Disclaimer: SGA does not belong to me of course and belongs to all the grand high Mucky Mucks. No money was made from this and no copyright infringement is intended. Any similarity to any other story not my own is coincidence.
The Promise; New Beginning; Tracy Chapman; 1995
Title: The Promise of Goodbye
Genre: SGA; Sparky angst
Rating: PG; rated for general content
Timeline: Sometime after "Ghost in the Machine" and contains general spoilers for that episode.
Author's Note: It has been some time since I have written anything in the SGA fandom, but this one just kind of happened... I so wish Lizzie's story had ended better and I think that my brain keeps trying to make that happen... *sigh* Anyhoo, here it is... Oh, and yup, this one's back to my usual sappy sort of angst.
“If you wait for me... then I'll come for you. Although I've traveled far, I always hold a place for you in my heart. If you think of me... If you miss me once in awhile... then I'll return to you. I'll return and fill that space in your heart. Remembering...”
“I don't remember getting knocked on the head recently,” John murmured as the softly lilting voice filled the room.
“Your touch; your kiss; your warm embrace... I'll find my way back to you, if you'll be waiting... If you dream of me like I dream of you, in a place that's warm and dark, in a place where I can feel the beating of your heart. Remembering...”
“And I know I didn't eat any of Rodney's cooking last night, 'cause well, that's just crazy...” John continued in a low tone.
“Am I crazy? There's no way you came back just to sing Tracy Chapman songs to me,” John said, keeping his eyes closed and not daring to wake up fully to look in the direction of where his guitar normally rested.
“Your touch; your kiss; your warm embrace... I'll find my way back to you, if you'll be waiting... I've desired to see your face; your smile; to be with you wherever you are...”
It was too impossible that he was hearing Elizabeth here in his quarters singing to him, but he wanted the impossible too much to ruin it by opening his eyes.
The music stilled a moment, echoing softly behind her voice. “Hello, John.”
“I'm just going to keep my eyes closed,” he told her quietly.
“Probably just as well,” Elizabeth conceded just as quietly. “That way this doesn't have to become a security situation instead of just being...”
“Just being?” the Colonel prompted when she didn't continue.
“Just being... what it is,” she replied vaguely.
“And what is it?” He couldn't help asking.
“Me coming back just to sing you Tracy Chapman songs,” Elizabeth answered.
John opened his eyes and sat up to see Elizabeth sitting cross-legged and barefoot in a chair, his guitar resting in her lap.
“Hello, John,” she repeated carefully, watching his face grow wary and thoughtful.
“You know, a guy can only say goodbye and mourn so much before you just break him in two.”
“I know,” Elizabeth said softly, sadly.
He reached carefully for his gun, trying to ignore the way her face fell as she resigned herself to the action.
“I wish you'd kept your eyes closed.”
“You know, I wish I had too,” John confessed slowly without lowering his gun, trying to ignore that who he saw was the Elizabeth of his memories and not the face of a young replicator woman.
“I wanted... I wanted you to remember me like this, not like some stranger, like some machine freezing in space... I wanted...”
“Wanted to sing me songs?”
Elizabeth gave him a quirk of her lip, smiling like she used to before the strangeness of living in the Pegasus galaxy had derailed everything in her life.
“I used to play as a child you know,” she tried to say conversationally. “My father... taught me,” she added wistfully, looking down to the guitar in her hands before trying to face John's eyes once more.
“I always meant to share that with you, somehow... I meant to share a lot of things with you... I wanted... I always meant to tell you I lo...”
“Okay, that's enough. What's going on? What is this?” John interrupted suddenly.
“I told you, John...”
“You've just told me what I wanted to hear,” he interrupted.
“I've told you what I wanted to say,” Elizabeth countered. “It's all I can do. Anything I say from the past, you'll distrust, and anything I say now, you don't want to believe... so all I can do is say what I've wanted to say.”
She took a deep breath and brushed back her long, sunlit tinted curls.
“No hidden agendas; no others before or behind me. No other plans or desires except this... to sing to you; to tell you...”
Elizabeth took one more deep breath.
“To tell you that this will be the last goodbye...”
Suddenly, John's radio hissed, startling them both. Without lowering the gun trained on the figure of Elizabeth seated across from him, the Colonel answered it.
“Colonel Sheppard,” Woosley's voice filled John's ear. “We're picking up strange readings coming from your quarters. Is there a situation?”
Rodney's voice broke in over the connection. “Someone's tapped into the City's computers through yours and we're getting Ancient life-sign readings from your room, John.”
The Colonel eyed Elizabeth sitting calmly where she was, giving no indication that she had heard anything that had been said to him, though he was certain she knew exactly what he had been told.
“No hidden agendas?” John asked, his voice filled with weary suspicion. When Elizabeth didn't reply, he continued. “I thought you said that you and the others couldn't achieve Ascension.”
