Please see first chapter for disclaimer, rating, warnings, etc.

Part 21/21


Epilogue


Atlantis

Ronon woke once more, this time at a halfway normal hour. The only thing he could focus his mind on was Teyla. The only thing that made sense to him was to spring out of bed and run to her room. But he knew better. There were things he had to do first.

He started by sauntering up to his mirror, something that he rarely used. He looked good enough. No need for a shower.

"Dr. Weir?" he hailed on his radio.

There was a pause and slight static over the radio before: "Yes, Ronon?"

"Uh -- I think it's time for a meeting," he said awkwardly. She was the only person in the city that he still had a hard time talking to.

She exhaled a chuckled. "That's good to hear. We'll meet in a half-hour. Is that enough time?"

"Sounds great to me." He looked around his room. Talking on the radio was so awkward at times. He much preferred the direct, face-to-face approach so he could read facial expressions and body language.

The link disconnected and Ronon ran to his door.

He knew who he was going to spend his free time with.

Briefing room

"At first, it didn't work. Just killing him wasn't enough," Ronon explained to the regular audience. He found it strange to see everyone sitting there. Rodney, for instance. Why should he care about this? Ronon was still trying to figure that one out.

The room was silent, reminding him of the funerals he would go to on Sateda in his youth. No one ever knew what to say, so they said nothing.

When no one else spoke, he continued. "So I -- uh -- after Sateda Teyla -- died. . ." he trailed to a stop. Although he knew it was stupid, he still didn't like to think of those images, those memories. He looked at Teyla, who was sitting beside him. Seeing her happy and healthy helped. It always helped.

"We're glad you're back." John interrupted so Ronon didn't have to continue. "Can we lose the losers now?" he asked Elizabeth, seated to his left.

She nodded with a raised eyebrow, then looked to Ronon. "I see no problem in you rejoining the team, as long as you pass all of the physical and mental exams." She turned back to John. "And those men are the best of their class."

John tensed up. She seemed offended. He didn't like it when she was mad at him. "I just meant--"

"Wait. You went on missions without me, too?" Ronon leaned forward. He held a look that made everyone in the room worry for their safety. Everyone except Teyla, that is. She sat with a serene smile on her face, relief flaring in her eyes.

Elizabeth took on her diplomatic expression before answering. "We had to, Ronon. With the Wraith a constant threat, we need men out there. You guys just happen to be the best." She threw a playful look in Sheppard's direction. "I'm sorry, but we felt the need to keep the information from you. We didn't want the Quitari to find out."

"Yeah, okay. What about them?" Ronon asked. "Can I request our next mission?" The want for revenge was running through his veins as he imagined all of the ways that he could torture whoever caused his torture.

"That's still a topic to be discussed, but I promise something will be done," Elizabeth assured. There was the slightest shade of an amusemed smirk on her lips.

Ronon leaned back in his chair. "Yeah, well, it better hurt." It was really nice to have things back to normal again.

Mess Hall

Something about food attracted fellowship. In Atlantis, it was rare to eat alone and common to use a meal to enjoy time with those you love.

AR-1 and Elizabeth all sat around a too-small table, enjoying lunch together. Ronon and Teyla were across from John and Elizabeth with Rodney on the end. They started out eating and joking, but the conversation was getting more serious the longer it was going on.

John felt Elizabeth's leg tap his as she crossed her legs. "So, when's out next mission? It's been over a week now."

"I'm gong to return to P3J-736 tomorrow. It's the scientific expedition that I've been visiting the past week. They're finally set up and ready for me to stay there a few days," Rodney jumped in with. There was fake annoyance in his tone, though it was apparent that he was excited. He took another bite of food, not realizing how it forced him to talk with it in his mouth.

"What will we ever do without you?" John replied sarcastically, turning his eyes away.

Elizabeth set her fork down and turned to face him. "You won't, actually. It's an old Wraith lab. You'll be the military escort." A childish smile covered her face. She knew how much he hated being babysitter.

"Great. Sounds like fun." Ronon complained. Something nudged his right hand under the table. He took it and held it softly in his. "Um -- there's something else that we need to talk about."

John looked at Elizabeth and nodded. She spoke for them. "If you're talking about the two of you, I already know. I don't mind personal relationships, but there are a few conditions."

John wondered how she would respond if he and Elizabeth hadn't been dating, or whatever they were doing. Was she giving them extra grace because she knew that she might need some soon? Did she even know that he liked her that much?

"You knew?" Ronon said in disbelief. John could tell that the only reason that he didn't ask "how" was that he didn't want to know that John knew how to interpret correctly what he'd seen in the Gym and shared it with her.

Rodney jumped into the conversation. "I knew too," he said proudly, pointer finger in the air.

"You knew?" John said with slight disgust. "How did you know?"

"I'm just really really smart." He lowered his finger and donned an even more proud expression.

"Pul-ease. So -- you're just now coming out about it? You just don't want to--" John said before he was interrupted.

Ronon put his left hand on top of his and Teyla's, hidden under the table. "I love her." He and Teyla looked at each other with love in their eyes and smiles on their faces.

"Wow", John whispered. That was incredibly random. This wasn't like them at all. They must both have it bad.

He turned to Elizabeth. They exchanged a look very similar to the one across the table. Maybe it wasn't so uncommon after all.

"Umm -- I think I'm going start packing." Rodney pointed toward the exit.

Four heads snapped out of their own worlds, all blushing.

"Us, too." Ronon stacked his and Teyla's trays and carried them to the trash can, happy that he no longer had to let go of her hand when they stood from the shelter of the table. No more secrets, no more lies. It was a relief to get past that, especially after what happened with his -- nightmares.

