|Uncharted Waters 1/1
||[Apr. 7th, 2008|04:31 pm]
|||||Matchbox Twenty - I'll Believe You When||]|
Title: Uncharted Waters
Pairing: Sheppard/Weir, Michelle Dessler/Tony Almeida
Word Count: 3,349
Spoilers: The Entire 'Lantean Manor Series is fair game – Set after Freestyle Medley
Summary: Someday and now begins to collide.
Author's Note: The previous stories can be found at the AU's community: lantean_manor. Massive, ginormous thanks to joyfulfeather, for putting up with my crazed ramblings, my love of the semi-colon, and the ability to help me translate even the most awkward of astrum_presul!speak into real English. Not to mention her mad titling skills.
She knew she looked bad, but she hadn't realized how bad until she strode into Laura Cadman's exercise studio and her friend didn't comment on her appearance. Usually Laura had a quip for every occasion, most notably when Elizabeth came in for their workouts looking tired or disheveled; such quips usually involved John. But today all she got was concern from both occupants of the room.
"Elizabeth, are you alright?" Michelle Dessler asked quietly.
"Just tired. John thinks I caught a bug from Caitlyn last week when his brother visited."
Although Michelle had been the one to pose the question, Laura was the one to approach Elizabeth. The petite redhead reached up, touching her forehead. "You're not warm. You're almost below normal," she murmured.
Elizabeth slapped her mothering hands away, frowning just slightly. "You and John. Do you know how hard it was to convince him to go in to work today? I'm fine."
Laura didn't look entirely convinced, but nodded and patted Elizabeth's arm gently.
"Alright, but if you start to feel sick, I want to you stop. You don't need to push yourself too hard."
"I'll be fine. I'm pretty sure getting some adrenaline going might actually help, remind me what feeling human is like. Besides, I'm dying to hear about a certain person's trip to Chicago," she added teasingly, turning a grin on Michelle and laughing when the blush spread across her friend's cheeks.
Laura's smile turned wicked as well, and she nodded again. "Come on, we can grill her over stretches."
As she strained to get her nose to her knees and hold onto her feet at the same time, Elizabeth tilted her head, raising an eyebrow at her friend and smiling.
"Well what?" Michelle turned back to her own legs, doing her best to increase her stretch and ignore Elizabeth.
"How was Chicago?"
Elizabeth stuck her tongue out. "Come on, give me something, Michelle."
Michelle snickered. "This is what you did to Teyla, too, isn't it? It's why she goes away to have her time with Ronon."
"Not the same at all. I just liked to tease her about wanting to know. This time I really want to know."
Michelle bit her lip. "He introduced me to his parents."
"And?" Laura interjected. After a second she ordered them to switch positions gliding her legs into a straddle and doing a side stretch over to her right leg. Silently, Elizabeth and Michelle did the same.
"They're wonderful, funny and open. We stayed with them and his mom made dinner nearly every night. Now I know where he learned to cook. And Tony's so much like his dad, it's almost scary."
"That's good, right?"
Michelle shrugged. "Well, it means he's not faking being a nice guy."
"And what about the juicy parts," Laura prompted, going on to command them to their feet. As she followed orders, Elizabeth pursed her lips and tried to curb the woozy feeling.
Michelle looked coy for a second before admitting, "We went up to the observation deck of the Sears Tower after dinner one night, and he apologized for being so distant for the first couple of months after we met. He told me he loves me."
"That's sweet," Elizabeth smiled. He usually was able to tamp it down, but sometimes not even Tony's best efforts could hide how much he adored Michelle.
"It's about time," Laura muttered. "He'd probably still be holding back if you hadn't brought it up first."
Elizabeth nodded absently, thinking back to the early days of her relationship with John, and how they both had gone back and forth between holding back and wanting to move forward. "Isn't that the way it always goes?"
The other two agreed. That was something they all had in common: being the one to make the first move.
"So when do I get to order my bridesmaid dress?" Laura teased, simultaneously demonstrating the movements they were about to do. As always, they were going to start with the core and work from there.
Michelle shook her head. "We're not that serious. He'd never ask me to-"
"You know, John proposed less than three months after I met his family for the first time," Elizabeth interrupted, trying to breathe through an angry wave of nausea.
"It's only been four months!" Michelle argued.
