Title: Eternal Stimuli
Summary: 5 ways through which Ronon and Jennifer perceive each other.
Spoilers: None specifically. Events occur sometime after "Quarantine."
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em, but they're fun to play, not for profit.
Notes: Written for the OSL Winter Exchange. I used the prompt "the 5 senses." Tried to make the other two prompts work for this but they didn't fit with the way the story chose to go. I borrowed a word from Nytel's fic, "Whispers of Love."
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Ronon Dex definitely wasn't bad on the eyes.
Nope, not at all, Jennifer mused. Then she remembered what she was supposed to be focused on doing, and shook her head, trying to steer her thoughts back to those of a more professional nature.
In this instance, it was suturing the nasty gash Ronon had sustained in what amounted to a bar brawl.
It wasn't pretty. Ronon had survived various ambushes and encounters with powerful Wraith warriors, coming away with nothing more than superficial cuts and bruises. However, his team had gone on a routine trading mission. Jennifer was instructed to go along to confirm the medicinal properties of a plant that the natives were offering to trade. Thinking back, now, Jennifer shouldn't have been surprised when successful negotiations ended with the elders of the settlement calling for an impromptu feast. Jennifer was always hesitant to attend such gatherings, especially when she didn't know what to expect.
A man dressed in attire advertising his wealth had approached her comfortable and (she thought) inconspicuous position along the far wall of the room. She had seen the way he had looked at her when she had entered the room, and Jennifer could tell that he was not interested in mere "friendly conversation." Absima was his name, she recalled.
Jennifer had looked frantically around for the Ronon, and he was nowhere to be seen. She saw the Colonel across the room, his back to her as his attention consumed by a voluptuous young woman with cinnamon hair.
Jennifer's eyes darted back to the man in front of her. He was patiently waiting for her reply to his offer to dance.
"No," the man's face fell, and Jennifer explained, "I mean, I'm not a very good dancer. I'm good just to stand here and, ya know, watch." Jennifer smiled as she declined, hoping she hadn't offended him.
The man's smile faltered infinitesimally, and Jennifer thought she saw was something cold behind his eyes, but in a moment it was gone. "Your drink?" he nodded to the glass in her hand. "Will you at least allow me to keep you refreshed?"
Jennifer stared at him blankly for a moment and then blinked. "Alright, sure," she offered him the glass. She held it out so that he could take the stem, but when he took it from her, he let his fingers brush hers unnecessarily, and Jennifer gritted her teeth to keep the smile plastered to her face until she was looking at his receding back.
Sighing now, Jennifer tied off the last stitch and inspected her work.
"You're lucky you didn't lose an eye," she told the patient whose face was just a few inches below hers.
The Satedan just grunted in reply.
Jennifer pursed her lips as she looked at the jagged cut, now closed with precise stitches, that began a few inches above his brow, traversed down his face across the center of his dark brow and into the inside corner of his eye. Another cut went down the upper right crest of his cheekbone, near the trio of moles below his left eye.
"I can't promise this won't scar," Jennifer said, gently resting her latex clad fingers alongside the sutured cut, lamenting over how his features had been marred in the senseless altercation. She had never imagined that things would escalate they way they had, and, really, she felt responsible for what had happened.
After Absima had left, Jennifer had turned to move from her spot on the wall only to come face to chest with the Satedan.
"Oh, Ronon," she stuttered, looking up into his face, "didn't see you there."
The corner of his mouth twitched up, and he leaned down, his beard tickling the side of her neck as his deep voice rumbled beside her ear, "You want to get some air."
She nodded twice in response, not trusting her voice against the suddenly tightness in her throat. Before turning, she spared a glance up at Ronon. His hazel eyes were warm as they met hers, and he inclined his head slightly, directed her attention to the exit just a few meters away.
They had only been outside for a few minutes, and Absima had wandered out to find her. Seeming to ignore the intimidating Satedan at her side, he extended his invitation to dance once more. Jennifer declined as graciously as she could, but the man was rather . . . insistent.
