Title: Understanding

Author: Obsessed1
Character(s): John and Teyla friendship
Genre(s): Stargate Atlantis: H/C -Angst
Summary: John needs a minute. One Shot.


Teyla felt that something was wrong as soon as she entered her quarters. She wasn't alone. Heart pounding deep within her chest, she went to turn on the light, but a familiar voice asked her not to.


In the darkness, she could make out the figure sat on the end of her bed.

"The light hurts my eyes," he said quietly.

Teyla stilled, scanned the room and then remembered the candles on her bedside table. Like a blind person attuned to living in constant darkness, she managed to feel around for matches and light one of them.

She could see John better now. He was leaning forwards, elbows resting on his knees, head in his hands.

"John," she knelt in front of him, placing one hand on his arm, "What is wrong?"

He didn't look up or move.

"Why are you in my quarters?"

She pulled his hands away from his face and he winced at the low level light. There were dark circles under his eyes and he seemed to be wincing.

"Sorry about breaking and entering," he drawled, "…..needed a few minutes to myself."

Teyla didn't know what he meant.

He smiled a little and then reached up to his temple and massaged the area in slow deliberate movements, "I'm hiding," he admitted.

"Why?" And why here, she wanted to ask.

"Rodney wants me to help him run simulations in the chair room."

Teyla sat back onto her heels, "But I thought you had spent most of the morning helping him with the-"

John held his hand up to stop her, "I have. You know Rodney….he's never satisfied. Even when I bring up the right schematics they're the wrong ones." He looked at his watch, "I've got a meeting with Colonel Carter in an hour….figured I'd hold up in here for a while."

"Where Rodney will not find you?"

"Sorry, should have asked first………" He smiled but it didn't reach his eyes. His features were set with hard lines and she could instantly tell he was in pain.

"Are you-"

John swallowed thickly, rubbed at his eyes again, "I'm fine."

"Then why were you sat here in the dark?"

She didn't understand him sometimes. Why he felt the need to lie to them. She'd learned a along time ago to read him from his body language and to not necessarily believe the words he spoke so firmly and confidently. There was nothing confident about the waiver in his voice, or the way he was hunched forwards.

"I told you I'm-"

"John Sheppard, if you are to stay here then you are not to lie to me."

His expression softened and he sighed, "I have a headache."

When he swallowed again and closed his eyes, she pushed, "Is that all?"

"Okay," he held out his hands, "I have a migraine."

"Migraine," she tested the word and realised where she had heard it before, "Like Rodney has sometimes?"

He nodded and then seemed to regret it.

"We must take you to the infirmary…….Rodney has told me of his migraines. They sound painful….."

John grabbed her wrist when she went to stand and was already speaking, "No, no no I'm hiding remember and…..I…."

Teyla waited patiently.

"I don't want anyone to find out."

"But Rodney said-"

"Rodney….he exaggerates about many things. I'll be fine. I just need some peace and quiet. That's why I came to you."

"You think I would not tell?"

"I think you would understand my position as a leader."

Teyla conceded, "Very well. Why don't you lie down and rest. I was going to take a shower before dinner."

John started edging back onto the bed and Teyla slapped his leg before he pulled his boots onto her Athosian bedspread. It had been in her family for years, took great skill to make each handmade patch and he was going to muddy it up. Like the maternal figure she often felt around her men, she started to untie his boots while John shot her an apologetic look.

"Have you always had these migraines?"

John sat up on his elbows and winced when his boot connected loudly with the hard floor, "I wouldn't have been allowed to fly if I did."

Teyla sat on the edge of the bed, fluffing her cushions so John could lie down, "I do not understand."

John lay back, stared at the ceiling, jaw working against the pain.


"Okay, if I tell you what I'm about to tell you will you promise you won't tell Doctor Keller or Rodney?"

Teyla felt conflicted. John wanted to confide, but she was not comfortable with betraying their friends.

"I cannot promise."

John reached out for her hand and gave it a squeeze, "Didn't think you would," he swallowed thickly and closed his eyes tightly.

She didn't take it personally. There was no sense in harbouring ill feelings towards others. She knew John and she knew that he knew that she would be looking out for him.

