Summary: When everything looks like it's falling apart, there are some things that can ease everything back as it should.
Authors Notes: Takes place on the evening after Rodney has departed.
Spoilers: Just for Triarchy.
There were people who fully believed the stars held every answer in the universe and if you asked in just the right way, they’d give them to you. Leaning on the railing on her favorite balcony, Elizabeth wished she knew how to get the stars to answer all her questions, although she wasn’t sure they really held the answers.
Rodney was gone.
No one knew exactly how he’d gone without commandeering a jumper himself, which likely would have ended poorly, although Elizabeth had her theories. No one knew definitively where he’d gone, but they all were pretty sure they knew where he was.
In her heart she knew, and that was enough.
With this separation from Earth she had gained control over things that she had never had before, and lost control in so many other areas. The team, the group she depended on leadership was fracturing and she didn’t quite know how to hold it together.
Teyla’s leaving hadn’t surprised her, nor had the loss of the Athosian people in any manner other than how quickly they seemed to slip. There had always been a vague understanding of their positions that had kept Teyla and Elizabeth separate a bit, but they had had a sort of friendship. Teyla had been content to be a warrior and Elizabeth very comfortable in her leading.
But Rodney…that was a surprise. She hadn’t thought that anything would drag him away from Atlantis, but apparently you couldn’t predict everything.
“Rough day huh?”
She turned her head back, although the voice wasn’t hard to recognize. Elizabeth let her mouth turn up a little, spotting him leaning against the doorway to the balcony casually. She noted he was standing a little stiffer than he would be otherwise and there was a faint shadow on his face that shouldn’t have been there.
But then he’d spent the majority of the afternoon sparing with Ronon. It was, she knew, their way of releasing tension.
“I’m just…” she sighed and turned back to gaze at the stars as he pushed off from the doorway. “I don’t know.”
John mimicked her position, as he usually did when they were out there together. Silence fell softly between them for a few minutes as they both regarded the stars. “We could always hunt him down and drag him back,” he quipped lightly.
She turned to see him looking at her. “No,” she shook her head, knowing that as much of a joke as it sounded, it was also exactly what John wanted to do. “He’s made his choices, as we’ve made ours.” The fact that the choices weren’t the same any more cracked her heart a little.
John’s hand slipped over hers, warm, strong and rough. She smiled, loosening her grip on the railing a little so he could better hold her hand. The smile faltered a little though as she continued thinking.
“Did we make the right ones?” she whispered softly, not sure if she was addressing him, herself or the universe.
“I didn’t realize you were capable of making the wrong ones,” he teased.
The look she shot him was one she knew was all too familiar to him. “I’m serious John.”
The humor faded from his eyes a little as he slipped out of his favorite mode and gave her hand a light squeeze. “I don’t know anyone who could possibly make better decisions about this place than you.” The teasing glint came into his eyes, as it was rarely far away. “And when you’re wrong, I’ll handle it.”
Somehow, that just eased everything, just like he always managed to do. He was sneaky like that. “I’m well aware of your idea of handling things.”
“And it works just fine,” he said, pausing for a beat. “Usually.”
She threw him a look that was mock serious. “I will lock you in the brig if necessary.”
“How would you manage that? Technically the entire military contingent under my command.”
The grin bloomed on her face now. “Two words.” She paused to let those hang in the air. “Ronon and Carson.”
“They just like you because you’re prettier than me.”
“Well,” he said, letting his hand slip off of hers casually as if it has just been on the rail and not her. “I think I’m going to turn in. It’s been a long day.” He stretched languorously, and then cocked an eyebrow at her. “You coming or haven’t you finished booring holes in the sky?”
Are you coming to bed, or will I have to make a fool out of us and drag you?
John’s version of subtle wasn’t quite hers, but it was subtle enough that not too many others have caught on. “I promise John, I won’t freeze out here. I’ll be heading to bed myself in a few minutes.”
I’ll meet you there so as not to rouse too much suspicion.
She turned, and raised her eyebrows. John’s face was serious now, his lips only quirking up a bit at the ends.
“It’s going to be okay.”
With that, he just slipped out as if he hadn’t said anything and she turned back to look at the stars. They didn’t have her answers, and if they did, they weren’t going to offer them to her. Things changed, people left and you moved on. Atlantis would thrive, as always intended.
“Yeah,” she whispered, as if he was still standing behind her. “I think it is.”
She waited a few more beats before allowing her own hands to slip off the rail. There would be plenty of time to continue to stare at the stars so long as they held on to Atlantis, to listen to the waves lap against the city. Right now she had other places that she needed to be.
As she reached the doorway, Elizabeth looked at the sky and wished her friends luck with their choices and firmly shut the door on wishing things back. Atlantis would thrive if it was the last thing she ever did.