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Author's Chapter Notes: DISCLAIMER: . do not own Stargate: Atlantis or any of the characters. If I did, Elizabeth would have been back as the true leader of atlantis.


John Sheppard, Military Leader of Atlantis, appeared, on the surface at least, to be as spell bound as the rest of his team. They were listening to the beautiful, but slightly sad musical display that their allies had laid on for their entertainment.

Dr Weir, especially, looked to be enjoying herself. Carefree laughter lit up her features, while her unruly curls were teased by the gentle evening breeze. John smiled softly as she unconsciously attempted to tame the curls, by tucking them behind her ear; something so simple, but so Elizabeth.

To see her so relaxed did nothing to ease John’s conscience, as their argument from the previous night still rung in his ears. He felt some of what he’d said was justified as it was Elizabeth’s safety he was thinking about. Maybe he should have been a bit more diplomatic about it, but when all was said and done, it was his job to detect any dangers. That was where the problems had arisen. He had felt there was something amiss with this mission, whereas Elizabeth had not and nothing he said would convince her otherwise. The fact she had insisted on accompanying them, had only made the situation worse, and his team siding with Elizabeth, didn’t help either.

Thinking over the day’s activities so far, it certainly looked like he had been mistaken. The alliance had been sealed without so much as a raised voice and both sides appeared happy with the terms laid down.

So why, then, did the cold chill he felt on stepping on to this planet persist? Was it, simply, the sudden turnaround of these people to the agreement of an alliance? John didn’t believe the Tronan had simply changed their mind; they were too self assured and arrogant to admit they needed Atlantis’ help. So why did they invite the Atlanteans to their world on the pretence of an Alliance? What did they hope to gain? This, to John, was the crunch of the matter, which caused his unease and had him alert and ready for any trouble.

John risked another glance at Elizabeth, trying to catch her eye. The glare she gave him when she noticed him was enough to make him drop his eyes back to the table. Was she ever going to forgive him for last night’s angry exchange of words?

Flash back to Atlantis, Previous Day

John closed the door softly, knowing he would find her here. This was the one place they could truly be alone. Only in an emergency would anyone dare disturb them. It had long since become an unwritten rule, as if a no-entry was plastered on the door.

Elizabeth had her back to him, with one hand resting on the railing that surrounded their favourite balcony, her expression grim as if concentrating hard on something. She sensed his presence, however, before he as much as uttered a word. It was as if some invisible sensory perception had developed between them and it had only gotten stronger the closer they had grown.

Turning to face him, Elizabeth flashed a nervous smile. He was immediately alert – he recognised the look – it was one that signified he wasn’t going to like what she had to say.

“John… You remember the Tronans with whom we‘d hoped to secure an alliance?”

John frowned, oh he remembered them alright and she knew his feelings about them. So why was she bringing them up? Staring at her, he nodded with an expression of distain, “I’m not likely to forget them in a hurry. Didn’t we decide they had to be the most arrogant and obnoxious people we’ve come across yet?”

Elizabeth wrung her hands, unable to meet his eyes. “That may be so, but John, think of the benefits an alliance with them would give us. Don’t you think that far outweighs their not so pleasant personalities?”

“No. Can’t say I do. Anyway, what I do or don’t think is really of no consequence. They made it perfectly clear their feelings on the matter.”

“Well actually, John, that is not strictly true.” She took a couple of steps towards him, an imploring look in her green eyes.

Sheppard, immediately suspicious, took her by the shoulders and shook her gently, “Elizabeth, what’s going on?”

Elizabeth ran her fingers across the coarse material of John’s top, keeping her eyes averted before taking a deep breath. “It’s just they were in touch a few days ago, when you were off world. They apologised and said they’d been a bit hasty in turning down our offer. They want to renegotiate an alliance that will be of immense benefit to Atlantis.”

“So what did they say when you told them where to stick their alliance?” Seeing her guilty expression, Sheppard’s eyes narrowed in disbelief. “Elizabeth what are you playing at? You can’t be serious, not after the last time!”

“This is different John, this time they approached us, they...” She stumbled slightly, as John suddenly pulled away, causing her to momentarily lose her balance.

He turned his back to her as he leant against the railing. He sighed as he tried to calm down, knowing he wasn’t being fair shouting at her, as she was only thinking of Atlantis. Taking her hand, he drew her closer, “Elizabeth, why would they suddenly change their mind? Nothing’s changed. We can only offer the same as the last time, and that wasn’t good enough for them, remember?”

