blue flamingos

Fidel Castro In The Fridge

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Category/Rated: Gen, PG

Year/Length: 2009/ ~6224 words

Pairing: Sam, Teyla

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Prompt: Learning curves of a woman

Summary: Some days are like waking up, going to the refrigerator, and finding Fidel Castro in there: you just don't know what to say. Sam's not sure she wouldn't have *preferred* finding Fidel Castro in her fridge.

Author's Notes: originally written for [info]femme_fic

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

hr

The evening before their scheduled visit to Atlantis, Sam had finished up her briefing on the Tarvians, an anxious people who didn't like change but had a large quantity of naquadah they might be willing to trade, by saying, "We just need everything to run smoothly for three hours, without any strange or sudden events."

On reflection, that had probably been her first mistake.

hr

Her second mistake was undoubtedly waking up the next morning. As much as she would have preferred to rectify that situation as swiftly as possible, not least because it was still dark outside, she was somewhat hampered by the fact that, overnight, she'd apparently become six months pregnant.

After a brief period of careful consideration, she decided it really wasn't that much of a surprise to hear Teyla's voice saying, "Oh, fuck," as she shaped the words.

She sat up carefully, cautious of her changed body shape. Definitely in Teyla's room, and, wow, okay, that was a little more of Teyla's cleavage that she'd ever expected to see, especially at this angle. Though there was something oddly reassuring about knowing that, even pregnant and with the father missing, Teyla still slept in kind of sexy nightwear. She wasn't entirely sure *what* was reassuring about it, but it definitely was.

"Okay," she said quietly. It sounded even stranger in Teyla's voice than her cursing had. First step, clothing. Would it be weirder to undress Teyla's body or to walk it through the halls of Atlantis in a dressing gown? Five in the morning, she decided, was in no way too early for marines, which meant getting dressed.

Ten minutes later, she was dressed in Teyla's uniform pants and a dark vest. With Teyla's expedition jacket zipped up, she thought she looked reasonably like Teyla, even though she'd dressed mostly with her eyes either closed or firmly fixed to the ceiling. There were some things it just wasn't right to see without the other person's permission.

At least Atlantis had cured her of any urge to sleep naked.

"Okay," she said again, slipping her radio earpiece in. Was it better to wake Teyla up by radio or by knocking at her door – Sam's door? Scratch that; the radio channel was public, and she wasn't prepared to announce this to the general population of Atlantis unless she had to. Possibly even then.

It wasn't, she discovered, that she *couldn't* hurry in Teyla's body, just that the unfamiliar change in her centre of balance kept trying to tilt her forwards. She wanted to rest one hand on her pregnant belly, but Teyla never did that, and if she didn't want to tell people, step one was to do a good impression of Teyla.

She was most of the way to her own quarters when she crossed paths with a security patrol, both of whom nodded to and ma'am'ed her.

Sam nodded back, then added, "Good morning," since it seemed like something Teyla would do. She was very polite.

"Early for a walk," Anderson said.

Sam nodded. "The baby was kicking up – er, was kicking frequently." How was it that the lie came easily, but not the words? Had whatever did this also switched over parts of Teyla's mind?

"See, this is why I'm never getting pregnant. No offence," Anderson said, grinning wryly.

Sam was sure Teyla would have something smooth to say in response to that, but whatever had given her the line about the baby seemed to be done, and all she could do was smile back with what she hoped was sympathy.

"Well, enjoy your walk," Anderson said, and she and Miles separated to walk round Sam.

When she rang the door chime, Teyla answered immediately. She was still wearing Sam's pajamas, her hair – Sam's hair – tousled from sleep, but her eyes were clear as though she'd been awake for some time. "Colonel. I was about to come to you."

Sam glanced both ways down the corridor reflexively. "Can I come in?" she asked.

"Of course," Teyla said. "It is your room."

Sam smiled, sure that, even on Teyla's face, it didn't look particularly amused. "Right."

hr

In the end, they decided to call Rodney, reasoning that he'd be most likely to know what devices they'd been playing with that could have done this.

Sam was pretty grateful when Teyla offered to get dressed before they woke him up.

hr

"I'm sorry, what?" Rodney said, just as Sam had been priding herself on getting through the explanation and request for help without either starting to giggle madly or giving in to the urge to scream.

Teyla must have picked up some of that, because she cut in. "Colonel Carter and I woke up with our consciousnesses in each other's bodies. We believe it to be the result of the technology of the Ancients working on us. Colonel Carter wishes you to look into what may have caused this."

