Author's Note: Alright, at long last, I finally was able to get this fic out there! So far, both my Ava fics have corresponded with the episode; and the plan is eventually to cover Ava in every ep that Michael was in (we'll see how many I can get through). But this fic is kind of a transition, in between "Michael" and "Allies", and doesn't really go along with any particular episode. I wanted to write Ava dealing with the fact that her best friend was gone, and that no one else wanted to find him again. So sorry I took so much longer than I thought to write this. I hope that you'll forgive me!

Dedication: Is three-fold; The King's Solider, for being awesome and encouraging me to write the fic; Padme4000 for being the first person to review my last Ava fic and for loving it; and to fyd818, for the semi-beta/the title/being amazing ^_^

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Intensity

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In the weeks since they'd lost Michael, Ava hadn't been quite sure what to do with herself. Colonel Sheppard and Dr. Weir had taken her off of active duty during that time, because they had known how close she was to Michael and that his loss would affect her. She didn't deny that, and she was grateful for their efforts to help; but a break wasn't what she needed. She needed to be out there, finding out what happened to him. If he had lived or died.

Most of the people that she talked to seemed certain that he had died; more than that, most of them seemed almost relieved. Ava was furious with them. Most of them had pretended to be his friends while he was here, but they had also all been friends with Srgt. Cole. They apparently thought that Michael's death would be a fitting punishment for killing their friend and almost killing Teyla.

Teyla. Ava had found that the Athoisan was the one person who hoped that he was still alive, that he had found a place. She had gone to her knowing that she was the last one to have spoken to Michael, and wondering what had been the last things that he'd said.

And if he said anything about you. She'd firmly squashed that nagging thought. It was not as important as her friend's safety.

Teyla had seemed surprised when Ava sought her out at lunch one day and seated herself in the chair across from her. They had spoken very few times, and there was an undercurrent of tension when they did that Ava at least found hard to ignore. She tried to think past it.

"I'm sorry to bother you like this; and I know that we've never really been friends or anything; but Michael was my friend, and I have to know what happened with him; what happened to him out there?" For a moment she received no answer, and she was worried that the Athosian would simply get up and walk away. But finally, she spoke.

In the end, Teyla had had very little to tell her. For one, some of the things Michael had said had been solely to Teyla; and she still seemed to find it very painful to speak of. But she admitted her hope for him readily enough.

"I believe that he lived," she told Ava. "And I hope that he has found a place. He did not deserve what happened; he deserves to belong somewhere." There was a deep sadness in Teyla's eyes and her voice as she spoke; but Ava spared that barely a thought. Her mind was filled with images of her friend, wondering where he could have ended up and if he had found his place.

"Thanks for believing in him," Ava said absently, standing up. "He deserves that too." She wandered away, not looking back at Teyla, who suddenly seemed drained and exhausted.

The things that Teyla had given Ava to think about only distracted her for so long; very soon, she was chaffing again under the forced rest that she was being made to endure. It wouldn't have been nearly so hard if she'd known that they had people out looking for her friend; but they didn't. The Lanteans seemed ready to forget about him and move on with their lives.

That, in addition to everything else weighting on her already. was too much to handle. She needed to hit something, or she was going to explode.

She decided that it would be counterproductive to actually hurt someone and get herself sent back to Earth; so she settled for a punching bag in the gym. She whacked at it repeatedly, not bothering to pull any of her punches. She was determined to beat the stuffing out of the thing if it killed her...

"I hope that that bag isn't standin' in for me." She whipped around to see Ronon standing there, a grin on his face. She allowed herself to relax a bit when she recognized him.

"Surprisingly, no," she said, pulling in her stance. "Actually, it's not representing anyone at the moment. I just wanted to hit something." He laughed.

"Yeah, I know the feeling."

"Well, you usually end up practicing on Sheppard," she said, raising one eyebrow at him with mock severity. He shrugged.

"It's not like he doesn't keep coming back for more."

"Why is that?"

"He thinks that I cheat, and that he can beat me if I "fight fair"." Ronon turned to a rack on the wall and selected two sturdy rods, spinning each a few times to test their balance. Ava watched him carefully.

"Where did you learn to fight...like that?" she asked, not remembering the name of the style that he fought.

"Bantos fighting?"

"Yeah."

"I dunno." The rods stopped spinning. "I've kinda always known. Everyone used to practice on Sateda."

"Everyone?"

"Well, me and all my friends," he amended. "But there were a lot of other people, too; it was kind of a big deal." Ava nodded, quiet for a second as she considered the consequences of continuing this conversation. But at the very least, it would distract her from her worry for a while.

"Will you teach me?" she asked. Ronon blinked, looking surprised.

"Don't you learn how to fight in the military?" he asked. Ava shrugged, rubbing her shoulder awkwardly.

"Well, yeah, but not like that. I'd like to learn." Ronon shrugged, a slight smile touching his lips.

"Alright, then. I guess I can give you a quick lesson today before my match." Ava grinned, feeling a little shy all of a sudden.

"Thanks," she said.

"No problem," he assured her. He handed her the two rods that he had just chosen, and turned to select two more. Ava watched him quietly while he did, a little bit surprised. She had been determined to hate him because he had hated Michael, but she couldn't. And as long as Michael wasn't around or spoken of, Ronon gentle and sweet and friendly to her. She wasn't sure why he didn't hate her, either.

...but she wasn't about to argue it. She realized how lonely she had been since she'd lost Michael, and she was grateful for any friendship at the moment.

Ronon turned back around to face her with a different pair of rods, and Ava shook her head clear of those thoughts and focused on him as he went to stand in the middle of the room. She followed him hesitantly, and he laughed gently.

