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I. "38 Minutes"

The shower was the only way to get the smell of the infirmary off of him. There were few things John really hated, and though he appreciated how infirmaries patched him up, the plastic- too clean smell of infirmaries was high on his list. He stood in the shower carefully, trying to keep the raw mark the insect had left on him out of the water. That still stung when the water hit it and he didn't like being reminded it was there. It was the first time he'd had a real brush with death in a couple years, and it was a damn bug.

Well, John corrected himself as he leaned against the wall and tried to forget the look on Elizabeth's face when he'd opened his eyes, it was Teyla who had killed him but it was only the bug's fault. He wondered if he could authorize a nuclear strike on that stupid little planet full of bugs. It was only bugs and Wraith anyway, he thought, it wasn't like he'd be hurting anything.

Elizabeth would give him that sorrowful look that he hadn't quite yet figured out, but she'd never let him nuke the bastards out of existence. He shut off the water and reached for his towel. The only smell on him now was steam and military shampoo; John much preferred it that way. Rubbing the towel lazily across his body, his mind drifted to Elizabeth again. There was something special about her and that smirk in the infirmary. She'd stayed longer than the others and she'd been the one holding his hand when he woke up. She'd disappeared shortly after that to do something official, but he was certain she'd been there.

He wasn't sure he entirely liked the brown outfit she'd gotten as a gift from one of the Athosians. Teyla's people certainly had strange taste. John spent a moment, as he dried his back, wondering what Elizabeth would look like in one of short tank tops Teyla wore and decide she must have a lovely stomach. He wasted another few moments thinking about what lay above her stomach and cemented his opinion that his new boss was one of the more beautiful women he'd met in his lifetime. Perhaps the fact that she was entirely out of his league only made her more attractive. John liked women out of his league. He'd married one, after all, once upon a time.

John threw his towel over the edge of his shower and padded barefoot to his dresser. Pulling out a pair of sweats, black standard issue, and an old t-shirt, he pulled them on over his damp skin and sighed contentedly. His bed was waiting for him, inviting him to collapse down and sleep like the dead. The thought of being alone, trapped in the dark and unable to move wasn't a pleasant one. Reaching for socks and his pair of sandals, he decided to go for a walk. Anything to get out of the little room and feel like he was still part of something.

Stopping in front of Elizabeth's quarters was purely an accident. He'd been wishing he had brought his watch, thinking he should sleep, but still, there he was. Her door was right there and she was on the other side of it. Standing there alone in the corridor, he felt like an idiot but he didn't move. He could walk back to his quarters, forget the sweetly exotic smell that clung to Elizabeth's hair. He shouldn't have remembered that, but she'd moved past him when he was showing her the puddle jumper and he couldn't help remembering.

John's hand moved without his permission, and he thought for a moment she was still up in control. He backed up from the door as if he'd broken something and tried to look innocent as he turned around.

"John?" Elizabeth asked as the door hissed open.

Busted, John turned around with a pathetic smile. "Hey," he began as he tried to come up with something to say.

"John?" she repeated sleepily. "Is everything okay?"

Looking her over, John realized Elizabeth had been sleeping. Her dark hair was mussed and curling slightly out behind her head in odd directions. Smiling at the effect, he realized her legs and feet were bare except for a little pair of grey shorts. Her legs went on forever and even her knees were oddly intriguing. Had it been that long since he'd seen a woman who'd just gotten up? Her t-shirt was the best part. It had once been black, but it had been washed so many times that it was charcoal and nearly transparent.

"What's wrong?" Elizabeth asked again, her face was tight and she was ready for the emergency.

Ruffling his hair sheepishly, John wondered if he shouldn't have come. "Sorry, I- I uh, couldn't sleep," he admitted as he realized she wasn't wearing anything under the shirt and it was cold in the corridor. He tried to keep his eyes up, away from her nipples, but they were almost taunting them as they caught the fabric of his shirt.

"Oh," Elizabeth relaxed slightly still holding onto her door and staring at him in confusion. "You okay?" she asked finally.

"Yeah," John turned and decided to walk away before his fascination with her nipples beneath her shirt gave her something to stare at. "Sorry."

"Major-" she started and corrected herself. "John, are you sure you're okay? I-" she left her doorway and her bare feet were silent in the hallway. "I don't know what it's like to go through what you just did and I'm not a psychologist, or anything, but if you want to talk--"

"There really isn't anything to talk about," John replied genially as he shrugged. "I was dead for a bit. Then I wasn't. Good day, right?"

"John," Elizabeth sighed and touched her mouth with her hand as she tried to think. "If you aren't going to bed yet--"

He stopped turning back around and studying her thoughtfully. "Do you need to talk?" It was a stupid question.

"I-" she paused and ran a hand through her short hair as she tried to think.

He liked the gesture. It was sweetly innocent in a way Doctor Weir wasn't, well, he supposed he didn't know her, maybe she was sweet. Not innocent, that was unfair to her. He'd read her biography and knew where she'd been. It was entirely possible she was sweet.

"I don't know you," Elizabeth started crossing her arms over her chest and ruining his view. "I think I'd like to. I think- I am really grateful you made it home."

"Kinda would have put Ford in charge there, huh?" John teased as he took a step towards her room. "Wanna go down to the mess?"

"Actually," Elizabeth shifted her weight; her feet were cold. "Why don't you just come in?"

"Are you sure there isn't a rule about that?" John teased to cover his deep curiosity. He'd helped Teyla set up her room, and he'd seen the mess that was Aiden's room, but Elizabeth's room was fascinating. As far as he knew no one had been inside. It didn't even look like she'd been inside. It was too clean. Way too clean. He knew she only got one personal item, but still, he'd expected to see a sock on the floor or something.

"Hey, nice couch," John mused as he headed towards it. He didn't have a couch. He didn't even really have a chair. Maybe he should have spent more time looking for quarters.

To his surprise, Elizabeth flopped onto it and pulled up her long legs to her chest. Resting her head on them she looked and him and sighed before she smiled. "You can sit," she offered looking up at him.

"Right," John replied as he stared at the couch next to her. "So I think we should definitely stay away from the bug planet."

Elizabeth smiled wryly and nodded. "I'll put that in my report," she agreed as she closed her eyes and looked towards the wall and her window out over the ocean. "Isn't it beautiful here?"

"You have a good view," John admitted with a touch of jealousy. Her hair was curling at the base of her neck. Would it be curly if it were longer? What would she look like with it longer?

"I don't look at it much," she replied sadly as she pointed at the computer on and open on her bed. "There's a lot of paperwork."

