AN: B-day/timestamp fic for momm2five, You Will Be - two hours later

Ford had stopped them to report that their prisoner was safely in a cell and Elizabeth saw the awe in the young man's eyes, waiting until they were alone again to lay a hand on John's arm and pull his attention to her.

He was looking grim again and she could just imagine the darkness he felt, being *admired* for something he felt was born of a weakness of his.

Suddenly, she wanted to protect him; wanted to.. care for him, heal him.

Maybe she *should* wait and think about this, wait until she wasn't so strung out herself; but he needed the help *now* and she couldn't stand to leave him drowning.

She stepped closer, sliding her hand to the back of his head and standing on tiptoe to kiss his cheek chastely then pulled back just enough to whisper fiercely, her eyes locked to his shocked ones, "I would protect *you* if I could; if I had to I would *find* a way. *Any* way that you needed. You are a *good* man."

When she heard the gate activate, she stepped away from him slowly, shivering slightly at the way his eyes were watching her, knowing she'd stepped over a line; though she knew that in his actions today he had taken the same step. And again she acknowledged that they would have to deal with all this one day, probably very soon. Seeing him looking outward again instead of being bogged down in darkness was enough to make her willing to take the consequences of her move.

He followed her quietly to her favourite lookout point over the gateroom and they watched their people return, staggering their way to the point of chatting and, yes, she admitted, flirting.

And Elizabeth finally got her reward for taking the greatest risk - his smile.