Hope for Them Yet
Disclaimer: These characters are lovely, but not mine; this story is for fun, not profit.
Even before the birth of little Torren, John knew he had to resign himself to a life without Teyla by his side. It did not come easily. He had carefully buried his feelings, but when it was too late he realized that she was everything to him. Constant friend and calming influence, beautiful temptress and brave kindred spirit: she was beyond everything to him.
And so the jealousy he felt when he thought of her with Kanaan was only to be expected. How could he not envy the man when he possessed all that John longed for? And yet John knew too well that he had mainly himself to blame. He remembered the thrill he had felt, so long ago, when he first met Teyla. While her return with him to Atlantis had happened under dreadful circumstances, after the carnage wrought by the Wraith on Athos, there had been an opportunity then. It was a time for new beginnings, yet he did not - could not - allow himself to begin a real relationship. His new responsibilities felt heavy in those days, and he could not allow himself to be distracted. He feared being blinded by love – yes, love; he could call it that now – for a woman whom he instinctively knew could mean so much to him.
And so instead he kept his flirtations light. What was it that psychology professor had said? He was avoiding real intimacy. He wasn't very good at it. He first tried to involve himself only with women who did not really remind him of Teyla and all that could be really meaningful to him. The porcelain-skinned Chaya, part of a protected society, seemed far removed from Teyla and her world, and yet she too was a leader of her people, thoughtful and careful in her words, and even a warrior.
Months turned into years; his black hair showed signs of gray, but even after the death of Kanaan he kept his true feelings to himself. He offered her support and renewed friendship, but nothing more. After all, she had made her choice years ago.
A full-bird colonel now, Sheppard had even heavier responsibilities, interfacing with both the SGC and the IOA back on earth. Every Monday he had a regularly scheduled video conference with General Carter. Occasionally General O'Neill, now retired from the service and a security consultant, would also be in on the conference. O'Neill still spent a great deal of his time in Colorado, and sometimes the camera angle would be a little off, and John would catch a glimpse of his hand resting casually at Carter's waist while they talked. John was glad for them, but he always signed off on those days with a feeling of wistfulness. Sam and Jack had figured it out; how had he managed to miss his own chance of happiness?
John had trouble letting go of that question, and after years of suppressing his desires, he wondered if he might still have a chance. But they were friends. Could he… could he woo Teyla after all this time? He started bringing her small gifts: an exotic flower or spice from another Pegasus planet, an orange when he returned from an IOA meeting in Florida. He left each gift in her quarters with a note that read, simply, "I thought of you. – John." Each time she would find him, on a balcony, in his office or the mess. She would thank him with a sincere smile, a hand on his arm, and eyes that lingered on his. "I was thinking of you too," she would say.
Perhaps there was hope for them yet.