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[Podfic read by Jadesfire]
For sga_flashfic's "comfort" challenge. I wanted to write a gen tag. Um, it almost happened? It's about as gen as "The Shrine" itself is, really.
Teyla doesn't know when quiet contemplation slid into drowsing; she only knows her eyes closed because she has to open them when she feels the hand on her shoulder. Blinking back the mists of dreams, she looks up into Kanaan's warm eyes and smiles.
Kanaan smiles back, shifts the sleeping Torren, bundled in his arms. "How is he?" he asks in a whisper, nodding toward the bed.
Rodney is asleep still; he hasn't stirred since they brought him back from the shrine, and her heart moves uneasily at the reminder. Three weeks ago, he'd been as sound asleep, curled up on the bench of the jumper, and wouldn't awaken when they shook him or called his name.
But it's only drugs now that hold him under. Dr. Keller put Rodney through the medical scanners the moment they returned, and assured them that the parasite was gone, that his brain activity was normal, as far as she could determine. The crisis is over; they need only now to wait, and everything will be normal again. So here they are gathered, clustered around his bed in anticipation, though the infirmary lights have been lowered and over time all their heads have dropped, eyes closing. Ronon's sprawled with his legs stretched out across the floor and his chin on his breast; John's curled in his seat like a knotted rag doll, one leg drawn up and his head tipped to the side, ear crushed to the plastic back of the chair.
Only Jeannie is still awake, and she glances at Teyla and Kanaan, nods with a quiet, cheerful courtesy her brother could never manage.
"He's going to be fine," Teyla says, and Kanaan's smile changes from comforting to relieved.
"I am so glad. For him, and for you. Though how—"
"I will tell you," Teyla says, "but later," because she remembers too clearly the shriek of the drill against bone, the squirming black of the parasite against the stone, stomach-turning.
"Of course," Kanaan tells her. He places Torren into her arms, then bends to rest their foreheads against one another. Teyla closes her eyes and breathes in his scent, and the sweet odor of Torren's baby-skin. Torren's swaddling blankets are warm from Kanaan's arms, and Teyla holds her son close and thinks of how Second Childhood is now a nightmare her son will never have to face; that what saved Rodney today could someday save Torren's mind and life.
Sometime it's frightening, how easily these people from Earth face down nightmares and conquer them. It's frightening, how they don't know how to be afraid, how they will rather fight than run, how they would rather betray all dignity and sacredness, and risk tearing their hearts and souls asunder, than give in and accept a painful inevitable.
It's frightening, that nowadays she fights more than she runs; and the Ancestors who once were sacrosanct to her are now but men and women long since dead and gone, their holy artifacts but broken tools, and her people with the right to fix them.
Dr. Keller didn't believe in the shrine of Talos's power. John, though—John believed, but did not accept. Teyla knew that John did not bring Rodney to the shrine for a farewell, knew that he saw another day with Rodney as another day to find a solution—with Rodney's help, because John believes Rodney can fix anything, if properly motivated. John believes in Rodney, believes in all of them, as devoutly as Teyla herself once believed in the Ancestors.
Sitting here, waiting for Rodney to wake, Teyla has realized that she believed as well; that even as she drew on her funerary coat and prepared herself to mourn, her heart never entirely accepted.
"Hi, Kanaan. Maybe you can help me convince these guys to get some rest." Dr. Keller's voice is quiet, barely above a whisper, as she approaches. "Some proper rest, all of you," and she waves at the bunch of them with their drooping heads and soft snores.
Ronon comes awake like he felt the breeze of her gesture, his lowered head shooting up so fast that Jeannie starts back. He looks to Rodney in the bed first, then at the rest of them.
"Rodney's not going to be awake for a while yet," Jennifer answers the question in his eyes. "You should all go to..." She looks at Ronon's face, then Teyla's, and shakes her head. "Well, you should lie down, at least, there's cots free in the next room. Your backs will thank you in the morning, and so will I—chiropractic's not one of my strong suits."
"Go," Jeannie says, with a little flick of her fingers, so much like the motions of her brother's hands that Teyla's heart stings of it. "I'll keep an eye on him."
"Yeah." Ronon stands like a fallen tree righting itself.
