Five Alternate Universes Where John and Elizabeth Meet. (Nominated for Best Sheppard/Weir Pre-ship/UST Fic
in the 2007 Stargate Fan Awards
Categories: Fanfiction Characters:
Action & Adventure, Alternate Universe, Angst, Drama, Episode Prologues & Epilogues, Mystery & Suspense, VignettesWarnings:
March 01, 2007 Updated:
March 01, 2007
1. Chapter 1 by irony_rocks
Best Sheppard/Weir Pre-ship/UST Fic
The first time she met John Sheppard, SG-12 had been called back early from off-world and she was ordered to report to General Landry’s office immediately – before showering, before debriefing, before even the medical check-ups. No explanation or reason was offered on the motivation behind pulling her team back prematurely from their mission, but Elizabeth had handed off her P-90 to the sentry nearby and followed orders like always without voicing complaints or questions.
She was a Lt. Colonel in the United States Air Force, after all. Following orders was what she’d been trained to do nearly all her adult life.
She jogged up the steps and walked over to Landry’s office, hesitating at the threshold. The General was talking with a man she only knew by reputation – Doctor John Sheppard, the civilian that was commanding the Ancient outpost in Antarctica. He’d been temporarily placed in charge of the SGC before her time here, but O’Neill had nothing but good things to say about him. That was always a good enough voucher in Elizabeth’s books.
Plus, Dr. Sheppard turned out to be very easy on the eyes. That certainly didn’t hurt either.
“Colonel,” Landry greeted lightly. “Allow me to introduce you to Dr. John Sheppard, your new expedition leader.”
Elizabeth took a moment to flitter a confused look back and forth between them. “Expedition, Sir?”
Politics was her world, not violence.
Although Dr. Elizabeth Weir was no stranger to the hardships of war - she had been to more war-torn regions than most other delegates in the UN, from Cambodia to Afghanistan to the crumbling foundations of Bosnia - but this was the first time she had ever stood as a target for reasons other than being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The zealot’s threat still lingered in her mind, the promise too detailed for her to ignore or dismiss. He had been following her for weeks now and knew her routine, knew her habits, knew where she dined last Friday and how often she called her mother. The thought sent a fresh wave of goose bumps over her flesh, but Elizabeth stubbornly cleared her thoughts.
She was about to deliver a bold, potentially career-ending speech in front of three hundred of her fellow dignitaries and cultural attachés at the hub of the United Nations. She couldn’t afford her mind to be preoccupied by anything other than her speech, her words, her preferred weapon of choice.
“You’ll do fine,” John assured her softly, standing off to the left behind her.
Elizabeth tossed a look over her shoulder. He was dressed in a non-descript suit, but the rigid stance and the communication earpiece that hung off his right ear belied his true identity. A Secret Service agent was supposed to wear attire appropriate for their surroundings, blend in and become unnoticeable.
Elizabeth wondered if that was even possible for a man like John Sheppard. She’d been hyper-aware of his presence since the moment he’d been assigned her detail two weeks ago, and it was so much more complicated than for the obvious reasons. Yes, he represented the cold, harsh reality of her predicament – the need to be protected from a man out there that was hell bent on turning her life upside down, ending it if he could – but there was a part of Elizabeth that felt comfortable with John in a way she didn’t dare put into words.
She cleared her throat and nodded back.
“Hey,” John tried again, “Just be yourself. I’ve heard you rehearse this speech a thousands times over. You’ll do fine.”
She turned away and quietly admitted the thing she would have told no other person. “It’s not the speech I’m worried about.”
She sensed him step closer, the proximity of his body registering with her in a way that shouldn’t have even been possible. “You worry about the speech, and let me worry about everything else.” He instructed somberly, then paused, his voice turning blithely unconcerned as he continued. “I’d suggest trying to imagine everybody in their underwear, but I’ve seen the crowd. It might be too hideous a distraction.”