"I suppose there's extra when I try to get myself killed?" John teased to try and lighten to the mood, but she just looked more despondent.

"You were dead, John," she murmured as her hands tightened on her knees. "You were really dead there for awhile in the jumper. Everyone was around you and you were gone--"

"Came back," he offered as he tried to think of a way to get the fear out of her face. "Hey--" There were tears in her eyes. It was late and she had to be exhausted, but there was a wet sparkle to her lashes. John touched her hand and to his surprise she squeezed it back.

"I'm sorry," she released his hand and started wiping at her face. "I shouldn't-"

John studied the flush on her cheeks and reached for her hands. When they were busy he rested his hand on her knee. Startled slightly, Elizabeth moved her knee and his hand slid down her thigh. It was wrong but it felt amazing. Her pants were soft and she was warm.

"You know the worst thing about it?" John offered as he pulled his hand away and wished he had the guts to keep it there. "It was cold. Lying there in the damp jumper, I kept feeling like I was freezing."

"Carson took off your jacket," Elizabeth offered gently as her leg slipped to the floor. She was flushed now too, but her nipples were visible again and John had to admit he loved watched them.

How long had it been? Two years? Three? He was oddly proud of himself that he couldn't remember. That lasted the next twenty seconds before he remembered the divorce papers, two bottles of wine and Nancy.

"Do you remember anything?" she continued and this time she was curious instead of shy.

"Not really," John offered as he scratched his neck nervously. "Cold, dark, kinda uncomfortable--"

Elizabeth broke the distance between them and suddenly his lips were awash in a warm, wet and distinctly pleasurable sensation. She started to pull away but he caught the back of her neck and held her close. His tongue parted her lips and she gasped and let him turn the kiss into something way outside of platonic.

Then his hand was back on her thigh, and she was the one dragging it up towards her hips. John's fingers found a tiny hole in the seam of her pants and brushed skin. Elizabeth's skin was soft and cool compared to his hands. She made a tiny noise when he touched her thigh, and he got the noise again when he slipped his finger inside.

When he started to protest she just kissed him again. "No one has to know," Elizabeth Weir, goddamn Elizabeth Weir, Phd, speaker for five languages, kissed his neck and worked his way down towards his collar.

John spent exactly three seconds thinking it was a bad idea before he realized how good it was going to feel to have those piercing eyes staring down at him as she--

His fingers slipped up towards her hips and when she parted her thighs to let him in, he realized this was going to be a hell of a lot of fun. Her knee bent and one of her legs slid up. He sighed and brought her lips back to his as he advanced with his hand. Elizabeth decided two could play at this game and started undoing the laces of his pajama pants. He'd had room to expand inside of them, but her cold fingers made him stiffen as if he hadn't been touched by a girl before.

Maybe it was the mint and something he couldn't place scent of her hair, but he felt like a teenager necking in the back of his car.

John liked it. Elizabeth squirmed as his hands teased a moan of out of her. Her head went back as he realized he was finally going to get to see those little breasts he'd been fantasizing about. John reached for her shirt and she stopped him.

"You first," she anted but John chuckled.

"You already saw," he countered as he ran his hands over her stomach. Elizabeth was the combination between soft and thin that made him feel like he was undressing some kind of fairy creature.

Shrugging, Elizabeth pulled her old t-shirt over her head in one smooth motion, and John decided he had to have her breasts. His lips danced around one of them, and she had to drag his face back up to hers. Her free hand was wrapped around him and that almost felt good enough.

The not quite perfectness of the situation had his head pounding. He should take her to the bed. He should be patient.

Elizabeth tore off her pants, wrapping long naked legs around him as she climbed onto his lap. Her breasts were at eye level and he sucked a nipple until she gasped and hit him away form it. His shirt flew off and she ran her nails down his chest. It wasn't sophisticated enough to be lovemaking, but it was certainly one of the best fucks of his life.

Her back arched and she lifted herself enough to let him in. Elizabeth was still tight and he reached for her clit, trying to relax her so nothing he did would hurt her. Kissing her and moaning into her neck made her roll her shoulders and cling to him. His pants slid down just off of his ass and it was her hands that guided him in. John balanced her against him with his left hand and used his right to roll her eyes back into her head.

She bit his neck, shocking him as she lowered herself and took him deeper into the refuge of her body. There was no death there. No screaming pain and blood running down his neck. For a moment she rested her cheek against the bandage and he felt himself sigh. John was whole. He'd survived yet again and he was wrapped up in her.

Elizabeth's legs slipped behind his back and he slid forward on the couch. She was slipping closer, flattening herself against his chest. He had to work to keep his hand on her clit, but it was worth it for the growl in her voice. She almost forgot and grabbed the bad side of his neck. John turned her lips and kissed her until she broke it to groan something that might have been his name.

It was hot. She was hot. Elizabeth was the best thing to happen to him in either galaxy and for the next few moments he was going to enjoy that. She twisted her hips inward, changing the angle as she ripped his hand away and panted in desperation. Pressing her head into his chest, Elizabeth couldn't fight him when he brought his fingers back. Instead, she squirmed, writhing against him before the sobbing broke from her throat.

Pausing so she could catch her breath, he wondered if she was going to keep breathing. Elizabeth choked and released her death grip on his arm. Collapsing against him, she struggle to find herself again. Keeping a hand on the back of her head, he waited for her. When she lifted her head and kissed him there was a new hunger in her. She knew him now. Elizabeth had passed the point of being companionable strangers and pushed through to intimate. Her eyes had something truly terrifying, but he liked it. He couldn't look away and all he could feel was her. Her hands on his shoulders as she changed position, her breasts against his chest, and her lips hot on his neck.

John grabbed her ass with both of his hands and buried himself deeper. He nibbled her upper lip and waited for her sigh of acceptance. He didn't want to push her, do anything she didn't-

"God, John--" she murmured into his neck and her hand splayed across his shoulder. Elizabeth rocked, grinding into him before she pulled herself almost free. That almost got him. The sudden shift between cold air and the heat of Elizabeth was enough to make him whisper something that made her start to laugh. It was the throaty laugh that made him feel like his eyes were rolling up in his head.

He felt her nipple brush his cheek as he buried his head in her chest and cried out. His body was done, spent inside of her and he could have lived for the beat of her heart. Elizabeth's hands were in his hair. Her skin was wet against him. He was warm and alive. Alive.

He kissed her again and found the hint of his sweat on her lips. She still wanted to laugh, but Elizabeth settled for a sigh into his neck. "Thank you," she murmured gently. "Thank you for coming back."


