When the stargate opened, a pristine looking SGA-1 trudged through it, followed by the dirty, disheveled and limping military liaison who had accompanied them on their mission.
"Paul, you really should go see Carson," Rodney said tentatively, glancing over at John as he spoke.
"With the way my luckís been going today, heíd somehow have a cream pie and hit me in the face with it when I saw him," Davis groaned, reaching up to gently prod his black eye.
"What on earth happened to you?" Elizabeth asked, torn between concern and laughter.
He sighed and shook his head. "The question is more, what didnít happen to me."
"Come on, Colonel, it looks like you need to unwind." She slid an arm around his waist. "We can debrief in the morning unless thereís anything urgent?" She raised an interrogative eyebrow at John, who shook his head.
"I need to soak in a hot tub," Paul sighed. "Too bad there arenít any here." He smiled at the last, then winced when that pulled his split lip.
Elizabeth ran a gentle finger over his mouth. "How about a shower and me to wash your back?"
Paul managed a smile without injuring his lip more. "Iíd say my day just got a whole lot better."
"You say the nicest things." She leaned into him slightly as they walked toward the transporter. "Do I want to know how you managed to end up in this condition?"
"It was a comedy of errors," Paul sighed, "that began with a runaway animal and ended up with me tripping over Rover."
"You tripped..." A muffled snicker escaped her.
"Straight into Johnís elbow, which accounts for the eye; the lip happened when Rodney and Ronon tried to help me up."
"Rodney and Ronon? Which one of them punched you?" Elizabeth gasped, fighting back an attack of the giggles as she tried to picture it.
Paul groaned. "Both of them, actually; you havenít seen the lump on my head. At least the Eradrians had a sense of humor about it all."
"I think it would be difficult not to." Elizabeth followed him into his quarters, where it was less likely that they would be disturbed, and reached for him to unfasten his uniform. "Any other injuries I should be aware of?"
Paul sighed as Elizabeth slid his jacket off and worked his shirt over his head. "The ganak that got loose kicked me on the thigh, and the penul that was chasing it bit me on the ass, but I think that covers it."
She bit her lip to keep from laughing as she imagined the scene. "I know a ganakís similar to a mule, but what on earth is a penul?" She moved behind him to massage his shoulders.
"Itís like a dog," he groaned, dropping his head forward and sighing in pleasure as Lizís fingers dug into his tight muscles. "A big, hairy, slobbering dog."
"Oh dear. Poor you. Should I kiss it and make it better?" she purred, leaning down to kiss his jaw line while continuing the massage that was slowly relaxing him.
"Mmm, please do; Iím forgetting all about them as we speak."
"Your thigh, was it?" Elizabeth asked, moving around in front of him and sinking to her knees. "I guess the uniform will have to go so I can kiss it properly," she murmured, reaching for his belt.
"You have the best plans, Liz," he whispered, reaching out to stroke her rich, dark hair.
"Thatís why Iím in charge." She flashed a smile up at him before returning her gaze to the fly she was unzipping. A moment later she was easing his clothes down over his hips, and she let go, letting them puddle around his ankles. "Oh, that looks sore," she exclaimed, seeing his thigh. There was a lump where the ganakís hoof had impacted, and it was red, but it was one of those deep bruises that didnít show much at first but that would run the entire rainbow of colors before it finally healed. She pressed a gentle kiss to it, her hands lightly petting him.
He closed his eyes and groaned deep in his throat. "Itís beginning to feel better."
"Maybe I should take over from Carson," she chuckled.
"Iím not sure that Atlantis is ready for this type of care from you, and I know Iíd rather not share it."
She beamed at him. "I prefer to save it for one special person at that." She trailed her tongue over the swollen lump, but this time she continued upward, nibbling and kissing his thigh.
Paul laughed weakly and continued to stroke Elizabethís hair. "Of course, if I fall over again because youíve made my knees weak, itís going to be hard to explain the new bruises to Dr. Beckett."
"Then perhaps we should get rid of the clothes and move to the bed... or the shower since I think Iím supposed to be washing your back."
"The shower and then the bed, I think," Paul murmured, reaching out to help Elizabeth to her feet. "Somehow I think Iíll be so relaxed by the end of the night that I wonít feel any of the bruises."
"If thatís not the case, it wonít be for lack of effort on my part." Elizabeth kissed him before stepping back and peeling her top over her head. A moment later her bra followed it, and she stood before him naked from the waist up.
Paul groaned slightly and slid his arms around Elizabethís waist to draw her closer before cursing when he almost tripped on the pants that were crumpled around his ankles. Laughing ruefully, he shook his head. "Let me get out of these before I break us both."
She chuckled easily. "I knew I should have reminded you of them. But itís nice to know I make you forget everything else." She slanted a tiny smile up at him as she bent down to remove her own footwear.
