"Okay, I've made the hand off," Carson said into his radio.
He was already walking away from the container and the man he'd handed it off to, quickening his pace as he went. He wanted to get away from the damn thing already, get back to the surgery bay to check on his patient. Carson could barely hear the careful movements of the disposal team placing the cooler inside the unit they'd brought with them.
Carson sent a quick prayer to whoever was listening that the tumor would stay stable until it had reached an unpopulated area. He got to the surgery bay, slapping the wall to close the door behind him. Once it whooshed shut, lock clicking into place, Carson finally allowed himself to relax, sliding slowly to the floor. The room seemed to be spinning until he realized he was trembling. The adrenaline was wearing off-- no surprise. Carson closed his eyes and took several deep breaths.
Exploding tumors. What the hell were the Ancients thinking when they'd come up with that brilliant idea? They must have been pretty desperate to manufacture a machine that produced exploding tumors.
"Carson! Carson, are you there?" Rodney's voice over the radio interrupted his thoughts.
"Aye, I'm here, Rodney, safe as houses. Did they get it somewhere safe?"
"Oh thank god, I thought, maybe…you're a very lucky…I could…." Rodney sputtered.
"Calm yourself down man; we can talk about what I did later. I need to know if I'll be having any more patients heading my way."
"No, no, the disposal team got the tumor out to the western pier before it went off. No one was hurt."
Carson sighed in relief, opening his eyes, pushing himself up from the floor and away from the wall. "Good, now, if you don't mind, I have patients to attend to, Beckett out."
He shut off his radio, going back to check on Watson, who was a very lucky man indeed.
"All I'm saying is that you could have died, Carson. What on earth were you thinking?" Rodney accused.
Colonel Sheppard nodded in agreement. "He's right doc, you risked yourself and your nurse by locking down that level. The entire tower could have come down if that tumor had gone off while you were operating."
They were debriefing in Elizabeth's office. Carson was tired, needed a shower, wanted desperately to wrap this up quickly but was holding his own despite all of that. Colonel Sheppard, Rodney, Ronon and Radek were all in attendance. Teyla might have been there too, but she was still in recovery.
"Like I said, leaving him there would have been tantamount to murder, Colonel. I took an oath and I hold to that oath very strongly. I could no more leave him alone than you could have left someone in enemy hands," he said.
Elizabeth leaned forward, hands out to try and calm everyone. "I know you were only doing what you thought was best, Carson. But if you ever do something like that again…Atlantis wouldn't be the same without you."
Everyone in the room nodded. Carson ducked his head, blushing a little. These people were his family. The very thought of being without them or leaving them to grieve for him…. "I'm sorry," he said. "I can't say it won't happen again, but I'll try my best."
Elizabeth smiled. "That's all I ask. Now if there isn't anything else, you all look like you need some sleep. We can meet again in twenty four hours. Dismissed."
They all stood and gave Elizabeth smiles and nods. As they left, Radek gave Carson a sympathetic smile and Ronon slapped him on the back. Colonel Sheppard just glared at him until they reached a silent understanding, the Colonel breaking off with a barely discernable nod. Carson was just at the door when Rodney stopped him.
"Wait. You said we could talk, Carson."
Carson sighed. "I did, yes. Mind if we walk while we do that?"
"Sure," Rodney said. "I can walk with you to your quarters."
"I'm not going there, Rodney. Not yet."
"To the infirmary?"
Carson emitted a comical huff. "Yes, I still have patients to look after."
"Ha! No, just one in particular you want to look in on."
Despite the recent crisis, or perhaps because of it, the city was as busy as ever and they nodded and smiled to everyone as they walked. Several people stopped Carson to thank him for saving a friend or colleague; he just waved it off, his focus elsewhere. He and Rodney made their way through the control room, down the halls and to the corridor just outside the recovery rooms.
"I have no earthly idea what you're talking about, Rodney."
Rodney poked him in the chest, his eyes dancing, face lit up. "I'm talking about Teyla. You've been cow-eyed over her from the first day we came here."
Carson was going to protest, but Rodney had got it in one. He had harbored a small crush on their Athosian friend since coming to Atlantis. Despite flirting with Perna and dating Laura, his heart still belonged to Teyla.
"You're not denying it, I see," Rodney said smugly, arms crossed over his chest.
"No, no I'm not, but it's just a crush, Rodney. She could never feel the same way about me."
"You won't know unless you try. And since you're not dead, you still can. But I'd hurry it up; I hear there's this guy on New Athos that's sniffing around her."
"Thank you for the kind words. Now if you don't mind…."
"I do actually. You're the closest thing I have to a best friend, Carson. I don't know what I'd do if…. I want you to be happy."
Carson smiled. "Are you happy, Rodney?"
Rodney tilted his head as if seriously contemplating the question.
"It should be an easy answer, lad. You do seen happier since your recent…incident."
"You mean since the almost dying," Rodney huffed. "I am. Happier that is. I...uh...got together with someone."
"I figured. I wish you and Colonel Sheppard the best."
"How…I mean….I'm not…we're not…."
Carson put a hand on Rodney's shoulder. "I'm your friend, Rodney. I think all of us noticed before either of you did. I'm just glad you finally did something."
Rodney put his own hand on Carson's. "Thank you. That's why…why I want you to go for it with Teyla. Because in a place like this, you never know…."
"I'll think about it," he said, squeezing Rodney's shoulder before letting go. "Now, I need to go look in on my patients before I go to sleep for several days."
"Okay, okay, go…moon over Teyla," Rodney said, making shooing motions. "But remember what I said."
"I will. Goodnight, Rodney."
Rodney waved as he left, letting Carson finally enter the recovery room. He checked on Watson first-- the man was doing well for having been a ticking time bomb and could probably go back to his duties in a few days. A check on a few others with only minor injuries was only delaying the inevitable.
Teyla was in a private room; her roommate had been released earlier. Anne Biro was there too, checking things off a list, comparing it to Teyla's chart. Carson knocked gently on the wall.
Anne turned a look of surprise on her face. "You should be in bed by now, Carson. I could order you there you know, despite you being my boss."
Carson approached the bed slowly, not really paying attention to Anne. Teyla looked so peaceful, suffering no pain thanks to the morphine drip. "I know you could, but they're my patients, Anne. I had to see them."
There were two chairs by the bed, Carson pulled one close and sat in it.
"They've all been by today, her team," Anne commented.
"Of course they would have, they're more than a team. They're…family." Carson leaned forward in the chair, wanting desperately to touch Teyla, but not daring, not while Anne was in the room.
"I'll just leave you alone, but get some sleep, okay?"
"Aye, I will," Carson replied absently. He just sat there for several minutes, the quiet beep of the heart monitor and the steady drip of morphine and saline the only sounds in the room. He allowed himself the indulgence of taking Teyla's hand, squeezing it lightly.
"You gave us all quite a scare there, lass," he told her. "But I fixed you up and you'll be kicking the Colonel's ass in no time."
Carson laughed to himself. He'd never seen Teyla practicing though he'd heard much about it through the grapevine. Perhaps now he'd take the time to go and see how graceful she really was in person. "Rodney…Rodney tells me I should go for it and tell you how I feel, but I don't think he meant for me to do it while you were unconscious. Call me a coward, but even after a near-death experience I can't bring myself to do it just yet. But I will allow myself this."
He let go of Teyla's hand, bracing himself on the bed and pushing out of the chair just a bit. He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to her forehead. He thought he felt her moving and pulled back a little, watching her face. Definite movement; the bunching of muscles, the fluttering of her eyelids. Automatically Carson's hand went to her pulse; it was speeding up a little.
"Teyla?" he ventured. "Teyla, love, can you hear me?"
"Carson?" she answered weakly, her eyes opening slowly.
"Yes, it's me. What's the last thing you remember?"
"The explosion. I was hurt. You were there. Did you…fix me?"
Carson sighed in relief. "I did, you're in recovery now, everyone will be glad to know you're doing better. You should sleep now."
"You will be here when I wake?"
Carson took her hand again, squeezing it. "I will, now sleep."
She closed her eyes again, drifting off. Carson always kept a spare set of clothes in his office. He could take a quick shower in the locker room, change and come back here. No one would be the wiser. No matter how his friends pushed, he couldn't leave Teyla now that she'd asked him to stay. He squeezed her hand one last time before heading for his office.
"You slept in a chair by her bed, didn't you?"
Carson looked up from his requisition form to see Rodney glaring at him from across his desk and quirked an eyebrow. "Why would you think that?"
"You did! Oh my god, you did!" Rodney accused. "See, I told you. Are you going for it?"
Carson sighed. "Since when is my love life any of your business, Rodney?"
"Since forever. We're friends, Carson. You work too hard and deserve some time off and you should spend that time off with someone."
"Which is why I made plans with you to go fishing."
Rodney had the decency to flush, ducking his head. "I'm sorry; I have said that, right? Cause I am sorry."
"You nearly got me killed," Carson said angrily.
"Not me, the stupid Ancients and their stupid machines!" Rodney protested. "And that's why you need to find out if Teyla's interested in you, take life by the hands. I could find out for you if she is."
"Subtlety is not your strong suit. Frankly I'm surprised you were able to get together with the Colonel."
"I can be subtle!" Rodney replied indignantly. "Just…do it quickly, okay?"
"I'm going to check on her now, Rodney," Carson said. "I can tell you how it went over lunch."
Rodney smiled. "Lunch it is. Good luck, Carson."
Carson shook his head and finished filling out his forms. He set them aside to deliver to Elizabeth later and picked up Teyla's chart before heading for her room. She was sitting up, allowing one of the nurses to check her blood pressure. She had more color which relieved him; she turned to him when he came into the room.
"Carson, it is good to see you," she smiled.
"How is my favorite patient this morning?" he asked, flipping through her chart.
"I am feeling well, thanks to you, though I should ask how you are faring."
"Are you? Doctor Biro tells me you slept here last night. Were you keeping an eye on me, Carson?"
He fidgeted, waiting until the nurse left the room. "Maybe I was. Would it make a difference if I had been?"
Teyla favored him with a soft smile. She looked him over, making him feel as if he was being evaluated in some way.
"Did Anne tell you I requested that she be my doctor from now on?"
"No," Carson said. "Why would you do that? Am I not good enough?"
Teyla shook her head. "You are a wonderful doctor, Carson. It does matter to me that you stayed."
Carson sat on the edge of the bed. He took several deep breaths before looking at Teyla. "I have admired you for a long time, Teyla. I might…have feelings for you, but would understand I you didn't feel the same way towards me. I'm really no one special."
"That is not true, Carson. You risked your own life to save Doctor Watson. You save many lives on a daily basis. You are brave, strong, a loyal friend and someone I would be honored to be seen with."
Carson let out the breath he didn't know he'd been holding before smiling widely. "Really? Surely there are others out there."
"There is no one."
Carson took her hand. "If your father were still alive, I'd ask his permission to court you, perhaps in his place Halling would do?"
"I am my own woman, Carson Beckett," Teyla said, straightening her shoulders.
"That you are, my love," Carson chuckled. "Would you mind if I courted you, Teyla Emmagan, daughter of Tagan?"
"What exactly is courting?"
"It's where I romance you. I take you out, which will be kind of hard in another galaxy. I bring you tokens of my affection such as flowers or chocolate. I show you how much you mean to me. Would you allow me to do that?"
Teyla nodded. "I would very much like that, Carson."
He brought her hand to his lips, kissing her palm. "You've made me a very happy man. I should leave you to rest now."
"I am sure you have other patients to look after," she smiled.
Carson squeezed her hand before standing. He left the room, grinning like an idiot.
Doctor Biro had barely left the room when Teyla spied John leaning in the doorway, Ronon crowded behind him. Rodney was noticeably absent, but he had been by yesterday and she understood that he felt uncomfortable in these kinds of situations. She smiled at her other teammates, gesturing for them to enter the room.
"You're looking better," John commented.
"Brought you these," Ronon said, shoving a handful of wildflowers from the mainland towards her.
"Thank you, these are very considerate of you, Ronon. I am feeling better. Doctor Biro says that I may be able to return to light duty by the day after tomorrow."
John quirked an eyebrow before pulling up a chair, Ronon remained standing, he always seemed to prefer standing, perhaps it was because it made him seem more intimidating.
"Anne Biro? Why is she telling you this and not Beckett?" John asked.
"Anne is my doctor now." Teyla chose to look at her flowers rather than at John.
"Any reason for that?"
Teyla looked up from the flowers in her hand to stare at John. Knowing the people of Atlantis as she did, she had already deduced that John knew the answer and was just looking for confirmation from her.
"Yes," she answered, returning to her flowers.
John frowned, shifted in his chair and seemed to contemplate what he was going to say next. "So I heard this rumor…" he started, leaning forward.
Teyla half-smiled. "You should know better than to listen to gossip, John."
"Yes, well, this one involves a certain Scottish doctor staying by your bed all night. Anything to that?"
"Carson was just worried about me."
"He likes you," Ronon pronounced. "Anyone can see it."
"And I have feelings for him. We are friends."
"Anything more than that?"
Teyla favored John with an angry look. "Who I choose to see romantically is no business of yours, John."
"I see," John replied, smirking. "Since when?"
Teyla sighed and closed her eyes. She knew John meant well. "Only this morning. Carson has asked to court me, I said yes."
"I thought you were seeing that guy, the one back on New Athos," Ronon said.
"Kanaan?" Teyla laughed. "We have known each other since we were children. He is like a brother to me. Are you not happy for me?"
"If he tries anything, hurts you in any way…." John left the threat hanging in the air.
"Do you really think Carson could cause me any harm? I am capable of looking after myself and have done so for many years. Would you make similar threats if I were a man?"
John's eyes widened and he sputtered. "No, but…Beckett…he doesn't like guys," he fumbled. "You're family, Teyla. I just want to protect you, we all do."
Teyla's heart warmed at knowing John thought of her as family as did Ronon and Rodney. She had always wanted brothers, but her mother had been taken by the Wraith when she was barely two and her father never remarried. She reached out for John's hand and he leaned forward so she didn't have to bend far.
"Thank you, both of you. You are like family to me also."
Ronon simply nodded and John squeezed her hand awkwardly before letting go and sitting back in the chair. Then a large smile spread across his face and Teyla wondered what had come into his mind. She feared to ask.
"So," he finally drawled. "When does Beckett get introduced to your people as your boyfriend?"
Ronon chuckled. Teyla sighed again and wondered why it was that many men be they from the Pegasus galaxy or the Milky Way, never seemed to get past their childish impulses.
Carson had rearranged his schedule to visit Teyla again. He'd even wheedled sweet Katie Brown out of the closest thing the Pegasus galaxy had to a rose. Just a single bud, no need to overdo things. Even though Teyla had expressed an interest in being courted by him it wouldn't do to go overboard and scare her. When he came to her infirmary room he was confronted by an empty bed, the room devoid of any machinery.
"You're a little late, I released her yesterday evening."
Carson turned to see Anne standing there. "Oh, I guess she's recovering well then?"
"She is," Anne nodded. "You might try the gym. I approved light exercise when she asked about keeping in shape."
"Thank you," Carson smiled.
He made his way back through the halls of the city he now called home. He waved off any attempts to talk to him, pointing potential patients towards the infirmary. Rodney was right, Carson deserved time off and everyone was going to have to get used to the idea that he wasn't going to be in the infirmary all the time. There were other doctors who could handle most of the day to day ailments and Carson was going to start taking advantage of that.
The door to the gym was open, a few Marines standing around and watching what was going on inside. Carson excused himself, moving past them to get closer. As he approached the door he heard the clack of wood on wood. When he finally could get to the opening, he saw Teyla and Colonel Sheppard practicing with wooden rods. It was obvious they were going at a much slower pace in deference to Teyla's injury.
They'd paused for a moment, each of them stalking the other like the big cats Carson had seen on one of many nature programs. He only had eyes for Teyla. It was the first time he allowed himself to admire her openly as a man and not a doctor. Teyla was barefoot, her movements barely registering on the wooden floor. She wore a skirt that seemed to have been cut many times, or at least that's what it looked like to Carson. The fabric swirled around her legs, revealing well toned calves. Her top showed off well muscled arms that flexed and rippled with every twirl of the rods in her hands. It was also cut to show off her midriff, the golden skin marred only by the thin scar left by Carson's own hands.
Carson had known Teyla was beautiful, but to watch her prowl across the floor, the sunlight playing across her features… she was breathtaking. Sheppard chose that moment to lunge forward, making Carson jump a little. Teyla blocked him easily. Sheppard was practically vibrating with energy, bouncing on the balls of his feet, but Teyla projected calm. The rods whirling in their hands reminded Carson of the young girls and their flags in the New Years Day parade.
Teyla attacked this time, forcing Sheppard back, defending himself quickly. Over and over wood cracked against wood, their movements flowing one into the next. It was like ballet. With weaponry. And Teyla would most certainly be a sight to behold at full speed. She made a final blow to the back of Sheppard's knees that would have probably felled him had they been going faster. Sheppard winced and Teyla backed off immediately. Some kind of agreement had been reached as she helped Sheppard off the floor. They bowed in the formal Athosian way before reaching for towels and water. The crowd dispersed, leaving Carson as the only observer. Sheppard, towel slung across his neck; titled his head at Carson as if to give notice that Carson should behave. Teyla looked over and favored him with a wide smile.
"Carson, what a nice surprise."
"Anne said you might be down here. I see you're doing very well. Any pain?" he cringed. "Sorry, habit."
"No, it is okay, you are allowed to worry even if you are not personally my doctor anymore," she assured him. "Anne was quite detailed in her precautions, but I must admit it feels good to be sparring with John."
Carson remembered his gift and slowly held out the blossom. "I thought I might begin my courting of you, if you don't mind."
"A woman never minds receiving flowers from a man. I will put it in water once I get back to my quarters." She brought the bloom to her face, inhaling its scent.
"Do you need any help putting your equipment away?" Carson asked, tying to stave off any impending feelings of awkwardness.
Teyla shook her head. "They are called bantos rods and they are traditional Athosian weapons. Mine were made especially for me when I came of age. John uses ones that once belonged to my father."
Carson felt his heart sink when he heard that. "He must think that an incredible honor."
"He does not know," she replied. She put down her flower, picked up the rods Sheppard had been using and took them over to a small cabinet Carson hadn't noticed before. "They are used by many people when I teach them to spar. My father would be glad to see they are in use. I could show you some moves if you like."
"No, no" Carson waved his hands. "It was bad enough the Colonel insisted we all be trained to use guns, and surprising to find out how well I can fire them. But I consider myself more of a lover than a fighter."
Teyla only put away one of the rods, bringing the other over to him. "Learning to wield the bantos is not just about fighting. It is about being in tune with your body, about knowing how to anticipate the movements of your enemy regardless of what weapons they carry. It is exercise for the mind and body."
Carson hesitated as Teyla held out the bantos rod for him to take. He eventually grabbed it, testing the weight; it was lighter than it looked. Teyla stepped back and he attempted to twirl it like he'd seen her do earlier. It slipped out from between his fingers and clattered to the floor. He bent to pick it up, Teyla's soft laughter echoing across the room.
"That is a skill that takes many years to master," she chided gently, stepping behind him. "And it is not one I will be teaching you. First you must master the proper way to hold the bantos rod."
Teyla was pressed up against his back, her arms coming around to adjust the way his hands were positioned. Carson swallowed, doing his best to ignore what the feel of her was doing to his body. She stepped back again and he took a deep breath. She picked up one of her own rods and stood beside him.
"Make your stance like mine."
He glanced over and adjusted the position of his feet, holding the bantos rod ready.
"Now, just listen and follow."
Teyla led him slowly through several movements that reminded of katas he'd seen martial arts students doing at university when he studied them for anatomy class. They repeated the movements over and over, crossing the floor of the gym several times. Finally Teyla stopped, hold out her hand for the rod Carson was holding. He returned it to her, realizing he'd worked up a small sweat.
"You did very well," Teyla commented. "I could continue to show you more."
Carson wiped his brow with a spare towel. "If it meant spending time with you, I wouldn't mind. Besides I think I could stand the work out," he half laughed, patting his stomach.
"You are in fine shape," Teyla said. "Now, I should go."
"Yes, I think we both could use some cleaning up," Carson replied, helping her gather her things. "Oh, I wanted to ask if you were free Friday night for dinner."
"A first date?" she teased. "Yes, I am free and look forward to having dinner with you, Carson. I will see you later."
"I look forward to it as well. A good day to you, my dear."
The chirp of the radio in his ear distracted Carson from his research. He straightened from the microscope, rolling his shoulders and rubbing his eyes quickly before tapping the damned thing on. "Beckett."
"Lorne here, doc. We've lost communications with Doctor Weir and the rest of the expedition to the drilling station. I'm putting together a very small team, two jumpers piloted by myself and Lieutenant Stackhouse. I was hoping you could spare two doctors to send along."
"I can do that," Carson said, already mentally making a list. "How long do you need, Major?"
"We should be ready to go in thirty. Will that be long enough?"
"It will have to be. They'll be ready. Beckett out."
Carson finally chose Anne and the newest member of his medical team, a young woman named Keller. She was green, but with some experience he was certain she'd do well. He briefed them on the situation, handed them emergency kits to supplement what the jumpers already had and sent them off.
Once they were gone, Carson sat back down at his table. With any luck he could distract himself from the knowledge that Teyla was down there and that she could be injured or…. Pushing that to the back of his mind, Carson leaned forward again. Until the Major returned with his friends he had other things he could do with his time.
"I had hoped not to see you in here again so soon," Carson said, standing in the doorway of Teyla's infirmary room. She was sitting up in bed, looking pale but otherwise fine.
"It was not my intention to be here either," she smiled weakly. "But what I did…it saved everyone down there and I would do it again."
Carson came into the room, abandoning all pretenses and sitting next to her. He took her hand, bringing it to his lips and holding it there for a while. He finally set it down a moment later. "I was so damned worried, even if I couldn't show it to the others or to my staff. I don't like that you were…that you matched wills with a Wraith queen…a queen! You could have...," his voice faltered.
Teyla squeezed his hand. "I was also frightened for myself. It has been too long since I have attempted such a thing and never with a mind as strong as hers. I do believe that I may have to do it again in the future."
