quiescent (tielan) wrote in het_reccers,

Shipper's Manifesto for John/Teyla - Stargate Atlantis

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: John Sheppard/Teyla Emmagan

They're functionally operational, yet emotionally complicated. She's the first person we see drawing him out of his solitude after Afghanistan, he's the first person she's met who believes the Wraith can be fought. He doesn't look through her; she doesn't close him out. Together, they fight Wraith!

It's not easy finding good fic for these guys; there's always a tendency of authors to try to write standard romance - which doesn't work for characters like Teyla Emmagan and John Sheppard. They're both over thirty, they don't do white picket fences, and they've both seen and done a lot of things that mean they're probably not candidates for 'happy couple of the year'.

In short, they don't fall easily into the standard romantic tropes. As a result, most of these picks will be 'quirky' and possibly a little complicated.

Which is okay by me: I like complicated.

Fic Rec #1 Love
Author: artaxastra
Link: http://artaxastra.livejournal.com/330177.html?format=light
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13
Why This Must Be Read:
Set during The Shrine, with their team falling apart around their ears, John and Teyla deal with the state of their relationship - or non-relationship. What I like about this story is that it takes an entirely non-standard view of relationships in Pegasus - that it's not about happily-ever-after, or forever-love, but about time and place and need and desire and not necessarily about love.

The power of this story is in the conversations they hold, about Rodney, about their relationship, and the way they interact - John struggling with the things he's lost and losing, Teyla working with the guilt she feels about not being able to be what Kanaan needed in their relationship. The story touches on the reasons relationships don't work out - not only Teyla and Kanaan, but John and Nancy's marriage - and then shows why John and Teyla do, and does it with exquisite sensuality.

It's one of the stories in a John/Teyla series that works its way through the seasons of the show, and the entire series is well worth reading with numerous relationship 'payoffs' and an excellent dynamic between the two, fluid and changing with the events in the show and still managing to keep itself aligned with canon.

Fic Rec #2: Fractured
Author: allisnow
Link: http://www.salmonczar.net/writing/fractured.htm
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13
Why This Must Be Read:
Due to something done to his DNA while he was captive by the Wraith, John skips through Atlantis' past and future, seeing fragments of what was and what will be, but unable to influence them. Struggling to hold onto his sanity and the hope of a cure, an ending, a reason, John clings to the only link he retains during his infrequent returns to 'his own Atlantis' - Teyla. But is it just fate and chance causing this, or is there a purpose behind it?

Inspired by Audrey Niffeneger's The Time Traveller's Wife, this story is exquisite in its lyricism, with an intriguing mystery, and I find the way John turns to Teyla as his anchor both beautiful and heartbreaking. I also enjoy the way the story unfolds what's happening, doling out the reveal in bits and pieces, until the whole picture is ready to be assembled and comprehended.

Fic Rec #3: My Kingdom For A ZPM (But I'd Settle For A Bicycle)
Author: ticklie
Link: http://community.livejournal.com/sga_santa/112487.html
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13
Why This Must Be Read: This fic always makes me laugh - the team on a mission, complete with giant insects, twinkling lights connected to mysterious power sources, and interesting technology.

Teyla doesn't snark until they're ten miles into their trek, Rodney complains about sockets, John gets eaten alive by mosquitos, and Ronon pilots a flying car, much to the distress of Rodney, and Lorne's team. There are footnotes! ZPMs! Sunblock! Respectfully cocky 2ICs. And John and Teyla found cradling a ZPM between them, much to Ronon's amusement.

This isn't a relationship fic, it's just a friendship one, but the John/Teyla dynamic is both true to the characters and more light-hearted than some of the 'serious' interpretations - which makes for an enjoyable fic.

Fic Rec #4: You Already Know How This Will End
Author: harriet_spy
Link: http://community.livejournal.com/halfamoon/58371.html

Why This Must Be Read:
This is an AU from the Season Three episode The Return where the Atlantis expedition is sent back to Earth and doesn't return. Five years later, both Teyla and Ronon have moved on with their lives as best they can, but their lives are torn apart when John contracts a debilitating disease related to his Iratus conversion, and the only hope of a cure is in Pegasus - and it's a slim chance at best.

When John and Rodney arrive at New Athos in a 'jumper five years after the Atlantis expedition leaves Pegasus, they've burned all their bridges and there's no way home. Rodney's hoping for a cure for John, but John's mostly resigned to a quiet death among the people he loves.

Upon discovering that the cure would involve a synthesis of the Iratus bug DNA, Teyla is faced with the prospect of trading years of her life for the assistance of the only person who might be able to help her infiltrate the last Iratus nest.

