"You're not going to stay are you?" Lidia asked, more rhetorical than anything else and John looked up from the Genii board game the two of them had been playing all day to see the defeated look on her face. "At least not willingly."
"No," John replied simply, he'd been telling her that from the start but she had never accepted it. His repeated escape attempts, despite the injuries he kept getting, must have finally convinced her that he would never be able to make a home with the Genii. She looked down moving the tiny blue figurine across the board where she was informed she'd been attacked by some two headed flying monster.
"Ancestors, give me a break," she exclaimed and John couldn't tell if she was talking about the game or him, maybe both. John rolled the Genii version of dice and then moved the green figurine that belonged to him. "Who is she?"
"What?" John questioned a little confused.
"The woman that has such a firm grasp of your heart, who is she?" she asked and John thought about playing dumb for a moment, pretending he didn't know what she was talking about but she deserved more from him than that. She'd spent a week fixing him up every time he got himself dragged back here by one of the big burly guards Kolya had posted in the corridors around the infirmary. She'd been good to him and she deserved to be given more than a lie in payment for that, she deserved the truth even if he hadn't admitted it to himself yet.
"Dr Weir," he told her, his voice barely above a whisper.
"Of course it is," she said quietly, her eyes were avoiding his, looking down at the board as though it held the answers to life and not just the knowledge that her figurine had survived the animal attack only to fall of the edge of a cliff. "I've heard Commander Kolya talk about her, she sounds like a great woman."
"The best," he informed her and she gave him a small, sad smile.
"She is a lucky, I hope she realises that," Lidia stated and John refrained from saying that it was him that was lucky, lucky to have Elizabeth in his life. "Stop turning left when you go down the corridor, if you turn right it'll take longer to get to the gate but there's less guards around, you can probably sneak passed unnoticed. There's always guards at the gate though, three maybe four, the weapons locker is two corridors away from here, you'll find a Wraith stunner in there," she told him and then stood up and walked away, leaving him sat there feeling confused, had she just told him how to escape?
He really hoped this hadn't been a set up because if it was he was gonna get his ass kicked again and he wasn't in the mood for that today. He stepped out of the infirmary as the guard looked the other way, slipping away and around the corner in just a couple of seconds. He did as Lidia had told him turning right instead of left like he usually did and following the corridor along. He could tell straight away this was the easier path, if a little longer, there were hardly any guards around and those he did come across were easy to get around.
There was a guard standing still outside one of the rooms and since he was two corridors from the infirmary John guessed the room behind him was the armoury. He got pretty close before the guard noticed him and raised his weapon, John had to act fast to prevent ending up back at square one but with Kolya knowing he'd thought to go the other way. He had to pull this off first time otherwise Kolya would station more of those big guards around here and he'd lose his only shot at getting through the gate.
He rammed him, running forward and tackling the man to the ground before he could get a shot off. He sat up immediately and his fist connected with the guards jaw, once, twice, three times and the man was unconscious with a bloody nose that John could only make himself feel a little bad for. He opened the door to the room he'd been guarding and as expected it was the armoury. He dragged the unconscious form of the guard into the room, putting him out of the way and grabbing the Wraith Stunner that was nearest to him. He fired once at the wall to make sure it worked, if this was a trap he wasn't going into it with a faulty stunner. There were other weapons there as well and John briefly considered taking them before dismissing the thought. Lidia had told him to get the stunner, she didn't want any of her colleagues getting hurt or killed because of her. She'd never be able to forgive him or herself if someone died because she'd helped the enemy.
He left the armoury with just the stunner, hurrying along the corridor as quickly as he could. It was possible someone would notice the guard missing him from his post and check it out, then they'd know he was lose in the base and he had to be in the gate room before that happened, preferably dialling the gate already.
He had a rough idea where the stargate was, that was why he'd been turning left in that first corridor. He had a pretty good sense of direction and he had to trust that now, he followed his instincts, avoiding guards rather than getting into fights with them, he needed to be invisible for as long as possible. He felt a wave of relief when he found the stargate, standing there with the DHD in front of it, this was the furthest he'd gotten and he wasn't about to fail now.
There were three guards, two near the gate and one just on the inside of the archway. He fired at the guard near the door first, the noise attracting the attention of the other two but surprise was on John's side, he had already taken out one of the guards by the time the last one fired his weapon. The bullet missed him, hitting the wall next to him instead but John wasn't one to miss a shot like this and the guard went down quickly. An alarm sounded, they knew he was here now and he wasted no time in running to the DHD and dialling the barely memorised address.
One of the guards was getting up; reaching for the weapon that had fallen near him and John kicked it away, kicking the side of the guards head and knocking him unconscious. The gate dialled, the event horizon lighting up the large dim room just as Kolya and several men ran in. John locked eyes with Kolya for a second before running as fast as he could to the gate. Gun shots rang out, bullets following him but John hit the wormhole and moments later he was stepping out onto another planet with more weapons pointed at him.
