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Wk 18: Stand - Haven of Rest

Title: Haven of Rest
Wordcount: 1886
Rating: G
Characters: Teyla-centric with team interaction
Beta(s): many thinks to hoktauri, for working out the end. ♥
Prompt(s): Week 18: Stand
Summary: There's something inside of her pushing her forward; if she gave in to it, she could break through the windows of Atlantis and hurtle through space and time back to New Athos, back among her people.


She's at the windows in the back of the gateroom. There's the quiet bustle of activity behind her at the control panels, but she ignores it, instead, watching the pale iridescence of hyperspace flash by beyond the stained glass. It's pretty, she thinks; the muted blue she remembers from her flights on the Daedalus transformed into glimmering patches of green, copper, and gold. There's an itch underneath her skin, like that of the seepsi flea of her home world, an irritation no amount of scratching can alleviate.

Half-way home and it's as though her body knows more about where they are then she can consciously say. There's something inside of her pushing her forward; if she gave in to it, she could break through the windows of Atlantis and hurtle through space and time back to New Athos, back among her people. Not just those she'd known all her life, but all the people of Pegasus.

Earth had been wondrous to her. Exploring the marvels of Colonel Sheppard's home world was an experience she had longed for in her years as a guest and team member of the 'Lanteans. The vast oceans of blue, dotted with tiny paradises; jungles so thick and fragrant it was incredible to see that people had made homes in them; vast orange deserts streaked with red and green; and cities. Hundreds of thousands of cities filled with millions of people who had no idea what real danger was. People who conducted their daily business as though tomorrow and the next day were their right—a guarantee that the universe owed them. A sense of entitlement like she'd never seen in anyone but the Wraith infused the people of Earth with an arrogance she could not endure for long.

The more she learned about the people of Earth, the more she understood the very uniqueness of those who chose to be a part of the expedition. The 'Lanteans, as they'd come to be called in her galaxy, were certainly a queer and unusual collection of people compared to the rest of their planet.

She had imagined she would have liked a society that had fostered such people as Dr. Weir, Dr. McKay, Carson and so many of the men and women she admired of Atlantis. Having spent the last months away from her home exploring theirs, Teyla could only conclude that the genius and abilities of her friends and adopted family had grown in spite of the societies of Earth.

She had remarked upon this discovery at breakfast one morning with Rodney, questioning how he'd managed to become the person she knew.

"As opposed to what?" He'd asked her.

She'd taken a moment to rephrase her query. "I wonder how you became someone who understood that his place in the universe is not guaranteed. Your life is not infinite and, unlike the arrogance I have witnessed on your planet, you seem to understand - and have since I've known you—that life is precarious. Your entitlement, Rodney, is not about what you expect, but instead about what you possess. Colonel Sheppard seems very much the same."

"Ah." Rodney had almost delicately wiped his mouth, and she'd smiled at the affectation. It was a quirk of his, that when complimented, he absently—and only briefly—remembered the finer points of etiquette. "I'm the smartest person in two galaxies. Well, there's Col. Carter, but that hasn't been tested in any measurable way, and until it is...well... that's neither here nor there. What I mean is..." He had given pause, frowning as though truly considering his answer. "Yes. I'm arrogant. But I'm not blind. I know things about this galaxy—and the universe—that nearly every person on my planet doesn't know. Things worse than the catastrophes I had only imagined. Finding out that there are snake-infested aliens hell bent on enslaving your entire race, and that they have the technology to do it, will certainly suck the entitlement right out of you."

She had quirked her brow, saying, "I can imagine."

"Well, being enslaved is nothing compared to being eaten, I'm sure, but we hadn't met the Wraith yet."

There fell a moment of silence between them then, broken only by a soft sigh from Rodney, then he continued. "All of us who came on the mission knew it was most likely a one way trip. We had no idea what we were heading into, but there was a chance for greatness, for the expansion of human understanding and we had to do it. If that makes us... different... from the rest of the world... So be it. Sheppard, I think, was one of the few people on the mission who really didn't know what he was stepping into, only what he was leaving behind." At that point, he'd huffed a laugh, and picked up his fork again. "I guess that makes him more than a bit special, too. Just don't tell him I said so."

As she'd nodded, they'd been joined by Col. Sheppard and Ronon, and the conversation had shifted. The subject dropped, forgotten.

There's a noise behind her and a presence at her back. She turns to catch the glint of Ronon's smile.

"Almost there," he says. "Few days out, now."

She takes a deep breath. "How can you tell?" She feels it in her blood, the closing distance.

"Same way you do." Ronon moves to stand beside her. "Never wanted to bust through a window so bad. If it would get me home faster, I'd do it."

She doesn't say anything, squeezing the bruises on her palms. She's clenched her fists often in an effort to keep from doing exactly what he said.

"I like Earth," he says, a rare moment of revelation from him. "It's a nice distraction. Their...I don't know what you'd call it...illusion of safety is total."

She's almost afraid to ask him what he means, afraid he'll stop talking. So she just looks at him, the question in her eyes.

