Teyla sat in her blue pyjamas, Indian style, on the chair by John's bed. The Daedalus had arrived only moments before with new troops, weapons and supplies, and John had been called away to organize them. Normally, the arrival of the Daedalus was cause for much excitement; John would get some weird and wonderful item from home, (the last being a round globe of Earth, mounted on a lovely wooden pedestal) and then teach her all about it. Today though, the ship had arrived at a rather crucial moment, and it had been with a sheepish face and a comment about duty calling that he'd tucked his shirt back into his pants and left.
That was all very well, but whilst his mind could quickly focus itself on the logistics of new troops, Teyla was left with little to do. When her place in Atlantis had solidified, she'd made a point of staying in the background when the Daedalus arrived; she felt it necessary for the Earth people to have some time to themselves; she knew she enjoyed personal moments with her fellow Athosians. She was certain John would have tried to convince her it was unnecessary, he often declared that most of the people he wanted to be around weren't from Earth anyway, but it was a habit she stuck to nonetheless.
Glancing around his room, she carefully inspected the now familiar poster of Johnny Cash; where it had once been pinned to the wall behind his bed, it was now stuck by his door. John had said it made him uncomfortable, because every time he'd look up at her, Cash would catch his eye. John was surprisingly neat; he said it was because he spent so little time in his quarters, but Teyla had the feeling it was another aspect of himself that he tried to keep from the others. He was boisterous and brave, not afraid to pipe up with a sarcastic comment, but intricately shy at the same time; embarrassment common when conversation fell to family, friends or feelings - particularly the first and last. With a sense of warmth, she eyed the Athosian vases that had found their way into his room, as well as her woven blanket that he'd put on the bed.
As Teyla contemplated the many facets of John Sheppard, her eyes fell to another quirk of his personality; his Sudoku books. Two lay beside his bed, one with a pen clipped to a page. Extending a leg gracefully, she picked one up with her toes and brought it to her. Opening the book to the marked page, she unclipped the pen. Slipping her finger into the sheets of grainy brown paper to remember his place, she flipped through the book. Ink in a variety of different colours adorned the many pages. There were a few scribbles on the sidelines, but most squares were filled in without so much as a crossing out. She had never seen him complete one; he said he only really did them when she was on the Mainland, visiting her people, but she quickly found an instruction list at the front.
Running the tip of the pen over the lines, she familiarized herself with the rules, before flipping to the back of the book and choosing a blank square.
With a sigh, John raised his hand to the sensor of his door. There'd been twenty new Marines to brief, and the difficulties of detailing the layout of the city and its strategic weak-points had only been compounded when one them, a Lieutenant, had discovered that his ex-wife was in fact a botanist in Atlantis. John had been momentarily stunned by the odds of running into an ex in another galaxy.
He was stunned again when his door slid open to reveal Teyla curled up, albeit in a composed, Teyla-like fashion, on the chair beside his bed, her chin propped on her hand. Over the past two years, she'd picked up certain habits, both physical and verbal from her friends from Earth, but the sight of her gnawing gently on the end of his pen as she studied a book struck him as particularly un-Pegasus like.
Her eyes were narrowed and it was obvious she was concentrating deeply; she hadn't even noticed him enter the room. He came to stand on the other side of the bed, directly opposite her and he realized what she was doing. Before he could stop himself, a small chuckle escaped and she quickly sat up straighter.
"John, I did not notice you enter. I was just…" she trailed off, her eyes darting to the left as she smiled sheepishly. He loved that he knew she had a sheepish smile.
"How you doing?" he asked, nodding to the book as he draped his jacket over the end of the bed.
"I am a patient person, but I must admit, I find this quite frustrating. I do not seem to possess the necessary mathematical skills."
John shrugged. "It's just practice."
Teyla flipped through the pages. "I am unconvinced. You have entered each number with certainty in your strategy. I do not see any changes and you have won many."
"Well, a wise woman once told me that, 'it is not for the winning that we practice'."
Teyla smiled. "Yes, but at the time you seemed uniquely unable to grasp the concept."
John flopped down on the bed. "I've spent my life training in fighter planes. Trust me; it is not for the losing that we practice." He scrubbed his hands over his face and sat up to unlace his boots. "New recruits to Atlantis always seem so green - so unsure of how to do anything." He added the last part on in explanation; he'd taken to doing it automatically.
"This city is impressive, this galaxy a long way from your Milky Way. Surely, a certain amount of fear is to be expected."
"It's not my Milky Way, Teyla." He shucked his shoes and socks off his feet then poked her on the leg with his foot, rubbing along her calf until his toes disappeared underneath the hem of her three-quarter length blue pyjama pants. He always liked looking at his skin next to hers, his tanned white against her coffee coloured. She almost seemed to shimmer in candlelight. His arms were tanned, but his uniform meant that his legs, whilst still a healthy colour, lacked the brown that came with sun. The memory of sliding his hands down her thighs, the pads of his fingers indenting into the skin of her waist that came with a healthy weight, was a favourite. He hooked his foot behind her knee, tugging her towards him.
To his disgruntlement, she brought the Sudoku book with her. She lay down on her stomach matter-of-factly. She never flopped onto the bed like he did, or wriggled; the only time she really moved when she was over or under him. Propping herself up on her elbows, she tucked the top of the page under a pillow to keep it open. John rolled to his side to inspect her progress, his hand coming to land on the small of her back.
