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Title: Crave The Night
Author: tielan
Recipient: jeyla4ever
Pairing: John/Teyla
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Stargate Atlantis, it's characters and situations are not mine; neither is the world of the People.
Author's Notes: Had the damnedest time writing this, and had several other options in place, both of which would have made it pretty obvious who was writing this. I suspect this will also be obvious, but that's okay. I wasn't expecting much surprise, really.

Happy Secret Santa, jeyla4ever!

Summary: When John Sheppard's Clan taskforce makes a raid on a Tribe stronghold, he discovers an unexpected prisoner. More unexpected than the prisoner is who she is to him, and what they could be together.

Crave The Night

Teyla pitied the mortal women.

She could feel their pleasure and revulsion, the fear that tinged their scent every moment, the aching need that clawed at them in the act that held nothing of love or affection.

At least she was only a prisoner in body; they were prisoners in soul.

And the sunrise was beginning to hurt.

It had been years since she'd had to be wary of the sun. Years since she'd felt the pain of the dawn and the daylight.

We call them drugs and drugs they are in the way that mortals describe them, Teyla thought as she looked out at the north-facing windows at the lawn and the hills beyond and shivered. Although the sunlight only touched the lawn of the outside yard, limning the broad hills behind the house, she could feel its inimical force as though it touched her skin, searing her flesh from her bones.

She climbed from the bed, wincing as the silver cuffs chafed her wrists. After nearly a week, she was accustomed to them, but the pain never stopped.

Teyla's chains allowed her as far as the window, to see the freedom that beckoned, but not beyond. It would wear her down in time, she knew. Right now, she took heart that there was a world beyond the last week - that escape was still possible, however improbable.

Her goal had been freedom - all it had bought her was a new prison. And one with less choice than the last.

She could hear the Elders' chiding in her head.

All she had desired was the chance to live free of her Family.

And even that was denied her.

For the first time since she'd been captured, Teyla allowed despair to take her. She had held it back before - but there was no escaping the truth. They will not find me - not here, she thought, staring blankly at the distant woods - less than a quarter mile away, yet as far beyond her reach as the moon from the ground.

Oh, I wouldn't be so sure of that.

Her breath caught at the voice, assured and cool, like a caress down the spine. Her fingers tightened in the wood of the windowsill at the mental touch of a Prime, even as her heartbeat picked up pace.

Cool challenge tinted her reply, the equivalent of a mental rap across the knuckles. And you are the hero, sweeping in to save the helpless captive?

In spite of her scorn, she felt his smile in her mind, a slight curve of the lips. For all that he was no more than a voice, she had the sense of him already in her mind - lean grace, solid earth, distinctive. A Prime that epitomised the casual arrogance and cool confidence of the breed. Yeah. Is there a problem with that?

Teyla's lip curled, her fingers digging into the dark wood of the windowsill with the effort of fighting back her response to this stranger Prime. Desire was unbidden, unexpected, unwelcome. She'd lived her life in the shadow of Primes, youth and Family Elder alike, and resented their demands on her. It made her sharp with the stranger.

I am sure the mortal women will be more than happy to accept your heroism, she replied, keeping her voice cool as she glared out the window at the unseen male. All I request is freedom.

She felt his surprise at her words. You're not...? The shock reverberated through their link like an expletive, throbbing as a blow to the face. His next words were harsh, urgent, but with only a hint of a growl. Clan?

Family Pegasi, she replied. Her eyes were drawn to the woods, to the pattern of shadows that shifted and moved where no shadows should be.

In an unexpected flash of vision, she found herself pressed up against a tree with the thick scent of pine sap stringent in her nostrils as forest creatures scuttled through the undergrowth. Beyond the tree and the space that was her own, she could sense other Clan Primes readying themselves for the attack - nearly a dozen, trained to protect and serve, and edgy with anticipation.

Relief sang through her, a tension that wound her knotted muscles even tighter. She had been found - they knew she was here. And if they knew she was here, then she would be free before the day was out, before the week was done. Clan or Family, it didn't matter who were her rescuers, she only wanted to be free.

How long? He demanded, and she felt the straining purpose in every muscle as though it were her own. How long have you been here?

Two weeks. Two weeks that felt as though they'd had no beginning and, only minutes ago, had seemed to have no end.

Again, she felt his shudder across her skin, a hint of fury. Bonded?

Tribe Primes do not bond with females, Teyla said acidly. But if you ask if I am with child, the answer is no.

The cold purpose was back, barely-checked - she caught the fanged sense of his fury. And not for want of trying?

No answer was necessary for that. He was Prime - as was her captor. He knew what her lot would be.

Teyla shivered, remembering the hard lines of body, the hands that grasped her, the feel of needle-sharp fangs against her skin. What her body could be made to desire, her mind rejected. The distinction might be minor in a human, a blurring of lines, but in one of their kind, it was as clearly marked as a barbed-wire fence. I have defences, she reminded the Prime. The mortals have none.

Again, she caught the sense of fangs bared in protective instinct. She was grateful for the gesture, but that was all.

And yet...

Something flickered within her, soft as a lover's caress, hard as a Prime's will. She could taste this male's mouth like sweet wine, drunk deep. Her flesh fired as his teeth pierced her skin - throat, shoulder, breast, belly - and his tongue slid lazily along sweat-drenched curves. He dug his claws into her flesh, driven beyond sanity by her nature and his - a Prime male and the female who both yielded to and ruled him.

Teyla yanked herself back from the fantasy, blocking it from him, from herself.

No. She did not desire that. Now was no time to feel the bonding call. Not when she'd left her Family to avoid being pressured into a bonding and breeding again. Not when she'd only just learned to appreciate her freedom.

Certainly not with this stranger Prime whose name and Clan she did not even know.

As though he'd heard her thought, he answered the question she had not asked. Well, while we're waiting, you might as well know my name. I'm John Sheppard, Coyote Clan, at your service. And you would be...?

"Teyla."

She spun on the balls of her feet, her chains chiming softly as she faced one of her captors. Thankfully, she kept both fangs and claws in, defiance without aggression.

He had only just entered the room, his hand still resting on the doorknob behind him. And she had been so involved in the conversation with the Coyote Prime that she had not even noticed his arrival.

