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Author's Chapter Notes: Thanks go as always to Sue my beta or better known on fanfic net as Iratus. All mistakes however remain mine alone.
This chapter is actually longer than intended, but I decided against splitting into two chapters. At least it will make for a longer read.
Thanks to all those who have reviewed so far and as always only the plot belongs to me.
So, here’s chapter 10 of, Gone But Not Forgotten. Enjoy everyone. (Hopefully)

Rosa met Radim’s eyes, as the group re-entered the building. She answered his unspoken query with a shake of the head. No, she had not explained everything to Sheppard. Not yet anyway. Radim stepped back beside her as the Colonel walked over to the crib where his son still lay asleep.

An unsettling silence descended on the room as they watched and waited. Five sets of eyes focused on Sheppard as he turned away from his son and looked directly at Rosa.

“Kolya... what did he do?”

Rosa just caught the hint of anger in his voice, an anger she knew he disguised so well.

“What did he do to Elizabeth?” Sheppard repeated.

Rosa looked to the floor. She faced a dilemma. Tell it as it was, or tone it down, and save John from a little of the heart ache. She sighed. Who was she really trying to protect, John or herself?

Lifting up her head she glanced up a John. He was waiting for her answer and she instantly knew she could not deceive him. Not even if it was for his own good. As painful and heart rendering as it was, he needed and deserved to know every last detail.

The awareness of this however, did nothing to stall the nausea building up in her throat, or calm the shaking from her hands, as the lay clasped in her lap.

With another painful sigh, she forced herself to pull it together. “After being informed by the guard that Elizabeth had given birth, Kolya came to see the child. His triumph rapidly changed to disgust, when he walked over to where the child lay.

She paused briefly, pushing a stray lock of her greying hair back from her eyes. “He swung around so quickly it took everyone by surprise, and grabbed Elizabeth by the collar of her nightdress, almost swinging her clear of the bed.”

The hatred she had felt towards Kolya, and still did, ignited once again as she recollected the malicious words he’d snarled at Elizabeth. “You evil bitch. You killed him just so I would not lay claim on him. But I promise, you will live just long enough to regret it.”

Remembering what happened next sent an ice cold shiver down her spin. “The veins on his face and neck were raised and pulsing. His eyes were dark and filled with a terrible rage. Elizabeth had obviously noted the change in him, as I heard her give a gasp. I tried talking to him, to calm him, by trying to make him see no one was to blame. It was a cruel fate of nature.” Her chest heaved as she sadly shook her head. “It did no good... he was either too far gone, or didn’t want to listen.”

Ronon growled and muttered something incomprehensible.

“Ronon!” Teyla’s sharp reproach effectively silenced him.

Teyla then turned back to Rosa, “Ronon offers his apologises,” she gave Ronon a sharp look as she spoke, daring him to disagree. But for once he had the grace to appear sheepish.

Holding up her hand Rosa said, “There is no need for apologies. It is only understandable in the circumstances.”

Teyla gave a slow nod of her head “Then please... we would like for you to continue.”

Rosa gave a nod of her head in return. “ Certainly. Kolya released Elizabeth only so he could issue orders to his men waiting outside. Although Elizabeth was trying hard not to show her fear, I had been around her enough times by this stage, to see it was an act. I went to comfort her, but managed only to quickly squeeze her hand before Kolya’s men pushed me aside. It seemed their Commander wanted everyone removed from the room. Everyone that was, except Elizabeth, himself, and his men. Whether Kolya still trusted me I do not know. But for whatever reason, he told the guards to release me and turned his attention back to Elizabeth.

“Surely he wasn’t doing all this because he still held Elizabeth accountable for her own son’s death?” asked McKay in disbelief. “The man’s insane.”

Bile burnt the base of Sheppard’s throat, McKay’s words still resounding in his ears. How anyone , even as vile as Kolya, could come to such a sick conclusion was beyond his comprehension. However as he listened to Rosa’s explanation, he realised it went far deeper than that.

“Kolya had just lost out on something he’d worked obsessively to gain. Power. Just imagine the supremacy, the super power he would have experienced if he had the child of one of his most hated adversaries at his disposal. To Kolya there would be no other that would award him with the benefits as this would.”

“My good” gasped McKay. He intended to use it to gain control of Atlantis. That has always been his biggest ambition.” He looked to Sheppard his eyes wide open. “ At least we can be thankful he never got the chance.”

“Elizabeth believed, he also had something else in mind. Something much more sinister and personal to you John.” Rosa said quietly, whilst keeping her eyes trained on Sheppard. “I imagine there would be none more painful, or sole destroying, than having your child kidnapped and raised by his abductor. Imagine years later fighting against a ruthless and deadly adversary, the leader of which displays the face of your son. A son who now glares at you with unbridled hatred. This is what Elizabeth feared Kolya had planned for Connor, and why she wanted him safe, no matter the danger or pain it brought down on her.”

