Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, OC; background John/Rodney, OC/OC
Warnings/Spoliers: this drabble can takes place, chronologically, after "Legati" Ancient!John 'verse,
Disclaimer: Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine.
Summary: Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear.
Notes: I started reading The Good Soliders on the tredmill this afternoon. About 1/2way through the first chapter, I was suddenly struck with the idea/inspiration for this, so much so that I stopped that and started this. It's obviously taken some time to finish/polish, but... here it is.
An Ancient!John Story
"Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much."
Alan Patton, Cry, The Beloved Country
He's not hiding. He's not told anyone he doesn't want to be found, or be left alone, or that he needs time to himself to think. But Iohannes is in his office – the one that used to be Gulcherius Col Praetor's but is his now, through accident and death (so much death) and things not even an Alteran who once Ascended and can remember bits and pieces of the entire universe in those three minutes can understand – and, for the most part, it's the came as hiding, he so rarely uses it.
So it's a surprise when one of the anthropologists, Doctor Helena Lazos, finds him.
"I don't feel like talking about it," he tells her without preamble. "So don't ask."
"I'm not here about the Aurora," Doctor Lazos says, seeming less self-possessed than usual. "It's a more... personal matter."
Her unusual temerity is enough to pull his gaze away from his laptop, where he's been trying (with limited success) to make his way through all the paperwork Terran bureaucracy seems to require. "I'm not talking about my family either."
Lazos gives a small laugh at this, taking an uninvited seat as she examines his office with a sharp, practised eye, as if the décor might tell her something yet unknown about his people and their disposition. "Nothing like that, Colonel. It's more of a favour, really."
"Favour?" he asks, even more sceptically. The number of things he'll willing do for the anthropologists is quite small and most of them are grammatical in nature, boiling down to the correct pronunciation of his name and a few of the more common Alteran words. It's pedantic of him, Iohannes knows, but he's nothing if not the product of his upbringing, and he couldn't avoid all of his people's faults.
"I want a transfer back to Earth."
Iohannes can feel his eyebrows rocket towards his hairline. "Really?" It's about as far down the list of things he'd not expect an anthropologist to say, ever as can be before traipsing into outright impossibilities.
"I thought you liked Atlantis."
"Oh," she says quickly, leaning forward in the chair she's taken and reaching out a hand as if to pat his own in reassurance. He carefully
manoeuvres out of her reach before she can do so. "I do. I really, do, but..." She trails off, bringing her hand back into her lap so she can wring it with the other.
Iohannes doesn't have to be good at reading people to see that she's nervous about something. And this is a woman who, like all anthropologists he's ever known, doesn't get nervous.
Or even vaguely discomforted when being reminded that it isn't his job to sit around and answer their questions.
It's more than a little troublesome.
"Well," he says after a couple minutes of quiet hand-wringing, "if that's what you want." He isn't going to force anyone to stay in the city if they didn't want to, especially if she's an anthropologist.
"I'll send it through next dial-in."
"Thanks," Lazos says, and moves to stand.
But, for all he's not going to force her to stay, "Why didn't you go to Doctor Corrigan," the head of her department, or Elizabeta about it?"
"I-" she begins, then stops. Then, forcing herself to look him in the eye, says, "I'm pregnant," in such a tone that it's clear she's expecting some sort of argument.
Iohannes takes it back. This is now the last thing he'd ever expected an anthropologist to say to him. Or anyone, really, ever.
Doctor Lazos takes his silence as an invitation to continue. "It's just... I'm not like your mother. I'm not a solider. I'm not even that good of a person. I know women in Pegasus have children all the time, and that they all face the Wraith threat, and many of them actively fight them, but...
"But," she says, swallowing, "for all that I've come to love this city, and for all that I enjoy working here, I can't raise a family here."
"There's no place for children in a war." It is the answer he was always given when he was small and asked why there were so few people his own age in the city. There'd been Nicolaa, of course, who'd been six years younger, and Josua, who'd been five years older, but that'd had been it, and no children had been born in Atlantis since.
'Lantis misses children.
"Exactly," Lazos says fervently, "which is why I came to you, not any of the others. They'd try to convince me to stay."
"But not me?"
"I thought you might understand. And," she adds with a small laugh, "that you might be glad to be short an anthropologist for a while."
"There is that," he grins.
"So you'll do it?"
"Thank you, Colonel." And, with that, she leaves, with all the same unexpectedness as she'd entered.
It takes him a long time to get back to his paperwork after this.