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Normal standard operation procedure was that all team members must report to the infirmary and be checked out by Beckett before returning to duty on base. But the instant that the final team from 936 stepped through, Elizabeth ducked to the ramp that ran underneath the walkway to her office and disappeared.

John frowned after her, then glanced at Lorne as he walked down the stairs.

"Welcome back, sir." His blue eyes blinked twice at the group. "Where's Doctor Weir?"

John was about to shrug and reply, but Teyla beat him to it. "I believe she is on her way to the infirmary."

The major nodded, then fingered the tablet in his hands. "I'll wait until Doctor Weir comes back to hand this over."

"Probably a good idea," John replied as his eyes roamed around the room.

Lorne nodded and walked back upstairs.

The colonel sighed, running a hand over his face. Considering how intimate they had been on 936, even holding hands on their way back to the Stargate, Elizabeth's behavior was more than confusing. It was insane. She had done a complete 180 on him, and it didn't just bug him.

It worried him.

John turned and looked at his team. "Go ahead and get checked out," he ordered as he began walking out of the Gate room, passing a sergeant who took his weapons and gear from him.

"What about you? Where you going?" Ronan called after him.

"I'm going to find Elizabeth."


Carson was sitting at his desk, awaiting the arrival of Colonel Sheppard and his team, along with Doctor Weir. He was surprised, however, when Elizabeth arrived by herself, still wearing her black off world jacket and her backpack.

She nodded at him as she took her pack off and dropped it to the ground. "Carson."

"Elizabeth. Welcome back."

Her green eyes looked tired, and - he didn't know if it was the right word, but antsy, almost. She kept looking towards the door that she had just walked through.

"Is everything okay, love?" Carson gently asked, patting her arm.

"This entire mission was … not at all how I expected it to be," she said, avoiding his question and taking a seat on one of the beds. "It's made me realize how easily your life can change."

Carson bit his lip. He was starting to worry about the direction this conversation was heading. "Did anything unusual happen?"

A smile flitted lightly across her face, but it quickly disappeared as it was replaced by a grimace. "This stays between us."

"Of course it does. But what is 'this'?"

She brought her hands up to her face and tried to stifle a moan.

Finally, she dropped her hands and looked up at Carson. He saw tears starting to streak down her cheeks. It was impossible for him to remember seeing her like this before. He never had.

"I need you to give me a pregnancy test."

During the time that he had been in Atlantis, he had heard many bizarre things.

But the cool, composed Elizabeth Weir asking for a pregnancy test?

He didn't know whether to laugh or be worried.


John had gone to Elizabeth's quarters, but there was no sign of her.

He racked his mind, but he couldn't think of anywhere else she would have gone. So he paced hurriedly towards the infirmary, and was surprised to see Elizabeth laying out on a bed, underneath a scanner.

A firm hand on his shoulder steered him away. "Colonel."

He turned and looked at Carson. "She okay?"

"Aye, she's fine. Just running a few extra tests while she's here. Making sure the nanites are still inactive in her system."

John closed his eyes in remembrance. Their respective ordeals - his with the Wraith and the Genii, and hers with the Replicator nanites that tried to take over her body - were still burned on their minds, but with everything that had happened over the past couple of days, he had let himself forget. He knew that the IOA was aware of Elizabeth's circumstances, and that if there was any reason that they could invent to remove her from command, they would. So Carson had loyally checked her every week to make sure that the nanites stayed inactive.

His face softened as Carson circled around him and sat down. "She took off pretty quick when we got back."

The doctor only nodded, keeping his eyes down on his computer as he typed.

John leaned on the desk. "Carson."


"What are you not telling me?"

Beckett looked up at him. "Why do you assume that I'm withholding information?"

"Because you are."

Carson sighed, then looked up at him. "Colonel, there is nothing that I can, or will, tell you. Elizabeth is fine."

John glanced over at the bed which now lay empty.

"I thought if I got it out of the way, Carson wouldn't have to track me down for my next physical."

Elizabeth's voice next to him surprised him, and he stood up quickly. An unsure smile graced her face, and she was wringing her hands nervously. She didn't look as calm and unworried as she had when they had left the planet, and it irked him.

