We, the Sparky Army, decree 2008 to be the Year of the Spark. We pledge to post a new sparky story or chapter of a sparky story every day from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008. Though the Powers that Be have removed Elizabeth Weir from the regular cast of Stargate Atlantis, we feel that she remains an integral part of the show, and that the relationship between her and John Sheppard is too obvious to be ignored. We hope that you, and anyone who might happen to read these works, agree.
And if that isn't official enough for you, we don't know what is. Seriously, guys, we're just trying to have some fun--and show TPTB that Sparky is the way to go. So sit back and enjoy the 366 stories coming your way!
And if that isn't official enough for you, we don't know what is. Seriously, guys, we're just trying to have some fun--and show TPTB that Sparky is the way to go. So sit back and enjoy the 366 stories coming your way!
Note from author (SenseOfTime): Just an idea that came to me, focusing on how protective of Elizabeth John really is. Quite a subtle approach to their relationship, but I hope you like it anyway!
John walked across the bridge to Elizabeth's office. She was frantically straightening out some papers on her desk and moving her numerous ornaments to different positions.
"Elizabeth?" John asked slowly; he had never seen her quite so restless and nervous before a visit from the SGC. Admittedly, they had been told that a very well respected and highly renowned diplomat would be a guest and while John was convinced the Elizabeth was the best diplomat that Earth, and any other planet in the universe, had to offer she evidently wasn't so sure and had been telling him all week that she hoped whoever it was liked Atlantis. John had half laughed it off, but seeing her nervously sorting out her office and glancing at her watch made him feel guilty about his previous light heartedness.
"John. Sorry, I've only got a few more minutes before they arrive. General Landry assures me they'll be on schedule."
"Don't you think you're being a little, I don't know…" Elizabeth looked up at him, stress written all over her face. "I just think you should relax a bit; it's just one visitor."
"A visitor who is one of the world's most respected diplomats."
"Elizabeth," John said taking the papers out of her hand and laying them on the table, "you're one of the world's most respected diplomats; you'll practically be with family." Elizabeth looked at him and pressed a hand to her forehead.
"I just want everything to go well."
"And it will, as long as you're you usual self," he said with a grin. She gave him a sideways smile and sighed.
"Okay, I'll be down in a minute."
"How about now," he said, nodding his head towards the door. She narrowed her eyes at him, but walked out of the office and headed down the steps. John followed, a smile on his face; she'd be fine.
Once they were down in the gateroom Elizabeth started wringing her hands; she was normally very good at hiding her nervousness, but that was one action that always gave her true feelings away.
"Relax," he whispered as he stood with his arms folded across his chest, waiting patiently for the wormhole to engage. Elizabeth nodded to him and clasped her hands in front of herself, before taking a deep breath.
It was less than a minute later when the 'gate started dialling and as soon as the SGC's IDC came through she ordered the control room to lower the shield. A few second's later two people stepped through, one of whom John reluctantly recognised as Richard Woolsey, while the other he had never seen before; he was a middle aged man, maybe a few years younger than John, well dressed, with a folder tucked under his arm and a look of amazement on his face as he turned back to look at the stargate.
John glanced at Elizabeth and was confused to see a cool look settling across her face, but a second later she was stepping forward and greeting the two visitors with a nod and a handshake.
"Mr Woolsey; it's lovely to see you again," she began, before turning her attention to the second man, but before she could speak he had taken her hand, shaking it firmly.
"Elizabeth; it's been so many years. I wondered where you'd disappeared to, you can imagine my surprise when they told me you were heading up a base in another galaxy," he smiled.
"Doctor Williams," she nodded in reply and John noted, much to his surprise, that her tone was full of forced politeness. The two guests probably couldn't tell, but John had known Elizabeth for long enough to realise when she was putting up a mask of professionalism, rather than genuine greeting. Automatically his feelings towards this Doctor Williams began to tend towards dislike. "Can I introduce you to my Military Commander," she continued quickly, "Colonel John Sheppard. John, this is Doctor Nathan Williams."
