Dedicated to my Mother:
Go raibh maith agat Momma. Go raibh míle maith agat an méid sin chun a chreidiúint i dom. Go raibh maith agat as a bheith ann i gcónaí go dtí mé agus mo chuid oibre riamh agus a thabhairt suas ar cheachtar de dúinn. Tá súil agam go breá leat an scéal seo agus bhí sé ag Mamaí fiú do fóill.
(Thank you Momma. Thank you so much for believing in me. Thank you for always being there for me and my work and never giving up on either of us. I hope you love this story Mommy and it was worth your wait.)
“Ah c’mon Buddy,” Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard leans back leisurely against the wall acting as the headboard of his bed in his quarters on Atlantis with his hands behind his head and facing one of his closest friends, Ronon Dex.
The Satedan was sitting on one of the big gray vinyl upholstered chairs beside John’s bed and morosely looking down at his fingers which were fidgeting. He looked so pathetic. John tried again.
“Look I know you’re bummed out that Amelia is gone. But look at it this way, yeah, she got that big promotion she wanted and that meant a transfer back to Earth for her, but she did get a promotion. So…this is a good thing.”
Ronon looked up at him, not buying a single word. John kept trying.
Still not buying it. Still trying.
Still not. Damn.
John felt like he should say something else, keep trying, but he didn’t know what else to say.
Ronon held his gaze for a moment of silence longer then lowered it down to his fingers again. Well that was the “Taps” bugle call on that relationship. And John was left to realize he had already said everything he should say, now he had to try to figure out just what he could say to his friend that would help the bugle call become a bit more distant when the voice of Richard Woolsey, the Atlantis Expedition’s latest and finally permanent leader, John liked the sound of that, sounded off in his ear…
“Woolsey to Colonel Sheppard.”
Sheppard put his fingers up to his earpiece and activated it.
“Good morning Colonel. I want you in my office as soon as possible. Believe me when I say it’s urgent.”
John rolled his eyes. What had he liked about ‘permanent leader’ again? Richard Woolsey had a tendency, even after serving a year already as Atlantis’ leader, to think everything was urgent. It was hard to take him serious anymore especially when he himself sounded quite perky. What urgent thing in Atlantis ever evoked perkiness in people?
“Be right there.” The earpiece’s channel closes on Woolsey’s end and automatically on John’s.
John pushed himself up from his comfortable recline to sit on the edge of his bed and looked at Ronon. The Satedan looked just as melancholy as ever. Then John stood up and stretched. He looked down at Ronon again. Maybe if he looked at Ronon enough the big guy would snap out of it.
“Let’s go see what’s so urgent with him today.”
Ronon stood up too and, keeping his head down, headed for the door.
“Let’s go,” he grumbles to the floor.
John watched the door to his room open at the sheer presence of his friend. Well that was a big fat ‘No,’ how was he supposed to stare his friend back into the land of the living unromantic if the big baby never looked him in the eye occasionally? Then he followed too.
Ronon hadn’t stopped and waited for John to catch up like he normally did. He just kept walking. Of course, these days Ronon rarely did things the way he used to—well, sort of. In fact, he seemed to have reverted back to the way he was when he first arrived in Atlantis. That wasn’t necessarily helpful. It had taken a year to get Ronon out of his shell and even then it had taken a big catastrophic thing like being taken back to Sateda by the Wraith and hunted around it all over again to do it. It had taken John weeks of stalking the Satedan using both Atlantis’ internal sensors and his own knack with a lifesigns detector before he first encountered Ronon alone on the north pier when Ronon first arrived at and started staying in Atlantis. That night the big guy had drawn his sword on Sheppard, John had expected an aggressive reaction but not ‘I’m gonna lop your head off if you hide in the shadows much longer’. Then it was another set of weeks after that when, using the lifesigns detector again, Sheppard tracked Ronon’s movements and predicted he was heading towards one of the city’s grounding stations. So John beat the warrior there, took a seat on the railing, dangling his legs over the ocean, and simply watched the detector and waited for Ronon to ‘accidentally’ walk into him. When Ronon finally did show up, John started his inane babbling about the ocean’s awesome waves. In fact, John believed his first words to tempt the Satedan to stay and listen had been: “Good swells here.” And it started from there. Some ‘run-ins’ involved inane babbling about football or flying choppers, that one usually John couldn’t help himself and he ended up way too into the talk and started gesturing maneuvers. But apparently that had worked on Ronon because one night, months after the pier run-in, he finally spoke to John, actually was the one to initiate conversation. And it had been about the Runner’s past. John had made a politely casual comment on the single line. And another two months later the Satedan got his follow-up sentence out and a third one, still more about his Runner past. John added two comments to balance out Ronon’s two. And without necessarily rushing him, John got Ronon to be comfortable around him, trust him…John wasn’t sure that there was going to be another monumental disaster as big as returning to Sateda heading their way any time soon to snap Ronon out of his self-inflicted solitary confinement, but dammit there had to be something. John pauses in the hallway to make sure his door closed before walking on.
