A/N: My first post in this fandom, so I hope you all are up for meeting a new lost cause. Love this pairing – just couldn't help myself. Thanks to Nika for her encouragement and patience. No ownership, no revenue, just some fun that I wanted to share.
The Will of Jennifer Keller Chapter 1
Ronon extended his arm towards Jennifer, who stared up at him from her position sprawled out on the floor of the gym. He couldn't hide his surprise at the strength and determination with which she locked her hand around his forearm and readied for the next attempt. He thought she would have taken a break by now, but instead she just took her ready stance and cued him to start.
Her voice was filled with purpose. "Again."
He move towards her, executing his part of the move with the same precision as the other eight times. Every attempt she was putting one more piece of the puzzle together - not enough to end up in a position other than completely horizontal, but closer to success with each try. She reached her arm to the air as he aided her to her feet.
Her resolve was certain, but with a hint of frustration in her tone. "Again."
Finally experiencing some measure of success, she was able to swing the momentum of his first move, but stepped directly into his counter. And found herself again flat on her back.
"Good," he said encouragingly.
"Not good." Her realistic streak didn't like to be patronized.
"OK. Not good. Better." It was a compromise. None of this was easy to learn, and she had started from basically zero. He was at least sure she was getting better as the sessions went on.
His arm outstretched in front of her. She took it and readied. She rolled her neck to loosen her stance. "Again."
He approached once more. This time, she executed the move as intended. She captured his arm, played into his momentum, evaded his counter and turned him. It was comical in a way, to see the body of the Satedan flip in the air at the manipulation of this slight woman. His expression went from surprise to pride as he looked up from the mat. She looked down at him and glowed in excitement.
Her victory, however, was short lived. With a smile wide across his face, Ronon swept his leg out hitting the back of her knee, buckling her to the ground. His speed and agility allowed him to position himself to cushion the impact on her head and neck - one more time, flat on her back.
One hand beneath her head, one across her body with his chest right above hers, the smile never left his face. Her face, on the other hand, lost its smile. She went from triumphant to stunned in a split second.
"What was that?" She asked in disbelief.
"That," he said, "was your next lesson."
"You couldn't let me enjoy myself a minute longer?"
"I could have."
She guided her left hand to his side, expecting to find the leather of his tunic but the move had hitched it up slightly and she found her fingers flush against his warm skin.
He closed his eyes for a brief second. Her touch was like a bolt of electricity making its way through his body. He was instantly hot. Instantly hard. Wanting more – needing more, but couldn't have it. Certainly not here, and not in this moment. Not with a woman who had not declared her will.
On Sateda the will of a woman was a sacred thing. Each woman decided for themselves when they were ready to be joined and declared their will to the community. Touching a woman before that declaration was simply not done. More modern families would throw parties or make proclamations or announcements. More traditional women wore the mark of their will on their body, but the practice was followed by all.
To pursue a Satedan woman who had not declared her will was to disrespect the woman and dishonor the man. Ronon had no idea how those traditions translated to Earth cultures, and discussions on these topics often got more questions then answers from Sheppard. Ronon didn't want to make the issue public knowledge by asking anyone else.
He was a man of instinct. If he spent enough time watching, learning, sensing, he would know what to do next. After all, he loved her. She just didn't know yet. And he had no intention of rushing her.
He also knew her fingers lightly brushing his side was not idle contact. It meant something.
Jennifer was not casual with her touch. It had taken weeks and months for her to reach out to him. On missions, in the infirmary, sure, they came into contact but it wasn't the same. In all the times they spent watching movies or training or running or taking walks in the evening – she was reserved with her body. Someone that careful would not take intimacy lightly. Neither did he. Just one more way in which she was worth the wait.
He stood and extended his arm down to help her up one more time. She locked her hand to his forearm and he lifted her from the ground.
He surveyed her body up and down. It was killing him to not press her tonight.
"Tomorrow?" It was the only word he trusted himself to say while he regained his center.
"IOA visit starts tomorrow. I'm going to be swamped for the next eight days."
"That's right. Sheppard put together an off-world schedule to stop me from spending too much time with them."
"So when the visit is over we'll pick up where we left off here?"
He liked the hint of regret in her voice it would be so long until they could continue.
"Whenever you're ready for more."
