Hi this is a repost! I realised whilst re-reading the first chapter that I wrote Col. Everett instead of Caldwell (doh!) so I've corrected it! Also I had valid comments on my paragraph length, so I've rectified that as well, This is what happens without a beta! So if anybody out there would like to beta for me on any of my stories as I have NO betas, then let me know, I'd be grateful. I have written half of the next chapter and hope to have it out soon, sorry RL's been a wreck!
Hope the revised edition is easier to read- Inara
Spoilers: everything up to and including The Long Goodbye S2 episode 16
Disclaimers: I do not own any rights to anything, Atlantis is the brainchild of Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, If anybody is a fan of BSG 2003 the show then they will recognise for lack of a better term a similar flavour from BSG, it was not intentional but I noticed it as I read through, I have decided to keep it as I liked the idea of using some of BSG's ethos in relation to Teyla and John, I don't want to be accused of plagiarism, credit goes to however created it (Larson). It is no way a crossover, just a borrowing of some of the underlying themes from BSG to see how they fit into Atlantis, sometimes you can't control how you write, you know? Sorry if it bothers anybody, it was strictly an author's choice, same when referring to religions and beliefs I am strictly writing from what I believe the characters perspective, I no way am I criticising any faiths or choices, nor are they reflective of my own views. Sorry for the soapbox moment, I hope you enjoy, this came after watching Critical Mass and The Long Goodbye, this fic will base heavily on events occurred during those episodes, and Conversion so be SPOILER warned. Also in case anyone was wondering this fic is SHEYLA, you won't be able to avoid it, its also quite angsty.
Distrubution: If you want it let me know!
Duty or Love
Charin's words were still ringing in her ears, 'Your people look to you Teyla, and they will need your strength." She felt alone, stranded and adrift, she felt old beyond her years, she was tired and part of her wished she could have been in Charin's place, 'A journey begins' indeed, but was she strong enough? She had lost her last confidant her family; truth was she could barely remember her mother, just glimpses and memories, a strong, graceful warrior, a leader. Her father raised her with the help of the village, especially Charin, Tagan Emmagen was a leader to his people first and foremost, they were close but Teyla grew knowing the true burden of leadership, her father had practically trained her from birth to lead her people, and she had learnt, whilst most children played, Teyla learnt the history of her people, her father took her with him on trading missions so she could see first hand the intricate and politics in trade and diplomacy. While the children her age danced and sung Teyla learned to fight, to defend and to lead and Teyla Emmagen excelled.
As she stood watching the tides from one of the many balconies, she meditated on the sunset, she had sung about this very event during the ring ceremony for Charin just two weeks ago, 'Beyond the night, a new day dawns" the message was clear, but she could not see it, each new day recently had just brought a new challenge. Yesterday she had nearly killed Colonel Sheppard, if it hadn't have been for the last minute order's from Colonel Caldwell she would have killed her closest ally and friend on Atlantis, and it would have been the right course of action, her training and position demanded that she put her people's needs before her own, her people now included those of Atlantis, no matter how much she mourned in private she would have murdered her best friend to save many, it would killed the last part of self she had, but she would have done it, and that knowledge hurt.
'He cares for you-, more than you know'
Eight words, eight words had nearly broken her resolve, her solemn pledge to her people, and her final promise to her father, and that terrified her. The problem she faced was that she could not change anything, the fate of her people were in her hands and their best chance was with the people of Earth in the city of the ancestors, so she could not leave John's team, but if she stayed would that be worse. Neither of them could afford serious attachments, they're positions did not allow for them to become distracted and yet they both could not have anything less than all. That was why neither of them had acted on the unspoken feelings that had been present from their first meeting. It was all or nothing for them yet they could not afford either and so they had been stuck in this limbo, more then friends, less than lovers. A marriage of emotions and none of the physical attributes. Until he lost control, until the retrovirus caused him to lose his inhibitions and stopped holding their pattern of denial and he kissed her.
The kiss was fuelled by aggression, frustration, lust and need. But not love, she knew that. That kiss had been building for months it was pure impulse and emotion. She knew that had they chosen to kiss, to take that next step then it would have involved nothing but love. As it was his impulsive kiss had allowed them to maintain the appearance of restraint and deniability that allowed them to work together, but it had also given them a taste of the forbidden fruit, she could taste him now, as he could her. It was something that she could never forget sensations she could never lose or feel again and so they were in their holding pattern again, yet this time it was infinitely worse, now they knew what they were missing. Part of her was furious at John for changing things, making it so much harder, but part of her was grateful, at least now she knew, if she died tomorrow, she would died with the taste of him on her lips and in her soul, yes for that she would be forever grateful to Colonel John Sheppard, even if it made the rest of her days with Colonel Sheppard uncomfortable and painful, she at least had a moment in time, the only true unrestrained moment since they connected in that cave in Athos.
