Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: McKay/Sheppard, supporting Lorne/Zelenka
Word count: 8888
Warnings: AU, M-preg, meddling Atlantis
Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis doesn't belong to me. No money is being made, no harm is intended. I do this just for fun.
Author's Notes:This was a lot of fun to write even though I struggled quite a bit here and there. I hope you will like it, seekergeek. Merry Christmas!
Summary: John had suspected for a while now, that Atlantis might be sentient. He hadn't thought she'd be insane, though.
They had returned. After being alone for so long, abandoned, hidden away, forgotten, she had been awakened. None of the ones who came to her really could reach her, except for one. He was her favorite, his presence bright among the barely palpable ones of the others. He chased away her loneliness and made her feel whole for the first time in millennia. Her favorite son. The one who would ensure she would never have to be alone and forgotten again, the one she had chosen to be the one. He and his mate would have strong offspring, shining as bright as he did in her presence, making her whole again. And if she had to be patient until her plan could be set in motion, so be it. What were a few more years of waiting compared to the millennia that lay behind her? And soon, her waiting would be over.
John cautiously stepped into the room, hand on his weapon. The light came on obediently and after one look around, he called over his shoulder, "Clear! Looks like an abandoned lab."
"Lab? What kind of lab?" Rodney asked, already pushing past him, carrying a whole arsenal of machinery which he then proceeded to unpack and set up.
"I have no idea, Rodney;" John grinned as he ran his fingers over the nearest console, enjoying the way it lit up under his touch. Then, for a second, his fingertips tingled, but as fast as it had appeared, the sensation was gone again. "Oh," John said, looking at his fingers in surprise.
"Colonel? What happened? What's the matter? Did anything happen?" Instantly Rodney's concerned gaze landed on him and John had to suppress a grin. Rodney was always so worried for him.
"Nah, Rodney, I'm fine. Guess it was just a little static energy," John replied but Rodney frowned.
"Static energy? Why would there be static energy? There shouldn't be static energy. Who knows what kind of gadget you activated now. Or what it's done to you. How often do I have to tell you not to touch anything that hasn't been cleared by me, yet? You should go get yourself checked out by Carson. Miko and I are going to stay here with your grunts. No need to worry about us," He said in a stern tone that was supposed to prevent John from protesting. It didn't work very well though.
"My finger tingled, Rodney. That is hardly some sort of fatal danger. Would you please stop mothering me? I don't need to see Carson, I'm fine." John insisted.
Suddenly Rodney whirled around and stepped up close to John. He leaned over to speak directly into John's ear, saying, "I don't care if you think you're fine. You're going to see Carson and get yourself checked out if you don't want to spend the next three weeks on the couch. I'm not going to sleep in the same bed with you, let alone have sex with you and risk that you pass on God knows what to me," Rodney threatened, sounding angry and John blinked. Rodney might not be completely serious, but John didn't want to take any chances.
Stepping back from Rodney, John raised his hands in defeat and sighed, "All right, all right. I'll go. But you stay with the Marines and no exploring other rooms or walking off without me, understood? Cadman, if anything happens to the docs while I'm gone, I'll have your ass for it." John said with a pointed glare at the young woman who was watching the doctors' work.
"Understood, sir," she replied, giving him a look that said that she knew full well there would be hell to pay if anything happened to Rodney. John knew he was protective in general, but even more so when it came to his partner.
Suppressing a sigh, John made his way back into the livelier parts of Atlantis and into the clutches of one Scottish doctor.
"So, what did Carson say?" Rodney asked two hours later as he sat on the bed, pulling off his shoes. He wanted to shower and change before they were due to meet with the rest of the team for movie night. "I was worried when you didn't come back. Cadman said you called and told her they should bring us back. Why didn't you call me?"
Rodney had to admit that yes, he was sometimes paranoid when it came to John and his well being, but that was only due to the fact that it was seemingly always John who ended up in the biggest messes. His lover just had the questionable talent of getting himself into deep shit.
"Ran into Lorne and we looked over the duty roster for the next few weeks. His and Radek's anniversary is coming up and he wanted some time off. And I didn't call you cause you would have started an interrogation I really didn't have the time for," John replied as he pulled his black t-shirt over his head before he started on the fly of his BDUs.
Momentarily distracted by his half-naked lover, Rodney threw a quick glance at his watch, trying to judge if they had the time to shower together or not. Because both of them in a shower? They'd do more than just washing.
John must have seen his look because he began to grin seductively and asked in a low voice, "Care to join me in the shower? You could see for yourself that I'm alright. You know, play some doctor games of your own."
John waggled his eyebrows in a completely silly manner and Rodney snorted. "Pervert," he replied good-naturedly and threw his own discarded t-shirt at John's head. "So you're saying you're alright? Carson didn't find anything?" Rodney asked again, trying to clarify if that was really what Carson had said or if John was just being vague again.
"Of course I'm fine, Rodney," John replied patiently as he stepped out of his last piece of clothing, putting the laundry into the appropriate baskets. "I told you, it was nothing. No foreign substances in my bloodstream, no change in any body-chemicals and the scan he did showed nothing unusual at all. I'm to come back if I am experiencing any strange symptoms, as usual. You coming with me now, or what?" He stepped into the bathroom and Rodney hurried to follow him.
