Title: Where were you – part 3
Pairing: Rodney/Keller, Ronon/Keller, kind of both but… well, there can be only one.
Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to FOX. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time.
Summary: She’d made her decision for a very good reason – at least that was what she’d told herself. But suddenly she realized that maybe she had been wrong.
warnings: some angst and hurt/comfort
AN: I know, it’s been a very long while since I last updated this story. It was due to many problems I had to face in the meantime, but that’s a different story. My life is crazy and I gave up hope that this will ever change. Then, I just couldn’t seem to get this chapter right. Especially not after the first two chapters were so emotional. Well, it’s not perfect, but good enough for me to finally post it now.
Thanks for being so patient!
“Who is that woman anyway?” Ronon wanted to know, nodding his head towards the annoying woman who had been bugging Jennifer at the funeral.
“My cousin Elisa,” Jennifer replied, watching him put another piece of the steak into his mouth. “She’s not that bad, just a little… untactful.”
“Pain in the ass,” he mumbled.
“You know, it’s amazing how much you can actually eat,” she commented, changing the topic.
“You should try this,” Ronon muttered before swallowing his bite, holding out the plate to her. “It’s really good.”
“Thanks, I… I just don’t feel like eating,” she answered. At least she didn’t feel so much like crying anymore after the funeral.
Ronon took a big piece of the steak on his fork, and held it out to her. “Try it.”
Sighing, Jennifer gave in and closed her eyes for a moment. She hadn’t known until now how much she’d missed the Earth food. Not that there weren’t any good cooks on Atlantis, but this was different.
“See,” Ronon smirked, handing her the fork.
“I can go get my own plate,” she tried to argue.
But Ronon had already gotten up. “Eat,” he ordered. “I’m gonna try the other stuff.”
She sighed again, and decided to be a good girl and eat. She hadn’t even realized how hungry she was. Ronon was right, the food was amazingly good.
“So…” a voice said suddenly, interrupting her thoughts.
Jennifer looked up into the grinning faces of her two cousins, Elisa and her sister Terry. “What?” she wanted to know.
Terry rolled her eyes. “Who is that dream of a man?” she asked, pointing her head Ronon’s direction.
“Ronon?” she burst out. For a brief moment she entertained the idea of telling them they were dating, but then she decided to go with the truth. “He’s… a friend.”
“A friend?” Elisa repeated and grimaced. “What kind of ‘friend’ is he?”
“I… um… he…” Jennifer started to stutter.
“Ooooh…” Elisa waggled her eyebrows. “THAT kind of friend…”
“What? No… I mean…” Great! What was she supposed to tell them now?! That she had chosen someone else over this dream of a man because she’d thought Ronon solved all his problems with a gun, because she’d wanted someone with more compassion, more empathy, someone more caring?!
That she’d chosen someone who didn’t even find the time to go with her to the funeral of her father because some computer program he’d just invented was more important than she was?! That she had chosen someone else over Ronon because she’d thought the latter just wasn’t her type; as if she knew who her type was?
She felt new tears springing to her eyes. ‘Face the truth! Even after you blew him off he cares much more about you than Rodney ever can. You made a mistake.’ she thought to herself.
“You alright?” Ronon’s worried voice asked, interrupting her gloomy thoughts.
“Yeah,” she sniffled, wiping off her face.
Ronon frowned at the two ladies sitting opposite of Jennifer, “They bothering you?”
“We were just chatting, Mr…” Elisa sweetly replied, fluttering her eyes innocently at him.
“Ronon,” he grunted. “Dex.”
“Mr… Ronon Dex,” she replied, extendeding her hand. “I am Elisa Russham, the daughter of Jennifer’s father’s sister.”
Ronon just frowned at her hand, wondering what the last information had been good for. As if he knew anything about or anyone in Jennifer’s family.
“Well,” Elisa said, pulling her hand back with a mixture of embarrassment, anger and confusion. “Tell me, Mr. Dex, where did you meet my favorite cousin?”
'Your ONLY cousin!' Jennifer thought with a slight snort.
“Work,” he replied as he sat down next to Jennifer since his seat was now occupied.
“Really?” Terri exclaimed.
Ronon gave her a strange look. They didn’t seem to be the brightest stars in the sky. “Yeah.”
