Thank you for all the reviews for chapter one- I'm glad you're all embracing the weirdness that is this story! This chapter is a short filler chapter, to give us an idea of what's going on with the professional dancers...
Please let me know what you think!
Teyla stopped by the market on her way home, but Ronon and Jennifer still weren't back when she got to the apartment she shared with them. Jennifer had said something about visiting her Dad before the craziness of the season began, but Ronon was inexplicably absent. Teyla didn't bother trying to get hold of him as he was a big boy in every sense of the phrase, which meant that she had the place to herself for a few hours. She closed the blinds, lit some incense and settled into the lotus position on the yoga mat.
John Sheppard. Teyla really wasn't sure what she'd been expecting. She'd heard of him before, of course – he had become very famous after the Pegasus Disaster last year – but despite his fame he remained something of an enigma. She had done a little research on him in the few hours she'd had between finding out he was her partner and meeting him, and though there had been a lot of information very little of it had any real substance. She knew that he was the younger son of Patrick Sheppard, the founder and CEO of Sheppard Industries, and that he'd attended Stanford University. He'd surprised everyone by joining the Airforce straight out of college, and had quickly distinguished himself as a pilot in the Gulf. He'd been promoted to Major and been accepted onto the astronaut program at NASA, where he became their most skilled shuttle pilot within a year. He'd been working at NASA for five years before the Pegasus Disaster, after which he'd been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He very rarely did interviews, and when he did he never spoke about his personal life.
If pressed, Teyla would admit she'd been expecting someone... mature. Stoic. Tough. The red-white-and-blue all-American hero type. But the John she had met that afternoon... well. He was charming and obviously knew it, using it to his advantage almost from the moment they met. He was laidback and casual, though with an underlying tension he'd been trying to hide – Teyla had thought it was nerves but had soon realised it was discomfort. He'd kept glancing at the cameras, obviously unhappy that they were being filmed, and had seemed embarrassed at the thought of dancing. For the five seasons Teyla had been working on Dancing With The Stars she had never had a partner that hadn't been excited about the show and learning to dance – John Sheppard clearly wasn't like that. In fact, she had to wonder that he had agreed to do the show at all.
Still, she had liked him. There was something about him that she responded to, and she had a feeling that they would work well together as partners.
Teyla was watching a rerun of Frasier when Jennifer returned a few hours later. She opened her mouth to say hello but her roommate shook her head before she could say anything.
"No, don't say a word," she warned. "It's completely unfair that you get the hot astronaut and I get the whiny astrophysicist, and I don't want to hear about it." She flopped down onto the other couch and stretched out, her eyes trained on the television. Teyla smirked and turned back to the TV as well – Jennifer would start talking soon, she was sure.
Teyla waited for the episode to finish and then muted the television. "It couldn't have been that bad," she said.
Jennifer rolled over onto her stomach and propped her head up on her hand. "Wait 'til you meet him, and then judge for yourself," she said drily. She sighed. "It could be worse – believe me, I know – but I can tell it's going to be an uphill struggle. And I don't want a repeat of last year."
The previous year Jennifer's partner had pulled out of the competition after two weeks, having decided that it was too physically draining. Jennifer had been heartbroken to be out of the contest, and all of her preparation work had gone to waste.
"I bought Ben and Jerry's on the way home," Teyla said after a moment. "For our last fling before the competition starts."
Jennifer grinned. "A woman after my own heart," she said.
Just then the front door opened and Ronon walked in, his kit bag slung over one shoulder.
"Hi Ronon," Jennifer called out, rolling back onto her back.
"Good evening, Ronon," Teyla said.
Ronon gave his usual greeting grunt as he took off his jacket.
"Everything alright?" Jennifer asked.
Ronon nodded as he walked over to them. "Great," he said, oddly enthusiastically.
"So, who've you got?" Jennifer asked. "What's she like?"
"She's amazing – we're going to win," Ronon said matter-of-factly, stopping in front of the television.
"Oh really?" Jennifer replied cheekily. Teyla, however, studied Ronon silently. He was... smiling. Well, no, not really smiling but definitely.... happy. She realised suddenly that Ronon hadn't been joking just now.
"I'm telling you – she's got the potential to be an amazing dancer," Ronon said. He was talking faster than normal... if it were anyone else, Teyla would have described it as 'gushing'. "She's really into martial arts and she's been training in taekwondo since she was five and she's just got this grace about her that will really translate onto the dancefloor, plus she takes direction really well. Her name's Amelia; Amelia Banks – she's a radio DJ... never listened to her show but I'll have to check it out because she's so cool; really funny and really smart and really nice and just generally great. This is gonna be a great season."
