Never Dreamed of ThisAuthor:
Just mucking about in other people's sandboxes.Written for:
Purple_Cube as part of the 2007 Rodney/Teyla Thingathon at Sticks & Snark
Being on Earth, Under the influence (booze, drugs, aliens, whatever) and the colour red. / NO death, extreme angst or non-conSummary:
There are some things it had never occurred to Rodney to wish for, not even in his dreams.Author’s Note:
I’m not sure which is funnier - that, of all people, I got Purple_Cube in this exchange or that she’s actually heard of Howling Bells too. Personally, I am dying laughing that the only two times I've written Rodney/Teyla were both for her. It's like a sign...“This life is a fate unknown
I'd never dreamed of this”
~ The Bell Hits, Howling Bells
Rodney wiped at the sweat running down his face in fat, little droplets and willed his aching legs to keep putting one foot in front of the other. This was some new form of hell – it had to be.
He had no idea how long they’d been walking, but “two hours too long” immediately sprang to mind.
Oh sure, this was a great planet if your idea of heaven was a lush, green, swelteringly hot sauna world. For Rodney, not so much. He just wanted to finish this sweep and get back to the jumper, which thank goodness, had climate control.
They’d split up – he and Teyla heading east, Sheppard and Ronon heading west – after their initial fly-over revealed some signs of possible Ancient occupation in both directions and neither anywhere near a suitable landing site. For being so advanced, you’d think the Ancients could be a little more considerate about building closer to the Gate. That wasn’t too much to ask, was it? The plan was do some recon and check out the sites. If either looked promising, they’d return with full supplies and a science team.
Sheppard had said the walk would do Rodney good and there really weren’t words to adequately express what he thought of that, but he’d taken a stab at it. As he’d said, who wouldn’t love a nice, long hike in the sun and the heat among the possibly deadly flora of an alien planet?
Ronon snorted at that, but Sheppard just reminded them both to be careful and maintain radio contact.
Thick forest ringed the gate and that hadn’t been terrible, walking along in the cool shadows of the massive trees. It was quiet here – the only sound the wind rustling of the canopy far overhead. Rodney thought the lack of animal life was odd, but he wasn’t complaining too loudly since deadly fauna wasn’t really something he wanted to deal with either. Teyla asked why he always assumed that new things were going to be deadly. His grumbled answer, ‘Experience’, got a chuckle out of her.
That had been an hour ago and soon after the forest had given way to vivid green fields, thick with wildflowers. The open spaces might have been a good sign, a sign that they were getting close to something, anything, but he couldn’t see any indication the fields had been deliberately cleared. It was rather hard to tell - nature could swallow the marks of man quickly, particularly in a temperate climate like this. He kept an eye out for stone markers or deep furrows that could indicate past farming, but the groundcover was dense and you’d pretty much have to trip anything you found to even notice it in the riot of growth.
“You see anything yet?” He called to Teyla, but she didn’t answer.
He turned and was momentarily blinded by the harsh afternoon sun. Teyla was a silhouette - a dark blot outlined in fiery streamers of sunlight.
“Look around.” The outline of an arm emerged from the Teyla-shadow, pointing around them in a sweeping arc. “It’s...”
Rodney took another look – a good look this time - at the Technicolor riot of flowers around them. Everything from deep blood reds to light crisp yellows to clean pale lavenders to lush vibrant oranges - and he noted the way the petals nearly glowed in the searing light.
His first thought was that between the heat and gaudy splashes of crayon-lurid color, it was like a disgustingly cheerful greenhouse on an acid trip, but he pared the rough edges off that thought before speaking. “Yes, it’s very…bright.”
The Teyla-shadow took careful steps through the flowers, her features emerging slowly as she blocked the glare of the sun and the afterimages of blooms faded from his vision.
“No, it’s…” Teyla trailed off again, blinking and shaking her head. “It’s wrong
Wrong, wrong…the word bounced around, echoing through his head.
Literally - which was a pretty big tip off something was very
The wheels turned and he could almost hear the bing, bing, bing of things clicking into place – things like how heavy his legs felt, how unnaturally bright the colors were, and how over and over he’d been comparing this field to an acid trip.
All he could hear was a harsh rasping sound and it took a few minutes to realize it was his own breathing. The air was sticky-heavy in his throat and the flowers started to smear together like rain on the windshield of his sight.
