Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate Atlantis or its original characters and I am making no money off of this.

Author's Note: You can also read this story with music and pictures at my site: http colon, slash, slash, brandedheart1. angelfire. com / BrandedHeart. html without the spaces and such, of course.

It should also be noted that this story contains elements of adult subject matter.

This story is being posted as part of SAWS – Spanky A Week Summer – where there is a Spanky (Teyla/Ronon) fic posted each Monday!

Branded Heart

I. Stumbling

"One hundred! One hundred! Do I hear one fifty?!" The auctioneer pointed to a man who raised his hand. "One fifty! Do I hear two hundred? More than a fair asking price for this woman." The man grabbed at Teyla's bicep and she jerked her arm away, making her metal chains rattle. "Look at those muscles, folks, and spunk, too. She could work all day," he paused as he leaned towards the crowd below the scaffold, tipping his straw hat. "And still have plenty of fire at night, if you know what I mean." He winked and several in the crowd chuckled as another took the bid for two hundred.

Shackled and chained in the shadows of the holding cell behind and below the platform, Ronon growled and took a step forward, grabbing the bars of the cage as one of the handlers gave him a warning look.

"Two fifty! Two fifty! Do I hear two fifty? Two fifty! Thank you, sir. Three hundred! Three hundred! Do I hear three hundred?" The auctioneer's voice wafted back to the Satedan who clenched his jaw, his biceps flexing as he struggled to deal with his caged rage.

"Four hundred!" The tall, thin man on the scaffold shouted. "Sold for four hundred to the woman in the blue bonnet!" The woman dipped her head with a small smile as Teyla was ushered off of the platform, marked with a tag on her shackles then shoved into another holding cell along with the rest of the sold slaves.

Ronon was able to make eye contact with her for a heartbeat before the door to his cell was yanked open with a grating scream and several handlers stepped forward, leveling electrical prods at his side in warning. He narrowed his eyes at the nearest lad with a pronged prod then was yanked forward by a burly man with sweat trails down his sides. The Satedan grunted and yanked his shackled hands back to his chest as the thicker man yanked him towards the stairs. Within a breath-span, one of the young men had slugged him in the stomach with the edge of a prod and he doubled over with a cough, hunching as he was tugged up the stairs and onto the platform.

Ronon squinted in the sudden sunlight as he stepped through the door onto the scaffolding. "Well, well, well, folks, what do we have here?" the auctioneer was playfully announcing as Ronon was shoved to the side. He straightened, squinting down at the gathered crowd below him as they murmured. The auctioneer began again. "The starting price for this young buck is two hundred! Two hundred, folks! That's more than fair for this lad – his height alone should ask for a starting price of three hundred but we at Swanton's Slave Traders have always prided ourselves in fair prices." He prodded Ronon's bicep with the butt of his cane and the Satedan's shoulders lunged towards the man in warning, causing him to laugh nervously. "This one's got fire in him, too. Perfect for field or orchard work! Do I hear two fifty?"

The woman who had bought Teyla raised her card as she fanned herself.

"Oh ho ho," teased the auctioneer. "First bid goes to the lovely lady, what a surprise. Three hundred, do I hear three hundred?"

Ronon's eyes had adjusted as best they could in the noon sunlight and they searched the crowd, looking for a teammate or a friendly face. He craned his neck over his shoulder to try and see Teyla in the cell below the scaffold as the price rose to four hundred but the light blinded him and he had to squint his eyes shut and turn away.

"Four fifty! Do I hear four fifty? Four fifty!" The thin legged man pointed to the woman who had bought Teyla as she bid on him again. "Do I hear five hundred? Five hundred? Do I hear five hundred?!" Ronon was trying to discern the features of the woman's face but the sun was too bright on her pale skin. "Sold for four fifty to the woman in the blue bonnet! An excellent choice, if I do say so myself, madam. These two slaves make quite the pair!"

A small tendril of relief coursed through the Satedan upon knowing that at the least he and Teyla would not be separated, but the emotion was short-lived as he nearly stumbled down the wooden stairs when the burly handler shoved him forward. His chains were tagged identically to Teyla's before he was pushed into the crowded holding cell with her and the other slaves.

Teyla pushed her way forward towards her teammate once the door was locked shut again. "Ronon?"

He turned at her voice and looked her up and down in a glance, making sure she was unharmed. He looked to the label on her chains then lifted his shackles to show her his matching one. "We were bought by the same woman."

The Athosian's shoulders slumped as she let out a breath. "Thank goodness."

