rushingwind: (Sparky)
rushingwind ([personal profile] rushingwind) wrote2008-11-02 01:09 am
Entry tags:

Fic: The Second AU Where John and Elizabeth Meet

Title: The Second AU Where John and Elizabeth Meet
Rating: PG
Archive: No. You may link here, but don't archive elsewhere.
Spoilers: Based on the book/movie "City of Ember."
A/N: This is part of a collaboration between multiple authors. The first AU (appropriately titled, "One AU Where John and Elizabeth Meet", was posted by [ profile] peanutbutterer. I encourage you to read her part as well! :)

Betaed by the lovely [ profile] trialia. ^_^

“Mayor! Mayor Weir!”

His voice echoed down the dark hallway, the only evidence there was, in fact, a hallway there. She grasped the edge of the desk she’d been leaning against, her eyes desperately searching out for something—anything—in this unending darkness.

“I’m here, Rodney,” she called out. “I’m all right. Don’t try to get to me right now, it’s too dark!”

The blackouts were getting progressively longer and longer. Eventually, she knew the lights that powered their City would go out for good, leaving them in perpetual darkness.

This particular blackout was not giving her any good feelings. It had already been pitch black for… five minutes, now? Surely, the generator could not have failed this soon. It couldn’t all be over now….

As if responding to her thoughts, the City gave a great lurch and began to hum, the lights glowing dimly once again.

She breathed a sigh of relief, grasping the back of a nearby chair and sitting down. Glancing at a nearby clock, her heart skipped a several beat. Seven minutes, the longest blackout yet, and this was the third time this week that a blackout had lasted over five minutes.

Rodney came bounding into her office, his face white. “Elizabeth, are you okay?!”

“I’m fine, Rodney,” she told him, though it wasn’t entirely true. She was terrified, but didn’t have the luxury of showing fear. For the people of Ember, she had to stay strong.

“Find a messenger,” she instructed Rodney, “to go see Teyla. I want a complete report immediately.”

“What about the two men in the outer caves?” he asked. “Should we go looking for them?”

Those two brave men were their last best hope, and unheard from in days. She fought the wave of anguish that threatened her composure. “It’s useless to try. We have no way of knowing where they are, and may the Builders help us if they don’t succeed.”

“Right, then.” He turned his back to her and bounded out as fast as his legs would take him.

So many problems, so many factors working against them, so little time. Teyla Emmagan, the most brilliant engineer in all of Ember, had been working tirelessly day and night to repair the city’s massive generator. The generator had stood for centuries, but all documents pertaining to its maintenance and repair had been lost for just as long. No one really knew what they were doing.

Two men, only one for which they had the name, had allegedly seen the greatest (and long lost) secret of the Mayors of Ember: the Builder’s Instructions.

Upon the sudden death of a mayor of Ember some seventy years before, many of the great secrets of Ember had been lost forever, one of which was the missing box that contained the Builder’s Instructions. No one knew precisely what was contained in the box, but Elizabeth, from all her years of meticulous research, believed that it gave directions on how and when to leave Ember.

If this were truly the case, then certainly the Builders would not have them march to certain death, or into a darkness that stretched for all eternity.

Two men, Ronon Dex and an unnamed man, had been forced into the forbidden outer regions of the city while fleeing a strange monster. They’d claimed to see an unusual metallic case, the cover etched with zeroes that glowed a bloody red. Unfortunately, they hadn’t been able to retrieve the case, with the creature still pursuing them.

With her blessing, Ronon went to find the nameless man (even Ronon didn’t know his name) who’d already begun searching the dangerous regions for the case. The mystery man hadn’t waited for clearance, but this was not an issue Elizabeth was keen to press, as the man was acting in the City’s best interests.

She only hoped they were safe, and that they were successful.

Rodney came thundering back into her room, eyes wide as saucers. A messenger accompanied him, a small girl who was out of breath and quivering.

“I have a message for you, Mayor, from Teyla Emmagan,” she huffed.

Elizabeth nodded at the messenger, forcing herself to smile in an attempt to comfort the young girl.

“Catastrophic failure is imminent. There’s nothing more that can be done.”

