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TURNING POINT

Elizabeth sat facing Kavanaugh at the conference table. She believed, given the information they had procured, that he was the one behind setting the bomb that currently threaten to wipe out Atlantis and everyone on it. But she had just enough niggling doubt about her ability to be subjective, that she had asked Colonel Sheppard to observe the interview. He hadn't been happy about it on the one hand. As head of the military on Atlantis, which meant being in charge of the safety and security of Atlantis as well, Elizabeth knew he was chafing to be out in the city. He wanted to be with his men, searching for the bomb. Searching for ways to keep them safe. Yet he had conceded to her request, and Elizabeth knew that he did it as much to support her as he did it in acceptance of her reasoning that he was good at reading people and she wanted his opinion. She was grateful for his presence.

But now she had to focus fully on Kavanaugh. Who, for the most part, alternated between screaming at her and insulting her. The words that cut her to the quick were his comments on the way she ran Atlantis. His - insinuation - that she ruled with her emotions. That she didn't have what it took to be a leader. He ragged on her inability to be impartial in pretty much all matters, and he repeatedly insisted that his being here, being questioned, proved her blatant favoritism. And when he said that he glanced at Colonel Sheppard.

It was at this point that John moved to sit on the edge of the table, almost crowding Kavanaugh, who stared up at him with both fear and loathing. John smiled at him, a cold curving of his lips. But that was all he did. He just smiled at Kavanaugh.

Elizabeth hid a grin behind one hand, then stated. "What can you do to prove you're not guilty?" she challenged Kavanaugh.

"I don't have to prove anything to you!" he spat. "You have no right to do this! You're not GOD!" As he screamed his hands curled into fists and one knee bobbed up and down, betraying his anxiety on every level. Not only that but his face was red and veins throbbed in his temples.

"Maybe we should continue this later," Elizabeth stated, looking over at Sheppard.

He turned to glance at her and was just about to respond when Kavanaugh was suddenly up and out of his chair. Moving with surprising speed, yet with little finesse, he grabbed Sheppard, hauling him up and against him like a shield.

Elizabeth shot to her feet, about to question Kavanaugh on his actions. But all the while she was waiting for John to make a move to free himself. Only he didn't. And it wasn't until Kavanaugh had backed them up against the wall, did she notice why. The blade of a knife was pressed hard against John's throat. Elizabeth felt herself grow pale. "Kavanaugh!" His name came out strangled from her throat.

"Shut up!" Kavanaugh snarled at her. "Just do everything I say or he dies!" His hand was shaking as he spoke, but the blade pressed to Sheppard's throat didn't budge. If anything it pressed deeper.

"Okay," Elizabeth found herself saying, her eyes locked on John's face. His expression betrayed nothing, but his eyes were on hers and she was pretty sure he wanted her to do what Kavanaugh said. For now. So Elizabeth looked at Kavanaugh and asked, "What do you want me to do?"

Kavanaugh studied her a moment, as if judging her sincerity, then said, "Toss your radio." When she did so he said to Sheppard. "Lock the doors."

Sheppard was silent a moment, then he said, "Sure, get me closer to them." At the moment they were directly across from them with the entire space of the room in between.

"You can think them closed, Colonel!" Kavanaugh snapped. "Don't treat me like I'm stupid!" The knife's edge pressed in a bit deeper.

Elizabeth had to bite her tongue not to say anything, she just watched John, willing him to agree. Kavanaugh was unraveling too fast, and he was a big man, a strong man. He was also a smart man and - to their disadvantage - a scared man. So for the moment she was willing to do anything he wanted. Within reason. Even with the door locked, John was with her and he had a habit of getting out of sticky situations, and her own skills weren't too shabby in that regard. Even though in her case she was used to talking things out. She could do that now. She locked eyes with Sheppard and said, "Colonel, lock the doors."

Sheppard held her gaze a moment, then he closed his eyes and concentrated. His eyes opened and he stated, "They're locked."

Kavanaugh was still shaking. He pressed in with the knife blade. "You better be telling the truth, Colonel!" he snapped, then he focused on Weir again. "Get over here," he ordered.

"Okay." Elizabeth didn't hesitate. She moved closer, raising her hands so as to appear as non-threatening as possible. When she reached them she had to swallow a gasp. Now that she was close enough she could see blood on John's neck. The knife blade was cutting into him. He looked at her and sent a silent message to let it go. So she did. "What now?" she asked Kavanaugh.

"Take the major's belt off," he ordered. "And remove his gun and holster. Then I want you to bind his hands."