"No, no, that I got," Rodney said. The last word was muffled, as though he was getting dressed. "I'm just – it's not every day I get woken up by attractive women telling me they need my help and that they're –"

"McKay!" Sam said, before he could get any further. It was definitely too early in the morning for bad puns about being inside each other, which she suspected was what was coming.

"Sorry," he said, not sounding particularly so. "Sam, why don't you meet me down in my lab and we can start working through the list?"

"Maybe because I currently look a lot like Teyla?" Sam suggested. "And people might find that a little strange?" She cast a quick, apologetic glance to Teyla, who waved it away.

"You want to keep it a secret?" Rodney asked, sounding surprised.

Teyla sighed. "Rodney. Think of how you would react to the news that two people have been swapped into each other's bodies without warning or apparent cause, were you not equipped to resolve the problem. I do not think we wish to cause that sort of trouble."

There was a pause, then Rodney said, a little squeaky with panic, "You want *me* to keep this secret?"

"I want you to lock yourself away in your lab until you figure out how to switch us back," Sam corrected.

"Great. You two get body–swapped, and I'm the one who misses out on cake with the Tarvians. Fine. But I'm waking up Radek, he should suffer with me."

hr

John looked at Sam, then at Teyla, then back to Sam, expression unreadable.

"Not a prank?" he asked.

Sam shook her head – Teyla's head.

John nodded. "Okay. Does this mean we're all calling Teyla ma'am until McKay figures it out?"

Teyla looked kind of pleased at the idea.

"No," Sam said firmly.

hr

Not long after John had left to do whatever it was he felt he had to do as military commander in the face of the unexpected turn the morning had taken – Sam didn't like to ask – she stood up and had to sit back down again very fast, the whole world tilting. "Whoa," she said intelligently.

Teyla smiled serenely, which wasn't actually something Sam had known her own face could do, and said, "You need to eat." She didn't point out that Sam was eating for two, for which Sam was grateful.

Unfortunately, Sam's brain supplied the thought anyway, then followed it to its logical conclusion. "Right now, I'm in a body that's carrying a child who had absolutely none of my DNA." Which, considering it was only her mind – her consciousness? Her soul? All of the above? – that had moved, shouldn't have been that much of a revelation, or that weird.

"Yes," Teyla said. When Sam looked over at her, she was looking down – at the baby bump – with a mixture of sadness and, Sam thought, longing. It was like waking up and being hit with the shock all over again. If she missed being in her body – and she did, oh, she did – how much worse would it be to have spent six months in the same body as your child, only to be separated from it? For it to be in someone else's body, except that body was still yours.

Sam couldn't do anything about the shiver that ran down her spine at the thought.

What she could do something about, maybe, was the look in Teyla's eyes. "McKay will figure it out," she said. It came out sounding a lot more sympathetic than she thought it would have done in her own voice.

Teyla smiled, though it looked wary around the edges. Weird to realize that she knew how that expression felt, but not how it looked. She'd always thought it looked more convincing. "Of course," Teyla said. "In the mean time, we should have breakfast." She smiled again, looking a little more composed. "I do not wish to become known for fainting in the hallways."

Sam smiled back. "Me neither."

hr

It was Ronon, to Sam's shame – she was the commander of the expedition, she was supposed to be on top of things – who, looking up from inhaling a plate of pancakes, said, "What about the Tarvians?"

Though it was gratifying to see her own mixed horror and embarrassment reflected back to her on her own – Teyla's – face.

"Perhaps we could say that we have both been taken ill?" Teyla suggested hesitantly.

"Yes, with something infectious but not life threatening," Sam agreed. It was almost true. Sort of.

Ronon was shaking his head. "They're expecting you two. And they'll worry if there's something infectious in the city."

Sam sighed. He had a point. "We could explain it to them."

"I do not think that would be wise," Teyla said firmly, which Sam couldn't really argue with. They'd nearly called the entire trade bargaining off when they found out Colonel wasn't John's full title. It was somewhat unlikely that they'd choose *this* over which to showcase a previously unnoticed equanimity.

Sam looked at Teyla.

Teyla looked at Sam.

Ronon looked across the mess to nod a greeting to Major Lorne.

"We will have to pretend that nothing has changed," Teyla said eventually.

