blue flamingos

Where They Understand You

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Category/Rated: Gen, PG

Year/Length: 2009/ ~5567 words

Spoilers: Slight for the start of season 5, but it's a non-canon au.

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Prompt: #93 The one where they run a tiny bed and breakfast in the countryside. The countryside of where is up to you. Bonus points if it's in Pegasus!

Summary: Ronon's got a B&B in the Satedan countryside, Teyla's got a baby, Rodney's got an obsession with the power generator, and John's got a tendency to go running off without saying where he's going. Also, there are mice.

Author's Notes: Team AU Fest

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.


"John!" Teyla calls, standing on the back door step and watching the rain fall, obscuring even the bottom of the guesthouse's small garden. Torren leans away from her, hands out to catch the drops until Teyla pulls him close again. "John!"

There is no sign of movement, beyond the shifting of the leaves as the rain drops hit them. At least the wind has finally died down, taking only three roof tiles with it.

"Puddles," Torren says, reaching out again. Teyla tightens her hold on the back of his shirt. It is not that she cannot catch him, but the Lady Elizabeth has indicated an intention to stay one night with them, and it will be Teyla's luck for her to arrive just as Teyla is wrangling her child and drenched to the skin.

"Not today," she tells him. "When the rain stops."

"Gonna rain forever," Torren says, frowning up at her, and for a moment, Teyla is reminded alarmingly of Rodney. Then he says, "Gonna build a boat and sail away," and she is reminded just as strongly of John or Ronon, their stories of long-dead adventurers in the great seas of Sateda, long dried up.

"No-one is to sail away," Teyla says. Though if the river continues to rise, it may become necessary. She peers out into the rain again – perhaps it is easing slightly? Or perhaps it is merely her hope playing tricks on her eyes. "John!"

"Lost him again?" Ronon asks, stepping up behind her and ruffling Torren's hair, making him giggle.

"No, I have not lost him," Teyla says. "I am only the mother to this one, John is not mine to lose."

Ronon raises an eyebrow at her, twisting round so she can see him do it.

"If anyone's, he is yours," she adds. "Since it was you who took each of us in."

"Doesn't mean you belong to me," Ronon mutters. It is an old discussion, no longer an argument but not quite a joke, made from the Satedans' history of honor-bonds. As off-worlders, Ronon would have the right to bind each or all of them to him; that he does not makes him strange to those in the nearby village, though Teyla believes it would not be anything to remark on in the city.

Teyla is glad of his strangeness in this.

"Where's he gone?" Ronon asks, looking out into the rain. Torren bends himself almost double, reaching for the water again, and Ronon takes him from Teyla's arms, pulling him close. At two, he is almost too big for her to carry easily, but not for Ronon. Torren settles into Ronon's arms, reaching up to tug at his curls, the last remnants of the dreadlocks he cut off a month ago.

"I am not certain," Teyla admits. "He was leaving as I came downstairs, he did not stop when I called."

Ronon frowns, concerned, though this is not unusual, nor, Teyla thinks, a cause for much worry. John has been with them for less than a year, and is still unsettled, anxious. Teyla suspects he leaves simply because he needs to be away, and is usually happy to allow him to go, but with the rain falling and the river swollen, she cannot stop her fear for him.

Ronon sighs. "I'll go after him if he isn't back by lunch. He won't have gone far."

"We will go," Teyla corrects. "I am sure Rodney will mind Torren."

"Rodney?" Torren says immediately, peering around.

"We will look for him," Teyla says, reaching out to take Torren back. She turns to nudge the door closed, but Ronon shakes his head. Teyla thinks, not for the first time, that Ronon knows well how to make people feel safe and at home, that this is part of why his small rooming house, far from the city, is so popular.

