Spoilers: None so far but in theory anything up to episode 15.

A response to Valentines challenge at WeirMckayship yahoogroup.

Authors Note: This hasn't been beta-read so I apologize if it has
grammar/spelling errors in or if the characters sound a bit off.
Please let me know what you think of this, complaints, suggestions;
any feedback would be helpful as long as it is constructive.

Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to Stargate in any incarnations of
course and I'm not making any money, this is just some harmless fanfic
fun.


Introduction: No Escape
John Sheppard whistled as he strutted down the halls.
For once they'd managed to go for two weeks without getting blown up, threatened with lief sucking aliens or shot at.

And what was even better was it was Valentines day, officially everyone had a day off.
Not that everyone would take advantage of it and also that certainly some systems still needed going over, skeleton staff who'd volunteered for duty, but for him it was a day to relax.
Football sounded like a good plan despite the lack of popcorn.

But wasn't it just that he didn't like to think about what today really meant?
Valentine's day; they couldn't even escape the card exchanging gift giving madness here in Pegasus.

It had been someone's bright idea to implement a mail system – each person's quarters had a neat little box with the roughly scrawled name on it. Or at least roughly scrawled for most of the scientist since everyone wrote their own name upon them, for those who'd chosen to partake. What was it about the majority of genius' being left handed or having nearly schizophrenic handwriting?
They did say there was a fine line between genius and madness and he couldn't argue with that given what some of the geeks around here were like.

He was still musing on that when he bumped into Elizabeth, who gave a rather unflattering squeal and whatever it was she was carrying fell from her grasp, the object making a distinct clatter on the floor.

He went to apologise but stopped at the look upon her face. Her eyes were wide and she was breathing more heavily than was normal – if he didn't know better he'd say he'd caught her red handed. Question was what had he caught her doing?

His eyes broke off from studying her and dropped to the floor, a neat white envelope sitting there in the space between where they stood. She regained some composure and her eyes darted down to where he had spotted her delivery, snatching it up almost protectively.

He grinned, amused at just what could get Elizabeth Weir so flustered.
"I see," he said drawing out the last word for emphasis, "Just making a delivery were we?"

Her face took on the often seen mask of strength, all previous emotions scurrying away.
"As a matter of fact, yes. I was just dropping off a card for a friend"

"A friend?" he asked in a tone that clearly said 'oh really' along with his small knowing half smile.
"Yes."was her simple and defiant reply.

That's when he saw where they were, outside a particular set of quarters. He peered towards the one box within view on this stretch of corridor. His eyes widened a little as he read the exaggerated but neat script on mailbox.

Dr. Rodney Q. McKay, BS. MPhys. PhD.
Q.? Wait a minute that meant Rodney had a middle name and...
Getting back on track a more important thought crossed his mind, Rodney was Elizabeth's 'friend'.

But looking at her now he found no clues as to whether she was bluffing.
Her eyes were steely and jaw set firmly – gone into total diplomatic mode.
Of course that only meant she did have something to hide.

"I wanted to make sure Rodney got a card, you know how he can be. Despite what he says we all know his ego would take a blow if no one gave him anything, and everyone likes getting mail I'm sure, especially today."
She gave the details up freely, a little to eager to explain and not sounding quite like her normal self at the same time.

People often did when they were lying, going further into the story, the more elaborate the more believable; except when you knew what they were trying to do.
Frankly he expected more from Elizabeth, as a master negotiator, but then this was a bit different from what she usually dealt with.

"Right," he said soundly, playing along, "I understand. I just hope we won't be insufferable once he gets one. So it better not be anything for him to brag about" he warned, teasing Elizabeth.

There could have been a faint blush on her face, perhaps, for a second as she looked down at the card in her hands before she replied.
"Don't worry, John. Really, it's nothing fancy."

"Just a card, from a friend, to a friend...?"
It was cruel to phrase it that way but he didn't think it would provoke such a reaction.
Her face was still straight, good enough front for a game of poker, but her eyes seemed to reflect sadness and regret as she answered in the affirmative.
"Yes. A little something, between friends. Not that Rodney needs to know."

He nodded to her, "Mum's the word." he said, understanding the sentiment and accepting it. She walked across to post the letter, giving him a glance with a small smile as she did and then going on her way without looking back.

Oh, he understood alright.
But not for one minute did he believe that was all there was to it.

Something was off, had been for some time.
Little things he couldn't put his finger on, her looking at Rodney differently, her holding back Rodney after debriefings, to talk about 'city matters' and the small reassuring touches to his shoulder in a crisis.
A change that he didn't know where to place, just like a light she got in her eyes to see the scientists excitement. At some point it had appeared without him noticing.

But now...
Well, lets just say the card seemed to put a lot of things into context and he wondered what would happen because of it.
This should be fun to watch.
Not that he'd interfere. That would be so unlike him.