Title: Where were you – part 6
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, not beta-read
AN: I know, I wanted to try and post sooner – and I did try, I promise. I’ll keep trying. ;) Hope you enjoy this chapter.
Jennifer stared at him for a few seconds before reluctantly stepping aside and letting him in.
“You know, I… I’m really sorry for what I said yesterday,” he began, obviously unsure of what to say to appropriately apologize. He wasn’t good at this. And he definitely wasn’t used to apologizing.
Jennifer crossed her arms in front of her chest and looked at him expectantly. Rodney most likely wanted her to say that it was okay, but in truth, it wasn’t. And it wasn’t just about what he had said the day before.
“Well, I… I know I didn’t have the right to… be mad at you for taking Ronon with you to earth,” he continued. He definitely hadn’t thought about what to say farther than his initial apology.
Jennifer sighed. This was going to end in another fight.
“But I was just… jealous, you know. I thought that we were…”
“Rodney,” she interrupted a little harshly. “Why exactly are you here?”
He blinked at her for a second. “Pardon?”
“Well if you’re here to apologize…really apologize, go ahead,” she explained. “But if you’re only here to justify your behavior, I really don’t want to hear it.”
“I’m not…I…” he started.
“I did not take Ronon with me,” she corrected him. “He went with me because you just couldn’t spare the time to do so, even though Ronon told you to go.”
Rodney raised an eyebrow at her.
“And no, he didn’t tell me,” she quickly added. “Teyla did.”
Rodney opened his mouth to say something, but then obviously considered it wiser to remain quiet. Silence then filled Jennifer’s quarters for quite a while.
Finally, Rodney dared to speak again. “I know I should have been there for you,” he mumbled.
Jennifer frowned at him. She waited for a ‘but’ or any kind of explanation why he couldn’t have been there. But he didn’t add anything.
“I really needed you, you know,” she admitted quietly. “My father was the only family I had left and he was taken from me at the blink of an eye and I really had no idea how to deal with that; especially not on my own.”
“I know,” Rodney said contritely.
“I believe that you do,” she whispered. “You do now. But as much as I hate to say that, I’m afraid it’s too late.”
The corner of his mouth turned upwards in a sad smile as he looked at her. “Yeah, I know that, too,” he told her.
Jennifer frowned again. If he wasn’t really here to apologize and try to win her back and fix their relationship, then why had he come here?
“I just wanted to let you know that I… I understand now,” he continued, answering her unspoken question. “I know I couldn’t be the man you deserved. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not sure I ever could be.”
Suddenly, Jennifer’s anger over Rodney’s indifference was gone. Now she just felt sorry for him. “You’re not that bad, Rodney,” she whispered.
“Yes, I am,” he objected. “But thanks for pretending I wasn’t. I was a jerk, especially after you returned. I didn’t take a single second to think about what losing your father might mean to you.”
It was true. And as much as she would have liked to object, she wouldn’t do it just to make him feel better.
“And I didn’t think of your feelings when I confronted you for going to earth with Ronon after you had just lost your patients,” he added. He didn’t like to admit it, but he couldn’t even remember how many people had died in the infirmary that day. Had he really cared so little?
“I know if I had done the right thing and gone with you to your father’s funeral, Ronon wouldn’t have had to accompany you in my place,” he continued. “I should have been there, and there’s no excuse why I wasn’t.”
Jennifer just nodded, afraid that if she opened her mouth she would object and make Rodney feel like he hadn’t hurt her as much as he had.
“I’m sorry I hurt you so much,” he finally finished. “I swear I never wanted to.”
“I know,” Jennifer assured him.
Rodney just nodded, realizing that it was truly over and that there was no turning back. He had overstepped his limits and hurt her too much for her to just accept his apology and continue as if nothing had ever happened.
For a long time, neither of them said a word. And while she was still wavering on whether she should forgive Rodney or not, she knew she just couldn’t go on after what had happened. She couldn’t be happy with Rodney no matter how hard they both tried.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled once more, before rushing out of her apartment.
For a second, she thought about following him, but her feet simply refused to move.
What had she been about to do before she found Rodney standing in front of her door?
Ronon! Right, she still needed to talk to him, but definitely not right now while she was much too agitated to think straight. She might make a decision she would regret later.
Or more likely, she wouldn’t be able to make a decision at all.
