beatrice_otter: All true wealth is biological (Wealth)
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Adrift
By [livejournal.com profile] beatrice_otter


Pairing: Sheppard/Teyla
Rating: PG
Category: Angst, Missing Scene
Word Count: 1380
Disclaimer: None of this belongs to me and I am making no money off it
Spoilers: Misbegotten, No Man’s Land, Conversion, The Gift.
AN: written for [livejournal.com profile] jeyla4ever for the [livejournal.com profile] sg_rarepairings ficathon. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] fugacious_love for the beta. It turned out more pre-ship than ship, sorry, but I just couldn’t see Teyla being willing to do anything unprofessional while on a mission, especially not in the creepy surroundings that is a Wraith hive. And then the creepiness kind of took over and ate my brain.
Prompt: Misbegotten missing scene: John shows Teyla how to fly the Hive ship, lots of touching. No character death, profanity, Michael, or anything trashy.
Summary: To fly a Wraith hive ship, you must be a Wraith.
Remixed as: Control (Atonal Cadenza Remix) by [livejournal.com profile] melayneseahawk.


Teyla awakens, gasping, and releases the controls. Heart pounding, she brings her hands up to her face. In the dim light she can see they are the same tan color they have always been, the skin of her palms unmarked. She can hear the ship’s hunger in her head, though, and feel it in her soul.

“You okay, there?” John’s voice is kind, and his eyes are filled with concern. He is her friend, she remembers this; but he is too pleasant and too … nice for this cocoon of craving and he does not fit.

“I am fine, Colonel,” she says evenly, forcing her breaths to come calmly and slowly, willing her heart to stop racing. He seems alien to her, and she tries to remember what it is like to walk with him through forests on routine missions, to watch movies on their nights off, anything normal. She cannot.

“You sure?” he asks. He watches her closely, as if he can see the thread of inhumanity in her.

Her eyes drift to his chest, and she forces them back to his face. “Yes.”

He nods, and she forces down contempt that he takes her lies as truth.

“Did you find the navigation systems?”

Teyla closes her eyes, and tries to remember what it was like to be the ship. She tries to forget what it was like to be a Wraith. She fails. “I believe so.”

“Do you know where we are?”

“Yes.” Her voice has lowered, she knows, and her hands are flexing. John does not notice.

“Do you know where Atlantis is?”

“Yes,” she growls. The hive does not like that place. It is her home.

“Okay,” John says mildly. He smiles. “That’s good. Now, can you find the propulsion systems?”

She stares at the controls, at the ridges meant to slide smoothly into the gash in the palm, where the exchange of life takes place. She looks at her unmarked palms. “What will I be looking for?” she asks.

“Michael said there were three kinds: maneuvering thrusters, sublight engines, and hyperdrive engines. This ship might be able to go directly from orbiting a planet to hyperdrive, but let’s not try something that complex for your first time at the helm, all right?” His voice is serious, but he hides it under a veneer of good humor, as if she were a child to be coddled. “Let’s try to break orbit using thrusters,” he says, filling the silence. “If that doesn’t work, try the sublight engines at a low speed.” He smiles. “Just be careful not to hit the planet.”

“Of course,” she says, lowering her hands gently onto the console. The fit is awkward, but she manages. She closes her eyes and commands the ship to move.

It ignores her.

She opens her eyes, sees John watching. He touches her shoulder, squeezing it in companionship. “I know how hard this is, Teyla.”

He doesn’t know. He cannot understand the hunger. Ancient ships love him, and he them; he is the fortunate son returned after a long absence. A dream of home, of what-once-was. She closes her eyes again, and sinks into nightmares.

I am Wraith, she tells the hive, bringing forth the alien taint she was born with, and has learned to use in the service of these Earthers. She coaxes the engines to engage, and although they do not respond immediately, she can feel them listening, considering. I am Wraith, she tells herself, plummeting into memories of Wraith minds.

She believes herself.




