DISCLAIMER: Stargate Atlantis and its characters are the property of MGM, Showtime, Gekko etc. no infringement intended.
SERIES/SEQUEL: This is the final story in the series following The Luxury of Time, Oblivion, Time to Learn and Options and Obligations.
SPOILERS: Takes place post-Return I, so everything up to and including that episode.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Longest Time
By Manda


Laura stands at the end of a deserted hallway, cradling her cell phone between her ear and her shoulder. "Please listen to the music while your party is reached." She pulls the phone away, staring in disbelief at the device while some sugary pop song plays through the ear piece. It takes her a moment to recognize Elizabeth's voice cutting through the noise.

"Hello? Laura?"

"Oh, uh, hey... Do you know there's a Jessica Simpson song that plays while I call your phone?"

"There is?"


"Who's Jessica Simpson?"

Laura laughs softly. "Watch a few more hours of TV and you'll find out."

In her apartment, Elizabeth stares at her phone before shaking her head. "Is it at least a decent song?"

"Not really," Laura answers. "Go back to the store and have the guy put on some Mozart. That's a little bit more your style."

"Or at least a decent Rolling Stones song."

"You're a Stones fan?" Although Elizabeth can't see it, she knows Laura's eyes have lit up by the tone in her voice.

"I haven't seen them in concert or anything, but I have a few albums." And she did mean albums. There were some things she could willfully ignore, but the decade's worth of age difference between them wasn't one of them.

"We'll have to listen to them sometime," Laura says. It's the best offer Elizabeth's had in a week – ever since Laura was called away from dinner to go chasing after SG-11.

Laura looks around at the gray walls of the hallway, the dim underground lighting, and sighs. She's on the second level of the mountain, in a rarely used hallway that was once an access point for the ICBMs they used to house before the Cold War ended and the great Galactic Space War they are now in began. It is also the only place she can have privacy enough to use her cell phone and call Elizabeth without going all the way to the surface and hiding out in a supply closet.

"Hey, I know I was supposed to come over tonight, but we're on alert. If there's a problem-"

"-which there always is-" Elizabeth fills in.

"-my team has to be ready to go."

"Of course you do," she sighs. Elizabeth is the one woman in the world who understands Laura's schedule, or lack thereof. It doesn't mean she always likes it. "Don't worry about it. Carson came by for a visit today."

"He did?" Laura asks, feigning nonchallance.

"Yes, he did," Elizabeth responds, not at all fooled. "It seems someone mentioned I might not be adjusting to my new life as well as I should be."

"I swear," Laura explains, her words running together, "Carson and I were having a private discussion in the mess and then Colonel Sheppard just sat down and the next thing I knew he'd talked Carson into coming to see you."

Instead of being angry, Elizabeth laughs. "It's okay Laura. I'm not mad."

"You're not?"

"You were worried about me," Elizabeth says softly. "That's very sweet."

"Maybe if things calm down here I can come by tomorrow night?"

"Actually, you can't. Rodney's coming into town and Carson shanghaied me into going to dinner with him, Rodney, and John."

"That could be a problem," Laura says thoughtfully. "I'm not sure I have enough bail money for all of you."

Over the line she can hear Elizabeth laugh, the soft throaty chuckle that sends sparks shooting across her skin. Her chest tightens with an ache to be somewhere, anywhere else with Elizabeth than where she is right now - stuck underground and on the brink of war.

"I'm hoping it's going to be a quiet evening, but with those three, you never know."

"Just make sure you have plenty of singles on hand for the strippers later."

There is a moment of silence as they both picture that scene: John getting a lap dance, Carson blushing so fiercely he looks purple, Rodney stuttering incoherently as a woman shimmies in front of him, and Elizabeth sitting imperiously over them all, doling out singles and lecturing the strippers on reaching their potential.

At the same time, both women burst into giggles. "Oh my God, I can just picture the look on McKay's face," Laura laughs, her shoulders shaking.

"And poor Carson wouldn't know what to do with himself," Elizabeth says, wiping away moisture from her eyes. "That's just... priceless." Their laughter slowly dies away, leaving in its wake the realization that they will likely never all be together again. Not like the nights on Atlantis when they would share a couch on movie night, or all converge on the mess hall at 2:00 a.m. to bust into the latest stash of ice cream the Daedalus brought back.

"I turned down the job at Stanford," Elizabeth says, changing subjects.


"I didn't like their mascot." She sighs, tempering her sarcasm. "And I don't want to be another 'well-respected' academic. I want something more."

When she had told Carson earlier that she'd been writing her memoirs it hadn't been a lie. She'd been working on them off and on since the first day she'd heard the word Stargate; writing scraps of thoughts here and there, longer diary entries when she could. Now, she was piecing them all together, trying to get it straight in her head how she managed to go from a fairly popular professor at Georgetown who moonlighted in high level diplomatic negotiations to the leader of the greatest expedition of mankind since Columbus, Lewis and Clark, and Apollo 11.

