Major John Sheppard was sitting in the Atlantis briefing room with Ronon Dex, Teyla Emmagan, Dr. Rodney McKay, Dr. Elizabeth Weir, and Sergeant Bates, who had just returned from planet P4X98, also known as Kishi. He'd been cleared by Dr. Carson Beckett to participate in the meeting. Sergeant Bates had made sure he was showered and neat. His team had been there for four days exploring the planet.
"Anything to report, Sergeant Bates?" Elizabeth asked.
"When we first arrived there, we noticed two walls with Ancient text written on them. One wall was on either side of the 'Gate with a stone step leading up to it. None of my guys can read Ancient, so that will be left for Dr. O'Neill and her team of linguists. We then noticed that there were heaps of sand and sand hills. We decided to keep going and after several hours we noticed a rainforest. We entered it and the jungle was filled with the usual native animals and bird life. What we didn't expect to find in the middle of it was a ruined Ancient building. We explored it for a few days, but came up with nothing. We didn't learn why it was there or what its main function was. If there's any Ancient technology there, we couldn't find it or it was well hidden," Sergeant Bates said, leaning back in his chair.
"It sounds like something for my team?" John queried Elizabeth.
"I did however find this," Sergeant Bates said, getting up and removing something from his TAC vest pocket. It was small and square in shape, wrapped up in a black cloth. "Lt. Oxford found it near the structure he's calling the Great Wall of Kishi." Sergeant Bates handed it to Major Sheppard.
John studied it, turning the tile around. He was gentle with it for fear of dropping it. It was lightweight, obviously very old and covered with Ancient text. Some spots were worn and he couldn't understand any of it. He passed it to Elizabeth very carefully.
Elizabeth looked at it and smiled. "Well, this is a reason for another look at the planet, especially the ruins. If there is any Ancient technology that can help us with the fight against the Wraith I'd like to have access to it. You can take Dr. Zelenka with you or one of his people. You can depart for the mission on Tuesday at 0900. In the meantime, you can take this to Dr. O'Niell to have a look at," she ordered. "Everyone dismissed."
"Thank you, Dr. Weir," Sergeant Bates said, saluting Dr. Weir and Major Sheppard before he left.
Everyone left the briefing room to do their own duties. Rodney went to the labs to find Dr. Zelenka.
"Hey," McKay said, entering the labs. "I need you to come on a mission with me tomorrow. Elizabeth thinks these ruins that Sergeant Bates found recently are worth another look. I'm going to need another pair of hands," Rodney said to the Czech scientist.
Radek glanced up from his computer. He pushed his glasses up his nose, as they had slid down again. His dark unruly hair looked like it had been out in a windstorm. Radek looked at his friend.
"I don't want to go," Radek said, going back to whatever he was working on.
"Oh come on! You don't go anywhere, you're just as bad as Carson!" Rodney goaded.
"I am not! It is insane going through the wormhole," Radek replied. "It is not right what that wormhole does to you, I don't care if it is in the name of science and humanity. It is just not natural! Take Captain O'Neill! He is experienced in 'Gate travel and he is a scientist in astrophysics and engineering! I am not going!"
"Come on, Radek! Don't make me beg, it's not good for my ego! You just don't want to admit that I'm smarter then you are!"
Darcy was at his desk running some simulations on his laptop. When he heard his name mentioned he glanced up. He saw Dr. McKay talking with Radek and rolled his eyes when he heard what they were saying.
"No, McKay, I'm not going. Go ask Darcy!" Radek refused, again.
"Fine!" Rodney snapped, and then stormed over to Darcy.
Darcy braced himself for the scientist's onslaught. "Captain O'Neill you're coming on this mission with me tomorrow at 0900 to Kishi," Rodney demanded.
"You only had to ask, I would've said yes. You know I like going off world and exploring," Darcy said, gently.
"Oh," Rodney said. "Good." He went over to his own desk and set up his laptop too run his own tests.
After the meeting, John went to look for Dr. Astra O'Neill and found her in her lab scribbling away on a white board. She was listening to her Ipod and humming away, chewing on her bottom lip. Her long blond hair was in a single braid, when left out; her hair reached the middle of her back.
John walked over to her and tapped her on the shoulder. She jumped, startled by his actions. He grinned when she turned around and gave him an angry look.
"Damn it, Major! How many times have I told you not to do that to me?" Astra scolded, her hand over her heart, glaring at John.
"It wasn't that bad! Here, I brought you a present," John said, cheerfully. "This small gift is from SGA5. They found it on the planet they'd just arrive back from." John handed it to her.
John watched the archaeologist's eyes light up like emeralds when she unwrapped the cloth that Sergeant Bates had carefully wrapped around it. John grinned when a smile spread across Astra's face, one that reminded him of Captain O'Neill's, John shook his head to get rid of that thought.
She brushed her thumb over it gently, feeling the markings of the Ancient language. It gave her a tingle of excitement that she was one of the few people to have seen it in thousands of years. She glanced up, remembering that Sheppard was in the room.
"SGA5 found this? Was it the only thing they found and can we send a science team to go dig?" She asked excitedly.
"Whoa, there!" John said, laughing, holding up his hands. "From what Sergeant Bates tells me they only found this by sheer chance and you'd have to ask Elizabeth if you want to take a team there," he answered with a grin. "We're taking my team tomorrow, and possibly Zelenka or your brother to have a look. Rodney wants to have a look at the ruins. Once we've scouted around and searched the place, then you can bring Sergeant Stackhouse and your team to the planet."
"Awesome," Astra said. "Would you like to sit down and have a cup of coffee or juice, or anything?"
"You have coffee?" John teased, knowing how much Astra loved to drink tea.
"Ha, ha, yes I have coffee. Darcy loves the stuff and I think he would live on it if he could," she replied, sticking her tongue out at him.
"I noticed he likes to drink the stuff like its going out fashion. He's as bad as McKay."
"Look after him tomorrow if he goes off -world with you and your team. I know he can take care of himself and it's not fair to ask you. But, he's the only family I have out here and I'm luckier then most of the people who are a part of this expedition. If anything was to happen too him…" her voice trailed off.
"I'll make sure I take care of him, even though he has more off-world experience then me," John promised her.
"Thanks. I'm about to knock off here soon, want to go grab a bite to eat or something?" She offered.
"No, I'm good right now. Maybe later," John declined. "Have fun with that tile," he said, and with a smile and a wave, he was gone.
Astra placed the tile in her left pocket and started packing up her things.
Once her lab was tidy, she took her laptop and went to the kitchen and grabbed some sort of pasta dish, taking it to her room for dinner. She wanted to spend as much time as she could with the tile without being disturbed. She wasn't sure where Ronon was, probably in the gym sparring with some of the Marines, which she was okay with.
Astra sat on her lounge with her plate in her lap, the tile in her left hand; studying the Ancient text that was inscribed on it. She was immersed in her Latin books when a knock on the door alerted her to someone else's presence. The linguist sighed, stood up, placed her half eaten meal on the table and went to see who was at her door. She held tightly onto the Ancient tile. When the door opened and she saw Ronon, a smile spread across her face and she wrapped her arms around him, grunting a bit when he returned the hug a bit too much.
"Sorry," he apologized, kissing her gently on the lips.
"It's okay. What's up? I thought you would be beating up some of the Marines?" She cleared her stuff off the lounge and sat down, holding Ronon's hand.
"I was going to take you to dinner, but you've already started," Ronon said, pointing to her plate on her desk.
"Sorry, I was hungry and I also have that Ancient tile that SGA5 brought back. Major Sheppard gave it to me while I was in my lab, just before finishing up for the day."
"Yeah, I went there and your staff said you'd disappeared so fast that all they saw was smoke," Ronon teased. He grinned when she turned several shades of red.
"It was something I wanted to work on in private, besides it was almost dinner time. I just got in early before the usual 6pm rush hour. Most of my staff are finished for the day and can choose what they do in their own time. Did you see the tile?"
"Not up close," Ronon replied, sitting down on the bed next to her.
Astra held out her hand and showed it to him.
"It's of the Ancestor's," he commented, aware of her family background.
After long walks around the city at night when neither of them could sleep or they just wanted some time alone together, Ronon had discovered that Astra and Darcy were twins; their father was General Jack O'Neill from Earth. Their mother was an unknown Ancestor, and Astra had come to Atlantis too look for her and learn more about who the Atlantean's called the Ancients. Astra had told him that Darcy had come for the same reason and that he loved exploring.
"Yeah, I'll have to ask Elizabeth if I can go with a team from my department and have a look once you guys come back," she said excitedly. "Just be careful while you're gone," she said more softly.
"You need to be careful here in the city too and don't go touching stuff that you shouldn't," he warned her gently. "I'll leave you to your work and go find some dinner."
"Okay. I'll see you in the morning before you leave, all right. Have a good night, Leannan," Astra replied, her mind already wandering back to the tile.
Ronon smiled fondly at her as she went back to work. He got up and kissed her before he left. "I love you."
"I love you too," Astra replied, absently returning his kiss. She watched Ronon leave and then went back too her work once he was gone. She settled back onto her lounge and started scribbling notes on her notepad.
It had been a few hours after Ronon had left her and Astra had been happily translating the tile when there was a knock at her door. She sighed and carefully placed the tile on her table, along with her notes and pencils. She went to open her door and was happy too see that it was Darcy, her twin brother.
"Hey," she greeted, hugging him.
When she looked at him he appeared very tired, like he hadn't slept much. He looked troubled by something and Astra was determined to find out what it was.
"Come in and stop standing in the doorway," she told him, ushering him inside.
Darcy saw the work she had on her table. "I'll come back later, you look like you're busy," he said, turning around to leave again.
"Darcy, you know I always have time for you, now get back in here and talk to me. Something is troubling you, what is it?"
Astra redirected him to her bed and sat him down. The archaeologist sat down next to him.
"Nothing is wrong, I just wanted to come see you. You look like you're working."
"Darcy, I'm always working on something; whether it's a project or something personal," she reminded him. "How did the training run go the other day with Major Sheppard?"
"It went well. There were only a few reported injuries and some of the Athosians joined in as well. The mainland is amazing and I'd like to explore it some more when I get some more free time," Darcy answered, with a smile on his face. "We found a few large lakes that have suitable drinking water and a few caves with some amazing crystals in them!" he recalled. "We found a few wild animals that the Athosians have been hunting and they taste alright. They haven't got names for them yet, but one animal resembles a wild boar."
"It sounds like it went well and being outside has done you the world of good. I wish I could go to the mainland more often," Astra said wistfully.
"You made any progress on that tile over there?" Darcy inquired, getting up and walking over to the table where he had seen the tile. Astra had left it on a black cloth. He picked it up; it was light weight and he recognised the text as Ancient. "You know I'm going to Kishi tomorrow?"
"Yeah, Major Sheppard informed me," Astra replied, she thought she'd seen something flicker briefly across her brother's face at the mention of Major Sheppard. Yet, she wasn't sure.
"How are you doing with the XO duties?" She inquired him, watching him study the tile with sudden great interest.
"Oh, it's going fine. Major Sheppard isn't that great with paper work," Darcy admitted. "I never expected to get such a position," he confided.
"Well, with Colonel Sumner gone and Major Sheppard in charge, you're the next in line. Elizabeth and John agreed that you'd be a perfect XO. You've certainly got years of 'Gate experience and being a XO on a 'Gate team," Astra said, proudly.
"Well, that's different to being a XO of a place of operations the size of Atlantis," Darcy countered, sitting back down next to her with the tile in his hand and the notes she'd already made. "It's like you've made some progress."
"I was hoping to get some more done tonight while I'm on my own," she said with a grin. "It's okay, I'll get some more translated in the next few days I hope. I think its one of those projects that will take me a while to work out. You know me, I love a real challenge."
"True, you were never normal," Darcy teased.
"Hey! I couldn't help that I was raised with six older brothers, that includes you, to. It didn't help that you would blow up any dolls that were given to me! What did you expect me to do? Not to retaliate!?"
"You blew up one of my model planes!" Darcy told her, annoyed.
"Well, you shouldn't have blown up my stuff, it was only fair," Astra retorted. "Though the look on dad and mum's face when the police showed up after the neighbours complained was well worth it."
"Not being able to sleep over at my friends place was not worth it," Darcy disagreed.
"Never stopped you from continuing it though. You just got more sneaky with our brothers," she recalled.
"These words don't make sense on what you've translated," Darcy commented. "Light, bringer of life, touch, love, and happiness," he read.
"I know, and I'm hoping to go take a look at the planet after you come back, and Major Sheppard gives it the go ahead, along with Dr. Weir of course."
She stood up quickly and headed to her clothes cupboard in her bedroom. She opened the doors and rummaged inside and finally found her digital camera and the bag that went with it, that she always took it off world with her. It had been a birthday present from Jack. The archaeologist came back out to the living room and sat back down on the couch.
"Here, while you're on the planet can you take some photos for me? It would be really appreciated and give me an idea of what it looks like, though I wish I could come," she asked, handing over her camera. "Just take care of it for me; Jack gave it to me as a birthday present."
"I'll look after it for you, and I'll try and take some pictures as well," he promised. "You got your card thing inside this camera?"
"Yeah, he bought me a few spare cards, as he knows that I use my camera a lot. They are in the camera bag that goes with it. In the small pocket in the front," she confirmed.
"Good, do you want photos of anything in particular or just the language stuff?"
"Some of the structure would be handy, as well as any of the language that you find. Even if it looks faded, just get happy snappy like when we went to Darwin that year," she teased.
Darcy stuck his tongue out at her, and turned the camera on. He flicked through the photos, chuckling at some of them. "I can't believe you kept all these pictures," he said when he came across some of the ones they had taken of her, Jack, and Darcy at Jack's cabin one weekend before they left for Atlantis.
"I've got them on the computer too. I couldn't erase them because they are really good pics. I gave some to Jack as well, like copies of them. I still haven't figured out this whole digital stuff, but the pictures that come out are pretty awesome. Especially those wide screen ones. It's a great camera and still small enough to fit into any of my bags I take away with me," she said, pleased. "I get worried that I may drop and break it, it looks so fragile."
"Yeah, and they aren't cheap either," Darcy said absently when he came across a picture of Major Sheppard, looking relaxed as he watched tv on the very lounge that he now sat on. The Major had his long legs stretched out on the coffee table with boots off, and his socks left on. He was wearing casual blue denim jeans with a pale blue t-shirt. His dark hair spiked everywhere.
"As, are you seeing Major Sheppard?" Darcy queried, showing her the photo of Sheppard.
Astra gave Darcy a confused look. "No, I'm not. We are just friends. Why do you care? Not that I'm saying we are, as I said, we are not."
"He looks like his made himself at home here," Darcy commented with a hint of jealousy.
Astra snorted. "Because I told him to, it's what friends do; like I tell you to sit back and chill out."
"Oh," Darcy said, his face changing colour to a lovely deep shade of red, he averted his eyes away from his sister's.
"What's going on, Dar? Any time I mention Major Sheppard you act a bit funny?"
"Nothing is wrong," Darcy denied. "I don't really want to talk about it and you can't help me with it either." Darcy placed the camera back in the black bag, making sure it was secure.
"Don't talk to me like that, Dar, and I know something is wrong! You look like you haven't slept and you've been working yourself far too hard. I don't understand what you're going on about and I want to help! You know I'm just going to keep asking you," she said in frustration.
"I can't tell you, even if I wanted to!" Darcy said angrily, standing up and storming over to the door.
"Darcy you know you can tell me anything! Please tell me!"
"No, I can't. Please just stop asking questions, As, and let it go!"
"No, I won't just let it go!" Astra said furiously.
Darcy kept walking towards her door and was about to swipe his hand to open it.
"Darcy William O'Neill, don't you dare walk away from me when I'm talking to you! I'm your sister, for crying out loud!" Astra shouted angrily at her twin brother, as he walked towards the door of her quarters.
Darcy turned around with tears brimming in his eyes. He hated fighting with Astra.
"Darcy speak to me please. I don't like us fighting like this," she pleaded, tears in her own eyes.
"You've been spending a lot of time with Major Sheppard and I've been hearing rumours about you pair," he finally said, sitting down on Astra's couch.
Astra gave Darcy a stunned stare. She was well aware that her brother was gay for he had confided in her when he was barely fourteen years old and suspected that he was different from boys his age. She had kept his secret and protected him from their adoptive father; Air Chief Marshall Lachlan Owen and their mother Wing Commander Fionnghuala Owen, commonly known as Fiona for short. The twins had been brought up in a strict Catholic- military household, where all their older brothers and parents served in the Royal Australian Air Force. Their father would not have taken kindly to discovering that his youngest son was gay, believing that a man should be married to a woman, not engaged in same sex pairings. It had been drummed into them from an early age and they had been expected to follow in his footsteps and join the RAAF. She'd supported her brother through many secret relationships and broken hearts.
"Oh," she said quietly, sitting down next to him and wrapping an arm around Darcy. She ruffled his blond curly hair that had been cut military style before they had left for Atlantis.
"You're jealous of my friendship with the Major because you have a crush on him?"
"As!" Darcy exclaimed horrified, at the way his sister had been so forth coming. He glanced up at her and he could feel his face turning several shades of red.
"What?" She said, pale green eyes looking at her own, and she swore that she could sometimes see the depths of her brother's soul in them. She'd always been able to read him, until lately, and she'd just found out why. The archaeologist was elated for her brother.
"Major Sheppard is my commanding officer and I doubt that he bats for the other team. Even if he did, there is no way we can pursue any sort of relationship, and I don't even know how he feels about me," Darcy confided.
Astra smiled, for she knew very well how Major Sheppard felt about her brother; he had confessed such feelings recently in one of their movie nights. He had made her promise not to tell Darcy for the same reasons that her brother had just mentioned, out of fear for both of them and their careers. John trusted Astra and the scientist wasn't going to betray his trust, for she felt that she had earned it. Yet, it frustrated her that she couldn't tell her brother or even hint at it.
She knew that what her brother was telling her now, she could not tell John either. She sighed and ran her fingers through her long blond hair, that she now had let out. Her hair reached down to the middle of her back. Astra wanted to see both men happy, especially her brother, who hadn't been seeing anyone, not since his time with Dr. Daniel Jackson. Even after Daniel returned, Darcy had decided to remain single, much to Astra and their natural father, General Jack O'Neill's, disappointment.
Darcy had been very happy with Daniel and they'd made a wonderful couple- until Daniel had tried to save Jonas's homeworld and came in contact with heavy amounts of radiation. In the end Daniel had ascended, leaving Darcy totally heart broken and grieving for his lost lover. He'd sworn then not to fall in love again for he couldn't go through that or let his partner go through it either. Working at the SGC could be a hazard to your health and could end fatally for anyone.
"Maybe you should take the initiative and make the first move. It's never bothered you before," Astra encouraged.
"It's far too risky," Darcy disagreed. "If we got caught, we could both be sent to prison. This time it is different, seeing as Major Sheppard is my commanding officer," he reminded her again.
"Well, you can't just ignore your feelings and suppress them!"
"As, I don't have a choice. It's best for both of us," Darcy said in a tight voice.
Astra sighed dramatically, chewing on her lower lip. "Alright," she finally agreed. "I just want to see you happy and I don't like seeing you like this."
"I don't want to risk both our careers or keep things secret, sis. I'd rather be open, like me and Daniel were. I know that was different circumstances back then," Darcy said in frustration. "Maybe its just a stupid crush."
"I don't think so, Dar. It's not a stupid crush when it has you tied up in knots and crying real tears. I think this is for real, seem, as you're considering how it will affect both your careers. Just go talk to him and who cares what others think. Follow your heart and not your head. If I hadn't followed my heart, I would never have left England."
"That's a totally different situation," Darcy argued. "If we'd stayed, you'd probably be dead; killed by your own husband's hands!"
"Okay, bad example. I just don't know what to say or do, Dar! You're telling me that you're in love and not to do anything about it, which goes against every fibre in my body. I've already said it and I will say it again; I want to see you happy. God knows you deserve it, and I don't care if they're military or civilian. If they make you happy and treat you right, then that's good enough for me!"
"You're civilian and don't get these rules, As!" Darcy said, sighing. He knew it was a waste of time trying to reason with her, but he appreciated her honesty and the fact that she was trying to listen and accept his reasons.
"I just feel helpless not being able to help you. You're my brother, Darcy. I want to help you like you helped me when we were living in England. If it hadn't been for you, things could've been a lot worse. We've looked out for each other ever since the Owen's adopted us," she said
"Don't do or say anything," Darcy pleaded. "We could argue about it forever, it is the way it has to be."
"Okay," Astra said, finally accepting defeat.
"I'm here anytime you need me. I'm your sister; its what sisters are for. Would you like to stay?"
"No, I'm right. I may go spar with Teyla instead," Darcy declined.
"Are you sure you don't want to stay?" Astra encouraged.
"I'm positive," Darcy said firmly.
"I'll see you later then and have fun with Teyla," Astra said, hugging her brother.
"I will," Darcy replied, standing up and giving his sister one last hug, before walking over to her door.
Darcy left, heading towards the gym. He hoped that Teyla was still up.
Teyla Emmagan was practicing some moves when she sensed someone watching her and she turned her head to face the entrance of the gym. She saw Captain O'Neill standing in the doorway, looking lost and totally confused.
"Is everything alright, Captain O'Neill?" Teyla queried, she grabbed two sets of Bantos sticks and handed one set to Darcy and kept a set for herself.
"You're busy, I'll come back later," Darcy said quickly.
"You're troubled," Teyla stated, twirling one of the rods around in her right hand.
"I am not," Darcy denied, getting into a fighting stance.
He had a black belt in Karate and other fighting techniques, and had spent almost eight years learning Jaffa fighting techniques from Teal'c when he had been at the SGC. Darcy had been keen to learn Teyla's fighting style and she had obliged him. He watched her warily. When he fought with Teyla, he felt like they were two dancers ready to tango; despite the fact that he loved dancing.
Teyla spun around and whacked Darcy on his right leg, just below his knee. He hadn't been prepared for how fast she had moved and would never admit the fact that he had been distracted by a certain fuzzy haired Major. The Athosian leader moved swiftly again and hit a similar spot on his left leg. He wobbled and put his hand out to stop himself from falling onto the cold gym floor.
"Ah! Teyla!" He groaned, putting up his other hand to shield himself from her.
"You have not been practicing! Shall we continue?"
The Athosian leader moved quickly and he found himself sitting on the floor looking up at Teyla, a shocked look on his face.
"Stop hitting me! Alright, I'll talk! Just don't hit me again!"
"I will not hit you again," Teyla assured the young man, offering him her hand.
They went to sit down on a window seat; it offered a view of the ocean.
"Tell me, what's on your mind," Teyla encouraged.
"I have feelings for someone," Darcy confessed, ducking his head and feeling his face turn bright red.
"This is wonderful news! Who is she?" Teyla asked, smiling.
Darcy glanced up. "He," he corrected, lowering his eyes.
"Oh," Teyla said softly, realising what the young Captain had just revealed. "Are same sex pairings not accepted on Earth?"
"Not with everyone, no. There are some people who support same pairings, and support continues to grow. But there are still many who oppose same pairings; and believe that a man and woman should be together; not two men or two women together," Darcy tried to explain.
"Who is the object of your affection, Captain?"
"He is military and a leader," Darcy answered. "You may call me Darcy."
"Do you mean Major Sheppard, Darcy?" Teyla queried, trying to keep the excitement from her voice.
Major Sheppard had recently confided his feelings for the young Captain and his fears about certain rules amongst his military preventing him to pursue any sort of relationship with Captain O'Neill. Teyla didn't understand why they couldn't start any form of relationships, as part of the rules and regulations they could lose their ranks and get sent to prison. The rules seemed strange to her for amongst the Athosian's same sex pairings were common and accepted. It was one of the things that she was learning that was different between her own people and the Atlantean's.
"Yes," Darcy confirmed. "Our relationship could never be more than Commander and XO, no matter how we feel about each other."
"No wonder you look so sad and your heart is about to break," Teyla said gently.
"Yes and it must remain this way."
"Darcy, cannot you and Major Sheppard see each other in secret?"
"No, and I will not run the risk for Major Sheppard or myself. Remember, I said we could go to jail and be locked up."
Teyla frowned. I do not know if I understand these rules and have heard them before. I do not like them, but I guess they're there for a reason. Yet, your heart will break."
"It is better this way, safer," Darcy said in a quiet voice.
"Would you like to continue?" Teyla asked, trying to change Darcy's mood and take his mind off Major Sheppard.
"Yes, I would and thank you, Teyla," Darcy replied.
A few hours later, Darcy stood in front of Teyla with their heads bent in the traditional Athosian way.
"Thank you again, Teyla," he said simply.
"You're welcome, Darcy," Teyla replied with a smile.
After his sparring match, Darcy went to his own quarters where he had a nice hot shower. He could feel the hot water relaxing the tension in his muscles and he was reluctant to get out of the nice shower. Once he was finished, he grabbed a towel, dried himself off and then got into his bed. As soon as his head hit the pillow, he was sound asleep.
The next morning, Darcy was up early and waiting in the Jumper Bay besides Jumper one; Major Sheppard's favourite Jumper. He had his P90 attached to his TAC vest, a Wraith stunner attached to his left leg and on a small Beretta hand gun attached to his right leg. He had an Ancient Life Signs Detector in his right back pocket.
The young Captain was leaning against the Puddle Jumper with his arms crossed. He had his pack on, his Ipod on and playing one of his favourite songs. He was singing along unaware he was being watched by Major Sheppard. His feet were crossed over and he was feeling totally relaxed before the mission started.
John stood in the hallway near the wall watching the other man with a smile on his face. John was dressed similar to Darcy and he too was relaxed and looking forward to going on the mission with his team and Darcy. John loved going out and exploring different worlds and meeting new cultures. He waited a bit longer, continuing to watch Darcy, before he made himself visible and walked over to the other man.
When Darcy saw Major Sheppard walk towards him, the young Captain took out his Ipod and turned it off. He then slipped it into his top left pocket after making sure he locked it.
"Good morning, sir," Darcy greeted, saluting John.
"Morning, Captain O'Neill; you're looking much better then last night," John replied with a salute of his own.
"A sparring match with Teyla would wear most people out," Darcy said with a shy smile.
"True," John agreed.
"You were at the SGC for a while?" John queried, trying to make small talk before his team arrived.
"Yes, for about eight years, sir," Darcy replied.
"What was it like?"
"Not much different from here really. Instead of the Wraith, we have the Goa'uld. We never really came across any space 'Gates like the ones you find here in the Pegasus Galaxy. Well, none that I'm aware of."
"You were on a Gate team?"
"Yes, sir. After transferring to the SGC, I was immediately place on a team after some training. It was considered a high honour to be placed on a team and still is," Darcy replied.
"When these Goa'uld's take control of their victims do they leave a mark on the back of their neck?"
"Yes. Why, sir?"
"I've seen a similar mark on your sister's neck that fits that description. Whenever I ask her about it, she either refuses to answer or changes the subject," John said.
Darcy sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. "Astra was captured by a Goa'uld named Ba'al and made his queen. That is all I'll say on the matter; for it is Astra's story to tell, sir. She will tell it when she is ready."
"Okay," John said.
Just then Ronon Dex, Dr. Rodney McKay, and Teyla Emmagan arrived.
"Alright, everybody into the Jumper," John ordered.
Everyone walked in and secured their bags in the back of the Jumper. Darcy was invited to sit next to Major Sheppard, much to Rodney's annoyance. He now sat behind Ronon and Teyla, sulking.
"I hope you remembered to say goodbye to your girlfriend, Ronon," Rodney snarked.
Ronon turned around and glared at him. "Shut up, McKay. You saw nothing!" He growled.
"Oh, so, no one knows," Rodney said.
"They do now, thanks to you," Ronon grunted.
Darcy turned around, glancing at McKay and Ronon. "Who's Ronon seeing McKay?"
Sheppard flew the Jumper up and then headed towards the 'Gate room. "Jumper One to Control, we are ready to leave for Kishi," John radioed, ignoring the chatter behind him.
"Permission granted and be safe," Elizabeth acknowledged from her usual position in the Control room.
Once the 'Gate activated and came to life, John flew the Jumper through the wormhole.
"You don't know?" Rodney inquired Darcy, who gave him a confused stare. "Maybe I should shut up now."
"Nah, uh, McKay, you gotta finish what you started to say and why were you looking at me like that?" Darcy encouraged.
"Um, I saw your sister kissing Ronon the other night in her room. I went looking for her to turn something on for me, since you and Sheppard were running mock GI games on the mainland; they had the door wide open," Rodney explained.
"They were survival training skills," Darcy corrected. "What? Are you seeing my sister, Ronon?" He asked, his voice calm.
"Yeah, I'm seeing your sister," Ronon confirmed. "You got a problem with that?"
"Nah, man, I don't care. As long as you make her happy and look after her I'm cool with it. But, if you hurt her there will be no place in this galaxy you could hide from me," Darcy warned the Satedan.
"She told me about her ex and I won't treat her like that," Ronon promised. "If I ever meet him; I'll kill him."
"Good to hear. You can kill him after me, if there's anything left of course," Darcy said pleased. Darcy offered Ronon his hand. "Welcome to the family," he said with a genuine warm smile for the large Satedan.
"Thanks," Ronon said pleased. He accepted Darcy's hand. "Don't tell her I told you. Astra wanted to tell you herself."
"I won't say a thing," Darcy promised. "I wondered why she'd been so happy lately."
Teyla and John exchanged glances, then looked at Rodney with a grin. John refocused his attention back on flying the Jumper.
"How far until we get to Kishi?" Darcy inquired.
"It's four hours away. Sergeant Bates said the 'Gate was on the planet," John replied. "Once we get there we will park the Jumper as close as we can; cloak it and then go the rest of the way on foot."
"Do we know exactly what we are going to look for?" Teyla questioned.
"A research lab," Rodney replied. "We don't know what they were researching and my Ancient is good, but not that good. It is why the Captain here is tagging along. He has good knowledge of Ancient, and he is an astrophysicist and an engineer."
"I'll take that as a compliment," Darcy said hearing Major Sheppard chuckle.
Four hours later John parked the Jumper on Kishi next to the Stargate. There was plenty of sand and dust near the 'Gate and a giant ruined wall on either side of the Stargate with stone steps leading up to it.There was Ancient text inscribed on the walls and they were very long and very wide; they sort of reminded Darcy of the Great Wall of China in some ways. Darcy went to have a closer look at the wall and remembered he'd packed Astra's camera in his bag. He pulled out the black case the camera was kept in and opened it up. Darcy also grabbed a pencil and notebook. He started taking photos for his sister. The writings were in Ancient like the tile he'd seen Astra studying and they were extensive.
Darcy had some knowledge of the Ancient language after helping his sister with some of her projects. Yet, he only knew some of the basics and the writings looked very complex, more then he understood. He figured it would be a job for his sister and her team of linguists to uncover. It would be something right up her alley and she enjoyed a good challenge. He continued to take photos and jot down notes on his note pad.
"Find anything interesting?" John asked him, standing next to Darcy on his left.
"It's far to complicated for my understanding. This would be something for Astra and her team of linguists to work on," Darcy admitted.
"I only had to show her the tile with the Ancient text on it and she got very excited," John told him. "I told Dr. O'Neill she could come back later with her own team if Elizabeth allowed it. We just need to have a look at it and see if there's any cool technology in the ruins Sergeant Bates team found first. Once we have a look there and declare it safe, then your sister can come and have a look. You know McKay, he wanted first dibs before Dr. O'Neill."
Darcy smiled. "Yes, sir, I am well aware that Dr. McKay would've wanted to have a look before my sister. That tile Sergeant Bates found will keep her amused for hours, at least until we get back."
"That's good to hear," John said waiting for the others to catch up.
"Where are these ruins supposed to be, sir?" Darcy inquired.
"In the middle of a rainforest five hours north from the Stargate. Sergeant Bates described it like an oasis," John replied.
"Cool, better then getting sand in my boots," Darcy joked.
"I hate sand!" Rodney complained coming over to join them. "Why do we have to park so far away?"
"You can't just land a Jumper anywhere, McKay," John drawled with a grin across his face.
"Why not? It would make life much easier if you could," Rodney mumbled.
"Rodney, the ruins are in the middle of a rainforest. The terrain itself would make it hard for anyone to park a Jumper there," John told him. "Not even the best pilot could do that."
"How long will it to walk there?" Rodney asked once all the team was together.
"About five hours to get to the rainforest and then another two hours through the rainforest. It's pretty dense judging from Sergeant Bates' report," John answered.
"Just great, this day keeps getting better and better," Rodney muttered.
"You wanted to check out if there was Ancient technology, so suck it up, McKay," John said winking at Darcy.
The team started walking in the direction of the rainforest after Major Sheppard cloaked the Jumper. The terrain was filled with hills of sand that were quite steep. It was hard walking and they had to be careful that they didn't slip or fall over whenever their boots sunk into the sand.
"Have we decided what we are looking for?" Teyla asked walking behind Darcy who was in front with John, Rodney in the middle and Ronon bringing up the rear.
"We voted for a research lab, from Sergeant Bates's description of the place. It sounds similar to what we've already found on Atlantis. We just don't know what they were researching or why its all the way out here. As I said, my Ancient isn't the best and that's why the Captain here is tagging along. He has more understanding of Ancient then me, plus his scientific background," Rodney said, pointing to Darcy.
"My sister is a linguist and I just picked stuff up from her," Darcy said. "I'd be a bad assistant if I didn't learn anything from the master."
Five hours later they found the rainforest that Sergeants Bates had spoken off. Darcy breathed a sigh of relief when they stopped for a water break. The water felt cool and refreshing from his canteen though he drank sparingly, not wanting to drink it at all at once. After their break they started off through the rainforest. They could hear native birds and other wild animals.
Darcy followed John, until he ran into a large white spider web that was thicker then his little finger. It felt like Velcro and stuck to him like glue. The size of the web reminded him of a stop sign. There was a very large spider in the corner that looked threatening; it was black, hairy and bigger then his fist.
"That is just great!" Darcy snapped trying to get himself free, but only got himself further stuck in the web. "Crap," he swore when he saw the spider move towards him.
Ronon stunned it with his gun and the spider fell to the ground. Sheppard and Teyla tried to remove the web from Darcy with their pocket knives.
