Disclaimer: The characters belong to MGM; no copyright infringement intended.
Author's Notes: Episode tag to "The Return."
Summary: John hated leaving, but coming home isn't bad at all.
The first night back in Atlantis, it's just them in a great big empty city. O'Neill and Woolsey have gone back to Earth. Better them than John, as far as he's concerned, especially when he's still not sure if he's about to be court-martialed or not. He knows he deserves it, but it's possible that saving O'Neill and Woolsey and the entire city of Atlantis balances out breaking every regulation in the book.
He's not even sure he cares right now. They're back in Atlantis, and the weight that's been sitting on his chest ever since he went back to Earth has lifted. People kept asking him how he was settling in on Earth, and he kept saying it was okay, but now that he's back, he remembers that actually "okay" isn't that great. He's beginning to suspect that before they left Atlantis, he was actually really happy.
He doesn't even know what to do with that. To start with, it's weird for him; he's pretty sure that before Atlantis, his answer had been "okay" for a long time. Beyond that, he knows falling in love with a post is a bad idea. Life in the Air Force isn't about getting to stay places. It's not about getting to keep people.
It's getting cold on the balcony, and he knows he ought to stop thinking like this and sleep, even though he's pretty sure he's too wound up. The gateroom is quiet when he goes in, and the control room is empty. It's too quiet, like being alone in the house as a kid feeling like anything you do is probably something you're not supposed to do.
He isn't sure where anyone else is, and he doesn't want to radio and wake people up if they're sleeping. Instead he goes down to the infirmary, figuring Carson will be down there trying to get the place looking a little more like he left it.
He finds him going through cabinets that are nearly but not entirely empty.
"I don't remember leaving this stuff," John says.
"We didn't," Carson says. "They did. They brought some supplies with them when they evacuated their ship, and they must have unpacked some before ..."
"Before the Replicators showed up," John finishes. "Anything cool?"
"I expect so," Carson says. He fingers one of the vials, looking regretful. "I wish I'd had the opportunity to talk to whoever used all this."
"They didn't seem very interested in talking," John says.
"I suppose they were mainly trying to get settled back into their home themselves."
"We'll have to get our supplies back," John says. "And our people."
"As many of them as are willing to come," Carson says. "A lot of people may not want to be uprooted twice in a month."
"It's Atlantis," John says.
Carson smiles. "I know. Believe me, I'm as glad to be back as you are, and certainly glad for an end to Rodney's endless complaining on the phone."
"He did that to you, too?"
"He wasn't very happy on Earth," Carson says. "Maybe not even before we ever laid eyes on this place."
John shrugs. "Who was?"
"I was," Carson says. "Happy enough, anyway. But there's no place like Atlantis. Fortunately."
"Elizabeth said she was going to dial Earth and get the datalink up before she went to bed," John says. "You want to see if you can get somebody to feed your turtles?"
"General O'Neill said he'd have someone take care of it," Carson says. "Actually first he said I ought not push my luck, but I said whatever he thought of me at the moment, the turtles ought not pay the price."
"I don't think generals usually do pet-sitting," John says.
"He's got people who can, though." That's Carson; entirely undaunted by authority as long as he's sure that he's right.
Rodney comes stalking in at that point, looking pleased to have found someone he can complain to. "This place is a total mess," he says. "They've reconfigured half the power systems, after it took us almost three years to get them optimized."
Carson looks amused. "Do you think it's just possible they know a wee bit more about how these things ought to work than you do?"
"Yeah, probably," Rodney says, not even particularly grudgingly. "But since I don't understand half of what they did, if we ever want to be able to make any changes again, I've got to either figure what a bunch of paranoid Ancient spacemen were thinking when they configured things this way, or put everything back the way it was."
"Spacemen?" John says.
"Astronauts? Zoomies? We can't very well ask them what they'd like to be called, because they didn't stick around long enough." His tone is sarcastic, but John thinks he's really pretty upset about that.
