Title: Nightmare
Author: Vicky
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Summary: It was a nightmare (Elizabeth was still under the nanites' influence after TRW, she never really woke up, and after she finally did, she realises that it had only been a nightmare, that Carson was still alive, that Atlantis hadn't had to fled away because of the Asurans)
Rating: PG-13
Character/Pairing: Elizabeth Weir
Spoilers: anything up to season 4
Warnings: Character Death
Prompt Number: #3 Awake

Author: This idea first came to me weeks ago, because I think it might be possible after all. I've written it in under three hours so it's probably far from perfect. But I had to get this out of my mind. Many thanks to my beta, Jaclyn!

Elizabeth drifted in and out of consciousness.

She heard voices, but she couldn't tell to whom they belonged, nor where she was. The last thing she remembered was falling asleep in a cave on a deserted planet. Could they have found her already? She tried to move but she soon found out that she couldn't; she was restrained to the bed.

"Easy, there," a voice that sounded so familiar said, while a gentle hand rested on her left arm.

She tried to open her eyes, and finally managed after three unsuccessful attempts. When she saw who that was, and where she was, she gasped.

"You shouldn't have taken me back there, they'll find me. They'll come here again."

"It's ok, Elizabeth," he said to reassure her, seeing that she was getting agitated.

"No, it's not. They can track me, you know that. I can't believe you did that, John."

"Elizabeth, calm down, please. Let me get Carson, he'll want to examine you," he said and she stopped squirming.

"Who are you…?" she said calmly but then repeated more forcefully when he didn't answer. "Who are you?"

"It's me, it's John," he told her, though he could see she didn't buy it.

"No, you aren't. I won't play more games with you. This time you made a mistake, Carson's dead. He's been dead for months. You won't make me believe that all of this is real."

"This is real, Elizabeth, believe me. Carson's there, in his office, waiting for you to wake up."

And for a second, she did want to believe him. But the next, it was gone and she offered him the coldest glare she could at the moment. Tugging on her restraints, she saw him look down to her wrists.

"You want that removing?" he asked, and she nodded slightly; this could be her chance.

He was undoing the last restraint when she made her move. In one swift motion, she had him on the ground, with her over him. Her gaze locked on his for a second, and it was all it took for him to reverse their positions and have her underneath him.

"Nurse!" he yelled, as she tried getting the upper hand again. "Elizabeth, I don't want to hurt you."

"The hell you don't!" she spat back as she felt a jab in her left arm.

John lifted her easily from the floor and laid her down back on the bed. She tried to struggle, but she already felt the effect of the tranquilizer in her body. Her eyelids already felt heavier as they restrained her once more.

"What's the last thing you remember, Elizabeth?" John asked, and though she didn't want to give him the satisfaction of answering him, she could hear the worried tone in her voice.

"Falling asleep, alone, on a deserted planet, after you nearly tracked me down again."

"Who do you think I am, Elizabeth?"

"You're an Asuran."

"Why weren't you on Atlantis, or with a team?"

"Because I left months ago," she replied, and just before her eyelids closed, she saw him shake his head.

"That never happened, Elizabeth, you never left Atlantis. You were there all the time."

"No," she heard herself whisper as she drifted into unconsciousness again.

The next time she awoke, the first thing that came to her mind was the last thing, John, or whoever it really was, told her. She couldn't make herself believe that what he said was real. It couldn't just be.

She opened her eyes, and choked on her breath. She was in the infirmary on Atlantis, just like last time; they seemed to have decided that they should go on with that fake reality. But she wouldn't believe them, not this time.

"How are you feeling, love?" a voice she thought she would never hear again said.

"Leave me alone," she said with her best cold voice, her eyes closing, blocking away the tears. She would not fall into this trap.

"Aye. Colonel Sheppard told me what you said last time. See, I'm not dead, Elizabeth, and you're in Atlantis. You've never left the City. Actually, you've been in the infirmary for two weeks."

"Say whatever you want, I don't believe you. This is not real. In the reality, Carson's dead, and I've left Atlantis. You can't convince me this is real. Especially not you."

"Except that it is real. Look, I'd like to take you off the restraints, but after the episode with Colonel Sheppard, I can't," he explained to her, and she just shrugged; she didn't care, she just wanted him, them, to leave her alone, and if that could help, then be it that way. "I'm going to let you rest, now," he sighed. "If you need anything, I'm in my office, or if you'd rather, the nurses are around."

She didn't answer, and she heard him walk away from her bed. She released a shaky breath and opened her eyes, only to find John standing by her bedside; she hadn't heard him come.

"What do you want?" she asked.

"To talk to you," he replied while sitting on the chair that was already there.

"And if I don't want to?"

"Then, just listen to me. We were worried about you, Elizabeth. At first, we just didn't know what was happening with you, and then when we found out… More than once, we thought we were losing you, to them. But everything's ok and your body is finally free of the nanites."

"If you say so…," Elizabeth just said, not believing him. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Go ahead."

"Why did you create this? You knew I wouldn't believe you, this time. Are you just stupid or what? Carson's been dead for nearly a year, now, what made you think that I could fall into this?"

"This is real, Elizabeth. If you want proof, then ask me anything you want."

"Yeah, right. And if I'm right and you're in my head, you would know the answer," she replied, not realising that she used the conditional.

"Ok, then, ask me something that no one but myself, not even you, could know."

