Ronon was sitting on Jennifer’s bed when John found him, a small pile of clothes beside him and a duffle on the floor between his feet with socks and shoes in it. “Is this because of me?”
“We won’t know until we find out what happened to start the altercation,” John answered honestly.
He’d come back through the gate a half-hour before Ronon who had stayed behind to barter for the rifle that he’d fallen in love with. The man loved his weapons. John figured he was going to be pissed when he realizes that one of the science team had pilfered the rifle and was currently taking it apart.
“We have a lot of new people recently, quite a few who give me a wide berth—never take part in the training sessions—call me an alien when they think I can’t hear.” Ronon sighed. “I won’t have her mistreated because of what I am.”
“You know I won’t tolerate that.” John leaned against the wall by the door. “Will you trust me to handle this?”
“I won’t do anything that will cost me her.” He rubbed his face with both hands. “I could take a lot, Sheppard, I’ve lost more than anyone should and survive it but if I lost her I might go a little…”
“Nuts?” John asked. “Yeah, I get that and being your best friend I’d go a little nuts with you. It wouldn’t be pretty but it would be bloody and you know how I like to make a mess.”
“Yeah.” Ronon picked up the duffle and finished packing it.
“Most women don’t wear that frilly stuff under their uniform. She probably has cotton for work.” He motioned towards the bra and panties Ronon had picked out.
Ronon smirked. “Lace, satin, and silk, Sheppard. That’s it.” He glanced towards the pale blue matching set he’d picked out. “She likes those best. I figured it would… she says they make her feel beautiful.”
“You just totally ruined your whole alien barbarian thing for me and now I’ve got dirty pictures of your little doctor in my head. Not good. Not good at all.”
Ronon glared at him. “Well get them out of your head or I’ll take my hostility out on you.”
She was sitting on the bed when he returned, wrapped in a towel and Dr. Beckett was pulling a needle out of her arm. It looked strangely intimate; but mostly for the setting not the activity. If he’d seen them in such a situation in the infirmary he wouldn’t have batted an eye. He held up his hand and he felt more than heard Sheppard come to a stop behind him.
“That’s far enough, John.”
“Yeah, I’ll get with Carter.”
Ronon closed the door by brushing his fingers across the panel and then walked to the bed. Carson was checking her blood pressure now, both were silent. She offered him a small smile when he put the bag down on the bed, the two small bruises on her face were all the more vivid now.
“Alright, lass, you’re blood pressure is better since the shower but I’m still not happy with it.” Carson dropped the cuff into his open bag and took up her wrist. “Pulse is steady, but I want to see you after your meeting with Carter and Sheppard.”
She nodded. “I’ll be there, promise.”
“In the mean time, try to remain calm, do your deep breathing, and leave all of the weapon wielding to your big man.” Carson glanced briefly at Ronon and flashed him a small smile. Then he stood up from his place on the bed and picked up his bag. “Ronon if you notice any disorientation on her part, I expect to see her immediately.”
“Yeah, not a problem.” He stepped away and let the doctor pass him.
Jennifer stood carefully and dropped the towel. “Thanks for the clothes.”
“And the privacy to discuss your test results?” Ronon asked softly, his voice betraying none of the fear he suddenly had. His gaze ripped over her body taking in the bruises, stunned by the sheer number of them marring her pale skin. Scratch marks on her arms, the impressions of fingers, deep purple and blue marks on her thighs and hips, up across her rib cage and even her breasts.
“Carson and I agree that I was not sexually abused or touched in that way. From what I can remember it was just a very physical fight and we were both pretty desperate – me to escape and he was determined to kill me.” She reached for the bag and unzipped it with shaking hands. “I may need your help.”
Ronon walked to her and wordlessly sank to his knees in front of her. He wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in the smooth flesh of her stomach, careful to offer no pressure. A shudder ran through them both, but it was more relief than anything else.
She ran her hands through his short hair. She wanted to tell him that she was fine and that everything would be okay—but it wasn’t fine. Nothing was fine and wouldn’t be – not for a long time.
He turned then and placed the softest kiss imaginable on a bruise that covered most of her left side. She remembered that blow and was surprised when Carson had told her she had no broken or fractured ribs. He whispered words against her skin and found another bruise and kissed it.
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