Authors Note: Very special thanks go to goddess47 for her wonderful Beta skills! This fic was written specially for azilver (who also provided a line, credited at the bottom of the fic).
Rodney hears the bellow and quickly searches his memory for something he might have done to make the Colonel so angry. Nope, can't think of anything.
He's about to make a snide comment about banshees when Sheppard enters the lab. One look at the man's face and Rodney bites his tongue. Oh God, what's this about?
"I'm gonna KILL you." Uh oh, he kinda sounds like he means that. Rodney subtly moves behind the bench - although he doesn't really think it would provide much protection, Sheppard's using what Rodney privately calls his 'Kolya Voice'.
"What? What have I done? I haven't left the lab all morning!" He realises he sounds desperate, but that's OK, because he is.
"PX…something or other, the one with the cockroaches!" Huh? Is this a riddle of some kind?
"Colonel I assure you I have no idea what you're talking about." He's carefully edging around the bench, with Sheppard doing the same thing on the other side. This is getting ridiculous, what could he possibly have done that's got Sheppard so mad three weeks after the fact?
Just then Carson enters the lab, out of breath and red faced.
"Now, now, Colonel, try to relax." Rodney's pleased to note that the death glare has now been transferred to Carson. Hang on, this is something medical?
"What's going on? I haven't done anything!" Well, not that he knows of anyway….
Carson looks nervously to Sheppard (who is now back to glaring at Rodney, and he looks really mad!).
"Tell him Carson."
Carson is clearly not happy about this, but does as he's told. Or tries.
"Er, well, the thing is…er…." Oh God, this is bad, Rodney is still wracking his brain trying to figure out what the Hell he could possibly have done.
"Spit it out Doctor." Sheppard's in danger of bursting something now, and he's going to wear down his teeth, grinding them the way he is.
Rodney's reaction is immediate, and not especially popular with either of the other men in the room. Seriously though, it's funny!
He brings his laughter under control and decides to say the thing that surely Carson himself is thinking.
"Oh come on Colonel! The way you carry on? We're in another Galaxy for God's sake! Life sucking aliens, beings composed entirely of energy, it was really only a matter of time before one of them knocked you up! Kirk." That last bit was possibly a little mean, but he thinks he's made his point.
Sheppard's face breaks into the most evil looking smirk Rodney's ever seen, which (he will realise later), should have been a clue.
"Well, Meredith, one of them didn't. It's yours."
Rodney, of course, faints.
He wakes up in the Infirmary and realises it was all a dream. Or not. John is standing next to the bed, he doesn't look quite so mad anymore, but he doesn't look happy either.
"You fainted. You are such a girl." Rodney somehow resists the urge to point out that he'snot the one who's pregnant. Sheppard seems calmer now, but there's no sense antagonising the man. Sheppard on the warpath is scary Pregnant Sheppard on the warpath might very well be the last thing Rodney ever sees.
"So, um, it's been pointed out to me that perhaps I overreacted a little." The Colonel looks sheepishly towards Carson, who's now standing at the end of Rodney's bed.
"Aye, I'd say so. It's not as though he did it on purpose lad." Rodney still isn't quite sure whathe's actually done. He's not stupid, he knows all about the birds and the bees, but even if you leave out the part where Sheppard's a man, they've never had sex. How could Rodney have possibly gotten him pregnant? He's squashing down the part of him that is secretly overjoyed with the idea that Sheppard's carrying his baby….
John (yes, definitely OK to call him by his first name now) is talking again, oops, he should probably pay attention.
"… PX-whatever, that device you just had to touch? And then told me to touch when it didn't do much more than light up dimly at your fake gene?" OK, apparently John's back to being angry. Mood swings, Rodney's heard of these.
"Excuse me Colonel, are you trying to tell me you think some Ancient device knocked you up?" Oh for…what's the death glare for now?
Carson cuts in before John can threaten to kill Rodney again.
"We can't think of any other explanation, and the timing fits. Elizabeth hasn't finished translating the text yet, but it appears to refer mainly to procreation…."
"And? You don't think you're kind of jumping to conclusions here?"
