by Mytryk. Isn't it pretty?
Redemption From Upon High.
Lo, and those that are reborn over and over are meant to redeem those they are born to.
To better humanity.
To make their parents whole.
To create new worlds.
To make peace and happiness.
Though that does not mean that one should not watch out for the Redemption Children.
They are not normal.
They are not peaceful.
They are those who show the path, not lead or guide down it.
To one born, a child is given.
A wish created and a wish granted. A wish given.
No others may interfere.
No one can stop the cycle.
The choice is theirs about redemption and relief.
Lo, hark and heed these words, all ye who may be born or need redemption.
Giles shut the book that he had been reading from. "It's a fascinating myth," he told the listening children. "One that seems to be point at the earliest wish demon granting." He put the book back. He was sure that wasn't a problem at the moment.
"Is there always one around?" Buffy asked him.
"No. The last known one was born in the 1930's." He smiled at her. "It's for those who have a great destiny that they can't fulfill because of something else going on in their lives. Basically, a child is born or given to them, giving them something that makes them remember that humanity wants and needs their belief and skills."
"So... if I suddenly get pregnant..." Buffy said dryly.
He looked at her. "I don't think you'll ever get that low in your belief that some are good, Buffy."
"Do you think any were around during World War II?" Willow asked.
"I doubt any of those bastards were ever worthy of even the thought of redemption," Xander pointed out.
"Yes, but there were scientists then that could've used them. They saw their great inventions turned to weapons."
Xander shrugged. "Then maybe the one in the 30's was born to one of them," he said.
"The one in the 30's was born to a man whose second son became one of the most influential quiet diplomats and doctors," Giles told them with a smile. "He never overtly spoke out but what he did healed some rift relations and got a lot of people to see the humanitarian aspect of being a physician."
"Oh," Willow said, considering that. "Huh." She went back to researching. "Do we think there's one around now?"
"It's said, according to myth, that whenever the rumors of the myth show up, one's been born," he admitted, taking off his glasses to stare outside. "Perhaps there's one about now."
"Would it be near us?" Buffy asked. "Do I have to watch out for him or her?"
"No." He smiled. "They have their own protections. They wouldn't be here anyway. Some year one of us may run into one. That's usually how the rumors come to the attention of those who aren't directly affected." He looked at his motley bunch of children, staring at the only male member. Something was seriously odd about the expression on his face. "Xander?" He looked at him. "Did you think of a question or an idea?"
"Wondering if maybe our friend Jesse wasn't one," he admitted quietly. Willow gave him a dirty look. "That sounds a lot like him. Helping people see that humanity isn't all bad. He even helped Cordelia see that a few times."
She snorted. "I doubt it. Jesse was just as normal as you are, Xander." She got back to her research. What a dumb idea.
Xander looked at his books, getting back into it too but he did wonder. He had no idea who the others were born as. He couldn't tell them either. Not unless he caught them working. Then again, he never knew who he was sent to help either. Not like they gave him dossiers.
A few months later, Xander wasn't sure which one he was supposed to be helping. Himself, Buffy, Faith, Willow? He looked up once he was safely locked in his room. "This once, can I please have a file?" he asked quietly. "Or a mystical twin." No answer but he had known there wouldn't be one. "Why can't I get the easy assignments?" he muttered.
"This fucking sucks." He sat down to do his homework. He still had to graduate and it was looking like a slim chance that he'd live through graduation. It was also looking like a slim chance that he wouldn't kill whoever he was sent to encourage and redeem. Because if it was one of the girls, they were about dead by his hand.
A wish demon showed up, staring at him. "You can't do that," he said quietly.
"The hell I can't."
"Okay, so you can." He stared at him. "It can't be that bad." Xander shot the whole situation over to him. "So maybe you have multiple reasons. I don't know. You still can't kill them."
"Yes I can."
He sighed. "You'll be getting some help soon but she won't know it's part of a larger plan. D'Hoffryn is very pissed that it's needed." Xander shrugged, looking displeased. "Are you really ready to give up on them?"
"Yes. Because they never learn. Some backslide but she never learns."
"Let me look it over, talk to the older ones, see if maybe we can get some help." He disappeared to warn D'Hoffryn the Redemption Child was about out of patience and going to let this one hang, which would see all of humanity killed. If he did, it was only a matter of time before something got them all when she lost an apocalypse.
That's why they sent the warrior child of the group to her. And the slayer. They could both use it. D'Hoffryn was already frowning when he appeared in front of him. "He's starting to sound like he could use one of his own."
"I can see why," the elder demon agreed. "They could use more there. Perhaps he needs a new strategy." He changed things around so that something could happen. It would probably bolster their ability to see him. If not, it would bolster his own confidence to handle things. Of course, the child would not like it. He'd be getting sworn at again.
The lesser one looked then at him. "He might not go save them. He's inches from declaring them unredeemable, Lord D'Hoffryn."
"He cannot. Then all of humanity will die." He went to talk to the boy himself. He found him finally asleep after having taken something like a sleeping potion. Not too much of one but enough to knock him down for the night. Apparently he was having his own problems in this incarnation. They would have to bolster him with some support. This was a hard assignment and everyone was counting on one small child.
Four years later, after Sunnydale fell in and all that was done with, Xander looked around. He could feel the pressure to bring him back to the realms. It was like an ache, which meant he had a problem assignment that they desperately needed to take him out this way. He looked at Buffy, Willow, Dawn, Giles, Faith, and the others. He stared at Buffy, then at Willow. "You know, it was really hard reminding you two of your humanity sometimes." Giles gasped, staring at him. "I don't think I succeeded about half the time. Most of the time, I thought you were truly lost."
"What?" Buffy asked.
"Try to teach the minis better, Buffy. They need it even more than you did because they'll take your example and run with it. If they have friends, they'll do the same damn things you did." He looked up. "All right already." D'Hoffryn appeared. Xander looked at him. "What's so important you take me now?"
"Another who will never survive and humanity will not either if they lose. Otherwise I'd leave you here until you died, Warrior Child."
Xander shook his head. "No. It's well past time." He looked at his 'family' for lack of a better word. "Remember what I taught you. For once? Please?" he asked then they disappeared. The body went up in a gout of flame, then went out just as fast.
"Oh my God," Dawn whispered. "What the hell was that!" She glared at her sister.
Giles sighed, looking at the girls. "That answers why we found that prophecy about redemption children." Buffy and Willow both went pale. "Now we know why he was always there to help us when we most needed it." He walked off.
"Excuse me? Must've missed that meeting," Faith called after him.
"There's a funny prophecy about a child showing up at a bad time in someone important's life to remind them that they have a reason to go on," Willow said quietly. "I guess he was ours." She looked at Buffy, who was still staring at the charred mark. "C'mon, we'll go rest." Buffy nodded, letting Willow lead her off.
Dawn sighed, looking at Faith. "That meant he was there to remind them of being human and the reason to go on."
Faith nodded. "He's one reason I kept in my head too." She looked at the minis, who were sniffling. "C'mon, let's go. We'll sort this out later." They followed her back to the busses so they could go to LA. Dawn helped her. Buffy and Willow would be a wreck for weeks on end about this.
Xander looked at the one who sent him on assignments. "Okay, what's the emergency? And why me?"
"You have two choices, both dangerous," the higher being admitted. "Usually we would not, but they could both use you."
Xander nodded. "Okay. Do I actually get to know which one I'm helping this time?"
"Yes. You're helping one of ours and the rest of his people."
Xander stared. "I could've used that."
"We sent you Anya."
"That didn't really give me a reason to keep going on. A reason to go take a nap a few times but not a reason to get out of bed beyond her wanting things."
"Sorry, I miscalculated. This time, you are what is needed. It's very dangerous. You'd be in a war zone."
"As opposed to the one I just got out of?"
Xander nodded at that. "Whatever. Why has he forgotten?"
"Because too much has been seen."
"So he's at my level of burnout?"
"Fine. Send me." He closed his eyes. The transfer always hurt. This time wasn't any exception to that rule. It took even longer too. So he wasn't on earth. Yay! He opened his eyes as he crawled out of the 'ring of the ancestors' as his new information told him. The villager stared at him in awe. He cooed at them. Since he was barely crawling it was all he could do.
He grinned too. That always made them relax when a baby suddenly appeared in their lives. The one time he had scowled they had put him to death for being a demon child. Then that one had died because no one else was going to go near him. He crawled to her and patted her leg, smiling and babbling baby noise at her.
"Oh, my. Guardian!" she shouted. People came running. The elders came too and pushed their way through the crowd. "He came through the ring." She pointed at where it was cycling down. "By himself."
One of the elders stared at him. "He seems normal but is clearly a gift of the ancestors." He picked up the baby carefully, which made him babble at him. He smiled. "Yes, you are clearly a gift." The baby cuddled him. "We will watch this one." The others relaxed and followed him back to the village. It was unusual for anyone to visit them. The baby was taken in by the whole village. He crawled around, babbling at everyone, whenever he wanted. They all fed him and helped change him. The one older woman who foresaw things got a lot of attention. They all smiled at her whenever she had the child.
She saw something the third day. "We are getting visitors," she announced. "Peaceful warriors. Lanteans."
"Is that why he came now?" the elders asked.
"Yes. Because the wraith are coming again soon. We must get them to shield our gate or we must destroy it in a way that means we can leave if we must."
The elders gathered to talk about it until the strangers showed up. They were a friendly group, had a person they knew was Athosian. The child took to them and they realized what it was.
The elders took the warriors in to talk to them. The baby followed. The loud one looked down at it. "Why are you following us?" he asked. The baby smiled and patted him on the leg. "Yes, you're adorable, but shouldn't your mother be taking care of that messy butt you have?"
The seer came to take care of the child then put him back down. "He was a gift from the Ancestors." She smiled. "He appeared three days earlier. It was the sign that we needed to do things differently." She left them alone.
"It is said that a child appears like that when a warrior has lost all hope," the female told her teammates. "They are always a gift of the Ancestors." She smiled at him. "May I hold you?" She didn't notice one of her teammates stiffen slightly.
The baby cooed and petted the other two mens' legs on the way to her. He snuggled into her lap.
"So they're like haresis children?" Rodney asked. "Like they carry knowledge of the ancestors?"
"No," Ronon said, taking him to hold. The baby played with his hair, making him smile. "A child who mysteriously appears in one's life means that the Ancestors knew that you were about to give up when all could be lost for everyone. Some of the greatest warriors of our galaxy have had one show up to them during their darkest days."
"Do we know how they show up?" John Sheppard asked. The baby waved at him so he smiled and waved back. "Hi." Something felt familiar about the baby. He wasn't sure why. The baby reached for him and he picked him up to hold, staring into his green eyes. That's when he realized. "You came to see us, didn't you?" The baby smiled and cooed at him. "We can't take you home, little guy. We're in a dangerous spot." The baby fussed so he handed him back. "I have no idea what to do with them." Mentally, he was swearing at the higher ups for putting a child into their path. He hadn't lost all hope yet. Though, he had felt it slip a few times.
The elders smiled. "He seems fated to come to you since we must protect our gate. Our seer has said the wraith are coming back."
"There's two main ways and I'd have to look at your gate to see if they had built in a shield," Rodney said. "I can teach you how to take care of it in a way that means it won't dial in."
"Please. We must protect ourselves. The child has given us much hope of surviving this new culling period and thriving." They went to the gate with their warriors so everyone could learn. That way the knowledge wouldn't be lost.
Rodney checked it. "They didn't build a shield in. So we'll have to take out the main crystal." He looked and waved them forward. "If you remove these three crystals, and put something solid in their place so no dirt, sand, water, anything can get into those spots, your gate will not work." He looked at them. "You remove a crystal this way." He showed them. "Those silver contacts must stay clean and silver to put it back in."
"We can work on that," he agreed, smiling at the others. "Come see." They watched him remove another to check it and then reinsert it. It was fairly simple to do. The elder smiled at Teyla. "We will reopen the gate for one day a month, on the last trading day of the month."
"I would not be that routine," she warned. "Go out for trading instead of letting people come here. Set the time for when they will come back."
"I can see that point. Thank you." He shook her hand. The baby was clinging to the large warrior's braids, playing with them. "It seems he has found the one who needed him," he said quietly.
She smiled. "Atlantis is in the same danger. We have been attacked many times. It is no place for a child."
John looked at them. "We can't take him home with us. The leaders won't allow children on the city right now."
The elder smiled. "There is often nothing that will stop one of those children when they get where they need to be."
"So I'm starting to realize." He smiled. "Let's go back to talking about the trade things we can offer?"
"Gladly. Leave the gate broken for right now. We can redo it before they leave. Someone carve plugs to guard those spots." They nodded and measured them. The crystals were put into boxes that had held jewelry. They would take very good care of those crystals.
When it was time to go, John made sure the baby was safely sleeping somewhere. That way he couldn't follow them back to the jumper. They took their leave, Rodney watched them put back in the crystals, and then they went to the jumper. He lit it up as he walked in. He sat down in the pilot's seat, checking the readings. "We have four people and a radiation signature. Rodney, what did you bring since it's next to you?"
Rodney looked. "Nothing." He looked around again. He looked in the compartment under the seat, finding the sneaky little shit. "I think we have a problem."
"We cannot take the baby to Atlantis. Woolsey will shit."
"We may have to," Teyla said. "We may be the ones he came for." She shrugged. She and Ronon had accepted the child's gift. They had both needed a reason to go on.
John got up and went to talk to the elder, who was firm in his belief that the child had made his decision and no one could counter the decision of a gift child. John huffed but went back to take them to Atlantis. They could bring him back in a few days, when the kid got bored or scared by the Marines. He was sure there was some sort of protocol for that too. He got them back to the city and landed, looking at his team. He called the head diplomat and Woolsey down. The baby cooed when Woolsey walked in.
"What was that?" he asked.
"That was a gift child," Teyla said. She looked down. "He will not harm you if you wish to come out." The baby crawled out and to John, who groaned but picked him up. "A gift child appears from the ring when a warrior who is needed and will help protect his people has lost faith."
Woolsey nodded once. "All right. Why is it here?"
"The elders are right, a gift child cannot be made to change his mind," Ronon said. "There are many stories among both our peoples about them."
"Then why is it here?" he asked again.
"Apparently it likes John," Teyla said with a smile for her team leader and friend.
"I didn't think I had given up hope." The baby sucked on his neck so he looked at him. "I'm not a bottle."
"Oh, you're helpless," Rodney muttered, taking the child. He had an extra bottle of water and let the baby sip at it. "We have no idea. The jumper reads him as a radiation sign, not a person."
"So ... is it ascended?" the head diplomat asked.
"We have no way of knowing," John quipped. "He showed up three days before we got there."
"Ah." She nodded. "Well, it wouldn't hurt to scan him."
"Children should not be on Atlantis," Woolsey said.
Teyla stared at him. "Some day I may have a child, does that mean I will no longer be welcome?" He gaped. "It is imperative that I do to keep my people going."
He groaned as he walked out. "Get him scanned, Sheppard."
"Yup. Let's hit the infirmary, people. Rodney, give them the notes on the people we just met." The baby reached for him, fussing some. "What?" Rodney handed him back. "I'm not your daddy, little guy. Really. Want Ronon?"
"No, it appears he knows who needs him right now," Ronon said, standing up. "It's a great honor." They walked out together, John carrying the baby. It was odd, John didn't usually react to children that way.
John was mentally ranting at the people who had sent him to his last assignment. He didn't need rescuing. The baby stared at him. "Do you have a name?"
"They did not give him one yet," Teyla said with a smile. "They were talking about what one would be appropriate." The doctor looked up as they walked in. One of the Athosians was in there. "A gift child appeared."
"Oh, that's wonderful!" he said happily, smiling at the baby. "I hope you will visit. Many of us need such hope as well." The baby cooed and waved at him, babbling. He grinned. "It is a great sign. I will tell the leaders, Teyla." He got up once they finished stitching his arm and went to get a ride back to the settlement.
John sat the baby on the bed. "For some reason the jumper read him as a radiation signature." The city put a beam over him before they could move, making the baby giggle and stare up. "Maybe he is a haresis child."
"The scans don't say he's ascended. He does show some radiation. It's leaking out. The city's fixing it." The beam went out and the baby babbled and waved at them, smiling and happy. Even after peeing on himself. "I think he needs changed."
"Probably but I don't know how to do that," John said dryly.
"I do," Teyla promised, taking him to change in the bathroom. She came back with him in just his diaper. The baby was wiggling and giggling, which made her happy. "I hope my future children are as happy as you are." She put him back on the bed. "There, now we can examine him."
The doctor gave him a full exam. He was perfectly healthy, happy, content, well fed, had good muscle mass. She ran a scan on his DNA and groaned. "Sheppard," she said, waking him up. That part had taken a while and they weren't moving from the infirmary until the baby was processed. "Woolsey to the infirmary," she called over the intercom. She hung up and looked at him. "The child is yours."
"There's no way."
"The DNA doesn't lie," Doctor Keller said dryly. She handed over the tablet PC-like display device. "Congrats to you and Doctor McKay." Rodney spluttered. Woolsey walked in. "Whoever did bring the child, it's genetically theirs."
"Excuse me?" he demanded. He took the display from John's limp hand. "There's no way."
"We just met them earlier today," John agreed. "I haven't slept with anyone who could've had a kid."
"With the way he reads as ours," Rodney said, "I think I would've noticed one of us being pregnant."