John's still asleep, arms crossed over his chest. Every night for the last week he's sat by Rodney's bed, keeping vigil, ready to reassure and pacify him. Ronon and Teyla and Jennifer took their turns, but in the final few days Rodney struggled to remember them, to know they were his friends. Only when John was there did he feel safe, would he stay calm. So John was careful always to be there, so Rodney would not be more afraid and upset. Though even John couldn't always soothe him, when Rodney was reminded of what was happening to him.
John scarcely dozed in the last week, that Teyla saw; he rested uneasily when Rodney did, coming awake instantly whenever Rodney stirred. Now John sleeps soundly, even with his neck bent at that uncomfortable angle. So fast asleep that even when Ronon stoops and picks him up, scooping him into his arms like a long-limbed, wild-haired child, John turns his head and mumbles querulously, but doesn't rouse enough to protest.
Teyla is momentarily dizzy when she stands, the head-rush of sitting still for too long, and can't catch herself with Torren in her arms, but Kanaan is at her side, arm around her waist as he walks with her, following Ronon to the next room. Ronon drops John on the nearest bed, not gently, then throws himself down on his stomach on the next bed, shoves the pillow off onto the floor and tucks his elbow under his head instead, and shuts his eyes.
Teyla looks at the cots at the other side of the room, creaking springs and starched white sheets, crisp and cool without anyone's warmth in them. Beds for the sick, but they are well, now.
Torren comes awake, wriggling and whining. "He's hungry," Kanaan says, "shall I—"
"No, it's all right," Teyla says, and takes one of the chairs by the wall, pushes it into the space between John and Ronon's beds and sits to feed her son. He suckles eagerly for a few minutes and then falls back asleep with his mouth still working, face puckered around it.
Kanaan's hands are warm on her shoulders, kneading away the tension of the day's impossible mission. She lets her head drop, Torren cradled in the crook of one elbow, and Kanaan carefully brushes aside her hair, digs strong fingers into the knots in her neck. He pulls up a chair of his own beside hers, puts his arm around her shoulders, and she rests her head in his embrace and quietly whispers to him of the shrine behind its waterfall.
Leaning back against the edge of the mattress behind them, Teyla feels when it moves, and twists around to see that John has awoken, is sitting up in the bed. He looks down at them, sleepily confused by their closeness, then mutters an incomprehensible apology and climbs off the bed on the other side. "You can have it," he says. "Gonna go to bed."
"John, wait," Teyla says. Standing jostles Torren, who fidgets and comes awake with a whimper; Kanaan is reaching for him before Teyla can say anything.
"Thank you," she tells him as she gives him their son, and Kanaan nods, briefly squeezes her fingers and then lets her hand go.
John is at the infirmary exit by the time Teyla reaches him; he didn't even glance toward the other room, where Jeannie sits with Rodney. "Dr. Keller believes he'll awaken by morning," Teyla says. "It shouldn't be too much longer."
"Yeah, that's great," John says. "Tell him I'll be by later."
He's standing between the open doors, but he isn't yet walking to the transporter. "I don't understand," Teyla says. "Are you not wanting to see Rodney well again?"
"He was fine last time we saw him," John says, easily.
He was terrified last time they saw him, Teyla thinks, remembering Rodney lying down on the shrine's stone. All his complaints about the punishment to his spine and the pebbles digging into his back couldn't disguise the wideness of his eyes as Dr. Keller slid the needle with the sedative into his arm.
"It's okay, buddy," John had told him, when Rodney's eyes fluttered closed, his expression slackening into the forced trance of the drugs. "You'll wake up and everything'll be fine."
He'd been holding Rodney's hand; he hadn't let go until Jennifer had checked Rodney's pulse and eyes and said, "He's under, let's do this."
John hadn't flinched, assisting Jennifer's surgery; hadn't hesitated or looked away. He'd carried the back end of the travois when they brought Rodney back to the jumper, Ronon leading and John at Rodney's head, watching both his still face and the ground. He'd stood with them in the infirmary, hands in his pockets, while Keller ran the scans and pronounced all traces of the parasite gone, and then he'd sat at the chair at the head of Rodney's bed and ignored Jennifer's suggestion that they to go back to their quarters and get some rest, as they all did.
All this is no less than Teyla would expect of John. But now he's walking away, before Rodney is awake. "I thought you'd want to be sure."
John's turned away, but the way his back straightens tells her more than his face would, or his drawling voice. "What, you don't trust the doctor's word? You heard Keller, the parasite's gone. You think she's wrong?"
"I don't," Teyla says. "But my heart does not believe as easily as my mind—it will be good to speak to him myself, to hear him talk as he usually does."
