Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate Atlantis or its characters…
Author's note: Final part. Woohoo! (This took me way too long to write, embarrassingly so). Let the sap-fest continue…
Warning: Adult Subject Matter
John hesitated before her door. He had never been so anxious about seeing a girl, woman, before in his life, not even during his awkward teenager stage. He just wasn't sure what to do. It was stupid of him to think it would work, to entertain the possibility that she would even consider him…
But still, he couldn't stop thinking about her. He had to know. It was driving him mad! Even if she was way out of his league, too smart and classy for the likes of someone like him…he just had to know for sure. Maybe then, he could get her out of his head. Because from the moment he woke up with her in his arms, he could think of little else. And from the moment he remembered what had passed between them that night, he could think of nothing else.
Taking a deep, steadying breath, he decided to go through with it. Well, at least partly, he could always bale out if need be…
Elizabeth seemed relatively happy to see him, although also slightly perplexed. Things had grown uneasy between them again, even after their pleasant, unburdened ride from the airport to the base. They would neither ever admit it, but they had basically been avoiding one another since they had settled in aboard the Daedalus.
"What can I do for you?" she asked, inviting him in to the small space that was serving for her living quarters during the trip back to Atlantis. So, that was how it was going to be? Not Hello, John. How are you? But What can I do for you?
It hurt, but John wasn't going to let himself be thrown off by her indifference. He had a good idea that it was intentional, meant to drive him away from precisely what he was thinking about doing.
"I come bearing gifts," he announced in what he hoped was a pleasant but nonchalant tone. It seemed to work, for the features of her face softened.
"Oh, really?" she asked, slightly teasingly, slightly curiously. It was always unexpected, but John had given her uncharacteristically thoughtful gifts in the past. No, that was being harsh. He only seemed like the callous, doesn't-give-a-damn military type at very first glance. She knew him to be quite thoughtful and courteous…when he wanted to be.
"Yup," he conceded with a smile. His stomach was turning into a knot, but with considerable effort he managed to keep his cool exterior. He knew he could play it out a little, give her a chance to soften up, to stop pretending to be the uptight and indifferent expedition leader he knew she wasn't.
"So…" she said after it was apparent John wasn't forking the supposed gifts over. And he had said giftshadn't he? As in more than one? "Are you going to give them to me or are you waiting for me to say 'please'?"
"Knowing that you're this eager to have them is enough," he teased, receiving a playful glare from her. He reached into his jacket pocket to retrieve the first item he had fully intended to give her. It was the other two, he wasn't sure about…
Elizabeth didn't recognize the item until she had held it in her hand for several moments. It was her panties, the ones that had gone missing that night, the ones she couldn't remember what had happened to. But she remembered a little bit more now…
She and John had taken off their shoes to wade in the fountain. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, when they were extremely inebriated. Anyway, there they had been, playing and splashing around like a couple of schoolchildren. Well, not exactly like schoolchildren, for they somehow (she wasn't sure who had initiated it) had started making out. It had gotten rather hot and heavy, but she was pretty certain it didn't go much further than that.
What Elizabeth was definitely certain of was that recalling what it was like to kiss John Sheppard while he was two feet from her was not something she wanted to do.
"Uh…thank you for returning these," she replied, blushing slightly. John could tell her cheeks weren't pink enough to signify that she fully remembered the weight of the gesture he had just made, the reason he had her panties to return to her in the first place.
After a few quiet moments passed in which he didn't move from where he stood, Elizabeth remembered that he had said gifts.
"Is that it?" she asked, trying to read his face and failing. He looked as if he were deep in thought, involved in some sort of internal struggle, not returning lost items to a friend. "Or is there more? You did say gifts…as in more than one?"
"Yes," he confirmed in a voice not quite his usual playful one. It was laden with something else that she couldn't quite put her finger on. "Close your eyes."
Giving him a brief suspicious look, she obliged his request. Even with her eyes closed, she could still feel his presence, the heat of his body, smell him, a mixture of aftershave and sweat. She contemplated how if his scent was any more manly, it would be repulsive. As it was, she found herself drawn to it, and despised herself for feeling such a low, carnal attraction.
Her thoughts were soon interrupted as she felt him step in closer. Her heart automatically quickened the pace, thumping loudly within her chest. When she felt his lips gingerly press against hers, it leapt into her throat with the surprise of it. She hadn't expected him to do such a thing.
And not only that, she hadn't expected it to be this way. It was slow, tentative, like he wasn't sure of himself. And if Elizabeth knew anything about John Sheppard, it was that he never suffered for a lack of confidence. At least not for long, and she would've never thought he'd ever had or would have a deficiency in self-esteem where women were concerned. Maybe he was frustratingly brazen at times, but he knew who he was and where he stood. He never compromised the man he was. And Elizabeth admired that about him.