"This is gross," Darcy growled, picking off bits of cobweb from his hair when he was finally free. He tried to shake it off his fingers when it got stuck, he wiped them on his trousers.
"I think it suits you," John teased, his fingers lingering longer then necessary whenever he tried to help remove the web.
"Very funny; sir are we nearly there?" Darcy asked. He was relieved when all cobweb was removed from him.
"The lab isn't far from here. It is meant to be in the middle and we have been walking now for over two and a half hours," Teyla informed him.
"Good," Darcy said pleased. "I won't want to run into anymore over-grown house spiders."
"Let's keep going," John urged. "We don't want to be stuck here at night."
"There could be other bad things out there that eat humans," Darcy commented, continuing to walk behind Major Sheppard.
"Oh, thank you! What else could be worse then a man-eating spider?" Rodney exclaimed.
"Well," Darcy started to say. "There could be lions and tigers and bears!"
John laughed out loud, but stopped when he turned and saw the scowl on McKay's face. Ronon and Teyla both had confused expressions, as they didn't understand Darcy's references.
"Ha ha ha, my sides are splitting!" "McKay said sarcastically.
"Come on, McKay, you gotta admit that was pretty funny!" John teased with a grin on his face.
"Major Sheppard!" Teyla called.
The Athosian leader had walked passed Darcy and John and when she pulled back a branch her mouth had dropped open, her eyes going wide. There was a clearing on the other side. In the middle was an enormous stone temple; it looked like it was trying to reach the sky. There were three flights of stairs leading upwards that were very steep. On top was a single building with two wide windows on either side of a narrow entrance. Around the bottom was lush green grass that grew to almost knee high.
"You have got to be kidding me!" Rodney exclaimed, when he saw it. "We don't have to walk all the way up those stairs do we?"
"Suck it up, McKay," Ronon commented, walking past the scientist.
John turned around and glanced at what his team mates were staring at. His face mirrored Teyla's awe and surprise.
"That is incredible," Teyla murmured, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her left ear.
"Yes it is," Darcy agreed when he saw it.
"It looks like the same stuff Atlantis is made out of or very similar," Ronon commented.
"Let's go set up camp first, before we do any exploring," John suggested.
They warily moved into the clearing, with Rodney in the middle of their group. Teyla found a perfect spot at the base of the building and helped set up camp. She smiled when she heard Darcy and Rodney bantering withy each other in a good natured kind of way.
"How long will they keep that up?" Ronon queried. "Astra and Darcy fight like that sometimes, but talk in their own language."
"They're not fighting," Teyla said, watching the two men with Ronon standing beside her.
"You are some genius! You are meant to put the peg in this tiny round hole! Not that one, you'll make the tent fall on us during the middle of the night!!" Darcy teased.
"I'm sorry my big brain can't handle putting a metal peg into a round hole! Since you're smarter then me, you should do it!" Rodney pretended to growl.
"Are you sure?" Ronon inquired, looking at Teyla, then glancing back at McKay and Darcy, then back at the Athosian. "How can you tell?"
"By their tone of voice and body posture," Teyla answered. "I believe that Dr. McKay and Captain O'Neill have worked together long enough before coming to Atlantis to have friendly exchanges like this. I have often heard them play like this too. You're right about Dr. O'Neill and Captain O'Neill; I have heard them too, but I do not understand the language they speak. It is a similar language of the Ancestors, but I do not understand it at all. Astra called it a Celtic language from a country called Ireland on Earth. It is where her family were descended from."
"Yeah, she has heaps of books on that Celtic language and something called Latin and Greek in her lab on Atlantis. She reads them to me. I like the sound of them and Astra has tried to teach me, but it is hard to learn them," Ronon confided.
"Knock it off you two," John scolded Darcy and Rodney lightly. He'd been trying not to laugh at their comments while he helped set up the tents.
"Well, we've got a few hours left in the afternoon to explore the area and do a recon of the place," John decided. "Tomorrow we will have all day to explore the ruins and for McKay to rest up!" He grinned, rather pleased with himself.
For the rest of the afternoon they did a sweep of the area; they didn't find anything dangerous or any other ruins. They found some curious creatures who would poke their heads out and when the team approached them they would disappear again, never to be found. They saw a creature that resembled a Koala who looked like it was sleeping in the fork of a branch. It was grey in colour and covered in fur; it was female for it had a baby in its arms.
"It looks very cute," Teyla commented with a smile.
"Yes it does, but Koalas have been known to be vicious," Darcy said, looking up at the creature. "I think we should just leave them there, there may be creatures that hunt them and we don't know how they will react to us if we try to get to close to them."
"Isn't it dinner time?" Rodney inquired hopefully.
"Yes, McKay," John agreed, as they headed back to camp.
"I didn't know you could cook," John commented to Darcy, who had put together a small meal of damper, a small stir fry and a bit of rice.
"Thanks, its not much, but better then standard packet meals," Darcy replied. "My mum taught me how to cook when I was eight."
"What do you call this bread?" Teyla inquired after a mouthful.
"It's called a damper and made in the country of Australia, where Astra and I grew up," Darcy answered. "It is quite simple and doesn't take a genius to make."
"Oh, very funny!" Rodney remarked.
"How do you make it?" John asked.
"Self raising flour, water, bit of salt, and butter. Some people add milk or sugar; it just depends on how you've been taught to make it or your personal preference, sir," Darcy tried to explain.
"Sounds pretty simple," Ronon said.
"Pretty easy, so are scones," Darcy added.
"I can make scones," John confessed.
Darcy glanced at him in surprise. "Really, sir? Maybe you'll have to make me a batch of them, so I can taste test them?" He suggested.
"I'd be more then happy to, Captain," John said pleased.
"Did anyone bring any games?" Ronon asked once their meal was over.
"I brought cards," Darcy offered, helping Teyla clean up.
"Cards are fine," Ronon agreed. "I like those cards, they're fun."
"Extremely fun," Rodney said dryly.
The others ignored him, so Rodney got out his laptop and started running some tests on projects he was working on. There wasn't much he could do with the ruins now for it was far too late and too dangerous. He was quite happy to play on his laptop while they others entertained themselves with a pack of cards.
"I swear you'll bleed me dry of my chocolate stash, sir," Darcy said annoyed when John won again.
"Don't be such a sore loser, Captain," John replied grinning like the Cheshire cat.
"That's alright for you, sir. I snurched most of them off my sister and she hasn't discovered that yet. I think she'd started noticing if I took more."
"You stole from your sister?" Teyla said, shocked glancing at Darcy.
"I merely borrowed," he corrected. "Besides, she does it to me to."
"Isn't that still stealing? Just a nicer term for it?" Ronon inquired.
"No, its not the same," Darcy replied annoyed. "I would never steal from Astra, just borrow."
"How about a game of scrabble?" John interrupted.
"You're on, sir. I hope you remember that my sister is a linguist," Darcy said confidently.
"I do and what's that got to do with this game?" John queried.
"It's just a warning about trying to cheat at this game. I've been known to help out my sister over the years and have built up some pretty good skills and knowledge of words," Darcy said, confidently.
"Is that a challenge, Captain?"
"I guess it is, sir," Darcy replied.
"Just because you're a sore loser in cards, eh? Maybe I might just be good with numbers," John taunted.
"Uh, huh," Darcy said, unsure.
"Okay, I'll get the game and set up. Ronon and Teyla have you had a chance to play scrabble yet?" John asked them.
"No," they both replied.
"I have not heard of it," Teyla confessed.
"It's a game where you use small tiles with letters on them, and you place them on the board to make words," Darcy tried to explain. "Each word adds up too however many points and the person with the most points wins."
"Everything seems to be about winning on your world, Captain O'Neill," Teyla said, shaking her head.
"Nobody likes to lose," Darcy answered.
They'd been playing scrabble for about two hours when a fight broke out between Darcy and John.
"No, you don't spell it like that!" John argued.
"It's how we spell it in Australia," Darcy growled.
"You're not technically Australian," John countered.
"Maybe not, but I was raised there and went to school there," Darcy pointed out. "That is how we spell jail! Seriously, Sheppard; you've been getting away with short hand like hadn't instead of had not or doc instead of document! Now, when it comes to the difference between jail and gaol, you get a little angsty, sir," he said, getting a little heated. The sir was added as an after thought and Darcy thought he was going to get into trouble from Sheppard, who was the most laid back commander he'd ever served under, he meant with, he'd served with, not under.
"It's just a word," Ronon commented.
"Maybe to you," Darcy retorted, Ronon rolled his eyes.
"Maybe we should retire?" Teyla suggested, pointing to Rodney who had fallen asleep.
"Teyla's right," John agreed, yawning. "We have a big day tomorrow. Captain you can share a tent with Ronon, while I share a tent with McKay and Teyla?"
"I'll share with Ronon and Darcy for they have the bigger tent," Teyla answered.
"Okay, everybody to bed and we'll start at 0600 in the morning," John said, covering another yawn.
Everybody got ready for bed and went to their perspective tents with Ronon helping John carry Rodney to his sleeping bag.
The next morning, everybody got up and ate a hasty breakfast before they geared up and started for the ruins.
"I can't believe we have to climb those stairs!" Rodney complained. "What possessed the Ancients to do that?"
"It's obviously a deterrent for other people to come and explore. The fact that this building is placed in the middle of a rainforest on a mostly desert planet, makes me wonder if the other Ancients didn't know about this place; and a couple or at least one Ancient was conducting experiments they weren't meant to," John mused, started to climb the long stairs.
"Who cares about that! I want to know if we will be able to breathe once we are up there!" McKay exclaimed.
John rolled his eyes. "I'm sure the air will be breathable. The Ancients wouldn't have built it if they couldn't breathe here and up there!"
Nobody spoke as they climbed the stairs; it was hard work, for they very were steep and narrow. They had to tread carefully so they wouldn't slip.
"Thank God for that!" McKay said, puffing and bending over, trying to catch his breath.
It had taken them almost an hour to walk up the stairs.
"I'll say," Darcy agreed. He leaned against the wall, taking a few minutes to breathe and get himself normal again. His legs and knees ached a little.
They had a water break before they entered the building. John went first and had opened the door by waving his hand over the crystals. The door slid open and they stepped through.
The inside was pitch black and smelt musty from being closed up for over ten thousand years. The floors were covered in faded blue carpet and the inside structure was similar to Atlantis. The team switched the lights on their P90s to help them to see. Once the lights came on, they blinked their eyes to readjust to the lights.
"Has anyone been inside a Mayan temple before?" John asked, glancing around the room, admiring the structure and the language written on the walls.
"No, I can't say that I have. Why would I?" McKay commented.
"What is a Mayan temple?" Ronon inquired, puzzled.
"I have not heard of Mayan or know what they are," Teyla admitted.
"What about you, Captain?" John inquired Darcy.
"No, sir, I haven't been in one. I've only seen pictures of them. Astra has been inside a few and worked at a few sites," Darcy answered.
"Of course your sister has been to a Mayan temple," John muttered.
"Mayan's were a race of indigenous people thousands of years ago in a place we called Mexico," Darcy explained to Teyla, who nodded her head to show that she was listening to him.
"Your sister would be able to translate what's on these walls?" Ronon questioned.
Ronon had sat for hours watching Astra translate all kinds of languages, including some that were similar to what was on the wall in the temple. Most of the time, Ronon thought Astra forget he was there in the room with her; he didn't seem to mind for he got to observe her work. He would smile when the archaeologist made the smallest discovery or frown when she would be frustrated over something.
Ronon had offered her his assistance and could help with some things. Mostly he remained a silent and faithful watcher. The Satedan would often bring her food and drinks; making sure she consumed both. Ronon found it his duty to protect her, though he knew she could defend herself if she had to. He tolerated some of the music that she would play in the background and some Ronon found that he actually liked.
"Given enough time, Astra and her team could decipher all this. It may take them a life time to translate the language. I only have a basic understanding on how she does things," Darcy replied.
"Looks like we may have to get them here and take a look at the place, once we've cleared it," John commented.
The team continued down the corridor and were met with a crossroad; John indicated they keep walking down the passage way. They found rooms that were empty, it looked like one had been a kitchen and some sort of living room, another room had been a bedroom. There were a few other rooms that looked like science labs and they found a set of stairs leading downwards in a spiral shape.
"More stairs!" Rodney groaned. "Why were they so obsessed with stairs?" He muttered.
Suck it up, McKay," Ronon told him, annoyed by his teammate's complaints.
The team followed the stairs down, only to find more science labs down there as well. They explored each room and didn't find much of anything that had been left behind. It had either been destroyed or taken back to Atlantis by the Ancient who built this place.
"Nothing!" McKay growled, with frustration after four hours of exploring and his stomach was rumbling, telling him that it must be about lunch time. "There is nothing here of value to be found!"
"What about at the entrance with two walkways going left and right when we first walked in?" Ronon suggested. "We haven't explored them yet."
"I guess they could be worth exploring, after we have something to eat," Rodney perked up a little.
"How did I know you were going to say that?" John teased. "Let's go back up to that kitchen and use the tables and chairs we found in there," he suggested.
"Sounds good to me," Ronon approved, leading the way.
The team went back up to the top floor where they had found the kitchen. John removed the dust with the sleeve of his shirt and set his bag down. He opened it up to search for his sandwiches that he had packed the day before. John smiled when he find them.
"Turkey?" Darcy said not surprised. He pulled out his own sandwiches.
"What's wrong with turkey sandwiches? What have you got?" John queried, biting into his sandwich, after getting rid of the plastic.
"Vegemite and cheese slices," Darcy answered grinning when he found his sandwiches. He unwrapped the plastic from them and took a bite.
"That is disgusting!" John exclaimed screwing up his face.
"Don't knock it until you try it, sir," Darcy replied.
"What is vegemite?" Teyla inquired she had her own salad sandwich that she was enjoying.
"It's a type of spread for sandwiches or toast from where I grew up," Darcy explained, breaking a piece off and offering it to the Athosian leader, who accepted it.
"It is a rather acquired taste," she commented after eating the piece.
"People either like it or they don't," Darcy said grinning.
"I've seen Astra eat that stuff to and I don't like it," Ronon added. He had his own sandwich with a bit of everything on it.
"I'd rather turkey," Rodney said, chewing on his sandwich. "As long as it doesn't have citrus on it, I don't care."
"You're a hypochondriac," Darcy teased.
"Have you seen anyone have an allergic reaction?" Rodney snarked.
"Yes I have," Darcy replied. "It's not pretty!"
"Yes, its not pretty," Rodney copied him, frowning at Darcy.
"Come on you two, I've been hearing you argue ever since we got here," John cut in.
"We are not arguing," Rodney disagreed.
"Merely expressing our own opinions, sir," Darcy informed his CO.
John snorted at Darcy's response. He finished off his two sandwiches and drank some water.
"Is everybody finished?" John asked them.
"Yes," they all answered.
"Well, let's keep exploring!" John said, getting up and putting his rubbish in what he thought was a garbage.
It wasn't long before they were out of the room and heading towards the entrance of the building. They went to the left this time, only to be disappointed about finding more empty labs and a few libraries. One room looked to be a recreational room, with lounges and something that looked like a flat screen tv.
"Well, that was a complete waste of time!" Rodney complained.
"Are you going to complain the whole time we are here?" Darcy said, annoyed.
"Yes, if all the other places turn out like the rooms we've explored," Rodney snarked.
"We haven't fully explored those labs, McKay. Maybe there's something hidden in them," John said with hope in his voice.
"If you haven't looked, Mr. Optimistic the rooms are empty! Empty!" Rodney said, in an exasperated tone. "Are you dense? Were we even in the same room?"
"Yes Rodney, we were in the same rooms and I am not dense, far from it! I'm just merely saying; things could have been hidden away or anything is possible with these Ancients," John snarled. "Now quit complaining!"
It was getting dark outside. They had spent some more time exploring some of the rooms they'd already been in; only to find nothing, like before.
"Are you satisfied now, Major Sheppard?" McKay taunted, as they headed down the stairs back to camp.
"Shut up, McKay," Ronon growled.
"You know what! Make me!" Rodney said bravely, before scurrying behind Teyla when Ronon gave him a menacing look.
"I think we should go back to camp, have our evening meal and have an early night," Teyla suggested. "I think it would be best for all of us. We still have one more section to explore."
"Sounds like a good plan," John approved. "We'll have to have that scrabble rematch another time, Captain."
Darcy snorted. "Okay, sore loser."
"Says you, who can't even play cards," John teased, watching the young man turn several shades of red.
"I can so!" Darcy snarked back, annoyed to see his Commanding Officer grin back at him with his hazel eyes sparkling.
Darcy huffed down the stairs with Ronon beside him. Rodney walked behind the two men. Teyla glanced at John.
"What!" John exclaimed.
"Must you tease him so?" She queried.
"I thought it would be better then hearing him and McKay bickering," John said defensively.
"Just play nicely," Teyla chided. "You may hurt his feelings."
"I didn't mean to, I was just having some fun," John grumbled, walking down the stairs with Teyla.
About an hour later, they had reached base camp. Darcy helped Teyla arrange a simple meal and set up their makeshift dining area. Darcy enjoyed camping and would go every chance he got when he was back on Earth. He loved being out in the wilderness alone with just his thoughts, his guitar, Ipod and a few good books. He also loved to go bush walking and exploring the area around him, taking a camera with him at all times. At one stage he'd considered becoming a professional photographer, but now it was just a hobby. Darcy hummed along to a favourite song while he prepared their meal with Teyla.
"What do you call this dish?" Teyla inquired.
"Vegetable fritters," Darcy answered. "They'd taste even better with fresh vegetables instead of these packet things. They'll just have to do for now."
"I wish I could cook," Teyla said sadly.
"My Mum taught me how to cook, when I kept nagging her about how she did things. My old house back on Earth had a really great kitchen. Ideal for any decent chef," Darcy told her. "I miss that old house. We had about twenty acres of land; with a few chickens, our own gardens for growing vegetables, herbs and some flowers, and a small Koi pod. We had a couple of horses and belonged to the local horse riding club."
"You love the outdoors?" Teyla queried him, helping put everything together in the pot over the fire.
"Yup. I just love to be outdoors away from everything. I don't mind being indoors watching a good movie or curled up with a good book, and playing my guitars; but I prefer to be outdoors," Darcy confessed. "Not so much, as hunting; more just enjoying Mother Nature around you and what she has to offer."
"I like hunting, but have never thought to just simply accept the outdoors as you have been able to. We've had to become hunters because of the Wraith, moving our hunting camps around and teaching our children not to fear the dark."
"I guess our planet has been rather spoilt and ignorant for a long time of what's really out there. Most of my people wouldn't believe the things I have seen and it would send them into a panic."
"Why would they panic?" Teyla questioned, placing the cooked fritters on each plates after Darcy handed them to her.
"Fear of the unknown," Darcy said simply.
Once dinner was cooked, everybody had a few servings, then tidied up and then went to bed after a long day of exploring.
Early the next day, it was a repeat of the day before. Once the team was ready, they went back to the ruins and started climbing the stairs again. There was more team banter and Darcy missed being with his own team. An hour later they had reached the entrance to the ruins, it was almost becoming familiar to them, though they were wary each time they entered. They had explored the corridors to the left and straight down the centre. The only one that remained was the corridor to their right.
Darcy followed behind Major Sheppard, with Rodney in the middle and Teyla and Ronon bringing up the rear. They walked for about thirty minutes down an empty hallway. More writing was inscribed on the walls. They eventually came to a dead end, much to the team's frustration and annoyance.
"Great, just fantastic!" Rodney growled. "Nothing down here either! I'm going to have something to say to Sergeant Bates when we get back to Atlantis! This was a total waste of time, though the way he carried on it was full of Ancient tech!"
"McKay just shut up, alright? It's not Sergeant Bates' fault there was nothing; he said there may be something here you could find worthwhile, " John chided gently.
"Shall we continue exploring or head back to Atlantis, Major Sheppard?" Teyla questioned.
"I'd say this is a bust and we should head back to Atlantis. Let the linguist and archaeologist have free reign," John decided. "Okay guys, let's go."
Everyone turned around except for Darcy. He wasn't totally convinced that there was nothing here and he wasn't giving up as easily as the others had.
He stood staring at the wall, his finger on his lip, deep in thought. The Captain hadn't even realised the others had left. He thought there was something odd about this wall; it appeared too plain and simple looking for him. He'd seen a few walls like this in Atlantis; they appeared to be a dead end, but had turned out to be hiding a secret room. The young man ran his hands over the wall; it was flat, cold, and solid. Darcy found a small hole halfway down the left side. It was big enough to fit his thumb in.
"Hey, I got something here!" Darcy exclaimed excitedly, turning around. He found an empty hallway. He groaned and rolled his eyes. "Guys!" He shouted.
The others came running back around the corner to meet him.
"What's wrong?" John asked, concerned.
"I found something. It's not a dead end, but a secret door," Darcy explained, smugly.
"Cool! A secret door!" John said, eagerly, grinning at Darcy. "How do you open it?"
"You slide your thumb in here and press the button," Darcy explained, pointing to where he had found the key.
"Let me scan it," Rodney demanded, pushing his way between John and Darcy. "It's definitely Ancient," Rodney confirmed.
"Of course it is," Darcy said dryly. "What else could it be?"
"There's no radiation or other toxins and the air seems to be breathable at acceptable levels," Rodney reported, pleased.
"You can't detect any humans or Ancients?" John queried.
"None that I can tell. We'd have to look closer," Rodney answered.
"Let's go inside then," John ordered, pressing his thumb on the button.
The door slid open.
"Did anyone bring any air freshener? It smells horrible in here!" Rodney complained loudly.
Darcy rolled his eyes and stepped inside. As if on cue; the room came to life and everyone looked around the room. The structure was the same as the entrance to the building. It looked like there were a couple of air vents on each wall and in the roof. The room was empty apart from a console on the left side of the room. It was large and wide. It looked similar to consoles they had found on Atlantis.
Rodney headed straight for the console. "Now this is exciting!" He muttered. He started pressing buttons and it made a sudden noise. McKay lifted up his hands and moved away.
John turned around and faced Rodney. "McKay what did you do?" He demanded.
"I don't know! I just turned it on!" Rodney shouted back.
"Whoa!" Darcy exclaimed when the floor started to rumble beneath his feet.
Darcy quickly stepped over to the wall. He watched the floor open up and something rise in the middle of it, it was a machine of Atlantean design.
"Awesome!" John said thrilled. "What is it?" He asked Rodney.
"How should I know?" Rodney answered.
"You were the one who touched it!" John reminded the scientist.
"Maybe we should just have a look at it and see what the machine does?" Darcy suggested, interrupting McKay and Sheppard.
"He's right," John agreed.
The machine came up to Darcy's waist. He wasn't that much shorter than John. It had a place on either end to place someone's open palm. The sides were flat with strange Atlantean designs and letters inscribed on it. The top reminded Darcy of a large photocopier.
"I'm game if you are?" John suggested to Darcy.
"Why not me?" Rodney interrupted.
"You need two people with the Gene to make it work and we need you in case anything goes wrong," John countered. "After all, you are the smartest man on Atlantis," he reminded Rodney, winking at Darcy.
"Of course I am," Rodney agreed rather smugly.
"Is this wise?" Teyla asked concerned.
"We need to find out what this machine does. So we need to activate it do to that," John replied.
"Ready?" John said to Darcy. "On the count of three; one, two, three…"
Darcy felt the machine warm up and come to life when he placed his hand on it. A zap of electricity flowed through him as soon as his hands touched the machine. The device pricked his finger and Darcy automatically pulled his hand away as the machine sent out an electrical current and the young Captain found himself being flung in the air and landing against the wall. His world faded to black before he hit the floor.
John had felt nothing once he placed his hand on the device. He thought he felt a slight rush of electricity, but wasn't sure. John glanced up at Darcy and saw the other man give him a stunned look before he was thrown against the wall. John automatically raced over to the Captain and knelt down beside him. The Major checked his pulse as the rest of his team hurried over to join him.
"How is he?" Teyla queried, kneeling down next to John.
"He is still breathing, but unconscious," John reported. "Let's get him back to Atlantis," he commanded. "Leave everything at the camp and just head straight for the Jumper."
The light was bright when Darcy finally opened his eyes. His head was pounding like there was a hammer inside it. He shifted lightly, groaning a little.
"Aye, good to see you awake, lad. You gave us a quite the scare," Dr. Carson Beckett scolded in his Scottish brogue.
Darcy tried to sit up and noticed Astra on his left side; resting her head on folded arms. He didn't expect to see Major Sheppard sitting on the other side of him, with his long legs stretched out and asleep in his chair, with his head tilting to the right and resting on his fist, and his elbow propped up on the arm of the chair.
"Don't try and move to much, lad. The machine you touched flung ye' across the room and you hit the wall, landing unconscious on the floor. Ronon carried you all the way to the Jumper and Major Sheppard flew you back home. I nearly had to sedate your sister, who was in hysterics when she saw you," Carson told Darcy.
"I am okay, aren't I?" Darcy inquired, his voice a little rough due to his throat feeling dry.
"We've run the scans and tests three times and found nothing," Carson reported. "I just want you to stay over night, as a precaution, and no trying to sneak out later either," he warned.
"Okay! I don't do things like that," Darcy denied. "Can I have a drink please?"
"Of course," Carson agreed.
Carson placed a straw in a small plastic cup of cool water and held it up for Darcy to drink. "Sip slowly," Carson instructed in a soft voice.
Darcy slowly sipped the water like the Doctor had ordered him. He didn't realise how dry his throat had been until the cool; refreshing water tasted wonderful.
"Okay, that's enough," Carson decided, putting the cup down. "You can have some more later."
Darcy poked his sister and tugged at her hair. She looked up at him and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw he was at least alive.
"Don't you ever do that to me again, Dar! When I saw you being carried away on the stretcher from the Jumper Bay, I thought you were gone! What happened?"
"I remember finding the machine that reminded me of a photocopier. We didn't find it until today," Darcy remembered. "It was quite by accident that we found it."
Astra held Darcy's hand. "At least you're alive," she said more softly.
"Yeah, I'm alive," Darcy reassured her. "Did Major Sheppard get hurt?"
"No, he was fine. Said he may have felt a little prick and that was it. What happened to you?"
"I just remember what I told you then. Though, I think I vaguely remember being zapped and then thrown against the wall. It's a little fuzzy at the moment."
"Never mind, you can rest up for now," Astra said quietly. "I'm gonna go do some work in my lab for a while and I'll be back later to bring you some lunch okay?"
"Can you find my Ipod? I'd tucked it in my TAC vest pocket and I don't know where that is now. Could you also bring my music notebook and pencil for me?"
"Sure. I'll bring them to you later, you get some rest first," Astra agreed, squeezing his hand before she left.
Not long after Astra had left, John woke up. He was pleased to see Darcy awake and alert. There was no one in the room, and it was quiet and peaceful.
"Hey, Captain, I'm glad to see you're awake," John greeted, relieved.
"Thanks, sir," Darcy said, feeling tired.
"Do you remember anything?"
Darcy repeated to John what he had told Astra.
"You gave me a scare when I saw you being thrown back against the wall. Doc says you're doing okay and so far any tests he has run have come back clean. McKay's organising a science team to go find out what the machine does. He's asked Astra to pick a small number of linguists to help translate the Ancient language," John informed him.
"Astra will be very happy and I'll gladly return to Kishi to help out," Darcy offered.
"It's a good thing you have a degree in astrophysics and engineering; otherwise McKay would call you a grunt with brains," John teased.
"He already does," Darcy replied with a grin.
"He does? I shouldn't be surprised," John muttered.
"Don't worry about it, I take it as a compliment," Darcy replied yawning.
"I better let you rest. I'll come back later and visit. Then we will talk about you going back on active duty," John said.
"Thanks, sir," Darcy said, his eye lids getting heavy with sleep. He didn't even hear the Major leave the room.
John went to look for Carson and found him in his own office.
"Carson, is Captain O'Neill going to be all right?" John asked.
"Aye, I've reassured Doctor O'Neill that her brother is 100% Captain O'Neill. Later I will run some more tests before I release him."
"So he will able to go back on duty?"
"Aye, of course, if the tests come back clear. You know me, better to be safe then sorry."
"What's Rodney doing?"
"He's organising a science team to go back to Kishi first thing in the morning to have a look at the Ancient device. I told him Captain O'Neill may want to go back again."
"Captain O'Neill needs rest and I need to redo those tests again before I give him the all clear. Once that happens, he can go back to Kishi," Carson repeated. "Right at the moment, he is very much Captain O'Neill."
"If Captain O'Neill is alright in the morning he can go back to Kishi. As long he doesn't sneak out or harass the nurses like you do, Major."
"Very funny, Carson. I don't sneak out and I don't harass the nurses," John denied, giving Carson his best innocent look.
Carson laughed as he watched John leave and got back to his paper work.
The next morning Darcy stood in the infirmary waiting for Dr. Beckett's confirmation that he could go back to Kishi with the others.
"Dr. Beckett, am I allowed to go?" Darcy pleaded, hopping from one foot to the other.
"All right, you can go, lad. You just need to be more careful in the future," Carson granted.
"Major Sheppard?" Darcy queried his CO hopefully.
"If Carson says you can go, then you're back on active duty," John allowed. "Now go get ready before your sister and McKay pace a hole in the floor in the Jumper Bay. You have twenty minutes to get ready."
"Thanks, Dr. Beckett and Major Sheppard.
Darcy scampered off to his quarters, had a very quick warm shower. He then packed his bag and grabbed some fruit to munch on for breakfast, for he wouldn't have time to go to the mess hall now. The young man then rushed down to the Jumper Bay.
Darcy saw his sister, Rodney, Ronon, Teyla, John, a few scientists and some Marines. There were enough people to fit into one Jumper. He walked over to his sister, who looked very tired.
"Hey, what did McKay do to you to make you so tired?" Darcy asked in Celtic.
"We were up most of the night trying to translate the Ancient text. It is very extensive and very complex. I am glad to see you up and about, Dar," she replied in the same language.
"You made it," John said, pleased when he saw Darcy talking with his sister.
"Yes, sir. I wouldn't have missed it for anything," Darcy replied.
"Good," John said. "Everybody who's coming, get in the Jumper and don't forget to pay the pilot a tip," he joked.
Once everyone was safe and secure, John started the Jumper and headed for the 'Gate room. When the Stargate activated, he flew the Jumper through the 'Gate.
Four hours later they had arrived back at Kishi. John parked the Jumper where he had the first time and when everyone had exited the Jumper, he cloaked it.
Astra stood with Ronon near the wall. She stood there gaping at the wall like a fish out of water. She quickly grabbed her camera and started taking photos. The linguist walked off and Ronon lost her in the crowd and hurried after her. He found her up near the end of the wall, snapping up as many pictures as she could. He grinned.
"Come on, As, we're heading to the ruins. You can take photos of these later," Ronon said, taking the camera from her.
"Ronon!" She exclaimed annoyed.
"You'll love the ruins and it will be worth it," he assured her.
Astra sighed and reluctantly took her camera back from Ronon, packing it into her bag.
Astra and Ronon rejoined the rest of the group and they headed towards the forest where the ruins had been found.
"I hate sand," Astra muttered when they arrived at the entrance of the jungle.
"The view will be worth it," Darcy promised her, joining his sister.
"It better be," Astra snarked, shaking her left foot.
Darcy went through the woodlands first with John and Teyla. Astra followed Darcy and the other two, while Ronon walked beside her. McKay was in the middle with her, along with the other scientists and the Marines brought up the rear. Within in a few hours they'd reached the clearing where the ruined building was located.
Astra stared up at the ruins. She couldn't believe how large the building was or how high the stairs were.
"You climbed up all those stairs!" Astra asked impressed, glancing at her brother.
"Yup. You have to, there's no other way in," Darcy answered with a grin.
"It nearly killed me," Rodney complained, puffing from nearby.
"You still managed to live," Astra snarked.
It's safe," Ronon assured her.
Astra walked over to the camp and dumped her bag at the closest tent. Ronon strolled over and opened the flap of the tent he used last time. Astra turned her face away from her brother and could feel it turning hot from embarrassment.
"Ronon, you shouldn't have done that!" Astra scolded. "Everybody will know about us."
"Darcy already knows about us and I don't care if everyone else knows," Ronon said in a soft voice.
"I thought you weren't going to say anything to Darcy?"
"McKay gave it away," Darcy explained.
"Oh," Astra said. She turned to face McKay. "McKay! Can't you keep secrets?" She yelled.
"You shouldn't leave doors wide open if you wanted to keep secrets!" Rodney retorted, he reclaimed his tent.
"Then maybe I might slip about the blonde you were kissing the other night!" Astra commented, smirking when Rodney blushed a bright red.
"I don't know what you're talking about!" Rodney denied.
"It's not what I hear at girl's poker night!" Astra taunted.
"As! Stop being so childish!" Darcy chided, giving her his best disapproving look.
"Sorry, I couldn't help it. It's alright for him to blab about Ronon and me!" Astra said, annoyed.
"Come on, let's have some lunch before we climb those stairs," Ronon suggested.
"You always think of food," Astra teased the Satedan.
"If I didn't, you'd fade away too nothing," Ronon teased back, winking at Darcy.
Darcy smirked at the banter between Ronon and Astra. He could hear Sheppard giving orders in the background.
"You can share a tent with me, Captain O'Neill," Teyla offered.
"Thanks, Teyla. It's probably not a good idea to have CO and XO in the same tent off world. Who could resist such an offer from a beautiful woman?" Darcy commented, smiling.
Teyla smiled back and tucked her hair behind her ears, slipping her arm through his and heading over to one of the tents they had left behind before. They put their bags in the tent and went to join Ronon and Astra. Rodney met up with them after organising his tent. Once camp was set up again and everybody had a quick lunch, they headed towards the ruins.
"How long did it take you get up there the first time?" Astra inquired.
"Almost an hour," Ronon replied.
"An hour!" Astra exclaimed, they were now at the bottom of the stairs.
"You'll see, As. Take a close look at the steps," Darcy told her.
Astra had a closer look at the stairs, bending down and running her fingers over the stone. It felt rough and looked extremely old. She dusted her fingers on her trousers when John started to climb the stairs. Darcy followed him, with Teyla behind him. Astra walked beside Ronon with Rodney behind them. A small handful of Marines walked behind them. An even smaller squad of Marines were left back at the camp site.
