Disclaimer: Tragic though it is, I don't own 'em. No profit was made and no persons, be they living, dead, or ascended, were harmed during the writing of this tag. :)
Warnings: Contains spoilers for Sateda (season 3). Story spell-checked, but not beta'ed--sorry!
Notes: This was written for the rononficathon Live Journal community. Carpenyx asked for a Ronon/Sheppard friendship fluff story. This is probably as close as I will ever get to writing fluff.
"What's the emergency, Doc? Ronon okay?" John Sheppard was breathless by the time he'd reached the infirmary, having run the whole way from his office. They'd only recently managed to rescue the big guy from the Wraith on his former-home world and John had feared complications from his wounds when the summons had come.
"Oh, the lad's just fine. For the moment." Carson's irritation was evident in his posture as well as his tone.
John winced. "So not being a very cooperative patient, I take it?"
Beckett looked at him like he'd suddenly sprouted a second head. "It would seem the lad is bored. And he willna stay in the bloody bed and off his bloody leg no matter how many times I tell him. Do something, Colonel. Before the injury becomes far more serious than it already is."
Sheppard blinked and looked frantically around. "Oh, well, Teyla's…"
"Been called to the mainland for some sort of emergency meeting of the Athosian council." Carson took a step forward and poked his finger sharply into the pilot's chest. "So it's up ta you ta deal with it, Colonel. Find a way ta keep him in that bed--resting--or ye'll be lookin' for another team member and he'll be walkin' with a permanent limp."
Before John could say a word in protest, Beckett turned on his heel and stormed off. Sighing, he rolled his eyes and shoved his hands into his pockets as he sauntered into the main ward to find his uncooperative team member. Damn emergency council meetings anyway. Teyla was way better at this kind of thing than he was.
Plastering a false smile on his face, he strolled up to Ronon's bed. "Hey, buddy. How's it going?"
The Satedan gave him a disgusted look and turned away, refusing to answer him.
"Oh come on, I'm not the enemy here."
Ronon snorted. "Beckett called you, didn't he?"
"Well, yeah. He's worried about you."
Ronon glared at him. "McKay's not stuck in here and he got shot with an arrow. All I got was some shrapnel in my leg."
"Yeah, but McKay's not up running around all over the place like you seem determined to do. He's laying on the floor of his lab in front of his computer. Beckett figures he's more likely to stay quiet there than in here."
Again, Ronon snorted. "He don't want to have to listen to him carry on, that's all."
Sheppard started to deny it, but quickly changed his mind. "True." He snickered, taking a quick look around. "Gotta admit, Rodney's taken this pain-in-the-ass thing to a whole new level."
"Got that right," agreed Dex, grinning.
The humorous moment over, John sobered. "Look, whatever the reason, fact is, you're stuck in here for awhile. So what can we do keep you from feeling bored?"
The Satedan shrugged, wincing as it pulled on the stitches in his back. "Nuthin'."
Undaunted, John began to throw out suggestions. "How about a game of chess? I can teach you if you want."
Ronon looked at him skeptically. "You want me to stare for hours at a board full of little statues to keep from getting bored?"
"Well, when you put it that way. Okay, so no chess. How about poker? You already know how to play that."
Dex shook his head. "You still haven't paid up from the last game."
Sheppard rolled his eyes. "I told you, they wouldn't let me requisition all thirty cases of popcorn at one time for personal use. I can only get five at a time with each Daedalus run."
Out of ideas, the pilot switched tactics. "Okay, forget poker. Why don't you tell me what you used to do when you were a kid to keep from getting bored when you were sick in bed?"
"Oh, come on. You had to do something."
"Nope. Never got sick."
John stared in disbelief. "You never…never?"
Ronon smirked. "Nope, never. What'd you do?"
Sheppard dragged a chair close and plopped into it. "Well, mostly I used to take the straw from my orange juice and shoot spitwads at the map on the wall that my grandmother got me for Christmas one year. I hated that thing--my mom made me take down my poster of the Thunderbirds to make room for it. Anyway, I used to race myself to try and outline all seven continents before Mom came back and took the straw away."
Dex sat up, intrigued. "Spitwads?"
