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!

Notes: Thank you to Sparklyshimmer2010 for the beta.

Trial by Fire

By

Wormhole

"I accept the challenge."

'Me and my big mouth,' thought John when he found himself in front of the challenge given to him by the people they had come to trade with…

…They had come to trade for a share of their crops needed for their own survival in return for medical supplies. Little did they realise these people were very strict on rules and regulations; one step out of line and you could find yourself on trial for your life.

As it happened they had unknowingly broken one of those rules and they had been given the choice to accept a challenge or face the penalty. Needless to say John took the challenge, even though he hadn't been informed on what that challenge was, for then the guilty party wouldn't be surprised when faced with it.

That little tactic had worked; he didn't like the task set or what waited for him below. A steaming hot pool of lava bubbled away in front of him, as he stood poised on the edge of a large crater situated inside a carven that was buried deep inside the caves they were in. The challenge was to reach the other side without falling in.

Elizabeth obviously didn't like it either for her face was distorted with fear; not so much with what was in front of them, but the fact that he was risking his life for a stupid mistake she made.

She had been the one conducting the negotiations when the incident had happened. A certain word was mentioned, which was banned from their language, a word everyone despised. 'Wraith.'

The reason that name had been banned, was because they wanted it stamped out in order to wipe the fear hanging over everyone living here, a fear their children's children wouldn't know even though that threat could still be there. At least that was their plan. If it worked would be another mater.

In away she respected the reason behind it, but not the lengths they went through to protect it.

John was given the choice to defend her innocence, to either accept the challenge given or let her take the punishment. Needless to say, with John's temperament he took the challenge. Despite the fact she was willing to accept the punishment if it would clear any ill-will between them.

Elizabeth pulled him back from the edge as he considered the best way across. "You don't have to do this John."

John put on a smitten face in a teasing way before answering back. "What! And not have the chance to defend my lady's honour."

Elizabeth tightened her grip on his arm as a last ditch attempt to stop him. "I'm serious John. The punishment for me could be next to nothing compared to the challenge given to you."

John looked towards the group of people, who were watching them from a distance. He could see Ford, Rodney and Teyla in amongst them looking concerned for their well-being.

He called out to the Elder in the group. His name was Toxil, leader of the villagers; slim build, blue eyes and greying hair. "What would be the punishment for Dr. Weir if I refused this challenge?" John was curious, even though he wouldn't dream of backing down now for it would show their weakness.

Toxil called back to him after conferring with his aid who was a muscled-built man with green eyes and very little hair, not to mention clothes; warriors here wore very little. They reminded him of forest tribes. "If you refuse, the punishment would double from what was ten lashes had you taken that route in the first place."

John heard Rodney express his opinion on that subject, knowing that double meant twenty. "You're kidding me."

John diverted his gaze back to Elizabeth. "I think that's enough reason to continue this challenge. I'm not having you return to Atlantis with scars to match the colour of your shirt."

Elizabeth pointed to the pit in annoyance. "You'd rather risk being scalded or worse, burnt to death, for a stupid mistake I made."

The place was getting warmer by the minute as they stood arguing. "You weren't to know that word was forbidden here, none of us were. If anything, I was at fault for not finding that out before you came."

John removed Elizabeth's hand from his left arm when she had nothing left to say and walked back to the pit. The only way he could see across was to scale the ragged rocks.

Flexing his fingers, he started to move to the right side of the cavern to climb the wall, but Elizabeth quickly ran up to him and pulled him round to face her, in order to kiss him.

John didn't have time to react. It was a deep kiss, full of passion. When the sudden surprise had subsided he eventually responded back with that same sense of feeling for each other.

The air between them soon ran out and they had to break the kiss up in order to breathe again.

Elizabeth stood on her toes to reach his right ear. "That was so you know I love you."

Remembering something, John quickly fished in his pockets and pulled out a small ring sized box. "I was saving this for your next birthday. But today seems a good a day as any to give it to you."

Curious as to what was inside, although she could hazard a guess, Elizabeth took it from him; she was about to open it when he stopped her.

John shook his head. "Wait till we're back home."

Without him having any safety net should he fall, she didn't want him to hurry across. "Just be careful. You don't need to rush."

He rubbed the brim of her nose with his index finger. "I promise I'll be careful."

Starting the climb, John made sure his grip was firm before making his way to the opposite end of the cavern. The heat coming from below was making his hands hot and sweaty, making it difficult to get a hold onto the rocks.

There was a number of heart stopping moments, when everyone thought John was finished after his foot either slipped or he lost his grip. But he held his nerve and eventually reached the other side. He had made it just in time, for a plume of lava erupted into the air reaching their height as he clambered onto the ledge; it blocked him from view so no one on the other side was sure if he made it or not.

Elizabeth and everyone else in her team called out to him, their cries echoing all around. It was a while before it dissipated and when it did, he was nowhere in sight.

The others by now had rushed forward, at first to comfort Elizabeth, until John reappeared.

Elizabeth fell silent not knowing he had and sadness soon etched her face for she had lost the one she loved, stupidly she only just told him; why hadn't she done it sooner? The silence stayed for what felt an eternity, until he called out to her.

"I guess no one has ever made it across before! Lookie at what I found."

She looked up from the ground just as a tear escaped her eyes and she saw him standing there with what looked like a ZPM; he was waving it about in the air triumphantly.

There was a tunnel the other end, John had obviously gone exploring, not knowing they were unaware of that fact.

Everyone had been so engrossed that he was still alive and a stepping-stone in their salvation had been found, no one noticed the lava had disappeared from the pit.

It was Ford that pointed it out. "Hey guys… look."

At this point, Toxil stepped forward to explain the occurrence. "The fire was never there. It was nothing but an illusion powered by the device your friend his holding."

"You mean to say, we went through all that for nothing?" Complained Rodney before Elizabeth had time to respond to the news.

"It showed the courage and determination you people have to prove yourself. Not to mention the trust you have for one another. We respect that greatly and would gladly accept the trade offer."

Ford felt like kicking the man were it hurt the most for making them go through that, especially for putting John in that situation in the first place.

It took a few hours before John had returned from his little trek back across the cavern.

Returning to the village, they decided to speak to Toxil in attempt to keep the ZPM, for they obliviously used it for certain things, not that these people understood its true nature of its existence. He had agreed but only 'should the day ever come' they would aid them in their fight against the Wraith should they ever attack their village.

Having agreed to the terms, the Wraith's name was reinstated, bidding farewell they returned through the stargate back to Atlantis.

--

With the day just about over; Elizabeth was in her room and she was allowed to open the box John had given her. It turned out to be a necklace; the symbol on it was that of the Pegasus insignia.

John was there too and he offered to put it on. "Let me."

Handing him the necklace, Elizabeth held up the back of her hair so he could fasten the chain in place and picked out a certain feature on it. "A horse to go with my knight in shinning armour."

"Not just any horse. A white stallion the most beautiful horse of them all."

Lowering her hair once she knew it was in place she turned round and kissed him.

From this day on, John knew his life had changed for the better and he would cherish every moment of it.

The End.