"Pleased to meet you," John said, offering a hand, and a curt nod. Williams, however, was either unconcerned by or unaware of the cool reception John had given him and nodded back with a smile.
"It surprises me no end to see Elizabeth in charge of a military expedition," he said conversationally, "I was a few years above her in university and involvement in military activities was definitely not on her list of things she wanted to do, in fact she was completely against it."
"Atlantis is a civilian expedition," John answered calmly, "but the military presence is a necessity in this galaxy." Despite the fact that the man had said nothing insulting John couldn't shake the feeling that his words had been meant as some sort of dig at Elizabeth. He glanced at her to see that her expression was tightly schooled, but that she definitely wasn't happy; his animosity towards Doctor Williams increased ten fold.
"Still; it isn't a turn of events I would have expected," he smiled, turning to Elizabeth.
"I admit this job has taken me into new challenges and situations," she replied politely, "but I have welcomed the new experiences, even if some have been very difficult."
John frowned; was she defending her job? Since when had Elizabeth felt the need to justify her position on Atlantis?
"Perhaps you would like a short tour of the city?" she continued before John could make any comments.
"If you haven't got anything more important to be getting to I'd be honoured to see more of this place. It's quite incredible."
"Yes it is," Elizabeth nodded, "unfortunately, you'll only be able to see a very small proportion of it in the time you have, but hopefully it will give you an idea of just how much we have discovered here."
"Something that can hopefully be rectified if you decide to take up a permanent position in Atlantis," Mr Woolsey said, smiling at Doctor Williams. John saw Elizabeth's eyes widen slightly and felt his own surprise at the statement. Choices for civilian positions on Atlantis always went through Elizabeth, especially ones that were centred around her areas of expertise, in this case diplomacy.
"I'm afraid I was unaware that any new positions were available," Elizabeth said carefully.
"The IOA were approached by Doctor Williams who kindly offered his services in any projects that we required them. It is only a preliminary thought; we have not yet made a final decision," Woolsey explained, "of course your approval will be sought. Not that we expect you to have any objections to having such a well thought of diplomat in Atlantis."
"I appreciate your deference to my opinion," she said evasively and that, more than anything, convinced John that something was not right between Elizabeth and this Doctor.
She headed towards the corridor that led away from the gateroom and John moved to walk beside her, but before he could Doctor Williams took up that space. John noticed Elizabeth tense as she realised who was next to her, but she caught herself and relaxed.
John reluctantly took up a position next to Richard Woolsey and followed Elizabeth, making no attempt to talk to the smaller man and, after a few feeble attempts at conversation, Woolsey seemed to realise that he was not going to get any meaningful responses from the Colonel and fell silent.
John edged closer to Elizabeth and Doctor Williams, trying to hear exactly what was being said. He felt stupid for his sudden need to protect Elizabeth, she was strong and intelligent and had held her own against dozens of nation and world leaders, much more hardened and dangerous than this new guest, but still, something within him wanted to stay close, wanted to make sure that he was there should she need him.
He couldn't hear all of what was said, but he became very aware of the fact that Doctor Williams never once referred to Elizabeth by her title; it seemed to him to show a lack of respect on Williams' part and John suddenly realised that the comments the man had made on his arrival had all been an attempt to embarrass and belittle Elizabeth.
He clenched his fists at the revelation and strained to hear what was being said.
"It's lovely to see you so comfortable once again Elizabeth," Williams said in a silky tone. "After that disastrous treaty in 2001 I was convinced that you'd resign. How long was it that you were off for again?" he asked innocently, but John could sense Elizabeth's discomfort; she had never spoken to him about a treaty that had ended badly, and he suspected it wasn't something that she wanted broadcast while she was walking around Atlantis within hearing range of all the personal in the corridors. John suspected that Williams had asked the question in the hope that someone would hear, but it was a group of scientists who walked past, too engrossed in their conversation to notice anyone else.