John nodded. "Yeah, you tear off little bits of paper and wad them up into a ball. Then wet it down with a little spit to hold it together and stuff it into the end of a straw. Then you put the other end of the straw in your mouth, acquire your target, and blow. If you do it right, they stick on walls and stuff really good."
Ronon eyed the straw in the cup by his bed with a feral gleam. "Got any paper on you?"
Sheppard made a show of patting down his shirt. "Uh, no, sorry, I seem to be fresh out." He looked furtively around for Carson, relieved when he didn't find any sign of him. "Um, listen, I know you're really excited to try it and all, but I think you should consider waiting until Beckett releases you. I don't think he'd be exactly thrilled to find spitwads all over his ceiling and walls. They've a thing about germs around here, after all. And besides, there aren't any good targets here anyway." He paused to snap his fingers. "We'll hit McKay's lab as soon as you get sprung. He's got tons of cool stuff in there to practice on."
Dex appeared ready to argue, but finally nodded. "'Kay. So what do we do now?"
John thought for a moment. "Well, what do you want to do?"
"Shoot that stuff outta straws."
Sheppard considered the matter. "Beckett'll come after us with his big needles--you do know that right?"
Ronon shrugged. "Be worth it."
The pilot snapped his fingers and pointed at the former Runner. "What if I told you there were a lot of other ways to have fun with paper that did not involve the risk of getting stuck with big needles?"
"Don't feel like reading."
John shook his head. "What I have in mind has nothing to do with reading. It'll be as much fun as shooting spitwads--maybe even more fun than spitwads. I promise."
That definitely piqued Ronon's interest. "Yeah?"
"Yeah. You're going to have to wait here--in the bed--while I get some stuff together, though. You okay with that?"
"Depends. This gonna take long?"
"Nope, just need to get some paper and a ruler. Then I'll come right back."
Dex settled back into the pillows. "Okay."
Now excited, John stood and backed away from the bed, pointing at the Satedan. "You're going to love this, I swear."
A short time later, Sheppard reappeared with a small, but heavy bag. He set the bag on the chair and drew the privacy curtains before turning to Ronon. Pulling a thick stack of notebooks, graph paper, and magazines out of the bag, he dropped it on the wheeled table and pushed it in front of the Satedan. "There. Ready to get started?"
Dex tried to play it cool and look uninterested, but John could tell he was anxious to see what the pilot had in mind. "On what?"
John pointed to the pile on the table. "This, my friend, is our fleet."
Ronon raised an eyebrow. "Looks like a stack of paper to me."
Sheppard sat down on the edge of the bed so he could reach the table and grabbed a magazine, ripping out the first page. "Watch this."
Quickly and expertly, he folded the paper and presented it to Dex. "There. Our first plane. Now we'll need to do a test flight."
Ronon appeared skeptical. "Shooting spit stuff'd be better."
"Did I ever tell you about my freshman year of high school?" he asked nonchalantly. He didn't bother to wait for an answer before launching into his anecdote. "We moved around a lot when I was a kid and it my first year at this particular school. The place was huge compared to anywhere I'd ever been before." Sheppard grabbed a second sheet of paper and began to fold it.
"So they stuck me in this study hall for last hour of the day. Now it took me forever to find the room and when I finally got in there, I discovered it's in the auditorium--kinda like the one in that slasher movie we watched with Lorne's team last week. Man, there musta been two hundred kids in there, easy. So they stuck us out in the seats while the two teachers strolled around on stage." John continued to fold the paper, forming the next plane for their arsenal.
"Now the guy-teacher, he musta been going on eighty if he was a day. Everybody called him Chester. I think it was his first name or something. Anyway, the lady-teacher was at least as old the guy-teacher. Her name was Keottle, so everybody called her "Ma Keottle"--kinda after this character from a series of old black and white movies, only spelled differently. She even looked like her." Sheppard laughed, but kept folding as he told the story, not once looking up from his task as he spoke.
"Well anyway, these two could never see what were doing out there, because it was so dark out where we were sitting and they were up on the stage where it was fully lighted. As you can imagine, it didn't take long until the mayhem started. The two up there on that stage like that, man, they were like the perfect targets. Now, the first few rows were close enough for using spitwads or even chewing gum, but that got tricky because the straw pretty much gave you away if they happened to turn around quicker than you could hide it. Didn't take long for the gum to be banned from study hall either.
