A/N: This fic was written in response to the sgonesweetlove fic challenge. The prompt was 'Jen learns something about Sateda or else Ronon learns something about Earth.'
Comments are love. :)
Whispers of Love
She'd heard him say it three times now and she still had no idea what it meant. She'kara… or at least that's how she thought it might be spelled, since she really had no idea. It sounded pretty, beautiful even; but that didn't change the fact that she didn't know its meaning. The not knowing bugged her.
The first time Ronon had said it, Jen hadn't even been sure she'd heard him correctly. They'd been in the middle of, well… making out, which had quickly led to other things. She'd been so distracted by what Ronon's hands had been doing that she almost didn't hear the word whispered against the skin of her neck between suckling kisses. At the time she hadn't given it much thought, as she'd been lost in the heat of the moment. But three weeks later when she heard him say it again, her mind began to wonder.
It had been a hell of a mission, she could say that much for sure. 'Friendly' natives turning out to be not so friendly, which had resulted in a shoot out in which she'd been hit by a stray bullet. Not to mention the fact that by the time Lorne's team and her made it back through the Gate they were nearly ten hours overdue.
The pain in her arm had been excruciating, but that hadn't stopped her from noticing the look of worry on Ronon's face as he raced forward before the wormhole had even closed, scooping her up in his arms. This thing she had with Ronon… they'd never actually put a name to it or a definition on it. For once in her life she'd managed to keep her overactive brain from getting ahead of itself and screwing things up. Until that instant anyway, she had simply been living in the moment, enjoying herself, and not worrying about the future. But then that hug and Ronon's following throat-choked words, "Are you all right, She'kara?" made her hope that things between them could maybe be more serious.
Of course she didn't know what 'she'kara' meant, and maybe if or when she did find out that would change things. It sounded like it could be some sort of endearment, but how was she to know that? She would have, or should have asked Ronon then, but she'd been quickly rushed away by members of her staff all too happy to play doctor on her arm.
Ever since then, nearly a week ago now, Jen had been meaning to ask Ronon about the word, but although she'd come close a couple of times, she hadn't managed to actually phrase the question. Honestly, she was a little afraid that finding out the meaning might dash the hopes that were still new and tender. That morning she'd decided to just let it go, and return to the living in the moment approach, which had been working so well for them.
That plan had lasted for all of twelve hours. She'd been lying in Ronon's bed, drifting on the edge of consciousness when she heard him enter the room. She'd been close enough to sleep that she didn't even stir when he slid under the covers behind her, wrapping his arm around her stomach and pulling her close. She had smiled as he dropped a kiss on her upper arm, right above the bandage that was covering the healing bullet wound. Then he had whispered, "Goodnight, She'kara" before promptly drifting off.
However close she had been to sleep didn't matter; hearing that word again brought her fully awake. The 'let it go' plan obviously wasn't going to work, especially if Ronon kept saying it. A part of her wanted to roll over and wake him up so that she could ask him what it meant. But there was still that other part of her; afraid that finding out the truth would hurt, especially coming straight from Ronon.
Suddenly an idea formed in her head and although she was still nervous about it, she thought she might have figured out away around having to ask Ronon herself.
Jen slipped out of the room quietly, watching over her shoulder closely to make sure that Ronon hadn't stirred. For once he seemed to be deeply asleep and she breathed a silent sigh of relief as the door closed behind her and she headed down the hallway.
She glanced quickly at her watch. It was late, but hopefully not too late. She knew that Dr. McKay barely slept anyway.
When she reached Rodney's lab she knocked on the doorframe of the open entryway, but he was so engrossed in whatever he was doing that he didn't even hear her. She knocked again, louder, but Rodney still didn't stir from where he was, hunched over his laptop, scanning through hundreds of lines of code with a mug of coffee in hand.
"Dr. McKay?" Jen asked as she walked into the lab. She almost had to fight back a chuckle when he still hadn't responded. She didn't know that alien programming could be so fascinating.
"Rodney," she said, once she was standing directly behind him.
Jen had to step backward to avoid being hit by the scientist as he jumped out of his seat and whirled around to face her, miraculously not spilling his coffee in the process. "What the hell do you think you're doing? You nearly gave me a heart attack!" He continued to grumble under his breath as he sat back down, but this time facing her. "You could have at least knocked…"
Jen sighed—typical Rodney. "I did knock. Twice."
"Oh," Rodney said grudgingly. "Anyway, what do you want? In case you haven't noticed I'm an extremely busy man, with a lot of work to do."
"So you're always reminding everyone."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Jen shook her head. "It doesn't mean anything. Look, I just wanted to ask you a question."
Rodney glanced down at his watch. "It's nearly midnight, couldn't it have waited until morning?"
Jen bit back a second sigh—she'd forgotten how frustrating talking to Rodney could be. "Never mind," she responded in defeat as she turned to leave. "It doesn't matter."
Rodney let out a sigh. "Wait," he said sternly. "You came all the way down here to see me. It must be at least somewhat important."
Jen paused and turned back around to look at the scientist. "It's fine, really."
He folded his arms in front of his chest and stared at her intently. "I'm waiting."
