Disclaimer: I make no claims to own Stargate Atlantis, but no copyright infringement is intended. No money was made from this and any similarity to any story not my own, is coincidence.
"Like Red on A Rose;" Like Red on a Rose; Alan Jackson; 2006
The Princess Bride; William Goldman; 1987Title: S'more
Rating: PG; rated for kissing
Timeline: Sometime during third season before "First Strike"
Author's Note: I had this posted, but I realized that I didn't make the disclaimer properly, so I have reposted it with a better disclaimer. The quotes in the story are from The Princess Bride, and the song used is basically "Like Red on a Rose," with only some words changed.
The story was originally posted on LJ from a prompt there asking for camping fic featuring sparky. And be warned, this ficlit is pretty darn sappy and fluffly.
John Sheppard set down his guitar case and dropped a small duffle at his feet as he stood in the open doorway of Elizabeth Weir's office.
"So…" he drawled. "You ready?"
Elizabeth looked up from her laptop, a bemused expression coloring her face.
John gave her grin. "You didn't forget did you?" At Elizabeth's look, John tapped his watch. "1800 hours; work stops; camping trip begins."
"Ahh…" Dr. Weir replied. "No Colonel, I did not forget. I simply never agreed to a camping trip," she reminded him in a friendly tone.
John gave her a lop-sided grin and wandered over to Elizabeth's desk. He stepped behind her chair and leaned over her shoulder to read the open laptop screen. "There appears to be a dedicated section of the Ancient database devoted to the application of an advanced string theory as it applies to the Ascension process. The difficulty comes with the current translation programs that we are using to decipher the Ancient language, as they seem to being having trouble with the form of Ancient being used. We would like to request your assistance to further translate…" John read aloud before trailing off slowly.
"Well, that can wait," John said confidently, and boldly closed the laptop. Elizabeth gave her military commander a mild glare.
"What do you think you're doing, Colonel?"
"1800 hours; you're done with work, Elizabeth, and now it's time for a day off. When was the last time you took any time for yourself?"
"Colonel," Elizabeth responded in soft warning.
John gave her a cocky grin. "Don't make me drag you out of here, Elizabeth. Or worse," he drawled, "get Carson in here. You know I will."
Dr. Weir gave her military commander a measuring look that John returned with a steady eye. "You know I will, Elizabeth," he repeated in a low, gently determined voice.Ever so slowly, the Atlantean leader relented, finally giving a quiet sigh in acknowledgmen of John's persistence. The Colonel gave her a boyish grin and stepped back so that Elizabeth could rise out of her chair. She reached for her laptop, but John set his hand atop hers and gently caressed the warm skin beneath his thumb.
"No work," he insisted softly.
For a moment, it was in Elizabeth's eyes to protest, but then she sighed softly. John gave her hand a final caress before removing his.
"Come on, let's go get your stuff," the Colonel prompted, before walking over to retrieve his things from the doorway.
Elizabeth nodded briefly and together they walked in silence to her quarters.
"So what exactly do I need for this camping trip, Colonel?" Dr. Weir asked as John followed her into her room.
"Just some comfortable clothes and a willingness to relax and enjoy yourself for a few hours," John answered with a bright grin.
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow in response. "I can assume everything else is taken care of then, Colonel?"
"You could assume that," John responded cheekily.
The Atlantean leader shook her head slightly with the familiar and fond exasperation that her military commander often seemed to inspire.
"Teyla says that it has been raining rather constantly over on the mainland," Elizabeth said while considering a heavy sweater. "I'm not sure how appealing camping in the rain sounds."
"Rain won't be a problem," John assured her.
"We shouldn't go off-world for this excursion, John," Elizabeth insisted quickly.
"Trust me, Elizabeth," the military commander responded simply. "Trust me," he repeated with a smile meant to charm in reply to a look from the Atlantean leader.
Dr. Weir made no further response as she continued to pack, allowing John to take the opportunity to look around her quarters. Casually, he brushed his hand over books gathered on small shelves and tables, taking note of their titles. They seemed to be mostly history books or political treatises, as well as a few select Ancient texts. He also found a worn copy of Pride and Prejudice tucked away amongst the other volumes, and he smiled to see a leather bound edition of Keats poetry nestled between two Ancient books.
