Disclaimer: I don't own SGA. I don't claim to. I'm writing this for entertainment, not for money -- so please don't sue me??
Summary: Sometimes even the pull of gravity can't keep your feet on the ground. All it can do is pull you into your memories -- and toward the one you love. RononTeyla
Warnings: Some mild kissing.
Pairing: Ronon/Teyla (Spanky)
" The Gravity of Memories"
He's right there. His hand, less than an inch from mine. . .Teyla Emmagan felt her stomach clench as emotional agony transformed into physical pain. Gravity yet again switched from pulling her to the ground to tugging her inexorably towards Ronon Dex.
She'd known him for two years, one and a half of which she couldn't stop thinking about him. Night after night, she worked to harness her emotions. Day after day, she found herself drawn to him with more strength than the day before, making all her work at night pointless.
Now, with him sitting right next to her, she couldn't concentrate. Her mind was fixated on the way he caressed his mug, making her forget the fact that they were on a mission. But that little fact didn't matter. Or maybe it did – she couldn't remember.
I could just reach out and hold his hand or stroke his arm. Those things are innocent. Teyla's eyes darted to the hand, still so close, then away guiltily. No. I mustn't. We are working. That wouldn't be right. Unconsciously, her hands curled into fists.
She no longer knew what was right or wrong. She didn't know where they were or why. Only two things she knew: one, that she loved him more than anyone she'd ever loved before; and two, that she had to make a decision fast. If she let her feelings last much longer, she would soon not be able to work with him so close. As if she could work with him now. . .
Ronon turned to her, his eyes growing serious when he saw her expression. "Hey, you okay?"
She hesitated for a moment, but then nodded just as her stomach clenched again. Why must he look at me that way? It is as if he knows what I am thinking.
Teyla's mind was swimming. She could no longer think while she was so close to him, but how could she leave? The gravity between them was so strong, binding them together, it was impossible to pull away, or so it seemed. Could she overcome it? In an instant and without thinking, she got up and left before her emotions could stop her. Desperately pushing through the door, she inhaled deeply. Cool air rushed into her lungs, the freshness feeling so good. It cleared her mind, allowing her to think of less complicated things for a brief moment. The birds in the trees reminded her of her home when she was little; playing in the windowsill, watching the birds fly by.
The sounds reminded her of the time Ronon climbed to the three-story rafters of a barn to free the trapped robin they'd heard crying on their last mission. The memory made her stomach churn yet again. Why, why, why couldn't she just forget about him for a minute? More memories flooded back to her, stealing her breath and all rational thought.
The sky was so beautiful that, under any other circumstances, she would have laughed with joy. The waist-high grass was swaying in the wind, birds were playing in the trees, and the death count was up to thirty-five.
Ronon walked up to her, accidentally brushing her hip with a swinging hand, setting the nerves beneath on fire. "You sure you're okay for this? You were close to these people." He looked at her with that intense expression that made her think he could read everything about her like the open pages of a book.
Teyla took a deep breath and nodded with the exhale. "Yes. I considered these people as my own. I vowed to do everything in my power to help them. That includes discovering who did this to them." Even as she said it, she was numb, not hearing her own words.
He continued to walk a little ways past her, then finally spun to a stop in front of her. "I don't know how you do it."
"Do what?" Teyla didn't look up at him, choosing to avoid his gaze in favor of searching a body for identifying evidence. It helped to hide the tears in her eyes, tears she didn't want him to see.
There was a pause so long that it almost caused Teyla to look up despite herself. At last Ronon said, "I don't know. You're always strong, always ready to fight. You never think of anyone but yourself. You're so. . ." He trailed off, as if unable to find the right word.
This time, after almost a minute of silence, she looked up at him through her lashes, finally in control of her tears. "What?" she asked softly.
Ronon looked away, his jaw suddenly tight. "I should go."
She went back to work, but glanced up at him as soon as he'd found another victim. He turned and threw her a puzzled look, but looked away as soon as he realized she was looking at him.
The encounter seemed like a confusing but nice interlude in the heavy, heartbreaking work ahead of them. Teyla clung to it as she continued her dreadful work.
Teyla's consciousness snapped back to the present when she heard gunfire in the distance. She immediately tensed to run to join them, but relaxed when she remembered what it was all about. John's military training. Right. He was doing most of the work with the new recruits; Teyla, Ronon, and Rodney were along mostly for show.
She looked around and realized just how far she'd wandered from the little shelter where she'd left her other two teammates. Her eyes darted to her watch. With another fifteen minutes of rest ahead of her, she continued walking.
Another shot fired in the background, sending her mind suddenly spinning into another memory.
Ronon darted in front of her. "Get out!" he yelled over the sound of weapons fire.
"No!" she pushed him aside and resumed fighting her territory.
"The Gate's just over the hill. If we both stay, we may not make it."
