Title: Where Were You Chapter 11
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: again mostly fluff
AN: It’s been much too long again, I know that, and I really am sorry. Things just got crazier and crazier around here. But now I finally know that I will be allowed to keep the job I love so much and I really hope things will get better. Never give up hope, right?! ;)
Anyway, work has kept me so busy – but in a good way – that life didn’t even get a chance to do the same except for the few occasions when I was off work. But enough of that. Now I hope you enjoy this chapter. Thank you all for all the wonderful reviews. I simply didn’t get to answer them, but they were all very much appreciated. Take care!
The artifact that SGA9 had found on M1K-177 laid untouched on Rodney’s lab table, just as it had for the last two hours. His head just wasn’t in the game. Which as anyone knew, was wrong, considering the multitude of genius ideas continuously running through his highly intellectual mind. He usually wasn’t one to be distracted by inconsequential things such as feelings when there was new scientific tech to be discovered. But against his better judgment, his thoughts kept returning to the situation between him, Jennifer, and Ronon.
He knew logically that he had no right to be jealous. The breakup with Jennifer had entirely been his fault…he understood that. And he had meant it earlier that morning when he had told her that she deserved someone that made her happy. But that still didn’t stop the pain that formed in his chest whenever he saw them around base lately. Why did guys like Ronon always get the girl? Why did it seem impossible for a genius who loved his work to find a woman that appreciated that in a man?
When his stomach rumbled, reminding him of the fact that he still had yet to eat breakfast, he looked at the clock to find that it was already past noon. Surprised that it had taken him so long to realize that he was hungry, he immediately got up to get what would now be his lunch. Maybe his low blood sugar was the cause of his distracted state; after all, it was a delicate thing requiring constant fuel for him to think clearly. And it wasn’t as if he was doing any good in his lab at the moment anyway.
Of course the moment he entered the cafeteria, his stomach clenched and his mind berated him for the bad decision. His team was at their usual table already halfway through their meal, but Jen was there as well, sitting closely to Ronon, as he whispered intimately into her ear causing her to giggle and lean into him.
But he was an adult…a highly intelligent one at that. There was no way he was going to let something as mundane as jealousy get in the way of food. That emotion was reserved for those who didn’t have a vast library of ingenious discoveries to share with the world. No…it wasn’t jealousy.
The talking at the table quieted as he approached with his food tray, a flash of what he thought was uncertainty crossing Jennifer’s face as she slyly released Ronon’s hand under the table, and then scooted just the tiniest bit away from him, obviously hoping he wouldn’t notice. He did.
“Hi Rodney,” she greeted cautiously.
John’s eyes moved back and forth between the two before deciding to try and break the tension. “How’s it going with that thing SGA9 brought back?”
Rodney focused on his tablet as he answered. “I haven’t really gotten around to it yet.” The team’s eyes widened just a bit as they gave each other a look, Jennifer’s bordering on guilt. His eyes alone glanced up to see them staring at him. “I’ve just been busy with other projects,” he added, trying anything to get the look of disbelief and maybe…pity off their faces. “And it’s not a thing. It’s an artifact, let’s stay precise.” A few moments of silence followed, before everyone turned back to their lunch.
Light chatter filled the silence for the next twenty minutes, but Rodney blocked it out and focused on finishing his meal and working on an imaginary issue on his tablet. He caught bits of their conversation though, the subjects ranging from Teyla telling them about something Torren did, or how successful Sheppard’s date with Maria from SGA4 had been.
“So you guys have a mission in the morning?” Jennifer inquired.
“Yes,” Teyla answered. “Woolsey feels the people of the city there have technology that could assist Atlantis with fighting the Wraith.”
“We’re just going for the initial meet and greet. Should only take a day or two. If all goes well, SGA3 will go in to finish negotiations,” Sheppard explained.
Rodney quickly finished his food and made his excuses, leaving the mess hall to return to his lab.
“I see there’s still tension then,“ John remarked.
Jennifer sighed and got up to clear the table, followed by Teyla. John didn’t need a lot of insight to know that the subject wasn’t something Jennifer wanted to discuss in front of him or Ronon.
“I don’t know what to do,“ Jennifer admitted, when she was sure the guys couldn’t hear them. “I know I made the right decision, but now everything’s so uncomfortable between us.”