After that Ronon spoke up, and then. . . well, it was still a blur to Jennifer. Coarse words were exchanged and thing quickly escalated, before Jennifer could say anything to ease the tension, Ronon had maneuvered himself between her and Absima. A second later and the glass in Absima's hand was shattered against Ronon's face.
And then, all hell broke loose.
At first, the sound of her own blood roaring rushing past her eardrums was the only sound that registered. Jennifer forced herself to breathe against the overpowering urge to hold her breath. She finally exhaled, taking air in long, deliberate breaths that would make as little noise as possible.
She needed to concentrate, to clear her mind of any anxieties and focus on the task at hand. They needed to move.
The roar in her ears had now calmed to a low thump, and she listened past it to the sounds in the dark around them. The footsteps that were once just outside the wooden walls had faded, going further and further away until there was only the quiet of the night.
"Jennifer," she stifled a gasp as the sound brought her attention back to the person she was pressed against.
She lifted her head, peering down into his face. By now her eyes had adjusted to the dim light, and she could just make out his features, the slight twinkle that was his eyes.
"Ronon, are you alright?" she whispered. She wanted to touch his face, to inspect the stitches that were still fresh, hoping they hadn't been torn.
He grunted his reply. After a moment, he asked, "Where's Sheppard?"
"We sort of. . ." Jennifer bit her lip and looked away from his face, "We got separated."
She felt Ronon tense beneath her. "What? How?" he asked.
"I separated from him," Jennifer decided to tell him the truth. She knew Ronon would want to know what happened. She told Ronon of how after he had taken him into custody, she and Sheppard had been forced to retreat back to their quarters. In the morning, they would be escorted back to the Gate, without Ronon.
That condition was unacceptable to the Colonel, so he had tried to find a way to negotiate with the elders. That hadn't worked, and the Sheppard had ended up sneaking out, giving explicit instructions for Jennifer to stay put. He meant to get back to the Gate, contact Atlantis and then get back before anyone knew he was missing.
In spite of this, Jennifer had managed to overhear that Absima had plans for Ronon to have an unfortunate accident while in custody. She had to act then, and followed the guard out to where Ronon was being kept. She formulated a distraction and was able to sneak inside. She was appalled with how she had found Ronon, or rather, where. He was lying supine in a narrow pit several meters deep. Without thinking she had climbed down to him, and it was only when she'd reached him that she realized that it might not be so easy to climb back up out of the pit.
"You should have stayed put," Ronon stated.
"No, I shouldn't. Lord knows what they have in store for you. I had to take the chance and get you out of here."
She couldn't see his expression, not that he would have had much of one anyway. Still, she was sure Ronon was glaring at her, thinking about how crazy she was for even thinking she could mount a daring rescue when she wasn't sure she could remember how to get back to the Gate from here. Once she freed, Ronon though, she was banked on him putting his expert tracking skills to good use.
"You got a knife?" Ronon said finally.
"What? No," Jennifer replied. She was about to say something about how stupid she was for not thinking of bringing one, when Ronon spoke again.
"In my hair. Find a small one."
"There's a selection?" Jennifer whispered, though the surprise could still be heard in her voice.
Ronon huffed, the closest thing to a laugh. "Yeah."
"Ok," she nodded, and reached up, her hands exploring the tangles of his hair until one brushed the hard metal of a blade.
Ronon grunted, closing his eyes.
Jennifer wriggling against him. "Ronon," she huffed. Her voice was barely above a whisper, and he tilted his chin down to look at her. "You're gonna have to hold still," she looked down before he could reply, again consumed with her task.
"I'm trying," he grunted. He really was. However, Jennifer seemed completely oblivious to the effect her movements were having on certain parts of his body. Or maybe she did, which is why she was in growing so impatient. That, and the fact that she only had a small window in which to cut through the ropes, freeing him from his bonds. The Ratthi were very good at tying knots, though, so it was taking Jennifer longer than they both would have liked to free him completely.
