blue flamingos

Four Ways Torren Emmagan Didn't Grow Up On Earth

And One Way He Did

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Category/Rated: Gen, PG

Year/Length: 2009/ ~2019 words

Pairing: Teyla/Joh, Teyla/Kanaan mentioned

Spoilers: S4 and S5

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

Warning: This story includes mentions of off-screen death of various characters, both main credits and not, varied AU universes, spoilers for seasons 4 and 5 of SGA, including the last episode, and a number of pairings, both supported by canon and not.

Author's Notes: Originally posted to [info]sg1_five_things

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

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1.

Teyla would not have chosen to go with John to the funeral of his father, but Rodney is sent to M7G 677 and Ronon is in the infirmary with a stomach virus, and they cannot allow John to go alone.

It is as awkward as she imagined it would be. Although John pretends not to notice, it is clear that many of the people there think she must be his girlfriend, and it is clear that she is not a native of this country. When John's ex-wife comes to speak to them, Teyla can feel him trembling next to her, and his face is cold, impassive. He does not, she thinks, wish to be there any more than she does.

It is worse when she is left on the Daedalus as John and Colonel Mitchell, hastily borrowed from the SGC to provide back-up, go after the replicator. She feels useless, even with the small tasks Dr Lee gives her to do, and uncomfortable with Sergeant Bates nearby once more.

She wishes very badly to go home, back to Atlantis and the search for her people. Even so, she does not let her disappointment show when they fail to make a connection to the midway station, nor the next three days as they try repeatedly, and Dr Lee can offer no explanation for the error.

She does not allow her disappointment, or her worry, to show when the Daedalus travels to the midway station and finds it has been destroyed. John is similarly removed, until she feels that she is looking at a copy of him, not the true person. She takes comfort in the moments when her child moves inside her, instead, and says nothing when the Daedalus leaves the midway station for Atlantis.

It is John who stumbles away from the control room when the Daedalus reports Atlantis' destruction, hand pressed to his mouth, face ashen. They retreat to the room Teyla has been using for the last two weeks, and it is only when John slumps in her arms that she allows her own grief to be felt. They fall asleep together, exhausted, and Teyla wakes to find John resting one hand on her stomach, feeling her child kick.

General Landry offers to take Teyla back to Pegasus on the Daedalus. John offers to go with her, to keep looking for her people. Teyla thinks of the child inside her, of the people lost and the futility of a search with just the two of them, when all of Atlantis failed to find her people, and refuses.

John takes a job with his brother's company to support Teyla and, when he is born, Torren Kanaan, named for his lost father. It becomes easier to allow people to assume that they are lovers: John, after all, is as much a father to Torren as Teyla is a mother to him. She cannot imagine trying to create a family with anyone who does not share her losses, and it seems that John, although he sometimes spends the night elsewhere, feels the same.

Torren, she finds, is so much more than anyone else could be to her, something to be grateful for every day, something to make her smile. Eventually, he is even enough to make her feel human once more, enough to make her embrace life on this strange planet, with a partner who is her best friend and her son's father, and a thousand losses that she will never entirely let go of.

It is not the life she would have chosen for herself, but it is a life, and for that, she is grateful.

 

2.

John wakes from surgery to find that, in the 12 hours he was unconscious, his entire world has changed. No-one knows exactly what Michael did to Teyla, but at hour 2 of John's surgery, her eyes took on the glassy cast they did when a Wraith was controlling her. She put Torren down carefully, broke the neck of a marine orderly, and made for the gate. Stunners didn't take, and she had wraith strength.

The marine who fired the shot, a young woman who's only been in Atlantis three weeks, is pretty much inconsolable.

On the mainland in their guarded camp, Michael's hybrids woke out of what should have been heavy sedation and tried to take it over.

As it turns out, killing your allies is a lot easier when they look like wraith than it is when they look like the woman you've had lunch with three times.

Keller delivers her prognosis on John's recovery with tears running down her cheeks. John has to ask her to repeat it three hours later, when he realizes he has no idea what she said. Ronon doesn't say anything, Rodney babbles himself into silence, and John – John lies on a hospital bed and wishes for unconsciousness.

Teyla, it turns out, wants her child to be raised in a safe place and has clear ideas about who should be doing the raising. It takes a week for the IOA to agree to repatriate Ronon and Torren on Earth. The SGC finds them an out of the way house, where people won't ask too many questions about three men raising a baby, and John resigns his commission.

It takes four months before he can be in the same room as the baby for more than a few minutes, and another two after this before he can pick Torren up. Rodney hates him for it, and Ronon is disappointed beneath his patience, but John can't help it.

Every time he looks at Torren, he thinks that, if he'd just been quicker, just thought about it better, just been *awake*, Torren wouldn't be growing up an orphan on Earth. He can't stop imagining the moment Torren finds out how much John is to blame.

 

3.

