Chapter 12 – Hallway Laughter
When the three of them reached Ronon's room, Saro suddenly felt very tired and very homesick. But she wasn't really missing her cave since what made it a home was Alces who was right beside her. She was more missing the feeling of family, of belonging. The bonds Ronon had here ran deep and strong and seeing what he had built for himself made her all the more aware of what she herself had lost. Death had taken her parents, her grandmother and her pack sister Alcera. And though her pack lived, they were taken from her by circumstance, forced to constantly change dens and travels many miles a day.
Saro also felt insecure in her and Ronon's…friendship. Surely there is no room for me here. How could I ever fit in? What if Ronon grows tired of me? How long before I am viewed as a burden? I have nothing to offer him or anyone here after all, everything I own amounts to what I'm wearing now, what little is in my bag and what's back in the cave. And my bitter memories, those too. I shouldn't have come. Perhaps Ronon will take me back if I asked…
Ronon looked at his Witchwoman and saw in her face she was overwhelmed and on the verge of running. He reached out and put his hands on her shoulders. "Saro, you're thinking too much. You just arrived. Please give them a chance. I, I do not want part from you so soon."
How did he know what I was thinking? Could he really know me that well so quickly? She pondered.
He sat her on his bed, took her boots off and motioned for her to lay down. Alces immediately took up on Ronon's offer and jumped onto the king bed. Sheppard had called in a favor from General O'Neil the previous year and gotten Ronon an extra large bed. He'd justified it by saying he had to make sure his teammates got a comfortable night's sleep and Ronon's current bed (which was actually six inches shorter than the Runner) wasn't cutting it. The Satedan was extra thankful for the perk at that moment. With Alces on the left side, Saro moved to the middle and looked up hopefully at Ronon, her eyes asking him to join her. He sat down and removed his own leather boots. Laying down he lifted his arm so Saro could snuggle up to his chest. She immediately obliged and curled up into his side, resting her head in the crook of his neck.
The three of them lay on the bed and just listened to each others breathing. The Witchwoman felt very safe at that moment, sandwiched in between her pack brother and her– next to Ronon. It was a delicious, wonderful feeling. It would be something all too easy to get used to. Setting aside those thoughts, Saro let her mind empty and succumbed to the reaching tide of sleep.
He watched her, saw her eyes flutter shut and her breathing deepen. She looked so angelic when she slept, Ronon reflected. It seemed like sleep was the only time she forgot all her worries and was able to be free. He wanted to make it so she was always like this, carefree and relaxed. So that she never worried again. He knew that was irrational and impossible, but he still wanted it, wanted to be the one to take away all her fears.
After about a couple hours the Satedan woke and gently stroked his fingers across Saro's cheek to wake her. She smiled beautifully when she saw Ronon's face looking down at her. Suddenly the air surrounding them was tense and thick. Ronon stared at his Witchwoman's lips, they were slightly parted and just then she licked them with her pink tongue. Saro's own eyes were flickering between Ronon's mouth and his own eyes. Their faces were so close to each other and very slowly, almost unconsciously they both leaned forward at the same time. Both their eyes started to close and Saro gripped the fabric of Ronon's shirt.
Suddenly a loud ringing noise made Saro jump back. The spell was broken and Ronon growled in frustration. He'd been so close to tasting her, kissing her and the damn doorbell had to ring! Whoever was at the door had better have a good explanation.
Stalking to his door Ronon waved his hand over the Ancient crystal, "What?" he barked at Sheppard.
"Hey! Relax Big Guy, sup's almost on. I figured our guest might be hungry since Rodney ate the apple he took from the mess and was supposed to give to Saro before the meeting. Plus she's gotta get checked out by Keller. You guys OK to go?" Sheppard leaned over Ronon's shoulder to try to get a peak at the intriguing redhead.
"Give us a minute." Ronon waved the door shut. "You up for a trip to the doctor? They just want to make sure you're not carrying any sicknesses. We can eat after if you want."
"Of course. Can Alces come too?"
"Sure." Ronon replied while they both put on their boots.
AT THE MED LAB
"Ronon, could you wait outside, please?" Dr. Jennifer Keller kindly asked the giant man hovering over her patient.
"NO!" John, Jennifer and Ronon all turned to look at Saro, startled by the sound of fear in her voice. "I mean, can't he stay? And Alces too, if that's alright?"
"Of course, they both can stay. But Colonel why don't you flirt with some nurses outside until we're finished here?" Jennifer teased with a warm twinkle in her eye. She was desperately trying to make the tense girl more comfortable, to feel safe here in Atlantis.
After having Saro strip down to her white shift, Keller took some blood samples and did a brief physical exam. "Have you ever broken anyone bones? It feels like you may have broken some ribs at one time." She asked as she ran her hands over Saro's clothed torso.
"Yes." Was the barely audible reply.
"Could you tell me which ones? You don't have to if you don't want…" Jennifer gently asked.
Ronon tried not to look too interested in what Saro would say. He'd had a hard time getting her to list everything the villagers did to her and wanted to know more. But perhaps she'd be more open with a healer, especially another woman.
"Some ribs were broken, maybe two or three on each side. Most of my fingers. My left leg. My wrist. Possibly the bone in my upper arm, I don't know the word for it, but I'm not sure because they- because that shoulder was dislocated at the same time. I think my ankle too, but it could have only been a bad sprain," she finished reciting.
"Oh! Well. That's, that's quite a lot. Any, any other major injuries? Illnesses?" Dr. Keller was almost afraid to ask.
"My back was, hurt years ago as well, but it's all scarred over now. I've gotten the winter sickness a few times, but I have some training in medicinal herbs and was lucky."
"Winter sickness?" Jennifer queried.
"On my planet many people get sick every winter. Mostly fevers, coughing and fluid in their chest. We call those all those ailments the winter sickness."
"Well Saro, I think we're done here. I'm sure Ronon can take you and Alces to the cafeteria to get something to eat. You must be hungry, Rodney told me that he accidentally ate the apple he was bringing to you on his way to the conference room. He asked me to tell you sorry, he just tends to gobble up everything in sight when he's nervous and I'm afraid Alces makes him very nervous!" Keller laughed a little and was thrilled when Saro joined her.
"It is alright. Though I am hungry now. Thank you Dr. Keller."
"Please, call me Jennifer!"
Saro smiled as she walked out of the examining room, Alces and Ronon at her heels. She looked up at Wildman, he was smiling a little and looking back down at her. Saro blushed a bit.
"Come on, let's go eat," Ronon held out his hand for Saro.
The Witchwoman's smile grew wider and she gently took the Satedan's hand, threading their fingers together. "Let's go pup, and stop your whining! I am not starving you, you big cry baby!"
Ronon's hearty laugh resonated throughout the hallway.
A/N: PLEASE REVIEW IF YOU WANT THE STORY TO CONTINUE!
"He who lives alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration."
Pearl S. Buck