"So that left paper airplanes. They were perfect, especially for us near the back. Easy to shove in a book if they happened to look your way and everyone had paper, so it wasn't obvious where it came from. Now there were a couple of guys sitting close to me, and none of us were particularly interested in actually studying in there, so we came up with this game. You got points for each person you hit with your plane." He paused to level a knowing look at the Satedan. "You see where I'm going with this."
Ronon's feral grin returned as he reached for a paper. "Show me."
The pair had amassed a fleet of nearly a dozen planes when suddenly the curtain around the bed was yanked back. "Time for a vitals check, Mr. Dex." The nurse stopped dead at the sight of the bed scattered with various types of paper airplanes.
John stood and flashed one of his most charming smiles. "Dr. Beckett asked that I keep Ronon here entertained, so I've been teaching him the fine art of…origami. He's catching on very quickly, don't you think?"
The nurse looked doubtful, but nodded. "Yes, well, if I can just interrupt long enough to record some vitals, you all can get back to your…lessons."
"Sure," answered Sheppard. "Ronon doesn't mind a bit, do you Big Guy?"
The Satedan glared at him, but put aside the plane he was working on and allowed her to make the necessary checks. Once she'd finished, she gathered her supplies and made her way to the edge of the curtain. She turned back to them frowning. "You aren't planning to test all those out in here, are you?"
John shot an affronted look her direction. "Of course not. Beckett would have a stoke over something like that. I was actually thinking that the east pier would be a cool place to launch. Don't you think?" he asked, turning to Ronon.
Dex had already retrieved his current creation and resumed its construction. "Sure, why not?"
"Good, I'll hold you to that, Colonel Sheppard." Without waiting for his answer, she turned on her heel and left.
"I'll hold you to that Colonel Sheppard," he mimicked in a falsetto voice. "I think she's going to be one of my first targets."
"She's gonna be pissed when she finds out you lied to her."
"I did not lie to her." Sheppard retook his seat and grabbed another sheet of paper to fold. "She asked if we were planning to test all of these out in here. I said no." He stopped his construction and grabbed a handful of planes off the bed. "So we'll just put these babies aside and go fly them off the pier once Beckett releases you, like I said."
He dropped the flyers into the same bag he'd used to transport the paper and returned to his chair to resume construction of their fleet. Flashing Ronon a smug smile, he again began to fold. "There. Like I said, I did not lie."
The Satedan chuckled. "It's your memorial."
John rolled his eyes and promptly changed the subject. "That's funeral, not memorial. Hey, you know, we still need to come up a points system for this game."
"Okay. Like what?"
"Well, we can't use the exact system from high school, but if we modify it a bit…" The creases in Sheppard's forehead deepened as he did some quick calculations. "We used to get twenty-five for the hot blonde chicks--twenty for other hot chicks, fifty points per geek, seventy-five for the class dweeb, and a hundred apiece for the teachers."
"What's a dweeb?"
Sheppard did a double-take, for a moment forgetting that he was dealing with an alien who wasn't familiar with things like dweebs, geeks, dorks, studs, or prom queens. "Um, a dweeb is…remember Kavanaugh?"
The Satedan nodded. "Okay, well picture him shorter, in black pants with a hem that stops at least three inches above his ankles, a white shirt with a pocket protector, black loafers with white socks, and no pony tail but his hair still slicked back like that. Oh and dark horn-rimmed glasses. That's what a dweeb would look like."
Ronon shrugged, wincing as the stitches in his back pulled. "Okay. Don't think we have any dweebs here. Hafta think of something else for that one."
"Yeah, I was thinking that we should keep it fairly simple until you get the hang of it. So how about twenty points per nurse and twenty-five per technician, since they're the most likely candidates to be showing up in the theater of operations. Then we can go with fifty per scientific or military staff not assigned to the medical division, and seventy-five points per senior staff member--yours truly being the exception, of course."
Ronon grinned broadly. "And a hundred points for Beckett."
Surprised, John returned the smile. "Oh, feeling a bit daring are we? Cool, I like that. A hundred points for Beckett, it is."
Sheppard rose from his seat and made sure both side curtains were pulled out toward the foot of the Satedan's bed. He left the front open, however, for them to acquire selected targets.
