“Where is the kid from MIT. The one that doesn’t grow facial hair?” Rodney looked up from his tablet PC. “Oh, he was transferred out.”
“When?” John asked softly.
“He would have been beamed onto the Daedalus this morning.” Rodney’s fingers paused over his screen and met John’s. “He’s the only male in my department who hasn’t passed the scan.”
“No one gave you a hard time?”
“Nope, they were all pretty quick to help out. Keller is, while feared mostly because of big needles, a very respected member of the expedition. She’s pretty, listens to us talk without rolling her eyes, and cares enough to make sure we all get sleep as much as possible. It makes her a rare thing for men like us – a pretty girl who is nice to us.” Rodney glanced towards Ronon and then sagged when relief when he didn’t appear angry. “Radek is very upset that he didn’t leave the lab with her. Stackhouse is guilty that she was even there because maybe she wouldn’t have been if she hadn’t brought him coffee. Lots of guilt in this city.”
“I’m going to request a conversation with Caldwell.” John glanced towards Ronon. “If you leave your gun and all of your knives, and I do mean all of them, I’ll let you come with me.”
Ronon walked to an empty exam table, unholestered his weapon and then pulled all of his knives, lining them up on the bed in three neat rows. “Don’t touch my stuff, Rodney.” He pinned the scientist with a frown. “And when I come back I want my new pulse rifle with the rest of my stuff- in one piece and working as perfectly as it was when I traded for it.”
“How is Jennifer?” Vala poked her finger into John’s chest. “Caldwell wouldn’t let me go back down when we found out. Who would want to hurt that sweet girl?”
John held back the urge to grab her finger and glanced briefly at Daniel Jackson as if to ask for his help but realized immediately that Daniel was the kind of man to pick and chose his battles. Wise, but certainly not helpful to John. “She’s upset emotionally, a little bruised, I think a lot pissed but I haven’t seen her pissed often so I’m not exactly sure.”
Vala focused her attention on Ronon. “And you? Are you going to behave?”
“I won’t touch him.” Ronon crossed his arms. “But I can do a lot to a man without ever touching him.”
John chuckled. “Yeah, he made Kavanagh faint just by coming into a room.”
“Oh, I knew I’d like you.” Vala patted Ronon’s arm. “Good for her.”
“Your Jennifer.” Vala walked to Daniel brushed her lips over his. “I’m going to go talk Caldwell into letting me go down.”
“Be careful,” Daniel murmured. “And Vala?” She paused in the door way. “No souvenirs.”
“I’ll be good.” She pulled the door shut behind them.
“Lucky bastard,” John sighed.
Daniel laughed. “I got to the point where I wanted to kill her or keep her. I kept her, it was just easier. She keeps the day interesting and the night too short.”
“Makes her about perfect.” John sat down in the chair. “So?”
“Oh,” Daniel sighed. “Sorry. His arm is being set as we speak and she did a hell of a lot more than just that. He’s three fractured ribs, five of his fingers are broken, two on his left hand and three on his right, his arm is broken in three different places. Caldwell found him in his assigned quarters moaning and barely coherent. He apparently managed to keep himself together long enough to get up here and in quarters before he turned into a big girl. Right now he’s on a very mild pain medication because he also has a minor concussion so we we’ll be able ask him some questions.”
Ronon forced himself to stay pressed against the wall when Caldwell all but shoved the complaining man into the room. He knew enough about him to hate him — he was twenty-five years old, a smart man by anyone’s take, has no parents or siblings, hated being on Atlantis, and he has no problem beating a woman. His name was Wesley Thomas Harding which John said was pretentious. Harding was small for a man but easily a foot taller than Jennifer and out weighed her by at least a hundred pounds.
John and Caldwell exchanged a look and Ronon was relieved that Caldwell wasn’t going to pull rank in this situation.
“What did you take?”
Harding jumped. “What?”
“What did you take from the Ancient database?” John leaned back in his chair and pretended to relax.
“Nothing.” Harding’s gaze darted all over the room, connecting with each man. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Your quarters are being searched- we will find the disc or drive or whatever you used to transport the data that you stole. I’m just curious to know what was worth your life.” John leaned forward. “I mean, really, did you honestly think you could try to kill the Chief of Medicine of Atlantis and get away with it?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“You know what, John. Maybe he doesn’t.” Daniel walked towards the door. “How about the three of us take a walk and Dr. Harding can spend some quality time with Ronon.”
