All in a Day's Work

Summary: Something goes wrong when Elizabeth accompanies the team on an off-world mission. SheppardWeir.

Spoilers: None, but takes place after season two

Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate Atlantis or its characters. I am simply a fan who enjoys borrowing them for a while.

Chapter One: The Way Home

Elizabeth ran frantically towards the place where she had left him, dreading what she would find when she got closer. There was something moving in the trees ahead of her, but she couldn't discern what it was. She carefully crept up, hiding behind the dense brush and massive tree trunks. From her vantage point, she could clearly see the enemy now. They were standing boldly, lined up as if in a marching band. The men in front carried weapons. She counted twelve, and all of them were all dressed in robes of white linen. Then she saw him. John's face was twisted in pain, but she felt relief when she saw him running towards her. She smiled, thankful that he was alright.

Her smile morphed quickly into an expression of horror when she saw the tall, older man in the middle of the group raise his rifle and aim directly at John. "No!" Elizabeth screamed, and the world began to move in slow motion as she watched him fall to the ground.


(Earlier that day)

The day was warm, but pleasant, as the team made their way back from a three day expedition to study ancient ruins found on Lyran a few weeks earlier. Wanting to escape from the confines of Atlantis and the daily grind, Elizabeth came along to help translate the writing on the walls.

The trek back to the gate was long.The pathway was rough and overgrown, forcing the team to maneuver slowly through thick foliage in the midst of a heavily treed forest. It was obvious that no one else had traveled to the ruins in a long time. It was another 2-3 miles before they would reach the main road which led back to the stargate.

"How much farther is it? I'm starving," complained Rodney.

"Rodney, you've only been walking for 10 minutes," replied John. He was tired and cranky. This expedition wasn't his idea of fun. He spent the last 2 days sitting around the ruins, waiting for Rodney, Elizabeth, and the other team members to finish the translations.

On any other day, he would have sent someone else to provide security for the expedition members, but since Elizabeth had decided to join the team, he didn't feel comfortable letting her go alone. She was the leader of Atlantis, and it was his duty to protect her. In his mind, it was that simple. It didn't matter that the planet was safe, or that they had traveled there many times before. John couldn't shake his uneasy feeling about Elizabeth going off-world without him, so he tagged along to make sure she was safe.

The trip had been largely uneventful. The ancient writings revealed the history of the planet, Wraith cullings, and a few ramblings about a sacred locket belonging to the gods. Rodney and Elizabeth were intrigued by the stories, but they didn't find anything to aid them in the fight against the Wraith, so John felt it was simply a waste of time. And now, all he wanted to do was get home.

"I believe we are close. It won't be much longer until we reach the main road," Teyla chimed in, trying to sooth Rodney.

"Does anyone have something left to eat…MRE, snack bar, gum, anything?" Rodney probed.

John glanced over at Elizabeth, frowned, and rolled his eyes. She smiled discreetly and began to probe inside her bag for something to offer the scientist.

John looked away, focusing his attention back to the dense foliage that they were traipsing through. His military training forced him to be aware of his surroundings and search for signs of imminent danger. He would never let himself relax completely until everyone was back home safe. By now, his training was so ingrained that it seemed like he had developed a sixth sense for danger. It was these finely tuned instincts that drew his eyes toward a strange movement in the bushes ahead on the left.

The hairs on the back of his neck rose. He looked up at Ronon who was at the front of the entourage leading the way through the brush. Ronon paused briefly – he had noticed it also. Careful to not give himself away, he slowly looked back at John. Their eyes met with a shared understanding – John nodded. Yes, something was out there. Teyla caught the look that passed between John and Ronon. Simultaneously, all three moved their hands to linger near their guns.

Not wanting to alarm the others until they were sure something was amiss, they continued to move forward, albeit cautiously. John's eyes were searching the forest for additional signs that something was out of place.

"Rodney," Elizabeth said proudly holding a snack bar up in the air, "look what I found."

Rodney rushed to Elizabeth's side. He reached up to snatch the bar from her hand when suddenly a loud noise from behind startled them.

Ronon turned around in time to see a large energy field moving quickly towards them. It resembled a culling beam, except that it wasn't coming from a Wraith dart.

"Aw, crap…get down NOW!" John yelled as he started to fire blindly towards the source of the beam.

