Pairings/Characters: Teyla/Rodney, Ronon/John
Archive: Please ask.
Length: ~2,600 words
Summary: When Prince Rodney is abducted by the Faerie Queen, only Teyla and her unwelcome gifts can save him.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, which is a pity, since Teyla + Rodney = WIN.
Notes: Written for saldemonium as part of the sticksandsnark Rodney/Teyla Thing-a-thon. She requested: "Kidfic! Rodney, Teyla and Torren, or even them having another child.; Vegas Teyla and Rodney, or any kind of AU, or kinkfic, where they're in a serious D/s relationship with Teyla as the Top." Hopefully, I managed one of those. I apologize profusely for being late.
As always, thanks to telesilla.
"The problem, Guildmistress Emmagen," the queen explained, "is my son. Not John," she added, as Teyla looked up at the queen's eldest son, who standing next to his husband and looking somewhat abashed, "although his...precipitous marriage does lend even more urgency to the current crisis. As long as there is still someone capable of producing a legitimate heir, then a case can be made that John and Ronon's elopement is politically advantageous. But now Prince Rodney is missing, and unless we find him quickly, there will undoubtedly be difficulties."
Teyla thought that was an understatement. If word got out that the succession was in doubt, the neighboring countries--most notably the Genii--would be quick to exploit the situation.
"I am not sure how I can be of assistance," Teyla said.
Prince John cleared his throat. "We think we know what happened to Rodney--that he was taken by the Fair Folk."
It seemed that the rumors about her had reached as far as the palace. Teyla wasn't really that surprised.
"I still do not know that I can help. I have no fey magic; the only gift that the tiny bit of fey blood in my veins gives me is the ability to see them as they truly are." She shuddered, remembering her first sight of one of the fey.
"But that's more than we can do," John argued. "and if you go with us, then at least one of us might be able to avoid being trapped by their glamour."
"Please," the queen said. "I'm not asking as your sovereign. I'm asking as Rodney's mother--please help find my son."
* * * * *
House Emmagan was a merchant clan, but Teyla's father had been a hunter, and she knew her way around the dense forests that surrounded the city. She had vetoed John's suggestion that they ride; horses would have trouble navigating the terrain, and would bolt anyway the closer they got to the fairy mound.
"What possessed your brother to go looking for the Fair Folk?" Teyla asked as they walked..
"He didn't, not exactly," John explained. He was going to the ruins of the old city."
Teyla stopped. "Why? Doesn't he know it's not only cursed, but that it's a gathering place for the fey?"
"Rodney fancies himself a scholar," John said. Teyla noted his use of the present tense. "He's said that we can't let our fear of the Fair Folk keep us from studying our past."
"Lots of us in Sateda thought that," Prince Ronon put in. There were various stories about what had sparked the war between the Satedans and the fey, but there was no disagreement about the outcome: Sateda had been destroyed, burned down to the very stone, and the handful of its people who survived scattered across the continent. Ronon's existence was a testament to the strength of his people, and Teyla could see the political benefits of his marriage to John under any circumstances that didn't mean an end to the royal line.
"His horse came back that evening, several hours after he'd left. He had an iron knife with him--it was in his saddlebags. Broken in half." Teyla looked over her shoulder to see John's face tight with worry. Ronon didn't offer useless words of comfort, but just walked slightly closer to John. Teyla approved.
She sensed it an instant before he stepped around the tree, a whisper in her ears and something that was almost a taste in the back of her mouth, sweet and cloying. John stopped, mouth open as he stared, and Ronon pushed in front of him, iron knife in one hand.
The fey smiled. Teyla didn't know what the others saw because the glamour had never worked on her. To her eyes, he was hideous: tall and thin, like a great gangling spider with greenish-grey skin, white hair and too many sharp teeth in his wide mouth.
"Guildmistress Teyla Emmagen." He bowed. "My name is--well, my True Name is unpronounceable in mortal speech, even if I were to give it to you. You may call me Todd."
"Why should I call you anything?" she snapped.
"Except dead," Ronon snarled. Todd's smile broadened.
"I have a proposal for you, one that will ensure that you complete your quest, and may even make it possible for you to succeed. Unless of course, you have another plan...?" He gave John a pointed look.
"Um...I was sort of thinking we'd distract them at the entrance while you went to find Rodney," John said, rubbing the back of his neck.