"Why didn't the Ancients build a lift?" Rodney complained.
"Rodney, a good work out won't hurt you," Astra said, laughing. "You wanted to come here."
"I wasn't expecting to find so many stairs!"
"That's why we go travelling through the Stargate, McKay. To see what's out there and I didn't think a set of stairs would stop you," Astra teased some more.
Darcy turned around and rolled his eyes when he heard his sister teasing McKay again. He knew that Astra respected him, but couldn't resist the urge to banter with the astrophysicist.
"What are they arguing about now?" John inquired of Darcy.
"McKay's complaining about the stairs again, sir," Darcy answered.
"The stairs are very steep. The effort is worth the climb when we see the temple and the wonderful view," Teyla said smiling at her friends.
"It would be different if there were Wraith on our tail," Ronon commented.
"Hey! I heard that, Caveman. Oh, let's all pick on McKay today!" Rodney said sarcastically. "Don't come to me next time your laptop freezes, Dr. O'Neill."
"I'll just ask Darcy, he's just as smart as you!" Astra retorted.
"Listen here, Blondie!" Rodney spluttered.
"Knock it off you pair!" John ordered, exasperated. "You are giving me a headache and I'm sick of listening to you pair bicker all the time. We are here, McKay."
"Thank God!" Rodney said, relieved.
Astra and Rodney had been so busy fighting that they hadn't even realised they had made it to the top of the stairs. After a few minutes to take a water break, they entered the temple and headed towards the secret room. Astra had been reluctantly dragged along by Ronon to keep her from getting side tracked from all the Ancient language inscribed on the walls. For Astra, it was like being a kid in a candy shop.
"Wow, this is the room?" Astra asked when she stepped inside, she saw some machine in the middle of the room. Darcy had been right, it did remind her of a large photocopier type device.
"This is the machine that zapped you?" Astra asked her brother.
"Yup, that's it," Darcy confirmed. He cautiously walked over to it, not touching it, and squatted down beside it.
Darcy was wary to touch it after what happen the first time. Except he had to figure out what the machine was about and why it had been created. He ended up resting on his knees when he pulled out his laptop from his bag. He'd gotten lost in his work for a few hours and didn't notice when someone walked over to him.
"How are you doing there, Captain?"
Darcy stood up quickly and felt a little dizzy; someone grabbed his shoulders to steady him. When his vision cleared, to Darcy's chagrin, it was Major Sheppard. The Captain's face turned several shades of red.
"Sorry, Captain O'Neill, I didn't mean to startle you," John apologised.
"It's alright, Major Sheppard. You could have dropped a bomb outside and I wouldn't have noticed," he joked.
"I noticed that, because I've been trying to talk to you for the last fifteen minutes," John replied, smiling.
"I've been like that since I was kid. Once I start on something, that's it for me!" Darcy confessed.
"Made any progress? I asked McKay, but he told me to get lost. It's also getting on dark soon, and I'd figure we'd go back to camp and have some dinner. Call it an early night and be back up here early in the morning?" John asked.
"No, I haven't really made much progress at all. I'm going to have to crack it open and take a more closer look inside of it, if I can get into it, sir," Darcy admitted. "Your plan sounds good to me."
"Understood," John said, feeling bored.
He hadn't had much to do while the scientists were going about their work. Darcy had been on one side of the machine and Rodney the other. Astra had disappeared back down the corridors to translate the Ancient language. Ronon had gone with her and Teyla was offering her assistance to any of the scientists that needed help.
"Your sister is having a wonderful time with the Ancient language. I haven't seen her in a few hours," John commented, trying to make some small talk. "I see you are being cautious with the device."
"It's pretty amazing technology and language," Darcy replied. "She's always been fascinated by languages; whether they are current speaking ones or ones that haven't been used for thousands of years. Yes, I am a bit more cautious after what happened the first time."
"Sorry about that," John said, guilt evident in his voice.
"It's not your fault, sir. We don't even know what half the Ancient technology does and I think we do get in way over our heads at times. Accidents happen," Darcy told him.
"Totally agree with you there, Captain. The only way we are going to figure out what they do is to explore them. We could find a cure for cancer or Alzheimer," John said with passion.
"Alright people, let's go back to camp. It's getting late and there isn't much more we can do now. We'll come back first thing in the morning after a good night's sleep and good breakfast," John commanded. "Everybody start packing and out now." He ignored the groans from the scientists and started helping where he could.
When everyone had packed up, they all left. Astra hadn't been too happy to leave the ruins, for she'd loved every minute of it and Ronon had been a great help to her and the other linguists; taking photos and doing charcoal rubs for them.
"Don't worry, we'll be back tomorrow," Ronon assured her. "You might even discover what those words mean."
"I don't know about that, it will take some time for me to do that. That machine looked pretty amazing and so harmless just sitting there doing nothing," she commented when they walked down the stairs.
"The Ancestors were wonderful," he agreed. "Their city is beautiful and very big; it'll take a long time to explore."
"I'm fine with that and love exploring and there will always be something fascinating to be found," she agreed.
"You aren't mad at me for telling Darcy about us?"
"Nah, I'm over it. I was just a bit embarrassed is all," she admitted, ducking her head. She smiled at him when he laced his fingers with hers.
The next day they all rose early and had a quick light breakfast, then headed to the temple. They climbed the stairs and went back to working on the machine and translating the language.
Astra found the spot where she had sat the day before and rested her clip folder on her crossed legs and started taking notes. She noticed something odd about the walls and wrote down the words. She chewed on the end of her pencil much to Ronon's disgust, but he remained a silent companion by her side, just watching her work.
"Oh, I get it now," she exclaimed, standing up; her clipboard scattered to the floor, making a clanging sound.
She started feeling the wall for any nooks and crannies that may be out of the ordinary or shouldn't really be there. She found a few slots that were similar to the one Darcy had found on the secret door. She pressed her thumb down on it and it worked. It opened up slightly, revealing parts of more writing behind it.
Ronon observed what she was doing and followed her by example. He found a few little slits big enough to put your thumb in.
"Over here, As," he told her excitedly.
Astra walked over to Ronon and saw what he was doing with his thumb. She replaced Ronon's thumb with her own, the wall moved again to reveal more of the writings. They found a few more and opened up the whole wall. Astra had watched the bricks move with fascination. It reminded her in a way of the bricks that had moved in the movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
"Now what?" Ronon asked her, glancing at the wall and then at her.
"We translate the language. I think the words before were just clues or something like that. I'm not really sure to be honest. Back in our galaxy, the Ancients were very fond of leaving riddles behind for us to solve! They can be very frustrating and at varying lengths. It depended on the message they wanted to leave behind," Astra tried to explain.
"I don't know how you can sit and try and decode this stuff," Ronon said, waving his hand at the wall. "It's why I like fighting and teaching it. It's simple and there're no hidden layers behind it."
"Of course you like to fight and train; you get to beat people up!" She teased him with an affectionate smile.
Ronon just grinned at her. "I like helping you as well."
Astra smiled at him. "I appreciate your help."
In the room with the ancient device, Darcy was running more scans and he had admitted to himself that he needed to crack it open. It was the only way to find out what was inside it. Ever since it zapped him and threw him against the wall, he'd had hated the darn thing and had become wary of it. He knew he shouldn't touch stuff, but he couldn't help himself. Major Sheppard didn't exactly discourage it either, not that he's blaming John for what the machine did to him. They just activated it, neither of them knew what it had been used for and still didn't know.
He sighed and scratched his head. He found some grooves along the side of the machine. He gripped them and pulled it open. Inside there was some sort of flat screen computer attached to various wires and crystals of all shapes and sizes. Darcy stared at the screen when Ancient text flashed on and he groaned, scratching his head.
John walked over to Darcy when he noticed that the young man had pulled something apart. "Can you read that?" He queried.
Darcy shook his head. "No, sir. I don't recognise any of these words."
John pressed his radio. "Dr. O'Neill, we'd like your assistance with some deciphering of the Ancient language found on a small flat screen computer inside the Ancient device please."
"I'll be there soon," Astra answered.
"What's wrong?" Ronon inquired.
"They want me to decode something for them," she answered.
"Okay," Ronon said.
The two headed to the room with the Ancient machine.
When she walked into the room with Ronon and headed over to the device, all she saw was one man with short black spiky hair and one with short curly blonde hair, kneeling next to each other, trying to get their heads inside the machine. She smiled amused and shared a grin with Ronon.
"What are you two doing?" Astra queried, walking over to them.
"We thought we might be able to pull the computer out," Darcy answered.
"Is that a good thing?" Ronon inquired.
"I thought it would be easier for Astra to decipher and could take it back to Atlantis. There're so many wires and crystals in this thing; enough to sink a ship," Darcy explained.
"Maybe it's meant to be a part of that thing for a reason and you can't take it out or aren't supposed to," Ronon pointed out.
Astra pushed John out of the way and stuck her head inside the device. She could hear the hum of the machine as she concentrated on the wires and crystals with Darcy's help. The scientist glanced at the screen and tried to translate the language. The twins spoke in Celtic working together to pulling the laptop from the device.
Once the computer came free, it beeped and flashed. It turned itself off and then on again, flashing a bright white colour and the language came on again in white on a blue background.
"Was the computer meant to do that?" Ronon asked.
"I don't know, but it's reloading again," Darcy answered absently, studying the computer.
"What have you two found?" Rodney demanded, walking around to them from the other side of the machine.
He'd been lost in his work and hadn't heard his friends. With some new discoveries they had made, though, they had finally broken through his concentration and grabbed his attention. Rodney had been busy on his side of the device and found some interesting discoveries of his own.
The scientist had found a small lab inside filled with test tubes. A couple at the front had fresh red liquid in them. It had made him shudder and Rodney had assumed it was blood; possibly from the Major and the Captain, who had turned it on. He knew that Carson would want to look at them and he had been wondering if he could take them out and send them back to his friend.
"Captain O'Neill and Major Sheppard found a computer in the machine. I was able to remove it," Astra explained, turning the laptop around and showing McKay.
"Have you found out what the computer is used for?" Rodney demanded, snatching the laptop from Astra's grasp.
Rodney glanced at the computer screen and frowned. He pressed several buttons and some sort of strange graph appeared on screen.
"Should he be doing that?" Ronon asked John.
"McKay what are you doing?" John demanded.
"Searching this laptop," Rodney answered.
"You can't really read Ancient and Dr. O'Neill can," John pointed out. "You should give it back to her to work on," John commanded.
"I know my Ancient isn't perfect, but I found something really exciting," Rodney said smugly, turning the laptop around and showing the others.
"They look like graphs," Astra concluded.
"What else have you discovered?" John inquired.
"A lab of some sort in the machine on the other side," Rodney answered, indicating with his right hand for them to follow him.
Everyone went around to the opposite side of the device to see what Rodney had found.
"Is that blood in those ones at the front? Darcy asked, pointing at the tubes with red liquid in them.
"Yes they are," McKay replied.
Darcy went to grab them.
"Don't touch them!" Rodney growled, grabbing hold of Darcy's wrist to stop him. "You don't know what you're doing! We need Beckett for this!" Rodney let go of Darcy's wrist.
Darcy allowed his hands to fall down by his side and stood up. He glanced at John, who had a frown across his face.
"Is that our blood?" John queried. "It looks fresh."
The Major looked down at his right hand, the one he had used to activate the machine. There was a small scar starting to form in the shape of a two sided triangle pointing upwards towards his fingers. The mark was in the centre of his palm. John showed his hand to Darcy, he'd never really thought too look at his hand after the incident with the machine. His mind had only been on getting the young Captain back to Atlantis as quickly as he could.
"Okay, that's weird," John said, his eyebrow raised. "I didn't even notice mine, I didn't even really think about it."
"Why would the machine do that and why did it need our blood?" Darcy queried, starring at the tubes with blood in them.
"McKay's right about getting Dr. Beckett to have a look at it. I think we should take the machine back too Atlantis. We've done all we can and this is really important and top priority now," John decided.
"You'll have to get someone to carry it through the jungle and back to the Jumper near the Stargate," Teyla said, wandering over to them.
Teyla had been nearby helping some of the scientists again. She'd been within ear shot, but chose not to participate until John had suggested taking the device back home to Atlantis.
"It's worth it. We've activated it now. We need to know what it does and what it was built for, if we are even lucky; who built it. The machine took samples of mine and Captain O'Neill's blood," John pointed out. "We'll get some of the Marine's to carry it back, just the ones who don't have the ATA Gene. I don't want the same accident happening twice."
"Then we should leave now, it is a long journey," Teyla advised.
"Is the device connected to the console?" John questioned Rodney.
"The console was used to conceal the device and make it reappear again for whenever the scientist needed it," Rodney replied.
"Is this wise? Moving the machine from its location?" Astra queried.
"We can keep it in the observation room," Rodney suggested. "We can keep it secure there and have head personnel only with guards at every entrance. We'd also have access to our labs."
"Doc, have you got enough photos and whatever else of the Ancient language you need?" John inquired Astra.
"As much as I could take when I was here yesterday and so far this morning. My assistants have also gotten quite a lot in such a short time span," she answered.
"Good. We have a change of plans; we're taking this device back to Atlantis," John decided. "Everyone pack up, we are leaving and heading home." He ignored the groans and moans from the scientists in the room.
Once everything was sorted and carefully packed away, the team left and returned to base camp. A couple of the Marines had carried the device down the stairs and waited till camp was packed up and everyone was ready. They headed through the jungle back to the Jumper. It took several hours and everybody was strangely quiet.
When they made it back to the Jumper the team got in and secured themselves and their gear. John helped two of the Marines to anchor the machine before getting into the pilot seat and starting the Jumper.
Five hours later, John was looking down into the Observation Room, while Rodney and Darcy worked with Radek on the device. Carson was running test with the test tubes filled with blood. Astra had gone to her lab to continue translating, and as far as John knew, Ronon had either gone with her or went to train with some of the military personnel. Teyla had gone to the mainland to check up on her people.
"Was this a smart move?" Elizabeth demanded, walking over to the Major.
"We made sure it was safe to remove before we brought it back here. The console was there only to make the device appear and reappear. When Captain O'Neill and I activated it, it hurt the Captain after taking samples of our blood and left a small scar."
John showed Elizabeth the mark on his hand. "We don't have the man power or resources to keep coming back and forth from Atlantis to Kishi. Rodney's anchored the machine in the Observation Room. He's running tests with Carson and Captain O'Neill. I want to know why it took samples of our blood and what it will do with them, and why it hurt Captain O'Neill."
"All right," Elizabeth allowed. "Only head personnel and a few assistants near the device. Keep guards at every entrance."
"Already done that," John answered, heading down to the Observation Room.
"Keep me informed of any progress," Elizabeth ordered.
"Will do," John replied.
Elizabeth left the room and went back to her office.
"Any news, McKay?" John asked.
"Nothing yet. We are trying to come up with a safe way too remove the test tubes," he answered.
"Anyone heard from Dr. O'Neill? I haven't seen her since we got back," John questioned.
"She's locked herself up in her lab with the Ancient text from Kishi. Her assistants were able to collect quite a lot of digital photos of the language and they are all working on deciphering it," Darcy replied.
Darcy was focused on the flat screen computer they'd found inside the machine. He was sitting on a chair that he could wheel around the room if he needed to.
"Right. Do you need any help?" John queried.
"Have you got any MREs on you, sir?" Darcy inquired, feeling very hungry. He was too lazy to walk all the way to the mess hall.
John felt his TAC vest pockets and found an MRE bar and handed it to Darcy.
"Thanks, sir," Darcy replied, unwrapping it and taking a bite. "Strawberry," he muttered, recognising the flavour.
"When was the last time you ate?" John asked Darcy.
"Um, I don't remember, sir," Darcy said embarrassed. "Oh, could you go and get me a supreme pizza with extra topping?"
"Ha, ha, very funny," John drawled. "I'll get you a bit of everything."
"Sounds fine with me," Darcy accepted, refocussing his attention on the laptop again, happily chewing on the MRE.
"What about me?" Rodney queried.
"I might accidentally get something with citrus in it," John replied, he heard Carson, Radek, and Darcy chuckle in the background.
"Never mind, I'll get it myself," Rodney said, going back to his work.
John walked to the mess hall humming a Johnny Cash song. In the mess hall, he lined up after grabbing two trays; one for himself and one for Darcy. He did exactly what he said he would do, and grabbed Darcy a bit of everything.
The room was empty when John entered so he placed the trays on a table. He looked around the room, sighed and scratched his head.
"Rodney! Carson! Radek! Captain O'Neill!" John called out.
John was relieved when he saw McKay come running out of the nearest bathroom. The anxious look on Rodney's face changed his relief to concern.
"McKay where are Radek, Carson, and Captain O'Neill?"
"Radek's gone to the lab to grab something. Captain O'Neill and Carson are in the bathroom," Rodney answered.
"What for and why?" John demanded.
"Captain O'Neill decided he would vomit everywhere on the floor. Carson rushed him to the nearest bathroom and left me to clean up the mess! It was disgusting!" Rodney complained.
John rushed towards the bathroom Rodney had pointed to. He knocked on the door before pushing it open. Carson had his hand on Darcy's back, while he helped the young man wash his face and hands. Darcy looked like he was shaking and very pale. John dragged a chair over for the Captain to sit in.
"Sit down, Darcy," John said in a soft voice.
Darcy sat down, feeling weak and shaken.
"What happened? Rodney said you vomited everywhere?" John said anxiously, ignoring his jealously at Carson who still had his hand on Darcy's lower back.
"I don't know. I was just feeling physically sick and didn't make it to the bathroom," Darcy replied.
"So, you can't eat the dinner that I brought for you?" John asked.
"I think maybe I could," Darcy said, with a hint of doubt in his voice.
"I'd advise against it, Captain," Carson cautioned. "Plain toast and water would be better. Best head back to your quarters, lad and get some rest. You can come here first thing in the morning to help Radek and Rodney."
Darcy stood with support from John and Carson.
"Ye' okay, lad?"
"For the moment," Darcy replied. "Thanks for looking after me, Carson."
"I'm a doctor, it's what I do, son. Now, off ye' go and get some rest."
John took Darcy back to his room and made sure he was comfortable on the lounge in the living room. He then went back to grab their dinner trays and headed back to Darcy's room.
In Darcy's quarters, after checking up on the young Captain who was still resting on the lounge, John went into his kitchen and made himself at home. He found two plates and transferred the rice and vegetables onto them. He heated them up in the microwave; he then found a large glass and filled it with water. The Major found a knife and fork, placing them on Darcy's plate. He then carried the young man's plate and glass out to him, and handed it to him.
"Thanks," Darcy accepted, slowly began eating.
"Welcome," John said pleased to see the young man settled and eating a little bit.
John then went and retrieved his own meal. He sat down next the Captain and started eating his own meal.
"You don't have to do this, sir," Darcy said quietly.
"You can call me John while we are off duty," John told him.
"Ok, John, you can call me Darcy," Darcy replied, he cautiously took a small mouthful of rice and vegetables. He was relieved when his stomach remained settled for the time being.
"Got any movies we can watch?" John inquired.
"They're on my lap top," Darcy indicated to his lap top sitting on a table next to him. He put his plate down on the coffee table and grabbed it.
He sat the lap top on his lap and turned it on, then went to the section where he kept his movie collection.
"I have the Patriot, A Knight's Tale, Brother's Grim, Shrek one and Two, Troy, National Treasure, Van Helsing, Chronicles of Riddick, Pitch Black, The Pacifier, Kill Bill 1 and 2, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, Ocean's 12 with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, the Harry Potter movies, Spider Man 1 and 2, Matrix series, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tomb Raider 1 and 2, Haunted Mansion, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Master and Commander, The Hulk, Daddy Day Care, both Fast and the Furious movies, Chronicles of Narnia, Walk The Line, Batman movies, King Kong, Herbie movies, Hitch, Star Wars movies, Dukes of Hazard, Cheaper By the Dozen 1 and 2, Blade 1 and 2, Constantine, Madagascar, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," Darcy rattled off. He glanced at John. "Want me to keep going?"
"How many movies do you have exactly?" John inquired, glancing at the computer screen trying to decide what he wanted to watch.
"Too many, Astra tells me," Darcy said with a grin. "Astra and I would go to the movies every weekend if we were both on Earth. One weekend we'd see a movie I picked and the next weekend we'd see something she chose. I just love movies and enjoy all kinds of movies."
"I gather that from your collection. How about The Patriot?" John suggested.
"Sounds fine with me," Darcy said.
Before Darcy played the movie, he got up and went into his bedroom where he grabbed two pillows and a blanket. He then went back out into the living room and sat back down next to John after he handed the other man a pillow. Darcy ignored how close they were sitting next to each other.
'It can never be,' he reminded himself.
Darcy moved the table a little closer towards them and pushed the lap top towards the middle where they could both watch it. Darcy placed his pillow behind him and then put the blanket over them. He lent forward and pressed play, then leaned back and made himself comfortable.
"Morning," someone grumbled.
The other voice sounded strangely like John Sheppard's. Darcy felt his face turn several shades of red. Before the young man could reply, his stomach churned and he made a dash for his bathroom, where he promptly emptied his stomach.
John was quick to follow Darcy and found him bent over the toilet being physically sick. The Major found some wash clothes for the Captain. He dampened the wash clothes in warm water and offered one to Darcy, and used the other to help clean up the younger man. When Darcy accepted the wash clothes, he was sick again.
"Sorry," Darcy grunted, when he realised he'd been sick on John.
"Don't worry about it. Let's get you into the shower," John replied.
John automatically stripped Darcy and ran the water in the shower making sure it was warm before placing the younger man under it. Within a few minutes John had joined him. John ignored Darcy's protests and how well toned the other man was from working out.
"You're a mess and you need to be cleaned and you threw up all on me," John said softly.
Halfway through the shower, Darcy vomited again and felt strong arms around him. His legs were wobbly and weak and he held onto the shower screen for support. After he was finished being sick, Darcy had to clean himself and the shower.
"Let's get you out of here," John muttered.
The Major turned off the water and guided Darcy out of the shower onto the bath mat. He found a towel for both of them, and kept an eye on Darcy when he dried himself. When they were dry, he found some fresh clothes for both of them. John was surprised that he fit into Darcy's clothes, but was grateful that he could.
John led Darcy out of the bathroom and into his bedroom where he pulled the sheets back. He directed Darcy into bed and covered the young man with the sheets and blanket.
"John!" Darcy protested weakly.
"I think you need to stay in bed today and I'm taking you off active duty," John advised.
"I hate staying in bed when I'm sick, I get bored."
John ignored Darcy and radioed Carson.
"Carson, are you busy?"
"I'm helping Rodney with that device and running more tests on the blood samples, so far have come up with nothing. Rodney is demanding to know where you and Darcy are, it's nearly 10am!"
"Shit!" John exclaimed. "We fell asleep watching a movie and Darcy's been sick again this morning. He had a dizzy spell in the shower," he reported. "Can you come down and look at him for me?"
"I'll be there as soon as I can," Carson answered.
It wasn't long before Carson arrived and entered the room after John let him in. Darcy had dozed off for a few minutes and woke up again to find Carson in his room with an anxious John hovering nearby.
Carson had his small medical kit with him; one he could carry on short notice. He pulled a needle and took some blood samples.
"Have you done some tests on those blood samples we found in the machine, Doc?" Darcy inquired.
"Yes," Carson confirmed. I ran the tests three times and they're definitely yours and Major Sheppard's."
"Can you find out what's wrong with me?"
"I'll do my best," Carson replied. "Have you had any fainting spells before or any vomiting?"
"Not vomiting and you were there the first time I was sick. I did feel dizzy before though. Does that count?"
"When was that?" Carson queried.
"When we went back to Kishi the second time and John scared me by creeping up on me while I was working on the device. I thought I was just dizzy from when I got up to quickly. Could that be related to the same symptoms I'm having now?"
"They could be related. I'd have to do more tests and I'd recommend you take Darcy off active duty for now, until I find out what's wrong."
"Already done," John agreed. "By the way, I didn't sneak up on you! You were totally engrossed in your work! I couldn't help it if you didn't notice me."
"That's the same as someone sneaking up behind you," Darcy disagreed.
Carson smiled while he packed away his medical equipment.
"Can I still help Dr. McKay with the Ancient device? I won't do any heavy work," Darcy promised.
Carson and John exchanged glances. John gave Carson a slight nod.
"Besides, he'll only be a pain if he's got nothing to do. Remember when he had the flu?" John said.
"Aye, he was annoying," Carson agreed. "Yes, you can still work with Rodney and Radek on the machine. If any changes occur, you need to come and see me," he allowed.
"Yes of course I will, Doc or at least radio you," Darcy promised, very happy that he could still help his colleagues.
"What happened?" Astra demanded, bursting in with Ronon racing in after her. She'd gone to see what sort of progress Rodney had made on the device only to find that her brother was not there and that was odd for him. When Rodney had informed her that Darcy had been ill, she'd run all the way to his quarters with Ronon keeping up with her.
"I tried to stop her. She insisted on seeing Darcy," Ronon told them.
"It's okay, don't worry about it," Darcy assured Ronon, sitting up.
"McKay said you had been sick last night and again this morning. Carson had been called in to see you!"
"I'm going to be fine and I'm only going to be on light duty," Darcy tried to reassure her. "I'm not dying. Right, Doc?"
"He's telling you the truth, lass. We know your brother isn't well, we just haven't figured it out why yet."
"You made any break through on the Ancient language?" John inquired.
"Not really. Just a few words or phrases. They don't make much sense at the moment; light, life, fertility, future, Sun God and Fertility Goddess, life force, giver of life, saving mankind and darkness," she recited.
"The future is in the life blood of those in their hands to give life, where once there was none for the future of mankind or it will tumble into a terrible darkness. Disease and hunger will reign if there are no offers to the Sun God and Fertility Goddess," Astra repeated what she thought she had translated.
Astra shook her head at the blank stares from the four men in the room.
"What does that mean?" John finally asked.
"I'm not totally sure. I think it's a riddle of some kind. It was underneath the walls at the ruins on Kishi. Those words were like nonsense stuff at first, until I started pressing bricks and locking them into place. The walls peeled back like when Hagrid did it on the walls in Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone. I'll let you know when I have more detail."
"That's brilliant!" Carson exclaimed impressed.
"Thank you, but it was Ronon who found the little buttons to lock the words into place," Astra said modestly.
"I was bored," Ronon said when they all looked at him.
"Who's Harry Potter?" John asked.
"You've never heard of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter or seen the movies? Darcy has them on his laptop," Astra questioned surprised.
John shook his head. "Darcy did mention some Harry Potter movie last night. It didn't click to me what that was about." He shrugged his shoulders.
"Oi," Astra said with a sigh.
"I've got those movies and we can watch them another time," Darcy told John.
"Huh?" Astra queried.
"Darcy and I came back here last night and we watched The Patriot and then Pitch Black," John answered.
"Oh. Darcy is a big Vin Diesel fan, it's a wonder he didn't make you watch Pitch Black and then The Chronicles of Riddick," Astra teased.
"Shut up, As," Darcy growled.
"Really?" John asked.
"Yup," Astra confirmed.
"We didn't watch all of Pitch Black, we fell asleep during the movie," Darcy added.
"You fell asleep at the beginning and I managed to watch over half," John bantered.
Darcy muttered under his breath.
"What now? I'd like to keep helping with the device?" Darcy queried Carson.
"You aren't well enough to do much at all and ye' are not going down to the Observation room. You can work on your laptop here in your own quarters and ye' are to stay on light duty until the Major or myself say otherwise. Rodneyand Radek can send you anything via their own computers or come and visit you," Carson compromised.
Darcy sighed in frustration. "Ok. I'll agree to those terms," he finally said.
"Your laptop is in your living room, I'll go get it," John said.
John left Darcy's bedroom and went back out to the lounge room. He picked up the computer and walked back into Darcy's room. John glanced at the screen.
"It looks like Rodney has sent you something already," John said, handing the lap top over to Darcy.
Darcy looked at the screen and scratched his head while he read what Rodney had sent him.
"What did Rodney send you?" Astra inquired.
"Some theories and test results," Darcy said absently.
"What sort of test results?" she inquired.
"I'm not sure yet. I'll let you know later," Darcy replied, already forgetting they were in the room.
Carson indicated for everyone to leave.
"He'll be all right now. Just keep an eye on him," Carson told Ronon, John, and Astra.
"I've got to get back on duty, but I can check on him every couple of hours," John offered.
"Me too," Astra volunteered. She glanced at John. "You may want to put some shoes on," she suggested with a grin.
John glanced down at his feet and blushed. He shrugged his shoulders and awkwardly ran his fingers through his hair, avoiding the gazes from his friends.
Astra smiled. "I'll just say good bye to Darcy before I leave. Thank you, John and Carson for looking after him."
Astra left the two men and headed for Darcy's bedroom. She smiled when she saw Darcy engrossed in his work and chuckling at something on the screen.
"Anything exciting so far?" Astra queried, kneeling down next to him.
"No, not really. I was laughing at some of McKay's theories," he replied, with a grin.
"You two and Radek will figure it out," she said proudly. "Now you remember, you can only have dry toast, water or flat lemonade."
"As, you're not a nurse and stop babying me."
"I'm not babying you. I'm looking out for my favourite big brother."
"I'm your only big brother."
"That's why you're my favourite!"
Darcy chuckled. He couldn't help himself. "I'm only older by forty-five minutes."
"Forty-five minutes is still forty-five minutes. I was really worried about you, I still am. I don't want anything to happen to you."
"I'm gonna be fine!"
"You keep saying that and you keep getting sick," she told him anxiously.
"Just go do your work and make sure you have something to eat," he reminded her.
"I'll be back to check on you later," Astra promised, hugging him and left the room.
"Bye, John and Carson," Astra said, when she walked past them. She headed to the mess hall with Ronon for something to eat.
"Only toast and water," Carson reminded John.
"It's not much of a breakfast," John protested.
"It's not good for him if he has any dairy or citrus right now. Eating those may make Darcy even sicker," Carson explained.
"Ok, I'll just give him toast before I go."
"I'll run more tests and see if I can pick up anything I may have missed," Carson said.
"Carson you are the best doctor in two galaxies. Darcy and I are very confident you will find out what's wrong with him and cure him."
"Thank ye', Major," Carson said, pleased.
After Carson left, John went to Darcy's kitchen and found some bread. He put the two slices in the toaster and found a glass, filling it with water. He looked in the cupboards while the toast cooked and found a large jug and filled it with water. Once the toast was cooked he added two more slices. He took in the jug of water and the glass to Darcy, who had fallen asleep. The Major placed them on a small table next to Darcy's bed, then headed back into the kitchen. By the time he had done that, the other two pieces of toast were already cooked. He got out a plate and placed all the toast on it. John then walked back into Darcy's bedroom and offered the toast to him. John gently shook the Captain awake.
"I've got to get back to work and I'll come by in a few hours," John told him. "I'll cook some toast then after I see how you go with this lot. No getting out of bed and drink plenty of water."
"Thanks for last night and this morning," Darcy said, turning his head away from John's face, so he wasn't looking at the Major when his face began to blush.
"I don't mind," John said, ducking his head. "Rest up and I'll see you later."
The next few days were a repeat for Darcy. Whenever he thought he'd be well enough to do some work, he'd be physically sick. By the afternoon he'd be well enough again. Carson still hadn't found out what was wrong with the young Captain and had devoted every waking hour to figure out what was happening to him.
Carson was running more tests again on Darcy's blood when something occurred to him, a light bulb moment. It was an outrageous thought and not really possible, but out here in the Pegasus Galaxy, it wouldn't be so outrageous and could be very possible.
"Light, fertility, life force," Carson mumbled, repeating the words Astra had mention earlier in the week. "Oh dear," he said.
The Scotsman ran some new tests looking for details of his new theory. After he found what he was looking for, he raced off to Darcy's apartment. When he arrived there, he collided with Astra. The door opened and they saw Darcy and John sitting down on the couch playing scrabble. The two men were concentrating and never noticed the two scientists standing in the doorway.
"I found…" Carson and Astra said at the same time.
Darcy and John glanced up, pausing their game.
"What the device," the two scientists continued at the same time.
"You go first," Carson offered.
"Come in and shut the door," Darcy told them.
Carson and Astra went and sat on the other lounge.
"So, I take it you've finished translating the Ancient text?" Darcy asked her.
"Yes, and you're not going to like it," she replied seriously.
"Aye, and my tests can confirm that."
"All right, tell me what you've deciphered," Darcy said.
"I was on the main land with Teyla the other day looking at some of the babies that had been born recently. Something occurred to me and when I got back, I went over my notes again and I remember what the machine looked like," Astra started to say, then took a deep breath.
"It's a baby making machine. During the war with the Wraith, one of the Ancient's went to Kishi and conducted experiments on the local people who lived there."
"The Kishin's population was dwindling due to the cullings. A scientist named Gabriel Sullivan made a machine; a machine where he could create babies in a short span with anyone," she concluded.
"My tests confirm that you're having a baby, Darcy and that Major Sheppard is the other biological parent," Carson confirmed.
Darcy and John stared at Carson and Astra in stunned silence. Neither knew what to say and didn't even challenge them.
"The tubes with blood in them, that was a like a mini transportable laboratory," Darcy finally said, still in shook by the news his sister and Carson had revealed to him. He couldn't look at Sheppard and avoided the Major's eyes.
"That device is a baby making machine and Darcy is having my baby?" John stated. He was shocked and trying to digest the news his friends had just given him.
"Yes," Astra and Carson confirmed.
"Here're my results," Carson handed them over to the two men.
Darcy accepted them with shaking hands. John place his hand gently over Darcy's to steady them.
"I can't read them if they're moving," John said, quietly not removing his hand.
Carson explained the results to them.
"Well, that will explain my weird cravings," Darcy said, pointing to the gherkins, pickled onions in a small bowl on the coffee table.
"Aye, it could and all the morning sickness you've had and any dizzy spells," Carson mused.
"Did you find out more, Astra?" John queried. "Did any survive?"
"Most of the babies that women carried survived, along with the mother. Sometimes the mother died and the baby survived or the mother survived and the baby died. It was a mixed result."
"What of the males who had babies?" Darcy inquired.
"None of them survived," Astra answered.
Darcy got up and headed to his bedroom. He turned around before he entered his room. "I need some time to think," he told them.