Sam sighed again. When she'd said she wanted to get to know her staff better, this was not what she'd had in mind.

hr

For the ten minutes it took for them to finish breakfast and leave the mess, it seemed like a decent plan. Then Dr Finch came round a corner with a tablet tucked under her arm, spotted them, and made a bee–line for Sam, already saying, "Ah, Colonel, I was hoping to run into you, I've been having some problems with some equations that are based off some work you did a couple of years ago with the SGC, and I was wondering if you might have time to take a look at them? If you're not too busy."

Which would have been fine, Finch's tendency to never use two or three sentences when one long one would do notwithstanding, except that, of course, Finch had bee–lined straight to Sam's body, which was currently housing Teyla. Who, for all that she'd clearly picked up plenty about the technology on Atlantis, would probably be about as much use to Finch as Sam would be to someone wanting an Ancient prayer translated.

Teyla blinked once, looked down at the screen of the tablet, and said, "I would love to, but I am afraid I have to prepare for the Tarvians' visit. Perhaps you could bring your work back to me tomorrow?"

To which Finch, embodying the distracted scientist stereotype beautifully, smiled and said, "Of course, I'm so sorry to have bothered you. I'm sure I can figure it out myself anyway."

Sam opened her mouth to suggest that Finch access the old SGC reports on the central server, then closed it again. Probably Teyla knew they were there, but Teyla wasn't the kind of person to leap into someone else's conversation. "I am certain you can," Teyla said. "I look forward to seeing your findings."

"I think we might be better off staying in my office," Sam said when Finch was out of earshot.

"Perhaps that would be for the best," Teyla agreed.

Which was only further proved when, two corridors further on, Dr Shriver came up to ask Teyla – Sam – Teyla to clarify a detail of Athosian baby–naming rituals.

hr

"I think it would be for the best if we were to stay together until this is resolved," Teyla said once they'd closed the office door behind them. She started to settle into one of Sam's comfortable visitors' chairs, then caught herself and stood up again.

There was an awkward pause in which Sam got a chance she'd never particularly wanted to contemplate how much Earth conventions had apparently sunk into Atlantis. Daniel would probably have gotten a huge kick out of it, and a research paper, one more to add to the 'to be published upon declassification' file.

"You should probably sit at the desk," Sam said, when it became clear that Teyla wasn't going to do so without permission. "Since I've got glass walls and all."

"Yes," Teyla said. She sat very straight in Sam's desk chair, her hands resting lightly on the edge of the table, not quite touching Sam's closed laptop.

Sam lowered herself carefully into the seat Teyla had been about to sit in, and tried not to sigh with relief. She didn't know how Teyla did this all day – her feet were killing her already, the small of her back was starting to ache, and she had to do everything more slowly, still adjusting to the way her balance was off.

Although it might have been worth it, if she'd known she was going to have a real live baby at the end. If she felt that connection to the baby that mothers were supposed to feel, instead of feeling like she really hoped he didn't kick. It was easier to think of it as added weight than a baby. Getting attached to someone else's child while it was still in the womb was just wrong, on any number of levels.

"Maybe you should turn the computer on," Sam suggested. "It's usually the first thing I do when I get in, people might get curious."

Teyla nodded, opening up the lid and hitting the on button without hesitation. Sam told herself again not to be surprised by this – just because she wasn't used to Atlantis, it didn't mean that the people in Atlantis weren't used to Earth technology. After four years, she should have been more surprised if Teyla wasn't.

Teyla caught her looking and smiled, holding Sam's gaze. Sam smiled back, feeling awkward, and looked down, which just made her feel more awkward, since, hey, there were Teyla's breasts again, since she'd unzipped the jacket when the mess started feeling too hot.

Teyla really knew how to dress to her own advantage, something Sam had never really mastered. She blamed it on years in uniforms, and not the dress kind that made pretty much everyone look good.

"So," she said, before her thoughts could take any more turns for the weird and/or inappropriate, "Why don't you tell me a bit about Athosian–Tarvian relations?"

hr

They made it a whole twenty minutes before Chuck came in to bring her coffee, did a double–take to find Teyla in there as well, apparently engaged in a cozy chat, and then left with a mild rebuke about how she – Sam – shouldn't be using Teyla's account details to log in to the system, even if Teyla had given permission and was sitting right there.

"You're quite right," Teyla said. "I don't know how I made such a mistake."

It wasn't even that funny, but Sam still cracked up.

