Here's my first foray into the realm of SGA fanfic. I don't know how good this is; I haven't written fanfic in several months now, so it might just totally suck. Anyway, the inspiration was a Sarah Maclain song called Answer. You don't really need to know the song to understand it, but it definitely will give more emotion to the story. So please read, relax, and review.

WARNING: Unpleasant ending. Not going to say anything more, sorry. It'd spoil everything.

Lesser of two evils

As she kneeled next to him, she regretted every decision she'd made that night. They had been caught off guard, ambushed by a group of local ruffians. They hadn't known Sheppard and she were on their way to peace negotiations that would end the recurring civil wars plaguing them for many generations. If they had, maybe this wouldn't have happened. They had wanted her and he'd tried to protect her, but they shot him. It took three bullets to take him down. Separately they were not life threatening, but combined, she knew they were deadly. Without thought, she knelt beside him, yelling into her comm for a jumper and a medical team. As they moved to take their prize, she grabbed the closest weapon, his Beretta, aiming it at them in warning.

Though she kept her eyes trained on the ruffians, she allowed herself a quick glance at Sheppard. Though he still held a mask of calm on his face, she could tell is was forced. His eyes, normally so unexpressive, showed his struggle. Instinct screamed at her to protect him as he had done for her; to shoot the ruffians and help Sheppard; staunch the bleeding with her hands. Her mind screamed at her to follow the instinctual command, but her heart pleaded no. The stand off continued, the ruffians not daring the more powerful Beretta. Still, they wanted their prize and no amount of negotiation on her part would deter them. She'd tried, but they held fast.

Beside her, Sheppard struggled to take a breath. Seconds after the stand off began. Panic and fear began to consume her; though she'd made the call for a rescue team minutes ago, she their timely arrival. Saving him was easy, a simple flex of the finger, but she couldn't do it.

A series of energy blasts behind her startled her, yet brought relief. Dropping the gun, she tried desperately to stem the flow of blood as Beckett finally came to provide aid. The rest was a blur of blood soaked bandages, frantic movements, and panicked statements that left her kneeling next to him as they prepared to move him into the Jumper. She felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. Beckett, she told herself.

"Don't blame yourself Elizabeth. He would've never asked you to shoot a child."

Never had such a statement been more truthful, but it didn't help. Because she'd hadn't fired, Sheppard was dead.