Lost by AndromedaMarine

She'd felt lost before, but never like this. The word usually described a lack of words (but for her even that was rare) or a failure to follow Rodney's complex web of explanations. The shock that accompanied the presence of feeling lost scared her more than the small four letter word did. Coming to grips with reality would be hard, especially because of what had caused the feeling. She was lost.

She wasn't missing, in that sense of the word. She was unguided and painfully alone. No one was there to help her find the way to sanity. Once in a while she actually rejoiced and enjoyed the feeling of insanity – but only when he was around her, when he could keep her in check. He wasn't there, and that scared her.

Carson Beckett had ordered that no one be let off-world because of the intensity of a certain pathogen Kavanaugh had unwittingly released into the ventilation system. Whether the act had been carried out intentionally or not Elizabeth had him placed in the brig until further notice. What scared the leader and the reason she felt completely and utterly lost was because John Sheppard and his team were stranded off-world with no way to communicate with Atlantis. Thus her feeling of being lost grew.

Despite the good Scot's insistence that she stay away from the infirmary and infection she couldn't help but refuse. She needed to be the last thing some saw. The pathogen was terribly deadly, unfortunately only causing damage to those the ATA gene hadn't taken effect in. Elizabeth being one of the ATA receivers that it hadn't activated in, Carson couldn't help but worry his mind away. Elizabeth was in deadly danger and she was lost.

--

As John Sheppard and his team settled off-world, the unsettling thing in John's gut was the fact that he knew Elizabeth would be lost. Marriage for twelve years had done its duty and made the two leaders closer than anyone else on the Ancient city. John knew that Kavanaugh should have been shipped to a Wraith base a decade ago but for some inane reason the IOA had stepped in and disallowed it. Neither John nor Rodney could figure out why.

They had been stranded for sixteen days and finally Rodney was going insane.

"Good God, can't Carson find a cure yet?" the disgruntled scientist voiced loudly. "We've been stuck here for sixteen bloody days and I haven't showered!"

John gritted his teeth and glowered at Rodney. "None of us have, McKay. Get over it. I'm sorry you feel that way but we're all in this together. For all we know Atlantis could be indefinitely off-limits." As much as he hated to admit it Elizabeth could be dead.

"You know, Rodney, you haven't changed at all since I came here," Ronon said as he flopped onto his back, "you haven't changed one damn bit."

The corners of the scientist's mouth curled downward. "How do you mean?"

"I mean," Ronon said, waving his hand about, "you still manage to make the worst out of every situation and bring everyone else down with you."

Rodney was about to protest when John slapped him upside the head. "Shut it, McKay. Don't make me knock you out."

The scientist immediately shut his mouth and did as John asked, because the general had in fact knocked him out to shut him up before.

Until now Teyla hadn't said a word concerning the predicament threatening Atlantis and John's wife. "John, do you believe that our friends will survive?"

Fighting back the tears he knew would eventually come, John said, "You taught me to always believe that."

Teyla smiled minimally. "I did. But with this disease ravaging our home I cannot help but feel scared for Ronon's and my son and daughter as well as your wife."

"It's only natural, Teyla. I'm terrified for Elizabeth and my kids too."

Rodney jumped in. "John, your kids and Teyla's kids won't be affected. The disease that Kavanaugh – damn him – released only affects those the ATA gene therapy didn't work on. I'm not worried about Jamal but I'm worried about Katie."

"Elizabeth could die, Rodney. Don't forget what she did for you."

Rodney was silent again, his mind taken back to when Elizabeth had saved his life.

--

It was twenty days after the appearance of the disease and Carson was up to his elbows in patients. So far seven people had died and thirty four were alarmingly sick. Thankfully Elizabeth hadn't shown any signs of infection and Carson had a vague inkling of the reason. He'd ordered Jamal, Kidaro, Tagan, Lincoln and Jenna to stay away from the infirmary until he lifted the quarantine. Jamal, Rodney's and Katie's son, was a natural carrier of the gene. Kidaro and Tagan were Teyla's and Ronon's children. Carson didn't give them the ATA therapy so they weren't at risk. Lincoln and Jenna, Elizabeth and John's children, were also natural carriers and were not affected by the plague.

It was two in the morning and Carson was blinking at his computer monitor. As if by magic the answer popped into his head and he scrambled up, gathering papers and he raced to the transporter, furiously anxious and impatient. He stabbed the dot marking the control room and was whisked away in a flash of bright light.

"Elizabeth!" Carson huffed after sprinting into the diplomat's office. "I've got it!"

"Got what?" the woman asked, swiveling excitedly to face the doctor. "The cure?"

Carson simply nodded. "I do." He held up a syringe with what looked like antifreeze in it and smiled. "This is it."

Elizabeth held out her arm to receive the injection.

