|The Perfect Dive 1/1
||[Apr. 2nd, 2009|10:26 am]
Title: The Perfect Dive
Pairing: Tony/Michelle, Sheppard/Weir, Beckett/Cadman
Word Count: 4,300
Prompt: fanfic100 #095. New Year.
Spoilers: Takes place in the series after Against the Tides. All stories can be found at lantean_manor
Summary: It's a special day for two special people in Elizabeth and John's lives.
Author's Note: This is another story that I've been sitting on for the longest time, and I'll just go ahead and apologize now for that. The biggest thanks, as always, go to joyfulfeather for being a fantastic beta.
It probably hadn't been wise to start the day by jumping his bones, but it had certainly been fun. Of course, now that meant they were going to be late. John Sheppard was proud not to be a quick lover, but today she would have settled for frenetic and short. Not only did the both of them still need to shower and eat, but they also had to get Victoria ready to go. Even at eighteen months old, the littlest Sheppard was not a morning person, which meant she was going to make a fuss. They didn't have time to deal with that.
Their friends were getting married in a couple of hours. She wasn't in the wedding party, but John was, and they needed to be there early. She hadn't taken it personally when Michelle picked Laura to be her maid – matron – of honor. (The fact that Laura and Carson had gone downtown to a Justice of the Peace and gotten married was still taking some getting used to.) After all, Laura was Michelle's best friend and had been for close to ten years. She had only known Elizabeth for just over two. Besides, not having to stand for the ceremony meant she would actually get to see all of Michelle and Tony's (mostly Michelle's) hard work finally come together.
"Elizabeth, help me out here!" John called, beckoning her downstairs. He met her at the landing, holding out their screaming daughter with a bewildered glance. "She threw the bowl on the floor. I've gotta go clean it up before Sedge gets to it."
Thankful that she'd thrown her robe on over her dress, Elizabeth accepted Victoria's squirming form, looking her over. "Did you actually get anything in her?"
John glanced back, shrugging helplessly. "Some? I don't know."
Elizabeth sighed, bouncing Victoria on her hip and motioning for John to head upstairs. "Go get ready. I'll clean up and then I'll see if I can get her to eat a little more."
"Are you finished?"
Nodding, she traded places with him and carried Victoria back into the kitchen, listening to the chorus of 'no' that the baby still thought was going to help get her way. She was mostly finished; she just needed to get her shoes.
Thankfully, the dog seemed to share Victoria's opinion of her breakfast. It hadn't been touched and Sedge barely acknowledged her entry. She didn't even investigate what was going on when Elizabeth crouched down to clean everything up.
Once she heard the shower stop overhead, Elizabeth scattered some cheerios on the table in front of Victoria's booster chair, hoping she would like the dry cereal better. They still had about fifteen minutes before John would be ready.
She jumped, pressing her hand to her chest. "Ronon, you scared me."
The burly man smiled a bit sheepishly from the doorway. He'd come from Teyla's room, she realized. "Sorry about that. Teyla told me to be here early. She said you might need some help with Victoria."
She beckoned him into the kitchen, smiling gratefully. "Please."
Ronon touched her shoulder and squatted down beside Victoria. Immediately, the baby beamed and started to chatter excitedly at Ronon. Elizabeth just watched, amused. She had been unsure initially when Ronon offered to babysit, but Teyla assured her that he was wonderful with Victoria and that he'd be fine alone. Sure enough, the first time Ronon stayed with Victoria, she'd come home to an ecstatic little girl and a bemused big man.
"I'm going to go hurry John along. Are you sure you'll be okay with her?" she asked, brushing her hand through Victoria's messy hair. Ronon nodded, patiently taking three cheerios from Victoria's plate and popping two of them into his mouth. The third he handed to Victoria, who ate it dutifully.
"Teyla's almost ready, too, but she said you don't have to wait for her."
Elizabeth smirked. "Trust me; she'll be ready before John."
Ronon laughed and Victoria chattered on, even as she left the room. So much for a fussy toddler. Ronon was officially on retainer until Victoria graduated high school. Between him and John they could even handle when she started to date.
John came scrambling downstairs, looking panicked, as she was on her way up. He passed her shoes to her and beckoned for her to take off her robe.
"We gotta go. We're late and Tony just called; he needs me to go by his place and get the rings. He left them and his dad's rental has a flat tire, and it'll just take way too long to call a cab."