"So let the games begin." Grinning madly at the Satedan, he made his way back to the chair and sat down. "I think it's only fair that you get the first shot or two--purely for practice reasons, of course. We'll switch off after that. Point counting will commence once you've got it down. Why don't you try a shot or two against the curtains there first to get the feel of it?"
As expected, Ronon caught on quickly and the points began to rack up. The medical staff seemed to take it in stride, for the most part. There was a great deal of head-shaking at their antics, but no one really complained--they just hurried past the opening and tried to get out of range before they fell victim.
"Lotta marines here today," mused Ronon as he nailed yet another unsuspecting sergeant who was reporting with a slight training injury. "And Teyla and me aren't even there training 'em." He turned to John, grinning madly. "How far ahead 'd that one put me?"
Sheppard gave him a dirty look as he tallied the score. "You're only twenty-five points ahead, so don't go gloating just yet." Grabbing another plane, he waited for his next target to appear.
It wasn't long before one of the female engineers appeared, clutching her towel-wrapped index finger tightly. Sheppard hesitated for only a moment, but let loose with his plane once he saw no evidence of blood on the towel. Scoring a direct hit and earning himself a glare from the scientist, he turned triumphantly to Dex. "Ha, now I'm up by twenty-five. Lucky for me, the geeks are being careless today, too." He propped his feet nonchalantly on the Satedan's bed and crossed his arms. "Your turn."
The sight of the next face to appear around the curtain sent John's feet quickly back to the floor. "Elizabeth! Wh-what are you doing here?"
Ronon said nothing, instead grinning madly and toying with the paper flyer in his hand. Weir had a stern "I'm the Mom and you are so dead" look on her face as she entered the cubicle. "I wanted to come by and see how Ronon here was feeling." She turned her attention from John to the Satedan, her expression softening. "I'm sorry I haven't been able to come by sooner. Carson has been keeping me updated on your condition, though. I understand that your wounds are healing nicely."
Dex nodded. "Yeah. Thank you. For letting them come after me, too," he added.
Elizabeth nodded. "I'm just glad they found you in time and that you're back with us again. You get well soon--we need you out there." She offered him a warm smile before turning back to Sheppard. "A word please, Colonel?"
"Oh. Uh, sure. Carson asked me to stay here and keep the Big Guy company, but I'm sure he won't mind I if step out for a minute." Sheppard hedged, trying to shift the blame before the lecture he suspected was to come.
"Ronon, take care of yourself. I'll try to stop by again later," she said. With a pointed look at Sheppard, she waited for him to precede her.
"Okay. Thanks." Ronon took aim once her back was turned, but stopped before sending the plane sailing. It didn't seem quite right without Sheppard there to see it. He could hear their muffled voices several beds away, but couldn't make out the words and wondered exactly how much trouble his friend was in.
To his relief, it wasn't long before Sheppard reappeared and again took up his seat. "She, um, isn't happy that my paperwork has been delayed. Again." His accompanying smile was anything but sincere.
Elizabeth reappeared, pausing briefly at the open curtain. "First thing in the morning, Colonel. No more excuses."
The grin quickly turned into a wince. "But she does understand and has agreed to give me until the morning to finish it. For which I am very grateful." He tilted his head and nodded once.
She acknowledged the gesture with a nod of her own and promptly turned on her heel. She'd barely taken two steps before Ronon launched his plane.
The instant the projectile made contact with the back of her head, she whirled around. Without a word, she slowly bent to pick up the paper and walked back over to face Sheppard. "I'm going to let you off the hook just this once and pretend this didn't happen, Colonel. I would highly recommend that those reports not be even one minute late."
"It wasn't me!" He glared at Ronon as he spoke.
The Satedan shrugged and grinned at her. "Sorry, but you're worth seventy-five points."
She looked at John in disbelief. "You have a points system? Does Carson know about this?"
"He said to keep him occupied and in bed. That's what I'm doing." He knew he sounded petulant and defensive, but he couldn't help himself.
"I wanted to try shooting spit things," Ronon supplied helpfully. "But Sheppard said we should wait."
"Oh he did, did he?" She turned expectantly to John.
"He means spit wads."
