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Posts Tagged ‘John Sheppard’

This story was originally inspired by Jayne’s comments on my story “Alternate Universe Theory”. You don’t have to read the other  story first, but if you want to it’s located here.

Warnings:  I’ve put some warnings at the bottom of the page so you can chose whether to read them.

Story contains  spoilers for SG1 episode “48 hours“ – but if you’ve read the first story there shouldn’t be anything new.

Disclaimer: Sadly, neither SG1 or SGA belongs to me. I don’t get paid for this, but friendly feedback is always welcomed.

 

Moving to Colorado

Previously in Alternate Universe Theory:

Astrophysicist Dr Rodney McKay was sent to the SGC to help after an accident with the Stargate left Teal’c trapped in the gate date storage buffer. Rodney’s Stargate simulation program appeared to predict that Teal’c only had 48 hours to live. However, Rodney and Sam Carter discovered that the program had been tampered with. The sabotage was traced back to NID Agent Simmons, who was arrested. Meanwhile Rodney met Major John Sheppard who invited him to join his gate team, SG13.

 

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

 

“But McKay? Seriously?” asked Captain Evan Lorne, a stunned expression on his face.

2nd Lieutenant Laura Cadman pulled a face and kicked him under the table.

“Have you got a problem with Dr McKay joining our team?” Sheppard inquired, one eyebrow raised.

“Well no sir, not exactly, it’s just he has a reputation for being difficult to work for.” Evan explained. “Some of our science staff here used to work at Area 51. Apparently McKay’s good at his job, but he’s arrogant, obnoxious and makes the other scientists cry.”

“Really?” said Sheppard, “because he seemed perfectly agreeable to me. He even offered to share his cake.”

“Maybe he has a crush on you sir?” suggested Laura with a smirk.

“Don’t even joke about it.” Evan moaned, returning Laura’s kick.

“Well, you’ll get to meet him for yourselves soon enough.” Sheppard told them. “He’s moving to Colorado Springs tomorrow so I said we’d help him unpack.”

“Sorry sir, got other plans.” said Laura with a cheeky grin.

“Washing your hair again?” snarked Evan.

“Well cancel them.” Sheppard told her. “What’s the most important rule of being on an SG gate team?”

“Never leave a man behind?” suggested Evan.

“Close,” said Sheppard.

“Team means family.” declared Laura.

“Well done Lieutenant.” said Sheppard with an approving smile. “Which means we’re going to make Dr McKay feel welcome on his first day here.”

“Maybe he’ll change his mind.” Evan muttered to himself. “Decide he’d rather stick with his computer models than risk the dangers of joining a gate team.”

Somehow, Evan didn’t think his luck was that good.

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

The following afternoon, Dr Rodney McKay pulled his rented Prius into the drive of the house that the SGC had found for him in Colorado Springs. The moving van had already arrived, and a man in denim overalls was opening up the back doors. Rodney sighed in relief that the journey was finally over. Hopefully Major Sheppard would be bringing over some willing volunteers to help him unpack, but right now Rodney would settle for being able to make himself a cup of coffee in his new kitchen. Rodney got out of the car and opened the back door to fetch his cat Newton, who was in a smart new carrier strapped to the back seat. The young tabby cat was wearing a shiny metallic tag attached to his collar, announcing his owner’s name and new address. Rodney took the carrier to front of the house and gently placed it down by the front door, where it would be shaded by some tall bushes.

“Hey Newton, we’ve arrived.” Rodney said in a gentle tone of voice that would have surprised his work colleagues, who were more used to sarcasm and vicious insults. “I’ve got a couple of things to sort out, but you should be fine here for a few minutes.” Rodney was planning to set up Newton’s things in the laundry room, so he would have somewhere safe and sound to wander round while the unpacking was underway, but first he needed to speak to the delivery men.

