So I Married A Chair
A spurt of light swarmed over the gateroom, heralding the arrival of many new – and some old – faces to the city of Atlantis, fresh off the Daedalus. One of those returning turned his gaze hopefully around the room, before finally seeing the woman hurrying down the stairs towards him. A grin lit his face. Carson Beckett caught his wife as she launched herself at his chest, fastening a frantic and passionate kiss to his lips. Red flushed up Carson’s neck as the accompanying marines catcalled, led on by newly promoted Lt Colonel John Sheppard.
“Ye…must have missed me,” Carson managed.
Nena busily began reacquainting her lips with his neck, fingers crawling down his shirt as though it wasn’t there. Gently pushing her off, Carson attempted to explain his good news, but the entity of Atlantis was in full rant mode. “Three weeks! Three weeks where I’ve had to look after our baby all my myself! Three weeks without curling up beside you! Three weeks without s – ”
Carson silenced her the quickest and best way he knew – resuming their snogging session. After some moments, he noticed Teyla waiting a few steps off, holding a bundle of cloth. Detaching himself from Nena, he strode over and scooped up his daughter.
“Meredith Mary Beckett!” he crooned. “Shhh, Daddy’s home.”
Rodney McKay, also returning from Earth, had to steady himself on John’s shoulders as he retched loudly. But it seemed no one was safe, as Nena grabbed both scientist and Colonel into a smothering hug. Rodney scowled, but lightly. Over the din, John wheezed, “How about we find somewhere quiet to catch up?”
The mess seemed barely awake, with mostly empty tables and no food on offer. But soon the chosen table was piled high with goodies such as chocolate, lollypops and…coffee. Glorious, marvellous, made-in-the-Milky-Way-Galaxy coffee. Teyla only tentatively picked at the food, before settling back in her chair.
“Nena has been a wonderful help with repairing the city,” the Athosian recounted, “And it has been most enjoyable looking after Meredith.”
Nena smiled. “Yes, Teyla was great. If she wasn’t able, dear Sergeant Bates would plead me for the honours of taking care of Meredith.”
The women shared amused glances, which was most unsettling. Carson slung an arm around his wife’s waist and hoisted her easily into his lap, briefly nestling the crook of her neck. He inhaled her for a few moments until he felt light and dizzy. Blinking, he allowed his broad grin to return. He kept his voice even. “My mum was a bit sad not to be able to meet ye…it was a wee bit hard trying to explain why not. But I have some good news for ye, love. Stargate Command has thoughtfully lent us their official civil celebrant.”
“They have one of those?” John asked, amused.
Carson titled his head to regard his friend. “Well, in a fashion. This one also happens to be arranging a birth certificate for my young lass. But what I mean to say, Nena…”
His throat seized up momentarily. John shoved a glass of water in front of him, but Carson shook it off.
“I mean to say…” he continued nervously, “Nena, will ye consent to marry me in Earthling ways?”
Her answer was to distract him for a few delicious minutes. John coughed loudly and deliberately turned his attention to Rodney, who was sitting next to him. “How did you come up with Meredith anyway?”
Rodney shifted in his seat, suddenly finding his watch very interesting. He then began counting all the gummy snake lollies splayed out on the table in front of him, without actually eating them, which was a sure sign of something going on. Finally, he caved – with some prompting glances from his team mates. “Oh. Hmm. Good family name, goes back at least one generation.”
“So you named her for a close relative?” Teyla wanted to know.
Rodney narrowed his eyes. “Who was I supposed to name her after? John – no, she’s a girl. Teyla – no, she’ll get picked on for such weird spelling. No, no, no, no. I named her after one of the greatest scientific minds of our time.”
“Who then?” demanded John, “Not – your name isn’t Meredith!”
“Not in most circles, anyway,” Rodney said stiffly.
John watched him very carefully, reading through the scientist’s poor poker face. Rodney’s left eye twitched. Then his right eye swirled around desperately. His nose began to wriggle. As John began howling with laughter, Teyla leant over and rested a hand on Rodney’s. She assured him, “Whatever your name, you are well respected by us, Rodney.”
But John wasn’t having any of this. He thumped Carson on the shoulder, pulling him away from Nena.
“Rodney named your kid after himself! She’s going to need serious therapy.”
Five minutes before he was due to legally wed Nena in a quiet ceremony, Carson Beckett knew he was probably going to run late, but he kept still in the door to Doctor Weir’s office. He knocked cautiously. Elizabeth looked up from her PDA and favoured him with a smile, gesturing towards one of the chairs across from her. Carson took the invitation.
“Elizabeth, I know a lot has happened, and maybe ye’ll never trust me again. But I couldn’t help loving Nena.”
“I wouldn’t dream of begrudging you that love,” Elizabeth told him, “but understand that you need to trust my leadership in return. While I have no final say in what this city does, I remind you that other people follow me in this expedition. I don’t need to have a coup on my hands, if John keeps defending you by disobeying me.”
“Understood, and thank ye,” Carson acknowledged, then paused. “Dr Weir, have ye ever looked at Rodney’s personnel file?”
Elizabeth’s eyebrows rose, but the twinkle in her eyes suggested she had a good idea where this was going. She nodded. “Yes. What of it?”
“What does it say his name is?”
“Meredith Rodney McKay,” she answered almost too gleefully.
Carson stared at her in amazement. “How on Earth have ye managed to keep that to yourself?”
Elizabeth shrugged, then answered honestly, “I haven’t had to keep it secret for long. After he named your daughter, I sort of…got curious. Carson, aren’t you supposed to be somewhere?”
“Well I suppose I am getting married...again…” he mused. “Would ye like to come?”
The ceremony was mercifully short, Rodney decided. His suit was chafing up around his neck, and his shoes pinched his feet. Also, his shirt smelled vaguely suspicious, as though put in the washed with something exceedingly foul. At last, the civil celebrant shut up and let conversation return to the gathered people. Staring around at those people, Rodney felt a small swelling of disappointment. He couldn’t pinpoint it at first, but when he did, he pulled Carson aside.
“Do so many people have to know your secret?” Rodney asked crossly.
Carson laughed and drew the protesting scientist into a hug. “Don’t ye worry, Meredith. Yer still my friend, in all your daftness. Tell ye what, why don’t ye be a godfather to my daughter?”
Rodney squeaked in response. By now, the civil celebrant was ordering everyone to squash up so they could all fit into the frame of the digital camera he was holding up. Crowding together, they all sported wide grins towards the camera.
In the second before it flashed, Carson looked around his suddenly numerous friends. John, Rodney, Teyla, Elizabeth, Zelenka, Bates. All good, decent people who, despite initial confusion, accepted him, accepted Nena. Even after the memory of Ford brought pain to him, a warm feeling welled up inside his chest. Carson leaned over towards Nena and rested his hand over his daughter’s head as she was cradled between her parents.
Dr Beckett once had a secret.
But between saving lives, maintaining Atlantis, being devoted to his wife, cleaning up after two very different sorts of Merediths and enjoying the company of friends, he couldn’t for the life of him remember why he’d want to keep something like that to himself in the first place.