Then she made Teyla either drink the coffee or throw it away, since the smell was making her nauseous, and made a mental note to ban coffee from any meetings Teyla was in until she gave birth.

hr

Minor hiccups notwithstanding, Sam was convinced they would have been mostly fine, even with the Tarvians coming to visit, if Rodney hadn't radioed to say he'd found something she absolutely had to see right that very second at the same moment as Lorne radioed to say that he really, really needed her in the third gym right now, and no, he couldn't ask Sheppard instead.

"Um," Sam said, hoping he'd put how she sounded like Teyla down to poor reception. Teyla, when Sam looked at her, made a helpless gesture of 'All out of bright ideas over here' – not that, being Teyla, she'd have put it like that. "I'm in the middle of something, can it wait?"

"Er," Lorne said, hesitating, probably torn between demanding the help he presumably really needed and not wanting to sound like he was back–talking a superior officer. "It would probably be best if someone could come now, ma'am."

On the other side of the office, Teyla tapped her radio on, and suggested that Rodney might perhaps stop harassing Colonel Carter to get down to the labs now or preferably five minutes ago, then pointed out that he was hardly more eager than they were for the two of them to be switched back.

"And Colonel Sheppard's indisposed?" Sam asked Lorne, fighting to keep the smile out of her voice. No–one told people off quite like Teyla – it was something about the clipped consonants and lack of contractions. She'd have to get Teyla to teach it to her.

"Yes, ma'am." Sam couldn't tell if Lorne was trying not to laugh or squirming awkwardly, but it was definitely one of the two. "He's, ah, slightly unconscious."

Given the circumstances, 'I don't even want to know the rest of this story,' probably wouldn't do as a response. "I'll be right there," she said. "And call for a medical team for Colonel Sheppard please."

When she tapped her radio off and stood up to go, Teyla was looking at her, her expression carefully blank. "Perhaps Major Lorne and the others would be a little surprised to have someone who appears to be me arrive to deal with a military matter," she said neutrally.

Right. Sam was starting to get a little worried by how easy she was finding it to forget that she wasn't in her own body, even with it sitting right there as a reminder. Maybe it was the effect of running into so many clones of herself over the course of her day job. "We could go together," she suggested. "Colonel Sheppard's on your team."

"He has likely already been taken to the infirmary," Teyla said.

"Sam, I don't want to imply that you might want to know what we're doing to get you and –" Rodney started up in her ear again.

"All right, Rodney," Sam said, and, wow, okay, so apparently Teyla really did have the voice for shutting people up, even when she wasn't using it herself. "I can only be in one place at a time." And wasn't that the source of her biggest problem right then.

"You should find out what Rodney needs you for," Teyla said, standing up. "And I will find out what Major Lorne is troubled with. And what has happened to Colonel Sheppard."

"You –" Sam stopped, before she could say something insulting or awkward. She was sure Teyla was perfectly capable of dealing with whatever the problem was, just – probably not in a way that would sound convincingly like she a colonel in the US Air Force.

"I will keep my radio switched on," Teyla said, smiling. "And you may correct me, if necessary."

hr

The radios were just about strong enough to pick up voices near Teyla, which meant Sam got to spend her slow walk down to Rodney's lab listening to the slightly muffled voice of Major Lorne as he explained that two of the marines had gotten into a fight about either a woman or a chocolate bar – their stories differed on that detail – and, when Sheppard, passing by with Lorne, stepped in to break it up, one of them had thrown a punch at the other, missed and knocked Sheppard out. And that Lorne felt that, since this was the third time they'd been caught fighting in two weeks, suggesting that neither he nor Sheppard was managing to get through to them, a visit from the base commander, whilst still reeling from having knocked out their CO, wouldn't hurt.

"I see," Teyla said as Sam turned down the lab corridor. "I admit to being curious what it is that leads you to believe this is appropriate behavior for members of the United States marine corp. Particularly when we are all guests in another galaxy."

Sam took a moment to admire the way Teyla said that without her voice changing at all, completely devoid of any irony.

Whatever the two marines said in response was too far away for Sam to pick up. Teyla asked whoever it was to say a little more and Sam stepped into the lab, where Rodney was hunched over his laptop, and Radek was nowhere in evidence.

"You've got something?" she asked.

"Yes," Rodney said, then looked up and did a double–take. "Sorry. That's, huh, strange."

"Try being me right now," Sam offered. "What've you got?"