She thought that if John Sheppard wanted something, he'd pursue it with all he was worth. But here he was, hesitatingly kissing her. It was a gentle, almost fleeting touch, and she found herself enjoying it immensely. It reminded her off all the slow, serenely blissful moments in her life.
She felt like she was a delicate flower being tenderly picked, for the kiss was more than just a display of desire or affection. It was an act of adoration as well. John Sheppard treasured and admired her as much as he wanted to possess her. And if she wanted him to know how much she was enjoying herself, she had better react soon instead of just standing there reveling in his unsolicited affection.
At first, Elizabeth returned the kiss as delicately as he had initiated it, but within seconds it deepened in intensity beyond any embrace she had experienced before. It involved more than just their mouths and lips, tongues. It was a whole body experience and it completely overwhelmed her. John's hands pulled her into him and found places and ways of caressing her she had never known existed. He made every other man who had ever touched her look like a fool, like an inept, fumbling teenager. And by the time he broke off the embrace, she had been utterly consumed by it, forgetting everything in two galaxies save for the man who had just shown her a new level of sensuality.
John stepped back, resisting the temptation to continue what they had begun. It would be easy enough to get what he wanted from Elizabeth after kissing her like that, confusing her and throwing her off balance. But he didn't only want to possess Elizabeth; he wanted to know that she desired him as well. That was his real reason for what he had done, was doing, intended to do.
He took an appreciative moment to watch her as she attempted to compose herself, satisfied that he had been able to mess up her demeanor so thoroughly. Maybe it was cruel, but he took great pleasure in devastating her composure. It probably wouldn't be so much fun if she didn't place so much stock in reasoned control. But maybe there was a basis for her staunch adherence to control and reason. Perhaps, there was a wild side of her buried deep down under all the logic, morality and stability. If indeed there was a more adventurous side to Elizabeth (there had to be, she had led an expedition into the unknown, after all…), that was to which John was attempting to appeal.
There was a connection between them, something real and almost tangible, something he wanted to explore. All he had to do was to make her let go and take the leap…
"I have something else for you," he informed her after a few moments had passed, and her breathing had returned to normal. She still looked overwhelmed and slightly bewildered as she focused on what he said. This was a delicate situation. He had to let her know that it was perfectly fine if she turned him down. But after the way she had returned his kiss, he was fairly certain she wouldn't. "But I want you to know that if it's not something you want…that's fine. I'll never mention or think about it again." He reached in his pocket and she held out her hand inquisitively to receive the item. "But, I just have to know."
Elizabeth was shocked. A condom?! John Sheppard wanted to have sex with her? Well, really, why was she so shocked, especially after that kiss? She met his eyes and quickly looked away. He most definitely wanted her. What had given him the idea? She had never asked for…
It was then that Elizabeth finally wholly remembered what had passed between them the night of the O'Neill's' wedding. They had been drunk, had made out a little, okay a lot, it had been going, well, there. But then she had realized, thank god part of her was still thinking (something, unfortunately, that had more often than not failed her in her college days when she had a little too much to drink), how inebriated they were, how it probably wasn't such a good idea. However, at the same time, she had felt an incredible pull towards him, convincing her that the attraction was real and not just a figment of alcohol-fueled minds and endorphin-stimulated bodies. She had wanted him, but she had also known it was a bad idea in their state. So, in what had seemed like brilliant inspiration she had given him a rain check, her panties, so that if they still felt the attraction when their inhibitions and reservations were fully operational, they could explore it then.
The question she presently faced was Did she want to explore it?
John quietly watched Elizabeth do what Elizabeth did best…contemplate the issue. He smiled as she absently ran her tongue slowly between her lips, closing her eyes. Was she considering how he tasted, felt? Had she enjoyed it? Or had he done something wrong?
Then she was chewing her lip, looking everywhere but at him. When she began to wring her hands and finally, turned her back on him, he knew it was a difficult struggle. How hard could it be for her? What was so severe, so important that she couldn't make a decision? Either she wanted him or she didn't! What other factors could there be that made it so difficult for her?
He just wanted to tell her, Stop over thinking everything! It's a simple question with a simple answer. Do you feel the way I do? But he bit his tongue. He had said his piece. The rest was up to her.
Instead, John found himself silently willing her to just tell the truth, because he was certain she felt the same way, when she finally faced him again.
To hell with it! Elizabeth thought. She had decided to lead the expedition to Atlantis because she had wanted to live, had wanted adventure. And what greater adventure was there than falling in love with a man like John Sheppard?
So, without a word, Elizabeth walked up to John, threw her arms around his neck and pulled him into a kiss with more passion than he had thought her capable.
He had his answer.
A/N: The point of the title of this chapter was to have them wake up together, again, but this convenient ending place popped up while I was writing, so… What happens next is up to your imagination. (the story goes on and on in my head with the standard sappiness, lots of sex and babies, etc.)