“I can’t…so heavy.” Teyla fumbled for his arm and her whole body sighed, the breath and strength going out of her at once. Her fingers slid off his arm as she crumpled limply.
He looked down at her - a streak of grey BDUs and pollen sprinkled, honey-colored hair like an island of neutral adrift in a rainbow sea - and thought how vulnerable she looked, lying there. Teyla and vulnerable in the same thought was just not right.
He should...his fingers were clumsy and thick as he struggled to mash the radio button.
And then the ground was there, rushing up to meet him.
His eyes opened and, seeing the soft blue and silver tones around him, his first thought was Atlantis – he was home.
He blinked a few times and struggled to sit up, fighting against the aching in his head. He remembered a mission, a field, and then nothing. And now he was back in Atlantis.
But looking around, he saw he’d been mistaken. He wasn’t in Atlantis - at least not his
The hallway was dark, no signs of life and there wasn’t even the ever-present hum of the city itself. It was like the city had never awoken, still sleeping away the millennia beneath the sea. Or-
The thought was like ice sliding down his spine. If the ZPM had died, if Atlantis was powerless and still beneath the waves…The thought died as his throat closed in a panic.
No, it wasn’t even worth thinking about – if that was the case, he was dead already and there wasn’t a single thing he could do.
And there had to be something he could do. That was just how things worked. Some threat arose and he solved it. Period.
He just needed to take a look around and get a better idea of where he was, what was going on, and then form an idea how to fix it. Maybe this was another Ancient city – they’d found others before.
With a plan, no matter how tenuous, in place, he breathed a little easier. Enough lying here; there was work to be done.
Hallway after hallway was just as empty as the first and there wasn’t a single sign that the expedition from Earth had ever been here. There was also a hollowness to the deserted city was just plain eerie and he found himself chattering away, to no one in particular, just to keep the goosebumps at bay.
“You are so stupid,” he hissed. “How many times have you seen The Wizard of Oz? But no – let’s all go skipping through the field of alien poppies. Whee, what fun!”
He spun around and he’d never been so happy to see anyone before in his life. “Teyla?”
She looked just as relieved to see him, her steps a little too quick to be called casual as she closed the distance between them. But as she came close, a wary look settled over her features. “Were you…Do you remember…?”
It was a good point. How did he know she was really Teyla? Of course, why would an imaginary Teyla be worried if he was really Rodney…unless she only thought that because he
would think that and…Rodney stopped himself in mid-thought. That way lay madness. Better to just bring up the obvious.
“A planet like an oven and hallucinogenic plant life? Yes. I do.” He paused before adding a little test. Paranoia, after all, was just another way of saying healthy caution. “And Sheppard?”
Teyla gave him a confused look. “Was not with us…”
He nodded. “And neither was Ronon – just checking.”
“I see,” she sounded relieved - that is was him or maybe that she’d passed his test. He didn’t know which. He was more focused on the fact she couldn’t quite shake her worried frown. “Where are we? And what is all of this?”
“I don’t know yet, but it’s probably not real.” On some level he knew that but admitting it out loud was like a punch in the gut. If this wasn’t real, then there was really no point in having a plan. “I was just taking a look around.”
“Sounds like a good place to begin. Shall we?”
They fell in step together, the thud of their boots echoing loudly. Rodney wasn’t sure how Teyla felt about it, but after at least an hour on his own, the noise of another person was calming.
“I think I managed to call Sheppard and Ronon before…”
Rodney left the rest unsaid. If he hadn’t, if he’d imagined that too, they were in serious trouble. They walked in silence, searching, but room after room, there was nothing.
He was surprised that even imaginary walking got tiring after a while and he held up his hand, signaling for a pause. He closed his eyes, head resting back against the wall, and waited for some flash of genius.
His mind remained frustratingly blank.
“I’m not sure there’s actually a point to this wandering. We’re not even sure we’re actually going anywhere…”
But Teyla was gone, along with the city. At some point the scene had shifted around him and he was outside.
The sky was a dusty indigo studded with the first evening stars and all around him a rusty desert plain stretched out. He started walking, to where he wasn’t sure. At least it was cool here, though there was a bite in the air that said as it grew darker it would soon be too cold for comfort. Was it possible to get imaginary frostbite?
