[Spoilers for season 5 episode 8, The Queen and 20, Enemy at the Gate. The events take place a few days after the end of Enemy at the Gate.]
Teyla turned in her bed. How many times already had she awakened that night? Had she even slept at all? As soothing as the clapping of waves was, it mercilessly reminded her they belonged to a foreign ocean on a foreign planet, in a galaxy far away from her own home. A galaxy far away from Torren and Kanaan, a galaxy far away from her people. How were they doing? How long would they remain safe from the wraith, without Atlantis' protection? Teyla had long stopped believing the Ancestors would one day save them from the wraith, but now, in the lonely darkness of their city teared away from its rightful place, she wondered whether her beloved ones would pay for her blasphemy.
She doubted Atlantis would ever be returned to the Pegasus galaxy. They simply didn't have enough power, but even if they had had, Mr. Woolsey and the IOA would never have allowed it. Behind his polite manners, she could see his indifference to the fate of the indigenous peoples. John had tried to comfort her, but she knew all too well that his sympathy was limited to herself. While her turmoil saddened him, he didn't understand it, let alone share it. When she had turned to Ronon, she had soon backed up and chosen to let him savour their victory against a supposedly invincible wraith hive, his new-found love, and the sheer joy of being still alive. And finally, Rodney and Jennifer's happiness with each other, being a constant reminder of her own loneliness, spoilt any compassion they could provide.
She had sought comfort in meditation, but all she could feel was a terrible emptiness. The truth was she doubted herself, and nothing her friends could have said would have eased her culpability. She had failed her people.
Giving up trying to find sleep by herself, Teyla rose and slipped her clothes on. Intending to ask the night nurse for some pills, join some friendly soul in the mess hall, or perhaps simply watch the ocean, she left her room and walked to the transporter.
Only after a while did she realise she hadn't met a single living soul. The late hour didn't explain the eerie silence that had fell upon Atlantis: The city had been deserted.
Teyla accelerated her pace, calling for somebody, feeling an icy knot form in her heart as she was reviving the nightmare of new Athos. She ran to the control room — empty, — the mess hall — empty, — she tried John, Ronon, Rodney, Jennifer's rooms, the laboratory — all empty. Except for herself, Atlantis was devoid of any human being.
As she was dashing madly in more abandoned corridors, she thought she heard something.
"Hello?" She called between two heavy breaths. "Is anyone there?"
Following her instincts, she reached a closed door and opened it, trembling in both hope and fear of what may lay behind.
"My Queen," the familiar voice of Todd welcomed her mockingly, "how unworthy of your status such display of agitation is."
The wraith was calmly sitting behind a table in the room in which he had been locked up for days now.
"What have you done!" Teyla burst. "Where are John, Ronon and Rodney? Where is everybody!"
Todd granted her one of his creepy smiles.
"I have not done anything. Your friends are probably asleep in their rooms, except perhaps Dr. McKay, who may still be working in his laboratory."
"What?" Caught off guard, she shuddered and cast her eyes around. "Is this only a dream?..." she asked after a while. "Nothing is real?"
"Yes and no."
"What do you mean?"
"You are asleep, and this," he indicated the walls around them with a gesture of his hand, "is a creation of your mind, but I am real."
She tensed at once and instinctively adopted a combat stance.
"How dare you! Get out of my head right away!"
The wraith chuckled softly.
"I'm afraid I cannot, at least not without hurting you. You are the one who contacted me in your sleep."
"I do not believe you," she retorted dryly. "Why would I do such a thing? Of all people, why would I seek you in my sleep?"
"Because there is nobody else to reply to your call." He leaned forward. "You too feel the void, don't you? The everlasting presence you had learnt to know in the back of your mind is nowhere to be found in this galaxy. Even when most wraith were still hibernating, you never experienced such a psychic loneliness." He slouched against the back of his seat and added with an irreverent laugh: "You miss us, my Queen."
A cold shiver ran down her spine.
"No... No, this is simply not true. I miss my son and his father. I miss my people."
"You miss the constant company your wraith DNA offered you, even when you were physically alone. Or why invoke me in your dream?"
"I don't expect you to understand," she spat with bitterness. "What would you know of my feelings? What would you know of the fear of losing your beloved ones, of failing the people which entrusted you with its future?"
Todd's eyes darkened and the right corner of his mouth dropped, just a little.
"I lost my hive three times within two years."
She calmed suddenly, all anger gone. Perhaps he knew, after all. Perhaps what he was trying to explain her, in his wicked way, was how much he suffered of the separation from his brothers. For several seconds, she simply stared at this wraith, so unlike everything she had ever held true about his kind.
"Thank you," she said finally. "For being here."
He replied by a sarcastic grin, and she remembered with something akin to shame that his presence in Atlantis on Earth wasn't his choice, and that he had little chance to ever know freedom again. As she was turning heels with a goodbye nod, she stopped to add:
"As soon as the Daedalus is repaired, I'll return to the Pegasus galaxy. I'll do my best to convince John to let you go with us."
He inclined his head deeply. Words were not necessary.