unadrift: (team)
[personal profile] unadrift
This is a missing scene from Inquisition, written for the S5 Tagathon on [livejournal.com profile] sga_episodefic.
It's rated PG, counts 2300 words, and is kind of angsty team comfort – my way of dealing with some of the things that went just wrongwrongwrong with the episode.

Valuable beta advice – and deadline-related subtle ass-kicking – given by [livejournal.com profile] tacittype. Thank you! (For both, actually.)

It has only been thirty minutes since they led John from the cell for the second time, but Ronon is almost ready to kill Rodney. One of Ronon's dark looks has slowed down Rodney's restless pacing, and a low growl has made him sit down and stay silent. But Teyla knows that it is not in Rodney's nature to be still for long – as should Ronon.

When Rodney looks up from his wringing hands and draws a breath, Teyla watches a muscle in Ronon's arm twitch.

"We could play--" Rodney offers.

"No," Ronon says.

"At least let us--"



"Rodney," Teyla interrupts. Ronon is down to his last shred of patience. Predictably, captivity brings out the worst in him, and the worst in Ronon is not something Rodney can handle. While Ronon usually takes Rodney's quirks with a half-amused, half-annoyed smirk and a mental shrug, he really is not equipped to deal with them now. "Rodney. Perhaps it would be best if you rested for a while," Teyla suggests. "You must be tired."

Rodney eyes first Ronon, then the bedding they have been provided with. It is no more than a heap of blankets in the corner of their cell. "There are probably fleas all over those rags. And the floor is cold."

"Take as many blankets as you like and make yourself comfortable," Teyla insists.

Surprisingly, Rodney agrees after a moment's consideration. "I suppose it wouldn't hurt to get some sleep. Since we can't do anything here anyway."

Ronon makes an indecipherable sound and, by the looks of it, tries to stare the heavy wooden cell door off its hinges.

For a moment Rodney copies him and glares at the door just as hard as Ronon does. Their combined efforts accomplish nothing other than lifting Teyla's spirits a little. Then Rodney unfreezes, goes to choose three blankets, shakes them out carefully and spreads two of them out next to a wall, stacked, each folded twice. "For better insulation," he explains unnecessarily when he lays down. He puts his rolled-up jacket under his head, drapes the third blanket over himself, and squirms to get comfortable. All the while he is crinkling his nose, presumably at the smell of the blankets. "Really, can you spell 'plague'?" he mutters to himself.

Teyla is sure that she could, but she has long since mastered the art of recognizing whether Rodney's questions merit an answer or not. Rodney has a habit of asking questions that do not require an answer. He also often answers questions that no one ever felt the need to ask.

Ronon leans back against the wall next to her, exhaling audibly.

Silence descends, and it is not a comfortable one. Teyla needs rest as well, but she cannot find a peaceful corner in her mind to retreat to, cannot stop worrying. She misses Torren and Kanaan, terribly. There is a chance that she might never return to Atlantis, that she might not see them again. The pain that comes with the thought is almost physical, a dull ache in her chest. Her hands clench into fists, and she does not even notice, not until her nails painfully dig into her palms.

Teyla takes a deep breath and deliberately relaxes her body, limb by limb, at the same time trying to calm her restless mind. Ronon notices the movement and turns his head to give her a look that says 'I know how you feel'. She doubts that he does, not completely, but she appreciates the silent comfort. She inclines her head at him, smiling faintly. Ronon nods back, then resumes staring at the door. It seems like he has been keeping this up for hours.

It is late now in Atlantis, Teyla is aware of that. She would be singing her son to sleep, if she was home. Sleep usually eludes Torren for hours at night.

Sleep also eludes Rodney, as insistently as the urge to fight keeps Ronon on edge. Rodney tosses and turns on his makeshift bed while Ronon holds himself terribly still next to her. If there was a chance that a lullaby could help, Teyla would provide one. But she very much doubts it.

With his hands folded on top of the blanket, Rodney lies still for a long while, staring at the ceiling.

Then he clears his throat. "Do you think that they-- they-- might have a point? That we shouldn't have come here?"

Teyla had forgotten about this before: Rodney often asks the questions that others don't dare to think about.

"McKay," Ronon says warningly.

"What?" Rodney turns his head to look at Ronon. "You haven't thought about it?"