Ronon looked at him. "Can your people actually do that?"
"No, thankfully," Rodney said dryly. "Could the ancients?" he asked.
Teyla shrugged. "Ask the AI?"
John looked up. "Atlantis, did a machine make us a baby?" he called. "Because that's kind of strange." There wasn't any answer.
"The readout does say that it's possible a chamber made him," Woolsey sighed. "I have no idea what to do. He can't stay here."
John shrugged. "Not like I planned for it."
"If a regeneration chamber or whatever made him, how did he come out of the stargate on that planet?" Rodney asked.
John looked at him. Now he knew he was sunk. He had that pit of the stomach ball of stuck feeling. He looked at the baby, who just smiled at him. Maybe he did need a child to remind him what he was fighting for. One of the Marines came limping in and the baby squealed, lunging to hug him.
"Oh, my God, we have children here?" he demanded, cuddling the baby.
"Apparently something ancient made the baby for us," Rodney said dryly. "We're trying to figure out how to handle things."
The Marine limped out, taking the baby with him. He knew a few guys who had kids who needed a baby cuddle.
"Where are you going?" Woolsey demanded.
"To the guys who have kids. They could use a hug. It's soul healing." He limped all the way to the Marine commander, who had two teenage girls. The man moaned, taking the baby to cuddle. "Something Ancient made him, sir."
"We'll let those who have kids hold him tonight." John walked in. "Thank you, sir. This will help a whole lot of the people who have families waiting at home."
John nodded. That small ball was unraveling. Maybe it wasn't just him that needed it. "That's fine. We have no idea what we're doing yet since we can't really keep a kid on the city. It's too dangerous," he said at the looks he got. "He could be killed by the wraith."
The baby stared at him then cackled and patted the guy holding him's cheek. He babbled at him. The commander smiled at him. "I'll remind them not to get too attached, sir, but a few will be healed a bit from a single hug. Get that foot treated, Lieutenant."
"I was, sir, when I spotted the baby." He limped back to the infirmary.
John looked at the commander. "Somehow he comes up mine and McKay's kid."
"We'll be really careful and make sure he doesn't eat any citrus until we're sure." He walked him out, taking him to the free-time areas. "Guys, look what Sheppard and McKay found made by an ancient thing. We're not sure what's going on yet." They crowded to hold and talk to the baby. They might be big, scary Marines, but they were older brothers, husbands, and fathers too. A few nearly clung to the kid and the other guys let them. They needed the cuddle.
John went to send a report to Earth. "I say we tell O'Neill," he told Woolsey.
"The IOA would never permit...."
John held up a hand. "The Marines are clinging to the baby like he's healing them of the combat stress," he said quietly. "I say we call O'Neill and let him make the decision. He's probably been there too."
"I'll still have to tell the IOA."
"Tell them to bite me since he's my kid," John said bluntly. "He'll go wherever I say."
Woolsey nodded at that. "Good point. They can't terminate your rights but they might have you leave."
"They can't. There's no other really strong gene carrier outside of O'Neill." He smirked. "They can't replace McKay either."
"I hadn't thought about that. Fine, we'll send him a joint report on what we know and let him come to check things over. If there's an attack...."
"He's going to Teyla's people."
"Good. Thank you for being reasonable."
"I saw some of our soldiers nearly in tears while cuddling him. They needed the reminder they're human, Woolsey. We've all needed it a few times." He went to his office to compose the report. O'Neill had been SG-1, he was used to strange things appearing. He would only stare at the computer oddly for a few minutes when he read the reports.
On Earth a few days later, O'Neill got the email from Atlantis with two reports. He read them and called the base. "Hank, Jack. I'm on the next ship to Atlantis. No matter what. Today's fine. I can make that. Let me pack something." He hung up and called Daniel. "Pack a gear kit for me and join me on the ship to Atlantis today." He hung up and went home to pack and figure out what the hell they were doing. A baby Sheppard/McKay was a scary idea. The fact that Woolsey said the Marines were getting attached might be a bad thing.
In Colorado Daniel hung up his desk phone. "Okay." He packed and went to tell Landry. "General O'Neill said I'm needed on Atlantis ASAP."
"He just called and said to hold the ship for him," he admitted. "Have a good trip, Doctor Jackson. Tell your team leader."
"I will." He went to find Cam and pick up some sweets. No one ever thought to bring candy to Atlantis unless they were on leave. "Cam." He looked up. "Jack needs me on Atlantis ASAP."
"That's fine, Jackson. Have a safe trip and don't get eaten by a wraith."
"Help me hit the PX?"
"Why?" he asked.
"No one ever brings those guys sweets and I thought I'd be nice."
"They wouldn't have enough boxes of sweets, Jackson. For that, you go to Sam's Club." He held up his card. They smirked and went together. Daniel suddenly went from one bag to four bags. That was fine though. Jack would appreciate that gesture and so would Sheppard. They got back in time for the beam out and O'Neill met Daniel on the ship. Cam shook his head. "Poor Atlantis."
Jack looked at the heavy looking bags. "Did you pack books?"
Jack grinned. "I like the way you think, Danny boy." He helped him carry them to his room and settled in. They were bunkmates for the week-long trip back. He handed over a copy of the reports. "That's why I asked you."
"Do we think he's like Shifu?"
"I don't know," Jack admitted. "You can figure that part out."
"What are we going to do if the Marines and others won't give him up?"
"I don't know," Jack admitted. "I know the IOA would probably throw a fit but Sheppard and McKay are both mission critical out there."
"Then we'll see. How have you been in DC?"
"Itching to zat a few politicians," he admitted dryly. "You?"
"I almost zatted Sam the other day for being a bitch to some natives." They shared a smirk. They were still best friends and understood each other very well after years of being in the field together. It would be good catching up on all they had missed recently.
Rodney got up when he heard the screaming echoing over the comm system, heading for wherever the baby was this time. For some reason Atlantis did that whenever he cried instead of to just one of them. John was jogging the same direction. The baby stopped a minute later.
The Major holding him glared. "I think he's tired."
"I had him in my room. Atlantis let him crawl out and put up a forcefield to keep me from following," John complained, taking the baby. "Next time, don't leave if you need a nap." The baby snuggled in, gripping his collar and smiling slightly at Rodney. "I think he's picking up bad habits from you, McKay."
"Quite possibly it's genetic," the Major said dryly. "Take him home, sir."
"I am." They walked off. They weren't in the same tower so that had to be decided. "Yours or mine?"
"Mine. I have a better pallet for him to sleep on tonight." In the week they had the baby, it was frustrating them to no end. John had actually wanted to find a wraith to shoot when the baby didn't want to go to sleep the night before. They went to Rodney's room, putting the sleepy baby down in the makeshift bed they had created. The baby yawned and babbled at them. Rodney sat down to tell him a story, which worked wonders. "I should read you some of the memos I get from the stupid people. They'd knock you out like they do me."
John sat down, watching it go on. "They do me too." He sighed, staring at his best friend. "I have no idea."
"Jack will be here in a few days and he's an experienced parent. He'll have a few ideas."
"I hope so because I'm trying really hard not to get too attached to him." Which he knew was a lost cause. Why did the higher ups do this to him? The baby blinked at him and he knew. He had lost all hope at least once, he knew he had, but... He guessed he needed it. He had to see who the kid had been last life. That look in his eyes said he knew combat and John didn't know the other kids in the cycle. They'd only crossed paths a few times. "You know, I was looking and there are myths like the gift child myth on Earth too I think. I couldn't download them of course but I heard there are."
"Jackson would probably know," McKay agreed. He smoothed a hand over the baby's head. "Go back to sleep. We won't wake you up again." The baby took his hand to suck on and it was easier. He sighed. "I don't think I can send him to earth," he said quietly.
"Yeah, me either." He put his feet up. "Damn it."
"Maybe some Ancient knew we needed him or something," McKay decided. "That's why they somehow tagged us and made us a child."
"Maybe," John agreed. Or something like that.
Jack O'Neill walked into the control room, Daniel right behind him with the bags being dragged by them both. He put them in the corner of the office since Sheppard had the baby napping on his shoulder. "That him?" Jack asked quietly. John nodded. "Danny brought you guys Hostess."
"McKay to my office," John called. "I want some twinkies for some reason," he told Daniel, who handed over a box with a grin. "Thanks, Jackson." The baby looked then stared at him until he unwrapped one and let the baby suck on the end of it. "It's good you like twinkies too. Just don't steal all mine."
"Don't feed him that disgusting trash," Rodney complained as he walked in. "We'll never get him to eat regular food." The baby squealed and waved at him, going back to sucking on the end of the twinkie. Daniel smiled and handed him a box. "Bless you. I've needed chocolate for some reason." He unwrapped one. "Major Lorne," he called. He came jogging in. "Doctor Jackson brought us treats."
"I'll kiss the ground you walk in, Doctor Jackson," he said with a grin. "Anyone in particular getting anything?"
"Have people pick, Major. All but my bag." He kicked it behind him. The Major got some grunts to carry them to the mess so they could let the others pick. "There should be a box for each one," he called after him.
Daniel smiled at them. "I read the reports."
"Are there myths like that on Earth?" John asked.
"Yes, the Redemption Child myth." He recited it, making Jack gape. He smirked. "It's very odd but it's said it shows up whenever one of them shows up. Supposedly there was one back in the 30's." He shrugged. "Can I?"
The baby turned his head and didn't want to go to him. Jack he let pick him up. "You seem healthy enough," Jack said with a grin for the baby. Who leaned forward to lap him. He laughed, hugging him. Something in him started to unbreak. "You're a cute kid."
"By all the scans we have, he's ours," John said. "We don't know how. Rodney can't find any mention of any sort of baby making system on any planet or the city. We have no idea how he got to that planet we found him on three days before we got there, or why he went there. It's a lot of questions we don't have the answers to."
"Including what to do with him," Rodney said. "He has soothed a lot of people who needed it."
Daniel nodded. "A baby can do that when you're in pain." He sat down, watching Jack and the baby. The baby already had him wrapped around his finger. "How is he otherwise? Healthy?"
"Perfectly healthy," John said with a small shrug. "I'm still confused about baby things."
"I know." Jack smiled at him. "So was I for the first year." He looked at the baby again. "Did we pick a name?"
"No, not yet," John sighed. "The others are running a poll on the base to name him."
"I still like Michael, the archangel of kicking butt," a female voice called from the control room.
"Then put it in the poll," John called back.
"I have, sir." She leaned in and smiled. "Hi, grimy one. Tell your fathers to give you a bath since they found you in a maintenance tube earlier." She walked off.
"I wondered why Radek handed you over," Rodney said dryly.
"He found him by the ZPM cooing at the pretty light." John shrugged at the dirty looks he was getting. "Atlantis lets him out whenever he wants, General. If I'm there, she holds me back so I can't stop him."
"She's done the same to me a few times," Rodney admitted. "Though it's nice he seems to find some very interesting things that we needed to find. Like the room that had the other healing devices recently."
"Do we think she's prompting him?" Daniel asked.
"Or whatever made him gave him some sort of map or interface we don't have," Rodney agreed with a small shrug.
Ronon leaned in. "Could he be conveniently messy and smelly so I can shove someone's face in it?" he asked. The baby squealed and waved at him but cuddled Jack again. "Yes, you."
John shook his head. "Not yet. Why?"
"Some loudmouth. Everyone says he needs to get back on the ship and stay on the ship."
"Sounds like Kavanagh heard," John quipped with a smirk for Rodney.
"Yes, well, if anyone gets to shove a dirty diaper in his face it's me." He smirked at Ronon. "Tell him he's jealous that he's not worthy of some Ancients making him a child." Ronon nodded, walking off to taunt him about that.
Colonel Ellis walked in. "We're all unloaded, Sheppard. Is that him? I heard rumors."
"Yeah, that's him. He's sucking up to the general." He handed over the rest of the damp, sucked on twinkie after taking a bite of the other end.
"You can't feed a kid these, Sheppard," Jack complained. The baby dove down to suck on it, making Jack shake his head. "You're too young for twinkies, kiddo." He handed it to Daniel so the baby wanted to go to Daniel, who took him and let Rodney feed him the twinkie. "McKay."
"He's able to eat solid food and it won't kill him to have some of one." He looked at Ellis. "We're not sure what's going on yet."
"He can't stay. You guys get attacked."
"We've pointed that out," John said, sounding tired. "The city may not let him leave since she adores him so much." The lights went off. "See?"
Jack looked up. "We're still figuring things out, Atlantis. If at all possible he'll be nearby." The lights came back on. The baby cooed and waved at the ceiling, which made it brighter. Then he went back to the twinkie.
"She lets him wander all over too," John told him. "Usually holds us in place when she lets him out."
"When I caught him cooing at the sealife the other day, I had a fit on her," Rodney told him. "I went to the AI room and I yelled about baby safety for over an hour. She could have let him fall off and drown."
"If he is staying, we have to fix this living in two different towers thing we have going on," John told him. A map popped up on his screen. "No, that won't work, Atlantis. Someone already lives there. Thank you anyway." Another map popped up. "I like that small island of the city but it's too far away in case of emergencies and the baby will definitely crawl off the pier sometime." Another one popped up and he let Rodney see. "I think only one person lives in that building and I think he's a few floors down."
"Nice balcony and view. That garden area below us."
"That assumes you get to keep him," Ellis said dryly. Suddenly he was surrounded by a forcefield and couldn't move.
"I think the city put in her vote," Jack said dryly, looking at Daniel. Another map popped up and he stared. "Where's that?"
"Across the street basically from the last one," Rodney said, staring at it. "It's a small building. It has ten double apartments," he said, looking it up. "Three of them are shared suites for the baby's custody." The bags in the room disappeared. So did Jack. He looked up. "He's supposed to go home sometime soon." The lights went out again. The baby squealed and they went back up. They both looked at the baby, who went back to nibbling on the twinkie. "Uh-huh. Does the general have an earpiece?" he asked Daniel.
"I doubt it."
"Major, please go to the diplomat's building and escort the general back here," John called. The Major on guard duty nodded, heading for the transporters to do that. "The general hasn't been out here before, has he?"
"No, I don't believe so," Rodney said. He took the baby back and ate the rest of the twinkie, earning an outraged look and squeal. "You couldn't finish it," he said dryly. "You don't need that much sugar either. It's not good for you. You had a third of it, and so did your parents." The baby scowled. He stared back. "Disarm that, young man, or eat spinach tonight." The baby wiggled. They all were frozen while the baby crawled off.
Jack scooped him up, walking him back into the office. "Release them, Atlantis. That's not fair." She released them, including Ellis. He sat down, holding the baby firmly in his lap. "No, you can't wander without a human guardian. It's too dangerous." The baby pouted at him. He stared back. "You're manipulative, just like your mother." The baby scowled back, but sat there being cuddled, still pouty.
Ellis shook his head. "You two made a monster."
"Gee, thanks," John said dryly. "Want to change the next diaper?"
"Hell no." He walked off. The general was an experienced parent, he had it in hand. For now.
Radek walked in. "You said you needed me?" he asked Rodney.
"No, I did not. The city may have." Radek groaned. The baby wiggled so Jack handed him off to Radek, who put him down and followed him. "Right behind him, Radek," Rodney ordered. "There's no telling what sort of trouble he's getting into this time."
"Of course. Is nice he tells us where things are and what's broken." He followed the baby to the transporter, which Atlantis used for them. They came out in engineering and the baby crawled off, going to suck up to Miko. She put down the gun she was holding to coo at him. Radek looked at the one who had pissed her off that badly. "Get out of the labs." He huffed off. "Idiot," he said in his native Czech.
Miko nodded. "Quite." She picked up the baby to cuddle. "Thank you for making me feel better, little one." He cooed and reached for her hair thing. "No, you don't need those." She put it back in and let Radek have him back. The baby wiggled so he put him down, following him off. She cackled. The new scientists gave her an odd look. "The city has adopted the baby, tells him where things that need to be found are. She stops the parents from following him." She heard the call over the comm and grabbed a tool kit. "Let's go. Something is broken," she announced. They followed to help fix it. The baby was cooing at a brightly lit area. "Is that not supposed to be dark?"
"Has small arcing problem," Radek said. "Start work and I will deliver baby back to parents." The baby crawled off. "City, please make sure a soldier follows him back to his fathers." One that had been heading somewhere else in a transporter suddenly landed in their area and found the baby crawling on with him. "Thank you. His parents and only his parents," he called.
The soldier looked down. "It's really weird that the city lets you do that, kiddo." He picked up the baby and took him back to Sheppard's office, handing him over. "He apparently found something broken since all the giant brains are huddled around a panel on ten, sir." He walked off shaking his head. It was fucking weird, even the parents agreed with that.
John looked at his son. "Thank you. That's very nice of you, son." He got cuddled. One of the Air Force guys walked in and stole him. "He might need changed soon. He nearly begged for the twinkie he sucked to death."
"That's fine." He walked off hugging the baby as hard as he dared. Woolsey gave him a dirty look. "My team is in the infirmary, sir. Our mission was FUBAR squared today." He walked off, taking him down there to wait on them to come out of surgery. The baby never minded and the others on the team could probably use a cuddle later.
Jack looked at John, pointing at the doorway. John nodded. "Quite often," he agreed. "It's helped them a lot, sir. Even I did. Ronon has. Teyla has."
