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Fic: Femina cursor est

Posted on 2010.10.07 at 14:22
Time to post my help_pakistan ficlet! purple_cube, this is for you.

Title: Femina cursor est
Characters: Teyla, Wraith Queen
Genre: gen
Rating: PG-13 for violence
Word Count: ~1150
Summary: In another universe, it was Teyla who was made a Runner.
Notes: The beta help I got from rilestar and enedre_drakaina was invaluable. Thank you both!

Femina cursor est

The Wraith's grip on her shoulders and arms is brutal. There are tears in her eyes as she is slammed face-down onto a table. Her stun-paralyzed body is held down by two pairs of hands as a third Wraith approaches with the tiny device. Teyla cannot contain the screams as claws and knives slice into the muscles alongside her spine.

Humiliation and helplessness loosen her control over the tears. Throughout the procedure, she clings to the memory of Carson removing her tracker. Without sedatives, a knife against Laura's jugular, on a planet with deadly rays from the sun. To the way he will do it again.

"Are you not going to take me to her," she asks when the Wraith has finished. She does not expect an answer, and receives none.

They toss her into a tiny cell and leave her there. It stinks of rotten flesh, reminds her of all those she has seen culled, has seen fed upon in front of her. Teyla tries to breathe, cognizant that whenever her captors return, she will meet her grimmest nightmare. She cannot let the memories of endless months, of loneliness and barest survival, break her.

She dares not think their names, but they are there, solace, hope and anchor in her heart and out there searching for her. John, who befriended Kanaan when Colonel Sumner would not see his value. Dr. McKay, who studied the tracker Carson took out of her and taught her exactly how it had worked, as if knowing would help, until it did. Laura, who has saved their lives a dozen times, who has become the friend Sora should have been. Ronon, who rarely leaves his decimated people's camp to go off-world, but who will come when he sees which deserted planet the message Teyla hopes to send will come from. Kanaan, who took her place as leader because he had no choice, who will never accept her loss as a death again.

Days must pass. By the time they come for her, she has lost all sense of time. She is weakened by pain and hunger, but she walks under her own strength as they march her to the queen's chamber. She almost manages not to tremble when she spots the pink hair, when her guards force her to her knees, when the Hive Queen lifts a hand and caresses her face. I knew you would return to me, a well-known voice rejoices inside her head, the words unspoken, never reaching her ears.

"I had not hoped to see you again," Teyla grits out, too collected to hurl curses like the last time, far from struck mute with grief and fear as she had been the first time.

The creature laughs, a playful, terrible sound. Teyla whimpers as the force of its mind pushes deep, deep. You are not of these cattle, it, she, had said the first time, with a careless wave to the cells where Orin's people lay dead or dying. You are strong, full of pride. Will you kill yourself if we make you run? Will you do it if your death condemns... Where is your home?

Athos is empty, now, abandoned since the day Teyla was found.

The pain of a hostile mind probing through hers is excruciating. Teyla howls as the Queen abandons familiar paths, goes deeper than she ever has before. Yet something is different; just as Teyla feels her own sanity slip away, the creature pushes away from her with an angry shout. You defy me! she shrieks, making the surrounding Wraith flinch as her fury sears through their brains.

Teyla is too shocked to fight the guards that beat her to the ground.

For a long time, she lies on the deck alone with her thoughts. When her ability to move returns she lies shaking, trying desperately to calm herself. Something she could not have dreamed to hope for has happened, but she would be careless to take this triumph as anything other than a short reprieve. Teyla will only grow weaker, the Queen is young and recently fed, strong. The gate address and more than her own people's secrets will surface eventually.

She does not fully grasp what has happened, but she understands that she must seize this advantage, however small.

She learned much about the Wraith during her years on the run. With the help of Carson Beckett, she learned even more.

Kanaan discovered Kell's betrayal by linking his consciousness to a Wraith's. As familiar as she is with this particular Wraith, Teyla has to wonder what she could do to the Queen's mind if she were not alone.

"Are these fools better than those you sent after me last time?" she asks from her place on the floor, not waiting for the Queen's mind to breach hers again. Her nearest guard's boot connecting with her head is expected. "There are other hive ships out there, did you know that?" she continues, her vision blurred. "I believed you were the caretaker of them all. Did the weak performance of your soldiers lose you the trust of the other queens?"

She cries out as the Queen hauls her up by the hair until they are nose to nose. I am the Keeper, the creature hisses. The unworthy ones were punished.

"Among my people," Teyla says calmly, "a mother would show children who have failed how it is done."

The Queen's furious gaze becomes calculating. Do you believe that you can take your own life this time? Will you do it when there are children here that will live while you are alive?

Teyla cannot tell if she is telling the truth, if they have not fed upon all the prisoners yet. The answer is the same either way. "I will not," she whispers, letting the hopelessness she has tried to restrain shine through. "As you know."

Such courage! the Queen mocks, then she shoves Teyla away from her and into three waiting drones, speaks aloud for the first time: "I shall hunt you myself." And you will be weak, and your new planet will be condemned, she adds, as Teyla is dragged away towards a dart.

The pilot drops her on Athos. It is meant to throw her off her game, as Laura would say. For a few agonizing minutes, the gamble succeeds, but her people are alive, she is alive, and so it will remain if –

She escapes through the Ring of the Ancestors seconds before the Hive ship destroys it. The explosion leaves aching burns on her feet and legs, but leaves the new planet's Ring intact. As soon as the watercolor pool collapses, Teyla dials to another planet, then another, picturing the map McKay showed her, until she thinks she has gained a little time.

Then she dials Sateda.


purple_cube at 2010-10-31 20:59 (UTC) (Link)
Firstly, I'm so sorry for the late reply :( My life has just been a whirlwind since I started my PhD a month ago, I feel like I barely have time to breathe!

Secondly, thank you so much for this! It's awesome :) I love your descriptions, so vivid, and I love the little quirks of changing Ronon's canonical story to suit Teyla's history. I really enjoyed the mentions of the team, such as Rodney teaching Teyla the 'map' of Gates to dial to cover her tracks - the plot was very unexpected, with Teyla being made a Runner for the second time, but it works so very well in terms of being able to incorporate the rest of the team and their friendships with Teyla. I especially love that even with what she's been through, you've written Teyla as a strong character who has the presence of mind to be able to manipulate a Wraith Queen.

Once again, I'm so sorry for taking so long to get to this, but thank you so much!
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