Title: Paternal Instinct
By: qwirky
Category: Humor
Rating: PG
Spoilers: None. Future fic.
Disclaimers: Neither Stargate Atlantis nor any of its characters belongs to me. No infringement is intended, no money is being made.
Notes: For Rose Wilde Irish and Pooh, who also beta'd.

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"Oh, sh- I mean, crap."

"Colonel? What did you do now?"

"It wasn't me, McKay."

Rodney's head popped out from underneath the device. "I distinctly heard a 'crap' from you... and why is the machine glowing?!"

John looked uneasy. "Honestly, Rodney, I didn't do anything-"

"Radek!" Rodney interrupted, pulling himself out.

"Yes, yes," came an answering reply from the other side of the room. "Coming."

John stepped back as Rodney pushed past him. Radek soon joined the irate scientist, and the two began fussing over the machine.

A happy "Gaaah!" returned John's attention to the bundle in his arms.

Giving a pointed look to the infant, John informed him, "This is all your fault."

The baby gurgled happily.

"What did I say about not touching anything?" John asked, waving a finger in the baby's face, which the baby tried to grab.

"He wasn't hurt, was he?" Radek asked, concerned, glancing behind him.

"I don't think so." Now worried, John gave the baby a once-over, lifting him up and checking him. "He seems okay to me. You don't think that machine did anything to him, do you?"

"How should we know? And what were you doing with him here anyway?" Rodney said distractedly. John thought he sounded slightly accusing.

"We were bonding," John said defensively. "And I thought it'd be nice for him to come visit Uncle Rodney and Uncle Radek."

Rodney snorted.

"We were just looking around the lab, Rodney, playing 'Guess the geek toy.'"

"Funny."

Radek said, sensibly, "Colonel, perhaps you should take him to Carson for a check-up."

"Right. Good idea, Doctor. Radio me if you discover anything."

"We will," Radek said, while Rodney just grunted.

On his way towards the infirmary, John kept glancing at the baby to make sure the child was okay. He seemed fine, but alien devices could be tricky, as John had learned from five years' worth of experience. The last thing the infant needed was some weird disease, or magically sprouting bunny ears (which would be cute, if impractical), or the ability to turn invisible, or something else that would no doubt cause massive amounts of trouble, which this child seemed destined for, just like his father.

"If anything happens to you, your mom will kill me," John told the baby.

"I will do what, John?"

Crap.

John spun around slowly towards the source of the voice. "Teyla. Hi. Look, kiddo, it's Mommy." John tried to get the baby to wave, but the baby seemed more interested in reaching out for his mother with both hands.

Teyla took her child into her arms and pressed a kiss to his forehead in greeting. Raising an eyebrow at John, she repeated: "I will do what to you, John?"

"Um..." He wondered if he could play innocent.

"John." Guess not. Her voice promised retribution, severe and swift.

"He accidentally touched one of Rodney's machines, and we don't know if it did anything to him, but he seems fine, so I was just taking him to Beckett to make sure-"

Teyla bounced the child. "I see."

"But we had lots of fun, didn't we, kiddo? We played with your toys and ate lunch and got you cleaned up after you spilled half the lunch on yourself and got to see Aunt Elizabeth, Uncle Lorne, and Colonel Caldwell- lots of very safe, very child-friendly activities, waaaay before that little mishap at Uncle Rodney and Radek's lab-"

She gave him a tolerant look. "You were taking him to see Carson, you said?"

John nodded guiltily. "Yes."

"I will take him there myself." At his worried face, Teyla said, reassuringly, "I am sure there is nothing wrong with him. Do not worry." Teyla smiled, then. "Thank you for looking after him today, John."

"Any time. But, um, do you think we could not tell Ronon about this?" He held out his hand for the baby, who grabbed it and tried gnawing on it. "Daddy is pretty scary when he's mad, isn't he, sport?"

Again, a tolerant, vaguely amused look. "You would feel the same, no doubt, if it were your child."

John smirked. "I wouldn't knock down three guards and a scientist just on my way to get to my screaming son."

She inclined her head. "Perhaps not. But we shall see. In... seven months, correct?"

John swallowed. "Yeah."

"Is Elizabeth's morning sickness improving?"

"A little bit, thanks to the herbal tea you got her. She's starting to show now, too."

"Really? She should not be, yet."

"... Don't tell her I said that."

Smiling at his nervousness, she said firmly, "The two of you will be wonderful parents, John."

He smiled back, a small smile. "Thanks, Teyla."

"I shall let you know the results when Carson is done." With a final inclination of her head, Teyla turned and left, cooing softly to her baby.

And just when he was starting to feel somewhat better:

"SHEPPARD!"

He would recognize that bellow anywhere, having heard it many, many, too many times. He no longer even hesitated- instead, he immediately ran in the direction of Elizabeth's office. Elizabeth would protect him from Ronon. She always did.

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end