|Breaking the Stone
Author: Kristen999 PM
In these moments, time spins away and all of Teyla's carefully bottled-up thoughts escape out tiny cracks. Futurefic, Angst. Team, John/TeylaRated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Drama - Teyla E. & John S. - Words: 2,731 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 1 - Published: 08-07-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6215868
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: "Breaking the Stone"
Genre: Futurefic, Angst
Character/Pairing: Team, John/Teyla,
Summary: In these moments, time spins away and all of Teyla's carefully bottled-up thoughts escape out tiny cracks.
Notes: Just playing in another part of the sandbox. Hope people will give it a shot.
Big thank you to wildcat88for the quick beta and to sgafan for her suggestions.
Her world shimmers in shades of obsidian, the sky the same as the blackness beneath her dusty boots, tiny flakes of silver the only bit of color sprinkling the ground. Teyla breathes heavily, tasting plastic and rubber from her oxygen mask. It's too big for her face and air seeps out of the tiny gaps, but she presses on; the atmosphere is thin, but not deadly, the extra oxygen giving needed stamina. Lifting up the hammer, she slams the mallet onto the bits of rock, smashing them into smaller pieces.
Several fingers pop out of the holey tips of her worn gloves, but the leather softens the shock of the vibration. She grunts, hefting the tool up to repeat the action again and again and again. It's back-breaking work, eight or nine hours of repetitive motion and burning muscles. She hums sometimes, imagines herself anywhere else but this horrible place. A shard of rock ricochets, smacking her on the cheek, and she rubs away the pain and blood with the back of her hand.
The echoing of a cart over the hard bumpy ground signals Rodney's arrival and Teyla leans on her sledgehammer, taking a five minute beak until he arrives. Her eyes roam over the barren black slate, watching John chisel away at the edge of the quarry.
They're lucky and have an advantage over the others who scavenge here. John uses black powder and fertilized soil from M1X-626 soaked in chemicals to blow apart the ore. Once he's done smashing the rock into chunks, she'll follow him, crushing them into more manageable pieces to be transported away.
There's a muffled string of complaints as Rodney arrives and pulls away his mask. "The left wheel came off again and we...we need to replace the axle."
Forcing the mask back over his mouth and nose, Teyla uses a calm tone that tends to settle his nerves. Her hand strays to a bicep of lean muscle; gone is the softness of a few years ago. "I am sure Ronon would be glad to have something to fix when we get back to the bunker."
"Yeah, he's been such a big pain in the ass since he broke his hip."
Teyla misses Ronon out here in the darkness. But he needs time to recover from his fall and they have to gather the precious silver mineral held hostage by this hard, unrelenting rock. It will buy food and water and help them pay for the raw materials required to keep the jumper halfway operational.
"I will help you load this."
"No!" Rodney grabs her shoulder with a powerful grip. "I'll do it."
It's amazing how much he's changed in the last couple of years. A gang of thieves had tried to rob them a few months ago. There were a dozen or more, and Rodney broke a man's nose and nearly killed another with a chaotic swing of a wrench.
He'd asked to be included in all training and sparring exercises after, impressing them all with his hand-to-hand skills.
Teyla's knees ache without mercy and she sinks down to sit, watching Rodney scoop up the rubble with a shovel into the rusted cart. They have another month here to mine what they can for trade and will travel the rest of the year from planet to planet, never stopping too long.
"Fire in the hole!" John shouts.
Teyla and Rodney cover their ears as the ground rumbles and a shower of debris spits into the air.
Her ears ring and Rodney's already complaining about how John's going to blow himself up if he's not careful. She doesn't actually hear the words behind his mask, but Rodney is predictable in his tirades.
They both anxiously watch and wait until the gray dust cloud dissipates and John waves at them that he's fine. Rodney's shoveling again and she really doesn't want to get back up, wishing to sprawl onto the ground and stare up at the stars. Nighttime will shift to dawn and the sky will become scattered shades of dark violet from its dying red sun, the only reason this whole place isn't frozen over.
Groaning, she forces herself to her sore feet, brushing away the dirt from her brown coveralls. Taking the sledgehammer, she heads toward the next clump of rock and begins another round of hard labor. Her strikes clash loudly with Rodney's shoveling, metal and rocks clanking together, causing her head to pound.
It seems like forever, but Rodney finishes, bitching when it takes a few tries to get the heavy load moving. "See you at dinner," he rasps, before giving the cart a good shove to send it rolling.
