Thanks for being patient while I finished this. Hope you have enjoyed the ride. We appreciate all your support.

The End is Where We Begin

by kariesue

...

"Teyla, don't forget me. I need you with me."

The words echoed through Teyla's foggy mind as she drifted through hazy clouds. Was someone calling her? Yes, a voice echoed through her mind, telling her stories, regaling her with snippets of … what?

Reluctantly she opened her eyes attempting to focus on her surroundings. What was this place? How had she gotten here? Who was …

Teyla, it's John. I need you to remember how much you mean to me.

John? Who? The voice was familiar but yet her memories were being suppressed. Why could she not remember? She pushed harder to recall who had been speaking to her. Where had she heard that voice? It made her feel warm and safe. And loved.

"John." She said the name out loud then looked around again. She was in a bed and medical equipment sat next to it. A tube in her arm and something taped to her chest. It was tapping out the beat of her heart.

Atlantis. She was in Atlantis. And what of this John? Flashes of a tall, dark haired man with a crooked grin flitted past. She grabbed them and pulled them closer. John? Yes, John. Her John. Colonel John Sheppard.

Don't forget me, Teyla

Where was John and why would she ever forget him? Suddenly, images of John being attacked by the beast and his blood leaking all over the ground swam through the thick mud of her brain. More flashes floated by of Ducis saying John was dead.

No! He couldn't be. She'd heard his voice. But she'd seen him still with his life quietly leaving him. Was John calling her from the beyond? Did he want her to follow? Had she been near death also? The pain let her know she was solidly in the living now. Relief surged through her but confusion and agony as well. How had she gotten here and who else had made it? And had they retrieved John's body from the cave?

Tears stung her eyes as she recalled John clinging to life yet still telling her to help others. And they'd left him there to die. By himself with no one to comfort him as he passed over.

Tears now poured freely down her cheeks and the sobs she'd held in check while Ducis controlled her fate, broke free. She had no reason to hide them now. Who did she need to be strong for?

How long she lay there crying, she had no clue. The dam had burst open and she could not keep the waters back. Eventually she fell back into a fitful sleep but she was aware of her surroundings and finally opened her eyes to the noises of the medical staff doing their rounds.

She wiped her cheeks to find them dry. The sleep must have been longer than she thought. What had woken her? And how long had she slept? Not just this time but previously?

"Rodney, you need to stay calm." The voice belonged to Jennifer. Teyla breathed a sigh of relief. Rodney was here. Was he well?

"Damn Sheppard. I can't believe he's gone." Rodney's rant rang through the hallway and into her room. "Stupid. Never should have gone to that planet. He'd be fine and I wouldn't be standing here yelling."

"I know you're upset, Rodney," Jennifer soothed. "There are some things we just can't control. What happened with Colonel Sheppard is one of them. I wish I could change things but it's too late. He's gone. I can't really bring him back at this point. Now will you go to your room and just rest?"

"I can't rest. I'm too jittery to sleep. Maybe I'll go to my lab. That always makes me feel better."

The noise stopped and Teyla breathed easier. Rodney was still the same even after their mistreatment of him. And he mourned John in his own way. John was important to all of them. Very much so to her. She hadn't realized exactly how much until they had begun their charade. Now she knew just what she'd be missing without him in her life.

Teyla bit her lip and choked back more sobs. She could hear Jennifer making her way in and she did not wish for the doctor to see her crying. Perhaps her tears were all cried out for today.

"Teyla, you're awake? Oh my gosh. We've all been waiting for you to come around. How do you feel?"

Teyla gave a weak smile. "My head is achy and I am sore in a few spots but overall not too bad." Teyla only spoke of her physical pain. Her emotional pain was so enormous she could not describe the effect it had on her, on her heart.

Jennifer lifted her hand to take her pulse. "Just a few questions. What's your name?"

"I am Teyla Emmagen and I am from Athos though my people no longer reside there." Teyla knew this was protocol when a head injury was involved and with the way her head ached she must have hit it at some point. Everything seemed to race back at her. All her memories were clear when only a short time ago they had been hidden in the back of her mind.

"Good." Jennifer leaned down and pressed her stethoscope against Teyla's chest. "What do you remember?"

