Warnings: Casting spoilers S.5, dark mental musings.
Notes: Written for prompt in a box (LJ), not beta-read (see a pattern here?). Any mistakes in this document are mine and mine alone. But feel free to point them out, I did the best I could to clean this up for you all the enjoy.
Prompt: because i could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me
Three weeks in Atlantis and already Woolsey could see that there was something different about the people here. Something that went beyond having been cut off from Earth for almost a year. Beyond that delicate line of insanity that had been a requirement to make that original one-way trip. Something that was deeper than the blood ties that bound them all together. Something that only seemed to affect the original expedition and the full-time personnel.
It was a shadow in their eyes, a curve of the lips, or a twitch of a hand that gave away the otherness. Sometimes it was nothing more than a glance and he could see it creep across their faces. Other times it was something they said or did that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Most times there was nothing there for him to point to, just a gut feeling that told him run, run, run while he remained rooted to the floor.
It wasn't just the personnel that made him feel uneasy. The city itself that set him on edge. Walking down an empty hallway, or standing alone in his room and Woolsey could swear that someone or something was following him, watching him always just out of sight. A predator stalking its prey.
He would have dismissed his feelings and instincts as nothing more than over active imagination and being in an unfamiliar place if he had been anywhere else in the universe. But he was in Atlantis, in the lost city of the Ancients and he'd read the reports that the expedition had sent back to Earth.
He'd read the reports just like everyone else had once Atlantis had regained contact with Earth. But he'd continued to devour them afterwards. Reading and rereading them. Digging deeper and further into the files sent back. He read between the lines and beyond the words that had been put to the page.
He'd noticed that the way they referenced the city changed as time had gone on. In the beginning they referred to Atlantis as "the city" and "it", always with an expression of wonder and awe. As time had gone on that changed, at first only with the ATA carriers, but had been swiftly adopted by everyone from the original expedition. Soon the city was given a gender – female – and referenced like a person – Atlantis.
Quickly following that they began to attribute a personality to the city, giving it emotions and moods. Describing them sometimes only with hints and vagueness. But it became more pronounced.
They literally gave the city life in those reports.
Now three weeks into his command of the city and Woolsey was profoundly grateful that he hadn't been given the same rooms that Dr. Weir or Colonel Carter had occupied. It wasn't that he was a superstitious person. He didn't believe in ghosts and demons. But he still couldn't help but feel relived anyway.
There was something different about not just the people but also the city itself.
That something different had made him wonder what it was about those reports that hinted at the city being sentient that struck such a cord with him now.
After three weeks of living in the Lost City, Woolsey was pretty sure he had an answer. He still didn't feel comfortable in the city. He didn't feel welcomed the way the first wave had, and he hadn't expected to be welcomed – only tolerated.
But if he turned off the lights, cracked the windows to the sounds of the ocean, he could almost hear it. If he stood still in the dark, his eyes closed, and listened to everything around him he could just make out the sound under the crash of the water below, the air moving through the hallways and around the towers, under the humming of the circuitry in the walls and floors.
The song of a city long thought lost and dead.
A city that sang to those who loved her best.