Fortunate Journey Season 5
Rating: T, perhaps bordering on M in places
Content Warning: Adult themes, sexual situations, language, some violence here and there.
Main Story Summary: As Sabina and John prepare for the changes in their family, events in the Pegasus galaxy threaten to tear them apart, as the past and the future for the ancient city clash. Established ShepOCship.
Classifications: Drama, Romance
Pairings: John Sheppard & Original Character
Main Story Spoilers for: Plot spoilers for pretty much every episode in Season 5.
Acknowledgements: I used Gateworld dot com transcripts to back up my own viewing as I worked through each episode. Anything else I reference will be acknowledged at the point it's used in the story.
Disclaimer: The Stargate characters, storylines, etc aren't mine. I am unfortunately not associated in any way with the creators, owners, or producers of Stargate or any of its media franchises – if I was we'd have that movie (and more) so we'd know what happened after Atlantis ended up in the bay. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, equipment, etc are the property of whoever owns them. The original characters and plot and anything else I made up are the property of me, the author. No copyright infringement is intended.
Copyright (c) 2014 ShaViva
Well, FINALLY! After way too long here it is, the last story in my Fortunate Journey series! Usually I put a long author's note in about the story, is it any good, etc. but this time since it's been that long I reckon everyone has forgotten the other stories anyway *grins*. This is another long story so it's going to take a while to post it all - any constructive comments and support you can offer, through Follows, Reviews, and Favourites, will be very much appreciated.
So, let's get right to it, starting with a little reminder of where the season 4 story ended ...
Recap: Night time, Atlantis Infirmary, post John's surgery to repair the damage done by the collapsing building …
"I took the liberty of running a test on the blood sample Doctor Cole took," Jennifer said. "I'd estimate you're about 7 weeks along. Congratulations!"
"Thanks Jennifer," John and I grinned at each other madly. "That's great news!"
"What's great news?" Rodney walked into the infirmary, followed closely by Ronon.
"Nothing Rodney," John dismissed, ploughing right through Rodney's protests. "Did you hear about Teyla's baby's name?"
I grinned - nice distraction tactics there.
"Yes and as usual there's no justice in the world," Rodney took the bait instantly. "I was the one who had to deliver that baby and let me assure you there were parts that were frankly horrific. Sabina threw herself into a culling beam for Teyla so you know ... she earned it. What did you do except bleed all over the place? At the very least I should have gotten a middle name."
"Yes Rodney," we chorused.
John and I shared a secret smile as the others talked over each other, sharing comments about their experiences with babies and naming them.
There were still things I wanted to know, things I needed to share with my friends but I knew there'd be time for that later. In fact I believed right then that I had time enough for everything I wanted to achieve ... and time enough to live happily ever after with John and our children. It was a hell of a trade-off for being taken from my biological parents ... and I refused to feel guilty for thinking that way.
"You okay?" John asked quietly.
"Never better," I replied, resting my head against his chest with a happy sigh.
Chapter 1: "Stop worrying, wife."
I looked up from the report I was attempting to write to see John standing in the doorway of my lab. The place still had a dusty, deserted feel to it after my long absence. The clutter of ancient devices and the tools of my trade looked abandoned now, instead of the organised chaos I usually saw when I viewed my lab as a whole.
"Jennifer released you already – why didn't you radio me?" I asked, jumping up hurriedly and moving to his side. It didn't feel like anywhere near long enough since I'd watched him being wheeled away for surgery after being almost crushed under a collapsed building. Being John he'd insisted Doctor Keller patch him up and then gone on a daring rescue mission aboard a Wraith hive ship. Of course I didn't know any of this until later since I'd been the one in need of rescuing.
"Because I knew you'd think it was too soon," John returned. "Jennifer gave me the all clear to return to light duty."