"Not without some damned practice you won't!"
"I had hoped you might oversee such a venture. I trust you, Carson as I did when I first attempted to make contact with the Wraith in this way."
He looked away from her, unable to think when Teyla gave him that look. It was a look that would have him doing anything she asked. The last time they had tried this, explored Teyla's connection to the Wraith, it had kept him awake at night, given him nightmares when he did sleep. Now that she'd touched the mind of a queen, delved into the psyche of one who'd been alone for millennia, one who'd fed on her own soldiers….Carson drew in several deep breaths before turning back.
"Strict supervision. When I say stop, you stop."
Teyla nodded. "Thank you."
"I should let you rest. Don't worry about tonight, we can do it another time."
"No, I do not wish to miss our date. We should not allow the Wraith to interfere with our daily lives. It has been the way of my people for many generations. We have lived, loved, married, raised families and died under the constant threat of the Wraith."
Carson leaned forward, pressing a kiss to Teyla's forehead. "Then I will definitely let you rest and I will see you later. Is seven okay?"
"It is, as I have heard in your movies and television programs, a date."
Carson had taken a lot of time to prepare for this dinner; he wanted it to be a memorable one. Pulling in favors owed to him, he had one of the smaller unused offices converted into an intimate dining space. He'd though of eating in his quarters, but that seemed a little too intimate. He wanted to take things slowly with Teyla, not mess up this chance in any way
Unsurprisingly word had spread about his courting of Teyla because the moment he showed up in Katie's greenhouse, she'd stopped him from speaking with a small finger.
"Just tell me where and when and I'll have something perfect for you."
The chef had had a similar reaction, all too excited to showcase his talents. All Carson needed to do now was find something suitable to wear and be at Teyla's door by seven. He wasn't sure how he felt about his personal life being fodder for the city's gossip mill, but with the usual Earth celebrity gossip hindered by the Daedelus' six week turnaround time, it was bound to happen.
He was scrounging through his closet when his radio chirped. He was going to curse whoever was on the other end, especially if it was the infirmary. There was only one team off world and they were on a routine trading mission. "Whatever it is you want, it had better be good," he barked into the microphone.
"Testy," Rodney's voice laughed in Carson's ear. "I just wanted to see how you were doing. Nervous?"
Carson sighed, returning to his closet. "A wee bit. I haven't been on a date in over a year.'
"Cadman, right? You know, I never did ask you why that ended. She really did like you."
"Laura was a very nice woman, but we actually had very little in common," Carson said, pulling a dark pair of slacks out and tossing them onto the bed. "And we never really quite got past the whole…."
"Her kissing you with my lips?" Rodney supplied. "If I never have to think about that again, it will be too soon.'
"Consider it forgotten," Carson continued to shuffle through his small wardrobe. He was used to almost constantly wearing his uniform; his need for civilian clothes was small, until now.
"Go with blue, it will bring out your eyes."
"Are you giving me fashion advice, Rodney?"
Carson could almost hear Rodney's eye roll. "Look, it's just something I remember Cadman thinking, okay?"
Carson laughed as he pulled out a dark blue long sleeved shirt and tossed it on top of the slacks. "It's fine, Rodney. I do thank you for the distraction, it gave me something else to focus on."
"You're welcome. I should let you get ready. And Carson?"
"Good luck tonight."
Rodney clicked off before Carson could reply. He closed the closet door and went to get ready.
Teyla was sitting in from of her mirror, brushing out her hair. She had not made many female friends in the city, but the few she did have had offered her no end of advice for her date with Carson. Anne had said to be herself. Katie, who said she was providing the flowers, told Teyla to wear a dress. Elizabeth had just smiled and said not to worry and that she should have fun.
Teyla had thought all of this over. She had known Carson for three years now and had been nothing but herself around him. It would not do for her to be anything other than that. It seemed to Teyla that just being who she was was what Carson liked about her, so that was how she would approach this date.
She had taken great pains to choose what she was going to wear. She'd found a dress in the back of her closet that she had thought lost long ago. It was not fancy, but would do for her date. The door chimed and she set her brush down, smoothing her dress as she stood. She waved it open, smiling at Carson who was standing there with another flower in his hands.
"Right on time."
"You look lovely. This is for you," he handed her the flower.
"Thank you," she took it. "Give me a moment." She stepped back into the room and arranged the flower into her hair. "I am ready, shall we go?"
Carson offered her his arm. She stepped out into the hall and placed her hand on his arm. He led her away, but she was confused when they came to what she had assumed to be an office. She was pleasantly surprised to see it decorated with candles and flowers.
"It is lovely, Carson. You went to a lot of trouble, I can see."
Carson smiled and drew her into the room even further. Then he pulled out a chair for her, waiting until she sat, pushing it back in. He then made a call on his radio and sat. She recognized Captain Johnson from the mess. The captain was pushing a cart and smiling. He unveiled plates that smelled divine, placing them on the table before exiting the room with a word to Carson.
"He'll be back with dessert when we're ready. I hope you enjoy it, I let the captain choose the menu."
"It looks wonderful. I did not know that Captain Johnson could cook so well."
"Would you care for some wine?"
"As long as it not any of Halling's ruus wine then yes."
Carson laughed, standing to get the bottle that had been left on the cart. She could see him struggle a little to get it open before he came over to pour her some. Some of the wine spilled onto the table.
"Oops, guess I'm a bit nervous."
"It is okay, Carson," Teyla said, using her napkin to wipe away the small drops. "I find myself nervous as well."
"I wouldn't imagine you to be nervous, you always seem so put together."
"Projecting calm and composure is easy to do. Why do you not tell me of your day?"
Carson launched into a description of everything he had accomplished from his regular duties to his research into the Ancient gene. Teyla nodded and smiled in the appropriate places.
"You do not talk about your gift very often. It is almost as if you are ashamed to have it," Teyla remarked.
"For as much good as my discovering the gene has brought about, I often wish I had not."
Teyla tilted her head. "Why is that? You have never seemed comfortable with your gift."
"I do like medicine and trust science, but there is something inherently…wrong about something in my genes being able to…control these machines. It's …disturbing."
"But does it not make things better, make your job easier?"
Carson nodded. "Aye, it does, but it doesn't make it any less uncomfortable."
"I wish there was a way that I could help you," she said. "Watching John and Rodney interact so effortlessly with the city….I wish that you could have that same interaction."
"I'm quite happy with how I'm handling it, for now. Would you care for dessert?"
Teyla glanced down at her empty plate. She hadn't realized she'd eaten everything. "Perhaps a small portion."
Carson radioed and Captain Johnson reappeared with yet another cart. They conferred for a few moments before the captain took the first cart away with a smile. Teyla watched as Carson fussed for a few moments before bringing over a plate. As he approached he stumbled over something and the plate tipped out of his hands and onto Teyla's lap.
"Oh God! I'm so sorry, I don't know what happened there…," Carson sputtered, looking around for something to wipe it up with.
Teyla was surprised, but stood, the majority of the confection; it looked like cake, falling to the floor. "It is okay, it was an accident," she smiled. "I will just go to my quarters now and clean up. I do thank you for dinner, Carson."
She made her way out of the room, Carson still fumbling and apologizing as she went.
"How did it go?" Rodney asked Carson. He was in the infirmary for minor burns he got while repairing one of the city's interfaces.
"Don't ask," Carson said, wrapping Rodney's hand.
"That doesn't sound good. What happened?"
Carson sighed. "I spilled dessert on her."
"And what? She got up, thanked me for dinner and left. It was all very embarrassing and I highly doubt she'll want to have anything more to do with me now."
"I think you're wrong there," Rodney said, nodding to the door.
Carson turned to see Teyla standing there, waiting patiently. Rodney hopped off the table and patted Carson on the shoulder.
"I'll let you two talk."
Carson nodded absently, stunned that Teyla was there. "Um, hello."
"Good morning, Carson. Are you busy right now?"
"No, uh, why don't we go into my office?"
She nodded and followed him. He offered her a chair, but she shook her head.
"Thank you, I have only a few minutes."
"Well, what can I do for you?"
"I only wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed our date. It was…lovely."
Carson stared at Teyla in amazement. "Really? Even after…."
"That was not your fault, Carson. It was truly an accident and did not diminish my enjoyment of the time we spent together."
"Then you would be agreeable to more dates?"
Teyla smiled. "Yes, I would. But, now I must go, I have other things to attend to."
"Of course, but if you don't mind, I didn't get a chance to tell you goodnight properly. Would you mind….can I….?"
Teyla stopped his fumbling by stepping closer to him and pressing a kiss to his cheek.
"Is that what you had in mind?"
"Close," he replied, wrapping an arm around her waist, bringing her flush with him. A very small part of him was amazed at how bold he was, but continued on nonetheless. He brought a hand to her face, leaning in, waiting for her to say no. When she didn't, he brushed his lips against hers slowly, lingering for a moment before pulling back.
"Oh," Teyla sighed. "I…really must go now, but I look forward to another date, Carson. Soon."
"Soon," he agreed letting her go.
They met a few days later for her first session to regain her control over her gift. As a favor Chuck had been keeping an eye on the long range sensors and spotted a hiveship far enough away from the city to not be a concern but close enough that Teyla would be able to reach out with her mind.
Carson was set up in one of the private rooms of the infirmary. He did not look happy and she remembered his concern the last time they had tried this. She sat on the bed and allowed him to place the leads on her chest and forehead.
"I trust you, Carson. I will not be like the last time. I believe I have more control."
"We'll see," he said. "I'd prefer it if Kate were here also, but I'll respect your wishes that she not be here."
"Her intentions are good, but I do not think she can help in this instance. I am ready," she said, laying down and closing her eyes.
"Right, now take deep breaths and reach out. I suggest this first time you just connect with an ordinary Wraith, not a queen. All we need to do is have you make the connection."
Teyla nodded and breathed, focusing her concentration as she had the last time. The feeling of the Wraith was faint, but she could sense it and honed in on that feeling. She could sense the many minds of the hive, all of the voices a jumble. The queen was the loudest but Teyla knew better than to defy Carson and go for her. She chose a lowly soldier that was passing by and gasped as she connected with him.
"They have recently fed. I do not know the planet they culled but there is a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction."
"Good, good," Carson said. His hand was warm as he took a hold of her wrist, checking her pulse. "What else can you sense?"
"He is...proud. The Queen rewarded him with a higher position because of his work. He is much envied by the others because she singled him out for praise. He seems to be heading for a chamber of some sort, perhaps for sleep, I cannot quite tell."
"Well, that's good, maybe you should pull back and try someone else. Then we'll end this session."
Teyla slowly pulled away from the Wraith's mind and sought out another. She latched on quickly and gripped the sheets of the bed as this one's memories assaulted her. She could hear the screams of the people they had culled, could see the fear in the eyes of the man he had recently fed upon. She pulled away quickly, her body shaking.
"Are you okay, Teyla?" Carson asked.
She opened her eyes and saw the concern in his. "I am fine. I think that is enough for today. I saw, I saw the culling. I could not stay in his mind."
"I don't blame you, lass. We'll try again another time. Maybe see how well you can alter their movements, yes?"
Teyla nodded slowly. "Thank you for being here for me, Carson."
"I wouldn't be anywhere else," he replied, kissing her cheek as he slowly removed the leads from her body. "You should rest some, feel free to stay here."
He stood and took the equipment with him, leaving her to cleanse her mind of what she had seen.
Several weeks later, when her team came across the dead Taranans, Teyla's heart broke even if she showed a calm outward appearance. The Taranans had just started to once again be a strong civilization, a peaceful one. Whoever or whatever had done this would need to be stopped. When they killed the bug-like creature, Teyla searched her mind for anyone who might have the knowledge and technology to create such a thing. It was a very short list with the Wraith at the top. It was unsettling to know that such savagery was possibly happening on other worlds.
After traveling to the Stargate, only to find it disabled, her list grew even shorter. Then upon returning to the settlement, she felt the familiar tingle in the back of her mind that came with sensing the Wraith. She and Carson had only practiced her telepathic link a few times since discussing it. She did not feel now was the right time to explore that connection on her own again.
They continued to explore the tunnels when Teyla felt the tingle grow stronger. She turned slowly into a room, gun up and ready, sweeping the area to check for enemies. There was no one there. She was about ready to turn back and rejoin her team when the door closed behind her suddenly. She whipped around, banging on it, calling for Ronon and John. The tingle then spiked into full grown throbbing and Teyla spun, shining her light into the face of…Michael. Before she could react, he grabbed her arm. She struggled but felt a small jab before sinking into blackness.
After the debriefing of the mission, Rodney had come to him to tell him that Michael lived and of the experiments he'd been performing with the Iratus bug. Carson swept aside all his feeling to help Rodney go over the data he'd collected. He wanted to see if he could assist in determining how many more labs Michael might have, to try and find more weakness for the hybrid creatures. He had to give the ex-Wraith credit. Michael was far smarter than anyone had realized. And Carson was responsible for creating that monster.
He was currently brooding in his room, reading the report from the Daedelus on the remains of the Taranan settlement. The DHD had been repaired and there were plans in the works to return and give the dead a proper burial. He'd already sent Elizabeth a request to examine a few of the bodies, but he expected her to refuse for any number of reasons. There was scant else there that might help in figuring out what Michael had been up to. The team sent to the surface had collected some samples from the pod room Colonel Sheppard had described, but other than that Michael had been quite thorough in cleaning up before leaving the planet.
The chime of his door distracted him. Carson wasn't really up for visitors, but he sighed and thought the door open as he closed his laptop and stood. Teyla came in slowly.
"I came to see how you are handling the news," she said.
"I'll be fine," he assured her, taking her arm gently and showing her to the small sofa he had in the corner. "I should be the one asking how you are."
"Doctor Biro says I will be fine."
"Physically, yes, but what about mentally? I recall you being quite upset the last time we encountered Michael."
Teyla bowed her head, reaching for Carson's hands. Instead, he scooted closer and pulled her into a hug. She tucked her head against his neck, trembling. He ran his hands up and down her back, attempting to soothe her. Carson had been correct in thinking Teyla would not want to show her vulnerability to the outside world. He was honored that she felt comfortable enough with him to do so.
"I was scared, Carson," she whispered. "Michael…he may have human characteristics, but inside he is nothing but Wraith. He felt no remorse for what he had done to the Taranans. I struggled to free myself from the restraints he had placed me in. And when...when he placed the bug on me…all I could think of was you. Even as I shouted for John when I heard the gunfire, my thoughts were of you."
Carson released Teyla slowly, pushing her back so he could look her in the eye. "It's okay now, mo chridhe. Colonel Sheppard came to the rescue, again, and now you are here with me." He reached over to wipe away her tears.
"Thank you," she sniffed. "I did not mean to unburden myself so. I had thought I would be the one comforting you."
"I'm glad you could unburden yourself with me. As for myself, I don't need comforting; I know my part in all of this. I am as responsible for the Taranans deaths as Michael."
Teyla's entire demeanor shifted quickly and she seemed…angry. At him or Michael he didn't know.
"You are nothing like Michael, Carson Beckett," she said sharply. "And do not let me hear you make such a comparison again."
Carson shook his head. "But I am, it was my retrovirus…."
"You may have discovered and manufactured it, yes, but it was ultimately Elizabeth who decided to use it on the Wraith."
"And I could have refused to administer it, but I didn't. I could have protested more, could have said something."
"You are not Michael. You feel guilt and remorse for what you have done. Everyone agreed at the time that it was the best approach. None of us could have known the consequences. You are a kind and compassionate person, Carson."
"I could have stopped it. I could have…."
His rambling was cut off when Teyla surged forward and kissed him with a ferocity that had only been hinted at before. Carson found himself responding. This was not the chaste, gentle first kiss of a few weeks ago. It was hungry and desperate. Teyla was clutching at his shoulders, her hands moving to his chest. She pushed at his lab coat, which he'd forgotten he was wearing. He moved his arms, maneuvering to help her remove it as they continued to kiss.
When he finally freed himself Carson's hands went to Teyla's waist, practically pulling her into his lap. Her gasp of surprise allowed him to slip in his tongue. She responded quickly, shifting her body to deepen the kiss. Her nimble fingers began to work his shirt free from his trousers. Carson moved his hands under Teyla's top, her skin warm and soft. As he moved higher, he found she wore nothing under it, unlike her Terran counterparts did. It wasn't until her fingers began to run across his chest that his conscience butted in.
Carson broke away from the kiss. He slowly moved his hands to come between the two of them, removing Teyla's hands from his body. She looked at him curiously. Her top was pushed up and dangerously close to revealing far too much. Her pupils were blown and her lips were swollen from their kissing.
"Not like this, mo chridhe," he said his voice rough with desire. "I would have our first time together be something savored, not a quick tumble on my sofa."
Teyla blushed, moving carefully from his lap, straightening her top.
"I do not know what came over me. I…I simply wanted to stop you berating yourself and it…."
"Yes, I guess our passions were running a tad high for a while there. Not that I mind a beautiful woman kissing me quiet."
"But I truly do not wish you to concern yourself any further. You are who you are Carson and I will continue to have strong feelings for you despite any flaws you may see in yourself."
Carson took Teyla's hand and kissed it. "I will try, but I promise no instant change."
"I would not expect it," she replied, standing. "I should go. I have a sparring session with Ronon in an hour and do not wish to look…."
"Thoroughly ravished?" Carson teased. "Go, I will see you tomorrow. We have another session in honing your telepathic skills."
"I look forward to it." She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before leaving.
Carson sighed and headed for the bathroom, planning to have the coldest shower of his life.
Teyla felt her sessions with Carson were going well, but she still hesitated to test them out in the field. Not that she had much chance as the Wraith were unusually quiet for the moment. Rodney was taking advantage of the lull to conquer his ever growing list of repairs that required his attention. John had been faced with a mountain of paperwork until he conned Major Lorne into doing it for him. She and Ronon sparred often, but he also started to take her into his confidence. He told her of a possible developing romance between him and a member of the Atlantean crew. He declined to name who it was but Teyla encouraged him to pursue it, she was happy to see him happy. She also found herself telling Ronon select anecdotes of her relationship with Carson. It was good to talk about it with someone other than her female friends. Ronon respected Carson, but he would also not hesitate to defend her should Carson cause her heartache.
For his part, Carson continued to be a gentleman. They'd had more dates, but they were in more public places so as to avoid embarrassing scenes or intimate moments it seemed. He walked her to her quarters or wherever she needed to be afterwards, bidding her goodbye with a chaste kiss. Sometimes she managed to lure him into her quarters where they would kiss on her bed, some of them becoming heated, but Carson always stopped them before they went too far.
He continued bantos lessons with her almost every week and was turning into one of her best students. His body was beginning to show the results of the exercise. His shirts stretched across broad shoulders, arms bulging beneath too short sleeves. He was unconsciously teasing her every time she adjusted his stance or guided him through a move. They had actually begun light sparring less than a week ago. When she'd attacked him, lunging forward, he feigned more quickly than she'd anticipated and Teyla had bowled him over. She'd landed on top of Carson, feeling his attraction to her all too well. It was several moments before he rolled them to the side and he stood, lending her a hand up before going to the bench for a towel.
That incident had given Teyla dreams for many nights. She was getting slightly frustrated waiting for Carson to decide he wanted to make their relationship more physical. Until Laura introduced her to something called a vibrator. Teyla had never been more grateful that the lieutenant had returned to Atlantis.
Laura also hosted a smallish gathering for some of the older Athosian girls and unmarried women as well as some of the Atlantean women. She called it an 'educational hen night'. There was gossip, talk of hairstyles and clothing as well as more adult themes including sex and prevention against conceiving a child. For generations, Athosian women used an herb commonly found in the Pegasus galaxy that they mixed with their morning tea. Sometimes the side effects were not pleasant, but the success rate was quite high. Mothers passed knowledge of the herb to their daughters. Teyla had learned of it from Charin. Laura showed them all condoms and the proper application of the latex barriers. She even cajoled Teyla into practicing rolling one on a banana. Teyla was unsure of using them, especially considering she was getting nowhere near engaging in sexual activities with Carson, but she took some anyway. She hoped to wear Carson down soon.
She was contemplating her next step in getting through his barriers in the mess when an alarm broke her from her reverie. She made her way towards the control room to find out what was going on. It was utter chaos, but she managed to pull Chuck aside to find out some information.
"It's the Replicators. They're retaliating."
Teyla had not been a big supporter of Colonel Ellis and his plans from Earth to strike out against the Replicator home world. "How?"
"A satellite that doubles as a Stargate. They're sending a laser through."
"Will it not shut off after thirty eight minutes?"
"McKay's working on that. We're lucky the shields are holding for now."
And with that Chuck left to answer a call from Elizabeth. Teyla decided that the control room was not where she needed to be at the moment, assuring herself someone would radio her should she be needed. She made her way to the infirmary to check on Carson. He was in the middle of more chaos, directing nurses and doctors.
"No, no, I need those taken up to the surgery bays, thank you. Teyla, hello, I gather you heard?"
"Yes, and I came to see if I could offer any assistance, but I see that you are not in need of any."
"No, but I do appreciate the visit," he said, stepping towards her and enveloping her in a hug.
Teyla's heart beat a little faster. She held onto Carson even more tightly than normal. "I am sure Rodney will figure something out. I will let you return to your work." She brushed a kiss across his lips before stepping back amid whistling and shouts of encouragement from Carson's staff.
"You lot, get back to work," he shouted, smiling as she left.
Teyla went to see if she could help John or Elizabeth in any way. Her plans to seduce Carson would have to wait until the latest crisis passed.
Carson heard bits and pieces of what was going on as personnel drifted in and out of the infirmary for treatment of minor things. After the initial panic, he'd dismissed most of his team, but cautioned them to be ready to return at a moment's notice. When one of the botanists told him she'd heard something about sinking the city he immediately radioed Rodney.
"What? I'm kind of busy here."
"So it's true then."
"Carson? What's true?"
"You're sinking the city."
"Yes, we're hoping the water attenuates the strength of the beam. I suggest you put away or strap down anything loose. We'll be ready to go in less than thirty minutes."
