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The Weight of Water

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Atlantis is huge, an ever-widening gyre, an endless labyrinth of water-soaked hallways and darkened machines that burn with the appropriate laying on of hands. If you wander the less populated parts, you can go for hours, days, without seeing another person. They’ve lost too many people that way.

Mostly, the size is deceptive, and too much time is spent treading on toes and brushing elbows, metaphorical and otherwise. Over the time they’ve spent there, the team all have systems, tricks to maintain the illusion of space.

Teyla meditates, spending hours alone in the quiet hush of candle flicker and slow breathing. The deliberateness required feels like the tide’s ebb, which helps.

Ronon trains, defeating punching bags and overconfident Marines with equal regularity. He enjoys the rhythm of it, a one-two step of thinking and unthinking that measures time along with the beat of his heart.

John runs, trading the quick twist of a smile for the rapid tap of sneakers against Atlantis’ corridors. He’s in too good of shape to really feel the burn of over-worked muscles but he tries for it anyway, the exchange into energy that’s as close to flying as he gets outside of a jumper.

Rodney, when the walls seem too close and even these lengthened days too shrot, writes mathematical formulae, redrawing numbers from the early calculus equations he grew up on to a derivative form of energy that he’s translated into Ancient with a side of Greek. The balance, that comfort of a known omega helps his brain quiet and slow, a silence better than sleep, than any Ancient tech yet discovered.

The community in Atlantis is huge, yet there’s a pattern to it, a rhythm (one-two) and a pulse (flicker) of motion (like flying), the sine wave twist of water curling against an alien shore.