II. "The Eye"

Rain was drumming on her windows and she couldn't sleep. It was the biggest storm since THE storm and Elizabeth was having a hard time letting go of the fact that the city was going to be okay. It wouldn't be so bad if she couldn't hear the rain. Nothing she did helped her sleep. She'd even given in and had the Athosian beer Carson had offered her when she turned down his offer of sleeping pills.

Elizabeth wasn't too that point. Deciding if she couldn't sleep and she might as well get work done, she dragged herself out of bed and headed down the hall with her expedition jacket pulled on over her pajamas. Command was empty. The night shift was allowed to run things from the auxiliary center, closer to the mess hall and the rest of the civilization. She didn't want people falling asleep on duty.

Slipping into her office, Elizabeth was buried in mission reports and still not tired when he slipped in.

"You okay?" John asked as he slumped into the chair across from her.

Startling nearly out of her chair, Elizabeth put her hand over her heart and waited for it to stop beating so quickly.

John grinned lazily and apologized. "Didn't mean-" he started as he reached for one of her trinkets to play with.

"Sorry," Elizabeth shook her head and sighed the nervousness out of her chest. "The rain was loud."

John nodded and turned the sculpture over in his hands. "Thought it might be," he replied as he stood up, seeming like he was going to put down one for the other and instead, circling the desk to her. He dropped his hands to her shoulders. Surprising her as much as the hand-holding after her brush with death had.

She'd needed him, desperately to cling to because she'd almost been taken. Elizabeth had realized in that stark moment that death was a bullet away, and death was one of the better ends. If he hadn't- well, her mind ran off that way and her body just shuddered.

"Carson said-" John stopped as if she was about to yell at him.

"Yes," she nodded and looked up at him, wishing she could throw herself into his arms and let go of everything. Elizabeth didn't have that option. She couldn't be weak. She couldn't have doubts. John had saved her and that was it. She was safe now.

Her hands were still shaking.

Dropping down in front of her, John covered her hands with his. "Sometimes I think it's not worth it," he started warming her hands and he smiled. "That maybe one of these days I'll fuck up and come back through that 'gate in a big black bag."

When she started to speak he touched her lips. Elizabeth couldn't get over the taste of his hands. Clean and dry, like leather, and she was oddly comforted by that.

"You weren't going," he promised softly. "I didn't care what I had to do, I wasn't going to lose you."

"John--" she pleaded through his fingers. Elizabeth didn't have the words for that. No one had ever looked at her and completely taken her soul in his hands. No one had made her feel like she could trust him like that. It was almost frightening. Her life had been completely in his hands and everything had been all right. "I can't listen to the rain."

"It wasn't supposed to happen," John explained as he lifted her from her chair and started walking towards the balcony. "You're not supposed to be in the line of fire. I had to fix it."

The door slid open and rain poured down on the balcony. For a long moment they just watched it, listening to it pour down and wondering if it was ever going to sound safe again. John reached out his hand, but Elizabeth walked right into it. The rain soaked her hair, flattening it to her head before she turned to look at him. "Would you have killed him?"

It didn't seem wise to answer her question. Somethings were better left unsaid, and he walked into the rain after her. Kissing made the water seem less cold. In fact, there was a heat inside her that seemed to pour into him. The tiny moan Elizabeth made in her throat was way too much of a turn on. He backed her towards the edge of the balcony, pushing her into the railing.

It was freezing out there in the rain, but at least this rain wasn't horizontal like the hurricane had been. Elizabeth was the one who went further and started undoing her pants. Something told her it wasn't right, but the more he kissed her the less she cared.

Maybe they were both desperate. Maybe it was sheer, stupid lust, but his hand slipped inside her pants and she dragged him towards the wall. Pulling her pants down enough to give him room to play, Elizabeth kept kissing him as he pushed her back against the cold, wet wall of the city. Icy water ran down her back and rain thundered in her ears, but John's tongue was in her mouth.

She crushed him closer, putting one arm on his shoulders and sighing as his fingers slipped inside of her. Elizabeth wasn't quite ready, it almost hurt and she relished it. Pain was part of life and she needed life. Kissing was made better by the slow progress he was making within her. She was cold, desperate and her head was pounding.

She needed it. Her eyes were starting to tingle, as if something was going off in the back of her brain. It was stupid. It was dirty. It was--

Elizabeth shuddered and cried into his chest when orgasm assaulted her. Clinging to him, she made him give her a moment in the cold rain to realized it wasn't the rain she feared. She was terrified of him. The piercing way his eyes got into her brain, and the cold violence that had saved her life. Feeling the bullet slam into Koyla's shoulder again in her memory, she gasped and clung tighter to him.

Kissing him saved her from talking, and his lips wound around her wet skin to her ear.

"Jumper bay," John murmured and Elizabeth felt him pressing against her. Buttoning her pants again, she let herself be dragged from the rain, and then she took a turn dragging him up the stairs.

John pushed her back into a jumper, stripping off her sodden jacket as he waved to open the watch. His fell away as he chased her inside, Elizabeth felt her skin sting in the chill air as she tore off her shirt. The red fell to the floor as she watched him pull of his pants. He waved his hand to close the door as she pulled him down on top of her. Elizabeth wrapped a leg around his back and ground her body against his until he started to harden in spite of the cold.

Ripping his shirt over his head, she kissed her way across the bruises on his skin. They were healing, gold and green, but each one was precious. Marks on the hero who always come home. He bit her neck, and the moan in her throat became a sob. She was so empty her body ached to keep the contact. Hands dug into his back as John wriggled free of his boxers. Their pants were still caught around their feet, and the angle was a little awkward.

Looking her straight in the eye, he entered. Nothing ever got her quite prepared for the sudden sensation of full. Thrusting followed, slowly at first as he worked out a better position. Her legs parted and her natural flexibility worked to her advantage as John parted her thighs. The jumper was cold beneath her back, and his body smacked against hers, but it was hard to hear over the sounds she was making.

Elizabeth didn't mean to. She had no intention of sobbing into his neck, but this was safe. She didn't have to admit how afraid she'd been. She didn't have to voice her helpless frustration that a madman could just grab her and there was nothing she could do. John was still looking at her, staring into her eyes and kissing her. He'd been afraid he was hurting her, but she kept him close.

His knee slipped around hers and he was deeper. His eyes were darkening, Sweat was chasing cold water from her skin and she didn't give a damn about being on the chill floor of the jumper. John was warm. He pushed himself past, staying with her longer than she expected. He was deep inside of her when he came. John moaned and collapsed against her. Something intangible changed. Something was released and her heart was pulsing in her teeth when he started to kiss her again.

