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Archive for the ‘The Sea Horse Series’ Category

OK I’m spoiling you lot this week, as I have another completed fic for you to read.

This is a sequel set soon after the events in Horse From A Different Sea, although it should make sense if you read this as a stand alone story.

One of the hardest decisions a single parent has to make is whether to go back to work.. Imagine how much harder that would be if you were Lt Colonel John Sheppard, military commander of Atlantis. What do you do, abandon all the people who are depending on you, or risk leaving a tiny child without parents?

The fact that John has a child will make this story AU, unless the studio decides to pick up my suggestion and run with it for season 6? Well, you never know, that could happen somewhere, in  an alternate universe?

Disclaimers

My stories are never written for financial gain, although I do love it when you give me nice reviews (not a very subtle hint).

Sadly, Stargate Atlantis is not mine, because if it was then there is no way I would be cancelling it at the end of season 5. Life without Rodney, John and the rest of the team is going to be unbearable.

The Right Thing To Do

John was standing in the front of the gate with his team, dressed in his off world gear, waiting for Chuck to finish the dialing sequence. Outwardly, he was calm, professional, totally in control, but what no-one else could see was that inside he was freaking out. He was not particularly concerned about his mission. There was a good chance there would be trouble from the Genii, but that was something he had dealt with many times before. No, the thing that was worrying John Sheppard was leaving his daughter Meredith behind.

Following an accident involving an Ancient device that was strange even by the standards of the Pegasus galaxy, John had become pregnant, and given birth to a daughter. It had been the most frightening thing that had ever happened to him. John was certain that he would not have survived the experience with his sanity intact without the support of his friends, and especially one Dr Rodney McKay. For about a week after Meredith was born he was trapped in the infirmary, recovering from surgery, surrounded by nurses, doctors and friends. That week had passed in a blur, a honeymoon period of sorts, before the chill of reality set in.

Finally John and Meredith were released to move into the new larger quarters, with room for all the things that a child would need. John struggled at first to deal with diapers, bottles and baths, but Teyla and Rodney were always there to help him out, and make sure he got some sleep. Even Ronon displayed a previously undiscovered soft side, and would hold Meredith gently in his arms, feeding her a bottle, although he always managed to have somewhere else to be when there was a diaper to be changed. With time John realized that he had learned all the skills that had seemed so far beyond him, and that he was madly in love with his tiny daughter. Part of him was hoping that this would never come to an end.

Reality intruded in the shape of Evan Lorne requesting politely, but with some urgency in his voice, when Colonel Sheppard would draw up the schedule for the off world teams. So John bundled Meredith into the custom built Earth style pram, and took the transporter to his office. When he got there he realized that there was a huge pile of paperwork on his desk. John was reminded that he had a responsibility to the people of Atlantis, and something twisted in the pit of his stomach at the thought that his time with Meredith would be cut short so soon. He sat down, put his head in his hands and forced himself not to cry, because that’s not the sort of thing that Colonels do. Then Meredith, as if hearing John’s thoughts, started to cry out loud, and John realized he had not brought any bottles, diapers, or anything else.

With a flash of inspiration, John had called Rodney, who turned up faster than John would have thought possible, arms full of all the things John needed. Rodney took one look at the big pile of paperwork on John’s desk and told John to just leave it. Rodney would talk to Woolsey about delegating some of this to Major Lorne until Meredith was a little older, and John could leave her with a babysitter. A very relieved John fed and changed his daughter, and they all returned to John’s quarters where Ronon was waiting with food.

Rodney McKay has been described as the smartest man in two galaxies, but even he cannot slow the passage of time (actually he did suggest a small time dilation field, but John was sure he was joking). When Meredith was three months old, Woolsey approached John and suggested that maybe he should consider returning to active duties, as the leader of his gate team. He seemed to be understanding, and genuinely concerned, but John noticed the files on his desk with the details of candidates to replace him, and he knew he would have to make a decision soon. Later that day, John met up with the rest of his team to talk about what he should do. To John’s relief, Teyla’s partner Kanaan was prepared to watch Meredith along with his son Torren, and so it was decided that John would rejoin his team.

