Title: A Very Special Christmas
Summary: "And this Christmas will be/A very special Christmas for me" (This Christmas)
Pairing (and alternate pairings, if there are any): John/Elizabeth
Genre: romance, some tiny little bit of angst
Beta reader: lj user=csiangel
Author's notes: Written for this year's SparkySanta for krisrussel! Happy Holidays!
He knew that it was going to be a very special Christmas for him. For them. She didn't know it yet, but she would soon.
She might not be a big fan of surprises, what with the Wraith coming unannounced, but this time, it was going to be different. She would like this surprise, or at least, he hoped she would. He had everything planned; he triple checked every single detail to be sure that everything would go as planned. He even made his team aware of what was going on so that they could help him and prevent anything unplanned from happening. Of course, some had to make it known that they had more important things to do than to play a small part in his scheme, but in the end, his whole team was going to help him make this Christmas special. Very special.
Now, he just had to wait for Christmas to come. He still had a little more than a month to go. So, he might have planned everything a bit early, especially given the way they were living, but at least, he wouldn't have to rush things at the last minute, and she wouldn't get suspicious.
One more month, that was the time he had to wait until his plan went into motion. And after that... After that, he really hoped that she would like his surprise.
John was running into the forest, Rodney just in front of him. He could see Teyla ahead of them, and hear Ronon running behind him.
Things really didn't go as he had planned. It was Christmas' Eve and he was off-world, running for his life. If things had gone as planned, he would already have been back on Atlantis since the day before, and he would be getting ready for his surprise. He should have told Elizabeth that his team would go to this planet after Christmas, he really should have. But as it was explained by Rodney during the briefing, it was supposed to be a peaceful, uninhabited planet. It should have been a matter of three hours, four at the most; Rodney had just asked to check some Ancient ruins in case they could be helpful.
He wondered for a second if he should kill Rodney now, or wait until they were back home.
Because of course, if this planet had been peaceful and uninhabited for the first couple of hours after their arrival, it wasn't anymore. Soon, they found themselves hiding from a group of rogue Genii. At first, he had thought they were part of Ladon's Genii, but soon after, he had recognized some of the men who had been working with Kolya when he was captured. This was when John had cursed the fact that a forest prevented them from taking a Jumper through the Gate. They hadn't managed to go back to the Gate the first day, deciding to spend the night in a cave they had found. And now, of course, on the second day, the Genii had found them, and were currently pursuing them through the forest. They were just a few hundred meters away from the Gate, and hoped that they hadn't left some men to keep guard on it. If they had, John knew they were screwed.
"McKay, I swear...," John wheezed out as he ran behind the scientist.
"Not my fault!"
"Now's not the time for that," Teyla reminded them from where she was ahead of them, and even with her back turned to them, John could swear she was rolling her eyes.
She was right of course, he knew that, but he had just wanted to remind Rodney that he could hurt him, badly if he wanted too.
When he finally saw the Gate ahead of them, John let out a sigh of relief. But as Teyla suddenly stopped and dropped to her knees, he knew it wouldn't be as easy as he hoped. As he came to a stop beside her, he saw that half a dozen men were guarding the Gate. Definitely not easy. The Genii who were pursuing them weren't so far behind them, so they'd have to act fast if they wanted a chance to get out of here.
Taking out the zat that came as an early present from General O'Neill, he nodded to the rest of his team to do the same. He didn't want to kill these men if he didn't have to. He gestured to Rodney to stay put until it was safe, while he, Teyla and Ronon, took care of the Genii, hoping that they still had time before the other Genii caught up on them.
Getting rid of the six Genii was easy enough, and he motioned Rodney to join them as Teyla dialled the Gate and sent their IDC in. The Gate had just opened when they heard footsteps right behind them.
"Teyla, Ronon, go!" he shouted to them as they were closer to the Gate. "Let's go, McKay."
He grabbed the man by the shoulder, and pushed him ahead of him, not losing any time into turning to check on the Genii. But as he felt a searing pain into his left arm, he cursed himself and Rodney for good measure, before stumbling through the Gate.
