Veracity - SW
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Mature People

Title: Veracity
Author: Ky (Venom_69)
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Category: Romance, angst
Pairing: John/Elizabeth
Rating: Mature People
Summary: Elizabeth can't really wrap her head around the idea that every time John disobeys one of her orders, it's simply because he wants to pants her.
Archive: My site. Anywhere else, sure, just let me know where so I can come visit.
Disclaimer: Don’t own them, never will. Promise to put them back in the state I found them. Song’s not mine either, that would be Alanis Morrisett’s “Won me over.”
Author’s notes: Written for the [info]swficathon, specifically [info]heimedall. I don’t usually write things and leave them on my Hard drive for long - I tend to re-read them later and decide that I hate them. It happened here, too, so many thanks to the beautiful [info]valeria_sg_1 for the beta and endless supply of encouragement.
Date Completed: 02/10/06
Copyright © to Venom, 2006


You’ve already won me over, in spite of me
And don’t be alarmed if I fall, head over feet
And don’t be surprised if I love you, for all that you are
I couldn’t help it,
It’s all your fault


She's read the reports, of course.

When she started working at the SGC, she was provided with access to every report that had ever been filed in the previous eight years. She had spent a good, solid, week reading them all, trying to play catch-up and understand exactly what she, they, were dealing with.

At one particularly low point in that week, surrounded by boxes and files, with paper cuts littering her hands and the pads of her fingertips feeling like sandpaper, she remembers thinking that if someone farted in the SGC, a report was written about it.

There was a report for every mission and a subfolder with one from each team member. A report for every on-base incident. There was a report for every round of Stargate Maintenance that had taken place since the beginning of the program. There was a fifty-eight page report on how Captain Carter had gotten the Stargate working in the first place.

There were reports on all of the on-base personnel, from the General to the janitorial staff.

There were historical reports about the "family tree" of the Goa'uld and there were medical reports of every alien species they'd had the chance to study. There were technological reports, full of words she never really expected to understand, for all of the recovered items and artifacts as well as reports for all of the items they had dealt with off-world.

When she had stepped into her role as Commander of the SGC, she had been present with a copy of each and every one of them.

So she'd read the reports.

Some of the missions had left her squeamish. Some had left her with a feeling of pride. Some had reminded her that there was a damn good reason that the President was in awe of these people and some of them had just made her want to touch the nearest wooden surface and pray that it never happened to her.

From the first year, she remembers Doctor Jackson's report the most.

He had explained, factually, what had transpired. He had explained, methodically, how they had assessed and dealt with the situation. He hadn't put a single word in about the emotional ramifications of finding yourself at home, but not, though Elizabeth had been able to feel the undertones in his words.

Now, she can honestly say that the reports so did not prepare her for the reality.

Familiar eyes look over her with a mixture of concern, anger, fear and general trepidation. Fingers twitch over triggers and it makes her nervous and more than a little bit nauseas.

While Doctor Jackson hadn't realized what had happened to him at first, for there had been a lot of similarities in the reality that he'd entered, Elizabeth is quite certain that she has managed to get herself lost in an Alternate Universe.

If her welcoming committee didn’t give it away, then the hushed whispers of the guards certainly do.

Their eyes dart between her, each other and the door, waiting for someone to enter and begin issuing orders. Elizabeth hears only a few of the exchanged words, but they tell her everything that she needs to confirm her theory.

She knows damn well that she does not work under General John Sheppard at the SGC.


"Who are you?"

She's said her name three times already. "Doctor Elizabeth Weir."


Elizabeth is trying to be calm under the questioning gaze of a human Ronon Dex. She's not really succeeding. "Apparently not."

"We have an Elizabeth Weir. You are not her."

"Carson can examine me, if you like."

"I don't know anyone called Carson." But his jaw clenches and she knows that he is lying. "Are you a Goa'uld?"

"No." Who said yes to that question, anyway? "Look, I know that this might be hard for you to understand, but I've read Doctor Jackson's reports about this and I'm pretty sure that I've managed to transport myself into an alternate reality. All that we need to do is go back to the planet I was on when this happened, touch the..." There wasn't a mirror. Thinking about it, she's not really sure what it was that sent her here. "...thing and I'll be out of your way."

"I'm afraid it's not that simple."

"Why not?"

Ronon folds his arms across his chest. "How do we know for sure that you are who you say you are?"

Oh, for God's sake... She rubs a hand across her pulsating temples. "Look, I told you, get Carson to run a DNA test. Blood work. Get an MRI. A CT scan. Do whatever it is that you need to do in order to convince yourself that I am telling you the truth! I am Doctor Elizabeth Weir."

"And I told you," He is growling, that is never a good sign regardless of the reality. "That I don't know anyone called Carson. Doctor Carter, on the other hand, will be happy to test you."


Doctor - not Colonel - Carter is slightly more hospitable than everyone else, Elizabeth thinks.

The other woman is as gentle as possible as she draws blood, checks her glands and prepares her for the various tests that they wanted to run. Jack O’Neill is beside her, his hand held out to collect the vials and samples and bag them accordingly.

Apparently, here, he is a nurse.

It’s weird and creepy and wrong so she tries not to make eye contact, for fear of laughing aloud at his white scrubs and concentrates instead on following the Doctor’s instructions.

"You've done this before, right?" Elizabeth asks.

Doctor Carter shines a penlight in her eyes and watches her pupil reaction before answering. "Examine a patient? Once or twice."

She smiles softly in return. "I meant dealt with an alternate reality?" Elizabeth remembers the file with the 'other' - Or is that 'other' 'other'? - Doctor Carter and the Cascade failure that had ensured. If at all possible, she'd really like to be well and truly out of here before that becomes an issue.

If 'their' Elizabeth is even still alive.

Ronon didn’t specifically say that she wasn’t, but he was adamant that Elizabeth was the wrong Elizabeth, so she’s not really certain.

"Yes, but I can't actually talk about it with you. Sorry." Doctor Carter grimaces a little.

Elizabeth smiles a little, nods in response, opens her mouth and says 'ahhh.'


The reset of the exam is conducted in silence until she is ushered into the MRI room.

Elizabeth uses her time on the table to think about exactly what she's done to get herself here. She doesn't remember touching anything that looked like it would transport her anywhere.

One moment she'd been in the Village Leader's hut, awaiting the entrance of the council, the next she'd been standing in front of the active Stargate.

Her memory of stepping through the 'Gate is a little hazy, but she distinctly recalls arriving on the other side of the wormhole, standing on a familiar metal ramp, on the wrong end of several P-90's and a few machine guns.

