Chapter Four

I'm torn from a comforting darkness by the beep of a machine. Looking around I see I'm in the infirmary. Why? John, Teyla and Rodney are all fast asleep on various positions around my bed…where's Elizabeth though? She always stays with me when I'm sick. I'm confused by the bandages on my arms and feet. After a moment though, the memories come rushing back, and with them the pain. How did I get here? Carson comes and tells me that John found me and carried me here. He doesn't ask me about my injuries, and he moves to wake the others I realise he already knows. John would have figured it out and told him…plus I'm pretty sure he would've had to fish some glass out of my arm. The room has emptied now, but for John, who stands by the table beside my bed. On it is a single shard of glass, it's edges stained with a strange brown crust – my blood, I realise with a sick start. I look at him questioningly.

"A reminder." He says. As if the angry white scars I'm sure to have wont be enough.

Days pass, and the city slowly resumes it's old habits. We don't have a new leader yet, but no one really minds. John remains in charge of all military personnel, while I've taken over paperwork for the moment. Days turn into weeks, but still no replacement from Earth. People begin to come to me with problems, requests, reports and assignments. There's still been no move to send any teams off-world.

It's been a month and John's announced his intention to resume off-world travel. Another week and his team is standing before the 'Gate ready to go. They'll be travelling to a trading world, hopefully to find information about who attacked us and why. Now that I think of it, it's amazing, and perhaps strange as well, that John and Ronan didn't go rushing off at once to find the culprits and beat them to a messy pulp. Still, I'm glad they didn't. Even now the thought of sending them through the 'Gate fills me with fear. What if they don't come back? For the first time I doubt their ability to come home to me. Still, they have to go, and I understand.

Now I know what 'Lizabeth must've felt like. But she had been the strong one, not me. I watch from the control room balcony as they dial up. I'm acutely aware that I'm standing in the exact same spot that she was when she died…but instead of sickening me, like it usually does, today it makes me feel somehow closer to her. I know I wont be able to move from this spot until they come back. I'll watch and wait just as she did. Still…something feels…off, somehow. Then it hits me.

"Wait!" I yell out, racing down the steps towards them. "Wait, I…" Words fail me, and I can see John getting ready to argue. He thinks I'm going to try one last time to talk him out of it. But it's okay. I realised why I couldn't let him go yet. Stepping forward I give each member of his team a quick hug, taking a moment to look into each set of eyes. Reaching up to clutch the twisted heart I now wear, I swallow hard and smile at them, resigned. So long as they don't leave without…

"Be safe."