Shadow and Light
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Pairing: John Sheppard/Elizabeth Weir
Category: Romance, Angst
Summary: A journey bears a lot of opportunities
Warning: Spoiler for Season 1 and 2
Disclaimer: No one of Stargate: Atlantis belongs to me.
Least of all Major John Sheppard. Damn.
Feedback: Yes, please. Every word opens a new gate.
Released: September 2005
Word Count: 6.392
Soundlessly, the Daedalus glided through eternal space on its way back to Atlantis.
Eighteen days it took to get to Earth, and eighteen days to get back home. Like the stars, the ship was only one blinking spot in the surrounding blackness. Time on the Daedalus passed so slowly it was a miracle no one went nuts in the process of traveling.
Such as I may before the end of this trip. Still eight days to go until we reach Atlantis. Eight days in which we stay penned up in this big coffin, Elizabeth thought, sulking. Endless days, in which we have almost nothing to do.
Important stuff was handled by Colonel Caldwell and his crew. The members of the Atlantis team were mostly just standing in the way, barely tolerated by Caldwell, treated almost like intruders by him.
Fed up with the narrowness of the ship, Elizabeth sighed unhappily, even though, at this late hour she was mostly alone. Most people were sleeping. Only guards and some technical personnel were at their posts. But without hearing the sound of the ocean Elizabeth couldn´t fall asleep anymore.
Restlessly, she stared through the window at the countless stars. This last visit to Earth had been only to carry out her duty. It had been necessary to talk about important matters considering Atlantis. Once again, she had argued through a lot of differences with the men in charge. Unfortunately, the matter of John Sheppard being the ranking officer in Atlantis had been brought up again.
Elizabeth sniffed miserably. Why can´t they accept that John is the right man for this position? Doesn´t what he had done to save Atlantis matter? Why can´t they let it go? Stubbornly, she had stood up for John again. They had to let him return to Atlantis. Of course, I know what they are thinking. They believe John is my lover. Men. They are so narrow-minded. As if you can only care for a man if you fuck him. They can´t believe there is more than sex. Trust. Friendship. Partnership. I need John at my side. I can´t loose him. He helps me to stay strong and focused. I can simply confide in him.
Since Simon had broken up with her she had no further attachments left on Earth. Only Sedge. No one left but a dog. All her friends, her work, her whole life was in Atlantis. The city of the Ancients had become her home. She could hardly wait to get back.
But unfortunately, they had to bridge space by flying with the Daedalus first. The last days had been very lonely for her. There had been no one she could talk to. Honestly, no one she had wanted to talk to. She had avoided them on purpose. Her recent conversations with Caldwell had been intolerable because he was still pissed that she had defended John so convincingly. The man was really a pain in the ass. Rodney, who was always busy with something which he claimed to be very important, was living in his own little world, almost boring her to death with science matters every time they ran into each other. Only her meetings with John had been blissful. Until three days ago when she had overheard a conversation between John and Rodney by accident.
"So how´s it going with you and Teyla?" Rodney sounded very pleased with himself.
"What do you mean?" John responded, kind-heartedly.
Unseen, Elizabeth smiled to herself. Only silly people could think they don´t like each other.
"Don´t you have the hots for her?"
"Every man who doesn´t is probably blind."
"Not every man dared to kiss her, Colonel."
"Who told you that?" John´s light tone had changed rapidly.
"Oh, I have my sources."
"Did you tell anybody else?"
"Why? Do you want me to?"
"For Heaven´s sake don´t!" John blurted.
Rodney sniggered. "It would be wise to keep your voice down."
"Right." John huffed. "Please keep that to yourself. It was a mistake. I wasn´t myself that day. The virus...."
"I see. What´s your concern anyway? That the woman you have truly the hots for will find out?"
Elizabeth pricked up her ears. What woman? Who´s Rodney talking about?
"Rodney, are you asking me all these questions because you´re keen on Teyla yourself?" John changed the subject smoothly.
Damn! I always believed men like to brag a little.
"Me?!" Rodney spluttered. "Are you out of your mind?"
John laughed cheerfully.
