Author: Vicky
Category: angst, romance
Summary: She didn't know how they ended up like this
Season/Sequel: Future season where Sunday and First Strike never happened
Rating: T
Archives: my website, Command Dynamics, Atlantica, Abydos Gate: Fanfiction, others ask please, I never refuse
Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don’t earn any money; I just do it for fun.
Author’s Note: Written for this year's sparky_santa for leave_me_light. Her request was: I'll stick to pretty much what I wanted last year -- there can never be too many "fine line" fics for me. I'll just tru and be a bit more precise in my request this time. Basically, what I'd like is a heated argument that turns into love. I'd prefer it to be a UST to RST fic, I don't want it to be overly aggressive, just some nice, clean, misplaced, pent-up passion. Snark is definitely a bonus. Would be better if it didn't end up in blatant smut, but am not averse to smut either. Many thanks to my beta, Jaclyn, as always.

Heated Arguments

She didn't know how they ended up like this. She didn't know when they started to argue about everything and anything almost every day. There was a time, not so long ago, when she thought they had a good working relationship. She even thought, no she knew, that she could call him a friend. And now, she didn't know what they were to each other anymore.

So, she didn't know why they were like this these days.

And as she saw John walking towards her office, she just knew that it would end in another argument. And by the fact that every eye in the control room followed him, they knew that too. She resisted the urge to tell him that she didn't have time for him, but it would just mean putting it off until later.

"You've sent McKay off-world without consulting me first?"

She should have known that he would call her on that. Like she knew she should have told him. Rodney was part of his team, and he had the right to know. She went behind his back with this decision, and even then, she knew that there would be consequences. She had provoked what was happening between them now, but she didn't regret it.

"Should I remind you who commands this City, John?" she replied, a little more drily than she expected.

"McKay is a member of my team, I should have known! And as the military commander of Atlantis, I should have known about this mission."

"Rodney just wanted to take a look at an energy source Lorne's team found on their last mission. And as Teyla and Ronon are currently off-world, I decided that he should go with Lorne's team."

"I still shouldn't have been left out of the loop!"

"Let's take this elsewhere," Elizabeth suggested, as she felt eyes on them as their voices raised.

"Lead the way."

She left her office with John in toe. As they walked into the control room towards the balcony, they both noticed that the crew was following them. Elizabeth could swear she heard a collective sigh just before the door closed behind them. She had no doubt they had wanted to watch them get into another argument, but she refused to give them that today; they had argued in front of others enough to last them a lifetime.

They didn't speak for a moment, and Elizabeth just listened to the sound of waves crashing on the City. But she knew they were in the eye of the storm, and that soon enough, their fighting would resume. So it didn't surprise her when less than a minute later, John started to talk.

"Why did you do this?" he asked, his voice a bit calmer than a few minutes ago; as if he had time to process everything.

"You and I both know that if I had consulted you, you would have agreed with me."

"So, that's why you decided to forego my opinion. Because you knew I would be okay anyway. And if I weren't, it still wouldn't have changed a thing, would it?"

"No," she said, pausing for a second before continuing. "Yes, you're my second in command, but I make the decisions."

"Then, why do you bother having me around?" he asked, his voice rising once more. "If you don't need me, I don't see what I'm doing here."

"Don't be stupid, John!"

"Oh, now I'm stupid? That's what you think about me?"

"Of course not, John," she replied, and sarcasm could be heard in her voice. "You could have been Mensa, remember?"

"I damn know I could have!" he shouted, taking a step towards her.

"If you don't want me to make the decisions anymore, maybe you should talk to the IOA."

"Maybe I should," he said, then just froze.

She took a step back at that. She hadn't expected him to say that. She had provoked him voluntarily, but she hadn't expected him to react like that. She couldn't help but wonder if he really meant it. But she didn't want to stay to find out. Turning away from him, she walked quickly to the door.

"Elizabeth, I...," he tried, her movements making him finally react.

But it was too late. She was already gone, the door had closed behind her.

Cursing himself, and wanting nothing more than to kick his own butt, he decided to go after her. But as he entered, he could see that she wasn't in her office, or anywhere close by.

"Where's Doctor Weir?" he asked Chuck.

"She took the rest of the day off."

By the look the Sergeant was sending him, John guessed that if he didn't know exactly what happened on the balcony, he had a good guess with Elizabeth's reaction. She barely ever took a day off. Usually, it was only after Carson's threatening that she agreed to take a day off.

Walking down the hallways, he resisted the urge to go after her. He knew he hurt her; he hadn't wanted that. He didn't know what was going on between them these days. All he wanted was to make her angry, whenever he saw her, and sometimes she did just the right thing to make him angry too. Like her decision to send Rodney off-world without him. Any other day, he would have understood and approved her decision. But these days, he just felt the need to get into an argument with her every single time he saw her.

Today though, he realised he had gone too far, and that their friendship might be damaged for good. He had never meant to imply that she shouldn't lead the expedition anymore; he had just wanted to get back at her, and he had spoken without really thinking. He had made a mistake, and though he wanted to fix the damage, he also knew that now wasn't the time. Elizabeth needed to be alone, and he wasn't about to provoke her once more, not if he could prevent it this time.

