Recipient: darkmoore

Pairing: McKay/Sheppard

Rating: NC-17

Word count: 29,737

Warnings: none

Disclaimer: Stargate: Atlantis, the characters and universe are the property of the Sci-Fi Channel and MGM.

Summary: "Now I don't know who I am and... I have an appendix."

"Somehow, I don't think it's your appendix that has you this bothered, John," Carson said.

Notes: This was written for the 2010 sga_santa. There are a few brief mentions of a couple of original characters that came to life in a story that I am currently writing with a friend of mine. They give nothing away as to who I am.

John looked around at the large room they were now standing in. The fact that it was a room and not an open field was certainly something of note and he thought that of all the things Rodney had found in the ancient database, he may have finally found something worthy of exploration.

The room was huge, there wasn't any furniture or plants or even a staircase, but it was well taken care of so that wasn't likely to be from theft or the passage of time. If the structure said anything about the race that lived there, it was that they were more than farmers and soldiers.

"This is certainly interesting," Rodney said, his scanner held loosely in one hand.

"You getting any readings?" John asked.

"No," was Rodney's reply, but he didn't sound as agitated as he usually did when there weren't any readings.

"Then what's so interesting?" Ronon asked shortly.

"Look at this place!" Now Rodney did sound a bit aggravated, but probably because he thought it was pointless to have to still explain himself after all the time that Ronon had been with them. "This looks like something you'd find on Earth, it's-"

"Beautiful," Teyla offered.

"Well yes," Rodney said, "It is beautiful, but it's also..." he sighed and pointed to one of the massive pillars in the room. "How often have we seen things like that on our missions? And how many gates have we gone through that were inside? Any buildings that we've seen have either been ruined by time, abandoned due to culling a society back to the dark ages, or simply built badly. This place is amazing, and the fact that there aren't any readings to be found is remarkable."

"Why?" Ronon asked, and Rodney sighed and rolled his eyes.

"Because," John said, deciding to give Rodney a hand on this one. "Like Rodney said, this place is amazing, so you'd think there'd be at least some kind of reading when you consider that we've probably found a technologically advanced race."

"Yes!" Rodney nearly shouted, his voice reverberating off the walls and echoing for ages. "Even if the race who built this place is long dead, there should still be something. There's electricity here, what's powering it that I'm not picking up?"

"Perhaps the power source is not compatible with the ancient device," Teyla commented.

"Maybe," Rodney agreed, "and that's another reason it's interesting."

John held up a hand to silence his team when movement caught his eye. He put his finger on the trigger of his P-90, but didn't raise it. They'd never met these people; if they were an advanced race, John didn't want to give the wrong impression. He was pleased to see the rest of his team do the same, no need to cause alarm to their new friends.

The shadow on the floor grew and grew until finally the creature came through the doorway.

"Oh God," Rodney whimpered and John felt Rodney move behind him.

It certainly wasn't anything John had been expecting. He'd always wanted to meet an alien that didn't look human, but this hadn't even entered his mind.

"Um, hello," John said and stepped forward. He hoped that he wasn't talking to the family pet, because he couldn't think of anything that would be more embarrassing.

The small triangular head tipped to one side and the thing turned to face John and his team. John slowly thumbed the safety off of his weapon.

Suddenly the room was filled with shrill high pitched squeaks and clicks.

"Rodney?" John asked.

"Right," Rodney replied, still behind John, "Like I know how to translate that. There aren't even any syllables."

"How do we understand everyone else?" Ronon asked.

"There's a translation program built into the gate system," Rodney replied, "But remember how we had trouble getting a lock on this address? And then when we came through I said it looked like the Gate had been being disassembled? Well, maybe they broke it."

"Then fix it, McKay," John ordered.

"Oh, because I can, right?" Rodney asked sarcastically.

"You are a genius, Rodney," Teyla said, her tone was soft but demanding. "You can make it work if for no other reason than because if this creature wants to kill us, you would like to know as much as the rest of us, before it is at our throats."

"Yeah, good point," Rodney said and John heard him hurry toward the gate.

Several minutes later, amongst the strange noises, John could hear words.

"That's as good as it's going to get," Rodney said as he rejoined the rest of the team, "I don't think it translates fully, and how can it when there are no base words?"

"Teyla," John whispered, "This thing looks suspiciously like a giant praying mantis, and since that's a matriarchal species, maybe you should take point on this one."

The woman smiled and nodded, "Of course, John," she said.

"I hate bugs," John added softly as he took a step back.

They didn't look exactly like praying mantises, but that was the closest thing John's mind could come up with to describe them. They had long skinny legs, long bodies and small heads and they were green. One of the big differences was that these guys had hands.

The translator program was pretty much useless, especially after they heard a popping noise and the few words they were getting disappeared all together. Teyla was doing a fair job of talking to the bug man, using mostly hand signals and watching it was beginning to make John's head hurt.

"John," Teyla said when she rejoined them, "it is very difficult to communicate with this species, but they are friendly and would like us to stay... I think."

"How reassuring," Rodney groused.

"McKay," John hissed and nodded to Teyla. "Um- I guess, tell him that we'd be honored. They are advanced after all; bugs that can build things have to be worth knowing. Maybe they have something good to trade."

Teyla nodded and turned back toward the bug man.

They were lead into another large room, this one had a table and chairs and a few benches along one wall. The table was set already, and the bug man pointed them each to specific seats, John and Rodney were seated together on one side and Ronon and Teyla were on the other.

"This doesn't have citrus in it does it?" Rodney asked, but the bug man just tipped his small head to one side.

John chuckled and reached over picking up Rodney's fork, then took a bite of everything on the plate. "Nope," he said, "citrus free."

"Good," Rodney said and began eating.

The food was good, and the drink tasted a bit like sweet ale, and Rodney drank four glasses. Everything seemed a little mellower after dinner and John wasn't as bothered by the fact that these aliens were essentially giant bugs. They were eventually separated and put into two different rooms; Teyla and Ronon were in the room across the hall from the room John and Rodney were put in. They were allowed to keep their weapons, so John wasn't very concerned, it was when they were separated and disarmed that John went on high alert. This room wasn't as big as the others they had seen, but it was just as nice. The floor was shiny stone; there were small windows, a few paintings, but only one bed.

"Okay then," John said and started taking off his vest, "I guess we're staying the night."

"I'm not sure this is a good idea, John," Rodney said from behind him, and John turned. "I don't feel... normal," Rodney finished.

John knew exactly what Rodney meant. He wasn't feeling all that normal himself. He swallowed hard and turned away from Rodney. His belly got warm every time he saw Rodney and that in itself wasn't normal. John knew that warmth for what it was. John was straight so he shouldn't want Rodney, but somehow he did.

"We'll be fine, Rodney," John said and began unlacing his boots, "let's just get some sleep, we'll get out of here in the morning."

Rodney sighed heavily, moved around John and sat on the bed.

"I'll sleep on the floor tonight, you can have the bed, and I don't feel like hearing you whine about your back problems." John told him.

"Good call," Rodney agreed and snuggled under the blankets.

John shook his head and curled up against the wall.

John woke up some time later; it was pitch black in the room and freezing cold. He pulled his arms in close and balled up tighter, but he was shivering too much to get back to sleep. "Shit," John whispered and struggled to get his stiff frozen muscles off the floor. He didn't want to get in the bed with Rodney. His belly still shivered and warmed up at the thought, but it was entirely too cold to stay on the floor, so he felt his way to the bed and pushed Rodney over.

"Wha?" Rodney said sleepily.

"Move over," John said, his voice shaking with cold. "It's too fucking cold to sleep on the floor, apparently giant bugs don't believe in heaters or even fire places."

Rodney grumbled but he scooted back on the bed. John crawled under the covers and snuggled down deep.

"Ah," Rodney squeaked, "Your feet are freezing, John."

"Yeah, the rest of me is freezing too, which is why I'm in the bed now."

John felt Rodney move in close behind him and his arm was draped over John's side. "Um- Rodney, what are you doing?" he asked.

"Calm down Colonel Homophobe, I'm just warming you up. The last thing we need is for our team leader to get hypothermia on a giant bug planet. I know it's ridiculous, but sharing body heat really does help. You'll be warm in a little while."

John sighed, but he had to admit that he did feel a little better, so he leaned back into Rodney's warmth. "I'm not homophobic, Rodney," John insisted, "I'm just straight, there's a difference."

"If you say so," Rodney said, but he didn't pull away. In fact, he moved a little closer.

John tried to ignore the heat in his belly; it wasn't like it was making him want to turn over and jump Rodney's bones, so it wasn't harmful. He'd just have to make a note to tell everyone that if they go to the giant bug planet they shouldn't eat the food. It didn't take long for him to fall back to sleep.

When John woke next, it was to Rodney's thumb rubbing lightly over John's stomach. It felt good, and John moaned and leaned back into Rodney's body. He was hard, and the solid length pressing into John's ass indicated that he wasn't the only one. His breathing went ragged and his hips began moving forward and back. "Rodney," He whispered.

Rodney moaned and John felt Rodney's lips on his neck. He moved his head to give Rodney better access and when he felt Rodney's confined erection sliding against him, he wanted it.

"Rodney," John whispered again and began working the buttons of his own shirt open.

"John," Rodney replied and moved his hand down a little further, not quite touching John's cock. John moaned softly and pulled his shirt and his under shirt off. He rolled over onto his back and pulled Rodney down against him, tearing at the hem of Rodney's shirt.

The rest was a blur of moving hands and mouths and the next thing John knew, they were both naked and moving against one another.

John moaned when he felt Rodney's hand cupping his ass, his fingers sliding into the cleft.

"Jesus, Rodney..." John breathed, breaking away from the kiss, "I want... Rodney."

"Yes, John," Rodney moaned in return.

"I've never..."

"It's okay, John," Rodney said and pushed John until he was lying on his stomach. "Get on your knees."

John did as Rodney said, and as soon as he was in position, he heard something sliding. When he looked up, there was a panel in the wall and a small mechanical arm with a tube on the end unfolded.

"That's convenient," Rodney said and took the tube. John felt Rodney moving, and when he looked back, he saw Rodney smelling the contents of the tube, and then he dipped his finger inside and tested the texture. "This'll do," Rodney said and poured a bit of the liquid into his palm.

John turned around, pushed up and leaned his arms against the headboard of the bed. His belly was warm and tight and he wanted this, even though he wasn't sure why. He sucked in a breath when he felt a slick finger press into him. John closed his eyes and thought about a typical preflight check in a jumper, and by the time his body was finally accepting the intrusion, there was another finger pressing into his ass and he started again.

By the time the third finger was inside, John was writhing and pressing back onto them. Then the fingers were gone, and John felt loose and empty. He tightened up again when he felt the blunt tip of Rodney's erection pressing at his hole.

"Oh shit," John whimpered, and as his mind was telling him to pull away, his body was pushing back against Rodney. Rodney's big warm hands closed around John's hips and held him steady as he pressed forward. John bit his lip as he felt himself being opened and grunted as he felt the head of Rodney's dick pop through. John felt like he was being split open as Rodney pushed deeper and deeper into him, it burned and John squeezed his eyes closed against the pain. It felt like John's fingers were going to leave indentions in the wood of the headboard, and just when he thought something was going to break, Rodney stopped moving. John felt fuller than he'd ever been, he felt skewered. When Rodney's hand moved from John's hip to his stomach and splayed over it, John sighed out the breath he hadn't known he'd been holding. "Oh Jesus," John whispered, his breathing coming in short little gasps as his ass slowly loosened around the cock shoved deep inside it.

Rodney's mouth was back on John's neck again and John felt himself relaxing and after another moment, John found himself gently pressing back. "Rodney..." he moaned, "please."

Rodney growled deep in his throat and the sound went straight to John's dick. He'd gone soft as Rodney was pushing into him, but now his cock went hard again so fast that it hurt. John rolled his head back and whimpered as Rodney pulled back slowly. The pain had passed although it still burned a bit, and John could focus his attention on the sensations; the feeling of the hard cock moving inside him was unlike anything John had ever felt before. John closed his eyes again, but his attention was focused solely on Rodney; the dick in his ass, the lips on his neck and the hand sliding slowly down his stomach. It was like his skin was on fire, his muscles were humming and he felt more alive than he had since the first time he'd flown. It was right. Something inside John shifted and he reached back, hooking his arm around Rodney's neck. He turned his head and closed his mouth over Rodney's, moaning into the kiss when Rodney's hand wrapped around his cock.

John's mind was slowly melting as Rodney stroked him, firm and fast, his hips picking up speed to match his hand. Moaning out each exhale, John found himself thrusting back against Rodney, forcing him even deeper. He ripped his mouth away from Rodney's and howled as he came, striping the headboard with strands of come. A moment later, Rodney grunted John's name, and John felt even fuller as Rodney came inside him. John hissed as Rodney pulled out of him, he was absolutely spent and exhausted, but incredibly relaxed and loose. They eased themselves back down to the bed and Rodney cuddled close, pressing against John's back, his hand back on John's stomach.

"Fuck," John whispered as his eyes became so heavy he could barely hold them open. "Rodney," was the last thing John remembered saying before the world went black around him.


"John?" Rodney asked as John was shrugging on his vest.


"Last night-"

"What about it?" John asked, cutting Rodney off.

"Well, I mean, what happened..." Rodney stammered.

"Nothing happened, Rodney," John said quickly.


John turned and glared at Rodney hard enough to make Rodney take a step back. "Nothing. Happened, Rodney. Understand? Nothing." He wasn't sure why he'd had sex with Rodney, it hadn't ever been anything he'd even thought about thinking about. Whatever the reason, it had happened, but that didn't mean he had to own up to it. "Nothing," he repeated again, just to be sure Rodney understood.

Rodney looked utterly defeated, but he nodded, "yeah, John, I understand. Nothing happened."

John wondered what was going through Rodney's mind. He'd never gotten any strange vibes from Rodney, had never thought even for a moment that Rodney was gay. He wasn't sure why Rodney looked so hurt right now.

"Come on, John, let's get Ronon and Teyla and get the hell off this planet."

"Alright," John said and shouldered his pack. Clipping his P-90 in place, John knocked on the door across the hall.


John turned and saw Teyla and Ronon coming down the hall toward them. "Ready to go?" John asked.

"We have been waiting for you," Teyla said.

"For hours," Ronon added.

"Hours?" Rodney asked. "What time is it?"

John looked at his watch and sighed, "two o'clock, what the hell happened?"

"I have been speaking with our hosts," Teyla said. "Although, speaking is likely the wrong word; from what I can gather from the hand signals I learned yesterday-"

"Which isn't much," Ronon spoke and received an elbow in the stomach for his trouble.

"The drink that you and Rodney consumed so readily last night has some-"

"Interesting side effects," Ronon threw in.

"Yeah, right," John said and shook his head. "Ok, so we're several hours over due, where's the rescue team?"

"I contacted Atlantis this morning," Teyla said. "I told them that communicating with the inhabitants of this world was proving-"


"Difficult," Teyla said, glaring at Ronon over her shoulder, "but that we would be home before nightfall."

"The sooner the better I think," Ronon said, moving a little closer to John. "They're acting strange today, and there are a lot more than the few we saw last night. It's like they're looking for something or expecting something."

"Okay, let's thank them for their hospitality, and get the hell out of here," John said as he pushed past Ronon and Teyla and started down the hall.

Ronon hadn't been exaggerating when he said there were a lot more; the night before they'd only really seen the one, now there were no less than ten standing in the gate room. Their small heads were tipping from one side to the other, their huge eyes moving from one team member to the other.

"John..." Rodney whimpered and stepped a little closer.

"It's fine, Rodney, they don't look like-" He stopped short when one of the giant bugs turned and stepped up to Rodney. The alien had his face less than three inches away from Rodney's, and John felt Rodney's hand gripping John's forearm tightly. The bug searched Rodney's face before moving lower as if searching Rodney. After a moment, the bug stood back up and tipped its head before doing the same to John. There was a short conversation between two of the bugs before the first one stepped away.

"Rodney," John said, "dial the gate. The faster the better."


"Everything looks good," Carson said after the regular post mission check. John had requested Carson do it since he was in the city. It was probably awkward for Keller to be passed over like that, but John was more comfortable with Carson. Seeing that Keller had missed the parasite in Rodney's brain, and given the events of the past night, John wanted to be absolutely positive that nothing was wrong.

"Are you sure?" John asked after Carson had closed the curtain.

"Positive. Is there something you want to talk about, Colonel?"

"No," John said, probably too quickly. "But we ate and drank food that was prepared by bugs we know nothing about. I've eaten bugs before, not that it's something I'd want to do again unless I was starving and that's all that was available. I'm not sure the food wasn't poison or something. There at the end they seemed kind of... telepathic or something."

"The only way to be certain, other than testing your vomit if it comes to that, is to get a sample of the food for testing."