Remember me. I need you to dig deep in your mind and keep me there. Don't let me go. Hold tight, sweetie. Don't forget me. Don't forget us. Why did John's voice echo through her mind? Had she been close to dying and he had spoken to her through the veil of life and death? She knew she would never forget him. How could she?

Jennifer was still waiting, a concerned look on her face.

"Ducis held us prisoner and threatened to harm Rodney if I did not do as he asked. He planned to have Ronon fight the beast. Did he…?"

Jennifer finished fiddling with the wires and took the needle from her arm. "I don't think you'll need that anymore. Three days of antibiotics and fluids are fine. As long as you start to eat by yourself you shouldn't need it."

Three days? She had been unconscious for three days. "Ronon?"

"Ronon is fine. He's got a doozy of a head injury but you know him … he won't be kept down, no matter how hard we try."

The sounds of a ruckus from the hallway alerted them and Jennifer groaned. "Speak of the devil. I need to go calm him down or he'll scare all the nurses away again. Are you okay? I'll send someone in to take that catheter out and bring you some food. I'd like to put you on the scanner again when you feel up to it."

"That is fine, Jennifer." Teyla waved her off. "You should see to Ronon before he starts throwing things."

The crash of something metallic made both of them chuckle and Jenifer rushed out. Soon one of the nurses scurried in and closed the door. She glanced back nervously then turned to Teyla. "Doc said you might like to clean up a little."

"Would it be permitted to take a shower? Apparently I have been here for three days."

The nurse, Teyla remembered her name as being Carol, cocked her head. "Everyone's been worried about you. Ronon keeps asking about you. The Colonel's been here every day and Dr. McKay only peeks in the door but we all know he's worried too."

At the words 'The Colonel' Teyla's heart raced but she knew the nurse must be referring to Colonel Carter. They had become friends and the woman would, of course, be concerned for her.

Carol finished removing the catheter and pulled back the sheets. "Let's see how steady you are on your feet and we can talk about that shower."

Teyla slipped her legs over the edge of the bed and settled her feet on the floor. She took her time but was surprised to find her strength was good and her legs not too shaky. She pushed away from the bed and took a few steps. "I believe I will be fine. I really would love to clean up."

"Okay, let me walk you in and you can start getting ready. I'll get you some scrubs but don't get in until I get back. I want to be around in case you fall."

"Of course." Teyla entered the bathroom and turned the water to hot. Within minutes Carol had returned and Teyla was able to scrub the scented perfume from her hair and the stink of Ducis and his proprietary hands.

Reclothed in clean scrubs and a soft robe, with warm stockings on her feet she was led to a scanner bed. The scan was quick and Carol started typing information into the computer.

"I'll walk you back to your room in a minute, okay."

"There is no need. I am quite capable of doing so and I would like to rest if that is okay."

Carol looked up from her work. "Are you sure?"

"I am fine. Please continue what you are doing."

Carol nodded and Teyla moved away. She looked around and many of the medical staff were busily engaged. She suddenly longed to sleep. But not here where eyes were on her. Her heart knew where it wanted to go. Where it needed to go. To say goodbye.

Teyla maneuvered through the hallways quickly, getting strange looks from many. Her outfit was likely drawing unwanted attention but she had a destination. When she reached the correct hallway she hoped she would be able to get inside. She swiped her hand over the controls and fortunately the door opened.

It was just like John not to be concerned about his possessions. But then who would be foolish enough to steal from the Military Commander? The people on Atlantis were honorable. It was one of the reasons she'd felt so safe living here.

The door closed behind her and Teyla surveyed the room. Nothing had been touched that she could tell. Had they already held a service for John while she slept? Or had it been too dangerous to retrieve his body? She had forgotten to ask what had happened to the beast. Her mind had other things to worry about.

Like how she would continue without John. They had been together for four years as friends. And for a brief moment, something more. The loss of those possibilities swirled through her and her legs buckled. John's bed was close and she sank onto it and lay down. A sudden chill coursed through her causing her to shiver.

She slipped under the covers and nuzzled her nose in John's pillow, drawing the blanket snugly over her. His scent overwhelmed her senses and tears began to flow once more. How did she have any tears left to cry? Had she not gotten them all out earlier? Or would she do this for however long she mourned her love?

Remember. Don't forget us. Don't forget me. Remember I love you, Teyla.

