Note: written for livejournal community stargateanon. Thanks to Khohen1 for the beta Prompt:"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." - L.P. Hartley.
She's wanted to visit so many times, the siren song of home and hearth whispering across the waves to call her back. The pull is nearly irresistible but repellent just the same, time has built a near impossible wall. Each moment Teyla inhabits the crystal spires of Atlantis is another brick added to the wall and it becomes that much harder to return. Sometimes, in her heart of hearts, she permits herself the luxury of asking if she wants to return, if she should return, if she has a place to return to.
Whether she does or not ask the question, she cannot stay away forever, the call of home and her people is one she has never been able to fully ignore. Not even now, when so much more lies between them than ever before.
They look at her and see their salvation and their damnation made flesh, she cannot blame them for that. They look at her and see the Wraith looking back from her eyes, the history of their people and the truth of the Wraith's experimentation is difficult to reconcile. Living examples of something they had not believed possible is more than they can bear, the idea that one of those examples is a woman they thought their beloved leader.
She has suffered recrimination at the hands of her people before because of Atlantis and the people living in it, it was not pleasant but she understands it. However, with as much understanding as she has been able to cultivate, there is a difference between understanding and accepting. The people she has known since her very young days should not be the people looking at her with such things in their gaze as contempt, suspicion, and even fear. She has been raised to be their protector, sometimes she believes she is sacrificing her very soul in that endeavor, she should not ever see fear of her in their eyes.
Yet when she steps off the puddle jumper, she knows she would see fear in their eyes if she were to look.
She won't look.
The settlement has expanded now and she is pleased at the sight of it, even more pleased by the weight of the implications it carries. Her people have hope now, more than which they've had before, and though they feared it might be lost again at any moment...she can see that some are beginning to dream. She thinks, maybe, she can bear their hate if she can give them their hope.
"And she returns..." the voice washes over her like the warmth of the hot chocolate Doctor Weir has shared with her and the twist in her midst causes her breath to catch. How she could exist without hearing his voice is a mystery of the mind beyond her understanding. She thinks, perhaps, her mind keeps the memory of it from her lest she torture herself with every waking moment of his absence.
The smile blossoming to her mouth, however, she cannot hide and she feels - if only for a moment - the time spent with the human expedition vanish as if it has never been. It is dangerous to think like this but Halling's presence brings it out in her. The wish to recall a time when he was ever at her side and she was sometimes the beloved leader of her people, more times the woman left settling their squabbles and listening to their complaints.
It should be odd to miss a time in which death was the only surety of life but looking at Halling, she does so nonetheless.
He is smiling and she sees the same thoughts in his eyes, that he shares the same heart has never been a surprise. Were she anyone other than who she was, she would have wed him long ago.
It is a life she thinks she would love as much as the one she now leads, perhaps even more. She remembers only too well the feeling of hands sliding over skin, whispered words in the dark, bodies pressing close in quick, near-frenzied couplings. So little time to them because of her responsibilities, always people coming asking and complaining. Sometimes, she thinks she joined those in Atlantis not to free her people but to free herself and she wonders if the others think the same.
"I have missed you," she confesses as they walk together, looking over the expanding settlement in a supposed inspection.
"You stayed away so long," he replies. "I had begun to fear you would never return." The words are said in jest but Teyla doesn't think they are entirely intended that way. She can feel the concern underneath, she feels it herself. Atlantis is a city of many wonders but how many of those wonders have caused an unwelcome change in her? One she cannot see but is visible to all those watching her walk at Halling's side.
"May we speak?" Stopping, she regards him with near desperation, the urge to free herself of her fears driving her to give voice to the request. He looks down with a flash of concern in his eyes and she knows the others have stopped in their work, the same concern in their eyes. Whether she smiles to reassure them or herself even she doesn't know, but she does. "I wish to talk with an old friend in private."
He smiles and turns her away from the farmers, "A wish I am only too happy to grant."
Truly she intended to talk to Halling, the need to voice her fears and her concerns is great still, but when they step within the shelter of his home her voice flees, taking the time between them with it. Like so many times before he lifts her as if she were weightless, but a feather in his hands, and she feels her clothing begin to fall away. She needs to speak but the feeling of his hands, his body, his mouth moving over her, oh ancestors but she needs this. The words that fall from her in the midst of their movement have nothing and everything to do with the confessions lurking in her soul. She pleads him for more, in the same breath pleading with the Ancestors and any being which may hear to let her have this, to go back and have this man, this life she has been denied.
In her life, Teyla Emmagen has uttered few truly useless prayers, she knows this is one of them, but she says it anyway in a breathless whisper to the skies above.
Summary: she is a stranger to her people now...