The last week had been a mad panic, flying back to Nevada, dealing with paperwork, packing up his apartment and his office. NID Agent Simmons had been arrested for treason, for his attempt to undermine the SGC. Rodney wasn’t surprised to hear that the NID were investigating the probable sabotage of his computer model of the Stargate. In all probability the whole affair would be hushed up and Simmons would get off on a technicality. Fortunately, Rodney had made a copy of the software, backups and audit logs. His hand reached down reflexively to touch the small flash drive in his pants pocket. If he was lucky, he would be able to track down whoever amended his code and make sure they paid for what they had done.

He walked round to the back of the moving van, to supervise the unloading, but was surprised to find the van was mostly empty.

“Hey, where’s all my stuff?” he shouted, turning to see the driver standing right by him, holding a handgun. Three more armed men appeared, surrounding Rodney.

Rodney felt a chill run down his spine. These goons must be working for the Trust.

“Get in the van McKay, or we’ll be forced to shoot you.” one of the men told him.

Seeing no other option, Rodney did as he was told. His kidnappers tied his hands behind his back and ordered him to sit in the back of the van. Then the man who appeared to be the leader injected him with some sort of drug and he passed out.

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

Evan stared at the row of identical white suburban houses, with their neatly mowed lawns. “I think we took a wrong turn two blocks back, sir.”

Hey there’s nothing wrong with my navigation!” exclaimed Sheppard. “And we’re off duty now Lorne, you don‘t need to call me sir.”

“Sorry Major, force of habit.” Evan apologized. He picked up the list of instructions that Sgt. Harriman had written down for Sheppard and tried to read them, but the once pristine sheet of paper was now smudged, crumpled and covered in coffee stains.

“Hey, isn’t that our turn?” shouted Laura from the back of the car. She leaned forward and pointed to a turning on their left.

“You know, I think Cadman may be right.” Evan said, as he caught a glimpse of a moving van parked in the drive of one of the houses.

Sheppard parked his Mustang outside McKay’s rented house and got out, putting on his aviators. He was dressed in his civilian clothes, old worn jeans and black tee under a checked button down shirt. The others were similarly dressed, although Cadman was wearing cut off jeans to show off her tan. He noticed the Prius parked next to the moving van. A couple of workmen in blue overalls with the moving firm’s logo were sitting on the front step. One of them had lit a cigarette, and they look bored. The driver was leaning on the door to his van, talking into his cell.

“Hang on Marlene, this could be him now. Hey, are you McKay?” he asked John.

“No, sorry. I’m John Sheppard.“ John introduced himself. “We’re supposed to be meeting Dr McKay to help unpack. Isn’t that his car on the drive?”

“Don’t ask me, mister. It was parked there when we arrived. The cat belongs to McKay though, got his name on it’s collar.”

John noticed that the man was sitting next to a carrier holding a young tabby.

“Hey, are you going to unlock the house for us?“ the driver asked. “We only got a couple of hours to get this stuff unloaded.”

“Oh, right sure.” John said, searching in his pocket the spare key, which he handed to Evan. “Hey, Lorne, would you and Cadman unlock the house and help these nice people unload McKay’s things?”

As John walked back down the drive, he paused to check out the interior of the Prius, but he didn’t spot anything that would suggest a break in or a struggle. Sighing with frustration, he leaned against the car and pulled out his own cell. The first number John dialed was McKay’s cell, but he was redirected to voicemail. Next he tried the airport, which confirmed that McKay’s flight arrived on time. Finally he phoned the rental company, who confirmed that a Dr McKay had collected the Prius as expected. He was wondering what to do next when he spotted two boys walking towards the house. He waited until they were at the bottom of the drive before he called out to them.

“Hey, do you kids live round here?” he asked.

“What’s it to you, Mister?” asked the older of the two boys.

“It’s OK, I just need to know what happened to the man who’s supposed to be moving in here today.” John explained.

“No idea.” the boy said. “We’ve been playing football round the block.”

“You could ask the men from the van.” the younger boy pointed out.

