Author's Note: Ok, I totally had to improvise since no one actually posted for June 2. Anyway, since it's my day today I'm just posting what I've got and typing up a second part now. The things I do for Sparky sigh...totally worth it though, Enjoy!
John took a fork full of food into his mouth enjoying the taste of his meal as it hit his tongue. Amusement glinted in his eyes at the conversation they were having and he finally decided to voice his opinion, pointing his finger at Carson and trying to stop himself from smirking.
"You should call her," he suggested casually ignoring the waiter that had just passed their table. Elizabeth hummed her agreement around a mouthful of wine, McKay's own hum following it closely. Carson's head snapped up as he stared at John incredulously.
"Who Cadman?" John's only answer was an enthusiastic nod of his head as Elizabeth twisted in her seat to face Carson, resting her elbow on the back of her chair.
"You guys did make a cute couple," she teased smirking slightly when Carson met her gaze. He snorted in amusement as his eyes fell to the tabletop.
"It didn't work out," he explained quickly an unfamiliar sadness surrounding him like an aura. "It may have something to do with our first kiss being through Rodney," Carson added jokingly glaring at the scientist in question. Rodney grimaced suddenly feeling put off his food.
"Oh," he groaned. "I thought we made a solemn vow never to speak of that again."
"I remember no such thing," Carson mocked lightly raising one of his eyebrows in amusement at Rodney's expense as he glanced at Elizabeth. The familiarly of the banter sent pain shooting straight through Elizabeth's heart, home sickness settling over her like a cloud and bringing with it the intense feeling of suffocation, despair and sense of loss. She couldn't bare the stifling pain anymore and knew that if she stayed she would break down and she had enough pride left to refuse to let that happen.
"You know what," she interrupted nervously ringing her hands together in front of her, she used all will power and strength she had left to force her eyes to meet Carson's knowing look, if only for a few brief seconds. "It's getting late." A smile briefly flittered across her face before she turned and accidentally met John's curious stare.
"Since when do you sleep?" he probed his eyebrows furrowing together like they always did when he was trying to figure something out. Averting her gaze down to the candle which sat in the centre of the table she forced a lightness into her voice as she replied – her years of experience as a diplomat making it easy for her to mask her traitorous emotions from displaying themselves in her voice.
"Hmm…since I got back, I had a lot of catching up to do," she replied causing the corner of John's mouth to upturn slightly as he lowered his gaze to the table, concern etched onto his features. Elizabeth interlaced her fingers, resting her forearms on the table. "But its…it's been…lovely seeing all of you again." Carson stiffened slightly as he threw a worried look at John, dissolving it instantly when Elizabeth turned to face him, resting her hand on his arm. "Thank you for getting me out."
"Oh we should thank you," John retorted as he returned his intense gaze back to her. "You're taking us to dinner right." Elizabeth's eyes narrowed.
"Cheeky." She reached around the back of her chair and picked up her bag, placing it on her lap as she searched through its contents for her purse, completely oblivious to the looks her three companions were sharing.
"Would you like a lift home Lass?" Carson asked kindly.
"No...Its fine Carson. I'll just get a cab." She finally pulled her purse out and stood up from the chair, smiling –in a way she hoped was reassuring- at her friends. "Thank you though," she added as she walked around her chair and returned it under the table, throwing her bag over her shoulder as she did. Nervously she let her fingers tuck her hair behind her ears and smoothed down the front of her top. "Well... I'll see you all later."
"Bye Elizabeth," Rodney said around a mouthful of food. "Make sure you keep in touch this time," he admonished sounding like an abandoned puppy. Elizabeth felt her emotions bubbling to the surface again and offered him a tight smile before she practically bolted from the table to pay for the bill.
"Well that was…"John finally said to break the silence that had settled over the table.
"Worrying," Carson finished as he eyed the contents of his glass. John began to play with his food, his thoughts still focussed on Elizabeth.
"She seemed fine," McKay offered in his usual tone trying to deny and hide his concern, even though his posture and eyes gave away his own feelings on the matter. John dropped his fork and sprung up from his chair, speedily grabbing his jacket and throwing it on.