"That was -- different." John said to Elizabeth when they were alone.

She nodded. "I just pray that it doesn't affect the team."

He shrugged. "It won't. They're both warriors, they were born for stuff like this. If you ask me, I wonder what's taken them so long," he admitted.

"You saw it, too?"

"Yeah. Some people are just meant for each other. No matter how many rules or fears stand between them, they'll never make it as just friends. They're meant for something more." He wasn't just talking about Ronon and Teyla.

Elizabeth blushed. She'd gotten the hidden message. "John, that's beautiful."

He shrugged. "I try."

John's quarters

John was standing on his balcony when he heard the door chime. Who-- "Come in!" Who could that be? He wondered with obvious hope.

The mystery person joined him at the rail and kissed him on the cheek. "Just thought I would check in and see how you were."

Elizabeth! His wish came true. "I'm fine, thank you. I missed you a little. How long has it been?"

She turned to face the ocean, but he couldn't take his eyes off her.

"Coming up on three hours," she said, amused. She didn't remove her gaze from the waves, but he could see her smile.

He smiled in response. More like three years. "Well, that's just too long," he said matter-of-factly.

Elizabeth chuckled and turned to face him. She didn't seem bothered when she noticed that she'd been stared at since she arrived. Did she know all along?

No one knew that they were dating. Not officially. They both knew that there had to be rumors and suspicions, but they didn't care. They weren't doing anything wrong. The kiss on the cheek was the most intimate embrace that they'd shared yet. Well -- besides that one kiss a couple years ago, but that wasn't technically them.

Her face glowed, almost reflecting the red sunset. "I agree," she said seriously.

They'd known each other for four years and he'd loved her for three, but could he tell her? Now more than ever, he longed to reach out to her. To feel her soft skin, her warm embrace. He wanted just to -- to kiss her. What was so wrong in that? Just a kiss. But what if -- what if she didn't feel the same? He didn't know if he could bear the consequences.

"Look John. . ." She stopped, overwhelming emotion in her eyes.

What is she thinking? "No, Elizabeth. I think -- no I know." He stopped as her expression changed.

The mixed emotions in her eyes dissolved into two -- love and fear.

Teyla's quarters

Ronon walked into his second home without knocking. They'd had an understanding that Teyla would radio him if she needed alone time and he would know not to enter.

There was less alone time every day.

He searched her quarters to find her standing on the balcony. "Is it not beautiful?" she asked as soon as he was in the doorway behind her.

He walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. She rested her head against his shoulder with a content sigh, making him smile. "It's gorgeous, but still not as lovely as you," he whispered into her ear.

She cupped a hand around his face and he moved his arms to wrap around her waist. "I love you," she told him freely.

He kissed her softly. "I love you, too."

She put her hands on his shoulders and pulled him back down to her level. Her lips made immediate contact as she kissed him passionately, holding nothing back.

Just like Sateda Teyla, but this is real. And a thousand times better.

John's balcony

What is he thinking? Is he breaking up with me? Were we ever 'going out'?

Elizabeth's mind didn't know what to say so her mouth took over. "What?" It wasn't the most eloquent of quesitons, but the simple word accomplished its task.

"Elizabeth, I love you," he told her quickly, impulsively.

She couldn't handle all of the emotions rushing toward her. She couldn't look at him. When she did, all she could think of was wrapping her arms around him, but she needed to think, if just for a moment. She leaned over the rail, looking directly down at the ocean. She could see the outermost edge of the railing on the balcony below and faintly hear voices. She could feel the salty breeze blowing her face. She could hear the waves against the city. But she didn't know any of it. All of these facts were just added to the other multitude of information rushing into her mind.

"Are you okay?" he asked, leaning over the railing to join her.

She turned toward him, their noses nearly touching now. Tears filled her eyes and she nodded. I love you too! Why couldn't she say it out loud? She was still stunned.

They both straightened simultaneously. They were now standing, still close enough to hear each other breathing.

Teyla's balcony

Ronon pushed her away and placed her back into his arms, back against his chest, forcing her to watch the sunset with him. What is he doing?

"It's nothing like Sateda. I think I like it more here." He squeezed her tighter, face nuzzling into her neck.

She tilted her head back to meet his gaze. "Why is that?" Her heart fluttered.

He kissed her forehead. "Because you're here." The simple words had such something so much deeper in them, it made her stomach tighten with emotion.

She removed one of his hands from her stomach and brought it up to her lips. She gently placed a caressing kiss on it as she heard a satisfied grunt from Ronon. "I would never want to be anywhere else, either," she whispered.

John's balcony

I don't care! I can't wait! He threw himself at her, crushing her lips with his.

She put her arms around his neck and moved with him.

John ran his fingers through her hair. Three years was worth the wait!

They stood there, moving with each other, having a silent conversation; expressing all of the love and emotions that they'd shunned for all these years.

She pulled away and rested her forehead against his. "I love you too"

Teyla's balcony

In one movement, Ronon shifted his and Teyla's weight.

His right knee was her seat and his left was against the floor as support.

Now that they were facing each other again, Teyla brought her hand back to his face and he leaned in. She forgot about everything around them, about her inhibitions, and put all of her feelings and emotions into her movements.

His right arm pulled her in, closer to him. This was the most passionate, powerful, wonderful kiss that they'd experienced. Better than anything that he and Satedan Teyla had ever experienced.

Ronon pulled away and rested his forehead against Teyla's, gaze locked intensely on hers. "Will you marry me?"

-The End-