Disclaimer: I don't own "Stargate: Atlantis" and don't claim to. (If I did, Teyla and Ronon would be happily married with half-a-dozen kids by now.) I am making no monetary gain from this, it is meant for entertainment purposes only.
Summary: There are many stages to growing, to life, to love. . . Tragedy, comedy, passion, heartbreak. . . And, all within, a story to be lived and told. RononTeyla AU
Warnings: Fluff, violence
Title: A Convenient Arrangement
Dedication: To Mama Jo – I hope your birthday is a happy, fun, and fantastic event. Love you, Mom! -hugs-
Author's note: Both my mother and I are adoring fans of the works of the magnificent Georgette Heyer, and gobble up as many of her books as we can get our hands on. This is in the spirit of her books, a regency romance where not everything may be as it seems – at first or even second glance. I really hope you enjoy this fic, and thanks for taking the time to check it out!
"A Convenient Arrangement"
Athos seemed to be the opposite of Sateda in almost every way. While it was obvious the settlement was rather large and well-populated, it seemed to fourteen-year-old Ronon Dex that the wide open spaces around it was more the norm. But, like any adventurous boy his age, he was willing enough to go exploring.
"Behave," Ronon's father, Rowan, warned. Then he went off with the village's head, Tughan Emmagan, to talk about trade negotiations and tribe alliances and other things Ronon didn't care a hoot about.
He wanted to explore, and the confines of the village weren't good enough for him. Ignoring the nagging voice in his head – that, oddly enough, sounded like his mother Michaela – he took off into the surrounding woods.
It didn't take Ronon long to lose himself among the trees. Out of sight of the village, he felt a little more confident of not being caught. He forayed further, ducking under low-hanging branches and navigating his way over fallen logs.
Washed-out green light filtered through the trees, highlighting the moss that coated every available surface. A slow drip, drip, drip from the leaves above gave him the impression that Athos was a very rainy place – though that, he thought, might be unfair. Like Sateda, they could just have a cold, rainy season. It didn't necessarily have to be cold and wet all the time.
"Who goes there?"
The shout from the trees above made Ronon nearly jump out of his skin. His hand shot to the knife his father had given him for his thirteen birthday, after he'd completed the ceremony to receive his rights of manhood. Dropping into a crouch to make himself as small a target as possible, he turned his gaze up to find the crier.
A youthful face stared at him through the branches. At first he thought it was a sentry, until a lithe body dropped to a lower branch. "Got you!" a feminine voice mocked.
Ronon narrowed his eyes at the young girl, who balanced easily on the slippery branch. "Funny. Good thing you're up there – otherwise I'd take your head off." He stood, reluctantly sheathing his knife on the way up.
The girl shifted another branch down, but made sure to stay out of his reach. Settling into a sitting position, she dangled her bare feet and grasped the branch with both hands to stay on. Her dark eyes sparkled at him from her tanned face, framed by shoulder-length golden brown hair. "Greetings," she said. "I am Teyla Emmagan, daughter of Tughan."
"Really? Tughan, as in the leader of Athos?" Ronon gazed up at her interestingly.
Teyla nodded. "I am supposed to be sitting and learning during Papa's negotiations with some outworlders today, but I find that a bore. I would rather play in the trees and find trespassers." She laughed unrepentantly.
Ronon climbed up the tree to sit on the branch across from hers. "I'm Ronon Dex, from Sateda. I'm the son of the man who came to talk to your father."
She eyed him suspiciously, then shrugged and grinned. "Nice to meet you. Why did you come here with him? Athos is not exactly the most interesting world."
He braced his back against the bole of the tree, carefully stretching his legs along the length of the branch as he crossed his arms. "I like to explore new places," he said. "I can usually find something interesting wherever we travel. I found you, didn't I?"
Teyla grinned again, looking entirely too smug for her own good. "You know, it is very easy to get lost in these woods. People have ventured too far and never been seen again."
"And yet here you are, and here I am." Ronon wasn't sure what to make of this slip of a girl, who seemed more and more like a warrior – a witty one at that. From what he'd gleaned of his brief interaction with Tughan, it seemed Teyla's father was more of a diplomat than a warrior. It intrigued Ronon, the difference between father and daughter. He wondered where she'd gotten her spitfire spirit.
"Hmm." Teyla shifted her weight on the branch, once more settling into a crouch. She looked like a little – but dangerous – cat waiting to pounce. "How old are you?"
"Fourteen," Ronon said warily. "I took the Right at thirteen, though. I am a man."
She eyed him with an air indifference that unnerved him. "Hmm," she said again.
Ronon hated to have to ask. "How old are you?"
"I am thirteen, two moons past the Woman's Ceremony." She grinned again, showing a few more teeth than strictly necessary. Glancing down, she leaped from branch to branch, then to the ground, with the speed and assurance of a person familiar with the action. "Come," she said. "We need to return to the village before people come to find us. We will get in trouble."
Ronon followed her down, trying to ignore her smirk as she watched his slower pace. At least he kept himself from falling on his behind at the bottom, like he was sure he was going to. Trees in Sateda were few and far between. "Okay."
They parted ways in the village, each assured they would not see each other again. Ronon was just in time to meet his father coming out of the Athosian meeting tent. "How did it go?" he asked after Rowan had shaken hands with Tughan and he and Ronon headed back to the Ring.
"Very well. The Athosians are kind people, and we are well on the way toward negotiating a solid truce." He hesitated. "There's just one more thing to be ironed out, but it is hardly a problem."
"What is it?" Ronon asked. He was naïve, so naïve. He should have known his father's hesitation spelled trouble.
Rowan stopped, holding onto his son's shoulder so Ronon would stop, too. "The Athosians and Satedans may be far separated technologically, but we do have something in common."
Ronon felt his gut tighten. Uh-oh.
Rowan smiled, but it lacked its normal mirth and confidence. "The final thing needed to cement our truce is an arranged match," he said. "Tughan's daughter – the future leader of the Athosians – to a Satedan of high rank."
"Why are you telling me this?" Ronon asked, though he already knew.
His father drew in a deep breath. "Ronon – tomorrow you and I will return to Athos so you can meet your future bride."
-To Be Continued-