Spoilers: Season 1, up to Hotzone at least.
Summary: Friendship can only go so far, sometimes that isn't far enough. Teyla fic about her role as friend of Hallings and leader of the Athosians (see, fic for people who can't watch the new S2 stuff...) Probably not quite how you'd expect them to be... Feedback appreciated because this is different and I'd like to know how it went with people.
A/N: Betaread by Fanwoman
She stalks forward, not caring that he can barely keep up. His leg is still stiff despite that it has been many months since his accident. It may be one of those things that will never be the same – such is life, the one they are used to, always rebuilding.
Still, her patience is wearing thin. He's her friend, but even so, there is only so much complaint she can take. He should know better than to question her on the matter.
“I am doing my best.” she assures him, her voice tinged with annoyance. How can he ask for more than she can give?
The atmosphere is tense, but she walks on, not bothering to check upon his reaction to this. She doesn't really care what he thinks; nothing will change.
It is a few steps before she realises he is not following her anymore and turns to glance towards him.Her attention is caught when she sees his expression. She's seen such a look before, particularly when they were children. In adulthood, he has rarely been so dark and solemn – the last time she can recall that look was when he defied the village elders, the night his wife was taken. Nothing good came of it, but she understood that it was something he had to do. She pauses, waiting for the sting; he doesn't disappoint there.
“Your best is no longer good enough.”
He stands tall in the middle of the corridor. There is such a small space between them, but right now, she cannot believe how distant he is. In all their years as friends, he has never said anything as harsh as this. Halling had always been the voice of reason, fair and measured in his arguments – he was the man she depended on to take care of everyone, to be the peacemaker. She'd forgotten he was capable of cruelty.
But she knows where this comes from – the distance is not so sudden in reality; it has been growing ever since the day she chose to join the Earthlings. Perhaps Halling has simply been polite up until this point, because she knows everyone has had doubts over her leadership.
“I am doing what I must. Do not ask what I cannot give. This is for everyone, not just myself. I would never be so selfish as to follow a whim. There is good reason for my continued presence on Atlantis.”
His eyes rest upon her, still accusing her of some kind of betrayal.
“If you were meant to be here, would not the Ancestors welcome you?”
She knows of what he speaks, the whispers among her people that say Atlantis should not be inhabited. Many of her people embrace superstitions, thinking that all the misfortune suffered, of the storm and the virus most recently, have been signs from the Ancients to leave. And there was a time when she might have thought the same, but now she knows better. The trouble is, her people will not accept these events as coincidence, as she does. It casts doubt upon her character to disagree with the elders. Only Charin is accepting of the difference – Charin may not be sure of what it means, but she trusts in her as a leader. Others do not anymore, though she would not have included Halling among them.
“If the Ancients did not want us here, we would not be here. Anything that happens is simply fate, or perhaps a ... test.”
His scowl deepens, and she can tell that trying to appeal to his continuing faith was not wise. He moves forward, the slight limp evident as he does so, until he is closer than she cares to have him at this moment.
“You call them the 'Ancients' now; you ignore the omens they send. Be careful, my friend, or you will bring their wrath down on us all.”
It is in that instant, upon hearing him spit out the word, the true name of the Ancestors, and seeing the glare in his eyes as he threatens her, that she feels something reach the breaking point, and all her anger at “them” flares up within her. She hates that he would judge her for calling them anything less than Godlike. She knows they appear so, that they made life here, but she knows a lot more about them as well, not all of it as brilliant as the things that are often focused on. At first she shared in the revelations about their wondrous technology but the knowledge she has gained has long since outstripped her people’s abilities to adapt.
She's listened to Rodney talk about their history, as far as can be ascertained from the records of the city, and she knows the Ancients left them to die. They saved themselves, and they aren't coming back – there is no rescue, no help but that which they forge themselves through alliances like the one she has struggled so hard to maintain with the people here. Halling still acts just like every other Athosian, as if their precious Ancestors are watching over them like a flock. In reality, it is only the Ancients watching them, with no intention of interfering, and the Wraith plundering people from worlds like cattle.
“Wrath?! Ancestors?! You think they even care? They were no more than us - smarter perhaps, but they were people, people who thought of only themselves in the end. They have forgotten about us! They left ten thousand years ago without looking back. They are nothing but cowards!”
Her voices echoes slightly in the silent halls after reaching its peak. She hadn't meant to raise her voice, but it needed to be said. Nothing less than the hard truth would have gotten through his blind faith.
Looking upon his shocked face, she wonders if she needed to be quite as vocal. Perhaps not. He says nothing in return, simply flees the scene and leaves her wondering when, exactly, she lost her faith. She did believe once, in spite of the terrors inflicted upon their lives. It seems silly to her, these days, to think back to the time when she thought the Ancients were there for them, even as those she loved were picked off by the Wraith, one by one.
Sometimes you need faith, though, to get you through. The difference between her and Halling is that she believes in the new Atlantians, and like all the others, he has nothing else to believe in – because he is not ready to place their future in the hands of the men and women here. For many the answers, their salvation, must come from above. Only the young seem to see the promise of the new; they see John Sheppard as their new hero.
She fears that she has changed too much to be able to speak for her people, and just now, she sees how, finally, she speaks for herself, not merely providing what they want or what is expected but doing what is necessary.
Wounds never heal completely, and like scars, doubts never fade entirely. But she knows, if there is anything that the Athosians, including Halling, are good at – it's rebuilding and coming up stronger in the new.