Rubbing is gritty eyes tiredly, Rodney watched as John emerged from the bathroom. It had been a long day and both of them were tired. All Rodney now wanted to do was snuggle up to John and go to sleep. Well, maybe sex and then sleep, considering how the sight of his lover aroused Rodney. John hadn't bothered with any clothes, he had just pulled the damp towel away from his hips and dumped it into the hamper. Rodney frowned as he heard John hiss softly and saw him rub his lower abdomen, again. It was something he had seen John do quite often, lately. "Still in pain?" Rodney asked, beginning to worry.
John had first told about the sharp, pulling sensation he experienced, after the mission on M45-F93, and Rodney had been present when Carson had announced there was nothing wrong with John. Most probably, he had pulled something.
But that had been over four weeks ago and obviously John was still experiencing the same symptoms.
"Yeah, talked to Carson earlier. He says he can't find anything wrong, no injuries, traces of foreign substances, nothing at all that would explain why it's still acting up at times. I guess I'm just getting old. It'll go away on its own," John said, walking over to Rodney.
"Don't be ridiculous. You're not old," Rodney chided gently and planted a soft kiss on John's lips, snuggling closer to John's warmth. He loved the way John fit to his body, the way every time he and John embraced like that Rodney felt a sense of rightness that awed him.
John chuckled. "I'm glad you don't think I'm old. Want to try out that this 'not old' body can do?" he then asked playfully, waggling his eyebrows. "I could blow you. Or, better yet, you could fuck me." John rubbed himself against Rodney, his hard cock brushing Rodney's thigh.
"Hm, tough decision," Rodney said, pretending to think about it. "I think I'll fuck you now and once we've had a nap and you're up for round two, I'll take you up on that offer for the blowjob," he then murmured as he nipped at John's jaw and slowly walked him backwards to the bed.
"Sounds like a plan to me," John replied and a second later, Rodney could feel John's hands sneaking under his shirt. He smiled. It was going to be a great night.
John, the soft, female voice startled John out of his sleep. "What the hell?" he cursed, sitting up and looking around, disoriented. Beside him, Rodney stirred, huffing out a sleepy "Where's the emergency?" before sitting up, too.
"I just heard something," John said. "Someone talked to me. A woman." Rubbing his forehead in frustration, John sighed. He knew he sounded crazy but that's what had happened after all.
"You heard something," Rodney groaned, flopping back down on the pillow. "Have you been dreaming of alien priestesses again? No, don't answer that, I don't want to know. Wake me when there's a real problem," he said and John watched him snuggle under the covers and go back to sleep.
John, you need to hurry. Major Lorne is hurt. He needs help. He is in what you call laboratory three. Time is running out. I urge you, you need to save him.
Looking around wildly before shaking his head, John tried to figure out where the voice had come from. "Did you hear that?" he hissed and knew that he sounded as alarmed as he felt.
"Heard what?" Rodney mumbled into his pillow, sounding exasperated. "What are you talking about now? I didn't hear a thing. You sure you're alright?"
"No, I'm not alright. I'm hearing voices and..." John began but was interrupted by the voice, coming from inside his head.
"John, Major Lorne is dying. You need to hurry. I do not wish for any of you to die. He and his mate have given me much joy. Please, John. Listen to me."
"Hearing voices?" Rodney screeched, sitting upright again in a rush. "You're hearing voices? What the hell did you do now? Please tell me you didn't touch strange ancient devices. How often do I have to tell you not to touch anything..."
"That hasn't cleared by you yet, yes, Rodney I know," John interrupted him, as he grabbed for his earpiece. "I didn't touch anything, Rodney. This comes out of nowhere and she ... the voice says, Evan is hurt. I need to check something," John said tersely. He put his earpiece in and tapped it jerkily, opening the line. "Zelenka, this is Sheppard, come in," he said, well aware of the fact that he might be either interrupting or waking both Radek and Evan since it was the middle of the night.
When nothing happened immediately, John tired it again, voice tight with worry, "Radek, this is John, please respond. I need your help."
"What is it, Colonel?" came the sleepy voice of Radek Zelenka over radio.
"Thank god, you're there. Radek, I need you to tell me that everything is okay with Lorne. He's with you, right? He's not running around in the city somewhere. I really need you to tell me he is with you," John didn't want to scare Radek but the thought of Evan lying in one of the labs, dying was making his stomach ache and his heart race. Evan was his friend and John needed to know he was whole and safe in the arms of his husband.
"John, Evan is on duty. You should know, you made duty roster. He has night shift, of course he is running around in the city as you put it. Is his job, no?" Radek sounded confused and worried now, a hint of panic creeping into his tone.
"No, no, no!" John yelled. "He switched shifts with Lieutenant Hinrichs. I know that because I approved the switch this morning. Evan wanted to surprise you. Are you seriously telling me that you've not seen him the whole evening?" John asked, swallowing around the lump in his throat.