Elizabeth had heard enough. Knowing their typical bickering would go on for quite a while, she didn´t want to spoil their amusement and left, feeling not in the slightest amused, herself. John had kissed Teyla. Had kissed her. It surprised her how much pain it gave her just to think about it. The virus made him do it, he said. Why didn´t he kiss me, then? Why did he smash me against a wall trying to strangle me?
Not seeing where she was going she ran into someone. Sergeant Wright. Shit! Elizabeth very much disliked the new Sergeant Caldwell had brought along to replace Sgt. Bates for the time he was recovering from his concussion. Sgt. Wright was too full of himself. Always marching around as if he was already General. Always watching her with a very peculiar smile. His strange grey eyes gave her the shivers. She truly missed Sgt. Bates. Sure, he had been unfriendly and strict at times but at least he had been honest with her. He had never played any games.
"Dr. Weir," Wright greeted politely.
"Sergeant," she replied curtly and rushed on. She wanted to be alone. I wish Teyla was here so I could talk to her. Talking to a woman is always different from talking to a man. But Teyla hadn´t shown any interest in coming with them. I guess it has something to do with someone who hasn´t the best table manners. Teyla seems very happy in his presence, Elizabeth considered with insight. Why did she kiss John then?
Unhappily, she dropped on her bed. No, actually it wasn´t her bed but Caldwell´s. His quarters were hers for the time she traveled with the Daedalus. It bothered her that she had to stay in Caldwell´s quarters. The man himself bothered her. Particularly since he had started to come on to her.
Just perfect. The man I´m longing for has kissed another woman who happens to be my friend. The man I dislike hates the man I like who happens to be under his command. She turned and pressed her face into the pillow. How could I believe John´s friendship would be enough to make me happy? How could I believe it would be better for both of us to keep our relationship strictly professional? I´m so stupid. I´ve always wanted him. I´ve often dreamt of him kissing me. I want him to want me as much as I want him. But now he has kissed Teyla and not me.
That´s why she stood, three days and nights later, in some dark corridor, completely alone, staring at the stars outside. The only one on this ship whom she liked to talk to was John. She knew she was avoiding him, but she didn´t quite understand why. He had kissed Teyla. So? That was a silly reason to stop talking to him for good. Her neck felt ticklish and she rubbed it with her hand. Something kept her away from her 2IC. She just didn´t know how to deal with him right now.
Sighing, she touched the glass with her hand, and let her mind drift to hopefully happier times in a far away future. A fabulous, unrealistic future, in which everyone would be loved. Her neck bothered her again and she rubbed it more firmly this time. She didn´t notice the figure in the shadows, which had been watching her for the last couple of minutes.
There she was. The leader of Atlantis. A woman. How could anyone believe she would have the stomach to lead anything as important as the city of the Ancients? A woman was only good for one thing. But that bitch had every man on this ship wrapped around her little finger. Even his commander. The dumb idiot was running after her like a drooling dog. It was disgusting. Every man on this ship wanted to get into her pants. Well, me too. Why is she standing in the darkness, sighing frequently? What is wrong with her? Is the bitch lovesick? He grinned. She won´t stay that way much longer. I´ll make her forget the bastard she´s sighing about. I´ll show her what a real man is made of.
Unlike Elizabeth, John Sheppard didn´t feel sad or bored. Not at all. Raging with fury, he stormed through the corridors of the Daedalus. For two days he had been unable to get any sleep and his last clash with Caldwell had been just too much. Loudly, he swore and startled the few crew members he passed on his way. It´s ridiculous. I need to calm down. I´m making a fool of myself.
Any meeting with Caldwell ended badly for John but the most recent one had been much worse. John couldn´t believe what he had been told. Caldwell´s reprovals about various mistakes John had made in the past months, particularly the loss of another puddle jumper, had been harsh but John was used to being treated in that manner.
Then the subject of Rodney´s failure had come up again and surprisingly he had started to defend the snarky scientist despite his own anger the day it had happened.
"It was a mistake. Rodney knows that. But he is doing everything he can to make up for it. I was wrong as well. I trusted him and asked Dr. Weir to trust me."
"Yes, you did, didn´t you? I´m not surprised she trusted you without a doubt," Caldwell snapped.
