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Title: Defining Moments: Some Brand New Luck
Fandom: Stargate
Rating: K+
Genres: Drama
Summary: Hopefully last appearance of TLM!Lorne, having been invited to a friends' house and trying not to be too bitter. It has been eight years since Laura died, after all.
A/N: Okay, I promise this is going to be TLM!Lorne's last appearance (he always wears me out... I still cry when hearing Annie Lennox's Into the West, even over three years after writing You And I Will Meet Again), so I made sure it was the story [livejournal.com profile] ancient_leah requested (she wanted to see him happy, just for once). It takes place eight years after Laura died and three years after Time Keeps Burning On and we're back with Matthew Kemp and Jenna Kemp neé Wells. Also, I have a feeling I actually need to edit a couple of things in The Faith That Cleans Your Wound after this story...

Also, I decided to finally give Defining Moments its own fic index, which is this post. You can start by clicking on the first link and read it and eventually get "back" to this story (I usually connect all stories in a series so one doesn't need to get back to any indexes) or go directly to the story, if you know the rest. Just thought I'd give you a heads up because it's somewhere inbetween, not at the top or the bottom. Just sayin'. Anyway. On to the index/story now.

( The Faith That Cleans Your Wound )

Defining Moments: Some Brand New Luck
 
“Stood on the corner for a while
To wait for the wind to blow down on me
Hoping it takes with it my old ways
And brings some brand new luck upon me
Oh it's taking so long I could be wrong, I could be ready
Oh but if I take my heart's advice
I should assume it's still unsteady
I am in repair, I am in repair.”

 
John Mayer, “In Repair”
 
Well, then… it’s a night at the Kemps’. Actually… it really is a night at the Kemps’ and he isn’t quite sure if it was really a good idea to accept their invitation for dinner and an overnight stay before flying back to Springs. It’s been roughly two weeks since he broke up with Christine and the conversation with his sister about it rattled him up enough that he briefly considered calling the Casa de Kemp and politely excusing himself with some unexpected thing or other at the SGC having come up.
 
But then his loyalty kicked in and he also remembered that he’d decided to stop holing up on his roof terrace every time things bore the danger of making him choke up because they might remind him of the fact that others have what he will never have. And anyway, they’re his friends and a year ago Matt let it slip that it’s his fault they’re married – he really fails to see why because he’s convinced Matt would have married Jenna even without their little conversation in the Academy’s catholic chapel – when they moved to their house and he still hasn’t paid them a visit so… no more excuses.
 
Taking up his duffel from where the taxi driver put it down – letting them pick him up from the bus terminal would have been just a little bit too much – he walks up to the little house. No picket fences yet, he notes, but a front porch with a slightly faded and frayed yellow ribbon wound around one of the pillars. That would be Dr. Jenna Kemp’s attempt at decorating, then. Or maybe… it’s still a remainder from Matt’s deployment to Libya last year. Anyway… door bell. Right. There it is.
 
Just a push and then there’s light behind the small windows in the door and Jenna’s voice from the inside and then there’s Jenna, throwing “Get your ass back into the kitchen, Matt, he’s here!” over her shoulder before turning around and grinning at him and… something is different. Huh. “Hi! How was the drive? Sorry we didn’t pick you up but we…”
 
“It’s fine, don’t worry,” he tells her, trying to sound all casual but the thing is… even though he should be used to it by now, seeing Jenna being openly cheerful strikes him as odd. In his head, he still sees her shutting herself off from the rest of them, burying herself in work after Ferrier and Faraday died on a mission, eight years back. And he remembers the first time he saw her again after Atlantis, four years later when Matt suddenly called her his girlfriend. She’d tried to be her usual sarcastic self but he’d seen the signs of just having started therapy and struggling with it all too clearly.
 
That she’s grinning now and half showing him to the guest room, half ordering her husband around – God knows how she’s doing it but when they get into the living room it looks very much like Matt actually did what she asked of him – is still not quite what he expected. A little… overwhelmed, he lets her do most of the talking and after a declined tentative offer of helping them, he settles on one of the kitchen stools, leaning on the counter and watching them prepare whatever there will be for dinner.
 
