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Title: Intergalactic Topology for Beginners
Author: ladyofthelog
Recipient: telesilla
Pairing: Rodney/Teyla, John/Ronon (if you squint)
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine, etc.; no warnings.
Summary: Rodney can't help but appreciate Teyla's facility with knots. On a purely academic level, of course.


The first one Rodney notices is when he's checking the security of the rain fly over their tent on PX2-817. It's just a little clove hitch, but it's more secure than the overhand knots Sheppard usually ties, neat and precise. He tugs on the rope and it stays fast around the central overhead pole.

"Good work," Rodney says to Teyla, who is already inside their tent.

"You are letting the rain in," she says, which, huh, he is. So he climbs inside.

Teyla is even better at tying up their enemies than Sheppard, and not just because she doesn't go easy on women and children. No, for a closet math nerd, Sheppard has a disappointing lack of interest in topology. A reef knot is as fancy as he gets, and most of the time he sticks with a simple overhand. Teyla's knots, on the other hand, are as varied as they are complex. Some, Rodney doesn't even have names for. Pegasus knots. Ancient knots.

Torren learns to tie most of them by the time he's five, which is why Rodney refuses to help him with his sneakers.

Fortunately, Teyla's just as good at untying knots, which is good when the Larpatians give him to their tentacled priest as a bride. It's supposed to be a great honor, and mostly symbolic, but apparently Rodney is just that attractive to tentacle priests, so four hours later he's wrapped in rigid, elaborately knotted tentacles, with cool compresses being pressed to his forehead by an extremely apologetic Larpatian monk. The tentacles are stiff from rigor mortis; they should relax in a few hours. Or days.

"We can't just, you know, hack them apart?" Sheppard says.

"I'm in favor of this plan," Rodney says. "It's pretty gross in here."

"I'm so sorry," says Aelfred, the monk. "Even though Olam has committed a great heresy, it is gravely disrespectful to dismember the dead before they have been drained of their sacred fluids. Such discourtesy we reserve solely for our enemies."

"Discourtesy," Ronon says, hand on his blaster.

"Discourtesy," Aelfred says firmly.

So, that's that.

At least until Teyla convinces the monks that as their priest is dead from overexcitement, there's no reason to bar her from entering the man-and-tentacle-beast-only inner sanctum. Possibly some of that convincing happened at the end of a P-90 or one of her bantos rods, Rodney's not sure. Regardless, he has no complaints about the results. Teyla makes quick work of the tentacles, carefully tugging each strand loose until Rodney can work his way free. "That was so hot." He starts wiping the worst of the goo off his BDUs. The pants might be a wash, but he's seen the Ancient washer-and-dryer things cope with worse. "You're incredible. Uh, I mean—that was great work, Teyla, sorry."

She pats him on the shoulder. "I understand that you were merely expressing your appreciation, Rodney. I am not offended."

"Thanks," he says gratefully. Out of the corner of his eye, he catches Sheppard and Ronon laughing. Next time someone has to get married to the local tentacle priest, it's totally going to be one of them.

Of course, Rodney has thought about Teyla's hotness before. Plenty of times. She's incredibly buff and badass, she's always wearing those tiny, low-cut tops that end just below her breasts and skirts with barely any seams that show Rodney distracting flashes of inner thigh. One time he called Teyla an alien warrior princess around Jennifer, and Jennifer read him the riot act, and, yeah, he's come around to her point of view. Teyla is the hereditary leader of her people, gender irrelevant, and in addition to being able to kick the ass of everyone on Atlantis, including Ronon, she is also the best at talking people out of killing them or into trading their little cookie things. Saying she's an alien warrior princess is like saying that you eat a cupcake for the cake.

That said, Teyla loves Xena. Who doesn't love Xena? Whoever they are, Rodney doesn't want to know them.

Even Jennifer loves Xena. They did a full rewatch at movie night last year. Atlantis is too small for awkwardness around exes; Rodney copes out of pure necessity, although the first six months were pretty tough. Teyla and Kanaan parted ways amicably around the same time, and they were able to sit through everything with Torren cuddled affectionately between them, so Rodney tried not to stare at John and Ronon pulling each others' pigtails and generally sucked it up. It was awkward, but Rodney started college at fourteen. He's survived worse.

So this thing with Teyla and her extreme skill with knots? It's not even on Rodney's awkward radar. That is, until he starts noticing her flirtations with exotic topology all the time.

There's the crossing hitches she uses when she's tying extra supplies to her pack for extended off-world missions, the water bowline she makes tying one of Torren's toy boats to the dock on the southwest pier, and the more elaborate ones that Rodney doesn't have names for that she works into the unpronounceable Athosian form of macrame. That's the year that the botanists give everyone inoffensive, extremely hardy ferns for the winter festival of lights and Teyla gives everyone a crash course in making plant holders. Rodney just moves a dresser under his window. It's easier.

"You're sure you wouldn't like me to teach you?" Teyla says, one day when she catches him eyeing a poncho she's working on.

"Um, sure," Rodney says. He stares at his jello; they're sitting with Sheppard and Torren in the mess. Now is not the time. "Next time I have some free time, definitely, yeah, we should—oh, I really need to check on that simulation Zelenka is running, sorry, I'll just be—"

"Go ahead," Teyla says.

"This is not how I envisioned my introduction to rope bondage." Rodney stares at the ceiling of his room again. It is as flat and boring as the last time he opened his eyes, and just as empty of solutions. His radio is eighteen inches out of reach on the night stand.

"It's a prank," Torren says. "Uncle Ronon told me how he used to grease the pulls on his sisters' dressers and it was really funny when they tried to open them. But I think this is way better."