"What´s that supposed to mean?"
"Do you think I don´t know you keep her wrapped around your little finger."
"Excuse me?" John snapped back, infuriated, forgetting who he was talking to.
"Dr. Weir would approve of anything you suggest."
"With all due respect, sir...."
"It´s obvious she can´t treat you objectively."
"Really? What gave you that idea?"
"I have observed it on many occasions."
"Name just one."
Caldwell´s eyes narrowed. "Don´t tell me you don´t know that she was responsible for you remaining on your post in the first place?"
"Yes, Dr. Weir forced the command to promote you to Lt. Colonel. Dr. Weir insisted on bringing you back to Atlantis, though everyone else disagreed. She even threatened everybody in charge that she would take advantage of her influence in the White House."
John was stunned speechless.
"I don´t know how intimate your relationship with Dr. Weir is, but frankly I don´t give a damn. You are under my command and I´m the one who approves or disapproves your past, present, or future actions, never mind what Dr. Weir has to say."
John clenched his jaw.
"Do I make myself clear?!"
"I hope losing the puddle jumper was the last mistake on your end, Colonel. Dismissed!"
Keeping his fury under control, John had hurried out. How could she do that to me? Does she think I´m not good enough to earn a promotion all by myself? Does she think I need her to speak for me?
Still meandering in the corridors of the ship, he stopped eventually, catching his breath. What´s wrong with me? Why am I so mad at her? She didn´t do anything wrong. She just wanted to have me back in Atlantis. But why didn´t she tell me what she had done? Why did she keep it a secret and let me make a complete fool of myself in front of Caldwell?
John clenched his fists. He already had figured out Caldwell was keen on Elizabeth. The way he looked at her, the way he observed her, the way he spoke her name. Damn! Only over my dead body is Caldwell going to touch her. I know she doesn´t belong to me and I have no right.... Fuming, he turned a corner and almost ran into Elizabeth who was standing right across, leaning against a window.
Quickly, he moved backwards, hiding in the shadows. His anger blazed up again. No, I can´t talk to her. Not now. For the last three days, he hadn´t seen much of her. Every time she had come across him, she had turned the other direction. Eventually he had figured out that she was avoiding him, though he didn´t know why. Holding his breath, he watched her, astonished. What is she doing here all by herself?
One hand lightly pressed against the glass, Elizabeth stood perfectly still, just voicing a sigh from time to time. Once or twice, she rubbed the back of her neck.
Does she sense I´m here? His throat became tight and his heart beat faster. A sudden urge to talk to her seized him and didn´t let go. Just now he realized how much he had missed talking to her, being with her, despite his anger and confusion. "Elizabeth."
Startled by his voice, she whirled around, searching the shadows with her eyes. "John?" I had the feeling I´ve been watched. What is he doing here? Why is he hiding back there?
John stepped out of the dark and joined her by the window.
Sheppard. You bastard. Don´t you dare touch her. She´s mine.
An unfamiliar feeling came over her, a sensation she had never experienced before in his presence. Awkwardness. She felt worse than the day he had been infected with the virus. What is wrong with me? This is John. Nervously, she swallowed and forced herself to look into his mesmerizing eyes.
"Is it true? Did you make them promote me to Lt. Colonel?" he blurted, skipping any small talk.
She was caught off guard. Shit! Who told him? Certainly Caldwell, the damn idiot. "Well," she started, trying desperately to find the right words to explain it all. "I just...."
"Do you think I need your protection?" he cut her off, his face a tight mask of anger. "Do you think I´m not man enough to speak for myself?"
"No!" she replied, confused by his anger. "I just thought it would be..." She paused for a second but then she countered his attack with equal fury. "Is it true? Did you kiss Teyla?"
She hit the target hard. "What? No...well...yes...but only because...I´ll kill Rodney..."
"Leave Rodney out of this. He didn´t tell me."
"I don´t get it. Why are we talking about this anyway? I kissed Teyla only because I wasn´t myself that day. It was the virus..."
"...which made you slam me into a wall," she finished with cold fury and was shocked to realize how bitter and disappointed her voice sounded. Is this me? Is this going anywhere? Stop before it´s too late.
