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Author's Chapter Notes: 'Oh God, he IS Kirk!'

Things went on shaking down and settled pretty well for a while. Although Weir and Sheppard couldn't seem to see eye to eye all the time, a crisis had them operating in unison. And Sheppard had a theory about why.

Elizabeth. He couldn't say her whole name without pronouncing each syllable, so he was rapidly shortening it, at least to himself and he forgot all about formalities when a crisis presented itself. She was all action then, no stiff courtesies; basically, she forgot to hold the walls in place and the compassionate but calm and decisive leader she could be shone through.

She had probably been more like this on Earth, back in her old job; he found himself wishing he'd known her back then. They would have gotten along pretty well. He was less cocky and impulsive back then too, more comfortable. He guessed that they were both adjusting to their new environments and neither of them ever really relaxed. Everyone else, it seemed, could voice their fears and concerns about the Expedition, the Wraith, the chances of returning home... but they were in charge, everyone looked to them for confidence and guidance. Elizabeth, as leader of the Expedition, felt it keenly and she didn't even have the outlet of petty squabbles with McKay to release the tension.

It was the unknown, the responsibility for every life on the base, every minute of every day with no end in sight. There was no relief, no downtime. And they needed some, badly. Now all he was left with was the task of making it actually happen.

But the opportunity seemed far out of reach. After Brannigan's team made it back, barely, through the 'Gate after being attacked, Weir's suspicions were confirmed. They had to be a spy on Atlantis leaking information. She wasn't the only one to draw that conclusion and the camaraderie that had existed between the two groups started to slowly turn to hostility.

It translated into tension in the command team, and Sheppard and Weir found themselves at loggerheads once more.

'What do you mean, Teyla can't join us?' Sheppard objected. 'She's introduced us to new allies, given us indepth information on this galaxy, assisted with the relocation plans of her people to the mainland, started supplying Atlantis with crops and done everything she can to show her loyalty and gratitude that we sheltered the Athosians when the Wraith came. You can't be serious about her being under suspicion!'

'Major, it does no good to argue like this. I like Teyla too, but if we include her, she's likely to simply tell her people what was said here. I've noticed the Athosians don't exactly have many secrets from each other.'

'Yeah, maybe we could learn something from them there,' Sheppard murmured darkly, sliding into his seat.

'Major Sheppard, nothing is kept from any member of this crew unless absolutely necessary. I try to be as honest as possible with the people under my command, and I expect the same from my senior staff. You know that! But we can't risk a potential spy being alerted to our plans!'

It was sound reasoning, and Sheppard wasn't stupid, he could work it out for himself. His objections were on a personal basis. 'I know you're very close to Teyla-' she began again in a more temperate tone. For moment she felt like gritting her teeth when she said the Athosian woman's name, and swallowed down her irritation. His loyalty to his team-mate was commendable, but he was supposed to be on Elizabeth's side.

'Hey! Wait a minute, I never meant- She's a good friend, that's all.' And it was all, despite wagging tongues. Teyla was a soldier with a steadfast heart, unwavering loyalty and a wise head on her shoulders. Plus there was a guy on the mainland that she definitely had eyes for.

'Seriously?' McKay's voice broke in from across the table, 'you're going to do the Star Trek thing? Who was it? Oh yes, Kirk! Or maybe you should be Riker since you're only second in command,' he smirked.

'Very funny, McKay!'

'You should come with a warning label,' the scientist added caustically.

'Alright, drop it,' it was Weir. She'd adapted to the constant sniping between McKay and Sheppard. The two worked very closely together and pretty well considering the diametric opposition in their personalities; the verbal sparring was their way of easing tensions when their quirks got on each other's nerves. 'We're here because of an information leak, not to air personal opinions. Any ideas?'

It was, in the end , a simple case of entrapment. To hold fair with the Athosians, Weir promised to debrief Teyla on the express understanding that she not divulge a word to her people. In return for this, Weir's own people would be held under equal suspicision and given the same treatment. Although she doubted any of her own people were to blame, she wasn't going to feed the fire between the Athosians and expedition crew by demonstrating any unfairness.

'Given the conflict that's bound worsen in light of this,' Elizabeth took the chance to address Sheppard directly as the others filed from the room, leaving only McKay and themselves behind, 'we need to present a united front, Jon.'

'We're united, you're the boss, I just follow orders.'

'You have a lot more slack than you would with a military commander and you damn well know it, Jon! When everything blows up we can't be at odds, we need to know each other, work together, better than this.'

'Okay,' like a blinding flash, the opportunity dropped right in his lap. Elizabeth admitted they needed to know each other better, he needed to shake her out of her twenty-four-seven routine of continual responsiblility. She'd never agree to downtime, so her threw her a curve ball. 'Date me!'


'Oh god, he is Kirk!'

'Shut up, McKay. I mean it Lis'beth. You, me, dinner, we could get to know each other better, settle our differences.

McKay opened his mouth, but Sheppard shot him a foul look and he closed it. Elizabeth finally remembered to breathe, and with that came the shocking realisation that back on Earth she would have automatically smiled at that proposition and then either accepted, if she liked the guy, or thrown him offguard before verbally dropping him from a great height.

Now she was the one offguard. What's happened to me? Elizabeth thought. Sheppard was grinning like a demon and she caught the slight rise of his eyebrows and realised he had pitched a curve just see her react. She finally saw then that she was close to running on empty, burning herself out far sooner than she needed to. How the hell did he see that about me? she wondered. Clearing her throat, Elizabeth settled back in her chair, clasping her hands together on the table. 'I make it a policy not to have relationships with people under my command. I assume that's not how you prefer to do things?' she asked, arching an eyebrow in his direction. The arch look faltered slightly as she recalled yesterday morning. Sheppard had appeared on the balcony outside her office, that cocky, know-it-all grin firmly in place as he handed over a cloth-wrapped bundle.

'Happy Birthday, Lisa'beth.'

'How'd you know?'>br>br
'Mum's the word,' he'd grinned. 'Okay, so I have my ways.

'I think I figured that one out already,' she smiled

'Well, there you go! There's something you know about me,' he'd said before grinning like an idiot and slipping out, preferably before she could find she could thrown at him

And now he was doing it again.

'Now there's another thing you know about me,' he grinned. She was settling in to spar, just a little, and he knew he'd managed to hit just the right note. He leaned forward, following her movement. 'Think of it as a playdate. You need to get out and relax, we need to work together better. Consider it team-building.'

'You're got be kidding!'

'McKay, Shut up!'

'Teambuilding,' she repeated the word with a slight degree of suspicision.

'Absolutely. No strings attached. Ignore McKay. Just dinner, we'll talk, take a walk round Atlantis, no exploration, just a walk, admire the scenery. Whaddya say?'

'I'll think about it.'

McKay rolled his eyes but said nothing, collecting his laptop and moving away. 'I just don't want to know the details.'

'Team building, Rodney,' Elizabeth called after him. 'We should consider extending social events for the whole command team,' she added to Sheppard.

'But us first,' Sheppard stepped on that idea. 'It'll be fun,' he added, slipping out the door behind her as she headed back to her office.

'And since when am I "Lis'beth?",' she asked curiously.

'It's the accent and your name's two syllables too long,' he added cockily. 'You mind?'

'We'll see,' the reply was thrown back over her shoulder but he could hear the smile in her voice. He grinned, bounding down the stairs as she headed back to the control room. It wasn't a home run yet, but he was halfway there.

Chapter End Notes: Video: Link to "Date me!" scene (0:24/2:45 to 0:35/2:45)

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