Genre: romance, JT
Main Characters: John Sheppard, Teyla Emmagan
Pairings: Het, John/Teyla, mentioned Rodney/Jennifer, hint of Ronon/Amelia
Spoilers: Season 5’s “Enemy at the Gate”
Beta: the genius asugar
Disclaimer: all of them aren’t mine. too bad
Summary: quoting from asugar ‘s words, a lovely little coda to the finale episode of SGA
Author’s Note: written for the WAHP Challenge in lostcityfound comm. Prompt i chose:
John Sheppard/Teyla Emmagan – “I always cared about you. I just didn’t know how to say it”
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A quiet John Sheppard in the infirmary should be considered weird. He’d been lying awake in bed alone for an hour. He’d consumed the half cup of broth that he’d reluctantly dubbed dinner and he was now feeling totally bored. Nope, that was the understatement of the year. Since arriving to the Pegasus Galaxy, he’d faced the Wraith, Michael and his hybrids, Replicator, and many unfriendly local each day. By the time they were celebrating Atlantis’ homecoming to Earth, he was confined to one of the infirmary beds because of the common flu, albeit a bad one, in the bed he often eyed suspiciously to check if his name was emblazoned permanently above it. How ironic.
Yesterday, John had finally had a much needed day-off after their latest encounter with the Wraith. It had been such a close call, having those space vampires so dangerously close to invading Earth. By the end of the day, he had felt like death warmed over. When the soon-to-be Dr. Jennifer Keller-McKay announced her diagnosis, John had whined that he could rest in his own quarters just fine. That was until Dr. Carson Beckett had decided to pay him a visit late last night and had found him shivering beneath his covers with a raging fever, trying to hack his lungs out. Hence the embarrassing gurney ride, the pink scrubs he was sporting at the moment, and the banishment to the infirmary bed.
To tell the truth, John still wasn’t feeling up to par after a day of rest. It felt like a jackhammer was banging away at his skull, his eyes burned from the fever, his joints ached—no, correct that—his whole body ached, and his nose was running despite being pathetically clogged. Above all, John had been continuously tortured all day by fits of coughing which bubbled up seemingly every five minutes, the wet rattle jostling his already aching body. In other words, he was just plain miserable. Earlier, John had felt that he was getting stronger and had tried to shuffle all by himself to the bathroom. However, just as Carson had predicted, the feeble attempt had failed poorly when another fit of coughing had overwhelmed him. The resulting vertigo knocked him off his feet completely and sent him to the floor with a loud crash, earning him a reading of the riot act by the irate Scottish doctor. That was when he had grudgingly given up his plans of breaking out of the infirmary—at least, for the time being—and resigned himself to lying beneath the two layers of warm blankets that Carson had piled over him, heavily doped up with the doctor’s special cocktail of heavy-duty decongestant and analgesics running through his IV and an oxygen mask over his fever-flushed face.
Worse, he was now bored. Misery was supposed to love company, but he had none. Thanks to the party in full swing in the mess hall, no one was available to entertain him. He had considered radioing Ronon—the lucky bastard had gotten out of Jennifer’s clutches pretty fast once Amelia had sprung him—or Rodney to make them keep him company and then he’d realized that would be utterly unfair since the celebration that night was for them too.
A small head with unruly dark hair that almost matched his and a small hand fisting a weird stuffed animal popped out between the curtains around his bed, followed by a poor imitation of a whisper. “Jah?”
Finally, the arrival of somebody who would brighten up the rest of what was so far a gloomy day. John’s lethargic face perked up. “Hey, kiddo,” he said hoarsely before beginning another coughing fit.
The one-year-old boy was being carried by one of Carson’s minions. His tiny pudgy hand not clutching his toy was holding a bottle of formula as he attempted to squirm out of the nurse’s arms, leaning his small body as far as he could towards John. The hand clutching the stuffed animal began to wave wildly in the air as he called John’s name. “Jah! Jah!!”
“I’m sorry, Colonel. He caught a glimpse of you when we last checked on you. He’s been fussing to come over here ever since and he refused to be talked out of it,” the brunette nurse explained apologetically, letting Torren out of her embrace and onto John’s bed. With astonishing speed, Torren crawled into John’s arms in a matter of seconds. The nurse had witnessed the colonel struggling for his breath throughout the day and had thought that the man was too tired for a visit from the toddler. “It’s supposed to be his bedtime, but Teyla won’t be coming back to get him for at least another thirty minutes.”
