TITLE: Making Up the Past [Part 6
SUMMARY: "There is a reason why the people of Earth should not drink the wine."
CATEGORY: romance, drama (Ronon/Keller)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, but they're fun to play.
NOTES: Written for the chocfic com February Love-A-Thon at livejournal, but I missed the deadline.
two spinning spheres,
Two spinning spheres in a bed of stars
Silence is super
Staring into space, I wonder where you are
You're all that I've ever needed
I know that you won't feel it
"Pressure Suit" by Aqualung
By the time Ronon finally got back to Atlantis, he was tired, miserable and all he wanted to do was find Jennifer. His thoughts had been with her ever since he had left for the briefing that afternoon. It was nearly midnight on Atlantis when he finally stepped through the event horizon onto the sterile floors of the Gateroom.
He barely acknowledged Colonel Carter as she was saying something about having a debriefing in the morning. He was glad of it, though, as he brushed past the other members of his team and headed straight for his quarters. He had only just exited the Gateroom when he finally came out of his mud-caked shirt. Because of the hour, he drew only a few secondglances from a handful of passers-by.
The corridors along the way were mostly dark, mirroring his mood. At last, he came to stand outside the door to his quarters. He took one last step forward, raising his hand to input the code to unlock the door, but paused when he felt his foot scuff against something. He looked down to see a folded sheet of paper wedged into the bottom of the door. He knelt down to pick it up then proceeded to enter his room.
Normally, he would not have bothered to wave his hand over the light control panel. He knew exactly where everything was in his room, and could make it to the shower with his eyes closed. However, he wanted to inspect this note that someone had left outside his door. As the lights came up, it wasn't the sight of his name that surprised him the most, but the fact that it was printed in Satedan. He dropped the filthy shirt he'd been holding in his other hand and used it to unfold the paper. Inside he found more Satedan writing.
Come by my room when
you get this. Don't worry if
it's late. I need to see you.
Below it was a distinctly feminine signature. She had signed her name in her own language as well. He re-read the note. It had been too long since he had seen his native language in writing, and it touched him deeply that Jennifer had taken such care in composing the note. He folded the note back up and placed it on a nearby table. He turned as if to leave, but then stopped. Yes, he was exhausted. But he also really wanted to see Jennifer. He really needed a shower, though, and he knew Jennifer would appreciate it if he were clean. That thought put an end to his inner turmoil.
He showered quickly but still savored the sensation of the warm water spraying against his skin, relaxing the tension that had built up in his muscles over the course of the recent mission. After he was clean, he looked around the room for something comfortable to wear. He found a black, close-fitting sleeveless shirt (He had heard some of the marines refer to it as a 'wife beater', but he had no idea what that meant. Sheppard had tried to explain it to him once, talking about a park with 'trailers' and Ronon had stopped paying attention shortly after.) He put on a pair of dark blue pajama pants and was on his way to see Jennifer.
He didn't bother putting on shoes, and as he made his way down the empty corridors of Atlantis he relished the coolness of the tile as it seeped through the soles of his feet. It reminded him somewhat of the feel of Jennifer's fingers against his skin the few times she had not actually been wearing those special gloves.
Now he was standing outside her quarters. It was past midnight, and he was a little leery of possibly waking her. However she had requested that he come, so he was here. He rang the door chime and waited. He was pretty sure a full minute passed, and he was about to ring the chime again when the door finally slid open.
Jennifer did not look surprised to see him. She looked unusually beautiful as the light from her room cast a faint halo around her mussed hair.
"Hey," she smiled up at him. "You got my note," she said. She looked tired but her smile warmed him, welcoming his presence. She stood back and let him pass into the room. The door had just closed behind him when he felt her arms surround his waist and her cheek press against his chest. Instinctively he brought his arms up around her, taking in the faint floral scent that lingered in her hair.
He felt her lean back and he looked down to see her looking up at him. "I'm glad you're back safe," she sighed. "Was everyone alright?"
Ronon didn't want to think about the ordeal the past several hours had been. "Yeah, for the most part. I don't. . .really want to talk about it." He hoped she would understand.
She looked at him questioningly, but after a moment she nodded. "That bad, huh?"
"Yeah. There was a lot of mud." When he saw her brow crinkle in confusion he smiled, and paid heed to the sudden urge that had been nagging him ever since she had opened the door—the urge to kiss her. He felt her breath hitch as his lips claimed hers, but in a moment she relaxed into him. He smiled a little when he felt her hands move from his waist to rest on his shoulders. As much as Ronon wanted more of her, he resisted the urge to deepen the kiss and pulled away before his mind became much more clouded with desire. He looked down to see her lidded eyes, then his gaze drifted down take in Jennifer's fitted camisole which—though he really liked her in it—was not doing a great deal to help his situation.
