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Well of Stars (Gen, Keller, Biro, PG)

For Amnesty 201212, week #59 Well

Title: Well of Stars (Also on AO3)
Author selenic76
Genre/tags: Gen
Characters: Keller, Biro
Rating: PG (For the very brief mentions of death and guts...)
Word count: ~1100
Disclaimer: Don't own or profit from them.

Summary: When Jennifer was a child, she’d found an old dried up well a little way off from where they lived.

Author's notes: My mind usually tends to revolve around slash when writing, but sometimes my brain surprises me with something completely different. Hope you like what it came up with :) Started writing this for week #59, but didn't finish it on time! So posting now since it's Amnesty ^_^ Unbeta'd, all mistakes are mine. And since this is something new to me, I would love to hear what you thought of this, good or bad :)



Well of Stars


She had never thought of herself as brave, or adventurous. Yet here she was, further away from home than she could ever have imagined.

Jennifer Keller had never doubted her decision to become a doctor. Or to step through the Gate. Her new position as Chief Medical Officer of the Atlantis Expedition however, filled her with uncertainty. Jennifer knew she was a good doctor, one of the best to have been chosen to come here, but the added responsibilities were weighing heavily on her shoulders.

The day—or rather days, plural; she couldn’t remember when she had last slept—had been long. So many wounded, so many dead. They had saved people, but had lost them too, and no matter how she tried to be rational about it, it always got to her. Jennifer removed her gloves ands scrubs, tossing them in the biomedical waste bin, and sat down with a deep sigh.

People hadn’t really understood why Jennifer had chosen to become a doctor, though they knew she’d be going far after she got her Bachelor’s degree before her eighteenth birthday. Sometimes she wondered about her choice of occupation herself. But somehow—counting all the things that she found repugnant, revolting or repulsive—being around sick people or doing surgery up to her elbows in someone’s guts never seemed to faze her.

She couldn’t help it; she was a healer, it was her nature. It was who she was, always had been, starting from the stray animals she’d brought home, to little Maggie next door whose broken leg she had expertly splinted in the time it took the doctor to arrive.

In the next room, Doctor Biro had already finished her shift, and was writing the autopsy report of one of the marines who had died; a young man reduced to a wrinkled corpse by a Wraith. Jennifer would wait until she received reports from everyone else, before writing hers.

All she really wanted to do was to curl up in some dark corner and cry.

When Jennifer was a child, she’d found an old dried up well a little way off from where they lived. It wasn’t very deep and the walls were easy to climb so, on a sudden whim she decided to go down. The floor of the well was dry and sandy. The air smelled slightly musty, but on a hot summer day it felt soothingly cool against her skin, the cold stones keeping the temperature down. And it was quiet, the sounds of the world turning into muted murmur.

The enclosed space had felt oddly comfortable. She’d sat down, looking up at the brilliantly blue sky and sighed deeply, enjoying the silence. Jennifer had stayed there until night began to fall, and had made her parents sick with worry. They had told her not to go there again, fearing the walls might cave in, or she could fall and hurt herself.

Next time she’d brought along a flashlight, some sandwiches, a bottle of water, and a blanket, and waited until she could see the stars. And Jennifer had fell in love with them.

The well became a place of solace, one she would sometimes retreat to even when she grew older. Seeing those faraway lights always eased the burden of her earthly troubles. They reminded her, that the universe was vast, and there were worlds beyond the one she inhabited. And now she was living on one of them.

Closing her eyes for a moment, contemplating whether to get coffee—since morning was only a few hours away anyways—or go to her quarters and try to get some sleep, she wondered if her well still existed or if the walls had finally crumbled under the hands of time.

“Dr. Keller, are you alright?” a gentle voice asked, as a warm hand landed on Jennifer’s shoulder. Blinking a few times, her gaze focused on the source of this unexpected compassion; Doctor Biro was uncharacteristically quiet, her normal joyful babble replaced by a quiet but kind smile.

“I’m... fine,” was all Jennifer managed to respond, but apparently her stance and expression told another story. Biro shook her head silently. Then her hand took hold of Jennifer’s arm, determinately coaching her to stand up.

