Angelic Paranoia

Paranoidangel's Fanfic

Stargate Atlantis

Dear Jack (The Elizabethan Remix)

Rating: PG
Pairing: Elizabeth/Ronon
Beta: wannatee_1984
Spoilers: Critical Mass
Summary: An e-mail from General O’Neill prompts Elizabeth to examine her actions towards Kavanagh in Critical Mass.
Notes: Remix of From Pegasus, With Love by Soleta


Elizabeth Weir was, like many of the current residents of Atlantis, having a quiet day. It made for a very welcomed and refreshing change, so she was determined to take advantage of it while it lasted, all the while waiting for a new emergency to present itself. She’d had a long lie-in – well, long in comparison to how much she usually got, which was none at all – and had made a start on her reading. Many people had brought books with them on the mission and a sort of lending library had been set up in Atlantis. The one she had currently borrowed was one she had been meaning to read for years but never seemed to have the time for. Indulging her secret passion for Jane Austen novels was definitely a low priority these days.

She was feeling much more enthusiastic about facing the day, having had the chance to spend an hour waking up and then pampering herself, rather than the usual rushed leap out of bed and into clean clothes. Knowing in advance that her usual 9 o’clock meeting was unlikely to be too onerous she had brought her breakfast with her. She turned up to find her department heads had the same idea and they all had matching cups of coffee and bowls of something that mostly resembled oatmeal. Even if it did not quite taste like it, it was all least nutritious and kept her full until lunch time.

After that she had been prepared to take Rodney’s gripes with a smile but unusually, he did not have any. Probably because he finally had some time to do all the things he had been telling her for weeks he never got the chance to get to. The meeting had still taken just over an hour, however, but today it was because they had spent half of that time joking with each other, rather than trying to solve the latest crisis, as was more usual. It was not the first time this had happened but it had become rare enough that she was struggling to remember how long ago it had been. It had reminded her of the meetings they used to have in Antarctica when they were not under so many time pressures. She wished more of the ones they had here were like that.

In fairly high spirits after the meeting, and feeling cheered by the current turn of events (or lack of them), she intended to spend her morning working through a pile of paperwork that she had been meaning to do for days and was now becoming quite urgent. First, though, she checked to see if there was anything more important she needed to deal with. She was surprised to find an e-mail from General O’Neill had just arrived, for he didn’t write often.

From: j.oneill@airforce.gov
To: e.weir@atlantis.gov
CC: j.sheppard@atlantis.gov
Date: Tues, May 2, 2006 10:18 AM
Subject: You tortured Kavanagh?!

Are you insane?

At least you didn’t record it.

(Is this Ronon guy as impressive as he sounds?)

Jack

This information is classified. Distribution to anyone without the proper security clearance carries consequences including and not limited to the following; fines up to $30, 000 or the equivalent; up to ten (10) years in federal prison; revocation of security clearance; revocation of citizenship or resident alien status; and/or deportment.

attachments: akavanagh1.jpg, akavanagh2.jpg

It only took her a couple of minutes to read through the attachments and establish that Kavanagh had complained about her, unsurprisingly. She could not blame him. Even though Ronon had not touched him the threat was certainly there and even if he had been guilty it was still completely unjustified. They were supposed to be the good guys and that meant they did not torture people, even if it might mean the safety of the city. The only bright spot was that he had certainly complained before and probably on more than one occasion. With any luck he had cried wolf too many times and Jack would just ignore him.

That did not make it right, though, and was something she had been unable to justify to herself on the nights she had spent tossing and turning, trying to make sense of it all. Most of the time other events conspired to put it out of her mind, but eventually she had managed to reconcile herself to the fact that she could not change the past and she needed to be consider her options more carefully in future. She really did not need this bringing up again, even though she had felt guilty for escaping justice for it. In the cold light of day she wondered if she had been insane, or just desperate. She replied quickly, wanted to know Jack’s perspective, even if he did not have all the facts yet.

From: e.weir@atlantis.gov
To: j.oneill@airforce.gov
CC: j.sheppard@atlantis.gov
Date: Tues, May 2, 2006 10:22 AM
Subject: Re: You tortured Kavanagh?!