“Mayor, Doctor Beckett is recommending that people gather together in the town square, and that power be switched off in the outlying edges of the city,” Rodney explained to Elizabeth. “Teyla seems to think this will help extend the power supply.”

“But Ronon Dex and his companion are searching the outer regions at this moment!” Elizabeth protested. “If we cut power to those regions, they’ll be in the dark!”

Rodney’s eyes trailed down, and Elizabeth felt a terrible ache grow in her stomach.

“Ronon Dex returned to Ember a few minutes ago,” Rodney told her in a small voice. “He could not find John Sheppard anywhere.”

John Sheppard…so he was the unnamed man. “That doesn’t mean that this ‘John’ isn’t still out there!”

“Ronon could find him nowhere!”

She crossed her arms, turning away. “How long would this plan extend the power supply?”

”A day… Maybe a few days, if we’re lucky.”

She frowned, shaking her head quickly. “No. We can’t cut power just to buy another day. We have to give this man a chance to return.”

”Ember’s lights are about to fail!” Rodney argued, his face turning red. “We have to cut power to save the City, and we have to do it now!”

“If we cut power, we will lose all hope of saving the people of Ember!” she told him, her voice resolute.


“That’s final, Rodney.”

He hesitated, and then nodded. “Very well.”

She grabbed the City’s seal and put it around her neck, moving around Rodney towards the door.

“Wait, where are you going?”

“To the generator! I’m going to see Teyla myself.”

“Wait, you can’t go down to the pipes! What if there’s another blackout?” Rodney was struggling to keep up with her as she made her way down the stairs. “You’ll be stuck!”

She laughed. “Rodney, I could walk Ember blindfolded. I will make it to the pipes just fine on my own.”

“Well you’re not going alone. I’m going with you!” he called after her, out of breath and running to catch up as she walked out of the door and on to the street.

The City was in a state of utter panic. People were crying, shivering in the alleyways, the dim lights flickering as an unsteady stream of power coursed through the wires. Elizabeth held up her head and walked fearlessly onwards, trying to show her people there was nothing to fear.

The level of panic was unbelievable, and she knew something had to be done now. The people were on the verge of losing all hope, and they had to know that help, in some form, was coming. Spying a friend, Laura Cadman, on the side of the street attempting to calm a woman down, Elizabeth changed her path to meet her.

“Mayor Weir!” she sputtered, nearly jumping. “Why are you all the way out here?”

“I’m on my way to the pipeworks,” Elizabeth explained.

“To the generator? But some of the workers just came running this way, saying that it had caught fire!”

Her heart nearly stopped. That was certainly not good news. “Rumors,” she lied, shaking her head. “If there were a fire, we’d have already lost power.”

“Right,” Laura shivered, looking past Elizabeth. “What do we do, Mayor?”

“I need you to gather the singers, and—.”

“The singers?!”

“Yes, the singers! Tell every messenger you see to spread word that the Mayor has called for everyone to meet in the Town Square. The singers must keep everyone calm until I return. Understand, Laura?”

“Yes, Mayor.” She picked up a child, cradling the small boy against her shoulder. “I will.”

Elizabeth kept walking, reminding herself to put one foot in front of the other, just keep walking. When she finally did arrive at the pipeworks, she found them abandoned.

“Elizabeth,” Rodney called out behind her, “if the generator is really on fire, we don’t want to be there.”

“It won’t matter where we are, Rodney,” she called back. “When the generator dies, it’s all over.”

“You can’t honestly be putting your faith in one man, a man we know nothing about and whom no one has seen in days?!”

“Yes!” she stopped and spun around, her eyes burning with conviction. “I am.”

“But why?”

“John Sheppard is our only hope,” she told him, her expression softening. “If he fails, then we have nothing.”

Rodney offered no protest, so she turned and continued making her way through the slippery pipes, through the long, winding path to the generator.

A great screeching and twisting of metal split the air and the surface beneath Elizabeth gave way. She fell, barely catching herself on the edge of the torn pipe, but it was too slippery to grasp.

She was freefalling for a moment before crashing into a body of water so hard that she nearly saw stars. She had just enough wherewithal to surface and wade to the edge of the water.

“Elizabeth!” Rodney’s voice called out far above her. “Elizabeth!”