He shifted slightly and cleared his throat, focusing on her face once more. "Did you go get your tests done?" he asked.
"Yeah. I waited as long as possible, then I just got really restless . . . Teyla ended up going with me."
His an eyebrow raised at that revelation. "Really?"
"Yeah, it worked out well as a cover." Jennifer slid her hands down to his forearms. She looked distracted.
"Was everything ok?" Ronon prodded.
"Yes. Marc did—"
"Dr. Pedersen," she corrected. He saw her cheeks growing pink at that, but decided to ignore it. "He did an ultrasound, and printed out a sonogram. It's an image of the fetus that's taken using high frequency sound waves," she explained.
She turned away from him and walked toward her desk. She picked up a small piece of paper and gave it him. "See."
Ronon's heartbeat began to quicken as he realized he was getting the first glimpse of his child. Their child. He studied the chalky white texture against the black-based background. On the left side of the image were two black sickle shapes that looked like they could be eyes. He asked Jennifer as much.
She came up next to him to observe the sonogram. "Yeah, most people think that's a head and two eyes. It's too early in the baby's development to see all those parts anyway. But the black, oval shape is a baby."
"Ok. . ." he continued to study the image. "But there are two of them. What's the other one?"
He felt her tense against him, and after a few seconds of Jennifer not responding, he looked down at her. Something was wrong. "What is it?" he asked softly.
He felt her arm come around his waist as she finally turned her head to look at him with tear-filled eyes. "That's the other baby."
About four hours earlier.
Jennifer was going out of her mind waiting for Ronon to return from the mission. She did not want to draw attention to her concern for him, but was discreetly able to gather a few bits of information. They had made contact with Lorne's team, but had run into some type of difficulty that prevented them from getting back to the 'Gate.
In the interim, Jennifer stayed in her quarters, only leaving once go get some dinner from the mess hall. She had straightened up her room, watched a few episodes of Firefly, and had even gotten a head start on filing medical reports that would eventually be sent to SGC.
She had began composing a letter to her father in an effort to prepare him for the news of her pregnancy. However, she could not get past the lines, "Dear Dad, I've met someone," after recognizing how lame that sounded. She thought about ways to describe Ronon and how they'd met without breaking the confidentiality agreement. She found that didn't leave much else to tell.
Jennifer laid her head down on her forearms as they were crossed on her desk and sighed.
The cursor was still blinking on the document file of her unfinished letter to her father when she was awakened by the sound of her door chime. She looked at her watch. It was close to 8 p.m. She sat up slowly, rubbing her neck. Though she'd only been asleep about twenty minutes, she made a mental note not to fall asleep at her desk again. Then it occurred to her that it might be Ronon returned from his mission; she jumped up to answer the door.
The door swooshed open to reveal a heavily pregnant Teyla standing before her. She tried not too look too disappointed, and managed a cheerful smile. She was glad to see her even though she had been expecting someone else.
"Teyla. . . hi."
Teyla seemed to notice the sudden change in her expression. "Hello, Jennifer." He head tilted in her familiar way of inquiry. "Were you expecting someone else?"
Jennifer found it easy to be honest with the Athosian woman. "Yes. Ronon, actually. He left for a mission earlier, and I hoped he would be back by now." As she said this, she gestured for Teyla to enter her quarters. She continued after Teyla passed, "We had. . .plans for later."
Teyla turned slightly, and Jennifer caught the slight cock of Teyla's eyebrow at her vague reference to their activities. "Ah. I see," was all she said.
"Please, sit," Jennifer motioned for Teyla to sit in her desk chair, while Jennifer sat across from her on the bed, cross-legged. "So," she began, deciding to focus the attention on Teyla. "How are things going, with the search for your people, I mean?" She knew that Teyla had been off-world looking for more information about the disappearance of her people.
She immediately regretted the question as she saw Teyla's countenance fall. "There was no helpful information acquired. Still I remain confident that through perseverance we will acquire information of great value. We will find them."
Jennifer admired Teyla's determination in finding the Athosians. Still, she knew that it must be very difficult for Teyla whenever the smallest piece of information only led to another dead end. She could not image how Teyla must be feeling, to have not only her people, but the father of her unborn child missing, with no knowledge of their fate.
"Actually," Teyla began after a pause, "I came by to see how you were doing. Rodney actually suggested I stop by and see you." Jennifer didn't miss the amusement and a bit of confusion in Teyla's tone at retelling of the scientist's request.
Jennifer felt her cheeks growing warm. "Oh. He did, huh?"
"Yes," Teyla affirmed. "He seemed quite concerned about you."
