Ronon's head snapped up a fraction of a second before Rodney's tablet started beeping.
"Got you!" Rodney muttered, grabbing for his tablet. "Okay, where are you…"
"It's here." Ronon said, drawing his weapon and, moving into the main room, rushing to the spot Jennifer had been standing right before she vanished – into thin air.
"Did anyone else just see that?" Evan muttered spinning in a circle, weapon leading his eyes around the room.
"Shit." John cursed. "Teams one and two to the infirmary!"
"McKay!" Ronon shouted, every nerve ending in his body tensed for a fight. He pushed every thought away – every what if, every worry – and concentrated on keeping his mind clear. He would be no good to her if he let emotion cloud his judgment.
"It's here." Rodney whispered from behind Ronon's shoulder, holding his tablet out and pointing to a spot near the back of the infirmary. "Right… there."
All four men turned.
There was nothing there.
"I'm telling you," Rodney whispered harshly. "It's right there – across from the shelves… no… it's moving… slightly to the right… further… over that way… now it's stopped again. It has her…" Rodney waved his hand frantically in the general direction of whatever it was they were chasing. "It's the only explanation."
John, Ronon, and Evan stepped slowly forward, weapons raised and aiming at… nothing. Ronon took a deep breath, his mind clearing, the anger and fury centering itself deep into his soul and pulling out all the power and concentration in one long, steady breath.
His arm automatically moved to the right.
"It's backing up." Rodney called out. "Left. No right. Shit it's moving fast. Out the far exit!"
Rodney's directions, John's orders, and Ronon's speed eventually had the mysterious creature hemmed into one of the storage areas. With both exits blocked, they attempted to corner the creature against the far wall.
The creature had Jennifer.
His eyes betrayed him.
She was here.
He smelled her scent – the light, flowery fragrance she carried with her after she showered. He allowed his other senses to take over – ignoring what his eyes couldn't tell him. The sounds of the room, a noise out of place. Her sweet scent, and something darker. The change in the air, a movement that didn't belong.
Every time they moved closer, the creature countered.
Obviously it could see them just fine.
She was here.
She needed him.
And he couldn't see anything.
He couldn't see.
But the creature could.
What if the creature couldn't see either?
"McKay." Ronon turned his head towards Rodney, but didn't take his eyes off the area the creature was hiding. His eyes committed the layout of the boxes in the corner to memory. "Turn off the lights."
"Do it." John ordered, quickly ordering the teams at the exits to step inside and close the doors.
Rodney selected a few spots on the screen of his tablet, and with a third poke of his index finger the room plunged into darkness.
"Light, McKay." Ronon nodded in the glow of the tablet's backlight.
"Oh. Right." Rodney whispered, turning the screen off.
"Time to play." He whispered into the blackness.
All time stopped as he moved forward – his eyes closed even against the darkness – letting his senses expand. He angled right, his feet silent across the floor, a slight shift left.
He could feel the hair on his right wrist standing as he shifted his grip on the trigger. A faint warm tingle ran down the right side of his body. Her scent tickled his nose. Sharper here.
Standing right beside him.
He eased himself back and slid to the left, placing her energy next to his left side. He lowered his chin. Her hair carried the strongest scent, close to his nose, lower, not higher. She was standing barely a foot away from him.
Behind her – slightly to his right – her captor. The scent was strong. Sweat. And something sweet. Something familiar.
Ronon's nostrils flared. This was no Pegasus creature they chased. This was a man – a human man.
A dead man.
Every muscle in his body tightened with a sense of finality.
He angled his right arm, swung it with calculated slowness through the air above her head, the muzzle inches above her scalp, and he fired.
The bright spark of blue light lit up the room and in that brief flash, he had a vision his nightmares would never let him forget.
Jennifer stood directly in front of him, her eyes wide with terror, the barrel of a service revolver pressed tightly against her side, a man's hand slipping away from where it had previously been covering her mouth.
Her hands sought him out, fingers crawling against his chest. Her sob pierced his heart as his arms found her, pulling her close. Voices calling his name. His own crying out for lights as he felt her body slipping into dead weight in his arms.
As the lights returned, the Marine's circled, and he stared down at the unconscious woman in his arms.
"If McKay hadn't tripped over him, it would have taken a lot longer." John smirked from his perch on the side of Jen's desk.
"I did not trip." Rodney rolled his eyes. "Stumbled. I stumbled. And I knew he was there all along, remember?"
"Eat." Ronon ordered, pointing to the tray of food sitting in front of Jen.