He could feel her pulse quicken as he leaned to her - could sense the change in her breathing as he stopped just inches from her face. The color of her cheeks deepened as she looked around the room to ensure they were still alone. Her arm reached around and pulled their foreheads together. He sensed he was not the only one battling for control.
And then she released him and was back in her own personal space.
She looked away and he searched to name the emotion on her face. Uncertainty? Embarrassment? Insecurity? He wanted to reassure her but the sound of the door opening made it impossible.
There was a class in the gym that night. Lorne's newest squad made their way in and began warming up. Jen took a few more steps back from Ronon and began cooling down, stretching out her muscles in ways that gave Ronon bad ideas. He paced like a sentry, keeping himself between the new recruits and Jennifer.
Content she had stretched enough she gathered her water bottle and towel from the floor. She stepped towards him to make sure her voice wouldn't carry as she spoke. Her fingertips grazed his. She gestured towards the door with her head. "I'm gonna, you know, get going."
The nervousness in her manner made him smile. "Big week for you."
"Yeah. I guess so. So… we'll pick up where we left off after the IOA visit?" She was looking for something from him. She wasn't quite ready to leave.
"I said that we would. I wouldn't have said it if it weren't a promise."
"Yes, little one."
Her smiled brightened, and to Ronon it felt as though the room had brightened. She backed up a few steps still holding eye contact. Finally, about half way across the room, she laughed - just the smallest amount - and turned for the door.
Ronon was watching her leave when he sensed his eyes were not the only eyes on her. As he sought out the offending party he found nothing more than a new recruit who had noticed her and was watching her cross to the door.
Ronon moved to the Marine with silence and speed. As the door closed behind Jennifer, the Marine turned back to his friend. "Wow," was all he got out before he realized that in the place of his friend these now stood the formidable Satedan.
"Wow?" Ronon inquired menacingly.
"Did you see…" Something in Ronon's face made the Marine stop his sentence.
"Chief Medical Officer Doctor Jennifer Keller? Yes. I did."
"Oh. Well. I didn't realize…" The Marine was perceptive enough to know he should be apologizing, but hadn't yet figured out why.
"You should be preparing for your training with Major Lorne this evening."
"Tonight is just a review. We don't start sparring until tomorrow," he answered, clearly not concerned.
"You should take your preparations more seriously."
"Why is that?"
"Because your sparring session tomorrow is with me."
Final preparations were underway as the IOA delegation readied for the Atlantis visit. Of the fourteen person team, two huddled alone in a secluded office. Their discussion was a familiar one – a logic exercise they went through before they set a covert operation into motion. It was the final go – no go check.
The older man required resolution to his last objections before a green light would be given. "Are you sure it's wise to move on this while the IOA delegation is on Atlantis? Won't it be too easy to tie back to us?"
The younger, taller man shook his head. "Not at all. It gives us the perfect cover to approach the asset when everyone's schedules are thrown off by the visit. Changes in her routine will be overlooked, and if not overlooked, they'll be easily explainable."
The older man continued listing his objections. "She has a high IQ for this type of process." Subjects for this type of operation were usually chosen to fit a profile. In this case, they had a requirement and were stretching the profile to match.
"Undeniable, but it's just one of many factors. She'll be an easy target."
"Isolated from her colleagues by age and background, isolated from her peers by accomplishment. A history that lacks significant social ties or relationships. An insecurity in her new surroundings. An off-world history of being the weak link. There's a lot there to work with."
"And intel says she is the right point of entry?"
"She sees all personnel and reports after a mission. She knows the unsantitized version of the stories. And she has the knowledge to kill someone in a few hundred different ways."
"This woman is not a killer. She doesn't have the will to end another's life by her own hand." The older man tossed the personnel file marked CONFIDENTIAL across the desk.
"When I'm done it won't be her will – her will be mine. She will take a life before the delegation leaves."
The older man paused. He carefully weighed the risk and reward. "Mission plan approved. Proceed with extreme caution. You have eight days to complete the task at hand. Unsuccessful attempts mean full elimination of evidence. I want SITREPs daily."
Dr. Anatol Jarrick looked at the file folder that had been tossed in front of him. He opened it, although there was no need. He'd memorized every detail.
He lifted the picture of his subject and smiled. "It is going to be a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Jennifer Keller.