Please see first chapter for disclaimer, rating, warnings, paring, etc.
It wouldn't be long now, Teyla knew. She could feel the baby moving around more than normal, and pain was slowly building inside her. But it was not yet time.
"Active tonight," Ronon mumbled. His hand, resting on her stomach, found hers so he could link their fingers. "Is it time?" Suddenly he sounded more awake.
"Not yet." Teyla closed her eyes. She cherished the feel of her husband next to her, their baby inside her, and knowing their daughter was asleep just next door. "We still have some time."
"Mm." He was close to falling asleep again. "I love you, Teyla."
Teyla smiled into the darkness, warmth pooling in her chest. "I love you, too, Ronon."
"I'm glad, you know," he said suddenly.
She lifted drowsy eyelids, turning her head to look at his face. "About what?" she asked.
Ronon leaned forward a little so their noses touched. "About everything. You, us. Charin, that everything can be normal – well, halfway normal, anyway – for her now. And for our baby." He brushed his thumb across her stomach. "I'm glad the Ancestors saw us fit to give us this child."
Teyla closed the remaining distance between their lips to kiss him. "I am, as well," she whispered. "I never thought. . ." She bit her lip. "This sounds so silly."
"What?" He hugged her a little closer, nuzzling his face into her hair. "Tell me? I won't laugh, I promise."
"Okay," she surrendered. "Ever since I was a little girl, I – knew this would be hard: Growing attached to someone, falling in love, getting married. But even more than that, having a child. In this galaxy, with the Wraith such a vast and evil presence, I did not know. . ." She bit her lip. "I never thought there would be a place where I would feel safe enough to bring a child into this world, even though I wanted very badly to have one." This time she smiled. "Or more."
Hand still in hers, Ronon lay in quiet retrospection for a while. Then, "I guess we're meant for each other more than we thought." His soft laugh stirred her hair. "You just put into words everything I've been thinking, especially these past few months."
Turning her head a little to rest it against Ronon's, Teyla closed her eyes and sighed. "I am truly happy those in Atlantis found my people." She smiled. "And that they helped me find you."
Ronon kissed her forehead. "Me too."
They both lapsed into silence, and then it didn't take long for Teyla to follow Ronon into dreamland.
"You're giving me motion sickness!" Rodney complained.
Charin shook her head and kept pacing.
"Charin, your mom and the baby will be fine." Elizabeth's ever-present calm seemed only a little shaken by this event: the first baby to actually be born in Atlantis since the Athosians had left the city a few years before.
Sheppard watched her pace silently, brows drawn over his eyes in two worried dark lines. For a moment he looked like he wanted to say something, but sighed and shook his head.
McKay groaned, refocusing his gaze on his data pad. "Don't know what all the fuss is about," he grumbled. "Babies are born every day."
"Would you like to be in there delivering it?" Elizabeth asked, a wicked grin on her face.
Rodney didn't look up, but his face did turn slightly green. "Women and their nonsense humor," he muttered.
Charin managed to dredge up a giggle. It felt like she'd been waiting hours for the baby to be born. Ronon had woken her around eight that morning to let her know Teyla had gone into the early stages of labor. He'd sent her on for breakfast, telling her it'd still be a few hours before the baby came. But she'd managed to swallow only two bites of her bagel before she ran for the infirmary. She had to be here, even if she wasn't allowed into her Uncle Carson's impromptu delivery room.
"It's only eleven o'clock," Sheppard informed her.
"Three hours," Charin mumbled. "It's been three hours. It can't be much longer. . ." She started to pace again.
"Women have been in labor for as much as—" Elizabeth started to say.
Rodney reached over to put his hand over her mouth. "Don't say it, please!" he begged. "I don't want to think about Teyla – and – oh my." He turned green again and hurried off in the general direction of the closest facilities.
John chuckled. Elizabeth pointedly glared at him, then patted the vacated chair next to her. "Charin, dear, please come sit. This won't help you feel better."
She sighed, but obeyed. For a moment she stared at her hands, uncertain what to do with them. Without motion of some kind, she felt the nervous energy inside her begin to dam up, waiting to explode. She finally decided to fold her hands, then focus her gaze on the wall opposite her seat.
Rodney eventually came skulking back, eyes eagerly examining each of their expressions. When he saw their still-expectant looks, he sighed heavily, sat down, and went back to his data pad. Charin peeked over his shoulder, but was only vaguely familiar with what he was working on. Yet another way to miss her nanites, even after all this time. . .
