The stairs lead to the entrance of the House of Dreams. It never looked the same twice. It depended on what the observer brought to it. It was like the Schrodinger's cat experiment. What it was depended on who looked at it.

It is best observed alone. Last time it was seen it was in a park in an older suburb of Toronto. Rodney McKay saw it when he was working for Torchwood Toronto.

(there could be more but I need your comments first.)
Oh, I like this. Is it an AU, or does this take place before Rodney hooked up with the SGC? I could see him working for Torchwood right out of college, before he'd made a name for himself.
haven't quite decided yet. I was thinking that he worked there when he was in high school. It was why he didn't kill anybody in hs. Or it could be when he finishes college. I just get a feeling of a really young Rodney. Considering Rodney's luck I was thinking of TW as his internship/after school job.

it's about as much of an au as your John in the C&S universe. It's also a TW au in that it's run a little differently than TW3 is. Could it's TW4 the one that's lost.

There are few things that really bug me about TW so I'm making up a TW with the same premise but different people.
Those are arboretum stairs. They go up into some sort of garden within the arboretum; our local one used to have a peony garden, but I don't know which arboretum this is from.

Write something with roses and magic, if an idea wanders by. ^_^
This is actually looking off the street into someone's garden--what I find astonishing is how unbounded it looks, since it's in the middle of a city and is surrounded on all sides by closely-packed houses.

Roses and magic? Right-ho.
Roses and Magic: a how-to guide
To make a rose—

Well, there are actually several ways. The easiest way is to take some other flower and simply push it into the shape you want. In which case, ink and a bit of determination are that’s required. (Florists tend to do use this around Valentine’s day.) However, since the spell wears off after a few days, this really only works on cut flowers that are going to be thrown out anyway.

Or you can take paper, cut it up and glue it into the proper shape, and write the spell on it in the right kind of ink. Do it properly, and the rose will stay a rose, although it will go brittle as it ages. This is often used in high school magic classes as an example of an organic-to-organic switch.

The hardest way is to take a chunk of granite, etch the spell’s lines onto the surface, and then bleed on it. The blood makes it easier to shove the stone into the form of something else, something ephemeral, although the task’s still difficult enough. But if you manage it, you’ll have a rose that won’t fade or fall to pieces, that can’t be crushed. And it will keep like that for as long as your will was strong at the instant of transformation.
Hey, I know these stairs!
There are no gardens, no roses, and definitely no daffodils where these stairs lead. One has to put on a coat before passing through the illusory (yes, new word) veil after the last step that rather feels like walking through spider webs.

Boots are also helpful, since the snowplows always shovel the dirty street slush at least knee-high into the alleyways. Moscow's never really been known for it's superb sanitation department, though.
Re: Hey, I know these stairs!
Cool idea--and Moscow would come as rather a shock if you weren't expecting it, yes? I suppose that's why there's a gate: to keep people from blundering halfway across the globe by mistake.

So, I owe you a few words now....
Oh, what an intensely cool imagining! The not-life of a sentient reflection--I mean, wow! And yes, exactly like that!
It was a lot of fun trying to figure out what would be on the other side of a mirror.

The poem this is based on (as you probably aren't familiar with it) is by Jon Arno Lawson, and goes:

The Itibar of Ilm looked in a mirror--
And there he saw the Ilm of Itibar.

"Is that me?" (The fear he underwent!)
"Me that is," he heard, and felt content.