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Title: Momma Always Said There'd Be Days Like These
Author: tielan
Summary: There were no sneering comments about feminine weakness or snide remarks about the failings of women in the field, and Teyla was extremely glad of it.
Rating: PG-13
Prompt: cycle
Genre: gen, AU
Notes: This is a sequel of sorts to my 2008 story 'Every Day Is Another Tomorrow' and I've wanted to write it for years. It may be a little brain-breaky.

Momma Always Said There'd Be Days Like These


When Teyla comes in to breakfast, the doors to the balcony are propped open, and a nauseating stench of rancid meat and burned porridge fills the room.

"What has happened?" Teyla inquires of one of the servers, who shrugs.

"Guess Satedan tava burns faster than Earth oats."

Teyla was hoping for a long-promised Pegasus-substitute breakfast of corn pancakes, sausages, bacon, and eggs this morning, but the scent of burned food turns her stomach. When the server offers her the various foods, she refuses them all and goes for the toast and her customary mug of tea.

The mess hall is rather empty due to the smell, but Teyla spots Merdith sitting out on the balcony in the sun.

Given the size of the pile of food on his plate, she does not imagine he is bothered by the smell. Then again, Merdith's love-affair with Earth food was the talk of the expedition in his earliest days, although Teyla suspected and later confirmed that he was using his fingers purely for the gross-out factor.

These days, although he uses the utensils, Merdith of the Mekhays is still an inveterate snacker - a matter which puts him at frequent odds with John, who dislikes it when his stashes of chocolate, cookies, and chips go missing.

(Teyla has not yet owned up to the fact that she has occasionally raided John's resources in the search for something to eat at midnight. In spite of the scientist's eternal search for the truth of the universe, she feels there are some truths he does not need to know, such as her weakness for sweet chilli and sour cream kettle chips.)

Merdith slurps up half his cup of coffee and waves with a fork since his mouth is full of eggs and toast.

"Hungry?"

"I went for a run this morning," he says when he swallows. "Circuit of the city. This stuff is good. You know, I miss some of the feasts my people used to have - they'd go on for days and there'd be contests and challenges and all kinds of food. Heh. Sometime, I'm going to have to drag you all out to the Mekhay camp so Jheani can cook you her sweet tava cake."

Ronon has ventured the opinion that the main reason that Merdith moves so much is just so he can eat everything in sight. Otherwise, he says, the man would be rounder than the yoga ball which Dr. Ford sits on in his office.

"You are ready for the mission this afternoon?"

Eyebrows rise over a forkful of sausage and bacon. "We've got a mission this afternoon? What? Why wasn't I told?"

"It was in the schedule planner."

"And yet I reiterate: why wasn't I told?" For all that Merdith can use Earth technology, he seems to revel in playing the 'stupid alien' while claiming it opens the expedition to their small-minded preconceptions. He has a particular fondness for seeing how far he can play the idiot before John realises he's being had.

"Because it was in the planner?"

He rolls his eyes and applies himself to his food. Teyla envies him his focus of mind. The burned stench lingers in her nostrils and is doing her appetite no favours. In fact, it turns her stomach.

If it wasn't completely impossible - unless she's due for a visit from an angel - then she'd suspect she might be pregnant. As it is, her period's due, although she usually gets at least a few warning twinges beforehand - enough time to get her pain medication.

"Look at it this way, Merdith," she says dryly, dropping the toast to the plate. "I am telling you about the mission now, so you can be ready by this afternoon."

Merdith's opened his mouth - still full of food - to come back with a retort when their earpieces come alive with the news that they are to report to the Gateroom immediately - Major Beckett's team is in need of a rescue.

--

John doesn't pace the 'jumper floor.

For starters, it wouldn't do any good. And then there's the small matter of there not really being enough room to pace with Major Beckett and his team littered all through the 'jumper cargo bay. And pacing outside isn't an option since they're parked in the middle of a downpour. Not that John's complaining about the downpour - it covered their tracks when they ran from the Fathwavians, and gave them the opportunity to split into two groups - with Teyla and Merdith laying a false trail out to the hills, and John and Ronon bringing Beckett and his men back to the 'jumper and patching them up as much as you can patch up a group of guys who've been beaten and tortured.

Okay, so Ronon's mostly doing the patching up with what he's learned from Ford.

John offered to fly them back to the Stargate, Beckett and his men refused. "We've held out this long, son," Carson told him grimly, quite ignoring the fact that John's five years younger than him at most, "we're not in any danger of giving up the goat just yet. We'll wait for the Colonel and Merdith to get back."