Her hand lay lazily on his lower back, and he'd crushed the other one beneath his on the deck of the jumper. His wet hair tickled her cheek, and he lifted his head to watch her. John's fingers roamed lazily over her face. Feeling out the features and lines of her chin. There was truth in his eyes.

Elizabeth wondered what was in hers.

III. "Conversion"

"There's enough of him in there to know me," Elizabeth half-hoped, half-promised to calm Carson's nerves. "We'll just talk."

Her promises meant nothing when as soon as she walked in. John moved like a demon, pressing her to the wall. Her head thudded back and her eyes snapped back open into his. They were still yellow, empty and hungry.

"John-" As soon as she spoke, he covered her mouth. Elizabeth realized he might not understand what she was saying. His eyes were confused, dark and alien.

His hand was hot and smooth against her lips. John buried his nose in her neck and licked the drop of seat from her hairline. Shivering involuntarily, she tried not to think about the pressure of his body against his. Especially the way he had forced his hips tight against her. Carson hadn't mentioned that kind of hunger.

His eyes flickered as he tasted her sweat. John closed them for a moment, as if he had to interpret what her hormones were saying. Could he taste her fear? Was there something else there?

Dropping away from her face, his hand landed on her breast and Elizabeth suddenly realized what the hunger was. Was Carson watching? Did he know what was going on? One of John's long nails cut through her shirt and he stared at the red string on the end of it before he tore it open.

"John, you don't know what you're doing," Elizabeth managed to protest as her shirt tore open and he leered at her exposed skin. He touched her lips with the pad of his finger, rubbing sweat across her lips as if he thought she'd understand if she could taste what he felt. All she could taste was salt and a hint of something she could only call alien. It reminded her of moss, or the time she'd been served insects.

He still didn't speak. Elizabeth wasn't sure he remembered how. His hand rested over her chest, holding on to her heartbeat as she felt it race within her. John had to sense her fear. He had to know that anyone, even him, ripping her clothes bordered on a violation. Her neck was still sore from the wall and his hands.

Slipping into her lips, John stole a trace of her saliva and tasted it. His dark, desperate eyes softened and he pulled back. Tearing his own shirt from his body, shredding it with his nails, he put her hands on his chest. His skin was still mottled, and dry, like a snake's smoothness. He dropped his hands to his sides and let her hands run up to his throat. Holding her hands over his pulsing blood vessels, he challenged her with a grunt.

Elizabeths hands trembled as she lowered them to his belt buckle. The plastic slipped beneath damp fingers and she didn't get it to snap free until the second try. His boxer shorts barely held his erection. As it pressed against her stomach through the thin fabric, Elizabeth wondered if Carson had been trying to warn her that the biochemical response between them would be sexual. Why wasn't she listening? Why had the fact that he was alone been all she could think about?

Her heart was racing. Elizabeth's skin was too tight and without his hands on it she was going to crawl out of it. John's face was buried in her neck and she could smell the nervous sweat in his hair. He smelled like he'd been running. He was already breathing hard, and they'd barely touched. His breath was a question. His hands on her breasts, waiting to shred her bra like he had her shirt, were anticipating her answer.

Backing up, Elizabeth softly removed her bra as he watched her. She set it and the ruins of her shirt in a heap on the corner of a chair and reached for her pants. His eyes burned her skin as he seemed to commit all of her to memory. Elizabeth shivered slightly and took a step back towards him. John was waiting with his pants around his ankles, unmoving as she insinuated her nude body against his.

"It's all right," she murmured into his hair and he lowered his nose to her chest.

John's nose trailed up across her face. His forehead stopped against hers and his lips waited centimeters away. He must be able to smell her hesitation; sense her fear and know he was supposed to stop. Tentatively reaching out with her tongue, she licked his upper lip and left her answer in a damp spot on his lips.

"It's all right," Elizabeth repeated as she dropped to the floor to remove his pants. One of his hands caught her hair and wrapped it around his fingers. He tightened it until it almost hurt, and she stood up suddenly. Shaking her head, she kissed him just enough to share the pain he'd caused. His yellow eyes flashed dark with what passed for apology.

Elizabeth stood on his pants as he finally removed his feet from them, and she was gentle as she slipped the elastic of his boxers down over the curve of his ass. Her patience frustrated him and John tore the material from between his knees and tossed it aside. The skin on the inside of his knees turned pink in protest and she couldn't help wondering if he even felt pain. Would he feel her?

The hand in her hair tipped up her head. John stared through her eyes and pushed her back. Her thighs hit the bed; Elizabeth startled and felt his hands on her hips as he pulled her up. As if he knew his hands would be too rough, John dropped his mouth to her clit and sucked.

The initial contact brought tears to her eyes as her head snapped back. He pulled the sensitive tissue into his mouth and held it, as if he was learning the way of her. Tasting as he explored, John's tongue found it's way lower as his roughened hands dropped to her breasts. She gasped and they slipped lower, holding her in place as he searched.

John's head popped up at the sound and he studied her as she bit her lip. Running his tongue in a slow circle, he felt her squirm as more of the high pitched sound escaped her lips. He liked it. There was a hint of a smile on his face as he moved through the short dark curls covering her pubic bone. Carefully holding her skin only with the palms of his hands, he nuzzled his way up between her breasts and finally settled on her chin.

The stubble on his face was damp and smelled vaguely of her. John's tongue slipped into her lips and toyed with her teeth. He knew she was aroused, however tense she still was, and he took her. Hr spine went straight and Elizabeth had tears in her eyes again. She was full, almost too full of him, and he hadn't even started to move yet. Pulling her legs up and bracing them on his back helped a little, but her teeth were still on edge as dry touch of his hands started down her back.

Waiting a moment, John started to move slowly. His face was still close to hers, and her gasping breath went into the skin of his neck. When her head snapped back, he nuzzled her ear. He was making a sound. Elizabeth could barely hear it over the intrusive sound of her struggle for control. John was humming. It was scratchy, deep and most likely subconscious, but he was slipping into a slow rhythm that jarred her heartbeat.

Grabbing his head, she pulled it from her shoulder and held him. Elizabeth could feel her lost tears cool on her skin, but she needed the understanding. She had to get her taste of him. John didn't seem to remember how to return a kiss when she desperately crushed his lips. His tongue was slow to respond and seemed to be more in search of the taste of her than replying.

Breaking the contact, Elizabeth felt him clean her cheeks of tears and end with his lips on her forehead. Her knees rose higher, and his hands parted her thighs for a better angle. Straining her back, she turned the angle of her hips and felt his skin collide with her clit. Rocking into him as she moved, she brought his hands back to her breasts and moved his hands to knead them.