"No," John said, "I don't think I ever want to go back there. I hate bugs and I think they knew that."

"I doubt that, John, but if you insist I can run your blood again."

John sighed, realizing that this was the exact reason he'd asked Carson to do the check. He shook his head and leaned in a little closer, "Something did happen," he whispered, "but I don't want to talk about it here. If you're free later I can come to your office."

Carson nodded, as John knew he would; Carson always made time for his patients. "We can talk now if you'd like."

"Okay," John said softly, "but I'll wait here until you get rid of the others."

"Get rid of?" Carson asked, amused.

"You know, send them away. I don't want them to see me going into your office. I'm the team leader, Carson, I have to inspire confidence and I can't do that if they think I'm worried about something that may have happened."

"But you are worried, so isn't there cause for them to be alarmed as well?"

"I don't think so. Just send them away and I'll let you decide what to do."

"Alright, Colonel, just give me a few minutes. I'll come get you when I'm ready."

A moment later, John heard Rodney ask why John wasn't being released. He sounded worried and John had to admit, that given the look on Rodney's face when John had told him that nothing had happened, it made him feel a little bad for the scientist. He'd talk to him about it later if there was a reason to.

John had told Carson the entire story; from the food that was really good, to the drink that made him want to drink more. He also told him that both Teyla and Ronon have a higher tolerance to alien alcohol or the drink didn't affect them the same way, because they only had one glass each. Then came the part that John didn't really want to talk about, but he did, he told Carson that he and Rodney had had gay sex. John had lost his anal virginity to Rodney, and he told the story in grim detail. Carson just sat there and grinned at him, until John practically shouted at him that it was not in any way his normal reaction to alcohol, alien or otherwise.

"You're right, John, I apologize," Carson said after composing himself. "That was very unprofessional of me, I can tell you without question that Rodney is clean, as are you and everyone else on this base." After a brief pause to write something in the chart, Carson stood up and walked around the desk. "I'd like to examine you more fully. I'm sure Rodney was careful, but it is possible to cause harm, especially the first time."

John blew out a harsh breath and shook his head, "okay," he whispered. "Make sure you keep up with that Doctor patient confidentiality thing."

"Always," Carson replied and showed John to one of the private rooms.

John decided that the exam was the single most embarrassing moment of his life. He'd had physicals quite a few times; big hairy Doctors cupping his balls and telling him to cough, but that didn't hold a candle to Carson having his fingers in John's ass. Carson had said everything was fine and John was relieved, but he still couldn't shake the feeling that there was something not quite right. Hopefully things would feel a little more normal after a quiet night in his own bed.


Three days later, three long days of avoiding Rodney like the plague, John still felt like something wasn't right. He didn't feel any better on the fourth day when he came home from a day of staring at a stack of performance reviews, to find Rodney sitting at his computer.

"Rodney," John said as he shucked off his jacket and hung it on a hook on the wall.

"John," Rodney returned but didn't get up or offer anything as to why he was in John's room.

"What do you want, Rodney?" John finally asked.

"Are you alright?"

John sighed and turned to face Rodney. "Why wouldn't I be alright?" he asked.

"John," Rodney chided with a tip of the head. "You've been avoiding me ever since we... got back from the bug planet. It's obvious that things that took place on that planet are bothing you more than you're letting on. Then there's the fact that Carson didn't release you when we got back. That's not usually a good sign, and since I know I don't have any diseases, I can't help but wonder what's wrong with you."

"Wrong with me?" John asked harshly, "why does something have to be wrong with me? And for the last time, Rodney, nothing happened on the bug planet so just drop it."

"Then why are you avoiding me?" Rodney asked, finally getting up off the chair and taking a step toward John.

John took a step back and sat down on the bed. He bent over and started untying his boots.

"I'm not avoiding you, Rodney, I've been busy, and I'm still busy. I have an appointment to spar with Ronon, and I'm already running late, so if you don't mind..." He said and motioned toward the door.

Rodney sighed. "Fine, John," he said, "If you're so busy, maybe you could make an appointment with me to get back to our chess game that you blew off the other night."

John wanted to say that he hadn't blown Rodney off, but up to this point he hadn't exactly lied to Rodney, so he stayed quiet. Eventually Rodney took the hint and started toward the door.

"John," Rodney said, his tone softer than before and he turned back to face John. "I know, nothing happened, but... you're okay, right?"

"I'm fine, Rodney, Carson gave me a clean bill of health even concerning the stuff that didn't happen."

Rodney looked like he wanted to say something to that, but he just nodded and left the room. John's feeling of something not being normal had been bumped up a notch after the encounter and he radioed Ronon and cancelled their sparring session.


John had just walked into the control room when the chevrons on the gate began lighting up and Chuck proclaimed that there was an unscheduled off world activation. John wanted to say something to the effect of 'no shit Sherlock,' but he held his tongue. His weird feeling had already made him into an ass to a few people and he wanted to get that in check.

"It's just an audio stream," Chuck said and Rodney began working frantically at his computer.

"What is that?" Amelia asked from her console and Rodney turned and looked John straight in the eye.

"It's the bugs," John said grimly and looked at Rodney, "What do they want, Rodney? Why are they contacting us?"

"I don't know," Rodney replied and turned back to his computer. "But being on Atlantis has to give us some kind of advantage. If the address was in the database, as hidden as it was, the Ancients had to have had dealings with that race. If they did, there has to be some sort of translation program. I'll just have to find it, and I'm sure that's not going to be an easy task."

"I have come to realize that the Ancients did not hide things for no good reason," Radek said from behind John, catching him off guard and making him jump. He hadn't even heard the scientist come in, and that wasn't like him at all. "Perhaps next time we find such a thing, it would be best to do more research before bumbling into something with our eyes closed."

Rodney turned and glared at Radek, "I notice that you say 'we' a lot, and yet I never see you leaving the city unless you absolutely have to," Rodney shot back at the Czech.

"Come on, guys," John intervened, "Let's be adults here, no one is blaming anyone else right now. Rodney, just start searching for the program, I'd like to know what they're saying. It'd be awful to wake up one morning to a swarm of giant praying mantises blocking out the sun."

"They were praying mantises?" Amelia asked with a grin. "That's amazing. Maybe they're just saying thanks for visiting and we hope to see you again soon."

"Doubtful," John and Rodney said in unison.

John sighed and shook his head. "Get to work, Rodney," he said and turned to leave the control room. He didn't know what the message was saying, but he was pretty sure it wasn't please come again.


Over the next few weeks, John didn't have to avoid Rodney because Rodney stayed in the lab or in his room most of the time, which was perfectly fine with John. He still wanted to be friends with Rodney, and he missed their time together more than he thought he would, but John knew he had to get a handle on what it was he was feeling about what had happened before he and Rodney could go back to normal. It didn't help that every time John saw Rodney, he had that wounded look on his face and kept asking John if he was alright. Of course he was alright. Trying gay sex was one of the things on John's bucket list, and now that he'd done it he could mark it off. That was what he told himself, and his rational mind knew that he was okay with what had happened; it was how it had happened that he had a problem with. He'd felt out of control. He'd wanted something he'd never wanted before, with someone he'd never even thought about in a sexual way, and when it came down to the sex, it was like he couldn't stop himself. John found himself wondering if Ronon and Teyla had had sex that night or if it was only him and Rodney. Neither of the other two team members had said anything, nor did they act differently. Even the next morning everything seemed to be fine with them both. He thought that maybe he should have had Carson run some more extensive tests on the others too, or at least ask them some pointed questions. It was too late now, and John wasn't feeling as strange so he figured it must have just been the effect the bugs had on him.


John was happy that their first mission after the bug planet was to an established trading planet, he wasn't sure he'd be up for another first contact yet. It was fairly relaxing to go to a planet where most of the people knew John by his name, and browsing the shops was kind of therapeutic. He used to go to flea markets with his grandmother every weekend and it never failed that as he looked through the shelves and boxes of other people's unwanted things, whatever had been bothering him kind of melted away.

Teyla was meeting with one of the elders of the planet, hoping to get the Athosians a shop of their own, so John, Rodney and Ronon had nothing to do but shop. Listening to Rodney whine about how ridiculous the trip was, and how he could be translating the bug message rather than shopping, was made worth it when John found a small blade with a handle that looked like it was made of jade.

Once again, John and his team were in the infirmary after a mission. These tests would be a bit more extensive simply because so many different cultures visited the trade planet, and they could have been exposed to any number of things.

"The good thing is," John heard Teyla saying from the bed across the room, "that I was granted permission to begin selling Athosian goods on the trade planet."

"That's lovely dear," Carson returned, "will you be selling those beautiful necklaces you make?"

John sighed and laid back on the bed, Carson was chatty today, which meant it'd be awhile before he got to John.

"Colonel?" John was pulled from his light doze by Carson's voice close to his ear. "I'm sorry to wake you, but it's your turn."

"Oh good," John said sarcastically as he sat up, "I was looking forward to being poked."

"You're in a mood today," Carson said as he prepared the vials for the blood draw.

John sighed again and nodded, "Yeah, sorry about that, I've been weird lately."

"I see, well let's get this done so you can be on your way."

John held out his arm and let Carson do his thing, wincing a bit as the needle pushed through his skin.

"Alright, Colonel," Carson said once the vials were full, "just a bit longer while I run the tests."

"Okay," John said and laid back down, "I'll be here."

John must have fallen asleep again, because the next thing he knew the infirmary was dark and quiet. He got up and followed the dim light to the door of a small room.

"That's not possible," Carson said to one of his nurses, oblivious to John's presence.

"I know Doctor," the woman said and handed Carson a file, "but I ran the test three times, and when it came back positive all three times, I ran the same test on the rest of the team and got negative results. Then I did his again and got another positive. It may not be possible Doctor, but somehow, it's happened."

"What led you to do the test in the first place?" Carson asked as he studied the file the nurse had given him.

"An oddity in the test results," she told him. "Everything we tested for came back negative in all four of them, which was good, of course. But in his, I noticed an elevated white blood cell count, which led me to believe we'd missed something. I ran his blood again and even got a fresh sample from one of the other vials in case the first had somehow been contaminated. The results were the same, but there had to be something I missed because of the elevated white blood cells. I ran a full battery of tests; that one just got mixed in somehow."

Carson was still studying the file and shaking his head in disbelief. John stepped back out to the infirmary proper and looked around. There were very few patients; Sergeant Wilson was there with his badly twisted ankle, Dr. Harrison was there with her reaction to a poisonous plant, and there were a few others, none of which were John's team. John supposed it was possible that Carson and the nurse were talking about another team, but his paranoia that something was wrong after his encounter on the bug planet wouldn't let him believe that. He went back to the doorway, Carson and the nurse were talking again, but John had missed most of the conversation, except for the part where Carson said he had no idea what to do about this, because it'd never happened before. John's stomach dropped to his toes, automatically thinking the worst. He must have made a noise because Carson and the nurse turned around.

"Colonel," Carson said as if they hadn't just been talking about whatever disease he'd contracted.

"Why am I still here Doc?" John asked.

Carson smiled softly and moved a little closer to John, "Why don't we go into my office and have a little chat?" he asked, which did nothing for the placement of John's stomach.

"What's wrong?" John asked, a little more firmly.

Carson sighed and led John out of the small room and into his office. "Have a seat Colonel," he offered and John sat down.

"What is it?" John asked again, he knew he looked scared and that was fitting. John didn't think he'd ever been more scared than he was at that particular moment.

"It seems that we've come into a rather... interesting situation, John," Carson replied.

"John?" John asked, because it was never good when Carson called him by his name.

"I'm not exactly sure how to tell you this."

"Just do it, Carson," John said and steeled himself for the blow. "I've seen combat both here and on Earth, I've flown over cities being decimated by small explosives, I've had friends die in my arms and I've held their wives in those same arms as they blamed me for their husband's death. I've been captured by Genii, fed on by Wraith, stuck in limbo with a giant invisible monster and turned into a bug. I can take it. What do I have, Carson?" John's stomach was churning and his chest was tight as he waited for the bad news.

"Well, Colonel, I think this situation is going to top all the ones you've just mentioned. According to several test results, it seems you're... pregnant."

Of all the things that had been running through John's mind, that hadn't been one. His mouth dropped open and he stared at Carson, torn between laughing and telling the Doctor that his sense of humor was awful, but neither would come out of his mouth. "What?" he asked finally, not much more than a hoarse screech.

"Of course, although I trust nurse Thera implicitly, I'm going to run the test again myself. If it comes back positive again, we'll get you under the scanner, because there has to be another explanation, men simply don't get pregnant."

"What?" John said again, his mind stuck in a loop.

Carson sighed and put his hand on John's shoulder, and although John had been looking at the Doctor, the touch still startled him. "I'm going to figure this out, John, you don't need to worry about that," Carson said and helped John out of the chair. "I'm going to get a new blood sample, and I want you to stay here tonight."

John's mind was a blank, so he just nodded and followed Carson out to the bed he'd left a just a little bit ago. He hissed a bit when Carson stuck him and drew blood, and then he lay down and stared out the window at the sea. A single word was bouncing around in his mind... pregnant... and although John couldn't think of much right now, he had a feeling that it'd be awhile before he actually went back to sleep.


The scanner moved back and forth over John as Carson studied the images and made thinking noises.

"So?" John asked, having found his voice again sometime through the night.

Carson turned and faced John as the scanner moved into its rest position. The Doctor sighed and shook his head. "The test was correct, Colonel," Carson said and moved over to stand closer. "I don't know how, but it's true."

"Rodney," John said and looked down at his hands.

"I suppose he's the only one it could be," Carson said, helping John off the scanner and into his office.

"What am I supposed to do, Carson?" John asked, completely lost.

"Obviously this isn't something you'll be able to hide for long, and I'll leave it to you as to when you want others to know. However, there are a few people who absolutely must know right away."


"Mr. Woolsey and Dr. Steffonovitch, since he's the psychiatrist, and of course Rodney."

"Rodney?" John asked, shocked. "Why do I have to tell him?"

"John," Carson said with a tip of his head. "He's most likely the father, he needs to know."

"He's not going to care. He's made it plainly clear to everyone within ear shot of him, several times, that he hates kids."

"Regardless, John, you need to tell him. It may be easier for you to do it here in my office where I can answer any questions either of you may have, and also where I could show him the results of the scan, but I'll leave that to you too."

John sighed and shook his head. "How the hell do I get myself into these situations? I'm a man, and no one ever prepared me for the day my Doctor would tell me I was about to be a single parent."

Carson shrugged and sat beside John, "You may be a single parent, John, but you certainly won't be alone. You have time before you start to show which means you don't have to tell Rodney right now, but I do suggest you do it soon. Until then, you may want to think about what you want to do."

"Do?" John asked confused.

"I've never come against this before, John, who has? As far as I know, aside from bad comedy movies, you are the first pregnant male. Therefore, I can't say anything for sure without research and testing, but in normal pregnancies, there are... options."


"Adoption, for one, you could have the baby and have it raised by an Athosian or send it back to Earth. Perhaps Rodney's sister would be willing to adopt it. Then there's abortion, that's the one I can't promise will be a viable option. As a male, if you chose that option, I'd have to open you up to do the procedure, and I'm not sure I'd be comfortable doing that."

John nodded and blew out a sharp breath, "I can't believe this," he said as he got off the chair. "Can I go, Carson, or are there more tests you want to do?"

Carson shook his head, "No, you can go, but you know where I am if you need anything, even if it's just to talk."

"Thanks Doc," John said and left the office.


John was in his room with the windows darkened and the lights off; the only light was coming from the bathroom. John had left the door open because for the past few days he had been in and out of the bathroom, and now that he knew the reason wasn't food poisoning, it made his stomach even queasier. He couldn't help but wonder what this was going to do to his career; he wouldn't be able to perform his duties to the best of his abilities if he was pregnant. He knew his soldiers and they were all professional, but how could he expect them to take him seriously when he started to show? He'd have to let Lorne take charge, and while he didn't doubt that Lorne would be a great replacement, if it got back to the SGC that John wasn't doing the things he should, they'd want to know why. Then he'd be the laughingstock of two galaxies. That was just the professional implications; he didn't even want to think about the personal. He was sure his close friendship with Rodney would be over when the scientist realized that he'd gotten John pregnant, not only because he didn't want kids, but because it was an impossibility. Rodney was all about science, his world was made up of things that could happen and things that couldn't. The things that could happen always had an explanation for why they were possible and it was the same for the things that couldn't happen. John was a man, it was impossible for him to get pregnant because he didn't have the parts inside that were used to make babies, not to mention his outside parts didn't match either. Yet here he was, a pregnant man. Carson had proof, the results of the test and the scan, but it wouldn't be that easy for Rodney to accept. Telling Rodney about the pregnancy wasn't something John was looking forward to and it would probably be easier to think about if John could come to terms with it himself, which was proving to be easier said than done.

