Rating: R (for safety)
Pairing/Charecter(s): Ancient!John, Ronon, OCs; John/Rodney, past John/OFC
Warnings/Spoliers: this takes place during part 3 of "Dei et Viri" in the Ancient!John 'verse; warnings for language, character death, and underage sex
Disclaimer: Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine.
Summary: In which the nature of Iohannes' relationship with Nicolaa is expounded upon, and much of his life Before is hinted upon
Notes: Blame this one on popkin16. While I have been meaning to expounded upon the nature of Iohannes' relationship with Nicolaa (who I intended at the onset of this 'verse to be the cognate of Nancy Sheppard, only with a slightly different name, as Nancy in Latin becomes Agnes, and, well, I choose names I like for my characters), I had not realized how pressing the manner really was until #34, wherein a whole thread emerged out of the comments, about who, if anyone, John was replacing Rodney with. And, as she also provided me the means to do so, which had been the most troubling point of the whole venture, so, again, blame to popkin.
The other major issue that arrises with this is, well, the Alterans have different moral standards than Terrans. Especially when it comes to sex. So where an astute reader will realize that, when Nicolaa is 14, Iohannes is 20, please realize that I find it rather not-right myself, but by Alteran standards it would have been perfectly acceptable.
A full helpful timeline can be found here, but for those uninterested in reading it, just know that Iohannes is born in 105 AL, Nicolaa in 111 AL, and that the Exodus takes place in 139 AL.
God, what else? 1) I've doubts that a drabble this long can be called a drabble, but it doesn't actually make up a story and of itself... 2) Ab aliis immisericordibus is Latin for by the unmercificul others, 3) Dei maledici is blaphemous gods, 4) moderator is controller, which for the uses of this 'verse becomes flight controller, 5) there are probably other things I should a/n, but for the life of me I can't think of them, so feel free to ask if you find something.
An Ancient!John Drabble
"I love the sticky leaves in spring, the blue sky – that's all it is. It's not a matter of intellect or logic; it's loving with ones inside, with one's stomach. One loves the first strength of one's youth."
Frodor Dotoevski The Brothers Karamazov
For such a big guy, Ronon can be surprisingly quiet when he wants to be, and so it is Iohannes doesn't know he's no longer alone on the balcony until the other man asks, "Who was she?"
"Huh? What?" he asks – rather intelligibly, he feels, as he's on his second bottle of the moonshine he's not supposed to know Zelenka makes in an abandoned lab on the east pier.
"You get this sad look when you think you're alone, like someone's died."
"They're all dead," Iohannes doesn't mean to say. When he catches himself, he gives the bottle in his hands a betrayed look. Sobriety's a state of mind. Alcohol shouldn't be effecting him like this unless it's a lot stronger than Zelenka's been letting on.
He'll have to get more.
"Yeah. But this is worse than usual."
"I don't have a usual sad," he says rather more defensively than he'd intended. (Stupid alcohol. Hasn't it heard how impossible it is to get an Alteran drunk? Or maybe it's just usually impossible to get an Alteran to drink enough to get drunk. He's had too much to remember which way it goes.)
"Yeah you do. You just don't like people to see it."
"If I don't let people see it, how d'you know about it?"
Ronon just looks at him like he's being stupid. Which maybe he is. He's heard alcohol will do that to a person. Iohannes has never drunk enough to find out first hand.
"Fine then. Why d'you think it's a girl?"
"'Cause earlier you were talking 'bout some girl you almost married."
"Oh." Right. Ronon had been at breakfast this morning when Elizabeta had asked after the bodies they'd removed from the auxiliary control room the day before. He'd forgotten he'd told them that.
"Want to talk about it?"
Iohannes gives him as steady a look as he can manage. After two bottles of Zelenka's moonshine, it's not all that very, but he rather thinks it gets the point across. "Seriously, after all that, you're just going to drop it?"
"Figure if I can't get it out of you, Teyla can."
"Now that's just mean."
Ronon shrugs as if to say what can you do?
"Her name was Nicolaa de Luera Pastor. Happy now?"
The Satedan reaches out and steals what's left of the second bottle from him. "Tell me about her," he orders, before downing the rest in one go.
"Seriously?" Iohannes is willing to put up with a lot from his team. They're Descendants from three different planets and only one of them has any sort of military background at all, so he's willing to give them some leeway, but this he feels is rather pushing things, even by his rather relaxed standards.
"Would you rather talk to Teyla?"
"Ab aliis immisericordibus, no," he snorts, then sighs before reaching for a fresh bottle of moonshine. No matter how drunk he is already, he's going to need to be more so to tell this story. "Nicolaa was six years younger than me and the last child to be born on Atlantis..."
Nicolaa is six years younger than Iohannes and the last child to ever be born on Atlantis. Josua is five years older than him and then there's a ten year gap after that between him and the rest of the Lantean population, so they're largely thrown together out of lack of alternatives.
By the time she is born, the Wraith War has been waging for seventy-eight years. Atlantis has been under siege for forty-eight, and under the Lantean Ocean for all but two of those. There are only a handful who still remember anything from before the war, even fewer who can recall anything of Avalon. Between the Wraith and the Plague they had come to this galaxy to escape, it seems as if the Alteran people have been doing nothing but dying for the last quarter millennium. Ascension, more than winning the war, is their primary goal.
On a more personal level, by the time Nicolaa is born, Mother has been dead for three years. Iohannes has also been a pastor for nearly eighteen months, having convinced Father to allow him to undergo the surgery that implanted the nanoids into his nervous system behind Matertera Catalina's back. (Not that Catalina could have done anything about it, had she known; she may have been the one raising him, but Father is his father, and his parental rights are supreme.)