From her periphery he caught her eye, smiling with a slightly lopsided grin that shouldn’t have worked on a man that held such a serious post. She smiled back despite herself.
“You’re incorrigible, you know that?”
“Only when I’m doing something worth it, consequences be damned.”
Elizabeth stilled, staring at him as the subtext of his words suddenly hit entirely too close to home. With John Sheppard, adhering to the protocol between a dignitary and a body guard had been tested like no other. He made it incredibly easy to forget that they were supposed to have a strictly professional relationship, and that had made it incredibly hard for her to deny the sense of attraction she had felt for him almost from the get-go.
Being attached at the hip for the last two weeks hadn’t done much in favor of reducing that tension. It was abruptly in this moment, however, staring at John as the words hung between them, that Elizabeth was overwhelmed by the absolute knowledge that the attraction she felt for him was returned in kind. She could see it in his eyes, the hazel of which she’d taken particular note of every time they weren’t shaded by dark sunglasses. The awareness blindsided her and made her stomach tie in knots instantly.
The moment was shattered when a second later she was called out on stage. Elizabeth broke eye contact first, thrown back to reality. She forced herself to exchange a quick glance with John, easing the tension with a smile.
At the sound of applause, Elizabeth took a deep breath and prepared herself. When she stepped out in front of the massive general assembly of her peers, Elizabeth forcefully pushed all thoughts of death threats and violence and secret service agents out of her head.
Surely she had nothing to fear here, in the heart of the United Nations. An assassination attempt on these grounds would be too preposterous and dangerous to attempt, even for a fanatical zealot.
The speech ended up going over better than she had anticipated, her words punctuated with the unexpected sound of murmured approval every so often. The hushed acceptance of her fellow dignitaries had almost thrown her bearings entirely mid-speech, but she quickly squared her shoulders and looked out at her audience with a confidence Elizabeth had learned to imbue from a young age. Things were looking up... which, really, should have been her first clue that everything was sharply going to take a drastic turn for the worse.
At the end when Elizabeth was uttering the last of her closing remarks to the sounds of applause, a shot rang out.
John had a hold on her before she even realized what had happened, and for a moment as the chaos broke out, Elizabeth wasn’t even quite sure why John was manhandling her off the stage. Her legs gave way almost entirely, but John had been there to catch her around the waist, urging her along with his own body with such a force that Elizabeth’s disorientation was superseded unconditionally.
As the screaming began and a mob of hundreds broke out into panic, more shots rang out and bodies collided but Elizabeth was entirely too lost to follow any of it.
As they cleared the stage, Elizabeth fleetingly looked down at her designer suit and caught hint of red liquid spreading like a puddle through her shirt. She stared blankly at it while John attempted to cut threw her haze with commands. She dimly heard him, abstractly sensed the alarm in his voice, but as self-awareness slowly bloomed in her eyes, she realized she was the last one to recognize that she’d been shot. Her legs finally crumpled under the knowledge, and John caught her immediately and called for assistance.
He turned to her. “Elizabeth, stay with me, god damn it!”
His face was the last thing she saw before things faded to black… and two days later when she finally awoke in the hospital, he was also the first thing she saw.
Elizabeth slammed the door shut behind her, whirling around with eyes blazing. “You don’t get to do this anymore, John! You don’t get to barge into my life and make accusations—”
“I just want to know the truth!” John cut in fiercely. “I think I deserve that much after everything.”
Elizabeth opened and closed her mouth, unable to formulate words for a moment. “You are unbelievable,” she fumed, her voice gone low and deceptively calm. “You know the truth. We shouldn’t even be having this conversation.”
“We should have had this conversation a long time ago,” John countered. “I just want to know why my wife left me. Why all we’ve done for the last eight months is fight and argue and bitch at each other!”