John’s first mission would be a diplomatic mission to discuss the growing tension with the Genii. Teyla had been conducting negotiations, and was very grateful that John would be able to go with her on the next mission. On the morning of the mission, John packed a bag with Meredith’s toys, bottles, diapers, clothes and other essential items,  He carried Meredith the short distance to the other family quarters that Teyla and Kanaan occupied, and Ronon followed with his bags. Rodney had already arrived, and was sitting at a table doing something on his laptop. John placed Meredith in Kanaan’s outstretched arms, and tenderly kissed her goodbye on her forehead. He realized that this golden time with his daughter was finally over, and it made him feel sad, but he knew he had made the right call. As the team set out to the gate room, he looked back over his shoulder to wave one last goodbye, but Meredith was asleep, oblivious to the actions of the adults.

As chuck started to dial the gate, the reality of the situation hit John hard and he started to ask himself if he was doing the right thing. Kanaan already had Torren to watch over, would he be able to cope with a second child? John realized he was being foolish, and he took a deep breath, and tried to stay calm. But then another thought occurred to him, what if something went wrong on the mission and he got hurt? Who would look after Meredith if he was injured, or worse still if he died? It was something he had never had to consider before, and suddenly he realized why Teyla had taken so long to make up her mind whether to come back to his team.

John kept outwardly as calm as he could, but somehow Teyla seemed to notice the tension in him. The smile on her face said that she understood, and that he was doing the right thing. John’s team were his family and they would always look after Meredith. He needed to be Colonel John Sheppard, to step through the gate and fight the bad guys. He couldn’t protect his daughter by hiding in fear in Atlantis. Finally, to John’s relief, the last cheveron locked into place, and the wormhole established itself, a rippling surface of sky blue. Without further hesitation, John followed his team through the gate.

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John Sheppard, intergalactic space hero, has survived life sucking space vampires, freaky alien technology, and the forces of nature, so you think he’d be able to deal with one small baby? Meanwhile Rodney McKay is faced with a difficult test of his loyalties.

A sequel to Horse from a Different sea, so you might want to read that one first.

Disclaimers

My stories are never written for financial gain, although I do love it when you give me nice reviews (not a very subtle hint).

Sadly, Stargate Atlantis is not mine, because if it was then there is no way I would be canceling it at the end of season 5. Life without Rodney, John and the rest of the team is going to be unbearable.

Teething Trouble:

John was having a bad day. His daughter, Meredith, was teething, and her crying had been keeping him awake at night for over a week now. Meredith had finally dropped off to sleep in John’s arms, and he put her down in her crib for an afternoon nap. As John walked past the mirror he took in the dark circles under his tired eyes. Damn, but he needed a nap as much as Meredith did. Maybe he should have listened to Teyla when she suggested that Athosian girl as a nanny?

Reaching for his headset, he decided to call Rodney.
“Hey buddy, how are you?”
“No.” Rodney replied in a definite tone of voice.
“Not fair Rodney, I haven’t even asked you anything yet.”
“You didn’t need to. I’m sorry but I can’t watch Meredith this afternoon.”
“Why not? It’s not like you’re working on anything that you can’t delegate to Zalenka.”
There was a short pause, and when he replied, Rodney sounded flustered.
“I’ve sort of got plans to work with Jen… with Dr Keller this afternoon.”
“Really?” John could not resist teasing his friend. “So, not a date, then?”
“A date?” Rodney’s voice rose in pitch. “No, no, nothing like that, we’re just working on, well something very technical that you probably wouldn’t understand anyway.”
“Ok, if you say so?” John drawled, in an amused voice. “I’ll find someone else.”

John suspected Rodney of lying through his teeth, as he had noticed the looks that the pretty doctor had been giving his best friend lately. He suppressed a small twinge of jealousy at the thought that Rodney might be on a date, while he was stuck in his quarters trying to cope with a small child on his own. He’d made his choice, and he didn’t regret it, but there were times when being a single parent was just so exhausting. 

John went through a mental list of possible babysitters, but right now he just couldn’t think of anyone else he could ask. The Athosians living in the new colony on the mainland were in the middle of their first harvest, and Ronon had gone with Teyla and Kanaan to help out. Carson was on duty, and Jennifer was unavailable for the same dubious reasons as Rodney. Radek was no good with children, and Lorne had made it perfectly clear that it was bad enough getting stuck with practically all John’s paperwork, without being asked to baby-sit as well. With a sigh, he collapsed on the couch, and closed his eyes, telling himself it was just for a few minutes. Soon he was fast asleep, snoring gently.

