”John, I’m worried about her.”
”Teyla, don’t. Elizabeth’s a big girl. She can take care of herself.”
Though trying to reassure Teyla, the words didn’t come out half as convincingly as John Shepherd had hoped.
”It’s traumatic being captured and held hostage - you know that,” he added, trying to compensate for the uncertainty over his previous tone.
”I realise that,” Teyla replied in a tone which suddenly made John feel quite guilty for trying to lighten the mood. "My point is that we have little way of knowing what she was put through during those hours we were out of contact with her.”
John sighed, and then looked up, his eyebrows rising ever so slightly.
”You think something happened in that facility? But Beckett says she’s fine-”
”-Indeed physically she may well be fine,” Teyla interupted, as John took another bite of his sandwich.
"Ahhh," he then noised his understanding, through a mouthful of bread, "you mean she's scarred internally... wounded emotionally?.."
"This isn't funny, Major."
Teyla pushed her own meal aside and pouted slightly. Her actual facial expression was more indignant, but John definitely knew there was a pout there somewhere.
Of course he was making a joke of the situation - it was what he did. Because admitting that Elizabeth's absence from duty - spanning so many days now - had been the worry which had kept him awake all last night would be humiliation. He didn't care that no one would think any less of him if he declared the extent of his worry for her, it'd be like reading aloud his diary - if he had one - into a microphone broadcasting to the whole of Atlantis.
It just was easier this way.
"Look," he put the sandwich down and leanded across to a very stubborn Teyla. "Whatever's going on with Dr Weir is up to her to sort out. If she wants to talk, there's always Heightmeyer... or McKay, depending on the response she's after..."
Teyla pursed her lips a little, then nodded very slightly. John eased back on his seat
"Trust me, she'll be fine."
If only he'd known then - on that day in the Mess - just how wrong he was.
"... so Zelenka thinks that by shunting a negligable fraction of power from he cloaking systems, we should be able to - she's not even listening to me..."
Eliazbeth looked up.
"Sorry?... Yes Rodney, sorry. Can I talk to you later about this? Would that be all right?"
The look on Rodney McKay's face made it blatantly obvious that that wouldn't be all right, but he gave the woman an insincere smile and placed the data pad on her desk in a most sarcastic manner.
"Sure - just you get back to me with a time that suits your needs."
He turned around and walked out of the office, eyes practically rooted to the top of his sockets. As soon as he'd left, Elizabeth sighed and took her head into her hands. A moment later, however, there was another knock on the door. She straightened herself before answering.
It was Carson Beckett who entered.
"Good morning, Doctor Weir."
"Carson! I'm sorry, I forgot to stop by this morning-"
"-And last week, and yesterday morning, and the day before… and the day before that, too…"
She pulled her hair into a small ponytail a the back of her neck, and then released it again as the doctor took a seat opposite her.
"I'm sorry", she replied sincerely. "I've just been so busy, but I feel fine, if it's any consolation."
The doctor frowned. "Why don't you let me the judge of that. I'll be frank with you, Elizabeth," Carson looked back at the ajar door and then leaned in closer across the desk, "I'm worried about you - and I'm not the only one. Since you came back from P3X 895 you've seemed on edge."
Leaning back in her chair, Elizabeth sighed and shook her head.
"I don't know what you mean," she began, but Carson waved his hand to silence her.
"Don't know what I mean? You've been locked away in this bloody office for one thing! Shepherd said you were in here for twelve hours straight the day before last-"
"-Oh he did, did he?" She raised an eyebrow.
"Aye, he did. And he's not the only one who's noticed. Elizabeth, you've got lots of people that care about you here. You can't just abandon them when they-"
"-Carson." Elizabeth clasped her hands together, and leaned forwards once again. "Thank you for coming to see me. I'm sorry I didn't report to sick bay as you requested, though I will and I'm fine."
Her tone wasn't harsh or malicious, but was clearly an indication that the discussion was over.
"Now if you'll excuse me, I have a lot of work to catch up on."
Before Carson could object, Elizabeth had looked away and begun arranging the items on her desk for review. As she did so, the doctor sighed and observed her with disapproval; obviously wondering whether or not to turn this into an official matter.
"Very well then." He stood up from his seat. "I expect to see you this evening, otherwise I'm sending a security detail after you."
She smiled, but didn't look up as he left. Whether through compassion or worry, he hadn't turned this official. But when Elizabeth Weir didn't report to him for the forth day in a row, Carson wished he had.