John had been holed up in his room for a week when his door chime rang for the first time. As he padded across the room he found himself praying that it wasn't Rodney.

"Oh, hey, Carson," he said once the door was open. He stepped aside and let the Doctor come inside. "What brings you by?" he asked and snuggled back under the blankets on his bed.

"I'm pretty sure you know the answer to that," Carson replied.

John sighed and shook his head. "No, I haven't told anyone yet. I told Woolsey that I have the stomach flu or something and he gave me some down time."

"That's not going to work forever, Colonel."

"Yeah, yeah, you're not the one dealing with this, Carson. Every time I try to think about it deeply, I get a headache."

"Maybe you shouldn't think about it that deeply then," was Carson's response.

"Doc, you showed me the scan, I saw the weird bubble inside that somehow formed to carry a baby. I have that image in my head, and every time I close my eyes, I see myself with a giant belly that hangs out of my clothes because they're not big enough to fit over it. How can I not think about that?"

Carson shrugged, a purely unprofessional move if John said so himself. "Well," he said, "in all that thinking, have you thought about what you're going to do?"

John closed his eyes and groaned, "I have to accept the fact that this is real before I can figure out whether or not to keep it."

"If you haven't accepted it, why are you staying in your room?"

"Because I throw up every time I eat more than a few bites. I'd rather be in my room for that instead of in the commissary, wouldn't you agree?"

"I suppose, but all you really have to do is eat lighter and in smaller amounts, it also wouldn't hurt to keep a few packets of saltines with you, they really do help to calm the stomach." He was quiet for a moment then said, "I take it you haven't talked to Rodney."

"No," John spat, "I don't even know how to broach the subject, Carson. What should I do, waltz into his office? 'Hey buddy, remember when we went to the bug planet? Yeah well, turns out I went and got knocked up, what do you think about that? What are the odds, right?' It's not going to go well, Carson."

"Well I certainly wouldn't suggest saying it like that."

John sighed again and pulled the blanket over his head. "You tell him," he said from underneath.

"Alright," Carson said and John pulled the blanket down and stared at him.


"Yes, if you'd like me to tell him, I will. But I insist on you being in my office with me when I do."

John rolled his eyes but agreed. "Suddenly I feel like an after school special, only I'm about thirty years too old and the wrong sex."

Carson chuckled lightly and patted John's leg. "I'll see you and Rodney in my office first thing tomorrow morning."


The morning came with John's radio beeping annoyingly beside his bed. He sighed and put it on. "Sheppard," he said.

"Colonel," Carson's voice came through the earpiece.

"Oh, right," John said and sat up. "I'll be there in a few minutes." He cut the connection and got off the bed. He raked a hand through his not exactly clean hair and pulled on his clothes.

John got more than a few awkward looks as he made his way toward the infirmary, most of which were by the scientists, but he ignored them in hopes of getting this part of his day over with.

Carson met him outside his office and ushered him inside.

"Rodney's not here," John observed.

"No, I wanted to get you here first. I've just radioed him though so he'll be here shortly."

"You hope," John said. "You know how he can get when he gets his head into something, and he should have his head into translating that-"

"I'm doing it," Rodney said from the doorway.

John turned and looked at him. He'd hoped to have some kind of warning, like a knock, but he knew Rodney well enough to know that had been useless.

"You try translating a bug language and see how long it takes you," Rodney finished and came all the way into the office. "You look like shit by the way."

"Gee thanks, Rodney, I was hoping you'd say that," John rolled his eyes and looked away.

"Well I aim to please, you know."

"Boys," Carson firmly interrupted, reminding John of his seventh grade gym teacher. John and Rodney both looked at him. "Rodney, please have a seat, John and I have something to tell you."

"Oh God," Rodney said worriedly, but he sat down in the chair beside John, his face pale and drawn. "John's sick, isn't he? I knew it! I should have insisted you tell me why you weren't releasing him when we got back from the-" Rodney stopped abruptly and John could practically hear the tumblers falling into place, but he was willing to bet that whatever Rodney was thinking, wasn't even close to the real issue. "Is it... was it the food? The drink? Was he sick before? Is this something that can be contracted through... bodily contact?"

"Uh," John grunted disbelievingly and looked at Rodney. Rodney looked back, and his expression was hard.

"You had a responsibility to tell me if you had a contagious disease before we..." he pressed his lips together and didn't finish.

John rolled his eyes, "Oh please, Rodney, do you really think I'm that selfish? And it wasn't like either of us had any control over it. How many times had you and I shared a tent without anything happening?"

"That's beside the point," Rodney spat. "If you were sick in any way, shape, or form, you should have told me!"

"I wasn't sick, Rodney! Shit!" John shouted, then he took a deep breath and closed his eyes, when he opened them again he looked at Rodney. "I wasn't sick then, and I'm not sick now, Rodney. You didn't catch anything, at least not from me."

"Good," Rodney said, but John wasn't convinced that Rodney was giving it up that easily. "So what's wrong with you then?"

John sighed and turned toward Carson, "That's you're cue Doc," he said.

"What is this?" Rodney asked and stood up.

"Sit down, Rodney, there's nothing wrong with you so put your hypochondria away."

"I am not a hypochondriac, John, I just happen to want to keep my health so keep your germs away from me."

"I'm not contagious, Rodney, if I was, this base would be so compromised that none of us would be allowed back to Earth... except the women."

"You sure as hell look contagious and what is that supposed to mean... the base would be compromised? You can't tell me you're fine with one breath and with the next tell me that-"

"I'm pregnant, Rodney!" John shouted. He closed his eyes the second the words were out and buried his face in his hands. This was not the way he'd expected this to go.

Rodney chuckled, "Oh that's good," Rodney said, "Carson, I'd never have expected you to go along with a prank like this."

"Prank?" John asked and looked at Rodney who was still standing.

"When did you come up with it?" Rodney asked, his tone was almost joking but John knew better, the hurt look was back on Rodney's face. "Is this why you acted so freaked out over it, the whole 'nothing happened' gag. I really thought you were bothered by the whole thing."

"Rodney," John said and shook his head.

"No, you could have just told me that you weren't interested in me and that it wasn't going to happen again, I'd have been fine with that, but this is a bit much."

Rodney had dropped the act, he wasn't even trying to cover the fact that this was hurting him. John wasn't sure if that was better or worse. He didn't even know why Rodney was so hurt; he'd never given John any signal that he might be interested.

"I'm not... this isn't... Rodney,"

"No, John, it's fine. You aren't interested and I understand. Like you said, neither of us could control it so it's not that big a deal anyway."

John sighed and looked at Carson; feeling a bit betrayed by the Doctor's silence. He never wanted to hurt Rodney. "Doc, a little help would be much appreciated. Can't you see I'm drowning here?"

Carson nodded and looked at Rodney, "It isn't a joke, lad. You know me well enough to know that I wouldn't be party to such a thing."

"Yeah? You expect me to believe that John... a man... is pregnant?"

"It's difficult to believe, I know. It was hard for me too and I was standing there when I took the scan. John is pregnant. We don't know how it happened, but John seems to be one hundred percent sure who it happened with."

John glared at Carson, "You make it sound like I should go on Maury, Carson. I seem to be? Really? I have never had sex with a man before that night on the bug planet, not ever. So I am one hundred percent absolutely fucking positive that it happened with Rodney."

"Pregnant," Rodney said with a dry humorless chuckle. "That's rich guys, I have to give you credit for originality, but I'm not falling for it." He sighed and left the office.

John looked at Carson, "You just left me hanging there, Carson, you said you'd tell him."

"It was best for you to do it," Carson replied.

"Like that?!"

"It wasn't ideal, no, but-"

"But nothing, Carson. I can't believe you did that to me. You just... you didn't do anything."

"I'm sorry," Carson attempted an apology, but John stood up and cut him off with a raised hand.

"Yeah, right. Thanks a lot. I was hoping to have a friendship to salvage after this mess, but I guess I can count that out now," he shook his head and glared at Carson for another moment before leaving the office himself.

John had a feeling that the rest of his day wasn't going to go much better. Now that he'd told Rodney, he supposed there wasn't any reason not to tell Woolsey and Dr. Steffonovitch. This wasn't something he was looking forward to, but he decided that it was best to get it all done at the same time, like ripping off a bandage.

He stepped off the transporter, took a deep breath and made his way toward Woolsey's office. He was almost in the clear when Major Lorne hurried around the corner, almost knocking John over.

"Oh," Lorne said surprised, "sorry, sir. Are you feeling better?"

"No," John replied tersely, "I'm feeling worse actually."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. But I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that everything has been going smoothly while you've been down and out. I delegated some of the training exercises to Ronon. I watched him and Teyla spar once and I thought he had some really interesting hand to hand techniques. Also, Teyla came to me about starting a meditation and yoga class... well, not really yoga, it's the Pegasus equivalent of it, but it looks-"

"Major!" John interrupted and Lorne stopped short and immediately went to attention. John sighed and bowed his head. "At ease," he said in anything but a professional voice. "It looked like you were in a hurry. You did almost knock me off my feet."

"Oh, yeah, I suppose I was."

"Well then, if you haven't already, tell Teyla to bring her ideas up with Woolsey."

"Yes sir," Lorne replied.

"Go on; be on your way, thanks for the report."

"No problem sir, feel better soon," Lorne said and hurried off.

John sighed again and continued on his way to Woolsey's office.

"I'm sorry?" was Woolsey's response to John's news.

"Yup," John said and shrugged. "Not sure exactly how it happened... you know, with me being a man and what not, but Carson is pretty adamant that that's what it is."

"And you say it happened on P0X-492?"

"That's the only place it could have happened. Carson says he can't be sure what caused it without testing the shit out of everything we ate and drank on that planet."

"I know from reading the mission reports that you and Rodney and Teyla and Ronon were split up for the night, therefore I assume that Rodney would be the father."

"You assume correctly," John replied.

"Have you told him?"

"Yeah, just a little bit ago."


"Not good."

"Yeah, I didn't think so."

"He thinks it's a prank."

"I can't say I blame him. If I hadn't thoroughly read Dr. Beckett's file and seen evidence of his outstanding work, and if I didn't know the man, I'd think it was a prank too. Seeing that I do know him, professionally anyway, I know for a fact that he wouldn't participate in such a joke."

"Rodney should know that too, but really, If I'd come in here and told you the baby was yours, would you let knowing Dr. Beckett professionally make you believe that you'd gotten a man pregnant?"

"I see your point, Colonel. Would you like me to speak with him?"

"No, I have a feeling that would only make matters worse. I think I'm going to give him a few days to cool off, and then I'll talk to him again. There's only so long he can deny it anyway."

"Right. Well, I'm not sure how to proceed from here. I suppose until Dr. Beckett gives further instructions and once you're feeling better, we can keep you and your team active. In the meantime, perhaps you should think about how you're going to tell the military members of this expedition. I know from speaking with them when I was here for Dr. Weir's performance review, and again when I took over command, they all have the utmost respect for you. But as you said, there's only so long until they'll know. I think they deserve to hear it from you rather than through the grapevine."

John sighed and shook his head. "The grapevine better be pretty damn quiet for a long time since there are only going to be four people, besides myself, that know."

"You have my word, John. I won't be telling anyone."

"Thanks Mr. Woolsey. I guess I'm off to tell Steffonovitch. Carson thinks there may be some emotional or mental drawbacks because of this." He stood up and Woolsey followed the action.

"Alright, Colonel. I want you to know that you have my full support on this matter."

John nodded but didn't turn away. "Hey," he said after a moment, "when you say you won't tell anyone, does that include the IOA? I don't want this getting back to my superiors on Earth; you know the rule on... well, DADT."

Woolsey sighed and shook his head, "For now, they don't need to know, they made their loyalty to me very clear at my last performance review. So no, I won't be telling them either."

"Good. Thanks."

"You're welcome colonel."


"Ah, Colonel," Steffonovitch said in his thick German brogue, "Dr. Beckett told me you would be stopping by. Although I was sure it would be sooner."

"Yeah, well some things take more time to get ready to talk about," John said as he pushed past the Doctor and left him standing in the doorway as John made his way toward the chair. He'd always avoided shrink couches like the plague.

"I take it this extends from a medical condition," the shrink said as he walked into the room and sat across from John.

"You could say that," John replied and sat back, crossing his ankle over his knee and looking at the painting on the wall. He had absolutely no idea what the painting was supposed to be, but at the moment it was better than looking at the Doctor.

"Would you like to tell me about it?" Steffonovitch asked.

John glared at the Doctor, "I kind of have to," He replied. "Beckett told me there were three people I had to tell, two of which were Woolsey and you."

"Who was the third?"

"We'll get there," John said, "I'm pretty sure Beckett's going to make these visits a monthly must."

"Alright then, let's get started."

John sighed and his position changed, he sat up a bit and looked past the Doctor. "I'm sure you remember that about a month ago my team went to a giant bug planet."

"I may have heard something about it," Steffonovitch replied and John glared at him. "Alright, yes, I remember hearing about it."

"Well, certain things happened on that planet, most likely due to the food we ate, although we're not sure since Teyla and Ronon ate the same food and they're fine."

"Alright," the Doctor said and scribbled on his note pad.

"What can you possibly be writing?" he asked, "I haven't even said anything yet."

The Doctor looked up at him and tilted his head to the side, "I wrote that you used a sarcastic tone when you said 'giant bugs.' It's a well known fact that you have a severe dislike of insects."

"I hate bugs," John said.

"Yes, that's what I just said."

"Right, whatever. Anyway, when we got back, everything seemed fine, about a week or so later I started throwing up. I thought it was food poisoning."

"That was going around," The Doctor replied, "There was a bad batch of vegetables that somehow made it past inspection, several people became ill."

"Exactly, so you can see why I thought it was food poisoning," John said excitedly. "Anyway, it wasn't food poisoning."

"What was it then?"

"Well, a little bit later, my team went on another mission, and during my routine post mission exam, one of Carson's nurses noticed something odd."


"Yes, odd. So she ran a bunch of tests, some of which were unnecessary since I'm a man. It turns out that I'm... pregnant," he said the last word barely above a whisper.

"I'm sorry? What was that?"

"Pregnant," John said a little louder.

"That is what I thought you said," The Doctor replied.

"And there you have it Doc, I, John Sheppard, am a pregnant man, what do you think about that?"

"Quite honestly," the Doctor said and sighed softly, "I am unsure what to think. My logical mind wants to believe that you are pulling a prank, but I know that Dr. Beckett would have no part in such a thing,"

"What is it with everyone saying that Carson wouldn't pull a prank like that? Does everyone in Atlantis think I'm that childish? First of all, I would never joke about something like this. Secondly, even if I would, I'd never have thought of it. I mean really, what man in his right mind would think, 'hey, it'd be really fun to make the last guy I had sex with think he got me pregnant.'? That's insane."

"So, Rodney is the last man you had sex with?" the Doctor asked.

John rolled his eyes and shook his head, "Yes, Rodney is the first and last man I had sex with."

"Tell me about that experience."

John gaped at the man for a long moment before he furrowed his brow and got up. "Fuck, you really are like Freud," he said and left the office.


John took the forkful of mashed potatoes into his mouth and closed his eyes, sighing at the taste. It was the first time in two and a half months that he was eating because he wanted to and not because he had to. When he opened his eyes, he saw Major Lorne standing at the other side of the table looking at him. "Major," John said.

"Are you okay, Sir?" Lorne asked.

"I'm fine, why do you ask?"

Lorne cleared his throat and sat down in the chair. "I just wanted to let you know that, even though you're going to be out of the scene for awhile, I'm still going to want to clear certain things with you. Even in light of your current... condition, you're still the military head of Atlantis, and I'm only covering for you in your absence."

John nodded, "Well, I appreciate that, Major," he replied and took another bite of the wonderful potatoes.

"I just wanted you to know that, unlike certain other people we know, I'm not going to make any major changes to the way things are run without bringing my ideas up with you first, which we could do in your office or in your quarters, whichever you prefer."

John chuckled softly and looked at the major. "Thank you, Evan, really. I appreciate the fact that you're being so... understanding, but this conversation wasn't really necessary. If I didn't trust you, you'd have an email with exact instructions on how to run things while I'm away waiting for you in your inbox."

Lorne nodded and stood up. "Thank you, sir," he said and gave John a quick salute, "I'll make sure your trust isn't misplaced."

John smiled softly as he watched Evan walk away. He reminded John of himself in a way, a much younger version of himself; the version that was so eager to please his father that he'd make a complete ass of himself to prove to the man that he hadn't left the wrong brother in charge of things. Not that John would ever tell Lorne that he'd made an ass of himself, Lorne would know that when he went over the conversation in his head that night. He sighed, a different sound than he'd been making, and took another bite.


