Not mine don't sue

this is unbetaed (edited) I will be posting the proofread version of all chapters hopefully in the next few weeks. Finally got someone to look over my work. So please excuse the errors.

Chapter Six

Adrenaline was a funny thing. John exhaled slowly as he felt it's effects course through his tense body. Two minutes ago he had barely been able to stand on his own - now he could run a mile. The son of a bitch holding a gun to my soul mates skull may have something to do with that. Fear and rage were marvelous painkillers, he'd have to market it, if he got through the gate alive today.

"I won't ask again John," he pressed a red button on the side of his alien pistol. It responded by making a noise that resembled a jet engine firing up. Charging perhaps? "It's set to kill."

Somehow "John" turned into "asshole" when Gwein said it." Sheppard's eyes darted to Ronan's. They had to do something. But what? His mind began racing, turning over every possible scenario his military trained brain knew. He must have tested at least twenty in the time it took him to blink. They all had the same unacceptable ending….Teyla was killed. There was no way his people could disarm or kill Gwein before he shot her. That left one option…stall.

Rodney took this moment to turn psychic. "Excuse me," his voice sounded calm despite their no win situation. "Perhaps I can offer a suggestion."

John's death grip on Rodney tightened in a silent question, "What are you doing?"

His friends eyes shifted in response to Teyla then back to Gwein. What is he trying to tell me?

The scientist continued to ramble on about the mechanics of gate travel. His gaze locked onto Teyla again, but his voice never wavered. John followed his lead and stared at her still form yet again. Wait a minute. Thank you Mckay, he did a mental salute to the doctors observation skills.

Gwein was still hovering near Teyla, but he had failed to notice something. Teyla's fingers had tightened around the edges of the stretcher and her breath had quickened. She was awake…and about to do something either insanely brave or stupid. That pretty much depended on the outcome of the next few moments. Before Rodney could finish his next sentence she made her move.

Her arms whipped up at a speed any marine would rival, she had her fingers wrapped around Gwein's wrists a millisecond later. They began struggling for control of the device he held, her face contorted with strain. She was still very weak, but she wasn't going to give up easily.

"Shoot them," Gwein's voice was high and shrill as the wriggled like a worm in Teyla's determined grip. Things began to move in slow motion for John. He saw Ronan leaping toward the Kitchak leader, arms outstretched. Then the natives began firing projectile weapons, apparently only snake man got the high tech piece of machinery. He pulled Rodney to the ground, they landed on their stomachs, hard. His friend was clutching his arm, blood seeping through his blue jacket. Rodney tried to smile, but only managed to grit his teeth a little less. "I'll live," he mouthed.

He nodded and turned away. Ronan was now straddling Gwein, and had his weapon pointed at the devil incarnate's head. He couldn't hear over the gunfire but it appeared he was ordering the SOB to order his men to stand down. Gwein was nodding and it seemed Dex was successful, but apparently fate had decided that would be to kind. John flinched as a bullet ripped through Ronan's broad shoulder and he was thrown onto his back. Guess there won't be a ceasefire. Gwein kicked at their resident muscle and began crawling towards his alien gun.

This had all taken seconds, but to Colonel Sheppard it felt like an eternity. He had to move now or everyone he cared about was going to die. He grabbed Rodney's sidearm and ripped it out of it's holster. It all seemed so unreal. He felt himself standing up, he saw himself raising the gun. Gwein had secured his weapon as well. They both stood facing each other, eyes locked, John felt sweat trickle down his face, but his fierce gaze never wavered. He didn't hear the gunfire, didn't feel the bullets rush by him. He only saw the man standing before him, his enemy.

The Kitchak's gun was more powerful, but he was willing to bet it took longer to fire. If it had to charge, it had a delay, at least that's what he told himself as he pulled the trigger. He was right. The bullet collided with Gwein's shoulder, and he staggered backward, "That was for Ronan," he fired again. The Kitchak fell to the ground as his knee cap was destroyed. "That was for Rodney," he screamed while walking towards his fallen opponent. "And this," he pressed the barrel against his tormentors forehead, over his third eye, "This is for Teyla."

The natives had stopped shooting, they had noticed the power shift . They were murmuring amongst themselves, it was reminiscent of a beehive. Without their leader to keep order, they seemed confused.

John knew he had everyone's attention, including Teyla, who had somehow appeared at his side. He could almost hear her pleading thoughts. Do not let him destroy who you are.

Gwein was crying now, begging for his life. How things change.

"Remember this," he bent low so only Gwein and the Athosian could hear him. "You are going to live today, not because I give a shit about you… but because I love her so much I would spare you."