Reaching out, Elizabeth firmly gripped his left hand whilst subconsciously playing with the wedding ring on his finger. “John I know how you feel, I initially had the same reaction. Don’t forget I was the one they insulted, insinuating I wasn’t fit to be leader.” She pouted as she spoke aloud the indignity she’d felt. They told me I was only good for one thing and that my place was in the bedroom. I’d love to tell them to shove their alliance, however” she paused. “I’ve had a few days longer than you to think on it and what?” She glowered as he laughed at her.

John couldn’t help laughing, as her fresh display of horror and indignation reminded him of her initial reactions. The leader of the Tronans had arrogantly informed John, that for Atlantis’ benefit, Elizabeth should be put to work in his bedroom. The suggestion had so infuriated her, that if John, along with help from Ronon, had not managed to drag her away, there might have been resulting bloodshed. Her strength had surprised them as she took exception to being manhandled back to the puddlejumper. The words that had come from her mouth certainly were not ones they were used to hearing, as she vocalised the indignity she felt.

“John, are you even listening to me?” The Colonel returned to the present with a bang, as he noticed the irritated look his wife was throwing him.

“Look Elizabeth, I don’t like it, I don’t like them and I certainly don’t trust them. I’d have thought the way the treated you the last time would’ve put you off any further ideas of alliances. The sudden need of an alliance is enough to raise my suspicions and I don’t want to take the chance of getting into something we’ll later regret. So I’m sorry, but I can’t agree to a meeting. You’ll just have to tell them we don’t want their offer of an alliance.”

Biting back a sharp retort, Elizabeth tried to remain composed. They could not and would not let an opportunity like this pass them by, but arguing with John would not accomplish anything, but make him more determined. Persuasion, on the other hand, she was a master at. “John, I’ve already argued that fact with them and they’ve explained there’s been a change in leadership and new members of their council.”

She leant back against the railing to ease the ache that had developed in her back, as she subconscious rubbed a hand gently over her stomach.

“John, observing her movements, gave an unexpected grin, “kicking again is he? If he’s as full of beans when he’s born, we’re going to have our hands full.”

“You mean if he turns out like his father, I’ll never get a minute’s peace between worrying what both of you are up to.” She groaned at the thought, heaven help her one was bad enough. “Anyway John Sheppard, don’t try to take my mind away from the Tronans, I can assure you it won’t work.

“As I was saying, the previous government was overthrown because the up and coming younger generation didn’t agree with the way things were being run. They’d all been in agreement for an alliance with Atlantis, so it was the last straw when it was denied to them. All they ask is to be given a chance to prove their intentions are honourable. Others have given us that chance John, know it’s our turn.”

John sighed, knowing he had no response to that. “Okay point taken and although I’m still not entirely convinced, I’ll listen to what they have to say. I have to admit we do desperately need new supplies, so it may turn out in our favour. I take it you’ve already agreed a meeting?”

Elizabeth nodded and hesitantly took a step forward, taking his hands in hers. “I’ve arranged for...us... to go tomorrow, late morning.”

John immediately stiffened, “What do you mean by us?”

“Just what I said, John!” Her tone took on a sharp note. “You, me and your team, will be going to meet with the Tronans and will be participating in a celebration hosted by our new allies, if the alliance is agreed.”

“What? No way, Elizabeth. You can get that idea right out of your head. If you’re so keen to get away from Atlantis for a while, I’m sure Halling would love to see you, but that is the only place you’re going. I can’t believe you’d be so irresponsible to even contemplate going in your present condition.”

Shaking her head, Elizabeth replied irritably, “I’m quite content being on Atlantis and, although Carson has insisted on me cutting down on the amount of work I’m doing, I’ve still got things to keep me from becoming discontented. This mission, though, is different. I’m needed on this; otherwise there’ll be no alliance. The one stipulation the Tronans insisted on, was that I needed to be there to represent Atlantis.”

“Did you advise them this was impossible due to your present condition?” The slow, almost apologetic shake of her head told him otherwise. “Elizabeth, are you insane? How can you even consider taking such a risk?”

“What choice do we have? They won’t negotiate otherwise and with our supplies soon to run out… Please John; we can’t afford to turn our noses up at this.” Elizabeth implored at him. She didn’t particularly want to go traipsing off world, not with her condition so advanced, but she could not see any other choice. She had to do this for the sake of her people and John would just have to accept it, although, judging by the thunderous expression on his face, acceptance was not a word in his vocabulary at the present time.

She tore herself from his grasp and once again leant over the railing, looking out onto the ocean, waiting for his wrath to descend on her. She didn’t have long to wait.

