THE RUNAWAY BRIDE AND HER TRUSTY WINGMAN, and how they escaped a matrimonial mess
Disclaimer: As you may have noticed, they're not mine. Boo.
Author's note: If you can't abide JT-shipping in the least, skip to the last section.
*Drum roll* And now, the conclusion…
CHAPTER 16 – THE BIG FINISH
Finally, she turned to him with a gentle look in her eyes and said the words he both wanted and dreaded to hear:
"John, we need to talk."
For the next few days, the two marines standing outside Col. Sheppard's door when Teyla walked out were the two most popular people in the city.
But even when plied with free drinks, the two men had to admit they didn't have much to add to the stories that were already circulating around Atlantis.
Teyla had walked out bearing the tray of empty plates, sporting a bland look on her face. She nodded politely to the marines before heading down the hallway toward the mess hall. Sparing a quick look into the room before the door closed, the corporal could not see much in the dark room except what looked like a Sheppard-shaped lump on the bed. The colonel must have gone back to sleep.
What the two men hadn't seen was the smile that graced Teyla's lips once she turned the corner.
No one, not even Ronon or Rodney, was ever certain about what had happened in Sheppard's room that night.
To the casual observer, things seemed no different between the colonel and Teyla than they had ever been. Speculation was rampant for the first few days, but gradually the fervor died down, and watching the interaction between the two was replaced by more popular sports. Even those trained to be subtle and unobtrusive observers never caught the two being anything more than teammates and friends.
Still, to those who knew them best – Ronon, Rodney, Elizabeth – something changed that night. It wasn't obvious, but occasionally there was … something. A deeper smile. A lingering look. A demeanor that suggested happiness rather than longing.
Zelenka nearly tore his hair out because some bets needed to be settled, and the evidence was inconclusive.
After John's 'release from captivity', as he called it, the team headed back to M2R-462 for a real vacation. John claimed they needed to rescue the champagne and other supplies left behind when they had returned to Atlantis to liberate the gateroom, but Elizabeth knew the team could use the downtime to actually relax and enjoy themselves before the next crisis arose.
If she overlooked the discrepancies in the inventory of the champagne, well, that was her gift to them.
And so it came to be that Team Sheppard spent four days on holiday, returning to the city tanned and revitalized. To John's surprise, Ronon took to surfing like a fish to water. Teyla did not try full-on surfing again, but she seemed to enjoy the body surfing that John taught her. Rodney kept to the beach, but his friends were actually able to pry his computer out of his hands for a couple of days. In its place he caught up on the latest science journals from Earth, which he claimed was relaxing and everyone else thought was ridiculous.
In the evenings after their time at the beach, the team sat around the fire drinking champagne and eating the food slipped into their jumper by the city cooks. Their laughter filled the cool night air, and they spent many hours just enjoying each other's company before heading off to bed. It was nice to bond with nary a life-threatening situation in sight, for a change.
If anything more happened between Teyla and John on that trip, Ronon and Rodney weren't telling.
It's not that they didn't notice certain people slipping off for a couple of hours to 'rearrange supplies in the jumper' or 'check the perimeter'. Indeed, the arrangement of two sleeping bags on each side of the fire was strictly for symmetry, of course. And, naturally, all of the laughter was simply a release of all of the tension that came with enduring so many stressful situations for so long.
Ronon was happy to see and not tell. It resolved something within the team that no one had even realized needed resolving. At first Rodney felt the need to state the obvious, but a few well-placed smacks upside the head by his teammates (and not just the male ones) quickly taught him it was better just to watch and be happy for them.
When they returned to Atlantis and all those prying eyes, the team presented a united front, as though nothing had happened at all.
Two weeks later
Rodney was already in the rec room fussing over the technology when Teyla and John entered. Ronon sat on a chair to the side, looking amused as Rodney groused about something or other. In the scientist's left hand was a DVD – John was pretty sure he saw Julia Roberts' face. He groaned.
"Rodney, don't tell me you're making us watch a chick-flick tonight," John said.
Rodney stammered for a moment before saying, "Well, I thought Teyla might appreciate this one."
"Do you assume that because I am a woman, I naturally gravitate toward such films?" she asked, one eyebrow quirked, daring Rodney to answer truthfully.
"Come on, let's see. What is it?" John asked from behind her.
Rodney suddenly looked apprehensive as he held up the movie: The Runaway Bride.
"Rodney," Teyla growled, slowly advancing on him. If McKay hadn't just made a colossal error in judgment and incurred the wrath of Teyla, John would have laughed at the look of panic on the scientist's face. Rodney quickly rounded the other side of the couch and took off through the door.
"I hardly see him run that fast when we're under fire," Ronon observed as he looked at the empty doorway.
Teyla plopped down in the middle of the couch and picked up the discarded DVD, reading the summary on the back.
"Aren't you going after him?" John asked almost hopefully.
"No," she said demurely as she continued to read. "I will let him panic for a while. He needs the exercise. But he will pay the next time we train together."
John chuckled and dropped down next to her, hoping he would have a chance to see that sparring session. "Is this film worth watching?" she asked.
"Nah," he said, sliding to the floor to check out a pile of DVDs stored beneath the television. "Let's find a real movie to watch."
About 10 minutes into Top Gun, Rodney crept back into the darkened room with a bowl of popcorn as a peace offering. Together the team spent the next two hours discussing Earth culture, arguing about pointless things, and eating. For that night, at least, things were as they should be. Life was good.
Author's note: Whew! Thanks so much to everyone who has commented, tagged, or just read this story and hung in there as it dragged on far longer than intended. I'm sorry if I didn't reply to your comment directly – I promise I read them all! This story has been a couple of years in the making and it took on a life of its own, going places I hadn't foreseen. The last few paragraphs were written way back at the beginning, and I couldn't bear to discard them after all this time (plus, who doesn't like to see Teyla threaten Rodney?).
As for this chapter, there are a few reasons I didn't do any blatant JT shipping. 1) In some ways, subtle romances are more intriguing; 2) As this started out as a friendship fic, I didn't want to alienate many readers in one fell swoop (although judging from feedback I received, most of you are JT shippers). Yes, I chickened out a bit; and 3) I don't know if I could do justice to the beautiful relationship they have, so I left much of it to readers' imaginations. It'll turn out much better there, anyway.
And now the future: As we wait for the SGA writers to make even the slightest attempt to redeem themselves after what they have done to the storyline, fear not. The plot bunnies were multiplying like crazy during the production of this fic, so there will be more stories on the way in the not-too-distant future. 'Til then, I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it. Thanks, everyone!