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Stops Along the Way
By Amatia



"I want you to listen to what I have to say."

Dr. Elizabeth Weir, former UN negotiator, former head of Stargate Command, former leader of the Atlantis expedition, looks out at the general assembly, calm in her simple black suit adorned only with an enamelled pin. Unlike the people she's facing, her pin is not a single country outlined in gold, but rather a detailed representation of Earth. She's composed at the podium, no notes before her, just her hands folded on the wood.

"I have spent the last four years living and working in an entirely different galaxy. I have seen death, destruction, and loss. But I have also seen hope. Joy. Possibility. Love."

She pauses, and listens for a moment to the silence before continuing.

"I know the dangers that are out there. The potential enemies we face. But for every possible enemy, there are a dozen possible friends. For every chance that harm could befall us, there are a dozen chances that we could find a cure for heart disease, cancer, AIDS. Exploration is always a risk, but how are we to learn without exploration?

"There is no going back. There is no undoing of the program, no recalling of the announcement. The riots must stop; they serve no purpose. Do we really want the path leading forward to be stained with the blood of civil skirmish? Of unresolveable protest? Is that the face we want to present to those potential allies? And what of the allies we have already made through the Stargate like the Asgard – do we truly want to show them ugliness and dispute? Or do we want to put our best foot forward? Today is no different than yesterday, last month, last year. There is only new knowledge. We can change with it, or it can destroy us. Please, let this not be something terrible, but instead something beautiful. This is the start of a new chapter in world history, and I ask you not to think in terms of fear, but in terms of hope."

She lets herself into the house with a relieved sigh. It had looked dark from the street, and for a moment she'd been worried that Teyla hadn't come home. But she's there in the kitchen and the tea kettle is whistling. Two mugs are on a tray on the counter. "You read my mind,"Elizabeth says, dropping her bag on a chair and taking off her coat. "It's freezing out there."

"I have been told it is unusually cold here this winter, even for Earth," Teyla replies with a smile. She's wearing one of Elizabeth's sweaters, a soft fuzzy thing with a high neck, and she just looks warm, pouring the steaming water into the mugs.

Elizabeth presses her hands to her sides and waits until Teyla has set the kettle back on the stove. Then she reaches out for her. "I missed you."

"I missed you as well." Teyla kisses her temple, brushing her hair against Elizabeth's face. "You were on the television this morning."

It's been nearly a year now, but words like television still sound strange coming from Teyla's mouth. "Did I do okay?" Elizabeth asks, wanting - needing - to know, not trusting anyone's opinion but Teyla's at this moment.

"I thought you were wonderful," Teyla replies. "The things you said – I believe they were what the people of this planet needed to hear."

"I hope so," Elizabeth sighs, and holds on tighter.



The riots calm over time, and after a few months, Elizabeth feels as though things are evening out again. She runs into Sam Carter outside of the Capitol Building one day as the cherry blossoms drift through the air. "The face of the Stargate program," she greets her, and Sam heaves an extravagant sigh. "Welcome to politics," Elizbeth says dryly.

"All I want is to get back into the field," Sam groans, and her colonel's eagle flashes in the sun as they go up the steps. "But it's not going to happen."

"Trust me, I know the feeling. And that's not something I thought I'd ever say." Elizabeth stops outside one of the many meeting rooms. "This one is me," she says apologetically, and she wishes for more time to talk. "But call sometime and we'll take you out to dinner."

"If either of us ever gets a free moment," Sam calls over her shoulder.

Her people – she doesn't think she'll ever stop thinking of the expedition members as her people - are still scattered all over the universe. Sheppard still in Pegasus with Ronon, McKay at some top-secret underground lab that even Elizabeth's clearance can't get her any information about, Kate at Cheyenne Mountain.

Teyla is here with her, and Elizabeth is grateful for that. Teyla's her touchstone, her constant reminder that the time in Pegasus has not been a loss, her clock that counts all the days and weeks and months until they can go home.

"What do you do all day when I'm gone?" she asks Teyla one night as they make a late dinner. The smell of Athosian bread winds through the house. Soon it will be too hot to bake, but if she closes her eyes right now, she can almost hear the wind through the trees on the mainland.

"I learn," Teyla says, and checks the oven. "I read from your books, I watch the current events channels on the television. Rodney sends me many e-mails." She looks thoughtfully at Elizabeth for a moment. "But I have yet to get used to the telephone."

Elizabeth smiles and retrieves the butter from the refrigerator. "What's Rodney doing these days?"

"He doesn't write much about his job. The messages are generally his reminiscing about, as he puts it, 'that stupid thing John Sheppard did one time'."

The way she says it makes Elizabeth laugh so hard she has to lean against the counter. "Thank you," she says, when she can breathe again. "I needed that."

"Long meetings?" Teyla asks, raising an eyebrow. She tastes the pasta sauce carefully.

"Too long."

Teyla sets down the spoon and slides her arms around Elizabeth from behind, presses a kiss to her neck. "You do not love negotiating as you once did," she murmurs, and Elizabeth has to admit that she's right.



Summer descends in a heavy, sticky cloud of heat. Teyla stretches out on the deck with no more than a towel and a book and the occasional glass of lemonade, soaking up as much sun as she can. "You better hope no one decides to come around the back," Elizabeth says to her one afternoon, taking in the deeply tanned skin with appreciative eyes.

Teyla props herself up on her elbows. "You should join me, Elizabeth," she says, a smile flashing over her face. "After all, it is your day off."

"I have no days off," Elizabeth groans, but she kicks off her shoes anyway. "An hour, and then I really have to get back to my article."

Teyla reaches up to help Elizabeth undress, hands quick and sure, and then pulls her down onto the towel.

They go to testify before a special session of Congress, the hows and whys of the Stargate program in the Pegasus galaxy. "I'm so nervous," Teyla confesses in the car on the drive there, as traffic inches along. "I have never spoken before so many of your law-makers, and never with cameras there."

"You'll do fine," Elizabeth assures her. "The trick is to pretend the cameras aren't even running; concentrate on the people in the room and reaching as many of them as you can." Her phone beeps. Elizabeth looks at the display and grins. "It's Rodney," she tells Teyla. "Calling to say we should picture everyone in their underwear, no doubt. Hello?"

"Elizabeth?" Rodney asks. "It's me."

"I know, Rodney." She rolls her eyes, and Teyla laughs. Elizabeth puts a hand on her thigh.



Teyla's hands are warm as they skim over her hips. Elizabeth sighs, relaxing into the pillows, as Teyla nuzzles against her neck, slow soft kisses and the steady feel of breath. "I don't think we'll be able to do that as often in Atlantis," she says regretfully, yawning, and she can feel Teyla smile.

"We will make time," she says, and tangles her fingers in Elizabeth's hair. "Perhaps out on the far pier..."

Elizabeth chuckles. "Right, and have someone stumble over us."

"There is no one out there late at night." Teyla props herself up on one hand and looks down at her. "I find it hard to believe there are only six weeks until we leave."

"I don't think I've ever been so glad of anything in my life," Elizabeth admits.

"You feel Earth is no longer your home?"

She thinks about this for a while, holding Teyla close. When she answers, it's just a shake of her head.

John and Ronon are waiting for them in Atlantis and for once Elizabeth doesn't have to initiate any hugs. They end up in a knot of hands-on-arms, with Elizabeth and Teyla hand-in-hand, all talking at once. John finally asks the loudest question. "So, how was Earth?"

Elizabeth looks at Teyla and squeezes her hand. "We'd rather be here," she says, and knows she's understood.

The End

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