The planet's name is I-zoola. Actually a moon of an even larger planet that Sheppard says is the size of Jupiter, whatever that means. This is not the same place Ronon visited before; the Stargate is in orbit around another moon eradicated of life by the Wraith. Given the temperature of I-zoola, Sheppard figures the Wraith find it inhospitable and therefore do not bother with it.
O'Neill made good on his promise—six weeks ago—to Dr. Weir to 'cut through the red tape' and the shipment of ice skates and winter clothing is on its way in the Daedalus, only two weeks outbound from Atlantis.
This trip to I-zoola, however, is a special occasion and only a few people have been permitted on the expedition. Dr. Weir asked Teyla and Dr. McKay to hold down the fort as she, Dr. Zelenka, Dr. Heightmeyer, Ronon and Sheppard brought along their first guest to the 'winter wonderland.'
Dr. Heightmeyer was given security clearance by Gen. O'Neill following Jax's recovery. She now knows the full story and has been helping. Though 'Jax' still remains, especially in public, Ronon has seen new aspects of Angie breaking through and every one warms his heart.
Zelenka has been chattering non-stop since he was offered the chance to come along. He does not enjoy going off-world generally, but he cannot keep his excitement from spilling over into his natural language. Even as he puts the finishing touches on the 'sound system' which gets interrupted with snapping at Sheppard for getting in the way, he keeps a smile of anticipation on his face.
They brought folding chairs along and set them in the snow a few feet from the bank of the enormous frozen lake. As they wait for Zelenka, Dr. Heightmeyer and Dr. Weir pour mugs of hot chocolate and hand them out. Dr. Weir gives Ronon a mug and winks at him, her smile so bright he no longer wonders why Sheppard looks at her they way he does. He's never seen her so relaxed in all the time he's known her.
"Ready!" Zelenka yells and takes his chair.
The ladies take their seats as well. Dr. Weir slips between Ronon and Sheppard, but Dr. Heightmeyer sits on the other side of Zelenka. Ronon even sees the two holding hands between the chairs and he grins.
"That's my cue," she says, patting his knee and getting up from her seat on Ronon's other side. She's wearing the same second skin black outfit with the colorful feather-like skirt as when he first saw her dance alone and her hair is piled onto her head, leaving her neck and shoulders very bare. Ronon wonders how she cannot be freezing. Even he's wearing a coat.
She smiles and reminds him that's what warming up is for; which she did while Zelenka worked. "It's been a while. Hope I don't fall on my butt," she says with a grin.
Earlier, during her warm up, Ronon watched her skim over the lake on her skates, making a long circular trek around a section of the ice, putting one foot before the other, twisting and going backwards, and though she glided, it was not as beautiful as when he saw her dance.
Out of the corner of his eyes, he catches Sheppard looking her over with admiration. How the man can be affected by two different women in two completely different ways is still a mystery to Ronon. But he's not going to let his guard down around Sheppard, that's for certain. He did make a promise to Jack. If maiming is required…Ronon's duty bound to make it happen.
"Go Angie!" Dr. Weir yells, clapping wildly and Dr. Heightmeyer joins in. Sheppard sticks two fingers in his mouth and lets out a loud whistle. 'Angie', as only this group calls Jax, smiles broadly and waves as she nears the center of the 'rink' as she calls it. She stops and takes a pose…waiting.
Zelenka holds up a small device and presses a button. A few moments later, the music starts. It is the same song she danced to long ago in that far off gym. The first time Ronon felt she was someone he wanted to get to know. Needed to get to know.
And she floats…glides…even flies through the air on occasion. Each twist and turn, spin and leap takes Ronon's breath away. She's moving so fast, he's afraid she'll fall, but at the same time, he never wants to see her stop.
The music slowly ends and she glides onto one knee coming to a stop back where she started, taking new pose.
Ronon rises an instant before the others and joins them in clapping and whistling.
Angela takes a bow then skates to the edge right in front of Ronon. Her face aglow, damp with sweat, eyes wild with happiness; she's never been more beautiful. Not a hint of Jax anywhere to be seen. "So?" she asks.
Ronon doesn't know what to say. Instead he picks her up and wraps his arms around her, crushing her to him. She giggles easily—she does that a lot lately—wrapping her arms around his neck and hugs him back.
Sheppard clears his throat so they look over, seeing the others wanting to get their hugs in too. Ronon releases Angie and the others attack her in sequence …even Sheppard who takes a bit too long letting her go. Ronon gives him a warning glare, but Sheppard smirks and shakes his head.
"That was amazing," Dr. Weir says.
"Beautiful," Zelenka adds.
"Thank you," she says. Suddenly her eyes go wide with worry as she looks passed everyone. "Um…Dr. Weir." She points toward the tree line. "We aren't alone."
Everyone turns and looks, seeing several people peering through the trees: men, women and children, poking their heads out, trying to get a look at the intruders. Dr. Weir leans over to whisper at Sheppard. "Thought you said this planet was uninhabited."
Sheppard shrugs. "Thought it was."
Of everyone, it's Angie who raises a hand and waves. "Hi!" She smiles.
"Hello," Dr. Weir waves, giving off her friendliest grin. "We don't mean you any harm."
Ronon turns, keeping his hand on his gun, just in case. Two of the people, a man and a woman, come out of the trees, slowly, cautiously. They wear animal fur for clothing—which makes sense in this climate—but carry no weapons—which doesn't make sense in this galaxy.
The woman steps forth, in front of the man. She ignores Ronon and Sheppard and comes right up to Angie, who is taller because of the skates. The woman cocks her head as she looks directly into Angie's eyes. She then touches a hand to her own ear. "Anuk," she says slowly then points at Angie who looks wide eyed at everyone else.
