Unusual Situation: Chapter One
Disclaimer: The characters from Stargate Atlantis belong to the franchise for Stargate Atlantis ™. I do not claim possession of any copyrighted characters. Any and all other characters belong to me and may not be used without my permission.
Rating: PG13 (for potential violence and torture)
Relationship: John and Teyla
Chapter one. I'm already a few chapters into this story, but am only posting them one at a time. It'll give me enough days to finish it and finish I shall. Remember, positive reviews inspire writers to continue their work and I'm no different. Please R&R!
Teyla's enthused grin lessened John's humiliation as he picked himself up off the floor, forcing himself not to wince at the ache in his hip. Placing one hand at the small of his back, John stretched out the kinks. Teyla stopped circling him, not even breathing hard, while he panted for oxygen.
"I know one of these days I'll remember to watch for that move." He groaned.
An even broader smile beamed across Teyla's face and she lowered her training sticks to the floor and placed both hands on her trim hips. The stiffness of his muscles only seemed to further amuse her and John began regretting the three weeks he'd spent in recovery from a strained tendon.
"Perhaps your training will be complete when you learn to expect the unexpected, Colonel. That remains your only weakness."
She was deliberately taunting him and John's lips grimaced as he rolled his neck.
"Is it just me, or does it seem like I've been gone for more than three weeks?"
Teyla laughed lightly in agreement. "I must admit, Colonel. I had expected for you to remember at least the most basic maneuvers."
"Yeah, well, look at you. Here you are, picking on an injured man! Now, is that fair and equal combat?"
Her chin rose an iota as her eyes narrowed. Snatching up the sticks again, Teyla twirled them expertly into the air, ending with one pointed at him.
"Colonel, if you are failing it is not through the fault of your teacher. Now come, I know you are capable of more prowess."
Groaning, he retrieved his own weapons, assuming a stance of preparedness as she eyed him readily, hands extended and features revealing none of her true emotions. Just as she would a true adversary. Sparring with Teyla continued to be one of the highlights of his time on Atlantis. True, I rarely win, John thought ruefully, but that isn't the point of the exercise. He ducked a subtle charge aimed at him and managed to tap her lightly on the shoulder while she twirled to face him once more, slit skirt floating with her effortless movements.
Not known for retaining lasting friendships, it surprised him that Teyla wriggled past his natural defenses and that his own emotions connected to her so solidly. At times he thought there might be something more to the relationship. That dangerous prospect though was something he could not afford to linger on. But he was never more tempted to pursue a relationship than when they sparred. With his emotional guard lowered, he allowed himself to admire her slim, attractively clad figure and sparking eyes. She understood him better than anyone else.
Her weapon tapped him solidly on the back, sending him stumbling forward and collapsing with one knee on the floor, effectively shaking that runaway train of thought. Turning, he caught the amused expression in her eyes as she continued circling him, already anticipating his next move.
He attacked solidly, lashing out in a move which she easily deflected.
"You are not concentrating, Colonel Sheppard," She admonished.
"Maybe not," he responded, eyes darkening mischievously, "but neither are you!"
Delivering a powerful spin kick, he knocked one stick from her hand, followed through and got within range to snatch her arm and flip her to the ground. Her brown eyes stared up at him in astonishment, barely inches from his face. This was one of those rare moments John treasured. It took a lot to catch Teyla off her guard and it almost never happened with him.
"Indeed, Colonel Sheppard, "she gasped as he extended an arm to help her stand. "Perhaps it is I who need refining and not you."
"Naww, I just got lucky. Believe me, you'll sleep soundly tonight while every bone in my body reminds me of how out of shape I am." He completed his complaint with a wince that drew a twinkle from her eyes. The training session complete, she bowed her head to him, patiently awaiting his forehead against her own. Unobtrusively wiping any perspiration from his skin with the back of his hand, John leaned his forehead against hers, accepting the sign of respect from the Athosian people.
