This is a kind-of sequel to my other story 'Interesting', though Interesting isn't mentioned at all in this one. It's just a very similar format, and in my mind takes place a little while after it. It's very random.
The title is a song from The Mikado, and though Teyla's hair is certainly not raven-coloured I like the song so I've named it after it. The song is also about traditions for brides and things, which kind of ties in with this story and Interesting.
Braid the Raven Hair
"Hey Teyla, can I braid your hair?"
Ronon turned his head to look at John. He was sprawled on the sofa at a ninety-degree angle to Ronon's own. Teyla was sitting on the floor in front of his sofa being taught chess by Rodney, who was also sitting on the floor, grouching about how they needed to get a coffee table in the TV room.
Ronon looked at Teyla – she was staring up at John, obviously at a loss for words. John was waiting for her to answer, an expectant look on his face.
"Er…" That was all Teyla could manage.
"I won't if you don't want me to – it's just right there in front of me and I've seen this movie loads of times," John explained.
Teyla was still staring at him. Ronon smirked slightly – John had absolutely no idea what he was asking her. It would be interesting to see her get out of this one.
"Well, yes, of course you can."
Ronon quickly schooled his expression into one of complete disinterest and looked back at the TV, though disinterest was definitely not what he was feeling. He didn't want Teyla to see him watching though – she probably didn't know that he knew about the hair thing, and he didn't want to make her uncomfortable.
He heard John moving on the sofa behind him. "Okay, sit back properly," he said. Ronon heard Teyla move.
Rodney snorted. "You're actually a twelve-year-old girl, you know that?"
"Rodney, you're just jealous because you don't know how to braid hair," John said, sounding completely unembarrassed.
"Well, god knows what kind of state Teyla's hair is going to be in when you're done with it," Rodney retorted.
"Yeah, we'll see," John replied.
Ronon turned around to tell them to be quiet, but really to see what was going on. Rodney shrugged and went back to the game he and Teyla were playing. Teyla was sitting with her back against the sofa, and John was sitting directly behind her, one leg either side of her, busily braiding the half of her hair that Rodney – and Ronon, for that matter – couldn't see.
Teyla was apparently concentrating on the chessboard as well, but Ronon could see she wasn't really. She was sitting so still she looked about ready to snap, and her hands were semi-clenched on the floor next to her – not in fists, but definitely not relaxed.
"I haven't done this is ages," John said. "And this is really bad – I'm starting again."
Ronon watched Teyla carefully as John ran his hand through the braid he'd already done, to undo it. Her eyes closed briefly and she swallowed, but quickly recovered. Ronon smirked again and turned back to the movie.
About five minutes later, Rodney spoke up.
"How are you doing that?"
Ronon looked over his shoulder again. John had finished one side of Teyla's hair and had started on the other side. He had started near the top of her head, just above her temple, and was pulling all her hair into one neat braid bit by bit. It actually looked good.
John shrugged. "I'm just great, is all," he said, smirking. Rodney rolled his eyes.
"Seriously, where did you learn to do that?" Rodney asked.
"We used to babysit my cousin a lot, and my Mom used to braid her hair," John said. "It's not that difficult you know."
John finished the braid he was working on and used the one tie Teyla had had in her hair to fasten the two braids together. "All done," he said.
Teyla reached up to feel the braids and then looked round at John. He smiled down at her, and she smiled back. Ronon fought the urge to roll his eyes.
"Thank you, John," Teyla said, turning back round.
Rodney was still staring at her hair. "I think I see how it works – you bring in the hair from either side one at a time, and if you add it underneath to make the braid stick out like that –"
He reached out his hand and Teyla quickly ducked away, her hand going back to the braid protectively. "I think my hair has been played with enough for one night," she said, smiling slightly.
Rodney shrugged and looked back at the chessboard. He moved the… well, like Ronon cared what it actually was. One of the pieces anyway.
"Check," he said.
Teyla frowned at the chessboard. John leaned forward and started to whisper something in her ear. Teyla's eyes widened and Ronon clearly saw her breath hitch in her throat, but then she relaxed and started to study the chessboard intently. John was obviously telling her something about the game.
"Hey, what are you telling her?" Rodney said, glaring at him.
John sat back and blinked innocently. "Nothing. Nothing at all."
Ronon shook his head and turned back round. Sometimes his team-mates were more entertaining than these movies.
The next day Ronon was eating lunch when Rodney sat down opposite him. He didn't look happy.
"Somehow Zelenka found out Teyla beat me at chess last night," he said, without even saying hello. "It's all I've heard all morning."
"Well I didn't say anything," Ronon said, concentrating on what was left of his sandwich.
"Of course you didn't," Rodney said. "It was obviously Sheppard."
"Or Teyla," Ronon said reasonably.
Rodney snorted. "Oh no, it was Sheppard," he said. "And if he hadn't been telling her what to do she never would have beaten me. Plus I was going easy on her, since it was her first game."
Ronon nodded, not looking up. "Sure."
"I was!" Rodney sounded pretty indignant. "Damn Sheppard. Maybe I should tell everyone that he was braiding Teyla's hair last night, see what that does for his soldier mystique."
Ronon looked up. "Don't," he said.
Rodney looked surprised. "What? Why not?" He asked.
Ronon looked around the mess hall – it was still pretty early and they pretty secluded. "Teyla wouldn't want that getting around," he said.
Rodney now looked confused. "Why not?" He asked curiously.
Ronon lounged back in the small plastic chair. He'd have to tell him.
"The Athosians have this weird thing about their hair," he said. "It's taboo to touch someone's hair, or have them touch yours."
Rodney's eyebrows went up. "Really?" He asked. "Why'd she let Sheppard, then?"
Ronon smirked. "Well, they do touch their hair sometimes," he said. "But only the people they know really well. Really well. If you see one of them touching someone's hair, then either they're related or… they're about to be."
Rodney stared at him. "You're kidding," he said.
Ronon shook his head. "Nope," he said. "So don't spread it round, because I'm pretty sure there are some people here who know it's not a done thing, but Sheppard sure as hell isn't one of them."
Rodney was still staring at him, but then his sight line shifted to over his shoulder, to the doorway. Ronon looked round and saw that John and Teyla had just entered the mess hall together, their bantos sticks in hand.
They both grabbed trays and moved along the line to get food. At one point, Teyla reached up to get a pudding with the hand that still held the bantos sticks and whacked John on the head with them by accident. He staggered back dramatically as though she had hurt him, but returned to her side a second later with a grin. Ronon watched as Teyla said something and then, smiling, reached up and rubbed his head where she had hit him, running her hand over his hair.
Ronon turned back round to face Rodney, whose mouth was now hanging slightly open. Ronon nudged his leg with his foot under the table and Rodney snapped out of it. He looked back at Ronon, raised his eyebrows and then started on his lunch without saying anything.
Ronon also went back to his sandwich, thinking. He sometimes wondered - if John and Teyla hadn't come from such different backgrounds and knew all the same customs, would they already be together? As it was they were dancing round each other, neither knowing when the other did something significant.
Better than a movie, but definitely more annoying.