"Thought about it now. It's bullshit."

'Bullshit' is one of Ronon's favorite Earth expressions. To go with the sentiment, Ronon looks appropriately cross when he leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "I'd still be on the run," he says. He does not add, If it weren't for you, but the meaning is obvious nonetheless. By extracting the tracking device from Ronon's back, by taking him in as one of their own, by fighting the same fight, the people of Earth – no, the people of Atlantis – have made all the difference for him. And, what is probably almost as important, if they had never arrived in the Pegasus galaxy, Sateda would still be gone.

It is not difficult for Ronon to choose a position in this argument.

Rodney sits up, leaning his back against the wall. "Yes," he says. "That's you. One individual. But there are entire planets out there that have been wiped out, because I-- because we--"

"Do you think Sheppard is beating himself up about this?" Ronon interrupts him. Teyla is sure that he expects a ringing 'no' as an answer, but Ronon had not been around in their first year in Atlantis, right after John killed the Wraith Queen, up until the day he volunteered to deliver a nuclear bomb to a Hiveship in a suicide mission. Ronon has not seen every way in which John has tried to make amends, and Teyla is certain that he has never talked to John about it.

"Yes," Rodney answers. "Yes, I do. I think he's been beating himself up about the fact that he woke the Wraith for pretty much forever – which is totally egocentric, and not strictly true, but there you go – and that the weight of this galaxy has been resting on his shoulders ever since. Seriously, haven't you ever had a stray thought about his motivation?"

"Sheppard knows right and wrong. He's a fighter," Ronon says, shrugging. "That's always been enough of a motivation for me."

"What, no retribution?" Rodney asks and cringes immediately. "Sorry," he says. "Sorry, I didn't mean to--"

"That too," Ronon says.

"Oh. Okay," Rodney says and pulls the blankets tighter around himself.

They lapse into another uncomfortable silence.

"I have given this question a great deal of thought," Teyla finally says.

Rodney focuses on her, but does not quite meet her eyes, as if he fears what she might have to say.

Teyla has been thinking about this. To claim otherwise would have been a lie. Because she has seen too many people die at the hands of the Wraith, the Replicators, Michael. She cannot pretend that Atlantis has not been at least partially responsible for unleashing them onto the galaxy.

But thinking of her son, she cannot bring herself to regret, cannot imagine what her life would have been like, what this galaxy would have been like, if she had not met John and Aidan on that day on Athos.

Maybe the Wraith wouldn't have come to Athos that night. Maybe Atlantis would not have drawn the attention of the Replicators. Maybe her people would not have been taken by Michael.

And maybe Torren would have never been born.

The possibilities are endless. At least this is what Rodney had once told her: that for every possibility there is a universe where it comes to pass, and that the number of parallel universes is infinite.

Maybe there is a universe in which Athos has stayed untouched by the Wraith, where the Wraith are still asleep, waiting. But one day they would awaken, and they would take the planets of this galaxy down, one by one, and no one would be there to pick up a fight. Not in any way that would matter, not with much hope of final success.

"The people of this galaxy have paid dearly for every one of our victories against the Wraith," she says and sees Rodney swallow hard. Ronon frowns, and she holds up a hand to keep him from interrupting. "But without Atlantis, there would have been no means to fight back at all."

"And also no need to do so in the first place," Rodney points out darkly.

Ronon points a finger at him. "That's not true."

"There is no telling how a different future would have turned out," Teyla continues, intently. "Only one thing is certain: sooner or later the Wraith would have woken. And the city of the Ancestors would have been at the bottom of an ocean on a nameless planet, of no use to us, already under water or waiting to drown."

"The Wraith were never gone," Ronon says, and he should know.

Rodney's stillness tells Teyla that he is seriously thinking about this, that he is considering the validity of their points.

"Okay," he finally says. "Okay. A city can't drown, though."

Teyla tilts her head. "That depends entirely on your point of view."

"But he's right." Ronon looks puzzled. "It can't."

"You're not implying that Atlantis is actually a sentient being, are you?" Rodney asks. "Why? I mean, why do you think so?"

Rodney quickly warms to the topic, and Teyla has indeed had some unusual experiences that can back her theory, and she has wanted to discuss them with Rodney for a while now anyway.