She'd been marched straight to a holding cell and left there until Ronon had come in to interrogate her. It was only because she'd overheard the guards talking that she'd even known John was in Command of this SGC.


This was not shaping up to be a good day.


General Sheppard sits across from her, fingers laced together on the desk.

He looks so serious, so different from the boyishly playful man that she knows from Atlantis, but she still finds herself searching his eyes for a trace of the humor that she knows is hidden there.

General Sheppard opens a manila folder that rests upon his desk. "You are who you say you are."

Elizabeth bites back a sarcastic retort that, while her John might appreciate, this one certainly wouldn't.

"All of your tests came back clean." He continues, scanning a few of the pages quickly before closing the folder.

"So you believe me?"

He tilts his head to the side for a moment, nodding slightly. "For the most part. Though I would like to know how you got here."

"Me too."

"You didn't touch a mirror?"

"Of course not! I'm not that stu... uh, no, I didn't."

John hides a smile. "What were you doing when it happened?"

Elizabeth rubs her forehead.

She's still not really sure how it had happened. She almost feels as though she's woken up from a really strange dream and only been able to remember fragments of it. Certainly not enough pieces to put the puzzle together.

Despite her lingering confusion, she explains what she knows to John and he doesn't look at her like she's nuts so she takes this as her first victory of the day. "My team will be looking for me." She finishes. "And if they end up here..."

"They wont get the same welcoming committee that you did."


"But they will get a few hours worth of Doctor Carter's tender loving care."

"I would do the same." She admits with a slight tilt of her head. She can see a lot of her own leadership style in the man across from her. "Do you mind if I ask you something?"

"You can ask. I make no guarantees that I can answer."

"Am I alive in this reality?" It's been bugging her since the MRI and she can't remember exactly how much time she has until her cells will start to degrade and things will get ugly.

The report she read had said that it would be a slow and painful way to die and she really isn’t in a hurry to experience the sensation for herself.

"Yes, we have a Doctor Weir."

"Where is she?"

"My Elizabeth is off-world."

There is something about the way he says 'my' that makes her spine tingle. "Your Elizabeth?"

If he notices her raised eyebrows then he chooses to ignore them. "With her fiancé. Doctor Wallace."

What...? "Simon?"

"You obviously know him."

There's no real bitterness there, but the look in his eyes still makes her feel uncomfortable. "Yes. He and I... yes, I know him." She sighs again. Why on Earth - or in any reality - would she and Simon be traveling through the Stargate together? "Wait, is your Elizabeth in the military?"

"No.” John huffs in amusement. “She's a diplomat."

Well, at least some things are consistent. "And Simon? How did he get involved in the SGC?"

"He's one of our leading scientists. They're negotiating a treaty on KY6-97B."

Elizabeth doesn't expect him to go into any more detail so she doesn't bother asking. They may have her DNA results and they may believe that she is a version of Doctor Elizabeth Weir, but they will not trust her.

At least, not yet.

“So what do we do now, then?” She asks.

“I’m really not sure.”

Well, that’s comforting. “Neither am I.”

"Listen," John says, scratching the back of his neck in a painfully familiar gesture. "Do you want to get something to eat? I know you've been locked up since you arrived."

"Actually, I'm starving."

"Great." He smiles. "The commissary isn't known for its cuisine, but we've got killer red jell-o."

His love of red jell-o is another consistency, then. "I prefer blue."


They sit in a corner of the busy commissary, eating their respective jell-o.

A few people openly stare at her and she feels daggers being aimed at the back of her head, but for the most part, Elizabeth tries to pretend that she belongs here.

One of the things that has most bothered her is that no one has assumed she is their Elizabeth. Even when she stepped through the Stargate, the safeties were being pulled off the guns before a word could leave her lips.

Not even any of the people she has interacted with since – albeit, there’s only been a few – have confused her and not one person has reacted kindly when she’s smiled at them. Elizabeth assumes that she looks nothing like the woman they know.

The base grapevine on her SGC is good, but not even that lot of gossiping people could have gotten the word out this quickly that she wasn’t the ‘real’ Elizabeth.

"So… do I run the SGC in your reality too?"

John is as curious as she is.

They have found a few big differences - This United Stated is being run by a woman, for example - and they've found some small differences - apparently this John isn't so shy about his math ability, if the diploma’s on his wall are anything to go by - but she has found each difference to be both fascinating and terrifying.

While she hasn't really told them much about Atlantis - it seems they're both being tight-lipped about security issues - she did tell him that she ran the SGC for a while and they discussed a few of the common enemies that their realities have shared. She was even able to give him some pointers for dealing with Anubis. "No. In my reality, you work for me."

He laughs at that, openly amused. "And do 'I' follow orders well?"

"Most of the time," She pauses for effect. "not so well."

"I can only imagine. It's probably because you're an attractive woman." He shrugs. "I bet he’s only ever an ass because he's attracted to you."

Elizabeth can't really wrap her head around the idea that every time John disobeys one of her orders, it's simply because he wants to pants her. "No, I don't think so."

"Don't think you're attractive or don't think he finds you attractive?"

She eats her jell-o in silence for a moment. What does she think? "I'm not sure I should answer that on the grounds that I could incriminate myself."

John chuckles and they fall into a comfortable silence, attention focused on the food in front of them.

Elizabeth is unsure why, but she has found herself very at ease with this John Sheppard in the few short hours that she has spent in his company. It is, perhaps, the common distance of leadership that binds them, but he's been a very welcomed companion... when he wasn't ordering his men to point guns at her, or course.

"I like you." He admits quietly, breaking her thoughts. "You're just like a woman I met years ago and you haven't been tainted by..."

"By?" She prompts.

"" He finishes weakly.

John doesn't offer any more conversation and Elizabeth follows suit, wary of the sudden sadness in his eyes.



Elizabeth looks up from her study of the bedspread to see her assigned guard standing just inside the doorway. "Yes?"

"General Sheppard was wondering if you'd like something for dinner, ma'am?"

"That's very kind of him, but I'm not very hungry anymore." She hasn't been since she'd seen the look on his face in the commissary.

Their conversation had died completely not long after he had admitted to liking her and Elizabeth can't help but feel responsible. They'd finished their jell-o in silence and he'd walked her back to the VIP Quarters she'd been assigned and seen her to the door before turning and walking away.

"Actually, ma'am, he thought that you might like to go to O'Malley's." The guard looks uncomfortable and Elizabeth wonders if he feels like a seventh grader asking a girl out on behalf of his shy friend. "He thought that a change of scenery might be nice for you."

I really shouldn’t… "Oh. That's... OK, yes."