"I'm gonna go and check on her," John explained gaining Carson's nod of approval. "I'll talk to you guys later." He looked at Rodney and grinned mischievously. "IOU."
"What?" Rodney cried out in frustration but John had already sprinted away from the table and out of the door. "Well that's just fantastic," he muttered darkly as he glared at the exit. Upon hearing Carson sigh his mood softened. "She'll be okay," he stated trying to reassure himself as much as Carson.
"Aye I hope so."
The lightness of the restaurant gave way to the night, diminishing further as Elizabeth exited the doors of the restaurant and strolled out onto the street, stuffing her hands into the pockets of her jacket as a cool breeze hit her sending shivers down her spine. The sense of claustrophobia she had felt whilst in the restaurant slowly released its grip around her heart and finally allowed her to drop the pretence of being perfectly fine when in actuality she was heart broken.
Atlantis was her home and it had been ripped away from her and she couldn't do a thing about it – no mater how much she tried to negotiate the Ancients just wouldn't change their stance and because of that she would probably never set foot on Atlantis again. It was that thought that nearly sent her to her knees; Atlantis was her life, her home. It was where she had seen some of the most amazing things, a place that challenged her to grow and learn, and a place where she had the opportunity to meet some of the most incredible people she had ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Even the people were tainted now because of their link to the city. Even though she loved them like family all they did was remind her of what she had lost and so she just had to escape, escape from everything she had once held dear. She closed her eyes to will her tears away and slowly began putting one foot in front of the other, not bothering to get the cab she said she would. They wouldn't find out anyway.
"What happened to getting a cab?" A familiar voiced questioned casually but Elizabeth could detect the worry hidden beneath the lightness.
"John," she whispered softly with a slight warning in her tone, hoping that he would recognise her need to be alone - his concern would break down her defences and leave her completely exposed; she didn't want to face that yet – she couldn't. His light footsteps advancing toward her indicated that he either didn't notice or didn't care. She bowed her head as he came to stand beside her.
"You shouldn't be walking out here on your own," he told her as he put his hands in his pockets and apprehensively chewed his bottom lip – she obviously wasn't in the mood for company. She finally lifted her eye to his even though she still faced forwards.
"I'll be fine Colonel," she replied indifferently hoping to put some emotional distance between them by using rank, she cringed inwardly as hurt flittered across his features. "You don't have to look after me anymore." John's eyebrows rose as he pursed his lips and brought his hand out of his pocket to run through his already messy hair.
"I suppose not, but maybe I want to." Their eyes locked and John couldn't help but notice the heavy fatigue and sadness within her usually bright green eyes, the life that usually glowed and radiated around her was missing – the spark that made her the Elizabeth he had grown to lo… care for. "Lizabeth… are you ok?"
"Why does everyone keep asking me that," she muttered in frustration, her emotions too close to the surface to hide successfully.
"Maybe because you're not acting like yourself," John retorted sarcastically regretting it as soon as Elizabeth averted her eyes quickly.
"Goodnight John," she said coolly as she started walking away not even bothering to look back and returning her gaze to the footpath.
"At least let me walk you home," he voiced as he ran up to her side again, smirking slightly when she nodded her agreement, albeit reluctantly.
Forty five minutes later they arrived at Elizabeth's apartment building. The walk up until that point had been filled with a mainly one sided conversation, with only single worded comments coming from Elizabeth every now and again, causing John's worry to increase ten fold. Usually their bantering was pretty equal not to mention challenging due to the fact Elizabeth could call him on everything and leave him fighting for a comeback, but this time she was hardly even listening and John found that he missed it – more than he thought he did.
"Well it looks like we made it," he stated breaking the silence that had descended over them.
"Thank you John," she offered weakly as she opened the door and stepped through the doorway. She felt guilty for not letting him come in but she needed to get away so that she could loose her composure privately.
"Yeah well…um…I'll talk to you tomorrow alright," he told her as he stared at her pointedly. "Make sure you answer this time. I'm starting to think that you don't want to talk to us," he added jokingly. Elizabeth gave him a tight smile; that comment had hit a little close to home.
John studied her intently through the window as she made her way up the stair of the building, noticing the slump to her shoulders. He couldn't just leave it like this.