"What do you want Elizabeth?"

Laura is certain her answer is going to be Atlantis. She isn't prepared for the answer Elizabeth does give.

"I want you."

There is a long silence as Laura considers the implications of what Elizabeth has just said. It's something she's wanted to hear for far longer then she is willing to admit just yet. Still, there is something wrong in hearing the words spoken over a cell phone while she hides out in an abandoned hallway.

"We can't do this now," she says, her voice breaking.

"I know," Elizabeth says. "But I didn't want to let it go unsaid any longer. Not when-"

"-Don't," Laura whispers. "Don't say it. Not yet." She doesn't want to think about saying goodbye when she's just been given this glimpse of hope. "What the hell did Carson say to you anyway?" Laura asks, slightly breathless, blatantly deflecting the moment with a joke.

Elizabeth thinks back, picturing the mess her normally tidy apartment was in when he'd arrived, the crossword puzzle she was halfheartedly filling in despite the fact it could have been done an hour before if she'd put some effort into it. It was the embarrassment at having Carson see her like that, so unkempt and lazy, that provided the real kick in the pants as much as his words. It wasn't like her to wallow in self-pity or brood for too long. At some point she reached her own internal barrier and the type A personality that had gotten her through years of academia and politics kicked in and pushed her on to something else. Apparently, this time around, it had needed a little extra help from her pride.

"It wasn't so much what he said, but the fact I was ready to hear it."

"I'm glad. Listen, Elizabeth, you should know I feel-" Laura's voice is drowned out by the sound of klaxons ringing throughout the base. "God damn it," she curses, muttering a few more profanities Elizabeth can't quite make out. "I've got to go."


Laura hesitates. "Elizabeth I-"

"Go, Laura, we'll talk later."

"Yes, we will," Laura promises with a smile.

A little more than 24 hours later, Elizabeth rushes out of Bill Lee's lab, glaring at Rodney the entire way. "Could you have been any slower?" she demands as they clear the lab hallway.

"I could only go so fast!"

"I was about three seconds away from asking the man out on a date," she hisses. "And what the hell is Warcraft?"

Rodney stops so abruptly she runs into his back. "You don't know what- I can't believe - you know what? Never mind." With a sad shake of his head he walks on looking for all the world as if his entire view on life has been shaken to the core.

"How much time do we have?" Elizabeth asks, hiding a grin.

Rodney checks his watch. "We're supposed to meet Sheppard in thirty minutes at the armory."

"I have something I need to do first."

Rodney looks at her, questioning, but lets it slide. "You better hurry. He hates it when people are late for missions. He does this whole 'sighing' thing... it's actually kind of fun to watch," he says, grinning.

Elizabeth grins back. "I won't be long."

She heads toward the elevator bank, going down two levels to the personnel quarters. Elizabeth's lips quirk into the hint of a smile as she finds the room with Laura's name written on the placard beside the door. As she expected, it is locked and dark since Laura is off world. Taking the note from her pocket, no more than a few hastily written words on a blank piece of paper, she shoves it under the door. With one last look at Laura's name on the plate outside the door, she turns and heads for John's office.

Mozart is playing softly through the speakers of Elizabeth's laptop in her quarters as she re-shelves one of the several books on Latin and linguistics that have become a part of her everyday life on Atlantis. Her mother always said that being able to pick up languages easily would help her in any career field, but Elizabeth is fairly certain translating Ancient in the Pegasus Galaxy was not what the elder Dr. Weir had in mind. It's been three weeks since they retook Atlantis. The Daedalus has already come and gone once, bringing supplies, personnel, and equipment, including the stack of boxes of things that used to be in her office that she never got around to unloading back on Earth. Caldwell is due back any moment with another round of personnel and supplies with everyone else who wasn't available the last trip.

Behind her the door opens silently.

"You threw a party with out me."

Elizabeth stops, halfway bent over a box of books she is unloading, the sound of Laura's voice sending tingles throughout her body. She doesn't know how the younger woman got in and she doesn't care. She stands up slowly, knowing Laura is staring at her ass, and answers without turning around, "It was last minute. We didn't have time to send out invitations." She turns, sucking in a shallow breath at the burning look in Laura's eyes and her own answering pang of need.

"You know how I like to blow stuff up," Laura says, trying to feign annoyance, even as she takes a step closer to Elizabeth.

"I know how you like a lot of things," Elizabeth answers, taking her own step forward.

There is a moment of hesitation, the slightest pause as they stare and take stock, and then they are moving, crossing the few feet of distance separating them until they are wrapped up in one another, mouths fused together.

Laura's arms slide around Elizabeth's waist, pulling her close as Elizabeth's hands fist in Laura's hair, neither of them letting up as their lips and tongues slide and taste and delve deep, feeding off each other. They don't stop until Laura backs them up into the nearest wall, and even then it is only for a moment to suck in air before moving to devour each other again.

