The characters and situations in this story belong to Alliance Atlantis, CBS, Anthony Zuicker and other entities, and I do not have permission to borrow them. No infringement is intended in any way, and this story is not for profit. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any.

Just a little look inside Nick. Spoilers: "Stalker" and "High and Low"


There were times when he would remember, deliberately, for the dulling effect; go over a memory enough times and it blurs and fades, which is why one should take care with the good ones. This one wasn't good. It was the jerk of his head on his neck, the sudden movement; the melodramatically loud crash of glass, and the forever-instant fall. He would remember the sight of it, of the wall and the sky retreating up and back, the terror and the adrenaline and the overall feel of absurdity--that what was happening couldn't be, that it felt too much like a dream.

First the jacket and gloves and helmet. Gotta dress for success.

He didn't remember much more of the landing than the blow that knocked the air from his lungs, which he counted as a blessing. Warrick had told him that he hadn't lost consciousness entirely for a minute or two afterwards, that his eyes were tracking and he was trying to say something, but for the life of him, the life that would hang on a wire just hours later, he couldn't remember. If the bush hadn't broken his fall--

But it had, and somehow he thought that his attacker had known exactly what would happen. The little man was crazy, not stupid. Not by any means.

Double-check the equipment--this is no time to be cocky. You've seen what can happen to the careless ones.

For a while he hadn't thought about it at all, only about what happened when he got home, and the aftermath--the hours and hours he spent searching for cameras, even when he knew he'd found them all. The jumping at sounds. The acrid smells of fresh plaster and paint where the hole in the ceiling had been repaired. The near-obsessive hunt for a new place to keep his spare gun. Oddly enough, he hadn't had any nightmares, but trying to get to sleep was almost as bad.

Fasten the straps, make sure they're tight. Check the wind. Yeah, it's good--this is gonna be a sweet one.

Eventually, of course, the panicked edge faded, along with the hitch in his breathing and the ache in his arm, and if he had a faint new scar on his forehead and a habit of checking the bathroom light fixture for tampering every so often, so what? Nobody got through life without picking up some baggage, after all.

He hadn't told any of his buddies about his latest hobby. Being pushed out of a second-story window would be enough to make most people real scared of heights, and he didn't want to try to explain that he wasn't, just like he didn't want to talk about what had happened. It happened--it was over--leave it in the past, please.

Patience, man, wait your turn--everybody's out here today. It's a beautiful day.

This was different. This was power and freedom and feeling small in the midst of immensity, and a sweeter adrenaline rush to overwrite the memory of sour. This was just enough control to make it worthwhile, and just enough helplessness to make it fun.

Nick stepped up to the crest of the hill and felt the wind tugging at his canopy. The conditions were so right today--he was going to go a long way--

The pull, the swing, the widening space between his feet and the ground, the almost unbearable thrill of it--


And the Earth fell away, and he was dancing in air.