Don’t remind me.

Are we in trouble?

Elizabeth

This information is classified. Distribution to anyone without the proper security clearance carries consequences including and not limited to the following; fines up to $30, 000 or the equivalent; up to ten (10) years in federal prison; revocation of security clearance; revocation of citizenship or resident alien status; and/or deportment.

She tried to turn back to her paperwork, knowing it could take Jack a while to respond, depending on how busy he was, but she could not concentrate any more. She found herself looking round the room and staring for a while at the activity outside her office. Most of the technicians working there had turned round in their chairs to chat and were currently laughing. If she went out there they might stop and she did not want to spoil their fun. Even if they did not and they let her into the joke she was not really in the mood for it.

She could not argue that she did not know what she had asked Ronon to do because she knew what he was capable of and she had seen the after effects of torture on more than one occasion. It had not been pleasant. She had tried, in the past, to convince people it was not the answer to their problems and now she had expected it to solve theirs, when an evacuation would have saved lives, if not the Stargate and the way home.

If she was in trouble then there was no doubt in her mind that she would be asked to step down. She wondered if she should anyway. It was rapidly becoming obvious, in the face of first the Wraith threat and now the one from The Trust, that Atlantis needed a leader who would endorse more aggressive solutions to what were fast becoming military problems. It did not need one whose main focus was on finding allies. She almost wished for a crisis to break up the quiet day and take her mind off things.

Rubbing her temples it was clear that she was not going to get any work done with this hanging over her. And sitting at the computer, staring at her inbox was not going to get Jack to reply any faster. She wished they were not so far away so she could see him in person to explain it to him properly. Before her thoughts could depress her any more than they already were, she decided to go for a walk.

She did not have any particular destination in mind and just wandered through the corridors. She passed people as she went, some of whom were taking the opportunity to catch up on non-urgent tasks, and others were pursuing more social activities. She returned their smiled greetings and tried to remind herself that with the exception of Kavanagh, who was no longer in Atlantis anyway, they were all happy with her work. But if they had known what she had done would they still feel the same? If she left she would miss not only Atlantis but also all these people that had become her friends.

Thinking that exercise might help she turned towards the gym. She had only just got out of the transporter when she heard grunts, clashes and sounds of flesh meeting floor, and her heart sped up in slightly horrified anticipation, in case she had got her wish. Walking gingerly round the corner she found the door was open and practice was in full swing. She took a deep calming breath and peered in.

One of the new young marines was just pushing himself up from the mat on the floor and he touched foreheads with Teyla before grinning and returning to a line of men and women along the side of the room. Some jostling went on, no doubt he was getting ribbed about being beaten by a girl. Elizabeth smiled. No one who had been here for longer than a few days thought about going up against Teyla hand-to-hand and winning, no matter how much training they’d had. Real life combat was obviously a far better learning tool, as much as Elizabeth wished none of them had to go through that.

While she was distracted by the marines, Ronon had stepped up. Although Teyla held a stick in each hand, Ronon had no weapons and Elizabeth thought that must be an unfair fight. As she watched she discovered she had forgotten how good Ronon was; how good he’d had to be to survive. It still amazed her – she was not sure if any of her people would have lived so long if they had been in the same situation.

She had intended to watch the fight but her eye could not help but be drawn to Ronon. As he dodged and parried Teyla’s sticks he made it look easy, although Elizabeth knew it was actually an instinct he would not soon lose. He had obviously not been idle while Teyla fought because there was already a layer of sweat coating his skin and he could not be working that hard yet. His muscles tensed and relaxed as he attacked Teyla and blocked her attacks in return. Elizabeth smiled as she remembered the workout she and Ronon had gotten two nights ago. Now it seemed like it was too long ago.

She allowed herself to get caught up in her memories, which eased her mood a little. But by doing so she was not concentrating on what was happening around her and missed Teyla taking Ronon down. Ronon seemed good-natured about it, though, and was laughing as he allowed Teyla to help him up. Elizabeth had to give herself a mental shake to pull her thoughts back into ones that were acceptable for company and more related to current events.

The class was dismissed and Elizabeth nodded back to the marines filing out as she stepped in.

