Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate: Atlantis (or any places, things, ideas, or characters therein), and am not claiming said ownership. If I did, however, own Atlantis, believe me, you'd know it. Ronon and Teyla would be long and happily married with half a dozen kids, a dog, and no annoying TPTB to get in the way. I wrote this story for entertainment purposes only, not monetary gain or profit.
Summary: A romantic table for two in one of the most beautiful, exotic locations in the world, and a personal, guided tour by a man who knows all its secrets. . . An insert into my "Empire" universe. JohnElizabeth
Warnings: Some fluff.
Spoilers: Very slight ones for my fic Empire, but I think this fic could probably stand on its own. Maybe.
Title: Table for Two
Dedication: To Mama Jo, my dear mother, friend, and beta. May this birthday be filled with fun, laughs, love, and of course good presents! LOL
Author's Note: Today is Mama Jo's birthday, and she demanded I write her a Sparky fic, so this was born. This is a missing scene of sorts from my fic Empire – a dinner scene between John and Elizabeth in one of the more premier restaurants in the beautiful setting of Egypt at sunset. I couldn't find a way to work it into my fic, unfortunately, though Mama Jo did request it – so I thought I'd write it as a separate little story for her birthday fic. I hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading! ~fyd
Table for Two
Table for Two
In all her years, Dr. Elizabeth Weir, archeologist, had never been anywhere like Egypt. Though she'd spent years in her beloved Crete, then Santorini, both of which had a unique and fabulous beauty of their own, she had to credit Egypt for its own mystic blend of myth and splendor. She'd considered herself lucky enough when she found America's premier Egyptologist to help her on her quest for Atlantis – but finding another expert on Egypt was beyond her wildest dreams.
Lt. Col. John Sheppard (retired due to injury) seemed determined to sweep her off her feet. After her experience at Abdullah's (Middle Eastern folk dancing was fun, but not quite her forte), she was sure the man wouldn't even look at her again, let alone ask her out. Yet here they were, lounging on the balcony of a beautiful restaurant overlooking the sunset-bathed Nile. It was almost enough to blow her mind. The only thing better would be if they were dining on a balcony of Atlantis herself.
Sheppard certainly seemed to be a connoisseur – of exquisite wine, at least. Elizabeth sipped, enjoying the happy buzz at the back of her mind as she took a break from life in general, archeology in particular. Though her work was her passion, a little break now and then never hurt. Especially when she had the wonderful company of a very handsome and splendidly funny man.
After John ordered for them both (she had a feeling he ordered in Arabic just to impress her, particularly since their waiter seemed to speak impeccable English), he leaned on the table and smiled at her. "How are you enjoying your time in Egypt?"
Elizabeth tucked her hair behind her ear, enjoying the cool breeze sweeping off the Nile. "It's fabulous," she sighed. She sipped some more wine. "While Crete and Santorini will always be my archeological homes, I must admit Egypt is fast becoming my third favorite."
John laughed. "It certainly has a draw," he said wryly. "You may take someone out of Egypt – but Egypt never leaves them. There's just something about this place – something that draws you in, lures you into loving it, so you'll never let go. . ." He trailed off and shook his head. "Sorry. Growing up here is something else. You think you love Egypt now – you should have spent a vast chunk of your life here, like Teyla and me. It's something else."
"I can imagine." Leaning back in her seat, Elizabeth puffed out a contented breath and decided she could get used to this life. She'd only dated once in the past ten years; she'd known for sure when she was doing so that Simon Wallace was not the man for her. Idly she wondered if John had ever had anyone in his life before – but that was certainly not first date (perhaps only date? She found she didn't like that thought) conversation. "Teyla said you and she got into some interesting scrapes over the years."
John immediately began to chuckle, drawing momentary attention from the diners around them. He had a nice laugh, Elizabeth noted somewhat dreamily. (It had to be the wine, she decided). "Don't remind me. While we never actually wound up in prison, or even in trouble with the law per se, we were certainly in hot water with our parents a lot. Even after my family and Teyla's went their own ways excavation wise, Teyla and I still managed to meet up and cause a little hoopla every now and then." His eyes sparkled, and Elizabeth felt her chest warm. Was her heart beating faster than normal? She couldn't tell. John's voice drew her attention back to his words. "I wish you could've been there, 'Lizabeth. We raised quite the hullabaloo in our time."