It was another two weeks before John started hearing whispered conversations, and noticed that certain people got quiet when he walked into the room. It didn't really bother him too much, which bothered him more than the whispers themselves.

He hadn't really talked to Carson much after the incident where Rodney found out about the pregnancy. He'd gone in for the scheduled checks, which Carson had told him were more often than normal because of the fact that he was a man, and that made sense to John.

Now he found himself sitting with Steffonovitch, trying to make sense of the way his mind was working things out. "I've been thinking," he said after staring at the painting for a while.

"About?" Steffonovitch asked, as calm as usual.

John didn't say anything for a moment. He'd thought about this for awhile now, and he was pretty sure he'd made his decision; but now that he was sitting here preparing to say it out loud, he wasn't quite sure if this was the right decision. After another silent moment, John looked at the Doctor and nodded. "I think I want to keep it," he said.

Steffonovitch didn't respond in a negative or a positive way, he just sat there and looked at John for a long moment. "Alright," he said finally and John had realized a while ago that when the Doctor used one word responses like that, he was telling you to expand on the thought. John had found that technique rather useful in trying to get his own head around things.

"See," John said, "I've always known I wanted kids. I never thought I'd actually be having them, but I wanted them. Because of that, I'm not sure I should take any steps to... you know, get rid of this one. What if this is the only one I'm going to get? Besides, the baby didn't ask to be conceived any more than I asked for it, so it shouldn't have to suffer the consequences of being created, no matter how out of the ordinary it is. Right?"

"That is a question for you and Rodney to answer," the Doctor replied.

"Yeah well, Rodney couldn't care less. Every time I try to talk to him, he glares at me and walks away. He really thinks I'm pulling a prank on him, and it hurts him, I've seen it on his face."

"And that bothers you?"

"Well of course it does. Rodney's my friend, my best friend, and regardless of the fact that I didn't mean to, I hurt him, and yeah, that bothers me."

"Have you spoken with Rodney about your decision to keep the baby?"

"Do you even listen to the things I say Doc? I just said that every time I try to talk to him he runs away."

"Perhaps you should catch him in a place where he has no choice but to listen to you."

"Yeah right, have you seen what happens when you back a brilliant scientist into a corner?"

"I have," the Doctor responded with a slight nod, "but this may be your only option to communicate with him."

John shook his head and looked down at his interlaced fingers, "No Doc, I really don't think forcing Rodney to listen to me is going to help anything, in fact it would probably make it that much worse. I'm just going to have to keep trying I guess, and hope he realizes that I'm not lying to him about being pregnant."

Steffonovitch nodded and scribbled for a moment before looking up at John. "It is apparent that you are coming to grips with the reality of the situation."

"I don't really have much choice; I have to see Carson once a week for the first few months so he can gauge if the gest... whatever, period is going to be the same as it is in women. I see a scan every Monday evening. I couldn't deny this baby if my life depended on it."

"Perhaps that is for the best," The Doctor said. "It seems that you have already made your decision and your reasoning behind that decision is sound, but there is very little, if any, time left to terminate the pregnancy if you should change your mind."

John took a deep breath and nodded. He didn't think he'd be changing his mind, but he understood what the Doctor was saying. "I understand, Doc, thanks."

Steffonovitch nodded but continued writing on his pad. "I am always available if you need to talk, Colonel," he said as John made his way toward the door.


John stopped in the doorway to the infirmary when he heard Rodney's voice inside. He was going to turn around and leave, but one of the nurses spotted him before he had the chance.

"Colonel," she said, "come on in, the Doctor will be with you in a moment."

"Colonel?" John heard Rodney say, and John sighed as he walked in and hopped up onto the scanning table. "What's he doing here? Hammering out the next part of the scam?"

"Rodney," Carson reprimanded, "he is here for his weekly scan. I would suggest you stay for it."

John shook his head. He was glad Rodney was behind a curtain, he wasn't sure he wanted to see Rodney's reaction to Carson's invitation. He scrubbed his hand over his face and tried to ignore the rest of the conversation. He did better than he thought he would, because the next thing he knew, Carson was gently tapping his shoulder.

"Colonel," the Doctor said, "we're ready to begin."

"Oh," John said and noticed that Rodney was standing off to the side. John had seen Rodney a few times, always at a distance, and every time John started to move toward him, Rodney was gone. He was closer this time, but still not as close as John was used to.

"Lay back, Colonel," Carson said and John complied.

The scanner began moving back and forth and Carson went over to study the screen.

"What?" Rodney shouted and when John looked up, Rodney was coming over. "This is getting ridiculous," he said and moved over to John.

"Rodney," John said, but before he could say anything else, Rodney had his hands on the bottom of John's shirt and was pushing it up.

"What's under there?" Rodney asked. He tipped his head and took a step back. John wasn't showing yet, but he noticed every time he got out of the shower, that his belly was getting a little less firm and slightly poochy. "Letting yourself go, aren't you, John?" Rodney asked.

"Rodney," John complained.

"Eating too much and giving up on your constant running is a bit much just to pull off a prank, don't you think?"

John shook his head. "It's not a prank, Rodney," he sighed, "its true. There isn't anything hidden under my shirt to give the scanner a false read. What you see on that screen is what's happening to me. I'm pregnant, and that's a magical womb or something."

"It's not magic, John," Carson said, "I'm not sure what it is, but it's not magic. Rodney, have you gotten any further on the translation? It may say something about this, if getting John pregnant was their intention."

"Why would anyone want to make a man pregnant? Not only is it impossible, but it's pointless and stupid, especially when you consider that we had Teyla with us. As a woman, it would have been more practical to get her pregnant. You should have thought more about those things before you decided to go ahead with this."

John grunted and looked at Carson. "Is the scan done?" he asked.

"Aye," Carson sighed.

"Good," John said and got up. He looked at Rodney, "You know, seeing that you're part of this, it kind of hurts that you think I'm lying."

Rodney just chuckled. "Nice try Colonel," he said.

John sighed and started toward the door.

"Colonel," Carson called, "one moment please, I have something for you."

John stopped and turned back to see Carson hurry into his office only to come out a moment later with a book under his arm. "I keep a few copies of this on hand," Carson said as he came over to John, "I never thought I'd be handing one to a man though."

John took the book when Carson held it out.

"Oh please," Rodney scoffed and rolled his eyes. "What To Expect When You're Expecting? Really? Carson, you've gone all out for him." He looked at John and John recognized the look on the scientists face. "Is this why you're doing it, John? If you're with Carson, just tell me and drop the act, it's not healthy for either of you. It's not like I'm trying to get you back in bed after all. It happened, it's over, move on."

John looked from Rodney to Carson and back again. "Rodney, I'm not with anyone," he said.

"I get it, John," Rodney said and walked away.

John looked at Carson and shrugged. "See you next Monday, Doc."


John didn't see much of Rodney after that, not close up anyway, but he had seen him a few more times in the background. John was beginning to feel better; he wasn't throwing up anymore, although he was still queasy, so he spent more time out of his room. He still wasn't exactly showing, but he had noticed that his pants were fitting a little more uncomfortably, which worried him a bit. He wasn't only four months along, and already his pants were getting tight. He had three pairs of sweatpants to his name; and even those weren't exactly loose, so he had to start thinking about what he was going to wear when his clothes stopped fitting all together. He'd decided a while back that he wasn't going to order anything from Earth, not only because he didn't know what he'd do with the clothes after he had the baby, but also because every person in the city was at least somewhat fit. If he started ordering extra large and 2X clothes, someone who didn't need to know the situation would begin to get suspicious. Since his clothes were too tight, he'd begun wearing little more than boxers when he was in his room. It was awkward to take his pants off at the end of the day and see a ring of wrinkled and indented skin around his waist. He'd never been marked by his clothes in all his life.

He'd also been spending a lot of his free time reading the book Carson had given him, some of which he absolutely refused to believe would happen to him. If his chest started getting bigger, he was going to lock himself in his room and never come out again. He also wasn't going to get emotional. He couldn't imagine himself crying at a commercial for Snuggle fabric softener, which was an example given in the book. He wasn't going to let his feet swell either. He may be pregnant, but he decided that he was going to do it like a man. Although, even though he wouldn't admit it to anyone including himself, he may have gotten a little misty eyed when Teyla brought Torrin into the mess one morning and he said momma for the first time and Teyla nearly cried. That was right about the time when he found out that the rumor mill was doing its job. He started receiving gifts, most of which were from the female members of the expedition. One of the scientists John didn't even know had given him a big tub of cocoa butter lotion and told him it worked wonders on stretch marks, the only problem with that was that the smell of it made John gag every time he took the lid off. He accepted the gifts and thanked everyone for being so thoughtful, but he was a little bit bothered by how easily most of the people in the city were accepting the fact that he was pregnant. He wondered how Rodney was dealing with the fact that a lot more people knew about the pregnancy now, he had to start realizing that John was telling the truth, simply for the fact that there was no way that John would be able to get an entire city in on a prank. He wanted to talk to Rodney again, see if he could somehow get him to believe, but every time John went looking for him, Rodney was never around.


John looked up from his book when his door swooshed open.

"Oh my God, John," Rodney huffed as he came into the room, "you're really reading that book?"

"Yes, Rodney," John replied. "I'm really reading the book. I am expecting a baby after all."

It was the first time that Rodney didn't make a face at him, he just looked at John, reclined on the bed, half naked, and leaning against the wall with the What To Expect book open on his lap. John didn't say anything at all when he saw Rodney's eyes wander to John's belly. He didn't even move for fear of interrupting Rodney's thought process.

"Here," Rodney said after another moment and threw something at John.

John flinched but caught one of the tiny blue things. "What's this?" he asked as he picked up the booty that had landed on his stomach.

"Miko made them," Rodney said and rolled his eyes. "She's been knitting like an eighty year old woman. Apparently, she's making a tiny little scientist shirt and something that's supposed to look Air Force."

"Aww, that's nice, I didn't know she could knit."

"I told her that neither scientists nor Air Force pilots wore knitted things."

"You should be nice to her, Rodney. She's making things for the baby."

"Yeah, right. I'd be nice if there weren't skeins of yarn all over the lab. Some of it is extremely fuzzy and it's getting my allergies worked up."

"Skeins?" John asked.

"It's what they call the weird rolls of yarn that don't look like balls."

"How do you know that?" John asked, amused.

"My mother used to knit all the time, which is why, if I ever did have kids, I wouldn't accept knitted things for them. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to wear a sweater that's two sizes too big, and several different colors to school? It's horrifying."

"Well, I'll make sure not to put anything that awful on the baby once it's born, and what I do put on it, will all be one color." John smiled at Rodney but Rodney just rolled his eyes and left the room.

John took it as a good sign that Rodney hadn't denied the fact that John was pregnant, not in so many words anyway.


John hadn't jerked off in nearly a month; the last time had been on his bed. He'd been thinking about Carla Freeman, his last girlfriend, who had been two years before the Atlantis mission. She was gorgeous; long brunette hair, tall, a little on the thicker side and she was absolutely amazing in bed. John had plenty of memories to draw from, and fantasizing about her always worked. That time though, he'd been stroking himself for about twenty minutes, and nothing was happening, then he heard Rodney's voice over the citywide intercom and had come like a rocket. That had disturbed him so much that he hadn't so much as thought about his dick let alone touch it for any reason other than to take a piss.

This morning, however, he woke up with an erection so hard that it hurt to move. Sighing, he pushed his boxers down, wrapped his hand around his dick, called up the tried and true images of Carla and hoped that Rodney didn't have to make any announcements today. He closed his eyes and let the story in his head unfold. Carla was on her knees with his dick in her mouth and John began stroking himself. He didn't know when the fantasy morphed into Rodney, but suddenly there he was sucking John's dick. John groaned and huffed out a harsh breath and realized that he was striping his dick practically raw and soft moans were riding each exhale. He didn't stop, it felt too good to stop and he was too close to stop, he bit his lip and prepared for an amazing climax. "Oh, fuck," he breathed. A moment later, he gasped, stopped, and looked down in either wonder or horror. He couldn't decide which he felt, but his erection was gone and he hadn't come. He didn't know if what he'd just felt was normal, so he grabbed the book off his night stand and began flipping through it. When he felt it again, he tossed the book aside, got up, dressed and called Carson even as he was making his way to the infirmary.

"Colonel," Carson said, meeting him in the hallway, "what's wrong? You sounded anxious."

"Yeah," John agreed as he continued to the infirmary. He remembered the exact moment when he'd decided to keep the baby, and while there was still an emotional detachment, he'd been thinking about the baby when he made the decision. He didn't, however, remember the moment when he began actually caring about it, even loving it, but that's why he was so bothered with what had just happened. He'd never felt it before, and he didn't understand it so he was worried about the baby.

"What's wrong, colonel?" Carson pushed as he followed John over to the scanning table.

"Something happened," John said and hopped onto the table and laid back. "You need to take a scan and make sure everything's okay."

Without another word, Carson started the scanner and watched as the images appeared on the screen.

"Everything looks fine, John, what happened?" he asked.

John sighed as he sat up and looked at the images on the screen. "Are you sure it's okay?" he asked.

"Everything looks perfect. Now please, tell me what has you so bothered."

John looked around. There were only a few nurses in sight, but John ushered Carson into the office anyway and shut the door behind him.

"What?" Carson asked, obviously growing impatient.

"I was..." John paused, wondering what would be the best phrase to use would be... jerking off? Masturbating?

"Yes?" Carson said, and there was no doubt that he was tired of waiting.

"I was..." he sighed and made an inappropriate hand gesture, "and I felt something that didn't feel normal."

Carson raised a brow, "I thought you meant there was something wrong with the baby. I can scan lower if you'd like."

John tipped his head and stared at Carson for a moment. "Not there, Doc, in my stomach."

"Oh," Carson said and blushed a little. "What kind of feeling?"

"I don't know, but it was weird, kind of felt like... you know when someone blows a raspberry on your stomach?"

Carson raised his brow again but nodded.

"It was kind of like that, only softer."

Carson smiled and gave a soft chuckle. "You're five months pregnant, John," he said.

"I know that, that's why it worries me."

"If you're keeping a baby book, you should write the date and time in it."


"You just felt the baby move, John, and if you're not keeping a baby book, you should start. Interesting things are going to start happening now."

John stopped paying attention to Carson after he heard that the baby had moved. "It moved?" he asked.

"Yes, John," Carson said softly.

"That's not what I thought it would feel like."

"It'll feel different as the baby grows. It's still very small right now. Once it begins to get more cramped inside, you'll feel it much more."

"Wow," John said and looked down at his stomach. It was a little bigger now, and definitely more rounded, he'd had to stop buttoning his pants, and he could only zip them about halfway before it got too uncomfortable. "Wow," he said again and put his hand on his belly.

"Carson, I need... oh," Rodney said from the doorway.

John hadn't even heard the door open, but he turned around and looked at Rodney.

"What?" Rodney asked, "Why do you have the goofy look on your face?"

John's face split into a grin and he laughed. "It moved, Rodney," he said.

Rodney looked utterly confused. "As I understand it, it does that when you get aroused."

"What?" John asked and looked at his stomach again.

"It's all part of being a guy, buddy," Rodney replied.

John huffed a breath and looked up at him in sheer disbelief. "That wasn't even what I was talking about," he said.

Rodney's face seemed to get a little paler and John noticed his eyes wandering downward again. "Carson, I'll come back later," he said quickly and hurried away.

"I think you may be getting to him," Carson said, but John didn't pay him any attention. His mind was still stuck on the fact that his baby had moved.


"Prove it!"

John looked up from his book and saw Rodney standing in his quarters. "What?" he asked.

"Prove it," Rodney said again.

"Prove what?" John asked and sat the book on the nightstand.

"You said you felt movement. You want me to believe that you're pregnant, so prove it." He walked further into the room and stood beside John's bed. He looked down at him for a moment and John just looked back up at him, then without any kind of notice, Rodney knelt down and put his hand on John's stomach. "Make it move," he said.

John grunted and looked at Rodney, "I can't make it do anything, Rodney," John replied. "I may be carrying it, but all I can do is feed it."

Rodney didn't move his hand, but he didn't say anything either. After a few minutes, Rodney sighed and looked at John, "It's not moving," he said in an accusatory tone.

"It's not my fault," John replied.

"You are the one who wants me to believe that you're pregnant, John, remember? This is the only way I'll believe."

"You saw the scan, Rodney."

"That could easily be manipulated in Photoshop."

"Like I know how to use Photoshop."

"Carson does, I'm sure."

"Maybe he does, but that doesn't have anything to do with me or the baby."

"I don't believe pictures, John, so make it move."

"Rodney! I can't make it move."

"Well... what were you doing when you felt it the first time?"

John felt his ears and cheeks get hot and he just shook his head. "You don't want to know," he said.

