Author's note: This one's for Lona, who decided to ask me, out of the blue for no apparent reason, what I thought Sheppard was going to say to Weir in "38 Minutes." Little did I know she asked me just to see if it would spawn a fic. And what do you know...it did!

Tag for "38 Minutes." My take on things.

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He'd had the whole conversation framed in his mind.

After all, seeing your own mortality laid out in front of you did wonders for the whole "clearing your consescience before death" scenario.Looking back now, secure in the infirmary with a decent bed, a warm blanket and a nice, healthy dose of morphine, Major John Sheppard wondered just what that damned alien bug had done to him to make him come to such quick and succinct realizations.

He'd been sprawled there in the back of the jumper, unable to move, while everyone worked around him to try and save his pathetic ass. And truth be told, that pathetic ass was the reason they had been in the mess they'd been in. If they hadn't been in such a goddamn hurry to get him through the Stargate, none of them would've been stuck in the first place.

But they'd all kept working their asses off for him. McKay, worrisome, bitch-from-the-bottom-of-my-heart, certain-doom-causes-certain-reactions McKay, showed what he was made of. Under pressure, Sheppard wouldn't have wanted anyone else. He had complete faith in the scientist - even if he did want to pitch him off the balcony in the control room half the time.

He had faith in them, and damned if he didn't get it in return. Not just from Rodney, but on the parts of Ford and Teyla, too. It'd made him have to swallow his pride, and make Elizabeth listen, optimism be damned. He'd even had the exact words figured out.

"I--"

And fate hadn't let him finish. Well, fate in the form of his somewhat overenthusiastic second-in-command who had suddenly decided he didn't want to hear what his boss had to say any more than Weir did. And of course, with fate conspiring to keep him from telling anyone anything, his contribution to the solution of the alien bug had popped into his head and out of his mouth before he even thought about it.

And God help them, they'd cared. He could hear the desperation in everyone's voice, the concern. These people, who hadn't know him from the next military hardass in line, cared enough to worry about what would happen on the other side. Oh, sure, Rodney might have been whining about self-preservation before that point, but he even dropped a rather significant look of respect. He had to admit, he was touched.

Of course, getting Ford to finally give up and throw the jolt had been another thing entirely. He'd finally given up and yelled at the kid. Then it was a simple matter of riding the jolly electric railroad into oblivion. The next thing he'd known, he'd woken up in the infirmary feeling somewhat extra crispy and deep fried.

And when he'd come around enough to be coherent, Elizabeth wanted her answer. Actually, what he'd ended up saying wasn't all that far from the truth, but it damned well wasn't enough. Nor did it really get to the heart of the matter.

He owed them those few lines. But he just couldn't bring himself to tell Elizabeth. Not this close and with the future still sitting in front of them all. She would have him down in Heitmeyer's office before Carson could've pulled the IV needle.

Besides, he was happy and content simply to be alive right now. Weighty revelations didn't really seem to be especially socially adept. He'd settle, with no quibbles whatsoever, for just being able to flirt with the blonde nurse Carson seemed to have dug up somewhere.

Still, words would need to be said eventually. Even if he just wrote them down right now on paper, at least he'd know they were real, and they weren't just the heat and the horror of those 38 minutes. And he knew without having to think much about it that they were.

So he grabbed the notepad off the bedside table and started writing. When he finished a minute later, he had to admit, even to his own critical eyes, it looked pretty damned good.

"If you ever need to know what I was going to say, Elizabeth, read this and remember that you and the geeks trusted me. You risked your lives, for me. I put everyone in danger, cost you your ranking military officer and almost cost you two more, and all you cared about were the people, not the cost. Thank you for reminding me I might actually be worth it."

He looked over the words one last time, nodded slightly and grinned just a little bit. He pulled off the one sheet of paper, and then tossed the pad and pencil back on the table. Laying back on the cot, he closed his eyes and crumpled the paper in his right hand.

It would do. It would definitely do.