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Author's Chapter Notes: She would never remember the first time.

This Elizabeth Weir would never remember the first time she stepped through the Stargate and into the slumbering Ancient city of Atlantis. Time was not a straight line, and the vagaries of fate were such that you could never know which way it was going to turn next. Weir didn't know this, it was something she would come to learn.

All Elizabeth Weir knew was the sickening rush and the icy cold of a wormhole that seemed to go on forever. A data stream, carrying the precious details that made Weir who she was, from every feature to the earliest memory, swept through the space between galaxies, reforming her, whole and unscathed, on the other side.

Atlantis had slept for over ten thousand years, turning only twice in her slumber at the stirrings of her only remaining inhabitant, a stowaway with a single purpose. Weighed down by the heavy rucksack, Elizabeth breathed in the surprisingly pure air and began crossing the Gateroom with quiet and reverent step.

Behind her, the event horizon fluctuated as one, two, four, five, and more poured through, scattering throughout the room that housed the ‘Gate. Sheppard stepped through with, Ford?, and a couple of other soldiers, gazing around him at the graceful architecture of what was to be their new home for a while.

Elizabeth Weir was already moving ahead to the steps. It was odd, watching her; she had a childlike awe and yet she seemed completely at home, as if the city welcomed her, recognising her as its new leader, and the leader of the people who had come to awaken it.

Shaking off the thoughts that filled his head, he turned his attention to his job. A job that had changed dramatically over the past couple of weeks. He followed Weir, and McKay, a brilliant but breathtakingly annoying scientist that Sheppard was praying he wouldn’t be landed with for many, if any, missions. Under his feet, the steps lit up, responded to the Ancient gene he’d been told he carried; in multiple copies if Dr Beckett had explained it correctly. Not that it meant anything in particular to Sheppard, he was still adjusting to the idea that he had this fabled gene; being a strong carrier was something he wasn't dealing with yet.

But it obviously meant something to the city, the consoles lit up under his hands, but only Weir, McKay and Zelenka, the Russian scientist that assisted the irritating physicist, seemed to have any idea what to do with them.

A voice came through the ‘Gate, letting them know everyone was through.

Weir hurried down the steps, ‘thank you, General. We’re all accounted for.’

‘Here. A little present,’ came his voice, from millions of light years and a moment away. A large bottle of bubbly rolled through the event horizon, with a large tag festivally attached in curled ribbon. Sheppard watched from the balcony overlooking the Stargate as she picked it up, smiling at the message written on it.

She signed off and the Gate flickered, falling dark and leaving only the lights of Atlantis to show the way. For a moment, everyone was still, the loss of contact with Earth a tangible thing. Then Weir turned, her smile lighting up the twilight that Atlantis lay in, and lifted the bottle, finding his gaze and grinning.

He had no idea why, but he found himself smiling back, crossing his arms over his weapon as he watched her, weighed down by her pack, dressed in combats but so utterly filled with joy, he couldn’t stop himself responding.

Then Sumner broke the moment by pulling Weir away with a string of suggestions that sounded like orders, he watched for a moment, saw the eyebrow arch upwards and knew Sumner was in for a few firm suggestions of Weir's own. He turned away and back to the milling crowd. It was time to get to work. It was a couple of hours later before he saw her again.

‘Dr McKay?’ it was Weir, appearing at his elbow. Sheppard had already swept a preliminary area of the city with several other teams. Guards were posted, ringing in the civilian scientific teams to prevent anyone wondering off and getting lost. Sheppard had returned to Ops, only to find McKay babbling away on the edge of panic.

‘We have a problem,’ McKay turned to Weir, his tablet computer over his arm as he punched in numbers. ‘You know we’re underwater,’ she nodded, a fact that had been established a couple of hours ago, ‘well, the ocean is held back by a shield, the shield is powered by a ZPM, one of three that are supposed to be fitted in the power control room.’

‘What about the other two?’

‘Dead. No way to power them up; they’re paperweights,’ McKay replied. ‘The problem is, there’s not enough power to raise the city to the surface but nor is there enough to keep the shield up. We’ve got maybe a day, max. IF we conserve power.’

‘Dr Weir?’ It was Grodin, Weir’s logistics and control room operative. ‘Look at this,’ he touched the panel in front of him and a shimmering forcefield appeared, blocking the Gate.

‘An iris’ Weir noted, ‘very good.’

‘Using power using power using power...’ McKay’s voice droned on behind Grodin. Flustered, he shut down the iris.

‘At least we won’t have to deal with unwanted visitors. Okay, Dr McKay. Major Sheppard, please find Colonel Sumner and his team. We need to decide on our next course of action.’

The meeting was brief. Sheppard found himself included, much to Sumner’s obvious disapproval, along with McKay, Zelenka and Beckett. The mission that came out of it was obvious to all concerned as well. Find a planet with a breathable atmosphere so the Expedition could evacuate if necessary. Meanwhile, they would deploy scientific and military mixed teams to search Atlantis for another possible power source, whilst McKay and Zelenka worked on improving their current situation and looking for a way to raise the city.

The meeting broke up, and Sheppard wandered out to the balcony overlooking the Stargate. He was already geared up along with the others and only had to wait for Colonel Sumner to deploy cityside teams before they moved out. McKay had pulled some information from the Ancients database and was seeking out the first few potential planets to visit.

Weir was already there, looking down at the crowd below. She was chewing on her necklace, fingers nervous. ‘Hey,’ he interrupted her.

‘Major Sheppard,’ she turned with a ghost of a smile and addressed him. ‘Sorry you came with us yet?’

‘Not yet,’ he replied with a boyish grin. ‘Don’t worry, Dr Weir, we’ll find somewhere to hole up. But I’m betting McKay can fix this.’

‘Made an impression, has he?’ she asked, the smile a little wider, finally reaching her eyes. It was better that way.

‘Yeah; don’t tell him I said this, because he’s unbearable enough as it is, but if anyone can fix this, it’ll be him.’

She nodded, a full bloom smile on her face now. Sumner appeared below and Sheppard excused him, conscious of her eyes on him the whole way down the stairs. Trouble, he definitely had a habit of getting into trouble.

Sumner eyed him narrowly, but Sheppard simply set his weapon, slipped his night vision goggles on his head, and watched as the Gate spun into action. Above them, he heard Weir’s voice, telling them to be safe and wishing them luck. He moved forward with his team; but turned his head, lifiting a hand at the lone figure above, watching them go, before turning back and disappearing into the wormhole.

Weir watched them go, Sheppard in particular. The spiky, dark-haired Major had a bad rep, but all she had seen of the soldier suggested a sense of humour, compassion and sense of fairness. Even though McKay clearly grated on his teeth, he was still even-handed enough to give the scientist his due. She wasn’t sure Colonel Sumner was capable of being that fair. Which just meant that she was going to have to be. Sumner was under no illusion as to who he thought was in charge here; she was going to have to remind him that she was Commander here. It came of being a diplomat and civilian really, but she guessed a little of being a woman was in there. Sumner wasn’t intentionally prejudiced, he was just old school.

But in Sheppard, she potentially had a military ally, someone open enough to speak up. He was fair, and would give an honest account. She had already tagged a couple of the scientific team who seemed just as open. It was important to know the people you led; being interested in your team could avert fatal disasters.

The Gate shut down and Weir turned away from the balcony. All she could do now was wait, and hope.

Chapter End Notes: Video: No link to a scene

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