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Chapter 2

Upon landing John turned on his phone and immediately tried to call Victoria back but it went straight to voice mail and the more he called her number the more anxious he became. He hated waiting in line but that was going to be the only way he could grab a taxi out to Victoria's home, sure he could rent a car but he knew that would probably take even more time based on the long lines at the counters he passed on his way out of the airport. He hopped in the cab and promised a big tip if he got him there in less than 30 minutes so the taxi pulled away from the curb rather quickly.

When John pulled up to the house there was a light on in the living room so he knocked firmly and loudly on the door, listening for the approach of footsteps as he waited. He heard some shoes shuffling across the floor.

“Mrs. Weir…Victoria, It’s me…John Sheppard. Are you there?”

He could hear the chain coming off of the door and then slowly the door opened and revealed an elderly woman who had a sad but sweet smile on her face as she greeted her guest.

“John, what are you doing here? What is wrong? Is there something wrong with General O'Neill?”

“No Victoria, I came out here because you suddenly hung up on me after telling me about Sedge and then when I tried to call you back you never answered. Are you okay? Can I do something to help you,” John asked anxiously.

Tears started to well up in Victoria’s eyes as opened the door wider to allow John to enter and she gently patted his hand as he walked inside the large home. As John turned around he saw tears now falling down Victoria’s face and he was afraid that he might have frightened her or upset her even more so he quickly asked what was wrong. Victoria said that she was so ashamed of herself for even having called him but when she couldn’t contact General O'Neill she didn’t know who to call because she was feeling so devastated by the loss of Sedge. John apologized for causing her more anguish but he wanted to know if Sedge had passed on or if he was just missing.

“She’s…she’s gone, she’s gone John. She’s gone to be with Elizabeth,” she said as she broke down crying as she tried to hide her face.

John dropped his bag and pulled Victoria into his arms and just held Victoria as she cried. He knew that he was right to have gotten on a plane and come out her to help her through this, because he knew that she had now lost all members of her family. Victoria had been an only child and she married Elizabeth’s father, Edward and they only had Elizabeth. When Elizabeth left for Atlantis, Elizabeth had been with Simon who kept Sedge while she was gone but since Simon had gotten married his wife wanted nothing to do with Sedge so Sedge was returned to Victoria. John remembered General O'Neill had been very concerned for Victoria because she was an elderly woman with only her daughter’s dog left to keep her company in this world and now she didn’t even have Sedge the dog.

Minutes had passed before Victoria eased out of John’s arms and she immediately apologized to him for embarrassing herself like that in front of him. John smiled and said it had been a long time since he held such a beautiful woman that he didn’t mind one bit; making Victoria smile. The two walked into the living room where they sat and talked, drank some tea as they talked and remembered Sedge. Victoria reminded John of how odd it was for Sedge to come right up to him and to start loving on him like she did and the only other person she did that to was General O'Neill.

The two talked and Victoria showed John the last picture she had of Sedge as he was sitting in front of the house by the front door looking out past the camera, almost as if he was looking for someone else. It was almost midnight when they stopped talking; Victoria apologized saying she didn’t mean to keep him so long. John said he needed to get checked into a hotel which made Victoria ask where he was staying, John stold her that he wasn’t sure where yet but he would find one. Victoria stood up and said she would not let him go to some random hotel and insisted that he stay there at least for the night, putting him up was the least she could do since he rushed here to see her and it was the proper thing for her to do.

Victoria walked John up to the second level of the house and opened a couple of the bedroom doors only to find that none of them were ready to have someone staying in them because they had dust all over the furniture. She apologized to John stating that she had let go her staff a while back and closed off some sections of the house. Victoria stepped over to another door and said that the only room that she knows that is made up and ready is this room and she knows it is ready because she made up the room this morning; stating it was a form of therapy after loosing Sedge.

Victoria opened the door and he knew right away that this was Elizabeth’s former bedroom based on the way it was decorated. It was rather simple in decorations and only had a few personal items such as photos and a few other personal items in view. John looked to Victoria and started to say something when he noticed tears in her eyes again.

“If it bothers you Victoria I can stay in another room, it won’t take me any time at all to make up the bed in one of the other rooms.”

