Title: Vous revoir
Category: angst, romance
Summary: "No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey
Season/Sequel: season 4
Spoilers: Mainly for First Strike
Archives: my website, others ask please, I never refuse
Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don't earn any money; I just do it for fun.
Author's Note: I had this idea in mind for quite some time, but at first, I didn't want to write it. Too many fics to write and then I wasn't sure I would be able to write what I wanted. But Muse won, so here it is! It is set in season 4, but there are no spoilers for the season. The title means 'To see you again'. This fic is also for that fantastic f'list of mine! You rock guys! tackle hugs
You have a go !
John stopped his rental car in front of the house.
He took some time to look at the house from his seat in the car. He caught sight of people moving inside, what seemed like children running. He briefly wondered if coming was such a good idea, but he quickly dismissed the thought; he had to be there. Knowing that the neighbours would start to get suspicious if he didn't move soon, he took a deep breath and got out of the car.
He quickly walked up the pathway leading to the house, and knocked on the door. He thought he had heard children arguing about who got to open the door when it was actually opened by a woman about his age.
"Hi. Err… Is Elizabeth Weir here?" he asked, hoping he actually got the right address.
"Yes. Come in, she's in the living-room." She moved from the doorway to let him enter and closed the door behind. She gestured for him to follow her and soon after they were in the living-room. "Elizabeth, it's for you."
He could see her sitting on the couch with her back to him. As he entered, the other people in the room looked towards him but he didn't notice them; his gaze was on Elizabeth as she slowly got up from the couch with the help of her crutches. When she finally saw him standing there, she stopped for a brief moment before smiling and walking towards him as fast as she could.
"John…," she whispered and he could hear tears in her voice.
She stopped in front of him and both looked at each other. It had been months since he had last seen her, since they had decided to remove her from command, from Atlantis altogether, saying that she was incapacitated. She was in a wheelchair at that time and he was glad to see that she was walking with crutches only, now.
He was brought out of his thoughts as her crutches fell at her sides. Before he could say anything, her arms slid around his neck. He didn't need to be asked; his arms went about her waist, crushing her to him, not thinking for one second that he could hurt her.
It had been so long since she had last been held like that that she didn't even remember when it happened last. Since the accident, people were cautious with her, but what she needed was a hug like the one John was giving her. She felt more alive now than in the past few months. Tears started to fall slowly from her closed eyelids, soaking John's shoulder.
Feeling it, he drew away from her.
"No… I just… I've missed you," she admitted as she pressed herself closer to him again.
She had missed him. She had known that already but she had just realised how much she had missed him.
"I've missed you, too," she heard him whisper in her ear.
The rest of the people in the room looked at them, silently wondering what was going on. They had been talking with Elizabeth when this man came, and now they stood there, in each other's arms. They didn't know who he was, but they guessed the two were pretty close.
"Aunt Lizzie?" one of the children called, and they reluctantly parted, though John kept one arm at her waist to help her stay upright.
"Who is he?" he asked, pointing a finger towards John.
"Sorry," Elizabeth said, as she realised that they might have wondered who John was. "This is John Sheppard, a friend and we used to work together. John, this is my mother Susan, my brother Mike, his wife Jenna and their children, Timothy and Katie."
"Well, we can't say that my daughter talked about you, but nice to meet you."
"Likewise," John replied before turning his head towards Elizabeth. "You should sit."
She just nodded in answer; she was already starting to feel pain in her back and legs. Her brother handed her her crutches, and John let her go once he was sure she would be ok. She slowly walked to the couch and sat down. They all noticed that she was breathing heavily, but John was the only one to see the flicker of pain on her face before she concealed it.
She smiled up at him and gestured for him to sit next to her on the couch. He did and soon found himself with Elizabeth's niece on his lap. She looked at him with those big green eyes of hers, and he knew that adults might have a hard time resisting her.
"You're Aunt Lizzie's lover?" she asked.
He wasn't expecting this question, and he could tell that Elizabeth wasn't expecting it either from the look on her face. The rest of the room stayed silent, seeming to wait for his answer; Elizabeth might have told them who he was, but they felt that something more was going on between them.
"Err… No. Your Aunt Lizzie," he slowly drawled out her nickname and smiled when he could almost hear her growl next to him, "and I are friends. We met at work."
"So you're a diplomat too?" Mike asked, and John realised that neither he nor Elizabeth had told them what he actually did for a living.
"No. I'm Air Force. We met in Antarctica. I was piloting the scientists to and from their Research Centre and Elizabeth was there for diplomatic reasons."