Away from the cool rain, the morning feels warm with the fires lit in the grates of the common rooms, the golden wood of the walls softening the lights from the ceilings. Most of their guests are gone, back on their travels, though a few remain upstairs, she knows. There should be someone at the door to greet any guests who struggle through the rain to find them, but that is her job this morning, and she would rather be with Ronon and Torren, hunting for Rodney and waiting for John to return. Any guest will ring the bell.

"He's down here," Ronon says, holding open the door to the cellar. "Thinks he's figured out a way to boost the output from the power generator."

"He doesn't *think*," Rodney's voice calls up from the tiny room. As she descends the stairs, Teyla sees him step from behind the generator which takes up most of the space, but also provides the power for lights, ovens, the radio in the attic room the four of them share with Torren. "He *knows* how to increase the power output, thank you very much."

"Why?" Ronon asks, following Teyla down. Torren wriggles in her arms until she sets him down, then heads immediately for Rodney, tugging on his pants leg until Rodney picks him up.

"Why what?"

"Why do we need more power? What are we going to use it for?" Ronon prowls around the edge of the room, Rodney turning to follow him, Torren laughing in his arms. Teyla smiles to watch them, no edge of threat to Ronon's moves, nor worry to Rodney's.

"You'd rather be inefficient?" Rodney asks, clearly affronted. Teyla does not understand the passion he has for the mechanical toys he builds or mends, or even for the generator, for all that it is very useful, the comfort of city living, but without the press of people and noise.

"It's water powered," Ronon says. "I don't think we're going to run out."

It is a familiar debate, one that Teyla knows well can go for many hours. "I believe I shall return to my post," she tells them. "Torren, do not bother Rodney."

"No, mama," Torren promises, waving to her over Rodney's shoulder.

Teyla collects a cup of tea from the kitchen as she makes her way back to the entry hall, and her favourite green blanket, which has moved, again, to the front sitting room, and curls up with both in the large armchair inside the front door. Her book is tucked under the chair, out of harm's way, but she leaves it where it is, content to drink her tea and watch the rain fall.

She imagines they are on a big ship, sailing across a great ocean with only each other – and John, of course – for company. If she closes her eyes, she can almost feel the rocking of the waves beneath her, slow and easy despite the storm. Even the imagined rhythm is enough to make her drowsy, and she drifts within the dream, warm and safe, until Ronon comes to wake her for midday meal.

They eat in the kitchen, as always, Torren in Ronon's lap as he feeds himself small bites of cheese-filled bread.

"Did you make that?" Rodney asks him, stealing one from Torren's bowl.

"No!" Torren says sharply, grabbing for it and missing, nearly spilling his cup of milk. Ronon catches his hand, pulling it back, and gives him one of Rodney's crunchy vegetables instead.

"Shouldn't steal from children, McKay," Ronon says.

"Well, if you made enough for everyone..." Rodney says.

"Just warmed them up," Ronon says, catching a bit of bread as Torren drops it.

"Teyla?" Rodney looks at her, his expression insultingly surprised at the thought that she could have cooked the food, though she will admit that cooking is not her strongest skill.

"It was not me," she assures them.

"Mama," Torren says, holding one of the bread pieces out for her. She takes it absently, thinking that the person who is best at making these is John, who fled in the morning. Something is not right.

Ronon and Rodney are both looking at her, frowning, when Teyla hears a door close upstairs. A moment later, there are footsteps on the stairs, and the kitchen door opens for John to step through. He's dripping wet, clothes and hair clinging to his skin, shivering. "Hey," he says, raising one hand in a slight wave.

Ronon shakes his head, already handing Torren back to Teyla and standing up. "You know, it would be warmer to have taken a shower here," he says, grabbing a blanket from the box by the fire and handing it to John. "Strip."

"In front of the child?" John asks, though he's shivering too hard to really smile.

"I will cover his eyes," Teyla promises. "And also mine."

John laughs shakily. "Nothing you haven't seen before," he says, stepping towards the back door of the kitchen, where a small wall comes out just out far enough to hide most of him. Ronon leans casually against it, looking into the kitchen, but close enough to help if needed.