The view from the balcony was breathtaking, but Rodney didn’t notice as he stared out to sea, with a thoughtful look on his face. Jennifer was concerned, if only because Rodney had not immediately reached for the picnic basket to see if she had packed any chocolate muffins. A smile briefly played across her lips at the thought, but it was a momentary distraction only. Hesitantly, she reached across and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Hey, what’s up Rodney, you seem a bit distracted.”
Startled out of his thoughts by the contact, Rodney turned to face Jen, and a look of guilt briefly crossed his expressive face.
“Oh, it’s nothing really, its just that John asked me to baby sit, and of course I said no, because hello, date with a pretty girl, but then I remembered Carson, “ Rodney paused and a pained expression crossed his face, “ and I started to feel guilty about letting John down.”
“Oh.” said Jen, confused for a moment, until she remembered how Rodney had canceled the fishing trip with Carson for a date with Katie Brown.  “Hey, you think I’m pretty!” she said with a mischievous look on her face.
“Of course I do, I’m not blind.” Rodney replied with a smile. He turned as if to kiss her, but hesitated.
“Do you think I should tell John I’ve changed my mind?” He asked, with a worried expression in his big blue eyes.
Jennifer realized she should have been annoyed, after all he was suggesting they cancel the date, but there was something about his simple honesty that melted her heart. It occurred to her that there might be a way round Rodney’s dilemma, so she decided to let him off the hook.
“I’ve got a better idea, why don’t we look after Meredith together? John needs to get some rest, he’s been looking tired lately.”
A relieved look crossed Rodney’s face and he felt a sudden rush of affection for Jennifer, which he realized that he had never felt for Katie Brown. The thought distracted him for a moment, until he realized Jen was asking him to grab the picnic basket, so for once Rodney did what he was told, and they set of for John’s apartment together.

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Warnings and disclaimers:

This is a new SGA story, so all the usual disclaimers apply. I have not written this for financial profit. The characters from Stargate Atlantis are the property of MGM, I am just borrowing them.

This story contains spoilers for Stargate season 5 episode 1 only, as I have not seen the others yet.  The storyline may not be suitable for younger children as there are references to a character being pregnant. However, this is a comedy, not a romance.

Warning for British  readers, at the advice of my beta I am using some American terms and spellings for this story. So please don’t leave any comments that I can’t spell “realised” etc.

About the story.

Following a conversation with Trish about seahorses, and a bad case of jet lag, this idea for a story suddenly came to me. Its a topic that’s been done before, but I think I have given it a different spin:

After the birth of Torren, John has regrets that he never had children. But this is the Pegasus galaxy, where strange things are pretty much normal …………

**********************************************************************

Horse from a different sea:

At the time, it had seemed like a pretty routine mission. Teyla was not ready to return to work after the birth of her son, Torren John, so Col. John Sheppard had checked the list of new recruits from the Daedalus and picked out Lt. Angela Kelly as a stand in. This would be her first off world mission in the Pegasus Galaxy, so John had chosen a simple mission, investigating the ruins of an Ancient city. Rodney had found plenty to interest him, and John had assigned Ronon to keep an eye on the scientist, and make sure he did not wander off.

Lt. Kelly had a PhD in geology, and a keen interest in archaeology and ancient languages. John had managed to convince himself that he had chosen her for her qualifications, and not for her slim figure, bright green eyes and curly red hair. She was as interested in exploring as Rodney, and John did not mind following her down the dusty corridors. They had been looking for about an hour when Angela found the remains of an ancient lab. There was a computer on a table that looked like it might still work. Angela attempted to start it, but eventually gave up in disgust, and suggested they call for Rodney. She started examining the other artifacts in the room. A small cube inscribed with ancient writing caught her interest.
“Have you ever seen anything like this before, Sir?” she asked.
“No I don’t think so. Can you read the symbols?” he replied.
“Sorry, my Ancient isn’t that good yet.  Here, maybe it will make more sense to you?”
As John took the cube from the girl, it activated, the writing lighting up with a blue glow. With no warning, the cube became unbearably hot and John dropped it,  grasping his hand against his chest.
“Ow, that hurt!”
Angela looked stunned as the artifact fell to the floor, unbroken.
“What was that?” she asked.
“No idea, I must have activated it with my gene.” John replied through gritted teeth.
Angela reached out, tentatively touching the cube and found it cool again.  She picked it up and put it in her pack for analysis.

John recalled the rest of his team and they returned to Atlantis, so that Dr Keller could attend to his burns. He was concerned that no one else should touch the cube, so he suggested that Lt Kelly take photographs of the symbols for the Ancient Language team to study. The cube itself was placed out of reach, on the highest shelf in one of the medical labs. Three weeks later Angela discovered that she was pregnant, and asked permission to return to earth. Shortly afterwards, John received news that she was going to retire from the military, and marry the father, a young scientist working for the SGC.

