Squeeze
by Noelle - naushika@periapsis.net

RATING: PG

CATEGORY: Angst, vignette

PAIRING: Sheppard/Weir bonding

********

"You have to support it with your other hand," says Sheppard, standing behind me. Licking my lips, which are dry and chapped from the nervousness, I slide my left hand underneath the butt of the gun. I'm holding the gun straight out, my arms visibly shaking. Sheppard sees it. "You don't have to do this, you know," he offers for the twentieth time. His breath puffs at the back of my hair. There's no breeze today.

"I know you want to keep protecting me like the knight in shining armor with his damsel in distress, but women can learn to kick ass too," I say, flexing the skills of avoidance and sarcasm that the major has taught me so well. I can almost feel his eyes roll. He only pauses slightly before continuing with his lesson.

"Don't lock your right arm so much." Sheppard reaches forward to bend my elbow, and his fingers feel ice cold on my flushed skin. I thought this was going to be easier than it is. Any second now sweat is going to start breaking out on my forehead.

"Okay, now that you're holding the gun properly, time to aim." I shift my focus from the weapon in my hand to the crudely drawn picture of a Wraith tacked up to a tree twenty yards away. The Wraith has blood dripping from his fingers.

"Who the hell drew that picture?" I ask.

"Ford," he replies. I let out a small laugh. It helps calm me a little. I'm glad they're all trying to make this easier for me. "It's nice."

"See the notches on the top of the gun?"

I raise the gun slightly, concentrating on keeping my arms bent like he showed me and my hand properly supporting the gun, and peer down the barrel, one eye closed. "Yes."

"Those are for aiming. Line up the space in the notches with your target." I feel Sheppard take a step back.

The gun shudders slightly in my hands, but not so badly that I can't keep going. I aim for the Wraith's chest. He instructed me to always aim for the chest.

"When you fire, squeeze the trigger," Sheppard says quietly, not wanting to startle me. "Don't pull."

I've heard that before, but I never quite knew what it meant. I slip my finger over the trigger and hold my breath. I press my finger into the trigger. I can feel my own heartbeat through the pressure in my finger. The trigger starts moving inward, and I realize what it means. Squeeze, don't pull.

The gun goes off. It's not as loud as I expected, and the gun doesn't kick back as much as I expected. Letting my breath out, I slowly lower the gun. Sheppard steps up next to me. He looks approvingly at me. "You're a natural, Elizabeth."

I don't have a chance to respond as he runs off to the target and pulls it off the tree. I set the gun down in its case before moving to meet with Sheppard. He shows me the target. There's a hole in the middle of its chest. Sheppard is nodding and smiling. "Pefect shot."

I feel slightly sick, but I don't show it.

***

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