Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate: Atlantis and don't claim to. Please don't sue me! I am making no monetary gain from this fic, I'm just playing with the characters for a while.

Summary: Things change. Sometimes they change for the better, no matter what happens. Set season 5. RononTeyla

Rating: K+

Warnings: A kiss

Spoilers: Search and Rescue, very slight for Broken Ties

Author's note: This fic is a part of the Spanky-a-Week-Summer, or SAWS. To find out more about it, and find links to the other fics, visit fyd818's profile!


A New Year's Minute

Dia.Dahling


New Year's Eve was always a complicated thing on Atlantis. Because of Atlantis's strange calendar, Colonel Carter decided to celebrate the holiday along with Earth, instead of waiting for the actual new year to dawn in the city. I seemed to be the only one to notice that the current arrangement meant we'd have four celebrations in three years. Or maybe I was just the only one that cared.

I wandered the balconies overlooking the Gateroom. Garlands and glittered lights filled every available space in the vast area; everything seemed slightly out of focus due to the loud music and strange lighting. Sheppard must have had something to do with this. It looked like a scene from one of his movies.

I belonged here, and I knew that. Yet something still felt – wrong. I guess I never was one to party. So, instead of joining in the dancing and drinking, I enjoyed the view. It was truly strange how a little champagne could bring out such craziness.

The sound of my footsteps set a rhythm for my thoughts. I reflected over my time in Atlantis, mostly the past New Year's parties that I'd avoided in some – any! – way possible. But, out of all of them, this had to be the biggest, rowdiest, most extravagant one yet. Yep, this was Sheppard's doing. Over my right shoulder, I watched the activities swirl as I paced to the left.

Just as I fully turned to walk in the direction from which I came, I saw a small figure ahead of me. My eyes strained ahead of my steps, hoping it was who I thought it was. Before I could decide what to do, I felt my feet carry me toward the shadow. It can't be her. Not here, not so far from the party. Oddly enough, she fit in rather well with such events.

No, the figure was definitely her. Her back was turned, but I knew her shape anywhere. But why was she here? "Teyla?"

She turned, only to reveal a child in her arms. Torren. "Ronon, I—" she must have seen the confusion on my face. "He was up. I thought – maybe, hopefully – the music's rhythm would lull him to sleep. I came here because, it seemed to be overwhelming everywhere else."

I just nodded. Then another thought occurred to me. "Where's Kanaan?" I scanned the small alcove. Not seeing him, I wondered if he were down in the chaos of the Earth peoples' celebration. "He doesn't seem to be the partying type. Why isn't he here?" One of the spinning lights from the other room briefly flashed into our corner, streaking tones of blue and green across her face. Both of us immediately covered Torren's young, still-sensitive eyes. "Here, let me take him," I offered.

Holding such a small being was strange and awkward at first, but something felt right about cradling Torren. Something about him made me feel better when I held him. It was almost like he belonged in my arms. She must have seen it too, because she willingly let go after she saw I had him securely. "Kannan is – not what you think. He is Torren's father and – nothing more." Her expression wore her usual mask of unwavering strength, but I saw the pained weakness in her eyes.

My heart hurt for her. "But I thought you – wasn't he – weren't you sharing a room?" That was tactful. I bit back a wince as my conscience slapped me. Aghast, I would have slapped a hand over my mouth if they both hadn't been occupied with Torren. Did I really just say that?

Teyla took a deep breath, her eyes flicking away from mine, then back. "Not any longer. We – I could not—" She paused, staring first into my eyes, then Torren's. "Kanaan now lives in separate quarters. He was considering moving back to the mainland, but cannot bear leaving Torren."

I nodded slowly, processing the information I'd just been given. I carefully noted how she'd singled out Torren – she hadn't said cannot bear leaving us. Just Torren. If he's gone – why hasn't she told me?

The music in the background quieted as, "One minute!" the MC announced.

"Teyla—" Why was it so hard to talk with her tonight? I knew the reason, and it terrified me. She's my best friend, and I'm afraid I'll say the wrong thing and ruin it all. "Why didn't you tell me?" Tears filled my eyes. I didn't even know why, they were just – there.

"It was only a week ago. I was trying to decide how to announce it to everyone." The carefully cultivated boldness that was her façade dissolved away, leaving uncertainty in its wake.

How could she say that? My stomach twisted as I thought about the crippling pain she must have gone through. Why hadn't she let me help? "But this is me. Don't you know that you can tell me anything?" My voice cracked.

"Forty-five seconds!" The MC's abrasively loud and excited voice tore through me, a knife through the powerful, agony-riddled emotions Teyla and I were exchanging.

Teyla blinked and looked around. For a brief moment, it appeared that she was looking for a means of escape. "I did not want to burden you." She sighed and lowered her head.

I shifted the light weight of the now-sleeping baby to the support of my left arm, leaving my right arm free to cradle her chin. I slowly lifted her face so she would have to meet my eyes. "Never, never worry about hurting me. I – Teyla I care about you too much to—" What could I say? Was this too much? Was I pushing the careful boundaries we'd wordlessly set so long ago too far, too fast?

From what seemed a great distance away, the crowd picked up the MC's chant.

Ten!

Teyla's eyes filled with hope – of all things! – and sent my stomach into flutters. Something about my words took flight, finding the air to survive beneath her long lashes. I felt so many things, things that I couldn't control. "Are you okay now?" I felt the shockwave of her change in my chest. It felt good!

Seven!

Her golden head moved up and down slowly. A gulp rose in her throat, reminding me that I was still touching her. That, too, felt good. "I am. It took me too long to admit – to tell him. He was not who I thought he was. Who – who I was looking for."

Three!

In one moment, thousands of feelings rushed at me. Was she saying what I thought she was? Were those sparkles in her eyes – those gorgeous eyes – really there? My head swirled. Was I really here? Suddenly – maybe for the first time – things felt right.

Two!

Our eyes, still locked so intensely, started communicating with each other in a way I'd never done before. My right hand trailed up her neck to cradle the side of her delicate face. My head moved slowly toward her, and some dim, faraway part of me wondered if I could stop even if I wanted. The answer was no. This was just too perfect.

One!

She began moving, but paused quickly to smile. This smile was so bright and beaming that it made me wonder if I'd ever seen her so happy.

Then, just as we kissed, the crowd behind us began to cheer, but I didn't hear their celebration. I couldn't remember why it was so dark or how we got alone. All I felt was Teyla's hand against my face, my hand in her hair, and our lips moving together.

It didn't matter how much heartache we'd both suffered to get here. We were here now, and all those troubles, all that pain, vanished.

Then, with Torren in one arm and Teyla in the other, I knew where I wanted to be for the rest of my life.

This was going to be a really good year.

The End