"Do we want to ask when that was?" Rodney asks dubiously.

"I would not like to say in front of my child," Teyla says primly, looking down at Torren as she helps him drink from the small cup of milk, hiding her smile. It is enough to hear Rodney's sputtering, she does not need to see his face as well.

"You – and him. When? Actually, forget when, where? I swear, Sheppard, if you've been using our room to get it on with Teyla –"

Teyla cannot help the laugh that escapes her, though it is covered by John's yelp of something close to distress.

"Wow, McKay, inappropriate much?" he says, stepping out into the room swaddled in the large purple blanket and reaching greedily for the mug of tea Ronon hands over. "Her son's sitting right there. Or, forget that, *she's* sitting right there."

"Mama?" Torren tugs at Teyla's sleeve. "Sit with John?"

John is the only one for whom Torren still asks, though Teyla does not know why when it is clear to all how much John cares for her child. "If he does not object," she says.

"It's fine." John sits down next to Teyla and helps Torren scramble into his lap. "All right there, buddy?"

"Blanket," Torren says, pulling a corner up over himself and snuggling into John's body.

"Blanket," John agrees, smiling.

"Seriously," Rodney says. "I don't care if you've done it in every room in this place –"

"I do," Ronon mutters darkly.

"-Just tell me that hasn't included our room, please."

"Rodney, I assure you, John and I have not – been intimate," Teyla says, hoping strongly that Torren will not understand that particular phrase for many years to come. Next to her, John's face is faintly pink, and he is looking firmly down at Torren, dozing against him. "In any room of this building, or indeed anywhere at all."

"But you said –" Rodney protests.

"Oh for – pity's sake," John says. "I've seen *you* naked, and I don't see you suggesting we must have, um..."

"Been intimate," Teyla supplies, since John seems to be struggling to find a child-appropriate euphemism.

"That's different," Rodney says. "For one thing –"

Ronon stands up quickly, cutting Rodney off. "I think it's time we all got back to work," he says firmly. "The generator won't improve itself, McKay."

"I thought you said it didn't need improving," Rodney says, rising himself and collecting their used mugs. John gathers Torren carefully to him and rises as well.

"You want me to put him to bed?" he asks.

Teyla takes in the long blanket and the occasional shiver still running through John, and thinks of the five flights of stairs to their room. "I will come with you," she says.

She would swear she can feel Rodney opening his mouth, and is not surprised when John, without turning, says, "Don't even think about it," to him.

Teyla leaves John alone to dress once Torren is settled, not wishing to give Rodney further fuel for his apparent fantasies. Although she sometimes wishes that her life did include a little more physical intimacy, she is uncertain that sharing it with her friends would be worth the inevitable awkwardness.

She is passing along the third level to get to the staircase down to the rest of the house when movement on the edge of her vision makes her stop. Looking down, she spots a small, gray mouse running along the edge of the skirting and groans. Living in the countryside, mice are a constant problem, though they have been without them for some weeks. It is not entirely a surprise that they have come back inside with the start of the rain.

She finds Rodney and Ronon in the main entrance, Ronon slowly turning the pages in the large red ledger of upcoming bookings – of which there will be few until the spring festival, less than a mile from their house – and Rodney curled under an open panel in the wall, striking something metal with a hammer.

Teyla crouches beside him, touching his arm to attract his attention. "What?" he asks, shifting until she can see most of his face. "Done sexing up Sheppard already?"

"Let it go," Ronon mutters without turning round.

"I am looking for the traps," she says quietly, ignoring Rodney's comment. He is not, unfortunately, easy to distract until he finds something else to fixate upon, though he does not appear to really believe she and John are involved in an illicit affair. Or indeed one that is not illicit.

"Traps?" Rodney echoes. "What do you need those for?"