She still dreamed about that moment, when she truly felt something beyond herself, her mind, body, heart and soul recognised John Sheppard, she knew then she always would, in that moment she felt as if she had gained a lifetimes knowledge, unfortunately in this time, this cycle they were unable to join. They're roles forbid it. She envied John for his rational beliefs, he did not meditate on what had happened before or will happen tomorrow, his focus was on surviving the present, he had felt the connection-how could he not? But his rational mind would have buried the moment, decreased its significance, convinced itself it was moment of physical appreciation, he would have rationalised the kiss by now as well, the drug reducing his inhibitions allowing for a moment of lust. He had witnessed ascension, yet did not understand it, that 'energy is eternal delight' (Blake, William) he still did not comprehend that they were all playing parts, that there was a grand design and that some people could not avoid their destiny. Unfortunately they both had parts to play, both completed parts of each other yet never truly together. It seemed as she was one to carry the burden of that knowledge, this time. She hoped that understanding would not come too late for him; it was in his nature to fight she was afraid that he would fight for her, ask her to make a choice that she could not make, duty or love?
She knew he was watching her, she felt him in her bones, her body called out for him, she ruthlessly squashed the feelings down, her outward demeanour had not changed, she absently wondered what he was waiting for? Then he had moved, before she could react he was behind her close but not touching. Too close, and not near enough, status quo, she just had to lean back a fraction, or he could lean forward, neither of them moved, they knew the score, she was tired of it, yet she could do nothing but carry on, what else was there?
"You did what you had to do, I understand that" he said abruptly 'even though it hurts, and I would have done the same' was unspoken.
She knew what he was referring to; she understood his unspoken comment too, so she stayed silent 'what was there to say, duty demanded that she shoot him if necessary, she was nothing if not dutiful.'
"I have never felt that helpless before, not on Earth, not when I witnessed the wraith feed, not in any hundred situations we have been in. I had to watch as Ronon was shot, my people hurt, my friend being used the same why I was, I had no control, even though I knew it was temporary, I was so afraid of the damage that would happen in the meantime."
"It is a natural reaction, I am sure Dr Weir will agree, perhaps you should make an appointment with Dr Heightmeyer"
"He was wrong, you know?" he sidestepped the suggestion to see the city shrink "I knew you would do it" he carried on. "It's one of the things I admire most about you, you would always do what's best for everybody, regardless of how you personally feel, duty before all else."
She did not know what to say to that, she kept watching the ocean, praying for strength, it was so tempting to lean on him for support, and he would freely give it, so instead she stiffened.
He had just been released from the infirmary when he had seen her standing on the balcony, it wasn't in a popular section of the city, he didn't know what had possessed him to detour on his way back to quarters, and he knew now; it was Teyla, always Teyla. Nobody else had the power over him that she did, she rarely used it if ever but it was there. She looked like a goddess standing over the ocean, but something in her posture was calling out to him, she looked tired, there was no outward appearance but rather as though he could see in to her soul, or her aura. So he just stood watching over her, he had memory flash then just for a moment, he felt as if he had done this before, a sense of déjà vu so strong his body resonated with it, as if he had spent lifetimes before watching over this woman, and would continue for lifetimes ahead. It was fleeting and the after effect so profound that he could not begin to explore it, so he put it to the back of mind to worry about later. Instead he moved to stand behind, close but not close enough, he felt her pull and it took everything he had not to move the fraction he needed to, to complete contact, status quo he thought.
'I'm sorry John'
Her heartfelt words along with an image of her standing over him with a gun, her saw her then as angel of death, part of him was relieved if anyone should send him to rest it should be Teyla. Then he saw her eyes, full of pain, despair, anger and fury at what she had to do, her eyes burned him, he saw what this cost her, if he died at her hand, Teyla, his Teyla would not survive it. She would die too, leaving a dutiful leader of her people. In that moment of clarity he prayed, to anything and everything, to not make him watch her death in her eyes as he died. When she had later saved him again, by quick thinking he been so proud, she had admitted to knowing him, and she did better than anyone.