“Doctor Weir,” Teyla greeted her, as she left Ronon to tidy. “Is everything all right? Or are you interested in learning how to fight?”

“I already know,” Elizabeth replied. She refused to elaborate, though. Ronon was not looking in their direction, on purpose Elizabeth thought, although she could not think why.

“Then was there something specific you wanted?”

“No, I think I just got so used to lurching from one crisis to another that I’m not sure I remember how to do nothing any more.”

Teyla smiled. “I understand. But there is always something.”

Having finished, Ronon interrupted their conversation to inform them, “McKay tells me there is something called ‘second breakfast’,” which was his way of saying goodbye.

Elizabeth smiled at his enthusiasm. Somehow Ronon always managed to lift her spirits, without even seeming to try. She wished she could find an excuse to join him but since she wanted something from him other than food she thought she had better not. She did not want to embarrass herself in front of whoever might be in the mess hall.

The rest of the gym done, Teyla had collected up her sticks to return them to the back in the window and Elizabeth rethought her exercise idea. She really needed some perspective from someone else. And to not have to pretend any more that everything was all right. Watching the Athosian she found herself twining her hands together in nervousness. Berating herself, she smoothed them against her pant legs.

“Teyla,” she began, although she was not really sure where to start, “you heard I nearly had an innocent man tortured?”

Teyla had sat herself down as Elizabeth spoke, and waited until Elizabeth had seated herself in the window beside her before she answered. “I did. I am told it was necessary to save Atlantis.”

Elizabeth wanted to get up and pace but settled for clasping her hands together tightly in her lap and not moving them. She shook her head. “It shouldn’t have been. It should never be.”

“I agree, Doctor Weir, but sometimes we have to do things we would rather not to protect our people.”

Elizabeth wondered, for a moment, what Teyla might have had to do. But then Teyla had lived under fear of the Wraith all her life.

“You have a valid point, Teyla, but this man was innocent. I mean, suspicious, but innocent. And perhaps I did it because…” Teyla cocked her head and Elizabeth took a deep breath before continuing, not entirely wanting to admit what Kavanagh had suspected, “…because I didn’t like him. Because I wanted it to be him. I let my emotions get the best of me and made a bad call because of it.”

Teyla laid one hand on Elizabeth’s arm. “You felt, and I believe still feel as if you let your emotions get in your way.”

Elizabeth sighed in remorse and nodded. “Yes, on both accounts.” In that accusation, Kavanagh was probably right but that was how she was, she did not know any other way to be.

“If you are asking for my opinion then I do not see anything wrong with that,” Teyla said with a comforting smile.

She shook her head. “If I had been thinking rationally then perhaps we could have discovered who was responsible before it became critical and the situation wouldn’t have arisen.”

“You cannot put all the blame on yourself. If we felt you were wrong then we would tell you. You know we would not allow you to jeopardise Atlantis. Yes you may have made a bad lapse in judgement, but that in no means implies that you are a bad leader. You are after all still human, and still capable of making mistakes, leader of this base or not. ”

She smiled at Teyla. “You’re right.” None of these people restrained themselves from giving their opinion when they disagreed with her or each other. “Perhaps it was justified but that still doesn’t make it right.”

“That is something I believe that only you can decide for yourself.”

Elizabeth nodded. “Since coming here I’ve been finding I often have to change my opinions on what is right and what is not. My views and beliefs are constantly changing in front of my eyes and sometimes it’s all just a little too much to take.”

“Perhaps there is something about Atlantis that makes you think this way.”

“Perhaps there is.” With a smile she rose, feeling at least a little more cheered, even if she could not recapture her mood of an hour earlier. “Thank you for your advice, Teyla. I will try and take it.”

She had only taken a few steps when Teyla called her back. Elizabeth turned in the doorway. “If there is ever anything else that you would wish a second opinion on, I am happy to advise you once more.”

“Thank you, Teyla, that’s a great comfort. I will keep you to your word.”

A slight inclination of Teyla’s head was her reply and she left Teyla in her own devices.

