|The Road Less Traveled
Author: theicemenace PM
Third in the "Turning the Page" series. Evan Lorne's life is approaching perfection. He has a beautiful wife, a daughter, and his dream job in Pegasus. Will he be allowed to enjoy his new-found happiness or does tragedy await on the horizon?Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Family - E. Lorne & John S. - Chapters: 11 - Words: 39,190 - Reviews: 26 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 08-01-12 - Published: 05-05-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8087865
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Well, here it is, part three of the "Turning the Page" series. The first part of this is filled with fluff and a little silliness. However, it won't last. Just be prepared for the plot to turn serious.
Thanks as always to ladygris for her Beta services and sage counsel.
You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last chapter.
The Road Less Traveled
The Uh-Oh Factor
Previously in All Roads Lead Home…
John watched Emily walk back toward the kitchen as Evan came into the foyer from the living room.
"Could we talk before you go? It won't take long."
"Sure." He picked up his bag and led the way out. The front door had closed and he faced Evan again. "What's up?"
Shoving his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans and shivering in the wind, Evan seemed to be working out how to phrase what he wanted to say. Finally, his eyes met John's in the yellow light of the porch. "John, are you in love with my sister?"
Instead of answering Evan's question, John asked one of his own. "This isn't going to be the big brother talk is it?"
Evan shoved his hands even deeper into his pockets, shivering in the cold wind, the black turtleneck he wore not enough to keep him warm for long. "Think of it more as asking a friend for a favor."
John accepted that explanation. Or seemed to. "Okay. Shoot."
"Please don't break her heart. She's already been through that with Mike. If it were to happen again so soon, well, I don't know that she'd get over it."
Waving his hand, John seemed relieved. "Breaking her heart isn't my intention, Evan. I just want to…to make sure that what we feel for each other isn't just…infatuation."
"I appreciate your candor and I hope you can appreciate mine when I say, if you hurt her, you'll have to deal with me. And neither of us wants that."
"Agreed." The men shook hands and a moment later John transported away.
The restaurant Carson had chosen for his date with Deanna was full but not crowded. The sounds of talking, laughter, music and the clink of silverware on plates filled the air. The décor wasn't overly "western" though there were touches here and there. Thankfully there were no huge sets of horns on the walls.
The server poured the wine and Carson watched Deanna from the corner of his eye as she draped the napkin over her lap. Her long slender fingers moved with the skill and precision of a surgeon. Something he'd noticed on others who played musical instruments as well as she did. It was the same with Colonel Sheppard, Chuck and even Rodney when he could be convince to play the piano. John had only played with the Atlantis band a few times. Usually he had to be talked into it by one of his friends and Carson thought it was a shame as he was quite good.
A strident voice interrupted the perusal of his date's hands. The man was complaining about his meal not being what he'd ordered or expected. He sent it back and if the look on the server's face was an indication, this hadn't been the first time. When his food was set in front of him again, the man dived into as if he were starving, barely taking time to chew before swallowing.
Carson's attention returned to Deanna when she took him by the hand. "Something wrong? You seem pensive."
"I was just thinkin' that some people need a refresher course in manners 'n common courtesy."
She glanced in the direction he'd been looking and smiled ruefully. "You'll get no argument from me. In my business, he'd be considered shy and withdrawn."
With a grin, Carson dropped his eyes to their linked hands just now realizing that he was rubbing his thumb over her knuckles. A little nervous, his mind supplied the names of the bones and muscles in the human hand. With a silent growl at himself, he pushed that thought away and searched for something to say. "So, love, how did ya get inta performin' as a way t' make yer livin'?"
Deanna released him and he found he missed the warmth of the contact. She took a drink of her wine and just held the glass staring into its dark red depths. "The usual way. I was working for a soft drink company in R and D always trying to stay one step ahead of the competition. You may not think so, but coming up with new products is stressful. My stress relief was singing with a local band and we were good, had lots of gigs. One night, this guy comes up to us and hands me his card. Turns out he was a record producer for one of the top three in the industry. We had our manager, my mother, contact his people and less than a year later we were in the studio recording our first CD. It's my name on the cover-not my idea, and it's still the same group we started with."