She closed her eyes and John's face appeared clearly in her mind. The eyes that said so much with just a glance. The full lips, the straight nose and angular chin. Those ears that came to a cute point at the top. She could see his crooked grin and his twinkling eyes when he plotted some mischief against Rodney. Or the scowl that never quite reached his eyes when Ronon beat him at sparring. Or the hungry expression that crossed his face when they sparred and she had him pinned to the ground. How had she missed that? It had been there all along but for some reason she had not seen it for what it was. Desire.

They had lost so much time and now she would never get it back. Never have anything except the memory of John's arms holding her through the night in the cubile at the manse. His arms had felt exquisite wrapped around her as had his fingers caressing her skin. Heat warmed her cheeks at the memory of their 'fake' sexual act. Yet they had both received much pleasure from it.

Now she would only have the memory.

She drew the blankets closer around her, picturing John holding her tight. With his face in her mind, she allowed herself to believe he had simply gone on a mission and would be back soon. She did not dare tell her heart the truth.


"How was the meeting, John?"

John shook off the tingles that always coursed through him after going through the gate and nodded at Sam Carter.

"Short and sweet. Just the way I wanted it. Quintus was there, we had a brief chat and we came back."

"Anything we need to worry about?"

John shrugged. "I don't think so. With Ducis out of the way things are a bit up in the air right now. I mentioned we might want to send a team to check out the Ancient lab. But I said we'd wait until they were a little more stable. Quintus appreciated that. He also seemed interested in doing some trade once everything settled down."

"Good. Why don't you let Major Lorne write up the report? You should probably get back to the infirmary. Jennifer wasn't too pleased that you left the city."

John smirked. He'd bet she wasn't pleased. And he didn't really want to face her. But he did want to get back to Teyla. Hopefully get her to wake up.

"Lorne?" John looked at his 2IC who nodded at him.

"I've got it, Sir. You head back to the infirmary. Good luck."

John wasted no time getting there and managed to slip past Keller's office and into Dexcian's room. He wanted to see Teyla but he owed the man some information. It was the least he could do for helping them.

This time the warrior was reclining with the sleeping baby on his lap. The hardened soldier seemed somewhat softer as he gazed adoringly at his child.

John cleared his throat and walked closer to the bed.

"Sheppard, what news do you bring from my planet?"

John smiled as the baby stretched and Dexcian rubbed her back calming her again. He swallowed back the fear that he and Teyla would never have this if she didn't remember him.

"Apparently a lot has happened in three days. When everyone found out what Ducis planned to do with the beast there was quite an uproar. Many of the civilians got a little pissed and joined your men to get rid of anyone siding with Ducis. Those people are now either dead or imprisoned."

Dexcian sighed and stroked his hand over his daughter's head. "That is good. Did he say who is in charge now?"

"They're still working on that. But apparently he's got people thinking maybe they have a right to choose who they want ruling them. And maybe instead of one person it could be a group of people so no one person has more control than others."

Dexcian smiled and it reached all the way to his eyes. "I knew Quintus would be a good leader. He is even better than I thought. Reaching the people and making them trust him by giving them power."

Dexcian pulled the baby closer and whispered, "Perhaps you may yet see your home world again, my darling, Astrea."

"Another interesting thing happened." John cocked his head. "Apparently there was another little rebellion that took place a few days ago. Some old lady who worked in the palace started spouting to all the women that they needed to stand up for themselves and stop allowing themselves to be slaves to men. She said she had learned from the strangers that women were equals on many worlds and were not treated like property."

Dexcian's eyes narrowed. "And how was that received?"

"I guess Quintus backed her up and let everyone know we, the strangers that is, were living in the city of the Ancestors and perhaps they should hold them up as examples of how they should live their lives. Not everyone was agreeable but Quintus appointed this lady as one of the counsel in determining the new government."

A chuckle escaped Dexcian's lips and his smile was true. "It sounds like things are moving faster than I could ever have imagined. Still, Marinel and I will need to look at all our options before we decide our future."

"Take all the time you need." John wanted to go see what his future held, see Teyla again and get her to wake up and remember him. The men shook hands and John left just as Marinel and Marcus returned. He simply nodded and made his way into the next room.

The bed was empty. The tubes and wires hung limply next to the equipment. What the hell? He'd only been gone a few hours. She couldn't have… No, her vital signs had been getting better. He turned and raced toward Keller's office where he'd last seen her.

"Where's Teyla?"

