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Between the Moments
Title: Between the Moments
Author's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author's URL: http://chelle.slashcity.org/
Archive: Ask first
AN: Originally posted to advent_atlantis as part of Chicks Kick Ass Day, although this story is more of a moment between the ass kickings. Set during The Siege, Part One.
"Dr. Weir, do you have a moment?"
Moments were pretty much all they had at this point. "Of course, come in, Teyla."
Teyla waited until the door had closed behind her. "I wanted to thank you."
Elizabeth forced herself to move her laptop aside, to give Teyla her full attention. "For what?"
"Being willing to stop my attempts to contact the wraith. I was willing to take the risks, but I appreciated your concern."
"You're welcome." Elizabeth conjured up a small smile. "I'm glad you're feeling better."
"What about you? How are you feeling?"
Elizabeth stood and looked at the screen that showed Rodney's jumper heading toward the satellite. They were still three hours away. "Honestly?"
Coming to stand beside her, Teyla said, "Yes, Dr. Weir, honestly."
There was a hint of humor in her tone, and Elizabeth wondered if it had always been part of Teyla or if she was studying Major Sheppard's methods of interacting with his colleagues. Although she had a hard time imagining Teyla annoying Rodney on purpose, the way Sheppard did.
"Dr. Weir?" Teyla asked gently.
"Scared, terrified, anxious." Elizabeth turned to look at her. "Did I mention terrified?"
Teyla's matter of fact acceptance was oddly comforting. "Will you please call me Elizabeth?" She had asked before, but Teyla had always demurred.
"If that is what you wish." There was a small pause and a tiny smile before she added, "Elizabeth."
"Thank you. Halling came by to see me earlier."
Teyla nodded. "He disagrees with your plan to destroy the city."
"He said that we will be destroying the future of the people of this galaxy to save our own."
"Atlantis cannot fall into the hands of the wraith. You know this."
"I know, but all that knowledge…"
"It is a tremendous loss, but much more would be lost if the wraith were to have that knowledge."
"I know." She took a deep breath, Teyla's agreement having eased the knot in her chest a bit. "Halling believes the Ancients will act to save Atlantis."
"Halling has always had more faith than reason."
Teyla's reply surprised her and made her smile. "Perhaps we should have introduced him to Chaya."
"She was a disappointment," Teyla agreed, "at least to everyone but Major Sheppard."
Elizabeth's smile broadened and for the first time in weeks it felt genuine. In truth, there was nothing amusing about the major's relationship with Chaya, but she found herself sharing Teyla's amusement anyway. It was getting late and Elizabeth had been about to leave when Teyla arrived. But the prospect of being alone was suddenly unappealing. "There is something I would like to show you. Do you have a few minutes?"
Teyla inclined her head slightly. "Of course."
She led Teyla from her office to her quarters and out onto the balcony. She had no idea who had assigned her the only room with a balcony, but she was profoundly grateful. The view was beautiful and ever since the visit with her other self she had taken to coming here and watching the sunset. This was the first time she had asked anyone to join her.
A truly spectacular sunset needed mountains, or at least trees, or so Elizabeth had always thought. The sunsets on Atlantis somehow managed to be spectacular even though there was nothing to see but ocean and sky. Maybe it was the knowledge that she was watching an alien sun. Maybe it was the clouds. Maybe it was knowing that each sunset might be her last. Determined to push that thought aside, she said, "I come here every evening and just watch."
"Then I shall watch, too."
The understanding warmth in Teyla's voice made her smile. The sky was just beginning to turn, with hints of red at the edges. They watched as the red deepened, adding orange and even purple highlights when the sunlight mingled with the clouds. She could feel Teyla beside her, solid and strong in ways Elizabeth wasn't. Teyla was tough, agile, capable. She could defend herself and her people with more than just words.
Elizabeth envied her that.
Teyla sat, putting her legs between the balcony railings and swinging them freely. After a moment, Elizabeth copied her. There was a small breeze and sitting like this in the breeze made her feel young.
The sun faded completely, but Elizabeth wasn't inclined to go in. There was still time before Rodney and the others were due to check in, and she hadn't felt this at peace in a very long time.
"What are relationships like among your people?" Elizabeth asked when she grew tired of the quiet. "I know you marry, but do you choose your partners yourself or are they arranged?"
"We choose. Is that not what your people do?"
"It is, but it wasn't always, and on some parts of Earth marriages are still arranged."
Elizabeth could just make out Teyla's frown in the light flowing onto the balcony from the city. "But how can a marriage work if it is not entered into freely?"
"Obedience to tradition, a carrying out of assigned roles, some people don't expect their marriages to be romantically fulfilling."
"What about you, Elizabeth? Why have you never married, if you do not object to my asking?"
"I don't mind." Elizabeth looked back out at the ocean, made more unfathomable by the darkness. "I never felt the need to. I like being independent, able to make my own decisions about my life without having to discuss it with anyone first."
Teyla nodded. "As do I."
Elizabeth smiled, letting the warmth she felt for Teyla show. "I noticed that."
"Do you have someone special back on Earth?" Teyla asked.
"I did. I sent him a message." Her smile faded. "I told him not to wait for me. It wouldn’t be fair to expect him to put his life on hold."
"I have found that little about love is fair."
"That's true," Elizabeth agreed. "What about you? Is there anyone special in your past?"
"There was." Teyla paused. "She died."
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked."
"It is fine. If I had not been willing to talk about her, I would not have answered."
That response was so very Teyla that Elizabeth found herself almost smiling again. "What was she like?"
"You will probably laugh, but she was a little like Dr. McKay."
Elizabeth chuckled, trying to picture Teyla and a female version of Rodney. "Rodney, really?"
Teyla nodded, smiling a little conspiratorially. "She was always curious, always questioning, and she could make me laugh harder than anyone I have ever known."
"She sounds lovely."
"She also had a quick temper and she never hesitated to tell me when she thought I was wrong."
"Simon was like that, too."
"It is good for leaders to have such a partner."
"Yes, it is." Left with nothing further to say, they fell silent again. Elizabeth glanced at Teyla, who was looking up at the stars. She was beautiful and Elizabeth wondered what her lover had looked like, what they had looked like together. "I've never been with a woman," Elizabeth confessed.
"Such things are frowned upon in your culture, are they not?"
"By some people, but that's not the reason." Elizabeth looked down at the ocean. "There was someone a long time ago, but she didn't return my feelings."
"Then she was a fool."
Flushing, Elizabeth looked up and into Teyla's dark eyes. She leaned slowly forward. Teyla didn’t pull back, and Elizabeth kissed her.
Teyla's lips were soft and she kissed with a patience Elizabeth had never experienced before, as though sitting here on this balcony kissing Elizabeth was the only thing requiring her attention.
Elizabeth closed her eyes and let herself pretend that was true. For both of them.