About halfway through this speech Jennifer propped herself up on her elbows, staring at Ronon in shock. One he was done, she looked over at Teyla, and started to grin.
"Oh my god," she said.
Teyla grinned back. "Indeed."
Ronon frowned. "What?"
"You're in love with her!" Jennifer exclaimed.
Ronon's eyes widened. "What?"
Jennifer laughed. "Seriously Ronon, I've never heard you talk that much about... anything. You're in love with her!"
Ronon rolled his eyes and moved round the coffee table to join Teyla on her couch. "Don't be stupid."
Jennifer just laughed again as Ronon sat down, and Teyla tucked her legs under her, draping her arm down the back of the couch.
"Where have you been?" She asked Ronon. "You haven't been training all this time, have you?"
"'Course not," scoffed Ronon. "After the hour we went for a drink, you know – to get to know each other. And then that turned into dinner, and then I walked her home along the river..." His voice trailed off as he noticed Teyla's smirk, which only widened when he actually started to blush. "Okay. Fine. I'm in love with her."
Teyla grinned delightedly and moved her hand up to rest on Ronon's shoulder. "Oh Ronon, that is wonderful."
"Really?" He asked, looking unsure. "You're not gonna give me a speech about how it will throw off the dynamic or something?"
Ronon was paraphrasing an old dance captain of theirs, and Teyla rolled her eyes. "Of course not; I like seeing you like this," she said. She squeezed his shoulder. "I like seeing you happy."
Ronon gave her a grateful smile before shrugging. "So how about you two? Who do you have?"
"I have Dr Rodney McKay," Jennifer said. "He's a physicist – just won the Nobel Prize. He was working with NASA last year during the Pegasus disaster; he was the one who -"
"Oh, with the computer program?" Ronon asked.
"Huh," Ronon said. "Predictions?"
Jennifer shrugged. "He's not the worst dancer I've ever seen, but dance-wise he wouldn't get past week four," she said. "The public might keep him in longer though... maybe. He's one of those people that they'll either absolutely love or absolutely hate. I guess we'll see."
"How about you?" Ronon asked Teyla.
"Teyla has John Sheppard," Jennifer said enviously.
Ronon looked surprised. "The astronaut? Seriously?"
Teyla nodded. "Yes."
Ronon's expression turned impressed. "Cool. What's he like?"
Teyla hesitated. "He is.... difficult to read," she said, frowning. "He is very nice, very charming, but I get the feeling that he... does not want to be here."
Jennifer snorted. "Rodney definitely doesn't – he's only in the competition because he lost a bet with his sister," she said. Teyla and Ronon exchanged a bemused glance, and Jennifer turned back onto her stomach to see them better. "How do you think he'll do?"
Teyla frowned thoughtfully. "Well, he picked up the basic waltz step quite quickly, and obviously he's physically fit, but it's hard to say until we really get into the routine," she said truthfully. It had been a promising start today, but at this point could go either way.
"I think he'll do well – the public will love him," Jennifer declared.
"Yeah, they love astronauts," Ronon agreed.
Teyla smiled. "Buzz Aldrin didn't do very well..." she reminded them.
"Buzz Aldrin couldn't dance," Jennifer said (a little harshly, in Teyla's opinion). "Also, much as I love him, he doesn't look like John Sheppard." She raised an eyebrow suggestively and Teyla laughed, shaking her head. It hadn't escaped her notice that John Sheppard was an extremely good-looking man... but so were many of the men Teyla interacted with on a regular basis. She could handle a pretty face.
"I wanna meet him," Ronon said suddenly.
Teyla smiled at him. "I want to meet Amelia."
"How's about we all go out for drinks tomorrow night?" Jennifer suggested. "After training?"
Teyla nodded. "I would like that – I can ask John tomorrow," she said with a smile.
"Yeah, I'll ask Rodney," Jennifer said. Her expression turned thoughtful. "I'm guessing he and John know each other, since they were both involved in Pegasus?"
Teyla shrugged one shoulder. "I suppose they do," she said. "Are you free tomorrow, Ronon?" She asked him.
Ronon nodded, before standing up and taking out his cell phone. "Yeah – I'll just text Amelia to see if she's free," he said. He glanced up and saw the smirks that Teyla and Jennifer were giving him, and his neck went decidedly pink.
"Shut up," he mumbled, before stomping off to his room.