“I’ve tried that already,” John told them, wistfully.

“What about the other van?” the older boy suggested.

“There was another van?” John asked, with growing dread. “Can you tell me more?”

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

It was getting late by the time SG13 returned to the mountain, but there was no question of them going home to sleep. A member of their team was in trouble and they would do what ever it took to save him. As soon as they had reached the level where the SGC offices were located, John had disappeared to explain what had happened to General Hammond and request back up for a rescue operation. That had left Laura and Evan to begin the search for the kidnappers.

So far, all they had to go on was the company name on the side of the bogus moving van and the approximate time it had left Rodney’s house. Laura was using her computer skills to try and track down where the kidnappers could have gone. With nothing to do, Evan was feeling restless. He had passed the first couple of hours playing with Newton, but now the kitten was curled up asleep in a make shift basket. He had tried making paper airplanes to throw at Laura, until she had snatched away his notepad and thrown his creations in the bin. Evan had wisely refrained from trying to rescue them.

“So, find anything yet?” he asked, leaning over her shoulder.

“That’s the fourth time you’ve asked me that and the answer is still no.” she snapped.

“Look, the only thing we have to go on is the company name on the side of the moving van. There’s a chance that the kidnappers painted it on themselves, but I don’t think it’s very likely.”

“Why not?” asked Evan, curious.

“I found a legitimate company with the same name and their logo matches the one the kids drew for the Major. The thing is, they specialize in commercial haulage, not moving vans.”Laura explained. “If the kidnappers were going to fake a company logo, it’s an odd choice.”

“Oh. So we know who owns the van, that’s good, isn’t it?”

“It’s a start.” Laura agreed. “If I can find the connection between the haulage company and the kidnappers, it might lead us to Dr McKay.”

“So how do we find that out?” Evan asked.

“The company has a website for advertising and sales. I’ve been trying to hack into it for the past hour. Now if you could just be quiet and let me get on with it?”

“Sorry.” Evan apologized. “I’ll just go and get us some coffee from the mess, shall I?”

“Wait, I think I’ve cracked it.” Laura exclaimed. Evan leaned on Laura’s shoulder and watched as she navigated her way through the haulage company database.

After a few minutes, Laura turned to look at Evan.

“I think we may be onto something. There are a number of bookings from a Mr Simmons. The billing address is in Nevada, near Groom lake. It’s listed as an abandoned airfield.”

“Wasn’t Simmons that NID agent that got arrested for treason?” Evan asked. “He might have a grudge against McKay, but how could he organize a kidnapping from a prison cell?”

“Simmons wasn’t working on his own. Maybe his friends wanted to shut McKay up before he implicated them too?” Laura suggested. “Look, there’s a recent booking in the name of M. Devlin for the same billing address. The van is due to be returned tomorrow morning.”

“What if they’re not taking McKay to Nevada?” Evan asked. “They could drop him off on route, put him on a plane, or even take him off world.”

“It would take nearly 16 hours to get from McKay’s house to Groom lake in a rental van. If they don’t stop for breaks, they could get there by 6am. That only leaves us 3 hours if we’re going to intercept them. We need to tell the Major now.”

Note: Agent Mark Devlin of the NID appears in Smoke and Mirrors (season 6) where he shot Senator Kinsey.

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

Half an hour later SG13 found themselves gathered round a conference table with General Hammond and Major Davies. John was trying to convince the General to launch a mission to rescue Rodney.

“I’m Sorry Major, but I can’t approve a rescue mission.” the General patiently explained. “We don’t know for certain if Dr McKay is still in that van, or if it’s destination is Groom Lake. Even if it is, you don’t have time to intercept the van before it arrives.”

“What if we sent in troops from a local base to intercept the van?” John suggested.

“That would be risky.” Major Davis pointed out. “We don’t know how far the rogue NID faction have infiltrated.”

“I can’t just sit back and do nothing sir, that’s a member of my team in trouble.” John complained.