“We couldn't,” Elizabeth replied. “And... and I didn't. I didn't achieve it.”
“Others? Ascension? Sheppard what's...”
John ignored Rodney's voice in his ear demanding to know what was happening.
“Someone helped me,” Elizabeth confessed quietly. “She... she showed me a way to purge the last of the machine within and then...” she trailed off.
“They were never human... she couldn't...” again she trailed off, this time sadly, and John could see that Elizabeth really did feel deeply about the fate of the others that she had looked to as her people. Almost more than anything else, it began to convince him that maybe the woman before him really was Elizabeth. “Their bodies have been... there's no possibility of them coming back... in any form.”
John lowered his gun slowly.
“I really did just come back to... to sing to you. I did just want to tell you...”
“Elizabeth? You're really...Elizabeth.”
She smiled quietly. “Hello, John.”
“Elizabeth? Sheppard, did you just say Elizabeth?” Rodney demanded before Woosley's voice broke in.
John turned off the radio and set it aside.
“Aren't you supposed to look all Ancienty or something?”
Elizabeth's smile became a grin. “Ancienty?”
“Yeah well, you know,” John replied, waving his hand in a vague sort of gesture. “I thought that it went with the whole thing, not...”
Elizabeth tugged lightly at her sea-foam green tank top.
“Time enough to look Ancienty later,” she assured him with a quirky smile before sobering. “I wanted...”
She tugged again at her shirt before sighing. “I just wanted.”
“Me too,” John offered. “I wanted.”
Elizabeth smiled again quietly.
“They should be here any minute you know.”
Elizabeth nodded and shifted the guitar in her lap before picking up the scattered chords of her song once more.
“Remembering... your touch; your kiss; your warm embrace... I'll find my way back to you, if you'll be waiting... I've longed for you, and I have desired to see your face; your smile; to be with you wherever you are... Remembering... your touch; your kiss; your warm embrace... I'll find my way back to you. Please say you'll be waiting...”
John rose from the bed and carefully closed the distance between them.
“What are you doing to the computers, Elizabeth?”
She stopped playing.
“Nothing harmful, I swear to you, John.”
“Purging the machine?”
“Atlantis is the only place that can handle the programs. It's the only place that can handle the part of me that is still... that's still not quite human. You can easily delete the programs if you want once I'm gone, John. I promise that I would never intentionally do anything to harm you or the City.”
John looked deep into her ocean green eyes, practically feeling her willing him to believe; needing him to believe.
He reached for her and drew her up to her feet, letting her place the guitar down in the chair before brushing her hair back, all the while searching her eyes.
“Okay,” the Colonel finally whispered.
“I believe you Elizabeth,” he assured her quietly.
“Thank you, John.”
“This really is goodbye this time, isn't it?”
“Yes,” she answered as softly as he had asked. “Well... until you Ascend,” she added with a small smile.
“Come on, you really see that happening, 'Lizabeth?” John countered with one of his typically mischievous grins, forgetting for a moment the years of strange tragedy that had separated them.
“Yes,” she replied seriously. “Because I'll be waiting.”
John met her eyes, feeling the moment grow heavy between them before he practically whispered, “Okay... okay then.”
Gently he reached for her, bringing his lips to hers in a soft, nearly chaste kiss.
At her look, the Colonel explained simply,“I wanted...”
“I know, me too.”
“And if... if this really is...
“I know that too, John.”
Then suddenly they were kissing again, and this time it was like they were trying to make up for all the kisses they had missed with only just wanting. They kissed each other as if they could recapture every lost embrace and and use it to carry them forward.
“Oh God, I wish...” John gasped breathlessly against Elizabeth's lips. “I want...I lo...”
“John...” she interrupted just as breathlessly.
And finally they were kissing as if they had done it for years, as if every sunrise and sunset, every star, had witnessed a thousand kisses and not just this one. They kissed until John noticed the warm glow that haloed Elizabeth had begun to fill the room with light.
“Elizabeth...” he half gasped, half whispered breathlessly, reluctant to let her go. “Elizabeth...”
“Close your eyes,” she whispered, kissing each of his eyelids gently as he did so. “Goodbye, John.”
He felt the warmth of Elizabeth's golden light caress his skin before fading softly. It lingered behind his eyelids even after he knew that she was gone and he almost wished that he could keep his eyes closed forever. Instead, John sighed and reached for his guitar, settling himself on the edge of his bed. Quietly, he began to play.
“Together again, it would feel so good to be in your arms, where all my journeys end. If you can make a promise... If it's one that you can keep... I vow to come for you, if you wait for me and say you'll hold a place for me in your heart... in your heart...”
The sound of the door to his quarters opening stopped him from playing and he rose, setting his guitar down.
“She's gone...” he greeted his team..