Have You Ever Seen Rain by AndromedaMarine
It was a soft, simple question, its smoothness accentuated by his lack of volume. "Have you ever seen rain?" he asked again, looking from the balcony where they stood at the spires of Atlantis rather than her.
"Well, yeah," she started, but her sentence lost its vigour when she saw his face. It was full of sadness and fatigue, both mirroring the Atlantean sky and the atmosphere of the city. "I...I don't think I know what you mean," she restated. She was standing a good six feet from him, but they were both immersed in the shadows night provided. His face was relatively visible, thanks to the illuminated lights of the city.
"Have you ever really seen the rain? Just watched it fall? Not caring if you got soaked to the bone or if you got sick because of it? Just to see the beauty of rain?" His voice was very soft, barely audible to the leader of Atlantis.
Still not really following him, she said, "I don't like the rain. It's cold, dreary. It makes me sad." She saw a flash of lightning and heard the distant clap of thunder. A gust of wind blew her hair back, exposing her neck. "It rained when Kolya was here."
John still didn't look at her. She could sense his sadness like she could sense when he was lying. "It rained when Carson died," he whispered, his head sagging as he remembered the weight of that loss even from four years ago. "It rained when Torren was born," he added, which contradicted the feeling his first sentence gave her. "Full circle."
"Like when we sank the city," she commented, inching slightly closer to John. "Why are you out here, John? It's very cold and it's late."
John grunted, and sort of shrunk away from her, although he hadn't seen her get closer to him in the first place. "I could ask you the same."
"I'm out here because I'm worried. I'm sad. I did need to be alone but you sort of stalled that." She tried to smile but the haunting memories of events earlier that week prevented her from doing so. "I don't want you to hurt yourself."
John turned on her, his eyes flashing anger and sadness. "You think I'd throw away my life after what happened? Atlantis is falling apart, Elizabeth. She's falling apart. She needs me just as much as she needs you. I can't leave here, even if I wanted to. Don't tell me that you're worried about me, because I know that you're just drowning in tears over...over what happened."
Elizabeth stood, frozen, in place. She hadn't expected him to react like that. John was breathing heavily, and he ran his hands through the mop on his head.
"I just want that horrible feeling in my stomach to go away, but it won't." He turned back toward the railing. "I'm out here because I'm waiting for it to rain."
She crossed her arms and bowed her head. "I had a right to worry," she said, equaling his volume. She sniffed. "Because if it had been you – I wouldn't know where to turn. You're right – I've had my share of tears over him, but it's nothing in comparison to if it had been you." She could feel the tears building pressure behind her eyes, and suddenly his already dark silhouette blurred. "You think you're the only one who was really close to him – you're right, he was like a brother. But also to me. This is a loss Atlantis will feel for years, John. I'll feel it for years. It was the same with Carson." She wiped her eyes and turned to go back inside.
"Elizabeth," he called. "Elizabeth, we'll see him again. Just like we saw Carson again."
She stopped in her tracks but didn't turn around. "Give me one good reason I shouldn't walk through that door right now."
His voice was still very sad. "Because if you do I'll have no choice but to think you see his death like everyone else's. As a letter to send home. Or a video with your condolences on it. That he was just a coworker, and not a brother, to you." He sighed. "Because from what I've heard in the past few minutes, I know you've never seen the rain."
She turned around and again joined him at the railing. "Any others?"
"If you'd walked through that door you'd never hear me say something else."
Her interest piqued, she faced him. "What?"
"I'm worried. I'm sad. If it had been you, I wouldn't know where to turn. I've had tears too – but I'd never be able to stop them if it'd been you. Any one of us could have died, but it was him, and that's what made it worse. He was our brother, and we'll feel the loss for decades. You're right – it was the same with Carson." Internally smiling at her shocked expression, he continued. "Stay out here with me and see the rain. It's more than just something cold and dreary. Rain refreshes and makes things new. Rain is the sky's tears."
Suddenly Elizabeth found herself wrapped in John's warm embrace, and she could feel the tears begin to really fall. "Why did it have to be him, John? Why wasn't it someone I didn't know as well?" She heard the sky thunder again and it wasn't long before both people were soaked to the skin in rain.
"I don't know," he shushed. "But we can't change what happened. We can only accept it." He stroked her hair as he pulled her even closer, and he dropped a kiss on the top of her head.
And so it was that the sky mourned with them, as they both tried to understand and accept the truth that Dr. Meredith Rodney McKay had been killed off-world by a Wraith.