Standing quietly in the hallway as she left the room and a drunken Ronon sprawled out on a bed at the Inn where she had just arranged for two rooms that night, Teyla contemplated the ironic, even unexpected turns the day had taken.
Having agreed to Ronon's request to accompany her on the journey to Belkan, it felt right on many levels. She, more than anyone of the inhabitants of Atlantis, knew what it was like to be an outsider. When her own people moved to the mainland, Teyla, alone, remained with the Earthlings, as leader and representative of the Athosians on the Island city, given a place on the team of explorers of this galaxy and defenders of the planet Lantea and of the Ancient City. Even while her own people were a puddle jump away, dwelling within Atlantis made her feel separate and solitary too often. It was during a mission to try to retrieve Aiden Ford, that the team met a man who would change Teyla's life; a wild, and restless spirit, a relentless hunter and someone who was more isolated than anyone she'd known.
Teyla remembered sitting there with him, held captive, in fact, by him while Colonel Sheppard went to retrieve Dr. Beckett. Yet, her heart had gone out to Ronon as she listened to his story, even while she remained resolute in her position as a member of his opposition. Teyla recalled an unwanted metamorphosis taking place within her as she realized she was sitting face to face with a living myth. This man was one of the legendary runners she'd heard about as a child and through her growing years, though she always thought such tales were simply exaggerated, imagination gone wild. Still, here he was and his plight touched an inner chord. It wasn't enough that he had been subjected to a culling, but when he was of no use on the feeding front, the horrid life-sucking Wraith had used him like an animal; something to be hunted down. Only, it seemed, they did not mean to kill him quickly. Rather, their intent was a methodical and slow draining of his humanity, pushing him toward his inner beast, taunting his dignity. Suddenly, she was no longer looking at a man gone feral, clothed in tattered layers of fraying rags, but a soul who was fighting for life. Instantly he became more human to her, a feeling which she resisted and, thus, pushed down with a learned discipline.
When all was said and done on that fateful day, Ronon was brought back to Atlantis, as her own people had been, and she watched this stranger in a strange land learn of the fate of his kinsmen. She glimpsed a searing pain wash over him, even saw the tears glistening in his eyes and knew that his loneliness had abruptly been cemented by the sad reality of complete and irrevocable loss.
With nowhere else to go, not even the purpose of running left for him, Ronon had accepted the position offered by Dr. Weir to join their team. He proved to be an outstanding, even if unpredictable, ally. So taking Ronon to Belkan with her, knowing, as well as understanding his need to just be somewhere else, seemed a good solution. She would have company and he would get a break from life inside a city which likely felt as alien to him as it often did to her.
What Teyla had overlooked was something she already understood about Ronon Dex: How much of a wild card he was. Her trek to Belkan was a personal mission for her own society. Ronon seemed happy enough to just be going off world without the whole group. Plus Teyla had to admit that she looked forward to the chance to learn more about Ronon and, yes, to spend time with him... alone.
With some disappointment at Ronon's reaction during her negotiation for a disease-resistant strain of Flax seed, Teyla had to rein in her own temper and bring the meeting to a necessary end. While she knew he meant well, she was frustrated with Ronon's lack of diplomatic sensibilities. The memory of that moment which happened many hours prior, when he asked her "What?" instinctively knowing she was displeased, even before she tried to explain that she had the situation under control, did bring a smile to her face as she hesitated outside the door now. Teyla was simply no longer used to any attempt of someone to come to her 'rescue' in this precise way. It was different from Colonel Sheppard having her back, as she had his in a confrontation with enemy forces. This was almost gallant! Perhaps it was that notion blended with receiving information moments after she had summarily dispatched Ronon to gather their belongings and go to await her arrival at the Gate that caused her to wrangle with her emotions. Learning he was not the lone survivor of his people was the greatest news and she hurried to meet him to deliver the wonderful tidings, her displeasure with him gone.
It was, in fact, that very news which detoured her plans to return to Atlantis that afternoon. Ronon and Teyla went, instead, to a tavern suggested as the place where many surviving Satedans gathered when visiting this world. There they, indeed, met a friend of Ronon's, after inquiring about him from the bartender. It was in those moments, watching the two men revel in their mutual discoveries that each had survived, that Teyla saw the first true glimpses of happiness change a guarded and angry countenance to a smiling, almost easy going manner. She truly felt gladness in her heart for this man.
In the darkened corridor, Teyla recalled something else from the meeting. The man, Solen, had said to Ronon after the latter had introduced his friends to each other, that Ronon and Teyla made a good match and actually congratulated him. With a flutter inside, Teyla realized that Ronon did not deny this misinformation but turned to her instead. Of course, Teyla had straightened out the misunderstanding, then, but stood, now, her mind whirling with uncontrolled imaginings.
On impulse, Teyla turned back, opening the door and entered the room again. What was she doing? But her mind dismissed the resistance. A soft glow, flickering light dancing upon the wall from a lone candle on a bedside table, washed across Ronon's face. How vulnerable he looked. With her hand still on the knob, she quietly closed the door, turning the lock to secure the room. He was not moving and his breathing was still and even, as if in sleep. A few steps brought her to the side of the bed where she stood looking down at him. The words he'd spoken as she put him to bed still played in her head. "Three hundred of my people..." His voice was plaintive and now they tugged at her heart strings.
"Ronon?" she whispered.
"Teyla?" His response was questioning.
Sitting on the side of the bed, Teyla began to speak. "I just wanted to..." but his fingers were brushing her lips, gently, tenderly, stopping her words, her heartbeat skipping again at his touch.
"So do I." Ronon responded.