Summary: Dr. Keller sees something she shouldn’t have and nearly pays the price in the one place she’s never felt the need to look over her shoulder– Atlantis.
Spoilers: ALL of Season 4 and speculation on “some” of season 5 just to be safe.
Disclaimer: I don’t own them. I don’t want to make money off them.
Sequel to: In the Dark
* * * *
Jennifer curled deeper into the couch that she’d settled in for Sam Carter’s nearly mandatory “girl party”. She wasn’t good at these things and really—she had a hot alien boyfriend she’d rather be doing. Not that she could exactly say that out loud. Even after five months, neither she nor Ronon had made any sort of public admittance. There were rumors – he was intensely protective of her and that was no secret.
Samantha Carter entered and behind her a woman she barely knew but had met several times – Vala. The two women were close—being the only two females on the former SG1 team. She’d heard that the SGC had actually “retired” the SG1 call sign and the first team on rotation there was now SG2. Vala was bitching good naturedly about her lover, Daniel Jackson, who had disappeared into the bowels of Atlantis the moment they arrived.
At first she hadn’t understood what Vala and Daniel had in common then she’d seen them when they arrived – the academic and the so beautiful and brazen alien woman dressed in leather and sporting a wicked grin. It was a stunning moment, because in a lot of ways they mirrored her and Ronon.
“So, Jennifer…” Katie Brown sat right down beside her. “Did you enjoy the dancing?”
Oh. Christ. She immediately remembered that Katie Brown had taught Ronon to dance. Jennifer pursed her lips as her whole face flushed red. “What dancing?”
Katie just laughed and they all turned as the door slid open for Teyla’s arrival but Teyla was obviously not staying. She was dressed for gate travel.
“Colonel Carter, John wanted me to tell you that we are ready for departure.” Teyla stepped aside a little and Ronon appeared in the door way.
Jennifer’s lungs got a little tight at the look he graced her with—primal, smug, possessive, and ‘be here when I get back’ look. Several weeks ago, he’d returned from a mission to find her gone from the city — to Earth. She regretted that trip like few others in her life, because it hurt him that she didn’t wait and burying her father awaited her on the other side of the gate.
He hadn’t been in the gate room when she’d returned—in fact – he’d stayed out of her sight until she’d crawled into her bed. Then, as if he knew she was unprepared to defend herself emotionally he’d come to her took her over with hot words and his amazing body. When she woke in the morning, everything was a little bit better. Though she’d learned a very specific lesson—and had promised early in the morning to never leave him like that again—her voice hoarse from screaming and her body humming with more pleasure than she’d ever known.
“Twenty-five,” she guessed.
He laughed softly. “Thirty-one.”
She glared. She was going to ask him to prove that when he got back. He nodded briefly and was gone from doorway, taking Teyla with him. Jennifer huffed and then flushed when she realized all of the occupants were staring at her.
“Knives,” Jennifer finally answered. “Every time he comes back wounded and we have to keep him in the infirmary—my staff can spend thirty minutes disarming him. He used to have a LOT more, but he can’t hide that much with his hair gone.”
Vala leaned forward. “And that beautiful big man belongs to you?”
She really should have said no. But, she could no more deny him than she could forget to breathe. “Yes.”
“Good for you.” Vala chuckled. “I bet he’s a hell of a ride.”
“Vala!” Sam shoved her. “That man reports to me… fuck. I’ll never get that image out of my head.”
“That’s okay.” Jennifer laughed softly. “It’s not a bad image to have—we’re both really hot.”
“It’s a mistake, right?”
Sam Carter leaned back on her hands stared out across the ocean that was Atlantis’ home. “Hell, I don’t know. I mean, there is no regulation against it. Neither one of you are in the military contingent. You are his doctor of record, however.”
“Carson takes care of his medical needs now,” Jennifer murmured—her relief at the return of Carson Beckett in every word she spoke.
Sam took a long draw of the beer that they’d picked up from her quarters. Jennifer stared at the untouched liquid in hers, after a moment she reached out and replaced Sam’s empty one with the one she hadn’t even opened. She shrugged at Sam’s raised eyebrow but couldn’t really say why she wasn’t drinking. The fact was that when Ronon left the city, she spent most of her time knotted up with worry and emotions she shouldn’t be having. They’d both walked wide-eyed into the relationship and it was going to be public knowledge soon and it was a little unnerving.
“We can’t help who love.”
“Your complicated relationship back on Earth?”
“Oh, yeah.” Sam laughed softly. “So, very complicated.”
“He’s military right?”
“Yes.” She winced even as she admitted it.
Jennifer refocused on the ocean in front of them. “As Vala would say—good for you.”
“Yeah, good for me.” Sam opened the beer and took a long draw. “He loves this place—says it’s a fishermen’s dream come true. A freakin’ city in the middle of an ocean.”
Jennifer’s eyes widened in shock. “Oh My God. Really? Good for you.”
Sam looked at her and smirked a little. “Yeah, good for me.”
“We know it’s dangerous. I know that every time he goes through the gate may be the last time I ever see him again.”
“Which is why Teyla delivered her message in person?” Sam asked. “So, Ronon would have excuse to see you?”
“Yes. His team has gotten pretty good at running interference for us.”
“Why the secret? I mean beyond the privacy issue, you certainly didn’t expect to keep it a secret forever.”
“No. Not forever, but he wanted to keep it under the radar of the city gossips as long as possible.” Jennifer sighed. “I mean, people speculate, but it’s not the same thing as them knowing. He’s afraid the others will treat me differently, he is after all an alien.”
“He’s the best looking man on this whole planet and probably on most of the planets he visits. If the women in this city treat you differently it’ll be out of jealousy and not some misplaced xenophobia. After all, we are to believe the current theory about the Ancients—Ronon and you share as much genetic material as you and I.”
“And the men?” Jennifer asked softly. “I know how military men can be, Sam. I know how they’ll make what is between us seem dirty and lewd.”
Sam laughed softly. “Yeah, that would last about as long as it would take Ronon to kick all of their asses. So, you suffer a day? Not much of a hardship when you look at what you get in exchange. I didn’t notice it until tonight—the man looks at you like you’re his whole world.”
Jennifer’s stomach tightened—his words as he’d surrendered to sleep the night before filling her mind. “He’s never said he loves me.”
“For some men it isn’t easy.”
“But last night he said—“ She took a deep breath. “He said there was nothing he would not survive for me and that he would always come home.” Jennifer pulled her legs up to her chest. “Then the big bastard fell asleep and I was left – laying there still shaking from the most amazing sex ever and I felt like I might bleed out from the pain of knowing how much I mean to him.”
“You know, if you’re this frank when you’re sober—I almost hesitate to know how you’d be drunk.” Sam took another long swig of beer. “I’m going to need more beer.”
Jennifer laughed. “I think you’ve had enough and I apologize if I’ve added to your mental picture inventory. I just..”
“It’s not easy having no one to talk to. I understand.” Sam swung her feet and leaned down to look over the water. “And as you said—you’re both beautiful so the mental pictures aren’t that bad.”