"Excellent. I'll tell the General." The guard picks up a plastic bag that she hadn't noticed at his feel. "These are some of our Doctor Weir's clothes... General Sheppard thought that they might be more inconspicuous."

Elizabeth takes the bag and nods. She hadn’t really thought about the fact that she was still in her uniform from Atlantis. No one seems to have questioned it, either. She is glad; fewer questions mean fewer explanations.

"He'll meet you here shortly, ma'am."

"Thank you."

"Have a nice evening, ma'am."

It's certainly going to be interesting. She thinks, but smiles in response anyway.


As her guard had promised, General Sheppard had knocked on her door not half an hour later, dressed in civvies.

Elizabeth had changed into the clothes he’d provided - black jeans, black shirt and a brown leather jacket that looked surprisingly familiar - and run a brush through her hair.

"You look nice." He'd said quietly and his left hand had fallen to the small of her back to guide her out of the SGC.

A car had been waiting topside for them and they had been driven to O'Malley's - same location, different owners - in silence.

His hand had moved to the small of her back again as he led her inside and over to one of the booths reserved for dining patrons. He'd bought her a white wine without asking and he'd even managed to pick her favorite kind.

Elizabeth had been impressed.

Now they sit, once again in silence, studying their menus.

It's basically the same food as the O'Malley's the she knows, so her order isn't going to require a lot of thought.

There is, however, a large ball of tension between them and Elizabeth feels like she caused it, thusly, she should be the one to bring it up. "What happened to the woman you met?"

John sighs and his shoulders visibly shrink. "She went out one night, met a guy, dated him and accepted the ring he offered."

"Did you ever offer her an alternative?"

He clucks his tongue. "No."

"Did you want to?"


He doesn't look at her though, so she doesn't buy it.

"I'm sorry." Elizabeth says, for lack of any other thought running through her mind.

John shakes his head and takes a sip of his beer before responding. "It's not your fault."

"Is she happy?"

"Yes. And that's all that matters."

"What aren't you telling me?"

"Excuse me?"

"My John's eyes dart from left to right when he's only telling me a half truth. Yours are doing that now."

"Your John?"

Elizabeth flushes and ignores his raised eyebrows, much as he did hers. "The one from my reality. Don't change the subject. What aren't you telling me?"

John sighs again. "Look, I'm not sure that it's my place to discuss someone else's personal life."

"She's me."

"No, she really isn't."

Elizabeth doesn't know if she should feel insulted or flattered.


After his emphatic declaration that she wasn't his Elizabeth, they had moved on to topics of a generally lighter nature.

Elizabeth wasn't really surprised by the similarities between General and Colonel Sheppard, but every time this John did something out of character for her John, she had found herself with a case of the giggles.

Though the second wine he’d ordered for her may have helped with that.

When the owner, a lovely elderly couple by the names of Taylor and Cameron, had come over and informed them that their establishment would be closing shortly, Elizabeth was surprised to find that they had been sitting there for over five hours.

"We should get you back to base." John says, rising and holding her jacket open for her to slip in to. "Before they think I smuggled you out of the country."

Elizabeth turns to look over her shoulder as she slides her arms into the jacket. "Would you do that?"

"In a heartbeat."

Their eyes meet and in that moment, Elizabeth understands the sadness she's seen in him whenever they talk of his Doctor Weir.

She'll probably regret it later, but when his eyes drop to her lips for a second and he leans towards her, she turns her head further and meets him halfway.

It's a brief kiss - though more than she has shared with her John unless under the influence of an elderly, dying alien - really just a meeting of lips. But it's enough, it tells her a thousand things she never thought to ask and she tingles a little when he pulls away.

Neither of them says anything, mostly because there isn't much to be said.

They share a small smile, an understanding, before he pays their bill and she notices that this America’s money is colored.

Their driver is waiting for them with the door open.

Elizabeth slips in first and once John is seated next to her and they are on their way back to the base, he takes her hand and she smiles as she curls her fingers around his.


They part ways at the door to her quarters again.

John kisses her cheek gently, oblivious to the stare that the guard throws their way, wishes her a good night and then departs for his own quarters.

Elizabeth changes into the sleepwear that someone left her and crawls into the bed gratefully.

It has been, without doubt, one of the strangest days of her adult life to date and her mind is more exhausted than her body.

In the morning, they will have to try and find a planet that matches the one she was on when this started. With thousands, if not billions, of potential planets to choose from – other Galaxies notwithstanding – Elizabeth has an ominous feeling that she could be here for a while.

But maybe that wont be so bad? Her mind whispers.

Her lips tingle in response and she closes her eyes with the ghost of a smile on her face.


When she wakes the next morning, a tray of breakfast is sitting on the table by the door.

She picks at the fruit, nibbling on a few items that she’s never even seen before and has a sip of the juice before showering and dressing.

When she leaves her quarters, the guard greets her and automatically escorts her to the General’s Office.

John dismisses him and offers her the seat across from him. “Sleep well?”

“Yes, thank you.”

“So…” He is smiling at her. The same boyish smile that she has been seeing for so long now. “What do we do now?”

“To be honest, I still don’t know.” She shrugs. “Doctor Carter said you’d seen someone from an alternate reality before?”

“Once,” He nods. “But he was encountered off-world. He came back here for some tests and then we helped him use the mirror to get home. Ronon tells me you didn’t touch a mirror?”

“Not that I know of.”

“So we just start searching planets at random? That could take a while.”

Doesn’t she know it! “Look, General…”

“John.” He corrects automatically.

“John. I think I should tell you that finding the planet I was on may be a little more difficult than you imagine.”

“And why is that?”

She can’t tell him too much.

If this SGC has already discovered Atlantis then he would be keeping it from her as well.

If they haven’t, she can’t be the one to tell him or it could… well, she’s not sure exactly what it could do but she can’t imagine any of the potential ramifications would be good.

So she tells him as much as she can. “I wasn’t in this Galaxy.”

“Which Galaxy were you in then?”


She watches as John bites his lip. “You’re right… this could be a problem.”

Elizabeth doesn’t bother to respond.


Sergeant Daniel Jackson operates the dialing computer.

Elizabeth has been staring at a screen of ‘Gate addressed for almost six hours solid and her eyes have started to cross.

“Nothing you recognize?” Jackson asks.

“No.” She sighs.

When John had suggested this, he had shrugged at her look and said that it was worth a try. She had agreed, mostly because she didn’t know what else to do.

She remembers the address of the planet that she’d been on, now she just needs to pray that there is an equivalent in the library that they have at this SGC. Even though that library only covers part of the Milky Way and some of their Stargate symbols are different from the ones that she remembers from both Earth and Atlantis.

