TITLE: Best Interest
AUTHOR: renisanz
SUMMARY: Ronon and Jennifer resume sparring lessons after "The Lost Tribe."
CATEGORY: UST, a bit of angst
WORDS: 898
BETAS: tardiscalling and Nika Dixon
SPOILERS: hints of "Missing," definitely "The Lost Tribe"
DISCLAIMER: I don't own 'em, but they're fun to play, not for profit.
NOTES: This is for journeyman07, hoping she'll get her muse back soon.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

He almost hadn't come.

Something in him, however, had thought better of it, and after he'd finished that extra-long jog around the city, his feet led him in the direction of the gym. To the sparring room.

Her back was to him and he watched as she went through the motions he had taught her, swinging the single bantos rod. She wasn't nearly on the level of Teyla, but she still managed to possess a grace all her own. Honestly, she wasn't very good at it at first, constantly over thinking the moves he had shown her. It wasn't until he feigned an attack, forced her to the defensive, that she was able to piece together what he'd been trying to drill in her mind all along, relying on her reflexes rather than her brain.

Suddenly she stopped, let out an anguished sound, as close to a growl as she could manage, and she chucked the rod at the wall.

Ronon stood in the doorway, surprised, yet intrigued by the primal nature of her outburst. Her legs folded beneath her and she dropped into a pile on the floor as the clatter of the rod hitting the floor echoed across the room.

He had been right all along. He shouldn't have come.

Ronon turned on his heel, about to make a silent exit when she called to him.

"Ronon. . ." she croaked.

He stopped, hesitating in the threshold.

"Wait. . . I . . . I thought we had an appointment," she said. Behind him he heard the scuff of he shoes against the floor, the sound of her raising off the floor and taking several steps across the room towards his back.

He sighed heavily, and turned to face her.

"Did we?" He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the frame of the door.

She wasn't fooled by his attempt at selective memory. "Yeah. We've still got 30 minutes," she said.

Funny how she used the term 'we.' Like this was their time.

"So. . .?" Jennifer said.

Had he missed something? "So what?"

"Are you going to get on with my lesson?" she prodded, and she had that same hopeful look and uncertain smile she'd had that night she'd asked if he still wanted to go get something to eat with her after. . .

After she'd told him she that she was. . . That there was someone else.

But this was different.

She'd come to him shortly after her ordeal on New Athos, and asked him if he'd be willing to teach her how to defend herself. He wondered why she hadn't asked Teyla, and asked her outright. She'd said something about not wanting to bug Teyla when she was busy searching for the Athosians, but eventually he found out the real reason. Teyla was pregnant. It seemed like a logical reason at the time. Eventually, he suspected that maybe she just wanted him to teach her. For whatever reason.

With her hectic schedule managing the infirmary, it was a few months after she had originally made the request that they were finally able to complete their first sparring lesson.

And all her hard work had paid off. He'd pushed her hard, and despite the many bruises she'd received, mostly from her own clumsiness, she hadn't quit. She applied the same determination that he'd seen her use in her medical arts, and she stood before him now, fresh and full of life, because of it.

Before he could think better of it, he straightened and stepped away from the wall. He brushed past her, unable avoid getting a whiff of the intoxicating floral scent that was so a part of her as he walked to the opposite end of the room. He stopped a few feet from the wall, and crouched down to pick up the rod that she's hurled away earlier.

As he stood up, Jennifer crossed the room to stand a few paces away from him. Ronon weighed the rod, passing it from hand to hand. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Jennifer watching his movements. He turned slightly, swinging his arm in her direction, slow enough so that she would see it, but fast enough that it would hurt if she allowed him to connect.

She expected his attack, and he couldn't help the sense of pride that welled up at her reflexes.

He turned to her, dropping his both arms and the rod down to his side.

"You threw away your weapon," he stated.

"Uhm. . .yeah. I didn't know if you were going to show up, honestly," she admitted.

Ronon held out the staff to her, inclining his head in a way that said she should take it. She extended her arm, and had barely wrapped her fingers around the rod when Ronon grabbed her wrist and tugged her forward.

Jennifer gasped, but didn't struggle to get away. She wasn't afraid of him.

"Never give away your advantage," he said as her wide hazel eyes looked up at him.

She opened her mouth, and then closed it quickly. He could feel the race of her pulse beneath his palm, and her pupils were wide. He leaned forward, his nose barely brushing against hers when her eyes fluttered closed.

He released her, and she stumbled back.

She lied to him. To herself.

Ronon vowed to be there when she finally realized it.

. . .