Chapter Five: Chestnuts Roasting

"...you are who is and who will always be..."

The words continued to resound through Nick's head as he watched the glow around the beautiful woman intensify until she was nothing more than a multi-tendriled light floating gently in the air. Then, the light disappeared leaving Nick to blink rapidly as his eyes adjusted to the sudden dimness of the room.

After some minutes of confusion and wonder, he slowly got from the bed, taking note that he was no longer dressed in rags, but in a white linen shirt with ruffled sleeves, a red velvet vest and leather leggings. On the floor beside the bed were sturdy black boots that looked as though they had been made just for him. He stared at them a moment and then glanced out the window.

What was this place?

"...you are who is and will always be..."

What did that mean? He shivered slightly and folded his arms across his chest. He didn't understand what the woman wanted from him, but for bringing him here he would do anything for her. Simply for being such a kind and gracious...thing...he'd do anything for her. Sighing, he bent over to pull the boots on, intent on exploring this new place he'd found himself at.

The door opened abruptly, startling Nick, and a small creature walked in. He had a mop of unruly curly hair and his ears were pointed. His expression was twisted into one of disdain, but brightened as he saw that Nick was awake.

"So, the boy our Lady brought is awake, is he? Well I'm guessing he would be hungry?"

Nick blinked. "Um...yes?" An elf. He'd heard many stories of the creatures, but had never counted them as true. He gazed in unabashed curiosity as the creature nodded eagerly and left the room.

After a few seconds the creature was back with another, female it looked. They were both carrying trays and sat them on the bed beside him before bowing out of the room. Nick blinked again, wondering what that was all about. Then the smells coming from the tureens and covered dishes caused his mouth to water, and he forgot all about the strange behavior of the elves in favor of stuffing his mouth.

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Remembering the smell from those long ago days, Rodney's stomach rumbled at him. He grinned ruefully and rummaged in his desk for one of the packages of rations he stored away for just such occasions. A delighted smile crossed his face when his questing fingers caught a hold of what they were looking for, and he quickly pulled it out and ripped open the wrapper.

Life had been so much simpler with the elves, before he'd discovered what he could do. Before he'd learned what he'd been chosen to do. And now...well life was easier now. The only person's happiness he had to worry about was his own...and Elizabeth's. Sheppard was a nice sort too, if you could get past his humor. And Ford was a good kid. Not to mention Carson and Zelenka...

Rodney shook his head and frowned. He was doing it again, letting people in, giving them a chance to hurt him. However, he already knew what they were capable of, so there was only so much they could do. They wouldn't be able to break past all the barriers he'd set himself.