Keller looked up and her face grew stern. She looked about to chastise him then his words must have registered. "What do you mean, where's Teyla? She's in her room."

"Her bed is empty."

"Colonel, maybe she's just in the bathroom."

"You mean she woke up?"

"Yes, not even an hour ago. Did you check the bathroom?"

John didn't wait to answer her, just flew back to the empty room. The bathroom light was off but he checked anyway. Keller appeared at his back.

"I don't understand. Carol put her on the scanner again and she went back to the room saying she was tired."

John tapped his earpiece, holding his breath. "Control, this is Sheppard. I need you to search for Teyla's sub-Q. Let me know where she is."

"Teyla, Sir? She isn't in the infirmary?"

John let out his breath. "Apparently not, since I'm there right now. Can you just check, please?"

John rubbed his forehead, the ache from his concussion still nagging at him.

"Hold on... uh, found her. She's … um, Colonel, she's in your quarters."

"My quarters? Are you sure?"

"Yes, Colonel. Positive."

"Thanks."

John turned to see Keller's confusion match his own.

"Why is she in your quarters, Colonel?"

John had an idea but he hated to get his hopes up if he was wrong. "What did she say when she woke up? What did she remember?"

Keller's eyes roamed the room. "Uh, she knew who she was and remembered what Ducis had done to her and Rodney. She asked about Ronon—"

"Did she mention me?" John's heart stopped waiting for the answer.

"Yeah, she … no wait, come to think of it, she didn't mention you. But we only chatted for a few minutes. Ronon started throwing things and I had to take care of it. Carol got her cleaned up and scanned. I hadn't had the chance to get back in to see her. Carol said she was tired and wanted to rest so I left her alone and just checked her scans which all looked really good."

John started to walk off but Keller grabbed his arm.

"You'll bring her back here, right?"

"Eventually. Teyla and I need to talk but if she's too tired I'll make sure she rests. Don't worry, doc. I'll take care of her."

Keller gave him a strange look as she said, "I'm not worried, Colonel. You always do."

It only took a few minutes for John to speed through the halls and reach his door. He wasn't sure why Teyla was here or what he would do. It gave him hope that she'd sought out his room though.

The door swished open then closed behind him after he stepped in. There she was sleeping in his bed. Just like Goldilocks.

He moved closer, gazing down on her beautiful face, so peaceful in slumber. He wanted to crawl in next to her and hold her tight. Never let her go. But he still wasn't sure why she had come here or what she remembered of their time in Belosia.

John sat on the edge of the bed and stroked his fingers along Teyla's cheek. She sighed and turned her face in his direction. He'd been watching her sleep for so long now he kind of expected it. But Keller had said she woke up. Damn. He'd wanted to be the first face she'd seen when she had.

Teyla's eyelashes fluttered and John leaned down close to her. "Teyla, sweetie, let me know you're okay."

Her eyes opened to slits and a brilliant smile crossed her features. "John." The whispered voice had a dream-like quality to it. But she knew him. She knew him. His heart raced but he had to warn it to stay calm. Maybe she remembered who he was but did she remember what had happened and what they'd promised each other?

Teyla lifted her hand to John's cheek. "I wish to stay here. I do not want to return. I want to be with you."

She wanted to be with him. That was a good sign. Did she even know where she was?

"Stay where, Teyla?"

Her hand ran through his hair and she pulled his head closer. "Here, in this dream. It is lovely. I do not want it to end. I do not wish to say goodbye to you."

He kissed her soft lips. "You don't have to say goodbye. I'm not going anywhere. I'll stay right here as long as you need me."

Tears filled her eyes and John panicked. Had he said something wrong?

"I need you, John. I need you to come back to me, to stay with me, to love me." Her voice wobbled as she spoke.

He pushed her hair from her face and held her cheeks, pressing his forehead against hers. "I do love you, Teyla. I always will."

He kissed her, gently at first then more passionately. When he pulled back, Teyla's eyes were open wide and she was shaking her head. She struggled to sit up and reached out to touch his shoulders.

"You are here. Really here. This is not a dream?"

What in the world was she talking about? "I'm really here, Teyla. I'm sorry I wasn't here when you woke up but I had to go back to Minoa to talk to Quintus."

Teyla was still staring at him like she'd seen a ghost.