"I took four months of leave, more to spend time with my family than anything else," she answered sharply.
"Another thing that surprises me," he remarked casually, "I didn't see you as the type of person who would allow herself to be separated from the people she cared about. Do you see your mother very often? I heard that she wasn't too well recently."
"You heard wrong then; she was perfectly well when I spoke to her last week."
"My mistake," he said apologetically, "still I'm sure she misses having you around."
Elizabeth didn't respond to that statement, instead drawing his attention to the mess hall as they passed it and giving him a brief description of arrangements and supplies. He, however, seemed intent on bringing up subjects that were none of his business.
"Do you find it hard being away from her? From Earth?"
"You learn to cope," she answered shortly.
"At least you didn't have a significant other to leave behind and I suppose you have more pressing things to deal with. I hear that your primary enemies are not the most reasonable people."
"I'm surprised you've been given clearance for that information," she replied curtly.
"The IOA have been very accommodating; you must enjoy working for a group of people who are so supportive, although I hear you've had a few disputes with them."
"I'm afraid I'm not in a position to disclose anything concerning my relationship with the IOA."
"Of course; I understand, my apologies for bringing it up, I didn't realise it was a difficult subject for you."
John clenched his fists at his side as he watched Elizabeth becoming more and more strained as the conversation went on, her posture was full of tension and he saw her reach a hand up to her forehead, something that he had only really seen her do when she was particularly stressed about something; he had to put a stop to this somehow.
They continued on until they reached the military training halls and paused so that Williams could see them properly. Woolsey moved forward to stand beside the man and John took up his place at Elizabeth's side.
"So, do you like what you see so far Doctor Williams?" Woolsey asked.
"I'm most impressed; it's a very smooth little operation you've got here Elizabeth." John saw her bristle at the patronising comment, but she plastered a small smile on her face and nodded her thanks. John tried to catch her eye, but she kept her focus on the room ahead, obviously trying to gain some composure.
"Is there anything you'd like to know about the military?" John asked, moving round so that he was between Elizabeth and Williams; she moved aside quickly, relaxing as some distance was put between herself and the other man.
"Certainly. What proportion of the city inhabitants are military?"
"It's about a third at the moment, although that fluctuates from time to time. All of our civilians are trained in basic self defence though; we find that the threats around here make that necessary."
"Elizabeth, I can't believe-"
"At the moment we're considering upping the military presence to around forty percent; we've had a few more skirmishes recently and it doesn't hurt to be prepared," John interrupted smoothly. Much to John's satisfaction Williams seemed taken aback by the interruption and made no attempt to antagonise Elizabeth further just then, instead he asked another question.
"What sort of attacks are you expecting?"
"You haven't got clearance for that information; it's a matter of galactic defence," John told him firmly.
"Of course, I wouldn't want you to give me information that I don't need."
"I won't, don't worry."
"What sort of training programmes do you run?" Williams continued after a short pause.
"It's a program that I've developed with the SGC and their teams, but I can't tell you the set up; if the base was attacked now -and it's always a possibility- you'd be a security risk," John answered calmly. That silenced Williams long enough for John to give him a very basic description of the military force before they all moved on to the living quarters. John managed to retain his position at Elizabeth's side leaving Woolsey and Williams to follow behind, but while Elizabeth seemed to have regained some of the strength that he always saw in her it was not long before Williams was making underhanded comments that got to her, regardless of how valiantly she attempted to ignore them.
"I'm surprised you're quarters aren't closer to your office Elizabeth," he laughed lightly. "I've never known someone who can devote their life so entirely to their work."
"Quarters are randomly assigned to expedition members when they arrive; with the use of the transporters you're never any further from one place than another," she replied quickly.
"So your quarters are close to your office," he laughed to himself, "I suspected as much, I suppose you can't really separate any part of your life from your job on a base like this."
"It is a lot of work."
"I imagine it must get very lonely, being in charge," he continued, "being the boss often makes your social life somewhat difficult."