She nodded, letting John go around her before calling out to Teyla to see if she was ready to leave as well. Receiving an affirmative response, she moved back to the kitchen, sliding into a chair and putting on her shoes. Teyla came in just a few seconds later, holding onto both of their purses. Elizabeth smiled. The dress they'd picked out for her friend was beautiful: a deep, rich purple that complemented her mocha skin tone and fell nicely on her figure. Finishing with her shoes, Elizabeth stood, reaching for her bag and leaning over to give an oblivious Victoria a noisy kiss on the top of the head. Teyla said goodbye to Ronon and they joined John at the car, rolling their eyes at the nervous tap of his fingers on the steering wheel.
Thankfully, the detour to Tony's didn't take as long as she had feared it would and they were able to make up for their late start once they were on the highway. She was just glad that the cops hadn't decided to patrol early on a Saturday morning, because with the way John drove, they definitely would've been paying for a speeding ticket.
They ended up only being about fifteen minutes late to the church. As soon as he'd parked the car, John was up and out. Elizabeth shared a grin with Teyla. It was very likely that her husband was more nervous about being the best man than he had been about getting married. It was adorable, really.
"They aren't going to start seating everyone until eleven-thirty, so we've got almost two hours." She looked to Teyla before looking around the parking lot. "What should we do?"
"Should we not check on Michelle? Make sure things are well and that she isn't having the same sort of morning as Tony?"
She tilted her head. "Good point. Let's go."
Michelle was remarkably sanguine about the craziness going on around her, opening the door to Elizabeth and Teyla with a broad smile and a warm invitation to come inside. She and Laura were nibbling from a fruit and cheese platter, not wanting to eat too much once they were in their dresses. Elizabeth nodded, remembering that feeling and stole a couple of grapes and a cube of cheddar cheese.
"How did the alterations turn out?" she asked, settling on the arm of the chair Teyla had chosen across from Michelle. She'd only seen the wedding dress once, the day Michelle had decided on it, and it had needed to be taken in a little.
"Really well. The seamstress was able to take the straps up and add the beading elsewhere. If you want to stay until I put it on, that'd be okay. Tony's dad is ushering and he knows where to seat you both."
Both she and Teyla nodded, exchanging smiles at how ridiculously calm Michelle was. Even with having everything planned out for her, Elizabeth had been nervous on the day of her nuptials Michelle looked like she was just waiting for the bus.
"I love your dress, Elizabeth," Michelle complimented, cocking her head at Elizabeth's scrutiny.
"Thank you." She smoothed her hands across her skirt. She'd never felt particularly self-conscious until she had Victoria, and then everything was either too tight or just plain ill-fitting. This was really the first time in months that she felt good about being dressed up, though her outfit wasn't anything particularly special. The dress was navy blue, knee-length and chiffon, with an empire waist and a nearly sleeveless bodice. It was lightweight, which was perfect for their unseasonably warm April, and flow-y. It managed to hide the things that should be hidden and highlight what she wanted highlighted. She felt pretty in it.
Michelle smiled, nodding and reaching for a strawberry. Juice dribbled down her chin when she took a bite, and she collapsed into giggles. Elizabeth snickered, turning to Laura and raising an eyebrow.
"Is she really terrified and just hiding it well?"
Laura laughed, wrapping her arms around Michelle and patting her carefully sculpted hair.
"Nah, she's just excited. If you want terrified I saw Tony a few minutes before you guys got here. He's terrified."
"Aww. Well, John's with him now, so maybe he'll be okay. Although, John's more nervous for today than he was for our wedding, so who knows?"
Michelle agreed quietly, rolling her eyes a little. "He forgot the rings, did John tell you? I reminded him about fifteen times last night before Laura and Carson kidnapped me, and he still forgot. Usually I'm the one needing to Velcro things to myself to keep from losing them."
Elizabeth laughed. "Oh yeah. We made a detour by your apartment for them. Then John broke about thirteen traffic laws to get here."
"Good. Well, not good, but you know what I mean. Thank you for doing that."
Laughing, Elizabeth nodded. Laura checked her watch and nudged Michelle.
"Just over an hour. Go get washed up and we'll get you into your dress and fix your make up."
Elizabeth saw Michelle pale a bit and smiled reassuringly.
"You're going to be fine."
