category: crossover. vignette. character death. angst.
spoilers: set in an AU Babylon 5 season 5
pairing: er. Sheridan/Weir, of respective B5 and Atlantis fame, with sides of Sheridan/Delenn and Sheppard/Weir.
When they meet, they are both desperate in different ways.
Her because her world is gone, her whole universe, though they don't talk about that.
He's desperate because his universe is intact, but he has lost his place in it.
They start having sex almost immediately, less than four days after they meet and recognize something hungry in each other. It is a substitute for conversation.
They don't call each other by name. She is not the first Elizabeth he's had -- Weir has met the other, in fact, has spent days with Captain Lochley's crew being debriefed and examined. He is not her only John. Formal titles -- Doctor, Mr. President -- were dropped only because he is no longer the President and because her doctorate was given by a school that hasn't existed for a hundred and fifty years. He uses her last name sometimes, but he's seen the way she stumbles over "Sheridan," like it, too, reminds her of something.
He doesn't ask, because he's afraid she'll tell him, and he thinks there are so few words for something as heavy as what she has lost that she will break apart trying to find them. And he doesn't want that. Elizabeth Weir is flimsy and surreal to him, a strangely ordinary woman from a distant past that looks very different from the one he studied in school, but he has nothing stronger to hold on to.
There are words for what happened to him, but he has said them all, and long before Delenn even died. He has been a widower before. It is no easier the second time.
It's only at night, when they're locked in the exhausted physical space between too much sex and elusive sleep, that they say anything at all.
"She was supposed to outlive me," he whispers into his pillow, matter-of-fact. At one time, his twenty-year stay of execution seemed so short, was insufficient time to properly love his new wife. Now he doubts the end will ever come.
Weir touches his bare shoulder in a gesture of sympathy. Her skin is warm, real, whole, but he senses nothing behind it but habit, and Sheridan really believes that they're too broken, both of them, to ever make a connection again.