His gaze then fell to a small collection of photos gathered on an Atlantean desk similar to the one in her office. Here were pictures of her family and friends, mostly those from Earth, but there were also a few of her family in Atlantis. John picked up one of a brightly smiling Teyla standing with Ronon, the warrior displaying his own almost rare smile.
"Will I need heavy boots?"
John looked up from the photos with a smile and a non-committal shrug, giving nothing away.
"I have no desire to have my feet freeze, Colonel," she said before making a small pause, "or any other body part for that matter."
"I'm sure that we can find some way to keep your feet warm, 'Lizabeth," John teased. "Or any other body part," he added with a playful grin as he walked over to where she stood by her bed.
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow as she looked over to him and John laughed lightly in response.
"Your normal shoes should be fine," he assured her. The Colonel turned back to his quiet exploration as Elizabeth continued to pack the small duffle on her bed. He let his fingers trail over the delicate statues and vases he found, occasionally picking one up as he often did when in Elizabeth's office. But he stopped when he found an unframed picture and a delicate dried flower tucked unobtrusively in amongst the Atlantean leader's other person items.
Glancing quickly back in Elizabeth's direction then back to the photo, he picked it and the flower up in a gentle hand. It took John a moment, but he recognized the picture finally as one that Carson had taken at the celebration party shortly after they had all returned to Atlantis. In it, Elizabeth and John were dancing, and as the military commander studied the picture, he couldn't help but be struck by how happy both he and the Atlantean leader appeared to be.
He looked over to Elizabeth again and then turned his attention back to the small red flower in his hand. He twirled the stem thoughtfully between his fingers, thinking about when he had presented the small bloom to Elizabeth. He hadn't known that she had kept it, and the idea that she had, did something to his pulse. Then John heard the zipper of Elizabeth's duffle and he quickly put the flower back down.
"Ready then?" he asked as he turned to his friend.
"Well, ready as I can be, without knowing where we're going," she hinted, but John only smiled and retrieved his things.
"We're off then."
Elizabeth shook her head slightly and walked out of her quarters with him. But when they didn't walk in the direction of either the Gateroom or the Jumper bay, Elizabeth looked curiously to John as he walked next to her. He smiled and lead her to a transport.
"I told you that you wouldn't have to worry about the rain."
"John, you can't be serious, we're going camping in Atlantis?"
"Well, as you said, we shouldn't really go off-world, and it is raining all over on the mainland." He gave her a charming grin. "So, camping in Atlantis," he drawled.
The transport left them looking out into an unfamiliar hallway.
John lead Elizabeth down the corridor and to a closed door. He waved his hand over the blue control crystals and the door opened up onto a large domed room. In the center of the chamber, were two small camping tents and a circle of stones with what looked like wood set for a fire. All around the room, were potted plants of varying sizes, giving the chamber as much of the look of the outdoors as possible.
John grinned and walked over to a crystal panel, waving a hand over it. Above, the domed ceiling glittered with the image of a nighttime sky full of stars.
Elizabeth looked around with a quiet smile. "You did all this?" she asked softly. She looked up. "It's lovely."
"All the fun of the outdoors," he said with a grin, "with none of the bugs or rain."
Elizabeth gave a small laugh and looked around, clearly touched by the gesture.
"And," John said as he walked over to the stone circle, "we even have a campfire." He set down his duffle and his guitar case before lighting the canned heat placed safely within the cleared center of the stones and firewood. "Perfect for campfire stories, and songs," he explained. "Or," he drawled as he reached for something from his bag, "s'mores." He held up a bag of marshmallows, a package of graham crackers, and a couple of chocolate bars.
"And you don't want to know what I had to give Rodney for this stuff." He opened the bag of marshmallows.
"I've never actually had s'mores," Elizabeth confessed as she joined John by the campfire, setting her duffle down next to his.
The Colonel gave her an incredulous look. "You're kidding. How can you have never had s'mores? Next you're going to tell me you never went camping as a kid either."
Elizabeth shrugged lightly.
"You're not kidding." John shook his head slightly. "Well then, I don't feel quite as bad about what I had to do to wrangle this stuff from, McKay. We can't allow this to continue; you never having had a s'more."
