Summary: John's all angsty and Elizabeth's all Must. Be. Strong.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. So, seeing as how I have a snowballs chance in hell at making money off of this, please don't sue me.
A/N: Cross posted to ff.net & CD previously. This was way back when I was a humongizoidikal idiot w/HTML and wet behind the ears in fandom
Steady was his hand upon her face as he searched her eyes for an answer. This moment would make or break them. He had waited for her acknowledgement of what the nature of their relationship truly was. Attempting to hide away his anxiety, he drew her closer with his hand that was place upon her hip. She still had not answered his question, so he figured he could work it out of her some other way.
"I can't," was her response as she pushed away from him. This was the wisest course of action, she told herself. He could get her to do anything when in such close proximity. Hell, he could get her to do anything from twenty-thousand light years away. Something about him fascinated her. He was rebellious but loyal to a fault. He captured the attention of ninety-nine point nine percent of the female population however distanced himself from people on purpose. He understood, possibly more than anyone here did their need for survival, their burden of responsibility. However, at this very moment he was the one pushing the issue.
"Why?" he tried to hide the desperation in his request, failing miserably.
"You know why John. I'm the leader of one of the most important expeditions in human history making me responsible for the health and well-being of hundreds of people here and possibly an entire galaxy on the other side of that gate."
"You really shouldn't talk in run on sentences Elizabeth. It projects insecurity and nervousness."
"I can't believe you're trying to be funny right now." The man infuriated her. She closed her eyes, whether it was from exhaustion or frustration didn’t matter. She had to answer him. So she did. "I do," she said defeat lacing her words. "And that's why I can't."
"That doesn't make any sense." He was incredulous at her answer.
"Yes it does," she paused, thinking about how she would say this. "I can't be expected to be strong and in charge when one of my biggest weaknesses is standing right by my side. I die every time you step through that event horizon, thinking 'This is it. This is the time he doesn't come back alive. He doesn't come home.' I’m still left behind John. I still have to lead these people with or without you. Failure is not an option."
"It's not for me either," he fought back. "Why do you think I keep coming back? Let me assure you it's not for me and it sure as hell isn't for Earth. I have nothing back there. Everything I've ever had is here, in this city, with you. So, for you to stand there in front of me and tell me you don't love me..."
She cut him off. "I didn't say I don't love you. I said I can't. I can't because if I let myself follow you down that path then..."
"Then what?" he asked angrily. "You actually get to find something for yourself? You finally find some sort of semblance of a life in a galaxy far far away?"
"Don't pull that with me. You know this is my life. I am finding something for myself, for all of humanity."
"So we deny ourselves a chance of true happiness for the sake of galactic peace? You can't neglect yourself everything for the greater good of all mankind. They all don't want the same thing. No one does. You have to be selfish once in a while Elizabeth, otherwise you loose a piece of your humanity."
Silence hung in the air.
His words cut her deeply. He was right, in a way. She had been so occupied with her mission she couldn't see herself anymore. Who she was had become lost, except when she was with him. In all that they had been through and what they still had ahead of them, he was her anchor.
He saw her for not only her position as commander but the person she was. He had come to respect her for all of the differences between them. She was everything he wasn't. The other part of him he needed to be whole.
Over her mic, the technician interrupted their silence. "Doctor Weir, we have unscheduled gate activity."
"I'm on my way," she spoke into her mic. "I'm sorry John. I love you, I do. But I can't. Not here, not now."
With that, she ran down the hall towards the nearest transporter. The running did not help with the heaviness she now felt in her heart. Getting it together was a priority; she would do the crying later.
Watching her fleeing figure John turned to the nearest object and hit it with as much force as possible. She loved him. He should be happy she at least admitted that. Now more than ever he was ready to fight any threat that would come to this city. Never before had a woman given him so much reason to live. Never before had anyone impacted his life the way she did. Now he had purpose, to one day be with the woman he loved. He would be sure of it.