TITLE: Leather – Pt. 2
AUTHOR: renisanz
SUMMARY: Ronon finds something unexpected while on an recreational trading mission.
CATEGORY: general
RATING: PG (for mutual possibly suggestive appraisal between characters of the opposite sex), i.e. he/she was totally checkin' her/him out.
WORDS: 1,434
DISCLAIMER: I don't own 'em, but they're fun to play. Seraih is all mine, though.
NOTES: A continuation of the fic written for Challenge #20: Leather at satedan fire. No spoilers. Events of the story occur some time before Sateda.

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Ronon spotted his petite Athosian companion on the way back into town. He stopped briefly to tell Teyla where he was going. She greeted Seraih warmly enough, but Ronon didn't miss the Teyla's appraising look followed by the arch of a single, questioning brow over dark brown eyes while Seraih's attention was elsewhere.

Ronon narrowed his eyes at Teyla. Of course she had noticed that Seraih was quite attractive, and Teyla probably wondered how he'd come across her in the first place. And Seraih was more than happy to provide Teyla with the information about where they were headed.

"You done shopping?" said quickly before Seraih could say any more. He nodded at the bulging bag slung across Teyla's shoulder.

"For the moment," she replied as she adjusted the weight of her bag to hang more securely against her hip. "There are a quite a few more things that I must acquire, but I thought it best to retire for the day. I will see you at the inn later?" she inquired, the corner of her more curling slightly.

"Yeah. Let's go." Ronon gestured for Seraih to lead the way once more, eager to get away from the significant look that Teyla was giving him.

. . . . .

Ronon would have liked it if the walk back into the center of town were quiet as well as uneventful, but Seraih was proving to be a curious and rather talkative young woman.

"So. . .you are obviously not from this world—"

"Obviously?" Ronon questioned, raising an eyebrow.

"Are you?" She countered, looking up at him expectantly as they walked.

Ronon figured it was best to simply answer her. "No."

She gave a knowing nod and smiled unexpectedly. "Where are you from?"

Ronon's gazed flicked down to Seraih and her innocent blue eyes and then back to the path ahead as he thought of his dead and desolate homeworld. Sateda. "Doesn't matter," he mumbled, clearing his throat. "It's gone," he added, thinking it better not to leave anything to question.

"Oh," she said after a moment, seeming to take the hint. She looked away from him as she brushed an errant brown curl behind her ear.

Seraih's world had not been touched by the wraith in some time, mostly likely not in her lifetime. With the recent mass awakening, however, Ronon knew that could change very soon.

"My parents were culled when was I merely three years old," she said in a quiet voice. "I have no memory of them." There was a bittersweet smile as she continued, "My aunt often tells me I am just like my mother. However, it's usually when I have frustrated her in some way."

"Like when I cut off my hair," she said more to herself now, and Ronon glanced over to see her absently toying with a short, dark brown tendril near the nape of her neck.

. . . . .

Seraih's workshop was located down an alley just out of the way of the main flow of traffic to the marketplace. A flower vendor's booth was stationed outside the front of the building. Seraih stopped at the booth to buy a bouquet of sweet-smelling blossoms. She chatted briefly with the lean, blond young man with whose dark eyes studied Ronon with a measured wariness.

Ronon knew that look. The young man didn't trust him. Ronon stood a non-intimidating distance away from them, but he could tell by his body language and the fragments of whispered phrases that he was probably trying to talk some sense into Seraih about the dangers of picking up strange offworlders on the back alleys of the marketplace. Someone should, Ronon mused.

Seraih seemed a more than a little displeased and embarrassed by the man's observations. She turned to walk away from him, and the young man made to catch Seraih's arm, but he stopped short, as Seraih whirled around to face him once again. "I will be fine, Andri," Ronon heard her say, as she placed a calming hand on the man's forearm.

Andri's jaw was working as if he wanted to say more. His neck flushed with a bit of exasperation and. . . something else, but he simply nodded.

. . . . .