It takes Woolsey a month to declare Sheppard's team lost for good. He comes to the infirmary to tell Jennifer, and doesn't look at Torren in her arms. She fights the urge to cover the baby's ears, even knowing he can't understand that his mother and her best friends stepped onto a ship which disappeared.

"I imagine the child will be returned to the Athosians, for them to find a suitable guardian," Woolsey adds. Torren is truly an orphan now, his father dead after Jennifer didn't find a way to reverse the transformation. She should have tried harder, and she's never been more aware of this.

"Teyla –" she starts, and has to clear her throat. This was never one of the ways she imagined revealing their relationship. "Teyla's will makes me his guardian." Her voice shakes, and she forces herself not to hold Torren closer. Teyla's will is legally binding, witnessed by Marie and Dr Zelenka, who were sworn to secrecy. It's even filed with a lawyer on Earth, thanks to Dr Lam.

"I see," Woolsey says, looking like he really doesn't.

Jennifer tries to smile, but she's pretty sure it doesn't work, her eyes filling with tears.

She goes back to her father. The first thing he says, when he opens the door, is, "He has your eyes." Jennifer bursts into tears, shaking so hard that her dad has to take Torren from her before she drops him.

She tells him everything, even the classified bits. Even the part about her being in a relationship with a woman who was born in another galaxy. He takes it okay; Jennifer thinks this is mostly because she's come home, and brought him a grandchild.

Torren takes to Earth like he was born to live there, enchanted by everything, even the stuff that Jennifer thinks isn't that different from Pegasus. Jennifer tells him bedtime stories about Teyla, everything she can remember about the other woman, and wonders if she's doing the right thing, if she's turning Teyla into a myth, instead of a real person.

Torren's first year in school, he comes home a couple of days before mother's day with two cards. He gives one to Jennifer. "Who's theother one for?" she asks, pulling him onto her knee.

"S'for mama Teyla," he says, opening it up to show her Teyla's name in his teacher's neat writing. "F'her to see from heaven."

 

4.

It takes Teyla three years to escape from Michael, after she trades herself and Torren for the safety of Atlantis. Three years of hoping that they are truly safe, as Michael promises; of fading hope that they will find her; of wondering if she chose rightly, for all that Michael seems to want nothing but samples from them, nothing of her son or her body.

Her success surprises her so much that she finds herself running from world to world for two days until she comes to her senses enough to stop and think. Torren huddles close into the curve of her body, silent and still as years of captivity have taught him to be, and Teyla breathes open air.

"Mama?" Torren whispers after a while. "Where we're going?"

"Home," Teyla says without thinking. "Atlantis."

They go to the alpha site first, where Teyla finds the radios in the same lockbox as before. She no longer has enough hope to take this as a good sign; she is not surprised when there is no reply. She cannot believe that anything would have kept John and the others from coming for her.

"Not going home," Torren says.

"No," Teyla agrees.

She has no idea what else to do; they set up home in a tent, and Torren learns how badly military rations taste.

She could not say why she goes back to the gate. Neither could she say why she scratches her boot through the mud surrounding it. The toe of her boot catches on something hard.

When she digs it out, she finds a recoding device.

Two days later, she and Torren solve the final of Rodney's clues, and dig out the control crystal to dial Earth. "Home?" Torren asks, in her arms though he is really too large now for that.

"Home," Teyla agrees, and dials the gate.

 

And one way he did...

Teyla had always thought she would grow old and die on Athos, with her people. When the expedition came, she thought she would grow old and die in Atlantis, with those she was closer to than anyone else, ever.

She spends the first days on Earth wanting desperately to return to Pegasus, to a world that she knows. To Kanaan, to Torren, left behind on the mainland. Rodney is distant, wrapped up with Jennifer, who is happy to be on Earth again. John is equally so, offering helpless uncertainties to Teyla's questions of when they will return, until he snaps at her to stop asking. He is immediately contrite, but still, Teyla stops. She seeks out Ronon instead, but he speaks of Atlantis as home, as though it will still be home to him on Earth.

They are there for a month, before Mr Woolsey offers to send Teyla to Pegasus on the Daedalus, which is journeying there to deliver aid as part of a contract they made with another world. The two week journey is worse than the month on Earth, so close and yet still not close enough.

When the reunion is over, Kanaan asks many questions about Earth, how safe it is, that the Wraith are truly not a threat there. "Atlantis does not belong there," Teyla tells him. "We do not belong there."

Of this, she is certain: she is a child of Pegasus, of Athos, one who cannot be taken away from her world and moved to another. She does not belong on Earth, even if Atlantis is to stay there.

"But to be so safe," Kanaan says, his face dreamlike with wishing. "No threat of culling, no Wraith. So many luxuries. Imagine how life would be for Torren, growing up there, so much safer than we ever were."

Teyla shakes her head, no, we cannot, we will not, but already she feels the beginnings of something else: we may.


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