They call it mothers instinct. The unspoken connection between a mother and her children that sometimes speaks when someone cannot. It's a feeling that a mother gets when her children are in trouble, or hurting, or worse yet dead. Mrs Rose Weir hated her mothers instinct. It was always right.
The knock at the door startled her, but not because it was unexpected, more so the timeframe. She'd known something was wrong for a while, her gut sank every time the phone rang. She rose with hesitation, knowing she wasn't going to like who was there. For there to be a personal visit, rather than a phone call meant something very wrong had happened.
She pulled the door open, taking in the door man in Air Force dress blues, his hat tucked under one arm revealing a thinning mass of graying hair. His expression was solemn, as was his duty.
" Mrs Rose Weir?" He asked formally, knowing from the address that this was indeed the correct house.
" Something's happened to Lizzy hasn't it?" She returned his question with one of her own, her gut sinking and twisting within her stomach.
" May I come in Mrs Weir?" The officer asked, not wanting to deliver the news out on a porch.
" Of course Mr?" Rose opened the door wide, stepping to the side to allow the man entry.
" O'Neill.. Jack O'Neill" He introduced himself, taking a quick glance around the entryway of the house. It looked as though no-one had touched it in years, a page out of a historical magazine perhaps, or a look that someone had tried to maintain to remember another by. Rose headed for the lounge room, gesturing towards a comfortable recliner whilst remaining barely in the room.
" Tea Mr O'Neill?" She politely offered, hoping it might ease his burden some.
" No thank you, would you care to sit?" O'Neill said awkwardly, indicating the lounge opposite where he was sitting. He knew from experience that these things were better taken sitting down.. it was less likely they would fall over.
Rose settled herself on the lounge, her hands primly placed in her lap like a picture perfect example of the perfect housewife.
" Something's happened to Elizabeth" She said this time, a statement to reflect the growing knowing of her stomach
" I'm afraid so. Dr Weir has been listed as Missing – Presumed Dead" Jack ground out, hating that he couldn't go into specifics about Elizabeth's assignment or even what she was doing to end up presumably dead.
Rose didn't reply, instead focusing her attention on her folded hands in her lap. Despite the fact she knew the news was coming, it didn't help the pain that course through her body, an emotional knife piercing her heart and slicing it to pieces.
" I'm sorry I can't go into details. But all I can tell you is that Elizabeth was doing something very important for the United States, and was captured by the enemy. We've tried to get her back, but without success" Jack explained, taking wild liberties with the truth so that Mrs Weir would at least know something about her daughters demise.
Rose was quiet for some time, digesting the news and fighting to remain composed in the presence of a guest.
" Why are you here? Why Air Force?" She finally asked, reminding him that she knew practically zero about her daughter's line of work due to security clearance.
Mrs Weir, your daughter was employed by the Air Force to lead a very
delicate mission 3 years ago. While I can't go into specifics, she
was highly regarded by those under her command, and they did
everything in their power to rescue her. " Jack continued, fighting
his own urge to wring his hands. He had been close to Elizabeth
during her time at the SGC and while she was in command of Atlantis.
He respected her leadership and her opinions, and had sworn never to
play poker with her.
" She was a brilliant leader, a skilled negotiator, and a personal friend, which is I guess where I come in" He finished, not brining himself to look at Rose's grief stricken face. While he could have delegated such sad duties to another officer under his command, he felt he owed Elizabeth to do it himself, as much as he hated it.
" Her father was always so proud of her, he gave her a watch when she started working for the U.N. A pocket-watch that his grandfather had given him years ago. While she could never tell us where she was going of how she was doing, he felt that it drew them together. She always carried it with her." Rose rattled, drawn back into the moment when her husband had given Elizabeth the silver pocket watch. He had been ill then, knowing the end was soon to come but still fighting all the same.
" I can request it for you, but Elizabeth's colleagues have asked if they could keep it, in case they rescue her." Jack explained, knowing that Sheppard had specifically kept the watch for that exact reason. " Her other personal items are on their way here, it may take some time though" He apologized, knowing the small crates were on their way home even as he spoke. They would however need to be … sanitized… to protect the SGC. Her laptop and PDA would have to be wiped, her uniform destroyed, and the few personal items she had acquired in the Pegasus galaxy stored in some dusty storeroom until the Stargate program went public and they could once again see the light of day.
" I can however give you this…" He dug into the inside pocket of his dress blues, retrieving a solid pin in the shape of a winged horse. " I can't tell you what it is, but I can tell you she would have wanted you to have it. I do ask that you keep it to yourself and not show anyone unless advised" Jack cautioned, knowing he was going out on a political limb just letting her see the pin, let alone giving it to her.
" I understand. Thank you" Rose took the pin in her hands and touched it carefully with the tips of her fingers, memorizing the lines and images with her senses. She could almost feel Elizabeth as she touched the warm metal, as though the pin was a part of her daughter.
" I'll be in touch, again, I'm sorry for your loss Mrs Weir" Jack took his cue to leave, feeling that Rose needed to be alone for a while. He could tell her tenuous grip on her emotions was failing as she caressed the pin, and selfishly didn't want to witness the grief of a woman who had not only lost her husband, but her now lost her daughter.
" Thank you Mr O'Neill…" Rose whispered, unmoving as Jack let himself out, depositing an unmarked DVD on the coffee table as he passed. He didn't say a word as he left, his solid footsteps receding down the hallway.
Jack's guts twisted as he heard her grief filled words, knowing that no matter how many times he'd had to deliver news such as this, it never got any easier. His head still bowed he closed the door behind him and headed down to the waiting car, climbing in to the passenger seat and ordering the driver to return to the SGC. He'd bury himself in his work for as long as he could, then resort to alcohol to numb the pain until he had the time to deal with his own grief.
Rose sat in a numb silence for as long as she could stand it, the tears falling in rivers down her ashen face. She noted the disc on the table and slowly picked it up, turning it over in her hands before slipping it into the DVD player and pressing play. A younger man's face appeared, his hair wildly uncontrolled and sticking out in every direction, yet his eyes spoke of a thousand losses. Rose knew that look better than anyone. He was dressed in a simple black suit with a white shirt underneath, yet he seemed distinctly uncomfortable in it. He seemed to pull himself together by sucking in a deep breath, and refocused on the screen.
" Mrs Weir, my name's John, and I had the great privilege of serving with your daughter. While I can't tell you what she's been doing or where she's been, I can tell you that we won't give up until we find her… alive or…dead. She was a great leader, and furthermore, a close friend. We're doing everything we can to bring her back to you"
The screen faded to black, and though Rose knew that her daughter wasn't coming home, she felt comforted by the knowledge that this man, this John, had been close to Elizabeth and obviously cared about her deeply. Somehow, that made her feel the tiniest bit better.