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!
Author's Note (fyd818): Ice cream, I think, is a comfort food no matter what galaxy you're in. This YotS fic is very near and dear to my heart, so I very much hope you all enjoy it! Thank you for reading! And I want to shout out a huge thank-you to my best friend Dia.Dahling for the inspiration for this fic! Thanks, sis!! -hugs-
Home. The word had an entirely new meaning to me, now, than it had three years ago. Three years ago, home was Earth – here. Now home is Atlantis, light years, galaxies, away. I longed for home, in a way I hadn't thought possible until now.
Earth had a lot to offer, as the Pegasus galaxy natives walking ahead of me were finding out. For their first few days on Earth, Teyla looked clearly uncomfortable with the hustle, bustle, and general chaos of the cities. Ronon always kept one hand close to the leather wristband on his opposite wrist, and I wondered what form of weaponry he had hidden there. But now they both looked a little more relaxed in their surroundings – Ronon was even relaxed enough to move his arm (the one with the wristband) casually around Teyla's shoulders.
"What'cha thinking?" My companion (who seemed to be conspiring against me), John Sheppard, inquired innocently.
"It all seems so different, now," I mused quietly. I wasn't sure why I was sharing my innermost thoughts with him – perhaps it was because he could see through me, anyway, so what's the point in hiding? "Three years ago, this was normal. This was home. Now – this doesn't feel like home. This feels too busy. Too chaotic. Too – primitive." I wasn't sure if that was the word I wanted to use, but it seemed right. Particularly since the level of technology on Earth and the level of technology on Atlantis had a mind-boggling gap in their advancements.
John was quiet for a while. I wondered if I'd scared him. I knew he'd stopped thinking of Earth as home before he even left it. Home for him had been a research base in Antarctica for far too long. And that bone-chilling, remote block of ice was certainly not the best Earth had to offer. "Come with me." He took my hand as he picked up his pace. As we passed Ronon and Teyla, John yanked the Satedan's sleeve and motioned him with a head jerk. Then he walked a little faster, captured Dr. Rodney McKay by the shoulder, and forcibly guided him toward a small, cozy-looking shop I hadn't noticed where it was tucked in among the others along this particular strip mall – our fourth or fifth today.
I smiled up at the oddly comforting neon sign above me as John opened the door, propelled Rodney inside, then motioned for me to precede him. As I stepped inside, the smells of chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and any other nameable flavor – and more! – tantalized my nose. "Ye Old Ice Cream Shoppe" indeed, I laughed inwardly. John Sheppard, you never cease to amaze me.
A smiling girl with curly blonde hair and wide blue eyes served us. I briefly thought of my SGC acquaintance (who had currently and briefly taken over Atlantis with her infatuated husband, while John dragged me on this "relaxing" vacation) Samantha Carter. This had to be what she'd looked like as teenager. This young girl's bubbly personality, and how happy she seemed to be to get our orders for us, made me miss Atlantis all the more. Strange, this feeling. Depressing, too. But I was determined to keep a brave face for John, and the others. I didn't want to ruin their vacations, after all.
I was slightly surprised when I saw how the seating arrangements had shaken out. Rodney picked a table to himself in the corner. He spooned one bite of vanilla ice cream at a time, at regular intervals, as he furiously scribbled in a notebook I hadn't seen him carrying. In the opposite corner sat Ronon and Teyla, who seemed more absorbed in each other than their ice cream, or people-watching (a natural thing to assume they'd do, considering the novelty of the new things Earth had to offer hadn't worn off yet). It made me smile to watch them.
"Your ice cream's melting, 'Lizabeth." John brought me back to the present as he nudged my cup of Oreo chunk ice cream toward me until it bumped my arm. "You better eat it before it turns to mush."
I swallowed hard when I saw the look in his eyes: that soulful puppy expression, where he ducked his chin and looked at me from beneath his lashes. I think I might turn to mush before the ice cream, I thought. Then I felt ashamed of myself. I hadn't allowed myself to be close to anyone since – Simon. I didn't want to be close to anyone. But John – he had this way of drawing me in. I was fascinated by him. And, deep down, I wanted to be close to him.
That frightened me.
John tipped his head to the side. "Hey, what's wrong?"
I avoided his gaze and pushed my spoon into my ice cream. Fattening stuff, loaded with calories, I grumbled inwardly. I was surprised when I saw a tear drip from my jaw into my cup. Now where did that come from?
John reached out to tip my chin up. "Hey, it's not that bad, is it?" he asked. "You could use a little meat on your bones, anyway." He smiled.
My brain told me I should have been insulted at that insinuation, but my heart chuckled – felt warmed by the simple fact he cared. I sniffed and managed a smile. "It's full of calories." I scooped up a spoonful and ate it anyway. "Good calories – to taste, anyway." I ate some more, just to have something to do. Maybe if I concentrated on my food, I wouldn't cry more. How embarrassing, my crying in front of my military commander.
John propped his elbows on the table and leaned closer. "I'm sorry," he apologized suddenly. "I – shouldn't have brought you here." He glanced away, then back. "I – just thought you might like a vacation. You work so hard. You always look so stressed. I know you love your job, but – everyone needs a break."
Once more I felt touched. How could I not have seen before how much he seemed to care for me? Now all those little things he was always doing for me – bringing me coffee, meals when I forgot, making me go to bed before it got too late – made sense. "It was nice to see my mother," I admitted quietly. "And – this trip hasn't been all bad." I plucked at my shirt, then giggled when John grimaced. Apparently he remembered trailing after me through all those stores, sharing horrified looks with Ronon as Teyla and I constantly asked their opinions on this or that. That had definitely been a good day, an upside. I was just being too critical. Too homesick.
Was it wrong of me to want to return to the place that brought me and John together?
"No, it hasn't." John studied me with intense eyes I knew could see right through me. "Atlantis is home," he said softly. "Even though, sometimes, we have to pretend Earth is, this is just a really nice place to visit once in a while. You and I, we're similar in some ways. There's not a whole lot of people we're close to, here on Earth." He looked down, drawing patterns in the remnants of his ice cream with the tip of his spoon. "I never really had a home, until Atlantis. I never even really had anyone – until – you." He darted a look up at me, then back down to his ice cream. I saw red begin to color the tips of his elfin ears.
Tears swam in my eyes again. I forced them back. How impossible could it be, really, for him to voice the same things I was thinking? I'd never said anything to him, never even really understood my feelings until just a few moments ago. And yet. . .
"Thank you, John." I reached out, taking his hand as I smiled. This time the motion required no effort.
He smiled, seeming to understand I meant more than the trip. More than the ice cream. "You're welcome, 'Lizabeth." He shifted so his fingers twined with mine.
There we were, in the middle of a busy ice cream shop in the middle of Colorado Springs, in the middle of Earth, declaring our love to each other – if not in so many words.
We were both anxious to get back to Atlantis – but we could still enjoy our time on Earth, now. Simply because we had each other.