[identity profile] sgasesa-admin.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] sga_santa
Title: In Abeyance
Author: [livejournal.com profile] tielan
Recipient: [livejournal.com profile] starry_haze
Pairing: John&Teyla
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters belong to MGM and no money is being made off this story.
Author's Notes: I hope you like this. It's been a while since I wrote these characters and I'm a bit rusty!
Summary: It's not a date, it's a team picnic - even if two of John's team-mates decided not to turn up.

In Abeyance-o-

It's not a date, it's a team picnic.

Even if Rodney stood them up with Keller and refused to change his plans, actually insisting that he'd made this appointment specially and that Keller would be disappointed if he changed it.

The 'specially' worried him. "Are you going to ask her to marry you?" John remembers how Rodney's last marriage proposal turned out. The words 'crash and burn' are perhaps a little too kind to describe it.

Rodney gives him a look of disbelief. "Am I going to--? No! Where did that come from?"

John isn't sure himself. After all, Rodney hasn't been seeing Keller that long and they're probably still working things out…

"Anyway," Rodney continues, "I didn't feel bad about it – well, I wouldn't feel bad about it anyway – because you'll still have Ronon and Teyla, so you don't need me."

--

He's on his way through the halls with the cooler trailing behind him like a puppy on a leash.

"Sheppard."

"Hey, Ronon, ready for a nice evening on the pier?"

"Can't make it. My afternoon group are having dinner tonight. Got everyone's schedules to match up, so…" Ronon shrugs.

"You're standing us up," John says and watches Ronon grin.

"Yep." Ronon claps him on the back. "Don't let Rodney look after Torren. Kid's a fast mover." And then with a smirk, he's off, loping away down a cross-corridor before John can inform him that Rodney's already pulled out, and so Ronon wasn't allowed to renege, too.

Of course, telling Ronon that his withdrawal from the team picnic left just John and Teyla could be a problem, too. Ronon still gives him meaningful looks when it comes to Teyla, even if that boat has obviously sailed, what with the existence of Torren, and Kanaan staying in Atlantis – although lately he's been spending more time on Athos, only coming through once in a while and never staying more than a couple of days at a time.

John hasn't asked about the state of the relationship between Teyla and Kanaan. He doesn't want to know.

He's grown familiar with the sensation of being in abeyance, accustomed to the friendship he has with Teyla.

It's a little stilted these days, more so than it used to be, but he doesn't want to tread on another man's toes just to have his own time with Teyla. He didn't have to dance around another man to spend time with her before, and now he does. It makes things complicated.

As if the presence of Torren John and everything that he represents doesn't already complicate things.

"Sheppard."

"Lorne." John pauses as the other man walks past him and wonders if inviting Lorne might defuse the situation. He knows Lorne is fond of Teyla and likes Torren. Sometimes he even wonders if the man had an interest in Teyla, too. He's never asked - another thing he doesn't want to know. "Hey, what are you doing tonight?"

The other man turns back. "Team dinner. It's Ashmore's birthday," Lorne said, referring to one of the newbies who's been assigned to his team. "They've got something planned. I'm not asking."

"Sometimes it's better not to."

"Oh yeah."

"Well, have fun."

Lorne walks off and John stands in the corridor and debates whether he should call Teyla to tell her it's off. She'd understand. And they could do this another time when Rodney and Ronon can be there, too. It was supposed to be a team picnic, after all.

Natural rebellion kicks in.

John figures he can have a picnic dinner with Teyla and her son if he wants. It was to be a team dinner and thanks to the other two, now it's not. He didn't plan it this way, there are no undertones to it, and he's not going to apologise for having a meal with a friend. It's not like he hasn't had dinner with Teyla before in all of their four years. And he's not going to think of red wine and Teyla's smile by candlelight. That dinner only ever happened in his dreams.

The cooler trundles behind him, its wheels grumbling through the halls of the city to the tune of John's thoughts.

--

It's not a date, it's a team picnic.

Of course, it's a team picnic with only one member of his team, but it's still a team picnic.

Teyla didn't seem concerned that it was just the two of them. The only awkward person in this situation is John, which means he's probably complicating it more than he needs to.

The initial problem of Torren wanting to crawl around and put his fingers in every dish available to him is neatly solved by sitting him in John's lap and giving him dogtags to play with.

"I will wash them later," Teyla assures him as the rubber and metal vanishes into the kid's mouth - as does anything that a one year old is given. The boy makes a face at the taste and pulls them out by the chain, before deciding he wants to see if they taste any better the second time.