He came to a cliff edge, a place where the ground just dropped away into a massive, yawning chasm. He couldn’t see to the bottom of the canyon and, for lack of a better option, turned and walked along the cliff edge.
He thought at first he was seeing things – things beyond the hallucinated desert and all. She was standing on an outcropping, a precarious rock perch jutting out over the abyss, carefully leaning forward and staring down into the canyon.
It was no wonder he almost didn’t recognize her. She was wrapped in scarlet, loose open robes over a flowing shift dress and a long, gauzy shawl – all in the same muted shade of red, all streaming out behind her as little puffs of night wind ruffled past. She looked more like some ancient goddess than the woman he’d recently seen sprawled comatose in a field with streaks of pollen in her hair.
She didn’t answer save for a quick glance over her shoulder and a short nod, before turning back to look out over the edge. He came up behind her and he could finally see what was holding her attention.
Below them, tucked into the cliff face opposite, were the ruins of a city built out of sun-dried brick and rock. Here and there, time had crumbled walls and towers into piles of rubble, but much of it remained and it was easy to imagine the city it had once been.
She looked over and smiled. “You found me. I was following you and then…”
She swept her arm wide and ended by holding her hand out to him. Her gesture might have been at the landscape, the city, or her own clothing and maybe it was supposed to encompass all of it.
This had to be one of the strangest hallucinations he’d ever had and it was sad, he thought, that he’s actually had enough for that assessment to carry some weight.
She cleared her throat, flexing the hand held out to him, fingers beckoning impatiently. He wasn’t sure what she was asking until she said, “Perhaps this way we won’t become separated next time.”
Oh, good idea. He took her hand and awkwardly fidgeted as he searched for a comfortable way to hold her hand.
“I don’t quite understand what’s happening, but this place…It’s beautiful.” Her voice was reverent and wistful smile curved her lips.
And it was
beautiful, in that haunting sort of way only very old things could manage and there was something moving about the way structures so often outlived their builders and remained as silent witness of a people gone.
“This is real.” Saying and realizing it happened simultaneously and he hurried to explain.
“I mean, this place isn’t real – the rocks, the sky – totally not real. I think we might be stuck in some shared dream…I don’t know just yet. But back to the point -The city. It’s a real place - back on Earth. I went there once.”
Teyla gave him a curious look and he was surprised at the amount of trivia that came bubbling forth out of some back corner of his memory.
“It’s called Mesa Verde – green table, roughly. It’s in Colorado almost over into New Mexico.” A little voice tells him all this means nothing to her and he stumbles for some meaningful reference point. “It’s about 3 hours south of the SGC. We all went out there on day off one time.”
Her hand squeezed his, an encouragement or perhaps a request that he stop, but he wanted it to be the former and barreled right ahead. “It’s thought the Anasazi built it. They were a nomadic people, mostly hunters and gatherers, not so much farmers, but at one point they settled down and started building. The cliff city was built it thousands of years ago, right into the cliff face as protection from warring neighboring tribes. And then, one day…they vanished.”
“Vanished?” Teyla asked, but it was a question he couldn’t answer. No one could, except the people themselves.
“It’s a mystery.” He shrugged. “No one knows why they vanished. One day, it was a living, bustling city and then it wasn’t – empty.”
Knowing what he knows now, he could think of plenty of reasons they might have gone – war, famine, a visit from god-like beings with really scary weapons. That last one was his personal favorite. A few trips through ‘Gate really reframed how he thought about a lot of things.
He would have said more but in a blink, they were somewhere else – somewhere that looked a lot like the Athosian settlement on the mainland, but not quite.
“Oh,” Teyla let out a startled gasp.
Rodney gave her hand what he hoped was a comforting squeeze. “What is it? You know where we are?”
Teyla swallowed loudly before answering. “We are on Athos. This is…this was my home.”
“Oh.” There are volumes more that he should have been saying, something comforting, something to ease the deep furrow between her eyebrows, but ‘oh’ is the only thing that came out.
She blinked back the tears and, in her usual way, tried to comfort him
. “You were talking about the builders of that city – Mesa Verde – and I started thinking about Athos and wondering if one day we might return. If we don’t, no one would know we had been there. We do not build such permanent structures.”
