Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate Atlantis or its characters…

Author's note: I've finally broken down and begun to post this. For some odd reason I feel the need to apologize in advance. I've had this idea in my head for a long time, but maybe I felt it was too stupid to write or something. We'll say it takes place mid-season two, because that's where I was when I finally started writing it (and where I still am stuck, much to my dismay). These are shorter chapters/posts than I've been writing lately, but I've tried to cut down on my long-winded tendencies (without much success, b/c later ones are already proving to be longer).

"Incoming wormhole. We're receiving an IDC. It's Colonel Sheppard."

"Lower the shield."

Elizabeth made her way down the stairs to the gateroom. They were ahead of schedule, and that was never a good sign. But there had been no communiqué. If they were under fire, Sheppard surely would have signaled so. She watched pensively as the members of his team emerged from the event horizon, wondering what could have possible gone wrong…this time.

She caught the sigh she was about to release upon seeing his form rematerialize out of the 'gate behind the others. It had been more and more difficult lately to check herself in her display of emotions, specifically when one Colonel John Sheppard was concerned. Then again, when wasn't he or his team concerned when there was trouble, particularly of the life-altering or ending variety? Nonetheless she yet again found herself curbing her visible relief upon finding him, them, unharmed.

"What happened?!" she questioned after the 'gate shut down and the team took up a stance before her. "I thought that the Telurians were friendly and you were going to stay, try to open up negotiations?"

Teyla seemed as if she wanted to explain to Dr. Weir, but instead looked to the colonel. Ronon and McKay also looked at Sheppard, then catching one another's gaze began to laugh. Elizabeth was not amused by the apparently 'inside' joke.

"What's going on?" she asked more reservedly, the panic now subsided within her. If they could laugh about it then it really couldn't be too serious.

"We were invited to dinner," Sheppard began to explain. "Everything was going fine, then they got upset at us for no good reason."

Elizabeth could tell he wasn't revealing the whole story from his body language. The looks the others gave her practically cried out their support for the conclusion. Teyla still seemed hesitant. Elizabeth stared them down for a few seconds more, then realized that John was embarrassed. It was subtle. He wasn't blushing or anything, but it was there, in the way he refused to hold her gaze for more than a second at a time.

"He pulled a Kirk," Rodney supplied, finally fed up with tip-toeing around the issue. Unfortunately, Elizabeth was just as fed up, and for someone who didn't speak 'trekkie' the statement failed to clarify anything.

"Someone tell me what is going on right now," she said more sternly. Teyla took this as her cue to finally speak up.

"As the colonel said," she supplied. "We had been invited to attend a feast, and as we were doing so, a young woman named Shyal approached Colonel Sheppard and…" she seemed to struggle for the right word to use.

"She jumped him," Ronon provided, finding the entire situation rather amusing.

"Excuse me?" Elizabeth said, unsure of the meaning of the large Satedan's statement. It surely didn't mean what she thought it did, did it?

"She…" Teyla drawled, realizing that however she put it would be better than Ronon's account of the events. "kissed the colonel."

"Oh," Elizabeth said slightly perplexed. "What's so bad about that?"

"It was more than a friendly kiss," Teyla supplied.

"You got that right," Ronon butted in again, still finding it all quite amusing. "It was an invitation to-"

"Ronon!" Teyla snapped, turning to glare at the significantly taller warrior. John seized the opportunity to defend himself, for the others weren't doing all that great of a job.

"She wanted me to…uh…you knowsleep with her," he conceded still avoiding direct eye contact with Elizabeth. "I gently turned her down and that's when the others freaked out. They said I had to…uh…" He made some sort of hand gesture awkwardly that really explained nothing, but Elizabeth got the idea. "I asked them why and they said 'it was the way when "The Fawning" was upon one' and that the girl-"

"Shyal," Teyla supplied, only slightly irritated that he did not recall the young woman's name. She had gotten used to his tendency not to bother remembering the people's names correctly.

"Right, Shyal had chosen me to aide her with her 'sickness' and when I still refused they got a little pissed off," He finished the explanation.

"Alright," Elizabeth said, trying to sort out what she had just heard. "Let's debrief in say…twenty minutes?"

They all nodded their heads and turned to leave the gateroom and shed their gear, all except for Teyla, who hesitated.

"That is not all," she caught Elizabeth's attention, as well as the attention of the others who had already eagerly begun to depart. They gave her cautionary glares. She returned them with a stern one. "Dr. Weir needs to know."

Elizabeth gave the other woman a questioning look.

"They told us that 'The Sickness' would compel Colonel Sheppard to return and finish what has begun."

Elizabeth really didn't like the sound of that, and now all the joking the team had been doing appeared to serve a more significant purpose. They had been attempting to lighten the mood. Something serious had happened, and they were rightly uneasy from the foreboding statement Teyla had just relayed to her.

"Maybe you had better see Dr. Beckett, Colonel," she suggested in the manner that meant it was an order. "This…Shyal may have exposed you to whatever 'sickness' the Telurians have."


(if you want)

(Tell you what, since I'm actually ahead, if someone gives me a treat, I'll post a new section every day until I catch up to myself)

(Otherwise, I'll keep happily writing it and enjoying it myself and perhaps post on a weekly basis, provided that you want to read it at all)