"Last time I saw him was at lunch break," Radek replied and John's stomach dropped. Following his instincts, John abruptly turned around to Rodney saying, "Rodney we need a medical team in lab three and tell Carson he needs an OR crew to stand by just in case. Lorne is most probably injured. I need you to go down there with me and have a look at what happened. He was injured in the lab and I don't need any of your experiments potentially hurting someone else."
Concentrating on Radek again, John said, "Radek, we're on our way, meet us in lab three, I think we have a problem."
Behind him, Rodney was already getting dressed.
The voice in his head whispered, Hurry!.
Sometimes John hated his life.
It'd been a close call. The medical team found and rescued Evan, bringing him to the infirmary where Carson was able to stabilize him. It turned out that Lorne had gone into the lab in search for Zelenka and had inadvertently turned on some ancient gadget that one of the scientists hadn't properly secured.
It had stunned Lorne, affecting his breathing and the more time passed, the more his breathing and heartbeat had slowed until, in the end, without treatment, Evan would have died. If it hadn't been for the mysterious voice inside John's head, they would have never found him in time. Lab three wasn't used during the night and no-one would have thought of checking in on a lab that was locked up for the night.
Now Evan was resting comfortably in his infirmary bed, Radek firmly by his side, both of them sleeping more or less peacefully.
John and Rodney couldn't sleep though. After John had told Carson how he'd known that Evan was in danger and where to find him, Carson had dragged him off to do some tests. John wanted to protest at first but had to agree that hearing voices really was something that needed to be examined.
The last scan of John's skull was just coming to an end when John heard the voice again. I do not blame you for not believing me. You humans always need proof. Are you going to listen to me now?
"Who the hell are you?" John hissed through clenched teeth. "And what are you doing in my head?" He sat up as soon as the scan was done, drawing the attention of Carson, Rodney and several nurses.
Oh, John, have you not figured it out yet? I am not in your head, I am all around you. You are my favorite. Can't you feel our connection? I am Atlantis.
"John, what's going on? Are you hearing her again?" Rodney asked, looking curious, worried and slightly angry.
A second later, Carson arrived, announcing, "The scan is clean, Colonel. I have no explanation for what is happening to you. What are you hearing?"
"Atlantis. She claims to be Atlantis. The city is talking to me," John replied dazedly, somehow feeling that it was the truth even though he didn't know why he was so sure. The faint hum in the back of mind, the tickle, that was Atlantis herself, had intensified. Usually he didn't even notice it any more during the day having gotten so used to it. But now it was stronger, much more present than it had ever been. Which unfortunately seemed to prove her right. The city really was talking to John.
"Atlantis?" both Carson and Rodney asked as one, looking at him like he had lost his mind.
"Yes, yes. I know it sounds insane but I think somehow ... somehow I'm connected to the city. To Atlantis. Through the ATA gene. I can't ..." he hesitated, "I can't quite tell you why it happened now, or how exactly, but I think it's true. I think Atlantis is speaking to me and she helped me save Lorne," John finished, looking at Carson and Rodney who were staring at him in apparent disbelieve.
"That is insane. Completely insane. You can't honestly think that Atlantis is speaking to you. Carson, you need to fix him. He thinks he's talking to Atlantis. Tell him that's not possible!" Rodney suddenly shouted, panicky. Then he turned alarmed eyes on Carson fully and asked, "It is impossible, is it?"
"I'm not sure, Rodney. If the Colonel..." Carson's voice was drowned out by Atlantis' voice inside of John's head.
John, listen to me. I do not mean any harm. I do not wish to cause you trouble. To prove that I am who I claim to be, I will tell you what is happening and why I did what I did. I hope you will understand my motivations.
"Motivations? You have motivations?" John snapped, an uneasy feeling settling in the pit of his stomach. Obviously Atlantis had done something to him, had changed him in some way, to communicate with him. John was pretty sure though, he wouldn't like whatever she had done to him. "You're a city. Since when do you have motivations?"
"Carson!" Rodney whined, as if the Doctor held the answers John wasn't so certain he still wanted to find.
"Colonel, can you tell us what is going on? What is Atlantis telling you?" Carson asked and John could see Rodney glare before he snapped, "Don't encourage him in his hallucinations. Or do you honestly think the city is talking to John?"
"Could you both please shut up, so I can listen? You're driving me nuts!" John snapped, losing patience. First the shock of almost losing Evan, then the revelation that Atlantis was talking to him and had obviously somehow changed him to make it possible, and now those two getting into a discussion whether or not he was insane.
Carson and Rodney just stared at him now.
Into the silence, Atlantis spoke, John, the reason why you are able to hear me now, is that I changed your physique. But do not worry, I mean you no harm.
John's heart-rate shot up, his blood-pressure most likely going through the roof. He felt like he had been punched in the gut. Was 'Atlantis' telling the truth? Carson had scanned him several times during the last weeks and months and nothing at all had been amiss. No changes at all.
"Changed? Changed how?" John asked as panic gripped him. Carson and Rodney looked at him, clearly alarmed by what they were hearing. John could see they wanted to ask, but he held up his hand and prevented them from speaking. He needed to find out what was happening here.
