A/N: This story is a birthday gift for my friend Shadows-of-Realm, who has be invaluable in letting me bounce ideas of him, betaing my works and just being you. I couldn't very well ask you to beta your own birthday gift. I hope you enjoy this piece and enjoy your day.
Spoliers: Takes place in some AU where Elizabeth did not die. Timeline is some time after Season 5 ended.
Just Another Day in Pegasus
Just Another Day in Pegasus
Elizabeth stood with her back against the wall, watching the pair of battle battered jumpers limp their way back to the city. The transmissions from the teams were garbled and only one thing was clear, everyone was returning injured. To what degree the base commander did not know. At least two people had to be well enough to fly the jumpers. Of course, she was worried about all her people, but there would always be one in particular that Elizabeth would worry about more than the rest. As soon as the jumpers disappeared into the city, the anxious woman ran as fast as her legs would allow toward the jumper bay.
The full medical staff was in the jumper bay when the injured were unloaded and it was worse than anyone could have imagined. Only one out of twenty were able to walk out of the jumpers without any assistance. It was a small relief to the worried leader that John had suffered the least severe injury of them all: a through and through gunshot wound to the shoulder.
Elizabeth wanted nothing more to throw her arms around John and hold him, thankful that he was all right. It was no secret that the two were an item, but they were careful not to flaunt their relationship in public. Sheets laid over four bodies gave a further grim picture of what transpired. "What happened, John?" she tried to comfort the obviously stunned man.
John shook his head and bit his lip to control the frustration and anger that would come in the form of excessive yelling obscenities and throwing anything the Colonel could get his hands on. "It was a fucking setup. That no good Ladon has been working with the Lucian Alliance. They didn't stand a chance. None of us did," he barely held onto control.
"Who did we lose?" Elizabeth asked as she watched him shake Jennifer off as she tried to examine his shoulder.
"I don't need to be looked at," he snapped at the young doctor, whose hands were shaking. John knew she had to be worried about Rodney and rightfully so. The last he had seen the Canadian there had been copious amounts of blood oozing from a serious head wound and he was deathly pale from the blood loss. "Stackhouse, Teldy, Kavanagh..." John paused, unable to speak the last of the fallen. He thought if he spoke it, that it would become real.
She knew there were only a handful of people that would get John this upset. She knew it had to be someone on his team. Elizabeth did not care about what people would think and hugged her man, being mindful of his shoulder wound. "Who was it?" she wanted to do anything to ease his obvious pain and shock. A response was not needed when the woman saw Teyla being helped into a wheelchair by one of the nurses and heard Jennifer yelling at Rodney to open his eyes. "That shoulder needs to be looked at and that's an order." Elizabeth took the stubborn man by his good arm and pulled him to get moving. She hated to pull rank when it came to their relationship, but this was a rare moment where it needed to be done.
It was several hours later when the couple returned to their quarters, mostly at Elizabeth's urging. "It doesn't seem right. I should be there with the rest of them." John had been the only one released from the infirmary with stitches in his shoulder, a sling and medication for the pain and to prevent infection.
The quiet woman ran her hands up his back, being mindful of the wound, "What good will you be to them if you overexert yourself?"
"Ronon is gone and it's not looking good for Rodney. I should be there for him," he said with the stubborn Sheppard streak.
"Rodney is in good hands. Jennifer will make sure he is okay," Elizabeth tried to reassure her fiancé. That little known fact was only known to two other people and she suspected that there had been a bet involved between John and Rodney. It was one of the men's bets that she was glad John had won. The ring was simple, but elegant; a family heirloom hidden on a chain inside her shirt. The only time she wore the ring was these moments alone as they had both agreed that they were not ready to announce their engagement to the general population.
John was not one to brood, but this last battle hit much closer to his heart than ones in the past. One friend dead and another on the brink. He looked over at the one shinning beacon in all the craziness and let the faintest of smiles crack his weary face. "After six years you think I would get use to this," his composure faulted for a split second.
"You never get used to this. You wouldn't be human if you did," she knew had this had to be killing him on the inside with as close as John was to the two men. "I don't need to remind you that I am here for you, do I?" Elizabeth reached up to frame his face with her hands.
"That is the only thing I am sure about," the torn man rested his forehead against hers, as to draw from the strength that she always seemed to radiate. "I love you," John captured Elizabeth's lips with his, the need to feel something other than the emptiness that threatened to consume him.
She let him take the lead until she nearly tumbled over the coffee table, taking him with her. "Your shoulder," Elizabeth gently reminded him. There had been nothing tender about that kiss as it had been almost animalistic in nature. She knew John had been trying to fill a void and had she let the kiss progress any further the stitches in John's shoulder would have torn. "Come with me," she tenderly took his hand and tugged the man toward the bathroom.
John let himself be lead to the bathroom where the couple spent the next half hour in the bath without a word uttered between them. There comes a point in a relationship when you are so in tune with your other half that words do not need to be spoken. A whole conversation could be had with a touch here and there and the subtle changes of facial expressions. Only two people bonded by body and soul could communicate on such an intimate level.