Elizabeth had felt relieved when Chuck told her they had received Teyla's IDC. The team had left for a mission the day before, and when they hadn't come back on the appointed time, she had opened the Gate and had tried to contact them, but the radio had stayed silent. She had wanted to send a team through, but just as she was about to do it, an incoming wormhole changed everything; it had been Kolya, informing her that he had captured the team. He had been kind enough, Elizabeth had all but snorted at that, to give her until the morning for her to reach a decision: to surrender Atlantis to him, or to let the team die at his hands.
And now, the team was coming back. She guessed they had somehow managed to escape the clutches of Kolya and his men.
She watched them stumbling one by one through the Gate, Teyla, then Ronon, and Rodney, and finally John who shouted at Chuck to raise the shield. She heard the sound of an impact against the shield, and closed her eyes.
"What happened?" she asked, already coming down the stairs to greet them. "Kolya said he had you captured."
"Not even close," Ronon smirked, getting rid of some leaves that had somehow made their way into his hair.
"Sorry for being late," John said.
He was opening his mouth to explain what happened, when Elizabeth spotted blood on his jacket.
"John, you're bleeding!" she exclaimed, before turning towards Chuck. "We need a med team!"
"It's nothing...," John tried to brush it off, moving his arm to prove it, but he stopped and winced at the pain that caused. "Ok, maybe not nothing."
"Let Carson be the judge of that, ok?" she replied, putting a comforting hand on his good arm. "So what happened?"
Elizabeth listened as they told her exactly what occurred on the planet since they left the day before. She was relieved to find out that the Genii didn't get close enough to capture them, and couldn't help but wish she could see Kolya's face right now. She followed them to the infirmary, and waited as the nurses examined them, and Carson took care of John's arm.
"Sorry to have worried you again, Elizabeth," Teyla said, as she joined Elizabeth after her physical was done.
"It's ok. I'm just glad that you're fine. Well, mostly fine," she added, thinking about John's arm.
"He's going to be ok," Carson said, having heard what she just said to Teyla. "The bullet didn't do any damages to the muscles and bones. eHedjziukdjksjdHe'll need to wear a sling for at least a few days, to help heal the wound."
"Thank you," Elizabeth replied, as she saw John walking towards them, a smile on his face and his left arm in a sling.
"Now, I'd recommend you all get a good rest. Including you, Elizabeth," he said, giving her pointed look. As she was about to protest, he raised a hand. "I know you haven't slept last night, so you either take the rest of the day off, or I'll keep you in here and sedate you."
"I see I don't really have a choice, there."
Sending him a mock-glare, she left the infirmary with John and Teyla in tow, Rodney and Ronon already being in the mess hall, probably eating their way through the supplies. Teyla soon left them alone to join the other two men.
"You're not hungry?" Elizabeth asked, surprised when John stayed with her.
"Not right now, maybe later. So, yours or mine?"
"My quarters or yours?" he clarified, bumping his good arm against hers.
"Carson said you had to rest..."
"Who said anything about not resting?" John replied, with a smirk. "Come on, Elizabeth, I know you can't keep your hands off my body, but I'm a man, and I need to rest sometimes."
Elizabeth blushed beet red at his words, and looked all around her to make sure that no one had heard her. Their relationship might not be a secret, but that didn't mean she wanted everyone to overhear them talking about it.
"John...," she warned him, through gritted teeth, before answering his question. "Let's go to yours. They're closer."
He was actually wishing that she chose his quarters, as his surprise was set there. At least, he hadn't completely messed it up. Christmas was still a day away, and he would set his plan into motion in a few.
Opening the door, he followed her inside, and watched for her reactions. And it came pretty quickly. He watched her open and close her mouth a few times, clearly at a loss for words.
"What...? But how?" she finally asked, turning towards him.
