I haven't written anything for Stargate Atlantis in quite a while. This is just a peaceful, somewhat whimsical little piece between Elizabeth and John, set rather futuristically as if Atlantis had never ended and the city never returned to Earth. (I haven't seen seasons 4 and 5, but I don't believe that matters to this story at all.)
If anyone is reading this, that doesn't watch Stargate Atlantis, but possibly put me on their Author alert list for my CSI: Miami? Could I trouble you, perhaps, to read this too? It's short and it's sweet and you won't really know who these people are, but Stargate Atlantis is where I am at my most whimsical, where i'm at my most in touch with the characters. It's a level I hope to achieve with Calleigh and Eric, eventually. (If you do read it, all you need to know is that these people are John and Elizabeth. John is an Air Force Colonel, Elizabeth was a civilian diplomat in charge of a top secret mission to the lost city of the ancients - Atlantis. After three years, her body was taken over by microscopic machines and eventually, she was lost to the team and assumed dead. This story ignores that she died, implies that she's back and touches on the unspoken bond between Leader [Elizabeth] and 2IC [John]. I hope that helps.)
Written as a gift for Anuna_81 on Livejournal. I hope that this is enjoyed.
Elizabeth sat with her feet dangling over the pier. She remembered John telling her, how he and Rodney sat out here from time to time, with a can of budwieser and a comfortable silence. Somehow, knowing this was where they came to find peace, soothed her just a little as she focused on the cool ocean water hitting her feet and wetting the edges of her rolled up pants.
"Didn't think I'd find you here."
Elizabeth closed her eyes and smiled as she let the sound of his voice, fill all of her senses. She could do that now, not just metaphorically. She could do a lot of things she never could before. "You told me it was relaxing." She replied and she knew that he was smiling. It was a back and forth they were so used to, so long ago now. She was just glad that was one of the few things that wasn't lost to them.
"I did," He agreed. And she listened to the sound of him removing his boots before he moved to sit down beside her. Turning her head slightly, letting her loose curls hit her in the face as they got swept up in the breeze, she smiled and found it mirrored in his eyes. "you need to relax?" He questioned and watched her as she turned her eyes back out to sea, raised her chin to the sky and closed her eyes, breathing in the salty, alien air.
"Everyone does, from time to time."
He watched her, reading every new line around her eyes, every darkness that was gone from her face, but not from her heart. He could read things like that with her, he couldn't explain it if he tried, but there was something profoundly different about her now, always had been, but moreso now, because when he held her hand, her skin really did tingle and sometimes, he felt it too. The connection they'd always shared through prolonged glances and silent conversations had magnified into a kind of telepathy that felt, strange and yet, right. Sometimes he thought he could actually read her mind, but then he'd find himself remembering that nothing about him had changed, it was her and then he'd smile, in the middle of the night, surrounded by darkness, because the knowledge would all of a sudden, become clear; she was calling to him.
It hadn't been straight away. The IOA wanted to interview her, the SGC was ordered to contain her and John had spent every waking moment in Landry's office - the closest he could be to her without an armoured guard - and they'd found themselves wrapped in yards and yards of beauraucratic red tape. So much so, that it'd taken them weeks upon weeks, favours upon presidential favours, just to get her sent back to Atlantis. So much begging, grovelling and political ass-kissing, just so that she could go home. He'd seen her so little in those few weeks. So little in fact that he'd lay awake at night and wonder if it was all a dream. Then he was standing in the SGC gateroom with Colonel Carter, Teal'c and General Landry, as the great steel doors rumbled open and he found her standing there, more beautiful than ever.
He had to admit, the new Atlantis uniforms did suit her. Leather was her thing, though he'd never say it out loud in a gate-room full of subordinates who likely knew it just by looking at her. Her hair had grown, halfway down her back and tumbling with curls she'd have likely pinned back as a child. She'd looked almost younger in that moment, ten steps away from freedom and three steps away from him. He'd wanted to hug her, but that could wait, they both knew that.
"Ready to go home?" He'd asked and the smile that spread across her face could have powered Atlantis for another ten-thousand years.