Except that was nearly half an hour ago, and waiting for Teyla and Merdith to get back so they can shake the dust...er...mud of this planet from their feet and get back to Atlantis, where it's warm, sunny, and where people aren't going to shoot at them - or at least where people are less likely to shoot them has long since lost its shine.

John's getting worried.

Of course, Merdith spent seven years on the run from the Wraith, and Teyla's survived warzones John doesn't even want to think about, let alone be told about, so it's not like he needs to worry - except that it gives him something to do.

"They'll be back when they'll be back," Ronon says just behind him, making John jump.

"Could you make some more noise?"

Ronon grins, toothy and amused. "Wouldn't be as much fun." He indicates the 'jumper. "Can you find them with that?"

John blinks and leans over the console. "Good thinking, Ninety-Nine!"

Ronon's not bad for a Pegasus native. Learns pretty fast, thinks on his feet, uses common sense. John doesn't hold it against him that he never learned how to use a computer - the guy thinks outside the box and that's sometimes a good thing.

"You know," he says as he pulls up the HUD and initiates the 'jumper's tracking program, "we should probably ask Mitchell about those implants again. I mean, we get lost, trapped, and kidnapped often enough to make it worth it, and the signal would be really useful the next time Colonel Fraiser has to come looking for us in the Penelope and needs to beam us up onto her bridge..."

"There," Ronon says, pointing at the bright yellow dot. "They're nearly here."

"Or at least Teyla is," John mutters.

Teyla is, and so is Merdith - because she's leaning heavily on his shoulder, her jaw clenched, the muscles of her neck corded. They move smoothly enough up the ramp, but she stumbles at the top, and John moves in when she begins to slip, helps her stand up. Why he's doing it when Ronon's perfectly capable of catching her - and is closer - he doesn't know.

"You don't look too good."

"That would be because I do not feel the best," Teyla says, her mouth tilting in the slightest curve. She lets go of his arm and smiles briefly at him before turning away. "Carson?"

"Ready to go, Colonel." Carson frowns a little as Merdith crouches down and begins rummaging through the First Aid box. "What happened?"

"Nothing."

"Blood cramps," announces Merdith, frowning down at the medications there. "Teyla, there's nothing in here that--"

"And there will not be." Teyla cuts him off, sharp and short. It's hard to see because of her skin colour and the lack of clear light from outside, but she might be blushing. John doesn't get a chance to properly observe, because she immediately heads deeper into the 'jumper, making for the pilot seat and leaving a tableau of silent and stunned men in her wake.

John looks from Teyla's retreating form to Carson's suddenly stiff expression. One of the marines coughs, and Merdith rolls his eyes. "What? Is this one of those things I'm not supposed to mention because I'm a man? Or is it more Earth prudishness?"

"Both," Ronon says, a smile tilting one corner of his mouth beneath his beard as he slaps his hand over the door controls and the ramp begins to rise. "They don't keep medication for women's in First Aid, because it's not seen as important."

"But that's just stupid. I had to practically carry her for fifteen minutes until we found a hadeji bush because she was curled over nearly double from the pain, so I think it's pretty important!" Merdith stumps past them on his way to his seat, his brow furrowed at the obtuseness of the military - or maybe just the idiocy of Earth males.

Ronon follows him, his expression somewhere between amused and smug.

"If you have finished back there," Teyla says, her voice crisp and cold as the rain still battering the outside of the 'jumper, "then I suggest you strap in. Elvis is about to leave the building."

John exchanges helpless looks with Beckett, and goes to find his own seat as the 'jumper rises gracefully up and heads for home with nary even a wobble to show the pain its pilot is probably suffering.

--

In the rush to get ready for Carson's rescue, Teyla completely forgot that she was due to get her period.

She usually keeps close track of her cycle, because the first day is always the worst.

Naturally, she only remembered that she was due when her abdomen began cramping in the middle of laying the false trail away from the retreating party of injured men and civilians, but by then it was too late to do anything but endure it as best she could - at least until Merdith found the hadeji bush. The leaves brought a measure of relief - enough that she could make it on her own.

Merdith was good about it. There were no sneering comments or snide remarks about the failings of women in the field or essential feminine weaknesses, which she appreciated.

He was better about it than some guys would have been on Earth. He liked playing the garrulous barbarian, but he had tact - when he chose to use it.

Of course, she could have done without the announcement to John, Carson, and Carson's team. The Mekhays might see female menstruation as a natural part of the cycles of life and living, but on Earth, it's definitely 'women's issues' and not of interest or importance to men.

