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Week #8: Rare

Title: Wreck of the Day
Author: altyronsmaker
Wordcount: 845
Rating: G
Characters: Elizabeth Weir, Col. Steven Caldwell
Genre: Gen
Prompt(s): Week #8 Rare
Disclaimer: I don't own them. Only wish I did.
Summary: These moments are few and far between, so she takes them when she can.


Elizabeth tilts her face into the breeze that floats in off the currents of the Lantean ocean and breathes deep the cleansing sea air.

It’s quiet, for once.

These moments are few and far between, so she takes them when she can.

She closes her eyes, and takes another deep breath. She wonders briefly what she’d be doing on Earth had Jackson not found the eighth symbol, had General O’Neill not given the okay for the mission, and had she second guessed herself because she couldn’t tell Simon where she was going. It’s only a thought, not even brought to fruition, because imagining herself any place but on Atlantis is unfathomable. Does she miss Earth? Yes, all the time; often she wishes she could go home. But she knows for right now, she belongs on Atlantis.

There’s a contingent among the expedition for whom this assignment is just that – an assignment. They think of themselves as Earthlings on a mission, and have no doubt that they’ll be returning when the mission is accomplished or their tour of duty is up. There are others, though, for whom Atlantis is the very definition of home. They are the ones who live and breathe the air here and think nothing of Earth. They are the ones who complained that Earth days were never long enough. They are the ones whose misfit days are done.

John.

Rodney.

Radek.

Lt. Cadman.

And so many others she’s run across in her daily dealings in the city.

She doesn’t count herself among those, however.

There are others who love it here, who find peace here, but never quite lose their ties to Earth. People like Carson and Major Lorne. Like them, she’ll always be of the Milky Way, but Atlantis will do quite nicely until she has to return home.

She lets her head fall back, and relaxes her shoulders. She feels the tension bleeding out of her as the wind blows through her hair and along the planes of her face.

She sighs.

The doors behind her slide open on a hiss, and part of her prepares to head back inside. She straightens.

“Don’t do that on my account,” a gruff voice whispers behind her. Then there are soft footfalls and a body leans against the railing next to hers.

“Colonel Caldwell,” she says, a smile playing about her mouth.

He stares out over the water, frown marring his brow.

She observes him a moment and thinks it’s a good thing he never actually took over as military commander of Atlantis. She has no doubt he’s an excellent commander, but he’s not for Atlantis – not like Col. Sheppard. She says as much to him.

“I like this city, Dr. Weir. I do. I wouldn’t have taken command of the Daedalus if I didn’t. But you’re right. I hate to admit it because, by all accounts, he should have fallen on his ass by now, but Sheppard is doing a remarkable job out here. He fits here in a way I don’t think I’d ever want to.”

She smiles. She knows what he means. “It’s a nice place to visit,” she says.

“But I wouldn’t want to live here, no.”

They’re quiet for a moment, and the acoustics of the city are just as sensitive outside as they are inside. Despite being hundreds of feet in the air above the waves licking the edges of the city, she hears the sound of the ocean as though it were right in front of her, a calming presence.

He takes a deep breath. “I can see the appeal of the place. This view alone,” he sweeps his arm out over the rail, indicating the city and the sea beyond. “Being in charge here must be, at times, like herding cats, though.” He turns to her, smile gracing his features, and she thinks he looks softer somehow. He should smile more often.

She turns back to the ocean. “Sometimes.” Her eyes close again, and she lets them, knowing he’s watching her but unself-conscious about it. “That’s why I take these moments when I can.”

She feels his eyes on her, knows he’s looked at her this way several times. She’s tempted to confront him about it, but right at the moment, she really doesn’t care. And she’s just a little afraid that he won’t deny it, that he’ll make an invitation that she won’t be able to refuse. Therefore she lets it go. Then he speaks again.

“I’m sorry for disturbing you,” he says and places his hand over hers on the rail.

She breathes in deeply again, and this time the air is tinged with his aftershave, something aquatic and blue, fresh and clean. She looks at him, and turns her hand over in his. “You’re not,” she says, clearly. “You didn’t.”

He looks down at their hands, and she thinks he’s going to let go. She finds herself disappointed at the thought. But he doesn’t. He just twines his fingers with hers and turns back to the vast ocean in front of them. “Good,” he says, and the silence falls between them again.

End

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
esteefee
Jul. 17th, 2011 08:55 am (UTC)
Awesome character study, and the writing is so lyrical. I do believe Elizabeth was one of the ones with strong ties back to Earth, which made it doubly painful how she ended up sacrificing so much for Atlantis.

“It’s a nice place to visit,” she says.

“But I wouldn’t want to live here, no.”


yeah.

I especially liked the way you had her thoughts realistically vacillating about Caldwell at the end there. :)) And the way a smile really does soften his face. (I am very fond of Caldwell.)
altyronsmaker
Jul. 17th, 2011 09:23 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked this! I wanted it to be quiet, peaceful. And Elizabeth struck me as someone who loved Atlantis, and the mission, but it was never home to her. So while it was beautiful to her, there was a part of her that was always homesick. And yes, that makes her sacrifice all the more poignant.

As for Caldwell...I love Mitch Pileggi. Love him. I like how very stern he can be, but then when he smiles, his eyes light up and there's another facet of him that's inviting. Also, he and Elizabeth are my het pairing on the show. I think he really liked her, despite being at odds with her, and I think she liked him too. but their positions being what they were made anything developing between them next to impossible.

