A/N: For any of you who woke up in the US to an unexpected snow day – I hope this keeps you smiling. And warm. Stay Safe.
THE WILL OF JENNIFER KELLER - EPILOGUE PART 2 (CHAPTER 25)
They walked through the gate side by side. Ronon carried Jen's gear on his shoulder, his hand fisted in her shirt beneath her jacket. It was a rudder he used to steer her out of the room as quickly as he could manage it.
"Medicals and debriefs in two hours," Ronon heard Sheppard yell behind them. Jennifer made the slightest move to turn and answer, but Ronon's hand kept her moving forward. He hadn't spoken in the mile from the explosion to the gate, and though she couldn't read his thoughts, she had no trouble sensing his urgency.
Ronon's breathing was forced with tension as he lead her into his quarters. A mix of emotions coursed through him with such power that he could barely separate them into their component parts.
Anger. He had gotten to far from her as they made their way back to the gate. Conversations with Sheppard and questions from Teyla about the next mission had distracted him. Ronon had trusted her safety to others, and was unable to shield her.
Jealousy. The call for cover had gone out and she hadn't moved, but when the new Major had called to her, the reaction had been instant. He shuddered at the thought of her body obeying the call of any other.
Dread. Her pack had been so close to the impact of the shell. She had been standing in its blast zone. His heart stopped when he saw it there with frayed edges and burns – that she had been so close to the danger – that fate might have brought her back to him just to take her away again.
Fear. She took a few seconds longer then the rest to start moving again, and when he called her name and heard nothing he feared the worst. He followed the steps from the pack towards the rock wall and was beside her in an instant, kneeling down, his hands on her body to search for damage.
Relief. When his touch registered she untensed her frame and rolled toward him. She coughed out the dust from the blast and crawled up to her knees, wrapping herself in his arms.
Love. Ronon realized as she caught her breath that he hadn't taken one of his own since her saw her pack on the ground. With dirt in her hair, disheveled, awkwardly balanced and pressed against him she was as beautiful as she had ever been, and he was lost in love with her.
The emotions all swirled together until they were inseparable from each other – their combined energy only describable in one word: need.
An unyielding, uncontainable, overwhelming need. To have her. Claim her. Protect her. Posses her.
He became frantic, desperate as he divested her of every peace of clothing. Her hands did their best to return the favor, but she had gotten no farther than his shirt when she realized that she was completely naked before him - nothing between them but a leather necklace with a gold shooting star woven into its loop that he was careful not to touch.
She shuddered at her name on his lips, so raw with emotion. She was unaware that one word could be so many things at one time. It was an admission that he was on the edge of losing control, a warning that they were nearing a point from which he feared there was no return or recall. It was a prayer of thanks for her safety. And it was a question – permission sought to claim her as his own.
He steadied his movement, putting his forehead to hers and offering her one last means of escape.
"Yes." Her answer was an clear as she could be - a total affirmation that she was exactly where she wanted to be, doing exactly what she wanted to be doing.
He pressed the length of their bodies together, chest to chest, kissing the lips that had just given him consent. His embrace lifted her from the floor, leaving her weightless as he moved her to the bed and lowered himself to her.
*** *** *** *** *** *** ***
As they untangled their limbs and caught their breath, Jen peppered his body with kisses, working her way up his chest. She scaled his body, kissing his neck and face until she was right in front of him. She adjusted her position, straddling him on the bed, her knees resting outside his thighs.
She should have been embarrassed, she thought to herself. She had been before with others – not that there had been that many. But not here. Not now. Ronon had done things to her body she had never experienced – drew sounds from her body she had never made – created longing, need, desire for more. More of him.
She never felt more… whole. Or certain.
Her hands gripped the necklace she wore and removed it from her neck, reaching forward to lift it over Ronon's head.
He reached, grabbing her wrists and holding them in place.
Jen's first reaction was hurt.
He hadn't meant for that. It just held such weight, what she was about to do. He couldn't bare the thought of accepting the token and finding it out it didn't mean to her what it meant to him.
"Jen, this means that you … that I … This is not something you do lightly."
"I thought it was what you wanted – what we both wanted." She squirmed to move off of him, turning to find a means of quick escape.
Ronon was resolute. He held her in place, positioning his head until he caught her eyes again so that he could explain. "It is, little one. I just need to know that you understand. This ties me to you."
