A/N: This was written due to an idea brought on by some brainstorming during the July writing challenge on the Gateworld Forum for Ronon Dex/Jennifer Keller Appreciation/Ship/Discussion (Doctor & Wild Man) thread. DG and I were talking about follow-up ideas to the episode Quarantine.
Thank you to ShaViva for the beta read through and for being such a good friend.
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Stargate Atlantis or it's wonderful characters.
Spoilers ~ Through SGA Season 4 Episode 14 – Harmony
Harmony is the episode after Quarantine where McKay and Sheppard are escorting the little princess on a pilgrimage that she must take before she can become queen at the request of her older sisters. So being a Ronon/Keller Shipper I naturally wondered what Ronon was doing during this episode.
Rodney set his tray down in the mess hall, settling into the empty seat next to Sheppard to eat breakfast with his team. They were headed out on a delivery mission today, much to his dismay. When he got no immediate greeting he set about eating his breakfast.
"So where we headed today?" John asked around a mouthful of toast as soon as Rodney had taken a bite.
Rodney picked up the tablet he'd absently set on the table and tapped a few times before setting it back down with a light thud. "M3Y-365. Not sure why I'm needed on a medical supply trade mission," the scientist grumbled, cutting into the sausage-like meat on his plate.
Ronon leaned back in his chair, finished with his meal and grinned across at McKay. "The meat world."
The warrior's statement while odd, was said with an enthusiasm McKay wouldn't have associated with Ronon and trade missions. He turned a pained expression on the Satedan, "The meat world?"
Teyla laid a hand on Ronon's upper arm to keep him from answering the scientist's comment. "What Ronon means to say," she began, "is that while we deliver medical supplies to M3Y-365, the inhabitants of that world graciously give Atlantis meat as well as some of their excess crops."
This was not the first time she'd felt so impatient with her fellow team mates and their incessant need to needle each other. She'd noticed as she got closer and closer to the date of her child's arrival that she grew more and more impatient with those around her. Dr. Keller had assured her this was normal, but the expectant mother did hope that she regained her patience after her child was born.
"Oh," McKay started, admitting to himself at least, that trading for food was a necessity, although he still wasn't sure why his team was playing bag boy for the grocery store planet. "Well I still don't know why we have to be the ones to fetch the food and deliver the supplies."
Rodney picked up his tablet again to check on the availability of other teams, hoping that he could convince Sheppard to send another team in their place so he could get back to his labs.
"Wait a minute," Rodney began, pulling up the schedule.
"What?" Sheppard asked,leaning over Mckay's arm to get a better view of the screen.
Rodney pushed John away with his elbow, while his fingers continued to tap away. After one brief pause the scientist set the tablet back on the table with a louder thud than before. "It says that we requested this mission," he lamented with a huff.
"Why would we do that?" Sheppard asked incredulously, reaching for Rodney's tablet, only to retract his hand quickly when McKay slapped at it.
"Flora and Mardola have been extremely grateful for all of the medical supplies, as well as the teaching that Dr. Keller has provided." Teyla watched the boys faces knowing that the name dropping of the two beautiful princesses of that world would be the only reminder John or Rodney would need forwhy they had signed up for the mission.
As realization dawned on the two men they both straightened in their seats even as they attempted to hold in smiles. Teyla had to work hard not to grin as well. The princesses were beautiful and she was sure that both Flora and Mardola used the men's eagerness to please them to their advantage as much as possible.
Teyla looked forward to the day she could again participate in missions with her team, but she was glad today would not be that day. Watching the men fall over themselves to gain the girl's attention could be amusing, but probably not in the state she was in now.
Noticing that Ronon was quiet she turned toward the man at her side to see what had captured his attention. Following the direction his head was turned toward, the area of prepared food, she immediately noticed Dr. Keller filling a brown paper bag as she made her way through the line.
Ronon's gaze followed Jennifer through the line as she gathered her meal. His gaze never faltered and he found himself extremely disappointed when she didn't even look in his direction.