"I actually had help from Colonel Caldwell and General O'Neill," he started to explain. "The Daedalus transported the tree and the boxes directly to my room, without you knowing. And yes, before you asked, some of those boxes are your Christmas decorations that your mother kept for you, and the other part are mine. And as for how, I just wrote to my brother, and your mother, explaining what I wanted to do, and saying that someone would come and get them for me."
"That was why you wanted us to go to my quarters since the Daedalus came."
"I wanted to keep it a secret until tonight. But the mission going wrong kind of screwed it all up."
"So, shall we decorate it now?" she asked, and he thought that as a young girl, Elizabeth must have been pretty impatient around Christmas time.
"Well, Carson said we had to rest. Come on," he said, grabbing her hand and walking towards the bed. "The tree will still be here, and we'll have plenty of time to decorate it after dinner. It'll still be Christmas Eve."
He pulled her down on the bed with him, and she settled against him, her head resting on his shoulder, and an arm draped across his chest. Dropping a kiss on her head, he closed his eyes, still too wired up to sleep, but glad to be home.
He guessed he did fall asleep in the end, as he woke up to Elizabeth's lips on his neck, kissing and nipping every little bit of skin she could find here.
"I wouldn't mind waking up that way every day," he whispered, not wanting to break the mood.
He opened his eyes just in time to see Elizabeth's face closing in on his. They shared a slow, almost lazy, kiss, before she pulled away to look at him.
"Did you sleep at all?"
"A little," she answered, before reclaiming his lips for a short kiss. "Should we decorate the tree, now?"
"Oh, you must have made your parents crazy during Christmas when you were a kid."
"Maybe...," she said with a mischievous smile. "So, tree?"
"Dinner, first. We have to keep our strength up. There are plenty of decorations to put up."
"Fine," she finally agreed, knowing that she wouldn't have the last word on this.
"Great. Stay here," he replied, pecking her lips and getting up from the bed.
Before she could do anything else, he was already gone, leaving her alone in his quarters. Rolling her eyes, she got up from the bed, and went to sit on the floor besides the boxes of Christmas decorations. He might have said that they couldn't start, but it didn't mean that she couldn't check what was in there. She resisted the urge to open his boxes, and settled for opening hers.
She was looking at a wooden ornament her father made for her when she was six, when the door opened behind her. Getting up from the floor, and turning around to greet John, she was surprised to see Teyla, Ronon and Rodney following him through the door, each carrying a tray.
"What's going on?"
"Well, if Carson saw me carrying all this, he wouldn't have been too happy with me. So, I enlisted the team's help."
"Good evening, Elizabeth," Teyla said, putting the tray she had been carrying on the table John was using as his desk.
"But what's all this?"
"This is our dinner," John replied, encircling her waist with his good arm, and pressing a kiss on her forehead.
"You're not staying?" she asked, surprised when she saw her friends ready to leave. "I thought..."
"We will be with you tomorrow to celebrate this Earth tradition," Teyla reassured her. "But for tonight, I believe that John had something else in mind."
Smiling at her friends, she watched them leave, then turned to John, a questioning look on her face.
"I thought we could have a nice, quiet, romantic Christmas Eve just for ourselves, before joining the crowds tomorrow."
"Phoebus was right. You are a hopeless romantic," she replied, kissing him.
"Well, you better not tell the Marines about it," he warned her, knowing that if they got wind of it, he'd never live it down. "Now, let's have our own private Christmas."
Releasing her, he motioned for her to stay right where she was, and set some cushions in a circle on the floor, before putting the trays in the middle of it. Taking Elizabeth's hand, they sat side by side on the cushions, and one by one he revealed each and every dish that he had brought for them.
"This looks and smells great. Just how long have you been preparing for all this?"
"A few weeks. It's our first Christmas together, I wanted it to be special."
"And it is. Thank you, John," she whispered against his lips before kissing him. "Let's start, I'm starving."
"I bet you ate even less than you slept while I've been gone," he replied, tenderly stroking her jaw.
"Guilty as charged."
"I'm sorry for having worried you, Elizabeth."
"It's not your fault. Let's not think about it right now. Let's just enjoy the fact that you're back."
