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 had this story in my head for a very long time – and I have been working on making up the legend of the Chieftain's Daughter even longer, so this story is very near and dear to my heart. This fic takes place a little after "Return pts. I & II" and "Echoes," so somewhere mid-season 3-ish – but most of the spoilers are for "The Return." I very much hope you enjoy it, and thank you for taking the time to check it out!
The Chieftain's Daughter
The Athosians' Harvest Festival brought unending joy and a flow of drink that never stopped. When John Sheppard had first met the Athosians, he'd honestly thought of them as dry, boring agrarians who didn't know how to party. His mistake had quickly been righted after his first Harvest Festival.
John firmly limited himself to three – or was it four? – cups of the Athosians' very strong beer. When he lost count, he stopped. Despite the fact a party was going on tonight, he'd have to be back at work the next day at his usual top efficiency. The military population of Atlantis depended on him in certain matters, and he needed to be sharp to give them the answers they needed.
The festive music faded into the background as John went to retire in his tent. He, Teyla, Ronon, and Rodney would have to leave early the next morning, and he wanted to be well past his hangover stage when he had to fly the jumper out on their next mission.
As John lay trying to sleep past the noises the wind carried in his direction, he heard others of the Atlantis expedition retiring to their own tents. Once he thought he'd heard Rodney – his drunk singing voice was hard to mistake – but he wasn't sure. Floating halfway between consciousness and sleep made everything seem muddled.
The music eventually died down. John was almost asleep when the sound of voices – one male, one female, both familiar – brought him back to awareness. He didn't mean to eavesdrop – it was just in his nature to do so. Many an important piece of enemy intel had been gleaned through eavesdropping over the years.
"Do you think we should tell them?" That was Ronon.
"No." Teyla sounded certain. "You know as well as I the rules the Atlantians have about their Stargate teams. One or both of us would be reassigned."
"You haven't always been this certain." Tent fabric rustled, then stilled. John thought that was the end of the conversation – that he'd hear, anyway – but the night was still, and voices carried on the light breeze.
"I have not," Teyla admitted. "But I am now. We have been behaving normally. They have not noticed. I do not—" A pause, then a loud sigh that oddly tugged at John's heartstrings. "—I do not trust anyone else to keep you safe."
A short chuckle – Ronon. "Sorry," he immediately apologized. "Would it help if I said I felt the same way?"
Another rustle of fabric. "Perhaps. We can both take care of ourselves. And it seems selfish of me, but I feel I can trust no one to watch your back." Teyla sounded truly ashamed.
There was silence for a moment. Ronon's voice – softer than John had ever heard it – spoke. "We're in a mess, aren't we?"
"Perhaps it would have been simpler if we had not sworn my people to silence. It is hard for us to not tell them – we both vowed not to. But sometimes I wish they knew. . ."
John, holding his breath, suddenly felt a rush of emotion wash over him. How was this possible? There was only one way he could interpret the words coming from the tent close to his.
I can't condemn them, he thought, panicked. They – and Elizabeth and me – oh my.
"Have I ever told you the legend of the Chieftain's daughter?" Ronon again, his voice slightly muffled.
"No." Teyla's voice, soft but stressed, made John listen closer. He knew he shouldn't be eavesdropping – especially not now! – but his curiosity won out over his good sense.
"My mother used to tell the story to me a lot – before she died. Some believe it actually happened – but the general consensus is it's nothing more than a legend."
"What do you believe?" Teyla murmured.
John strained his ears to hear the answer. His teammate had always been enigmatic and closed, never giving away much of anything.
"I'd like to believe it's true," Ronon finally said. "It – well, it gives me hope."
"Tell me?" Teyla's voice, soft and sad, made John feel even worse.
"Many generations ago, Sateda's chieftain had a daughter. His beloved wife died in childbirth, so he cherished this young girl so much past the norm. Anything she wanted, she got. Sateda was happy for a long time, just because their Chieftain and his daughter were." Ronon laughed softly. "Here's where the story starts reminding me of us, a little."
Stop listening! John commanded himself. But he couldn't. It was wrong, but he couldn't.
"The leader of the Satedan army was a young man – barely out of his teens. He showed the most promise of all the young soldiers, and was promoted early. He wasn't very well liked. . . But the Chieftain admired his skills, and promoted him." Another pause. "Well, if you spent any amount of time in the capital, you were bound to meet the Chieftain's daughter. She loved going out among the people, meeting them and making friends. It was on one of these forays the military leader met the young lady."
John gave up on trying to convince himself not to listen. He was getting into the story far too much.
"They both knew a romance couldn't go far – despite the Chieftain's lenience in most ways, he was still quite traditional. This was sure to be something on which he wouldn't compromise. So the Chieftain's daughter and his military commander met in secret. The people were behind them, helping to keep their romance a secret from her father. They didn't want to see the sweethearts punished."
