Title: Prelude

Category: Stargate Atlantis

Character/Pairings: John Sheppard/Elizabeth Weir, very light.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by MGM Studios Inc., the Sci Fi Channel and Acme Shark. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Rating: PG

Word Count: 1,668

Spoilers: 3.02 – Misbegotten (very minor, though)

Summary: He was alive. She was still in Atlantis. And in the end, that was all that really mattered.

Notes: Written for the More Than One ficathon for AngelQueen04 who wanted John/Elizabeth, post ep to Misbegotten with smut if possible. I couldn't manage the smut, but I hope it works for you anyway. Really, really sorry about the delay, but physics was kicking my butt.

Part (1/1)

When John Sheppard entered his quarters, the first thing he noticed was that someone had been inside his room.

Waiting for the lights to adjust to his presence, he was oddly disturbed to find that the lights weren't responding. Sighing, he added that to the ever growing list of reasons why the universe was out to get him and let his eyes become accustomed to the moonlight casting shadows in the room.

Giving the lights up as a lost cause (for tonight anyway), John shut the door behind him, automatically tugging his shirt off. He probably needed a shower but he's too damn tired at the moment; all he wanted to do was collapse on his bed and never wake up. His BDU's were sliding off his hips when he turned towards the bed and froze. It occurred to him that he maybe more exhausted than he'd thought, so he blinked, once and then twice in an attempt to clear his vision. It couldn't have worked though.

Elizabeth Weir was still curled up on his bed, fast asleep with what looked to be his t-shirt clutched in her fists.

Huh. This was new.

One hand still clutching the waist of his pants to his hips, he shuffled closer to the bed. Watching her sleep, he briefly entertained the idea of waking her up before dismissing the thought. Elizabeth rarely slept – and while there was some part of him demanding to know why she was sleeping in his bed, he was too tired to really be curious.

And well now, this was going to be a problem. There was only one bed in the room, and it was currently occupied.

He tilted his head, watching shadows play over her face. The part of his brain that knew he spent and inordinate amount of time watching the brunette already was warning him that he was going to regret this later. The more rational (more or less) part of him pointed out that, hey, this was his bed and …

Guh.

Elizabeth Weir was sleeping on his bed, her face buried in his pillow. Biting back the groan, John closed his eyes before beginning the now fairly useless mantra.

You will not think about Elizabeth like that. You will not think about Elizabeth like that. You will not think about Elizabeth lying in your be – damnit.

He hissed through his teeth, raking his free hand through his hair. Opening his eyes, he stepped back at the sight of sleepy eyes looking back at him.

"Hi." Her voice was soft with sleep and it took her eyes travelling from his face to his chest and then back again before he realized that he was standing in front of Elizabeth half naked. Telling his libido to calm down, he prided himself in the knowledge that his voice didn't sound completely panicked.

"Hey." His hands clenched around the material of his pants, tightening them across his hips. Think of something. Something – anything, but the fact that Elizabeth is lying on your bed looking at you with bedroom eyes.

"John?" Her voice was still quiet, and he thought that maybe she was still a little disoriented. "Why are you half naked in my room?"

Okay, so maybe she's a lot disoriented.

"Uh, Elizabeth … this isn't your room." He shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot as he waited for comprehension to dawn. Elizabeth Weir was anything but slow.

"Oh, god." He almost smiled at the flush rising on her cheeks before he noticed what he'd missed in his earlier shock.

She'd been crying.

"Eliz-" Her mortified voice cut him off as she rose to kneel on the bed, hands pulling at his shirt.

"Oh god, John, I'm so sorry, I must have fallen asleep waiting for you." She followed his gaze down to her hands where she viewed the material she was clutching in horror. He took advantage of her sudden silence to move closer to the bed, needing the glint of moonlight against her cheeks to prove his theory.

"You've been crying!" He knew his voice was laced with disbelief, but c'mon.

Elizabeth Weir did not cry. Elizabeth Weir did not sleep in his bed, and yet now she had done both. This was kinda surreal – John half expected someone to pop out and tell him that yes, Santa was real.

"What? No." Elizabeth's voice was jittery and the hands that automatically came up to swipe at her cheeks betray her.