"We need to talk about your condition, lad. Maybe you should have an abortion to save yourself?" Carson suggested.
"My pregnancy?" Darcy asked. "We don't need to talk about my baby and no I am not having an abortion, Carson. I'm keeping it. It's a life form and I can't exterminate it. No, not ever. It's not the baby's fault how it was created," he pointed out shaking his head. "No, I'm keeping the baby and going through with it."
"Lad ye' need to think about what you're saying! You could die!" Carson said.
"My adopted mum raised six kids before adopting Astra and me. I'm sure if she can do it, so can I! I know I can raise one child. I don't care what anyone else thinks, Carson. This is my choice and I've made up my mind. You are the best doctor in two galaxies and I know you'll think of something. I have every confidence in you, Carson."
With that, Darcy entered his room and slammed his door shut. The Captain then threw himself on the bed and looked up at the ceiling with his hands behind his head. A single tear slide down his cheek. He kicked off his boots and let them fall to the ground with a thud.
"Astra, you need to speak with your brother!" Carson exclaimed. "Warn him of the dangers!"
"I can't do that, Carson. Darcy knows and understands the risks involved. He is right that it is a life force and who cares where it comes from? Having the baby is Darcy and John's choice. Darcy has clearly made up his mind already. We should support Darcy as family and friends, not chastise or isolate him or treat him as some sort of freak," Astra commented.
"I know, lass. I just fear for his safety. He can be so headstrong at times."
"Are you okay, John?" Astra inquired, reaching out and squeezing the Major's hand in friendship and comfort.
"No, not really. I agree with Darcy and want to keep the baby. We all have faith in your, Carson. Can't he have the baby by caesarean?"
"I don't know, John. I'm going to have to do some research," Carson replied.
"Well you'll have five months," Astra informed him.
"Five months? Why five months?" John questioned.
"It's how long Darcy will have to carry the babe. From what I understand, the Kishin's were Ancients who had gone there to practice religion and to achieve ascension; away from Atlantis. They built the temples in honour of their Sun God and Fertility Goddess," Astra explained.
"They were an off shoot of Ancients from Atlantis?" John questioned, surprised.
"Yes, the device was built for Ancients, not humans. Though, Gabriel had plans for humans later on."
"What happened?" Carson inquired.
"He got caught by the Council. He was another renegade like Janus. He was ordered to stop the experiments and bury the machine," she finished.
"We know what's wrong and how to prepare," John said calmly.
"You are taking this rather well," Carson commented to John.
"No, not really. I'm in shock, don't you worry about that. I've just been informed that I'm going to be a father and Darcy is carrying our baby because of a rouge scientists conducting experiments."
"Go talk to him," Astra encouraged. "He will need you, John. Darcy will need all of us and we'll be here for you both."
John got up and went to Darcy's bedroom while Carson and Astra quietly let themselves out. John knocked on Darcy's door.
"Go away!" Darcy shouted, he'd been crying.
"It's me, John. May I come in?"
Darcy hesitated. "Yes, you can come in," he granted.
John entered the room and saw Darcy lying on his bed with his back to him.
"I'm really sorry about this whole mess," John apologised.
Darcy sat up slowly and wiped his tears away with the back of his hand. He patted the space next to him.
"It's not your fault and I'm not blaming anyone here except for Gabriel."
John sat down next to Darcy. "I'll be here for you and the baby. I told Carson that I wanted to keep the baby too."
"This goes against the rules and regulations," Darcy said sniffling.
"I know," John replied. "It's different out here in the Pegasus Galaxy."
"What about when we have contact with Earth again? Our superiors won't have the same understanding," Darcy reminded John.
"Elizabeth won't let anything happen. What about your dad?"
"Crap, we're going to have to tell Elizabeth," Darcy said. "I dunno how my dad will react, even though we have a pretty good friendship," he said honestly.
"Elizabeth will be easier to tell then the others. Want to tell her now?"
"True. Tomorrow would be better, first thing in the morning before we tell anyone else. I think Radek, Rodney, Ronon, Teyla should know and possibly Bates, as he is head of security. Carson will be there of course. Maybe, have a meeting tomorrow and tell them all together. It will just save repeating the same story over and over again. Later in the pregnancy we can tell the general population of Atlantis," the younger man agreed. "What else did Astra have to say after I left?"
"Are you sure you want to tell the rest of the population? She said that we have five months too prepare before the baby is due. She also mentioned that the device was made by an Ancient for Ancients. The Kishin's were Ancients who practiced religion in peace and harmony. They tried to achieve ascension. Gabriel was trying to help them when the cullings took half the population. Except he was doing so against the wishes of the Council and doing them in secret," John answered.
"Well, I am half Ancient and you must have more Ancient in you then we know," Darcy said. "I think you'll find many people would be more accepting then we give them credit for. We'll just have to deal with those who aren't as accepting."
"Fair enough and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," John said. "I don't know about the Ancient part, but I would never have known if I hadn't of sat in that bloody chair."
"I'm glad you did," Darcy said, turning his head away when he felt his face turn red.
"I'm gonna be here for you and the baby. I promise I won't run away from responsibility. We are going to have to come up with names."
Darcy laughed. "What is it with you and names?"
"Every child needs a name!"
"I know that, but what about Wraith?" Darcy teased.
"Well, they don't tell you their names. So, of course I had to give them one. Want some ice cream and chocolate?" John offered.
"Have you got any?"
"I was going to raid your fridge," John replied, getting up to go into the kitchen.
Darcy shook his head and chuckled. It wasn't long before John came back carrying two bowls filled with ice cream and chocolate. Darcy was still reeling from the information Astra and Carson had given him about his pregnancy. It was something that he would never had dreamed of in a million years. Five months of pregnancy was not normal and he wasn't ready for it or looking forward to it. He knew Carson would eventually put him on bed rest for the remainder of his pregnancy. Darcy had no idea what sort of name to use for their child and he didn't really want to know what sex it was, that was left up the Gods. There was also a matter of how many rules and regulations they were breaking, but the young Captain couldn't extinguish the baby's life. It went against everything he believed it. It deserved to live, as much as everyone else did in this galaxy or any galaxy.
"Penny for your thoughts," John said, when he handed Darcy his bowl of ice cream.
"Huh? You've been listening to Astra's little sayings a bit too much," Darcy said, accepting the bowl. "Thank you."
"I've heard them often enough to pick up on them," the Major replied, shrugging his shoulders. He sat back down next to Darcy.
Darcy was surprised to see that John had grated the chocolate and sprinkled it over the caramel topping.
"What's troubling you?" John asked.
"I was thinking how weird this all is and it shouldn't be happening to me. What will my father think and how will we explain this to him; the SGC, any politicians involved and the IOA." He mixing his ice cream enough to make it almost like yoghurt.
"Pretty heavy group," John said, mixing his ice cram together like Darcy had done. "I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. We still have to make contact with Earth again."
"They won't leave us out here. They will benefit from Atlantis, as much as we do. The IOA wants control and the Air Force will want any weapons we've found."
"You have that much faith in them?"
"Yes, I do. If they can find a way to help us, they will; no matter what it takes."
"Yet, you still came, knowing the risk of never seeing your dad again?"
"It was worth the risk and I haven't regretted it. I signed up immediately when I heard about it. I knew what I was getting into from the moment I singed on the dotted line. Our dad encouraged us to go, he said we'd only drive him crazy if we didn't go."
"Well, being half Ancient I don't blame you for wanting to come here."
Darcy shrugged his shoulders. "I couldn't really care about that too be honest. I know who my real father is and we have a good friendship, as I've mentioned before. I still keep in contact with the Owens who raised us back in Australia. I was curious and love adventure."
"Did you leave anyone behind?"
"Ex-wife, my dad and brother," John replied, though he was very reluctant.
John wasn't keen on talking about his private life with anyone and wanted to leave them in the past. Except Darcy was the man whom John had fallen for when they first met at the Antarctic Outpost and carrying his child. Not only that, Darcy had confided in him about his family. They young Captain looked completely human. You would never know have known that he was half alien.
"You were married?" Darcy queried stunned.
His heart sinking at the thought that John would and could never love him if he was into women. He felt his heart breaking all over again and his ice cream became very fascinating.
"It didn't last long and I was always away with the Air Force," John confessed.
'I always believed that Nancy knew I was gay, but she thought…' John mused.
"Sorry to hear that. Are you close with your brother?"
"Close to Dave? No. We pretty much had our lives planned out for us by the time we turned sixteen and he is older then me by four years. What schools and what colleagues we went to, that kind of stuff. My dad had it all planned."
"Oh, aren't we big noting ourselves now," Darcy teased. "I shouldn't say too much, our foster parents were the same. Once we graduated high school we were told to join the Air Force and we didn't have a choice."
"What about Astra? She's a civilian."
"Astra told Lachlan she was going to be a civilian archaeologist and linguist. She wasn't going to the join the Air Force," Darcy replied.
"They got into a huge fight and he kicked her out. So, she went to Oxford University for which she'd already applied to go before she finished school. Astra pretty much took with her what she could carry in one suitcase and her backpack. She completed her degree at Oxford and married some total dick before the SGC contacted her."
"Sounds like me and my dad. Except I went and joined the Air Force because I love to fly and have always wanted to be a pilot. What happened between her and husband?"
"That's her story to tell you, not mine and she'd kill me if I told you. She was trying to get a divorce when she started to work for the SGC, but the idiot hasn't signed the divorce papers yet. So, she's technically still married to him."
"She has O'Neill as her last name, like you do," John said, confused.
"We both changed our names a few years ago after we learned about General O'Neill being our natural father. It just seemed the right thing to do."
"Well, it does make sense and a good way to hide from someone if you're trying to hide," John commented.
Darcy yawned. "I guess I'm going to have to ask Carson what sort of diet I have to go on now."
"I'll take you off duty and you can go on light duty. I don't want anything to happen to you and the baby. Also, Carson would stab me with those big needles of his."
Darcy laughed. "I don't think he would cause you physical harm, John. I think he would threaten you maybe, but never do actual harm."
"I'm not taking any chances," John said firmly.
"What do you feel like eating? I feel like original Pringles and sour cream."
"That is just gross, Darcy. You are going to use the baby as an excuse to eat that, aren't you?"
"Of course I am."
John sighed and shook his head. "I'll cook some fresh vegetables and some chops."
"Don't burn the meat on me. I'm going to go and put a movie on in the living room," Darcy said, he got up, with help from John.
"You all right?" John queried.
"I'm fine. I'm not an invalid or freak."
"Who said you were either?"
"I don't want the rest of the population knowing I'm pregnant via a baby machine and thinking I'm some sort of freak or circus entertainment," Darcy grumbled, when he sat in the lounge chair and put a movie on.
John sighed. "I think you'll find most of the population are supportive and sensible. I'll go start dinner."
Darcy laid out on the couch watching Top Gear while John cooked their dinner.
"Do you need my help?" Darcy yelled. I don't want anything burnt." He smirked.
"I don't need your help and I won't burn anything. I'm nearly finished," John shouted back.
It wasn't long before John came out with their meal and some drinks on a tray. He first carried Darcy's out and handed it to the young Captain. The Major then went and grabbed his own meal.
"What's this show?" John inquired, when they were settled.
"Top Gear; a car show from England. Three guys buy a car within a certain budget limit. Then they go on these trips around the UK or the world and have to complete these tasks things. Who ever gets there first, wins. They also have celebrities on their show, doing a lap on their course and seeing who the fastest celebrity is amongst the contestants. It was either this or Myth Busters."
"I love Myth Busters!"
"Of course you would," Darcy teased. "We can watch that next if you like?"
I like it when they blow things up."
"They don't blow everything up," Darcy commented on his chop. "You're not a bad cook and you didn't burn or over cook anything."
"Gee, thanks. I'll take that as a compliment."
"It was a compliment," Darcy said, giving John a funny look.
"Have you thought of any names yet?" John asked.
"No, not really. I'm still trying to accept that I'm going to be… A what? Am I the mum or the dad? What does that make you?"
John stopped chewing and swallowed his mouthful. "You're not the mom and neither am I."
"How are we going to explain it to the baby when they're old enough?"
"Telling them the truth; that they were made by an Ancient device built by a scientist called Gabriel Sullivan."
"Good,'cause I don't want to lie," Darcy approved.
John nodded. "Me neither," he agreed. "You can be called dad, daddy or dadda and I'll just pick one of the other ones," he suggested.
"I'll pick daddy," Darcy decided.
"I'll pick dad," John said.
"Have you thought of any names?" Darcy queried him.
"Lunetta, Marisa, Minette, Minerva, Miranda, Natalie, Nenet, Neoma, Nerine, Nora, Eleanor, Penelope, Rose, Ruby, Phoenix, Rani, Ranita, Rhiannon, Sarah, Sabrina… Then we have to think of a boy's name," John replied.
"A what? How do you know so many girl's names?"
"We need at least one boy's name and one girl's name. I'm just fascinated by names," John replied, with a shrug of his shoulders.
"Ranita Rose," Darcy said.
"Ranita Rose if we have a girl. I like those names. What about boy's names? Have you got a list of boy's name?"
"Roland, Rohan, Rory, Rhett, Sean, Sebastian, Simon, Steffan, Stephen, Tyronne, Jasper, Jethro, Jonus, Jay, Jacob, Joshua, Brody… Do I need to keep going?"
"Jasper Jay," Darcy decided.
"Okay; Ranita Rose for a girl and Jasper Jay for a boy," John agreed.
"Ranita Rose O'Neill-Sheppard or Jasper Jay O'Neill-Sheppard," Darcy corrected.
"That sounds perfectly find with me. After this I have to go, it's later then I realised. So, I won't get to watch Myth Busters with you," John said, glancing down at his watch.
"How about tomorrow night?" Darcy suggested.
"Tomorrow night is Saturday night and that is team night. How about Sunday night?"
"Sure, that sounds fine. I'll cook this time."
John glanced at him with concern. "Are you sure you want to cook?"
"I'm not an invalid and I really want to do some stuff before Carson decided to put me on bed rest."
"I'll bring desert," John offered.
"From your fridge or mine?" Darcy asked, his lips twitching.
"From mine," John promised.
"Vanilla ice cream with caramel topping and grated chocolate on top with a bit of cream please?" Darcy ordered.
"I'll see what I can do," John answered.
John cleaned up for Darcy and allowed him to wipe the dishes, it got the job done quicker. John also didn't want to leave a mess for Darcy to clean up.
"Thanks for today, John" Darcy thanked, neither of them had mentioned the shower incident and had danced around it or avoided it all together.
"It's okay. I meant what I said about being supportive."
"I know you will. I trust and believe in you."
John nodded his head. "We'll have to start organising baby stuff! Baby blankets, cots, chair, prams and clothes!"
"We can always trade with the Athosian's and go to that planet with the really huge market on it. Don't rush all at once, we'll get the stuff when we can and our friends will help us. I know Astra definitely will."
"You know Astra will spoil the baby, right?" John said.
"It's what aunties are for. I always thought I'd be the one to spoil Astra's kids."
"When Astra and Ronon have kids, you can spoil them," John said, with a big grin. "Goodnight, Darcy."
Once John had left, Darcy changed into his pyjamas and went straight to bed, feeling very tired. When his head hit the pillow, it didn't take him long to fall asleep.
The next morning, Darcy headed to the mess hall for breakfast before the meeting. Every morning he would meet with Astra if they weren't off world or on the mainland. Darcy felt he might be able to hold down some food for a change and he was going crazy being cooped up in his own apartment.
The Captain grinned when he saw his sister sitting in their usual spot on the balcony. Darcy joined her after grabbing some porridge, fruit, and mango yoghurt. He had a large bottle of orange juice and a large bottle of chocolate milk. He walked over and placed his tray on the opposite side of Astra. They sat out on the balcony enjoying the fresh air and the opportunity to catch up.
"Morning, sis," Darcy greeted, pouring milk over his porridge and adding some sugar, then his fruit. He shook his juice before opening it and having a drink.
"Morning, Dar," Astra replied. Astra had pancakes with fruit, toast, strawberry milk and passionfruit juice.
"How are you feeling?" She asked in Celtic.
"Not too bad, I'm going to see if I can hold this down. I'm sick of dry toast for breakfast. I never want to see or eat dried toast ever again," Darcy replied in the same language.
"You are looking better," Astra commented.
"We will see, as it doesn't last long," Darcy said, doubtfully. "I was going crazy in my own quarters."
"I'd imagine you would, Dar."
Darcy glanced up when Ronon joined them and sat next to Astra. The Captain smiled when he observed the Satedan's tray piled high with food. He was surprised when John silently sat down next to him with Rodney on the other side. Teyla sat next to Astra who was now in between her friend and her lover.
"The machine was made by a Gabriel Sullivan an Ancient who was helping the Kishi people. The Kishin's were a small branch of Ancient's who practiced religion in peace and harmony. Gabriel was doing it in secret and against the Council's wishes. The Kishin's had gone to Atlantis for help after half their population was culled by the Wraith," Darcy informed Rodney and Teyla.
"The planet wasn't always desert with a single forest and ruin," Astra added. "The whole planet was once covered in jungle with pockets filled with temples. After the Council found out, they stopped Gabriel by destroying any of his research here on Atlantis," the archaeologist continued.
"I told you it was done in secret," John said smugly to Rodney.
"So, now what?" Rodney asked.
"We are keeping the baby," John replied.
"I was telling them that Ronon was a good name," Ronon said.
"We already have names," John reminded his friend.
"What are they?" Teyla inquired.
"Ranita Rose O'Neill-Sheppard for a girl and Jasper Jay O'Neill-Sheppard for a boy," Darcy answered.
"Beautiful names," Astra approved. "You know I'm going to spoil them rotten? Fill them up on sugar and junk food, then send them home to you," she planned.
"Both? We are only having one!" John said, nervously.
"Twins run in our family, at least on our dad's side. Our dad had a twin brother and their dad had a twin sister," Astra explained. "We don't know anything about our mum's side of the family."
"Great, that means we have to think of a another boy and girl's name," John said to Darcy.
"If you have a boy and a girl, you can call them Ranita and Jasper," Ronon advised.
"That's a good idea," Darcy approved. "Would save a lot of hassle."
"All you have to do is move in together," Rodney said.
"Mmm, maybe not," Darcy disagreed.
"You are both the parents of the baby," Rodney argued.
"If you haven't noticed; we are both military and we are both male," John reminded Rodney, a bit too harshly. "I'm not exactly about to broadcast which side I bat for! That's personal information, McKay!"
"It's obvious that you're gay and who cares about those stupid rules!" McKay replied.
"How can you tell if Major Sheppard is gay? It takes one to know one. So, does that mean you're gay, McKay?" Astra teased, winking at John and Darcy.
"I am not gay!" Rodney protested. "It's just, some people are easy to pick as gay."
"Oh really and where did you hear that?" Darcy queried.
"Are we ready for the meeting?" Teyla interrupted, before they got into a huge fight over it.
"As ready as we will ever be," Darcy said, finishing off his breakfast and drinks.
They emptied their trays into the nearest waste bins and placed their trays on top for the kitchen staff to collect, making sure their table was clear before they left.
Sergeant Bates, Elizabeth, Radek and Carson were already waiting for them.
"Morning everyone," Elizabeth greeted with a smile.
"Good morning," everyone replied.
"I take it you have made some discoveries about this machine you recently brought back from Kishi?" Elizabeth asked more seriously.
"Yes," Darcy confirmed nodding his head.
"That's a very positive answer, Captain O'Neill. I hear you haven't been feeling well?" Elizabeth said.
"Well, that's what we wanted to talk to you about," Darcy told her.
"You aren't dying are you?" Elizabeth asked, in a concerned tone.
"No! No, I'm not dying," he reassured her.
"Good, I'm glad to hear that," Elizabeth said relieved.
"We found out what the machine does," John said sharing a glance with Darcy who nodded his head in encouragement.
"What does it do, sir?" Sergeant Bates inquired.
"It's a reproductive machine," John answered.
"Pardon?" Elizabeth said confused.
"It's a baby making machine," Rodney answered. "Captain O'Neill is pregnant with Major Sheppard's baby," he said, pointing at the two military men he mentioned.
"What? I don't understand?" Elizabeth said, still baffled.
"There was a rogue scientist called Gabriel Sullivan, who was helping the Kishin people during the height of Wraith War," Astra explained. "Half their population was wiped out during a culling and that's when they went to Atlantis for help. Gabriel offered his services and came up with that machine. The Council discovered what he was doing and destroyed his work here on Atlantis and forbade him for helping them," she continued.
"So, it needed two people with the Ancient Gene to work?" Elizabeth said.
Astra and McKay nodded.
"Is that also the reason why the machine had those test tubes in it, to collect the person's blood?" Elizabeth queried. "Did it matter if the person was male or female?"
"No, but the baby's survival seemed better with females then males. There was a lot of mixed results in who survived and who didn't. When I read more of the script, it said that the babies ones born to males didn't survive and neither did the male parent," Astra informed Elizabeth. "There was a great risk whenever one of the men tried the machine, no matter how many times they used it."
"It sounded like they were desperate people to use both sexes in the experiment. I could not imagine losing half of my family in such a terrible way," Elizabeth commented. "Are you both keeping the baby?"
"Yes," John and Darcy said together.
"Then you know that you will have to go on light duty and are aware of the risks of having the baby?" Elizabeth asked.
"Yes, I'm well aware of the dangers of carrying the baby to full term. It's a life and I can't imagine exterminating the life form because of its origins," Darcy explained to Elizabeth.
"I understand and would feel the same way, Captain O'Neill," Elizabeth assured him. "How long until the baby is due?"
"Five months and I've already taken Captain O'Neill off duty," John answered. "We have five months and we already have names."
"You have names already?" Sergeant Bates said surprised. He was still digesting the information that had just been revealed to him. "So, you're seriously going through this, no matter what the dangers are? Captain O'Neill could lose his life and you are prepared to have this baby?"
"Yes. Is that going to be a problem with you, Sergeant Bates?" Darcy queried.
"Good, it isn't your decision, but mine. I've made up my mind and I'm not changing it, even though I am aware of what could happen," Darcy said.
"Well, this isn't what I expected when I came into this meeting. Now that we know what it does, we have a lot of planning to do," Elizabeth said.
"I have offered my assistance and that of my people," Teyla added. "My people would be more then willing to help Major Sheppard and Captain O'Neill."
"My people would be happy to help as well," Ronon confirmed, nodding his head.
"Good," Elizabeth approved.
"You don't even have to ask me about my support, I'm here to help where and when I can," Astra told them.
"What about the rest of the Expedition?" Sergeant Bates questioned.
"We've decided to wait a few more months before telling the broader population," John answered. "We just want to keep things quiet for a few more months, if we can."
"I don't think this is a good idea," Sergeant Bates started to say.
"Well, it isn't up to you, is it?" John remarked.
"If Colonel Sumner was here," Sergeant Bates finally said.
"Well, he's not. I am. You were told out of courtesy for being head of base security," John rebuked.
"Major, Sergeant," Elizabeth warned. "What's been done is done and the decisions have been made. Make your plans and arrangements, then come back to me and we'll see if we can get things done."
"Has anyone noticed that both Major Sheppard and Captain O'Neill are male and military? We can't keep this stuff hidden from Stargate Command," Sergeant Bates argued.
"I thought you didn't have a problem with this, Sergeant?" Darcy said angrily. "We are both well aware of what sex we are and of the rules and regulations," he continued. "Could you live with the fact that you exterminated a human being?"
"I don't think that's relevant," Sergeant Bates replied.
"Then what is? Apart from we're two grown men that happened to activate technology that can make people pregnant?" John said, looking directly at Sergeant Bates.
Sergeant Bates shifted in his seat. "I'm just pointing out the facts."
"We know all about the facts, Sergeant Bates, but thank you for pointing them out to us," Darcy said sarcastically. "Do we need to talk about anything else?"
"I'm just saying, you're an alien who has been affected by alien machine and should be held under security," Sergeant Bates said coolly.
"I'm half alien, thank you. I'm no different then Ronon and Teyla," Darcy snarled. "I don't see why I should be under lock and key?"
"I'm not saying you should be under lock and key. You have powers that we don't fully understand yet and with the combination of Major Sheppard's ATA Gene, we don't know what this baby is going to be like," Sergeant Bates argued.
"So, you don't like me being half alien, male and having a baby. Here I was just thinking that you were homophobic! Stiff, Sergeant Bates. It's going to happen whether you like it or not!" Darcy said furiously, storming out of the Briefing Room with his head held high.
He was surprised when no one came after him and he heard yelling in the background. The young Captain ignored them and went straight to the lab where he continued to work on some projects that he had put on hold due to other commitments.
"Sergeant Bates, I think you should leave," John suggested.
"I said, you're dismissed!"
"Yes, sir," Sergeant Bates said, he saluted and then left.
"John, I think that was harsh," Elizabeth said, softly.
"I don't think it was," Astra interrupted. "He was accusing my brother of not being loyal. What does he have to prove, that he is loyal and wouldn't do anything to harm anyone here? He accused us of being alien spies and that we should not be trusted!" She said in fury.
"I don't think he meant that at all," Elizabeth tried to sooth the archaeologist.
"It is a well known fact that Sergeant Bates doesn't trust anyone who is alien or part alien! What about when Major Sheppard activated that necklace of Teyla's? He accused her and the Athosians that they were spies because they were not from Earth," Astra argued. "He's not a fan of Ronon either who is from Sateda and not from Earth. It's not exactly me and my brother's fault that we are part alien and we didn't know until several years ago," she pointed out.
"Sergeant Bates says things and doesn't mean them," Elizabeth said, trying to calm the archaeologist down.
"If he didn't mean to say them, then why say them?" Astra challenged. "He does it a lot and we've only tolerated it because you picked him as base security. He was like that at the SGC as well, distrustful of anyone who wasn't fully human and from Earth."
"As you've pointed out, you and your brother have proved who's side you're on who you will help and defend," Elizabeth said, gently. "Just ignore what Sergeant Bates says or if it upsets you, come and see me and I will speak with him."
"Okay, I don't like the way he treats us, even though he knows who we are. It annoys me and he's lucky that he's still standing in one piece," Astra informed Elizabeth.
"We're still able to go to Sateda?" Ronon asked, ignoring Astra's dirty look. He'd been looking forward to visiting his family for a Dex family reunion and a hot Sunday lunch cooked by his mother.
"Yes, of course," Elizabeth agreed. "Give my regards to Prime Minister Cullen. Have fun meeting Ronon's family, Astra."
"Thank you," Astra replied.
"I will see you back here sometime tonight. Have fun and be careful," Elizabeth told them with a smile.
"I need to go check on Darcy before we go," Astra said to Ronon.
"I'm sure he'll be fine and can take care of himself, As," Ronon murmured.
"I know, but I want to go see him anyway," she insisted.
"Okay," Ronon agreed.
"Everyone dismissed," Elizabeth said, then left and went back to her office.
"I'll meet you in the Jumper," Ronon told her, gently kissing her forehead before leaving.
Astra quickly hurried down to the labs to find her brother. When she got there, she found him sulking over his laptop and playing games. He was munching on some gherkins again, ignoring some of his colleagues. She walked over to him.
"Hey," she said softly.
"Hey," he replied. "Watcha' doing? Aren't you supposed to be getting ready to go to Sateda with Ronon and the others?"
"Just came to say goodbye to you and see if you were okay?"
"I'll be fine and go enjoy yourself on Sateda. Good luck," Darcy said, hugging her.
"Thanks," Astra replied.
Astra hurried back to the Jumper Bay to meet the others. Ronon was already there and it wasn't long before Teyla, Rodney, and John joined them. It wasn't long before they were all safe and secure in the Jumper, and leaving Atlantis for Sateda.
Astra waited out front of Ronon's family home. She was nervous, as she held his hand on the front step. Her hair was tied neatly into a single braid, as she absently tucked stray strands behind her ear. They ignored people walking past the house starring at them. The archaeologist had a closer look at Ronon's old home.
It was a large two story house with a verandah out the front, complete with an old wooden rocking chair. A table was next to the chair, and both were hand made. The house looked clean and tidy. The windows were large and square with heavy dark curtains hanging in them.
The scientist jumped when the front door banged open and a tall woman with long brown hair, sprinkled with gray strands threw her arms around Ronon. She had browns eyes and broad shoulders like Ronon. The lady wore an elegant long lavender dress that reached down to her ankles. She had on a pair of black shoes with a slight heel. Her hair was pinned neatly into a bun.
"Ronon it is good to see you! You need to come home more often!"
"It's all right, mum. I'm here now. I've brought someone home to meet you. Mum, this is Doctor Astra O'Neill. Astra, this is my mother, Hedwygg Dex," Ronon introduced.
"Welcome, my dear to the Dex house," Hedwygg welcomed, embracing a stunned Astra.
Astra returned the hug from Mrs. Dex. "Thank you for inviting me and I am honoured."
"It is we who are honoured. I was delighted to hear that Ronon had met one of the Atlantean's and one who is of the Ancestors. It is we who are blessed by your visit. Now let me look at you," Hedwygg said, looking at Astra.
"Ronon, how much did you tell your mum about me?" Astra asked, while Hedwygg observed her.
"I couldn't help it, mum forced it out of me," Ronon said.
Hedwygg chuckled and winked at Astra. "I did no such thing, Astra."
Astra snorted. "I don't believe you, Leannan. I'm sure your mother held you down and twisted your arm!" She teased.
"She did!" Ronon said, a grin of his own spreading across his lips.
"You are as beautiful as Ronon described. You have eyes like emeralds and hair the colour of corn. Your skin is like porcelain," Hedwygg commented. "I can see why my son would fall for such beauty! Ronon says you have a twin brother? Where is he and does he look like you?"
"My brother, Darcy, is at home on Atlantis. He has short blond curly hair and green eyes like me. Except his skin is tanned from spending lots of time out in the sun," Astra answered. "Our military don't encourage long hair."
"Mum!" Ronon scolded embarrassed.
"It's alright, Leannan," Astra said with great affection, squeezing his hand again.
"When your brothers and sisters heard you were coming for lunch, they insisted on coming and bringing their families with them. I hope you don't mind, Astra?" Hedwygg asked.
"No, it's alright, Mrs. Dex. I'll get to meet everybody all at once!" She replied with a warm smile.
"How do you feel about children?" Hedwygg inquired.
"I love children. I grew up in a large family and they all have children of their own now."
Hedwygg smile grew wider. "I'm liking her even more, Ronon! Come inside out of the cool breeze."
Inside Hedwygg's house, Astra could smell food that had been recently cooked. She didn't recognise any of the scents, but the archaeologist was positive that it was a roast that tickled her nose. The young woman could feel warmth from either a fire or a heater coming from somewhere.
Hedwygg directed Astra and Ronon to the living room.
"Your house is beautiful, Hedwygg," Astra complimented.
As soon as Astra entered the living room, she found herself tackled and flat on her back on the floor, looking up at the ceiling with the wind knocked out of her.
"I got her!" A small child called out, smugly.
The child looked down at her with a toothy grin. He had short brown curly hair with bright blue eyes that sparkled like the sea. He had fair skin that was lightly tanned. His accomplice held onto her legs so she couldn't move. Astra let out a hearty laugh and the two children giggled. It didn't bother her at all because she loved to play with children whenever she got a chance.
"Okay, you got me and what was my crime?" Astra asked, playing along.
"Um, not bringing any presents!"
Astra laughed even harder, ignoring the shocked exclamations from the boy's family.
"What makes you think I brought you gifts?" She challenged, her eyes dancing with mischief.
"It's the rules," the boy insisted.
"Who can argue with that logic," Astra said, highly amused.
"Arlene and Jerome!" A woman shouted angrily.
"Come here you two," Ronon said with a grin, picking up the two boys, one in each hand. Then carefully placed them on the floor, standing them upright. "Leave her alone," he warned them with great affection, ruffling their hair.
"I am sorry," A lady with long black hair apologised.
"It's alright. I grew up in a large family, filled of boys and had to learn to fend for myself against them," Astra reassured the woman.
"Astra, this is Shera, my eldest sister. Shera, this is Dr. Astra O'Neill," Ronon introduced.
"You're the woman from Atlantis. Ronon speaks of you all the time when he comes home to visit," Shera said, smiling.
"Yes, that's me," Astra confirmed.
"Where is Atlantis?" One of the boys asked, standing close to Shera.
"Hush, Jerome," Shera scolded.
"Atlantis is very far away," Astra replied, kneeling down in front of Jerome. "We came here by a ship."
"Can we have a ride in your ship?" Arlene asked, who was standing on the other side of his mother.
"I didn't fly the ship, my friend did. He's an excellent pilot and one of the best I've ever seen. I'm not very good at flying them, you'd have to ask him," Astra answered. "Maybe next time my friend will take you for a ride when he isn't so busy."
"Okay," Arlene said disappointed.
Astra remembered the presents she'd brought for Ronon's nieces and nephews that she'd put in her bag. She swung her bag around and opened it. She handed Jerome and Arlene some coloured pencils and crayons.
"These are for you and your brother, but you must remember to share with each other and no fighting over them. They are used for drawing and colouring on paper only; not your mum's furniture or walls," Astra explained to them.
The two boys eyes light up. "Thank you! We promise to share," they promised.
"Can we use them now?" Jerome asked.
"How about after lunch?" Astra suggested. The boys nodded in agreement, clutching their gifts to them.
"Thank you," Shera said.
"You're welcome. I used to love drawing when I was kid, though I was never any good at it. It was because it was fun and something to," the archaeologist replied, smiling.
There was a knock at the door before someone entered the house.
"Hedwygg!" A man called, in a deep and gentle voice.
"In the living room, Ryder, we are about to have lunch," Hedwygg replied.
Astra saw a man enter the room, who was tall with long brown hair in dread lock, the same as Ronon. The Atlantean could see that Ronon resembled his father.
"Who do I have the pleasure in meeting?" Ryder asked, in a pleasant voice.
"Dad, this Dr. Astra O'Neill from Atlantis. Astra, this is my dad. He works in the local government, while my mum works at the local hospital, as a nurse," Ronon introduced.
"Are you a medical doctor, Dr. O'Neill?" Ryder queried.
"No, Mr. Dex. I am a scientist, who is into learning different languages, cultures and history," Astra answered.
"Let's go have lunch shall we?" Hedwygg suggested.