"I'm completely full," Elizabeth said, falling onto her back. "I think that if I eat just one more thing, I'm going to explode."
"Oh, we can't have that, can we?" John said, stretching out beside her. "Death by stomach explosion...," he mused out loud. "Nope, I don't think that'll look too good on a report."
She couldn't help but laugh heartily at his comment. She sobered quickly when he captured her lips in a passionate kiss, leaving her no doubt about his feelings for her. When he released her, she kept his face close to her with a hand on his cheek. With one look, she silently thanked him again for the present he was offering her.
"I believe we have a Christmas tree to decorate," John whispered so he wouldn't break the mood. "But are you up to it with all you ate?" he teased her, and she narrowed her eyes at him.
"Always when it comes to decorating for Christmas," she replied, dropping a quick kiss on his lips before crawling towards the boxes. "So, where do we start?"
"What were you holding when we came in earlier?" he asked, curious, as he noticed her look before.
"I was looking at this." She took out the ornament she had put back in the box when he arrived with the meal. "This star is worth nothing money wise, but it's still one of the things I treasure the most. My Dad carved it for my sixth birthday. Since then, it had always been on my Christmas tree."
"You miss him," John stated, recognizing the same look she always wore when she was looking at her Dad's watch.
"It's been ten years, but it feels like it just happened yesterday," she said, with tears in her voice. She let herself be hugged by John, and held on tightly, as if he were her lifeline. "Now's not the time to dwell on the past."
"You know you can talk to me."
"I know, and I already did." And she did. It had happened before they got together, John had asked an innocent question about the watch, and the flood gates had opened. She still didn't know what had compelled her into telling him everything, but she did, and she didn't regret it. He had been there for her at the time, and he still was. "There's no need to talk about it tonight," she reassured him with a kiss.
"Ok. I want to show you something," he said, reaching for one of his boxes. He rummaged through it for a moment, mumbling under his breath, before he finally turned towards Elizabeth and handed her a crystal snowflake. "Dave and I each got one for our first Christmas. When I left home, my Mom put it in my bag, without me knowing. I guess she wanted me to have a piece of home with me wherever I was." He paused, licking his lips, and Elizabeth put her head on his shoulder, understanding how he felt. "We should put them on the tree side by side."
"What?" she asked, surprised at his change of conversation.
"We should put your star and my snowflake on the tree side by side," he repeated, and clarified what he meant. "Front and center."
"They don't go together," Elizabeth replied, looking at her wooden star and the crystal snowflake.
"We don't look like we go together, but still we do. This is the same for those ornaments. They don't look like they go together. But they do. They both mean that people loved us enough to give us these presents." He paused after that, looking at her, and wanting to make sure she understood every word he said. "Shall we?"
She finally nodded in agreement, and rising to their feet, they went to the tree, and hung the ornaments close to one another.
"There, see, they look perfect together," John said, kissing the side of her head, and pulling her against him. "We still have a lot to do," he continued, taking her hand, and taking her back towards the boxes.
"I think Christmas somehow exploded in your quarters," Elizabeth stated, looking all around them.
Not a single decoration was left in the boxes. Everything had been put up on the tree, or somewhere else in the room.
"We could have kept some for mine," she mused out loud. "I'll go back to my plain, usual quarters, while you'll live in here for the next few days."
"You could stay," John offered, and she turned towards him with a questioning look on her face. "You could spend the next few days here with me. And you could also stay after the Holidays are over..."
"John...?" she started, but he interrupted her by wrapping his arms around her waist.
"Move in with me?"
"I've never been more. So? What do you say?"
"Well, your quarters could definitely do with a feminine touch," she said, in lieu of an answer, before kissing him deeply. "Next year, we'll make sure that the whole City celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and whatever other holiday exists in this time of the year on Earth," she decided, between two kisses. "But I'm glad we had our own little private celebration this year. Merry Christmas, John."
"Merry Christmas, 'Lizbeth," he replied, kissing her once more, and pulling her towards the bed.