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The team met downstairs for their last meal with Kerrak and Tharon, and afterwards the two female leaders whisked the new prime minister away to give him a quick tutorial on how to deal with the new changes in his role. John caught a glimpse of Elizabeth winking at him as she walked out behind the married couple, a mysterious smile on her face.

He quickly returned it, then snapped his head back to his team and made sure they didn’t see anything.

Afterwards, he went back upstairs and packed what few belongings they had brought with them in the sturdy black packs. He pulled the zipper closed on Elizabeth’s, and as John reached to grip his, he caught a movement near the open doorway out into the hallway.

“I thought you’d be with Elizabeth,” he greeted with a smirk, looking up at Teyla.

She shook her head. Her arms were crossed, but her smile was warm. “Elizabeth doesn’t need any help. For that matter, I don’t believe that Kerrak does either. He seemed ready and prepared for what he is about to undertake.”

John sat down on the bed and let out a long sigh. “I wish I was,” he begrudgingly replied.

Teyla frowned as she walked in the room. “What do you mean?” she asked, taking a seat next to John on the bed.

He began to study the toes of his boots as he cleared his voice. “Nothing.”

She chuckled softly next to him. “John, you were never good at hiding things from me.”

He looked up, suddenly serious. “Well, maybe, this one, I should.”

“Does it have something to do with you and Elizabeth?”

John nodded, then stood up. “I think we decided to give it a try,” he answered awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck.

Teyla stood up as well, tilting her head. “But?”

He pressed his lips together, then blew out a breath. “You know how you want something so bad, and everything seems to be falling into place, but it’s happening almost too easily?”

Teyla blinked at him. “I suppose.”

“That’s what it feels like right now. This thing, with Elizabeth. I mean, I like her a lot. Hell, I even--”

Love her?” Teyla filled in before John could insert whatever synonym he had to stop and think about.

He stood with his mouth open, then pointed a slightly accusatory finger at her. “It’s not nice to interrupt,” he sarcastically commented. He glanced back at her, almost apologetically. “But yeah.”

Teyla sighed sympathetically. “But you believe that it’s in vain to even attempt to have a relationship?”

“You remember what happened when I first brought up the subject to Elizabeth. We slammed the doors so hard, I think the villagers working out in the fields heard us!” He shook his head. “Part of me thinks that Elizabeth got caught up in the moment, and said something that she might regret once we get home.”

“She admitted she has feelings for you as well?” Teyla asked cautiously, raising an eyebrow.

John bit his lip and nodded.

Teyla narrowed her eyes at him. He knew that look too well. Once again, he had stuck his foot in his mouth and said something that he shouldn’t have, and she picked up on it. “What do you mean, she got ‘caught up in the moment’?”

“They had sex,” Ronan replied simply from the doorway, where he leaned on the frame.

As Teyla turned around in surprise, John groaned at him. “Jesus! Where the hell did you come from?”

Ronan only shrugged. “Don’t change the subject, Sheppard.”

Teyla turned back to face John, casting a suspicious gaze on him. “John?”

He growled and resisted the urge to stick his tongue out at Ronan.

The Satedan only smirked at him.

His dilemma was suddenly resolved by an all too familiar and welcome voice in his ear. “John, what’s your status?

He clicked his earpiece, maintaining a glare leveled at Ronan. “All packed up and ready to go,” he replied coolly.

What about Teyla and Ronan?

Eager to get home,” he replied, throwing a look over his shoulder at Teyla.

She held in a chuckle, but acknowledged the gesture. She walked to the exit and grasped Ronan’s arm, pulling him away from the doorway.

He sighed, then pressed his hands to his hips. “How’re you doing?”

Good. I think I’ve done all that I can do. I have every confidence in Kerrak and Tharon. At this rate, we’ll be getting espo beans for a long time.”

“Well, that’s good,” he replied with a chuckle.