She opens her eyes and releases the controls, weak with hunger. “Teyla, are you alright?” Human, male; John. Colonel Sheppard.

“Yes,” she says. “I am hungry.” She takes a step away from the controls, and her legs buckle; they have fallen asleep. John catches her, and she growls in frustration at her own weakness. She flexes her muscles, trying to get some circulation back. She can hear his heartbeat, and this close she can smell him even through the Wraith musk that fills the ship. “I am fine, now,” she says, pushing against him, palm flat on his chest. “I simply stood in the same position for too long.”

“You sure?” he asks, not letting go.

“Yes!” She tenses, but does not remove her hand.

“Okay,” John says, stepping away from her. “I know how that can be. You were standing there for almost six hours. What kind of MRE do you want? We’ve got mac-and-cheese and meatloaf.”

“Meatloaf,” she says, resigned.

“Not the greatest choice, is it?” he asks, rummaging through packs. “We’ve got a sleeping area set up in the chamber next door, if you wanna catch some zzz’s.” He tosses her an MRE. “Rodney’s already had a nap, and I know he wants to try setting up a remote navigation system so we can navigate manually, without having to hook you in there. He’s been gathering a lot of data, but he can’t experiment any while you’re running things.”

Teyla considers this as she chews the tasteless substance the Lanteans call food. If any of it was ever alive, it is well disguised. “Rest would not be unwelcome.” She finishes her meal and tucks the empty wrapper away; she is still hungry, but does not ask for another MRE. It is not what she craves. She stands and stretches, working some of the kinks out of her muscles. There are grooves in her hand, pressed there by the controls she has been clutching for the last six hours. She rubs them to make them fade. John contacts Rodney on the radio, tells him the control room is free. He shows her where her bedroll is.




She wakes up, panting and trembling, heart pounding, John’s scent and Wraith musk mixed together in her nose.

“Nightmare?” John says, sleepily, from his place a few feet away.

“Yes,” she says, snuggling back down, chasing away memories. Of John, strong, arrogant, different. A worthy opponent, winning. Throwing her into a wall. Grabbing her head, pressing his lips to hers. He was not himself, and they found the cure. He is human again. Teyla is human. She is glad of it. She is.

“Wanna talk about it?” he asks.

“No.” She stares at the ceiling. “I am … glad that you survived the recent battle with the Wraith.”

“So am I,” he says with feeling.

Teyla sits up and reaches for her boots. She will sleep no more this night, and she wishes to be back on Atlantis. Home. She removes a power bar from her pack, and chews as she ties her laces. “I am ready to return to work.”

“I’ll go tell Rodney play time’s over.” John smiles at her, the same smile that grated so yesterday, but she does not mind it today. He brushes against her as he leaves.




She passes Ronon as she enters the control room. Rodney is loudly complaining that he needs more time, and giving John instructions on how to monitor his equipment. Normally, she listens when McKay speaks; through close attention and tutoring with some of the other scientists, she has become able to follow the general outline of his theories, though the details are far beyond her. Technical knowledge is needed to survive in the hard, bright world of Atlantis; everything runs by computer, science, math. She does not listen today. She circles the main console warily, as if it were a predator that might spring if she turned her back on it. The grooves left in her palms have not gone away.

“It’s all yours,” John says.

He is close to her, and she turns, drinking in the sight of him. She reaches out, grasping his arm delicately, feeling the lean muscles through his uniform, needing an anchor. “Will you stay with me?” she asks.

He smiles, and it is not his normal smile, the one that doesn’t quite fit his eyes and is given out to everyone. This one is deeper, and it is hers. He places a hand on her shoulder. “Of course.”

Teyla is still for a moment, basking in his presence. Then she turns to the console and places her hands on the controls. She tips her head back, and closes her eyes. I am Wraith.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-12-11 07:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rushingwind.livejournal.com
I love the contrast you have here between human and Wraith, and the dark Hive and bright Atlantis. The conflict it causes in Teyla's mind is very well written, and very natural. It's interesting how she has to command the ship and tell it she is Wraith. Now that I think about it, they did say the hive ships and technology were organic, so now you've got me thinking about new possibilities. Maybe the hive ships are, in some way, alive?

