Home by Lyn
John Sheppard smiled at the little girl who pirouetted in front of him, showing off her newly learned ballet steps. He applauded when she curtsied and looked up at him, her shy smile so like her mother’s.
“What did you think, Uncle John?” Taia asked. “Was I good?”
“Good?” John pretended to think about it for a moment then scooped the child up in his arms and twirled her around. “You’re the best!” he said. “You’re gonna knock ‘em dead at your recital.”
“Careful, John,” Teyla Emmagen warned as she entered the living room. “She just had lemonade.”
“Whoops!” John placed the little girl back on the ground with exaggerated care and followed Teyla into the kitchen. He watched as she put together a salad and stirred something in a pot on the stove. It seemed strange to see her now, just like any other American housewife. Still, ten years had passed. They’d all changed and had to adapt. “Something wrong, Teyla?” he asked.
She looked up at him then quickly looked away. “What makes you think that?”
John shrugged. “How long have we known each other?”
She smiled, but her eyes were sad. “Long enough.” She sighed. “I worry about Kanaan.”
“How’s his job going?”
“Well. He enjoys being outdoors, building houses.”
“But…” John prompted.
Teyla sighed and pushed a strand of hair back from her forehead with the heel of her hand. “He feels he does not fit in. The others do not accept him easily. He misses Athos and Atlantis.”
“Don’t we all,” John replied feelingly. “Look, I could talk to General Mitchell again. He’d love to offer him a place on SG-3. He was disappointed Kanaan turned down the offer in the first place.”
Teyla shook her head. “We agreed one of us needed to be here for the children.” She turned off the stove and walked over to the fridge, pulling a beer out and offering it to John.
“Thanks.” John screwed off the cap and took a sip. “So, are you saying Kanaan would take the SG offer if you weren’t already a member of my team at the SGC?”
“He would never force me to relinquish my position there,” Teyla protested. Too quickly, John thought. “He knows I am needed.”
“Yes, you are. So, how can I help?” John asked. “I can ask around. I have a couple of buddies who have their own businesses. He’s a hard worker and a good man.”
“Thank you.” Teyla smiled again and this time, there was a little more hope in her eyes. “I wish…” She shook her head and shooed him out of the kitchen. “Go, tell Kanaan he can light the barbecue now. Oh!” She opened the refrigerator again and took out another beer. “You’d better take him this. I do believe it was you, John Sheppard, who told him that men on Earth never cook a barbecue without a beer in their hand.”
John held up both hands in defence. “Just getting him used to our customs.” He took the beer and squeezed Teyla’s hand. “It’ll be fine,” he assured her. “We’ll figure something out.”
John grinned as Torren raced into the kitchen, cradling a football under one arm. “Hey, kiddo!”
“Did you see I almost made a touchdown at the game this morning?” Torren asked excitedly.
“You were great!” John said, tousling the boy’s hair. “Won’t be long before you’re playing in the big league, buddy.”
Torren’s eyes sparkled with delight. “I weaved around all those other kids. Mom and Dad have been teaching me a few tricks.” He winked and gave John a high five.
“Pays to have parents like yours,” John said and Teyla laughed. The doorbell rang, interrupting her before she could speak.
“Torren, that will probably be the others. Will you get the door?”
“Sure, Mom.” Torren raced off and Teyla sighed again.
“Sometimes, I think that it would not be a good thing, even if we were able to return to the Pegasus Galaxy,” she said softly.
“Because of the kids?” John asked.
Teyla nodded. “Would it be right to take them back to a world where the Wraith still exist? And what of the friends they’ve made?”
“Doesn’t mean you can’t be homesick,” John said. “I have to admit, I feel like the Pegasus Galaxy was more home to me than Earth ever was.”
“Hi, guys.” Ronon walked into the kitchen and slumped against the counter. “I’m looking for a new apartment,” he said. “McKay is driving me nuts.”
“You say that every week,” John said as he handed Ronon the beer he’d been holding and pulled another one out for Kanaan.
“This time I mean it,” Ronon said. He smiled then. “Unless McKay is telling the truth.”
“You didn’t tell them, did you?” Rodney McKay hurried into the kitchen and frowned at Ronon. “I knew I shouldn’t have told you!”
Ronon grinned and punched Rodney on the arm, getting an “Ouch” in response. “Relax, McKay. I didn’t tell them anything, except that you’re a lousy room-mate.”
John grinned. “Tell us what, Rodney?”
“Guys, you are not going to believe this!”
John rolled his eyes. “Discover a new power source for Atlantis, Rodney?” he asked laconically.
McKay visibly preened. “As a matter of fact, I have. We can get Atlantis back to the Pegasus Galaxy. Who’s in?”
John stared at him for a moment, not entirely sure he'd heard correctly. "You're kidding, right?"
Rodney sighed. "I don't kid, at least not about something as important as this." He nudged Ronon. "Tell him!" he demanded.
Ronon shrugged laconically. "He's not kidding, as far as I can tell anyway."
"Thanks, big help there," Rodney shot back. "Zelenka and I have been working on a new power module cloned from the ZPM for a while now. Zelenka had just about given up, but you know me."
"You think they'll let us go back?" Ronon asked.
"If they don't, we'll find a way around it," John replied. "We've done it before. Besides you, Teyla, and Kanaan deserve to have the choice of where you want to live."
"I ask again," Rodney butted in, "who's in?"
"I am," Sheppard said.
"You sure?" Ronon asked. "I mean, you're back on Earth."
"Like I told Teyla," John replied, "Atlantis has always felt more like home to me."
"Probably because of the genetic link," Rodney said sagely. "Anyhoo, I'm up for another jaunt to the Pegasus Galaxy. More strange new worlds to discover and all that."
Ronon grinned. "I got him hooked on Star Trek. Cool show!"
"What about you, Teyla?" John looked around to find she was nowhere in sight. Glancing through the kitchen window, he could see her deep in conversation with Kanaan. "Let's give them some privacy, huh?" he suggested. Making sure everyone had a cold drink, he ushered them all into the living room. "So, McKay," he said, settling onto the sofa, "tell us all about your amazing invention."
Kanaan stared at Teyla in surprise. "You do not wish to return to our homeland?"
"Of course I do!" she replied vehemently. "But what of the children? Is it right to return them to a place where the Wraith have destroyed so many lives? Torren was just a baby when we came here and Taia was born here. What of their friends, their education, their safety?"
"It is because of you and your friends that we have conquered the Wraith before," Kanaan replied. "Our struggle against the Wraith has shaped who we are, who we have become. They are children, Teyla, they will make new friends amongst our people, learn of their heritage, be proud of being Athosian. I must return," he added softly, "this is not my home and I fear it shall never be. Should you wish to remain-"
"No!" Teyla shook her head. "My place is with you... and my team."
"We could leave the children here," Kanaan suggested. "Once we establish if it is safe, we could return for them."
"And if we cannot?" Teyla gazed over at Torren and Taia who were playing a spirited game of chase around the garden. "No, you are right, Kanaan. If we are able to return, then we must all go. This place, this house is not home. We are their home."