Jennifer held Teyla's eye. She knew what Teyla was implying. Rodney was horrible with people, and had a tendency to be more than a little self-absorbed. He was getting better about it, and she found she really did appreciate Rodney's expression of concern.
She decided she would rather Teyla find out the news sooner rather than later. "I'm pregnant, Teyla."
If this wasn't such a serious matter, Jennifer would have laughed at Teyla's shocked expression. But in an instant it was gone, replaced by a look of calm understanding. "It happened on Ferra," Teyla stated.
Jennifer nodded. "So much for forgetting about that night, huh?"
Teyla looked sympathetic, and Jennifer almost couldn't take it. "Does Ronon know?"
"Yes." Jennifer finally looked away, playing with the edge of her bedspread as she spoke. "I told him this morning, actually. He took it better than I did," she chuckled, at the same time blinking back the tears that were suddenly stinging her eyes. She looked up when her peripheral vision caught Teyla getting up. The woman took the few steps to the bed and sat down next to her, resting a reassuring arm around her shoulders.
"I know that this is very unexpected for you. But Ronon will make an excellent father."
Jennifer brushed the tear from her cheek, looking up into Teyla's consoling eyes. "I know. That's not what I'm worried about."
Ronon Dex was afraid. In that moment, he felt that Jennifer's slim arm around his waist was the only thing keeping him steady, grounded.
He stared at the sonogram again, to study the two oval shapes that had turned his world upside down. He had barely managed to get his mind around the fact that there was one baby. Now there were two.
He felt he needed so say something. "Wow. Uhm . . . I guess we really did it."
"That's what Dr. Pedersen said," he heard Jennifer's slight amusement.
Ronon grunted in response. He felt a small sting of jealousy at how Jennifer had called Dr. Pedersen by his first name earlier. Though he had urged her to go the appointment without him, he was glad that in the end she had not gone alone.
He knew Jennifer's bed was right behind him, so he leaned back to sit on it, pulling Jennifer down next to him. "So. . .twins, huh?"
"Yeah, he felt Jennifer's head lean on his shoulder as she sighed. "It was the wine."
"What?" He looked down at her.
She lifted her head to meet his confused eyes. She had that look she got whenever she was about to go into a detailed explanation of something.
"One of the reasons my hCG levels was so high, unusually high, rather, is because of the twins. But my tests also found that there was some residual traces of a naturally occurring hormone that is used to increase fertility." She paused to take a breath. It was hard to follow all the words she was saying. "On top of that I wasn't on any type of birth control . . . "
He got what she was saying. Kind of. "So. . . something in the wine made it easier for you to get pregnant?" That and the fact they'd both been drugged, which he tried not to think about.
He was glad when she leaned her head on his shoulder once more. He wrapped his arm around her back, resting his hand on her waist as he turned to nuzzle her hair.
"Yeah," he mumbled.
"What are we going to do?"
After a moment of considering he decided to ask, "What do you mean?"
He was reluctant to release her when he felt her lift her head and then pull away to look at him. She was still close, though, and he kept his hand on the small of her back.
"I mean that I'm gonna start showing a lot sooner than I thought, which means people are going to find out or I'm going to have to tell them a lot sooner than I thought. And how is this going to affect my position on Atlantis? You saw what happened to Teyla."
He did. Though ultimately, Teyla had decided to no longer participate in off-world missions with her team, it was only after Sheppard had relieved her of active duty.
Jennifer wasn't done expressing her fears. "What if the IOA decides to ship me back to earth because of 'safety concerns' or some nonsense?"
Damn. He hadn't thought of that. "They can't do that. You didn't do anything wrong."
"That doesn't matter. I mean, I don't know what will happen, but I'm not expecting a positive reaction from them. We have to be prepared for it."
Though he was heartened by her repeated use of the term 'we', he felt like Jennifer had deeper concerns than the reaction of the IOA. "Why is it any of their business?"
"Our relationship wouldn't be, normally, I guess. We're human beings. But you're from another galaxy, and I'm kind of pregnant with twins. That's a little hard to ignore. And we're not even married.
He saw her mortified expression and her cheeks flush bright red. She obviously had not mean to say that last part. But she had said it which, Ronon realized, meant that she had been thinking about it on some level.
"So you want us to get married?" Ronon wasn't proposing, just asking for clarification. He was already aware that Jennifer had conservative beliefs. He had also observed that the people of Earth had differing ideas about marriage and commitment. She had not planned on having sex until marriage, and pregnancy was an obvious sign that she had been intimate with someone. So getting married might seem like a way to 'fix' the situation. Sort of.
So he wasn't surprised when she didn't immediately say 'no.'