Sheppard’s face darkened and he couldn’t help glancing over to where Connor still slept. Not for the first time he felt an abundance of love and pride for Elizabeth. Her bravery had saved their son from something far worse than death. What did she have to endure though as a result? “We’ve all seen,” He visibly shuddered, “or been... on the receiving end of Kolya’s sadistic need for revenge. He would make Elizabeth suffer, whether he felt she was at fault or not. It’s how his sick mind works.”

Rosa’s heart pounded in her breast as she recollected the horror that followed “I begged them to leave her be. That she was in no fit state to be out of bed, never mind on her feet. It was of no use. Elizabeth was wrenched out of her bed and the two guards held her whilst Kolya rained blows down on her, over and over again.”

Sheppard’s eyes darkened “Why did no one come to her aid? What of the villagers.” His jaw muscle tensed. “You can’t expect me to believe no one heard the commotion.”

Although Teyla’s outwardly appearance remained calm, her voice was cold and clipped. “Given the lateness of the hour her voice would have carried over the silence. Why then did no one come and investigate?”

. “The men of this village are unlike you. They have never fought against another and were already fearful of Kolya. Knowledge of his vindictiveness and cruelty has quickly spread throughout the village. A few of the villagers had already fallen foul of his intolerance. As much as it ashamed them, they were too afraid to get involved.”

“So Elizabeth was, alone, with no means of protecting herself from Kolya’s violence,” said Sheppard.

“I did try to pull Kolya off....” Rosa’s eyes glazed over for a few seconds and her attention seemed to wander. She was back in the room, experiencing the terrible constriction with in her chest and tasting the nausea that built up in her throat. But one thing haunted her more than anything else, the screams, terrible screams. Then, an unearthly silence.

Sheppard looked to Teyla with a raised eyebrow, Teyla shrugged her shoulders.

“Rosa!” Teyla’s voice was soft to avoid startling Rosa unnecessarily.

A faint flushing of pink appeared on Rosa’s cheek. “Oh, sorry, I guess I wandered for a moment there.” She didn’t repeat that she was haunted by the cruel look on Kolya’s face as he lashed out at Elizabeth time after time. I am ashamed to say my dismal efforts came to nothing. Kolya merely shrugged me of as if I were insignificant.”

Teyla laid a hand on Rosa’s arm “We realise, you on your own, would be no match against Kolya.”

“Listening to Elizabeth’s agonising cries, how I wished I was. It seemed to last an eternity. Then suddenly it was over. His rage spent, Kolya glared at Elizabeth in disgust, as she lay semi conscious on the floor. He grunted something the sounded like, see to her, before storming out the door.”

Although Sheppard appeared mute, Rosa observed the small things that pointed to his inner anguish. Like the way he clenched his fists tightly into the side of his legs. The way he constantly bit at his lip and the rippling of his jaw muscle.

Teyla stepped closer and placed a hand on Sheppard’s shoulder. Their eyes met briefly, Sheppard’s eyes reflecting his pain and Teyla’s letting him know, she would there for him. If and when he felt the need. It was to Rosa though that she tailored her words. “What of Elizabeth?”

“After Kolya left, the women who had assisted me earlier returned. Together, we were able to get her back into bed. We treated her injuries as best we could, whilst trying to avoid causing her greater pain. Thankfully, I had medication that adequately took the edge off her pain. I refused to leave her that night and I know she took relief from that. But one thing tore at my heart that night, more than anything else. It was later when we were alone. After all she had endured she looked at me and still managed to say with a smile.” Rosa we did it. My son is safe and eventually he will be reunited with John. I know it will happen. I feel it in my heart.
“My heart ached for her that day. Yet at the same time, I also felt great admiration.”

Sheppard managed a tight smile, despite his grief “That’s my Elizabeth.”

Teyla nodded solemnly, “It was also what made her a great leader, and she will always be remembered as such.”

The wrinkles of tension around Sheppard’s eyes and rippling of his jaw muscles told of his pain. There was warmth though in the words he spoke. “She was the most unique and loving person I have ever met.”

The remainder of his team nodded in agreement. Every one of them had something to thank Elizabeth for.

It was strangely Ronon who stepped forward, until he was standing by Sheppard’s side. His voice sounded gruff as he verbalised an unusual show of emotions. “If it wasn’t for Dr Weir, I’d probably be dead, or still a runner.”

Teyla gave a genuine smile “Ronon is right. I and my people also have much to be grateful to Elizabeth for. But she will never truly be gone. She will live on through you and your son John.”

John looked over towards his son, his sadness reflected in his eyes. “The son she longed to be born, but never got to hold in her arms...”