"Don't be nervous; I promise that I won't hurt you," he said gesturing with his rod to a place on the floor. "Stand there."

"Okay..." Ava obeyed, and gripped her rods tightly in her hands as she faced him. She copied his stance and waited for his instruction.

"This is a basic stance," he explained to her, not moving yet. "It's the one that most beginners use, but it's also the safest. This is the position you'd want to give you opponent as few places to hit you as possible." Ava nodded, readjusting her grip on the rods again and absorbing the information, waiting for Ronon's next instrucion. But he dropped his stance and came over to her.

"You're way too tight," he said. "You need to relax; you can't move well when you're that tense. If you were really in a fight, you could be killed if you're not comfortable and ready."

"Sorry," she shook her head and looked away, warmth rushing through her cheeks.

"Hey, it's fine; you've never done this before. But you need to learn how to relax if you want to be good at this." He paused. "Do you know a lot of stretching?" Ava nodded.

"Yeah; all the stuff that I know, you need to be able to stretch."

"Okay. Make sure that you warm up for next time."

"Sure."

Ava spent the next half an hour mimicking Ronon's movements, becoming comfortable with the basic moves and poses and stances. By the time that they were done with that, she was feeling quite loosened up and ready to test her new knowledge out. Ronon noticed.

"Alright, we're gonna try to spar for a couple of minutes. I want you to defend against me, okay?" Ava nodded, feeling much more confident than she had when they started.

"Lets do it." Ronon grinned, and took his basic stance. Ava followed suit, and waited for him to make his first move.

Ronon took a step to the right, and Ava did the same, keeping herself centered on him, wondering what he was doing.

"Keep your eyes on my face at all times," he said, continuing to circle. "If you can see my eyes, you can anticipate anything that I'm going to do. Wherever my eyes go, that's where I'm aiming." Ava nodded, but didn't dare to speak, afraid to let herself be distracted even that little bit.

Finally, Ronon attacked. His first few moves were slow and simple, and Ava had no trouble blocking them. She smiled, and tossed her ponytail back behind her, the movement almost a dare. Ronon's lips curled up in a smile that showed his teeth, and came at her again, quicker this time but with the same basic movements as the first time. She blocked all of those easily as well.

"Not bad," he said, taking a step back.

"Thanks," she said, licking her lips. "I have a good teacher."

"Maybe. You ready?" Ava nodded, and as he moved she was already moving into the position to block his first move...

...but it was a different move than he had used on her the first couple of times. She pulled herself back in and managed to get her rods up in time to block it as he continued. But what he was doing was different than it had been the first few times; in fact, nothing was the same. He was using moves that he had showed her before, but not that he had practiced on her already; and he was throwing things in that he hadn't showed her at all. She worked hard to figure out what he was doing and how to defend herself against him.

"I am sorry that I am late." Ava spun around to face the voice, and saw Teyla standing in the doorway, a pair of bantos rods and a leather bag in her hand and her eyes looking faintly amused. She didn't have time to wonder why that was before a breath of air wooshed past her ear and two rods slid smoothly across her throat. She froze.

"Not too bad," Ronon said again, barely out of breath as he whispered in her ear. She sucked in a breathless gasp.

"Thanks, I think. Can you let me go now?" The rods were removed from her throat, and straightened again and glanced between Ronon and Teyla.

"What was that?" Ronon asked Teyla. She shrugged.

"I was curious what you had taught her about distraction."

"She was doing good." Teyla turned her eyes to Ava.

"Do not let youself be distracted in battle. Keep your focus on you opponent, or opponents, but do not let your attention be stolen by anything as trivial as my entrance." She dropped her bag on the bench by the window. "Other than that, you did well." Ava nodded breathlessly.

"Thanks," she gasped, pushing a couple of loose strands of hair off of her face. "Maybe you could teach me some stuff sometime?"

"Maybe."

"You can stay and watch us for a couple of minutes," Ronon suggested. "Then you can see what it looks like." Ava agreed, and stood back by the door to watch them as they faced off.

Her eyes widened as the first strike sounded through the room, followed in quick succession by a chorus of similar sounds before the first echoes had even silenced. They were fast. And they were also very good. Ava found herself intimidated by the power and control that the two aliens were displaying as they moved across the floor. She had never seen anything like it before; and she doubted that she could ever reach that level. Aside from the sheer skill that they were displaying, their whole match just seemed far too...personal.

It was something that she didn't feel comfortable watching. Ronon had told her that she could watch, but seeing them now, the way that they fought, the power in their strikes that displayed absolute trust, it felt almost intimate. It was wrong of her to watch.

They didn't even notice as she left, still too wrapped up in their fight. Ava went back to her room and stretched out on her bed, finally giving her weary muscles a chance to rest and mentally planning out her plea for Elizabeth and Colonel Sheppard to let her back on duty. Talking to Teyla and then sparring with Ronon had actually helped somehow, to alieve her worry even if she could not be completely at peace. Doing something had renewed her spirit and her will to keep going; the depression was lessening, being replaced by pupose. She would learn all that she could, and do all that she could to find him, and to keep others from suffering his fate.

Her eyes fluttered closed, and she fell asleep with images of her closest friend's faces floating in her mind; Michael and Ronon. And, in the corner of every image, fuzzy and slightly out of focus, was Teyla.

Even in her dreams, Ava wondered why.

Fin.

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A/N: It didn't turn out exactly like I had been picturing it; but I think that I'm pretty satisfied with the whole thing. Thanks for reading! :D