Back Home – Pt. 14

A/N: This chapter is quite short, but his has been lingering on my computer for quite a while .(That was part of the reason this update took so long; I wanted to have a longer chapter to post) Thanks so much to everyone who has patiently waited for this story, rereading it and leaving me notes of encouragement, even as I dabbled in other fandoms. It really helped to know that people are still looking for new chapters. :)

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Rachel was silent on the walk back to the elevators. Ronon was thankful for the respite.

Rachel reached into her pocket and pulled out little white ear buds and placed them in her ears. Then her left hand traveled down to her hip, where a small rectangular device was clipped to her belt. She tapped her index finger against the center circle of the console and a moment a later a soft din could be heard coming from her ears.

Ronon continued to watch her as she bopped her head to what the lively beat of a song.

"If ya liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it..." she sang and then hummed along.

She glanced at Ronon, who cocked a curious eyebrow in return.

"Oh, sorry," she looked down at the ground and stilled her movements.

"S'ok. Beyonce', right?" he asked after a beat.

At that Rachel whipped her head up and around to meet his eye with an expression that was a startling mix of shock and incredulity.

"You listen to Beyonce?"

Ronon shrugged. "Not really. A friend. Meredith," was all he offered, a smirk curving the corners of his mouth as Rachel gave him a curious look.

The elevator in front of them dinged, catching their attention and ending whatever questions remained on Rachel's lips. Her mouth had been hanging open for several seconds now.

The metal doors slid open, and the occupants of the elevator car started at the sight of them.

"Jenn, what—" Ronon started.

"We're leaving," Jennifer stated, and before Ronon could react, she brushed past his shoulder, between him and Rachel. He looked at Aunt Jo, who was just exiting the elevator. The older woman merely shook her head, indicating that she either didn't know what was going on either or that the explanation would take a while.

The tense silence stretched for the entire car ride. Ronon tried to feel Jen out, taking her hand to have a physical connection. She allowed his touch but when she did not automatically lean into him or return the slight pressure of the grasp of his fingers around her, he started to worry. Ronon sighed and leaned back into the cushion of his seat. He released Jen's hand, draping his arm across the back of the seat. Maybe a minute later, he felt a shift in the cushion underneath them, Jennifer fitting herself into his side.

Aunt Jo pulled the car into the driveway of a house. Jennifer just sat in place, staring at her hand, though Ronon doubted was really looking at them. She stretched her fingers, tapped them nervously against the top of her thigh. She blew out a shaky breath, turned her head to the right, in his direction, and Ronon keened his hearing for whatever she was about to say.

But she didn't say anything—maybe she thought better of it—and a second later she was opening the car door, a void left beside him. He quickly went for his door, and he heard the latch to the trunk pop as he stepped out of the car.

Ronon made his way around the rear of the car just in time to see Jenn shoving things around, trying to heft her luggage out. Closing the distance between them, rolling his eyes as he did so, he reached over and around her, effortlessly lifting her bag with one hand. He slung his duffle over his left shoulder. He could feel Jennifer glaring at him. With his shifted the bag on his shoulder and reached for her, brushing a his fingers lightly across hers before grasping her hand.

She did not object to the contact, to his relief, and when her fingers closed around his, he exhaled—relieved.

"Well, let's get you both settled in." They both looked up at Aunt Jo standing in the driveway, watching them calmly, as Rachel fidgeted beside her, unable to mask the impish grin that threatened to spread across her freckles face. Ronon gave a slight nod and followed the older woman as she walked up the driveway, toward Jennifer's childhood home.

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A/N: Feedback is lovely.