“But that is where you are wrong,”

Rosa gave a bitter sweet smile as the others looked towards her with varying reactions.

“During and immediately after the birth, yes. However after his attack on Elizabeth, Kolya’s visits were infrequent, to say the least. It was still too risky to allow her to see him during the day hours. At night however it was not so, only one guard was needed then. Kolya did not see the need for more as the building was secure. With there only being one guard, it was easy to lure him from his post. Especially as the guard understood Elizabeth would be unable to move due to her injuries.”

“So she had the comfort of being able to hold him.” Sheppard said in a voice barely audible.

“Actual John, she had almost a month with him. I have no idea, given what happened later, why Kolya left her alone for so long as he did. It is possible he thought Elizabeth would not survive her injuries. In the early days I wasn’t convinced she would either.”

Rosa watched John as he sat in stunned silence. It was blatantly clear that Elizabeth would rather suffer the pain, than be denied the chance with Connor. But it must be tearing at his heart, to even imagine the torture she’d been subjected to. Rosa noted the narrowing of his eyes and the tension oozing from his body. What was he thinking?

Rosa realised he would never outwardly discuss or display his emotions, Instead he kept them locked up inside causing himself constant torment.

Teyla’s soft voice filled the air, releasing some of the tension that everyone was experiencing
“Elizabeth would have treasured her time with him. Take comfort in that at least John.”

A warm smile lit up Rosa’s face. Indeed she did. In fact I have to say, it was the first time I had seen Elizabeth smile and mean it. “She was enchanted by him. It was such a beautiful sight to behold, especially given all she had endured.”

Sheppard’s downcast eyes now looked towards Rosa, whilst his slumped shoulders straightened. “I can almost picture her,” he replied softly.

Rosa nodded but remained silent, knowing this moment was special to John.
She also knew it wasn’t going to last. Not when he was made aware of what happened later. For the time being though, she was thankful he had this small reprieve.

“Surely the guard would have been suspicious. McKay screwed up his face expressing his distaste. “Babies aren’t renounced for being exactly quiet. My niece must be the most annoying. She squawked nonstop. And Jeannie had the cheek to fall out with me for not visiting.

“McKay you never visited your sister in what 6 years. No wonder she took the hump.” Sheppard said with a touch of sarcasm.

Rosa smiled indulgingly “Babies are a bit like you Dr McKay. They need comforting, but have yet to learn a quieter way of asking for it.”

A few sniggers were heard from the others.

“Oh that’s right. Have a good laugh at my expense, why don’t you!” huffed Rodney.

Rosa’s eyes twinkled with amusement as she calmly continued “I have to say, at first we were wary of his cries alerting the guard, but he never cried. Not once. The villagers too, did their bit. They felt guilty at their inability to protect Elizabeth. In an attempt, to in some small way gain redemption, they took it upon themselves to keep the guard occupied.”

“Who cared for Connor when Kolya was around?” questioned Sheppard anxiously.

“He stayed with Marana and her daughter, the mother of the twins. When wrapped in blankets no one could tell the difference. At night they would fetch him round, and enter by a hidden side door that Kolya had overlooked.”

“But what of her injuries?” Teyla asked with a frown. “How did she manage?”

“It was hard for her, but Elizabeth was determined to spend every minute she could with him. In the early days she was pretty much out of it with the pain medication. However she still had enough wit about her to refuse to take them. Even though it meant she was in agony.”

Sheppard smirked, “I can so see her doing that. She used to drive Carson up the wall, with her refusal to take any medication he prescribed. He even threatened to confine her to the infirmary on one occasion.”

Rustling from the crib as Connor tossed restlessly, drew Sheppard’s attention.
“Do you think Connor knew who she was?” asked Sheppard with hope in his eyes.

Rosa smiled, “You know I think he did. He’d look up at her, just as mesmerised by her as she was with him. Every time she spoke to him, his eyes lit up. Not once did he ever get grumpy or restless when with Elizabeth. It was as if he knew their time together was short and he wanted to treasure it.”

“I wish I had been there to see them together,” Sheppard sighed “one of my biggest regrets.”

“You must take comfort in the fact, that during this time Elizabeth was the happiest I have ever seen her. She held onto, only one regret. That you were not there to share her joy. There was one other thing she asked of me. Something of extreme importance to her, but it had to be delivered only when appropriate. Elizabeth left that responsibility with me.”

Sheppard’s eyebrows were furrowed and his eyes screwed up into an expression of bewilderment.

Rosa gazed at him long and hard. She felt there would never again be an opportunity such as this. She feared however, that instead of comforting Sheppard as it was intended, it would in actual fact have the opposite effect. Exhaling a deep breath Rosa realised it would always carry that possibility. She knew then what she must do.

