Disclaimer - I own none of the Stargate franchise.
Okay, this was written for the John and Teyla thing-a-thon over on the John Teyla Fic community on LiveJournal. Definitely go and check it out, because there are some great stories floating around. This particular story was written for greenconverses. Thanks to Gater101 for the beta.
Warnings - No particular spoilers as it is completely AU, but there is strong language and sexual content.
Let me know what you think.
That Time of Night
It was John Sheppard's favourite time of night.
Technically, the bar closed its doors at 1am, but the for the select few it stayed open after that, the bustle and noise of the normal business hours replaced by the intimacy of just half a dozen or so seated at the small round tables. Only the sound of glasses clinking and the occasional whisper distracted the ear from the sound of Teyla's voice. Her words seemed to cut through the cigar smoke that still lingered in the air, filling the room effortlessly with its haunting soulfulness.
It was his favourite time of night.
It was at this time of night, when the doors were closed, that Teyla really let herself go. It was then, when there were so few people in the room with her, that she sang for herself; her eyes closed as she leaned back against the grand piano, the words flowing out of her as though flowing straight from her soul. Even Rodney, such a stickler for sticking to the musical program during the rest of the evening, followed her lead at this time of night, accompanying her on the piano without a word of dissent. The man knew his music, and appreciated talent when he saw it.
So did John. And that was why it was his favourite time of night.
It was also his least favourite.
Usually, he had plenty to keep himself occupied, plenty to distract himself from Teyla's alluring presence. There were patrons to greet, waiters to oversee, cigars to offer and troublemakers to spot. But now, at this time of night, the waiters had been dismissed or were in the cellars bottling up. The few customers left were of a select clientele that John knew and (mostly) trusted. There was little to do but sit on a high leather stool by the bar, a glass of scotch by his hand, and watch Teyla sing.
It was his least favourite time of the night.
Teyla sang as though the music possessed her, and John felt her voice possessing him. It was as though she was a Siren, calling him to her, and the stool John sat on felt more and more like the ship mast he was tied to, keeping him from her. He felt that if his feet touched the ground they would lead him over to where she stood, and that he would take her in his arms and show her exactly what she was doing to him.
Because she had no idea. She had no fucking clue. The sound of her voice made John's stomach clench with want. Her hands gripping the edge of the piano made it hard for him to breathe. The mere sight of her head tilting back, her eyes sliding shut as her golden hair fell over her shoulders and brushed the top of the piano made him hard. He couldn't watch her. He couldn't not watch her.
He couldn't have her.
John had inherited Atlantis from his father; had practically grown up in its smoky salon. The sound of the grand piano playing jazz over the clink of glasses had been his lullaby. The bar meant everything to him, and he'd seen enough affairs within its walls as he'd grown up to know that it was a bad idea to be involved with someone you worked with. It only ever ended in tears. He'd made a promise to himself when he'd taken over the place that he would never cross that line with the people who worked for him, and until Teyla he'd never been tempted.
He sat there in silence, drinking his scotch.
It was that time of night.
His dad wouldn't approve of his… well, cowardice was what he would call it. He would think John was being plain stupid, pining for Teyla in silence, only allowing himself to really feel when he knew neither she nor anyone else was watching. His dad hadn't believed in bottling up emotions, good or bad, and that was why he'd been so good at what he did. Atlantis had thrived under his care, because he so obviously cared. "You only get one chance at humanity" he'd told John many times, usually during quiet drinking sessions after the bar was closed. That time of night was really the only time John had understood his father; most of the time, much as he'd respected him, he'd found his frankness unnerving. John had always had much tighter reign on his emotions. It had been just one of the many ways in which he and his father had differed.
Right now, though, his eyes raking down the line of Teyla's neck as she leaned back against the piano lid, his father's words came back to haunt John. Was he being a coward, refusing to act on his feelings? Was he using the bar as an excuse, to stop himself opening up to someone for once?
