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Author: selenic76
For: sga_saturday
Title: Siren Day (also on AO3)
Prompt: Week #181-183: Tradition
Pairing: John/Rodney
Characters: John, Rodney, Radek
Rating: G
Word count: ~820
Warnings/tags: None of the usual, mention of canon character death, unbetad / established relationship, emotional
Disclaimer: Don't own or profit from them

Summary: Siren Day was a day of remembrance, and of rejoicing.

Author's notes: This story has been waiting to be finished for quite some time. I always seemed to miss the Amnesty weeks (*), and as the story formed, I also realized there was an idea behind it that I could not properly bring to light in such a short story. So let this be only a beginning to Siren Day 'verse, and hopefully the other tales will come forth with time. (I have ideas for them already!) Thanks go to melagan for a read through and encouragement ^_^ Unbetad, all mistakes are mine.

A/N 2: I'm planning to make this an open 'verse, so if people feel like they want to write their own Siren Day stories, they will be free to do so :)

*A/N 3: I can't thank esteefee and popkin16 enough for helping me out! The truth is, that I started this story way back, certain for some reason that the prompt 'tradition' had come from sga_saturday, when it hadn't, which I found out when trying to finally post for Eternal Amnesty... I can't for the life of me remember when and where I picked up the prompt from, but I'm so happy I can now nonetheless post the story for this wonderful comm. I owe you lovely people, ♥! (And I hope everyone else won't mind this prompt, sorry!)

Siren Day

At exactly 21:07 on the first Thursday of every month Earth time, everything in Atlantis halted.

No one knew exactly how the tradition had started, how the simple testing of the warning system had transitioned into something more meaningful, but you could set your watch by it. Even people off-world would stop for a while if able, reserving a silent moment for those who had passed away.

But what came after, was the important part.


John arrived at the crowded lab a few minutes early and found Rodney staring at the monitor, mind feverishly working on something but his fingers anxiously curled around a coffee mug. They exchanged a glance and a nod, and John settled into a nearby chair as the noise in the room levelled out.

There were no words, no reminders, just the gradually spreading silence as people sensed the moment approaching. Rodney’s hand sought out John’s, and John took it and squeezed it gently as the final seconds ticked away. He knew this Siren Day would be harder on Rodney than any previous one.

The sirens sounded out in sequence, each starting low and quickly climbing in pitch as they joined the 'choir'. For several long seconds every room and corridor in Atlantis echoed with their song. John silently recalled members of the Expedition they had lost the past month—two Marines who died on an off-world mission, a scientist taken by an accident with an ancient device—but his sorrow for them was brief, and they would be remembered better by their friends.

As the first siren's note began its slow descent, John though of Ford like he had on every Siren Day since last seeing him on that Wraith ship. Of all the losses, that one kept haunting John the most.

Soon the other sirens followed, diminishing until the final forlorn wail died out, creating a sudden void of sound.

After a moment of silence a collective sigh ran through the room, and the soft murmur of voices returned. Cautious smiles started to appear on people's faces, small cards and parcels were dug out from their hiding places. Radek grinned as he procured a green bottle with dark liquid from one drawer.

Rodney still held on to John’s hand, so tightly it almost hurt.

“I miss him,” Rodney whispered so infinitely sadly. This was the first Siren day without Carson.

“I know,” John said and turned to give him a hug. If there was one thing to be thankful for on this Siren Day, John would pick being able to hold Rodney like this over anything. Sad as John was that Carson was gone, sorry as he was for Rodney's loss, John couldn't stop feeling happy about the fact that if had lead to Rodney showing up at John's door and out of the blue confessing his love.

“I miss him too," John said as he pulled back, leaving a comforting arm around Rodney’s shoulder. So many on Atlantis did—Carson had been the kind of person that people couldn’t help but love. His death had hit Rodney hard, harder than most, and his friends and colleagues were not blind to his grief.

One by one the people in the lab came by, offering kind words, handshakes, even some hugs. Rodney accepted them all, for once letting others close and sharing his sorrow with them. Radek was the last in the long line, and he held Rodney the longest, all the while speaking Czech in soft tones. You didn't need to understand the language to get the meaning.

“You wanna go home?” John asked Rodney quietly after Radek left, clearly heading out to open the bottle he had brought out earlier.

“Nah,” Rodney replied with a small crooked smile. “Carson wouldn’t want me to mope.” John could tell Rodney wasn't actually sure that was what he wanted to do, but it would probably be better for Rodney to join in on the celebration rather than stay cooped up in their quarters.

“Zelenka’s sharing a bottle of something that I'm betting is more than a little alcoholic.” John told him. "I hear it's supposed to heal every ailment." There was already a small crowd gathered around the Czech scientist, and a collection of cheers ran through the air.

“Na zdraví!”
“Gān bēi!”
“Down the hatch!”

“Becherovka? That herbal stuff tastes absolutely foul!” Rodney frowned, but smiled a bit wider nonetheless. “What are we waiting for.”


Small parties started around Atlantis, their only purpose to celebrate life and the company of others. People exchanged gifts and favours, smiles and compliments, forgetting all disputes and disagreements for the day. They reminded themselves of the bonds they shared, things they had gone through together. As far as they were from Earth, they had a home, a family to belong to and friends to celebrate with.

For now, they were alive, and would make each second count.

~~~ End ~~~


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2015 03:09 pm (UTC)
I really love seeing traditions develop on Atlantis because of course they would. So many different cultures finding a way to meld together.

There's something very organic about this tradition you've written which makes it all the more believable.
Jan. 12th, 2015 09:18 am (UTC)
I only wish I could have done the tradition better justice, but that would have meant pushing too much into one story. I'm hoping later additions will fix that :)

And thank you so much for the lovely comment! I always love hearing your thoughts, they mean a lot to me ^_^
Jan. 12th, 2015 04:39 am (UTC)
That was lovely, sweet and poignant.
Jan. 12th, 2015 09:21 am (UTC)
Thank you! This story had been waiting for too long to get out, and old as it is, I still didn't want to mess it up by fixing it too much, or trying to explain too much of the tradition in one go. I'm happy you liked the story as it is, thank you for commenting! ^_^
Jan. 13th, 2015 08:07 pm (UTC)
By the weirdest coincidence, I was just starting to read this when the Tuesday noon San Francisco broadcasting system siren alarm test went off. Eerie, yet appropriate.

I love this tradition, and that John and Rodney were sharing it together, and that Rodney was able to let his friends comfort him. <3
Jan. 14th, 2015 09:18 am (UTC)
That is eerie and appropriate, especially considering that it was a siren test over here that was the inspiration for the story :) (I have a siren on one of the rooftops near my apartment building, and they test it on every first Monday of the month at noon)

I really wanted to tell more about the tradition, but trying to push too much information into the story would have ruined it. Hopefully more stories will follow someday :) And I'm so happy you liked the story, always love hearing what you think. Thank you so much for commenting! ^_^
Jan. 14th, 2015 07:58 pm (UTC)
This was a gorgeous little piece: poignant and affectionate, at once. Thanks for posting!
Jan. 16th, 2015 02:40 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, and thank you for the wonderful comment, it means a lot to me. I'm happy to hear you liked the story ^_^
Feb. 1st, 2015 06:15 pm (UTC)
What a really lovely tradition, they have lost so many that this is a wonderful way to remember them.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:02 am (UTC)
I can't imagine what it must be like to live in such danger all the time, but I'm certain they would find some way to honour and remember those they had lost.

Thank you so much for the lovely comment, I'm happy to hear you liked the story ^_^
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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