Keeping it Together by AndromedaMarine

John. Not Colonel Sheppard. John. Dammit, we've been here for two years and I'm still the formal nitwit everyone expects. John. Just John. As Elizabeth Weir walked down the corridor, wringing her hands and fighting with herself about turning right back around and not going to see him, such thoughts collided with others. But – what will people think? I'm their leader – they should respect what I do in my own time. Oh, crap. I'm on the clock now – I should be in my office. She began to turn around when Laura Cadman approached her.

"Dr. Weir? Are you alright?" she asked, concern gracing her face. "You seem...off."

Elizabeth gave a small smile. "I am fine, thank you. Just debating."

"With... whom?"

The leader began to pace in the hallway. "Myself."

Laura nodded – although it was a gesture not of recognition, but of confusion. "Okay? I'm guessing you would like to be left alone?" Laura pointed down the hall and began to walk in that direction. Elizabeth stopped her.

"Lieutenant, I... I don't want to impose, in fact it's a rare occasion when I do impose, but – could you do me a favor?"

Laura nodded slowly. "Sure. What do you need?"

"I need you to force me to go to the infirmary." Even as she said it she regretted it – now she had no choice but to face Colonel Sheppard. John. "Please – just don't tell anyone." The corridor was deserted so she didn't have to worry about accidental leaks of information.

"Doctor? Are you feeling well?"

Elizabeth's head bounced up and down rapidly. "I'm perfectly fine – I just need to see someone and well, say something. And I'm desperately trying to keep it together. Please, call me Elizabeth. Formalities won't last for as long as we're going to be here."

"Laura, then. If you need me to, then I will. Any particular measures I can go to?"

"Anything short of pointing a weapon at my back will get me going."

Laura thought for a moment, and then raised her fist as if she was going to land a punch on Elizabeth. "Will this do?"

Immediately Elizabeth brushed past the lieutenant towards the infirmary.

"I guess so," Laura commented, and continued on her way.

Necessary. It was completely necessary. Keep it together, Liz, keep it together. Don't fizzle out – keep going. John. His name is John. Just John. Not Colonel. Just John. Elizabeth bumbled into the infirmary quite unexpectedly – she hadn't been paying attention to her path of travel and she (quite literally) ran into Dr. Carson Beckett. Amidst a flurry of papers and a half-filled spilled coffee cup was a CMO on the floor. Elizabeth gasped and immediately took his hand and helped pull him up. "Oh, Carson, I'm so sorry!"

"No worries, love. I was just coming to find you. He's awake."

Half of the woman's insides froze all at once and she half believed that there was a logical reason she could find to not visit him. "Really?"

Carson nodded and, seeing the pained (possibly confused) expression on her face, he took her arm. "Love, he wants to see you. First thing he said when he woke was your name. Quite a lot of meaning goes into those first words, love. If I weren't a doctor I wouldn't understand it. Go on. He's waiting." Carson left her side and bent to gather the scattered papers.

Slowly walking towards the hospital bed that supported a rather weak (and fresh out of surgery) Colonel Jonathan Sheppard, Elizabeth's mind brought up an image of Laura's fist and all thoughts of abandoning the infirmary were whisked away. She stood next to him and for a few moments her hand couldn't decide if it wanted to idle or hold John's. It chose the latter, and immediately Elizabeth approved her hand's decision.

John's eyes fluttered open and he stared up at the woman.

"Hi, John."