Foolish. Careless. And possibly deadly to her hopes if he noticed her preoccupation.

He must not be allowed to know of the Clan Primes waiting to spring their trap.

"Michael."

She turned to watch him approach with narrowed eyes.

Under other circumstances, she might have thought him attractive, might have even shared blood with him for mutual pleasure. His features were too sharp for Hollywood handsomeness, but his gaze was arresting - Teyla did not deny it. Captured and captive, Teyla was nevertheless aware of the traits that might have attracted him willing female companionship.

Teyla might have chosen to sleep with him - had he not been Tribe, of course - but here she was given no choice.

His hair was a muddy blonde, short off his forehead, almost military and unlike the usual hairstyle for Tribe Primes, and his eyes were palely grey and piercing as they studied her position by the window.

"You still dream of freedom?"

"I am captive," she said, lifting her hands with a jingle of chains. The silver burned her skin with even the barest of contacts, but it was a bearable pain; their kind healed fast. "What prisoner does not dream of the day she will be free?"

"And do you think I would let you escape?"

"I believe you underestimate my resources."

"And perhaps you overestimate yours," he said, and he moved closer, a careful feline stalk.

Teyla held herself proud, refusing to flinch back, refusing to give ground. The balance of power lay in his hands but resistance lay in hers.

She was not a blood slave, would never be slave to him or any other Prime - not as the mortal women were. If she could not fight against the chains that bound her, she could still fight with all the psychic strength she possessed - and the psychic strength of a vampire female was considerable.

So far, she had allowed him to believe that she might succumb.

"You have strength," he told her as his fingertips trailed her cheek, "and pride. Yet you must know that you cannot escape from here."

Teyla turned her face away, as much to hide the truth in her eyes - that she might not escape but there was a rescue on the way - as to deny him what he yearned. The pulse of his frustration at her rejection lingered in the air between them.

He snarled softly. His hand slid into her hair and dragged her head up, exposing her throat. Teyla did not resist. Weakened by the silver, she could not successfully fight him and knew better than to try. Her reserves were better kept for the mental struggle. She would fight him until her psychic senses burned out; her submission would never be his.

Michael did not know that.

She would allow him to believe it one more time. And then - Matri of her Ancestors willing - she would be free.

And if she had to endure him one more time, then freedom would be worth it.

Claws raked across her face and throat, jerking her head aside as they scored skin and drew blood, and if she was quiescent, she was not cowed. Her hands came up in a small futile protest, but were swiftly trapped by his hands. The bronze tang of her blood rose on the air, and she watched his eyes turn to silver-grey, saw the incisors lengthen in primal hunger, undeniable, unstoppable.

That silver gaze lingered on the stinging beads of blood forming on her skin, then flickered to her eyes, dropped to her lips.

"I could offer you so much more if you would only submit to me."

Sudden hatred seethed through her - rejection, revulsion, denial. With a sense of shock, Teyla realised the Coyote Prime, John Sheppard, was still linked in her mind; she had not cast him out. Caught between his hatred and Michael's need, she struggled, unwilling to be the pawn in what had suddenly become a battle between Primes - even if one of them did not realise it.

"Never." The word might have been her own or Sheppard's - it was impossible for her to tell.

Impossible, too, for her to avoid Michael as he drew in closer with the lazy confidence of one who believed he had time and to spare. "Never is a long time, Teyla," he murmured as he bent his mouth to her and licked the tip of his tongue delicately across her wound.

Pain and pleasure blossomed with his touch - a physiological and psychic response to the blood-kiss of a Prime - whether Tribe or Family or Clan. Her body responded with pleasure, with the rushing release of orgasm, like a match lit in a dark, dank world, but Teyla's mind did not crave Michael's blood, did not desire his touch or his teeth.

She trembled with the effort of blocking her reaction, but controlled it, her will stronger than her body's clamour. On the psychic plane, she was the stronger of the two of them, and she made use of it now, battling against what he was doing to her body, fighting what he was trying to do to her mind.

And while his senses were engaged in the tasting, she flashed a thought to the Coyote Prime whose fury still resonated in her psychic senses. She had blocked his thoughts from Michael, now she spoke directly to him, sharp and swift.

If you are here to provide a rescue, then perhaps you should move now?

Beneath the anger, surprise rose, a brief flash of amusement and giddy respect. As you wish, ma'am.

Then he was gone from her mind, and she could turn all her attention to holding off her reaction to Michael.

It need not be long.

--

John eased his claws out of the pine tree as delicately as he eased himself out of the unexpected conversation with the female of the Families.

In the aftermath of the psychic contact, he was brutally aware of his surroundings. Sunlight gleamed through the pine boughs, and the stringency of the needles stung his sensitive nostrils. There was a fine-strung tension in the air of the woods that matched the fine-strung tension in his muscles. And his pulse pounded at his temples and throat and balls.

She'd taken John by surprise - not just her presence in the house, but her spirit.

After months of bleak emptiness, the loss of his unit in Afghanistan and his failure to recover them, the tests and the questions and the enforced 'mental health' break insisted upon by his superiors, John found it was a relief to feel something burn in him again with all the passion of a Prime.

He forced himself to withdraw from the mental contact with Teyla of the Pegasi, forced back the revulsion he felt at what was happening to her, right now. Anger wouldn't do either of them any good now; he had to focus.

Not for want of trying?

In all his eighty years, he'd never had a woman unwilling. Rape was a crime among Clans, punishable by expulsion or death - by Clan laws, a Prime who used force to gain himself a sexual partner wasn't worthy of being Clan.

At least he could break the connection. Teyla couldn't, even if she could mentally block what the Tribe Prime was trying to do to her.

I have defences. The mortals have none.

Savage fury rose, bleeding scarlet into his vision, lengthening his fangs and turnings his fingertips to claws. John fought it down, beat it back with fifty years of discipline and training. He wasn't an adolescent, to run wild with his emotions; he was a Prime of the Clans, marked with his mission - to protect the vulnerable mortals and to serve his kind.

Sheppard, we're ready.

Evan Lorne's mental touch was cool and solid, a reliable, trustworthy Prime for a volatile, delicate mission. He was Air Force trained, like John, although his experience was in strategic planning rather than operations execution.