She’s not confident.

“Have you every used the Stargate to connect to another Galaxy?”

“Yes, once.” Jackson nods. “But the generator we used burnt out before we could use it again.”

And the only person she knows that is smart enough and resourceful enough to build one is… “Do you have a Rodney MacKay here?”

“At the SGC? I don’t think so. Let me check…” Jackson pulls up a list of personnel and does a quick search. “No. It says he was scheduled to transfer here and he did come for a few months but he was commissioned to go to Russia instead.”

“Is he still there?” She’s not feeling it yet, but Elizabeth doesn’t think that she has a lot of time.

“No, it says here that he’s currently working in Washington.”

“Get him here.”

Jackson stutters. “I… ah, we need to clear that with the General.”

“Then clear it.” She orders. “Get him here now.


“You really think MacKay can help you get home?”

John has taken her to dinner again, this time at a restaurant not far from the base.

The atmosphere is quiet and relaxed and there is a candle in their flower centerpiece. Once again, her guard had brought her a change of clothes that someone – she assumes John – had raided from their Elizabeth’s wardrobe.

Elizabeth shrugs in response and takes a bite of her salmon. “He’s the only person I know of aside from Colonel Carter that is smart enough to build a generator.”

“Colonel Carter? You mean Doctor Carter? My CMO?”

“Yes. In my world, she’s a Colonel in the USAF. An incredibly brilliant scientist. She wrote the dialing program that uses the ‘Gate”

“Major Teal did that here.” John waves away her hopeful look. “He was killed in our first year.”

“Do you know Carson Beckett?”

“He was killed in the first year, too. He was a tactical expert, died in the first attack. He died saving Ronon’s life.”

That explained the look she’d received when she asked to be examined by him, then. “How long has the SGC been running here?”

“Fifteen years.”

“How long have you been in charge?”

“Almost seven years.”

For a moment, she sees seven years worth of stress on his face before he blinks it away. “And how long have you been in love with your Elizabeth?”

“How do you…?” He grins ruefully. “Right. I’d forgotten how perceptive you were before…”

“Before what?”

“Before him.

There is something about the way that John says ‘him’ that makes Elizabeth uncomfortable. Her Simon was sweet, gentle, caring. Their parting was reasonably amicable, she thinks. She often wonders about him and hopes he’s happy. “What happened?”

“I don’t know, to be perfectly honest. But she’s not the same anymore.”

Elizabeth has a sick feeling in her stomach. It’s not often that her gut instinct is wrong but she finds herself unconsciously crossing her fingers anyway. “He hits her?”

“It’s possible. She’s had unexplained injuries and I know Doctor Carter is worried.” He sighs, dropping his fork to scrub a hand across his face. At this moment, he looks far older than he should. “Everyone knows that he cheats on her. There’s a string of women in town, but Vala, the chef that you met yesterday, is his main conquest. Beth knows it too, I imagine. But she says she’s happy and no one has ever had real proof to call him on her injuries. She’s smart, Elizabeth, you know her. We’ve never once heard her say that she’s walked into a door.”

“Maybe you should talk to her. Ask her outright?” The direct approach has always worked best for her.

“I have. She broke her arm off-world the next week. We didn’t ask again.”

“John…” She reaches across the table and takes his hand in her own. “Talk to her again.”

He nods once and coughs. “Is the salmon good?”

Elizabeth recognizes the tactic for what it is and smiles, taking another bite with her left hand while she keeps hold of his. “Very. How’s your steak?”

They continue to eat, making small talk.

Elizabeth tries not to think of her counterpart.

Every image her mind supplies is filled with fear and hurt. She tries to tell herself that it might not be as bad as she imagines, but the look on John’s face haunts her and she finds it hard to discuss much more than the weather.

They share a dessert and a final drink each before leaving. The driver is waiting for them again and when John takes her hand in the back of the car, Elizabeth thinks that it’s the most natural thing in the world.

Just like the previous night, he escorts her to her quarters.

Only this time he follows her inside.

This time he looks at her with what she can only describe as blind lust. This time, when he kisses her, she doesn't pull away. This time, when they part due to lack of oxygen, she tells him not to stop.

He doesn’t.


She is afraid that, after only a few days, she likes this reality far too much.

There are people waiting for her on Atlantis.

Elizabeth has no doubt that her John and his team will be searching.

She can close her eyes and imagine that Ronon is ready to tear strips off the Village Leader for her disappearance. She imagines Teyla holding him back, a delicate but strong hand on his arm, her calm voice telling him that violence will not solve anything.

She imagines Rodney scanning anything and everything, looking for the scientific explanation where he is unlikely to find one.

She imagines John… she doesn’t know what he would be doing, if she’s honest with herself.

Elizabeth sighs, rolls over and snuggles closer to the warm body at her side.

She could have this, in her own world. She could be this happy with the John that she has known for the previous three years. No one on Earth, not her superiors nor the IOA, would ever have to know.

“What are you thinking about?”

“I was wondering what they were doing.”


“John, my John, Teyla, Rodney, Ronon… everyone.” She sighs again. “I can’t stay here much longer.”

John curls his fingers through her hair, rubbing the strands together. “Why not?”

Elizabeth can hear the hurt in his voice. And, if was only a matter of choice… “Entropic Cascade Failure. My cells will degrade with two Elizabeth’s in this universe.”

“Will being in close proximity to her expedite the process?” He asks.

“I don’t think so.”

At least, she really hopes not.

Their Rodney had arrived not long before they left for dinner.

After she’d explained in as much detail as possible – which wasn’t much, admittedly – what they needed him to produce, he’d set to work, locking himself in a lab with a sign on the door that said ‘Do Not Enter,’ in slightly more colorful language.

Now they play the waiting game until he comes up with a solution or tells her that it’s hopeless and she’s going to die.

Either way, Elizabeth just wants to know.

“She’s back later today.” He admits quietly, after a moment.

“And Simon too?”


“Tell her how you feel.”

He snorts. “How can I do that?”

“It might make it easier for her to leave.”

“And if she doesn’t want to leave?”

Elizabeth can’t imagine not wanting to leave someone who was violent. But then, she’s never been in that position before. “Then be her friend.”


When Sergeant Jackson announces the incoming wormhole, Elizabeth heads to the briefing room and waits, seated at the head of the table as she nervously drums her fingernails on the tabletop.

John had decided that it would be best to brief the team on her arrival before she met them.

So she waits, but it doesn’t take long before the sound of footsteps on the stairs brings her attention to the four people entering the briefing room, all with identical looks of wonder on their faces.

Elizabeth has a feeling that their previous encounters with alternate realities haven't been with people that they know.