”I’m all right, Rodney,” she called back, though she didn’t feel it. “I’m not hurt!”

“I’ll go get help!” he shouted down.

“No! I’ll take the auxiliary passageways up!” she called to him. “Go find Teyla and help her however you can!”


”There’s no time!” she called back to him. “Go!”

“I… I’m still getting help!” he shouted, and she could hear his footsteps receding in the hollow pipes above her.

She tried to stand, but was too dizzy to do so. Bleeding and disoriented, she sat at the edge of the pool of water, tearing bits of cloth from her sleeves and tying them around the palms of her hands. While trying to grasp the twisted, sharp edges of the pipe, she’d cut herself badly.

She could almost smell the blood, here in this dark, wet cavern.

There was a low groan nearby, a terrible sound that echoed through the cavern.

A terrible feeling wrenched her gut as she realized that she wasn’t the only one that could smell her blood.

A lighted corridor was visible in the distance, and despite the fear growing within her, she fled as fast as her legs would carry her, knowing she had little choice but to run.

A roar sounded behind her, followed by a great commotion as the thing chased her. She didn’t know what it was, and didn’t dare look behind her to find out, knowing only that it was one of the massive beasts that roamed the darkness beyond Ember.

She crashed into the narrow corridor, and then hazarded a glance behind her. The creature was brutish and huge, with teeth bigger than her head and a slimy body as wide as the pipes she’d just been strolling through a few minutes before. Certainly, it couldn’t fit through the corridor….

It began to push against the edges, its body molding into the form of the steel tunnel.

She didn’t wait for it to succeed, pushing herself back to her feet and racing through the lighted passageway as fast as she could. Her arm screamed in pain, and she briefly thought that it must be broken, before turning the corner and coming to an abrupt stop.

A dead end.

She quickly doubled back, only to see the creature thundering towards her and no escape in any direction. Frantically, she ran back to the dead end, searching for something to defend herself with.

“Hey, up here!” a male voice called out above her.

She looked up, and saw a dirty, messy-haired man leaning down through a hole in the roof. He held out an arm to her.

“Take my hand, quick!”

She reached out with her good arm and grabbed his outstretched hand, letting him pull her up.

“Grab the floor and pull up!” he groaned, pulling with all his might.

“My arm’s broken, I can’t!” she cried frantically, looking over her shoulder to see the creature slithering towards her, beastly mouth opening wide.

She screamed, grasping wildly at the man’s hands as he heaved her upwards, just in time to avoid becoming lunch. It leapt upwards, but was too large to fit in the ceiling.

The man grabbed her hand, pulling her up on her feet. “C’mon, that thing will break through the ceiling in a few seconds!”

They were running through the outer storerooms, empty and forgotten, in hallways that hadn’t been used since her grandmother’s time. The man kept pulling her forward faster than she could run as the creature broke through the ceiling and chased them, roaring through the hollow rooms.

He pulled her abruptly to the side, diving into a dark, rotten cavern and pulling her flush against him.

“It can’t smell us in these caverns,” he breathed softly into her ear, the warmth sending a shiver down her spine.

“My palms are bleeding,” she whispered back. “Can it smell that?”

She felt him freeze underneath her, his voice dark. “Yes.” He quickly shrugged out of his coat and grabbed her hands, twisting them into the thick cloth, covering every spare inch of skin on her hands. He pulled her back against him tightly, smashing her arms in between them.

Her broken arm stung at the pressure, but she didn’t have time to give it much thought. A few seconds later, a slimy, growling noise echoed through the cavern, the creature just feet away from them.

Elizabeth thought her heart would beat out of her chest, certainly giving their position away. She could feel the man’s frame tense up, deathly still save his breath, softly puffing against her cheek.

The creature heaved loudly, and turned back, lumbering down the hallway until she could no longer hear it. She exhaled a trembling breath, one she hadn’t realized she was holding.

Gently, the man released her. “Sorry about that,” he apologized. “It was chasing me. I’ve been trying to shake it for over a day now, but it was hot on my trail.”

She stepped out into the dim light, unwinding her hands from the man’s coat. “Thank you for saving my life,” she told him, his frame barely visible in the darkness. “Sorry about the blood on your coat….”

