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Sheppard/McKay story: Choice (R)

buh
Title: Choice
Author: esteefee
Pairing: Sheppard/McKay
Rating: R
Wordcount: 3,778
Spoilers: 38 Minutes, Common Ground, Conversion
Categories: ER, Mpreg of a sort
Summary: This is not your Pegasus miracle.
Warnings: Aborted Mpreg.


Choice

by esteefee




"What the fuck?" John said, "You're joking, right? Tell me you're making a really bad joke," he growled, staring at Beckett in total disbelief, because this was bullshit, this was—okay, life-sucking bugs he could handle, mutation, being fed on by a Wraith, no problem, but this—

"Cut it out of me. Right now."

Beckett suddenly went from compassionate mode to looking shocked and a little queasy. "Colonel..."

"I mean it. You're a surgeon, aren't you? Cut it out of me or I'll radio Ronon to do it. He's got knives. Really sharp knives."

And John was almost serious, that was the sad thing. Jesus Christ.

"Colonel, we don't have any idea what we're dealing with here. This is unprecedented." There was an unholy gleam in Beckett's eyes that John really didn't like the look of.

He dropped his voice to a deadly whisper. "Oh, I think we do. It's a tumor, right? A bunch of cells where no cells have any business existing, and I want them out of me, right now. Right fucking now."

Carson's head snapped up. "There were two people in that lab, Colonel. Two people who activated the device. Dr. McKay has a right to be part of this decision."

"Bullshit! My body, my decision. I'm pretty sure there are laws about that." Well, not laws pertaining to him, to a guy, he was pretty sure, but he was having a tough enough time wrapping his brain around the horrifying thought that he was—oh, God—he couldn't even think the word.

"Nevertheless, I feel I must—"

"Patient confidentiality," John said, putting as much steel into it as he could while still keeping his voice low. "And you better not break it or I will have your ass. I'm not kidding. I will fucking have you up on charges before a review board."

Carson pulled back, looking shocked. Then he crossed his arms. "I have rights as well, Colonel. And one of them is not to perform any procedures that are against my personal ethics."

"Right. Because you think my body could do this totally bizarre thing without it risking my fucking life? Get serious." John blew out a frustrated breath. "Fine, then find me a surgeon who will do it. Or I'll tell Elizabeth I need to head back to Earth to remove the tumor because you don't have the facilities here. Whatever. It's out of your hands. No need to feel guilty."

Carson winced, and then his expression softened. He put one hand on John's shoulder. "Son, don't you think you're being a wee bit hasty—"

"Jesus Christ!" John pushed himself off the exam table and straightened his shirt. "I'm in the fucking Twilight Zone." He stalked toward the infirmary doors, throwing over his shoulder. "Get back to me when you think you can actually fucking help me."

When the doors opened he found Rodney waiting outside, of course.

"I'm fine, Rodney."

"Right. That's why you were unconscious for ten minutes. What did the medical professional say?"

"He wants to take another look at the scans." John felt like a shit about lying, but he needed to talk to Elizabeth, get things squared away first. He'd tell Rodney as soon as he had an exit plan. "Look, I'll let you know as soon as I know. I have to go brief Elizabeth."

"All right. I'll be in my lab." Rodney gave him a worried look but let him go, his hand lingering on John's forearm.

John made a pit stop in his quarters to kick the walls for a few minutes and freak the fuck out. It didn't help. His skin was crawling. He couldn't get over a mental image of that scene from Alien. And he could still feel the burning tingle between his spine and his belly button where the beam had hit him just before he passed out in the lab.

He was going to climb the walls if he didn't do something, so he headed over to Elizabeth's office. She frowned with concern when he gave her the very sketchy details—some sort of tumor, Carson wasn't sure if he could remove it safely, might have to send him Earth-side.

"My God, John. Of course, we'll send you to Earth right away if you need it."

"He might be able to do it here," John said vaguely. "We'll see."

"Any word from Dr. McKay as to the purpose of the device?"

An unpleasant tightness pulled John's chest. Christ, of course Rodney would be digging into it. "I haven't heard anything. I'll go check on him."

John didn't have to look very hard. Rodney was waiting for him in the control room, his blue eyes wide and bleeding emotion—John couldn't get a read on what kind, exactly, but it was making him nauseated. Or maybe, Christ, he was already getting morning sickness or something. Wouldn't that be fun. Oh, God, he was going to freak out in front of McKay and the control room staff if he didn't get out of here.

"My quarters," John said gruffly, leading the way to the transporter. Rodney followed behind, weirdly silent until they hit John's room, and then he burst into quadraphonics.

