Title: Realities apart
Category: Angst, a bit of romance
Summary: They had no other choice but to use the Quantum Mirror.
Spoilers: SG1's There but for the Grace of God and Point of View, the whole of SGA.
Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don't earn any money; I just do it for fun.
Prompt: Alternate Reality
Author's Note: I hadn't planned to write this at first for this prompt, but the idea just came to me, and wouldn't leave me alone. So, I had to write it. See the end of the fic for more notes. Written for writers30days in April.
When the Quantum Mirror was found in one of the long abandoned labs, no one thought that it would ever be activated. Those who had been at the SGC at the time the mirror had let Doctor Samantha Carter and Major Kawalsky through, knew that using it was far from a good idea. Those who weren't there, either read the reports, or trusted the others to know what they were talking about.
The Quantum Mirror was covered with a large cloth, and put into one of the storage rooms, while the control device was stored in another room to avoid any temptation. Once a month, someone would go and make sure that both were exactly where they were supposed to be, and that no one played with them.
Not once had they thought they would have to use it one day.
They had no choice, she knew this. But even as she was watching McKay activate the Quantum Mirror, she hoped that there was another way.
But there wasn't. A third of her expedition had been infected by some kind of virus, and with the ZPM depleted, and the Daedalus in the Milky Way, they couldn't call on Earth to help them. The scientists and the medical team were working round the clock, but whatever that virus was, they didn't make any significant headway.
When the suggestion to use the Mirror came, she was ready to dismiss it, until she realized that it might be the only way to save them all. She considered the pros and cons of sending someone to another, unknown, reality, before remembering the people who were lying on infirmary beds. She would never let her people die if there was a way to save them.
The choice of who to send was an easy one, but convincing her senior staff to let her go was more difficult. They opposed her decision, but nothing they could say would make her change her mind. If someone should go, it was her.
They had chosen the reality randomly, though they eliminated those where they couldn't see any lights on.
And now, as she was about to touch the Mirror, she felt a slight hesitation. But then she thought about her subordinates, and with one last look at McKay, put her palm against the Mirror surface. A second later, she was on the other side. The lead scientist was giving her a thumb up.
Hoping nothing would happen to the Mirror and that she would still have a reality to go back to, she left the room. She was pretty sure that the sensors picked up on the new life-sign, and that the alert had already been given, but she didn't want to wait for them to find her.
Sure enough, after a few minutes, she heard footsteps coming in her direction. She stopped where she was, and raised her hands to prepare herself for the meeting. Several men rounded the corner, and stopped short upon seeing her. She could read a moment of surprise on their face, before they all raised their weapons at her.
"Major Lorne," she acknowledged the leader of the group.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Elizabeth Weir," she replied, a bit surprised by the tone he employed.
"Good try, but Doctor Weir is dead."
It had taken time for them to believe her; even after Doctor Keller had completed her exam on her, and had declared her to be a human version of Elizabeth Weir, even after they had found the Quantum Mirror in the room she had indicated and had seen her reality's Rodney on the other side, she could still feel that they were wary of her. She couldn't blame them; if she were the one in their situation, she would have taken extra precaution, too.
After she had exposed her reasons for coming into their reality to Richard Woolsey – and yes, she was surprised that he had been put in charge of the expedition – Doctor Keller and Rodney had set off to work, hoping to find a solution as quickly as possible.
She had been authorized to walk freely in the City, but most of the time, she hadn't been alone. She had welcomed it, as people kept looking at her as if she had come back from the dead. Which she had done, in a way.
She had noticed people looking at her closely, wherever she went, and the way their faces had fallen when a couple of days passed and she still wasn't affected by entropic cascade failure. She couldn't help embracing their sadness; her counterpart, another Elizabeth Weir, was dead.
But she had also noticed that one person was doing everything in their power to avoid her. And on her fourth day in this reality, she decided that she had enough.
