Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate: Atlantis or any characters, places, things, or ideas therein. This fic is for entertainment purposes only, and I am making no profit.
Summary: "You've been in a mood since before we came back from M6X499, and I want to know why." RononTeyla, next in SAWS 09
Warnings: Some violence
Title: Both Sides Now
Author: Mama Jo
Author's Note: I'm so sorry that this SAWS fic is a little late. I started on it quite a while ago, but I am horrible at coming up with endings, so I've been working and working to try to come up with a good ending. I hope you all feel that I've succeeded. Thank you so much for reading this story, and I hope you all enjoy! –Mama Jo
Both Sides Now
Both Sides Now
"What's a poodle?"
Ronon looked over at Sheppard, who lounged against a nearby bit of partially intact stone wall, seemingly without a care in the world. Before he'd gotten to know him better, that casual attitude had set Dex's back teeth on edge and made him question the other man's fitness to command. But he'd since had ample opportunity to observe -- and grow to respect -- the colonel's ability to go instantaneously from apparent total relaxation into full combat mode. He now tried to emulate John and "go with the flow" more himself.
Just as Sheppard opened his mouth to answer Ronon's question, McKay, without looking up from the instruments in front of him, snapped, "It's a kind of dog. A stupid, yappy little dog with a weird haircut."
Sheppard tilted his head to one side, his eyes taking on that gleam they got when he thought he'd found another of the scientist's buttons to push. Whatever he meant to say, though, Ronon never got to hear. Teyla cut in abruptly, demanding, "And you say you see this -- poodle -- in the clouds?"
Surprised by what amounted to an outburst from the normally tranquil Athosian, Ronon glanced over at her, and saw a tiny crease of annoyance between her brows. Sheppard, who sounded equally startled, said, "Well, uh, no, I mean, not an actual dog. Just the general shape of a -- a poodle." He waved an uncertain gesture at the intensely blue sky, which was liberally dotted with fluffy white clouds. "Just like that one over there," he pointed, "kinda looks like cauliflower. It's just a game--"
"--A really stupid game," McKay, still hunched over his laptop, interjected.
The colonel glared at Rodney, then shot a quick glance at Teyla from the corner of his eye. He visibly thought better of verbally annihilating the scientist, since anything he said would automatically seem to apply to her as well. Even as Ronon racked his brain for a way to defuse the tension vibrating in the air, the unexpected origin of it announced, "I agree with Rodney. It is a stupid game," turned sharply on her heel, and stalked off in the direction of the Stargate.
Staring after her, Sheppard muttered, "Now what was that all about?"
Ronon, also watching her go and feeling just as bemused as his team leader looked, replied in a worried mumble, "I have absolutely no idea."
Dropping into a low crouch, Ronon snapped his righthand Bantos rod straight up over his head. Teyla's rods, slashing in from opposite sides toward where his torso had been, impacted wood instead of flesh with a force that jarred painfully all the way from his fist to his shoulder. A growl rumbled from his chest up into his throat. Before she could reverse her motion and back away from him, he let go of his imprisoned rod and made a lightning fast grab for where all three rods intersected. Clenching his large fingers around them in an unbreakable grip, he surged to his full height, dragging her close enough for him to sweep his left arm around her and inexorably pin her against him. Chest heaving out of time with her ragged breathing, he locked his eyes on hers and rasped, "Okay, that's it. You wanna tell me why you just tried to cave my ribs in?"
Rigid with fury, she gritted out, "Let me go, Ronon! Now!"
"Uh-uh." It wasn't often that he relaxed his guard over himself, and used his greater size and strength to overpower her. But when Ronon felt Teyla shift her feet minutely at the same moment she relinquished her hold on her now useless Bantos rods, he didn't hesitate. Letting the rods clatter noisily to the floor, he wrapped his right arm around her and let his left knee soften. As he used his right leg to hook both of hers from under her, he collapsed backward. He landed on his backside, grunting slightly from the impact of their combined weights, and rolled smoothly onto his curved spine, locking his legs around hers. "You've been in a mood since before we came back from M6X499, and I want to know why."