They'd worked together before and would again; Primes of the same Clan, dedicated to a common goal. Friends, in a way, although John outranked the other man.

There's been a change of plan, he told Lorne, and felt surprise diffuse the cool pattern of thought.

What's happened?

There's a Familias female in there. John felt the fury rise in him again, tamped it down. He knew that Lorne understood his anger - knew Lorne would share it. They were Clan; they understood what it meant to protect, to serve.

They knew what it meant to desire.

They're told, Lorne confirmed, and a moment later, the message was in the mind of every member of the taskforce. Do we go?

We go.

John activated his radio. "We're going in. Bring it down." He switched the radio off before he got a response, then stepped out of his shaded hiding spot and out through the fine-slashed sunlight filtering through the trees above him.

Ninety-seven years ago, in the year he'd been born, the touch of daylight would have seared his skin raw before his every cell withered and died in accelerated combustion processes. With the advances in modern medicine these days, all John had to do was slip some sunglasses to protect his eyes from the glare. He barely even had to worry about sunburn.

The daylight drugs had been patented nearly sixty years ago, for the first time enabling vampires to re-enter a world they'd ruled by night generations ago. Back in those long ago ages, they'd been rulers and warlords, protecting their human vassals, even as they took a toll from them in the delicate savouring of blood.

Humanity needed no rulers now; the Matri of the new era had seen that immediately. What Humanity had needed far more were protectors. The Clan Primes had taken up the call.

There were ways of acquiring human blood these days, more civilised, more...satisfying.

And then, of course, there was the perversion the Tribes practised on their blood slaves and captive females.

Like Teyla of the Pegasi.

John felt his fangs pressing against his lip, and retracted both fangs and claws with a long breath. The Pegasi vampire's fate disturbed him more than he cared to admit. Desire came to a Prime as naturally as breathing; this was subtly different.

He shook himself. Now was not the time to contemplate why he was reacting to strongly to her situation; now was the time for action.

Elsewhere on the broad estate, eleven other Primes moved from their hiding positions, closing in on the Tribe house. Although they'd been aware of the Tribe's operations in this area thanks to the Coyote Primes who worked in the local PD, they hadn't been able to locate the centre of their operations until now.

A house of Tribe Primes, with reliable reports of mortal women being kept prisoner?

"Send in the Clans," Rodney had quipped, and smirked as he weathered the disgusted looks of every Prime in the room. That was Rodney, though. He might not be a Prime but you'd never know it from his degree of arrogance.

McKay wants you to open the channel again, said Lorne. He says we'll need his help getting into the house.

Almost at the treeline, and tensing for the last dash across open ground towards the villa, John keyed his earpiece on with a grimace.

McKay might not be a Prime, but he came of Clan stock, which meant he had some uncanny gifts. One of them seemed to be that even thinking about him tended to bring him up in either conversation or call.

"It's all very well to just say 'bring it down', but when you're talking about advanced technology--"

"What's wrong, McKay? You can't get through a lousy security system?"

"If this system was lousier, you'd be able to walk right in. Look, this Tribe seems to have actually made it to the 21st Century. I've disabled the motion detectors, but they've got a lockdown security system with a radio frequency shutdown module."

A mental translation came up with, "We need the right code to get us in the door?"

"Amazing. You're still thinking with your big head," said Rodney sarcastically. "I suggest you tell your testosterone-fuelled walking dicks to slow up, or they'll be facing a lockdown when they get to the door!"

John flashed the message out to his fighters and stopped at the edge of the treeline. He couldn't feel any change in the house; so far their intrusion had gone unnoticed.

"I thought you said you could get us in, McKay." Still peeved at Rodney's words, John did a little sneering of his own.

"I can! We're just doing a little revision of the plan..." There was some muttering and typing on the other end of the line for a few seconds. "Okay, you'll need to transmit this code sequence I'm sending you to deactivate the security system. Then you should be clear."

John pulled out his PDA. "Should be?"

"As much as I'm able to predict this sort of stuff, yes," snapped Rodney. "Unfortunately, my father completely failed to pass any kind of funky precognitive ability on to me, so no, I can't be sure. But I know my work and it's good. Now are you going to be the hero, or are you going to stand there jawing?"

There was only one answer to that. John was Prime.

To mortal eyes, their movement through the forest would have been a blur. To John, the world slowed down, adrenaline coursing through his veins, lengthening his fangs, sharpening his nails. He moved through the forest at a speedy lope, and out across the broad swathe of grass that led up to the house.

In the corners of his eye, he could see the other Primes, converging on the house faster than mortal eyes could follow.

Under Rodney's instructions, John had the security system deactivated by the time his men reached the house and they slammed in like gatecrashers to a party.

It had been a grand old house in its day - it still was.

Pity about the inhabitants, John thought to himself as he shot the Tribe Prime who reared up from the couch where he'd been sprawled. The bullets were silver-threaded and would not only hurt as they tore through skin, but burn like poison as the silver seared into flesh.

Fangs and claws and mind were the usual weapons of their kind, but the modern world had produced all kinds of useful tools with which the Clans waged warfare against the less enlightened members of their breed.

In John's opinion, risk should always be measured.

Behind him, the other Clan Primes spread out through the house, familiarised with its layout thanks to the modern wonder of surveillance technology and the blueprints of the property from over a century ago. They had their areas to see to, their individual missions to complete.

John's was to ensure the house was entirely secured, and all the Tribe Primes caught.

As he ducked behind a doorframe just in time to avoid the bullet that splintered the wooden edge, John reflected that he had one more objective that hadn't been in the original mission plan: find the female vampire and see her safe back to her Family.

It was an imperative that went above and beyond the protection of the mortal women he could sense elsewhere in the house.

Mortal women could be found on every street corner of every city in the world; but vampire females were rare.

He snaked one hand around the doorframe, firing several shots across the hallway, and both felt and heard the meaty punch of hard metal into flesh. John moved out into the hallway in time to see the Tribe Prime scramble for cover. He kept his weapon trained on the other vampire as he approached, gun in one hand, silver-lined steel cuffs in the other.

"Where's the Family female?"

The Tribe Prime bared his teeth and lashed out at John with his foot. John avoided it neatly, rolling the Prime over with his foot and handcuffing him. He took up the fallen gun and shoved it in his spare holster. Why leave a weapon around for the vampire to use?