Elizabeth's voice echoed from the intercom affixed to the wall and he grimaced, wanting only to wash up and collapse into bed. Instead, he accepted the towel Teyla tossed toward him waving as she exited the training room. Replacing the radio firmly in his ear, he tapped it twice and responded with, "This had better not be important, Elizabeth, because I'm still on recovery and after my training session with Teyla I doubt if I'll ever move again."
Instead of responding with a joke as was her usual custom, Elizabeth's voice reflected urgency as she reported, "I'm sorry for the interruption, John, but this is important. Major Lorne's team missed their five-hour check-in. The last we heard was of possible Wraith activity on the planet. I need your team."
"We'll be there in five minutes. Sheppard out."
Any aches and pains vanished instantly as John hurried down the hallway, dodging various pedestrians. A hand snatched at his arm as he dashed past the infirmary, effectively detouring him. Dr. Beckett eyed him determinedly, his white lab coat as pristine as his office and medical implements. Even before John could voice a protest, he determinedly pushed a vial of medication into John's hand.
"Ahh, there you are, Colonel Sheppard. Now, I know you don't appreciate pain medication, but Teyla reported that you were in more than your fair share of pain. I will not take no for an answer."
Pocketing the medicine, John shrugged. "Well, Doc, I don't have time to argue with you, but this is the last time. I'm never going to recover to full strength if I'm always having to work off the drugs in my system."
"And how will you react on the field if you're in pain, Colonel?"
John's eyes rolled. "Doc, that's up to you to fix when it happens. Don't worry about preventative measures."
John dashed down the corridor toward his quarters with Carson's frustrated sigh echoing in his ears. Carson only had his best interest at heart, John knew, but his time as an invalid was over. No more pain meds, he promised himself. But, just to appease the good doctor, he'd pack the blasted pills with him.
In five minutes, as promised, the Atlantis team waited by the gate. Teyla, fresh and ready for their mission; Ronin indifferently securing a knife to his pack, Rodney working up a vociferous complaint; and finally John watching his team confidently. Elizabeth strode down the steps to join them, her hands loosely held at her side and eyes betraying her concern for the safety of Major Lorne and his team.
"Use extreme caution. This is not meant to be a confrontation between the Wraith and us. We will dial the planet every hour for updates and I expect you to be there to answer." She met John's gaze directly with her last forceful sentence and he nodded, a swift, precise jerk of his head.
"If I may interject something here, this is a bad idea! Not only do we not know the status of Major Lorne and his team, but we are also entering an alien atmosphere that is known for its hibernating indigenous Koreith plant-life capable of swallowing human beings whole." Rodney's voice rose higher as he spoke, shifting his pack a little higher on his shoulders and looking overall, highly annoyed. Ronon stared at him in silent fascination while Teyla resisted the urge to smile.
John yielded to a snappy comeback, stating, "Well, Rodney, if that is the case and man-eating weeds inhabit the planet then you can hold them at bay while we run for the gate."
"Ha ha, very funny, Colonel. I am not amused!"
"Somehow, I didn't think you would be." Waving his hand toward the gate, John commanded, "Now, let's move!" Teyla's gaze betrayed her amusement as she met John's glance before stepping through the gate, followed by the rest of the team, John last of all. He gave one final look at Elizabeth, standing with hands clasped and back erect, noted her uneasy expression, casually saluted, and stepped into the event horizon.
For all Rodney's concerns, the planet seemed largely uninhabited, yielding no vegetation of any consequential size to suggest carnivorous activity. And, John noted, it didn't yield any evidence of Major Lorne and his team either. The MALP stood beside the gate, absently humming in standby mode, its camera blank.
"Major Lorne, this is Sheppard, come in."
The static crackle of his radio was the only response. Tapping his earpiece, Sheppard stated, "I repeat, Major Lorne, come in. This is Sheppard." Again only silence, drawing the concerned glances of the rest of the party. Rodney crossed his arms, suspiciously eyeing every plant within a ten-yard radius.
