A short drabble explaining why John has shown so little enthusiasm for Teyla's baby even after his birth. I had meant to publish a longer piece for my first SGA fic, but this idea really stuck with me after 'Ghost in the Machine'. Feedback appreciated. Season five spoilers through 'Ghost in the Machine'. Implied Sheyla. Teyla/OC

Stargate Atlantis and its characters do not belong to me. I am merely taking them out to play and will have them home by dinner. No copyright infringement is intended.

The Child Who Could Break Me

My baby has arrived, so sweet and wonderful. His father has been returned to me, Bless the Ancestors. Life should be perfect now, so why does my heart still feel heavy?

When I was in labor, I had hoped John would be the one to stay with me while Ronon and Rodney destroyed the ship's hyperdrive, since Rodney requires too much attention to be calmed and Ronon probably would have been even more impatient. However, once I found out about John's injuries, I realized that if he had sat down with me, he may not have gotten back up.

John and I have always had a bit of a strange relationship: so close that our 'poker faces' give us away to each other when no one else notices anything is wrong, yet keeping a respectful physical distance. I think we both value our friendship too much to have ever discussed where our relationship could have gone, but nonetheless it is a discussion I regret not having.

I am unsure of exactly what John Sheppard thinks about all that has happened in the past year because he has handled it in the typical John Sheppard manner – locking away his feelings until they are no longer relevant. We had come to an uneasy truce about my pregnancy, but now that my dear Torren has arrived, the reality of the situation cannot be ignored.

I know John Sheppard, and I have not been so busy and sleep-deprived that I have not noticed a certain flatness to his voice, a certain lack of enthusiasm toward life lately. He, as well as the rest of my teammates, have shown surprisingly a gentle side when they have taken care of Torren (although I have not yet subjected them to dirty diapers). However, I get the feeling that John looks after my little boy as a favor to me, not to spend time with my child.

The replicator who claimed to be Elizabeth told me of John's reaction when she spoke of my baby to him. She wondered if everything was all right between us. Perhaps this bothers me so much because this is the last bit of 'girl talk' I will ever have with Elizabeth Weir, but it also hurts because she is right. Where there should be joy there is withdrawal.

I do not doubt that despite his lack of excitement, John Sheppard will do everything in his power to protect this child, as well as his mother, from the evil of this galaxy. But if anything were ever to happen to me, I need to know that John Sheppard will be there for Torren. Even if Kanaan still lives, I want John Sheppard to be a part of son's life. He is brave, he is fair, and he leads with his heart. I hope that my son will become the same sort of man as the one he is named after. But something needs to change. This cloud must lift. What makes the great John Sheppard so afraid?


John knew his lack of excitement about Teyla's baby had been noted, but somehow he didn't care. He just didn't have the energy these days to pretend anything else.

It's not that he didn't like the kid. When he had piloted the wraith dart off of Michael's ship, he had to admit that by the time he had rematerialized his team and landed the ship he had fallen in love with the child. Hadn't wanted to let go despite his weakening state for fear something would harm the newborn. That was one part of the problem.

Torren was a sweet child, so perfect, so innocent, so defenceless.

Even worse, he was Teyla's child. A child that wasn't his.

Over the years he had notched up far too many failures. Friends he couldn't save. People he had left behind.

With only a few heavily-lidded looks and an iron grip on his finger, Torren had worked his way into John's heart in a way no one (save one) had in a very long time.

What would happen when he failed again someday? What if something happened to this baby because he made the wrong choice? This was Pegasus – it wasn't a question of if but rather when something would go wrong. Already he knew losing Torren would break him like nothing else ever had. The pain would be unbearable.

And so he stepped back, hardening his heart to the little bundle of joy, the little boy who possessed the same warm brown eyes as his mother. While everyone else on Atlantis rejoiced in this symbol of renewal, the colonel turned away. Sheppard would give his last breath to protect this child, but he could not bring himself to share the joy that others found in him. He couldn't. Not if he wanted to survive.