A/N: Written for the Birthday Challenge put forth by ShaViva - write a one shot featuring a Stargate character on their birthday, no word restrictions. Thank you Sha for the birthday gift. I wrote this response with you in mind. :)

Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Stargate Atlantis or any of its wonderful characters.

Spoilers: None really.

Low Key

Major Even Lorne walked into the mess hall about a half hour late, but was relieved to see several servings of beef stew remaining. The alternate dish of Chicken Cordon Blue just never looked appetizing to him. It seemed to have a congealed quality to it in his opinion.

Evan grabbed a bottle of water and some silverware before making his way to the table that his team was seated at. With slight trepidation he seated himself and began eating hoping to not draw a lot of attention to his arrival.

His men were busy giving Lt. Jeffries a good ribbing about one of the med techs a few tables over, Janine if he remembered correctly. Lorne laughed along with his guys and gave each a furtive look while he quickly ate.

So far he'd made it through the entire day without any fuss or fanfare. Evan looked at his watch and noted that it was 6pm. With any luck he'd make it the few hours remaining in much the same manner with none the wiser to the fact that it was his birthday.

"Have somewhere you need to be, Sir?" Captain Jacobs asked, startling the Major out of his musing.

"Yeah bossman, you got a hot date tonight or something?" Lt. Jeffries piped in, grinning at his commanding officer.

"If he had a date, moron, he wouldn't be eating dinner with us now, would he?" Sanchez chided with a shake of his head.

Evan chuckled to himself as he continued to eat; it seemed he wasn't really needed in this conversation. Listening to the men continue to speculate about whether he would or wouldn't eat if he had a date later, Lorne relaxed and just enjoyed the moment.

It wasn't that he didn't want the men to know it was his birthday, he just didn't want to endure the fuss that would ensue as everyone found out. He much preferred to keep it low key and he knew his team wasn't capable of such a feat. With an even and subdued voice Evan finally entered the conversation.

"Not that it'd be any of your business, but I don't have a date tonight." The Major wanted to roll his eyes, because… really, the argument had ensued far too long considering he hadn't been on a date in a very long time.

"Told ya," Lt. Sanchez hooted.

Before the men could start grilling him on what he was doing after dinner, Lorne quickly added, "I have a few emails to write tonight and wanted to get in a run before I turn in."

"Want company boss?" Jacobs inquired.

"Ummm, not tonight guys," Lorne replied, knowing that Jacobs' question was for the group. "Probably just make it a quick one out to the pier and back tonight. Don't forget we have an early mission through the gate in the morning," he added as he stood and lifted his tray.

"Night boss," the three chimed as he stepped away. Evan lifted his tray in lieu of a wave goodbye and left the table.


Evan exited the transporter and walked toward his quarters, using the distance between the transporter and his room as a cool down after his run. He'd jogged a bit farther than he'd planned, but he supposed with becoming a year older, his mind was a bit busier tonight and needed a longer route to clear it.

The rising of the two moons had been awe worthy and he'd felt the familiar itch to capture the moment on canvas. One of his resolutions before he turned another year older would be to make more time for painting and sketching. He already regretted that after being in Atlantis for two years he'd barely made the time to indulge himself.

Movement caught his attention, bringing his mind back to his current surroundings, just a few feet from his quarters.

"Evening, Doc," Evan greeted Jennifer Keller as he paused to visit for a moment. "Visiting?" he asked, knowing that one of her nurses, Marie, was only a few doors down from him.

"Something like that," she smiled shyly at him, a slight tinge of pink creeping into her cheeks. Evan had noticed that reaction happening a bit more often when he bumped into her. He'd been meaning to explore this response she seemed to have to him. He was beginning to think that maybe his interest or curiosity concerning her might be a reciprocated thing.

"Don't see you outside the infirmary much," Lorne said, leaning casually against the wall next to his door. He wondered if she'd take up his line of conversation and stay for a bit.

"It has been rather busy 'round here lately," she offered, seeming to relax her stance.

"Yeah, my team's been out on back to back missions for what feels like weeks lately."

"Keepin' us pretty busy in the infirmary too. At least it's just been routine physicals for the most part… no serious injuries."

"We do try, Doc," Evan teased, enjoying the slight tinge of pink that returned to her cheeks.

She gave him a slight smile with a bit of a head duck and Evan couldn't help but like how this day was ending.

"I should probably let you get on with your evening," she offered suddenly. Lorne noted the change in her tone and posture and looked behind himself to see what had captured Keller's attention.

He saw Marie heading down the corridor, presumably from the transporter. Before he could turn back around the good doctor was already leaving.

"Hope you had a good day," she said as she passed him and he realized it was goodbye.

Before he could gather his response he heard Marie and the Doc greet each other and then watched her enter the transporter without looking back.

The Major stood rooted to the spot until Marie's greeting of good night broke through as she passed him.

"Good night," Evan replied with a smile before entering his room. He thought it had been going well, but Keller's hasty exit would seem to say otherwise.

He felt a change in the floor under his feet as he crossed the threshold and looked down to see a yellow envelope on the ground. Lorne realized, as he picked it up, that this meant he hadn't made it through the whole day without anyone wiser to the fact it was his birthday.

Evan toed off his running shoes while walking to his bed. Sitting on the edge he slid a card out of the bright envelope. The card inside was unmistakably a birthday card with a cake and candles adorning the front.

Lorne was hesitant to look inside, but curiosity won out the next moment. He peered inside and read the typical birthday message that accompanied these types of cards, happiness and well wishes for the next year. With no other excuses, he let his eyes travel lower to the additional message added in a very neat, half print, half cursive writing:

I hope you had an exceptional day. Happy Birthday!

It wasn't signed, but it didn't need to be. Major Lorne knew exactly who'd left the card in his room. Evan looked up at the door to his quarters, as if he could see beyond it. He'd had a very good birthday, he reflected, thinking of the skittish doctor he'd just encountered in the corridor. If the card in his hand was any indication, it looked like it was going to be a very interesting next year of his life too… and not just because he lived on a floating city in a different galaxy.