John's eyes travelled further down Teyla's neck, past her throat, to the glimpse of cleavage provided by the plunged neck of her full-length deep green dress. The silk clung to her like a second skin, and the left side of the skirt – the side facing John – was split up to her mid-thigh.
John gulped down almost half the scotch and forced his eyes back to her face.
No, he decided suddenly. He was not a coward – he was a realist. Getting involved with Teyla would split his focus from the bar, and too many people depended on him for him to allow that. And what if it didn't work out? Teyla was the best performer John had ever seen in Atlantis – he didn't want to lose her.
And it wasn't just the bar that was in danger of losing her… it was him. Just because he hadn't acted on his desire for Teyla didn't mean that they spent no time together – Teyla was one of his closest friends. Sometimes, John felt that only Teyla could help him with certain problems or cheer him up, and he liked to think that he had become just as important to her over the last few years as she had to him. In fact, he was close to all his employees, and was glad of it – the bar was his life, and they had become his family. He glanced at Ronon, standing just feet away from him behind the bar – he was drying glasses that had just come out of the washer, steadily going about his business as usual. Ronon was always steady, right until there was trouble and then you just had to hope he was on your side. John looked over at Rodney accompanying Teyla on the piano – he'd undone his bowtie and the top button of his shirt, and even though John knew he preferred early nights he also knew he wouldn't stop playing until Teyla stopped singing.
Yes, they were his family. He couldn't risk that.
But it was that time of night, and John couldn't do anything to stop his mind wandering as he listened to Teyla.
So John didn't try to stop his mind wandering as his eyes did the same over Teyla's body, lingering over the shape of her lips and the line of her throat; over the diamonds shimmering at her clavicle and the swell of her breasts; over the curve of her hip and the flash of thigh through the slit of her dress. God, she was so beautiful. John drained his scotch.
John was about to signal Ronon to pour him another when he heard it – a catcall. John sat up straight on his barstool, his languid and wandering mood vanishing in an instant.
It was also the time of night when drunk people got stupid.
Teyla's voice didn't falter, but her eyes were now open, looking around the few customers still in the bar. John looked too, and it didn't take him long to find the source of the disturbance.
Whiskey always went to Michael's head. John knew this and usually made sure he was cut off at a certain point, but he'd been a little distracted tonight. And now it seemed that Michael was getting distracted as well.
Ronon had gone very still and Rodney was looking over his shoulder, glaring at Michael. John slid off of the stool and started walking along the length of the bar. Ronon nodded to John as he went by, and continued drying the glasses, though John could tell from the set of his shoulders he was ready to jump in if needed.
John sighed as he skirted the small round tables – it was that time of night.
Suddenly, Michael lurched out of his seat and started to stagger towards the platform Teyla was on. John's eyes widened in surprise – Michael could be an obnoxious drunk, but he'd never shown any signs of being violent, or grabby, or anything of the sort.
He reached the platform and John's surprise disappeared as he saw Michael's hands reach towards Teyla's hips. Rage consumed him.
What the hell did he think he was doing? John started to run, but he was still on the other side of the bar, and Michael was barely a foot away from Teyla. Teyla had stopped singing now, and Rodney had abandoned the piano, standing up and telling Michael to back off. The other customers sat completely still in their seats, just watching the drama unfold.
Teyla looked completely composed for someone an inch away from being molested. She held up a hand in between her and Michael and gave him a stern look. "Michael, go back to your seat," she said firmly.
Michael didn't look like he was listening – John just saw him leer at Teyla and then grab her hand in one of his. John reached the stage as Michael's other hand slid onto Teyla's hip, trying to drag her close to him.
Teyla's free arm came up but John barely noticed – all his attention was fixed on the man holding onto her. He grabbed hold of Michael's shoulder and dragged him away from her. Michael staggered, almost falling off the edge of the platform, but John caught hold of the lapel of his jacket and then had his shirt collar in his fists, pulling him back towards him.