It’s amazing, he thinks, how effortlessly they work together and he remembers Laura once telling him that they all should be glad about the fact that their main means of communication were either caustic barbs at each other, shouting at each other or icy silence because she wasn’t sure if she’d like to see what happened when they discovered the fact that they really do like each other. Well, he thinks, she would have liked it, despite making one or two remarks about those irritatingly happy couples that make you want to scream.
 
But there’s something about their manner… that perplexes him. He’s used to seeing them exchanging little touches here and there discreetly but… it’s kind of weird how often Matt would put his hand on her hip, pretending to move her out of the way, or how often Jenna would take something from him, very obviously just to touch his hand. There are also those strange glances. Not those at his left hand because he was expecting them and is half waiting for them to ask the same questions Anna had asked him this morning.
 
No, it’s the glances at each other, as if they’re trying to communicate something… the same way they’d been doing it in Atlantis when they’d tried to coordinate some mischief or other right under the noses of their superiors… they’re hiding something. Oh well. “Okay, kids… what is it?”
 
The chopping of vegetables and cutting of meat stops. As does the chatter. Instead there’s Jenna biting her lip and Matt rubbing his neck. There’s another moment of that weird silent communication thing, then there’s actually gesturing and mouthed words at each other and then Jenna tells him, “You know… kids is a good cue. Actually, just one kid. We think.” Did he just hear Matt murmur “we hope”?
 
And then it really sinks in. Jenna’s pregnant. After three years of being married to Matthew Kemp, she’s pregnant. Well, the practical part of him thinks, it makes sense. As far as he knows, she just got promoted at NASA, another step towards a career that might even satisfy old Wells, Matt got back from deployment a couple of months ago and is, if he remembers the stuff he heard through the grapevine correctly, this close to making Major and a step closer to the Pentagon or maybe NORAD… they’re settling down.
 
The other part, the one that still mourns all those lost chances to have something like that as well, and have it with Laura, would very much like to get up and leave but he’s so used to this initial reaction by now that he doesn’t have much difficulties to get over it for now and the smile on his face is real when he says, “Congratulations.”
 
She… blushes a little – and is that just a trick of light or did Matt just join her in blushing? – and then says, “Thank you. We weren’t sure if we should tell you. I mean, you’re, well…” Oh that’s just bullshit. Did they really expect he wouldn’t be able to be happy for them?
 
“It’s okay. I’m a big boy, I can handle it.” The astonishing thing is… the amused grin that he’d wanted to flash for their benefit… was genuine. The undertone of self irony didn’t only sound real, it was real. Huh.
 
Jenna and Matt, though… don’t really know how to react at first and for some reason that… amuses him. Yeah, he wants to say, I may be wearing the ring again but I know that it’s been eight years. I may never put it behind me but I can still try to get over it. He doesn’t get to do it, though, because Jenna says, “We… know that. Of course we do. We just… uh…”
 
“We’re just still trying to get the hang of this whole telling people thing, that’s all,” Matt adds for her and it earns him a glare. Good to know that some things never change. “Actually, apart from you, only Jenna’s cousin, Anthony Wayne, my sister and Jenna’s mother know about it.”
 
Oh. Oh well, that means… well, it means a lot of things but because he doesn’t really want to get into what exactly it means, he concentrates on the obvious. With a frown, he asks them, “You haven’t told the General yet?”
 
Before Jenna can answer anything, Matt beats her to it, snorting, “Do I have a death wish?”
 
It elicits a stern and not really amused, “Matt!” from Jenna and he flashes her a grin that probably melts a dozen hearts each time he does it around crowds. Obviously, though, constant exposure to it hardens oneself against it since Jenna simply glares at him, even forgetting to continue chopping her vegetables.
 
After a little staring contest, Matt makes a face and mutters, “Well, do I?”
 
He knows he shouldn’t say but… it’s just too tempting. “Still afraid of the General, Matt?”
 
Interesting reactions, from both of them. Jenna looks very much like she has no idea what this is about but would very much like to know, preferably from Matt and the officer in question looks a bit like he feels… betrayed? But yeah, he really tries to pull himself together, answering like a shot, “Nossir.”
 
He’d very obviously like to have this over with but Jenna seems to be very much interested in this, asking “You were afraid of my father?” Oh, Matthew Kemp absolutely was afraid of Jonathan Wells, he can attest to that. Said little conversation in the Academy’s catholic chapel is still very much present in his mind.  
 