The warning came too late for Marie, a member of Rodney's team who had come along to help with the translations. Teyla tried to push her out of the path of the energy field at the last minute, but instead of escaping, it enveloped both of them and disappeared.

"Teyla!" screamed Ronon as he ran to the place where she had stood. His face stiffened in anger. Suddenly, there was a barrage of gunfire. Ronon jumped behind a boulder for cover. He began to return fire in the direction of the bushes.

"I can't see any of them," he yelled to John over the radio.

"Just stay down," yelled John.

"Here it comes again," warned Rodney as he heard the distinctive whine of the energy field returning.

After running in different directions to find cover, the team was split up. John huddled with Elizabeth behind a fallen tree several feet away. Jameson, a Lieutenant under John's command, was crouched behind a rock with Rodney.

All of them had been able to evade the second pass of the energy field, but it was obvious they couldn't stay safe in their current positions for very long.

"I knew something had to go wrong," John complained. He tapped the radio to get the attention of Ronon and Jameson. "We've got to get out of here."

"What do you want us to do, Colonel?" asked Jameson.

"There's a creek bed about one click to the north from here. If we can make it, we'll be able to establish a better defensive position. Let's rendezvous there. Then you can get Dr. Weir and Rodney back to the gate. Ronon and I will stay behind to locate Teyla and Marie."

"All right…we'll meet you there sir," he replied.

John turned to Elizabeth. She searched his hazel eyes to determine how urgent the situation really was. He knew her well enough to know that she was frightened, but her eyes refused to show it. At that moment, he couldn't help but feel proud of her. She was different from most of the women he had known before – intelligent, strong-willed, compassionate and courageous. It was what made him respect her. It was why he was so drawn to her.

"Listen, Elizabeth…I'm going to lay cover fire for you. When I start shooting, I want you to run towards that grouping of trees."

"What about you?"

"Don't wait for me. I'll catch up with you soon."

"John..."

He interrupted, "Elizabeth, don't argue with me. We don't have time. I need you to trust me."

She stiffened, tilted her head and looked squarely into his eyes. Of course she trusted him, but she had a bad feeling about this. John was too quick to play the role of the hero. However, he was right about one thing. They didn't have time to debate the plans for their escape. She frowned at him, worried, but finally nodded her head in agreement.

John was surprised when she gave her consent. From the look in her eyes, he had been certain that she was going to mount an argument. However, he didn't want to give her time to reconsider, so he quickly said, "All right…we're going on three."

"One…two…three," He stood and fired into the forest until Elizabeth was safely out of gun range. He only hoped that he'd given the others enough time to escape also. John fired once more and then turned to run.

"Halt," came the command from behind him.

"Halt now!"

John kept running. Seconds later, he heard the click of a rifle and felt immediately a searing pain in his right leg. He cried out in pain, but continued to run farther into the protection of the deep woods.

Elizabeth was running for her life. Thorns and twigs were stinging her face as she ran deeper into the thick forest. There was no clearly defined path for her to follow. She was trying to break through the brush, hoping that she would hear the sound of John's footsteps behind her soon. Instead, all she heard was the sound of her heart beating rapidly and her gasps for breath. It felt like her lungs were going to explode, and then she heard the gunfire followed by a cry -- a painful, agonizing cry. She stopped immediately. "John," she whispered. Elizabeth turned around slowly. She had to get back to the place where the gunfire was coming from – back to John.

Elizabeth ran frantically towards the place where she had left him, dreading what she would find when she got closer. There was something moving in the trees ahead of her, but she couldn't discern what it was. She carefully crept up, hiding behind the dense brush and massive tree trunks. From her vantage point, she could clearly see the enemy now. They were standing boldly, lined up as if in a marching band. The men in front carried weapons. She counted twelve, and all of them were all dressed in robes of white linen. Then she saw him. John's face was twisted in pain. His leg was bleeding, but she felt relief when she saw him running towards her. She smiled, thankful that he was alright.

Her smile morphed quickly into an expression of horror when she saw the tall, older man in the middle of the group raise his rifle and aim directly at John. "No!" Elizabeth screamed, and the world began to move in slow motion as she watched him fall to the ground.


Please review and let me know if you liked it. Sorry to leave you hanging, but there's more coming soon. :)