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 the 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 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!

Note from Author (fyd818): I think this is very random, but it was a lot of fun to write – I hope it's a lot of fun to read, as well! It takes place sometime in season 2, somewhere between "Trinity" and "Instinct," I'm thinking. I hope you enjoy this installment of Year of the Spark – and thank you for reading!

-John Sheppard's Universal Law on Women Shopping-


I was stupefied.

From the moment I met her, I had understood Elizabeth Weir to be a calm, rational, level-headed woman. She was in charge of the situation and her emotions. She had nerves of steel and was not easily shaken or excited. She was a diplomat: cool and composed.

What I had forgotten in my awe of her professionalism was the fact that she was also a woman.

That had, I admit, been a fatal error on my part.

"John, look at this!"

I hid a cringe and swallowed hard before turning to face Elizabeth. She was holding a silken scarf up, shifting it so the bright red threads woven through its design caught the light and shimmered. "What do you think?" she asked me, holding it up to her hair.

I examined the effect of the vivid ruby against her dark chocolate hair and nodded with exaggerated patience. "Sure. Looks great."

Her eyes narrowed, but she turned back to the vendor and motioned that she'd trade for it.

While she was distracted, I looked wildly about the marketplace for an escape. When Elizabeth had begged me to take her on a shopping trip, I had been expecting some sort of trading excursion for food, or medicine, or something other than every man's worst nightmare: feminine apparel.

No wonder Teyla had looked so excited when I'd asked her if there were any good market worlds in the Pegasus galaxy.

Elizabeth turned and linked her arm through mine, the newly-purchased red patterned scarf wrapped loosely about her neck. "I want to see if I can find a blouse to match," she said, dragging me off toward the next vendor's cart. "It's only a few weeks until Christmas, and even though we've reestablished a link with Earth, I don't think dressy clothes are included in the 'necessary items' requisition lists."

I stifled a groan.

Over the clamor of what seemed to be thousands of other shoppers, I heard one familiar voice. I turned my head to see Rodney McKay standing at a cart three down and one over, balancing in his left hand some interesting-looking piece of technology that – to me – looked broken. He was holding the vaguely-cylindrical thing in one hand while looking longingly at the power bar in his right hand. Obviously, he was trying to decide if a trade was worth it.

"Go for it, Rodney!" I called. He looked up to glare at me. I smiled innocently and allowed Elizabeth to continue to drag me out of McKay's sight.

My shoulder nearly snapped out of socket when Elizabeth abruptly stopped, gasping. Immediately expecting a threat, my hand went to the weapon in the holster at my hip.

"John, look!" She let go of my elbow and pounced on a peasant-style blouse made from some creamy fabric, with piping along the neck and sleeves that matched the red threads in the scarf. "Isn't this perfect?"

Realizing there was no threat – to her, at least – around, I edged out of the crowd to stand next to her. "Um – you're asking me for advice on women's clothes? Why not Teyla?"

Elizabeth gave me a tolerantly amused look and turned to point. I twisted in that direction and first spotted the very tall dreadlocked form of Ronon Dex, who towered by at least a head over every other person in the crowd. Then I adjusted my gaze down and saw Teyla Emmagan holding a long gauze-and-silk green dress against her front while she looked up at Ronon with big brown eyes as if to ask his opinion.

"Because she's previously occupied," Elizabeth said smugly, turning back to me. "Now then, what do you think?"

I exchanged a panicked Save me NOW! look with Ronon and turned back to Elizabeth and her blouse. "I think it's fine," I said, willing to say I'd wear it myself it would get us out of this entire shopping torture chamber. "Why don't you try to find the matching skirt, jewelry, and shoes?"

I should have kept my mouth shut. Elizabeth brightened as if I'd offered to serve her every whim for a week.

Oh no. Opening my big mouth to the Wraith: great idea. Saves us every time. Opening my big mouth to a shopping-crazed Elizabeth Weir: terrible idea! It just gets me even deeper in trouble.

Elizabeth quickly traded for the blouse and folded it over her arm before grabbing my elbow again and dragging me back into the fray. I followed with reluctant steps, wondering if I could get Ronon to shoot me now and get it over with. As we passed, I noticed him fingering his blaster and wondered if I'd even get a chance to ask.

The bazaar was packed from one end to the other, and side-to-side, but Elizabeth didn't seem to be having any trouble working her way through the crush. At least she seemed to know exactly where she was going. . .

A flurry of items flashed past for my inspection. I learned that comments were not a good thing, so I just nodded "yes" about everything – except for one hideous skirt that was done in loud neon shades of pink, purple, and green. I couldn't nod in favor of that one for fear of puking.

Elizabeth had originally given me the blouse to hold as she bartered for other items, promising she'd take it back in a minute. However, she kept piling my arms higher with things as she traded for more. I felt like a walking closet standing there, overflowing with skirts and blouses and shoes and jewelry. I knew I looked ridiculous.

I was just glad I'd made sure no one had brought a camera. If pictures and/or video of this ever found its way to the majority of the city, the culprit would die a very slow, very painful death.

The sun was beginning to sink below the horizon when Elizabeth finally agreed to return to the Gate. I followed, my steps dragging as I carried her purchases for her all the way back. Rodney was waiting for us by the DHD, his portable tool kit out. Obviously he had decided the trade was worth it, for he was working on the broken cylindrical thing I'd seen him with earlier.

I was just considering putting Elizabeth's purchases down and then collapsing face-first onto the ground to die when Ronon and Teyla joined us. Teyla was sorting through the items Ronon was holding, wondering aloud if she should go back for the belt she'd found to match the tasseled skirt and accompanying bangles—

Ronon and I both gave her an emphatic "NO!"

