So aj just pointed out in a comment that baby Kamala would be six by now, so I did this. Couldn't wait to re-read to post it, because lunch is almost over, so there could be commas and ungrounded pronouns on the loose.
Title: "The Six Year War"
Category: Atlantis, babyfic, sequel, floof, etc.
Summary: More adventures in babysitting.
He has no idea where Kamala gets it from.
"She gets that from you, you know."
John turns around to see Elizabeth leaning against the back wall of the living space in such a relaxed way that she's probably been watching the bedtime back-and-forth for a while.
He glares. "You can't get biology from baby-sitting." It's not like Kamala's biology was ever in question, either. As a baby with a short scrub of black hair, she looked so much like her father that it seemed like Ford just spit and there she was. At six, she's beginning to resemble Teyla more and more, with the same nose and hands and the same jut of her chin when she thinks John is being ridiculous.
"Ah, it's the nature vs. nurture debate," Elizabeth says, walking over to ruffle his hair.
"Insomnia is a learned behavior now?"
"Back-talking might be." Elizabeth leans down to kiss his temple.
It feels nice - Elizabeth always feels nice - but he's not about to let his guard down when there's every likelihood that Kamala will pop through the bedroom door again in five... four...
"I've changed my mind." Kamala is tiny, smaller than the other Atlantis and Athosian kids her age, but she mimics well her mother's leader of the Athosian people, do what I say expression when she wants to. "I don't want to fall asleep in your quarters. I should sleep in mama's bed tonight until she gets back."
He's about to start whining himself. That's where this started. "You begged me to sleep here, Kamala."
"I didn't consider it enough." She folds her hands together in front of her. Consider is an Elizabeth word, and John shoots a look above his shoulder to point out that he's not the only negative influence around here.
"If we go back to your quarters, you'll get all excited again. Your mom will be back in a few hours. Do you want me to turn the music on again?"
Kamala glances behind her into the bedroom (with a nightlight, with the shades precisely as open as she requested, with no pillow for her but a tiny one for her doll and her toy rapak seated in the chair at the end of the bed to keep watch, and John is sure there must be a better way). "I'm not tired. I need another story. But lie down with me this time."
John's pretty sure he's going to lose this one. He makes to get up, but Elizabeth squeezes her hand on his shoulder to keep him sitting.
"Kamala. I think you know it's bedtime."
John recognizes that voice. She's used it on him before. He's not sure he likes the implication that Elizabeth might see his very reasonable arguments as equivalent to a six-year-old procrastinating the inevitable.
"It's not John's bedtime," Kamala tries.
"Almost," he mutters, right as Kamala asks him:
"Can you do the story again for Doctor Weir?"
John wouldn't be entirely opposed to that. When Elizabeth's in an indulgent mood, they can sometimes get her to chime in some voices for the girl animals in the book. He likes her reading even when she isn't doing voices. The last time he was laid up for a week of forced bedrest in their quarters and was in too much pain for her to comfort him by touch, she read Beowulf aloud to him at night.
It was a hard road getting here, getting her here, but he's never regretted waiting for her or what he might have sacrificed. He's a lucky man.
Kamala isn't nearly so lucky, because Elizabeth isn't swayed by her offer of a shared bedtime story. "Hugs, then bed. Last time, Kamala."
Elizabeth's got more steel in her than he has, because Kamala's dejected expression and noodle-armed hug would probably have broken him down. It's not like he's ruining her for life when she convinces him to stay in the room with her while she sleeps, right? She has plenty of time to learn to rest by herself. She's already six and wants to play more with friends her age than her aunts and uncles - he doesn't have a lot of time before she's grown up, killing wraith and beating his ass at fighting sticks.
After Kamala's departure back to the bedroom - punctuated by a dramatic sigh - Elizabeth pokes his cheek with her finger. "You think I'm heartless, don't you?"
She sits down in their other living room chair, propping her feet on the coffee table next to the books and toys he should probably pack up before Teyla and Ford get back from New Athos. "That's why she likes you better than me," Elizabeth says.
"She loves you."
Elizabeth tilts her head to the side, a silent acknowledgment. He knew her body language long before he got to touch her body.
"You're good with her," he says. "I'd have been here all night."
"Oh, she'd have wound down eventually. I've just had more practice with rebellious children than you."
Elizabeth's eyes flutter closed. "It's been quite a day."
It has, completely apart from any adventures in baby-sitting. John remembers how they used to go to separate quarters after leaving the control tower. Even when he saw her unwind, it wasn't like this: barefoot, relaxed, home. "You could go sleep next to her. I'm sure she won't mind."
She smirks. "And undermine all your efforts here?"
"Teaching children to sleep alone is an American thing - the Athosians share family tents their whole lives."
"Ford and Teyla worked this out together. It's not our place to weigh in on decisions for their child."
John thinks he'd choose differently, if it were in the cards for him. It's not that he'd want to give up his bed shared with just Elizabeth, or have yet another obstacle to work around for sex besides their 28-hour-a-day jobs, but if it were his baby he thinks he'd want her close to them for as long as possible.
He doesn't regret it, because Elizabeth's worth that. Where once their discussions of children were abstract, nanites made their final decision for them.
They still have a family, even if it's not - in his Earth-born sense - precisely theirs.
John hears Kamala yawn in the other room, and then call in a plaintive voice, "I'm not sleeping yet!"
Elizabeth purses her lips and gives him a look to stay quiet.
"Johnnnn! I need something!"
Elizabeth rolls her eyes. "All right."
He stands up, plucking a picture book off the coffee table. "You coming?"