Teyla hears footstep, and looks up to see John leaning against the corner of the desk, looking over Ronon's shoulder, dressed once more in his usual worn pants and over-large jumper. "To place along the third level," Teyla says, staring hard at Rodney in the hope that he will understand what she is trying to say without her actually having to.

"For?" Rodney asks. "Cockroaches, snakes, small children, irritating guests, what?"

Teyla takes a deep breath, and says, "I believe we are host to several mice once more."

She feels Ronon's shudder of revulsion, though he is several feet from her. "Thought we got rid of them all," he says, doing a credible job of keeping his voice calm as he turns to look down at her and Rodney.

John, who is happy to mock such fears until someone mentions iratus bugs, a constant menace in the nearby woods, shifts to sit on the high desk, swinging his feet and looking amused. Teyla resists the urge to slap his leg until he gets down, as she would Torren.

"I am certain the traps will work swiftly," she says instead, hoping to be reassuring. Ronon looks as though he wishes to climb onto a high surface, and possibly to shoot at any mice he might see.

"Don't know how they get up there anyway," he says. "Why the third level all the time?"

"The water boiler's on that level," Rodney says, standing up and dusting himself down. "They probably like to be near the warmth. You should be thankful they don't get into the generator room, they'd probably chew through all the wires, and it's not as though those are easy to get hold of without a trip into the city."

They all go still at mention of the city, to which they have none of them gone since before John arrived, instead sending their order with a local travelling merchant, Evan, for a small fee. Teyla feels it is well worth the small expense, not least because he neither remarks upon nor questions the way they avoid leaving the immediate area of their guesthouse unless forced to.

"Right, well, traps," Rodney says briskly, breaking the silence. "I moved them all to the shed after the last time Torren nearly lost a finger to one."

"Don't look at me," John says immediately. "I already got..." He looks away, falling into silence, and Teyla wonders, again, if it would not be best simply to ask why it is that he sometimes feels the need to leave.

"Drenched, yes, we remember," Rodney says. "I'm not going. That place has spiders as big as my, er, head."

Teyla raises an eyebrow at his brief stumble, but decides discretion may be the better part of valour in this instance. "I will go," she says. "John, would you be so kind as to fetch my rain coat, please?"

When she returns, carrying several spring-loaded traps and a storm lantern, just in case, only Rodney is left in the entrance, back inside the wall panel, still striking something with a hammer. She wonders briefly if this is necessary work or merely a chance to work out whatever has frustrated him today, but has found it best not to ask. As long as he does not break anything vital, she will take striking the pipes over either throwing knives in the garden or running off into the rain.

"Has there been any message from the Lady Elizabeth?" she asks, tucking the storm lamp onto the ledge below the desk and reminding herself to collect it later to leave in the kitchen, where there is no danger of a guest finding it. Though their guests are mostly honourable, there are some who are not, and they are not so wealthy that they can afford to lose anything they do not have to.

"Nothing yet," Rodney says, pulling one foot back when the water from Teyla's coat falls nearby as she removes it. "But would you ride out here, in a horse and carriage of all things, in this weather?"

Teyla would not ride in a horse and carriage in any weather, given the faster, safer modes of transport available to the Lady Elizabeth, but the Lady is old-fashioned in some things, and her transport is one of them. "She has several meetings across the continent," she says. "I am sure she would not allow the rain to delay her."

"Hmm, unless the roads have flooded again. The river's got to be over the banks by now."

"Perhaps," Teyla agrees. "Though I believe she possesses several boats."

"No-one would use a –" Rodney starts, then sighs. "No, of course she'd bring a boat out in torrential rain and unpredictable floods, because no-one around here has any sense of self-preservation except for me."

"What would we do without you?" Teyla asks, hanging her coat on a peg behind the door and heading for the third level, armed with traps.

Fortunately, the third level is currently unoccupied, their handful of guests being accommodated on the first and second levels, with fewer steps for them to climb. It is always awkward to explain why they have to move, without actually saying that it is because of mice, though it has grown simpler since they realized that Rodney is incapable of not saying what the problem is, and have given him something else to do.

