. Long ago, maybe even thousands of years ago, she was human. She remembers now. So much time has passed by, and she can’t believe she’s forgotten everything. She doesn’t even remember her own name, though now she remembers enough to know she had a name.

"What is the importance of a name?" another voice, soothing and calm, asks her. "What of your identity?"

She's been burning so very hot for so long she hasn't noticed the presence before now. The voice has been with her the entire time, she realizes; has been her companion through the many years. She's not been alone for a very long time.

"Your race still has learned nothing. But you have."

She still burns, though it's not as consuming. She can see beyond her own flames now. She can see the spires again; feel the warmth of people moving through the city. She streaks through the circuits, the corridors, becoming energy itself.

As her fire cools into a gentle warmth, she wanders about the city, blanketing those whom are cold. It’s important to her, but she can’t remember why, only that she doesn’t want them to be cold.

She thinks maybe this had once been her home. Maybe that's why she’s here. This place, this... city. Atlantis.

Thank you, Atlantis whispers to her, for helping keep me safe.

Atlantis' voice grows dim over time as the heat fades, leaving her with just haunting echoes of once soothing whispers.






“Where are we?” Elizabeth asks, her eyes flitting about from tree to tree. It’s a beautiful forest, with fields of gorgeous flowers beyond.

“Far from where we were,” the other woman answers.

Elizabeth follows, glancing about at the beautiful land surrounding them. She feels tired. “Why have you brought me here?”

“I have brought you nowhere,” the woman tells her, pausing to face Elizabeth. “You have come to me.”

She frowns, because that isn’t quite the way she remembers it. “No, you rescued me from space.”

The woman quirks an eyebrow, a curious smile on her face. “Is that your memory?”

Elizabeth nods, and wonders what sort of game this woman may be playing.

“Hmm,” the strange-looking woman hums, tilting her head. Thick hair falls in clumps around her shoulders, adorned with flowers. “If that is how you remember it, then it must be so.”







Fire has given way to the cold, anger turned to despair.

Atlantis takes flight, finding a new home upon solid ground. She leaves the warm spires and welcoming piers to move about the earth, seeking solace in the trees and the life she finds there.

Instead, she only finds more despair. She wants to find her memories, but there is something more, something she seeks. She doesn't even know what it is she searches for, only that she wants to find it with all her being.

She was human once. She knows this, and wants to feel human again. She wants to remember her human life, and how she came to be not-human (because somehow, even though she doesn’t know what she is, she knows she is human no longer).

A strange word begins to press upon her mind: Elizabeth. She wonders at the strange word, knows it is special but doesn’t know what it means. One day, she remembers this is her name. She can recall it now, and feels as if she’d known it all along. Elizabeth is my name.

Elizabeth wanders the cold forests in her consuming despair, becoming one with the ice and the snow at the far reaches of the world. She hears the city call for her, every so often, beckoning her to return, and one day she does. It's too hot there, so she brings some of the cold with her.

She can feel relief, joy, happiness, and so many emotions connected with Atlantis, more than ever before. There is life within, people rejoicing at the coming of cool weather, ‘maybe it’ll bring rain!’ they say.

The city welcomes her too, opening its arms to her. Come home, my guardian, it pleads.

Too many feelings overwhelm her, ones Elizabeth cannot take. There’s too much heat, too much happiness and relief. She hasn’t yet found what she’s looking for, so when the rain comes, she leaves.

She is not ready for the rain; she wants to stay within the womb of the earth for a time, and let the soft melodies of the planet sooth her weary soul.

In the stillness, she begins to piece together her human life. She remembers Elizabeth, herself, and her fate. She remembers being real but not alive; she became a machine when before she was flesh and blood.

She finds her soul to realize she has lost her heart.

The planet sings its lifesong to her, and through it she finds her own. She remembers her life, and all those she knew, and how they left her all alone, abandoned her in space with nowhere to go and no way to die.

But the one thing she can't remember, try as she might, is how she came to be here, now.






“You’re Lya, the Nox,” Elizabeth tells her. “I remember now. I met you once, shortly before I went to Atlantis.”

Lya turns and nods. “Your memory is returning.”

“Aren’t you afraid of me?” Elizabeth asks. “I’m a replicator.”