Unable to resist, Paul ran his hands over her pale back, sliding his thumbs over the slight indentations of her ribs. "This is why we should never go on a mission together." He paused and chuckled. "Though John and Rodney manage."
"John and Rodney are unique," she said dryly. "And they really are better together than apart. Donít think I didnít have qualms about that, but theyíve proven time and again that itís best to leave them together. Otherwise, they just get into trouble, and their crazy rescue plans would turn my hair gray!" She shook her head. "Iím very glad youíre sane."
"And Iím very glad you didnít have to come rescue me." He grinned and leaned in to kiss her, undoing her belt and working her pants open as he did so.
"Why, Col. Davis," she said breathlessly a little later against his lips, "youíre very forward. Will you still respect me in the morning?"
"Iím afraid, Dr. Weir, that itís gone far beyond respect, and I know for a fact that Iíll feel the same way in the morning." Paul eased Elizabethís pants down over her hips, then steadied her while she stepped out of them.
"Iím glad to hear it," she whispered, sliding her arms around his neck and pressing close, both of them now naked.
"Iím glad youíre glad." Paulís voice was barely a whisper as he kissed her again and took a step backward, carefully stepping over their pants.
"Why do I feel as if we should be bursting into song like in an old musical?" she asked, chuckling.
Paul chuckled and continued walking. "If you can come up with a song with our names in it, Iíll be glad to sing it."
"I can think of much more interesting things for us to do. Though if youíd care to sing a greeting to Col. Caldwell when the Daedalus arrives this evening, Iím sure heíd be fascinated."
"I think I can live without live performances," Paul laughed, turning when they reached the bathroom and waving the water on.
"I was hoping for a private live performance," Elizabeth said, trying for a pout but laughing instead.
Paul shook his head and sighed before breaking into a mostly on-key version of ĎBethí.
Elizabeth burst into laughter, and it took a moment for her to regain control to say, "Thatís very sweet, Paul, thank you. But itís not exactly the kind of performance I had in mind."
Looking thankful that he could stop singing, Paul stepped back under the water and held out the soap. "Well, wash my back, woman, and we can get to the other part!"
"Woman? Did you just call me woman?" Elizabeth demanded laughingly as she followed him into the shower.
"Is there a reason I shouldnít?" Paul frowned in mock concern. "Are you hiding some sordid secret from me, Liz?"
"Yes, Paul, I forgot to mention that Iím really a man."
He grinned. "Well then, thatís fine because Iím really a woman who must have a concussion because of the strangeness of this conversation!"
"Thatís how you know youíre in Atlantis," Elizabeth chuckled, reaching for the shower gel to wash his back.
"The insanity?" Paul turned and rested his hands on the wall so he could lean his weight on his arms while Elizabeth washed his back.
"Oh my Lord, you werenít joking about being bitten on the ass!" she exclaimed, leaning in to take a closer look. "Are you sure you shouldnít see Carson?" Although the creature hadnít torn any flesh away, there was a ring of scabbed over tooth marks, and the whole area was reddened and sore-looking.
"Would I joke about something like that?" Paul twisted to look over his shoulder as much as possible and groaned quietly when sore muscles pulled. "Iíll see him later; all my shots are up to date, so I should be safe."
Elizabeth pressed a kiss to his shoulder blade. "From now on, if youíre going out with a team, itís not that one. They seem to be drawn to all the hotspots of the galaxy."
"Which is why they need a good negotiator who wonít offer bombs or try to blow them up."
"Yes, but Iíd really prefer that my lover remain in one piece."
"Your lover would prefer that as well." Paul turned and wrapped his arms around her again.
Elizabeth smiled as her arms went around his neck, the water gently flowing over them. "This is real, isnít it? You and me, here, together."
"Trust me, if this was a fantasy, I doubt Iíd have a black eye, split lip, and bitten ass."
Elizabeth Weir giggled. "Iím pleased to hear it. I donít think Iím ready for anything kinky."
"Your sense of humor is damn kinky, and you know it."
She gave him the look that had fooled more than one world leader into believing her a pushover. "Who me?"
"Are we going to get into a game of ĎWho stole the cookie from the cookie jarí if I say, yes, you?"
She laughed. "No, Iíll just be glad that you know me so well. Though I think weíll save any explorations of kinks for a time when youíre a bit less battered."
He chuckled. "No arguments to that at all, and I feel suddenly feel much cleaner and refreshed."
"Then I think you should lie down. To fully recover from your harrowing ordeal, of course," Liz said virtuously.
"Oh, I agree totally; I wouldnít want you to have to call the infirmary." Paul waved the water off and followed Elizabeth out of the shower, taking a towel and beginning to dry her off.
