Summary: S/W, A talk at the end of The eye
Spoilers: The storm, The eye
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I ain't got no money, and nobody'd be daft enough to pay me for this. As it is said so let it be thought; you make the toys, I play with them.

In her office, as they waited for Rodney to give the final 'all clear' to recall their people from the menaran homeworld, Elizabeth watched the major stand an odd few feet away, not meeting her eyes. It was so unlike the usually relaxed, not to mention forward man, that she started to worry something was wrong, "Major, are you alright?"

He jumped slightly, eyes almost meeting hers for a second before they skipped away again. When he didn't answer, she frowned, stepping closer to him, earnest worry taking her as he tensed even more.

He finally blurted, "You pulled away."

She drew a shocked breath, "Major..."

He shook his head, hand slashing the air, starting to turn away jerkily, mumbling to himself, "I shouldn't have killed them, I..."

"No! You had to. Atlantis had to be protected, it was your job..."

He turned his eyes to her, anguish for a moment visible, "But that's not why I..." He looked away again, swallowing.

She touched his arm, gripping it when he tried to pull away, at a loss what to say. Forced to remember the implications of what she'd heard on the grounding station. That her life had been the currency used to control the major. That he'd been told she was dead. The stunned relief in his voice after he heard her speak. The gloating in Kolya's as he used her as a shield.

"Listen to me. I thought I was going to die; was willing to die at that point, to keep him from getting away. I'm not," she pulled him closer, trying to get through to him, "Not afraid of you."

He looked at her again, still a startling mix of young uncertainty and old world-weariness. As much as this hurt him, she was glad her military arm wasn't a hardened killer; if he could only stay that way.

"Not ashamed of you either." Her reflexes said to reach up and touch him, but they didn't have that... relaxed, physical, a relationship. What relationship they did have was part of what she'd pushed away earlier, telling herself she'd think about it when this crisis was over and she had time to analyze... everything, and decide.

For now, all she had to make him understand were her words and her eyes. "John," his attention sharpened at her use of his name. A good first step, "You saved my life today, several times over. I'm sorry I..." she hesitated, looking for the words to tell the truth without letting him misunderstand, "I was jumpy; it was a general reaction. My mother could have reached for me and I'd have recoiled at that point. Please," she squeezed his arm in entreaty, "Believe me?"

She was deeply relieved when he nodded slowly and she felt him start to un-tense. Before she could say more, they both heard Rodney calling them, and the gate started to dial. He gave her a jerky, hesitant smile, spreading his arm stiffly to invite her to precede him, which she did with a final searching look. She hoped he would give her a real smile soon.