Elizabeth's eyes went wide at that. She glanced back over at John who blinked hard, since he couldn't nod, to let her know it was okay to do it. "All right," she said to Kavanaugh, then she took another step forward before reaching for John's belt. She had the sudden image of his pants falling to his knees when she removed it and she had to stifle a somewhat hysterical giggle. It was just that his pants always seemed too big for him. Forcing herself to focus, Elizabeth got the belt unbuckled, remembering to undo the thigh straps to his holster before unwinding the belt from the loops on John's pants. She didn't even consider trying to turn the gun on Kavanaugh. She didn't know how to handle weapons and, besides which, Kavanaugh could slice John's throat in a heartbeat. Normally she wouldn't have thought the man capable of such an action, but he was so angry and terrified, that he might do just that in an adrenaline induced fit of rage. So she got the belt and gun and held them up, then made a show of taking the holster off.

Kavanaugh nodded. "Good, now toss it in the corner." he nodded his head where.

Elizabeth did as she was told, wincing at the clang. Grateful that she knew John would have the safety on.

"Tie his hands!" Kavanaugh snapped.

"Okay." Elizabeth reached for John's arms. He was holding them out to her, hands clenched into fists. He held steady as she wrapped the belt around his narrow wrists. She hated having to do this, but she wanted all of them to come out of this situation in one piece. So she tightened the belt, because she knew Kavanaugh was watching her, then she stepped back. "It's done. Now what?"

Kavanaugh had been watching her, closely. He looked satisfied by her work only to snarl, toss his radio!"

So Elizabeth did that, reaching up to remove John's ear piece, then tossing it into the same corner where her own had landed, earlier. She looked back at Kavanaugh and she could see the anger rising in him again. See it in the grip he had around John's waist, and in the way his knuckles were white and tight, from the way his fingers were clenching on the knife hilt. Glancing at John, Elizabeth could see his face tighten and his eyes widen a bit and she knew Kavanaugh was hurting him. She had to make this stop. "I did what you asked, Dr. Kavanaugh. Now I need you to calm down."

"Calm down!" He shouted, staring at her in disbelief. "Are you kidding me? You think I set a bomb! You think I'm a traitor! I'm NOT going to calm down!"

"Why are you doing this?" Elizabeth interjected, waving a hand at Sheppard. "What do you hope to gain?"

Eyeing her with suspicion, and keeping a firm hold on Sheppard, Kavanaugh ground out, "My freedom! Sheppard here is my ticket to freedom." He shifted the knife a bit then eased away from Weir, taking the Colonel with him. "We're going to go to the jumper bay and he's going to fly me out of here."

Sheppard seemed to think he'd been quiet long enough. "That's not going to happen, Kavanaugh," he hissed out.

"SHUT UP!" Kavanaugh pressed the blade deeper.

Elizabeth saw John stiffen, she knew the blade was cutting him. But when she made eye contact with him, he was sending the message that he was okay. Relief rippled through her, but it was short-lived. Kavanaugh was on a short fuse, they all were. If she didn't get control of the situation soon, they were all dead. "How do we do this?" Elizabeth asked, locking eyes with Kavanaugh. It shook her to see the intensity of desperation blazing in his. He could lose it completely at any moment and then they all would be lost.

He studied her a moment then said, "You do what I say."

"You know I can't do that," Elizabeth countered, hoping against hope that Kavanaugh would be willing to see reason. He had to know that the minute they left this room, security would be all over them. And if it came down to it, Sheppard would sacrifice himself for the survival of everyone else on Atlantis. "Let's both be reasonable and work something out," she offered.

"Fuck you!" Kavanaugh was furious again. "You just made another bad choice, Dr. Weir!" he snarled. "Now you get to watch Sheppard die!" Moving fast and without warning, Kavanaugh stabbed the knife into Sheppard's left thigh.

Sheppard couldn't hold back a cry of pain, but he bit it off and somehow managed to drawl out, "That...that was dumb, Kavanaugh. Now I can't walk. So much for your plan of going to the jumper bay." He was panting against the pain as he spoke.

Realizing the truth of Sheppard's words, Kavanaugh started freaking out. But he was still smart enough to keep a hold on the Colonel.

Elizabeth had frozen with shock when John was stabbed, eyes locked on the ever growing stain of blood on his pants. She stepped towards him, but stopped when Kavanaugh hauled John back. She stopped because of John's moan of pain. She looked up at Kavanaugh and saw his eyes taunting her.

"Always thinking with your emotions, doctor!" he sneered. "Always choosing with your heart. Always showing your favoritism. Well...you get to make another choice. Whether or not Sheppard lives or dies."

"We're all going to die, Kavanaugh!" Sheppard interjected. "Mull that over for a minute, why don't you?" His voice was sharp and tight and fused with anger, barely held in check.