"But I saw you… on the ground, your blood pooling under you. There was so much. Ducis said,… he said that you …"

John pulled her close and held her tight. She'd thought he was dead. No wonder she'd thought it was a dream when he showed up here.

Teyla's body trembled in his arms so he kissed her again. "I'm here, Teyla and I'm alive."

Her expressive eyes showed her confusion. "But how? The beast had ripped you open. I saw his claws go through you."

"Yeah, it was pretty miserable for a while. Luckily Lorne came through the gate and found me."

"The damage. How could you have survived? Or be on your feet already. The wound…"

"You're right I shouldn't be alive. But those Ancients, you gotta hand it to them. They did some pretty funky stuff. There was this water down in the cave … it had some pretty heavy healing powers."

"Healing water?"

John nodded then kissed Teyla again. Her arms surrounded his neck and she snuggled into his shoulder.

"Yeah, the components of the water mix with the Ancient gene and somehow speed up cell regeneration. It closed up the wounds in my back although it didn't replace the blood I had already lost. I'm still supposed to be on bed duty."

Teyla studied his face and he wondered what she saw. Could she see the love that he felt for her? Was it obvious from the way he looked at her?

"Yes, you are very pale. You should be resting too."

John lifted one eyebrow. "Someone's been sleeping in my bed? Are you offering to share?"

Teyla looked around as if just realizing where she was. "I thought you were … that you had …"

"I'm sorry," John mumbled against her hair pulling her close again.

"I came here to mourn and to say … goodbye."

Teyla's scent filled him. And it wasn't the perfumed scent that Ducis had arranged for her. "Well, we don't need to say goodbye. Unless you want me to go. But … it is my room."

Teyla's lips skimmed his cheek and she chuckled. "Did you wish me to go then?"

"Uh, that's about the last thing I want you to do. But you should probably rest some more."

Teyla leaned back only far enough to see his face. "I will rest best if you are with me. As you are still recovering you should lay with me."

John eyed the narrow bed. "There's not much room." He shared her bed in the infirmary but she didn't know that. Maybe she wanted more space to be comfortable.

"It is more than we had on Minoa in the cubiles. I slept just fine there."

"You sure? Last chance to get the bed to yourself."

Teyla pulled the blanket back and shuffled over. John wasted no time in removing his boots, gunbelt and pants. He left his shorts and t-shirt on so Teyla wouldn't be embarrassed. They were still so new at this relationship thing.

Once next to her he covered them and snuggled up behind her, his arms slipping easily around her tiny form. He pressed his nose in her hair and whispered, "I love you, Teyla."

Her head turned slightly and she sighed. "I love you, too, John. I feared I would never be able to tell you. Yet I somehow knew that you loved me."

"I've been telling you for the last three days while you slept. Ducis used some device on you that he said would make you forget everything. I didn't want you to forget me."

"I was confused when I first awoke but I had heard a familiar voice, talking to me, reminding me, telling me to remember. It was you, John, and you made me remember. Thank you."

His breath released with relief. It didn't matter how she remembered, but she had. For that he was thankful. He'd show her just how much when they were both feeling better.

"Colonel, did you find Teyla?" The words echoed in his ear.

He tapped his comm replying, "Found her and following doctor's orders and resting."

"Colonel, perhaps you should both come back to the infirmary."

"We're resting doc." He grabbed the offending device from his ear and flung it onto his pants on the floor. Keller was still talking but she'd soon get the message. John closed his eyes and concentrated on the door lock. There. Now no one would bother them.

"John," Teyla's sleepy voice floated to him. "Who was that?"

"Just Keller making sure we're resting."

Teyla shifted and faced him, putting her head on his chest, snuggled between his arm and his body. God, this was perfect. He'd have to do something about seeing if they could make it permanent. But that was a conversation for another time. For now he had Teyla in his arms and he couldn't imagine anything nicer.


...

Pleasure rippled along Teyla's spine as something stroked down her back. She opened her eyes finding she was draped over John in his bed. Her head rested on his chest and her legs were entwined with his. It was most intimate but she did not care. John was alive and they were together. Could be together for as long as they wanted. Would he wish to continue this? He'd said he loved her. And she loved him. But where did that leave them?

She allowed her hand to roam across the fabric of his t-shirt, examining the muscles underneath. They were taught and firm yet not overly bulging. Just like John, understated yet so masculine.

"We're going to get in trouble if you keep that up."

