Don't own. Oh, woe is me.“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
In any direction you choose…
…Oh! The places you’ll go!”
– Dr. Seuss –
The two-year-old toddles across the sand on her little round legs, made to look even shorter by the bulk of her diaper and baggy baby shorts. She drags her toes in that odd way small children have, arms raised, ten perfect fingers splayed upon the crisp sea air.
The day is overcast, a world painted in muted blues and grays and greens. The sand seems the colour of ash. Sea spray rolls up the beach in drifts of fine mist, and Faith can taste it on her lips; at the corners of her mouth, and catching at the back of her throat. It’s sharper than the sea on Earth, tangier. A gasp rather than a sigh.
Peripherally, she is aware to the others on the beach. Teyla and Tagan stand close, sharing secrets, mother and son. She bends, putting an arm about his shoulders. There is laughter and the flash of seashells as the boy holds them up to the veiled sunlight.
Katie is nearby; Faith can hear her calling to McKay, caught between amusement and worry, because Merry has just gotten over her previous cold, and so must be rescued before she gets her hair wet.
Ronon will be somewhere with his boys, wreaking havoc and making trouble, Jen trailing long-sufferingly along with band-aids and antiseptic spray in her pockets.
It happens around her, but Faith sits, her attention unwavering, eyes upon the small, swaying figure near the waterline.
When she stumbles, Faith tenses, but the tot regains her balance and traipses towards the gently rushing surf. There’s no need to worry though, because there’s John, splashing into the shallows, grinning as he swoops her up, holding the giggling bundle to one shoulder. A glimpse of a gummy and gap-toothed smile, bright eyes.
Faith, drawn irresistibly, rises and walks to them. Cool water coils over her bare feet, rushes up to kiss her calves. The sea breeze tousles her hair, and she grins, because John’s and the girl’s is a lost cause already.
John smiles at her over the toddler’s shoulder. Not his cocksure flyboy grin. Something secret, something other
, something wonderful and unnameable.
The little girl turns in his arms, reaches out to her.
Those wide, dark eyes are Faith’s looking back at her. The Cupid’s bow mouth is a smaller replica of her own that presses damp baby-kisses to her cheek.
“Look,” murmurs John. “It’s our magic castle.”
“’Antis!” the girl cries, joyous. “Sidy!”
In the distance, the sun is breaking through the clouds. It glances off blue and silver spires, and Faith thinks, ‘home’
Within Atlantis, Faith sighs and smiles, shifting in her sleep, one hand curling around the shadow of a child’s hand.
,” she breathes.AN:
Why? I hear you ask. Because I'm an incurable sap. Sue me, or just review. Oh, and fear not, this is not the end of the series. Not by a long shot, Sonny Jim.