A/N: This is my first step outside of having the story centered on Rodney. Please enjoy this little one shot. Reviews are always appreciated

Rating: K+

Spoilers: Seasons 4 & 5

Pairing: Elizabeth/John implied


A Christmas Letter

John watched as the waves rhythmically crashed against the east pier. He could hear only hear traces of the Christmas party from down the hall. Normally, the Christmas season was the Colonel's favorite time of the year, but this time he was not in the mood to celebrate after Woolsey gave him the letter that he found stuck behind a drawer in his desk earlier in the day. The handwriting on the envelope was distinctively Elizabeth's and he could not find it in himself to open the letter until now. His finger carefully pulled the lilac flap where it was neatly tucked into the envelope and held his breath as he pulled the matching paper from the home it had known since the missive was written.

John was about to unfold the letter when the off-key singing of McKay and Zelenka came over the city's P.A. with their drunken rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas that had an Atlantis twist. Despite his depressed mood, he had to laugh at a few of the lyrics especially Nine Wraiths Dancing, Five Golden Jumpers and A Hive Ship Sinking into the Ocean Blue.

After the moment of levity, John turned his attention to the letter. As he unfolded the paper, he could already feel a lump in his throat, unsure of the missive's contents. The colonel was uncertain when it had been written, but after the first line, John knew the exactly when: the day before the Replicators started their attack on the city and a month after the one night they had spent together. His face scrunched up, emotions clearly divided about that night. Elizabeth had called it a moment of weakness with everyone still in a daze after losing Carson and John had insisted that the CMO's death had nothing to do with what happened.

Dear John,

I do not know if I will ever have the courage to give you this letter, but if you are reading this, I am probably standing in front of you. It seems to be easier to put the words I have to say to you on paper than to actually speak them. I know I called that night we made love last month a moment of weakness, but truth be told it was anything but. I had waited for that moment for two years. I saw the hurt in your eyes when I spoke those painful words. They hurt me as much as they had hurt you, but you had to know where I was coming from. I did not want to give the impression that I am playing favorites. I can hear McKay whining now and demanding he be compensated in some way.

It is true that matters of the heart are complex, yet wonderful. When I first requested that you be allowed to join this expedition, I had my reservations about you. Any and all of those doubts were erased when you stepped up as military commander. There are only two people I trust with the safety of this expedition and they are you and Rodney, but do not let him know that because none of us will ever hear the end of it.

Even now, I am stalling in revealing the real reason for this letter. I guess I should just rip the band-aid as they say. It will hurt less. Not that what i have to say is painful, it is just that I do not know how you will react. I should not be saying anything until I know for sure. I will talk to Dr. Keller in the morning. I do not know what will come of it, which is why I'm stopping here to see what happens.

I just want you to know that I love you and I always will. Whatever happens we will find a way

John stared at the unfinished letter and felt as his heart sink to his stomach. The implications that were raised left the man in a state limbo. He almost wished he had not opened the letter. There were some things better left unknown and in this case, there were things that would always be unknown. Elizabeth never got the chance to see Jennifer or to finish the letter. He would always wonder how Elizabeth was going to finish the last line. "We would find a way to do what? Be together?" The words that had been on his find started to pour forth.

"Why didn't you say anything?" the torn man looked up at the moon as if he was talking to the departed woman. John wondered what to consider Elizabeth's current existence, her physical body was long gone, but the question of what became of her consciousness when she stepped through that space gate remained. Was it frozen in time or did it depart her Replicator body and join her physical one? "You should have said something. I had no idea," John fought the tears that threatened to fall. Showing emotions was not a strong trait of the military man even when he was alone.

Twinges of jealously started to chew at his gut. Had the Replicators never attacked he could have been celebrating this party with a son or daughter that would have been around two and a half. "But she didn't know for sure. Elizabeth never got a chance to find out either way," he voice was strangled with a grief he had not felt since losing Elizabeth. John sneered at the irony, that on the day he found out he could have been a father, Jennifer and Rodney announced that they were expecting a child. "Not always fair, isn't it? I love you too. There will never be anyone else like you." A firm hand on his shoulder made Sheppard turn his head to see who was disturbing him.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Rodney asked. He had seen the letter and recognized the handwriting. The man was not stupid and always knew there was always more than what met the eye when it came to Elizabeth and John. "How long have you had that?"

Sheppard looked at his friend with a weary smile, "Woolsey found it this morning. Shouldn't you be celebrating with your girlfriend?"

The scientist shrugged and sat beside John, "We already celebrated; besides it looks like you could use a friend."

John held the note tightly in his hand, grateful for a friend like Rodney. His mouth opened and he started to spill his heart to the one other person besides Elizabeth that ever truly understood him.

The End!