John deftly skewered a marshmallow on a stick. "Now," he began. "First, you have to toast the marshmallow to a nice golden brown." He proceeded to demonstrate.
"Then," he continued, "you have to slide the marshmallow off of the stick and onto your graham cracker with the chocolate. That's the tricky part."
Elizabeth smiled as she watched John, amused by the intense look of concentration on his face.
"And ta da, you have your first s'more." He grinned as if he had just completed a culinary masterpiece. "Here," he offered her the treat. "Go on, you'll love it," he assured her when she looked at the s'more somewhat dubiously.
Slowly, she took a small bite and smiled when the warm chocolate melted over her tongue. "It is good." She took another bite and John found himself suddenly fascinated with Elizabeth's mouth and the quick darts of her tongue. Then, impulsively, he reached over to brush at her lip where there was a small bit of melted chocolate. For a moment, his thumb lingered on her lower lip as her eyes caught and held his.
"Chocolate," John explained in a somewhat husky voice as he removed his hand.
"Oh," Elizabeth half spoke, half sighed.
The Colonel shook his head slightly as if trying to clear it, and Elizabeth herself took a few quick deep breathes. She licked her lips, and John watched with wide eyes, almost overwhelmingly moved by the gesture.
He felt the urge to reach over to Elizabeth again and before he could follow through with the persistent impulse, he ducked his eyes away. "Umm, campfire stories next?" John asked, quickly changing the subject.
"I've seen your campfire stories, Colonel…" Elizabeth replied, catching gracefully at the turn in the conversation. "Friday the Thirteenth… or will it be The Princess Bride?" She said with a smile, reminding him of the times that he had entertained the Athosian children.
"Classics," John insisted before suddenly taking on a comically serious pose. "Wuv…twue wuv… is what bwings us toogewether today," he quoted happily.
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow.
"Okay," he laughed. "Okay… no campfire stories."
For a few moments then, they sat in a building silence, slowly returning to an intense awareness of each other until John asked, "If you didn't have s'mores as a kid, or go camping, what did little Lizzie do?"
"For one thing, I wasn't called little Lizzie," Elizabeth replied with a slight grin.
"Oh?" John asked, obviously curious.
"My father liked to take me to museums, art galleries, and libraries," Elizabeth's smile turned fond with remembrance.
"Libraries?" John asked with amusement.
The Atlantean leader turned to look at him. "Yes, libraries," she replied with a soft smile curving her lips. "He liked to share his love of art, history, and language with me. And he was a diplomat, so there was really only so much time that we could spend together. Our trips were his way of showing me how much he loved me, even when he couldn't say it."
John watched Elizabeth, a smile tugging at his lips.
"I still remember when he was working in Paris and took me to the Orangerie Museum. We saw one of Monet's paintings of the water lilies." Elizabeth laughed lightly. "I couldn't have been more than five or six, and the painting was just begging to be touched."
John grinned, imagining a small Elizabeth, boldly reaching for the priceless painting with a small, curious hand.
"He stopped me of course, but after that, my father called me, Lily. And when he started to do that, the rest of my family and close friends did too." She paused, silent for a moment, before saying softly, "But no one has called me Lily since he died. Sometimes I miss it. Sometimes, it feels like Elizabeth is… who I have to be, and Lily is…" she trailed off softly before looking over to John.
"But you," she prompted, deftly turning the attention to her military commander. "While I was busy visiting art museums as a child," she grinned, "you were learning how to camp and make s'mores?" She looked over to the waiting guitar case a moment, before looking back to John, "And to play?"
John gave her a boyish grin.
"You did mention campfire songs," Elizabeth reminded him.
"I did," he agreed.
She settled back, waiting patiently. Eventually, John gave her one of his customary grins and reached for the guitar case. Almost reverently, he opened it and took out his instrument. Settling it carefully in his lap, he placed his fingers to the frets.
"My brother was pretty good, and he's the one that taught me," John offered a bit of his own history. "But keep in mind, I'm no Johnny Cash," he warned her with a lop-sided smile.
"Duly noted, Colonel," Elizabeth responded lightly.