John shrugs and offers her a sandwich, manoeuvring the box over Torren's head and the grabby little hands that reach up to follow it. "I'd wash them before he puts them in his mouth," he says. "You don't know where these have been."

"Jennifer says that what doesn't kill him will make him stronger." Her smile is slightly mischievous as she takes a sandwich. "I do not know what your sweat will do to him, though."

"It'll put hairs on his chest," John jokes, taking a bite out of his sandwich and putting the container firmly in the middle of the picnic blanket, out of Torren's reach. "Can you even chew yet?" He asks the kid as Torren makes a noise of disappointment.

Torren's look is the innocently soulful one that infants have been giving adults who chide them for thousands of years, across thousands of galaxies.

Teyla laughs as she nibbles on a sandwich. "I do not think that his mother is comfortable with him having 'hairs on his chest' for many years yet."

"He'll never make a proper Hobbit, then."

"I am sure you and Rodney will do your best to indoctrinate him in the geeky ways of Earth," she says dryly.

"What gave it away?"

"I believe it was the Spider-Man sleepwear. And the Buzz Lightyear bedsheets."

"They're good mottos to have, little buddy." John tells Torren.

Torren's reply is to blow a spit bubble, throws his hands up in the air and screams fit to shatter eardrums.

John grins at Teyla who laughs but says nothing. Her gaze drifts out across the sea towards the horizon where the evening is creeping up across the sky. He feels the urge to say something to break the silence, but stifles it. He doesn't need to babble to her, as though she needs impressing. And it's not that they don't have things to say to each other, but he doesn't have to say them now.

And it's comfortable being silent; no conversation required. The slap of the ocean against the piers and the occasional eddying gusts of salt-scented wind ease the quiet - as does Torren's babble and his attempts to reach the edge of the pier – most likely so he can fall off it.

"Is he troublesome?" Teyla asks as John retrieves him for the umpteenth time. "I can take him back."

"No, I'm fine," John tells her, holding onto Torren by the ankle and tugging him back while Torren giggles, delighted at the game of 'escape and catch'. "I think I can manage your kid. Even if he is an escape artist in training."

"I believe Radek has already threatened him with cuffs," Teyla remarks. "I do not think Torren is unduly concerned by the prospect."

"They'll be good for him to chew on, anyway."

"I think I should prefer the more standard teething rings. Misa has said she will look for them when next they go out in trade."

"Tava seeds, tent hides, and teething rings."

She smiles, although there is a touch of sadness in it. "It is, as you say, small potatoes to the things that Atlantis requires to fight the Wraith."

"But still important." John says it without thinking, and glances up from Torren's attempt to unpick his bootlaces to find Teyla watching him. "What?"

"You still surprise me sometimes."

"Why? I mean," he adds quickly, "what did I do to surprise you this time?"

"Most of your people would not consider the matters of my people to be of any importance." She shrugs. "Your leader looks through me as though I did not exist."

John grimaces, remembering Sumner and his dismissal of Teyla and her people because they had nothing he considered valuable to the expedition. He thinks of the locals he met while working in Afghanistan – the Afghani men who worked alongside the US and international units, whose families welcomed them cautiously into their villages and homes in spite of the shadow of death and war that hung constantly over them.

"Life should be lived, I guess. Even when there's a war going on."

"I know that. And you know that."

"You just forgot that I knew it."

"Sometimes I forget it also," Teyla admits. "It is…difficult to remember, living here in Atlantis. Everything is…large. Important. Dramatic."

"Only if you listen to Rodney talk about it." That elicits a faint smile from her, but it doesn't stifle the abrupt clutch of fear at John's gut. He takes a moment to answer – and to stop Torren from trying to yank out his shoelaces wholesale. "Have you been thinking about going back to your people?"

"No," she says. "But I have been talking Torren's future over with Kanaan. And although I enjoy the work we do in Atlantis, neither Kanaan nor I wish Torren to know only that."

It's not the worst of what John feared, but it's close enough.

No more late night conversations, or invitations to picnics out on the piers. No more laughing little boy crawling halfway over John's leg before rolling himself over with a giggle. Teyla gone from the city for long periods of time, drifting back to her people, out of John's reach.

And John wonders how much of this decision also has to do with Kanaan's apparent inability to fit into the city and its life. Then again, a man who is a cheesemaker among his own people doesn't really have a job in the Atlantis expedition – not the way Teyla made a place for herself with her knowledge of trading worlds, her willingness to learn weaponry, and her fighting skill.