I apologize that I had to deceive you and Doctor Beckett, but I had to hide the changes I made to your body. The scans Doctor Beckett did of you lately have been replaced by previous ones that show the way you were before. I assure you, no physical harm has been hidden from Doctor Beckett or you. I merely concealed the changes to your body until the work of the nanites was done and my plan was ready to be revealed.
"Nanites? You infected me with nanites? Are you insane? Are you out to kill me? Is that what you're after? Are you going to destroy us all? Kill us? Hide the evidence? Manipulate the scanners? Why would you do that? We tried to protect you!" John was in full panic mode now, Atlantis had said that all the scans Carson had done were wrong, that he had been changed somehow and horrible visions of turning into a bug, or people dying of burst blood vessels - seeing things only they could see - rushed through his mind.
He let himself fall backwards onto the infirmary bed again, dimly aware of Caron's and Rodney's horrified looks, the way they were stepping back from his bed, careful not to touch. Which was of course ridiculous, since Carson had touched him earlier, and Rodney had been snuggled up to him and, let's face the facts, until about three hours ago had been as close to him as human possible when he had fucked him through the mattress.
John, I assure you, the nanites I sent to you are not dangerous at all. My builders used them to help heal wounds, to repair damaged organs or create new ones. There is no need for you or anyone else to be concerned.
John didn't know how exactly, but Atlantis seemed to sound almost exasperated now. All around him, John could see hurried, panicked action. People bustling around, nurses running back and forth, Carson shouting orders, while Rodney looked at John as if hypnotized, his face pale and drawn.
Then, suddenly on all screens in the whole infirmary, John's medical file showed up, simultaneously. Page after page of information was scrolling down, and John wondered what the meaning of this was.
I am giving Dr. Beckett the information he will need to take good care of you. I also gave him the real results of the scans and your blood tests. Do not worry, John, everything will be alright.
"Take good care of me?" John yelled, beyond caring how he sounded. He was due for a panic attack anyway, might as well give in and be done with it. "What the hell did you do to me?"
"Oh my," John heard Carson gasp in the background and then Atlantis said, I had the nanites adapt your body so your mate would be able to impregnate you. Congratulations, John. You and Rodney are going to be parents.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me" John cursed, before he jumped off the bed he had been lying on walking over to Carson and Rodney. Carson was staring at the computer screen as if hypnotized and Rodney was trying in vain to get him to tell what was going on.
Furious, confused and more scared than he cared to admit, John grabbed Carson by the shoulders and snapped angrily, "Tell me she's lying. Tell me she did not give me a fucking womb so Rodney could knock me up. Tell me this is just a hallucination," John yelled.
Nurses were rushing towards him, obviously Carson had somehow signaled them that the supposed threat by the nanites wasn't a threat after all and that they could touch him. Gentle hands were ushering him back onto a bed again while a pale faced Rodney asked, "I knocked you up?" He sounded like he was about to be seriously sick.
"It seems like Atlantis has vested interest in you and Rodney having ... offspring together," Carson said, and John was sure he had chosen his words very carefully. He and Rodney were standing beside John's infirmary bed now, Rodney uncharacteristically silent and still.
"No kidding," John said, feeling strangely calm and suddenly very ... disconnected to his own body. Like thinking about what he'd just been told was some surreal dream.
"Of course I can't be sure any more of anything since Atlantis manipulated my scan results, but if that last scan is genuine then Atlantis told the truth. You are indeed pregnant." Carson said, barely concealed anger over Atlantis' deceit in his voice, but his face showed genuine concern for John's well-being.
"Why would she do that?" John asked, refusing to believe a word Carson or Atlantis had said. If Carson couldn't prove it, then it wasn't real. End of story.
You are the one I easiest connect to, John. Your and Rodney's children will be even easier to feel. You are like my builders, John, you are able to interact with me like it always was supposed to be. After ten thousand years of silence at the bottom of the ocean, you woke me and brought me back to life. You are my favorite, John. Your and Rodney's children will be the strongest presence within my walls in ten thousand years. I am very grateful that you ended my loneliness. I have chosen you and Rodney to start the line that will be the natural rulers within my walls. Your children will be greatly honored in this galaxy.
"Children? Plural? Now you're already planning on violating me again? No way. That's not what I've signed up for. I'm not some brood mare you can use to create ATA gene baby geniuses. This is my body and I sure as hell won't run around carrying a child you forced on me so you're not lonely any more. You're a city. An A.I. You can't feel. But I can and I want this thing out of me," John snapped angrily, he hated hearing how Atlantis had talked about him. Like he was just means to an end. Like the only thing he was worth was the sum of his genes. Like his and Rodney's wishes weren't actually important.
John had suspected for a while now, that Atlantis might be sentient. He hadn't thought she'd be insane, though.
Gripping Carson's arm tightly, John looked at his doctor, at his friend and said, "Carson, get this ... thing ... this womb out of me. Now! I don't care how you do it but I want it out."
Before Carson could say anything though, big red 'DANGER' signs were flashing on the computer screens all around them and Carson turned to look at them. Rodney still dazedly stared at John, as if the information John had just given was too much to process for him. It was so utterly out of character for him, that just looking at him sent shivers of uneasiness down John's spine.