"Oh my God, oh my God, John," he babbled, clutching at John's arm, and then pulling him into a hug, then pushing him away to pat weirdly at his shoulders. "Are you okay? This is incredible! I mean absolutely stupefyingly amazing—only in Pegasus, right? I realize we say that every day, but this is just unbelievable! Are you all right? I know, I know, I asked you that already—but wow! I mean—"

John pushed him away—gently, because he wasn't an asshole, but this was the absolute worst possible reaction he could have hoped for, and John was already hanging by the thinnest possible thread.

"McKay—McKay—McKay—Rodney!" he finally broke through the continuing babble. "Sit down, okay? Calm down before you burst something. Here—" John pushed him into the chair by his window and took the seat adjacent to it before rubbing his hands over his face.

When he looked up, Rodney was staring at him, wide-eyed with anticipation, waiting.

Oh, boy.

"Yeah, look—I don't know what crazy ideas are going through your head right now, but it's not going to happen. I'm going to Earth as soon as I get clearance and I'm taking care of this. You understand?"

Rodney's expression crumbled. "What? What? John!"

John waited.

"But-but you—John, this is—" Rodney stood suddenly, his face flushing red. "No-no-no. No, John, you can't. Not without even trying—you just can't."

"The hell I ca—"

Rodney rolled right over him. "Oh, that's just great. That's just peachy. I should've known Mr. Repression would take a freaking miracle of science, I mean an honest-to-God miracle, and turn it into an After School drama. Meanwhile, that's one half of my genes in there—" Rodney pointed at John's midsection, making him suddenly queasy, "my brilliant genes, of course, and never mind that we had to give up the mere idea of procreation before this. Oh, no! Just because of, what, a threat to your big, macho, soldier-boy self-image—"

John pressed his fists against his temples. "It's taking over my fucking body you asshole!" he yelled, full-throated.

Rodney's mouth gaped.

"I would rather be fed on by a Wraith! I would rather turn into a fucking bug again. I want it out of me! This is—God, you have no idea, I'm barely holding my shit together, okay?" He couldn't breathe. He couldn't breathe at all thinking about it, this thing growing inside of him, taking him over, and he knew he was babbling about it now, about aliens and how it would grow and move inside of him, changing him, and—"I swear to God, I swear to God, Rodney, if Carson refuses to do the surgery like he's threatening, I have a gun, I will fucking shoot myself in the gut—"

And, thank God, Rodney was there all of a sudden, holding his shoulders, bumping foreheads with him, murmuring shit John could barely hear—how he'd take care of it, how he'd dial the Gate himself, he'd find a surgeon, the best surgeon on the planet, he'd make it happen today, he swore it.

Gradually John's breathing slowed, and the roaring in his ears died down and he could feel Rodney's arms holding him up. Rodney had such strong arms, John loved that about him, how solid he was, dependable. He would make a good dad, was the thing, but John couldn't help him with that. He just couldn't.

"We could always, you know, do the surrogate thing," John said. His voice was hoarse for some reason.

"What?" Rodney said plaintively.

"You would. You'd be a good dad. I just can't..." John waved his arm helplessly behind Rodney's back.

He felt Rodney laugh shortly. "God, you're such a freak."

"Sorry. Sorry. I'm so sorry," John said, for now, and for later, because he knew it would feel like shit for Rodney—what was about to happen.

But John couldn't wait. He couldn't wait. He just wanted it over with.

He wanted it gone.

:::

Carson caved under Rodney's razor-like tongue, and the next morning, early, with only one nurse in attendance, John was prepped for surgery.

The nurse, along with Elizabeth, was informed that the procedure was to remove a tumor. And Carson told John and Rodney that at that point the blastocyte was only approximately four hundred cells. The difficulty would be in locating it with the laparoscope, but thanks to the Ancient hand-held scanner, Carson didn't foresee a difficulty, and the incision would be small.

John didn't care. Carson could go in there with a machete if he wanted, although John kept that thought to himself.

The operation was simple, though; Carson didn't even have to put John under all the way, and he spent the procedure in sort of a twilight haze, conscious of Carson's murmurs and the nurse, Brady, responding.

Then Carson said, "Got it."

It was funny, but John hadn't once thought to himself, at any point, of the thing that had happened to him as being part of himself in any way. Not until Carson removed it, and John thought, It's over.

And suddenly any possibility that this could be his kid, as bizarre, twisted and completely unthinkable as it was, was ended.

And then he felt...weird.

But mostly, goddamned relieved.