Hedwygg directed everyone into the dinning room, where there were two tables. One was for the adults and one for the children. Food had already been set out on the table in good china dishes and servers. The plates were white with blue flower decorations on the outside of them.
"Wow, the food smells wonderful, Mrs. Dex," Astra compliment. "I've missed having a home cooked meal like this!"
Thank you," Hedwygg beamed. "I hope you enjoy it. Ronon says you cannot cook?"
"Alas, sadly, no, I can't. My brother is the cook in our family. He is brilliant in the kitchen," she admitted. "Ronon cooks better then me."
The archaeologist soon relaxed within the company of Ronon and his very loud and boisterous family. She laughed and smiled, feeling the love from the Dex family for each other. She could only wonder at how the tight knit family remained so close together with the threat of the Wraith always forever in their minds.
In the three months her and Ronon had been dating, she had not had a chance to meet his family. When Hedwygg had sent her an official invitation for a hot lunch, she'd jumped at the chance. Ronon often spoke of them with pride and love evident in his voice.
A few hours later, they were all sitting around the living room talking and enjoying each others company. The children were out the back playing. A knock at the door alerted Ryder, who had been in the process of asking Astra about what sort of books she read and had collected. Ryder went to answer the door.
Ryder found to his surprise, a very tall man with short black hair that spiked in every direction, he had bright, hazel eyes and fair complexion. He was dressed in a similar outfit to Astra, except he wore black and carried weapons.
"Colonel Sheppard?" Ryder queried, hesitantly. Remembering the description from Ronon about his new friends from Atlantis. He spotted a woman next to the Colonel. "Teyla Emmagan from Athos and Dr. Rodney McKay?"
"Yes, that's us," John said. "You've heard of us?" He asked surprised.
"Yes, Ronon, my son has spoken of all of you, many times when he comes to visit," Ryder confirmed. "I have also heard of you at work and I have seen you around the Council building. I work there as a Council man for the lower house."
"I've seen you around as well and it didn't connect that you were Ronon's father. Nice to meet you," John said, with a grin, offering him his hand.
"It's a pleasure to officially meet you too," Ryder accepted, shaking John's hand. He offered his hand to Teyla and Rodney, both who accepted.
"Would you like to come in for a cup of tea?" Hedwygg queried, eager to meet Ronon's friends.
"No, thank you," John declined. "We have to be heading back, I'm afraid. Maybe next time."
"Thank you very much for a wonderful lunch, Mrs. Dex," Astra thanked, retrieving her bag from beside the couch she had been sitting on next to Ronon.
"You're welcome, Astra and please call me Hedwygg," Hedwygg granted. "You're always welcome here at anytime."
"Thank you," Astra said, shyly.
"Mum, I need to speak with you before we leave," Ronon asked, glancing at John.
"Go ahead, we'll wait for you," John assured him.
Ronon kissed Astra on her forehead and went with his mother to the nearest room, which was her sewing room.
Astra waited with the others on the veranda, when Arlene and Jerome came rushing out to her, throwing their arms around her legs.
"You were going to leave with out saying goodbye!" Arlene said, dropping his lower lip.
"I'm sorry, I forgot and got sidetracked," Astra apologised, hugging the two brothers. "I'll come back and visit again when I can."
Arlene's face perked up a little at that news. "Will you bring more pressies?" He inquired, hopefully.
"Only if you have been good," Astra replied, with a grin.
"What are you doing with these kids, Astra?" John asked, a grin of his own.
"Nothing," Astra answered, shifting her eyes away from the Major's. "I'm just getting to know them."
"Sounds more like bribery to me," John teased and laughed when he saw her face blush.
"Astra brought us presents. Did you bring any?" Jerome questioned John hopefully.
"Not this time, maybe next time," John replied.
"Are you the one that flew Uncle Ronon and Astra here in your ship?" Arlene asked.
"Yes, I am," John confirmed.
"Can we have a ride in it one day?" Jerome queried.
"I'd have to ask your parents and then arrange a time to take you for a ride, okay? I'm very busy, so I don't want to make any promises, alright?" John said, honestly.
"Okay," both boys agreed.
It wasn't long before Ronon came back and joined them. He said goodbye to his family and it wasn't long before they arrived at the Jumper that had been parked near the Stargate.
"We didn't come this way," Rodney said suddenly.
"Of course we came this way," John argued. "You notice which way we go?"
"Of course I do. Go to the nearest planet and see if we can contact Atlantis from there," Rodney ordered.
"Rodney is right. These planets do not look familiar," Teyla agreed.
"See!" Rodney said, smugly.
"I'm not lost!" John protested.
"Straight line according to Sheppard!" Rodney snarked.
"Damn straight!" John remarked.
John flew the Jumper to the planet. While John flew the Jumper it started shaking.
"What's that?" Ronon asked.
"Don't know," John replied, something flashed on screen in front of them.
"Whatever it is, it's messing with the Jumper," Rodney answered. He had a closer look at the screen. "It might be some sort of power source and it is coming from that direction over there about two thousand yards," he assumed, he pointed his finger in the direction he thought it was coming from.
"Over where, McKay? Just point your finger anywhere," John said. "Is it worth having a look?"
"Any energy source is worth checking out," Rodney answered.
The Jumper started shaking a lot more violently.
"Okay, I'm getting us out of here and I'm not sticking around," John said.
"Sounds good to me," Astra agreed, she'd remained quiet during Rodney and John's earlier exchange of words.
Suddenly the Jumper lost power and everything switched off.
"Looks like we're going in!" John warned them.
Astra held onto her seat. "People wonder why I hate flying!" She exclaimed, she looked down at her hands and could see they were turning white.
She could feel the fear and panic building within her. She tried to take deep breaths and hummed a lullaby in French to calm herself down. The archaeologist squeezed her eyes shut tight.
"Hang on everyone!" John told them.
"That's what I'm doing," Astra commented.
A few minutes later, though it felt like an eternity to Astra, Sheppard had somehow landed the Jumper without killing them all.
"Good landing, Sheppard," Ronon complimented.
"Thanks," John replied.
John turned and grinned when he saw that Astra still had her eyes shut and clutching her seat. John nodded in Astra's direction and Ronon turned to look, he smiled when he saw his archaeologist.
"You can open your eyes now, As," Ronon told her gently.
"You sure it's safe?" She asked, opening one eye to have a look.
"Of course it's safe, Sheppard landed the Jumper," Ronon replied, with a grin.
Astra opened her other eye. "Well, thank the Ancestors for that. I thought I was gonna die!"
"I landed the Jumper didn't I?" Sheppard protested.
"Here I was telling Arlene and Jerome you are one of the best pilots I'd ever seen," Astra told John, still a little shaky, as she left the Jumper.
"Really? You told those boys that?" John queried, smugly.
"Yeah, of course you're the best after Darcy. At least he can fly in a straight line and not crash Jumpers," she told him, and went and stood next to Teyla.
Ronon grinned at Sheppard.
"Oh, that's really funny, Doc. I'm sure your brother would find that amusing too!" John said, dryly.
"I'm sure he would!" She snarked back.
"We need to find out where that power source is coming from," Rodney interrupted them.
"Why?" Ronon inquired.
"Because if that power source can knock out Ancient Jumpers, imagine what it could do to the Wraith darts and Hive Ships!" Rodney said, impatiently.
Power source is good then?" Ronon asked.
"Yes, power source is good, falling out of the sky is bad," Rodney replied.
"It wasn't my fault we fell out of the sky and I'd like to save the Puddle Jumper," John agreed.
"I never said it was your fault. That's why we need to find where the energy reading is coming from. So, we can turn it off and park the Jumper at a safe distance, where we are still able to fly the Jumper home," Rodney explained.
"That is a good plan," Astra approved.
"I thought so as well," Rodney agreed smugly.
"Let's go find the power source," John said.
Rodney rummaged through his bag and found a compass.
"McKay, why did you bring a compass?" John asked his friend.
"Because I thought I might need it," Rodney replied.
"Every planet has a north," Astra commented.
Everyone turned to stare at her.
"What?" Ronon said, confused by her statement.
"That's what my friend told me," Astra answered.
"Astra is right, every planet has a north of their own," Teyla agreed.
"It doesn't explain why the compass is doing that!" Ronon commented, pointing at Rodney's compass.
Everyone glanced at Rodney's compass and observed the arrow going around in circles.
"It could be the electro magnetic field affecting the compass and the Jumper," Rodney concluded.
"Where is it coming from?" John inquired.
"That way," Rodney said, pointing in the direction he thought they should go. He tried to sound confident.
On Atlantis, Darcy walked into the lab which he shared with Radek, Rodney, Dr. Miko Kusanagi, Dr. Simpson and Dr. Kavanaugh, along with several other scientists he didn't know or care to know. Under one arm he had his laptop and his other hand he had some original Pringles with sour cream. He sat down next to Radek, continuing his work and munching on his Pringles.
"Darcy what are you eating? That is disgusting," Radek commented, when his friend and colleague sat down next to him.
"Pringles and sour cream, taste good. Would you like some?" Darcy offered.
"No, thank you," Radek declined. "Have you heard back from Major Sheppard's team?"
"No, not yet. I don't think they're late yet," he replied, glancing at Radek's computer screen. "What is that?" He asked, pointing at the diagram on the screen.
"Graphs and estimates on the baby making machine," Radek answered softly, so others in the room wouldn't hear them.
"Can't we call it the Reproduction Machine instead of the Baby Making Machine?"
"Sorry. Rodney and Major Sheppard have already started calling it that," Radek answered, shaking his head and giving his friend an apologetic smile.
"Oi," Darcy groaned, annoyed. "Those two need to grow up."
Radek chuckled. "I don't think they ever will."
"I think you're right," Darcy agreed.
A few hours later Rodney arrived with a ZPM after talking with Elizabeth, Ronon was with him.
"That's a ZPM!" Darcy exclaimed excitedly, perking up at the sight of the ZPM.
"How obvious, Captain Obvious," Rodney snarked.
"Where did you get that?" Radek asked.
"The planet with all the kids we found, because Sheppard got lost," Rodney answered.
On the planet with all the kids, Major Sheppard was with Keras participating in the Ceremony with the leader's invitation.
Back on Atlantis, Darcy hadn't moved from sitting next to Radek and completely unaware of what was happening to his friends on the kid planet. He'd been happily working on his projects that had been previously put on hold, due to being busy with his XO duties, but now that he was on light duty, he had more time to devote to his personal assignments.
"Radek, do you want anything to eat?" Darcy questioned, after his stomach started rumbling after several hours of straight work.
"Aye. Sandwiches would be nice, please. A salad sandwich would be wonderful and a bottle of water," Radek accepted, scratching his chin, and then rubbed his tired eyes.
Darcy glanced around the room and saw that people had either paired off into small groups, or just in pairs, or on their own. Everyone was busy working on their own projects.
"Would you like some help?" Radek offered.
"No, I'm right. I just need to stretch my legs," Darcy reassured him. "I'll be back soon."
When the young Captain walked over to the door to leave the room, he found two armed guards.
"What are you doing here, Lieutenant Kemp and Sergeant Spencer?" Darcy asked, warily.
"Sorry, sir. It's on Sergeant Bates's orders," Lieutenant Kemp answered.
"For what reason?" Darcy demanded.
"Sergeant Bates believes you could be a danger to yourself and to others," Sergeant Spencer replied.
"The man is insane!" Darcy growled. "Where is he?"
"Sergeant Bates is in his office, sir. I wouldn't go down there, he is busy at the moment," Lieutenant Kemp cautioned.
"I'll take that under advisement," Darcy said, sarcastically.
The Captain ignored Lieutenant Kemp and Sergeant Spencer, and headed straight to Sergeant Bates's office. It didn't take him long to get there and by then his fury had turned to rage. He knocked once on the door before stepping into the office and standing on the other side of the Sergeant's desk.
Sergeant Bates looked up when he heard a knock at the door. The Sergeant swallowed when he saw Captain O'Neill standing in front of him, with a look of thunder clearly written across his young and handsome face. His pale green eyes flashed and his lips formed into a thin line.
"What can I do for you, Captain O'Neill?" Sergeant Bates asked.
"You damn well know why I am here, Sergeant Bates," Darcy snarled, emphasising on Sergeant to remind him who was the higher ranking officer.
"Major Sheppard hasn't been out of the city for more then a few hours and you've already placed guards on me! It was discussed during the meeting that guards were not necessary. How long did you think it was before I would notice them?" Darcy demanded, hands on his hips.
"It is for your own protection, Captain O'Neill. You could be a danger to yourself and to others around you," Sergeant Bates tried too sooth. He had never seen Captain O'Neill so angry before. Usually, the man was happy, go lucky, with a sunny disposition and always had a smile on his face.
"You mean protection for your narrow mind and small ideas," Darcy snarked.
"Dr. Weir and Major Sheppard tend to allow their emotions to get in the way of their decisions."
"And what sort of decisions is that?" The Captain challenged.
"To exterminate that thing! It is not natural," Sergeant Bates answered, with disgust.
"I see that you've made up your mind about the whole situation. Well, I'm afraid it isn't up to you, Sergeant Bates. When Major Sheppard returns I will be reporting this to him, along with Dr. Weir, as well."
"It doesn't concern her, it falls under base security and a military decision."
"Military decisions go to Major Sheppard, not to you. You have no say over civilians for that goes to Dr. Weir," Darcy reminded Sergeant Bates. "Dr. McKay is second in charge to Dr. Weir, while I'm second in charge to Major Sheppard. Do I need to say more?"
"You are on light duty, Captain O'Neill," Sergeant Bates reminded him, sighing with impatience.
"I'm still second in command to Major Sheppard, irrelevant if I'm on light duty or not. It is only for a few months!"
John was greeted by a gloomy looking Chuck, one of the technicians.
"What's up, Chuck?" John greeted.
Everything had turned out okay on the kid planet and he knew Darcy would love to meet them. McKay had fixed the ZPM and they had made some knew trading partners. Keras was still leader of his people and celebrating his twenty fifth birthday, while Ares was being punished for his actions. Though, John could understand parts of Ares reasoning behind his actions, though he may not agree on all of them.
"Captain O'Neill is in the Brig, sir," Chuck reported.
"What? Why?" John demanded.
"He and Sergeant Bates got into a fight over something, and punches were thrown. Sergeant Bates has a black eye and bleeding nose."
"What happened to cause the fight? Captain O'Neill would not have reacted so badly for any reason. Something must have upset him," John theorised.
"Sergeant Bates had guards watching the Captain and he felt it unnecessary."
Before Chuck could report anymore, Major Sheppard had left in a hurry, and headed towards the Brig. Chuck sighed, and went back to work.
Darcy was walking around the cell with his hands in his pockets, ignoring Lieutenant Kemp and Sergeant Spencer. He was singing a lullaby in Celtic. Radek had visited him, to see if he was okay and left after Darcy had reassured him he would be alright.
"Open the shield!" John ordered.
"Sir, Sergeant Bates…." Lieutenant Kemp protested.
"I don't care what Sergeant Bates has said! Open the damn door or you can go on kitchen duty!"
Lieutenant Kemp automatically opened the door. John glanced at the two men.
"Leave," John commanded.
"Sir?" Sergeant Spencer queried, hesitantly.
"I wish to speak privately with Captain O'Neill and I don't need your permission, Sergeant," John told him. "Now leave."
John watched them leave and when the room was empty, he turned around and came face to face with a very cautious Darcy.
"Major," Darcy greeted, standing very still, with his hands in his pockets.
John sighed, relieved to see the young Captain was alright and unharmed.
"What happened, Darcy?"
"Sergeant Bates had Lieutenant Kemp and Sergeant Bates follow me around like I was some, pardon the pun; major threat or criminal! He believes that I should be watched at all times. He thinks because I'm half alien and having your baby via an Ancient machine, and with your strong ATA Gene…." Darcy started to vent, but his voice slurred and slowed down.
John was fast to catch Darcy when he collapsed into the Major's arms. John was able to steadily lower him to the ground, while supporting his upper body in his arms. He pressed his ear piece.
"Medical emergency to the Brig! I repeat, medical emergency to the Brig!" He radioed, anxiously.
John checked Darcy's pulse and was relieved to feel that it was beating, though rather faintly.
When Darcy opened his eyes, he could hear yelling from the next curtained off area. It sounded a lot like Major Sheppard.
"Here, drink some of this. You gave me a scare."
Once his eyes were more focussed, he realised that it was Astra offering him a drink through a straw. Darcy had a few sips. The drink tasted like lemonade. It was cool and refreshing, he sipped some more, savouring the flavour. The Captain sat up with some help from his sister. She offered him a plate of salad with a bit of dressing and ham on the side.
"Thanks," Darcy said, accepting the plate and started eating.
"Eat slowly," she instructed.
"Did you have to go and beat the crap of out of Sergeant Bates? You need to go see Dr. Strasser about anger management."
"Sergeant Bates had guards follow me around, only a few hours after you'd left too go to Sateda. The Sergeant refused to send them away and pretty much told me it wasn't right for me to carry the babe," he confided, anger seeping into his voice.
Astra reached for his hand and squeezed it. "I don't think you're any of that and I don't care what Sergeant Bates thinks or says and neither should you. It was a freak accident by a freak machine. I think you're very brave."
The archaeologist leant her head on Darcy's stomach, her ear pressed close.
"Anyone who says otherwise about your daddy is wrong and doesn't know him like I do. Your daddy is one of the bravest men I know. You are not freaks or whatever else they may call you. I think you are beautiful and very special," Astra continued, talking in a soft and gentle voice to the baby.
"What?" Astra queried, ignoring John in the background. She'd already had words with Sergeant Bates about the way he had treated her brother while they were gone.
"I felt something," Darcy replied, grabbing her hand and placing it over his stomach.
Astra's eyes went wide and a smile spread across her face. "That's your baby saying hello! She's a fighter."
"Isn't it a bit soon for this and what do you mean 'she'?" Darcy confessed.
"I don't know and we don't fully understand that machine. This level of technology is so advanced that it would take many life times to fully understand it."
"I'm scared," Darcy confessed.
"I can't imagine what you're going through and I can only begin to imagine what it feels like for you but, I am here for you, no matter what happens."
The baby seemed to kick again.
"Hey, Sheppard, get over here!" Astra shouted. "You're missing out on something special!"
"Astra!" Darcy hissed, embarrassed.
"There's only you and Bates in here. I'm not that silly to announce it to the whole base. Carson is in his office and the nurses are on their break while it is quiet."
"What's wrong? What's happened?" John asked, frantically hurrying over.
Astra grabbed a confused John's hand and placed it next to Darcy's.
"What?" John asked, confused.
"Just shush and wait for it, John," Astra told him, a big grin on her face.
Astra's grin grew even wider when she saw John's eyes go round and his mouth drop open, when the baby kicked again. Darcy looked a little amused by Sheppard's reaction and shared a grin with his sister.
"Wow, what?" John queried, startled. A small thrill had tripped through his whole body.
Astra rolled her eyes at him. "You sound like my friend. He used to say that a lot. If you start saying allons-y, I'll start worrying! That's yours and Darcy's baby greeting you."
She leaned back over Darcy's stomach again. "Despite how your other Daddy is acting, he is a very smart man too. He's also the other best pilot, apart from your daddy. He loves Ferris wheels, flying and anything that goes extremely fast."
"Dad," John corrected amused, watching Astra talking to his and Darcy's baby.
"Pardon?" Astra asked puzzled.
"Darcy is daddy and I'm dad," John corrected.
"I'm hoping you're take notes about this Princess," Astra told the baby.
Despite himself, Darcy laughed and John smiled.
"I'm glad you're both fine," John said, honestly. "Now eat that salad!" He ordered.
Darcy obediently began eating his salad again. He'd gotten side tracked when Astra had discovered his and John's baby had started kicking.
"When you feel better, I want you to go and apologise to Sergeant Bates," John asked.
"John!" Darcy exclaimed.
"I know Sergeant Bates can be a pain in the arse and say things that upset people when he speaks his mind. Yet, he's a good man and a good soldier. I've told him to do the same and apologise to you," John cut in. "I mean it, Darcy. I know how he comes across but, we must tolerate it and hopefully he'll come around. We'll eventually have to deal with people like him and who could be a lot worse," John said, seriously.
"I'll try. I don't know what came over me. I normally wouldn't have gone that far," he apologised, feeling ashamed of himself.
"Carson said it could be the hormones playing havoc on your system," Astra informed her brother.
"No more beating up people while pregnant, Darcy," John said, trying to be stern, not that he blamed Darcy for his reaction towards Sergeant Bates.
"Will it go on my record?" Darcy questioned.
"It's supposed to go on your record but, I'll think about. I've informed Elizabeth of what has happened. I don't think she's impressed at all and I've a right mind for you and Sergeant Bates to work together."
"Crap, someone else I have to apologise too," Darcy said glumly.
"Make sure you eat more healthy foods, I know that you eat pretty healthy anyways. Carson said you need to cut out caffeine drinks like tea, and coffee, sugar, salts, and most dressings. You also need to drink more fluids like water, juice etc… Don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger boy," John reported.
"Yeah, my new diet," Darcy grumbled.
"It's no different to what you do now, you'll just won't be able to drink coffee and have those other things John mentioned. How about I go on the diet with you?" Astra offered.
"You go without tea?" Darcy asked, in disbelief.
"If you can go without coffee, then I will go without tea."
"I'll be in it as well," John added.
A few hours later, Darcy walked to Elizabeth's office after Carson had given him the all clear too leave. He was going to Elizabeth first and then Sergeant Bates. Darcy waited in Elizabeth's doorway in her office after knocking on her door.
"Come in, Captain O'Neill," Elizabeth greeted formally.
[I]'I'm in big trouble,'[/I] he thought.
"Dr. Weir," he replied, standing with his hands clasped behind his back and feet slightly apart.
"Major Sheppard informed me of what happened between you and Sergeant Bates. I understand why you did it but, I do not approve of your behaviour. You are both grown men, start acting like grown men. You're going to have deal with people like Sergeant Bates when we reconnect with Earth again and you can't go around beating them up, no matter how much you want to," she scolded.
"I'm truly sorry, Dr. Weir," Darcy apologised, ducking his head, trying to hide the shame across his face from their leader.
"I believe you, Captain O'Neill. After you apologise to Sergeant Bates, you should spend a few days on the mainland. I know you can fly the Jumpers, but, it maybe safer to go with Dr. Beckett when he goes this afternoon," Elizabeth suggested.
"Yes, Ma'am," Darcy replied, aware that it was an order and not really a request.
"You're dismissed, Captain. Oh, I've arranged this with Teyla, and Halling should you get any ideas, they're expecting you."
Darcy left Elizabeth's office and headed to Sergeant Bates. He was relieved that no guards had been following him. Sergeant Bates was in the same place he had found him earlier that day. He knocked on the door.
Sergeant Bates glanced up and was surprised to see Captain O'Neill standing in his doorway. He'd been chewed out by Major Sheppard and Doctor O'Neill, about the incident earlier and having Captain O'Neill locked in the Brig. It was bad enough being spoken to by Major Sheppard, by Dr. O'Neill it was totally different. Sergeant Bates had heard of her temper and had now experienced it for himself. He'd know the twins were close and were fiercely protective of each other. The Sergeant had lived through it and survived.
"I've come to apologise for my behaviour earlier today. I may have over reacted and was not totally thinking about my actions or their consequences. For that, I am very sorry for hitting you and I hope I did not cause any serious damage."
Bates stared stunned at the man, who appeared to be rather genuine about his apology, not just because his superiors had ordered him to. Now, Bates felt ashamed of how he had treated Captain O'Neill, by putting him in the Brig for a couple of hours.
"Apology accepted, Captain O'Neill. I'm sorry at the way I had treated you earlier as well. It was rather harsh and rash. I also, did not think about my own actions or their consequences. No, you didn't cause too much damage; just a bleeding nose and a black eye. Dr. Beckett said I was lucky not to have my nose broken. You through good punches."
Darcy blushed and ducked his head. "I had a good teacher. I'll be on the mainland for a few days. So, I'll be out of your hair for a while at least." He smirked slightly.
"Enjoy it while you can."
Darcy nodded, and left. He felt relieved that Sergeant Bates had accepted his apology without a fuss. He headed down to the linguist lab to look for his sister and was surprised to find that she wasn't there. He scratched his head and spotted her assistant, Dr. Heidi Beaumont at her desk and walked over to her.
"Hi, Dr. Beaumont, have you seen my sister?" He asked her, smiling.
Heidi looked up and saw the handsome Captain O'Neill. She smiled back. "She's gone to the gym with Ronon," Heidi answered.
"Thanks, Doc," Darcy said.
He turned around and headed for the gym. He leant against the doorway with his arms folded across his chest. A grin spread across his boyish face, as he watched his sister spar with Ronon. The Captain winced when the archaeologist hit the Satedan in the back of the knees with one of those Athosian Bantos sticks.
He grinned again when Ronon leapt, his sticks in the air towards Astra, who spun around and kicked the legs out from the big man. The surprised Satedan went sprawling across the mat face first. The scientist, cautiously approached the fallen man and sat on him, placing her Bantos sticks under his neck.
Darcy knew the two lovers would never hurt each other and he found it hilarious seeing Ronon being knocked by Astra. He loved to spar with Satedan and respected him. He'd learnt a lot of new fighting techniques from Ronon and tried to teach his friend some of his own skills. Ronon was a big man but, his sister was no mouse. She was tall and came up to her lovers shoulders at least.
Ronon glanced up and saw Darcy observing them. The Captain was highly amused at what he was watching, much to Ronon's chagrin.
"Your brother is here," Ronon told Astra.
Astra looked up and smiled at Darcy. Ronon used her distraction to his advantage by flinging his head back. His sudden movement surprised Astra and she dropped her Bantos sticks to protect her face. Ronon rolled over and Astra fell off when she tried to steady herself. She could hear her brother laughing and she blushed.
"Ronon!" Astra whined.
"I never said training was over just because your brother showed up," Ronon said, smugly.
"Get off me, you weigh like a ton of bricks!" Astra turned and glared at her brother, who was still laughing.
Ronon turned to face Astra and kissed her gently on the lips before helping her up.
"I want a rematch," she told her lover. "Stop laughing, Dar!" Astra growled.
"Sorry, I would never have believed it if I hadn't of seen it myself."
"What are you doing?" Astra asked, walking over to her bag and grabbing out her water bottle. She offered Ronon his, who accepted silently.
"I'm going to the mainland for a few days on Dr. Weir's orders. So, I'll be away for a few days. So, try not to get into too much trouble while I'm away," Darcy informed her. "How was your visit to Sateda to meet Ronon's family?"
"They loved her," Ronon reported, smugly.
"Of course they would. What's not to love about her?" Darcy agreed.
"Ronon's family is wonderful! His mum, Hedwygg, cooked a lovely roast pork and chicken with fresh roasted vegetable. For desert we had pudding and some sort of ice cream. It was delicious. I told her how good at cooking you were, after she was disappointed to learn that I cannot cook."
"It's more like you poison people!" Darcy teased, winking at Ronon. Who flashed him a grin.
"Oi! I do not poison people! I'm just being honest about my lack of cooking abilities. You better tell Major Sheppard you're going to the mainland for a few days. Did you go and apologise to Sergeant Bates?"
"Yes, I'm going to tell Major Sheppard, and yes, I have apologised to Sergeant Bates."
"Good," Astra approved. "Just take care of yourself while you are on the mainland and have fun. Can you trade for some of those beads? The ones the Athosian's put in their hair? I'd like some more wool too, that would be great. Heidi is teaching me to knit; make blankets and such things. She's been bugging me about it for a while. I'm going to start off with a baby blanket for the baby so, you can choose which colours you want and I'll see how I go."
"I'll see what I can get," Darcy said, not promising her anything.
"I told my mum you were having a baby and she was going to organise something for you," Ronon informed him.
"Ronon what did you say that for?" Darcy exclaimed, shocked.
Ronon shrugged his shoulders. "You're having a baby and will need baby stuff. I told her you touched a machine and it made you pregnant. She understood and is going to gather stuff for you and Sheppard. My mum won't tell anyone that your are having the baby. My mum knows lots of people who could help and I kind of let slip at lunch time that Astra's brother was having a baby. You should have seen how my sisters reacted. I think they're planning some sort of party for the baby," Ronon answered.
"We call that a baby shower," Astra told Ronon.
Darcy groaned. "Thanks, big guy! I hope your mum doesn't tell anyone, and do I have to go to this baby shower? Should I bring Sheppard along?"
Astra laughed. "You're evil, Dar. You'll like Ronon's family. They're nice and will look after you. They're a good family and mean well. Especially, that you're my brother and half Ancestor."
"Thanks, Ronon," Darcy said, patting the Satedan on the arm. "I didn't mean to sound ungrateful. I'm really touched and look forward to meeting your family."
"You're welcome," Ronon said, with a smile.
"I'll see you guys when I get back," Darcy told them.
Darcy hugged his sister and shook hands with Ronon. He went off to find John. Darcy found him in the mess hall eating a plate full of turkey sandwiches. Darcy sat down opposite John; he sighed and ran his fingers through his hair.
"Did you apologise to Bates and go see Elizabeth?" John asked, him.
"Yeah, I did. Bates was cool about it, and accepted my apology. Dr. Weir is sending me to the mainland for a few days holiday," he reported, pinching two of John's sandwiches.
"That was my turkey sandwich," John warned, a twinkle in his eyes.
"You had four. I only took two, and I didn't think you could eat that many anyway. I'm also following yours and Dr. Beckett's orders about eating regular meals," Darcy countered, smirking.
"Who's flying you there?" John inquired, choosing to concede defeat and when to back out while he still could.
"Dr. Beckett. He's doing a run to the mainland."
"Taking your life into your own hands?"
"Carson can at least flying a straight line," Darcy remarked.
John chuckled. "That is very true," he agreed.
It wasn't long before Darcy was waiting for Carson in the Jumper Bay. He had his bag ready and slung over his shoulder, with his guitar resting against the Jumper. Darcy had packed enough for at least a week, along with toiletries. The Captain was still chewing on at least one of the sandwiches he'd stolen from John when Carson walked in.
"Aye, here you're, lad. Elizabeth told me you were coming with me."
Darcy stopped chewing on his sandwich. "Elizabeth didn't give me much of a choice. She ordered me to go with you."
"A few days rest on the mainland won't hurt you, lad. It'll do you the world of good."
Darcy opened up the Jumper; secured his bag, and guitar in the back. He did the same for Carson.
"Thanks, Captain. You shouldn't be carrying around heavy stuff in your condition."
Darcy snorted. "I'm only pregnant, not an invalid, Doc," he said, gently.
Carson smiled at Darcy, before heading up front of the Jumper and sitting in the pilot seat with the young man beside him. It took about forty five minutes to fly too the mainland. On their arrival, they were greeted by Teyla and Halling who were waiting for them.
"Greetings and welcome," Halling said, with a warm smile. He bent his head, and touched foreheads with Darcy and Doctor Beckett, like had seen Teyla do with John.
"Thank you," Darcy replied, ducking his head a little.
"Dr. Weir and Teyla have informed me of your condition and you are welcome here for as long as you need," Halling said.
"Thanks," Darcy accepted.
Darcy noticed a box with items in them. He recognised a few blankets and other things poking out that he couldn't identify.
"What is in that box, Halling?" Darcy inquired, curious.
"These are gifts for you and Major Sheppard from the villagers," Halling answered.
"Thank you. May I have a look?"
"Yes, of course," Halling allowed, gesturing with his hand to the box.
On closer look, Darcy observed the box was actually a crib made out of local wood. The crib had been painted in red and white colours of elaborate designs. He didn't know what they meant and planned to ask someone later. The crib had felt smooth when he had ran his hands over it. Upon closer inspection; he found clothes, a few stuff toys that looked almost liked bears, toys that looked liked rattles, and a few mobile toys that could be hung over the top of the crib. Darcy smiled appreciatively. He knew the Athosian's didn't have much themselves but, they had willingly shared what they had with him and John, because of the baby.
"I don't know what to say but, thank you. Again," Darcy said, humbly.
"I am glad that you appreciate them and I will pass that onto the villagers," Halling assured him, pleased by Darcy's reactions to the gifts.
"The cradle has been made by a true and skilled artist. The wood is in excellent condition; very strong and sturdy. It would have taken a long time to make," Darcy praised.
"You know something of wood working?" Halling inquired.
"I wanted to be a wood craftsman when I grew up; making things out of fine wood. I used to do wood working at school and at home," Darcy revealed, ducking his head when he felt it blush.
"Cerwyn made the cradle and he is looking for an apprentice," Halling suggested. "He is one of the best wood workers I have ever seen."
"I'd like to meet him later, if I may?" Darcy asked.
"Of course. Let's head into the village," Teyla advised.
Carson had remained quiet during the conversation, choosing not to comment. He did admire the gifts that the Athosian's had given to Darcy, even seeing the young man smile had made him smile as well.
Halling picked up the cradle filled with gifts and carried them towards the village. Darcy had his pack slung over his shoulder and guitar in one hand, while carrying one of Carson's bags in his other free hand.
"Lad, ye' don't have to carry that for me, not in your condition," Carson chastised.
Before Darcy could protest Teyla walked over and took the bag from him, carrying it herself. One look from her and he stopped, not keen on arguing with her.
Teyla exchanged glances with Carson and winked.
Darcy was soon distracted by the village when they got closer. He hadn't been to the mainland in a while and it looked like the Athosian's had settled in nicely. He'd always been impressed by their tents that were made out of local animal skins and various sizes. They had been decorated in their own styles; fur had been used for the doorway entrances. It had reminded him of Indian villages in the western movies. The Captain could hear young children playing, people laughing, and the smell of food cooking.
"We have made a tent for you, Captain O'Niell," Halling said, turning and smiling at the young Atlantean.
"Really?" Darcy asked surprised.
"Yes, we thought you would value your privacy and would not want to stay with one of the local families. Many had volunteered to host you when they learned it was you who was coming to stay for a while. Teyla and I expressed that you are a very private person and are not to be intruded upon. Chiara Hamida will attend to any of your needs; cooking or anything you require."
"Teyla and Halling I did not expect any of this, and I'm truly grateful."
"You are welcome. We will look after you while you are our guest," Teyla promised, opening the tent for Darcy.