***********************************************************************

John woke up feeling nauseous. It must have been the meal they had on P60-33X  the previous day. Rodney and Ronon had seemed to enjoy it, but everything had tasted slightly stale to John. Teyla had obviously agreed with him, as he had seen her sniffing the food suspiciously. He started to get out of bed, but as soon as he was sitting upright he had an urge to throw up. He rushed to the bathroom with a hand over his mouth, and was relieved when he reached the toilet in time. John hated going to the infirmary, but he realized that he was going to have to tell Dr Keller. He wondered if the rest of his team were feeling the same way as him.

Surprisingly, John was the only one from the gate team who felt sick. The nausea seemed to come and go, and made it difficult to eat meals. Dr Keller ran a number of tests, but was unable to detect what was making John ill. He did not appear to have caught any known virus or bacteria.  After a few days, John was starting to feel both annoyed and frightened.

Teyla and Ronon were starting to get worried that John was not eating, so one evening they hijacked him and dragged him to the commissary. Rodney was already there, with a big pile of stew and vegetables piled up on his plate. The smell made John’s stomach feel slightly queasy.
“John, you should try to eat something, to build up your strength” Teyla suggested.
“I wish I could, but everything just makes me feel ill.” John lamented.
“You know, there is a tea my people make that might help.” suggested Teyla. “I drank it when I was pregnant with Torren, to help with the morning sickness.”
“That’s a crazy idea,” said Rodney, his mouth still full of stew. “He hasn’t got morning sickness.”
“Right now I’ve got morning, afternoon and evening sickness, so if there is even a chance the tea will help I’m willing to give it a shot.” John replied.

John followed Teyla back to the new larger quarters she had been assigned. Kanaan was holding a sleeping Torren on his lap, a gentle smile on his face. John experienced a stab of envy. It was not something he ever talked about, but for a long time he had wanted a child of his own. Unfortunately his marriage had failed, because of his job and all the secrets he had to keep. Since then, the  fear of getting hurt caused him to raise  his barriers to anyone who tried to get too close. He thought he had come to terms with being on his own, but  Teyla‘s new family reminded him of everything he didn‘t have. Teyla found the box of tea and passed it to John, who accepted it gratefully.  He said a small prayer to any gods that might be listening that this would work, and went back to his room to make the tea.

John was angry with Teyla, and he didn’t understand why. The Athosian tea seemed to have stopped his nausea but lately he seemed to be prone to mood swings, happy one moment, depressed the next, and quick to get angry for very little reason. This time it was because Teyla had asked Rodney to baby sit Torren.
“I don’t understand why you asked Rodney of all people, it’s not like he knows a lot about kids.”  John moaned, like a petulant child.
“I explained this to you before John. “ Teyla replied, trying to sound patient. “Rodney was the person who delivered Torren into this world, and under Athosian customs he has certain rights, and responsibilities to my child. Rodney has watched Torren many times and he never came to harm.”
“You could have asked me you know, I wouldn’t have minded.”
“John, are you jealous?” Teyla asked, a note of surprise in her voice. “I suppose that you could watch Torren if you wish, but take Rodney with you?”

***********************************************************************

It was lunchtime, and John had persuaded Rodney to stop for an early lunch break. For some reason he always seemed to be hungry these days. The scientist had been reluctant at first to leave his latest project, but John had lured him with the promise of chocolate muffins. They were sitting together, trays piled high with the Atlantian kitchen’s best imitation of burgers and fries, and as many of the chocolate muffins as Rodney could scare the serving staff into giving them. John reached out for a particularly large French fry on Rodney’s plate. Without hesitation Rodney swatted away John’s hand.
“Hey, leave my food alone flyboy, you’ve got plenty on your own plate”
John grinned at Rodney, unrepentant,
”Oh, but they always taste so much better from your plate.”
“Hmph, its no wonder you’re putting on weight” Rodney snarked, “Well you can keep your greedy paws off my cakes, you got it?”
“Hey, what do you mean, putting on weight?” John asked.
“Oh come on, don’t tell me you hadn’t noticed?” Rodney spat back.

Come to think of it, John realized his BDU’s had been a lot tighter recently. Maybe he needed to work out a little more, and watch what he ate?