Matthew Kemp doesn’t seem to agree, though. “I just said no, I wasn’t?”
 
Damn, Matt really makes it way too easy for him. Trying to sound casual instead of just this short from snorting, he says, “Didn’t sound like it to me.”
 
Looking a little like he feels betrayed, Matt resolutely grabs his knife and resumes cutting the meat with the words, “We’ll go back to cooking now and that’s final.” It makes Jenna roll her eyes and he can’t help smirk a little. He’s pretty sure there are some rather serious reasons for only Mrs. Wells knowing that there’s a grandchild on the way but they seem to have learned to cope with serious reasons and that’s probably more than he can say of himself.
 
So they do go back to cooking and because he’s genuinely interested and because he just knows that with the Kemps there’s always a bigger story behind everything he ventures to ask, “How’d you learn about it?”
 
Before Jenna can say anything, Matt has looked up from the meat he just put in a pan and says with a grin, “That’s actually kind of a funny story…”
 
“No, it’s not,” she interrupts him immediately and glares at him and well, didn’t he say there’s always a bigger story behind everything here?
 
Expertly keeping the meat from burning without even looking at it, Matt returns her look and contradicts her, still grinning, “Yes, it is.”
 
There’s a moment where they lock eyes and seem to haven forgotten that there’s a third person in the room and he isn't quite sure what’s going to follow next but then Jenna just sticks out her tongue and mumbles, “Greta was blowing it totally out of proportion.”
 
He raises his eyebrow. “Greta?”
 
Apparently, that reminded them of his presence and Matt returns to the meat, explaining, “Her cousin.” Ah, right, yes, he thinks he remembers her from their wedding and wondering about how she could be related in any way to Jenna, being very obviously very different from her. Matt, however isn't finished with his explanation and since he’d really like to hear the story, he doesn’t interrupt again. “When she learned about the pregnancy, I was over at Nellis for Red Flag and she didn’t tell me until I came back. Actually, she just said…”
 
“It’s totally irrelevant what I said. Or how I learned about the damn pregnancy.” Read: it’s probably one of the most interesting stories they have to tell tonight. Hopefully, Matt doesn’t agree with Jenna.
 
“Not the way Greta told it.” Ah, very good. That’s what he was hoping Matt would say.
 
“What did she say?” he asks and… he probably lost a little of his standing with Jenna. But you know, he’s not picking sides here. There’s only one side he serves and that’s his interest in the story. It’s been a while since he could enjoy simply talking to friends and he’s determined to make the most of it.
 
“Well,” Matt says and grins confidentially, pretending Jenna isn’t standing beside him with a frown on her face and a very sharp knife in her hand, “she started like this: “so Jenna was puking her guts out”…”
 
“I was not puking my guts out!” Indignation is written quite clearly over Jenna’s face but Matt seems rather unimpressed.
 
“Yes, you were. You still are,” he says, trying to sound casual but he’s not quite sure if there wasn’t something else in it, as well.
 
“No, I’m…” And suddenly righteous annoyance is replaced with that telltale paleness and slightly pained look he remembers from his sister’s face during the early stages of her second pregnancy and she swallows sharply before mumbling, “Just… excuse me, I gotta… I’ll be back… in… excuse me,” and she’s gone, nearly dashing away a little undignified. Oh.
 
Matt, however, manages to look like he thinks sympathy is overrated and even calls after her, “See, I told you!”
 
He finds that a little cruel… until he hears her calling “Fuck you!” from the presumed direction of the bathroom
 
Well. Not exactly the vocabulary you’d expect from an Air Force wife but quite honestly… even though he knows that her mother is quite well known as The Perfect Air Force Wife he never really expected Jenna to follow her example. But that was a little harsh, even for her. He raises his eyebrows and gestures to the general direction she disappeared into. “She okay?”
 
“Oh, she will be in a couple of minutes,” Matt just says casually but he thinks he detected a hint of worry in the short look up from the vegetables in the pan and the rice in one of the pots. Well, with that kind of history… he’d probably be worried as well. Determined to keep everything light, though, Matt continues, “Anyway… where were we?”
 
