Big thanks so Shane and Triala for beta-ing!

Moments Like This

Chapter 9 – Tantalization

Elizabeth awoke slowly, immediately aware of a constant warmth surrounding her. One strong, well-toned arm encircled her waist and another held her just below the chest somewhat possessively, steady breathing ruffling her hair and warming the back of her neck where John's head lay so close to hers on the pillow. Truthfully, on the rare occasions she'd allowed herself to wonder, she'd never have guessed John to be an overly affectionate man. Caring and loyal, there was no doubt, but physically affectionate, not so much. Memories of the previous night flitted back and forth in her mind; John above her, their mouths clashing together desperately as they moved in unison, the intensity of sensations overwhelming her. In the hours after, he had watched her, always touching her, tracing obscure patterns over her skin whilst asking inane questions about her pre-Atlantis life that only he would think of. He made her laugh at the stories of McKay and Zelenka bickering on a recent research mission, and of introducing Ronon and Teyla to the idea of computer games, neither of whom could understand the fascination behind imaginary games played against an unseen opponent. The evening crept by, and as they both began to succumb to the tug of slumber, John had wrapped her in a gentle hug, telling her to sleep whilst dropping several kisses to her bare shoulder.

Twisting as carefully as she could, she moved around so she was facing him, smiling when his arms loosened enough to let her shift and immediately tightened around her again when she settled. From her new vantage point, Elizabeth focussed her eyes on his full lips, barely an inch from her face. Reaching up to skim her thumb lightly over the stubbly skin of his jaw, she took the time to study his features, now relaxed in sleep. The idea of sleeping with John Sheppard had not been something she allowed herself to think of too much in the past; enough of her female staff already had that covered from the snippets of conversations she remembered from those first few stressful months in the city. It was a bond that had crept up on her without her even suspecting it; a friendship born of necessity at first, quickly evolving into a companionship that served them well in their jobs and rapidly led to spending increasing amounts of time together on rare 'out-of-office' hours.

"You okay?"

John's voice, hushed and husky with sleep, sounded incredibly sexy to her, even if she had inadvertently woken him. Leaning forward a little, she pressed a soft kiss to his lips in apology, holding back a grin at his half-hearted attempt to deepen it. "I didn't mean to wake you."

"'S'kay," he replied, one hand finding the hem of the T-shirt that Elizabeth had put on before they fell asleep. His T-shirt, he realized belatedly, tracing the curves of her side as she kissed him again. His hazel eyes were a dark green in the low light, playful in his lethargic attempt at seduction. "You look great with bed hair."

She rewarded him with an indignant laugh, amused at the 'little boy innocent' smirk adorning his handsome face. "You're one to talk." To prove her point she buried her fingers into his silky hair, fingernails lightly grazing his scalp.

John hummed appreciatively at her movements. "Feels good."

Smiling at his contented noises, she continued to run her hand over his head, holding his gaze as he watched her. She had no idea how long they stayed that way before he covered her mouth with his own, letting her hand drop to his shoulder as he gathered her closer to him. Each kiss increased in intensity until he nudged her onto her back, propping himself up on an arm either side of her.

"'-Like kissing you," John breathed suddenly, between kisses, moving his attention across her jaw line and down her neck.

"Seems we have that in common then," Elizabeth barely managed to reply as she felt his teeth nip at the side of her neck in what she fleetingly hoped wasn't going to leave a mark in the morning. Making a noise somewhere between a laugh and a hum as John grinned devilishly down at her, she found herself hoping she'd be able to survive the next day on very little sleep.

John woke a few hours later as he felt movement against him, chocolate-coloured curls tickling his mouth as she moved. With her head tucked under his chin, Elizabeth stilled and he felt her hook one leg between his. Pressing a kiss to her hair and shifting his arm to rest underneath the too-big shirt of his, he placed his hand on her warm skin between her shoulder blades.

He was very nearly asleep when her nose moved against his collarbone, and he wondered if she was dreaming or awake. He got his answer a minute later when she moved her head, beautiful green eyes blinking sleepily at him. Raising the hand that wasn't entangled beneath her shirt, he traced his index finger over her high cheekbone, eliciting a drowsy smile from her.

"I didn't know you were a restless sleeper." He grinned, studying the green of her eyes as a blush crept up her pretty face.

"I'm not usually," Elizabeth explained, sounding somewhat embarrassed. "It's just been a while since there's been anyone… I'm used to having a bed to myself."

He liked that she was so honest with him. She always had been. He still wasn't used to someone completely trusting him, in his judgement, in his decisions, even after more than two years in Atlantis. Smiling at the sudden flare of affection he felt for the woman beside him, John enveloped her lips in his own. When they broke away from each other there was no trace of uneasiness left on her face, only the amused half-smile he was so used to seeing on a daily basis – usually when he made a sarcastic comment for her benefit.

"I think I might commandeer this shirt, John."

He shot her an entertained grin, bunching the fabric of the shirt further up her thigh subtly. "You want to steal my shirt?"

"It's mine now." She replied matter-of-factly, leaning forward to playfully peck him on the lips before sitting up. "Do you mind if I borrow your shower?"

John visibly brightened at that, which only got him one of her disparaging glares. "Is that an invitation?"

"It was a request, I can go back to- " Her breath caught somewhere between a surprised laugh and a squeal as John flipped her on to her back, pinning her wrists either side of her head. "Just what is this supposed to accomplish?"