"They have no idea, and their ignorance is infectious. I can... forget... for a while. What's really out there. In a way I haven't been able to since..."

She realizes he's right. It's not arrogance that lends the people of Earth their entitlement, but innocence. They have no idea what could be in store for them, so they lead their lives as though nothing will happen. They are babes in the woods, surrounded by beasts who want nothing more than to kill them, but they are snug in the swaddling of ignorance.

"They don't know, so they can't care," he says. "Not caring has its own peace."

His words hit her physically. She cannot recall a time when she felt that sort of peace, and an ache settles in her chest—regret, sadness, no small touch of anger—at the fact that her son will never know such careless freedom. If ever there were a reason to return to Earth, to live as though the universe owed her, it would be for Torren.

"Would you ever want to stay on Earth?" she asks after a while.

He frowns down at her, and she knows he's thinking about it. "When every last Wraith is dead and gone, I might."

She smiles at the conviction in his words—when not if. "I hope the time comes when you get to make that choice, Ronon."

A feral grin breaks across his face. "Me, too." He looks out the window again. "Until then, I'll just kill every Wraith I come across." He pats his gun. "It's been a while."

"Yes," she says. She knows how he gets when he hasn't killed a Wraith in a while. For her, however, she'd like to spend a very long time with her family before going back to active mission status.

"Longer for you."

She gives him a soft smile, and sighs. It certainly feels like a life time. The ache blossoms in her chest when she thinks about the milestones she's missed. Torren's first steps, his first words, and the changes in personality that come with increased understanding.

Ronon places a hand on her shoulder. "Take some time. Nothing says you have to come right back."

She doubts that. "Oh?"

"Talk to Sheppard."

He pats her shoulder once, then turns to go. His suggestion isn't something she hasn't thought herself, and she knows John will be willing to give her the time she needs. She worries, though, if she'll be able to return to the field when that time expires. The call of home and family has been echoing in her heart for a while now. She's talked to John about it before, and she agreed, then, that doing her duty to the team and Atlantis was—is—the best way to serve and protect her family.

Lately, however, after this extended stay in another galaxy so far away from her family, she's come to believe the time had come for her to turn that responsibility over to someone else. Someone with less to lose. Many of her Athosian friends have expressed a desire to join the 'Lanteans in the fight against the Wraith, and there are many she trusts to fulfill that duty admirably.

Also, with the 'Lanteans in Pegasus again, the possibility of defeating the Wraith once and for all is greatly increased. With Atlantis back in Pegasus, the people can rest more easily, knowing that there are warriors dedicated to—and more than capable of—protecting them. She could raise her son with a different kind of hope. A hope based on the possibilities of the future, instead of the fears of the past. That knowledge quells the ache she thought would be permanent.

Reaching a decision, she taps her ear piece. "Col. Sheppard?"

“Go ahead, Teyla,“ John's voice comes over.

"I wonder if I may speak with the team, privately."

“Sure. Is everything all right?“

"I believe it will be, yes."

There's a hesitation, and she can hear him exhale a sigh. “That sounds ominous. Contact Ronon. I'll get McKay and we'll meet at your quarters in ten?“

She winces. Rodney will not take her decision well at all. As flexible as he can be in a state of emergency, as quickly as he can adjust when the situation is dire, Rodney does not respond well to upheaval in his life. She knows he sees herself and Torren as part of his family and their leaving the team and Atlantis will be painful for him. Part of her wants to warn him, to give him time alone to process her decision and what it means for the team.

“Teyla?“

"That will be acceptable, John."

“Teyla, if this is about what I think, you know what my answer will be.“

His reassurance eases her concern. "I had faith that you would understand. Thank you, John."

“Rodney won't like it.“

"I understand."

“I'll tell him. Give him a bit of time to process before we get to your quarters.“

She should have known John would understand, that he'd take care of Rodney the way he would for Ronon or herself. "Again, thank you, John. I'll see you all in a few moments."

“Okay. Sheppard out.“

Taking another deep breath, she stands still in the tepid, flickering light. The calm settles over her as the incessant, itching restlessness of the last few days fades away.

End

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
stella_pegasi
Oct. 1st, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
Wow... a lot of emotion in this story....two segments really struck me...

"People who conducted their daily business as though tomorrow and the next day were their right—a guarantee that the universe owed them. A sense of entitlement like she'd never seen in anyone but the Wraith infused the people of Earth with an arrogance she could not endure for long."

Very insightful...and so true.


"Sheppard, I think, was one of the few people on the mission who really didn't know what he was stepping into, only what he was leaving behind."

Wow...that is a fantastic line about Sheppard.

Very nicely done.

Edited at 2011-10-01 06:20 pm (UTC)
altyronsmaker
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
thank you!

I deal with teenagers every day - teenagers who are on the verge of entering the 'real world' and they're so arrogant and self assured and just KNOW that things will be soooo perfect for them. That entitlement just irks the hell out of me, and I'm FROM here, lol. I'm absolutely positive Teyla would find it repugnant.

