Disclaimer: Not Mine. Rating: er.. 13+ Spoilers: Siege 1/2/3, Intruder, season 2.
Genre: gen, post-episode for Siege 3 Notes: er. I think this is anr's fault, really. And I don't think I've seen something like this out there, but, er, if I have, sorry. Title swiped from Depeche Mode's 'Dream On'.

Debt to Karma
by ALC Punk!

She wakes up screaming.

Except there's no sound, so she can't be screaming, can she?

All she can smell is sweat and salt, and the strange mustiness that never quite goes away from Atlantis, even now, after so many months.

Elizabeth can feel her heart pounding too fast, adrenaline rushing through her veins and her world tilting on its axis. Except that she's safe and sound. The wraith threat is gone, Daedelus is being repaired. Soon, they'll be heading for Earth and she'll have meetings and de-briefings and so many stacks of paperwork she'll wish she never left. There will be reports to make, and requisitions to handle, and so many political moves to accomplish.

The mundane thoughts calm her nerves, and she remembers using this trick for her night terrors in college.

Her breathing slows and she relaxes back against the comfortable cushion the Athosians gifted her with, back when they were living in Atlantis. The city of dreams, her mind tosses out spitefully and a shiver drifts through her.

She wishes it had been her old night terrors, those she never remembered other than the sense of overwhelming fear.

Instead she knows exactly what she was dreaming. Her mind is decompressing, processing the last several days and letting her come to terms with it.

Not that she wants to.

Even now, she can taste the terror at the back of her throat as the genii blindfolded her and sat her in a chair and didn't touch her. The sense of menace had almost made her voice squeak, but she'd trained too long and fought vocal battles too often to give in then.

They'd demanded she come alone, and she had. They'd threatened to keep her there as punishment for the 60-plus men Major Sheppard had killed. And they hadn't.

She can still taste the relief of walking back through the gate into Atlantis to be greeted by the resolute, but terrified people there (and the musty scent of the city, salt, and Sheppard's aftershave). A part of Elizabeth thinks they didn't keep her because they were practical, expedient. They assumed she would die with Atlantis.

But she didn't die. Some of them did, but she didn't, and the wraith believe Atlantis is destroyed.

She considers adding the genii to the list of peoples they should discuss trade agreements with. After all, there is a common enemy. A snort escapes her into the darkness.

And for just a moment, the sound echoes, and she's back in that room with something dripping and no one speaking to her and the air moving just so and her eyes covered, and--her room isn't dark. Even with the lights out, there's still something luminescent in the walls that gives off enough light to see by.

The very fact of the light calms her nerves, and she releases her breath quickly, then draws in another.

Tomorrow, she will get up and face the running of her city. She will talk with Sheppard and Caldwell and McKay, and they will plan the visit back to Earth. Tomorrow, she will be Dr. Elizabeth Weir again.

But for the moment, in the almost-dark, she's Elizabeth, and she's allowed to be scared.

-f-