Jack nodded. "If we can find a way, we won't separate you three. You are both mission critical and I'm starting to see that Atlantis won't let the baby go." Rodney shook his head, walking off to see what was broken. He looked at Daniel. "Are there more than that one myth?"
"Not that I've heard. I'd like to compare them to the local ones."
"Teyla would be more than happy to," John agreed, calling her up there. "Teyla, you remember Doctor Jackson probably. He has a myth from earth that's much like the gifted child one. He wanted to compare."
"Of course." He followed her, telling her about theirs. She told them about the ones she had heard of locally and it did seem a lot alike.
Jack looked at Sheppard, who shrugged. "I know. But then again, all we're used to anymore is freaky stuff." He stood up. "Since she gave us a room already and packed all your stuff as well....."
"Have a good nap, General. Fishing is off the south pier right now but if the baby catches you he'll scream and cry."
"Gotcha." He walked off, going to rest for a bit. The city was stable but did gently sway in the waves of the water. His and Daniel's stuff was even unpacked. He had laughed at the idea of a pushy AI but now.... She might be worse than his ex-wife.
John walked into the infirmary that night, looking at his napping son. "Your team good?" he asked quietly.
The one holding him shook his head. "We're out of commission for a good while, sir. I'm not sure two will be able to rejoin combat missions." He looked at his team leader then back at their military head. "I'm sorry."
"For what? Running into the Genii when you didn't plan on it? Hell, we've all done that." The guy relaxed and smiled. "It's dinner. You're getting the usual slop and so will he."
"Thank you. When she wakes up...." He looked at his female teammate. "Can we have him back?"
"Of course. Or tomorrow. Whichever one works best." He nodded, handing him the napping baby. "C'mon, Rodney Junior." The guy laughed, holding his new cut. "Get better faster, kid. It sucks being in here."
"You'd know, sir, with as much time as you've spent in this bed."
John nodded. "Definitely." He walked him off, which woke him up. "You can see them later," he said at the quiet fussing he was getting. "It's dinner." The baby babbled and patted him instead. He stopped in a place where they couldn't be seen by anyone, heard by the city, or be witnessed. He stared at him. "We needed it," he agreed quietly, getting a grin. "It's still too dangerous." The baby leaned forward to lap him on the lips.
"Thanks, kiddo. Which one were you?" The baby patted his collar symbols of rank. "Alexander?" he muttered. The baby grinned. "Hell, no wonder." He sighed. "Just us?" The baby shook his head. "Huh." He walked off with him again. "We'll figure it out." The baby squealed, hugging him and lapping him again. "You need to learn to kiss better, kiddo. You're a Sheppard now and all the girls love us."
"Do not teach my son to be the slut you are," Rodney said as he joined them in the transporter. He took the baby to hold. "Let's prompt him to have a single, meaningful, fulfilling relationship instead of many easy women."
"I'm sure he will. Even I had one of those once." They got off and went to dinner. The cooks had already made him dinner. John got their trays and carried them to their usual table. The baby cooed at Ronon, taking some of his hair to suck on the end of. "That's not really nutritious, son," John said dryly. "Can Ronon have his hair back while you eat food?" The baby babbled at Ronon, petting him.
The big, tough, warrior smiled and patted him on the head. "You're a good boy. Eat so you can grow up as big and strong as I am." The baby stared at him then babbled again, patting him harder. He sighed. "You can watch me practice against Teyla later." The baby grinned and settled down to eat for his parents. McKay was staring at him. "He's watched us spar a few times," he said with a shrug. "I figured the city wanted him to learn."
"Possibly," John quipped. "Who knows what's on her mind sometimes." They ate, John considering that. Ronon was a very good warrior. The baby would be able to learn a lot from him. "What about Alexander?"
Rodney considered it. "Fairly plain."
"It means protector of man," Daniel offered. "Has a few nicknames built in."
"It's third or fourth on the poll list," John added.
Rodney shrugged, looking at him. "Do you like that name?" The baby smiled. "Then we'll let the poll winner be his middle name." The people around them pouted. "He wanted Alexander so the poll will determine his middle name. Which I'm sure he'll hear plenty of as he grows up." The others smiled at that, a few nodding. He looked at the baby, who was cooing at Teyla's chest. "She's not going to feed you, son," he sighed. John stuck the spoon in the baby's mouth and made him quit babbling at her. At least until he wiggled and got handed to Ronon since he wanted him. Then the baby lunged over and cooed at her stomach.
She blinked. "Thank you for telling me it was time, Alexander." She patted him on the head. "That's very nice of you." He beamed and kissed her on the cheek then went back to cuddling Ronon. John handed over the spoon and food, letting them tag-team the baby into eating.
"When are we going to start on education things?" Rodney asked John.
"Let's let him start talking and walking first?" he suggested dryly. "We know he'll be smart and a smartass but he doesn't need to learn more than those two for a while."
"True. I do need to check out a book to start reading to him at night." One appeared on the table in a beam of light. "Thank you, Atlantis." He looked at the title. "I don't think that's really appropriate. It has mature, graphic material he shouldn't read until he's a teenager."
"I doubt we brought any kids' books," John said. "We didn't have time to order any either. At his age, he probably won't understand anyway." Rodney held up the book so he could read the title. "No, I don't think he needs to hear _The Scarlet Letter_ yet," he decided. Daniel smiled at them. "Did you bring anything?"
"Not really. We can tell him stories for a bit instead of reading to him. It has the same effect at his age."
Rodney nodded. "We can do that. We have been a few times when he refused to sleep for some reason."
"I think he's cutting teeth," Teyla said. "His gums are a bit red and I see one starting to come up."
Both parents groaned, shaking their heads. "That explains the extra drool," John quipped.
Rodney nodded. "Plus the fussiness. I'll pick up something from the infirmary for his gums on the way back tonight."
"Thankfully it appears we got moved as well," John told him. Rodney glared. "The general said so."
"Uh-huh." He went to pick that up and check on the repairs. They had enough hands so he hadn't been needed. He'd take the second shift if they needed his help.
"He was actually mellow," Daniel said.
John smirked and shook his head. "The other day he chewed out a whole team for not paying attention when they tripped over the kid. It was nearly epic."
"They walked out crying more than the baby did," Ronon agreed. "I'd hate to see his fit at the wraith or genii."
"Don't tempt me," John said dryly. "If he's teething for real, that means he won't sleep and I'll go find a wraith to take it out on. You guys can follow going 'wow, he's really pissed off' as I destroy them."
Teyla snickered. "Many parents feel the same way when their children will not sleep." The general walked in. "Sir. We have not met, I am Teyla and this is Ronon."
"Hey." He shook their hands. "Jack O'Neill." He looked at the kid and the amount of drooled out food on his chin. "Teething?" he guessed.
"Apparently," John sighed, shaking his head. "Rodney's getting stuff for his gums."
"Don't use alcohol, it's bad for them," a female voice called. "Even if you want to so they'll sleep."
"Thanks for the warning. I'll be sure to find someone to take out the lack of sleep on who isn't an ally." That got some laughing. He looked at Jack. "So, anyway," he said dryly.
Jack smirked. "It'll be fine, Sheppard. Plenty of parents muddle through it. If a teenage girl can, you can."
"Thanks for that partial vote of confidence, sir," he said dryly, smirking at him. "Just think, soon he'll be walking."
Jack looked at him in that poor pitiful fool way. "Sheppard, kids don't walk. They run. Everywhere. Jog more miles to get ready for it. I stupidly didn't. I learned real fast."
John groaned, shaking his head. "I do ten miles."
"Go up to twenty."
"I can work my way up to that, yeah. I'll get Rodney to help me." One of the Marines walked over and stole the baby to hold. "Take his dinner too," John said patiently. "He's teething so he's drooling a lot."
"Yes, sir." He took the food and spoon back to their table to feed him. The others helped. They loved the little guy.
Jack and John shared a look and Jack shrugged. "I don't know," he said quietly.
"He's very good. Very sweet. Hell, I nearly wanted another one." He sighed. "It's still a problem though."
Jack smiled, digging into his own dinner. Food was pretty decent tonight.
A week later, Jack tried an experiment. The city was very possessive of the baby. He wanted to see if it was even an option to remove the baby from the city. "Let's take a tour of the ship, Alex." He walked him that way. Nope, the forcefield went up around the ship.
Ellis looked up since he was outside. "This seems familiar."
"I'm only taking him to look over the ship, not shipping him off," Jack sighed. "I'd never send the kid with Ellis unless it was an emergency." The forcefield went down. That answered his question. They went on a tour of the ship, making the people there gape and stare at the baby. A few glared but he glared over the baby's head so they huffed off. "It's all right. Some day everyone will want you like they do your father and you'll repel half of them like your mom," Jack told the baby, earning a snicker from Ellis. "Well, McKay does seem more maternal," he said dryly.
"The kid's going to be a genius lothario," Ellis agreed.
"Sheppard does have a Math degree." Ellis shuddered. "So maybe we'll have our first native born genius." They finished their tour and he took him back, taking him to look at the water since the kid was trying to get down to look off the edge of the pier. "No, you don't get near the water without an adult," he said firmly. "It's dangerous and losing you to drowning would kill your parents and half the people on base."
The baby stared at him. He stared back. Something was weird about the kid. Maybe it was how Atlantis was guiding him to things. No one was sure. The baby went back to staring a the fish, babbling at a few of them. Jack looked. "What sort of fish are those?"
Rodney joined him, looking down with a frown. "No clue." He took his son. "An instant message just popped up saying he needed changed." He walked off talking to his son about fish. His son apparently liked them so maybe he'd get a copy of _Finding Nemo_ for him or something. As long as he wasn't reduced to going to the Disney hellhole most parents eventually fell into.
Jack shook his head. "At least it's not a girl." Ellis cackled at that. "Then we'd have to get Carter to help them." He walked off shaking his head. He went to talk to the two parents. There was no way the city was going to let the baby go. So they were stuck. They decided to give it another cycle of the ship to see if anything changed.
Daniel had packed and was back on the ship. No problem there. Jack, when he tried, got stunned in the transporter and beamed back to his room. He woke up when the security team came looking for him. "What happened?" he groaned, holding his head. "I feel like I got hit with a zat."
"You did, sir. The transporter did it to you," one said. "Found him," he called. "He's in his quarters." Doctor Keller came rushing in to look him over. She finally released him and they tried to go down the stairs this time. Jack was floated up in a beam of light and put back on his balcony.
"Real cute," Jack said dryly. "I need to go back to earth for a bit, Atlantis. Even if I'm coming back, I need to pack things and get some into storage." She didn't let him go. He called Daniel, who came to get his notes on what to feed, what to put into storage, and what to pack for him. The baby came floating in on the same sort of beam so Jack took custody of him for now. "What?" he asked the kid, who just grinned at him. John came jogging in. "She won't let either of us leave."
"Damn." He took the baby, staring at him. "He has to go pack stuff, Alex. Let him go pack and maybe he'll come back soon." The whole room got shut down in a forcefield. He called Ellis. "Apparently the city's not releasing O'Neill," he reported. Jackson got to leave though. "Thanks. No, neither of them. Thank you. Yeah, he's on his way back, Ellis." He hung up and looked at him. "At least I won't have to worry about who'll watch him when I'm in the field," he decided.
"Smartass," Jack said with a wicked smirk. "We'll see."
"Thank you, sir." They watched Daniel get back on the ship and it lift off. Then the forcefield went down. John looked at the baby. "She's pushy today." The baby beamed at him and babbled. "You still might have to go sometimes if it's an emergency." He walked the baby off, carrying him under his arm. He was squealing and waving like it was a happy treat. Woolsey glared at him. "The city wouldn't let O'Neill leave either."
"Damn it," he muttered. "Why not?"
"ATA carriers I would assume," Rodney said. "Things do break at an alarming rate whenever the good Colonel and Major Lorne are both off in the field." He took the baby. "Did you have to carry him that way? You'll give him gas."
"He seemed to like it and he didn't fart at all," John shot back.
"I'm sure we'll be amazed at how much he does it later," Rodney complained. He looked at the baby. "Will you sit quietly in the lab?" The baby stared at him. "I have to work. Will you be good?"
"I only have paperwork," John said, taking the baby back. "C'mon, we'll go do paperwork." He walked the baby off. "You can hang in my office for a while." He walked in and shut the doors. Evan looked over, waving at the kid before going back to his own paperwork. He put the baby down beside him on the floor. "Stay in here."
The baby pouted at him, pointing and whining at the doorway. "No," Evan said. "You have to stay in here. We can follow you around later, Alex."
Alex pouted, petting his daddy's leg while he did the stupid stuff that the other daddy complained about. John looked down at him. "Militaries take these things, Alex. It has to get done. The same as Rodney has to work in the lab." The baby gave him a pitiful sniffle and pout. "No. Stop that." He got back to work. The sniffling continued. He handed him a balled up paper Evan had done. That was a toy and made him a bit happier for a while. "Thanks."
"Welcome. We love the little guy."
"The city wouldn't let him or O'Neill get on the ship."
"Wonderful. We need to make a position that's just baby following."
"I think that's why she kept O'Neill," John said dryly. Evan snickered, shaking his head. The baby crawled over to stare at him. He petted him, getting a grin. "Yes, you know Uncle Evan."
Evan picked the baby up to sit him in his lap, filling out the paperwork around him. The baby stared at it then at him then back at it. He tried to take the pen but Evan kept it. The baby squealed loudly in protest. "Tough, kid. Suck it up." He kissed him on the head. "Ten more minutes." Xander tried for it again. He capped it and let him have it then picked up another one. The baby was happy to watch the strange lines appear while chewing on the pen.
John reached over to take it from his mouth. "Don't chew on that. Your other father would be appalled and complain." He looked in the stuff in his desk, handing him the pacifier. "Would that work?" The baby let it be popped into his mouth and sucked, liking that. He snuggled into Evan's lap and watched him write. John took him back and held him instead. "Thank you."
"Who got you pacifiers?"
"They were a gift on the ship from some of the teams." He smiled. "Along with a few toys and a few t-shirts." He looked at his son, who stared at him. "Better?" The baby smiled behind the pacifier. "Cool." He finished his paperwork, handing it to Evan. "There, let's wander." He put the baby down, watching him crawl off. He followed, letting the baby pick wherever he wanted to go. Apparently he wanted to commune with the fish. John sat down and held onto the baby so he could look down at the fish and coo at them.
Rodney walked out. "What is he sucking on?"
"A paccie. Someone on Team Six got it for him. It kept him from chewing on Evan's pen."
"That will ruin his teeth," Rodney complained, taking it. The baby bit him and took it back to suck on, scowling at him. Rodney glared at him. "I am your father, Alexander."
"He only has two teeth, Rodney. Let him have it for now. It didn't hurt mine. If we have to, we can plan for later braces."
"Fine." He sat down beside them. The baby scowled at him again. He gave him a raised eyebrow look. "What?" The baby huffed and went back to cooing at the fish. "I wonder if it's because they're brightly colored."
"I don't know," John admitted. "He could just like fish."
"I would hope he didn't become a *biologist*," Rodney said with a shudder of horror. "How distressing that would be."
John looked at him. "Even if it's not a field you like, as long as he's happy it's great for him. Him being happy in his field is better than being miserable if you force him."
"I know but still, a biologist? It could only get worse if he went into one of the soft sciences."
"Maybe he'll revolutionize psychiatry so it's not so soft," he countered.
"Please stop before I vomit."
"That would definitely ruin his fun with the fish." Rodney hit him on the arm, getting swatted by the baby. "It's fine, Alex. He hits like a girl. I've got to have Teyla work on that with him."
Rodney glared. "You're so getting it later."
John smirked at him. "I doubt it." He stood up. "C'mon, let's go check the armory since we have a mission later this week." The baby squealed loudly, heading that way. John followed, looking amused. O'Neill met him on the walk there. "I said we had to check our gear for the upcoming mission and he got really happy. Happier than he did with the fish."
"Teach him gun safety as soon as he's old enough," O'Neill said quietly.
"Of course." He stared at him. "Oh! Oh, I heard, sir. You can help."
"I will be." He helped him follow the baby. The baby quit heading toward the armory and went in another direction, finding someone crying. He crawled up to them and into their lap, putting his head on their shoulder. He patted until the person hugged him.
John walked forward and squatted down in front of them. "You can borrow him for now," he promised quietly. "We'll talk when you're ready."
The man blinked at him. "I'm about to be a dad, sir."
"Then why haven't you applied to go home for leave?"
"Landry won't approve it."
"Bull fucking shit," Jack said dryly. "That'll be stopped." The guy looked at him. "Let me write back there. When is she due?"
"That's allowed leave by the military, kid. Hug the babble factory and we'll talk later." He walked off to write that email. That was clearly a misunderstanding that he was going to fix. He very blatantly CC'd the email to the president as well as the Secretary of Defense. That would solve that. He had that whole team switched out and SG-1 sent to Atlantis with another team. The messages would go out tonight and it'd be solved. The guy probably didn't have enough leave but there was a process for that too in the military.
Daniel finally got home and beamed down to the mountain. "Sir, I'm back," he reported.
The general looked at him. "Why did O'Neill stay?"
"The city wouldn't let him leave. Confined him with a forcefield, along with the baby."
"Baby?" he asked dryly.
"Yes, baby. Something Ancient made the baby between Sheppard and McKay." The general gaped. He smiled. "I have a message for the president from Jack and he told me what to pack for him."
