Slight AU for The Shrine. Short viggie, am now loving the McKeller. Just saying.

She still remembers the day she fell in love with him.

It was in the infirmary, where most of the important events in her life seemed to always take place, and it was dinner time. He smiled up at her as she approached, and she can remember feeling oddly anxious, her stomach tightening up, nervous. She smiled back down at him, and they bantered back and forth between each other, until he offered her something she couldn't refuse.

His fruit cup.

At that moment, she knew she loved him. Without a doubt. She saw all the hope and happiness in his eyes then, and she knew that the same emotions were reflected in her own eyes. And so they chatted, and she ate the fruit cup with zealous gusto, knowing that she had never eaten something more delicious in her entire life.

She still remembers the day he fell in love with her.

Okay, to be fair, she remembers the day he admitted to being in love with her, but that's just semantics.

It was a normal day, as normal as it could be when a friend (or was he already by then something more?) was dying of an inoperable parasitic infection, and she was holding the camera as they documented his descent into premature senility. He looked pretty cute as he stumbled over his words, gazing into the camera, and she knew that it wasn't his illness that was causing his verbal confusion. He stopped, seemingly taking a moment to mull something over in his mind, and she watched with a tenderness she'd never realized before.

"I love you," he told her, quite bluntly, and her heart seemed to stop from the shock.

She still doesn't know why she didn't answer him in return.

She still remembers the day she lost everything.

She couldn't operate, and Jeannie had decided to try the cave that Ronon believed would temporarily cure him. She had vehemently opposed the others' decision, but she had gone with them anyways, because she didn't want to leave him, not even for a single second.

They would find out later that the cave would have actually worked, as it emitted a type of radiation that irritated the parasite enough that it would contract down into a considerably smaller area, and she might have even been able to operate.

If only they had been able to make it to the cave.

Instead, she had watched him die in her arms, reduced to a mere fraction of the man he had once been. His cerulean eyes shifted around nervously as he lay half-propped up in her shaking hold, as he tried and failed to comprehend the fading world around him. She could hear, over the sound of her own deafening heartbeat, as Jeannie was overcome by sobs, drowning in a flash flood of grief. From the corner of her eye, she could see Teyla lean into John, searching for the type of reassurance that only human touch can provide. And she could feel Ronon's frustration at being completely unable to help, as he quietly but forcefully stamped his feet into the forest floor.

It was at this moment that he looked right at her.

They seemed to be frozen in time, caught together as his eyes stopped wandering and locked onto hers, having finally found an anchor in the vast sea of his overwhelming disorientation. He opened his mouth, but no sound came out, presumably as he was no longer able to speak. She felt his hands close around hers and squeeze them tight, holding them as close to him as he could, keeping her with him until the end.

And then he was gone.

She still remembers what it was liked to be loved. And she'll remember it forever.