The other Elizabeth is the first to speak.

There doesn’t appear to be too many physical differences between them. She is a little thinner, her hair is longer and she wears a military uniform. “Hello.”

A little voice whispers in her ear, reminding her that Simon had always wanted her to grow her hair and she wonders if that’s why this Elizabeth did. “Hi.”

“I’m Beth… but you already knew that, right?”

Simon called me Beth for a while. “I’m Elizabeth.”

"This is strange." Simon is talking to her but his eyes are running the length of her body.

Elizabeth wouldn't normally be uncomfortable - at least, not in this context - but her mind is heading south and she's left wondering exactly why he is looking at her and exactly what the look in his eye means.

Is he looking at her and attempting to spot the differences between her and the Beth that he knows or is he looking at her like a piece of meat he'd like to devour?

She shakes her head a little and tells herself to stop speculating.

God, this reality is sending her batty.

"I assure you," She smiles as nicely as possible. "That this isn't an everyday occurrence for me either."

The petit redhead steps forward. "Captain Janet Frasier." She smiles politely. "How did you get here?"

Janet Frasier? Elizabeth's mind does a quick flick through the index of SGC knowledge she carries. CMO in my world. Killed in the line of duty... this is really weird. "I'm not really sure. But we've got a plan to get me back to my own reality... hopefully before the cascade failure begins."

"Cascade failure?"

"My cells will degrade because there are two of us." Elizabeth shrugs. "I suppose that's the price you pay for jumping Galaxies and realities."

"Jumping Galaxies?"

"Before I jumped realities, I was in another Galaxy."

"You mean the Stargate goes to other Galaxies?" Beth's eyes light up, fascination clearly shining through them and Elizabeth can't help but notice the tender look on John's face.

She's almost jealous, but she knows how stupid it would be to be jealous of, effectively, herself. "It does. But I can't tell you any more about that."

"Why not?"

Is she pouting? I do not pout. "Because there are some things that you need to figure out for yourself." Elizabeth says it to her counterpart, but she winks at John and wonders if he gets the hint.


They're lying in bed together again, limbs tangled and bodies slick.

Elizabeth is almost surprised that he stayed with her, now that Beth is back.

She doesn’t questions it though and she doesn’t ask him about it. Her John is, for the most part, a very private man and she suspects that she has got as much information out of this John as she is going to get.

"What are you thinking about?" His voice doesn't surprise her, but as it blows across her neck, she shivers.

"Meeting myself."

"She’s not what you expected?"

"Why do you ask that?"

"You pouted."

"I did not!"

"You did. A lot."

She ‘hmphs.’ "Did I really?"


"When? And if you ever want to get into my pants again, you'll choose your words very carefully."

A hand caresses her bare hip, fingers trailing up and down before they cup her hip bone. "You aren't wearing any pants, Elizabeth."

“Don’t you pull semantics with me, General John Sheppard.”

“Don’t you try to pretend you weren’t pouting, Doctor Elizabeth Weir.”

“OK. So maybe I pouted a little bit. She’s just so… I don’t even know the word.”

“Beautiful?” John offers shyly.

“Timid.” Elizabeth counters.

“She didn’t used to be,” He says, his voice quiet in the dark. “She was vibrant and full of life, just like you. He changed that. And we all watched it happen because we were too scared to say anything.”

“Are you going to talk to her?” Elizabeth asks. “When I leave?”

“Yes. I don’t think it’s healthy for any of us to keep ignoring what’s really happening here.”


If the only thing she achieves in this reality is to give her other self a better chance at life, Elizabeth will think the last few days a success.

Something good should come of this, she has decided, even if I die here.

Her head has started aching a bit, a dull pain in the back of her skull that throbs in time to her pulse and she’s had a few dizzy spells. Her vision has blackened until all she can see is tiny spots of color in front of her eyes.

It’s starting.

“I want to come with you.” John says suddenly, breaking her train of thought.


“When you go… I want to come with you through the Stargate.”



“No.” She sighs. “John, it’ll be a one-way trip.”


“If Rodney manages to build it, and keep in mind that’s a pretty big ‘if’, the generator will burn out. It wont be useable ever again and there’s no guarantees that you’ll be able to get back through the ‘Gate once I’m gone. I don’t need to be worrying about you stuck on some backwater planet. You can stay here.” And she reaches behind and pokes his chest for emphasis.

“Yes ma’am.”


“I am a genius.”

Of all of the differences that Elizabeth has noticed between this reality and her own, the leaders of the SGC, the people and their roles, World affairs, television programming, food and beverages available, currency, her own life… out of all of the differences, Rodney MacKay is certainly not one of them.

In her world he is brilliant, arrogant, smug, self-assured, but still strangely compelling.

The same is true in this one.

“I’m being serious here. Genius at work.” He is pointing to herself, announcing his clear intellectual superiority to the entire commissary, before he points to a dining airman by the door. “Do you know how smart I am? Do you know what I just achieved? Let me tell you.”

He sits down with the stunned airman and proceeds to launch into an explanation that the other man probably doesn’t understand.

Elizabeth shares a look with Beth across the table.

“I suppose this isn’t shocking to you?” She asks.

“No… our Rodney is pretty much the same.”

“He’s sweet, though. Very kind.” She smiles, her head dipping to hide the happy expression and Elizabeth’s heart aches that she shares DNA with this woman, so different from herself. “He was very kind to me when he first came here, years ago. I was going through… a rough patch. It was after mom died.”

“You’re mom is dead?”

“Yours isn’t?”

“No.” She reaches across the table and touches Beth’s hand gently. “I’m so very sorry.”

“It happened years ago. Just before Simon and I got engaged. We got married not long after that, he thought it would be good for me.”

“Was he right?”

Beth doesn’t answer. “Rodney was great, though. We still e-mail each other all the time.”

“And John?” They haven’t discussed him, not that Elizabeth hasn’t tried to bring the subject up.

“General Sheppard was very caring as well. He was always there if I need him. I remember once that he came over to my house to make sure I was OK. After the funeral. And he got me some gerberas.” Their mom’s favorite. “He came in for coffee and I ended up crying all over his uniform.” She laughs a little at the memory before her face becomes sad again. “Simon came home from the store then… he wasn’t very happy.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“What question?”

“Was Simon right? Was getting married after our, your, mom’s funeral good for you?”

Beth looks her in the eye. “No.”

Before she can respond, Rodney bounces – for there is no other word for it – over to them. “Did you hear about my latest breakthrough?”

Elizabeth shrugs. “We may have heard you mention something…”

“You, pretty lady, are going home.”

“You did it?”