The color of his eyes became strangely bright and dangerous. "Did you want it the other way round?" He came closer.
A pleasant shiver ran down her spine and she just stopped breathing.
"Does Dr. Weir desire to be kissed by a man who can´t control himself?"
"Certainly n....," she started, but the next second, she found herself in his tight grip, muted by his hard lips. Sharp shocks of heat flared through her. The kiss was far from being romantic. No one had ever kissed her this way. Angrily, he claimed her mouth and bruised it thoroughly. All her senses were attacked in the roughest manner. But - did she try to fight him off? No. Quickly, the first shock gave way to unexpected pleasure. No one had ever dared to take control of her like this. He almost ravished her. Overwhelmed by thousands of confusing feelings, Elizabeth leaned into him, finding herself kissing him back while her hands took comfort in his adorable mess of hair. His slick tongue entered her mouth forcefully, finding its way around, and despite the harsh attack she was losing herself to simple and burning desire. The taste of him so sweet and spicy there was nothing comparable. Quickly, her strength drained away.
He moved further into the shadows, watching them with growing hate. Look at that bitch. How she enjoys herself shamelessly. She likes it rough, huh?
A moan which rose in her throat was stifled by his eager tongue. Elizabeth shuddered and clung to his body, deepening the kiss in longing, desperate need. One hand seized her neck and pulled her into him while the other roughly touched her breast. Their lips tightly locked, she felt his teeth with urging pressure. A sharp pain. He had bitten her. This brought her back to her senses. Jesus, it´s the virus. He´s losing it. He will.... She started to struggle fiercely against his grip.
At once, John set her free.
Elizabeth stumbled back against the window and put a hand to her lips, shocked to feel wetness. She was bleeding.
Panting, John didn´t say anything.
"How dare you...." she whispered softly and knew at the same time she didn´t mean it. She had wanted this, she had wanted him for such a long time, even though his kiss had lacked any tenderness. To deny it now would be a lie, the greatest lie of her life. But she had never expected it to be like this.
"Elizabeth, I...." he murmured, and lifted a hand to touch her face.
She flinched back. "Don´t make this worse. Go."
The green fire in John´s eyes died. "Yes ma´am." Without another word he turned around and walked away, back into the dark corridor.
See. First the bitch turned you on and then she brushed you off. I never imagined you were such a wimp, Sheppard. I promise, she won´t treat me like that. In anticipation he licked his lips.
For a few seconds, she remained where she was, frozen, a hand put on her ravished lips. Then she took flight for her quarters. She didn´t make it very far.
Rodney bumped into her way. "Hey. What´s the hurry?" he joked, cheerfully.
Elizabeth blinked rapidly, while her hand dropped down from her mouth.
"What happened to you?" he asked in very different tone.
"N...Nothing," she stammered. It was just a kiss...yes but one which left a visible mark.
"Who was it?" Rodney´s voice became furious.
"No one," she lied, blushing.
"Don´t be angry, please. It didn´t happen without my consent." Embarrassed about her confession, she checked the corridor for further listeners. Luckily, there was no one to be seen.
"Oh," Rodney murmured, looking slightly embarrassed himself now. "I see. The super-hero made a move at last."
"What?!" she gasped, perplexed.
"Don´t tell me it wasn´t the Colonel who did this." He winked at her.
"I don´t know what gave you that idea...."
"Do you think no one has noticed your feelings for him? Don´t be naive, Elizabeth. Everybody knows you and Sheppard...."
"Everybody," she echoed weakly.
"Yes, even Caldwell."
"I know. That´s why the bastard squealed that I was responsible for John´s promotion."
"No surprise. Caldwell wants you for himself."
"That´s not what I wanted to hear," she muttered, exasperated. "I´m not on the look-out for..."
"...a Colonel but just for a Lt. Colonel..." Rodney joked, grinning.
"...anyone," Elizabeth concluded, annoyed. "I will be in my quarters."
"In Caldwell´s quarters," he called after her, teasing further. The second she was out of his sight, he went looking for the Lt. Colonel. This was going to be fun.