:::

When he woke up, Rodney was beside his bed talking to Teyla, who had returned from an off-world trip. She was dressed up in her trading gear instead of her uniform, and looked especially beautiful—cool as always, but with that extra twist of wow because, really, sometimes John forgot that she really hadn't grown up down the street from him.

"John, you are awake?"

"Hey, Teyla. Yeahhh." He was always slow coming off anesthesia. "How was the trip?"

"Excellent. I think I have found some new prospects for trade among the Playeera; both the Athosians and the Lanteans may benefit."

"Cool. Hey, Rodney."

"Sheppard. Bet I could beat you at chess in about fifteen moves right now."

"Prolly ten." But, Christ, Rodney looked sad. And John picked up the look Teyla gave Rodney, so she'd caught it, too.

It didn't seem fair that Rodney would have to go through something like this without his team behind him. But they hadn't talked about letting Teyla or Ronon know.

"Teyla, would you mind bringing me something from the mess?"

"Yes, of course, John. I'm glad you are recovering. Rodney, I will see you at lunch." Teyla rose gracefully and left.

"Hey." John gestured. "C'mere."

"What?" Rodney's sad frown hadn't left.

"Wanna ask you something and I don't want to yell."

Rodney shuffled his chair closer and raised his eyebrows.

John lowered his voice anyway. "I just wondered if you want to tell the team." He hurried on when Rodney opened his mouth. "It's okay if you want to."

Rodney cocked his head. "Seriously?"

John shrugged.

"You realize Ronon will laugh his ass off. And make fun of your manhood."

"He does that all the time anyway."

"Excellent point."

It was no good, though—making jokes—because Rodney's mouth was still slanted down, and he looked tired, and beaten, somehow.

I'm sorry, Rodney. I'm sorry, I couldn't. I just couldn't— "It's over, huh?"

"Yes, well." Rodney was looking at the point of John's shoulder. "Does it hurt?"

John shrugged again. "Barely feel it."

Rodney's mouth twisted.

"Feels like it should hurt more."

Finally, finally, Rodney's eyes met his. "But you didn't want it."

Oh. Christ. "Rodney. Jesus. It's not that I didn't—I didn't want to-to—because it was in me. That's all! Not—" John waved and then grabbed, glad Rodney was close enough so he could catch hold of Rodney's arm. "Buddy. You want to take a stab at being in the hot seat, I'll go over there with you right now."

"What, me?" Rodney squeaked, but the sad look had eased a little. "With my hypertension and blood type? I'm a prime candidate for preeclampsia! Not to mention I'd have to give up caffeine!"

John was startled into laughing, which made him stop with a groan. He was a little more sore than he thought.

"Hey, take it easy," Rodney said, pushing him back and fussing with the pillows. "Surgery, remember?"

"Minor surgery." John looked up and wished really hard in that moment he could kiss Rodney. He saw Rodney's eyes soften and knew he wasn't alone in wanting it.

Rodney flicked a quick look around the empty infirmary.

"Rodney..." John growled in warning.

But it only took a second. Rodney bent, pressed his lips to John's for a brief, warm instant, and then sat back down again to blink at him innocently.

John felt himself grinning. But he still had to say, "I meant it—about telling the team. Especially Teyla. She'll—she's better at that stuff."

Rodney's smile twisted a little. "It was just for a few hours."

"Yeah. But I didn't give you any choice about it. And so maybe you're—you'll have some things," John shifted uncomfortably, "to work out."

Rodney was staring at him oddly.

"What?"

"You're really not going to ask me, are you?"

"About what?"

Rodney shook his head. "Oh, Sheppard, Sheppard, Sheppard."

"I said I was sorry." It felt like sandpaper was caught in his throat. "But maybe you're still—"

"Some people," Rodney tapped his finger on his chin, "consider me to be a selfish asshole."

"Rodney..."

Rodney pointed at him. "But do you really think, after watching you mutate in a giant blue bug, that I would—that I could possibly be angry—" Rodney's voice broke, and he bent his head and coughed a little. "Well, I should really get back to the lab or my minions will run rampant..."

"Hey."

"Yes? What?"

"You're aces, you know that?"

Color hit Rodney's neck and traveled up his cheeks, making John grin.

"See you later."

Rodney hurried out, the back of his neck still pink.

Teyla soon came by with his breakfast and chatted with him for a little while about her new possible trading partners before he made himself explain, awkwardly, what had happened with the Ancient device and his subsequent, hasty surgical procedure.

Her eyes went wider and wider. He wasn't sure if she was about to burst out laughing or castigate him for curtailing what should have been a blessed, miraculous event.