Elizabeth raised both hands and shook her head. "No, I'm not even going to ask. I'm simply going to remind you that when Carson does find out he will not be pleased. I'd bid you both a good afternoon, but I don't want you to mistakenly believe that I approve of this little game of yours. Tomorrow morning, John. First thing. Ronon." With a final nod, she turned and left the infirmary.
Ronon waited until she was out of sight and then grinned at Sheppard. "That puts me fifty points ahead."
John chuckled. "Yeah, yeah, enjoy it while you can, big guy. Game's not over yet." He grabbed another plane and settled back to wait for a target. "I can't believe she thought it was me," he complained.
A female technician arrived to begin her shift, unaware of the game, and was immediately nailed by the lieutenant colonel. He flashed her his most charming smile and shrugged. "Um, sorry about that. Guess it got away from me."
She returned the smile, shaking her head as she hurried off. Ronon didn't hesitate to gloat. "Still up by twenty-five."
Sheppard scowled at him. "And I repeat--the game is not over yet."
Even as he spoke, one of the botanists rushed by clutching a data pad. The Satedan didn't hesitate to let the flyer loose. The scientist didn't even look back after it struck him and Ronon wasted no time in gleefully informing John of the score. "I believe that puts me ahead by seventy-five."
John glared back at him, slyly glancing at his watch. "Well I'm not ready to concede defeat just yet." Within minutes, an all-too familiar voice announced the arrival of the next target. Sheppard smirked at Ronon, his gaze never leaving the Satedan as he unleashed the plane and hit his mark.
"Show off." Dex sank back into his pillows, his lead wiped out in one single hit.
The victim of the tying shot was not pleased and loudly made the fact known. "Oh, ha ha. How very amusing." McKay bent over to retrieve the plane from the floor, but his own wound quickly reminded him that it wasn't a good idea. Instead, he scooted it across the floor with the side of his foot as he walked to the bed. Stopping directly in front of Sheppard he crossed his arms, a condescending look on his face. "Assuming you're twelve."
John ignored Rodney's rant and turned to Ronon with a smug grin. "I believe that seventy-five points makes us even."
Before the Satedan could get a single word out, McKay interrupted. "You're awarding points for hitting people with paper airplanes? Oh, how very mature of you."
"Hey, you're one of the highest scores--what more do you want?" Sheppard leaned back in the chair, again propping his feet on the edge of the bed and interlacing his hands behind his head.
That quickly sidetracked the scientist. "Oh. Well that makes sense I suppose. I am the smartest person here, so it seems only fitting that I be worth the highest amount of points."
Ronon was quick to correct him. "You're not highest. Close, though."
McKay's puffed-up chest instantly deflated. "I'm not the highest? Well why not? Who around here could possibly be worth more points than me?"
"Och, Rodney, I shouldha known I'd find ye here. Ye're late for yer wound check!" By the time he'd finished speaking, Carson had appeared next to Rodney and was promptly hit by Ronon's paper craft.
"What did ye go and do that for?" Indignant, Beckett placed both hands on his hips, waiting for an answer.
The Satedan's eyes never left McKay as he nodded to Beckett. "Him."
Grinning like the Cheshire Cat, Ronon then turned to Sheppard. "One. Hundred. Points. Ready to give up yet?"
"Nooo. This game is far from over my friend." John smiled, but the testy reply belied the action.
His words did succeed in bringing the stunned physician back to his senses. "Ye're makin' a bloody game out o' hittin' ma patients and staff with paper airplanes? What in bloody hell were ye thinkin'? This is na what I had in mind when I told ye ta see that the lad stayed in his bed, Colonel."
Sheppard shrugged. "You said to keep him occupied and off his leg. He's occupied and hasn't been out of bed, not even once--mission accomplished. What more do you want?"
"Surely you could have found something else? Something a little less…" Carson paused searching for the right word.
"Juvenile?" Rodney supplied the answer, grinning smugly at his teammates.
John ignored the physicist. "It was either this or spitwads."
Beckett's jaw nearly hit the floor. "Spitwads? In ma infirmary? Ye-ye wouldn't…ye couldn't…oh bloody hell. Are ye daft, lad?"
Sheppard rolled his eyes. "Of course not, that's why I talked him out of it." He paused for a beat and then delivered the killing blow. "He's really anxious to try 'em though."