Tears welled in her eyes but Elizabeth forcefully blinked them back. “Why? Because we’re two very different people that should never have gotten married in the first place, that’s why. That’s the truth, John. We never had a fighting chance.” She paused, her throat turning painfully tight. Her voice went soft despite herself, “So, to answer your question… no, I never had an affair. I never cheated on you. No one else ruined our marriage, John. Just us.”
He stared at her, raw emotions so close to the surface that for once in their marriage he was entirely an open book to her. The irony that it was here and now - at the end of everything - that she could finally understand him inspired a feeling too cruel and twisted for words. She had spent so long trying to claw through his defenses and find out who he was underneath. She was done with trying to batter down indestructible walls.
“Give me—” his voice caught in his throat, but he cleared it and stubbornly continued. “Give me one more chance. Give us one more chance.”
Elizabeth looked away. “What’s going to be different this time?”
“Me,” he insisted, stepping forward. “I will be different. Just give me the chance.”
He was close now, too close - and God, all the anger and frustration she had pent up inside of her wanted to melt instantly when he looked at her like that. She glanced away because she couldn’t stare at that face and hold her resolve at the same time.
She shook her head. “It’s too late, John.”
She turned away, but John suddenly caught her by the arm and pushed her back, pinning her to the wall behind her. He pressed his body against her and Elizabeth felt the touch of it sear straight through her. For all their hostility and fighting, John still affected her on a level that no other man had ever come close to inspiring.
“I’m not willing to give up without a fight,” he whispered. “And I know you, Elizabeth. Neither are you.”
She turned her head to deny his words – to tell him that she was too weak to fight anymore, too tired to struggle against the uphill battle in a marriage that had love, yes, but nothing else holding it up. A marriage needed more than that – it needed compromise and understanding and communication, and she had spent so long in a silent house that she wasn’t even sure they were capable of mending those bridges anymore.
“Do you still love me?” he asked.
Elizabeth closed her eyes, and silently nodded.
“Then we have no other option than to fight for this.”
“You’re telling me that werewolves are real?” Elizabeth asked incredulously, arching an eyebrow.
No immediate response came, and Elizabeth sighed and glanced instead at her LAPD partner of four years, Marshall Sumner. She could tell he was barely restraining the urge to pummel the offender sitting between them. John Sheppard slouched on the plastic chair in the middle of the interrogation room like a disgruntled teenager. Elizabeth thought that rather remarkable considering he was in his mid-thirties, dirty and obviously unshaven for quite a few days.
“Yes,” John replied in a tight, exasperated voice. “And in about ten minutes when the sun sets, you’re going to get proof of it, too.”
Sumner barked a laugh. “Why? Is tonight a full moon?”
John took a deep breath, fidgeting in his chair. “Actually, the full moon was yesterday, although the night before and after a full moon have the same affect on me.”
Sumner leaned over the table and spoke slowly, as if talking to a particularly slow child. “It turns you into a werewolf?”
“Yes,” John replied adamantly. “And unless you guys lock me up in one of your cages right now, you’re risking a whole of lot of trouble. Look, you don’t even have to believe me, alright? Just toss me in the cell for the night. I was arrested for indecent exposure last night, right? Why are we even talking? Just throw me in a cell!”
Sumner pushed back in his chair. “Look, you little piece of shi—”
“Marshall,” Elizabeth cut in quickly.
Her partner was a good cop – the best, in fact – but he could be an impatient man. Obviously getting the real story from this Sheppard character was going to take something other than threats.
She sent him a pointed look. “Why don’t you go get a cup of coffee?”
Sumner paused, holding her gaze, and then relented with a sigh. “Fine. He’s all yours.”
Elizabeth nodded and waited for him to leave before she turned her attention back to the man sitting in front of her, her eyes growing concerned. “Alright, why don’t we try this again?”
“Later,” John insisted. “I don’t mean to be an ass, but you’ve really got to start listening to me, and listening to me now. If that clock is right, I’ve got less then eight minutes left before the sun sets. All your questions will be answered at that point anyway. Trust me on that.”
