Summary: And he is; more than he ever thought he would be; more than he thinks he deserves.
Characters: John & Teyla
As he sits, red bow tie hanging untied around the open collar of his white dress shirt, he wonders – not for the first time – how his life has come to this. The drink in his hand lingers untouched, the intoxicating scent of the Malt wafting up into his nostrils. His fingers cradle the crystalline glass limply, his eyes fixed on the almost brown liquid swirling around the tumbler.
He doesn't like the taste of whiskey; never has. It had been his father's choice of escape when business agreement after business agreement failed. Back in the day when John's mother wasn't around. He sighs, visibly shaking off the acrid memories of his father's over bearing upbringing, the relentlessness with which he'd pursued other avenues just to be different from his brother. He'd been proud of his actions then. Not now. It had cost him a brother, a father - a wife. He'd been restless, ungrounded, lofty for so long after his mother left that the Air Force had seemed the only escape. The rigidity of the drills, of formations, of being was nothing compared to the rigidity of the Sheppard household in the years leading up to John's departure and he'd embraced it, allowing it to become him.
He'd been proud of that, once.
The doors at the other end of the room open, a shard of light splitting the darkness open and he tries to recede into the shadows. He can make out the imposing outline of his team mate, the Satedan's dreadlocks standing out against the light background. John's sure he's stopped breathing, mimicking the walls around him.
The Satedan leaves after a moment and John is glad. He doesn't want to talk to anyone – not yet.
She's been gone for well over an hour; an hour longer than she promised him she would be. He's waited diligently in his seat where he promised he'd be waiting. He knows she'll come to him, when she's ready. He sighs, dropping his back against the chair, closing his eyes.
When she'd walked up the aisle, the white gown glittering in the Athosian sunlight, John had never felt such glorious pain tear through him. She'd been beautiful, radiant – the sun highlighting her gracious features, smiling up at the end of the altar, excited and happy and loving.
John hadn't been able to stop the smile that spread across his face at the sight of her.
She could kill him with a stare, with a whispered word but right then he didn't care; he'd have taken it if her smile was to be the last thing he ever saw.
He opens his eyes and smiles lightly, taking a sip from his the glass, wincing as it burns its way down his throat.
"I do not like this drink of yours."
He looks up and smiles, his eyes inviting her to him. She slides into his lap, legs between his, arm across his shoulder and tucks her head into his neck. He ducks his head into her intricately done hair, wishing that it was free and flowing so he could tangle his hand there.
"Neither do I." He places the glass on the table beside him before reclining in his chair again, wrapping his arms around her. He sighs into her hair, turning his head to brush his lips across her temple. She murmurs incoherent words into his collar and he smiles, tucking her body closer to his. He'll never tire of holding her – never. He doesn't want to think about the times he's almost lost her because then he'll have to remember that it had been his fault. He'd driven her away, to the arms of someone else it had almost torn them apart; made them seem so completely irreparable that it had seemed like they'd never get past it. But they had, eventually, and he had prayed for the first time since he was fifteen years old to anyone that would listen, thanking them for bringing her back to him. "Are you happy?" He asks quietly and he tells himself he doesn't sound as vulnerable as he feels.
She nods against him, almost imperceptibly and he smiles.
"Yes." She pauses for a moment and he lingers in the quietude between them, almost unwilling to break the moment. They'd never been one for words, not really. "Are you?"
He turns his head into her, urging her to look at him and when she does he sees her own vulnerability, her own uncertainty so profound that he feels it to the very tip of his toes. In that moment, he doesn't feel ungrounded, or flighty, or restless – for the first time in his life, he's at peace with himself, with the world around him, with the mistakes that he's made.
Because as his lips touch hers, he knows that everything in his life has come to this; every mistake, every misjudgement, every altered gene have converged and plotted and met at this one point in his life so he can cradle the woman he loves - his wife - in his arms and know that this is home, the place that he's been trying to find for twenty years.
Everything else – everything else – pales in comparison.
He rests his forehead against hers and smiles.
And he is; more than he ever thought he would be; more than he's sure he deserves.
And he loves her even more for it.