Never Going To Happen

Prompt: #010 Never was, never will be

Notes: Written for 7rainbowprompts.

"Sorry, John, but that just can't happen," Elizabeth told her second-in-command as they walked side by side towards her office. She nodded to Carson as he walked past them carrying a stack of paper in the direction of the infirmary.

"Why the hell not?" John demanded pointedly, ignoring the doctor. "There aren't any regulations against it, are there?" He stared the leader of Atlantis down, trying to sway her into agreeing. "Or don't you want this? If you don't, just tell me. I'll go."

"John," Elizabeth started again. An apologetic smile graced her features, one that broke John's heart the moment he saw it. "We just can't." She placed a hand on his arm and squeezed gently, still with the sad smile on her face. "There are no regulations to speak of seeing as I'm not military, but it wouldn't be appropriate."

She shrugged at him in apology and turned her head to look over into the control room as they passed it, where Rodney, Dr Zalenka and several technicians were working on translating and hopefully acquiring some more of the technology that the Ancients had left behind on the computers.

"Why not?" John repeated firmly as Elizabeth continued to avoid his gaze. "You keep telling me that nothing can happen, but you haven't said why yet. There are no regulations – you just told me that! I'm beginning to think you don't have a reason."

For a moment, Elizabeth didn't answer and instead focused on walking the rest of the way to her office. As she did – with John following close behind – she tried vainly to think up a good enough reason for him.

Getting nothing, she sighed in exasperation and began pacing the room and wringing her hands. "John…" she began, the exact moment as he said, "Elizabeth." They both stopped and smiled nervously at each other.

"You go first," John told her.

Elizabeth nodded. "Okay," she said slowly. She paused again and studied the man in front of her.

"Or…I could go?" he prompted her.

"No, I'll go," Elizabeth told him with a weak smile. "I have to say this before…anything happens." She hesitated as John nodded and moved over to sit on the edge of her desk.

"I'm listening."

Elizabeth took a deep breath and then began. "Nothing like that can happen between us, John. I'm sorry, but it just can't. I have to set an example for everyone here and getting into a relationship with you – or anyone who works closely with me for that matter – wouldn't help. It would clear my judgement, for one, and I don't want anyone to question my abilities."

She paused. "Everyone here needs to feel safe and to ensure that's the case, I need to focus my attention on the wellbeing of the city and nothing else." She fell silent and watched as John digested what she had said.

"That's just stupid!" John finally put in. "You just don't want to get hurt! Putting the city first is just an excuse to not let anyone in. You could be happy, you know. We could be happy." He stared defiantly at Elizabeth, daring her to disagree. "I thought you wanted this!"

Elizabeth stared back at him, wishing everything were as simple as he'd put it. It wasn't though. She had a whole city of people to watch over and she couldn't let the life of one man get in the way in the case of an emergency, as she was sure she would if she got involved with John and a dangerous situation came up. She just couldn't.

The only option she had was to push him away and keep him at arms distance, at the very least. She couldn't open up her heart to him – at least not now. Maybe sometime, she could, but now it was the last thing she could allow herself to do.

"This never was and never will be," Elizabeth told John sadly. She turned away as she felt hot tears form in her eyes. "I'm sorry, John."