Spoilers: All through Season 1.
A/N: This fic is based on the premise Sora got exchanged for the nukes used in Siege Part 2, something Martin Gero (writer for SGA) said was scripted but never filmed due to time constrictions. It's not canon but here's my take on what her going home might be like. It's angsty but hopefully good. Thanks to Fanwoman for beta reading this.
A Long Journey
She's surprised to be here, home again. And even more surprised to have been thrust into one of the training rooms. She has have forgotten the routes of the underground, or perhaps this isn't the same one as she knew, but she know who to expect.
Kolya arrives, walking through the door solemnly, throwing his shirt off – exposing the scar that she knows came from Major Sheppard's attack upon him the day she was captured.
She remembers her first night on Atlantis, Sheppard didn't trust her one bit, and he taunted her about how her commander was dead, how he'd killed him. She was meant to be a friend of theirs, in a loose sort of way, but to him she was still the enemy – Sheppard spoke casually, but his words cut into her. That night, she'd been sure she'd be alone from then on, locked away in the city of the Ancestors, surrounded by her enemy.
Kolya's injury seems to have healed well. He wears the scar proudly, but not like any other man would. It's not about ego or defiance of death; it's just another memory to him, another scratch upon him, a mark of someone he intends to overcome some day – though they have marked him, he wears it as if he has marked them.
He picks up the equipment and throws her a staff with two pieces of binding attached. Uncertain, she removes them and works the fabric around her wrists, watching him for cues. She can't be sure what she's to do here; she rather expected to be dead by now for insubordination of the worst kind, bar mutiny. They won't trust her either, not after months in enemy hands – which is why she finds this odd, to be back and in front of Kolya. It sounds callous to her now, though she knows it's her people's way, the policy that protects them - the Atlanteans would presume loyalty and do everything they could to rescue their own, but her people abandoned her for so long that she knows they can't just take her back with open arms, even ignoring her disobedience. It is just another one of the many differences between her previous captors and her own kind.
When she is ready, she takes up the staff, holding it tightly, and so the fight begins. It's tough from the beginning, because she's not used to fighting him alone. The practice sessions she remembers here were always an affair for learning and three against one, against him. Still, this doesn't put her off much as she parries blows and twists her body from them. The floor is a dance ground, bodies and weapons moving in and out. It's a dangerous dance though, and halfway through she realises this isn't the same as before. There is no kind edge to his smile as he catches her arm with a hard blow, and there are no new moves taken slowly, in an attempt to teach. Every strike is calculated and done with an ease against her, nothing held back. She's almost lost in the blur of movements, barely finding time to defend against them, let alone take advantage of any. Then she sees that one move she recognises and automatically follows through her block with the start of the talesh maneuver, before she remembers that she's using Teyla's method and hesistates. Rethinking takes up only a fraction of a second, but in the time it takes for her to correct herself and use the Genii way, Kolya has preempted her, and she knows it's a mistake from which she can't recover.
She's right. Less than two minutes later, she's on the floor, between his staff and hers, breathing painfully. He looks down at her and announces rather unusually, "You lose."
Never in her life has she heard him say that after practice. Although she has always lost to him, he never sought to rub it in; it was never important to him. She can't help but feel it's not simply the fight she has lost. This was a test, and she has failed it.
He releases her and strides out, and in no time her escorts move over to her. She's about to protest that she can manage to get up herself when she feels their arms around her, dragging her away instead of helping her up. They pull her roughly out of the room, never giving her pause to catch her balance. Facing backwards, her feet scuff on the floor as they move too fast for her, she tries not to fall over completely as she sees everything familiar move out of view. It's everything she can do to not fall down completely in front of them, which would be yet another humiliation, and she has no breath to complain, all of it taken away at by her combat with Kolya. Even if she could strike or shout out, it would do no good; she is already deep within the bowels of their underground city. There is no point in trying to stop this; it will only make things worse. And besides, she knows the guards do exactly as told, just like she used to; there is nothing she can do to dissuade them from what they were ordered to do.
She's dumped into a cell after that. It is square, four solid walls of hard concrete, cold like the ground around them all. It's the prefect reminder of exactly where she is, 'home', a place like no other and a place she was being denied entry to. She is used to the surroundings despite her months in Atlantis. She had, after all, spent years down here. But this isn't quite how she remembered it – this is everything she knew stripped bare, with no personality and no comfort, not even the little the luxuries afforded to them on occasion. It's like returning to find no one is home, that your house is empty; home now is a generic cell, one of those reserved for prisoners, which tells her exactly what they think of her. Physically she is back, but she is not accepted, this isn't a welcome return.
Her first visitor is unexpected. Narseph, her cousin, her closest living relative and the head of her family, now her father is dead and she had been missing. He walks in without greeting her and stands over her hunched form.
"Did you kill her then? Was it worth your dishonour?"
He sneers at her question.
"Yes, Teyla, Teyla Emmagan. You wanted revenge, and I hope for your sake you got it, for it may redeem you in the family's eyes. "
"No! You disobeyed a direct order. You weren't there when your unit needed you – the mission failed because of you – and you didn't kill her? You were there for months; surely you could have tricked them and stabbed her in the back. Something, anything to make it worth it."