“And… what exactly do you do?” Terri wanted to know.
“Blow up stuff,” he shrugged, “and shoot people.”
Jennifer sighed with embarrassment.
Terri and Elisa exchanged puzzled glances before they burst into laughter.
Jennifer smiled a bit sheepishly at Ronon. Thankfully, her two cousins took his comment as a joke; and somehow the look on his face told her this had been his intention.
“I see,” Elisa giggled. “Your work is classified, right?”
“I’m afraid so,” Jennifer answered, jumping in before Ronon could answer the question.
“Well, your private life hopefully is not,” Terri giggled. “So, how long have you two been an item already?”
Jennifer felt the blood drain from her face and was sure she was as pale as the façade of her father’s house. “Excuse me,” she just mumbled as she jumped up and ran off.
“Did I say something wrong?” Terri asked with a knowing smile and an exaggerated expression.
“We just don’t share everything with anyone,” Ronon grumbled as he stood up as well. He didn’t need to know anything about Jennifer’s cousins to understand why she’d stormed off – because she thought that he was going to tell them they weren’t dating. That obviously would have been embarrassing for her. Maybe because Rodney hadn’t accompanied her.
As if he’d really tell Jennifer’s cousins anything about her and Rodney, or her and him. This was her family, people she knew. Ronon wasn’t about to tell anyone anything. He was here because he wanted to help her, offer some comfort. Not to make her feel embarrassed in front of the people from her past. Ronon had thought Jennifer knew that.
It took him a few minutes to find her sitting in her childhood room on her bed with an album in her hands and tears in her eyes. Without saying a word he sat down next to her, and glanced at the pictures, most of them showing herself and her father.
“I… I wanted to take some pictures of him with me,” she sniffled. “You know, to… have something to remind me of the time I spent with him and… I don’t know to… to have him with me. But I just can’t decide which one to take.”
Ronon thought for a brief moment standing up again. “I’m gonna sent them away.” He didn’t even wait for her affirmation; he knew she needed some quiet now.
Jennifer smiled slightly as she let her fingers run over a picture of her father. He’d have liked Ronon; certainly the only one in her family that did. Ronon understood what she needed without her saying anything.
More tears formed in her eyes. She’d made the biggest mistake of her life when she’d spurned Ronon and told him that she wasn’t interested. He was the one who’d come with her to the funeral of her father, the only true family she’d had. He was the one taking care of her, and if it hadn’t been for his support, she wouldn’t have survived this.
When she heard him coming back up the stairs, she quickly wiped the tears from her face. This wasn’t right. He shouldn’t be here with her when she was with someone else. And she shouldn’t be longing for his embrace to make her feel better.
The truth was that when he held her, it made her feel like she hadn’t lost everything. That there was still someone who cared for her; that she wasn’t all on her own now. She needed that reassurance now more than ever.
Maybe she just felt this way because she was in complete turmoil. She needed support, closeness and caring; and Ronon offered all that, seemingly knowing exactly what she needed.
Of course, he did. Of course, he understood. No one knew better than him what it meant to lose your whole family so suddenly. He understood and Rodney didn’t. If he’d known how she felt, he would have been here with her.
Jennifer tried to shake off these thoughts. She was too distraught to think clearly. She shouldn’t question her life or her decisions right now. Not when Rodney was billions of miles away from her.
She was too vulnerable at the moment. Right now, Ronon had a great advantage over her. If he tried to make a pass at her, she’d give in to him. Jennifer wondered if he knew that.
“They’re all gone,” Ronon informed her. “Your cousins didn’t seem too happy, though.”
Jennifer smiled slightly. “You’re right; they are a pain in the ass.”
“Told you so,” he replied with a smirk.
She remained silent for a moment, looking back down at the album in her hands. “I can’t believe this is over,” she finally whispered. “I mean… I don’t know. Tomorrow we’re gonna head back to Atlantis and then…”
Ronon frowned at her. “You know, Sam would probably approve if we ask her to stay a little longer.”
We. Jennifer gave him a sad smile, and shook her head. “I can’t hide away for the rest of my life. Life goes on, right?”
Slowly, Ronon went to her bed and sat down next to her. “It’s okay if you take a break.”
