Disclaimer: I don't own "Stargate: Atlantis." I am in no way trying to make a profit off this story, I am merely writing it and posting for my and other people's enjoyment. (Trust me, if I owned "Atlantis," Ronon and Teyla would be long and happily married with three kids and a dog.)
Synopsis: Tag to "The Long Goodbye." Teyla makes a midnight visit to the infirmary. RononTeyla
Warnings: Pure, unashamed fluff
Spoilers: The Long Goodbye, Runner, Trinity, Condemned
Dedication: To my awesome sister/best friend Dia.Dahling. Remember, you were the one who told me to take advantage of my fluffy mood. And to the wonderful TeylaFan – I missed you, big twin sis!
Author's notes: I have no clue what brought this fic to mind, really. I haven't watched "The Long Goodbye" in a while, since it is far from my favorite episode. (Except for this one Ronon/Teyla moment in the jumper. . .) Dia.Dahling told me to take advantage of my fluffy mood, though. And perhaps it stemmed from a scene in Stephenie Meyers' awesome new novel, "The Host," in which there are a lot of people getting shot (by alien-influenced shooters, oddly enough). LOL Anyway, I hope you enjoy this fic, and thank you so much for reading it!
I'd left the habit of walking around barefoot on Athos, or so I'd thought. But if there was anything I'd learned from that time, it's that walking barefoot makes me quiet. The soles of my feet made no sound on the floor as I moved from my quarters to the infirmary.
The lights of the hall were dimmed to nighttime levels. Thus, my eyes were already adjusted by the time I reached my destination.
I stood just inside the closed doors for a while, acclimating myself to my new surroundings. The sterile smell of strong cleaners assaulted my nose; the steady beep of the heart monitor soothed my ears; the sight of Ronon's long, lean form on the single bed in the isolation room made my eyes water. The sensory overload almost made me spin and run back out of the room. But I'd come to stay with Ronon, to watch over him in the night and to reassure myself he'd be fine. So that was what I'd do.
Dr. Beckett kept a chair (only moderately comfortable, but better than a stool or the floor) by the desk in the corner. Carrying this over to Ronon's bed, I settled down in it to keep what promised to be a long nightly vigil.
For a long time, I did nothing but stare at him. I'd always admired Ronon's skin: smooth, sun-kissed honey, made even browner by all the time he spent in the sunlight. But his natural color was faded now, washed out by his ordeal and the overhead lights. I longed to see him in the sun again, smiling and laughing like he so rarely did.
Does, I mentally corrected myself. He's not dead. He's not going to die. I won't let him. Though, I knew if it came down to it, I wouldn't be able to stop the process.
I still did not know how close or far away he is from death. When that report was given, I was chasing an alien-possessed Col. Sheppard through the halls of Atlantis. I would most certainly never trust my team leader the same way again – or not for a while, at least. Nor Elizabeth, my friend, who had put Ronon in his current situation. They would always be my friends, my family. But it would take me – and Ronon, undoubtedly – a while to forget this particular debacle.
But still, I could have asked the doctor later, after the situation was (mostly) resolved. In truth, I was too afraid, even now, to ask, not wanting to hear the answer I was terrified of receiving.
At last I pulled the tattered, tired remains of my courage to me. I reached out my hands to gently fold them around his, careful not to dislodge or even jar the needle taped to the back of his cold hand. I longed to look at his face again, in hopes he'll appear better this time, but instead kept my gaze on his large, scarred hand. Better to remember him the way he was, should this – end badly.
This was, apparently, a night for pessimism. Normally I would believe in Ronon's strength, his undeniable will to fight and survive. But that was before I saw him looking this broken, this far beyond saving. Now he looked mere breaths from death. I took one hand from his long enough to pull my chair closer to his bed, so I could rest my head on the mattress next to his hip, by our joined hands. I felt tired, unbelievably so. Tired of fighting. Tired of living in fear every day, despite the fact I now lived in the safest place in my home galaxy. Tired of wondering if this would be the last night I'd have with Ronon. . .
The hours trailed by me with insidious, excruciating slowness. Some deep, forgotten part of me longed to cry, but I did not. Teyla Emmagan, the leader, does not cry. Maybe Teyla Emmagan, the woman, has forgotten how to cry; she's been stifled by the leader for so long. I could not show anyone a lapse in my strength, despite the fact there was no one around to see. In some ways, I felt like the last inhabitant of Atlantis, clinging to the remnants of a hopeless, war-torn past which I'd somehow destroyed.
But I refused to give up. Atlantis lived around me, pouring hope into me though the long and exhausting hours. And each fragile breath, each small blip on the heart monitor, proved that Ronon still survived. Still fought to live, to rejoin Atlantis in his rightful place; to rejoin me in our endless fight, our warrior's dance of stolen smiles and forbidden feelings.
At long last Ronon's breathing quickened, though so slowly I did not hear the difference at first. Not until his long fingers weakly curled around mine did I realize he is conscious.
I lifted my head from the mattress, swallowing as I turned my gaze to his face. His eyes, open a mere slit, gazed at me from beneath the veil of his long, dark lashes. "Teyla."
My heart rejoiced. He recognizes me! "Ronon." I instinctively stood to bring myself closer to him, as my right hand moved to rest on his forehead. "It is all right."
"Everything – you – okay?" His words were slow but clear.
I smiled as more tears filled my eyes. Even gut-shot, he still thought of himself last. "Everyone is fine," I assured him. "I am fine." I ran my hand over his tangled dreadlocks, like I have wanted to do for so long. "Go back to sleep, Ronon."
His hand tightened on mine, almost in protest. "You be here when I wake up?" His hoarse voice tugged at my heart, tying it to him in a way that would keep me there forever, if he wanted.
"Yes, Ronon. I will be here when you wake." I felt relieved at the word when, for I knew he'd be okay now.
Then he smiled, that smile I'd been longing to see throughout this long nightly vigil. His green eyes veiled once more as his lids lowered sleepily, but he managed to whisper: "You know I love you, Teyla?"
I swallowed the lump in my throat. "I love you, too, Ronon."
He slept once more. I did not know if it was Ronon or the strong painkillers he was on that spoke those words to me, but I felt happy either way. I leaned down to press a gentle, chaste kiss on his defined cheekbone, just beneath his right eye. Then I settled down in my chair once more, the heavy weight off my chest.
Tomorrow things would return to the way they had been. We would be warriors again: strong, fearless, attached to nothing but our fight. But tonight. . .
Tonight we are Ronon and Teyla, forbidden lovers locked in our eternal struggle for hope.