Without saying anything, John was saying a lot. He was saying that he needed his rock, his friend, his lover, his heart. The strong could only take so much and hold on for so long. The strong did not need to be strong in private.
Elizabeth knew John hung a lot of the responsibility for the safety of the off-world teams on himself and when things went wrong he blamed himself. "He's going to be okay," she hoped to get through to him. Her arms went around the man's waist and her head rested on the uninjured shoulder.
John cocked a grin, "Of course he will. I owe him fifty dollars. Rodney is not going to let me get away with that." An unsure sighed escaped his lips. "What would I ever do without you?"
"Probably be blaming yourself for what happened, but good thing for you I'm here to tell you otherwise," she took a deep breath and nuzzled her face against John's neck. "This is not your fault, John. There was no way for you to know about Ladon."
Sheppard closed his eyes as if somehow that when Elizabeth spoke those words he felt it to be true. "I think I'll keep you around for a while," he tried to crack a joke.
"Funny. That is what I thought giving me a ring was about."
"Ah, good point," John looked for a distraction from the dark thoughts swirling in his brain. "How about you tell me your plans for our wedding?"
Elizabeth knew he was reaching for a distraction and with this topic, she was more than happy to oblige. "Come lay down with me," she nudged him to lie down and once they were both comfortable, she started to play with his hair. "It goes something like this..."
The sun was just starting to set over the highest towers, but the city was already bustling with excitement over the momentous evening. The West Pier was decorated with various white and yellow flowers from the mainland and three hundred chairs lined the expansive space.
"Wait? What? Three hundred people? Isn't that a bit much?" John's eyes flew open at the sheer number of people.
"That is for almost the two hundred on the base and then some people from Earth," Elizabeth said with smirk. "I thought this was my story I am telling."
"It is, but three hundred people?" his voice was a little uncertain.
"Just a preliminary number. We can discuss real numbers when we set a date. Can I get back to my story now?" she nipped at John's earlobe.
John started to turn red as he tried not to laugh, "By all means, please continue."
It was only an hour until the ceremony was set to begin and everything was quiet, no trouble on the horizon for once. The Apollo was in orbit above the planet to make sure nothing would ruin the happy day. The bride was in her quarters and getting dressed with the help of her maid of honor, who hoped her wedding would be next. Elizabeth was nervous and excited to embark on the next stage of her life, "It will be your turn next."
Jennifer shook her head as she tied the bodice of the bride's gown, "Hopefully, today will give him some ideas." The younger woman smiled as she finished, "You look beautiful." Her hands squeezed Elizabeth's bare shoulders.
"Thank you," the bride to be smiled as she looked at herself in the mirror. Her hands started to shake as the reality in that little over an hour she would be married to the love of her life. "This is really happening, isn't it?"
"Yes," the doctor was on cloud nine for her friend. "Did you decide on a honeymoon?"
Elizabeth frowned, "We didn't think it would be smart to leave Rodney in charge for a month." She saw the look on Jennifer's face. "I'm joking. John wanted me to say that. Sorry, just wanted to indulge him. I know. I'm starting to be as bad as him. Really, we just wanted to wait until a better time."
"Who needs kids when we both have grown ones to take care of?" Jennifer laughed.
"They are really bad sometimes, aren't they?
"No need to tell me, but they are funny at times," the maid of honor started to put small red flowers into Elizabeth's hair. "All done," Jennifer was pleased with the job she had done. "Ready to get married?"
"More than ever," Elizabeth smoothed out the imaginary wrinkles in her dress. She felt her stomach churning and ignored the urge to vomit.
Thirty minutes later Elizabeth was walking down being escorted by Chuck.
"Chuck? Seriously?" John was stunned by her choice of an escort.
"I thought this was my story," Elizabeth used a kiss to silence the man.
"If that is your technique to silence me, I might need to interrupt more," he let a genuine smile breakout on his face.
The woman simply shook her head and picked up where she left off.
John elbowed his best man who he could hear fidgeting nervously next to him. "You aren't the one getting married today. Relax, McKay," the groom's attention was solely on the beautiful sight before him.
The bride's face lit up at the sight of the man made more handsome by his Mess Dress. Elizabeth's eyes focused on John until she was standing next to her groom. The couple of hundred people at the ceremony did not exist for her. This was to be their special moment in time.
The ceremony continued until it came time for the vows. John not being one for tradition pushed to write their own vows. Elizabeth would never vocalize it, but writing her own vows was important to her. It meant more to speak from her heart than to recite vows that were part of some script.
"That is where the story ends," Elizabeth said with a coy smile.
"Why there?"John pouted. "I was enjoying the story."
"I don't want to ruin the surprise. You are just going to have to wait for the real thing."
"You are a wicked woman. A very wicked woman," he laughed as he cupped the woman's face.
"I picked up a thing or two from you," she drew John in for a kiss. "Everything is going to be okay," Elizabeth said as if it were the only truth she knew.
"I believe you," John spoke the words, but he was not sure if he believed them.
TBC: McKeller Piece up next