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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: General for events in season 4.
Taste of the Sea
The breeze is richer here. As much as Teyla had always loved the smell of the ocean as it slipped into Elizabeth's room on the breeze every morning, even that distance seemed to soften the tang the wind carried. Here, at the South Pier, with the waves at her feet lapping endlessly against Atlantis and the spray caressing her face, Teyla does not need sight for her senses to be overwhelmed. Breathing deep of the sea and the sun and the wind, she closes her eyes and remembers.
It had been right here that she had kissed Elizabeth for the first time, exactly one year ago.
It had been just another day, but one with a noticeable - and welcome - lack of crises. John had suggested - in that special tone of voice that made it very clear if she didn't accede to his suggestion, he and Rodney would make her regret it that Elizabeth take some time off. Rather than see her friend plagued by the antics of what many called the "John and Rodney Show" Teyla mentioned that she was planning on going to the South Pier for lunch and perhaps Elizabeth could join her. Faced with John at his not-so-very-stern-best, Elizabeth had gratefully taken the out.
Teyla hadn't planned the meal to be anything more than a moment of respite between friends. She was comfortable with her attraction to Elizabeth and had no plans of acting on it, but then they were standing just inches from the waves, their legs soaked and their faces splashed with spray, and Elizabeth had laughed into the wind and thrown her head back and Teyla had leaned over and pressed her lips against the Lantean's.
The kiss was short but sweet and Teyla reveled in the softness of Elizabeth's lips and how she tasted of the sea.
Pulling back, she'd searched her friend's face for some sign of wrongdoing, but Elizabeth's forest eyes sparkled and her cheeks were flushed, and when she licked her lips she murmured, "You taste like the ocean." They stood like that for a second and then Elizabeth leaned in to close the distance between them and kissed Teyla back.
That was the first day they kissed.
The last day they kissed, Elizabeth had been taken from them all; prisoner of the Asurans.
The entire city had been shocked and outraged, and now they mourned; or tried to. The currents of anger and frustration still ebbed through the city because Elizabeth had not died, she was still alive! There was no body to cry over, no simple ceremony that could give the ones who grieved some peace while the cruel spur of hope still gouged at them. Everyone felt it, but John, Rodney and Ronon were cut the deepest, and Teyla Teyla had lost more than a friend, she had lost a part of her heart. Kate had suggested that they talk to each other, that they find a way to remember Elizabeth. Teyla had seen the resistance in John's eyes and didn't blame him. This was too private to speak of. They shared their pain, but not their memories.
It was the memories that brought Teyla here now. One year ago to the day she and Elizabeth had stood here, laughing in the breeze and reveling in the sunshine and sharp smell of the sea. The Athosian knew that the Earthers had many customs for marking the passage of time; her people were the same. She had never had a chance to speak to Elizabeth of her traditions however - their time together was so fleeting. That there should have been something to hail this day however, she never doubted.
Teyla refuses to hold a death ceremony for her lover, partly because she refuses to sever that last connection between them, and partly because she knows that if Elizabeth is still alive, she'd be well and truly pissed that people especially Teyla gave up on her. Still, the pain needs an outlet: something to mark and give voice to the grief that is a constant, quiet wound inside her.
Eyes still closed, Teyla stretches her senses, reveling in the sharpness of the spray against her body, the warmth of the sun on her face, inhaling deeply of the thick, tangy smell of the sea and smiling softly as the breeze tugs playfully at her hair. She can almost feel Elizabeth's presence, hear her laugh somewhere just out of reach, and taste again the sweet salt of her lips.
And just like that, it comes to her. Though she and Elizabeth may never again celebrate together, this day - the first day - Teyla can, and always will, remember.
Kneeling gently, she lets the waves lap at her fingers, soaking them in the sea Elizabeth loved so much. Teyla stands, and closing her eyes again, presses her fingers to her mouth, and tastes the ocean.
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