"If you want to play, then… Why didn't y… John send a message to Earth before the Siege while I know he still has family there."

"I should have known that that was something you were wondering about," he said with a smile. "Because I haven't seen them since I've joined, and I didn't think that was the best way to try and reunite with them at that time. And no, I still haven't. They just don't approve what I'm doing and whatever I could say wouldn't change their mind. Something else you'd like to know?"

"Why did you undo the restraints?" she asked, needing to know. The John that she knew wouldn't have done that without reason.

"Because I thought you were you. I mean, I know you are you, but I thought that you were ok. Carson said the nanites weren't in your body anymore."

"How can I be so sure that it's real?" she said out loud, a few tears finally escaping from her eyes. She felt John's thumb erasing them as they fell, and for the first time since she'd first awoken, she wanted to believe him. "What happened?" She wanted, needed to know.

"We were in your office, and as I noticed your paleness, you fainted. I took you in my arms and brought you here. Like I told you, we didn't know what happened, but then Carson found nanites in your body. We tried everything to stop them, but we've just found out the solution yesterday."

"That happened. I woke up after a few hours, well what was weeks in that reality the nanites had created."

"You have just woken up after two weeks of being uncounscious."

"Oh god," Elizabeth chocked on her tears. "So everything… everything was from the reality they had created…?"

"How much time had passed since you thought you had woken up?"

"Nearly a year and a half…"

"What happened during those months?" he asked, but she just shook her head. "It's ok. We don't have to talk about it if you don't want to."

"What if it's just another trick of the Asurans? I was so sure I was awake last time…"

"I don't know what to tell you, Elizabeth. I guess I could repeat your other self words: 'trust yourself'.

"This is what I did last time, and if I believe you, that didn't really work."

"Then, believe what you want. But know that we're here for you if you need us."

He stood up and gave her hand a squeeze before leaving.

She took a deep breath, looking towards the ceiling. What should she believe? John or the world she had lived in those past months? She really wanted to believe what John said, but a part of herself was more cautious. This could just be something to weaken her even more that she already was. She could still be asleep on that planet, waiting for the sunrise to continue her constant flight. Or she could really be there, be home.

She was feeling tired, and her eyes were already closing on their own volition. She tried to fight it, but she could nearly hear Carson say that her body needed time to recuperate after what she had been through. Unlike other times, thinking about him now made her smile; if that was the reality, he was alive, she thought just before falling asleep again.

Waking up for the third time that day, the first thing she realised was that the restraints were gone. Lifting her hand to her neck, she rubbed it and noticed that her hair seemed shorter than she remembered. The second thing she became aware was the remnants of her dreams that just started to fade away. She had dreamt for the first time in months. Those last few months were so full of dreamless nights that she couldn't remember when that had last happened. She didn't even have a nightmare. She had never wondered about it, but now, now everything seemed to click in place.

"Oh god," she sobbed, thus worrying Carson who just happened to be walking by.

"What is it, lass?" he asked in his gentle voice. He stopped next to her and was caught by surprise when she bolted up and latched onto him.

"This is real…," she whispered between two sobs, and he instinctively tightened his arms around her. "I've missed you, I've missed you so much."

"I'm here, I'm right here," he just said, rubbing circles on her back. From where he was standing with Elizabeth in his arms, he saw John entering the infirmary. He nodded at him and could immediately see him relax, before he crossed the room to stand beside him.

John's hand found their way on Elizabeth's back too, simply wanting to show her that he was there for her too if she needed him. And she had seemed to have felt that it was him because a few seconds after, she found her way into his arms, clinging to him as she had clung to Carson.

"I've missed you, too."

"Same here," he just answered, "same here."

The three stayed there for a long time, only to be joined by Rodney, Teyla and Ronon who came to see how Elizabeth was doing. She took each of them in her arms, but less desperately than she had been with Carson and John.

Three days later, Elizabeth was released by Carson with a clean bill of health, but instead of going to her quarters, like she had told the doctor she would, she went to the balcony. She talked to a few people on her way there, but for most of the time, she tried to avoid them; she still needed some time after having thought she had spent months all alone.

Stepping onto the balcony, she took a deep breath of Ocean air. She had needed it after everything she went through. She stayed a few minutes like that, her eyes closed, her mind void of any thought.

When she come back in, she still didn't go to her quarters; there was somewhere else she needed to be. Stopping in front of the door, she waved her hand above the chime and waited.

"Elizabeth…?"

"Hey, John… I thought you might want to talk… I'll do the talking," she explained when she realised he hadn't understood her.

"Of course, come in take a seat, and don't mind the mess," he added as an afterthought and she couldn't help but smile.

So they sat, side by side, and he waited for her to start talking. He didn't want to push her, he understood that she needed time. And when she started to talk, she didn't stop for the next two hours. She told him everything. From when she thought she had woken up to her exile from the City, she talked about their time on Earth and how they had taken Atlantis back, about Carson's death which had her in tears.

"But it's over, right?" she asked when she was finished, tears still in her voice. "I'm awake now."

"Yes, you are. Your nightmare's over. You're awake. This is the reality. Your reality, Elizabeth," he answered, taking her in his arms.

Fini

A/N: I know I'm not the only one who'd like something like that to happen. You know, like a reset button so that everything could be right again in the show. Why don't they have the time-machine anymore? whines