Gently grasping the sleeve of Sheppard’s shirt, Rosa was aware of how her hand trembled uncontrollably. Thankfully, despite her trepidation, Rosa delivered her speech with a soothing calmness.

“Elizabeth loved you so much and spoke of you continually.” Rosa observed the strong hold John held over his emotions. If she hadn’t been standing so close she’d have missed the sudden rigidity of his body, the only telltale sign of the misery he must be feeling.

She took his hand gently as she spoke, amazed when instead of tensing as she thought he would, he actually seemed to relax slightly. “Her deepest regret was that she had disregarded your fears. If she had listened none of this would have happened. She was desperate to relay something to you, but only when you were in a frame of mind to listen. She told me you were just as stubborn and strong minded as she was. However, much time has passed, and I feel this is something you should have before it gets much later.”

Slowly easing herself out of the chair, Rosa stretched up to the shelf just behind her chair. Her hand skimmed over the surface, feeling for the small metal box that contained irreplaceable memories of her own long gone family. It also held something that John would treasure with a passion.

Finally, the box was located and Rosa rested it on her knee after sitting back in her chair.

Murmurs of curiosity were heard, when she retrieved a small package from within the box. Holding it out, she smiled, her eyes resting on Sheppard. “This is what Elizabeth wanted you to have.”
Sheppard licked his lips nervously, what else could Elizabeth have left. His hands were sweating, as he took a couple of steps closer to Rosa. He wiped some of the sweat on his trouser leg, before reaching out with his right hand, to grasp the mysterious parcel. Slowly he unwrapping what appeared to be some kind of dry leaf. He felt a strange comfort consume him as he looked down at what was hidden beneath the layers. It was a letter from Elizabeth.

He knew everyone was looking at him expectantly. The problem was, no matter how many times he opened his mouth, the words refused to come. He felt like he’d been struck dumb.

“John may be this is something, meant for you alone,” said Teyla.

He looked at Teyla and gave her a dazed smile. “I’ll just go...,” he gestured wordlessly to the door. Making for the nearest exit, his stride quickened the nearer he got, and concluded with a loud bang as the door shut behind him.

McKay’s eyes darted from Teyla’s to Rosa’s and to the door that Sheppard had just about torn off its hinges. “Am I missing something?”

“Rodney...” Teyla rolled her eyes. “Rosa has just given John a letter that Elizabeth wrote to him.”

“So I take it, he doesn’t want to share it with us?” replied McKay in a disgruntled tone.

“Her words are personal to John. He may in time decide to divulge what she has written. For the time being however its best if we leave it to him,” explained Rosa, calmly.

His chin dropped as the implication of Rosa’s words sunk in. “Oh... right.”

Sheppard was finding it difficult to co-ordinate his fingers enough to open the letter. It was as if they had a mind of their own. Eventually after a few frustrating minutes he held it straightened out in front of him.

Glancing around he noticed an old wooden bench, that although had seen better days, still appeared stable enough to hold his weight. He hoped.

Gingerly sitting down he was forced to blink a few times before the words came into focus. As he immersed himself in the letter, he could almost swear Elizabeth was sitting here with him, explaining what she needed him to do.

“John, please don’t blame yourself, for what’s happened. Knowing you as well as I do, I know you’ll already be doing just that. But believe me John, when I say, you are not to blame. If anyone could have prevented this from happening it would have been you. You have been here for me always, without fail. My rock. How I cherish our time together and wouldn’t have changed any of it. However, now it is time for you to put the pain behind you and build a happy life for our son. John Sheppard, I love you and it is our love that will allow me to remain strong until this is over. Good bye my love. Remember were ever I am, our love will remain with me always.

Sheppard’s eyes hurt with holding back his tears, and he swallowed continuously in an attempt to disperse the lump from his throat. One thing, however, would remain with him and carry him through the rough period ahead. Pride. His pride for an incredible woman, who even in the most despondent of circumstances, thought only of the welfare of her family.

He sat reading the words over and over again, until the cold gradually penetrated his tac vest. Reluctantly, he got up, and slowly sauntered back to where the others waited.

As he entered the room, his heart lightened somewhat. His son, now awake, had everyone entertained by his squeals of delight, as he played with Teyla’s hair. If only things had worked out differently it would be Elizabeth standing holding their son, enthralled by his antics. The sparkle left his eyes as he turned to Rosa.

“How did she die?”

The laughter in the room died in the wake of Sheppard’s words
Rosa pushed her hair back. Something Sheppard had noticed she did when anxious or nervous. Her left cheek also twitched.

“We had a plan in place to get Elizabeth to safety, but Kolya found out.” Rosa gave a despondent sigh.” It just was so unfair. After the outcome of Kolya’s appalling actions, everyone joined together to get her free.”

“Why wait till now though? If they felt able to take on Kolya, why not do it before Elizabeth was beaten up?” Sheppard protested.

