A/N: I decided I wanted to try a Ronon/Keller story that started before Quarantine and the infamous almost kiss. A very, very big thank you to Renisanz fo the beta! This story is definitely better because of you. Don't forget to review. Any type of criticism is helpful. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Stargate Atlantis or it's wonderful characters.
Spoilers: Through Reunion in Season 4
On the timeline: The Return, Part 1 – Season 3
1 – Double Dog Dare
1 – Double Dog Dare
Lt. Cadman looked around the poker table at the somber faces. This mood wasn't lending itself well to the game and after the third hand they were all leaning back in their chairs trying to get up enough enthusiasm to start another hand.
Yesterday the expedition members had been told they were all pulling out of the city at the Ancients insistence. Everyone from Earth would be returning through the gate. Some had already walked through the gate; the rest would be doing so through out the night in two hour increments slowly working through the remaining personnel and ending with the department heads at 0800.
The Daedalus would be taking back all of the gear and would be departing about the same time as the last of the expedition members walked through the gate. There were already a few girls conspicuously absent tonight because they'd already left or were preparing to.
Laura looked around at the group of women gathered and let out a sigh; she was going to miss them dearly. It wasn't that she wouldn't see them again, with the exception of Teyla, but she knew it'd never be the same.
"Ok guys, you're bringing me down here." Laura whined at them. "Obviously poker is not the best game to play when you're depressed."
"I just wish we had more time to do things together," Katie said thoughtfully.
"You mean like a last hurrah?" Jennifer asked.
"Sure," the botanist agreed, "Like an adventure. We should've gone camping, or hiking or even shopping together during the time we were here."
Marie agreed, "I think we all just thought we had time."
"I know of some lovely places we could have visited," Teyla added. "And I know of some great market places that would have been good for trading."
"There are all kinds of things I'll regret," Jennifer said sadly. "I guess that's why they say that hind sight is twenty-twenty."
"Well I know what I regret," Katie volunteered. "Now I'll probably never know if something could've come of Rodney and me."
"I'm sorry, Katie," Laura jumped in, "It's probably my fault Rodney backed off."
"It was out of your hands, Laura. I don't blame you for trying to help Rodney along." Katie giggled, "His erratic behavior did make more sense once he explained that the two of you were sharing the same body."
"Still," Laura said looking sympathetically at Katie.
"Nothing we can do about it now," Katie said frowning.
The room grew silent for a few minutes, each of the girls deep in thought. The only sound was the occasional liquid sloshing as the girls sipped on their beers.
Jennifer looked around the table at her friends, thankful she'd found them and hoping this departure didn't cost her them. As her gaze slipped past Laura she noticed a smirk starting to spread across the redhead's face.
"What're you thinking about, Laura?" Jennifer asked suspiciously. Laura was known for her brazenness.
"I just had an idea of a way we could all go out with a bang!" she said excitedly.
Each of the women looked at Laura with a bit of trepidation; Laura's ideas usually meant an amount of mental discomfort if not downright embarrassment.
"What is it?" Marie asked slowly, afraid of the answer.
"I won't say unless all of you promise you'll participate." Laura taunted.
"How can we promise if we do not know what it is we are to participate in?" Teyla asked.
"It's kind of a double-dog dare. Like one big dare each of us has to make a solemn promise to do." Laura looked around the room trying to gauge how convincing she was being. "Come on you guys, it's like a bonding thing we can all do, strengthen our friendships, a secret we'll all share."
Laura's suggestion was met with a long bout of silence.
"Why not," Katie said with a shrug of her shoulders. "You only live once and all that, right," she said sounding as if she was still trying to convince herself.
Jennifer looked hard at Laura through narrowed eyes before her gaze slid over to Katie. At least this had taken their minds off of their impending departures.
"Ok, count me in," Jennifer agreed reluctantly, "But Cadman, don't make me regret calling you my best friend," she said with a glare at Laura.
"I will participate also," Teyla consented.
"Well, if everyone else is in, then I guess I have to," Marie agreed, "But I'm with Jenn, I better not hate you for this."
"Geez girls," Laura laughed, "Where is your sense of adventure and daring."
Jennifer was already regretting saying yes, "Daring… you're going to make us do something embarrassing aren't you?"
"Well, it is a dare?" Laura said with a shrug of her shoulders. "So, onto the dare…"
She hesitated for added flare, "Before each of us leaves Atlantis we must kiss someone. The someone," she said holding up a hand to stave off the protest she could already see coming, "will be picked by the rest of us."
All of the girls began to protest at once.
"Hey, hey," Laura yelled grabbing their attention. "Let's do something daring for once, something that'll make us feel alive. This will be something we can retell and laugh about forever."
"I feel like I'm in high school again," grumbled Katie.
"Ok," Laura started, not deterred by the grumbling, "Let's agree on the rules:"
The rest of the girls get to pick who
You cannot tell the guy that it is part of a dare
You must kiss on the mouth for a minimum of five Mississippi's
You have to kiss the guy between now and when you leave Atlantis
"If someone doesn't complete their dare they must buy us dinner when we get back together. This way we can tell each other how it went." Laura paused and looked at Teyla, "I wish you were coming with us."
"I will miss each of you too, but my people need me now more then ever," Teyla replied with regret.
"I'll tell you what; if we ever get the opportunity to return or send you a letter we'll relay all of our adventures to you," Laura suggested.
"That would be lovely," Teyla agreed already anticipating the hilarity of reading such a letter, especially from Laura's perspective. "And I will do the same given the chance."
"Ok, so who should we pick for first?" Marie asked.
"How about you?" Laura replied.
"I had to ask," Marie said nervously. She watched the girls huddle for several minutes whispering away and began to regret she agreed to this whole dare thing. At least she would have the fun of helping pick for the rest of the girls.
With nerves riding high and each girl trying not to think about the dare, the get-together broke up shortly after the targets were picked and revealed. Each girl left for their quarters to try and get some sleep, but it'd be a very restless night for all.