The young man stepped inside the tent and he was astonished by the sheer size inside. There was a large comfy bed covered in blankets, fur, and cushions piled high on the bed. In another corner there was a wooden table with four chairs around it. In the middle of the tent was a camp fire with a spit over the top to roast something on it. A few pots and pans were on some sort of stand nearby. There was an area sectioned off where he could dress in private and a bath in that are too. He was amazed that all of this could fit inside the tent.
"This is amazing!" Darcy exclaimed. "It's a wonder how you fit everything into your tents but, I guess you have to be practical if you're moving around as much as you guys do."
"We try not to move too much but, it is hard with the Wraith," Teyla said, nodding her head.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to remind you of the Wraith. It is very quiet in here and you can hardly hear any noise from outside."
"We shall leave you to settle in. Chiara will bring you your meal later. I suggest you rest until then," Teyla advised.
"Thank you again, Halling and Teyla for your generosity and hospitality," Darcy thanked them, remembering what he had learnt from his sister.
"You're welcome. Breakfast is always before dawn with a strong cup of tea. Some villagers are going for a walk into the forest in the morning," she suggested.
After Teyla and Halling left, Darcy placed his bag and guitar near the bed. He then carefully picked up the cradle full of gifts and placed them near his bag and guitar. Once he was satisfied with that he hopped onto the bed after stripping off his t-shirt and kicked off his boots, before climbing under the covers. Once his head hit the pillow he was sound asleep.
When he woke several hours later, he could smell food cooking and heard someone singing in a soft and gentle voice. He opened his eyes and saw a woman in her twenties kneeling beside the fire. She had a pot hanging over the fire and she was stirring something.
The woman was tall, with long black hair and fair skin. She wore a pale green dress that reach down to her ankles. She had long dangling earrings, along with a blue beaded necklace and moccasins on her feet that reminded him a lot of small Ugg boots that reached her ankles. He sat up and scratched his head.
"Chiara Hamida?" Darcy asked softly, propping his head on his hand and resting his elbow on the bed, watching her.
Chiara glanced up and felt her face blush when she saw the Atlantean watching her. He was a tall man with short blond curly hair and hazel eyes. He had a bit of stubble across his chin. Her face turned even darker when she realised he was half naked, she turned her head away.
Chiara had been honoured when Teyla and Halling had chosen her to look after the Atlantean, who was half Ancestor, and who had come to stay with them for a while. Her mother and sister had been very proud of her, that she had been nominated and not Zohar, her rival. Chiara could see that he was a handsome man, though Teyla had told him why he had come to stay with them and explained his circumstances. Teyla had explained how the young man had become pregnant but, Chiara did not understand it and presumed it was the will of the Ancestors and who was she to question it. Teyla and Halling had asked her to take good care of him while he was here.
"Yes, I am Chiara Hamida," she confirmed shyly glancing up at him. "I am cooking Turtle root soup for you."
"Thank you," Darcy said. "Have you eaten and would you like to join me?" He offered.
"I will eat later. It would be rude of me to impose, sir." She ducked her head at his offer and continued stirring the soup.
"Poppy cock," Darcy scoffed. "You made the soup for me, you should enjoy it too!" He insisted.
Chiara rushed over to help when Darcy sat up.
"Thanks, I'm Darcy by the way. Captain Darcy O'Niell," Darcy introduced himself.
"It's nice to meet you, sir," she said shyly. "Come and sit down at the table."
Darcy grabbed his black t-shirt and slipped it over his head. He then reached for his boots and put them on, making sure his laces were done up tight. The Captain then went and sat down at the table, while Chiara went and poured soup into a bowl for him. The Athosian then brought it over to him, careful not to spill it.
The Atlantean observed her while he waited. She was quietly confident but, he observed that she had lost a lot in her young life. He admitted to himself that she was a beautiful woman, but not who he wanted. The Captain glanced in the direction of where he thought Atlantis would be.
Chiara noticed Darcy staring off into space and he hadn't touched his soup.
"Is everything all right, Captain O'Neill? Is the soup not to your liking?" She asked sitting down opposite to the Atlantean.
"No! I was just waiting for you," Darcy explained.
"You did not have to wait for me," She said embarrassed.
"It's manners and being polite," Darcy told her.
"Oh," she said.
"Teyla said there is a walk or something going on in the forest tomorrow?" He asked her. "Do you know what that is all about?"
"Some of us are hunting the Uzuri," she answered.
"What is the Uzuri?" Darcy queried, sipping the tutleroot soup. He could taste a number of unidentified flavours, a mix of herbs and spices that he wouldn't be able to name. The taste exploded in his mouth and left a pleasant sensation. The soup not only had strange flavours and it also had many unusual vegetables.
"It is a rare creature here on the mainland. We hunt it for its fur to sell to our trading partners on other worlds. The meat can use to cook and eat. I have added a little bit to the tutleroot soup. The meat is tender and perfect for our soups, adding intense flavour."
"Do you like to cook?" Darcy inquired smiling.
"Yes. I cook for my mother and my sister," she confirmed.
They talked for a few hours and Darcy played some songs on his guitar for her. It was very late by the time the Captain crawled back into bed.
The next morning Chiara woke and prepared a light breakfast of various fruits and something similar to the Atlantean's version of porridge. She smiled when she saw how ruffled his hair was and she covered her mouth with her hand to prevent a giggle from escaping. She averted her eyes away from him.
"Would you like some breakfast?" She offered smiling.
"Yes thanks. Would there be any water where I can wash up and make myself presentable?"
"Over there in the corner and there is a towel to dry yourself with." Chiara pointed to the corner where there was a barrel filled with water waiting for him.
Darcy nodded and headed over to where she had directed him. He splashed some water on his face and was delighted to learn that it was still warm and had not gone cold on him. The young man held his breath and dumped his head in the water. When he was finished he flicked his head very fast to get rid of some of the water before drying it off with the towel. After he dried his hair he gave his hands a quick wash and then walked over to Chiara and smiled at her before he sat down beside her. He poured some milk over his porridge, adding some sugar and fruit before having a drink of orange juice. He'd hoped that he'd be able to hold it down when the baby kicked.
[I]'Guess the babe approves,'[/I] he thought.
Darcy helped Chiara clean up after breakfast, then the young Athosian woman showed him where they would be meeting the other villagers who would be joining them. He grew suspicious when most of the villagers were women and young children. He looked at Chiara clearly not amused.
"This elusive Uzuri is hunted by women and children, isn't it?" He was not happy about this.
"Yes. Teyla did not mention this to you?"
Darcy shook his head. "Only that there was an excursion into the woods. She did not say what kind and that I had been invited to join. I think she meant that I was expected to join," he answered. He walked closer to her. "Did she explain to you why I was here?" He asked in a more softer voice so that others would not here them.
Chiara offered him a smile of sympathy. "That you were with child. She explained how, not that I understand it. It is the will of the Ancestors and their doing. Teyla and Halling have asked me to take care of you and I will. I will not allow any harm to come to you. I assure you, hunting the Azuri is far safer then hunting the Tyge. Teyla and Dr. Beckett thought it would be good for you and that it will be safe enough. They would not allow you to do anything that would place you in danger," she replied in a quiet tone.
"All right," Darcy conceded, putting up his hands.
He soon recognised some of the children approaching them and some of the other Athosians.
"Hello, Jinto, Wex, Dena, Derwina, Elisa, Luella, Losa, Tallis, Tacita, Grigory, Grier, Gwyn, Kynen," Darcy greeted the children he knew.
They were the regular ones that always came with them whenever they flew over for a visit to the mainland or they just hung around wanting to be close to the Atlantean's. The Captain had seen the worship in the children's eyes whenever he came with Major Sheppard and would often feel uncomfortable. Darcy had been with Major Sheppard to rescue some of their own people when they were taken by the Wraith in their first encounter of the Athosian's. His sister had been amongst those who had been taken and he'd automatically volunteered to go with Major Sheppard to rescue her. She'd originally been part of Colonel Sumner's party to meet and greet any indigenous people due to her years of experience and skills in 'Gate travel after learning from Dr. Jackson.
He didn't really know most of the woman, though some looked familiar to him. He nodded and murmured polite hellos, which gave him a shy smile and hello in response. He hopped from one foot to the other.
[I]'This is not my thing. This is more Astra's thing,'[/I] he thought irritated, then frowned when the baby kicked again. [I]'Don't you start! This was not my idea, it was your uncle Carson's and aunty Teyla's. I'd rather be hunting down the Tyge then the Uzuri.'[/I] The baby kicked once more. [I]'Alright! We are still going to hunt the Uzuri, beats staying cooped up inside all day. I'm going crazy talking to a baby,'[/I] he thought, shaking his head. The baby kicked again to remind him that they were still there. Darcy sighed.
"Is everything all right, Darcy?" Chiara quizzed in a soft voice.
"Arguing with the baby," he replied, folding his arms across his chest, tapping his right foot.
Chiara gave him a strange look and shook her head. "We can still pull out now if you do not wish to go hunting?" She offered.
"It's okay. I'm sorry for being a prat and it feels good to be out in the fresh air," he apologised. "I guess I will just have to get used to this."
Before Chiara could reply, one of the women walked over. She was tall, slim, had long blond hair that was tied into a low plait and her eyes were bright blue like the sky. Her skin was white as snow. She had round curves in all the right places and walked with grace at such ease that made Chiara envious. Chiara sighed, when the woman held out her hand to Darcy.
"Who is your handsome friend, Chiara?" The woman asked.
"Zohar this is Captain O'Neill. He has come to visit us for a while and join in our hunt of the Uzuri. Captain O'Neill this is Zohar, one of Halling's cousins," Chiara introduced, allowing no emotions to show. "Zohar is one of the best hunters around."
Zohar smiled charmingly at Darcy. "Chiara is modest as always. She is a fine hunter herself. Are you pairing with anyone?"
"I am pairing with Chiara," Darcy replied, not liking the way Zohar had her hand on his arm and thought she might be flirting with him. He didn't like her being so close either. He gently placed his hands on hers and pushed it away, hoping she got the message.
"Maybe next time," Zohar said with a wink and nod of her head.
During the hunt he stuck by Chiara who showed him the signs and markings left behind by the Uzuri. It was like a medium sized rabbit with silk fur that was becoming highly prized for trade with other worlds. The Athosian's used them to make blankets and clothes, they also used the meat for cooking.
By the end of the morning Darcy had caught two though he lost one after it got away from him. It had actually bitten him on his right hand, when he had automatically gone to attend his wound he'd some how dropped the animal and it had bounded away much to his chagrin. They were extremely fast creatures and blended into their natural habitat. The Uzuri lived in small family groups like meerkats and had an alpha male and female. Chiara attended to his wound much to the disappointment of Zohar.
Darcy helped Chiara skin, cut and cook their kill at lunch time. Chiara had killed four during the hunt. He'd also learnt that while he had been out hunting that Carson had returned to Atlantis.
"May I come in?" Teyla inquired, standing in the doorway watching Chiara and Darcy cooking. It smelt delicious.
"Of course," Darcy granted when he saw Teyla.
"Zohar said you caught two Uzuri?" The Athosian leader said pleased.
"Yes I did," Darcy confirmed. "Chiara and I are cooking a stew with our kill. Would you like to join us?"
"No thank you. I came to see how you have settled in. Tonight there will be an official welcoming ceremony for you. There will be plenty of food, drink, music and dancing," Teyla invited.
"Thank you. I would like to come and I am honoured," Darcy accepted.
"Jinto and Wex have asked that you teach them this football that Major Sheppard has talked about and shown them," Teyla asked.
"I don't know anything about Major Sheppard's version of football. I grew up in a different country to Major Sheppard and we didn't have their football. We actually have several different football codes; NRL, AFL and soccer. I'm more into AFL and cricket. Maybe either tomorrow afternoon or the next day we can arrange a game for the children to play," Darcy suggested.
"That would be a wonderful idea," Teyla agreed. "Is there anything you need?"
"A couple of cricket bats, some stumps and a cricket ball to play cricket," Darcy answered.
"I don't understand," Teyla said confused.
Darcy found his back and opened it to find his notebook and pencil. When he found what he was looking for the young man quickly did a sketch for Teyla.
He ripped the paper out of his book and handed it to the Athosian leader, explaining the measurements and what each item was about.
"I shall see what our wood carvers can come up with," Teyla replied. Are you all right, Darcy?" She had observed him place his hand across his stomach.
"Just the baby kicking," he assured her. "To much excitement for one morning and I hope I didn't over do it chasing the Uzuri, though it was fun and hard work."
Chiara and Teyla laughed.
"I am glad that you are well and settling in," Teyla approved smiling.
"I'll have a nap later," Darcy told her.
"I will make sure you are not disturbed.
"I would like Chiara to stay and only Chiara. You and Halling are more then welcome to come visit, but I must rest for a while. I don't want to be tired for the party tonight."
"Agreed. Carson said you would need plenty of exercise, rest and good food," Teyla informed him.
Darcy nodded. "I know. He gave me a list of what I can and can't have, how much exercise I can do and what sort of exercise."
"Good. I shall see you both tonight," Teyla said, turning around and leaving Darcy's tent.
After lunch Darcy helped Chiara clean up and then the Captain went to lie down. The young man fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
On Atlantis, Elizabeth and John were in a private meeting in Elizabeth's office.
"What do you think of these new traders, the Hoffans, John?" Elizabeth asked.
She could clearly see that he was distracted by something, he was leaning back with his head resting on his hand and elbow propped up on the arm of his chair. The Major's long legs were stretched out under the table.
"Hoffans?" John repeated, puzzled.
He'd only just noticed what Elizabeth was saying to him. He'd been thinking about Darcy on the mainland and he hoped the young man was doing okay. The Major was also wondering what the Captain was up to.
"I'm sure Darcy is fine. I know Teyla and Halling will look after him and honour him while he is staying with them," she assured John, realising what could be troubling her friend.
"I understand, John."
"No, Elizabeth, you don't. You weren't there on that other planet when it happened. How much time have you spent with Darcy since the accident? General O'Neill is going to kill me when we reconnect with Earth again."
"I'm sure that General O'Neill will be understanding on would do no such thing," she assured him.
"Darcy is the General's only son; I don't know how understanding he will be with me," John countered.
"We won't know until we reconnect with Earth," Elizabeth said softly. "I'll try and spend more time with Darcy when he returns from the mainland."
"Tell me more about these Hoffans that have made contact with us," he asked. "Teyla's invited me over to the mainland for a feast tonight."
"I won't send your team for a couple of days, not until I can learn more about these people and what they have to offer."
Several hours later, Darcy was awake and having a bath that Chiara had prepared for him. He wasn't impressed with the scented bubbles and flowers floating around him, along with scented candles sitting on a bench. It would have been romantic if he had someone to share it with. His face turned several shades of red at the last thought. He knew exactly who he wanted to be sharing this bath with.
'This is more Astra's thing, not mine,' he thought. 'Chiara meant well, but I think she got carried away.'
The young Captain could feel the muscles in his back and neck relaxing and he sighed in deep pleasure. He was relieved to know that there was some sort of screen between him and the doorway of his tent. The baby kicked.
'Are you a Ranita or a Jasper? I don't want to know, I like surprises,' he mused.
"Darcy I have placed some clothes for you on the end of your bed and there is a towel hanging over the screen. You also have a visitor," Chiara announced, humming to herself.
Darcy groaned. "Chiara, I thought I asked not to be disturbed?!"
His query was met by silence which annoyed him.
"Chiara, are you there?"
"No, but I am," a familiar male voice greeted him.
The voice of Major Sheppard sent shivers down his spin and he quickly got out of the bath and reach for his towel. He tightly wrapped it around himself and poked his head around the side, feeling water dripping all over him. Darcy was sure he smelt like roses of some kind and blushed.
"Where did Chiara go?" Darcy asked, surprised his voice sounded normal when on the inside he didn't feel anything but normal. He again was grateful for the screen between himself and the Major.
"She went to collect more wood for the fire."
"What are you doing here, sir? I thought you were on Atlantis?"
John glanced in Darcy's direction and quickly looked down at the floor, finding something very interesting there when he realised that the other man only had a towel around him.
"Teyla invited me to the feast tonight," he replied.
"Um, can you please pass me my clothes, sir," Darcy inquired, his face turning several shades of red.
"Where are your clothes?"
"Chiara put them at the end of my bed."
John observed a pair of plain coloured trousers, purple t-shirt with a plain vest to go over the top. They were made in the Athosian style and out of fine fabric. The Major walked over and picked them up and flung them over the screen for Darcy. He then went and sat down on the end of the bed waiting for the other man to dress.
It didn't take Darcy long to dress and now he was on the hunt for his shoes. He was kneeling down near the bed, avoiding the Major. He growled in frustration and ran a hand through his hair that had grown long again and needed cutting. He could feel stubble on his chin and realised he probably needed a shave as well.
"What are you looking for?"
"Shoes," Darcy replied, not looking up. He kept looking for his elusive shoes.
The Captain jumped when there was a slight thud on the floor in front of him. He wasn't impressed to see Sheppard lying across his bed with a big grin on his face. His chin was resting on his hands and the Major was looking down at him, his eyes sparkling with mischief.
"You withheld my shoes the whole time!" Darcy accused, pointing a finger at the other man.
The Major let out a low chuckle sending shivers up and down Darcy's spine. The young Captain glared at his Commanding Officer and felt his face turn several shades of red. He picked up his shoes that were like moccossins. While he was trying to put one shoe on he started to wobble and tripped over the bed, hurting his toe. Somehow, Darcy managed to land on top of John, looking down at the other man.
"Sorry," Darcy apologised, his face felt like it was burning.
John looked up into Darcy's eyes and he'd never noticed how bright they were; like emeralds. His hair had grown longer and there were bristles on his chin.
"Sir?" Darcy said, his voice gone all husky.
"Right!" John exclaimed, remembering where they were and refocussing on why they had been invited in the first place. "You can stop calling me sir, remember?"
"Sorry, it's a habit."
"I have brought you some more firewood, Darcy. I have a bit more to collect, it should be enough for the next few days. I have another pile that I will need…." Chiara started to say, until she saw Darcy on top of John.
"I'm sorry, Darcy and Major Sheppard! I shall come back later!" Chiara said in embarrassment and in her haste to leave, she dropped her load of wood.
Darcy hopped off Sheppard to assist Chiara. John was faster and helped her pick the wood up.
"You were not interrupting anything, Chiara. There was nothing going on," Darcy said firmly, shooting John a glare for putting them in an awkward position.
"I understand, Darcy. Major Sheppard is the father of your baby. If you wish to have time with your lover, I will leave," Chiara said gently, placing the last of the wood on the pile with John's help.
"Major Sheppard is not my lover," Darcy said in a soft firm voice.
Chiara sighed for she felt like she'd interrupted something between the Captain and the Major. She could see the strong attraction between the two men. The young Athosian woman didn't understand why they didn't act on their feelings and she was determined to help them. She didn't understand the Atlantean's or their funny little rules. She just knew that if you loved someone that you should be able to be with them, no matter if they were the same sex.
"If you love each other, why not say so?" Chiara challenged them.
"Our rules make it tabu; fear that it will make us weak. The rules are made by narrow minded men in suits sitting in a stuffy office all day, who have never seen the front line or who have forgotten what it is like to be on the front line," John answered. "No matter how much we care about each other, we can never act."
John sneaked a look at Darcy who had paused while putting on his other shoe, listening to what he had been telling Chiara. John was disappointed that he couldn't read the other man's face.
'Did the Major just admit that he had feelings for me?' Darcy thought confused. He realised he hadn't finished putting on his shoe and did so.
"I'll help you get the rest of the wood, Chiara," John offered.
"Are you not changing?" Chiara queried.
"Nope," the Major replied.
"John, Darcy," Teyla greeted walking in and carrying an arm load of clothes that she handed to John. She winked at Chiara.
"Teyla?" John asked confused.
"You are to change into these for dinner," the Athosian leader informed him with a smile.
"What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"
Teyla rolled her eyes at her friend. "Please wear them for me?"
John sighed and glanced at Darcy who smirked at him.
"Fine, I'll wear them, only for you, Teyla," John agreed.
"You look lovely, Darcy," Teyla complimented.
"Thank you. How did you know purple was my favourite colour?"
"I have my informants," Teyla replied smiling.
"I can guess one of those could be my sister?"
"I will not reveal who they are, Darcy," she scolded. Darcy pouted and Teyla laughed.
John went behind the screen and changed. He'd already showered before leaving Atlantis. He wore similar clothing to Darcy, but his shirt was red. Once he was dressed, John stepped back out again.
"You look wonderful, John," Teyla complimented. "We should go for Halling and Jinto are waiting for us, so are many others."
"Let's go then. Rodney will be mad he missed out on a feast," John commented.
Darcy snorted. "That maybe so John, I do think he has earned it more then we give him credit for and no matter how annoying he is. Just don't tell him I said that."
The young man glanced at his CO. "I like your shoes, sir."
Ha ha, Captain," he replied.
Teyla led the two military men and Chiara out to a clearing where tables and chairs had been set up. A feast had been spread out on the tables for all to help themselves. A few villagers had brought musical instruments and were already playing a lively tune.
Chiara, can you please get my guitar for me. I may perform a few songs," Darcy said remembering his guitar that he had brought with him. His feet were all ready tapping along to the beat of the music.
"Of course," she agreed, hurrying off back to their tent.
"Chiara does everything for you and she is always with you?" John asked with a hint of jealously.
They were sitting watching the performers and some Athosians dancing. The two men were sitting side by side, with Darcy on the left and John on the right. They were almost touching each other.
"Yes, Teyla and Halling assigned her to look after me," Darcy answered, glancing at the Major. He could see conflicting emotions in the other man's eyes.
"Oh," the Major said. "How's the baby?"
"Fine, very active," Darcy replied, reaching for the Major's hand and placed it across his stomach. Their baby kicked to let John know it was there.
"A very active baby," John agreed, his hand lingering on the young man's stomach.
An Athosian woman brought them a cup of drink each. John accepted it and sniffed it.
"I hope this isn't Ruuse wine?" John inquired.
"No, it is something else," the woman answered mysteriously, winking at the two men and left.
Another woman brought them a plate of food each. They were loaded with various meats, poultry and fish, along with fresh vegetables and fruit. The smell of fresh fish almost made Darcy vomit. He opted for everything else and drank his drink. He was ravenous and often stole bits off John's plate.
Chiara arrived back with Darcy's guitar and he went and joined the performers. The young Captain played a mix of country and folk songs, much to the delight of the crowd. Darcy sang in a low baritone voice that sent shivers tripping down his spine. The Major never knew the other man could sing or play guitar. He'd heard Astra sing and play, but not Darcy and he was enjoying the other man's performance.
John continued drinking the mystery drink and could feel it warm his whole body. A few more songs later Darcy retired for the night, much to the disappointment of the Athosians and John.
"I didn't know you could sing or play!" John said to the Captain impressed.
Darcy ducked his head and reached for his drink. He focussed his attention on the performers.
"I've been playing since I was six. The family who raised us could play all kinds of instruments and I loved the guitar and violin, along with the piano. The Owen's taught us to play," he confided.
The next morning Darcy woke feeling groggy and wiped sleep from his eyes before he felt a warm body next to him. He felt very sedated like he did after having very good sex and snuggled up to the person beside him. Curiosity got the better of him and he wanted to know who he had ended up in bed with. For a horrible moment he thought he might have ended up with Zohar, who had flirted with him all night and hadn't given up on pursuing him; much to the amusement of John.
The feast had lasted well into the night with good music and good food. The Captain vaguely remembered the Athosian's giving him some sort of mystery drink and lots of it. He also recalled going home with someone last night, hence the body he could feel pressed up against him and making a horrible snoring sound.
There'd been lots of kissing that involved tongue and sometimes teeth knocking against each other. His butt felt slightly tender and sore. A blush slowly crept across face along with a small smile. The young man jumped when an arm flung itself across his stomach. Darcy dared to sneak a look at who his bed partner had been and was totally shocked that it was Major Sheppard. The Captain moved so fast that he ended up dislodging the Major on the rug on their floor. The blond haired man grabbed his sheet and wrapped it tightly around himself. He felt awfully embarrassed when the Major woke up.
"Ow! What did you do that for? I was a warm and comfortable," he complained.
"Major, do you remember anything about last night?" Darcy asked.
John stood up and grabbed a pillow to cover himself. "Drinking and eating lots. I don't remember coming home with you!"
Darcy went and found their clothes, tossing John's to him and quickly changed into his own.
"What was Teyla thinking!" John exclaimed, once he was dressed.
"She was trying to help her friends and don't go being mad at her," Darcy told him. "Did you mean what you said to Chiara last night about how you felt about us?" He asked when he was dressed.
"What happened to Don't Ask, Don't Tell?" John queried him.
They both stood on each side of the bed still starring at each other. Darcy felt the baby kick and grimaced. The baby could sense how distressed he was feeling.
"How can you say that after sleeping with me and telling Chiara that staff last night!" Darcy demanded, hurt evident in his voice.
John ducked his head in shame. He hadn't meant to hurt the other man.
"Darcy you know I didn't mean it like that."
"Then why say it if you didn't mean it?"
"I wish I could tell you that I love you and want to be with you. That's not because your carrying our child! I have to abide by these stupid rules and its not fair that I can't be with the person I love!" John shouted in anguish.
Darcy stepped around the bed and closed the gap between them. He placed his hands on John's shoulders.
"Do you really mean that? Off the record, John?"
"If this is off the record, then yes, I do mean it. I don't want to get you into trouble and us thrown into prison," he said more quietly. "If this was off the record I would have done this."
John grabbed an astonished Darcy and pressed his lips against the other man's. The Major hear him moan softly and it sent a thrill down his spine. He parted the blond man's lips with his tongue and their tongues clashed.
"John we can't do this, you know that!"
John ignored the younger man's protest.
"It's a bit late for that," John murmured, resting his hand on Darcy's stomach and the baby kicked as if on cue.
He gently pushed Darcy back onto the bed and deepened their kiss. John ducked his head and groaned when his radio went off. He'd been enjoying the kiss between the two of them and his hands had started to explore of their own accord, pulling the other man's shirt out and sliding his hands under his boxers.
"John, It's Elizabeth, the Hoffans have demanded they met with you and you may have to go this afternoon instead of tomorrow," Elizabeth's voice interrupted.
"You better get that," Darcy said in a husky voice.
"John, can you hear me?"
John groaned again and gently kissed Darcy on the lips and climbed off him to answer the radio.
"John?" She persisted.
John reached for his radio and grabbed it.
"The Hoffans are demanding to meet us and they want to meet you and your team. Can you return to Atlantis and be ready to leave?"
"Yea, just give me time to fly back and change."
"I will and I hope I didn't interrupt anything."
"Darcy and I were hanging out. See you soon."
John cut their communication and sat down on the end of the bed with a big sigh.
"Who are the Hoffans?"
"Some new trading partner Sergeant Stackhouse met just recently."
"Be careful," Darcy said, turning John around to share a kiss with him.
"I will or at least try to be."
"Knowing your track record it will be hard," Darcy teased, watching him pick up his gear and get ready to leave.
"Ha ha," he retorted. "I dunno how long this will take. So, I may not get to see you for a few days."
"I know. It's what many of us signed up for in the first place."
Darcy got off the bed and walked with John to Jumper he had parked just outside the village. It was almost midday and there was hardly anyone around.
"Must have been a hell of a party," John said when he opened the rear hatch of the Jumper.
He walked inside and secured his gear and came back to see Darcy.
"Be good and take care of yourself."
"You betcha," Darcy replied.
John gave him a funny look before kissing him and walking inside the Jumper to the pilot seat. Darcy backed away a few paces to give John room and watched him leave. The two men waved to each other and Darcy sighed when John disappeared. His feelings even more confused then before. He scratched his head and headed back to his tent, looking forward to something to eat. Darcy wondered where Chiara had gone.
'Probably to her family's tent,' he thought.
"Captain O'Neill! Captain O'Neill! Crevyn has made the cricket set and you promised Teyla that you would teach us!" Jinto demanded.
Darcy had been distracted by John and hadn't even heard the two boys creep up behind him, knocking him to the ground in their excitement.
"Who is Crevyn?" He asked, looking up at Jinto.
"He's our best wood carver and made the cricket set," Wex announced from his feet.
"Wex, Jinto, leave Captain O'Neill alone," Halling scolded the two boys. He hurried over and helped Darcy once the two friends climbed off him. "I'm sorry, Captain O'Neill."
"It's alright, Halling. They're just children," he reassured the Athosian.
Darcy was pulled by Jinto, who clung to his hand and dragged him at his fast pace. The Captain had a hard time keeping up with him and his young companion. Halling kept pace with them, well used to running around after his wayward son. The two boys dragged him all the way to a tent in the middle of the village.
"Crevyn, it is Halling, may we enter?"
"Come in!" A male voice answered.
Darcy ducked his head and entered the tent. He was met by a tall man with long curly blond hair tied into a low plait. His skin was fair. His eyes were bright blue and he had a smile across his face. A woman sat quietly in a chair doing needlework; she had brown eyes, brown hair and brown skin that was the colour of chocolate. She was humming away to herself. Two girls the age of ten and eight sat beside her learning to sew. While two boys aged six and four wrestled on the floor near the fire.
"I am Crevyn and this is my wife Sameh. Our children Radinka, Laurel, Damon, and Orleans," Crevyn introduced, pointing to each children from eldest to youngest.
"Hello, Crevyn. I am Captain Darcy O'Neill, but please call me Darcy. Jinto and Wex have informed that you have finished making the cricket set? May I see it?" Darcy introduced himself.
"Of course," Crevyn agreed. He lead Darcy over to his table. He unwrapped a bright cloth and showed Darcy what he had made. "Are these what you required?"
Darcy had a closer look at what Crevyn had made and was totally impressed at the man's skills. "You were the one who made the cradle?" He asked, running his fingers gently over the bat.
"Yes. Why do you ask?"
"Your skills are amazing!" Darcy praised. "These are perfect. How much do I owe you?"
Crevyn held up his hands. "Please, you do not owe me anything. Seeing it being used by you and the children will be payment enough and an honour."
Darcy sighed and scratched his head. "You have already given Major Sheppard and I the cradle!" He then blushed. "I do not mean to sound ungrateful, but I don't like being a free loader either."
Crevyn shared a confused look with Halling who shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe you could teach me to play the musical instrument that you played at the party last night? That would be payment enough! Your music was wonderful."
"Thank you and I think that would be a fair deal," Darcy agreed, pleased. "Maybe you could make one for yourself and I'll teach you to play?" He suggested. "Come on, let's go play. I need a really big clearing and something to use as markers."
It wasn't long before he got a mini game of cricket underway to keep himself busy and his mind off John. Darcy spent most mornings helping with small hunts or Chiara would take him for walks through the woods on their own. In the afternoon he would teach the Athosians how to play cricket and Crevyn the guitar.
By the end of the week, he was sad to leave the Athosians for he'd gotten to know many of them and considered them friends. Yet, he was impatient to return to Atlantis again. He waited at the drop off point with Chiara for Carson or one of the Marines to come pick him up. It was one of the Marines he didn't know, he sat quietly in the back with Chiara with his feet up until they reached Atlantis.
Chiara had insisted on coming and Darcy had just given in to her much to the amusement of Halling and Teyla. He'd met Chiara's family and assured them that she would be safe on Atlantis. Chiara had convinced him that he would need help around his house now and someone to help him once the baby was born. So Darcy had bowed out gracefully in the argument and had just agreed to let her come with him. He enjoyed her company and had gotten used to having her around.
When they arrived on Atlantis they went straight to his quarters. Once inside his three bedroom apartment, the young man was very happy and relieved to be home. He could hear the ocean and feel the breeze from the balcony. He dumped his gear in his room and tipped his bag open on his bed, dumping his stuff all over his bed.
He left it there to take Chiara on a tour. He showed her around; one bedroom was where he kept his guitar and music gear on a desk. The next room he kept as a guest room with simple furniture. He had his own kitchen, bathroom and laundry. What Chiara really loved was the balcony. She breathed in the sea air and listened to the sound of the ocean. The Athosian leaned against the railing and smiled when a gentle breeze ruffled her hair. Darcy had placed her bag in his guest room and it wasn't long when he joined her with a cup of Athosian tea for both of them.
"Thank you. I can see why you chose these quarters," Chiara approved.
"Thanks. Sometimes I come out here to play my guitar. I find it rather inspiring. I've been trying to locate any traditional Ancestor songs from the database. Teyla and Halling were kind enough to share some of theirs once they heard of my project," Darcy confided.
The two were startled by someone walking into the room and joining them on the balcony. Darcy turned around and saw that John had returned looking very frazzled and distracted. Chiara discreetly left to unpack.
"What's wrong?" He asked.
"The Hoffans created this drug they thought would stop the Wraith feeding on them. Carson helped a local doctor named Perna, but the drug failed. It killed our Wraith and half the population of the Hoffans."
"Carson would never have allowed the drug to be given out if he thought it wasn't ready and he would run several more tests before seriously thinking about releasing it," Darcy said shocked.
"He didn't authorise it and was ruled against by the local government," John replied. "What's Chiara doing here?" There was a hint of jealousy in his voice.
"She insisted on coming back with me. She informed me that I needed her help now and will need her help when the baby is born."
Darcy thought about kissing the other man, but hesitated. He lent back against the rail instead. If Chiara wasn't here he may have reconsider it.
"Aren't you going to stay home when they baby is born?" John inquired.
"Yes, but I am not going to be a stay at home mum. That's why Chiara came back with me, she can help look after the baby," he said angrily.
"I wasn't saying that you stop going out on missions!"
"That's exactly what you are saying! Will you stop treating me like an invalid or some sort of precious stone!" Darcy shouted, folding his arms across his chest and his feet slightly apart.
"You can be so stubborn, Darcy! I didn't mean it that way, ok. What if something happened to you or even both of us while we were off world?"
"Do you expect me to stay home all the time while you go gallivanting about the galaxy!"
"No! I don't expect you to stay home and secondly, I don't go gallivanting about the galaxy!"
Darcy relaxed his stance. "It's something we all face, whether or not we have families. Don't you think Astra and Ronon have had these arguments to? Why don't we figure out some sort of roster where we aren't both off world at the same time, unless it's an emergency?" Darcy shook his head and stormed passed John.
"Where are you going?" John called after him.
"To be away from you!" Darcy yelled back.
Chiara walked back over to John when she heard them yelling and a door slam.