"An...interesting strategy. However, if you wish to survive, I recommend that you accept my assistance."
Teyla tilted her chin up to look at Todd. "And why would you have any interest in assisting us?"
"Ah...that is a complicated tale. Suffice it to say that we are no more united than you mortals with your different kingdoms and countries. The queen of these halls has offered insult to me, and I can think of few better ways to repay her than by stealing her latest pet." He held up a pendant that sparkled with a light of its own. "If this is worn by a mortal who has even a small amount of fey blood, it will allow that mortal to appear as one of us--to both mortals and our own kind. You would be able to walk through our halls unchallenged."
"And then what? Will your queen simply give the prince to me?" Teyla demanded.
"Ah...you will have to convince her." Todd tilted his head and studied her for a moment. "I believe you will be equal to the task."
"Wait--you're not seriously considering this, are you?" Ronon said. He hadn't moved, and was still holding his knife ready.
"Unless you have a better suggestion? I do not think that we have a great many other options." At least, none that will possibly get us out alive.
* * * * *
"What did you do to them!" Teyla yelled at Todd. Ronon and John had both collapsed like rag dolls at the entrance to the faerie mound. Todd rummaged through John's pack and pulled out a blanket to drape over the two men.
"They're just sleeping," he assured her. "They'd only be in the way. I will wake them once we've finished our business here. And now..." He slipped the pendant over her head. The chain seemed to have no clasp, but he had no trouble putting it on her. It fit perfectly, resting just below the hollow of her throat.
Teyla touched her face. "I don't feel any different."
"No? Here...." Todd pressed a hand against a tree trunk and it turned shiny and reflective. In a dizzying image, Teyla could see herself both as she would appear to humans and as the fey would see her. She was at once tall and elegant, with skin and hair burnished gold--and a female version of Todd, with sickly gray skin, pointed teeth, and snake-like eyes.
'Perfect." He drew a sword made from an odd shimming metal that it hurt to look at directly and strode into the mound. Teyla took a deep breath and followed him.
The faerie mound was like a living thing, breathing and pulsing. Teyla reached out and touched a wall; it was warm and seemed to move under her hand. She shivered, and lengthened her stride to match Todd's.
"Her guards are watching," Todd said quietly, his tone perfectly conversational, "But they will not challenge us without a direct order. She will have Prince Rodney in her bedchamber. All you need to do is convince her that you have a prior claim on him. Are you ready?"
"Wait--what--" Todd had stopped in front of a carved door. "I'm not--"
"You'll be fine." He pressed a hand against the door; it slid open and he shoved her inside.
"How dare you invade my rooms!" The faerie queen looked like Teyla's reflection in the tree-mirror, only with white hair instead of black, like Teyla's appeared. Teyla barely noticed her; she was far more interested in the man kneeling at the foot of the queen's throne.
Prince Rodney looked about as little like his brother as possible. He was broad-shouldered, with light brown hair that was thinning prematurely. When he looked up at her, she saw that his eyes were blue and focused on her for an instant before he blinked and stared at her vacantly.
He may not be as handsome as his brother, but he certainly thinks faster, she thought. Taking a step forward, she reached down and stroked his hair.
"How dare you steal what I have already claimed as mine!" she told the queen, hoping that Rodney would continue to play along. He tilted his head just enough so that he could rub his face against her leg like a big cat.
"I did not see your mark on him, and he came readily enough when I called." The queen folded her arms and lifted her chin. "I have become rather fond of him; I do not think I want to give him up just yet."
"What you want is irrelevant," Teyla snapped, hoping her voice wasn't shaking as much as she thought it was.
The queen smiled slowly. "Are you challenging me?" she asked. Teyla glared at her.
"Very well. As challenged, I have the right to name the terms. I call for magic, here and now." She raised her hand, and suddenly Teyla remembered all of the stories where the Fair Folk could reach out and steal a mortal's soul, sucking them dry and leaving only the lifeless husk behind. It seemed that wasn't the fey's only weapon, however, because a spear made of ice or crystal shot toward Teyla. It hit her in the chest and made her stagger.
She lifted a hand in response. She could feel heat gathering at the tips of her fingers, but nothing happened no matter how hard she pushed.
"Weak," the queen sneered, and prepared to shoot another ice lance at Teyla.