“I did.”

Now that it’s here, now that she knows that she will be going home, leaving the life that she had begun to create for herself among these familiar strangers, Elizabeth doesn’t know exactly what to feel, beyond shock that he actually accomplished the impossible. “Wow.”

“That’s it? Just… ‘wow’?” Rodney looks positively crushed. “I mean, shouldn’t there be some kind of parade for this? A national announcement? New bulletin? Party? How about a ‘thank you’?”

She rises and hugs him. “Thank you, Rodney.” And she kisses his cheek before leaving the commissary in search of John.

Rodney remains in place, mouth open. “Now that was a thank you.”


“So I guess this is goodbye, huh?”

Behind her, Elizabeth can hear the ‘Gate spinning as it dials.

Each chevron locks and she hears Sergeant Jackson announcing them.

She smiles crookedly at John as they stand at the base of the metal ramp. “I guess it is.”

“Thank you, Elizabeth. For everything.”

“You’re welcome.” Her vision blackens again and, distantly, she feels him hold her elbows steadily until the feeling passes.

It’s getting worse.

Doctor Carter said that Rodney found his solution in time, but she has to get back to her own reality soon.

“You will talk to her, wont you?” She asks.

Beth is standing a few feet from them, along with Doctor Carter. They have already said their mildly uncomfortable goodbyes. Simon is in the briefing room above and Elizabeth can feel his eyes on her.

John knows that the other man is watching them, but he hasn’t released her elbows and they are standing a little closer together than professionalism would normally dictate. “Yes. It’s time.”

“You’re a good man, John Sheppard. She knows it.”

“I hope she does.”

“She doesn’t know what she’s missing… but she will now.”

“What are you…”

Before he can finish, Elizabeth reaches up and grips his face. Pulling him down to her level, she kisses him with her own three years worth of pent up lust and she can feel his responding fever. Their tongues duel and it’s noisy but thoroughly enjoyable.

The kiss is brief but graphic – certainly one of the more erotic public displays of affection she’s ever been involved in – and when they pull apart, Elizabeth can see how wide Beth’s eyes are.

But she can also see the slight, familiar, flush that stains her cheeks and knows that the point has been well received and understood.

“Was that necessary?” John asks breathlessly.

“No…” His hands are clutching her close to him, and she can feel what he really thought of her performance against her stomach, so whatever protests he offers up are null and void. “But damn it was fun.”

“I can’t argue with that.”

“Good.” She grins at him. “Thank you again, General Sheppard.”

“You’re most welcome, Doctor Weir.” He kisses her forehead tenderly. “Godspeed.”

“To you too.”

She walks up the ramp and through the shimmering Stargate without a glance backwards, a smile on her face.


It's silly, but she almost expects the planet to look different.

When she exits the Stargate, the lush greenery that awaits her is much the same as what she saw four days ago in a different galaxy.

This version of the planet doesn't appear to be populated - which is good, given the mistrust and hostility that John and his team were originally met with in her world - and Elizabeth makes her way towards where the Village should have been.

It's not far to walk, but she has to stop every few minutes to catch her breath and wait for the ground to stop spinning. It's both frustrating and disconcerting but she forces her legs to continue moving until she is standing in an open field that should have been bustling with people, not full of wild flowers growing.

She's not really sure what to do now.

Elizabeth doesn't remember how she went from her reality to this one and, short of a neon sign popping up in front of her, she has little choice but to walk through the open field until she stumbles across a way home.

She starts walking through the field, from one side to the other and nothing changes.

Even though she's not sure what to expect - though a flash of light and that neon sign wouldn't go a stray right about now - Elizabeth's eyes still dart from side to side as she steps.

One lap of the field proves fruitless, so she turns back and begins to walk a line beside her original path.

Not particularly promising, she thinks, right before she feels like her bones are being ripped out of through her skin.

The pain is like nothing she's ever felt before and her knees fold in under the strain of keeping her trembling body upright.

The ground is cold beneath her, but she doesn't really feel the dampness through the darkness closing around her and the sound of her own scream.


Elizabeth doesn’t know how it happens, but when she opens her eyes, Ronon’s nose is the first thing that she sees.

Specifically, she can see up Ronon’s nose.

“Ronon?” Her voice is hoarse and hopeful as she speaks – is this her Ronon or is she back in the other reality?

“You’re awake.”

With the way my head feels I wish I wasn’t. She groans. “What happened?”

“We don’t know. You just appeared.” He helps her sit up slowly, his large hands supporting her head and back. “I was searching the area and I turned around and there you were.”

“I was looking for a way home. I must have fallen back into this world.” Literally.

“Fallen back?” Ronon repeats.

Elizabeth looks forward and sees John and Teyla, both staring open-mouthed in her direction. “I’ll explain later.”

Ronon helps her rise and John greets her with a hand on her arm, eyes wide. “Where did you come from?”

“A very strange place.” She smiles, but it morphs into a grimace as the world spins again. “Take me home and I’ll explain everything.”


Of course, by ‘everything’, she means the highly abridged version.

After Carson has cleared her medically – and not that Doctor Carter wasn’t nice, but God it is good to see him again – John, Teyla, Rodney and Ronon all convene in the briefing room, taking their regular seats and staring at her expectantly.

Rodney is the most curious – though she is honestly not surprised – and Elizabeth almost wishes that she’d had the other Rodney write a report for all of the technical questions she is asked.

Teyla seems mildly concerned about the fact that her alternate is married and the owner of a bar and grill… though she doesn’t actually know what that is.

Ronon growls at the suggestion of him being human in the other reality.

John stays silent, listening to her talk.

“How exactly did you get back?” Rodney asks. “If you didn’t know precisely where you were transported from, how could you know how to get back?”

Elizabeth opens her mouth to answer but the world spins around her again and she sits down quickly, mindful of her trembling legs.

Apparently the early stages of entropic cascade failure are destined to haunt her for a few days to come.

When she can open her eyes without the urge to vomit again, Elizabeth shrugs slightly. “I don’t know. All I remember is being hit with another episode and then I was looking up at Ronon.”

The man in question shrugs. “I turned around and you were on the ground.”

“Rodney secured the area and Zelenka and his teams went back to run some tests. But we scanned the area just after you disappeared and there was nothing there that indicated anything that could take you to an alternate reality.” John scratches the back of his head and Elizabeth feels a ‘pang’ in the bit of her belly. “We all walked over the same area, dozens of times, and yet none of us were taken. Why?”

“I don’t know.” Her head is starting to throb. “Perhaps it would be best for us to wait and see what Doctor Zelenka comes up with.” He and his team have returned to the planet, concentrating their scans on the area that she was found in. “Until then, I’m going to get some rest.”