"Yeah, for about five minutes," John says, "and then we'll wonder why we ever wanted McKay back."
"It was somewhat easier to get a word in edgewise, this last week," Teyla remarks, musingly, and John turns around. Takes a good long look at her face before he smiles.
"Yeah," he says. He looks pale even in the low light, and the smile isn't reaching his too-tired eyes. They shift toward the other room, where Rodney sleeps. "Is somebody..."
"Jeannie's with him," Teyla tells him.
John nods, relief showing in the incremental relaxation of his tense shoulders. "She should be enough," he says, half to himself, around a yawn. "She's his sister." But he glances to the room again, unsure. "Still, maybe I should...if he doesn't remember right away, if he freaks out..."
John had stayed beside Rodney through all of this, determined and unafraid. Always sure that they would find this solution, and in his fearlessness he doesn't need proof; his heart never doubted. And now he's so evidently exhausted that Teyla's misgivings give way to sympathy. "Go to bed, John. We will be here."
John drags up his heavy head to meet her eyes. "If anything's wrong—"
"I'll contact you immediately. Now go, sleep."
"Thanks, Teyla," John says, and when he leaves his shoulders are slumped and loose with the burden of responsibility finally lifted from them.
When Teyla turns back, Kanaan is standing there. Torren sleeps snugly in his arms. Teyla steps close, and Kanaan bends his head down to touch their foreheads together.
"I didn't understand," Kanaan says after a moment. "Before. I'm sorry."
"What do you mean?"
"Colonel Sheppard," Kanaan tells her. "When he lead your team to the hive ship to save you, I thought...I didn't understand. And this, too, that for Dr. McKay you were willing to take such risk, going to the shrine of Talos. I thought...I would never question what is in your heart, Teyla; I'll never have that right, after what I've done. But still, that they mean so much to you, and you to them...I wondered. But now I understand. What you do for one another—what he would do for all of you..."
"It is not like what we have, Kanaan," Teyla tells him, closing her eyes, sliding her hands up his shoulders to his face to feel the warmth of his skin, the sandy scuff of his unshaved cheeks under her fingers. Between them, Torren sniffles in his sleep.
"I think I begin to understand that now," Kanaan says, and she can hear his tender smile, can feel it under her hands. "But still, what you would do...there's no limit, is there?"
"No," Teyla says. "No, perhaps there isn't," and she kisses him, before she can wonder whether she is more fearful or gladdened to know it.
When Keller comes in a couple minutes later, she squeaks an, "Oh! Excuse me!" darting looks between them; she's beaming and her ears are pink when she tells Teyla, "He's awake, he's talking with Jeannie now, I'm going to get him something to eat."
"Rodney is all right?" Teyla asks.
"He's fine," Jennifer says, and her grin is as if there was never any doubt.
When Teyla comes to the infirmary mid-morning the next day, Rodney is wide awake, no longer groggy from the drugs, sitting up with a computer in his lap and typing like he is trying to make up for three lost weeks of work in a single stretch. "Ah," he says to her, "Good morning, you didn't happen to bring a danish, did you?"
"Good morning, Rodney," Teyla tells him. "I'm sorry, I did not. Are you well?"
"Well enough," Rodney says. "Considering I'm going over the last week of maintenance logs, and yes, we're still ludicrously lucky, even if it's nerve-wracking in retrospect to review how closely we skirt complete catastrophe on any given day. Did you know that thanks to a junior science project that Zelenka was 'overseeing' in only the loosest sense of the word, the ZPM nearly suffered two critical overloads while I was, uh, incapacitated?"
"No, I did not," Teyla patiently replies, and takes a seat on the adjacent bed while Rodney proceeds to fill her in on the details, typing with one hand in order to gesture illustratively with the other. As she suspected, it was not quite as close as he implied, but she nods understandingly at the appropriate places until Rodney snaps his fingers and points at her.
"That," he says, "what's that you're doing?"
"What is what?"
"That," Rodney repeats. "That smiling thing—Zelenka was doing the same thing when he came by earlier. And Jeannie, too. Is the bandage really that ridiculous-looking? Wait, Jennifer didn't end up having to shave my head after all, did she—" and he anxiously raises his hand to his head.
Teyla reaches out and takes his wrist before he can touch the bandage. "I don't think that is why they were smiling, Rodney. It is not why I am now, at least."