Feeling completely down, John Sheppard sat in the break room, holding a cup of coffee, but just for the purpose of keeping his hands from trembling. He had fucked up. Oh yes, he had fucked up perfectly. She must think I´m some animal. How could this happen? How could I bite her? She must think I´m a freak...that...that the virus is back. He snorted. No, I can behave like this by just being me.
Finally, she went to her quarters. He quickened his steps to catch her at the door. The time has come for you and me to be together. Don´t worry. I know what you like.
There he was. Sulking into a cup of coffee. He looks even more jumbled than Elizabeth, Rodney thought, pretty amused. "Get up at once and go talk to her."
John´s head jerked up. "Huh?"
"Elizabeth needs to see you."
"I don´t think so."
"Pull yourself together, Colonel. Be a man for Heaven´s sake."
"McKay," John growled. "It´s none of your business."
"Stupid idiot," Rodney swore, unconcerned for possible consequences for their friendship. "Why did you kiss her anyway?"
John didn´t even bother to ask how Rodney knew about that. "It was a mistake. I messed up. I scared her," he whispered hoarsely.
Dear God, the super-hero is actually blushing. "Are we talking about the same woman? The woman I´ve never seen scared?"
"You don´t understand. My behavior was totally out of line."
"Oh sorry, I was wrong," Rodney corrected himself. "I actually have seen Elizabeth scared. Even worse than scared. Frozen with fear, I would describe her, the day you left to blow yourself up by trying to take down a whole Wraith ship all by yourself."
"Rodney, I´m telling you...."
"Believe me, John," Rodney urged in the nicest tone, "she needs to see you."
Devastated, Elizabeth reached the door to her - Caldwell´s - quarters and opened it.
"Dr. Weir? May I talk to you for a second?" Wright approached her out of nowhere.
Uneasy, she licked her lip. Is it still bleeding? "Not now. I´m really tired...."
"It concerns Colonel Sheppard."
What now? For a moment she hesitated, considering, then she ordered him into the room.
He followed her inside and the second the door had closed, she felt, no, she knew she had made a big mistake. But it was too late.
Wright grabbed her from behind and pressed a hand over her mouth, stifling her scream, while he whispered in a sleazy voice into her ear, "Hold still, bitch, or I´ll kill you."
Frozen in shock, she noticed his overwhelming smell of alcohol and sweat. Brutally, he ripped her shirt open and seized one of her breasts. In fear and disgust, Elizabeth tried to fight him off.
"Hold still, bitch," he groaned, excitedly. "I know you like it. I´ve seen you." His hand squeezed her breast harder.
Fiercely, she struggled until she felt cold steel pressed to her throat. Oh my God. He has a knife. He´s gonna kill me.
His heart was beating like a hammer in his chest when John walked to Elizabeth´s quarters. "Caldwell´s quarters," he growled with emphasis. Still unsure what to say to Elizabeth when she allowed him to explain himself, John had finally given in to Rodney´s request. Never before the scientist had called him John. It could only mean Rodney was bloody serious. John stopped at the door, listening. Not a sound was heard from inside. "Elizabeth?"
Simple relief ran through Elizabeth´s body. It was him. He had come here without even knowing she had never needed him more.
"Elizabeth, please let me in. I really need to talk to you."
She tried to respond and opened her mouth slightly.
At once, Wright cut deeper into the flesh of her throat. Go away bastard. She´s mine.
In pain, she whimpered. A sound, so soft, it couldn´t be heard by anyone.
"Elizabeth?" John asked again, suddenly sounding quite concerned. "Are you there? Is everything alright? Answer me if you can?"
She dared to whimper again. The knife cut deeper. The pain became unbearable.
In a split second, the door opened and John stormed into the room.
God, the man has pretty good ears. They are not just for the looks, she thought, perfectly mistimed.
"Let her go!" John ordered Wright.
"No way, Colonel," Wright panted. "I want you to leave now."
"I won´t. Are you nuts!?"
"Right now!! I promise I´ll kill her."
Seeing her shirt had been ripped open, her eyes were filled with disgust and fear, her breast being held by Wright, John boiled with indescribable rage. But the knife at her throat let him keep his control. "If you´ll hurt her I´ll kill you."
