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!

Author's Note (Mama Jo): For my penultimate YotS fic, I return to fyd818's "Empire" AU, and the dancing scene: this time from Elizabeth's POV. I hope you all enjoy! —Mama Jo

Dancing II


Mama Jo

What on earth was I thinking, letting Teyla talk me into this? I can't belly dance! I can't, I can't, I can't—

But even as Elizabeth struggled to gather enough control of her panicky thoughts to muster some graceful, inoffensive excuse to extricate herself from this mess she'd landed in, the situation continued to spiral out of her grasp. She found herself hustled into a very small, very crowded room where, amid feminine giggles and excited Arabic chattering, expert hands quickly divested her of shoes, slacks, and blouse. "No, wait!" she tried to say, with an ineffectual snatch after the garments.

Over a louder burst of laughter, she heard Teyla call out something in Arabic, then breathlessly follow it in English with, "It's all right, Elizabeth." Shivering despite the warmth generated by so many bodies, Weir felt tears prickle at the back of her eyes. She bit her lip and squeezed her eyelids shut against them. The hands were back again: arranging strange garments around her stiff form; sliding bracelets and anklets onto her limbs; fastening a necklace around her throat, and threading the wires of heavy earrings through her lobes; fluffing out her curly hair.

The hands finally left her alone. Just as Elizabeth wondered if it were safe to open her eyes, Teyla suddenly spoke again, this time from directly front of her. "Elizabeth, you look – fantastic! I wish I had a mirror so you could see for yourself how beautiful you are."

Elizabeth's eyes snapped open, then half-narrowed as she aimed a dark look at her new friend. "Teyla, I will get you for this," she vowed, only partly joking. She took a tentative glance down at herself; at the dark, silver-shot red skirts and halter top she now wore. Hesitantly, she moved a little bit. A pleasing swish of fabric around her legs rewarded her, along with a delicate chiming of the coins and chains liberally festooning the costume.

Next to Teyla's shimmering green and gold, the Egyptian girl Lapis, looking exotic in silver and midnight blue, nodded her head approvingly and made a quick comment, the only word of which she understood was the name "John." As Teyla clapped a hand over her mouth to smother her laughter, Elizabeth demanded, "What? What did she say?"

Somewhere outside the improvised changing room, drums started a hypnotic beat. Still trying not to laugh out loud, Teyla threw a glance over her shoulder toward the curtained doorway and said hurriedly, "Okay, Belly Dance One-Oh-One. A lot of the moves are simply making circles with different parts of your body. For most of the others, just pretend you have little boxing gloves on your shoulders and hips as you use them to punch. And remember—" Reaching out to take one of Elizabeth's hands, she gave it a little squeeze while smiling reassuringly. "This is a party. Relax and have fun. Now come on, we're lining up to go out. Just follow me and do what I do."

Elizabeth gulped and nodded jerkily. There was no more time for instructions or protests. The line of brightly garbed women was moving, and taking her with it. She raised her arms to mirror Teyla's and concentrated every last bit of her will on copying the Egyptologist's graceful movements.

Step, bump, step, bump; one arm out, other hand behind head, circle with hips once, twice; arms up again and twirl—

Gradually, almost without realizing it, Elizabeth slowly lost her self-conscious fear, and she honestly began to enjoy the music – so different from what she was used to, and yet speaking so clearly of joy – and the simple, physical exuberance of dancing. Most of the rest of that evening she only remembered as a bright, breathless blur that, to her surprise, ended much too quickly.

One memory remained vividly alive, however, a jewel she treasured in the secret depths of her heart: The moment her eyes very briefly locked with John's, and everything else around her faded into the profound realization that Atlantis wasn't her true destiny after all.

He was.

The End