NOTES: Allisnow and I have been playing 'fic-tennis' over on our LiveJournals. I post a fic, she posts one back using a theme I introduce in my story, back and forth. This is story #7 and was prompted by an exchange between John and Teyla in her last fic:

"Running with Ronon?"

He grunts. "Invited Lorne along, too. Makes me feel slightly less inferior."

Nothing To Prove

John tells himself it's not a competition.

He's the military leader of Atlantis. He's a man in his prime, has the Ancient gene stronger than anyone in Pegasus, is attractive to women, healthy, fit, and can almost beat Teyla at staves on a good day.

He just can't keep up with Ronon when they go running.

Not that it's a competition, of course, because John doesn't have anything to prove.


"We could have parked closer to the site, you know."

John glances back at Rodney with more than a little irritation. "You could have stayed in Atlantis."

"While you go haring off around the galaxy getting into trouble without me to find a solution for you? It saves time for me to be on the spot when you screw up instead of having to come all the way from Atlantis."

He gives Rodney the Sheppard-glare of Doom, which doesn't bother Rodney one whit. Behind them, Ronon and Teyla are giving each other 'the look'.

John would like to think it's the shared look of exasperation of two natives who just don't 'get' the visitors. He'd prefer to think of it as a, "Remind me why we hang out with these people again? Oh, yeah, because they can help us kick Wraith ass" kind of look.

Sometimes he finds himself thinking that it comes very close to a 'he's your son' kind of look - which is bad, because the idea of Teyla and Ronon together romantically is just...wrong. Like discovering your buddy's dating a woman you like, and feeling slightly pissed off that he got to her first.

One of the earliest conversations he remembers overhearing between Teyla and Ronon was about him and Rodney.

"Are they always like this?"

"Yes. I believe they take pleasure in the exchange."

"This another of those things from their galaxy?"

Teyla hesitated. "I think it is just something that Colonel Sheppard and Dr. McKay enjoy themselves."

"Uhuh." Ronon's grunt said it all.

He glances at them now. Teyla's head is turned and she's saying something quietly to Ronon, whose mouth twitches.

John narrows his eyes. "Are you two okay in the back there? Would you like to share your observations with the rest of the class?"

They eye him and share another of those glances. This time Ronon shrugs and mutters, "Your call." He strides past John with something like a smile on his lips.

Teyla opens her mouth to speak, then shuts it. "It would not make sense to you, Colonel."

It's not a competition. There's nothing to prove. But Teyla's words sound suspiciously like a brush-off, and John sulks for the rest of the journey to the ruins.


Teyla finds him in one of the labs after dinner, running his hands over the various bits and pieces of Ancient technology.

"You like this place," she says. "Atlantis."

John shrugs, glancing up from the thing he's playing with - an Ancient version of a PDA - but with some really cool remote-control capabilities. "It's got things that fly and lots of cool technology. What's not to like?"

Her mouth curves in a smile. "You like this lab."

"It's got a lot of neat things in it."

"Things that respond to you and no-one else," she says, resting her forearms on the desk across from him with a smile.

"Well, it's nice to be unique."

One corner of her mouth lifts. "There is no-one in the city who would think otherwise - even if you did not have the gene of the Ancestors."

Her words are gentle, and buoy something in him as he watches her watch him back. Asking her why she's saying this now would be pointless. Teyla is as she is - just a little bit different, intimidating, and utterly unique herself - with or without the Wraith DNA in her genetic history.

Life is not a competition for Teyla; she has nothing to prove.

John has nothing to prove, either.

- fin -

NOTES: Unfortunately, I don't think I can get away with posting the next story here at - you're going to have to go to my livejournal to find it. It's called: 'Five Ways Teyla Never Bolted'