Authors Note (Hannah554): Sorry that you've had to wait so long for this. Steph is no longer able to do the Sparkabet and so I've had to write an end to this story for her which was harder than I thought it would be. I hope I did an okay job and thanks for your patience.
The beeping of the machines was the only thing keeping John sane at that moment. It had been over a day since he'd pulled Elizabeth out of the rubble and she still hadn't woken up. Carson had assured him that she was alright, that her condition was stable and he saw no reason for her not to wake up but he wouldn't be happy until she was actually awake. The rest of his team were still back on the planet along with Major Lorne's team trying to find out what the hell had happened. He knew he should be there with them, knew it was irresponsible to have left them to it but he couldn't concentrate, couldn't make his mind focus on anything but Elizabeth.
"Colonel, why don't you go and get some rest," Carson suggested as he came over to check on Elizabeth. He adjusted her IV, checked her stats and wrote something down on her charts and John didn't even bother to respond, the doctor already knew the answer and with a sigh he left again.
John leaned back in the chair he'd been occupying for most of the last thirty hours and rubbed a hand over his face and through his hair. He hadn't wanted her to go to that damn planet, he'd been adamant that it was a bad idea and damn her, she'd been just as adamant that she should go. In the end he had to follow her lead because the truth of the matter was that she was the only person in the whole damn city he couldn't give orders to. She had a stubbornness that rivalled his and when she'd made up her mind there was usually no changing it.
"Colonel Sheppard,"the radio crackled to life and he sighed as he clicked to answer it.
"Sheppard," he answered.
"Major Lorne's team just radioed in, he says you need to go the planet, they found something," Chuck's voice told him and John looked at Elizabeth.
"I'm on my way," he replied and then took hold of Elizabeth's hand. "I'll be back soon" he told her unsure if she could even hear him. He informed Carson he was leaving and the doctor nodded promising to take care of Elizabeth while he was gone. The last thing John wanted was for her to wake up alone and Carson assured him that wouldn't happen without John having to say anything. He grabbed his gear and went through the gate, meeting Lorne and Teyla on the other side.
"It was a bomb," Lorne stated and John remained patient, he'd gathered that much himself. "The Talsari weren't the targets though, it wasn't the Lomai either. It was Dr Weir and your team."
"Why?" John questioned.
"The terrorist group wanted you gone; your presence went against their beliefs in a higher power. They believed that the sky was the afterlife that their Gods and the souls of their dead were the only thing that existed out there. The stargate was supposed to be a portal between the worlds, the fact that you came through it and you weren't a God or a dead person meant they were wrong," Lorne explained.
"So they thought by killing us they could make their beliefs true?" John asked incredulously, it sounded stupid even for these people.
"It is an old belief system; the majority of the people here no longer believe it but those that do tend to be somewhat extreme. Part of their belief is that anyone who does not believe will spend eternity in a burning prison after they die," Teyla continued, it sounded an awful lot like heaven and hell to him. "Perhaps our presence raised doubts among the believers and out of fear they sought to get rid of us so they could deny what we represented."
"That doesn't give them the right to kill innocent people," John replied. Or blow up Elizabeth.
"No it does not," Teyla acknowledged. "We have however caught the person who planted the bomb."
Now they were getting somewhere.
The woman sitting in the cell was not what John had been expecting, she looked like a housewife. Long blonde hair that was tied back, a simple dress with a long skirt and long sleeves, not what he'd been expecting at all. She was sat quietly in the cell, her demeanour calm as she waited patiently for whatever was going to happen, she didn't look like any terrorist John had ever seen. She looked up as he entered with Ronon, Lorne and Teyla, her eyes narrowed and the patience was replaced with anger but she still remained calm.
"Why did you plant the bomb?" he asked her getting straight to the point.
"You do not belong here, whatever world you come from... you can only bring darkness and evil here," she told him as she stood up and walked over to the metal bars of the cell. "We had to remove you from our homes, remove the evil that followed you."
This sounded ridiculous, Elizabeth was almost killed because these people thought evil was following them. "You almost killed our leader, a woman that came here only to help you."
"It is a shame that we succeeded only in killing our own people, the bomb had not been meant for them, it was for her and for you," she replied matter of factly.
"Who else were you working with?" John questioned, he wanted everyone who was responsible for this to answer for it, not just some housewife who'd been unfortunate enough to be handed the bomb. The woman remained silent; refusing to answer the question and John had known he was foolish to have hoped it would be that easy. "Who helped you?"
"I will give you no names, feel free to torture me, it will only prove what we believe about you, it will only justify more what we did," she stated and John just barely kept his anger in check.
"Nothing justifies killing innocent people or people who came here to help you," John told her and she smiled a cruel smile that he would never have expected from the calm housewife.
"You did not come here to help us, you came here for the benefits it would give to you or you would not have come at all. Your very existence is the mark of evil there is nothing good or innocent about you. My only regret is that the bomb did not kill you all but do not be mistaken; if you remain in our world we will find a way to destroy you. There are too many of us for you to stop us but destroying you will not be a difficult task, demon."
If Elizabeth needed any more explanation for why John was going to ban her from ever coming to this planet again it was right there. He would handcuff her to her desk if he had to, there was no way in hell she was ever setting foot on this world again, or any of his other people for that matter. They were leaving, they were never coming back and he'd just deemed this a military issue which meant he got the final say for once.