"I´m the one in command here, Colonel." Wright grinned viciously. Mocking John, he squeezed Elizabeth´s breast joyfully.
Feeling the pressure of the knife loosening a little bit, Elizabeth took the chance at once. As hard as possible she stomped on Wright´s foot.
Agonized, the Sergeant jerked backwards.
The blade slithered over her flesh and was gone. Gasping, Elizabeth braced herself for being hit, or worse, stabbed in revenge. What happened then happened so fast she couldn´t do anything but watch.
John passed by her. Wright screamed. An entangled mess of two men fighting each other rolled on the ground. The flash of a sharp blade. Blood.
"John!" she yelled.
Wounded and panting, John fended off the following strike with his fist. The knife flew out of Wright´s hand and jangled to the ground.
Quickly, Elizabeth jumped over to fetch it. "Stop it! It´s over." She rushed to the door and hit the alarm button. The sudden wailing throughout the ship was deafening.
Wright screamed louder. John hit him with his bare fists - over and over again. "I´ll kill you. Don´t you ever dare to even look at her again."
"John! Stop!" Elizabeth pleaded. "Just stop. Can´t you see he has had enough."
Wright´s face was a bloody mess but John didn´t listen, nor did he mind all the blood spilling out of the injury on his own arm.
Men burst into the room. Men with guns. One of them was Caldwell. "Colonel! I order you to stop!"
John wasn´t listening. Frantically, he continued beating Wright.
"Take him down," Caldwell said icily. The soldiers shot. The world went upside down. John gasped in pain. Elizabeth screamed. John stopped beating the Sergeant and fell off him.
"Stop shooting you idiots! Sergeant Wright is the one who attacked me, not Colonel Sheppard. He was the one who saved me," Elizabeth raged.
Caldwell looked truly horrified. "I just thought - Sheppard went mad again - the virus...."
"Get the damn doctor!" Elizabeth ordered sharply. "Damn fucking idiots!" She knelt right next to John and turned him onto his back.
"I hate those bugs!" John breathed in agony. His body was drained of all strength and he felt the desperate need to go to sleep.
"You´re gonna make it," Elizabeth soothed him. "It´s not that bad." The stab wound on his arm had stopped pumping blood. The injury on his lower leg, where the bullet had hit him, was bleeding heavily.
The medic team ran in and put John carefully on a stretcher.
Her hands smeared with his blood, Elizabeth stayed at John´s side, feeling cold.
Wright had become very still, almost catatonic, when the security people dragged him away. Elizabeth caught a glimpse of his face and was slightly startled to see a pulp of blood and flesh. She didn´t notice John lift a hand to reach for her.
Caldwell pointed at Elizabeth´s throat. "You are hurt."
"Only a scratch," she shrugged it off. She didn´t want to talk to him. Only John was important to her now.
It was early in the morning. Drugged up with pain killers, John was still unconscious. Covered by blankets, he lay on a bed in the medic station.
Silently, Elizabeth watched his pale face. Finally they had left her alone with him. Wright had been treated very quickly before being transferred to the brig. Dr. Peters had thrown everybody else out, even Caldwell. Elizabeth had liked the sight of Caldwell being ordered around.
Gently, she stroked John´s hair. Seeing him like this split her heart into a million pieces. It scared her. This isn´t good. I lost my objectivity. I can´t allow myself to feel more for one member of Atlantis than for the others. I can´t make someone special. Particularly not the 2IC. I´m the leader. I....
Obviously caught in a dream, John murmured in his sleep.
Distressed, Elizabeth was able to understand a few words. Desperate whispers of home and family and loneliness. Finally a name. "...Elizabeth..." The need in his voice made Elizabeth´s eyes wet with compassion.
When did I become such a hard bitch? Isn´t it good to love someone, to care for someone? Softened, she lowered her head and gifted him with a tender kiss on his lips. Her heart raced. She had longed to kiss him again, to be near him again, since he had kissed her for the first time. No. That wasn´t true. She had longed to kiss him since they had met a long, long time ago. She should have been shocked by his behavior in the corridor but she wasn´t. Instead, she felt even more drawn to him.