Teyla's too fatigued to respond, her breaths nosy rales, fingers aching from gripping the handle too hard. Only one more cartful and they'll be done.
Walking the long trail back is exhausting; her sore arms can barely carry the iron sledgehammer. Her pace is purposely slow to avoid overtiring, allowing John to keep up as he follows a few meters behind. The gravity here is stronger than any of them are used to and it takes extra effort to lift up her boots. John lags further behind, but she will not slow down for him to catch up, knowing that such an action would be worse than a knife to the back.
Their home of the last month is a leftover bunker from a previous mining colony. There are dozens scattered across the narrow valley, and most are occupied by groups seeking ways to feed their hungry mouths. None of the others have explosives to break apart the ore which cuts the time in half to gather the precious Illite mineral. It's the reason they mine at night, to avoid contact and territorial feuds.
Ronon waits outside the opening, blaster in hand, forced to sit in a motorized wheelchair Rodney cobbled together from spare parts and a broken seat. Teyla leans down pressing her forehead to his, cupping the sides of his head with both hands. "We are well."
Ronon squeezes her shoulders, his forehead lingering on hers for a beat longer before lifting it up. "Dinner's gonna be late. Had to scare off some scavengers."
Raiders roam the quarries for supplies and they are always drawn toward a bunker that might conceal needed supplies. Rodney calls this planet a wasteland of petrified rock. Those who lived here before had blasted the hillside into smooth walls and ceilings leading inside the mountain. Oil lanterns hang from wires, orange and yellow streams of light illuminating the steep opening.
Teyla pulls away the rubber band holding the rest of her hair back, allowing the strands to fall about her face. "Did they offer much trouble?"
Ronon snorts. "Not after I burned off their eyebrows."
People see a man forced to reside inside a chair of scrap parts and sense an easy mark, not knowing how outmatched they are. "And the jumper?"
The cloak drains power; it doesn't impede flight, but it's enough to keep them from leaching it for other needs. Ronon waits for John before lowering the two-inch thick door with an elaborate pulley system.
"Whenever you're done screwing around, I could really use a hand repairing the axle. Unless you're too busy playing gatekeeper," Rodney's voice echoes from inside.
Ronon rolls his eyes, but the ends of his mouth curve mischievously. "Maybe if you fixed the motor on my chair, you could hook it up to the cart and I could drive it back and forth."
"Are you kidding me? Those Borg wannabes have a stranglehold on everything high-tech, low-tech or anything above rocks and twigs. I created a lead acid battery within a cell that actually doesn't explode when you try gunning it! It's a work of genius and...and what do you mean fix it? There's nothing wrong with it!"
John leans against the wall, shaking his head. "Do you have to wind him up every night?"
"Yep." Rotating the right handle joystick, Ronon's chair jerks one hundred-eighty degrees and stops-starts toward the back of the bunker.
Teyla stores the miserable sledgehammer inside a trunk with the rest of their tools. Gathering the last of her strength, she heads toward the bath, yanking down the straps of his soiled coveralls. She half-falls onto a seat of rock by the entrance, untying her laces and removing her heavy boots. The gloves come off next, and her t-shirt, shorts and socks become a useless pile by her feet.
"I'll take care of the hotbox," John calls out as he peels away his black undershirt.
He's removed his boots, but not his boxers, and he limps heavily toward the fireplace, bending down with a grunt to ignite the kindling with a lighter. Teyla slides up behind him, taking his waist when his knees refuse to straighten and his left leg buckles.
It'll take a few minutes for the temperature to rise high enough to heat up the stones. Taking part of his weight, they hobble together toward one of the long stone benches. No words are exchanged, the silence filled by popping wood as the stones slowly roast under the fire. Leaning her head back against the wall, she mentally thanks Rodney for designing this bath house for them to unwind after a long day of mining.
She doesn't want to move, let alone get up, but her bones ache and her back is a gnarl of tension. Letting out a groan, she goes toward the barrel of water, scooping a large amount with a giant ladle, dumping the contents over the sizzling stones. Five ladles later, the room fills with balmy steam, mixing with her sweaty skin.
Beads of perspiration run between her shoulder blades, the moist heat crawling across her body. John's placed a towel on the polished stone bench and Teyla sits, bending forward, elbows on her knees, forehead resting on her crossed wrists. Eyes squeezed shut, she stretches wrung-out muscles and loses herself in a slight burn down her spine, reaching for the floor with her fingertips to stretch even further.
