Sheppard HC LJ Community Comment Fic Exchange, September 2010

Characters:John, Ronon

Request: A missing scene from Outcast - John and Ronon before they get to the funeral (maybe while they're stuck on the Midway station waiting for the quarantine time to run out), looking more for emotional whump than physical whump

Gen/Slash/ or Het: Gen

Don't want: No slash please! Friendship between John and Ronon only :)


John stared at the mirror in his SGC guest quarters, his hand idly adjusting the perfect knot to his tie. He hated ties, or suits for that matter. If he didn't have to wear one, he never did, so it was a wonder that he still remembered how to tie a tie, much less do it decently. He supposed the tie in his dress blues kept him in practice, but it seemed the only time he drug that uniform out of mothballs was for military funerals.

No wonder he hated suits.

"Like this, John." Patrick reached around from behind and fixed John's tie, his hands deftly knotting it around his young son's neck. "A good tie and suit says a lot about a man." He squeezed John's shoulders. "We're laying your mother to rest today, son, you should look your best to honor her."

John could still feel his father's touch and heard his words, in spite of the years that had passed. He brushed a speck of lint off the dark jacket and sighed as he stared at himself in the mirror. His gaze refocused as the door opened behind him and he stared at Ronon's reflection from the doorway. The SGC had found him some suitable clothes and he was dressed from head to toe in black, though his pants had a light pinstripe to them. His dreads were neatly pulled back and his goatee was trimmed. "Clean up pretty well, big guy," John's smile was faint. He turned around as Ronon walked into his quarters and looked him over.

"You too."

John absently pulled on his jacket cuffs. "Dad always said the suit made the man." His throat tightened and he turned away, brushing his jacket sleeves hastily before looking back at Ronon's silent gaze. "What?"

Ronon cocked his head just a little. He walked closer to John, his gaze never wavering.

John returned the direct stare. In his two years of knowing Ronon, he'd learned to read him pretty well, though it'd taken a long time, a lot of mixed signals and miscommunications to get it right. But John knew this look, and knew Ronon had something to say. He might take a few minutes to say it, but he would and nothing John could do would make it go any faster, or stop Ronon from speaking, so he stood there quietly, and waited.

Ronon's gaze was measured as he looked down at John. "I've always believed the heart makes the man, Sheppard, nothing else. Courage, integrity, passion and strength all come from the heart."

One side of John's mouth quirked up in a ghost of a smile and he nodded slightly. Ronon was right, and years in the military, fighting next to and with men who would give their lives for each other, had taught him the same thing. Worth was measured by actions and integrity, not words and clothes.

"Did your father have a good heart?" Ronon asked, his gaze neutral.

John looked away as memories of fights, hard words and hurting faded, replaced with support, love and encouragement. His father wrestling with him in the spacious living room, when he couldn't have been more than eight, teaching him to ride his first horse and drive his first car, fighting with him about his choice of college, but ultimately paying his tuition anyway.

The pain in his father's voice when John told him he was going to war; the one time they'd spoken to each other in five years.

John nodded. "Yeah," he managed as his throat constricted again, "he did."

"Then honor that John, and nothing else." Ronon arched his brows slightly.

John smiled faintly, bittersweet emotions flowing over him. "You're right," he admitted. His quiet chuckle was strained. "Don't think either of us should show up naked though. I think I'll stick with the suit." He sighed deeply, breaking the tension that stiffened his muscles and the lump in his throat faded. He rubbed his neck. "Why are you here anyway?" He waved off Ronon's confused look. "I mean, why'd you come back with me?"

For a moment, Ronon's gaze held an annoyed 'isn't it obvious?' look and John was positive the big man wouldn't even answer him. But, abruptly that expression was replaced by a contemplative one.

Ronon looked away. "My father told me that courage was shared; strengthened by those around you. It's why men with good hearts stick together." He paused as his gaze returned to John. "That's why I'm here." Without another word, Ronon turned and left John's quarters.

John stared at the closed door for a minute, knowing Ronon would wait for him in the corridor and give him whatever time he needed.

"It's why men with good hearts stick together."

Slowly, John smiled. All the money and prestige in the world, couldn't buy what he saw in Ronon, and what Ronon apparently saw in him.

John took a deep breath, drawing strength from his friend's words and from his own heart. He straightened his shoulders and walked out of his quarters.