He hesitated for a moment. “Oh, you’re the Mayor,” he breathed, his frame sinking back into the shadows as if he’d done something wrong. “My apologies for my behavior, Mayor. What are you doing all the way out here?”

“I was on my way to the generator when a section of the pipeline burst,” she explained, straining her eyes to see him in the darkness. “We were waiting for someone to return from the outer regions of the City.”

“Oh, that’s me,” he quickly responded, finally stepping forward into the light.

He was dirty from all his days searching the outer regions, but very handsome. Dark, messy hair framed his face, and intense eyes stared back at her.

“Did you find it?” Elizabeth asked a little breathlessly, her heart speeding up all over again.

He smiled, his eyes twinkling with satisfaction. “Sure did.” He held out his hand, and presented a small, silver case to her. “Everything’s in here, telling us how to escape from Ember.”

Relief washed over her, and she grabbed his shoulder with her good arm. “Let’s get back to the City!”

He smiled, allowing her to lead him. “I would have gotten back sooner if it wasn’t for that hungry monster. I couldn’t risk leading him back to the City. I… I’m unsure we could have stopped it.”

“Understandable,” she replied, her eyes searching the empty storeroom for a hatch she knew had to be there. “Very wise, actually.” She turned to face him, attempting to conjure a smile.

He smiled brightly at her, his eyes flirtatious. “I’m John Sheppard, by the way. Electrician’s Assistant.”

She rolled her eyes, allowing herself a moment to laugh at his silliness. He laughed too, the euphoria and relief of having finally located the long-lost case written all over his face.

“Well, John Sheppard, as you have already guessed, I am Mayor Elizabeth Weir.”

“An honor to finally meet you, Mayor,” he breathed, lifting her hand and kissing it lightly.

She stopped a moment, surprised at the warmth that began to spread through her at his touch. This…this could be something. What, exactly, she didn’t know, but there was something there, something that clicked between the two of them….

“There’ll be time for pleasantries later,” she murmured out loud, as much to herself as to him. “First, we have a City to save.”

He smiled warmly at her. “After you, Mayor.”

She unlatched the hidden door on the wall, and glanced over her shoulder. “Call me Elizabeth.”

A/N: Be sure to read the first part of this short series in [ profile] peanutbutterer's journal!

[identity profile] 2008-11-02 05:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Yay, you posted this! ;)

Having never read or watched or really known the first thing about the City of Ember, this was treat! I liked the rush at the end, the flirting, and how a monster tried to kill them. Because, really, ever AU needs one of those. ;)

She stopped a moment, surprised at the warmth that began to spread through her at his touch. This…this could be something. What, exactly, she didn’t know, but there was something there, something that clicked between the two of them….

It's called chemistry, Lizzie. Don't deny it. ;)

[identity profile] 2008-11-20 06:54 am (UTC)(link)
and how a monster tried to kill them. Because, really, ever AU needs one of those. ;)

YES. There needs to be more scary monsters in AUs. :)

Ah yes, poor Lizzie just doesn't know it yet. :)

[identity profile] 2008-11-02 07:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Very nice. It makes me want to read the book that it is based on. :)

[identity profile] 2008-11-20 06:53 am (UTC)(link)
It's an amazing book. I recommend it to anyone! :)

[identity profile] 2008-11-02 09:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, City of Ember. Would have never thought of that at all, but love the idea of Elizabeth as the Mayor. The ending was great - just a hint of more.


[identity profile] 2008-11-20 06:52 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you!

BTW, have any other parts to our "Five Times" collab been posted? I want to link to them if they have.

[identity profile] 2008-11-03 06:16 am (UTC)(link)
Awesome! Love the tension and fear - well done. And a bonus flirty ending!

Very interesting story. I'll have to look into this book/movie. Sounds exciting!

[identity profile] 2008-11-20 06:53 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you!

The book is amazing, and so was the movie. I highly recommend City of Ember! :)

[identity profile] 2008-11-03 11:00 pm (UTC)(link)
It was really intriguing. Great work, I enjoyed reading it.

[identity profile] 2008-11-20 06:53 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you! :)