The server arrived with their salads and when he was gone, Carson smiled. "I noticed that no one has approached ya for an autograph. That's a bit unusual for a celebrity o' your stature, isn't it?"
"Yes. But then I look nothing like my on-stage persona. A few people will stare as if I look familiar, but just shake their heads and walk away. Not that I mind. My private life is kept separate from my public life. And considering what you do I'm glad it is."
"I wager that's not an easy thing t' do."
"It's not. But this…" she gestured at her casual clothing. He knew she thought it plain, but on her it looked elegant, "…helps. No one expects the singing sensation Ayanna to be seen in public without her wig and skintight jumpsuit."
He gave her another smile. "That means I get ye all t' m'self t'night."
She returned his smile and had leaned forward as if she were going to kiss him when a woman screamed.
"Help! Someone help! He's choking!"
Back in his quarters on Atlantis, John put his clothes and personal items away while his mind went over the meeting he'd just had with General O'Neill, Woolsey and the IOA. Though it wasn't much of a surprise, it still came as a bit of a shock that they were to the point of allowing Atlantis to return to Pegasus. That coupled with sorting out his feelings for Emily left him with too much to think about.
What would he do if he and Emily did decide that their relationship would continue long-term?
Marry her, of course. Adopt the boys…or nor. Depends on what they want.
Pacing and rubbing his head didn't help. Dimming the lights with his mind, he sat cross legged on the floor, closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Inside his head, he pictured each emotion and each bit of information as written on an index card. One at a time, he filed each one under the proper heading. Some he filed away for future reference. Others he left out so he could examine them a little closer. No matter how many times he filed the card with Emily's name on it, and those of her sons, it kept popping out. And each time it did, he saw the four of them together.
Standing at the altar of a small church as his bride came down the aisle on Evan's arm, Riley and Dale standing proudly beside John as they watched their mother married to their uncle's CO.
Holding Emily's hand as she gives birth to their daughter.
The little girl's first ballet recital.
Riley graduating from the Air Force Academy.
Dale selling his first art piece.
Sitting on the porch swing, their hair long gone gray, watching their progeny playing in the yard.
None of the scenes included Atlantis and he wondered if that was a sign that he should transfer to the SGC or resign altogether. Neither appealed to him at this point. What he wanted was for Emily and the boys to live on Atlantis with him. He knew the boys would jump at the chance, but had no idea what Emily's thoughts were on the matter or if she even cared enough to want to be married to him in the first place. They hadn't been dating that long, just over a year, if you counted from the day they met. The first anniversary of the finalizing of her divorce was coming up. Was she even ready to jump into another committed relationship so soon?
An epiphany would be nice.
Then there was his one and only foray into wedded bliss.
Though it hadn't been unexpected, when it had come, Nancy's announcement that she wanted a divorce had still stung, especially when he found out that she'd been seeing Grant for more than a year. John had been TDY for seven months when he'd come home to find all of Nancy's things gone from their home though the divorce papers hadn't been served for another month.
So the other question is am I ready to take this step?
Well, it's about time to find out, John.
He was kicked out of his musings when Chuck's voice called him to the Gate Room. With a sigh, he got to his feet and headed out.
Shannon rolled to the side and pushed herself up to sit on the edge of the bed. Rubbing her aching back, she got to her feet and shuffled into the toilet. Against her wishes, Emily had moved out of the master bedroom, giving it up for her brother and his pregnant wife so she wouldn't have so far to go for the facilities. And Shannon appreciated the gesture more than she could ever express.
She returned to the bedroom just as Evan came in with a tray. "Dinner time."
"Can't we eat in the dinin' room? Tired of these four walls."
"Beckett said you have to be on bed rest if you want to be there for Riley's big number fifteen tomorrow, so no."
"Crickey. I'll be glad when this is over. Not being able to work when my muse strikes me is annoyin'." She sat down with pillows propping her up and waited for Evan to set the tray in front of her. He left the room and returned almost immediately with a tray for himself. Going around to the other side of the bed, he sat next to her. "These little projects just aren't what I'm used to."
