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Coming into the room where the Stargate was located in Atlantis, Kerrak barely had time to admire the Ancestors’ handiwork before his wife was lowered onto a mobile bed, and a man with dark hair and a different voice than the others stood right next to her.

“Hullo there,” he called out as he pulled a device out of his pocket. “I’m Doctor Beckett. Any other injuries than the gunshot wound?”

“No,” Tharon breathed out as she lay back on the bed.

The doctor turned and regarded Kerrak with a look of concern. “You must be her husband.”

Kerrak nodded. “Will she be all right?”

“Well, it doesn’t appear that the bullet hit any major arteries or vital organs. Once we get her to the infirmary and under a scanner, I will know for sure, but I think Miss Tharon will live to fight another day.” He gave a reassuring smile, then motioned for Kerrak to follow them.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

As John and Elizabeth reappeared on the Atlantis side of the wormhole, they saw the medical team heading down the ramp on the left side of the stairs leading to the control room. They briskly walked up the stairs and made their way over to Evan Lorne. “Major. How are things?”

“Amazingly normal, for once,” he commented with a slight smile, handing her the tablet he had been holding.

She accepted it and looked over it quickly.

Feeling Lorne’s blue eyes on her, she looked up. “Major?”

He frowned in concern. “Ma’am? What happened to your head?”

“Ask Colonel Sheppard.”

“Sir,” he asked, addressing John, “what happened over there?”

“Well, after Tharon told the Council her decision this morning, one of the members decided to stage a coup d’etat. They got into her office and she accidentally got shot in the shoulder. Of course, as luck would have it, that was the exact moment that Ronan and Teyla showed up.”

“We were very fortunate in that regards,” Teyla remarked, joining the group after walking up the back stairwell with Ronan.

John nodded at them. “Yeah. Nice timing. Thanks.”

Ronan shrugged. “It’s what we do.”

Elizabeth leaned a little closer to John. “It’s official. He’s spending too much time with you.”

“You make it sound like it’s such a bad thing.” He added a wink, just for good measure.

“I’m surprised that you didn’t go to the infirmary first thing when you got back, ma’am. Doctor Beckett will have a cardiac when he sees that.”

“Doctor Weir, Colonel Sheppard, please respond.”

Elizabeth chuckled. “He has impeccable timing.” She clicked her earpiece. “Go ahead, Carson.”

“Would ya mind coming to the infirmary? I have something to share with you.”

She looked back up at John, a worried expression on her face. “On our way.” Nodding at Lorne, she and John descended down the back stairwell, heading for the nearest lift.

Once they got inside, and the doors closed to prying eyes, she turned to face John. “Before we leave here, there’s something I need to know.”

John tilted his head in confusion. “Okay,” he said slowly.

“When Cynara’s men broke the door down, and there was a gun pointed at me, did you hesitate?”

He frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Did you have to decide whether to protect me, or to protect Tharon? Or did you follow your instincts?”

He shrugged nonchalantly. “I followed my instincts.”

Elizabeth slowly nodded, then turned around, content with his answer. “Good.”

“However,” John interjected, raising a finger, “my instincts are to protect you.”

He kissed her cheek, and the transporter doors opened to a gaping Elizabeth.

She turned around to skewer him with a glare, but he held his arm out like a gentleman. “My lady.”

Elizabeth couldn’t hold in a chuckle, but instead of laying her hand on his arm, she reached for his hand.

They let go as they walked into the infirmary. Elizabeth walked up to Carson, sitting at a desk and leaning on his elbow. “How is she?”

Carson sighed. “The gunshot wound was clean. It didn’t hit any major arteries, so it was easy to take care of. However, I found something else when I put her under the scanner.”

Elizabeth leaned over his shoulder, and John walked up behind her, hunching over. “Is that what I think it is?” she asked in amazement.

“If you’re thinking it’s a fetus, you’re correct. According to my scans, Tharon is approximately eight weeks pregnant.”

Elizabeth raised her head and looked at John. “That would explain why she ran out of the dining room so suddenly.”

“And why she didn’t have any of the rat’s sin at the party,” John added.

Elizabeth tilted her head, an amused smile appearing. “Raa’zin, John.”

He smirked. “I knew that.”

“Fortunately, the baby seems to be okay,” Carson replied as he turned around in his chair. And without missing a beat, he said, “Bloody hell, Elizabeth. What happened to you?”

“I fell and hit my head during the skirmish.”

“And you didn’t come to see me? I’m wounded, Elizabeth,” he replied with a slight lilt in his voice.

At that moment, Rodney came around the corner. “Hey, I heard about what happened from Teyla,” he said, pointing a thumb down the hallway behind him. “How’s everybody?”