Scooting a bit to his left to provide more space for the wildly giggling baby, John watched in amusement as Torren lay down against John’s fever-heated chest, snuggling to find a more comfortable spot and started sucking his bottle.” S’okay,” John reassured her.
“Are you sure?” The nurse hastened to help John as he tried to pull one of his blankets from under the kid and cover Torren’s legs. That accomplished, she then stood at the edge of his bed and surreptitiously peeked back out through the curtains in a guilty fashion. “Doctors Keller and Beckett wanted you to get some rest, not to babysit.”
The aforementioned baby looked blissfully content, already halfway through his bottle of formula, his eyes lids at half-mast. John had to fight back an urge to chuckle. The last time he had tried to laugh that day—thank you very much, Rodney—an unforgiving violent burst of coughing had painfully erupted. When his coughing had finally subsided, nausea hit him hard. He had vomited everything he had eaten for breakfast and lunch. Getting sick had left him entirely wrung out and he had fallen asleep almost as soon as he finished vomiting. He never even knew Rodney being kicked out and Jennifer and her staff cleaning him up and changing the dreaded pink scrubs for a clean set. That was absolutely not an experience he would like to repeat in any time soon. Or ever.
“S’kay,” John said, never lifting his eyes from the boy. When he finally lifted his head to look at the still hovering nurse, he met her adoring gaze and he could almost head an “aww…” slip from her lips. Blushing a little, John looked away and busied himself tucking the blanket more tightly around the pajama-clad child. “Jus’ tell Teyla.”
He looked back again at the smiling though still unsure brunette, who nodded. “Very well, then. Good night, Colonel.” She took a tentative step closer and brushed her finger down Torren’s soft cheek. “See you tomorrow, Torren.” She glided away softly in her rubber-soled shoes and once again John was alone in the quiet, only Atlantis’ static hum in his head for company.
John remembered that Halling had once mentioned those among the Athosians who believed that they shouldn’t be tampering with the dwelling place of the Ancestors. Kanaan appeared to be one of those people. From the beginning, Kanaan had never felt at home on Atlantis. And from what John recently had heard—not that he purposely paid attention to Atlantis’ rumor mill—Kanaan’s relationship with Teyla had grown distant since his transformation into and back from one of Michael’s hybrids. John had seen Teyla make efforts to restore their relationship but she had been unable to defeat the guilt that had burdened Kanaan. As he spent more and more time at the new Athosian settlement assisting Halling, the couple drifted apart. Almost as soon as they had reunited, they had been lovers no more.
Torren John on the other hand had the whole expedition wrapped around his tiny finger; even the fiercest Marines and the most scattered-brained scientists volunteered to babysit him whenever Teyla or Kanaan needed. But Torren had shared his mother’s connection with her teammates and his all-time favorite babysitters would always be his self-appointed uncles; Uncle Mer—the nickname courtesy of John despite Rodney’s vehement protests—Uncle Ronon, and his very favorite, Uncle John. With Kanaan gone, John had devoted himself to the baby and spent most of his spare time with Torren. No one on the base thought it odd to see the ruthless colonel giving a military strategy briefing with Torren perched on his hip or to find the two fell asleep on a sofa in the rec room with a Sesame Street video blaring on the TV.
The start of another bout of coughing tickled at John’s throat, shaking his body as he tried not to hack into his oxygen mask. The sleeping toddler didn’t even stir. His now-empty bottle tumbled from his small grasp and Torren merely snuffled a bit before settling himself closer into John’s body, his bright orange-purple stuffed animal tucked safely under his little chin.
“Sorry, buddy,” John rasped in a thin voice. He had never meant to act like Torren’s father. He could see now that he had. There were times where he thought back and began to reconsider his actions. John was never close to his father; they hadn’t even been on speaking terms for the last ten years of Patrick Sheppard’s life. The fact that Torren had in a way lost his father too was probably what had brought them closer, an unspoken bond from the shared experience.
Draping his IV-free arm over the sleeping toddler, John let himself settle more into the bed and drift asleep.
