Summary: Almost losing her in the Genii strike drives him to admit how he feels. But does she feel the same way?
A fluffy coda to "The Eye". The first three lines of dialogue belong to the writers of the episode and were borrowed solely to segue into the scene...the rest is mine.
"So...you say these things happen every 20 years?"
"That's what they tell us."
John looked out over the gateroom thoughtfully before cocking his head to the side. "How far ahead can we book days off?"
Elizabeth sighed and raised an eyebrow at him before walking into the control room without answering. He and Rodney trailed after her, the latter pausing at one of the control stations to check on the status of the flood control activities. John, however, followed her out onto the balcony. He'd been shadowing her all day, and she was starting to wonder why. She leaned on the rail and faced him, curious.
He avoided the question in her gaze, staring out over her shoulder at water still choppy from winds that hadn't yet died down completely. "The last of the Athosians left for the mainland about an hour ago."
"How did the village fare?"
"Pretty well, believe it or not. The damage should be repaired within the week. I sent a team to help them out."
"Good." Silence stretched between them for a long moment as he shifted uncomfortably, hands shoved in his pockets. "Was there something else, Major?"
His face twisted in uncertainty, and he opened his mouth and closed it again before taking a deep breath and finally meeting her eyes. His face smoothed, and she got the impression that he'd made some sort of decision. "I thought...I really thought for a while there that Kolya had killed you." He struggled to keep his tone light, but she could hear the pain that fought him. The thought of her death had shaken him.
"But he didn't...Rodney managed to convince him not to."
John chuckled. "He's regaled me with the tale of how he stepped between you and the gun. Several times."
"It was a brave thing to do...especially for Rodney. You—"she broke off, unexpectedly overcome. His loyalty ran deep...she knew that he would put himself on the line like that for any member of his team. It made sense that he would; they put their lives in one another's hands every time they stepped through the gate. But it wasn't until Kolya had pointed that gun at her heart, until she heard his desperate yells over the radio and his promise to fly the Genii away from Atlantis if only Koyla would spare her life that she realized that he would do the same for her without a second thought. "You wouldn't hesitate," she finally whispered. The sun warming the back of her neck and the light breeze suddenly vanished. All she could feel was her heart pounding.
"I wanted to kill him when he said that you were dead. I told him that I would. I meant it, Elizabeth—"
"Will you let me finish? This is hard enough without you interrupting me."
"I...I'm sorry," she said, shame flooding her cheeks.
"No...don't be. It's okay...it's just..." he scrubbed a hand through his hair in frustration. "Damn it, there's got to be an easier way," he muttered to himself, staring down at the floor.
Elizabeth was afraid to move, afraid to breathe. Her fingers tightened around the railing until they started to cramp. An easier way to what?
"What I'm trying to say...oh, the hell with it." Before she knew what was happening, he'd taken hold of her face and his lips were on hers, demanding and rough and intoxicating.
Shock coursed through her veins, followed closely by the fire ignited when his arms wrapped around her, one hand cupping the back of her head and the other trailing down her spine. She knew that she should push him away and ask him what he thought he was doing...but she couldn't. God help her, she didn't care about the rules that forbid it, didn't care that his touch sent thoughts of Simon scattering from her mind when she should be overwhelmed with guilt. Part of her wanted this...needed this... so much that the thought of stopping him made her stomach twist up into knots.
He started to pull away but she didn't let him, sliding one arm around his back and the other his neck, sinking a hand into his hair. He deepened the kiss, pressing closer until all she could feel was him...his body on hers, his skin under her hands, his stubbled jaw against her cheek.
His radio suddenly crackled to life, but he paid it no mind. The second time, she reluctantly broke the kiss. "You can't ignore it," she told him, breathless.
He didn't release her, just touched the activation switch. "Sheppard here. This had better be good." Whatever the caller said brought a scowl to his face. "Do you really need me right now, McKay?" More chatter from the other end. "Actually, I am a little busy...no, I'm not gonna tell you with what."
Elizabeth stretched up to whisper in his other ear. "Go...I understand..."
"Don't wanna go," he murmured back, brushing his lips across her neck and sending bolts of electricity straight to her core.
If he did that again, she wasn't sure she'd let him go. But she had to. It took all of her willpower to lay her hands against his chest and push gently. "You need to. We can...talk...later."
He brushed a lock of hair out of her eyes as he finally spoke into his headset. "Fine, McKay. I'll be down shortly. Sheppard out."
John stared at her for a long moment before leaning close once again, his breath caressing her cheek. "Will I need to convince you that this isn't a mistake?"
"You might." The words escaped before she could stop them.
Instead of frowning, he actually smiled. "I'll look forward to it." The roguish tone made her heart race. He kissed her lightly once more before jogging off the balcony.
She watched until he vanished into the control room, and then turned to the horizon. The skies were clear, a lingering touch of gray in the distance the only trace of the storm that had engulfed the city mere hours before...a storm that had suddenly reappeared and taken up residence inside of her. She drew in a deep, shaky breath, trying to make sense of the feelings he'd awakened with a single kiss.
Yes, he'd need to convince her, and it wouldn't be easy for him. There were a million reasons why this was a bad idea.
But she found herself looking forward to letting him try.