“Rodney doesn’t hate you, Jennifer,“ Teyla soothed. “He is just hurt. It is not easy to see someone you care about with someone new.”
“I know that,“ Jennifer defended. “And I try not to rub it in his face. We barely show affection in public.”
“It will still take Rodney some time to move past the hurt, but he will. Just be patient.”
Jennifer could only nod as she turned back to Ronon, happy that he wasn’t the type to shout out his personal life from the rooftops.
Halfway to his lab, Rodney was stopped by Woolsey. “Dr. McKay, I would like to speak with you in my office.”
“Is something wrong?”
“No, not anything that can’t be remedied. A…situation has come up that I would like to discuss with you.” Rodney nodded and began following him as his mind began trying to figure out what that ‘situation’ might be.
It had to be due to his lackluster work lately. Obviously Woolsey had noticed and wanted to talk with him about his disappointing achievements for the last couple of weeks. Before Jen, he had held on to the belief that relationships were a distraction from progress. But up until they had broken off their lifeless relationship…was that how it had really felt? He had been happy with her, hadn’t he? Yes, yes he had. But…no, the breakup had obviously fogged his thought process lately, and now he was going to be reprimanded for it. It wasn’t anything less than he deserved though…he was better than that. He was the top of his field, and he had been reduced to being as incompetent as…as Zalenka. He sighed. He was not looking forward to this meeting.
Ronon held his breath for a second and just stared. Nothing could have prepared him for the vision in front of him.
“I…um…got this from Teyla,” Jennifer murmured shyly. “I guess you could say I thought that…well…I could…dress up a little.”
His silence did nothing to encourage her. To be honest, she was beginning to think he didn’t like it. But much to her surprise, Ronon looked up into her eyes with an expression of adoration. “You look beautiful.”
She let out the breath she hadn’t known she was holding. “You really think so?”
“Definitely,” he assured her with a smirk. “Breathtaking, as a matter of fact. You left me speechless for a second.”
“Oh,” was all she managed to get out, blushing a deep shade of red.
Smiling, Ronon offered her his arm, which she gladly took, and led her to the hangar bay. She didn’t ask him about it, but from the look on her face, Ronon could tell she was surprised when they entered the puddle jumper.
Jennifer gazed out the window as he took them out, marveling at the sight of the city and the ocean. Her curiosity peaked when Ronon took her to the mainland and landed the jumper in a quiet, isolated spot. When they stepped outside, her jaw dropped. He had prepared a picnic for them – in a spot with an amazing view over the ocean right up to the city of Atlantis.
“Wow,” she whispered.
Ronon grinned as he wrapped his arms around her. “Glad you like it.”
“This is…amazing,” she told him, turning in his embrace to thank him with an ardent kiss.
“Wait till you see what I brought for food,” he told her as she sat down on the blanket. “I figured it was safer to not leave the planet this time,” he said when he joined her. “Didn’t want our second date to go as badly as the first one.”
“Actually, I really enjoyed it,” she assured him. “Well, except for the part where we got stuck in that cave.”
Ronon smirked at her. “I made sure there’re no caves anywhere near.”
She chuckled, while silently realizing that she’d never noticed his humorous side before. Apparently, she didn’t know him as well as she had thought. Or maybe he just didn’t open up to everyone easily.
“Here,” Ronon said, holding a piece of food out that vaguely reminded her of sushi. “Try this. My people believed that this was one of the greatest treasures the Ancients left behind.”
“Because it’s so delicious?” she guessed. When Ronon nodded, she decided to try the offered food. Much to her surprise, it was sweet with a slight taste of chocolate and strawberries, yet refreshing and very juicy.
“Wow,” she exclaimed softly, once she swallowed the bite. “This is amazing.”
Ronon grinned. “It’s called thessara…means treasure in Ancient. It’s made of the fruit and leaves of a plant that happens to grow on almost every planet in the Pegasus Galaxy,” he told her. Leaning a little closer, he added, “But only very few people know how to make it.”
“And…you’re one of them?” Jennifer raised an eyebrow at him.
“Yep,” he replied, smiling with pride. “Well, I am now. Teyla showed me how.”
“You…asked Teyla to show you…how to cook?”
“Didn’t want you to think I couldn’t take care of us,” he told her, smirking.
Jennifer giggled. “I’ve never doubted that,” she replied immediately, warming him, “but with the cafeteria and all, cooking never crossed my mind.”
