You Can Be More

"You can be more than this."

John had heard those words more times than he cared to remember.

The words had been said in spite; they had been said in disappointment; rarely had they been said to him in encouragement.

"John," Elizabeth prompted him again, her voice soothing. "You can be more. I've seen you be more."

Glancing down at the ground, still covered in debris from an explosion earlier in the day, John focused on a piece of metal. It was bent out of shape and was scratched, lines of grey staining the otherwise perfectly silver surface.

For a moment, he considered it. It had, before the explosion, been operational and somewhat more attractive – if attractive was the correct word to use for such an object. It had, metaphorically speaking, been him.

He thought back…

xxxxx FLASHBACK xxxxx

Wraith darts shot through the sky, their noisy humming overpowering. Occasionally one of them would send out a beam, and down on the planet's surface, one or more of the villagers was vacuumed up, up, up.

Drowned out cries of anguish as loved ones were taken in such a way only began to describe the chaos below as the entire population tried to escape; running in every direction and sometimes right into enemy's hands.

John ran among them, Ronon by his side and Teyla just behind. McKay was in the puddle jumper, having had to stay back to repair controls that had been destroyed on their way in.

He could feel every beat of his heart, like the pounding of drums.

Then silence, louder than anything else he'd heard, ripped through the air.

At the same time, Ronon leaped towards Teyla, pushing her out of the line of fire and taking the hit himself.

As fast as the quiet had come, it ended and, no time to think, John dived to the ground, saving himself very barely from what could have been a fatal blow.

He landed next to Ronon and the first thing he saw when he opened his eyes was the end of a ragged bit of metal from one of the machines they'd come across and blood. Lots of blood.

What was worse was that the blood wasn't his…and no matter how hard he tried to get through to Ronon and to wake him up, the man would not stir.

xxxxx END FLASHBACK xxxxx

"No," John said, tearing his eyes from the shrapnel to look up at Elizabeth. "I can't be what I'm not." He shook his head defiantly and crossed his arms over his chest.

Expecting Elizabeth to shy away and give him some room or yell at him to get a grip, he was speechless when instead she placed a hand on his arm and locked eyes with him.

"John," she nearly whispered. "No matter what you may think about yourself, you couldn't save him. No one could have. It's not your fault." She slid her hand further up his arm and around his middle, pulling him to her.

He didn't attempt to resist her: he knew it was only a matter of time before he'd fall into her arms anyway.

"You can be more than this, John," Elizabeth soothed as he rested his head on her chest. "Don't let this accident persuade you otherwise."