Title: I Still Owe You That Drink

Author: Dr. Dredd

Spoilers: Siege III

Season: 2

Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis, characters, concept, etc, aren't mine.

Summary: Elizabeth visits Everett in the infirmary. May disappoint the Everett-haters!

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Elizabeth walked hesitantly into the infirmary, unsure if she would be interfering with the medical personnel during all the chaos. The place was overflowing with wounded. Some had little more than cuts. Others were... more seriously injured.

Did she really want to do this? She and Everett had butted heads from the moment he stepped through the Stargate and arrogantly assumed command. Still, when it became obvious that his plans were not working, he quickly began to seek the counsel of those who were more experienced. It took a strong man to swallow his pride like that.

And then there was something else she had started to sense from Everett, almost a shyness. He'd stammered like a schoolboy when relinquishing her desk back to her after she'd returned from the Genii. And the way he reminded her about the drink he'd promised was touching in an odd way. Southern-style gallantry (he had covered her with his own body when the Wraith were shooting), or was it something more?

Unfortunately, Elizabeth didn't think she would ever get the chance to find out.

Carson spotted her and came over. He looked haggard and his lab coat was blood-stained. Fatigue dulled his blue eyes. "Elizabeth, lass. Are ye hurt?"

It took her a moment to realize the impression her appearance in the infirmary must have given, and she hastily tried to reassure her friend. "No, no. I'm not hurt at all. I wanted to see for myself what was going on down here." At that moment they heard the wail of a heart monitor signaling the passing of someone so badly injured that they could do little more than offer morphine and comfort. Carson gestured mutely towards the noise, his expression saying more about their situation than any status report could have done.

Elizabeth swallowed past the lump that suddenly appeared in her throat. "How's Colonel Everett?" she asked quietly.

"Not good, I'm afraid. The Wraith didn't completely drain him, but it took enough that he's in bad shape. Once this is over, we'll be sending him back to Earth with some of the other casualties." Carson implied but didn't say that not all the casualties now in the infirmary would be able to make the trip.

"Can I see him?"

The physician looked surprised. "Aye, for a few minutes. But..."

Elizabeth gently lay a hand on his shoulder, unconsciously copying his own gesture of reassurance. "There are a few things I need to say to him." She took a deep breath and moved to the area of the infirmary designated for the critical patients.

Although she had prepared herself for what the Colonel might look like, she was still shocked when she saw how frail he'd become. His hands shook with a faint tremor, his skin was very wrinkled, and there was an expression of bone weariness in his eyes. But when he saw her, he tried to give her a genuine smile. He almost succeeded.

"Colonel..." Elizabeth began, then stopped. What was she going to say to him? "How do you feel" seemed a ridiculous question. She decided on simplicity. "I wanted to say thank you."

"For what, Dr. Weir?"

"For saving my life when that Wraith dart exploded over us. For allowing me to address the city's personnel right after you did." She smiled wryly. "For not questioning when I told you I was going to pay a little visit to the Genii."

He held up a trembling hand to stop her. "Nothing to thank me for. I wasn't going to let the leader of Atlantis be killed." Elizabeth noted his choice of words. "As for the rest, you earned my respect."

"I'm sorry we didn't get the chance to work together longer," Elizabeth said hesitantly. "But you'll get better care on Earth."

"I know," said Everett. "But you'll come back one day, too, and I still owe you that drink."

Elizabeth blinked back the sudden tears in her eyes. "I'm going to hold you to that." She leaned over, gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, and then was gone.

FIN

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A/N: It always struck me when watching Siege II that Everett really warmed to Elizabeth by the end. I wanted to portray him as more than the one-dimensional martinet some people thought he was.