Elizabeth watched as John tried to stem the flow of blood in his thigh with the press of his bound hands. It wasn't going to be enough to stop it. He was puddling on the floor already and she could see he was turning white. But she didn't know what to do. She was wasting precious seconds, seconds none of them had to spare, with her hesitation.

Kavanaugh looked pleased as he watched her. "You'd risk everything for him, wouldn't you?" he drawled. "Anything for your precious Sheppard!"

"I care about everyone!" Elizabeth shot back, feeling stunned by his accusation. Perhaps a little bit stung because there was some truth in it. She did care about Sheppard, maybe more than she should. But that was because she needed him. Elizabeth was in charge of Atlantis, but she wasn't a stupid woman. She knew she couldn't run the place without Sheppard. She knew that had Sumner still been in charge of the Military, things would have been so different over the past year. She didn't consider needing John, caring about him, as a weakness. But she knew that was how Kavanaugh saw it. And that he wanted to punish her for it.

"Sure!" he snapped. "You care about Sheppard's team too. And then there's Zelenka. Did you know he's got a schoolboy crush on you! How pathetic is that?"

Elizabeth blushed to hear that, then mentally chided herself. She needed to focus. She couldn't let anything he said affect her now. More than any other moment in her life, Elizabeth knew she needed to get control of this situation, but she was so far out of her element here that she didn't know what to do or what to say. Words were failing her when she needed them most.

Kavanaugh was watching Weir with amusement. Looking smug he stated, "You're the pathetic one. I still can't believe you were chosen to head this expedition. You're useless. What the hell do you actually contribute."

"Good question," Elizabeth muttered in reply, because she was starting to wonder that herself. She found her eyes drifting to John's face as she watched Kavanaugh hauling the Colonel around the room. Forcing John to stumble along on his wounded leg and leaving a blood trail splattering across the floor. It suddenly occurred to her that John was trying to get her attention. Frowning, Elizabeth realized he was nodding towards the corner where his gun lay. Elizabeth got the message and sidled over in that direction.

Suddenly she knew what to say to offer a distraction. A distraction that, hopefully, would allow her get John's gun. What she would do after that, Elizabeth prayed that John had a plan. "You're right," she stated, as she took another step closer to the corner. She could see that Kavanaugh was shocked by her words. Shocked enough to freeze and simply stare at her. "I do rule with my emotions," Elizabeth continued. And she took another step.

Kavanaugh snorted. "All women do," he said, making it sound like an insult.

It looked like he might have more to say but in that moment Elizabeth reached the corner and John reacted. He went limp, his body becoming a dead weight in Kavanaugh's grasp, toppling them both to the ground.

Elizabeth reacted as well. She dove for the gun, getting it out of the holster and in her shaking hand. She didn't like the feel of the cold metal in her grip and she knew the safety was still on, but she pointed it in Kavanaugh's direction anyway. Thankfully, John seemed to be taking care of things. He had kicked Kavanaugh in the head with his good leg then he called to Elizabeth.

"Gun!"

She handed it over, willingly, watching as he clicked off the safety then held it on Kavanaugh, his aim steady despite the fact that he was bone white and barely able to sit up.

Sheppard glanced at Elizabeth. "Door's unlocked, get security in here. Now!"

"Right." It was something she should have thought of herself, but Elizabeth's mind was chaos. She exited the room and Lorne was right there. Seeing him sent a shock wave of relief rippling through her. "We had an incident," Elizabeth told him. "Please have security take Dr. Kavanaugh to the brig." That said, Elizabeth stepped back inside, rushing over to her earpiece. She slid it on even as Lorne and two marines entered the room behind her, exclaiming over Colonel Sheppard. "Dr. Beckett, I need a med team to the interrogation room. Colonel Sheppard has been stabbed."

There was a moment of silence then the crackle of Beckett's voice. "Stabbed? What on earth happened? Never mind." He cut himself off to say, "I'll be right there."

Elizabeth tapped off then moved to John's side. The marines were hauling Kavanaugh out of the room and Elizabeth moved to kneel beside Sheppard. Lorne was on the Colonel's other side. He had removed the belt binding Sheppard's wrists and was now using it as a tourniquet. "How are you doing?" Elizabeth queried, her eyes locked on John's pale face.

"Been better," he allowed, wincing as Lorne tightened the belt.

"I bet." Elizabeth reached out and gripped his shoulder. "Carson will be here in a minute."

Sheppard locked eyes with her. "He can fuss over me after we find who set the bomb." His voice was grim as he spoke.

Elizabeth was about to reply when her radio crackled.

Rodney's voice filled the room. "Dr. Weir...I think I know who set the bomb," he stated.

"Let's have it," Elizabeth replied, as she met John's look of surprise with one of her own.