Rodney had once told her that migraines were much like a headache only ten times worse. He'd asked her to imagine the most pain she had experienced and said it was like that. He said it was like having a hot poker stabbed repeatedly into your eyes. He'd also told her of the nausea, occasional vomiting and light sensitivity.

She could understand him not wanting to tell Keller. As long as she had known him he had tried to do everything in his power to avoid the infirmary.

John shifted beside her and rolled onto his side.

"Would you like something for the pain?"

"Nah, didn't catch it in time….better to let it run its course. I'll be fine in an hour. Just need to sleep this off."

"Very well," she patted him on the arm, "I will have my shower and check on you in a little while."

He closed his eyes and placed his hands behind his head and was asleep before she'd entered her washroom.

When Teyla came out of the shower, John was asleep. He was on his side, one hand under his cheek, the other dangling over the bed. Both legs were scissored across the bed and she couldn't help but think he looked remarkably childlike when he slept.

She dried off her hair, careful to be quiet, and eventually sat in the corner of the room on a chair she had requisitioned from one of the recreation rooms. She sat in perfect silence, content to watch John and take a moment for herself.

It wasn't often she had the time to be still and reflect. It was an important part of Athosian culture; to mediate, take time to appreciate, to heal and it seemed that she had forgotten to do it of late. John had given her that opportunity.

Across the room, he stirred, mumbled something under his breath and then rolled onto his back. She knew his sleeping habits well. Not out of a romantic arrangement, but from out in the field. Usually he would be much stiller, he wouldn't talk and he would have woken up the minute she tripped on his boot. This John was different. This John had allowed his defences to drop. Had allowed her to see it. She could not betray him.

Her earpiece crackled; she tried to cover the squawk of Rodney's voice as he demanded to know where Sheppard was.

"Well, have you seen him? He was supposed to be in the chair room an hour and a half ago!?"

Teyla whispered, careful not to wake John, "I have not seen him Rodney. Perhaps you should try his quarters."

"I have and everywhere else! I even went to the armoury! No one has seen him……and why are you whispering?"

"I was meditating."

"Oh, right….well, if you see him I need him."

"Perhaps you should allow him to rest."

"He can rest all night after I'm finished with him, it's not like he has to try hard with his gene. He's a natural…it's a walk in the park for him Teyla. "

"If I see him, I will tell him to find you."

"Thank you. Enjoy…meditating."

She took a deep breath, air escaping her in one extended exhalation. Rodney could be infuriating sometimes but she knew he only ever had the cities best intentions at heart. Even if people occasionally got hurt. She was beginning to understand why the Colonel was hiding and the implications of what Rodney had just said to her.

"That McKay?"

She hadn't even realised he was awake. He didn't appear to have his eyes open.


He sighed and rolled onto his back, "Guess I should go find him then."

Teyla didn't say anything for a moment. She was still processing her new found knowledge and wondering how to press the subject with John.

"Perhaps you should tell Rodney that you need time to recover."

"I'm…." she knew he was going to say he was fine, but for some reason he stopped himself.

"Why haven't you told anyone that using your ATA gene gives you migraines?"

He sat up, switched on a side light, pale and dishevelled and looking in dire need of at least a few more hours sleep.

"I didn't say-"

"Sometimes it is not what you say John……….."

He rubbed a hand over his face, "Because people need me. Rodney needs me for these diagnostics and-"

"You need to look after yourself."

"I'm fine……… really. I don't get them all the time. It's…it's the chair really. There's a lot to process."

"It hurts?"

"No. It's……." he rocked his boot with his foot, "….not really. I can handle it. These headaches…..I've just been pushing myself harder….for Rodney…for Atlantis."

She didn't understand. Probably never would and there was no point in pushing him.

"At least take this time to recover. Sleep."

"Rodney will find me. He always does."

"He can find you tomorrow."

"Teyla." He whined.

She gave him a pointed look that cut through the shadow of the room.


He switched the light off and lay back, huffing out a sigh as he rolled onto his side.



"Thanks. I knew I could count on you."

Teyla stood gracefully, opening the door to her quarters and slipped out into the light.

The End – why do I want to right more of this? Argh!! Please comment :D