"Mmm, I love a man with good hands," she murmured, smiling at him. When they were both dry, she caught hold of his hand in hers and led him to the bed.
He sighed as he dropped to the bed and looked up at her as she joined him. "Just good hands?"
"Good everything," she corrected herself, leaning over him to lick a nipple.
"Mmm, I love a smart woman," he chuckled in response.
"I guess weíre just made for each other." Her teeth scraped lightly over the other nipple.
Paul groaned and arched upward. "We definitely fit well together."
"Very well," she agreed, letting her hair trail teasingly over his chest as she looked at him, inhaling the unique scent that said ĎPaulí to her.
Groaning deep in his chest, Paul lifted Elizabeth up enough to slide into her wet heat, barely noticing the way her thighs tightened on his, pressing against the bruised area as she slid over his length.
She braced herself with hands on either side of his head, not wanting to add to his bruises, and she gasped as she arched her back and took him even deeper. "Paul," she moaned, opening passion-drugged eyes to stare down at him as she rode him.
"Yes, Liz, yes," he gasped, arching upwards and sliding his hands up her body to cup her breasts.
She gasped, riding him hard and fast, her original intention of slow, sensual lovemaking long forgotten in the haze of pleasure that filled them both. "I love how you feel inside me," she whispered throatily.
Paul groaned in answer, rubbing his thumbs over her nipples as they moved together, feeling fresh wetness coat his cock as Elizabeth moved. She whimpered hungrily, one hand reaching down to rub her clit as she rose and fell on his cock.
"Liz..." Paul whispered, suddenly rolling her to her back so he could slam into her, both of them striving for their climaxes.
"Oh yes," she panted, arms and legs twining around him and pulling him even closer. "So good, Paul." She rose up to meet every stroke, gasping, and cried out sharply as she began to come. Feeling her tighten around him, Paul dropped his head to claim her mouth, drinking in her cries of completion before allowing himself the same abandon.
Elizabeth lay under him, arms and legs loosely embracing him, and she smiled without opening her eyes. "If that didnít improve your day, youíll have to give me a little while before I can try again," she murmured, turning her head slightly to kiss his cheek.
"That made my day, hell, my week a whole lot better," Paul chuckled, kissing the tip of her nose and smiling down at her. "Of course, right now Iím wishing I had taken one of those carts because Iíve developed an appetite for something other than youófor the moment."
Elizabeth grinned at him, but before she had a chance say anything, the door chimed, making them both look over in surprise. She was still reaching for the sheet when the door opened, making her yelp and yank the covers upward, only relaxing when Rover rolled in alone.
"Rover? Is something wrong?" she asked, propping herself up on one elbow.
Paul rolled to his side, watching the cart as he moved toward them, and chuckled when Rover pulled a covered tray from his storage compartment and held it out. "I think Roverís apologizing for tripping me," he laughed, taking the tray with one hand and patting the cartís sensor array with the other. "Itís okay, boy; it was an accident."
Rover spun in a quick circle before darting back out of the room, shutting and locking the door again behind him.
"Heís really cute," Elizabeth chuckled, sitting up to explore the tray. "Though I didnít realize he could open locked doors on his own."
"Neither did I. Letís hope he doesnít get in the habit, but I do notice that he waited until we were finished." Paul sat up as well, arranging the pillows behind himself so he could lean against the wall and slide an arm around Elizabeth.
"And he did Ďknockí before he came in," Elizabeth pointed out. "He has better social skills than Rodney!" She chuckled again as she settled comfortably against Paul. Selecting a juicy slice of melon, she raised it to his lips, offering him a bite.
"Sadly, that penul has better social skills than Rodney," Paul laughed before catching hold of Elizabethís hand to nibble at the melon, then at her fingers, licking away the juice that dripped down them before it ran down her arm.
About to defend Rodney, although she wasnít quite sure how, Elizabeth was distracted by Paulís tongue on her skin. She shivered, her eyes falling half closed, and she squirmed lazily against him.
"Liz..." Paul murmured, finally letting go of her wrist to offer her a bit of cheese from the tray, "Iíve been thinking."
"From just about anyone else in Atlantis, that statement would fill me with fear," Elizabeth chuckled before nibbling daintily at the cheese.
"Thatís because youíre a very intelligent woman, and what I was thinking about was the two of us."
"Dr. Weir," Chuck Bryanís voice came over her radio. "The Daedalus has arrived, and thereís someone asking to see you."
She sighed before reaching over to pick up the radio. "Unless itís an emergency, Sergeant, get everyone settled in, and Iíll deal with whatever it is in the morning." She cut transmission for a moment. "Sorry, just let me get this taken care of and then Iím very interested in hearing what youíve been thinking."