"Atlantis is much more like a family community," John replied before Elizabeth could speak.
"Does that make you the den mother?" he asked, addressing Elizabeth, "If someone had told me that three years ago I'd have laughed at them." John bristled at the comment; Elizabeth shouldn't have to listen to that, and there was no way John was going to let this continue.
"Doctor Weir," he said turning to her, making sure that he emphasised the use of her title to show the respect that she was due, but before he could continue Elizabeth's headset buzzed.
"Go ahead," she said turning away slightly. "I'm afraid I'm urgently needed elsewhere; our leading scientist says he has made an important discovery," she explained after a minute.
"Would you mind if I accompanied you?" Woolsey asked. "The IOA are due an update on scientific research and a first hand account would be helpful."
"Of course," Elizabeth nodded after a short silence.
"I'd be interested in seeing some of your scientists myself," Williams added.
"Sorry. You don't have clearance," John shrugged apologetically, "but I'd be more than happy to continue the tour, if that's alright with you Doctor Weir?" he asked turning to Elizabeth. She looked at him warily for a couple of seconds, but eventually nodded. As she turned away and headed down the corridor he saw her relax and his anger at Williams only increased.
"Shall we?" he asked after a moment, a forced smile on his face.
"Certainly. You know it's wonderful to see Elizabeth after all these years," he said as they began walking. John directed him towards one of the quarters that he knew wasn't in use. "In university there were a number of people who doubted that she would ever-"
"I don't give a damn about what you've got to say," John told him as they entered the room and the door slid shut behind them.
"I beg your pardon?" he asked in surprise.
"I don't know who the hell you think you are, but you need to know one very important thing; Doctor Weir is respected by every single person on this base, and anyone who tries to run her down will have a fight on their hands."
"How dare you insinuate that-"
"I'll insinuate whatever I want after the way you've acted since arriving, you don't have a clue what it's been like for us on Atlantis and you have no idea how hard Doctor Weir has worked. You haven't got the right to belittle her efforts in any way; all it does is show what a scumbag you are."
"I don't know what you're talking about and I have to say I have never been so insulted."
"You know exactly what I'm talking about and if you think you're going to make any friends on Atlantis with an attitude like that you're in for a shock. Until you've been in Doctor Weir's position you can keep your opinions to yourself and if you have nothing better to do than patronise and insult her you can take yourself back to Earth right now."
"Are you threatening me?"
"Believe me, you'd know if I was threatening you," John told him. Williams said nothing and John continued to fix him with a stare until he nodded his head reluctantly.
"Very well, but I'm appalled that as Military Commander you could show such disrespect to-"
"Oh, and speaking of respect; from now on you can address Doctor Weir by her title; she uses yours, the least you could do is show her the same level of courtesy."
"She's an old friend!"
"I've seen Elizabeth greet friends and enemies and you're definitely in the latter category." Williams looked set to argue with that but John took a step towards him and he nodded his head, relenting. "Well I'm glad that's settled," John told him with a bright smile. Williams nodded uncertainly back and headed for the door, following John's lead. "Now, shall we carry on with the tour?"
An hour later John had given Doctor Williams as much of a tour as he had deemed necessary before heading back to the control room. Williams had kept silent throughout the majority of the walk, asking only a few brief questions that John had answered with very short responses. As soon as they got to the office he contacted Elizabeth to ask how long she would be.
A few minutes later she and Woolsey came down the steps into the control room and headed for the office.
"Has Rodney made another break through?" John asked jovially.
"Possibly, although there's a lot of research still to be done."
"Well that'll keep him occupied for a few days and that gives me a break," John continued. Elizabeth nodded, but her gaze swept towards Doctor Williams warily and John could see that his light heartedness was having little effect.
"I trust you enjoyed the tour Doctor Williams?" she asked, her voice stronger than it had been before; she had evidently decided that she was not going to let Williams get to her.