“Actually, I like the idea of you staying in Elizabeth’s room. From what General O'Neill told me, you were one of the last people to see her so in a way you have a part of her with you so in a way it is like she is back in her room,” she said with sweet smile.

Instantly he knew that he could not refuse such a generous offer, so John said he would be honored to stay in this room. He walked Victoria back down the stairs towards her bedroom thn double checked the doors and windows to make sure they were locked. He walked back up the stairs and got ready for bed. As he crawled in under the sheets he thought that he could still smell a touch of Elizabeth’s shampoo on the pillow but knew that the smell would have faded a long time ago; still it helped him to relax by thinking that way and soon he was fast asleep.

He wasn’t sure what exactly woke him up so he sat up in bed and listened to the sounds all around him but heard nothing. He started to lay back down on the bed when he heard what sounded like a dog barking he didn’t think too much about it at first but the sound of barking almost sounded as if the dog was playing and not barking at some stray cat. It stopped just as John was getting out of bed so he stood by the side of the bed in his gray USAF T-shirt and sweatpants listening again.

After a minute he figured that he must have been imagining things and started crawling back into bed when he heard the jingling of what he thought sounded like dog tags followed by a bark. He was up in a flash looking around and waiting for the sound to happen again so he could pinpoint where it came from so when he heard the barking again he went to the window because it sounded as if it was right under the window.

What he saw made him rub his eyes then he looked over at the clock and saw that it was 3:00am then looked back outside but now there was nothing out there. John stood there by the window looking all around but there was no sign of the dog or the woman he had seen playing with the dog. He knew that he must have imagined things because he could swear that he had seen Sedge and that Sedge was returning a ball to Elizabeth. He knew it wasn’t right because both Elizabeth and Sedge were gone and he thought maybe the suggestion that Victoria had made earlier about Elizabeth and Sedge being together had caused him to imagine what he saw.

John walked out of his room and checked the doors and windows making sure not to wake Victoria; having assured himself that everything was locked up tight he returned to bed. He wasn’t sure if it was the emotional strain of the day that was causing him to be so tired or if he was still recovering from jet lag, but either way he was asleep in minutes.

She was sitting on the edge of his bed smiling down at him as she brushed his hair to the side when John opened his eyes and blinked a couple of times and started to sit up in bed. She placed her hand on his shoulder to keep him from sitting up then smiled tenderly at him. John blinked several times then started to say her name but she put a finger to his lips to silence him and slowly he began to relax as she ran her fingers through his hair.

As she ran her fingers through his hair all worries slipped away and he enjoyed the feeling. She gently turned his head to the side so she could comb her fingers through the hair on the side of his head allowing him to glanced over at the clock on the nightstand. The clock read 2:49am and then the feeling stopped. He turned his head and saw that there was no one sitting on the side of his bed and when he turned back to the clock on the nightstand and the numbers changed from 2:47am to 2:48am. He quickly sat up in bed and looked around for any sign that someone was in his room but nothing seemed out of place.

Something was wrong but he couldn’t tell what was wrong, so he started thinking carefully about what had happened to him this evening. First he thought he was woken up by a barking dog only to see Elizabeth playing ball with Sedge but according to the clock on the nightstand it was 3:00am when that happened and it wasn’t even 3:00 at this time. Secondly he felt someone running her fingers through his hair and when he looked up it was Elizabeth sitting there and she put a finger to his mouth to shush him but according to the clock that happened at 2:49am but then she disappeared again. Yet right now the clock was just flipping over now to 2:50am, so did that mean that he had been dreaming all of this or was someone playing tricks on his mind. He felt the area where he had seen Elizabeth sitting but it was cool to the touch which meant that he must have been dreaming and he just now woke up.

John could feel a headache coming on but didn’t want to disturb Victoria so got up and walked downstairs to double check the doors as well as check the clocks in the house. The kitchen clock was a minute behind while the clock in the living room was a couple of minutes ahead of time. He made sure the house was secure then went upstairs to his bedroom and luckily he found something to combat the massive headache he was getting in the bathroom medicine chest. John swallowed a couple of pills then walked over to the bedroom window, looking outside for some sign of what he saw earlier but saw nothing so he climbed into bed noting that it was now 3:20am and he closed his eyes to go to sleep.