"Itís all right, just goes to show you todayís not my day," Paul murmured before Elizabeth turned her radio on again and Sgt. Bryanís voice cut in.
"Iím sorry, maíam, but he is very insistent on seeing you."
"Sergeant, Col. Davis and I are in the middle of a very important meeting. If this is so urgent, heíll just have to talk to Dr. McKay."
There was a momentís silence before another voice came over the radio. "Elizabeth, I would really like to speak to you."
Elizabeth froze, saying nothing, not even breathing for long seconds. "Simon?"
"Yes, Elizabeth, Iím here; better late than never as they say."
Paul tensed slightly at the name. "Simon Wallace?"
"Just a moment, Simon." Elizabeth turned off her headset again and dropped her head against Paulís shoulder with a groan. "Yes, Simon Wallace. I canít imagine why on earth heís here. He could hardly have thought Iíd forgive what he did, even if he couldnít know about us."
"Maybe heís realized what he lost," Paul murmured, stroking Lizís hair.
"Too bad." She sighed. "But heís not going to go away until I talk to him." She turned her radio back on. "Simon? Are you still there?"
"Elizabeth," He sounded relieved. "Yes, I am. Iócan we speak some other way than this?"
"I donít know what you expect it to accomplish, but fine. Iíll meet you in the dining room in half an hour. Weir out."
"He made quite the trip to see you."
"Which I really donít understand. He was already involved with someone else before he even bothered to break things off with me." Elizabeth shook her head as she reluctantly got up. "Iím so sorry about this, Paul. This isnít how I wanted our evening to go. Why donít you come with me, and after I deal with Simon, we can have dinner together?"
He smiled slightly though his dark eyes didnít reflect the humor. "Should I ask Rodney to borrow Rover if I need to fight for your honor?"
"Donít tempt me." Her smile was bitter. "Iím not above wanting to get my own back, and watching Rover chase him around would be very pleasant."
Paul sat up and got out of bed as well, moving somewhat stiffly as he gathered her into his arms. "No one here would blame you; you know what they call him, donít you?"
"No, actually. Everyoneís very careful not to mention him around me. I know that John let others know what happened between Simon and me."
"Theyíre protective of you," Paul nodded, "and they call him Simon-the-asshole, and I was told multiple times that Iíd be Paul-the-asshole if I hurt you."
"I was never worried about that." She cupped his cheek in the palm of her hand, looking into his eyes. "And you have nothing to worry about. Simonís my past. I love you, Paul."
"I love you as well, Liz," he smiled, turning his face to kiss her palm. "And weíd best clean up and get dressed so you can meet with him and I can escort him back to the Daedalus."
"And maybe accidentally kick him in the pants on the way?" she asked hopefully.
"A very good plan, Dr. Weir."
"Why thank you, Col. Davis." They grinned at each other before she took his hand in hers to walk to the shower.
"Elizabeth!" Simon exclaimed when she walked into the dining hall.
"Simon." She smiled coolly and sidestepped when he tried to embrace her. "I must say Iím surprised to see you here."
He nodded and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "I can imagine that would be the case, butócan we speak somewhere private or at least sit down?"
Elizabeth was aware of Paul passing them and going to sit at their usual table in the corner. She sighed faintly and led Simon to a central table, glancing down with a smile when Rover rolled up beside her and nudged her knee. "Everythingís fine, Rover." She patted him before returning her attention to Simon. "Why are you here, Simon?"
He eyes the cart oddly before turning his attention back to her. "To say that I made a mistake, several of them, in fact, and Iíd like to rectify them. Here. With you."
Rover nudged her again, and Elizabeth chuckled. "Rover, I think Rodneyís hungry. Why donít you get him something to eat," she suggested, raising her head to roll her eyes at Rodney and John, whoíd joined Paul.
"Just what was that?" Simon asked, not noticing the men at the table the cart rolled over to.
"That was Rover. I gather you didnít listen very much when I was telling about our life here in Atlantis, Simon. Because Iím quite sure Rover figured prominently in the stories." She chuckled again when Rover veered toward her and gave her a cup of coffee before going back to get another for Rodney.
"Which brings us back to why are you here? Our last meeting was fairly final."
He sighed. "I know, and you have no idea how much I regret that and how I handled the whole situation; it was wrong, and you deserved better."
"Yes, I did." Elizabeth met his gaze forthrightly. "You hurt me, Simon. I thought... well, it doesnít matter any more. You made a choice, Simon, and now you have to live with it. Youíre not part of my life anymore, and Iím frankly astonished that you thought I might feel otherwise."
"You know I never gave up easily, Elizabeth. I know Iím not part of your life any more, but thatís why Iím here, thatís why I joined the expedition; to try to be."
"Simon, Iím not interested. Thereís someone else in my life now," Elizabeth said bluntly.
