Don't let the fluff at the beginning fool you :)

Title: Tethered
Author: Cindy Ryan
Pairings: Ronon/Keller preship, Lorne/Keller friendship
Category: Angst and lots of it
Summary: Post Kindred….when another team member is lost will it push Major Lorne to the breaking point?
Timeline: AU after Kindred pt. 1
Author's Notes: This plot bunny began after I watched the end of season four and wondered what toll Teyla's kidnapping had taken on Evan…..then I wondered if someone else close to him vanished under his watch….would it destroy him or make him more determined to find them? Enjoy. I have this fic almost half written so expect regular updates.
Also many thanks to Nika for letting me bounce ideas off of her.

It had seemed wrong at first to gather as a team without Teyla.
It had seemed wrong to dance, eat and laugh.
Now though as they gathered that rare Saturday night off it seemed right.

Jennifer Keller shook the dark thoughts away as she looked at what was normally a large conference room. The table and chairs had been cleared away. The table had been reutilized as a buffet against the left wall.

A week ago as a way to boost rapidly falling morale Sam had organized a night for as many SGA teams as possible to relax, dance and eat.

As a doctor Jennifer looked across the crowded room and knew Sam had been right. They had all desperately needed this. Though not a psychologist Jennifer knew they were all suffering a bit of survivor's guilt and PTSD.

Nobody had given up on Teyla.

Teyla would be the first to tell them to take care of themselves.
If they were too exhausted they'd be no help to Teyla or protecting Pegasus from Michael.

Jennifer leaned against the wall by the open balcony doors a plate of food in one hand and a drink in the other.

She wasn't surprised to see the sole occupant of the balcony leaning against the railing. The wind ruffled his short dark hair.

Jennifer approached Sheppard quietly not wanting to disturb his thoughts. Though she knew with certainty who was occupying those thoughts.

Jennifer stood next to John and waited for him to acknowledge her.

"Hey."

Jennifer turned and offered her friend the plate of food and drink. "Thought you could use this since I know you haven't eaten today."

A smirk crossed Sheppard's face that didn't quite meet his eyes. "Checking up on me, Doc?"

Jennifer shook her head slightly. "Only as a friend. Eat."

John took the plate and cup from her with a grateful nod. "Thanks."

"Anytime."

Jennifer absently fiddled with the band of her watch before finally deciding to ask the question she'd been hesitating on.

"When does Ronon get back?"

John swallowed a bite of sandwich before replying. "Not for a few days."He grinned."Too quiet without him?"

Jennifer laughed. "Yes, definitely too quiet."

"Do you two realize the party's in here?"Evan Lorne asked with a grin as he poked his head through the open doorway.

"The good doctor here was making sure I was fed."Sheppard explained holding up the plate.

Lorne nodded as he stepped onto the balcony. "Somebody needs to."

The music switched to a new song and Jennifer smiled as the familiar strains of Toby Keith's 'Whiskey Girl.'.

"I love this song."Jennifer commented as her right foot began to tap to the beat.

Lorne closed the space between them and offered Jennifer his right hand. "Dance?"

Jennifer smiled as she accepted his hand. "I'm surprised your dance card isn't already full, Major."

"I think I can make room."

Evan gently pulled Jennifer into the main room

John watched them go with a sad smile knowing Teyla would've loved to have seen that.


"You're full of surprises, Evan."Jennifer stated with a laugh as they danced around the perimeter of the makeshift dance floor.

Lorne grinned. "You can thank my grandmother. She insisted that all grandchildren take dance lessons by the age of ten."

"Well I warn you I trip over my feet more than I dance."Jennifer replied as she tried not to look like she was watching her feet.

"I've got you."Evan promised as he eased back and lifted his right arm showing her how to twirl.

Jennifer followed his instructions as 'Whiskey Girl' reached its last verse. Just as she thought she had executed the twirl her right foot slipped out from underneath. Jennifer tried to catch herself but Lorne was faster.

Evan's right arm snaked around Jennifer's waist quickly steadying her. "You okay?"

Jennifer nodded. "Yeah, thanks."

Jennifer stepped back as 'Whiskey Girl' ended and Taylor Swift's 'Tim McGraw' began.

"One more?"Evan asked smiling.

"As long as you don't mind having sore feet. I promise I'll step on them at some point."

"I'll consider myself warned."Evan stated as he held out his hand.

Jennifer smiled and accepted his hand as he once more pulled her into the crowd. Even though she considered Evan Lorne nothing more than an adoptive big brother she could never resist his smile. Why the man was still single she didn't know. Jennifer made a mental note to set him up on a blind date with one of her nurses.

"Somebody must have a country mix."Jennifer commented as she raised her voice to be heard over the music.

"Doesn't bother me."

"Me neither. I like it."

Jennifer followed Evan's lead or thought she was. Her left foot connected with his right and she flashed him an apologetic look.

Evan laughed. "Don't worry, Doc. I'll live. Besides you are getting better……and we've got at least another hour."

"I think it's going to take more than an hour to work out my two left feet."

"I'm game if you are."

"Sure, why not."Jennifer said as Evan moved them around another couple. "If you can teach me to dance without breaking your toes I'll buy you breakfast for a month."

"Deal."

John munched on some potato chips as he watched Evan maneuver Jennifer around the dance floor. He chuckled in spite of himself when he saw her trip and then stomp on his foot.

"Is that a smile?"Sam Carter asked as she moved out onto the balcony.

John sidestepped the question and motioned behind her. "Evan's trying to teach Jennifer to dance."

Sam stood next to him and leaned back against the railing. "Looks like he might be succeeding."

"It's still early."

"You know why I organized tonight, don't you?"

John nodded. "Yeah and it was a good idea. I just can't get in the spirit of it."

Sam turned to face him. "She'd want you to enjoy yourself."

"I know."

"It doesn't mean you're giving up. This doesn't mean anybody's giving up."

"She's depending on me to bring her home, Sam."

"You will."Sam promised. "We'll find her."

John's eyes tracked back to the room.

Sam pushed herself away from the railing. She took the nearly empty plate from him and set it aside.Sam gently grabbed John's right hand.

"Come on, you owe me a dance."

John raised an eyebrow. "I do?"

"I'm sure it was somewhere in the last poker winnings."

John grinned. "You think you won that last game, huh?"

Sam melted into the crowd as the music switched to Kenny Chesney's 'When the Sun Goes Down'.

"If you don't believe me, how about a rematch later?"

"Just tell me when and where."