People came and went through the morning and into the day. Each of them begged to be told when any news came before they went back to their duties. Eventually her Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle John left, too. They wanted to stay, but their duties demanded their attention. They promised to come back later, when things calmed down. Charin's Uncle Rodney remained focused on his work, as if the very life of Teyla and Ronon's baby depended on his calculations.
Charin pulled her knees up to her chest. Wrapping her arms around them, she propped her chin on her right knee and returned her gaze to the wall. She tried to find patterns in the swirling colors on the wall, to keep her mind at least halfway occupied while she waited.
Sheppard came back late in the afternoon. He handed Rodney a cup of coffee and Charin a bottle of soft drink. "You need the caffeine," he told her. "You look like you're about to fall over."
Charin eagerly gulped the energy-charged citrus drink, savoring the revitalizing vigor that rushed through her. "Thank you, Uncle John," she sighed.
Rodney chuckled. "Giving caffeine to a teenager is like filling a cannon with gunpowder, then lighting the match," he said around gulps of coffee.
"And giving you coffee is much better?" John snarked.
Charin giggled and sipped some more. "Still no news," she said. "I can't decide if that's a good thing, or a bad one."
Elizabeth appeared then, a half-downed bottle of water in her hand. "I don't think it's anything unusual," she said as she sat down on John's other side. "Hopefully it won't be much longer, though." She sighed tiredly, leaning her head back against the wall behind her. "She'll be fine."
Less than half an hour later the door opened. Carson stepped out, dark circles under his eyes. Charin gulped. Please, please, please be okay!
Beckett tiredly eyed all of them, then settled his gaze on Charin. "Congratulations, lass!" he exclaimed. A grin rejuvenated his exhausted features. "You have a new baby brother!"
Charin squealed. Bouncing excitedly in her chair, she turned to hug the closest person – Rodney. The scientist squeaked and awkwardly patted her back. Then they were all there – John, Elizabeth, and others she hadn't realized had arrived. Hugs were all exchanged.
Carson managed to isolate her as everyone else started randomly hugging others. "Just a few more minutes, dearie, and I'll take ye to see your mum, dad, and the wee bairn."
Charin nodded and swiped her fingers under her eyes. "Thank you, Uncle Carson," she said.
He chuckled and patted her shoulder. "Aye, lass, it was nae me doin' all that work. Ye should thank your mother!" He disappeared back into the infirmary.
Excitement and relief mingling in her system, Charin turned to throw herself back into the celebration going on around her. What seemed like only a few minutes later, Carson was back to draw her quietly away and into the infirmary for a private visit with her family.
Ronon met her outside the curtained-off cubicle where her mother rested. Carson winked at her, then vanished to the other end of the infirmary. "Charin!" her father crowed happily. "I've missed you."
"Is that Charin?" Teyla's soft voice called. "Bring her in!"
Ronon kept one arm around Charin's shoulders as he guided her around the curtain. She stopped.
Teyla looked up to smile at her. In her arms, wrapped in a soft blue blanket, a small moving bundle shifted, sighed, and cooed sleepily.
"Baby brother. . ." Charin whispered. "I have a baby brother. . ." Now that she was here, getting ready to meet him, everything was beginning to catch up with her. I'm a big sister now! What do I do? Fear clutched at her throat, chaining her feet to the ground.
"Come here, Charin," her mother said quietly.
Those words set her free. She took the few steps needed to place her next to her mother's bed, then looked down into the wrinkled, smiling face of her baby brother.
"Meet Alaka'i Tughan Dex," Teyla whispered. "Your baby brother." She shifted Alaka'i in her arms to hold him out toward her. "Would you like to hold him?"
Charin swallowed hard. "Really?" she whispered.
Ronon patted her shoulder and leaned in. "I was scared, too," he whispered. "It'll be okay, little warrior. Go on."
Charin nodded – though she wasn't sure to whom the motion was addressed. She carefully sat down on the edge of her mother's bed and gathered the unbelievably small body of her brother into her arms.
Alaka'i stretched and yawned widely, then curled up in her arms again, his tiny rosebud lips working slightly. Charin looked up at her parents with a smile so wide she was sure it'd split her face. "He's beautiful," she whispered.
Ronon leaned against Teyla's bed and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. She leaned into his side, a content smile curling her lips. "So are you," she said softly. "Our beautiful children," she said to Ronon. He grinned and nodded, and Charin was almost sure she saw the sheen of tears in his eyes.
