All the guests had left the reception hall but John Sheppard. He stood in the center of the grand ballroom, toying with the long ago untied bowtie of his black tuxedo. He lifted a crystal champagne glass and sipped the last few drops before setting it down on the table. His gaze swept the room, with all its decorations and flowers. The room was quiet, almost peaceful…but his mind wouldn’t settle.
Today had been the best day of his life, the day he gained a wife and a son. He had been flying high, dancing with Teyla round the dance floor, tossing Keegan, now four, in the air and causing the boy to laugh uproariously. He had been feeling like the luckiest man in the world…until Rodney had made a comment, as Rodney always did. About Kanaan…
They had been grouped off at the time, John, Ronon, Rodney, and Evan had been standing around talking ‘man’ talk on the balcony while Jennifer and Sam had dragged his bride out of his arms to use the ladies’ room. John had shaken his head and commented on traveling in packs.
He didn’t know how the topic turned to Teyla’s old flame. John had been discussing Keegan’s eagerness over his flying lessons when Rodney mentioned how different he was from his father. Ronon had elbowed him hard in the side, sending him reeling over. Evan had caught him but the look on the major’s face told them it was only reflex and not out of concern for bodily harm.
Rodney had tried to stammer out an apology but Teyla had come back and John had whisked her away to dance. She noticed something was wrong though and asked him. He lied but she knew, of course, that he did. She let it drop, knowing he’ll come to her if he didn’t work it out. Teyla knew not to push, he thought. Maybe that’s why he had loved her from the beginning, first as friends then as more. She never asked of him more then he was willing to give and she always gave her best, her all.
So he had held her close and danced and tried to forget the comment, and the feelings it brought up. It wasn’t jealousy, no. How could he be jealous if he got the girl and the boy? The fact is, he didn’t know what he was feeling.
He was so deep in thought that he hadn’t noticed Teyla step into the room. She smiled softly as she watched him walk to a chair and sit down. His gaze was unfocused, which always meant he was looking inward. Contrary to what many think, her John was a thoughtful person.
Teyla quietly went to him, and curled her arms around his neck from behind. John smiled and covered her hands in his. “There you are,” she said softly. She sighed and rested her head against his. “I was wondering where you went off to.”
“Right here,” he said.
Teyla leaned back and unconsciously began to massage the tension from his strong shoulders. She didn’t talk, and the silence wasn’t as unsettled as it was before. Teyla was the only one he knew that could change the silence without filling it.
He wondered if it had been that way for Kanaan…
“Do you think about him often?” he asked quietly, needing but not wanting to know the answer.
Teyla, like always, knew whom he was talking about. “No, not often. Every now and then, I think of him and know he is in a better place. I like to think of him as a chapter in one of your books, a good one, that led me to where I am now,” she nuzzled her nose in his hair.
“What is wrong, John?” she asked quietly.
John reached up and took her hand, standing up to face her. He cradled her hand between his, looking at the difference thoughtfully. His eyes were troubled and she lifted her other hand and brought his face up to meet her eyes. “Are you’re feet cold?” she asked.
John’s face took on a confused look, and then he realized what she meant and laughed. He drew her into his arms and squeezed her. “No. No, my feet aren’t cold,” he said softly into her hair.
Teyla was glad she made him laugh but wasn’t sure what exactly was funny about cold feet. She curled her arms around his waist and looked up at him. He brought his forehead down to rest on hers and they both smiled at the gesture. They both remembered the first time they had laid foreheads against each other, a sign of friendship but now they did it to show their love for each other.
John stared into her eyes and he saw his love reflected back at him and he felt the familiar dip in his stomach, the fluttering of his heart and tingle at the base of his spine.
He suddenly realizes what he was feeling…guilt. He felt guilty of essentially taking Kanaan’s place in her and Keegan’s life.
Teyla saw the recognition in his eyes and asked softly. “Have you discovered what was wrong?”
“Yeah. Suddenly I’m on top of the world…it should have been someone else.”
Teyla wasn’t sure what he meant, and he saw it. “I guess I’m feeling guilty that I’m here, with you and Keegan, and Kanaan’s not. I took his place.”
“No,” she said. Teyla leaned forward and kissed his lips gently. “You could never take his place nor he yours. I cared about Kanaan and there could have been something once but he’s gone. I love you, John. You are my future.”
His heart catapulted up into his throat at her words and the fierce look in her eye. He gripped the back of her neck to pull her forward for his kiss. Her arms came around him and gripped him tightly to her. Her soft murmurings spurred him on and he tilted her head back for better access, opening her mouth with his and going deeper.
His hands moved to span down her back, stroking over her hips, then settled lightly on the curve of her butt. Her hands made a similar journey to his chest. They both enjoyed the feeling of their bodies pressed against each other, their lips crushed together, their tongues stroking, teasing.
After a moment of enjoying her, John pulled back but only barely, and whispered against her lips. “I love you, Teyla Sheppard.”
“I love you, too.”
They kissed again, and John bent, without breaking apart, and lifted her off the floor, slowly spinning in circles, spiraling on a high that he could never get in a puddle jumper.
John had risen higher then the top of the world…he was on the top of the universe, and it belonged to him alone…