It explains Kanaan's absences, though – preparing things back in Athos for his family, leaving Teyla to tie up the loose ends here.

"When do you move back, then?"

Teyla frowns. "I have already said I was not moving back."

"But you want—" John stops himself as he pulls Torren upright, holding the little guy's hands so he can toddle around on unsteady legs. "How are you going to work it, then?"

"I will stay in Atlantis, and Kanaan with stay in Athos, and Torren will move between us."

"Oh." Relief makes him light-headed. "I thought you were going to move back out to your people and commute in."

"No. I do not wish him to grow up only knowing Athos. His world must be bigger than that. Atlantis is a place to start. And," she hesitates, then plunges on, her eyes fixed on John's face, "I believe that the expedition can grow from Torren's presence among them."

"We probably can," he admits.

Five years ago, John thinks he would probably have argued the point. But that was then. He's seen a lot more since then, been reminded of truths he wasn't ready to face back in Afghanistan, and had his life and his horizons broadened by a woman who is and always will be part of the best thing that ever happened to him.

He looks over at Teyla now, the last light of the day giving her a pensive quality, like a photoshopped filter. "I'm glad you're staying."

"And I am glad to remain. Although, perhaps, a little worried that Torren has decided your watch is tasty."

John glances down to where the kid has his hands latched on John's arm and is sucking on the watch face. "I think he'd find anything tasty right now, right, kiddo?"

Torren beams a gummy smile up at John, unrepentant.

"I should feed him," Teyla says, reaching out for Torren.

John hands Torren over and finds his hands free and empty. "I'll put a plate together for you, if you like."

"Thank you."

So he picks out Teyla's favourite foods, and munches on some of his own, and when Teyla sighs and asks, "Are you done yet?" John doesn't assume she's talking to him.

He figures it's safe to look up when Torren starts making noises of the 'now I want to roam free and untethered' sort. Teyla's adjusting her top, her hand still holding Torren's ankle. John waits until she's finished with the top before handing her the plate and taking Torren off her.

But he doesn't let go of the plate at first. He waits until she looks at him in surprise. "I'm glad you're staying," he says once again. Because he can, because he's come too close to losing her several times in the last year, because she's important to him.

And Teyla looks back at him with eyes that speak her understanding. "I know."

Date: 2012-12-17 10:38 pm (UTC)
ext_384643: (John happy)
From: [identity profile] sexycazzy.livejournal.com
Awww adorable!

Just lovely and so in character with Teyla being quiet but yet her words speak lots & John trying to think it as a team picnic! :)

Date: 2013-01-08 01:46 am (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (SG - JT3)
From: [personal profile] tielan
John is very carefully thinking of it as a 'team picnic'. Safer that way...

Date: 2012-12-17 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaffsie.livejournal.com
Such a lovely slice of life. It really captures the connection between the two of them, and Torren was just a delight.

Date: 2013-01-08 01:47 am (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (SG - JT3)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Hee. Thank you! Torren kind of threatened to take over the story, and I had to have John rein him in quite sternly.

Date: 2012-12-18 12:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] schneefink.livejournal.com
This is lovely. Their closeness and the unobtrusive-but-present UST are wonderful, and they're very cute together with Torren :)

Date: 2013-01-08 01:47 am (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (SG - JT3)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Thank you!

sga_newsletter: 17Dec2012

Date: 2012-12-18 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] livejournal.livejournal.com
User [livejournal.com profile] dossier referenced to your post from sga_newsletter: 17Dec2012 (http://sga-newsletter.livejournal.com/678728.html) saying: [...] : In Abeyance [...]

Date: 2012-12-18 05:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 2bluaeryn.livejournal.com

Wonderful story. Have been missing JT, thanks for this!

\

Date: 2013-01-08 01:47 am (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (SG - JT2)
From: [personal profile] tielan
You're welcome!

Date: 2012-12-18 07:57 am (UTC)
ladysorka: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ladysorka
This is lovely and understated in the best way. Their connection absolutely shines in this, and I love the way John is so easy and familiar with Torren.

Date: 2013-01-08 01:48 am (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (SGA - JT 2)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Thank you!

Date: 2012-12-19 08:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lantean-breeze.livejournal.com
This is very nice and relaxed. I like the insight into both of the characters. :)

Date: 2013-01-08 01:49 am (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (SGA - JT 2)
From: [personal profile] tielan
I was trying for something that felt very 'them' - not saying too much, not overdone, just...quiet and quiet comfort with each other.

Glad you enjoyed it!