"It's not that." She closed her eyes, as if in concentration. When she opened them and looked up at him, he saw newfound determination there. Instinct told him to brace himself for whatever she was about to tell him.
"I just don't want to get used to all this," she gestured in the space between them. "Having you here, sharing a bed at night. . .and then have it taken away, with no promise that I'll ever see you again."
He was about to answer her. Of course I'm not going to leave you. However, she raised her hand signaling him to let her finish.
"I know the bed-sharing thing is really comforting and good for the baby—babies and all. But what about after they're born? Atlantis isn't exactly an ideal place to raise a family. I can't stick them in a day-care center here while I continue my duties as Medical CO. I'm not afraid of losing my job or finding another one. . .but what if I do have to move back to Earth?"
He really didn't know how to answer that. Naturally, he wanted to be stationed wherever Jennifer was. However, Earth was her home, while he had found a home on Atlantis. He had no doubt that she cared for him deeply, but he also knew that neither of them had anticipated having to deal with this situation. Ronon allowed his thoughts to linger briefly on the plans he and Melena had, now long gone and turned to dust, along with the rest of the hopes of his homeworld.
"Me saying I'm going to be here isn't enough for you," he stated.
She looked away. "No. . .I believe you."
He didn't believe her. But he had neither the energy nor the desire to call her on it.
"You want to go to bed?" he asked finally. He didn't know what else to say, and he was really tired.
"Sure." He didn't miss the dejected tone to her voice. "I'm sorry. I know you've had a long day," she sighed. "I just. . ." she faltered.
"S'ok." He caught her eyes and smiled a little, just to reassure her before pressing a lingering kiss to her lips.
The sonogram had been in his hand the whole time, and he reached and set it on Jennifer's desk, letting his finger linger on it for a moment before drawing his arm back. When he turned back, Jennifer was pulling back the covers. She held the sheet up for him to swing his legs onto the bed, and then she settled closer to him. As selfish as it seemed, he was glad that she still wanted to share a bed with him. He had been afraid she would ask him leave, that she had reconsidered the whole thing, or just that she wanted some time alone. Women were extremely hard to read when it came to that kind of thing.
It wasn't long before he felt Jennifer's breaths grow slow and deep against his chest. She was asleep. As tired as his body was, his mind continued to race. Their conversation was far from over. Jennifer just didn't realize how serious he was about their relationship. Maybe she had been hurt before and just wanted to be careful. It was like she was holding back from giving all of herself over to their relationship because she felt like it wouldn't last.
He understood her fears. He had been alone for seven years. All that had driven him was his hatred for the Wraith and what they had done to him. They had destroyed everything and everyone he loved. During that time he couldn't allow himself to stop, or take time for himself. It was him and his hatred, and that's all he believed he needed. Then the Atlanteans came along, offering him a fresh start. Sheppard had offered him a place on his team, but it was Elizabeth that had ultimately allowed him to stay in the first place. It took him time to adjust to the idea of there being more to his life than the vengeance. It was hard to let go of, even a little, for it had allowed him to survive for seven years. But the Atlanteans brought with them hope as well as the prospect of a better future for the entire Pegasus Galaxy. Then Ronon Dex was finally able to look forward to. . .well, life. Because of that, he was with Jennifer now, and he didn't regret anything.
He placed a soft kiss on her forehead before finally allowing the fatigue finally began to claim him.
I will marry you, he resolved, resting his cheek against the satin of her hair as he joined her in slumber.
no way I could describe him
What I'll say is just what I'm hoping for
But I will find him sitting on my doorstep
Waiting for a surprise
And he will feel like he's been there for hours
And I can tell that he'll be there for life
And I can tell that he'll be there for life
—"Daydreams" by ADELE
. . . but not quite.
A/N: The story's done. Sort of.
Yes, I know, John has yet to find out about the pregnancy, as well, as Col. Carter, et al. Ya'll are just gonna have to wait for it. Once again my brain is fried. I tried to wrap up as much as possible in this chapter, otherwise it would never have gotten finished. Seriously, I thought about stopping after the twin reveal and then starting another chapter. I thought this chapter would be a tear-jerker, but I held back in anticipation of the sequel.
SPOILER ALERT Now I have the awesome task of trying to fit the events of the back half of Seaon 4 into the story. Way to go, Kavanaugh, for blowing up the Midway Station. I'm talking about you, too, Michael, for kidnapping Teyla. END SPOILER
sigh Anyways, thank you guys for all of your comments. They really helped keep this story moving, and they will have a direct effect on how quickly I get the sequel up. Two ideas to whet your appetite: Ronon, Earth clothes. 'Nuff said. If you're really encouraging, there might even be an epilogue to this story. Or maybe just some deleted scenes.
Special thanks go Joanna. : )