* * * * * * *
The classical music faintly echoing though the mess hall created a more elegant and relaxed atmosphere than the room normally had. People were packed into the large room, chatting, eating, or both. Five years ago the expedition had stepped though the Gate from the SGC and onto Atlantis. People had come and gone over the years. Some had stayed, many of those scarred by their experiences, some had been lost forever, some had no choice but to leave, and some had just been unable to stand the pressures of Pegasus. Tonight, the SGC and IOA had been generous enough for once to let the whole expedition take the night off and celebrate, even provided the food and refreshments, though there was still nothing heavier than beer to drink. Everybody was relaxed and happy, yet Teyla was not enjoying it. Even the excitement of exploring John’s home world had vanished.
Teyla Emmagan was famous for her patience. Her father had schooled her extensively to develop that particular trait. However, many times since she had joined John Sheppard’s team, she had felt her patience hanging by a thread and that her teammates were nothing but irresponsible, overgrown little boys. Right now, once again her patience was put to the test as she desperately tried to leave the party.
The sudden interest of the IOA and SGC in Ronon and her involvement to the expedition was delaying her from her current mission. She had promised Nurse Kirsten to pick-up Torren from the infirmary ten minutes ago. It was past his bedtime already. Torren had decidedly refused to be put down by anyone but herself or Kanaan. After Kanaan left, he preferred the Colonel to everyone other than his mother. If only her team leader was not stuck in an infirmary bed at the moment, Teyla would be more than happy to answer any such inquiries from both the IOA and SGC.
Gritting her teeth to hide her emotions, Teyla forced a smile and pretended she was listening to Mr. Coolidge, who was reciting yet again his account of watching Ronon and Teal’c’s daring rescue of the SGC during the Wraith attack, although she allowed herself to surreptitiously glanced sideways at the exit door.
An older, tall man in Air Force dress blues suddenly stood at her side. Flashing an insincerely apologetic grin at Mr. Coolidge, he nodded slightly to her. “Good evening, ma’am. May I talk to you for a minute?”
Teyla opened her mouth to refuse, already planning her escape but the silver-haired man was faster. He ushered her away to the nearest exit with a gentle hand at the small of her back. When he stopped just outside the room, she turned to him and began to speak. “General O’Neill, forgive me…”
The older man smirked and Teyla was surprised at how boyish he looked and how he now reminded her of a certain colonel. “Call me Jack. And yes, you may go. It’s obvious you’ve been antsy to escape for at least ten minutes. Got a hot date or something?”
Exhaling in relief, Teyla put a hand on Jack’s arm and smiled gratefully. “Thank you, Jack. I was supposed to collect my son from the infirmary fifteen minutes ago, but Mr. Coolidge…”
“Ah, the impressively cute kid…” Teyla had introduced her young son to the general earlier today. Jack nodded with amusement. “Well, go on, then. I’ll cover you.”
“Again, thank you, Jack.” Teyla gave the general a last grateful look before turning down the hall. She broke into a run and it took all her self-control not to make a mad dash to the infirmary. As she entered the infirmary, she expected to hear her son bawling at the top of his lungs, but the area was suspiciously quiet. Not slowing down, Teyla started to look for Nurse Kirsten and her son. She bumped into Carson instead in her haste and she almost shrieked in surprise.
“Good Lord, love.” Carson caught her shoulders, his large hands warm. “What’s the hurry?”
“I am sorry, Dr. Beckett.” Smiling apologetically, Teyla met Carson’s eyes for a moment before she looked around the infirmary, seeking for a glimpse of her son. “I am here for Torren.”
“I see.” The Scottish doctor’s shot up in amusement and he smiled back at her knowingly. “Over here.”
For the second time in the night, Teyla was ushered purposefully to an unknown destination with a gentle touch on the small of her back. Carson brought her to the most secluded part of the infirmary, to where Teyla knew John was being kept at. She looked at the doctor inquiringly. “Carson?”
When he pulled open the curtains protecting John’s bed from the view of the rest of the infirmary, Teyla had to hold in a surprised gasp and the smirk on Carson’s face turned into a fatherly smile. “Cute couple of buggers, aren’t they?”
Lying on the partly elevated bed was a sleeping John with Torren cuddled comfortably into his chest, the toddler’s head pillowed on John’s shoulder. Teyla could hear John’s wheezing under his oxygen mask. She though he sounded better tonight.
“Most restful sleep he’s had all day from what I’ve heard,” Carson’s soft burr vibrated as he whispered to Teyla, a comforting sound she had always loved about him. The doctor moved over to the colonel with his medical chart in his hand, noting his vitals. “His congestion is finally improving. A wonder, isn’t it?” He clucked when reading his temperature, jotting it down with a frown. “Though the fever’s a bit persistent.”
