sparsenicjade
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AN: Written for 14v 2013 Day Three: Reproductive Rights and Motherhood. Unbeta'ed. Also written at the request jb_slasher in exchange for her donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

***


Teyla had thought about having children, certainly. In a distant sort of way, something she would do when grown-up—whenever that happened to be. Children, while cute and even fun at times, were about survival, about the continuation of her people. She'd never much considered why else she might have one, or what raising one might mean. All of this became clear when her body began acting as an alien, when she started to doubt the bones and sinew she'd trusted her whole life long.

Upon realizing what was happening, she'd put a hand to her stomach, as though the touch might confirm her suspicions. Her first thought was neither positive nor negative, but simply, "No, this is for later."

She took a few deep breaths and let her thoughts settle. Finally, she had to admit that the point she had always labeled "later" in her life, that moment when she was ready to stop and give of herself for the purposes of perpetuating the Athosian race, might never have been a set point, but rather a target that would always move further away the closer she came.

She pressed her fingers into her abdomen just a bit, needing some kind of tangible anchor to the decision she needed to make: the baby was something she could give to her people, but to a great extent it would take her from her team, from the life she had built.

In the end, though, her decision was made purely from the fact that she had been witness to and part of too much destruction to willingly choose anything aside from creation. Survival was important, she knew, but only if it meant something beyond walking and breathing, eating and sleeping. Teyla cocked her head and listened to the changed rhythm of her body and thought, yes, something beyond.

*


Kanaan asked her, four, four and a half months in, "Will you raise our child here, or among our people?"

The question could have held judgment, but it did not. Kanaan's appreciation of her differences, acceptance of her choices, was what had first made him dear to her. Teyla was silent for a few moments before asking, "Given your choice, what would you have me do?"

"Come back to New Athos," he said, no hesitation or reticence. She was trying to figure out how to respond when he said, "But I suppose not, in some ways, as coming back would make you someone else than who you are, than the woman I love."

Teyla smiled at that, something bittersweet in the back of her throat. "I do not know how to raise this child as though I never left, Kanaan. As though I never made the decisions I made."

"And I would not have him or her raised by anyone but you. So I ask again: here or there?"

It was terrifying to realize that the only context she could make sense of herself in anymore required Atlantis, but being scared of the truth did not make it any less true. And running from personal truth was much the same as running from oneself—exhausting and pointless. She said, "Here."

Kanaan nodded, his gaze tinged with sadness, but warm nonetheless. "Then let us discuss how we will raise the child to know our culture and values."

That task did not scare Teyla. She had learned to make a bridge of herself, to span each culture and allow for others to cross.

*


Sometimes, when the baby would kick, Teyla would wonder if she wanted it to be a fighter. She thought about Parrish, and the way he found energy and delight in plants, or how Colonel Carter sometimes vibrated with excitement about scientific creations and questions. Her and her father had been amongst those who protected the Athosians, fighting part of them, bred in and honed to perfection. But by choosing Atlantis, she also chose a world where her child could be something other than a leading voice for the Athosian people. Or perhaps she was choosing to take that option away.

She wasn't certain she had that right. It didn't make her change her mind.

*


John watched her now in a way he hadn't before he knew about the pregnancy. It wasn’t as though she was delicate, but it did have echoes of the way he looked at her when she was recovering from a wound. More than once she'd caught Ronon seeing the look at the same time as her and the two of them had shared a moment of amusement and perhaps a little exasperation.

Ronon still sparred with her, and she noticed that he took care in ways he hadn't before, but not by making it easy. He simply worked with what he saw as new information.

Rodney mostly ignored the fact of her changing body. For someone who wanted to bring serious change to the universe, he was often the worst of them at dealing with changing circumstances, especially those which he could not control.

Colonel Cartner found her on a balcony one day and asked, "May I join you?"

Teyla smiled, "Certainly."

There was an easy silence between them for a bit. Carter spoke up and said, "If this is none of my business, just say, but do you think you would have had a child if it had been planned?"

Teyla opened her mouth to say, "Yes," say, "Of course," say, "When the time was right." After a beat she said, "I think I would have told myself I was going to my whole life."

Carter's smile was a quick twist of her lips, acknowledging Teyla's answer. Teyla asked, "I suppose it is none of my business, but is that what you did?"

"Without ever knowing it." Carter nodded.

"Do you regret it?"

Carter thought for a bit. "In the way I regret all experiences that I might have had but did not. But not in the way where I regret my choice. Choices."

Something settled inside Teyla. She smiled. "I suppose we are always curious about the road not taken."

Carter grinned. "I suppose we are."


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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile