Please see first chapter for disclaimer, rating, warnings, pairings, etc.
Four Years Later
Two big brown eyes looked up at me with angelic innocence. "Five more minutes?" he begged.
I sighed. Rowan always begged "five more minutes," but he rarely got them. Tonight, however, I was sorely tempted to give the extra time to him.
Ronon knelt next to my son, so now there were two pairs of eyes gazing sorrowfully at me: one brown, one green.
I caved, just like they knew I would. "Very well. Five more minutes. But no more."
Rowan cheered and threw his arms around my waist in a tight, loving hug. "Thank you," he said. A toothy smile rewarded my lenience.
I couldn't resist a smile in return as I ran a hand over his tumbled curls. Rowan was such a sweet little boy, so passionate and caring and well-behaved. . . He never ceased to bring pride to my heart, a smile to my lips, and tears to my eyes.
Ronon caught my eye and winked as Rowan hurried off across the room. I smiled again and knew he understood exactly how I felt.
Rowan came back, a Bantos rod balanced in each hand. One was regularly sized – Ronon's – and the other was carved to the specifications of his height and size, hand-made by Ronon himself for Rowan's fourth birthday. Rowan hardly let the rod and its matching partner out of his sight.
Ronon took the proffered larger Bantos rod and knelt again. "Okay, Rowan. Next lesson. . ."
Almost fifteen minutes later, I finally tucked my son into his bed. "Good night, Rowan." I leaned over and kissed his forehead.
"Good night, Mama." Rowan's skinny arms wrapped around my neck and nearly strangled me with a hug. He was only slightly larger than most four-year-olds, but he was very, very strong. When at last he let me go, his dark eyes moved past me to the figure hovering in the doorway, the same as every other night when we were on Atlantis. "Good night, Uncle Ronon."
A rarely-seen grin parted Ronon's lips and twitched his beard. "Good night, Rowan."
I ran my hand over Rowan's rumpled curls one last time and smiled softly. "Sleep well, my son."
I was almost to the door when Rowan's small voice called: "Mama, question?"
I sighed and returned to stand by Rowan's bed. "Yes." From the look in his eyes, I knew it would be an important question that required a long and complicated answer, so I sat down next to my son.
Large dark eyes regarded me with unusual seriousness. "I know Ronon is not my real father. Who is my father, then? Where is he?"
I let out my breath quickly, feeling like I'd been sucker-punched. I had anticipated this question one day, but not quite this soon.
Strong hands settled on my shoulders: Ronon. I drew from the strength he freely offered as I responded to my son's query. "Rowan, your father – Kanaan – is – no longer among us. He died before you were born."
Rowan took a moment to process this information. "Did the Wraith take him?" he finally asked. There was such innocence in his eyes and tone that it nearly made my heart break.
Ronon's hands tightened infinitesimally on my shoulders. We had discussed long and hard the subject of telling Rowan about the Wraith. After all, it would not be easy to tell him of his enemy and the demise of one of his closest friends or family members should one day someone not come home from a mission. When at last we did apprise him of the precarious situation in which the galaxy rested, we were surprised at how well he took the information. I had been expecting nightmares to plague him; even though we tried not to be too graphic in our descriptions of the Wraith and their abilities, I had expected him to be frightened.
But he'd taken it exceptionally well.
Now, though. . . I slowly shook my head. "No, Rowan. The Wraith did not kill your father." Not directly. But he was still too young to understand that.
Ronon spoke softly as he sat down behind me on the bed. "Your father was killed by a different enemy of ours," he explained.
Rowan nodded sagely. "Did you take care of his killers, Uncle Ronon?"
I swallowed hard, once more amazed at my son's sensitivity.
"Yes," Ronon responded. His voice was low and rough with the emotion of his memories. "Yes, I took care of them."
Rowan smiled. "Good." He paused, thought for a moment. "Why did they kill him?"
I closed my eyes briefly and prayed for strength. "Rowan – you must understand. I loved your father. But he was – not an honest man. He did some – bad things for which our enemy killed him." I did not know how else to phrase it. When he grew older and better understood, I would tell him the truth about Kanaan. Now, however, this would have to do.
Rowan thought hard again. I could see his mind struggling behind those intelligent brown eyes, and I briefly wondered if he was still too young to understand what I had told him.
Then Rowan nodded solemnly. He turned his gaze up toward the ceiling and whispered, "Ancestors, care for Kanaan, my father." Then he threw his covers off and crawled across his bed to sit on his knees in front of Ronon. He placed his small hands on the Satedan's broad shoulders and stared at him gravely. "Will you be my new father?" he asked earnestly.
Ronon looked at me over Rowan's head, his eyes wide. Beyond the confusion and shock, I saw hope – and a question.
I slowly nodded and smiled. Warmth blossomed inside my stomach and unfurled in my heart. This was right. The way things were supposed to be.
Ronon smiled back at me and then reached out to hug my son. "Yes, Rowan. If you want me, I'll be your father." Then, so softly I almost missed it, he whispered: "My son." There was so much wonder and hope in his tone it brought a lump to my throat.
"Papa," Rowan said. He grinned and hugged Ronon fiercely around the neck. "My Papa!"
I met Ronon's tear-filled eyes over my – our – son's head and saw the same thing there that was in my heart:
We are finally ready for each other, Ronon, my love.
I can't believe it's over! Thank you so much to everyone who has read this story, and reviewed, and put it on their story and favorite lists. I appreciate you all for the support. I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and this story, and thanks for reading! --fyd
Hannah554: Thank you! I love writing Ronon, so it's nice to know I'm halfway good at it. Here's the next and final chapter, I hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading, and all the reviews!
Bellkie: Thank you! Here's the final chapter, and I hope you enjoy! Thank you so much for reading, and all the reviews!
TeylaFan: Thank you! Yes, the last chapter was one of my favorites to write, so I'm glad you enjoyed it. Well, now's the time to find out what tomorrow brings. . . And yes, I do mean the mess hall – I feel so silly now (again)! Here's the last chapter, and I really hope you enjoy! Thanks for reading, and all the reviews! -hugs-
SpaceMonkey0941: Thank you! And I thought it might be a little mean to make Rodney faint – but it was too fun to pass up. LOL I know! I can hardly believe this is the last chapter – this story has been so much fun to write! I'm really glad you've been enjoying it, though, and I hope you enjoy this chapter! Thanks for everything! -hugs-
Bunnylass: I know how you feel! I can hardly believe this is the last chapter, I've had so much fun with this story! Same here! I probably would have cried too, had I been watching it. Heck – I nearly cried writing it! I think the last chapter was my next-to-favorite scene to write in the whole story. Thank you so much for reading, and all the reviews, and I hope you enjoy this chapter!