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Finding the Way (in)

For fairestcat, who not only gave me the excellent prompt of "Teyla being good with technology," but was very very patient in waiting for delivery. Roughly 1,700 words, PG (I know! I'm confused, too!).

Finding the Way (in)

Rodney was sulking in his room when Teyla found him.

"Go away," he said loudly when she pressed the chime to alert him that she was outside.

"It is Teyla," she said, loudly enough that he would hear her, but not so loudly that she would disturb his neighbors.

There was a pause, and she hoped - but no. "Please go away," he said.

She sighed. "Rodney. Let me in, please."

"No. I'm going to take a shower now. And drown myself."

She rolled her eyes. It was just as well that the corridor was deserted. She looked up it; down it; leaned forward and pressed her ear to the door. The rooms were well sound-proofed, but she could hear, faint and faraway, the sound of water beginning to run. Either he really would take a shower, or he was performing a fairly elaborate ruse to get out of seeing her (or John, or Ronon).

She shook her head. It was difficult to know which would be true, in the case of Rodney McKay.

It did not matter, however; her course was decided upon, and whether he was in the shower or merely sitting in his bathroom, castigating himself for a failure no one but he considered such, she still meant to speak to him.

She looked at the entry panel to the door. She did not have the Ancient gene, of course, but there were other genetic magics to be found here; she was sure that Rodney's door, in some small way, would be accustomed to her - would wish to open for her. (She knew, of course, that neither city nor door were sentient, but it was a casuistry, and a low, petty one, to declare that objects and machines within Atlantis did not respond to embedded patterns. The Ancient gene, long use, habit, desire to please - what did it matter, really? The end result was the same.)

She pulled the panel off easily, using the tool she carried in her belt - she had been gifted it by Aiden Ford, long ago: a leatherman, he'd called it, though it was neither leather nor particularly masculine. The tool had served her well, and it did so now; the panel in her hand, she regarded the glowing crystals within. She had seen Rodney do this dozens of time. She pulled two of the crystals out; traded their places and jiggled the third gently until all three glowed again and the door slid open. "Ah," she said, pleased, and replaced the covering panel. She stepped inside and closed the door with the manual switch.

The water was still running, clearly audible here, and Teyla sat down on Rodney's bed to await him.

When he came out of the bathing room he wore a towel around his waist, and he stopped with a yelp as he saw her.

"How did you get in?" he asked.

She rolled her eyes again. It was a bad habit, but at least an expression Rodney would recognize. "I have seen you open the residential doors a dozen times," she said. "And you did not have the manual lock engaged from within - if you had, I would never have managed it." She stood up. "Perhaps you wanted me to get in."

"I really didn't," he said, a settled look of unhappiness replacing his indignation, even as his hands clutched nervously at the towel at his waist. "Just - I'm fine. I'm not the injured one, you know," he said. "And I need to go over the data from the explosion." He didn't meet her eye, looking instead at her knees, perhaps. His hair was dripping slightly onto his shoulders. "So, you can just. Go. That would be fine."

"Rodney." She stepped forward. "Surely that analysis is not urgent."

"It isn't now," he snapped, and sidled past her. "I'd like to get dressed now, if you don't mind."

"I do not," she said, although perhaps she did, just a little. "John told Ronon a saying that I thought you would appreciate, if you do not already know it." She turned; Rodney stood at his clothing chest with his back to her, heavy shoulders hunched, head down.

"What's that?" Rodney asked, sounding resigned. Sometimes she wondered what it would take to make him lash at her the way he did toward Ronon and John.

"John said," Teyla said, stepping up to him, lifting one hand to rest it on his damp, bare shoulder, "Ronon should remember: 'If you see the bomb tech running, try and keep up with him.'" She pressed a little, then dropped her hand. "Ronon agreed."

Rodney was still for a moment. "Ha," he finally said. He turned to face her again, tucking his towel more securely about himself. "That doesn’t really make me feel any better, but thanks for trying."

"You did nothing wrong!" Teyla said, goaded into irritation. "You should stop this sulking and come to the infirmary to see Ronon."

"I did nothing - I did everything wrong," Rodney said. "I didn't defuse the bomb! And then I ran away - I mean - I just ran! I didn't even wait!" He gestured with one hand, then ran it through his wet hair. "Dammit." He dropped his shoulders, defeated. "I just want to figure out what happened and be left alone."

"Rodney, you are supposed to run when such things happen," Teyla said. "Those are your orders, are they not?"

He made a face. "I ran right through the gate and then you - all of you - didn't come through right away and I didn't know what had happened. But I could hear you in my radios, and - god. That was the worst 30 seconds of my life." He rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I thought I was done running away from everything."

"Rodney, you are not listening to me," Teyla said firmly. "You did nothing wrong. We needed you to run, at that moment, in that place. Had you not run the way you did, we would have been fearing for you, worrying about you, rather than able to concentrate on running ourselves." She moved even closer, and saw the way his eyes went helplessly to her face, the sad, soft line of his mouth, sloping down on the left side. "You did right. Had you been slower, Ronon would be hurt much worse than he was, and John and I as well, in all probability."