That extra touch started her head reeling, and Elizabeth felt a shiver of relief as her body started to feel with him. The tightness eased down from pain to an ache of wanting. Moving to meet him as he slipped deeper, she felt the hum in his chest as he held her. He couldn't know he was doing it, but it was important. It was changing, altering pitch as he started to make more desperate circles with his hips.

Kissing him again drew a growl of response, and Elizabeth reached for her clit with eager fingers. Fumbling as he sped, she heard the smacking of their flesh together and drew him deeper. John's claws dug into her ribs and she wondered if he was sensing her rawness. Her body was starting to condense sensations until all that mattered were her fingers and the steady fullness of him within her.

Forgetting caution, Elizabeth fell forward, closer to him as her body clamped down in orgasm. Her head sailed as if she'd hit a wall of heat. The shaking, base of her skull, feeling slipped down and tightened around him.

John bit her lip when he came. The spasm of his body made her tighten the hands on the back of his neck as his talons broke the skin on her chest. The sudden jolt of pain made her squeak into his mouth and for a moment Elizabeth saw a hint of humor.

He remained standing, satiated and limp within her, John was content with the taste of the fresh sweat on her neck. Touching the blood with her fingers proved it wasn't serious. Brushing it aside on the white sheet covering the bed, Elizabeth tried to coax him into the bed with her.

Sliding out of her left a damp spot on her leg that ran down towards her knee, but he agreed to join her. He lay on his side, eyes fixed on her as she reached for the sheet.

"Sleep?" Elizabeth asked him as she realized Carson might have seen and heard the entire exchange. Her body melted against his, and she lifted his arm to slide in against his chest. She didn't mean to be tired. Admitting the toll losing him had on her was outside the realm of the possible, but he was tired so she wanted to sleep.

His arm fell around her shoulder and settled onto her stomach. The rumbling hum in his chest was calming and nearly inaudible. He snuggled his head into her neck and sighed softly. His breath was soothing and the heat of his body even more so.

When Carson woke her to give John the final shot of his serum, Elizabeth just smiled sleepily and pulled the sheet tighter around her. John was with her and he was safe. It was as if her internal monologue had changed to accommodate his presence, and she had no intention of letting him go.

IV. "Common Ground"

Late night kitchen raids were something that never got old. He hadn't been able to sleep yet, and just trying to read his book through the growling of his stomach was getting ridiculous.

Elizabeth had found him sitting alone in at a table covered in food. Her head ached from unshed tears. She'd literally watched him die only to have him strut through the 'gate as if nothing had happened, well, not nothing. John had singlehandedly managed to advance her opinion of the Wraith several notches while reminding her the nastiest species in the galaxy, after the Goa'uld, seemed to be her own. She was after tea and something to settle the ibuprofen in her stomach so she could attempt going to sleep.

John waved her over enthusiastically, even holding up a piece of something chocolate-looking and pointing to the chair next to him. She knew she should have gone to bed because that was probably the only thing that was going to get rid of her headache. There was just something intoxicating about his enthusiasm. He kicked a chair back from the table and waved to it with an elbow.

"You have to try this," John commanded as he set chocolate cake, dripping with half-melted ice cream in front of the chair and dug his fingers into a combination of Jello and whipped cream that might have once been pretty. Now the blue was kind of strange color, but he didn't seem to mind.

"Hungry?" she wondered as she contemplated the chair with her arms over her chest.

"Not really," John answered with a grin as he licked whipped cream from his lip. "I just needed to taste some things."

Rising an eyebrow, she looked at the line of empty plates and shook her head. "Who knew the Wraith were such metabolism starters?" Elizabeth asked as she sank into the chair and wondered if he expected her to eat with her fingers as well. "Fork?"

"Forgot," John explained as he swallowed a mouthful of Jello and grinned wickedly. "I could feed you."

Elizabeth looked over at the forks meters away and sighed. Her tea was still steeping and the cake did smell good. The ice cream was going to be harder to eat; she decided as she reached towards the frosting.

"Not like that!" John admonished laughing as he took her hand away and used his own sticky fingers to pick up a large hunk of cake. Holding it in front of her mouth, he waited as she stared at him incredulously. "Just try it?"

Under normal circumstances, she never would have let him, but he was alive. He was back and nothing was really going to ruin that. Elizabeth opened her mouth and nearly choked when he pulled his fingers out of her mouth. Laughing his apologies, John's hand covered hers as she chewed the squishy, sweet mess.

"Good?" he teased as he picked up a bite for himself. Watching her swallow and reach for a napkin, he kissed her cheek, leaving a new sticky mark where clean skin had been. Still laughing, John brushed her lips with his thumb, stealing frosting and licking it off.

"I've never tasted anything like this, any of this," he explained as he waved his hand over his expanse of dishes. "It's like I've had a cold for the rest of my life and I can only really taste things now."

"Anything else odd?" Elizabeth wondered giving up trying to remove the stickiness from her face and just watching him stuff more Jello into his.

"Dunno," John shrugged with a mouth full of food. "Suppose-" he paused and swallowed. "Went for a run for five kilometers, sparred with Teyla, played chess with Zelenka, bothered McKay...you know, pretty average day." He reached for a plate of cheese and crackers and put off the dessert fix for awhile. As he sandwiched cheddar between two crackers and reached for roast turkey, he titled his head at her. "You?"

"Paperwork," Elizabeth sighed and bounced her tea bag in her cup. "You not being dead is worth about five pages for the IOA."

"Sorry," he teased ruthlessly studying her hands and the smear of chocolate on her face.

"You being dead would have been slightly less," she managed to tease back, nearly pleased with herself.

"Well, next time," John joked coldly as he decided she was wasting her cake and attacked that.

"No," she answered immediately staring down at her tea and wondering why her eyes hurt viciously all of a sudden.

"What?" he asked licking his fingers and looking up in surprise.

"I'm not ready to joke about that," Elizabeth replied forcefully staring into the stubble on his chin and realizing she'd nearly lost that completely.

"Yeah, probably a little wrong, huh?" John muttered around his fingers as he lifted a hunk of cake as a peace offering.

Stuck between explaining how gut wrenchingly horrible it had been to watch him die and just taking the cake, Elizabeth decided sugar was the easy way out. Letting him feed her was fun after she let go of the weirdness. His fingers were surprisingly gentle in her mouth; he was making a mess of her face but the stupid grin he was wearing suggested he enjoyed it.

"You're getting me all sticky--" Elizabeth complained feeling ice cream run down her chin. Instead of reaching for a napkin, he caught the drip with his tongue. One silent look offered him permission to continue and the hot tip of his tongue ended up on her lips. His lips followed and momentarily his tongue was in her mouth, mixing with the cake.