Jennifer sniffled. “No, it’s not. If I take a break now, I may never go back to Atlantis again. I… I need the work, I need something…”
“Some routine,” Ronon finished for her.
She smiled slightly at him. She knew he would understand.
“You know, I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you came with me to the funeral,” Jennifer told him in a low voice, looking down at her hands. “I… certainly would have lost it without your support.”
“That’s what friends are for,” he shrugged.
“Yeah,” she sniffled. Technically, this was what a boyfriend was for. She had really thought Rodney knew that. Of course, she had told him she’d be fine, but anyone else would have realized it was a lie.
Jennifer felt new tears springing to her eyes, and quickly wiped them away, hoping Ronon hadn’t noticed them. But, of course, he had. She felt his arm around her shoulders the next second, and she willingly leaned her head against his chest.
Yeah, this was what a boyfriend was for. Why didn’t Rodney see that? How could he be so blind and self-centered?!
Face it, you’re the one who was blind.
She had known of Rodney’s lack of empathy and sensitivity beforehand. She’d experienced his egotism more than once. How could she have thought it would be any different with her?
Rodney wasn’t a bad guy. On the contrary, he was good at heart; and Jennifer was sure he really loved her. He certainly cared about her, but his social incompetence kept him from showing it.
Rodney was smart and he could be cute. One of the reasons Jennifer had chosen him had been his brains. Not that she thought Ronon was dumb, but Rodney could understand every word when she was talking about her work.
But what does it matter when he never listens?
He was, in many ways, still immature. He needed someone to tell him what was appropriate and what wasn’t. Most of the time, he needed someone to take care of him, especially when there were any life-threatening problems and he was about to freak out again. Most of the time, Jennifer didn’t mind being that someone.
Right now, however, she really needed someone to take care of her. Her whole life had been turned upside down, her family ripped apart. She needed someone to support her, to comfort her. Someone to remind her she wasn’t alone.
She couldn’t help but wonder how hers and Ronon’s relationship would have developed if their attempt to kiss each other during the quarantine hadn’t been interrupted. They had never talked about it again, as if it had never happened. Would it have been the same if they had actually kissed each other?
She surely wouldn’t be with Rodney now if Ronon had ever clearly stated what he felt for her, what his intentions were; if he had any intentions at all.
Rodney had told her that he loved her. Ronon had said he didn’t have any intentions. What should she have done? She was sure about Rodney’s intentions, but with Ronon, she never was.
“You should try and get some sleep.” Ronon’s voice interrupted her thoughts.
She opened her mouth to reply that she didn’t think she could, but reconsidered it. She could spend the night trying to figure out what to do with her father’s stuff, but she wasn’t even sure if she wanted to sell the house or not. There was no way to be sure when, or if, she would move back here some day.
Sighing, she crawled under her blanket and watched as Ronon walked to the door. If she hadn’t blown him off, he would hold her tonight and she wouldn’t even have to ask for it. Now she couldn’t ask for it, or at least she shouldn’t. She felt new tears spring to her eyes and quickly wiped them away.
Ronon sighed as he walked to the door. As much as he didn’t like seeing her in pain, he couldn’t deny that he had enjoyed being allowed to hold her the last couple of days. He hadn’t been so close to her since that day in the infirmary, but he knew that it wasn’t forever; she was with someone else. She had chosen another man over him, and he surely shouldn’t be the one sharing a bed with her at night.
Where was Rodney, though? He had refused to come with her to her father’s funeral. Of course, he would be mad at both of them that Ronon had gone with her instead, but Ronon honestly didn’t care about that. He was much stronger than Rodney anyway, so what could the other man do?!
When he turned around in the doorway to say goodnight, he saw Jennifer wipe some new tears from her face. She still was hurting and Ronon knew she wouldn’t find any sleep tonight if he left her alone.
He really shouldn’t stay with her, though. It wasn’t appropriate. Besides, tomorrow they were going back to Atlantis and she was going back to Rodney.
But tonight was tonight, and tomorrow was tomorrow. Who cared what he should or shouldn’t do? What happened on Earth stayed on Earth; nobody needed to know. Without asking, he walked back to the bed, crawled under the blanket next to her and wrapped his arms tightly around her.
Where were you - part 3
Title: Where were you – part 3