Rating: PG :)
Characters: Teyla centric, with a little Team, Torren and Kanaan.
Warnings/Spoilers: AUish for the end of series 5.
Word Count: 1067
Author's Note: I wrote this a couple of years ago, before the series ended, so it should be considered AUish for the series end I suppose :) Also huge thanks to tli who not only betaed this, but put up with me whining about it to!
Summary: Atlantis has been recalled to Earth, and Teyla must decide where her future lies.
The Atlantis Expedition was recalled to Earth - permanently this time. Not thrown out by Ancestors arrogant of their own abilities and place in the Universe but removed to protect their own home world. On Earth there has been a revolution, it seems. A frightened public baying for blood and protection overthrowing those brave few who dare to dream of adventure in the stars. Both sides know nothing of what they speak; the adventurous are not mindful of the danger and the frightened are too selfish to see beyond their own homes to acknowledge that others need help.
Most of the personnel - those who had been with the Expedition from the beginning - fought and argued the decision. In the days before the final evacuation of Atlantis, the toll of the lost was heavy - many simply walked through the 'gate to start their lives anew in the Pegasus Galaxy, cutting themselves off from their home world.
Teyla watched them leave, bouncing Torren in her arms as his little hands tugged and played with the laces on her vest top. A few times she had caught John and Rodney there too, both torn but resigned. Teyla watched them, each time feeling the crushing weight of exhaustion settle on her shoulders.
The Wraith were not defeated, merely licking their wounds in the wake of the Atlantean attacks. Once the Atlanteans left for good it would be only a short time before the Wraith returned, to feed unopposed on a galaxy that had forgotten how to defend itself.
Her place was with her people. She would once more take charge, lead them to safety, mourn their losses through culling and scream with the frustration of being helpless in a situation when she once would have been able to do something along with her team. Her people would expect miracles where she had none to give, and would be reluctant to follow her instruction after being under the rule of another so long. Yes, Teyla knew her place was with her people, logically and morally it was her only choice.
Yet as Torren fell slowly to sleep in her arms the mother in her soul warred with the leader side.
"Are you going to return to Earth with them?" she asked softly as she heard Ronon approach.
He leant on the railing beside her and stared across the 'gate room. "No. You?"
Teyla stared at Torren. "I do not wish for Torren to live his life in fear of the Wraith. With the Atlanteans' departure the cullings will intensify; the Wraith will want to reaffirm their domination of this galaxy and I do not believe the people here will be able to defeat them. Many will try, and the losses will be immense, till finally the old ways will be established."
"What has Kanaan said?"
Two marines marched into the 'gate room; one moved to talk to the gate technician, whilst the other leant with fake nonchalance against the wall. Teyla and Ronon watched the 'gate flare to life and the two marines walked through slowly, throwing one last salute as they left. The 'gate shut down and the technician made a note on the tablet next to his console.
"He wishes to leave," Teyla admittedly quietly. "I am torn."
Ronon seemed to consider this a moment. "I have to stay," he said eventually. "No Wraith on Earth, gotta do something here while people are still motivated to do something. But that's just me. Don't have anyone else to consider." He paused and frowned. "If the Wraith were gone, and the offer was open...I'd go. Nothing else here for me but Wraith." He peered down at Torren, nestled in the safety of Teyla's arms. "Wouldn't think anything less of you for leaving." He pushed off from the railing and wandered away.
Teyla watched him go, feeling the crushing weight of responsibility bearing down on her. If she left, she would forever regret it, leaving so many behind to fend for themselves when she had the capability to fight. But if she stayed and Torren was taken from her by the enemy she had stayed to help fight then she would lose it all.
In the week before the Atlanteans' final departure for Earth, Team Sheppard had one last team night together. They sat together on the balcony overlooking the West Pier and said nothing. Eventually Rodney handed each of them a photograph.
Teyla stared at the flimsy photograph in her hand. It was of the four of them, sat in the Mess Hall and talking together.
Ronon tucked his away and nodded to each of them.
John opened his mouth to say something but clamped it shut again and carefully tucked the photo into his pocket.
"It was an honour," said Ronon, shattering the silence.
"Likewise," Rodney's hands twitched nervously. "I mean, you guys... you're, well." He inhaled sharply and pushed himself to his feet.
"Family," Teyla murmured.
Rodney's shoulders slumped. "Yeah."
They remained there for hours more, ignoring the world around them till they were forced to leave. First Rodney, called away to deal with the removal of scientific equipment, who stuttered through his goodbyes but gave both Ronon and Teyla surprisingly strong, if not awkward, hugs. Then John, who stood helplessly in front of them both before Ronon grabbed him in a bear hug.
Teyla did nothing, but later tilted her forehead to Ronon, who hugged her in response.
"You're going with them."
Teyla thought of her people, her history, her heritage, the danger and then her thoughts inevitably turned to Torren. She thought of Earth, where there were no cullings, just the danger of the unknown. If she left she would regret it everyday of her life - the leader side of her will ensure that. The guilt of knowing she left would lay heavily on her shoulders and eat away at her soul. But the mother side saw Torren playing without fear. There is nothing she will not do for her son.
Teyla knew she would regret this decision the rest of her life, yet she didn't care. Her soul is a small price to pay for her son. "Yes, I am."
John and Rodney were there to welcome her properly to her new world when she stepped through the 'gate, Torren held in one arm, the fingers on her other hand linked with Kanaan's.