It was quiet for a moment, and John began to wonder if that was the end. It couldn't be, though – John didn't want that to be the end.
"One day the Satedans found out the Wraith were coming soon," Ronon finally continued. "They both knew this would be the end – it had to be. But. . . They didn't want it to be the end. They wanted to be together – officially – before the end. They talked to each other, discussing their options, which weren't many. They considered eloping, but they didn't want to. They finally decided to go to her father."
A breathless hush of anticipation seemed to settle in the air. It was near ridiculous, but John felt like he was there. Like he was watching all this happen, rooting for the Chieftain's daughter and her lover. For them to have the happily-ever-after they deserved so much.
"The Chieftain seemed to be no more than confused when his daughter and military commander came into the room together. They'd done such a good job of hiding their relationship from him, he didn't even suspect anything. Not even when they came to him together, to ask. . ."
Come on, come on, John thought anxiously. They have to get their happy ending!
"When they told him of their relationship, they didn't know what to think, what to expect. Their natural assumption was for him to blow up, to condemn him to death and lock her up in her room forever."
John clenched his hands into fists. He wanted to yell out for Ronon to hurry up and say what had happened!
"The Chieftain didn't react the way they'd thought he would, not at all. He stood from his chair and went to stand by the window. 'You know,' he said, 'if you had come to me sooner, I might have reacted much differently. I might have gotten mad at you. But now – now, I can't be mad at you.'"
John let out his breath. Was this good or bad?
Ronon was quiet for a long time again before he spoke. "The Chieftain turned to face them. His expression was sad – not enraged, like they'd expected. 'I know I've ruled wrongly for all these years,' he told them. 'I've given you everything you want,' he told his daughter. 'But now I realize, when it's almost too late. . . Yes, I gave you everything you wanted – but not the one thing you deserve.'"
In his quiet tent, John held his breath.
"They were married that same day. The Wraith came a few days later, but somehow the lovers both managed to survive. It was then they all knew – the Chieftain, his daughter, her husband, the people – if it's true love, nothing will tear it apart."
John closed his eyes. Of all the crazy coincidences in the universe – I think this may be the craziest of them all. He listened again, but for a long while all he heard in the next tent was silence.
Then, at last, "I can see the significance of that story, even today," Teyla said. "And – I think – it may be. . ." She trailed off.
"Who knows until we try?" Ronon replied softly. "Maybe we won't always have tomorrow." It was quiet again, for so long John almost fell asleep. But then Ronon said one more thing that had John pondering for the rest of the night. "But what if we're not that lucky, Teyla?"
"'Lizabeth – could I talk to you for a minute?"
Elizabeth looked up from her computer to smile at him. "John! Welcome back." She motioned to the chair across from hers, but John chose to perch on the edge of her desk. "What can I do for you?" she asked.
John reached out to pick up her cup of steaming coffee, which sat on her desk. He took a long sip, then put it back. "Sorry. That Athosian brew is very powerful." He sat quietly for a moment, wondering if what he'd heard last night had been his conscience scolding him. "I was wondering – do you think it's time?"
Cradling her cup of coffee in her hands, Elizabeth stared at him. "John, what are you talking about?"
Awkwardly, John motioned between them with his hands. "You – me – us. D'you think – maybe – it's time for us to go public? It's been – what? – a year and a half?"
A smile twitched at the corners of Elizabeth's lips. "You have been terrible when it comes to remembering our anniversaries," she said. "What made you remember all of a sudden?"
He hesitated. "A story I heard," he said vaguely. "But I was thinking – since it's been so long – well, not so long, but. . . Oh, you know what I mean! We got married while we were on Earth for those six weeks. And so did a lot of other people. But we're the only ones who kept it secret." Well, not the only ones – but they weren't on Earth, he reminded himself.
Now Elizabeth was serious. "Are you suggesting we tell Atlantis we're married?"
John shifted a little, slightly uncomfortable. "Well – maybe not all of Atlantis. But at least the team, our closest friends."
Elizabeth ran the pad of her index finger around the rim of her cup. "I don't think everyone is ready to know," she said slowly. "But – I think you may be right. Perhaps it is time to let the cat peek out of the bag, a little bit."
A soft clearing of a throat in the doorway drew John and Elizabeth's attention in that direction. Elizabeth looked surprised to see Ronon and Teyla standing there, but John wasn't.
If it's true love, it's meant to be, he thought. He'd have to remember to tell that story to Elizabeth sometime soon – because he knew for certain their love was meant to be.
"We have something we need to tell you," Ronon said uncomfortably. He and Teyla both smiled shyly.
John and Elizabeth exchanged meaningful glances. "I think we do, too."