Elizabeth held her pessimism in check. “Right. Why don’t we talk a little about the murder that happened last night? The mauled body. Is that where you got this idea from? Because the pathologist has already ruled it a coyote attack.”
“Coyotes?” John repeated, incredulous. “In Los Angeles?”
“They come down from the hills sometimes,” Elizabeth replied, and then crossed her arms over her chest defensively. “And I really don’t think you’re the one that gets to use that tone with me. If anybody gets to be skeptical here, it’s me.”
“Look, you seem like a nice person. All the more reason for me not to maul you. Just—”
“Just answer a few questions,” Elizabeth cut in, compromising, “and I’ll put you in a cell in five minutes. But you gotta give me something first.”
John paused, then swallowed hard. “Alright, what do you want to know?”
Elizabeth threw her hands up in the air. “You tell me. What should I know?”
He shifted in his seat. “Alright, you want it straight? This is how it goes: My name is John Sheppard, and I’m a leader of pack of werewolves that are currently in a feud with another group of werewolves from out of town. They’re trying to encroach on our ground, and well, yeah, we’re territorial enough to get into a scuffle about it. That man’s body you found mauled yesterday? He was a werewolf. One of mine.” His voice suddenly turned rough, hard. “I take care of my own, so excuse me if I’m a little upset--”
“One of your own?”
He paused, face darkening for a moment with guilt before it hardened into an irritated mask. “I bit him. I turned him into what I am. That makes him my responsib—” He lurched forward mid-sentence, eyes widening in what looked like nothing more than a phantom pain. His fingers curled viciously tight around the armrest, and he flashed panic stricken eyes up at her. “What time is it?”
Elizabeth paused, then glanced at the clock at the wall and then at her own wristwatch. “6:48 P.M.”
The wall clock was slow by a few minutes.
John leapt up from the chair with such sudden menace that Elizabeth's hand twitched for her sidearm out of pure instinct. “Get me out of here now!” he roared.
Elizabeth stared wide-eyed at him. “Alright, calm down,” she said. “I’ll get you to your cell now.” She was obviously dealing with a man that wasn’t running on all cylinders. She cleared her throat, rising from her chair. “Although I have to tell you, you’re better off dealing with me than my partner—”
John’s eyes flashed coal black, flushing with unbridled anger and menace that raised all the hairs on the back of her neck instantaneously.
“Sheppard?” she tried.
He didn’t respond. Instead, she watched as his breathing grew labored and he doubled over in pain immediately. Her first instinct was that he was acting out his fantasies. Either he believed them to the extinct where he had convinced himself of the physical pain, or the man was putting on a huge production for her benefit.
He grunted in anguish and looked up at her, eyes imploring. “Get out of here. Now.”
She reached for the intercom on the back wall instead. “Marshall, I think we’ve got a medical emerg—”
A blood curdling, inhuman scream sliced through the air and Elizabeth whirled around to find John doubled over on his arms and legs, grunting and gasping for breath. She stayed glued to the far side, back against the wall, watching in shock and abject horror as the man’s clothes and flesh alike literally started ripping apart, tearing off at the seams, bursting with growing muscle and mass. Underneath a thick mess of coarse, black hair revealed itself. The fur was just like one would have expected from all the horror movies she had seen since her youth.
He was turning into a werewolf right before her eyes.
Dear God in heaven, was all she could think, this could not be happening.
She rushed for the door, but it was too late. Before she had even reached the doorknob, claws sunk into her abdomen with searing pain and Elizabeth was wrenched back, deadlocked flush against a hard, hairy chest. The last thing she felt before oblivion pulled her under was the piercing pain of teeth sinking into the flesh of her neck.
While she didn’t die in that moment, a part of her certainly did.
Elizabeth Weir’s life was never again the same.
Elizabeth pulled her rental car to a stop, the tires screeching against the gravel of the parking lot. She stared out at the Pacific Ocean just a few hundred yards ahead of her, taking a deep breath to calm herself.