“We didn’t stand a chance against Kolya. Not on our own. But a previous ally, whom we had lost contact with for many long months, suddenly sent a messenger through the portal. An extremely harsh winter, much worse than they ever experienced in the past, cut of all access to their portal. It was only when the snow melted, that they managed to send the messenger.

“Do they have no other means, with which to depart the planet?” asked Teyla.

She shook her head. “Unfortunately no. They do not have any access to flying crafts. Like us without their portal, the Multan are isolated. The messenger returned home after listening to our predicament. A few days later I received word that two Multan were asking for me. The Multan council had agreed to our request for assistance. Past dealings with Kolya had left them itching for revenge.”

Sheppard’s eyes narrowed. If it were true, then why did Elizabeth still die? He didn’t believe Rosa to be lying. So, just what did happen? Rosa, he realised, must have been on the same wave length. Before he could open his mouth to question her, she gave him the answer.

“John... I will understand if this makes you angry and resentful. And yes, Elizabeth should have survived, and would have if things had gone as planned.”

“I take it, from what you’re implying, something went wrong?”

“Yes and I can only place the blame on my own foolish misjudgement.” Rosa’s eyes expressed her own self condemnation. “I made the mistake of thinking Elizabeth would be safe for just a little bit longer. Her injuries were severe, and she was still too ill to travel. I didn’t mention the reason for the delay to Elizabeth. I was well aware if I had, she would have insisted the gamble with her life was worth the risk. I realise now she would have been right.”

“Did you not think, given Kolya’s reputation, the risk was worth taking?” asked Sheppard quietly.

Sheppard refrained from letting the criticism he felt, leak into his voice. Rosa had to live with the result of her decision. That on its own would haunt her daily. Placing the blame on her shoulders would not change the outcome, and Sheppard knew she must have had her reasons, right or wrong.

I foolishly believed that her injuries would prevent any further retaliation from Kolya. Something, that has caused me many sleepless nights since. It is torture to realise that because of my careless beliefs, Elizabeth paid the penalty.”

Teyla stepped forward, expressing her sympathy, “You are not to blame. Only Kolya is responsible for Elizabeth’s death.”

“Many of my people tried to tell me the same, but still the regret persists. We were just so near accomplishing her rescue.”

Rosa turned back to Sheppard. “And I still hold onto the belief that it would have been successful if we hadn’t been betrayed by one of our own.”

“Why would he betray his own people?” asked Teyla with scorn.

“Out of fear. The Genii, it seems, were more alert than we gave them credit for. It appears the visits from the Multan’s hadn’t gone undetected as we believed. A couple of the Genii pulled him aside, and threatened to take him to Kolya if he didn’t satisfy their suspicions. He broke down and told them everything.”

“So in saving his own skin, he condemned Elizabeth to death!” Sheppard said in disgust.

“I don’t think that was his intention. He thought that Kolya would only be interested in going after the Multan’s. Tragically it didn’t happen that way.”

Mixed emotions were flooding through Sheppard’s head. He was angry. Because of one man’s cowardly behaviour, Elizabeth paid the highest penalty.

His heart, heavy with a crushing despair, fought to maintain a normal rhythm.
All he could think of was Elizabeth and the torture she must have gone through
To feel freedom in her grasp, only for it to be wrenched away in such a cruel fashion must have been devastating.

“What happened when Kolya found out?”

I am saddened to say I wasn’t even with Elizabeth when it happened. She was been cared for by one of my aids, Alicia. Elizabeth had taken an instant liking to Alicia, and the feeling was mutual. A tearful Alicia later told me, Kolya and his men had marched into the building and pulled Elizabeth from the bed without a word of explanation. Alicia knew from Kolya’s expression something dreadful was about to happen. Although Alicia stood no chance against Kolya, she was feisty enough to have a go. Unfortunately it only resulted in her getting knocked unconscious.

To Sheppard, although he heard quite plainly what Rosa was saying, it seemed like she was fazing in and out. In his mind he was standing beside Elizabeth, feeling her fear, seeing the anguish in her eyes but it didn’t matter how hard he tried, he was powerless to stop it. He shouted her name-

“John... John can you hear me,” Teyla grasped his arm.

“What’s wrong with him?”

Sheppard heard the voices. What did they want? He gasped and the vision cleared until he could see the anxious faces of his friends staring at him with concern. He realised the last voice he’d heard had been McKay’s

He tried to smirk but it came out more like a grimace, “Why McKay you do care for me after all.”

“What?” McKay spluttered. Why wouldn’t I.” He gave a cough and his cheeks herald a pink tinge. “No... that is so not what I meant,” he said. “You were the one that shouted out like a mad man and almost had me in the throes of heart failure.”

