TITLE: Alone in the Night
AUTHOR: Matt, June 2005
SUMMARY: "Tell me about Ferris Wheels, John."
RATING: PG
SPOILERS: Atlantis: The Rising
DISCLAIMER: John Sheppard, Teyla Emagan and the city of Atlantis are not mine. I make no money off them. However, this scenario is mine.
NOTE: For Trish. A long time ago she requested me to write a Sheppard/Teyla fic. Here it is, at last.
THANKS: To Allie for the beta

"I like Ferris wheels."

The words had been strange, even if the language hadn't. Teyla had looked at him enquiringly; who or what were Ferris wheels?

Even now, several months on, she still wasn't sure. John had introduced to her a number of Earth's cultural aspects and she had carefully learned about each one. Only one so-called 'sport' still left her confused – football. He'd been in the middle of explaining about touchdowns and safeties when Doctor Beckett had interrupted them and dismissed John as being wrong. Football, the doctor had stated, was about 'colours' and 'penalties' and 'actually kicking the ball with your foot.' When the debate had turned heated, she'd left them to it. Even watching a game hadn't helped.

But tonight was different. This was something shared by both cultures. There was no more confusion than if she'd been with one of her own people. This was a starlit night, on a quiet balcony far away from the general melee of the more frequented areas of the city. He'd produced a picnic for them earlier, with fine food and a cool, refreshing drink. They'd eaten their fill, and then watched the sun descend over the horizon.

"What are you thinking?" His voice cut softly into the stillness.

She turned back from her view of the water and smiled at him. "How nice this is."

"Yeah?"

"It is hard to believe that the Wraith could attack at any time."

He grimaced. "Now, you just had to go and ruin things, didn't you?"

"I'm sorry." She really was. With just one sentence it seemed she had ruined this beautiful night.

"Ahh, it's okay."

However, it appeared her words had had an impact on the moment. True, they'd both been quiet but it had been a comfortable silence. Now, the hush hung over them like a shroud, awkward and heavy. She returned her eyes to the ocean beyond Atlantis, trying to think of a way to make up for her words.

"John," she began hesitantly, turning back to face him.

"Hmm?" It was apparent that his mind had been someplace else; perhaps he had also been seeking to rectify the situation.

She smiled softly at him. "Tell me about Ferris Wheels?"

"Huh? He blinked at her.

"The night we first met, when I said we would not trade with those we did not know. You said you liked Ferris Wheels."

"Yeah, I remember."

Teyla nodded. "You have told me much about Earth, but you have explained them to me."

John laughed. "I haven't? I'm surprised you didn't ask that night."

"Many of your ways were strange to us. Since you did not mention them again, I presumed they were not as important as shelter and supplies."

"You can't exactly trade them, that's true."

Teyla leaned into to him. "Tell me about Ferris Wheels, John," she requested softly.

He positioned himself against the exterior wall and pulled Teyla close so her back rested against his chest. Satisfied that they were both comfortable, he began.

"A Ferris wheel is this huge wheel that reaches into the sky. It has seats on it for passengers, and you sit on it, two to a bench. The wheel rotates and, as it does, you go around with it, up and down, up and down."

"What is the purpose of it?"

"It's a fairground attraction, um," he saw she was confused, "a fun thing at a carnival, a gathering."

"Ahh." She understood it now. "But, the purpose…?"

John gazed out into the horizon. "At the top you can see for miles, especially if it's a clear day. When I was on the one at the county fair, I could see the sea."

"You can see the sea from here," Teyla commented, "and you do not need to be so high up."

John glanced down at her. "Spoilsport," he said with a mock frown.

"Sorry."

"No, you're not," he retorted jokingly. "Ahh, but at night… that's the best time."

"Why?"

"Because." He paused for a moment. "If you're on that bench with the right person, it's like nothing else matters. It's just the two of you. There's no one else around." His voice grew softer as he spoke. "You're on top of the world. The wind is in your hair, you can see the lights far below, and all you can think about is the person you're with."

His arms stole around her waist and his chin came to rest upon her shoulder. "That's a Ferris Wheel, Teyla."

Her hands gently grasped his. "It sounds much like how we are now," she observed. "We have the darkness, the water, the wind," she paused, "and the person."

In the past, John Sheppard might have eschewed such a romantic notion. But tonight… tonight, the galaxy felt different and so did he. "Yeah," he whispered, placing a light kiss on her cheek. "Perhaps you're right."

FINIS