Weir/Sumner, PG-13, post-One To Let Go, an AU to an AU, about 1,000 words, post-Rising, if Sumner survived the Wraith queen without too much damage
Elizabeth wandered the halls of Atlantis, at loose ends. Sheppard had gotten enough rooms cleared that each of the expedition members had their own space, stingy and austere as it was, and the Athosians were settled in a honeycomb of interlocking rooms that Teyla assured them would be sufficient for time. Rodney had vanished somewhere, asleep, she hoped, because he hadn't slowed down since they'd arrived. Sheppard had set up watch rotations but he was nowhere to be found either. Peter Grodin, her last hope for personal workaholism, had kindly encouraged her to go to bed and then gotten the hell out of Dodge.
She couldn't sleep, though, not yet. There was still too much to look over, still too much she was responsible for, still too much she didn't know, for her to rest. And so she walked restless circuits, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Eventually, she realized that she was spiraling in on one door. Doctor Beckett had kept Colonel Sumner in his makeshift infirmary for days, taking regular reports of his vitals while Sumner bitched and yelled and tried to check himself out. Carson had finally released him after making him promise to stay in his room and not try to lead any platoon runs.
She was just checking up on his health, she told herself, rapping sharply on the door and folding her hands in the small of her back. Getting a status report from her military commander. Showing a little human empathy, which was not a bad thing when leading an expedition of two hundred very strong personalities. She took a deep breath and braced for the door to open.
"Doctor." His voice was maybe a little lower, a little rougher than usual, and he looked haggard, but that was to be expected. His color was better than it had been in the infirmary and he didn't appear to have lost any mass from his experience.
"Colonel," she said brightly. "I was just stopping by to see how you were doing."
"I'm alive," he said. "Can't complain about that."
Her chest seized, her mental litany asking, *What if he weren't? What then?** She looked at him, eyes wide, words gone, until he moved aside grudgingly and said, "Coming in?"
"Thank you," she managed, because that was basic politeness and she could do that.
The door zipped closed behind her and they stood, staring at each other, locked in a limbo of wishing and wanting and knowing better. At least she thought he felt the same. His gaze was as opaque as ever, cool and stern, but she'd seen him in his home, without his mask, and he was a good man, a human being underneath.
"Can I -- Can I see where -- " she faltered. Carson had the colonel's wound covered when she was in the infirmary getting debriefed on the Wraith and the forensic photographs were in-close and detailed, failing to convey the great picture.
Sumner licked his lips but unzipped his expedition jacket and tossed it behind him on the narrow bed. Elizabeth kept her eyes on him. He peeled off the black t-shirt next, careful not to stretch across his pectoral muscles. It looked awkward and was likely painful but Elizabeth didn't offer to help.
It had been two weeks since Elizabeth had last seen his chest bared, tan and freckled, and hale and whole. She had pressed against his body, her breasts sensitive and eager, and she'd rested her cheek against him and slept.
The site where the Wraith queen had fed was bruised and raw, her fingerprints deep puncture wounds. Elizabeth stared at it, feeling violated herself, angry that the queen had touched him so invasively, hurt him, taken life and strength from him.
She reached out, giving the action no second thought, and pressed her palm against the main injury. His chest twitched under her hand as he sucked in a harsh breath.
"Doctor," he said, folding his hand around her wrist and applying just enough pressure to warn her.
Her fingertips didn't quite reach to the other wounds so she rested them on the curve of his pectoral muscle.
"You shouldn't," he rasped. She looked up from her hand on his chest and into his eyes. He wasn't shielding from her now. "Beckett doesn't know if -- it could be dangerous."
"It's fine," she whispers, but she lets him draw her hand away and, when he releases her, folds her arms across her body. "I wasn't going to let Sheppard go," she said quickly. "I tried to remember what you said about inferior intelligence and grandstanding and that if I let Sheppard run off and get himself killed -- or someone else killed. But he said it was the right thing to do, and it was. Whether you approve or not is a moot point now and this is my expedition and I'm still in command and you'll need to accept my decisions -- "
"Elizabeth." His voice was as firm as his hand had been. "You cannot fall apart this early in the game," he said harshly. "It's too soon for you to give in."
Elizabeth drew herself together, tilted her chin up, and drew a deep breath, gently shaking off his hands. "That's Doctor Weir," she said as stiffly as she could manage.
"Good girl," Sumner murmured, nodding once in muted approval. He looked healthy enough standing there, and it was time for her to get some sleep. Alone. Because she still had an expedition to run and they'd only just gotten started.
She gave him a small smile. "Glad to see you on your feet, Colonel," she said briskly. "If you'd like to sit in on tomorrow's briefing on how to blow up the city, I'm sure Carson won't have any objection."
"Sounds like good times," he said, a glimmer of the man shining through the Marine.
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow. "Let's just hope we don't have to use it," she said. "Good night, Colonel."
"Good night, Doctor. I -- appreciate -- you stopping by."
Elizabeth inclined her head and let herself out.
She was three hallways away before she realized her hands were shaking.