THE RUNAWAY BRIDE AND HER TRUSTY WINGMAN, and HOW THEY ESCAPED A MATRIMONIAL MESS

SUMMARY: When Teyla is pressured into an undesirable marriage, her friends go to great lengths to support her. One goes farther than the rest, throwing their future in Atlantis into jeopardy.

Spoilers: Takes place sometime between 3x11 'The Return, Part Two' and early Season Four.

Warnings: Some of the characters say naughty words from time to time, but rest assured they later had their mouths washed out with soap.

Pairings: Somewhat John/Teyla, but mostly friendship rather than romance. It could be seen as slightly AU since both are slightly more demonstrative in this story than their television counterparts.

Author's Note: This was the first story I worked on for SGA. I usually like to finish my stories before I start posting them, but with the end of the regular series I wanted to get it out there before people stop publishing SGA fic. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Feedback appreciated!

Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis and its characters do not belong to me no matter how many wishes I make when I blow out my birthday candles. Thanks to the writers and actors who have given us such great characters to work with.

CHAPTER 1 – THE BIG NEWS

He knew something was wrong the moment she returned to the jumper. Lt. Col. John Sheppard hadn't minded spending the day with the Athosians, telling stories to the youngsters and teaching Jinto how to throw the football in a perfect spiral. The day had almost seemed to be a day off to him, but apparently things had not gone so well for Teyla.

They had flown over to the mainland that morning to deliver the latest shipment of trade goods for the Athosians. Halling had mentioned he wanted to speak to Teyla about village business, and Ronon and Zelenka had come along to get away from the city for a day. It was almost dinnertime when they gathered at the jumper. Tonight was cheeseburger night, and John was just reaching up to radio to Teyla to hurry it up when he saw her arrive through the trees, looking preoccupied and strangely down for having spent the day with her people.

She muttered an apology as she breezed down the central aisle and squeezed between the others to her usual seat beside John. Her drop into her seat lacked its normal grace, as did her handling of her P-90 as she kicked it aside from where it had lain in the jumper all day.

"Everything all right?" John asked quietly. "We can stay longer if you need more time."

She turned to him, tossing her head and forcing a smile onto her face. "No thank you. I have no further business here today," she said calmly in a voice that most people in Atlantis interpreted as politeness. John knew better, but he let the matter drop for the moment.

For the rest of the flight home, Teyla stared forlornly out the window at the ocean passing beneath, although John was sure that her mind was far away. Ronon had noticed the change as well, but Sheppard had met his inquiring look with one that screamed 'not now'. Zelenka, thankfully unlike Rodney, was happy to sit in silence for the half-hour trip.

Teyla politely thanked the colonel for the ride on her way out. John watched her walk purposefully toward the jumper bay exit, stopping to speak with no one else.

"What's up with her?" Ronon asked, turning back to Sheppard.

John could only shrug his shoulders. For now, he wouldn't worry. Teyla could more than take care of herself.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

Concern began to surface a couple of hours later when Teyla had failed to show up for a sparring session with Ronan and then dinner with the team. Rodney prattled on during the meal about some amazing discovery he would not have made today if he had been forced to spend the day on the mainland. However, even the scientist kept eyeing the empty chair next to him.

"One of us should go talk to her," said Ronan as he toyed with his piece of pie. John raised an eyebrow. If Ronan was playing with his food instead of devouring it whole, he must either be worried or dying. Today John placed money on the former. A moment later the colonel's eyebrows shot up as he realized his other two teammates were staring at him.

"What?" he asked a bit too defensively. "Maybe she just fell asleep or something."

They continued to give him skeptical looks. "You should talk to her," Rodney said. "Conan here would probably just grunt at her, and, well, I …"

"Face it, McKay, you don't know how to talk to a woman," Ronan retorted.

"I do too!" McKay shot back. "Just because I don't Kirk every woman with a pulse like Colonel Flyboy over here doesn't mean …"

Loud snorts from both John and Ronan cut him off. The team settled down again, and then McKay said, "Seriously, Colonel, you should be the one to talk to her. You know she'll do anything for you. She'll be more likely to talk to you than to us."

This time, to John's shock and dismay, Ronan nodded in agreement. Neither man's face suggested they were teasing the colonel. 'No, she's probably just more likely to kick my ass,' he thought.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

He'd looked everywhere: the gym, the ops center, the mess hall again, even the rec rooms. That brought him here, where he now he paused outside her door before ringing the chime. Things definitely weren't good if Teyla was holing up in solitude.

John had waited long enough to contemplate using his link with the city to override the lock when the door slid partway open. John's heart sank. Teyla's normally vibrant, exotic features were pale and drawn as she hung back behind the door, leaning her cheek against it. "Yes, Colonel? Is there something I can do for you?" she asked, sounding tired.

All of the questions, reprimands, and sly remarks floating around in his head suddenly disappeared with her appearance. He stood for moment at a loss for words. Finally, he asked the only question now on his mind, "Are you all right?"

She sighed and looked down toward the floor. 'No, this definitely isn't good,' he thought. Teyla seemed to gather her composure, then raised her chin and looked him in the eye. John picked up the slight tremor in her voice that others would likely have missed: "Please come in. We need to talk."

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo

John walked in, surreptitiously surveying Teyla's room. Several candles were lit around the room and a blanket lay on the floor, suggesting he had interrupted her meditation. However, judging from her face, this wasn't an average evening.

"We missed you at dinner tonight, Teyla," he said, turning to face her. He held out the sandwich, apple, and bottle of water he had snagged for her from the cafeteria on his way down.

"Thank you," Teyla said softly, taking the food and setting it on the table in the corner without looking him in the eye. Finally, she took a deep breath, steeling herself. "Colonel…"

John immediately cut her off. If something was wrong, he was going to fix it, not allow the Athosian to become formal with him. "Teyla, will you please use my name?" he asked, somewhat frustrated. "I'm here as your friend, not your C.O."

Teyla paused for a moment; when she finally said 'John', it came out with a hitch in her voice. She looked up at him, seeming almost afraid of how he would react to the news she was about to deliver, and her resolve crumbled. John hesitated for a moment as the strongest woman he had ever known burst into tears in front of him, but then placed he his hands on her shoulders and looked down at her with a concerned gaze.

But a few moments later she still struggled to gain control and John couldn't take it any more. He wrapped his arms around her, letting her cry into his shoulder. John was not a demonstrative man by nature, and their close friendship rarely strayed beyond platonic gestures (contrary to what the rumor mill on Atlantis said). Usually their hugs were awkward, but tonight he rested his cheek on top of her head, smelling the scent of her shampoo, and gently rubbed her back. For a moment, he couldn't help but think how right she felt in his arms, but he instantly chastised himself and crammed it into the overstuffed box in his mind marked 'Do not enter, ever.'

Finally her sobs died to hiccups and Teyla slowly regained her composure. After this, she thought, he would either be very supportive or never speak to her again. She was dreading this more than anything, but her respect for John Sheppard demanded that she look him in the eye when she told him.

Taking a deep breath, she looked up into the hazel eyes that had looked after her so well and took his hands in hers. "Today Halling told me about arrangements my people have made for me as the time has come…"

"John, I'm getting married."

TBC