"Radek and I went back through the logs from the last few days, and we found a slight rise in power consumption, starting three days ago, and growing until it peaked at three thirty this morning and then died away."

"Great." She really hadn't expected it to be this easy. "Is the device listed in the database?"

In her ear, Teyla told the marines that she'd be ashamed to act the way they had in uniform, and so should they be. Now that was a phrase Sam could imagine falling from her own mouth easily enough.

"Probably," Rodney said dismissively. "But unless you have some previously undisclosed facility with complex data storage of the kind that makes the Dewey Decimal System look easy to remember, we'll be better off waiting for Radek to come back with the device."

That sounded less good, she had to admit. "Any idea why it would have chosen me and Teyla?"

"Cosmic practical joke?" Rodney suggested. His eyes flickered to his computer, then back to Sam. "We'll know more when we can look at the device."

"– in addition to two weeks of kitchen duty," Teyla said, and Sam said, "No, two months," quickly.

"What?" Rodney asked.

Sam shook her head. "You're searching the database while you're waiting for Radek?"

"For all the good it will do me."

"You'll report to Major Lorne at zero seven hundred tomorrow morning," Teyla said. "And he'll report directly to myself and Colonel Sheppard on your behavior over the next two months."

Sam couldn't quite keep back her sigh, leaning against the edge of Rodney's lab table. "You know, this would've never happened to me when I was with SG1."

"No, you'd probably have been body–swapped with Daniel Jackson instead. Or Colonel Mitchell." Rodney made a face like he'd bitten into a lemon, only without the screaming hysterics that Sam imagined would follow such an event.

"At least then I wouldn't be pregnant," she pointed out.

Rodney tilted his head to one side then the other – so–so. "Stranger things have happened," he offered, grinning.

Sam rolled her eyes. "Get back to work, would you? And stop looking at my breasts."

"Can I help it if they're right there on my eye line while you're being all commanding?" Though Rodney did look up as he said it. "And, you know, technically, they're not your –"

"Work!"

It was, Sam discovered, not actually all that easy to sweep out of a room in a body you weren't used to.

hr

"How did I do?" Teyla asked over the headset as they made their separate ways down to the infirmary to check on Colonel Sheppard, who had, by all accounts, been awake and lucid before Dr Keller even got to him.

"You were wonderful," Sam said feelingly, making Dr Greenway, passing her in the opposite direction, squeak and go red.

hr

John, sitting fully clothed on the edge of a gurney, let Teyla tell the story of how she'd dressed down two marines while pretending to be Sam. Mainly, Sam thought, because Teyla had obviously gotten a huge kick out of it, or possibly because he and Teyla still hadn't recovered from the rift the disclosure of her pregnancy had caused in their friendship.

At the end, he shook his head, looking away. "I gotta talk to McKay, get him to speed things up. This is making my head hurt worse than it already does."

"There will be ample opportunity for that when Dr Keller releases you," Teyla said, patting him consolingly on the arm. John looked down as she did it, and didn't seem able to look away. Not that Sam could blame him – she wasn't the kind of CO to go around patting her military commander, and the fact that it was technically Teyla didn't help.

Keller chose that moment, of course, to walk in. "Ah, I didn't realize we had guests. I assume you're both here for the Colonel?"

"Yes," Sam said.

Keller smiled at her. "He'll be fine. I'm about to let him go, desk duty only for the day."

"Great," Sam said. "We'll leave you to it."

Keller frowned slightly, maybe picking up Sam's own speech patterns coming out of Teyla's mouth. "Of course. And Teyla, don't forget, we've got your six month exam scheduled for this afternoon, once the Tarvians go home."

Forget John lighting a fire under McKay; Sam nodded at John and Keller, and set off back to the labs to do it herself. It was bad enough having gynecological exams in her own body. There was no way she was living through it in someone else's.

hr

It was the best moment of her entire day when Rodney, a half hour after she and Teyla had arrived at the lab and set themselves up to scan the database, looked up from the small gray box and said, "Ah–ha."

"By jove, he's got it," Sam deadpanned, which just got her three blank looks. "Never mind. You have got something, right?"

The Tarvians were due in an hour, and it wasn't that she wasn't sold on her and Teyla's ability to pretend they were who they said they were, while John pretended that he hadn't gotten accidentally knocked out by one of his own guys... Okay, it was totally that she wasn't sold on that. Also that she really wanted her own body back, not least because, while having Teyla look at her longingly was sort of flattering, having Teyla look at her *stomach* longingly was really not.