Daniel looked at him. "I think you'll be called to talk to the IOA with the president since that was his order, sir." He walked off. "Ellis, this is Jackson, give me five to drop things in my office please." He hung up the comm and went to drop his bag in his office. Then he got beamed off. He smiled at the man waiting on him. "Sir."
"Doctor Jackson. Where is O'Neill?"
He held up the letter. "Detained by Atlantis. She wouldn't let him go."
"She has a very responsive AI. She blocked the general and the baby from leaving her."
"Baby?" Daniel handed over the letter with a smile. He read it. "Uh-huh. Okay, let's go talk to the president." He led him back up to the oval office. "Sir," he said as he was let in.
"Bob. Doctor Jackson?" Daniel smiled and shook his hand. "Where's O'Neill? I thought this meeting was with him."
"Atlantis won't let him go." Bob handed over the letter.
"General Landry was supposed to be brought into it when the IOA was offered the right to complain," Daniel said.
The president read it over. "I'd probably bitch too, Doctor Jackson." He looked at him. "Can we safely remove the baby?"
"The city won't let him, sir. She tried to block them from giving him a tour of the ship."
"McKay and Sheppard are handling it well enough so far. The city has some way of guiding the baby to things she wants people to see or find."
"Okay," he said, looking at him. "So we can't really remove either at the moment?"
"No, sir. Not at this moment. We're not sure if she'll let them go later or not. He agreed to give it to the next time the ship got up there to see if she'll let either go."
"Who are the parents?" the Secretary of Defense asked.
"Doctor McKay and Colonel Sheppard." He handed over his copy of the reports. "That's the team's reports. It's interesting that the myth about the child's sudden appearance echos ours down here."
"Please, no lectures," the president begged. He smiled. "I had to listen to blowhards in Congress."
"Of course not, sir." He looked over as people got beamed in. "That's the reports from the team, the reports from medical, the genetic report on him, and information on the myth that they're all considering fulfilled."
"Any report on why Atlantis wouldn't let them go?" Landry asked dryly. His glare clearly said he and his anthropologist would be talking later.
"Sir, the only explanation anyone could find was that they're both strong ATA carriers. Doctor McKay said that when the two strongest ones are off the city, things tend to break a lot more often. We know she has a sentient AI who was alone for a very long time. I know she won't let them come to harm but she'll send the baby off to find things that she wants found. The baby will crawl off while she holds whoever's watching him with a forcefield. They call for someone to find the baby. She'll send him off on the transporter, and they'll find him in a storage area, patting something that broke, or around someone who needs help."
"The day I came home from any combat mission, I spent the next twenty-four hours hugging my kids," the Secretary of Defense agreed. "It probably did help them."
"The overall mood on the base has raised since he got there according to the head psychologist. She's seen a lot fewer depressed people. A lot less people on edge. I know one night the baby got out of bed, crawled off, and stopped someone who had his sidearm in his hand in a supposedly locked room. She's using the baby to watch out for her people."
Landry gaped. "He was going to shoot himself?" he demanded. Daniel nodded. "Why?"
"Because earlier he had lost two teammates to a wraith." Landry moaned. "There's a lot of people out there who could use some ease to the start of burn-out. The baby seems to be helping that at the moment. Though he is teething so his parents aren't all that happy at the moment." He smiled at the president. "The city even moved all their stuff to a new room without warning them. That way they shared a common area for the baby. We were talking in the office when she beamed everything on them."
The president snickered. "She's clearly enamored of the baby."
"Definitely," the Secretary of Defense said, handing over the reports. "How did they make a baby from two men?"
"No clue," Daniel admitted. "I'd think a machine but none of us could find a mention of such a system in the databases, sir." He shrugged. "They couldn't identify which planet the baby came from. The symbols that were active when he got there don't lead to any planet they've visited."
"So possibly a remote sensor on one planet sent it to one on a protected world," the president said. Daniel shrugged again. "No one has any clue?"
"No one has even an idea of what could have happened. If they used something like the Asgard used for cloning and growing the clones, it could've been within a week but they hadn't been off the city in over a month due to injuries and emergencies for Doctor McKay to handle. Before then, the last four planets are all listed as being no technology of any kind they could find on anything."
"So you're saying we have no recourse and there's no way of getting them off the city," the head of the IOA said.
"I suppose you could destroy the city," he said dryly. "But I don't think this is quite the situation where that becomes practical. We agreed to give it another cycle of the ship bringing supplies to see if it's any different. If not, Jack asked me to pack him some things."
"We could recall the ...parents to earth," the head of the IOA said.
"The city let them go on a mission. The city wouldn't let them give the baby a tour of the ship until Jack promised it was only a tour of the ship."
"So we're being held hostage in this situation by an overly smart computer," Landry said.
"I think the AI is a bit more intelligent than that, sir," Daniel said dryly. "Clearly she's forming attachments with the way she's sent the baby to help some of the most depressed."
"The ship goes back when?" the president asked to break up the bitching fit the higher ups were throwing.
"A month," Daniel said.
"All right. So we'll see. If they can't remove the baby from the city, we'll see if they can bring him back so we can greet the future genius, because I have no doubt he will be with those two as parents, and so they can shop." He looked at Daniel. "Did you know that O'Neill knew how to email?"
"Yes, sir, I taught him. It took me all weekend a few years back," he said with a grin.
"That explains that." He handed the email over to Landry.
"He has no leave time."
"Then put him on unpaid leave, Landry. I doubt it won't help the poor soldier." He stared him down. "As you can see, he's asked to switch out some other for leave time as well. He looked up how long they've been up there, all but one has been on the city for over eight months now without leave. That one is a junior team member though."
"I might need SG-1, sir. They are our prime team and Colonel Carter is needed on the base for the science department."
"Teal'c might be needed on the Council," Daniel offered. "But we might be able to go for a few weeks to give leave time, General. I don't have a whole lot I can do up there but we can definitely go run missions. The other teams were complaining that they haven't had much to do because we're always on the go."
"I suppose I can for a bit of leave time but I'll have to stagger it. There's more coming than going."
"Half of those are injured," Daniel said. "You can probably send up some newbie teams. If they can hack Atlantis, they can hack dealing with the Ori."
"True," he said. "I'll arrange that later." Daniel grinned. "What are you packing for him?"
"Most everything. He wasn't sure she was going to let him go anytime soon and he has a few plants right now."
He nodded. "Fine." He looked at the president.
"Having O'Neill there is extra security since he's the other strong ATA carrier," the head of the IOA said.
"Keeps him from making plans to shoot the politicians," the president said dryly. "There's a few who've proved they're not all that bright and annoyed him to the point of his hand going for his sidearm."
"He's at the point of wanting to zat them," Daniel said with a smile. "We talked on the way out there, sir."
"Good to know. If we see some suddenly disappearing we'll know why," the president said dryly. "Tell him he can be there for up to six months and then he'll have to retire."
"I can do that," Daniel promised.
"Since he can email, he can email me updates monthly, Doctor Jackson."
"I'll tell him, sir."
"Thank you. Dismissed, people." They left. The head of the IOA wasn't happy but there wasn't anything they could do about it. Landry was fuming so there was a problem there. The secretary of defense could handle his own assholes in charge.
Daniel smiled at his team when they showed up for the meeting. "Sam, we need to go shopping for McKay."
"How would I know what he wants?" she asked.
"It's for his son."
"He bred? Some woman actually let him get on top of her? Was she drunk?" Daniel glared. "Sorry, that was unkind."
Landry cleared his throat. "It's also incorrect since something made him a son with Colonel Sheppard." She gaped, staring at Daniel. They could all hear the quiet whimper. "Just the general baby shopping, Doctor Jackson?"
"Yes. He said to have his sister help. He's about this long," he said, measuring with his hands.
"We can go to the store and measure it against some clothes," Cam said. "Someone made them a kid?"
"Something made them a son," Daniel said with a grin. "Who Atlantis loves." Cam shook his head quickly.
Teal'c nodded. "It is good for a man to have a son. It changes his priorities and how he defends his people." He looked at the general. "Is O'Neill staying there?"
"For now. The city didn't want to let him go either," Landry said. "There's a few teams going on leave. You were asked to go up to cover."
Cam nodded. "It's definitely a change of scenery." He looked at his team. "Carter, will they live without you?"
"You're excused, Colonel. I got you permission to stay." She nodded at that. "Though it appears you may have to help as a female voice of reason. My wife always did more of the baby shopping."
She nodded. "I've seen friends do it so I can help, sir." She looked at Daniel. "Do we have a list?"
"Probably in my email."
"That's fine. His sister has sense." The other teams got let in and she saw who was going.
Daniel frowned, opening his mouth. "What about Team 4?" he asked quietly. "I think they were asked for."
"They're on injury leave," Cam told him. "They all got shot yesterday. Minor wounds but annoying. Who picked the teams?"
"Jack," Daniel said with a grin.
"I guess that makes sense." The general cleared his throat and told the teams what was going on.
"No can do, sir," one said firmly.
"Why not?" Landry demanded.
"Because next week I have my mother's funeral, sir, and I'm also transferring out to take control of my little sister."
"Oh, I didn't see that paperwork yet, Sergeant."
"Sir, it's been on your desk for the last week."
"I'll see where Walter put it later then. We'll be sorry to see you go."
"Thank you, sir. I'd rather not go but my sister has needs."
"That's fine. Dismissed then." The sergeant nodded and left. "Anyone else with a protest?"
One raised his hand. "Sir, Atlantis hates me," one said. "Last time she kept shoving me off her piers." Sam cackled, shaking her head. "She never could find out why, sir, but for some reason the city hates me."
"Fine. Colonel, did I get a report on that?"
"Yes, sir," she said with a smile. "You got two or three actually."
"Fine." He looked around. "Any other problems? Dismissed." They filed out to go pack and get what they needed.
"See me if you need a list of what to bring," Sam called after them.
"Bring any snacks you want to have," Daniel called. "Especially if you need things like chocolate."
"Bring puzzle books too," Cam said dryly. "Because there's no tv up there." He stood up. "Are we dismissed to pack too, General?"
"Go," he said. They left. McKay's sister was easily gotten for shopping that weekend. The woman squealed about it, checking her email. Daniel had pictures to send to her and he promised Rodney was sending one this week after things were set up.
Daniel walked off the ship two weeks later, they had run early for the personnel switch, smiling at the people there to meet them. "McKay, your sister sent up a whole box of stuff for Alex."
"That's wonderful. I knew she could find tasteful things." He took his box with a smile. "Thank you." He walked off.
"We got a few different sizes so he's not naked when he grows." Daniel looked at Jack. "A few couldn't come."
"I heard. Landry swore at me."
"The president said to email him updates monthly."
"I heard that too." He walked him off. "Mitchell, any problems?"
"Not yet, sir." They followed. He watched as a crawling, squealing, happy thing headed his way. "So that's him?"
"That's him," Daniel agreed, picking him up. "Hi, Alex. Did you miss me?" He kissed him on the head. "Your daddy has all new stuff for you to wear and we bought you some books too. You should find the daddy." The baby groaned and reached. Teal'c took the baby, who patted his forehead, staring at it.
"You are most unusual," Teal'c said, smiling at him. "A good weight though." Ronon came jogging out. "Good day."
"Hi." He took the baby back. "Your fathers are looking for you. Why did you crawl away this time?" He walked him off. "They're locked in their rooms again."
Cam nodded. He looked at Daniel. "The city lets the baby crawl wherever she wants."
"Oh, okay then." They got met by the second-in-command to get rooms. They dropped things, reported for orientation, and were joined by a pouting thing. Cam picked him up to put him on the table. "Sit there," he said.
The baby stared at him then huffed and crawled off. He stared at the person in his way until they put him back onto the floor. Then he crawled off.
"Shouldn't we follow?" one of the other guys asked.
"No," Major Lorne said. He called in that the baby was out and huffy. He went back to their briefing, trusting the parents to find their own kid again.
Jack went jogging past. "Fer'cryin'out loud, kid! Slow down," he yelled after him. "Shit, medical!" More people went running.
Evan was one of them. "Oh, shit. O'Neill, take the baby." He got down to hold the wound closed. "What the hell happened?"
"We'll find out," John said as he showed up. "General, please hand my kid to someone who can wash that off his hands." They helped get the bleeding under pressure until the medical team got there. The baby was handed back to the training room and the door was closed on him, no matter how much he fussed. The medical team finally got there and took the poor airman off. John looked at the people there. "What happened?"
"I don't know, sir. The baby came to the training room, didn't want to stay. He crawled off and we saw the General jogging after him."
"He was alone when I got here," Jack said. "I don't know, Sheppard."
"Okay," he decided. "Let me get the tapes up. Tell Ellis he'll have someone going back in the brig." He stomped off. He took his kid back, going to clean his hands off. "Thank you, Alex. That was very good to find him. You still need to be cleaned up." Rodney took him from him. "Sure, you can give him a bath." Alex let out an awesome squeal and beamed at his father.
Ellis looked over. "I guess he likes baths?"
"He sure does," John said. "Someone pull up the tapes from level 3, tower B, section 10. I want the mother fucker who stabbed that airman now." The tape was pulled up. They were off to the side but he got a picture of his sleeve. "He's a Master Sergeant in the Marines." He pulled up those records. "That's down to seven."
John paged them to his office and glared when they showed up. "Which one of you was that fucking dumb?" They flinched, shaking their heads. "We know it was one of you. We saw the sleeve." He put up the picture then looked. "Henderson, Tyler, you're free to go." They left because it showed white skin and they weren't. "Well?" he demanded. "I'll know or you can all go home."
One huffed. "He attacked me, sir."
"I don't give a damn!" The man flinched. "Good instincts. Ellis, I think you have a brig."
"I do, Colonel," he agreed, walking that one off. "You're lucky he didn't kick your ass before handing you over, Master Sergeant."
"He's damn lucky I didn't kick his ass because my son found him," John called. "Dismissed." The others fled. He glared at the screen, turning off the display. "Apparently I have to remind the base that they don't have personal issues again." He went to call a base-wide sparring session.
Rodney looked up at the announcement. "Your other parent is still quite upset," he told their son. "Someone will really have to stop him sometime soon." He finished the bath portion, letting the baby play and wiggle. He loved his baths. Rodney glanced at his laptops then back at the baby. Alex was pouting. "What? I'm not going to do anything but watch you. You might drown." The baby splashed him with a cackle.
Rodney wiped off his computer screen and moved it out of the way, playing with him again. That made the baby happier to splash them both. "I know, you love the water. When you're older you can learn how to swim. That way you can visit those fish you like to watch."
Rodney finally got him out and dried off, then rediapered and put him on the bed to look at the new clothes. He found an outfit with a sickeningly sweet lamb on it. One with a monkey. "Did my sister lose her ever loving mind?" he demanded. "Do they not make clothes in your size that don't contain creatures?" Alex grabbed one and cuddled it, grinning at his father.
"Fine, you can wear that and look adorable." He put him into the outfit and the baby wiggled his way off the bed. "Oh, no. You'll make your other father quit kicking peoples' asses. We can wait until he feels better about the Marines being here." He found a book and sat down. "Want read to?" His son looked, coming over to be picked up and sat in the lap. "Dr. Suess. At least he's got some deeper ideas in his stories." He opened it to read it to him. His son was staring at him. "What?" he asked. His son smiled. He smirked back. "You're very good at distracting me."
"Doctor McKay to Engineering now please!" a panicked female voice called over the intercom system.
"Oh, what now," he muttered. He picked up his laptop on the way down there. Daniel walked past him and took the baby. "Thank you!" He jogged the rest of the way. It had to be an emergency. It had better be an emergency. It was an emergency, how delightful.
Daniel smiled at the baby. "You look adorable in that. Your auntie thought you might." He walked off with him, going back to the briefing. Cam stared. "McKay had to run to engineering."
"So we're hellion sitting?" Cam joked. The baby pouted at him. "Aww, don't do that. Can't you smile instead?" he asked.
The baby huffed and looked at Daniel. "Cam's a very nice guy, Alex. He can even read."
Alex looked at Cam, staring at him. "I can read," he promised. He took the baby to hold, reading him the materials the Major had given them. The baby smiled at him and watched the paper. "You're so like your parents." He gave him a squeeze and went back to reading.
"His scowl does look like McKay's," another of the guys joked.
Alex looked at him. He babbled at him. "That's Lieutenant Peters, Alex."
Alex wiggled onto the table and crawled down to him, staring at him. Then he leaned forward and lapped him on the forehead. He cackled and crawled off again. Daniel caught him and took the pamphlet to read to him, which he adored. It was so cool!
Lieutenant Peters shook his head. "Maybe that's the Sheppard influence?"
"Maybe," Cam said dryly. "Though McKay has his weird moments." John walked in looking sweaty. The baby looked over Daniel's shoulder at him with a grin.
"Someone bought you lambs. That's cool." He picked him up. "Thanks for watching him, guys. For future reference, the city likes to send him off to find things for her and likes to lock us down so we can't stop him. If you see him crawling off without a guard, call us and tell us where he's going so we can come figure out why she sent him that way." He walked off. "C'mon, let's go read the stupid reports I have to file." The baby cackled all the way to the office. Rodney was already up there huffy and complaining. "What did they do this time?"
"Someone decided they wanted to look at the ZPM and tried to remove it without disconnecting it. Without having a single idea what they were doing," he said dryly.
John looked at him. "Ellis has a brig."
"It's already filled by my quota. Can you believe they bought him lambs and monkeys? All sorts of nauseating cutesy creatures that will rot his mind before it has time to develop fully."