“Yeah, but what if we get stranded somewhere again,” he pointed out, making her giggle once more. “I’m serious.”
“I know,” she assured him, leaning over for a kiss. “I think it’s sweet how you try to impress me.”
“And the dress wasn’t supposed to impress me?” he countered, raising an eyebrow at her.
Jennifer grinned at him. “Did it work?”
“Most definitely,” he assured her, taking a good look at her again. Honestly, she looked rather sexy in the dress, and he couldn’t help but wonder if she knew that. Considering the way she leaned over to him though, she probably did.
For a few moments, it was silent between them, as Jennifer gazed at the ocean, seemingly lost in thought. “Can I ask you something?” she suddenly asked in a soft voice.
“Sure,” he replied, following her gaze towards the city.
“Well…Ellen, one of the nurses in the infirmary, told me that…that you came by with a sparring wound twice as often when it was my shift,” she told him, turning her head to look at him. “She thought that you got hurt…on purpose.”
He turned as well to look into her eyes. “Well, I needed an excuse to see you, and since you’re a doctor…”
Her eyes widened. “You really let anyone hurt you on purpose just so you could come to the infirmary to see me?”
“I couldn’t come up with another excuse,” he defended with shrug. “And the wounds were never severe, I made sure of that.”
“Almost all of them needed stitching,” she argued. “I can’t believe you hurt yourself just to see me.”
He smiled at her. “It wasn’t that bad. I’m used to pain, so it wasn’t like I really suffered or anything.”
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, a frown marring her face.
She sighed. “For never realizing that you…hurt yourself on purpose. And for…well, for everything that happened to you.”
“That wasn’t your fault,” he softly told her.
“I know,” she whispered. “But still, I wish you hadn’t have had to go through so much pain and misery.”
He sat up a little and reached out to cup her cheek with his hand. “It brought me here, so it wasn’t all that bad in the end. Sure, I could have done without most of the bad experiences in my life, but…I’m happy now. That’s all that matters.”
Jennifer leaned forward to kiss him softly. “I’m glad.”
If Ronon hadn’t gone through so much with the Wraith, if he hadn’t been a Runner for years, he wouldn’t be here…with her.
And if her father hadn’t died in a car accident, she wouldn’t be here with him. Maybe the universe really had a plan for them. Maybe they needed to go through all they had; not only to end up here, finally together, but also so that they would always cherish what they would find in each other.
“You know, I talked to Rodney earlier this morning,” she started, without knowing why she was bringing up the matter at all…maybe just to distract from her thoughts.
“Yeah, I know. I saw him leaving.”
“He said he was okay…with us,” she mumbled. “But then at lunch it was so…awkward.” Had he truly meant what he had said? Did it matter at all? Maybe it shouldn’t…
Ronon frowned at her, seemingly thinking about her statement for a minute. Finally he asked, “Would it change anything between us if he wasn’t?”
“I don’t know,” Jennifer replied truthfully. “I know it shouldn’t. And I hope he really is…alright with us, because, well, it would make me feel…” a sigh escaped her. She didn’t want to say better, but couldn’t come up with a more appropriate word either.
“Relieved?” Ronon offered.
“Yeah,” she agreed, sighing again. “I know things are tense between us now, but I hope Teyla’s right and it’ll pass. Because, well, I don’t feel like I’m cheating on him anymore, you know? I mean, I know I wasn’t cheating on him before, but still…”
“I was the reason you broke up with him.”
Jennifer looked at him for a second. “Not the only reason. Maybe if he had accompanied me to my father’s funeral…who knows. But…the way you treated me, and the way you took care of me made me realize that…I was with the wrong guy.”
“I wasn’t with the guy I wanted to be with,” she specified, blushing terribly.
“Oh,” he simply replied, grinning as he reached out to push a strand of hair behind her ear.
When Jennifer remained silent, Ronon added, “You know when you told me about your fight with Rodney, I was sure you would…reconcile. But then Teyla told me you two had broken up for good. I hate to admit it, but…that made me happy.”
“Really?” she whispered. “So you regretted that you told me you weren’t interested?”
Reaching out to cup her cheek with his hand, Ronon locked eyes with her. “Always.”
Butterflies filled her stomach at the emotion she saw peering out behind his gaze, urging her to kiss him senseless.
Ronon was taken aback by the sudden attack, and before he knew what was happening, he found himself lying flat on his back, Jennifer almost on top of him, kissing him quite fiercely.