"And if just I leave, you certainly won't." There was no way she was leaving without him.
And there was no way he was letting her stay. "Listen, there're too many. Just get out. Now!"
She shook her head. "Ronon, I am not—"
"Teyla, get out!" he yelled, harsher than he'd ever spoken to her before.
An explosion suddenly rocked the ground beneath them and scattered the enemy they'd been fighting. They both jumped at the sudden noise, yanking their attention off the previous disturbance – and each other's safety.
"I got 'em, kids. Come on home!" John called from the Jumper, his voice reaching them over their radios.
Later, once more in the safety of Atlantis, she sat at the debriefing table puzzling over what had happened back on the planet. The meeting was over, but Ronon's words still stung in her head, refusing to allow her thoughts to move past them.
Her eyes were fixed forward, her lips tightly pressed together as her hands harshly played with each other. Something brushed against her arm as an familiar aroma filled her mind.
"Teyla – about before—" his speech was slow, full of remorse.
She turned to him, shocked at how close his chair was to hers. When had that happened? "I know you – but – why?"
He ran his hand through his hair; readjusted his legs to be more comfortable. "I don't know if—"
Her eyes narrowed.
"I couldn't stand to let you stay there. Something in me—" Ronon's jaw tightened.
Teyla twisted toward him a little more. Her face began to relax a little in understanding.
Ronon started again, his voice hesitant. "Out there – out there I realized that I'd rather die then see you fall. Maybe – maybe I should have—" He stopped again, frustrated.
Her hand, as if on its own, reached out to rest on his arm. "Ronon. You know I am strong. You shouldn't—" She realized the sudden inability to speak. How could she ask him not to worry about her safety, when she couldn't stop worrying about his?
He shook his head slowly, then faster. "No. Of course you're strong. It's just – Teyla, I—"
John suddenly appeared in the doorway. "What you waiting on? McKay's already halfway through his tray and we're supposed to train a new team right after supper."
A twig snapped. For a brief moment, she felt a strange presence. She was now in the woods with the road in sight just off to the right. Her legs began to ache from the strenuous work they'd just been doing, driving her ever-onward through the thick underbrush. She found a fallen log, brushed it off, and used it as a seat.
She sat with her back against the stained window. She shifted her gaze from the gym door to her fallen Bantos rods. Her knees pulled up to her chest with a deep inhale.
The doors opened, the light falling across a familiar figure she both wanted to see, and at the same time dreaded seeing. "Am I late or are you just in the mood to be alone?"
"I just finished. I am sorry." She straightened her spine, forcing steel into her posture. Show no weakness, show no weakness. . . "I did not know you wished to spar with me. Maybe tomorrow or—"
"Lighten up. I hadn't seen you in a while and got a little nervous. What've you been doing?" Ronon settled next to her, touching her right side lightly with his elbow.
"Sparring." Her voice was low and slow, very obviously reticent.
He searched her face intently, for what, she didn't know. "You're acting weird."
Of all times for him to be so observant. . . She looked at him, questioning his intentions.
His fingers brushed her arm, leaving gooseflesh in their wake. "Are you okay?"
Her eyes fixed on the door across the room from her again. She nodded woodenly.
"I don't believe you. When you're mad, you talk, but to other people than those you're mad at. You haven't been avoiding anyone. When you're scared, you seclude yourself, yet here I am. When you're frustrated, you – well, you complain."
Her head snapped to him again, ready to deny it. But after a moment of thought, she sighed. "Perhaps."
"When you're tired, you yawn. A lot. You haven't yawned once the whole time I've been here. That leaves one thing." Ronon looked at her intently, waiting to see if she guessed.
She quickly glanced at him, feeling too defeated to play along.
"You're stressed. You're avoiding socializing by working out and staring at walls. You don't really want to talk, but still want people around. And, for right now, I want to be that person."
"Wow." Once again, she turned her gaze to him. "That's the most I've ever heard you talk. Weapons and fighting techniques excluded." She managed a small, teasing smile.
Ronon's features warmed in response. "I only talk about what I know. Now, why are you stressed?" His eyes searched hers deeply, as if they wanted more than anything else to fix her. His voice was so soft and caring.
She tightened the grip on her legs and began to talk, happier than she'd thought she'd be to get what was bothering her off her chest.
Another twig snapped; this one closer.
The memories, too many to count, of Ronon flooded her mind. She couldn't breathe.
"I cannot take it!" she screamed to no one.
Someone behind her began to talk. "Me either," a low, comforting voice agreed.
Teyla's heart pounded. She slowly turned to him. "W-why?"
Ignoring her question, Ronon walked around to sit next to her on the log. He was close enough she could feel his warmth, but not close enough so they were touching. "We can't do this. It's not working."
She tilted her head, eyes questioning. She wanted him to admit it before she did, just in case everything she felt – she thought he felt – was her own imagination.