'I knew you would be the only one who could get to him'
Phoebus had been right; Teyla was the only person who could get to him. He could still taste her, in his very marrow; he honestly believed that one forbidden kiss had embedded her so deep in his soul that it was impossible to separate her from him. He had never loved and despised an action in his entire life as much as he did that kiss. Loved it because retrovirus or not he could not hold back any longer, he was only human and that kiss had been the result of months of frustration, restraint and repression. In that one moment he was free, of everything, he was not the military leader of Atlantis, a burden he had neither desired nor been ready for, he simply John, and John wanted Teyla, always had and always would. He had despised it because he had tasted her, she was in his blood, and he stopped holding back, dropped all of his barriers and controls and just acted. For the first time in a long time John had been truly and utterly selfish, he had taken from Teyla, the most selfless person he knew. He had never hated himself as much as he had in the seconds after that kiss, he was terrified that he had lost Teyla, he had gained her taste and in the process lost his truest friend, but she had forgiven him, she always did.
But she never forgave herself…so he decided to tell her, that he understood, that he always would, but she still didn't speak, or acknowledge him in any way, he began to get worried, he could not see her face, or eyes, the ones that always told him what he needed to know. So spoke about how he had felt, his fears, anything to get a response out of her. It figures that when she did it was to offer him reassurance and advice, nothing for herself. He noticed her stiffen at the word duty, he knew how she felt, he did not realise the true meaning of the word until he arrived in the Pegasus galaxy, that a single word could mean so much and carry such a burden.
"I know, I hate that word too" he said with a sigh
She had unconsciously leaned toward his sigh, still not touching but as close as possible, it was part of their unspoken agreement since the kiss, they did not touch outside of work or sparring, she hadn't realised how much she had relied on those little touches until she had to give them up. She hated how dependent she had become on John Sheppard, hated how this man made her feel, and simultaneously rejoicing in the fact that he made her feel.
"We are both bound by it" she said, this was dangerously close to the topic that they never voiced in order to stay sane, but avoidance hadn't made their situation any easier.
"That we are" he agreed "I wish-"
"I know" she stopped him before he could say it out loud. Until their people were safe, nothing could happen, but the likelihood of them both still being alive was less than slim, they both knew it. They could only hope they left together, for the thought of surviving alone was more than they could bear.
"The sun has nearly set, and the stars will be out soon, they remind me of all the places I have not yet discovered, of possibilities unknown" Teyla said.
"I read of a SGC report where they had discovered that parallel universe' exist, that a small thing could alter a reality, McKay could explain it better, but I like to think somewhere out there, there's a reality where I can be-" he broke off suddenly realising what he was about to say and who he was speaking to.
"Can be?" Teyla asked
"Free, happy, to be with who I want to be" he finished off; he knew she would understand she always did.
"Somewhere maybe?" she offered, it was all she could offer him; she couldn't give him here and now.
"So what brought you out here in the first place?" John asked after a while.
"I needed a place to meditate, whilst I was waiting for one of my people to return from a trading mission."
"Who are you waiting for?"
"Tyrol, it was a simple mission, on a universal trading planet, I do not anticipate any problems"
"When was he due back?"
"What time is it now?"
"Then he is an hour overdue"
"Lets go check out the gate room" John suggested.
They met up with Ronon and McKay who had been on their way to the mess, but decided to see if there was anything going on, McKay eventually agreed after a lot of grumbling.
As it happened there was activity as they entered the room, apparently Tyrol's sister Anna was also waiting for him and she was in conversation with Elizabeth, who it had seemed had gone straight back to work.
"Teyla, there you are I was just about to radio you, Anna wants me to dial Boros to check on Tyrol, he's over an hour late, what do you think?" Elizabeth asked, but before Teyla could respond the gate lit up, they all looked at the technician who controlled the shield.
"Athosian IDC, it's Tyrol"
"Lower the shield, well it's about time" Elizabeth said in a relieved tone.
They all began their way down the stairs, for a moment nothing happened, they all looked at the gate, and then at the technician who shrugged then their attention went back to the gate as a blur came through. The well trained marines had their guns up as soon as movement from the gate was detected. But nobody had stepped through, instead there was a body that had been thrown through the gate as though garbage, his top had been removed, and he was covered in wounds and knife was sticking where his heart would have been, if someone hadn't cut it out. Anna screams identified him as Tyrol.