It had been a week since the lock-down. A week since she'd come and satwith his team in the seat he'd been holding for her arrival. She'd even shown up for breakfast the next morning. But now it had been several days and he hardly saw her. Nothing more than a wave in the hall or a quick hi in the infirmary during a post-mission check-up.
His head turned as he followed the doctor's progress out of the mess hall. Unable to hold in his frustration he gathered up his tray roughly, preparing to leave, but paused when Telya restrained him quietly with a hand on his arm.
"We have all been quite busy since the quarantine," the Athosian leader looked into Ronon's eyes to gage whether he was accepting her offer of reassurance.
He had been busy, the Satedan acknowledge with a slight bow of his head in Teyla's direction. His team had been on back to back missions pretty much all week. When in the infirmary for his many post-mission check-ups there'd been a couple times he hadn't even seen Jennifer.
With tray still in hand, Ronon turned to leave but Sheppard called out after him, "Gear up and we'll meet in the infirmary in a half hour to make sure Doc has the supplies ready."
Ronon nodded before heading out, missing the look of concern that passed between Teyla and John and the lingering looks they cast in the ex-runner's direction as he left the mess hall.
Doctor Keller was triple checking the supplies when Sheppard's team came into the infirmary. She'd known that he'd probably be showing up. The Colonel knew her propensity to over pack and to recheck her supplies kept her from getting everything to the gate in a timely manner.
She finished looking through the last box before straightening and turning toward the team. "I think that about covers it." She pointed at the boxes behind her as she talked, trying not to make direct eye contact with Ronon.
As maddening as it was, she found she couldn't help but blush profusely whenever she looked at him. She thought that with time it would get better, but it was almost a week later and she still couldn't look at him without visualizing their almost kiss and her eyes would stray to his lips. For the first couple of days when her eyes would meet Ronon's she could swear he knew what she'd been thinking of. The twinkle she usually found in his eyes all but confirmed it.
"You ready to go, Doc?" John asked noticing that Keller wasn't wearing her tac vest or boots yet for the mission. He also hadn't missed the fact that she seemed unable to look directly at Ronon. Of course he'd mainly noticed that because the big guy was staring at the doc. In fact he was pretty sure his team mate's gaze hadn't strayed since they'd come into the infirmary. John was typically not good at detecting these types of things, but Ronon was making it easy to read the signs of a guy very taken with a girl.
"Oh, no," Jennifer answered the Colonel, a little flustered after trying to sneak a peak at Ronon, only to find him looking at her. "I have the day off actually, once I've seen these supplies off. This is really just a resupply mission anyway and I'm not needed. No need to tempt fate," she finished with a small laugh.
John smiled back at the young doctor, "And we thank you for that."
Jenn gave Sheppard a playful glare before stepping away from the supplies so they could get going. "Well then, I'm out of here. Have a safe mission, boys." She smiled at them as a whole, but her eyes lingered an extra second on Ronon before she quickly took her leave.
Ronon watched Jennifer leave the infirmary and turn in the direction of the transporter. When he swung his gaze back toward his team, his eyes encountered John's knowing look. Sheppard quirked his eyebrows at him, but Ronon just scowled in return, grabbing up a couple of the boxes before heading out toward the gate room.
John set his boxes atop the few that Ronon and one of the medical techs had set down in the gate room. He looked up at the control room above and gave Chuck the go ahead to dial the gate.
Ronon turned his head toward Sheppard as the gate came to life, "Some guys from the village will be there to help with the supplies?"
"Yeah, they always send out a party to escort us." John gave Ronon a quizzical look.
"I'm staying here then. You don't need me." Ronon paused for a second to see if Sheppard objected before turning and leaving.
John watched the big guy leave and smiled to himself, sure that the good doctor would be receiving a visit from Ronon soon. The colonel turned back and grabbed a couple boxes before heading toward the gate. He wasn't going to complain about having the princesses' undivided attention.
John's attention caught on McKay struggling with a couple of boxes in front of him and changed his mind, their nearly undivided attention anyway.