Elizabeth returned to her office via the mess, pretending to herself that she was not disappointed that Ronon was no longer there. She got herself some more coffee, though, and stopped to watch the waves, trying not to think too much. The anticipation of a reply from Jack almost made her want to go back to her office and check her e-mail right that minute. Except that if it was bad news she did not want know. Good news and maybe she could put it behind her once more and chalk it up to experience.

She did not rush back up to her office, therefore, but was surprised when she arrived to find Ronon sitting at her desk, his back to the door.

“Hello. How was second breakfast?”

Ronon turned round to look up at her. “McKay was not exaggerating.”

Like many of her conversations with Ronon she was not entirely sure how to respond, except with a smile and a small shake of her head. “That’s good to hear.” She moved round to her desk to sit at it and found Ronon was just finishing setting up a chessboard on it.

“You have e-mail,” he informed her.

“Thank you,” she said, sitting down and clicking off the standard SGC screensaver she had never quite got round to changing. Her heart sped up as she saw one was from Jack. She opened it straight away, wanting to at least put herself out of her misery.

From: j.oneill@airforce.gov
To: e.weir@atlantis.gov
CC: j.sheppard@atlantis.gov
Date: Tues, May 2, 2006 11:09 AM
Subject: Re: Re: You tortured Kavanagh?!

No, we’ve got bigger things to worry about. Like, say, aliens? Besides, it’s he-said-she-said stuff, it’s like trying to prosecute date rape cases.

If it were up to me, you three would be getting commendations.

Jack

This information is classified. Distribution to anyone without the proper security clearance carries consequences including and not limited to the following; fines up to $30, 000 or the equivalent; up to ten (10) years in federal prison; revocation of security clearance; revocation of citizenship or resident alien status; and/or deportment.

Upon reading it she closed her eyes, slumped back in her chair and breathed a sigh of relief. Her worrying suddenly seemed so silly.

“Everything okay?” Ronon asked her.

She smiled at him. “Yes, nothing to worry yourself over. I take it you would like a game?”

“Yes,” he replied, pushing the board away from him, the white pieces towards her.

She sat up, moved her computer out of the way and advanced a pawn. Every time she thought she had Ronon figured out it always turned out there was more to him than met the eye. She could not quite remember how the conversation had started now but after discussing strategy in chess it turned out he wanted to find out more about it.

He had understood the goal of protecting the king while attacking the opposition’s well enough but she had expected him to have had more trouble with the notion of the queen being the most powerful piece on the board. As it happened he had smiled and given her a look that she thought might have melted plastic. It was one of the few times when she had known exactly what he was thinking. After an initial shock she found that not only did she not mind but she reciprocated.

So, it had started with chess. Despite Ronon being a man of action and instinct he had picked the game up quickly. She supposed it was not that different from having to plan your life when it consisted of considering the next planet to go to avoid the Wraith. He was a willing pupil and she enjoyed teaching him. Their games always went quickly, though, as he never liked to spend too much time thinking, and if she did, or tried to, he would generally find a way of making sure she did not. Sometimes she did it on purpose and then the game would not end at all.

He had not completely mastered a poker face, not that it was entirely necessary for chess. But as he moved a knight he looked up and gave her what was definitely an evil grin, forcing her to concentrate on the board, to try and discover what she had missed. She could not find anything, though, which either meant he was better than she thought at chess or better than she thought at bluffing.

She peered up at him through her eyelashes. “You’re getting good at this.”

He slouched back in his chair, folded his arms across his chest and grinned at her. “I suggest the rock.”

“Rook,” she corrected automatically, even though he had long since refused to call it that. She had surprised herself by finding it endearing rather than annoying. Ronon reached an arm out to pick his king up and immediately put it back down again. She could not decide whether he was doing it on purpose to distract her.

“Okay,” she said, giving in, “you got me. Why would I move my rook?”

“Then my queen can put you in check.”

She glanced up at Ronon, who looked gazed back at her. She could not help but laugh in response, which felt good in comparison to the stress of the rest of the morning. She was still smiling when she spotted an opening, moved her rook as he suggested and looked back at Ronon to make his move.

He frowned at her and studied the board. “What did you do that for?”

She grinned at him. He had never won a game against her yet and refused to let her help him or go easy on him. So, although her move looked like it would benefit him, he would know that he had missed something. She thought that perhaps if he could just sit still long enough to consider all the possible ramifications of his moves then he would do much better.

