Still Breathing by AndromedaMarine

Lifeless. Empty. In reality no words could describe how she felt, as she saw him go limp before her, hit in the back by a Wraith energy weapon. It wasn't a stunner, and that's what scared the living hell out of her. He crumpled to his knees, an expression of shock invading his face, and his hazel eyes looked up into hers. Everything seemed to be in slow motion, and she couldn't get by his side faster than she would have liked. He fell, helpless, onto the floor of the gateroom and she vaguely saw the shield erected as she darted to his side, the tears beginning to fall as someone called for Carson.

"Hold on...don't give up...you can't leave me...so much we haven't done yet...John, I love you." Elizabeth held his head against her chest as he sucked in shaky breaths...it seemed like forever before the CMO showed up, and almost immediately Elizabeth was shoved away from John so he could be lifted onto the gurney. He was trembling from both the cold and the intense pain that wracked through his body. He tried lifting his head to look at Elizabeth, who was trying to follow the gurney but was successfully blocked by the nurses.

He lifted his arm instead, which Carson grasped. "Liz," John managed to whisper before the darkness that fought for his vision took over, and he passed out.

--

The weapon had done more damage than it was meant to, if that was even possible. The only thing that reminded Elizabeth that John was alive was the piercing beeps from the heart monitor, and the subtle rise and fall of his chest that showed he was still breathing. Carson came up behind Elizabeth and rested his hands on her shoulders.

"He'll make it," he said softly, as Elizabeth's hand came up to join his. "He's a strong lad. Don't you worry." The good Scot squeezed her shoulders and walked away, stealing a small glance as Elizabeth took John's hand and bowed her head in regret.

She regretted that it had taken her so long – almost John's death – for her to admit the truth. She loved him, and as she thought it she realized how true it actually was. It wasn't just a spur of the moment tumble of words; she'd actually thought about it and wondered when she should tell him. One rather unintentional kiss between Phoebus and Thalan had sort of propelled Elizabeth forward more, and seeing him crumble before her prompted it. "You can't leave me...there's so much we haven't done yet...John, I love you..."

--

John woke three days later with his back still aching painfully. He shifted in the bed, squirming after being stationary for so long. Elizabeth woke to John's movements, and immediately she called for Carson as hears filled her eyes and she grasped John's hand fiercely. The Scot ran over to where John lay, slowly awakening. After fussing for a few minutes Carson determined that John would, in fact, live. Elizabeth lifted John's hand to her mouth and she pressed her lips against the warm flesh, watching John's face for a reaction. His eyelids fluttered open.

"Liz?" he asked thickly, with no help from the morphine drip.

"John." She gave a small smile and leaned over him, kissing his temple. "Still breathing, I see," she said jokingly, although humour was the farthest thing from her mind.

"Did you mean it?" he asked in a very light voice that was barely audible. He'd heard her before he passed out.

Elizabeth nodded. "Yes. I love you."