So I Married A Chair
Story 4 - Birthday Surprise
Carson Beckett woke at dawn on his birthday. Rubbing his eyes, he said aloud, “Now about this surprise, love…”
The blinds snapped open. Standing over him in his room was the hologram form of his wife, Nena. Beckett blinked. “How did ye get up here, darlin’?”
“Surprise!” Nena beamed. “I’ve been working on this since we met. I also have something else for you.”
She reached over and stroked Beckett’s hair. It took him a moment to figure it out. Carson spluttered, “Ye can…ye can touch me!”
Nena kissed his forehead, wonderfully real. “Happy birthday. I can only touch you for half an hour in twelve hours.”
“Half an hour…”
Beckett pulled his wife to him.
Carson left his room smiling widely. He got himself a cup of coffee and hummed all the way to the control centre. Life could not get any better. He had a beautiful wife and an “unborn” daughter.
“Hey, Carson!” John waved him over. “Happy birthday!”
Beckett neared him to say hello. Sheppard raised an eyebrow. “I think you should tuck your shirt in. Been to see Nena have you?”
Flustered, Carson tucked in his shirt. He grinned. “Birthday present. She was material in my room.”
“Material? I don’t think so.” John smirked. “Y’see, Nena let me in on her surprise. She can touch you because of your altered life signature. She can also touch those with prevalent Ancient genes. Like me.”
“Och, John, don’t ye touch my lass,” Beckett warned, but smiled. “I must visit her.”
Sheppard slung an arm over his shoulder. “Nah, she’ll visit ya again tonight. We, as in SGA, have organised a bash for you. Oh, here’s my present for you.”
He pressed small pink clothes into Beckett’s hands – baby clothes. Beckett’s jaw dropped. “Ye made these yeself?”
John looked mildly embarrassed. “If you tell anyone, you’re a dead man.”
“Ye keep my secrets, I keep yers.”
As Carson fondly handled the clothes, he realised with suddenness –
“Och, John, I’m going to be a father!”
“Now you realise,” chuckled Sheppard.
There were very few gifts to be given on Atlantis, but Beckett’s birthday was as cheerful as the last few had been. He had an extra cup of coffee than usual spiced expertly by Teyla. Beckett spluttered upon taking a sip.
“What are ye trying to do to me?” he coughed.
Teyla smiled. “Why don’t you wait for the aftertaste to find out?”
Sure enough, the flavour that swept through after the initial shock was delicious. Rodney muttered birthday greetings under his breath as he passed, though the scientist was clearly busy mulling over some problem or another with the ZPMs. McKay had been doing this a lot lately.
Ford thumped Carson soundly on the back, passing over a small packet of jelly beans. The soldier informed him with a grin, “I picked them up in a doctor’s waiting room once.”
As the day wore down, John took Carson aside. “Do you want to talk about anything? Fatherhood?”
“Well, now that ye mention it,” Beckett mused, nursing another special cup of coffee. “I’m worried I won’t be a good one for my lass. I could die, John. I could be ordered away from Atlantis.”
Sheppard patted him on the shoulder. “You have to take risks for love.”
“And what about ye, John? Are you willin’ to ask Teyla out?”
Now it was John’s turn to look flustered. He said quickly in his defence, “I can’t let her know how I feel. There aren’t exactly any places to take her out to.”
“Ye can’t let her know!” Beckett repeated, shaking his head. “Listen to yeself. I’m sure Nena could help you there.”
Beckett retired to his rooms, catching the wink that John sent him. The window was open, admitting a fresh breeze. Sitting on his bed was Nena. Carson kicked off his shoes, sat down also and watched the stars with her.
“I can’t believe I’m goin’ to be a father,” he murmured.
Nena brushed her fingers through his hair. “Motherhood is strange to me also. And so is love. An entity loving and procreating is unheard of!”
Beckett kissed her cheek. “I love ye darlin’. There’s no one else in my life.”
“One thing, Carson.” Nena’s shoulders tensed.“You’d better watch for McKay. He’s starting to suspect the ZPMs are being used differently.”
Carson promised he would make sure the scientist was put off track. He sighed, realising just how short half an hour was. They had so few minutes left. Nena, seeing this in her husband’s face, took his hands in hers. “John and I are working on sustaining this form longer without taking out the ZPMs. And I might be able to touch all things, not just those with the gene. But for now, hold me. You’re mine.”
This time, she took off his jacket.