“Well… we’ll just have to manage without their help, because there is no way you are stepping one foot on that planet.” Sheppard furiously shouted at her, his expression ice cold. “So you can just get back in touch and inform them there’ll be no alliance, or maybe I should tell them, in case you agree to some other harebrained scheme.”

“Excuse me?” Elizabeth said authoritatively, causing John to look at her sharply. “Since when has it become your place to make decisions? As far as I was aware, I am still Commander of Atlantis.”

“That may be so, but I’m sure Carson will remedy that, especially if I explain what my foolish pregnant wife has planned for herself now.”

“And you promised me, Colonel Sheppard, that this marriage and pregnancy would not interfere with the running of my city.” She furiously grabbed his sleeve, almost ripping it from his shoulder “So... what? Now you’ve got me pregnant, you’re going back on your word, undermining my authority... but not only that... you’ve also got the audacity to threaten me with Dr Beckett. Well let me tell you…Lt Colonel John Sheppard… carry out your threats if you dare, but if you do… we’re finished.” With that, she turned round, trembling as the tears finally fell, and stormed off through the door.

John stood, stunned, Okay, maybe I didn’t handle that as well as I should have. He contemplated going after her, but past experience told him it would be fruitless, it would be better to let her calm down first.

Unfortunately, she avoided him for the rest of the day and it was becoming clear she was not going to forgive him as easily as he had thought. This was confirmed by a rather annoyed Athosian, “Colonel Sheppard, why would you upset Elizabeth, especially in her advanced state?”

“Teyla, that’s exactly why the disagreement came about, did she tell you why? Of all the ridiculous ideas she’s had, this has got to be the worst.”

The Athosian turned on him in anger, “What is wrong with what she had planned Colonel? Is she to remain confined to her quarters until she has given birth?”

“No of course not Teyla, but there’s a difference between her wandering around Atlantis and going off world with all the dangers it holds.” John’s head swam as all the different scenarios flashed through it; none of them good. He turned his face away from her, as he tried to reign in the tears. “Teyla, I can’t lose her, if anything were to happen to her and our baby...”

Laying a gentle hand on his shoulder, Teyla encouraged the trembling man to turn around so she could speak to him face to face.“I know that, John, but you handled it wrong. She feels you have taken away the essence of who she is. This is not something she has thought about lightly, she has pondered on it for many a day, trying to work out something that would be of benefit for everyone. It stressed her greatly, not only worrying what your reaction would be, but also knowing she needed you by her side. John, she would never be able to forgive herself, if the people of Atlantis suffered because she turned down an alliance as important as this one. Deep down, you know that too.”

“But what if something happens that causes her to lose our child? Will she be able to forgive herself for that? Because Teyla, honestly, I don’t know if I could forgive her.” His voice shook with emotion.

“Yes... you would, John. But why would she be at risk, with us to protect her? For all the faults the Tronans have, violence isn’t one of them. I am sure there is much truth in their need for an alliance; times have been hard for them also.”

“Okay, we’ll do it.” Sighed John, defeated. “But we’re not going on foot, no matter how much she dislikes being in the puddle jumper. That’s my stipulation and we go mid morning, no later. I want to get everyone back to Atlantis before darkness falls.”

Teyla grasped his arms and smiled up at him. “You are doing the right thing, John. Elizabeth will appreciate it when she is herself, however, it is better that she shares my quarters for tonight, and she has only just fallen into an exhausted sleep. It would not be wise to awaken her.”

John nodded sadly, “She will be okay, though, Teyla?”

“Give her time John and she will be,” The Athosian smiled, comfortingly. She is just feeling let down at the moment and her condition is making her emotional.”

“Just look after her for me, Teyla please?” John begged, eaten up with shame, while inwardly cringing, as he thought of the last words he had spoken to his wife.

“You know I will, John. I am sure she will be longing to see you tomorrow, when she has calmed down. Do not worry about tomorrow,” She laid a hand on his arm. “We will all watch over her; ensure she is fully protected.” The Athosian leant forward and [] touched her forehead to his, as was the Athosian way, before they each parted company, both hoping they would be able to get some amount of sleep before the mission.

For John, though, it was a long, lonely night missing the feel of Elizabeth next to him, the soothing sensation of her breath on his neck as she slept. He chastised himself for his stupidity and lay awake into the early hours, going over and over everything in his head, until tiredness finally got the better of him and he fell into a troubled sleep.

Chapter End Notes: The alliance with the Tronans is sealed but will it be upheld. Look out for next chapter to find out.

Thanks for reading and please review.

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