In these moments, time spins away and all her carefully bottled-up thoughts escape out tiny cracks. The years on the run after the great seize of Pegasus, hiding in pits and caves, dodging those hunting them and fighting back in ambushes and raids. But times like this, when she's doesn't think she can split another rock or sew another stitch of a new article of clothing-she imagines Torren. No longer a toddler now, talking and laughing and safe. Safe and alive while she fights with her team to bring them all back home. To drive away the race who came from another dimension, wiping away most of the Wraith, and forcing those who survived from Atlantis underground.
But they have not gone quietly.
And it's this single determination, this relentless drive that energizes her blood day after day.
Thumbs dig into the triangle of knotted muscle in her shoulders, fingers kneading above her clavicle. Lips press lightly across the nape of her neck and nibble her left earlobe. Teyla leans against John's chest, enjoying the skin to skin contact. His strong arms encircle her and Teyla clasps his biceps, squeezing them with urgency.
He starts to get up, but Teyla twists away, breaking apart his embrace. She needs to soak in those hazel depths as she climbs onto his lap and takes his mouth with hers. He wraps his arms around her waist, locking their bodies into place. She rocks her hips to increase his growing arousal, running her fingers through his messy hair, capturing his mouth again in desperation.
His hands run up and down her slick wet back, cupping her hips.
"Teyla," he breathes when she releases their lips.
"I agree. We need more steam," she smiles
He growls as she disentangles herself, rushing toward the barrel of river water and dumping countless scoops onto the stones. A burst of vapor condenses on her cheeks as relaxed muscles uncoil from their earlier tension and are recharged with adrenaline. The bath fills with a heavy mist and she reaches for John through the thick cloud.
He meets her lips with tongue and teeth, hands brushing her arms, shoulders, and both sides of her face. It's a high of endorphins, of physical contact and emotional desire to be touched and desired. Teyla shoves John hard, his back smacking stone as she yanks down his boxers.
"It should be the other way around," he says, spinning them into opposite positions.
Teyla allows the reversal, giving him control, knowing she can take over whenever she wants. Her hand runs the length of his thigh, tracing the jagged scar that goes from his pelvis down to his left knee. Sometimes massaging it is an act of comfort, other times stimulation, the nerves there overly sensitive depending on the want or need.
Tonight perhaps it is a bit of both.
She tantalizes and teases him and he reciprocates, pressing her against the wall, hiking up her thighs, taking her fully. One of her hands digs into John's shoulder for balance while the other encourages his hips forward.
They share it all. Steam, sweat, breath. Electricity maps out every nerve, overriding her senses until the room spins and her legs turn to rubber. Dizzy and flushed, Teyla pants for air, John leaning heavily into her.
"I'm too old for sex in a shower," he groans.
"Steam bath," Teyla corrects teasingly.
They slide down onto the floor in a mass of sweaty limbs. Teyla rides the lingering rush, rolling over to her side, resting her head on John's shoulder and reaches down to gently massage away the pain in his bad leg.
"Um, thanks, I'm good."
Teyla brushes away John's damp sticky hair from his forehead, gazing at the fine lines accenting his eyes, tracing the tiny scar under his jawline, pressing her fingernail to his lips. "We should get up."
"We should take a nap."
"You just don't want to make the bed."
"Maybe," he mumbles, eyes fluttering close.
Teyla doesn't want to carry that awful sledgehammer to the quarry, spending hours breaking rocks. She wants to lie here, pliantly nestled against John, listening to his heart beat, soaking up the warmth of his body.
"Hey!" Rodney yells from outside the entrance. "Other people would like to relax! Not that I won't have to spend an hour disinfecting it after your shenanigans. Who needs the Playboy channel when all I have to do is listen to you two?"
"We'll be out in a second," Teyla calls out.
"I suggest you make it soon before Ronon eats your part of dinner. Guy breaks a hip and now all he does is eat."
"Keep talking, McKay, and you can hunt your own food with a bow and arrow," Ronon bellows.
John's smiles, carding his fingers through Teyla's hair. "Guess you're right. Better get moving."
Teyla's thoughts drift to the grueling dirty work waiting for her, waiting for them all, knowing that their fight will continue no matter what. Standing, she takes John's hand, helping him up, his tags clanking together, and they squeeze each other's fingers.
It doesn't matter how long it takes to win back what was lost. Her child and people are secretly safe. She has Ronon and Rodney by her side and John in every way that matters. Their plans will become reality one day and they will rebuild once again.