Dr. Weir touches Angela's shoulder. "I think she means the music."
Dr. Zelenka presses the button again and the music starts from the beginning. The woman and man gasp, clutching hands to their hearts repeating the same word, "Anuk," with joyful expressions.
Angie points to the sound system. "Music. Ladyhawk," she says.
Sheppard backhands Ronon on the arm. "I knew I knew that music!"
"What is Ladyhawk?" Ronon asks.
"Oh…it's a movie from…"
Sheppard shrugs, making a face. "Anything with Michelle Pfeiffer…"
The woman turns back to Angie and sweeps an arm toward the ice. "Motum?"
Ronon recognizes the word. "They think you fly," he tells Angie.
Sheppard and Dr. Weir chuckle quietly. "I think they liked it too," Dr. Weir says. "Got some more in you?"
Angie grins like Ronon's never seen and laughs lightly. "I think so." She nods to Dr. Zelenka. "Track 3?" He nods in return and readies the song. Angie smiles at the woman and motions to one of the chairs. "Sit."
The woman obviously doesn't understand so Dr. Weir demonstrates. But instead of taking a chair, the man and woman sit on the snow. The team members retake their seats behind the new audience members and before they know it…the rest of the people hiding in the trees come out to join them, at least thirty of them. Some stand, some sit with the man and woman, but all are quiet and waiting.
The music begins again…a new song for a new dance it seems.
And to everyone's delight…she does fly.
"Wow," she says as Ronon helps take off her second skate. "I've never bridged negotiations before. Kinda cool!" They're in the puddle jumper and she's now wearing her sweat outfit over the top of her other one and she's drinking hot chocolate.
Dr. Weir and Sheppard are having stilted conversations with the local population. Seems this planet isn't as desolate as it first seemed. In fact, from what Dr. Weir has found out, they have quite the fishery and probably other useful things to trade. And so far, all they want is more music and to see more skating.
Dr. Heightmeyer is helping Zelenka dismantle the sound system and Ronon will help bring in the speakers when they finish. But first, he's going to warm up someone's freezing feet. He starts to massage the middle of her foot and she moans. "You've been holding out on me, Dex."
Ronon smirks. "Have to keep some of my own secrets."
She closes her eyes and relaxes against the bench cushion. "Where did you learn this amazing art?"
Ronon moves on to her other foot. "Got me out of many fights with Nally."
"Oohhh. Ahhh, that's good," she giggles. "I'm sure."
He stops, tilting his head and considering her for a long moment. "Why didn't you ever hold me to it?"
Her eyes open. "To what?"
"Our deal. I never did keep my end of the bargain and tell you about her."
"You loved her. It's in your eyes. That says everything."
He sits on the bench next to her. "I think…I…love…you. The same."
She rests her head against his shoulder and pats his knee. "I know."
Ronon lifts her chin so that he can look her in the eyes. "You know what?"
She quirks a half smile and touches his cheek with her cold hands. "I know a brother when I see one." Then she rests her head against his shoulder again. "I love you too."
He rests his chin on top of her head, feeling happier than he has in years. He'll never forget Nally and Angela will never forget Charlie, but they can be there for each other. Be each other's family now. After a long silence, he decides to break it. Ronon taps her thigh. "So…no sex."
"Ohgod no!" She jumps up and away, flashing a disturbing look at him. "That'd be…gross," she says at the same time he says: "Wrong."
They laugh and Ronon gets up to give her a big hug. "But with other people," he starts.
She pulls back and slaps lightly against his chest. "Oh, there better be other people." She gets a gleam in her eyes that makes Ronon roll his. "In fact, there's this one guy I want you to set me up with…" Ronon turns and heads out of the jumper. "Ronon!"
"I can't hear you."
"Get back here you…Tarzan!" she growls.
"What was that, Cheetah?" he tosses over his shoulder.
A moment later she does something he never saw coming, but in hindsight, should have. Even barefoot in snow, this woman cannot be contained. He barely has the words out before she jumps on his back, wrapping her long legs around his waist, one arm around his neck and one hand fiercely gripping his earlobe. "I," hard tug. "Am not," hard tug. "A monkey!" Extremely hard tug.
Ronon growls as he flips her off his back and into a pile of snow. They flail at each other, punch and kick, flip each other over, grunting and growling the entire time until Sheppard is able to pull her off, from behind.
Later, in her room, they're watching the last episode of the first season of MacGyver when Ronon nudges her bruised shoulder. "I really don't think a set up is a good idea right now."
She smacks her lips and clicks her tongue. "It's not like I killed the man," she says with a bit of a whine.
"No," Ronon chuckles deep in his chest. "You just maimed him a little."
"It was just a little kick…I didn't mean for it to…connect…so hard."
"You kicked him in the crotch...not nice. Then you gave him a black eye... less painful, but still not nice."
She shrugs. "Reflex. What can you do?" After a moment, she says. "What can I do? You know, to make it up to him?"
Ronon shakes his head. "I don't know, Sheppard looked pretty mad. You'll have to be creative."
"Creative's my middle name." Ronon laughs and she tilts her head back to look up at him, her eyes gleaming mischievously. "I wonder where Dr. McKay put that Ancient device," she smiles wickedly.
Ronon bangs his head against the wall, shaking it back and forth. "Oh, nononononono."
And she laughs, a hearty rumble coming from deep inside.
And she smiles, her eyes glistening with mischief and joy.
a/n: thank you for reading the second installment of my "Soul-Bond" series. I hope you enjoyed it and continue on to Duality :)