Jen rolled her eyes at his behavior, but decided to ask the question anyway, before he could change his mind. "I was wondering if you could translate something in Ancient for me."
She could have sworn she saw Rodney's jaw drop. "And when do you propose I do that, in all my free time?"
She folded her arms in front of her chest to match Rodney's posture. "It's one word."
"Oh," he said quietly. "Well I guess I could do that."
"She'kara," Jen said slowly.
Jen reached for a pen and paper on the table, quickly jotting down the pronunciation. "At least I think that's how you might anglicize it."
"Sorry," Rodney said after staring at the paper for a few seconds.
"It means 'sorry'?" Jen questioned, confused.
"No…. I mean, sorry, I don't know what it means."
Jen opened her mouth to protest, but Rodney cut her off.
"No, seriously. If it's never been inscribed on some Ancient piece of technology, chances are I've never heard of it."
Jen really hadn't considered that possibility.
"Can I get back to work now?" Rodney asked impatiently. "This code is certainly not going to fix itself."
"Yeah," Jen said half-heartedly as she headed for the door once again. "Thanks for your help."
Rodney snorted. "Well, it's not like I did much… Why is this so important anyway?"
Jen shook her head, but didn't turn to look at him. "It doesn't matter. Goodnight Dr. McKay."
Jen slept pitifully for the remainder of the night, tossing and turning while her mind focused entirely on that word. It was one thing she kind of hated about herself—how not knowing would make her completely obsessive until she did know. It had really helped her out in med school, but right now it wasn't making things easier at all.
Around five in the morning she finally gave up on sleeping and decided on an early start to the day. When she was getting changed she managed to trip over the leg of her pants, and stumble into the nightstand. Thankfully nothing fell off or broke, but it did make one hell of a noise, consequently waking Ronon up.
He sat bolt upright in bed, his survival instincts obviously kicking in. His muscles were tense until a few moments later when his surroundings registered. As Jen finished doing up her pants she saw him glance at the clock.
"Is everything okay?" He asked, his voice groggy.
"Fine," she whispered before pulling on her jacket. "Sorry I woke you up."
He shrugged before turning to stare at her. "You sure?" He questioned, his eyes boring into her even through the dim light of his quarters. She wondered if he knew that something was up. Ronon was after all one of the most observant people she knew.
"Uh huh," she replied, feeling a wash of guilt. It wasn't really a lie… "Listen, I'm going to get going. I want to get an early start."
He nodded slowly. "All right." She was about to turn and leave when she heard him ask. "I'll see you later?"
Jen smiled at him. "Yeah. It might not be until after dinner though—you know how crazy things have been around here lately."
"Try and meet me for lunch."
Jen nodded. "I'll do my best. But if I don't make it, don't do something stupid like go and get yourself shot just so you can come and visit me in the infirmary."
Ronon's eyes twinkled mischievously. "Would I do that?"
Jen rolled her eyes jokingly. "I think we both know the answer to that."
The next thing Jen knew Ronon had reached over, gently taking hold of one of her arms, pulling her back onto the bed. "Ronon, what are you…?"
His hand snaked up to wrap around the back of her neck, pulling her head down to his for a kiss. Jen sighed happily and for a moment she forgot about everything else other than the man she was with. Ronon's lips teased hers gently for a few minutes before he finally released her, giving her a gentle shove off the bed, sending her stumbling for the door.
Jen gave him one last smile before she slipped out of his quarters and headed down the hallway for the transporter that would take her to the mess hall.
When she arrived in the mess hall she saw that only a few other tables were occupied, not that it really surprised her; after all it was very early. Jen grabbed herself a bowl of cereal before sitting down at a seat of the table in the far corner. As she ate her mind wandered back to where it had been earlier—she'kara… what the hell did it mean?
"Do you mind if I join you?"
Jen quickly looked up from her breakfast to see Teyla standing across the table from her. "No, not at all," Jen said quickly, still startled by the other woman's sudden appearance.
Teyla smiled softly at her as she took her seat. "You appear to have been very deep in thought."
Jen blushed slightly. "No…"
Teyla raised one eyebrow inquiringly.
"Well, maybe," Jen admitted before eating another spoonful of cereal.
"Would it perhaps have something to do with what you asked Dr. McKay last night?"
Jen felt as if her jaw were about to drop open at any moment. "How do you know about that?" She questioned defensively.
Teyla seemed slightly taken aback. "I am sorry. I did not realize that Rodney was not supposed to talk of it to anyone. I am sure he did not mean to…"
Jen shook her head. "No. I mean, it's not really a secret. I just… I hadn't expected…" She sighed, not able to phrase it right. Thankfully Teyla seemed to understand.
"I ran into Dr. McKay a few minutes ago and he told me of your question. He thought that since I am a native of this galaxy I might know the meaning of the word of which you were inquiring about."
"Do you?" Jen asked anxiously, a sudden knot forming deep in her stomach—a mixture of hope and worry.
Teyla nodded her head. "Yes. Though it is not Ancient."
Teyla shook her head. "No, it is Satedan. So I can only guess from whom you've heard it."
Jen shifted uncomfortably in her chair. However, she still needed to know. "What does it mean?"