"Yeah." He nodded as another woman who was looking at their tags glanced to Ronon.

"I'm the same as you."

The two from Atlantis turned to look at the woman. Her face was weatherworn and her almond skin etched with lines.

Teyla offered her a small smile. "What is your name?"

The woman's blue eyes searched Teyla's strangely for a moment before she said, "I can't have babies anymore" and turned away, chewing on a dirty fingernail.

Teyla and Ronon furrowed their brows and shared a concerned look. As the auction wore on, the purchased slaves began to pace while they had room until the holding cell was too full. After what seemed like hours, the auction finally finished and festive music began to echo from the streets. The buyers milled about near the holding cells, lining up to hand over their stubs and pay for their new investments.

Ronon caught sight of the woman who had bought both he and Teyla and he glanced over his shoulder at his teammate, keeping his voice quiet and low. "Teyla, come here."

She shouldered past a few others to stand beside him then followed his gaze to the woman in the blue bonnet. She was fanning herself, laughing as she chatted with an acquaintance. "She appears to have a kind face."

Ronon nodded mutely, hoping he and Teyla could reason with her to escape their imprisonment. "Maybe we can-" he cut himself off as she began to make her way over to the cell for the rest of the slaves fell into a respectful silence. She flashed the prod-wielding guards her card and they nodded before opening the cage and elbowing through, yanking out the correctly-labeled people.

Neither Teyla nor Ronon resisted when they were hauled to stand before the woman with the other three slaves she had bought. Her blue eyes narrowed at the group in scrutiny then waved at the guards accompanying her to escort her merchandise to her waiting carriage outside of the auction grounds. Teyla and Ronon stayed close to each other as they passed children playing games in the streets and adults who paid the passing slaves no heed.

As they waited for the guard to unlock the door of the barred carriage, Teyla caught the woman's eye and smiled tentatively. "Excuse me, Miss, but I am afraid there has been a-" she was cut off when one of the guards backhanded her across the cheek and Teyla's lips parted in pain and shock.

"Don't you dare touch her," Ronon growled as he shoved forward. The woman eyed him coolly as the second guard pressed the tip of the prod to his side, making him cry out in pain as he was shocked by sizzling tendrils.

Teyla gasped and looked between the woman and Ronon, struggling for the breath to voice her protest but the blonde raised a white-lace gloved hand with a quiet, "Stop" and the guard pulled the prod away from the Satedan's side. Ronon fell to his knees with a strangled gasp, holding his side around the injury as Teyla shifted her wide-eyed gaze to the woman. Her thin, blonde brows had come together in an ugly line as she nodded to a guard who yanked Ronon's head up by the hair, forcing him to look at her while the other guard kicked the back of Teyla's knees, forcing her to kneel.

The blonde stepped up to Ronon first and locked eyes with him, then to Teyla, doing the same, before stepping back and eyeing them both for a heartbeat before speaking. Her voice was firm. "You will only speak when spoken to. You are the property of me and my husband and I will tolerate noinsubordination of any kind," she paused, locking eyes with Ronon who was still being forced to look at her. "No matter how your wench is being treated. Is that clear?"

When neither Teyla nor Ronon nodded their agreement both winced as their hair was yanked.

"I said," she continued, stepping up to the two. "Is that clear?"

The guard behind Teyla wrenched her arm awkwardly behind her and she cried out in pain.

The woman's face remained impassive as she backed up, fanning herself once more. "Good." She jerked her head at the guards. "Get them in."

Teyla and Ronon were yanked to their feet and shoved into the carriage first, stumbling onto their knees under the low roof of the cage. The blonde tipped the guards a few shiny coins then climbed into the front of the carriage after the other three slaves had been loaded on. Ronon was sitting with his shoulder resting against the front wall of the cell, panting lightly as sweat beaded on his forehead. As the animals pulling the carriage started forward, Teyla locked eyes with Ronon then wordlessly reached for the hem of his shirt. He pulled his arms away to allow her to lift it, both swaying from the motion of the crude transport. A fist-sized portion of the skin on his side was an inflamed red with a swelling welt from the weapon. She let his shirt fall back into place as she looked to his face again. "The damage does not look severe."

He shook his head a little, muttering "...Just hurts."

Her brown eyes were locked onto his in concern but his shied from hers, eyeing the rest of the silent slaves who were gazing at them with furtive, uneasy glances. She looked over her shoulder at the others in the carriage, as well, then looked back to Ronon with a wary expression that matched his before she slumped onto the seat of her pants, resting her back against the front wall of the cage with a sigh.

Please review!