"I don't think they make kids clothes without cute things." He sat down to go over the reports he was having to fill out. The baby was happy enough with that story of stupidity.
"Remember to teach him how stupid that was," Rodney ordered.
John looked at him. "Being that naughty means that I had to spank someone," John said. "Just like you'll get when you're older and learn how not to get into the bad things." He smiled.
"We will not be spanking," Rodney ordered.
"It worked wonders on me."
Rodney stared at him. "No. We can correct in other methods. With how active he is now, he'll hate having to sit still for a good bit of time."
"True, that would be torture." He went back to the reports. Rodney finished his. They filed them and walked their son off so he could watch over his people. The baby tried to get near the ship but the forcefield came down.
"Hi, kid," Ellis called. He shook his head. "I promise, I'm not taking him this time either, Atlantis." The forcefield came down. The kid crawled to him and patted him then went to look at the fishes. Ellis smirked at the parents. "He's adorable."
"My sister lost her mind and went gooingly cute," Rodney said dryly. He kept the baby from diving down to play with his friends in the water. "You're too young to swim. Wait until you're at least four," he said patiently.
"It's good the baby is giving you more patience," Jack said as he joined them. He scooped up the baby. "Your aunt did a good job making you look like a little boy." He walked him off. "C'mon, we'll have some dinner. You can coo at Teal'c again. He thinks you're as adorable as his own son was." They walked past Ronon and the baby grabbed his hair, making him follow with a wince.
"No, let the big, scary warrior go," Jack said dryly. He pried the fingers off. "Thank you." The baby pouted at him. "Ask him if you want him to join us for dinner, kid, not haul him with you." The baby reached for the braids again. Ronon followed anyway to end the pout.
Teyla smiled, taking the baby from the general's arms. "We have made you food." She sat him in the seat that Rodney had made up. "There, let us eat so you can grow bigger."
The baby stared at her until the food was pulled into his view. He stared then scowled at her.
Jack snickered. "It's probably better tasting than it looks." The kid turned his head. Jack stared at him. "It's going to be one of those nights, huh?" He picked up something else and added the shredded meat to it.
John sat down, watching what he was doing. "How do you know?"
"All kids have days when they don't want to eat what you want them to eat," he said. "If you fix whatever it is, then they'll probably eat it." He fed him a bite but it got spit out and the baby set off screaming and wailing.
Rodney sniffed it. "Unless it's the stuff that he knows Daddy can't eat." He handed it back and took a shot in case.
Jack sniffed. "You're right, it does have citrus. Nice catch, kid." John took it back to the kitchen to talk to the cooks, who were new. Jack got something else and let the kid taste it. "Better?" The baby sniffled but ate more, giving him a pitiful look.
"You can't have another twinkie," Rodney said. "Eat the food and we'll talk about it later." The baby ate it and hummed a bit, reaching for Ronon's hair again.
"No, I need that," Ronon said. "You can play with it later." He fed him a piece of roll, which satisfied his need to chew on bread stuff or cake. The baby happily ate, waved around his treat of roll, and was a lot happier when the other daddy came back to feed him.
"They will no longer be so careless with the citrus," John announced.
"Thank you for protecting me in such a manly way," Rodney said dryly.
"That's why half of us think you're the mother of the baby," Ronon assured him. Rodney glared at him.
"Don't piss him off, he'll keep the baby up all night ranting," John complained.
"I will not." He hit him on the arm.
"We have to work on that with you," Ronon said. "It's embarrassing when you swat him." He stuffed his mouth. The baby was staring at him. He stared back. The baby smiled so he fed him a bite of his dinner. The baby beamed and looked at Jack, who fed him more. John took over, shoveling the food into his mouth. That made him happy again.
"You two have to eat too," Radek said as he joined them. He took over feeding duties. The parents both ate quickly and took over so Radek could eat. "You will figure out other things soon enough." The baby leaned over, making pouty faces until he smiled and patted his hand. "No, may not have glasses this time either. Eat so you grow up."
Rodney shook his head. "We're insane," he told John.
John nodded. "Yeah but I think I have my reasons."
Jack snickered. "I said about the same thing when Danny kept driving me nuts."
John nodded. "It's apparently a well traveled path between colonels and their geeks, sir."
"Yeah, it really is." He took the spoon back and finished feeding the baby. He was getting sleepy and that was a great thing. Rodney grinned at him yawning. "Yeah, it's a happy time. Put him down. Don't try for a bath first," Jack said quietly. They nodded, taking the baby up to put him down. That outfit was soft enough to let him sleep in tonight. As long as he didn't need changed, they were fine for now.
Ronon smirked. "Thank you for saving my hair."
"Distraction. It almost always works." Ronon nodded, finishing up and going to his room to relax and find a way to guard his hair in the future.
A few months later, John and Rodney both heard the call from the infirmary and went jogging that way. "Figures he got hurt," John muttered on the way. He made it first because he was closer. "What happened?"
Doctor Keller handed over the baby and stomped off.
"Doc?" he asked.
"First, he's walking now." She glared at him. "Second, he was playing in the weapons."
"Son!" he complained, staring at him. "You're not allowed in the armory, no matter what the city says." Rodney huffed in. "He was in the armory and he's walking."
"I'll lock him out of it," he promised. "Well, put him down!" he ordered. He put the baby down, watching as he grinned but stood. "Huh, so are you walking?" The baby cooed, following the city's advice. "Shit, he's headed back there," Rodney muttered, following. "O'Neill!" he called, spotting him.
John heard the alarm start to go off and stared at the kid. "You so need to learn how to talk. O'Neill, please take the precious little harbinger there off the city." Jack nodded, scooping up the kid and heading off. "People, we have an alarm," he noted over the intercom when everyone was standing around. "Doesn't that mean we should be doing something?"
They rushed to their assigned spots. It wasn't a false alarm, which was both bad and good. The things floating through the shield probably weren't healthy for the city. He hoped O'Neill made it off the city with the kid this time. She hadn't even wanted to let them go to the local beach. The Marines fought extra hard and got them all down and dead. John relaxed, looking at the gate tech. "We good?" John asked.
"Yes, sir, no more's coming in and we've shut the gate down fully. I cut all power to it when we couldn't cut the connection." He looked at him. "The baby?"
"Thank God." The Marines nodded and went to check the bodies. They had no idea what they were. Keller and the medical team came up to gather them for autopsy, taking the heavy, floating blobs off.
Jack walked in. "For some reason the jumper decided to turn itself around when I was halfway to the Athosians," he said dryly. He handed over the kid.
John looked at him. "You have *got* to learn how to talk instead, son. If you had warned us, we'd have handled things. Because you're not allowed near the weapons." He kissed him on the head. He saw an antsy looking Marine and sighed, holding him out. "Wanted him?"
"No, sir," he said weakly.
John stared. "You're giving him puppy eyes and he's not old enough to date yet." The Marine grinned and took him to cuddle. John looked around. "Let me go remind the AI to tell us some other way because the baby's not allowed near the weapons yet."
"Guys, FYI, he's walking now," Rodney noted over the intercom. Everyone on the city groaned. The one who was holding him cuddled him harder for that exceptional accomplishment. The other guys took their turns and it was nicer. A much better way of calming down than going to take a shower and hit the walls.
"Maybe this was the city's way of telling them to quit hitting her walls?" the gate tech asked O'Neill.
"I have no idea," he admitted. "If so, it's strange." Cam jogged out. "Just get back?" he quipped.
"Yeah. We got the alert and came back as soon as we could. What happened?"
"Flying, solid cloud-like beings that came through the gate. I had to shut power down completely, General."
"Any teams off-world?" he asked. He got a nod and two fingers being held up. "McKay to the gate." He came jogging in. "They had to shut it down."
Rodney checked and repowered it, doing a test dial to contact those teams in case there was a problem. They both said they were fine and he went back to swearing at the AI for letting the baby near the weapons. He was much too young and she had other ways of getting that warning across.
John woke up with a groan. For some reason the lights were on his apartment in the middle of the night. They were blinking too. He looked around. "What?" he asked, sounding cranky. The lights flashed again. "Shit." He got up and pulled on pants, heading out to find his demented soul's ease. "Alex, I'm going to paddle your ass," he called as he walked. That got Rodney up, who came out looking half asleep.
"Where is he this time, Atlantis?" They got into the transporter and were sent to where the baby had sent himself. They walked in and stared. "Shit, there is a gay baby making machine." He tapped his ear. No comm. "Atlantis, I need Keller here now." He went to check, there was a warning light on the machine. He looked at Alex, who looked confused. "Why did you get up?"
Alex babbled and pointed, patting the case around the baby.
"The warning says that pressure is dropping and the baby's heart isn't stable yet," Rodney said. He tried for his comm and hadn't put it in either. A medical team rushed in. "For some reason our son came down to greet his new playmate. The warnings say her heart is unstable."
The doctor came off the transporter next and jogged over to them. "What the hell?" she demanded. Alex gave her that same confused look. "Did you ask for a playmate?" He shook his head. "Can you suddenly answer questions?" He shook his head again, still looking confused.
John picked the baby up. "Rodney?"
He got into the system to let her out. She was a bit young. "It says it started automatically. That's why she wanted O'Neill here," he realized.
John looked at the baby but nothing sparked. "Huh. Okay. Guys, do your thing, I'll tell the general to come see you once we get him back into bed." His son smiled at the baby and waved like Teyla had taught him to. "That's right, she's going to the infirmary and you're going back to bed, son. Thank you for finding her." Alex looked up and shook his head. "She didn't send you?" The poor kid looked confused.
John walked him off, intentionally getting a transporter alone. "Is she?" Alex shook his head. "How did we know?" Alex shrugged. "Huh." They went back to their room and he put him down. "Maybe she can have the stuff you outgrew, kiddo. Warn me next time." He went to wake up the general, who was more grumpy than McKay. "We found the gay baby making system."
"Why tell me?" he grunted.
"Because there's a beautiful little girl down there with blue eyes." Jack glared at him. "Who was having some problems so the system released her to the infirmary first. Alex somehow knew that she was in trouble and went to find her. Atlantis got me up with flashing lights. I almost thought I was in a rave."
"So you're saying the machine made me a daughter?"
"We think so. Keller has her."
"Don't know, sir. Maybe she's missing having a full colony or something." He shrugged. "I just put the sprout down."
Jack yawned and nodded. "I'll go check on the kid, see what's going on." He went to put on a shirt and pants, heading down to the infirmary. "Hey, Doc, anything I can do to help?" he called as he walked in.
"Yes, we need to transfuse her, General. I need your blood."
"You docs always want my blood," he complained but let her stick him to gather some so they could give it to the baby. He looked and his heart melted. He had felt the same way when his son had been born. "Damn it," he muttered.
"We're running genetics now," she soothed. "There's a few other blue eyed people around here, General." She walked off with the blood to check the quality then give it to the baby. "Sit." Jack sat on another bed, out of the way, watching what they were doing. She steadied the baby and got her ready to finish her first day in the incubator they had in there. It had just popped out to help them.
She got the reports and read them over then walked over to stand in front of him. "She's lucky, she's nearly at full term. Just a few weeks shy," she said quietly. "Her lungs look good. Her brain development seems normal." Jack stared at her instead. "You and Doctor Jackson need to have a talk though."
He grimaced. "That's going to be a fit worse than Rodney's."
"Most of us do that sort of yelling in the south tower, sir." She stared at him. "We have to go over that system to make sure there's no others."
"Please do. Any idea why since we didn't ask?"
"No, sir. You might try to ask her. Maybe she thought you needed one too?" She shrugged. "All I know is she's not that sick, the blood transfusion helped a lot. She's stable for right now. We'll be keeping her for a while because she's underweight." He nodded. "You should probably tell Doctor Jackson soon."
"I know better than to wake him up, Doc. I don't need to see you for other reasons tonight." She walked off happier, taking a team to go over that facility. "Bring Zelenka with you, Doc," he called. "McKay is probably fuming."
"I can do that." She called him out of bed, which pissed him off, but when he heard he came down immediately to help her. They found Rodney going over things. "Any others?"
Rodney nodded. "Two but they're still very early on. Radek." He pointed. "One's got lower power issues."
"I will fix. Are they siblings?"
"No, probably not." He walked off to talk to the AI. She appeared when he stepped onto the communication platform. "Why create the babies?"
"I did not create Alex, Doctor McKay."
He stared at her. "I meant the other ones. I know you didn't create him or we'd have tripped over him in a hallway instead of finding him where we did."
She smiled. "The strongest must be followed. That way we are all protected into a next generation."
He shifted his weight, staring at her oddly. "Who are their parents?"
"The strong ones."
"From now on, ask," he ordered. "Some people don't want children. Humanity has evolved to the point where we don't randomly breed."
"I did choose based on the best fit between the parents."
"Yes but some people don't want to be parents. I never considered myself a good candidate for it."
"Yet you do it very well."
He nodded. "Thank you. Did you tell Alex about that tonight?"
"No, Alex can sense issues I am having. I did not have to tell him." She disappeared.
"Interesting." He went to make his report to Jack, who was grumbling again. Rodney did the bad thing and woke Daniel up. "Yes you have to get up," he shouted when he got glared at. "Your daughter is in the infirmary."
"Did you get drugged?" Daniel moaned, sitting up and putting on his glasses to stare at him blankly. "I don't have a kid."
"Atlantis said the strongest have to survive to protect us all in the next generation."
Daniel hopped up and stared at him. "Excuse me?" he demanded.
Rodney pointed. "She's a bit premie."
"She," Rodney agreed dryly. "Blue eyed, sandy blonde hair....."
"Jack?" he asked, looking confused.
"Apparently so. Infirmary, Doctor Jackson. Once your brain starts working again. That way your softer science approach to things won't horrify her into stupidity that might be contagious to my own son."
Daniel frowned. "Shut up!"
"Fine." He walked down there, not caring he was in his boxers and a t-shirt.
"Shouldn't you be dressed?" John asked as he walked past him.
"I want her to check for marks from something that might've sucked out my brains."
"No, that's just Rodney before coffee." John shook his head, going to hide. He did not want to see the other issues going on when they told the other parents.
Daniel walked into the infirmary. "Were we all hit by something that sucks brains out?" he asked.
"Not yet. McKay hasn't made his full rounds without coffee," the nurse said dryly. "She's right there, Doctor Jackson. She's already a little sweetheart."
Daniel walked over to stare at her. "You look a lot like your mother, kid." The nurse cackled. "I'm not the mother. Even if I am the nicer one. Can I...." The nurse handed her over, letting him hold her. "Hi." She yawned and made sucky faces. "Bottle?"
"Nutritional drip for right now. We're getting you a bottle." She went to tidy things up just out of normal hearing range.
Daniel looked at her. "I never expected to have one of you." She yawned again. "I know, it's bright, you're tired, it's all good." Another nurse walked in with a bottle so he took it and carefully fed her. "The right temp, right?" he asked, realizing he hadn't checked it.
"Yes, Doctor Jackson. It was the right temperature." She helped by shifting his arm. "Head up a bit." He nodded, shifting until the position felt better. She slurped nicely for him and seemed content, though she wouldn't open her eyes. "It's too bright," she said at the opening mouth. "A lot of babies don't until they get used to the light."
"Thank you." He gave her a weak smile. "You can tell her mother if you haven't yet."
"The general already knows."
"Like I said, her mother." She walked off giggling. Jack wandered in with clothes for him. "You make a good mom," he teased.
"I think I'm the father, Danny. You're the nurturing one who cares about making friends."
"I'm not really mommy material, Jack."
"Boys, fight later," Keller ordered as she walked in. "For now, enjoy the quiet. She's a lot younger than Alex was and she'll be getting up again in a few hours." She started the tests to see who the other two belonged to. "General, we found two more."
He looked at her. "Why tell me?"
"You're the higher ranking officer."
"It's still Sheppard's command, Doc. As far as I'm concerned, this is a strange vacation." She nodded and paged him with that information. He snored back. She huffed and paged him again, getting another snore. She paged McKay, who went to wake him up and make him deal with things. John stumbled into the infirmary a few minutes later and glared at her. "How soon will we know parents, Doc?"
"Then why wake me up now?" John demanded.
"Because there's two more."
He shrugged. "Talk to their parents."
"Fine." She pointed at a bed. "I'll wake you when I know who they belong to." He nodded, laying down to take a nap. Daniel snickered. "You should probably be dressed, Doctor Jackson."
"I will in a minute."
Jack took her to hold and feed, letting Danny do that. "Hey, princess. What are we going to name you?"
"I like the idea of the city-wide poll," Daniel said dryly. "That way I don't have to decide. I'm horrible at naming things."
"Fine," Jack agreed. "You know, this means we have to tell the others and make Sam shop."
Daniel smirked. "She'll hate that."
"I don't care. Not like there's a Toys R Us up here." The doctor cackled. "Good parents?"
"The idea of a Toys R Us up here." She shook her head. "Parents...." They were starting to come up. "I'll be damned."
"Either of them have a sibling?" John asked, still half asleep.
"No. Colonel Mitchell won't be happy though."
"I wish him a happy daughter who's as pretty as I am," John mumbled, going back to sleep. Alex wandered in so the nurse lifted him up to let him sit on his father's chest. John cuddled him, earning a coo. "Sleep, kid."
Alex yawned and fell asleep there.
"Cam and who?" Jack asked. "Just out of curiosity."