Jen remembered back to the video of Arleana. She still had no idea if the words were tradition or if every woman said whatever came to their mind, but she had memorized the phrasing of this beautiful woman – someone she had never met who had changed her life. Jennifer had practiced her version of the speech since she had seen the video.
"It means that I am a woman of honor and accomplishment, and that I know the will of my heart well enough to share it completely with another."
"Yes, that's what the mark means. But giving this to me –"
"It means that you are a man of honor and strength, and have distinguished yourself above all others for my affection – that as long as you wear it no other will share my heart or my bed. It means that I choose you as my own."
The words tightened his chest in humility and disbelief – humbled that she offered herself to him so completely and disbelieving that she had done it is the ways of his people and not her own.
He had asked around in her absence, as discretely as one could, about Earth dating and mating and marriage. There was no conversation he had that didn't somehow convince him that Earth men were stupid. Marines were useless, the scientists were useless. He was more confused when she came back than when she left.
But this – this was a ritual generations of Satedans had shared. This had meaning he understood.
He had taken her body, and that gave her the right to lay claim to him. Short of death, there were only two ways such a pairing could end. Jen could rescind the token and break the claim, or Ronon could mark her with his will to sanctify the union. Only she could end it, only he could move it forward. It was a perfect Satedan custom to balance power in a relationship – it ensured that in a culture of honor, both participants had shown and had been shown the required respect.
He released her wrists, using his arms to help him sit up just a little straighter out of respect for the moment. He closed his eyes and felt the cold of the metal come to rest on his bare chest.
"I love you, Ronon."
He pulled her lips to his own, feeling her melt into the kiss and her body soften to the contours of his chest. As her hips moved in reaction to the kiss, his body reacted, Ronon feeling himself harden again beneath her.
Her eyes closed in their kiss, she laughed as she felt him, too. "Sheppard said he needed us back for debriefs."
Ronon grabbed his earpiece and activated it. "Sheppard."
Jennifer tried to stop him to no avail. The laughing made it hard for her to look stern. She couldn't hear the other side of the conversation, but could guess what it entailed from Ronon's response.
"So debriefs in the morning, right?"
Ronon grabbed Jennifer's hips and held her firmly, pressing her down onto the evidence of his need for her. He was rewarded with a groan that almost made him forget he was talking to Sheppard.
"The morning is better."
Jen laughed again.
"Yeah, but morning is better."
She looked at him anticipating a hint of John's reaction, but got nothing.
"Yeah. The morning sounds fine."
She shook her head, now just waiting for him to be finished.
"I'll tell her."
Her eyes inquired if she was the 'her' he referred to.
"Nah. I got it."
Ronon threw the earpiece onto the floor. "Sheppard says debriefs are in the morning." He smiled in victory, and in something more primal.
She smiled in anticipation. "So we have some time on our hands?"
"I have a much better idea of what to do with my hands."
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Dr. Feist straightened her desk as General McGinley entered.
"I read your final report on Dr. Keller. Which was weeks late, I might add." The older man looked at the Doctor with a hint of suspicion. "Wanted to make sure there was no getting her back her before I knew what you had done?"
The Doctor gave no reaction to the angry man in her office, so he continued to express his displeasure at her silence.
"Deprogrammed. Reprogrammed. All the same, right?"
"It is much easier to program over the damage they did then erase it.," Dr Feist said, without remorse.
"It was a huge risk."
Feist was unrepentant. "Have you read that woman's file, General? How will we ever find out what the gene is for if she almost gets killed every other mission?"
"We know the gene is related to the Ancients, we just don't know how. And we know its rare. Two people so far, in everyone tested, and the other one is dead." The General was frustrated at the lack of data on which to draw conclusions.
"All the more reason to make sure that she survives there long enough for us to figure out what the hell it does."
He was slowly coming around. "Abatello is programmed to watch her?"
"All I did was program a Marine to protect a very valuable woman, and program a valuable woman to get past the flight response and let her training kick in. No one will even notice the difference." Feist had won the argument, and she knew it.
"So what to we do now?"
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
A/N: So there it is. Hope you all enjoyed it. I had a great time getting to know the regulars in the fandom, and have really appreciated the feedback and encouragement along the way. Next story is in the works – I owe Ronon a shot at Stanton, and I owe all of you an explanation on the gene – and I have to think there is some fallout for Feist, but only time will tell.
Nika Dixon – I would still be reading the story to myself without you. Thank You.
See you all soon. - Kalli