Oh well. If he doesn’t want to talk about being worried then they won’t talk about being worried. He kind of smirks again. “Your lovely wife was puking her guts out.”
 
Matt nods. “That’s what her cousin told me, yes. For two weeks, every morning. Every. Morning. Well, and apparently, a couple of other times during the day as well. And she was still convinced it was the flu.”
 
He shrugs. “It could have been.”
 
Snorting now. “Not bloody likely.” Oh okay, of course it wasn’t likely. But yeah… they’re talking about Jenna here. “Anyway, her cousin said that she got a little fed up with it and she asked her if she wouldn’t at least consider talking to her OB. And you know what she said?”
 
“No, but I’m sure you’re gonna tell me,” he replies and it’s a little funny how Matt looks like he thinks he doesn’t pay the story the attention it deserves.
 
“I was getting to that,” is the slightly testy answer before he finally does get to it. “So what Jenna apparently said was, her cousin swore, ‘whatever for?’”
 
Jesus Christ. He snorts and shakes his head a little disbelievingly. “You’re kidding me.” Because seriously… Jenna Kemp nee Wells is one of the most generally oblivious persons he ever knew, including Thomas Moore, The Powers That Be rest his soul, but that takes the cake.
 
As if he still can’t believe it himself, Matt shakes his head as well while arranging what looks like dinner on three plates. “No, that’s what she said. Greta said Jenna looked at her like she thought she’d lost it and asked her “whatever for?” she should contact her OB. After two weeks of morning sickness.”
 
Before he can answer, Jenna comes brushing past him and has given Matt a little shove to the shoulder. “Are you still trying to make me look stupid, Captain Eager Beaver?”
 
There’s a grin from Matt and a kiss that makes him concentrate on picking up a plate when Matt says, “No one can make you look stupid, Miss NASA Employee of the Month.”
 
A derisive snort now and then it’s sitting down for dinner. “Flattery will get you nowhere,” Jenna states and he isn't quite sure if that isn't a bit of a lie.
 
And Matt apparently knows it better, dares saying “That’s not what you said when I…”
 
“Matt! We have a guest.” Is that genuine horrification he just heard there? Smothering a smirk he pretends that his attention is solely on his food. There’s a little stab of wistfulness because he would have loved to have Laura with him… and because he misses having that kind of conversation with Laura so very much but it’s still very much amusing. It even also gets better. “Please excuse him, Evan. I think some stupid military experiment went wrong and took away all his brains.”
 
Mh. Way too good groundwork to waste it. Raising his eyebrow he can’t resist asking, “It needed an experiment for that?” Ah yeah. She grins triumphantly and for some reason it makes him pretty much smug that he scored some points with quick witted, acerbic and indeed lovely Jenna Kemp. He stores that away as a success on his way towards regaining at least a little of the man he used to be before.
 
For the rest of the evening, he continues interjecting asides whenever he feels the need for it, even tells them a bit about what’s going on at the SGC but mostly, he feels content with just spending it watching the Kemps banter back and forth and enjoying it immensely and being disgustingly happy with each other.
 
The realization that all those terrible things that happened in Pegasus and even after also had some good results after all hits him halfway through being witness to a passionate debate about whether NASA test pilots or F-35 pilots are the bigger idiots and he can’t help wondering if Jenna and Matt would have what they’re having now and if they’d be as happy as they’re now if things had turned out less gruesome.
 
Yes, he misses Laura and next time he visits her grave, he’ll probably tell her about this but… maybe with a grin instead of a bitter frown. He knows it’s stupid because she’s dead and everything but… she used to love gossip so much and sharing it on her grave helps him working against the fear of forgetting her and this would be one of the stories she’d absorb with rapt attention and reward with hearty laughter.
 
She’d never let Jenna live the whole “Whatever for?” thing down and she’d endlessly tease Matt with being twisted around Jenna’s little finger… and well… if she isn't here to do that… it’s probably his job now to do it and he always does his job the best way he can… so he will do exactly that whenever he’s in the mood for it. And he very much is tonight so in the end he’s glad he came here after all. It’s a start, at least.

( All Of My Heart )

( Never Gonna Say Again )

( Time Keeps Burning On )

( Like a Song Without a Melody )

( You And I Will Meet Again )

( If It Kills Me )

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