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: Missing scene for "Trinity." RononTeyla. Sometimes, in the midst of pain, hope finds a home.
Dedication: To Dia.Dahling. Didn't I promise you something? -wink-
Author's notes: I have had this one-shot wandering around in my mind for some time now, begging to be written. I hadn't had time before, then I got writer's block, so I'm just now getting around to writing it. I hope you enjoy, and thank you for reading!
Raindrops misted from the sky as Teyla clutched Ronon's coat a bit tighter. She yanked firmly to guide him, barely saving him from falling over. He reeked of alcohol, the very stuff that impeded his (usually) good sense, and sent him staggering everywhere.
As Teyla dragged Ronon through the doorway into the cozy little inn in which they'd rented two rooms for the night, the light mist turned into a torrential downpour. The thrumming on the roof set Ronon to cringing, and Teyla stumbled sideways with him into the wall. "Stand up straight," she begged him. "We are almost there."
The innkeeper stuck his head out of his quarters to squint at them. "Need some help?" he asked.
"No thank you," Teyla said. "We are almost there."
He shrugged. "Have a good night, then." He ducked back into his rooms.
Teyla leaned Ronon against the wall when she finally got him to his room. For a moment she struggled with the door, trying to get it unlocked and opened. Tucking the key back into her pocket, she shoved the door open with her foot and guided Ronon into the room. "Ugh," she grunted. She stumbled with him across the room, her arms starting to ache from supporting him. It was a relief finally to toss him onto his bed.
"Why'd we leave?" he asked her, his first words since they'd left the tavern.
"I believe you have had enough," she snapped. Teyla knew she wasn't sober herself, but she could only remember having three cups of ale. She'd lost count of how many Ronon had consumed.
"I believe I have," Ronon agreed suddenly. His tanned skin took on a distinct greenish tint, and his eyes slid shut. He'd be fine there, until morning.
I hope you have a roaring headache, Teyla thought spitefully. Then she was immediately ashamed of herself. She shouldn't be blaming Ronon for his actions – he'd just found out so many things in the span of a few hours. It was hard to accept, and no doubt he'd gotten drunk to put off the pain until the morning. She'd try to be more accepting of him. "Good night," she said. With one last sigh, she went to the door.
"Teyla!" he called from behind her. He sounded almost sober.
Hesitantly, she turned from the open doorway to look back at him. She wasn't sure she entirely succeeded in keeping the sympathetic pain from her eyes when she saw him. She was afraid to speak, for fear her voice would break.
In the dim light of the moon coming in the window behind him, Ronon's green eyes sparkled with unnatural brightness. "There are three hundred of my people," he said. The pain in his voice, adding yet another note of deepness to his already slurred tone, dragged at her heart. He closed his eyes, hiding them from her, and placed a long hand over them.
Teyla quickly blinked back the tears in her eyes. Quietly she ducked her head, closing the door behind her. For a moment she leaned back against it, listening for any sounds in the room behind her. Nothing. Satisfied, she slipped into her room next door. He wouldn't be okay – it would take a while for that to come – but he needed this time to be alone. He had a lot to digest.
She draped her coat over the chair in the corner, then went to the washbasin on the dressing table. Sighing in relief, she bathed her face with the cool water. It washed away the day's worth of grime she'd collected, but it did little to take away the pain she suddenly found etched on her features.
A soft groan caught her attention. She froze, listening for a moment, then shook it off as the wooden floor. This inn seemed like quite an antique, a few years older than most others in this district. It would make sense, particularly in this cool, wet weather, that parts of the building would be settling and groaning.
Teyla wrung out her washcloth and lay it aside to dry. She started to move across the room, toward where her bag sat on the end of her bed, when the groaning sound repeated. Curious, she pressed her ear against the wall next to her. The sound came again, slightly muffled this time. She lined up walls in the building, and realized the noises she heard were coming from Ronon's room. She backed away from the wall, determined not to let the sounds get to her. He needed this time alone, to deal with everything. The pent-up grief – perhaps the rage, the celebration, and other things she couldn't comprehend.
She sat on the edge of her bed for a while, listening intently for the sounds. They repeated every now and then, sometimes loudly, sometimes muffled. At last she couldn't stand the growing pain inside her, pain to match Ronon's, no more. She left her room, waiting for a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dim hall, before going to Ronon's.
He still lay on his back, exactly as she'd left him. One hand rested limply at his side, the other flung up over his head, tangled in his hair. His breathing hitched every now and then, soft whimpers that drove the pain deeper into her heart, as the moonlight glistened on the tears sliding slowly down his gaunt cheeks.
"Ronon," she whispered softly. He didn't respond – he was deeply asleep, lost in a place that haunted him more than the waking world. She moved quietly on bare feet across the floor to kneel next to his bed. Resting a hand on his warm forehead, she watched as he settled a little. The whimpers trailed off, eventually stopping. She stayed until she was sure he was deeply asleep.
"Teyla," he called when she was nearly to the door.
An uncanny sense of déjà vu washed over her. She turned slightly to look at him. "Go back to sleep, Ronon."
"Will you – stay?" His voice, hoarse and still filled with pain, weakened whatever defenses she might have built up.
"I—" She wanted to say "no." She wanted to go back to her room, to curl up under the covers and cry herself out over this miserable night. But Ronon – her friend – needed her. How could she deny him? "All right." Teyla went to sit on the edge of the narrow bed, once more resting her hand on his forehead. He shifted around, giving her enough space to rest her back against the headboard and stretch her legs out along the mattress.
"Thank you," he mumbled.
Teyla smiled wanly. "You are welcome," she replied. Shifting, she wound her fingers through the springy hair just above his forehead so she could stroke her thumb across his brow. "Sleep now, Ronon." She softly began to hum, a soft, random rhythm. Eventually she picked up the chorus of a lullaby Charin had sung to her when she was a little girl, to help her get back to sleep after she'd had a nightmare. She couldn't remember all the words, but she sang the parts she could remember and hummed the rest.
Eventually Ronon's breathing evened out as he fell asleep again. Teyla leaned her head back against the headboard, allowing her voice to trail off as exhaustion overwhelmed her. She closed her sleepy eyes and allowed herself to fall into the oblivion awaiting her.
When she awoke a few hours later, after sleeping a deep, dreamless sleep, sunlight was just beginning to touch the windowsill. Teyla took a moment to acclimate herself to her surroundings, struggling to remember why she was here. Then she remembered, and looked down.
Some time during the night, Ronon had shifted so he lay on his side, somewhat awkwardly curling his long frame to fit the bed. His head rested in her lap, one hand curled around her free one. Her other still wound into his hair. Sighing, she took a moment to examine his features, relaxed in sleep. Free of the pain and experience that had aged him far too soon, he looked so young and innocent, it made fresh tears prick her eyes. To think of all he'd suffered in his relatively short life. . .
Teyla gently shifted from beneath him, careful not to jar him too much as she rested his head on the pillow once more. She brushed his temple with a kiss, stubbornly clinging to the moment. In just a few minutes, they'd have to go back to normal, the way things were supposed to be. But tonight she'd shared a warrior's pain, helped shoulder some of the burden, helped him deal a little better. In this crazy, dangerous life, she wasn't sure what that counted for – but she hoped it'd helped him enough.
When later they met at the front door of the inn, neither referred to that night. It would probably never be referred to in the years to come.
But neither would forget it.