Disclaimer – I own none of the Stargate franchise.
This was just begging to be written… obviously there are spoilers for 504 'The Daedalus Variations' within…
A Lesson in Charm
John had always been a natural charmer. It wasn't something to brag about – it was just a fact of life. From a very young age he'd been able to get away with pretty much anything with just a few well-placed compliments and a flash of his smile. The effect had worn off a little in adulthood, but still came in handy every now and then.
Now, for instance. The mess hall had a strict policy regarding muffins at lunchtime – no more than one each. They baked them fresh, and they were very popular, and as cooking facilities were limited they just made enough for everyone. If you were friendly with the catering staff and it was a slow day, you could maybe get away with taking two.
John had taken five.
Luckily for John, it was a slow day, and he was friendly with the catering staff, and Wilma had only spotted him taking two. The smile was enough to placate her glare. John turned away to beat a hasty retreat before she noticed the other three in his pocket, but as he turned he noticed Teyla sitting alone at a table near the back of the mess hall. Well, not alone actually – little Torren was in her arms, wrapped in a blue blanket.
Against his better judgement – John knew that Wilma would probably be onto him soon – he walked over to her table.
Teyla saw him approaching and smiled widely. "Hello John," she said warmly.
"Hey," said John. He put the two muffins he held in his hands down on the table and sat down opposite Teyla, with his back to Wilma. If she couldn't see his face, maybe she wouldn't spot him.
Yeah it was a long-shot, but he didn't plan on staying long anyway.
"Sleep well?" John asked. He hadn't seen Teyla since the evening before, when they'd all checked out of the infirmary. Except Rodney, of course.
"As well as usual, these days," said Teyla, smiling down at her son. John watched her with an odd feeling that he'd grown accustomed to over the past few months. It wasn't jealousy… and it wasn't quite as strong as regret… if John had to name it, he'd probably call it wistfulness. Not that he would name it – if there was one thing John was good at, it was ignoring his own feelings.
"Yeah," said John, just for something to say. "At least he can sleep without you holding him now."
Teyla chuckled at that, and nodded. Then she looked up at John a little sheepishly. "Actually, John, would you mind holding him for a moment?" She asked. "Kanaan was meant to meet me here but as you see he is running a little late, and I haven't had a chance to get my food yet."
John would have suggested getting some food for her, but that would have meant facing Wilma. So he nodded instead and obediently held out his arms.
To be honest, John really didn't mind holding the baby. In fact – though he would never admit this to anyone – he actually really looked forward to it. He nodded to Teyla as she thanked him and walked away to the food line, and then turned his attention to Torren. He was awake, but obviously quite sleepy. His eyes – which had turned brown quite recently – were half closed, but still obviously very similar to his mother's. He did look a lot like Teyla, really. John placed a hand on the baby's chest and was rewarded by Torren grabbing hold of his little finger and squeezing it in his fist. John grinned and sat back.
No more than half a minute had gone by before a shadow fell over the table and John heard a stern voice say his name. "Colonel Sheppard!"
It was Wilma. Torren's eyes flew open.
"Colonel, I try to be lenient, but taking more than two muffins really is – awwww!"
It seemed John had timed his turning around perfectly – Wilma caught sight of the baby in his arms and just melted.
"Hello sweetiepie!" She cooed, tickling Torren's chin. "Who's a beautiful baby boy? Who is? You are!"
"Aw shucks, thanks Wilma," said John cheekily. He winked at her when she threw him an exasperated look and then rolled her eyes. She noticed the two muffins on the table next to John and her eyes narrowed again.
"I know Wilma, I'm sorry," he said. He smiled. "But how can you expect me to have the energy to hold Torren if I only eat one muffin?"
As John had expected, Wilma's attention went back to Torren, who chose that moment to smile at her as well. She melted again.
After another minute of cooing, she straightened up and gave John an imperious look, but he could see her eyes twinkling. "No more than two," she said. "Ever."
Teyla appeared behind Wilma, holding a tray, and John quirked an eyebrow at her before giving Wilma a look of wide-eyed innocence. "Of course," he said seriously.
Wilma's eyes narrowed, but another smile from John and then one from Torren as well had her smiling back and heading over to the food line. Teyla turned slightly to watch her go, and then lowered her tray onto the table and sat down again. John grinned down at Torren, and Torren smiled back.
John suddenly remembered his Mom telling him that when he'd been a baby all her friends had fallen over themselves to amuse him, because of how much they loved his smile… here was obviously a kindred natural charmer.
"Boy, you are good," John said to Torren. "High five!" He nudged Torren's hand up with his fingers and placed his palm flat against his own – his fingers didn't come anywhere near his.
"What is going on?" Asked Teyla, looking amused.
John grinned at her. "Your son is a natural," he said. "And I'm gonna teach him everything I know."
Teyla raised an eyebrow. "I am not sure I want to know," she said after a moment. Then she nodded at the muffins. "Is that why Wilma came over here? Because you took two?"
John leant forward. "I think she's more worried about the other three in my pocket," he said quietly.
Teyla shook her head. "John…"
"Hey, they're not for me!" John said quickly. "They're for Rodney." Teyla looked unconvinced. "Honestly – you know how much he hates having no muffins in the infirmary."
Teyla looked at him in silence for a moment, and then smiled. "That is very sweet of you," she said.
John shrugged, slightly embarrassed. "He'll only moan otherwise," he said.
Teyla kept smiling.
John glanced at Torren, who was starting to look sleepy again, and then back up at Teyla. "Er, I should actually be going," he said. "I told him I'd be there at lunch…"
Teyla nodded. "Of course, I will take Torren," she said, holding out her arms.
"Are you sure?" John asked doubtfully.
"Yes – I can eat one-handed," she said with a smile. "In fact I am now quite good at it."
John nodded and handed over Torren to her. He frowned a bit but then snuggled into his mother's chest, at peace once again. Teyla smiled up at John. "Thank you," she said.
"No problem." John stood up.
"Will you tell Rodney that I will be there to see him after lunch?" Said Teyla. "I want to thank him again for getting us back."
John nodded and went to turn away, before looking back at Teyla. What the hell – he was feeling in a giving mood, and might as well use his powers for good as well as muffin-theft. "You know, if you want to thank him, you should let him hold Torren again," he said.
Teyla raised an eyebrow. "He dropped him, John," she said.
"I know," John said. He smiled. "But he won't do it again. Besides, he'll be lying in bed this time."
Another smile. Teyla looked up at him in silence, and John started to wonder if his charm was completely wearing off. Maybe it was time to leave it to the new generation – maybe Torren was the new chief charmer of Atlantis.
Finally, Teyla smiled. "I will consider it," she said graciously.
John's smile widened. "Good," he said. He looked down at Torren, now asleep in his mother's arms and completely oblivious of the lesson in charm he'd just missed. "Okay, I'll see you later, then," he said. He picked up his muffins and, being very careful to hide his muffin-laden pocket from Wilma's view, made his way out of the mess hall.