See, I told you all to trust me! Thanks for the reviews for the last chapter – this one is longer, but not ridiculously slow. Again, it just seemed like a good place to end it.
Forgot to give a spoiler alert for the last chapter (First Strike, as I'm sure you all figured out…) – this chapter has spoilers for First Strike, Adrift and Lifeline.
Teyla stood on the balcony, staring up at the deceptively beautiful light above her. Ronon had left not long after John, to go and find food, but Teyla had remained, just looking out over the city.
She had given up on sleep earlier that night, deciding to go for a midnight snack or training session… or something. She'd met Ronon, prowling the corridors, and then they had heard from a passing Marine that John was back, and that the mission had been a success. They'd headed straight to the control room to find him and hear about it firsthand.
Teyla remembered the relief she'd felt at hearing the plan had worked, and that John and everyone else had returned safely. She had basked in it, berating herself for having worried so before. In the light of the Apollo's triumph she had forgotten her unnamed fear from earlier.
Now, staring up at the Replicator beam attacking the city, her home, she knew she had been wrong to do so. She had not seen this coming – none of them had, not even Elizabeth – but she felt foolish for letting her guard down, even for just a few minutes.
One thing was certain – no one on Atlantis would be sleeping tonight.
I think we should make a deal…
Teyla swung her legs out from under her covers and sat on the edge of her bed, facing the doors of her quarters. The small movement sapped her of all her determination, though, and she stayed there, just staring at the wall. A moment ago she had managed to talk herself into seeking out John – she hadn't slept in two days, she was emotionally and physically drained… and yet she was wide awake.
I think we should make a deal… whenever we can't sleep, we tell the other.
It had been John's idea, it had been John that had held out his hand to Teyla for her to shake, and make their 'deal' official. But tonight… tonight, Teyla just wasn't sure whether she should go to John. She wanted to, more than anything right now, but tonight, she couldn't help but think he would want to be alone.
Teyla sighed, and stood up. One thing was certain in her mind – in spite of of what he might want, he shouldn't be alone.
She would check on him – just check on him. If he was asleep, she would leave him be. Regardless of her restlessness and their deal, if John had managed to sleep tonight there was no way that Teyla would wake him.
But there's no point losing sleep if we know that we could just help each other out.
No, she would not wake him. But she would check.
Decided, Teyla walked over to her door and activated the controls to open it. She stepped out into the corridor, turning towards John's quarters, and stopped after just a few steps.
John was standing against the opposite wall, a little further down the corridor, leaning back and staring at her. He didn't move as she exited her quarters, and from the tilt of his body it was obvious that he had been staring at her door. How long he'd been there Teyla just didn't know, and she didn't ask.
She stepped back, opening her door again, and backed up into the threshold. She paused, her eyes still on John, waiting for him to respond. He looked drained, so completely void of all feeling, and all energy, and Teyla wondered for a moment if he could actually move. But a second later, he pushed off from the wall and walked across the corridor towards her, his eyes dropping to the floor. It was then that Teyla noticed he was dressed for bed, in his usual t-shirt and joggers, and he was barefoot.
Teyla turned and walked over to her bed, swiftly pushing back the covers and arranging her cushions across the headboard. She climbed into the bed and shifted over to the far side. Only then did she look back at John – he had stopped just inside the doors – now closed – and he was staring at her again. It occurred to Teyla then that they had never done this in her quarters before; she had always gone to him before now. She gave John a small, encouraging smile, and he kept walking.
John climbed into the bed next to Teyla and lay down on his back, staring up at the ceiling. Teyla arranged the covers back over them and lay down on her side, facing John. He continued to stare up into the darkness, his hands folded together on his chest. Teyla wondered if he was purposefully trying not to touch her, and remembered the first time they had shared a bed, how embarrassed they had been to wake up so close to one another in the morning. Since then, they had just fallen asleep in each other's arms – it was more comfortable that way anyway. Teyla didn't think that John was embarrassed now; he was avoiding her for another reason, perhaps for the reason he had stayed outside her quarters rather than coming in.
She didn't pry, or try to force him into anything. She just stayed on her side, studying his profile in the dim moonlight. His face was impassive, stony even, and his eyes remained wide open. Appearances were deceiving though, Teyla knew, and she was positive that John's blank expression hid a mind in turmoil. He had not said anything to her about it – he had been incredibly quiet since his return, everyone had – but Teyla knew that he was hurting. Badly hurting.
She knew what had happened – Ronon had explained it to her, brusquely even for him – and there had been nothing either of them could have done. But she knew John would not see it like that. He would never forgive himself for losing Elizabeth, just like he had never forgiven himself for losing Aiden, or for Carson's death. This cut would run deep.
For all of them.
Teyla dropped her gaze and stared at the short ends of John's hair against the light cream of her pillowcase. Her eyes travelled down to his neck and his shoulders – he was tense, forcing himself to keep still. His breaths were slow and even – not slow like he was sleeping, but slow as though he was consciously controlling his breathing. Teyla looked back at his face – his expression hadn't changed, but his eyes were shining in the moonlight – shining with unshed tears.
Before Teyla could do anything more than notice, John sat up suddenly, shaking his head. "I…" he muttered. "I'm gonna go."
Teyla reached out automatically and seized his arm, sitting up next to him. "John…" Her voice broke as she said his name, her own emotion bubbling to the surface. The pain of losing Elizabeth, the hopelessness she felt in the wake of the grief that now gripped the city, the sorrow she felt for how John obviously blamed himself…
John looked back at her, and for a split second his mask slipped. Teyla saw the intense pain in his eyes as he looked at her, and though he quickly hid it, it was enough. Teyla felt her self-control snap within her. Her hand tightened on his arm and her head dropped so that her forehead was resting against his shoulder.
"Please stay," she whispered.
Teyla felt John shudder beneath her, but she just tightened her grip. Tears slipped silently down her cheeks, and she kept her face against his shoulder, scared that she would completely fall apart if she actually looked up.
For a moment, Teyla thought that John would leave – she could see the way he would shake his head, hear the way he would mumble "sorry", and feel how his body would disappear as he stood up. But he didn't. He was still, perfectly still for a long time. Then he moved. The shoulder Teyla was leaning against shifted as John lifted his arm. He moved it round Teyla's shoulders and her head fell forward against his chest instead. John lay back down, pulling Teyla with him, and she ended up on her side again, but up against him with her face pressed into his chest. He must have felt her tears through his shirt, but he didn't say anything – he just reached over and took hold of her hand, the hand that was still holding onto his other arm, and squeezed it tightly.
And that was how they stayed; John lying on his back with Teyla tucked into his side, crying into his chest and holding onto his hand, both of them silent but not alone in their grief. And if Teyla noticed John's own tears she didn't say anything – neither of them did, all night.