"Ahh, thatís what it is. Iím... sorry; I hope while Iím here I can change your mind."
"Change your mind?"
"Yes." She regarded him unflinchingly.
He smiled. "Time will tell."
"The only thing I am to you now, Simon, is the leader of this expedition." Elizabeth rose to her feet and walked over to the table where Jack OíNeill and Laura Cadman had joined the others.
"Elizabeth!" he called, standing and following her.
"Dr. Wallace, I donít think youíre going to be welcome at this table," Paul said quietly, standing and blocking the other manís approach.
Elizabeth placed a hand on Paulís arm, not wanting him to waste his time on Simon. Apparently sharing her wishes, Rover and Jaffa darted forward, preventing Simon from coming any closer.
"I thought he was supposed to be smart," Rodney commented to the table in general, "he isnít showing it."
"I gotta agree with McKay," Jack said lazily, tilting his chair back onto its back legs. "I expected better of you, Liz."
"I have one word for you. Paul."
"Good point, maíam," Laura laughed.
Elizabeth gave Simon a very cold look. "You can either return to Earth on the Daedalusí return trip, or you can report to Dr. Beckett."
"Youíd throw me off the expedition?"
"Or I can and Iím sure Dr. McKay or Col. Sheppard would be happy to have the honors," Paul commented.
"Hey, donít leave me out!" Jack protested at the same time as Rover and Jaffa poked Paulís leg.
"Gentlemen!" When she had silence, Elizabeth said, "Simon, I have no intention of throwing you off the expedition, as you put it. Your skills could be very beneficial to my people. However, if you do choose to stay, it will be on the same terms as anyone else, and we will rarely interact. Youíre not senior staff. Or a friend."
"But Elizabeth..." Simon looked around at the others and nodded. "I see; Iíll have to think about this then."
"You do that." She turned her back on him and sat down beside Paul, reaching for his hand.
"Quite the day," Paul murmured, glancing over his shoulder at Simon, who was staring at them fixedly.
"Iím sorry about that," Elizabeth sighed, not looking back even though she could feel Simonís eyes on her. "I honestly never expected this."
"We could push him off a balcony for you," John offered, eyebrows drawn into a frown as he watched Dr. Wallace watch Elizabeth.
"We may have to push Carson off as well," Rodney commented. "He had to approve his placement here."
"Itís not your fault, Liz," Paul assured her before raising his gaze to meet the other manís, his expression cool and assessing.
"No oneís pushing Carson anywhere," Radek said emphatically as he joined them, Reza carrying his tray. "Why are we discussing it?"
"Because he forgot to mention that Simon-the-asshole was joining his staff here, thatís why," Rodney commented, taking a piece of bread from Johnís plate and absently chewing on it. John eyed him and smiled faintly, reaching down for the roll Rover passed up.
"Simon..." Radekís eyes widened, and he shook his head emphatically. "Impossible. Carson would never have approved it."
"Well, heís sitting right over there," Paul commented wryly, chuckling when both Radek and Reza turned to look at the researcher.
"Good God, the incredible nerve," Radek breathed, and Reza started to edge forward, Rover right beside her.
"Having your carts attack him in the dining hall may not be the best thing while the Daedalus is here," Laura offered, sticking out a foot to keep Jaffa from joining them.
"It would make sure he left on the Daedalusí return trip," Jack pointed out, although a thought had Jaffa settling back down between the two lieutenants.
"Hopefully that will happen without any of us resorting to violence," Elizabeth said. "I just canít believe that he thought all he had to do was appear and Iíd drop into his waiting his arms," she continued, annoyance plain in her voice.
"I think he needs to see Kate for those delusions," Rodney chuckled.
"What is the problem down here?" Carson panted, having been dragged to the mess hall from the infirmary by an obviously agitated Ciora.
"Carson, have you lost your mind?"
"What were you thinking?"
"Why did you accept him?"
"Why the hell would you hire him?" everyone demanded at once of the beleaguered doctor.
"What in the name of God are ye all going on about?" Carson protested, taking a step back away from the table and its obviously insane occupants.
"Hiring Simon-the-asshole," Rodney answered snidely. "Good one, Dr. Beckett."
"But IóI did no such thing. I mean, of course, I had approved him for the first batch, but he dinna come, and I believe we were all glad of it."
"Well, heís sitting right over there," John waved toward the watching doctor, "and heís sure as hell not here as military personnel."
"Och, I dinna understand," Carson murmured, glancing around the table. "I suppose I should go talk ta the man."
"Why?" Elizabeth asked, surprised. "Granted we need to find out how he got here if not through you, but why talk to him? Iím hoping heíll just go away," she admitted.
"Because Iím the one whoís going ta tell him that his trip here was wasted as weíve a full complement of doctors and medical researchers," Carson answered grimly before turning and walking over to the table where Simon sat watching them.