"What the hell are you doing?" John snarled in the man's face. He shook him angrily. "Huh?"
John ignored Teyla – he had never been so angry in his life. Perhaps that's why he didn't see it coming. Michael's right fist swung up and crashed into John's cheekbone before he could even think the word 'duck', and John let go of the man with a grunt.
Nothing was broken, but it still hurt like hell. And it did nothing to help his rage problem.
John responded with a right hook before Michael had even managed to regain his balance after being let go, and he went straight down, crying out in surprise.
"You son of a bitch!" John yelled, dropping down to one knee and punching him again, just below the ribs. Michael hissed with pain and curled up protectively. John pulled back to take another swing but was prevented by an arm grabbing him round his middle and clamping both his arms to his side. He struggled, almost getting free, but then felt more arms around him, pulling him back.
John knew that people were shouting and saying things to him, but all he heard was white noise – he could only stare at Michael, who was rolling on the ground in front of him, blood pouring from a cut above his right eye. It gave John an enormous amount of satisfaction to see him in pain, but it wasn't enough. He wanted to kill the bastard for what he'd tried to do to Teyla.
Then, suddenly, she was there, crouching in front of him, blocking Michael from view. Some of John rage faded away and the sight of her lips moving, forming his name, caused the white noise to fade away.
"John, calm down!"
John took a deep breath and tried to do just that. Michael was down – Teyla was no longer in danger. He stopped struggling, and felt the arms around him loosen. He realized he'd been pulled back so he was actually sitting on the floor, and there were at least three people holding him there. Rodney had been the first to grab him and was the last to let go, eyeing him warily.
Teyla stood up, towering over John, and he stood up too. Teyla stepped away before he could say anything to her, and John once again had a clear view of Michael. He was lying on his back, his eyes closed, breathing heavily against his pain. His left hand came up and pressed against his cheek, which was throbbing with pain and sticky with blood.
There was a ringing silence in the bar as John stared down at Michael. His lip curled in disgust and his fingers twitched as he fought against the urge to ball them back into fists. Instead he looked past Michael to the two men he'd been sitting with.
"Get him out of here," he told them, coldly. "Now."
They stared at him for a moment, and then both sprang forward to help Michael up. John turned away from the sight – Rodney was still looking wary and little shocked, as were the patrons in the bar; Ronon was still behind the bar, leaning both hands on the countertop and looking faintly amused. Teyla… Teyla was nowhere to be seen.
John frowned, but pushed his confusion aside as Michael's buddies started to walk away, supporting him between them. They went quite slowly, and John followed them, glaring at their backs the entire way to the door. They made a quick job of the bolts and disappeared into the night. John shook his head and walked back over to the bar.
Ronon didn't say anything to him – just placed an icepack wrapped in a hand towel in front of him. John nodded his thanks and pressed it against his injured cheek, wincing at the added pressure. He was gonna have one hell of a bruise.
Ronon placed a shot glass on the bar in front of him and filled it. John didn't ask what it was – he didn't care. "Now you're talking," he said, and he downed the shot as Rodney appeared next to him.
"You alright?" He asked him.
John nodded and put the glass back down, gesturing for Ronon to refill it. Ronon complied, but as soon as the glass was full Rodney snatched it up and downed it before John could. Predictably, he had a small coughing fit as the alcohol burned down his throat, but he recovered quickly and then glared at Ronon.
"I didn't see you rushing to help," he said.
Ronon shrugged. "It looked like John had it covered," he said.
"I meant helping me pull him off Michael!" Rodney exclaimed.
Ronon just shrugged again, smirking slightly, and John couldn't help a small smile. Rodney rolled his eyes at them both.
"Well you're lucky he doesn't have to go to hospital," he said to John.
John raised his eyebrows. "No, he's lucky he doesn't have to go to hospital," he said. "Son of a bitch."
