Now, fic. :)
Title: “Lost Time”
Author: Little Red
Bingo: “Theft” (or SIGN UP FOR YOUR OWN BINGO CARD HERE!!)
Summary: John has lost a lot of things. Mostly socks, lately.
Category: Sheppard/Weir. For the first day of Sparktober, what else but post-fix-it fluff and a bingo square?
He’s been losing things lately: t-shirts, half his socks, four or five different books, his toothbrush. That’s unusual for him; a life of military service (and a deep appreciation for the relevance of Douglas Adams on his current career path) means that John Sheppard is a man who more or less always knows where his towel is.
He even misplaces his watch, for long enough to have to requisition a replacement before he finds it, tucked on a windowsill where it most definitely doesn’t belong.
“John, it’s a watch. In the grand scheme of things, does it matter?”
He shoots her a look over the dishes between them. A burst of laughter from the Spanish poker game at another table makes Elizabeth glance away from him, but he’s not about to let it go. This seems to be the one area where she is legitimately more relaxed than he is; he’s seen the inside of her quarters and she could lose seven or eight watches in there. “It’s not about the watch.”
He’s not so annoyed that he doesn’t appreciate the twinkle in her eye, or the way her hand lands close to his after she points at the formerly-lost accessory, now back in place. “It’s sort of about the watch, though.”
“All right, it’s not just about the watch.” John has spent the better part of the last four years sleeping with his watch on so there’s one less thing to manage on his way out the door for a midnight wormhole alarm, so that’s the item that clued him in that it’s becoming a problem that he can’t find things in his own quarters.
He’s either losing his wardrobe or his mind. Either way, he’s got to get it under control.
Elizabeth leans closer, and pokes his watch with the tip of her index finger. “Well,” she says. “I can’t think of why organizing your closet might have fallen lower on your list of priorities.”
Across the room, he hears “Colores!” and the clatter of cards and chips and Latin American accents, right as Elizabeth nudges him to turn his hand over, palm up. He tenses for a moment, feeling exposed in a room full of other people, before he remembers that it’s okay now. He spent too long being careful not to look like he was falling for her, and that habit is harder to break than keeping his quarters in order.
He’s still in command of the military force in Atlantis. Elizabeth’s still seen a leadership role by virtue of who she is, regardless of her title. People are probably watching her movements even more now; John didn’t have the monopoly on missing her, and he can’t be the only one who feels relieved just seeing her step off the transporter or getting coffee in the mess. Things have changed, though. Rules. Priorities. This thing with her might be new and tentative, but they’ve been partners so long that he trusts her.
Trusts, mostly, that she knows what this means to him. That they might step on each other’s toes, he might have no idea how to help her handle the physical and psychological effects of seven months with the Asurans, or he might fuck this up in completely ordinary ways like showing up late to their dinner plans or spending half their meal complaining about forgetting where he left his socks.
He might not know how to say it in any comprehensible way, but he trusts she knows that having her sleeping in his arms every few nights—wearing one of his missing t-shirts, now that he thinks about it—is more peace than he thought he would ever feel.
Her fingers have worked the strap loose, and he watches her slide it through the buckle. He can’t think of the last time someone else removed his watch for him, and he feels vulnerable with a bare wrist and intimacy on display, like everyone in the city can see how he’s changing.
Then she draws his watch away and pockets it.
He should have asked when she first started playing with his watch, but it finally comes out: “What are you doing?”
“You requisitioned a new one, remember?”
He wants to make a joke about Doctor Weir having turned to petty theft, but he’s probably said enough insensitive things lately as she comes to terms with having someone else in command of her city.
Instead he asks, because it’s his, “What if I like that one better?”
“Hmm...” she says, with a smile that makes him wonder why he spent even a second worrying about a misplaced toothbrush when he has all this in his life. “You’ll have to find it first.”