"Yes Rodney. After all, it's much more likely that John has somehow spontaneously developed a womb and become pregnant without ever having sex!"
"You've never had sex? Wow, explains the hostility."
Rodney's pretty sure John's trying to kill him with his brain now, judging by the look he's getting. So, not ready for jokes yet then.
"You're still assuming it's mine though. Isn't it more likely it's just a clone of the Colonel?"
"Call my baby it, one more time. See what happens." Huh, interesting.
Wait. He can't possibly want to keep it, can he? He can't have a baby! He's the Military Head of Atlantis! He's in the midst of a war! He's a MAN!
Rodney, not being a moron, decides to keep that to himself.
"I've checked the baby's DNA Rodney, there's no doubt, I'm afraid."
"Can you do that so early on?" Rodney asked.
"Well, not normally, no. However, we are surrounded by Ancient technology you know" Carson reminded him.
Oh, right, hence the current nightmare.
John slumps down into the nearest chair and rubs his hand across his face.
"This is a nightmare." Huh, great minds and all that.
"Can he do this Carson? Can he carry a baby to term? I know medicine's a bunch of hocus-pocus at the best of times, but seriously, this is a bit much isn't it? I mean, it can't possibly be safe!" He's really worried about John now. Crush aside, they're friends.
"Well, I've run every test I can think of, bearing in mind this isn't exactly something I've come across before, and I can't see any reason why he shouldn't be able to carry to term. The birth will have to be caesarean of course."
John and Rodney both wince at that.
"But, surely it can't be safe?" Or, he thinks to himself, sane. Rodney's never been entirely sure how women can deal with having an actual person growing inside them, he has no idea how John will.
"I don't know Rodney. It's possible there may be complications, John's body just wasn't designed for this. But the Ancient device seems to have done a pretty thorough job." Rodney really doesn't want to think about what that means.
"Enough. I'm going for a walk." John stalks out of the infirmary and Carson treats Rodney to a look. Oh for…what's he done now?
"Go after the man, Rodney. Talk to him."
Oh yes, excellent idea.
John has walked all the way to the end of the East Pier before he stops. How did this happen? How the Hell did this become his life? He's living in another Galaxy, at war with life-sucking aliens, pregnant with his best friend's baby. Alright, pregnant with his crush's baby. And isn't that just the kicker? He has always wanted Rodney to be so much more than his friend, and now he's gotten his wish. Well, fabulous.
He is actually a little surprised by how calm he feels about the whole bun-in-the-oven thing. Maybe it's some sort of hormonal reaction? Or maybe he's lost his mind? He almost wishes he could bring himself to end it, just not be pregnant anymore. Except, he can't do that. He's not even really sure why, it's not something he's ever been against before, but apparently when it's him faced with the decision, there just doesn't seem to be any choice.
Rodney. How are they supposed to deal with this? Rodney hates kids, hates them with a passion Although John's never seen him with a baby, maybe he likes babies, but what if he doesn't want to have anything to do with their baby? John thinks he could deal with that, but he's not sure he wants to.
His brooding is interrupted by the arrival of the man in question.
"Hey." Excellent comeback.
"So…." Rodney's nervous, fidgeting, which John would normally enjoy, but this isn't exactly a normal day.
"It's OK Rodney. You don't have to be involved if you don't want to." He's trying to be reasonable here, so why does Rodney look like John just kicked his puppy?
"Well that's just lovely. What, you don't think I'd make a good Father? I'll have you know I'd make an excellent Father! I am a genius you know, imagine how bright she'll be! And growing up in the City of the Ancients! And, by the way, you're not going to be teaching her all about blowing things up, or shooting things, or football. I won't have my daughter grow up into some sort of GI Jane."
"Cool movie." Rodney rewards him with the you're-so-not-funny eye-roll. "Oh, Har de har har. I'm serious."
John is suddenly nervous. "So…we're gonna have a kid then?"
Rodney glances at him thoughtfully. "It would seem so."
Neither of them quite has the nerve to say what they're really thinking. That this will mean a major change in their relationship. Possibly even a fatal one.
