The day Teyla went into labor, he was offworld, in the middle of a firefight.
John had not wanted to leave Teyla's side, but Woolsey had insisted. It was supposed to be a mission to a friendly partner. They needed to renew the trade pledge, and a member of the original delegation had to go. John, Ronon, Rodney, Lorne and his team arrived on Pax and headed for the village to meet with the Council of Elders. The ceremony went without a hitch, the agreement renewed and toasted. The Paxans made good barbeque, and the team enjoyed it. Adria, Elder Hawkin's wife, even packaged some for Teyla. She had asked about Teyla and tendered her congratulations when John delivered the news.
The Atlantean delegation was getting ready to leave when there was a commotion at the gates. All heads had turned at the first shouts, but the sound of gunfire had John and company running, firearms at the ready. Seeing the guards trying to close the gates, John deployed the group. He sent Lorne's group to top the walls and pick off attackers from the high ground while himself, Ronon and Rodney picked off the ones trying to come through the gates.
"We've got about 40 men out there." That was Lorne. "Looks like another group standing off a ways of about 30 more."
"Thanks, Major. Any good news to impart?"
"Yes sir. No one on our side is dead yet."
The guards got the gates closed. There were a few injured, but the Atlanteans intervention prevented fatalities.
John headed up to the top where Lorne was. Surveying the rabble below, a frown crossed John's face. "Johnston, Andrews! Double time it and go get the big party favors and noisemakers! The rest of you start picking off targets, single shot or short burst only!"
Lorne looked at his CO. "The party favors? Using those up close won't be very effective."
John grinned. It was the grin that said he was about to do something really nasty to a bunch of really deserving guys. "That bunch out there is probably the big shots. They're the ones the party favors are for." Motioning Ronon and Rodney in close, John grinned again. "Here's what we're gonna do." When John finished explaining, they were all grinning.
The fight that followed was short and nasty. When the two Marines brought back the RPGs and flash-bangs, John had everyone in place. The numbers had been whittled down, but enough remained. The flash-bangs were thrown first, along with regular grenades. John had sent the Paxans off the wall, but knowing the plan, some returned with wadding in their ears and big shields to help protect the Atlanteans. While the front troops were being decimated, John had Johnston and Andrews target the farther bunch. With their commanders dead, the survivors quickly gave up.
The Paxans put the captives to clearing the dead. They dispatched those too wounded to recover. The dead were stripped of all valuables before being hauled off. The bodies would be taken further away and left for the carrion eaters. The Marine medics helped those Paxans that were injured, as well as the surviving raiders.
After the cleanup and after receiving the thanks of the Paxans, John and company headed for the jumper. He was glad he had decided to bring one, and that he had set it down inside the walls. The Paxans had even reserved a piece of ground for them to land on. As his foot touched the ramp, Adria came up, two bundles in her hands, along with one of the guards carrying two more containers.
"Colonel Sheppard! Here, take these." Adria pushed the bundles into his hands as the guard handed his to the Marines.
Juggling the bundles, John turned towards the Headmistress. "Thank you."
Adria grinned. "The containers are barbeque. We thought you might like some more later. The bundle is things for Teyla and your children. It is our custom to provide for a new mother."
Just as John started to thank Adria again, McKay yelled from inside the jumper. "Sheppard! Get your skinny ass in here! Teyla's in labor!"
Adria heard. "Go, your wife needs you."
John didn't hesitate. The ramp was closing behind him. Rodney had the jumper started up, the flight checks run. John slid into the pilot's seat and broke the airspeed record for making it to a gate. Once the jumper crossed the event horizon, it came to a stop in the control room, level with the gallery. The ramp dropped and John made the leap as soon as he could. He hit the ground running as Lorne flew the jumper into the bay.
When John reached the infirmary, he stopped for a minute to catch his breath and to shuck out of his tac vest and BDU shirt. Kelly was waiting for him and handed him a washcloth and some anti-bacterial wipes. After he cleaned up, she led him to Teyla.
