timeboundpythia: (Atlantis Elizabeth Fall)
[personal profile] timeboundpythia
Title: Lights on the Water
Author: [livejournal.com profile] timeboundpythia
Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis and its characters, concept, etc, isn't mine.
Rating: G
Spoilers: Seasons 1-2 of Atlantis.
Summary: For a moment (just a moment), Kate is almost convinced that they’re no reflection; that the city is breathing through Elizabeth and she through it in a not-quite unsettling symbiosis.
Notes: For [livejournal.com profile] havocthecat. Kate/Elizabeth.

She’s in the command centre murmuring an appointment reminder to Rodney (one he makes far less subtle than she intends when he attempts to shrug her off and bat her away, all hasty nods and babbled assurances) when she sees Elizabeth making her usual bolt to escape. It’s no real bolt – it’s never rushed or hurried, always measured pace and focus – and, to anyone else, she could merely be stretching her legs or excusing herself to use the bathroom, but Kate has seen this routine time and again. Office to command centre, to corridors and out. Elizabeth will never admit to being overwhelmed, but she knows that the same itch, the same feeling of clawing at your own insides strikes her just as it creeps up on everyone else, unbidden and uninvited. She deals with it with more grace than most and less actual dealing than others, though Kate has learned that this is one thing that is never going to change.

Pretending to let Rodney win (she’ll remind him again in the morning), she steps back and deliberately doesn’t watch Elizabeth make her exit. One moment, two, five and she slowly sets off after her, strolling along as if she could be headed anywhere for anything. Kate is fully aware that her presence is known, noted and unremarked upon.

Elizabeth always walks with purpose, steady steps taking her forward, determined - if sometimes merely thoughtful – expression carefully etched across her features. Usually a book accompanies her, that or her tablet computer or hastily-scrawled notes which will soon become one report or another. These are always lost somewhere along the way. Kate has never figured out just where these items end up being stashed, for Elizabeth’s route rarely takes her past her quarters, but they are never lost and never found by another; not even her.

It’s the usual bench that was perhaps never meant to be a bench that she finds Elizabeth sat on, looking out across the water and over to the amber-lit towers of the city. She doesn’t seem to move; doesn’t seem to even breathe, her slow blinks the only indication that life and breath haven’t been stolen from her in the few moments since she saw her last. Kate takes steps that lack the feigned purpose of Elizabeth’s, but not the certainty, and sits down beside her, hip to hip, connection there from thigh to knee, her foot angled to keep the touch solid and comforting and there. She turns her attention to the city’s glow and its reflection on the water, trying to quiet her mind.

As always, she says nothing, not even on this evening, which is arguably different from all the others for the simple fact that she lifts her left hand and folds her fingers between Elizabeth’s in one smooth movement. She’s nearly glad that she doesn’t know what to say, since anything she might utter now stands an incredibly high chance of sounding like psychobabble or an attempt at out-of-hours therapy when she desires to offer neither. Elizabeth’s fingers tighten against hers, but Atlantis’ leader doesn’t acknowledge their entwined hands with any more than that – she continues to gaze straight ahead, the city’s lights mirrored in her eyes. For a moment (just a moment), Kate is almost convinced that they’re no reflection; that the city is breathing through Elizabeth and she through it in a not-quite unsettling symbiosis.

It’s the end of an oppressively hot summer day and warmth lingers in the air and in the water, taking the edge off of what otherwise might be a too-cool evening. In the morning, they’ll greet each other with the usual smiles and quick nods as their paths separate for the day and they go about their usual routines, trying to cram a hundred things into every minute and having to be content with having achieved only fifty. Elizabeth will turn up and silently set a mug of tea down on Kate’s desk mid-morning and late (late, late, late) afternoon, Kate will stick her head round the door of that see-through office and give Elizabeth a look that reminds her to eat, to receive only that arched brow in response.

But, right now, there’s the city and the quiet and an easy calm that she can feel slow Elizabeth’s pulse as well as her own.

And, as ever, it is welcome.
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February 2016

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