TITLE: Cruelty Has a Human Heart
SUMMARY: "We need to talk."--a post-ep for "Michael"
DISCLAIMER: The setting and characters belong to Stargate Productions, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions and the Sci-Fi Channel. Sadly, I'm not making a red cent off how much I love them.
NOTES: I don't plan to make a habit of writing post-eps, but if they're going to leave things hanging...
Teyla strode into the gym, pausing when she saw Ronon pounding a punching bag. Considering it was the middle of the night in the city of the Ancestors, she'd expected to have the room to herself.

Although Ronon neither stopped nor glanced in her direction, she had no doubt he knew she was there. Teyla decided it would be impolite to leave now, so she continued into the room.

Standing in the center of the mat, Teyla tried to center and clear her mind.

Breathe in. Breathe out fear.

Breathe in. Breathe out anger.

Breathe in. Breathe out regret.

Breathe in. Strike.

Her right hand slashed and her weapon whistled through the air at neck level, followed by a kick that would have knocked an ordinary person across the room.

Teyla choked back a gasp when Ronon caught her foot. Automatically she shifted to stay upright. "Ronon!"

"We need to talk." He dropped her foot.

"Can this not wait until I have completed my practice?"


Sighing, she lowered her hands. "What do you wish to speak to me about?"

"The Wraith."

She let the words fall between them, both knowing that he meant one particular Wraith, not the entire species. Finally she nodded once.

His anger was very close to the surface. "Have you all lost your minds?"

Sighing, Teyla turned to the door. "I believe this discussion requires tea." She looked over her shoulder, where Ronon stood, his eyes narrowed. He finally followed her to the mess.

Thankfully, the room was empty, and Teyla savored the sweet/sharp smell of her tea as she sat opposite Ronon. "Go on," she said.

The slight quirk of his lips told her he knew that she'd introduced this delaying tactic to give him time to calm down. She smiled.

"I don't understand," he said, "why that thing was allowed to live."

Teyla looked into her tea, no longer amused. "Michael was a human and we had made him so. It became complicated."

Ronon shook his head, hair flying like a weapon. "No. He looked like a human. He wasn't."

"I believe he was. He was confused. Hurt. We lied to him."

Ronon snorted. "Everyone was ready to experiment on a Wraith, but as soon as he looked human, that was it. Even you."

She swallowed a sip of tea, trying to forget how grateful Michael had looked when she first visited him. "He became a person, Ronon. I was his friend. For a while."

"The Wraith are evil."

"What if they're not?" The mug was warm in her hands and she held on tightly to hide the trembling.

"They feed on people. They torture. They're monsters. No needle in the arm will change that." Ronon's hands were flat on the table, his voice low and menacing.

Teyla looked him in the eyes. "Am I evil?"

"No," he said after a pause, leaning back in his seat.

"You know that I am part Wraith. It is how I can sense them. Does that make me evil?" To her surprise, Teyla found she was holding her breath waiting for his answer.

He studied her for a long moment, crossing his arms. "No."

She lifted one shoulder in a shrug. "Then the answer to Michael is not so simple either." Dr. Zelenka waved at her from the other side of the room as he scrounged through the available snacks. Teyla smiled politely and waited for him to leave. Ronon was still watching her. "I am sorry for what you have suffered," she said, "but know that my people have suffered as well."

Teyla knew she was taking a chance, and she watched as Ronon tensed, then made himself relax. "It's a bad idea. These people want to fix everything. It won't work."

"I don't know," she said. "They have done many things I considered impossible. I would not wish to underestimate them now."

Ronon looked away and she waited for his internal struggle to finish. When he looked back, his expression was implacable. "I'd do the same thing again."

She inclined her head gravely. "As would I."