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 have been in an unaccountably angsty mood lately. Which makes it curious that I was able to write such a halfway-fluffy fic. LOL I hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading!



When a butt-kicking by one Ronon Dex is an everyday occurrence, you know there's something wrong with your life.

Or his. Or – most importantly of all – his eight-months-pregnant wife, who is usually the one to give him a daily butt-kicking.

I slinked through the halls in the hope no one would see me. I couldn't resist thinking I had to looked like a whupped puppy. All I wanted was a shower and then bed. And after that – six hours of wonderful sleep until it was mission time tomorrow.

I looked at my watch, winced, and mentally corrected. Today. Five hours of sleep then, because it would take me at least an hour to shower and relax enough to fall asleep.

"Colonel Sheppard!"

I couldn't believe my absolutely rotten luck. I managed a halfway convincing smile and turned to face Major Lorne.

He stopped and stared openly at my face – oh, of course, I am getting a black eye out of this! – then visibly shook himself and pressed on with what he wanted. "Sir, I was just wondering if you'd had a chance to look over the e-mail I sent you. . .?" My blank look must have answered his question, for his smile dimmed and he gently reminded me. "The one of the new off-world procedures?"

It seemed like I vaguely remembered it. "Oh! That e-mail. Yes. I looked at it earlier. I'm sorry. I've been thinking about it, but I haven't had a chance to discuss the subject with Dr. Weir yet."

That earned me another very strange look, but he didn't say anything and I didn't acknowledge the fleeting glance. "Was there anything else you needed, Major?"

"No, sir. Good night, sir." He started to salute, paused. At last he settled for a weak smile and a duck of his head. Then he hurried around me and beat it out of sight around the corner at a pace just barely describable as unhurried.

I dragged my hands down my face and winced when I encountered my sore eye. Oy. I sneaked all the way to my quarters, checking all the halls before I walked down them. I felt absolutely absurd – and surely, if anyone encountered me, they'd think I was alien-possessed or something. But, at the moment, I wanted nothing more than hot water to soothe my many aches and pains, then a soft bed that would welcome me with comfort and good dreams.

The first thing that struck me as odd when I entered my quarters was the lights were on. Typically this wouldn't concern me – but it was almost one in the morning. The next thing that registered was the crib at the end of the bed, carefully hand-crafted by the Athosians as a gift to Atlantis's leaders, was empty.

Panic slammed through me, and for a horrible moment I mentally pictured an enemy in the city, stalking the halls with the barely two-month-old Bettina in his arms. My hand was already halfway to my radio headset when I saw them.

Elizabeth lay in the bed, half propped up by pillows nested behind her. One limp hand held a book with her index finger holding a place barely a third of the way into it. The other arm cradled our daughter, who cuddled against her mother's chest. One small hand fisted into the fabric of my wife's nightgown, and the other nearly covered her small pink mouth, into which her teeny index finger disappeared.

Everything inside me melted. My panic instantly ceased, replaced by an overwhelming sense of joyful contentment.

I quietly walked across the room and carefully sat on the bed next to Elizabeth, then brushed my hand across Bettina's curly chocolate-brown hair. She stirred, made a soft cooing sound in her throat, and opened her shockingly green eyes to look at me. She pulled her finger out of her mouth to giggle and smile a toothless baby grin. Her little hands reached out for me.

It felt nice, being wanted by this small life Elizabeth and I had brought into this big, scary, dangerous world. I gently extracted Bettina from Elizabeth's grasp and stood, cradling the tiny, warm body in my arms as I carried her to the balcony overlooking the city. The night was humid, with a warm but gentle breeze from the south. I held my daughter and gazed over the beautiful golden splendor of Atlantis, and the reflection of her lights in the water far below.

Bettina followed my gaze, her solemn eyes taking in everything with a keen intelligence that sometimes scared me. Once more her finger disappeared into her mouth, and she turned her gaze on me, studying me with the same interest she'd given the city. I looked back into that small, angelic face, wondering what I'd ever done right to deserve the Elizabeth asleep in the room behind me, and the little Elizabeth in my arms.

Gentle hands squeezed my shoulders, then wrapped around me as Elizabeth's head rested against the middle of my back. "Welcome home, John."

Those words warmed me so. For so long I'd never had a home, nowhere to belong, to feel welcome and loved and wanted. But Atlantis – Elizabeth, and Bettina. . . They were home.

I shifted Bettina and freed one arm to wrap around Elizabeth. I kissed our daughter's forehead, then my wife's lips. "I love you," I said, to both at once.

Bettina giggled and cooed again, cheeks kissed pink as she grinned happily. Elizabeth stood on her tiptoes and kissed me back, and whispered those three small but oh so meaningful words back to me.

We stood like that for a while on the balcony, a small family enjoying time together in a world where business demanded almost our every waking moment. Eventually Bettina fell asleep again, and I handed her to Elizabeth. "Here," I whispered. I leaned down to kiss Elizabeth again, but she playfully avoided me and wrinkled her nose. "You need a shower," she scolded.

I sheepishly remembered my earlier intentions. "Sorry. I forgot." I managed to steal a kiss, which Elizabeth returned with interest despite my cologne of eu de sweat, and went to shower.

When I joined Elizabeth in bed a little later, with Bettina sleeping peacefully in the cradle, I realized now I would have only four hours of sleep. But that was okay – I wouldn't give up the time with my family for any amount of sleep.

I fell asleep to the lullaby of Elizabeth and Bettina's soft breathing, my heart at last at home.

-The End-