Summary: Dr. Keller gets separated from Ronon and Major Lorne on a routine mission.
Rating: T for strong language
Spoilers: ALL of Season 4 just to be safe.
“I’m not leaving without her.” Ronon Dex had done a lot of things in his life – made enemies without trying, killed to survive, run for his own life, but he’d never left someone behind.
“We’ve already searched for an hour. She could have already gone through the gate.”
Ronon shook his head, his gaze taking in their surroundings. “No, there are only her boot prints from this morning.” He glanced at the loosely packed soil around the gate and then he Evan Lorne’s gaze. “She didn’t make it back. Someone got past us.”
Major Lorne shook his head. “There were six of them and they are all dead.”
Yeah, he’d really enjoyed the killing part of that far more than he should have. He pressed his lips together and focused briefly on the DHD. “We lost Dr. Weir. We lost Teyla. I will not return to Atlantis without Dr. Keller. ”
Lorne shrugged off his supply pack and walked to the DHD. “I’ll go back and inform the Colonel on our situation and hopefully we get a search team back here before the sun sets. In the meantime, stay within radio contact of the gate.”
Ronon picked up the abandoned pack and shouldered it without a word. He knew Lorne was right. They needed more people, equipment but the thought of leaving the fragile and so very female Jennifer Keller on another planet by herself was more than he could stand.
Ronon waited until he went through the gate and then he turned to walk in the direction of the battle that had separated him and his tiny doctor. She’d been his, at least in his mind, for weeks. The quarantine that had left them both stranded in the infirmary had proven to be a catalyst for them. Granted, she’d darted around and ignored him for more than a week afterward.
He should have kissed her when he had a chance.
Jennifer not going to win any awards for her sense of direction. She consoled herself with the knowledge that she’d done exactly as instructed. Ronon had shouted at her to run and she’d bloody well run. Granted, she doubted he’d meant for her to run with no sense of direction or purpose. But she remained a little gun shy since her last two off world missions and it wasn’t lost on her that she was yet again deep in a forest on an alien world.
Yet, this time she did not have Teyla to protect her. Her chest tightened at the thought of her friend.
No one had given up finding Teyla but as the days had stretched into weeks, it had become obvious that their search was going to go on for sometime. She knew Teyla’s child would be due in just a few short months and the doctor in her was furious that she was not there to take care of Teyla as she’d promised she would be.
Jennifer shrugged off her pack, dropped it on the ground, and sat down next to an impossibly large tree. You were supposed to sit and wait for rescue if you got lost, right? Well, she was most certainly lost.
She pulled an energy bar out of her pack and unwrapped it. She knew very little about the planet she was on, save that a small village more than three hours walk from the gate was trading medical services for supplies. Her medical services. Jennifer knew it was a fair trade off and tried not to think of it like she was being pimped out. She chuckled at the thought.
The radio on her shoulder crackled and she sighed. It had gotten broken when she’d taken a very unexpected tumble down a ravine. Thankfully, it had been the only casualty. She shoved the wrapper of the energy bar down into a pocket of her pack and closed her eyes.
She jumped a little startled by his voice. Her gaze darted around the clearing but he was no where in sight. “Dr. Keller, do you read me?”
She pulled the radio receiver off her jacket and cradled it in her hand with a smile. Ronon Dex was looking for her. She’d had no doubts. He was a honorable man and he’d proven that over and over again over in the months that she’d personally known him. She really wished she could respond.
He sighed over the radio. “If you can hear me, just stop moving. I’ve found your trail but it’s getting dark fast and the more distance you put between us…” Ronon’s voice trailed off. “Just sit your pretty ass down, Dr. Keller. That’s an order.”
Jennifer wished she could respond. She clicked on the radio but it hissed in protest and she stopped. It wasn’t much of a life line but it was something. Maybe he would talk to her again.
“I really should have kissed you… alarms and opening doors and all. I should have kissed you.”
Yeah. He really should have. She frowned a little and then flushed as she thought about the night they’d spent locked up in the infirmary. If she were going to be honest with herself, the big man intimidated the hell out of her. He was way out of her league in a couple hundred ways. He was amazing to look at, an accomplished warrior, a respected member of the Atlantis expedition, an alien. The alien part was pretty tricky but she’d never been the type to let a little DNA get in her way. Granted, he was the very first alien she’d had the hots for… probably… unless she counted Lt. Worf from Star Trek, and she didn’t since he was an actor pretending to be an alien.
She giggled a little at the thought and pulled her knees up close to her chest. She had a feeling it was going to get cold when night fully settled in.
He felt like an idiot for talking to himself but it was better than nothing. “When we get back to Atlantis, we should go out on a date.”
It was an Earth custom that he’d discussed with John and Rodney at length. When Rodney had spent so much time with Katie, the plant lady, he’d heard a lot about the entire ritual and while it was something of a mystery to him as why women would like that he was game to try it for his tiny doctor as soon as he found her.
“We can have dinner on one of the balconies and maybe watch a movie or something.” He grimaced as he said it, knowing that he didn’t sound nearly as confident as he should have. It would be so much easier if he was on his home world. So much easier. “I haven’t really been interested in anyone since I came to Atlantis, did you know? Probably. Atlantis is like one big hive of information. There are so few secrets there.”
He was babbling. He blamed McKay. Before he’d met the brilliant but annoying scientist, he’d not been much of a talker. Yet, Ronon lately found silence uncomfortable and appreciated when Rodney filled the air with endless chatter—even if he was to quote Sheppard ‘bitching like a woman’.
“I lost my wife because I didn’t push her hard enough to leave. I didn’t protect her.” Ronon cleared his throat. “I’m not going to make that mistake again.”
Frustrated, his hand dropped from the radio and he trudged ahead. He’d found a ravine where she’d taken a tumble and picked up a flash light and a utility knife she’d left behind. After the fall, her stride seemed more cautious but her tracks did not betray any injury.
He knew he was out of radio range of the gate, but having discovered her small boot prints had forced him to abandon the whole idea of listening to Lorne’s advice to stay near the gate. She’d run in the damn near opposite direction of the gate and that knowledge added to the list of things he was going to teach her when he found her. His gut tightened. In the weeks following the incident with Teyla when Keller had been taken hostage, he’d promised himself that he would teach the woman to defend herself. Yet, so much had happened since then and he’d never talked her into the gym or onto a gun range.
He flipped on her flash light and pointed it off in the direction her foot prints took. He’d already been searching close to four hours and he couldn’t fathom letting her fall asleep alone and maybe believing that they’d left her behind.
She really wished he’d talk to her some more. Darkness sucked and she kept hearing creepy things moving around in the trees all around her. A quick inspection of her pack and revealed a missing flashlight and that pissed her off. She’d probably lost it in the fall and had been too freaked out to take stock of her situation before she’d started running again.
She wasn’t cut out for off-world missions. She just wasn’t. Damn it. Tears stung her eyes and she bit down on her bottom lip. It was like she was cursed or something. “I suck at this.”
“Yeah, you pretty much do.”
The beam of flash light hit her face briefly and then dropped to the ground between them.
“Ronon!” She shot up from the ground and launched herself at him.