“Wait! You said you were just thinking about…” he realized too late he probably interrupted her, that she might need to talk a little more, but the words are already out. “I’m sorry. Were you done?”
She nodded and he hurried on. “You said you were thinking
about Athos – remembering? And here we are.”
Teyla caught on quickly – just as she always did. He’s not sure when he noticed that, but he had gotten in the habit of expecting her to keep up and, sure enough, she usually did.
Her voice was lighter, more hopeful, as she answered. “You believe we can control this…dream?”
“Maybe. Let me try something.”
He closed his eyes and thought about the SGC Gateroom, letting his mind’s eye go over every facet of the gate, the rivets of the heavy doors, the glass separating it from the control room.
“This looks like…”
The Gateroom! It worked!
And of course, Teyla would recognize it after “visiting Earth” during their little dream journey on M5S-224.
But, still, this had to be his doing. Surely she wouldn’t remember enough from one hazy visit to call it up in this detail.
He did it!
But as quick as it rose, the elation ebbed away.
He could kick himself for being so shortsighted. Who cared if they could control this? What good did that do?, he thought with a scowl.
“Well, this is great. We can chose where we’d like to revisit while our bodies are lying in a field somewhere, waiting to starve to death or for something to come eat us.” He really hated that field right about now.
Teyla frowned, lips parted to speak, but she didn’t get the chance.
The world tilted and they were back in the field – or more accurately an imaginary representation of the field. At least whichever one of them had thought them here hadn’t imagined the heat as well.
It was all too much and Rodney let go of Teyla’s hand, sitting down with a discouraged whump.
“Rodney…” Teyla started in a tone Rodney recognized as her ‘speak slowly and calmly to the unreasonable’ voice. “I’m sure Col. Sheppard has found us or will find us very shortly. We will not starve to death.”
She must not have been too sure though because the field blurred away and blink – he was sitting at the head of a long wooden table bowing under the weight of plate after plate of Athosian delicacies.
He looked at Teyla, face clearly saying ‘oh really’ and she surprised him by looking around sheepishly and laughing. “Well, I am fairly
sure we will not starve.”
“You know, I’m never going to get pizza again if we die. There was this place right down the street from me that made their own homemade sausage…It was amazing. Best pizza ever,” he mused as his stomach growled loudly. It might have only been dream food, but the imaginary smells were fantastic and he’d always been a nervous eater.
The world lurched again, a little faster this time, and they were in his apartment in Colorado, an open pizza box on the coffee table in front of them.
His typically pig-styish apartment, he realized with a groan. He concentrated on ‘thinking’ his apartment clean, but since he’d never really seen it like that, it didn’t seem to be working. He always did hate this apartment – it was just another rest stop on the way to something better - and he’d never seen much point to making it homey. For a moment, he sort of wished he had.
Teyla didn’t seem disgusted though. She looked around – curious, but cautious – nodding as she recognized a few things like the tv and a stale bowl of popcorn.
He can’t believe his memory included that stupid bowl of popcorn that had been sitting there at least three weeks last time he saw it. Oh well, at least they were in his living room and not…
Teyla turned to him with something he almost wanted to call a sly smile. “Rodney, is this your bedroom?”
He clapped his hands over his eyes – as if hiding the unmade bed and piles of discarded clothes from his
sight would stop her from seeing it. “I am so sorry – total accident. Just – give me a minute.”
His mind raced for somewhere else, anywhere else, anywhere not this bedroom, and he felt the tiny flutter in the pit of his stomach he was coming to identify with the abrupt changes of scene.
Unbelievable. It was his room from when he was 9 or 10, right down to the stars and planets sheets he had loved.
Teyla looked around, more openly curious this time, smiling at stacks of books and drawings and half-finished projects scattered around. It was a room that clearly belonged to a child that got along better with teachers and ideas than other children, but thank God she might not recognize that right off the bat.
Rodney clamped his eyes shut and tried again.
He peeked through his fingers. Oh – his quarters in Atlantis. That was good.
And crap, it was the bedroom again.
This was becoming like that thing where you told someone not
to think about a purple cow. Because once you said not to think of something, that’s all you could
He realized what was missing from the scene just as an amused Teyla walked in from the living room and took his hand again, more firmly. “Maybe we should try to stay closer together. I found myself out in the hallway.”