Just as she suspected she would, she cried during the ceremony. She'd been okay when she and Teyla were first seated, when she saw her husband looking dapper in his tuxedo, smiling and laughing beside a still-nervous looking Tony, even when the music began to play and the flower girl and ring bearer – Michelle's niece and nephew – came padding down the aisle. The tears started when Laura appeared, looking beautiful, mature, and completely comfortable in her pale blue strapless bridesmaid dress. The redhead winked at her husband as she passed, and Elizabeth felt Carson chuckle beside her.
Teyla handed her a tissue when Michelle appeared on her father's arm, somehow looking even more stunning than she had in the lounge. Her dress was a simple, tasteful spaghetti strap, scoop neck with delicate iridescent beading woven intricately down the bodice. There was relatively little train to her skirt and her veil was thin enough for everyone to see her eyes, to see the love shining so plainly in them. Elizabeth sniffed, shifting her gaze to Tony as soon as Michelle passed. His nervous fidgeting had ceased, replaced by complete stillness and total awe. He grinned and Michelle grinned back when her father placed her hand in his. Elizabeth wiped her eyes; so much affection was being communicated in front of her, with just a glance.
John's eyes met hers, and she realized she knew the feeling. He offered her a lopsided smile before bouncing lightly on the balls of his feet and going back to his duties. With his face turned away she was free to look him over. She shook her head gently; his hair was untamed madness, despite the formal attire, but it suited him.
She boohooed as Tony and Michelle said their vows with tender, sometimes shaky, voices. Michelle stumbled over her words, but recovered after a reassuring smile from Tony, and Tony had to stop more than a couple of times to compose himself. He really wasn't one for public speaking, she knew, and Michelle had mentioned how bad he could be at expressing himself. Elizabeth thought he'd done great. John had worried about much the same at their wedding, but he, too, had left her speechless with his words.
When the newly married couple kissed for the first time was really when she lost it. Teyla patiently handed her more tissues, sitting beside her until the tears turned into laughter.
"I'm sorry," she apologized, accepting another Kleenex from Teyla's strong fingers. "I don't usually do this."
Teyla smiled. "Well, if it wasn't for you, hopeless romantic that you are, we might not be here."
She slapped at Teyla. "I was helping. She didn't even know he liked her."
Teyla nodded, linking their arms and tugging her from the sanctuary. Carson had gone on ahead, hoping to catch up with Laura.
"Now, if we could just get you and Ronon to make something official…"
Teyla rolled her eyes. "Don't even start, Elizabeth."
She laughed. "Party pooper."
Thankfully she'd gotten a handle on the waterworks by the time the bride and groom had their first dance. She, Teyla, and Carson had been seated with the wedding party, despite not being part of it, and John welcomed her with a soft kiss, allowing her to pillow her head on his shoulder and wrap her fingers around his.
She nodded into his shoulder. "I'll be okay."
He kissed her forehead, smiling in amusement. "I cringe to think what you'll be like when Victoria gets married."
She pinched the top of his hand. "Bite your tongue."
John laughed. "C'mon, dance with me."
He stood, tugging on her hand and not relenting until she agreed and got to her feet. He kissed her cheek, offering her his arm and leading her out onto the slowly filling dance floor. Michelle's eyes broke from Tony's long enough to smile at her, but her attention was quickly regained by her new husband.
John's arm encircled her waist, dragging her into his embrace. His thumb tickled her side and she squirmed closer, wrapping her hand around the base of his neck. He pressed her palm into his chest, crinkling his crisp tuxedo shirt. He was already swaying and she followed his lead.
He pecked her cheek again lightly.
"I hadn't seen your dress before this morning I like it. You look beautiful."
She flushed slightly, and her hand squeezed his neck, drawing him closer for a kiss. "Thank you."
He nodded slowly, lifting her hand to his mouth. "So how'm I doing so far as a best man?"
She pretended to consider. "Well, you were doing okay until I found out about the tequila shots you two did before the ceremony."
John shrugged easily, still swaying to the music. "Tony needed to relax. It didn't really work anyway."
"Poor thing. Like Michelle was going to change her mind. Were you that nervous when we got married?"
He laughed cockily. "Of course not."
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow and smiled indulgently, but otherwise said nothing else. "What about your speech? You do have to make one of those, you know."
John scoffed. "Rodney managed. I think I can, too."
She sidled closer, resting her cheek on his shoulder. "Whatever you say."
When it finally came time for John to make the toast, she could tell he was feeling a little nervous, no matter what he said. She smiled knowingly, reaching for his hand and giving it a squeeze. John just shrugged, leaning over and kissing her cheek.
