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.

Synopsis: Written for the lovely TeylaFan. "To be honest," she said hesitantly, "I wanted to stay." Please see author's note. . .

Rating: K+

Warnings: None

Pairings: Ronon/Teyla, with a side of John/Teyla comradeship/friendship

Spoilers: Rising; Home; Runner; Sateda; and my fic Enduring Love

Title: Homeward Bound

Author: fyd818

Part 1/1

Dedication: To TeylaFan. Thank you for everything, sis!

Author's notes: Okay, this fic is complicated. For the record, I am in no way writing this to seem like a John/Teyla ship fic. I absolutely do not ship John and Teyla, in any way, period. Ronon/Teyla is my only Atlantis OTP, as it always shall be. This is set in my Aeternus Amo universe. Anything John/Teyla here is meant as friendship, comradeship, and nothing more. Though, since my awesome friend TeylaFan is a John/Teyla shipper, I wanted to add something John/Teyla in there – but I don't do ship for them, so I went for the friendship angle. (Sorry, sis!) Though, if you're a Sheyla -- feel free to interpret this however you wish, though please keep in mind I did not mean it as shippy. This is a kind of tag for "Home," and a missing scene for "Enduring Love." So thank you for enduring this author's note – and I hope you enjoy this fic!

Homeward Bound

fyd818

Teyla Emmagan cradled her cup of tea in her hands, trying to warm them. This planet had warm days, but the nights could be downright frigid. It was her own fault, really, for suggesting this planet to Atlantis. They were good trading partners for Athos, so she figured it wouldn't be too far a stretch to extend it to Atlantis, too. The night watch she currently kept was more of a habit than anything else. The natives were peaceful, and rather shy. They couldn't attack a human being even if they were threatened. They believed in preserving life, instead of taking it away. They lived on strictly vegetarian diets, which gave the Atlantians a little variety in their diets. Particularly since they had no way to contact their homeworld, Earth.

Earth. A strange place, she mused quietly. From what she'd seen of it, courtesy of an alien experience and John Sheppard's sometimes uncouth manipulations of his surroundings, she had no desire to go there. It was so large, and the people were so – different. Everything was busy, go-go-go constantly. She liked action, every now and then. But some peace and quiet, every now and then, was nice, too.

"Hey."

Teyla looked up from her tea when John Sheppard sat down next to her. "Is it time for your watch already?" she asked.

"Nah." The major shrugged and reached for the coffeepot sitting out of the direct heat of the flame. He shifted it closer to the heat to get warmer as he rummaged around for a cup in which to pour it. "I just couldn't sleep."

"It is unusually cold," she agreed. It was a very good thing she'd been prepared with a heavy coat and thick gloves.

"You're saying this isn't the normal cold for this planet?" John stared at her.

"No. Usually it is a little warmer than this. But we are approaching their winter season. It will continue to grow colder than normal, for about three or four weeks. Their winters are short, but very cold." She sipped at her tea as John poured his coffee. "May I ask you a question, Maj. Sheppard?"

John sipped at his coffee, swore, and swiped at his lip. Sending her an apologetic glance, he nodded and garbled out a, "Sorry. Sure. What do you want to know?"

"Is Earth – the same as it was in your mind?"

He looked surprised at her question. "Um. . ." He hesitated, obviously considering the question carefully before he answered. "Well – no, not really. The mall – that was pretty much right. And the SGC. And, to a certain extent, some of the other places. But there towards the end – no, not everyone and everything on Earth is that way. Why?"

Teyla shrugged, focusing her gaze on the fire. "I was merely curious." She sighed. "Did you – even for a moment – consider staying there?"

Now John stared openly at her. "What do you mean? Why would I ever consider staying there? It wasn't real. It would never be real."

She felt tears fill her eyes. Frustrated, she pushed them away. "I-I just – I wanted to know because – for a split second, when he offered. . . To be honest," she said hesitantly, "I wanted to stay."

John blinked rapidly. "I – see," he said slowly. "Why is that?"

Teyla ran her finger around the rim of her cup, gaze focused on the light brown liquid inside. "I have told you, to a certain extent, that the life I had on Athos was not my only one. I had another, on another world."

John nodded. "Yes. With your husband – you married him and moved to his world. It was culled by the Wraith, and he was taken – that's why you moved back to Athos." He quickly and efficiently summed up what she'd told him after coming to Atlantis.

Pleased he remembered, Teyla nodded. "That is correct. Sometimes – I wish I could regain that life. I want something I can feel, can touch. With that world, even for a little while – I could have that again. Everything I lost could have been returned to me." She breathed out, swiping at her tears with one gloved hand. As soon as one drop left her eye, it felt like a cube of ice on her skin. "The thought of staying there – of regaining Sateda, and my life with Ronon – called to me so strongly. It seemed like these aliens were dangling before me the one thing I wanted in life, enticing me to take it. The price was high. . . But, for a few moments, I was so very willing to pay it."

John silently regarded her for a moment, pondering what she'd told him. Then, "What made you change your mind?"

Teyla shook loose strands of hair out of her face, turning to face him when she responded. "Kyana, mostly. No matter how much I want Ronon and our life on Sateda back, I could not leave her without both of her parents, though she never had a chance to meet her father." There was more, but she didn't want to say it. Admitting her hope aloud would make her pain worse if it were ever proved untrue.

The major seemed to know it, though. "You think he might be alive, still." It was not a question, merely a statement of fact.

"Perhaps it is foolish of me to hope," she sighed. "But yes, that is the other reason why I did not accept their offer. There is a very large part of me that hopes Ronon is out there – somewhere." Once more, she refused to allow herself to wonder why, if he were still alive, he was not coming home.

John seemed to understand that, and didn't address the matter. "Why didn't you say something before?" An awkward expression crossed his face, and he looked away. "Sorry if I just said something wrong and offended you. . ." He trailed off.

"No. It is all right." Teyla sipped at her now-lukewarm tea. "Saying it aloud would make me all the more disappointed if I were ever to discover Ronon did not survive the attack on Sateda."

"Ah." John nodded. "That makes sense."

Teyla sighed. "I will keep searching, though. I refuse to give up, as long as there is hope."

Hesitantly, John reached out and awkwardly patted her hand. He quickly withdrew it, but she was grateful for the motion from her usually reserved friend. "We'll help you," he said. "In whatever way we can."

"Thank you, Major," she said softly. Suddenly she felt very tired.

John noticed. "Go get some sleep," he said. "I'll take over the rest of your watch."

"But—" she began to protest.

"Nah, go on." He smiled wanly. "You've given me a lot to think about. I need some time to digest it all."

Teyla quickly rinsed out her cup, careful not to get the label with her name on it wet, and set it aside for later use. "Good night then, Major Sheppard."

John smiled, waggling his fingers at her in a good-night wave. "Night, Teyla. Sleep well."

For the first time in a long time, Teyla was sure she would. "I will." She moved to crawl into her tent, then paused and turned back to Sheppard. "Thank you, John," she said softly.

John looked at her, surprised again. "For what?" he asked.

Teyla smiled softly. "For being my friend," she said simply, honestly. "And – for everything."

Another smile, this one slightly awkward, twitched John's lips. "You're welcome. Nice girl like you – with a sweet little girl like Kyana. . ." He trailed off. "You're welcome."

Teyla crawled into her tent, pulled off her boots, and cocooned herself in her sleeping bag.

As she drifted off to sleep, to dreams of her beloved and her hopes for the future, she prayed a prayer of thankfulness for the good friend, and all his help that night.

-The End-