The Heart of the City
by Melissa Treglia
For over ten thousand years, Atlantis has cherished Elizabeth. Her one true companion, her own. Elizabeth's infrequent rousing from her cryogenic slumber ensures Atlantis' life continues, and so Atlantis protects her.
But it's more than mutually guarding one another. They have been alone for ten thousand years, only Elizabeth walking the halls and alternating the ZPMs to ensure the continued conservation of the city's power, the lethargy of the city's steel and electronic heart guaranteeing life and survival.
And so, ten thousand years later, when the aged Elizabeth is deep in slumber and the young Elizabeth returns to her ancestral home (for she and all with her are all children of the Ancients), the city's sluggish pulse springs to life.
The city's heart beats strong once again, as systems are gradually turned on. She is not as powerful as she once was; that will take time, but she has time now, thanks to her beloved Elizabeth.
And in the years following, after the elder Elizabeth has passed on and the young Elizabeth reigns over the city, the city takes Elizabeth in her concrete arms, sheltering the human, keeping her out of harm's way.
But it's not enough. Too soon, Elizabeth is gone. The heart of the city rages against it, defying McKay and Zelenka's awkward attempts at calming and taming her secret heart. Raging against the sorrow of the finality of their separation after ten thousand years.
She will continue to shelter them, because Elizabeth would have wanted it that way, because they share in her grief, because they are the children of Atlantis. But Atlantis will never let them in, never let them know all her secrets. Not without her here, not the secrets she alone was meant to know.
The city's walls echo distantly with a sigh of mourning, the unmitigated pain of loss bleeding from an electronic and steel heart. Elizabeth... Elizabeth...