The only problem was, he wasn’t talking.
“John, was there something you wanted to say?” she asked, looking at him from the corner of her eyes.
He glanced towards her and then gently touched her elbow to encourage her to stop walking when he did.
She did so, turning to face him, a frown gracing her delicate features.
“I wanted to apologise,” he said.
Her frown deepened. “For what?”
He just looked at her for a moment, while he considered the best way to explain. “Standing there, in the ’gate room,” he began, “with you rushing towards me, it was like…”
He hesitated, and she picked up for him. “Deja-vu?”
He nodded. “Yeah… I half expected you to hug me,” he laughed nervously.
She smiled as he revealed his thoughts had been the same as hers. “Well, Teyla and Ronon were there,” she shrugged, the smile now somewhat of a smirk.
The laugh with which he responded was less anxious, but he cut it short to return to the seriousness of the apology he was trying to make.
A short silence followed, during which Elizabeth also became more solemn. “You don’t need to apologise, John – ”
“Yes I do… We said we would stop doing that… And then I did it again.”
“You don’t – ”
“I saw the tears, Elizabeth,” he interrupted her.
She considered denying it but her body had already responded, her head had bowed in embarrassment.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, softly.
She looked up; a look of determination he knew well on her face. “I never thought you were dead, John,” she insisted. “I wouldn’t let myself think that you were dead…”
He stepped a little closer to her. “Then what were the tears for?” he said, voice still quiet.
“They escaped as I was trying to figure out how the hell you survived this one,” she smiled, but her eyes glistened with moisture again.
The familiar feeling of his fear of never seeing her again swelled in his chest, and he stepped forwards, wrapping his arms tightly around her.
She stood for a second, stunned into stillness, then her arms moved around his body and she pulled him closer to her – not that much closer was possible.
They stood in this embrace for several minutes; neither speaking; neither needing to. He conveyed to her his remorse, and she absorbed from him the confirmation that he was alive.
Eventually, it was Elizabeth who pulled back, though it was only with her head. She looked up at him and took a deep breath. “If you ever do it again,” she said slowly, her accompanying facial expression a little threatening, “I will hug you… regardless of who else is in the ’gate room.”
John smirked. “Is that supposed to deter me?”
They both laughed and, finally convinced that it was okay to let go and he would still be there, she loosened her hold on him, and they stepped apart. Both immediately folding their arms; missing the warmth of the other already.
There was silence again as they both just looked at each other and smiled; shifting on their feet a little now and then; and looking around the corridor every so often.
Eventually Elizabeth broke the silence. “I guess we should get back to work…” she said.
John nodded. “Yeah.”
When he didn’t move to go anywhere, she nodded and then, after a slight hesitation, she turned away and began to walk down the corridor.
“Elizabeth – ” he called after her, waiting until she turned around before continuing. “I would be okay with it if you wanted to hug me anyway… At other times… Not just when I’ve almost died.”
She pretended to think it over for a moment. “Hmm, I guess that would be a good idea… Seeing as you won’t be almost dying ever again.”
John smiled. “So you’ll… be taking me up on my offer?”
And she smiled back. “I’ll keep it in mind,” she smirked, then she turned and walked away.
He watched her until he could no longer see her. “So will I,” he said quietly, folding his arms more tightly around himself.