Spoilers: Up to S2 Condemned.
A/N: As the challenges tend to induce, this one came outta almost nowhere, but kind of pleased to have gotten to writing more for Weir. Also rather angsty, with an issue that might hit close to home for some, so hope I don't upset anyone too much with it. Not betaread because it's way too late to get anyone to, so any mistakes point out if you like, all my fault but wouldn't mnid knowing so I can fix them. :)
She contemplates the question as she looks out the window. The city is lit up at this late hour. She was surprised Kate had taken the appointment but she had been insisting she needed to see her more, having had only the basic sessions that everyone was ordered to attend.
"The last time I saw Mother alive..."
She stops, wondering when she became Mother instead of Mom. When it was she'd divorced herself from feeling anything for her.
Kate doesn't rush her, letting the silence linger, waiting ever so patiently for the answer that is in there somewhere.
Elizabeth watches the city below as she sits curled up on the couch opposite the psychologist. It's dusk and the setting sun causes a wonderful glow to wash across the horizon, and inside everyone carries on. She can see in some of the nearby towers where personnel are there doing their jobs - and more, working late despite their own needs. Atlantis is hidden but there are some who see not all is well. They know, like her, that you can pretend all you like but the big bad is still coming, bringing along death with it. Death always comes, and worse, it isnt the end, it doesn't solve anything. The Wraith will keep coming, if not for them, for others.
“The last time I saw her,” she uses a neutral term this time, “ she was... dying.”
She remembers it well. The crisp smell of the room when she visited her, freshly made sheets, her mother sitting in a chair next to the small window. Julia Weir sitting there quietly, watching the comings and goings of others because it was all she felt she had left. It was strange to see her mother give up, because everyone who knew her knew a woman who gave everything her best go. She was a realist but she was determined – she knew that things were hard and she'd try anyway. Only this was one fight she didn't believe in, she was refusing treatment, even though the doctors said it might add months, maybe a year, to her life - if she was lucky.
But it wasn't enough. Her mother was an all or nothing type. Months weren't what she wanted, she wanted to live and she didn't see months of cancer treatment as actually living. At the time Elizabeth had felt bitter.
“She was dying” she repeated, feeling a pain in her chest as she dug up the memories. “Slowy... painfully.”
It was her mothers choice. That was why she'd felt hate towards her. Maybe hate was the wrong word but it had been a strong emotion and it hadn't been pleasant. She'd turned away from her mother at the news, walked out the door as the tears welled, and left her to die like she'd chosen to do. Elizabeth's younger self had thought rather spitefully that her mother had made the decision herself and could live with it by herself too, or rather die with it as it had been.
That was why she hadn't been there when it had happened, and why she'd only appeared fleetingly at her mothers wake. She'd rationalised it as because of her work commitments. She'd been away, hard to contact, she'd only managed to get away just too late to attend properly and with only a while to spare. So she hadn't stayed long and now she realises as she stares out at the people of Atlantis, she's never said goodbye. She'd never tried ecause she hadn't wanted to.
Perhaps it's just as well because thinking on it now she understands better. She hadn't been ready to let go of her mother at the wake anymore than she had been able at the hospital.
But now, here Elizabeth is, here they all are, under a shadow. The threat of death is constant, but like her mother she wouldn't trade almost anything to gain life in the face of it. For her mother the trade was comfort, which seems like a small issue but for someone who has little time left comfort must be appealing – everyone else takes it for granted, just like they expect to be safe, top of the foodchain as it is.
She knows now that you can't lose your dignity, or who you are, when you've got the odds set against you. She's had to face the tough decisions and she found she couldn't take a ZPM from a planet of children, nor make the kind of trade off the Olesians had made. They're here for better or worse, and while death may be looming, she feels that living for real is better than compromising any day.