"What the HELL is this?"
Oh, what now? John has been unbearable for the last few weeks, snapping at the slightest thing or, worse, getting all misty eyed as if he's actually about to cry.
"What's what?" That's it, stay calm, try not to set him off again.
"This!" As far as Rodney can tell, the object being shoved in his face is a book. 'Staying Calm Throughout your Pregnancy'. Rodney concedes that perhaps it wasn't the most subtle choice.
"Er…it's a gift?" That's it, nicely does it. Just keep smiling.
"Are you trying to tell me something?" Oh good God Almighty. He's going to cry. Please, God, when will this nightmare end? Isn't he supposed to be past the hormonal stage by now?
"No, John. I just thought it might be useful, you seem to be having a bit of a tough time, I thought it'd help." He shoots, he…misses by a country mile.
"I'd be fine if I didn't have your devil-child trying to kill me from the inside out!" Ah. Anger. Anger he can deal with.
"Devil-child! How dare you!" No, no, no, no, no, please don't cry!
He rushes to John's side and places what he thinks is a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Yet another bad idea. He's really going for a record today.
"Get the Hell away from me! Haven't you done enough?" With that, the pregnant-man-from-Hell, storms off.
Rodney sighs as loudly as he possibly can and drops down onto the nearest chair. This pregnancy lark is exhausting!
OK, so he realises it's probably worse for John, but really! It's not like he's intentionally antagonising him! He's trying, it's just that nothing seems to work. John has clearly lost all reason.
This morning John pulled his gun on a Marine who asked him how he was. What could possibly have bothered him so much in those three words? Rodney wasn't even going to think about the time Ronon had pointed out that John was putting on weight. Even Ronon had been a little scared (well, he'd backed away maybe two or three steps, but for Ronon that's scared).
John was, simply put, turning into some sort of demon. It wasn't just the lightening fast mood swings either. He was losing his short term memory. Rodney had told him the same thing no less than four times yesterday, getting more and more frustrated each time. It's a nightmare, and they've got five more months of this! Rodney's not sure he's going to survive.
It's four am and Rodney has finally gotten to sleep when someone starts banging on his door, waking him up.
The culprit not only ignores his plea, but opens the door from the outside and walks right in. Rodney is about to start shouting when he sees John's face, he looks really worried.
"Something moved." Rodney is confused for a second, and then he jumps out of bed and moves over to John, placing a hand on his stomach.
"She moved?" He knows he's pouting, but this is so unfair, he misses everything!
John seems more relaxed now and Rodney suddenly wonders why he was so worried before.
"Is everything OK?"
John beams. "Yeah, I guess I was just a bit surprised is all."
Idiot. "Well, she was bound to move sooner or later you know, even with Mr Lazy for a Father."
John rolls his eyes, but then he gets curious. "Hey, what makes you so sure she's a girl?"
"You're calling her 'she' too." Rodney quite reasonably points out.
"Yeah, but only cause you do."
"Well, I don't know why, I just think she's a girl."
He really doesn't know why. It doesn't make any logical sense and Rodney is usually all about the logic. His fatigue is catching up with him, and not just from the early morning wake-up.
They've had a stressful few months all in all, John now has all of the required internal organs for carrying a baby, but his body is not reacting well. His hormones are all over the place (as evidenced this afternoon), and he's been so that tired lately that he's taken to napping at least twice a day. Carson has assured them both that his symptoms are normal (if a little extreme), but both men are worried.
Rodney is trying to be supportive, but he's never really been very good at putting other people first. It occurs to him that this is just the beginning. Soon their child will be here, and Rodney will never be able to be selfish again. He's surprised by how little that bothers him.
And then there's John. Rodney's crush is slowly but surely turning into much, much more. He's considered that this is just a side effect of the fact that the man's having his baby, but he's pretty sure that's not it.
His attraction just never had a chance to develop into something else before. They were friends, and Rodney was content enough with that. But now…now they're having a baby.
They've become closer, spending almost all of their off duty hours together, talking, planning, arguing (which they did before of course, but now it's different somehow).