His lips moved and pressed against hers while a strong arm wrapped around her waist.
Startled, she opened her mouth and his tongue slid in easily, teasing softly. This kiss was different. So soft and gentle, it melted her heart into a puddle of thousands of sensations. Overwhelming sweetness swept into her mouth and told of tenderness and love. It marked their kiss for now and forever. Fondly, she kissed him back; her tongue collided with his, her hands held onto him as his did to her. Surprised, she felt him trembling all over and retreated. Concerned, she dared to look into his face.
His eyes were half-open. A shadow of a smile touched his lips for a second before his head dropped to the side, while he gave a small sigh.
Apparently, he had fallen asleep again.
Relieved, she leaned back into her chair, taking his hand in hers. I always thought of him being as being a predictable man, never as he has behaved in the last hours. Wild. Uncontrolled. Dangerous. Normally, I hate it when a man takes control but not with him. Never with him.
Dr. Peters came in. "Oh, I didn´t know you were still here, Dr. Weir."
"Do you mind?" Elizabeth asked the female medic of the Daedalus, while she took a good look at her. Don´t you dare to order me out. You are far too pretty to be left alone with him.
"Not at all. The Colonel is too drugged anyway to notice anything."
You don´t say! Inappropriate laughter bubbled up in Elizabeth but she swallowed it quickly when she saw Caldwell walking in.
"How is Colonel Sheppard?"
"Sleeping. Don´t tell me you actually care." Her voice was icy. She hated the man´s guts.
Surprisingly, he seemed shamed by her words. "Dr. Weir, I´m truly sorry for what happened. I never wished Colonel Sheppard any harm. I apologize for the misunderstanding."
"So, was it also a misunderstanding that you told John about the way he got his promotion?" she continued angrily, enjoying his embarrassment. After what John had been through it was a sheer pleasure.
"Ah...ermh...," Caldwell cleared his throat a few times, "no, that was completely out of line. I behaved quite unprofessionally and it will never happen again. Colonel Sheppard is a fine soldier and earned his promotion, no matter how he got it."
"I´m not sleeping with him," she growled. Not yet.
"I...never...assumed...," he spluttered.
"Oh yes, you did. You thought I carried a torch for John because he was doing me."
Caldwell´s cheeks reddened. "Dr. Weir!"
"I won´t lie to you. John matters a lot to me. We care deeply for each other. But that´s it."
"I understand. By the way, I didn´t know Sergeant Wright´s problems were this serious. His wife left him recently - with an officer. Fact is, he has started to drink quite a lot. But I never would have thought he would freak out like that." Caldwell sounded truly regretful.
"Apology accepted," she replied without looking at him. "Good Night, Colonel."
"Good Night, ma´am." She heard him sigh. "I´m sure Colonel Sheppard will heal in no time with you close by his side." Now, he sounded jealous. Dear God. I don´t need this. My life is complicated enough, Elizabeth thought.
"I really appreciate what Colonel Sheppard did for you," Caldwell murmured.
She didn´t gratify him with an answer. Go. Please go. Finally, she felt him leave. Tension poured out of her body while she took pleasure in observing John intently. It doesn´t matter what Caldwell is thinking. It doesn´t matter what anyone is thinking. It just doesn´t matter.
John´s soft breathing calmed her down. It reminded her of the sound of the ocean. "I´m sorry but you have to understand I had no choice," she confessed quietly. "They wanted to take you away from me. I couldn´t allow that." Her heart became filled with one sensation only. The most important thing in life. "I love you," she murmured. The three simple words were barely a breath on her lips. There. She said it. No way of taking it back. It sounded good. Perfect.
Exhausted, she let out a sigh and closed her eyes. For the first time since they left Earth, she fell quickly asleep, despite the fact that she was sitting in an uncomfortable chair, by just listening to him breathing. The sound of him being alive.
Minutes later, when Dr. Peters returned to check on her patient once more, she found him and the leader of Atlantis sleeping peacefully, holding hands like little lost children.
Days later, when they arrived in Atlantis, John was already back on his feet. Despite Dr. Peters´ advice and Elizabeth´s concern, he was walking around as if nothing had ever happened.