"So what exactly are you hoping to gain from this little enterprise?" Rodney says. "Have I provided you sufficient humor? Did I scream loud enough earlier when I found myself tied to my own bed and had flashbacks to the last, oh, seven or eight times I've been captured by the Wraith?"

Torren is quiet for a moment. "I'm sorry," he says.

"Yeah, well, I hope so." Rodney sighs. "Can you untie me now? Please? I'll make sure you only get grounded for a year instead of the next five."

"Um," Torren says. "I need to get my mom."

So, Rodney is alone, secured to his bed with knots he can't even see, let alone map. This is how his rope bondage fantasies get ruined forever, because every time he tries to jerk off to Teyla's affectionate smile and knowing fingers, he's going to end up thinking of her son's smug face instead. Gross. So gross.

Teyla appears half an hour later. When she bends over his bed, he can see that there's sweat beaded on her forehead and her hair is mussed. "I would like to laugh, Rodney," she says solemnly. "But I fear that would not be fair to you in your predicament."

"You can just cut me out, there's a utility knife still clipped to my pants over there." Rodney wiggles his fingers in the direction of the hamper. "Save the sexy unknotting for a better time. Or never, I think it's ruined for me."

Teyla frowns. "That is unfortunate."

"You're telling me," Rodney says. Then— "Wait. What?"

"I have never worn ponchos," Teyla says. "There is merely a limit to how many plant holders I can stand to make. But it is—enjoyable to be appreciated."

"I've always appreciated you!" Rodney says.

"That is not what I mean," Teyla says, looking smug. There's a strong family resemblance. "Are you certain you wish me to cut you loose?"

"Well," Rodney says.

As it turns out, Teyla is just as good at tying Rodney up as she is at untying him, and a lot more creative.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
I really like this - nice and slow paced, and I am liking the idea of Rodney and Teyla together - Teyla can calm Rodney down a bit but won't change him at all - just lovely!
Dec. 14th, 2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
Loved this :)
Dec. 14th, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is delightful. I love Teyla knowing knots, and knowing Rodney, and just waiting. Also, Torren's smug face!
Dec. 14th, 2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
Very nice, I really like how slowly it develops in the various kind of ridiculous situation the team finds themselves in (tentacle priest, seriously.) Of course Ronon would give Torren bad ideas ;)
Dec. 14th, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
This is beautifully done, I love the build up and the ending!
Dec. 15th, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
I loved this. I'm grinning so hard. My favourite part was when Teyla admitted that she was only tying all those knots for Rodney!
Dec. 15th, 2012 03:04 am (UTC)
Thank you, Santa!!
This is perfect, just perfect. I love the slow build and the absurdity--tentacle priest!--and the sweetness of it. And of course Teyla would enjoy being appreciated for her skills. :)

This bit really made me smile:

"Save the sexy unknotting for a better time. Or never, I think it's ruined for me."

Teyla frowns. "That is unfortunate."

"You're telling me," Rodney says. Then— "Wait. What?"

Thank you again, Santa!
Jan. 3rd, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Thank you, Santa!!
I'm so happy you enjoyed your fic - I had such a great time writing it!

So, you actually have an extra Santa fic - my best friend thought the premise I went with (Rodney/Teyla, rope play) was awesome enough that she started writing her own version, which I eventually ended up cowriting with her. If you're interested in a dark mirror version of this fic, it's over here at AO3.

Edited at 2013-01-03 06:59 pm (UTC)
Dec. 15th, 2012 11:53 am (UTC)
Okay, this is awesome. The slow build, Rodney noticing the knots and it becoming the obsession, Teyla feeding into it, just. I found this really hot in a way that left it mostly to the imagination.

Also, tentacle priests!
Dec. 15th, 2012 01:42 pm (UTC)
I love the build up of Rodney noticing the knots. And Teyla admitting she's been showing off. Also enjoyed the warmth and humor.
Dec. 16th, 2012 01:11 am (UTC)
Mmmhh this was really hot
you naughty Santa you!!
Dec. 16th, 2012 01:58 am (UTC)
This is adorable! I'm so glad Telesilla pointed to it.
Dec. 16th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
Of course Teyla is good at knots! And of course Rodney notices and appreciates her skill! It seems so obvious now.

I really like your characterization and the way you put this together. All that talk of knots was pretty sexy.
Jan. 3rd, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
I'm delighted you enjoyed this, and thanks for the rec!
Dec. 16th, 2012 12:51 pm (UTC)
I loved this! And I love Torren going "Uh, I need to get my mom."
Dec. 21st, 2012 05:23 am (UTC)
stargate atlantis secret santa recs
User runpunkrun referenced to your post from stargate atlantis secret santa recs saying: [...] figures out exactly what was going on, there's hot, furry sex. Intergalactic Topology for Beginners [...]
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 3rd, 2013 07:00 pm (UTC)

(and thank you!)
Dec. 23rd, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
Fabulous! Cute and clever and also hot.
Dec. 29th, 2012 08:29 pm (UTC)
Aw, Rodney appreciating competent Teyla and her mad macrame skilz. That's great.
Jan. 1st, 2013 12:38 am (UTC)
Loved this!
Apr. 17th, 2013 02:17 pm (UTC)
This is how his rope bondage fantasies get ruined forever, because every time he tries to jerk off to Teyla's affectionate smile and knowing fingers, he's going to end up thinking of her son's smug face instead. Gross. So gross.

Cute fic, really liked it.
Apr. 17th, 2013 02:36 pm (UTC)
Rec of the day
User astridv referenced to your post from Rec of the day saying: [...] SGA rec: Intergalactic Topology for Beginners [...]
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )


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