Disclaimer: Elizabeth and John belong to Gekko Corps., MGM, and Sci-Fi. I own nothing.

Author's Note: This was written for Medie on her birthday.

She wanted to scream. She wanted to turn her back on everyone and run away, leaving all of the problems of Atlantis behind her. Everyone looked to her as if she knew exactly how to handle the situation. After all, she was the one in charge. Sadly, she didn’t know what to do. She had never faced this kind of adversary before, and she didn’t know how to negotiate with them. That fear welled up inside her heart, threatening to explode, and she had no clue how to stop it.

A soft knock on her door pulled her from her thoughts. “Elizabeth?” a male voice questioned from the other side.

Major John Sheppard. Quickly, she wiped her eyes, refusing to let him see her in a weakened state. He had only ever seen her in control; she rejected the idea of him seeing her otherwise. Standing up, she peered in her mirror and made sure there weren’t any telltale red rims around her eyes. When she was satisfied, she took a deep breath and opened the door.

Her heart jumped like it always did when she saw John. His brown hair was disheveled as usual and he was out of uniform. Worry seemed to reflect in his hazel eyes.

“Yes?” Elizabeth asked.

“You weren’t at dinner,” he explained as if that solved everything.

“I didn’t have time to eat. I’ll grab something later on tonight.”

John narrowed his eyes as he leaned against the doorjamb. “Is something wrong?”

Her brown eyes widened in response. “Wrong? No, Major, why?”

“Can I come in?” he asked, gesturing into her room.

“Sure.” She stepped back and let him in. Turning to face him, she crossed her arms. “What can I do for you, Major?”

John raked a hand through his hair and sat down on the bed. “Well, for starters, you can tell me why you’ve been crying.”

She laughed nervously. “I haven’t been crying.”

“Then why are your eyes red?”

She closed her eyes. Damn. He was entirely too observant for his own good. Relaxing, she opened them and lowered her arms. She sank down in a chair across from the bed.

“You shouldn’t have seen me like this. I’m stronger than this,” she protested. He didn’t say a word, only sat patiently and allowed her to continue. Before she knew it, Elizabeth shared all of her fears about the Wraith attack and the possibility that none of them would survive. As she did, a fresh crop of tears threatened to spill onto her cheeks. She didn’t fight them, only prayed that John wouldn’t think any less of her.

When she was finished, John reached out and took her hand in his. He gently tugged and she moved from the chair to the bed. He pulled her into his arms.

“I don’t think any less of you, you know that, right?” he asked.

“I’ve seen the way you look at Teyla. I know how you view her strength. I feel like I can’t live up to that.”

“What?” he titled her chin until her eyes met his. “You’ve got more strength than I’ve ever seen, Elizabeth. Facing down other countries, finding peaceful solutions. Not to mention leading an entire expedition into an unknown galaxy. That takes a lot of strength and bravery.” A small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. “After all, you have to deal with me and my screw ups everyday.”

She laughed in spite of herself. “True.”

John’s eyes became serious again. “We’re going to get through this, Elizabeth. I know we are.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because I believe in you and your strength. With all of us working together, we’re going to make it and kick some Wraith ass in the process.”

“You promise?” She knew he couldn’t promise her that, but it would help to hear.

“I promise.”

For the rest of the night, they stayed in her room, each giving the other strength to face the battle to come.


© 2005 Crimson Idealist