Written for the team ficathon at LiveJournal, organised by fugaciouslove. For tielan, who requested "Ronon trying to deal with his new 'family' in relation to what he lost from Sateda". Mostly gen with a suggestion of Ronon/Elizabeth pre-relationship.

- - -

Something So Familiar

He has come to loathe those first few minutes of each day, when he stirs from the dream and believes that it is real. That he is still in Sateda and all is well in his world. Before he remembers all that he has lost, and before he can accept all that he has gained. The home of the Ancestors can't bring back his loved ones, and can't erase seven years of despair and desperation, but it has begun to bring him hope and ease his restlessness. And without realising, he has come to think of it as his home.

He joins his team mates for breakfast as he does most mornings, listening to Sheppard and McKay speak of objects and places that have no meaning for him and sharing looks with Teyla that range from mild amusement to exasperation. And he watches everyone else. Soldiers, scientists, diplomats; all from a world that he has never seen. A world that has saved his life.

- x -

It took longer than he would like to admit to acknowledge Kell's true nature. Even now, he wonders if he was wrong, if there was some sort of mistake or a reasoning behind the man's treachery. He knows that there wasn't, but the betrayal hit him hard, and he would give almost anything to return to being the young and naïve Specialist who believed every word that fell from that man's lips.

At first, he thought that Sheppard shared nothing in common with Kell. There is no guile or ulterior motive; what you see is what you get with Sheppard. And Ronon appreciates that, now more than ever. It isn't until he hears the full story behind the Genii from a group of marines that he realises that when necessary, Sheppard does share one attribute with Kell: ruthlessness. The knowledge that he would kill sixty men and more to protect his home and family makes Ronon see him in a new light, and makes him all the more confident that he has chosen the right allies in this fight.

- x-

Anaya was tall and slight and awkward, and everything that Teyla is not. And yet her name would play on his lips every morning for those first few months, prompted by the mere sight of the Athosian. He would tease Anaya as he thought was his right as an older cousin and had come to cherish the indulgent look that she reserved only for him.

It wasn't until he started sparring with Teyla that it started to make sense. For while Anaya may have been shy and uncertain in many aspects of her life, she was confident in the things that mattered to her. She had been training to work at the hospital in the months leading up to the attack, and he still remembers his shock at seeing the assertive manner in which she dealt with patients. He sees that same confidence in Teyla, and although that doesn't surprise him, it still makes him smile as much as it had done with his cousin.

- x -

He thought that he had never met anyone quite like Rodney McKay. He was often arrogant, blunt and ungracious, though as time went by Ronon realised that he had reason to be. For whether he liked it or not, McKay had held the life of every inhabitant of the city in his hands on more than one occasion, and always delivered. Ronon had survived the Wraith for seven years through a mixture of cunning, practice and sheer luck. These people have all of those factors on their side, but they also have one more weapon at their disposal: intelligence, in the form of one Rodney McKay.

And then he remembers Melena's brother. The image of his delighted face at graduation, his pride in his work and his unwavering belief that they had the technology and capability to defeat the Wraith. Ronon is glad that he didn't witness the moment that the young man's belief was shattered. For all of McKay's protestations and complaints, Ronon knows that he is just as confident in his own abilities as they are. And he hopes that he will never see that confidence waver.

- x -

Then there is Elizabeth. He tries not to make comparisons, not to take note of the way she carries herself or speaks when in a casual conversation. Most of all, he wishes that he hadn't seen the mixture of intrigue and uncertainty in her eyes as they had drifted across his face for the first time. He remembers that look from so many years ago. It had pleased him then, enough to make enquiries and watch and listen and learn. All so that he could have the satisfaction of watching the uncertainty diminish and be replaced by respect and admiration, and eventually love.

Even now, after all this time, the uncertainty is still there with Elizabeth. He thinks that if he tried hard enough, he could make it disappear. But at a time like this, when he could go through the Gate and not return, or she could be called back to Earth at any moment, he doesn't know if it would be the right thing to do, for either of them. And so he continues to watch and listen and learn, in the hope that one day he will act.

- x -

"That is not true."

Ronon can't help but smile at the indignation on Rodney's face, matched in intensity by the amusement in his remaining team mates' expressions. It is a familiar scene, and one that he is becoming increasingly more comfortable in contributing to.

"So that wasn't you that I saw talking to the councillor's daughter when we were at the dinner, then?"

He laughs out loud at Rodney's obvious surprise before the other man renews his interest in his lunch. He shares a silent exchange with Sheppard and Teyla as they hear Rodney mutter, "How is it that someone so big could be so good at sneaking around?"

And so he sits in the mess hall across from them and smiles to himself. His team mates. His friends. His family. They don't replace those that he has lost, but they do help him to cherish their memories. And through their laughter and understanding and loyalty, they create new memories for him.

- fin -