Title: "The Great Escape"
Summary: "It's a jailbreak, Elizabeth."
Elizabeth freezes, stylus poised in midair above her PDA.
Either she's going crazy, or there's... something behind her. No, not behind her. Behind the wall.
Really, going crazy is the more likely option, given the week she's having.
She drops the pen altogether. Definitely something behind the wall. Her heart speeds up a little in spite of her -- she isn't afraid of rats, certainly, but God only knows what superpowers the Atlantis version might possess, and whatever it is sounds big. She stands up, slides her office chair over, and is just about to call toward the control room for back-up when she hears something else.
Cursing. Muffled, to be sure, but the voice is still completely (and bizarrely, given that it'scoming from the wall) familiar.
She just has time to kneel down and work a "what in the hell?" expression to her face when the section of paneling closest to the floor swings open on a hinge she had no clue was there, and she's nose to nose with a familiar face and a messy head of hair.
"Hey." John. He has what looked almost like a crowbar in his hand, which he sets to the side. She can't easily see behind him, but he has to be in some kind of hidden crawlspace. "Didn't expect to see you, um, right there." John nods at how she's crouched on all fours to be at his level.
"I heard you coming," Elizabeth points out. She pauses, unsure of exactly how to phrase it and figuring her question should be obvious. She finally settles on straightforward: "What the hell are you doing here?"
John slinks an inch back into the crawlway and tosses her a conspiratorial smirk. "Breaking you out."
"Shh! It's a jailbreak, Elizabeth."
She makes a mental note -- not for the first time in recent weeks, though she's neglected to follow up -- to see whether it's medically possible for a sudden increase in sexual activity to actually cause insanity. Ever since she and John started... seeing each other, John Sheppard has been full of surprises. He seems to have lost about ten years -- which relieves her no end after watching him get more and more weighed down by the stress and responsibility and guilt of his position -- and he has made up for it in pure, undiluted mischief.
Their relationship is mostly on the sly -- John, at least, thinks he's spectacularly sly about everything -- but she honestly doubts it's that much of a secret. Certainly not enough of a secret to warrant crawling around in abandoned conduits, anyway.
"I do have a door, John."
"And if you go out there through the control room, eighteen people will descend on you with questions, theories, requests..." he bobs his head in time with the items on the list, and she can't help but make a face at just how right he is. There's a reason why she hasn't come out of her office since six that morning. "Come on. This tunnel leads down two levels into the junction by the environmental control room. No one's down there. You'll be home free."
She has no idea what to say. The last time anyone crawled through anything just to see her, she was fifteen and living in a bedroom next to an oak tree. It was just like every teenage romance movie ever filmed, except her boyfriend climbed the tree to her window in broad daylight, and with full knowledge of her parents, just to see if he could be like a boyfriend in the movies. She supposes, in the finally tally, it doesn't really count. "I have a meeting schedule to finish, John."
"Finish it later."
"And if someone comes looking for me?"
"They won't find you. Look, I'm only taking you away for a few hours. I've got something for you. Now are you going to come along or just kneel on the floor of your office until someone comes in and busts my secret structural discovery?"
And he gives her the look, that look, the one that makes her heart jump with real joy at seeing him relaxed and happy and makes her stomach tighten with how very obviously he's smitten with her, and she can't say no.
He crawls backwards to give her room to slip into the space and instructs her on how to latch the door. It's pitch-black, and though she has never really been afraid of the dark, being unable to see in an unfamiliar place makes her nervous. John's hand closes over hers before she can say anything. "Trust me," he says, and pops on a flashlight.
She can't help but giggle as they make their way through the tunnel and down a rung ladder, and his attempts to shush her are half-hearted.
"What do you think this was?" she asks. There are hatches on the walls, perhaps leading to important circuitry, but it seems strange that no one has uncovered this before.
"Maybe just an escape route," John says, grin evident in his voice, and puts his hands around her hips to help her down the last few rungs onto the landing.
There's a bit more light here, spilling in from some glowing panels along the walls, and in the illumination she notices a scratch on his cheek. "Hey. Are you okay?"
"Minor injury incurred during the rescue mission, ma'am." John crowds her personal space until she's pressed up against the ladder. His lips are barely an inch from hers. "I'll make a full report."
"See that you do," she barely gets out, and then he kisses her.
It has been three long (very, very long) days since they've been alone together, days full of missions and meetings and late nights of work, and after all that, his kiss makes her knees weak. They kiss for long minutes, reacquainting themselves, and it's only when they're fast heading from passionate to desperately hungry that John pulls himself away.
His breathing is ragged against her cheek in the near-darkness, and she loves that sound more than anything in the world.
She drops chaste kisses on his lips, unwilling to part with physical contact completely, and then asks, "Is that what you had for me?"
She moves her hips against his just so -- she can't help it -- and can almost imagine his eyes rolling back as he groans and jerks away. "No," he says, a weak overtone of scolding in his voice. "I got you something on the last mission."
"Oh?" She backs him up, headed for the wall of the enclosed landing. "What?"
He's hardly resisting her. They're probably both crazy. "Tastes like chocolate," he promises.
Her mouth waters a little at the thought, but she can only focus on one sinful thing at a time, and she has just pushed herself flush against him again. Without conscious thought, her hands go to the zipper of his jacket. "Are you sure no one knows about this place?"
She can barely see him, but she knows the look on his face: surprised, confused, and thoroughly turned on.
"Positive," he assures her.
She smirks and leans in to whisper in his ear. Definitely crazy. "Chocolate can wait."