"I will thank you. And Rodney?"
"Good luck." Carson disconnected, and then called for a few extra hands to help him with his task.
They finished just in time and he shooed them off to their designated safe areas. He called Rodney one last time to see if his office might be considered a safe area. Once assured it was, Carson set himself up with a pile of paperwork and journals in an attempt to distract himself from what was going to happen.
The initial shudder and shake jolted him, but Carson straightened his shoulders and bent to his task again. Despite the continued shaking, his hand never faltered. He finished the paperwork quickly and turned to find out what was happening in the field of genetics back on Earth. Initially he'd worried he'd be behind the current technology and research. He shouldn't have bothered. Carson got a good laugh out of some of the theories presented. If the Stargate program was ever to be declassified and Carson allowed to publish his research, he would certainly win one of Rodney's precious Nobel prizes. Though Rodney would likely still call medicine and anything other than physics or related fields soft science.
Another fairly large jolt nearly caused him to fall out of his chair and Carson guessed they'd hit bottom. He put away his journals and set aside his paperwork to deliver to Elizabeth later. He bustled back into the infirmary, noticing Marie arriving as well, ready to help with any possible effects of the hard landing. They treated bruises and scrapes and one bump on the head before Carson sent Marie on her way again. He ventured back into his office, psyching himself up to look out the window he'd avoided earlier. It was dark, silt still drifting about. He thought he saw several small fish and other creatures dart by. He wondered if Rodney's whale creature was out there somewhere. They were back to where they had started this strange adventure.
"It does not feel quite right, does it?"
Carson jumped a bit, turning to face Teyla. "No, it doesn't. The city was meant to be on a surface. Do you know if it worked?"
Teyla shook her head. "It did not. Rodney is continuing to work on a solution. I came to see how you were faring."
"Feeling a mite useless actually. There isn't much for me to do at the moment."
"Ronon expressed the same thing to John. I have mostly been helping to keep people calm."
"I'm quite sure you're very good at that. I'm feeling much calmer myself now that you're here," he teased. He stepped closer, bringing her into a hug. "When all of this is over, I was thinking that you and I should have an intimate celebratory dinner."
"That would be wonderful, Carson."
He pulled her closer. "I was also thinking about what you said to me the day I asked to court you. This crisis has finally showed me you were right. Life is short. I want to be with you, Teyla. Would you," he faltered, unsure of how to phrase it.
Teyla placed her hand on his cheek, her smile warm. "I would be honored to share your bed, Carson."
He let out a breath of relief before leaning in to kiss her. She wrapped her arms around her neck, pressing her body against his. He let out a small groan as his hands began to move to her hips and then lower.
"Carson! Where are you, I need to talk to you."
The interruption from Carson's radio was like a cold splash of water. Carson released Teyla with a final kiss and a shake of his head. She seemed disappointed, but they both knew the needs of the city came first at the moment.
"Aye, I'm here, Rodney. What is it you need?"
"How do you feel about flying the city?"
Carson was immensely grateful for Colonel Sheppard and his superior ATA gene. Making machines work, turning lights on and opening doors was vastly different from getting an entire city off the planet and into hyperspace. He went back to double check on everything in the infirmary. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Teyla had decided to stay in the control room. It was quiet to a point. The city was once again shaking, for an entirely different reason. Carson felt the jolt when it snapped away from the drilling station. He dared a look out his window to see the blue of the sky melt into the dark of space and then the abrupt jump into hyperspace. He was about to relax when a frantic voice cut across the city wide system.
"Medical team to the control room, several major injuries."
Carson spurred into action, gathering kits and directing the team members that were sprinting in to gather supplies. They all rushed to the control room. Carson took everything in. One of the windows was blown out, glass everywhere. He could see that there were lots of minor cuts and scrapes, Rodney among them. He found Teyla but she pointed over to the landing.
"It is Elizabeth."
Carson rushed over, beckoning for a gurney. "What happened?"
"Beam clipped us before I could get the shields all the way up," Rodney said. "She got the worst of it."
Colonel Sheppard came running in. "How is she, doc?"
"I won't really know until I get her under a scanner. Head trauma, possible broken bones, I need to go now," he said, nodding to his team. He looked over and gave Teyla one last lingering look. She nodded back to him and he left to take care of his patient.
The team rushed down the halls, Carson keeping a carefully eye on Elizabeth's vital signs. All worry and doubt was pushed aside as he fought to save her. She was more than just the leader of the city, she was a friend.
"Her BP is dropping, she's crashing!" one of the techs yelled.
"Let's hurry it up, I'd rather not do this in the hall," Carson said.
Tumbling into the infirmary, they quickly transferred Elizabeth onto a table, attaching leads and adjusting the saline drip.
"We're losing her!"
Carson cursed under his breath. "Get the defibrillator, charge to two hundred."
The machine was brought over, paddles handed to him.
Everyone stepped back as he discharged the current into Elizabeth. There was a blip, but it changed nothing.
The whine of the machine echoed through the room.
Another shock, this one worked.
"She's back to normal rhythm."
"Quick, let's get her under a scanner, see what's going on."
Teyla had stayed in the control room even though she could not really contribute much. She tended to some of the scraped and cuts as best she could. She even got Rodney to stop long enough for her to clean his up and apply some ointment. She then accompanied John to see how Carson was faring with Elizabeth's care. She was worried about them both, for very different reasons.
Carson looked haggard, the stress of the situation reflected on his face. Behind him, through the window she could see Elizabeth, her head enveloped in bandages. She caught Carson's gaze and saw the concern in his eyes.
"What's the situation?" John asked.
"It's not good, lad. I'll not sugar coat it. We had to do a decompressive craniotomy because of the swelling in her brain. We've got that under control for now. She has six broken ribs, one of which punctured a lung. But that's not the worst of it. Elizabeth is suffering from a cerebral edema. It's caused untold damage. If she were to come out of all of this, she may not be the same person we knew."
John glanced back to the window as if weighing Carson's words. Teyla waited, wanting to physically comfort Carson, but feeling uncomfortable in doing so in front of John.
"Keep me apprised," he finally said before he turned and left.
Teyla immediately was by Carson's side, hands on his arms in a gesture of comfort. He turned and wrapped his arms around her, burying his face in her neck. She soothed him, running her hands down his back.
"I am sorry, Carson. I cannot imagine how hard this is for you."
"It's not your fault, lass. I don't like the idea of losing her, but there is only so much I can do. If we were still back on Lantea I could dial Earth and send her to the SGC, they have technology that could help."
Teyla held him closer, pressing a kiss to the top of his head. "I know you are doing your best."
"I should go back," he said, moving slowly away from her, straightening his lab coat.
"Not just yet," Teyla nodded to the window.
Carson turned and they both looked on as Ronon came into the room and started speaking to Elizabeth.
"Are they?" Carson asked.
"I know Ronon is seeing someone, but he would not say who."
Jennifer Keller came in to check Elizabeth's vitals, but not before putting a comforting hand on Ronon's shoulder. He turned, put his own hand on hers and smiled.
"I suspect that's your answer there," Carson said. "She'll be good for him."
Just then the machines started to go wild and Ronon backed away from the bed quickly.
"Go," Teyla said. "I will see you later." She watched as Carson rushed off to do his duty.
When Carson heard the announcement for all personnel with the ATA gene to report to the jumper bay, he debated going. His was the strongest natural gene, next to Colonel Sheppard. Elizabeth was stable again and he could probably trust Jennifer with her care should anything happen while he was gone. He wanted to feel as if he were doing something to help the city other than healing its inhabitants so he went.
Arriving in bay he made his way to the front of the crowd and saw Rodney and the Colonel standing in the back of a jumper. Then they explained what they were going to do and Carson wondered if he'd made the right decision after all. He was barely competent at flying the cursed things let alone firing at something while doing that. He caught Rodney's eye and he gave Carson a quick thumbs up.
They were dismissed and Carson quickly found a jumper to pilot. It was a bit unsettling to do this on his own, but he took a deep breath and concentrated on getting the heads up display to work. The Colonel's voice instructed them all to form a line to best get to all the asteroids. Carson found his place and focused on getting there unharmed. The first drone from one of the other jumpers whizzed into Carson's focus. It had begun.
One after another the drones streaked across the vastness of space and into their intended targets. Carson aimed for some of the bigger asteroids so as not to miss. He tuned out the chatter of the other pilots, smiling at little at Rodney's gleeful surprise that the plan was working. Once they reached the far end of the belt the Colonel had some of them turn back to destroy any strays while the rest of them returned to the city. Carson let out a breath as he turned for home. Pride swept through him as he surveyed their collective work and he couldn't wait to talk to Teyla again and tell her about this. He made his way back to the infirmary debating on whether to radio her.
Coming off the high of destroying all those asteroids, Carson found himself looking through Elizabeth's records in the hopes of finding something that might help him help her. When he scrolled through the data pad and came to an incident that happened several months ago he stopped. He should have remembered this. He had to find Rodney. He scooped up the pad and dashed off to find him. He finally ran across him in a hall not far from the infirmary.
"Rodney, I've been looking all over for you," he said. Carson had spent the last fifteen minutes looking.
"Well I am kind of busy trying to save the city and all that. How's Elizabeth?"
"She's dying. I've done everything I can medically, which is why I've been looking for you, if somewhat reluctantly."
Rodney tilted his head. "Reluctantly?"
"Yes," Carson replied, shoving the pad towards Rodney. "Remember these?"
Rodney's eyes brightened. "The Replicator nanites. You're a genius. We can re-activate them and they'll repair all the damage."
"Wait, wait," Carson waved a hand in protest. "There may not be enough tissue for the nanites to work with. They may have to replace cells with…."
"More nanites. So if we had to deactivate them again, Elizabeth would," Rodney paused, not wanting to say the word.
"Die. Yes, Rodney. Besides, I don't like messing with someone's core being, not after the mess with Michael and the other Wraith."
"This is nothing like that! She's your friend, Carson."
"Don't you think I know that? I don't want her to die any more than you do, but do you really think she'd want this?"
"You may not have a choice. But I've got to run this by John first, gimme a second."
Carson waited, arms crossed as he watched Rodney discuss the situation with Colonel Sheppard. He was standing close enough to hear the angry tone in the Colonel's voice. He seemed to side with Carson. Activating the nanites was a bad idea. Rodney shut off his radio with a huff. It was obvious they weren't going through with it.
"Doctor Beckett, come quick!" Keller's voice shouted through Carson's radio.
"Let's go," Rodney said grabbing Carson's data pad along with the one he'd been working on.
Carson nodded and they ran towards the infirmary.
Teyla had kept fairly busy coordinating the efforts of the many teams attempting to restore power to the city. Her thoughts were with Carson as the jumpers flew out to the asteroid belt. She somewhat envied him his gift in this moment. She would prefer to be out there helping than being stuck in the city watching. When he returned she was too busy to go and see him and ask him about his experience. Instead she kept an eye on John and Doctor Zelenka. When they returned she accompanied John to go and check on Elizabeth. John seemed upset about something else as well. They reached the infirmary as Rodney and Carson were coming out. Rodney was smiling but Carson looked concerned. They both looked up and Rodney's smile disappeared quickly.
"What did you do?" John asked.
"She was crashing again, Colonel," Carson started.
"I told you it was a bad idea, Rodney!"
Teyla stayed back, her eyes on Carson as John and Rodney argued over something that had occurred while John was out. They were interrupted by a nurse calling for Carson. They all rushed into the room. Elizabeth was sitting up, removing the bandages from her head, looking as if nothing had happened to her.
Ten minutes later, at John's insistence, the room had gone into quarantine. Carson was busy scanning Elizabeth while Teyla stood in front of her friend and attempted to comfort her.
"Why?" Elizabeth asked.
"I suspect that it was the only way to save you. Carson told me he had exhausted all his knowledge. We did not want to lose you."
"It would have been better to let me die."
Teyla tried to say more but Elizabeth did not seem receptive. She and Carson left the room at the same time though he was quicker at removing the haz-mat suit than she. He left the room without a word to her, probably to report to John. Teyla finished getting out of the suit and went to the showers to wash away the sweat that had accumulated in the short time she had been in the suit. When she was done she went to her locker, knowing she kept spare clothes there. She found a shirt, but not the pants she desired. There was only a skirt but it would do until she could return to her quarters. Teyla then decided to try and find Carson. He was in his office, pacing in front of his desk. He wasn't wearing his radio; it was tossed on the desk. She knocked on the wall to get his attention.
"Teyla, come in."
"I came to offer you comfort. I also wanted you to know I believe you made the correct decision. I do not know what we would do without Elizabeth."
"I," he paused. "I couldn't let her die knowing there was an answer. I just couldn't, Teyla."
His voice broke a little and she walked over to him. She opened her arms to him and he nodded, entering her embrace. He laid his head on her shoulder as she stroked his back. "It is all right Carson. It is not the same as Michael, even if it might feel as if it were. You were doing this for a friend."
"Aye, I know, but I don't feel any better for mucking about with those damn machines in her body."
"Elizabeth is a very logical person. She will see that you and Rodney made the right decision." Even as she said the words, they felt hollow to Teyla.
Carson sighed. "I hope so. We've had far too much death lately."
He pulled back, kissing her gently. Teyla found herself responding passionately as she held onto Carson's waist. He attempted to push away but not very forcefully and Teyla could feel his resistance fading. Finally he pulled her against him, turning them so she was pinned between his body and the desk.
Teyla ignored the sharp edge digging into her ass as Carson moved his hands, burying them in her hair as he deepened the kiss. She may have whimpered, shifting her body against his. Carson's desire was hot against her thigh and she shifted again causing Carson to moan. He stopped kissing her, but did not let her go.
"Teyla," he said, his breath ghosting over her face. "Mo mhuirnin, I want this, lord knows I do, but," he paused.
She kissed him, her hand coming up to brush his cheek, his forehead. "I want this as well. I want you, Carson. Now. If we are to leave this world, and at the moment it is very likely we could, I want this memory to take with me into the next."
Carson's response was to kiss her again, lifting her onto his desk. He swept off the few items that had been on it, letting them clatter to the floor. Teyla felt her skirt bunch up, the metal of the desk cold against her skin. She pushed Carson's lab coat off, anxious to feel his skin.
He pulled her closer to the edge, her skirt riding even higher. Carson stood between her legs, pressing against her. Teyla rocked her hips making him close his eyes and bite his lip. His hands moved along her thighs making her shiver. Teyla reached for his clothing, undoing his pants and reaching inside. He bucked into her hand. His hands found her naked under the skirt, fingers teasing against her before slipping inside.
"So lovely, my Teyla," he murmured.
She leaned back as he moved inside her. Her hands scrabbled for purchase on the desk. It had been too long since she had felt like this. Teyla stole a glance at Carson. His eyes were open again, dark with desire as he watched her.
"I want you, Carson."
"Then you'll have me."
Teyla found herself making a noise of concern when he removed his fingers. She lay back on the desk, watching as he pulled down his pants and undergarments. He stood before her and she reached for him. Carson leaned down to kiss her, erection pressing against her thigh again. Teyla pulled back a little, looking Carson in the eyes as she shifted and he entered her. The wonder and astonishment she saw in them humbled her.
"Teyla," he said, resting his head on her shoulder.
She hitched a leg over his hip. "Carson, be with me."
He lifted up off of her, bracing one hand on the desk, the other holding her leg in place as he moved. She moved her other leg to wrap around him, bringing him closer. Every time he pulled back she moved with him. They found an easy rhythm together.
"God, Teyla, mo chridhe."
"Yes, Carson, faster, please."
He moved his hands to her hips, lifting her lower body from the desk as he thrust deeper into her. Teyla reached behind her to grab the back of the desk. She continued to move with him as best she could, her body tensed in anticipation.
"Teyla," he said. "Beautiful Teyla let me see you, come for me."
It was as simple as that. Teyla felt her orgasm flow through her. Her body shuddered and she felt Carson's movements become erratic. He buried himself in her one last time, leaning over her, whispering her name in her ear.
"Teyla, mo leannan. Tha gaol agam ort."
They lay there for a moment, catching their breaths. Teyla slowly unwrapped her one leg as Carson let go of the other, both of them falling to the desk. Carson levered himself up, slipping out of her. He held a hand out to help her sit up as she attempted to lower her skirt. She kissed him again.
"What is it that you said to me? What language is it? You have said similar things to me before."
Carson ducked his head as he straightened his clothes. "It's an old language from my country, my home. Not many speak it anymore and sadly I only know a few phrases. That last one, it means," he paused, looking her in the eyes. He wrapped an arm around her. "It means I love you."
Teyla's heart skipped a beat. She smiled at him. "Truly?"
"Aye, I love you, Teyla Emmagan, daughter of Tegan."
"Then I must confess that I am in love with you as well, Carson Beckett."
He lifted her off the desk, twirling her in a circle, kissing her as she laughed. They were interrupted by the chirp of the radio which was lying on the floor.
"Carson, Teyla?" It was Rodney. "We need you in Elizabeth's room."
Carson set her down with a final kiss. "Let's go." He bent down to scoop up the radio.
Teyla nodded, holding his hand as they went.
There was a plan. A stupid foolish plan to be sure, but it could get them out of this situation. Carson didn't have to like it, especially because it meant endangering Elizabeth.
"I didn't save her life for you to go and risk it again," Carson yelled at Rodney.
"She's the only way we're gonna get in without being detected. She even consented to go."
"Fine, fine, but let me go and give her one last exam, just to satisfy my own curiosity."
Rodney nodded and left to go make preparations. Carson went to Elizabeth's room; she was looking out the window. She turned and gave him a half-smile.
"I know what you're going to say, but ask it anyway."
"You're sure about this, Elizabeth? Given enough time I'm sure that Rodney could come up with something else."
She shook her head. "I'm alive for a reason, Carson. I can help them and I'm going to. It will help the city, help everyone here. I could be back, you never know."
Carson doubted her statement but nodded. "Then I can't stop you, can I? Even if I tried to give a medical reason, you'd still go wouldn't you?"
"Yes," she nodded. "Thank you, Carson, for everything you've done." She walked over and wrapped him in a hug.
"God speed, Elizabeth. I'll see you when you return."
They parted and Carson spent the next few minutes updating Elizabeth's file. Then he went to find Teyla. She was in the control room, standing by one of the windows, watching the modified jumper leave in a flash of light. He came up behind her, touching her arm gently. She turned and smiled at him.
"I heard they put you in charge," he said.
"They did, it is not that hard to do at the moment."
"Well, even leaders need their rest. There's not much to do at the moment. Let me walk you to your quarters. We need to talk about something."
She nodded and took his proffered arm. He led her through the control room, the halls entirely deserted. Teyla led him to her room, opening the door without a word. She led him to the bed and they sat.
"You seem concerned, Carson."
"I am, love. It's about," he paused, taking her hand. "About what happened in my office."
"Do you regret it? Because I do not."
"No, no," he assured her. "It was beyond my wildest dreams. But we, we didn't use protection."
She leaned over and kissed him gently. "There is an herb Athosian women use; we put it in our tea. It can prevent us from having a child. It does not always work but would it be so bad to have a child with me?"
Carson contemplated that for a moment. The thought of Teyla heavy with his child was something he hadn't considered but it was not a bad thought. Their relationship was so new. Carson wanted to wait for children, but if Teyla was, would it be so bad? He reached up and caressed her cheek. "No, mo chridhe, it would not be. I would be honored and humbled, but I didn't want to presume."
"We would have beautiful children," she commented. "Regardless it is in the hands of the Ancestors now."
Carson nodded. "I should let you rest," he said, standing. Teyla stopped him with a hand to his arm.
"Teyla, love, if I stayed," he left off.
"To sleep only, you are no doubt in much need of it also," she said. "If you are needed elsewhere I am sure someone will radio you."
She had a point. Carson sat back down and together they lay down on the bed. Teyla brought a blanket up and over them before curling up next to him.
"Pleasant dreams, Carson."
"To you as well."
Teyla awoke slowly, smiling to herself when Carson tightened his arm around her waist. She could not recall the last time she had spent a night with a man in her bed. It was something she could grow accustomed to. Teyla shifted to face Carson. He seemed younger, the lines of worry and stress gone from his face. She brushed a stray lock of hair from his forehead and he stirred. Carson moved and blinked his eyes open.
"Did you sleep well?" she asked.
He smiled. "I did, thank you. I must admit that waking up next to you, seeing your face, it is a very pleasant thing. Even if the bed is a bit small, the Ancients didn't seem to have couples in mind when they designed them."
"It may be that they did. They may have designed them small to allow the couple to sleep closer together."
"That's a grand idea, but it really doesn't allow for other activities, now does it?"
Teyla laughed at the wicked look in Carson's eyes. "No, it does not. Perhaps I should see about acquiring a larger bed somehow. I would very much like to engage in those activities with you."
Carson sat up a little, the lines returning to his face. "Teyla, love," he struggled.
"It does not have to be decided right now," she said. "I ask for no commitment, Carson. I ask only for your love, which I have."
Teyla could see that he was considering her words. Part of her knew that Carson would want to make a commitment but she did not want to endanger what they had by making him feel as if he had to do so at this moment. She was quite content to be his lover though she was sure Halling would have words for her on that subject when he found out.
"I'll send to Earth as soon as everything is settled," he finally said. "The American military owes me some favors and I think a larger bed is not much to ask considering."
Teyla kissed him with joy, pushing him to the bed. His arms wrapped around her, pulling them closer together. The chirp of the radio interrupted them. Carson frowned.
"Sometime in the near future I am going to have to take you away where we can't be disturbed," he said.
"I would like that very much," Teyla replied, answering her radio.
"Teyla?" It was Chuck. "You'd better get to the control room quick, there's something you're going to want to see."
"I will be there shortly." She rolled away from Carson holding her hand out for his as she stood.
He took it and they left for a nearby transporter. They arrived in the control room in time to witness a transporter beam slicing through the air. It left behind John, Rodney, Ronon and two others she did not recognize. Rodney was carrying the ZPM. She started to ask about Elizabeth but could see the sadness in John's eyes. She knew they would tell the tale later. Rodney hurried to pass his package over to Radek.
"Get that hooked up, Sheppard, the chair room, we don't have much time left," Rodney said.
