The infirmary was quiet and empty, reflecting the early morning hour. A doctor paused and checked the vitals of the woman lying on the bed along the back wall. Satisfied, he walked towards the man waiting near the entrance.
"How's she doing?" John quietly asked.
"She's sleeping." The doctor replied. "Exhausted. Dehydrated. Torn ligaments in her left shoulder. The bullet carved a nice little groove across her lower back - a bleeder, but not life threatening. She just needs some rest." He nodded his head towards Jennifer's bed. "And so does he, but he won't leave."
John looked over at Ronon, who was sitting silently in a chair beside Dr. Keller's bed. He nodded in understanding and walked past the doctor.
"Hey, big guy." He said quietly, clapping Ronon on the shoulder. Ronon didn't move. "You should get some sleep."
John shook his head. "She's going to be fine. She just needs rest."
"Then why are you still here?"
John stood in silence for a moment before turning to leave. "Okay then, I'll leave you to it."
Ronon wasn't sure why he needed to be here, he only knew he had to be. Sheppard and Lorne had invited him back to the planet to help clean up the mess, round up the renegade farmers for the local magistrate to deal with, and destroy the weapons, but he'd refused.
He wanted to be here incase she woke up. Incase she needed him.
With a sigh she shifted in her sleep, trying to move her left arm and grumbling because it hurt.
His eyes moved past edges of the blue and yellow bruise visible under the sleeve of the medical gown, past the bruises forming along the side of her throat where the giant had tried to strangle her, down to the red scab at the base of her throat. He felt the painful flash of anger and possessiveness surging through his blood.
He should have been there.
She muttered something unintelligible and rolled onto her right side, her face turned towards him. He stared at her features, in awe of the soul of a soldier that existed below such a fragile looking exterior. The woman had an inner strength worthy of a warrior.
A sharp clatter sounded behind him and he turned, frowning at a nurse who was quickly picking up a canister she'd fumbled. Something cold touched his arm and he looked quickly down to see pale fingers lightly gripping his wrist.
He glanced up.
"Ronon?" She smiled, squinting up at him.
He leaned forward, his voice cracking. "Hey, Doc." He cleared his throat.
"Jennifer." She whispered. "I have a first name, you know."
"Jennifer." He repeated, smiling.
"Is everyone okay?"
He nodded. "Everyone's fine. Thanks to you."
"Me?" She frowned and blinked twice.
"That was a pretty neat trick you did with the gun and the gate crystal."
"Oh." She let out a soft giggle. "All in a day's work." She tried to shrug but winced when she moved her shoulder too far. "Ouch. I don't think I like going off world."
I don't like you going off world either, he thought.
Her eyes drifted closed again, then snapped opened and she raised her head off the pillow with a gasp. "The boy?"
He reached quickly forward and pushed her back. "Sheppard said to tell you he'll live. They've left him in the care of one of the local villages."
"Oh. Okay. Good." She sighed, relaxing against the pillow. Closing her eyes again she threaded her fingers securely through his and squeezed. He looked down, making sure he really was seeing her holding his hand. The contrast was hypnotizing. Her long graceful fingers, softly twined between his large tan ones. The hand of a healer wound tightly around the hand of a soldier.
"I should have just gone to dinner." She muttered, shaking her head.
"Dinner?" He looked over, his thoughts refocusing.
"New rule." She smiled sleepily. "Next time you get asked to dinner I'm going."
"Next time I get asked to dinner?" He frowned.
"I. Me. Get asked."
"To dinner." He started to smile, wondering if she was even awake.
She shook her head, paused, then nodded. "Ask me to dinner. I go. That's the rule. The new rule."
He laughed softly and leaned closer. "Then I'll ask you to dinner."
"Okay." She nodded and scrunched up her face. "No pirates?"
When she curled her body closer towards him he pulled the blanket up over her shoulders, covering her bare arms.
She quietly whispered his name. "Ronon?"
"Thank you." She breathed softly, a half smile pulling at the corner of her mouth.
"For coming to get me." Her worlds were mumbled as she drifted into sleep.
He leaned down, his words whispered against her ear. "I'll always come for you."
With a soft sigh she smiled and pulled his arm forward, tucking their clasped hands under her cheek like a pillow.
Ronon slid the chair forward and slouched back, resting his arm along the side of her bed.
And that was exactly the position everyone left them in as they stopped by to check on the patient.
The sleeping doctor and her vigilant sentry.