New Year's Day on Atlantis wasn't the same type of holiday as on Earth. Instead of being close to the winter solstice, New Year's was celebrated on the anniversary of the day that the city had risen from the ocean. Supply runs with the Daedalus meant that there was liquor on hand for the event, and a few crewmen would decorate the gateroom and adjacent balcony for the occasion.
On the last evening of their fifth year in Atlantis, John found Elizabeth still in her office – Sedge lounging on the floor underneath her desk – as the festivities got underway. "What are you still doing up here?" he asked as he came in the door.
"I just had a few more things – "
"'Lizbeth. They call it a 'holiday' for a reason."
Elizabeth put down the pen for her tablet. "When exactly did my name lose two syllables?" she asked him with a smile.
"Not sure. But you never told me to stop."
"Mmm, was that my mistake?" she asked as she got up from the desk.
"Yeah, that's it. All your fault."
"Fine, if you insist on dragging me out of here – "
" – then let's go."
They each mingled with the crowd of expedition personnel that were downstairs. The food was good, the company was better, and it was fun to see how much had changed in Atlantis in the past five years. Many couples had formed – Beckett and Cadman were due to be married the next time they went back to Earth – and a few of them were expecting children. In all honesty, Earth was no safer than Atlantis, and Elizabeth had fought hard for the city's right to develop as a real colony, not a tightly controlled military base.
"Dr. Weir?" she heard a voice ask and turned to see Zelenka approaching. "We are ready." She nodded.
Everyone had decided that their fifth anniversary was a special one. A few members of the science team had spent the past few days cooking up homemade fireworks – which sounded more dangerous than it really was, considering the fact that some of them had built atomic bombs before. The party-goers started moving outside to the balcony to watch as bright explosions of color began lighting up the night sky.
As she stood in one of the doorways, John caught Elizabeth's eye from his place out by the railing. He nodded slightly, almost imperceptibly, and she disappeared back inside.
Five minutes later, he joined her on a balcony a few levels down from the control room. They could still hear the party going on above them, but had gained the ability to watch the fireworks with a bit of privacy.
"Happy New Year," John quietly said, wrapping his arms around her waist from behind as they both watched the show.
Elizabeth smiled. "Happy New Year." As an afterthought, she pulled her necklace out from underneath her tee-shirt, bringing the object hanging from the silver chain into view: a small diamond ring.
John smiled as he noticed. "One of these days, that'll be on your finger," he promised.
She shrugged. "I like having you as my secret."
"Can you believe it's been five years?" he asked after a few moments of silence. "Half a decade since you plucked me out of McMurdo and into this whole other world."
"I have no clue how I've put up with you for so long," she teased, earning a poke in the side. "Seriously, though. In the first year of this little 'camping trip,' I'm sure everyone thought we would have killed each other before we would get married."
"Nah, there was a betting pool going."
"Are you serious?"
"Mmm-hmm. I think Rodney started it."
"I might have to have a word with him…"
John laughed. "Don't bother. Turns out he was right in the end."
"Yes, but he doesn't know that."
He shrugged. "Doesn't matter. Besides, I happen to like the curveballs in life."
"Don't start," Elizabeth warned him. "I've just barely gotten the rules of football down. We're not switching sports already."
John laughed. "Yes, ma'am."
"Ever wonder what else will have changed by the time that we're doing this five years from now?" Elizabeth asked.
"Yeah, sometimes…I know I'm looking forward to it." She nodded, and they both turned back to watch the finale of the fireworks show. They'd been through a lot, and still had quite a few adventures to come.
Thanks to everyone who came along for the ride with this one. I've appreciated all the feedback I've gotten. And if you haven't left any...that's what the purple button is for 8-)