"I hope I did not cause any trouble by me being here?" She asked anxiously.
"No you haven't caused any trouble and I'm glad you're here," John reassured her.
"Just be careful with him, Major Sheppard. He is going through a lot right now and he is very confused and mixed up about his feelings for you. He wants to react, but something is holding him back."
"I just wish he wouldn't be so stubborn! I have noticed something holding back and its because of our stupid rules I told you about the other night. Well, that would be one reason."
"I have only spent a week with him and I have observed some of his stubbornness."
"Thanks for coming to help us," John thanked,
"It is my honour. You need to help each other," Chiara told him softly and left to continue unpacking.
John stared after Chiara totally confused. He left Darcy's quarters to go find
John and Darcy didn't see much of each other after that, not until after the whole underground bunker fiasco with the Genii. Then John and Teyla discovered the huge storm that threatened Atlantis.
John finally caught up with Darcy drinking tea with Chiara on one of the private balconies around Atlantis. Things had been chilly between them since their argument and they had barely spoken to each other unless it was necessary. Darcy was leaning against the railing looking out at the sea. His hair had grown around his shoulders and he'd grown a s mall bear. He was now around three months pregnant.
"Hey, Chiara and Darcy," John greeted.
"Hello, John," Chiara replied. She still felt strange calling him by his first name though he had given her permission.
"There is a storm approaching Atlantis and it's not just any old storm, it's a massive storm and there is no where on Atlantis or the planet to hide from it. Astra and Ronon have flown over to the mainland with Teyla and Carson plus a few Marines to help evacuate. We've been trying to find planets or traders we can spend a couple of nights with. We aren't having much luck with either of those options and I honestly wouldn't want to owe anyone any favours."
"Who is flying the Jumper?" Darcy inquired.
"Astra. I told her she needed the practice and that McKay has been getting more lessons," John replied with an evil grin.
Darcy laughed and shook his head. "You only would have had to mention McKay and she would fly it," he said with a chuckle. "What about King Ríoghán?" He suggested more seriously.
"The people from Siodhachain?"
"They're the ones. The same people Astra and Sergeant Stackhouse met when we first came here."
"That's a good idea," John approved. "They owe us a favour after your sister and Sergeant Stackhouse helped them out not long ago. I'll tell Elizabeth and let her know and suggest that you and I go. They know you pretty well by now."
"Me being half Ancestor will go along with Ríoghán, who thinks I'm like nobility," Darcy said highly amused, his eyebrows creasing softly to match the smile across his face.
"Sorry," John apologised. "I should have asked you first and not assumed you'd like to come."
"Nah, it will be good to get off world for a change and be useful. Astra will be pissed as she likes the Lady Liobhan."
"She'll get over it and no one said you weren't helpful. Radek's really pleased with all the progress you pair have been making with all the projects he's had to put on hold when you and Rodney going off world so much," John said gently. He'd observed Chiara had quietly slipped away and had noticed that she did that every time the two of them spoke and needed privacy, which he was grateful for.
"Let me go freshen up and look respectable," Darcy agreed. He didn't want to fight with John and was happy to get off world for a change.
"I'll give you twenty minutes to be ready."
"I'll be ready," Darcy promised heading off to his bedroom.
John went straight to Elizabeth's office and knocked on her door.
"Come in, John," Elizabeth greeted with a smile.
"Darcy has suggested that we go ask King Ríoghán from Siodhachain for help. He figured that he owes us a favour from Astra and Sergeant Stackhouse helping them out ages ago and they've been good and fair traders," John advised.
"Do it," Elizabeth agreed. "Who are you taking?"
"Darcy. I figured that he's half Ancestor, King Ríoghán would be more open to talking with Darcy then with me."
"Good. I'll see you when you both get back, hopefully with some good news."
John hurried back to Darcy's apartment and wasn't surprised to find the other man waiting for him.
"Let's go," John ordered.
"Just don't tell Carson I went with you. I'm supposed to be off duty."
"I won't tell him. Are you sure you are okay?"
"Yeah, it's just the baby is more active now and I haven't been sleeping much. Though people have been great about the whole male pregnancy thing," Darcy admitted. "It's nice to catch up on some work, but its even nicer to…." his voice trailed, go off world.
"You miss going off world?"
"Yes, but I don't want to risk the baby or my own health."
"I'm more afraid of your sister then Carson, though Carson has the big scary needles."
Darcy chuckled. "Are we flying?"
"Of course," John replied with a grin that matched Darcy's.
It wasn't long before they reached the Jumper Bay and entered Jumper One, John's favourite Jumper.
"Flight this is Jumper One and we are ready for launch," John announced, grinning at Darcy. Who sniggered in the background.
"Go ahead," Elizabeth granted. "Be safe and give my regards to King Ríoghán," she added.
"Will do and I won't even stop at duty free," John replied. He heard Darcy snort.
It wasn't long before they arrived on Siodhachain and were walking towards King Ríoghán's palace. Darcy had made sure he wore enough to cover his baby bump with the help of Chiara.
"Major John Sheppard and Captain Darcy O'Neill! Welcome to Siodhachain," Curnán welcomed them when they reached the top of the stairs. He was King Ríoghán's physician.
"Hello, Curnán, we wish to meet with King Ríoghán," Darcy greeted.
"Come with me and I wll take you to see Ríoghán. He is in the dining room having lunch. What brings you two to Siodhachain?"
"We are in need of King Ríoghán help," Darcy explained.
"Is the city of the Ancestors in trouble?" Curnán queried concerned.
"It is why we have come to seek the council of your king," Darcy answered.
"Then we must hurry," Curnán encouraged.
Curnán led the way to the dining hall and knocked on the door before entering.
"Major John Sheppard and Captain Darcy O'Neill from Atlantis have arrived to seek an audience with you Ríoghán," Curnán announced.
"Bring them in Curnán," Ríoghán granted smiling. He stood up.
Darcy and John walked over to and King Ríoghán and bowed.
"Welcome to Siodhachain, Major Sheppard and Lord O'Neill," Ríoghán welcomed. "Please take a seat! You remember my son, Ánrothán and my daughter, the Lady Liobhan?"
"Hello, Prince Ánrothán and Lady Liobhan," John and Darcy both said and bowing to them. Ánrothán and Liobhan replied their own greeting.
"What do we owe the pleasure of your visit?" Ríoghán asked, sitting back down after John and Darcy had accepted the seats they were offered.
"Atlantis is in need of your assistance, King Ríoghán," Darcy informed Ríoghán.
"How can we be of service to you? I recall it was your sister and your friend who helped us."
Ánrothán and Liobhan remained silent.
"We have an approaching storm of great power and no where is safe on our planet or in Atlantis," Darcy explained, accepting the water he was offered and nodded his head in thanks to the serving girl, who blushed before quietly slipping away.
"Do you not have power of your own to stop it?" Lady Liobhan queried.
"No. We have plans in place, but if our plans fail… The people of Atlantis would like to know if the people of Siodhachain would offer us shelter for at least two nights?" Darcy asked, crossing his fingers behind the back of his chair.
"Of course the people of Atlantis are welcomed here!" Ríoghán allowed. "You, your sister, Major Sheppard and the Lady Elizabeth and anyone else from Atlantis will always find a room here."
"Thank you, King Ríoghán. I have promised the Lady Elizabeth to stay and help Doctor McKay keep Atlantis safe. The Lady Astra and her partner Ronon Dex of Sateda and Lord O'Neill will be staying here."
"How many are there of your people, Major Sheppard?" Ríoghán queried.
"About one hundred, Prince Ánrothán," John replied. "Captain O'Neill is my Second in Command and I will leave him in charge of my people. I trust his judgement and good sense to know what's right for our people."
"I will make sure they are taken care of," Ríoghán promised. "You have been very good trading partners. Your knowledge and gifts of medicine have benefited my people greatly. May we continue to be such good traders."
"Thank you, King Ríoghán. Lady Elizabeth feels the same way towards you and your people," John countered.
"When can we expect the arrival of your people?" Ríoghán inquired, sipping some wine.
"Anytime this afternoon," Darcy answered.
"We shall have quarters ready for them," Lady Liobhan promised.
"Thank you," John and Darcy said together.
"We need to head back to Atlantis to prepare our evacuation. Thanks very much for your assistance and we appreciate it," John said.
"Good luck," Ríoghán said.
"We will need that too," John said, standing up.
The two pilots left and headed back to the Jumper.
"That went well," Darcy said relieved.
"Are you okay?" John inquired concerned.
"The walk to and from the village was good, but took a lot out of me. I should not have drunk all that water," Darcy answered, disappearing into the bushes. He heard the other man chuckling and felt his face burn.
Darcy reappeared a few minutes later and John had the Jumper ready. Once Darcy was settled in the Jumper John flew them home.
"That's wonderful news!" Elizabeth said, pleased. "Isn't Ríoghán worried at how many people are staying?"
"No, he didn't seemed to concerned, Lady Elizabeth," John teased and a grin spread across his face when her cheeks coloured.
"I wish he wouldn't call me that," she said embarrassed.
"Well, he sees you as a woman who is a powerful leader, so I guess he calls you by their correct title. Maybe the word doctor is not known to them or they do not use it very much."
"I know, it's just awkward. Go help our people start evacuating."
John left to check on Darcy. He was relieved to see that he was packing and so was Chiara. John was getting used to having her around and found her very helpful and useful.
"No, Chiara you can't take that! Take only what you can carry in your bag; a couple of sets of clothes, underwear, toiletries and personal items."
"How can you decide what to take?"
"I am military and you learn fast, just pick something," he told her.
John grinned for he'd never had any trouble packing.
"Are you guys ready?" John asked.
"Yup," Darcy answered, not bothering to look around. "Is Astra back?"
"They're picking up a few hunters who hadn't received word of the storm or the evacuation."
Darcy turned around and glanced at the other man with alarm across his face.
"I'm sure they will be fine," John assured him. "Come on, let's go."
John escorted Darcy and Chiara to the 'Gate. Ríoghán's planet was accessible by Jumper or the Stargate. Ríoghán was wary of such technology and considered it magic. The King tolerated it, but was wary of it.
Later, John came back to Siodhachain to let Darcy and the other Atlantean's know that it was safe to return home. The young Captain settled back into his apartment and was happy to be home.
A few days later after John had dealt with the Wraith on the planet after checking out the Ancient 's satellite, Darcy felt his first bout of labour pains. John had taken upon himself to crashing out on Darcy's lounge while Chiara slept in the guest room that had been turned into the baby's room.
John woke to someone calling out his name and he instinctively ran into Darcy's room. Darcy was sitting at the end of his bed with his hand on his stomach. John knelt down in front of the other man.
"Darcy, what's wrong?"
"I think I'm in labour," the younger man gritted out, clutching John's arms.
John touched his ear piece.
"Carson, I need you now in Darcy's quarters. He's having labour pains," John ordered, Darcy didn't react when John reached for his hands and squeezed them, he just squeezed them back.
"I'm on my way," Carson replied.
John disconnected their conversation and focused on Darcy.
"Carson is on his way."
"If anything happened to me…" he began.
"Ssh, don't talk like that! Nothing will happen to you. Carson is the best doctor in two galaxies. He will save you and the baby."
Darcy shook his head. Tears brimmed in his eyes from the pain and he could feel blood on his lips from bitting them, to keep from screaming out from the pain.
"Just listen to me! There is a letter in my top drawer. I want you to read it okay?"
"No letters, just concentrate on having the baby!" John encouraged. "How long does it take for Carson to get here?"
"You never listen to me!" Darcy growled.
"Fine, I'm listening!"
"In the letter it tells you what to do if anything happens to me. Don't try to save me, just…."
"No! How cans you say that?" John said angrily, his eyes flashing.
"If something goes wrong and you have to choose. Choose the baby, John. Don't make me come back and haunt you!"
"Okay, I'll chose the baby over you," John agreed, avoiding the other man's eyes. [I]'Like hell I will,'[/I] he thought with determination.
"Secondly, I wish for Teyla and Astra to be the baby's god mothers. You can chose who ever for their god father."
"Okay, sounds fair and like good choices."
"I've had lots of time to think about these things, John."
"I know you have," he said quietly.
"Thirdly, the baby can chose to be who ever they want to be; civilian or military. I don't want to see what happened in my family happen in ours."
"What else is in your letter?"
"A bunch of other stuff like: no joyriding in the Jumpers with our kid and no guns. That sort of thing, nothing to get excited about. I just wanted to…"
"Sorry I took so long. I got held up in the infirmary," Carson announced, pushing John aside as he entered the room with two nurses following him.
John wanted to kick Carson's butt for his bad timing for he thought that Darcy was about to say something important for both of them. John watched Carson and one of the nurses help Darcy onto the stretcher and wheeled out of the room. He remembered to grab the letter from the top draw with his name written on the envelope. He then knocked on the door to Chiara's room before entering. He went over and woke her up.
"Darcy is in labour and we need to be there now," he informed her. John knew that Darcy would want Chiara there. She'd become like family and one of their closet friends.
John left her room to allow her time to change and as soon as she was ready they left. As they hurried to the infirmary, John pressed his ear piece and connected with Astra.
"Darcy is in labour and we will meet you there," he told her.
"When did he start?" She asked sleepily. Ronon laid next to her quietly with his arm around her.
"He's only just started," he answered.
"Come on, let's go," Ronon encouraged in the background.
"Isn't it early for the baby to come?" Chiara queried.
"Baby's come when they are ready and not when we want them to," Astra commented. "We'll meet you there."
"Okay, see you soon."
It wasn't long before they all arrived in the infirmary and John walked over to one of the nurses.
"Where did Carson take Captain O'Neill? I need to be with him."
"Into the theatre room," the nurse replied. "You can go in there, but you must wear protective clothes first."
"Fine, just hurry it up please. I need to be in there with him."
The nurse nodded and within seconds she had a mask over his face and a gown over him. She then handed him a pair of gloves.
"Thanks," John said accepting the gloves.
Astra was handed her protective gear to and she put them on within seconds.
"I'll wait out here for you with Chiara," Ronon told her. He kissed her on the lips and hugged her tight to him. "I love you."
"I love you too," she replied.
John and Astra were ushered into the theatre room where they found Darcy under local anesethic. Astra reached out for John's hand feeling fear and anxiety spread through out her body. John pulled her close to him.
"He'll be alright," he assured.
"I don't know what I'd do without him."
After nearly an hour they head the first cries of a baby crying. John breathed a sigh of relief and Carson turned around, beckoning him to step forward to accept his child. John nervously walked over to accept the baby. One of the nurses had wrapped a blanket around the crying baby. A smile spread across John's face as he was relieved that the baby was healthy. Carson handed him a pair of scissors and encouraged him to cut the umbilical cord. When John had his baby in his arms he had a peak and was surprised to find he had a son.
"Welcome to the world Jasper Jay O'Neill-Sheppard," John whispered.
"There's another one!" Carson exclaimed astonished.
John's eyes nearly popped opened and he thought his heart was going to stop.
"I told you!" Astra said smugly. "Hey, Jasper," She said in a soft voice to her nephew. He looked up at her and made a small noise of acknowledgment.
Forty minutes later their was another baby crying in the room.
"This one is a girl," Carson announced, handing her over to John.
"Here, hold your nephew," John said to Astra.
She happily accepted and had a closer look at Jasper. She smiled when she saw that Jasper had a mop of black hair that spiked in every direction and he had bright hazel eyes that shone like emeralds.
John cut the cord for his daughter and held her in his arms. She stopped crying and it looked like she was trying to smile up at him. She had black hair and hazel eyes like her older brother.
"Carson!" One of the nurses called frantically.
"What is it, Marie?"
"Darcy is crashing! We need to save him, now!" She answered.
"What's wrong with him?" Astra demanded, fear creeping into her voice.
Jasper chose that moment to allow his voice to be heard. The more Astra tried to sooth him the more he cried. It got worse when his sister started crying as well.
"I don't know what's going on," Carson replied, rushing over to Darcy.
Astra and John were pushed aside by one of the nurses. The twins wouldn't stop crying no matter what John or Astra tried.
"Hey, are you going to officially name your daughter?" Astra reminded John, singing softly to Jasper.
"Antoinette Rose," John answered absently, his eyes on Darcy and feeling helpless as he watched Carson desperately trying to save his patient.
"Antoinette was my mum's name. She died when I was sixteen from breast cancer," he answered quietly. "Darcy liked Rose."
"Because that was Jack's mother's name. I vaguely remember her. A good name, a good strong name. Darcy would approve. I'm sorry to hear about your mother."
"Carson we are loosing him!' Marie said anxiously.
A bright light appeared in the room and when the light faded there was a woman standing there in a simple white dress with a white glow around her. The woman was tall with shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes. Her skins was white and like porcelain. The mysterious woman walked with grace and determination over to Darcy. One of the nurses tried to stop her and glanced at Carson.
"I am Morgan Le Fay. I am one of the those you call Ancient or Ancestors," Morgan introduced herself.
"Why are ye' here?" Carson demanded.
"To save my son," Morgan answered. She placed her hands over Darcy and closed her eyes. Her hands glowed white like the rest of her.
A few minutes later she opened them again. She nodded her head at Carson, she looked rather tired.
"Excuse me?" Astra jumped in.
When Morgan new that Darcy was safe she walked over to the archaeologist and placed her hands on her shoulders.
"And you are my daughter. I am proud of both of you," she said in a deep rich voice.
Astra glanced up at Morgan clearly with shock written across her face and in her eyes.
"Is this a joke?" She demanded.
"No, it is not a joke. I am your mother and in your heart you know that to be true. The Goa'uld you had in your head was telling you the truth, Eibhleann. They're evil creatures and tend to lie to suit themselves, but she was not lying about me. She used that information for her own purpose."
Tears brimmed in the corner of Astra's eyes.
"I know it to be true," she confessed softly, feeling her mother's arms around her. The hole that she had carried all her life was now sealed. It had felt like she was missing something and now it had been found.
"I love you and you look after that man of yours," Morgan whispered, holding Astra close.
Morgan looked down at Jasper who was silent. He stared up at her and then cooed softly to her. Morgan chuckled.
"You look like your dad," she said gently. "This one will break a lot of hearts," she said with deep affection.
"I'll take that as a compliment," John said pleased.
Morgan looked at John and smiled. "You take care of Darcy or otherwise you'll have me and the Others to answer to. You and Darcy are meant to be together and I wish you pair wouldn't be so stubborn." She sighed. "I am no longer going to help you pair and you have to figure things out on your own. It's important that you do!"
"Yes, ma'am," John answered. "What do you mean its important that we get together? We can't…"
"You will have to trust me on this and I can say no more. You and Darcy will find a way," she replied.
Morgan opened up her arms and Astra gently placed Jasper into her arms. Morgan started to sing in Ancient and it sounded like a lullaby.
The nurses had discreetly left the room, leaving only Carson, Astra, John and Morgan alone for privacy. Carson checked on Darcy and was relieved to find that the young man was resting peacefully. He removed any equipment and made him comfortable.
"That's the song you used to sing to Darcy and I when we were little," Astra remembered, watching her nephew fall asleep.
Morgan smiled at her daughter and handed Jasper back to her. She then did the same for Antoinette.
"Darcy cares for you, John. Just give him a chance and he will tell you. He's a lot like his father," Morgan said, handing a sleeping Antoinette back to John.
"Did you know about the device on Kishi?" John inquired her.
"No, not until after it was discovered by one of the Council. I was one of the ones who was ordered to go remove everything."
"Were you against it?" John asked.
"My opinion didn't matter to the Council, just as long as I did my duty. Who cared what I thought?"
"Gabriel was a renaged scientist just like Janus," Astra added.
Morgan laughed. "It would not surprise me! Janus and Gabriel were best friends and believed in the same things. Gabriel thought he was helping the people of Kishi. The Kishins were like our cousins," Morgan replied. "The Council did not believe in interfering with other cultures."
"You mean people who were beneath them," Astra corrected.
Morgan's lips twitched. "Yes, I believe they were wrong on that belief. It doesn't matter what level of technology or religious background one has, everyone can benefit and contribute."
"Will you stay?" John queried hopefully. "We have travelled here from Earth to learn about you and your people. There is so much we can learn from you."
"Only until Darcy wakes up. Then I must leave."
"Why?" Astra asked.
"By being here it puts me at risk from the Others. Ascended beings are not meant to associate with people on the lower panes of existence. You are meant to work this out on your own. The Others will not like me talking to you, let alone saving Darcy. I am a mother and could not let my child die. The Others would not understand that for it has been a long time for some of them since they walked amongst humans. The device was not meant for men, but Darcy knew what he was getting into even at the cost of his own life. Yet, my heart would break if I was to lose him. I have already lost far too much."
"Can the others detect you?" Astra queried. "What do you mean by have lost far to much? Do you mean Atlantis or Dad?"
Morgan smiled. "You were always the one too ask to many questions. Yes, to both of your questions. You must not speak to him of me."
"Mother! He talks…"
"No, Eibhleann. I forbid it, for this is how things must be."
"It's not fair," Astra complained.
"You can't have everything you want, no matter how much you want them," Morgan said sadly, a distant look in her eyes.
"So, it was true about the males who carried babies did not survive?" Carson interrupted.
Morgan turned to face him. "Yes, that is correct. Men were never meant to carry children. It's something that women seem to bear. Yet, the Kishin's were desperate and considered life more precious then anything else," Morgan explained.
"You aren't worried that your son is…" John's voice trailed off.
"Gay? No. I have always thought he was different to other children his age. I am proud of him and all of his achievements."
Darcy stirred and opened his eyes. He thought at one stage he was going to die.
"Oh. Don't take any notice of what's written in his letter, except for the bit at the bottom," Morgan advised with a smile.
"Mum?" Darcy croaked.
Carson helped Darcy sit up and offered him a sip of water.
"Yes that's me," Morgan confirmed, smiling at him and brushed his hair out of his eyes.
"Hey daddy," Astra teased, placing Jasper in his arms. "Jasper this is daddy, daddy this is Jasper. You gave us all a good scare, Dar!"
"Sorry," he apologised weakly, holding his son close to him.
"We've got a surprise for you," John added, walking over to Darcy and showing him their daughter.
"What the…" Darcy started to say at a total loss for words.
"I told you so," Morgan chided.
Astra ducked her head after she glared at Darcy for smirking at her.
"Why are you here?" Darcy questioned, handing Jasper back to Morgan and reaching for Antoinette. "Hey, Ranita."
"It's Antoinette Rose. I name her after my mum and your grandmother," John corrected. "I didn't think you mind."
"His mum died when he was sixteen of breast cancer," Astra informed Darcy.
"Antoinette's a beautiful name," Darcy agreed, glancing down at his daughter. "They look like you, John."
"They got your eyes," John countered.
"They have a bit of both of you," Astra interrupted impatiently. "Can I have a hold of Antoinette please?"
Darcy chuckled. "Of course you can," he allowed, passing Antoinette to Astra. "Can Ronon and Chiara come in?" He asked Carson.
"Of course they can," Carson granted. "Ronon would be pacing a big hole in the ground out there."
Astra walked over to the door and opened it. She gestured to Ronon and Chiara to come in. When she turned around the archaeologist was surprised that Morgan was still there.
"I would not leave without saying goodbye."
Astra stared at her mother. "How can you tell what I was thinking?"
"It is a Gift."
"Like healing Darcy?" John inquired, not even noticing he'd reached for the other man's hand and neither of them had let go.
"Among other things," Morgan answered. "No, we don't regenerate like your friend does, Eibhleann. I am not sure how much and what kind of Gifts my children have, for I've never really thought about it."
"Do you know how strong they can be?" Carson inquired.
"Being half Alteran they would be powerful indeed and I have been proud that they do not use or flaunt their powers. Our Gifts are not to be trifled with," she cautioned her children.
"I guess Sergeant Bates was right in that regards," Darcy said.
"I would not worry about Sergeant Bates, he means well and is thinking of everyone on Atlantis," Morgan said. "It will be others who will be far worse then him."
Astra's face reddened. "It's rude to read other people's mind without their permission, mother."
"I apologise and stand to be corrected," Morgan replied, trying to sound like the people from Earth. She ignored her daughter's giggles.
"Who's that?" Ronon asked Astra, pointing at Morgan. "Where did she come from and how did she get here?"
"That is Morgan Le Fay, my mother who is an ascended Ancestor," she answered.
"Oh," Ronon said in awe, starring at Morgan.
"It's rude to stare and point," Astra murmured.
"Hello, Ronon and Chiara," Morgan greeted, nodding her head at them.
"Hello," Ronon and Chiara replied.
"You are an Ancestor?" Chiara asked boldly, then ducked her head.
"Yes, we are what you call an Ancestor. We once referred to ourselves as Alteran," Morgan replied. "Astra and Darcy, you honour us and I love you both with all of my heart. I am sorry that I cannot stay longer." Morgan hugged and kissed both her children before she left.
"Whoa," John said in a quiet voice.
"Aye," Carson agreed. He'd been mostly a silent observer through out Morgan's visit and asking the odd question here and there. "I'll arrange the nurses to make up some bottles of milk for Antoinette and Jasper."
"Thanks," John and Darcy said in the same voice.
"Alright, I'll leave you pair to talk and have some time with your babies," Carson said tiredly.
"What time were they born?" Darcy asked.
"02.30," John answered smiling, he to felt tired.
Astra, give John back his daughter," Ronon ordered in a gentle voice.
Astra sighed and reluctantly handed her niece back to her parents. She hugged and kissed Darcy and John before she left holding hands with Ronon.
Chiara went back to Darcy's apartments to give the two men time alone with their babies.
"I hope you aren't mad at me for changing our daughter's name?" John asked.
"No," Darcy said, shaking his head.
"I like it and I'm sorry about your mum."
"Do you think she could be up there with the Other ascended Ancients?"
"It's possible," Darcy said. "I never expected to have twins of my own," he confessed. "Maybe Astra is right about our family."
"Two for the price of one," John commented with a grin.
Darcy snorted. "Next time you can carry the baby."
Of course you would."
"Want to swap?" John asked hopefully.
"Of course," Darcy agreed, swapping the twins over.
"We'll have to tell Elizabeth about your mum. She's gonna be pissed on not being able to meet her."
"John! No swearing in front of Antoinette or Jasper," Darcy scolded.
"Sorry! Dad meant to say that Aunty Elizabeth will be upset," John corrected himself.
There was a knock at the door and Carson entered carrying two bottles of milk. He silently handed one to John and one to Darcy. He then left them alone again.
John took three weeks off from active 'Gate duty to spend time with Darcy and their twins. He let himself into Darcy's apartment and found the other man on the floor leaning against the lounge with Antoinette and Jasper rolling around on a baby blanket that had been given to them by one of the Athosians. Darcy was playing with a rattle to entetain Jasper who would try to reach for it and his father would pull it away from his son, out of his reach.
"That's mean," John teased, picking up his son.
Antoinette was rolling around trying to reach for one of Chiara's beaded braclets. Darcy swooped down quickly and removed it from his daughter's reach.
"No, you can't have that for you will chock on it," Darcy scolded.
"Are you okay?" John queried.
"Yeah, I'm just tired. Thanks for hanging around here and helping with the twins," he said, bending down and picking Antoinette up and sat down on the lounge.
"They're my kids to," John reminded the other man, he sat down next to Darcy with their legs touching as they sat close together.
"I know," Darcy said with a smile.
Darcy glanced at him when felt John brush a strand of hair from his eyes.
"You need a hair cut," John said softly. He'd observed that Darcy had his hair in a small pony tail. He missed seeing the younger man's short curly.
"I'll get Astra to cut it," he said absently, starring at John's lips and then into the other man's eyes.
"You trust your sister with a pair of sciossors?"
"Yup and its free," Darcy replied.
"Maybe you should do it soon before you go back on active duty."
"I'd like a couple of months to spend time with Antoinette and Jasper."
"Yeah of course. I'll return you to light duty."
John looked around the room, like some sort of spell had been broken when he observed his stuff was missing. He didn't let go of the other man's shoulder or remove his head from it, now that it was resting there. He felt comfortable and safe.
"Where's my stuff?"
"In my room," Darcy said shyly, avoiding John's eyes and gently nudged the other man's leg.
"Well, you're here all the time now and sleeping on my lounge. Youre stuff is in my spare cupboard in my room. You can use it, if you want, besides I think you have half your stuff here anyway, seem as you're here all the time now."
"Sorry, I didn't realise my gear was cluttering up your apartnment. I can go back to my own quarters?" John suggested, not that he didn't want to go back to his small, single room with small kitchen and everything else that was small, including his bed. He liked Darcy's apartments which was bigger and more open. It had a friendlier and more family like feel to it. Jasper started to get restless in his arms.
"No! The twins love having you here and so do I," he said in a soft voice.
"Where is Chiara?"
"Teyla took her back to the mainland for the weekend when she went to visit her people. Astra and Ronon are going to have the twins. I wanted a bit of time off."
"Why? You should have said something!"
"I wanted to spend time with you and me. Maybe have dinner with me tonight?"
John starred at Darcy. "Are you asking me out?"
"I guess I am. Would you like to have dinner with me?"
"Yes," John replied without hesitating. 'I'd like to have more then just dinner with you.'
Darcy blushed and ducked his head. John gently lifted the young man's chin and turned his head to face him. John pressed his mouth against Darcy's that tasted warm, soft and moist. The dark haired man pressed his lips against the other man's and both moaned softly. When he slipped his tongue inside, they both fought for dominance.
Darcy was the first to reluctantly pull away when the door bell rang, several times and he could hear voices outside.
"Crap," he swore.
"We're so going to have set up a swear jar in this house," John muttered under his breath, watching Darcy go answer the door.
John stood up when Ronon and Astra walked in.
"Hey, thanks for taking the twins for the weekend," Darcy said, relieved to have time off though he would miss them like crazy.
Darcy hugged his sister and then shook hands with Ronon. He dashed into the twins room where he found Antoinette and Jasper's bag that Chiara had packed for him. His sister was quick to relieve him of Antoinette and spoke to her in Celtic, while his daughter looked up at her with keen interest.
John walked over and reluctantly handed Jasper to Ronon. He then remembered what he and Darcy had been doing before Astra and Ronon arrived. John smiled.
"Did we interrupt something?" Ronon queried, amused by the look across John's face.
"No, why?" Darcy asked confused. Ronon nodded at John and when Darcy looked at the other man his face reddened when John smiled at him.
"Maybe we should go," Astra suggested.
"Take good care of Antoinette and Jasper," Darcy said, kissing both his children.
John did the same with a mixed number of feelings. He'd gotten so used to having them around all the time and he never thought he could live without them. Yet, he knew Darcy deserved a break, as he was their main carer. He also wanted to finish what they had started only minutes ago.
"We'll take good care of them and enjoy your weekend," Astra promised, giving John and Darcy one last hug before she left with Ronon and the twins.
"Where were we?" John asked. "Oh, that's right!" He gave Darcy a sly grin.
He grabbed hold of a surprised Darcy and gently pulled his head back at an angle where he could get better acces to his lips. The dark haired man pressed his lips against the younger man's lips. It was a surprisingly gentl kiss and he pulled the Captain closer to him with one hand resting on his hip and now the other one his lower back.
"Oof," Darcy muttered when John shoved him against the wall.
John broke away from their kiss and smirked when he heard Darcy whimper from the loss of contact. The other man had his head back, his eyes half closed and a smile across his face. His cheeks looked flushed and his eyes aroused. He smiled when he caught John looking at him lust and hunger.
Darcy's eyes now radiated fire and his own hunger for the older man which sent thrills tripping down his spne. John kissed him again, then left a trail of kisses down his high cheek bones and strong jaw line to his collarbone. John started to lick and suck the sensitice area. He heard his young lover moan, feeling him clutch his shoulders. He lifted Darcy's shirt up and over his head, tossing it aside onto the floor beside them.
"Shouldn't we take this to our bedroom?" Darcy gasped when John swirled his tounge around one of his nipples and rolled his thumb over the other one.
"John," the blond man insisted. "I'd like to have our first time in a comfortable bed and not being shagged against the wall!" He groaned at what John's tongue was doing to his nipples.
John sighed and held Darcy's hand, leading him into his bed. It had been something he'd been dreaming of and now it was coming to pass. His dick enlarged and pressed against his trousers. The older man ignored the feeling for he wanted their first time to be special and Darcy had been right, it would be better in a bed then against a wall. He wanted it to be slow and hot, something they'll remember for a long time.
He encouraged Darcy to lay down on his back, looking up at him. He then encouraged the younger man to lift up his bottom by squeezing it. The jeans came off easily with the help of his lover. He smirked at the cartoon boxers that Darcy wore. They were purple with the Tasmanian Devil printed all over them. He then pulled his sock and boots off. All of the clothes landed in a pile beisde the bed. He drank in the sight before him. The young man was laid out on his bed naked as the day he was born with his hands behind his head looking up at him. His legs were spread and his penis was think and large, just waiting for him.
"Like what you see?" Darcy taunted, looking up at his older lover.
John grinned and bent down to kiss him. He left another trail of kisses down to Darcy's collarbone.
"Take you shirt off, Major," Darcy's voice was full of lust and desire.
John obliged and removed his shirt.
"Unzip your pants and take them off."
The dark haired man frowned for this wasn't what he had imagined. He'd dreamt that he would be the dominate one who would have his young lover writhering and begging for more.
"Major!" Darcy commanded, smirking.
John hurriedly unzipped his trouser then rolled off Darcy to pull them off. He then removed his shoes and socks.
"Boxers to." The blond haired man's voice was soft and low.
"You don't have to be so bossy!" John grumbled.
He pulled his boxers off and threw them onto the floor. He swung his legs back over Darcy, eaning against his legs. His own cock was large and dripping a little with precum. He smirked down at Darcy.
"Like what you see?" He returned.
Darcy smiled. "Of course I do and you never really complained about being bossed around," his voice was husky.
"No not really," his own voice sounded husky like younger man's.
John leant over Darcy again and started to lick and suckle each nipple. He head the other man's sharp breath and gently ran his hand over his body until he came down to Darcy's dick and was astonished to find the other man's hand already lasily running his hand over his own cock. The blond haired man reached for the dark haired man's hand to place it over Darcy's cock. John whimpered.
"Fuck!" He swore when dripplets of precum dropped onto his finger from Darcy's penis.