"Itís for the best, Elizabeth," John said when it looked like she might protest. "The man wouldnít survive a week in Atlantis."
"And not because of the Wraith," Rodney murmured, watching Carson sit down at the table with Simon and begin to talk earnestly to him.
Refusing to turn around to see how Carsonís conversation with Simon was going, Elizabeth leaned into Paul. "Ready to go back and continue our original plans for the evening?" she asked quietly.
"That depends," he offered, glancing at the others, "are there going to be any more interruptions?"
There was a chorus of chuckles and denials, and various promises to safeguard their privacy, capped when Rover moved between them and everyone else and clacked his pincers threateningly.
"There, you see?" John laughed. "No oneís getting past your watch-cart."
Paul gave in and laughed as well, giving Rover a pat on his sensor array to thank him. "You know, itís good having a cart feeling guilty over your injuries," he commented, catching Elizabethís hand as they both stood. "And tell Sgt. Bryan if he calls either of us, Iím hanging him over a balcony."
"Iím sure Lorne can keep him busy," John said, grinning. "Now run along, kids. And donít do anything I wouldnít do."
Elizabethís eyebrows rose. "I wasnít aware there was such a thing, John."
"Iíll vouch for that," Rodney said, raising a hand to punctuate his statement.
"I think we need to leave before they start arguing about that," Paul chuckled, letting go of Elizabethís hand to slide his arm around her waist, ignoring the way Simon was staring at them.
"I love an intelligent man," Elizabeth agreed, her own arm going around his waist as they turned to go, Rover moving so he was between them and Simon.
"Which is good because I love you," he stated, beginning to smirk before the pull of his split lip made him stop.
Elizabeth lightly traced a finger over the injury. "Poor you," she crooned. "Iíll kiss and make it better when we get back to your room."
"After I finish telling you about what Iíve been thinking about."
"Thatís right, you were about to tell me something when we were interrupted. Well, I can promise you my full attention now." They stepped out of the transporter and walked down the hall, Rover still shadowing them to make sure no one bothered them.
"Thanks, Rover, but I think I can handle it from here," Paul said, wincing as he bent over to pat the cart and give him a small push back toward the transporter before opening the door to his room and escorting Elizabeth inside.
Once the door was shut behind them, he cleared his throat and reached into a drawer, palming a small object. "I know this probably isnít the best timing, considering what just happened, and I know that I canít quite do this formally considering the fact that if I get down on one knee right now, I wonít be able to get up, but I can still ask correctly.
"Elizabeth Weir, will you do me the honor of marrying me?" As he spoke, he held out his hand, revealing a simple ring engraved with Ancient symbols.
Elizabethís eyes widened, and she stared speechlessly at Paul for long moment. He was just beginning to look even more nervous when she caught his face between his palms and kissed him. "Paul, I... Yes!" She smiled tremulously, offering him her left hand to put the ring on.
"Oh thank God," he breathed, gently sliding the ring onto her finger, then raising her hand to his lips to kiss her palm. "With the way my dayís been going, I was getting nervous."
She smiled at him, her eyes suspiciously bright before she blinked. "You never had any reason to be. Although I wonder if youíve realized that the carts are going to want to be part of the ceremony?" she teased gently.
"Somehow, I thought that would be the case," he laughed, easing his arms around her waist and pulling her in for a kiss. "And so you know, the fact that Simon arrived had nothing to do with my timing."
"I never thought it did," she reassured him. "And I hope he doesnít stay, but if he does, it will be nothing to do with us."
"Not in the least, though I hope he doesnít stay, for your sake."
"Iím going to be too busy planning a wedding to pay any attention to him." She smiled wistfully. "There are a few friends back on Earth that Iíd have liked to have at the wedding, but weíll just have to meet them the next time weíre back. Iím not getting married anywhere except Atlantis."
"I didnít think that would be the case. Now weíll just have to pick a date and hope that there are no emergencies." Paul stopped and chuckled. "Weíll have to curtail all gate traffic for a week on either side of the day."
Elizabeth chuckled as well. "Weíll put Rodney in charge. People will be too cowed to cause problems."
"Unless he and John vanish into their roomóof course, then Rover will be in charge, and that might be even better."
"Youíre just trying to scare me now!" Elizabeth laughed. "God knows where, or if, weíd find Dr. Kavanagh if that ever happened."
"Weíd just have to listen for the screams of outrage," Paul smiled. "So, should we attempt to enjoy that snack Rover brought us again?"
"Good idea. But I think weíre overdressed for that." She gave Paul a flirtatious glance from under her eyelashes as she pulled her shirt off.