Rodney was right; it looked like Wraith Tribe had joined the 21st Century in at least a few aspects of their daily lives. John supposed he should be thankful that this Tribe hadn't acquired any of the 'Dawn' drugs - the Tribe version of the daylight drugs of the Clans that had been causing trouble out in the south-west a few years ago.

For small mercies, John could be grateful.

He took the service stairs at a run, letting his senses flow ahead to warn him of any further threats, counting on his psychic awareness to warn him of anyone lying in wait.

Further out through the house, he could hear shouts, gunfire and a woman's long, high-pitched scream.

Protective instincts flared, but he withstood the instinct to run in the direction of her cry. There were plenty of others moving to the rescue - he could hear the bootsteps of several of his men running towards the screaming woman, their training overcome by Primal instinct.

Teyla?

It is not I,
she said, sounding strained.

You okay? The brush of her mind was like the first scent of a fine malt whiskey, intoxication merely at its nearness; John shoved desire away with clawed hands. This wasn't the time; her words came easy, but the tone of them suggested her teeth were clenched. Where are you?

Second floor, towards the back of the house. There is a balcony overlooking a courtyard with a pool. He knows you are here... The statement ended on a gasp. I told you not to underestimate my resources, and John 'heard' the words she spoke to the Tribe Prime. Her mental voice was growing stronger, the sense of her drawing him unerringly on through the halls of the house.

At an intersection, he nearly walked into another Prime, and it was only his battle-trained reflexes that gave him the edge as he took the Tribe male out.

Clear as a bell, he heard her words - a ringing declaration. You will never have me willing, Michael!

John knew the edge in that growl - revulsion covering fear. He felt her in a psychic wave that clenched his muscles and shoved him onwards like a goad towards the door at the end of the balcony corridor, the unconscious Tribe Prime forgotten behind him.

Blood stung his mouth; its fire seared his tongue. He shook his head in confusion. His fangs were in, he hadn't brought them out and his lip was unmarked by weal or break, so what...?

Realisation struck as the door at the end of the corridor opened. John lifted his weapons in hands that suddenly trembled.

She stumbled out of the room, bloody at the mouth, half-dazed, and naked. In the grip of the Prime behind her, she seemed small and darkly helpless. He jerked her up with a snarl at John, grey eyes flaring silver with atavistic hatred.

"I suggest you stand back," said the stranger Prime, his voice rasping in his throat.

John barely looked at his enemy. All his focus was on Teyla of the Pegasi, whose mouth remained closed, but whose eyes met his and held them, darkly hazy in a face cast in bronze.

He felt the power of that gaze, even through the mists that held her in psychic thrall at this moment.

Recognition shivered down his spine. His own gaze silvered, an instinctive and primal antagonism rising at the sight of the blood on Teyla's mouth. The Tribe Prime had tried to force a bonding by feeding her his blood, having drunk hers. The bonding attempt would most likely fail, but it would connect her with the Tribe Prime, even if she rejected it.

Depending on how powerful her psychic abilities, her haze might last a few moments or several hours.

John had no way to tell and no time to wait and find out.

"Let the lady go, and you're free and clear."

"And if the lady wishes to come with me?"

"With silver cuffs on her wrists? I don't think so."

The Tribe Prime barely glanced at her, the pointed features drawn and wary as he watched John. "Perhaps she enjoys the pain."

Breath hissed through John's teeth, whistling past his fangs. "And the rape?"

"Ah, yes, the reputed abhorrence of Clan males for forcing their females to do anything." Silver eyes watched from over Teyla's shoulder; she still lay supine in his grip, but her eyes never left John's face. "And yet Clan females are so rarely permitted outside of their Clan, their rebellions considered temporary and treated as mere whims, to be ended when the Matri decides that enough is enough."

"They get a choice," said John, wondering if he could aim over Teyla's shoulder without hitting her. He had no way of knowing and only one way to find out.

"No more of a choice than I gave her. Submit, or face the consequences."

John's grip tightened on the gun as the bastard edged a little further away. He was letting himself be distracted by talk when a female - a mother of the People - was being held captive against her will.

His finger tightened on the trigger as he aimed. Then Teyla blinked. The haze lifted from her eyes, and eyes like oak turned bright silver as her fingers clawed and her fangs lengthened.

Relief was brief - had the Tribe Prime's attempt at bonding taken? Tribe Primes do not bond with females, she'd scorned earlier. But her tongue slid out to lick her lips in an instinctive gesture, and he saw her eyes widen in reaction to the blood and the bond.

John silently swore to himself. He would be doing this alone then, without her assistance or co-operation.

Then she spat on the floor, bloody scarlet on white marble. Her body went rigid in her captor's grip, and her silver-cuffed wrists whipped up to press against the face that hovered at her nape.

Her captor snarled in pain and let her go.

She dropped to the ground and rolled away, even as John's finger tightened on the trigger.

He never got the chance to shoot.

Faster than mortal eyes could follow, faster than even John could track, the Tribe Prime leapt to the balcony railing in one step and launched himself out into the courtyard in a swan dive. John's aim tracked the other vampire's 'flight' as far as the balcony ledge, even as he wondered at the audacity of such a move. Vampire agility and strength meant the Tribe Prime would land without injury, but there was nowhere to run. By now, John's men would control the first floor of the house, and would be moving through the house - if they hadn't already secured most of it.

Then John heard the splash.

When he reached the railing, there was no sign of the Tribe Prime in the water. It seemed deeper than it looked, the ripples clashing with each other as they shattered and re-shattered the sky's reflection.

But although he waited with his gun trained on the pool, the other male didn't surface.

"He will not emerge."

John turned towards Teyla of the Pegasi, and a moment later wished he hadn't.

When she'd been held in the Tribe Prime's grip, his attention had been on freeing her. Once she'd been freed, he'd avoided paying attention to her, only too aware of bare skin, of bronze curves, of her proximity to him.

If her psychic touch had been a fingertip's caress down his spine, the sight of her was a warm hand wrapped around his cock, stroking slowly. It didn't help that she was naked but for the cuffs and standing easily within arm's reach as she looked down at the courtyard with one hand shading her eyes.

