She wonders when she first started to truly respect Teyla, how soon it was after they met. When her annoyance over the complications her people posed, her suspicion over their loyalties, her fear over the seeming impossibility of finding supplies for their joint communities… when all of these things weren’t in the back of her mind every time she thought of the quiet Athosian.
Trust her, John Sheppard had said, I do.
Major John Sheppard- her unlikely hero; her wildcard, renegade officer with a slightly tartan past and a way with Ancient technology that was simply breathtaking… who came back, both times, without his commanding officer, but instead with these people…
Not that she blamed him, much. She couldn’t imagine what it must have been like. She had never been in a combat situation, only the after-effects of one. She hadn’t seen the Wraith in action, only the caged, clipped-wings on the inside of a cage. She had seen the look on his face, though, when they came back. Seen how the ghosts danced behind Bates’ eyes; Bates, who she had heard had never been shaken yet.
A part of her, though, had been happy. The humanitarian in her was relieved to see all these people saved, at any cost. The Leader in her coolly counted heads, counted mouths, counted risks. It was what a Leader did- make the hard choices. She hated having to think in those terms, but someone did.
Trust her, John had said, and she had wanted to. Trust the woman who had welcomed the strangers to her planet, who had told them all she knew, who had forgiven them their accidental trespasses and joined with them to stand against the Wraith. Trust her, when all the evidence went against her. Trust her…
Afterwards, after she had risked herself how many times? Had left her people, risked their disrespect and hostility, to become a virtual exile. How long had it been before Elizabeth felt guilty for every negative thought?
Teyla never once complained. She never seemed to struggle to find the answer. She never appeared to be lost, or out of her depth. She seemed to draw on some inexhaustible hidden well of strength and calm, some reservoir of peace which was almost palpable. Sometimes, as they talked, Elizabeth would feel the waves of it radiating off her, the balm that was her voice. Even if Teyla hardly spoke, but simply listened as Elizabeth poured out her secrets and her worries, those warm brown eyes would comfort her.
Trust me, she seemed to say, you are safe.
Elizabeth would watch her with wonder sometimes, baffled by her gifts. It was impossible to be jealous of Teyla, because she bore everything with a quiet, simple dignity. But the pain that barely registered was there, underneath, in the corners of her eyes and her smiles. When they talked Teyla would tell her of her father, of her people, of the things she had seen and done.
No husband. No children. She wondered if it was by choice, a dictate of command. She asked, one day, and received a slow, sad smile.
“No, Doctor Weir. I have simply… never found a person I would have felt happy with.”
She nodded and left it at that, thinking of Simon back on earth. She had never been as good to him as she should have been. Perhaps it wasn’t just the pressures of her work which led to that, though. Maybe. She wondered if she would ever find out.
Teyla was the leader Elizabeth often wished she could be. Self-sacrificing, compassionate and clever. She would fight when she had to, but she was still, at heart, gentle, caring and kind. She never let her better feelings seem like a burden, she never let her femininity hold her back.
Her people, for all they disagreed with her, followed her without question; welcomed her with open arms and the slightest of grumbles when she visited the settlement to ask the strange and improbable of them. Even Major Sheppard listened when she spoke.
It was impossible to be jealous of her, through it all.
But Elizabeth was never quite sure why.
Summary: One leader thinks about another.