Evan rolled off the bed, happy that doing so didn’t make everything in his chest hurt anymore. He looked at David, splayed out, arms and legs akimbo across the bed as he snored loudly, worn out from their love play the prior evening. They had both been chomping at the bit to resume the more intimate aspects of their relationship, and yesterday Beckett had finally signed off on Evan resuming full duty, which meant his duties as a panor’eten as well.
He forced himself to look away from the sight of David’s very, very tempting derrière and head for the shower. He felt normal, for the first time in a long time. As he started to shave, he reflected on how good it felt to have his mind clear. He had slept wonderfully, after making slow sweet love to his keri. He wasn’t in any pain, no headache, he wasn’t moody, he didn’t feel nauseous. God, it had been so long since he hadn’t felt nauseous in the morning from the inhibitors. Sudden realization hit him and he dropped his razor into the sink with a clatter as he dashed out into the bedroom, searching for his radio.
He ran back into the bathroom, practically slamming the door behind him as he violently demanded in his mind that Atlantis ‘close’ it. “Doctor Beckett. Doctor Beckett, come in! Damn it Carson, answer me!”
“Lorne, are you hurt? What’s wrong?”
“The inhibitors, Doc. The fucking inhibitors.”
There was silence from the other end of the radio.
“Doc, please. Please tell me I am not right about what I am thinking.”
“That you’re going to come down here and murder me, Major Lorne?”
Lorne leaned back against the wall and slid to the floor, all hopes of being wrong dashed with Beckett’s words. “Doc. Damn it.”
“It is no excuse, I have no excuse, but I was so concerned with weaning you and David off everything, on getting David’s mental health stabilized and your injuries healed, that it completely slipped my mind about the contraceptives. Evan, I apologize. I’ve no excuse for this.”
He had to tell David, he couldn’t keep it from him. This was his responsibility, to keep his keri safe and he’d let something so big slip his mind. He clicked the radio again as he hung his head between his knees. “This is my fault, Doc. I forgot; too many years not having to think about it.”
“Generous of you to say, but we’ll share the blame, if naught else. Collect David, bring him down here, I’ll run a scan, see if he’s clear. It might not be a problem.”
“Right, sure.” But Evan didn’t feel very confident today.
With shaking hands, he finished shaving, took his shower and yanked on clean BDUs. Then he went to stand beside the bed. “David.” He caressed his lover’s light brown mop of hair and called, “Wake up, hun.”
“Come on, I have to talk to you, we’ve got a little problem.”
David flopped over and glared up at him as he wiped his eyes. “It’s too early. You wore me out.” He yawned and started to doze again. “Go ‘way. Go work.”
Evan knew that what he was about to say would wake his lover right up and would chase the sleepy lazy David from the bed. “Beckett forgot to redose me with the contraceptives.”
David’s eyes flew open and he stared up at Evan. “Oh, shit.”
“Yeah. C’mon, we gotta go see him.”
“You are not allowed to kill him, Evan. He’s still our friend. You are not allowed to kill him.”
Evan sat on the end of a gurney, his feet swinging as he impatiently waited for Beckett to finish running yet another scan or test on David. Carson appeared from another room, walked over slowly, reluctantly, and gave a deep sigh as he stopped beside Lorne.
Already guessing what the answer would be, Lorne asked anyway, “Too late?”
“Aye. The chemical process already started. Positive conception.”
Evan ran his hands over his face and swore, “Shit, shit, shit!” He slid off the gurney and kicked the wheel for good measure. Luckily, the toes of his boots were reinforced with steel.
“Evan, it might not be so bad, things are a might bit different now than they were when we first discussed all this years ago.”
Evan shook his head in denial; panic for his keri's welfare was making him unreasonable. “No, nothing changed, Doc, David cannot carry, the car wreck saw to that, the scar tissue didn’t just miraculously fade away, his guts are still a tangled mess. He can’t carry a child, end of story.”
“No. He canna. But he can conceive, there was never an issue with that, lad.”
“So, the pregnancy has to be terminated, at great risk to my keri’s health, and probable destruction of the egg sac. I remember the lectures back when we bonded, Doc. What, precisely, has changed?”
Beckett gestured to encompass the infirmary. “We’ve found a lot of Ancient tech here, and with Doctor Corrigan’s help deciphering the Ancient database, we’ve even figured out how a lot of it works.”
Still very angry, with himself and with the doctor, Evan crossed his arms and huffed out a breath, “So?”
Patiently, knowing his friend was hurt and upset by having his dreams of a family seemingly falling apart around him, Carson explained, “One of the things we found was an incubation unit.”
Placated somewhat by this news, and interested, Lorne turned to lean against the gurney, tilted his head and listened intently.
“Now then, all your keri has to do is carry until the fetus is stable enough to be transferred to the unit. Then we take the wee bairn and let the Ancient device do the hard part.” Carson gestured the motion of holding something and moving it with his hands and smiled at Evan.
