Title: Failing you
Author: Vicky
Category: angst, a tiny bit of romance
Summary: He needed time to grieve for who he had left behind...
Season/Sequel: season 4, post Lifeline
Spoilers: Lifeline
Rating: R
Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don't earn any money; I just do it for fun.
Author's Note: I actually completed this fic months and months ago, but I forgot about it. It's also a response to the alphabet meme I've posted months and months ago and where AQ asked for "I'll find you", John/Elizabeth. It looks like when I don't have a deadline, I take forever to write and post fics. Many thanks to my beta, Jaclyn, who's still the best! ;)

John finally left the balcony long after Sam had gone back inside. He had needed more time alone to grieve for what he had left behind, for who he had left behind.

He didn't go straight to his quarters, despite the late hour. He chose to wander in the hallways, trying to forget, trying to forgive himself. It didn't help though; soon enough, he found himself in front of that door. He didn't want to be there, not without her, but he couldn't help himself as his hand passed over the sensor.

The door opened before him, and he entered, instantly feeling out of place without her here. All of her things were still there, including the plastic box in which Teyla had placed her belongings from her office. He had been asked to do it, but he couldn't, not when there was still a chance that she might come back, that things might go back to the way they were.

Taking a few more steps into the room, he was assaulted by memories.

Before she could say a word, he pressed his lips against hers, wrapping his arms around her, bringing her flush against him.

He still remembered that first kiss they shared; well their second if they count the aliens-made-them-do-it one. It had been after the nanites, after Kolya. He had come into her room the night he came back, needing someone to tell him that he was there, that he was whole, that he was still the same John.

He needed to feel alive after having been on the verge of dying.

She didn't resist when he pushed her up against the wall, kissing her with even more passion. She wrapped her legs around him, letting him and the wall support her. His lips descended on her neck, and she moaned in response to his ministrations, leaning her head back to give him better access. She rocked her hips slowly against his, and they both groaned at the friction it created. He sucked and nipped the exposed skin, which was probably going to leave a mark, not that they really cared about it now. Her hands in his hair, gently scraping his skull, she brought his lips back to hers, pushing her tongue into his mouth for a sensual duel.

Spotting her father's watch and a picture of Sedge in the box, he took them out. He felt like he had no right over her things, no right to look at them when she wasn't there, but he couldn't help himself. He knew that these were amongst her most precious possessions on Atlantis, and he hoped that by holding them in his hands, he could get closer to her, in some way.

He had failed her. He had always told her that they couldn't leave anyone behind, but he had left her behind. Even if she had been the one to tell him to leave, it didn't lessen the feeling that he had failed her. He had promised himself to protect her anyway he could, that he would give his life for her if it came to that. But when he could have done it, he had let Ronon drag him away. He had managed to save Atlantis, the rest of the expedition, but he didn't save her.

And she was the one who mattered the most to him.

Pushing away from the wall, he put his hands under her, to support her as he walked them to the bed. He let them fall on the narrow bed, her body under his, her legs still in a tight lock around his hips. They didn't break the kiss as he let his hands wander beneath her top, raising goose bumps on the bare skin he found there. Her hands weren't idle either. While one was still scraping his skull lightly, and god he didn't know he was that sensitive there, the other descended on his back until she grabbed a handful of his buttocks and squeezed. He couldn't stop his hips from bucking into hers, and he groaned, feeling as if he wouldn't be able to last long if they kept it up.

He put down the watch and the picture back in the box, and smiled as he saw the jar he had given her on her first birthday on Atlantis. She had never given up on trying to figure out how he had known about her birthday, and he had never told her. It had been their little secret, no one but they knew about her birthday, and no one but them knew that he knew about it. And for three years in a row, he made sure to give her birthday presents on that day, even treating her with a dinner in her quarters for her last birthday. He would give everything to be able to do the same, next year.

If someone had told him when he first met her in Antarctica that she would become one of his closest friends, someone he considered family, he would have laughed at them. But it had still happened; they had formed a close bond over the three years they had been here. Now he had lost that, because he had lost her, he had left her behind. He had to live with it, and to hope that she would be back to tell him that he had done everything he could. Until he heard those words from her, he would keep thinking that he could have done more, that he should have fought for her.

She lay on his chest, both satiated for the time being, their bodies slick with sweat. They had yet to speak since he had first stepped into her quarters. He knew that if they were to say anything, it would break the moment, and he didn't want that. Not yet. He could only guess that it was the same for Elizabeth. One of his hands was resting on her back, while the fingers of her other hand were entangled in her hair. His eyes were dropping shut, and he wondered if she was already asleep, but a few seconds before sleep could claim him, her lips found the skin of his neck, just on his pulse point, and her fingers toyed with his chest hair. All signs of sleepiness left him as she raised herself above him, sitting on his hips, her hands grabbing his. He watched as she lowered her head towards his, kissing him slowly, languorously.

He sat on the bed, the same, narrow, bed they had spent most of their nights in during the past few months.

They had made love on this bed. That was what it was; they didn't just have sex, they had made love. They might have never put words to what they did, but they both knew that it meant something. They had spent more than six months in that kind of relationship, and aside from those six weeks on Earth when she had shut him out of her life, they had spent all of their nights together, making love or just sleeping side by side.

He couldn't sleep, he was exhausted, but his mind just refused to shut down. His front pressed against Elizabeth's back, one arm wrapped around her waist, their legs intertwined, he listened to her even breathing. He breathed in her scent, pressing a quick kiss to her shoulder. He should leave, but he didn't want to. There, in her quarters, in her bed, they were secluded from the outside world. And after the ordeals of the past two weeks, they needed this. In the wee hours of the morning, with her in his arms, he could pretend that nothing happened. Still in a deep sleep, she turned over to face him, slinging an arm around his waist and burying her head into his chest. He looked at her peaceful face, and it was all he needed to know that she was feeling safe in his arms; the worry lines that were usually marring her face during the day weren't there at the moment. Bending his head down to kiss her forehead, he finally closed his eyes, waiting for sleep to claim him. He was feeling safe in her arms, too.

He should have kept her in his arms, where she was safe. But he had let her go, placing the safety of their City above hers. Had he known what would happen, he wouldn't have released her from the hold he had on her. He had let her go, and now, because of that, she wasn't there anymore. He had lost her.

Picking up the framed photograph that was resting on her nightstand, he looked at the beaming five-year old on it. It was a photograph of Elizabeth in her father's arms. He had found her looking at it, one night; she had a nostalgic look on her face, and he made her talk about it, about her father. They had spent the next two hours just sharing stories about their respective childhoods.

Looking intensely at the little girl in the picture, he finally let himself break the silence of her quarters, with a promise he swore to himself to fulfil.

"I'll find you!" he said, forcefully, as if she could hear him from wherever she was. "I will find you, and I'll bring you back here, where you rightfully belong. And I won't let you go. Never again."