“We’re all fine,” Elizabeth answered as she got up onto a bed.

“So your, you know, head is okay?” he asked in his usual awkward manner, pointing at his own forehead.

“Yes, I am fine, and no, you are not in command of the city.”

Elizabeth could’ve sworn that he pouted slightly. After a moment, he seemed satisfied with the answers and left, mumbling something as he fell out of earshot.

John hovered by the wall as Carson ran his scans and asked Elizabeth questions to ascertain if she had a concussion, or just a nasty bump. His arms were crossed, and his face was dark with worry, but his eyes still shone with affection, and when Carson declared that it was just a bump and dressed it accordingly, he allowed himself to smile.

Elizabeth hopped off the bed and peeked her head around the corner. “Have you told Tharon yet?”

“No. I actually thought it might be better if it came from you.”

Elizabeth felt a little ridiculous at the suggestion. “Me? Why?”

“You have a working relationship with her. And she was very worried about you when she came in. She might like to see that you’re okay.”

Elizabeth knew she could argue her way out if she wanted to, but at the moment, she was too tired to do so. She nodded at Carson, then glanced at John. “Are you coming?”

“Yeah,” he replied instantly.

They walked through the infirmary to an area that had been sectioned off by a curtain. Elizabeth pulled it back slightly and peeked her head through. “Tharon. How are you feeling?”

“Good! Please, come in.”

She drew the sheet back and allowed room for herself and John to walk a little closer to the bed. Kerrak sat in a chair on her left, holding her hand and looking as though he were about to drift off to sleep himself.

After everything that had happened over the course of the morning, Elizabeth didn’t blame him.

“How is your head?”

Elizabeth unconsciously reached up to the bandage covering the cut. “It’s just a cut. Nothing too serious.”

“That is good news.”

Elizabeth looked down at her feet, gripping the end of the hospital bed. “Our doctor, Carson, found something else when he was running some scans.”

Tharon frowned. “What is it? Is it serious?”

Elizabeth cocked her head to the side, and laughed slightly. “Well, it is life-changing. You’re pregnant, Tharon.”

Tharon blinked at her, no expression on her face, then leaned forward, as if she hadn’t heard her the first time. “I’m sorry. What did you say?”

“During his scans, Doctor Beckett discovered that you’re eight weeks pregnant. Which would explain the vomiting and the queasiness you’ve been experiencing.”

Tharon raised her head, eyes wide in shock. “You knew about that?”

Elizabeth nodded. “I had my suspicions. Knowing this makes everything fall in place.”

John raised an eyebrow. “You had no idea you were pregnant?”

Tharon shrugged, then looked sideways at Kerrak. “As Elizabeth said, I had my suspicions, but we have no definitive way to know if we are carrying a child until …”

“Until you get big?” John asked, smiling.

Tharon laughed. “For lack of a better word, yes.”

“Perhaps in addition to the weather radar system, Doctor Beckett can arrange for some pregnancy tests to be sent to Fa’tor. Normally, they can detect a pregnancy within the first few weeks that you begin to suspect.”

Kerrak looked confused. “You’re still willing to help us?”

Elizabeth smiled. “Of course! Why wouldn’t we?”

“Well, after what Cynara did, I suppose we assumed you would think us an unstable ally.”

At that moment, Elizabeth realized that during the course of most of their conversation, Kerrak had been the one to answer questions about their relationship and pose some of his own. Tharon looked on with pride, but her eyes kept drifting to her abdomen, mindful of the small life growing there that she was now responsible for.

It seemed that Tharon was making the transition at just the right time.

She dismissed Kerrak’s worry with a wave of her hand. “Governments go through upheaval all the time. The actions of one with a small crowd of supporters is not normally indicative of the entire population. We would be privileged to keep in touch and continue the relationship that we have formed.”

“As long as we still get some epso beans,” John added for good measure.

The laughter helped to dissolve some of the tension, and John and Elizabeth left to let the couple handle their news. They began walking absentmindedly through the corridors, slowly keeping in pace with each other.

“What do you think will happen now?” John asked, stuffing his hands in his pockets.

“I don’t know. It’s possible the rest of the Fa’torians will accept the change.”

“Do you think they will?”

Elizabeth sighed and stopped walking. “It can be very hard for someone to adapt to a change, especially if it’s one they do not agree with. But over time, it can become easier to deal with.”

John nodded, then started walking again, bringing up the look on Rodney’s face when he realized one of the appetizers at the celebratory dinner was garnished with some type of citrus.

Elizabeth allowed herself to laugh, but couldn’t help but wonder if John had understood that she wasn’t talking about just the Fa’torians.


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