When he entered the birthing room, he took in the scene. Dr Keller was urging Teyla to push while two of the nurses were supporting her. Teyla's hands were gripping the bedrails so tightly that he felt sure the rails would have permanent handprints.
"Come on, Teyla. You need to push!"
"No! Not until John arrives. I am not doing this without him!"
John hurried to the bed and gently moved one of the nurses aside. He then climbed up and positioned himself so that Teyla was leaning against his chest and his lower legs were over the sides of the bed, feet hooked in the structure to provide support. He pried her hands from the rails and crossed her arms over her chest. This meant that he was hugging her and that she could grip his hands easily. He whispered in her ear. "I'm here, Teyla. I told you I would be here with you."
Jennifer was grateful for John's arrival. Once Teyla quit fighting, the birthing went smoothly. After just a short time, an infant's cry split the air. "It's a girl!" she announced as she handed the babe to a waiting nurse.
Teyla had another contraction and a nurse handed Dr Keller a basin for the afterbirth. They were both surprised when a second head crowned.
"Teyla, you need to push again. There's a second baby!"
John could feel Teyla's surprise mirror his own, but pushed it aside as he steadied her and helped her bear down to deliver the second child.
"It's a boy!" was Jennifer's cry some time later as she handed the second child to another nurse before taking the bucket to deliver the afterbirth.
Once the babies were cleaned, Jennifer checked them over while Kelly and Anna moved in to clean Teyla up. John eased out from behind Teyla and started to sit on the bed next to hers when Dr. Strauhan stuck his head in.
"Colonel, come out and give the ladies some privacy while I do your checkup."
John went willingly after giving Teyla a kiss. "Be back shortly."
As the two men walked off, Nick cast an appraising eye over John. "I'm good, doc. Not even a graze."
"No, but I believe you encountered some friendly fire and it's gonna hurt in a minute." Nick stated as he held up one of John's hands.
John looked down. Both hands had numerous small, curved wounds from Teyla's fingernails.
Nick guided John to a gurney and helped him up. Marie came over and drew the standard blood vials. Nick pulled out his stethoscope and penlight. John didn't even flinch at the penlight due to all the endorphins in his system. After listening to his chest, Nick gave him a clean bill of health. "Now let's get those hands taken care of." When he looked at the Colonel's hands, he was dismayed. During the short exam, the left hand had swollen and started turning dark. "Marie, warm up the scanner. Colonel, I think your wife broke your hand."
John looked at Nick then at his hands. They both hurt, but looking at the left seemed to acknowledge its pain and the level increased. Swallowing against the pain and nausea, John agreed. "I think you're right."
Nick noticed the green tint and grabbed a syringe. He quickly stuck it in John's arm and emptied the contents. He held up the empty syringe. "Anti –nausea medication; we keep some filled at all times, especially if your team is out."
John closed his eyes and relaxed. "Thanks, doc."
"You're welcome, and the staff thanks you." Nick brought over a wheelchair. "Now let's get those hands taken care of."
After a scan that determined that he had two broken bones in his left hand, Nick fixed him up. A few of the marks actually needed stitches. They couldn't use plaster because of the wounds so Nick put a splint on similar to the ones used for carpal tunnel patients. Once they were done, Nick and John went back to Teyla and Dr Keller.
Teyla was holding the girl while Jennifer had the boy. "So, Colonel, what are their names? Teyla said to wait for you." Jennifer asked as she handed John his son.
His son. John never thought he'd have one kid, much less two, definitely not three. He'd been thrilled the first time Torren John called him 'Da' and that was before he and Teyla married. When Teyla had informed him nine and a half months ago that she was pregnant, he walked around with a goofy grin on his face for a week. Nothing ruined his mood, not even Kavanagh. Now he had three children, and he vowed to not visit his father's sins on his children.
