"Come back to bed," came the sleepy murmur from behind her.
Larrin glanced over her shoulder and saw that John Sheppard had woken up. He had kicked off his sheets in his sleep, but she had gently tucked them over him as she left the bed. Now he had pushed them down again, leaving his upper body… enticingly naked. His eyes were half-open, but he patted the mattress beside of him in invitation.
Larrin considered it. It was still early. Very early. Time enough for –
Lovesick dimwit, she scolded herself, and firmly turned her back to him. She looked out the window, smelled the air that came in through the crack she had opened.
"It's too early to save the galaxy, Larrin," he told her. "You've barely slept."
She sniffed. "And who would be to blame for that, John Sheppard?"
"I don't remember you doing much to avoid me – quite the opposite in fact…"
He sounded as pleased as he did amused, the bloody man! Larrin flushed scarlet, and was glad that her back was to him. Though he probably felt her heated cheeks through that bond. Damn, that Ancient bonding device. She'd had to bond the man, hadn't she, she couldn't leave well enough alone?
That bond was the only reason John- bloody -Sheppard had ended up in her bed. As if she'd been some fool teenager.
Well, maybe not the only reason, but at least a major contributing factor. How was she to keep a level head when he could set her heart racing just by smiling at her? Each time he stopped to watch her work, all his love for her leaked through the bond, warm and sweet and enough to buckle her knees.
And by now, the bloody man likely knew it.Burn her, how did the Ancient women put up with it?She suspected that she knew. They gave in to it. No, she thought crossly. Not now. Later, but not now.
"Can't you feel it?" Larrin muttered. "That…sense of wrongness in the air. Like there's a horde of Wraith coming closer. Something's going to happen today. Something bad."
"I feel it too. I've felt it since yesterday, but since I don't know what the hell it is yet, I don't see much point in wasting energy worrying about it. If there are Wraith, Atlantis will send for us."
"For you, you mean." It was so unfair. Not even Woolsey had the right to intervene between a woman and her lover, but Atlantis found John too useful to remember that detail.
"For me," he agreed. "But you go where I go now. Stop fretting and come here."
Larrin shook her head. Him and his mornings. He always wanted her in the mornings, when he woke. She could feel it through the bond and she'd already taken up the habit of obliging him. A pleasant way to start the day. But this morning everything felt wrong. Something terrible was about to happen, or was already happening, but she couldn't place it. If there had been Wraith or Asurans approaching, she might have been able to offer a vague direction, but as it was… Even the air felt foul when she drew it into her lungs. To touch the windowsill felt like touching something distorted. If she could put a direction to it, it would be looming over her shoulder, fingers already curling and closed about her neck. A Wraith Queen walking right at her; an Asuran, come to sate its foul lusts with it's probing hand. Or perhaps something even worse.
She shivered. Such fantasies she did not need. No use fearing the snap-tooth's bite before you even fall into the water.If only she could be sure that these particular bloody snap-tooths would stay in the water. She had been in Atlantis too long, she rebuked herself, and now she even feared the creatures in the sea that surrounded the city.
"It's the Last Battle," she said. "It's close, John. So very close."
"That's what we're feeling?" He asked her.
She nodded even as the certainty settled on her. The taste of something dark was reaching into the galaxy, into all of the universe, preparing to strike. She knew that the Travellers and Atlantis were as ready as it could be. She hoped the Fleet was ready. Damn, she hoped even the Wraith were ready.
But how could anyone be ready for this- this feeling of foreboding in the air that made her feel like retching.
Suddenly she was hauled from her feet. Despite herself she gave a little shriek, which of course John ignored. He'd dumped her over his shoulder, his arm firm about her legs.
She pushed her hands firmly against his back and raised her head, trying for as dignified a pose and as cool a voice as possible; "John Sheppard, you will put me –"
He put her down. Well, he tossed her down. Onto the bed. And before she could blink, he had landed beside her, pulling her in beneath him.
"I won't have you standing there digging yourself so deep in your worries that you can't climb back out," he said. His hands were already straightening her hair, lifting it carefully out of her face. "The Last Battle will come when it comes, no use worrying over it."