He pulled away and pistol whipped his adversary. No one made any move to check on the wounded alien. "Take him and leave, before we change our minds," John yelled to the remaining natives. Their weapons had already lowered in submission. It was what he'd thought, take out the leader, the rest will follow. Basic training 101.

He watched as one of them picked up Gwein and began carrying him away. The others followed silently, all huddled close to one an other. They didn't seem at all threatening now. He couldn't help but wonder how they had ended up living like this. But he also had a feeling he wouldn't be getting an answer any time soon.

"How's my team," John barked at the medic examining Ronan.

"They'll be fine sir, clean hits, bullets went straight through."

"Oh, that's so reassuring! Have you ever been shot Lt. Rogers?"

"Some of them are pretty ready to go home though Colonel," the no longer nameless medic sighed as he applied pressure to Rodney's arm.

"Well.." he felt a warm hand rest on his arm. His smiled at Teyla, and she returned the gesture. Her eyes… no one had ever looked at him like that before. "Yeah, let's go home." He leaned close to Teyla, "Besides, I think my adrenaline is almost gone."

1 Week Later

"So we had no casualties and got our missing people back. I'd call that a success.," Elizabeth was smiling as she prepared to wrap-up the debriefing.

John glanced at Teyla and saw her grim expression mirrored his own. I'd like to avoid that kind of success again thank you. He rested his chin on the palm of his hand and tried not to sigh. Most of the bruises had faded from her face. but they were still visible. His eyes traveled around the table taking in everyone's unhappy and tired faces. Dr. Weir had agreed to post pone this meeting until all his team were released from the infirmary. Rodney and Ronan had been released the next day, while he and Teyla had not been so fortunate. Beckett had kept them for the better part of a week. The good Doctor had mentioned the words contusions, emotional trauma, and so forth. All he had cared about was, "when can I leave" Teyla had kept him sane. Well, her and the frequent visits from McKay and Dex.

Except for his still aching ribs he felt fine. But calling this mission a success seemed a bit…..

"That's a bit of a stretch don't you think," McKay blurted.

John bit the inside of his cheek to hide his smile and saw Teyla's mouth begin to curl out of the corner of his eye.

"I'm sorry Rodney,' Weir looked taken aback.

"Well I am sorry if I don't agree with your assessment. We had four injured, not including the Colonel or Teyla. Learned next to nothing, and obtained no new techno…."

John held up his hand, "Down boy," he saw Rodney blink at the warmth in his eyes. He was aware that his words said shut-up, but his face said thank you. He agreed with McKay but he also knew why Elizabeth had said it. She was trying to make the best of a shitty situation.

"Thank you John," Weir gave a sad smile. "I know this didn't turn out how anyone expected it to…but I prefer to focus on the good. And not losing anyone is a very good thing. I am sure we can all agree on that," she stared at Rodney. He said nothing, but at least he wasn't arguing.

All present nodded. "Then you are all dismissed." She stood and turned to leave. "Oh," she glanced back, "On a side note. Colonel Sheppard, you and your team are on downtime for the next week. Enjoy yourselves. You have all earned it," with that she headed for the exit.

John's face turned playful as he met the curious eyes of each of his team mates.

"So, who's up for a little poker?"

Much to his delight smiles erupted all around him.

Many Games Later

"So not only did I just win my twenty bucks back, but I gained forty more. Come on admit it….you were impressed with my bluffing skills."

Teyla brushed a strand of hair from her face and appeared nonchalant. "Yes John. I was impressed."

He beamed.

"With your ability to lie," she gave him a triumphant glance before continuing down the corridor.

His face fell. "Hey that is not what I meant." He touched the small of her back and felt chills travel up his spine as he admired her curves. "You were joking right, I mean you don't really think I'm a liar."

She laughed, it was the most beautiful sound he'd heard in weeks. The fear that she might never be able to do it again melted away. Her strength never ceased to put him in a state of awe.

Still giggling, she leaned against the wall next to her quarters. "No, I do not think you are a liar." Her eyes danced with amusement, "But I have been wrong in the past."

Teyla's eyebrows raised slightly as he settled himself next to her. Their shoulders touched as he scooted just a little closer. "Not since I've known you."

They climbed even further up her forehead, "No really. You are one of the best judges of character I think I have ever met. If you say I'm not a liar…then who am I to argue. I 'm such a flirt. His hand found it's way to her perfect face. He found himself tracing the outline of a faded wound on her cheek. "You were still beyond beautiful, do you know that." Who said that? But he kept going, holding back had gotten him nowhere in life. If this experience had taught him a damn thing it was the time honored lesson - Live each day like it was you last. And that's what he was going to do- starting right now.