"I am so sorry, John," she said when he finished. "This must have been so difficult for you—to have control over your body taken from you."

Holy shit. Of course, he should have expected Teyla to get it.

"Yeah, it kinda really sucked." He cleared his throat, looking down. "Look, I just wanted you and Ronon to know what happened. Team only. Okay?" They had a few things that were team-only—Teyla's cousin that John had snuck through to Earth to get chemo; the trips to Sateda for private memorial services.

"I was hoping you could keep an eye on Rodney—in case he needs to, you know, talk about it."

Teyla arched one perfect eyebrow at him.

"Yeah, yeah. I'll try too."

She smiled softly and put a hand on the bed beside his arm. "I am here for you as well, John."

They shared an ironic smile at the likelihood of that, and then she took off, leaving behind a small puzzle toy from the Playeera that kept him occupied for too short a time. After that the infirmary was too quiet—gave him too much space to think. About the sadness in Rodney's eyes.

John wondered what Rodney had looked like when he was growing up; if his hair had been lighter, with those blue eyes gigantic in a tiny face. And suddenly John could just see it, and it hurt, right in his gut where the sutures were.

It didn't make any sense, but there it was—a hollow space aching cold inside him, even though it was all so goddamned impossible. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place. And he thought he'd never been so pissed at the Pegasus Galaxy as he was right then, because if it weren't for the Ancients and their completely whacked ideas, this never would have come up to haunt them in the first place.

And now he'd have to carry it always.

:::

Carson finally cut him loose around eighteen hundred, and even though it was early he decided to go to Rodney's quarters and wait for him there. Except when he palmed himself in, he found Rodney face down flat on his bed, arms by his sides and face smashed sideways on the mattress, eyes closed.

"Hey, buddy." John walked over and sat by his hip, but felt weirdly hesitant about touching him. Finally, he put his palm between Rodney's shoulder blades.

Rodney sighed and then squirmed over onto his back. When he opened his eyes they were red-rimmed, and John's guilt deepened. He pulled his hand away and fisted it next to his leg.

"How're you feeling?" Rodney asked in a soft, hoarse voice.

"Me? I'm all right. Fine," John choked. "You?"

"Oh, just dandy."

"Yeah." John wanted to roll Rodney over, tangle him up and crush him close until the gaping hole between them got filled up with something that didn't ache so hard, but he didn't have a right to it. He didn't have a right to anything at all.

"Jesus Christ, Sheppard, would you just—" Soft tug on his forearm, and then he was falling into place by Rodney's side, Rodney snuffling into the shoulder of his scrub shirt.

"You smell like infirmary," Rodney sniffed.

"Sorry."

"It's all right. It's familiar, at least." And then they both laughed a little, sandy chuckles before fading into silence again.

"Jesus, I really am sorry, Rodney."

"Don't."

"I can't stop thinking about it. A little, you know, you running around—"

"Don't." Sharp, ugly tone, warning him off. John knew it all too well, and clamped his jaw shut.

Rodney pushed his forehead against John's shoulder in apology. "I read the rest of the specifications about the-the process." His voice was low, determined. "Only about a hundred of the cells were embryonic. The rest of the mass Carson removed were cells that would differentiate to create a-a structure to 'support' the fetus." Rodney swallowed audibly.

John's stomach took a dive. "You mean a—"

"Yes. The cells would have used your own muscle and organ tissues to grow an artificial womb. And afterward, ha, of course it wouldn't just, poof! return your body to its natural state. Nor could it ever be removed—don't you dare have a stroke in my bed, I swear to God, Sheppard—"

But John had it under control. He was pretty sure if he didn't think about anything but blue skies for the next thirty seconds he'd be cool. Blue skies, and the clear ripple of the event horizon, because he'd already dodged the bullet. Carson had gotten it out—all of it, he'd said, with a little extra muscle around the area to be sure.

All gone. He wasn't going to be changed against his will.

"So, you see, I'm finding it a little difficult to justify being upset about—"

No way. "That doesn't matter," John said determinedly, turning to face him. "Jesus, you're allowed to be down about this, Rodney."

"Really?" Rodney looked almost grateful.

"God, of course. It was," John took a deep breath, "it would have been our kid."

"Oh." Rodney's eyes were a little shiny, but he smiled a small smile. "Exactly."

"Okay. So." John bent his head and kissed him once, then started to pull back, but Rodney curved a hand behind John's neck and held on, and suddenly they were kissing and kissing, desperate, hard kisses, moving nothing more than their lips. Just necking. It was weird, but it helped. After a few minutes Rodney collapsed against John's shoulder, wrapping an arm around his waist, and John pushed it upward so it wasn't as close to his incision, and they just lay there.