She doesn’t wait for a response before she is up and out of the room, heading to her quarters with the promise of a few hours – or days – worth of solid sleep.


What little sleep she does get is tainted by dreams of another world in between her long bouts of insomnia and when she wakes from another twenty minute nap, Elizabeth automatically rolls over expecting to find a warm body beside her.

Disappointment flows through her when her hand is met by cool sheets instead of warm flesh.

They only spent three nights together, but apparently that’s enough for her to get used to the comfort of waking in someone’s arms again.

She’s not sure exactly how she’s meant to handle seeing her lover - who is not really her lover - and not being able to do a damn thing about it.

Carson told her to take a few days to rest, but she just can’t bring herself to lie in bed and do nothing but stare out the window.

Four days ago the sound and smell of the ocean would have calmed her tumultuous thoughts and soothed her exhausted mind and body into peaceful sleep. Four days ago, the view she has now was all that she wanted.

Now, she looks around her and expects to see the décor of the SGC’s VIP suits.

She’s almost sad to see her own room again and Elizabeth doesn’t know how to deal with that feeling, or even if she should.

It’s far too tempting to stay in bed and wallow in what she lost and what she found.

That reality wasn’t perfect, but it certainly had its perks over this one.

Eventually she rises, showers and dresses in a uniform she wasn’t certain she’d have the chance to wear again.

As much as she knows it will hurt to look at John and not see a comfortable familiarity that she had found with General Sheppard, she still has a city to run.


“Colonel Sheppard believes that you are avoiding him.” Teyla tells her a few days later, coming into her office.

Elizabeth gestures to the chair across from her and the other woman nods her head gratefully before sitting. “Why would he think that?”

“Perhaps because you are?”

Her skin flushes and Elizabeth knows that she is right. Damn perceptive woman. “It’s not intentional.”

“He is aware of that also.” Teyla cocks her head to the side. “Is there a reason?”

Elizabeth is assaulted with the image of John – General John – above her and inside of her.

She sees him sleeping, an arm around her as she lies atop his chest.

She feels him curled behind her, keeping her securely in his arms as they both try to slow their breathing.

She sees his face when Beth smiles.

“No reason.”

“You did not share much of your experience in the alternate reality. Was Colonel Sheppard not a kind man there?”

“He was very kind.” Perhaps too kind. “But it’s… different, being back home again. You’re all different to what they were.”

“Is that not to be expected?”

“Yes, but…” Elizabeth sighs. She likes Teyla. Much like the instantaneous bond she formed with General Sheppard, she is bound to this woman as a leader. “Some of the people there were a little too different.”

“I do not understand.”

“I, well, the other Elizabeth, was married to Simon.” Teyla knows about Simon. Elizabeth once told the other woman that she had a partner on Earth and Teyla is the only one she officially told of their parting.

“Did you not once tell me that if you had not been offered the chance to come to Atlantis, you would have been married yourself?”

“Yes. But in this reality, Simon wasn’t very nice.”

They may be from different backgrounds, but Teyla gets what she isn’t saying rather quickly. “And you are wondering if the same would have been true for you, had you married him?”

“A little, yes.” Elizabeth admits uncomfortably.

Her Simon truly is a lovely man and Elizabeth stands by that.

But with so many similarities between their worlds, she can’t help but wonder if a few years as his wife would have turned her into Beth and she is a little scared by that possibility. She will never know now, of course, but at this moment, with the experience still fresh, she can’t help but let the ‘what ifs’ run through her mind.

Teyla can read her better than Elizabeth would like and the look in her eyes obviously says something to the Athosian leader. “Do you wish you had not returned?”

How does she answer that?

How does she explain that she loves her life here, loves her work and her friends, but wants the lover that she found there?

In the end, she settles for the most honest answer she can think of. “I don’t know.”


Ronon is the next to visit her, almost a week after her talk with Teyla.

Elizabeth has spent the week catching up on what she missed while she was away.

Apparently, John got lost in his search for her and Rodney almost set fire to the village with some of his equipment, but all in all, they had a relatively uneventful few days.

Her week, aside from reading over the reports of the search and writing her own account, is mostly spent in her office, performing the mind-numbingly mundane tasks that she needs right now.

She stands on the balcony and waves goodbye to John and his team when they leave for a mission and she stands there and greets them when they return.

The debriefing is short and it’s the only time that Elizabeth really interacts with anyone until Ronon comes to her office a few hours after their return.

She doesn’t hear his stealthy approach – she never does – and when he makes himself known with a small cough that sounds like a grunt, Elizabeth jumps in her seat. “Ronon.”

“Doctor Weir.”

“Have a seat. What can I do for you?”

“Nothing, really. Just wondering how you’re doing.”

He’s not very good with this sort of thing, Elizabeth knows.

As she watches him tug at his earlobe uncomfortably, she’s tremendously touched that he has made the effort to seek her out and risk having a potentially emotionally charged conversation. “I’m doing well, thank you Ronon.”

“No sweat.”

“Though I really should get back to this report.” She gestures to the laptop in front of her – a game of free cell open, but hidden from his view – and offers him the out that she knows he desperately wants.

“Sure. If you want to talk…”

He looks positively terrified at the possibility that she’ll say yes and Elizabeth smiles gently. “Thank you.”


Rodney comes to see her the week after Ronon.

Elizabeth is surprised that it’s taken him this long.

“How’re you doing?”

“Good, Rodney, thank you.”

“Can we do anything?”

“No, I’m fine. Just readjusting.” She’s been telling them all that for over three weeks now and Elizabeth wants to know how long it will be before she is fully ‘readjusted.‘

How long until the dreams of another life stop?

“Need help?”

“I don’t think this is something that you can help me with. I’ll be fine.” And she will keep saying that until she believes it herself.

“OK… well, the offer is there.”

“I appreciate that.”

“Now, while I’m here, can we talk about that project I’ve been working on?”

“Of course.”

Elizabeth lets herself get lost in Rodney’s largely technical explanation of the latest miracle invention that he is in the process of creating and pretends that she doesn’t feel out of place here.


John is the last to visit and when he knocks on the door of her quarters, it’s been exactly one month to the day since she’s been home.

She’s standing in front of her desk, leaning against it as she reads through Rodney’s report on his failed miracle invention and subsequent explosion – ‘minor explosion,’ as the report reads – in the Lab.

“Sorry it’s taken me so long to, you know…”

“I know.”

“How are you?”

She wishes people would stop asking that.

Their question hasn’t changed and neither has the lie she’s been telling them. “Fine. Readjusting. It’s a slow process.”