A big, warm, human hand grabbed her leg. Rodney was looking up at her, eyes clear and lips pressed tightly together. Instinctively she reached out not with her hand, but with the tiny fey part of herself, taking the energy that he was offering and channeling it into her attack.
It wasn't enough, and she knew that if she kept taking from him it would kill him. Her own anger added to her strength, and sparks shot from her fingertips--not much, but enough to startle the queen and distract her so that she didn't notice Todd behind her, an iron knife in one gloved hand.
Todd smiled, showing all of his teeth, and let the queen's body fall to the floor. Then he winced, and Teyla realized he wasn't smiling as much as he was gritting his teeth against the pain of cold iron that the leather glove couldn't entirely shield him from.
"There," he said. "I have what I wanted, and you have what you wanted--and perhaps something you didn't know you wanted." He glanced at Rodney, who was still kneeling.
"I did not know that you planned to kill her," she said.
"Would it have mattered?" Todd shrugged. "Regardless, you should leave now. Keep the pendant on until you're outside--in fact, just keep it. Consider it a gift."
The last thing Teyla wanted was to accept a gift from one of the Fair Folk, but she knew better than to openly refuse it, not in their halls. She helped Rodney to his feet and inclined her head in Todd's direction. "Let us go."
"I'm not going to argue with that plan," Rodney muttered. He held onto her hand even after they'd emerged into the light again, and only let go when she went to take off the pendant.
"Here...let me...oh." He had slipped the chain over her head and was just staring at her. "Guildmistress Emmagen."
Teyla had been delivering tava beans to the palace every week for three years, and she'd never seen any of the royal family in person before all of this. She couldn't imagine how Prince Rodney would recognize her, and said so.
"Well, let's see...there's the fact that you're the youngest person ever elected to head the Merchants' Guild , plus House Emmagen being one of the richest families in the kingdom, what with you controlling the tava bean trade and all--and considering how much tava I drink, I always keep an eye on the market--both of those are enough to make you worth watching, even before we get to the 'incredibly beautiful' part."
"You have been watching me?"
"Well, of course, I--oof! Get off me, you moron!" John and Ronon had evidently awakened, and both were hugging Rodney, picking him up while he waved his arms in what Teyla suspected was only half-hearted protest.
"Thank you, Guildmistress," John said, bowing to her when he finally set his brother down. "Where's our...uh, friend?"
"He remained behind," Teyla told him. "Our bargain is concluded, so we parted ways." For now, at least.
Without Todd to magically speed their passage through the forest, the walk back to the city too much longer than going the other direction had. Teyla didn't mind, though. Ronon and John led the way, and she could hang back and talk to Rodney--or rather, listen to him talk.
"....and then, as soon as she'd brought me into the hall the glamour didn't disappear exactly, it was just...diminished. So I could see her both ways at the same time. It's how I knew that was you."
Teyla blinked. "I do not understand."
"When I looked at you at first, you were all golden and bright--but your face was the same. I knew it was safest to go along with you because you were clearly trying to rescue me--"
"Clearly." Teyla hid a smile.
"--which you did. That was really brave, by the way."
She shrugged. "Todd's plan was the only solution; I could not ignore it because I disliked the source."
"No, not that--I mean, yes, that, but also...." Rodney took a deep breath. "I meant when you did what she did. Taking from me to fuel your magic. It must have been hard to let that go."
The pendant felt like lead in her pocket. "How do you know I have let it go?"
Rodney smiled crookedly at her. "Because I'd still be back there, and the only difference would be whose feet I was kneeling at. Not to say that I entirely minded when it was you." He turned pink. I'd make a fortune if I could package that shade into a dye and sell it.
"Anyway, that brings me to my original point, which was that traditionally in this sort of thing, the man who rescues the princess gets to marry her."
Teyla arched an eyebrow. "And you think I wish to marry you?"
Rodney blushed harder. "Well, I am going to be king, since my brother certainly isn't interested in the job. But I figured I should make the offer, in case my mother doesn't. And maybe we could, I don't know, have dinner or something, or go riding if you like horses, just to see if it would work out?"
He was so earnest that Teyla had to laugh. Rodney frowned, but she grabbed his hand and squeezed it. "I think that is an excellent idea," she told him. "There is no need to rush, but...I would like to get to know you better." She pulled him close and kissed his wide, crooked mouth very lightly.
"Told you," she heard Ronon say. "You owe me now."