"We have got something, yes." Rodney tapped a couple of the small keys on the box, and a holo–screen appeared above it, reminding Sam of Merlin's device. "It's actually designed to do exactly what it did, it –"

"Well, not exactly," Radek interrupted. "It should not have been able to –"

Rodney sighed. "Yes, yes, it malfunctioned in a small but insignificant way, because that's so unheard of when it comes to Ancient technology."

"I was only mentioning it –"

"Gentlemen!" Sam said firmly. "It's designed to do what it did – to change our consciousnesses around?"

"Yes," Radek managed before Rodney started talking over him again.

"Yes, exactly, and what's interesting is that apparently the city has some sort of code built into it in terms of designating each of the living quarters, so that machinery like this can access exactly the room that the user selects. It must have been left set from whenever they last used it. Actually, this whole intrinsic designator thing is quite a neat idea, one that they could have benefitted from building into the database."

"So you're saying that the exploration team turned this on by mistake and it, what, waited three days to do its thing?" Sam asked, before Rodney could go off on another rant about the uselessness of the database, even if she did agree with him.

"It needed the time to charge," Radek said, pointing to a series of lights, all of them glowing green. "And then, poof, off you go to be each other."

"Why would the Ancients invent a device to do such a thing?" Teyla asked.

Rodney rolled his eyes. "After four years in Atlantis, you still feel the need to ask that question? Actually, scratch that – you still expect that there might be a rational answer? It's the Ancients, who knows why they did it? Screwed up party trick? Cure for boredom?"

"Perhaps as a step on the path to ascension," Radek suggested. "To learn about themselves by learning how it felt to be someone else."

Rodney was staring at Radek like he'd grown a second head, but Teyla was smiling, looking pleased.

"So how do we switch back?" Sam asked, before Rodney could ruin Teyla's moment by, well, being Rodney. "Back to our quarters?"

"No, actually," Rodney said. "It's stored the routine in its hard–drive, or whatever you want to call it, we should be able to reverse it with the two of you anywhere."

"That does seem really pointless," Sam couldn't help saying.

"It's the Ancients, they used up all their brilliance building Atlantis and creating ZPMs." Rodney shrugged. "You want to do this now?"

Teyla looked over at Sam and said, "Perhaps you should sit down," like she didn't glare daggers at anyone who said that to her most of the time.

"Perhaps you should," Sam said. "I don't want to be the one falling over and breaking something important."

"You can stand well away from any breakable equipment," Rodney said.

Sam glared. "I meant me, but it's nice to know where your priorities lie."

"Well..." Rodney trailed off and shrugged again, not looking particularly shame–faced. "Are you going to sit down, or...?"

"Fine," Sam said, climbing awkwardly onto a lab stool. Probably she'd just fall off it anyway, but she wasn't sitting on the floor. For one thing, she wasn't convinced Teyla would be able to get up afterwards if she did.

"Ready?" Rodney asked.

They both nodded. Sam quashed an absurd desire to reach for Teyla's hand, not sure what she'd be looking for in the gesture. She kept her hands firmly away from her stomach as well; the last thing she wanted was to finally feel the baby kick.

"Here we go," Rodney said, and tapped a series of keys.

Nothing happened.

After a few seconds, Rodney looked up expectantly. "Well?"

Sam shook her head.

"Huh," Radek said, turning back to the device. "Perhaps if we try..."

Nothing happened again.

"Or like this..."

After twelve attempts and a whole lot of nothing, Sam got up again. "I've got paranoid visitors to prepare for, call me when you actually figure it out."

"No, wait," Rodney said. "Just let us try one more thing."

"Seriously," Sam said firmly. "Figure it out then test it, please. Before you do something worse."

"Yes, please, a little caution, if you would not mind," Teyla agreed, hopping down from the stool in a way that made Sam want to scream. Janet had had the right idea, adopting.

hr

Back in the gate room, people were starting to gather, and no–one looked twice at Sam and Teyla sticking together. Possibly because there were two marines intently polishing the railings.

"What are you doing?" Sam asked, regretting it as soon as she did, since for one it was obvious what they were doing, and for two it wasn't something Teyla would ask.

"Captain Fields suggested it," one of them said hesitantly. "He thought the Tarvians might like it if we brightened the place up a bit."

"I think the Tarvians will be a little too busy being impressed by Atlantis to notice the state of the metal work," Teyla said as Sam opened her mouth to speak. "But I suppose it cannot hurt. Carry on."