Teyla tipped her head to see John staring at her. His lips descended to kiss hers and she lost herself in him. In the kiss. The mating of their mouths and tongues grew bolder and less inhibited. John's hands roamed her back, under her clothes and stroked the embers of her desire into a burning need.

"John, that feels so good."

"Feels good on my end too. And here we don't need to worry about prying eyes and ears. We can simply enjoy it."

"Mmmm," was all Teyla could manage as John lifted her top over her head and tossed it to the floor. His hands roamed further, caressing her back then up to her shoulders in a gentle rhythm. It felt wonderful. But Teyla wished to feel more of him.

She slipped her hand under the edge of his shirt and roamed over his hair roughened abdomen. She pushed the fabric higher then John reached for the collar and whipped it over his head, tossing it with the other discarded material. This left his chest in full view and reach.

Teyla sighed as she smoothed her hand over John's skin, rubbing her cheek against the soft hair. It tickled but felt so amazing so she continued. John's chest rose as he laughed.

"You like that?"

"Oh, yes, it feels so good to be this close to you. To finally be able to touch what had seemed forbidden for so long."

"I can touch the forbidden?" John's eyebrow rose humorously as his hands roamed her back and slid under the scrub pants to cup her bottom. "Oh, yeah, this is very nice. I could make this a habit. One I don't want to break."

John twisted so Teyla was lying across his chest with her legs straddling his. He lifted her closer so he could plunder her mouth again with his lips. Teyla rubbed her breasts over his skin, her nipples puckering at the contact. His hands kneaded her backside, sliding the pants further down her hips.

Her heartbeat sped up, causing her breathing to be quick and shallow. John's breathing was similar. "Are you well enough for this, John?"

John paused his actions and looked concerned. "I'm fine but you just woke up from a three day sleep. Maybe I should slow down and take it easy."

Teyla shook her head then kissed him again. "I don't mind slow but do not even think about stopping. I want to feel every inch of you against my skin."

"Well, must make the lady happy. Every inch, huh? Then we'll need to get rid of these." John pushed her pants down her legs and Teyla kicked them off. She was completely bare yet he was still covered where she wanted access.

"Yes, every inch, John, so these must go as well." She slipped her hands into the waist of his shorts and tugged. John accommodated and soon they were flush against each other, nothing between them. The sensation was more that she had ever experienced. John's hands still roamed her back then across her bottom and down her legs as far as he could reach.

Teyla slid her legs in between and around his as she ran her hands over his chest and shoulders. They touched everywhere and stroked and kept her floating on a cloud of impending desire. She let her lips touch his chest and travel up to his collar bone then his neck. Finally they landed on his mouth again.

"Oh, God, you feel so amazing, Teyla, so soft and warm. I want to touch more of you."

John turned her so her back was against his chest and his arousal pressed at the crease in her bottom. His hands now roamed her breasts, caressing and kneading the flesh until Teyla burned and passion flared higher. His thumbs flicked against her nipples causing them to harden. Heat flowed like lava all the way to her core.

She couldn't get enough of his hands roaming her skin, teasing her, pulling on the tight peaks of her breasts. She wiggled her hips wanting more. John groaned and she knew he was as affected as she was. He let one hand roam lower to the juncture of her thighs and Teyla's legs fell open to welcome him.

Her own whimpers could not be contained as John slipped a finger inside her folds then stroked back out to tantalize her feminine nub. The pleasure radiated through her and she arched her back, wanting more. Wanting all of John. Her hips twisted in rhythm as his fingers delighted and increased the ecstasy he was bringing.

Teyla reveled in the wandering hands that gave her so much. John was alive and with her. Giving her the ultimate pleasure. She needed to give back. She turned in his arms and received a whine of regret but when she stroked his stiff arousal the sound turned into a groan of delight.

"Oh, Teyla, you're going to send me over the edge soon. Just the sight of your gorgeous naked body is sending naughty thoughts through me." He kissed her again and stroked between her legs as she firmly gripped him in her hand.

They tortured each other with lips and hands, the heavy breathing and moans the only sound in the otherwise still room. Teyla could feel herself so close to what she desired but wanted all of John when she arrived. She rolled to her back, pulling John with her. She wrapped her legs around his waist and gyrated her hips.

"Something you want, Teyla?" John teased, his lips licking at her nipples, whipping her into more of a frenzy.

