Title: Becoming Alien.
Spoilers: Conversion, The Hive, The Return I.
Word Count: 1,294.
Written For: Recipient 4.
Prompt: John/Teyla, John doesn't physically change back from the conversion bug and draws closer to Teyla.
Author's Notes: With the exception of the very first quote, all of the quoted passages between chapters are from the book ‘Brother Termite’ by Patricia Anthony.
Summary: Sheppard and Teyla’s life after the events of ‘Conversion’ fail.
“If lions could speak, we would not be able to understand them.” -Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Conversion coda –
He found her in the sparring chamber. He’d barely said two words in greeting, and her sparring partner at the moment dashed off. “John?” Teyla asked when they were alone.
He was keeping his hood up, his sleeves rolled all the way down, as much of himself covered up as possible. “I’m sorry,” John said. “I wanted you to know that before...just in case.”
“In case of what?”
“Heightmeyer’s saying I’m starting to forget things. Little things, mostly, but still. In case I happen to forget everything, I just wanted you to know I’m sorry.”
“There is nothing to apologize for.”
“I wasn’t myself earlier. I acted on…” impulse? instinct? iratus logic?
“Okay,” backing up a bit.
“Do not worry, John. I have every confidence that Dr. Beckett will not stop looking for a cure for you.”
“I don’t doubt it, but I kinda overheard him earlier. He said I got antibodies forming in my body, and they’re wiping out the stuff Beckett injected me with.” If only I’d gotten back sooner, like the doc said I should. Was it like in the movies, with everything dependant on the last few minutes? Or the last ten seconds.
“So, absent some miracle cure, I’m not sure how far any amount of trying’s going to solve this.”
“We will get past it, John,” Teyla said.
He nodded in answer to her, and a burst of thought flashed across his mind. He didn’t have a clue what it meant – some of it was maps and layouts of Atlantis’ interiors, while others were emotions that didn’t line up with what humans could feel. If that’s going to be what I’ll consider normal in the future, how’s anybody going to have a clue what I’m saying?
“Let me know if I stop making any sense, okay?”
Teyla heard the plaintive request in his voice. “I shall.”
“She is here, and you are her mother. Angela is a mammal. She needs to be hugged. I’m not practiced at touching. And I suspect I’m no good at it.” -Reen.
Lost Boys coda –
Nobody got in his way, everyone stepping aside. It was dangerous enough to be in the path of a determined Ronon; Sheppard was a far deadlier kettle of fish. A kettle making for the Infirmary with all the speed he could muster.
When he got there, McKay and Dex saw him and wisely chose to leave, patting Teyla’s hand in a gesture of support. As Ronon passed by on crutches, he said “This wouldn’t’ve happened if you’d been there.” After all, John’d spearheaded the effort to remove the tracking device from his back, and had paved the way for Atlantis to be the new home of one Ronon Dex; and a man who’d done all that, couldn’t help against Ford or
But Sheppard was deaf to subtext, blind to recent history (such as Dr. Weir confining him to within the walls of Atlantis – even the Mainland was offlimits). He heard only ‘You failed,’
a condemnation most harsh. He stilled his arms and legs to avoid striking Ronon (he could still remember some things, human synapses firing), but his nasal hissss
was an involuntary reaction to a perceived challenge. He kept moving, walking to Teyla’s bedside.
Standing there, he knew only that he was in the Infirmary alongside a bed where a sleeping Teyla lay, recovering from wounds inflicted… where? I hurt you?,
he worried until he saw that none of the wounds were from claws. “Who did [this] to you?”
Teyla didn’t answer.
Tenatively, Sheppard placed one hand atop hers, cautious with the claws, scales, and serrations. Don’t want to cut her
. He didn’t remember ever hurting her, but that didn’t mean anything – he’d lived in a world of eternal Present,
a constant Now
for several… since becoming this.
Teyla opened her eyes. “John,” she said with a smile. He kept his hand right where it is: even if he didn’t feel anything in his emotions, didn’t matter; Teyla got something out of it, and that was satisfactory enough for him.
“I’ll be okay,” she told him.
“I’ll stay here,” was all he said. And he did, keeping to the corner until Teyla was well enough to be released from the Infirmary.
“Don’t!” she said sharply. “For God’s sake, don’t blame yourself. How do you think that makes me feel? I wanted things from you that I knew you couldn’t give.” -Marian Cole.
The Return coda –
Having just been allowed inside, Teyla stood where she was and saw the pair of suitcases stuffed to the gills. “You are leaving,” Teyla said. “For where?”
“Hamburg,” Kate Heightmeyer answered. “I know some ex-pats there. Granted, the nondisclosure agreement’s pretty binding, but that’d be the case no matter where I went.” She appraised the Athosian woman. “And you?”
“I am still trying to convince the Ancients to allow me to remain here.”
“I wish you all the best. If anyone deserves to stick around, its you.”
“Thank you.” One of the first pronouncements the Ancients had made, upon returning to Atlantis and learning of John Sheppard, had been to place him in protective asylum within Atlantis. “They do not wish to allow John to go to other planets,” Teyla said, still getting used to that – it was one thing when Dr. Weir said that; but she had held out a hope that the Ancestors would not behave in such a manner.
Kate nodded. “Figures. But I suppose they’re afraid the Wraith would capture him and use him to make ubermensh.”
“To create…what?” Teyla asked.
“Sorry, German word; it means supermen, or it can refer to a Master Race.”
“The Wraith already are a Master Race.”
Kate couldn’t help but burst out in a laugh. “Thank you, Teyla, thank you so much.”
Confusion marred her features. “For what?”
“It’s a long story.” It’d take too long, I fear, to explain the comedy in the Wraith swooping down on wartime Germany, plucking SS off the streets.
“Any thoughts which way the Ancients are leaning?”
“From what they have told me, I strongly believe they will allow me to stay… I am, they say, the only one whom John trusts.” They also say that it does not alter the terms of agreement – I doubt the IOA will delight in my replacing their representative here.
“Its true,” Kate agreed.
When Teyla was a child, her father and her father’s father had both told her tales of the Quiet, a race so foreign that they were deaf to words and ignored Men and Wraith alike. You could talk to the Quiet, if you knew the drum touches and thumps by which they communicated – they were very tactile – but even then, the burrowers preferred to not notice anyone.John notices me, even now, even as far into his new existence as he is,
Teyla thought to herself. He is ever-aware, always watching out for me.
His words were few and far far between, as his logic grew less and less clear even to herself and Dr. Heightmeyer. She mentioned the Quiet to Kate.
“There was a philosopher on Earth,” Kate said. “A German, I think, by the name of Wittgenstein. He criticized philosophers and scientists for trying to divine the nature of artichokes by first removing all the leaves.”
“A particularly leafy metaphor, no doubt.”
Kate nodded. “Granted, there might’ve been a few who had plucked artichokes naked, but yeah.”
I know of a few animals about whom similar proverbs revolve around.
“My understanding is that you are supposed to end our session with advice.”
If Rodney’d said anything to the tune of that, she would’ve rolled her eyes; not with Teyla. “Lorne and McKay were pulling your leg – I’m not obligated
to do so. I figured the metaphor might be helpful, though.”
“I see. And it was. Thank you, Doctor.”
“Happy to help. Oh, and Teyla?”
“Yes?” as she was starting to stand up.
“As my grandfather used to tell me, ‘Follow your heart, but don’t let it club your brain to death.’” He wasn’t a psychiatrist, he was a politician.
“I understand. Again, thank you.”