John said, "You're not a Wraith." This was not a conversation he had ever expected to have, not with Teyla. Okay, not with anybody.
Arms folded, staring grimly out the puddlejumper's port, Teyla said, "I know that. But you saw what happened."
He was flying her out to the Athosian settlement, to break the bad news. It hadn't been until they had gotten into the air that she had finally admitted that she didn't think her people were going to receive the information with their usual equanimity. Well, she hadn't exactly admitted it, she had just said, "This will not take long."
John had frowned absently, still occupied with setting the jumper's course. "It won't? I thought you were going to stay out there and help with the evacuation." The hive ships were due in a week and the city and the settlement had been in a mad scramble of frantic preparations. And they had no idea if any of those preparations were going to work, if it was already a lost cause. John had thought Teyla wanted to go out there for what might be her last chance to see everybody.
She had hesitated. "I do not think they will want my help."
It took until they were halfway across the ocean for John to pry out the fact that she thought her people were going to throw her out. None of the Athosians had had a clue where the Emmagan family's hereditary Wraith-sensing skills had come from, and Teyla didn't think they were going to be able to accept the fact that she had a stray strand of Wraith DNA. That they would see it as little better than her being a Wraith-collaborator.
John wouldn't have thought that they would take it so badly, but she was so certain of it, he was starting to wonder. Teyla was so coldly composed he couldn't tell if she was just nervous about giving the news or dead certain they would immediately boot her out of their lives. And his admittedly awkward attempt to talk about it was just turning into one of their "I can keep this up as long as you can" arguments. Now he said, "Saw what happened where? In the Infirmary?"
Her jaw set. "Yes."
"That wasn't you, Teyla." So she had used her newfound connection to the Wraith to try to get intel from the approaching hives, and gotten briefly taken over. She had been under hypnosis, she had had to give it a shot, and now they knew it was a bad idea. He added, "If you're a Wraith, you're making a lousy job of it."
What he could see of her expression was stony. "My people may not agree."
He made a minute and probably unnecessary correction to their heading. They had just reached the continent and were flying over thick forest now, and there wasn't much time left before they arrived at the settlement. "Your people trust you."
She shrugged a little. "Perhaps not after this."
"Then their trust wasn't worth much in the first place."
That got her.
She threw him a glare, turning and pushing out of the seat, striding into the rear cabin. She didn't slam the hatch, but John got the idea. "Teyla," he called after her. "Teyla, come on."
No answer. Crap. Good one, John. He dropped speed and slowed the jumper, bringing it around. The HUD obligingly popped up a terrain-sensor screen, finding him a nearby clearing in the forest. John guided the jumper down to settle gently in the tall grass. He opened the comm channel and said, "Flight, this is Jumper One. We're going to set down at this position briefly."
The response came quickly, "Copy that, Jumper One, we have your position on sensors. Is there a problem?"
"Negative, Flight, we're just taking a little break." John clicked off the comm and pushed out of his seat.
He walked into the rear cabin, stopping a couple of paces from her. She was facing away from him, arms folded tightly around herself. Her voice cold, she said, "Why have we landed?"
"So I can apologize." John knew he was screwing this up, but he wasn't dumb enough to say, so you have a chance to calm down before we get there. "I shouldn't have said that."
It occurred to him belatedly that he was probably the worst person in Atlantis to be out here with her right now, considering his view was that if her people couldn't accept her for what she was, then she should tell them to fuck off.
The line of her back in the BDU jacket was as stiff as a board. She said, "I accept your apology. May we be on our way now?"
John let his breath out, frustrated. Mostly at himself, for his complete inability to make this any easier for her. "Do you really think they're going to show you the door over this? It's just a tiny piece of DNA. And it gives you a vital survival skill." Her ability to sense Wraith had saved them more times than he could remember.
She snorted, not in amusement. "And you think the truth of where that skill came from does not matter."
"Yeah, I do. I mean, I don't think it matters." He shrugged. "I've got a piece of nonhuman DNA too."
She turned to face him finally, and the look she gave him was withering. "That is hardly the same thing. Yours comes from the Ancestors."
"Hey, it's still--" Alien, he had been about to say. Yeah, that really wasn't the direction he wanted to take this argument in. "I'm just saying it shouldn't matter. It doesn't matter to me."
She gave him a narrow look, her expression turning determined. Then she stepped forward and shoved him, hard enough to knock him back against the jumper's bulkhead. "Hey!" John stared at her, startled and pissed off. She was about the last person he would expect to get violent during an argument, and while he knew he wasn't doing a great job of this, he didn't think he had been that big of an asshole. "Teyla, damnit, I'm trying to help--" Then she knotted her hands in his shirt and dragged him down, pressing her lips against his, so hard his head bumped back against the bulkhead. John had a moment of complete confusion, and instinctively did what he usually did in those moments: pretend he knew what was going on and wing it. He parted his lips and she turned it into a real kiss, hard and demanding.
This is a bad idea, he thought. They worked together and she was on his team and he couldn't keep letting himself do this, it was always a bad idea, it just made everything more difficult. Then she bit his lower lip and John made an involuntary noise in his throat. She pulled at his shirt again until he sat down hard on the bench. She straddled his lap and he thought, Oh, why the hell not? The Wraith were going to be here in days and they wouldn't be working together much longer; they would be dying together. He pulled her against him, sliding a hand into the warmth of her hair, shifting into a more comfortable angle, giving all his attention to the kiss.
She pulled away and he caught a breath. She looked at him, her expression unreadable, and said, "You did not stop me."
"Huh?" John stared at her blankly, confused. "Stop you?"
"I thought--" She shook her head a little, and for a moment looked almost as confused as he was. "But you mean what you say. This...what I am truly does not disturb you."
John clapped a hand over his eyes. He had actually forgotten the whole Wraith DNA issue, caught up in the "we're going to die, let's have sex" moment he had thought they were having. She had just been testing him, trying to prove her point, expecting him to be horrified at her touch. "Yes, I meant it. Now get off me."
She didn't move.
John dropped his hand to glare at her. "Teyla--"
She kissed him again, but this time it was slow and warm, persuasion rather than demand. He held out for three seconds, then let her in. She pulled him off the bench and they slid into an awkward heap on the deck. He pulled away from her long enough to ask warily, "Are you going to want to stop again? I just want to know so--"
She pushed her hands up under his shirt, warm against his skin, and smiled. "No, I will not want to stop."
It was still awkward; the jumper's floor was hard and they both had bruises from the last three or four disastrous missions, but it didn't matter. There were all these clothes in the way, and the lacings on Teyla's top were tied with some incredibly complicated knot that John was seriously considering biting through. "It is very simple," she told him impatiently, pulling at the cords herself.
They both had some tension to work off, so the foreplay was like their sparring, only without the sticks and a lot less painful. Also, in wrestling John had the advantage; she just didn't weigh enough to hold him down for long. Though if he strained something in his back, explaining how it had happened on the jumper hop between Atlantis and the Mainland was going to be tricky. But then she rolled him onto his back and pinned his arms over his head, and he gasped, "You win. You can have your way with me."
She grinned and bit him gently under the jaw. "And if I had lost?"
"You could still have your way with me, only you would've had to buy me a beer afterward."
They finally managed to get rid of most of the clothes, and when he rubbed his cheek against her inner thigh, her skin felt like warm silk over steel. He had always known how physically strong she was, much stronger than a woman her size should be; their sparring, and watching her fight for real in the field, had made it hard to miss. At first he had put it down to the fact that she was Athosian. She was an alien human from another galaxy, and compared to everything else it hadn't seemed strange. After he had realized that the other Athosians didn't share this ability, that they were strong from years of hard work and fighting, but not like her, it still hadn't seemed that odd. It was just one of the differences that made her Teyla. Maybe knowing it was Wraith DNA should have made a difference to a normal person; but John wasn't normal either, and it didn't.