Carson immediately went beet red. "Just so there's no misunderstandin' here--there will be no shootin' spitwads anywhere near ma infirmary. And this paper airplane game of yers? It's now over." Next he turned to McKay. "And you! Get yerself over to a gurney. I'm busy, too, and I do na have all day ta wait around for ye to finally decide to grace me with yer presence by showin' up for yer appointment."
Without waiting for a reply, the physician turned on his heel and left. Sheppard shot a smug look at Ronon and then turned to a gaping McKay. "You heard the man, McKay. Better run along now--Beckett wants to check out your ass." He'd purposely raised his voice, speaking loud enough that the Scot would have no trouble hearing him.
As expected, Beckett immediately reappeared at the foot of the bed--whereupon John immediately nailed him with a paper plane, very neatly, right between the eyes. The physician turned a very interesting shade of purple and went off on the pilot. "Did ye na hear me just say that yer little game was over? Are ye deaf or do ye just have a sudden desire ta be stuck with many very, very, very large needles?"
Ignoring the sputtering Scot, Sheppard stood and crossed his arms, gloating as he towered over the Satedan in the bed. "And that's one hundred points for me, so I hereby officially declare this one is a draw."
Rodney, who'd been standing there open-mouthed, finally found his voice. "I cannot believe you said that to me! You are so going to pay for that--in spades. For starters, I wouldn't expect any hot water to be in your future if I were you," he warned.
John simply laughed. "Oh, somehow I don't think there will be any hot water issues in my future. Or heating issues or any other gene-controlled amenity issues."
McKay's face fell. "Oh, right. How could I forget that I'm dealing with Mr. SuperGene here. Atlantis loves you, yadda, yadda, yadda."
Sheppard's grin widened even further. "Doesn't everyone? Love me, I mean."
"NO!" Both McKay and Beckett replied at the exact same instant.
Shooting Rodney a dirty look, the Scot quickly rounded on Sheppard. "Out! Do ye hear me? Out with ye--before I forget I took an oath and do bodily harm to ye!"
John placed a hand over his heart and donned his premiere wounded-puppy look. "I cannot begin to tell you how deeply that hurt me." He then totally ruined the effect and winked at them as he put his hand on Ronon's shoulder. "Take it easy, big guy--and stay in the damn bed, will ya? I've got paperwork to finish that has to be on Elizabeth's desk first thing in the morning. So I can't be spending all of my time down here playing games, much as I'd prefer that to writing reports."
The Satedan smacked Sheppard's hand and pushed it away. "No promises. And I want a rematch on the game."
"Do I need ta check yer hearin', lad? I just declared yer game ta be over. For good."
Ronon rolled his eyes. "Take it easy, Doc. I meant after I get out of here."
"And ye'll stay in this bed or I'll be forced ta restrain ye," warned Beckett.
The Satedan settled back into the pillows with a smirk. "You can try."
Carson shook his head. "I suppose it would be of no use to threaten ye with the big needles either?"
"Probably not," agreed Ronon.
Sighing, the physician gave Rodney a gentle push toward the nearest gurney and pointed a threatening finger at Sheppard. "Unless ye want ta find a large quantity of ma biggest needles in yer immediate future, ye best be leavin', Colonel."
"I'm going, I'm going." Sheppard started for the exit, but stopped and turned back to face the doctor. "Oh, and um, Carson? I'm sorry about the…" He pointed to the area between Beckett's eyes, his best contrite expression on his face.
"No, ye're not," accused the Scot.
Sheppard shrugged, his trademark crooked grin firmly in place. "Yeah, you're right. I'm not." With that, he whirled and left the infirmary, whistling as he went.
Carson snorted at the admission, his anger quickly fading. "Cheeky bugger, that's what ye are, John Sheppard." He turned to Ronon before following McKay, shaking his finger at the Satedan. "And ye, sir, will stay in that bed if I have ta come and sit on ye maself."
"You shouldn't make threats you can't keep." Dex's grin took the sting out of his admonition. "Thought you had an ass to check."
"Hey! I heard that," complained McKay.
"Och, cheeky buggers the lot o' ye." Nevertheless, Beckett left to check Rodney's wound, grumbling under his breath.
Satisfied that he'd gotten in the last word, Ronon settled into a comfortable position. A smile firmly in place, he drifted off to sleep.