DISCLAIMER: Stargate Atlantis and its characters are the property of MGM, Showtime, Gekko etc. no infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for the sg_femslash minificathon, Weir round, for medie, who requested Teyla/Elizabeth with alien rituals and a party.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: The Return
By Caitrin Torres
Elizabeth breathed in deeply and let the cool, crisp air and the scent of wood smoke fill her lungs. In the handful of days since the retaking of Atlantis, what little of her time that hadn't been filled with negotiations over the fate of her senior staff and the return of the rest of the expedition had been spent assisting Rodney and the staff on loan from the Daedalus by translating as they tried to decipher what the Ancients and the Replicators had done to the city. She was only now starting to realize that she was truly home.
And she was home. This felt more real and more right than anything had back on Earth. A survey of the clearing found John holding court with some of the older Athosian children at one of the long tables and Carson and a handful of the Daedalus crew scattered amongst the clusters of people talking and dancing in the twilight. The tantalizing aroma of roasting meat drifted on the breeze and the sounds of laughter and conversation floated around her as she sat back and basked in the light and the heat of the fire. This was her sort of party, she decided. She didn't even have to wear heels.
Elizabeth smiled in contentment when she saw Teyla making her way towards her. "This is wonderful," she said, indicating with one hand the party, the people, and the night.
"It is a good night for a gathering, yes," Teyla said, returning her grin. She sat next to Elizabeth on the long bench and slid her plate over to her. "You must try Elora's nut rolls."
Elizabeth took a bite and hummed in appreciation. "Oh, that's very good. What's in it?"
"The nuts are native to this world," Teyla replied. "There is a grove of trees ten minutes walk from the settlement here. The mara berries were a gift earlier in the season from the people of Tanar."
Elizabeth nodded and took another bite. She remembered the Tanari. Atlantis didn't currently have a trade agreement with them, but if the berries were at all typical, she was going to have to rectify that. The pastry was delicious.
They shared dessert and a mug of cider between them. A bit later, Elizabeth said, "I don't remember a festival like this during the first two years we were here."
"You would have no reason to," Teyla said lightly. "It is not a set tradition."
"Any excuse for a party?"
"In a way." Teyla studied her for a moment. "You are very tense, even after tonight, Elizabeth."
"It's been a long week," Elizabeth said wryly. "I'll unwind eventually."
Teyla motioned for her to turn around on the bench and Elizabeth was happy to comply. Teyla moved closer, and Elizabeth couldn't hold back a low groan when she pressed her fingers into her shoulders and began to work out the knots in her muscles. She needed this, badly, and she could easily picture the hidden smile that went with the affection in Teyla's voice.
"Gatherings such as this are customary among many peoples, not only the Athosians. When an entire village moves to a new world, they host a gathering once they are able. It is a way to demonstrate what is available for trade as well as to reconnect with others once an upheaval is finished."
"A housewarming, then."
The massage stopped, just for a moment. "I am not familiar with that word."
Elizabeth started to twist around to explain, but Teyla's steady, kneading motion was more than enough to make her relax back into place. "A housewarming is a party that a person might throw once they've moved into a new house or apartment so that their friends or family can see where they're living."
"Yes, a housewarming. A gathering was held several weeks ago for our trading partners, but the Lanteans are valued allied and the weather has been very pleasant this week."
"Any excuse for a party?"
"In this case, yes," Teyla said, amused.
Elizabeth groaned and let her head loll forward as the most stubborn knots at the base of her skull finally gave way to Teyla's expert touch. "Don't ever stop, Teyla, please," she murmured.
She felt soft lips brush against the sensitive skin behind her ear as the firm strokes of Teyla's massage became gentle caresses. "This, and more when we can," Teyla promised. Her voice was low and warm and pitched only for Elizabeth's ears, and Elizabeth felt a warm thread of arousal begin to spiral through her body.
Eventually Teyla's hands stilled, and she slid around to sit in front of Elizabeth and took her lips in a soft, promising kiss before she pulled away. "I will find John and ask him how long he wishes to stay tonight."
She picked up the plate and started to stand, but Elizabeth tugged her back down beside her. "John will be ready to leave when we are. Right now, I just want to be here with you. Leaving Simon when he chose not to follow was nothing. Not having a choice...."
Teyla squeezed her hand in acknowledgment of all that she wouldn't say. The fire was soothing, and it would burn all night.
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