I also like how when she gets up the next day her marks are still in her palms.

You have wonderful contrasts and comparisons in this fic. Well written, and well done! :)

(no subject)

Date: 2006-12-11 08:04 pm (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Nice! I liked this - the meaning behind the organic nature of the Wraithships, Teyla's reflections on herself and her Wraithgene, and some really deep insight into the kind of conflict the Wraithship brings up within her.

It would have been neat if Teyla had used John to reconnect with her humanity - substituting the hunger to feed with a different hunger, grounding herself. But this still works - and very well.
a
If you give permission, I might try my hand at writing a remix from John's POV.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-12-11 10:05 pm (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Are they actually on the mission in Misbegotten? Because I picked up the impression that they were 'doing manoeuvres' above the Atlantis planet, and probably in and around the system, with Teyla learning how to fly the hiveship.

I agree that Teyla wouldn't have sex on a mission, short of mitigating circumstances (ie. Aliens Made Them Do It). And, yes, she is far and away the most professional of the Atlantis crew.

I guess my feeling is that it wouldn't have to be full-blown sex. Even just the need to connect with another person on a human emotional-physical level could manifest in a need for a hug, a touch (which you had in the story), a kiss...

Heh. Right now, I'm going through a Sheppard/Teyla drought - there's nothing on the radar, no encouragement anywhere, and all my inspiration is drying up. So I'm looking for good, well-written stories that feature them a-little-further-than-just-friends. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2006-12-11 10:32 pm (UTC)
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)
From: [personal profile] tielan
Ah. See, I thought it was between the time the boys got the hiveship to Atlantis and the meeting in the briefing room when Teyla admits she can't do very much with the hiveship - implying that they've tried - although it's more than Rodney can do.

I just supposed that while they were waiting for Elizabeth to get back from Earth (it would have taken at least a day or two, even via Asgard ship), they took the hiveship out and about around Atlantis for practise.

(I can't remember the order in the episode, though - when/how they got the humanised Wraith to the planet vs. when the meeting in the briefing room is.)

At any rate, I liked this fic and I'll rec it off my LJ sometime in the next couple of days (probably once a few more stories turn up on the list and I have a chance to read through the ones that interest me.)

(no subject)

Date: 2006-12-12 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] madjm.livejournal.com
Oh, this is nice. I love the idea that Teyla has to make herself more Wraith to be able to interface with the ship, and that she loses track of who she is, really. And it's sweet that she uses John to anchor her at the end. It is creepy, but that's a good thing. Especially the part where the grooves in her palms haven't gone away. *shudder* Great job!

(no subject)

Date: 2006-12-12 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harriet-spy.livejournal.com
Interesting. I've been playing with something along these lines myself, but haven't really had much time to write lately.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-12-13 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] revdorothyl.livejournal.com
Wow! This is really effective, and oddly comforting. I particularly like the way you worked in how the Wraith bit of Teyla had responded positively to the Wraith-bug-aggressive Sheppard, but how she's trying to hold onto her humanity and be glad that he was cured. I also really appreciated the distinction that Teyla couldn't help but resent, between Sheppard's "Welcome home, favored son!" rapport with Ancient ships, on the one hand, and the soul-eroding, aching-with-hunger effect that joining with the Wraith ship evokes in her.

(btw, I noticed that they'd quarantined this story on TtH, probably because it was originally filed as Stargate General, instead of non-crossover or whatever stories that don't cross with BtVS are supposed to be now. But I'm glad I was able to read it here, thanks to the link to LJ that you put at the end of your latest update to "Consequences".)

(no subject)

Date: 2006-12-24 08:33 pm (UTC)
paranoidangel: PA (Default)
From: [personal profile] paranoidangel
I love this: how hard Teyla's finding it to fly the Wraith ship and how sweet John's being about looking after her.

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