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Title: The First Year
By Atri/ Chiara Crawford



CATEGORY: Introspective

ARCHIVES: ff.net, Command Dynamics

SPOILERS: Season One: Suspicion

SUMMARY: A curious meeting of two cultures.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Note that this is slightly AU, because I want `The First Year` to be kind of my prequel to NLC. So from here on out there will be some slight changes.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Stargate: Atlantis.
I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).

He is uncomfortable as he enters the room, though he believes that he shouldn’t be. He had been right, after all. But even that knowledge cannot remove the feeling of unease that has been consuming him the last few weeks.

“Sergeant Bates.” Teyla nods her head in greeting, a welcoming smile on her face. There is no distrust, no anger in her eyes. It makes him even more uncomfortable.

“Teyla.” He greets back and sits down on a cushion at the motion of her hand. Teyla’s room, he discovers, is a strange mix of futuristic, geometric Lantean design and the earthy tones of Athosian culture. There are rugs on the floor, candles on every available surface and a spicy scent in the air.

For a few minutes, there is no exchange of words. She serves him tea in a bowl and he accepts with a gracious bow, sipping the tasty brew silently, searching his mind for the appropriate way to begin the conversation.

“I will not say that I’m sorry.” He finally states.

She smiles at him, her eyes twinkling.

“I never expected you to do so.”

He fidgets at her brief answer. She is as patient and calm as Dr. Weir is and it makes him somehow feel like a guilty little boy, who is discovered trying to eat candy before dinner. It is absolutely unnerving.

“But I want to explain my behavior to you.”

Again, she shakes her head.

“I understand your actions and I admit that I would have done the same in your place.”

Looking at her, he thinks that she truly does understand and that surprises him. His job, being Chief of Security on Atlantis, brings with it a certain necessity for paranoia. Nothing and nobody is spared his suspicions and that makes him a good security officer, especially in a universe where mind-controlling parasites and brainwashing are the norm. He knows that he is not popular because of it, but he also doesn’t care as long as his base and his people are alive and well.

“Still,” he insists, not truly knowing why, “I feel like I must.” Perhaps, it is because he saw her courage on the field of battle or because it seems as if the Athosians are now a fixed part of Atlantis. Despite the wish of many Athosians to begin new lives on the mainland, there are still many of them, who want to fight the Wraith actively like Teyla. Both Major Sheppard and Dr. Weir are aware of their usefulness, as an information source and as scouts. Building trust is essential for their continued survival.

Or, perhaps, it is because she is a beautiful woman, his mind whispers.

He doesn’t deny the truth of that, despite knowing that getting involved with a woman on Atlantis – especially an alien woman – is not a good idea.

Whatever it is that prompts him into explaining his reasons to her, in the end it doesn’t matter. He tells her about his former team, SG-17, and how his team leader died taking one of his teammates and half of the assembled free jaffa with him after his zatarc programming kicked in. It is not a pleasant memory, but it is the cause of his constant paranoia, his drive to keep his new team, his new family, safe. There is no one waiting for him on Earth. These people, Atlantis, are all he has left.

He sees acceptance in her eyes and compassion.

They continue drinking their tea silently, until he finally asks about the going-ons on the mainland.

“We are quickly becoming accustomed to this new world. Halling believes that it will be a good harvest.”

He nods and they talk some more. It is light, pleasant small talk and there are no accusations or distrust from either of them. He expresses interest in the stick fighting – banto rods, she corrects him – and both know that it is a silent peace offering.

With a gracious smile, she asks if he would like her to teach him.

He says yes.

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