Title: Lights Out
Author: A.j.
Rating: PG
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Spoilers: '38-Minutes' episode addition, John/Lizzie
Notes: Huge thank you to Little Red who de-suckified this a lot. Soon-to-be requisite infirmary scene ahead. BEWARE! HERE LIE CUTE!


Her quarters were quiet and dark except for her desk lamp. Supply reports, complaints, and a single copy of Lt. Ford's mission review were spread across the makeshift table currently serving as her desk.

The clutter felt good. Felt real.

God, she needed sleep.

Too bad that wasn't happening for awhile.

Today was... definitely not something she'd want to repeat. Ever. How the hell had she ended up doing this again? Oh, right. She'd volunteered. Mostly.

Dropping the stylus with exaggerated care, Liz ground the heels of her hands into her eye sockets. Thirty-seven hours without sleep.

Thirty-seven. Heh.

Oh, hell. If she kept this up, Beckett was going to either relieve her of command or tranq her and make her get up and do it all over again.

Lord in heaven. She'd almost lost six people. Six people.

It was no wonder she couldn't seem to get her body to let go. A set of rumpled sheets attested to her attempt, but every time she closed her eyes, she kept seeing the open gate. Or the jumper sliced in half, bodies drifting in space.

Or John with some huge contorted spider sucking his life out.

Liz sighed and dropped her head to the desk with a quiet thump. No, she definitely wasn't getting sleep any time soon.

Not with her body shaking like this.

Slowly, she stood, her spine cracking as she straightened. A walk would do her good. Settle her nerves. Wear her out. Something.

Scooping up her discarded jacket, Liz made for the door, not even noticing when the automatic lights flickered and blinked out behind her.


Forty-five minutes later, she found herself standing outside the doors to the med bay. Through the window, she could see that the inside lights were dim. To the left she could see the duty nurse doing strange pen tricks at her desk. Given that they'd only been there a few weeks and that her only patient was probably asleep – John's paperwork long filled out and filed – Liz didn't feel the need to chew her out.

After all, she was the trespasser here.

Not that she was all that sure why she was here...

Okay, that was a total lie and even her sleep-starved brain wouldn't let it pass. She was here to check up on Major John Sheppard. And there wasn't anything wrong with that. At all. Really. She wasn't freaking out that the softly-lit corridors weren't actually real and that she'd wake up and realize everyone was dead. And it was her fault.

And she officially needed to get over herself.

The doors made their normal swishing sound, apparently anticipating her decision to enter, and the decision was out of her hands. She waved to the suddenly alert nurse and motioned at the only occupied bed.

The woman – Susan? Suzie? – shook her head and gave an aggrieved smile before waving her on. "Go for it. He's been quiet for a bit, but I doubt he's asleep."

"Oh?" Blinking, Liz made out the woman's nametag. 'Lewis'. Suzanne Lewis. Thirty-two. Practicing RN for UN health units for the last six years. Certified in trauma, triage, and women's health. Hailed from Fairfax, Virginia.

"Yeah." The younger woman tugged on a braid and snickered. "Lt. Ford came in bearing one of his special cans of Jolt cola. I think the only reason Major Sheppard isn't crawling on the ceiling is the earlier paralysis."

She really tried not to wince.

Showing some rather impressive perception, Suzie patted her on the arm and pointed at the now-still doors. "Hey, I'm going to get some tea. Would you mind keeping an eye on the patient for a few minutes? Johannes was supposed to spell me about twenty minutes ago."

"Sure. Take your time."

The nurse smiled and walked out. The rubber of her shoes making a slight squeaking noise.

Cautiously, Liz edged around the partition and made her way back toward Major Sheppard's bed. Someone had pulled the privacy curtain, so all she could make out from this distance was the slight outline of something lumpy.

Taking care to be as quiet as possible, she ducked her head around the curtain... and came face to feet with a very awake Major.

"Er. Hi."

"Hey, Dr. Weir. How goes?" Nope, definitely not asleep. She could barely make his eyes out with the lighting low as it was. He was still on his back, propped slightly up by the bed and pillows. His IV bag was half- used. All in all, he looked about as fit as one would expect.

