Title: What you gave me
Summary: Five gifts John offered Elizabeth
Spoilers: Before I sleep
Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don't earn any money; I just do it for fun.
Author's Note: The first part of that fic was easy, of course, but then, I wanted to add more, and I had fun trying to find the different gifts. Written for writers30days in April.
When he saw it, he immediately thought about her. Ever since he found out when her birthday was, not without some help as someone liked to remind him constantly, he was searching for something to give her.
He should have known it wouldn't be easy; he had never been good at finding gifts before, and being in the Pegasus galaxy, far away from any kind of mall, made him think it was just an impossible task for him. He still kept an eye out every time they were on an off-world market, but nothing caught his eye.
But then, he saw it.
It was simple, yet perfect, and he knew she would like it. He could already see it sitting on her desk, for everyone else to see. He was glad he accompanied Teyla on that visit to the Mainland, otherwise, he wouldn't have found it.
"I see you noticed our pottery," Halling said, as John kept looking at it.
"You made those?"
"Yes, the Athosian women are pretty skilled in this art."
"Do you think they would mind selling one of them to me?"
"Given everything you've done for our people, it would be an honour if you accepted them as a gift. You can take as many as you want."
"Just one. This one," he pointed to the one that caught his eye.
"Are you certain you don't want another one?"
"Yes. This one will be perfect."
He watched as Halling wrapped it up in a cloth for him, and took it carefully, hoping that no harm would come to it until he was able to offer it to Elizabeth as a birthday present.
Days later, he watched Elizabeth's face closely as she unwrapped the cloth and finally saw the pot. If he read her face well, he could already say that he was right and that the pot would find its way to her desk as soon as she was back inside.
She didn't know who had the idea of the Secret Santa, but she suspected that Chuck might have something to do with it.
Since they decided to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and every other winter festival members of the expedition might celebrate, many traditions had gone around the City, and Secret Santa had been one of them. She tried to beg off from participating, using her status of the leader as the reason, but it made the Gate technician even more adamant that she had to be part of it, if only to set the example.
When she drew Kavanagh's name, she really had to wonder if there was someone up there mad at her. This time, she tried to use her status to change the name, but Chuck would have none of it. As long as she didn't draw her own name, she couldn't get a second try.
She nearly pulled her hair out as she tried to find what she could offer him, preferably something which wouldn't give away her identity as his Secret Santa. She finally settled on a book that she thought he would appreciate; after all, its title was something he felt, he made it clear: When Smart People Work for Dumb Bosses: How to Survive in a Crazy and Dysfunctional Workplace. He would probably love it.
As she was searching for a present for Kavanagh, she barely spared a thought about who her Secret Santa could be.
When she found her present sitting on her desk on the day the celebrations would take place, she looked at it closely, as if there could be a clue about her Secret Santa. But there was nothing on the box. She resisted the urge to question the control room staff about who had been in her office before she came, but she knew it would be of no use; they knew how to keep secrets.
Instead, she opened the box to find at least two dozen chocolate bars, all from her favourite brand. She had to smile at that; her Secret Santa had given himself away with that. She had only told one person about her preference for that brand. She wanted to go and find him, to thank him for this present, but she knew that he would never admit that he was behind that present.
When they were caught under the mistletoe at the party that evening, she took advantage of their proximity after the kiss to whisper a thank you in his ear. She hadn't been sure though if she was thanking him for the present or for the kiss they had just shared. And from the look on his face, she could tell that he didn't know either.
It was her first birthday since they became a couple, and he knew he wanted to mark the occasion. It was only pure luck that they were back on Earth for meetings just days before her birthday, and that they had that day off before they were scheduled to return to Atlantis.
He booked a table at the best restaurant in Colorado Springs, strongly recommended by one Samantha Carter, and took the opportunity of having finished his own rounds of meetings before Elizabeth to go buy her present. He already had a couple of ideas in mind, but when he walked past a shop window in the mall, his eye caught what he thought to be the perfect present, and he went inside to buy it.
Having already cleared it with General Landry on the day of their arrival, they left that night for the hotel room they booked.
The next day, on the morning of her birthday, he woke her up with kisses, and they spent their morning in bed, making love. They ordered room service for lunch, complete with a birthday cake John had previously asked for.
After she blew the one candle on top of the cake, as John insisted she did, he slid his present towards her. She raised an eyebrow at him and unwrapped the paper to find a squared velvet box underneath. He could read surprise on her face, and prompted her with a look to open the box.
When she did, it revealed white gold diamond teardrop earrings, and she gasped at the sight, before returning her eyes to him.
"These must have cost you a small fortune."
"It doesn't matter. Do you like them?"
"I love them. Should I wear them tonight?"