“McKay” Ronon’s threat was also repeated in the look he gave McKay. He stood shoulder to shoulder with Sheppard.

“Well he did-” grumbled McKay.

A growl from Ronon halted McKay mid sentence. Sheppard looked bemused, but didn’t say anything when he realised Teyla was about to speak.

“Ronon, I know Rodney is merely concerned for John.” She glanced towards Sheppard. “John are you sure you are well. You did give us quite a start when you shouted out.”

“What are you on about?” He remembered his now fading vision. He hadn’t realised he’d shouted out for real. “Oh I get you. It’s nothing really.”

“John you shouted out Elizabeth’s name with such terror and pain,” replied Teyla softly.

“For a minute it felt real, like I was there as it was happening. I’m fine now.”

“John are you sure,” said Teyla

Sheppard could tell they weren’t entirely convinced. Heck he was having trouble convincing himself. But he wasn’t about to admit it. “Definitely sure. So how’s about we let Rosa continue.”

“Well, maybe she can start by explaining why no one came to help Elizabeth. Am I right in surmising no one helped to defend her against Kolya?” asked McKay

“Rodney, maybe we should allow Rosa to finish, before bombarding her with questions,” Teyla gently scolded.

“What I’m simply- he tailed off as he realised Teyla was indicating towards Sheppard with her head. However just as he went to comment, Teyla’s fierce shake of her head, effectively silenced him.

Sheppard caught the silent exchange from the corner of his eye. He sighed inwardly. He knew Teyla was trying to prevent him from suffering more pain, but he needed this.

As painful as it was proving to be, he needed to know everything. That way his mind would stop conjuring up such horrifying images. Even if the facts proved to be as terrible as the things his imagination pictured, they were still facts. Nothing more nothing less. He hoped.

He nodded to Rosa as she looked towards him questioningly.

“To answer Dr McKay’s question. Most of the villagers were out working in the fields, and weren’t aware of Kolya’s actions. However, two elderly women from the village saw Kolya and his men drag Elizabeth up the hill that led to their encampment. They were able to find someone, who raised the alarm. Its primary use was to inform the villagers of imminent danger, such as an attack by the wraith.”

Teyla raised her eyebrows, “Has it been effective?”

“It has, on more than one occasion, saved a good few lives.” Her chest heaved as she sighed. “I just wish it had been so on this occasion. Quickly returning to the village I was soon surrounded by many of the woman from the village. That is how I learnt of Kolya deplorable act. The men from the village, outraged, had started to advance on Kolya’s encampment. I caught them up as we reached the beginning of Kolya’s camp.”

Rosa stopped as a sob stuck in her throat, and the tears she’d successfully held back up until now, flowed freely down her face. She fought to contain her sobs. “I knew... from the expressions of those who stood in huddles, just outside the camp. “I knew we were too late.” She paused “The husband of a close friend came over when he caught sight of me. He told me that they’d heard a noise, like that of a gunshot, from within the camp. The Genii tried to stop me from going to Elizabeth, but I paid them no heed. I was however thankful for the villagers who came with me as support. I recognised Elizabeth well before I reached her. They had not even allowed her the dignity to get dressed, and she was still in her bed wear.”

Rosa lifted her hand and wiped away the tears that were now flowing like a river.

Teyla too, bowed her head to hide her tears.

Sheppard stood emotionless, only the darkness of his eyes gave tell to his inner torment.

McKay stood with his head bent to the ground. His hands clasped in front of him were trembling.

Ronon stood tall and alert ready to give support to his friend and team mate. He wasn’t aware of the tension from his jaw muscles, a sign that he hadn’t quite concealed his feelings.

All of them listened as Rosa described the last remains minutes of Elizabeth’s life.

“She was lying on the ground, but thankfully still alive when I reached her. I will never forget the sadness her eyes as I bent down and took her into my arms. I could see she had been shot. I also knew from the position of the bullet, and the amount of blood, there was little or no chance of saving her. I think Elizabeth knew it too. She looked at me and said, tell John I’m sorry. Tell him I tried to come home to him. I really did. A few minutes later she went limp. It was all over. Kolya had succeeded in taking her from us.

Silence descended on the room as the full impact of Elizabeth’s fate sank in.

Sheppard walked over to the window, keeping his back to the others. Inwardly he was battling with the incredible pain that Rosa’s words had caused, the finality of everything. Maybe subconsciously, he’d held on to some unrealistic hope that Elizabeth would be returned to him. Now he didn’t even have that. His last thread of hope severed. The love of his life was lost to him forever. One solitary tear fell, the only show of emotion he allowed himself to give. He barely heard Teyla’s words.

Rosa, where is she buried?” Teyla enquired softly. ”Maybe, if John visits Elizabeth’s grave it will help him feel closer to her.”