"So why'd you cut your hair?" Ronon asked as he shrugged off his jacket, taking in the spacious room as he did so. Reams of colorful fabric lined the walls and garments hung on racks arranged in near rows in near the center of the room. He would have to bring Teyla back here.

Seraih turned from the action of hanging her cloak on a hook beside the door and looked confused for a moment as her hand reached up to her recently shorn locks. Then a look of recollection crossed her features as she remembered her earlier ramblings.

"It used to be long, right?" he prompted. He could tell by the way she fingered her curls so often, like she was still getting used to them.

"I. . . uh. . .yes." She looked away from Ronon, as she set her drawing book onto the tabletop to her left, against the same wall the door. Even with her head tipped, Ronon could see that she was blushing. As Seraih knelt down to open a large chest on the floor in front of her, he admired the flattering cut of her fitted, rust-colored tunic and dark brown leggings that accentuated the shapely legs beneath.

Ronon thought she wasn't going to answer as he watched her rummage through the contents of the chest. Then he began to regret asking in the first place; he hadn't considered it might be a sensitive or taboo topic. But then, Seraih was the one who brought it up in the first place. Girls were weird.

She stood up, then, producing a sleek, brown, leather vest and draping it over her left forearm as she spoke. "It was rather impulsive of me, I must say." She crossed the room and came to stand in front of Ronon. "One of our regular customers, Ryus Clasel, took more than a casual interest in me."

Nodding at Ronon's chest, she informed him, "You'll need to remove your shirt to try this on properly."

As he removed the garment, Ronon saw Seraih's eyes widen slightly in what was either bald appreciation of his muscular physique or surprise at the handful of scars that marred his otherwise flawless upper-body. However, the renewed flush in her cheeks and the dilation of her pupils confirmed the former. She recovered quickly, though, and continued, "My aunt was no help, for she only encouraged his advances towards me."

Ronon's brow crinkled at this. "Trying to marry you off?"

"Yes, most definitely," she confirmed with a sigh. Ronon allowed her to take his shirt from his hand and watched with interest as she carefully folded it up and placed it on a nearby stool. "I suppose I can't really blame her. He was not a terribly unpleasant man, and he makes a decent living. He's a bit older than I'd like, and, well," she shrugged as she tried to find the right words to explain her lack of attraction to the man. "It seemed that he was most interested to gain nothing more than a pretty, young prize who could bare him lots of fat, healthy babes."

"And he's short," she added, as she slid one sleeve onto Ronon's arm.

At that Ronon turned his head to to see the corner of her mouth twitch, as her blue eyes twinkled. She lost the battle and eventually let out a amused laugh. He chuckled as well, as he slid his shoulder into the other sleeve of the vest. He nearly shivered as her slim fingers grazed the back of his shoulder. He still wasn't used to being so close to another person.

"However, he would always comment on how lovely my hair was. I'm positive he smelled it a few times when I wasn't looking. I mean, ancestors, it was down to my waist practically, and I suppose I did take rather good care of it," She shrugged at the memory. "He said he liked my eyes as well. I wasn't about to dash them out, so I decided to cut my hair."

Well, that's one way to test a guy's intentions, Ronon thought. He lifted his right arm as she made to tighten the laces adorning the side of the vest. "My poor aunt. . .she nearly joined the ancestors herself when she saw what I had done."

"I'll bet," Ronon smirked.

There was something strange, yet decidedly refreshing about this young woman with eyes the color of a clear summer sky.

TBC.

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

A/N: Her name is pronounced sə'rī.

Once again, I've created a monster. I have no idea where this story will end, but I will continue it as the spirit moves me, as I really enjoy writing Ronon's encounters with Seraih. Check my livejournal (link's in my profile) for a drawing of Seraih, tagged "seraih." I have an idea that takes this story down the Ronon/Keller road. Eventually. As always, your thoughts/crits/comments are appreciated and expected. :)

Thanks again to journeyman07 for the suggestions that made this story more coherent. :)