"Elizabeth, what's wrong?" He wanted to move closer to her, but he's still half dressed and she's still his boss and it couldn't ever work. She avoided his gaze, bolting off the bed suddenly.

"I should let you get some sleep." She was almost at the door before he thought to stop her. Closing his hand around her wrist, he pulled her to face him. Her eyes were veiled and she wore a shaky smile.

"Elizabeth?" He paused there, uncertain. She was looking at him with unreadable eyes, and her hand was shaking in his. Or maybe it was hand that was shaking. He let her go slowly, eyes still searching her face. She stepped back from him and turned to go before stopping.

"I thought you were dead." Her voice cracked and her shoulders slumped. The words slammed into him, sending him reeling. "I thought you were dead, and I realized that I didn't want to be alive if you weren't."

His heart jumped; his pulse increasing until the steady thump echoed heavily in his ears. She couldn't be saying what he thought she was saying. Surreal didn't even begin to cover this. Elizabeth spun around to look at him, eyes drenched.

"I thought you were dead." She repeated the words in a whisper that settled in the room, sending dust motes spinning. His hand moved of its own volition, gently brushing tears from her face. There was nothing he could say to that – his brain was still stuck on if you weren't.

She leant into his hand, her lips brushing against his palm. His stomach tightened, and he knew his eyes were darkening with arousal. "Why were you so angry with Woolsey today?" His brain kicked in, spinning if you weren't with the glee of are you defending my honour. Stepping forward, he folded his arms around her tightly, burying his face in her hair.

"Because I was alive." His mind filled in the rest of the sentence silently. Because I was alive and he was taking you away from me. He could sense the confusion in her gaze before her hands settled over his back. He pulled back from her enough too look her in the eyes. Hesitating slightly, he sighed and then spoke. "Because I was alive and he was taking you away from me."

She looked at him silently, fingers trailing over his skin, burning a path. He met her gaze before leaning in. His lips hovered over hers, silently offering her a chance to back away before descending. Her mouth opened under his, acquiescing and John sunk in, desperate. Conscious only of the taste of her and the feel of her hands on his bare skin, one kiss melted into another, and then another until he pulled away reluctantly. He kept his hands locked around her waist and settled his forehead against hers. Her cheeks were flushed, her lips were swollen and she was looking up at him with hopeful eyes. John felt his stomach drop.

He could very easily fall in love with this woman if he let himself. It would be hard and fast, because, really, he was already half way there. The realization should have terrified him, given his track record with women. Brushing his lips against her cheeks, he gave himself to the moment and revelled in the feel of her in his arms.

"What was that?" Her voice is hesitant, and he knew that whatever he said next will be important in a way that nothing has been. Breathing in the scent of her hair, he thought about the woman in his arms and what he felt about her.

"A beginning." His answer is both self-explanatory and cryptic and John knew that if she was less tired, she might press for a proper answer. As it is, she pauses a moment, and then nods in agreement, falling silent.

Battling back a yawn, he looked down at her, taking in the signs of exhaustion on her face. Knowing they were echoed in his own face, he pulled her towards the bed. At her hesitant look, he quirked his lips, shrugging.

"Just sleep, Elizabeth." Tugging back the covers, he motioned for her to get in before smirking. "Besides, I think we're both too tired for anything else."

A small smile curved her lips before she spoke, shaking her head. "John, you need sleep as much as I do." Despite her words, she let him settle her on the bed.

"I'll sleep on the floor – isn't like I haven't had worse." His abused muscles protest silently at the thought. Pressing a light kiss on her lips, he turned from the bed, pausing when her hands closed around his wrist. At his questioning look, she shifted over, patting the mattress with a wry smile.

"Like you said, we're too tired for anything else."

"Oh thank god." The relieved words left his lips without him noticing as he collapsed on the bed.

"Should I be insulted?" Her sleepy laugh clued him into the fact that he had spoken aloud. Feeling the oblivion of sleep clawing at him, he managed an exasperated admonition before curling his body around hers. The bed was definitely not designed for more than one person.

"Goodnight John."

She was asleep before he managed a reply. The words left him in a contented sigh as he shut his eyes, giving in to the lull of dreams.

He was alive. She was still in Atlantis.

And in the end, that was all that really mattered.