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Fic: Adam's Rib (John/Teyla, R)

Title: Adam's Rib
Author: Tielan
Recipient: starry_haze
Summary: She was already broken when they found her.
Rating: R
Word Count: 1050
Notes: Bonus fic for starry_haze. Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule, and a very Happy New Year, dear!

Adam's Rib

god made eve from adam's rib


She was already broken when they broke into the room.

John remembers her tears - silvery trails that gleamed down her cheeks - just as he remembers the horror on Rodney's face and the snap of Ronon's weapon setting being changed from 'stun' to 'kill. He doesn't think he'll ever forget the scream she gave as her shoulder dislocated while they unhooked her, or the organic click the joint makes as it's snapped back into place on the gritty, grey floor.

"Ribs," she says through bloody teeth. "And thigh."

They have to swap the plan around - Rodney stands guard at the door with a gun, while Ronon and John put her back together - as much as they can. Splints and bandages, swabs, jabs, and anaesthetic, and the sickly pale undertones of her skin beneath the stark downlights, like a horror movie for real.


not from his skull to rule over him


Ronon doesn't argue when John tells him to take point, tells Rodney to cover their six. The marines are on standby; John gives them the co-ordinates and tells them to come in hot and hard and shoot anything that moves that isn't his team.

He carries Teyla; her head pillowed on his shoulder, her teeth gritted against the pain, her body bound as hard as they dare.

It's a long, hard journey back to the pick-up point, but they're not going to leave her behind and she's not going to let them treat her like china.

"Just go," she says after an injudicious movement wrings a choked grunt from her. Her eyes close and her jaw sets as John rises to his feet, but she doesn't make a sound. They've drugged her as much as they can without sending her comatose, but short of anaesthetising her below the neck, they can't do it all.


nor from his feet to be trampled by him


It hurts to hold her; aches in his arms, aches in his belly, aches beneath his breastbone. John can barely think for the pain.

He holds onto her as they make their way through the complex, using Lorne's sketchy diagram and their own instincts to guide them out. Several times, he has to shift her in his arms, and feels her tense. God knows what the movement is doing to her body, but it's get Teyla out in pain or put her out of pain permanently.

Mercy is not an option. They both know that.

Dust and dirt and rocks settle around the hole Sergeant Teldy blew in the compound wall, and John clambers unsteadily over them to the open 'jumper bay, nearly twisting his foot on a rock. Then she's on the floor of the cargo bay as Ronon and Rodney shoot at their pursuers with deadly accuracy and equally deadly intent, and the 'jumper's leaping for sky as the hatch door closes up behind them.

He settles her on the floor, cradling her head as her eyes open, flame and fire and pain and hope.

"Home?"

"Yeah," he says.


but a rib from his side to walk beside him,


They shower and shave and clean themselves up while she's in surgery. Keller told them to get out of her infirmary and not to come back until they were clean, and the hot water is a relief to the body, if not a balm to the spirit.

And even when he gets out, Kanaan's waiting for him with Torran in his arms.

John almost turns back; but if she were here, Teyla would look at him with disappointed eyes.

"Thank you, Colonel."

I didn't do it for you. But he won't say that out loud. He can't. "You're welcome. Any news?"

Torran fondles the velveteen giraffe someone bequeathed to him in a pile of used toys and onesies and teethers, and then leans over his father's arm to offer it as though sensing John needs something to hug. John accepts the gift and brushes one hand over the curve of Torran's head.

"Not yet. But she is strong."

That's no comfort to John. He's seen strong men shatter under pressure and pain before. For a while, he thought he might be one of them. Teyla's strong, yeah, but is she strong enough to get through this?

Are any of them?


under his arm for protection,


John takes himself out of the infirmary because he can't stand the waiting.

Kanaan stays with Torran cradled in his arms, and Ronon shifts as John stands and walks away, but he doesn't move.

It's bloodless to be doing paperwork while a team-mate lies on the operating table, but it suits John's state of mind. He works his way doggedly through reports, the words that slide beneath his gaze without meaning or significance. Mission reports, personnel reports, words, words, words and damned statistics..

He's not sure when he looks up to find Rodney standing in the doorway with Torran in his arms. He can't tell what the news is going to be from Rodney's drawn expression.

Rodney swallows and it takes two tries to get his throat working. "Jennifer says she'll make it."

John only nods. But something in him loosens in silent relief as he reaches for Teyla's son.


and close to his heart to be loved.