"Too bad. Doctor's orders." She shot him a mock glare and he just smiled in return. "Were you able to get in touch with Tony?"
Grinning, Shannon nodded. "Yup. It'll be delivered tomorrow while he's still at school."
"Thanks for doing that. He will love being able to tell his buddies that he got the latest version of Mega-Sphere before it even hit the stores."
"All part of the service, love." Leaning over, she gave him a kiss on the lips tasting the gravy from his mashed potatoes.
"Mmm. I expect we'll be seeing Carson too. Hopefully before the party starts."
She rolled her eyes. "He does have a habit of appearin' at the most inconvenient times."
"Like last week just as we were about to…" Evan sighed at the knock on the door. He loved his family, but they had the worst timing. "Come in." The door opened and John came in.
"Hey, you two. How you feelin', Shannon?"
Again Shannon rolled her eyes. "Like I'm gonna be pregnant forever."
John looked as sympathetic as possible, remembering when Teyla had gone through this and the lengths they'd all gone to in order to bring her home. His smile turned serious. "We need to talk, Colonel."
Evan and Shannon locked eyes for a split second. John hadn't called Evan by his rank since his extended leave had begun. "Sure, Colonel."
Evan followed John to the kitchen not liking the tense set of his CO's shoulders. It had to be serious or he'd have said what he had to say in front of Shannon. Evan immediately fell back into military protocol. "Is there a problem, sir?"
"Yes and no." John took a seat at the table while Evan got him a glass of ice tea. "It looks like Atlantis is returning to Pegasus in a few months."
"I see. And?"
"And Woosley expects me to go with them."
Evan leaned against the counter, his ankles crossed and hands gripping the edges. "Are you?"
"I'm…thinking about it." John paced to the dining room entrance to the refrigerator and back over and over. "It's gonna take a while, months."
"Have you told Emily and the boys yet?"
"No. I thought I should talk to you first."
A smile came to Evan's face at the trust his CO-his friend showed in him. "Let me know what you decide."
Shannon's voice came from down the hall. "Ev! I need a hand, love."
The men chuckled together, Evan shrugging sheepishly as he pushed off the counter. "My lady's voice. See you later."
John nodded as Evan left him alone with his thoughts.
"Let me through! I'm a doctor." Pushing the onlookers out of the way, Carson went to the side of the rude guest. His face was turning red, his hand to his throat telling Carson the man was choking. He slapped him on the back a few times with no results. Without asking permission, he reached into the man's mouth hoping to dislodge whatever was choking him and almost got his finger bitten for his trouble.
Next, he urged the man to stand, got behind him, wrapped him in a bear hug and squeezed several times. That also didn't work so Carson laid the man on the floor with the help of the server. "I need t' do a tracheotomy. Get me th' sharpest knife ye got, several pairs o' gloves from the kitchen, the first aid kit n' lots of clean towels."
The young man didn't even bother to nod. He surged to his feet and hurried away as Deanna knelt beside him. "Something I can do to help?"
"Aye. I need room t' work."
Deanna got to her feet. Raising her voice, she spread her hands. "I'll have to ask everyone to return to their seats. Go! Go!" When some seemed reluctant to leave, she gave them a small shove to get them moving then returned to Carson's side. "I'll call 911."
The server returned with the requested items and Carson got to work with Deanna assisting. Using his body to block what he was doing, He went to work and soon the man was breathing again. Just as he breathed his own sigh of relief a flurry of activity at the entrance announced the arrival of the first responders. Carson issued orders that were immediately carried out.
As the man was being wheeled away with Carson walking alongside, he patted the man on the hand. "Maybe now you'll remember what yer mum said about chewing yer food before swallowin'."
The hand under Carson's gripped his back and he smiled as the paramedics put him into the ambulance and drove away. The valet brought their car, they got in and she took off after the emergency vehicle.
At the hospital, Carson got out at the ER entrance and walked around to the driver's window.