"How about the good doctor checks me out, and we grab lunch?"

She nodded, but the smile that had seemed permanently fixed on her face this past week was gone.


They left the infirmary after Carson had cleared them both. She and John started chit chatting lightly, not even noticing where they were headed. They just meandered through the city. Elizabeth even thought that John had taken her through some new corridors that hadn't even been touched by the science teams yet.

She would glance at him out of the corner of her eyes, without his notice, every few seconds and it was slightly worrying her that John wasn't bringing up the whole incident from 936. Considering how strongly he had reacted when she suggested leaving it on the planet, the fact that he was seeming to ignore - or forget - was nagging Elizabeth.

If truth be told, the more time that would pass, the more optimistic she got that he wouldn't bring it up.

John started a new conversation, talking about how conveniently timed the MALP upgrades were completed, and she found herself giving only a nod as a response. Eventually, though, he mentioned something about the village on Fa'tor, and she felt her pulse quicken - but only slightly.

Even though she tried to change the subject every chance that she got, they still ended up talking about Fa'tor. John steered her towards a door on the right side of the hallway, and she absentmindedly followed, racking her mind for a new item to talk about.

When the next door in front of her slid open, and she realized that they were standing out near the East Pier, what seemed like miles away from anyone else, she panicked.

"We walked farther than I realized," she said, trying to back herself into the corridor again.

John was standing behind her, and he reached around with his strong arms and gently grasped her shoulders. "I brought us out here on purpose. We need to talk."

She let out a frustrated groan and turned to face him. "John-"

"I'm only gonna say this once, because dragging it out just hurts too much. Do you want to have a relationship with me?"

She tried again. "John-"

"Yes or no. Do you want to be with me?" The pleading look in his hazel eyes was almost too much for her, and before she could stop herself, she mumbled an answer that her heart supported but her mind disagreed with.

"Yes," she whispered, so low she barely heard it herself.

Much to her surprise, John didn't smile. "But you can't."

"John, you're the military commander of Atlantis. And I'm the Expedition leader. You report to me. And having any relationship right now could prove to be too much of a distraction, and if something were to happen to the people here because of a misjudgment on my part-"

John held up a hand, biting his lip as he nodded at her. "I understand. The whole 'needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few'."


"No, really," he replied with a half hearted smile. "I get it. You don't have to explain it to me."

"No, John, you don't."

His eyes bored into hers. "Then explain it to me."

She let out a groan. "John, what we did on that planet … we had sex."

"I know. I was there."

"Unprotected sex." She gave him a hard look.

He swallowed hard. He began grasping for words. "Are you - did we-?"

Elizabeth shook her head. "I'm not pregnant. But I shouldn't have had to ask Carson to run a pregnancy test." She took a step closer to him. "It was irresponsible, John. And it should never have happened. But it did."

He glared down at the floor. "So what? We're just gonna go back to forgetting it happened?"

She reached out to him, her fingers skimming over his hand. As much as he wanted to be an ass and pull his hand away, he couldn't. Her slim fingers wrapped around his. "I'm not going to forget what we shared. But there's too much at stake if we tried to make it work."

John shook his head. "You make it sound so easy to just leave this alone."

She tried to repress a sob. She failed. "It's not," she promised him.

He pulled her towards him and wrapped his arms around her, timidly at first, then tighter, as her body shook while she cried. John heard her murmur something, but it was only when she pulled back a few inches that he could make it out.

"I'm sorry."

He pressed his lips together. "Me too," he whispered into the heavy air, kissing her gently.

The kiss deepened and she felt herself slipping away. She knew that she should have been resisting more, putting up a fight, but the sensation of being in his arms, of feeling his warm breath dance across her face, it was almost enough to change her mind.

But not enough for him.

He pulled back with a jerk, his eyes darting around. "I should go."

Elizabeth found herself nodding and wished she could crawl into a hole. "Yeah," she whispered.

John released her, pulling his hands back, and just turned and walked back through the doors.

Elizabeth wrapped her arms around herself, then cleared her throat and stood up straight. Once her composure returned, she walked through the same doorway.

She didn't look back.

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