The warmth of her hand in his and the fact she was standing so close he could smell faint traces of whatever she used on her hair weren’t helping a lot in the quest to stop thinking about inappropriate places they could end up.
Rodney took a deep breath and he could feel the blush creeping across his cheeks, but Teyla just smiled. “Rodney, relax. It’s fine.”
“It’s really not fine,” he said, mind racing ahead to the number of ways this could be even worse.
Yep, now he could conclusively say that finding himself in bed with Teyla next to him, hand still warm in his, was a thousand times more embarrassing than their tour of every bedroom he’d ever had.
Teyla’s eyes went wide and she couldn’t fight back a laugh any longer. “Rodney – just stop. You are panicking and I am starting to feel a little dizzy from all these shifts.”
She propped herself up on one elbow and rolled over to lay her free hand on his chest. “It’s fine. I am fine. Just…stop. Stop thinking about how this could be more…”
He was on his back, staring at an unfamiliar wall and his first thought is overwhelming relief that he has no idea where they are.
And then he looked up and saw Teyla’s face hovering above his.
Huh. Even panicking, he’d never dared to consider thinking about what it might be like to be pined beneath Teyla, but now that he was here he was wondering why he hadn’t.
He managed a shaky grin. “Well, you did say you wanted to stick closer together, but…”
“I…Oh my! I’m so, so sorry…” Teyla tripped over the words as she hurried to scramble down from her position astride him. She didn’t go too far though, perhaps in case they shifted again, and knelt beside him on the sleeping mat.
“Really, I…I don’t know what to say.”
“No, no. It’s fine,” he said, echoing her words, because finding Teyla in his lap – not the worst thing ever. “Where are we?”
She kept her eyes fixed on the floor as she answered. “In my home on Athos…”
She took a deep breath, “…in my bed.”
She looked like she was wishing the ground would open and swallow her and Rodney tried to think of a subject change. For once, the words were right there.
“I like the tapestries. The patterns are very…complicated,” Rodney offered solemnly.
Teyla looked up, giving him a look like he was barking mad. When she saw he was nearly serious, she gratefully accepted the offered topic and smiled. “Thank you. Some of them depict Athosian legends. Some of the others were just patterns I thought beautiful.”
Even though he was listening – well, mostly listening - he’d also been thinking about what had just happened. He thought he had a rough idea but wasn’t quite sure. “Teyla – just now, you were trying to tell me to stop imagining the worst and then you…”
There was that sheepish look again.
“Did just what I told you not to? I believe so,” Teyla sighed. “It is a bit like telling one not to think of a spotted faull – once said, you can not help but think of one.”
Huh. So there was an Athosian equivalent of the purple cow thing.
He reached over and gently took her hand. “It’s really okay. Really. You were only trying to help and I think I gave up on getting out of this with any dignity intact about the time you saw my Amazing Galaxy sheets.”
A smile played at the corners of her mouth and she finally gave in.
Rodney gave her hand a light squeeze. “Do you want to think us somewhere else or should I? I might able to manage Atlantis gateroom or maybe the commissary?”
She looked at him for a long moment before answering. “I truly am a little shaken from so many travels in so short a time and…” she waved in his general direction and he thought he got what she was trying to say. “I am a little worried where we will end up. Could we…I would not mind staying here for the moment.”
“Fine by me.”
She let go of his hand and settled herself more comfortably, legs crossed beneath her and her outer thigh pressed against his on her narrow bed. She raised a brow and he nodded in answer to the question she hadn’t asked - the contact would probably be enough to anchor them together in case they accidentally thought themselves somewhere else.
She relaxed some, looking around her old home and smiling at this piece or that. She mentioned she was surprised at how much detail she remembered and happily explained the history of some of her things. She’d been guardian of her people’s history, protector of objects they’d had for generations and now it was all gone.
When her words ran dry, he let her be, for once comfortable with silence, until she could go on.
“Rodney, if they don’t find us…”
He stopped her before she could continue. “They will. They always do.”
She shook her head. “But if they do not, I’m glad it was you here with me.”
He was so used to seeing Teyla look confident or determined and this look is neither of these. She almost looked…nervous.
She leaned over, only to stop when her face is barely an inch from his. Her eyes met his and she said, quite seriously, “And I thought the star sheets were very dignified” and kissed him.
Really kissed him.