Date: 2012-12-27 03:28 am (UTC)
runpunkrun: combat boot, pizza, camo pants = punk  (Default)
From: [personal profile] runpunkrun
I really like how comfortable John is with Torren, and with Teyla too, despite how awkward he felt. It shows how close he is to her. Also John is adorable wrangling that baby.

Date: 2013-01-08 01:50 am (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (SG - JT2)
From: [personal profile] tielan
John definitely counts Teyla and Torren as his family - his people - he's just careful because he doesn't want to make it seem like he's cutting out what Teyla might want for her own life. It's a delicate balance.

And, yeah, John's good with Torren. :)

Thank you!

Date: 2012-12-29 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] that-which.livejournal.com
John doesn't always get it, but I like that he tries. And good for Teyla, figuring out how to give Torren a mix of the old and the new. I love how comfortable they all are with each other.

Date: 2013-01-08 01:51 am (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (SG - JT2)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Yeah, John's giving it his best go - and not doing as badly as he fears he is! And Teyla is very conscious of straddling two worlds and how delicate - and necessary - it is.

Thank you!

stargate atlantis secret santa recs

Date: 2012-12-30 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] livejournal.livejournal.com
User [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun referenced to your post from stargate atlantis secret santa recs (http://runpunkrun.livejournal.com/351079.html) saying: [...] ition of Michael reaching out to shake Ronon's hand and reaching out to attack him. In Abeyance [...]

Date: 2012-12-30 11:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mific.livejournal.com
Lovely. John's thoughts and quiet pining, their closeness, Torren being a handful - really nicely done.

Date: 2013-01-08 01:52 am (UTC)
tielan: (SG - JT1)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Torren would be a little terror if he was left to run free. Luckily he has people to keep an eye (and hand) on him. :)

Glad you liked it!

Date: 2012-12-30 04:30 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-01-08 01:53 am (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (SGA - JT3)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Thank you!

Date: 2012-12-31 04:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starry-haze.livejournal.com
Thanks for dusting off the characters and writing them for me, Santa! :) Sorry for my uber-late reply. I read this right away but was traveling, so I forgot to comment.

For some reason, the image of John dragging the cooler behind him all alone just gets to me. Poor John! I also find it adorable that John and Rodney gave Torren Spider-Man pajamas and Buzz Lightyear bedsheets. They're so geeky. *g* Plus, Torren's such a cute little troublemaker throughout the whole picnic; 'tis so true that kids that age put just about anything and everything in their mouths (!)

I also adore descriptions of the open sea, and you included two lovely ones in this: "Her gaze drifts out across the sea towards the horizon where the evening is creeping up across the sky." "The slap of the ocean against the piers and the occasional eddying gusts of salt-scented wind ease the quiet - as does Torren's babble and his attempts to reach the edge of the pier – most likely so he can fall off it."

Lastly, the final two lines of spoken dialogue are so them. The whole deal with Kanaan put a bit of a wedge in their formerly easy unspoken understanding, and I like the way the ending signals a return to how they used to be: the way Teyla understands John fully when he says, "I'm glad you're staying." I reckon it's the closest he'll get to saying, "I love you" for some time. :p

Thanks, again, Santa! I hope you're having a lovely holiday season! :) ♥

Date: 2013-01-08 01:57 am (UTC)
tielan: (SGA - JT4)
From: [personal profile] tielan
You're welcome! I figured you'd get around to commmenting sooner or later. :)

Glad you liked it - I couldn't quite manage anything action-y for them right now, but I could manage a picnic on a pier and some good, solid friendship.

And, yes, saying "I love you" is a little way away for John right now. But he'll get to it. :)

Date: 2012-12-31 06:58 am (UTC)
amalthia: Children of Dune Leto Ghanima sitting together (Children of Dune Leto Ghanima)
From: [personal profile] amalthia
I loved your story. :)

Date: 2013-01-08 01:57 am (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (SGA - JT)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Hee. You're welcome. :)

Date: 2013-01-08 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nacinom.livejournal.com
This is a very lovely story. Funny coincidence all the other team mates suddenly changing plans.

Date: 2013-01-09 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hiddencait.livejournal.com
Oh man a great fic my dear - love the quiet moments between John and Teyla with the moments of not so quiet thanks to the darling Torren lol

Date: 2013-01-10 02:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chyti.livejournal.com
Why does it seems like Ronon is playing matchmaker, I bet he knows about Kanaan and Teyla already.

Torren is always love and I always love his and John's interaction. John and Teyla back to being comfortable with each other is the first step

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