She waits for Doc Ford to get Carson and his men out, and is quietly grateful when Merdith chivvies John away, and Ronon follows them out with only a quick glance backwards to check that she's okay. Teyla gives him a nod of dismissal and he goes, leaving her to park the 'jumper in the maintenance bay, for Lorne and Bates to look over.

Then Ronon's waiting for her when she walks out of the 'jumper bay.

"Mitchell said the debriefing could wait until we didn't look so much like drowned rats."

"How are Carson and his team?"

"Ford thinks they'll be okay. They'll need rest and downtime and maybe a few antibiotic injections, but they're made tough."

Teyla snorts, caught between amused and exasperated. "And have you been sent to keep an eye on me?"

"Who'd send me?"

"Merdith. Or John." She thinks John the more likely candidate, actually. Merdith would give her the courtesy of trusting that she's not about to shatter just because she's in pain. On the other hand, John's innate sense of chivalry would require him to make sure that someone was keeping an eye on her, because of course she's not capable of looking after herself.

"Neither," Ronon says as they head down the stairs to the transporter corridor.

Teyla gives him a sideways look, but he just shrugs. "I am fine."

"Yeah," he says, "you are."

From an Earth guy, that might be a come-on. From Ronon, it says that he knows she's okay to manage herself, but he's concerned and here in case she needs him. She appreciates that.

They head down to the transporter. Ahead of them, the corridor leading to the control room opens and a woman pauses in the entryway, her eyes resting of Teyla.

Teyla stops in the middle of the corridor, and her abdomen chooses this moment to cramp with renewed viciousness. Her teeth lock, then she manages to grit out, "Sora. What are you doing here?"

Dressed in a business suit that looks distinctly out of place in halls that usually see nothing more fancy than military fatigues and BDUs, Sora Tyrasen is not someone Teyla would wish to see on her best day - and today is certainly not her best day.

"The IOA are doing a review of Atlantis."

"And sent you?"

"I do have some experience in military matters." Sora smiles that thin, polite smile that Teyla remembers from after the Afghanista hearings.

If it comes down to it, Teyla can be thinly polite too. "Welcome to Atlantis then."

And if the city has any love for her, it'll lock Sora in her rooms until she's recalled back to Earth. Sora has never been good news for anyone Teyla knew in the past and she's certainly not going to be good news for Atlantis now.

Ronon introduces himself then, casual and easy. A little on the terse side, but far more friendly than Teyla expects.

"You want an escort to your rooms?" He offers when they step off the transporter.

Sora smiles, apparently pleased by the deference being shown to her. "I certainly would, Mr. Dex. I'm not yet familiar with the halls of the city."

Ronon indicates the corridor. "This way, then. Dinner, later." This last is addressed to Teyla, who just nods as she heads off to her rooms, every step agony. She feels a little betrayed by Ronon's friendliness to Sora, but the act of not screaming with pain is taking all her energy right now and she'll explain what Sora's really doing in the city later.

It is not until after a thirty-minute shower - of which half is spent curled up in a ball on the tiled floor until the medication kicks in - that Teyla realises that Ronon did exactly what he meant to do - distract Sora from needling her until she could get some space.

--

The Bingleys and Mr. Darcy have just walked into the town dance when the chime sounds on Teyla's door. She thinks about just ignoring it - if it's an actual situation, they can call her on her earpiece to get her attention. But it chimes again, and she sighs, presses pause on the laptop, dumps the heat pack, and pads across the floor to see who's there.

Outside, John turns and holds up an extra-large packet of sweet chilli and sour cream kettle chips. "Hey, I...uh...I thought you might like some of these. I'd have brought chocolate, but Ronon is... Uh. I probably shouldn't mention whose stash he's raiding, should I?"

Teyla bites back a smile as she accepts the proffered packet of chips. "I will not ask, and you will not tell."

"Great." He tucks his hands into his jacket pockets, looking less like a brilliant astrophysicist and more like a bashful boy as his eyes flicker to the laptop on the bed behind her. "So...whatcha watching?"

"Pride and Prejudice."

There's a moment when he looks like he might say, something like, Okay. Have fun, then, and walk away, but he takes a deep breath. "Which version?"

Teyla cannot quite help a smile. "Does it matter?"

"I guess not." John's mouth quirks slightly, bashfulness turning to something like mischief. "Want company?"

"Do I get a choice? Seeing as Ronon is raiding someone's chocolate stash, and Merdith is doubtless hitting up Lorne for some moonshine..."

John looks surprised at the accuracy of her guesses, and Teyla shakes her head ruefully as she steps back from the doorway. For all his intelligence, he does not seem to realise that he is like an open book for the reading - at least, when one knows his language.

