Ronon left a scattered pile of clothing and weaponry from the door of his quarters to the bathroom. In his haste to "clean himself up" as Marie had so firmly put it, he'd dropped everything where he'd been standing. Except his blaster. That he'd tossed to Sheppard for safe keeping.
"Jeeze, buddy…" he heard the Colonel's exclamation over the sound of the shower. "You always carry this much hardware?"
Ronon snorted and swiped the water out of his eyes. He could hear the distinctive clatter of his knives hitting the top of his dresser. Scrambling for the soap he hurried to clean the cavern dust off his skin.
They'd hit the ground running the minute the jumper hit the floor of the service bay. In his haste to reach the infirmary, Ronon had take the corridor at a full out run—Sheppard and Teyla directly behind him. Careening around corners, they'd barely avoided serious injuries to a unit of fresh recruits, a botanist, three scientists and Dr. Zelenka. Although the flowering plant the botanist had been carrying was left in less than ideal condition when Ronon had spun around the terrified woman with the white lab-coat…and Sheppard hadn't.
He'd slid to a stop inside the infirmary doors and had promptly been ordered back outside again by Marie, who threatened to shoot him with his own blaster if he didn't get his 'ass' into the shower and clean himself up before stepping one foot into her delivery room. He was halfway to his own quarters before he realized he'd left without arguing with her.
That was probably not a good show of force to the rest of the infirmary staff.
Although he'd get Sheppard back later for his comment about not even being a Dad yet and he was already getting soft...
Rinsing the soap off his face, Ronon slammed the water control off and hopped out of the shower, catching the towel Sheppard threw at his face. He slapped at his skin with the soft cloth, missing everything and not caring. Tossing the towel onto the floor he struggled to pull clean clothes over his wet skin.
In front of his door, Sheppard paced a three stride path.
"You're making me nervous…" Ronon growled. He dropped onto the edge of his bet and jammed his foot into his boot.
The Colonel stopped, then pointed to the floor. "Wrong foot."
Ronon cursed and yanked the uncomfortable thing off his foot and grabbed the correct one. Lacing his boots he jumped to his feet.
Sheppard swiped the door control and they ran into the corridor. This time the run was surprisingly quiet.
"Where is everyone?" Ronon called out over his shoulder as he slid into the open doors of a waiting transporter.
Teyla, who'd been keeping the transporter free, slipped in beside him. John slammed to a stop against the back wall and jabbed his thumb on the location next to the infirmary.
"Temporary lockdown." He smirked when Ronon gave him a curious glance. "Seemed easier than explaining to your wife why we injured half the city in our haste to get you to the delivery on time."
The trio sprinted out through the open doors.
When they finally reached the infirmary, John keyed his com. "This is Colonel Sheppard. Thank you for your co-operation. Daddy-to-be has been safely delivered to the infirmary. Corridors are free to use."
Teyla grinned at Marie as the head nurse hurried forward. "He is all yours."
Marie stepped beside Ronon and gave him a shove further in past the beds. "This way."
Ronon took a step forward then hesitated when a fever pitched string of curses echoed from the back of the infirmary. It was immediately followed by a loud growling shout.
"Is that…Jennifer?" Teyla raised both eyebrows.
Marie nodded. She gave Colonel Sheppard a half frown. "She's learned a few new words from the Marine's, apparently."
"Uh…" John stopped when they reached the outer doors leading to the private rooms. "Maybe I'll just wait here."
"Smart man," Marie winked at the Colonel as she swiped her hand over the access door.
"As will I." Teyla smiled. She gave Ronon a gentle shove when he hesitated in the doorway.
He stepped forward, trepidation and worry rolling his stomach as the doors slid closed behind him. The corridor was dark, stretching out in front of him like a long tunnel. The only closed door was half way down the hallway, but the dark metal did nothing to muffle the next burst of swearing.
"Come on." Marie urged, grabbing his wrist and propelling him forward. "It's almost time." She dropped her hand in front of the sensor and the doors slid back.
Ronon stepped into the room, and stopped dead.
In the corner, Jennfer—his quiet little Jennifier—was lying on her back with her feet in stirrups. Her body was bare from the waist down, the top half barely covered by a hospital gown. To one side of her, Major Lorne was attempting to pry her fingers out of the front of his shirt while she hauled him down towards the side of the bed. On the other side, Lieutenant Cadman was either arm wrestling with Jennifer, or attempting to extract the fingers of her left hand from Jennifer's tight grip.
"I'm done!" Jen was saying, giving Evan's shirt a punctuating pull. "I'm done. I'm not doing this any more!"
"C'mon Jen," Evan tried to smile. "You're doing great."