"Hey, if he loves you, and you love him, I don't think it really matters how long you've been dating."
That was Laura, always the impulsive one.
"So says the one who won't marry her attractive, successful, doctor boyfriend," Michelle retorted, making Elizabeth grin.
"Yeah, what's that about?" Elizabeth asked.
Cadman shrugged, grinning. "I fear the ultimate commitment. Besides, this isn't about me. This is about Michelle getting lucky in Tony's childhood bed, which, you'll have to forgive me, but I'm picturing it to be amazing."
"Laura!" Elizabeth laughed.
Michelle's cheeks were crimson, and not from exertion. "I don't even want to know how you knew that."
"Those cute little ears of yours, honey. Gave you away like always."
Michelle blew raspberries at her. "I hate you."
"Shut up and get on the machine, Michelle," Laura ordered, pointing both of her trainees over to the elliptical machines.
Dutifully, Michelle followed her college roommate's orders, and Elizabeth followed at a slightly slower pace.
"You okay, Elizabeth?"
"Yeah," she murmured, finding it best not to nod.
Laura's hand touched her cheek quickly. "You're clammy. Take it easy on the machine, okay?"
"Yeah," she agreed.
"Hey, I'm saying this as your friend. You look like crap."
Laughing, Elizabeth nodded. "I know. I'll do fifteen minutes and sit down and stretch. Happy?"
Once she got moving on the machine, she immediately regretted her decision. Being higher off the ground only served to give her a sense of vertigo, and her stomach lurched in time with the rise and fall of her feet. Gripping the handholds, she took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Maybe she could make it through like that.
Instead her foot shifted and she lurched to the side. Thankfully, Laura was there to steady her.
"Woah. Watch it. This isn't the treadmill."
Elizabeth narrowed her eyes, unable to come up with a witty retort. Her deep breaths were becoming shallower, and things were starting to look fuzzy around the edges.
"I think, I think I need to sit down," she said thickly.
Laura nodded, helping her slow the machine to a stop. Gingerly, she stepped down. She could only squawk as her knees buckled and the fuzziness spread across her vision completely, blacking everything out.
~ Q ~
Although she'd come to just as quickly as she passed out, Laura insisted on canceling the rest of her afternoon workouts and piling her in the car, taking her to see Carson. By far, she was more embarrassed than annoyed when the three of them padded into the lobby of Carson Beckett's private practice.
She and Michelle sank to the couch in the waiting room while Laura greeted Carson's receptionist and sweet talked her into letting her go find the doctor. She promised to be back shortly, entrusting Michelle to make sure Elizabeth didn't keel over there in the waiting room.
"I'm okay, really," Elizabeth argued, leaning back against the couch. Michelle just hummed and checked her temperature with the back of her hand.
"Do you want to call John now or after we know what's wrong?"
"I need to call Teyla now, and get her to cancel my afternoon meeting with Rodney, and I'll call John later."
Michelle nodded. "Do you want me to do that for you?"
Elizabeth waved her off. "It's alright, I've got it." She was already on the phone with Teyla. Having someone else call would just worry her friend even more, and probably get word to John before absolutely necessary.
Teyla was concerned as expected, but after hearing that she had a harem of people ready to help her, she refrained from volunteering to come down to the clinic as well. And she promised not to call John, despite knowing that her stubborn friend's husband would want to know what was going on.
She'd just hung up when Carson's head poked through the doorway.
"Elizabeth, love, if you wanted to see me, all you had to do was call. You didn't have to risk Laura finding out about us," he called teasingly, earning a smack from his girlfriend in the process. "Come on back, let's see if there's something we can do to make you feel better."
She sat patiently on the exam table while Carson poked and prodded, taking her blood pressure before going ahead and drawing blood. He had her pee in a cup as well. When he stepped out to get both things started in the lab, Laura and Michelle stuck their heads inside.
"Hope not. I don't want to leave John with two car payments and a mortgage."
"You mind if we stay in here?"
Elizabeth shook her head, pointing to the chairs beside her. "Sit down."
Instead her friends jumped up beside her on the exam table, patting her hand reassuringly.
"I gotta ask," Laura started, "do you think John would sell me your car?"
Elizabeth snorted. "How sweet of you, Laura. No, you can't have my stuff. Either of you."
"Damn," Michelle muttered, laughing when Elizabeth shoved her with her shoulder.
