Title: New Beginning
Category: friendship/UST, a bit of angst.
Summary: He would always remember the first time he met her; the day his whole life changed.
Spoilers: Lifeline (4-02)
Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don't earn any money; I just do it for fun.
Author's Note: When I saw the prompt, the first line that came to my mind is actually the last line of this fic. The rest of the fic isn't what I intended to do at first, especially since I stick with the canon, and they are just friends. But I still like it that way. Written for writers30days in April.
He would always remember the first time he met her; the day his whole life changed.
After he got up from the chair, he followed her into the room that she shared with Daniel Jackson when both were at the outpost. It was there that she gave him a more detailed speech on the Stargate and what they were doing here, and made him an offer to join the expedition she hoped to lead to the lost City of Atlantis.
He didn't give her a definite answer immediately because it frightened him; not the whole prospect of being stuck forever in a different Galaxy, but the fact that he was ready to give up everything else to be able to take part in this adventure. He had never wanted something so much in his whole life.
She was offering him a new beginning, a chance to start over and not mess it up this time. He would be crazy not to accept it.
And so he did.
When she came back to McMurdo, he had already told General O'Neill that he would go, but he thought he should go and tell her too, as she was the one who offered him the job in the first place. As soon as he was off-duty, he went to the quarters she had been given and knocked on her door.
"Major Sheppard," she said, as she opened the door. "How can I help you?"
He could see by the look she was giving him that General O'Neill had already informed her of his decision, and that she was waiting to see if he was having second thoughts. But there was no chance he would change his mind.
"I've come to tell you in person that I accepted your offer."
"I'm glad to hear that. Do you want to come in? I'm sure you still have hundreds of questions about what's going to happen."
As a matter of fact, he did, and stepped inside her quarters. He took some time to look around, but nothing indicated that someone, much less a woman, lived in here. Even his own quarters felt homier than hers, but he guessed that was understandable when you spent most of your time at an outpost in the middle of nowhere.
"I can't promise you I'll be able to answer each and every question you have, as I'm quite new to all this myself, but I'll try."
"How did a diplomat like you, who brokered dozens of treaties, end up in all this?" he asked, and he saw that he surprised her. "You know who I am, you've read my file. It's only fair I tried and got some information about you. I like to know who I'm working with, or for, in this case, as you're going to be my boss."
She smiled in answer, and started telling him about her meeting with President Hayes, and everything that resulted from it. He wasn't sure he would have been able to face it all at once had he been in her place. But he guessed that in a way, he was, now.
They had both been sucked into a world that wasn't made for them, and while he was still trying to find his footing, she was pulling through quite well. He hoped that once he got more experience with all this, he would be able to say the same about himself.
He kept asking questions about the outpost and the Ancients, wanting to familiarize himself with a world that would soon be his. She answered all of his questions, never once giving him the impression that he was annoying her.
"Would you teach me to read Ancient someday? I think it would come in handy in a City like Atlantis."
"It'll be my pleasure."
"Can I ask you one last question?" he asked, and when she nodded, he continued. "Why do you trust me? I mean, you've read my file, you've seen the black mark."
"I've come to learn in my short time as the leader of the SGC that you don't leave people behind. I don't think I'm mistaken when I say that it's what you believe in, too," she said, and he shook his head to tell her that she was right. "I could definitely use more men like you in my expedition. I don't care about your past record. What I need to know is this: will you follow me?"
"To Hell and back," he answered without a second of hesitation.
"General O'Neill went there and told me it's overrated," she replied, and he wasn't sure it was a joke.
"Would you like to have dinner with me?" he asked, changing the topic of conversation. When he saw the look she was sending him, he realized how he had phrased it, and tried to correct himself. "I mean, it's dinnertime, and if you haven't eaten, yet… Well, of course you haven't eaten yet. We've been sitting here for two hours… But it's not like I was asking you out on a date. I'm not that stupid. No, wait, that didn't come out right. What I mean is that you're going be my boss, and it's not a good idea that…" He stopped once more, sighed, and sent her a pleading look. "Help me out here?"
"If you keep digging, you'll soon reach the center of the Earth," she said, and he could hear the laughter in her voice; she wasn't mad at him. "I'll be happy to share a table with you in the mess hall."
"Thank you," he replied, relieved that she understood what he meant. "I'm really not good with words."
"Well, I'm quite good with them, so that should even things out perfectly."
"Yeah… Shall we?" he asked, gesturing to the door.
She smiled at him, and he opened the door for her, and waited until she locked it. They walked side by side in the hallways leading to the mess hall, a comfortable silence falling around them.
He was happy to have accepted her offer; they would work well together, of that he was sure. They could even become friends if he was lucky.
As he sat up in the Ancient Chair, he couldn't help remembering the first time he sat down in one of them. Everything was different now, though. Elizabeth wouldn't come running towards him anymore; she was gone. She had trusted him with her life, she had followed him, and he had left her in what would become her personal Hell.
He had left her behind when one of the reasons she asked him to follow her to Atlantis was because he refused to leave anyone behind.
He would give everything for a new beginning, a chance to start over and not mess it up this time.