Word count: 800
Warnings: I'm chosing not to use any.
Summary: Teyla walks the city at night now. Always alone. Always in silence.
There are shrines to Earth in odd rooms; in overlooked corners. Teyla steps softly along the corridors, her bare feet making no noise on the cold tiles, the lights above her dimmed in deference to the midnight pressing against the windows.
There are no moons tonight.
It calms her, walking through the silent city. She tries to choose routes she has not travelled yet, although with each night spent in this pastime she knows the city better. Not all of it, of course. There are still, out beyond the lights, floors which have not borne footsteps since the days of the Ancestors. That thought, too, soothes her. Their presence in this place that they built has not yet been worn away.
She passes an open door, and turns inside on a whim. It's a lab—clearly one of the myriad unimportant ones which were occupied only for the few days it took for the Earth scientists to strip it of its long-held secrets. Dust has settled in a cobweb coating over the surfaces. And yet there's a shrine here too. At least—she catches herself in a breath of laughter—it's what she's come to think of as a shrine. The Athosians worshiped the memory of the Ancestors. It only seems natural that the people from Earth should revere the memory of their distant home. This must have been the last of someone's supply of Earth food rations for them to straighten out and smooth the wrappers, leaving them in a sad little stack with their corners perfectly aligned. I was here.
Somehow, the sight of them catches in her mind, more than do the glass-eyed stares of the photographs of the living and the dead pasted to walls in the more lived-in areas. Too many, by now, to be properly taken in, for all the nights that she has studied them. But whoever folded brightly coloured paper is in this moment alive and vivid to her, although she'll probably never know who it was.
There is still no sound around her as she strolls back towards the central area of Atlantis, and the silence has the comfort of a blanket around her although her mind still waits to hear the noises of others. But it is the dead of night, and there is no one for her to hear.
Her feet carry her to the flight of stairs leading her to the Gateroom, and her foot is on the first of them before she notices, and stops herself. She wants to walk alone tonight. If she climbs up towards the Gateroom then she will be defeating herself.
So she heads the other way instead, avoiding the ways to the infirmary and to the recreation rooms and to the mess hall. And down, downwards into the slumbering heart of the city, because some things are too important to be left by themselves for too long. A murmuring song hums on her lips as she descends; a sleep-song, and a song of keening. It would not be right to sing aloud in the passageways which still to her bear the imprint of the passing of her friends, but down here it is something which feels right.
She sings louder as she enters the stasis room and crosses to the only occupied chamber, wishing she could send peaceful dreams to the man inside. She would sometimes like to think that he can hear her, and then the rest of the time hopes that he cannot, because that would mean that he is conscious of his suffering as his body shuts down by inches in the inexorable wave of time seeping softly through the stasis field.
She hopes that she did not condemn him to a death that cruel. At the time it had been the only action she could think of to save him.
"You will be saved," she promises him as her song ends. She thinks of a flight of steps leading up only to a wide and uncaring sky; a shining tower and a Gate obliterated; an empty city. "We were left behind, but John will not believe that we are dead. They will come back for us."
Tears start to her eyes as she rests her face against the field, as close as she can get to Rodney's terrified, agonised expression. The wound which was rapidly and now is slowly killing him is hidden beneath fabric, but that fabric is soaked in blood and bright red drops hang in mid-air. She measures with her hand to see how far towards the floor they have travelled since last night.
She wishes she were a doctor. She wishes the infirmary and its supplies had not been destroyed in the attack. She wishes the Daedalus would soar down from the sky in a blaze of silver and mirrored sunlight and carry them both away before the vitrified time runs out.
Minutes, she thinks. Months.
"I'm not going to leave you," she says, and she sits beside him in the silent city and sings.