He parted his lips willingly to deepen the kiss, not remembering the last time he had been kissed like that. Frankly, he wasn’t even sure that anyone had ever kissed him like that. He never knew Jennifer could be so…outgoing, but he liked it.
Jennifer knew she probably shouldn’t ravish Ronon like she was…maybe they should wait a little longer before they took the next step in their relationship. On the other hand, she felt like they had waited long enough. She wanted him, and she wanted him now.
Ronon broke the kiss only to flip them around so that he was lying almost on top of her, then looked down at her and frowned. Were they going too fast, too far? He had wanted to take things slow, especially after everything Jennifer had been through.
“Are you sure about this?” he whispered.
A little unwillingly, she opened her eyes to look at him. No, she wasn’t sure. She wasn’t sure this was appropriate. She wasn’t sure it was the right time to do this. But she knew she wanted him.
“I am,” she murmured. “I’m sure I want you.”
He couldn’t help but smile at that. “I want you, too,” he assured her. “But…are you sure you want this right now?”
Jennifer sat up a little and exhaled. “Yes,” she whispered. “And no…I don’t know. I just…have the feeling that our relationship is stuck somehow. I mean, it feels like neither of us is daring to take the next step. It’s almost like even after I broke up with him, Rodney is still standing between us.”
Unsure of the correct response, Ronon remained silent.
“I don’t want him to stand between us,” she continued. “If we can’t even deal with what happened between Rodney and I when he’s miles away, how are we supposed to work with him.”
“I know what you mean,” he replied. “And I agree…Rodney shouldn’t stand between us…but I don’t think he does.” He lifted her chin gently whit his finger so her eyes met his. “We should take this one step at a time…there’s no need for us to rush things.”
“Oh,” Jennifer blushed slightly. She hadn’t thought about it that way. “Is there…some sort of ritual or something you have to go through before you…you know?”
It took him a moment to understand what she was trying to ask him. “Before we can get intimate?” he offered, chuckling. “No, there’s not. I just really think we should take things slow. There are so many ways to get intimate before we actually have sex.”
“Really, like what?” she asked huskily, blushing even more.
Grinning, Ronon guided her to lie back down on the blanket. “Well, we can start with finding our sensitive spots.”
Jennifer drew in a shaky breath. He didn’t seem to really need to find any of her sensitive spots, as he already seemed to know them.
Smiling a little triumphantly, Ronon leaned down to capture her lips with his again. “And we can find out what the other one likes,” he whispered, trailing his lips to her ear, feeling her shiver in response. “There are so many things we can do without taking our clothes off.”
That might have been true, but at that moment, her clothes seemed but an annoyance that she wanted to rip off, as they were only in the way of her ravishing the man in front of her. She’d never thought someone could drive her that crazy while barely touching her.
“Shouldn’t we…fly back first?” Jennifer panted. Not that she wanted him to stop…
Ronon smiled at her. “Don’t worry. Atlantis is far enough away. No one is gonna see or hear anything here.”
She wasn’t really worried about that. She wasn’t even sure why she’d asked the question at all. Maybe because she’d never had sex in public – well, outside any building. The place Ronon had chosen wasn’t really public.
She soon stopped worrying about anything else at that moment however, as her mind became wrapped up in the sensations Ronon made her feel…all without his hands.
But the problem was, she wanted him to touch her. And she wanted to finally touch him. Blindly, she let her hands wander over his body in an attempt to return the favor.
Smirking, Ronon leaned down to capture her lips once again, swallowing the sounds she was emitting. To be honest, he wasn’t quite sure how far Atlantis or the village really were away from this place…he just knew that he didn’t want to be interrupted.
Jennifer was close to forgetting her own name. She’d had no idea how intimate she could get with someone without articles of clothing being removed. She’d never taken things slow in her former relationships, mostly out of fear the men would run.
But Ronon wouldn’t. He made every effort to assure her of that.
“I told you there were a lot of things we could do first,” Ronon said with a chuckle as she took her in his arms. “No need to rush things.”
“Yeah, I think you’ve given a good argument on how much fun it can be to take things slow,” she mumbled against his chest, closing her eyes happily. He was about to drift off when he heard her say, “You know, I’m glad the universe seemed to have a plan for us.”
“Me too,” he replied, gently stroking her back.