Chapter Title: Dear Universe, I Hate You. Love, Teyla
Author: Thayne MacHern
Summary: Teyla finds a journal about her, written by one of her teammates, but she doesn't know who.
Rating: Miraculously...still PG.
Teyla's frantic behaviour had made Tegan cry five times since lunch, and each time it happened, Teyla had considered radioing John and telling him that something had come up and she wouldn't be able to make it. But she didn't. She'd come this far, and as nervous as she was, she wasn't ready to just surrender to her nerves. "An hour and a half," the Athosian woman told her infant son, who was too busy gulping formula from a bottle to pay her any mind. "An hour and a half, and I will be on a," she gulped, "Date...with John Sheppard." But what if he didn't think it was a date? They had shared many, many dinners together and none had been anything more than two friends enjoying a meal, as well as one another's company. Why should this be any different? What reason did he have to think so? She only hoped he was perceptive enough to see this for what it really was--permission for him to lose control.
Twenty minutes later, Teyla began getting ready for the dinner. She dressed herself in a light-cotton, olive-green, thin-strapped dress with a modest--but not prudent--V-dip collar and a hemline that ended just below her knees. A gift from a friend on Ballkan, the dress was formal enough to spark the colonel's interest, but casual enough that it didn't slap him in the face and demand his attention like a lovestruck Manarian chambermaid. The woman added a pair of woven sandels and the necklace--something called "claddagh"--John had given to her as a gift (or an apology--she'd never discovered which) after saving her from Michael. By the time she'd redone her hair and dressed Tegan in one of the nicest outfits he had, it was very near to 2000 hours and her stomach was doing flips fast enough to make her nauseous.
She took a deep breath and began pacing back and forth in her room, shaking her hands in hopes to relieve some of her nervousness, but to no avail. Suddenly, she stopped dead, eyes finding the bouquet of amarone lilies that now stood in a tall vase on the desk by her bed. Smiling smally, she went to them and plucked one from the glass, clipping off half of the stem before slipping the remaining half behind her right ear and situating the flower so that it curved gracefully along her cheekbone. She could smell it, even from there, and it made her smile widen as she couldn't help but think that John had bought her these flowers. That made her think, once again, of all the things he'd written about her and she realized all of her nervousness was for nothing, because she knew how he felt and she knew he wouldn't reject her, and her anxiety fled almost insantly.
And just in time, as fate would have it, because her doorchime went off barely a second later.
Teyla gathered Tegan up in her arms and went to the door, waving her hand over the panel to open it. When it did open, she almost lost her breath at the sigh before her. Now, it wasn't as if John was a very messy man by nature, but when he actually put an effort into his looks, it made his usual style seem downright unkept. Standing in the doorway, in black slacks and an untucked, white dress shirt, his hair combed and sticking up in an intentional way, face smooth and freshly-shaven, was a John Sheppard the woman had never seen before. He had a canvas bag slung over his shoulder and that trademark smirk on his face, which erased any doubt in Teyla's mind that this was the real John Sheppard.
All the while she studied him, it never occured to her that he was looking her over with the same stunned expression. "Teyla, you look," his smirk grew, perhaps to disguise the fact that he was a little breathless, "Beautiful."
She felt herself blush and she ducked her head to hide it, "Thank you, John; you look quite handsome as well." She looked back up to see him smiling down at her, and she couldn't help but return it, grabbing Tegan's diaper bag before looping her free arm through John's when he offered it, and they started down the hall.
"Oh," John said suddenly, looking down at Tegan, who watched him with an open-mouthed smile. "You look very well, too, Tegan; I think you got cuter in the time that I was gone."
Teyla laughed at this and stole a glance at the canvas bag, "What is in your bag?"
"Well," John patted the bag with his free hand, eyes forward, "This is our dinner. I thought we could have ourselves a little picnic on the south pier." He looked at her, "Is that okay with you?"
She felt herself blush again under the intensity of his eyes and simply nodded, "That sounds wonderful." The rest of the walk was spent in silence, aside from the small cooes they each made at the baby when he began fussing, and it seemed to take forever to get to where they were going.
But it was worth it once they finally did.
If seeing John made Teyla lose her breath, then the sight before her now asphyxiated her. In the centre of the pier was a large quilt, spread out, surrounded five or six lanterns that casted haunting light over the ocean. Against one of the walls that boxed in the area was a stack of blankets, and next to it was an object Teyla recognized as the portable bassinet that got passed around the base, to whomever happened to be watching the baby at the time. Evan must have given it to John. There was nothing truly spectacular about the set-up, but just the fact that John had thought of it warmed Teyla's heart.