"Then why..." Rodney's sure words stumble to a halt. He looks at Teyla's hand at his wrist, then at her face. "Oh," he says. "My, um, because of the, uh, my recent incapacitation?"
"It is very good to see you being yourself again," Teyla replies.
"Ah. Um. Thanks," Rodney says, ducking his head. His hands hover over the keyboard but he does not type, and after a moment he rests them on the edge of the laptop, tapping his knuckles together. "Um, Teyla, I was wondering..."
"I...that is..." He looks at her, looks away. "When I was...incapacitated. I don't remember all of it—the last days especially, Jeannie coming, going to the shrine, I wasn't...I couldn't comprehend enough to retain any of it. Jennifer says I probably won't get it back, that my short-term memory was compromised such that nothing stuck. Blank tape in the VCR. Anyway. The thing is—I remember bits, but...John was there, wasn't he? You guys were too, I know, but...almost all the times I can remember, he was there."
"Yes," Teyla tells him. "He was."
"He said he would be," Rodney says. "He told me he'd remind me, but...Teyla, can you tell him that I'm sorry?"
Teyla frowns. "Sorry for what?"
"You know." Rodney waves descriptively. "Putting him through that. Making him put up with me." He makes a face. "I don't...there's the videos but I haven't watched them, I don't really see the point of enduring that humiliation again, now that it's over. But I've got this memory—I remember calling for him, by name. Because. He's my... We all do it, right, Teyla? When Michael had you. You knew Sheppard was going to save you. Well, all of us, obviously, we all did our part, and we would have no matter what, but—he's the one you expected to see first through the door."
Teyla nods slowly, because this is true.
She should have been afraid. She had been afraid, looking into Michael's eyes, insane and inhuman in a wholly new way from the cruel, hungry nature of a Wraith. And yet in her heart she had never accepted it, not really; could not accept it. And not because of Kanaan, for all her hope and faith; but because she knew John was out there searching for her, and Rodney and Ronon with him.
"We've gotten used to it," Rodney says. "John being there. But this time—this was different. Going up against the Wraith, guns blazing, rescuing someone, that's one thing. But babysitting a mentally decaying imbecile, that's not exactly in the job description for a reconnaissance team leader."
"Rodney, no one would imagine holding you responsible for what happened to you."
"I don't think John blames me," Rodney says. "That's not it." He looks over at her, sidelong. "He hasn't been here yet. You, Ronon, Zelenka; Woolsey, even—and Jeannie finally went to bed a couple hours ago, she sat up and watched me sleep for most of the night."
"John's likely still asleep," Teyla says. "He rested little, this last week."
Rodney nods like he expected it, looks at his laptop, though the screen has gone dark, his fingers stilled for too long. "I tried to give him an out," he says quietly. "I tried to say goodbye, he wouldn't take it. But that doesn't mean...of course he did it, he'd do it again, I'm sure. Because he's got a crazy idea of what his job description really is, and he'll stretch 'leave no one behind' as far as it goes, way past where it should snap. But it wasn't...he didn't have to. It didn't have to be him, not all the time. Jennifer was there, she's my doctor, it is in her job description."
"But you called for John," Teyla says. It happened to her as well as Jennifer, that she had sat with Rodney, sang songs with him, but when he became upset, confused, it was John he looked for, asked for, cried out for; John's name he remembered unhesitating, when he struggled with hers, with his own.
"Which is what I have to apologize for," Rodney says. "Because even if I didn't exactly understand what I was doing—I was still doing it, deliberately. I called for him because I knew he'd be there. He couldn't walk away from that, he can't. Constitutionally incapable. And even if it was probably his own damn fault for being there, reminding me what his name was—it was an imposition. On a friendship that's very important to...on a very good friendship."
"Rodney, I do not believe John would ask you—"
"No, he wouldn't, but that's why I'd like you to tell him. If you're willing." Rodney's gaze is steady, meeting hers, earnest as only he can be when resolved, pure like a child. "John and I, we don't talk much about things like this, it's too hard. He's probably going to show up sometime today and want to watch a movie or play a game or go over a mission brief—okay, maybe not the latter since hell hasn't frozen over, last I checked, but you never know—but it's going to be business as usual. And I don't want...this whole thing will be hanging over us no matter what, but maybe it'd help. If you told him. If he knew. That I...that I'm sorry."