They are still talking when John is led back into the cell. His mask of calm superiority slips as soon as the door closes behind him. He lets himself sink down on one of the benches, his head falling back against the wall.

Rodney struggles to free himself from his cocoon of blankets. He moves across the room to sit down next to John. "It doesn't look good, huh?"

John rubs his face. "How can you tell?"

"By your decidedly optimistic demeanor." Rodney bumps his shoulder into John's. "Aren't you supposed to be oozing confidence all over your team, especially in a dire situation?"

"How about you do that?" John suggests, gesturing at Rodney, then he rethinks. "Scratch that. Teyla, can you ooze confidence for me?" His eyes meet hers, his expression lighter than it was before.

"I shall try to," she says. The fact that Rodney can lift John's spirits with such little effort continues to amaze her. It makes her feel a little like smiling, and so she does.

"There," John says, pointing at her, "that's a good start."

Rodney looks at her, and one corner of his mouth lifts slightly, almost as if he's smiling back.

"Anything happen while I was gone?" John asks.

Rodney rolls his eyes. "You mean apart from the varieté show and the five course dinner they served us?"

"We were left alone," Teyla translates, and John nods.

"So," Ronon almost growls, "what went on in there?"

"More accusations." John looks every bit the thirty hours he has been awake. With his eyes fixed on the wall opposite him and his fingers gripping the edge of the bench tightly, he says, "Have you guys thought about-- That maybe they're not exactly wrong blaming us for--"

"Bullshit!" Rodney says vehemently. Ronon's eyebrows lift, and Sheppard turns his head to him, surprised. "I mean, yes," Rodney goes on, "we've talked about the-- this. While there are certain points that aren't--"

"It's bullshit," Ronon sums up.

"This galaxy would not be better off if you had never come here," Teyla says, willing for John to see. "Now there is hope where there was none before. The people of this galaxy have learned that they can fight back. Together. This knowledge will make all the difference."

"If only the rest of the 'people of this galaxy' would see it the same way," Rodney says, drawing the quotes in the air with his fingers.

"They will." Ronon sounds confident, take-no-prisoners confident, a feeling Teyla wishes she could share.

"I'm a little worried about right now," John admits. "They're serious about dropping us off on a remote planet. They're fully prepared to let us rot there."

"Well," Rodney says, unusually subdued, "if worse comes to worst, if I have to be exiled, then I want to be exiled with you. You know, the team." He gestures vaguely. "The three of you. Only counting realistic choices of fellow exilees, of course."

"Gee, thanks, Rodney," John answers sarcastically, but his tone is not sharp at all.

Rodney frowns at John, then at Ronon, then at Teyla. She waits for whatever conclusion he is about to reach. "No," he finally says. "No, actually, even counting fictional characters, people who are already dead, and mostly naked supermodels, I'd rather be exiled with you."

John looks surprised. He gives Rodney a pat on the shoulder. "Me too, buddy."

Ronon almost smiles, although Teyla is quite sure that the others do not recognize his expression for what it almost is.

"What?" Rodney asks, his eyes darting between them. He seems oblivious to the compliment he has just paid. That just makes it more precious.

"Thank you, Rodney," Teyla says.

Rodney blinks. "Um. You're welcome?"

This time it is John who bumps his shoulder into Rodney's.

Teyla is reassured by this, even though she does not entirely understand the reason why.

- end -

Color Me Surprised (AU-tag for 5x12) // L.A.B.A.T.Y.D. (Supervillains Excluded) (tag for 5x14)

Date: 2008-11-14 08:35 pm (UTC)
danceswithgary: (Default)
From: [personal profile] danceswithgary
Teyla's perspective and understanding of her team is wonderful, especially her grasp of Rodney-wrangling. :-D

Date: 2008-11-16 10:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2008-11-14 08:39 pm (UTC)
ext_4055: (home)
From: [identity profile] chandri.livejournal.com
even counting fictional characters, people who are already dead, and mostly naked supermodels, I'd rather be exiled with you.

Eeee, TEAM. And Rodney having no idea the kind of compliment he's paying. *hugs this fic*

Date: 2008-11-16 10:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
I missed the team on this episode. (Among other things.) Therefore, team tag! :-)
Thank you!

Date: 2008-11-14 10:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chensuu.livejournal.com
What a terrific team oriented take on Inquisition. Rodney shouting, "bullshit" made me really happy!