It was pretty late, or pretty early depending on how you see it, but John was still up. He couldn't sleep and decided to exercise in the gym, hoping that it would help him. He was alone; there was no one else awake aside from the night crew in the control room. Or so he thought.

As he turned away from the body shaped punching bag, he spotted someone he hadn't expected to see leaning against the doorframe.


"Thinking about me there, Colonel?" she asked, gesturing to his boxing gloves.

"You know me better than that, Elizabeth," he replied, pretending not to notice the use of his rank.

"Do I?"

"Maybe we sort of drifted away during the last few weeks...," he admitted. "But I don't think I changed so much you don't recognize me anymore."

"I'm not so sure about that," she said, her eyes showing that she was still thinking about their earlier argument.

"Elizabeth...," he started, wanting to apologise, but she didn't let him.

"Maybe we need to ease the tension," she offered, sending him a pair of banto sticks, before she picked another pair from where it was laying on the floor.

"Are you serious?" he asked, surprised.

"According to something you said last week, I'm always serious. I remember your words involving a stick up my ass," she added, making him wince in remembrance.

Before he could say anything, though, she launched her first attack, forcing him to concentrate to block it. He had no idea how skilled she was with banto sticks. He knew she was training with Teyla from time to time, to stay in shape as she would say, but aside from their first sparring session, he hadn't been there to witness her progress. Now, as he blocked another one of her attacks, he realised that if Teyla had taught her the same way she did with him, she could easily be a match to him. As he had found out first hand during his first session with Teyla, fighting with banto sticks had less to do with strength than with skills. That kind of reassured him every time Teyla managed to throw him on the ground. Kind of.

That was why he was kind of reassured when Elizabeth did throw him on the floor in the end. She straddled him, blocking him, and put one of her banto sticks against his throat, while the other held his hands over his head.

"Ok, ok, you win," he relented, knowing when to admit defeat, but Elizabeth still didn't move.

"Why are we like this?"

"Because you beat my ass out?"

"Not like this," she rolled her eyes at his antics, moving her banto stick from his throat, and continued. "Why do we feel the need to argue with each other like that?"

"I don't know," he replied, before realising that she had leaned closer to him. "Maybe some pent-up tension," he whispered.

He waited for a reaction, any reaction, from her, but when she did nothing, he leaned up towards her, and closed the distance between them, capturing her lips in a kiss. This would probably earn him a slap or worse, but as she was the one straddling him, she was free to go at any moment. As she started to respond to the kiss, he managed to free one of his hands, and slide it into her hair, pulling her closer.

"Maybe...," she whispered, as they broke the kiss and released his other hand from her hold.

Her breath was mingling with his and he wanted nothing more than to kiss her again, but he knew that he still had one thing to do.

"I'm sorry to have hurt you earlier today, and the other days. I never wanted to, I just wanted to make you angry, I guess."

"I think I knew, but it still hurt. Especially what you said today."

"I imagine. But you should know that deep down, I think, and I know, that you're the only leader Atlantis needs, and you'll always be. I can't see anyone else in your place. What I said today, I didn't mean it. Not for one second."

"It's nice to know. But we'll still need time."

"I know. What about what just happened?"

"Me beating you?" she asked, feigning to not know what he was really asking.

"Ah, ah. No, I meant, this," he replied, pecking her lips to show her exactly what he meant.

"Oh that!" she said, smiling, before sobering, and biting her lower lip. "Maybe you're right and all it is is some pent-up tension that we need to release one way or another. And maybe this way is better than the one we've been using for the last few weeks," she finished with a shy smile.

"I think so, too. Let's release some more tension," he said before recapturing her lips in another heated kiss.

The kiss soon turned into a second and a third, and when they finally broke up, Elizabeth rested her forehead against his, panting heavily.

"I already feel a bit better, but we should continue this, just in case."

"Oh? And for how long, do you suggest?" she asked.

"As long as we feel we need it. But I have to warn you, it could mean we're in for a long time."

"Well, if I have to, I guess I'll deal with it," she replied, giggling, and kissing him quickly, before pulling away from him and raising an eyebrow. "What are your hands doing on my ass, Sheppard?" she asked in her best command voice.

"I was checking for this stick. And nope, not there. I was mistaken, it happens a lot these weeks."

"I'll show you if I have a stick up my ass," she said, and he wondered for a second what she was doing as she stood up and walked to the door.

"Elizabeth...," he started, sitting up and hoping that he didn't offend her again.

"You coming, John?" she asked, turning towards him as she was already at the door. "I remember I said that I have something to show you."

The grin she sent him told John all he needed to know. She wasn't angry at him, and if he understood this smile right, he might just be lucky tonight. Standing up quickly, he ran towards the door, making her laugh at his haste.

When she woke up the next morning, Elizabeth couldn't help but smile. This time, she did know how they ended up like this. Her legs were tangled with his, and her head was resting on his shoulder. She couldn't resist and turned her head slightly to lay a kiss on his shoulder, and her smile widened when he opened his eyes and turned his face to look at her.

"You know this pent-up tension thing?" he asked in a hoarse voice.

"What about it?"

"I kind of like it, but only if it means we release it this way. We've been doing it all wrong the last few weeks."

"Good to know that we agree on this."

"Then, let's release some more of that pent-up tension," he said, rolling her onto her back and settling on top of her.