Slowly, John began to play. At first there was no real melody, just soft chords and notes as he let his fingers wander, as if seeking out the song. But as Elizabeth listened, the random harmonies started to form themselves into a quiet, simple tune. And she watched John's fingers, finding herself almost mesmerized by their previously unnoticed grace. It was unexpectedly moving, to watch his hands coax the sweetly romantic melody from his guitar. And unbidden, the thought of what else he might do with those hands brought a deep, warm feeling to the flutter in her stomach and suffused her limbs with a languid sort of heat.
Then he began to sing, and Elizabeth's eyes moved almost instinctively to John's lips.
"Like red on a rose," he sang softly, his voice deep, almost caressing the notes. "When your lips first smiled at me."
Elizabeth couldn't seem to take her eyes off of John's mouth. His wasn't a perfect voice, but what little John lacked in such perfection, he more than made up for in tenderness and truth.
"I fell so easily, wishing you were my own," the words tumbled from his lips with a soft country melody. "Like green in the sea, when your eyes looked at me."
Elizabeth's ocean green eyes flew upwards to meet John's. He returned her look without any hesitation. "And touched something deep inside. Then let the truth be known… That I love you, like only the springtime loves the rain. And I love you, 'cause I know that I can't do anything wrong. You're where I belong, like red on a rose."
Elizabeth finally ducked her eyes away from John, overwhelmed by the clear and honest emotion in his eyes. She watched hishands instead as they deftly played along the strings, finding the notes with unerring grace.
"And I love you, like only the springtime loves the rain. And I love you, like a wanderer finding his way home. And I love you, 'cause I know you give me a heart of my own."
John's voice dropped low and very intimate, drawing Elizabeth's eyes back up to his own "You make my blood flow… like red on a rose… like red on a rose."
"John?" Elizabeth asked softly with an almost uncertain and uncharacteristically hesitant note to her voice.
John's fingers stilled on the strings of his guitar and he set it aside. "Elizabeth," he said quietly. "Elizabeth, I think I need to kiss you now." He waited a moment, then reached for her, cradling her face gently in his hands. "I need to kiss you," he breathed along her skin.
And then, he did.
For a moment, there was nothing but stillness, and then, in an instant, everything was happening at once. John was pulling Elizabeth to him. She was reaching to tangle her fingers in his hair. His heart was thundering in his chest, and her pulse was racing to match itself to his. They were suddenly each breathing the other in, near desperate to express everything all at once.
It wasn't enough.
It was too much.
"John," Elizabeth gasped finally. "John…"
She pushed gently against him, her palms flat on his chest. And John pulled back, looking at her with passion dazed eyes.
"Elizabeth," he responded breathlessly, holding her now dark green gaze with his own. "Elizabeth, are you… why are you…"
"No," John said suddenly. "No," John reached for her as Elizabeth started to pull away, holding her gently, but firmly in place. "You want this as much as I do."
"It doesn't matter what I want, John."
"The hell it doesn't," he said fiercely. "Because you have to know that this doesn't just come around everyday."
"This?" Elizabeth asked, her voice a tumult of hope and trepidation.
"This," John said before slowly pulling her to him and cradling her face in his hands. "This," he murmured again, resting his forehead against hers. "And don't tell me that it doesn't matter. Don't tell me that you don't need it, want it, every bit as much as I do, because even you can't convince me of that."
For a moment they remained like that, and then John whispered, almost too softly for Elizabeth to hear, "I love you." He held onto her in silence, nearly trembling.
"Love, true love, is what brings us together, today," Elizabeth quoted finally in a quiet, giddy voice.
For a moment, there was silence again. Then suddenly, John laughed in an almost overwhelming release of emotion. When it finally passed, the Colonel pulled Elizabeth into a tight embrace, whispering into her hair, "Yes…oh, yes…"
The Atlantean leader gave a brief, giddy laugh before saying in a serious gasp, "Oh God, this is going to be so unbelievably complicated."
John pulled back slightly so that he could look into her eyes. "Not in the things that really matter."
"Not in the things that really matter," she agreed, kissing him.
"This is the best camping trip ever," John said with a cocky grin when they finally took a moment to breathe.
Elizabeth sighed and shook her head fondly, before giving into the impulse to laugh lightly, "John…"
He gave her a questioning look.
"Shut up and kiss me."
"As you wish…"