Title: Phonetic

Author: Christi (christim@comcast.net)

Rating: G

Category: Elizabeth POV.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Author’s Note: I’m trying this thing where I write more. As such, I thought I would branch out and try to write more ‘Lantis fic, because the show brings me much glee and thus, I should make an effort. And um, I would never write anything at all (or at least, never show it to anyone) were it not for the encouragement and beta-ing skills of control_freak80 and kate98. So thanks.




For as long as Elizabeth Weir could remember (and probably even longer), she had been fascinated with words. There was no way to pinpoint precisely when the obsession began—she had spoken her first coherent word at seven months and her first full sentence at sixteen months, so the tendency had probably always been there. She did, however, have a particularly vivid memory of receiving a children’s dictionary at the age of three and memorizing it from cover to cover in as many weeks.


Her parents, already accustomed to the precocious behavior of their middle child, simply went out and bought a full-fledged Webster’s. Their ceaseless support and enthusiasm throughout her youth had only served to fuel the fixation. By high school, French and Latin phrases rolled off her tongue as easily as English ever had.


In college, her first serious boyfriend had been an exchange student from St. Petersburg. Though she had never admitted it to anyone, she suspected that his bumbling attempts at becoming bilingual had been the real attraction. After all, the Russian he taught her lasted long after he had returned to the mother country, and she would have missed the new lingual skill more than she had ever missed the man.


If really pressed, Elizabeth would have to confess that the same was true of the Egyptian grad student she’d dated the next year.


The beauty of words, as she saw it, was their ability to create understanding where there had previously only been confusion. Real communication could smooth over almost any situation and words were the tools she knew how to use best. She collected words, hoarding them in her mind, filing away their nuanced meanings for every obscure occasion. Maybe, part of her believed that if she amassed a large enough vocabulary, she’d always be able to articulate her thoughts precisely how she meant them. There was a certain seduction in the idea of never being misunderstood.


Of course, her unconscious mind had never factored a brash Colonel, snarky scientist, or a taciturn alien into this pretty little theory.


John had been one of her toughest challenges. Right from the start, it was clear that words weren’t his strong suit. It wasn’t that he couldn’t use them to his best advantage; it was just that turning to them wasn’t his first instinct. All her carefully cobbled together words were useless if the man she was talking to had no patience for them. She had learned the hard way that neither word choice, insistence, or tone would sway John’s actions in the slightest--he ignored all of them in order to do just as he pleased.


No, it finally became clear that what got through to John was the use of numbers. Math was always the same for him—three deaths, a fifteen percent chance of success, six days until the end of the world—the numbers themselves didn’t really matter much. If he had a number, he felt empowered, because he had a long history of being able to turn numbers in his favor. After all, to John, two plus two always equaled four and seventeen was prime no matter what you tried to divide it by. This line of thought translated to everything for him—right was right, wrong was wrong. He dealt most easily with facts, and uncertainty left him perplexed.


Rodney, of course, was exactly the opposite. Being the so-called brilliant scientist that he claimed (and had proven) to be, it was clear early on that Rodney dealt only in theories. Words were useless to him unless they expressed some kind of scientific possibility—and Rodney had no patience at all for what he saw as useless. In fact, the only time he spared no words at all was during one of his temper tantrums, but the only thing those ever communicated was the extent of Rodney’s anger and ego at any given time. In short, words in general did not get through to Rodney—that is, if he even took the time to let you finish a sentence at all, which was rare.


Really, everything for Dr. McKay was a hypothesis—if A, then B. Dealing with him meant that you had to be flexible, to allow for the ever-fluctuating bend of so-called scientific proof. It was a line of thought that most people found frustrating—Elizabeth included, if she was honest with herself. She was used to one word having one definition, and Rodney was all about context, cause and effect—to him, words were defined by their circumstance, shifting as the situation and the science determined it.


And then there was Ronon. Clearly, she hadn’t really had enough experience with the man to properly judge, but at first glance, it seemed that the only thing he really responded to was action. Considering the progression of his life so far, this made perfect sense—action had kept him alive far longer than he might have hoped. But for Elizabeth, there was nothing quite so nightmarish as trying to gain some insight on a man whose main form of communication seemed to be a powerful right hook. Who could have guessed that all those years of hating gym class would come back to haunt her in the end? Now she found herself quite without recourse when faced with the silent, immovable man who lurked within the walls of her city.


Thinking about it now, she had no idea how these three men had managed to co-exist thus far without bloodshed entering the equation. But that was beside the point.


The point (if there was one at all) was that all of her effort had gone to waste. Out here where life hung in the balance on a daily basis and dealing with the surreal was on the verge of becoming mundane, all of her words meant nothing. She could pull them out and use them to make fancy speeches and soothe psyches, but at the end of the day they couldn’t help her connect with the people she found herself relying on the most.


And while there was an undeniable excitement in evaluating these unique and extraordinary men, in learning how to deal with them and all of their (many) peculiarities, she sometimes wished for her words back. With words, she was safe and certain and understood—without them, she felt that she was always broken down into pieces, separate syllables that didn’t quite make sense.