A/N: Show of hands, who wanted to give Ronon a hug after seeing that 'you just kicked my puppy and broke my heart' look on his face?? Just a little tag because, with as angry and hurt and blindsided as I felt at the end of that last episode, I knew Ronon had to feel ten times worse. So this is my take on that fateful scene in The Lost Tribe, when sci fi killed an entire generation of Shippers...
Disclaimer: Oh. Don't even go there. PS, Sci Fi, you all know Ronon needs a girl, right? And if you're looking for volunteers...
He didn't have a problem with being wrong.
It had happened before.
Would happen again.
But usually, when he was wrong, it got someone killed.
He tried not to be wrong.
So how had he managed to be so wrong about this?
And why did it hurt so much more?
This time, he had been wrong, and no one had died. Quite the contrary, he'd managed to save a ship-full of people. Granted, he'd probably done irreparable damage in the process, but he'd done what he had to.
Always did what he had to survive. Survival was all that mattered.
Except when he'd been with her. Then there had been an inkling of something else, something more that could matter. Another person.
"You wanna go get something to eat?"
She turned to look at him and there was a flash of something across her face before she answered. Fear? Apprehension? Pity? He couldn't be sure.
"Um. Listen, um,"
She was stammering. Stalling. What was it she didn't want to say? He put his hands on his hips, his stance open and sincere. Waiting.
"I'm really glad you came on the mission. I mean, without you there, we'd probably all be dead."
She said it almost casually, sort of poking fun and he smiled. She was right.
"But I – I just want to be clear. Because, um,"
She looked at him, almost like she wanted to know what she was thinking. He tried not to betray anything. His stomach was already falling.
"I just want you to know, uh,"
He almost asked her to stop. Right there. He didn't want to hear the rest of what she had to say. But he didn't, the need to hear the rest of what she had to say was practically masochistic.
"I'm kind of interested in somebody else."
She's interested in someone else.
He tried not to let the disappointment, that was so much more than disappointment, show on his face. Didn't want her to know she'd been right. Didn't want her to be right.
"So?" He said wishing to really feel as uncaring as that sounded. She looked confused by his response. Probably not as confused as he felt.
"I just didn't want to give you the wrong-"
"You didn't," he cut her off, and looked away. Because she wasn't the one that was wrong, and now he knew how wrong he'd actually been.
He crossed his arms over his chest, unconsciously closing himself off to her in the way the innermost part of him thought he should have done all along. That part knew it had been foolish, naive of him to have 'intentions' for Dr. Keller.
"I just um, I just," he shrugged, as if it didn't matter, knowing it was a lie, "wanted to get something to eat."
He was sure she didn't believe him.
"Okay, because I thought that-"
"Yeah well, you were wrong." He'd said it harshly, using a tone with her he never had before, and he could see some surprise mixed with the confusion on her face. But she wasn't wrong. And the way he kept cutting her off, too afraid to hear her finish one more sentence, proved it.
She nodded once, probably still not believing him, but at least having the decency not to press him on it, "okay."
"Okay." He repeated back even though, in that moment, nothing felt it.
"Did you still wanna go get-" She started to offer to go with him, because it was in her nature to be kind, to not want things to be awkward between them.
"Uh, no I should probably…" he cut her off again, only this time without knowing how to finish his sentence. He paused, glancing at her, wondering how he could have been so damn wrong.
But in the end it didn't matter.
She was interested in someone else.
So he turned, and walked back the way he came, probably a little faster than he should have but not really caring. It was really too late to save face.
When he turned the corner, he broke into a run, his hunger completely forgotten.
It wasn't that he was losing to Rodney (at least he assumed it was Rodney). It wasn't a matter of ego. Not really. It wasn't even that she had chosen someone else over him. Not entirely.
It was that he'd been wrong. That the first time in such a long time that he'd managed to allow himself to be open to the idea of, not even love, but of like, he'd been wrong. The first time since Melena that he'd even been willing to try.
And he'd been wrong.
He pursed his lips as he ran, breathing hard through his nose until his chest hurt.
He knew when he stopped and caught his breath again, it would probably still hurt. And the next time he got injured sparring, he would promise to go get stiched up as always. But he probably wouldn't. And the next time he got back from off-world, he wouldn't linger in the infirmary after his post-mission check up. And the next time Jennifer wanted a sparring lesson.
Well, he didn't know what he'd do then.
But he did know that next time, if he ever allowed himself a next time, the next time he would be much more careful.
And, next time, he wouldn't be wrong.