"What can we do, Rodney?" the woman who had arrived with them asked. Her name patch read Carter and Teyla could tell from the markings on her shoulders she was a Colonel. Rodney directed her and the other man to stations.
Teyla and Carson stood in front of one, watching as Rodney's fingers flew over controls. The moment the ZPM was hooked up, the city came alive. Soon they were entering hyperspace and heading for the planet which had been their original destination. Carson stood beside her, his arm around her waist as they waited for their arrival. His presence was calming and she was glad he no longer felt reluctance to display their relationship in public.
The tension in the control room was high as everyone worked together. The jump into hyperspace provided a large enough jolt that Carson held her tighter. Teyla favored him with a quick smile and wrapped her own arm around him. Rodney was talking with John over the radio, guiding him, supporting him. Teyla was glad they had each other. It did not seem long before they were exiting hyperspace and the planet loomed ahead of them. Carson squeezed her and Teyla knew they were both hoping for the best.
The planet came up quickly, the city descending through the atmosphere, too quickly if Rodney's words to John were anything to go by. The landing on the water was not smooth. If she had not been holding onto Carson, Teyla imagined she might have stumbled. They were safe. For the moment. There should have been a moment of relaxation and joy but Teyla knew that there was still much to be done to repair the city. They also would need to scout their new home world. Carson got her attention.
"I should go and see if I'm needed back in the infirmary. I will see you later?"
"Yes, I will find you."
He pressed a kiss to her cheek before leaving. Teyla turned to see that Rodney looked exhausted. She knew him well enough to know that he would not stop until everything was settled to his satisfaction. John appeared soon enough. Teyla went over to him. "I would like to hear what happened."
He nodded. "Lemme grab Rodney and we'll tell you together. I don't think Ronon's ready to face what happened."
"I do not believe so either; I have not seen him since you returned. He has gone to grieve in his own way."
John went and pried Rodney from his work under the pretense of getting some food. They made their way to the mess in silence. Teyla prepared herself a small tray and smiled as she heard John badgering Rodney into having more than coffee. They sat, silent before Rodney began to speak.
"She was wonderful. Brilliant even. Got us in and directed John right to the ZedPM."
"Then why did it take you so long to return?" Teyla asked.
"It's my fault. I found a way to keep the Wraith busy. There was a code I found in the Replicators make up. I wanted to turn it on. The Replicators were originally programmed to fight the Wraith."
"Elizabeth helped us get to the control room," John said. "She kept an eye out for us."
"But that does not explain," Teyla paused.
"She left the jumper," Rodney said softly. "The Replicators were almost through our shield. She held them off. She overcame Oberoth and kept the rest of them frozen while John and Ronon uploaded the program."
"She held them off long enough for us to escape. She…she sacrificed herself for the city."
Teyla reached out for their hands, her own tears forming. "Elizabeth knew that this might happen. I think she would have wanted us to go on, not mourn for a long time. She would be happy to know her sacrifice was not in vain."
John and Rodney squeezed her hands and nodded. "We got lucky. Carter and the Apollo showed up just in time to keep the Replicator ships at bay until we could jump away," John said.
"Who is this Carter?"
"Sam?" Rodney said. "She used to work at the SGC, part of the flagship team over there. Not sure what she's doing out here but I'm damn glad to see her."
"As we all are," Teyla replied. "I know there is much for both of you to be doing. I will go to Elizabeth's office and quarters. Do you know when the Apollo will be returning to Earth?"
"Not for a few days, if you need any help with that," John paused.
"I will be fine. I will need to access her quarters though."
"I'll, uh, recode the locks," Rodney said awkwardly.
Teyla nodded. She stood her food mostly untouched. She left her friends to their own thoughts. She had work to do before she could do her own mourning.
He found her in Elizabeth's office. There had only been minor scrapes and bumps from the landing so it was not hard for Carson to leave when Ronon showed up, looking lost. Jennifer had gone to him and Ronon had all but collapsed in her arms. Carson sent them to his office and went to find Teyla. Losing Elizabeth would affect the whole city. No matter who the SGC or IOA sent to replace her, it wouldn't be the same. Teyla was putting things in a cardboard box when Carson walked into the room.
"I'd ask if you needed help, but it seems you've taken care of everything."
Teyla looked up, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. Carson walked over to her and she wrapped her arms around him, laying her head on his chest. He held her close, soothing her with his hands.
"She was my friend, Carson. I do not know how I should feel. It saddens me that she is not here, but I do not know if she is really gone, so I do not know if I should mourn."
"She was my friend too, love. I think Elizabeth would want us to mourn, but not for long. It's a hard thing to deal with, when there's no body. I've seen it before. We should have a ceremony, I'll ask the Colonel about it."
Teyla nodded against his chest. "I believe John was already planning something. I should see that this gets to the Apollo," she gestured to the box.
"I'll take it. I've a few things to send back myself. Many people do. I think they all want to let their families know everything is okay. Is there anything else?"
"No, I've already packed up her quarters. It has already been sent to the ship. I will miss her, Carson."
"We all will, Teyla, we all will."
There was a very small ceremony for Elizabeth before the Apollo left, made all the harder because of the uncertainty of her actual death. But it did allow for the citizens of Atlantis to mourn in some way and move on with their lives. The mainland of their new home was explored, botanists exuberant to find several plants that were similar to ones found back on Earth. There was a potato-like tuber and a grain similar to wheat which meant fresh bread. Rodney was equally as exuberant in his praise for the prospect of rolls and other bread products.
They reestablished contact with all of their trading partners, assuring them that the Atlanteans were not dead or defeated. The Athosians sent over a small contingent to show them how to harvest the crops growing naturally on the mainland and how to establish some of the native Pegasus crops allowing for greater trading possibilities.
Shortly after arriving they were alerted to Replicator ships leaving their planet, but they were not heading in the direction of Atlantis, they were attacking the Wraith. So they were left alone for a while. It was also to their advantage that their new home had never been visited by the Wraith and they had cloaked the city early on. They also made contact with Earth again without much change to the intergalactic gate bridge. It wasn't too long before General Landry sent word that Colonel Carter would be the new leader of the city.
Many expressed regret that John had been passed over, but he did not seem concerned that he'd not been chosen. Carter's arrival was met without much pomp as they were still making many adjustments to the city. Teyla was there with Carson trying hard not to judge this woman who was replacing her friend. He squeezed her hand gently as introductions were made and Carter had smiles for them all.
Off world missions were resumed within a week of Carter's arrival and Teyla was grateful to be doing something once more. She was kept busy enough that she did not notice the absence of her monthly cycle. When she did Teyla chalked it up to stress and did not give it a second thought. There was a brief incident with some Satedans who turned out to be Wraith worshipers. Teyla was glad that Ronon had Jennifer to go to for comfort.
She herself was contemplating a visit to New Athos. It had been too long since she had visited with her people. She wanted to tell them of her happiness with Carson, perhaps seek Halling's council on transferring the leadership of the people to him. She was spending more time in Atlantis and had begun to think of the city as her home rather than the planet where her people resided.
The next mission for her team was to a planet that she was unfamiliar with. It was very jungle like, but had been chosen because an initial sweep had found an energy signature--one that Rodney was sure was a ZPM. And more ZPMs were always desirable, or so Rodney claimed. Teyla thought they were faring well enough with the single one they had.
Instead the energy was emanating from a large crystalline structure. Rodney warned everyone against touching it, which meant that John had to. Teyla was constantly surprised at how foolish both he and Rodney could be when she knew that they both knew better. Luckily he was only stunned but she insisted that it was best that they head back to Atlantis and allow Carson to check him out just to be sure. John reluctantly agreed.
When they got back, Teyla stayed to see what Carson found while Rodney went to process the readings he had gotten from the crystal. She enjoyed not being the one being looked at for once. Instead she stood in the doorway watching Carson work. He was efficient but kind with John as he drew blood and performed all the standard tests. She admired the way his lab coat swirled around his legs, as much a part of him as his stethoscope. Teyla realized they had not had much time alone since landing on their new home world and vowed to remedy that soon. Carson turned and favored her with a smile as he patted John on the shoulder.
"Everything seems to be fine, Colonel. I've the blood work to look at yet, but I'm releasing you for now. Get something to eat and then plenty of rest. I'll call you if anything unusual show up."
John hopped off the exam table and walked over to Teyla. "Care to join me for some food?"
"Thank you, but I have other plans. I am glad you are well."
"Me too. Go get some rest. I'm sure Rodney will want to head back to check out the crystal soon enough," he said, patting her on the back.
"I will," she replied. "Pleasant dreams to you, John."
She left to go and request some time off to visit New Athos as well as plan something to get Carson alone. Another date of some sort. When she finished, she retired to her quarters for the night. She was slowly getting used to the new sounds of the planet and allowed the gentle crash of the waves lull her to sleep.
She dreamt. She often did, but this time she seemed to know that she was dreaming and could not escape the dream. She was taken back to the day of the explosion. She dreamt of being hurt again, of Carson assuring her that she would be okay. His kind eyes looked down at her and she wanted to tell him then and there how she felt about him, but was unable to. The pain was just as real.
Teyla suddenly found herself in the recovery room, the nurses all around her weeping. She did not remember this happening. She struggled to get the attention of one of them. Finally one came over, wiping her face with a cloth.
"What has happened? What is going on?"
"There was another explosion. It's….it's," she sobbed.
Teyla's heart constricted. "Tell me."
"Doctor Beckett. He was so brave, removing the tumor from that man. But he…he was caught in the blast taking it out to the bomb disposal team."
Teyla refused to believe the words she was hearing. Carson was alive. He had survived, the tumor had not exploded until it had been taken far from the population. She sat up in the bed, ignoring the pain in her side. She ripped at the tubes and needles, tearing them from her body. No one paid attention as she stumbled from the bed. She found some crutches and hobbled to the infirmary.
Everywhere there were people crying, holding onto one another in disbelief. She seemed invisible as she made her way through the halls. The going was harder the closer she got. More people jammed the halls and she pushed and bullied her way through. Teyla could smell the smoke and burning wires. She prayed to the Ancestors that the nurse had been wrong. She scanned the crowd for Carson's face.
All she saw was the rubble. Stone and rock everywhere There were Marines struggling to remove them, but they did not seem to be in a hurry. Teyla pushed closer. Rodney was there, his face drawn. He looked up and the sadness in his eyes nearly stopped her, but she pushed forward. He reached out with a hand.
But it was too late. She looked to where two Marines lifted one of the larger pieces of rock and bit back a cry as she saw an arm. It was Carson. She recognized the watch that he always wore. Rodney appeared at her side drawing her back. Teyla drew a breath and started to let out an anguished scream, but the scene shifted once more.
She now found herself dressed in her own clothes. She was standing on the steps of the control room. She was surrounded by the rest of the citizens of Atlantis; the military contingent dressed in their formal uniforms and the civilians decked out in suits and other finery. The Stargate was in the background. And in front of it, on some kind of stand was a coffin. It was draped in the flag of Scotland. The white and blue seemed to mock her. Teyla refused to believe that Carson was in there. Behind her she heard what she knew to be bagpipes. Her friends stepped forward, lifting the coffin from its place as the gate opened. She tried to say something, tried to get them to stop as they stepped through the wormhole. John looked back, but it was not John. The look in his eyes was dark and malicious as he smiled malevolently at her.
"No!!" she cried. She was sitting up in her own bed, sweat running down her back. Teyla took several deep breaths. It had only been a dream. She resisted the urge to radio Carson immediately. She got out of the bed and went to find some clothes. She knew she would not be able to get back to sleep now.
When Ronon came to the infirmary late that night, Carson suspected he was hoping to find Jennifer instead. Carson chuckled to himself. It was always surprising to think of his large friend with his tiny colleague but they were happy and that was all that mattered.
"What can I do for you lad?" he asked as Ronon sat on one of the exam tables.
"Nightmare, can't get back to sleep."
"Any other symptoms?"
"No. But it was bad."
Any dream bad enough to bring Ronon to him for help was serious. Carson decided not to press the issue and went about checking Ronon's vitals. He seemed to be fine, except the higher heart rate which was to be expected after a nightmare. He grabbed two packets of sleeping pills from his store and handed them to Ronon.
"Take both of these. They should help. Normally I'd only prescribe the one package, but given your size I think both will do the trick. Now go get some sleep."
"Thanks doc," Ronon said, slapping him on the back.
Carson was temporarily winded but waved to his friend as he caught his breath. Jennifer came to relieve him a few hours later and Carson gratefully trudged back to his quarters. He briefly gave thought to Teyla who had also spoken of a nightmare she'd had, but dismissed it quickly as he toed off his boots and fell to his bed. He was soon asleep.
The dream came to him slowly. He was drifting along peacefully and then he slowly found his surroundings change. He was in a lab of some sort. It was not his. It was dark, a light coming from a distance. The equipment was strange, but the writing seemed slightly familiar. Carson approached one of the machines to take a closer look. It was Wraith. He couldn't read it, but he knew the script.
The room felt strangely familiar. Carson didn't think he had been in one like it recently. He hadn't been off world in a long time. But there was something, on the edge of his mind that told him he should know this room. He turned in a circle until it came to him. It was one of the rooms described in Teyla's report from the Taranan home world. There was a light coming from somewhere else.
He ventured towards the light, unsure if he should call out for anyone. He reached for his gun, but found his thigh holster empty. He searched the room for a weapon but there wasn't anything. As he got closer to the light he was sure he heard voices. Carson slowed, taking each step cautiously. There was a door, the light was coming from behind it.
Carson recognized one of the voices now. Michael. Carson would know his voice anywhere. He was talking to someone. The door was slightly ajar and he dared a peek. Michael was standing in front of a table, needle in his hand. He was blocking Carson's view of whoever was lying there. Michael plunged the needle into the person and they screamed. It was a feminine scream. Carson stiffened.
Michael moved away. It was Teyla on the table, her body strapped down but she struggled nonetheless. Carson's eyes widened when he saw that she was quite pregnant, close to term if he judged it right. He tried to move past the door, but he seemed frozen to the spot. He could not call out either, let Teyla know he was there.
"Michael, please, do not harm my child," she said, struggling more.
The Wraith chuckled, it was not a comforting sound. "That is not what I intend, Teyla. Your child is special. That is why I took you, he is important to my research."
The joy of the thought that he had a son was tempered when Carson saw Michael move to a tray on a nearby table. Teyla seemed to struggle less. Perhaps what Michael had given her was a sedative of some kind. Carson was forced to watch as Michael came back around a scalpel in his hands. He pushed Teyla's top up and began to cut. Teyla struggled to scream but no sound came. Carson wanted to shout himself, but he was unable to as he watched Michael cut into her. His stared in horror as he saw his child being taken from Teyla's womb. Michael brandished the babe in triumph and then disappeared into the darkness, leaving Teyla there, her blood everywhere as the life drained from her.
Carson could move now, and he rushed into the room, looking for sutures, suction, anything to help him save Teyla. She looked at him and she tried to say something. He shushed her, holding her hand as he saw the light fade from her eyes, her body going limp. Out of the corner of his eye Carson saw the Colonel, but it wasn't. The man lurking in the shadows seemed to revel in Carson's grief, laughing as Carson struggled to perform CPR, his hands slippery with Teyla's blood.
Carson struggled awake, finding himself tangled in his sheets. That was no ordinary nightmare. He would call both Teyla and Ronon in the morning as well as the other members of their team. If something had happened on that planet other than Colonel Sheppard touching something he shouldn't have, Carson would need to know. For now, he would go and bury himself in research; more sleep would be elusive at the moment.
After the incident with Major Lorne, they all compared notes and agreed that it had something to do with the crystal that John touched. Radek and Rodney went back to the planet and collected the one John had touched as well as one that was active to bring back and study. When they found it to be sentient, a theory presented itself. Somehow the entity inhabiting the crystal had jumped to John and from him to Teyla, to Ronon, to Carson and now it had been jumping from person to person through touch but was also capable of using the power conduits to travel. Kate's death only strengthened their resolve to find the entity. They would have time to mourn later. Radek continued his work on a way to modify the city wide life signs detectors. When he finished they found that it now inhabited Rodney. He had not slept since being touched by one of his assistants.
When Colonel Carter presented her plan, John insisted on being by Rodney's side. Teyla knew that he was worried on a more personal level about something happening. She could see that Carter (she could not bring herself to think of this woman as Sam) was seeing it as a commander worried for his teammate. Regardless John was there in the room, both of them hooked up to machines as Carson watched over them. She briefly wondered what Rodney's nightmare would be about. No one seemed to want to discuss the details of what they had experienced. She did not blame any of them. It was a tense situation, growing tenser when Rodney flat lined.
Carson brought him back quickly, but John was still under. Rodney awoke, struggling to sit up, wanting to obviously see John. Carson told him gently that the entity was in John. Both he and Carson deduced that it was vulnerable to the electric shock provided by the defibrillator. He wanted to go back under, to help John as John had helped him. Carson nodded reluctantly and Rodney was put under. Teyla prayed to the Ancestors as they slept. John's heart monitor went wild and Carson shocked him just as he was starting flat line. It took several shocks before a normal rhythm was established and John opened his eyes, looking for Rodney immediately. Rodney was also awake and looking for John. Teyla's heart warmed as they exchanged a look of love. Behind them the once empty crystal glowed. Her eyes met Carson's and they also shared a look.
Carter ordered an eight hour rest hour period before they returned to the planet to return both of the samples Radek and Rodney had collected. The entity was back where it belonged and they were quite happy to be done with the mysterious jungle. They would remove it's coordinates from the computer. Teyla could not sleep when they returned to Atlantis. She was unsurprised to find her teammates out on one of the balconies. They were joined quickly by Carter and Jennifer. They sat around and chatted about nothing. But she noticed that Carson was not there and went to seek him out.
Carson was in his quarters, trying not to think of his nightmare. He felt that if he closed his eyes, it would be there again. He could not face the idea of Michael harming Teyla, being unable to save her. He was sitting on his sofa, finishing his report about the entity and the solution when his door chimed. He thought it open while typing the last sentence.
"Carson, I had hoped to find you here. Everyone else was gathered outside the mess," Teyla said as she entered.
"I'm not much for company. I can't stop thinking about," he paused. "But I glad that you came."
He moved his laptop and gestured for her to sit. She came over and sat close to him. He immediately took her in his arms. They both needed the comfort.
"I find it difficult to clear the images of my dream from my thoughts also," she said. "I was back to the day of the explosion. But in my dream," she paused, pulling herself closer to his chest. "In my dream you did not survive. The tumor exploded and you…."
"Shhh, mo chridhe, it was only a dream," he soothed.
"I know that, but it felt so real to me."
"Mine was just as bad," he said, kissing her head, breathing in her scent. "You'd been taken by Michael. You were with child, my child."
"He took the child from you, left you on a table to die. I couldn't move until he left. I couldn't save you," his voice broke.
Teyla pulled back, running a hand over his cheek, wiping away a tear that had fallen. "You will always save me, I believe that."
"Thank you, love. It felt real for me, too, even the joy of knowing you had given me a son."
"He would have your eyes and your heart," Teyla said, kissing him. She stood from the sofa and held her hand out to him. "Make love to me, Carson. Show me that you are alive. And if the Ancestors bless us with a child I would be proud that it was yours."
He took her hand, standing and pulling her flush against him. "I would be just as proud to be the father of your children, my Teyla. They would have your strength and your fire." He kissed her gently, hands splayed across her back. She returned the kiss, her own hands running through his hair. They stood there kissing, slowly moving towards the bed.
Carson undid the ties of Teyla's shirt, letting it fall the floor. Her breasts pressed against his chest and he moved a hand to cup one of them gently. Teyla moaned as his fingers found her nipple and teased into a peak. He moved his mouth from her lips to her jaw, her skin warm as they bumped against the edge of the bed.
"Let me taste you, mo leannan," he said as they sat on the edge.
"Yes, please, Carson," she replied as she lay down.
He returned to her lips, his hands running over her body. The tie to her pants proved just as easy to undo and he pushed them off her legs. He stood up and Teyla shifted, moving so that she was fully on the bed now, spread out before him like a goddess. Carson felt overdressed and quickly shed his own clothes before crawling onto the bed next to her. His lips found her neck and she moved to touch him as he worshiped her.
From her neck to her shoulders, he kissed and tasted her skin. Carson was going to make this last, make this memorable. He licked at her breasts, imaging their child suckling there. Teyla shifted restlessly under him, whimpering. He shifted as he moved lower, his hands caressing her. His tongue dipped into her navel, causing her to giggle. He nipped at her hips, knowing they would widen to prepare for childbirth, but it would look good on Teyla. She would be magnificent while pregnant. He had been hesitant before, but now, after their ordeal, he wanted nothing more than to give her a child.
He was ready to move lower when Teyla pulled him up and flipped them over. Carson let out a breath of surprise. She straddled him as she kissed him passionately. He tried to protest but she silenced him with a finger.
"I would like to taste you as well."
"Don't let me stop you," he said as she kissed her way down his chest.
She licked his nipples, making him aware of how sensitive they were. She gave the left one a small nip, which made him yelp. She just grinned mischievously as she moved lower. Teyla traced his chest hair as it tapered to his groin. His cock was defiantly interested in what might happen next. But she surprised him yet again.
She crawled back up his body. He groaned in frustration, half tempted to flip them over again and take her. But Teyla had other plans as she slowly slid herself down his body, taking him in. He groaned as he slid inside her. She kissed him again before sitting up. He moved his hands to her hips. Carson took in the sight of her.
Teyla looked almost wild, as she started to move. Her hair framed her face and her eyes were on his. He was reminded of a show that Rodney had forced him to watch once. One of the characters had described his love, his wife, as a warrior woman. That was what Teyla was to him. Carson wasn't sure what that made him, but it didn't matter. Her hands were pressed against his chest as she rocked above him.
"Mo mhuirnin, let it go, I want to see you."
"Carson," she sighed as she shuddered around him.
He held on, thrusting up into her as he found his own release. Teyla collapsed against his chest and he let her lay there as he pressed kisses to her face. After a few moments he rolled them to the side. She made a noise as he slipped out of her, but he soothed her and reached for the covers. She curled up against him, her head on his chest. Carson was glad he'd sent for a bigger bed when the Apollo left the city.