Elizabeth rubbed at her temple, trying to soothe the rapidly growing pain there as she leaned back in her chair. This had easily been the worst week and a half of her life on Atlantis. First the virus that had killed too many of her people, then losing John and now the piles and piles of paper work that came with something so catastrophic. She signed the bottom of the latest report and put it to the side, sufficiently satisfied with it even though she knew it wasn't up to her usual standard, nothing she'd done in the last week had been up to her usual standard.
The stargate started dialling, no one was due back and no one was going off world so she stood up and headed through to the control room. Chuck informed her that they were receiving an IDC, Lieutenant Gray on the mining planet. He'd been there for a month now; his team were protecting the miners that were drilling up some weird metal that was natural to the planet. They were due to be there for another three weeks yet and there regular check in wasn't until tomorrow. She ordered the shield to be lowered and then made her way to the gate room to deal with whatever issue had come up.
She stopped dead at the bottom of the stairs when instead of Gray stepping through the gate she saw John.
He froze when he saw her; he just stood there in front of the gate looking a little lost, a little beat up but very much alive. Elizabeth could feel everyone watching them, any work that had been going on a minute ago had come to a halt now.
"Hi," he greeted quietly and she walked forward toward him not even caring that everyone was watching as she wrapped her arms around him. Unlike the last time she had greeted him like this there was no hesitation in his response, he hugged her back tightly, probably longer than necessary but she wasn't complaining.
"I thought..." she began, the conversation straight out of their past.
"I know you did," he replied, his hand was still on her arm, the small amount of physical contact reassuring her that he was really there. "So did everyone for a minute, I guess I'm just not that easy to kill."
"How..." she began to question but her wordiness seemed to have deserted her.
"It's a long story," he told her and then looked around him at the people in the room. "Everyone alright here."
"Kolya sent us the cure like he said he would, no one else died after you left," she informed him and he nodded his head slowly, relief on his face at knowing not only that they hadn't lost anyone else but that he'd made the right decision.
Carson walked into the gate room, someone – probably Chuck – had obviously informed him that John was here. The doctor looked ready to jump up and down with glee at the sight of his friend standing there but obviously managed to refrain. Instead he ushered John to the infirmary, assessing his injuries as they went. Elizabeth followed after them not quite ready to let John out of her sight. She clicked her radio, there were certain people who should be among the first to know John was here and alive.
John couldn't even describe how good it felt to be home, Carson had worked wonders on the numerous injuries he had, including the bullet wounds, not that Lidia hadn't done a good job but Genii medicine wasn't at the same level as earth's never mind Atlantis'. His team had come to the infirmary within minutes of John getting there all of them overjoyed that he was there and more or less alright. John had been glad to see them all but he'd spent the whole time making eye contact with Elizabeth, wishing he could talk to her alone. In the end though she'd been called to the control room and had to leave him.
Carson had allowed him to come back to his room under the condition that he slept and went back for a check up in the morning. He'd dosed John up with pain killers and sent him on his way; as much as John was happy to see his friends again he was glad to be back in his room alone. He showered and changed, happy to be out of the Genii clothes and into his own. He was just considering passing out on his bed when the door chimed and with a sigh John told the city to open the doors; he couldn't be bothered to walk over to them.
His wish for whoever it was to go away died a quick death when Elizabeth walked into the room a little hesitantly. John smiled to her and offered her a seat on the edge of the bed, there was too much stuff covering the chair. She returned his smile as she accepted and he sat down next to her, she'd been almost all he could think about since he'd left and now that she was here, he felt like there was something he had to do. Something that had become a necessity since he'd admitted out loud to Lidia that Elizabeth had his heart, always would.
"John, I really thought that you were dead, for a week now I really believed that you were dead, gone," she told him, there was shakiness to her voice, more than John had ever heard from her, the fear in it damn near broke his heart. This was a woman who had an almost iron clad control of her emotions when she needed it, she'd break apart in her own time when there was no one else to see it.
"I tried to get back," he told her though she already knew that, he'd told them what had happened while Carson had been fussing over him.
"I know," she replied looking down at her shaky hands and in a brave move John reached out and held them in his, steadying them. They were cold, at least colder than his and he could feel the heat going from him into her, he hoped that helped her somehow.
"It was you I wanted to get back to, Atlantis and the team too but you more than anything else," he admitted, it was a bold declaration that he would have kept to himself a week ago but today, at that moment, keeping it quiet just wasn't an option. She looked at him, reading everything in his eyes that he would never be able to put into words and he could read it all back from her, like a mirror image of something they had never admitted to each other, at least not out loud. He leaned toward her and kissed her cheek, his lips lingering against her skin for several seconds before he moved back, now he was home.
"I should go and let you sleep," she whispered her face only inches from him and he shook his head.
"No, you should stay and let me sleep," he corrected her and she smiled slightly, her hand reaching up to brush over the skin on his neck. He took that as her agreement, laying down on the bed and pulling her down with him, his arms going tightly around her. He closed her eyes, his face almost buried in her hair and he soaked up the smell of her shampoo, the feel of her laid there and for the first time in over a week allowed himself a restful sleep.
Authors Note: So that's the final chapter, I hope you guys enjoyed it. The next sparkabet fic should be up soon. A big thanks to everyone who reviewed.