Elizabeth's head dipped forward and she sighed heavily. Her headache was back.
"How long have you felt this bad?" Michelle asked quietly, and Elizabeth felt her hand brush against her back.
"On and off for about two weeks. Maybe longer?"
"But John thinks it’s a stomach bug you got from his niece."
"Yes. He'd just worry if he knew."
Carson knocked, giving the three of them fair warning before he came in. She studied his face as he stepped inside. He wasn't exactly smiling, but he wasn't frowning either. So she guessed it couldn't be too bad.
"Laura, Michelle, can you step outside for a moment?"
"No, no, that's okay. They can stay," Elizabeth grappled to keep them from leaving, suddenly scared about what he was going to say. She felt Michelle's hand make a gentle circle on her back, and Laura's fingers closed around hers for support.
Carson nodded shortly, closing the door behind him. He offered them all a smile before looking directly at Elizabeth.
"Congratulations, Elizabeth. You're pregnant."
~ Q ~
The lesson could have been going better. He knew the kid had what it took; he'd flown perfectly well before in fact. Today, though, he was all over the place. He wasn't answering even the easy questions right, he was making small, but noticeable mistakes in the cockpit. John wasn't too concerned safety wise; he was more annoyed that everything he'd been saying once a week for the last two months of his life had been forgotten.
"Come on, Jake. You're really out of it today."
"I know, I'm sorry," the kid sighed over the radio. "It just-"
"Girls?" John interrupted with an easy grin.
Jake shook his head. "Haven't heard back from my first, and only, choice school. Everyone else got into like ten places and I haven't even gotten into one, and my parents are all up on me like there's something I can do. And my girlfriend's talking about going across the country for school. And it all just sucks."
John grimaced, remembering that time in his life, and not fondly. There was a reason he joined the Air Force the day after graduation.
"You've gotta let that stuff go for right now. It's not easy, but it's what you have to do. When you're up here, none of it matters. It's just you, the stick, and the sky. Okay?"
"Yeah," Jake replied, seemingly unconvinced.
John's radio crackled in his ear. "Hey, Sheppard, your wife's on the phone. Says it's important."
His forehead wrinkled as worry seized him. Elizabeth never called and requested to speak to him during a lesson. He hoped that by important, she'd just lost her mind and meant they were out of food for Sedge and he should pick some up at the specialty store on his way home. Trust his wife to even spoil their dog. He hoped it had nothing to do with the illness she'd been trying to hide from him since before his brother's visit. He knew that she thought she'd been successfully hiding it from him, and he was still waiting for her to be the one to say something about it.
"Let me talk to her."
He gave Jake another set of instructions while Steven patched Elizabeth through.
"Elizabeth? What's wrong?"
"I-" she seemed to hesitate. "I passed out at my workout."
"What? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, I'm fine," she hastened to assure him. "But I went to see Carson anyway. Laura dragged me to see Carson anyway," she corrected.
There was something in her tone that made him lower his voice. "What is it?"
"John – I mean, I know we haven't really talked about it but- I'm pregnant, John."
He couldn't be entirely sure, without admitting that he could make that noise, but he might have squeaked. Other than that, he had nothing. She was what? No, she was kidding with him, she had to be.
"I know I should have waited to tell you, but I couldn't. And I don't want to talk more than we have to about it over the radio, but I just wanted you to know," Elizabeth babbled nervously in his ear just as sensors started to scream from the dash and Jake began to apologize profusely.
"Crap," he muttered, taking over control from his student and switching radio channels to request clearance for landing. Once they'd safely touched down, and Jake was doing his post-flight checks, he switched back over to his conversation.
"I'm here. What happened?"
"I got distracted. It's okay, we didn't crash."
Elizabeth chuckled tightly. "You had me worried there."
"Sorry," he apologized again. "Tell me again what you said before?"
"Carson did one test already and has a second one in the lab now. But yeah, I think so. Are you okay?"
"Yeah, yeah. I'm fine. I'm about to leave, where are you?"
"Still at Carson's. Michelle just called Tony and he's going to come get us and take us back to our cars. Then I think I'm going to head back to work."
"Don't do that, Elizabeth. Get Tony to take you home. You should rest, not do more work."
"What about my car?" she asked, bemused by his over-protectiveness despite his less than enthusiastic response to her news.