"You'll be fine," Elizabeth assured, returning his cheek press. "I read the copy you were working on last night while you were saying goodnight to Victoria."
John laughed. "Cheater."
She shrugged, releasing his hand and letting him stand. She had to smother the urge to giggle as he fumbled with the champagne flute and how to tap the silverware against it to get everyone's attention without breaking it.
"When I first started trying to come up with something to say, I thought about opening with a joke, something about how I knew we were going to end up here when Tony spent the first five innings of the Dodger's first playoff game in over fifteen years talking about Michelle's smile." John paused to allow the hearty chuckles to die down. "Or about the time when my wife looked at me one night and had to speak very slowly to explain that no matter what he said about just being friends, Tony here was ass over tea kettle in love with Michelle. But I think I'll save more stories like that for later on."
Elizabeth watched his shoulders rise as he took a breath.
"All joking aside, Tony Almeida is one of the best men I've ever met. I had the honor of serving with him – and getting in trouble with him – and there's no other officer I would've wanted watching my back. He's brave, he's loyal, he's –"
"Jeez, Sheppard, I sound like a Collie the way you're talkin'," Tony groused, arousing more chuckles from the tables around them. Elizabeth snorted, sharing a grin with Michelle.
"Not to mention he makes an awesome Super Bowl chili. Keep him around, Michelle. Even through the rough times, or when the Cubs are losing – which is always – he's worth it."
Elizabeth watched Michelle's eyes fill and 'aww'ed along with everyone else when she nodded, stroking Tony's cheek and kissing him lightly. She was close enough to get to hear Michelle's murmured, "I plan to."
"Congratulations, you two. Take care of each other, listen to each other, make time for each other, and make sure you're not flying a plane when she tells you she's pregnant. Things could get ugly then. I speak from experience."
Everyone laughed again.
John raised his glass. "To doing this again in fifty years."
With tears in her eyes, Elizabeth raised her glass, echoing that sentiment.
Somehow John managed to get her back out on the dance floor after their meal, despite the sluggish, full feeling she swore would impede her dancing. She did not, however, allow him to convince her to line dance, even though Laura had dragged both Carson and Michelle out there and was giving lessons.
While John stole the bride for a dance, she kept the groom company, finding him to be capable and easy on his feet. He confessed that his mom had forced him to take a couple of lessons in preparation, a fact that made her tease him a little. He dipped her unexpectedly in return. When he pulled her up, he'd gone serious again.
"I wanna thank you, Elizabeth."
She smiled. "For what?"
Tony lifted one shoulder. "For whatever you said to Michelle." He looked around, and Elizabeth tracked where his gaze had landed. John was twirling Michelle in circles, eliciting peals of laughter from her friend. "I love her."
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow. "I noticed."
Tony sighed, ignoring that. "Anyway, I just didn't know how to say it and you saying whatever you said helped."
Nodding once, Elizabeth looked to the side to where John was still making Michelle laugh. "Glad you learned."
She smiled, releasing his shoulders. "Go get your wife, Tony. They're making me dizzy just watching."
It was strange not getting in the group to try and catch the bouquet, but it was far more amusing to shove Teyla out into the fray and watch as she beat everyone else out without even trying. Tony's sisters and two of Michelle's cousins, along with her niece, had been vying for the bundle and were understandably upset when they didn't come away successful. Elizabeth even saw tears building in the young flower girl's eyes. Teyla, being the empathetic one that she was, bent down to offer the bouquet to Cassie, but was stopped when Michelle produced a smaller, somewhat similar version and passed it to the child instead. Mollified, Cassie scooted out of the middle of the floor, happily shouting to her father about the gift.
Elizabeth waited until the requisite photos had been taken before grabbing Laura and joining Michelle and Teyla.
"How'd you know?" she asked, glancing in the direction Cassie had gone. Michelle just laughed.
"She's like that when she doesn't win Easter egg hunts, too. I don't usually indulge her, but I figured today was special." She shrugged. "I'm just glad that Dylan will want no part in the garter throw. There's no way he's getting one of his own."
They all snorted, and Elizabeth turned her attention on Teyla, bumping her lightly with her hip. Teyla shook her head rapidly.
"Don't even start, Elizabeth," she warned, still holding onto the bouquet tightly.
Elizabeth smiled innocently. "I was just wondering how quickly Ronon could get down here to grab the garter."
Teyla blew raspberries at her.
"It's just superstition. I caught the bouquet at your wedding, too, Elizabeth."