"Even when they brought you back from the hell they threw you into." He felt the familiar tightness in his throat. "I'm so sorry I couldn't stop it… I was…" his words faltered and he looked away blinking a mile a minute.

A warm hand on his now tear streaked face gently guided him back to his lover's intense, and equally wet eyes. "Do not dare blame yourself. You would have killed," her voice warmed, "or not killed for me. You gave me the strength to endure it all."

"I didn't do a damn thing," his hands shook with pent up emotions he hadn't even been aware existed until now. Not a damn thing.

"Come inside. It will be easier to talk. There is much I need to say, and much you need to hear," her fingers intertwined with his trembling ones and he allowed her to guide him into her room.

She sat on the bed pulling him down with her. Teyla turned sideways and sat Indian style, then indicated he do the same. Following her example he turned and got settled.

She laced her fingers through his, "Feeling calmer."

He hesitated for a moment, "Yes actually."

Teyla scooted forward until their knees pressed together.

"Even better," he dared.

Her lips pursed shutting him up faster than his drill sergeant could have. "I want to talk to you about," her voice wavered, "what happened during our separation."

John tried to keep his face and breathing normal. He personally knew how hard having this discussion was going to be…on both of them. Talking was an inevitable necessity after torture, according to the military anyway. It was the only way she could get past this. But she wasn't the only one in need of a good cleansing, and not the kind a shower could offer. I need this as much as she does.

Her eyes grew distant and her grip on his hands loosened. "Rodney was right to be so afraid. I can not believe I actually laughed at him during your lessons." Her fingernails dug into his skin, "I did not realize…"

He couldn't stand seeing her hurt like this. Maybe a little attempt at humor. .. :Yeah well, you know McKay…." he paused until she faced him. "He's always right.

Some of the tension fell away, "Yes. I think he would agree."

John smirked, "Well, unless it has anything to do with women, beer, partying…poker.."

"Be nice."

"Me…," his voice dripped with innocence. "Come on sweetie…. You know me. I'm always nice."

John's insides melted as she just sat there.. Smiling at him. I could sit here like this all day. "Hey, you know you don't have to do this right now."

"No, I do not want to waste anymore time."

I know the feeling. He could see the resolve pouring off of her. Her face was set with determination, her posture straightened, and her voice was strong. It was hard to believe just moments before she had seemed ready to crumble. Would she ever stop astounding and confusing him. I sure hope not.

She cleared her throat, "He enjoyed feeling powerful. So he wanted to make me small." Her voice darkened and her pupils dilated. "But I did not let him. I never even screamed John-not once." Her expressive eyes turned thoughtful, "It made me stronger….to not give in…it was the one thing he could not take with his knives, threats, fists or electrical shocks. I never let him."

No other words were needed, Colonel John Sheppard knew what she wouldn't let him take. 'Your dignity,' he barely spoke loud enough to combat the sound of their hearts beating. Yet she heard him.

"I knew you were understand."

John continued like she hadn't spoken. "You never let him see how much he hurt you"
He leaned forward his face so close to Teyla's he could see flecks of gold in her brown eyes. . "You beat him, never believe otherwise. He was weak. Always remember that. It'll help you sleep at night." He almost stopped there, but found it wasn't necessary. She was different. She could see what he kept hidden from others. "It has me."

Her eyes widened, and he saw the connections being made behind her dark eyes. He watched as she chewed on her bottom lip trying not to cry. Then he simply saw a woman understanding how much he understood. Now she knows. Why I cry out in my sleep at times on missions, lashing out at an unknown tormentor. Why I always volunteer to take that extra watch. Why I hate being alone. Why I run myself into exhaustion whenever possible just so I can have a decent nights sleep. Why I almost killed Ronan when he threw her to the ground in the training room. Why it is so hard for me to let people in…especially the ones I care about. Because I'm afraid I might have to watch them suffer…that they might be used against me. She knows my biggest secret of all. I Colonel John Sheppard am afraid.

He saw all that in her eyes but all she said was, "You really understand," then he stopped looking at her and instead saw her. He felt he could see into her soul, and it was a splendid sight. She was absolutely pure and courageous. She was the most real woman he'd ever known. She didn't put up fronts because she didn't need to, she was perfect.

"There is something else I need you to know." Now she was staring into his soul. "You did save me. You were there with me, in my mind, my heart, and my thoughts. I let myself exist in a moment in time with you. The moment that changed the way I saw myself…..and you," her breathing had become raspy and she was sliding her hands up his shirt. Her fingers danced against his stomach.