He looks so intent and urgent, and even through the brightness of his restored genius, the anxiety in his eyes is too painfully familiar to her from these last weeks for her to refuse. "I will tell him for you," Teyla promises.
It takes two hails for John to answer his radio, and when he does it's with a mumbled, "Yeah, yeah, I'm up." So Teyla gives him a few moments before heading to his quarters, and rings the chime before entering.
John lets her in, wearing a t-shirt and BDU pants and socks, scrubbing his just-washed hair dry with a towel. "Morning," he says. "Sorry, just got up."
"I hope you slept well."
"Yeah," John non-answers.
"Rodney is awake, and much himself."
John's smiles rarely show so true in his eyes. "How much?" he asks.
"Entirely, as far as I can tell. And Dr. Zelenka seems to find nothing amiss in his science, by the way he was swearing."
"Great. That's—really great." John drapes the towel over the back of his desk chair, stretches his spine with a yawn. "Jesus, I'm glad this is over." He looks at Teyla. "You already had breakfast?"
"Some time ago. Though Rodney was looking for a danish."
John grins. "I'll get on that, then," and he gets his boots and sits down on his bed.
"John," Teyla says, coming closer to stand over him.
He squints up at her, sunlight reflecting into his eyes. "Yeah?"
"Rodney asked me to tell you," Teyla tells him carefully, "that he is sorry."
"He is sorry for—'putting you through that,' is what he said."
John makes a face very similar to the one Rodney made, when he made his request. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Rodney feels that he..." Teyla hesitates, considering. To say outright that he was imposing on their friendship is an insult to that friendship—and Rodney knew this, she suspects, without knowing how else to say it; he was asking her to find the words that he could not. "He remembers some of when he was ill, John. And he is...embarrassed by it."
"He had a goddamn bug eating his brain." John drops his boot, rubs his face with his hands. "And yeah, temporarily losing his mind's got to be a blow to his ego, but he just needs to forget it and be happy it's over."
"This is more than his ego."
"He doesn't have anything to feel sorry for. It wasn't his fault, and it's not like he let us down. If Atlantis had blown up because we didn't have his smarts, then maybe he'd want to apologize to us, but there's no reason—"
"His apology was to you, John," Teyla says.
John puts down his hands to stare up at her. "Yeah? Why me?"
"Rodney remembers calling for you. He remembers you being there for him."
John's frowning. "Maybe I didn't get enough sleep last night after all. Why the hell would he be sorry for that?"
"He knows what you did for him," Teyla explains. "Staying with him, comforting him. He knows he remembered you, called for you, and that you were there when he did."
"What else was I supposed to do?"
"That is why he's ashamed, I believe," Teyla says. "That in calling for you, he gave you no choice."
John's expression changes, frown deepening, something ugly in the twist of his mouth. "What, did he think I was just going to walk away if he forgot my name?"
"John." Teyla sits next to him, rests her hand on his arm. "Do not be angry."
"What the hell kind of friend does he think I—"
"He knows," Teyla says. "He knows you were with him through all of this; he knows how painful and exhausting it was—for all of us, but I know, too, how it was for you. When you were the only one who could be there for Rodney, the only one he'd truly trust. You were there every time he awoke, this last week. And we all brought him to the shrine, John, but it was only because you asked him that he was willing to go. He told me an apology, but what he means to tell you is 'thank you,' for all you did for him, through this."
"For him." John's turned his face away, and she can read nothing from his tone. When he stands he nearly trips over his left boot, and kicks it aside with his stocking feet, hard enough to send it crashing into his desk chair. "And 'thank you.' Damn it. It wasn't—that's not..."
Teyla waits. John stands still, his back to her, his arms motionless at his sides. He's not wearing his sidearm, or she thinks he would be grabbing it, curling his fingers around the pistol's butt. Finally he says, "It wasn't because I was tired."
"What do you mean?"
"Why I left the infirmary last night. Before he woke up. It wasn't—I was tired, yeah, but that wasn't why. I just—I couldn't."
"You couldn't be there," Teyla says, looking beyond the words spoken, to the words John will not say. "You didn't want to be there when Rodney awoke."
"I couldn't do it again," John says. By the set of his head he's staring at the door. Teyla stays seated, stays quiet, patient. "Sitting by his bedside," John says at last. "Waiting for him to wake up, waiting to see how much he'd lost—he was someone different, every time he woke up. He was that much less Rodney and that much..."
"That much less. But he is better, John," Teyla assures him. "He is Rodney again, entirely."