Elizabeth had visited him many times when he had had to stay in bed but they had never talked about anything of...particular importance. Feeling quite distressed about their present status, Elizabeth considered her options. She could let it go and never talk about it again. She could confront him and make him talk to her. She could shove him against a wall and kiss him senseless. Amused, she laughed out loud.
"How was your trip?" Teyla asked, cheerfully. She hadn´t been informed of anything yet.
"Uh...Ah...sorry to hear that."
"I was attacked, John was hurt badly and Caldwell acted like an ass."
"That´s awful. How´s Colonel Sheppard?"
"He´s fine. Already being his old stubborn self again."
Teyla chuckled. "I see. How are you?"
"I´m fine too."
"Even though the entire journey was a failure?"
"It wasn´t, exactly. Despite it all, I wouldn´t have wanted to miss it for all the world."
Teyla frowned, confused. "I don´t understand."
Elizabeth laughed dryly. "It´s a long story."
"I´m ready to listen."
Soon it all came to a head. Nothing was like it had been. Nothing at all. The sleeping dogs had been awakened.
John had fully recovered and the team was prepared to go on their next mission. The prospect of sending him away, into possible danger, eventually be hurt again, was too much for Elizabeth to bear.
She couldn´t let him go without confessing her feelings. She just couldn´t do it anymore. The risk of losing him was too high. She was fed up with being lonely. Living meant taking risks. Here is my heart: Take it or break it. Working up all of her courage she paid him a visit in his quarters, just five minutes before the team had to leave. "We need to talk, John."
"So serious?" he joked. "What is it? Something about the mission?"
"No. We need to talk about what happened on the Daedalus."
"Ah...ermh...Elizabeth...I´m really sorry for that. I promise you it won´t happen again."
"What a shame," she said, smiling wickedly.
Surprised, he gave a strangled laugh. "What?"
"Night after night, I dream of you kissing me...."
John reached for her.
Caldwell burst in like a thunderstorm. "Colonel Sheppard, are you...."
Elizabeth and John jerked apart. Neither of them able to speak.
Looking like the cat that swallowed the canary, he kept them on tenterhooks for a while. "Well," he commented finally, "I see you´re saying your good-byes."
"Yes, sir," John replied quietly, holding his voice steady.
"Permission to leave," Caldwell ordered at once.
Quickly, John grabbed his gun and obeyed.
"Didn´t I tell you he would heal in no time with you at his side," Caldwell mumbled, smugly.
Paying no mind to the Colonel, Elizabeth followed John outside. It´s too late. In a few seconds, he will....
The team awaited him, standing at the gate. John joined them.
In despair, Elizabeth cleared her throat. "Is your team ready, Colonel?"
"Not quite. Something is missing."
"Oh? What is it?"
Not minding the curious looks of everyone, John stepped closer.
In fact, he came so close; she could feel his breath on her face.
"Something I have to do. Something I should have done a long time ago." Gently, he seized the back of her neck and pulled her into a kiss. The touch of his lips was as brief as a shooting star. It was a clear promise of coming pleasures. It feels good. Warm and safe. Just like home.
"I love you too, Elizabeth."
She gave a trembling sigh. "Never trust a man who pretends to be asleep." His ears are not just for the looks, indeed.
"Right," John laughed. "Let´s go," he snarled at his grinning team members. "We have to hurry. I need to get back as soon as possible."
"I can´t imagine why," Ronon joked dryly.
Teyla chuckled and followed him through the gate.
"Honestly, Colonel," Rodney complained, "do you really expect me to rush myself just to support your needs?"
"Shut up, Rodney," the Colonel dressed him down, but despite his harsh words his tone was light and warm.
"I won´t..." Rodney huffed and stepped through the gate.
John turned around and waved at Elizabeth, a loving glimmer in his eyes.
Just like at that day we came here for the first time, she thought, deeply touched.
Then he was gone offworld.
But he´ll be back. Back for me. Never before in her life had Elizabeth been so certain about anything. The gate was closed down. Untroubled, she turned around to get back to being the leader of Atlantis.