She looked down into Alaka'i's face again. It was then that she knew, for certain sure. Atlantis was her home, these people her family.
This was where she belonged.
Author's note Part I: The name Alaka'i is Hawaiian. I chose it for a number of reasons: One, because Hawaiian is half of Jason Momoa's heritage, and I really like his character of Ronon Dex. Two, I think Hawaiian names are some of the most beautiful on this Earth. And three, it means leader. I can easily see Ronon and Teyla's son becoming a leader in his time, either of an Atlantian team or the Athosians. I hope you enjoy this last installment of Child of Atlantis – thank you so much for reading!
Author's note Part II: Wow, it's over now! I can hardly believe it. I want to thank you all so much: to those who have read my story, taken time out of their lives to give "Child of Atlantis" a chance. To all those who reviewed, thank you for all your kind words. They keep me writing, and I cherish each one I receive. Thank you all, so very much. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and once more, thank you all!
Bellkie: Thank you! It's okay, I understand. I'm behind a bit myself on reviewing things. I know how you feel! It just occurred to me the other day that there wasn't much left to do, and when I finished up this chapter last night – I'm like oh no it can't be done! But alas, it is. I hope you enjoy this final chapter, and thank you so much for all the reviews!
SpaceMonkey0941: Thank you! I hated that briefing scene, lol. It just kept giving me fits. I wanted it to go in a completely different direction, but it wanted to go that way – so I eventually gave in, and then realized I was happy with it, after all. (And I'm sorry if I freaked you out with my last author's note. . .!) I'm happy/sad it's ending, too. When I finished this chapter last night, I just sat there for a moment and wanted to cry. I have had such a blast writing this fic, I'm sad it's over. I hope you enjoy this final chapter, and thank you so much for all the reviews! -hugs-
TubaPrincess: Unfortunately, yes! I almost cried when I finished it last night. . .I didn't want it to end, but it has to! Thank you! I really enjoyed writing the sparring scene, so I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I think it is frustrating for Charin, knowing she used to be able to beat them, but now she can't. She'll have to learn to do it the old-fashioned way – but mostly, she likes it that way. She can be normal now. I hope you enjoy this final chapter, and thank you so much for all the reviews!
Hannah 554: Thank you! Originally Ronon wasn't going to be there – but then I decided I wanted him there, joining in the sparring fun. They're both training Charin, anyway, so why not? LOL Yes, that's what Charin is hoping for – some normalcy, and maybe being able to fit in better now that she's not filled with nanites. I hope you enjoy this final chapter, and thank you so much for all the reviews!
Dia: Thank you! Actually, all put together, she's a little over a year old. (If it makes you feel any better, it took me a while to work that out in my head.) Thanks! Sorry I confused you – but didn't I promise the explanation was coming? LOL Thank you. And how'd you guess? -wink- I hope you enjoy this final chapter, and thank you so much for all the reviews! -hugs-
Bunnylass: Thank you! Yes, I'm feeling much better now. The swelling is gone, and the bruises and soreness are fading. And yes, "ouch" is the right word. But I'm feeling much, much better now. Thank you! The sparring scene was my favorite to write in the last chapter, so I'm really glad you enjoyed it. And yes! Of all the things Charin is grateful for, fewer trips to the infirmary is the main one! LOL I hope you enjoy this final chapter, and thank you so much for all the reviews!
Bugginkrd: Thank you! And me too – I actually almost cried last night when I finished up this chapter. I'm very glad you've been enjoying this story, and I hope you like this final chapter! Thank you so much for the all the reviews!
TeylaFan: Yes, you know me very well. I have to write happy endings to my long fics – the only thing I seem to be able to write a not-happy ending to are some of my one-shots. LOL Thank you! Writing Charin feels a little strange now, since I've written her character with nanites for so long. Sometimes I had to stop and remind myself she doesn't have them anymore. Me too! Carson is such an awesome doctor. I'm really glad you liked the sparring part! I worked really hard on that (and Ronon wrote himself in, really. LOL) Thank you! Charin used to be able to beat her – but not anymore. Now she has to learn how to win the old-fashioned way, just like Ronon. -wink- Thank you! I'm sad too – I actually almost cried last night when I had to write "the end." I hope you enjoy this final chapter, and thank you so much for all the reviews! -hugs-