Title: Failed

Sheppard/Weir, post-Conversion, pg

xxx

'Did I hurt you?' His quiet voice startled her and she turned around to face him. He looked good; he looked normal.

She shook her head slightly, while raising a hand to her neck without thinking. 'I'm fine, John. And I'm glad you are, too.'

He watched her, carefully, studying her expression, noticing something that wasn't there before. His gaze turned to her neck, and he slowly reached out a hand to hers, removing it from its protective position. Her eyes widened slowly as he did so, her hand instinctively relieving itself of his grasp and falling to her side. His feelings hurt, though trying not to show it, he took in the red marks around her neck and winced knowing that he'd caused them.

'I'm sorry,' he murmured, again and again. 'I never.. I didn't want…' He broke off, knowing there was nothing he could say that would erase that he had scared her and worse, hurt her. She probably didn't trust him anymore.

Her eyes met his, briefly, as she tried to reassure him that it hadn't been his fault. She almost convinced him in her words of forgiveness, but as he took a step forward, a hand reaching out to brush lightly over the red marks, she drew back, an automatic reaction borne out of fear.

'You're afraid of me,' he stated, his eyes haunted.

She drew herself to her full height. 'No, John. I'm not afraid of you.'

'Yes you are. That's what you do – that… thing, where you suddenly get taller. You stand up straight and you get this determined look on your face and you try to frighten whoever's frightening you so that they go away.'

'I do not,' she replied, defensively.

'I'm not going away, Elizabeth.'

She watched him, knowing that he meant now but unable to stop the images circling round in her head of him transforming into a monster. 'I'm glad,' she replied softly, 'I was worried you were going to.'

'Can you forgive me?' he asked, his tone matching hers.

'There is nothing to forgive, John. You weren't yourself.'

'Can you ever trust me again?'

She faltered, her eyes distraught and apologetic, his looking as if the world had ended.

'I do trust you, John,' she replied forcefully.

He took a sudden step forward and she bounced backwards, before looking shameful.

'Yeah, that's trusting,' he commented sarcastically.

'I'm sorry…' she began.

'You're sorry?' he burst out, frustrated. 'What have you got to be sorry for? This is all my fault! It's me who hurt you, I'm the one who pinned you to the wall like a ragdoll!' She winced and he regretted his words. Finally, he said, 'I wouldn't trust me, either.'

Cautiously she took a step forward, her head tilted slightly trying to get him to meet her eyes. 'I do trust you, John. It's just going to take a little time to get back to normal, that's all.'

'Normal,' he muttered.

'Yeah. Normal as it ever gets around here, anyway.' She cocked an eyebrow at him and he smiled despite himself. The moment was almost calm.

A moment later, the smile fading from his face, he nodded. 'Time. Got it.' And with that he turned on his heel and walked out of her office away from her, ignoring the eyes following him and her regretful gaze burning a hole in his back.

x

He'd been to see Teyla. But it had been a few days and he missed Elizabeth, so that particular day found him impatiently pacing up and down in front of her door.

'Are you going to make noise in the hallway all evening or were you planning on eventually knocking on my door?' The swoosh of the door was followed by Elizabeth's question.

'I was not making noise,' he responded, eying her defensively. She laughed.

'No. I guess pacing doesn't equal noise to you. Pacing equals noise to me, though. I'm sure I could hear your footsteps far more clearly than you could.' She paused. 'You looked deep in thought.'

'Hmmm,' was his only response, as he finally stood still a few feet in front of her.

'What can I do for you, John?' she finally asked.

'What?' he asked.

'What can I do for you? You're obviously here for a reason,' she responded, gesturing to the hallway.

'Oh, that. Yes. I wanted to see you.'

She smiled, softly. 'Come in,' she said over her shoulder, walking back into her room. There were papers strewn all over the bed as she sat down, one leg underneath her, one resting on the floor. She looked far more relaxed than she had done a couple of days before.

He followed her in, slowly, before wondering where to sit. He settled for pulling a chair over to face her, keeping his distance. The door swooshed closed behind them again and he was suddenly struck by how silent the bedrooms of Atlantis were. He would've loved for McKay to chase someone down the hall at that moment, just to create a distraction.

They avoided each others' glances for a few seconds before finally he cleared his throat. 'Now that I'm here I don't know what to say.'

'I've been meaning to come and see you,' she blurted out.

'Really?' he responded, hopeful.

'Yeah.'

'Ah.'

'Mmm.'

Silence. He studied her room, noticing the personal effects scattered here and there and the work piled up everywhere. He wondered if she ever had any downtime.

'John?'

He turned his gaze back to her. She looked as if she wanted to say something to him but wasn't sure how to do it. He knew that feeling.

'How do we do this?' she asked finally, for once looking rather unsure of herself, her knee coming up to her chest and an arm wrapping around it. It was a defensive position, as if she had just realised that this was the first time they had been in quarters alone together since the incident.

He clasped his hands together, elbows on his knees, leaning forward slightly. 'I don't know.'

'I miss… us.'

'Me too.'

'I want us back.'

'Me too.'

She paused. 'I don't know how to get… us back.'

'Me neither.'

'We're doing well.'

'Yes, we are,' he replied, laughing slightly. She smiled, her arm resting on the mattress once more instead of holding her knee, her position slightly less defensive.

'I know you'd never hurt me intentionally,' she began again.

'No!' he stated vehemently standing up and starting to pace again, 'never. I would never do anything to hurt you. I mean, I did hurt you. But not intentionally. So no, never intentionally. And I'll try my best to not do so unintentionally, either.' He paused, turning to face her. 'And did I mention I was sorry?'

'Yes, John. Far too many times. You have to believe me when I say that I don't blame you.'

He met her gaze, seeing the sincerity there. 'I know that,' he replied softly. 'I'm just waiting for you to trust me again. I'll wait; as long as it takes.'

She tried her best not to let her eyes fill up, blinking rapidly and looking away. And then slowly she rose from the bed and walked towards him. His surprised eyes met hers as her hand gently placed itself on his arm, following it down to take his hand in hers, revelling in the fact that it was human once more and not the alien hand that had tried to strangle her. And then she was wrapping her arms around him, incredibly lightly at first but then with growing confidence.

He returned the embrace softly, burying his face in her shoulder.

'I was never afraid of you, John,' she whispered, 'I was afraid of what you'd become. I was afraid we'd never get you back.'

He couldn't think of any words what would do her admission justice, and so said nothing. Somehow a hand raised itself to her head and began stroking her hair instead.

'I want normal back,' she murmured into his neck.

He smirked. 'This is normal?'

She laughed lightly, hitting him on the shoulder with one of her hands before returning it to its previous position.

'Hey, I like normal. Normal is good,' he said, tightening his arm around her waist.

'I'm really glad you're okay,' she breathed. 'I was worried.'

'So was I,' he quipped, before turning serious. 'I'm okay, Elizabeth.'

She nodded. 'Me too.'

He smiled to himself, those two words meaning so much to him. Slowly she pulled herself out of his arms, leaning back slightly in front of him. She sniffled slightly but allowed no tears to fall.

She smiled, before punching his shoulder lightly in all seriousness. 'Don't ever do that to me again.'

He grinned, 'I'll try my best not to. I've had it with those bugs anyway, we're through.'

'I'm glad to hear it,' she chuckled.

His eyes drifted from her face to the red marks barely visible on her neck. Softly his hand followed his eyes, tracing them delicately as if afraid to hurt her any further. She didn't even flinch as she watched his eyes, watched the remorse inside of them as he examined the damage he had done.

'They're healing,' she said. He merely nodded, hand still tracing the faint red lines. She placed her hand on top of his, 'John. They'll heal. In a few days they won't even be there anymore.'

He grasped her hand tightly with his own, nodding. 'Yeah.'

'We're okay.'

He nodded.

'We're both okay.'

And instinctively she wrapped her arms around him again as if to reinforce that fact. He smiled, mirroring her actions, and spoke softly into her shoulder once more, smirking. 'I really do like this newfound normal.'

Fin