He only thought for a couple of minutes before moving a bishop.

“Are you sure you want to do that?” she asked him, but at least he had realised why his suggested move was a bad idea.

“Yes,” was his immediate answer, although he looked carefully at the board again.

Successfully knighting a pawn in exchange for one sacrificed earlier in the game put his king in check with only one way out. Anyone else might have given up at this point but not Ronon. There was something to be said for his determination: he always played to the bitter end. Given that he had nearly scored a draw on one occasion, she could not blame him.

“So, how’s your morning been?” she asked him, now that the pressure was off her at least.

“Good.”

Sometimes it was hard chatting with Ronon because he did not give anything away. But then it was not his sparkling conversational skills she liked about him.

“Any plans for this afternoon?” she asked, lightly.

“Sheppard said something about ‘paperwork’.”

Elizabeth smiled despite her disappointment. She was willing to bet that Sateda had not been as bureaucratic as Earth – or America, at least – and she did not envy him his afternoon.

“But I am free this lunch time,” Ronon said as he moved his king to what would have been an excellent defense had he noticed her rook hiding on the other side of the board.

Moving it up, she grinned at him. “Checkmate.”

Ronon gave a grunt and tipped his king over. “One day I will beat you.”

“I’m looking forward to it.” Not just because she liked spending time with him, but also because their chess games had a tendency to be a prelude for something else entirely. “Is there something good for lunch?”

“There is,” he replied looking straight at her.

For a minute she was not entirely sure because Ronon never missed a meal. Then she remembered his second breakfast and gave him a slightly shy smile. “My quarters. One hour.” Ronon’s conversational skills must be rubbing off on her.

He gave her a smile back and left her with only one hour to spend with a pile of paperwork that she swore had grown larger since she’d been gone. Not to mention an e-mail to reply to.

Before she did, she read through the rest of the e-mails that seemed to have accumulated, even on a quiet morning. There was only one other on the same subject, from Teyla this time. When Elizabeth read it she discovered John must have e-mailed his team about Kavanagh, which suggested he might have been at his computer working. John did not really do sitting down and working quietly very well, so it seemed unlikely, but then she could not really blame him given what she had spent her morning doing.

From: telya@atlantis.gov
To: j.sheppard@atlantis.gov, e.weir@atlantis.gov, ronon@atlantis.gov
Date: Tues, May 2, 2006 11:31 AM
Subject: Re: Fwd: You tortured Kavanagh?!

My apologies for not replying earlier. I am still unused to this technology.

I am glad that none of you are in danger any longer.

Teyla Emmagen

This information is classified. Distribution to anyone without the proper security clearance carries consequences including and not limited to the following; fines up to $30, 000 or the equivalent; up to ten (10) years in federal prison; revocation of security clearance; revocation of citizenship or resident alien status; and/or deportment.

The rest of her inbox confirmed that other people had taken the time to catch up too. It was hard to concentrate, with an entire hour to fill up but she simply had to get some work done while there was such a good opportunity. Her reply to Jack was not exactly a difficult one though. If he had been there in person she could have kissed him when she saw his last e-mail.

From: e.weir@atlantis.gov
To: j.oneill@airforce.gov
Date: Tues, May 2, 2006 11:58 AM
Subject: We all owe you one.

Thanks.

Elizabeth

This information is classified. Distribution to anyone without the proper security clearance carries consequences including and not limited to the following; fines up to $30, 000 or the equivalent; up to ten (10) years in federal prison; revocation of security clearance; revocation of citizenship or resident alien status; and/or deportment.

She hit send and with a mischievous smile, wrote an addendum.

From: e.weir@atlantis.gov
To: j.oneill@airforce.gov
Date: Tues, May 2, 2006 11:59 AM
Subject: Ronon

And he’s better. In every way.

Elizabeth

This information is classified. Distribution to anyone without the proper security clearance carries consequences including and not limited to the following; fines up to $30, 000 or the equivalent; up to ten (10) years in federal prison; revocation of security clearance; revocation of citizenship or resident alien status; and/or deportment.