Please see first chapter for disclaimer, rating, warnings, pairings, etc.

Part 13/13

Chapter 13

The Athosians were not a partying civilization; but whenever they did have an opportunity to celebrate some event or other they took full advantage. Teyla and Ronon's wedding party would continue far into the early morning hours—long after the honored couple had disappeared.

Knowing this, Teyla took Ronon's hand and silently slipped away with him into the woods. She led him down trail obviously cleared for easy walking, holding her skirt clear of the ground with her free hand.

Ahead, between the trees, Ronon spotted flickers of red and gold, like light from a fire. In only a few seconds his guess was proved correct. They left the cover of the woods and emerged into a landscaped clearing. A small fire beamed a warm welcome in the center; it cast dancing shadows across the grass and dimly revealed a small hut of logs with a thatched roof under the trees on the other side of the clearing. It made him smile, remembering a snug cave he and Teyla had shared not so very long ago.

Teyla paused and turned to face him. He took the opportunity to dip his head and kiss her. "Finally," he whispered into her loose hair.

She laughed softly, gently pushing him away. "Not yet," she said quietly, but with an unusual glint in her dark eyes. "There is one more thing I have to do, so that the Ancestors will bless us."

Enthralled by the firelight reflecting in her eyes and the strong, familiar scent of the red flower in his wife's (that just sounded so right!) hair, he nearly missed her words. When his mind finally caught up to his ears, he raised his eyebrows. "What?"

From behind him, back in the direction of the village, music started to play: a low, seductive beat wafted on the unseasonably warm breeze. A shiver ran across his shoulders. What the. . .?

Teyla slowly backed away from him, towards the fire. Her silky hair, gleaming with bronzy highlights, fell over her shoulder as she tipped her head sideways and smiled at him. Her hips swayed in time to the distant melody, causing her skirt to rustle softly around her long legs. Her small, bare feet slipped rhythmically over the ground; her smoothly rounded arms lifted, weaving languorous patterns as she began to circle the fire, always facing him.

Teyla danced.

The beaded strings depending from the belt of her skirt jangled softly together as she moved, providing a chiming accompaniment to the music. The tempo picked up. Teyla's movements shifted to match the rhythm, picking up and dropping off as the music did. The sheen of sweat slicking her skin made her seem to glow in the firelight; lit from within, full of radiant peace and happiness.

Ronon's breath felt stuck somewhere around the middle of his chest. His whole existence drew down to this moment, with his wife dancing for him in the firelight, and the overwhelming love he felt for her. For this point in time, nothing and no one else existed in his world—just Teyla.

The music finally faded, Teyla striking and holding a final pose on the other side of the fire. The breeze played with a strand of her hair, swiping it across her face with each gentle gust. She ignored it, standing statue-still. Ronon blinked, coming back to himself. He'd been so caught up in Teyla and her dance he'd lost track of time.

For a while they stood looking intently at each other across a fire burning noticeably lower. The tension drew out to a snapping point. They had waited months—years, if they wanted to be honest—for this. Now the dream had come true, and nothing would ever again keep them apart.

It was time.

Ronon held out one hand towards Teyla, an invitation for her to come. She did so immediately; moving swiftly and gracefully to his side, the smile on her lips also lighting her eyes. He was sure if he doused the fire, the entire clearing would still glow because of that smile.

He smiled down at her, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and drawing her close against his side as her arm twined around his waist. They walked across the clearing to the cabin. Ronon opened the door with his free hand, then reached up and gently took the flower from her hair. He would always associate its spicy fragrance with Teyla. He led her inside, with that simple act closing the door on their old lives and opening one to their new life—together.

-The End-

And so ends "A Runner's Hope." Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and thank you so much LadyBozi for letting me write it! I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Thanks again!—fyd818

SpaceMonkey0941: Hee, yes, I am in a very fluffy mood today. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm really glad that you liked it. And, fortunately, ff net's e-mails are working again, so I'm just kind of doing a happy dance because of that. -grin- And, honestly, as far as Ronon's dance, I can't take full credit. The fantastic idea was actually LadyBozi's, I just wrote it, and my beta made it better. Here's the final chapter (can you believe it's over? -cries-): I hope that you enjoy it, and thanks for all your reviews! -hugs-

Hannah 554: Thank you! I admit that the dance was fun to write, though I'd been tearing my hair out for a while about it so afraid I'd get it wrong. Here's the final chapter (I can't believe it's over!): I hope you enjoy it! Thank you for all your reviews!

StarSkimmer: Thank you so much! I admit that I, too, have been direly tempted to kill ff net because of the lack of e-mail alerts, but they're working now so I'm not quite so unhappy, LOL. And I worked for a long time on the wedding, because I wanted to have a happy wedding without going overboard on the mush and fluffiness. I'm glad that I succeeded and that you liked it! Ronon's fight ceremony was a lot of fun to write, I admit. I'm glad that you liked it! I hope this chapter gives you more pink warm fuzzies (I got them writing it!), and I hope that you like it! And thank you for all your reviews!