Rodney doesn't want to let this go. He's afraid of what will happen once the baby's here, once John is no longer grounded, once he's able to go off world again, once he's able to return to his Kirk-wannabe lifestyle.
Well, no sense moping around here, he's awake, he may as well do something useful.
"I'm going to the lab. Do you want to stay here, since you're so comfortable?" John has curled up on Rodney's bed and looks to be about two minutes away from sleep.
"Mmm, I'll just stay here. M'tired."
With one last look at John's adorable sleepy form, Rodney leaves. He tries not to think about how much he likes seeing John in his bed.
John wakes up confused, this isn't his room. It comes back to him as soon as he's fully awake.
He'd felt movement (and how tired was he that he got so freaked out by that?), and he'd gone straight to Rodney. He was doing that a lot lately. He wonders if it might be pregnancy related, some biological imperative he can't control.
He's pretty sure that isn't it though. He's always sought Rodney's company, bugging him to go for lunch, persuading him to stop working and play instead. The simple truth is, he likes being with Rodney, possibly a little too much. No sense dwelling on that though.
He places his hand gently on his swelling stomach and speaks quietly.
"Come on then, little one, let's go find Daddy."
He finds Rodney in the lab (no surprise there), he's bent over a laptop but seems to be staring rather than actually working. He looks really tired. John suddenly realises he isn't the only one who hasn't been sleeping. He should really stop waking Rodney up for every little thing.
Rodney shifts in the chair and stretches, and then lets out a sigh. John watches for a while, wondering how much it would mess everything up if he just walked over and put his arms around his friend.
It's probably just as well that Rodney chooses this moment to turn around.
"John, hey, you're up."
"Can't get anything past you McKay." John grins widely.
"Yes, yes. What do you want?"
"Nothing, just thought we'd come say hello."
"Er…yeah. Me and the baby." He's pretty sure he's blushing, he realises it's a little odd to be talking about the baby as if she's a fully fledged person already, but he figures he still has the hormone excuse to fall back on.
"OK." Rodney draws the word out, making it clear he thinks John has lost his mind. "So, did the baby want to come to my lab for anything in particular?"
"No, just wanted to say hello."
"Right, well, you've said hello, you can go now, I'm busy." He pauses for a second and then leans forward, his face coming to within inches of John's belly. "Your Daddy's a very busy man, you know. And your other Daddy's insane." Did Rodney just giggle?
John walks to his quarters feeling more at ease than he has in a while. He realises he's been worried that they wouldn't be able to remain friends through all this, but perhaps they can.
If he tries really hard, John can even convince himself that's enough.
"Ah! What the Hell was that?" Upon hearing the startled shout, Rodney drops the tray he's carrying and races to John's side.
"Um, sorry. She moved."
"What? Are you kidding me?"
"Don't shout at me Rodney, it was really sudden! She took me by surprise."
"I thought something was wrong! I thought you'd gone into laborfor God's sake!"
"Er, Rodney, I've got over a month to go yet. Besides, I'm not going to go into labor am I? I'm going to have a…you know." Rodney is somewhat amused that John still can't actually say the word.
John has, unwisely in Rodney's opinion, been collecting information about the birth. The problem is, he's been doing it by talking to the women on the base, none of whom have ever actually had any children. So they're all just re-telling horror stories they've heard from their girlfriends back on Earth. John is so paranoid now that Rodney can't remember the last time he slept through the night.
John is worried about piles, incontinence, a lifelong hormone imbalance, losing the feeling in his feet (Rodney has no idea where that one came from), and never, ever, getting his libido back.
It's entirely possible the women of Atlantis are having a little fun with him. Or, at least, Rodney hopes they are. Can pregnancy really cause you to lose the feeling in your feet?
He knows John's extremities have been pretty swollen the last few weeks, and that his feet in particular are killing him. Rodney even offers him a foot rub every now and then, but John keeps saying no. Probably for the best.
Rodney is cleaning the remnants of what was to be their lunch from the floor when John calls to him.
"Rodney, quick, come here."
Rodney moves to the bed and sits down next to John, who takes his hand and places it on his belly. She's moving around like crazy in there!
