Disclaimer- ain’t mine, never were, never will be….
Elizabeth left her office and joined the technician on duty at the sound of an unscheduled gate activation.
“Who is it?”
“It’s Colonel Sheppard M’am. He’s requested a medical team.” Elizabeth’s face fell and hurried to the balcony to watch the team’s return.
John Sheppard and Teyla came through first supporting an apparently unconscious Ronon between them. Teyla’s nose appeared slightly bloodied. They were followed by Rodney supporting a pale and visibly shaking Willow. Elizabeth sighed and moved down to join them.
Carson’s team beat her there and Ronan was scooped up onto a gurney. She joined the procession heading to the infirmary, dropping in beside Sheppard.
“There was a Wraith base on the damn planet. We were captured. We escaped. Ronon got hurt.” He snarled out.
Elizabeth bit back further questions. She knew she wouldn’t get much more out of them until they knew Ronon’s condition.
The waiting area was filled with its usual tension and Elizabeth watched the team carefully trying to piece together just what exactly had happened. John stood opposite the door waiting with apparent patience, which gave her some comfort at least it meant he really wasn’t too worried. Teyla waited supportively nearby but was clearly more concerned over Ronon’s condition. Rodney had taken a more protective position near Willow who repeatedly waved off the nurses attempts to check her over. Her face was still pale but Elizabeth was surprised to discover her usually expressive face closed off.
As the door to the infirmary opened she could feel the tension levels drop instantly.
“He’ll be fine.” Carson said with a smile. “Nasty bang to the head and while he’s still unconscious at the moment we don’t anticipate any major problems. You can come in briefly.”
Elizabeth joined the flow of people to the Satedan’s bedside. Willow reached him first and tenderly ran her hand over his face before moving back and letting the others move in. Once she’d felt they’d all had enough time to reassure themselves their team-mate would be OK, she began questioning exactly what had happened.
“We were taken completely unawares. None of our scans had picked them up.” Sheppard began.
“I did not sense them until it was too late.” Teyla added apologetically.
“It was strange even for Pegasus standards, they came out of nowhere. We were all stunned and taken to straight one of their lovely interrogation chambers, not even to a cell first.” Sheppard took a deep breath. “There was a Queen.”
Elizabeth swallowed her shock. “And?”
“She looked over us all, accused Teyla of being tainted.” He shot her an apologetic look. “Then dismissed the rest of us as soon as she laid eyes on Willow.”
“Ronon went crazy as she tried to do her mind reading trick on her. He seemed to shake off a stunner blast so they clubbed him down.”
“That pissed her off and she went all Darth Willow.” Rodney butted in.
“He means she lashed out with her magic Elizabeth.” Sheppard sent a quelling look at McKay. “Suddenly our bonds were free and the Queen and Willow were locked together. The Queen let out a scream and went down. The other Wraith collapsed with her. Teyla got a nose bleed but before we could deal with anything else Willow had transported us to the gate then fainted briefly. Rodney dialled us out and you know the rest.”
Elizabeth looked around the rest of the team and found them all basically nodding in agreement. She suddenly noticed someone missing.
“She was right,” Rodney turned but was surprised to find the redhead missing.
“I’ve got it.” Sheppard gave the others a look before leaving.
“Where’s he going?” Elizabeth tried to smother her frustration at his abrupt departure.
“Gone to check on Willow.” Rodney hedged.
“How does he know where she is?”
“I imagine he asked Atlantis.” At her pointed stare he fidgeted nervously before caving. “She hasn’t actually spoken since the Wraith Queen attacked her.”
“Dr Weir, I speak from experience when I say that whatever she experienced when she was locked in the Queen’s mind, it could not have been pleasant. When she defeated the Wraith the backlash was overwhelming.”
“Are you alright Teyla?”
“I am but I would not have liked to have been one of the Wraith within that base assuming I only experienced a fraction of what occurred.”
Sheppard was surprised to discover Willow wasn’t in her quarters but Ronon’s. He opened the doors and entered cautiously.
“Willow? It’s John.” He could pick up faint sounds from the bathroom.
He found Willow huddled in a corner of the room soaking wet, and still in her clothes. Grabbing a towel he wrapped it around the shaking redhead’s shoulders. He sat down beside her and pulled her in close, wincing as the dampness seeped through his uniform. He just held her for a moment, unsure what to say.
“I just wanted to get clean.” Her voice was so low he barely heard her. “I destroyed her, she was in my head and I destroyed her.”
“It’s alright Willow. You saved us all.”
“No! You don’t understand I didn’t just kill her, I ripped her mind apart. I was just so angry.”
Not knowing what to say he just pulled her closer. It was all very well being told and even seeing someone do magic but sometimes he really didn’t grasp just exactly what this apparently frail woman could do.
“Do you believe in the soul?” Willow’s voice caught on the last word.
John was silent for a moment. He wasn’t exactly religious but he had a feeling that wasn’t what the redhead was after.
“I know that there’s more to us than flesh and blood.” How could he not, they’d witnessed ascension and he even knew those that had returned.
She shifted to look at him and he found that it was a struggle not to flinch at the look of horror and despair in her eyes.
“I annihilated *all* that she was. No hope for redemption, she was just doing what came naturally to her kind. I just felt Ronon’s pain and could sense what she wanted to do to you all and I” He felt a tremor run through her. “Do you think I’m evil?”
John sucked in a breath. Platitudes weren’t what she needed right now despite everything in him that wanted just to comfort her.
“Evil is a point of view Willow. Here in Pegasus we do what we must to survive, we didn’t come here looking for a fight but we walked into a war that has been raging for thousands of years. The Wraith don’t see themselves as evil. The Ancient’s believed they were doing the right thing when they created then tried to destroy the replicators.” He could feel her tense readying a counter argument but he silenced her with a squeeze. “The simple fact you feel remorse for what you did to the Queen shows me that while you may have gone further than strictly necessary you haven’t lost your mind or gone mad with power.” He reached down cupping her cheek as he stared into her eyes. “I do not believe you are evil for protecting us.”
They remained locked like that for several moments before they were interrupted by McKay barging in the door.
“What are you doing? You’re soaked! Sheppard you’ll make her ill. Here, get up.” Willow looked bemused as Rodney fussed over her drying her off roughly with a towel before wrapping her in one of Ronon’s sheets.
“You’re coming with me before Ronon kills one of the medics for not letting him come find you.” He started to drag her toward the door before pausing to shake a finger in the Colonel’s direction. “And you - go find her a change of clothes and bring them to the infirmary before she catches her death of cold!”
Sheppard was about to argue before catching a glimpse of Willow’s face with a gentle smile at Rodney’s rough love.
“She made me wet you know McKay. Can’t you send one of your minions to find her a change of clothes?”
“You really want one of the scientists, alone, in Willow’s room, raiding her underwear drawer?” McKay’s voice dripped with scorn.
“Ah no. Good point I’ll see you both there.” Sheppard looked slightly flushed as he headed out down the corridor. Rodney waited until he was out of sight before slipping his arm around the redhead shoulder and giving the briefest grasp.
“Thank you for saving me from the Wraith.” As he saw her eyes well up with emotion, he looked away before adding gruffly. “Come on I wasn’t kidding about the caveman’s hissy fit.” With that he stalked off out of the room. Willow took a deep breath before heading out after him.
“Hey, don’t diss my caveman Doctor Meredith.”