Title: Obsession
Author: Neuriel
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis and its characters belong to MGM Studios and other companies. (In other words, they're not mine.)
Categories: Drama, Angst, Character Death, Future fic.
Spoilers: None.
Comments: Un-betaed but spell checked.

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He's gazing at her with pure adoration, the eyes of a faithful puppy that, though beaten and abused, will still come crawling back, tail wagging hopefully, to the master who neglects it.

She looks away.

"Why are you doing this?" she asks, though the question is rhetorical, for she already knows the answer.

It's simple enough, the reason. Even if it weren't written plainly on his face, she's read enough SGC reports to recognize the ironically familiar scenario playing itself out. Back then, on Earth, in the safety of the office that was never really hers, she had thought that clingy, devoted, love stricken aliens were, in all honesty, rather ridiculous. Yet another indication, she supposed, that some would always be drawn to the exotic, to the different, to the foreign.

She understands perfectly Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter now.

He is physically her age, a few years older. Mentally, she is not sure. Perhaps hundreds of years, perhaps thousands. (Wiser, though, most definitely not.) Attractive, many would say- herself included, once upon a time- but she feels nothing now but contempt and fear and hatred and pity towards him. Used to a life of solitude, married to an ideology that she cannot accept or condone, his obvious lonely fanaticism is understandable, but she can never forgive him.

"I love you," he says.

He probably believes it. But then, he obviously doesn't know what love is. She says as much, and he ignores her.

Instead, he says, "You're beautiful," awe apparent in his voice.

The way he says it is familiar, whispered words in the dim lighting of a bedroom, but at the same time contradicts so completely that which she knows so well; something cold and heavy grows inside her.

He misinterprets the look on her face as surprise. "Didn't he tell you?"

Not a mind-reader, it seems. She doesn't answer.

"I will tell you. Everyday, every hour. Because you are. Very, very beautiful."

He hasn't touched her yet, for which she is grateful. She doesn't think she could handle that. Perhaps there is some sensitivity left within him, a bit of sympathy for what she's lost, but she thinks it more likely that this is his form of worship.

"You don't even know me," she says. "You don't know anything about me."

"You're wrong," he replies. "I've already learned so much. Beside your outward beauty, I know that you are kind, warm, and honest. You have a lovely laugh and a brilliant smile. I know that I love you... and as for everything else, we have all of time to discover."

He smiles, blithely, handsomely, and she realizes she wants to kill him.

She can picture it, in her mind: suddenly, furiously, ripping him limb from limb, the frenetic excitement of a wild animal- and then slowly (oh-so-slowly), with excruciating exactness, meticulous torture, savoring his pain as only a human could.

She feels sick.

Carefully, distinctly, with as much emotion as she can muster, and hoping that he will look at her- really look at her- and somehow finally see, she says: "I don't love you. I never will. In fact, I hate you, and I'll always hate you for what you've done."

A minute passes in silence; there is no change in his demeanor, not the slightest movement from him. He does not even blink.

Finally, he speaks, and his voice is calm and even. "You," he says, with the self-assured certainty of one who is stating an undeniable fact, "will grow to love me."

The coldness slowly spreads throughout her body.

She understands, reading between the lines, that what he really means is, 'You will grow to hate who I am, the body that I possess.'

For that, inevitably, is the outcome. His hatred for the one she loves equals, if not surpasses, the passion that he feels for her. This, a type of twisted compromise, a sick harmony between the two. One may as well be the other, for although they are hardly alike, the end result, either way, is the same.

His plan is efficient in its madness.

One day, she supposes (she hopes and prays), he may let her go. He might release her, when he grows tired of her- which he will, though his patience now seems infinite. She can, after all, never return what she never had, what she never felt, and he'll tire of her and her ungrateful ways. In the meantime, she'll age, and eventually, she will become less beautiful in his eyes; perhaps others will come, and he will find a new obsession to replace her.

And on that day (a day that may never come), he may let her lover go as well- what remains of him, if anything at all. But, she knows, even if that occurs (impossibly, it seems now), she'll never be able to look at her lover's face again without thinking of her captor. Revulsion, fear, guilt, and anger: over time, those emotions will become automatic, second nature. And that voice and that touch, once so welcomed, will have been tainted and corrupted by the time she has spent here. She will, though her captor no longer be there in mind or spirit, hate that which she once loved, remembering him.

He merely watches her, silent, completely content, needing nothing more than to look upon her.

"You should eat," he says eventually, and indicates the food before her.

She doesn't move, makes no attempt to follow his orders. Death by starvation is preferable to the long life that awaits her- if one can call that living.

He notices her reluctance. "You should eat," he repeats, his voice calm. "If you don't, I'll have to help you do so."

His definition of "help" is very loose. She remembers clearly when he, while in another form, promised to "help" them- she and her people- with food and supplies, to "help" them meet the others of his (non-existent) race, to "help" them fight the war against the Wraith.

She remembers, also, all too well, the way he "helped" her friends end their lives. She doesn't think she'll ever forget. (She tries not to think about it, though that's impossible; she needs, however, whatever sanity she has left.)

And then, finally, the way he "helped" her. Lonely, looking for an other, a mate to provide for him the soul he lacks.

She isn't hungry, doesn't think she ever will be again, but she looks at him, into those placid hazel eyes that are the same, and yet so frighteningly different, hiding their insanity imperfectly, and she slowly begins to eat.

Pleased, he gives her another smile, one almost reminiscent of those she had been graced with before. Her chest aches, and though she wants to cry, no tears form; she has cried herself out already. Whatever desperate hope she has been clinging to slips out of her grasp and dissolves away.

She feels completely empty.

If he senses her mood, he does not give any indication. In any case, that's too much to expect: he doesn't understand her and never will, isn't human and can never be, and believes so fully in the perfection of his "love" for her that she knows it will be a long, long time before he ever begins to see otherwise.

"You will like it here, Elizabeth," he says, and she involuntarily shudders at the way he says her name. "You will love it, and you will love me."

And with the body of Major John Sheppard, he turns away, leaving her alone.

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end