'Yes, and we all know she'd never release someone if they weren't fit.' It was a snide thought and not really fair given I'd already spoken to Jennifer about why she'd let John talk her into something that could have killed him. I understood – he was going on that mission regardless of what Jennifer said – better that she do her best to send him out there safely than refuse and leave him even more vulnerable. I sympathised with the position he'd put her in – I knew from firsthand experience how stubborn my husband could be! And yet, I couldn't fully put away the knowledge that John could have died out there trying to save me, all because no one stood up enough to stop him.
"Okay," I said easily, touching a hand to his shoulder before moving back to my computer. I wanted to ask him about my report – somehow I had to put the events on Michael's ship into words fit for an official report. Usually I didn't mind writing post mission reports – we'd been back almost three weeks and it wasn't like me not to have it done already - but this had been much more than a mission and there were aspects I didn't want to dwell on myself, let alone put out there for others at the SGC to dwell on. I was all set to ask John for advice but stopped when I realised that he was worried about something, beyond my reaction to him keeping his release from the infirmary to himself. "What's wrong?" I asked.
"Colonel Carter isn't coming back," John said bluntly.
"What?" I frowned. Sam had been called back to the SGC for a review and a one off mission with SG-1. She'd already been gone longer than we'd all expected.
"They're reassigning her," John explained. "I don't think she had a say in it."
"Oh." That one word contained a host of emotions and thinking that I knew John would understand without me having to explain it. I didn't do well with people leaving – not the important ones I'd come to count on. It had taken me a while to warm up to Sam as the leader of Atlantis, mostly because I had issues with Elizabeth's demise that were still unresolved. But I did warm to Sam, and I respected her too – she'd been in command during some difficult times and the city was in a much better place because of her. If she wasn't coming back then that meant ... "who's taking her place?" I asked.
John winced, and I knew this was the part that had him worried the most – not that Sam wasn't coming back, but with who was replacing her. "Richard Woolsey," he said.
"Woolsey? The guy who admitted he doesn't like me and couldn't see why I should even be here? The one who was so bad at resisting the replicators that you had to use him to save all of us? That Woolsey?" I tried for a calm tone but my voice rose until the last word was almost shouted.
"That's the one," John agreed, his calmness a contrast to my irritation.
"When?" I asked after a few moments, trying for a more reasonable tone.
"A week, maybe two," John replied. He'd already been keeping things running while Sam was away, saving whatever he could for her return rather than doing all aspects of the job. "I'll keep the pace ticking until he gets here."
"Right," I nodded reluctantly, grimacing. A week of relative peace before the new guy came in to make his mark – I could hardly wait … not!
Moving forward John took my shoulders into his hands and squeezed bracingly. "He'll be here for a different reason this time Sabina. Not to evaluate us or look for problems – he'll be here to support what we all do, including you, just like Elizabeth and Colonel Carter did."
"I'll believe that when I see it," I muttered half under my breath. There was no point in getting angry at something that wasn't in my control - I didn't like it but in a way it was almost funny, given my prior dealings with the man. "I probably shouldn't have been so blunt when he was here last time," I met John's eyes and let him see that it wasn't a big deal.
"Start as you mean to go on," John shot back, a smile taking over the worry. "It's probably a good idea to think on this as a fresh start for him though – and for you. I don't think he's here to shake up the personnel."
"I hope not," my thoughts went immediately to the baby we were expecting in seven months. Being removed from Atlantis now that I was a bona fide member of the Pegasus galaxy was less likely but still something that hovered at the back of my mind.
"How are you feeling?" John instinctively zeroed in on where my thoughts had gone, shifting his hands down my arms until he could take my hands.
"Good enough that if we didn't have the test results to prove it I'd be wondering if I really am pregnant," I replied. It was true – at almost ten weeks I had yet to see any real symptoms. On the one hand I was okay with that – I wasn't ready to have the kind of awkward conversations I could imagine I'd have once the word was out – but a part of me couldn't wait to 'be pregnant' in every sense of the word.