"Mitchell and Hastings, who is one of the bigger, tougher Marines. And she is a daughter. The other belongs to Doctor Kusangi." Daniel moaned at that. "And the father would be what looks like a Sheppard/McKay cross that isn't that one." She looked up. "So that's a grandchild in the making."
"They're going to be ranting for *days*," Jack said. He got the others to the infirmary so she could tell them. Mitchell walked in first with a cup of coffee, which Daniel stole.
"He might need it more, Doctor Jackson."
"No, I'm going to bed now," Cam said. "Problems, Doc? And when did we get a second child?"
"The same place yours is presently growing, Colonel."
He gave her a funny look. "Doc, are you sick?"
"No." She showed them the results. The others had heard her announce it so they were shocked.
Miko broke off swearing in Japanese, stomping off to yell at the AI. They all heard the 'all of my children should come from my own loins' part of the rant. Jack and Cam winced at that.
Cam swallowed. "So, does this mean I have to do the honorable thing and marry the other parent?" he asked finally. "Because he doesn't have breasts and I'm not sure I can deal with that." Daniel cackled, shaking his head.
Hastings looked at him. "Me either, sir. Though if you mention it in the wrong spot, we know there's a machine for that."
Keller smirked. "Carter said if she caught anyone talking about how it gave her three extra ones, she was going to smack you around," she reminded him.
"She's a galaxy away, Doctor Keller. She's not that good." He grinned at Cam. "Girl, boy?"
"Not yet. Both are only about three months along and growing pretty fast. I'm fairly certain yours will be a girl though."
Cam whimpered. "Damn, I'm not ready for this talk!" Miko came back panting. "Calm down. It could be worse. She could've made you pregnant."
"She offered." She looked at John and Alex. "Is it the baby's?"
"No, it's a different mix of McKay and Sheppard. Alex did not get made by ours." They all groaned. "I think the others aren't going to be used."
"We can make sure of it," Jack assured her with a smirk. "Did you have Zelenka disconnect the ones not in use?"
"I didn't have to. He did it before the next one was his."
"Cool. Do we have a blanket or something?"
"We're lucky we have the emergency aid kit that had bottles, sir," Keller said. "It's not like we planned for babies."
"Let me call home then." He put her back down. Daniel was asleep standing up and she was chilly. He covered her and dialed up the lamp a tiny bit to get her warm again. Then he went to email the president. Since Landry was being an ass....
He sent one to Carter too so she could bang her head against the wall.
Rodney was reading off his computer in the mess the next morning. "I see the Harry Potter fans have already joined the name pool. No Hermione?" he called.
"No, if we wanted to name her after a know-it-all girl, we'd suggest Samantha," one of the women quipped. Most of the mess cackled at that.
"That's one reason why I'm glad Alex isn't a girl. She might have turned my precious offspring into her clone." He looked around. "Did he talk his father into a walk already?"
"They're still asleep in the infirmary. Alex got up once to go pet the baby and make her warm by trying to cuddle her." Rodney moaned, shaking his head. "Siblings are good, means less spoiled brats, McKay."
"Perhaps but still!" He finished a second cup of coffee before grabbing them breakfast. He mentally tamped down all the thoughts of it being quite domestic for him to do so. He was not the wife. He saw Alex snoring, sleeping in a position that only cats usually attained. John had one arm over their son's chest and was snoring in his ear. He kicked the wheel on the bed, waking John. "Breakfast."
"Nice of you. Thank you." He checked on Alex before sitting up, shifting him to the bigger bare spot. He took the plate and extra cup of coffee. "Any new news?" he asked.
"Miko is still huffy. She stomped into the mess then out with some coffee. I doubt she'll be calmed down anytime soon. Cam hasn't been seen yet. The other two I saw ignoring everyone in the corners of the mess."
"Hmm." He took a sip and moaned. "Thank you, just right." He ate the breakfast, looking down when a tiny hand reached over his hip for some of his eggs. "Morning, Alex."
Alex patted his hip and stole another bite of egg. Rodney fed him a few more, earning a grin. "Dada?"
"That's very mature of you," Rodney said with a grin. "Very good work, son."
Alex beamed at John. "Dada?"
"Yup, I am too." He petted him on the head. "We both need a shower." Alex cackled and wiggled until Rodney carried him over to look at the baby. He babbled noise at her, making her shift in her sleep. John finished his breakfast and coffee, putting the plates behind him. "Let's go shower and get dressed for the day," he decided. He looked at the little girl, smoothing the sheet over her.
"There you go, princess." He took the baby and Rodney took the dishes back to the mess. Since Rodney had taken a shower, John could bathe with the baby. Alex danced around the shower so John had to catch him to scrub him down but he cackled the whole time. They finally got done and Alex got dressed first. Then John got dressed. He carried him out, going down to the office. He had people waiting. "Mitchell, problems?"
"I'm scared stupid," he said quietly.
"Yeah, I felt the same way when I got him." He looked at him. "At least it'll be a baby instead of a toddler. You have time to learn how to chase them down."
Cam snorted. "That's good but I'm still going to screw up."
"So am I. So did my father. Same as yours did. We turned out okay."
"Yeah, maybe. How do I tell my parents about this?"
"Go with the 'some demented scientist' explanation," John offered.
"I guess." He sat down. The baby looked over from his daddy's lap. "Do you think she'll have the same sort of connection?"
"Don't know. We might have to wait for a few months to find out."
"She's not ready to come out yet."
"I meant until the princess of O'Neill land starts to crawl." Alex wiggled. "No. You're staying in here, son." He looked up. "Unless someone's in critical danger, he's not crawling around today." Alex quit wiggling. John smiled at Cam. "O'Neill advised me to jog more miles because toddlers run."
Alex glared at him. "Dada!" He scowled at Cam.
"Let him down, I could use a walk to clear my head." Cam got up and took the baby, putting him down. "Don't lose me." Alex beamed and patted him then toddled out, Cam following.
"Put him back, Mitchell," Jack ordered.
"He wanted to go. Let's see what he'll find this time, sir." Xander patted Jack and cooed at him then walked past him, heading with single minded determination down the hallway to the transporter. They ended up in Engineering with him cooing and patting Miko until she huffed and hugged him. Cam grinned. "I guess he decided you were upset."
"I am. He is adorable but I am still not ready for one of my own. I'm not married, it's not the way it's done." The baby cooed in her ear and she sighed, smiling at him. "I know it will be worth all the stress, Alex." He grinned. "Behave today. Many people are upset today." The baby wiggled and got down, heading off again. Cam waved before following. "I hope my own son is that adorable."
Cam spotted him heading for the armory. He activated his comm. "Sheppard, your son is going to the armory," he called. He followed anyway. The baby cooed at the gun case but headed into the back room. Someone in there needed him. He poked him and cackled when he got a dirty look for it. "Sorry, he's deciding where he wants to go."
"He likes to torment me, sir." Alex petted his leg then poked him some more. "What? I don't know what you want. Want a hug?" he offered, holding out his hands. Alex cackled again and poked him some more.
John walked in and stared at what his son was doing. "Go get scanned."
"What?" he asked.
"Go get scanned."
"Yes, sir, I guess I can." He looked at Alex, who was staring at him. "I'll go see the doctor, how about that?" The baby cackled and poked him again then walked off. He went to the infirmary. "Alex is a little bit off today. He walked up to me, kept poking me here, and then walked off cackling."
The nurse on duty found a scanner and used it on that spot. "Huh. That's interesting. When was the last time you were off base, Sergeant?"
He looked over at the edge of the scanner. "Am I snaked or something?"
"Small growing thing in your arm." She paged the doctor, bringing her back from her run for coffee. "Alex kept poking here, Doctor Keller."
"He kept cackling too."
She rescanned the area, frowning. "What is that?"
"Ma'am, with all due respect, if you don't know I don't want it in me."
"Gladly." She got what she'd need to remove it from his arm. It turned out to be a small seed looking thing that was sprouting. Botany had to come up and look it over. He went back to duty after a full body scan. Just in case he was helping a lot of little seeds grow.
John and Cam both followed the demented toddler, who went to check on Rodney and pet him for a few minutes, then he toddled off to coo at someone who needed it. That one hugged him and whispered in his ear. The baby lapped him on the cheek with a grin. Then he walked off again.
They found themselves in the highest tower and the baby was watching the skies like something was coming. John touched his comm. "Someone do a sky scan," he ordered. He listened while it was done. "Cam, get a jumper... shit, you're not an ATA carrier. Major Lorne, get a jumper and see what that thing is please." He hung up. Within a few minutes, Evan had lifted off and was scanning the thing coming toward them. "McKay, we need shields, we have an asteroid coming," he called. "We need them within ten minutes!"
"Working on it," he complained back. "I doubt it'll hit us."
"No, it's going to hit just outside the city limits, which will create a wave."
"Crap!" He called and got other engineers to work on that. The shield went up a few minutes before Lorne said it was going to hit. It did hit just off the city's farthest pier by inches. Which rocked the city. "People, hold on," Rodney said over the comm system. "We just had an asteroid hit next to us. It'll calm down in a minute." The waves were battering the piers and Alex was pointing at a building. "John, what is he worried about? I can hear him."
"The building on the West pier, the small one." He handed him to Cam and headed for the transporter. "Team 2, with me. Let's see why." They joined him and went to that building to look it over. Things were more choppy over here and the waves hitting the building were driving them nuts within minutes. It was a storage area, mostly bare. John thought on anything in there and lights came up. Then a single machine came up. He stared. "What the hell are you? Search the other areas," he ordered. "Find anything else." They went. John looked at the machine. Radek appeared, looking startled. "Radek, what is this?"
Radek squatted down to look at it. "Is power source. Is not working right." He found the problem area and switched the wires around quickly. Then there was no more waves hitting the building.
"Sir!" one yelled. "Whatever you did just turned on my whole room!"
They jogged that way, finding why. "Oh, dear," Radek said, looking around. "Is genetics lab." He looked around and nodded. "There needs to be more things." He went to check out the rest of the building. He found the rest of it and a personal system. That got Daniel sent to them by Atlantis and he decoded it. "Is what Ancients used to predict children. Has samples in system," Radek announced.
"Holy god," John said. "Ancient DNA or just ours?"
"Both," Radek said. "Including Ancient and human crossbreed."
Keller came off the transporter and found them a few minutes later. She looked around. "Damn," she said in awe, then covered her mouth. "Sorry, slipped out." She looked and then at Daniel. "We need to download this."
"We need to copy it," he corrected. "We don't have a system that has this much processor space."
John waved a hand. "Anything dangerous or is this why Alex was worried about out here?"
"I don't know," Keller said. "You can bring him out."
"No." He walked off to look. "Huh, his fish friends," he called. They came to look. "The dark shapes," he said with a point. "They're...not fish. They look like human/fish crossbreeds."
"So they're mermen?" she asked, looking at them. "That's really wrong." She got McKay down there to look at them. "Look familiar?"
He looked around then shuddered. "That's probably what he's staring at. He can feel them when they're nearby." He walked off to talk to his son. He sent biologists down there to help Keller copy information off. Daniel could translate.
John and the team went back to the control center. "It's all good," he announced.
"Why was he in the armory?" Chuck, the gate tech, asked.
"He found something in the arms master's arm. I don't know what." He called and asked. Then he hung up and looked at him. "Some little growing seed. Let's have anyone who went to the same planet scanned." Chuck nodded, passing on that order.
Time moved on and Atlantis finally made the trip back to Earth. With problems of course. Alex and the other kids were well guarded by O'Neill. They were all fussy. They were very sympathetically linked to Atlantis. If she was 'injured' they felt the booboo and took the adults to it. Alex was still in a league of his own about that. Alex was a bit creepy when he went to find people now, but he was also very intrigued by people parts. He liked to tweak noses, look for nipples, see if people wore diapers. Which usually brought anyone out of their sulk long enough to stop him and hug him instead. Which was half the point probably. They landed on earth and Alex was looking around out the window then up at Rodney. He pointed and grunted.
"No, we won't be visiting for a few days, Alex." Alex sniffled. "Quit or you can't meet your aunt." Alex stared at him. He had many aunts on the city. Including the city itself. Rodney watched him walk off and followed. They found O'Neill cradling his fussy daughter and trying to get her calmed down.
Alex scowled at her. "No!" he shouted. The baby jumped and looked at him. Jack scowled back. "No cry!"
The baby sniffled and pointed. "Booboo!"
"We'll look at the booboo," Jack said patiently. "Then you can meet all the neat people Daddy works with, all right?" He walked off. "Let's find the booboo."
"Coming," McKay agreed. "Alex, find your other father and only him." Alex scowled and swatted at him but toddled off somewhere else. "I mean it," Rodney ordered. "Your other father or the nursery only." He followed Jack.
Alex went to find the other daddy, he was sad. He could feel he was sad. So he had to cheer him up. He found him staring out a window. "Go back?" he asked.
"Some day," he agreed, picking him up to hold. "You good?" Alex nodded. "The city okay?"
"Booboo. Daddy fix."
"Good." He kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you for being so good on the trip." He cuddled him. "We have whole lots of people for you to meet, kiddo. What're we going to do?"
"No go?" he asked.
"Not go where?"
John considered that. "Does this lead back to the last one?" he muttered in his ear, getting a nod and a cuddle. "Point it out for me. We won't go there."
Xander nodded, cuddling him. Then he got that feeling and wiggled, getting down so he could find that one before something bad happened. He ran into him and pounced him. "No!" he shouted. "Bad! Sit in corner!"
John was following and saw why. "I agree, sit in the fucking corner, Corporal. Hand me the damn gun too."
"I can't be back here, sir. I can't."
"We'll figure out what you mean by that later, Corporal. I believe I gave an order." The corporal moved to the corner, putting his back in it. "Good. General?" he called over the intercom. "Problems."
"We're back on earth, we shouldn't be having problems anymore." He walked in a few minutes later with his daughter. He saw the scowling toddler, with his hands on his hips like his mother did when he was pissed off with his minions. "What did he do? He's mimicking his mother again."
John snickered, shaking his head. "He had a gun in his hand, giving it that meaningful look, and said he can't be back on earth."
"I'll find out why in a while. Good catch, Alex. Calm down. Go rob the caf of milk." Alex grinned and ran off to do that. John followed. Jack got the MP's and they arrested him. He'd call someone later. Once they were settled back into the planet of their birth. The kids finally relaxed so all the calling around was done. Leave was arranged in rotation so everyone got some downtime at home. The families called whoever they had to tell. Miko was heard biting back at someone about her not having had the child, someone had made the child for her in a dish without her permission but the others were welcomed by their families. Miko went home with the father of her child for now.
John and Rodney were going home to Rodney's family first. It was the first time Rodney's sister and family would meet Alex. Alex was bouncy because Jack had told him about cousins. They landed and drove over, checking into the hotel on the way. When they got there, Alex stared at the other kids then at his Father/Mother. "Play?" he asked.
"You can play with them inside." He smiled at his sister. "This is your Aunt Jeannie, Alex."
Alex stared at her then cackled and poked her belly. "More?"
She blushed, holding it. "Yes, you're going to have another cousin in a few months. How did you know that?"
"We don't know," John said, smiling at his son. "He's done it to every other pregnant person we've seen." He shook her husband's hand. "Hi, John Sheppard," he said with a smile. "Can you say hi, Alex?"
He smirked and waved. "Dumbass!" Rodney glared. "No?"
"No!" he said firmly. "Corner!" He pointed. Alex pouted but found a corner to sit and pout in. "Sorry, clearly he learned that word from General O'Neill." His sister cackled and hugged him. He smiled at his niece and nephew, giving them hugs as well. "You can play with him in a minute." They walked inside and Alex gave them the hurt, pouty look. "No." Alex turned around and pouted at the wall. At least until the family's dog came over to molest him. Then Alex stared in awe. He lapped him back, getting a bark but the puppy played with him.
"Down," Jeannie ordered. The dog raced out and Alex followed.
"Alex, no wandering here," John ordered. Alex pointed and whined. "Stay with the other kids." They ran to play with the dog and the baby too. He shrugged. "He's gotten used to wandering all over the city."
Jeannie shook her head. "You should watch him more."
"He's watched very well," John assured her with a smile. "Anyone who spots him wandering follows. Half the time he's heading to someone to hug them because they feel bad."
Her eyes widened and she stared at him. "Seriously?"
Rodney nodded. "We're not sure how yet but he does know when the people on the base need to be hugged. He does it very well." John nodded. Rodney looked toward the backyard. "I can't hear screaming or yelling but crying. Alex?" he called. Alex came running in, grinning at him. "Who's upset?" He pointed. "Kids?"
Jeannie got up to look. "What happened?" She walked out there to take care of the booboo. She came back. "Scraped knee." Alex beamed and patted her belly again before running back outside. "Than k you," she called. The baby cooed and John got up, he knew that noise. That meant there was a gun nearby. Rodney followed when he heard the fight. Jeannie too. "What happened... Oh, damn it, that's the neighbor."
Her husband did the sensible thing and called the police. She looked at the children. "Inside." Hers ran in. Alex stared at him. She turned him around and gave him a nudge. "Inside, Alex. Play in there." She pointed and the dog went too. Alex followed the dog. The police showed up and got the neighbor from John, who was turning him into paste. "Why did he bring a gun near my children?" she asked.
John shrugged. "I don't care. He was in the yard with a gun in hand. That's enough for me."
