TITLE: Blood On Our Hands

AUTHOR: renisanz

SUMMARY: Maybe he didn't need to be here. She had wanted to be alone, which is why she had sought out this secluded spot, why it had taken him so long to find her. But, she had smiled at him. A tag to "The Kindred Pt. 2"

CATEGORY: hurt/comfort, angst (Ronon/Keller)

RATING: PG

DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, but they're fun to play.

NOTES: This is kind of a sequel to "Save Room". This storyline is separate from "Making Up the Past" and "Back Home". Spoilers for Missing, BAMSR and The Kindred Pt. 2.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

He didn't know he'd been looking for her until he saw her, and his heart took a second longer to get to the next beat.

She was standing on the balcony alone, her back to him as she looked out over the city. He was glad of the hissing sound of the door opening. She would hear it, and he wouldn't startle her as he approached. He saw her bring her hand to her face before turning around, but the smile she wore failed to meet her glistening eyes.

His heart twisted.

Maybe he didn't need to be here. She had wanted to be alone, which is why she had sought out this secluded spot, why it had taken him so long to find her. But, she had smiled at him. . .

A gust of wind blew in from the South, lifting few long tendrils from her shoulders. She shivered, despite her jacket, rubbing her hands across her upper arms.

His feet put an end to the debate going on between his head and his heart, moving him forward until he stood beside her. He leaned his forearms against the railing, his right arm touching hers. He felt her tense for a moment, but he exhaled a breath when she leaned into him.

"Hey," she sighed.

"Hey," he said.

"Why couldn't you just have killed him?"

"What do you mean?" He turned to regard her profile.

She straightened, but maintained contact. He saw her jaw working, clenching, before she spoke once more, avoiding his gaze.

"Nabel."

Oh. Him. "Yeah, well, I tried. He didn't die." He cleared his throat as he found it hard to speak of him so soon. "Carson saved him."

"I. . .I didn't want to . . ." she murmured.

. . . Save him, he knew she meant to say.

"He tried to kill us," she whispered.

Her and Teyla. Ronon knew all too well. Had he known the identity of the man who had ambushed them, he probably would have ended him as he laid unconscious on the floor of that tavern.

She turned to him, finally, a bittersweet smile dimpling her features. "So, this is what it feels like."

He frowned, not comprehending what she meant.

"I asked you before," she clarified, "what it was like to kill someone."

"But you didn't," he replied after a moment.

"No," she shook her head, then turned to look again out into the night. "But I would have let him die, even though I could have saved him. It's the same thing."

He didn't have a reply to that. He understood what she meant. Jennifer had taken an oath to save lives. It was her job, her passion. She was good at it. Really good.

"I didn't sign up for this. I don't like. . .feeling this way. . . making these decisions. . . just don't," she choked, hugging herself. "I'm not like Carson, in the way that matters most. He saved people no matter what the cost to himself."

She exhaled a ragged breath. He waited for her to continue, knowing that she needed to get this out in words.

"I didn't want to, and that terrifies me," she blinked, and he saw the tears fall. She didn't bother to brush them away this time.

His heart tightened once more. He reached out, pulling her to him, his arms circling her small frame. She didn't resist. He was surprised at how comfortable they both were in this. She turned her head into his shoulder, and he didn't mind the wetness from her cheek.

He wasn't good at this either. He liked things to be clear-cut.. Death. Run. Fight. Wraith. Anger. Kill. Solitude. He'd live that way for so long. It was all so simple. Then he came to Atlantis, and there was life and freedom, but sorrow and death remained. Elizabeth was gone, everyone unsure of her fate. Not knowing what had become of her, and worse, not being able to go after her and find out. She was dead, now, they knew. At least Carson's death, though just as great a loss, had a measure of finality, as they all knew his fate. Then this. . .this person turned up who looks and acts exactly like Carson. But he isn't him, no matter what how much he wants it to be.

No, he didn't like this at all.

Neither did the young woman in his arms.

He titled his head down, got a whiff of the faint sweetness that lingered in her hair, fresh and innocent.

He wanted to tell her that she would find a way to fix Carson, to bring him back. She had heard that already from others, though, even herself. She didn't need to hear it from him. Not now, at least, when he wasn't certain of it himself. She would try her best to find a cure though, of that he had no doubt.

She sighed, a puff of warm breath caressing his shoulder, and he nearly shivered. "I wish this could be enough."

"This?"

She leaned back, tipping her head, and he was stirred by the intensity in her eyes, the slight blush in her cheeks. He would lose himself if he looked at her mouth, he knew, so he focused on her eyes.

"This moment. Here." Her brown eyes shone with a strange mixture of hope and longing and loss, mirroring the emotions he didn't like to acknowledge. They were too much, too inconvenient, dredging up memories of events he wished to forget, as they couldn't be changed.

He sighed, his heart heavy with thoughts unspoken. He pulled her to him once more. "It is for now," he heard himself say.

She merely nodded, brushing her mouth against his shoulder, a gossamer kiss.

He realized then that she was the one holding him.

"It's enough," she breathed.

He closed his eyes and let it be.

Baby, got blood on our hands

Should have run away

When we had the chance

Now it's too late

We're in this together

—"Blood On Our Hands" by Aqualung

Finis.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A/N: I had to get this out of my system before continuing "Back Home". I had an idea for this story a while ago, after I first saw The Kindred Pt. 2. I thought Jennifer's initial reaction to Nabel when they brought him into Atlantis was very interesting. I figured she might have some issues with it later. And Ronon huggling (sigh) Carson at the end of the ep showed he cared a lot about the guy and was definitely distressed by what was going on.