"You think someday...?"

"Mmm? What?" Rodney's voice buzzed in John's ear.

"I mean, are you thinking you'd want to? Do the surrogate thing?"

"God, no. I'd be a terrible father. Can you imagine it? And you, with the suicidal tendencies? I think not."

John felt himself relax. He thought Rodney would be a good dad if he were forced into it, but John selfishly kind of wanted to keep Rodney to himself. And he'd never wanted to be a father himself. He'd have to give up flying anything but the tame stuff.

"Besides, I recently read a Harvard study that found, quite plainly, that couples who don't have children are happier by far than those who do."

"Huh."

"Not that Harvard isn't an inferior institution, nor do I place much faith in so-called psychological 'studies,' as a rule."

"Of course not."

"Of course not. How's your—" Rodney swept a gentle hand over John's midsection, then left his palm resting there lightly. It felt nice.

"'Sokay. Better with your hand there."

"Really?"

"Yeah. It's warm. Helps."

"All right then." Rodney sounded happy. Or happier, anyway. John rested his hand over Rodney's.

John thought about it then, amending the broken, faulty visions, the edges of which had been cutting into him all day. Instead, he replaced them with just Rodney and him, lying together, Rodney's hand warming his stomach, John's hand on top, thumb rubbing circles over Rodney's knuckles. Maybe they'd be bigger, a little swollen from the years, or scarred from battling with cantankerous Ancient consoles and rewiring conduits.

It wasn't a bad dream.

John thought it was more than enough for him.



End.



----
Article about the Harvard study Rodney mentioned: http://www.newsweek.com/id/143792


Comments

( 200 comments — Leave a comment )
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gaffsie
Dec. 5th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
I wish I'd had this story to read right after I found the scarring mpreg story where John was forced to keep the baby against his will by Carson and Rodney and then eventually succumbed to Stockholm syndrome and found happiness standing barefoot by the stove and popping out even more of Rodney's spawn (gotta keep those genius genes in circulation, after all).

It's really nice to see John reacting to what is a HUGE violation of his body in such a normal fashion. And I'm so glad he managed to talk sense into Rodney, but Carson, Carson, Carson. If I didn't already find him creepy to the extreme, I'd be appalled at his behavior.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
Oh dear God. No. Just. No. Every bone in my little feminist body screams out!

I don't know if anyone else has done this with an Mpreg fic but it just seemed a natural rallying cry for pro-choice.

And, yeah, Carson lost me with the whole Michael thing. Yuck.
(no subject) - gaffsie - Dec. 5th, 2009 10:57 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - gaffsie - Dec. 5th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rsharpe - Dec. 5th, 2009 01:01 am (UTC) - Expand
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mecurtin
Dec. 5th, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)
Just yesterday I was wanting this story. I kind of love you a lot right now.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
\o/ Fandom will provide. I hope it didn't disappoint. I've been wanting to write this one forever.
michelel72
Dec. 5th, 2009 12:46 am (UTC)
I'm a regular over at fanficrants, and the question of why abortion is never an option in stories comes up regularly. I've always figured that it's because it's hard to work that in unless the story is about that (or is making a political point). I mention that only to explain why this isn't a topic I've been aching to read, yet I'm impressed by the way you handle it here. John's reaction fits his history; and Beckett's reaction seems plausible, if alienating. (As a practictioner, I would have some small qualms about a decision made in such obvious panic, though; that part is a tough line to manage, I think.)

What I most like, though, is that you let Rodney support John and acknowledge that Rodney might be sad — and that's okay

Your take on surprise!mpreg here is profoundly preferable to the story gaffsie mentions, which I hope I never encounter. Nice handling of a sensitive subject.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
oooh, thank you for that pointer to fanficrants. I've never heard of it. I had no idea this topic was under discussion, but thank God I'm not the only one going WTF when I see some of these stories sometimes.

You're right: Carson might make him wait (in fact he didn't do it until the next morning) but I think he couldn't refuse John outright (personal ethics aside), especially considering this was essentially rape by device and John's health is in question.

John's outright panic would probably lesson, but I don't think his mind would change. I know mine wouldn't if I were forced into pregnancy. I would get a back-alley abortion ASAP if it were ever to become illegal in my country. Some people were not meant to be pregnant, and I'm one of 'em.


