Please see first chapter for disclaimer, rating, warnings, pairings, etc.
Author's Note: Thank you all so much for your patience, and for your not killing me, while I've been working on the second part of When You Say Nothing at All! I apologize for the very long wait, and additionally apologize that this is not the conclusion – there is still another part yet to come. I will try to get it done as quickly as possible so I can post it. Thank you all once more for your patience, and for taking the time to read this fic. I hope you enjoy! –Mama Jo
"When You Say Nothing at All"
Feeling pleasantly smug, Dr. Rodney McKay exited the elevator and strolled down the corridor leading to the guest quarters for the SGC. Not only was his stomach comfortably full of a pretty decent lunch, he also felt quite replete on an intellectual level as well.
Really, he thought, Bill Lee should thank me for pointing out all the errors in his work. I mean, how does he manage while I'm off in the Pegasus galaxy? I guess poor old Sam has to try to take up some of the slack when I'm not around. He reached to open the door to his room. With Sheppard and Elizabeth in Colorado Springs doing wedding stuff; Katie away visiting family for a few days; Ronon off world with SG-1; Teyla he didn't know where; and Earth not in imminent need of saving, he looked forward to a long afternoon spent peacefully napping.
Rapid footsteps approaching along the intersecting corridor farther along made him pause. McKay turned his head to the left, just as Teyla rounded the corner. She had her head down, so she didn't notice him – not until he caught her by the shoulders to keep her from plowing into him. "Whoa, Teyla!" he exclaimed as she let out a muffled yelp and tried to pull away. "What's the big hurry?"
"Rodney," she gasped, without looking up at him. Her voice sounded thin and tight; nothing at all like normal. "I – am going to my quarters. Please let go of me."
"Oh, ah, sure. Sorry." McKay snatched his hands back. Then, as she started to push past him, still keeping her face down and averted, "Uh, Teyla? Are you okay? 'Cause you, ah, don't – exactly – sound right. All snuffly, in fact, like you're coming down with a cold," he started instinctively to recoil from any possible exposure to contagion; halted as another, even more horrifying thought struck, "or crying?" His voice almost cracked on the last word.
Teyla sucked in an audible breath, one hand lifting swiftly to shield her face. Before he could react further, she all but ran away from him down the corridor. His mouth falling open slightly, McKay watched her fumble open the door to her quarters. Half an instant later, it closed behind her with a reverberating slam!
Rodney blinked several times, realized he was gaping, and quickly closed his mouth. With a muffled, "Hmph," and a shrug, he took hold of the doorknob again. Another sound echoed clearly along the concave concrete hallway walls: as if something hard had impacted a wall, then clattered to the floor in pieces. Unconsciously wincing, he pushed the door of his quarters open, took a step inside. . .
. . .Came to a reluctant, foot-dragging halt. Ever since he'd gone through that whole near-death, release-your-burden-and-ascend thing, he found it harder to maintain the distance he'd always kept between himself and others. With some bitterness, he looked longingly at the bed, even as he acknowledged there was no way he could blithely lie down now and go to sleep. Not with Teyla in such obvious distress. Not without at least checking on her. Turning around, he went back out into the corridor and slowly walked towards her quarters. He'd just rap lightly on the door, he decided. And if she refused to let him in, maybe even yelled at him to go away and leave her alone, what choice would he have? He would have done his duty. It wouldn't be like he hadn't offered to help. . .
Halfway there, two things simultaneously struck McKay: the unmistakable sound of Teyla weeping unrestrainedly; and the sight of the door she'd so emphatically slammed behind her standing a good third of the way open. Oh, crap. The latch must not have had time to catch before it rebounded. He wavered irresolutely two steps away from the threshold. She so will not be happy if she knows I saw her like this. Maybe I can just pull the door shut, and slip very quietly away.