Scenes like this should have been in the episode but weren't. The internal debate, the struggle for understanding and finally the unyielding belief that despite the obstacles and deaths and mistakes, in the end the galaxy at least now has a chance to survive. Wonderful fic...thanks!

Date: 2008-11-16 11:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
My pleasure!

Scenes like this should have been in the episode but weren't.
Obviously I absolutely agree. *g*

Date: 2008-11-14 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spark-variance.livejournal.com
Lovely story and great characterization! That episode really could've used a scene like this IMO.

Thanks for sharing!

Date: 2008-11-16 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
That episode really could've used a scene like this IMO.
Exactly. Unfortunately (or not?), we have to make it happen ourselves!

Date: 2008-11-14 11:44 pm (UTC)
semielliptical: teyla emmagan (sga:teyla)
From: [personal profile] semielliptical
Team!! I love that they come together, but also that they have their differences and difficulties. It's great to see Teyla's pov here.

Date: 2008-11-16 11:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Yes, team! I wanted more team for this one, so I made it happen myself. *g* Thank you!

Date: 2008-11-15 01:19 am (UTC)
ext_3572: (no idea what they're doing (sga/op OTP!))
From: [identity profile] xparrot.livejournal.com
Yes! This was just what the episode was lacking, the team actually taking some responsibility, dealing with the accusations rather than slithering out of them. And sweet comfort between them, too. Thank you!

Date: 2008-11-16 11:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Yes, I missed this so much in the episode. It's a shame, because the whole idea of having the locals blame the Lanteans for their current situation rings true. The episode could have turned out enlightening and cathartic, could have shown the way guilt affects everyone on the team (or not) -- if they'd dealt with it in a way that made sense.

Date: 2008-11-15 02:19 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
That was a great tag to this humdrum episode, thanks for sharing!

PS: small typo, it's 'fleas', not 'flees'.

Date: 2008-11-16 11:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you! (And thanks for pointing out the typo. Fixed it.)

Date: 2008-11-15 04:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kriadydragon.livejournal.com
Awww, team :D

Date: 2008-11-16 11:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Yes, team! :-) Thanks!

Date: 2008-11-15 01:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluflamingo.livejournal.com
*This* is what someone should have said in the episode, thank you! I love that Teyla and Ronon basically agree, but they come at it from totally different perspectives, and the end is great.

Date: 2008-11-16 11:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
*This* is what someone should have said in the episode
Exactly my point of view. I just don't see everyone on the team just dismissing the fact that Atlantis is responsible for some disastrous turns of events in the Pegasus galaxy. They know what they've done, and this should have been addressed here.

Date: 2008-11-16 05:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] horridporrid.livejournal.com
Oh, I wish this had been a scene in the actual ep! This totally, totally reads true to me, and I'd have loved to see it on screen. Thank goodness for fanfic. :)

Very enjoyable read.

Date: 2008-11-16 11:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
I'd have loved to see it on screen
Something like this should have been on screen in this episode! But no, we have to write it up ourselves...
Thank you!

Date: 2008-11-16 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dragonladyk.livejournal.com
Team! *happysqueak* Team!

Though I will say that Teyla would have not been a comfortable lady having not nursed Torren in 48 hours or so. Being left to rot on an uninhabited planet without her son would also have been exceptionally painful (mastitis is a bitch). She must carry a breast pump in her tac vest or something. *pets*


Date: 2008-11-23 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you!
She must carry a breast pump in her tac vest or something
You know, I really want to see the conversation where she explains these things to the team. All the woman and baby stuff, mysteries to single men, and even more so to John and Rodney. I can just imagine their expressions. And I think Ronon might actually be pretty comfortable with it.

Date: 2010-05-02 10:00 pm (UTC)
sholio: (Team-genficathon)
From: [personal profile] sholio
I don't recall reading this before (I think I was generally avoiding Inquisition tags because I hated the episode so!), but I just discovered this one and really enjoyed it. Nice way to fill the gaps where the episode didn't go. :)

Date: 2010-05-18 03:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unadrift.livejournal.com
Thank you!

I think I was generally avoiding Inquisition tags because I hated the episode so
Oh, yes. Show me one person who didn't hate that episode! Problem was, it could have been a great thing, if handled the right way. Actually, one can say that about so many SGA episodes.

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