It's Good to be Home

(A.N. this is an AU set sometime after The Return. Sparky Rules! Enjoy!)

Elizabeth Weir leaned against the railing of the balcony and closed her eyes as a soft ocean breeze blew in her face, bringing with it a familiar salty smell remembered from childhood vacations at the beach. As the breeze died, she opened her eyes and gazed at the horizon, once again amazed at how enormously vast this ocean was. It seemed to go on forever.

Her thoughts on the view were interrupted when she heard the door to the balcony hiss open. She turned her head slightly to see who it was and was not surprise to find John Sheppard walking towards her. Neither one said anything as John moved to stand in his usual spot beside her on the railing. They shared a companionable silence for a few minutes until John spoke.

"It's good to be back," he said. Elizabeth nodded.

"Yes it is." She gave a slight smile. "I don't think I fully grasped how much I would miss this place."

"Neither did I. It's hard to imagine living anywhere else now though."

Elizabeth agreed and a comfortable silence fell once again. Then John began to speak as he reached for something in his pocket. "I actually had this made a while ago, for your birthday, but with everything that's happened recently, I decided I didn't want to wait that long to give it to you."

Elizabeth was still a little startled by his sudden change of subject, and she had only the vaguest idea what he was talking about. However it soon became clear when he pulled a small black box with a lid out of his pocket and held it towards her. She smiled at her second in command and took the box from him with an inquiring raise of an eyebrow. She took off the lid and slid it behind the box. When she saw what was inside, she let out a small "oh" of surprise and then lifted a shining silver necklace from its nest of white cotton.

"I know it's not any of my business," John began, "but I couldn't help noticing that you've stopped wearing that other necklace of yours, so...I thought this might work as a replacement."

As she held up the necklace to examine it, Elizabeth felt a smile growing. The necklace was beautiful. The pendant was a rounded disk a little larger than a quarter. Etched into the silver on one side was a perfect silhouette of the Atlantis skyline. On the other was a short word written in Ancient. It took a moment for Elizabeth to decipher it... 'Home'. Her heart swelled and for a second she thought she might cry.

"Do you like it?" John asked. Elizabeth nodded fiercely.

"I do..very much...thank you..."

John reached for the necklace. "May I?" he asked quietly. She handed him the piece of jewelry. He walked around to stand behind her and unfastened the clasp. Elizabeth reached up and held aside her mass of brown curls as he gently fastened his gift around her neck. The delicate silver chain was the perfect length- the necklace stopped just above the point of her v-necked red shirt-and the slight weight settled nicely against her collarbone. Her hand automatically went to the necklace and she ran her fingers over the word etched into the cool metal.

She turned around to face John, who quickly voiced his approval. "Perfect." His face broke into his customary grin. "Now, can I pick a present or what?"

Elizabeth smiled and went along with the banter. "I'll admit it, you do seem to have a certain talent for it."

"What can I say...It's a gift." Elizabeth groaned and shook her head and then they both grinned at the pun.

"Well," said John, "Whatever was wrong with that other necklace, I hope this one measures up as a replacement."

Elizabeth looked up at John. He was still smiling, but there was a sincerity and seriousness in his face that hadn't been there a few minutes ago. She did a replay of their conversation in her head. '...replacement...' Suddenly she realized that somehow John knew exactly why the old necklace- a gift from Simon- had been put away. She read between the lines and caught the symbolism there.

"Oh," she said, "I don't think you have to worry about that. It measures up and so much more."

Their eyes met and they smiled at one another, and for a few moments it was as if they were the only two people in the entire city. Then the radio in John's pocket squawked and reality intruded once again. Rodney McKay's voice filled the air as John retrieved his radio and hooked it in place over his ear. "Alright, Rodney, I'll be right there," he answered with a sigh. He looked at Elizabeth. "I guess I'd better go and make sure he doesn't sink half the city."

As he started to leave, Elizabeth reached out and stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. She moved closer and kissed him gently on the cheek. "Thank you," she said softly. John stared at her in surprise and opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. She smiled at him and moved back to her original place against the balcony railing. The door hissed open and closed a few moments later, signaling that he'd gone. Elizabeth reached up and held the pendant of her new necklace, running it back and forth along its chain for a minute before gripping it in the palm of her hand. Memories of the person who had given it to her played in her mind and a happy grin spread across her face. Home indeed.

(A.N. 2 Well, I hope you liked it. This is my first fanfic so please review!)