Even though he was on the receiving end of one of Elizabeth Weir's most dangerous glares, the subtle quirking of her mouth gave away the lack of seriousness she held against him. Maybe he would survive the day after all, he thought with a victorious smirk. "I think we might be able to come to a fair arrangement, Doc." As he leapt up, he held out his hands to her, mischievous expression ever-present on his face.

Elizabeth let him help her off the bed, shooting him a half-hearted stare as she placed her hands on her hips, the usual effect severely diluted thanks to the large t-shirt she wore. "You're definitely not getting this back now."

John's gaze fell to the black shirt, which somehow seemed to work on her, mostly because it only fell to her upper thighs. "Fair price to pay." He grinned flirtatiously, grasping her hand to lead her towards the bathroom.

Elizabeth was lucky she'd left a few items of clothing in what was to be her new room, as they belatedly realised they didn't have as much time before their joint meeting as they thought they did. Slipping across the hall was a lot easier than crossing the city in the previous day's casual clothes would have been. Of course John found it all ridiculously amusing, much to her chagrin. Up until she reminded him that he still had the projector screen to return before it was missed, which then wiped the smile from his face at the thought of angry scientists on his back all week.

The briefing was for Doctor Zelenka to update the high-ranking personnel on relevant research findings his team had come across in the last fortnight, and thankfully Zelenka seemed to be too busy setting up the series of discs for the presentation to pay much attention to the two late-comers. Rodney, however, was a different story.

"Glad you could join us, Colonel, Elizabeth. Is this too early a meeting for you?" Was the inevitable snipe from the pre-caffeinated physicist.

John sighed, wishing he and Elizabeth had had enough time to grab breakfast before having to face his irritable team-mate. "Shut up, McKay."

"That was original."

Casting a sidelong glance at his partner in crime, who had seated herself beside him in strategic silence, he then turned to glare at McKay. "I'm tired, I'll do better tomorrow."

"Isn't that your motto in life?"

"As opposed to belittling everyone in your path being yours?"

"Gentlemen." Elizabeth cut in, managing to inject more impatience than she felt into her tone. "Radek, I'm sorry we were late."

"That's quite alright, Dr. Weir." The Czech scientist replied in a pleasant tone, his manner the polar opposite of his so-called equal in their field of astrophysics.

The briefing began and Elizabeth listened intently for the first thirty minutes before her attention was drawn to John. He was staring at her, with what could only be described as a smug smile on his face. His gaze was so intent on her she had to glance around the large briefing table to check no one else had noticed them, then shot him a glare to stop it. When he grinned at her she didn't know if she wanted to strangle him or laugh at his too-amused face, simultaneously suppressing a shiver at what he could possibly be thinking about. Although she could probably guess the topic. Shooting him another glare for good measure, she was relieved when he turned to focus on Zelenka, although his mouth was still curved in an amused half-smile.

She caught him watching her again twice more during the rest of the meeting, both of which earned him increasing levels of menace in her looks. The third time she glanced at him, she decided to get her own back. "Care to add anything, Colonel?"

To his credit, he didn't so much as blink in surprise at her sudden question. "I don't think it's enough to be field-relevant yet, but it sounds cool." The tilt of his head, as if to rub it in that he'd been listening all along, only served to provoke her more, but she narrowed her eyes at him and looked away, refusing him the satisfaction of winning their silent game.

"Okay, then. If no one has anything else…" As the room remained quiet she continued; "Good, let's get back to work." Elizabeth shot a professional smile at the seated personnel, before rising to leave.

Elizabeth was wading through the various e-mailed requests that had arrived from various personnel the previous evening when John appeared at the door with what looked to be breakfast.

"Not quite breakfast in bed, but…" The pleased-with-himself grin was still firmly in place as he perched on the corner of her desk, setting down the two mugs and bag of pastries next to him.

"You were surprisingly silent during Dr. Zelenka's briefing." Elizabeth stated casually, taking a sip of her coffee as she shot him a suspicious smile.

"I was?"

"You were. Care to share what was on your mind?"

His hazel eyes gleamed playfully as he folded his arms across his chest and answered; "How do you know I'm not still thinking about it?"

"John," She glared at him, a trace of well-hidden amusement on her face. "Tell me."

"Let's just say it involved the briefing table and you wearing some silky thing I must find out if you own." His mischievous grin was infectious, and as much as Elizabeth wanted to stare him down with her best un-amused glare, she could feel the blush creeping up her cheeks.

"Don't you have work to be doing?" She asked in her authoritative tone, trying to ignore the fact he was sat on her desk so casually anyone would think it was his office.

"You trying to get rid of me, 'Lizabeth?"

She sat back in her chair and held his cheerful gaze for a few minutes, before submitting and letting an amused smile cross her face. "You can stay and look at some of these science reports if you like. I won't get to them until tomorrow at this rate."

"Progress reports?"

Elizabeth nodded, leaning forward to edge the folder out of the stack to her right before handing it to him. "Thanks, John."

"Anything that keeps me out of the scientists' experiments is fine by me," he replied, moving over to the couch opposite her desk and settling himself comfortably as he scanned the first report. She followed his movement with her eyes until he looked up at her, the look on his face confirming that he'd not realized how dense the reports were he'd just agreed to help her with. "This means you're buying lunch."