Still laughing as he kissed her, Elizabeth felt him leave his chair. He circled around and held her.

"Better than cake," John murmured as he wandered across her cheek to remove the last of the chocolate from her skin.

"John," she protested as he insinuated himself into her lap.

"This--" he said trailing down her chin and smudging more chocolate across her face so he could chase it, "This is amazing."

"Only Sedgewick has licked my cheek," Elizabeth protested giggling as John settled on her lap and pinned her hands back as he hovered over her face with more cake.

"Well, your previous lovers must have been unimaginative," John decided firmly cradling her face in one hand and trying to decide what best to do with his cake. Eating it would be fun, getting it all over her face would be extraordinarily so, but she'd probably be annoyed.

Realizing her position was getting cake in her hair, Elizabeth sighed and freed her hands to wrap them around his back. "Since when are you my lover?" she asked half-seriously.

"I was shooting for half an hour from now," John admitted as he placed the cake in her mouth to keep her from arguing with him. "Maybe less if this goes well," he teased and wriggled in her lap. Satisfied by his new position, he grinned as if she'd pronounced him king of the city and winked.

"John," Elizabeth started trying to sound serious as she tried to ignore the fact that he was becoming aroused and it didn't seem to bother him in the slightest. He started kissing her neck and she realized he was seriously working on getting her into bed. "This isn't right."

He stopped, holding his hands around her neck and pondering for a moment. "No, I suppose--" John trailed off and stood almost as if he was apologizing. He let her stand and watched her try to regain her composure. Elizabeth was straightening her shirt when he circled her. Turning her around quickly, he stopped pretending desperately not to be incredibly attracted her to and let go.

Elizabeth hadn't been kissed like that since university, where a kiss and the sticky fumbling that followed were simply means to an end. Unfortunately, there was no way kissing John could be that blissfully meaningless. No chance of letting go and slipping back into the gray place between lovers and friends.

His lips stayed in contact when she tried to break away. John's hand caught her shoulder and steered her back. She hit the table with her butt and slid up onto it. Her body was rebelling, letting John keep kissing instead of pulling away and making the argument that his hand didn't belong on her breast. Elizabeth felt her lips break from his and heard herself sigh as he insinuated himself between her legs. "We can't do this," she protested as she heard him shove the dishes behind her out of the way. "John, you're not thinking clearly."

"Finally!" he announced as he clasped the back of her neck. "Whenever I think clearly i think this is wrong and I stop myself..."


"...I always stop myself before I do this--" he finished as he kissed her again, this time putting his weight over hers and bending her back to the table. Something sticky, he hadn't moved was in her hair, and there was something underneath her back, but John was staring down at her like she was the only thing in the city. He closed her eyes with his hand and covered her mouth with his. "It doesn't feel wrong, does it?" he asked her neck as he nibbled his way down to her collar.

"Can't go through life with my eyes closed," Elizabeth complained in a sigh as she wished her shirt wasn't impeding his progress.

"I want you," John explained without hesitation. "I used to care about the rest." His hand slipped down to her stomach and rested there. "I don't think I do anymore."

One of his knees was on the table next to her and he was sliding her back, even further into his mass of empty dishes. Something clattered off the edge of the table and Elizabeth wondered if he actually intended to climb on top of her and strip her in the mess hall. Part of her didn't even mind the idea. His hand trailed through her hair, sticky with melting ice cream, and pulled her earpiece from her ear. Sticking it into his pocket, he slipped off her and just held out his hand.

Sitting up made wet ice cream run down her neck, and Elizabeth realized she'd probably have to wash her jacket. John's hand waited and she could see the lines on his palm and the strength in his fingers. For that moment, she could have walked away but taking his hand was the only right answer.

Somehow they walked through the corridors. He stopped her once and got a smear of ice cream on the wall when John pressed her against it and kissed her neck. Elizabeth's hand was back against the wall, and she was biting her lip when she realized, almost belatedly, how aroused she was. How long had it been since she'd even let herself think about having sex?

Crashing her against the blue crystals as he assaulted her with a hand on her upper thigh, John laughed when she slapped him and dragged him into his quarters by his belt. His jacket was the first thing to go, falling on the floor of his room and nearly landing in the hallway.

Elizabeth fumbled out of her jacket, letting him stick his arms into the sleeves to force it off. It landed on the floor with an odd thud and his hand went to her breast again. Forcing her shirt to stretch, he teased one finger beneath her bra and laughed when she groaned in desperation and ripped the t-shirt off over her sticky hair.

John laughed when she forced his hand into the mess he'd made of her curls and reached around for her bra. Grabbing his belt as she felt her bra fall away form her chest, she freed his black-shirt and started tearing it over his head. Knocking him to the bed with it still on, Elizabeth moaned as he pulled her down and planted her crotch directly above his. He was hard, hot and already removing his pants seemed like the best idea she'd had all expedition. Kissing her way down his chest, Elizabeth stopped just above his waistband and grinned.

Lifting her as he stood up, John made her squeal as he spun them and unceremoniously dropped her to the bed. Elizabeth kicked off one shoe, and laughed as he noticed enough to tear off the other. Her sock went with it and he nibbled at her bare foot before he clumsily bent to undo his boots. Destroying one of the laces, he was about to give up when she slid off the bed and dexterously untied them for him.

Smirking as she stood, Elizabeth pressed her breasts to his chest and led him in a slow, much more thoughtful kiss as she slid his pants from his ass. One hand started pulling on his boxers as well and he returned the favor.

"Wait, wait," John panted as she pulled him back towards the bed, "What about?"

Elizabeth shoved her pants off her ankles and brought his hands to her panties. "Shhh--" she murmured as she kicked him lightly in the back of his thigh.

The idea of her headless made him grin and he ground himself a little deeper into her hips. Elizabeth squirmed beneath him, feeling the heat of his erection on the bare skin of her stomach. She couldn't remember if the infirmary even had condoms to give out. She'd made the last round of shots, hadn't she?

John stopped kissing her neck to thoughtlessly suck one of her nipples. He only tightened his grip when she cried out in shock. Drawing her nails, though they were short, down his spine, Elizabeth heard him groan and bit his shoulder for emphasis. He revolted by flipping her up so she was on top. His hands were interested mostly in her kneading her breasts, and though it was one of the days they were sore, the pressure of his hands did things to her head.

Her fingers started on her panties and he smirked as he trailed one hand lower. Taking her hand with him, he guided her fingers towards her clit. Teasing for a moment as his other hand pulled her down. Elizabeth wriggled, trying not to hurt him as she struggled out of the damned things. When she was finally free, she pulled his hand away, bent it back to the bed, and mounted him.