"Sure I do, what was it? Reading the Expecting book? Getting dressed? Taking a shit?"


"What? What were you doing?"

"Nothing of coincidence."

"John, what we you doing?" Rodney demanded.

John was silent. He didn't want to tell Rodney that he was jerking off, let alone that he was doing it to images of Rodney sucking his dick.

"Okay then," Rodney said, "Not pregnant, I knew it was a prank."

"Jesus Christ, Rodney! It's not a fucking prank!"

"Then why won't you tell me what you were doing that made the baby move?"

"Because it's fucking creepy!" John spat back.

"Taking a shower? Going for a run? Sparring with Ronon?"

"No, I don't spar anymore; Carson said it's not good for the baby. Now I do some pregnant yoga with Teyla, it's kind of embarrassing."

"So that's what you were doing then? Pregnant yoga and you felt it move."

John sighed and shook his head.

"Alright then, I'll see you later, John. Have fun with your delusion."

John had a bit of an internal freak out when he felt Rodney begin to move. This was his chance, probably his only chance, to get Rodney to believe. "I was jerking off, Rodney!" he shouted. His ears went hot again, but it did the trick. Rodney stopped moving and his hand was still on John's stomach. John sighed and shook his head.

"That is kind of creepy," Rodney said.

"Yeah well, it gets worse," John said, deciding that since he was in for a penny he may as well go in for a pound.

"How can it get any worse?" Rodney asked.

John sighed again and wondered for a moment how he should word it. "I was jerking off to images of the baby's father."

Rodney's face went slack and his color changed a bit. "Um..." he said and looked at John. "I'm the father."

John's stomach did a little flip but he kept his features neutral, or at least he hoped he did. "I know," he replied.

"So you were... ah... to images of me?"

John nodded and kept his eyes on Rodney. "Yeah," he said. This was an enormous step. Not only did Rodney not deny the baby's existence, but he admitted to being the father, without any prompting from John.

"What was I doing?" Rodney asked.

John didn't say anything.

"Oh come on, John, you can't tell me something like that and not give me some kind of details. I'm not asking for a full blown visual. Just tell me what I was doing."

"No," John replied and turned away.

"Why not?"

"Do you believe?"

"Believe what?"


"Oh, right, the whole pregnant thing."

"Yeah, 'the whole pregnant thing,' do you believe?"

"Not exactly, I still haven't felt it move."


"Nope, I told you that feeling it was the only way I'd believe and I haven't felt it."

"Just..." John sighed and got off the bed. He went over to the balcony door and it opened in front of him. "Just go away, Rodney," he said and walked out into the fresh salt air. He supposed it was a two steps forward one step back kind of situation. When he thought about it, and he really had thought about it, and talked about it with Dr. Steffonovitch, if his and Rodney's roles were reversed, he probably wouldn't believe it either. But now he knew the first person he'd call when he felt it move again.


As John began to show even more, Carson and Dr. Steffonovitch decided that John's psych meetings should be bi-weekly as opposed to monthly, so John was not only getting used to the meetings, he was getting a little more comfortable with them too. This morning when he showed up for his appointment, he just barged in and took a seat on the chair. The conversation had started with John being worried that he hadn't felt the baby move since the first time but that Carson said everything was fine. They stayed on that topic for awhile; about how John was feeling about the baby, how his emotions and moods were doing, but as he always did, Steffonovitch sneakily switched the conversation to Rodney, or John's parents, or his relationship with his brother, or his past relationships. Today, it was his marriage to Nancy, and the transition was so smooth that John didn't even realize it'd happened until he was deep into the conversation.

"No," John responded to Steffonovitch's question, "Nancy didn't want kids. She said they'd ruin her career and her figure."

"How was that for you?" the Doctor asked as he wrote on his pad.

"Actually, it didn't bother me too much."

"But you have stated that you have wanted kids for a long time now," Steffonovitch reminded John.

"I know, and I wanted them then too. I just didn't want them with her."

"You did not want to have children with your wife?"

John chuckled and shook his head. "Doc, we may have been married, but we were far from husband and wife."

"So why did you marry her?"

John shrugged. "My family liked her, and it was something I was supposed to do."

"How was the relationship before you married?" the Doctor prompted.

"We got along well enough," John answered. "We had some similar interests. I'd actually met her in college and we hung out a little bit, nothing serious. I was never interested in her in a romantic way, and then I met her again once on leave. It was nice; we rehashed old times, had a few drinks, and I went back to her hotel room."

"How was that?"

"Doc," John said incredulously.

The Doctor chuckled, "not the sex, John, the relationship."

"Oh, well it was okay. I still wasn't exactly interested in her, but she was there, and like I said, every Sheppard is expected to get married by a certain age. She was kind of pretty and I didn't hate her."

"That is not a good reason to get married, John," Steffonovitch admonished.

"Yeah well, you aren't a Sheppard, Doc."

"With a little time, I am sure you would have found the woman that you were romantically interested in and that you would have wanted to have children with."

"Not likely," John replied.

"Why is that?"

"Because, I've never been..." John stopped, furrowed his brow and looked away from the Doctor.

"Yes?" Steffonovitch pressed.

John didn't say anything; he just kept staring at the wall. The realization he'd just had seemed to have started his mind moving in a different direction and certain memories were starting to line up. Things that he'd apparently long forgotten started resurfacing; certain things his father had said, drilled into him and Dave from their earliest days, a conversation with his mother when he'd been caught doing something he shouldn't have. His breathing became a bit faster as his mind whirled with all the memories and new information about himself.

"John," he heard the Doctor say in a concerned tone, "is everything alright?"

After another moment, John finally looked at the Doctor. "Oh my God," he said his chest heavy and his stomach a little on edge, "I was never straight."

"Pardon?" Steffonovitch asked.

"I told Rodney I was straight... I've told everyone I was straight but... I've never been romantically interested in women. I've never really even enjoyed regular sex with women, and..." John sighed and shook his head. "I was caught sucking a boy off when I was twelve years old. My mom scolded me and told me if my father ever found out he'd beat the shit out of me."

"What happened?"

"My father found out and he beat the shit out of me. That was why I was in the hospital for two days. All these years, I thought it was because I'd had my appendix out." He shook his head. "I need to ask Carson if I still have that or if that memory was just mashed in with the other one."

"John," Steffonovitch said softly and put his pad and pen down, "are you alright? You look rather pale and a bit green."

John looked at the Doctor and shook his head softly, "I just realized after more than thirty years that I'm gay. I think I might need a minute to digest that."

"I understand. Would you like to lie on the couch for the rest of our time?"

"No," John replied and stood up. "I think I need to go, now." He walked over toward the door on legs that felt like jelly. "See you in two weeks Doc."

"Or sooner, if you need to, John. I'm always available to you."

"Okay," John said left the office.

When John got back to his quarters, he felt like a zombie, like he was running on auto-pilot. His mind was so full of things he'd repressed, even as they were happening. He stood in front of the full length mirror and looked at his reflection. The Doctor was right, he did look sick but he didn't think anyone who'd just realized that they were gay after a lifetime of looking for the right woman would look any better. Sighing, he lifted off his shirt and looked at his rounded belly. His eyes slid down, looking for the appendix scar. "I'm a fucking idiot," John said as his hand slid over the smooth skin. "I'm the biggest moron in two galaxies."

His knees went weak as he realized that he had no idea who he was, he'd been a fake for most of his life. He moved slowly over to the bed and sat down ungracefully, staring off into space as the memories of feelings he hadn't even known he'd had continued to flood his mind. All the women he'd walked away from feeling unsatisfied with the sex; even Carla Freeman, although that was the best sex John had ever had. Now that he thought of it, she was so terrified of getting pregnant that she'd only ever let John fuck her in the ass, and John had never had a problem with that. Now that it was all coming back, he remembered the tiny little flips his stomach had done when he'd met certain people throughout his life; the new boy that came to his school in the sixth grade, his junior high swimming teacher, his high school football coach, his calculus professor in college, Holland, and Rodney... "Oh shit," John said at the last bit. His stomach did a massive turn and John heaved himself up off the bed and rushed into the bathroom, getting there just in time to get his lunch into the toilet. "Oh God," he said as he crumpled onto the bathroom floor, laying his cheek on the cold tiles, "Rodney."

John finally rolled onto his back, and it felt like he was lying on a golf ball, but he couldn't be bothered with moving just yet. Things were still washing over him and he didn't think he had the strength to even move. When the bombardment did begin to fade a bit, John was left feeling ravaged. His head ached and he was utterly exhausted, but at least now he understood why it was so important to him for Rodney to believe that he was pregnant and to accept it. After another few minutes, John struggled to his feet and left his quarters. He made his way through the halls and into the infirmary where he walked into Carson's office without so much as a knock.

"John," Carson said, then his color drained and he stood up and hurried around the desk to John. "What's happened? Is everything alright?" he asked.

John shrugged and just stared at the Doctor. "I still have my appendix," he said in a monotone.

Carson looked a bit confused but he nodded. "I'm aware of that," he said.

"I thought it was gone."


"I thought... I had appendix surgery when I was twelve."

Carson was silent for a moment, then he led John over to the chair and helped him into it. "Are you sure everything's alright?"

John looked up at Carson and sighed, "I'm gay, Carson," he admitted.

Carson sat down in the chair beside John and nodded. "Alright," he said softly.

"I didn't have my appendix out," John said again. "My father put me in the hospital."

Carson sighed. "I have your medical file, John; the entire thing beginning with your birth record up to your last physical before joining the program and everything from here. I am aware of the fact that you were in the hospital at age twelve. From your injuries, I'd assumed it was abuse that put you there. I never brought it up because it hadn't happened again."

"No," John said, "I conformed after that. I became who he wanted me to be and I've been that person until just a couple of hours ago when I was talking to Steffonovitch. Now I don't know who I am and... I have an appendix."

"Somehow, I don't think it's your appendix that has you this bothered, John," Carson said.

John shook his head. "No, not the appendix."

Carson nodded, "John, if you'd like, I have a cot in my quarters. I know how stressful these kinds of revelations can be and in your condition, you're prone to higher emotional levels."

"People are supposed to go through the finding yourself stage of life in their teenage years, early twenties at most. I'm almost fifty, Carson; this is a little... strange."

"I understand, John."

John sighed and got up off the chair. "Thanks for the offer, Doc, but I think I'll be alright alone."

"Alright, but the offer is open if you do need it." John nodded and left the office.


It was almost three weeks before John came to terms with the fact that his life was never going to be the same, for more reasons than just the baby. He was six months along when he went to Rodney's quarters looking for the scientist. He rang the chime several times before he thought the door open and just went inside. "Rodney?" he called, "you in here?" He thought Rodney could have passed out after an all nighter in the lab and hadn't heard the chime, but Rodney wasn't there.

John was turning to leave when What To Expect When You're Expecting, caught his eye. He chuckled, went over to the desk, and picked it up, opening to the marked page. He was surprised to see that Rodney was even further in than he was; Rodney was almost finished with the book. John got a thick feeling in his chest and turned to the front. The first page had scribblings in the margins and as John flipped through, he found similar writing on every page. John took the book over to the bed, sat down and began reading Rodney's notes. As he got further and further into it, he noticed that the tone of Rodney's writing was changing. It had started with technical observations like, 'Sheppard ill- looks pale and isn't eating,' and 'seems to be gaining weight'. From there, the observations got a bit more personal. 'Sheppard seems to be feeling better, he's eating again and still gaining weight, possibly more than he should. He should eat better than turkey sandwiches, although he has begun leaving the lettuce on and that's a step in the right direction.' and 'Sheppard has started running again, I'm not sure how that will affect things. Will talk to Carson.'

Even further into the book, the observations became even more personal, and Rodney had started writing John instead of Sheppard. 'John's stomach is definitely getting bigger and is taking on a rounded shape, this is beginning to worry me.' and 'saw John eating a fruit salad today, Carson must have given him my suggestions.'

John looked up from the book, his head felt full and his body felt heavy. Did this mean that Rodney did actually believe him, or was this just an experiment for him? He didn't know, but the fact that Rodney had gotten a copy of the same book John was reading had to be a sign of something, he just hoped it was a good one. He sighed and put the book back on the desk, then he left the room, he needed to find Rodney before he lost his courage.

"You were right," John said as he walked into Rodney's office.

"I know, I usually am," Rodney replied. After a moment he looked up from his computer. "Just so we're on the same page, which time are you referring to?"

"The time... times, when you told me I was oblivious," John replied and sat down on Rodney's couch.

"Oh yeah, well you are oblivious, but out of curiosity, what made you realize I was right? Although you should have just believed me since I'm always right."

John looked down at his stomach; it was quite a bit bigger now. He couldn't wear his pants anymore so he'd started having to wash his sweats every three days. Even the sweats were getting so uncomfortable that he had to wear the waistband under his belly, but thankfully Ronon had given John a few shirts to cover the exposed bits.

Rodney cleared his throat impatiently and John looked at him. "Are you going to tell me?" Rodney asked, "Because if you're not, I am rather busy with this translation."

"How's that going anyway?" John asked.

"It's very difficult, but I think I may be getting close. Now, tell me, or leave."

John took a deep breath and sighed it out. "Well, um... I'm not who... I mean, it's strange but I..."

"John, please," Rodney spat, "I really am busy."

John sighed and got up. "Never mind, just... I guess, come find me when you get a minute."

He was almost to the door when he heard Rodney sigh. "John, wait," he said and John turned to face him. "I'm sorry, go ahead. Tell me whatever it is you came to tell me."

John looked down at the floor. Suddenly he wasn't sure he really wanted anyone to know. It was very embarrassing that he'd just realized who he was after all, and Rodney might poke at that for awhile and that would make it worse.

"John?" Rodney asked, but he didn't sound impatient anymore. In fact, he sounded a bit concerned.

John looked up at Rodney and tried to smile. "Remember on the bug planet, when I said..."

"Yeah," Rodney interrupted, the hurt tone was back, "I remember."

"No, I mean... when I said I was... "John sighed and shook his head. "It turns out that I'm not as straight as I thought I was," he said.

When John looked at Rodney, the scientist's mouth was slightly ajar and he was just staring at John.


Rodney shook his head. "John," he said softly, "that isn't something you just figure out after... what? More than forty years. If you were gay, or even bi-sexual, you'd have known a long time ago."

"I know, that's what I said, but..." he sighed again and started talking. Before he knew it, he and Rodney were sitting on the couch and John had told Rodney the entire story, starting with the boy behind his father's barn and ending with his revelations that led to him lying on the bathroom floor.

"John," Rodney said and looked at him. He shook his head and reached his hand out to touch John's arm. "I'm... god I'm sorry that happened to you. I can't even imagine what you must be feeling like right now."

"Well, actually, I kind of feel like the only survivor on a ship lost in space. You know the kind; the life support is failing and I can't get home," he chuckled and it sounded hollow even to his own ears.

"John," Rodney said and scooted a little closer. "You're not alone, I'm sorry I've been such a dick but... well, since we're making confessions here, I've wanted you since I told you to picture where we were in the universe and you were smart enough to do it. That's why you saying nothing happened on the bug planet hurt me so much. It was like getting a free sample of something I can't afford to buy."

John didn't know why, but his lungs suddenly burned and he realized that he was holding his breath. As he inhaled, he felt the warmth of tears on his cheeks.

Rodney's features went unbelievably soft and he pulled John into his arms. "It's okay, John," he said. "I guess we were both a little oblivious, and rather stupid."

John gasped when he felt a thump against his stomach. He pulled back from Rodney and looked down.

"What?" Rodney asked.

"It moved," John said excitedly. "I haven't felt it since that first- oh!" he put his hand on his stomach and looked at Rodney. He reached out for Rodney's hand and Rodney reluctantly gave it to him. John put Rodney's hand on the place he'd felt the baby kick, and thankfully the kid didn't disappoint this time.

Rodney jerked his hand away and stared at John, his eyes as big as saucers. "Oh my god," he said and looked at John's stomach. "You really are pregnant."

John chuckled and nodded, "That's what I've been trying to tell you."

"Holy shit, John, you're pregnant."

"I know."

Rodney didn't look away from John's stomach for a long time, and when he did look back at John's face, Rodney's eyes were a bit shiny. "I'm sorry, John," he whispered.

"Its okay, Rodney," John replied. "At least you believe me now."

"Yeah," Rodney said and put his hand back on John's stomach, "I believe you."


Carson looked up when John cleared his throat. He smiled at John and John watched as Carson's eyes slid over to Rodney. "John?" he asked.

"I'm here for the ultrasound," John told him, but Carson was still looking at Rodney.

"Come on, Carson, let's get this started," Rodney demanded.

"Rodney, I don't want you causing John any undue stress."

"I'm not going to cause him stress. Just do the ultrasound and make sure you tell us what it is."