"You, John. I want you, all of you. I am so close and I want you to come with me."

She reached down and guided him where he needed to be. John closed his eyes and moaned when he slid deeply into her. He filled her completely and she never wished him to be anywhere else. This was where he belonged.

He started moving, in and out, thrusting harder and deeper. Teyla held his head to her breast as he sucked on the tips, shooting flames of desire through every cell in her body. A swirl of colors danced before her eyes as she soared to new heights that only John could help her reach.

She arched her back and cried out from the exquisite torture rippling through her entire being. John's arms crushed her to him and held her close as he shook with his own completion. He collapsed against her, holding himself up with his elbows on either side of her. He gazed at her and the love he had for her was clear in his eyes. Could he see hers as well?

"I love you, John." A tear slid down her cheek and John brushed his thumb to push it aside.

"Then why are you crying? I shouldn't have done this. You aren't recovered enough."

He sat back staring down at her. Teyla lifted her hand to caress his cheek. "I am perfectly well enough. The tear is a happy one. You have made me feel so wonderful and so loved. Thank you, John."

John slid back next to her and she pulled the covers over them. His arms wrapped around her and she snuggled into his warmth. "You know, I could get used to this, Teyla."

"Mmm, yes, it is rather nice."

"I was um … wondering … well, thinking about the future and you know…"

Teyla laughed and John looked affronted. She twirled her fingers in his chest hair and tangled them in his dog tags. "You need not be afraid of me, John. Just say what is on your mind."

John shifted and held her so their faces were near. "I love you, Teyla Emmagan. I don't want to go back to just being friends. I want to be here with you and for you whenever you need me."

Teyla smiled and kissed his lips. "You have always been here for me, John. You have given me your loyalty and friendship and trust. But I think I understand that you wish for more than this."

John nodded. "Yeah, I want to be like this with you. Permanently."

Teyla wiggled her hips and slid one leg between his. "I do not think we would get much work accomplished though."

John snorted and kissed her firmly. "That's not what I meant and you know it. I just want to know that you're mine and I'm yours and we won't ever find anyone else to be with this way."

"I would like that, also."

Their lips met and Teyla's stomach did flips at the thought of always being this close and intimate with John. But it was more than physical intimacy. It was the thought of their being one unit and having one goal and one future. Their future.

John's face twisted and his lips pursed. "I don't know exactly how this will work with our jobs and such though. We may have to play it by ear. Take things a little at a time."

"I agree. It will take some time for the people here to accept the change in our relationship. And we should not be too blatant in our affection for the other."

"Like no doing this in the conference room." John lowered his head and kissed his way down Teyla's neck and licked at one of her nipples. Desire coursed through her yet again. How could John get her so excited in such a short period of time?

"Yes," Teyla got out on a whispered cry. "I do not think Colonel Carter would approve if she was holding a briefing."

"Although maybe after a meeting," John waggled his eyebrows. "I could spread you out on that table and have my wicked way with you. We'd just have to be quiet. I couldn't have you screaming my name like you did a few minutes ago."

"I did not—" Teyla opened her eyes wide. "Did I?"

John's crooked grin appeared and his eyes twinkled. "Well, maybe you didn't scream but you had a few lusty cries at one point. It pretty much pushed me over the edge, seeing you so worked up and falling apart."

"Then you are very talented, John Sheppard. I pride myself on my control."

"I know." He pressed his mouth to hers and nibbled on her bottom lip. "That's why seeing you lose it like you did was so … whoa."

"Whoa?" Teyla laughed at his description, or lack of one. "Always so eloquent."

John shrugged then pulled her flush against him. "I try."

They held each other and cherished the closeness they could now enjoy. Soon Teyla felt John's arousal pressing into her side, hard and ready. She tilted her head questioningly.

"Sorry," John replied. "It's just a reaction to having the most beautiful woman naked against me. Especially when she just rocked my world a short while ago."

"Rocked your world?" Teyla was not sure what this meant but she could guess. "Is your world in need of rocking again?"

John's eyes lit up. "Always but you should get some rest. I told Keller that's what we were doing."

Teyla looked around and raised one eyebrow. "We are in a bed and that is where you rest. How could she object to that?"

"I like your thinking. But not sure what we just did was anywhere near resting. It got my heart beating and my pulse going quite fast."