Ronon amazingly enough had been the first to react, he had grabbed Anna and held her against him, blocking her view of the body, even though it was too late, as Rodney frantically called for 'medics' over the radio, but it was far too late for that. Elizabeth had paled considerably and looked like she was going to be sick, but she held it together, John stopped the marines from approaching Tyrol preferring Carson to arrive first. As it happened Carson and Colonel Caldwell arrived at the same time, both exclaiming shock at the sight. Teyla stood frozen, her mind had travelled back in time 10 years as the body of another man had been thrown through a gate in front of her, although that man had been dying not dead, and his heart was still beating, long enough to extract some promises from his daughter. The arrival of Carson and Colonel Caldwell snapped Teyla out of her memory. She approached Tyrol, he fallen through gate awkwardly, yet had managed to land on his back so that the dagger was clearly visible. As she got closer she could recognise the hilt of the dagger, she knelt next to the body ignoring everything around her.
The entire room had silenced when Teyla moved, it wasn't deliberate but there was something in her movement that demanded attention, even Anna's sobs had quietened as she too watched Teyla kneel by the body. There were gasps, and noises of disgust as Teyla calmly pulled out the dagger from Tyrol's chest. For a moment she just looked at the blade covered in blood, then she did the unthinkable, there were sounds of retching as Teyla without hesitation put her hand inside the hole on Tyrol's chest cavity.
Teyla calmly removed her father's dagger from Tyrol, but as she removed it she noticed a glint of metal. She looked closer then she put her hand inside the hole in Tyrol and removed something.
"Teyla, dear God, lass what're ye doing?" Carson asked.
Teyla just opened her hand and Carson saw that there was a ring, covered in blood, but a recognisable female ring nonetheless. His thoughts were brought to a dramatic halt as there was a voice being transmitted through the Stargate, which he belatedly realised, was still open although the shield had been raised, so someone had thought to do that at least.
"Did you get my present?" asked a cold masculine voice.
Teyla's jaw clenched and her entire body had tightened as she got up and went to the controls.
"I got your gift Kalen, it seems your delivery hasn't changed in 10 years," Teyla replied scornfully her voice full of ice.
"Aah, I knew you were still alive, I thought you would appreciate the packing at least" Kalen's voice had a sick note of glee. The entire gate room was waiting for Teyla's response; obviously she knew what was going on.
"You're a sick bastard Kalen, at least that hasn't changed"
"Now Teyla, is that anyway to speak to your intended?"
If Kalen's remark shocked everybody, it was nothing compared to the shock they received at Teyla's reply.
Teyla just laughed
"My intended…you, Kalen I could never be joined to you, you know why?"
"Because you're beneath me, you always were and you always will be nothing will change that" Teyla told him ruthlessly.
Nobody had ever heard Teyla speak so cruelly, her words were brutal.
"Your father promised me your hand, you know that, and I will have you willing or not you will be beneath me"
"The agreement with my father ended the moment you murdered him Kalen, an act for which you will pay the price in blood, I will have my vengeance"
"I thought the dagger was a nice touch, along with your ring."
"You will see the dagger again, it will the one to remove your cold heart from your body whilst you watch, and I promise I will be slow enough so you don't miss a moment."
"Ah such sweet promises Teyla, lets finish this once and for all, in 3 days where it all began"
"Agreed, enjoy the next 3 days Kalen, they will be your last."
"And yours will be the last of your freedom, for I do not intend to let you have the satisfaction or release of death, you will live Teyla, every moment of your existence will be painful beyond measure, you will long for death but it will not come. The glorious Teyla Emmagen, daughter to Tagan will be mine, to use and I will destroy your spirit, until there is nothing left, and then once you have borne me sons I will give you to my men. In 3 days Teyla, we will see who is beneath who."
The Gate Disengaged and the room watched in silence as Teyla threw the dagger she was holding, it flew straight through the Stargate and landed dead centre in the wall behind. She then walked to Tyrol closed his eyes and moved is arms across his chest to cover the desecration done by Kalen. She went to the dagger in the wall, retrieved it and walked to Anna, who was still in Ronon's arms.
"I am sorry about Tyrol, if I had known" she broke off, the guilt was overwhelming, she knew Kalen had chosen to kill him just for that alone. She harden "I swear by the ancestors in 3 days I will avenge him!" and with that she strode from the room.
Chapter 2 soon...
R&R - Inara