The Nox tilts her head in curiosity. “No.”

Elizabeth blinks, unsure of what the woman means. “Yes, I am.”

Lya smiles. “You have no body. How are you to be a replicator, then?”

Elizabeth gasps. “What? How? I… I can feel my heart beating!” And it’s true, she can.

“Because you are dreaming, and walking a strange journey,” Lya muses. “You have come here so I may wake you.”







All is now silent, all voices gone away from her to leave her in her suffering. Atlantis has left the planet for many years now, and she had been sad to watch it leave.

Perhaps it is for the best, she thinks to herself. Maybe she should stay within the planet’s dark melody until the end of time, until the last vestiges of the universe join her in coldness, dressed in beautiful darkness. Beautiful desolation.

After thousands of years, she realizes this is not what she wants.

She wants to go home, and home is not within this lonesome planet’s heart. Home is Atlantis, the place she has been drawn to when she had nowhere else to go, and no mind to seek out a sanctuary.

It takes a mere thought—she wills it, and then she’s there. Elizabeth finds herself all around the city, but she's not the fierce wind that once billowed angrily through the spires, nor is she the burning fire that once struck down Atlantis' enemies with fury. Neither is she the cold, dark earth beneath the city on the ocean floor. No, she is in the water, now.

Rolling in and out through the years, each wave and swell different but as constant as the sun in the sky, she cradles Atlantis within her bosom.

When a great storm threatens her city, she tames the harsh waves and dampens a torrential downpour. When the sky flickers and booms, she does all she can to protect the people within. When those who would hurt Atlantis approach, she swallows them into the deep abyss with no remorse.

For so long she simply exists, Atlantis as her beloved companion. She guards Atlantis and its children, heals them, and gives herself completely to them. There is no greater bliss for Elizabeth, there never has been. This beautiful existence is enough.

She sighs, and the tides roll in and out. She likes it this way, and thinks she always will.

And then one day, she awakens.

Elizabeth realizes she has now been here for a while. A very long while, though she isn't sure how long that may be. It's as if she feels her eyes for the first time in millennia.


She opens them, and Lya stands before her, a kind smile on her face.

"Are you ready to awaken?" she asks, smiling.

"I think I've been looking for you," Elizabeth murmurs, unsure of whether or not it’s true.

The Nox smiles. "No, you've been looking for yourself." She extends her hand in invitation. "Come."

"Where?"

Lya’s smile never falters. "This journey ends. Now another begins."

Elizabeth frowns as she stares at Lya’s outstretched hand, and wonders if she's ready to leave Atlantis, her beloved home, behind. She feels unsure, wary and fearful of change.

"Come," Lya beckons gently. "Come with me."

Elizabeth has no idea where she's going, but she knows she must go. Nothing ever stays the same.

She still has her memory, after all.

Elizabeth takes Lya’s hand. “I’m ready.”






The Athosian children sit in an uneven semi-circle, waiting for their elder to begin the story. It’s a holiday, and they squirm in their seats as they eat their candy (the people from Earth never fail to disappoint). It’s their favorite story, after all. The people from Earth tell them it’s a true story, but they’re old enough to know better.

The village elder sits down, an old, dusty book in his hand.

“Once, there was a mighty guardian of the City of the Ancestors, and her name was Elizabeth…”
 
 
( Post a new comment )
[identity profile] angelqueen04.livejournal.com on January 9th, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
*squeakflail* Oh my... Lizzie... This is just... so gorgeous... it's beyond words! I love it!

*continues to flail*
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 07:46 am (UTC)
Thank you. :) I was a little nervous about posting it...
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)
[identity profile] anuna-81.livejournal.com on January 9th, 2009 03:17 pm (UTC)
*cries*

That was amazing and beautiful. I love how you expressed the anger about being left behind. I love your narration and colorful imagery you used. Amazing!

*claps*
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 07:48 am (UTC)
Thanks! I had an idea of her working her way to ascension to begin with, and it seemed only natural (to me, at least) that her disembodied soul would remain around Atlantis. I was a little nervous about writing her as the elements, but I think it turned out okay. :)

Thank you!
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)
[identity profile] peanutbutterer.livejournal.com on January 9th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
Chilling. Beautifully done.

