Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Word Count: 556
Summary: John couldn't and wouldn't leave her behind.
Notes: Alternate Universe, Episode Related (Lifeline)
Additional Note: Written for this prompt on comment_fic.
"If you don't leave right now, none of us will get out of here, so go. That's an order!"
"No, not without you!"
They'd brought the ARGs for the infiltration (the heist, Rodney's voice in his head told him). John hadn't thought twice about using his, even as Ronon tried to pull him away; three well-placed shots and the Replicators surrounding her had gone, Oberoth a pile of metal bits at her feet.
He had not, however, thought about the nanites within Elizabeth: as long as John lived, he would never forget the sickening sway she'd lurched into, the instantaneous paling of her skin, the way her eyes rolled back into her head and her clammy head settled into his neck when he caught her. She was not dead though, not then and still not, now.
Infinite strength, their Elizabeth had.
He swallowed and bit down on his lip—there wasn't time for sentimentality—and forced himself to keep walking, keep hold on the woman he carried from infirmary to stasis chamber.
"John," she gasped into his throat.
"Shh, don't... don't talk. Save your energy."
The curve of her lips on his skin sent a clear message: soon she'd be in the chamber, sleeping (or something close to) for however long it would take Jennifer Keller to come up with a treatment. It could be days or months or decades... or never.
No, he couldn't let that thought take hold. Carson had handpicked Jennifer from a pool of dozens, the best and the brightest and he'd sung her praises. She'd figure it out, John would put his faith in that, and they'd get Elizabeth back.
Rodney's eyes, soft and sad, caught his as John crossed into the stasis room, the chamber empty, prepped. Waiting.
He stopped in front of it, blinking at the tiny little space. So cramped for a woman who spent her time on the balconies with her face turned into the breeze, who took trips to the mainland whenever she could get a break, who sprawled in bed to the point John had nearly bribed the Quartermaster at the SGC to ship them a king mattress.
Rodney's call turned his attention from the chamber to his friend; neither said anything, nor did any of the others present. Too gripped in the bittersweet feel of the moment, maybe, or just too traumatized to speak, and they watched, instead, as Rodney and John looked at each other, then down at Elizabeth. Then, with slow movements, steadied Elizabeth onto her feet.
She was weak. Only John's arms around her, Rodney's hand on her back, kept her upright. "John."
"It's going to be okay," he told her, sounding more than a little broken, "I'll see you soon."
"Right." She gave him a brittle smile. "A kiss before I sleep?"
It wasn't passionate, it wasn't lingering, but a dozen sets of eyes watched as John whispered, "I'll be right here when you wake up," and kissed her gently, warmly, lovingly.
They parted slowly, John easing her backward until she was within the chamber. He turned his head to nod at Rodney to start up the stasis process, and her lips grazed his ear, murmuring, "Don't wait forever," as the field began to leech forward and he slipped back.
Don't wait forever.
Also available on AO3.