“Come on, I’ve got something to show you,” she said cheerfully, even though she must have been just as exhausted as Jennifer was. Too tired to resist properly, Jennifer just groaned while her feet dragged her forwards.

Once outside the infirmary, Biro began her familiar bubbly chatter. Through corridors, transporters and staircases, she recounted gossip she had heard, shared her opinion on the cafeteria’s insufficient selection of anything freshly baked, noted how the City seemed to hum differently at night, and eventually led Jennifer to a half opened door. It appeared to be broken, the worn and scraped segments pushed ajar just enough for someone to fit through. Beyond the gap was darkness. Biro entered, her voice trailing off into the gloom. “Just a little further!” she shouted before disappearing completely.

Cautiously Jennifer slid past the opening. The short tunnel ahead was very dimly lit by light emanating from the other end, barely enough to detect the lines of a doorway. Running her fingers along the coarse cold wall as she walked, Jennifer breathed in the musty scent of the air, and stepped into...

A well. There was no other word that she could use to describe the large cylindrical room, dominated by the huge skylight dome opening out into the stars of the foreign galaxy.

Eyes wide, trying to hold back tears but failing, Jennifer stared at the glow of them.

“This is where I come to be quiet,” Biro whispered softly. There was a thin mattress on the floor, as well as a blanket and a few pillows. “Occasionally to take a nap as well.” Sitting down on one end of the makeshift bed, Biro motioned for Jennifer to join her. She even managed to find a slightly crumpled but clean paper towel from some pocket for Jennifer to wipe her nose with.

Jennifer took the place offered, and let herself lean on the warm shoulder of the person beside her. And for the first time, Atlantis felt like home.

“’Thank you,” Jennifer whispered, grateful for every ounce of the unexpected compassion she had received.