"Yes, thank you, Doctor Weir. Colonel Sheppard has shown me everything of interest." Elizabeth paused momentarily, obviously shocked at the sudden turn around in the Doctor before glancing up at John suspiciously. He shrugged at her, a small smile on his face.
"I'm glad to hear that."
"Maybe we could have a meal before speaking to some personnel later on," Woolsey suggested, stepping forward.
"Actually, Mr Woolsey," Williams said, "I've seen enough for now; I'd like to return to Earth." Again Elizabeth looked up at John sharply and he arranged his face into an expression of innocence. She raised and eyebrow, but said nothing and quickly saw to the arrangements for Woolsey and Williams' departure.
John didn't see them off at the gate, instead choosing to wait in Elizabeth's office. She walked in a few minutes later, her face full of suspicion.
"John, did you say something to him?"
"Nothing that he didn't deserve." He saw Elizabeth's face fall at the statement and a spark came into her eyes; he braced himself for an argument.
"John! He's one of the best known diplomats, his treaties have been incredibly successful; you can't just go and insult him!"
"He's an idiot Elizabeth! Insulting him was the least I could do."
"I know that he was being less than polite," she said, drawing a calming breath, "but ever since I met him, for some reason I can't fathom, he has always been like that to me and it was for me to deal with, not you."
"I saved you a job then didn't I."
"The bottom line is, Elizabeth," John interrupted, "I'm not prepared to listen to someone throw underhanded comments at you at every opportunity he gets, especially when he's being shown around the city that you're running."
"It was nothing that I couldn't handle on my own," she told him with a frustrated sigh; going and sitting down at her desk and pulling out some files.
"Really?" John asked her, perching himself on the corner. "Because I've seen you holding your own against plenty of people in the past, and you definitely weren't doing that with him."
"I was fine."
"No you weren't."
"Even if I wasn't, you didn't need to interfere!" she told him sharply.
"Yes I did," he told her, his tone light.
"Why?" she asked him in frustration. He turned to her, surprised at the emotion in her voice; she was annoyed at him, but there was something deeper, some confusion, or question that he wasn't sure he wanted to answer.
"Because…" he replied evasively, with a shrug.
"Because what?" she asked him, softening her tone slightly. John felt his own annoyance rise up; what was the big deal? He'd thought he'd been helping her out, but for some reason she definitely didn't appreciate his efforts.
"Fine," he told her, standing up. "Next time I won't say anything; you can let him insult you all you want; but I'm not going to stand there and watch." He headed towards the door; there was more that he wanted to say, but his pride wouldn't let him.
"John," Elizabeth called gently, a sigh in her voice. He stopped and turned back. "I'm sorry," she said gently. "Thank you for speaking to him; I was struggling and I appreciate you trying to help."
"Look Elizabeth," he said stepping towards her. She stood up and folded her arms; she looked tired. "I didn't mean to step on your toes; we both know that I'm not the greatest diplomat; that's your job, but mine's to look out for everyone on this base," he glanced down at his feet, "especially you," he added quietly. He looked back up at her; she was staring at him with such gratitude on her face that it stopped him for a few seconds as he absorbed the look and felt something rising in his chest. "So if someone's hurting you, I'm going to stop them," he shrugged.
He stopped there; suddenly worried that he had said too much and feeling embarrassed at the sudden mix of emotions that were surrounding him as he looked at her. They stood gazing at each other for several seconds, and John was at a loss for what to say, but Elizabeth eventually stepped forward and grasped his arm gently.
"Thank you," she nodded. He made to move backwards, but instead found his hand reaching up to grasp hers, squeezing her fingers gently before moving away.
"Anytime," he told her. He had meant to say it in a light tone, but to his surprise he found his voice catching slightly. He shook his head, feeling his cheeks grow hot, but Elizabeth made no comment and headed back to her desk. John watched until she sat down and then headed towards the control room; glancing back once to find her looking up at him. He smiled and gave a half wave before disappearing into the city.