Title: Catch Hell Blues, by The White Stripes
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Summary: I asked for kick-ass Teyla, and evil Sheppard, and boy did saeva deliver.
Download or Stream: You can see it on imeem or download at megaupload. Go, watch, enjoy!
And as a thank you, I've written a Teyla ficlet.
Title: to dream such things
Fandom: Stargate: Atlantis
Pairing: None (Teyla)
Summary: The quiet was so deep, it was as though the world had stopped turning. It was a feeling Teyla had experienced before, on other worlds. On too many other worlds.
Teyla had been the one to find the body: a bundle of musty clothing and mummified skin lying in the ruins. She had silently recited the prayer of parting as Keller knelt to conduct an examination, and the others gathered in a subdued circle.
"Death by Wraith," Keller confirmed, slapping the dust from her knees as she got back to her feet. Her expression was a caricature of concern in the semi-dark -- all harsh lines and cross-hatching. The broken ribs of the underground city cast eerie, flitting shadows as she turned her flashlight away from the body. "At least ten years ago, I'd say. Probably more." She sounded weary; the voice of one who had seen too much death.
When John's flashlight lingered over the body in his more military exam, Teyla could see that the long-dead woman was dressed in a soldier's tunic, a rusted sword lying by her desiccated, outflung hand. The huge stone entrance she had been guarding was now nothing but blasted rubble, the pieces turning loosely beneath Teyla's feet.
"Yes, yes. As though death by Wraith is news," Rodney said, not looking up from his scanner.
Teyla understood Rodney's poorly hidden discomfort, but was not able to let the dismissal pass: "It is still a great tragedy, Rodney."
The mystery of the Toivoton's disappearance had long been talked over at trade fairs and campfires; their clever lighters and water pumps and glow-lamps were missed by all who had traded with them, and their keen minds and lilting, melancholy songs still mourned by any who had shared table with them. Lieutenant Cadman had used a great deal of C4 to unblock the entrance to the city and finally solve the mystery.
"You're right, Teyla," John said, not-so-discreetly elbowing Rodney when it looked like he might roll his eyes. "And maybe you can say a blessing or something--" he ignored Rodney's impatient huff and spoke right over the top of him, "--but what Rodney means is that you said these people, the..." he groped for the name, and Teyla lifted an eyebrow at him, "the uh, locals were pretty advanced back in the day, so maybe there's something here that we can adapt, something we can use against the Wraith, and then these people might at least get a chance at revenge." He waved at the shattered remains of the city. "We should at least have a look around."
Letting go of her irritation, Teyla nodded, because John was right, and because she had long since learned to pick her battles. And because Rodney, after all, was Rodney. "There were stories that the Toivoton's city shone with the light of an artificial sun," she offered.
Rodney looked up eagerly. "Really? What else did these stories say? Do you know what kind of power source it used? Where they kept it? Whether it was their own tech, or scavenged from elsewhere?"
"I am sorry, Rodney, I do not know anything more." Teyla pointed towards the central darkness where the city centre was most likely to be; she had heard many tales of its beauty. "I will begin the search over this way."
"Okay," Sheppard agreed, sending Keller and Cadman and the two marines off in the opposite direction, and then following along after Rodney, who was muttering about a possible energy source.
Turning away, Teyla found Ronon silently by her side, and they carefully picked their way across the rubble-strewn floor of the great cavern, the path lit only by their flashlights and the occasional clump of phosphorescent fungi. Despite the devastation and the wispy husks of skeletons lying in the shadows on all sides, it was easy to imagine the city's former splendour. Shards of once-elegant spires rose all around them; a fractured crystal set within an intricate bracket gleamed briefly with reflected light, and then dulled once more, vanishing back into the gloom; the remains of a fresco showed a group of playing children in an eternally sunny field. Other artefacts of equal beauty appeared briefly in their circle of light, all broken and useless.
They walked and walked, past smashed houses, broken fountains, plants that turned to dust at the merest touch -- the whole city a mass grave, with nothing left intact.
She and Ronon paused when they reach a pool of stagnant water, stretching endlessly away before them. The quiet was so deep, it was as though the world had stopped turning. It was a feeling Teyla had experienced before, on other worlds. On too many other worlds.
Ronon clearly felt it too. "They might understand, one day." The Lanteans.
"They might." Picking up a long piece of wood from a broken doorframe, Teyla offered it to him.
Ronon carefully leaned forward and slid it into the water. An arm-span out, the water was shallow. Ronon waded in and tried again; this time, the wood went down and down until Ronon's hand was under the water. He let go of the wood, and it bobbed to the surface as he waded back out.
"Perhaps there is a bridge," Teyla said, playing her flashlight along the shore as far as the light would go. "Or a boat."
"I like boats. When I was young I wanted to to be a sailor," Ronon said, as they began to walk again, following the uneven path of the waterline. "I wanted to sail to the other side of the world and visit the ruins of the Ancestors and find the magic weapon that would kill the Wraith."
Teyla smiled. "And once you had found the magic weapon and killed all the Wraith, what next would you do in your boat?"
"Then I would sail home a hero, and Rangr would have to invite me onto his loftball team, and my father would let me join up at thirteen, and I wouldn't have to wait a whole year more." Ronon shrugged, looking perhaps just a little embarrassed of his younger self.
"When I was young, I had a similar dream," Teyla said, "My brother and I used to play in the ruined city of the Ancestors, even though it was forbidden. Many said it was haunted, but we saw no ghosts there, although I wonder now if it was because we did not know how to see them. We also spent many hours looking for the magic weapon that would kill the Wraith. I dreamed that when I found it, I would have passed the Ancestors' test and proven myself worthy. And the Ancestors would come, and they would ask me to go with them and live in their secret city which was still whole and beautiful, and I would lead my people there, and fight the Wraith, and become a respected leader who people would sing great songs about."
Beside them the black water kissed the stony shore, not even a ripple marring its surface or hinting at its hidden depths.
Remembering her young self fondly, Teyla said, "It is the way of girls to dream such things."
"And boys," Ronon agreed, and Teyla was glad that he was walking there, strong and sure by her side, knowing what it meant to dream such dreams, and generous enough not to point out the obvious: that her dream had come true and changed nothing at all.
"I wonder sometimes," Teyla said, "what the Earth people dream of when they are young."
Ronon shrugged. "Something else. Something different."
"Yes," Teyla agreed. It must be a strange and unfathomable something, she thought, but did not say; a something far beyond her or Ronon's ken. "Yes. Something else."
They continued together in silence after that, stepping around bodies as they searched the ruins for something they knew they would not find, walking side-by-side along the blasted shore of the dark, dead lake, until Sheppard called them over the radio -- Rodney complaining about a broken foot in the background -- and gave the order to pack it in and come on home.