But despite the orders being issued by his superior brain, Rodney's stupid feet continued to carry him not only to Teyla's doorway, but through it. Something crunched under his foot, drawing his skittish eyes downward, away from the form of his teammate huddled on the edge of the bed. Mixed shards of brightly colored and dark plastics, along with tiny screws and circuit boards, lay scattered across the floor. What the—?
The noise also brought Teyla to her feet, which yanked his gaze up again to meet her wild glare. Despite the tears streaming down her flushed face, she looked only a short breath away from rushing at him to slug him, or thrust him violently from her room -- or quite possibly both. Desperate for some way to distract her, McKay took a quick step to one side and bent to snatch a gleaming iridescent disc from the floor. As he straightened, he flipped the CD from one side to the other. It looked surprisingly undamaged. Daring to look at her again, he blurted out the first thing that came into his head. "You, um, you didn't much care for the music?"
Incredibly, it worked. Teyla blinked rapidly, then half-turned away from him, her hands lifting to swipe at her wet cheeks. "N-no." Her voice broke. He saw her clench her fists just before she folded her arms together very tightly. She cleared her throat; and when she spoke again, Rodney clearly heard the effort she was putting into holding herself together. "That is— I mean— It is a good song, but it is 'country,' you know that is John's favorite kind of music. Elizabeth asked me to sing it for her and John's first dance as – as husband and wife— She wants to surprise him with it. I am – very frustrated, though, with how I am singing it -- and the wedding is only a few days away. I do not want to disappoint her by telling her I am incapable of doing it after all, especially since I have had more than enough time to prepare. But neither do I want to sing it so badly as to embarrass her and spoil the moment for them, as well as causing her to regret even asking me—"
Teyla's uncharacteristic flood of words pushed against Rodney with nearly palpable force. Even as he thought in amazement, I don't believe it – is she babbling? he actually backed up a couple of steps before he caught himself. But this also gave him his chance to get away before the situation went south again. All he had to do was utter some soothing platitudes about how she was just being modest (never one of his failings, a mocking voice jeered at the back of his mind), and assure her he knew she'd do a beautiful job. And even if she did flub a note or two, no one would think a thing of it; after all, it was going to be a very emotional time for everyone. . .
Instead, to his absolute horror, Rodney heard, "That's not really it, is it, Teyla?" come out of his mouth. When she whipped around and gaped at him, looking like he'd just slapped her, he swallowed hard, then put his chin up and plowed on. "Look, being with Katie has – helped me, but I admit I'm still probably the world's worst when it comes to relationships – my own, or other people's. Believe me, though: beating yourself up like this over Elizabeth being able to say 'yes' to John when you haven't been able to do the same with Ronon isn't going to do anything positive for you."
Fire ignited in her dark eyes behind the tears still filling them. Teyla drew a deep breath he heard hiss audibly between her clenched teeth. She unfolded her arms, lowering her fists to her sides. "You have no idea—"
With a distinct sense of taking his life in his hands, Rodney cut her off. "No. I don't. And frankly, I work very hard at not trying to imagine what it was like. What I heard – from the other Sheppard – was bad enough." Quaking inside, he nevertheless managed to stare her down.
Looking away from him after a long, long moment, she refolded her arms. In a thin, tight voice, she said, "Very well, Rodney. I – I accept that you followed me with – with good intentions," sarcasm sliced briefly through her tone. "But now that you've said what you wanted to say, will you please get out of my room?!"
McKay took a hesitant half-step towards her. "Just— You can't force how quickly you heal from something like that, Teyla. And – and you're my teammate, and I really don't want to see you hurting yourself worse than you already are."
Shoulders slumping under the bitter weight of his inadequacy, Rodney turned and trudged back along the hall to his room. Only when he reached to close the door behind him did he realize he still held the CD from Teyla's trashed player. For all of half a second he considered taking it back to her, before crossing to flop wearily onto his bed. If she wants it back, he decided as, all thoughts of sleep gone from him, he watched the play of light across its surface while he turned it this way and that, she can jolly well come and get it herself.
But she never did.
To Be Continued