Thanks for the awesome comment.
rsharpe
Dec. 5th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
Finally!!! A story about sorta mpreg that I can actually believe could happen. Thank you for posting this.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
Thanks! I just can't imagine anything but flaily hands and !!!!!!1!ack ack ack get it out!!!!!
wanted_a_pony
Dec. 5th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
Oh shit. I read this as fast as I could, given I was bawling my eyes out through most of it. Fantastic--you nailed it, all of it.

:: mems twice in case I screwed up the tags the first time ::
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)
\o/ *hugs your stuffing out*
djin7
Dec. 5th, 2009 01:43 am (UTC)
This was freaking awesome. Seriously. I loved John's reaction and using his prior body modification trauma as catalyst for his reaction was inspired.

I love the occasional 'Mpreg by Ancient device' when it's fun, but yeah, this is a *much* more likely reaction and scenario, (not that I expect or demand realism with an Mpreg fic) and I love the emotional punch you give here as an alternative with choice. Also, I love how Rodney *got it* right away. Awesome. Thanks!
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
There's room for all different takes—it's what I adore about fandom, that we can flex as writers and readers and explore whatever we want. I was surprised it appeared no one had gone down this road (but then I'm not that well-read yet in fandom at all.)

So very glad you liked how Rodney jumped in to the rescue. He made my heart go pitty-pat too. :)
blackchaps
Dec. 5th, 2009 01:46 am (UTC)
This was good, realistic. I liked it very much. Glad you posted.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Realistic is always the best praise to me.

(awesome icon.)
danceswithgary
Dec. 5th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
Boy did you nail down why I can't write this trope and cringe when I see it in this and my other fandom.

I'd be screaming right along with John knowing how many things the Ancients fucked up and not to mention NO CHOICE. Carson came close to going on my hate list as did Rodney, although Rodney caught on fast and redeemed himself.

Well done!
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Boy did you nail down why I can't write this trope and cringe when I see it in this and my other fandom.

HEH! My first Mpreg. ::sniff:: Thanks much, dances.

Rodney's backstory in my head always features a little bit of jealousy that Jeannie has Madison to carry on her genetic legacy. And I think he really would be an awesome dad (maybe my view of DH bleeding through). So I wanted to give him a touch of that yearning, but he came to John's rescue like a trooper. My hero. :)
hickman1937
Dec. 5th, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
Yes! This felt real. Sheppard having his body hijacked, again, and saying NO! It also dealt realistically with the fact that mens bodies were not designed for childbearing or birth. If I'm reading correctly John would have been killed or crippled if he had let Carson guilt him into carrying through. And if it couldn't be removed it would have died with him. Good realistic story. Thank you.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
I think probably John might have survived it physically thanks to the creepy tech, but would have been altered permanently. Freakish and wrong, though, you're absolutely right.

More likely he would have gone to extremes to terminate it by any means necessary before it came to that. Which would be a darkfic Mpreg I could write--back alley abortion style.

Thanks for the note!
tavabean
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:04 am (UTC)
I was initially a bit taken-aback by your story because every other Mpreg story has them eventually welcoming the "bundle of joy" (although the title should have hit me with a clue :P)
but the more I think about it the more I really am glad you wrote this.
There are many people who would react this way, and I am glad someone/you explored it.
I do think Carson would be horrified at the thought of aborting a fetus though, for some reason it fits my view of him.
My other thought is that I always picture Shep as raised Catholic by his parents and that even though he probably isn't very devout or even a believer in a religion at this point in his life, those early indoctrinations would play a part in his thinking.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, I was hoping the title and summary would give people enough of a hint that this wasn't your usual. I'm sorry if it gave you a jolt.

I do think Carson would be horrified at the thought of aborting a fetus though

It wasn't a fetus at this point. It wasn't even an embryo, but a blastocyte, or a collection of cells. As far as Carson's guilt goes, I can't argue either way since we don't have a lot to go on in canon. As the writer, I put in his bit of stubbornness as a delay tactic that John saw through. John knew Carson wouldn't refuse to do the procedure, I think, since John's health really was on the line, and Carson is John's doctor. But that's just my take; you're the reader, and you can also read it as Carson being pressured into it and feeling pretty damned guilty afterward, as well.

As far as Shep goes, he doesn't read as religious to me at all, but again, that's my take. The guy who closed the shield on fifty Genii...doesn't strike me as someone who would be preoccupied about the theological implications of what occurs in this story. The way I tried to write this, he felt like he was being invaded or taken over by something unnatural and wrong.