"I'll take care of it and I'll meet you at home. We'll uh, we'll talk more there, 'kay?"
"Okay," she agreed softly. "I love you, John."
"I love you, too," he replied softly.
Steven gave him a hard time as he cleaned up and punched out for the day, as had Jake before they'd even left the plane. Everyone else offered congratulations, and assurances that the shock would pass, to him on his way out the door.
He called Ronon from his jeep, promising to last another five minutes in the boxing match they would eventually have if he and Teyla rode over to retrieve Elizabeth's car. Halfway home he stopped for flowers. He might not be excited now, but he'd get there, and he needed to make up for his lackluster response.
His wife was having a baby.
~ ! ~
When he got home, Tony and Michelle were seated on the couch, watching the hockey game being played in Chicago, not that either of them were particularly big hockey fans. Michelle's feet were in Tony's lap, her head on his shoulder and their fingers laced together, and John watched their effortless intimacy with amusement. Elizabeth always had been more perceptive than him. She had pegged the two of them easily. Women's intuition or whatever that was.
"Elizabeth's upstairs taking a shower," Michelle told him, looking past Tony to where he was standing. "We told her we'd stay until you got back."
"Game's almost over," Tony added, his eyes still on the screen. "Congratulations, by the way."
"Thanks," John murmured. When Michelle didn't turn back to the TV, he realized that she'd at least heard about his response to the news, and he suspected she was about to give him a piece of her mind.
"She's not upset, you know. She's pretty surprised too."
He sat in the recliner opposite the couch, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees. "We haven't even been married for two full years. We were still talking about kids as 'somedays', not 'nows.'"
"You've got to start sometime." Michelle offered lightly. "My brother told me once that you're honestly never gonna be ready for kids, and if you keep putting it off…"
He nodded. "That's true." After a moment he stood. "I'm gonna talk to Elizabeth. Enjoy the rest of the game."
Tony nodded, waving. John would have chuckled at Michelle's exasperated sigh if he hadn't been so preoccupied. Apparently Tony was supposed to have helped her talk to him. Without another word he left the living room and climbed the stairs, still holding onto the bouquet of lilies.
Their bedroom door was unlocked, so he stepped inside, looking around quickly and listening for anything that would help him understand what type of mindset his wife was in. The shower wasn't running, but he didn't hear any movement in the bathroom to tell him that she was getting dressed.
"In here," she called, beckoning him to the bathroom. "Hey," she called, smiling into the mirror. Her hair was wet, brushed away from her face and falling over her shoulders in gentle waves. She'd put a light pink tank top on over her jeans, and he could see some of the freckles on her shoulders.
"I brought you something." He motioned with the flowers, coming up behind her and kissing her shoulder lightly. Elizabeth took the flowers from him, giving them a dainty sniff while he curled his arms around her waist, resting them lightly against her belly.
"I love you," he murmured into her hair. She nodded, sagging against him.
"I know." She turned her head and lightly brushed her lips across his. "I love you, too."
"How're you feeling?"
She shrugged. "Still tired. How're you feeling?"
He kissed her neck lightly. "Now that I'm not ten-thousand feet in the air with a seventeen year old who's having college, parent and girlfriend troubles, I'm a lot calmer."
She laughed, closing her eyes and resting her head against his shoulder. He took her silence as a chance to gather his thoughts.
"You know we won't be able to send this one home when he starts to cry, or when he ruins your Armani suit? Right?"
"I know. I can live with that. Besides, I don't send you home every time you mess up one of my suits."
He ignored that. "You sure? What about work? Remember, you are a workaholic. It's not going to be easy with a baby."
"We can't do anything but try. I'll take a leave of absence, or I'll start working from home more. Rodney and the others can email me most of what they come into my office to say."
Nodding against her skin, he squeezed her again. "You know all those bad habits you told me I couldn't teach our kids?"
Elizabeth nodded, turning in his embrace and looking him in the eye. He'd deliberately used the plural to remind her that he did want children with her, even if he hadn't thought that the time would be now.
"I'm going to teach them anyway."
Her face blossomed into a smile, and he felt her fingers touch his cheek, drawing him near for a gentle kiss.
"So you're okay with this?" she asked.
He nodded, threading his fingers through her hair and gently pressing his mouth to hers again.
"Yeah, I am."