Summary: She was gone; not dead, just gone
Season/Sequel: season 4, post Lifeline
Spoilers: Anything up to Lifeline (4-02) is fair game
Archives: my website, others ask please, I never refuse
Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don't earn any money; I just do it for fun.
Author's Note: MAJOR SPOILERS for Lifeline so don't read if you don't know what happens in the ep. Many thanks to Jaclyn for the beta!
You have a go !
She was gone; not dead, just gone.
He lay there on his bed, facing the ceiling. Sleep couldn't come, wouldn't probably come tonight. He was thinking about the last look they shared, the last words they had spoken to each other before…
He refused to think that she could be dead despite what he heard some whispering in the corridors when they thought he wasn't there. She wouldn't be dead for him, not until he had found tangible proof of that; until he had found her lifeless body. Until then, he would keep searching for her, if only for those like him who believed that she was still alive, somewhere in Pegasus.
He would find her and bring her back where she belonged, to Atlantis, and to her office. Atlantis wasn't someone else's, it was Elizabeth's and he intended to give it back to her.
He lay there, awake, in the very same bed where they made love just a few weeks before. It had just been one night, the one after Carson's death, just one night of comfort sex. It had been nothing more than that; they had both needed to feel alive after their friend's unexpected death and had fallen into one another's arms. When they had talked about it afterwards, they had both agreed to not feel awkward in each other's presence because of what they had done. What happened happened because it had been something they had both wanted at the time, and that shouldn't change anything between them.
In the aftermath, as they lay there, on his bed, they had talked about everything and anything. Before, in the more than two years that they had known each other, they had never felt the need to really talk about their pasts, their lives before Atlantis, but this time, after having lost one of their close friends, that had been important. So they lay awake for most of the night, trading stories, until Elizabeth had decided that she had to go back to her own quarters before someone saw her leaving his.
And now, lying there, alone, he wondered if he would still feel the same if they hadn't shared so much, if he hadn't known so much about her. But he couldn't fool himself, she had been a friend for a long time, long before the night they had spent together, she was even someone he considered his family like he had once told Teyla, and he would still be feeling that way. Feeling guilty because he felt like he was the one responsible for her not being there anymore. But now, he felt like he should be the one contacting and telling her mother about Elizabeth's disappearance. And he would. No matter what the power that be on Earth would think, he would be the one going to see her mother and telling her everything he could. He would be the one assuring her he wouldn't stop until he got her back.
Knowing that he wouldn't get any sleep that night, he got up, put on a t-shirt and sweatpants, and left his quarters. Barefooted, he started to jog down the halls, hoping that it would help him forget everything. Usually, it helped him clear his mind, it was doing nothing but the contrary; he just couldn't stop thinking. So when he passed by the same door for the nth time, he stopped in front of it. He stared at the door for a minute or two before finally willing it open with his mind. It was one of those times where he was thankful for that rare gene of his that made him come here in the first place.
Stepping inside the room just enough so the door would close behind him, he stayed there, wondering if he really should be there. He knew that she wouldn't actually mind; she would rather have him than someone else in her quarters when she wasn't there, but still, he felt like it wasn't his place to be. When he at last moved, it was to go stand before the window.
He always knew that she hadn't chosen these quarters because they were fairly big, compared to others, but because of the view. And he had to admit that he envied her; the sight she got on their City was beautiful, and even more at night. He had once caught her in front of that same window, lost in the contemplation of Atlantis by night. He had said nothing, simply because he shouldn't have been there, shouldn't have entered her quarters without her permission. So he turned back and left the room, never telling her that he had been there.
Turning from the window, he surveyed the room, noting that all her things were still there, at the very same place she had left them when she had last left her quarters. Teyla had cleared up her office earlier that day, but no one had entered this room before him to do the same. He knew that it should be done soon; for the moment, the Apollo was staying there, just in case, but when it had to leave, so would Elizabeth's things.
He picked up the pocket watch she always seemed to have with her whenever she was feeling rather down, and turned it over. He thought he would have found something written, but there was nothing at all, which kind of surprised him. He had never asked where, or rather whom she got it from, never dared to. It wasn't his place to ask, and she would have told him if she wanted him to know. But he had always been curious, and thought he could find some answers on the watch itself. He already had an idea or two; to him she had probably got it from either her father or a grandfather, someone dear to her, someone whom she liked to remember when something had gone wrong.
Putting it back on the nightstand, he grabbed the photo frame sitting next to it and smiled. The picture had been taken during the party they had held after having retaken the City from the Asurans. Atlantis saviors, as they had been named by the rest of the expedition, stood smiling in front of the camera; both women were in the centre, surrounded by the four men. They had been quite embarrassed by the attention they had received, repeating time after time that they had done nothing more than anyone else could have. He still had a good memory of that night; his team, along with Elizabeth and Carson had ended up leaving the party rather early, decided to spend some time alone. They had gone to his quarters and had fallen asleep there, Elizabeth and Teyla on the bed, and the men on the floor. Now, he would give anything for that to happen again; but two of them were gone.
As he looked up from the picture, he noticed others on the different shelves. One of them surprised him; it had been taken right after he received his promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel. Together, they were standing, him in his uniform and she grinning widely. He hadn't known at the time, but she had been the one behind it. As he looked closely at the picture, he could see something in her eyes: she was proud of him. Just after he had taken the oath, she had hugged him briefly and kissed his cheek, even though they were observed by General Landry and some others officers from the SGC. He had been quite surprised by that, just like he had been that one time in the gateroom in Atlantis, but had quickly returned the gesture, glad that she had been there on that important day for him.
Sitting not far from this picture, another showed a forty-something man holding a girl who couldn't have been more than five in his arms. It took him a while, but when he looked at her eyes, he had no doubt that it was Elizabeth. Thus the man must be her father, and now that he was really looking at him, he noticed that she took a lot of him, including her eyes. He knew from what she had told him that one night that he had been dead for several years, and that she had taken it the hard way, having not been there but on the other side of the world when it happened.
Picking up a frame from the box Teyla had left after she had cleared up the office, he smiled at it; it was the one she always kept on her desk. It was a picture of her dog, Sedge, running towards her as she was taking the photo. He knew that she was now at her mother's, since her last boyfriend, a doctor Simon something, had broken up with her. She had once told him that had she been able to, she would have brought her here with her. He had seen Elizabeth with her dog only once, but he had noticed the somewhat deep bond they seemed to share; he couldn't help but wonder if Sedge would understand that her owner might never come back home.
He spent the rest of the night looking through her things, remembering stories she had told him about them, or just making some up.
Sunrise found him sitting on the bed, shedding tears for someone he had lost. Holding the jar he had given her for her first birthday on Atlantis, he once more swore to himself that he would never stop searching until he found her.