She has to turn on the lights as she leaves the final room, surprised to look at her watch and find that it is nearly six in the evening. Their guests will soon start to return, once they have eaten their evening meal at Laura and Katie's inn in the village.

The entrance hall is empty as she passes through, pausing to pick up the storm lantern, and there is no sign of the Lady Elizabeth. Perhaps she has decided to remain at home until the storms pass, though Teyla would be surprised to learn that.

As she expected, the three men are in the kitchen, the windows fogged with steam from the pots on the stove. Rodney, seated at the table already, has one hand on a pile of papers he is reading, the other on Torren's back where he sits cross-legged on the table, making a small wooden rabbit jump in circles before him.

John looks over from where he is stirring one of the pots and smiles. "Hey. Sorry, he woke up when I was working on that leaky window in room fourteen, I didn't want to disturb you."

"That is fine," Teyla assures him. "Thank you. May I help with anything?"

"Tea?" Rodney suggests, not looking up. "They're almost ready. Or, well, they've been saying that for the last ten minutes, but now they actually *look* ready."

"Tea," Teyla agrees, lifting the kettle from the back of the stove and turning to fill it. "Were your repairs successful, Rodney?"

"Hmm?" he asks. "Oh, yes, fine, thank you."

"You'll ruin that if you don't stop stirring it," Ronon says by the stove, nudging John aside with his hip.

"Who's cooking this, you or me?" John demands, but he's smiling, looking far more relaxed than he did earlier in the day. "Do you even know what it is?"

"Do you?" Ronon counters, slipping on a cooking glove and lifting the pot away from John's reach. "Bring the grain, before the meat spoils."

"Yes, sir," John mutters, obliging. Teyla sets out four mugs for tea, and a fifth for Torren's milk, and watches Rodney shuffle his papers to the end of the table, then lift Torren into his lap. "Which is for Torren?"

Teyla has barely taken a dozen mouthfuls of her food before the heavy bell by the front door sounds.

"Perfect timing," Rodney grumbles, already setting his food aside. "Someone keep this warm for me?"

Teyla stands as well. "I will go, finish your meal. It is likely the Lady Elizabeth, and I would wish to see her."

"We'll all go," John says, collecting three of the bowls and sliding them into the oven. "If it is her, she'll have her retinue with her, that'll be plenty to keep us all busy."

"Retinue," Rodney mocks. "Are we living in the Old Court and I just failed to notice?"

"Yes," John says, grinning over his shoulder. "In fact, from now on, I think you should call me and Ronon Lord and Teyla Lady."

"Why am I the page in this little fantasy of yours?" Rodney asks.

Teyla takes Torren from him, sharing an amused smile with Ronon, who is occupied pouring several mugs of the rich, sweet drink they offer to guests on poor nights.

"You're always saying the pages were misunderstood scientists," John tells him. "Isn't that what you'd be?"

"You may continue this discussion later," Teyla tells them, herding them up the stairs. "We must greet our guests."

"Who's'it?" Torren asks as they ascend the stairs.

"We shall see," Teyla tells him, opening the door to the hall and turning the lights up higher.

John pulls the heavy wooden door open, the sound of the wind and rain increasing hugely until it is drowned out by six pairs of feet on their wooden floorboards.

"Teyla," the Lady Elizabeth says, crossing the room to touch her forehead to Teyla's in the traditional gesture of Teyla's people, one she is still unsure how the Lady Elizabeth knows. "And Torren, of course. How lovely to see you again."

"And you, my Lady. Allow Rodney to take your outer garments, before you catch cold." Rodney makes a face over the Lady Elizabeth's shoulder as she says it, but turns before the Lady can catch him.

"Thank you, Rodney," the Lady says. She usually wears a simple red shawl, the colour of the diplomatic service on Sateda, but today she is covered almost to her feet in a thick black coat which pours with water, and wearing a matching black hat. They appear to have done their job well – when she shakes her hair loose, it is quite dry. "Much better."