His voice startled her--she hadn't been expecting it--and she jumped slightly before shaking her head, "Not at all. In fact, I am very flattered that you would go through all of this trouble."
He smiled at her, sincere and warm, "No trouble at all. Go ahead and sit down." She did, slipping off her shoes first before sliding onto the quilt and tucking her feet beneath her, careful to be sure her dress always covered her knees. John followed her motion, kicking off his boots before dropping down next to her, taking the bag from his shoulder and placing it next to him. Then he reached back over one of the lanterns to grab the bassinet and bring it to rest between Teyla and himself, but off to the side slightly. Teyla thanked him and lowered Tegan into it, placing the diaper bag beside it as John began unloading his own bag. It was filled with containers of food he had to have brought back from Earth, because it looked (and smelled) too good to be from the cafeteria. When all else was between them, he reached into the bag for the last of it--first came two metal cups, and Teyla found herself holding her breath. Only to let it out with disappointment when John extracted a thermos of hot tea--he came here without the wine. He came without the intention of losing control of himself.
Aside from that minor snag, they both enjoyed themselves. They ate something called "spaghetti" and "shrimp scampi," along with a wide variety of Earth breads and fruits and vegetables. They talked about John's trip back to Earth, and the Millers, and Rodney's behaviour with his family. They talked about Tegan, and how he was developing, and anything else they could think of. They talked well through dessert (a concoction called "cheesecake," that tasted of neither cheese nor cake, but was delicious all the same), telling silly stories of their pasts, along with serious ones, talking to one another in a way they never had before--all because they weren't ready to return to their rooms.
"I was six," John was telling Teyla as the last of the cheesecake was devoured, "And it was one of those things I just couldn't understand. It didn't make any sense to me that a person could just go out for groceries one day and never come back. I just couldn't," his forehead wrinkled, "Couldn't understand that people were bad, and did things without reasons, and that those things had consenquences. And, above all, I couldn't understand how it was fair for someone to decide that I could never see my mother again; that she wasn't worth being a part of this world." He cleared his throat and licked his thumb, clearing off the bit of cheesecake there, making his voice as nonchalant as possible, "They never caught the guys that did it. Six shots in broad daylight, in the middle of a parking lot, and nobody saw anything."
"Oh, John," Teyla said in a soft, sympathetic voice, "I am so sorry." She covered his hand with her own just as a cool breeze rushed over them, and she shivered against it. He gave her a small smile and pulled away from her to grab one of the blankets against the wall, unfolding it to drape it over her shoulders, to which she nodded gratefully. John took a second blanket and, keeping it mostly folded, covered Tegan with it, letting his thumb run over the now-sleeping child's forehead, brushing back the dark hair there.
"You're a lucky lady," John said, changing the subject.
For about the thousandth time that night, Teyla remembered John's entries, and all the things he'd said about Tegan. The knowledge sparked a sort of daring drive in Teyla, and she moved so that she was sitting side-by-side with John, and let her head droop down to rest against his shoulder. She felt him stiffen--every muscle in this body was tensed--and she was about to pull away when he suddenly relaxed, letting out a deep breath and moving closer to her. Moving so smoothly she almost didn't feel it, John looped one arm behind Teyla's back--under the blanket--and let his hand fall on her opposite side, then brought his cheek down to rest against the top of her head. They stayed like that for a long time, both a little nervous, hearts racing at an alarming pace, but both completely comfortable and content, as if this were the way their bodies were meant to fit together. After what seemed like hours, Teyla's right hand fell on John's left knee, and his free hand moved to take it, feeling the coolness of the night air there. Slowly--painfully slowly--they both began to twist their necks so that they were looking right at each other.
John's hazel eyes had turned a spectacular shade of vulnerable, with flecks of unsure around the pupils, and Teyla couldn't help but be drawn in by them--couldn't help wanting to soothe away that doubt. She drew in a breath and tilted her head up, eyes never leaving his as he started down at an equally slow pace to meet her. This was it. Their lips were just inches away from one another. Teyla couldn't believe it; she was about to kiss John Sheppard. She was about the kiss the man that cared for her so truly and unquestioningly--cared for her son more than himself, no matter who the father was. All at once, it seemed as if there was a cosmic right with the universe, if something this spectacular could happen--if these two people could finally end up together.
"Um," John cleared his throat, stopping in his advances, "I think, uh," he pulled back entirely, scratching his head nervously, abashed, "I should get you back to your room; we're all likely to catch a cold out here."
"A...cold?" Teyla said incredulously, eyes wide.
"Yeah, and its late," the colonel continued, already moving to stand, "And we do have to work tomorrow, so..." he trailed off, hoping she wouldn't need any further convincing. And she didn't.
The universe sucked.