Carson Beckett wasn't a brave man. He knew that and wasn't going to pretend differently. He'd seen more astonishing sights than he ever expected to, and more frightening ones than he wanted to since crossing into the Pegasus Galaxy. A nervous Rodney McKay, twisting his fingers and shaking his hands out, like he was preparing to play a concerto instead of picking up his own children, had to rank among the weirdest. "Would you like me to put them in the pram for you?"
"No, no. I've got it," Rodney said tersely.
Carson looked at the Colonel, expecting to see a level of amusement or impatience there. Instead, the Colonel also was staring at Rodney's hands, and lord almighty… the expression in his eyes wasn't one that Carson liked to think of in connection to Rodney McKay of all people, but it certainly did go a long way to explaining how well the two seemed to be coping with being co-parents. Obviously much more than one tryst between Ancient poles was going on between the two men, at least for the Colonel. "Some of us don't have all day, Rodney," Carson said.
"Yes, yes." Rodney leaned forward, scooping Alexander out of the infirmary's crib, cuddling him to his chest, and gently placing him into the Ancient pram that he ridiculously insisted on using. For a second, the sleek stained glass-looking sides glowed a deep blue before the color faded away.
"Shit," was the Colonel's muttered response.
"Aye, it's as I guessed," Carson noted.
"No, no, it's not as you guessed," Rodney snapped, and Carson found himself the target of two pairs of serious eyes. "The ATA gene is random. You've done very little testing on family members of people with the gene and have no reason to believe that it runs genetically within families."
If it had just been Rodney, Carson would have argued. Despite the man's many flaws, Carson did like Rodney, and admired his intelligence and his ability to save Atlantis, but his constant denigration of medicine as voodoo was extremely irritating. But Carson looked again at the Colonel, and all previous hints of lust were gone, replaced by a steady hardness. And really, why cross a military commander on unproven theory? Particularly a military commander who was known to have been responsible for sixty deaths in one day? "I suggest you keep your children away from all Ancient technology that activates on touch," was all he said.
"We will," the Colonel answered, as Rodney transferred Kathleen to the pram, which gave the same brief reaction.
"Will what?" Laura asked, walking into the room. She stopped close to Carson and wrapped her fingers in his, but didn't make any more overt romantic gesture. That was one of the many things he liked about her, that she respected his reserve and wasn't unprofessional in public.
"Call him if we need him," Rodney said before anyone else could respond, fussing over the controls on the pram. "Now this," he said, as the entire pram gave a hum and rose a foot off the ground, "is the anti-grav." He rubbed his hands, and this time Carson carefully avoided the Colonel's eyes. He pushed another button, noting, "And this is forward." The pram floated gently toward the door guided by one of Rodney's hands. "Grab their things, would you?"
The Colonel nodded, and swung the bag of formula and diapers over his shoulder. "Thank you, Carson."
"You're welcome, Colonel. Though I have to warn you, I still think it's dangerous to use that pram."
Rodney hovered in the doorway. "If there's anyone who should respect tradition, it should be you, Carson."
"There's a difference between tradition and 10,000-year-old technology, Rodney!" Carson called, but the scientist and the pram were already out of sight, followed by the Colonel's disappearing back.
"If 10,000-year-old technology stops working, we'll all drown!" Rodney yelled back, because the man did like to have the last word.
Carson just sighed as Laura giggled, her head tilting to lean on him as she said, "Sometimes I don’t understand those two, and sometimes they seem perfect together."
"Is the military contingent really all fine with this? With their relationship?" he asked, curious. Everyone had seemed fine, ecstatic really, with the thought of children being born in Atlantis, but Carson's natural tendency to worry had made him wait for the other shoe to drop.
"I don't think anyone would have wished Rodney on the Colonel, but since he seems happy..." Laura shrugged.
"The homosexual aspect doesn't bother anyone?"
She rubbed her head a little on Carson's shoulder, and he tilted his head and rubbed back. "No one really quite knows what goes on between them. And it's not like they spend a lot of time sucking face in the hallways. They've both put their lives on the line for Atlantis, and that's what counts."
"Aye." Carson stared at the closed door and wondered if the time would come when Kathleen and Alexander had to put their lives on the line for Atlantis, because if he were a betting man, he'd wager his savings that the Ancient gene within them was the strongest that had existed in this city for 10,000 years.
~ the end ~