An ‘oh God, we are totally going to die and I don’t want to have not done this’ kind of kissed him.
Not that he was complaining.
Only complaint he had was that he’d barely had time to recover from the shock and kiss her back, kiss her like he’d barely admitted to himself he wanted to, when there was a crushing pain in his head and the whole world went black – again.
Someone was shaking him.
“Rodney? I think he’s starting to come around. Rodney!”
He’d know that voice anywhere and sure enough, when he opened his eyes there was Carson, doing his trademark concerned face.
“You alright there, lad?”
He batted Carson’s hands away. “I’d be better if you’d stop shaking me. I’ve just spent God knows how many hours face down in psychotropic pollen and I’d like to keep my remaining brain cells, thank you.”
Carson let go of him with a grin. “He’s fine.”
“Good. You both gave us quite a scare.” Rodney turned his head to find Sheppard sitting nearby, arms crossed, and that goofy, relieved smile Rodney was seeing all too often these days plastered across his face. “You two were out cold for the last day and half. We were a little afraid we didn’t get there in time.”
Rodney snapped his fingers at no one in particular and tried to find words for the memory that was hazily surfacing. “The radio! Did I-?”
Sheppard nodded. “Send an incredibly cryptic message and then pass out? Yep.”
“Huh. Also, could we all just take a moment and acknowledge the fact I was right about the deadly flora?”
Sheppard just shook his head. “You were right, Rodney. As usual.”
He was right about the deadly plants, though he hadn’t been quite fast enough to figure out which ones. And he’d been right about Sheppard and Ronon trotting right along to save them. He knew they would, hadn’t he said they would, hadn’t he told…
Rodney’s train of thought abruptly hung a sharp right and he grabbed Carson’s wrist. “Teyla? Where is Teyla?”
Carson stepped aside to reveal a perfectly healthy-looking Teyla sitting up in the next bed over. Why did doctors always stand in the way like that? Did they teach some sort of course on dramatic tension in med school?
Rodney never got a chance to ask as Elizabeth and Ronon arrived to check on them. As they left, the rest of Atlantis seemed to come wandering through – a few at a time. Obviously, they hadn’t missed much if the best thing anyone could find to do was come hang out in the infirmary.
Radek came by and Rodney was so glad to see him, he started a silly argument with him out of sheer joy. Radek seemed to understand Rodney wasn’t serious and played along, offering utterly ridiculous reasons why they should try rerouting the power going to the water processing systems through the air filtration first and then on to the desalinization tanks. At least Rodney assumed he was joking.
It was getting late by the time the last visitor left and frankly, he was exhausted. How he could be so tired after sleeping for nearly two days, he had no idea.
And there was that other matter.
That kiss had flashed through his mind a hundred times already, but there was always someone talking to him or to Teyla.
The more he thought about it, the more sure he was that it had all been in his head. It made no sense for them to share the same pseudo-peyote fueled vision quest.
But maybe they had.
The uncertainty was going to drive him mad.
“Teyla?” He said it quietly, half hoping she was already asleep and he could just talk himself right back out of this.
She turned her head towards him. “Yes?”
Well, shoot. No backing out now. “When you…I mean, did you have really strange dreams? I mean, really odd and totally unrealistic
“I did. You did as well?”
“Yeah…” he let the word drag out, trying to twist his tongue around the question he was dying to ask. It just wouldn’t come out though.
“Well…goodnight, Teyla.” The groan inside his head was deafening. He was being such a chicken.
He closed his eyes, debating back and forth if it was more cowardice or self-preservation to just not say anything. How did one even ask ‘hey, do you remember a hot, mad, wild kiss during that whole being drugged and unconscious thing, because I do…’?
He had just managed to get both sides of the debate to shut up and maybe let him get some sleep when he heard her voice again.
It had that soft fuzz of hovering right on the edge of sleep, but he thought he could hear a smile. “Rodney? I meant it – about the star sheets. Very dignified.”
His eyes flew open and he looked over at her. Her eyes were closed, but there was a sly little smile on her lips.
Did she really just say…?
She opened her eyes and smiled at him – a sweet hot dazzling wicked knowing smile. Smiles like that should be illegal, he thought, as his heart did an odd little soft-shoe routine.
She closed her eyes again and he could only replay the last few moments.
She’d really just said what he thought she’d just said…
And that changed everything.END.