"Our feelings. It's hurting you to be around me, and killing me to be away for you. That's why I'm here." Ronon's eyes watched her anxiously, waiting for any reaction she might offer.
She didn't talk. She couldn't. Once more, the irrational urge to cry tightened her chest and made her eyes sting.
"After ten minutes, I started – worrying. I thought – I had to find you." He was quickly running out of words. "Please say something."
The words burst out of Teyla as if an invisible dam inside her had burst. "What are we supposed to do? For how distracting this is, imagine what it will be like when we are – a couple." It felt so weird to say. The whole conversation felt weird.
"I don't care." Ronon nearly interrupted her, so anxious to tell her. He grabbed her hand, holding it firmly in his. "I need you. I need you to be with me. I need – I can't live like this any more."
Teyla noticed how white the knuckles on his other hand were. She scanned his face, looking for something, anything. Why hadn't she noticed before how thin it was? He looked like he was dying.
"We—" she turned away from him. His eyes were too sad, too desperate. "We cannot just jump into this. We mustn't rush things." She wanted too, though. So badly.
Ronon thumb caressed the back of her hand. The sullen atmosphere transformed into a light, airy surrounding as if by magic, simply because he smiled. "I love you." The words were so soft, so low that it made her doubt whether she'd heard them at all.
"I love you, too." She whispered without thinking. Her hands nearly flew up to cover her mouth, but something held them down. No – someone held them down.
Ronon scooted closer to her – as if it was possible, the gravity between them had been tugging them ever-closer all this time, though neither had noticed. His warm touch was a nice contrast to the cool mist in the forest. "You're right. I don't want to rush this. We can't mess this up, it's too perfect."
Teyla felt something, something deep inside that made her laugh. Instead of the agonizing gut wrenching pain that nearly occurred, she felt a slight flutter in her chest. Finally, she was relieved.
"What?" He chuckled, happy because she was.
"I love you."
His eyes narrowed. "That's funny?"
She laughed again. "No. It's just that – before—" She forgot what she was saying. She forgot how to speak. The look in his eyes robbed the abilities from her – but she wasn't going to complain. She felt him coming closer, moving toward her. His hand held the back of her head as if she were the most delicate thing he'd ever touched. His eyes fixed on her, telling her that she was the most important woman in the world.
Then, finally, his lips met hers. They were soft, yet strong at the same time. He held her so tight that she couldn't imagine him ever letting her go. She liked that feeling.
Ronon's hands began to move through her hair. She felt his arm under her hand as she grazed his wrist, elbow, shoulder, and neck.
We must stop. We have to quit. If we continue— He kissed her neck, sending her thoughts into a frenzy – everywhere but where she was before. What was I saying?
His lips returned to hers. Her hands moved to his chest as she— "Children! What did I tell you about curfew?" John's voice over the radio did what they themselves could not do. They jerked away from each other, breathing hard, staring in wide eyed amazement and excitement at each other.
Teyla was really beginning to hate John Sheppard and his lousy timing.
"Two more minutes, then we'll head back," Ronon said into the radio without taking his eyes off Teyla.
"What are you doing?" John asked suspiciously.
Teyla grew stiff, worried. "Why?" she asked, perhaps a little too defensively.
"You're both out of breath." John sounded oddly smug at his observation skills.
"We were racing," Teyla said quickly, desperate for any excuse. He couldn't know the truth, not yet.
"Yeah, racing," Ronon chimed in. His hand traced her palm, condemning her ability to think about anything but him.
"Right. Sorry. This is a mission. You guys can race when you get back to Atlantis. As for now, I want you front and center." After that, they didn't hear from him again.
"He's right," Ronon agreed moments later. He sounded defeated.
Confusion welled inside of her. "How?"
"We shouldn't be doing this. Not here, and not back home, either. We're rushing things." He lifted her hand, the one that he still hadn't released from the beginning of their conversation, to his lips and left a gentle kiss on her palm.
Her skin tingled as her entire arm once more rippled with gooseflesh. She nodded. "I love you." She had to say it again – she couldn't say it enough.
A smile brightened his face again. "I love you, too."
Ronon stole one last quick kiss, released the hand, and hopped off their log. He promptly turned and extended his hand toward her, expression showing he accepted her decision if she wanted to take it or not.
Teyla smiled. Her hand reached out to accept the help down, and remained in his as they found their way out of the woods. They walked back to the small shelter slowly, neither wanting to hurry the last few minutes they had together. Half of the time was spent talking and laughing, the other half in silence, just enjoying each other's presence.
As they walked, Teyla could almost see into the future. She didn't know why, but, for some reason, she knew they'd always be together. No matter what, they'd make it. Why? Because what they shared was true love. Ours may not be a passionate, daring love story, but I would not have it any other way.