He had done something terrible.
He'd done terrible things before but this one, this one hurt. This was the one he was going to carry to his grave.
He'd saved Elizabeth Weir's life and it was one of the worst things he had done, because she wasn't the same person. He could see it in her eyes. She wasn't the same person because she didn't believe she was the same person with the nanites as part of her. With the nanites keeping her alive. She had told him once that she would never want to be kept on life support, never want machines keeping her alive and in his haste to save her life he'd forgotten that, forgotten that nanites were machines, that she might see them as the same thing.
She hadn't said as much, but he suspected she was thinking it. Machines were keeping her alive. He had kept her alive. Not for the first time but this was the worst time.
He had still lost her.
Her eyes were darker, her face harder than before and she hadn't smiled. He couldn't remember the last time he'd seen her smile, really smile and feel it in his heart. Sheppard had felt her loss just as hard as he had, but neither would give up on getting her back. Even if it was just to bury her. He had saved her life, and she had saved Atlantis and him, and in the long run, it had worked out for the best but he should have let her die maybe, maybe.
He couldn't do it, could never let go of her like that. He'd never felt a death like Carson's before and he loved Elizabeth so much more, how could he go through it all over again, go through worse? Impossible, he could do a lot of things, but not that. At least she was alive, there was hope. Just a touch of hope.
He dreamt about her, her face covered in nanites, but larger, making them obvious to him, so he knew what they were, crawling over her face. He dreamt about kissing the nanite face, her lips moving over his, little tiny pin pricks over his lips that hurt, like he deserved it. A kiss was punishment because she was alive and lost to him. He'd dreamt about kissing her before of course, but now, now it's something his mind has turned around, twisted to hurt him.
He could always torture himself more than anyone else could.
He dreams about her killing him. The nanites in control, the Asurans by her side, his death by her hands because she was alive by his. He woke up in sweats, his life torn and dreams black, her name on his lips. Elizabeth, he worried she would hate her for this, that killing him would be better than hating him. The real Elizabeth could never really hate him, he knew that, but it played on his mind.
She played on his mind. Saving her life was a terrible thing to do, but the only thing he could've done because he loved her. It was all he thought about, her life, the nanites and what he had done. He made mistakes on his work, his experiments, in his calculations because he could only think about nanites, and their programming and programming Elizabeth like she was a machine and not a woman. He had never been much of a sleeper, but he was living on an hour of nightmares a night, he wasn't eating and loosing weight fast. He was breaking apart in front of Sheppard's eyes and there was nothing he could do. Rodney's own mind was his undoing. Even Sam Carter, real or imaginary couldn't help him.
He'd done something terrible. He saved Elizabeth's life and was destroying his own.