Perhaps he should also approach Colonel Carter about the possibility of bigger quarters, ones he could share with Teyla. From the moment he'd declared his love for her, Carson knew he wanted everything with this amazing woman. The bed was not the only thing he'd sent for. He'd written to his mother and knew that she would know exactly what he was asking for. He'd wanted to wait until the Daedelus arrived with the package, but after tonight he knew he shouldn't wait. He was going to take Rodney's advice and grab life by the hands.
"I know that you said you were not asking for one, but I ask it of you now," he said suddenly.
Teyla looked up at him confused. "I do not know what you mean."
"Before you said you asked for no commitment from me. But I find that I want that. I want a commitment with you, Teyla. I love you. I have never felt this way for any other woman in my life. I'd hoped to have my grandmother's ring so I could do this properly, the way my mother would want me to do this, but I can't wait."
"Wait for what?" Teyla looked even more confused.
Carson sat up, taking Teyla's hand in his. "Teyla, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife? I have nothing to offer you but my heart and my love for the rest of my life."
Teyla sat up and kissed him, her eyes glistening with happy tears. "Yes, Carson, I would be your wife."
Carson grinned, hugging her and kissing her. "I'd prefer something on Earth, but I doubt the favors owed me would get me that. Would something small in the gate room do? Is there an Athosian ceremony you'd prefer?"
Teyla laughed. "If we married in the gate room I do not think it will be a small affair. The entire city would want to be there. There is a traditional Athosian ritual. I had planned on going to New Athos soon, I can ask Halling to perform it for us. He will be thrilled that I am finally settling down."
"I'm sure, as long as he doesn't threaten to do me harm."
"He would not. My people love you, Carson. Now, John," she paused with a smile.
Carson groaned. "Do we have to tell our friends?"
"Not right away, I like the idea of this being our secret for a few days. But we will have to soon."
"I suppose you're right. In a few days then. Right now, I suggest sleep. I very much want to wake up next to my fiancée."
"And I look forward to waking next to my betrothed. Good night, Carson, my love."
"Good night, mo leannan, Teyla."
They kept their engagement a secret for exactly three days. John and Rodney were overly suspicious of how content they seemed to be and confronted the two of them at lunch.
"Okay, that's it, I give up," Rodney declared, setting his tray on the table. "I know you two are an item and god knows you're probably sleeping together because no one is that happy without getting laid unless it involves drugs, but what's going on here is way beyond that and I want to know what's going on."
"Way to be subtle, Rodney," John sighed as he sat next to him. "Look we're just wondering 'cause we're you're friends and we feel that you should share the happy."
Teyla exchanged a look with Carson who just gestured for her to tell them. She turned and gave both of her teammates a long hard look. They both seemed to pale for a moment. She smiled at them and they relaxed a little. "Carson and I are betrothed."
"Huh?" Rodney said.
John slapped him on the back of the head. "They're engaged you idiot. Congratulations, couldn't happen to a nicer couple of people."
"Yes, yes, congratulations." Rodney echoed. "Where's the ring?"
John sputtered and Teyla was ready to say something unkind but Carson stopped her.
"My mother is sending my grandmother's ring from Earth. I was going to wait until it arrived before proposing but I took your advice Rodney and decided that I should seize the moment."
"Oh, well, uh, that's good," Rodney said. "So when's the happy event?"
"We have not decided. I am planning to tell my people first when I visit them which I plan to do soon. But I am sure it will not be a long time away."
"Yes, I waited too long to ask her out, now that's Teyla's agreed to be my wife, I'm not letting her go," Carson said.
Teyla smiled at him and leaned over to kiss him.
"Please, save it for the honeymoon. Are you planning on going anywhere?"
"Maybe New Athos for a few days," Carson said, "But I'm also petitioning the SGC to let me take Teyla to Earth to meet my family."
"Good luck with that," Rodney said. "Somehow I don't see the IOA being too happy about someone from Earth marrying an alien."
"Ignore him. If you need any help or a good word, just say," John offered. "O'Neill owes me a favor or two."
"That is very generous of you, John."
He shrugged. "Nothing to it. So now we know can we tell everyone else?"
"I do not see why not," Teyla answered.
She regretted that statement a few hours later when Rodney accessed the city-wide system and made the announcement.
"Attention, can I have everyone's attention please. I would like to make an announcement. Everyone, congratulate Carson because he proposed to Teyla and she said yes. Party in the gate room in ten minutes."
They were mobbed as they made their way through the halls. Ronon swung her around in a bear hug when they arrived, setting her down and slapping Carson on the back hard enough that he stumbled. Anne Biro offered her congratulations while also informing them that she had received an offer to return to Earth that she could not refuse. Teyla nodded, thinking that perhaps she could ask Jennifer Keller to take over her care.
Radek had pulled out jugs of moonshine from his still and everyone made toasts to the couple. Teyla refrained from drinking only because Radek's moonshine was known for its hangover that lasted for several days. Colonel Carter also came up to say something.
"I'm working a few angles to see what I can do about that trip to Earth," she said. "I'll let you know if I find out anything."
Carson thanked her and Teyla just nodded. It was in that moment that she missed Elizabeth. Her friend would have cajoled both the SGC and the IOA into allowing Carson to take her to Earth. She would have also taken care of any problems that arose from Teyla being from another galaxy. She blinked back the tears and focused on the toasts that John and Ronon were coming up with. There was music being played and a few people dancing. Carson swayed her away from the group for a moment.
"I apologize for Rodney's attempt at an announcement. He means well."
"It is fine, I am glad that it is not a secret. I imagine the party after the wedding will be twice as loud. The city needs merriment."
"Aye, that it does," he agreed, kissing his way across her neck. He was more demonstrative since the proposal and Teyla laughed as she playfully pushed him away. "I hope you don't mind that I also sent for wedding rings. I guessed at your size, but I wanted to get everything here at once rather than waiting another six weeks for a supply run or risking the ZPM for a quick shopping trip."
"No, that is very sensible of you, Carson."
"Do you think anyone would mind if we slipped away from our own party?" he whispered as he nibbled her ear.
Teyla melted against him and looked around. Everyone was busy having a good time to notice them. "I do not think they would blame us for seeking some time alone."
He smiled and pulled her away from the party to his quarters.
Carson was still feeling some of the effects of one too many toasts of moonshine two days later. He was in the infirmary checking on a biologist who had come down with a nasty flu-like condition recently. He was baffled at the symptoms and was puzzling over the man's file when Rodney came barging in, Katie Brown in tow.
"What can I do for you today, Rodney?"
"I was fixing some of the systems in the greenhouse and Katie here began feeling a bit lightheaded. I thought I should bring her down here."
"That was very thoughtful of you. Right, lass, let's see what we've got going on."
She was displaying some of the early symptoms the other man had displayed and that worried Carson a little. He asked if she knew him.
"We were on the mainland not so long ago, just doing some routine tests."
Carson nodded and asked for names of the rest of the team that had gone. Within in the hour he had several more cases on his hands and decided to let Colonel Carter know he was quarantining the infirmary in case of a possible outbreak. When Katie began to forget things Carson became even more concerned. The blood work showed a virus, but one that he couldn't place even though it seemed familiar to him. He ordered random testing of the rest of the city to see if it had spread past the infirmary.
Sheppard reported back that half a dozen other in various parts of the city were reporting symptoms. The results came back that the virus had spread far further than originally thought. Rodney had stayed in the infirmary and Carson confronted him about something.
"I thought the city had quarantine protocols to prevent this sort of thing from happening."
"It does! I don't know why they haven't activated. Does this mean I could be infected? I feel fine."
"I'm afraid it's more than likely. I'm prescribing stimulants for the senior staff, it might keep the memory loss at bay for a while. Meanwhile I'm searching the database for any mention of this virus."
Rodney nodded and went to check on Katie for a moment. Carter soon radioed that they were moving all non-essential personnel to the mess hall to relieve the stress on the infirmary. Carson agreed and sent Jennifer along to help with the set up. Teyla soon arrived, worried.
"How are you doing?"
"Well enough, love. Is everything in the mess hall going okay?"
"As well as can be expected. There are some that are already expecting memory loss that are protesting and putting up a bit of a fight. John has sent Major Lorne and his team along to help them."
"That's a good idea. Was there something else? I don't mean to sound snippy but I have a lot of work to do."
"Yes, Ronon and I are feeling no symptoms at all."
Carson looked up, curious. "Really? Maybe you have a natural immunity. Let's have some of your blood then and see what we can come up with." He steered her to a bed, gesturing to one of the nursed to bring him some supplies.
Teyla was worried. Carson was already beginning to show symptoms of this disease. When she left to check the progress being made in the mess hall he was busy analyzing her blood for traces of the virus. When she returned he was scanning the database and she had to remind him of her possible immunity.
"Carson, you have already drawn my blood. You were looking at it when I left."
"I was? Damn, I'm progressing further than I thought I was. What good will I be if I can't find out what this is before I forget my name?"
Teyla pulled him into a hug. "You will find out the cause of this. Try to remember that I have faith in you. Perhaps you should look in other places than the data base."
"Thank you, mo chridhe," he said, rubbing his forehead. "I'll try, even if I have to end up writing your name on my arm."
She left him to go and finish helping make preparations in the mess. An hour later Carson radioed for her and Ronon to join him in Colonel Carter's office. John and Rodney were there when they arrived.
"Carson thinks he may have found what the virus is," Carter explained.
"Aye, and I have you to thank, Teyla. I took your suggestion to look elsewhere and started to go through my records. I came up with this," he pointed to the computer screen behind him. "A ten year old Athosian boy who I treated for," he paused, the name of the disease on the tip of his tongue.
"Kirsan fever," Teyla ventured.
"Yes, that's it."
"That's a common childhood thing," Ronon commented. "I had it when I was ten."
"And I was ill with it when I was eight," Teyla said. "But it does not cause amnesia."
"Which would explain why the cities quarantine didn't go into effect," Rodney said. "It's common to the Pegasus galaxy and a slightly altered version of it wouldn't cause any alarm. I'll have to tweak the protocols when all this over."
"Can you whip an antidote using the antibodies in Teyla's and Ronon's blood?" Carter asked.
Carson shook his head. "It would take too long."
"There is a cure. The Enchuri plant which grows throughout the galaxy. If you could come up with a way to distribute it throughout the city…."
"I can modify the ventilation system."
"We have a plan," John said. "Teyla you stay with Rodney, keep him on task. I'll fly with Ronon to the mainland and gather up enough of this plant."
"You know what it looks like?" she asked Ronon.
"Grew like a weed on Sateda."
They parted ways soon after but not before Teyla gave Carson another hug. "We will make this work. Do not forget that I love you, Carson."
"And I you, Teyla."
He didn't know who he was. Nobody did. He knew the soldiers meant bad news. They'd rounded up everyone and put them in this place 'for their own safety'. Some of the things in this place seemed familiar, like the equipment and the beds but he couldn't figure out why. Everyone whispered when the doors opened and the soldiers pushed everyone back, dumping a new person to the floor.
He wandered over, the other man was out, probably stunned by the weapons the soldiers carried. The other man's breathing was regular and his pulse was steady. He knew that was a good thing and wondered if maybe that meant he was a doctor. It wasn't long before the other man was awake and asking questions. The other man questioned why the soldiers were in charge and why no one had tried to escape. This man was looking for a woman called Teyla. The name stirred something inside him. He decided to follow this other man as did a blonde woman. They all planned what to do when the soldiers came around again.
They escaped, though he wasn't sure how they'd made it past the doors without getting shot. The other man was called Rodney and they began searching the vast halls for another man Rodney remembered and for this computer that had Teyla's picture on it. They found the third man after a lot of wandering around the huge city they seemed to be trapped on. This strange foreign man had Rodney's computer. Rodney remembered how to work it and showed them Teyla's picture.
Seeing the pictures sparked more familiarity in him, something about love and faith, but it faded quickly as they heard the soldiers approaching. They hid in a room full of more equipment similar to what he had seen in the place where they'd been held. The woman had an idea and they followed the leader, the one the soldiers called "Sir". The leader went several floors down and to what looked like a smaller room. They followed shortly after, Rodney hitting the man on the back of the head. There in a cage was the woman, Teyla. She smiled when she saw them.
"Carson, Rodney, Colonel Carter, Radek, I am so very glad to see you."
"You know us?" Rodney asked.
"I do but I need you to shut off the force field so that we may leave before I can explain anything to you."
Rodney figured it out quickly enough. They all left the room and Teyla lead them back up to someplace she called a lab. She told them of the disease they all had that caused them to lose their memories. Rodney had been figuring out a way to distribute a cure that two people called John and Ronon were out collecting. Rodney pressed a button on his computer and a message flashed that the program was done. Now they just had to wait for John and Ronon. Teyla pulled him to the side.
"Carson, I am very glad to see that you are unharmed. Do you remember me?"
"Your name and face are familiar. I have this feeling deep inside, it feels like," he paused. "Like love. Do I love you?" he asked.
She smiled, hugging him close. "You do, and I love you. We are to be married. You will remember all of this once you have the cure. When the city is back to normal I would like to have the ceremony soon. I do not want to lose you."
He just nodded. He knew his name, Carson, and that this beautiful woman holding him, Teyla, loved him. For now that was good enough.
John and Rodney arrived just in time and the cure was vented through the systems quickly. It took several days for everyone to return to normal and even then Carson wanted to wait before resuming normal gate activity. Teyla visited him in the infirmary, passing Rodney sleeping by John's bed as she went.
"Is everything working out?"
"It is. I think that gate travel can resume tomorrow. We were lucky that we only had the one casualty. Rodney is going to tweak the protocols in a few days. Don't want to experience another outbreak like this."
Teyla nodded. "I was wondering if you had given any more thought to what I said before."
"I have. The Daedelus is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday. Would Saturday be a good day? It gives you some time to prepare. I'm going to ask Rodney to be my best man."
"That will be plenty of time," she said. "I cannot wait to be your wife."
"I can't wait either," he replied.
The Daedelus arrived on time, bringing with it Carson's packages and a priest. The SGC felt the city would benefit from religious council. He agreed readily to perform the ceremony. There was also some paperwork. To appease the IOA, someone had created an identity for Teyla that claimed she was from one of the islands in the South Pacific. Carter assured them both it would stand up to scrutiny and prevent any unwanted questions from people without clearance. There was also an official marriage license from Scotland. All it needed was signatures from the couple and the priest. Carson presented her with his grandmother's ring that night. It was a simple gold band with a small diamond. He asked her again to be his wife and she said yes again.
The next morning Colonel Carter called them into the office to let them know that the IOA had also approved a visit of two days to Scotland. They would use the gate to arrive at the SGC and the Apollo would beam them to a secure facility in country. Carson was pleased he'd be able to introduce Teyla to his family.
There was much bustling amidst the normal day to day business of Atlantis as preparations were made for the happy day. Saturday came quickly and Teyla was nervous. She had asked Laura to be her sole bridesmaid and she'd consented. Together they had made up a traditional Athosian matrimonial dress. It was white in deference to the traditions of Earth. She would descend the stairs of the control room to meet Carson in front of the gate.
She waited there, breathing deeply, thanking the Ancestors that she was alive to see this day. Laura nodded to her and they made their way down. She saw the entire city gathered around, their friends in the center of the room. The priest stood in the center of the gate, Carson to his left. Her lover was handsome in the traditional kilt of his homeland. The look on his face as she came towards him spoke volumes. She stood beside him and he held her hand as the priest began the ceremony.
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to join Teyla and Carson in the sacred bonds of marriage. If any person here knows of any reason they should not be joined speak now or forever hold your peace."
There was nervous silence before the man continued. Carson had told her that some couples wrote their own vows, but she was content to stay with traditional words.
"Do you, Teyla, take Carson to be your husband, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer until death do you part?"
"And do you Carson, take Teyla to be your wife, in sickness and in health, for richer of for poorer until death do you part?"
They exchanged rings and the priest blessed the marriage before addressing the assembled crowd.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
He smiled and turned to her. "Teyla, mo leannan, my wife."
"Kiss me, Carson, my husband."
He pulled her close and kissed her as he bent her slightly. There was much cheering from all around. He straightened her with a grin. Teyla turned to the crowd who yelled out their joy. She had time to toss her small bouquet of flowers. She did not see who caught it as John and Ronon directed everyone to move back. Rodney brought forth their bags for the trip.
"Sorry there's not much time for a party, but I'm sure you want to make the most of the pass Carter got for you," he said.
"You can have the party without us and we will have a small celebration when we return," Teyla said.
"Yes, yes, now take this lug of a husband of yours and go meet the Beckett's."
The wormhole had engaged and shimmered there, waiting for them. Teyla smiled and took her bag with one hand, reaching for Carson with the other. He took her hand and they stepped through the gate together.
"Welcome to the SGC and congratulations on your nuptials." General Landry said as they stepped through. "You've got thirty minutes to change before the Apollo arrives. There will be a Marine waiting for you with transportation."
Carson nodded. "Thank you, sir. I appreciate all that you and your country were able to do for us."
"Carter and Sheppard both pulled in some favors. I suggest you thank them. Walter, show the newlyweds where they can change."
"Yes, sir," the sergeant said standing from his sit in the control room above.
They were shown a room and left to change. Carson immediately hugged Teyla.
"I can't believe we actually did it," he said, taking her hand and kissing the two rings that sat on her finger. "You look absolutely radiant in that dress."
"And you make quite a dashing figure in the kilt. I think the General wanted to say something about it but was too polite."
"It's tradition, the man should know and understand about that. But we should change. Scotland is rather cold this time of year."
"I must admit to being nervous about meeting your family."
"Don't worry, they'll love you. All that matters is that you make me happy and that is enough for them."
Carson began to search through his bag for something else to wear. He half watched as Teyla removed the dress she was wearing and wished they had more than thirty minutes to themselves. It would be the last time they would be alone until they returned to Atlantis.
"You have not told me much about them, your family," Teyla said as she pulled on heavy pants.
"Well, my father died when I was young, so my mother raised us by herself. I'm the youngest. I have two older sisters, Maeve and Brenna. They both have families. They've been fretting forever that I wouldn't find someone. I don't know if they'll be there, I'm not entirely sure how much notice Colonel Carter was able to give about our arrival."
"Just meeting your mother will be enough for me. I am ready," she said, pulling on a winter coat that the SGC had provided.
"So am I, let's go."
The trip from the gate room of the SGC to the middle of Scotland took seconds. Carson blessed Asgard technology. A Marine lieutenant greeted them, giving Carson the keys to a car, telling them that the rendezvous time was at noon on Monday. The car ride was not long, Carson took familiar roads to the cottage he'd called home for much of his life. He smiled as Teyla took in the beauty of his homeland. He'd wanted to share this with her for her a long time.
As he pulled into the gravel driveway a few hours later, he saw the door open and his mother waiting. He helped Teyla out, leaving their belongings for later. He took her hand and wrapped and arm around her waist. "It won't be bad, I promise," he whispered in her ear as they approached the door.
"Mother, this Teyla, my wife. Teyla, my mother."
"Come here lass, let's get you out of the cold. Carson, you bring the bags now there's good lad. So, Teyla, tell me how my wayward son managed to snag a beauty such as yourself."
Carson watched as his mother took Teyla into the house and sighed. It was going to be a long two days. He grabbed the bags from the back of the car and returned to the house. Once inside he set them at the bottom of the stairs. His mother had already taken Teyla's coat, which now hung on a hook beside the door, and they were sitting in the living room, his mother making tea. Carson shrugged his own coat off, hung it next to Teyla's and went to rescue her from his mother's endless questions.
"Give her a chance to answer, mum," he said, kissing Teyla's cheek as he sat next to her. "You've two days to ask all your questions."
"Not nearly enough time," she declared. "I want to know everything. A mother's got a right to ask when all she knows is her son sent for his grandmother's ring weeks ago saying he was in love." She handed cups to him and Teyla before taking her own and sitting. "How did you meet?"
Carson hesitated. There was only so much he could say given the classified nature of their work. Luckily Teyla smiled and smoothly answered for him.
"My village was one of the first the expedition encountered. They helped us through a disaster that devastated our lands, moving us closer to where they are stationed. Our people have become allies and close friends since."
"Aye, Teyla and her people have been a great help to all of us," Carson added.
"Tell me about your people, your family," his mother insisted.
"There is not much to tell. We are a simple people," Teyla said.
"But what about your family?"
Carson squeezed Teyla's hand when she smiled sadly. "My mother passed when I was but a babe and my father several years ago. I have only distant cousins and close friends left. I consider the people I work with, and Carson, my family now."
"You poor thing," his mother clucked. "Well, you're a Beckett now. Pity you can't stay longer and meet the extended lot of us. Maeve will be by tomorrow, so you'll get to meet her brood. Brenna wasn't sure she could make it, but if I know my daughter she won't pass up a chance to meet her brother's bride and will find a way here. I've called Father Cullen and he'll be by to give you his blessing."
Carson shook his head. "We were married by a priest, mum, you needn't have bothered the good Father."
She glared at him over her tea cup and he regretted his words instantly.
"I couldn't be there to see you married, but I will have this small thing, Carson Douglas Beckett."
His mother nodded, sipping the last of her tea before setting the empty cup on the tray. She stood, brushing the imaginary wrinkles from her dress. She gave each of them a look. "I'm so happy you found each other."
"Thank you, Mrs. Beckett," Teyla said.
"None of that now, you can call me mum, or mother. Now, come with me, I've a few things I've been saving for the woman who'd capture my boy's heart. Carson, would you be a dear and bring in some more wood for the fire?"
With that Carson watched his mother take Teyla off up the stairs, and knew for certain they wouldn't have a moment's peace until they returned to Atlantis.
Pulling away from Carson's childhood home two days later, Teyla let out a sigh of relief. His mother and two sisters as well as assorted nieces and nephews were all waving goodbye. It had been obvious they all deeply loved Carson and welcomed her into their family with equal love, but she was glad to be leaving their company.
"They do mean well," Carson said as he pulled onto the main road. "Sorry they were a bit…boisterous. They all worried I'd never find someone, so they overreacted to the news I'd found you."