John  decided to put himself on a diet, and set himself a grueling  exercise schedule. Teyla was glad to start their stick fighting sessions again, as she wanted to get back into shape after the birth of Torren. Ronon accepted without comment the suggestion that they should increase the duration of their morning run. Rodney moaned about the self defense lessons John suggested he should take, but agreed after John bribed him with good quality coffee and power bars.  For the next couple of weeks, John was tired and hungry, and a couple of times he even felt a little light headed, but if anything he seemed to be putting on more weight than before. It didn’t make sense, as he had always been naturally slim. He thought about going back to Dr Keller, in case this was connected to the mysterious sickness, but he really did not feel like being poked and prodded right now. He kept promising himself that he’d go tomorrow.

One morning, John was in the gym, training with Rodney, when suddenly he had a strange feeling in his stomach, like something inside was kicking him.
“Ow!” He doubled up, knees bent and  leaning over so his hands were on his thighs. It wasn’t that the pain was bad, but there was something wrong about the feeling, like there was a creature moving around inside him.
Rodney paused in the middle of the move he had been practicing, a confused look on his face.
“What the heck, I never even came near you John.”
“Not you. Stomach. Hurts. Infirmary. Now.”  The last he said with a slightly hysterical note in his voice.
Rodney knew John was the sort of person who tended to make light of any injury, so for his friend to actually ask for a doctor was frightening. He gently placed an arm around John, helping him to stand, and did his best to assist him to walk in the direction of the infirmary. He used his headset  radio to warn Dr Keller they were on their way.

***********************************************************************

Dr Keller was concerned by John’s symptoms, so she decided to run a scan. When she saw the results, her first thought was that there must be something wrong with the machine, because there on the scan was the image of a perfectly formed human baby. She considered that it might be some sort of alien parasite, but the Ancient diagnostics all agreed that this baby was human.  Her head was full of questions such as how could this have happened, and how was she going to deliver the baby? She forced her mind to focus on a more immediate problem, how was she going to explain this to John, without him freaking out? There were a few sedatives she could use on a pregnant woman, but she was reluctant to use any drugs on John, as she had no idea what effect it would have.

When John heard the news, he knew he should be horrified, but he was overwhelmed by a sense of exhilaration. He was going to have a baby. Sure, there were going to be all sorts of problems, but none of them mattered because at last he would have a child of his own. Rodney saw the silly grin on his face, and looked at him with a confused mix of emotions.
“You actually want to keep this kid?” Rodney asked.
“You’re kidding, of course I do, I never wanted anything more in my life.” John replied emphatically.
“You’re crazy John, it must be the pregnancy hormones talking. How on earth are you going to raise a kid on your own?”
“Teyla was going to do it, before we found Kanaan. And I’m not on my own, I’ve got my team to help me.”
“Oh no, your not going to rope me into any more babysitting, its not as if I’m not already spending all my free time babysitting Torren.” but as Rodney said it, a soft look crossed his face that belied the harsh words.
“Come on Rodney, you know you love that kid.” John said, grinning at his friend.
“OK, but don’t you dare tell anyone, I do have a reputation to uphold.” John laughed at the serious look on Rodney’s face, until he felt the baby kick again. His expression changed to an expression of awe.

Dr Keller wanted to find out how John could be pregnant, so she started by using the scan to estimate how old the baby was. She realized that her guess might not be very accurate, as there was nothing normal about this pregnancy. She looked through John’s medical records, until she came to the incident where he had burned his hand. Jennifer remembered that John had activated some sort of ancient device, and she wondered if this could have been connected to the pregnancy. She decided to run a database search for Ancient fertility devices, and cross referenced it against male pregnancy. She was not particularly surprised when the search found a device similar to the one that John had touched. According to the notes, there had to be a second person touching the device, to contribute their DNA, and it was more likely to succeed if this person was already pregnant. Jennifer turned back to the mission report.  There had been three other people on that gate team, Rodney, Ronon, and Lt. Angela Kelly.  Of course, Lt. Kelly had been pregnant at the time she went on the mission, and she had been the only other person to touch the cube. Suddenly all the pieces fell into place, and Jennifer realized what must have happened. Unfortunately, it meant that John was going to be on his own for this pregnancy. Still, at least he had his team to support him.

