Disclaimer: I don't own Atlantis.

A/N: This story is 379 words long without the author note. The challenge: What if something else happened under 500 hundred words. What if...the mechanism failed and Atlantis never rose? Not to be confused with the Elizabeth alternate timeline in 'Before I Sleep'. The mechanism is there but it fails.

What If...
Rising, Or Not

"What's happening Rodney?" Weir called as Atlantis started to shake.

The shaking rocked Atlantis back and forth on the ocean floor. There was a pause. The city seemed to breathe. Then, the windows shattered, colorful shards of glass flying towards them followed by water, lots of water. It burst in, spraying them with icy coldness. The ocean poured over the edges of the windows.

"No, no, no, no, no. This shouldn't be happening! It wasn't supposed to happen yet." Rodney cried out, trying to ignore the screaming of the children.

The lower level of the gate room was already full. Water sloshed around the legs of Major Sheppard as he ran up the stairs pulling Dr. Weir behind him. "Dial the gate! Dial the gate!" He yelled.

Rodney froze. Water was lapping at the bottom of the stairs. The bulkheads closed, trying to contain the water. "Rodney!" Elizabeth's terrified voice snapped him out of his panic.

"Right." He punched the buttons of the DHD. It didn't work. The consoles were dead. He scrambled for his laptop, only to find it broken on the ground. Sheppard skidded to a stop before him.

Rodney met the Major's eyes. He could see the dread and fear. He could feel his own panic welling up again. It would over take him like the ocean.

"There must be something you can do." John asked, the water lapping at their feet. Rodney shook his head. The lights went out. Screams echoed the room, louder than before, more terrified.

John raged. Weir cried. And the water continued to surround them. It was getting quiet. Rodney sat as far back as he could get. The water was rising faster. Rodney huddled in a cornor as it lapped at his feet. It was dark and cold and getting colder now. A breath escaped him and the water was at his chin. He didn't want to die like this. He didn't want to die. Regret flooded him. It entered his mouth and he couldn't breathe. He shook, his mind dim. He closed his eyes.

It could have been amazing.