"So you're a pilot?"
"Yeah. I love things that go fast and high," he said, a smug smile on his face.
"I understand. I pilot helicopters from time to time. Whenever I have some time to, to be honest."
"Actually I'm a helicopter pilot too. Apache, Cobra, Black Hawk and other… things…," he trailed off, knowing that only Elizabeth would be able to pick up what those other things were.
"Well, then we should definitely take some time to go fly in the next few days. How long are you staying?"
"My flight leaves next week," John answered, and Elizabeth knew that by 'flight', he meant the Jumper.
"Perfect, then we'll go tomorrow," Mike stated and John nodded; it had been a while since he had last piloted helicopters.
He was a bit surprised to see that Elizabeth's family seemed to be accepting him so quickly, when they didn't know each other ten minutes before. But he appreciated it nonetheless, seeing that somewhere there were people ready to welcome him like that, when his own family was so distant.
"Where are you staying?" Elizabeth asked, jolting him from his thoughts.
"There's a hotel downtown…"
"Why don't you stay here?" Susan offered, interrupting him.
"I don't want to impose…," John tried but she wouldn't have any of that.
"Nonsense. Elizabeth's friends are always welcome in my house. But I'm afraid that you'll have to sleep on the couch, unless…"
"The couch will be perfect," he interrupted her. "I've slept in worst places. Not that the couch is… That wasn't what I meant…," he tried to explain himself and Elizabeth smiled at his attempt before coming to his rescue.
"We know what you meant, John."
"Well then, it's settled."
"You want to come to the fair with us?" Katie asked him, and his eyes immediately lit up at the mention of the fair.
"I'd love too. Do you know if there's a Ferris Wheel…?"
"Here we go," Elizabeth sighed, smiling. She knew that question would come as soon as her niece brought the fair up.
"What do you have against Ferris Wheels?" He playfully narrowed his eyes for her.
"Nothing, I just don't understand how you can be such a fan. He loves Ferris Wheels," she explained to her family at the look they were giving her.
"I thought you said you loved things that go fast, and well, Ferris Wheels are rather slow," Jenna said, turning towards John.
"Yes, but they go high!" he beamed.
"You're so five…," Elizabeth stated. "I sometimes wonder why I asked you to join my team."
"Well, you said something about me being a natural…," he reminded her with a smile of his own and she rolled her eyes in answer.
"So, you love things that go fast and high. No wonder you became a pilot," Susan said.
"Exactly," he replied. "So when do we go to the fair?" he directed the question to Katie.
"On Sunday, because it's my birthday!"
"Oh really, young lady? And how old will you be?"
"Five! I'm a big girl now!"
"And I'm seven," Timothy said proudly. "I'm bigger than her."
"That you are. And speaking of birthday…," he started while reaching out for something in the pocket of his jacket. "I know I'm really late, but Happy Birthday," he said, handing Elizabeth a velvet box.
She looked at him surprised for a few seconds. She wasn't surprised that he had remembered her birthday and was offering her something, even months after. No, the surprise came from the fact that it was obviously a jewellery box.
She finally took the box from his hands, and could see that John was nervous by the way he was licking his lips. She slowly opened the lid and gasped when she saw what it contained. Attached to a silver necklace was the exact replica of the blueprint of their City. She had seen it many times on the screen of the control room to have recognised it with only one look.
"Until you come back…"
She looked up at him, eyes brimming with tears for the second time in under an hour.
"I've never told you I'm quite good at drawing? I asked a jeweller in the Springs if he could do it and he agreed."
"And General Landry didn't stop you?"
"He might not know…" he confessed.
"John! You know that…"
"I know, I know," he interrupted her, knowing what she was going to say. "But I also know how you miss it. It's a way to keep it with you while you're here."
Elizabeth's family was following the conversation with interest even though they couldn't grasp what was really going on. But the adults understood that it might somehow be linked to their jobs, and the place they had been.
"Could you…?" she asked, lifting the necklace from its box and gesturing with it towards John.
Smiling, he took it from her hands as she turned. He fastened it quickly and she turned back to face him, a smile on her face.
"Thank you," she breathed, leaning towards him to kiss his cheek. Her lips lingered there for more time than was necessary despite her family's presence in the room. When she leant back, they shared a small smile before John cleared his throat.
"I was thinking, I don't see Sedge…"
"Yeah, she's getting groomed…"
"And speaking of Sedge," Mike interrupted his sister, "it's time for me to go get her. You're coming you two?" he asked his children who agreed, Katie jumping off John's lap after having kissed his cheek.