It was really fascinating hearing your thoughts; thank you so much for taking the time to comment.
(no subject) - tavabean - Dec. 5th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - esteefee - Dec. 5th, 2009 03:46 am (UTC) - Expand
mirabile_dictu
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
Not to be flip, but John's reaction would have been reaction, back in the day when such things were possible (I am happily post-menopausal and very happily childless). Oddly, despite all the mpreg and despite my own feelings, this had never occurred to me -- yet it is very John. In short: cool idea and excellent execution.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
but John's reaction would have been my reaction, back in the day

Oh, ditto, obviously. I remember seeing Alien when I was a kid and thinking, There's a match. I was relieved I finally had a metaphor for my view on pregnancy. :)
chkc
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
Carson creeped me out. D: I was wondering if he will respond the same way if John was female, or if the baby was some type of medically interesting alien parasite instead.

I am happy that Rodney respected John's decision, even intellectually reasoned it out, even though he didn't like it. And Teyla! She is awesome. <3
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:07 am (UTC)
I think Carson just loves babies, really. Or maybe he's just tired of always treating them for bad things.

or if the baby was some type of medically interesting alien parasite instead

wow, what an interesting idea! plot bunny alert. :)

WE LOVE TEYLA!

And Rodney to the rescue!
(no subject) - auburnnothenna - Dec. 5th, 2009 05:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - esteefee - Dec. 5th, 2009 05:29 am (UTC) - Expand
mcgrumpygus
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:33 am (UTC)
I love Mprg fics especially the ones where they both WANT the baby.

In this case I'D freak the flipping hell out too.

This isn't pro-life or pro-abortion...but anti Creepy ACME "Wammo O fetus" infester thingy-jiggy!

All I could think of was ewwwwwwe, poor John.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)
anti Creepy ACME "Wammo O fetus" infester thingy-jiggy!

HAHAHAHA. Oh, God, you're so right. You forgot the ™ though. :)

All I could think of was ewwwwwwe, poor John.

That's what I was going for, thanks. !
seekergeek
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
Very well done. While I do like a good mpreg (see icon :P), this had a lovely bit of realism to it. I found it very thoughtfully crafted.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:18 am (UTC)
Thank you, seeker!

I'm not anti-mpreg by any means; I just wanted to warn people this wasn't an expected happy bundle of joy mpreg.

I prefer it, though, when Rodney's the one whose ankles are getting all swollen and who keeps yelling for tava bean ice cream. :)

(no subject) - tavabean - Dec. 5th, 2009 03:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - esteefee - Dec. 5th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC) - Expand
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bluebrocade
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
Fascinating & excellently done.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC)
:)))))
d_odyssey
Dec. 5th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
Well thought out, well written fic. The voices were spot on, the reactions were completely in character. I especially like that John made the right choice for him, he is not meant to be pregnant, especially via screwed up Ancient technology. I also agree that Rodney would be upset, liking the idea of passing on his genes, but agreeing with the reality that it isn't right for them and knowing the effect on John. Good job of showing that even though they made the right choice, they can still be sad. Enjoyed this side of them, actually talking and comforting one another. Good job, with a serious look at this topic.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:23 am (UTC)
Awesome, thank you. Yeah, even when it's the right choice, that doesn't negate any of the sadness at all.
downloadable08
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
This was done very thoughtfully, and the result was brilliant. Thank you for the new perspective!
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:23 am (UTC)
Thank you!
bironic
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
Huh. Interesting. I don't think I've read an mpreg abortion story before. I very much appreciate the rare perspective here, partly because I identify with it and partly because I think any surprise!alien!impregnation victim, and any guy, and John in particular, would not react well to the discovery. Portions of John's freak-out, and much of Carson's reaction to it, seemed to me to go too far in the other direction from stories where pregnancy results in mostly warm squishy feelings for the expectant dad (or at least, as someone above pointed out, an immediate dismissal of the option to abort or a lack of option to abort or a lack of thinking about abortion), but it's a welcome counterpoint. I love that I can read an mpreg story and an "anti-mpreg" story in the same week and mostly believe them both.

p.s. I think you have an extra "no" in A bunch of cells where no cells have no business existing.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:28 am (UTC)
Awesome note, thanks.

Portions of John's freak-out...seemed to me to go too far in the other direction

Wow, really? Because that's pretty much how I feel at the mere thought of being pregnant, and I'm, you know, a woman. :) I can't imagine how a man would feel at actually becoming pregnant. I stand by every hair-standing-on-end of John's freakmania. ~:

I love that I can read an mpreg story and an "anti-mpreg" story in the same week and mostly believe them both.

Isn't fandom awesome?

ooh, and thank you for catching my typo.