She tried to be cross with him. Treating her like that! She was a Traveller Commander. Tossing her onto the bed as if she'd been nothing more than –
Oh, but she did like to feel his weight over her. And she did like how he looked at her, somewhere between firm concern and love. She liked his bond in her head; to know that beneath his sometimes brusque manner, he would look at her almost reverently. He did love her. And he desired her.
So she tried to be cross with him, but failed miserably. When he kissed her she felt the last of her attempted-crossness wink out like a snuffed candle. She snaked her arms about his neck and let him, replace the foulness which had so troubled her.
"Much better," chuckled the insufferable man.
At which Larrin's indignation sparked and made a conscious effort to reassemble her wits. Lovesick fool. Witless like a young girl set on breeding. Breeding?! Perhaps not a word she should be putting back in her head right then.
She pressed her hands to his chest and shoved."We really need to work on your attitude, John Sheppard," Larrin managed. "When I say –"
"Hush," he interrupted, and shook his head. What stopped her talking was how he touched her lips with a forefinger. Then he let that hand trail lightly over her jaw, down her body; beneath her ribs, down her side to scoop up one of her legs. "What if you're right, then?"
She frowned. He bent back to kiss her raised thigh, then crooked that leg about himself. Her hands were still to his chest, but no longer pushing.
"What if The End is coming?"
"We should prepare –"
"All is as ready as it can be Larrin. Atlantis will call us if they need us. Until then –"
"Until then –" she began, in another attempt to be firm with him.
"Until then," he growled softly, his eyes fierce as they met hers, and she silenced. "Until then," he repeated in a softer voice, "I don't bloody care about The End."
His eyes, his voice, his body so close, and that bloody bond burning like a beacon in her head… Larrin felt as if she was glowing or melting. It was most unfair, that he could affect her that way.
"Call me a lovesick idiot and throw me to the Wraith," she whispered.
"Not bloody likely," John grinned at her. She was aware that he probably knew through the bond how both her body and mind seemed to freeze up and grow all fuzzy at moments like these. "I just don't want you worrying over what you can't change, Larrin. Besides, you were getting cold standing there at the window."
He was right. Woolsey would send for them when they were needed, and that last battle would come when it came, and Larrin could do little to stop it.
Until then, there was John, whom she loved, and whose utter lack of proper respect for her somehow only made her feel his returned love more keenly.
Who knew if they would survive this Last Battle? What if this was their last morning together… He was her lover now, and he would not outlive her long, they both knew that. But what if tomorrow, her only company would be her own tears..? This small cabin they found on a remote planet, was all they had right now.
There was, Larrin decided, nowhere else in the world she would rather have been at that moment, and nothing she wanted as much as her John Sheppard. As for the bond, it was a wondrous thing, alive in her head, and the emotions that reflected through it, like a kaleidoscope of colours to light up her world, were making her giddy again.
"No one's throwing you anywhere, Larrin," John said, between landing gentle kisses on her face, over her neck and shoulders and breasts. "Not until I'm done with you. The Wraith will have to wait for their turn."
She giggled and tapped his nose to catch his attention. "Might it be a long wait?"
"What? Mm, yes. Most definitely. In fact, if any Wraith show up knocking on the –"
There was a loud rap on the door, and then Ronon's voice calling; "Sheppard! A call from Atlantis, it's Woolsey."
John grew very still. Then his face contorted, and he reached over Larrin's head to where he had stashed his side arm, far in beneath the pillows.
"Don't shoot the messenger," Larrin reminded him, halting his hand by a light touch on his wrist.
John sighed. He raised his voice for a moment; "Tell them I'll be there shortly."
He was so morose as he made to climb up and leave her. On an impulse, Larrin locked her arms and legs about him to pull him back down, kissing him slowly as she did.
"Atlantis," she said breathlessly when she pulled back, "has no authority over me John, unless I permit it. You, John, aren't going anywhere until I say so. And if Woolsey doesn't like it, he can bloody well come down here and slap me in chains. Is that clear?"
For a moment John hesitated. But then his response confirmed beyond any doubt that that was very clear. “Tell Woolsey I'll come when I'm ready!” He yelled back at the door.