Adrenaline pulsed through his veins, an instinctive response in vampires as well as humans: flight, fight, or fuck.

No guesses what his Primal instincts wanted.

By the oldest Ways of the Clans, John had earned the right to claim the female he'd liberated - in bed, in blood, in bond. Except that this wasn't the old world, but the new. The game was played differently in these times.

"He would not risk himself if he was not sure of an escape."

It took him a moment to realise she was talking about the Tribe Prime. "You think he's got an escape hatch there?"

"I do not know all the ins and outs of this house." Her tone suggested that if she had learned the layout of the house, she would have been gone long since. "But Michael does not risk himself if he can help it."

She turned her head and their gazes locked.

Fire erupted in John's veins, a conflagration both expected and unexpected. Breath rasped through his throat, dragged in through a mouth dry with hunger. She'd shifted back to human form, without her vampire arsenal of teeth and claw; but her sensibilities were vampire - she could stand naked without shame, and never think to fear a male whether Clan or human.

Every curve was exquisite, from the line of her throat and shoulders sliding into the swell of her breasts, dusky-tipped, down to the flat belly whose hipbones jutted out either side of the soft curls over her mons, into the long lines of slender legs.

John had a sudden vision of that body rising over him, her hands stroking her curves as she rode him, her face soft with laughter and pleasure. For a moment, he let himself imagine what it would be like to slide his fangs delicately across her skin before letting them sink into her flesh to taste the rich blood beneath, bringing her to orgasm with a single bite...

Her eyebrows rose in query. John realised he'd been less than subtle about his adrenaline-fuelled desire, and yanked his scrambled thoughts back from the razor's edge of desire.

A moment later, his control was tested as she stepped up close beside him, slim brown limbs unbearably graceful, indescribably erotic.

Then her hand brushed his thigh and he froze.

A moment later, he told himself he was an idiot as she lifted his sidearm from its holster. Slim brown fingers closed around the gun in an experienced grip made awkward by the silver cuffs that still shone around her wrists, pinkly raw.

"Let me get those off." John cursed himself for not seeing them before.

He had his knife out and through the soft metal in moments. The silver fell to the floor with a bright chime, and she adjusted her grip on the gun, no longer constrained by the cuffs.

"You are clearing the floor?"

"Yeah. Keep a hold of that and stay here." He took a step away and then realised that she was following him. "What are you doing?"

"Coming with you."

"My men have it under control." John let his gaze slide over her bare skin and forced the hunger back. Now was no time to have his head turned or his blood heated. "You'd be a distraction."

Dark eyes silvered with annoyance and the reminder that she was vampire, too.

"I'm only a distraction to you because you've allowed me to be, Prime." She regarded him with cool annoyance. "And if you think of me as a distraction; think of how distracted the Tribe Primes will be."

"If you're captured again--"

"Then we must be sure I am not," she said softly. "Now will you take point, or would you prefer I did?"

John took point. It went against every Primal instinct to allow her to go first - it went against most of them to allow her to walk into danger. And yet that was her choice. It wasn't John's place to gainsay it.

He reached out to Lorne.

Status?

We've swept most of the house, sir. So far, we've located fourteen Tribe Primes, and twelve blood slaves in the lower levels. The images of where they'd been through flashed in John's mind before Lorne hesitated. Did you find her?

Yeah. We're on our way down from the third floor...


John broke off the communication as they reached an intersection and Teyla's thoughts touched his.

There are bedrooms along this floor. While it is unlikely that the Tribe Primes will still be there, there are many captive human women kept there.

He nodded, swallowing down his revulsion. Rape - and worse than rape. We'll come back for them.

Whatever the human women had endured, it was more important to get all the Tribe Primes rounded up and dealt with. Then they could look after the human women, look at treating them, at dealing with what had been done to them.

Just as Teyla of the Pegasi would have to deal with what had been done to her.

Teyla hesitated a moment, but accepted his dictate with a terse nod that suggested an innate practicality. Sweeping their way through the corridors, clearing the place room by room, John was delicately aware of her at his back and impressed by her professionalism as she covered the arcs he couldn't.

You've got military training?

I have...friends...in various branches of the military, she said. We have worked together in the past.


John filed that bit of information away. Friends? Or former lovers? So you like men in uniform?

From the silence behind him, he guessed Teyla was preparing a pithy retort and grinned to himself as he moved around the corner--

Duck!

The retort was shocking in his ears, but not as shocking as the pain studding his left shoulder, a burning ache in his flesh, stinging through the layers of his composure. He felt the wall against his back, knew that he'd stumbled back, surprised by the injury, by the pain, by the ambush.

A moment later, the psychic strike reverberated through the house.

When Rodney interrogated him later, John described it as halfway between being electrocuted and being caught out in the sun without the daylight drugs - except that it wasn't physical, it was entirely psychic. A fierce, vicious heat and pressure against his mind, crackling through his psychic synapses with all the force of a powerful Matri.

It tickled more than it hurt for him - and, he sensed, the Primes on his taskforce. Mostly, John had a moment's intense headache and then it was gone.

Beyond the corner of the corridor, three Tribe Primes convulsed, their hands clutching at their heads as though they were trying to squeeze the pain out and couldn't. Their fingers dug into bleeding flesh, their expressions crumpled in tearing agony, their shoulders heaved with the force of their breaths.

Teyla knelt beside John, her eyes cold and silver and deadly as her fingers pressed hard against the wound, suppressing the blood flow. She didn't give the convulsing Primes a second look, dismissing them as though they were beneath her notice.

John felt dizzy as he stared up at her from where he'd wedged himself against the wall. Maybe it was the bite of pain in his shoulder, maybe the blood loss, or maybe it was the terrifying realisation that this Tribe had bitten off far more than it could chew in Teyla Emmagan.

Over by the off-shoot corridor, the Tribe Primes writhed a last time and fell still.

Sheppard? Lorne sounded the way John felt - like someone had whaled on him. What just happened?

He looked up at the careful and remote silver eyes of Teyla of the Pegasi. Psychic strike. Are the Tribe Primes down?

Every last one of them.

"That was some strike," he said, watching her face as she carefully probed the wound with delicate claws. He wanted to let his eyes drift down, but doing so would initiate other wants - ones he couldn't give in to now.