"I know. I threw it at you."
Laura and Michelle dissolved into giggles while Teyla just sighed.
"See if I continue speaking to any of you," she muttered.
"Aww, Teyla, you love us. You know you do." Laura grinned.
Tony appeared over Michelle's shoulder before Teyla could retort. They watched in amusement as he wrapped his arms around his bride's waist and pressed his lips to her cheek.
"Hey, it's getting late. We're gonna need to hit the road soon."
Michelle smirked, glancing back at him. "Is that an excuse to get me sitting down so you can put your hand up my dress?"
Laura shook her head. "No, honey, I'm pretty sure it's an excuse to get you on the honeymoon."
"Very sly," Michelle teased, accepting a soft kiss from Tony. "Give me another couple of minutes."
Tony nodded. "Okay."
Tony dropped another quick kiss on Michelle's mouth before releasing her. The four of them watched him go, but it was Laura who laughed out loud.
"Oh, he is so ready to get out of here."
Michelle smiled lopsidedly. "I'll admit, I am, too." She glanced over to where Tony and John were talking. "No offense to your pull-out, Laura, but I'll sleep so much better with him beside me."
Elizabeth nodded. She knew the feeling. She never slept well without John there for her to cuddle up against. She was glad not to have to travel as much anymore, both because she hated being away from her baby for too long, and because there was very little point in trying to sleep without John Sheppard's body molded to hers.
Michelle looked around again, catching Tony's eye and nodding. "Alright, let's get this show on the road."
John's arms wound around Elizabeth's waist, tugging her to rest against him as they watched Tony lead Michelle to a seat. Despite the sexy music being played, the way Tony slid Michelle's dress up her legs was sweetly chaste. Elizabeth saw Michelle grin and settle her foot against Tony's thigh. Apparently her friend was feeling less timid than her new husband.
The reverent way Tony touched Michelle's ankle made Elizabeth's eyes mist. Tony looked nervous, almost awed.
John's arms tightened when Tony's head dipped and dropped a soft kiss on Michelle's knee. He, too, remembered doing the same, and she could almost feel the press of his lips on her skin. The thought made her squirm a little.
Even with the sweetness of the gesture, there was just something sexy about the scene in front of them. Tony's fingers trailed lightly up Michelle's leg, disappearing into a pool of white fabric. He and Michelle spoke in tones too low for their audience to hear, scooting closer to share a kiss. When they parted, Tony's fingers came away with a scrap of white.
Elizabeth watched him fling it amongst the six or so gathered bachelors. His cousin came up with it, laughing triumphantly. After sharing another soft kiss with his wife, Tony moved to give his congratulations, and instructed the young man to ask Teyla to dance.
She could tell that both Tony and Michelle were losing patience with the way the festivities were dragging. Twice now, she'd spied them glancing toward the door, only to look guilty and move further away from it. Leaving John behind, Elizabeth joined a crowd of well-wishers and waited until she could properly herd the couple over to the cake.
"What're ya doing?" Tony asked, looking back at her in amusement.
"Getting the two of you out of here. You look like you're ready to bolt."
They both laughed, sharing a smile. "And here we were being so sneaky."
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow. "You have met my husband, correct?"
Twenty minutes later, the cake had been consumed, more toasts had been made, and Tony was urging Michelle to go pack the remainder of her things before everyone decided they needed a send off. In the end their expediency didn't matter, because everyone was already waiting with handfuls of rice. Tony's scowl held very little malice, and Michelle's laughter rang out in the small courtyard.
Elizabeth wrapped her arms around them both as they passed her and John.
"Congratulations," she breathed, kissing them both on the cheek. "Have a wonderful honeymoon."
"Thank you and we will. We'll see you guys soon," Michelle assured.
Elizabeth felt John's arm draw her into his side. His lips touched her forehead and she felt him reach into his pocket for his handkerchief.
"I didn't know you were a crier," he offered lightly, brushing his fingers across her cheek.
"I'm not," she wibbled, dabbing at her eyes.
John kissed her nose. "It's cute."
Elizabeth laughed, nodding. "Great."
Resting her cheek on his chest, she watched Tony and Michelle say the rest of their goodbyes. It had been a beautiful ceremony, their friends made a beautiful couple, it was all just beautiful.
"What do you say when we go home, we leave Victoria with Teyla and Ronon?" he murmured, pressing his fingertips to her back and sliding his lips across her cheek.
She smiled, nodding slowly.