"He was drinking his friends' drinks," said Ronon. "I noticed just before he started on Teyla."
John scowled at the news, and then turned to Rodney. "Where is Teyla?" He asked him.
"Out back," answered Rodney. "She is royally pissed."
"I'm not surprised," said John dryly, images of Michael trying to grope her flashing through his mind again. He lowered the ice pack and looked around the bar – everyone was leaving. The entertainment was over, and so was the drama. John nodded to a couple of people as they left, but most of them avoided looking at him as they scurried out of the door. John rolled his eyes and turned back to his friends.
"You guys should take off," he told them. "I'll cash up in the morning."
"You sure?" Said Ronon.
"Yeah," said John. "Tell Evan and Jen to leave the bottling up, and lock up behind you – Teyla can go out the back."
Ronon and Rodney nodded, and John picked up his ice pack again. He pressed it back against his throbbing cheek and walked across the room towards the back door.
Atlantis wasn't just a bar – it was also John's home. He lived in an apartment above the bar. The entrance to that apartment was through a smallish room that had been turned into a kind of staff room, and also a dressing room for Teyla when she needed it, and it's where Rodney said she was. The rage John had felt when he'd seen Michael grab at Teyla had faded now into a kind of residual pissed-off feeling, mostly caused by the pain in his cheek and the thought that Michael's actions may have unsettled Teyla in any way.
John reached the door and knocked. He waited for an answer but none came – he could hear movement inside though.
John poked his head round the door. The room wasn't much, really – a large mirror hung on one wall, in front of which stood a table and a chair. There was a small bookcase with second-hand books and two leather sofas in one corner. One door led to the alley outside and another to the apartment upstairs. Teyla was standing by the table against the opposite wall with her back to John, packing make-up back into her bag.
"Hey – you okay?" He asked her, stepping into the room and closing the door behind him.
"Yes," came the curt reply. John noticed that Teyla was using more force than was strictly necessary with the items she was handling, and that her shoulders were rigidly set. Rodney was clearly right about her being pissed.
"I'm sure he'll be back tomorrow with his tail between his legs to apologise," John said. Teyla didn't reply, but he heard her snort derisively. She kept her back to him, and reached up to yank her earrings out of her lobes, and tossed them haphazardly after her make-up. John raised his eyebrows – she was more annoyed than he'd thought. "I could bar him," he said after a few moments. He'd very happily bar him if it would appease Teyla.
Teyla stopped packing and finally looked over her shoulder at John. "I do not want you to bar Michael," she said, her voice dripping with disdain. She glared at him for a second and then turned away again, reaching up to undo her necklace.
John went very still as realisation set in. "Wait a minute – are you pissed at me?" Another glare. John strode forward so he was standing next to Teyla, and she turned to face him, her eyes flashing furiously. "What the hell for?" John demanded.
Teyla looked at him incredulously. "What… John, you just beat up one of our most loyal customers!" She exclaimed.
John gaped at her. "I did not beat him up… and he was harassing you!" His hand jogged the icepack against his cheek as he talked, and he pushed it closer to his face, trying to numb the pain away.
Teyla rolled her eyes and turned back to her bag, which she was having difficulty doing up with all the make-up inside it. "He barely touched me," she said dismissively.
"Yeah, because I stopped him!" John retorted, his hand tightening still further on his icepack.
"You really think he would have done anything?" Teyla asked angrily, pushing her half-closed bag away so it skidded across the tabletop.
Well… but that wasn't the point. "That's not the point!" He growled. He couldn't believe Teyla was taking Michael's side about this. He had just had to peel a drunk, disruptive customer off of her, and she was actually pissed at him. She actually had the nerve to stand there in front of him, her eyes flashing and her cheeks flushed, her hair coming loose and her lips pouting…
Man, she was stunning when she was angry.
