all's fair in love (and shots of tequila)


8:30pm

"Tequila," Elizabeth informs him, dropping the bottle back on the coffee-table with a bit too much oomph, "is disgusting."

John gives her a lopsided smirk and an eyebrow. "Which is why you've downed half the bottle?"

Elizabeth narrows her eyes and studies the bottle appraisingly. "A quarter," she announces. "You drank the other half." She pauses and frowns. "Of the half."

"Which makes a whole half.'"

"MENSA-boy," she smirks. He glares. Elizabeth pours them both another round of shots. "Fortunately," she adds, just before downing hers; she purses her lips and makes an unattractive face at the taste, "we have limes."

John nods seriously and swallows his own shot. "And lemons."

Elizabeth frowns suddenly and peers at the slice of fruit in her hand. "Oh. That explains why Rodney left."

John tries not to laugh. "An hour ago."

She resists - but barely - the urge to stick her tongue out at him. "I noticed then, too!" She leans across the table and lowers her voice conspiratorially. "He's a morose drunk. Gets all maudlin."

John whispers back. "Does his ego shrink?"

She smirks. "Not in the slightest."

John grins. "I'll drink to that."

"You'll drink to anything."


9pm

"So," John drawls, a definitely slur to his words. "Why are we doing this again?"

Elizabeth brushes a strand of hair out of her face clumsily. "It's a plot device," she informs him, splashing more tequila on the table than into his glass.

John steadies her hand and helps her pour the rest.

"A plot what?"

"Device," she reiterates, almost as if she's sober. (She's definitely not.) "Two drunk, attractive people…drinking."

John blinks at her. "And?"

She nearly giggles. "I have no idea."

John rolls his eyes. The tequila splashes out of his glass as he sets it firmly on the table and leans closer. "I think we're supposed to make-out."

There's a pause. Elizabeth's eyes shadow slightly - then she bursts out laughing.

John pouts. "What?"

Elizabeth throws a hand over her mouth to stifle the sound.

"I'm leaving now," he threatens, but he's grinning and she's nearly choking and she grabs his arm to keep him seated.

"You, John Sheppard," she says when she's finally recovered, pointing a finger at him drunkenly. "are a shameless flirt."

John arches an eyebrow. "You're not doing much better yourself, Doc."

Elizabeth quirks her lips, then sighs and leans back against the couch. "I needed this."

"Me too," he agrees, a bit too softly and a bit too seriously, but she's either a little to drunk or not drunk enough to call him on it. He isn't sure which.

There's a pause; then Elizabeth opens her eyes, leans forward against the table and murmurs, "You know what else I could use right now…"


9:45pm

"To be entirely honest," he calls loudly, over the whir of machines and laughter. "This isn't exactly what I had in mind."

Elizabeth throws a dirty smirk over her shoulder and lobs the heavy, plastic ball down the inclined ramp. John snorts when it misses completely and slides into the zero-point slot.

"Nice shot," he smirks.

Elizabeth glares - "Let's see you do better, fly-boy." - and throws a ball a little too harshly toward his head. John catches it, fumblingly slightly, and glowers. Elizabeth gives him a cheeky grin, and John rolls his eyes.

He's just about to let go of the ball when Elizabeth stumbles into his shoulder, causing his aim to falter and the ball to bounce awkwardly, missing all the holes.

"You did that on purpose," he accuses.

Innocent smile. "I'm drunk, remember?"

Narrowed eyes. "And still devo-" He frowns. "Devier. Divi-" He huffs; Elizabeth chokes back laughter. "Sneaky."

Elizabeth grins and turns away, throwing another ball down the ramp. 10 points. Grinning, she whirls too quickly and stumbles into him, hands grabbing onto his shoulders; John laughs and steadies her.

Twenty minutes later they still only have five tickets between them. All things considered, John deems it a pretty good score.


10:25pm

They don't fare much better at mini-golf.

John misses every hole and Elizabeth keeps narrowly missing smacking him in the shin with her club.

"I can't believe they let you on the court," John grouses, stumbling a bit to the side after he swings. Elizabeth grins when the ball drastically misses, and John affects a pout. "It's not the same indoors," he repeats.

"Stop whining."

"You stop whining," he shoots back.

Elizabeth laughs, and trips over a piece of scenery.


11pm

"Isn't this where you're supposed to teach me how to swing correctly?" she taunts, raising her eyebrows suggestively.

John's eyes widen, but then he narrows his eyes and steps into her personal space, even closer than before, and pointedly covers her hands with his.

"First of all," he murmurs lowly, "Your stance is all wrong."

She cranes her neck to look up at him innocently. "Legs not spread wide enough?" She barely makes it through without an amused crack in her tone, and John pouts. Reaching up, she ruffles his hair. "Sorry," she apologizes, "I'm insatiable when I'm drunk."