Carson was hastily scrolling through the new information on the screen and suddenly something that sounded a bit like thunder of hooves, like the sound of a racing horse came out of the speakers all around them.
"What's that?" Rodney whirled around, looking back and forth between John and Carson, sounding alarmed. He was finally coming out of his stupor.
"Yeah, what is it? And why does it say 'DANGER' all over?" John asked, sitting up again despite the hovering nurses' best efforts to keep him lying down.
"That would be the heartbeat of your children, John. According to the last scan you're having twins. A boy and a girl. And before you demand again I abort them, listen to me. According to the information I've got here, the Ancients built in some sort of failsafe when they wrote the program that makes it possible for the nanites to create a womb that will be fully functional in a male body. It is designed to ensure the pregnancy will be a success and to eliminate the dangers of miscarriage, since it would cause a huge problem in a male body," Carson was obviously in for a long explanation and John wished he'd hurry up. He had a feeling that he really wouldn't like whatever Carson had to say.
"As a result, it is absolutely impossible to try an abortion or risk an excision of the womb, as it would surely mean death for you as well, John. The blood vessels and the new tissue that was created to protect the womb and ensure the pregnancy can be sustained are too vulnerable to mess with. I'd never know if I'm not cutting any vital blood vessels, especially since I would be forced to operate practically blind. Atlantis has made it very clear she will not help me terminate the lives of your children and will shut off the scanners again. I'm sorry, John, but the risk is simply too high. I won't take any chances of you dying." Carson said, apologetically. John could see relieve and anger fighting for dominance in his face. Carson took the 'do no harm vow' very serious and John knew demanding an abortion would have caused a lot of emotional stress for Carson, but what was about John? Who cared what John wanted? Atlantis had cruelly, selfishly decided that he and Rodney should have children and had thereby forced John into an impossible situation.
A male, pregnant military commander. That would go over really well.
It couldn't get any worse, could it?
John's thoughts were going in circles, his mind still trying to comprehend the fact that he was pregnant. Pregnant. Atlantis herself had turned against him and betrayed him, ruining his life, his future.
Caught up in his own little world, focused on his own thoughts, John only noticed Rodney being unusually silent when Carson bustled in. John had been put on observation for the rest of the night and the following day, but given the nature of his 'condition' he'd been given a private room. Rodney had never left his side.
"There you are, Rodney," Carson said, and John looked up, puzzled. Why would Carson sound so surprised? Everyone knew that Rodney had been by his side when he had been assigned this room and had gotten settled in.
"Radek has been searching for you for three hours now. He said you're not answering your radio. Rodney, have you been here since we brought John in?" Carson asked and John frowned.
John looked at Rodney and instantly noticed something was off. Rodney was sitting in the visitor's chair, elbows resting on his thighs, head hanging low. He was twirling the ear-piece of his radio between his fingers. His face was drawn, mouth slanting in an unhappy line.
"Tell him to fuck off, Carson. He's not completely untalented, he can survive without me babysitting him for a day or two," was Rodney's only answer. The words on themselves weren't unusual, it was more the tone that made a whole choir of alarm-bells ring in John's head.
There was no sarcasm. The words were delivered in a quiet, resigned tone. Rodney just sounded unbelievably tired and yes, somehow ... lost.
"Rodney, lad, are you sure you are alright? Have you eaten? You don't sound like yourself. Why don't I see if I can get someone to bring the two of you some breakfast?" Carson asked and John could read in the doctor's face that he had to restrain himself from checking Rodney over.
John couldn't say he blamed him. Rodney's behavior scared the hell out of him, as well.
"Yeah, whatever. I guess having breakfast can't hurt. Can you just..." Rodney waved his hand at Carson, "you know, leave us alone? I think I need to talk to John, now that he isn't... distracted any more."
Carson seemed to hesitate for a moment as if he was trying to judge if he could leave Rodney alone with John, in the weird mood he seemed to be in. But then he nodded once and said, "Alright, Rodney, I'll tell Radek that he will have to manage on his own and will see to it that the two of you get breakfast." Then Carson gestured over to John saying, "Make sure you don't break him, lad, will you? We still need him after all."
Rodney made a non-committal noise and Carson left, seemingly satisfied.
Once they were alone, John focused his full attention on Rodney's huddled form, taking in the picture of misery that was his lover. "Rodney, talk to me. Something's wrong with you and I have no idea what that is," John began, feeling genuinely worried by Rodney's behavior. When Rodney didn't say anything, didn't even look up again, John went on. "You didn't run out to help Radek keep Atlantis in one piece and you didn't even snap at Carson. He's right you know? That's just so not you. What's the matter? I think that of the both of us, I am the one who is entitled to be depressed and brooding. Or livid. Or ... whatever," John said helplessly. It unnerved him that Rodney was so ... dispassionate. Silent. Subdued. Yes, dejected even.
It was positively scary.
Instead of answering John though, Rodney asked a question of his own. "Why don't you want them, John?" he asked, in a tone of voice John had never heard on him before.