Now, standing beside Teyla, holding his son and looking at his daughter in his wife's arms, he knew that would never be a problem. Reaching down he stroked his daughter's red-copper hair. "This is Charin Elizabeth," and then he reached up to his son, stroking his dark hair, cowlick already evident "and this is Joseph Aiden."
Looking up, he noticed that the crowd had grown. Ronon, Rodney, Lorne and Zelenka had arrived along with Carson. All of the nurses had also joined the gathering. Lorne brought Torren over and picked him up.
"Hey, buddy. Meet your new sister and brother. This is Joseph and that is Charin."
Torren looked at the two infants. "They're kind of small and wrinkly."
Everyone laughed. "Well, they are now, but they won't stay this way long. You looked like this when you were born and you got big. Soon they'll be big and you can all play together." John told the boy in all seriousness.
Torren looked at his Da. "Okay. Hi Charin, hi joseph."
At that point, everyone filed by to see the babies. John smiled at Ronon cooing to the infants. Just as everyone had seen them, Charin woke up hungry.
"Okay everyone, that's it. Get back to work. The babes are hungry and the parents need some rest and privacy." Nick and Jennifer chased everyone off.
John eased down on the bed, watching Teyla feed Charin while he held Joseph. Teyla hadn't seen his left hand yet, and he wanted her rested before she did.
He held Joseph until Kelly took him and passed him to Teyla. He looked up and saw Teyla watching him.
"Lay down John. You need to rest." Teyla used her 'mommy voice' on him.
"Yes, mom" he told her with a mischievous grin as he shucked his boots. He lay down on the bed on his left side so he could prop his hand on the pillow. He watched her feed Joseph until his eyes slid closed.
Teyla looked at him as she fed Joseph. He was uninjured except for the wounds on his hands. He had fallen asleep with his left hand propped on the pillow beside his head. She thought nothing of this until she shifted and looked closer, noticing the splint.
"He'll be alright." This from Nick as he came through the curtain. "He wasn't wounded in the firefight on Pax."
"There was a firefight on Pax?" Teyla frowned. "What happened? And what happened to his hands?"
Nick sat down on the edge of her bed. "The second question is easier to answer. The wounds on his hands and the two broken bones in his left hand are his birthing pains."
"His..." Teyla's voice trailed off. "I did that? Why did he not say something?"
Nick nodded. "You did. He didn't feel it until I took him away for his checkup. His concern for you and the children and his joy that all of you are okay blocked the pain. As for the rest, it is a long story."
He told her what he knew of the firefight on Pax as she finished feeding Joseph. When she was done, Nick picked Joseph up and placed him in the other basinet.
"Now get some rest and don't be too hard on him. The endorphins in his system truly did block the pain." He stepped over and covered John with a blanket before turning the lights down over the pair.
After a few days, there was a citywide celebration to welcome the new additions. Even the most irascible scientists cooed at the twins. John had given Teyla the bundle from Adria the next day after he woke up. There were toys and some clothes, along with some very soft blankets in the package. The twins were wrapped in those blankets now as they lay together in their crib. The barbeque had become part of the feast, but Ronon made sure that Teyla and John both got large helpings. Everyone got at least a taste and all agreed that it was great.
As they watched over the twins, John and Teyla enjoyed being together.
"I am sorry about your hands." Teyla apologized to him. "I did not mean for this to happen."
"Hey, it's ok. They'll heal."
They fell silent for a few moments watching the population have fun.
"Are you happy, John?"
John looked at Teyla. "Of course I am. Who wouldn't be happy with a beautiful wife, three wonderful kids, great friends and living in the most wonderful city in two galaxies?"
"I just do not want you to feel trapped."
John reached over and turned her head towards his. "I don't feel trapped. I have a family that loves me for me, not for what they want me to be. This is where I belong – right here, with you, our children and our friends. All you've done is helped the roots that I was planting to grow and flourish."
He smiled. She smiled. He kissed her and all who saw it rated it as one of the greatest kisses ever.
--And life goes on--