With one hand, Teyla gently took hold of the hand of the arm John had draped over her son. “May I stay?”
Replacing his chart, Carson exaggeratedly rolled his eyes and threw her a mocking grin. “Would you listen I said ‘no?’” Teyla did not even blink. “Right.” Carson smiled and patted the colonel’s leg before leaving her with her thoughts.
Slowly without releasing her hold on John’s hand, Teyla pulled up the closest chair and sat. Her eyes slowly drifted from John’s sweat-moistened face to Torren’s.
Teyla had been deeply saddened the day Kanaan left Atlantis for good, but the efforts her teammates made to fill his role in Torren’s life warmed her heart greatly. Somehow the pain and grief of Kanaan’s departure was pushed away, along with other painful memories she had, to the furthest corner of her mind.
Especially everything John had done. The colonel spent all of his spare time with Torren. Several times Teyla had overheard female Marines giggling about John conducting a briefing with Major Lorne while holding Torren in a sling. John was now as skilled as Teyla in changing diapers, making up a bottle of formula, or feeding her son. Torren had grown even more attached than before to the colonel.
“M’sorry,” she suddenly heard John whisper softly under his fogged mask, pulling her from her thoughts.
Teyla looked up from her son to the man holding him. “John, what are you apologizing for?”
“Fo’ acting like his dad.” John took an especially rattling deep breath and wheezed out, “Din’ mean to.”
Teyla realized that seeing John bonding with her son had undoubtedly caused some long-buried feelings to reemerge. She had been immediately smitten from the moment John had fastened the clasp of her lost necklace in that cave on Athos. His easy lopsided grin and passionate hazel eyes had continued to haunt her dreams as they flirted with each other over the next few years, until Halling had reminded her mildly about her duty to produce an heir to follow her as the leader of the Athosians and to pass on her gift to. Brokenhearted by any indications of John returning her feelings, she had turned to her childhood friend and found an comfortable enough relationship with Kanaan though not as intense to what there was between she and Atlantis’ military commander.
Shortly after Torren was conceived, Michael had came back into their lives. Heavily ridden with guilt at what he had done, Kanaan had been plagued by terrifying dreams, which caused him to awake screaming and drenched in tears almost every night. Not even Teyla’s attempt to console him or the presence of their son could calm him. On the contrary, he only found peace when he was far away from them. He started spending more and more time among those that remained of their people on the new Athosian homeworld. Until one day, he stopped coming back to Atlantis at all.
“John.” Placing her hand on his fever-heated forehead, Teyla choked back the tears that threatened to fall. “You should rest. Your fever has risen again. I shall call Dr. Beckett—”
His hot and calloused hand grabbed hers before she could stand to summon the doctor. “No.” He coughed again. “Stay.”
She sat back, but she tried to clearly shown that she did not want to continue the discussion John had initiated. John Sheppard was an emotional man, passion literally ran through every nerves of his body. Unfortunately, he was also a man who would not openly show what he was feeling. Even more so, he would not confess those feelings. Teyla had thought that talking about how he felt while he was in a state of delirium was wrong, especially knowing how John hated to be out of control. “John…”
John looked at the child resting against his side and smile lovingly at him. “He’s beautiful. Wish he’s mine.”
Teyla’s breath hitched and for a brief moment everything seemed to stop. Did he say what she thought he had just said?
“Sorry.” After another series of hacking coughs, John pinned her with his intense hazel eyes. Although she had thought he would never say these words with a clear head, the lucidity she had found in those eyes was startling. “Fo’ everything.”
Teyla grasped his hand tightly. “Please, John… You should not…”
“Always cared ‘bout ya’, ya’ ‘now? Never stopped.” John squeezed her smaller fingers as his Adam’s apple bobbed and the lines at the corners of his eyes crinkled, sure signs of how nervous he was. “Jus’ din’ know… how to say it.”
Finally, Teyla allowed her tears fall. Despite the tightening of her throat, she managed a strangled, “I know.”
“You mind me as his daddy?”
Shaking her head frantically with a goofy happy smile, Teyla simply let her fingers intertwine more completely with John’s.
Beneath the blur of his oxygen mask, Teyla could see his trademark lopsided grin as he shrugged and added lightly, “Make you my wife, too, if you want to.”
Only John Sheppard would make a marriage proposal like so. And she did not mind at all. She did not even mind the close-to-manic smile she was now giving him. “Yes, John. I would love to.”