She'd been so tight it hurt, and her eyes stung when he kissed her. John was patient, for all his playing in the mess hall, and it was her that had to lead him. Elizabeth rocked desperately, hearing the wet glide of him in and out of her as she lifted her hips. His hands held her shoulders and then slipped around to her stomach. John reached for her clit again and this time she let him toy with it until she was biting back the pounding of blood in her head.

Moaning in his ear, she pulled the hands away and gripped them as she tried to hold on. Elizabeth wasn't ready. Now would be too soon and she wanted to hang on to him, keep him within her while she figured out exactly what she was doing. Sweat was breaking on her, running down her spine and making it easier for his hands to slide over her breasts.

John's lips still tasted faintly of chocolate and Elizabeth was certain the blood was from her. Gently kissing her back, John rocked beneath her, trying to push her closer. She shouldn't be fighting him, but she pulled away from his touch and kept his hands safe. When their eyes met, he started to understand. At least, his eyes softened and grew dark.

She needed that darkness. Elizabeth needed the pain within her, and the shuddering agony in her chest. She couldn't cry in control when he was dying in front of her and she was helpless.

When he finally managed to free a hand from her death grip, John just held her face and let her. He pulled her down to his chest, wrapped his arms around her shoulders and held her as Elizabeth rocked her pelvis slowly against him. When his fingers were deeply entrenched in her ribs, she lost control. Shaking as she nearly pulled away from him, Elizabeth broke in his arms.

Pushing her further, his fingers brushed her clit just enough for her to cry out into the skin of his neck, and there was a smug glint in his eyes as he released into her. Joined by the wetness of their bodies, she stayed on top of him. One leg slung lazily over his and her face buried in the damp hair of his chest. His hand was in her hair, and rubbing the back of her neck.

Kissing her forehead before he fell asleep, John didn't notice she kept vigil over him until light broke grayish over the ocean.

V. "Return pt 1"

It started with a headache. One of the slow, torturous ones that built like a volcanic eruption inside of her head. She had it for days and tried to fight it off with ibuprofen and nearly a hundred glasses of water but it was immobile. Elizabeth didn't mention it to John, even though the new situation had him being her team leader; a headache wasn't a crisis. It was a personal failing of hers and she would deal with it.

Elizabeth was off-world when it went bad. She had hints. A moment where she wanted to hit John and take the P-90 from his hands, another when negotiating with the farmers of M2X-55A seemed like a waste of time when they could be enslaved instead; the last warning was the boiling sense of hatred she felt whenever she looked at John.

She didn't mention it. It didn't make sense.

Then her arm moved without her moving it. Elizabeth thought she was tired, imagining things, or falling victim to an alien plague. Then someone else, the dark presence that she'd thought was just part of her headache, stood up and left the grassy hill by the 'gate. Someone else looked over the fields surrounding the Stargate and didn't understand where she was.

Phoebus watched Lieutenant Masters dial Earth for a check in. She took her time and waited for Lieutenant Simoneson to be bored and distracted before she hit the first unsuspecting lieutenant with an elbow to the back of the head. Simoneson was less bored after that, but only long enough to take a palm to the face and go down hard. Phoebus tied them up in knots Elizabeth didn't know and hid them in the alien barn.

Then she waited for John, knowing he'd come after the lieutenants missed their check in because Elizabeth knew that. Phoebus surveyed the terrain around the 'gate, wondered why the DHD on this planet was so odd and sat on the ground waiting for John.

Elizabeth was just starting to realize that Phoebus was in the wrong galaxy entirely when John meandered over the hill.

"They were just going to get you," Phoebus explained in her voice. She sounded strained, as if the monster was admitting the headache Elizabeth had been suffering, but Phoebus was concentrating her attention on her ankle. "I tripped," Phoebus explained sheepishly staring up at John.

Predictably, in a manner so frustrating Elizabeth was certain Phoebus could hear her screaming in her head, John swung his gun around and dropped to a squat next to her. "Is it broken?"

Phoebus let him reach for her ankle, even put his hands on it before she smacked him hard with a elbow to the chin and reached for the gun. In the wrestling that followed, John nearly had the upper hand until Phoebus tore the rifle from him and rested the muzzle firmly on his throat. Elizabeth could feel the metal pressing into the softness of John's throat.

To his credit, it only took a solid glance at the look on Elizabeth's face for John to realize Phoebus was back.

"Oh fuck off and give me Elizabeth back," John spat when his staring became too much and she hit him.

Phoebus watched the blood run down the corner of his chin and smirked. "What if I don't want too?"

"Then I'll take her," John threatened openly, wiping the blood aside with obvious disdain.

Elizabeth didn't like John looking at her that way. She didn't like anyone looking at her like they wanted to kill her, but John's cold, vicious glare was especially painful. Shouldn't he be doing what he did, and save her? Mentally kicking herself for being so pathetic and expecting John to white knight himself to her rescue, Elizabeth sighed. Maybe she could figure it out.

"Brave," Phoebus concluded as she kicked him over towards the DHD. "What's wrong with this thing?"

John coughed and stiffened his chest against another incoming blow as he rolled his back towards Phoebus' foot. "You don't know any of the addresses," he replied without masking his glee. "You're pathetic. You don't even know what's going on."

Phoebus dropped to the ground between him and the pedestal of the DHD. Her knee landed on his chest as she kicked him over onto his back.

Elizabeth wondered why she wasn't this strong when she was herself. Would her body be a mess of bruises when she was returned to herself again? How long would it take Carson to realign her knee after Phoebus beat the hell out of it? Why wasn't John fighting back?

"How'd you get here?" John asked carelessly staring past the knee on his chest at the drag marks in the distance dirt by the gate.

Did he know? Elizabeth asked herself as she listened to Phoebus' chaotic thoughts. She couldn't follow everything the alien was thinking, and she didn't know why Phoebus was so interesting in her memories of the village. She tried to fight the other woman, but she didn't even know how to start blocking her mind. Phoebus was different than a replicator. A replicator had to look, but Phoebus was superimposed over everything Elizabeth was. Like a stamp covering her thoughts with new ones.

"Tell me how to dial Earth," Phoebus demanded as the gun returned to John's throat.

"Fuck off," John snapped as he hit the gun away.

Elizabeth hadn't seen him like this, exhausted, despondent, it was almost like he was trying to piss off the woman with the gun. Did he want to get shot? Maybe he did. Maybe he missed Atlantis as much as she did and getting shot was the easiest way out.

