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Author's Chapter Notes: Written for Vickysg1


Elizabeth takes a reluctant step into the room that has been her house for the last few weeks. Behind her, the nurse shuts the door, the telltale click of the lock snapping into place sounding all too familiar and slightly disheartening to Elizabeth’s ears.

She waits, standing just in front of the door, until the padded footsteps of the nurse fade down the corridor, and then she sighs, releasing part of the tension that always accompanies this moment. Her shoulders slump and she walks tiredly to the little bed at the far corner of the room, shuffling her socked feet on the smooth tiles of the floor.

It’s cold through the thin layer of cotton, but she doesn’t seem to notice, or care, even when her toes start to feel numb.

All this has become a sort of ritual for her after the first confusing days at the institution.

She always ignores the plastic curtain that separates the bathroom area from the rest of the room, but her nerves still shake at the mere thought of the shadows she knows would be lurking behind the wall of flowing white if she just looked back.

The empty silence doesn’t help her fend off the images when they present themselves, and even the steady buzz of the heater is just a temporary comfort. The entire system is shut down for the night, after all the patients have been escorted to their rooms, and it wouldn’t be long before that: Elizabeth’s room is on the top floor.

She once pondered asking the nurses to change their route and start from her floor instead, that way she could delay the silence a little longer. Maybe long enough to have the heater lull her to sleep, if she is lucky.

Naturally, she dismissed the thought as soon as it came to her mind, she doesn’t want to sound crazier than people already believe her to be.

She doesn’t like being alone in here at night. She has never had issues about living on her own, but since she woke up at the hospital, she has come to dread the moment when the door is locked behind her and she is left alone to face the confusion that still rules in her head.

It isn’t so bad during the day, she thinks as she slips off her socks and throws back the blue covers from the bed. Then she climbs upon it, the wheels creaking on their hinges as she does so. Yes, it isn’t bad during the day.

Her therapy hours with Dr. Fletcher are going well, and she takes long, relaxing walks in the garden after lunch, enjoying the colors and the smells of the blooming spring. Sometimes Jack O’Neill pays her a visit, but more often it’s her mother. The woman Elizabeth thought she would never see again since the day she received the letter informing her of her death, during her second year in Atlantis.

Spending time with her helps keeping the memories of Atlantis at bay, and she feels almost as if she’s back to normal.

Not at night though. Not when she’s alone and the faces and the voices come back to haunt her.

The images take shape, and she’s painfully aware of the feelings she harbors for people who should be just figments of her imagination, and yet are the biggest source of fear and the only source of comfort she has.

Every night she thinks she really *is* crazy, and then she wonders how her mind could have conjured up such a complex, minutely detailed world. Elizabeth is a humanist, a woman of words and feelings, but she’s never been creative in that kind of way.

She draws her knees up to her chest and hugs herself, longing for any kind of warmth.

When the voices starts whispering in her ear she buries her face between her knees and squeezes her eyes shut, but she doesn’t try to block it out.

She fingers her rubber bracelet, pulls at it angrily until her wrist hurts, as if by tearing it away the sterile, impersonal looking room would disappear and she’d find herself back in that place that shouldn’t even exist but that she misses so much.

The voice sweeps over her body, touching her with ghostlike fingers. Her skin pimples in her loose white scrubs, both at the unearthly quality of the shadow looming over her and at the memories it brings to her mind.

Memories of that same voice, soft and light this time, as if he’s laughing. A lingering tingle on her skin where he wrapped his arms around her and held her close on many occasions. Caresses, meant to arouse, and kisses that were reassuring and full of promises.

Or are these delusions?

She pulls the blankets up to her chin, fisted hands holding the hems up close to her neck.
“John.” She whispers, and then she’s alone again.


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