When ‘the dust settles,’ as the Earthers say... When her team has recovered her little family from Michael and Jennifer has ascertained that everything is well with Teyla's son, when John is still recovering but Kanaan is given a tentative all-clear and Rodney and Ronon have geared up to step through the Ring... Teyla sets foot on the world that is, for now, ‘Athos’, and goes to inaugurate her people’s government.
Over the past weeks, small groups of five have come through the Ring to Atlantis. They have visited Teyla in the infirmary, seen with their own eyes that she is still alive, have held Torren John in their arms and spoken to Kanaan. This is not a day for reunion. Only Jinto is waiting on the other side of the Ring.
The boy who is almost a man has met her son twice before, yet he spends several minutes bent over the bundle strapped to Teyla’s chest, his drawn face lit up with joy and awe. If not for Rodney’s “Yes, yes, he’s very cute, can we go now?” she does not know how long it would have taken him to remember his duty.
The landscape looks every bit and nothing like their original home world.
The valley they emerge to five half-hearted rants and a supposed blister later has been selected with great care. A small clearing is sheltered by rock and trees yet grants a good enough view of the sky. In it, the surviving Athosians have gathered and settled in circles within circles.
Once, there had been twelve rings. After two Cullings, nine. There are only four now. Ronon and Rodney stand sentry while Teyla, Kanaan and Jinto step through.
Things between her and Kanaan are not yet settled. If she was sure they could overcome what has happened, his place as her man would be beside her in the Council Ring. As it stands, he fits himself into the third circle next to Jinto. Teyla is surprised to learn that her heart has apparently come farther in its deliberations than her mind when she hands him Torren without hesitation.
The fourth and smallest circle numbers eleven. Halling is among them as he should be, as are Jenike and Mirrin. Adan lives but no longer feels fit to Speak. He is sitting with his only surviving grandchild on his knees in the outer ring.
Eight Speakers hold the position for the first time today.
Halling has held the Athosians together as he always has in Teyla’s absence. He would have been within his rights to go ahead with what is now Teyla’s task long before now, but he has always had more faith in the Lanteans than they maybe deserve – or, seeing as she is now standing here, every bit as much as they do.
Less than three hundred adults. A hundred and sixty-four children. Teyla stands at the center and turns so that she can see them all, refuses to give in to the grief she feels. Instead, she reaches for the words she first heard from her mother, then her father, then Charrin, calls them out loud enough to send their echo across the clearing: “We are here.”