“I understand how you feel son,” the General said sympathetically. “but I can’t risk the lives of the men under my command for what might turn out to be a wild goose chase.”

“May I make a suggestion sir?” asked Laura. “Could we use one of the military satellites to watch the base and see when the truck arrives?”

“Good idea Lt, I’ll ask Major Carter to look into it.” agreed the general.

“Would that tell us if McKay was in the van though?” asked Evan, thoughtfully.

“It’s got to be worth a shot,” said John.

“If Carter finds anything, I’ll authorize a rescue mission.” the General promised. “Why don’t you all go and get some rest while you can.”

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

When Rodney woke up he was lying face down on a cold stone floor and his head was throbbing with pain. For a moment he wondered what had happened to him, then the memories of the kidnapping came flooding back. He risked opening his eyes and was relieved to find he was in semi darkness. He really didn’t think he could deal with bright lights at the moment. He attempted to push himself up off the floor and was hit by a wave of nausea. He stopped to catch his breath, willing his stomach not to empty it’s contents over the floor. Moving slowly, he managed to sit up and leaned back against a nearby wall.

Looking round the room Rodney discovered he was in some sort of holding cell. There were no windows, which could mean that he was in some sort of underground facility. The light was coming from a gap at the base of the door. There was a narrow bed against the opposite wall and a bucket had been placed in one corner of the room. In the corner closest to where he was sitting someone had left a tray with a small jug of water and a plastic pack that was probably an MRE. It occurred to him that his captors probably wanted to keep him alive, if they thought it was worth the effort to feed him.

Rodney couldn’t face eating right now, but a drink of water sounded like a good idea. Unfortunately that meant moving from where he was sitting to where they had placed the tray. He decided that standing up was probably a bit ambitious, but he figured he could manage to crawl to the tray. The water turned out to be lukewarm and slightly metallic tasting, but it seemed to settle his stomach. He checked the label on the MRE; it had lemon in it, but there was a chocolate brownie, and a small portion of coffee. After he drank the coffee his headache started to clear and the brownie helped restore his blood sugar, which had probably dropped dangerously low by now.

Now that his most urgent needs were taken care of, Rodney was finally ready to risk standing for long enough to make use of the needed to make use of the bucket in the corner. When that was done, he checked the door, but there was no obvious way to unlock it from this side. Finally he decided to crash out on the bed and wait to see what his captors wanted. There was a lumpy pillow and a thin scratchy blanket. It wasn’t his own bed at home, with the expensive prescription mattress, but it wasn’t long before he drifted off to sleep.

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

Rodney wasn’t sure how long he was left in his cell, but he thought it was sometime the following day before a couple of guards come to collect him. They dragged him, none too gently, down a brightly lit corridor to an interview room. As with the cell, there were no windows to give him a clue where he was or even what time of day it was. The room was air conditioned, so he could be anywhere from Vancouver to the arid deserts of Nevada. For all he knew, they could have put him on a plane and flown him half way around the world.

He was pushed down into a chair and his hands were cuffed behind his back. One of the guards went to stand by the door, but the other remained standing behind him. He was left waiting for a few minutes, before a dark haired man in a tailored black suit entered the room.

“Who the hell are you and why have you kidnapped me?” Rodney demanded.

“Dr McKay, you’re here to answer questions, not to ask them.” the man replied. “Perhaps you would like to start by explaining where you’ve put the files you took from Area 51.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Rodney said, defiantly.

The kidnapper threw Rodney’s flash drive down on the table.

“I’ve had my people checking this out all afternoon. All they found were personal data and some mp3 tracks.”

“And your point is?” snarked Rodney.

“Stop wasting my time, Dr McKay.” the man demanded, leaning across the table so his face was close to Rodney’s. “The people I work for are very anxious to recover the copies you made of the Stargate simulation. It would be in your best interests if you cooperate.”

“And if I don’t?” asked Rodney.