Teyla and Elizabeth swapped understanding grins as Rodney rolled his eyes at the lot of us and started dialing the Gate. He'd been very, very fortunate Katie had been preoccupied with her plants and decided not to come on the trip, otherwise he'd be a pack horse, too.

As I followed the rest of my teammates and Elizabeth toward the now-activated Gate, I looked down at the pile of stuff in my arms and once more wondered how I could ever have let slip past me the fact that Elizabeth Weir, despite all her cool confidence and poise, was a woman. And, inevitably, all women became high-energy cash dispensers at anything even slightly resembling malls (even if said malls were in a different galaxy and were filled with sometimes unrecognizable – and scary – things). And this I had not expected from either Elizabeth or Teyla – the two most in-control women I knew!

Atlantis's familiar walls greeted me upon exit of the Stargate, and I was sorely tempted to drop to my knees and kiss the cool floor. Home! I exulted. Home, and so close to finally being rid of this pile of – women's stuff.

If Elizabeth ever wanted to go shopping again, I'd make sure to rope someone else into it. Rodney, maybe, or even Zelenka or Lorne. I would certainly never belittle myself to the task of pack-horse/advice-giver again.

Rodney immediately headed off in the direction of his lab, already intent on showing Zelenka up with his newest toy. I shot a longing Take me with you! glance after him, but determinedly stuck to my duty. I followed Elizabeth out of the Gateroom and down the halls of the city, desperately trying to hide behind the armful of stuff I held. If anyone saw the military-macho Lt. Col. John Sheppard strolling down the halls with his arms full of women's apparel and accessories, I'd die. Or go out and willingly hand myself to the Wraith. Or the Genii. Or some other enemy species that would hopefully grant me a quick and merciful death.

Fortunately the halls were all but deserted – the hour was quite late, so the only people on duty were in the control room (and the labs). I made a mental note to catch up with Ronon so we could threaten the skeleton crew to silence. After all, I was sure my teammate wouldn't want his reputation ruined by the inevitable rumors of his hauling around women's stuff, too.

Elizabeth directed me to put all her purchases on the bed. I accepted her thanks, nodding twice emphatically, then beat a hasty retreat to the heavenly solitude and privacy of my quarters.

I paused only long enough to kick off my boots and toss my tac vest into the corner before falling face-first onto my bed. Sinking into the welcoming mattress, I closed my eyes and drifted toward sleep, hoping that when I woke the next morning this whole day would turn out to have been some nightmare.

I was hovering in that blissful, dreamy realm between awareness and sleep when the door chime rang. I groaned, threatening ten kinds of painful death to whoever was on the other side as I dragged myself from comfort across the floor to open the door.

I paused, shocked, when I saw Elizabeth standing on the other side. She still was wearing the scarf that started it all around her neck, and she'd changed into the matching outfit she'd shopped for. The cream in the blouse brought everything together, and the color accentuated the tan she'd acquired over the course of the day. Her green eyes sparkled with excitement, and her cheeks were becomingly flushed.

I paused, mouth hanging open in surprise, and groped for something to say. Well don't just stand there like an idiot, Shep, invite the pretty lady in. I managed to get my mouth closed, though I had to swallow twice before I could speak. "Um – come in?"

Elizabeth's smile widened as she stepped past me and into the room, waiting until the door shut behind her before she spun to face me. "I wanted to thank you for taking me shopping," she said. "I haven't had so much fun in what feels like forever. And – shopping in the Pegasus galaxy just makes it seem that much more of an adventure, you know?"

I didn't, but I nodded in agreement as though I understood. "You – look nice," I complimented, wondering if I looked as much of a dope as I sounded. A quick glimpse of myself in the mirror quickly made me reach up to run a hand through my hair – it looked even more like a bed-head than normal.

Elizabeth didn't seem to notice. She just stepped forward and brushed my cheek with a kiss. "Thank you, John."

I swallowed back the butterflies suddenly fighting for escape from my throat. "Uh – you're welcome. It was fun."

I was surprised to realize that I actually had had some fun with her. I doubted it was the shopping – it was probably the company.

She smiled again and raised herself on tiptoes, this time to brush my lips with a kiss. "Thanks again, John. Good night."

Then she was gone.

I stood frozen in the middle of my bedroom, staring wide-eyed at my reflection in the mirror. A goofy grin was plastered on my lips, and now even the really messy hair didn't matter.

Elizabeth kissed me! I fell backwards, glad my bed was there to catch me. Maybe I should take her shopping more often?

I chuckled a little as I thought about the report I would write to General O'Neill about this mission.

Today I followed the footsteps of the greats like Isaac Newton and Einstein. I have discovered a new universal law, which I have decided to name John Sheppard's Universal Law on Women Shopping. I'm going to be discussing the matter with McKay, including how to get it in all the scientific textbooks.

I'm not quite sure what to compare women shopping to, exactly. But I can say this: women shopping is more tiring than fighting the Wraith and more satisfying than beating a whole Hive full of the creatures. Because, in the end, we (as in men) are rewarded with happy, easy-to-get-along-with women, and a very nice kiss.

Yes, sir, I am quite ready to go to the place with cramped white padded rooms, straight jackets, and nice doctors who tell me I'm crazy. In hindsight, perhaps the funny farm is the best place for one slightly-love-crazed Air Force Colonel who suddenly and inexplicably now enjoys shopping.

On the other hand, I mused with another smile, maybe I'd just drop this particular report.

. . .And go shopping with Elizabeth again, of course.

-The End-