Luckily for her, he had been easy to find, just like his counterpart in her reality. She stopped on the threshold of the gym, watching him practice some moves with banto sticks. He was alone, and that didn't surprise her. She nodded at Major Lorne, her bodyguard for the day, and he took a step back, allowing them some privacy.
"John," she called out; he stopped his movements, but didn't turn towards her. "Can I talk to you for a while?"
He was still not looking at her, and she was getting quickly frustrated by his actions. She watched as he put the banto sticks down, and grabbed the towel he had thrown over his gym bag, and a bottle of water. He carefully avoided looking in her direction the whole time, and she snapped.
"Why can't you even look at me? What has my counterpart ever done to you to deserve such a treatment?"
"You're not her," he said, finally turning to look at her. "She's gone. Dead. You're the proof of that."
"You love her," she realized, seeing the look in his eyes.
"My John looks at me the same way," she replied, sitting on the bench by the window.
"We've been together for six months, now. I take it…"
"No, never. She didn't know, I've never told her, and now it's too late."
"It's never too late."
"How can you say that?"
"Because I can't let myself think another way."
"He's one of the infected, yes," she finished for him. "I don't want to think that when I come back, it might be too late for him."
"There's still hope for you," he said, joining her on the bench. "I heard that they might have a treatment ready by tomorrow."
"Yeah, they've managed to contact the Nox who had encountered this disease before."
"See. He'll be fine. But she is gone. This is too late for me, she'll never know."
"Then, tell me."
"Tell me what you didn't have the time to tell her. I might not be the Elizabeth you knew, but I'm still close enough."
She didn't think he would accept her offer, but after a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, he started to talk.
She wasn't surprised by his words because she heard them already in her John's mouth. But still, it was different; she could feel the regrets he put behind every single word, regret at not having said those words before, regrets because she wasn't the Elizabeth they were meant for. She listened to him speak, and she felt overwhelmed by the love he was feeling for her counterpart. Not that her John didn't love her just as much, but he had never been so forward. It wasn't in his nature, just like it wasn't in this John's nature. She knew what it meant for him to finally be able to say those words, and she was sure she knew what his Elizabeth's reaction would have been.
When he stopped speaking, she didn't think and acted on instincts alone.
She leaned towards him, and pressed her lips against his. She felt his sharp intake of breath, and even his surprise, and took advantage of his opened mouth to deepen the kiss. He didn't react at first, but then, he grabbed the back of her head to hold her firmly in place. She knew he wasn't her John, just like she wasn't his Elizabeth, but still they were both some alternate version of the person the other loved.
When they broke their kiss, she rested her forehead against his, both of them panting heavily.
"Yeah, that's usually what he says, too."
He laughed heartily at her words, and by the way Lorne was leaning in the doorway to see what was happening, she guessed that it had been a long time since anyone heard him laugh like that.
"Thank you," he finally said.
"You're very welcome."
The next day, she was standing in front of the activated Quantum Mirror, the treatment to save her people clutched tightly in her hands. McKay was already waiting for her in the storage room, along with Carson.
"Thank you for everything."
"You're welcome, Doctor Weir," Woolsey answered. "And thanks to you, if something like that happens in our reality, we'll have the treatment at hand."
She said silent goodbyes to all of them, her eyes lingering on John's a little longer than they should have.
She was about to turn around to touch the Mirror when a strange feeling went through her. It felt like her body was being torn apart. She could feel violent convulsions shaking her, but she still managed to hold onto the case with the vial.
As soon as it stopped, seeing the look the group before her was giving her, she knew what happened. She turned to look at John, a small smile playing on her lips, despite what she had just been through.
"Told you it was never too late." She didn't give him time to answer, and reached a hand out behind her to touch the Mirror. "Shut it down," she ordered, as soon as she was back in her reality.
The last thing she saw was John returning her smile, a look of determination on his face.
Author's Note 2: just in case it was a bit too obscure, the reality Elizabeth went in is the one from the show. ;)