Teyla glanced at him, warily, as though expecting him to be mocking her. "I couldn't do it before."

"Why not?"

He didn't get an answer - not for that question, anyway. "Sit." Her hand pushed him down the wall until he was sitting on the floor. Waves of pain washed over John. He felt distinctly light-headed. "And painblock. The bullet is still in there and you'll need it out before it can he--"

Teyla broke off. Through the pulse of John's blood, he heard the clatter of feet down the end of the corridor. He caught her arm as she lifted the Beretta. No, he said. He could feel their minds in his - familiar minds, familiar thoughts. They're my men. They're safe.

Her arm was tense, the muscle barely yielding as she lowered the weapon. A moment later, Ford, Bates, and Senison came around the corner and stopped dead. John could guess what they were thinking - saw the flare of surprise in Ford's gaze, the suspicion that shot through Bates, the lust in Senison's.

Bates had his weapon up a moment later, innate distrust coming to the fore. "Step away from him!"

Up came Teyla's weapon, snarling instinct coming to the fore.

"It's okay, Bates."

John glanced up at Teyla, willing her to look at him, to meet his gaze. Hey. Her head turned, but her gaze didn't leave the others. They're mine. You can trust them.

The gun didn't waver.

It wasn't distrust - not exactly. However, Teyla Emmagan was a female who had just spent the last two weeks as a Tribe prize. She had reason to be distrustful of Primes - even Primes who came as rescuers.

Perhaps especially Primes who came as rescuers. John wasn't about to deny the thought had crossed his mind; that he'd restrained it had been as much for her sensibilities as because of his training. So maybe if he reduced the 'threat'...

"Senison, find something for Lady Teyla to wear." And prayed that the Marine wouldn't come up with the leering retort he could feel hovering in the air.

Thankfully, the man went. One less 'threat' to deal with. Ford was standing a little behind Bates, his hands carefully off his weapon, his eyes flickering from John to Teyla and back. He was a young Prime to be included on this mission, but the other Primes in the Marines had spoken well of him.

John made a note to recommend the young Prime further. Ford clearly had a good head for the more delicate aspects of a mission like this.

Unlike others.

Bates, she's not a threat.

The Tribe Primes would disagree. And females from former Tribes have turned before.


It was in the nature of Primes to obey their Matri; that didn't stop a few from resenting that authority, although very few rebelled. To rebel was to be cast out of Clan - to be isolated from the People and their traditions and ways.

Bates had good reason to resent vampire females; that didn't mean his actions or opinions were justified.

She's not Tribe. And neither weapon wavered an inch. John's eyes narrowed. He would have better luck with the Prime who already knew him rather than the female he'd only just met. Bates, put the damned weapon down! That's an order!

Slowly - making it very clear he didn't trust Teyla one inch - Bates lowered his gun and, at John's ungentle prompting, spread his hands wide. A moment later, Teyla lowered her weapon. Her expression made it clear that this was a cease-fire only, hardly peace. From the look on Bates' face, he felt much the same way.

Of course, that changed a moment later when Teyla turned back to John, and in doing so, turned her back on Bates, too.

Dismissed.

To head off the fury growing in Bates' expression - and to take his mind off the pain in his shoulder - John jerked his head at the corridor he and Teyla had come down and put a note of authority into his voice.

"Report, Bates."

Instinct warred with discipline; discipline won. "First floor is cleared, sir. Fourteen Tribe Primes, two human females" He paused for a moment, and John figured he was contacting Lorne. "Second floor is being cleared, too - nine Tribe Primes, eleven human females."

"There will be more human females on the third floor. Most of the bedrooms are there... Ford, what the hell are you doing now?"

The young Prime had been down on the floor, fastening the wrists and ankles of the Tribe Primes with thick silver-coated plastic ties. Now he was dragging the t-shirt off the nearest Tribe Prime. "Getting Lady Teyla some clothing, sir. Unless you happen to know where the nearest wardrobe is?"

Thank God for a sense of humour in the young.

John gave a short laugh, and glanced at Teyla who accepted the t-shirt with only a faint grimace for the scent of the Tribe Prime who had worn it.

"Sorry, ma'am, it's all we've got."

"It is a thoughtful gesture, Prime. Thank you." The warm smile she shot at Ford inspired an urge to growl in John. He nearly snapped at the young Prime, wanting to show his dominance, his right to possession - all the more so as Teyla drew the shirt over her head and tugged it down over her breasts and belly.

She's a problem, Sheppard.

She's not a problem unless you turn her into one.

If you can't think around her--


John's eyes narrowed. I may be Prime, but I'm not an animal. I'll control myself. Now head out and confirm the corridors the way we came. There's a corridor back the way we came with a series of rooms where the human women were kept. Take Ford, clear that corridor and confirm the upper levels. Then get the women out.

Bates would do better with human women than a vampire one, and while Ford intellectually knew what Tribes were capable of, it would be an education into the darker side of being Prime: This is what we can become, too.

"You'll be okay, sir?" Ford hesitated.

"I'll be fine. Go."

They went, although not without a quick backwards glance.

"Your men appear to believe I'll harm you." A slightly malicious gleam tinged her gaze, still reflected silver. "Are you so fragile then, John Sheppard of Coyote Clan?"

"They're just concerned." He regarded her steadily. "You are going to hurt me, though."

One eyebrow rose. "I am?"

"I need you to dig the bullet out so I can heal." It wasn't silver-threaded, at least, but it was painful. "You were going to do it before they arrived anyway, weren't you?" He indicated his flak jacket. "There's a penknife in my pocket -should have a knife blade you can probe with."

"No tweezers?"

"Sorry. I'm Prime, not MacGyver."

"My apologies." She leaned over him, the t-shirt hanging loose over her shoulders. The folds of material did nothing for her figure - but then, they didn't need to. Even the concealed lines of her body invited the eye to linger, although John tensed at the scent of the Tribe Prime whose t-shirt it had been.

The only scent he wanted to smell on her was his, the only male's clothes he wanted her wearing were his clothes, the only bed he wanted her in was his bed.

Teyla paused as she snapped the knife blade out. "Is that all you can think of?"

"It's instinct. I'm Prime."

"You have said that several times."