Instead of answering him, Teyla exploited her limited options by knotting her fingers through his dreadlocks, nails scraping his scalp. Pulling as hard as she could, she simultaneously dug the point of her chin painfully into the hollow beneath one of his collarbones. Grimly wondering if he'd feel her teeth next, Ronon braced his heels against the floor and tightened his grip with his thighs. Reaching up to seize her wrists, he rolled sideways one hundred eighty degrees, coming to rest with his knees and elbows holding just enough of his weight off her to let her breathe. Something wet ran from his hairline into his eyes, making them sting. Blinking it away, he stared down at her and panted, "This isn't like you, Teyla, and you've got me worried. I know John is, too. Why are you so angry?"
Teyla glared back at him, narrowed eyes hard and hot, tendrils of damp hair clinging to her sweaty face. "I cannot believe you are not," she all but spat at him. "We -- our peoples -- everyone else in this galaxy -- have never had leisure to find silly shapes in the clouds! Danger and death have always come upon us from the skies--" And suddenly she was crying, her slight body shuddering under his with the ferocity of her sobbing.
Ronon's anger vanished, his heart melting with sympathy at the intensity of her distress. No wonder she'd been so furious; she must have felt utterly betrayed when he wasn't equally outraged by Sheppard's casual comments. Easing over onto his back, he released her wrists. Very, very gently, he massaged the backs of her hands, coaxing her fingers into loosening their death grip on his hair, then guiding them down to his shoulders. Once he'd accomplished that, he sat up, cradling her on his lap while he soothed her with hands and voice and body.
"You know," he murmured against the top of her head once her weeping finally eased, "I'm glad there's someplace in the universe where people don't have to fear what might sweep down on them out of the sky. Someplace where people can have the leisure to find silly shapes in the clouds. And," his voice grew even softer, "I look forward to the day when -- thanks to people like us, and Sheppard, and even McKay -- the Wraith will be gone; and then folks in the Pegasus galaxy, too, will be able to look up at the clouds and play the same kind of game."
Teyla went very still in his arms, and Ronon felt her thinking about his words. He waited patiently for her to respond. The silence stretched out. The pain in his scalp eased down to mere soreness, while his sweat and her tears dried on his skin.
Eventually, she released a long sigh that fluttered his shirt against his chest. In a very small, tear-roughened but much calmer voice she said, "Please let me go now, Ronon." When he complied, she got shakily to her feet and, without looking at him, walked over to the stained glass panels in one wall of this less-used workout room. As with so many other windows in Atlantis, they did double duty as doors leading onto a miniscule balcony. She swiped her hand over the controls. The panels whispered apart and she stepped out into the open air. Silently, he rose and followed her. He halted a couple of paces behind her, not wanting to crowd her now that she seemed to have regained control of her emotions.
For a very long moment she stood looking out over the ocean towards the horizon. "You are right," she finally said. "I -- It was very selfish of me to react the way I did." She looked over her shoulder at him, her swollen but still beautiful brown eyes very sad. "Even worse, I unjustly took my anger out on you. I deliberately hurt you. I am sorry, Ronon. Can you forgive me?"
Ronon let the corners of his mouth twitch upwards ever so slightly. "Already have," he answered simply. He opened his arms to her, wrapping her in a tender embrace when she came to him.
Some time later, when Teyla had turned within the circle of his arms, leaning back against him as they watched the magnificent vista of sea and sky and sunset, she said wistfully, "To look at the sky without fear, and see pictures in the clouds-- Will our children ever be able to do that, Ronon?"
Gently turning her to face him, Ronon gazed down into her eyes and said, "I promise you they will, Teyla." Then, placing his hands on her shoulders, he leaned down to touch his forehead to his wife's.