"Yes, ma'am," they chorused.

Sam raised an impressed eyebrow to Teyla, who shrugged one shoulder, smiling slightly.

Despite Teyla's nice save, which just proved that she was far better at this diplomacy stuff than Sam ever would be, they still went back to holing up in Sam's office. Sam's back was really starting to hurt, and someone in the control room had fresh coffee, so all in all, she was pretty glad to be sitting down.

"I have some tea in my room," Teyla said. "It will help to settle your stomach." Right, because Teyla knew just how Sam was feeling, which was a weird feeling in itself. Teyla probably knew how that felt as well.

"Maybe later," Sam agreed. "We should probably both stay here, the Tarvians are due soon."

"Of course." Teyla sat down behind Sam's desk, and, after a few moments, dropped her hands into her lap and ducked her head.

"Are you all right?" Sam asked, not sure whether she should or not. They really didn't know each other all that well, though she suspected that was going to change.

"Yes, thank you," Teyla said, looking up. She hesitated, looking unsure, then said, "Do you – feel him?"

"The baby?" Sam asked, like Teyla could possibly mean anyone else. "Like, him moving?"

Teyla nodded, but she didn't seem certain. "I have always felt a – connection, I suppose – to him. As though I can feel when he is content, or worried."

Sam got it, suddenly. Teyla was asking if she felt the same way Teyla did, if it was something about Teyla's body, or something about Teyla herself, her mind or her consciousness, or whatever it was that had been switched. "No," she said quickly, hoping it wasn't so quick that it sounded like a lie. "No, I can't feel him at all."

Teyla smiled a little, looking relieved. "I must admit, I will be very glad to have that back again."

Sam nodded, partly because she didn't know what to say, and partly because she felt a little bit like crying, without really knowing why. It wasn't like she wanted a baby, and she certainly didn't want to be Teyla, pregnant with the father and all of her people missing, no idea where they were or even if they were alive.

She wanted, again, to reach for Teyla's hand, try to offer some comfort.

Fortunately, she didn't, since John chose that moment to knock at the door and step inside. "Colonel Carter?" he asked, looking at Teyla.

"Nope," Sam said. "Still here."

"Oh." John squinched his eyes up for a second, then went back to looking a little blank. His right eye was starting to turn red where he'd been hit, which clashed oddly with the rest of his unusually neat appearance. At least it went with his faintly confused air, like he was still reeling a little from being knocked out. Sam remembered that feeling, her tendency to say exactly what she shouldn't say because it was at the front of her mind. She really hoped head injuries didn't have the same effect on John. "Dial–in's just started."

Sam resisted the urge to make an unprofessional face. "Great."

Major Lorne, Ronon and Dr Keller were waiting down by the gate when the there of them got there. "Dr McKay not joining us?" Lorne asked.

"He and Dr Zelenka are busy on a project," Sam said, watching the symbols chase round the outside of the gate as the Tarvians dialed them.

"Oh," Lorne said, sounding faintly surprised. Right, still Teyla.

Before she could think of something to say to get them past the moment, Sam's earpiece bleeped into life, Rodney's voice already chattering away, "– to come down to the labs, right now. Actually, maybe it would be best if you didn't, but we think –"

"Not now, Rodney," Sam said firmly.

Whatever he said in response was drowned out by the woosh of the gate opening, and Sam thought at first that that was what made her feel suddenly weak–kneed, a throbbing in the base of her skull like she'd just been hit with something solid but soft. Except she'd been on the gate room floor when the gate activated hundreds of times, and she'd never felt anything like that.

To her left, Teyla was looking as thrown as Sam felt, one hand reaching for the back of her head, one resting on her stomach and –. Oh. Oh.

Sam looked down. Just her own body again, her own conservative black shirt, her own mostly–flat stomach. Her own uniform pants and combat boots.

The last of the Tarvian delegation stepped through the gate as she looked up, and John stepped forward to greet them. "You remember Colonel Carter," he said, half–turning to gesture to Teyla. Even standing almost to the side of him, Sam could see his eyes widen in horror as he realized what he'd said. "I mean –"

The Tarvian delegation degenerated into a babble of confusion and what sounded like the Tarvian-language equivalent of 'what is the meaning of this?'

Things pretty much went downhill from there.


Read Comments | Post Comments |

| Home | Email bluflamingo |

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional