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The Tea Ceremony Of Mourning

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Today was the bad day. Despite the fact that his mistake with Project Arcturus had happened years ago it was still a matter of pain for him. His biggest failure. Not only to his pride but to the many people that had died for his negligence, his stupidity, his fault... That thought burned in his head and wouldn't leave. Many had died because it was HIS fault. Sure he would try to make himself feel better. He would reason to himself that the solar system had been mostly uninhabited, but mostly isn't completely! It still tore him up.

Today was the anniversary of their deaths, and his peace of mind.

Rodney never told anyone except Teyla, who helped him, but every year on the anniversary he would hold a special mourning tea ceremony in their honour. He knew the ceremony by heart. It was a simple little thing, but it gave him comfort on this hard day. He had originally learned the ceremony to perform for Teyla on the anniversary of the death of her Father that one time he was near ascended and thought he was going to die.
Regardless, he continued to do the ceremony with Teyla as well yearly. However, something about the ceremony stuck with him personally and not just for Teyla's mourning and he decided to study it further. Now this is the result.

Rodney laid down an Anthosian blanket out on the floor. Teyla noticed he was concentrating hard. Taking great care to smooth out the wrinkles. Rodney set up the incense and candles on the table next to her bed and lit them. Then she watched as he moved past her to get to the tray of the special tea's and brought it back over to place it down on top of the blanket. The tea was steaming, freshly made and now the incense was filling the room with its stinging scent. Rodney sat cross legged on the floor behind it silently waiting. She couldn't help but watch him in his state of behaviour. It was only twice a year she ever saw him so quiet and sombre. This day, and the anniversary of Carson's death.

Teyla sat opposite and after a few seconds Rodney started. He laid his arms out in front of him, palms up in the starting gesture. She did the same. - This was suppose to symbolize the need of comfort and the others compliance to give it.

Then he clasped his hands together like a prayer and bowed his head. - The symbol of grief, and prayers for the dead and the living they left behind. Teyla bowed her head leaving her arms open. - The symbol that she is here to comfort still even at such a hard time.

They took a few minutes of silence for the dead. A time for Rodney to reflect on the many people his actions had killed. It haunted Rodney. That all those people that died where faceless to him. That they would never be remembered by anyone because everyone they had known was dead along side them. Rodney felt like a fist had tightened around his stomach. He felt a few tears run down his cheek but he held off. He had to complete this. For Them.

Rodney opened his eyes and avoided the look of concern on Teyla's face as he focused all his attention on pouring the tea. Not letting a single drop spill. Quite a feat since his hands where slightly shaking. Teyla put her hand over his to steady him.

They took their cups of the first tea now that the few minutes of silence had cooled it down enough they drank. It was a bitter taste but it was purposely so for this ceremony. The bitter was supposed to be a physical representation of the soul of the one of the pair in mourning.

Then it was Teyla's turn. The second of the pair was to serve the one in morning the second tea. This one was sweet. It purpose to represent both the act of serving as a support group and the tea itself as a ways to calm the soul.

Rodney felt the warm tea go down his throat. It warmed him. The knot in his stomach slightly lesser now.

They bowed their heads once more. Now it was all on Rodney. Teyla must wait until he was ready to be comforted. Rodney said nothing. Instead he looked out Teyla's window silently.

Teyla watched him patiently. This was the most important part of the ceremony. The longer he held out meant that he was still not ready to rest in peace. That he still felt guilt and blamed himself. Teyla would wait as long as it would take.

A half an hour later Rodney finally looked at her. He was shaking. Eyes watering. He opened and closed his lips but no words came out. He couldn't say it out loud. The people where dead and wouldn't be able to hear him anyway. Teyla nodded. She understood.

She put the tea set up and out of the way and then went to Rodney and helped him off the ground. Then set him on the bed. She picked up the blanket and laid down next to him. Covering them both with the blanket. She then held him as they laid next to each other. Her hand stroking his back as he cried. Giving him light, calming kisses on his forehead. Eventually he would cry himself to sleep and the hard day would be over.

Teyla's hand ran through the soft hair of her lover. It always hurt her to see him like this, but it was better then the alternative. He could have hid his pain from her like he did with everyone else. Under a mask of self centered ego. She was glad that he didn't. The façade of uncaring he put on worried her. It made her wonder what must have broken him in the past to feel the need to hide himself. She may never know. All she did know was that she was here for him and she would try to soothe him and break through his layers for as long as it took until her lover was healed.