“Then I’ll find a way to make you. Sergeant, get my case.” he ordered the guard standing behind Rodney. The soldier fetched a black leather briefcase from the corner of the room and placed it down in front of Rodney.

The kidnapper opened up the briefcase to reveal a glass bottle filled with a clear liquid and a syringe.

“Oh god, not more drugs.” Rodney moaned.

“We could beat you up a bit if you’d prefer, but I find this method far more efficient, less messy.“ the man explained as he prepared the syringe. “This will make you feel a lot more cooperative.”

After the man stabbed the needle into his arm, Rodney felt the world spin round him and then everything faded into blackness.

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

The second time Rodney woke up in his cell, he was lying face down on his bed. If anything the headache was worse than before and the blanket felt damp from something he sincerely hoped was sweat. His body ached from fresh injuries he didn’t remember receiving. He only had fuzzy memories of the interrogation, but he was pretty sure that the kidnappers hadn’t been happy with what he had told them. It would have been funny, if his situation hadn’t been so desperate.

Rodney was still lying there feeling sorry for himself when he heard the scrape of the door opening and the room was flooded with bright light.

“Dr McKay?” asked a voice that Rodney didn’t recognize. He slowly turned to face a man dressed in an SGC uniform, flanked by two marines holding BDUs.

“Who else would I be?” Rodney snapped, holding a hand up to shield his eyes from the bright light.

“Captain Evan Lorne, SG13.” the Captain introduced himself. “We’re here to rescue you.”

“Great, the cavalry. What took you so long?” Rodney snarked.

Ignoring the sarcastic comment, Evan reached up to activate his Coms.

“Major, we’ve found him.”

Evan listened to the reply from his commanding officer, then walked over to the bed to help Rodney stand.

“Can you walk on your own, or do you need help, Dr McKay?” Evan asked.

Rodney felt a sudden wave of dizziness and his stomach lurched.

“Oh my god,” he gasped, lurching toward the bucket just in time to throw up what little food he had eaten since his capture.

“OK, I guess you’re going to need some help.” Evan said. “Smith, Johanson, help Dr McKay.”

As his team of rescuers walked along the maze of corridors in the enemy base, Rodney found himself staring at the SG13 patch on Evan’s shoulder. Rodney was sure it should mean something to him, but his mind was still a little fuzzy from the drugs.

Eventually they reached a door that opened onto an abandoned airfield. The dry heat of the Nevada desert hit Rodney like a punch to the gut after the air conditioned cool of the base. There was a helicopter parked on the nearest runway, next to a couple of military vehicles. Slouching casually against the helicopter, talking to a pretty female Marine, was Major Sheppard. That was when Rodney suddenly remembered that SG13 was the designation for his new team.

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

The next few hours were a blur. Sheppard flew the team back to Colorado, where Rodney was taken directly to the infirmary. After a thorough check up, including several blood tests, Dr Fraiser finally declared that Rodney didn’t have any serious injuries, but he would need to stay overnight for observation, until she was sure the drugs had all worked their way out of his system.

Sheppard and the rest of the team turned up at dinner time, with a tray of food.

“Hey, you brought blue Jell-O.” Rodney exclaimed, his face lighting up

“Yeah, well, I remembered you liked it.” John mumbled.

“Did I thank you for saving my life?” Rodney asked.

“Several times.” Cadman told him, with a grin. “You also kept asking about your cat, Newton.”

“Hey, where is the little guy, anyway?” Rodney asked.

“Dr. Lam wouldn’t let us bring a cat into the infirmary so you’re gonna have to wait till you get your ticket out of here, but don’t worry, he’s safe and sound here at the SGC.” Evan told him.

“Yeah, Evan’s been playing with him.” Cadman teased.

“Oh thank god.” Rodney sighed in relief. “If they’d got their hands on him…”

“Why would the NID be interested in your cat, McKay?” asked Sheppard, curiously.