"No, it is fine. I was overcome by how generous and open they were. My people have not had such an opportunity in a very long time."
Carson smiled. "Are you saying I can expect something like that on a much grander scale the next time I visit New Athos?"
"That is why I am going by myself in a few days. I will hopefully be able to convince Halling we do not need the feast that would be accorded to a leader or even that of a leader's daughter."
"You should at least take one of the other doctors with you. It's been a while since everyone was seen to."
Teyla nodded. "I was going to invite Jennifer Keller so that I could also ask her about taking Anne's place as my personal physician."
"Good idea, it will give her the chance she needs to experience off world situations. She needs the experience."
The rest of the drive went by quickly. Teyla thought Scotland a beautiful place but she was ready to return to Atlantis, to her home. The transfer from the rendezvous point to the Apollo to the SGC went smoothly. The gate was already mid-dial when they arrived. They walked through holding hands, greeted on the other side by John and Rodney.
"Welcome back," John said. "How did meeting the family go?"
"It was an experience I shall not soon forget," Teyla said.
"She did fine, they all love her," Carson said. "We should get to my quarters, we have a lot of rearranging to do."
"Not so fast," Rodney said. "I did some digging while you were gone."
John grinned. "Carter approved it and we took the liberty of packing up your stuff and moving it. You've got larger quarters, we think they were meant for a family. Better than trying to jam all of your combined stuff into a smaller room."
"That is wonderful, John. Would you thank the Colonel when you see her next?"
"Thank her yourself," Rodney said. "She also gave you both the next two days off."
"That's very generous of her, but," Carson started.
"No buts. Keller's got everything covered in the infirmary. We'll show you to your room and then leave you to, to," Rodney paused.
"We get the idea, Rodney," Carson said.
"Thank you both," Teyla smiled. "Shall we go?"
Her teammates took their bags, guiding them through the city to their new quarters, deposited the bags just inside. They said their goodbyes leaving the two of them standing in front of the open door. Carson turned to her with a mischievous smile. He picked her up and carried her inside, the door closing behind them.
"Carson! Put me down!"
"It's tradition, love," he whispered in her ear. He carried towards a room where she saw their new, larger bed. "Now, Mrs. Beckett, I would very much like to spend the next two days making love to you."
Teyla kissed him as he laid her on the bed. "I approve of that plan, Mr. Beckett."
Teyla left Carson sleeping as she got up on the third day to get ready for her trip to New Athos. She did not want to leave but she knew her people would want to share in her joy. She adjusted the chain that now adorned her neck. While Carson's grandmother's ring was beautiful it was not designed to hold up for off world missions. He'd chosen platinum for their wedding bands so she did not fear wearing that while working.
She dressed for traveling and paused in the doorway of the bedroom, watching Carson before she turned to go seek out Jennifer. The younger woman was in the infirmary packing the last of three bags. Teyla raised an eyebrow as she stuffed several things into the bag.
"Do you really need all of this?"
"I don't want to be without anything. Ready to go?" she said, smiling.
"I am," Teyla said. If Jennifer wished to carry all of that then Teyla was going to let her. It only took Carson one trip to scale down his needs to a pack and a small bag, Jennifer would learn this as well. John stopped them as they were about to step through the gate.
"Hey, have a good time and watch out for that stuff Halling makes, whadda you call it?"
"Ruus wine," Teyla said.
"Yeah, that stuff, has quite a kick."
"We must go now," she said with a tight smile. "We will return in a day."
They stepped through the gate and Jennifer stopped to take everything in. "Wow, it's so pretty. Is the settlement far?"
"It is a ways but we will get there before nightfall," Teyla said. "Are you certain you do not need any help with those?"
Jennifer hitched the pack higher onto her shoulders as she shook her head. "No, I'm the silly goose who packed it all, I should be the one to carry it."
Teyla nodded as they set off down the path. It was quiet for a few moments, but she suspected Jennifer would be full of questions. Her suspicions were confirmed shortly.
"So, how is married life treating you?"
"Very well, I am more content than I have ever been."
"That's good. But isn't weird to be in love with someone you work with?"
Teyla could see what Jennifer was asking even if she was not asking it directly. "Carson and I did not work together often so I considered him more a friend than a colleague. I am grateful we had the opportunity to turn our friendship into something more. Do not be afraid to do so with Ronon. He needs you even if he does not say it."
"Kinda obvious was I?" she said, blushing a little.
"You are good for Ronon. I witnessed how you comforted him after Elizabeth's first surgery. Be there for him and he will tell you, in his way, what you mean to him."
Jennifer nodded and they continued on their way, chatting about the everyday events of Atlantis. As they got closer to the village Teyla began to worry. There was usually a scout to warn of enemies coming from the Stargate. She would have been identified as friend quickly and the children should have been noisily rushing to greet her. They were coming upon the clearing that was the entrance to the village and no one had appeared.
"Something is wrong," she said, rushing ahead.
The entire village was empty. Fires had been left burning, tools dropped where people had stood but there was no sign of anyone. Her first thought was that they had been culled. The Athosians were so few now that a single culling could wipe them out. But New Athos was close enough to Atlantis that long range sensors would have picked up any signs of the Wraith. Then where was everyone?
"We should return to the gate and go home," she decided.
"What happened, where is everyone?" Jennifer asked.
"I do not know and that is why we must return. We can come back with more people to help investigate."
As they started back down the path Teyla heard something. She pulled Jennifer to the shadows and waited. Two figures came into view. Teyla was suddenly chilled. Bola Kai. She knew their ways. They must get to the gate. When they discovered the gate was blocked by more Bola Kai, Teyla knew what they must do. She and Jennifer would hide. They would wait. Atlantis was expecting them back later tomorrow, when they did not show Colonel Carter would send someone, her team, to find them. Until then they would hide, fight if they had to and survive. Teyla would survive to see Carson again.
"So, tell me again why you didn't go with your wife to New Athos?" Rodney asked Carson at lunch time.
"Because she wanted to convince Halling that it was not something she rushed into and that we didn't need a large celebration. The ruus wine is worse than Radek's moonshine," he replied.
Rodney nodded. "But you will go there eventually, right? I mean they're like your in-laws now."
"Yes, Rodney, when we can both spare some time, well both return there. Teyla wants Halling to perform the Athosian matrimonial ritual for us. She honored my traditions, I want to honor hers."
"Do I have to be best man for that too?"
"No, you don't, Rodney," Carson sighed.
Any further questions from his friend were interrupted by the arrival of Colonel Sheppard. He looked concerned and Carson immediately was worried as well.
"What's up?" Rodney asked.
"Teyla and Keller are late."
Carson looked at his watch. "Not by much, a few hours at most."
"Have you ever known Teyla to be late without calling?"
"No," he said, his heart suddenly racing. "Let me come with you."
"Wouldn't think of leaving you out, doc," John said. "Come on, let's gear up, Ronon's meeting us in the jumper bay."
Nabel had disappeared the moment the Bola Kai appeared leaving Teyla and Jennifer to defend themselves. Teyla had not been surprised. She sat now in the cage, cursing him and thinking of her people. They were not dead as Nabel had insisted. She would know. Her thoughts now turned to Carson, to her teammates. They would come for her and Jennifer soon. It was past their return time and her adopted family would arrive to find out why. Rustling nearby got her attention. Nabel skulked over and opened they cage. She and Jennifer crawled out, all of them running for the cover of the forest.
"You came back," Jennifer said when they stopped.
"You rescued me, I thought only to return the favor," he said.
Teyla turned to confront him when Nabel suddenly lashed out and she fell to the ground, blackness enveloping her. She came to with Jennifer standing over her. The sound of the Bola Kai was getting closer.
"Are you okay?"
"I am fine, we must move."
Jennifer nodded as she helped Teyla up. A Bola Kai weapon hit a nearby tree and they began to move. Familiar voices echoed just as closely and then Colonel Sheppard appeared. Rodney, Ronon and Carson were not far behind. Carson came over to her quickly, but she assured him with a gentle hand.
"The jumper's not far, let's get you both home," John said.
"That would be good."
The journey back to Atlantis was quiet, Carson fussing over her with Ronon equally as attentive to Jennifer. No one mentioned the absent Athosians. Teyla would make a formal report later. She would find them. A medical team was waiting for both of them when they landed in the jumper bay. Teyla could tell Carson was finding it hard not to interfere in her care.
"I will see you after my injuries have been tended to," she said. "You have a fine team, I am good hands."
"I know, love, but it doesn't mean I don't still worry. I'll go see to Jennifer."
He kissed her cheek before leaving her. She had mostly bruises and scraped but the blow to the head meant that she would be staying in the infirmary overnight. Teyla suspected that Carson would spend the time in his office just to be near her if she should need him. Jennifer's ankle had been wrapped and the young woman was hobbling her way over to Teyla's bed.
"I do not understand why you are allowed to continue working while I must lie in bed," she teased.
"That knock to the head was pretty serious. Carson would have my job if I let you go."
"I know, but I do not have to like it. You seem better."
"Carson said it wasn't too bad. And Colonel Carter got me a pass back to Earth. I get to see my dad."
Teyla smiled. "I am happy for you."
"Thanks," she said, standing next to the bed now. "There's something I need to tell you. It came up in the regular blood work."
A thousand things came to mind, but Teyla took a breath, nodding for Jennifer to continue.
"Oh," Teyla said, her hands automatically going to her stomach. "I did not…thank you."
"I can keep this out of your file for a while if you want. I hope it's happy news."
"It is. But I would like some time before I tell Carson."
Jennifer nodded. "Then this is just between us until you say otherwise. You should rest now."
Teyla did not notice as she left, all her thoughts on this news. She had told Carson that having his child would be a good thing. She wanted his children. She had not thought it would happen so soon. But as she'd told him it was in the hands of the Ancestors. It seemed they wanted to temper the loss of her people with the joy of a new life. Teyla vowed that she would find her people, for herself and now for her child.
Teyla's release from the infirmary was accompanied by Carson taking her straight to their quarters and checking for himself that she was okay. He'd mapped her entire body with his fingers, his lips, his tongue. Afterwards he'd held her as she'd told him about the disappearance of the Athosians. Carson knew Teyla would want to find them. He wanted to keep her beside him, away from danger, but that was not who she was. He'd simply nodded and said he'd help in any way he could.
He noted that Teyla seemed a bit distant at times during the next week. Carson asked her about it once, but she dismissed as concern for her people. He suspected there might be more to it, but knew she would tell him in her own time. When he was called to Colonel Carter's office, Carson wondered what he was needed for. Teyla was pacing, she seemed excited about something. Carter gave her the floor.
"I believe I know of someone who can help us find my people. The Vedeenan people, their leader is said to be able to see things."
"A psychic?" Rodney scoffed.
"Now, Rodney, just because there is no hard proof doesn't mean they aren't real," Carson said. "I've seen many studies on the brain and how it works. Psychics may tap into parts we don't fully understand yet."
"It's still voodoo."
"Well, there's proof that medicine works, quantum physics makes telling the future virtually impossible."
"Virtually," Sheppard repeated. "I think it could be worth a look."
"Okay, you have a go," Carter said.
Carson went over to Teyla. "I know you feel good about this, but I also want you to remember to be realistic."
"I know that he may not have the answers, but I have to try, Carson."
"I know, I wish you luck," he said, giving her a hug.
Carson returned to the infirmary, overseeing a few things trying not to worry about Teyla. He wanted to find the Athosians as much as she did, but he seemed to be more realistic about their chances than she did. The team had not been gone but twenty minutes when Carter was calling him.
"We're going to need you on the Vedeenan planet, Doctor Beckett. It seems their leader is in failing health."
"I'll grab my gear and be there shortly, but I must caution that there is only so much I can do off world."
He arrived in the gate room to see Teyla and her team returning. Rodney seemed disconcerted, paler than normal. Carson wanted to find out, but Teyla just gave him a look that told him he'd find out what had happened later. The wormhole closed and Chuck was quickly redialing so that Carson could go back. He was greeted on the other side by a quiet young woman who turned out to be the daughter of the leader in question, Linara.
He was lead to the village quickly. It was like many other villages Carson had seen in the Pegasus galaxy, but this one seemed to be more prosperous. He was lead to a large hut set back from the others. His patient was resting on a bed, eyes closed.
"Can you tell me what happened?"
"I'm afraid that sharing my visions takes a lot of me these days, Doctor. I am Davos."
"Carson Beckett," he replied. "Would you mind if I took a look for myself?"
The older man chuckled. "Linara wouldn't have sent for you otherwise."
Carson set his pack down on the ground and gathered a few essentials. He checked the man's vitals. Davos was weak, but holding on well. There was something wrong, but Carson wouldn't be able to tell unless he got the man back to Atlantis and ran some scans. Perhaps he could cure it and give Davos a few more years with his daughter.
"I am dying, I know it," Davos said.
"Not yet, you're not. You said sharing your vision made you weaker?"
"Yes. Your Doctor McKay was skeptical about my gift, so I allowed him to see what I saw."
"Well, that would certainly explain why he was looking a bit uneasy when he came back through the gate. Are all your visions bad?"
"You do not doubt my claims?" Davos asked, his eyes curious.
"I'd like to think I have an open mind," Carson said.
Davos held out a hand. "I can show you."
"I shouldn't, you're still weak."
"But you are a doctor, are you not? It will only be a short glimpse,. I will not tire."
Carson debated whether he should or not. Davos was in a delicate condition and anything could tip him over. But he was curious. He nodded and grasped the man's hand firmly. It was warm, rough with age and when nothing happened at first, Carson thought to let go. Then it hit him. He swayed for a moment while his brain processed what he was seeing.
It started similarly to his nightmare with Teyla heavily pregnant. But she turned and smiled at him. The background was muted slightly, but Carson could tell she was standing in the halls of Atlantis. This was a happy time. The scene shifted subtly to one of her in a bed holding a child with her darker complexion and his blue eyes. The noises of the infirmary and presence of their friends were quiet. He stared at them for what seemed like forever. There was another shift to one of him holding his child, his heart overflowing with joy and happiness. Rodney and John crowded next to him, smiling and clapping him on the back.
Just as quickly the vision ended and he let go of Davos' hand. The older man had his eyes closed, but his breathing was even and his pulse steady. Carson wondered if maybe he'd gone to sleep.
"Not all are bad," Davos said after a moment.
"No, you should rest though. Thank you for that. Do all your visions come to pass?"
"Yes. I have not had one fail me yet. But there many times what I see can be interpreted in various ways. I think the one I showed you was not one of those."
Carson nodded. "I have a feeling you're right. Any idea of how far into the future it might be?"
"Perhaps, but then what sort of fun would it be knowing exactly when that would be happening?"
"Very true. I must go and check in with the Colonel. You rest now."
Carson left the hut, sending Linara in to watch over her father. He called home and arranged for a jumper and some help to transport Davos back to Atlantis. He frowned upon hearing Richard Woolsey's name. He disliked the man despite knowing he meant well. They got Davos back and to the infirmary with a minimum of fuss. Carson listened to the talk of his staff and found out that the city was also now host to the Wraith who had almost drained Colonel Sheppard. He instantly thought of Teyla and how she was handling having the creature in the city. He resisted the urge to call her, instead focusing on his patient.
Teyla was relieved that Davos had told her that her people lived but lacked the means to express her disappointment that he could not find them or tell her where they were. She almost wished that the Wraith John insisted on naming Todd had engaged them in a battle. Teyla had to settle for sparring with Ronon instead. Between that news and wanting to tell Carson of their child she was ready to explode or collapse. She spent the night in his arms, but found it hard to sleep.
"You know I am here for you always," he'd said.
"I do," she answered. "But I am not ready to speak of it yet."
She watched him sleep, this man she loved. How could she tell him when she was uncertain of the life they were leading, of the events that were happening all around them. Wraith fighting Replicators, Replicators destroying worlds to be rid of the Wraith, her people gone. Teyla thought of the Athosians. They continued on no matter what. With cullings, bad harvests, wars with other worlds they did not stop living their lives. She would tell him. Soon.
The next day Teyla sought out Davos to see if perhaps he could tell her any more. Carson had told her that there was no more he could do for the seer. Teyla knew he had lived a long life and hoped his people would do well without him. Davos was outside, taking in the air. He did not turn when she approached, but knew she was there because he spoke.
"I wish that I could tell you more of your people, but I continue to see only darkness."
"I thank you for trying. I am glad to know that they yet live. I had feared the worst."
"I imagine you did," he said, looking at her now. His eyes seemed to pierce through her. "You wish your child to know its ancestry."
Teyla gasped. She wanted to ask him how he knew, but scolded herself for her foolishness. He would have seen it. "I do."
"Why have you not told him, your husband? He would be happy."
"I am unsure. I think I wanted something to myself for a while, but it has not been as pleasant as I had hoped it to be."
"Because you love him, you share everything with him. Why should you not share this?"
"I will, tonight. I should see you back to your room."
Teyla approached him, ready to help him back inside when Davos collapsed. He took her hand and showed her two Wraith ships engaged in a battle, with who or what she did not see. He lost consciousness and she called for Carson.
Davos passed quietly in his sleep while the people of Atlantis weathered the tense standoff between the captured Wraith ship and another that had come to see what was so interesting about a formerly unoccupied planet. Carson comforted Linara, waiting for the outcome so that he could radio Carter and send Davos home. Tensions were high, but Carson was relieved to find out the ships had destroyed each other, leaving their Wraith prisoner stranded.
Once Carter was informed, Carson prepared Davos' body for transport back to the Vedeenan planet. Linara was gracious in thanking him for all of his help. Just another day in Atlantis, but with the added knowledge that at some point in his future Carson was going to be a father. At the end of his day he headed for his quarters, realizing he'd not spoken with Teyla once since she'd gone to seek Davos out. She was sitting on their bed, waiting for him.
"Are you okay, mo chridhe? I imagine having a Wraith in the city isn't helping things at all."
She looked up at him, her eyes sad. He sat down next to her, wrapping an arm around her waist. Teyla leaned into him.
"I am able to push his presence to the back of my mind. But I would like to talk to you now."
"We will find them, Teyla my love. We'll have our matrimonial ritual."
"It lightens my heart to know they live. I only wish that Davos had been able to see where they are. I do not want our child to grow up without knowing them."
"We'll get another," Carson stopped, her words filtering through his brain. He looked down to see Teyla smiling softly. "Our child?"
She took his hand and set it on her stomach, her own on top of it. "Jennifer confirmed it last week. I was unsure of how to tell you. Atlantis will once again know the sound of children running through its halls."
"I…I…thank you," he said, leaning down to kiss her. "Teyla, mo leannan, you've given me everything. We'll get through this together."
"I am glad for you, Carson. It is hard for me to rely upon someone but it is like Charin used to say, a burden shared is a burden lessened."
"Your burdens are mine," he said, pulling her closer. "Like I said, I'm always here for you."
"I shall try to remember that," she replied. "I do not look forward to telling the others."
"If the Colonel tries to tell you to stay here, I'll have his balls. Just because you're pregnant it doesn't mean you can't still work."
Teyla laughed. "John is just protective, as are Ronon and Rodney. I have told them many times that I am able to take care of myself but I think that your added knowledge will help convince them."
"We'll tell them together. Isn't there a team night soon?"
"Tomorrow. I believe it is my turn to choose the movie."
Carson grinned mischievously. "I know just the thing."
The movie wasn't half over before Rodney stopped the DVD and turned to Teyla and Carson.
"Are you trying to tell us something?"
"Why do you ask?" Teyla said, curled up on the couch next to Carson.
"Knocked Up? Come on! You want us to watch a movie about having a baby and you're not trying to tell us something?"
John put a calming hand on Rodney's shoulder. "If they wanted to tell us, they would, Rodney."
Teyla shifted, sitting up a little as well as moving closer to Carson. "We do wish to tell you all something."
"I knew it!" Rodney crowed.
"You aren't, are you?" John asked concerned.
"Yes, we are going to have a child," she confirmed.
"Happy for you," Ronon said. "Can we finish the movie?"
""Yes, yes, congratulations again. Just don't expect me to be the doting uncle," Rodney said, reaching for the remote.
"Wait, so you really are going to have a baby?" John asked.
"Yes, Colonel, is that so hard to believe?" Carson said. "And she'll continue to go out on missions. Teyla is not sick, just pregnant."
"That's my call," John said."
"You would honestly prevent me from going on missions because I am to have a child?" Teyla asked coldly.
"No," he replied instantly. "I just… I want you to be careful out there."
"Am I not always careful?"
John attempted to engage her in a staring contest but bowed his head and grunted a yes. Teyla nodded and they resumed watching the movie.
Carson was there when Teyla met with Jennifer for a regular appointment. She did an ultrasound to determine the baby's age, but their child was being stubborn and wouldn't let them see whether it was a boy or a girl. Teyla seemed fine with not knowing. Jennifer gave them a due date, that counting backwards, led Carson to the fact that their child had probably been conceived on his office desk. He'd never look at the desk in the same way again.
The next mission led to Teyla's team meeting their Replicator doubles. She came back from it upset and unbalanced because Elizabeth, or her double, had been there also. They said the real Elizabeth had died. Carson knew that anything involving the Replicators was dangerous, He damned himself for ever activating the ones in her.
"You did what you had to," Teyla said.
"I know," he replied.
She held him that night as he cried. There was nothing much they could do but be there for their friends as they went on the offensive. Carter approved the assault on the Replicator planet. The SGC sent back up. Rodney and John were tense as Rodney immersed himself in how to destroy the Replicators. Carson cautioned Rodney.
"You need a break," he said. "You can't ignore your personal life."
"When this is over," Rodney replied.
"Fine, but don't come crying to me when the Colonel leaves you."
The battle was won, though the cost could have been much higher. Their Wraith prisoner, Todd, escaped but no one was surprised that he had taken that opportunity. John and Rodney continued to snipe and argue for a few more days before making up. The discovery of Todd's ship adrift in space made them both happier and eager. Sheppard surmised they might be able to find Todd and maybe more Wraith by going to investigate the ship. He proposed the trip to the team, plus Carson, at dinner one night.