What if she was wrong again? What if Ronon wasn’t the right guy, either? What if there simply was no right guy for her?
Maybe she should just stay on her own for the rest of her life. It would be much less complicated.
Sighing, she decided to listen to Angela and stay in bed for the rest of the day. At least this way she had an excuse for avoiding the whole city, since she didn’t feel like seeing anyone at the moment.
Finally acknowledging that sleep would not find her, she decided to sit down and write the letters to the families of the soldiers she had lost that day.
She spent the whole night trying to determine the best way to explain to the families what had happened and to express how sorry she was for their loss. But no matter what she wrote, it always came up short.
And even though she understood all too well what they were going through and truly felt sorry for their losses, it simply seemed impossible for her to find the right words to convey her thoughts.
But maybe Ronon was right. Maybe what she wrote didn't matter as much as the simple act of writing to the families herself, showing how much she truly cared.
Jennifer took a deep breath. Tomorrow…taking a look at her clock, she sighed…today, she corrected herself. Today she would have to talk to him. She couldn’t procrastinate any longer.
Once she had finished writing the four letters and saw that she only had one hour before her shift started, she realized there was no point in trying to go back to bed. So she took a long shower and ate what was left from the day before, since she wasn’t too fond of having breakfast in the cafeteria.
“Remember that you already made your decision,” she told herself, looking at her reflection in the mirror.
Taking another deep breath, she left her quarters, heading for the infirmary, surprised that she didn’t meet anyone on the way. It almost seemed like the whole city of Atlantis was still sleeping.
“Hey Jen, are you okay?” Angela asked concerned when her friend entered the infirmary.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she assured her. “I took the day off and rested. I guess I was just overworked.”
Angela eyed her suspiciously. “You don’t look rested.”
“I didn’t sleep very well,” she admitted, making the other woman giggle. “It’s not what you think.”
“What a pity,” Angela sighed theatrically.
Rolling her eyes, Jennifer decided to set herself to work. She really wasn’t in the mood to discuss her relationship with Ronon right now, not being sure what their relationship was at the moment herself.
As it ended up, she didn’t see him once that day, which was strange. He wasn’t in the cafeteria with the others at lunch or on the bridge when she handed in her reports and the letters to the families of the fallen soldiers.
He really seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth…or Atlantis in this case.
Jennifer didn’t pay too much attention to it, until four days later when there was still no sign of him. Had he left for a secret mission or something? Jennifer couldn’t remember the alert signaling a wormhole having gone off lately…
Or maybe he had left with a jumper or on one of the ships the SGC had sent them.
He couldn’t be avoiding her, could he?
Well he had to have heard about her and Rodney breaking up, and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that it had partly been because of him.
Maybe he wanted to give her time to sort things out with Rodney. Maybe he had just withdrawn so he wouldn’t interfere any longer.
Or maybe he really didn’t want to see her anymore…
It was pointless racking her brain about it, so she decided she would ask him once he crossed her path again; which in a place like Atlantis would happen eventually.
Of course, she would never have guessed the real reason for Ronon staying out of the picture for a couple of days, if not for the chime at her door, six days after her collapse on the stage.
Having recently spent almost twenty four hours on another planet, helping the locals with a minor disease however, she really wasn't in the mood to see visitors, which was why she opened her door reluctantly, silently mourning the shower she had been about to take.
Surprised didn’t even begin to describe how she felt when she found Ronon standing in front of her.
“Hey,” he greeted, making her frown. Was it just her or did he seem nervous?
“Hey,” she replied, stepping aside so that he could enter.
“I… um… got something for you,” he told her, handing her a small wooden item, the size of a book.
“Thanks,” she mumbled, carefully taking the present from him. “What…what is it?”
“It’s a shrine… sort of,” he replied. “My people used them to keep stuff from loved once we lost, usually something they possessed, or a hair…”
Inspecting it, Jennifer discovered a clasp on its right and carefully pulled it open.
She found what looked like the cover of a book. It was slim, small enough to fit in the inner pocket of her jacket and completely made of wood with ornate handmade carvings. But what touched her the most was that it contained two pictures of her father.
She looked at Ronon completely speechless, wiping a tear from her face.
“I took them from the album you were looking at back at your father’s house,” he explained. “Hope you don’t mind.”
“Thank you,” she sniffled. “This…is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me.”
He opened his mouth to say something in return, but was instead stunned when she suddenly threw her arms around his neck.