He showed her how much it didn't matter until she grabbed him by the hair and dragged him up to say breathlessly, "I want you inside me, but I have nothing to prevent a child."
"There's condoms hidden in the medical kit." John managed to not leap up and lunge for the kit immediately. Besides, she still had a grip on his hair.
She lifted a brow at him. "Why?"
"There might be a sex-related medical emergency," John said, trying to look earnest. Her brows indicated skepticism. Yeah, he hadn't thought anybody was going to buy that. He admitted, "Uh, McKay put them there."
Her lips quirked. "I will not ask or tell."
Finally they settled against each other, using a rolled-up sleeping bag as a pillow, and Teyla stroked the nape of John's neck. She said thoughtfully, "It occurs to me that I have worried about what my people will think of me to the point where I am..."
"Crazy?" John suggested.
She tugged on his hair in reproof. "Overwrought. And not thinking clearly." She sighed. "I truly do not know what their reaction will be, and I am assuming the worst."
Considering how things had been going lately, John didn't think assuming the worst was a bad plan. And he really didn't know how Halling and the others would take this, either. Teyla had a piece of their worst nightmare in her DNA, and it wasn't like anything else he could imagine. There was just no comparison.
She added wryly, "Perhaps I will take Dr. McKay's advice."
John smiled against her skin. "What was it?"
"He said what they do not know will not hurt them."
"Going to Rodney for interpersonal relations advice? Probably not your best option." And not telling them was impossible now. Between the medlab and the well-meaning people trying to spread the word that Teyla hadn't been responsible for the attack on Bates, it was already all over the city. But those were scientists and SGC veterans who had either been born with the Ancient gene or who had lined up to get the ATA inoculation. Teyla's situation just wasn't that big a deal to them. And it would be really hard to get two hundred people to remember not to mention it to the Athosians.
She said, "What is your advice?"
Reluctantly, John sat up enough to prop his head on his hand. "Probably not your best option either."
She lifted a brow, and he let his breath out. "I've never been with people that..." It was unexpectedly hard to explain something that he had just realized he had never articulated, even to himself. "That if they kicked me out, it would kill me." He shook his head. "That's over-simplifying...everything."
"I understand what you mean. But I think this has changed for you, here."
John buried his face in her neck again, because it was easier than answering. She didn't press it, just saying, "If my people refused to see me after this, I do not think it would kill me. But it would...hurt deeply."
John's other advice would be to get it over with quickly. He said, "We should get moving."
Cleaning up and getting dressed got complicated when Teyla looked around with a frown. "I am fairly certain I was wearing more undergarments than this when we left the city."
John patted himself down first, because strolling down the jumper's ramp with Teyla's bra hanging out of one of his pockets probably wouldn't be a good idea. He started checking the benches on the opposite side, and spotted something white caught under one of the support braces. "Here it is."
He handed it to her and she frowned, turning it over. "This is not mine."
Pulling his jacket on, John did a double-take. "What?"
Teyla showed him the printed label sewn into the strap. "This must be from your world."
They stared at each other. John frowned. "Oh, that's great. Somebody's been having sex in my jumper."
Teyla snorted, then started to laugh. Okay, John could see the humor in this. It must have been lost recently, or the maintenance team would have found it, which meant someone else had been having a "the Wraith are coming and we're all going to die" moment. He started to grin. Teyla sat down on the bench and doubled over, laughing helplessly. "I will take it," she managed finally, still gasping. "And put it in the lost property box in the city. Sadly, it will not be the oddest item left there."
Teyla found her bra in a gap under the supply crates, and as she finished getting dressed, John checked in with Flight Control, to report that they would be resuming their trip in the next few minutes. One good thing about the whole city knowing about Teyla; he could tell from how sympathetic Chuck sounded that everybody in Operations had assumed that the prolonged stop had been so that Teyla could freak out in relative privacy before speaking to the Athosians. Which was exactly what had happened, mostly.
Teyla came forward and sat in the co-pilot's chair. John asked, "Ready?"
"No." She took a deep breath, and gave him a quick anxious smile. "But let us go anyway."