This is beautifully written, tender and anguished by parts, painting a hard picture of a Pegasus galaxy left to rot by Earth and Ancient alike. It shows Teyla having grown and changed, having worked out what's really valuable to her, and what price she's willing to pay to keep it. It's unusual to see the onus of sacrifice left upon Teyla - most fics tend to put the onus of sacrifice on one of the guys - so this is all the more appreciated for also being very well done. The second-last scene is heartbreaking and poignant and beautiful all at once.

I love re-reading this story over because there's so much nuance and untold story in it, and yet still everything needed to make sense of the story.

Fic Rec #5: One Brief Hour
Author: wojelah
Link: http://community.livejournal.com/john_teyla_fic/19871.html
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17, BDSM

Why This Must Be Read:
John and Teyla in an established relationship, ten years on, and Teyla giving John what he needs and not just what he says he wants. This is a great read not only because it's incredibly hot, but also because it's mature and insightful into their characters and how they read each other.

Fic Rec #6: Heteronormativity
Author: mad_maudlin
Link: http://www.alyse.info/sesa_files/heteronormativity.htm
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13

Why This Must Be Read:
'Heteronormativity' is one of those stories that starts off funny, detours into hilarious, and goes more than a little crazy along the way. It's set in the alternate universe from which 'Rod' comes - what fandom's listed as 'the Mensa AU' thanks to Rod's comment that John's in Mensa in his world. Essentially, AU Rodney is like our John - savvy and competent, AU John is like our Rodney - intellectual, a little neurotic and not so good with people, AU Teyla is more like Ronon - not very talkative and a little scary, and AU Ronon is more like Teyla - including having a partner in Atlantis.

Told from John's POV, it's a story of attraction and confusion and the clash of cultures and how Earth Guys Are Clueless. It's entertaining and enjoyable and utterly hilarious, and while the characterisation may not be strictly our-universe, it's still a great read.

Fic Rec #7: Pushing The Senses
Author: purple_cube
Link: http://purple-cube.livejournal.com/85318.html
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17
Why This Must Be Read:
It's short, it's intense, and it's hot. The author's done a great job of keeping the details spare yet keeping in all the little fragments that we need to know about Atlantis, Teyla, and John.

Fic Rec #8: Without Sight Or Sound
Author: kristen999
Link: http://kristen999.livejournal.com/162349.html
Rating/Warning(s): PG
Why This Must Be Read: I love 'team-fics' where the team have to rely on each other's particular skills. This story has John and Teyla being forced to rely on each other's skills as part of a test of trust, with one of them only able to see and the other only able to hear, and it's both sensual and action-focused. This is more John/Teyla friendship than UST or RST, but it works within the story and showcases their individual and collective survival skills.

Fic Rec #9: Reconciliation and Interlude Four
Author: Ryan C Charles
Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3960680/1/Reconciliation and http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3986260/1/Interlude_Four
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13
Why This Must Be Read:
This is a fantastic intrigue-and-adventure story (and attendant interlude), which just happens to have a John/Teyla dynamic to it. And sometimes you want a story that is less about the relationship at its core - that treats it as though it's a given and while the relationship might affect the decisions and thoughts of the characters, that's not what the story is about.

In the aftermath of Henry Wallace's death (Miller's Crossing), factions on Earth begin stirring to follow a trail that leads all the way back to Atlantis - and to John Sheppard and the people who serve with him. With the media on the trail, a high-placed Marine looking for a reason for the deaths of his brother and his niece, and a marine held in custody as a scapegoat, things are looking bleak.

At its core, Reconciliation is about loyalty - about the dues you owe to those who've paid you, and about the actions we take when there are no alternatives remaining. It's about connection and reconnection - between John and Teyla, between John and Earth, between Teyla and her team in the face of the loss of her people.

I love the depiction of John in this - mature, burdened, and fully immersed in the culture of the Air Force and not merely some pastiche character with no sense of where he's come from and where he's going to. It makes the relationship between him and Teyla all the more poignant and powerful.

Fic Rec #10: And You're The Only One Who Knows
Author: penknife
Link: http://penknife.livejournal.com/484203.html
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17, BDSM
Why This Must Be Read: The summary of this story is, 'John wishes he could stop wanting things he can't have.' Which describes it perfectly. Post-Enemy At The Gate, it's hot, it's psychological, and it has exquisite characterisation of both John and Teyla, their needs and desires.

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Tags: fandom: stargate: atlantis, ship: teyla emmagen/john sheppard, special: manifesto

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