The moment she says it she freezes. John gapes and Elizabeth fumbles her way out of his arms, dropping the golf ball in the process. Snatching on something to do, John drops down to retrieve it at the same time she turns to apologize again.

In retrospect, she should have dropped the golf-club instead.


12:45am

"So," the doctor inquires, "What've we got here?"

"I smacked him in the head with a golf club," Elizabeth announces.

The doctor looks from one to the other with a wary eye. "Intentionally?" he inquires.

"No, of course not," she replies, with a smooth easiness to her voice that John envies. "We were playing mini-golf."

"I told her I didn't need to come here," John grouses. "I'm fine."

"I'll be the judge of that," the doctor says, pulling on a pair of gloves and opening a drawer for antiseptic and bandages. Elizabeth shoots him a see? I told you so -look, and John petulantly glares back. "So, what happened exactly?" the doctor asks, wiping the blood off John's temple.

John and Elizabeth exchange a brief glance before turning quickly away. There's a pause. The doctor stops and raises an eyebrow.

"Oh," John says. "She uh, she missed."

The doctor frowns. "Missed what?"

"The ball," Elizabeth states, too quickly. "I missed the ball."

"Right," John agrees.

"Okay, then," the doctor says, in a tone all-too recognizable as: I don't even want to know.

John laughs and then winces, touching his fingers to his forehead. "Ow."

Elizabeth's face falls slightly. "Sorry," she murmurs, with a telltale awkward shrug and averted gaze.

John shakes his head and grabs her hand. "S'okay," he murmurs. "Been hit by worse."

Elizabeth rolls her eyes slightly, but she offers a smile and John grins.

"Hold still," the doctor commands, dabbing at his temple.

"He's going to be okay, right?"

John frowns as she worries her lip between her teeth; she hasn't let go of his hand.

"He'll be fine. Just a bump. Won't even need stitches."

Elizabeth breathes a sigh of relief, which turns into a glare when John smirks,

"You really need to work on your swing."


1:30am

The cab ride back to her apartment is quieter than the ride to the arcade. Elizabeth has sobered some, and spends most of the time staring out the window. John's too drunk to make conversation on his own, but aware enough to wonder what to do next.

The taxi pulls up in front of her building before his alcohol-muddled brain has had enough time to think.

Elizabeth pays the cab driver and John protests and climbs out of the car and it isn't until they're alone on the sidewalk that he realizes probably shouldn't have done that. He blinks and frowns in the direction the taxi left.

"Oh."

Elizabeth smiles awkwardly. "I can call you another cab," she says, but it's less of a demand and more of a question and John feels his mouth go dry.

"Um. Sure?" Too high-pitched. He winces.

Elizabeth looks away. "Dinner was nice," she says. "Even if Rodney was…"

"Rodney?" he smirks.

She chuckles softly. "Yeah. Thank you, for…" She shrugs, and waves her hand in front of her face.

John's brain struggles to keep up. Drunk! keeps flashing in his head, alongside things like lips and pretty and want. He can't really piece them together in a logical order, but she looks cold and his hands are warm and it only makes sense that he should-

"John?"

She knows. He blushes. She blushes.

"I'm drunk," he announces.

"Me too," she agrees.

"And I have a head-injury." He points to the bandage.

Elizabeth gives him a look. "You're fine."

"I got beaned in the head with a golf club!"

"You did not get beaned you got...tapped."

"Semantics," he grumbles. Then adds, "I'm still drunk."

Softly: "Me too."

He swallows tightly. "So…probably a bad idea."

Nod. "Probably."

He tries not to let his expression falter.

"You should come in," she says finally. "I'll call you a cab."


2am

She makes a pot of coffee instead.

John cleans up the rest of the glasses and puts the tequila back in her glass cabinet. Elizabeth smirks and John shrugs and it's a little awkward and a lot domestic and when they both reach for the cups at the same time she laughs. John quirks his lips and moves away, letting her fill their mugs and making sure his fingers brush over hers when he takes his from her.

Elizabeth ducks her head and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, and he's pretty sure it's the most endearing thing he's ever seen.


2:45am

They end up back on the couch watching late-night talk shows.

John watches her more than he does the television, sneaking glances out of the corner of his eye and praying she doesn't catch him. If she notices she says nothing, even when he shifts - under the pretense of getting more comfortable - and scoots that much closer to her.

They're halfway through Leno when she finally calls him on it.

"You're contemplating the yawn and stretch move, aren't you?"

John freezes, half-way between thinking and executing said move, and peers down at her sheepishly. "No?"

Elizabeth rolls her eyes, then tucks her legs underneath her and curls up against his side. "I'm still drunk," she says by way of explanation. John hesitates, then carefully wraps his arm around her shoulder.

"Me too," he agrees.

He feels her smile against his chest, and matches it with one of his own.