“Can you guys keep a secret?” Rodney asked his new team. They nodded their heads in affirmative.

“The flash drive the NID were after, the one with all my back up data on it, is attached to Newton’s collar.”

“What like in Men in Black?” Sheppard asked, grinning.

“Yes. I think I told them when they drugged me, but they thought I was just talking nonsense because of the drugs.” Rodney admitted, guiltily.

“Hey, don’t worry about it.” Sheppard said. “Anyone would have talked in those circumstances. What matters is that we’ve shut down another rogue NID operation thanks to you.”

“Thanks to you guys, you mean. I didn’t really do anything, except get kidnapped.”

“Yeah, like Daphne in all those Scooby Doo cartoons.” joked Evan.

“Are you calling me a girl?” Rodney demanded.

“Hey, what’s wrong with being a girl?” Cadman asked.

Evan smirked at Rodney’s spluttering apology to Cadman. The poor guy was trying his best to fix his mistake, but just seemed to be digging himself in deeper.

Sheppard sat back and watched the rest of his team gathered around Rodney’s infirmary bed, a satisfied smile on his face. This was the gate team he had been hoping for; a group of people were more than work colleagues, who fit together like a family. SG13 were going to make a great team.

The End (for now)

 

Author’s note – warnings

A main character is  kidnapped and interrogated using mind controlling drugs. There is some violence but it happens off camera.

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The last story I wrote, Solaris Device, was quite dark and angsty in places, so I wanted to do something a bit lighter this time.

This is a crossover between SG1 and SGA, in an AU where John Sheppard and Rodney McKay meet at the SGC. This is a complete story, not a part work, but I might write a sequel if there is enough interest?

Warnings:  spoilers for SG1 episode “48 hours“.
Hopefully I’ve put enough details in so that you don’t need to have seen that episode to follow the story.

Disclaimer: Sadly, neither Rodney or John belongs to me, and nor do any of the other characters and places in the Stargate franchise. I don’t write for money, but friendly feedback is always welcomed.

Update: Now with cover art.

Alternate Universe Theory

Alternate universe theory

 

 

There is a popular theory that there are an infinite number of alternate realities, with new ones being created every time we make a decision. The thing is, which decisions? Is the world dramatically different because you put on the black shirt instead of the blue one, or ordered the fish instead of the chicken? Probably not. So which decisions are important, really, in the greater scheme of things?

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

A week before Major John Sheppard was due to ship out to Afghanistan, he was contacted by General George Hammond and offered a job at the Air Force Base under Cheyenne Mountain. John wasn’t sure what to do – he really wanted to know what the highly classified, top secret job was, but he didn’t know if it would be worth giving up flying for. What if it was just some boring desk job? In the end, he made the decision the same way he always did, by tossing his lucky coin. In this version of reality, the coin came down heads and he caught the plane to Colorado. In the other reality – well you already know how that story goes.

normal_atl_101_0511

John Sheppard makes an important decision (from  SGA episode 1, Rising)

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

Rodney McKay was starting to regret letting Agent Simmons talk him into coming to the SGC in person. He could have just emailed the results of the computer simulation from his lab in Area 51. Rodney didn’t work for the NID, so Simmons didn’t have any direct authority over the scientist. Instead he had appealed to Rodney’s vanity, calling him the world’s foremost expert in wormhole technology. Rodney had expected to be greeted by the SGC staff as a hero, here to rescue Teal’c before his 48 hours were up. Instead he found that he had become a pawn in some political game, with Simmons hoping to gain power over the SGC.

It was lunch time and Rodney McKay’s day seemed to be going from bad to worse, because the main meal of the day was lemon chicken.

“Are you trying to kill me?” Rodney vented his frustration on the startled catering assistant. “I’m deadly allergic to citrus, even a tiny amount could be fatal.”

“You should have told the chef about any special dietary requirements last night, sir.” the girl spat, somehow making the “sir” sound like an insult.