Forcing that thought out of her mind, Elizabeth focused on the headache. When had it started? What had she touched? Why was it always the glowing part of toughing something that did something strange and frustrating? Was it tingling? Did she eat something strange?

Phoebus dragged herself back to her feet and pulled John up with her. "You know I have enough bullets in here to wipe out that village if I'm careful," she reminded him as she tilted her head towards the DHD. "Dial the SGC."

Elizabeth searched her mind and tried to understand why Phoebus just didn't dial it herself. She knew the code. She had to know the code. Phoebus didn't. Were there parts of her mind that were hidden? Could she actually hide something? Elizabeth wasn't aware she was consciously doing it. Had she gotten better at hiding things? Were there other thoughts in the way?

She could feel Phoebus' frustration. Could she use that? Could she make it worse?

John shrugged out of his vest and dropped it to the ground. "Are you hot?" he asked lazily, as if it still was Elizabeth next to him. "The sun's just up there today, isn't it?"

Was he given her a hint? Did it mean something? Why was he looking at her like that?

Elizabeth suddenly envisioned his hands on her breasts and remembered as vividly as she could the last time she'd had sex. Between her legs, something tightened as she remembered being caressed by Simon's tongue. He was patient, and she'd needed that while she was at the UN. Elizabeth wasn't sure if John was patient. He might have tried something else, taking control in a way few of her lovers had dared to do.

He let Phoebus push him back towards the village. Elizabeth kept waiting for the sharp blow to head that would put her out of her misery. Instead, John stripped off his shirt and flexed the now naked muscles of his back. He dropped it to the grass and kept walking.

Elizabeth thought about running her hands down his back. She imagined the feel of his sweaty skin against hers. She heard his voice in her ear, whispering her name right before it turned into a curse.

It was hot, in the midday sun.

Phoebus' control slipped for a moment and Elizabeth challenged her. She put every part of her into a single lash outwards against the wall that was Phoebus' mind. Violence wasn't the answer, just fighting Phoebus didn't seem to work. She thought about how amazing John's tongue would feel inside her mouth. How she'd stop feeling trapped and contained beneath Phoebus' mind and just be free.

Picturing John naked seemed to help. Elizabeth imagined the muscles on his legs and guessed at the curvature of his hips from what she'd seen. She focused her wanting on the emotional response. She wanted him naked so she'd connect. So he'd feel her for her, not the creature in possession of her body, but Elizabeth.

John turned around slowly, almost as if he had all the time in the world. He held his hands up empty when Phoebus' expression soured. "Give her back," he suggested without malice. His lip was still broken, but the blood was drying on his chin.

Phoebus was confused and Elizabeth cheered internally. She knew what her body wanted and she half-remembered-half-imagined hands on her inner thighs and fingers working into her. It was the combination of a thumb and forefinger that made Elizabeth's body shudder. The sociopath was beyond confused. She knew the pleasures of sex. The violent release that sated her for a time but always left her empty.

John mouthed something, Phoebus couldn't it make out, but Elizabeth knew what he was saying. She felt it reverberate through her body. Echoing through the empty places and settling down deep.

Phoebus hit him, and Elizabeth felt the flash of pain in her wrist as her body protested being used in ways to which she was unaccustomed. John whirled, catching the second fist before it impacted with his chest. He whirled her, bending her back. Phoebus struggled, straining Elizabeth's legs in her desire to escape. John pivoted, using the smaller weight of his opponent against her.

Hatred couldn't keep Phoebus on her feet.

Elizabeth felt the grassy ground slam into her back. Her breath hissed out of her chest and she felt John pin her arms back. She relaxed, letting it happen. Knowing she was safe as long as John's eyes stared down at her. Phoebus landed a knee into his stomach that left him gasping.

John bent the knee up and outward and his hands belonged on her inner thigh. Elizabeth felt herself shiver. She imagined giving in and letting John part her legs and slip between. Phoebus railed, pulling one hand free and slamming it into the side of his head.

Lowering his damaged face, John hovered over her for a moment before he kissed her. Phoebus tried to bite his tongue and screamed her frustration towards the sky.

"No one to hear,"John reminded her. He slipped a hand up to her pants and touched the button thoughtfully. "Elizabeth," he murmured gently. "I thought it would be more romantic."

Elizabeth told him it was all right. She promised with her eyes and prayed he could see it.

Phoebus couldn't breathe. Elizabeth's body was distracted. John's hand slipped inside of her panties and found the slick tightness. His thumb covered her clit, dry and harsh against her nerves as a finger slipped within her. The scream of frustration ended in a moan.

"You know," John whispered in Elizabeth's ear. "You know you don't belong here."

His legs were heavy on hers and his left arm held hers to the ground. The air smelled like fresh hay and dust. The dust would be in her hair. Elizabeth lifted her pelvis in his hand and to her surprise it moved. Phoebus' shock was louder in her mind.

His thumb started to move as his fingers slipped deeper. The wetness came in response. A growing dampness that as only too eager to swallow his fingers.

Elizabeth tried to wrap an arm around his shoulders.

Phoebus tried to break free to slam his head into the dirt.

John knocked the gun aside and all of them heard it skip on the hard ground.

Someone led Elizabeth's hands to his belt. Elizabeth was the one who kissed him and John returned it. His tongue explained what Phoebus could never understand.

The creature was fading with Elizabeth's headache. She led John's hands up beneath her shirt to clutch her breasts beneath her bra. She cried out when he slid his pants down enough to let him in. Phoebus was losing. The first, giddy, painful thrust of John into her nearly pushed Phoebus out of her mind.

Elizabeth felt her return, but Phoebus was weakening. The tide was flowing out and she was going with it. She dug her fingertips into the smooth skin of John's back and whimpered as he bit through the fabric at her nipples. Pulling his face to hers, crushing his lips and tasting his blood, Elizabeth lifted her hips to meet him. His hands were free now because she'd stopped fighting.

She wanted him closer, deeper, and the sweat from his bare chest melting into her clothes. Elizabeth told him she loved him. She screamed it a thousand times and let it burn the darkness from her soul.

Out loud she whimpered his name, and started to shake when her body released the monster. She kept trembling as he cupped her face and watched tears form on her eyelids. Elizabeth gasped in, feeling her breath keep her that far from dying as he grew silent. The wet slid of him in again was all it took. Heat bloomed within her, exploding into her extremities.

Elizabeth's fingers were tingling as she clung to him. John's eyes were on hers. His heart was there, raw and within them as if he'd dredged it up.

"Thought I--"

"Yeah," Elizabeth murmured as she kept him over her. Listening to him pant was the prettiest sound she'd ever heard. "I guess I got a little lost."

"Don't do it again."

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