"Sir, you don't sound local," one of the officers said. John pulled out his military ID, getting a nod for it. "That's fine, sir. Good job making him sorry."
"He came near my son with that peashooter of his."
"I understand fully, sir." They walked the stupid human off with his gun. Before that nice colonel got them too.
John felt that pulling feeling about ten weeks later. He took leave that night, taking Alex with him. Rodney just grunted because he was involved in a project, probably by design. John found a good place to do the summoning, staring at the being that appeared. "Not now."
"You're needed," he said.
"I'm needed there. We're going back soon and I have to be there to protect us all."
"This will protect...."
John held up a hand. "No, it won't. Read me." D'Hoffryn did and gasped, backing away. "I have to go back. Losing Alex will kill us all right now," he said quietly. "We need it more than ever because we're going back soon."
D'Hoffryn sighed but nodded. "We have two that need it at the same time, the same as you did."
"Me and Jack?" he guessed. The higher demon nodded. "Jack has a wonderful little girl. The city made sure of it."
D'Hoffryn smiled. "I'm glad." He looked at Alex, who stuck his tongue out at him. "Yes, I still remember you screwing up one of my chosen."
"You sent her," Alex cooed with a grin. "Because I needed help."
D'Hoffryn sighed. "That was not my choice." He looked at John. "How long?" John shrugged. "Fine, we will switch time zones when it is time."
"Did with me," Alex assured him.
"True, we did." He looked at John. "We will be waiting."
"I'm sure you will be. What about the others?"
"Doing their worst, that's who needs you."
John shook his head. "Why are so many of us giving up?"
"Because there's no one there to support you most likely. This round has nearly been lost. We have lost two." Alex scowled at him. "It was not our doing. The First got them."
"Fucker," Alex said.
"First?" John asked.
"Ah, you haven't found out about his last life yet," D'Hoffryn said dryly. "Mr. Harris was not exactly in the DMZ of the demon world as he should have been."
"You put me there," Alex pointed out. He shrugged. "Had to."
John looked at the baby then at him. "He was what?" D'Hoffryn made the file appear so he could read it. "Damn. I thought I got into trouble." The door to the warehouse opened and he looked. "Evan."
"Colonel. Who's your friend?"
"D'Hoffryn. He's over wish demons."
Evan Lorne looked then nodded once. "I've seen stranger things." He moved closer. "Why come now?"
"We have need of a gift child as those ones called it," D'Hoffryn said smugly.
"Then Alex was?"
John looked at him. He knew he could trust Evan with his life, he would understand this and not hate him for it. "So was I." Evan gaped. John nodded. "That's why I'm in this life instead of totally lazing around somewhere in an afterlife."
"Is it just anyone?"
"No. There were originally ten of us. Now we're down to eight."
"So why give you one?"
"They come when you've totally given up hope and all humanity," John said. "When all hope is lost to one who can make a difference in the world."
"What about when we go back?"
"I just talked him out of sending us both to others who need us."
"That might kill McKay and the rest of the city," Evan agreed. He looked at D'Hoffryn. "Can we volunteer for the next round?"
"As far as I know we can't add people, young man." Evan rolled his t-shirt sleeve to show something. "Oh, my. And you wish to...."
"I'm all for making a difference." He looked down. "I can believe Harris was one of them with the way he was the backbone of the group." John gave him a dirty look. "My assignment before the SGC was on a quiet team. That one's former team had taken down a special ops project." John nodded slowly. "We were sent to take them down. The only one who noticed us was that one.
"He told us why when he babbled to make sure we weren't one of them." He grinned. "He was a sweet kid who had a stubborn streak like a mule because of those girls of his. Make him gay this time, Sheppard. It'll be a kindness on everyone's nerves." He looked at D'Hoffryn. "I'll volunteer. I don't want the world to end and a few go-rounds will keep me from being bored and destroying the afterlife."
"We've been going since time started," John said quietly.
"Which sucks large," Evan agreed. "Might as well not be bored anyway. Not like I'm sure if there's reincarnation." He looked at the demon. "Let us know? Because we'll probably all die in Pegasus."
D'Hoffryn looked at him. "Usually, people who are as offputting as you are are already in the group." He disappeared.
John looked at him. "We can't tell him."
"He already knows." John gave him another funny look. "Some of us have noticed your son has nightmares. McKay actually did the math and came up with reincarnation and the fact that the myths happen in both places meant that the Ancients or someone else did things like this."
"Yeah, he went into scary smart mode. It was when he had the flu last time. He told Zelenka and Miko too."
"Sure, I can understand that." He shook his head, picking up the baby. "So, we're a go to go back to Pegasus for however long we last." Alex kissed him and grinned. "O'Neill is getting pushy too."
"The IOA wants him on earth so they have control of him," Evan said dryly. "The city was raided just after you left."
"Fat fucking chance," John said. "Want to go visiting with me?"
"Dearly. That's why I'm off finding you. Oh, by the way, they're in Cleveland. So he can't go."
"I know, now. It was in the file." John made a call on the way out to catch a cab to the airport. "It's John." He listened to the gasp. "Actually, I'm back, there's a shock, and government officials want to own my son." He nodded. "San Francisco." He smiled at Evan. "Please. And yeah, they may be tapping things."
He hung up and called a cab for them, taking them to a walmart for baby supplies and then to the private airstrip that their father had used when he had to fly out here for business. John and Evan got onto the plane, knocking out the person who was in there because they knew he wasn't family. Woolsey wasn't going to say much of anything for a while. John removed the pilots. Then he got the plane ready for takeoff. After all, he and Evan were some of the best pilots the Air Force had ever graduated.
Jack O'Neill looked up as someone walked into the oval office. "Sir."
"Jack." He stared. "She's adorable. Drooling but adorable."
Jack grinned. "She tries really hard sometimes." The president laughed. "The IOA showed up for the kids."
"You had to expect that."
"Yeah and I'm sure they expected me and Danny to kill them all."
"I did," the president assured him with a smile. "Anyone not accounted for?"
"Sheppard and Evan Lorne went to find him so he's digging a hole. He has the baby with him. McKay is MIA though."
"Hmm. He's Canadian."
"We can find him, sir. I need the authorization. I also need the IOA leashed or disbanded. Because the city will go back in a while."
"I can agree with that. The leash might be hard to do. It is multi-national. They think your daughter is the savior of mankind."
"No, the female savior of mankind is in Cleveland from what I'm told." The president gaped in horror. Jack grinned. "A few of my people have known, sir. Of course I heard." He put her on her feet. "Stay there." She pouted at him. "Quit giving me looks like your father does when I steal his coffee. Stay." She sat down and played with his shoelaces instead. "Thank you, good girl." He looked at the President again. "If they do stupid things...."
"You do what you have to do as a parent, O'Neill. By the way, I put you on undetermined family leave. So you're still a general." Jack smirked. "Now, anything else I should know about?"
"Yes, sir, the other kids? They're all going to be geniuses and all the parents are pretty much mission critical one way or another. Mitchell is SGC critical but the other one is Atlantis critical."
"It's a dangerous thing, O'Neill."
"They don't want to ask and they're not sure."
"I know." Someone burst in through the doorway. "What's going on?" he asked his guard.
"Sir, someone's trying to raid the white house," the guard ordered. "Come with us please. You as well, sir, and your daughter."
Jack handed the guard his daughter. "No one but me gets her and I'm a general, kid. They're probably after her." The guard nodded and took his responsibilities with him to the bunker. Jack checked his weapon on the way out the door, finding the guards working hard. Jack shot a few, earning a shocked look from the guards. "I'm General O'Neill. I was in talking to the President." That got a nod and they let him help. Jack got one down physically when he rushed the line, standing on his throat. "Why did you come here tonight?" he asked, pointing the gun at his head.
"She's the future!"
"She's a toddler who drools and can't even say Daniel right. You don't need her. You won't get her. You'll get her over my dead body." He shot him and then the others that were still standing. Jack smirked at the guards. "These morons think that my daughter is the future of humanity. I had to take some out at my house earlier."
"I'm sorry, sir, that sucks badly. Is she all right?"
"She's with the president." That got a nod and Jack was led down there. The baby was fussy but reached for him when she saw him. "You okay?"
"Daviel," she said with a pout. "Bad bad!"
"I know. They were very bad people and I'll always protect you, Esmeralda." The president gave him an odd look. "The city held a naming poll."
"Ah." He nodded. "Perhaps you should be in the Mountain."
"They tried to raid the city too, sir."
"I'll have their fucking nuts," he decided. "Go to the mountain, Jack."
"Yes, sir." He saluted with his free hand, making his daughter giggle. He smirked at her. "Say bye bye?"
"Toodles!" she said with a smile and a wave. Jack got them beamed out, earning an 'ooooh, shiny!' from the girl.
The president shook his head. "How on earth Jack O'Neill got such a cute little daughter I'll never know. Must be from Jackson's side of the family." His main guard gave him an odd look. "Someone made those children in a dish."
"Poor people, having kids like that." He escorted the president back up to the office and let him handle calling people to chew them a new one while they finished the clean up duties. Wherever that beam came from took the bodies once they had gathered them. That was very nice of whoever.
John walked off the plane first when it was settled into the hanger. "Hey," he told his brother. "Alex, no getting down," he said when he wiggled.
Alex looked. "Auntie?" he guessed, tipping his head, making his uncle burst out laughing.
John looked at him. "Smartass. This is your Uncle Dave." He handed him over. "Let me get the diaper bag." Evan tossed it at him with a smirk. "Thank you, Major."
"Welcome, sir." He walked down the stairs and took the baby. "You are adorable and very helpful in the cockpit. Some day we'll teach you how to fly." Alex lapped him. "You can kiss better than that, kiddo. I know your daddy taught you." Alex kissed him properly then grinned. "Thank you, that's very nice."
John took him back, shaking his head. "Can we?" he asked his brother.
"I have a safe house set up for the usual threats. We can use that since they were dumb enough to try to raid the white house."
John nodded. "That about sounds like the IOA." They got into the car, the booster seat was hanging off the bag so it was easily put in. Then Alex got strapped in and they were off.
"How did you get a son wherever you were?" his brother asked.
"Someone made him for us. His other daddy is a super sciences sort named Doctor McKay."
"Dada," Alex said, nodding.
"Yes, that one."
"Yes, same one," John said dryly, cracking Evan up again. "O'Neill started that and he does call him mommy sometimes, which makes Rodney huff and teach him more words to correct it. I think he knows how to say 'father' in every language he and Daniel know."
"That's always good for a child, to be exposed to other cultures that way," Dave said. "Is he all right?"
"He's perfectly healthy, wanders all the time all over the base. I swear I get more jogging in chasing him than I do for PT. There's a few other kids there too and they've taken over a room they mutually decided was fun. It's got views of the fish, the PT area, all that. They love it."
"That's good." He drove them to the safe house making idle small talk the whole way. Evan seemed pretty nice. John clearly needed to relax because he was in crisis mode. When they got there, he looked at his brother. "How can you take care of him wherever?" he asked quietly.
"We're doing okay so far," he admitted. He sat down. Alex curled up beside him. He had nearly fallen asleep in the car. Car rides were new to him and exciting but it was almost predictable how they put babies to sleep. He petted his hair then looked at his brother again. "Leaving him behind isn't much of an option. A lot of the others would protest. They've seen Alex like a mascot most of the time."
"Isn't it dangerous?"
"Yes. Beyond belief but everyone on the base wants to keep him there. The same as the other ones." His brother nodded at that. "If I thought it was possible, I might agree," he admitted. "Because we get into the most insane shit ever."
His brother stared at him. "How classified is this?"
"Presidential eyes only," Evan said.
John's brother nodded. "All right. Need help?"
"Yup, a lot," John sighed. "But you have a family."
"So do you." He pointed at the baby. "Plus mine."
"What we're doing is important but it's a lot of combat and a lot of things that no one really wants to do more than have nightmares about."
"I get that," he promised. "I really do." He looked at Evan. "Are you two together?"
"He's really sexy and all but he's hit on almost every single woman we've run into on missions."
John glared at him. "I have not."
"Dada, shh!" Alex complained.
John hugged him. "I won't fight with Evan."
"Smoochies!" Alex demanded.
"No, I don't kiss Evan, son." Evan laid one on him, making him hum and stare at him. "Since when?"
"Since the first time I saw you running down the halls to handle something without a shirt on after sparring with Teyla."
John grinned. "I'm not against it but I can't make anything like a commitment right now, Evan. Not until he's safe."
"I agree fully, that's why I followed you all the way here." He gave him a smug look. John smirked back.
"Well, I'm glad I could facilitate that." His brother clapped his hands. "John, how soon do you think you can safely go back?"
"I don't know. If I have to keep my son safe, I'll out the fucking project. Blow it completely open."
Evan nodded. "That's a good last ditch effort."
"Um, boys, did you hear anything from LA this last spring?" he asked dryly. They both shook their heads so he got online from his phone and let them see the footage. They both groaned. "I don't think anything you do will be too strange considering that."
"We deal with things that eat people," Evan said.
Dave winced. "That truly sucks."
"Yes it did," John admitted. "Twice now." His bother glared. "Captured."
"Uh-huh. You're not going back alone." He got up. "Let me brief the family and the company's head of security. You two rest or whatever, and put the baby to bed. Tell me what size he wears and I'll have the wife do a bit of shopping." John showed him the tags and the diapers. He wrote them down. "Got it. I'll be back tomorrow afternoon. Be safe, guys." He headed out to give them some time to work out whatever was between them.
John looked at Evan. "You couldn't say something?"
"I thought you were building something with McKay."
"No. He got drunk that once but he couldn't actually look at me for the next four days. Since his ideal woman is blonde with big breasts.... I'm not even thinking about using that machine we found." Evan snickered, taking another kiss. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Let's get the sprout to bed. We could all use some rest." John nodded, putting the baby to bed. Evan didn't hesitate, he went to his own bed for the night, making John smile. Evan clearly wasn't in it for the fast thing. Which suited him pretty well really. He laid down, considering his options. O'Neill had to know that he was going to out the project if they came near his kid. He had threatened Landry with it when he had thrown a fit when he learned about Esme.
Rodney looked up at his captors, staring at them. "I find you less capable than the Genii. That's really pathetic since they were so technologically backwards."
"We need that child. That way there's a next generation to go to Atlantis, Doctor McKay. Plus any others that could be made."
"First of all, Alex wasn't made on Atlantis."
"Secondly, the other kids... they'd destroy you. Alex would too and he'd cackle about it. He has started to become his other father's son instead of mine. Though he does show a gift for languages," he said dryly. "Which I suppose I can put up with if that's his field. After all, linguists are necessary even with the language of science." One of them hit him. Rodney spit the blood back at them. "Thank you ever so much. I'm sure my dentist will be quite amused with that." He sneered. "You're pathetic and you're never getting Alex. You've already failed. John has him in protective custody and there's nothing that can get through Sheppard."
"A bullet will."
"Then you've lost Atlantis. She won't let him be killed, won't let you take the baby, and will probably be zapping you soon."
"We can reboot her," one said smugly. "She's just an AI." Marines appeared behind them with guns, shooting them all.
Rodney looked. "Really? You think so?" He looked up. "Colonel Mitchell, nice to see you now."
"We were going on a mission for the mountain. Huh." He came over to release him and called the ship over his comm earpiece. "Ellis, this is Mitchell. I have six targets with me, including McKay. Please beam the General, either one, to my location to handle the people who had him hostage."
"They're IOA and they want the baby," Rodney said.
Mitchell snorted. "Over my dead body." The others on his team smirked at him for that. He grinned back. "I know, she's got you wrapped around her finger already. Carter too." He shrugged. The general and Ellis both beamed in. "Sir, for some reason we were beamed from the mountain to here to save Doctor McKay since they had him hostage."
"These fucking morons were worse at it than the Genii," Rodney complained, kicking one. "They wanted the children."
Landry gave him a confused look. "Why?"
"I don't know," he said dryly.
"McKay, are you drugged? Your usual eloquence is down," Ellis said.
Rodney shrugged. "I'm a tad bit worried since John has the baby."
"What baby?" Landry asked.
Rodney and everyone else stared at him. "Are you feeling all right, General Landry?"
"I'm fine," he scowled. "Let's clean up this mess. Who were they?"
"IOA thugs," Mitchell said. "Evan warned me that Woolsey was actually trying to get Alex from John in San Francisco before they knocked him out and tossed him out of the plane."
"I'm hoping that means he went home." Ellis got more troops to clean up the mess and they all beamed back to the Mountain. McKay went to get checked over. He also talked to the doctor in there. "I know the general is your father," he said quietly. She nodded, grimacing. "He just asked me which child I was talking about like he didn't know anything about them."
"He's had some memory slips recently," Carolyn Lam admitted. "He won't let me scan him."
"We do have compulsory medical testing."
"I've called in another doctor to do it since he's family, McKay. Thank you for telling me."
"Keller can. She's handily not too busy right now."
She smiled. "I'll get in touch with her if my first choice doesn't come through." She gave him an ice pack for his jaw. "There, go debrief." He nodded, heading up to the meeting area. She called that other doctor, who said he was still too busy for the next few days. So she said she'd fine someone else and called Keller. "I need a favor," she said quietly. Her counterpart agreed that was fine. "My father's having memory slips. Yes, that one. Please?" She smiled and relaxed. "Thank you. Here. Stubbornly here." She hung up and went to get an area ready. They'd probably have to do a scan too. She also added a sedative to the tray in case Jennifer needed it.