The distress that Teyla’s words, caused Rosa, became obvious as the colour drained from her face. Her glance rapidly changed from Teyla to Sheppard, her eyes wide and full of despair. “They... Kolya... would not allow us to bury her. We fought them hard on this, but it was of no use. He insisted they were taking her body as proof she had been executed. The men from the village tried to take her, but Kolya’s men opened fire on anyone who tried, killing a few of our men.
When the alarm sounded, one of the Multan had returned to his homeworld to alert his men. We could do nothing, but pray they returned in time to stop Kolya taking Elizabeth’s body, through the portal

“I thought most of them would be on Spyros by this time? Surely they could have taken on Kolya and his men,” asked McKay.

The Genii had taken to hanging around the vicinity of the portal. In order to prevent discovery, only a couple of the Multan’s came to discuss the details of the rescue mission. Unfortunately there was something we were unaware of. They were already suspicious that something was a foot.”

Teyla, who had been sitting on the floor amusing Connor, looked up “Do you know what aroused their suspicion?”

“Not at the time. Later however we worked out. They had been doing some planning of their own. On a couple of occasions, strangers were observed coming through the portal. When one of our elders went to question them, he was more or less told to mind his own business by the Genii. It seemed they were arranging something, or other, with these newcomers. I am certain this was also the reason; Kolya had shown so little interest in Elizabeth. He was too tied up with this other matter. With their frequently meets with the newcomers, they had also become aware of the increased visits from Multanian the Multan’s homeworld.”

Sheppard stood looking aimlessly out the window. “The Multan... am I right in concluding they never arrived?”

“Unfortunately John, as much as I would like to tell you otherwise, I would be lying. You are correct in your assumption. Kolya again remained one step ahead. He had instructed his men to open the portal so they could move out immediately. Within half an hour they were gone, taking Elizabeth’s body with them.”

Sheppard felt like he had been robbed of Elizabeth twice. Both times, Kolya being the culprit. The room felt as if it were starting to close in on him. He felt he was suffocating and needed to get out. Now. He muttered something about fresh air and walked out without a backwards glance.

Teyla went to follow him, but Ronon stopped her. “I’ll go.”

As Ronon hurried out in search of Sheppard, Rosa turned to Teyla. “I am so sorry for having to tell him such a horrible story.”

Teyla holding Connor in one arm, placed her other arm around Rosa’s shoulders. “Do not hold yourself responsible. John needed to hear it. He would not have rested until he did. It is far better that he hears it from you, than from Kolya. If we ever apprehend him.”

“Do you think there is a chance you will still find him?” asked Rosa hopefully.

“I pray so, for the Colonel’s sake. I fear peace will never be his until we do.”

Teyla’s expression was grave as she expressed her concern. “Elizabeth was his life. Even before they fell in love, there was a connection between them. One of the hardest things for him is the realisation he could do nothing to prevent Elizabeth from being taken.”

Whilst the women sat and spoke amongst themselves, Rodney stood staring out of the window. He frantically scanned the immediate surroundings for any sign of Sheppard. People who didn’t know him, thought he was cold hearted and uncaring, but he wasn’t. He cared a great deal for his friends, especially Sheppard. He just had difficulty showing it.

A voice from the other side of the room momentarily startled him. “What?” asked McKay, disgruntled.

“I said, he’ll come back when he has had time to digest things,” repeated Radim joining McKay by the window.

McKay looked at the Genii Commander with just the tiniest bit of dislike. He’d forgotten he was still in the room. “What’s with the silence? I’m sure you could have got your two cents worth in. Or were you afraid Rosa would discover your past involvement with Kolya. I’m sure she’d find it eye opening. Like for instance, if she found out you once tried to take Atlantis when part of Kolya attacking force”

Although Radim’s eyes narrowed, he answered politely. “I did not feel it was my place.”

McKay raised an eyebrow, but was prevented from commenting further by the return of Sheppard and Ronon.

Rodney noticed Sheppard’s red rimmed eyes and opened his mouth to mention it. Just in time he stopped. He felt like kicking himself. Was he as insensitive as his friends claimed him too be? It certainly wasn’t what Sheppard needed to hear.

The rest of the team and Rosa remained silent as John took his son from Teyla’s arms.

“Elizabeth and I couldn’t decide on a name. I wanted to call him Jonathan, but Elizabeth said it would confuse him. He frowned “Especially, given people would shorten it to Jon in no time. She wanted to call him Connor. I’m happy she got her wish.”

“Actually, she called him Connor Jonathan Sheppard, so that you both had your wish,” replied Rosa with a smile.

John’s lips turned up at the side, hinting at a smile.

Sheppard looked down on his son, who appeared to be fascinated by the pockets on his father’s tac vest. He was saddened to realise he’d missed out on his son’s first few months. Months he’d never get back.

