By Kate Carter
Warning: Angst! Angst! Huge loads of angst! Bring out the tissues!
Alternate universe, future, whatever. With any luck, this won't actually happen on the show!
Disclaimer: "Stargate: Atlantis" belonging to me?! Say it isn't so! Oh…wait…it isn't. Because if it was, I'd be driving something a lot nicer than a 1990 Mazda 626 with 210,000 miles and a cracked windshield.
A/N: This is really somewhat based on a story I wrote years ago in the Star Trek: Voyager genre. I think this version is better. Written 6 January 2007.
She couldn't believe it.
It couldn't have been him.
The empty shell wasn't John Sheppard. John Sheppard was alive. The hair, the smile, the teasing tone. He would come in any minute now and laugh with her about this.
But even as she looked towards the door expectantly, she knew it wouldn't happen. He wouldn't come. The shot had killed him instantly, a white-faced Rodney had said. The scent of charred flesh and the gigantic gaping hole in what had once been John Sheppard showed that it was true.
She had collapsed, crying. Just as she was doing now.
He couldn't be gone. It was impossible.
She didn't go to the funeral on Earth.
She claimed she couldn't leave her duties on Atlantis, but it wasn't true. She wasn't getting anything done anyway. She'd sit in her office, holding the pot he had given her for her birthday that first year, staring blankly at the wall, until someone – usually Rodney – would lead her away, first to the mess hall to make her eat, then to her quarters.
He was given the full treatment, out at Arlington. She didn't think he would have wanted that. She thought he would have preferred having his ashes spread from a puddlejumper into the ocean, or out into space.
It was about a month after it had happened that she found herself irresistibly drawn to what had been his quarters. He had no one on Earth to receive what belongings he'd had; so they had stayed on Atlantis. His room had not been touched since the day he'd died.
She hesitated before entering. She respected his privacy, even though the need to do so had ceased twenty-seven days earlier. Taking a deep breath, she let herself in.
She nearly cried as the door shut behind her. It smelled of him; that distinctive, masculine odor, that had always meant he was nearby. She sank down onto the neatly made bed, and fought back the tears.
When she had composed herself, she looked around. The Johnny Cash poster. The guitar. The surfboard. The skateboard. She couldn't resist a brief chuckle when she saw it. She remembered the time he had narrowly avoided crashing into her; he'd gotten a lecture for it, and she'd gotten a promise that he wouldn't do it again…at least, in any of the inhabited areas of the city.
Something on the desk caught her eye, and she walked over to examine it. There was a pile of half-finished reports – she almost cried again at the sight of the distinctive scrawl he called handwriting – but there was also an envelope, with her name on it.
She reached down to pick it up, but hesitated. Had he meant to give this to her? The need to hear his voice again, if only in her own head, won out, and she picked it up. It wasn't sealed; there were several sheets of paper inside. She withdrew them and began to read.
If you're reading this…then I want to tell you that I'm sorry. Because the only reason you should be reading this is because something happened to me. Maybe someone got in a lucky shot, maybe I took another one of those suicide missions, maybe it was one of those damn Iratus bugs (I hate those things!), I don't know. The point is, I'm no longer around. And I'm sorry.
I never wanted to hurt you, Liz. And I know this has. And, trust me, if there is any way for me to feel anything, it's hurting me too.
There are so many things I want to tell you. But you know me, I'm not really very good with words. Eloquent…that's the word I was looking for. I'm not like you that way. So, um, yeah. We already did the sorrys.
You may have felt some guilt because of my death, but Elizabeth, don't. It's not your fault. IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT. If it was on a mission, then either someone got lucky, or I got stupid, or it was just a mere coincidence. If it was one of those damn bugs, well, the insect life of the Pegasus Galaxy has always had it out for me. If it was a suicide mission; well, then, I did it for you. To keep you – and Atlantis – safe. And I would gladly do it again. Because nothing is more important to me.
I know you miss me, Elizabeth. And I miss you. I miss the sparkle in your eyes when you're happy to see me. I miss the tired, slightly dopey smile and dark circles under your eyes when I come drag you away from your work at three in the morning. I miss the laugh. I miss the hugs (well, hug, but I'm sure there would have been more). I miss the talks on the balcony. I miss the woman I fell in love with. Yeah…ironic, isn't it, that I tell you this now, when there's absolutely nothing we can do about it?
Look at the stars and think of me, Elizabeth. Remember me, and I'll never be gone.
And you can tell Rodney that if he's a pain in the ass I'll come back and haunt him.