After Jennifer had deliberated for a few seconds, she took Ronon's suggestion that the best way to free him was to cut through the twines rather than try to untie him. However, Ronon arms were bound behind him and he was tied against the wall of the would-be tomb in such a way that she couldn't see what she was doing. As a result, the young doctor had to feel her way through, and try very hard not to slice Ronon's wrists in the process. The Ratthi guards had placed him in a narrow hole dug into the ground. Wooden planks were braced against the sides of the tomb, keeping the walls from collapsing.
In the darkness around them, at the mercy of Jennifer's prowess with a knife, Ronon needed something else to focus on. His anger over the situation was making him restless, and he very much needed to relax. Jennifer's position, however, was making even that difficult. The pit was narrow, and after a bit of trial and error, the only way she could reach his hands was to lay flat on top of him, her legs on either side of his, effectively straddling him, while he was pressed with the task of just "lying still" while she did her work.
"Almost. . .done," she huffed, and Ronon nodded. Not that she could see anyway. Her head was against his chest, her right cheek pressed against his shirt. She couldn't see what she was doing, he knew, but he trusted her instincts.
He tilted his head down once again and inhaled. The last time she had showered had been several hours before, early that morning before they had left for the trading mission.
Jennifer had stood just to his right as they waited for Chuck to complete the dialing sequence. Sheppard had made a quip about them getting home in time for supper, and Jennifer had turned to him and smiled, her blonde ponytail sending a whiff of a sweet and fresh floral scent mixed with an antiseptic smell that he'd come to know as the soap used in the infirmary. It was uniquely Jennifer and over time his senses had honed to detect it from a great distance. He hadn't planned on it, but he liked the smell. It had gotten so that he could tell whenever she had been in a room, down to within half an hour based on the strength of the residual scent.
He could even distinguish it from the members of his team. Teyla's smell was nice and welcoming, but not overpowering with traces of spice and an wood used to in much of her Athosian furniture. If she had been meditating, she would also carry the soothing aroma of candles. Sheppard smelled, well, like a guy. That and faint traces of this stuff called gel, that he remembered McKay saying was used to style hair. Looking at Sheppard's hair, he doubted the substances' effectiveness. McKay smelled strongly of the same antiseptic used by the medical staff, mixed with the bitter smell of coffee grounds, and hints of sweat, and Ronon noticed that the combination of these elements was in direct correlation to how stressed Rodney was versus how incompetent his science team was on that particular day, week, or ever.
"Ok," Jennifer said, and Ronon felt the tension around his wrists loosen. He tried to sit up, and was able to this time, as he brought his hands around to his front, rubbing his wrists. Jennifer leaned back as he rose, sitting back on her haunches but still in his lap.
A load brief creak signaled the door to the building opening, and Ronon placed his hand on Jennifer's slim hips, pushing her back off him as he moved into a crouching position. Someone was coming. A slight breeze came in with the opening and closing of the door, and a familiar scent traveled to Ronon's nose calming his defensive reflexes.
A tall figure shuffled to the edge of the pit and looked down, and Ronon smiled with relief.
Ronon liked the feel of her hands.
Long, slender fingers always cool to the touch. Gentle but deliberate pressure deftly traveling over his body feeling for the slightest imperfection or inconsistency. Looking for the one thing that was wrong in him and knowing immediately how to put it back right.
In the haze of unimaginable pain that threatened to swallow him in the dark relief of unconsciousness, it was always her touch that brought him back, kept him grounded. Even in the coldness that came from too much blood-loss, the coolness of her hands was refreshing, soothing as her voice urged him to hang on.
He never told her such things. He didn't know if he could. At least not as they were now. He had told her of Melena. And yes, Jennifer reminded him of his long gone love. There had always been hesitance behind Melena's careful touch. She liked to heal, but at times, it seemed to Ronon that she was too afraid to hurt, something which Ronon understood to be necessary to the process of healing. It would break Melena's heart to cause anyone any amount of pain, even if it was only temporary. He remembered the nights that she laid beside him, crying over the plight of her patients.