She knows Narseph can't have talked to Kolya, for whatever she did fail in, she never caused the failure of the whole mission. Kolya is not a man of ego, he takes both credit and blame where they are due. However there is a small part of her that feels that guilt Over the months she has had to contemplate on Atlantis, she has often wondered what she could have done to salvage the mission, to save those fifty men, even the two Atlanteans Kolya shot without thinking. It was then she'd first had her doubts, and if only she'd said something more then, maybe things would have been different. But contemplation isn't going to get her anywhere here. Everything important to her she has realised months ago, and she has only one thing to say to him on the matter of her father's death. She's not sure if her father would agree, but she no longer feels like she needs approval, least of all from those no longer living.
"There was no revenge to be had."
She tries to sit up straight against the wall and show strength, but it does no good. He studies her and, after passing judgment, obviously finds her unworthy – spitting on her without a second thought.
He walks back to the door, knocking on it to get the guards to release him. He pauses, however, to add his last thoughts.
"You know, he could have protected you, Kolya. He still has enough power. He could have taken you back under his wing, but it's obvious to him you aren't worthy. Do you know why, why it is that he doesn't want you? They think -
" - you're tainted." They both look to the door, finding Jarin there, all too happy to cut into the conversation. He regards her with a despicable look as he ends Narseph's sentence. The two men regard each other silently, and Narseph leaves her to her betrothed.
She's disturbed that he says it like a fact, as though it's something he already knows about her. At least her cousin gave her the benefit of the doubt, waiting for answers before condemning her.
This time, she doesn't bother trying to appear strong; she can sense he's made up his mind. He's nothing like the man she knew months ago, before... The man she knew would have swept her up in his arms, he would have been the first to petition against her treatment no matter what the cost was to him personally...and yet he plainly accepts it.
He strolls the room idly as he talks of how she is shamed, how she's shamed them – both of their families. Finally, he looks to her, eyes blazing as he lets her know just what this all means. "You are no longer deemed suitable. The engagement is broken; the council has validated the decision."
She holds back tears. She may be afraid of this virtual stranger, but she is not that weak. She won't give him the pleasure of seeing her upset, but she has to ask one question of him.
"Who made this choice?"
"The heads of houses. Only your cousin abstained from passing judgment on it. Otherwise, all the elders and most important people in our lines agreed. Everyone rejected you, understand?"
"Is that all? What about your decision?"
"Is that all! It is everything. The decision is final, absolute. What I feel is of no significance. You would do well to remember that; it applies to you as well, more so now than ever. You are at your people's mercy."
"You said you'd love me forever."
"No. I promised I 'd love Sora, daughter of Tiris, a warrior of the Genii, forever – you aren't her anymore. You are compromised in everyone's eyes. And do you want to know why they took you back, why they accepted Weir's offer? She was so foolish as to think you meant something. But, oh, they wanted to get you back alright– desperately I might add – but they do not trust you any more than her."
She notices the emphasis on that they wanted to get her back, not that they wanted her or cared, much like Jarin, as he leans in and steals a kiss. She doesn't resist, but she doesn't include herself. He takes it because he can and because he wants it, but no longer does he want her. Then he whispers, his voice quiet but sly, vicious to her ears – embodying the hate for her felt by her own people.
"They think of you as Atlantean, and they want what you know. That is the only reason."
He hurts the most by her actions, and so he hates her the most, a strange overturning of love that makes sense. He's the perfect Genii; he'd never question the ruling of the houses, just like she had never questioned her commander until they stormed Atlantis. She forgives him because it likely makes it easier on him. It's a love he is denied, and he'd be despised, himself, if he allowed himself to feel anything for her. But hate, that is a different matter – they would applaud those who hate the traitors, especially those like him who once felt the exact opposite.
As she hears the revulsion set in the words, she wishes it was the same for her, to hate him because he hates her, but she can't. She understands his reasons, and she knows what she has done to incur this wrath. Yet she wants the same mercy she has seen on Atlantis, and she can only blindly hate the Genii, her own people, for putting her here, for not rescuing her before she learnt and saw too much to come back the same.
"It was unanimous, you know. They all want answers, an advantage over the false Atlanteans. They want revenge for the recent humiliation, and you are their hope. Their little spy sent home, corrupted but useful. Maybe you have information, maybe you don't. Either way, they expect you to talk."
Jarin goes to leave, the guards opening the door for him, but he smiles at what he sees, whilst she can only hear distant footsteps. That's when her former love struts back to her, a jaunty smile on his face that scares her. Again he leans in, arms braced against his knees as he half crouches.
"I've had fun catching up... but not as much fun as Haryl will have with you, with his box of tricks. You've heard of him, haven't you? It's rather hard not to, or at least to not have heard of him by proxy, from his dear friends he visits for a chat. Anyway, I'd say see you soon, but I rather hope not to."
He means what he says. He's taken hate home, right into his heart. He knows what's going to happen here today, and he doesn't blink an eye over it. He smiles, instead, like it's just another pleasant day. Maybe it is for him, if you ignore the hatred and bad memories she brings back. He escapes the cell, leaving her alone very briefly, and for the first time she tries to think of home but can't. Everything is muddled, sounds of the ocean breaking through, pictures in her mind of her old home corrupted by where she is, right now. It seems like only thoughts of Atlantis offer comfort anymore, and even that is bitter, because its why everything is wrong, why she is wrong and unacceptable to her own kind. She wonders if Weir knew what she was sending her back to. She suspects she thought she was doing her a favour, doing the right thing in sending her home, but then Weir wasn't to know that she doesn't belong anywhere now. Even she didn't know at first. She felt relief when she stepped through the gate, glad to be away from a doomed city, and now, when she realises what little she has here, it is too late to go back. She no longer has a choice, and unlike on Atlantis, she has no second chance.