***********************************************************************

“No not like that!” Rodney almost shouted, “you’re going to stab him with the pin. Here, let me show you again.” He grabbed the decorated Athosian pin and deftly attached it to Torren’s diaper. John wondered how Rodney could do this so easily, when it completely escaped him.
“I don’t see why we have to use these stupid Athosian diapers anyway. What’s wrong with using disposables?”
“You’re joking, right? Have you ever tried asking Colonel Caldwell to bring  two month’s supplies of diapers on the Daedalus, never mind clothes, lotions and all the other things Torren needs?”
“I take it he said no?” John asked.
“And the rest. He gave Teyla and me a lecture on why there isn’t enough space to bring unnecessary luxuries. So it’s the Athosian diapers or nothing I’m afraid.”
John sighed and rubbed his aching back with his left hand.
“You need a break?” Rodney asked, a concerned look on his face.
“I wouldn’t mind sitting down for a bit. Why don’t we go over to the commissary and get some food?”
“You’re always hungry these days, are you sure you aren’t having twins?” Rodney teased. “Look we can do this later, I’ll get Torren dressed and give him back to his mum.”

John found a quiet table while Rodney went off to get food. The serving staff were always more generous with supplies of chocolate cake when they knew it was for Col. Sheppard. Rodney dumped the trays down on the table and sat down next to John. He passed over the cakes, keeping one for himself.
“You know, it was always a lot more fun to steal them off your plate,” John laughed.
“I’m sure you will get plenty of chances after the baby is born.” Rodney replied with a smile.
“It can’t be long to go now. Have you got everything organised?”
“Pretty much. Teyla has a lot of stuff that Torren has outgrown, and Ronon and Kanaan are building the crib. Actually that reminds me, there is something I want you to do.” John said, in a hesitant tone.
“What, besides showing you how to put on a diaper? I can’t wait.”
Rodney reached out and picked up his glass of water.
“I want you to be my birth partner.”
Rodney almost choked on his drink, spitting water out across the table.
“You what?” he asked.
“You know, birth partner. I want you to be there when I have the baby?” there was a note of pleading in his voice.
“Oh no, not again, why does this always  happen to me?” Rodney moaned. “It’s bad enough I had to deliver Torren, but now you want me to be there for your birth too!”
“It’s because you delivered Torren that I want you there. You’ve been through this before. Besides, the doctors will be doing all the real work.”
“Yes, but I really freaked out when Torren was born, and you know how I am about blood. I’ll probably faint.”
“Rodney, please, this means a lot to me.” John looked across the table at Rodney with a wide eyed  puppy dog expression.
“Oh all right, “ Rodney agreed reluctantly, “I’ll do it.”

***********************************************************************

John woke up early, with a cramp in his stomach. It lasted a couple of minutes and then went away. Later in the morning the cramp came back. With a sense of panic, John realised it was a contraction.  He fumbled for his communicator, and called Rodney.
“Rodney. The baby’s coming. Now.”
“Oh god.” Rodney sounded as panicked as John. “Um, how close are the contractions?”
“I don’t know, half an hour?” John replied.
Rodney sighed with relief.
“It’s ok then, we’ve got time. I’ll come and walk you down to the infirmary.”

By the time they arrived, Dr Keller was ready to perform a caesarean. She sent Rodney to get a mask and scrubs, noting the pale expression on his face. One of the nurses gave John an epidural injection, so he would not feel anything, and they set up a screen so he would not be able to see the operation. John tried to relax but he was feeling nervous about what was about to happen. This was the first ever operation of it’s kind, so he knew there was a risk that it could go wrong. Rodney appeared at his side, looking just as nervous as John.
“Hey buddy, you ok?” he asked.
“Sure, never been better.” John replied. “Rodney, if I ask you something, will you promise not to laugh?”
“OK.” Rodney replied, curious.
“Would you mind, er,” John paused, took a deep breath, and then finally found the courage to say what was on his mind,” that is to say, would you hold my hand?” a blush spread across his face, staring at the tips of his ears and finishing with his cheeks.
At first, Rodney looked as embarrassed as John, but then he slowly reached out his hand, and interlaced his fingers with John’s, squeezing hard.

The operation seemed to last forever, but finally they heard a startled cry, and then a nurse passed Rodney a tiny baby wrapped up in a blanket.
“John, it’s a girl” said Dr Keller.
Rodney looked down at the tiny baby in his arms.
“Ohmygod, she’s perfect.” he said, a silly smile on his face. “Here, John, would you like to hold your daughter?”
John took the baby, and looked down at her tiny face with an awestruck expression. Hesitantly he reached out a finger, and instinctively the baby grabbed it.
“Do you have a name for her yet?” asked Jennifer.
“Actually I do,“ John replied, “Let me introduce you to Meredith, Angela Sheppard.”

The End,   for now?…………………………..

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