Tag to Common Ground

"How are you?" Teyla asked John as she came to stand next to him in one of the many balconies of Atlantis.

"What?" John asked as he turned to greet her, "I'm fine, why do you ask?"

"Oh, because you were quiet all the way back and didn't say much during dinner. That is quite unlike you. You usually have a lot to say in a great number of things but tonight you didn't have much to say."

"How much is enough, I wonder," John answered.

"John," Teyla said in a warning tone which quieted him. "Are you upset about what happened?"

"Well, I was captured by the Genii and fed upon by a Wraith, I'd say that is reason enough to be upset, wouldn't you?"

"Quite," Teyla answered. A few moments later she continued, "But that is not what I'm referring to and you know it."

John didn't say anything to that comment and Teyla just him the time to gather his thoughts. She knew that he would confide in her sooner or later.

That was one of the things John really liked about her – she always knew when to push and when to give him his space.

A few minutes later, he started to talk, just like she knew he would. "He kept saying that there was much that I didn't know about the Wraiths."

"Well, I guess that is true." Teyla agreed, none of them had known that a Wraith could give back the energy and life force it had previously taken, after all.

"He also said that I had a lot in common with the Wraith," John added after another silence.

"Um, well, I don't know if I'd agree to that," Teyla responded.

"Yeah, me neither. I told him I didn't really like the comparison. But the thing is," John tuned towards her and said suddenly – as if he'd finally worked out what had been bothering him or maybe he had finally worked up the nerve to say it out loud. "We've just agreed that there are a lot of things about the Wraith we don't know about, so it is conceivable that we might have more similarities than we've ever thought possible."

"I guess that is possible," Teyla retorted as she too turned to look at him. "But highly unlikely."

"Maybe," John said slowly. After another pause where he turned back to study the ocean, he went on, "I was held in the cell next to him, you know. I didn't know that it was a Wraith there until they brought me back from the first feeding."

As she had done in all the other pauses, Teyla held her tongue and waited for John to finish what he meant to say.

"When they brought me back and before I found out that he was a Wraith, he asked me who I blamed: the Wraith or the master."

"And how did you answered?"

"I said that I blamed both."

"And have you changed your opinion now?"

"No, I don't think so," John answered but he did not sound too convinced and that worried Teyla.

"John," she began not sure of what he was going to say but John knew where she was going.

"Don't worry, Teyla. I haven't suddenly found the Wraiths to be victims or anything like it. But recent events have made think. I know that they are a threat and that we have to protect ourselves from them. But," he paused and once again turned back to look her in the eye. "it is also true, that on a basic level, they are just doing what their nature demands of them. No," he added when he saw Teyla's face. "I'm not excusing their behavior. I am saying that of all the enemies we've ever had, the Wraiths are perhaps the only ones which we haven't really bothered to learn anything about except better, more efficient ways to kill them. I don't know, Teyla." John admitted as he turned back to the sea. "Maybe there might be some way for us to coexist in the same galaxy without annihilating one another."

"John," Teyla retorted, more perturbed about what she was hearing because she had thought the same thing on the jumper than anything else. If they were both thinking about the same lines, then maybe there might be there something about the notion. And that meant that some of the things they've done in the name of self-preservation were . . . regrettable, to say the least. "I don't know if that is possible. It seems to me that our existences are mutually exclusive."

"Maybe," John granted. "But maybe not. Maybe if they found another source of nourishment that did not involve killing humans, there wouldn't be a reason to try and wipe them out."

"That would only work if we were to find such alternative and if they were willing to consume it. I don't think they will be very amiable in changing their diet. I think some of them are more than happy with the hunting and the killing of humans."

"I'm sure that's true. But maybe there be some that wouldn't mind a change in diet if it meant a stop to all the killing." John argued.

"You are projecting human emotions and morals onto a race that does not have them," Teyla protested.

"How do we know that? Really?" John argued back. "There might very well be some sort of group that doesn't like all the killing. There's a lot about the Wraith that we don't know."

"True," Teyla allowed. "But you forget that I've been in contact with quite a few of their minds and I've felt their hunger and yearning for what they perceived as their rightful feedstock. I don't think you can change that kind of mentality."

"Maybe not," he sighed as he leaned more heavily on the railing. "Maybe you're right and the only outcome of this fight is that one side or the other has to perish. I just hope I don't encounter that Wraith any time in the future."

There was not much that Teyla could say in response to that; that Wraith had after all done what none of them had even thought possible and in some twisted sort of way he and Sheppard seemed to have bonded. And while Teyla may never understand such a bond, she couldn't dismiss it either. So, they both lapsed into silence as they stared at the endless ocean in front of them. Each lost in their own thoughts; each thinking about all the decisions they've made that had led them to that point in time and thinking about what they could have done differently – if anything. Each trying to justify all of those decisions and not letting recent events create any doubts that could prove fatal in such a dangerous war.

A/N: I thought that Common Ground was one of the best Atlantis shows ever. I've never been completely comfortable with the crew's actions towards chemically altering the Wraiths. The ethics of such actions are questionable at best and it seemed to me that with yesterday's show, the writers made those actions even more iffy. Let me know what you think.