untitled drabble #35

Title: untilted drabble #35
Rating: R (for safety)
Words: 2,095
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.

And again.

And 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.

  • Current Mood: anxious
  • Current Music: Songza - Sunshine Indie Pop
I think you handled this wonderfully. I really liked the format you told this particular ficlet in - John being drunk, the reminiscing quality to how we learn about Nicolaa, and then the ending, where we learn that John told Ronon only the bare basics of what we've learned.

I had no idea they broke up and she married someone else, though. I thought they were together right up until her death.

I'm not sure I can say that Rodney would have liked her - he's not fond of people in general and I imagine he's even worse with those younger than him - but I bet Rodney respects John's feelings for her. Which is good.

Poor John. His life has been a difficult one :(
*dabs brow* In a way, I was less worried about this than the end of "Legati", but, then again, I did basically sit down and write this all in one go, and I don't usually get over-critical of my work until I've been on the some chappie for a couple of days.

But, yeah. When thinking of Nicolaa - in specific, how it effects his relationship with Rodney - I've always felt it important that they broke up at some point before the Exodus, and that a large reason for that breakup be related to John's fear of commitment and all he's willing to sacrifice to rid the galaxy of the Wraith.

I don't think Rodney would've liked her - as I said before, she's more like Daniel than Rodney, and we know how those two get along - but I think he definiately would respect John's feelings for her, if he knew the extent of him. Remember, he knows even less than Ronon, only that she exists.

But, admittedly, the hardest part of this was the age difference bit of it. Thus the rather extensive notes.

Edited at 2012-05-29 04:50 am (UTC)
I did basically sit down and write this all in one go, and I don't usually get over-critical of my work until I've been on the some chappie for a couple of days.

Yeah, I get that way too. It's mostly why I rarely post, and when I do it's very short. Otherwise I have time to agonize over my average writing and everything.

It's hard to understand where Nicolaa is coming from, because in our culture nineteen is such a young age to be having children, and during a war no less. (and a 20 year old with a 14 year old is very much frowned upon). I can understand John's reasons for not wanting a child better than I can hers for wanting one, but I can see where John's fear of commitment would come into play.

I haven't seen how Daniel and Rodney interact in SG-1 yet, and they seemed to get along okay in s5 of SGA. So I can't really comment on that part, but yeah - Rodney probably would have snapped at her for her naivety in thinking the war would be over soon and probably a dozen other things. I can't see John ever telling Rodney much about Nicolaa, though.
As for where Nicolaa is coming from: imagine it, you're the youngest child on Atlantis. By years. You've been largely ignored by the adults because of your youth, and, because you're the "baby" of the city, on some level you're never expected to have to grow up completely. And with Iohannes constantly away at war, well, she sort of wants a, well, toy, than she does a child (and in writing this I find myself thinking see Marie Antoniette for details).

And, now that I think about it, there's not much Daniel and Rodney interaction in SG1, but I would imagine it would've been like oil and water if they'd been forced to spend any great deal of time together.

John might tell him about Nicolaa one day. If he absolutely has to. (But, as a hint, look back at the ship her husband was on, and you may get where I'm going with this.)
Okay, that helps to see where she's coming from. All that loneliness and with the man she loves so far away...I feel bad for her.

*nod* They have contrasting personalities, so I imagine extended time together would have things going bad fairly quickly. They wouldn't be able to agree on much.

I could see him telling Rodney some things, but...I don't know, John is bad with feelings as it is - and then you add in the awkwardness of telling your current lover about your former one...IDK.

Oh. The name sounded familiar and I had to look it up, but I am very</b>interested to see how that plays out. Very interested indeed.
Yeah. Poor Nicolaa. In some ways, I think she got the worst of it, 'cause she didn't even know what it was she was missing.

But, yeah, besides the Tria there are all sorts of fun in-jokes in this one only I'd get. Adeonoa, the ship Nicolaa's mom dies on, is named after the Roman goddess who protects children as they come home, and Hesperta is a nypmph of the night and sister to Aurora, and there's at least one Dune reference in here...

but, yeah, you'll have to wait until we get that far to see what happens then.
I knew Tria sounded familiar, but I thought it was something I read in one your previous installments; I hadn't realized it was something we actually see in the show. I love the little connections and hints you put in this - a good many of them slid right by me.
:) No problem. I just love it when people catch them. Makes me feel special. Love it when people don't too - makes me feel devious.
I can be counted on to miss them, unless hints are given :P It's like when I read mysteries - while reading, I never guess "whodunit". I just go along for the ride :P
Oh, I almost always know "whodunit" within the first 15 minutes.

Mom and I tried watching Fringe once, and after I finished explaining all the inaccuracies in the opening sequence, I plotted out for her the entire, well, plot of the 1st half S1. Without having seen/heard about it before.

But I'm just cool that way.
That is pretty cool. But you strike me as someone really intelligent, so kind of not a surprise.