"But I don't want to know what it is," John whined.

"But I do," Rodney replied, "I don't like surprises. Well, I like them I just don't like not knowing what they are in advance." "Then they're not surprises," John told him.

"I know that," Rodney spat back.

"Um... John?" Carson asked and looked between John and Rodney.

"Oh yeah, its fine, Carson," John told him. "Remember that conversation we had awhile back about my appendix?"

"Aye," Carson nodded.

"Well Rodney and I had the same conversation, only I didn't mention my appendix and I added a few more details."

"Your appendix?" Rodney asked.

John chuckled, "I'll tell you about that later," John said and pulled Rodney out of the office. "Come on Doc."

John had his eyes glued to the screen as Carson did the ultrasound. He'd had one done early on, and the rest had just been scans that were less detailed but let Carson know if everything was on track.

"Oh, good," John said as the image appeared, "it looks more like a human now."

"Aye," Carson said as he moved the wand over John's stomach, "I told you it would."

"What did it used to look like?" Rodney asked. He was holding John's hand rather tightly and his eyes were stuck on the screen. John could have said that Rodney's grip was a bit too tight, but he didn't want to. It was just nice to have Rodney there with him.

John chuckled as the memory of the first ultrasound came to mind. "When I got the first ultrasound," he began, "it looked like a praying mantis. I was absolutely terrified that I'd be giving birth to a giant bug, but Carson assured me that all the scans I'd had said it was human. I still had nightmares though, really bad scary nightmares where the first night the baby was born it tried to eat my head."

"Oh God, John!" Rodney said and his eyes finally left the screen and he looked down at John, "that's horrible."

"I know," John replied, "it had Steffonovitch writing on his pad so fast I could swear I saw smoke rising."

Carson chuckled and turned a dial on the machine.

"What's that?" Rodney asked and looked back up at the screen.

"The heartbeat," John said softly. He'd heard that sound a few times now, but this time it made his chest ache and he looked up at Rodney. "That's our baby's heartbeat," he said again.

"Wow," Rodney said and squeezed John's hand tighter, "that's amazing."

"Yeah," John whispered as a tight knot formed in his throat.


John woke up to a soft tickling sensation on his belly, and when he opened his eyes, he saw Rodney kneeling beside the bed. He was rubbing John's stomach. John cleared his throat and Rodney jumped a bit and looked up at him.

"Sorry," Rodney said with a soft smile, "I didn't mean to wake you."

"What time is it?" John asked sleepily. He could have easily turned his head to look at the clock on the nightstand, but the sight he was looking at was too beautiful to turn away from.

"Two AM," Rodney replied.

"Is something wrong?" John asked and started to sit up.

Rodney put his hand on John's shoulder and kept him from getting up. "No, everything's fine, I was just thinking about some things."

"What kind of things?" John asked.

Rodney stood up and looked down at John, "Do you mind if I lay with you?" he asked.

"No," John replied and scooted over to the edge of the small bed. Rodney lifted his shirt off and pushed his pants down. When he lay down beside John, they were both only in their boxers.

"What were you thinking about?" John asked as he lifted his head, letting Rodney slip his arm under it. He snuggled in close and Rodney began rubbing his belly again.

"I was thinking, you know, since we're going to have a baby, and we've both admitted that we're interested in each other, we should make it official."

John sighed, he wanted nothing more, but he was still in the military. "Rodney, I-"

"I know, John," Rodney interrupted. "I didn't mean we should make it official to everyone, just us and a few people who probably know already."

"People know?" John asked and lifted his face to look at Rodney.

Rodney laughed lightly and nodded. "There goes that oblivious thing again," he said.

"Who knows?"

"Carson for one, Teyla and Ronon mentioned that they've noticed a marked improvement in you since we, quote, 'got together,' and I'm pretty sure Radek knows too."

"Oh, that's not too bad then."

"No, so what do you say? Will you be my main squeeze?"

John crinkled his nose and snarled his lip, "as long as you promise never to use that phrase again."

"Okay then. I took the liberty of finding us family sized quarters, it's one floor up in the same hall a few of our non-military couples live there, as well as a few couples you're not supposed to know about."

"What?" John asked and furrowed his brow.

Rodney chuckled again, "Don't tell me you haven't noticed how often Evan Lorne comes down to the labs."

"No, I noticed. I just thought he was interested in someone."

"He was," Rodney said, "and they're together now."

"Who is it?"

Rodney kissed John head and patted his shoulder, making John's head nod a bit. "Who do you think?"

"Not you," John said, "you seem like a one man guy."

"I am, and so is Radek."

John's eyes went a little wide and he looked up at Rodney again. "Lorne's gay? I had no idea."

"This coming from the man who didn't even know he was gay until he was in his forties, I'm not surprised."

"Rodney," John said, but that little jab didn't really bother him because for the first time in his life, John was actually happy.

Rodney chuckled again, "so, do you want to go see those quarters?"

"It's two in the morning, Rodney, and if we move in together, a lot more people will know we're together."

"It'll be fine, John, trust me. And if anyone says anything, you and I have a baby together. Why wouldn't we live in the same place? It'd be much easier to share the parenting duties."

"I guess that's a valid point."

"Of course it is. Now relax and go back to sleep. We'll go see our new place tomorrow morning."

John sighed happily and snuggled in close again. "Okay," he agreed and closed his eyes.


It took them almost a month to get the okay for the move and to get all the paperwork filled out. John hadn't known that so much went into a move within the city. He had a new appreciation for whatever guy got the unfortunate duty of organizing all the files, even though everything was computerized.

Rodney had moved his mattress in first and John had fallen in love with it the moment he laid on it. The mattress hugged his body and made the parts that had been hurting for the past few months feel better than they had even before John had gotten pregnant. Rodney insisted on doing all the moving and unpacking, which John assumed meant that Ronon and a few of Rodney's lackeys would be doing all the moving, but John had no problem with that. Not after he'd lain on Rodney's heavenly mattress anyway, so he slept through most of moving day. By the time he woke up, Rodney was busy putting things away. Rodney had gone down to the mess sometime later and brought back dinner, saying that they should have their first meal in their new place, and John didn't argue.

"This place really is great, Rodney," John said as he sat on the couch after dinner and watched Rodney organize their combined DVD collection. They had a kitchen, a dining room, a living room and three bedrooms; it was like living in an actual house.

"I'm glad you like it," Rodney replied. He got off the floor and went over to sit beside John, "So," he said and leaned in close to John, "you like my bed huh?"

John chuckled and allowed himself to be kissed when Rodney moved in even closer. It hadn't taken long to get used to kissing Rodney; they were the best kisses John had ever had, and the most comfortable too. He didn't feel like he was forcing himself to do it, it just came naturally. He sighed when he felt Rodney's hand sliding up under his big shirt and over his belly, he gasped when Rodney's thumb brushed over his sensitive nipple.

"Yeah," John sighed when the kiss broke, "I really like your bed."

"Why don't we go lie down then?" Rodney asked and helped John off the couch.

John followed Rodney into their bedroom and they undressed down to their boxers once they were inside. John sighed as he stretched out on the bed again, this time with Rodney beside him. Rodney had spent the night with John a few times since they got together, but this was the first time they'd be spending the night in their own quarters. John was still nervous about the sexual part of their relationship. They hadn't done more than kiss yet and Rodney was moving very slowly, as if he thought John would realize he'd made a horrible mistake and call the whole thing off if Rodney did too much. John was almost eight months along now; he didn't think they'd be able to have sex even if John thought he was ready for that much, which he didn't... not yet.

They were kissing again and Rodney's hand was sliding over John's belly, dipping into the waistband of John's boxers. John was hard and leaking as he nipped at Rodney's lower lip, "Rodney," he whispered breathlessly.

Without a word, Rodney slid his hand further into John's boxers and brushed his finger along John's erection. John gasped and his hips bucked. "Rodney," he whispered again.

"Are you sure you're ready?" Rodney asked and moved his finger up to the head of John's cock, smearing the moisture that was there.

"Jesus, Rodney," John said and rolled his head back on the pillow. "Please, do something to my dick before it explodes."

Rodney chuckled and pulled his hand out of John's boxers and started pushing them down. "Oh that was romantic," he said lightly.

"Rodney," John complained, but before the word was even completely out, Rodney's hand was on John's dick. "Oh fuck," John breathed and gave a small whimpering moan as Rodney brushed his thumb over the head. A moment later, John's mind exploded as he felt a warm wet heat envelope him. He lifted his head and though all he saw was Rodney's head, he could feel his dick sliding further into Rodney's mouth. His balls clenched and he grunted as he came, before Rodney had even started moving back up. "Fuck," he sighed and dropped his head back as Rodney sucked hard, making John's empty balls tighten even more, squeezing out another weak spurt.

"Jesus, Rodney," John said and draped his arm over his eyes when Rodney released him. "Fuck, I'm sorry."

Rodney's hand returned to John's belly, and then John felt Rodney's soft lips on his. "Don't apologize, John," Rodney said. "I think that was damn near the hottest thing that has ever happened to me."

"I just..." John sighed and rolled his eyes under his eyelids.

"Look at me?" Rodney asked, and John took his arm away and looked at Rodney.

"It was like that was the first time I'd had a mouth on my dick. I came like a thirteen year old," John said and shook his head. "That's kind of embarrassing."

"John," Rodney said and kissed John again softly, "it's not anything to be embarrassed about, really. The book says that there comes a time when you'll get extremely sensitive sexually. Not to mention, I'm the father of your baby, that's got to be a major turn on."

John couldn't help the chuckle that escaped him and he nodded. "Yeah, that is a major turn on," he smiled and kissed Rodney. "Hopefully next time I'll at least be able to let you get a little further along before I come. I mean, I looked down and there you were and... fuck that was hot."

"Oh yeah," Rodney said softly, "you're gay."

"Now," John said and pushed Rodney onto his back. "You'll have to forgive my technique; I was twelve the last time I sucked a dick, but I think maybe it's time I tried again."

"No arguments here," Rodney said and pushed his boxers down and kicked them off the side of the bed. "Just... you know, don't pull something or go into labor or anything."


John sighed and looked down at his feet when he stepped out of the shower. "I told you we weren't going to go through this," he said loudly, "stupid body."

"John?" Rodney's voice called through the door, "who are you talking to?"

"My stupid body," John replied and wrapped a towel around his hips.

"Do you need me to get Steffonovitch?" Rodney asked.

"No! I'm not crazy, I'm just having an argument."

"With your body?"

"Yes!" John shouted and opened the door. Rodney was sitting at the computer and when John started limping out of the bathroom, Rodney turned around and looked at him.

"Are your feet swelling?" Rodney asked and got off the chair. "The book said they would."

"Yes, Rodney," John snapped, "I read that part too, the problem is, I told my body that this was one of the parts we were going to skip, but it didn't listen."

"Hence the argument?"

"Yes," John replied as he lay back on the bed.

"Do you want me to get Carson?" Rodney asked as he sat on the bed and pulled John's feet onto his lap.

John moaned when Rodney started massaging his tight feet. "Mmm, no, just keep doing that. Carson would just tell me to lie down and reduce fluid levels, prop my feet up, that sort of thing."

"Have your feet swelled before?"

"No," John said and closed his eyes, enjoying the feel of Rodney's warm hands on his feet.

"Then how do you know what he'd say?"

"Because, I talked to him about all the things I didn't want my body to do. He told me that they were likely going to happen whether I liked it or not and then he told me how to deal with them."

"And propping your feet and reducing fluid levels was what he said to do for swollen feet?"

"Yeah. I guess that meat we had for dinner last night had too much salt in it. That's one of the reasons for the swelling."

"Hmm," Rodney hummed thoughtfully and started massaging a little higher; his hands were wrapped around John's ankles now. "I know a pretty good way to reduce fluid levels."

"Yeah?" John asked. He had an idea of where Rodney was going with this, and he hoped he was right.

"Yeah," Rodney repeated and moved a little higher to massage John's calves.

John was getting hard even as Rodney moved so slowly. Before long, his dick had tented the towel, which barely covered anything to begin with.

"I see we're on the same page," Rodney said softly as his hand slid up John's thigh.

John reached down and unwrapped the towel, exposing himself to Rodney. "Yeah, I think we are," he said and put his hand on Rodney's arm. He pulled gently and Rodney willingly moved up the bed and lay beside John.

A Rodney kissed him, his hand wrapped around John's dick and made a slow stroke from bottom to top, where he ran his thumb over the head. John moaned and rolled his head to the side, breaking the kiss. "Yeah," he breathed and looked back at Rodney. They'd been living together for a week now, and John had gotten a little better at making himself last long enough for Rodney to enjoy. He'd also gotten a little better at reciprocating, although he hadn't found the most comfortable position yet.

"I don't want to suck you this time," Rodney said as he leaned down to lick along John's lower lip, "I want to watch you, I want to see your face when you come."

John dick twitched at the thought and he nodded. "Okay," he agreed.

Rodney tightened his hand around John's dick and stroked again. John hummed softly and tried to remember to keep facing Rodney. John had been jerked off before, but all of those times had been by women he hadn't cared about. But when Rodney touched him, it was like he was experiencing things for the first time. He couldn't believe that he'd willingly passed this up for so long, although he wondered if the boy he'd sucked had gotten to suck him in return if John would have been able to give it up so easily. He thought about how ironic it was that it was giant bugs that had set him on the road to figuring out who he really was.

"Shit John," Rodney whispered, his lips rubbing against John's ear. "You're so hot, lying there and letting me touch you like this. It's amazing, looking down and seeing your belly, big and round and full of my baby."

John sighed and closed his eyes. He would never have thought hearing those things would be a turn on, but god... that was probably the hottest thing he'd ever heard.

"I never wanted kids, but now... with you... Jesus, John," Rodney took a deep breath and moved his head away from John's. A moment later John felt Rodney rubbing his erection against John's hip and John thought he was about to come apart at the seams. If he'd had any doubts about whether or not his feelings were real or if he'd just made them up because he was afraid of being a single parent, he didn't anymore. Feeling Rodney rubbing himself off on John as he stroked John's dick was utterly mind blowing and he knew right then that this was how he was meant to spend the rest of his life. And even though it was the most awkward moment to have any kind of revelation about one's father, John realized that he had to thank Patrick Sheppard for being such a closed minded bastard. If he hadn't put John in the hospital, John would have grown up knowing he was gay, may not have made it into the military, settled down with some nobody on Earth and completely missed Rodney all together.

"Fuck," John grunted as he bucked up into Rodney's hand. "Rodney," he whined and closed his eyes. Rodney stopped moving his hips and began stroking John harder. A moment after John felt his own come squirt up onto his belly, Rodney jerked and the warmth of Rodney's come spread across the boxers that were still pressed against John's hip.

"God damn, John," Rodney groaned and John felt him move his fingers through the cooling come on John's stomach. "I never would have pegged myself as one to get off on the whole pregnant orgasm thing but... oh my God, that was hot."

John chuckled and focused on the feeling of Rodney's fingers still dancing across his belly. "I say my fluid levels have been effectively reduced," he said.

"Yeah, mine too," Rodney sighed and snuggled close to John.


John could no longer walk; he waddled everywhere he went. He was huge now and Carson said he was having a single baby, but John swore he had to have at least two or three in there. Teyla had gotten him some clothes from New Athos when even Ronon's shirts got too small. John appreciated the fact that he didn't have to walk around with his belly hanging out and even though the clothes weren't very fashionable, they were more comfortable than anything John had ever worn. John and Rodney had been talking about names for the past few days. Since John had won the argument on whether or not to know the sex of the baby, they had to think of a name for each sex. John was beginning wonder if he'd made the right decision in not wanting to know.

"Rodney," John said as he walked into the lab, "I just want you to know that the discussion we were having this morning is far from over."

"I think I got it," Rodney said.

"Good, because we are not letting everyone in the city write names and do a drawing. Our baby's name needs to be something we both like and have agreed... Rodney! Are you even listening to me?"

"What?" Rodney said and looked up. "Oh, John, hi, what are you doing here?"

"Rodney," John complained.

"I think I got it," Rodney said again.

"Okay, obviously you hadn't said that in response to what I had said, so what do you have?"

"I think I have the translation program worked out."

"Oh," John said and perked up a bit, "Well, let's hear it."

"Not yet. I told Woolsey that I'd tell him when I got it done."

John sighed but nodded. "Alright, but let's take the shortest route. My feet hurt and my back aches and-"

"John, why are you walking around the city anyway?"

John shook his head. "We'll talk about that later, let's just go see Woolsey and get this thing figured out. I want to know what those damn bugs said."

"Right," Rodney agreed and walked out of the lab with John in tow.


Rodney had set his laptop up in the conference room, and Woolsey had called Teyla and Ronon to join them, since they were all on the planet, the message could be to any one of them.