"Still as true as it was the first time."

As she closed in, he gritted his teeth, giving her pause.

"You cannot block?"

"Not one of my skills. Just do it fast and I promise not to squeal." He flashed her a brief grin, and watched her eyes narrow.

The nudge at his psychic barriers was a surprise. Let me in.

John hesitated only a moment before psychically opening himself up. A moment later, he felt her mind touch his, like ghostly butterflies brushing against his thoughts -or a finger traced down his spine. He arched in his thoughts, desire a renewed ache in his belly and his balls.

What are you going to do?

You ask that now. Amusement tinged their shared thoughts, edged by a sudden sharp tension. I could kill you with a thought.

But you wouldn't.

Are you sure of that?
Butterflies fluttered against his mind again, a thousand delicate caresses - a thousand tiny bites of promised desire.

Physically, John knew his back was against the wall. He could feel the floor beneath his butt. Psychically, there was no space between them, minds fitting together in a perfect meld, aching towards completion...

He jerked himself back, his fangs a bare inch from her throat. Hot blood ran beneath, the promise of pleasure, freely offered, freely given...

No. John tilted back his head to meet her eyes, a knowing gleam in the silver-shaded depths. I'm not him.

This hadn't been a seduction but a challenge. She'd set him a test to see if he would take the bait offered, if he would bite. Whether it meant success or failure with her, John wasn't going to give in to desire. Not here, not like this, not after what had happened to her. Perhaps he was Prime, but he was Clan and he clung to his honour.

He clung to the floor, his claws digging into the soft carpet either side of his thighs. If he touched her - even to push her away - instinct and desire would take over and he'd make a move he would regret.

Just take out the bullet. Please.

Teyla's lips curved in the faintest of smiles and displayed a small, bloody object between her fingers. "It is out." A moment later, the psychic block faded, just enough to let him feel the first painful twinges of punctured flesh and bleeding muscle before it reinforced.

He focused on the bullet, bloody metal in her hand. Then his gaze fell back onto her where she watched him, still sitting well within his personal space, her thoughts still resting lightly against his. Why?

"It was a distraction," she said, her gaze dropping away from his as she tucked the bullet into his vest pocket along with the wiped-off penknife. Keep it as a souvenir.

"That's not an answer."

More specifically, it wasn't what John wanted to know - not when her thoughts were still resting against his, intimate as lovers. He could look into her mind; he chose not to. That was her choice as well - and after two weeks of the Tribe, she would need the space for sanity's sake.

Teyla stilled, her hands resting in her lap, her gaze fixed on him. "You wish to know the truth, John Sheppard of Coyote Clan?"

"Don't tell me I can't handle it."

Her mouth twisted in a smile that held no amusement as she averted her gaze from him. "I do not think it is you who is the problem, John."

It felt as though she dragged back a curtain to let in the light.

John was a land, dry and parched, and Teyla was the rain who could bring him to life. He'd survived until now on small streams that soon dried up, but she was the torrent that would flow through him, saturating his spirit until they were no longer wild watery rush and dry plain, but a dancing river and a verdant field.

He felt her like fire in his soul, knew the ferocious power of the bonding call -mate to mate, fierce as desire. She was in his mind, and he was in hers: no barriers, no boundaries. She for him, and he for her, now and forever.

John reached out a hand, intending to turn her back to him, and stopped, just shy of her skin.

And understood.

Once again, the carpet was a welcome refuge for his claws. He felt Berber carpet tear beneath his grip as he looked away, furious at the Tribe Prime for what he'd done to her, frustrated with himself for what his nature demanded of her, for what fate had decreed they meet now, like this.

A bondmate who didn't want to bond with him.

And not because of her Family or her freedom, or even because she'd had enough of Primes, but because it had been a Prime who'd abused her.

It is no easier on me, you know. Her gaze flicked up to meet his for only a moment before it drew away.

Abruptly, John realised the conflicts that were tearing him apart were her conflicts as well - without the same degree of imperative, perhaps, but there. It made things a little easier, although even the thought of relinquishing all claim to her - the thought of letting her walk into the Coyote Citadel without having marked her as his first - made something in John howl in fury. He was mature enough to be able to control it, to be able to resist the lure of the bonding call, but it stung a wicked bitch.

Is that why you hid it from me?

She hesitated. Yes. But...it was not fair to you. Or to me. That last was said softer. I am sorry for even thinking of blocking it.

John's first instinctive reaction had been anger - before old training and new realisation kicked in. The Matri ruled the Clans, their word was law, their decisions could be challenged, but couldn't be disobeyed. And Teyla had her reasons - the tang of the Tribe Prime's blood on her lips, the tiny wounds he'd inflicted on her in rape.

So, where do we go now? What do you want me to do?

That got her attention. Dark eyes locked on him, and John felt the sudden rush of fire in his gut at that connection - raw and unabashed. He let it flow through him for a dizzying moment of intoxication, before he tugged it back. Her brows arched, like birds rising on the wing, her astonishment plain.

You would stand back?

John felt a rush of pleasure at having surprised her. If I have to. But I'm not going away, Teyla. Not entirely.

I would not expect otherwise. Teyla's mouth quirked at one corner, rueful acknowledgement before she demanded, Can you do it?

I promise not to push. But I'll be keeping in touch.

And that is not pushing?
She looked away and sighed. I apologise. It has been...

Difficult?

That is one way to describe it.
Her hands rested in her lap and her gaze fell on them, while John watched long, strong fingers twitch, as though under a tenuous control. I want...

He waited. There were some things he was willing to accept, other things he wasn't. She would understand that he couldn't completely leave her alone - a Prime needed to be near his bondmate like their kind needed air and blood. But John could give her some space to deal with what the Tribe had put her through. He had the feeling she was resilient.

You put great trust in me.

Abruptly, John realised she'd shared his thoughts. He felt his skin flush beneath the clarity of her gaze, and said simply, I have to, don't I? You're my bondmate.

I have never known what that meant.

Me, neither.
Not really. And a part of him was terrified. Could she accept him this much, this far, after the last two weeks? Primes had gone insane before when rejected by their bondmates; John had never thought it might happen to him. He'd never thought he might find a bondmate at all, and now that he had, the realisation that he could lose her so easily was...

