TITLE: Defining Moments
AUTHOR: Matt, Feb 05
SUMMARY: The next generation of Atlantians are celebrating, and John and Elizabeth are reminiscing.
RATING: PG
DISCLAIMER: The characters of Stargate: Atlantis belong to MGM et al. I'm borrowing
NOTE: This is for atomicpagan who requested Sheppard / Weir fluff of me.
THANKS: To Alliesings for the beta.

The balcony had become one of her favourite leaning spots, he'd noticed. No matter what the residents of Atlantis were celebrating or commemorating, Elizabeth nearly always found her way to the balcony - and she was usually alone, albeit with a glass in her hand.

He knew the reason why for her solitude. It was always the same. She was the leader of the mission. Every celebration was a reminder that they were miles from home. Every time of mourning was a reminder that some would never see their home again.

The rest of the city's inhabitants had begun keeping a wide berth from her at these times, but not John. As much as she felt a responsibility for the members of the Atlantis mission, he felt a responsibility for her.

"What are you thinking about?" he asked softly as he approached her.

She didn't turn around, instead choosing to continue gazing out over the ocean. "So much has changed, John."

He shrugged. "I find change can make for a refreshing… change."

She smiled at his weak attempt at a joke. "I didn't think we'd be out here this long," she said quietly. "I knew at the beginning that there was a strong chance we'd never see Earth again, but once we were able to make regular contact…"

Her voice trailed off, but he knew where she was headed. "You thought we'd be hauled home by now, replaced by others."

She turned to face him. "Yes, yes I did. I thought I would raise my children on Earth, have them face the same trials I did as I was growing up."

John laughed. "Instead, they're facing the same trials we are and we don't have a clue how to lead them."

Elizabeth nodded. "Exactly. Did you ever expect your daughter would be marrying an Athosian?"

He turned his head to face into the crowded room briefly. "Not really," he scowled. "She was supposed to marry Marcus Ford. Aidan and I had it all worked out when they were born."

She laughed and slapped his arm. "John," she groaned, "I thought we'd agreed not to mention that again."

"Hey, I never agreed to anything," he retorted with a grin.

She turned her body so that she faced the room and leaned back against the railing. When John took the opportunity to place an arm around her waist, she sunk back against him. "I can't believe she's married," she said with a sigh.

"Remember our wedding?"

Elizabeth laughed and rolled her eyes. "How can I not? Whose idea was it to take a Jumper out before the ceremony anyway?"

"Carson's," he replied. "Apparently I was a little too nervous for him."

"So he thought it would be a good idea to let you at the controls of a Puddlejumper?" Elizabeth shook her head. "And why were you so nervous anyway, Mister? I thought that was the bride's sole right."

His arm tightened around her as he lowered his head to lightly kiss her cheek. "I was marrying a woman I didn't, and still don't, deserve. She's intelligent and fantastically sexy, and I didn't have a clue what she saw in me."

She looked up at him and smiled. "You loved me, John, and you didn't put me on a pedestal. You let me be me, even when everything was going to hell with the Wraith attacks. How could I not fall in love with you?"

John lowered his head to kiss his wife's upturned lips. Even after twenty five years of being married, he still marveled at the fact that she was his.

"Mom! Dad!" A young woman raced towards them, clutching a swathe of white wedding dress in her hands so she didn't trip up over it. "What are you doing over there? Come on, you've got to show us young people how to dance properly."

"Ah, Sweetie," John said, "you know your old man doesn't dance so well."

His daughter definitely had inherited his mother's glare. "That is so not true," she retorted. "Come on, you're the parents of the bride, you can't go into hiding like this."

He allowed himself to be dragged back into the centre of the wedding reception, his wife laughing as he pulled her along after him. Today, at least, was a day for celebrating.

FINIS