"Hrmmm, so this disproves the theory that once youíre engaged, the sex stops," Paul laughed, moving closer to nuzzle Elizabethís throat.
"If that were true, we wouldnít be engaged!"
"I have to agree; better to live happily in sin than celibately in marriage!"
"I plan to have a sinfully happy marriage."
"That sounds perfect to me." Paul finally pulled off his own shirt and kicked off his shoes to get rid of his pants. "So, shall we try that relaxing and cuddling in bed again?"
Elizabeth removed the rest of her clothes and laid them over a chair before curling up on top of the bed, wearing nothing but a smile. "What are you waiting for?"
"Just admiring the view, maíam," he murmured, settling on the bed and pulling her into his arms. "Now then, I believe we were sharing those snacks Rover brought us..."
She shifted until they were comfortably settled together, her head on his shoulder. "So does this mean youíre going to feed me?" she asked, smiling down at the ring on her finger.
"Of course." He reached for the tray and picked up a piece of cheese, offering it to her as they relaxed back against the pillows.
"Mmm, I could get used to this," she said after eating the cheese.
"Rover bringing us food or being fed by an abused man?"
"Both, of course." Elizabeth chuckled and hugged him. "But actually I meant having time alone together. I like it."
"So do I; weíll have to schedule more of it." Paul chuckled. "Iíll send a memo to the Wraith."
"You do that," Elizabeth laughed. "It would be interesting from a purely sociological standpoint to see their reaction."
"Especially if I had Rodney or Radek create an e-mail virus to give them with it."
"Oooh, I like the way you think!"
Paul chuckled. "I would hope so, considering you agreed to marry me not fifteen minutes ago."
"Youíve surpassed my expectations," Elizabeth retorted with a grin.
"Iím very glad to hear that." Paul rubbed his face against Elizabethís hair. "I have to say that coming here was the best decision I could have made."
She absently stroked his chest while a soft smile curved her lips. "Iíll have to agree with that. I canít imagine not having you in my life anymore."
"I intend on being here for years and years to comeówild ganaks couldnít tear me away." He grinned at the last.
Elizabeth laughed merrily. "Iíll be sure to keep the ganaks awayójust in case."
"My heroine," Paul murmured, relaxing back against the pillows and closing his eyes for a moment.
"Itís only fair since youíre my hero." She pressed a kiss to his lips.
He sighed happily and tightened his arms around her. "Will it dash your expectations of me if I say I really need to get some ibuprofen?"
"Actually, Iím surprised you didnít get some before now. Stay." She pressed a hand lightly against his chest as she got up. "Iíll get it for you. Just relax. Although we should probably get you in a hot shower to keep you from stiffening up."
"Another one?" he laughed, watching her walk across the room, his expression appreciative.
"Unless you think your muscles are relaxed enough." Elizabeth looked over her shoulder at him. "Iíd like you to be able to move tomorrow. I have plans for you."
Paul shifted around and shrugged. "I donít think another showerís going to make much difference tonight; too bad the Ancients didnít go for large jacuzzis in their decor."
"Weíll have to suggest it to John. Iím sure if he wants one, itíll appear right in the middle of the gate room," Elizabeth said wryly.
"Letís hope that if he wants one, it shows up somewhere a little more private than that," he chuckled.
"I think we should select a room and then lock John in it and tell him to concentrate on a Jacuzzi!"
"Tomorrow. Iím not chancing something going wrong when he does it and dragging you away again."
Elizabeth burst into laughter. "Paul, I love you, but you sounded just like Rodney just then."
He made a face and shuddered. "I need a drink if thatís the case!"
"And Iíll need a gun, considering Johnís fondness for Rodneyís type. Heís not going to take you away from me."
Paul burst into laughter, then groaned as his sore muscles protested the movement. "I think Rodneyís all John can handle and vice versa, and I know youíre all I can or want to handle."
"I think that works out pretty well, since youíre all I want too. And Iím not planning to share." Elizabeth handed him the ibuprofen as she sat on the edge of the bed. "Roll over onto your stomach after you take those. Iíll see if I can do anything for your back."
Paul did as ordered, taking the meds and stretching out on his stomach, shifting uncomfortably before finding a position that worked for his bruises. "In case I fall asleep during this, I love you, Liz," he murmured.
"I love you too," she said, bending down to press a kiss to his shoulder. She moved to kneel straddling his hips and began to work on his back and shoulders, careful to avoid his bruises.
"Mmm, feels good," he sighed, relaxing under her touch.
"I aim to please. And I want my fiance in good shape."
"Especially if he has to fight for your honor," Paul chuckled.
"My hero. Though I think Rover plans to do that," Elizabeth laughed.
"He can protect Rodneyís honor."
"And John handles that." Liz paused to consider it. "Though heíd probably be willing to let Rover do it while he and Rodney found a supply closet."
