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 (Mama Jo): Again, this takes place in the same AU as several of my recent fics. Thank you, fyd, for allowing me to fill in some of the gap between Journey to Forever and Shattered. As you've seen, I'm having a blast on the playground! Thank you for reading!


Denouement

Part I

Mama Jo


Even though he knew it would be empty, Lt. Col. John Sheppard still glanced up at the little balcony off the control room as he mounted the steps to the elevated portion of Atlantis's Gateroom floor. As he gave the 'Gate tech the signal to start dialing out, he saw from the corner of his eye Teyla, then Ronon, do the same thing.

McKay, still fussing with the arrangement of some of the gear clipped to his tac vest, came up on John's left. He craned his neck and squinted up at the balcony. "Huh," he said, "no Elizabeth. She sleeping in this morning?"

Lights chased around the rim of the Stargate, and the wormhole kawhooshed open. John tipped his head to his other two teammates, indicating they could go through first. "Yeah," he replied, keeping his eyes forward as he started for the active 'Gate.

"She, ah, feeling poorly?" Rodney persisted, trailing behind.

The event horizon snatched them out of Atlantis, and deposited them an instant later in a sunny, autumn landscape. "Yeah," John said again.

"Morning sickness, I guess? Wow, it must be really bad to keep her from seeing us off. I mean, I don't think she's missed a single. . ." His voice trailed off as Sheppard rounded on him. "What?"

Staring into the scientist's suddenly puzzled, light grey-blue eyes, John heaved an inward sigh and told himself Rodney meant well. "I'll tell her you were concerned," he said as mildly as he could. "So can we get on with this so we can get back?"

"Oh. Right." McKay started fumbling around in his vest's pockets while looking around at their surroundings. "According to Lt. Callahan's report, the ruins should be that way." He pointed toward a copse of trees crowning a nearby rise of land, and set off. With a sympathetic glance back at John, Teyla fell into step with Rodney, allowing him to lag back. Ronon held back, silently keeping pace with him.

With essentially nothing to do but keep watch over the quiet countryside, the day dragged on. John's mind kept returning to the thoroughly miserable Elizabeth who'd woken him so early with the sound of her retching. Morning sickness was a natural part of pregnancy, Sheppard reminded himself repeatedly. Or so he'd always heard. His first wife, Nancy, had refused to have a child whose father might at any time be killed in the line of duty; and since he'd been equally adamant in refusing to resign from the Air Force, they'd never conceived. He truly was in undiscovered territory.

What he really wanted was reassurance, he decided as the sun inched toward its zenith. Things were really quiet; maybe he'd just take a stroll back to this planet's Stargate and make a quick call back to Atlantis. . .

Just as he was opening his mouth to say so to Ronon, the sound of footsteps rapidly approaching from the direction of the Stargate reached his ears. He instinctively pushed to his feet and turned towards them, his gut tightening; only peripherally aware of his Satedan teammate standing just behind him, of Teyla and McKay moving closer as well.

Maj. Lorne suddenly cleared the treeline, moving very quickly, and Sheppard suddenly went very cold inside. No, he thought. No, even as the younger officer skidded, panting, to a halt in front of him. He felt his face settle into the bleak, blank expression Nancy had hated so much.

"Col. Sheppard," Lorne gasped, and John refused to let himself react to the look in the other man's blue eyes. "Sir, Dr. Beckett sent me to extract you. You need to come back to Atlantis immediately."

John nodded once, stiffly. "Teyla, take over," he said, his voice sounding tight and distant in his own ears. "Complete the mission." He couldn't bear to look at her face, or at Ronon's or McKay's. He just took off for the 'Gate as fast as he could go, Lorne quickly falling behind. And with every thudding stride, every hammer blow of his heart, his thoughts echoed:

'Lizabeth.

The baby.

No. No. No.

To Be Continued - June 24