Written for garneteve (on LJ).
No spoilers, takes place after an unnamed victory at some point in time after season 1, because Ronon is in it.


He didn't completely understand how it was possible to stand in the middle of a community of people and feel like he was the only person in the entire universe still standing. It didn't seem possible to feel this disconnected from everything and everyone when people were laughing and crying and singing for joy all at once. When hugs and back slaps and shoulder bumps of affection were being traded all around him.

But in the sea of humanity that flowed before and behind and beside him, John Sheppard felt completely removed from it all. He was pretty sure that if he just closed his eyes, he could fade away into nothingness by simply willing it so. He was near empty - his stomach a knot of pain from hunger, approaching the edge of blood loss from cuts and scraps and a bullet hole in his forearm, running low on sleep and energy - it shouldn't be that difficult a feat to accomplish if he could just scrape together enough mental concentration.

Then he felt small, callused hands encircling his wrists, drawing him out of himself. John opened his eyes and stared down into Teyla's dirt smeared face - her brown eyes alight with concern and triumph and weariness, lips turned up slightly at the corners in both amusement and question. He could feel those two tiny points of human contact on his wrist draw more than just his attention, but his being back into the currents of life around him. It was a slow process, like walking one step at a time deeper into the ocean until the water was lapping at his chin and then flickering light above his head.

"It is done, Colonel," Teyla told him in her most formal tone of voice. And then she smiled up to him, smiled all the way to her eyes and tugged on his wrists lightly. "Dance, John. This is a moment for great joy and celebration."

Then from just a few feet behind him on his right he heard Rodney sing out to him, "Ding-dong the witch is dead."

When John turned to look at Rodney, he was confused and then surprised at the sensations working their way up from his belly. And at any other time, John would seriously consider the idea that he should be committed to an asylum because all he wanted to do in that moment was laugh. Laugh at the fact that Rodney had black circles under his eyes, that his hands were blood stained from his fingers to his elbows and he'd gotten splatter in the face, that he had a split lip and a bandage wrapped around his calf over his boot and was resting heavily on Ronon's equally bloody supporting arm. Laugh because Ronon had a broken arm in a make-shift sling and looked as though he'd gone ten round with a Wraith when he was blind folded with both hands tied behind his back (which, incidentally, he had).

And while the laughter tickled the hunger knot in his stomach, itched it's way up into his chest and through his lungs, and bubbled up from his throat and out of his mouth John turned back to Teyla. His own eyes glimmering with delight and tears.

He left his P90 to clatter uselessly to floor with its empty clip, dented scope, and jammed trigger. In it's place he took Teyla at her word and swept her into his arms to dance, picking up the tune Rodney had sang at him.

"Ding-dong, the witch is dead!" John sang jubilantly as he swung them about.

"Which old witch?" John heard Rodney pick up the second line as John danced Teyla closer to the rest of their team. She looked a little confused, but plenty happy to see him act as excited as he should have been feeling from the start.

"The wicked witch!" Someone else joined in.

"Ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead!"