"What about last night? When he first woke up, how—"
"He was himself. A little muzzy, but you have seen him after surgery and sedation before."
"Yeah." John scrapes his fingers through the short hair on the back of his head. "Yeah, I have. But last night...I needed..."
"You needed to see him as himself, unaffected." Teyla rises to put one hand on John's shoulder. The muscles are set like iron, so tight it must be painful. "It was not easy for any of us," she tells him. "To see any friend suffer that—but especially to see Rodney like that. It was difficult. That you stayed with him despite it—you deserve his thanks; not all friends would have that strength."
"It wasn't for him." It's a rasp, hardly a whisper in his throat, and still John won't turn toward her. He pulls away instead, steps out from under her hand. "I didn't do it for him."
John paces forward, one, two, three quick steps; he stops just short of the door, and she sees his shoulders rise and fall in a deep breath before he turns around. "I had to be there," he says, his face still and expressionless, and his eyes catch the sun, so clear they're almost gold, too pale to be read. "When Rodney woke up. I had to be there. Every time, every single goddamn time he opened his eyes—I was waiting, every time. For it to be the time that he didn't recognize me. I knew it had to happen, so I had to be there. To remind him. So he didn't forget. Because if he forgot—if he forgot my—I couldn't. It wasn't for him, I just...I couldn't."
John stands before her, still and fixed, breathing silently but she can see his chest move, and it takes her a moment to recognize his stance; they are not in the gym and he's unarmed, but he's waiting for her to strike, is set to defend from an attack.
She steps back, lowers her hand but not her gaze. "But he never did forget." It's not a question; she was with Rodney, enough to know.
Rodney should already know, should understand this like he understands numbers, like he knows how to breathe. Should realize such an essential and absolute a truth; but she herself barely realized it, and Rodney's brilliance sometimes shines so fiercely that it blinds him to the obvious. He asked her to give his apology to John.
Unless, perhaps, Rodney knew that John could say to her what he might never bring himself to say to Rodney. Because they are not afraid of nightmares, these people from Earth; but that doesn't mean they do not fear.
"Rodney wanted me to tell you he is sorry," Teyla says, stepping past John to the door. "If you don't accept his apology, then you ought to tell him so." She leaves his quarters before John can argue.
Teyla teaches a class of four Marines, then spars with Ronon for over an hour, until her mind is focused only on the balance of action and reaction, hit and block; and her sweat flows freely, cleansing her. Afterwards she takes a long shower, then lunches with Ronon, Kanaan and Torren, and a newcomer to Atlantis, Sergeant Mehra, who has taken to shadowing Ronon hoping for swordplay lessons, and has thus far proved remarkably undeterred by his silent glower.
On the way out of the cafeteria, while Teyla kisses Torren good night before Kanaan takes him for his nap, Ronon grabs an extra pudding from the dessert cart. "Infirmary?" he suggests, and Teyla agrees.
As soon as the infirmary doors open, she can make out the rapid staccato of Rodney's ranting, undercut and interrupted by the slower cadence of John's drawl. Rodney is still in bed, still busy with his computer, and John is intent on one of the little electronic machines that he brought back from Earth that apparently has no useful function, other than to cause Rodney to sputter incoherent curses whenever he tries to use it. Teyla hasn't seen John with it, these last couple weeks; it makes her smile to see him playing now.
They're not looking at one another, but whenever Rodney stops talking, John immediately answers, and then Rodney resumes, quick-tongued and never at a loss for words, both in perfect harmony.
She doesn't know what John said, doesn't know what Rodney asked him when he first came. Maybe he asked nothing, and John said nothing. Maybe they don't need to say anything, these men from Earth with so little fear and so few doubts; these people who will not accept what is unacceptable, and have taught her to be the same.
"Hey, guys," John says, a shrug of one shoulder substituting for a wave.
"Is that for me?" Rodney asks of Ronon's pudding.
Ronon grins as he holds it up out of reach. "Fight you for it."
"No, thank you, I don't think potentially lethal sparring is recommended for recent brain surgery patients." Rodney considers. "Rock paper scissors?"
"Two out of three," Ronon says, and puts his free hand behind his back, as John glances up from his game long enough to meet Teyla's eyes, and roll his own.
There is no limit, Teyla knows; nothing they would not do. By now John and Rodney know this, as well as she and Ronon do.
They know, and eventually, Teyla believes, they will even understand.
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