"Which keeps the rest of us from being traumatized if we open the wrong door."
"Tell that to Lt. Stackhouse," she laughed.
Paulís laughter rumbled through his body like a purr. "Iím sure Lunchmeat would throw himself in front of the Lieutenant to save him from that fate."
"Or Dr. Takata might be inspired and drag him off to their own supply closet."
"At least theyíd have two carts to guard the door."
"You honestly think John and Rodney need two with Rover?" she laughed. "There was no way he was letting John getting another cart."
"Good point, and Iím sure Rover could get around those two if he wanted to."
"No doubt about it. Rover gets around Rodney. After that, nothing could be a challenge."
He chuckled again and stretched out more under her touch, sighing in pleasure.
"I hope you realize I donít believe in long engagements."
"Set the date; Iíll help however much I can with the arrangements and show up at the ceremony with bells on."
"I think Iíd like an Athosian ceremony if thatís all right with you. I rather like the idea of Teyla marrying us."
"I do too, though if we get back to Earth, Iím all for the Elvis chapel in Vegas." He grinned at the last.
She burst into laughter. "Only if I can have a line of showgirls for my attendants."
"Sure, if you wear the same outfit."
"Only in private," Elizabeth chuckled.
"And Iím looking forward to peeling it off you."
She purred with pleasure, remembering how Simon had always preferred her in prim little outfits that a ninety-year-old grandmother would be comfortable wearing. She loved that Paul thought she was sexy. "Me too."
He twisted just enough to look back at her, his dark eyes bright with humor and love. "And you can do the same for me with my white sequined jumpsuit."
"Iíll make it my first priority!" she assured him with a mock shudder.
"Not your style?" he asked innocently.
"Not anyoneís style!"
"It worked for Elvis."
"Have you ever seen pictures of his last shows?"
Paul chuckled. "I wasnít planning on putting on a hundred pounds for the event."
"Iím glad to hear it. But I think Iíll plan on a formal reception. I want to enjoy the sight of you in mess dress."
"And what about you, should we start asking the gate teams to look for a decent seamstress?"
"Iím going to ask Teyla. I saw the robes she wore for the ring ceremony, and they were beautiful. If I can get something like that in white, I think it would be perfect."
He nodded and stretched out again. "That would be gorgeous, and youíd look ethereal in them."
"And then you can prove how very corporeal I am to both of our satisfaction."
"As long as no ganaks or penuls are at the ceremony."
Elizabeth laughed. "Nope, just humans, carts, and perhaps an Asgard."
"You do realize that if Hermiod comes, it means your least favorite colonel will be there as well."
"Or we could have the wedding in two weeks after the Daedalus leaves."
"Two weeks?" Paul half-turned under her again.
"I have no problem with that; I was more worried about you being able to get your dress. If you translated the inscription on the ring, you know how I feel."
Elizabeth lifted up a bit so he could roll all the way to his back, then settled again. "Today. Tomorrow. Forever," she quoted, proving that she had indeed translated it. "I feel the same, Paul, and I donít want to wait to show it to everyone else. Iím sure some of the Athosian women would be willing to help get the dress ready, and there are very excellent seamstresses and tailors among our own people."
He nodded and ran his hands up her legs. "The only thing I ask is that we wait until I can move because I intend on both of us enjoying our honeymoon, and I donít want our wedding picture to be of me with a black eye." He smiled at the last.
A smile curved Elizabethís lips. "Good point. So maybe three weeks. Sickly green isnít really your color."
"My dignity thanks you," he chuckled.
"I just donít want to have to explain it to any future children or grandchildren. They might think I beat you."
"Somehow, I think our children will be more inclined to be disgusted because I intend on being sappily romantic with you until we die." Paul paused. "And just how many children are we talking about?"
"Two or three, I imagine. Iíd rather not have an only child." She smiled faintly. "And Iím sure Carson will be interested to see if the gene is passed on when it wasnít natural."
Paul smiled at that. "Especially since this may be his only chance to see it any time soon. And it may sound chauvinistic, but Iím really looking forward to seeing you pregnant with our child."
"Youíre allowed; I like the thought of it myself," Elizabeth admitted.
"Oh good." He gave a supremely male smile and stroked his hands up her sides.
Elizabeth suddenly chuckled. "We should make Rodney the godfather and have him babysit."
He had to laugh at that. "You know that Rover would end up watching the babyóand do a better job of it."
"Of course. But just imagine the look on Rodneyís face."
"Heíd have a heart attack."
"Iím sure Radek would enjoy watching it."
"Youíre an evil woman," Paul chuckled. "Which is why I love you so much."
"Thatís why we make a good team."
He caught her hand and brought it to his lips, kissing the ring heíd given her. "The best team."
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