John goes to see her when Kanaan is putting Torran down to sleep, while Rodney is burying himself in his work, after Ronon unfolds himself from the chair and goes to run out his relief.

Infirmary machines beep their periodic reassurance as he sits down and puts his head in his hands. A long breath shudders through him, exhaustion and weariness expressing themselves the only way he's allowed.

He lets his gaze linger, wondering at the fragility of the human body; wondering at the strength of the human spirit.

There'll be gossip again. It's not the first time he's risked too much for Teyla; it probably won't be the last. Sure, he's risked things for Rodney and Ronon before - for Elizabeth and Carson and Aiden - but this is considered different.

His subconscious recalls a dream of wine and candlelight and knows it's different.

But Teyla's loyalties are shared between her family and her team. John knows better than to ask her to choose.

His own choice was made a long time ago.

- fin -hits counter

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
alyse
Dec. 31st, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
Is starry_laa also starry_haze? Because it's only the latter who was part of this fest.

ETA: No, they do seem to be different people, and starry_laa is a Merlin not an SG:A fan, going by their user info. So I'll put this down to starry_haze in ma spreadsheet o' doom ::g::

Edited at 2009-12-31 11:22 am (UTC)
tielan
Dec. 31st, 2009 11:30 am (UTC)
*facepalm*

Have changed the recipient. Sorry - have been seeing both names in the comments of recent posts and completely forgot which was which!
alyse
Dec. 31st, 2009 11:32 am (UTC)
::g:: See, I'm easily confused and thought it might well be the same person who'd changed their LJ name or had a separate fic writing journal or something like that. But then, half the time I can't remember my own name, so I'm probably not a good example!
amenirdis
Dec. 31st, 2009 11:36 am (UTC)
*snif*

*sniffle*

This is very real and very good. I can see the expression on John's face, the way he holds Torren, the way he's stepped back from everything because it's past bearing.

And the last line is just excellent!
tielan
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
John and his proximity to others, their proximity to him, are big big issues, aren't they? And even when he wants to hold people at arm's length, he wants to be close with them, too. It's a rather terrible paradox.

Thanks for reading it, and for letting me know you liked it!
jade_1459
Dec. 31st, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
This was absolutely gorgeous! John's desperation and fear and sweet bitter relief came across beautifully.
tielan
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was trying for 'spare but descriptive' and I'm glad it worked.
gaffsie
Dec. 31st, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
I don't even want to know what Teyla's been through, do I? I'm so glad the guys got to her in time.
tielan
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
No, you don't.

There's a lot of anguish in there, and I thought it best to skim the surface.

Thanks for commenting!
starry_haze
Jan. 1st, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
sdfjsdkl! Wow. *breathes* I totally had to gather myself several times because I kept on lapsing into complete and utter incoherence. Thank you so much! I wasn't expecting another story for me (or another John/Teyla piece in general), so this was a wonderful surprise.

This is beautiful, gritty, and heartfelt. I really love how well-characterized this piece is, especially in light of its length. The characterization has been running through my mind ever since I read this; it's so richly layered and compact—how John's military mind knows that love doesn't always equate to mercy or gentle handling, how Teyla refuses to be treated as fragile, John's instinctual reaction to Kanaan's presence, John's bleak understanding that strength is not always enough, and even his view on paperwork.

I also love the team love in this. The glimpses of Rodney and Ronon in this are pitch-perfect, especially the image of Ronon "unfolding" himself from his chair and then going out to run.

I was particularly struck by the last four paragraphs. The ending reminds me of "Psyche's Candle" (which I also love and think that everyone who stumbles on this comment should go read NOW) in that I'm left screaming on the inside at the characters, "Stop walking away, and DO something! Act on your feelings for once!" But at the same time, it's the right ending because that's where John and Teyla are right now. I think John and Teyla's biggest obstacle is themselves—this gulf of unspoken words emotions that they allow to continually go unacknowledged. This fear and caution and unwillingness to bring those emotions out and voice them in open air—that's what they need to overcome. They need to get to the point where they're so discontent with the status quo that they finally decide to challenge it. In concrete terms, I think John and Teyla would probably need something epic to happen (and an epic-sized plot bunny accordingly, lol) or just a lot of time, preferably a lot of time alone together, for all the other excuses to evaporate and be revealed as completely frivolous.

Also, I just rewatched "The Ark" and "Search and Rescue," and I loved how you articulated the difference between John's rescuing of Teyla versus his other teammates because I noticed the exact same thing. Yes, John would put his life on the line for any of his friends, but there's always a different dimension when it's Teyla's life at risk—John always mounts the craziest, most suicidal rescue missions when it's Teyla. That is not a coincidence. And the fact that people would gossip... of course. We sometimes forget about that sort of thing, but people do. Gossip. All the time.

