Disclaimers – see Chapter 1.

Dr Elizabeth Weir fell into the first physically exhausted dreamless sleep she had managed to get in a very very long time. Recently she relied on the sedatives prescribed by Dr Beckett to get to sleep, and found they always left her feeling somewhat…foggy and medicated the next morning. Tonight, on conjunction with the wonderful shoulder massage John had given her after they had finished their allotted time of weapons training, she fell asleep almost before her head touched the pillow.

The next morning her alarm went off at 0530hours, starting her from her slumber and causing her to jerk awake. Instantly her body rebelled, making painfully known the number of muscles she had abused the previous day. She ached everywhere, and had made acquaintances with muscles she didn't even know she had. Knowing John would be waiting for her she dragged herself out of bed and slipped into her workout gear, wondering if John had any idea how much discomfort he had caused her.

The look on Sheppard's face as she tried to walk with some degree of normality down the east pier was something akin to pity. Her legs ached, her butt ached, her stomach muscles ached, heck even her toenails ached. He knew, simply from the look on her face that she wasn't a happy camper, but then again, he knew the second day was always the worst.

" Hey" He said simply, rolling out the two foam mats on the concrete so they could begin their stretching routine.

" You are so enjoying this" Elizabeth grumbled in reply as she eased herself onto the thick foam,

" Yep" He quipped, easing into a seated quad stretch and waiting for her to follow.

" You know if it's any consolation… I know how you feel. The second day of boot camp was always the worst" He quickly added, hoping to avoid the glare that he knew was coming.

Elizabeth kept silent as she forced her muscles to lengthen in the stretches before climbing to her feet and glaring down the long east pier. John rolled the mats and stashed them in their usual storage area and bounced a few times on his toes to get the blood circulating. It was crisp this time of the morning, the slight breeze adding to the chill of the early morning. Elizabeth shivered, knowing that she would be blessing the cool temperature very soon as John put her through her paces. As predicted within minutes they had started their jog, setting the pace a fraction faster than yesterday's effort. Elizabeth focused on her breathing, trying to shove the discomfort of her body to the back of her mind. One foot in front of the other, coupled with a ragged breath, then one foot in front of the other.

The colour rose quickly in her pale skin, a healthy pink glow of exertion almost matching the pink cardigan she had tossed over her workout singlet in a vain attempt to keep warm earlier. This time the run lasted 5 minutes longer than their first run, but John made a decided effort to slow down in the last 10 minutes, settling into something little more than a slow jog in order to spare the last of her lagging strength. It would take time to build up fitness levels to a standard that would match a standard soldier, which was ultimately his aim. By the time he was through, he would have no only a boss who would be capable of holding her own and defending herself, but hopefully a workout partner for his early morning training sessions. Not that he didn't mind Ronon's company, it would be nice not to be left lagging behind someone bigger, stronger and very much faster for once.

Finally Sheppard slowed to a walk, keeping his long strides eating up the ground as they headed out from the piers and back into the city complex. Another 10 minutes of stairs and hallways lead them to the gym for a light weights session and more stretching.

Finally they were done and Elizabeth shrugged back into her cardigan, pulling a face as the movement pulled on her sore shoulders. Push-ups had never been her strong point, and although John had allowed her to do the sets on her knees for the first week, she knew the time for toes would not be far away. John winced in sympathy as he saw her face contort, inwardly feeling terrible that he had wilfully caused her this pain.

" Hey… I'll do a deal with you " He started before he had even thought the idea through properly. " After your self defence session with Teyla tonight, I'll give you a proper massage, I'm sure I can borrow Kate's portable massage table for the evening, for our illustrious leaders well being of course" John graced her with a mock bow, wondering if she would accept his offer. He'd fought the urge to allow his hands to wander the night before, knowing that sooner or later his feelings would be unable to remain hidden. Her reaction to this new idea would give him some insight as to where her feelings might lie.

" You know how to give a proper massage?" She asked, eyebrows arching in surprise at his suggestion.

" Thought it would help me pick up more girls…" He replied with a flippant attitude and a boyish smile.

" I'd like that" She replied softly after a moment, giving him a shy smile that totally belied her status in the city.

John's heart gave several backflips of joy and he struggled to retain the somewhat neutral expression on his face. He allowed himself a flippant smile before picked up his gear and headed towards the door.

" I'll see you at 2100 hours…. Your quarters or mine?" He asked casually, shouldering the gym bag.

" Mine. Much more space" She said simply, giving him a smile that made him want to curl up and die in happiness.

" Deal" John tossed over his shoulder as he headed back to his quarters for a shower and breakfast. Somehow he knew this day was going to be wonderful, no matter what the Pegasus Galaxy threw at him.