“How was I supposed to do that, when I didn’t even know I was going to be here?” asked Rodney, in an exasperated tone of voice. Just then the man in line behind Rodney decided to interrupt their conversation.

“What seems to be the problem here, Milli?” he asked, reading the girl’s name from her identity badge. Startled, Rodney glanced round to see an Air Force officer, with a lazy smile and a non regulation spiky hair style.

“The problem is that the idiots in the kitchen are trying to poison me.” complained Rodney.

“I’m sure they didn’t mean to.” the man drawled, sarcastically.

“Look, Milli, this man is clearly a visitor here. It’s not his fault if someone forgot to give chef the paperwork. I’m sure you can make an exception, just this once.”

“Well, when you put it like that, I suppose I could find something,” Milli reluctantly agreed.

Eventually, Milli came back with a meal that Rodney could eat. Rodney picked up a blue Jell-O dessert and a chocolate muffin and turned to look for an empty seat. He was going to sit down by the blond scientist he had met earlier, Cartwright, or possibly Carter, when he saw the airman from the dinner line trying to catch his attention. Rodney wasn’t generally known for his people skills, but even he realized he should say something to thank the man for helping him. He walked across the room, and placed his tray down on the table.

“Er, thank you for, you know, helping out before.”

“No problem.” the man replied. “I’m Major John Sheppard, by the way.”

“Really? Oh, right, Dr Rodney McKay.”

“Nice to meet you, McKay.”  Sheppard said. “Hey, is that a chocolate muffin?”

Before he realized what he was doing, Rodney picked up the muffin and placed it on Sheppard’s tray.

“Cool.” Sheppard said and suddenly Rodney’s day didn’t seem that bad at all.

normal_sg1_514_558

Dr Rodney McKay (from SG1, episode 48 hours)

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

After lunch, Rodney was in a better mood and was prepared to admit that maybe Major Carter wasn’t completely stupid, even if she had turned off numerous safety protocols to get her home made gate dialing device to work. So instead of trading insults, he calmly suggested he show Carter the computer model he had been working on at Area 51. At least that would prove that his assessment of her team mate’s chances of survival were simple fact and not part of Agent Simmons’ diabolical plan to take over the SGC. Then maybe they could get on with trying to save Teal‘c and get the gate open again.

“Hang on, McKay, what’s that?” Sam pointed at the computer screen. Rodney looked at the subroutine and his eyes widened in shock.

“No, no, no, no, that can’t be right?” Rodney didn’t notice that he had pushed Sam to one side and started typing frantically.

“Someone’s been messing with my code. As soon as I find out who did this …..  Oh no, what if the calculations were all wrong? I could have killed that Tilk guy and never even realized.” He stopped typing and stared down at the keyboard, wracked with guilt.

“McKay.” Sam placed her hand on Rodney’s shoulder to comfort him. “It’s ok, it wasn’t your fault. Fix whatever they did and run the simulation again. I need to go and talk to General Hammond.”

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

Much later, Teal’c was finally safe and Rodney found himself back in the mess, snacking on a citrus free sandwich.

“Busy day, McKay?”

Rodney looked up to see John Sheppard, holding a blue Jell-O dessert in each hand.

“You could say that.” Rodney smiled as Sheppard placed one of the Jell-O cups down in front of him.

“So I’ve been thinking, my team is down a scientist right now, What do you think?”

“What, are you offering me a job?” Rodney asked. “On a gate team?”

“Well, it would have to be cleared by General Hammond, but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.”

“But why me? I’m not good at the great outdoors thing. I’ve got allergies, I’m hyperglycemic and I’m not great with people.”

“Word is you‘re pretty smart, maybe as good as Major Carter. Someone like that would be a useful addition to my team. Besides, it‘s kinda hard getting a civilian scientist who’s prepared to join SG13.”

Sheppard grinned. “Not superstitious, are you?”

This is not the end!

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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 …………

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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?”

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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.

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“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.”

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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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