John is collecting the outer garments of the Lady's guards and assistants as Ronon moves through the small crowd, offering mugs to each of them. It is much like any other evening in which they have received guests from poor weather, though to Teyla it is still strange to have a member of the diplomatic service staying at their small guest house. She imagines the relative lack of fuss may be why the Lady Elizabeth continues to patronise them.

"Let me find some keys for you all," she says, stepping behind the desk and opening up the ledger. "Have you eaten, or shall I send to the inn for a meal for you all?"

"Thank you, no," the Lady Elizabeth says. "We stopped on our way here. May I?" She holds one arm out towards Torren, who wriggles towards her before Teyla can say anything.

"Lady," he says, curling one hand into her rich red tunic. "S'raining."

"Yes it is," the Lady agrees. "Though the forecasters say it will soon stop."

Torren shakes his head. "Gonna rain forever."

"Really?" the Lady asks, smiling at him. "And what will we do then?"

"Build a boat," Torren says. He leans a little closer to her, and the Lady ducks her head. "Can come on it with us."

"That's very kind of you," the Lady says, laughing as she looks up at Teyla. "Will your mama not mind?"

"I am sure we can find a small space for you," Teyla says, smiling back. "We have prepared the Lantean suite for you, on the fourth level, and the adjoining rooms for your other guests."

"That sounds lovely, Teyla, thank you," the Lady says. "Go back to your mama, young man. You can tell me more about your boat at breakfast."

Torren waves to her as she crosses the hallway and starts up the stairs.

Next to Teyla, Rodney watches her go and sighs. "I'll fetch the mop. Why can't people learn to take their coats off before coming inside?"

As though the Lady Elizabeth's arrival was the trigger, their other guests begin almost immediately to return. Teyla cannot blame them, the weather being as it is and the lanes from the village not being so well lit as anyone might wish, but it keeps all four of them busy, boiling tea, keeping the hallway clear of puddles, even dealing with one or two leaks that have sprung up during the day. Torren eventually falls asleep in Teyla's arms, lulled by her constant movement, after she fails three times to make it as far as their room before being summoned back.

By eleven o'clock, when the last of the guests is safely in his or her room, Teyla is equally ready to simply fall asleep where she is, her arms aching from carrying her son for so long. As she is in the broom closet, replacing the mop for what she fervently hopes is the final time, that seems a little ill-advised. She shifts Torren to her other hip once more, and goes in search of her friends.

She finds John first, sitting in the window seat of the front common room, staring out at the rain still falling in the moonlight. He appears on the edge of sleep, though he shifts when Teyla walks in, giving her a tired smile. "Wondered where you'd gone."

Teyla finds herself too tired to respond, instead sinking gratefully onto the large blue couch in front of the fire, and reaching for her favourite blanket, once more tucked over the back of the couch. "Have Rodney and Ronon retired?"

John shakes his head. "Ronon's making tea. Rodney's –" he waves one hand vaguely – "Somewhere. Basement?"

"Why do I even bother?" Rodney's voice asks, and Teyla looks up to see him standing in the doorway, one sleeve pushed up, a spanner in the same hand. "I told you twice I was going to look at the lighting in room five. Would it have killed you to remember?"

"Apparently," John says, leaning his head back against the wall again. "What'd you do to it with a spanner?"

"Hmm?" Rodney asks, looking down at the spanner in his hand, then putting it on the mantelpiece and taking the other end of the couch to Teyla. "Spare me a corner of your blanket? Hit it firmly. Works every time."

"Apart from when you break the glass cases," Ronon says, nudging the door closed with one hip as he enters the room with a tray of four mugs. "That stuff's expensive."

"I haven't done that in weeks, thank you very much," Rodney says, accepting two mugs and handing one to Teyla, then taking it back when he realises that she is still holding Torren.

