All right, perhaps all of you haven't been waiting. Perhaps just twelve of you. Regardless of the number of people waiting, the day has arrived. What day is that? Why, it's the first of...
T'is the season of giving, receiving, and holiday cheer. And in that spirit, I have written* a few short stories for various members of my f-list (and one sneaky Rawhide fan) based on prompts given back at the end of August. So for the next twelve days, there will be one ficlet for each participant. * - All right, all right, I've fallen way behind, so a good portion of them are still in progress. But I will persevere to get the gifts out in time!
First up is a ficlet for my good friend...
Spoilers for SGA Season 4, up to "Spoils of War"
Mid-afternoon light streamed through the windows as Teyla rolled the small sphere in her hands. It was nothing incredibly ornate, just a trinket that Kanaan had carved after the Athosians had been forced to relocate to New Athos after the Ancestors briefly took back their city. The shaped wood had come from a trading trip, but it was Kanaan that had etched in the outline of the mainland Old Lantea onto the wooden surface.
Kanaan's whittling skills being what they were, it really didn't resemble all that accurate representation of Atlantis's original home planet—but that really did not matter. All that did was his earnest hope that the trinket might ease her homesickness some during that lonely time. She absently traced one of the jagged lines with her finger, feeling the uneven grooves that went against the grain.
The chime at her door interrupted her musing of Kanaan's woodcarving skills, and before she could even call an answer, the door swished open to reveal one Dr. Rodney McKay. She felt her chest tighten a little, because she was fairly sure that the stiff gait meant that he had found out from someone else. And that was wrong—she had wanted all of her team to be present when she revealed her pregnancy, but there had been extenuating circumstances—
So she waited, watching as his tight, controlled movements gave way the further her ventured in. The air of annoyed righteousness he had been projecting upon his arrival disappeared, replaced by a constant need to wring his hands together, as if that might squeeze out the nervousness plaguing him. She found it very odd, perplexing behavior. Of course, for as long as Teyla had known him, and as well as she liked to think she knew him, he still managed to surprise her on a regular basis.
"So," he said conversationally.
"So," she repeated patiently.
His brow narrowed ever-so-slightly, and instead of continuing to wring his hands he shoved them deep into his pockets. "So, I heard."
And there was a flash, something so quick she missed most of it, but with the way he pressed his lips together and his eyes roved to the ceiling, eyebrows knitting together briefly, she could only guess that it had been a flash of betrayal. "I am sorry, Rodney."
"What? No. Why are you apologizing? No need to apologize, it's nothing life shattering, you're just... just..." For someone so intelligent, it seemed nearly impossible for him to form one small, innocuous word.
"What is this, the fifties? I was going to say 'be a mom', but yeah, that works too." She was pretty sure he meant to sound brash, maybe even angry. And yet, she could still hear something else underneath the accusing tone.
"I did not mean for you to learn third hand." And she was certainly going to have words with whoever had robbed her of the chance to tell him personally. To do it the way she had planned before everything else had gotten in the way. "I did not wish for any of this to have happened the way it did."
"Yeah, I kind of heard something about that." He rolled his neck, still looking awkward and uncomfortable. "Sheppard can be a real ass."
She quirked a brow, filing that piece of information away for later. "He can be. At times."
"Well, I would argue for more often than not—"
She did not even say his name, just gave him a measuring look. As annoyed as she was with John right now, she found the constant bickering between him and Rodney—even when one was not present—to be a little tiresome. He snapped his mouth shut and shrugged, as if he was trying to say "Sorry, bad habit."
She waited, as the moments of silence stretched into seconds, waiting for him to start again. Clearly, he had something that he wanted to say.
"Sheppard can be an ass," he repeated softly, "but..." As Rodney trailed off, he managed to pull his gaze up off the floor. For only a few moments, the angry mask fell away, revealing a softer expression than the usual hard edges he presented to the world. "What if something had happened? While we were off world..."
