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alyse and moonlettuce organized sga_santa (master list). I was assigned to verstehen, who requested many things, but most of all gen. I think this fits the bill.

Title: Cinderella Before Midnight
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Characters: Various
Rating: PG
Recipient: verstehen
Spoilers: None, but set during S2
Summary: Think of thirteen simpler ways.



do not attempt to exorcise ghosts,
they have nowhere to go. you don't
want your neighbours possessed by ex-
boyfriends, a best of childhood episodes.


Nothing in Atlantis is left unexplored, now, though much of it is still a mystery.

Sheppard paces the corridors at night, when most everybody else is sleeping. Sometimes, he passes laboratories still lit, waves a careless hand to the occupants. Sometimes, he stops by command, updates himself on the status of teams still afield, and considers proposals for future forays.

For the most part, however, he runs, out to the farflung corners of the city. Sometimes Ronon accompanies him, but at night, he likes best to be alone.

The metal walkways ring softly under his feet, and sometimes, a panel glows as he passes it by.

At the outer reaches of the city, the points he's memorized strategically, but explored intuitively, he pauses. Catches his breath, leans against the walls.

The surface hums under his palm, and he starts to think of the thirst he's built up. He starts, but pulls the thought away quickly, because the wall is cooling, a smooth ripple against his mind.

He steps away, centers himself. Not tonight.

A light flickers on ahead of him, and he nods--to himself--and continues on.

never sleep with the windows open.
the sound of church bells will wake you
before you have dreamed of the one.


Zelenka's quarters are open to the ocean. Not prohibitively so, but one of the wide windows, he's found, will slide open when prompted.

During the sunlit hours, he rarely has time to appreciate the view. Usually, he wakes before dawn, in order to get time in the lab, uninterrupted by the extrapolations of others.

If Rodney is off-world, supervision of the laboratories falls to him, and that leaves him little time for solitude. There are few things more vicious, he's found, than a pipette feud between a French Canadian xenobiologist and an American astrochemist.

In his off-hours, when he's allowed them, he retreats to his quarters. He opens his window, loads an audio file of English idioms on his computer.

He lies down on his bed, still made from the morning, and arranges the next day's tasks in order of server requirements. Then in order of personnel needed, because while Rodney might be prepared for the first criterion, he assuredly won't be for the second.

And all the while, moonlight and slang and definite articles and the salt breeze wash over him, like a lullaby.

stay away from the sea at ebb tide,
what you take for seaweed is mermaid's
hair. dive, and they'll rub salt into your
wounds until you scare off the sirens.


There are days when Ronon feels trapped on Atlantis.

The city itself is large, he knows--he's traveled through its myriad hallways, ascertained dozens of means of escape. The first day he was given free run of the city, he disappeared, hunted the perimeter of his new world.

There are miles of corridor, and the people he encounters, if not friendly, aren't overtly hostile. Indeed, he finds some comfort in the soldiers he meets. Their clipped words and sure movements remind him of home.

But there's always the edge, that steady cage of railing and air. Some days, he stands on one of the many balconies and strains his eyes, seeking land.

Over the years, he's become a strong swimmer, but not even he can traverse an ocean.

don't start smoking. cigarettes demand
too much attention, think of thirteen
simpler ways to stain your fingers.


This is an adventure Miko never anticipated.

She's had security clearance for several years--one cannot conduct proper experiments without having the necessary details--but she never thought she'd be on the forefront of the research. She never thought she'd get to step through the gate herself, and stand in the center of another galaxy. Sometimes the idea overwhelms her.

And sometimes people die.

They offer her, when the Daedalus arrives, a chance to go home.

Miko raises her chin, declines the offer. Her father would never forgive her if she walked away from her duties, and what's more, she wouldn't forgive herself.

That afternoon, Doctor McKay reviews her research, skewers the use of a specific equation for calculating Wraith movements in subspace. But he also pulls Doctor Zelenka over and tells him to use her model utilizing methods of predicting attacks by population density versus location.

Doctor Zelenka nods at her. Doctor McKay does not, and walks away.

This is a good day, Miko decides, and works on.

never accept diamonds, especially if
offered in an overgrown gazebo. they're
a trick of the light unless you can prove
you are cinderella before midnight.


The people from Earth are generous to Teyla's, and she appreciates what they've done. Transportation to the mainland, extra provisions, and an odd machine that pumps water from the ground, where no one would have predicted a well.

Some days, Doctor Weir offers Teyla more for her people. A delegation of manpower, to help with sowing the new fields. A small generator, to provide them with electricity, if need be. Weapons, in case the Wraith attack the mainland. And more, and more.

The weapons Teyla declines outright, and for the rest, she demurs with a smile.

They are only trying to help her people, Teyla knows, but it's unnecessary. Bargains, she wants to tell Doctor Weir, should never come so easy.

In her darker moments, she wonders what they will ask of her people in return.

do not visit friends in foreign cities.
even if the danube is untainted by blue,
they expect bottled souvenirs in 3/4 time.


Major Lorne spent three years as a member of SG-9, and another as leader of SG-4. He's seen his share of battles, alien species notwithstanding. He's hopped from one solar system to the next, and it's never phased him before.

Atlantis is more of the same, except he can't go home, kick back and drink a beer. Can't watch a football game that isn't a month and a half old. Can't call his sister in Maine and ask her how the kids are doing.

He likes it here, though. He likes the fresh air, the makeshift (and sometimes absent) bureaucracy, and the absolute lack of cell phones. He likes the soldiers in his charge. He even likes the scientists, sometimes, when they're making more sense than usual.

There are days when he misses having a cheeseburger, whenever he wants it, instead of hoping it's on the menu at the mess. But the longer he's out here, the less often he thinks about it.

There's enough to worry about as it is.

whatever you do, don't argue with
the muse. she'll toss her hair, slam
your front door, inform the union and
never work on weekends again.


As much as Elizabeth enjoys the thrill of encountering new cultures, or deciphering the latest groundbreaking scientific discovery that lands on her desk, she prefers the times when she doesn't get reports on either of those things.

The times when the head of botany and one of the computer engineers storm into her office mid-argument, and demand her input. When Rodney walks in, starts to pontificate, then pauses and runs out of the room, to the nearest computer. When Teyla bids farewell, because she's going to visit the mainland, because there aren't any missions on schedule. When Colonel Caldwell hands her the incoming roster of personnel and needs new quarters assigned.

She enjoys the smaller conflicts, relishes the tedium, because nobody dies on those days.

Until the next alarm goes off.


###

A/N: Title, summary, and excerpts taken from Michaela A Gabriel's sunday rules of conduct. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Originally archived here and linked here.

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