An internet search engine had said one John Sheppard, formally of the United States Air Force, resided in one of the beach houses that lined the coast. She pulled out the slip of paper with the address on it and stared, memorizing the number. Part of her didn’t know what she’d do when she finally met him.
Simon was dead, killed in a car accident that had sent her spiraling out of control and into a mental institution. Jack O’Neill was simply a military liaison to the UN. Cheyenne Mountain was NORAD. And Atlantis – dear God, her home and livelihood for the last two and a half years – was nothing more than her imagination.
A part of her was expecting John Sheppard to be a figment of her imagination as well, but after she’d researched Simon’s car accident, she had rummaged further for the line where reality had ended and her fractured psyche had began. Sorting out fact from fiction had been less clear cut than she would have liked.
There was a Dr. Rodney McKay, an astrophysicist that led a scientific research team out in Russia. A Lt. Ford that was doing his tour in Iraq. And a Dr. Carson Beckett from Scotland that now headed the Human Genome Project.
Dr. Fletcher had assured her that the fact that these people existed didn’t undermine reality and everything he had told her. His running theory was that Elizabeth had merely heard about them by various means – through television, newspapers, friends of friends, distance acquaintances - and her subconscious had stored the information and then later extrapolated upon it when she began creating her Atlantis.
Elizabeth hadn’t believed it, much like she had distrusted everything else at first, until Dr. Fletcher had shown her proof to back it up. In the summer of 2000, Elizabeth had participated in several political lectures at a couple of universities on the East coast. At the same time, Carson had been running a parallel circuit regarding his genetics research. They had overlapped among several cities. She could have seen his name a dozen times, even met him in passing and then forgotten about it entirely – at least consciously.
Elizabeth figured that she could have heard about Ford as one of the hundreds of young, military boys talked about on the news that covered the war in Iraq. And Rodney… Well, she hadn’t figured out how she’d learned of Rodney, but obviously she had.
The same could be said of John. According to the information she had gathered, John had served two years in Afghanistan and then been shipped home and been dishonorably discharged after a black mark on his record. He had settled down in California, and since he was the geographically the closest of everybody, she had begun her journey with him.
Something quietly whispered to her that even if he had been the farthest, she probably still would have sought him out first.
Shaking her head to dispel the thought, anxiety coiled in her stomach as she stared out at the ocean. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting when she had decided to go out and find everyone. A few weeks after being released from the mental institute, Elizabeth just knew that she had to go see everyone with her own eyes. If they looked at her like she was a complete stranger, then she’d swallow the bitter pills and put all of this behind her once and for all. She’d force herself to acknowledge reality and everything it meant.
She just had to see them first.
She had to convince herself that they didn’t know who she was. The entire thing would probably end up with each and every one of them convinced she was a crazy loon, but she’d take that hit if it came to it. What was one more bruise after everything else she’d been through?
She left her car parked a quarter mile from his house, needing the distance in order to help clear her mind. But halfway there, she spotted a familiar figure out on the beach. The undeniable recognition of a spiky mess of hair made something physically ache inside of her. Waxing a surfboard in swim trunks, complete with one of those ridiculous seashell necklaces wrapped around his neck, John Sheppard looked like any other California surfer out here on the beach. She stopped and stared at him, rendered powerless.
He finally turned and caught her staring at him. Awkwardly glancing around in bewilderment, he offered her a small, hesitant smile. The smile one would offer a stranger. “Can I help you?”
Her throat turned painfully tight, and for a moment, Elizabeth wanted to turn tail and run. It was obvious he didn’t recognize her, and really, that’s all she had come here for. There was nothing left to be said or done. Everything had been cemented in the two seconds it had taken him to soak in the sight of her.
Instead, Elizabeth found herself stepping forward and clearing her throat. “Hey,” she greeted tightly, trying to control the desperation in her voice. “My name is Elizabeth Weir, and I have something to tell you.”
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