The Scot just stared at her. "Love, ye don't need it."

The woman frowned. "What do you mean? Of course I need it – the ATA didn't work on me."

Carson smiled. "Trust me, darling, ye don't need it." His eyes conveyed the simple message she'd gotten from him twice before.

Her eyes widened and she smiled. "You're serious?"

The Scot nodded and beckoned for her to follow him. "Radek first."

--

Late evening on the planet John's team was came and John was woken by the familiar swoosh of the vortex. He shook Teyla awake and she understood what he heard when she saw the faint glimmer of the event horizon through the leaves. John's radio crackled. "General Sheppard, the disease has been neutralized and you are authorized to return in five hours," Peter Grodin said excitedly.

"Pete, what's the word on Elizabeth? Is she okay?"

"I assure you, General, she's perfectly fine. She's accompanied Dr. Beckett to the infirmary to help administer the cure."

Rodney woke up and realized who John was talking to. "Peter, what about Katie? And Radek? Has anyone...died?"

Peter's voice became sad. "Katie was infected but I think Carson gave her some of the cure. Radek was the first to get it and he's recovering smoothly. Seven have died."

Ronon was the only one to say it. "Who?"

There was a long, painful silence as Peter gathered the nerve and courage to say it. "Three new marines from the Daedalus, Dr. Kavanaugh, a botanist, Dr. Biro and her son."

Teyla's face fell. "Dear God."

"Did you say Kavanaugh?" Rodney said. "But the ATA worked on him."

"He also got a massive dose of it when he broke the test tube containing the plague, Rodney," Peter replied. "It didn't matter if he had the gene or not."

For a moment John thought he saw the faint flicker of a smile grace Rodney's face and he took it to be a blessing from heaven that Kavanaugh was finally gone after fourteen years. "Peter, so we can come back in five hours?"

"That's right, General. Five hours. We'll be waiting."

--

Katie McKay looked deathly pale as Carson injected the cure into her IV. Elizabeth was administering more of the cure to the other thirty-some victims. "Elizabeth," Carson said as he held Katie's hand. "Elizabeth could you stay with Katie for me?"

The leader joined the doctor and nodded. "Sure." Katie looked as lost as Elizabeth felt earlier. And she didn't want her friend's wife to die. She glanced at her watch. Two hours until John's team could return. As much as the position of General demanded paperwork and a desk job, John (in his absolute brilliance) decided to remain in the field. Rodney was very grateful, as he didn't exactly take to following Teyla's orders.

The leader still felt lost, but she could now see a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Katie moved her fingers and when they found Elizabeth's hand they squeezed. She was coming out of her darkness into the realm of light and life. "Rodney?"

"He's still off-world, Katie. It's Elizabeth."

"Oh. When will Rodney be back?"

"About an hour and a half."

Katie sighed and closed her eyes again, drifting off to a stress-relieving sleep.

--

"Dial it up, Rodney," John shouted as they sprinted for the gate at the time Peter said they could return. Rodney didn't need telling at all as he was already at the DHD when John gave the order. The gorgeous vortex of the wormhole spewed out and Ronon punched in the IDC. They raced through and John immediately saw Elizabeth waiting for him.

She was no longer lost as she clung desperately to her husband, the general, the leader of the military on base, and the father of her children.

"Are you okay?" John asked quietly, breathing in the smell he'd missed for twenty days. "Peter said you weren't infected."

"I wasn't." She buried her head into her husband's neck. "I wasn't."

"How?"

"Your gene. We're having another child, John. I'm alive because of you."

John pulled back and stared into Elizabeth's green eyes. "You're...we're...another...really?"

Elizabeth smiled and laughed. "Yes." Lincoln and Jenna raced into the gateroom and joined their parents. Lincoln, the eldest at eleven years, tugged on his father's sleeve and hugged him. Jenna was just seven and she too leapt onto her father.

John leaned down and gazed into his daughter's eyes. "You're going to be a big sister, Jenna."

The young child smiled and squealed. Lincoln frowned. "When?"

"Carson just told me, Lincoln," Elizabeth explained, ruffling her son's hair. "But that's what saved me."

The family embraced again and they all knew they were going to be okay.

--

Rodney found Katie in the infirmary, still deathly pale but her vitals slowly improving. Radek was now sitting up in his hospital bed, enjoying a rather large helping of blue jello that he'd insisted a nurse bring him. Jamal was by her side and when he saw his father he leapt up and hugged him. "Hi, daddy. Is mommy going to be okay?"

"What did Carson say?"

"I say she'll be fine in a few hours at least. She woke up a few hours ago when you were still off-world. Elizabeth stayed with her," Carson said from behind Rodney.

Rodney sat and took his wife's hand.

None of them were lost anymore.