"You should. Though I'm starting to wonder if it's a good idea to leave this room, even for a couple of hours," he teased, knowing what her reaction would be.
"Come on, John, you promised. You made me pack a dress for the occasion."
"I did, and I guess I have to keep my promise, now."
"If you're good, I'll wear the earrings tonight for you."
"You already said you will, and I'm sure they'll look perfect with the dress."
"No, John, you misunderstood me. Just the earrings."
As he finally understood what she meant, he gulped audibly. Elizabeth was a tease when she wanted to be, and it looked like today, she wanted to. Well, two could play that game.
Closing the lid, he placed the box in her hands, and lifted her in his arms. They had plenty of time before they had to leave for the restaurant, and she could model the earrings, and just the earrings, for him now.
A single red rose was waiting on her desk along with a card when she arrived this morning.
She knew without a doubt who was responsible for this, though she wondered how he managed this as he hadn't left her side since they retreated to their quarters the night before. Turning her head to the side to look at him, she questioned him with a raised eyebrow.
"What?" he asked, shrugging.
"Nothing," she said, decided to follow his lead. "It looks like I have a secret admirer. I wonder who that could be."
"Maybe," she replied with a smile. "There might be a clue in the card, though. Should I open it?"
"It's your card."
She walked to the desk and picked the card and the rose up. She brought the rose up to her nose, smelling its delicate perfume, before opening the card with her other hand. There were only two lines written, and no signature. Still, she would recognize that writing everywhere.
She turned around to face John to find him holding a small heart shaped candy where she could read 'Be Mine'. She smiled before kissing him, not caring if everyone in the control room was watching them; it was Valentine's Day, and if there was one day where they were allowed to do that in her office, it was this one.
"You didn't answer me," he said against her lips, and she drew back to look at him.
They kissed once more, though keeping it chaste, not trusting themselves to stop it there if they kissed more passionately.
"How did you do this?" she asked, her arms still around his neck, while he was holding onto her waist.
"I had some help," he said, motioning towards the control room with his head.
She followed his lead, and saw that Chuck was looking at them. She thanked him with a nod, and he returned it, before focusing back on his work. She was lucky to have people who cared enough about her to help John do this.
She was lucky to have John, period.
I love you. Be my valentine.
He was nervous, and he was sure she could see it; she could read him like no one had ever been able to, and that even before they were a couple. She didn't call him on it, though, and they kept enjoying the party the Athosians threw for the harvest.
When she declared that she couldn't dance anymore, he took that as his cue. Taking her hand, he led her far away from the fire, until they left the limits of the camp. She didn't ask where they were going, trusting that he wouldn't let anything happen to her. Soon enough, they were on the beach, and even though she couldn't make the lights out, she knew that, beyond the horizon, Atlantis lay like a snowflake on the ocean.
She turned away from the ocean to find John looking at her intently. She was surprised by the intensity of his gaze, and what she could read in his eyes. He laid everything open for her, and if she hadn't known before that he loved her, tonight, he wouldn't have been able to hide it from her.
"Dance with me?" he asked, offering his hand for her to take.
"There's no music."
"We don't need any music."
Wanting to know what he had in mind when he brought her here, she accepted the offered hand, and together, they began to sway to a slow rhythm. She buried her face in the crook of his neck, breathing in the scent of him, while his hand on the small of her back brought her impossibly closer to him.
They could have been making love, and they wouldn't have been more intimate than they were at this very moment.
He whispered something in her ear, breaking the silence that settled over them, and she stopped moving. She had heard him clearly, but she wasn't sure she heard him correctly. She couldn't move; she couldn't dare ask him to repeat his words, just in case her mind was playing trick on her.
He knew where her thoughts took her, and he forced her to take a step back from him, and with two fingers, he raised her chin so that she would look at him. And he repeated what he whispered.
"Marry me, Elizabeth."
It wasn't really a question, but she knew that she had to answer it.
Before she could, though, one of his hands plunged into his pocket, and took out something wrapped in a cloth; the same cloth that was used to wrapped the pot he had given her for her first birthday on Atlantis. With a nod, he urged her to unwrap it, and once she did, she saw that it held an engagement ring that matched the earrings he had given her months ago.
"I don't want to pressure you into anything, Elizabeth. If you want, this ring could go here," he said, indicating the ring finger on her right hand, "for the time being. And one day, maybe we'll move it to your other hand."
It was one of the reasons why she loved him; he always left the choice up to her, he wanted her to be ready before they took the next step in their relationship.
This was also one of the reasons why she had to answer...
Author's Note 2: The book Elizabeth offered Kavanagh in the Secret Santa does exist, and was written by William and Kathleen Lundin. I just thought it was fitting (in Kavanagh's POV of course). ;)