Elizabeth found the use of the old-fashioned word endearing. She might have wound up an archeologist, but she loved language, as well. "I wish I could have been there, too," she said wistfully. It wasn't just because her own childhood had been less than pleasant. She wanted to delve into John's memories and become a part of them because, knowing Teyla and John now, she wished she could have joined in their fun then. "It sounds quite devious – but a lot of fun."
"It was, it was." John drank a bit of his own wine, his eyes steadily meeting hers over the rim. "So," he said casually as he set his glass down, "what about you? Did you ever raise some ruckus on Crete? Or even Santorini?"
Chuckling dryly, Elizabeth resisted the urge to sip at her own wine again. She'd better save it for when the meal came – she didn't want to get too drunk too fast. "No. I didn't even get to the other side of the world until I was in my twenties." Now she knew her tone was wistful. Could she be blamed? "I saved up for many years to finance my own digs. In fact, it started with a piggy bank when I was four. I don't think I knew, at the time, what I was saving up for. But once I grew older, and was introduced to the splendor and mystery of Atlantis, I knew I had to look for it. I spent my teenage years researching everything I could get my hands on about Atlantis – possible locations, culture and myth, things like that – while at the same time going to school and working a job to support my—" she hesitated for a fraction of a second, unsure if she should say the word she wanted to or not "—obsession."
John stared at her with wide, fascinated eyes. He seemed to be eagerly drinking in her story. "Wow," he said. "You're quite a woman."
Elizabeth felt a blush warm her cheeks. Throwing her good intentions to the wind, she hid behind her wine glass as she gulped the rest of the beautiful red liquid down. "Thank you," she said. She was saved from further comment by the arrival of their meal. For a while they both concentrated on their food, content to enjoy companionable silence as they watched the sun retire for the night.
After the meal, they indulged in Turkish coffee. "This has been a wonderful evening," Elizabeth said satisfactorily. She spun her half-empty cup in her hands, watching the remaining liquid slosh around inside. "I don't want it to end," she added, somewhat reluctantly.
John looked at her sheepishly. "I was thinking the same thing," he said. "How about a stroll through the marketplace? I'm sure a lot of the carts are still open despite the hour."
After the meal was paid for, they did just that. Arm in arm, they wandered the suk, laughing as they aimlessly wandered and talked. Occasionally they'd stop before a cart to browse – they each wound up buying a few trinkets. Another lure of Egypt, Elizabeth thought wryly as she tucked the little (replica) gold statuettes of King Tut and his beautiful young queen into her shoulder bag. (It somehow felt trite, like she should have bought the statuette of Rameses II instead, but she felt her trip to Egypt would be incomplete without some memento of Egypt's most famous king to take home with her.) John pocketed his scarab, mumbling something about it coming in handy later. For what, Elizabeth couldn't imagine. She supposed it was an Egyptologist thing.
At that moment, their imminent excavation of the Valley of the Kings, and all other things archeologically related, seemed so far away as to be nonexistent. Right now she was a normal woman on the arm of a normal man, enjoying a stroll through the Egyptian marketplace. It felt like another stop on a long, luxurious, lazy vacation.
It felt wonderful.
They wound up taking a felucca ride on the Nile. Elizabeth leaned against John's side as he put his arm around her to shield her from the cool night air. The whole night seemed like a dream, the culmination of all her secret dreams into a real-life fairytale. She had a feeling it was neither the rocking of the boat nor the buzz from the wine that made her feel like she was floating in the clouds – especially not when John pecked her lips with a quick kiss.
Looking at her from beneath his lashes, he seemed to wait shyly for her response. Smiling widely, she returned the favor before resting her head on his shoulder, embarrassed. Had she been too forward?
No, she decided. The atmosphere between them was still warm and comfortable, maybe even a little more so than before. Egypt really was magical, she thought dreamily. Even the wildest wishes came true.
If she died tonight, she'd die a happy woman. Elizabeth sighed, tipping her head to smile up at John.
He smiled back as he leaned down to kiss her.