Author's Note: This short little story popped into my head a couple weeks back and I had to share. It's definitely R/K -- but leans more towards the beginning, tentative stages of their relationship. It's short - maybe only 4 chapters... just a little scene/snippet of a possibility. :) I'll have the next chapters up asap (I just need to beta them). It takes place sometime after Quarantine. - Nika
Jennifer hadn't meant to fall asleep.
She'd just been so tired.
Too much to do, too much to gather. Questions stirred through her mind with a dizzying spin. She couldn't stop replaying. Analyzing. Running through the what-if's, why's, how's, and half a dozen other nerve induced queries.
She tried to settle on the answers for herself. She was a smart girl. Genius level in her own right. She could figure it out. How hard could it be?
But with each silent nod of her head a negative shake would follow.
She had a world of questions and no idea where to even start.
The urge to talk to someone ate away at her resolve until there was only one person her drained and addled mind wanted to hear. There were others who would know the answer, but only one who's answer she wanted to know. One person who's comfort she sought with a yearning she didn't understand. One person who's strength and command she needed to touch, even if only for the briefest moment in time.
He was due back within the hour - but an hour was all she had.
She fought with herself. Argued his need over hers. He would probably want to relax, not be pestered with questions. The niggling guilt ripped circles through her abdomen as she fought to trample down the fear. In a brief moment of adrenaline fueled panic she admitted to herself there was one thing she really, really had to ask.
And in asking, she would reveal everything.
Yet there was no way she was going to chance talking to anyone else. Some already thought her weak. This would only prove them right. He would be honest. He would be nonjudgmental. He would give her an answer with truth. So she promised herself she wouldn't bother him – wouldn't stay long – just ask the single most important question and then leave.
She'd considered waiting in the gate-room… but that was too obvious. She'd never be able to talk to him there, not without all those ears hovering. It was bad enough the man reduced her to a teenage scatterbrain with his presence alone… She'd take one look at him and blurt it out in front of the entire security team and control room staff. Her face flushed just thinking about it. Not an option.
She'd considered waiting for him in the infirmary, but the location carried too much negative karma. The infirmary would imply he'd been injured, or someone else had. Otherwise, why would he go there at all? It was a horrible thing to even consider, and deciding not to tempt fate, she'd left.
She'd tried waiting in the cafeteria, but it was too busy, and people had too many questions about the last twenty four hours. Questions she didn't want to answer. Questions she couldn't answer. Questions she needed answers to herself.
Eventually, she'd paced an invisible furrow across the smooth surface of the hallway outside his room. But she found herself making odd excuses to anyone passing by as to why she was standing around in the middle of nowhere. In the middle of the quarters. In front of his door.
So she'd tried waiting in his room, knowing he'd once told her she could seek solace there should she ever need to, and hoping he really meant it.
Not wanting to disturb anything, she sat in a chair in the far corner, to wait. The lingering force of his presence enveloped her with a residual strength and she felt the worry and tension slipping away. Even his essence gave her strength. Under the comforting silence of the dim light she'd given into the weariness and closed her eyes. Swearing it was only for a moment.
But a moment was all it took.
She'd fallen asleep.
She hadn't meant to.
She'd just been so tired, and the painkillers were starting to kick in.
Ronon's anger propelled him down the hallway with a force which parted everyone in front of him.
Four days of dirt and mud, rain and battle, trying to stop a war that started over a missing shipment of grain. Seventeen people dead. Men. Women. Children. All because someone thought someone else took what was theirs.
The battle itself didn't matter – people fought over less.
It was the death of the three women and the two children that ate away at him, the smallest child barely six. Speared with an arrow because she'd stopped to retrieve a ragged doll she'd dropped while running across the field to safety.
Ronon couldn't wipe the image of the little blond braids out of his head. It would fade – as they always did. But right now it was fresh… and it was raw… and it was wanting an outlet.
He'd killed the man responsible – no hesitation. But somehow it wasn't enough. The little one was still gone. The mother still heartbroken. The village in tatters over the loss of life.
All for a misplaced cart of seed.
He wanted a shower. He wanted to be clean. He wanted to beat the man to death with his bare hands and pretend he hadn't killed him quickly with a single shot.
With a growl of frustration he swung into his quarters.
An immediate sense of presence shifted out of the shadows and he was instantly facing the far side of his room, weapon raised and charged, anger propelling him around to face the intruder.
He hissed and immediately lowered his gun.
By the ancestors he might have killed her!
The panic that rose up in his throat was accompanied by bile. He reset his gun to stun and slammed it into it's holster.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?!"
He knew his voice was too loud, to rough, but someone help him he'd nearly cut her down simply for being there.
"I…" She stuttered with surprise, blinking and rubbing her eyes with her right hand as she stood. "I'm sorry."
"I could have killed you!"
"You… What? No." She shook her head in disbelief.
He rode the anger of the battle, the pain of the child, the shock of finding her here, of knowing she'd startled him and if he'd been any slower at recognizing her…
He stepped forward, using his size to back her against the wall. He was too far gone to have her here – he wanted release. Needed release. And if she didn't go… His mind couldn't do that – wouldn't do that. But his body was only human. He could already feel himself responding to her presence. Her flowery scent. Her lush curves. The softness of her body. Her compassion called to him and like a weak fool his heart shattered in her presence. He struggled to crush the pieces back together inside his clenched fists.
They'd been dancing around each other for days… weeks… never taking that final step. His body already knew it desired hers, needed hers, and he'd planned to take her, soon.
But not now. Not like this.
"What do you want?" He growled.
He saw the flash of confusion flicker through her hazel eyes, his own anger flaring to know she still wasn't afraid. Damn her for it. She should fear him right now. Fear what he could do to her.
"You need to leave. Now!"
She shook her head – confusion changing to worry.
It made him even more volatile. He was cracking and she was about to take the force full on if he couldn't get her out of there.
"What's wrong? Are you hurt?" She reached up, her hand landing on his shoulder, burning him beneath the coolness of her fingertips.
He growled. "No. I am not hurt." He pulled her arm and turned her towards the door, ignoring the wave of guilt when she winced and inhaled sharply.
"Ronon. Please. Talk to me. What's wrong? I can help!"
"You can't help. I just want to be left alone."
She stopped at the door and tried to turn around.
"No, Doc." He growled, opening his door and shoving her into the hallway. "Not now. Just… just go."
The door slid closed cutting off her shocked and wounded expression.
Hurt. But not afraid.
He banged his head against the closed door in frustration and anger. He wanted her back. He wanted to bury himself inside her and forget the world existed. He wanted to feel her soft arms around him and confess the pain of seeing that small child dying.
He'd killed without mercy. Seen life leaving the body at his hand, and the hands of others. But something about this small child was ripping him apart.
The child with the hesitant smile, the beautiful hazel eyes and the long blond hair.
The child who reminded him so much of her.
She couldn't be here.
He was too angry. Too strong. He'd physically hurt her and that… was something he could never, ever do.
But he had hurt her. The look in her eyes.
And he'd never even asked her why she'd come.
With a frustrated curse he opened the door and stepped into the hallway. The apology waited on his lips. The hunger twisted his abdomen. The need for her soft words tore his heart.
But the hallway was empty.
She was gone.