For a moment John was so startled by the question, he couldn't think of an answer. That was what Rodney had been brooding about?
"I mean, I know you must be freaked, with you being male and all that and really, I understand that ... I mean I'm sure I'd have gone crazy by now if I were in your stead, but..." he broke off, his hands waving about helplessly, looking totally shattered. "I know how it feels to be unwanted. And ... and I don't want this for," he swallowed hard and audibly, "for our children."
Rodney's words felt like a blow to John's stomach. Oh crap. This was a catastrophe. John searched for the right words, searched for something to say that wouldn't make him sound like a complete ass, but came up blank. He honestly didn't know what to say to this. He didn't want to be pregnant. It was just wrong on so many levels.
Sure, he had to admit, part of it was hurt male pride, and part of it was fear. The other emotions that were all tangled up together into this huge aching feeling in his chest, he'd rather not look at too closely.
"I'm a man, Rodney. I'm not supposed to get pregnant. And ... and Atlantis did it just to get some fucking ATA gene babies that would keep her company. That's just ... wrong, can't you see that? Atlantis is a military outpost. I am the leader of this base and we're at war," John said, agitatedly. He was getting angry and defensive, he knew that, but the look in Rodney's eyes tore at his heart and made him feel guilty. Even though this whole mess so wasn't either of their fault.
"How is this supposed to work out? Huh? How are we gonna do this? Damn it, Rodney, I hate myself every single time I am going on one of those fucking suicide missions. I hate the look in your eyes, I hate knowing I'm hurting you. But you're a grown man. You are with me of your own, free will. Our children won't be given that choice. We'll just ... dump this on them. How am I supposed to leave you and them behind when walking away from you almost kills me every single time?"
Rodney's head shot up at John's words. He looked stricken. "I hate it too, when you need to go, but I know that I can't keep you, that you need to do this. It's who you are," Rodney said. "But, John, every child of a military parent is in danger of losing them. And I think Atlantis is safer than you make it out to be. We're doing well, and you know it," Rodney sounded stubborn now.
"Oh and our children wouldn't be the only ones here in Atlantis. What about Torren? Or, or ... Dr. Crenna's child. I forgot her name. Something with C, I think. Anyway, my point is, people are beginning to have children, here. And do you remember how everyone always took good care of Torren when he was very small? And Teyla still has a lot of people who are willing to take over caring for him if something comes up, even at a very short notice. Do you remember how supportive all of them were, even back then when he was the only child here in Atlantis? How everyone worked together to make it possible? Why do you think it will be different for our children? Besides," Rodney shot John an impatient look and the tight knot in John's stomach loosened a little, "besides, I think you don't have a choice anyway. You heard Carson. No abortion for you. For us. You're stuck with us."
At his last words, insecurity had crept into Rodney's eyes and voice again and John cursed inwardly. Even after years of being together, Rodney still didn't completely believe John would never leave him. It was one of the reasons John had thought about proposing to Rodney, lately. But now even that would have to be reconsidered. Because John didn't want for it to look as if he was only marrying Rodney because of the babies.
"Damn it, Rodney," John said, exasperated, "this is not about being stuck with anyone. I'm with you because I want to be and I honestly don't know why the hell you can't believe me. This isn't even about not wanting children. Hell, you know how I am with kids. I like them. I always wanted to have children of my own. But Rodney, I was never supposed to carry them. It shouldn't be possible and it sure as hell isn't by choice. And before you ask, I'd be as mad if you had been the one Atlantis decided to knock up. It's just not supposed to be this way." John stared at Rodney, willing him to see it John's way, willing him to understand.
He paused and took a deep breath, not at all sure where he was going with this. If he should tell Rodney what he was about to tell him.
Deciding that Rodney might need to hear the complete truth if he was supposed to get the whole picture, John finally said, "Nancy and I ... we didn't get divorced just because I like men as well, but also because I wanted children and she didn't. So, you see, it's not at all, that they will be unwanted. In fact, quite the contrary. I expect I will be looking forward to having them, once I got over the shock that an A.I. practically raped my body to get her will."
Rodney stared at him, face pale as a sheet, looking like he was about to be sick. He'd flinched at the word 'rape' and John had a feeling that Rodney was coming to the wrong conclusions again and thought John blamed him for having ended up pregnant.
Suppressing a sigh, John looked Rodney straight in the eyes and said, "Rodney, listen. You always knew I was serious about us, right? This doesn't change anything about how I feel about you. Or how I think about our relationship. I know we'll work it out somehow, but right now, I need you to understand me. I need to know that we'll be okay." John knew he was rambling, knew he most probably wasn't making a whole lot of sense, but he didn't care. This was the first time John felt completely out of his depth, unable to use any of his well loved and proven-to-be-working techniques to deal with the situation. This wasn't something he could fight, or hunt down, shoot or blow up, nothing he could grasp, nothing he could outrun or outsmart. He was totally out of options. And John hated that feeling more than anything else.