"I don't like it Lizabeth," John said as the two of them waited in the meeting chambers. There had been a commotion outside the building and the councillors had gone to find out what was going on. That had been ten minutes ago and everything seemed to be silent now but the council had yet to return.
"I'm sure it was nothing, maybe just protestors," Elizabeth replied, for some reason John's mind always jumped to the worst case scenario. She supposed it had it's benefits, it had kept him alive on some of his worst missions but it had it's disadvantages too and in the world of politics and diplomacy it didn't help.
"You coming here was a bad idea," he continued on as though he hadn't heard her. His eyes kept going to the door and his hands were gripping his P90 tightly, they had been since their arrival. She knew he didn't like this planet, didn't like her being here but she couldn't hide behind her desk on Atlantis anytime there was danger. She had her own job to do, she knew John did too but his protection of her went far beyond just his duty, somewhere along the way she seemed to have become his personal responsibility. She couldn't deny that it made her feel just a little bit special and a lot safer but when it interfered with them doing their jobs she had to put her foot down.
She patted the chair next to her and John shook his head. "John, sit down," she ordered him and he met her eyes for a moment before he did so. He didn't loosen his grip on his gun though and his eyes still kept darting over to the door. It was about ten seconds before he stood back up so rather than press the issue Elizabeth stood up as well and moved to stand next to him. She knew this planet was dangerous but so far nothing bad had happened and there was no indications that it was going too, she was pretty well protected.
"I don't like it Lizabeth," he repeated.
"I know, but we're fine, nothing is going to happen," she told him and he turned to look at her, had she really stood that close him?
"What if it does?" he asked and there was more than just professional worry in there as they revisited their argument from Atlantis.
"It won't," she stated placing a hand on his arm to reassure him that she was indeed fine. She was right next to him and if anyone came running through the only entrance to the room he could shoot them and she'd still be fine. The door opened, startling her and she resisted the urge to glare at John for passing on his paranoia.
The councillors returned and apologised for taking so long, they explained that their had been a group of protestors outside the building that needed to be dealt with. Elizabeth sent John an 'I told you so' look before continuing with the talks.
There was noise, a lot of noise and she couldn't distinguish one from another and it was making her head spin. There was light on the other side of her eyelids and she didn't dare open them for fear of the pain it would bring her already hurting head. She tried to move but it felt like someone had detached her head from the rest of her body. She was fairly sure she moaned but she couldn't be entirely sure the sound had come from her and she decided she'd better open her eyes if she wanted to know what the hell was happening.
As she'd expected there was light and her vision blurred the second she tried to use it. There was shapes moving in front of her, maybe faces, two of them and the sounds started coming through a little more clearly. She was able to recognise one; to tell it apart from all the others, a voice, John's voice and she deducted that one of the faces must belong to him. She tried to call out to him but her voice wouldn't work the way she wanted it to.
"Lizabeth," she heard the voice say followed by muffled mumbling that she couldn't make out. "Do you..." at least she was getting bits and pieces now. "Can you hear me?"
Her voice still wasn't working so she nodded her head. She could hear another voice now and it took her a moment to place it, Carson. There was beeping too, shuffling, movements, it all sounded too loud, it was too much and it was making her head hurt more. Her vision began to clear, one of the faces was indeed John and the other was Carson, she finally registered the background as the Atlantis infirmary.
"John," her voice finally managed to say but it hurt her throat.
"I'm here," he replied.
"Do you know where you are?" Carson questioned and Elizabeth nodded again.
"Infirmary," she said keeping her answer to a minimum, it shouldn't hurt so much just to talk. "What happened?"
"Bomb," John told her simply. "A terrorist group bombed the council building, they thought we were demons coming to destroy their faith and send them all to hell."
"The team?" she managed to say.
"A few scrapes and bruises, nothing serious but a couple of the councillors and some innocent bystanders weren't so lucky." John informed her and Elizabeth closed her eyes for a moment to process that. It felt like her brain was running slow, it was struggling to process anything.
"You've been unconscious for three days," Carson told her and had Elizabeth been running at half her usually capacity she would have been shocked but as it was she just nodded her head. "You had us worried but you should be fine. You're going to need to rest, no work for a week, no strenuous activity, drink plenty of fluids. I'm going to keep you in the infirmary at least another night to monitor your condition. You lost a lot of blood and took a pretty nasty bump to the head."
Elizabeth caught about half of that but she decided not to bother asking him to repeat it more slowly. If she did it would just lead to tests and scans and she was too tired for any of that. Carson left then and John sat down in the seat next to her and she managed to make hear head turn to follow his movements.
"Just for the record," he stated. "You're never going back there again."
She could argue with him about that later.
"You scared the crap out of me," he admitted and she knew it must have been bad for him to actually admit it. "That woman who planted the bomb gave me the creeps you practically scared me to death, Ronon and Teyla have been giving me weird looks for the last three days, Rodney has been on at me for not taking better care of you and I've been kicking myself for the same thing. You are never, ever going back to that planet, I will chain you to your desk before I let you go anywhere near those people again."
Maybe arguing would just be futile.
"You did the best you could," she told him getting that out of the way first. "And I'm fine."
John raised an eyebrow, clearly she wasn't fine at that moment but she would be. Once everything settled down things would go back to normal and John's over protectiveness would lessen a little, until then she'd just let him half his time to worry.
"The next time we go off world I'm handcuffing you to me, you won't be more than a few inches away from me at any time," he stated.
She'd be lying if she said the thought wasn't slightly appealing. "Not likely Colonel."