"No, the point is that you completely overreacted," Teyla said loudly, snapping John out of his entirely inappropriate thoughts. She was twisting her arm behind her back, glaring up at him. "Undo me!" She demanded suddenly.
John blinked. "What?"
Teyla spun round. "Undo the back of my dress," she said, in a tone that sounded more like an accusation than a request.
John stared at Teyla's back for a few moments, at the creamy chocolate skin visible above the green silk. He saw the zip, hidden in its folds, and his eyes followed it down her back to where it disappeared. Dear lord… what was this woman doing to him? Swallowing hard against the primal instincts raging inside him, John reached out his free hand and took hold of the small zipper. It glided down easily, and the dress fell apart inch by inch as he slowly pulled it down her back. He caught a glimpse of black lace as he reached the end of the zipper and immediately spun around, as much to compose himself without Teyla seeing as to give her some privacy to change her clothes.
He heard the rustle of the silk as it slid down Teyla's body to the floor, and of her stepping out of it. John knew he would be having some very detailed dreams that night.
To give himself something else to think about, John tried to remember where they'd been in their conversation before the Distraction of The Dress. Ah yes… "I didn't overreact," he said.
"Yes you did," came Teyla's immediate reply. "He was drunk, but not dangerous."
"Not dangerous? He punched me first!" John exclaimed.
"You do not think he was provoked?"
Completely forgetting why he was facing away, John spun round to face her again. Luckily, Teyla was already wearing a pair of snug jeans and a white halter-neck top. John took in the new outfit with a glance before speaking. "Are you saying I deserved to get punched?" He demanded.
Teyla leaned back against the table behind her and folded her arms across her chest, pushing her breasts up and together and making it very obvious that she wasn't wearing a bra. "No – I am saying that you brought it on yourself with your aggression," she said, frowning at him.
John's lust was once again pushed aside by indignation and he took a few steps closer so he was standing right in front of her, looming over her. She tilted her head back and glared up at him defiantly.
"It wasn't my aggression that started it," he said bluntly. "And I don't get why you're angry at me for trying to protect you –"
"That is just it, John!" Teyla exclaimed. "I do not need protecting!"
"I can take care of myself!" Teyla said, her eyes flashing angrily again. She stood up straight and suddenly she was close – too close – but John couldn't bring himself to step back. Partly because he was too shocked by her outburst, and partly because this still wasn't close enough.
"You know that I am more than capable of looking after myself," Teyla said angrily, jabbing John in the chest with her finger. "I do not understand why you acted the way you did tonight!"
Because I couldn't stand to see him touch you.
John looked away from Teyla, the hand holding the icepack falling to his side, and he sighed. She was right, of course – she could take care of herself, and he knew it. There'd been no need for him to go all Neanderthal on Michael. But he'd seen him trying to touch her and something had just snapped… not that he could tell Teyla that.
Suddenly, with a start, John felt something on his cheek. A moment later, with a thrill that made his hair stand on end, he realised that it was Teyla's fingers, gently touching the area under his cut. Unable to stop himself, John turned his head back to face her again. She was staring at his cheek, and her look of anger had been replaced with one of tender concern. John's heart melted at the sight of her, and his stomach clenched and heart sped up at her touch. He knew he had to look away, to step away – she was too close, and it was far too obvious… she would look at him and see how much he wanted her. Because, god, did he want her.
Her eyes met his, as he knew they would, and after a moment they widened with surprise, as he knew they would. She knew – she could see it. What he hadn't expected was the way her eyes darkened so they were almost black, or the way she licked her full bottom lip as she glanced down at his mouth.
She wanted him too.
All thought of restraint, of how wrong it would be for them to be together, flew out of the window as soon as John saw the look in Teyla's eyes. The icepack thudded to the floor as John's hands grasped Teyla's hips, and Teyla's other hand came up to rest on his shoulder as John bent his head and claimed Teyla's lips with his.
