A Stargate Atlantis story
Author: 7 League Boots
Summary: Tag to "The Real World" (that means Spoilers!). Ronon helps Elizabeth cope after she recovers. A companion piece to "A Moment" but both stand alone. Digging a tad deeper with them; still exploring possibilities…
Ronon noted the tension in Dr. Elizabeth Weir as she spoke with Lt. Col. John Sheppard; her stiff shoulders, her hands turning an object restlessly. When Sheppard walked away she turned back to the view of the city. Ronon made his way over. Now he knew why he'd been uneasy; she was up already.
Two hours had barely passed since she'd awakened from the coma where she fought for her life.
"Elizabeth, you're up," Ronon greeted. Elizabeth faced him, surprised. Underneath the smile she put on, he saw her anxiety. He knew what it was and why she wouldn't go to bed again, yet. "Good, I was hoping to run into you."
"Really, Ronon? Why is that?" Elizabeth asked. Her ordeal left her with an odd sensation: feeling in motion when she was still. For some reason she thought he knew that as she glanced into the serious amber eyes of the newest Atlantis member.
"What did you think of your first time in combat?" Ronon asked. That got her. He turned and began to walk. She fell in step with him.
"I'm not sure what you mean." In truth, Elizabeth was still adjusting to his cut-to-the-bottom-line style of speech.
"I mean you against the enemy. Kill or be killed. And you killed. That kind of combat," Ronon said. He arrived at his destination, a secluded turret facing a different view. He stepped aside and let her enter the glass enclosed space; it had just enough illumination so Ronon could read her face. It was an eternity since he'd seen her eyes. "You know, like a soldier."
The earlier hours saw them all in raging frustration. Elizabeth had collapsed after returning from Asuras. Their narrow escape from the Replicator beings was almost foiled when the one Asuran refugee aboard the puddle jumper attacked her. Only later did they find out he'd poisoned her: put replicators in her body that multiplied and sent her into a near-death coma.
Ronon waited as she considered his words, his arms crossed about him as she stood opposite. Her uncertainty was unusual for the decisive leader of the Atlantis Expedition he'd come to know. And nearly lost; the thought made him cold.
"You think of me as a soldier?" Elizabeth asked after a spell. "I hardly qualify, especially compared to you and Sheppard." His look of respect pleased her a little; did she really deserve it?
"You've proven yourself in battle, Elizabeth," Ronon explained. "Soldiers aren't all alike. Sheppard, Teyla, Ford; we all approach combat with our differences," Ronon replied. His voice was softer, deeper, as his eyes locked onto hers. "Your fight must have been different from any we experienced."
"I'll say! It was like fighting an illness, a little," she said softly. Then she was describing the internal struggle for her own mind and body. "They were using my own memories to make this other world, without Atlantis! But it never sat well with me," Elizabeth said somberly.
"A battle of wills," Ronon quoted Teyla. Elizabeth raised one elegant eyebrow as she stared at him. "When Carson and Teyla put it that way, I knew you'd beat them." At her skeptical look, he placed a hand on her shoulder. "It's the kind of soldier you are, Elizabeth. A thinking one, and on a battlefield of the mind, you're unbeatable."
She focused on the open gaze directed at her, a gaze she usually associated with intimidation. It seemed incredible the deep concern there was for her. His gentle grip steadied her.
"I almost think they're still there, Ronon. Still crawling around, poking into my head," Elizabeth whispered. Her slender shoulder hunched a bit under his hand. She looked up, troubled. "I know they're gone. But they went so deep, into my mind. I keep wondering…"
"You defeated invaders - it's what soldiers do." Ronon interrupted soothingly. "Those little buggers wouldn't dare hang around. You're fearsome, Elizabeth. I know," Ronon said lightly. He lifted his hand. Elizabeth turned to lean on the turret ledge, facing him. But – yes, that was a smile. The tightness around her mouth had eased; much better. He leaned his back against the ledge, turning his head to her.
"You couldn't possibly be afraid of me," Elizabeth laughed. She was starting to mellow but this chance to listen to him speak was too good to pass up. Ronon's voice was so very calming. "Really? Our fearless Wraith hunter?"
"At first," Ronon said quietly, his eyes twinkling with mirth, his hair bouncing. He let the memory slide in and confessed:
She hadn't trusted him at first; his safe haven depended on her assessment of him and he knew it. Unfortunately she decided to assess him while he was reeking of sweat and its accompanying "aroma" as he worked out with the soldiers. Confronted so unexpectedly with the formidable leader of Atlantis had thrown him off balance. Not that she was physically imposing; tallish and whip-thin, with intense hazel eyes that he swore had marked all the reasons he should be cast back into the Stargate's whirlpool.
So he let her talk. He focused on her questions and he gave only what was required: yes or no. She was taken aback. But for the life of him he couldn't elaborate. He just wanted her to finish, tell him his fate and back away from him. Naturally she didn't and the painful interview ended at her discretion minutes later.
"Fearless wraith hunter, huh?" Ronon said in conclusion. Her eyes lit up with amusement and she lowered her head to contain a laugh. Playful was a part of her he hadn't met; he liked it.
"Oh, so that was it! I do remember things were a little…pungent in there," Elizabeth said softly, keeping his slightly blushing expression in view. This was kind of fun. The vision of his impressive figure in fear of her was heady! But the feeling of weariness was becoming more pronounced.
"Think I'll turn in," Ronon said. Elizabeth sighed. Regret? Nah. She leaned on the ledge a moment. "You staying?"
"No, I think I'm ready for a period of dreamless sleep about now," Elizabeth replied after a pause. A fleeting thought occurred to her: this stranger to Atlantis helped her feel at home in her own mind again. They made their way companionably to the transport elevators.
Elizabeth Weir was still an enigma to him, an imposing scholar in command of this outpost of chaos and sanity. No wonder he'd shied away from conversation with her. When they reached her corridor, he stopped. A much more relaxed Elizabeth gifted him with a brief, grateful smile. She'd sleep now; he felt relief.
"Good fight, Elizabeth. Glad you're still with us," Ronon said sincerely, and strode away to his quarters. She wasn't so hard to talk to after all. Not much anyway. Guess it takes practice.
"Thanks," Elizabeth murmured sleepily. He turned and nodded before disappearing around the curve of the walls. In no time she was dressed for bed and snuggled into her covers. "We really have to talk more," she whispered. Then she eased into quiet sleep, enclosed in the echo of a rich soothing voice, and feeling safe and home at last.
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