Okay, this is the comment that will never end, but I just wanted to add that you get kudo points for the well-chosen biblical reference, and your prose is gorgeous and perfect in this. If I were to pick my favorite line, I'd probably end up choosing all of them—that's how much I love this!—but it's some of the more passing lines that catch me, which really speaks of your brilliance—for example, the use of the word "jabs" totally got a visual from me, the dual meaning of Lorne's "sketchy diagram," and the whole part with Torren and the giraffe (too cute!).

Anyway... *stops self now.* In a nutshell, I loved this. You are awesome. =) Thanks, again, for all you contribute to John/Teyla fandom! You are much appreciated. ♥
tielan
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
Hee. I love your comments. Even when you have criticism, it's good criticism and the kind whose intent is to make the story better, not just lash out because the story didn't go the way you wanted.

So, for starters, thanks for your comment!

I was trying to go for the acknowledgement of care without treading over the line - I'd like to have gotten them together, but it's not exactly the right time or timing. (Oh, and thank you for the rec of Psyche's Candle!)

People say that John would give his life for any of his team - and he will and does. But a rescue for Teyla tends to inspire a kind of insanity in him: no matter the cost, he's going to get her back.

I think my favourite line in the story is the one with Torran and the giraffe, too. Probably because it's a very visual image in my head: I can see Torran's expression as he looks up at John and then solemnly offers him the stuffed animal.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
ninja007
Jan. 1st, 2010 09:08 am (UTC)
OMG! Brilliantly written!

Well done and a magnificent way to close out the year!

Wow!

Loved it!
tielan
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
Hey, thanks! I'm glad you liked it. :)
shepsgirl
Jan. 1st, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
Beautifully written but sometimes I feel I just want to give both Teyla and John a good shake. They both hide behind their silence and are unwilling to air their true feelings. Life is all about taking chances and yet niether are willing to rock the status quo when it could bring the possibility of great happiness and love. Instead they chose to remain silent and hide behind all sorts of excuses. How long will they live a lie and settle for mediocrity.
tielan
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC)
Fate and their own choices have brought them to where they are right now, and those two things aren't easily shaken off.

Thanks for the comment. I'm glad the story inspired such emotion in you!
lone_poppy
Jan. 1st, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you, one of the best I've read!
tielan
Jan. 2nd, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
You're welcome! :)
mikilayla
Jan. 3rd, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
Fantastic Job! Extremely angsty, but I love that! Thanks!
tielan
Jan. 15th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
Thank you! (I have a soft spot for angsty as well...)
vipersweb
Jan. 3rd, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
this is wonderfully painful. I like the barely leashed emotion in this and John's actions and thoughts, as well as Rodney and Ronon not pushing him to do more than he can while Teyla is in the OR. So painful but very beautifully written!
tielan
Jan. 15th, 2010 10:38 am (UTC)
Thanks, hon!
scifan1
Jan. 4th, 2010 04:35 am (UTC)
WOW!!! All I can say is wow.:D It is so well worded. I wish RL let me have more time to read fics like this. Awesome job hun. :D
tielan
Jan. 15th, 2010 10:39 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it. And 'wow' is always an acceptable reponse. ;)
jeyla4ever
Jan. 5th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC)
Another beautiful piece, Tie... There's so much depth in here and John's so in character. Love the reaction from Rodney and Ronon during and after. They are so in tune with Teyla. Not like John but close enough. I loooove that you had Rodney with Torren in his arms when he went to John. That would be so rare, and yet so appropriate too. Rodney does love kids and he s wanted to be a part of Torren's life. Thanks for that bit.

But John...oh my goodness you brought me back to Season 5 in a painful flash. It's so difficult to see that what he wants the most is right at his reach, but he never knew it. Gosh, I wish Teyla could wake up. She knows what's there but she won't let herself break that tradition and has settled with the one who has. UGH! that's so freaking annoying!

LOL

Anywho, I liked a lot that you made John realize that even though he would do it for anyone of his teammates, it's never the same when he rescues Teyla. With the others, he's willing to set a moment where there's no more he can do, but not with Teyla.

Thank you, Tie.

Best Christmas ever!!!
tielan
Jan. 15th, 2010 10:44 am (UTC)
Thanks, hon. I'm glad you enjoyed the nuances of it!
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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