"It wouldn't even have been a problem if I had been able to defuse the bomb in the first place," he said mulishly.

She resisted the urge to slap him. "Yes, Rodney, how unfortunate that you are - very occasionally - unable to decipher foreign weapons systems within a fourteen-minute timeframe," she said, dry as bone.

He glared at her. "I'll have you know," he began, and then deflated again, but this time he rolled his eyes - a hopeful sign. "Very funny," he said. Some of the tension had left his hands, though. "I just hate it when anyone gets hurt and it's my fault," he said.

"It is not -" she began, and he gave another eyeroll, relaxing more and waving his hand.

"Fine, yes, you have a point - but it still bothers me," he interrupted. "Okay? It bugs me."

"You are allowed to be bugged," she said, and finally put her arms around him in an embrace. "But you are not allowed to sulk," she said. His arms, which had been settling about her, stiffened, and she tightened her own embrace and stifled her smile against his chest. "I beg your pardon - indulge in manly brooding," she corrected herself.

"Hmph." He returned her hug. He was warm and mostly dry, and she liked his bare skin more than was probably appropriate for the moment, and for the fact that she fully intended to drag him back to the infirmary to sit with John and Ronon and herself. "At least this time you remembered to add the word 'manly.'"

"Brooding - manly or not - does not suit you," she said, resting against him for just a moment.

He sighed, chest rising and falling against her cheek. "No, I suppose I should leave the brooding to Ronon-types. And the sulking to Sheppard," he added.

She smiled against his skin again. "It is not your strength," she agreed. She turned her head, propping her chin on his sternum. "Will you get dressed now, and come and visit Ronon in the infirmary?"

He looked down at her; he still looked strained, but no longer quite so deeply unhappy. "Only if I can steal his jello," he said.

"He has merely broken several broken ribs," Teyla replied, stepping back, giving him space to dress himself. "He is not unconscious. Any such attempt is foolhardy at best." She smiled at him.

"Oh, well," he said, not moving. "I bet I can get Sheppard's." He reached out and pulled her to him again, tentative as he sometimes was, hand warm and large on her shoulder. "Thanks for coming in after me," he said.

"It was not quite my pleasure," she said, and lifted herself to kiss him briefly - a promise for later keeping. "But nevertheless, I am willing." She smiled, then looked seriously into his face. "Ronon is all right," she said quietly. "You did not fail him, or John, or me, or our team."

He breathed in, a long, deep breath, and nodded once. "I - thanks." He exhaled and bent to hold her tightly. "Thanks."

She disentangled herself a moment later. "Get dressed now or we'll never leave," she said, running her hand over his arm, stepping back with a smile.

His mouth quirked up at the corner, and he turned and began pulling clothing from the drawers of the chest. "Your argument lacks something," he informed her.

In the hall, he brushed his hand against hers as they walked. "Come to my quarters later?" he asked.

"I will," she replied, smiling a little. "I know the way in."



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 19th, 2008 07:12 am (UTC)
Oh, clever Teyla! ♥
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 19th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
Finding the Way (in) - story
I really love this story! Both Rodney and Teyla are in character and the loving, tender quality of their interchange is charming. Thank you for sharing!
Love, max
Apr. 19th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, there's such sweetness here! And I love Rodney craving touch by the end, bless his adorable heart.
Apr. 19th, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, I liked this. :) I love that it was an established relationship and yet, it was so deeply in character. (I think this is shaping up to be one of my favorite fic events ever! *g*)
Apr. 19th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
nawwww. Teyla and a leatherman! She rocks.
Apr. 20th, 2008 02:49 am (UTC)
Oh, Teyla's just perfect here! Clever and resourceful, and I love the way she's simultaneously sympathetic and frustrated. And the affection! *loves*
Apr. 21st, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
God, I love seeing Teyla get her due in fic. I enjoyed how you wrote her here. Thank you!
Apr. 21st, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
Oh, this is WONDERFUL. I love how Teyla doesn't let Rodney get away with beating himself up over what happened and how she knows exactly how and how much to push him.

(Also, Ford having gifted Teyla with a Leatherman is totally now part of my personal canon.)
May. 2nd, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC)
This is darling! The way she reaches out, the way he doesn't want her to but allows anyway. Oh, Rodney.
Aug. 1st, 2010 11:51 am (UTC)
Rodney's guilt is so well drawn with his fears of being a coward and a failure shining through. The relationship between Rodney and Teyla was stronger for being so subtly used.

I loved: "Your argument lacks something," and, for different reasons: "'If you see the bomb tech running, try and keep up with him.'" Lol!
Apr. 17th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
Oh fantastic! I love a Teyla who knows her way around tech just as well as she knows her way around one of her boys. Her affection for Rodney is very vivid and very much appreciated. :) I'm not a usual Rodney/Teyla reader (though it seems to be growing on me like crazy), but I enjoyed this to the hilt! Thanks for sharing this. :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )