Chapter Nineteen

As they arrived on the other side of the gate the reality of what they were doing sunk in. Elizabeth felt her insides clenching with worry as she acknowledged that this could be her last few hours alive, that it could be his last few hours alive, and she refused to spend them like this.

She stood back as he made his way over to the main group gathered at the foot of the gate.

"OK we're going to wait here for the cover of darkness before we head towards the base, this is going to be hard enough without the added danger of daylight. The sun looks like it's on it's way down. Lorne, Cadman, you take first watch," he pointed to either side of the clearing.

John moved away from the group and Ford fell into step next to him, they begun to talk quietly and Elizabeth was concentrating so hard on trying to figure out what they were saying that it took her a few moments before she realised John's eyes were focused on her and he was walking in her direction. She let her eyes fall to the ground, not wanting to look at him.

She was scared, scared to talk to him because by making up right then it was as though they were both admitting that there was a high possibility that this would be their last chance to make up.

He stopped a few feet short of her and nodded at something Ford said, eyes still focused on her. The younger man looked at her and then seemed to understand, disappearing back to the larger group.

"Talk?" he asked simply.

She nodded.

They glanced at the group and after a small nod from Ronon they turned and walked into the trees.

"Is this safe?" Elizabeth asked, glancing around warily.

"Ford assured me they don't come near the gate often and when they do it's in ships," his voice sounded different.

She was so used to hearing him shouting commands, or just generally being angry, that she'd almost forgotten what it sounded like to just talk to him. They walked in silence next to each other, her hand lightly brushing his as they walked. Eventually they reached the edge of a small lake, mountains towering up higher than anything she had ever seen on the opposite bank.

"Please tell me that's not the direction we're heading in," she whispered.

He shook his head. "Apparently it's all flat."

Nodding in acknowledgement she wandered over to the nearest boulder and leaned against it, admiring the view now she knew there would be no climbing of it involved. He picked up a rock and skipped it out across the lake.

She watched him, his hair scruffier and his clothes resembling rags more than a military uniform. He'd changed, but so had she, and it wasn't either of their faults. Deep inside she knew he was still John, and she knew deep inside she was still Elizabeth Weir.

"I'm sorry," she said suddenly.

He looked up from where he was collecting stones from the ground. "For what? Elizabeth, you have nothing to be sorry for."

He searched through the stones and pulled one out, dropping the rest on the ground he walked over to her.

"Hold out your hand," he said quietly, reaching for it and pulling it up.

She watched him with curiosity as he placed the rock in her hand. "John…I don't…"

"It's almost a perfect circle…circles never break, they just go on forever," she could feel his eyes burning into her as she looked down at their hands, his still holding hers up.

"We don't make a very good circle, John, we broke," she whispered in response.

His hand came up and move some of her hair behind her ear before settling on the base of her neck. She closed her eyes as he leaned his forehead against hers, relishing the touch of his skin against hers.

There was so much she wanted to say, to tell him everything she was feeling, but she couldn't find the words and she was aware that neither could he. It was all to much, his twisted confession of love for her and betrayal she had felt thinking it no longer stood. The regret she had felt because she had let herself change and he hadn't been able to accept who she had become.

She had inwardly blamed herself for it all, but at the same time she had been mad at him.

"It will never happen again," he said finally, and she could feel his breath blowing against her lips.

She said nothing, still unable to find the words that she wanted. Then she finally found them.

"Marry me," she said quietly.

He pulled away slightly and as she let her eyes open she looked right into his. He was smiling slightly and she could see the light in his eyes, the first time in days.

"You stole my line," his smile disappeared as something else came over him.

"What's wrong?" she asked, instantly afraid she had misread him, screwed everything up again.

"This wasn't how it was supposed to be," he whispered, leaning his forehead against hers again. "We were supposed to be having a picnic out on the west pier, watching the sun set over the ocean and there was supposed to be the most magnificent diamond ring I could find on Earth. There was red wine and cheese. I'm sorry."

"John…don't be…this is who we are," she finally let her hands make their way around his neck, drawing her mouth closer to his. "Broken people living in broken circles…if this is all we can have then it's enough."

"We could die," he replied, and she could hear the heaviness in his voice as he spoke.

They'd lost each other before and they'd both barely survived emotionally. She wasn't entirely sure she could deal with losing him again, but at least this time they had the chance to say goodbye. This time she would.

"You could have died that first day in the helicopter…and if you hadn't almost died then we would never have met…" she responded. "Maybe almost death is what we needed."

"I love you, Elizabeth," he whispered, and his lips were brushing against hers.

She felt her insides ready to explode with emotions. It was all too much. She wished they'd been brave enough to admit how they felt before this had all gone wrong, because all she saw in the future was an impossible wish.

"Is that a yes?" she asked.


He pressed his lips against hers and she felt herself being pushed back onto the rock. She wanted so much to just lose herself in the kiss, to have his body pressed against hers like it was at that moment and pretend that the rest of the world didn't exist.

Her hands found the bottom of his shirt and began to tug it up…

A loud explosion interrupted her thoughts of proceeding any further.

John was away from her and running back towards the others before she even had a chance to recover and for a moment she damned his soldier reflexes before her own survival instincts kicked in. The explosion had come from their direction.

She damned her luck and jammed the rock he had given her into her pocket. They could deal with their emotions later.