Doctor Keller was beamed to the Mountain and walked up to the office. "General, I have been appointed your physician for a mandatory physical."
"I'm fine, Doctor."
Keller looked at him. "I don't care, sir. It's mandatory and it came from further up the chain than I am."
"There's nothing wrong with me."
"Then what's my name, sir?" He glared. She stared back. "You know me pretty well and if you can't remember my name then there's a problem. It has been noticed, I am going to check you over, and if you give me lip I'll treat you like one of the Marines on Atlantis and just knock you out." He stood up. "Good." She walked him off by force. "Master Teal'c, please escort us to the infirmary," she ordered when they ran into him. "It's a mandatory physical."
"Of course, Doctor Keller. Do I need one as well?"
"No." She smiled. "You weren't picked from the hat." She walked him in and got pointed at the room prepared for her. She did indeed use the sedative the first time he got combative but it let her do the scan easily. "Damn it!" she said. The other doctor came in to look at her. "I'm sorry, Carolyn."
"Alzheimer's?" she asked quietly. Keller nodded, letting her see it. "My aunt had it too." She handed it back. "We'll do what we can."
"There's probably treatments. I haven't kept up with that research but I can look."
"I'll get one of the VA docs to verify it so they can put him on some." Keller gave her a hug. "Thank you."
Keller grinned back. "Alex taught me it was fundamental. I had forgotten when I grew up. Let me call and I'll call O'Neill to tell him too."
"Thank you." Keller nodded, going to the office to make those calls. She sat beside her father, petting his hand. "Oh, Dad," she sighed. "Damn it."
Two days later, John called his new desk phone on Atlantis. "Give me my son back, Atlantis. There's people who want to hurt him and I need to protect him. You can have him back in a few days." She beamed him back, making Evan snicker. John hung up. "I know she's trying to protect him but she's much more vulnerable to attack than we are."
"True, she is." He took the baby to cuddle since he was pouting. "Your uncle will be here soon."
"Books?" Alex asked, looking at his father.
"We'll see." Alex smiled and got down to wander into the kitchen. Evan followed to make sure he didn't steal half the fridge to feed the floor again. John sat down with a sigh, calling O'Neill. "Atlantis tried to steal the baby again," he said in greeting. "I have him back but I figure she'll be pasting whoever tries for him again." He listened. "Sir, if I have to, I'll out the project so my son is safe, the same as it'll make your daughter safer. Not like I can't prove it, sir. We can find the bug DNA." He hung up and leaned back, rubbing his aching head. Alex crawled up beside him and put something cold against his mouth so he opened it without looking. His son giggled and fed it to him. "Thank you, Alex. That's very sweet."
John looked at him. "Before bed." Alex smiled and got down, letting John finish chewing up his grape. Evan followed him some more. John got up to baby guard him instead. That way he had something to do besides worry.
The president was beamed to where Jack was hiding. "They're trying to put pressure on the US to hand over the children as well as you and Sheppard," he said in greeting.
"John made himself clear. They come for him or the kids ever again and he's going to out the program." He handed him a beer. "Which I'm not thrilled about but I'm not exactly pissed over either." He took a sip of his own. Esme looked up from her free-form coloring explosion of orange, today's color of choice, and smiled. "Looking good, princess." She smiled and waved at the president then went back to it. When she was done there was one single spot of blue in it but otherwise it was all orange scribbles. "Wow. We need to put that on the fridge." She climbed up next to him to cuddle. "Sir, I don't care who wants what. They aren't getting the kids."
"You probably can't bring them when you go back."
Jack snickered. "Atlantis has already stolen all of them at least once."
"Oh. I see." He considered it. "It could become uncomfortable."
"It'll be uncomfortable anyway. Landry has early Alzheimers." He finished his beer and put the bottle aside.
"Icky," she demanded.
He stared at her. "Get over it." She pouted but cuddled in again. "I swear, Daniel's trying to turn her Vegan or something."
The president snorted. "Possibly. You never know what's in the mind of a genius. Especially McKay's."
"Oh, yes, including footage and all other things. He's also let the shield temporarily drop for a few seconds so a lot of people saw the city." Jack smirked. "Is he taking covert thinking lessons from Sheppard perhaps?"
"No, they're not together. They're friends. Teammates and friends. The same as Daniel and I are."
"Pity. Do we want this program to keep going, Jack?"
"I would prefer it so we're all protected, sir."
"I know that. Outing it will cause a major problem."
"Them coming near my daughter again will cause all sorts of problems for all sorts of people," Jack assured him with a nasty grin. "Because I quit being nice the day she was born."
"I understand fully, especially with how you lost your son. I'd do the same thing. Most parents would. I can't get them to back down though. It may go public opinion."
"I think we'll win that one, sir." He smiled at his daughter, who smirked back. Then they both smirked at the president. "Because if I have to, I'll take Atlantis back home myself. Let's see them get to Pegasus without a ship because Ellis is loyal to the program, not the IOA."
"Yup," Jack agreed happily. Alex was beamed in. "Hi, Alex." Then he was beamed out. Jack called. "Sheppard, saw your son." He listened. "Kill 'em all. Rodney's already started outing." He hung up. "They're in John's safehouse. Pity." He called someone else. "Ellis, track Sheppard and Lorne. They're being attacked. Also, where is the kid?" He listened. "Thank you." He hung up. "Metro is responding there."
"Damn that's going to be a mess."
"Yup," Jack agreed with a smirk. "Sure will be." He got up and called someone. "Want my files?" He hung up.
"That might be counted as treason by some in Congress."
"Yay," Jack said with a shrug. "They still aren't getting my kid, sir." He pulled out some cookies, handing him two. "For your own kids." He nodded and left. Jack sat down to email Daniel, who could get everything off his computers, or have McKay hack and do it.
John walked up to the reporter trying to talk to his brother, staring at her until she turned to look at him. "You're bothering him."
"You're Colonel Sheppard."
"Yes, I am."
"You were on that mission?"
"Yes, I was."
"Can you prove it?"
"Beyond all the mission reports, film, the city itself? Hmm, well, I did get bug DNA from one of the things up there." She gaped. "It bit me."
"It nearly killed you?"
"No, they had to stop my heart to get it off me. So technically I was dead because of it." She gaped and dropped her microphone. He smiled. "You know, you wouldn't have heard a thing about it if they hadn't come for my son and the other kids."
"Yeah, we found a very nice ancient lab and a system that made the strongest of us a few children to follow us." He grinned. "The AI on the city is very protective of them. She's stolen him yet again so he'll be back in a minute." His brother was giving him a funny look. "You saw her do it yesterday."
Alex got beamed back and had a messy face. "I see someone fed you chocolate."
Alex cackled and waved. "Dumbass!"
"Grounded. I don't know which Marine taught you to call Woolsey that but stop it," John ordered. Alex pouted. He stared at him. "Apologize."
"Torry?" he said, looking pitiful.
"I know, it's all new, little guy," she said, squatting down to get on his level. "What's your name?"
"Alex." John picked him up, looking at his face. "Who fed you chocolate?"
"Tey!" He grinned.
"Hmm. We'll clean up the mess in a second." He ran his finger through some to lick it off. "Ah, she went to Ghiradeli." Alex wiggled. "No." He pouted. "Not until we're safely in the office." Alex whined and pointed. He looked. "Yes, that's a doggy, no you can't pet that sort. That sort of leash means it's a working doggy and he can't be petted." Alex pouted and waved at the doggy as the handler walked him off. "Thank you."
"Thanks for corralling him, sir."
"I try really hard." He looked at the reporter, who was still stuck stupid. "My son."
"Made by that system."
"Oh. Does he have a mother?"
"Yes, he's a world renowned physicist and engineering genius." He grinned and walked around his brother. "Let me clean him up."
"Would you release some of your blood for testing?"
John looked at her. "Do I know you well enough to offer you bodily fluids?" He smirked. "Ask the people at Area 51's labs. They had some taken."
"There are?" she demanded. John nodded with a smug look. "Are there other facilities?"
John shrugged. "How would I know? I went from the outpost in Antarctica to the Pegasus galaxy." She dropped her microphone again and he walked on. "C'mon."
"For security reasons, we would like you to leave my brother and nephew alone," he told her.
She nodded quickly. "Why are we finding out about it this way?"
"The IOA, the people who have oversight over the program, want his son and the other children of Atlantis. They're having to prove how strong they are. I'm told Doctor Kusangi nearly gutted one with a spoon when they broke into her temporary house." He walked off to help John with the wiggling, overly sugared little hellion who was his nephew. "Bug DNA?" he demanded.
John nodded. "The bug is what the wraith come from." His brother shuddered, whimpering some. Alex gave him a hug around the leg, staring up at him.
"Thank you, Alex. You're more than worth not talking to John for years," Dave said, picking him up to give him a hug. "Let's clean off the mess and we'll take a tour, how about that?" The baby smiled and let him clean him up and they walked off to tour the building. Alex decided his mommy would like that building very much. He'd babble at him later about it.
John's brother stood in front of General O'Neill a week later. "I want to reenlist, sir."
"Why?" he asked. "Not that I mind doing that paperwork but why?"
"Because you can't send John back there without someone to watch his back more than Evan does. His and Alex's back both, sir."
"I'm considering going back and we are like the grandparents to the rest of the kids," Jack told him.
"Funny, I heard John was," he said with a grin.
"Just to Miko's kid," Jack shot back dryly, giving him a dirty look. "He'll be okay. Really. There's a lot more you can do down here to support the mission and we'll be watching each others' backs. The same as we have been for over a year now."
"Who's going to do educational things?"
"Daniel. He's got multiple PhD's and other degrees that means he's smarter than nine-tenths of the world." He smiled. "Really, we could use more support but you'd do better down here helping out than up there getting shot at by the wraith."
"I want it made clear, if something happens to his parents and Evan, he comes to me."
"That's up to John and McKay. He has a sister."
"I'm going to talk to her next. We're holding a dual family reunion so Alex can play with the dog."
"Kids love dogs," John agreed as he walked in. "In my will, he goes to you after Evan. I changed it the other day."
The other Sheppard nodded, smiling at him. "His sister?"
"Probably will want visitation at the least. You two can argue over that later." Rodney walked in and the baby was already hugging him. "Nice job with that shield slip."
Rodney smirked. "I did learn how to be sneaky watching Alex wander around and not get caught." He shook John's brother's hand. "Pleasure to meet you finally."
"Unclie, Mommy," Alex said with a point and a mean grin.
Rodney made the baby look at him. "What have I told you about that?" John was snickering. So was Jack. "What are you supposed to call me?"
"Pere," he said happily. "Papa."
"Good boy." He kissed him on the forehead, letting him down. "No wandering."
Alex scowled. "Hush!" He walked out, going to investigate Jack's assistant. Then he wandered further. He found an invisible pet no one else could apparently see and they wandered off together.
Sam Carter saw the kid babbling at something invisible and stopped him. "What are you playing with, Alex?' she asked with a grin to keep him calm. Around the base, invisible things were often bad.
"What is Grover?"
"He a grrr monster on Street," he said with a grin.
"Is this one a grr monster too?" John asked as he joined them. "I thought Rodney said no wandering, son."
"He has an invisible pet."
John leaned down to tap on it until it became visible. He had been studying the ID manuals that Evan had given him and corrected some that he knew were wrong thanks to personal experience. "Well, you're mostly harmless. Don't hurt the baby." The thing growled so John smacked it on the nose. "No!" It shrank back and hid behind Alex. "Thank you." He grinned at his son. "You have to ask permission to keep Grover."
"Pwease?" he asked hesitantly.
"No, when you talk to your other father, pull out all the puppy eyes you can," he said dryly. Alex gave him a mean smirk and wandered off, Grover going with him. John looked at her. "They're not really harmful, they eat compost type stuff. It might actually be handy to have around." He followed the baby. "Office." Alex looked around. "Left." Alex wandered that way with Grover.
"What the hell is that!" Rodney shouted.
"Grover. He grr monster," Alex said with a grin, hugging him. Grover wiggled to get free so Alex whispered 'shh' to him then smiled at his mommy. "Pwease?"
"Absolutely not!" Alex pouted, sniffled, and did the puppy eyes that neither daddy could withstand. "Don't do that!" he complained, turning around. "No."
"Mommy, pwease?" he begged, hugging his leg. "Pretty pwease?"
"Daviel, no!" Esme yelled as she walked in. "Bad, Daddy!" She paused, staring at Grover. "Oooh. Huh?" she asked her father. Who shrugged.
"No, mine!" Alex pouted at her.
"Share!" she shouted back, she heard it plenty from the parents. She knew it meant she got some of the others' toys and they got some of hers. She cooed and leaned down to pet Grover, making him shrink down. "No, good me." She petted it with a grin. "Good you."
"Grover," Alex said. "Grr monster." She beamed and babbled at him.
"Jesus, just Jesus," Jack muttered. He looked at the other Sheppard. "You can keep your brother if you want."
"If you want," he agreed, smiling at John. He and John had tried that same move to keep a stray dog that had wandered home after them one day. They were older but Alex had the puppy eyes John used to have.
Rodney glared at John. "You're evil!"
Alex looked at John. "Evil?" he asked, sounding interested.
"Yes and he gave it to you," Rodney assured him. "Esme can have Grover."
"No, share!" Alex assured him.
"No, not share," Rodney said. Alex pouted and sniffled. Rodney stomped off muttering in French. "No! Grover probably has a home with some unknowing Marine."
John reached down, petting Grover. "You're peaceful, you're protective, and you won't hurt the kids. That's all I care about."
Evan walked in and stared, then winced. "It's the dirt eaters."
"Share," Alex said with a smile.
"That's very good of you to share with Esme." He dropped a kiss on his head. "Why is your mother walking off muttering?" Alex grinned and petted the beast again. Esme cooed and did the same.
"Is it dangerous?" Jack asked, sounding tired.
"No, it eats refuse and is basically going to do composting for us," Evan said with a shrug.
"How do you know?" Jack asked.
"My assignment before the SGC," he said smugly.
"Daviel!" Esme called, running after the smell of coffee. "Share, me!" she called. Daniel stopped to smile at her. "Share, me!" she repeated, staring at him hopefully. She pointed and whimpered when he didn't start walking that way.
"I'm very proud fo you for wanting to share, Esme." He followed her back to the office, tipping his head. "What is that?"
"Grover, it's a grr monster," John's brother said dryly. "General, are you sure I can't go?"
John swatted him hard. "No, you can't. We need you safely here." He gave him a dirty look. Alex looked up at him oddly. "He wanted to go to Atlantis with me but we need him down here being a safe spot in case something happens to us and being a good boy so we can come back here."
"Good boy," Esme said with a smile.
"Yes, that would make him a good boy," Jack said, smiling at his brilliant little hellion.
Daniel looked over. "We have a lot of things that could use help down here."
"I get that but I don't think John should be without family."
John pointed at Alex. "The city would never leave without him." The other two squealed as they ran in. Grover stiffened but the kids fell to their knees to pet him too. He put up with it. He wasn't used to kids. They were very careful at least.
"Gently," Jack ordered.
"They are," Daniel assured him, sipping his coffee. "Grover's clearly not used to being petted, but I think he's going to have to get used to it."
Evan smiled. "It's peaceful, Daniel."
"Good." He sat down, looking at the kids. "Why are you two up here? Shouldn't you be visiting family?"
Cam sighed as he walked in. "Damn she's fast." Jack cackled. "I was hoping she came in here. It's like she beamed or something, sir."
"I know. Esme and the others all do that." He sipped his coffee. "Kids, let Grover go. He needs some room." They backed away and the little demon relaxed again. "Let's go have a snack. Daniel?"
"I could have a snack," he agreed, standing up. "Let's go to the mess." The kids got up and ran out. "Wait for me," he called patiently, following the mini hoard. He came back a minute later. "Some day, they may be the next SG-1."
"Don't wish that on my kid," Cam and John ordered, both scowling at him. Daniel walked off smirking.
John shook his head. "If so, mine will fly, yours will fight," he said dryly to Cam, who punched him on the arm. "Just sayin'."
"Shut up, Sheppard." He looked at Jack. "Are we going?"
"I do not know," Jack admitted.
"Let me know when you do, sir." He walked off to track the kids. They weren't always on target. They tended to get distracted by shiny things. The kids would learn better as time went on, the same as the parents had.
John looked at D'Hoffryn, arm around his grown 'son's shoulders. "So, what's up?" Evan appeared next to them. "Damn. Did the city fall?"
"No. McKay saved it," he assured him. He looked at the higher demon. "So?"
"You're going to go back to help another of you," D'Hoffryn said.
"Not together?" John asked.
D'Hoffryn stared at him. "That way you two can get together next life without people screaming about incest."
"Yeah, that's never a good thing," Xander said dryly. "Me?"
"You and John are both going to a detective who just lost his soulmate but he will be one of the ones doing the best work in New York."
"Who's he going to? So I can find him," John said with a grin. That was a very nice gift D'Hoffryn had given him.
"Tony DiNozzo." He got a sudden headache. "Damn it, and another one too." He sighed. "John, you're going to Flack. Alex, I'm sending you back into the world of demon hunters. You'll actually be helping a Chosen One and an angel. The higher boss said it's too important to leave to chance."
"As long as it isn't Angel," he said dryly.
"No, not that sort." He smirked and waved his hand. He noticed Alex had split and groaned. That stupid spell!
To the sequel