"She likes you," Jenna told John after her husband and children left. "Usually, she's not like that with strangers."
"It might be because she knows that John is still a child," Elizabeth teased but regretted it as soon as she saw the look he was giving her.
Before she could do anything, and really there wasn't much that she could have done, his hands were at her sides and he was tickling her. She knew she should have never told him she was ticklish. She was laughing out loud now and neither her mother nor her sister-in-law made a move to help her out of this predicament.
"Stop, John, please," she begged out of breath from where she was now lying on the couch. She tried to bat his hands away with her own, but she couldn't.
Finally, after a minute or so, John stopped and helped her sit up. It took her another minute to calm down completely and all the while, he was on the receiving end of her glare.
"Why didn't you help me?" she asked, turning towards the other two women, and Jenna raised her hands up in defence.
"I have kids, who knows what John can do to them," she said quite seriously but with a big grin on her face.
"And well, you know, I'm not that young anymore…"
"Don't bother, Mom…" Elizabeth sighed before wincing, which didn't go unnoticed by the others.
"What is it?" John asked, concerned.
"It's just my back. I must have twisted it badly when you…"
"I'm sorry," he interrupted her.
"It's ok. I'm used to pain now."
"You shouldn't be," he whispered, but she managed to hear. "Turn around."
"Turn around," he repeated, and she finally complied. "Where does it hurt exactly?"
"My lower back. But what are you… Ooh," she moaned as he started to massage her where she had told him.
"Feels like heaven, actually," she admitted, before sending a glare towards her mother and sister-in-law who were giggling.
"They always say that," John said, a smug grin on his face.
"Stop grinning," Elizabeth replied, and he wasn't surprised that she knew despite not being able to see him.
"How did you know?" her mother asked, rather curious.
"I don't really know. I just kind of always know when he's up to something."
"No, you don't."
"Give me an example."
"Well, you didn't know that I helped Cadman when she set that prank on McKay…," he stopped himself but it was too late. He had been had.
"I know now," she said.
"Stop grinning," he repeated her previous words.
"To be honest, I already suspected that you helped. I knew Laura couldn't have done it alone. She didn't have the codes to Rodney's quarters, while you could override them with your own," she explained.
"And you didn't say anything?" he asked, surprised.
"I have to admit I had a good laugh. They put lemons all over Rodney's quarters, he's highly allergic to citrus, and when he saw this, he ran out of his room and straight to my office, saying that someone wanted to kill him. Laura never actually told me why she did that in the first place."
"He had ruined her first date with Beckett. He had called him, saying that he needed stitches. But you know him, it was just a paper cut…," John trailed off, rolling his eyes. "Feeling any better?" he asked after a few seconds.
"Feeling tired?" she replied back, a hint of a smirk in her voice. "It's ok, you can stop," she assured him. She felt his hands leave her back and she sighed slightly at the loss before turning back to face him. "Thank you."
"It seems like you could make money as a masseur if you ever want to resign from the Air Force," Jenna joked.
"I'll think about it," John replied with a smile. "It'd sure be a less stressful job…"
"Well, I don't know," Susan interrupted. "I heard that it could be a very demanding job. Women tend to demand a lot of attention if you're a very good looking man…"
"Please don't tell me you know first hand, Mom, please," she begged, hiding her face in her hands.
"I don't, Elizabeth. And don't take that horrified voice; it's not like you weren't enjoying yourself there."
"You have not just said that," Elizabeth said, her mouth agape as she turned beet red; a quick look towards John revealed that he was blushing too.
"Just saying," Susan replied with a smile; she had always loved that 'mother embarrassing daughter in front of said daughter's friends' thing.
"It's funny how you're both blushing," Jenna continued what her mother-in-law had started.
"Shut up," Elizabeth muttered.
"We're back!" Mike shouted from the door, probably saving both Elizabeth and John from further questioning.
They both hoped that their faces were back to their regular colours as Mike and the children entered the room. But it seemed like it was the case as none commented, and Elizabeth was relieved; she wouldn't have heard the end of this one, otherwise.
"Hey, Sedge," Elizabeth said, stroking her dog as she sat in front of her. "Remember John?" she asked, and as if she understood what her owner was saying, Sedge turned her head towards him before coming closer, wagging her tail, obviously waiting for something.
"Yes, she remembers," he said, taking something out of his pocket. "Or she simply smelled that."
"Stop bribing her so she likes you," Elizabeth reprimanded John, though she was smiling to which he answered with one of his own, knowing that she wasn't really angry at him. She watched as her dog was munching on the big bone he brought her.