"Ronon, what have you got?" John inquired of their burly tracker as he knelt beside subtle indentations in the ground. Ronon's fingers barely brushed the grooves before confidently saying, "They headed west." and standing to his feet, rubbing the dirt from his fingers.
"The tracks are about five hours old. Single file. No urgency. It was deigned to be a simple reconnaissance mission."
Teyla's eyes narrowed in concern. "Then something must have happened."
Tugging his sunglasses down the bridge of his nose, John surveyed the area, replying, "Yeah. They reported possible Wraith activity three and a half hours ago, but we've received nothing since then. Let's keep alert." Ronon's features betrayed the ridiculousness of such a reminder, but John ignored his masculine sensitivity and gestured for him to lead the way.
Heat from the sun's rays penetrated the ozone layer at a high velocity, drawing perspiration from everyone and general complaining from Rodney. Digging loudly through his bag, McKay finally produced a can of sunscreen lotion, his own recipe and proceeded to liberally douse himself with it. Offering it to everyone else, he received only amused glances for his efforts, and John waved a hand before his nose in an attempt to diffuse the potent fumes.
"McKay, you're not going to melt in the sun."
"Oh no? I've always found that it is better to be safe than suffering from radiation."
"We've already been through this once before. Rodney, a few hours of heat is not going to kill you." I knew I should have snatched that stuff when I had the chance, John silently lamented.
Picking up the pace, John reached Ronon's side in several long strides, ignoring the pain in his sensitive hamstring tendon. Pointing to various rufflings of the ground vegetation, Ronon matter-of-factly stated, "There was a battle, and it did not last long. It would appear that Major Lorne has been captured."
"Who did the capturing, Ronon? Can the leaves tell you that?
Muttering loudly to himself, Rodney slapped at an insect making its way toward his neck and then fell suddenly silent. So suddenly that John spun to stare at him, even as Rodney pointed toward the trees, emitted a high-pitched squeak of warning, and fell unconscious from the stun of a Wraith blaster.
Lasers lit the air, trails of steam escaping the holes burnt into the trees. John yelled for his team to take cover even as he rolled toward a tree himself, diving beneath the abundant leaves. Ronon's weapon flashed brilliantly before a stunner caught him directly in the back, bringing him down hard onto the mossy ground.
"Colonel!" Teyla cried as she fought off the sudden attack of two Wraith before a glancing blow at her neck brought her to her knees. Brown eyes wide in pain and shock, the second blow knocked her unconscious. As she crumpled, John leapt to his feet, dodging Wraith fire and pumped as many bullets as possible into the warriors. The metallic sound of the lead careening into their armour filled the air and he took down two, three, four Wraith, and then the numbing black of the stunner sent him into deep oblivion.
Light barely penetrated his eyelids, but it was enough to convince John that he was indeed awake. As if the light wasn't enough, his aching body reminded him of it a second later and he groaned. It hurt even to move his arms, but he managed, lifting a hand to his rumpled matt of dark hair to find the finest stream of encrusted blood clinging to the brown strands.
"Colonel?" A pained voice whispered at his side and John became even more conscious of a soft form beside him, the movements of Teyla's breathing shocking him into movement. Rolling away and to his feet, John swayed unsteadily for a few moments, the room spinning before his equilibrium finally returned. It was a Wraith cell with the spidery enclosure securely locking them into the cage.
His only companion seemed to be Teyla. She sat with her back against the chilled porcelain blue walls, her features pale as she held one arm close to her body. Kneeling beside her, John gently touched her shoulder, inquiring, "You all right?"
Her head shook in the negative, soft hair feathering around her pinched features. "I am afraid not, Colonel Sheppard. My arm may be broken or at least severely strained."
"Now, I'm the one who's supposed to be injured here. If we're all out of commission than who will come flying in to save the day?" He teased in a strained voice, attempting to relieve the fear welling in his own mind and reflecting in her face. Brushing her hair off one shoulder, he gently touched Teyla's cheek where a painful welt rose against her beautiful bronzed skin. She winced in reflex as did he.
"Where are the others?" He questioned urgently.