“You’re shitting me?”
“Such language, Evan. You spend too much time with the marines.” Beckett cuffed him lightly on the shoulder. “I believe it might work.”
“How long are we talking here? How long does David have to deal with this? The placental sac grows pretty fast, and there isn’t room in his abdomen to accommodate that for very long.”
Carson chewed his lip, “Well, the Ancients did not take into account keri and panor physiology when they set down the information for this device. I also want to give the wee one as long as possible to take hold, for the connection to the placental sac to adhere tight. But, I think a month might be time enough.”
“A month, and then?”
“We perform an old fashioned cesarean section, take the babe and the keri placental pouch out and do the transfer to the incubator. I believe I can do the micro surgery required during the surgery without permanently damaging the pouch; I’ve a new laser scalpel that lets me get in for very fine work. At the very least, it gives the fetus a chance. You know the alternative, Evan. I know the decision is ultimately yours to make, panor, but I think you should discuss this with your keri, see what he has to say about this.”
“No need, Doc. I know what he’ll say. You had to see the look in his eyes this morning, when he realized he might have conceived. And then he looked so crushed when I reminded him that he couldn’t possibly see this through. I can’t take this chance from him, especially since the alternative means with the egg sac destroyed; we’ll never have a child. We’ll do it your way.”
Evan shoved away from the gurney and went to tell David what he had decided for them. This was so unexpected.
Evan stood in the infirmary, staring through the glass of the Ancient incubation device at a bubble of pinkish vein-coated skin. Inside that sac somewhere was a baby, his baby, a piece of him and a piece of David. He couldn’t quite believe that it had worked. The device had functioned perfectly, and continued to function perfectly.
His keri had spent a month flat on his back, happily complaining of boredom as he caught up on the movies and books he had been putting off reading and watching forever. Recuperating nicely, David was sleeping soundly now, a few feet away in his infirmary bed. The surgery had gone off without a hitch or any complications, much to Evan’s undying relief.
They had not told anyone about the procedure, preferring to keep their privacy, should anything go wrong. Evan could not have borne pity from his friends and colleagues. No one other than Beckett and Nurse Sakura, his assistant for the surgery, knew about this. Glancing up through the curtains around David’s bed as he caught movement from the corner of his eye, he saw John, on his nightly vigil beside Cameron’s bed.
He wondered if this news would make his friend feel bad, given how uncertain things were with Mitchell. But he decided it might make John feel worse to not hear about this directly from Evan, when he learned of it later. He went out through the curtains and walked over to John, leaning with his forearm braced against the wall as he stared down at his comatose partner.
Evan scuffed the toe of his boot on the floor. “So, uhm, you wanna see something kinda cool?”
His commanding officer’s eyes held open curiosity as Sheppard nodded at him. Evan crooked his finger and smiled. “C’mere.”
He led Sheppard back to David’s partitioned area of the infirmary. Sheppard looked alarmed when he parted the green curtains to enter and saw David resting there. Evan reassured him, “He’s okay. He’s fine now, just sleeping. Don’t wake him. Come, look.” He went to the incubator and pointed.
Sheppard moved closer and peered down, and then he touched the side of the device. Of course he did, Sheppard’s hands were like magnets for Ancient devices. A few lights on a lower panel blinked on and something blipped happily and a myriad of emotions crossed John’s face as Atlantis fed him information through the usual interfaces that it seemed to love to create for her favored son. His voice held wonder as he looked down through the glass, leaning as close as he could get, the tip of his nose touching the top of the incubator. “Evan, you guys made a baby.”
“Yeah. A lot sooner than we expected to.”
“I’ll say, I thought you were waiting until we went back to Earth. This is Ancient tech, this isn’t Jirante technology.” John circled the device, fascinated, his fingers brushing the edge.
“We sort of had to improvise, please don’t ever tell my kid, but this was an accident,” Evan waved his hands around to encompass the whole incubator and David sleeping in the bed beside it.
John nodded and then patted Evan’s shoulder. “You’re gonna be a daddy, Ev.” When John looked up, for the first time in weeks the smile on his face reached his eyes. He pressed his nose back to the incubator glass. “This is so cool.”
A few days before all the trouble started and things changed in Atlantis forever, Lorne wandered into the infirmary as he went about one last security round prior to logging off duty for the evening.
He drifted over to the incubator and stared down at the tiny lump of his son or daughter, it was far too early to tell which it would be yet. “Hi, Little T.” He tapped the glass lightly. He’d nicknamed the developing lump Little T, remembering that he had thought it a grand idea at one point during his rescue from the Genii to name their future baby after Teyla. Though to be fair, Rodney had been just as responsible for carrying him out of harm’s way, and should be remembered as well when it came time to really name the baby.
“We’re having a really good day here today.” Evan smiled as he heard Mitchell and Sheppard’s voices from somewhere in the infirmary, raised in argument, an argument with no heat to it, just banter, just… normal. “A really good day, Little T.”