Torn by AndromedaMarine

It felt as though she were being torn apart from the inside. He was gone, and nothing could soothe her heart. She clutched the pillow to her breast, as though the pressure would imitate something that she believed could never be returned or replaced. Her face was wet and her eyes puffy from the tears that had refused to stop for almost two days. Two days ago SGA-1 had returned, beaten and bloody, and missing a certain black-haired colonel. The three remaining members of the team gave her a teary confirmation that the colonel was...dead – they handed Elizabeth the charred dog tags, and she collapsed as they dangled from Rodney's hand.

Major Evan Lorne held her until she was strong enough to walk on her own – but he escorted her to her quarters nonetheless. Unsure of himself even after the door closed the major nervously paced in front of the room for a few minutes. Numerous scenarios played out in his head, none ending well for Elizabeth. Even Evan felt a void in his heart – a void once occupied by his friend, John Sheppard.

He left the woman's quarters, still unsure of what he could do. He passed Rodney in the corridor, and saw that the Canadian scientist also had tears in his eyes. He rested a hand on the man's shoulder and nodded, showing he understood and shared the feeling of sadness. But neither of them was as close to the colonel as Elizabeth had been.

She rocked back and forth, hugging the pillow as she had once held John. Her heart was torn in two, one half gone, with Colonel Jonathan Sheppard. Her eyes stung as more tears clouded them. "Oh, John," she practically wailed. "John..." She rolled over, hugging it tighter and tighter, never seeming to rid of the horrific feeling in her stomach. She knew that she had a city to run, but she had just lost a colleague – a friend. She'd lost a fiancé. Unconsciously she fingered the ring, touching the last material thing he'd given her.

She didn't want to face anyone, especially since she'd only been wearing the ring for a total of four days. John's face kept appearing when she closed her eyes – something which was both a blessing and a curse.

--

Chuck rubbed his eyes. Why he always managed to get stuck with the night shift he'd never know. He yawned just as the gate activated. On instinct he lifted the shield. Fumbling, he hit his radio. "Dr. Weir, Major Lorne, um...the gate just activated." Not receiving any answer he radioed Rodney, knowing the scientist would try to drown himself in work to escape the hole that steadily grew bigger inside. "Dr. McKay – the gate's activated," he said loudly, staring nervously at the shimmering vortex that erupted into the gateroom.

"What? Now?" Rodney squawked. "Did you call Elizabeth or Lorne?"

"No answer," he replied quickly as he saw IDC confirmation. "But I suggest you get down here fast."

"No need to tell me twice," Rodney huffed back, already halfway there.

Chuck stared at the laptop, wondering if he was hallucinating. He didn't even notice when Rodney ran in and he jumped about a mile when Rodney yelled at him.

"Lower the shield, you idiot, can't you read??" Rodney's eyes were wide as he smacked the button that lowered the shield. Having granted safe passage to the traveler he bolted into the gateroom and became the one John fell on for support as he stumbled through the gate. "John."

The colonel coughed, covered in soot. "Rodney."

Chuck stood and stared at the colonel that had been presumed dead. He gave a small smile.

"Elizabeth," Rodney said, and John's face hardened. "John, are you hurt?"

The colonel shook his head, but Rodney knew better than anyone that he'd be stubborn just to see Elizabeth. "No, Rodney. I'm fine. This time I'm not lying." When Rodney kept him from going any farther John stared him straight in the eye. "You don't understand – Elizabeth has to know I'm okay. She can't wait long enough for me to get a check-up."

Rodney's eye softened, but he held his ground. "What do you mean?" he asked quietly, still astonished that his friend wasn't dead.

"I asked her to marry me, you twerp. Get out of my way so I can go see my fiancé." He began to push past the scientist but turned back at the last moment. "Thank you, Rodney." He smiled and sped to the personnel quarters. He left Rodney and Chuck to figure out what to do, because he couldn't wait any longer to see Elizabeth.

The doors to Elizabeth's quarters opened silently and John stepped inside, shedding his field gear, jacket and boots onto a nearby chair. Gently he sat on the bed, next to her now-peaceful body. She was still clutching the pillow with a desperate grip, keeping it against her chest and body. He brushed a lock of hair from her face, and smiled as she stirred.

She blinked a few times, her eyes adjusting to the dark. And then she saw him. She wasn't sure if it was a dream, but he sure as hell didn't look like one. "John?" she asked softly, reaching a hand up to touch his cheek. "John!" she released the pillow and pulled him down, his weight pinning her to the bed. But she didn't care; she was guarded by him, safe, under him. She breathed him in, her fingers locking themselves into his unruly hair.

"Sorry. I had to hide from the bad guys for a couple days. But they managed to steal my dog tags," he revealed, and Elizabeth pulled them from around her neck. He saw tears slide from the corners of her eyes and onto the pillow. "I love you," he said, and he kissed her, mending her torn heart and soul.