Teyla responded immediately, eagerly, and John leant into the kiss, his hands falling off her hips to land flat on the tabletop either side of her, to brace himself as her mouth opened under his and his tongue surged into her mouth. He groaned and Teyla's arms wound around his neck, pulling him closer, and she arched her back, her breasts flattening against his chest. John tilted his head and continued to ravage her mouth with his tongue, meeting hers again and again in a rhythm that was making his blood boil.
Teyla shifted up and back; she was now sitting on the table, and John pushed further forward, angling Teyla back so her shoulders hit the mirror on the wall. He slid one hand up her side and brushed his thumb over the peak of her breast. Teyla let out a high-pitched moan that was like music to John's ears, and he grinned as he elicited the same sound from her again by sliding his thumb over her once more. Teyla wrapped her legs around his hips and his arousal came into sudden contact with her centre, and it was John's turn to moan.
One of Teyla's hands raked into John's hair, and the other slid down, under John's jacket, pushing it back from his shoulders. John let go of Teyla to shrug the jacket off, and dragged his lips from Teyla's as it fell to the floor. He started to kiss his way along her jaw and down her neck. Teyla's head dropped back and she moaned again, her hands raking back into his hair.
John gently nipped at the smooth skin of Teyla's throat and then kissed his way back up the column of her neck. Her eyes were open and almost black, and they clashed with John's as he rested his forehead against hers, his hand coming up to cup the back of her head. Their lips met again, soft this time, and John forced himself to not deepen the kiss. This was going so fast… was it too fast?
"John." Teyla's voice was just a whisper, the word coming out between kisses, and John swallowed hard, trying to hold onto his rapidly disappearing will power.
We don't have to do this.
He couldn't say it. He tried, but he just couldn't. Teyla's hands were in his hair and her legs were round his waist, and the lust pumping through his veins just wouldn't let him say the words.
One of Teyla's hands slid out of his hair and along his jaw until her thumb was resting against his lips. John fought the urge to take her thumb in his mouth, and instead just met Teyla's eyes again, almost undone by their burning intensity.
"So long I…" Teyla said, breathing heavily. "I want you."
John's mouth crashed back onto Teyla's. He pulled her into his arms and stood up straight, taking her with him. Teyla's words had brought down his last wall, and John was not letting her out of his arms until he knew what it was like to be inside her, to feel her climax around him, to watch her usual composure collapse as he brought her to the brink. He had imagined this so many times – he was going to savour it.
Teyla had other ideas though, and was working at getting his shirt off before he'd even got her to the couch. Her hands ran over his chest as he lowered himself over her; her legs tightened round his hips, grinding her pelvis into his. John gasped into Teyla's mouth and realised with a thrill that this wasn't going to be anything like he'd imagined.
Clothes disappeared and skin met skin, lips and hands explored, fingers linked together, breaths mingled. John watched the look on Teyla's face as he pushed into her, felt her flutter around him as she climaxed, buried his face in her neck as he did the same.
He came down slowly, the leather sticking to his sweaty skin, his eyes closed as he listened to Teyla's breathing slow down next to him. He had one arm draped across Teyla's stomach, and eventually he felt her hand slide up and down his arm in long, languid strokes. John opened his eyes.
He rolled onto his side, his head propped up on one hand, staring down at the beauty next to him. He would have been quite happy to stay there like that for the rest of his life. Teyla turned her head towards him – she was so close their noses were almost touching. They smiled at one another, and then Teyla leant forward to place a kiss on his jaw.
John's eyes widened at the tender gesture, and as she lay back he knew exactly what he needed to say.
"I'm sorry," he said quietly. "I just… couldn't stand to see him touch you."
Teyla stared at him silently for a few moments, her face unreadable, and then she leant forward again, this time to kiss him on the lips. John responded as gently as he could; neither of them deepened the kiss or even moved closer to one another. Finally, John felt like Teyla really understood him.
And it was definitely his favourite time of night.