AJ_Pastor

Once Again and Innumerable Times More (drabble 7)

The Ancient!John 'verse: Once Again and Innumerable Times More (drabble 7 of ???)
Characters: Ancient!John Sheppard,
Pairings: pre-John/Rodney
Summary: Iohannes spent ten thousand years in cathedra.
Series: drabble #7 of ??? in the Ancient!John 'verse. Part of Locality.
Notes: Another fic I didn't intend to write. Be warned, it made me tear up while writing it.
Note Bene: In chronological order, this is the seventh drabble.



Once Again and Innumerable Times More

An Ancient!John drabble


"What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, 'This life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!' Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, 'Never have I heard anything more divine?"

Friedrich Nietzsche


He's lying when he says he doesn't remember. Iohannes spent ten thousand years - the better part of his life - in the cathedra. Every thought and datum and melody and error report and motif and system failure and change in pitch and implacable scream into the empty night is etched into his memory with the unchanging permanence that only the most terrifying things can ever manage.

But the mind is a resilient thing, especially the Alteran mind. It can bury even the most horrific memories so deep that even it can become blind to the secrets it hides - particularly when doing so is the only way to maintain a grasp, however slight, on sanity.

But nothing can stay hidden forever.

On those nights when the memories of those dark, unending nights slip in wisps and whispers into his dreams, Iohannes wakes drenched in cold sweat, silently screaming words that no other living soul knows the meaning of. And though he can wash away the evidence, and though he can wander Atlantis' halls until he's convinced himself it is nothing but a dream, the vague sense of terror always remains. Iohannes might not always recognize it as such or even note it's presence, but it's always there, the leitmotif of his life in this future he's found himself awakened into.

(Sometimes, though, he'll get a flash of it while he's wide awake: of darkness so complete he cannot remember the light, of cold so absolute his skin burns where exposed; of emptiness so thorough that he'd do anything never to be alone again, even if just talking to other people can hurt sometimes after so long in the silence. In those moments, it's all he can do to fake a smile, to breathe, to continue on like nothing's happening. And it's those moments Iohannes cannot forget.)

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  • 23 comments
Wow. This is chilling and so sad. I like to think during those waking moments when he has those thoughts, he tracks down Rodney and purposely riles him up, to feel the warmth of Rodney's anger/annoyance, to watch him move.

OH, JOHN!
I like to think so too. Of course, since this is my 'verse, I guess "thining so" makes it fic!canon, but you know what I mean.
yep. as soon as I'm feeling less teary I may have to write up that as a drabble companion or something
"The Mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."

and I try to pair my icons with my comments. It's OCD, but it's what I do. I also always make sure my tips at restaurants bring my totals to the nearest dollar, so that there aren't any messy cents to worry about on my credit card bills. I'm weird like that.
Fitting quote :)

Ooo, I totally understand both those things :D I have a thing about things being even - pictures, for example, have to be even.
Nah, it's only the restaurant bills that have to come out to whole $s. Everything else has to be symmetrical. Though I've got to admit that after I read all 14 or so of the Foreigner books in a row like, oh, two Xmases ago, I had this thing about odd numbers for months afterwards, but that's only because the aliens in that book believe odd numbers bring good luck. Felicitous Three and all that.
Huh. I've always loved even numbers, really. It seems weird to me to have a thing for odd numbers :P

I really need to step back from the fic and read all those books I have on your recommendations!
you really should! There are so many good syfy books out there. A whole lot of dross too, but there are some really amazing ones too.
I would get more reading done if I didn't consistently choose fanfiction over books.
I would get more reading done if I didn't consistently choose fanfiction over books

I second that comment! :) I have a whole shelf of books waiting to be read, but I've only re-read a few of them since buying. (The first read was from a library book almost a decade ago).


And, Aadarshinah, thank you for another snippet.
I have so many ebooks that I mean to read, but no matter how many times I tell myself to get started I find myself reading fic instead!
Achingly sad, I know John would find it difficult to explain all this to Rodney but I do hope he draws comfort from him at times like these. Beautifully written!
thank you so much. John, naturally, would find this hard to explain, but like you said, he's got Rodney now, so that's something.
  • 23 comments