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Could I get an artist tag, please and thank you?

Title: Downward-Facing Dog
Author: enigmaticblues
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters; too bad, so sad.
Pairings/Characters: Elizabeth, Teyla
Spoilers: 1.13, “Hot Zone”
Word Count: ~800
Summary: Elizabeth likes yoga for the control it offers.
A/N: Written for sga_saturday challenge #44, “control”

Elizabeth started taking yoga classes in college, back when she still thought she could save the world—before the Stargate, before aliens, before Atlantis. That had been when she still believed that guns would be unnecessary someday, when she thought that brokered peace was always a possibility.

In other words, before she knew of the Goa’uld, and the Wraith. Before she’d been forced to contemplate the idea that genocide of an entire people might be the only way to save her own.

Before all of that, yoga had been something both ancient and new, a way of attaining peace within herself even as she sought peace in the world. She could control her breath and her body, even if she could control nothing else.

There were times in the midst of complicated peace treaties—when she could see both sides but couldn’t seem to communicate that understanding to anyone else—when yoga was all that kept her sane. All she needed was a little bit of floor space, and a half hour of quiet, and she could breathe again.

And there were times when she let the practice slide, when weeks went by where she’d been too caught up in travel and negotiations and other things to take that time and carve out that quiet—but she always went back to it.

It’s after that first major dispute with John that she finds herself pacing the corridors with no particular destination in mind. John had broken quarantine, and even though it had worked out all right in the end, she knows that if he continues to undermine her authority, she’ll have none left.

Sheppard has the charisma—and now after Kolya, the reputation—that he could easily wrest control from her hands, or even divide the city so that neither of them are effective.

Elizabeth hates slapping him down—more than anything else, she wants harmony, she wants to be able to work with him, not against him, because anything else will spell disaster for the expedition, but she’s afraid that this is a harbinger of things to come.

She’s afraid of losing control, and she doesn’t like how close she came today—losing the city, losing her temper, losing everything.

Somehow, she finds her way to the training room, where John and Teyla had been before John defied her orders. Elizabeth has no idea what she’s doing there, but she’s answering some deep, unspoken need as she toes off her shoes and removes her socks.

Elizabeth breathes in, then out, the way her first instructor had taught her. In and out, until she feels the familiar calm blanket her.

She’s not as limber as she had been when she’d been practicing regularly, but she starts the familiar asana, one movement flowing into the next. Elizabeth is holding downward-facing dog for two breaths when she hears the door slide open behind her, and she’s startled enough that her movements are awkward as she struggles to stand upright.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” Teyla says from just inside the doorway. “I didn’t realize there was anyone in here.”

Elizabeth shakes her head, not minding the interruption now that she’s found a little peace. “No, it’s fine. I was nearly done.”

Teyla seems hesitant as she says, “May I ask what you were doing?”

“An ancient meditation practice called yoga,” Elizabeth replies readily.

A spark of interest enters Teyla’s eyes. “Can anyone learn this?”

Elizabeth isn’t surprised at Teyla’s curiosity, and she suspects that yoga is probably right up her alley. “I’m not much of an instructor, but I can teach you what I know,” Elizabeth offers. “I was in one of the most basic poses when you came in—downward-facing dog.”

Teyla frowns slightly. “I’m not sure what a dog is.”

That comment startles a laugh out of Elizabeth, because of course Teyla would have no knowledge of the Earth animal—and she thinks of her dog, and how he’d stretch in exactly that way, front paws extended, rear end up—and she misses home all over again.

“It’s an animal from Earth,” Elizabeth replies. “The name doesn’t really matter, though.”

She wonders briefly what Pegasus natives would name each movement—not that it matters. What matters is the doing.

Elizabeth knows she’ll need to keep this first lesson short if she doesn’t want to be too sore to move tomorrow, but all she plans to show Teyla are a few basic poses. Later, if Teyla’s still interested, Elizabeth will go more in depth, passing on the knowledge she’d gathered.

“It all starts with breathing,” Elizabeth says.

And for this moment, she’s in control.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2012 03:21 pm (UTC)
I like this! I could definitively see Elizabeth practising yoga, and Teyla wishing to learn it.
Mar. 31st, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I swear there's a moment in "Sunday" where Teyla is going to meet Elizabeth for yoga, but I could have been imagining that.
Mar. 31st, 2012 04:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, Elizabeth would need something to calm her down after not-quite-fighting with John....

And we easily forget that there are words like dog that have no translation in Pegasus....

Mar. 31st, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Mar. 31st, 2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Mar. 31st, 2012 10:30 pm (UTC)
Apr. 1st, 2012 07:42 am (UTC)
Wonderful character study of Elisabeth! ♥

Thank you! :)
Apr. 4th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it!
Apr. 1st, 2012 08:22 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this - Elizabeth does seem like she would practice yoga, and man, anyone would need to center themselves after John's antics in Hot Zone. And Elizabeth and Teyla bonding over it is fantastic.
Apr. 4th, 2012 04:47 pm (UTC)
I do think that Elizabeth would practice yoga, and it's totally something that Teyla would dig, too.
Apr. 5th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC)
Nice little insight into Elizabeth. Enjoyed it!
Apr. 6th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it!
Apr. 23rd, 2012 07:47 am (UTC)
Such a lovely Elizabeth moment. I miss her and I like the way you write her!
Apr. 23rd, 2012 03:15 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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