"Alright, Dr. McKay," Woolsey said, "go ahead."

"Alright," Rodney replied and started typing on the keyboard. "Here we go."

There was a moment when all they heard was the squeaky bug language, and then the computerized voice began translating. "Bipeds of planet Lantea, you have more ask of the service our provide. Service is been rendered and it has then moved beyond the agreed with time line for fee..."

Rodney paused the playback and stood up. "Yeah, I forgot to mention that it wasn't going to be completely accurate," he said.

"That was the best you could do?" Ronon asked.

"Hey! I'd like to see you do better Conan," Rodney spat back at him. "They don't even have words, it's all clicks and whistles. It's like trying to make out what the hell a mime is trying to say, I mean come on, do they really expect us to believe that they're stuck in a box? Most boxes have a hole in the top so why don't they just climb out?"

"What's a mine?" Ronon asked.

"A mime," Rodney corrected and rolled his eyes.

John chuckled and looked at Ronon. "If I wasn't a balloon, I'd show you what a mime is. I used to do a little miming in college."

"What!" Rodney asked and glared at John.

"Oh yeah," John replied, "you'd be surprised how much you can make when you're good."

"Jesus," Rodney sighed, "I can't believe I'm with an ex-mime." He shook his head and looked at John again. "They're like emaciated clowns, what were you thinking?"

John's face went slack as he thought about that. "Damn, you're right, Rodney. I hate clowns. Thanks for ruining the one memory I'm pretty sure is real," he said sarcastically.

"Well for your own sake, you'd better hope that memory was as fake as your appendix surgery."

"Um... appendix surgery?" Ronon asked.

"Excuse me," Woolsey finally broke in. "As amusing and equally as confusing as this conversation is, do you think we could get back on track? The bugs said something about services rendered and payment required. I'd like to know a little more about that."

"Oh, right, of course," Rodney said and sat back down. "Here we go."

Again, the bug language came though first before the translation program caught up. "If fee does not been gotten ahead of the month digit nine, the child will be taken."

John was shaking. He could feel the blood draining from his face, his mouth was dry as cotton, and his breathing was fast and shaky. "Rodney," he whimpered and an instant later he felt Rodney's arms around him. "They can't... you can't let them take the baby," he insisted and clutched at Rodney's arms.

"I have no intention of letting them have the baby," Rodney replied.

"I'll go back to the planet," Ronon said. He'd gotten up from his seat and was now standing beside John. "They're a bunch of bugs, it can't take too much to kill them all."

"No," Woolsey said, "I don't want to cause another war. The one we have with the Wraith is plenty, thank you."

"If they're all dead there will be no war," Ronon pointed out.

"There has to be a way to handle this in a civil manner."

"Civil?!" John shouted. "Weren't you listening? God damn it Woolsey, they want my fucking baby. Let Ronon go obliterate their entire fucking species."

"I understand that you're upset, Colonel-"

"Upset?" Rodney growled and stood up, but John held tight to his arm. "You haven't seen upset."

"Mr. Woolsey," Teyla said calmly. "I understand what John is experiencing. Michael wanted my baby and there is no feeling more distressing than knowing there is someone who wants to take your child for unknown reasons."

"What the hell do they want it for anyway?" John asked. "They're fucking bugs."

"Probably want it as a pet or a slave," Ronon said.

"So not helping, Ronon," Rodney hissed.

"He asked."

"Alright," Woolsey spoke and stood up, resting his hands on the table. "Rodney, has Dr. Zelenka had any success in finding mention of this race in the ancient database?"

"I think so. He mentioned that he had to dig really deep to find... something, but I cut him off before he could finish. You'll have to talk to him."

"Alright, I will. I'll also talk to Dr. Beckett and get his opinion on this matter. After we have a contingency plan, I'd like to send a communication to the bug planet using your translation program. Can you make it work both ways? Translate their language into ours and our language into theirs?"

"I'm a genius, so yes, I can do that."

"Get started on that then, in the meantime, John, I don't want you to worry about anything. We're not going to let the bugs or anyone else have your and Rodney's baby. We'll figure this out, but I'd like violence to be our last resort."

"So it's not counted out completely," Ronon stated.

"No, Ronon, not completely, but if it does come to that, you won't be going alone."

"There's one thing we need to keep in mind here," Rodney said.

"What's that?" Woolsey asked.

"John will be nine months in three and a half weeks, so whatever we do, we need to make it snappy."

"Understood, dismissed."


"I can't sleep, doc," John said as he sat beside Rodney on Steffonovitch's couch. "There was a time not too long ago when there was nothing that could keep me from sleeping, but this is my kid, my and Rodney's kid. This baby is essentially the thing that led me to knowing who I am and what I'll be doing with my life from here out."

"You need to rest, John, for yourself and for the baby," Steffonovitch replied.

"I know," John said angrily, "but I want to be figuring out how to save my child. The problem with that is that I'm not allowed on a gate team while I'm pregnant. There isn't a whole lot I can do in the city when it takes me ten minutes to walk down the hall to the transporter, and I'm not a scientist, so I won't be any help there either."

"If you know that those are the things that you could do to help, and you understand that they are impossible, you should be able to let go and allow the situation to be taken care of for you," the doctor told him matter of factly.

John sighed. He knew the doctor was right, but how was he supposed to let that happen? "I not only feel helpless, but useless as well. I am sitting back and letting everyone else handle the situation."

"You trust your fellow expedition members, yes?"

"Absolutely! I trust these people with my life, and if it was my life on the line I wouldn't be bothered in the least with letting others handle it. But it isn't my life they're trying to save."

"Rodney, do you have anything to add?"

Rodney had been sitting quietly beside John, holding his hand tightly and looking down at their clasped hands.

"He really isn't sleeping," Rodney said after a moment. "He's having nightmares, and from the sound of it, they're pretty bad."

"From the sound?" Steffonovitch asked. "Is he not telling you his dreams?"

"Well yeah, but I don't think it's my place to tell you. Dreams are private matters and these are particularly unsettling."

"I can only imagine. John, would you like to share a few of your nightmares with me? Perhaps I can help calm your fears."

"I don't think there's anything you'd be able to do, Doc. It's not like they're just irrational thoughts that can be explained away. These nightmares are coming from the fact that I have no idea what these bugs want with a human baby."

"Tell me anyway," the doctor insisted.

"Alright," John sighed. "The first one I had, the baby was in a cage, and there was a sign on the bars that said 'don't feed the human'-"

"Which is just stupid, if they didn't feed it-"

"Rodney," Steffonovitch scolded gently, "please let John finish."

"Sorry, go ahead John."

Shaking his head, John continued. "Then I dreamed that the baby was older. It was wearing a yolk and being forced to carry huge baskets of leaves and flowers to the bugs table. And the most recent one was even worse than those," John closed his eyes, not wanting to talk about the dream that had him sweating and shaking in Rodney's arms, tears streaming down his face.

"Yes?" the doctor coaxed.

After a moment, Rodney sighed and pulled John into his arms, "he dreamed that they had captured the two of us, cut the baby out of him and made us watch as they threw it in an incinerator."

The doctor mumbled something in German that couldn't have been anything but a curse word.

"Yeah, that was pretty much what I said, only I said it in English," Rodney said and rubbed John's shoulder when he stared lightly shaking.

"It's awful, Doc. Not only can I not sleep, but those images haunt me even when I'm awake. We just need to send Ronon and some soldiers to the planet and have the entire race exterminated."

"That is not a very humane way of thinking, John."

John glared at the doctor. "You have kids, right, Doc?" he asked.

"I do. They are adults now, but they are still my children."

"Then imagine how fucking humane you would have been if something was threatening their lives before they were even born. Forgive me, but I'm not worried about right or wrong right now. All I care about is extinguishing the threat to my baby, and that's the best way to ensure that the threat is gone for good."

"Perhaps there is just a misunderstanding due to a language barrier," Steffonovitch said.

"I guess we'll see about that in a few hours," Rodney said.

"A few hours?" John asked and looked up at him. "What are you talking about?"

Rodney shrugged, "I didn't tell you because I didn't want to cause you more worry, but I fixed the program to translate both ways. Woolsey is composing a message to be sent to the bug planet as we speak. He's going to ask if we'd be allowed to send a team through to discuss what they want as payment."

"Send a... Rodney! That's how we got into this. That's how I got pregnant, remember?"

"Yes, John, I remember, I was there too. But Carson decided that since whatever affected us didn't affect Ronon and Teyla, it had to be something to do with the ATA gene. The fact that these bugs had dealings with the Ancients just made it more believable. They're sending only non ATA carriers. Ronon and Teyla are going, and so is Wes Ferreh, whoever that is."

"He's a newer soldier, Irish, I think. He's very good," John said, perking up a little now that they had some sort of plan.

"They also won't be spending the night. Woolsey is putting in the message that they are not to be separated for any reason, and also that none of the members on that team want to have a baby, so their services aren't being requested again."

"Okay," John said and sat up a bit. "I think it might be a good idea to brief the team members that will be going."

"We already did that, John," Rodney said and took John's hand again. "Don't worry, everything is being taken care of. We aren't letting anyone have our baby."

"I know," John said and leaned against Rodney, "I never had any doubts about you."

Rodney pressed his lips against John's hair and kissed him lightly. "I know," he said softly.


John had seen the team off early that morning; Teyla, Ronon, a few scientists and a handful of soldiers, one of which was Wesley Ferreh. He'd gotten to Atlantis about a month before the first mission to the bug planet, and while John didn't really know him personally, the man had an impeccable record.

Now he waddled into the control room a half hour before the team was due back. Rodney was already there, and he pushed a chair up behind John and made him sit down. "We don't need you having anymore of those stress pains," Rodney said, and John could practically hear his eyes rolling.

"No," John agreed, "we don't need that. It was all I could do to keep Carson from putting me on bed rest."

"Yeh," an Australian voice said from behind John and he turned to find a man he'd never seen before smiling at him. "I heard yeh were preggers."

John glared at the man and turned back to Rodney. "Who the hell is that?" he asked.

"Dr. Damien Sevoir, he came in with Wes Ferreh," Rodney replied and leaned down to whisper in John's ear, "I think they're together."

"Is that another of those relationships I'm not supposed to know about?" John asked.

"Yep," Rodney replied with a nod.

"Then why'd you tell me?"

Rodney leaned in further and whispered softer, "because you're gay, John. You're not that much of a threat to their careers anymore."

"Right," John said and turned back toward the new doctor.

"Hey, I have a kid so 'm not makin' fun of yeh. 'm happy fer yeh."

John gave the man The Eye and turned back to Rodney. "Why is her here anyway?"

"Wes," Rodney said.

"What about him?"

"He went to the bug planet."

"Oh, right," John sighed and turned to look at the gate, willing the team to come back sooner than scheduled. He normally did very well with new people, and maybe it was the fact that he spent half the night in the infirmary with what Carson called stress pains, or possibly because the man had used the word 'preggers' to describe him, but Damien Sevoir was rubbing him the wrong way.

John and Rodney sat at the end of the table with Ronon and Teyla at their sides, and the rest of the non-ATA team were there too, along with Woolsey at the head of the table. The team had come back as scheduled and not a moment sooner. Although they'd only been gone for five hours, Woolsey insisted they get their checkups before the debriefing, so John had spent another half hour practically biting his nails.

"So," Woolsey said, silencing the soft chatter of the team, "what did we find out?"

"Rodney's translation program worked very well," Teyla said, but before she could finish, Ronon broke in.

"If very well means the words were wrong and the sentences didn't make sense."

"Ronon," John said and gave the man his commanding officer look.

"Sorry, Sheppard," Ronon said and nodded to Teyla to finish.

"The... bugs, seemed extremely pleased with the fact that we were able to find a way of communicating with them."

"That's great," John said impatiently, "but what did they say about the important part?"

"They were unaware that we were not the race of people they used to trade with. The Ancients were the only ones who had that particular gate address, so they just assumed that we were there for the same reason."

"Which, I assume was to get pregnant," Woolsey said.

Teyla nodded. "Yes, they have the capability to make a man conceive a child by his lover, as long as they both carry the Ancient gene."

"Rodney and I weren't together when it happened though," John said firmly.

"Perhaps not in the traditional sense, but the creatures have the ability to sense when two people care deeply for one another. That was how they prevented the conception of a child by anyone other than a couple. The Ancients used to send groups to the planet as we did; some of whom wished to have a baby and others who we there as a sort of protection detail."

"Yes yes," Rodney spat, "that's great. Now about the baby and the payment, what did they say they wanted?"

Doctor Moore cleared her throat and sat forward, folding her hands on the table in front of her. "We were able to make a recording of the conversation, so we'd be able to accurately convey the message," she said and produced a digital voice recorder. "I'd like to play that now."

"Yes," John said and clenched his teeth, biting back a rude comment on the amount of time this debriefing was taking, "that would be a fantastic idea, please play it."

Dr. Moore nodded and pressed a button.

"Have you bring fee?" The electronic voice asked.

"About that," Wes' Irish brogue came through. "We don't know what the hell you want."

"Sergeant Ferreh," Teyla scolded.

"It's true," Ferreh replied.

"That may be so, but talks like this are sensitive. Considering that I have been in Colonel Sheppard's place, perhaps it would be best if I conduct the meeting."

"Alright lass, have at it."

"Thank you. Also, it may be a wise idea to lower your weapon."

"Lower it, okay, but I'm not letting go of it," the soldier said, and John found that he really liked Wes Ferreh.

"Fine," she was quiet for a moment, then she began speaking again. "As my colleague stated, we are unsure what you wish to receive as payment for your services."

"The voice of the ring told that," the mechanical voice replied, "but them have been to our place ago, fee have not adjust."

"Yes, but as we also mentioned in our message, we have never been here before, therefore we do not know what the payment has been in the past."

John was impressed that Teyla was able to understand what the translation meant so quickly. He'd have had to think about it for a minute.

"Same look to others."

"You mean the Ancestors; my friends call them the Ancients. We do look like them, but we are not the same people. The ones you had dealings with in the past are long dead. We are peaceful explorers. We did not know what would happen when we visited your world, we simply hoped to meet with you and become allies."


"If you mean the pregnancy, yes, that was not what we intended. We were not requesting your services."

"Bring conceived, shall we make right."

"No, the men that received your services, although we did not ask for them, wish to keep their child. They do not want it corrected, we simply need to know what you wish to receive as payment."

The bug language was heard without the translation and then the recording went silent for a moment, "Dr. Moore," Teyla spoke, "is the translation program still working correctly?"

Another lengthy pause then Dr. Moore's positive reply, "yes, Teyla, it seems to be working fine. They must be using a word that doesn't translate into English."

"I apologize," Teyla said, "we are unfamiliar with that term, could you clarify?"

"Medical," the machine translated.

"You wish to receive medical supplies in return for your services?"


"We do not have access to the same medical supplies and medications that the Ancestors had," Teyla replied.

"Wait," Wes spoke again. "Why don't we add some ancient words into the program? It shouldn't be more than a few key strokes, right? Rodney's done all the work, you just have to add something. "

"I should be able to do that," Dr. Moore said, "but it'll take some time."

"Alright," Teyla said and the recording went silent again, only to return a moment later in the middle of what John thought was an unrelated conversation. As he listened however, it seemed that the question had already been asked.

"See, Damien, he's a scientist, he likes to go through the Ancient database in his free time, kind of trying to get a one up on Dr. Mckay."

"What does the word mean?" Teyla asked.

Wes sighed audibly and chuckled. "If I remember correctly, it's a recreational drug."

"They want to get high?" Dr. Moore asked.

"I could be wrong, but that's what I remember," Wes said.

Teyla cleared her throat and spoke again. "We do not have that drug, but if you will grant us an extension on the date of payment, we will find something that we can agree on."

"Must consider."

Dr. Moore reached forward and stopped the recording. "I couldn't get the device to translate Ancient language audibly, but it did translate it into text. Please don't ask me to say the word, I wouldn't know how to begin pronouncing it."

"Ok, don't say it," Rodney said irritably, "just tell us what happened after the recording stopped."

"They all left the room then, and went to deliberate I guess," Moore said and pocketed the small device. "They came back several hours later and granted the extension.

"We do not have much more time, however," Teyla added. "Another three weeks beyond the beginning of John's ninth month."

"Drugs," John said. "Jesus, they dealt babies for drugs."

"They're stoners," Wes added softly and smiled at John. "What do you expect?"

Rodney shook his head. "Unbelievable," he sighed, "I can't believe Damien's trying to one up me."

"Rodney?" John asked unbelievably. "Really? Just drop it, that's not the most important thing going on here."

Rodney frowned and nodded. "I know, John. We need to find drugs to give to the bugs if we want to save our baby. You should know that I am perfectly capable of mulling over the fact that one of my scientists has the notion that he can be better than me at anything while I'm using most of my brain to come up with a plan."