"The restaurant will be closed when you get done so I'll meet you in the dining room. We can get something to eat there."
"I'm sorry about this, love."
Deanna gripped his hand. "Don't worry about it, Carson." He leaned down to drop a kiss on her upturned lips then hurried inside.
"Mum! Come look!"
"Ismay, I'll nae be spendin' m' time watchin' some animal performin' tricks when I've so much t' do for th' wee one's first birthday party…"
"No, mum. It's…"
At her daughter's tone, Katherine Beckett wiped her hands on the apron hanging from her thin hips and went to her side. "What is it, love?"
Ismay could only point at the monitor. She clicked to start the video and both women watched with shocked and dazed expressions as a man first used the Heimlich maneuver on a choking restaurant patron then lay him on the floor to perform an emergency tracheotomy with the help of an African-American woman. The scene was obscured when the first responders arrived. They lifted the patient onto a stretcher taking orders from the doctor. Before the stretcher was wheeled away, the doctor spoke briefly to the patient then looked right into the camera as Ismay paused the video.
"That's…" Katherine swayed on her feet reaching behind her for a chair then collapsed into it.
"Mum, it's Carson."
"It cannae be! He's dead n' buried long ago. And th' hair isnae th' same." Again her eyes fell on the face on the monitor that looked just like her son who'd been killed in an explosion years earlier, Carson Beckett.
A Few Nights Later
Carson and Deanna returned to the restaurant where they were met by the manager. "Doctor! Its so good to see you again. Thank you so much for what you did the other night."
"It was nothin'. I couldn't let him suffer just because he's a poor example o' his species." With a quick glance at Deanna, Carson cleared his throat. "'N I prefer t' remain anonymous, if ye don't mind."
"Of course, of course. I'll have the chef prepare something special just for the two of you. Everything is on the house, by the way. Anything you want."
"That's nae necessary."
"I insist." The manager hurried away leaving Carson and Deanna alone at last though some of the patrons shot him curious glances now and then.
"You're not doing it to protect me, are you?"
"What, love? The bein' anonymous? Och. No. It's…a bit difficult to explain."
Deanna watched him and he couldn't help the sliver of guilt he felt that he hadn't been completely truthful with her regarding his status as a clone of the original Carson Beckett. "Are you in the US illegally? Is that it?"
"No. Nothing like that, love. But if ye don't mind, can we talk about that another time?" He took her hand.
"Sure." The chef himself came to the table and placed their plates in front of them. "I'm starving. Let's eat."
While they ate, Carson caught Deanna giving him odd looks, as if she was re-evaluating her decision to be with him. And he didn't blame her, certain she'd run for the hills at the first opportunity once she knew the truth. But for tonight, he just wanted to enjoy her company. He gave her a smile and she returned it without hesitation.
Several Months Later
Evan and Emily stood side by side in the kitchen as he washed and she dried the dishes. They talked mostly about what would happen after Shannon gave birth. Atlantis had gone back to Pegasus to New Lantea and he wanted to return to it as soon as she and the baby were released to do so.
Emily on the other hand still hadn't made up her mind if she wanted to remain on Earth or follow John to Atlantis as well, provided he even wanted her to. They'd talked and Evan knew she was torn. She had a life, a job she loved and her boys had their friends. Their father hadn't contacted them since just before the divorce was final and that was only to let them know he was moving out of the state though he didn't say where.
Evan had just let the water out of the sink when there was a loud explosion of sound from the bedroom where Shannon was resting. Emily dropped the glass she was holding and rushed to the door with Evan right behind her. He knew what it was and that it had been fate or just dumb luck that this was the first time his sister had heard it.
"Don't worry, Em. She just sneezed. Impressive, isn't it?"
Emily shot him a glare as she knocked on the door. Riley and Dale joined them just as the door opened. "Are you okay? Did you fall?"
Those dark eyes glared at her family. "I'm fine. It was just a sneeze."
"See? I told you she was…" Evan stumbled back a step as a duffle bag was thrust into his hands. "What?"
"Call Carson now! My water just broke. It's baby time."