Ronon leaned back in his chair in the mess hall. There were a few stragglers still trickling in for a meal, but the majority of the expedition members had already come and and gone. He'd been eating and keeping an eye on the doorway, waiting for Jennifer to come for her lunch, but so far she hadn't shown. He decided to give her about ten more minutes then he was going to hunt her down.
They'd grown closer during the lock-down, sharing secrets. He'd told her of his feelings about not forcing Melana to leave and she'd told him of her feelings of inadequacy and a missed youth. He'd thought things were moving in the right direction when she'd come and satwith him and his team after the lock-down, but within a couple of meals that had stopped. He was beginning to worry that if he didn't sort this out with Jenn soon that this chance would slip away.
He looked around the mess hall one last time and decided she was going to be a no show. Time to go hunt down the good doctor and remind her that eating was important.
Ronon strolled into the infirmary after exhausting all of his ideas of where Jennifer could've gotten off to. His last thought was that maybe she'd gone back work. He slowly surveyed the room, but didn't see her immediately and decided to try her office, but again came up empty. On his way out of the infirmary he decided he'd at least see if the nurses knew where she could be.
Marie watched Ronon approach the nurses station, she wanted to let him squirm as he came up with the reason for his visit, but seeing as how he didn't look injured she figured she might as well just be thankful for that. She had a pretty good idea as to why he was there and in her opinion it was about time one of those two made a move.
"She's not working today," Marie announced while giving him a solid once over. The man was something to behold and the cheerleader in her was exclaiming, way to go Dr. Keller.
Not one to be that curious, Ronon just nodded his head at her accurate assessment of his inquiry and rolled with it. "Can't find her."
"Well I assume you've tried all the obvious places?" Marie waited for a nod before continuing, "Then she's probably out on her favorite pier." Ronon started to open his mouth, but Marie cut him off. "Not the East Pier, too many people go out there running and such. Try the next pier over."
Ronon gave her another nod and small smile. Of the medical staff, Marie was one he respected. She was a woman of few words and always got right to the point. "Thanks," he murmured as he moved away from the counter.
"Ronon," he heard her call after him before he turned back to face her. "You'll need to grab some bread or a roll from the mess hall before you go out there." He opened his mouth to ask why, but she shook her head at him, "Just do it."
With a light growl at the inconvenient delay and cryptic command, he strolled out of the infirmary with purpose now that he knew his destination.
Jennifer sat on the out of the way pier and basked in the warmth of the sun. It was a nice day out, warm enough to feel good on her skin, but not so hot as to make you need to find shelter from the sun's rays. The warmth made her want to lie down and she wished she'd remembered to bring a book. It'd been a while since she'd had an afternoon off, she thought with a shake of her head, and she seemed to be out of practice. It was usually just a lunch hour here and there that she got to spend out here. Thanks to transporters she could come out here for some peace and quiet and still get back to work on time.
She heard the sqwack overhead and smiled as she looked up at the half dozen seagull type birds that were circling above. The birds had discovered Jennifer after about two months of coming out to this pier for some of her meals. It'd taken another two months for them to come and sample any of the crumbs she tore from her sandwich and threw out for them to eat.
Jennifer liked to think now, almost a year later, that they recognized her. They typically showed up as she was finishing her meal. Circling high above as if casing out the area to make sure she hadn't laid out an elaborate trap for them. The ritual dictated that she first throw some out for them to tentatively snatch up and skitter away with to consume. Then after a bit they'd regain their courage and come closer. There were three birds that would actually eat out of her hand if she had the time and patience to wait on them.
Today was no different. She threw out a few rips off of the rolls she'd snagged at dinner last night and then breakfast this morning. The birds tentatively landed on the ground and snagged pieces before taking off, two of them fighting over the same piece. Jenn laughed watching their antics as she threw out a couple more scraps. She leaned back and got comfy against the side of Atlantis, tearing off more bits as she relaxed in the sun and enjoyed this one small pleasure. Feeding the birds could actually make her forget that she was on a floating city in a different galaxy.
Her mind drifted back to Ronon and the lock-down in the infirmary, as it often did. She still could feel the blush rising to her cheeks as she thought about him leaning in close and the flip her stomach had made. It was now almost a week later and the mere thought of what might've come next had the doors not finally opened, still brought on that flip in her stomach.