"Hopefully we can access something that tells us where Todd disappeared to. Pity we can't fly the ship back here. It'd be handy to have a ship like that available to us."
Rodney gestured with his fork. "What about Teyla? Doesn't her Wraith DNA mean she could do something like that?"
"I do not know, Rodney," she said. "I would have to attempt it."
"Are you sure that's a good idea love?" Carson asked. "We've never explored that part of your…powers."
"If the mission is approved perhaps you could come with us. My gift is not that strong, but it could not hurt to try."
Carson looked to Sheppard. "Would you mind an extra on the trip?"
"Well I was thinking of taking Lorne's team along just in case so one more wouldn't be anything. I'll approach Carter about going out in the morning."
Carter gave the go ahead and they all bundled into a jumper with Lorne and his team for the short trip out to the ship. They found it abandoned save for a few dead Wraith. Carson guessed they had been killed during the Replicator battle but couldn't be certain without a full autopsy. Rodney had headed straight for the control room and called for the rest of them quickly.
"Found a map," he said.
Ronon huffed. "Who found it?"
"Okay, okay, so Ronon may have, but it doesn't matter. This tells about some kind of planet that's supposedly sacred to the Wraith."
"Maybe we should check it out, anything that they consider sacred could be interesting," Sheppard suggested.
"Love to, but I can't much of anything to work on this damned ship," Rodney said.
Teyla stepped forward. "Let me try."
Rodney moved from the console and she stepped in front of it. She barely touched the buttons when everything lit up. Carson frowned, but stayed in the background.
"I've got everything," Rodney said. "Communication, long range sensors, propulsion, everything."
"How are you doing, love?" Carson asked.
"I am fine. It all seems…stronger. I believe I am able to fly the ship."
Sheppard and Rodney deferred to Carson's decision. He nodded, staying close to Teyla. The ship powered up and jumped through the hyperspace window that had formed. The trip itself was uneventful, the quiet of hyperspace interrupted only by Sheppard and Rodney arguing over what they might find on this mysterious planet. Their arrival was also uneventful. Teyla let go of the console, swaying a little. Carson supported her immediately.
"It is okay. I was momentarily dizzy. I am unused to this side of my gift," she assured him as he ushered her to a seat nearby.
"Do the Wraith know we're here?" Rodney asked.
She shook her head. "We are sitting behind the moon of this planet in what I believe to be a stable orbit. We were not detected but I cannot say how long that will remain so."
"Right," Sheppard nodded. "Rodney, Ronon, we go down and find out what's going on down there, it should be easy enough for the three of us to keep out of trouble. Teyla, stay here and rest."
Carson could see that she might have protested, but he put a hand on her knee, silently asking her to listen to him. She nodded. He checked her pulse, it was high, but slowing. "You'll be good after some rest. You said everything felt stronger."
"I cannot describe it beyond that," she said. "It is as if I was one with the ship." She looked at him, concern in her eyes. "Carson, is it possible that Michael," she stopped.
"No, he didn't do anything to you, mo chridhe," he soothed. He knew she meant her capture on the Taranans planet. "I did a thorough tox screen, all I found were traces of the sedative he used to knock you out."
She relaxed. "Then why? My gift has never been this strong, even when I faced the Queen at the drilling station."
Carson sat next to her, holding her close while he thought about it. Both of their hands drifted to her swelling stomach. "It's entirely possible, and this is just a theory mind you, that the baby is helping. You said the gift was passed down from your ancestors so it makes sense that the baby would also have a small amount of Wraith DNA, less than you have, to be sure. But you have a connection with the baby and perhaps that is what is enhancing your abilities."
"I do not like the idea of our child also having the gift, but it is a reasonable explanation."
"There's the chance he or she could have the ATA gene as well. Either way this child will be loved."
"Yes," she agreed. "Thank you for being here."
"Where else would I be?" he said. He scooted down to the end of the seat. "Why don't you stretch out, lay your head on my lap and try to nap? You'll need your rest to fly us back home."
Teyla nodded and stretched out. Carson held her, wishing that the rest of her team would find something and return. He didn't like being this close to so many Wraith.
Teyla came awake when Major Lorne's voice penetrated the fog of sleep. She raised her head from Carson's lap. He was also waking, helping her sit up automatically. There was an incessant beeping, coming from the console.
Major Lorne nodded towards the sound. "It began about a minute ago. From what I can tell a dart is approaching us, but there hasn't been a hail or any communication."
"I will see what I can find," she said.
The Major held a hand out to help her up. She took it, Carson by her side immediately. She accessed the console and tried to send a message. The dart answered. It was the Wraith, Todd. He was asking to come aboard to tell them about the whereabouts of her team. Lorne sent his men to meet the creature, to escort it to the bridge. Teyla faced him, daring him to tell her that her team had met a bad end.
"They have most likely been captured by the Queen. She will feed upon them."
Carson immediately objected, knowing what she was going to suggest. "No, you're still too weak. There has to be another way."
"We do not have another jumper. I think the Major and his men would object to being sucked into a dart to be transported to the surface. They are my team, Carson, my family. I must do this."
"Teyla, love," he protested.
"No, I will do this, with or without your help. I am the only one who can help them."
She could see that he wanted to fight more, but the concern for the others outweighed his concern for her. He brought her back over to the seat. He sent one of the Marines back to the jumper for some equipment.
"If you insist on doing this, I want to monitor you. You've been able to hear me when you connect to the Wraith. If I tell you to pull back, you pull back."
Teyla nodded. Carson set up, cobbling together something akin to a heart monitor. Teyla let him do what he wanted to assure himself of her safety. She took several deep breaths, steadying herself. She reached out, searching for the Queen. She could sense every Wraith on the planet, there were thousands. The Queen was hungry, ready to feed. Teyla reached out and imposed her will on the Queen.
Her team was in the room, she had been preparing to feed. Teyla spoke with the Queen's voice, sending them away. She dismissed the soldiers. When the room was empty, Teyla ordered the creature to stand, to go and find her team. She was aware of Carson talking to Major Lorne, to her.
"Don't stay too long, love, just find them and get out."
Teyla spoke aloud, urging the Queen to the holding cell. Her team was there, she could see them through the Queen's eyes. Teyla was barely holding on. The Queen was strong, taunting her, looking for a weakness. The Wraith found what she was looking for.
"I know what you are hiding. The life inside you, so fragile. I could crush him with a thought."
"NO!" she shouted, gathering the last of her strength to protect her son. She was not sure how she knew, but she did. She was able to identify herself to her team, the last of her concentration faltering. "John," she called. "Help me."
The Queen's life faded and Teyla slumped forward. Carson was there, helping her lay flat on the seat, forcing water on her.
"Major Lorne says the jumper is on its way. You should rest. Our friend here," he motioned to Todd, "can help us back home. I could yell at you for endangering yourself like that. But I'll save it until we get back to Atlantis and I know you and the baby are fine."
"He is well, Carson, unharmed. She threatened him. It gave me the strength to hold her back."
Any further conversation was held because John, Rodney and Ronon returned. The warning sensors were blaring; the other ships in the area knew where they were. There was mention of a plan, but Teyla didn't hear as Carson took her back to the jumper with the help of Major Lorne. They destroyed the facility. Teyla felt all of the lives snuff out, not at all upset by that fact. They did some gate hopping to return to Atlantis, where Jennifer was waiting to take her to the infirmary.
Carson came to her later that night, she'd been ordered to stay there for observation.
"I do not wish to argue with you. I will not apologize for wanting to help them."
He nodded. "Aye, I'm the one who's apologizing, mo leannan. I let my concern for you and the baby override everything else. I probably shouldn't have gone with you."
"But I am glad that you did. Your voice was an anchor for me. I am unharmed. Our son is unharmed. I would like us to be at peace with one another."
"We are," he said, taking her hand. "Our son, you said that before. How can you be sure?"
"I do not know, I just knew when I was controlling the Queen. It was as if he was with me, helping me. Also, Jennifer did another ultrasound, he was a bit more cooperative," she said, handing him a picture.
"A son," Carson said, taking it in.
"Yes, he will be as kind and caring as his father."
"And as strong and stubborn as his mother," Carson laughed.
"What was your father's name?" she asked.
"I will not stick my son with a name such as Reginald, thank you very much. I'd prefer to name him for my grandfather, James. It was a fine enough name for him and six of our kings."
"It is a good name."
"You should rest now, Teyla my love."
"Only if you promise me that I will not wake to find you sleeping in a chair beside my bed," she chided.
"I promise, I will see you in the morning," he said, leaning down to kiss her.
Carson looked up from his work to see Rodney standing in the doorway of his office, looking nervous.
"It's nothing I can't come back to later," he said pushing the papers aside. "What can I do for you?"
Rodney came inside and sat in the chair, still squirming, looking about nervously. "We alone?"
"I don't see anyone else here, just spit it out lad."
Rodney dug around in his uniform pockets and pulled something out, setting on the desk in front of Carson. It was a jeweler's box. Carson pulled it open slowly to see a man's ring sitting there. It was obviously a wedding ring.
"I hate to break it to you, Rodney, but I'm already spoken for," he teased.
Rodney rolled his eyes and snatched the box back with a sigh. "It's for John."
"Oh aye?" Carson said, raising an eyebrow. "You are quite aware of the situation going on in America."
"Don't remind me," Rodney said, adopting an angry pose, his arms crossed over his chest. "But I don't care. I'm taking my own advice I guess. I see you and Teyla happy and I want that. It might take another twenty years or more for them to get their heads on straight but it would be worth the wait."
"Well, that's very enlightened of you, Rodney. I'm actually surprised you haven't thought of asking him to consider changing his citizenship."
"I did, but I couldn't ask it of John. This job, this city, it means the world to him, to us. Do you think it's okay? The ring?"
"It's fine, it's fine. How were you thinking of asking?"
"I hadn't gotten that far yet," Rodney frowned. "How did you ask?"
Carson blushed. "Not sure if that's the route you want to go, but…."
Any further talk was halted by the blaring of alarms. The door to his office shut quickly and Rodney shot out of the chair, eyes alert. Carson stood more slowly, approaching Rodney.
"Isn't that the quarantine alert?"
"Yes, I need to get to a computer to see what's going on. Where's your laptop?"
"Out there," Carson said, pointing towards the infirmary. "It was running some tests which is why I was in here doing paperwork."
"Damn! I..I can't…I think I'm panicking. Am I panicking?"
"Breathe, Rodney. If it's a space issue, there's a balcony here you can step out on."
"No, no, maybe later," Rodney said pacing. "Could I just lie down a minute?"
"Here," Carson said, "Let's clear a space on the floor." He moved the chair aside making room for Rodney.
Teyla was enjoying motherhood, though her wardrobe had been lacking in suitable clothing. Thanks to the skills of many of the city's inhabitants, as well as their trading partners she was clothed more comfortably. John continued to let her go on missions but everything was quiet so they were on an extended down time. She continued to make inquires about her people but there was not much luck. Teyla clung to the hope that Davos had given her that they were still out there somewhere, alive.
She was searching out John to see if there was any news or anything that she might be able to help him with. He was in his office, working on the computer. He looked up for a moment and she smiled as she entered the room.
"So, how's baby boy Beckett doing these days?" he asked.
Teyla gently rubbed a hand over her stomach. "He is well. As am I. You seem to be enjoying your time off."
"Gotta improve my handicap. Have a seat," he gestured to the chair next to him. "What can I do for you?"
"I had hoped there was news of a mission. Or any news at all. Though I do like spending time here with Carson, I miss going on missions, meeting new people."
"Sorry," he shrugged. "Nothing but routine check-ins and trading. Rodney hasn't even had a whiff of any energy spikes lately. But he's also been kinda," John paused.
"More nervous than usual?" Teyla supplied. "I had noticed that also. I am sure it is nothing."
"So, you thought of a name yet? Cause John is a really good name."
Teyla laughed. "We have decided to name him for Carson's grandfather, James. But I am told that it is somewhat traditional to give a child a second name."
John was about to speak again when the alarms sounded. The door to his office quickly shut and they looked at each other, worried.
"That's the quarantine alarm," he said, closing the game on his computer. He began to access the city's database.
"Has there been another outbreak? I did not think any teams were scheduled to return at this time."
John pressed buttons and clicked around the screen as Teyla watched. "No," he said. "The system just seems to think there's an outbreak. After the last one, Rodney tweaked the parameters, he must have made them too sensitive."
"I am sure that he is working on the problem right at this moment," she said.
"Right. Look, you're not," he paused again, gesturing to her stomach. "Going to go into labor or anything like that, are you?"
"No, John, I am not. Why would you ask such a thing?"
"It's just, in the movies, the trapped pregnant woman always goes into labor."
Teyla sighed. "I assure you that I am will not be…oh!"
"What?!? You're going into labor, aren't you?"
"No, the baby. He kicked. Here, feel," she grabbed his hand and placed it on her stomach. "Carson will be disappointed he could not be here for this."
"Quite a kick," John said. "We'll see him soon enough so you can feel the kick together."
"Yes, I am certain the doors will be opening anytime soon."
The doors didn't open for several hours. Carson spent most of those just listening to Rodney ramble on about his love life, his theories on various aspects of physics and his belief that, given the right equipment, he could manufacture a ZPM. He complained of hunger and luckily Carson kept a few power bars in his desk for when he forgot to eat himself.
Carson was a bit worried about Teyla, but she could take care of herself, as he well knew. When the doors slid open, Rodney was up in an instant. He showed no signs of his former malaise, muttering the Colonel's name. Carson smiled, following behind.
They all congregated in the control room. Carter told them that they had Radek to thank. Rodney seemed a bit miffed until she got on him to redo the quarantine protocols. Rodney groused, but the Colonel pulled him aside and whispered something to him. Teyla came to Carson's side quietly, wrapping an arm around his waist.
"I see that your enforced confinement has caused you no harm."
"Rodney was no problem. He came to see me to show me something. He's giving a ring to the Colonel."
"A very romantic gesture."
"How did you fare?"
"John was afraid that I might go into labor. But he was able to determine it was not an outbreak. They are well suited to one another."
Carson nodded, leading her away from the control room. A few days later the Colonel was sporting a new piece of jewelry though if anyone else noticed, they said nothing.
The days, weeks and months bled on into another. Teyla continued to grow, curbing her activities. She couldn't train anymore, but Carson had found alternate exercises for her, in and out of the bedroom. He still worried but the continuing mystery of her people's disappearance and the search for Michael, one he pursued on his own, kept him busy.
When one of the teams returned from a previously unexplored planet with trinkets that had belonged to people she knew, Teyla was eager to go. It was further proof that some, if not all, were still alive and someone was taking their possessions from them.
"You'd go there alone?" Carson asked.
"Of course not. I would go with a team. John and Rodney are focused elsewhere, I could ask Major Lorne. We have worked well together in the past."
"Have you approached Colonel Carter with this?"
"I was going to this afternoon. I must find whoever is selling these things, Carson. They could have the answers I am seeking."
Carson nodded, clearly unhappy but supportive. Carter gave her the go ahead. Evan readily agreed to accompany her. She was ready the next morning, Carson there to see her off. He pulled Evan aside. She could hear what they said.
"You take care of her lad, you hear?"
"Don't worry, doc, I'll bring her back in one piece."
She was comforted that Carson worried. She gave him a kiss before he stepped back, nodding to Chuck. The gate flared to life and they stepped through. The market place was alive with people. Teyla had brought one of the trinkets back with her to show around to the other sellers. No one seemed to want to talk.
One brave soul spoke of another who was not there. Evan secured them lodging for the night. She would wait. Another day was not much in the search for her people. Teyla confronted this man the next morning. She recognized many of the things he was selling. A hair pin that belonged to her friend Hanak, Jinto's coming of age necklace, so many others. He evaded her questions. She made as if to leave the market, Evan nodding in approval at her plan.
Teyla could not help but smile when he crumbled under her blow to his head. They took him to their room to question him. He said, after much time and many hits, that he could lead her to where he had bought the trinkets. They would go to the gate, inform Colonel Carter and perhaps go there. But as they approached the gate, Teyla heard the familiar whine of a Wraith dart.
Evan attempted to push her out of the way as they ran. The dart turned and approached them again. Its beam carved into the ground. She felt its familiar tingle. Her only thought as the forms of her friends faded was that Carson would never forgive Evan.
Carson was waiting when the wormhole opened. Major Lorne's team was the only one off world at the moment. He was anxious to hear if Teyla had found anything. She was so eager to find the other Athosians, so ready to let them know of all her happiness. They stepped through, Carson looking for her face. Lorne looked up as the wormhole closed behind him, his eyes sad. She wasn't there. Carson lost it.
"Where is she? You gave me your word, Major!" he yelled, running down the stairs and attacking.
The room was suddenly abuzz with activity. John and Rodney were pulling him back. Carter was yelling. Lorne was on the floor, wiping his mouth. He stood slowly, facing Carson.
"I'm sorry. It was a dart. Came from nowhere. She was taken. I," he paused.
Carson deflated. A Wraith dart. Michael. Images from the long ago nightmare assaulted him. "I, it's not your fault." He turned, Rodney and John supporting him as he left the control room.
"We'll find her, Carson. Trust me," Rodney said.
He was steered through the halls to the infirmary. Jennifer was there immediately as they helped him onto a bed.
"I think he's in shock," John said. "Teyla's been taken," he added in a whisper.
Carson watched as she went off, probably to get him a sedative. Rodney was wringing his hands, trying to comfort him. The Colonel was standing there, concerned but also looking a little anxious. Jennifer came back and Carson felt the needle go in. He smiled at Jennifer as she offered words that meant nothing to him. Teyla was missing. Teyla and his unborn son were missing. He grabbed Sheppard by the sleeve.
"Find them, Colonel. Please," he said.
"We will, doc, we will," Sheppard replied.
Carson let Rodney and Jennifer help him lay down as his eyes drifted shut. His thoughts were of Teyla and the baby. He managed to say one last thing before unconsciousness claimed him, "Michael."
When she found herself free from the dart, Teyla was surrounded by Wraith guards who issued her to a cell. She was in a ship of some sort, perhaps something similar to a hive. She was the lone prisoner. That suggested to her that she had been targeted. There were only two Wraith who might consider her valuable enough to take, Todd or Michael.
There was a small bed at the back of the cell, far too narrow for her to contemplate sleeping on it. It would be wide enough to provide a place to sit for which she was grateful. Her son kicked just then. She rubbed her stomach, looking down and speaking to him as she sat.
"You will learn all too soon of the dangers we face living in this galaxy. I had hoped to keep this from you until you were born, but it seems that the Ancestors have another plan in mind."
She began to tell him of the Wraith, of the cullings and the waking of so many of them. She told him of the ways her people, and many others in Pegasus, fought the Wraith. She spoke of her father, a great warrior and leader of the Athosian people. She spoke of John, Rodney and the rest of the Atlantis expedition. Teyla's voice broke a little when she talked of Carson and her love for him.
"They will come for us. Of that I have no doubt. You will know that they will always come, no matter what."
A noise from the doorway caught her attention. She stood, approaching the bars of the cell to get a better look. Teyla could not make out who the figure was as they came forward. When the light revealed a face she gasped, taking a step back.
He showed no signs of recognizing her. Teyla wanted to reach out for her childhood friend. His face, she knew those markings, the way it had changed. He looked like Michael now. Somehow her friend had been altered to have the characteristics of a Wraith.
"Kanaan, please. It is Teyla. Can you tell me of the others? Are they still alive?"
He walked away, going to another part of the room. She could not see what he was doing, but she continued to plead with him, attempting to get him to respond in any way at all. He turned back, a weapon in one hand, a bowl in another. She stepped further back as he gestured with the weapon.
"I will not resist you, Kanaan, but please do not harm me."
He made a gesture that opened the cell door. Keeping the weapon trained on her, he placed the bowl on the floor before backing away and closing the door. Kanaan then left the room, not once speaking to Teyla or acknowledging that he recognized her in the least. Teyla wanted to weep. She came forward again and picked up the bowl. It was a gruel of some kind. At least she would not starve.
She sat back down on the narrow bed and ate, placing bowl beside her when she was done. A further inspection of the cell revealed a small niche seemingly carved into the wall where she could relieve herself. Hours seemed to pass with no further activity. She removed her jacket and made a pillow of it as she leaned against the wall in an attempt to sleep. Teyla silently prayed to the Ancestors that her family would find her, that the rest of her people were unharmed and that she would see Carson soon.
When the sedative wore off and Carson awoke, there was a buzz of activity in the infirmary. He assured Jennifer he was fine, but she persisted in checking him out first. He would have groused about it, but knew he would have done the same had their positions been reversed. She let him go with an admonishment to take it easy.
"I've got this place covered, don't worry about it."
"Can you at least tell me what's going on though? Everyone seems in a bit of a tizzy."
She frowned. "Go get changed, eat something. I'll find Doctor McKay or Colonel Sheppard, they should be the ones to tell you."
Carson found a change of clothes in his office. He wasn't sure he wanted to attempt to go back to his quarters yet. There would be too many things that reminded him of Teyla. He changed and then made his way to the mess. Everyone gave him sympathetic looks, but left him alone. He was grateful for the silence. Any words would seem hollow to him at the moment. He ate a sandwich, not really tasting it. He was contemplating an apple when Rodney found him.
"There you are, come on, there's something you need to see."
"What is it? Does it have to do with the goings on in the infirmary?"
Rodney pulled at his arm. "I can't explain it, just...come on."
Carson followed. Rodney directed him back to where he'd stared, the infirmary. They stood outside the door to one of the isolation rooms. Rodney hesitated before opening it.
"I just want you to…be prepared. We found him when we were looking for Teyla."
Rodney stepped back as the door slid open, slipping a data pad into Carson's hand. He stepped into the room and confronted…himself. A perfect copy. Well almost. This…duplicate in front of him had a few more pounds on him, a few more lines on his face, but in every other aspect, Carson was facing another Carson.
"What is this? Who the hell are you?" the other man said.
"I could ask the same of you, lad," he replied. He consulted the pad Rodney had given him. "What's the last thing you remember?"
"Being taken by Michael after the Wraith rebelled against the therapy to make them human. I've been his prisoner since."