Concentrating his straying thoughts onto Rodney again, John rubbed his face tiredly before looking at Rodney once more, intently. "I need you to understand that I feel violated, that I'm scared of how the people under my command will react. I'm scared of the changes in my body and I'm scared what this will do to us ... what she will do to us. Until now, I've always felt safe here in Atlantis. Like I belonged. She's felt like home. But now I just feel cold and confused and betrayed. And I don't like it, Rodney. I don't like it one bit."
"And you think I do?" Rodney asked, muted sarcasm creeping back into his voice. "You think I like this any more than you do, John? That I'm okay with it? Is that what you think?" Rodney asked, the tone of his voice hard to decipher for John.
"I don't know Rodney. You're not fuming with anger. In fact you're more collected than I've seen you in a while. Why is that? Why is it that you can deal with this so much better than I do, besides the fact that it's me Atlantis decided to knock up," John hissed angrily. Rodney's composed state was grating on his nerves for some reason.
Rodney's laugh was dry, humorless and pretty sad.
"I guess that this is just something that can't be ... studied, categorized or simulated," his mouth was slanting unhappily again now and John thought he somehow looked defeated.
"This isn't something palpable for me right now, John. It's not actually real to me, yet. And to be honest, if I start to really think about it and visualize it and analyze it, then I might have a nervous breakdown and you know ... I'd rather not. Jeannie once told me that there is a reason why a pregnancy is ten months long. It's so the parents-to-be can get used to the idea. And I really think I will need every single one of those forty weeks to come to terms with the fact that my male partner is carrying our twins. I didn't even like children until I met Madison. Well, Madison is a McKay, she's smart, so of course I liked her and ..." He broke off, looking unhappy.
"Look, John, I don't say I have any answers at all. I'm just saying that since you will have to carry them to term anyway, we might as well try to get used to it, alright? I don't want to lose you. I'm sure we can learn how to be parents ... somehow" Rodney sounded almost pleading now. There was an insecure, needy tone in his voice John didn't like. Rodney wasn't like that at all. He was strong and confident and arrogant. He viewed every problem as a challenge and he never gave up. But maybe Atlantis' betrayal had hit Rodney harder than he let on. Harder even than John could fathom right now.
Sighing heavily, John smiled a tired little smile and opened his arms in invitation. He needed to feel Rodney close to him right now, if he was to survive this whole ordeal. They would make it somehow, John knew they had to. Because they really didn't have a choice.
"So, it's true then?" Evan asked a playful grin on his face. "Atlantis really gave you ...girl bits and McKay knocked you up?" He was sitting in his bed in the infirmary, Radek firmly by his side and looked between Rodney and John, who had come to see him.
John had been released from the infirmary the previous day, but had to come in for a checkup every day. Carson's orders were very strict on that.
"Yeah, it is. But I don't really have any 'girl bits' beside a womb, Evan," John growled, but without real bite. He was slowly beginning to accept that he would be a father. That he would be the one to carry those children to term. That he would have to have a cesarean to get them out. And that he and Rodney would be the ones to raise them. Well, with the help of the rest of the expedition.
"Wow, Atlantis really is sentient then. That's ... wow. So, why did she do it, do you know?" Evan asked, eager and curious. He sounded like a child with a new toy. Most probably Radek had already 'infected' him with some form of the 'we could learn so much from a sentient city' bug and or he was just eager to know if there were any new cool weapons they hadn't discovered yet.
John sighed. "My ATA gene," he then answered truthfully. "Seems like she wants babies with a really strong gene, so she can interact with them and vice versa." John shrugged. "And my gene was the strongest."
Evan grinned from ear to ear and John knew that whatever his friend was about to say, he wouldn't like it. "The Skywalker factor," Evan grinned. "The force is strong with this one," he then intoned as if on cue, in a fair imitation of Darth Vader. John glared at him but before he could say anything Evan went on, "Rumor has it you're having twins. A boy and a girl. You gonna name them Leia and Luke?"
Beside John Rodney looked horrified and John replied, sweetly, "Just be careful, Evan. Who knows, if you don't stop teasing, Atlantis might decide there is another soldier and scientist pair that would make lovely parents. You've got the gene as well. So I might make a suggestion to her, you know, to not be completely on my own in this. You prepared to be a daddy?"
Evan's jaw dropped and Radek shot John a scorching glare, saying, "Do not make joke of this, John. Is not funny. We would like children very much but not like this. Male body is not made to be mother. You of all should know best."
Evan turned to look at his husband and suddenly John could see what Radek had meant when he had said that they wanted to have children. Apparently John had stumbled on a touchy topic. There was a whole conversation going on between the two of them, without a single word being spoken out loud. Maybe Atlantis had chosen the wrong pair for her little experiment. John suddenly had the image of a highly pregnant Lorne in front of his eyes. Glowing with happiness about the impending arrival of their child.
Of course, having the military leader and his second in command being pregnant and out for the count at the same time would be incredibly stupid, but if this method turned out to be safe and Carson approved ...
You are just scared you will stay the only one affected, John. But I assure you, the method is safe and I plan on making a lot more couples as happy as you are now, Atlantis suddenly piped up. John hadn't heard from her since the day before when she had revealed her manipulations.