The sun was shinning in through the curtains in the room and John rolled over and saw that it was 7:00am and he felt as if he hadn’t gotten any sleep at all, but the smell of fresh brewing coffee got his attention so he quickly showered and came down the stairs. He found Victoria sitting at the breakfast table reading the paper and drinking a cup of coffee so he asked where the mugs were so he could pour himself some. Victoria started to get up but he told her to sit and relax and she said that she had to get started on breakfast anyway and asked him if eggs, bacon and toast were okay with him. John told her not to go to any trouble for him but Victoria reminded him that she had to eat breakfast too so it wouldn’t take much for her to cook a couple of extra pieces of bacon and cook a couple of more eggs.

As John was finishing his breakfast he noticed that Victoria had impatiently laid down the paper on the table and asked John to tell her what was wrong and for him not to lie to her because it was obvious that something was bothering him. John said that last night he just had some odd dreams that woke him up a couple of times; he made sure not to tell her about his dreams. The odd thing was that he usually didn’t remember his dreams but he certainly remembered them this time. Besides if he mentioned what he had been dreaming about he was sure he would end up upsetting Victoria even more so he told her that all he remembers is the dreams left him feeling unsettled.

After he finished breakfast Victoria took his plate and apologized again for making him come out to check on her but she said there was no need for him to do that at all. John said he had tried to call her repeatedly after she hung with him but she never answered the phone and he got very worried about her. Victoria’s eyes watered up and said she was sorry but it was all her fault and got up from the table. John felt like a heel, he had upset her again and it was never his intentions, he was never very good with handling emotional situations. A minute later Victoria came back into the dining room with a plastic baggie filled with the remains of a cell phone.

“I had just gotten out of a taxi that brought me home from the vet, I can’t drive myself any more you know; and stepped off of the curb after I hung up on you. I was about to walk across the street to my house and was a couple of steps into the street when I heard squealing tires and looked up and saw a car rapidly driving down the street towards me. I moved as quickly as I could and ended up dropping my cell phone and my purse in the street. The car drove over my phone but missed me,” she said with a slight blush on her face.

“Oh my god, are you okay Victoria? Why didn’t you tell me that you were hurt last night? Do you need me to take you to the doctor to get checked out,” John asked.

“No, no, I’m fine my neighbor helped me up and he is a doctor and he looked me over and no broken bones or anything but a few scrapes and bruises,” she said as she pushed up the sleeve of her shirt to reveal a bad bruise and some scraped skin.

John said he needed to get her a new phone so she can answer his call the next time he calls and insisted on driving her to the store. They got her a new phone and had lunch at a local place not far from the mall then a casual stroll through the park with Victoria pointing out a few things about the area to John. When they returned back to the house Victoria was obviously tired out and she said she was going to take a nap and told John he was welcome to stay the night if he wanted since he mentioned he wasn’t going back to Colorado until Sunday night. He thanked Victoria for the offer and said he would do that only if she let him help around the house a little. She said no she would manage and then went into her room.

John decided to take advantage of the situation and went outside and took a good look around the house, it could do with a bit of sprucing up. He looked at the front door and saw that it could use a touch of paint so he went out to the garage to see if there was any paint out there but all that was there was old dried up paint. John pulled out his phone and found the nearest hardware store that sold paint and went there and came back with some sandpaper to clean the door up before painting it.

It was after 6:00pm before John finally stopped and suddenly he became scared because he hadn’t heard a peep from Victoria all of this time. Fearing the worse he quickly cleaned his hands and went inside the house only to be met by a wonderful aroma of what he knew to be some type of beef cooking. He poked his head around the corner and asked Victoria what she was doing, startling her with his sudden appearance.

She told him that she was making him a pot roast with some vegetables and some rolls but he still had time to put things away then go upstairs and get cleaned up before dinner. When John returned to the kitchen he helped Victoria carry the pot roast to the dining room and they had a wonderful dinner, he said he hadn’t had such good cooking in a long time making Victoria blush slightly.

John tried to clean up after dinner but Victoria would only let him carry the dishes to the kitchen because she wanted to hand wash this china because her china did not go in the dishwasher. Of course John stayed in the kitchen and helped by drying the china and then helped put it away under Victoria’s very watchful eye. They talked a while longer before Victoria said it was late and she needed to get to bed and he bid her good night. That night John slept peacefully until he heard a blood curdling scream.

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