Bah. now I'm rambling. Sorry. Anyway! Thanks for reading and commenting! :D
esteefee
Jul. 17th, 2011 09:32 am (UTC)
(added caldwell tag) Yes, I definitely think there's a spark there: he admires her and respects her tremendously, I think, even as they have friction over the intersection points of their purviews. and obviously, he pulls their fat out of the fire on numerous occasions, so what's not to love? :)))
altyronsmaker
Jul. 17th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
Yays! Caldwell tag. :D I forgot to ask - but that's what happens when it's 4 am and you post things. >.
saphirablue
Jul. 17th, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC)
Wonderful Elisabeth POV!

Thank you!
altyronsmaker
Jul. 17th, 2011 01:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Glad you liked it. :)
hoktauri
Jul. 17th, 2011 01:32 pm (UTC)
Yay! I love this. Weir and Caldwell had such great chemistry on the show, and I love the way you wrote them here. You are absolutely right about Mitch, too!

Also, mad props for the detailing in the writing of this scene--I could hear the ocean and smell the sea air. Truly, you have a gift!
altyronsmaker
Jul. 17th, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC)
I agree. They did have wonderful chemistry on the show. I have two favorite moments between them, that one in conversion where he offers to assume command while Sheppard is incapacitated, and the one when he's in her office, saying she works too hard, and she's just playing solitaire. The she offeres to play chess, and he just sort of LOOKS at her for a beat. There's so much there to play with!

So glad you liked the atmosphere of the fic. I just wanted it to have a very calm and serene feel. That the details came through so well is a relief! Thanks for reading and commenting. :)
stella_pegasi
Jul. 17th, 2011 01:50 pm (UTC)
Beautifully written, so descriptive, and your observations about the Sheppard and the others so insightful. I am not a shipper but Weir and Caldwell is the one ship that I really believed during the series. I always thought that through their strained relationship, there was more.

Very well done! Thank you!
altyronsmaker
Jul. 17th, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
Oh! I'm so glad you liked it! I always really liked the dynamic of Caldwell and Weir. There was that hint of tension in the air whenever they were together. But there was also the respect they had for each other. I'm glad that came through in the fic for you. :)

Thanks so much for reading and commenting.
enigmaticblues
Jul. 17th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
I really liked this. I always secretly shipped Elizabeth and Caldwell, and you've captured their strength and that glimmer of a connection here.
altyronsmaker
Jul. 17th, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm guessing a lot of people secretly shipped Weir/Caldwell. LOL. I know I did! I'm glad the characters rang true for you. Thanks so much for reading and for commenting.
goddess47
Jul. 17th, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC)
I also ship Weir/Caldwell, and I like how it's just a quiet afternoon...

Nice!
altyronsmaker
Jul. 17th, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
So glad you liked it. Thank you for reading and commenting. And Weir/Caldwell is an untapped reservoir of hotness. >:D
ozsaur
Jul. 18th, 2011 12:42 am (UTC)
Lovely moment! And character piece. I always felt that ambivalence in Elizabeth, how much she loved Atlantis and how dedicated she was to the mission, but there was always a part of her tied to Earth. Really like Caldwell here ,too.
altyronsmaker
Jul. 26th, 2011 04:56 am (UTC)
I'm a Caldwell fan, I admit it. And I totally shipped him with Weir - throughout the series. *sigh* Why did they never go that direction?

Thanks for reading and commenting. :D glad you liked it.
springwoof
Jul. 24th, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
lovely character studies!
and Weir/Caldwell! Yay! I love them together.
altyronsmaker
Jul. 26th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC)
Holy crap. I know who you are! *fangirls* Ahem. anyway!

Yeah, I'm a Weir/Caldwell fan, myself, and the prompt (rare) just begged for a moment of quiet between them. I'm glad you liked it!

Thanks for reading and for the comment. :D
lilyfarfalla
Jul. 24th, 2011 04:01 am (UTC)
Oh my goodness, this is LOVELY. I love Elizabeth taking a moment to herself, and I am fascinated by how she characterizes her team, from "They are the ones whose misfit days are done" (SUCH a lovely line) to those who are just staying for a while.

And a little Caldwell romance, heating it up. Oh man. I love that she tells him he wouldn't be a good commander and he cannot help but find that irresistible.

And the little details, the sound of the ocean, the breeze, the feel of the railing. So so so lovely.
altyronsmaker
Jul. 26th, 2011 05:07 am (UTC)
I think Elizabeth knew exactly who she had on staff, and she knew how to deal with the, as well. I'm also glad that line worked. I think she was glad that those who had never quite fit in finally had a place to call home. :)

And yeah, Caldwell/Weir is more than a little hot to me. LOL.

Thanks for reading and commenting. So glad you liked it. :)
scarlettandblue
Jul. 24th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
This was beautiful, a breath of cool fresh air, and a gorgeous feeling of the place evoked my the lovely words. And I love this first moment of something more between Steven and Elizabeth. I always felt they had some real chemistry on the show.

Thank you
altyronsmaker
Jul. 26th, 2011 05:10 am (UTC)
So glad the atmosphere came through the story for you! I always liked the Weir/Caldwell chemistry on the show. I'm glad that came through for you too. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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