"You don't have to, you know," he says as he comes in. "I mean, if you really don't want us around."

Teyla smiles as she turns and pads back across the room. "I know."

She picks the laptop from the end of the bed and tucks the heat pad under her arm. With three men in the room - even ones she trusts - the bed will no longer do for watching. However, she has managed to requisition an old couch and a number of cushions, pillows, and throws in a corner of the large suite, and it will do for somewhere to sit and watch.

"Do you want me to shut the... Oh, hey guys."

"I hope you appreciate this," are Merdith's first words as he stumps into the room. "I nearly had to beat Lorne over the head with a keyboard to make him hand over a bottle of liquor. Anyone would think it was an illegal substance around here."

Ronon holds up the packet of Maltesers that Teyla recognises from Dr. Mitchell's stash without a word, and his brow lifts in silent question. Teyla flashes him a brief smile to let him know that the interruption is not unwelcome, and he closes the door behind him.

"Your dedication in the face of opposition to acquisition is much appreciated, Merdith," she says as she settles the laptop on the packing box that doubles as a coffee table.

"You didn't bring any cups," John says, already making himself comfortable on the couch.

"Why would I bother with cups?" Merdith plumps himself down on the floor and begins wrestling the cork from the earthenware jar.

"Maybe because I don't want your germs?"

"You don't have to drink it."

Ronon grins as John and Merdith begin arguing, but turns to Teyla as he prepares to settle down. "You okay?"

"Yes." And she is. She has medication for her pains, a heat-pack, friends who came to keep her company, and entertainment in the form of her team-mates as they puzzle through the intricacies of Jane Austen's most beloved story - and the fondness for it by women of Earth. "Yes."

Teyla settles the heatpack across her still-aching stomach, interrupts the argument brewing between John and Merdith, and has Ronon restart the DVD from the beginning.

- fin -hits counter

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
rissabby
Sep. 4th, 2011 02:20 am (UTC)
A bit confusing at first, but charming and full of fun.
tielan
Sep. 5th, 2011 08:48 am (UTC)
Thank you! I was afraid it would be a bit confusing for most people, so I'm glad you made it to the end and liked it enough to comment!
hoktauri
Sep. 4th, 2011 02:59 am (UTC)
I liked this, I liked it a lot! I read "Every Day is Another Tomorrow" first, so I'd have the background of it, and I'm so glad I did! It made this one all the more enjoyable. I have to express a fondness for Earth!Teyla, I love how *her* quarters are the place to go for team movie night. YAY. And all the ways you switched everyone around was just pure genius! I love how even the fanon pervaded the story, even in the role reversals, with Lorne's "moonshine" and Rodney as the "garrulous barbarian" who could be tactful when he wanted to be--so true of both Rodney AND Ronon!

My favorite line is when Teyla says, "Elvis is about to leave the building." Classic! Thanks for this very different story!
tielan
Sep. 5th, 2011 08:53 am (UTC)
It's definitely a bit of a brain-breaker! I'm glad you enjoyed it - even all the twists and turns of the changes! :D
esteefee
Sep. 4th, 2011 05:42 am (UTC)
Colonel Emmagan rocks! This was mind-twistingly awesome.
tielan
Sep. 5th, 2011 08:54 am (UTC)
Colonel Emmagan would kick ass and take numbers! It was definitely a challenge to write!
schneefink
Sep. 6th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
Wheee, I'm really happy to see more in this awesome AU! With even more strange roles for people this time around - Sora as IOA reviewer, great. Awww, team ♥
tielan
Sep. 7th, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC)
It's all very topsy-turvy and upside down!
leesa_perrie
Sep. 7th, 2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
I loved the first fic, though it did leave me wanting more of Merdith - this second fic is every bit as good and satisfies that want!! :D

I love the interactions between the team members and how they are still recognisable as our team even with their differences! I'd read more of this AU if you ever wanted to write more in it! :D
tielan
Sep. 7th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Given that it took me two years to write this story...I'm not sure that there's much chance of 'more' to it. But I'm glad you like it!
lilyfarfalla
Sep. 10th, 2011 07:20 am (UTC)
Oh, this was so interesting, and I love your use of the prompt. Love love love Teyla being the Col, and everything that goes along with it. So interesting--I feel like everyone is very much the same, despite how much they seem to to differ from canon, and I love how strong and proud Teyla is, and how she has three good friends to support her. And at the same time, this seems like a really unfriendly universe.

Anyways, Teyla = <3!
londonsabre
Sep. 10th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
Really enjoyable! Am off now to read the prequel!!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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