And that line about John just sort of... slipped out. I mean, he had an inkling of space issues, but only and inkling, and he knew exactly what he was walking away from when he stepped through the stargate.

So glad you liked this. Hehe! I love having my fic quoted back at me. LOL.
juniperphoenix
Oct. 1st, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC)
Well done! I particularly like her conversation with Ronon.
altyronsmaker
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you! the conversation with Ronon was hard! I mean, they should have the same perspective on Earth, coming from the Pegasus galaxy, but Ronon... he sees things very differently from Teyla and I think, other than the bureaucracy of Earth, he'd find the way we live pretty freeing.

Thank you for reading and commenting. :D
michelel72
Oct. 1st, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC)
As much as I hate the thought of the team breaking up in any form, this makes sense, and you make Teyla's viewpoint vivid.
altyronsmaker
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
I hate breaking up the team as well, but I think Teyla would want to spend some, okay, a lot of time with Torren while he was young. I don't think she's wanting to leave permanently, but definitely for a while. And I'm pretty confident that when she's ready to come back to it, John and Ronon will welcome her back easily. Rodney, though... he'll be a tough nut to crack. LOL.

Thanks for reading and for the comment. I appreciate it. :)
2bluaeryn
Oct. 1st, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
This is a very insightful piece.

Love the connection between Ronon and Teyla as family returning home and the understanding of John. Well done.

I also have to agree with stella pegasi on her comment - both passages descriptive and insightful.
altyronsmaker
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I think Ronon and Teyla would have a shared sense of home, being from Pegasus, so I do believe that Ronon would know exactly how she was feeling about getting back after so long away. John, to me, isn't so much emotionally stunted as emotionally reticent. He feels, he reads people, and he's aware, but he plays that awareness very close to the vest, and doesn't want to let on that he's aware, because that would mean exposing not only himself, but others that are close to him as well.

So he knows, he just doesn't say much. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting. :)
hoktauri
Oct. 3rd, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
John, to me, isn't so much emotionally stunted as emotionally reticent. He feels, he reads people, and he's aware, but he plays that awareness very close to the vest, and doesn't want to let on that he's aware, because that would mean exposing not only himself, but others that are close to him as well.

This is one of the reasons I love your work. You see these characters so clearly, and you read much deeper than the surface interpretation.
dragonladyk
Oct. 1st, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
Wow. This was really good, and really different.

DragonLady
altyronsmaker
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
And I couldn't tell you where it came from. >.< Just, I had a picture of Teyla in my head, standing on the Daedalus staring out the window into hyperspace, and it morphed into this. Why was she standing there? What if she were on Atlantis? What would she be thinking about on the way home?

I'm certainly glad you liked it, though. :) Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
altyronsmaker
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)
It's strange, because I had just posted this story then read hers. I was... yeah, that final scene in hers was confirmation to me that yeah, defeat the Wraith and Ronon's going to Earth. Totally.

It's a really unexpected but totally welcome compliment to be linked with something by estefee. She's freakin' awesome.

Thanks so much!
lilyfarfalla
Oct. 2nd, 2011 05:34 am (UTC)
This was lovely. I love how team-y it is, it's a wonderful glimpse at all of the different relationships Teyla has with her team. And I love her and Ronon's perspectives on Earthlings.
altyronsmaker
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:35 pm (UTC)
I think I might have read a bit too much into the Rodney & Teyla relationship, but I really think, if she left the team, Rodney would be pretty upset about it.

I'm so glad you liked it, and that you think I did the team dynamics justice. Thank you!
lilyfarfalla
Oct. 3rd, 2011 03:49 am (UTC)
Nah, I like to think that Rodney and Teyla have a pretty decent relationship, even if they don't hang out all the time...
saphirablue
Oct. 2nd, 2011 08:11 am (UTC)
This is such a wonderful Teyla and Team fic.

Thank you! :)
altyronsmaker
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
thank you! I'm finding that I love the team fics, especially when the dynamics are examined from one character's perspective. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. :)
hoktauri
Oct. 3rd, 2011 04:42 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful, hon. Bittersweet but also a reminder that the team is always there for each other, even if they're not on a mission. Teyla will always be family to them, no matter what, and they will always be family to her.

Thank you for this.
outsideth3box
Oct. 14th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
This is so beautiful! I'm sad to see Teyla leaving the team, but I feel for her, missing so much of Torren's babyhood and needing to reestablish that bond. I loved that John knew what was up without being told and that he knew Rodney would need some time with it. I like That you wrote John as being insightful, rather than blind. And Ronon finding his experiences of Earth culture refreshing rather than depressing was unexpected, but pleasing. I do get Teyla's irritation, though, and I suspect Rodney feels something similar.

okay enough of my chatter. Thanks for sharing!
esteefee
Nov. 14th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
Playing catch-up here...

I love the insight in this, and Teyla's thoughts...seem so very IC to me, I could practically see the expressions on her face as she pondered each. Really brilliant. I'm glad John understood and would try to ease Rodney into it, and I adored her conversation with Ronon. "When" not "if." Yeah. :)
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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