"We warned them about the Replicators," John says.
"They just weren't in the mood to listen," Carson says.
"I know," Rodney says. "Still ..." He shrugs.
"It sucks," John says. He feels bad about what happened to the crew of the Tria too, and kind of guilty because it doesn't diminish the singing relief of being back in Atlantis.
"Not as badly as it's got to suck for Teyla, though," Rodney says. "What do you suppose the Athosians make of the Ancients turning up, and then turning out to be kind of jerks, and then all getting killed?"
"I don't think they're having a party," John says. "Speaking of which ..."
Carson looks a little amused, like he's been waiting for John to ask the question. "She said she was going to bed."
"Right," John says. "I should probably do that, too."
"Some can," Rodney says. "The rest of us have work to do."
"Speak for yourself, Rodney," Carson says. "I'm planning to get some sleep myself as soon as I finish this."
Rodney investigates some kind of electronic device left behind in one of the cabinets. "Hey, is this some kind of portable bioscanner?" The idea seems to perk him up a little.
"You tell me," Carson says, and John leaves them to it.
On his way down to Teyla's quarters, he runs into Ronon. "There's not much in any of our rooms," Ronon says. "I took Teyla a blanket from the jumper."
"Cool," John says. He tries to figure out what to say next, because there's an obvious thing that having found Ronon still hanging out on Athos could mean. He tells himself he doesn't get to have a problem with that if it's true. He's the one who left. "You're not staying in there?" he asks finally.
It takes Ronon a moment, and then he looks amused. "It's not like that," he says.
"That's cool," John says, going for totally casual. "Not that I would care if ..."
"Sure," Ronon says, looking even more amused. He cuffs John on the arm in what's probably supposed to be an affectionate way, although it's hard enough that it might also be a warning not to take off for another galaxy again. "We figured you weren't coming back."
"Me too," John says. "Thanks for coming back yourself."
Ronon shrugs. "You were right. It's our home." He smiles, or possibly smirks. "So go find Teyla."
"I was just going to talk to her about a couple of things," John says.
Ronon shakes his head in that Earth people are crazy way he does and heads off down the hall. John makes his way through the quiet halls to Teyla's room. He can hear the sound of his footsteps echoing in the silence.
Teyla opens her door for him and steps back to let him in. "Is everything all right?"
"It's fine," John says. Her room looks strangely bare without any of her stuff, although she can probably get hers from Athos more easily than he can go back to Colorado Springs and pack.
"It is good to see you," Teyla says.
"Yeah," John says. They're standing close together, looking at each other, as if there's any way for them to know what each other have been thinking in the last few weeks without having to talk about it.
He wants to say, I know we never really talked about what we were doing when we hooked up a few times, and if we had, we'd probably have said that we were just sleeping together as friends, and then I was back on Earth and it was hard to think about anything except how much I missed Atlantis, but now that I'm back I keep thinking about how much I missed you too.
"It's good to see you, too," he says.
"We should both sleep," Teyla says, and then lays a hand lightly on his arm when he starts to nod in disappointment. "I have a blanket and a bed that is certainly more comfortable than yours. Come and lie down with me."
"Okay," he says. She takes his hand to draw him over to the bed, as if they were children, and it's probably the world's least romantic reunion, but then again, it's really not bad at all.
He stretches out on her bare mattress, and she lies down next to him, and he's not sure which one of them moves first, just that she's sliding easily into his arms and he's finding her mouth with his.
He runs his hands down her back, and she rolls on top of him, kissing him like she's missed him too. "I thought I would never see you again," she says after a while, and tightens her hand around his wrist as if she can hold him by it.
"I thought ..." He doesn't have words to explain why he went back to Earth, or that he's starting to wonder for the first time whether he actually had to, or whether that was a choice he really ought to have thought about harder even if he came to the same lousy answer in the end.
"It was your duty to return to your people," she says. "I understand that."