She huffed out a breath, which did nothing to conceal her annoyance on the matter, and turned her attention back to the wooden sphere in her hands. Each jagged gouge into the wood was part of an attempt to alleviate the pain caused by her Earth friends and family leaving. A trinket could never achieve such a task, but the gesture behind it...
Kanaan had never been that close with the members of the Atlantis Expedition, but he understood what they meant to Teyla. Among the many things she missed, that quiet support was one of them.
Apparently, she had stayed silent for too long, or she had let her annoyance show too much, because Rodney's mood shifted almost immediately. "No, I—I didn't mean..." Out of the corner of her eye, she could see him resume his nervous fidgeting. "Look, I... I'm not very good at this. I'm not always the most reliable person, will definitely never win any brother-of-the-year awards, especially with the way my luck has been going lately—"
"No, no, no." He held up a hand. "Let me finish. I'm not good at this, but I want to try. And I wasn't there for Jeannie. I really wasn't there. Like at all. I mean, I never even met my niece until last year, and..." He took a deep breath, exhaling and let his head fall back as he stared at the canopy above her bed, rather than at directly at her. "I want to make sure... you need to be taken care of."
"I do not need—"
And again his mood shifted, and the resigned slump of his shoulders tensed. "Oh, god, that came out wrong!"
She was starting to get a headache from the mood swings, and that fact probably bled into her tone a little. "Rodney—"
He quickly crossed the remaining distance between them, holding up placating hands as if she might suddenly decide to chunk the wooden ball in her hand at him. "What I mean is I want to be there. For you. For the baby. Because you're, you know..." He waved one of his hands in the air ineffectively, and she wasn't sure exactly what he was trying to indicate.
"Pregnant?" she supplied.
"No," he said, nervous hand flapping dangerously close to her face, "no, that's not what I was going to say."
"Then what?" she asked, trying to gather her remaining patience. She had a very long day, which had included capture at the hands of the Wraith, being stunned, a very uncomfortable examination fraught with fear for her child, and she and John were fighting. As much as she loved Rodney and what she thought he was trying to say, she wasn't sure she could keep herself from snapping. "What am I, Rodney?"
"You're... you're Teyla, and you know, you do things, and you can kill people with sticks, which really doesn't relate to being pregnant, and you know, probably isn't too wise of an activity to continue, at least while pregnant. You know? I mean, what with the baby and all it's not exactly safe and... and that doesn't relate either—what I'm trying to say is that I want to be... here, because..." Rodney let out a ragged sigh, and tried one last time. "You're... you."
After he stopped stumbling over the words, he just stared at her helplessly. She could practically feel him willing her to finish the thought he was having such a hard time putting into words. For someone who said so much, he always seemed to have a hard time forming words that he really wanted people to hear. And right now, he seemed like he really wanted to tell her something. Perhaps something that she needed someone to say, like Ronon had earlier in the afternoon.
Rodney was like John in many ways. And like with John, it was not always in what he said that mattered, but what he couldn't say. It was their way, and it had taken her a little while, but she now spoke their strange non-language fluently.
"I am me." She let the sphere drop to her bedside, and grabbed the hand still circling helplessly in the air. "As are you."
He swallowed, clearing his throat as he looked from the hand clutching his to her face. "So, then. That's settled."
She simply arched her other eyebrow.
"I mean me. It's settled about me. Me the sucky brother. That I won't be."
She couldn't help but smile, and to his great surprise, used her grip on his forearm to pull him in for an embrace. There was a time for respecting distance, and sometimes, Teyla had to make the first move. Or maybe it was the second in this case. "There was never anything to settle, Rodney."
In several jerky moments, his arms settled around her, and tentatively returned the hug. "Um, right."
"But I still thank you," she said softly. Even if he couldn't exactly speak his reasons for barging into her room, she understood the gesture behind the fidgeting and the rambling monologues. Loud, nonsensical support could be just as effective as the strong and silent type.
"Hey, you know, I'm me... and you're you."
"Yes," she laughed softly. "Yes, we are."
Prompt: SGA; Gen; Teyla; Ball