Lindsey took a deep breath and knocked on the door to her parents' house. As she let it out, she considered very seriously turning around and running all the way back to Atlantis.
This impulse was negated when her six year old step-son came running up the steps behind her. "Mo-om, Beth drooled on the detector again." She turned to say something to Tom, and heard the door open behind her.
Lindsey froze, and looked up cautiously. "Um, hi mom. Long time, no see." She waved meekly, but was saved from saying anything else when Beth began to kick up a fuss at the cold air. Not that Nick actually needed the help, but this was not at all how she'd wanted the first meeting with her mother to go. "I'm sorry; I have to, um-" She grabbed Tom and held him in front of her like a shield. "Tom, this is your grandmother. Mother, this is Tom. I'll be back in a minute."
Tom smiled obediently. "Hello. You're Lindsey's mom, right? It's really cold out here."
Lindsey smiled to herself as she retreated down the steps to where Nick was dealing with a now-quieter Beth; Tom was a born charmer, and afraid of no one. He could handle her mom. She felt guilty about sticking a six year old with breaking the ice, but not that guilty. Unless he spilled something confidential; that could be a problem. She paused mid-stride. Damn. She hadn't thought of that. "Lindsey, relax. It'll be fine." Nick sounded much more confident than she felt.
"But what about-"
"Lindsey." She looked up, and found soft reassurance in his eyes. Well, up until he shoved their daughter into her arms, anyway. "If you're going to cop out, you're going to be useful."
She muttered under her breath as she hefted a backpack while holding the squirming two year old. "It's not like this was my idea to start with. Well, not after you decided it was a good idea, anyway." She hiccuped. "Can we go home, now?"
He threw his head back and laughed, then proceeded to pick up a duffel in addition to the backpack he'd pulled on. "Isn't it normally the boyfriend who's worried about meeting the parents? You've been talking about this for months, Lindsey. Let's at least give it a try."
She scowled. "If you'd met my parents, you'd understand. They'll be nice to you. You're the first guy I've ever brought home, and you're responsible for the new grand-kids. I will get the third degree every time you leave the room for the first four days."
He shot her a disbelieving look, but didn't say anything as he lead the way up the stairs and onto the porch. After some internal waffling, she tried the door and found it unlocked. As it opened, she was met by a blast of warm air - welcome - and the sound of Tom's voice - potentially concerning. Lindsey fought down the tight and panicky feeling in her chest; it couldn't be that bad yet. Right?
"Nope, they got married when I was three. So that Lindsey could become my mom. She's a really nice mom; she lets me play in the labs sometimes and she used to let me talk to the funny man on the ship." Wrong. She was so wrong. They should never have come back to visit; they should have stayed in Atlantis and sent a postcard. Her mother was never going to let this go, even if she didn't know the whole story.
"So who was your mother before that?"
"Didn't have a mama. And my other Daddy died when I was a baby, so I didn't know him. He was a botanist." Lindsey exchanged a glance with Nick, and he set down the bags and headed for the kitchen. "But now I have Lindsey. Well, and Beth. Beth can be a real styervo*, but she's my sister."
Nick stepped into the kitchen and blinked at his son, any consideration for his mother-in-law gone in the face of his son's language. "Where did you hear that? Wait, have you been hanging around with Doctor Zelenka again?" He turned back to face Lindsey, who was standing in the hallway behind him. "I told you he shouldn't be hanging around the labs!"
Lindsey sighed deeply, because this was an age old argument, and of course it had to be the scientists and not the marines teaching Tom how to curse. Tom saved her the effort of a reply, hopping off the chair he'd claimed and walking over to tug on his father's hand. "Wasn't Doctor Z. Was Doctor V. She was talking to Miko-san."
"Like that's so much better." Nick paused. "I didn't even know Miko knew how to swear."
"Miko works with McKay, Nick."
Tom nodded solemnly. "She and Doctor Vaitsulas have contests."
Nick opened his mouth, and then shut it again. "We'll talk about this later." He gave Tom a warning look. "I'd watch my language until then, young man."
Tom gave his own put-upon sigh. "Yes, Dad."
The typical family moment was interrupted by Mrs. Novak clearing her throat pointedly. Things went downhill from there.
The next morning, Nick and Lindsey woke to a scream. They were halfway down the stairs, Lorne with his sidearm in hand (because no matter what anyone said, off-world was still off-world), before they realized that it had been Lindsey's mother who had screamed. Now doubly concerned, the two sprinted for the kitchen. They paused outside the door, and Nick gave a three count before they burst in. He deferred the lead to Lindsey - it was her family's home, and she could read a situation more accurately. When she motioned him to stand down, he was glad he'd done so, because they didn't find a crisis. Or a disaster. Or any cause for alarm, as far as he could tell when he entered a moment later. A drawn sidearm would have made the situation a hell of a lot worse.
Tom was sitting quietly at the kitchen table, disassembling the Beretta that Nick had given him, and Mrs. Novak (Carol) was standing next to the stove and ringing her hands. "Lindsey! Thank God!"
Lindsey blinked. "What's going on?"
"Tom is playing with a gun. I just. I don't know enough to take it away safely. And he said you" Carol glared over at Nick "gave it to him."
Lindsey turned and raised an eyebrow. Nick shrugged. Was that what this was about? "I knew he was going to have problems with the time-change. Since we're going to start importing the Berettas again I thought I'd let him start getting familiar with it so he'd have something to do." Lindsey blinked in that way he knew meant a rant was coming, and he held up a hand. "What, you don't think I'd give it to him loaded, do you?"
"Oh. Mm-kay." She turned back to her mom. "Where's the coffee?"
Nick knew he was in trouble - serious, you defaced our most sacred temple of tava beans trouble - when he entered the kitchen and found Carol casually reading the newspaper. He knew this because he was a keen observer of human nature (it paid to be, in his line of work). Well, and by the fact that she was holding the newspaper upside down. He debated a tactical retreat, but any hope at all of pulling it off was dashed when she looked up. "Good morning, Nick. I trust you slept well?"
He edged further into the kitchen, and calculated the distance between Carol and the coffeemaker. Yeah, he could get coffee and not look too much like he was trying to stay as far away as possible. He really wished he hadn't left his gun in the bedroom. Coffee appropriated, he eased into the seat across from his mother-in-law and hoped he wasn't actually broadcasting his anxiety. "Fine, thank you."
That was the cue she had been waiting for, and she set down the newspaper. "Lindsey and my husband took the kids to a park down the street, since it's so warm for this time of year. I wanted a chance to get to know you a little better. So tell me, what is my daughter to you?"
Fifteen years in the military served Nick well; he nodded and took a sip of coffee instead of answering.
Translation: styervo (n.,noun) † swine, crook, scoundrel, bastard/bitch. (Litt:cadaver) note see padl/o. This one seems to be some stronger. Can be combined with an adjective or a participle; e.g. "Ty styervo ebannoye". (from this translation site. No idea how reputable. Shrewreader had gone to bed, or I'd have picked her brain).