"Not bad. You're cautious."
She looked at him over her shoulder. "It appears I have to be. Intuition alone will not guide me through this."
"Sure it will." He slipped his hand under her top, rubbing along the skin of her back.
"You forget, John. Physics and chemistry and mathematical logic are not the backbone of the Athosian people."
"Oh please, you're not stupid." He leant forward, pressing warm, open mouthed kisses to her shoulder.
She took a second to regain her composure. "I did not say that I was. There are many forms of intelligence. Wisdom is something else entirely. I am often confused as to why you hide your mathematical ability."
John, who by this point was nuzzling her neck, paused and leant back. "Come on Teyla, they're just puzzles. McKay's the maths genius."
"You are a strange man, John Sheppard."
He ducked her gaze, instead watching his fingers as they drew lazy patterns on her arm.
"I asked Rodney to explain the concept of Mensa to me this morning. Elizabeth says you are qualified to be a member, but that you did not accept their offer to join."
He shrugged noncommittally, keeping quiet until he noticed her resulting sigh was one of exasperation, but also slight disappointment. "I don't really know why I didn't join, Teyla. Just took the test on a whim. I used to do lots of things that way. People used to call it my crazy unbalanced streak."
"That seems an appropriate description of you now."
He nudged her shoulder in playful rebuke, before slipping his hands around her waist, turning her onto her back. Shifting over, he crawled on top of her, pressing her down into mattress. He went to move the book and pen from beside her head, but she caught his hand.
"If you anticipate any further interruptions, I suggest we postpone this and I shall continue my game."
John propped himself up on his elbows. "You're seriously choosing Sudoku over me? You don't postpone sex for logic puzzles, Teyla. That's just like scheduling it. Unless, you know…you particularly want to finish the game."
She arched up towards him slightly, tilting her head back, exposing her neck. Grinning, he leant down and kissed the hollow of her throat.
The Sudoku book skidded unceremoniously across the table that Teyla was sitting at, stopping just in front of her glass of orange juice. Their mission to P3X-431 had been postponed; Rodney had been detained on a scientific excursion with SGA-3, Ronon with him for security.
"We got side-tracked last night. We're going to go again. At Sudoku, that is. We're going to go again at that too, though." He trailed off, mumbling slightly.
Teyla had long ago stopped wondering why people from Earth got so flustered about sex.
He sat down next to her and placed his tray on the table. "Hey, how did you get grapes?" He plucked one from her bowl, replacing it with a piece of mandarin in exchange.
"I was awake early."
"I know. You're even worse than my old drill sergeant. I think the early shift mess attendant has a crush on you." John leant back to survey the hustle and bustle of the kitchen suspiciously.
Teyla smiled at him amusedly. John was protective enough for it to be comforting, but never over-bearing. He knew that she wouldn't stand for it and that ultimately she could take better care of herself than anyone else. He never faltered in pairing her with Ronon or Rodney on missions or griped about the physical contact of her training sessions with Marines. The only time he got uncomfortable was when people they bumped into off-world got a bit too physical. He never did anything, but let her subtly know that he wanted the person to back off; which ultimately left her in control of the situation.
"Are we going to try again?" she asked, tapping a finger on the book.
He leant back in again, swiveling around to face the table. "Sure, ok." He opened the page to the clipped pen, revealing the puzzle Teyla had started the night before. "This time, we'll use a pencil."
Fifteen minutes later, a few more of the squares had been filled out. John was a little fidgety, and Teyla had the distinct impression he was trying to keep quiet.
She lightly traced a number in a square in pencil, and John hissed softly, before quickly trying to school his expression into one of neutrality. Teyla smiled. "You are welcome to help."
"No back-seat driving."
"I would not mind. I fear my patience with this is waning."
He scooted a little closer, still far enough away for propriety. "Well…you could put the six there." He tapped a square with his index finger.
"Sometimes I wonder what my people would have become, had we not spent our lives being hunted by the Wraith. The time it took to recover from a culling always carried us over to the next, and many of our greatest minds were lost. I have always been so focused on keeping my people safe, that I never contemplated technological advancement. Now when I look at what you all have, at what the Ancients' had…"
John seemed shocked by the sudden turn in conversation. "Teyla, I told you, it's just practice. You make it sound like keeping your people safe isn't enough, but trust me, to them it is. Besides, what about all the languages you speak? Those people we met the other week on Nerinna, even Elizabeth couldn't figure out what the hell they were talking about and you had us in trade negotiations in five minutes."
Teyla smiled. "I have long since grown past the stage where I feel embarrassed by my faults, or shy about the things with which I have difficulty. In this life there is no room for such trivialities. All I meant was that, sometimes, when I allow it, it makes me sad to think of all that my people have lost. When I allow it, of course."
"Of course." John nodded. He knew how responsible Teyla felt for her people, understood the notion of all their worries being her own. "Tell you what, why don't we go to the gym. You can kick my ass as per usual and teach me something cool. Probably how to sever an arm with a silk scarf or something."
"John, do not be ridiculous. Simple cotton will suffice."
They stood and John tucked the book into a pocket of her jacket, his hand lingering on the small of her back as he followed her out of the mess.