Harding turned to Ronon, his gaze pleading. “I helped you with your lap top last month. Took all of that country music off your MP3 player and showed you how to add music. Remember?”
“I do,” Ronon murmured. “You should have taken the self-defense lessons I offered – then perhaps my woman wouldn’t have kicked your ass.”
“Yours?” Harding jerked up from the table and backed the opposite direction from Ronon. “Those rumors…”
“You want to talk to us, right?” John asked, his gaze hard. “If not, I think Ronon would very much like to have a very private conversation with you about how you treat a women and most specifically how you treated his.”
“What?” Harding asked, his eyes frantically searching the room for an escape.
“That’s how many bruises I found on her.” Ronon pushed away from the wall and Wesley Thomas Harding pissed his pants and proceeded to confess everything he’d ever done.
He found her the gym with Sam Carter and Teyla. They were wearing work out clothes but Sam had her side arm laying on the mat beside her. Ronon leaned against the entrance watched Jennifer very carefully stretching and listening to Teyla walk her through a meditation.
“Sorry about not killing him?” John asked softly.
“I never said I wasn’t going to kill him.” Ronon corrected. “Besides, he’s a spy and a traitor to his own people. I’m satisfied with how he’ll be treated in his future. No society tolerates a traitor.”
“No,” John murmured. “Still not as satisfying as if we could have just beaten him…”
“Yeah.” Ronon watched Sam Carter stand and walk to them.
“He was alone here, did not have an accomplice on the Daedalus, stole some weapon designs, plans for a Jumper, and he has a very weak bladder.” John jerked his head towards Teyla and Jennifer. “What’s this?”
“Teyla came to us about an hour ago and offered Jennifer a chance to relax and ‘calm her spirit’. It seems to be helping her a lot actually, she stopped shaking within about fifteen minutes and Carson says her blood pressure is back to the very normal range.” She focused on Ronon. “Thank you for not making us all do something we’d regret.”
“It wasn’t for you.”
“I know.” Sam glanced back towards Jennifer and then smiled a little. “I asked Stackhouse to gather all of your weapons, including the rifle, and return them to your quarters. They were really freaking out everyone all spread out like that in the infirmary.”
Three Weeks Later
Jennifer propped her chin on her hand and glared at the dormant Star Gate. Ronon had gone for a whole week on a trading mission with SGA-3 and they were due back any minute. She’d given up standing on the balcony because it was no longer a secret why she would be lingering in the gate room waiting for Ronon’s return.
John Sheppard sat down beside her and leaned back on his hands. “He didn’t want to go.”
“I made him.” She chewed her bottom lip. “He was driving me insane. I’m not an invalid, you know.”
“I know and believe it or not he does trust you to take care of yourself. You just gave him a scare and I think it’s been a really long time since a woman got under his skin the way you have.”
“Yeah. I get that.” And she did get it and that’s why she was sitting on the stairs waiting for him, why she’d arranged the day off, put on the panties he really liked to see her in, and she’d left her hair down just like he liked. “I’ll do my best not to die on him, John.”
“It’s all anyone can ask.”
The gate lit up and she stayed where she was. Watching the people who made it their job to be the first line of defense in Atlantis for the “just in case” scenario. Ronon was always the last man through and when he stepped through he gave Chuck a nod. The wormhole disappeared behind him.
“Go on,” John muttered. “Half the damn city is loitering about waiting for this.”
Jennifer hopped up, made every effort not to run, and went to him. A few feet away, she lost her battle with not running and but he caught her and lifted her right off the ground, his pulse rifle hitting the floor, again.
She pressed her forehead to his and breathed in deep. “They expect you to carry me off and do horribly dirty things to me.”
“What do you expect?”
“I’m wearing the red panties.” She swung her feet a little and lowered her mouth to his. She groaned softly when he deepened the kiss and wasn’t embarrassed by the applause, the catcalls, or even the whistles. When she lifted her mouth from his, she whispered, “I missed you.”
“I carry you with me where ever I go.” He lowered her to the ground. “But you’re pure hell on my new gun.”
She laughed and plucked up it up off the ground. “How about I help you get rid of all of those weapons?” She wrapped her hand around three of his fingers and pulled. “Thirty-three?”
“Doubt me, woman?”
“No, I just think you’re exaggerating.” She took a step back when his gaze darkened. “What?”
He grabbed her and tossed her over his shoulder while she laughed. “Sheppard good to see you.” He said without missing a beat and took the steps two at a time.
“That whole alien barbarian thing?” John called out after him. “You just totally redeemed yourself!”
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