She tried a smile. It probably came out more like a grimace, but what could you do? "Oh, you know."

"Shouldn't you be asleep or something?"

"Probably. But after the third dream about demented ducks pecking me to death with straws, I decided to give up the ghost."

"Huh. Your head's weirder than mine."

Elizabeth smiled at him, feeling her shoulders loosen a little. More serious, she tilted her head. "So how are you really doing?"

The grimace that flashed across his features said more than he probably wanted. "Oh, you know. With the lack of numb comes pins and needles like you wouldn't believe."

"I'm sorry." Whoa. That came out... way more serious than she'd meant. But he knew what she was talking about. "About earlier. Um. Before the mission."

"Hey. I know. Me too."

"I..." She stopped. She'd know this was why she'd ended up here. Wow, was she bad at lying to herself this week. She shuffled her feet and crossed her arms before looking at him dead on. "I'm sorry we fought like that. You had a point."

John shook his head. "No. I need to apologize to you."

Her head started her own negative response, but the hand he held up belayed it. "I'm not kidding, Dr. Weir. I shouldn't have called you into question like that. It was thoughtless and I was being an ass. You're in a difficult position."

"Major Sheppard, I'd be remiss if I didn't encourage your censure." Limbs feeling suddenly heavy, she leaned back against the second gurney, causing it to squeak under her sudden weight. She ran a hand over her forehead, puzzled to feel the slight curling of strands. Damn humidity.

"I'm not perfect. And I'm going to occasionally need someone to point that out to me." She raised an eyebrow. "And I think you're going to need the same treatment."

"Formal tonight, huh?"

She sighed, again. "Lack of sleep."

"Well, you do have a point." His voice sounded resigned and more than a bit pained. "Neither of us is perfect. And if this is going to work, we're going to have to do it together, aren't we?"

She nodded and tugged at her collar. "I think so."

He shrugged. Paused. And grinned. "Well, in that case..."

"No!" Voice louder than expected, she did a quick recon of the area. Seeing that the nurse was still gone, she turned to glare at him again. "Whatever you're going to say? No."

"Hey! You don't even know what I was going to ask!"

She glared, eyes narrowing. "You're using the exact same tone my brothers did when they wanted to trick me out of bookmobile money."

He snickered. "You have brothers?"

"Two."

"Evil?"

"Pure." Nickel-stealing wastrels. No matter that James was the father of three and Robert was making more money than their father. They were still bastards. "But they fear the power of the noogie."

"Heh. No. Seriously."

"Fine, what?"

"Since we're going to probably be spending a lot of time together..." He raised a suggestive eyebrow and snorted when she raised her own. "...I think we should stick with 'John' and 'Elizabeth' in off hours, okay? It's weird to hear you call me 'Major Sheppard' in the dark."

She nodded and snickered. As requests went, it was a small thing. And really? Her brain had been calling him 'John' since they were introduced. "Sounds good."

"Can I call you 'Liz' then?"

"No."

"Aww, why?" Dear, lord. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, but the pout was even cuter in low light. If she'd been sure it wouldn't suffocate him, she would have smacked him with the extra pillow.

Slowly, so he could understand the importance of her words, she responded, "Because it's not my name?"

His teeth flashed, and it occurred to her that she'd smiled more in the last ten minutes than she'd done in the last week. There was just something about John that made it downright impossible to keep a straight face when he wasn't in serious-mode.

Yeah, he and Jack O'Neill really were from the same swath of existential cloth.

God help them all.

"Aww..." Ack. Dimples!?

"NO."

He grinned wider. Still, he nodded his head and waved her on. "Fine, fine. You go to bed and get some sleep. You look dead on your feet. And I know of which I speak because I kind of was dead earlier."

It somehow was funnier when he said it. She smiled. For real this time. It was interrupted by a yawn, the likes of which her face had not felt since grad school. She nodded and edged back towards the curtain. Just as she passed by the white sheet of cloth, she turned back over her shoulder and waved. "Night, John."

His own grin was mischievous, bordering on downright evil. "Night, Lizzie."

- fin -