As I can't stand to see grown men and women beg...

The Chicken Or The Egg?
Part 2

"Incoming wormhole." Chuck announced as the sirens started to sound, "Confirmed Midway-station IDC."

"Lower the shield." Sheppard started down the steps to the lower level, "Boy is this going to be fun..."

The forcefield protecting the Stargate flashed off, and a solitary figure in slightly rumpled USAF dress uniform stepped through, holding a battered looking duffel over one shoulder.

"General O'Neill, sir!" Sheppard saluted, "Welcome to Atlantis. We would have had a reception comity waiting for you, if we'd had any advanced warning..."

"It was a sprue-of-the-moment kind of thing." O'Neill handed over his bag, "Is Colonel Carter in her office?"

"She's in her quarters, resting." Sheppard gestured to the nearest doorway, "If you'd like to follow me."

The two men walked in silence, until O'Neill was sure they were alone.

"Sam tells me you managed to work it all out on your own." He commented as they reached the inter-city transporter, "I hope you've not been hiding your light under a bush all these years."

"Not at all, sir; just a few little things that I picked up on." Sheppard managed to keep a straight face as they stepped into the small, elevator-like room and pressed the destination screen for the accommodation block, "So I guess congratulations are in order?"

"Thank you, Colonel." O'Neill nodded, "Although if we'd waited another couple of weeks I would have walked away with over $22,000..."

"You bet on yourself?" Sheppard was stunned, "Is that a little unethical?"

"Only when you bet against yourself." O'Neill managed a sly wink as the was a flash of light and the doors opened on a new stretch of corridor, "And believe me, I'm more than happy with the way things have worked out."

"Well, good luck." Sheppard stopped outside one of the doors and lowered the duffel to the floor, "I'll keep everyone off your back while the two of you talk things through."

"Thanks." O'Neill waited until the other man was gone before pressing the door chime. Much to his surprise, it opened immediately, the bright light from the hallway spilling into the dark room. Placing his bag just inside the door, he stepped through and closed and locked it behind him, darkness returning. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust, but years of back-ops had left him with good night vision that age was yet to diminish, and he soon spotted the shape curled up on the bed, back to the door.

Moving as quietly as he could, he crossed the room, shedding his cap and tie in the progress, before slipping of his jacket and laying it out carefully on the chair beside the bed. Taking off his shoes proved a little more problematic, and he cursed under his breath that he hadn't taken the time to change into something a little more practical. As it was, he was going to have to explain just why he'd had the Odyssey beam him from the White House reception directly to his apartment just outside DC, just long enough to throw some clean cloths in a bag before transporting him to the SGC. Then he would have to explain why he, as head of Homeworld Security, decided to not only leave Earth unannounced, but travel all the way to Atlantis without so much as a 'by your leave' to the President. It would probably help that the President was one of a handful of people on Earth who knew what was going on, but still, it was a major break in protocol.

Finally getting both of his shoos off, he slipped onto the bed as carefully as he could, doing his best not to disturb the other occupant. Resting his head on the pillow, he pressed his face up against the familiar blond hair and breathed in deeply; the scent was intoxicating, something he could never get enough of.

"Huh?" Carter shifted, slowly waking enough to realise what was happening, "When did you get here?"

"About five minutes ago." O'Neill slid one arm around her as he spooned up behind, feeling the warmth of her body, "I've got to say, that gate-bridge-thing you and McKay came up with has its merits; they would have sent me to court-martial if I'd had to hijacked the Odyssey to get here."

"You wouldn't have!" Carter laughed, snuggling back against him.

"Hey, my wife, and I'm still getting use to calling you that, contacts me from another Galaxy to tell me she's pregnant, and I supposed to just sit there and get back to work?" O'Neill kissed her on the neck, "Like that's going to happen."

"True." Carter smiled as her husband continued to plant kisses up and down her neck, "Stop that! You know what it does to me."

"That's all part of my diabolical plan, Mrs O'Neill." He whispered into her ear, nibbling the lobe gently, "I mean, you're already pregnant; what's the worst that can happen?"

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Sheppard stood at the back of Stargate Operations, keeping an eye on everything, making sure nothing reached the point where he'd have to go disturb the expedition leader and her husband. Not that was a wired thought; it had taken him a couple of days to convince himself he was right before he'd worked up the nerve to confront Colonel Carter. Or was it Colonel O'Neill now? That could be interesting.

"John." McKay appeared out of nowhere, a stack of reports in his hand, "Have you seen Sam anywhere?"

"She's in her quarters." Sheppard looked round, "But if you value your life, I wouldn't disturb them right now."

"Them?" McKay blinked.

"Yeah, I guess there's something I should explain." Sheppard put an arm around his team-mates shoulder and led him away, "I know you've had a thing for Colonel Carter for a while now, but I've got some bad news. Well, actually, it's great news: just not for you..."

The End

And yes, I mean it this time...