"Don't speak too soon," John warned teasingly. "Remember what Jennifer said about morning sickness striking late for some women."
"I'm not ready to tell anyone yet," I leaned in to press my cheek to his before shifting away and drawing his attention to my computer. "We haven't really talked about it but ... I want to be ready for full duty as soon as possible. Jennifer made finishing my report a condition on signing off on my fitness. Evan still has three or four weeks before he's fit enough but I want to finish this. I just ...,"
"You don't know what you can get away with not including," John finished for me. He didn't say anything about my plans to keep my spot on Lorne's team, including going off world, even though I was pregnant. Not because he didn't have an opinion – in typical John fashion he'd wait until it actually became a probability before telling me what he wanted.
"Exactly," I said, content to let the more difficult conversation stay in our future.
"Stick to the facts," John advised me. "Don't speculate and don't get into what any of it means."
"The facts," I mused, nodding. "I can do that," my fingers hovered over the keys but I didn't start typing, glancing over my shoulder back to where John stood. "I was thinking I'd talk to Doctor Baxter," I said as casually as I could manage. Baxter was Kate Heightmeyer's replacement, a forty something psychiatrist with years of experience with the military, much of it 'in the field'. There was no doubt he was qualified for the position but I'd never availed myself of his services outside of mandatory half yearly check-ups, and even those less than willingly. It wasn't that I felt I needed to talk through what had happened on Michael's ship – I just really wanted everything back to normal, including my role on Lorne's team, and ticking the 'mentally sound' box would go a long way towards convincing everyone that I was ready. I was more than willing to compromise on what my off world role would actually be because I had no intention of risking the safety of our baby – of course I didn't mention that to John because when we finally had that conversation I was counting on that compromise getting John to turn his initial 'Hell No' into a yes.
"I'm sure talking to someone impartial would help," John agreed, also carefully not making a big deal of my apparent willingness to do something I usually avoided at all costs.
"Okay then," I nodded, returning my focus to eyeing him intently. "You're really okay for duty?" I asked.
"I'm really okay," John agreed. Resting his hands on my shoulders he leaned down. "Stop worrying, wife."
Laughing I turned and pulled him closer. "I will ... when you stop doing crazy things, husband."
Rather than reiterate once more that he'd do it all again in a heartbeat, John ended the argument with his lips pressed to mine.
True to my word I did talk to Doctor Baxter a couple of days later, the conversation helping me work out in my own mind how to complete my official report. I asked John to read it before I submitted it – not something I usually asked but this was hardly the usual post mission report. It was interesting to see him in 'administrator' mode, even though I knew how many hours he had to spend on that side of his job. John's office might look like he didn't spend a lot of time there and he avoided the paperwork whenever he could, but that didn't mean he didn't take this duty just as seriously as the rest of what he did. He was quiet as he read from my laptop screen and when finished he gave me an approving nod.
"It's good," he said, clicking the file closed and turning to where I sat beside him. "There's nothing obviously missing but it's not emotional either. Woolsey wasn't here so he'll probably be looking at all the recent reports closer than usual - be ready for him to quiz you on some of the details."
"Thanks," I pulled the laptop back towards me, intent on sending the report there and then, feeling a sense of relief when the email disappeared. It would sit in Woolsey's inbox for a few more days until the new leader arrived, and that was quite okay with me.
"Do you want to talk about you going off world now, or should we keep avoiding it?" John asked, straight to the point as usual.
"Now," I said decisively. "I know you suspended Teyla's off world travel when she was pregnant, but that was more to do with the risks she was taking to find her people than her safety in general."
"True, but there's no getting around the fact that it's unpredictable out there," John countered.
"Just to be clear from the start, are you saying No to the possibility of me returning to Lorne's team?" I asked intently.
"I'm saying I haven't decided yet," John returned. "Tell me why you want to do this?"
It was a good question and it put me on the spot. "I don't know," I grumbled with a frown. "Why do you want to fly?"