"Yes, Mother." She frowned, and stuffed another spoonful of stew-surprise into her mouth. As soon as everyone figured out she'd merely fainted – and from lack of food she insisted – not from fright or anything – they'd hauled her back into the infirmary and were now force feeding her a bowl of stew, two pieces of buttered bread, a salad, a plate of cookies, jello, two power bars, and a bottle of water. She'd at least managed to convince Rodney she couldn't possibly eat the rice-crispy square too.
With Evan taking care of locking up the invisible man, John, Ronon and Rodney were warily ensuring she was going to eat everything on her tray.
"So…" Jen mumbled around the stew. "I'm eating. Tell me!"
Rodney grinned and practically leapt up off the chair in the corner. "Right! Well you see, apparently Ensign Butternuts-"
"Lieutenant Butterman." John corrected.
"Butterman, Butternuts…" Rodney waved his hand dismissively. "Butternuts, as you well know, was with the team doing survey work along the far pier, and cut his hand on a piece of ancient equipment. You patched him up and sent him on his way. But what you didn't know was the room they'd been cataloguing for the past week, was an ancient testing lab for personal cloaks. Not shields like the one we found – that Lucious got a hold of… but a person cloak. Very Harry Potter. Only without the actual cloak."
Rodney held up a device that looked almost identical to the shield he'd discovered the first week on Atlantis, except this one was yellow.
He attached it to his shirt, pressed it and… disappeared.
"Wow." Jen exhaled. "Just like that?"
Ronon angled his chin towards a spot over behind Sheppard.
With a blink Rodney reappeared – four feet from where he was when he disappeared. "Tah-dah!" He said with a flourish. "Unfortunately, the entire collection was washed out to sea when we drained that end of the pier… so… this one's it." He looked down dejectedly to where it was pinned to the side of his shirt.
"Wow." Jen repeated, so all this time… it was just Lieutenant Butternuts… Butterman? But… why? What on Earth did he want?"
Rodney pulled the device of his shirt and jammed it back into his pocket, his expression mixing with a slight flush of embarrassment.
"Well… apparently…" He looked warily at Ronon, before turning back to Jen. "He wanted, you."
"On his way to the brig after Jedi-Dex here stunned him, he kept blithering about how you were the… ah… most beautiful creature he's ever seen, and how he just had to have you… blah blah blah… and how Ronon was just in the way and needed to be dealt with… and how you needed to be taught a lesson to see he was actually the one you should be with… yadda yadda… insert more creepy stalker ravings here."
"Apparently the water was an accident." John leaned forward and snagged a cookie. "Butternuts was supposed to…" He glared at Rodney. "Okay now you've got me saying it."
Rodney shrugged innocently.
"Butterman…" John continued. "Was planning to ride in all White Knight and rescue you but the water got a little out of control and he couldn't figure out how to shut the doors again. He accessed it from the level above where you were, planning to come down that staircase Ronon luckily found. You know…" John turned towards Ronon with a raised eyebrow. "You never did tell me just what you were doing out there…"
"No." Ronon answered. "I didn't."
"I see." John nodded, giving Ronon a knowing smirk. "Anyway, all the rest was his twisted way of getting your attention so he could swoop in and save you from the big bad… him."
"Swoop?" Rodney made a face.
"Yeah, you know… swoop." John shrugged.
"So the knives, my room, everything was all Butternut?" Jen was incredulous. "I just… that's just… why the hell didn't he just… I don't know… ask me out to lunch? Dinner? A movie? Flowers or chocolate always works. But no instead I get mysterious grope sessions, punched in the face, kidnapped at gunpoint. What on earth would make him think I would have anything… I… it's just…" She sighed in exasperation. "All because he wanted to ask me out on a date?"
"Something like that." John smirked, glancing up at Ronon.
Jen poked him with her fork. "Stop provoking him."
"What?" John frowned. "I didn't say anything."
"Okay, I'm full." She pushed the tray away.
"Eat!" Three voices echoed.
"I hate you all." She muttered, picking up her spoon.
"Oh come on, you have to love at least one of us." John sing-songed.
"Stop provoking her." Ronon growled.
Jen smiled into her stew.
A/N! WHEW! And there we have it! :) I hope you like the ending and just WHAT it was that was going on. I wanted to drag it out more but ... the cottage calls and I have to leave at 7am! So I wanted to post the ending before I left!! Yes, Yes I know I left it hanging a little there with the rest of Jen/Ronon's little "I want" discussion. don't worry... I'll be writing a little "tag" to this - but it'll probably have to have an M rating 'cause it will get a little steamy! :) To all my awesome reviewers - thank you so much for all your encouragement. I'm on vacation for a week - and will be madly writing while I'm gone so look for a few completed stories when I get back! :)