"I hope that's what we plan to do. It's been a while since I've made love with anyone other than my hand, which doesn't really count," he murmured, his eyes watching John and enjoying the older man's reaction. He thrust his hips into John's hand.
John coughed when he heard the last comment. He was close to Darcy's balls when he heard that remark. The dark haired man continued towards his lover's cock. He swirled his tongue around the head of Darcy's cock and the other man trembled.
"God, John!" He was gripping the sheets so tight that Darcy though he might rip a hole in them.
John's tongue was doing some funky stuff to his dick that made him wander how many lovers the other man had in the past. His hips bucked when he felt John's finger slide into him and his eyes went wide. His breath hitched a little a few minutes later when a second one found its way inside of him. Darcy moved his hips impatiently and gave a low growl when his older lover only chuckled softly and continued to suck his cock and slice him open. The young blond man could feel the burning sensation of his arse being opened by tender and gentle fingers that would also stroke his hairy bits.
His sentence was cut short when he howled after a third finger entered inside of him and opened him up completely. He called out John's name, while the older man continued to suck on his dick and open him up some more. He moaned and groaned, he bucked his hips several times, except his lover ignored his invitations and continued to pleasure him. Darcy started to mutter in Celtic, clutching his shoulders and calling out his name.
"I don't know what you are saying, but it is turning me on," John whispered, sharing another kiss. Hearing Darcy whimpering and feeling him writhering beneath him, wanting more.
John finally entered his penis into his lover. He sat there for a few minutes to enjoy the sensation before moving about just slightly. He gently begin pushing inside of the other man and moaned. It had been to long for him and obviously for Darcy. He bent down and placed his hands onto the other man's shoulders. He wanted to watch the other man's face and he wasn't disappointed. He groaned when the blond haired man gripped his cock and returned the favour. They did wicked things to him and only encouraged him to keep up his pace.
"God, you're so hot spread out like this, Dar," John whispered into the other man's ears.
John was shocked when his young lover started muttering dirty talk into his own ears.
"You aren't so innocent like you make yourself out to be," John murmured.
He began to pick up his pace a little and thrusted even harder then before when he felt his orgasim begin to build from the bottom of his groin and spread through out the rest of his body. His body began to shake a little. The younger man decided to sit up to lick and suck his nipples, while never letting go of his own cock. John let out a cry of pleasure after his young lover gave him one last thrust that sent them falling over the edge together, blurring his vision.
When his eyes focussed again, he has collapsed on top of Darcy, who was looking up at him with love in his eyes and looking very satisfied. A smile played out across his lips, his eyes were glazed and his face flushed.
"I'm glad you are satisfied, Dar," John whispered, his throat feeling slightly sore and dry.
"Very and you'll have to allow me to return the favour," he purred.
"You will have to give me some time to recover. I'm an old man," John drawled pleased, now lying on his side looking at his lover.
His head rested on his hand with his elbow propped up. He hadn't pulled out of the other man yet for he was enjoying the sensation of being inside someone.
The younger man didn't look like he was protesting against it or eager to pull away from him. In fact he was leaning into him and left a ghost of a kiss on his pis, leaving him wanting more.
"For someone who thinks he is old, your actions proved otherwise. You're younger then you think you're," the blond man murmured.
Darcy was now looking down at a surprised John. He had skilfully rolled the older man onto his back without slipping out.
"I'm going to fuck you senseless," Darcy promise in a low seductive tone.
John's breath hitched and his body shivered with anticipation from the promise.
At dinner time, John had his arms around his lover's waist, resting his head on the other man's bare shoulder. They were both walking around in their boxers. John was helping Darcy cook, well it was more like he was sampling everything and he knew it was annoying the younger man. They had spent the after love making and the only reason they had stirred from their bed was because John had complained very loudly that he was hungry and Darcy promised to cook him something. They had agreed on a vegetarian stir fry, seem as Darcy was a vegetarian.
"How long till dinner?" John whinned, nuzzling Darcy's neck and leaving kisses across his shoulder. He thought he left a bite mark on the left side of Darcy's neck. He licked it and felt the young man shiver. A mile curved across his lips.
John snaked his arm down and around to the younger man's penis and smirked when he felt it had enlarged again. He chuckled softly when Darcy bucked his hips against his when he started to stroke it.
"Damn it, John! Dinner will take thirty to forty minutes," he gritted out.
Darcy moaned when John pulled harder on his cock and had to hold onto the sink that was in front of him. His head went back when his boxers slide to the floor with help from John. Darcy stepped out of them and John kicked them away.
"What about your dinner?" He gasped, when a finger teased the entrance of his arse. His hands gripped so tight to the sink they were going white and he let out a low moan, his eyes half closed.
"Thirty minutes is all I need," John purred, his voice low and husky.
Thirty minutes later John leant over Darcy, panting with one had holding onto the sink and the other wrapped around Darcy's waist. Darcy was breathing heavily, matching John's breathing.
"So much for being an old man! Can I have my boxers back please?"
John leg go of his younger lover, picked up his boxers and returned them to him. He then did the same with his own boxers. He watched Darcy walk into their room and came out wearing a tight black pair of jeans and a casual white shirt.
"You look nice," John complimented, allowing his eyes to travel up and down Darcy's body.
"I wanted to dress up for dinner. You know a couple of dinner dates before the whole sex thing," Darcy admitted, blushing. "It's not gone exactly how I planned things in my mind." He'd at least ran a comb through his hair. He watched John walk into the bedroom.
It wasn't long before John came out wearing a pair of blue jeans and a light blue shirt. He'd tried to comb his hair and washed his hands.
"Those jeans should be illegal," he complimented Darcy, starring at his arse. "They look way tight and fit your bum perfectly."
"Just come over here, old man and help me with the rice if you want eat. Its your fault if it burns!"
"Well, its not like you said no or resisted," he said smugly, joining Darcy and helping him with dinner.
John and Darcy worked together to set the dinner table and brought each other's plate over. They sat facing each other and John was about to start when Darcy made a disapproving noise.
Darcy held out his hands to John.
"You got to be kidding me?"
"John, I was raised as a Catholic and I still say my prayers," he said impatiently. "Our foster parents are strict Cathloics; no sex before marriage, church every Sunday, Easter and Chritstmas. No red meat at Easter and Fridays. That sort of thing, though the red meat doesn't really apply to me, as I'm vegetarian," he explained. "Please, just do this for me." He gave John his best puppy-eyed look.
John sighed and held his lover's hand. They bent their heads and closed their eyes, while Darcy said a prayer.
"You still believe after everything you've seen?"
"Yes, John. I've seen lots of things and have been through heaps of stuff. It gives me strength and something to believe in. It keeps me fighting and believing there is still good out there."
"It's not what I mean," John said gently.
"I know that. It's just how I feel," Darcy tried to explain.
"You don't have to explain it to me and if that's what you want to do, then you should do it."
"It does explain why you go and see Chaplin Duarte a lot."
"Yeah, and I feel more comfortable around him then say Dr. Heightmeyer. If I really have to go see a shrink, I go see Dr. Strasser."
"You don't like Heightmeyer?"
"No, not really. She's a nice person, I prefer Dr. Strasser. He's been apart of the SGC since the beginning and I feel he's a better shrink then Heightmeyer. Heightmeyer is new to the whole Stargate thing."
"I've noticed that Astra goes to see him to," John said, eating his stir fry.
"Yup. She likes him to. Next time you're forced to see a shrink, go see Dr. Strasser," Darcy suggested. "Would you like some desert?" He offered, his face a pale pink colour.
"Yup," John agreed, smiking and allowed his eyes to travel up and down Darcy, admiring the younger man. He smiled when the other man's face turned a beet red colour. "You blush so easily," he teased.
Darcy stuck out his tongue. "Not me. I'm talking about ice cream," Darcy corrected, his face turned even redder if it was possible. He glared at John when the older man started laughing.
"I can think of a lot of things that I could do with ice cream," John purred.
Darcy groaned and grabbed the ice cream out of the freezer and allowed John to haul him into the bedroom. They spent the rest of the weekend together.
The next few months were busy for both John and Darcy. Darcy survived the nanites that had inflicted a third of the population and killed several expedition members. Darcy had been one of the lucky ones. He spent a lot of his free time helping Radek and Rodney, discovering where the nanites came from and who brought them to the Pegasus Galaxy.
After that they met Chaya Sar. It almost tore out his heart to see Chaya try to lure his lover away from him. Darcy was for the most part trying to be tolerable in her presence and knew that John was being a respectable host towards their guest. He'd caught Chaya making a move on John one night when he'd taken her to dinner as part of their diplomatic relations. After that, Darcy had confronted Chaya on his suspicions about her motives with John and made it clear that he was unavailable. Neither would back down and it was Rodney who had found them arguing and he'd gone straight to John, he'd made it clear that he to didn't like Chaya either and accused her of pretending to be something she was not. Chaya had lashed out at Darcy just as John had arrived with Rodney hot on his heels. Darcy had never seen him get so mad before. In the end, they had discovered that Chaya was an Ascended Ancient who had been punished to protect her planet many years ago. She'd been lonely and when she'd sensed John she'd been unaware that he had a partner. John made it clear that he was unavailable. Chaya explained that she could not help the Atlantean's because of the Others who would punish her and her people if she helped them.
Then there was the Brotherhood incident and the run in with Kolya. Darcy hadn't been apart of the mission, but John had given him a detailed report on it once they'd put the twins to bed and Chiara had retired to her room. Darcy had sworn in every single language he knew when he heard that Kolya had threatened to lock them down in the chambers, which is where they had found the ZPM or the Potentia as the locals called it. They'd lost the ZPM because the new members of the Brotherhood didn't believe they were the Ancestors or the right people to use it. Darcy had sat quietly through the rest of it and he was glad that he had not met this Acastus Kolya person from the Genii. He sounded ruthless and would stop at nothing to achieve what he wanted.
"Will you stop thinking so darn hard and just fix the damn camera," John demanded. "You were the one who insisted on doing this, not me."
"Fine," Darcy growled.
When he was satisfied as to how the camera was set, he went and joined John and the twins after turning it on. They were both dressed in their military gear for the occasion. Antoinette and Jasper had also been dressed up by Chiara for their appearance.
"This is a stupid idea and I can't believe that Elizabeth is making us do this," John muttered, Jasper made a note of agreement. "See, even Jasper agrees with me." He said, holding his son tighter in his arms.
"Elizabeth is going to the tell the SGC what happened whether we do or not. I want my dad to hear it from me first," Darcy said. "Just explain what happened…" his voice trailed off.
They'd both agreed not to sit to close or show any affection towards each other. They wanted to appear professional.
Darcy cleared his throat before he started talking. It was hard to concentrate with Antoinette sucking on the corner of his shirt. She cooed to him and smiled. She was a rather happy and bright baby. Her hazel eyes always watching him. He ran a finger through his hair, a habit he did when he was nervous or anxious. He'd asked Astra to cut it for him and he'd made sure he'd shaved his beard off.
"Um, hi, Jack it's me, Darcy," Darcy said, pausing. "While on an off world planet, Major Sheppard and I activated an Ancient device."
Jack sat in his office watching the tape his son had sent through the 'Gate, along with a lot of other stuff the Atlanteans had sent. He'd been shocked that they'd made contact, but was relieved that they had survived and were alive and doing well. He was watching it on some sort of disc thing, a flash drive or whatever they called it. Jack wasn't one to keep up with modern technology.
Jack had already watched Astra's tape and thoroughly enjoyed it. He liked the look of Ronon Dex after Astra had introduced him as her new boyfriend. Jack thought Ronon looked awkward talking on the video, not that he blamed him and sympathised with the large Satedan. The General, could tell that the young man truly cared for his daughter and Jack was keen to meet him if he ever got the chance.
Watching his son's video was different. The first thing that stuck out was the twin babies that Darcy and Major Sheppard held in their arms. He frowned.
'What does Major Sheppard and the twins have to do with Darcy?' he thought. 'Just shut up and listen, then you will find out.'
"That made Darcy pregnant. We didn't know at the time, it wasn't until he started falling ill and showing weird craving signs that it clicked with Dr. Beckett and Astra, who by that time had translated the text on the ruins," John continued.
"I decided to keep the twins, though at the time Dr. Beckett thought it was only one baby. I couldn't be the one to distinguish a life no matter how they were created. Major Sheppard, Dr. Beckett, Dr. Weir, Astra, Dr. McKay, and Dr. Zelenka were most supportive and had eventually convinced most of the Atlantis population that it wasn't such a big deal. There have been a few problem people we've had to deal with, but that didn't take much at all," Darcy added.
"Are you sure your dad's not gonna freak out and try to kill me?" John interrupted anxiously.
Darcy rolled his eyes. "We've talked about this before. No, he won't freak out and he won't kill you! Stop worrying about it. Well, he could send Teal'c to do it instead," Darcy teased.
"Funny," John drawled.
Jack chuckled, even though he was shocked by the news at what had happened to his son. Darcy was right, he wasn't totally concerned about how it happened and he thought he could read more into the relationship between Major Sheppard and his son. He was well aware that Darcy was gay because of his long term relationship with Daniel before the archaeologist had died and ascended the first time. He had no problems that his son was gay and he liked the Major.
Jack had tried to do some research on the Major, but couldn't come up with much. What he did find, did tell him that he had the potential to be a good leader and he was a good man. Jack was totally over the moon that he discovered that he was a grandfather and was eager to meet his grand children. He was making all sorts of plans for them when they came to Earth for a visit. He knew Darcy would insist on bringing them when they made contact with Earth again.
The only problem was; Jack knew that Darcy and Major Sheppard could be arrested and thrown into prison and it was something he wanted to prevent from happening. He didn't want their family being destroyed like his had. Just as he'd finished watching the tape, Mr. Woolsey from the IOA knocked on the door and let himself in. Jack was getting sick of seeing the man and wanted to shoot him or tell him off, preferably the first option.
"I see you've watched your sons tape," he said in disgust. "It's why I am here," he said with far to much glee in his voice.
"Because an Ancient machine made him pregnant by Major Sheppard and they both had twins?" Jack said, not inviting him to sit down. Jack stayed seated in his chair with his feet up on his desk and his hands in his lap.
"Yes. I also believe they are in a forbidden relationship," Mr. Woolsey declared.
"Forbidden relationship?" Jack asked coyly. 'I'm not the only one to have noticed. Crap, this is all I need and I don't want anything to happen to Darcy or Major Sheppard.'
"Are you trying to ruin my moment that I have discovered that I am a grandfather, Mr. Woolsey?"
"You know once Earth and Atlantis reconnect I can have them both arrested for acting on their feelings whether or not a machine was involved. You can't stop me, General O'Neill. You will no longer be able to see your son or your grandchildren, your moment is over," Mr. Woolsey promised with a smug look across his face.
"You've never liked my children or me from the first day you came here and met us. Whatever your problem is you should just build a bridge and get over it. But, I warn you; if you so much as harm a hair on his head or lay a finger on him, I'll make sure no one can find your remains because there won't be any. You know where the front door is and don't let it bump you on the way out," Jack dismissed, now standing up and pointing a finger at the other man.
"This isn't over yet, General O'Neill!" Mr. Woolsey threatened.
"You know Darcy can decommission himself from his military services and become a civilian doctor? He has a double degree in astrophysics and engineering!" Jack called out after the retreating Mr. Woolsey.
Jack felt a light breeze behind him and spun around. He was astonished to see a familiar looking woman staring at him. The way her auburn hair flowed in the breeze, her red lips, her bright green eyes and other features that stood out were familiar to him. Something nagged at the back of his brain. He watched her sway her hips when she approached him. Even her walk was familiar, yet he couldn't place where he'd seen the woman before and why she would be so familiar to him.
"I think I maybe coming down with dementia. Can you please tell me who you are and if you're good or bad? So, I can decided whether or not to shoot you."
"Jack," the woman finally said with a sad smile across her face. "What are you going to do about our son?"
"Morgan is that you?" Jack queried hesitantly. A switch had automatically flipped over when she said our son.
"Yes, it's me," she confirmed.
"I'm sorry, I didn't recognise you. You look different, all white and glowy. Oh, and aren't you suppose to be dead?! So, how can you be my Morgan?" Jack demanded.
"I'm so sorry about that. I thought you had died on that mission to Iraq. Your superiors came and told me that you had been killed by the enemy," she tried to explain, tears running down her cheeks.
"Who are you really?" Jack demanded.
"It is truly me. I'm what you call an Ancient."
"I don't understand," he said confused.
"Your people call me an Ancient. I was sent to be with you."
"You were sent to be with me? Why?"
"The Others sent me, it's part of some grand plan of theirs."
"I can't tell you their plan. Only that it has to do with Antoinette and Jasper. John and Darcy are meant to be together and were meant to have met."
"So, all this was meant to happen? You didn't really care about me or our kids? When I came back from Iraq, you were gone and so were the twins. Astra told me that she was the one who found you hanging in the tree! How could you do that! They were five years old! I was shattered and it took a long time for me to get over you and what happened," Jack confessed, hurt and anger evident in his voice.
"At first I didn't love you and hated the Others for sending me. Eventually my feelings for you started to grow," she confessed, ducking her head in shame.
"You did? When?"
"Yes, I did. When you took me to Canada. I had a wonderful time with you and I could truly relax and be myself because of you even though we spent a lot of time fishing. It is a memory that I have always treasured. I still love you to this day, but I can not be with you like I want."
"I'm not even meant to be here now or when Darcy had the twins."
"What happened to Darcy when he had the twins and why aren't you suppose to be here? Is that because of these Others? Daniel has mentioned them a few times and something about a line you shouldn't cross; that it can be a very thin line."
"Daniel is correct about the line. Darcy could have died, but I couldn't allow our son to die. Jasper and Antoinette will need him like they do John. It's vital for Atlantis they must survive and remain there. Isn't there something you can do or someone you can call in a favour for to stop that Woolsey guy? I believe he will carry out his threat. All our work will become undone if this happens and it cannot happen," she said anxiously.
"I will try," he promised.
"Otherwise he will have us to deal with," she said.
"I will see what I can do. Will you stay a while?"
"I've already stayed to long and said far too much. The Others will know I've gone if I stay any longer. I will stay in contact."
"Morgan!" Jack began to say and saw her disappear before his eyes. A breeze ruffled his hair. "Shit!" He swore. He went about making some phone calls.
A month later, after they discovered that Teyla had Wraith DNA, and that Rodney had returned from the Ancient satellite where they had lost Dr. Peter Grodin; John and Darcy were standing around in the Control Tower watching the screens. Both were dressed in full military gear. Elizabeth, Teyla, Ronon and Astra were there with them. Jasper and Antoinette had gone with Chiara to their base off world to keep them safe. Chiara had gone with them as one of their guardians. Those who wanted to leave had gone with them, along with some military personal to protect them.
"I'm sure they will be fine," John assured Darcy.
He could see the worry and fear in his young lover's eyes for their children. Yet, he knew Atlantis was not a safe harbour when the Wraith were on their way to take control of the city to get to Earth for their new rich feeding ground.
Chiara was someone they had come to rely on a lot and trusted. They also had come to rely on her help around their apartment and she had become one of their closet friends.
"Chiara will look after them. She's like a mother bear protecting her cubs," Astra assured him.
"They are a handful," Darcy admitted.
"We love them just the way they are," Elizabeth commented.
Darcy nodded. "We should have some men along here, protecting this section," he suggested, pointing at the screen in front of them.
He was about to say more when they heard the 'Gate activate and saw soldiers coming through the wormhole with guns; lots of soldiers with guns. They brought big guns and what looked like rail guns. Elizabeth ran down the stairs with her staff surrounding her.
"Who are you?" Elizabeth demanded.
Darcy had his nine mil ready until he recognised that the soldiers were from Earth, he had noticed the equipment they had brought with them, along with the flags on their uniforms.
"They're from Earth!" He said excitedly, lowering his gun.
"You got the message!" Rodney exclaimed relieved.
"We got your message," the Colonel repeated.
"Who are you?" Elizabeth repeated.
"I am Colonel Dillon Everett of the United States Marine Corps at your service, Ma'am. We know you have three Wraith hive ships headed your way and you are in need of some help?"
"Two, we managed to destroy one," John informed him. "How are you going to help defend the city, sir?"
"Mines, rail guns, and other weapons we've managed to bring with us, Major."
"With all due respect sir, that's not gonna be enough," John countered.
"The Deadalus is on its way, powered by a fully functioning ZPM. Colonel Caldwell will be here within four days. That's how long we will have to defend and hold the city," Colonel Everett informed them.
"You found a ZPM?" Astra inquired stunned.
"Yes. The damn thing was under our noses the whole time," he confirmed with a smile.
"Awesome," Astra said excitedly.
"Yes, very awesome," Colonel Everett agreed.
Colonel Everett glanced around the room and looked straight at Darcy when he found him. He reached into his left TAC vest pocket, opened it and pulled out a letter and handed it to the young man with a grim face.
"Sir?" Darcy said confused and with a little fear edged into his voice.
"A warrant for your arrest," Colonel Everett explained.
"What?! He hasn't done anything!" Astra exclaimed. She knew how much her brother loved being apart of the military and how much it meant to him to be able to fly.
"It's from the IOA. They had somehow ended up with a copy of that video you sent to General O'Neill and want you under house arrest until you can return to Earth to face their questions."
"Sir," Darcy began, his hands started shaking as he read the blasted warrant.
"But, I'm not going to. The IOA and the other big wigs are reading far too much into it. It was a machine that did it and they should leave it at that. Where are Antoinette and Jasper? I should be saying congratulations."
"They are off world with the Athosians and any civilians who didn't want to stay on Atlantis when the siege started. Atlantis will not be a safe place for them when the Wraith show up," Darcy answered, accepting the Colonel's hand and shaking it, feeling very confused at what was happening.
"Good move," Colonel Everett approved. "While you are here, you are under my protection. The minute you step through the Stargate back to Earth, I can no longer protect you."
"I understand, sir. I'm not ungrateful, 'cause I really am grateful. Why would you do this?"
Colonel Everett chuckled. "Your father did warn me that you were clever, very clever. I owe your father one. He got me out of a jam many, many years ago."
"Thank you, sir," Darcy said, relieved at not being under house arrest.
Colonel Everett just nodded at him. He then led the way up the stairs to the Briefing Room. Darcy tucked his warrant into his top left TAC vest pocket.
Six days later they had returned to Earth after Atlantis had been saved. They'd gone through the Stargate to come home because there was enough power now with their new fully functioning ZPM. Colonel Everett had been shipped back to Earth after he had a run in with a Wraith and came off second best. Darcy, despite the Colonel's warnings had wanted to return to Earth to see his father, who was still leader of the SGC.
Upon arrival, Darcy had been met by Mr. Woolsey and some armed men who did not belong to the SGC. There were other members of the IOA present that he didn't know. They were gloating once he and John had been arrested. The twins had been automatically been removed from him and John, and he'd hadn't seen them since. He feared and worried about them and how they were being treated. Chiara had come with them, but could do nothing when they had been taken. Darcy hadn't even had a chance to see his father when his hands had been cuffed behind his back.
The young man had seen his father rush into the 'Gate room with Teal'c, Daniel and Sam by his side. Yet, two men had already cuffed him and had dragged him off. Darcy was pacing in his cell, not knowing what was happening on the outside. He had no idea where John was; just that he was somewhere else on the base away from him. He was starting to fret and get anxious. Darcy didn't like being in the dark and not knowing what was happening.
He'd been literally thrown into his prison cell and as soon as the doors had slammed shut; his captors had beaten and tortured him while Mr. Woolsey had watched. Darcy had refused to give in or to make any sounds of pain. The Captain knew that he had several bruises, a black eye and bloody lip.
Darcy wasn't sure what happened to his sister after she tried to help him. He vaguely remembered seeing her being flung to the floor of the 'Gate room, being knocked unconscious. He'd never seen Ronon so furious and had witnessed him lash out after his partner had been brutally pushed around. Astra was a skilled and trained fighter, but she would have been no match from the powerful Marines and their weapons. He assumed that she would be in the infirmary. After that it had all been a blur. He turned again and when he reached the wall again, he punched it. He sighed and rubbed his hand.
[I]'Bashing walls won't help and will only hurt your hand,'[/I] he chided.
"Mother!" He shouted, he ignored the guard who turned to stare at him.
"Mother! I know you are watching and I need you!" A single tear escaped his right eye. He blinked it furiously away. "Morgan Le Fay come down here and help your son, damn you! I don't care about the Others and they can go to hell for all I care!"
"That's no way to speak to your mother."
Darcy turned around and hugged his mother. "Can you bust me out of here please?"
"I can't interfere, Darcy."
"It hasn't stopped you before," Darcy pointed out. "Me being locked up here wouldn't be apart of your brilliant plans that you and the Others have for me."
Morgan rolled her eyes. "That was an exception to the rule."
"So, I have to be dead or dying for you to save me?"
Morgan winced at the hurt and anger in her son's voice. "I didn't mean it like that," Morgan said gently. "Your friends are helping you even now and you just have to be patient."
Morgan and Darcy turned around when they heard someone call out to him. He was surprised to see Daniel standing there, leaning against the bars with something in his hands.
"Daniel, what are you doing?" Darcy whispered after he walked over to his ex lover and close friend. Daniel pressed something into his hand. The guards have gone to get Woolsey to stop me and I've heard they are getting ready to ship Major Sheppard out within the next hour. I don't know where."
"What are these papers for?"
"Resignation papers so that you can become a civilian. Once you're a civilian the military can't really do anything against you about your relationship with Major Sheppard. The papers are from Jack." Daniel then handed him a pen.
"Thanks. Where is Jack?"
"In his office making phone calls and fighting with Mr. Woolsey who won't let him come and see you. Who were you talking to when I came in here?"
Darcy turned around and observed that Morgan had left when he started talking with Daniel. He quickly flicked through the papers and signed where appropriate without even thinking about it or hesitating. He wanted to do this so he could stay with John and not leave Atlantis, which had become his home. He handed the paper work back to Daniel who ran off out of the room. Darcy went back to pacing.
Daniel ran all the way to Jack's office, when he got there he heard Jack and Woolsey still fighting.
"You can't come in here and arrest people!" Jack said furiously.
"I have a warrant for Captain O'Neill and Major Sheppard's arrest!" Mr. Woolsey shouted.
"Based on your gut instinct! You're condemning good and innocent men!"
"Wait!" Daniel yelled, holding onto the table with one hand and holding up the paper work Darcy had signed in his other hand.
"What is that, Daniel?" Jack asked.
"Darcy signed these papers to become a civilian," Daniel explained.
"What?" Mr. Woolsey said confused.
"These papers mean that Captain O'Neill is now a civilian, not military. Dr. Weir will be able to hire him as a civilian Doctor of engineering and astrophysics. Dr. O'Neill has a double degree in both," Daniel explained passing the papers to Jack.
Jack flicked through it and smiled when he recognised Darcy's signature. He triumphantly handed it to Mr. Woolsey.
Mr. Woolsey read the paper work and saw Darcy's signature. He growled in frustration and tossed it onto the table.
"You can't touch him and you have to release Captain O'Neill and Major Sheppard, you can no longer hold them," Jack said smugly. "Captain O'Neill is now Dr. O'Neill."
Mr. Woolsey glared at Jack and Daniel before storming out of the SGC. The signed papers had been left scattered on the table.
"Thanks," Jack said to Daniel, watching Mr. Woolsey leave with his hands in his pockets, feeling quite smug with himself.
"Darcy didn't hesitate to sign them?"
"Nope," Daniel replied.
"I'll go and fax these off to the right people to get the ball rolling and before I give Darcy the good news that he is a free man."
Within in an hour Jack headed down with a couple of Marines to the prison cell where Mr. Woolsey had been holding Darcy. When he saw Darcy, he became angry after seeing how badly beaten his son was. He could see bruises, a bloody lip and a black right eye.
[I]'That Woolsey guy better not step foot back on my base again,'[/I] Jack thought furiously.
He looked at the guard and nodded to his two Marines to have him arrested. One of his Marines handed him the key before they dragged the man away. Once they were gone he unlocked the door and opened it. He smiled at a surprised Darcy.
"Jack?" asked hesitantly. "What's going on?"
"You're free to go. Once you signed those papers you became a civilian and don't fall under military rules."
"What about Major Sheppard and the twins?"
"I'm here," John announced, stepping into the light so Darcy could see him.
The General's Marines had just freed him and he'd run all the way to see his lover. One Marine had told him that Antoinette and Jasper had been returned to the SGC and were now with Elizabeth and Astra in the infirmary with Dr. Frasier. John stood in the door way for a few minutes and allowed is eyes to travel up and down Darcy. Anger began to build and grow inside him when he saw all the cuts and bruises, and the black eye the other man was sporting. He quickly breached the gap within seconds and flung his arms around the younger man. John normally didn't show a lot of emotions, but he'd been really worried about Darcy and their twins.
"Ah!" Darcy exclaimed, wrapping his arms around the older man.
"Sorry," John apologised.
"I think they cracked some ribs and God knows what else," Darcy confessed, not letting go of his lover.
"You really signed those papers for me?" John inquired looking at him.
"Yes," he confirmed.
"Because you belong with me," he answered, pressing his lips against John's.
"Uh, hum," Jack said, reminding them that he was still there.
John and Darcy quickly pulled away from each other like a couple of teenagers being caught out the back doing the wrong thing. Darcy then threw his arms around his surprised father
"Thanks," Darcy whispered.
"Welcome," Jack said awkwardly patting him in on the back. "Go see Dr. Frasier to have a medical." Jack didn't ask what the guards did to him for he could see the evidence quite clearly and he knew if he wanted too, Darcy would come and talk to him when he was ready.
"I hate what they did to you," John complained, watching his young lover receive stitches, a frown across his lips. He was holding Antoinette who was asleep in his arms.
"They gave you the same treatment and I don't like what they did to you either," Darcy reminded the other man.
"What will happen to Mr. Woolsey?" John asked Jack.
"The President has put out a warrant and we did some really deep digging on Mr. Woolsey. It turns out he was an operative working for The Trust and other such shady people," Jack answered.
"Ouch! You stabbed me!" Darcy complained to Janet.
"I didn't stab you and you need to keep still, Captain O'Neill," Janet said, concentrating on her work.
"Doctor O'Neill," John and Darcy corrected automatically.
"Sorry, Doctor O'Neill. Old habits die hard. That will be confusing with two Doctor O'Neill's on Atlantis," Janet replied.
"I'm sure we will figure something out," Elizabeth said, she was sitting on a chair not to far away. "Have you considered my offer, Darcy?"
"To come back to Atlantis as a civilian Doctor? Of course I have and the answer is yes."
"Good!" Elizabeth approved.
"Great!" Rodney exclaimed happily. He was sitting next to Elizabeth. "You and Radek are the only real brains on Atlantis I can work with!"
"Okay, I'll take that as a compliment," Darcy said. "I thought I was a stupid grunt?"
"You aren't military anymore," Rodney pointed out.
"True," Darcy agreed.
"But if you upset him, you'll have me to answer to," John warned him in a light teasing tone and winked at Darcy.
Darcy snickered. He glanced up at Janet. "Are you trying to kill me with those needles? Seriously, Doc. Ouch!"
"Quit whining. You're as bad as your sister," Janet commented. "I don't want your wounds to get infected."
Ronon stood next to Astra who was holding a sleeping Jasper. He'd remained quiet throughout the exchange between their friends. He elbowed Astra who glanced up at him.
"You should tell them," he prompted.
"Tell us what?" Jack asked.
Jack had automatically liked Ronon when he'd spoken to him while they had waited for Astra to regain conscious in the infirmary.
"Ronon asked me to marry him a few months before the siege with the Wraith. We never really got around to telling anyone and wanted to wait until we got back to Earth to tell everyone," she informed him.
Astra walked over to Jack and showed him the small ring. It was a small bright, blue sapphire nestled into a simple gold band. It looked very old.
"That's wonderful news and I'm happy for you," Jack said thrilled and hugged her. He then shook hands with Ronon.
The archaeologist went and showed Darcy her ring.
"Cool!" Darcy approved, hugging her. He held out his hand to Ronon and congratulated the Satedan.
"Maybe you and Sheppard should get married? You can in Canada," Rodney suggested.
"McKay, I haven't really thought about that and it's the least of my worries. Organizing staff and crew, plus a whole heap of other stuff is more important right now," John told his friend.
"There you go, Dr. O'Neill," Janet said to Darcy.
"Thanks, Dr. Frasier," Darcy said pleased.
"You're welcome," she replied.
At the end of the week, Darcy and John waited for the Deadalus to take them back to Atlantis. They each held one of the twins with all their gear at their feet. Astra and Ronon were nearby looking very happy together as they held hands and waited. Elizabeth and Rodney were talking in low voices not to far from Astra and Ronon.
Astra and Darcy had already said their private goodbyes to Jack before leaving his house earlier that morning. They'd had a really good week back on Earth and doing things they'd missed in between their duties at the SGC. Astra and Ronon and John and Darcy with the twins had all stayed at Jack's place much to his delight.
Jack had used that time to get to know both his future son in laws and his grandchildren, spoiling the later and taking them everywhere with him. Much to the amusement of their parents and aunt. They were sad to leave Earth, but excited about returning to Atlantis.
It wasn't long before they were boarding the ship. One of the crew members directed them to their quarters and discreetly left them to settle in. It was a two bedroom apartment. John and Darcy placed the sleeping twins in their cot in the spare room. Darcy leaned against the rail and watched them with a smile on his face. John sneaked an arm around his waist and rested his head on his shoulder.
"It's been good to see Earth again and my dad, but I found myself missing the sound of the ocean and the smell of the sea air," Darcy confessed.
"Me to," John admitted. "I didn't realise what I had until I left it. I kept thinking of Earth as my home and the whole time Atlantis was where I was meant to be."
Darcy nodded in agreement. "It creeps under your skin when you aren't looking. I noticed that Antoinette and Jasper could never really settle on Earth either," Darcy said, brushing a black strand of hair behind Jasper's ears.
"Rodney says it is going to take three weeks to get home without the ZPM," John informed the younger man.
"I'm gonna go crazy and start climbing the walls in three weeks," Darcy complained. "I am glad to be going home and can't wait to see Atlantis."
"Home is where you are because you belong with me," John said softly, sharing a kiss with his lover. "Besides, I can think of plenty of things that we can to do occupy our time," he purred.
Darcy shivered with anticipation as their kiss deepened.