"Because it's part of who I am," John didn't seem to mind me diverting the question back to him. "Because I need to."
Was going off world the same for me? I hadn't been doing it anywhere near as long as John had been a pilot, and I hadn't sacrificed as much as he'd had to, to make it part of my life. John wouldn't be himself if flying was taken away from him. Could I say the same for my role on Lorne's team?
That's when my true motivations hit me. I'd never been a part of anything prior to coming to Atlantis. That accidental trip had changed my life, changed me, fundamentally. Having a role in the city, becoming an expert of sorts in all things ancient long before I discovered why I had such an affinity for the subject, was the start of that transformation, but the turning point was when I joined Evan's team. Only then did I really discover what it was like to be a part of a unit with a singular goal. It grounded me, gave me purpose, fulfilled something in me that needed to contribute, something that my relationship with John couldn't give me. If I couldn't go off world anymore then I wouldn't be part of Evan's team anymore either.
"We both know I can't claim the same thing for going off world," I admitted. Looking down at his desk I hesitated, running my fingers over the keys of my laptop but not really seeing anything. "I don't need to go off world … but I do need my team. If I can't go with them anymore then I'll lose that and I … I don't think I'm ready to give that up, not yet."
"Sabina," John put a hand to my chin and gently lifted my face so I'd look at him. "You won't lose your place on Lorne's team – I don't think he'd let that happen even if I ordered him to pick someone new, which I wouldn't do."
"You can't keep my place free for months John," I pointed out practically. "And it wouldn't matter if you did – if I don't return to the team until after the baby comes then it won't matter. I'll have missed so much – the team dynamic will change and I won't be a part of that anymore. There's nothing you can do to fix that."
"Except let you go back until the pregnancy forces you to take a break," John concluded, getting up and moving to stand at the window.
"Exactly," I agreed. I watched him for a few moments and then moved to stand beside him. "I don't have to go on every mission," I offered quietly. "I know things go wrong when we don't expect it but if you think back, aside from a couple of times, Evan's missions usually do go as planned, and most of them are trading or research missions, not the dangerous stuff. We only do that when we're out rescuing you and, much as it pains me to offer, I could stay home then."
"Those couple of times you're so casual about almost killed you!" John glared down at me. "It only takes one screwed up mission Sabina. You know that more than most people."
"I know," I took a deep breath. "It'll still be a couple of weeks before anything has to be decided. Will you think about it, really think about it?"
John was silent for a moment but eventually he nodded.
"Thank you," I wrapped my arm around his waist and shifted closer, leaning my weight against him.
"I know we agreed to wait before we announce the pregnancy," John said a few moments later, "but you're going to have to tell Evan, before I decide one way or the other about you returning to off world duty."
"You're hoping he'll do your dirty work for you?" I pulled away, irritated with him because he never made it easy for me. I didn't want an easy ride so it was mean to feel annoyed but I couldn't help how I felt – I might not look ten weeks pregnant but the new ups and downs of my emotions reminded us continually that big changes were coming for both of us.
"You know that's not true," John thankfully didn't take offense to my accusation. Wisely he'd already learned to wait for my mood to settle before taking anything I said at more than face value. "He deserves the truth Sabina, before he takes you out on a single mission, and you know it. I'm not saying his reaction is going to influence my decision but if you want me to seriously consider this, you need to be up front with him. I'm not taking this any further until you do."
"Fine, I'll tell him," I agreed grumpily.
"Just go easy on him," John's eyes twinkled. Did he think this was funny? "The shock might be too much for him, given how anti-marriage you used to be. Now look at you, hitched for almost a year already and knocked up as well."
Okay, so it was funny. My lips twitched as I held in my amusement – no way did I want to give John the satisfaction of teasing me out of my bad mood. In the end I had to laugh though. Hitched and knocked up – against all the odds that was so me and I was deliriously happy about it.