Hello there. This story is also posted on my livejournal community - speckle_dots if you want to see it further along. Over there it's up to the 5th chapter of 10, so if you want to jump ahead, please feel free to head over there and do so (but please comment? if you can?) Each chapter is accompanied by a song by Enya (as you can see below) so if you also want to listen to those as you read along (a few are instrumental) then they are posted to the livejournal community as well.

And who can say if your love grows as your heart chose.
Only time.
~ Enya, Only Time

Chapter 1: Time

When you can't live and you can't die and all you've got left in the world is time, it flashes by in an instant. You can see the stars change, but you can't be sure if you're just sitting there and they are passing you by, or if the entire universe is sitting still as you float along.

You can't sleep and you can't dream and all you're left with is memories that plague your days; if days is still a measurement of passing time, you're no longer sure. Ships pass and you can sense them, hear them even, but you don't reach out. Anyone passing could help you, pull you aboard and assess that you're in perfect health and perfect strength - because you're entirely too perfect for your own liking - but you're waiting for one in particular. The only one that will never come and you think that perhaps, that is for the best.

You said you were doing it to prove to your people - those that followed you from their home because they believed that you held a new hope for their kind, a new way to ascend - you said that it was safe and that the world on the other side was going to be the perfect place for you to finally achieve your goal, to finally be free. But you lied, even in your mind you lied and you had known that you weren't doing it for them, you'd never done any of it for them, not really. You were doing it for him. It was always for him. Maybe that was selfish and perhaps you'd made them seem too wonderful that the Replicators that trusted you, expected too much of them, too much of you. But you can't blame yourself or them for that anymore. It had stopped being anyone's fault when you realised the truth. You were being played as expertly as you'd convinced them that Atlantis could save you.

In college you'd always prided yourself on being one of those independant young women who would do nothing for a boy and less for one who claimed he was a man. You were strong and passionate and you hadn't ever needed a single one of them. But ultimately - and you'd chuckle about the irony of it if you could - that is what your life had boiled down to.

You'd lived and lied and died, for a man. Justly, he wasn't just any man, but he was a man all the same and when all you have is endless time to mull over these things, the memories of your past niavete's are the ones that come back to haunt you so inscessently. They are the ones that beg you for a do-over. And you know that your desperation to see his face had blinded you from the notion that you were kidding yourself.

You fill your moments with as many of the memories of good you can recall, smiling faces, glittering disco balls, confetti. You like those memories, because they're of your life but they're not an intrusion into the memories you don't want to share with the unfamiliar body that is keeping both your consciousness and your soul, alive. You appreciate it, because it reminds you of Rodney and it was a small piece of him that you could hold near to your heart. But it wasn't a piece of ihim/i that you wanted, not matter how much you truely did love him. A peice of him was more a constant slap in the face than a comfort and you both love it and despise it, because you can't die but sometimes you want to and at the same time, you're still afraid to.

You thought that the loneliness would have taken you sooner, but it still hasn't and you start to wonder if it's been ten minutes or ten years. You're not quite sure anymore because you haven't smelt the jet-stream of a ship in such a long time. You haven't felt it's wake ripple against your cheeks and that makes you afraid that this little corner of the universe has been forgotten. Somehow it makes exsistance seem so much more barren, so much more pointless. But even though you're lost and floating and destined to eternity as nothing but a shell of memories, you're still not quite convinced that you're done, just yet.

He promised that he'd always find you. He promised that he'd never stop looking and even as you'd looked into his eyes, wanting so desperately to be in his arms as you stepped over the threshold of your fate, you had enough faith in him to believe that mortality wasn't going to stop him making that promise come true. Because you knew that no matter how little he'd come to trust your word - because it was your eyes he'd always trusted - as soon as you stepped through, he was going to know that you really were who he'd been praying all along you were.

He didn't have forever but you do and you wonder time and time again, if that makes a difference. You don't know and there is no way to be sure, but you do wonder because wondering is one of the few things you can do out here.

You wonder how much time has passed, you wonder where they are, you wonder if they're alive. You wonder if they've got families or if they're aging and walking the halls of a great forgotten city with walking canes and hearing aids because even the US Military cannot pry them away. You wonder if grass is still green and you laugh inside yourself, because you remember that offworld trip he took you on as a surprise gift for negotiating a truce and trade agreement between the Narka lians and the Gundra.

He'd told you to close your eyes the second you stepped through the 'gate and even though he was guiding you gently, you'd gripped his hand tightly - because you'd never quite been comfortable with offworld travel - as he lead you through to a clearing and quietly whispered in your ear for you to open your eyes. It was there that you'd seen rolling hills of cerulean blue grass, for the first time in your life. And you had loved it like he'd known you would.

You find yourself longing to know what became of him, if he's still walking the galaxy, searching for a way to save you. And you recall a moment in your life, so fleeting that you'd almost forgotten it's meaning. You remember standing in a lab with Rodney, wall to wall with boards full to the frames with code and formula that was jibberish to you then, but makes more sense as you glance at your memory of it now. You'd been trying to convince him that he had the power to save himself and like Rodney, he'd found that shred of defiance inside himself that insisted he resist it.

You tried to get him to ascend, because you'd wanted desperately to believe there was a way for him to survive; because if he could do it, then maybe there was still some hope for you. You'd never admitted it before, but you'd always had a soft spot for him. And you wonder if you had the heart to take your own advice.

You know that it's been a lot longer than you're willing to admit. The other Replicators that had walked through the 'gate with you have long since drifted away and you've been alone for decades, perhaps even centuries but you hope not on the latter. Decades would break your heart, but at least there was a chance he'd still be alive.

You take a deep breath, metaphorically, and as the only motor-function you have left, you revel in the feeling of closing your eyes. It's the first time in a long time, that you've seen a blackness devoid of stars, but it doesn't scare you like you had expected. You chemically slow your own breathing, because you can do that and so much more, but as you do your best to still your mind you let go of every thought and every feeling that could tie you to the body you inhabit. You feel compassion for it's original owner and wonder what she would have been like, but then you remember that she had come from Rodney's mind and you no longer feel the same sense of loss for her appearance.

It feels like moments before you can no longer remember what the face you wear looks like and whilst you know that your longing for him is what ties you to this place, you release it. With all of your heart, you let him go because he has been the burden you've carried and the last face you remembered since you stepped out onto the stars. You know that what you're doing, is ultimately a means to some kind of end, and you remember yourself telling Rodney that it'd never work if you intend to get something out of it. You remember yourself telling the Replicators that very same thing and you remember knowing that you'd never had the barriers against it that they had. True, it was more difficult a goal to reach for machine, than man. But at heart - and they had never known this - you had always been human and unlike them, you'd carried with you a soul that had always been set apart from the vessel that carried it.

So you let all thoughts run away and you search within yourself for some semblance of peace.

You find it and you latch on to it and as you feel a warmth on your face that you haven't felt for far too long, his face is the last you see once more.