Teyla smiled knowingly. "I believe that is a question better answered by Ronon."
"Oh," Jen said quietly as her stomach knotted even more.
"What is the matter Jennifer?" Teyla questioned in concern.
Ashamed, Jen felt her old insecurities rising to the surface. "Nothing," she said quietly.
Teyla reached across the table and laid a comforting hand on Jen's arm. "What do you think that it means?"
Jen shrugged, dropping her gaze to stare at her bowl of now soggy cereal. "I don't know. I mean, I hope it means…" She couldn't finish, not wanting to sound like a high school girl with a crush.
"Look at me," Teyla said; her voice was soft, but at the same time it left no room for argument.
Jen raised her head to do as the other woman had instructed.
"Surely you do not doubt how Ronon feels about you…"
Jen shook her head, but she was afraid that there was something on her face that brought into question the validity of her answer.
Teyla squeezed her arm gently. "Jennifer…"
"It's just… I mean… This is all new to me, Teyla. And we've never really said what this is. What if I'm just hoping that it's something more than it's ever going to be. What if I'm just…"
"Do you doubt that Ronon cares about you?"
Jen shook her head. "Of course not. But caring about someone isn't the same as…"
"As loving them?" Teyla asked, saying the words Jen was too afraid to phrase.
Jen nodded, averting her gaze from Teyla's once again.
"Ask him," Teyla insisted strongly. "Ask him what she'kara means."
"Okay," Jen said quietly. After all, it was what she should have done in the first place.
Just as Jen had predicted, the day had been crazy, preventing her from meeting up with Ronon for lunch. Thankfully there had been no big emergencies, but a ton of small issues had accumulated to make her day hectic, just like normal. In a way it was good, because focusing on work helped her to stop thinking about her conversation with Teyla that morning and the word.
The Athosian had been right—Jen needed to talk to Ronon about it. Asking Rodney and then trying to find out from Teyla had really been the coward's way out and she was ashamed that she had even gone that route at all. If this thing between her and Ronon was serious, or if it were to become something serious she needed to be mature enough to approach it that way. Knowing that she hadn't dealt with it the right way stung a little bit. It was never too late to change though. Tonight, as soon as she could, she'd talk to Ronon herself. Hopefully find out what she'kara meant and maybe it would give her an idea of where things were headed.
By the time Jen managed to escape the clutches of the ever-busy infirmary it was nearing seven o'clock in the evening. She hadn't eaten dinner yet, and normally by now her stomach would be growling loud enough for anyone nearby to hear, but today it wasn't. She supposed it had something to do with the nerves that were wreaking havoc on her insides. Even if she was hungry, she doubted she'd be able to eat; her mouth felt like a desert.
Jen headed to her quarters, hoping to change and then go and track down Ronon, wherever he might be. Not that it would be hard, seeing as he was likely either in the gym or the mess hall. However, when she opened the door to her room she was greeted by a surprise.
"Ronon," she said, unable to keep the shock clear of her voice.
He smiled at her and stood up from the chair as she walked in and the door shut behind her.
"What are you doing here?" She asked, the words rushing out of her mouth before she could stop them.
He looked at her oddly. "I was waiting for you."
Jen took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. "Right."
"Are you okay?" He asked, obviously concerned.
Jen opened her mouth to say that she was, but then stopped herself at the last second. Now was the time to get to the bottom of this. "Actually, no. I… I need to talk to you."
"Okay," Ronon said calmly. He took Jen's hand and led her over to her bed. They both sat down and he waited for her to start talking.
"There's something I want… no, need to ask you."
"Okay," he repeated, just as calmly as the first time.
Jen opened her mouth to speak, but didn't know how to start. It should just be a simple question, yet somehow she was making it into something huge. He was going to think she was crazy.
"Jen?" Ronon asked softly. He placed one finger under her chin and tilted her head so that she was looking at him. "It's okay. You can ask me anything."
Suddenly the question just seemed to spill out. "What does she'kara mean?"
Ronon's face scrunched up in confusion. "What?"
"She'kara, the Satedan word, what does it mean?"
Suddenly Ronon's face broke into a huge grin.
"Why are you smiling?" Jen asked in a semi-panicked voice.
"I'm sorry," Ronon said, dimming his smile, but only a little bit. "Is that why you've been acting differently all this week? Because I called you She'kara?"
Jen suddenly felt uncomfortable under Ronon's stare.
"I'm sorry, I forgot you wouldn't know."
Ronon cupped her face and leaned in, kissing her softly. He pulled back, but only enough so that he could stare into her eyes. "It means beloved, or dear of heart."
"It does?" She asked hopefully.
"You sound surprised," Ronon stated, seeming somewhat confused by that fact.
"A little," she admitted, now feeling foolish. Quickly thinking back over it, no other definition would have made sense. Her insides fluttered as the reality of what this meant for them sank in.
Ronon leaned in to kiss her again. "I love you, Jen," he whispered softly. "Don't ever doubt that."
Jen smiled widely as she felt all of her worries melt away. How the hell did she ever get this lucky? She wrapped her arms around Ronon, hugging him tightly as she whispered into his ear, "I love you too."