They sat on the floor, gazing at the lights of distant worlds, and didn’t speak until dawn.



~~~ End ~~~

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
esteefee
Jan. 6th, 2013 01:23 pm (UTC)
aw, yay, this was lovely! not enough Dr. Biro fic out there, or Jennifer fic for that matter, and this really hit the spot. thank you for sharing this lovely moment.
selenic76
Jan. 6th, 2013 01:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I was nervous about this, so it's SO wonderful to hear you liked ^_^ *big sigh of relief*

I enjoyed writing this, and really hope my brain can be persuaded to do more stuff like it :) Thank you for commenting! *hugs*

(And as a side note, I have no idea why but it seems to be my personal headcanon that Biro bakes, and extremely well too :D)

Edited at 2013-01-06 01:52 pm (UTC)
esteefee
Jan. 6th, 2013 07:08 pm (UTC)
(hee! awesome. she has her own tag now, so how's about some pineapple-thing upside down cake, Doc?)
selenic76
Jan. 7th, 2013 08:25 am (UTC)
Pineapple-thing upside-down cake
(Since you asked for it... this was written after only one cup of coffee, so no guarantees about the quality. Plus I know next to nothing of baking :D And yay for Biro having her own tag! ^_^)

“Where in Pegasus did you manage to find a cake?” Rodney asked Dr. Biro, eyeing the aforementioned thing suspiciously. He’d never been a huge fan of the pineapple upside-down cake, but Rodney had to admit, it looked delicious; the surface glistening over the fruity layer covering the succulent looking base.

“Baked it myself!” Biro exclaimed cheerily. “And I made sure there’s no citrus in it whatsoever.”

That was enough to help Rodney put aside his doubts and let his sweet tooth guide his hand as he took one pre-cut slice and took a bite. His mouth exploded with flavours, a veritable symphony of them, all in perfect harmony.

“I had to use a lot of local ingredients, but it’s amazing what you can do with them once you set your mind to it. Like these certain kinds of nuts that can be ground to make flour but the taste is a little bitter, so I used a little more of that syrup that Teyla graciously supplied me with.” Biro explained, but Rodney heard hardly any of it. “Oh, and the spices around here are in many ways remarkably similar to ours, so it’s relatively easy to learn how to use them. I know the basic recipe doesn’t really call for them, but I love to add little personal touches to my baking.”

“This is...” Rodney mumbled, mouth full as he stuffed in more of the divine delicacy, and found he didn’t have words to express his feelings.

“My mom always said I had a talent for baking,” Biro said, smiling widely. “She never quite understood why I chose to become a doctor instead of a pâtissière, or even a chef...”

Biro’s current line of work wasn’t something Rodney wanted to dwell on while eating the last crumbles of the heavenly treat. So he didn’t. “Was that—“ he asked, licking his fingers clean. “—real pineapple?”

“Sadly no,” Biro replied, a small frown briefly appearing on her face, before her smile returned. “But it looked very much like one, after I learned how to slice the trunk of the plant properly. Had to borrow a bone saw from the infirmary, and then boil the slices for quite some time for them to soften, but then they were really quite suitable pineapple replacements.”

Rodney froze in terror. It wasn't because of the innovative use of the equipment, Rodney knew very well how thoroughly sanitary everything in the infirmary was, having spent many an hour investigating the subject. Somehow the thought of eating an alien plant disguised as pineapple seemed far worse, considering his allergies. Rodney was certain he could already feel his throat constricting.

“I’m happy that you enjoyed the cake,” the cheery woman with the cake said, obviously oblivious to Rodney’s plight. “But I have to go now, I promised to take this to the botany lab, as a thank you for all the tests they ran on the plant to make sure it would be suitable for human consumption.”

Rodney let out the breath he hadn’t noticed he was holding.

“They loved my last batch of cookies,” Biro noted with professional pride that even Rodney could relate to. As she started to walk along the corridor, Rodney found his feet following her of their own accord.

“Could I, perhaps...” he pleaded, trying not to sound too desperate. “Have another piece?” After all, who was he to contest the findings of his fellow scientists.


Edited at 2013-01-07 08:30 am (UTC)
esteefee
Jan. 7th, 2013 09:29 am (UTC)
Re: Pineapple-thing upside-down cake
hahahaha bone saw! ::dies:: awesome!

Biro’s current line of work wasn’t something Rodney wanted to dwell on while eating the last crumbles of the heavenly treat. So he didn’t.

oh, Rodney. this is a slice of perfect! thank you so much! ::glees::

selenic76
Jan. 7th, 2013 05:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Pineapple-thing upside-down cake
Hee ^_^ So happy you liked, I was feeling a bit cracky this morning, and it certainly shows :D And Rodney is always a slice of perfect ^_^

I'll be gifting this to you once I get it properly posted, thanks for the inspiration :)
schneefink
Jan. 6th, 2013 02:05 pm (UTC)
This is lovely and sweet. I like your Jennifer and Biro :)
selenic76
Jan. 6th, 2013 02:32 pm (UTC)
I like them too, hoping to have them appear in other stories in the future ^_^

Happy to hear you liked this, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!
panisdead
Jan. 6th, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC)
This is great! Very calming, and I like that these are gentle but recognizable characterizations of Jennifer and Biro.
selenic76
Jan. 6th, 2013 05:42 pm (UTC)
I'm happy you found it calming, and that the characters felt like themselves :) I worried about Biro especially, since there's not much to go on, and I really didn't want to overdo things.

Means a lot to hear I did well, thank you for commenting!
popkin16
Jan. 7th, 2013 04:19 am (UTC)
Oo, a fic that features Biro! That's super rare. This fic is so fantastic, thank you for writing :D
selenic76
Jan. 7th, 2013 08:34 am (UTC)
I love the show for having so many minor characters, and it was so enjoyable to write something about Biro. (even ended up doing a comment fic here for esteefee this morning :D)

Thank you so much a commenting, always love getting feedback from you ^_^ *hugs* Seems there's more to me than McShep :D
popkin16
Jan. 8th, 2013 09:32 am (UTC)
You're very welcome! *HUG*
michelel72
Mar. 9th, 2013 05:05 pm (UTC)
What a nice moment.
selenic76
Mar. 9th, 2013 05:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you, glad to hear you liked! ^_^
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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