"True, but exercise is very good for you, is it not. Jennifer is always nagging Rodney to get more."

"Yup, so we're just doing some cardiovascular exercise to get the blood pumping. I know my blood is definitely pumping right now and to someplace other than my heart."

Teyla stroked her hand down to the organ receiving all John's blood at the moment. His indrawn breath let her know he liked it.

"You're sure you aren't too tired?"

"I slept for three days, John. I am fine. However you lost much blood and also need rest. Perhaps you should allow me to do most of the work this time."

The smile that lit up John's face made Teyla feel powerful. She sat up, pushing John to his back and straddled him. His arousal nudged at her opening but she wanted to be the one to lead this time. Her hands roamed his chest then led his hands to touch her breasts. She arched her back and moved her hips, enjoying the feeling of sitting astride John and taking control.

"I'm at your mercy, Teyla," John said as his hands teased her. "Be gentle."

Teyla laughed, loving the playful side of her lover. Her lover. It sounded wonderful. And John wanted permanent. They had not discussed more at this point. This side of their relationship was still so new. But John was a man of his word and the way he was looking at her now, he would never go back on it.

Teyla rocked back and forth finally allowing the firm erection to penetrate her core. As she sank down onto John's solid manliness, she knew her future held everything she had ever wished for.


...

"Good luck, Dexcian," John said shaking the warrior's hand as they stood waiting for the ring to be activated. "Let us know what happens."

"I will, Sheppard. And thank you for all your assistance with this matter."

Dexcian looked over at his wife and children standing on the far edge of the platform. Marinel wore clothes more befitting the occupants of the city. He still wasn't sure if he liked it or not but her confidence had grown as they'd settled into the life here. It had been more than a month since the beast had been killed. Now it was time to see the results of that act for himself. Quintus had sent word often but Dexcian knew he needed to see the changes in person.

Marinel's sweet face wore an expression of sadness though he knew she tried to be brave. He walked toward her as the ring swirled to life.

"Marinel," he whispered as he took Astrea from her arms. He held his daughter and kissed her tiny nose. "You need not be concerned. I am only going for a brief visit. I will return in one day's time. Certainly you can sleep alone for one night."

Her cheeks bloomed into a beautiful crimson as she ducked her head and looked to see who had overheard him. He did not care. He would never hide his love for his wife again. Life was too short.

"I fear you will not return."

Dexcian caressed her cheek then lifted her chin to look at him. "It is an honor to be trusted by the Lanteans to be their liaison between our two worlds. I cannot betray that trust. I must use my knowledge of our world and what the Lanteans seek to make the best trades. I cannot accept their generosity in living here otherwise."

"I understand, husband. Promise me you will not get so caught up in the politics of Belosia that you forget to come back to us. We need you far more than they do."

"And I need you and Marcus and Astrea. You are my life, my family. I will return in one day. You have my pledge." He leaned down and pressed his lips to hers briefly then ruffled his son's hair. He kissed Astrea's sweet head then returned her to her mother.

"Don't worry, Marinel, I'm sending a team with him." Colonel Sheppard assured her. "They'll make sure he gets back here. Plus he's one of the best hand to hand combat trainers I have. I've got a few new units coming in next week and I'll need him here."

Dexcian nodded at Sheppard. He had much to be thankful for with these people of Atlantis. He had been given a position of honor as instructor to their troops and liaison to his home world. Marinel was learning new skills in the medical field. They had been given a place to live that had an amazing ocean view that he would never get tired of looking at. But he often felt guilty that he had deserted his people.

This trip back would hopefully allay his fears and his guilt. Quintus reported the new government was starting to really make a difference and that the citizens were happy to comply with the new laws partly because they had a say in creating them. He hoped he would not be disappointed when he got back. Perhaps someday, though not too soon, he and his family might return to Belosia. But he would never take them back if things were as they used to be. He would never allow his daughter to be owned by any man. He wanted her to have a love match. And even though Marinel had not always loved him, he knew she did now. And that is what all couples should have. He looked over to where Teyla and Sheppard stood side by side. They always remained professional but he'd seen the covert glances when they thought no one was looking. It was good that everything had worked out for them too.

He leaned in for one last kiss to his wife then turned and walked toward the ring. The team Sheppard had spoken of lined up next to him and they walked through. He did not need to look behind him. He would be back soon enough and he knew what waited for him.