The night of the quarantine and even the next day she'd sat at a table in the mess hall with Ronon and his team, enjoying their new-found closeness, but the knowing looks she got from his team mates made her self conscious and when he didn't seek her out within a couple of days she decided to let it go. It was probably just time and place and she didn't want to make a fool of herself if she was more interested in pursuing something than he was.
These thoughts didn't bother her though. Having this memory of their time spent together was something she wouldn't have wanted to miss for the world and she'd do it all again in a heart beat.
Jennifer held a piece of bread up in the air and laughed as one of the braver birds hovered above her hand and swiped her offering from her fingers. She quickly replaced it with another piece and held her hand out just a bit lower this time but still away from her body. Two birds come to snatch it away and she had to work extra hard to remain still and hold in her laughter so she didn't scare them away as they both jockeyed for the prize.
Ronon found her with ease, but the sight before him was a hard one to rectify in his mind. Her laughter floated to him and he couldn't help but smile ever so slightly at the sound of it, but the birds hopping around her was something he didn't understand. They didn't seem to be hurting her if her smile or laughter was any indication.
He watched for a few more moments before slowly approaching her.
"Ronon," Jennifer called out when she saw him, a little startled at his appearance. "Shouldn't you be out on a mission?" she asked as she craned her neck and shielded her eyes to look up at him.
"They didn't need me."
Jenn patted the spot next to her, indicating he should sit. She felt a bit self conscious with him towering over her and she looked out toward the water as she worked to regain her composure.
"Here," Ronon said after settling, as he handed over the rolls he'd been holding, feeling a little silly to be giving her bread. "Marie said I'd need these."
"So it was Marie that told you where I was." Jennifer tried not to blush as the thought of him looking for her warmed her traitorous cheeks.
Ronon nodded out toward the edge of the pier, "What's with the birds?"
Jenn looked out where the sea-gull like creatures where circling and squawking, having flownoff at Ronon's approach and the worry of danger. "I was feeding them."
Ronon caught her broad smile as she looked out at the birds affectionately and he felt a tightening in his chest. She was so beautiful when she was happy. He couldn't help but smile along, happy for her delight.
"Now that you're here you can help me feed them," Jennifer declared, glad for a distraction from the awkwardness of having his imposing presence so close.
The Satedan was pretty sure the birds were capable of feeding themselves but he nodded his head and accepted his new duty. He watched her hands rip a roll in two before giving him one of the halves. Then she proceeded to rip off much smaller pieces and throw them out for the hovering birds to scamper after.
As he mimicked her actions he couldn't help but find his own delight in watching the animals' quickness and attentiveness to what he was doing and where he was throwing the pieces. After they'd finished off their halves Jennifer stopped him from picking up the other roll by laying her hand on his arm. When her eyes met his she quickly looked away and just as quickly removed her hand. Ronon smirked just a bit at her reaction, realizing what it meant. Teyla had been right…it wasn't lack of interest that had kept Jennifer away.
"Watch this," Jenn instructed as she tore off a small chunk of the bread. "Stay very still."
Ronon watched as she raised her hand in the air and held the piece of bread aloft.
"You are an unknown for them so we'll need to be patient while they become brave."
They sat in silence for a bit, but eventually a bird began to hover just above their heads, inching closer. It almost tried Ronon's patience, but eventually the bird took the bread and flew away. Jennifer did this a few more times and the birds were definitely making quick work of the bread she had.
"Your turn," she announced out of the blue, turning to him with a smile. Before he knew what to say or do she'd placed a piece of bread in his right hand, furthest away from them and instructed him to raise it high in the air.
It didn't take long before a bird hovered over his arm and he turned his head toward Jenn in excitement. He found her looking at him with such happiness that he almost forgot what he was doing, his arm beginning to fall away.
"Hold it real still," she commanded on a whisper, reminding him of what he was actually doing.
The bird finally took the bread from his grasp and he couldn't help the smile that transformed his features. He turned back toward Jenn to see her reaction and at the look on her face his breath caught. There was such surprise and awe in her expression mingled with a sudden seriousness that held him still.
