Originally Posted: I could have sworn I posted this already, but maybe not?
Length/Rating: 580 words, PG, Gen
Summary: Rodney skips dinner and Teyla goes looking for him. (AU: The Short End of Forever)
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On Atlantis Teyla would have let him sulk alone, confident he would reemerge unscathed. Here, even with the luxury of time, she couldn’t take the chance that depression might lead to something darker. So when Rodney hadn’t turned up by the time the dinner fires were banked for the night, she bid Barutha watch the caves and headed into the valley.
He wasn’t hard to find; only one of the mangled starship hulls still had enough power to work with. Pushing aside the wreckage he’d halfheartedly piled in the entrance, she headed towards the nose of the freighter.
Rodney didn’t look up when she found him, still focused on the transmitter Usan’s sons had scavenged from the newest wreck. The oblong radio was half-crushed, the circuitry melted on two sides, and still reeking with the stench of burnt flesh and plastic. It wasn’t going to work; she’d seen that truth in his face when he’d first held it that morning.
“He’s still coming.” It was never a question, not for Rodney. She’d heard it countless times, a stubborn litany of that universal constant. John always came for them. Always.
Teyla didn’t answer, sinking down beside him and gently tugging at the ruined bit of technology he cradled in his hands. He let it go after a moment, finally looking up at her.
“It should have worked.” They’d planned for so long, done everything they could to make sure the next ship had stayed in the air. A year and a half of math and cobbled tech and it had all come down to words. Words that meant nothing to frightened alien archeologists trapped in an ancient escape pod.
“Their angle was too steep, you said as much.” And he had, only less politely and at increasing volume. “We are lucky that anyone survived.”
“I don’t care if they survived, what good are they?” He slammed a fist against the floor and the wreck moaned as metal shifted. “Four more mouths to feed, three if Vas can’t save–” He cut off with a curt wave, but they’d escaped much worse with only scars, thanks to Vas.
Tucking the transmitter behind her Teyla caught Rodney’s hands, forcing him to hold still. “Rodney.” He tugged stubbornly against her grip and she tugged back, almost pulling him off balance. “Rodney.”
“I know, I know, but it should have worked.”
She kept her hold on him until his wrists relaxed, then gently tugged him forward to touch foreheads. “You are a genius, yes?”
“Yes.” There was still pride there, lurking behind the frustration, and she grinned.
“Then you will find a way.”
“You don’t know that.” He drew back and she let go of his hands, but he caught hers before she could move away. “You only think I will because I always have. I’m just a theory, not a law…. Someday I’ll be wrong.”
Teyla laughed. “Of course you will,” she squeezed his hands, “and then you will find another way. Is there not always a Plan B?”
“I thought Plan B was mostly just explosions and running away,” but he wasn’t resisting and she stood, pulling him up with her.
“See, my faith in you is not misplaced.” And with a smile she led him back out of the wreck and up the long hills to the caves where John would find them.
Because Rodney always found a way, and John always came.