Deus Ex Machina

Chapter 10 – Epilogue

Atlantis – Pegasus Galaxy

The amber glow of the sun rising over the city illuminated the skyline and made the ocean glisten beneath. The storms that had loomed over Atlantis for the last couple of days had cleared out. A light breeze swept up from the water, brushing against Ronon's skin. He leaned against the railing on the balcony and gazed out into the distance.

Ronon shut his eyes slowly, envisioning the woman he had loved not so long ago, the only woman he would ever truly love. No smile attempted to surface, only stray tears found their way down the warrior's face. He didn't fight it, instead letting it come out.

The sweet smell of her, the taste of honey on her lips was fresh in his mind. It was almost as if she were still there, and perhaps she was – standing beside him, watching over him… even in death as she had promised.

"Ronon," she managed through her gasps of breath – death was beckoning her. "Even in death, I'll never leave you…"

"Don't," he mumbled as he buried his face in her hair. He inhaled the sweet scent of her, letting it consume him.

"It's time," she murmured.

"Don't say that." Ronon looked down at her, tilting his head to the side as he stared into her brown eyes. He didn't fight the threatening tears as they rolled down his cheeks. This wasn't supposed to be happening, he wasn't supposed to get her back only to lose her again. He felt chest tighten, finding it hard to breathe – disbelief and fear washed over him.

"Ronon, there's no… saving… me." She was becoming weaker as each moment passed them by.

"Melena… if we get back to Atlantis… Doctor Beckett… McKay-" he tried to reason, as much for his own peace of mind as hers.

"I'd never make it… back to… Atlantis… if I didn't… die before… they wouldn't allow… it."

She was right. He couldn't deny that there was no way they'd allow her to return but what else was he to do? Helplessness gripped around his heart like a vice, threatening to shatter it into pieces as he watched his wife die… again.

"Ronon… I love you… and I'm so sorry," she gasped through tears and lack of breath.

He pulled her against his chest tightly, kissing her head softly. "Melena, don't leave me…" He pleaded with her as the last moments of her life slipped away. The last words hung from her lips… "I'll always be with you"

She was gone.

---

As the woman in the infirmary bed came into view, Ronon couldn't believe his eyes. His heart started pounding against his ribcage, seemingly fighting to escape. He stood there, paralyzed by the sight of … "Melena."

---

"Ronon," John said carefully as he stepped towards the other man. Ronon cradled the dead body of his wife, unable to release her.

The others remained at a distance; Teyla watched on – her own eyes misting as her gaze fell upon Ronon. Rodney remained silent, standing behind Lorne who was unable to look in their direction – whether it was out of respect or the emotional situation, John didn't know.

John stopped a few inches away from Ronon, crouching down behind him and placing a hand on his shoulder. "Ronon…"

"I'm not leaving," he said, his voice gruff and deep.

"There's nothing more for you to do." John looked at the other man. Concern was etched into his face, he had never witnessed the strongest man he knew so broken before.

"I made a promise."

A troubled sigh escaped John. "We will take her back to Atlantis."

---

"You have a visitor," Doctor Beckett said as he looked down at Melena who was sitting in a wheelchair in front of him. "She's very persistent," he commented.

Ronon knelt down in front of Melena, grinning knowingly as he looked up at Beckett.

---

Rodney concluded there was no threat in returning to Atlantis with Melena. He used the EMP gun to rid her body of the nanites. After assuring Doctor Weir over radio transmission that it was safe – she allowed them to proceed home.

Ronon stepped through the other side of the Stargate to Atlantis with Melena cradled in his arms. He ignored the onlookers. Elizabeth met them at the Gate and offered words of condolences - he just walked past her. John and Teyla followed.

Elizabeth walked out onto the balcony, moving to stand beside the taller man. She leaned on the railing, looking out over the city. "The city always seems different after a storm," she commented solemnly.

Ronon didn't look in her direction and continued to stare out into the distance – over the never-ending span of the ocean.

"I know there are no words that I can say that will offer you any comfort, Ronon." Elizabeth looked at him, regretfully.

Ronon nodded his head slowly.

"But I want you to know if there's anything I can do… I will."

He said nothing.

Elizabeth placed her hand on his shoulder comfortingly before turning and heading towards the entranceway.

"Thank you," he said quietly, still looking out over the city.

Elizabeth looked over her shoulder and smiled a little. "You're welcome," she replied before leaving him alone.

Hours after returning to Atlantis, the discussions had commenced. Ronon remained silent in the doorway of Doctor Weir's office as everyone gathered. They were all aware that the Asurans' plan to infiltrate Atlantis had failed, but it wouldn't be the last they heard of them.

If this had been their first strike… it'd be only a matter of time before the second, third… and forth were to occur.

Ronon stayed, even though he wanted nothing more than to be anywhere else. Not only did he have a war against the Wraith… he now had one against the Asurans too. Rage crept into his bones and muscles, not intending to let up any time soon.

---

"It's not a dream, Melena," he assured her. "I'm here." Ronon kissed her shoulder softly.

"Ronon…" she murmured.

Ronon carefully guided Melena so that she faced him once again. "I love you, Melena and that hasn't changed."

"But how Ronon? So much time has gone by. You're different… I'm different."

"I never stopped," he told her, cupping her face in his hands. "You're the reason I'm still alive, even now. I kept going because of you." He pulled her closer, pressing his lips against hers gently.

She had returned to him after seven long years… and he wasn't about to let her go. The love they shared with each other was renewed in the moments as their hands explored. He was remembering every curve of her body and inhaling the sweet scent of honey suckles as they were wrapped up in each other's love.

---

The sound of the Athosian's voice traveled through the forests of the mainland. Teyla let her singing voice carry – a song for the deceased as a small group gathered for the funeral of Melena Dex.

Ronon remained in the background, leaning against a tree as he looked on. In spite of his grief, he appreciated the gesture of the Atlantians', but he could offer no words of gratitude, afraid that he'd be unable to hold himself together – the heartbreak was unbearable and he did everything in his power to stop it from surfacing.

Once Teyla was finished, her eyes meet Ronon's and she gestured for him to come forward.

He hesitated before taking that first step.

He reached the burial mound and knelt down in the dirt. He pressed his palm against the cold damp earth. Droplets of rain fell from above and Ronon scooped up a handful of the soil. "Always," he murmured softly before distributing the dirt of the grave of his wife. Suddenly the pain could no longer be contained, and the tears flowed, rattling Ronon to the core of his deserted soul.

---

She smiled as she leaned forward, placing a soft kiss against his cheek. "I love you, Ronon."

He offered her a small smile. "I love you too."

"Hello," Teyla said softly as she stepped out onto the balcony. "It appears as if the rain has finally left us."

Ronon nodded before turning to look at her.

"We were going to go get something to eat – John and I, we thought that perhaps you might like to join us?" It wasn't uncommon for Teyla to try and coax Ronon into every day activities; she had been doing it quite often these past few days. She had become quite proficient in convincing him to join them – that or he just didn't bother arguing with her.

Ronon shrugged his shoulders slightly.

"Come on, you need to eat." Teyla could be quite motherly.

"Yeah," he said impassively.

"Good," she said with a slight smile as she slipped her hand into his. "Come."

Amidst all of the pain, he knew he'd be okay – he had friends to help him through.