Doctor Rodney McKay, Atlantis’ resident genius, comes around the corner behind him and quickly joined John in lagging behind and observing Ronon from a distance. After a few feet, McKay leaned over to Sheppard.
“Is he still moping about Amelia?”
Sheppard nods, “Yeah.”
“It’s been three weeks,” Rodney can’t believe this.
“Hey just imagine how’d you feel if Jennifer got transferred back to Earth as a part of her promotion and ended the relationship you two share for as close to forever as we get around here short of a body bag?”
McKay’s step falters. John really wanted to say ‘See, told ya’ so’, but Rodney’s step recovers quickly. His suddenly horrified face didn’t.
As they continue to follow Ronon down the hall towards a transporter, Teyla Emmagan, Atlantis’ resident SuperMom, John liked calling her that, having just left her son Torren with her partner Kanaan, comes out of a hallway and falls into step beside Sheppard. She quickly ascertains that they are more or less trailing Ronon.
“Is he still…,” she trailed off delicately for her friend’s sake.
“Yeah,” John answers.
Teyla nods, understanding that this was going to be more complicated and more difficult than when Ronon was forced to give up his hopes of a long-lasting relationship with Doctor Jennifer Keller, Atlantis’ chief of medicine, when Jennifer chose Rodney over Ronon.
“You know I can still hear you,” Ronon said loud enough for them behind him to hear.
The team paused and shot each other looks. No, they hadn’t actually realized that, but thanks for finally mentioning it. Although after all these years with him, they should have. His hearing was just as good as Teyla’s and he’s proven it on countless missions.
Ronon was forced to stop and wait at the transporter while someone else was in transit inside. It gave enough time for the rest of his team to catch up with him. The silence was an awkward moment quickly snuffed out of existence by their scientist genius’ ever present ability to turn any situation back to revolve around himself.
“So what are we all doing today,” Rodney chimed in and everyone knew that Rodney only ever did that for one of two reasons: a) he’s working on something exciting to tell everyone and anyone about or b) he has absolutely nothing to do. Neither was an option that necessarily required anyone to answer, McKay would let them know either way, but John played along anyway. What the hell, he was bored and after all they were just waiting around basically for a free elevator to arrive on their floor.
“Woolsey called me. Wants me in his office immediately. Apparently it’s urgent,” John tells him.
“Oooh,” Rodney cooed sounding just as alarmed as everyone else was.
“Ronon’s coming with me.”
Suddenly McKay’s whole demeanor shifted into just as perky as Woolsey had sounded.
“Ooh, can I go too?”
Okay, so it was b). John nods.
“Sure, what the hell.”
Both men looked at Teyla expectantly as Ronon continued to mope by the door. She took the hint from their eyes and rose to the bait.
“I believe I have some free time as well. May I join you?”
John shrugs with his hands in his pant’s pockets.
“Why not. The more, the merrier.”
The door finally opens and sullen Ronon steps inside. His teammates exchange a glance with each other. Okay, perhaps merrier was not the right word right now. Then they stepped in, the door closed, and Sheppard reached out and pressed the button that would take them to the transporter closest to the Gateroom and Woolsey’s office. Oh yeah, he was looking forward to the rest of today. McKay was bored, Ronon was still moping around from the loss of his girlfriend, and Teyla was simply playing along just like he was except she could get away from it all by just saying she had to go check on Torren or she wanted some time alone with Kanaan. Oh yeah, how much worse could today get?
(Chapter One will be posted next Friday!)