He immediately made a promise to Elizabeth, Connor and himself. He promised to be the kind of father his son could depend on. Someone who would stand by him, through the bad times as well as the good.

He was relieved the inner calmness he’d achieved earlier, during him minutes of reflection, remained.

On escaping the room, Sheppard found himself drawn to the building, where Elizabeth had spent her days as Kolya’s prisoner. Standing with his back to the door, he thought of all the things Elizabeth had been forced to endured. Yet not once had she given in or broken. She had remained strong, even when she knew death was beckoning her. He couldn’t let it all be for nothing, which it would be, if he gave in again to his grief and pain.

. Elizabeth had gifted him with something to live for. Someone who needed love and would give the same in return. Their son. Within Connor there would always be a tiny bit of Elizabeth.

Together they’d remember that one remarkable woman, who had stolen both their hearts. Elizabeth sweetheart, we’ll never, ever forget you. As he spotted Ronon striding towards him, he already felt a calmness settle over him. He knew what he had to do and he now he was ready.

End of Flash back

Although still in pain, Sheppard grasped and held on fast to the line, Elizabeth had thrown for him. He turned to the people before him. To the group who were much more than work colleagues. They were his family.

“It’s time we took Connor home. Time to show him Atlantis.”

Teyla had volunteered to help Rosa pack Connor’s things, ready for his departure. Standing holding Connor, Sheppard noticed Rosa’s shaking hands and the deep breaths she took. She was also unusually quiet. From what he’s noticed of Rosa today, he knew she took enjoyment in conversing with people. This silence didn’t seem like her. Then it struck him. He looked to Teyla, who he knew had also been studying Rosa discretely. Teyla obviously sensed his eyes on her and looked up. He tipped his head in Rosa’s direction and was awarded by a silent but definite nod.

“Rosa, regarding this fatherhood thing. As much as I love Connor, it’s going to take some getting used to. Connor too will find it hard to settle with people who are strangers to him. How would you feel about maybe coming to Atlantis, to help me out? It can be just until Connor settles. He gestured with his hand. Or heck, as long as you wish.”

Rosa’s jaw dropped in astonishment, she was speechless.

“Rosa, some of my people, Athosians, also reside on Atlantis, and the rest live on the mainland. They will be more than happy to welcome you if you decide to stay.”

Sheppard mistook her silence for indecision. “You would be helping me out. Who would look after Connor when I have to work. Especially when it entails missions off world?” He gave her, his famous puppy dog look. “He knows you. What do you say?”

“John I don’t know what to say. It is more than I ever hoped for. I was hoping to convince you to bring Connor back to see me, on the odd occasion you had time on your hands. But this is so much more.” A smile spread across her face and her eyes misted up. “If everyone is in agreement I’d love to accept.”

“That’ll be a yes then,” grinned John “Well what are you waiting for. Pack only the things you’ll need immediately. I’ll organise a jumper to collect the rest of your belongings, should you choose to stay permanently.”

“I am also sure, John will arrange for you to visit your people, whenever you wish. Teyla glanced over to Sheppard, her left eyebrow raised. “Will you not John?”

Sheppard gave a smirk, “I think that can be arranged.”

Rosa thanked both of them by embracing them one at a time. She commenced packing her previous expression of sadness gone and replaced by a huge smile. This time is just wasn’t Connor she packed for but herself also. She didn’t know yet how long it would be for but she was sure she’d suffer no regrets.

Sheppard meanwhile contacted Carter, back on Atlantis. He expected to face more than just some difficulty in convincing her of the advantages having Rosa stay on Atlantis. However he was dumfounded when she didn’t challenge him. Not once. May be it was the shock of learning there was going to b another Sheppard to contend with, male at that. He smirked to himself. Now why should that give her any cause for concern?

As soon as they were ready to depart, Rosa took a final look at what had been home to her for many years now. Although she was sad to leave it behind, she was just as equally looking forward to her new home, with her new found friends, and her beloved Connor.

She’d always held a fear that one day, his rightful father would come to claim back his son, and she’d never again get to hold him in her arms. How wrong she was.

Maybe soon, in the not too distant future she’d confide in him this strange feeling she’d carried with her, regarding Elizabeth. First though, she needed to find concrete proof.

She didn’t look back, as she took the last couple of steps up to the portal, and to her new home. Rosa had the feeling that on Atlantis, there would never be a dull moment.

As she took the final step, to what was to become a new life for her, she imagined Elizabeth smiling down on her, thanking her for making the correct choice.


Chapter End Notes: Okay you made it to the end. So did you enjoy it, or is there something else you like added or something you’re anxious to know. The only way to get an answer is to review. So go ahead push that button. Don’t leave it until later you know you’ll only forget. And as always thanks for reading.

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