"Happy? Who the hell says I'm happy about being tricked? Because I'm not. I feel violated! That's what I feel. And before you go around and give any more men extra equipment, you should maybe ask them if they actually want it, you understand me?" On some level John was aware that he had no way in keeping her from doing the same thing she did to him, to someone else, but he still had to try and argue with her. This was serious business and he didn't take his role as military commanding officer and friend of many of the expedition members lightly.
I do not wish to cause any trouble, John. But sometimes you humans do not know your own heart or you do not acknowledge your needs. My sensors picked up many things that are hidden for your human senses. I have known about your wish for offspring for a long time and I do know about your mate's longing for his genius to be passed on. Rodney is experienced in interaction with his niece. He will be a suitable father to your children even though he does not believe that to be the case just now. But I will be right. Data does not lie. Atlantis sounded way too smug for an A.I., John decided and glared at the ceiling of the infirmary.
"Stop meddling with our lives! You're worse than any mother in law could ever be!" John snapped.
Oh, but I believe I will be more of a grandmother, John. Expect me to spoil your children a lot. There was a smile in Atlantis' voice and John groaned. "Oh good Lord. Spare me!"
"What? What is it? What's happening now? What'd she say?" Rodney's alarmed voice sounded from beside him and John sighed.
"It's nothing Rodney. She's being annoying. Really, nothing to worry about," John assured his agitated partner
"But you ..." Rodney began but was interrupted by Carson's "John! There you are!"
"Yes, Carson?" John asked, wincing inwardly. Carson had said he was going to put a list together of dos and don'ts regarding his pregnancy. John really thought nothing good could come of that.
"Here is the list I promised you," Carson said, smiling brightly. "I expect you to follow the instructions on it to the letter. I won't do for you to endanger you or the little ones."
John took the list from Carson and looked at it.
*No more than one medium cup of coffee per day.
*No raw meat, no unwashed vegetables
*No heavy lifting
*At least eight or more hours of sleep ...
John looked up at Carson, horrified. "Oh you've got to be kidding me..."
Evan and Radek just laughed.
The sight that greeted Rodney when he entered their quarters made him smile. There was John, highly pregnant with their third child, padding around the kitchenette. He was wearing a lose t-shirt, and shorts. Nothing else.
Somehow Rodney thought that seeing his husband like this gave the saying 'barefoot and pregnant' a whole new meaning. John was just ... beautiful.
Not that Rodney would ever call John beautiful to his face. Not if he wanted to live to regret it. Even highly pregnant, John was a force to be reckoned with.
"Hey, there. How are you doing? Did Alys and Adrien go to bed alright? Did they give you any trouble at all?" Rodney asked, while walking over to John and taking him in his arms to kiss him.
"Nah, they went to sleep pretty well. I had to promise them that you'll come and kiss them good night, though. Alys insisted on a good night kiss even if she should be asleep already. They hate it when you stay that long in the labs, Rodney," John chided gently as he wrapped his arms around Rodney.
Instantly Rodney felt guilty. He loved his children so much and he hated not being able to bring them to bed. But there had been an emergency at the lab and he had had to stay, no matter how annoyed he was. "I know. I know and I'm sorry, alright? I'll try to be back in time for the rest of the week," Rodney promised before he kissed John tenderly. "Why don't you go on to bed already? I'll go kiss the kids good night and take a quick shower. I won't take long, I promise," Rodney said, rubbing John's protruding belly lovingly. They were going to have another daughter.
"Sure, sounds good to me. I'm beat. The little princess here was kicking me in the kidney's all day," John agreed, disentangling himself from Rodney.
"Ouch," Rodney commented and ran his hand over John's back soothingly. "I think it's about time for her to make an appearance. Hey, did you hear that Kayin started walking? Radek told me earlier today. He said they are going to try for their second one, soon. Well, as 'soon' as you've had," Rodney hesitated, they were still arguing over the name of their second daughter "... her, and are back to active duty."
John smiled indulgently and said, "that's nice, Rodney, but ... good night kisses and shower, remember? You can tell me all about it once you've come to bed with me. Now go!" He gave Rodney a little shove.
Rodney smiled. John was right. He really needed to get going so he could crawl into bed with his husband, snuggle up against him and fall asleep in his arms.
Yes, that was what he was going to do. Check in on the children, catch a quick shower and then join John in bed. Smiling to himself, Rodney thought how much his life had changed over the last decade since he'd come to Pegasus.
He hadn't won a Nobel. He hadn't even written a paper that wasn't classified, in years.
But he had gained a lot that was so much better than any Nobel could be. He had found home, in an Ancient city. He had more friends, more family, than he ever had imagined having. And even though he was a galaxy away from Earth, he'd never been closer to his sister, his nieces and his nephew, than he was now.
He had two wonderful children, with a third one on the way, and a husband he couldn't love more.
Rodney smiled again, making his way over to the children's rooms. Out of the corner of his eyes he could see John walk towards the bed it that typical waddle only a person carrying a child would have.
A sense of rightness filled Rodney as he listened to the distant hum of Atlantis.
Yes, life truly was good, Rodney thoughto before he stepped through the door to kiss his children good night.