"More than I've ever been." Was her answer and for the first time in months, he reached across the great divide, and took her hand. He'd known Colonel Carter would blink, Teal'c would raise that telling eyebrow and there was no doubt that General Landry's face would be covered in a knowledge that had been well-contained up until that moment. But they were free now. The papers were signed, the tests were done and she was geared up to return to Atlantis as the leader of the first group of intergalactic negotiators to be based on Atlantis. She'd have her own team now and she could leave the worrying and the decisions to Woolsey.
"Do you miss it?" He asked, kicking his feet in the water and not caring if his pants got wet.
"Miss what?" She questioned, resting her hands on the pier as she kept her eyes closed, soaking up the sun from three different directions.
"Making the decisions."
Elizabeth scoffed. "Not in the slightest. I miss knowing what's happening, I miss being the one that people came to so that I could know how my city was fairing. But I don't miss the pressure or the pain." John cast his eyes down, watching their hands on the pier, side by side, but not touching. "I think I aged ten years in the three I lead this city." She whispered and John smiled faintly, brushing his thumb against hers.
"I don't know about that."
"It sure felt that way," She chuckled. "I barely ate, couldn't possibly sleep," Turning to him she smiled softly and John winked as she countered. "except when you were there."
"You were the best we ever had. Probably the best this city has ever seen." He watched the blush rise up her cheeks and he reached across to her, breaking the barrier so few had dared to as he reached up, brushed her curls aside with the back of his hand and rested his palm against her cheek. "So many people, on so many different worlds, know your name." He brushed his thumb across her cheek, under her eye and shuffled himself along the pier, so that he was right beside her. "Elizabeth Weir, the leader of the city of the Ancients." He whispered and he smiled at the way her ocean green eyes, glistened with the first signs of tears. "That's not something that's so easily forgotten."
"Sometimes I wish it could be."
Reaching up, Elizabeth wrapped her fingers around his hand, gingerly tugging it away from her face and holding it in both of her own, down in her lap. "Haven't you ever wanted to just fade? Haven't you ever wanted to just drift into the background and make your difference silently?"
John laughed, lifting her hand to kiss her palm. "There's no such thing as making a difference silently. Not for you."
Elizabeth sighed. "A few years ago, all I wanted to do was spend my life here, discovering her secrets. I wanted to explore and discover and imake a difference/i. I never stepped back to see that I was sharing my life with the greatest city our world had ever seen, but i'd left nothing for myself." She turned to him, meeting his eyes. "I have a mother, back on Earth, did you know that?"
John cast his eyes down, watching the waves lap against the city walls as he bit his bottom lip. "Yeah," He uttered, biting the inside of his mouth as he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. "I went to her, after-" He stopped himself and Elizabeth smiled softly, almost sadly.
And she barely breathed out; "Thankyou," Before her voice cracked and a single tear rolled down her cheek. "I never," She swallowed. "I wasn't allowed to go see her, whilst I was in Cheyenne Mountain. They said that, due to the nature of my condition, there's no point to going back. I can't leave Atlantis now and I thought that that would sting in someway, but somehow, I'm okay with it." John watched her, watched how her long hair twirled and fluttered in the breeze, how a single curl got caught in the smooth dip of the throat and how her eyes glistened in the sunlight. "I never thought i'd be at peace with never being able to go home." And he smiled, because she was the only person he knew, that could give her entire life to something and say with a gentle smile that it was worth it. Because when she gave, she gave where her whole heart knew it was worth it all.
They were silent for a few moments, staring out at the ocean with their hands clasped together in her lap. He thought about a million things and watched as she thought about nothing, watching the water kissing her feet as reverantly as the galaxy smiled down on her. He sucked in a breath and gripped her hand a little tighter. She smiled and turned to him. "I have a week's leave." He whispered and in an instant her eyes widened just a little and he pictured a billion little nanites wrapping warming blankets around her heart.
"John," She gasped but nothing else slipped past her lips.
"She knows me. I could speak to her, I could," She silenced him with a finger against his lips, leaning against his side as she wrapped herself around his arm, resting her head against his shoulder.
"Please tell her than I'm happy." She whispered, closing her eyes as she breathed in him, instead of the ocean.
"I'll tell her that you're safe," He grinned, kissing the top of her head as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her tighter against him. "I'll tell her that you're loved."