"Where's Katie?" Jenna asked, seeing her son but not her daughter.
"Oops! I might have forgotten her somewhere…," Mike trailed off seeing the look on his wife's face. "Kidding!"
"Not funny, Mike," she replied with a stern look, while the others smiled.
"She's in her room, said that she had to get something."
"John!!" Katie cried, running down the stairs, a small bag in her hands.
"Katie, how many times have we told you to not run in the house?" her mother asked, giving her a pointed look.
"Sorry," she answered, looking a bit sheepish, before turning towards John. "Can you play with me?"
"Honey…" Jenna started before John interrupted her.
"It's ok. I'd like to, Katie."
"You have to sit on the floor, there," she instructed him, and he did as he was told, resting his back against the couch.
Katie climbed on the couch and started to take things out of her bag. When the others saw what it was, they had to smile. John raised an eyebrow in confusion, but before he could question them, the little girl's hands were in his hair, combing it.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Your hair needs to be combed," she simply said, continuing her work. "Mom says you always have to comb your hair before going out."
"I did," he replied, and Katie stopped, considering his answer and wondering if she should believe him.
"You're only saying that because you don't want to play with me," she said, tears in her voice.
"No," John reassured her, turning towards her and catching her before she could jump from the couch. "You can comb it if you want. But I can't promise you it'd do any good. I do comb it, I promise you, it just wants to stay that way," he explained to her and Elizabeth started to giggle. "Stop giggling," he said with a mock glare, "you know it's true, you have tried yourself," he added, reminding her of her attempt just before he received his promotion.
"Ok," she nodded and he turned his back towards her, so that she could continue.
"And who knows, maybe you'll be able to tame it," he finished, and though he couldn't see her, he was pretty sure she was beaming. Her parents silently thanked him with a look, and he hoped that there wouldn't be any permanent damage done to his hair.
"Let me guess, your mother has never given up on trying combing it," Susan asked.
"Never. Every morning when I was a kid, it was the same thing; she would spend half an hour combing it, but it had never worked."
"I would have done the same too, if Elizabeth or Mike had that kind of hair. No, I had other problems with them…," she trailed off and John's interest was immediately piqued.
"Really? I would have never thought that Elizabeth could cause any kind of problem."
"Well, she was different when she was a kid…"
"Mom!" Elizabeth tried to stop her but she wasn't listening.
"She was a real tomboy when she was a kid. With her brother, they would have done anything. They had climbed trees, collected snails while they knew I hate them, gotten themselves into a fight at school, anything you can think of, they have probably done it. The worst was that they dared each other to do things."
"I still remember that time when Elizabeth dared me to eat that chilli pepper. I thought that my mouth was on fire!"
"You chose to eat it! I never forced you!" Elizabeth defended herself.
"Like you had really left me with any other choice," her brother replied, giving her a pointed look, to which she answered by sticking her tongue out, something John would have never associated with Elizabeth Weir. "Of course, I do hope that you won't do the same mistakes as your aunt and I," he told his children, and while they nodded, he wasn't sure if he should have let his mother tell these stories with them in the room.
"It doesn't work!" Katie exclaimed, sitting heavily on the couch.
"You're giving up?" John asked, turning slightly to look at her. She nodded and he got up, sitting himself between her and Elizabeth. "I told you it wouldn't work. But it was worth the try."
"Ok, kids, it's time for the bath," Mike said, taking a look at his watch, and both Katie and Timothy started to protest. "It won't work, so don't even try."
"And I'm going to get dinner ready," Susan said, standing up.
"I'll come help you, I think I have to take Sedge out first," Jenna told her mother-in-law, motioning to where the dog was sitting by the front door.
"I can take her if you want," John offered.
"It's ok, I can…"
"I don't mind," John interrupted her. "Actually, I don't really want to sit around while you're all doing something."
"Well, then her leash is on the coat-rack by the door."
"I'm coming with you," Elizabeth said, standing up with the help of her crutches.
"I'll be ok, Mom. I need to get out and we won't go far."
"If you're really sure…"
Susan turned to look towards John and silently asked him to keep an eye on her, though she was sure he had already planned to do it. She watched them to the door, still a little wary of letting Elizabeth go. She knew that she felt the need to walk, to get out of the house on her own, but she was her daughter and she couldn't help feeling like that. She was also pretty sure that she and John needed to spend some time alone together; she had understood long ago that Elizabeth couldn't and wouldn't talk about her job, about her life wherever it was, and she was glad she had finally one of her friends there. End of part 1