"If you want it so much then you do it!" she retorted, her voice coming in short, bursting pants. "Because I'm done! Done, you hear me! Finished. I'm done. Take me home!" Then she cursed and arched her back. Leaping forward again, Laura and Evan slid their arms in behind her back and lifted her up, bending her forward while she exhaled a loud, guttural yell.
"Aye Lass! That's it!" Dr. Beckett, from his position between Jennifer's bare legs, nodded his encouragement. "Push, lass, push!"
Jen collapsed back against her helper's arms, and Laura and Evan quickly lay her back down.
Her breath was coming in gasping wheezes and she was shaking her head back and forth. "I'm done…I'm done…" she chanted. "I can't do this any more…"
"Ahh! There he is!" Carson almost shouted.
Ronon jerked when Marie prodded him. Partly shocked because he had absolutely no idea what alternate reality he'd just stepped in to, and partly because he'd wasn't exactly the size of person to go unnoticed for so long.
Jen rolled her head and stared at him. "What the hell took you so long! I'm going to ki—god damn it!" She screamed while Laura and Evan lifted her up again.
"Push lass!" Carson shouted. "That's it! I can see the head!" He grinned. "Do you want to see the head?"
"No!" Jen shrieked, flopping back against the bed. "I don't…want…to see…the damn…head…just…get…it…the fu…gaaaa!" Evan and Laura lifted her up again.
Ronon stepped closer, the urge to protect her, help her, drowning with the fear that he had absolutely no idea what to do. He turned to Marie. "Why aren't you helping?"
"I tried." She smiled and patted his arm as though he were a child. "She wouldn't let go of those two."
Ronon turned back to where Evan and Laura were holding Jen upright while she screamed curses…and he realized with a start she was glaring at him when she said it.
"Don't worry." Marie whispered. "They always do that."
"Push lass!" Carson ordered. "Push, push, push!"
Marie left Ronon's side to help Carson. The next few moments passed in a blur. Jennifer didn't stop her guttural shouting. Laura and Evan held her upright. Carson chanted orders. At some point he'd replaced Laura at Jennifer's side, holding his wife while she struggled to push their child into the world.
With a triumphant cry from Carson, Jennifer collapsed against Ronon's chest. It felt as though the city herself was holding her breath until the newest arrival added a tiny, wailing cry to the mix.
"Aye, it's a girl!" Carson announced, his eyes brimming with moisture as he tenderly lifted the tiny infant in his arms. "A wee baby girl…"
Things looked a little blurry to Ronon as he watched the doctor setting the tiny, wriggling babe on Jennifer's stomach. He swiped the back of his hand across his eyes and the room clarified. Carson called to him.
"Cut the cord, son."
Ronon blinked. Pressure on his right shoulder turned his head. Major Lorne, still seated on the other side of the bed, smiled and angled his head towards Carson. "On Earth, it's tradition for the father to cut the umbilical cord. Go. I've got them."
"Tradition?" Ronon glanced down. In Jennifer's eyes he saw exhaustion, relief, and love. She nodded and smiled, tears shining her cheeks as she looked down at the squealing infant.
Ronon eased Jen back against the pillows, guiding her gently back to where the Major's hands took over. With a quick glance to the naked babe and her mother, he stood and moved towards Carson, who held up a shining silver blade.
"Uh, doctor?" Marie frowned at the non-surgical knife.
"It's sterilized." Carson tisked and handed Ronon the small dagger. "And much more appropriate."
On the bed, Jen let out a soft laugh while Ronon completed the task. Marie whisked the child away to Ronon's dismay, but Jennifer's hand on his arm stayed him. "They need to clean…weigh her…it's okay."
He returned to his position at her side. She clasped his hand, but her grip was loose. He knew she had to be completely exhausted. She looked spent. Tired. Beautiful and wonderful and a thousand other words he couldn't voice.
He leaned down and kissed her forehead.
Fussing, Carson reaseated the hospital gown down over Jen's legs. Marie appeared, the baby wrapped snugly in a white blanket, her tiny head covered in a knit cap. The nurse bent and set the infant in her mother's arms. Jen's trembling fingers peeled the edge of the blanket away from the scrunched little face.
"Ten fingers, ten toes, and absolutely perfect." Marie said softly as she stepped back to join Carson near the foot of the bed.
To the side, Evan was joined by Laura. "You did good, kid." The Lieutenant said softly.
"Yeah…" Jen smiled and looked up at Ronon. "We did, huh."
He couldn't speak, so he simply nodded.