"I didn't want to go," he says, and she rests her head against his shoulder.
"Neither did I," she says, and he understands that it's a harder confession for her. Atlantis isn't supposed to be her home any more than it's supposed to be his, and whatever they've been doing isn't supposed to enter into the picture for either of them.
"The whole thing with the Ancients coming back ..." he begins.
She presses her forehead to his shoulder. "Not now," she says. He strokes her back, reassuring her with his hands that she can tell him how she feels about that when she's ready, or never, if there's not anything she feels like there would be any point in saying.
"I may get court-martialed," he says.
She sounds more amused than concerned. "Elizabeth thinks you will not."
"I guess that's good?"
Teyla raises her head to look at him. "And if you do, will you go home to face your people's punishment?"
"I don't know," John says after a moment, and she nods as if that's enough of an answer for the moment. She bends her head to kiss him, and he strokes her hips, making little circles with his thumbs and feeling her spread her thighs in pleasure.
"Yes, do that," she says, and he smiles and unfastens her pants. She kneels up to slide them off her hips, and he gets his hand between her thighs. She shifts his hand to exactly where she wants it, and he works her with his fingers, feeling her wet warmth in his hand. "I like that."
"Good," he says. He likes it too, likes doing it to her the way she tells him to and getting her off before they even really get started. She moves demandingly against his hand, and he can feel the muscles of her thighs tightening. "In a hurry?" he asks teasingly.
"Frustrated," Teyla says a little breathlessly. "I have been sharing a tent with Ronon, and he is not Athosian. There are things ..." She looks more than a little embarrassed. "When you share sleeping space with others, you are not supposed to notice certain things people may do, even if of course you may hear ... but he would have taken it the wrong way."
"I see that," John says after a moment. "At least I wasn't sharing a room, so I could ..."
She smiles. "And did you?"
"Yeah," he says, but that's not what he wants to think about right now, lying in his quarters back at Cheyenne Mountain and jerking off when he couldn't sleep, trying not to think about how much he wished he was back in his bed in Atlantis. "This is better."
"Yes," Teyla says, and then, in a different tone, "Yes."
"I think you're going to come," John says.
"You know that I ... oh ..."
"Just like that," John says, and he can feel her tighten around his fingers, feel her grinding down against him as the orgasm shakes her.
"Now you," she says, sitting back on her heels, and John works fervently to unfasten his pants. They're both in too much of a hurry at this point for him to take them all the way off; she kicks hers off instead and presses down onto him, and he can't help a strangled gasp at the feel of her wet and hot around his cock.
"God," he says.
"You have been frustrated, too," she says, and he nods, because doing himself is nothing like having Teyla in his bed, riding him while he holds her hips and feels her moving against him. It's nothing like getting more and more turned on while Teyla watches him, searching his face for every change of expression, making him feel more naked than if they'd gotten all their clothes off.
"You have no idea," he says, and then she finds a rhythm that is totally going to do it for him, and it's hard to talk anymore. She looks like she's going to get there again, too, her face tightening with intent concentration as she rocks against him, and he tries to hold out until she's there.
He's starting to think he's not going to make it, his balls tightening every time she thrusts against him, and then he can feel it starting for her, hear her breath catch and feel her muscles clenching in another series of hungry spasms around his cock.
"God, Teyla," he manages, and then he's coming so hard that for a moment the rest of the world is just gone, and he can't even breathe. Then the rest of the world rushes back in, leaving him hyperaware of the feel her skin against his, the warmth of her body as she shifts off him, the cramping sense of loss as she slides off his softening cock.
Then they're kissing, again without him being sure which of them it was who moved. She feels really good in his arms. They hang onto to each other for what seems like a long time, just holding each other in the moonlight filtering in through the window.
"Welcome home," she says finally, and he lays his head down on her shoulder while she strokes his hair.
"Welcome home yourself," he says, and curls his hand around her hip as if to prove to himself that he doesn't have to let her go.