"I do not know." Pointing through the webbed door, Teyla gestured toward the hallway curving to the left and away from their position. "I have seen two Wraith pass through that corridor several times."
"How long was I out?" He asked, dark eyes certain he wasn't going to like the answer.
"Several minutes, perhaps an hour since I awoke. You looked quite comfortable." Her tone teased him, but neither was in the mood for much levity and her face returned to its serious expression almost instantly. John gently handled her arm, stretching it out so he could see it fully despite the sudden grimace of pain on Teyla's face. It was swollen, the forearm almost twice its original size.
"Well, I don't think it's broken, but you won't be using it for awhile. Our training sessions will have to wait. Maybe by the time you're healed, I'll have had enough time to brush up on my technique." His shirt would have to suffice for a bandage. Gripping the bottom edge, he tore it into as straight a strip as humanly possible leaving a ragged edge behind, offering the barest glimpse of his muscular midriff.
"Colonel, I do not intend to be incapacitated long enough for you to best me in a match. Perhaps if I were debilitated for a year you would stand a chance, but not for mere weeks." Pain infused her last words and Teyla's entire body stiffened as John fashioned the sling around her arm and tied it to her chest.
"Har, har." He reciprocated even as he mentally chastised himself for hurting her.
One solitary tear, the only one she would allow, slipped from the corner of her eye. An ache formed in his chest to see her cry and he tenderly wiped it away, allowing the rough pad of his thumb to rest on the soft skin at the corner of her eye. She met his gaze directly, moisture hovering barely below the surface and his breath caught. John had looked at her before, but never this closely and never this long. It felt as if he stood at the edge of a great sea; one promising warmth and love and companionship. Things he'd always craved but never dared allow into his dreams.
Footsteps resounded in the corridor leading to their cell and he inhaled a steadying breath, backing away from her and facing the door. Two guards and a Wraith lord stalked toward him. The lord's hungry gaze devoured him, diminishing him to the sole purpose of offering sustenance to these unspeakable monsters.
Teyla moaned as she straightened, drawing her knees under and pushing herself to a standing position. Merely reacting, John wrapped an arm around her waist for support before realizing the implications to himself, Teyla, and the Wraith. Any weakness provided an insight for the Wraith and this lord didn't seem a fool as he eyed them in demonic satisfaction. Even Teyla's grasp upon his arm felt weak and John's tremor of trepidation lengthened as he stared into the emotionless eyes of their captor.
The lord hissed for a few moments, his distorted mouth wide as he studied them, revealing rows of sharp translucent teeth. White hair was drawn back into a ponytail at the base of his skull, high forehead dignified and free of wrinkles. But it was the eyes that forever chilled its captives, hinting at unspeakable torment and finally, the sweet relief of death. And to John's horror, it stared directly at Teyla's pale direct features, for she refused to look away from him.
"Bring her." It hissed in a low, growling voice.
Teyla met John's eyes silently, emotionally strong as the Wraith guard, their masks concealing any expression, stepped forward. John immediately intercepted, snarling, "I don't think so." He suddenly knew how a bug felt before being squashed underfoot as one of the guard's snatched him by the front of his black shirt, hauling him up until his feet dangled in midair.
"Obviously, we're having a communication problem. Let me try again." John glared directly into the lord's cold eyes, stating succinctly, "You are not taking her. Do I make myself clear."
The creature may have laughed, John was never certain. But its fangs bared themselves even wider and a loud snarling hiss escaped its smooth white jowls. "You are weak, little man. When we are finished with her, it will be your turn and I shall savor your defiance." The lord nodded its head and the guard easily tossed John into a corner of the cell. His arms and legs smacked into the cold walls, his head spinning as Teyla was led defiantly from their cubicle.
Knowing the attempt was useless, John still latched onto a guard's arm, hauling him around and beating him about the head with one well-aimed punch. Pain flooded across his nerve endings, exploding in starbursts before his eyes. Teyla called his name, attempted an escape from her captor, and then he collapsed into blessed unconsciousness.