The people from Earth tell them it’s a true story, but they’re old enough to know better.

Love that.
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 07:50 am (UTC)
Thank you! I think that the older children would say, "pssh, no such thing as fairy tales!" But they'd still love the story all the same. People from Atlantis John and Lizzie's descendants would know the truth, however. :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)
[identity profile] irony-rocks.livejournal.com on January 9th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous. I love the narrative and flow!
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 07:50 am (UTC)
Thank you! I was quite nervous about this fic, as I wasn't sure I could actually capture Elizabeth's long journey home in this manner.
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)
[identity profile] the-scary-kitty.livejournal.com on January 9th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, Elizabeth. That was just beautiful. *happy dances*
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 07:51 am (UTC)
Thanks! :) I'm glad you liked it!
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)
[identity profile] sunny-serenity.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
Loved the palindrome of 'one eon' was that intentional? This was so ethereal... *gregorian monk sing-songy-esque* aah aah aah aah And the personification of Elizabeth's anger was tasty. It's very lovely. Plus all the allusion to storms and stuff... I squint for the Sparky. *sigh* AND! AND! ATHOSIANS!!! I miss them.
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 07:52 am (UTC)
Ah, no, that was not intentional. :) And I miss the Athosians too. *le sigh*

Oh yes, I'm a Sparky girl at heart too. ^_^

Thanks! :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)
[identity profile] dragonladyk.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 08:11 am (UTC)
Awesome Lya: she's very Nox-like. ^^

Lizzie was great, too, but everyone is squeeing about that. I liked seeing Lya again; it was like rewatching SG-1.

DragonLady
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I absolutely love the Nox, and it makes me so very sad that they haven't been seen since Season 3 of SG1 (other than one mention somewhere in S4, I think). They are one of the Four Great Races, and the writers are just like, "oh well, just forget them." THEY ARE TOO AWESOME TO BE FORGOTTEN.

I think the Nox should make another appearance in SG-verse. They have flying cities and amazing abilities, and are deeply principled and dedicated to what they believe in. Lya was my favorite.
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)
[identity profile] ianthe-echo.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 10:04 am (UTC)
*tears up a bit* Beautiful...simply beautiful...
*wanders away lost for words*
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on February 9th, 2009 06:57 am (UTC)
(I took long enough to reply, didn't I? Sorry 'bout that.)

Thank you so much. I wanted to write something that had a happy ending for Elizabeth, and when I saw the prompt, I couldn't resist the opportunity to write Lya, one of my favorite SG1 characters ever, with Elizabeth.
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)
[identity profile] hariboo-smirks.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 11:45 am (UTC)
I wish I still had my Lya icon because I would use it! This is absolutely stunning. The narrative you chose is breath taking, just as Elizabeth's journey is. Just stunning story telling here. I love the end with the Athosians.
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on February 9th, 2009 06:59 am (UTC)
Lya is awesome. AWESOME. 'Nuff said. :)

Thank you so much for your kind words. I was very nervous about this story, truth be told. It's not really like anything else I'd ever written, and I suppose going new places can be scary sometimes.

(Also, sorry about taking so long to reply to this.)
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)
[identity profile] momm2five.livejournal.com on January 10th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
**Flail**
OMGosh . . . LOVE this. it's awesome, haunting, beautiful . . . and it's perfect. The *fairy tale* for the Athosian kids, Lya, everything about it is wonderful!
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on February 9th, 2009 07:00 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)
[identity profile] wraithfodder.livejournal.com on January 14th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
Oh, that was great! I love that Elizabeth just isn't drifting out in space, alone. KUdos!
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on February 9th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC)
(I took long enough to reply, didn't I? Sorry 'bout that.)

Yeah, I can't stand the idea of her just being all alone out there. The characters of Stargate have always lived by the words, "we don't leave our people behind," and what did they do? They left her behind. No no no.

Thank you for your kind words! :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)
[identity profile] generalford.livejournal.com on July 23rd, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
review
A really good and interesting read, but confusing as well.
(Reply) (Thread) (Link)
[identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com on July 23rd, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
Re: review
Thank you. :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Link)