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Fresh Air

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John looked up at the sound of footsteps in the balcony doorway. “Rodney?” he asked.

“No,” said Teyla, softly.

“Oh, hey.” John scrambled to get up from where he’d been sitting against the tower’s metal wall, but Teyla pushed him back down with a gentle hand to his shoulder.

“I will join you,” she said, sinking gracefully to the floor. “It’s a lovely night and I would like to enjoy the fresh air.”

“Fresh air?” he repeated skeptically.

Teyla arched an eyebrow at him. “Of course, John.”

“You mean you aren’t here to make me talk about the huge fight I just had with Rodney?”

“I am here to enjoy the view,” Teyla said, primly. “However, if you wish to discuss something of a personal nature, I would be more than happy to listen.”

“No,” said John, quickly. “Let’s just… sit and enjoy the fresh air, okay?”

“Of course, John,” Teyla said again, and settled into her meditation pose, eyes closed.

They sat in silence for a long moment, listening to the waves hitting the pier far below, until John snapped, “He just doesn’t understand!”

Teyla opened her eyes, but didn’t say anything.

“It’s not that I don’t want to marry Rodney,” John continued. “It just that marriage is… Look, I was married once, remember? You know how well that turned out. And he didn’t even ask! He just assumed that I’d want to marry him, now that it’s legal in the States.”

“Do you not want to marry Rodney at this time?” Teyla asked, mildly.

“Yes,” said John, immediately. “No. I mean, yes, of course, yes, I want to marry him. I love him so damn much, Teyla, and that scares the hell out of me.”

He leaned forward, elbows on his knees and hands over his face, and felt Teyla’s hand come to rest, lightly, on his shoulder.

“Are you so afraid of being loved, John?” she asked, gently.

“It’s not that simple, Teyla.”

John heard her sigh, and her fingers tightened briefly on his shoulder, before she slid her hand away. “Earth people have a strange ability to make simple things unnecessarily complicated,” she said. “If you wish to be married to Rodney, then marry him. Deal with your problems together, as you have until now.”

“We really do make a great team, don’t we, him and me?” said John, looking up at her. “I think maybe I overreacted to this whole thing.”

“Perhaps,” Teyla allowed. “And what will you do now?”

“Apologize,” said John. “Suck it up and apologize, because Rodney doesn’t really have a great track record with proposing to— Oh, no.”

Teyla stiffened beside him. “What is wrong?”

“No, nothing— Me, I’m wrong. Rodney basically proposed, and I— well, there was a lot of yelling and I ran away. But I didn’t— Rodney’s gonna think I turned him down. And I didn’t. I—”

“John?”

He scrambled to his feet, wanting to move, to touch, but holding himself still. “Rodney!”

The scientist stood on the doorway, hesitant. “Bad time?” he asked, awkwardly.

“Not at all.” Teyla rose gracefully to her feet, pausing to brush a hand against Rodney’s as she passed him. “Goodnight, John, Rodney.”

John shifted on his feet. “How much did you hear?”

“Enough to be moderately sure you’re not dumping me.”

“I’m not!” John said, quickly. “I— I’m sorry, okay? I just—”

“Started talking about emotions and commitment, and panicked?” Rodney suggested.

John let out a shaky laugh. “Yeah, that’s about it.”

“But,” Rodney continued, “I did hear right, that you didn’t turn me down?”

“Yes! I mean, no, I mean— Dammit, Rodney, what the hell do you want to marry me for, anyway?”

He smiled, and took a step forward. “I love you, and I want us to spend the rest of our lives together.”

“I was a terrible husband,” John said, with a sigh. “And I’m a terrible boyfriend.”

Rodney shrugged. “I’m willing to risk it. If you are.”

“Yeah,” John said, and closed the gap between them, sliding his arms around Rodney’s shoulders and pulling him into a rough hug. “Yeah. Wanna marry me?”

“I asked first,” Rodney protested.

John laughed, and kissed him. “No, you didn’t.”

THE END