I am still here. Teyla sounded pissed off. I have not yet run from you.

See, it's the 'yet' that's worrying me,
he countered and watched her eyes narrow.

Her retort was lost in the squawk of his radio. "Sheppard? What the hell is happening in there?"

John groaned out loud. "McKay, take the status report from Lorne. I'm busy."

"I already did! He gave some fallal about finding a Matri in there - what idiots let a Matri be captured?"

My people are not idiots!

Everyone's an idiot to Rodney. John grimaced. "She's not a Matri, and I'm turning this radio off. Take the report through Lorne or Bates, McKay! That's a mission directive!"

"So basically, you're taking time out from clean up to sex up this--" The radio went silent as John switched it off and gave Teyla an unconvincing grin.

"He's like that." He spoke out loud rather than through psychic communication, choosing vocality over clarity. "Will you come back with us to Coyote Clan citadel at least? Your people can reach you from there."

"That would probably be best. Thank you."

John switched back to psychic communication. Vocal sounded so damn formal. Will you at least let me keep your boundaries?

Is there a choice?
Teyla sighed and answered her own question. There is always a choice.

John wanted to say that this wasn't a choice - this was destiny. But he shut up and watched the dip and rise of her lashes over her eyes, the corners of her mouth pull down into a thoughtful frown, and thought about running his tongue all the way along the line of her jaw and up to her earlobe...

The psychic equivalent of a rap across the knuckles jerked him out of the haze of desire.

Only to have her yank him back in again as she brushed her mouth across his.

Unlike the bold seduction of before, this was a more delicate exploration, tentative in its hesitancy. John could feel Teyla tasting his reactions, savouring him. Her mouth moulded his, the curves of her lip clinging to him, the scent of her skin under his nose.

His hand came up, reaching for her nape - an automatic reaction. He caught himself as his fingers brushed the tips of her loose hair, and settled for tracing her jaw and aching.

Mine, he whispered in her mind, not quite able to help himself.

I know, came back her murmur, and there was a warm fingertip in the hollow of his throat, stark as a brand on his skin. And you are mine, too.

Teyla's words made something quiver in John, and he opened his mouth under hers and let her slide in a little deeper - just a taste, a tease, a temptation - before he gently pushed back. If we don't stop this soon, we won't stop at all.

I know. But she seemed as reluctant as he to let go.

What finally broke them apart was the sound of Bates and Ford returning, even as another set of footsteps echoed down the corridor overlaid by the voices of John's men.

They pulled back.

John realised her hand was framing his jaw, that she'd climbed into his lap, straddling him for the kiss, that his hands were resting on her bare thighs. He felt the moment that she realised it - the moment she pulled back, the memory of the Tribe Prime still too close for comfort.

He let his hands fall from her as she pulled away from him.

Thank you.

Will we continue this later?


Teyla hesitated. Then, Yes.

John had a feeling her definition of 'later' was not his, but he didn't care.

He'd found his mate.

- fin -

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
gaffsie
Dec. 17th, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
I'm not really into vampire lore - of any kind - but this was pretty cool. You did a great job at making John's desire and need come across as strong enough to be a challenge for him to control.

I really like how strong Teyla is in this too.
tielan
Jan. 2nd, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
I dip in and out of the vampire lore thing in my SGA AUs, but this one's been in my head for a long time.

I'm glad that John's conflicts came clearly through! And that Teyla came out as strong - I did a couple of rewrites trying to show how she can give in enough to satisfy John, without making her hit the 'weak for love' trope.

Thanks for the comment!
gail19
Dec. 18th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
I'm not a fan of John/Teyla - mostly because I don't think she'd put up with his shit and she's too smart to snag the guy then try to change him - but you really made this work.

The fusion flows so well, taking excellent advantage of the existing personalities. Sizemore has no idea what she is missing.
tielan
Jan. 2nd, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I find Sizemore's books interesting in concept, but not quite as satisfying in execution as I'd like.
vipersweb
Dec. 18th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
This is from Sizemore, isn't it? I vaguely remember Matri's & Primes et. al. when I tried the first couple of books.

Nice fusion. Liked the use of Michael and that John is not going to push Teyla. Love Teyla's strength.
tielan
Jan. 2nd, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
Yep. Susan Sizemore's Vampire Primes series.

Thanks for the comment!
jeyla4ever
Dec. 28th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
*claps madly*

First of all, I've started reading this so many times and got interrupted so many times, but it was so worth the wait.

I couldn't have asked for anything better. There's that sense of AU that keeps the reader in suspense, the unknown and I like that a lot in fics. And then, there's John and Teyla.

I love that John recognize so early on that she was his bondmate. That he never thought he'd find, her and yet the minute he did, he knew it instantly. But more so, I love the struggle between them that you brought here. It's so in character with the John and Teyla that we know. And of course, I love Teyla's voice here. So, strong, so powerful and yet, also willing to acknowledge that she belongs to John just as much as she belongs to him. I LOVE THAT!!!!

But the best part of this whole fic is the flow of it. It almost reads poetically....and I love these lines.

"John was a land, dry and parched, and Teyla was the rain who could bring him to life. He'd survived until now on small streams that soon dried up, but she was the torrent that would flow through him, saturating his spirit until they were no longer wild watery rush and dry plain, but a dancing river and a verdant field."

And yes, Secret Santa, I have a feeling I know who you are....not just because I can distinguish your style, but there are only 3 of us and by default, I can't write my own fic! LOL

THANK YOU SECRET SANTA!!~ I LOVE THIS!
tielan
Jan. 2nd, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
I thought you might like the bondmate angle, and this story was perfect for it! It's such a relief to know that you enjoyed it, too. :)

You're very welcome, Camy.
jeyla4ever
Jan. 2nd, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
I LOOOVE it, Tie. You have no idea how many times I've read it already. ;) You really should continue this for me. It's got so much potential. It could be another To Serve A Queen, but with so much more JT loving. ;) Thank you so much for thinking of me and trying to think of something that I would really like.

I so knew it was you, too!!!! ;)

Happy New Year!
ssagey
Jul. 19th, 2010 08:08 am (UTC)
do we get a sequel...loved it and love how connected theyare and that even after all she has been thru she cant resist him...thanks so much
,,
hugs
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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