Jennifer was different. She didn't run away from the ugly things, the painful things and the trauma. She ran to them, whenever anyone came to through the Gate with injuries too horrific to mention. Jennifer was there, and she didn't shrink away. Confident of her ability to heal when she knew nothing else, she met each challenge with a fearlessness to be envied by the even most celebrated Satedan warrior.
Ronon opened his eyes when he no longer felt her fingertips against his brow.
"This is healing up nicely," she said. "Not scarring as badly as I first thought. You're a good healer."
He tilted his head to better look into her eyes. "So are you," he said.
At that Jennifer looked away, a rosy tint coloring her cheeks.
He wondered if her skin would be just as warm beneath his lips.
It was better than she ever imagined.
Jennifer moaned in ecstatic pleasure as she savored the taste. Her tongue darted out . . .
She licked any trace of the food that had missed her mouth as she greedily devoured the contents of the bowl Ronon had set before her.
It was a traditional Satedan dessert that Ronon had described to her only once when somehow, during one of his many infirmary visits, she had casually asked him about his favorite food. He had struggled a bit to describe it to the doctor in Earth terms, and had finally settled by saying, "It's like . . . cobbler . . . sorta."
At that, Jennifer had nodded, and given a slight smile, rambling to him about how her mother's cobbler was the best, and how she would always come home to a large pan of it at the end of every term, her mother knowing just the thing her daughter needed to relieve her stress.
Jennifer swallowed, finally able to form words around her contentment. "This is . . . amazing," she beamed, pointing at the bowl with her spoon.
To her surprise, Ronon actually smiled in return, showing his teeth and everything, his eyes turning to slivers as he produced a spoon of his own and scooped a bit of dessert from her bowl.
"What's this called, in Satedan, I mean?" Jennifer asked around another spoonful. She still couldn't believe he had made this. For her.
"Uh. . .," Ronon's face grew pensive. He dipped his spoon into her bowl once more. "It changes. Depends on the ingredients. Certain combinations have different meanings." He looked from the bowl to Jennifer as he put the spoon in his mouth. He pulled the utensil away clean and then licked his lips, and Jennifer's let her eyes linger there, keenly aware of Ronon's proximity to her on the sofa. His long arm stretched out over the back of the seat, and somehow, she had leaned into his side, so that she was comfortably nestled in the crook of his arm, her feet tucked beneath her as she basked in the warm radiating from him. She looked at his face, her eyes trained on the scar on his left eyebrow, the only trace left of the Ratthi incident.
"Does. . . uhm . . .what is this one called?" She asked, looking down into the bowl, poking at the sweet and sour Pegasus native fruits that had been combined in such a way to create an explosion of flavor that was almost . . . sensual.
Jennifer repeated the foreign word. "What's it mean?"
When Ronon didn't respond after a few seconds, Jennifer turned her head up to look at him. She hadn't expected his face to be so close. She looked into his eyes, but his focus was lower, on her lips, she realized. He titled his head down, brushing his nose against her, and instinctively, she closed her eyes. She wondered if Ronon would take the cue for only a second, before warm lips pressed gently, tentatively against hers. The hairs of his beard tickled her top lip and nose as he pulled away.
"Oh," Jennifer breathed. She opened her eyes, licked her tingling lips and tasted the sweetness he had left there. She tried to formulate coherent thoughts, rather than the awkward, bumbling sentence fragments that came to mind. "Actually, uhm. . . I think . . I might need a more thorough explanation of—"
A wicked grin curved Ronon's mouth before it was on hers again.
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rodi bae'shekar |ˈrōdē • 'bā SH ĕkar| (noun) – a fruit pie with a rich crust on top. Variant name of a traditional Satedan dessert. Rodi is the base word signifying the general cobbler. Bae'shekar means lover's kiss, from baes, meaning "to kiss" and shekara, meaning "beloved one."
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A/N: Thanks for reading. Feedback is much appreciated. :)