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Alice's day started almost like any other. There was the usual moment of panic when her alarm went off, and a mad scramble to get dressed for work. The El was late, which would have been unusual, if there hadn't been a snowstorm last night, and that meant she couldn't stop at her usual Starbucks for a latte.

Which was how she found herself, an hour after starting work, bundled back into her long wool coat, her hat mussing up her hair, and tugging her gloves onto her hands as she hurried down the street.

The wind whipped Alice's hair against her face, blocking her view of the Caribou Coffee in the building next door to her office. She didn't see the man walk out, but when they ran into each other and his coffee spilled down the front of her coat, Alice jumped back and yelped.

"Are you okay?" he asked, tossing his cup into a trash can set just outside the shop.

Alice looked up from her futile efforts to brush the liquid off her coat before it soaked in and met the man's hazel - no, green - eyes. Her breath caught as memory overwhelmed her.

There was a brilliant white glow coming from inside of her body. It was so bright, so pure that she needed to reach out for it. She needed to escape, and the only way to do that was to leave her body behind, to let it dissolve into that white light. She remembers watching, waiting for him to join her. Whether he'd Ascend or not wasn't in question, only when.

He'd joined her, but so had some of their enemies. She'd come to him, and they ran, because the Replicators held more of a grudge toward the Ancients than they did against even the two of them. They'd hid in the featureless expanse the Ancients eschewed, the empty space between their two galaxies. She'd have laughed, then, if she'd had a body, at the irony of using Adria's tactics in their own flight to escape the Replicators that had Ascended.

The comforting thing about having the knowledge of the universe at her fingertips was, when she said they would meet again, she'd meant it.


"John?" asked Elizabeth, though she knew that couldn't possibly be his name. Not any more.

"Elizabeth," he breathed. When he looked at her, nothing else mattered but the two of them. He stepped forward, his hands cupping her face as his mouth lowered toward hers.

There was longing in John's kiss, and the sense that, no matter how crazy this might seem to anyone else, they belonged together. Nothing would be enough to keep them apart. When they broke off, he stroked his thumb along her cheek.

Elizabeth stepped back, her hands braced on John's forearms, and quirked one eyebrow at him. "Normally I don't let complete strangers kiss me like that, but I think I'll make an exception. Just this once."

He looked almost the same. His eyes were a different color, and his hair was a very light shade of brown, but still had that mussed look that he said he could never escape from. His face were similar enough that she could trace the lines of John Sheppard's features in his new face.

John chuckled. "Sorry about spilling coffee all over you."

"I think I can put up with it," said Elizabeth, glancing down at her coat. "I was overdue for a trip to the dry cleaners anyway."

"Come on," said John. He nodded at the coffee shop. "You should get what you came here for, don't you think?"

"I should get back to work," said Elizabeth. She gestured at the building next to them. "What if someone sees us?"

"You can't leave me," said John. His voice lowered, and the longing she heard in it was almost painful. "Not now that we've found each other again."

"I can't just leave work in the middle of the morning," said Elizabeth. She looked down at her hands, still holding onto on his arms. She didn't want to go either. "I'll meet you here for lunch. Dinner after, if you want."

"Do I look like the kind of man who could ever walk away from you for good?" asked John. There was a wealth of meaning behind that, something no one walking by would understand.

"If I'm not back at noon, you can go to the twenty-sixth floor of my building," said Elizabeth. She let go of John and stepped back, ignoring the pang of loss she felt. "Ask for Alice Stafford. I lose track of time when I'm on a project."

"Some things never change," murmured John. He leaned down and kissed Elizabeth again, and it was like they'd never been apart. "It's a date."

--end--


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