Edited at 2009-12-05 03:29 am (UTC)
(no subject) - bironic - Dec. 5th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - esteefee - Dec. 5th, 2009 03:49 am (UTC) - Expand
rosiepaw
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
I read the story gaffsie mentioned - John first trying to get an abortion and then ending up as a Stepford Mom - and afterwards just wanted to scrub it out of my brain. So when I started to read yours, I thought uh-oh... Took a quick skim to the end... Ok, it's safe... Went back and enjoyed. :-)

One of the things I especially liked about this is that it captures John's sense of loss without implying that John's changed his mind. My sister had an abortion some years ago and genuinely mourned - to some degree, still mourns - the daughter she would have born while at the same time holding by her decision that ending that pregnancy was the right thing to do.

I also got a chuckle out of Rodney's rapid retreat when John offers him the chance to "take a stab at being in the hot seat."
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
Heh. I do the skim-to-the-end trick sometimes, I'm totally with you.

One of the things I especially liked about this is that it captures John's sense of loss without implying that John's changed his mind.

Oh, thank you. I was trying so hard to capture that, because yeah, making the right choice doesn't negate that it's a loss.

I also got a chuckle out of Rodney's rapid retreat when John offers him the chance to "take a stab at being in the hot seat."

eee! Yeah, I just can't see him volunteering.

ETA: edited so I don't get flamed.

Edited at 2009-12-05 03:33 am (UTC)
(no subject) - rosiepaw - Dec. 5th, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - esteefee - Dec. 5th, 2009 06:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
mashimero
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC)
Wow. Way to turn the m-preg cliche on its head. That was really well written.

Also, hi! I'm going to friend you because your fic has a tendency to be wonderful!
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
Aw, wow! Thanks.

::pours you virtual friendship tea::
aynslee
Dec. 5th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)
This broke my heart, and it was so moving at the same time. I felt terrible for John, who had to make that decision, and for Rodney, who understood even while he was crushed. Very sad, and yet fitting and appropriate. I loved their dynamic here.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
Thank you, aynslee. They have each other, is the thing.
indy_go
Dec. 5th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
This is... brilliant. It is so thoughtful and emotionally honest and just plain beautifully-written. Thank you.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much!
semielliptical
Dec. 5th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
Fabulous story - a really compelling read, and you handled the issue so well. I love that John's reaction is strong and clear, but also complex.
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
Awesome, thank you, semi. \o/
mrshamill
Dec. 5th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
This is brilliant. I know there's at least one other MPREG abortion story out there (where Rodney's the carrier) but nothing like this, nothing this real and visceral. The reactions are perfect (though I have to admit Carson felt a little OTT at first, though that might be just me) and your handling of the entire situation, from both POVs, is absolutely incredible.

I happen to like a well-written MPREG, but the problem is there are so damn few of them! Those that work are generally written comically. This would be the proper reaction of an ordinary male finding out he's pregnant. Very well done!
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 04:50 am (UTC)
Oh, I would love to read that one, mrshamill, if you can locate it.

Thank you for the awesome comment. It is hard to find mpregs that aren't written for the humor, it's true.

Carson felt a little OTT at first

Oh, definitely, but you have to remember he's primarily a geneticist who's just been handed a male pregnant with a viable zygote created from the genetic material from *two males*. I mean. You'll forgive him if he's gone a little loopy.
(no subject) - shimmoril - Dec. 5th, 2009 07:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mrshamill - Dec. 5th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - esteefee - Dec. 5th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ariadne83 - Dec. 6th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
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piplover
Dec. 5th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
Thank you! Finally, an mpreg that I could actually relat to, because John's reaciton? That's what I would do, right there! Honestly, just the thought of being pregnant makes me want to freak out, and I think you did an excellent job of capturing that.

Carson really did have me wanting to slap him. John's body, John's choice. It reminded me of the doctors who tell women they can't tie their tubes because they're too young. Very frustrating and realisitc.

I also love how you captured the sadness such a choice would ineviatbely lead to. Rodney's excitment, hearbreak, and support of John was wonderful. I can't thank you enough for writing this!
esteefee
Dec. 5th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
It reminded me of the doctors who tell women they can't tie their tubes because they're too young. Very frustrating and realisitc.

That paternalist, Father-knows-best crap drives me loony. I had a friend who was force-fed hormones when she was in her teens even though she assured the doctor she didn't care she was sterile, that she would never want to have children. "But you'll care one day and we need to keep you ovulating."

UGH UGH UGH.

She's in her forties now and, of course, still doesn't have children, nor want them.

Rodney's excitment, hearbreak, and support of John was wonderful.

He's a hero in this, or at least that's what I wanted to depict. Putting aside his own heartbreak.

Thank you so much!
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