Carson shook his head, gesturing to the couch in the middle of the room. They both sat, sizing each other up.
"I was rescued. The Colonel and his team came for me and brought me back here. I don't know how to tell you this, laddie, you're a clone of me it seems."
He handed the pad over, the results of all the tests Jennifer and her team had performed right on top. The duplicate read it over, his shoulders slumping. Carson gave him an awkward pat on the shoulder.
"Since you are here, we should decide what to call you so there'll be no confusion."
"I could use our middle name, as long as you don't call me Dougie," he replied.
Carson chuckled. "No chance of that. I remember how much I hated it when Maeve used it to tease me. So, Douglas, what can you tell me about Michael?"
"He's been taking people, from all over, experimenting on them. I'm not sure exactly what he was doing, but it involved combining human and Wraith DNA. He wanted my help. I refused at first. But then he brought in this young girl, had one of his guards feed from her until she died. He said," Douglas paused, choking back tears. "He said if I didn't help he'd bring someone in every day and let his guards feed."
"You did the right thing lad. Michael's not one to be trifled with. You seem to be well, otherwise."
"Aye, he didn't deny me food, let me do a bit of exercise now and then, supervised of course. But he also gave me these injections. Sedatives I think, to keep me under control. I always hoped for a rescue. Never thought it would turn out quite like this."
"I am glad you were found. Any other information you could give me on Michael's other facilities is very important. He's taken…he's taken someone dear to all of us."
Douglas nodded to Carson's hand, his eyes on the wedding band. "You mean to you. Who's the lucky lass?"
"I'd ask how that happened, but I'm glad for you. I, we, both have been besotted with her forever."
"That we have. There's more. She's pregnant. I need to find her, Douglas. I can't imagine my life without her, or our child."
"Then I'll tell you all I can."
Carson gave Douglas a pat on the leg before standing. "I need to go talk to Colonel Carter."
"Who is she? Where's Elizabeth?"
"She's…gone," Carson said sadly. "I'll tell you about it another time. I should go now."
Carson left the room. He sagged against the wall as the door closed behind him. He took several deep breaths. He needed all his composure to talk with Carter. Carson pushed himself from the wall, he could do this. He would find Teyla. Douglas' information would help them.
Teyla awoke to find another bowl sitting at the front of the cell. She stretched, turning her neck to work out the kinks. She had slept fitfully, missing her own bed. Whoever had left the food was not in the room. Her senses were telling her nothing. They had not even triggered when Kanaan had entered the room. Whatever had been done to him, he did not possess enough Wraith for her to feel him with her gift.
She ate quietly, hoping to see Kanaan again. She needed to know about the rest of her people. Had they too been subjected to transformation. Would she never again look into the comforting face of Halling or Jinto? The door to the outer room opened and she stood. It was Kanaan.
"Can you hear me, Kanaan? It is Teyla, your friend. I wish to know what has happened. Why were you taken? Where are the others?"
Kanaan stood outside her cell, but said nothing. Teyla reached through the bars to touch him, but he did not react. His skin was rough, like a Wraith's.
"I need you to talk to me, Kanaan."
"He will not respond. He is in my control."
Teyla turned from Kanaan to look into the shadows. She had not heard him enter. It was Michael. He came over, standing next to Kanaan. Teyla backed away from them both. Kanaan moved away without being told to, allowing Michael to confront her directly.
"He was…quite vocal in his protests to being used for my experiments. He was not the only one."
"Why? Why my people, Michael?"
"I knew by taking them that you would come looking for them, Teyla. Your friend here was an unexpected bonus. He would not tell me if others had the same … gift as you do. It made him more susceptible to the transformation."
Teyla backed away further, her hands automatically covering her stomach. "You would not…."
"I am more interested in your child, yes. I wonder how a human with both Wraith DNA and the Ancient gene would fare, how they would react to any number of tests."
"No, I will not allow you to harm my child."
Michael gave an evil laugh. "I think you are in no position to allow anything. For now, I will move you somewhere a bit more…comfortable."
He backed away, leaving the room. Kanaan followed. Two guards entered brandishing stunners. The door opened and one of them came forward, gesturing for her to exit. She went with them calmly. There was a momentary jolt. She recognized it as the ship exiting hyperspace. They would probably be landing soon.
The guards showed her to a small room, where two more guards waited. Teyla was not going to have a chance to escape, not without a weapon of her own. She cursed her decision not to bring her bantos rods on the mission. But even if she had they would have likely been taken away from her the moment she left the dart. She weighed the option of attempting to wrest a stunner away from one of the guards, but did not want to risk her son. He moved and kicked. She would continue to wait, knowing that her friends, that Carson would be looking for her. They would come.
There was another jolt accompanied by a loud thump. The ship had landed. The guards surrounded her as a door opened in the opposite wall. She was lead out, through the maze of the ship and finally outside. She blinked at the change of light, but did not have long to try and guess at what planet they might be on. They quickly whisked her into a building where she blinked again.
Teyla was guided through many halls, twisting and turning. She passed by many strange machines. It was a laboratory of some kind. There were lighted crevices they passed, but she could not see what was in them. They stopped in front of a set of double doors. One of the guards opened one and another pushed her into the room. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the light, but she heard voices, whispering, approaching. A familiar tall figure emerged from the crowd of people in the shadows.
"Teyla," he said, "We are glad to see you. I see that you have much to tell us."
He guided her to a small bench. Several others gathered around her. "I am glad to see you all. Why did you not send a warning to Atlantis?"
"There was no time," Halling answered. "We have held out hope that you would find us. Many have," he paused.
She put a hand on his shoulder. "I know. I have seen Kanaan. I have been looking for you since I discovered you had disappeared. All of my team has."
"But you found the time to secure a lover."
Teyla turned to the unfamiliar voice in the crowd. It was Nirran, a very distant cousin. She had always been jealous of her relationship with the Atlanteans. Teyla gave her a glare as Halling stood to defend her. She calmed him with a hand.
"That is why I was coming to visit New Athos. I wanted to tell you all of my marriage, I did not know then of my child." She turned to Halling. "I was going to ask you to perform the matrimonial ritual for us. I would still like that to happen."
He bowed, touching their foreheads. "I would be honored, Teyla. You are the daughter of my heart. When Colonel Sheppard comes to our rescue I would gladly join him to you."
She laughed, the sound echoing through the room. It felt good to laugh even in this dire circumstance. Everyone looked at her strangely. "You are quite mistaken, Halling. John is … interested and committed to another. The man who has secured my heart, the man who is the father of my child is Carson Beckett."
"Then it is even more special. I am glad that you found love, Teyla. Your father wanted that for you. That is why he declined so many offers from our allies."
There were a few congratulations from the rest of the gathered crowd before Halling took her to a bed. Teyla was grateful to see them, but still prayed that rescue would come soon. After talking with Michael she feared that Carson's nightmare would come true. It would not be fair to ask her people to fight, they were too few and they had no weapons. All she could do was wait and hope. And for now, sleep.
Carson fought tooth and nail with Colonel Carter trying to get her to accept that Douglas was no threat to Atlantis' security.
"He can help us find Teyla!"
"I know you're hurting, Carson, but this still could be an elaborate trap on Michael's part," she said, leaning against her desk.
Carson paced the room. Rodney, Ronon and Sheppard were all there. They wanted this as much as he did. John came forward.
"Look, he's right. This clone, Douglas, he has information on Michael's labs, information we've been trying to get at for months. We need him. It's the only way we can stop him. You know the threat he poses."
"Yes, his army of bug creatures. But that still doesn't negate the fact that this could be a trap."
"We take Lorne's team with us if we need to, maybe a squad of marines, but brute force isn't our friend right now," John pointed out. "If we have any chance of finding Teyla we need to be low key."
"Have you never had a loved one in danger before?" Carson asked.
This seemed to catch Carter by surprise. A look of pain crossed her face before she closed her eyes, composed her features and nodded.
"Thank you," Carson said.
Douglas was able to give them the dialing address of one of the planets Michael had taken him to. The guards had been distracted enough so that he could see it and he'd immediately memorized it. Both he and Carson wanted to go, but Douglas collapsed while they were arguing. He was rushed to the infirmary. It wasn't good news.
"Your cells are deteriorating. It might be a result of the cloning process. Perhaps what Michael was giving you helped to stabilize you."
"It's possible," Douglas said. "The last shot he gave me was just four days ago."
"We did take blood right away, there might be a way to isolate it, perhaps synthesize it. Don't worry, we'll figure it out. Rodney and the rest of them are on their way to go check out that address. I can't thank you enough."
"You have your dream. It's the least that I can do. You would do the same in my place."
When the team returned, they brought back an injured man. Jennifer identified him as the man who they had helped when visiting New Athos. Carson was extremely interested in getting him fixed up and conscious again to ask him about Teyla. Nabel told them of another facility, one that Douglas said he could map out for them.
They gathered in a conference room. Douglas had recovered enough to brief them on what they would find. As the rest of the team filed out of the room, Douglas grabbed Carson's arm.
"I want to go too," he said.
"You're still weak," Carson said. "You should stay here, help Jennifer figure out what Michael gave you. You'll be well enough to see us when we return."
"You don't know that!" Douglas said. "I deserve to go as much as you do. We're the same person."
Just then he collapsed. Carson called for help and Douglas was whisked off to the infirmary. He came to long enough for Carson to talk to him.
"Damn fool, I told you you were too weak. I'll bring her back, introduce you. I'm proud of you, Douglas. You're the brother I never had."
"Go," Douglas said. "Find her. Find them, bring them back safe."
Carson nodded and went to join the others. His heart and mind raced, he had a good feeling about this.
Teyla was talking with Halling, discussing the possibility of him taking over leadership when the door opened. A group of guards entered brandishing their stunners. They came directly towards Teyla. Halling stepped in front of her.
"Take me instead."
Teyla placed a hand on his arm, coming from behind him. "No, I will be okay, Halling. Be ready," she said cryptically.
He nodded, bowing to touch her forehead with his. She walked with the guards, watching as they closed the doors behind her. They lead her deeper into the facility, down more winding corridors, past more crevices that she couldn't see into. They ended up in a room with many machines she didn't recognize. It was eerily similar to the one Michael had kept her in back on the Taranan home world.
The guards gestured for her to get on the table. She had some trouble, but none of the guards offered any help. She lay flat, feeling awkward with her stomach so prominently displayed. The metal was cold. The guards approached the table and she was strapped down, her hands immobilized by her sides. They left her alone. She tested her bonds but was unable to move them in any way. She was anxious. It was not long before another person entered, Kanaan. He stood by her, looking at her.
"Kanaan, please, if you can understand me at all, I need you to release me. Kanaan, please, you would not want anything to happen to my child. He is special, more special than either you or I. Please remember our friendship, Kanaan, help me."
He turned, looking down at her. For a moment it was if he recognized her. Then he turned back and moved away. It seemed like something was controlling his movements, his actions. He left the room. Michael appeared once more.
"I know that seeing your people must bring you great hope, Teyla. But it is the last hope you will have for a while. Your child is special, we both know this. He will serve me well, better perhaps than your friend."
He moved to the table. Teyla could see needles and other surgical tools. Among them were several scalpels. She began to struggle against her bonds. She watched in horror as he picked up a hypodermic, squirting some of the liquid out.
"Please, Michael. We did what we thought was best. I am sorry that you are unable to rejoin the other Wraith, but my child is innocent. Please, do not do this. Michael, please."
He turned to her, coming ever closer. She prepared herself to scream, not sure if it would attract any attention. An alarm blared causing him to depress the needle sending the liquid everywhere. He cursed under his breath, going over to his computer. He tapped a few keys and the tanks surrounding them went dark.
"What is happening? What is going on?"
"We must leave. I have been forced to terminate my current experiments. I think your friends are attempting a rescue." Her guards reappeared. "Bring her, I will see to the ship."
He left. Teyla sent a prayer of thanks to the Ancestors. The guards undid her restraints, pulling her off the table. She was momentarily dizzy but they did not care. They jostled her down the hall. She could hear gunfire. Two of the guards left to go help. She was pushed further down the hall by the remaining two. More gunfire. She used the distraction to knock one of them out, grabbing the stunner from the other. She stunned the second guard, then the first to be sure and began to run towards the sounds of the fight, yelling.
"Carson? Carson! John! Ronon! Rodney! I am here."
The facility was exactly as Douglas described it. Everyone was on edge, Carson especially. They'd brought a team of marines as backup, but that still didn't make it less worrisome. Rodney had out the life signs detector. They stopped by a niche that was backlit to show a body. Carson lifted the protective coverings. It was a hybrid, similar to Michael. He had once been human, but of what planet Carson was unsure.
"I'm getting something, down the hall," Rodney said.
They went to where Rodney indicated he was getting the signals. There was a set of large double doors. There were voices coming from behind them. Sheppard and Ronon both pulled and attacked the giant bolt that was across them. Carson waited anxiously. The bolt was lifted and tossed away, one of the doors was pulled aside, Athosians crowded behind it. Halling was there, but he saw no sign of Teyla.
"Colonel Sheppard, I am glad to see you. Teyla said you would come."
Carson stepped forward. "Where is she?"
"They took her, I do not know where. She told us about your marriage, I am glad for both of you."
"Look, we can do the family reunion thing later," Rodney said. "I'm getting more signals. Wraith and human."
"Go with the Marines, they'll get you back to the gate, back to Atlantis, We'll bring Teyla once we find her, I promise," John said.
The Athosians ran out of the room, heading away from the nightmare that had been their existence for the last few months. The team ran along the twisting and turning corridors, Carson hoping for the best but also fearing the worst. This was too much like his nightmare. If Teyla was dead….
They came across a small lab, a table in the middle. Carson felt his heart stop. There was no sign of anything. But no blood did not mean anything, Michael could have had time and help to clean up. Rodney examined the computers there but it was Ronon who found the empty hypodermic needle. They could already be too late. There was a large humming sound and the room began to shake slightly.
"His ship," John said, "He's getting ready to leave, let's go."
They ran, coming to a large area that had more of the tank like niches. They were all dark. Carson guessed that the occupants were all dead as well. Wraith came from all sides, firing at them, preventing them from going much further. He and Rodney hid behind a crate. Carson drew his gun, ready to do what he had to. He thought he heard a noise, a shout. He tried to say something to Rodney, but he was too busy fighting off the guards. He made a decision, making his way towards the voice.
"Hello? Teyla?" he shouted as he ran.
He turned a corner and there she was. She was unharmed as far as he could see by just looking at her. She ran towards him, dropping the stunner she had been carrying and clinging to him. He wrapped his arms around her, never letting go of his weapon. He kissed her hair, rejoicing in the feel of her. She was shaking, touching him everywhere she could reach. He felt the baby kick and he smiled to himself.
"You were right," he whispered, "I will always save you."
"Halling, the others?" she said.
"We found them. They should be on their way to Atlantis now. Let's take you home."
He kissed her forehead, taking her hand. She nodded, squeezing it tightly.
"Not so fast."
They both turned. Michael. Carson lifted his pistol, thumbing the safety off.
"You don't want to do that," Michael said.
He took a step forward. Teyla squeezed Carson's hand.
"Shoot him, Carson. He was going to take our child," she said. Carson wondered if she wished she still had the stunner.
"Poor Teyla. I'm afraid he's not going to do that, are you Carson?"
Carson cocked the gun. "I think you have me confused with someone else." He pulled the trigger several times, each shot echoing loudly in his ears.
Michael looked stunned for a moment before he crumbled to the ground. Carson lowered his weapon slowly. Teyla rested her head on his arm, her body slumping against his in relief. Rodney's voice came from around the corner. John, Rodney and Ronon gathered around the two of them, looking at the body. Sheppard approached it carefully. He pushed at it with his toe, but it didn't move. Michael was truly dead.
"Nice shooting there, doc," he said.
Carson took a step forward. There was a single bullet in Michael's head, three more grouped near his heart. He turned, putting his pistol in the holster. He went to Teyla, gathering her in his arms. They held each other for a few moments before they let go.
Rodney spoke up. "We've taken care of everything here. I was able to download the locations of Michael's other labs. The Apollo is due back soon, I'm sure Colonel Ellis would love to take care of them for us."
"What do we do about this place?" Carson asked.
"The Marines are still here. I think between all of us we've got enough C4 to take care of it. You just get Teyla out of here. Halling's probably waiting by the gate to make sure I kept my promise," Sheppard said.
"Yes, I very much would like to go home now, Carson."
Carson nodded. "Then that's where we'll be going, mo leannan." He lead back through the facility, and towards the gate.
John had been correct. Halling was waiting in the gate room for them both. His smile was wide when he saw them both come through the wormhole. He greeted Carson with a hug, something he reserved for close family. Teyla took it as a sign of his acceptance of her choice.
"We will have the ceremony in a day, once you have rested," he said. "Your Colonel Carter has granted my request that we hold in front of the ring of the Ancestors. She is a pleasant enough woman. I was sorry to hear of the loss of Doctor Weir. I will ask the Ancestors to guide her spirit at our next Renewal feast."
"Thank you, I think she would have liked that," Teyla said.
"I will let you go, I am sure your husband wishes for you to be checked over by the other doctors."
"Aye, just a quick look, to see for myself you're fine," Carson said. "I am glad to be a part of your family, Halling."
Halling bowed to them both before leaving. Teyla drew in a deep breath, glad to be back. She allowed Carson to guide her to the infirmary. Despite some minor cuts and bruises, Jennifer pronounced her in good health and prescribed a nights rest. Teyla could think of nothing finer than sleeping in her own bed, next to Carson.
"There's something I need to show you, love," he said, drawing her to another room.
It was one of the private rooms, one of many she was all too familiar with. The nurse nodded to them and left, leaving only them and the occupant of the bed. Whoever was there was not in good shape, they looked to be dying. Carson brought her to the side of the bed. She gasped when she got a look at the man's face. She turned to Carson, to the man and back again.
"I do not understand."
"Your team found him while raiding another of Michael's facilities looking for you. He's a clone. He was able to help us, it's because of him we found you," he said. He bent to talk to the other man. "Douglas, it's Carson. I've got someone I'd very much like you to meet."
The other man, Douglas, which Teyla remembered was Carson's second name, stirred. Familiar blue eyes stared at her. He smiled, pressing the button on a nearby control to move the bed into a sitting position. It was shocking to her how much he resembled Carson, though now she could see the minor differences.
"Teyla," he said. "You look even lovelier than I imagined. Is that grandmother's ring you're wearing around your neck?"
She had not noticed that her necklace had come out from under her tunic. She held it up for him to see. "Yes, Carson gave it to me."
"You've met mother then."
"She is a…formidable woman."
Douglas laughed, but it turned into a cough quickly. Carson brought him a glass of water. He took a few sips and rested afterwards. "That she is," he finally said. "I am happy for the both of you. Glad I could see you together. Take care of that baby, you hear?"
"We will, I promise."
Douglas lapsed into another coughing fit, struggling to breathe. The machines were beeping. Jennifer and several nurses ran in. She stepped to the back of the room, watching as Carson and the others struggled to keep his double alive. The heart monitor continued to give its mournful wail no matter what they did.
Slowly, they all backed away. Jennifer reached over and turned off all the monitors, reciting the date and time aloud. Douglas had gone. Teyla had not been able to thank him for his help. He had been a brave soul. Carson came and hugged her, his own grief visible.
They gave him a full military funeral that night. It was like her nightmare, but this time Carson was by her side as the flag draped coffin sat in front of the gate. All of the Athosians were in attendance as well, they had heard of this man who had helped in their rescue and they would pay their respects. Carson said a few words, as did Colonel Carter. Then Chuck dialed the gate for Earth and the wormhole engulfed the coffin, disintegrating it. The wormhole closed quickly and the crowd dispersed. Other than the official classified report, there would be no record that Douglas existed. Teyla was saddened by that knowledge.
"I am sorry I did not get to know him better," she told Carson.
"He wanted to save you as much as I did," he replied. "I'm glad to have you back, the both of you."
"I am glad to be back," she said. "I am glad for many things, but most of all to be able to be with you."
They were joined together in the Athosian manner the next afternoon. Carson wore his kilt again, Teyla a second gown that had been made by many hands overnight. It was not a long ceremony, Halling and the others wished to return to New Athos. There was ruus wine passed around, watered down for multiple reasons. Teyla also announced that the leadership of the Athosian people was passing to Halling and in time, to Jinto. She was more an Atlantean than Athosian in her heart.
She said her goodbyes to her other family, promising them she would send word when her son was born. She wanted them and her culture to be a part of his life. He was blessed to have many people who would help raise him. Teyla was blessed to have them as her family, not just one of blood, but one of the heart.
James Rodney Emmagan Beckett was born amidst fireworks that his uncle John claimed were to celebrate the independence of his home country. He had the eyes of his father and the dusky coloring of his mother. He escaped the added names of John and Ronon, for his other uncles as his mother did not think such a small child needed so many names.
Even so, he weighed a healthy eight pounds even. His birth was further celebrated by the drinking of moonshine and ruus wine. The Athosians and Atlanteans could both claim him as one of their own. He did have the gift of the Ancestors, as was proven by the toy Rodney had found. It lit up and played music for him with just a touch. It would take time to know if he also had his mother's gift.
He had no end of babysitter's when either of his parents wanted a night alone or both were busy. Rodney turned into his favorite, singing him lullabies with his Uncle John looking on. Ronon fashioned a carrying device, so that he could take James on runs through the city. Atlantis lit up for him wherever he went.
His parents may have been the first to marry and start a family in the city, but they were far from the last. Though they could not officially acknowledge it, John and Rodney considered themselves joined. And it was affirmed many times by other cultures when they asked for a sign of goodwill. At last count they had been married seventeen times.
Ronon and Jennifer followed three years later. There was an Earth ceremony, performed by the priest who had married Carson and Teyla and then Ronon invited the Satedan refugees to the city to help in celebrating in the way of his home. Ten months later James had a cousin Elizabeth. A year after that he had a sister, Samantha, and a brother, John Ronon.
Other couples formed among the inhabitants of the city, some even joined with other Athosians or other members of Atlantis' allies. The IOA gave up on trying to regulate everything and just approved all the marriages. More children followed and the city was once again the place it was meant to be.