"You're an idiot," Laura mumbles before moving to kiss her way down Elizabeth's neck, her hands pushing up under her shirt to splay across her back.

"What?" Elizabeth asks, not really caring, her own hands already under Laura's shirt, her thumbs brushing against Laura's already tight nipples as she palms her breasts.

Laura moans, attempting to answer. "You went off to save Atlantis, and you left me a damn note?"

"I didn't have time to write an e-mail," Elizabeth responds with a smirk before kissing Laura again.

With a low growl Laura pushes away, taking a physical step back to put some distance between them. Shaking her head in disbelief, she reaches into the pocket of her BDU's, pulling out a piece of paper, obviously worn from repeated readings. She holds it up, reciting from memory, her voice trembling slightly. "'I love you, and if I manage to make it through this, I want to be with you.'"

It takes everything Elizabeth has to respond. "I meant it."

Laura smiles and steps back, fitting her hands once more around Elizabeth's waist. "I know."

"Say it? Please?"

Laura meets Elizabeth's gaze, her eyes open and without fear. "I love you."

Elizabeth smiles as the words wash over her, filtering into every fiber of her being like rain on a leaky roof. "This is…"

"Completely ridiculous?" Laura supplies with a laugh.

Elizabeth nods, smiling even more broadly. "Absurd. It'll never work."

"Total disaster," Laura agrees, grinning now, her grip on Elizabeth tightening. "We're both completely nuts."

"Absolutely crazy."

"And I don't give a damn."

"Not at all."

They kiss again, slower this time, the urgency and desperation curbed, if only slightly. Elizabeth moves lower, her mouth fixing on Laura's neck, on the one spot she has claimed as her own, arousal flooding her senses as Laura moans in response.

Breathless, Laura tugs off Elizabeth's shirt, tossing it back over her shoulder as they stumble away from the wall. The bed is narrow and terribly small compared to Elizabeth's queen size 3 million light years away, but they don't notice. There is a moment of forced awkwardness as they both pause to untie their standard military issue boots and then they are moving again, hands everywhere, lowering zippers and undoing clasps and shoving undergarments out of the way until they are naked, side by side on the bed.

Laura wants to take her time, but time is now the one thing they have very little of. They are on Atlantis, and they are together, and every minute, from this moment on, is a gift. Elizabeth pulls her close, her hand threaded in Laura's hair as the other trails a fiery path down Laura's body. Laura parts her legs in anticipation when Elizabeth ghosts her fingers over the younger woman's hip, teasing a patch of sensitive skin before moving lower and brushing against Laura's curls.

Elizabeth slides her fingers against Laura's folds, already slick and hot. There is a gasp she faintly recognizes as her own and then her hand is moving and two fingers are buried deep inside. Laura manages to moan and sigh at the same time, shifting even closer to Elizabeth as she focuses long enough to mirror Elizabeth's actions, smiling against the other woman's mouth when Elizabeth moans, the tables turned.

Moving together they work in concert, legs entwined, kissing and tasting as fingers circle and move and twist, hitting every spot they have come to know by heart. In a rhythm of their own making they feed off of every whimper and sigh, shifting angles and finding new ones as they discover each others bodies again.

It is Laura who comes first, her voice a broken sob as she clenches her thighs tight around Elizabeth's hand while Elizabeth sucks at her neck, marring the skin. Shaking, she rocks into Elizabeth, the heel of her palm pressed into Elizabeth's clit, pushing Elizabeth over the towering precipice into a glorious freefall as everything explodes. Wrapped together, they hold on, riding out the aftershocks.

When everything starts to come back together, Elizabeth opens her eyes to find Laura giving her a dazzling, if dazed, smile. "I love you," she says again, getting used to the way the words fit on her tongue.

"I love you," Elizabeth repeats, blinking away the tears that have come unexpectedly.

Laura reaches up, brushing them away with her thumb. "Did you know the room right next to this one has an incredible view of the ocean? Much better than my last room."

One eyebrow rises in typical Dr. Weir fashion and Laura knows Elizabeth has come home. "Is that right?"

"Mmhmm… it's twenty six feet, door to door."

"You've put some thought into this."

"I had a very long time to think on the Daedalus."

"Did you give any thought to what happens if someone finds out?" Elizabeth asks.

Laura grins sheepishly. "I chose to ignore that actually. But I figured if Colonel Sheppard can ignore both General Landry and General O'Neill's orders and still come out all right, there's hope for me and you."

"We'll have to think about it eventually," Elizabeth points out, too happy to put much force behind the words.

Laura smiles, turning so that she is on top, leaning down over Elizabeth. "Eventually," she concedes, dropping a lazy kiss to Elizabeth's breastbone. "But that is one thing we definitely have time to worry about later."

The End

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