He heard her laugh softly, and then she sighed. “Our hosts want to say goodbye before we leave.”

“All right. I’ll grab your gear and meet you downstairs.”

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

Elizabeth waited with Tharon and Kerrak at the bottom of the stairs as she kept stealing impatient glances upwards. Ronan and Teyla had already descended and begun to say their goodbyes.

Ronan’s, as usual, were brief and curt. Despite their short stay with them, the Fa’torians didn’t seem to expect anything different.

Ever the diplomatic native of the team, Teyla was smiling as she talked with Tharon, discussing the next eight months that the former prime minister had to look forward to.

Even though she had just learned of her pregnancy, Tharon was already keeping a protective hand over her abdomen. Carson had prescribed her a series of prenatal vitamins, and she left Atlantis knowing that if she ever needed anything, their doors would always be open to her. Tharon had tried her best to assure the doctor that there were midwives on Fa’tor who had experienced this situation many times before, passing the knowledge gained over the generations onto the next, but she still gave him permission to make regular visits to check on her health.

Kerrak was holding his head higher than he had. Perhaps it was the news of impending fatherhood as he gave a smile that seemed to show more teeth than he really had. Or maybe it was the knowledge that he was starting an era of change for his people. For their people. After spending part of the morning with him, Elizabeth was amazed by his mildness and his reasonableness. With all the experience that Tharon had from her family, combined with his own unique traits, she predicted that Kerrak’s time in office would be monumental and beneficial for generations to come.

Elizabeth heard the footsteps on the creaking wood before she saw John.

She looked up at him, and didn’t bother to hide a smile.

He walked over to her and held her pack out in his hand. “You want to carry this, or do you want to use your indentured servant one last time?” he teased.

She raised an eyebrow, feigning arrogance. “I’m competent enough to carry my own clothes, thank you very much!”

Tharon chuckled. “I cannot thank you enough for everything that you have done for us. I look forward to our dealings in the future.”

“As do we,” Teyla agreed, nodding at her with a gracious smile.

Rodney walked in from the corridor that led into the Council chambers, holding a tablet. “Okay, we’ve got everything set up for you, and I explained to three of the Council members how the radar system works. Any problems,” he told them, handing the tablet to Kerrak, “you know who to call.”

“I have no doubt that this will prove immensely helpful for us. Thank you again.”

Rodney smiled briefly, then sniffed the air. “Do I smell food?”

Smiling, Ronan smacked him in the arm and nodded to the doors leading outside. “Wait til we get home, McKay. Chef said she’s making something special for you.”

Teyla and Rodney followed after him. “Yeah, last time she said that, I ended up with hives…”

Elizabeth watched them leave, and turned her attention back to John as she slid the straps over her arms. “Well, I suppose we better get going,” she said in resignation.

He nodded, then turned to face Kerrak and Tharon. His best neutral smile graced his handsome face. “It’s been an interesting couple of days.”

“I hope your next visit will not be as exciting,” Kerrak replied with a smirk, extending his hand.

John shook it, then nodded respectfully at Tharon. “Ma’am. Congratulations again.”

“Thank you, Colonel.” She looked at her still flat stomach, considering it for a moment, then looked back up at them. “It is amazing how something so unexpected and not planned can change your life so wonderfully.”

As they finished saying their goodbyes and John and Elizabeth began to walk towards the door, she realized that Tharon wasn’t just talking about her recent news.

Elizabeth stopped and turned, gaping at Tharon. She only smiled back and pointed to the doorway. “I believe your husband’s waiting for you.”

True enough, John had halted by the doorway and was sending a curious look in her direction. “You okay?” he asked when she neared him again.

She smiled and slipped her hand into his. “Let’s go home, John.”

Just before they stepped out into the sunlight, she pressed her lips to his cheeks and he squeezed her hand tighter in response.

At this point, she didn’t care about what anyone might say. She held his hand all the way to the Stargate, only letting go a second before they entered the wormhole.


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