“I can only imagine.”

“Yeah…” She looks down at her hands and, when she looks back up at him, Elizabeth can see traces of her lover in his eyes. Damnit.

“Can we do anything?”

“No,” She smiles. “I’ll be fine, it’ll just take time.”

John watches her sway a little, his hand automatically going to her elbows to steady her. “You OK?”

“Yes, just dizzy. Carson said the effects of the cascade failure would haunt me for a while.”

“A whole month?”

He remembers the date too, obviously. “Apparently.”

“Maybe you should go and see him again? Just to be on the safe side.”

“If it doesn’t get better soon, I will.”


It doesn’t get better.

She’s been home over two months now and she still feels dizzy and nauseous.

John has made it a daily habit to ask her how she’s feeling.

Elizabeth has made it a daily habit to lie to him and say she’s feeling better.

He doesn’t buy it though and, eventually, stops taking her answer at face value.

He badgers her about another visit to the infirmary and her defense is great up until the point her legs stop functioning properly and she thinks that she is going to hit the ground or the ground is going to hit her, whichever comes first.

“Go see Carson.”

“I’ll be… fine… in a… minute.” She is cradled against his chest, waiting for her office to stop traitorously spinning.

Being this close to him, this close to his scent, probably isn’t helping her predicament either.

“I could carry you, you know.”

“I’m your boss,” She says, straightening herself, with just a little of his help. “I could fire you.”

“You wont. You know as well as I do that two months is far too long for you to be suffering like this. You need to be at full strength to work the hours that you do.”

He is right, she does know that.

But she doesn’t want to admit it and as long as she is dizzy, she is reminded of her time with the General and that makes it seem somehow worthwhile, if not a little adolescently pathetic.

“Elizabeth.” He says quietly. “I’m worried about you.”

She bites the bullet and radios Carson to tell him she’s on her way.


“How did this happen?”

Carson raises an eyebrow.

“OK, I know how it happened but, I mean, he was in another reality! Another Galaxy in another reality! How is this possible?”

“Rodney would be able to tell you about transferring from reality to reality,” Carson says, taking a seat on the gurney next to her. “But I’m pretty sure that sperm aren’t all that picky, hen.”

She huffs a little at his joke, but her hands come up to rub at her temples. “What the hell do I do now?”

“You have options, Elizabeth.” Carson tells her gently.

He doesn’t need to spell it out, she knows where he’s hinting.

“I don’t want options, damnit, I want…”

“What, love?”

She closes her mouth quickly; she knows that the end of her sentence had been a name that she wasn’t supposed to be thinking about anymore.



Elizabeth waits another month before she works up the nerve to call John and his team into the debriefing room.

She told herself that she just needed some time to get her head around the idea… and to think about how to answer their questions.

A month wasn’t enough, though and as she looks at their expectant faces, she has absolutely no idea how to deal with this.

Or even if she should, for that matter.

But, on the other hand, if she waits any longer, they’ll start figuring it out for themselves and it’s not fair to them - him - that they find out that way.


She spent a great deal of the previous month hidden in her office or her room. She paced back and forth, forgoing sleep in favor of worriedly muttering to herself – which she is sure was appreciated by her body – and generally neglecting the basic need of food, water and sleep.

Beyond the daily happenings of the city, various people sought her out at various times – John more than once – to ask how she was feeling and if there is anything that they can do to help her.

Elizabeth gets the feeling that some of them think she should be ‘over’ the ‘ordeal’ by now, but she doesn’t let their whispered speculation bother her.

Now, as she stands before them, her friends and colleagues, what she wants to say sticks in her throat and she’s not quite sure how it’s going to come out.

I always liked the direct approach… “I’m pregnant.”


It’s out now.

She can’t take it back, she can’t hide it, she can’t change her story and she can’t pretend that it didn’t happen.

Rodney’s mouth hangs open in shock.

Ronon blinks a lot in the space of about thirty seconds.

Teyla nods, once and the smile on her face is almost a knowing one.

John looks pale.

“Congratulations, Doctor Weir.”

Elizabeth had expected that she would be the saving grace of this potentially disastrous meeting. “Thank you, Teyla.”

“How did this happen?”

“Would you like a diagram, Rodney?”

Rodney makes what can only be describes as an ‘ew’ face. “Not really, no.”

“The alternate reality?” Ronon asks and Elizabeth nods in response.

They all turn to John, who really is missing a lot of his normal color. “Wow.”

Elizabeth smiles, though she imagines that it appears as more or a grimace than anything else. “I know.”

“Congratulations, I guess.”

Is it wishful thinking or does he look disappointed?


Elizabeth stands on the balcony by the control room, her arms wound around herself and she wonders if she can feel a ‘bump’ yet.

She doesn’t know what to do now.

She can’t go back. If she couldn’t survive cascade failure then the baby inside of her would have no chance in hell and she can’t imagine Beth wanting to trade places with her.

She can’t tell John and expect him to want to pick up where his counterpart left off.

That would be unfair to him and unfair to her. And the baby.

A lot of her worried mutterings over the last month had been about that, about what to say when the paternity of her offspring was questioned. Did she tell them? Did she say that she would have Carson run a DNA sample? Did she site a freak accident that occurred as she jumped realities? Did she please the fifth and hope they didn’t think her mad?

At the end of the month though, when she had gone to see Carson for her 3 month scan – and wow! Seeing it on the screen? Very, very surreal – she had decided that she would simply cross the bridge of parentage when she came to it.

No one asked her in the briefing, so she likes to pretend that the question wont, eventually, be asked.

“We’ll help you in any way we can.” John says, moving to stand beside her.

Elizabeth didn’t hear his approach and she jumps a little. “I know.”

They stand in silence, watching the setting sun and the rocking waves.

John is the first to speak. “Simon?”


“In the other reality. Simon?”

Clearly that bridge was closer than anticipated. It’s tempting to say yes, if only to avoid any deep and meaningful and hurtful conversations that may come up down the track. She can’t, though, she wont lie to him like that. “No. He was an abusive ass.”


He waits for her to speak, to offer up an explanation.

Elizabeth opens and closes her mouth a few times. She wants to, she really does… but she just can’t. “I guess it doesn’t really matter now, right?”

“I guess not.” John takes her hand gently. “I meant what I said. We’ll help you any way that we can.”

He says ‘we’ and she hears the hidden ‘I’.

“You have no idea how much that means to me.”

She thinks that, with his help, maybe she’ll be able to get through this.

And maybe one day she’ll have the courage to tell him the truth.



The request: Elizabeth has a baby with an AU John, but doesn't discover it until returning to her own reality.