Laura slipped her arm around the Major's waist and leaned against him. Ronon watch Evan's excitement flow over as he grabbed the Lieutenant and swung her in an arcing circle beside the bed. She giggled when he put her down and they both turned back towards the family.
"So?" Laura smiled. "Name?"
Jen broke out into a wide grin, and looked up at him. Ronon nodded, his gaze dropping to the baby. His baby. His daughter. "Elizabeth," he said firmly. Then he lowered his voice. "Elizabeth Lantea Dex." The little one scrunched up her face in response, her eyes blinking open then closing again.
"Elizabeth I love and understand..." Maria smiled. "But, Lantea?"
Jen nodded. "It seemed…appropriate."
"Aye, it's perfect!" Carson exclaimed.
"Can I tell them?" Laura asked. "Please, please, please?"
Ronon saw the hopeful grin and deferred to Jennifer. Tucked in against his side, Jen nodded. "Yes, you can tell them."
Laura whooped and grabbed Evan's hand, dragging the Major towards the door. A few moments later, John's voice came across the city wide speakers.
"Attention all staff, this is Colonel Sheppard. I just thought you all might like to know that our newest expedition member has arrived. Weighing in at a whopping six pounds nine ounces, with all the appropriate parts and pieces…please welcome…Elizabeth Lantea Dex." There was a brief pause to allow for the whooping going on in the background before John continued. "Briefing on protection detail begins at oh-eight-hundred for all teams."
He cut the transmission as laughter erupted. Jen rolled her eyes and looked up at Ronon. "Please tell me that wasn't your idea?"
He smiled down at his wife and daughter.
Damn right it had been his idea.
But he wasn't going to admit it.
Or tell her every Marine and Pilot in the city had agreed without protest.
As had her entire staff.
And all the scientists, botanists, engineers and support staff right down to the janitors.
It had been the easiest policy change Richard Woolsey had ever had to sign off on.
A FEW WEEKS LATER
Ronon paused outside the door of his new quarters, exhaustion settling into his bones. It had been an abrupt call to rescue a small village from an approaching Wraith culling that dragged him out of bed two nights ago and he hadn't slept since.
He knew, by the position of the afternoon sun, that the room inside would be quiet. Elizabeth—his little Ellie—had quickly settled into a routine that put her afternoon nap right about now.
Swiping his hand across the door access, he stepped quietly into the main living area of the oversized quarters. The large windows in front of him showed the silver spires of the city towers sparkling beneath the wide blue sky. They'd chosen these quarters for their location close to the infirmary for when Jennifer returned to work, and the natural light the floor to ceiling windows would let in. To the right was the corridor to the two bedrooms. He didn't have to look in the one they'd decorated as a nursery to know Jennifer would not have left Ellie to nap there alone.
Instead he turned to the left and stopped in the doorway of the larger room. Leaning against the doorway, his exhaustion was forgotten as he watched the two women in his life, curled together on top of the bedding.
Without taking his gaze off the bed, he reached down and unthreaded the laces on his boots. Toeing them off, he carefully removed his blaster and holster and set it on the top of the high dresser inside the door. He added his concealed knives to the pile.
Stepping softly forward, he eased onto the bed. Settling onto his side, he grinned to realize it wasn't the babe who apparently needed the nap—but his wife.
Jennifer lay curled on her side next to their baby daughter, her chest rising and falling in a smooth, steady rhythm. She stirred, mumbled something in her sleep, then settled down when Ronon rubbed his hand across the top of her head, smoothing her hair. In front of her, arms and feet jerking to an internal rhythm, Ellie made faces, her bright blue eyes staring up at the colored patterns on the ceiling. He reached out, sliding his pinky against her tiny hand. He grinned when she wrapped her fingers around his pinky and jerked.
With a snort he settled back against the pillows.
At three o'clock in the afternoon on a Tuesday, Ronon Dex, Specialist and warrior, opted to forgo a mission debriefing with his team and the city commander for afternoon nap time.
He'd fill in the paperwork later.
Because right now, he was needed here.
Around them, the city sighed her approval.
Author's Note --- It's with mixed feelings I leave this story!!! I think part of the hesitation I had in posting the ending was in finishing the story. I had so much fun with this one that I'm terribly sad to see it go!!! But fear not, fair readers. I'll still be around! I'm going to be busy for the summer, but between the promo stuff I have to do for my book, and writing the new one, I'll be posting some SGA one offs and one-shots. And YES I hope to revisit this at some point with a look into life with Ellie. :) There's so much potential for meyhem with a little girl with Jen's luck and Ronon's penchant for ask questions later! I feel sorry for the city after Auntie Laura finishes babysitting. :P Hugs to everyone, and I'm really glad you all came along on this little ride! - Nika