Jennifer saw the joy upon his face, mingled with his closeness and a week's worth of pent up day dreams and she couldn't help the pull she was feeling toward this man. She was unable to pull her gaze away and she was wishing for all the world that she had the courage needed to lean into him and kiss him as she'd fantasized doing for days now.
Just as she began to think he was leaning in toward her, she saw his upper body suddenly stiffen and his head whip to his right.
Ronon growled when his eyes fell upon the bird crap that now covered his shoulder.
Jennifer began to laugh and he watched her as she fumbled with her pocket before pulling out something. "That happens from time to time," she got out between laughs. "I always bring these with me now… just in case."
Jenn produced a few wipes from a travel sized pack. "At least it was your shoulder and not your hair."
No sooner had Ronon mentally agreed with that statement, than he found Jennifer kneeling next to him. Instead of giving him the wipes she began to lean across him with the intention of cleaning his shoulder for him.
Not that he was complaining as she rested her free hand on his other shoulder for balance.
The doctor in her had quickly set about to fix the situation and clean Ronon's shoulder. Jennifer belatedly realized how much of his personal space she was invading. Her body was not only leaned into his, but her face wasn't far from his either. The heat rising in her face was uncontrollable as she tried to ignore his nearness.
"You know," she began, needing words to alleviate the silence and the tension that seemed to be growing thicker, "I've heard that a bird… umm, pooping on you," Jennifer winced at her words. She couldn't believe she was talking about bird poop while her face was mere inches from Ronon's, although averted with her task. "It is thought to be a sign of good luck."
Jennifer couldn't believe how lame that sounded once she'd gotten her whole thought out. She started to pull away, needing to put some space between them so she could think, especially before she spoke anymore, but as she moved she felt Ronon halt her movements with his left hand at her waist. He reached up and took the wipe from her hand, setting it aside. She was perched very awkwardly in front of and to the side of him, but she didn't dare move… she didn't even want to breathe.
Ronon had let a perfectly good opportunity slip by him once before. He wasn't about to let that happen again. "Very good luck, I'd say," he replied as he leaned in and kissed her. It was just a possessive press of his lips to hers for the moment, but as he felt her shock wear off and her lips begin to engage his, he deepened the kiss. As the sensations seemed to travel from his lips through his chest, he had a moment's regret that he hadn't followed up on their near kiss sooner.
Jennifer was afraid to move an inch as she leaned in and allowed the kiss to consume her. She wanted to protest when his lips left hers for a moment, but after an intake of breath they returned to hers, with more intensity than before and she surrendered to it.
When the need to slow down or find a more private location developed, Jennifer pulled back and looked up at the warrior before her and could think of no words, so she just smiled.
"This should have happened before now," Ronon offered, while pulling her more fully onto his lap.
But Jennifer could hear a tinge of regret in his voice and had to try to alleviate it. "Then or now… either way, I'm just happy it did."
"Happy enough to start eating dinner with me?"
"Tonight?" she questioned in a teasing voice. She really just wanted a bit of reassurance that they both were hoping for this to move in a more permanent direction.
"Yes," he replied with a grin, not missing the subtle question, "and every other meal that you eat from now on."
"Okay," she replied in a happy voice, leaning in to rest her head against his chest in complete contentment.
"Even when my team is there."
Jennifer nodded her head against his chest.
"Movie nights too."
She smiled and nodded again, loving the possessiveness in his voice.
"And other times too."
Jennifer pulled away and laughed when she saw the humor written on his face as he voiced his demands. She held her finger to her lips in a shushing motion. "You have all my free time from now on… happy?" she teased.
Ronon growled slightly at her teasing, although elated at hearing her answer. He leaned in and captured her lips in an attempt to wipe that knowing look off her face.
"You're mine then?" he asked in what sounded more like a demand as he pulled away.
Jennifer looked at her watch, then back at him with a smirk, "For the next sixteen hours." When Ronon gave her a stern look she caved with a laugh. "Yes, I'm yours," she said, loving the sound of those three words strung together.