"Here," Ronon says, lifting Torren from her arms, rewrapping his blanket, and arranging him safely on the couch next to her. "Want me to put him to bed?"

"No, thank you," Teyla says, accepting her tea back. "I will do it shortly. When I have the energy to climb five flights of stairs."

John rolls his head to look at them all. "Life would be so much easier without guests."

"But far less interesting," Teyla adds.

"Speaking of interesting." Teyla feels the shift as Rodney leans forward, and turns to see him looking right at John. "Where did you go this morning?"

"McKay," Ronon says, warningly.

"What? He's been doing it for a year, you don't think it's our concern now? What if he gets pneumonia from being out in the rain all morning, hmm? Then what?"

"How does that make where I go any of your business?" John asks mildly. He has turned his head again, looking out of the window, and Teyla cannot tell what he is thinking.

"Well, what if you contract some deadly illness from a plant that grows wherever you're going?" Rodney persists. "Or run into an iratus bug in the woods, and we don't even know where you are? Those things kill people, you know."

"I know." John sighs, then falls silent. Teyla itches to break the silence, but if there is one thing she knows for certain about John it is that he will not respond well to being pushed. If he wishes to tell them, he will, and she can only hope that Rodney knows him equally well to keep his peace.

Finally, John sighs again and says, without looking at them, "I'm trying to find someone."

"Who?" Ronon asks quietly.

"A friend," John says. He has both hands wrapped around his mug of tea, holding it close enough for the steam to drift across his face, though he does not drink. "He's on Sateda somewhere. The news reports... sometimes they..."

He falls into silence again, and Teyla thinks of the way he always turns on the radio for the morning or evening news broadcast, often hushing Rodney in order to listen.

"Why's he on the news?" Rodney asks, uncharacteristically quiet, as though he too feels that John will flee if they speak too loudly or move too swiftly.

"He's sick," John says, his voice fading away. "There's a drug, where we come from they call it enzyme."

"Like the Wraith," Ronon says. Teyla starts to hear him mention them – the Wraith are reputed to be long dead, only known now in stories, too old even for history. "They used it to keep their victims alive while they fed on them."

"Lovely," Rodney mutters, but John just nods. "How do you know it's him? I mean, how do you know that he's here?"

"Because I am," John says simply. He turns to look at them then, eyes dark. "I have to find him."

"We will," Teyla says firmly. "We can help you, now."

The same way that she and Ronon helped Rodney, when he arrived at their doorstep, chased by people who blamed him for the death of one their colleagues. The same way Ronon and Rodney helped her when she became pregnant with Torren and his father disappeared.

John smiles slightly, looking shaken. "Thanks, guys."

"Yes, well, if you'd told us sooner," Rodney says.

"Sorry," John says, very quietly, and Rodney actually stops grumbling, apparently as surprised as they all are to hear John say the word and mean it.

In the silence that falls, the female laugh from above sounds very loud, as does the moan, a second female voice, which follows it.

"Please tell me that's not –" Rodney starts, glaring up at the ceiling.

"I believe it is," Teyla says, fighting her smile. "We have not changed either of their rooms."

"We have to get some better insulation in the ceilings," Rodney says.

"That's worse than listening to you go on about John and Teyla's imaginary sex life?" Ronon asks, sounding genuinely curious.

Curled up on the window seat, John is laughing, in danger of spilling his tea, and Teyla loses her own fight with her giggles. The noise the four of them are making is more than enough to wake Torren, who sits up, rubbing his eyes and says, "Morning?"

"Not yet," Teyla assures him, pulling him into her lap. "Soon."

Rodney and Ronon are still arguing the morality of listening to their guests as they are, and John appears to be slightly hysterical. Watching them, Teyla feels the warm satisfaction of belonging, and knows, without question, that there is nothing she would not do for them. Nothing they cannot accomplish.

In her head, she begins to rearrange the furniture of their attic room, to fit an additional bed. She is certain they will soon have need for it.

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