Funny, my ribs feel fine now. "What moment was that," he bit back a moan as her hands strayed a little lower.

'When you kissed m..," somehow his mouth was on hers before she had finished. He didn't know if he had initiated it or not, and frankly he could care less. He entangled his hands in her soft, honey scented hair. She always smelled sweet, he'd have to ask what kind of shampoo she used, or better yet, see for himself.

He explored every nook and cranny of her warm, moist mouth with his tongue. Starting with her lips, then moving in deeper to caress her teeth. She gasped. He took that as an invitation. He drank her, breathed her, needed her more than he thought was possible. When he pulled away they were both starved for oxygen. She leaned her forehead against his and rested there for a few seconds. Then, much to his surprise, she was on him again. As one they fell onto their sides never breaking contact.

"You're as good a kisser as you are a fighter," he panted against her cheek.

"I never knew tongues had this many uses."

"You have no idea," he began tracing a path down her neck. He started to lift her shirt, then stopped.

"What's wrong," she asked as he froze.

"Teyla, we don't have to do this yet. I love you. I'll wait."

He couldn't explain or describe the look she gave him then. Complete trust, unconditional love, all the things you saw in those damn fairy tales that every cynic always laughs at and says "That doesn't happen in real life." He saw it on her face.

"No more wasting time."

Couldn't have said it better myself. "That's exactly how I feel."

"Now get this shirt off before I go insane," she ordered.

"Yes ma'am.' And he did.

So this is how happy feels. John sighed and pulled his beautiful goddess tighter against his chest. She made a small content sound and snuggled deeper into his embrace. He smiled at the mess they'd made of Teyla's bedroom. Her comforter was at the foot of the bed, twisted in any direction know to man, their clothes littered the floor. Except for his underwear which was hanging from her lamp, oh then there was the bra. How'd that get there?

"We sure made a mess," he nibbled her earlobe.

"Yes," he felt goose bumps raise on her silky skin as he stroked her exposed arm. She pulled the sheet up higher, "Behave."

'Why, I didn't hear you complaining last night."

"I am not complaining. Simply resting," she tried to sound commanding. But he could hear the barely contained laughter in her voice. Must have seen her bra.

"You are going to have to get that down before company comes over."

That did it. She lost it. Her body shook as she was overcome with a serious case of the giggles. John soon joined her, she gave him a playful punch on the shoulder, "You mean you need to get it down. I believe you were the one who threw it up there. And what company?"

"I thought we'd have Rodney and Ronan over for dinner. Kind of a we're alive…yeah celebratory feast."

"Okay. That does sound nice," her expression got thoughtful. "But…"

"Yeah about that. Rodney kinda knows already."

"I figured." That was it, no surprise, anger, just quiet acceptance.

"You don't seem…," he let the half statement hang.

"I meant, I figured you had told him. He is your best friend is he not." They both knew it wasn't a question.

"That my love, it a secret you will take to your grave," he said with mock annoyance.

"Of course."

"But that does bring up a problem," He ran his fingers through her disheveled hair. "How do you want to handle this. Secret or no."

She remained quiet.

"Rodney already volunteered to speak for us.' He gritted his teeth, "He's a good friend." It felt strange being so honest about things like that . Things I never thought I'd tell anyone. But it also felt comforting.

"Yes he is. I think for now we do not need to advertise our relationship. It is no one's business but ours and that of our friends. I do not think we should hide it either but…

"I get that, we'll deal with the whole dating someone you work with thing when we have too."

"Exactly. Let's just take Dr. Weir's advice and enjoy our leave."

"I like that way you think," he kissed her quickly on the nose.

"You know, it is strange. I am not saying I enjoyed our experience on the Kitchak home world. But if it had not happened..'

"We wouldn't be here right now," John finished.

They looked at each other for several long minutes, taking in the horrors and joys of the past weeks.

John pulled her against him until they were almost one body. He pressed his mouth to her ear, "Maybe we were meant to be taken prisoner. Maybe…it was fate."

She pulled back slightly and cupped his face in her hands. "If those days were meant to bring us together, then it was all worth it."

John felt tears leaking out of his eyes spilling onto her hands. I'm not worth that much. "Teyla…"

"I love you. You love me. We just needed a nudge to get here."

Words left him. Instead he poured every ounce of his love for her into one hell of a kiss. After he could breath again he found he knew what to say.

"We're here now."

"Yes," she rested her head on his chest. "We are."

And they weren't going anywhere.

the end.

PS: Thought I'd leave what happened to the bra to everyone's imagination.

Thanks to everyone who reads this, enjoys it, and let's me know. I appreciate everyone's kind words. It's why I write.

nicole