Disclaimer – I own none of the Stargate franchise.
Well, obviously, this has MAJOR SPOILERS for episode 501, Search and Rescue. Also for 420, The Last Man. I thought the John angst in S&R was superb, and wanted to write a little something about that incredibly sweet scene in the dart.
The Long Way Home
John directed the Wraith dart towards the planet's surface near the stargate and then sat back, slowly, incredibly glad that the darts were so easy to fly. Most of his concentration was going on making sure he didn't drop Teyla's baby. Or hold Teyla's baby too tight. Or in any way harm Teyla's baby.
He'd had seven months to get used to the idea, and he really thought he had. He'd even been looking forward to it – ever since he'd felt him kick that time he and Teyla were trapped in Rodney's lab John had gone from seeing Teyla as 'pregnant' to 'carrying a child'. The rational part of his brain knew that it was the same thing, but until that moment he hadn't really been thinking about the baby at the end of the pregnancy. Of the new person that would be created.
And now, here he was, holding that little person in his arms.
The baby was asleep, or had his eyes closed at least, but when he'd been handed to John he'd been wide awake. John had considered, as they'd approached the dart bay, that it would be very unwise to store the baby with everyone else, and that meant taking him into the cockpit with him. The thought filled John with a strange mixture of nervous excitement and dread. He was not good with babies.
When they'd reached the dart and checked the coast was clear, John had turned to Teyla to explain his plan, only to find her already approaching him with her baby. That's when Kanaan had spoken up.
"We should not store the baby," he'd said.
Well duh. Then John had realised, rather belatedly, that when Kanaan had said 'we shall fly a dart out of here' he'd meant 'I shall fly a dart out of here'. John had managed to keep his snort of derision in. Teyla trusted Kanaan, and John trusted Teyla, but there was no way in hell that he was letting him fly the dart.
The question was whether Teyla would follow his decision or not. Kanaan was the father of her child after all, and apparently he had tried to help her escape before – John didn't want to have to pull rank on her. Especially since she'd given birth all of ten minutes ago.
But Teyla had turned to Kanaan and said, "John will take him with him in the dart," and turned back to John immediately. She had held out her child without hesitation, and John had forced down his nervousness and taken the baby from her. He was so small, still a little slimy and wrapped in Rodney's jacket. John had felt his tiny body moving under his hands as he hunkered down in the crook of John's left arm. Then he'd turned his dark blue eyes on John and a surge of protectiveness he'd never felt before had washed over him. He was going to get this baby home. He was going to get his mother home. And his father too.
It was difficult, climbing up into the dart with the baby in his arms. He'd climbed into a dart one-handed before, but this time there was more than just his body to think about. Making sure the baby was safe was the most important thing to John in that moment, and not even the searing pain in his side as he'd swung his legs into the cockpit was going to distract him from his goal.
Back in the present, John gently moved his right hand to his side. His jacket under his tac vest was sticky and warm with fresh blood – he'd felt the bandages twist as he'd attempted to plant the C4 earlier. He wiped his fingertips against his pant leg and turned his attention back to the baby in his arms. It didn't matter that he was bleeding – he would be in the infirmary soon enough. What mattered was that he land the dart and get the baby back to Teyla in one piece. And that he get them home.
The baby's eyelids were fluttering slightly, and John had a feeling he was about to wake up. He just hoped he didn't start to cry – there wasn't much John could do to comfort him in the cockpit of a Wraith dart if he did.
The dart entered the planet's atmosphere and John looked through the flashing canopy, and gave a few commands to the dart. It cleared the atmosphere and then glided gently towards the stargate. John slowed it as much as he was able to make the landing as smooth as possible, but there was still a jolt as it hit the ground. The baby in John's arms opened his eyes and started to squirm a little. John quickly made some (hopefully) comforting sounds and lost no time in opening the canopy above him. He needed to get the little guy to his mother.
John's first attempt to stand up was unsuccessful – the pain that had been reduced to a dull ache as he sat in the cockpit returned with full force as soon as he moved, and John dropped back down again, crying out. The baby matched his cry with one of his own, and John looked at him guiltily. He didn't have time right now to be in pain. Gritting his teeth, John stood up again, slower this time, and managed to get to and stay on his feet. The blood loss that Keller had warned him about earlier was really starting to make itself known to John now, and his head was starting to feel light. John shook his head, telling himself to get a grip, and made some more comforting noises for the baby. He wasn't crying yet, but he was whimpering.
John reached forward to the console in front of him and activated the control to reintegrate his team. They appeared in a flash of white light in front of the dart. Rodney surveyed their new surroundings with a look of relief and Ronon, as soon as he had ensured Teyla was steady on her feet, moved close to Kanaan, his hand on the gun at his hip.
Teyla had eyes only for the bundle in John's arms, and John immediately started to climb out of the dart. The pain in his side was clamouring for attention along with the increasing dizziness in his head, but he took a deep breath and made his way slowly down the side of the dart, his left arm still holding the baby tight against his chest. He felt his feet touch solid ground and suddenly Teyla was only a couple of feet away, holding out her arms for her son. John actually had to take another deep breath against the wave of dizziness that was now making his head spin to try and stop his arms shaking as he held out the baby to her, and he succeeded, though he was nauseous with the effort it took.
The baby was transferred to Teyla's arms and he couldn't help but smile at the look of adoration on her face as she held him. But then, the entire world started to spin and John couldn't hold himself up any longer; his eyes rolled up into his head as his legs gave out from under him.
In the small part of John's mind that wasn't filled with pain or dizziness, he expected to hit the ground, but instead he felt two strong arms grab him round the chest. He heard, as if from far away, Teyla cry his name and then Ronon's voice, telling him to hold on.
John struggled to remain conscious. He had to get Teyla and her baby back to Atlantis. They still weren't safe here on this planet. What if some of Michael's hybrids had survived the 302s? They might still be around. He needed to get… they needed to get back… he needed…
John reached out wildly and felt his hand clamp around Ronon's arm. "Home…" he muttered to the one man he trusted to get them all back there, before darkness enveloped him completely.
"How's the transfusion progressing?"
"Fine, doctor – his vitals are stable."
The infirmary. John knew the sounds well. So he'd made it back, and it sounded like Dr Keller was patching him up.
"Will he be alright, Jennifer?"
Teyla. Teyla had made it back too. Thank god.
"He still needs surgery, but we'll have to wait until a little later to give the transfusion time to really take a hold."
Yay, surgery. John bet that Keller just couldn't wait to cut him up after what he'd done to her earlier. He'd have to get her some chocolates or something.
"How's the little one?"
"He is fine. Sleeping again."
"Well he's had quite a hectic first day. You should get some sleep as well."
"I will – I just want to make sure John will be alright."
"He'll be fine. He needs to rest as well."
Amen to that. Technically, John hadn't slept for seven hundred years. Stasis did not count.
"I'll be back in a little while to check on you all."
"Thank you Jennifer."
"I'm so glad you're back."
"So am I."
John heard footsteps moving away from where he lay, and with a supreme effort he managed to open his eyes a crack. The bright light of the infirmary blinded him momentarily, but as he didn't have the energy to open his eyes more than the merest amount he adjusted quickly. His head was turned slightly to his right and there, on the bed next to his, sat Teyla. She was wearing a hospital gown and had a green blanket pulled over her legs, and in her arms lay her baby, wrapped in a white blanket. She was smiling down at him, sheer joy and contentment shining from her eyes.
"My love, this is Atlantis, the city of the Ancestors" she whispered to her son. "Welcome home."
John smiled and closed his eyes again, sinking back into sleep.