As Elizabeth stepped into the infirmary, she still found it hard to believe that Colonel Caldwell had been the one to set the bomb. Of course he had been controlled by the Gou'ald inside him, but that was just one more thing she couldn't quite wrap her mind around at the moment. The fact that the bomb had been disabled and Atlantis was still in one piece was all she could focus on at the moment. That and her concern for John.

Carson appeared before her, wearing a smile. "I'm guessing you're here to visit our star patient?"

"I am," Elizabeth agreed, smiling back. "How is he doing?"

"The Colonel is just fine. He did lose a significant amount of blood but we've stabilized him and I've taken precautions to ward off any infections and the like." Carson led Elizabeth over to a bed in the back corner as he spoke. The only occupied bed in the place. "He'll be my guest for a few days," he announced, once they were in Sheppard's hearing, but then he'll be released to his room to rest. Then a couple of weeks of light duty and he'll be back through the gate in no time."

Elizabeth grinned, knowing that Carson was saying what he was for John's benefit. The Colonel was, for the most part, a model patient Elizabeth knew. He did what he was told, mainly because he always wanted to be at one hundred percent for the sake of his team. And Atlantis. But he was a bit impatient at times, and he had a tendency to sneak out of the infirmary a bit earlier than Carson would prefer. "That's good news," Elizabeth said, as she glanced over at John. He looked a bit put out.

Carson patted her shoulder. "Aye, it is," he allowed. "Keep him company for a bit, I'll be back to give him a bit of something to help him sleep."

Sheppard looked like he was biting his lip against replying, remaining silent until Beckett was gone. Then he looked at Elizabeth, a distinct pout on his face. "You're not going to help me escape, are you?"

"No." Elizabeth was very good at being succinct. She smiled warmly at John as she pulled up a chair, then she took a moment to assess him. He was picking at the tape securing the IV to the back of his left hand and she reached for his wrist to make him stop. Then she studied his face. He was still a bit pale but the glaze of pain was gone from his eyes. Right now he looked relieved and weary. She felt pretty much the same way. "So...big surprise about Caldwell...isn't it?"

"Damn Gou'ald are everywhere," John stated, looking a bit wigged out at the thought.

Elizabeth nodded then sighed. "Carson is going to run scans on everyone in Atlantis. Better safe than sorry."

John nodded back at her. "Yeah...safe is better." He shifted position, sliding down lower in the bed, wincing a bit then rubbing his leg through the blankets. "How are you doing?" he asked.

"I'm not the one who was held hostage and stabbed," Elizabeth countered, deflecting the question. She didn't want to answer it because she wasn't quite sure how she was doing just yet.

"Alls well that ends well," John quoted. "In the end...that's all that matters." He smiled then added, "That and shipping Kavanaugh back to earth permanently."

It was Elizabeth's turn to wince. "Can I ask you something?" She leaned forward, keeping eye contact with John. She wanted to see what he was thinking.

John shrugged. "Ask away."

"Do you think Kavanaugh is right? Am I too emotional?" Elizabeth asked the question in a rush, then held her breath as she waited for his reply.

"Define too emotional," John shot back, his eyes holding hers.

Elizabeth felt a bit deflated, and he must have picked up on it.

John shifted again, reaching out to tap Elizabeth on the hand she had resting on the edge of his bed. "You give a damn," he said softly. "That's all that matters."

"I think so too," Elizabeth whispered, because it was true. Because it was what John Sheppard did and it was a big part of the reason she had wanted him to come to Atlantis. Feeling a genuine smile curve her lips, she leaned in and said, conspiratorially, "Behave yourself and I'll sneak in some chocolate." Elizabeth knew that John shared her weakness for Hershey bars, and she just happened to have a stash of them in her desk. She knew he would understand it was her way of saying thank you.

"I can do that," John drawled, then his eyes darted over her shoulder and he made a face. "Shh...Beckett's coming and I'm not sharing the chocolate with him."

Right on cue, Carson appeared. Arching an eyebrow at Sheppard, he moved to the IV stand and injected something clear into the IV port. "This will help you get a good night's sleep, Colonel," he announced.

John did not looked impressed, but his eyelids started closing. "Works...fast," he muttered, even as his body seemed to melt into the mattress.

"That it does," Carson stated, approvingly. Then he looked at Elizabeth. "He'll be out for a good twelve hours so you might as well head out."

"I think I'll sit with him for a bit, if it's okay," Elizabeth countered.

Carson nodded. "Just don't stay too long," he cautioned.

Elizabeth knew he was reminding her to get some rest. She smiled at Carson then watched him walk away before settling herself more comfortably in the chair.

Chin in fist, she watched John sleep.

THE END