The pair of them sit on Rodney's bed grinning like idiots for a few minutes, Rodney's hand still connecting him to both John and their baby.
It's at moments like these that Rodney realises how much he's missing. His feelings must show in his face, because now John looks concerned.
"Nothing…it's just…I'll never have this."
"She's yours. She's part of you."
"Rodney. She's part of you too."
"Yeah, but it's not the same."
"Jesus Rodney, you're not seriously jealous of this? Are you crazy? Do you have any idea what this is like for me?"
Well, no. But still, sometimes he kind of wishes he did. Usually when he's really tired and can forget about the hormones, and the swelling, and the insides being shoved out of the way in order to make room for a person. Yeah, OK, maybe not so much with the jealousy.
"You're right, I know you're right. It's just that, I guess I'm not sure where I fit in."
John takes Rodney's hand. "We're a family Rodney, the three of us. That's where you fit in."
Rodney lets out a breath, almost a sob, and nods. "Thank you."
John tightens his hold on Rodney's hand. They're having some sort of moment, and Rodney's tempted to ruin it by asking what it means, but then John's face changes. He looks as though he's in pain. Rodney tries very hard not to panic.
"John! What's wrong?"
"I don't know." He sounds small, scared.
"Infirmary, now. I'm sure it's nothing, don't worry, we'll just get Carson to check you over. Don't worry, everything's OK." He's babbling, and deep down he knows that won't help John, but God damn it, he's scared too.
John is really scared now. Carson is calm, too calm, the kind of calm he gets when something really serious is happening.
Oh God, please let her be OK. Let them both be OK.
Rodney squeezes his hand again. John is struck by the sudden irrational urge to scream at him. Rodney isn't this person, he isn't quiet, he isn't sensitive, and John needs him to be himself right now.
"For God's sake, Rodney. Say something, stop being so damn calm!" John immediately regrets his words. Rodney is terrified. It shows on his face as clear as day.
Rodney has a death grip on John's hand now.
"I'm sorry, I just…it's OK, everything will be OK, don't worry."
Just when John thinks he can't take it any more, Carson returns.
"We're going to have to deliver her now. Don't worry, she's fine, I'd just rather not wait any longer. John, you've done really well getting this far, your body just can't take any more strain." He looks between the two men. "I'll give you a moment."
John's heart is pounding and he's really not sure what he's most afraid of. He's about to have a baby, Rodney is looking at him as though the world's about to end, and he's not sure it isn't.
Every now and then, not often, but it happens, Rodney says or does exactly the right thing. This is one of those times. He places a soft kiss to John's forehead, and speaks quietly.
"She's impatient to meet us, that's all. You'll do fine." He pauses and looks John in the eye. "I love you."
Since he's about to have a baby, he figures the tears are excusable.
"You too." They share a smile before Carson returns to take John into the operating room.
Meredith McKay Sheppard comes into the world exactly how John had expected Rodney's daughter to. Screaming. A lot.
John finds it worryingly adorable. This can't be a good sign, he's clearly lost his mind. Also, he can't stop grinning. Something he has in common with Rodney.
John thinks they must look like a pair of lunatics. He's pretty sure he doesn't care.
Merry is without a doubt the most beautiful child ever born, John is absolutely positive of that, and Rodney agrees. She looks clever too, you can just tell.
"She looks smart, doesn't she Rodney?"
"Well, of course she does, she's brilliant, she's going to do amazing things, I just know it." John wonders if he sounds as silly as Rodney when he says things like that.
"She has artistic fingers; maybe she'll be a painter, or a sculptor…." Rodney cuts him off by slapping his arm, but he's still grinning so that's OK.
John watches his lover and his daughter and reflects on how much has changed in the last few months. He has Rodney, he has a family, he has a home.
He could get used to this.
Credit where it's due:
This fic was inspired by a line from azilver which I paraphrased as -
"Oh come on Colonel! The way you carry on? We're in another Galaxy for God's sake! Life sucking aliens, beings composed entirely of energy, it was really only a matter of time before one of them knocked you up! Kirk."