We Can't Keep Him

AN: Major Sheppard brings home an unexpected pet with an unusual talent. And Atlantis' gate technician learns of a possible origin of the name "Sparky"! Rated PG-13 or T for some really mild innuendo. Attempted humor.

~o~

"John, we can't keep him."

"Aw, c'mon Liz'beth. He saved my life. And look at that face. Isn't he adorable? Who can resist that face?"

Elizabeth was about to retort, but pulled up short as she fully digested his words. She looked Atlantis' military commander up and down. "And just how" She turned to appraise his fuzzy companion with just as much scrutiny. "did an 80 cm tall miniature horse save your life?"

Clearly insulted by the observation of his diminutive height, the little spitfire stamped his teacup-sized hoof on the floor in protest. He then took to wandering around her office. Sniffing things. Elizabeth didn't know if she liked that. John leapt to the animal's defense immediately. "Hey don't be fooled by his size. Little Sparky here can kick some serious drunk alien butt."

"Sparky?" Elizabeth raised an eyebrow. "You've named him?"

John shrugged noncommittally. "Seemed appropriate."

Sparky chose just that moment to live up to his name. His nosy exploration of Elizabeth's office led him to the torchiere lamp in the corner. The mischievous pony promptly knocked it over, and when the bulb hit the floor, sparks did indeed fly.

John grimaced, but decided the best course of action was to continue as if nothing happened. He kept talking in a totally smooth tone. "Yeah . . . he's really attracted to electricity for some reason."

As if to confirm John's observation, Sparky proceeded to dance a happy jig around the fallen lamp.

Elizabeth's only response was to just grit her teeth at both of them.

John sensed his battle to keep the little equine was quickly being lost. "Rodney thinks we can use him," he rushed "to sniff out leaks in the power distribution conduits in the uninhabited parts of the city."

Elizabeth's expression softened. Their efforts to reenergize parts of the city had been thwarted for years by some tiny elusive leaks buried somewhere in miles of Atlantis' conduits. "He can do that?"

John knew his argument had gained a foothold. He smiled charmingly as Elizabeth rose from her desk and circled around to face him. "He sure can! And 'cause he's so tiny, he can fit comfortably in some of the crawl spaces that . . . certain members of our engineering team have deemed unsafe."

Sparky had returned to John's side. Elizabeth crouched down to look the ball of mischievous fur in the eye. "And by 'certain members' you mean 'Rodney' and by 'unsafe' you mean said spaces trigger a bout of his claustrophobia?"

"Pretty much."

Elizabeth squinted her eyes at Sparky. The pony squinted right back. "How accurate is he?"

"Very accurate! It's eerie. Here, have Chuck cut the power to your office. I'll show you. He can sniff out anything that's carrying current. Even a . . ." John scanned the room. His eyes found just what he needed on Elizabeth's desk. "laptop battery." He pointed at her computer enthusiastically.

Elizabeth considered for a moment, then decided she had nothing to loose. She stood up and clicked her earpiece. "Chuck, this is Weir. Could you cut the power to my office please?"

The command caught Chuck just as he was taking his seat after returning from his lunch break. Dr. Weir's request was a little unusual. He shot a questioning look around the control room. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Had he missed something? "Is everything ok, Dr. Weir?" Chuck made eye contact with her from across the control deck through the glass walls of her office.

"Everything's fine. Major Sheppard and I are just performing a little experiment, I'll explain later." She nodded reassuringly across the distance at the technician.

"Ooooookaaaay . . ." Chuck mumbled under his breath. A push of a few buttons, and Chuck watched Major Sheppard, Dr. Weir, and her office, recede into darkness.

"Ok, Sheppard, lights are out. Let's see your little hairy friend in action."

"Just sit back and relax, Elizabeth. Let little Sparky here put on a show you won't soon forget."

A few moments of silence passed.

"So far, I'm not impressed."

"Ok, so it takes a minute for my little guy to get warmed up." John sounded hurt. "Come on buddy, you can do it. Show Elizabeth your stuff."

A moment later, Elizabeth hummed as if she were pleased.

"Ha! See! What did I tell you? He's getting close isn't he?"

"Wow. That's amazing, John."

"Told ya!"

"Eww, John! You didn't say that if we did this, my laptop would end up getting all sticky in the bargain."

And that did it for Chuck. He swatted fiercely at his earpiece, as if it were a poisonous bug about to lay eggs in his ear. After three tries he succeeded and sent the comm device flying across Lt. Cadman's workstation. She gave the earpiece a good, long, hard look and then decided Chuck deserved her best hooded glare. "What's wrong with you?" she demanded.

Chuck took a moment to catch his breath. "Well . . ." he swallowed hard as if it was difficult to get the words out, "for one, I now need brain bleach."

The Lieutenant wrinkled her upper lip in confusion. "Huh?"

"You know," Chuck looked her in the eye for a moment, then quickly looked away. "I'm not surprised to learn they are an item." Chuck gave a quick nod in the direction of Weir's office, then lowered his voice several notches. "But I really could have lived without the knowledge that Major Sheppard refers to his Little Buddy" the technician made exaggerated air quotes "as 'Sparky'." He shuddered, as if grossed out.

This didn't help Cadman's understanding of the situation. "What's wrong with that?" She lowered her tone to match Chuck's.

Chuck scoffed as if disbelieving of her nonchalance. He looked around to make sure the coast was clear. He forced out the words through gritted teeth, "Well, it's a sex organ, for one thing!"

The Lieutenant had leaned in closer to hear him, but that made her pull back. She whispered fiercely "Eww, they're using the pony for sex?"

It was Chuck's turn to look confused. "Pony? What pony?" His voice downgraded to an insistent hiss. "There's no pony!"

Cadman matched his insistence. "Yes there is! Sparky is the Major's pet pony."

"What?"

Just then Dr. Weir emerged from her office in full stride and with a big smile on her face. Sheppard was right behind, sporting a disturbing swagger. "Chuck!" There was a little too much glee in her voice for his taste. "Restore power to my office, please." As she rounded the corner in front of his desk, she shot over her shoulder, "Oh, and see if you can get someone from maintenance to clean the pony goo off my desk." Sheppard wagged his eyebrows suggestively at them as he passed by. He offered an unconvincing apology. "Sorry about that, sometimes Sparky gets a little over-enthusiastic."

Chuck and Laura turned to one another, each sharing a look of concern mixed with disgust. Dr. Weir's voice faded into the distance as the command duo walked away. "You could have warned me about all the licking . . ."

Just then, consoles throughout the control room began to flicker and sputter. Before the area went completely dark, Chuck caught a glimpse of a small silver pony trotting past his station. It seems the little thief had a power distribution control crystal in his mouth.

Chuck and Lt. Cadman sat side by side in the dark for a moment. He turned to her, considering his words carefully. "So . . . there is a pony."

"Yes . . . yes, there is. Apparently he has a penchant for electrical current."

"Ah." Chuck nodded with a newfound understanding. "And that's why they call him Sparky."

~o~

AN: Not my first story, but my very first John/Elizabeth/Atlantis fic!
All reviews welcome!