No one as young as Iohannes had ever been custodia before that point, let alone pastor, and as a result both he and Father, who'd preformed the surgery behind the Council's collective backs, receive much censure. Later, when it becomes clear that the only personality influencing him is his own, Iohannes will later learn that the others had feared the weight of the city's consciousness would destroy his mind. At the time, however, all he really knows is that Nicolaa represents someone who might be willing to spend more time with him than Father or Matertera Catalina or even Josua are.
It is sort of impossible for them not to have become best friends.
After Matertera Catalina Ascends, Iohannes goes to live with Father, who really only ever pays attention to him when he needs something calculated or to be flown about on some off-world excursion, which means Iohannes spends most of time away from any source of adult supervision, save what little 'Lantis chooses to provide. Add that to the fact that Nicolaa's own parents are soldiers in the War and are often aboard lintres away from the city for months at a time and...
Well, they would constantly have been getting in and out of trouble, to say the least, had anyone really bothered to take the time to discipline them.
Despite all this, however, Nicolaa remains six years younger than him, and looks up to him with a passion partially born of this age difference and partially because, of everyone on Atlantis, the pastores are most respected, even when they're feared to be Abominations. So it is that Iohannes just thinks she's upset at being left behind when he joins the Guard on his seventeenth birthday and is immediately assigned to the Tethys, the last remaining linter of that eponymous line.
It's not until he returns to Atlantis following the Battle of the Palamede and the destruction of the Tethys, that he understands it wasn't simple agitation, it was heartbreak.
Nicolaa is ten days past her fourteenth birthday when he's finally able to gate back to Atlantis following the destruction of the Tethys. She comes running into his arms the moment he steps through the porta, and she's gathered such momentum by the time she reaches him that he ends up spinning them both around dizzily to keep from tumbling back through the finiens eventis. It's enough to make the other survivors of the battle laugh at them both, which is saying something considering what they've been through.
And then she kisses him, hard and fast, right there in the middle of the Gate Room, before babbling about how how happy she is that he's home at last.
It takes him until she's dragged him off to one of the rooms in the lesser-used parts of the city to fully process what's just happened, but Nicolaa doesn't notice because by that point she's moved on to telling him about everything he's missed in the two-and-a-quarter years he was deployed (as if they'd not been exchanging communiques the entire time).
Once he's finally gotten it through is head that, yes, Nicolaa kissed him, he gets with the program fairly fast, and interrupts her listing of all the finagling it's taken to convince her parents to let her become a pastor too to kiss her again.
Because, dei maledici, Iohannes has missed her.
Nicolaa is: caring, compassionate, protective, soft-spoken (except when it comes to protecting those she cares about, or when around the same), forgiving; almost childishly naive about the realities of war, even after she becomes a moderator in the Guard.
Nicolaa has: long, copper-coloured hair, which falls to her shoulders in tight curls; a complex about pleasing her parents, which only grows worse after her mother dies upon the Adeonea; a heart as big as an urbs-navis, if not bigger; a firm, almost fool-hearty belief that the Wraith will be defeated before long, after which the Alteran people be able to get back to the lives they effectively put on hold when the war began.
If they hadn't been at war, Iohannes thinks she would have become a teacher. He has no doubt she would have been one of the best 'Lantis had ever seen.
If they hadn't been at war though, there would have been other children their age and, if there'd been other children, they would have in all likelihood never have become as close as they had.
There's no place for children in a war.
That's what their relationship boils down to in the end. They're thrown together because there are no other children for them to be thrown in with. They break apart because, when she is nineteen and he is twenty-five, she says she wants a baby and a child is the last thing he wants to bring into a galaxy so full of death and destruction.
The end is messy – but that's only to be expected, given their role models or, rather, lack thereof – but Tirianus' last pastor dies not long after, he's seconded almost immediately to the only other remaining urbs-navis. Because, although the cathedrae will work for any Alteran, they've always worked better for their pastores, and it's for that reason and that reason alone that the Councils never put a stop to the practice, which has always made non-custodiae apprehensive.
Five months later, Nicolaa marries Tomas Norens Nauta, who is forty and (in Iohannes' opinion) about as interesting as fine-grained sand, and he's impossibly glad he's halfway across Pegasus, where he can easily pretend none of it ever happened.
He doesn't see her again until Tirianus falls.
It's less painful then it could have been: She's just lost both her father and her husband, who'd been aboard the Hesperta and Tria respectively when the lintres had been destroyed in the battle that had raged over Lantea that day. He's just been fished out of the ocean from amongst the debris and more startled than anybody to find himself alive. The urbs-navis' dying screams are still echoing in both their ears when he wakes in the infirmary to find her crying at his bedside, and even he cannot bring himself to fight with her at that moment.
They manage to become friends again after that. They're never as close as they once were, and certainly never amatores again, but she's still the best friend Iohannes ever had before the Terrans came. The only friend, really.
Her death is the last thing Iohannes remembers before his mad dash to the cathedra, wanting to protect Atlantis in the only way that was left to him, even as everyone else abandoned them.
Even after three bottles of moonshine, Iohannes can't bring himself to go into any great detail. It's all he can do to sketch for Ronon enough of the details that the Satedan won't think of siccing Teyla on him – how Nicolaa was his best friend, his amator for a time, and the only person he ever loved (or even genuinely liked) before Rodney came along.
"So ten years is how long it takes?" Ronon asks at the end of it, and Iohannes is far too drunk to follow, so he has to further clarify, "To get over your first love."
Iohannes can only frown. He's rather certain there's something he's supposed to be reading between the lines here, but he can't make out the lines at the moment, let alone anything that might be between them. So he settles on, "I dunno if you ever get over it."
Ronon just grunts.
If he asks any more questions after that, Iohannes doesn't ever remember them.