"We're going to have to talk to Carson," Woolsey said before John could reply to Rodney, "see if we have anything like what they want. If not, we'll have to go back with another offer."

"What kind of offer?" John asked and rolled his eyes. "We're dealing with drug addicted giant praying mantises which haven't had a fix in at least ten thousand years. Do you really think they'll take an offer of something else?"

"Not when they thought we were the Ancients and would pay with the regular method."

"They did seem to practically be salivating when they thought we had the drug to pay them," Wes said.

Woolsey closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I don't know what we could offer them instead of the drug they want, but we'll have to find something."

"Pot!" John almost shouted.

"I'm sorry?" Woolsey asked and tipped his head.

"Oh come on, don't act like you don't know about Parrish's not-so-secret garden in greenhouse five."

"Dr. Parrish is growing illegal drugs in the city?"

"Look, don't bust his chops, he may be the one that ends up saving the baby. We need to get some of his crop and take it to the bugs, let them decide if it's good enough."

Woolsey sighed and shook his head. "I'll have to consider that. In the mean time, why don't we all try to find another solution? I'd rather not become Pegasus drug dealers."

John sighed and shook his head. "I'm not letting that drop."

Woolsey didn't even acknowledge that John had spoken. He gathered his papers and left the conference room.

John got up and went over to Wes.

"Sir?" Wes asked.

"I wanted to thank you," he said

"For what, sir?"

John smiled and shrugged. "Just, thank you."

Wes stared at John for a moment before nodding. "You're welcome, sir."

John nodded and turned back toward Rodney. "Let's go."

Rodney sighed as they walked past Damien when they left the briefing room. "One up on me," he mumbled and huffed an exasperated breath.

"Rodney," John said softly and put a hand on Rodney's shoulder, "just let it go."


"Have you thought of a name for the baby?" Steffonovitch asked and John glared at him with his mouth slightly ajar.

"Are you really asking my about that right now?" John asked furiously.

"It is very close to your date of delivery."

"Yeah, it's also very close to the time when the bugs want their drugs. If we don't have them, or a suitable substitute, the baby won't need a name because it'll likely be incinerated." John lowered his head and covered his face with his hands.

"This upsets you," the doctor said.

John huffed a sarcastic laugh. "And I thought Rodney was the king of stating the obvious. He's got nothing on you, Doc."

"Speaking of Rodney, where is he? He has come to your appointments with you for the last several weeks."

"He's busy trying to figure out what kind of drug it was that the Ancients traded. He thinks that with all his degrees in chemistry and what not that he may be able to make the drug."

"What do you think?"

"I think there's nothing Rodney can't do if he sets his mind to it and has enough motivation."

"Do you think he has enough motivation?"

John thought about that for a moment and when he looked at the doctor he knew that his features had softened. "Yeah, I think he does. As resistant as he was to believe that I was pregnant, once he realized it was true and we... got together, he's really seemed to take a liking to the baby."

"Do you believe he is excited to be a father?"

"I thinks both of us are nervous as all hell. Neither of us know what to expect, but yeah, I think we're excited."

"Excellent, I am very happy for the two of you."

"Yeah well, save that for a while longer. I know we'll get the drug or something better, but it's still a big worry." John sighed and rubbed his belly, closing his eyes.

"Are you alright, John? I have noticed you rubbing your stomach much more than usual."

"No I'm good, just... a few light pains. Carson called them stress pains. He said that the baby can feel my stress and it's kind of freaking out a little."

"It would be wise for you to reduce your stress level then."

John shook his head, "you say that like I can snap my fingers and all the stress will be gone."

"I think you should see Carson."

"He'll just put me on bed rest and bed is the last place I need to be right now. If I have to lie still I'll lose my mind."

"Carson is your medical doctor and he knows what is best for you. I strongly suggest you see him. In fact, I am going to call him. We can arrange for him to meet you here, or I can let him know that you are coming to him."

John sighed and nodded. "I'll go see him."

"Very good, I will let him know you are coming."

"Okay," John said as he struggled to get off the chair.


The pain got worse as John made his way toward the transporter. He had to stop once and lean against the wall until the spike subsided. Taking a deep breath, he pushed off and started walking again. He only took a few steps before the pain spiked again making his knees weak and he went down.

"Fuck," he cursed and reached for his radio, but when he found nothing in his ear he realized that he'd forgotten it on the table beside Steffonovitch's door. Silently, he cursed the psychiatrists 'no radios in session' rule.

"Colonel?" John heard Lorne's concerned voice behind him. "Are you alright?"

John groaned loudly at the steady pain and shook his head; he'd suddenly lost the ability to speak. "I'm calling Carson," Lorne stated and walked around so John could see him.

"Rodney," John managed to growl, and Lorne nodded as he called for the medical team. He told them their location, and a moment later John heard Lorne radio for Rodney. The medical team made good time, before Lorne was even off the radio with Rodney, John was loaded onto a gurney and being rolled down the hall and into the transporter.

Carson started an IV as soon as John was on the bed in the room they'd designated for his care, and Rodney rushed into the infirmary a moment later. John sighed as the pain eased, and he looked at the doctor. "What's happening?" he asked, "this feels worse than before."

Carson didn't say anything; he just pressed on John's stomach and nodded before pulling straps around John's stomach. The baby's heart beat poured through the speakers as needles on the machine started making red and blue marks on a long strip of paper.

"Carson!" Rodney shouted from his place at John's side.

"One moment please," Carson said calmly and busied himself around the room. John was finally beginning to calm down when the pain returned and he cursed again and squeezed Rodney's hand.

"Ow," Rodney complained and called Carson over.

Carson studied the paper the machine was spitting out and nodded. "Mmhmm," he hummed before turning to face John and Rodney. "You're in active labor," he told them.

"What?" John said, his level of fear and discomfort skyrocketing at the news.

"You have to stop it," Rodney commanded. "He can't be in labor, it's too soon."

"You're right, Rodney," Carson said and called for his nurses to bring him some medications. "He can't be in labor but not because it's too soon. John's past the point of a fatal delivery. John is inside his ninth month. If the baby is born now, it'll be a little underweight, but it has a very good chance of surviving. The reason he can't be in labor is because he doesn't have the necessary exit. I'm going to have to perform a caesarian section and I can't do that while he's in labor." The nurse handed Carson some syringes and Carson began putting things into John's IV. "It'll be alright, John. I'll get the labor stopped and we'll get the baby out. Seems you and Rodney are going to meet your baby sooner than you thought."

"Fuck," John whispered and began shivering lightly. "Rodney," he said and looked at him, "I'm not sure I'm ready for this."

Rodney put a hand lightly on John's shoulder and smiled softly. "I don't think we have a choice."

Carson came over and stood beside John. "I'll be in my office, but I have your monitor readings displayed there," he said.

"You're leaving?" Rodney asked frantically.

"It'll be alright, Rodney, it's going to take awhile for the contractions to stop. I'll leave the two of you alone for a bit. I'll be in my office, if you need me, just call for me and I'll be right here." Carson patted John's leg and left the room.

The contractions continued; the pain was worse than anything John had ever felt, including being fed on by Todd. Rodney's hand was most likely going to be bruised in the morning, if not fractured because every time the pain returned John squeezed Rodney's hand. But Rodney never pulled his hand away, and that somehow comforted John, even through the horrible pain.

The lights were dim and John was lying on his side watching Rodney sleep in the chair beside the bed. The contractions had stopped awhile ago and it hadn't taken long after that for Rodney to fall asleep, but John didn't mind. Carson had given him some kind of pain medication that made his head feel like a balloon and although there was residual pain, and John was extremely emotional and teared up at almost anything, he was beginning to drift on the cusp of sleep. He felt the baby moving, but it wasn't kicking the way it usually did which was always uncomfortable. It felt like the baby was just sliding around in there. John didn't know if that was normal, but it felt kind of good and pushed him a little closer to sleep, the way his mom rubbing his back used to do. He was almost asleep when he heard the door open. Rodney sat up immediately and John turned his head to see who it was.

"Hello," Woolsey said softly as he walked into the dark room. "May I come in?"

"Sure," John said and rolled onto his back. That position was very uncomfortable at the moment, so he continued turning until he was on his left side.

"The entire city is buzzing with the fact that you've gone into labor," Woolsey conveyed.

John shrugged. "I'm not in labor anymore," John replied. "Carson stopped it. He's going to do a C-section in the morning."

"What are you going to do about the bugs?" Rodney asked bluntly.

John got goose bumps as he waited for the answer. The question Rodney had asked was the one that had John in the infirmary right now.

Woolsey sighed and shook his head, "I don't know yet," he said.

"Woolsey," John whispered, his eyes getting glossy with tears again, "it's been three weeks, and we only have a couple weeks left. The baby is being born tomorrow, we're out of time. We don't have anything else the bugs would want." He took a quivering breath and felt the warm tears slip out of his eyes. "Richard please, just give them the drugs," John pleaded softly.


"You don't want it here anyway," Rodney broke in, standing up and putting his hand on the side of John's stomach. "If you give the pot to the bugs, it won't be in the city anymore. This is our baby, Dick, there isn't anything more important. You know how loyal I am to this program and this city in general, and although I don't want to do it, I'll run. When the deadline gets close and you haven't given them the drugs, I will take John and the baby and we will leave here... for good. You have my word on that."

Woolsey sighed, obviously seeing that Rodney was serious.

"Please, Woolsey," John pleaded again. "Our baby is the first baby born in this city in over ten thousand years. A baby that will most likely have a high concentration of the ATA gene, the only baby ever to be carried by and born to a man. Give them the pot, please... just do it."

Removing his glasses, Woolsey furrowed his brow and rubbed at the wrinkles the action had created. When he looked back at John his face had softened. "Never in my life have I broken as many rules as I have since I took over as head of this city," he said and shook his head.

"Rules don't exactly work the same way in the Pegasus galaxy," John said and rubbed the tears out of his eyes. "I thought you figured that out."

"Well, it's a process it seems; everyday I'm finding new ways to break the rules. I never thought for even a moment that I would end up dealing drugs to a race of giant alien praying mantises."

"We're not dealing drugs," Rodney stated firmly. "It's a onetime payment for a service that we won't be asking for again."

"We're out of time, Woolsey," John repeated. His eyes were stinging again and he hated how little it took to bring the tears on these days. "You need to make a decision, and it needs to be made now."

Woolsey took a deep breath and shook his head again. "I don't appreciate the two of you trying to manipulate me, but I do understand your reasons. You'll have your answer in the morning." With that, Woolsey left the room and John turned to face Rodney again.

"Where would we go?" he asked.

Rodney shrugged and slumped into the chair, "I have no idea, but we'd find a place."

"Woolsey will give them the drugs," John said hopefully. "He'll see that it's not only the best choice, but the most time efficient. We don't have any more time to play around with."

"We could always get the team together and have them take the pot to the bug planet without authorization."

John nodded but didn't say anything. He wasn't sleepy anymore, and the baby was kicking again, he had a feeling he wouldn't be sleeping any time soon. "Rodney," John said and scooted over toward the edge of the bed, "Will you lay with me?"

"John, I-"

"Please, Rodney."

Rodney sighed and nodded. "Alright," he whispered and climbed onto the bed, he stayed close to the edge, giving John as much room as possible but John snuggled in close. He sighed softly when Rodney's hand went to his belly and began rubbing.

"It's going to be alright, John," Rodney whispered.

John nodded. "Yeah," he said.


John looked at the blue sheet that had been hung above his chest to block his view. Rodney was there beside him, dressed in scrubs from head to toe, holding John's hand as he was prepped to deliver. Their baby would be out soon, and they hadn't even thought of a name for it. That was the least of John's worries though. Once he'd finally gotten to sleep the night before, he had another nightmare. The baby had been born, only to be handed over into the waiting arms of a large brown praying mantis that had immediately bitten the baby's head off.

"Rodney," John whispered and squeezed Rodney's hand. Carson was injecting something into John's IV and John could feel himself going numb.

"Not long now," Carson told him.

John held Rodney's hand tightly and took a few deep breaths. He realized that he had never been more scared that he was at this moment in his life.

"Can you feel this, John?" Carson asked, but John didn't feel anything.

"No," he said softly and closed his eyes, tears seeping from the corners.

"Alright then, let's get started," Carson said.

John grunted as the pressure moved across his stomach. He couldn't squeeze Rodney's hand any more, he didn't have the strength, but Rodney didn't let go. John turned his head and looked at Rodney, tuning everything else out. Rodney looked back and their gazes locked together. The sight of Rodney was the only thing holding back the horrible images that wanted to fill John's mind. He could feel Carson pushing things around inside him; it was the most awkward thing John had ever felt, but he pushed that aside and continued to focus on Rodney.

"Not much longer now, John," Carson's voice sounded far away. "Almost there."

John bit his lip and took a deep breath.

"Get out," Carson shouted, and the volume snapped John back to real time "This is a clean room!"

"Rodney?" John asked.

"Someone opened the door," Rodney replied and held John's hand tighter. "Nothing to worry about, almost done."

"Sir," John heard a familiar voice over the speaker but in his current state he couldn't place the voice with a face.

"Who's that?" John asked.

"It's Lorne," Rodney said softly.

"We just wanted to let you know that it's been done," Lorne said. "The bugs are extremely satisfied with the alternative form of payment."

John closed his eyes as the weight lifted off him. There were fresh tears but John found that he didn't mind those as much.

"Parrish isn't too happy though," Lorne added and John chuckled.

"John!" Carson scolded, "be extremely still."

"Thank you, Evan," John said and looked back at Rodney with a smile.

"The baby's safe," Rodney said.

"Yes," Carson replied an instant before a shrill cry filled the room. "She's been bought and paid for. Your daughter is completely yours."

"A girl," Rodney said and the color drained from his face. "Oh my God, we have a baby, John."

John smiled and nodded. "We have a daughter, Rodney."

"Oh shit, we..." Rodney looked behind the curtain and John could swear he turned an unflattering shade of green before his eyes rolled back and he fell to the floor.

"Rodney?" John asked and tried to see where Rodney had landed.

"It's alright, John, that happens quite often," Carson said with a chuckle.

"What?" John asked, "What happened?"

"Fatherhood finally smacked him, and it was a bit daunting."

"Oh, is he going to be alright?"

"Of course, now lie still and let us finish up."

John sighed and looked up at the ceiling, feeling extremely relieved.


John leaned against the doorframe and smiled as he watched Rodney wrestle with Lily's hair, trying to corral it into two pigtails. He could hardly believe that she was turning five years old today; it seemed like only yesterday that she was born. She looked like Rodney, with John's eyes and hair, which Rodney complained was the reason it was so hard to put up. "She's got your hair, John," Rodney had said on several occasions over the last five years. "That's why it won't do anything but fly all over the place."

As John had predicted, she had an abundance of the gene. He chuckled at the memory of the first night they let her cry herself to sleep. Everything in the house had gone crazy, from the lights flickering to the windows and doors opening and closing over and over again. John had finally gone into the room and rocked their daughter to sleep, only to have Rodney call him a pushover when he went back into their bedroom.

When she started walking, Rodney had wrapped every sharp corner and hard surface in soft foam. It hadn't taken her long to get steady on her feet, but Rodney was so paranoid that she'd crack her head open on something that he hadn't unwrapped everything for four months.

The first time she fell and scraped her knee, she'd run to John with tears streaming down her face. John had cleaned and bandaged the wound, making it all better with a kiss, but she hadn't stopped crying until John had promised to take her up in a jumper after dinner.

She was a genius like her father, she'd learned to read by the time she was two and Rodney had her solving complicated math problems before her fourth birthday. But she would also spend hours on the pier with John, just staring up at the clouds or the stars. She wanted to fly jumpers when she old enough. She was a perfect combination of her fathers.

"Almost done, Lily," Rodney said softly, "just be still for a bit longer."

"Okay, daddy," she replied and stiffened her back, making Rodney lose the hair he'd managed to get into his hand.

John laughed and went over to them. "Want me to take over?" he asked and sat beside Rodney on the couch. "The party's going to start soon and you aren't making any progress."

"That's because she was cursed with your crazy hair," Rodney said but he lifted Lily and sat her on John's lap.

"Okay Lilybean, hold still," John said and started combing her hair.

She sighed but didn't move, and John smiled as an identical sigh came from Rodney at the same time.

The pigtails were far from perfect, but at least she wouldn't get cake in her hair. Everything seemed to be attracted to the girl's hair. He stood her up and turned her around, admiring his work.

"Ready?" he asked and got up off the couch.

"Yup," she said and took his hand, reaching out for Rodney's at the same time.

"Let's go party," John said as they left their quarters. Their daughter was turning five today, and although she was the absolute light of their lives, John sometimes wished they hadn't locked the bug planet out of the DHD.