Jennifer came through the gate like a force of nature – coming out of field clothes and tossing them at staff shouting instructions for prepping the OR and berating Evan Lorne under her breath because she’d found him at the gate telling one of the few field military medics in the expedition that he would write him up if he tried to move him again.
By the time she reached the OR, she’d managed to get into scrubs and was busy washing her hands all the way to the elbow – a nurse lingering near by with a tablet PC was waiting for instructions.
“Tell Dr. Banks to check Lorne’s wound track thoroughly for metal fragments and foreign substances, I want a course of antibiotics, the biggest tetanus shot known to man in his ass for being a jerk, a full blood panel – every poison we’ve encountered in this galaxy is on the table for consideration, and he’s in ICU until I can see him personally. How is Jakes?”
“Stable. One transfusion but we found the bleeder we just need you for the heavy lifting.”
“He took a serious blow to the head—so yes—we’ve kept him awake since we got him through the gate.”
Jennifer grimaced. “Heavy lifting, indeed.” She went through her options, ordered a high dosage pain killer that would numb him as much as possible without putting him under. The doors to the OR slid open for her in a whisper and her gaze flicked up briefly to the operations deck—both John and Ronon were standing up there—she hadn’t spared them a glance since they’d reached the gate and found Lorne still very much on the planet.
“Phillip?” She went Phillip Jakes—he’d been with the expedition much longer than she had and was well liked. She checked his pupil response. “Talk to me soldier.”
“Package,” he whispered.
“Yes, the package is secure.” She touched his cheek to keep his attention. “You know what’s coming?”
“Yes.” He nodded.
“We’re going to give you a local but we’re not going to let you sleep through this—it’s too dangerous. I’m going to have you strapped down – I know it sucks but I have no choice.”
* * * *
Ronon was sitting in a chair beside an unconscious Evan Lorne wondering what on Earth he can say to the man who had put himself between his woman and a sword. He hadn’t a fucking clue so when Evan opened his eyes and turned his head, he asked a question that had been burning a hole in his gut for a long while.
“Are you in love with my wife?”
Evan’s stilled but didn’t look away. “I care about her but it’s not … it’s not sexual. She’s like a sister to me. Reminds me a lot of my family and we connected that way from the start.”
“Thank you for what you did.”
“We would have gotten away if it hadn’t been for Branton—the leader of the village.”
“We know. Jennifer briefed us on the way back to the gate. We left the medical supplies, took the grain we were owed, and Radek is stripping the Bola Kai ship as we speak.”
“Rodney?” Lorne asked softly.
Ronon frowned at the question. “What about him?”
“Where is McKay, Ronon?”
“He checked out the ship with Radek and then came back through the gate. I guess he’s in a lab – yelling—usual McKay stuff.” Ronon sat back in the chair, a little stunned. “Oh.”
Lorne did look away this time. “You know I’m tired. I did take a sword in the back.”
Ronon reached out and put his hand on Evan’s arm. “For her and I won’t ever forget that, Evan. Not ever. Get some rest and I’ll go find your scientist.”
“You don’t have…”
“You want to see him. I’ll let him know,” Ronon responded simply. “And I can keep a secret.”
He left Evan, checked on Jennifer who was in her office giving out instructions to her staff. She met his gaze briefly over their heads but didn’t stop talking so he left her—he knew that what she did was going to come back to her in the night. It was a violation of her basic principals and no matter the circumstances—the death would linger in her.
He found Rodney in a lab by himself hunched over a laptop muttering to himself and hammering away at the keyboard in a way so familiar to Ronon that it actually proved to be comforting.
Rodney jerked. “How is Jennifer?”
“Good. Running her staff like a little military general. Jakes came through the surgery very well and Lorne is stable. She moved him out of ICU an hour ago – was thinking you should go see him.” He leaned on the counter. “You know.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Rodney glared at him but the bright shine of horror in his eyes gave him away. Ronon knew that look too well.
“Relax, McKay, it’s not common knowledge. He trusts me and was in a pretty weak state. You should go see him at least briefly. The man… the man could have died today and I don’t know what is between the two of you… but he asked for you.”
Rodney cleared his throat and slid down off the stool. “Okay. Okay.”
“Want me to run interference in the infirmary?”
“Yeah. That would help. I don’t want anyone to see and think… it would ruin his career.”
“I know the stupid Air Force rules.” Ronon touched Rodney’s shoulder aware the scientist was shaking. “Hey.”
“I hacked into the infirmary and checked his reports—I was about to infiltrate the security footage to see if I could get view of his bed.” Rodney cleared his throat. “It’s stupid. It’s fucking stupid to be this… I didn’t want it. Didn’t expect it.”
“We never do. Loving someone is the most dangerous thing we do.”
Rodney stopped and glared him. “Fuck you.”
“Fuck you for barely talking for like two whole freaking goddamned years and making me think you were just some stupid big alien. Fuck you for it.”
“Well fuck you back, McKay.” Ronan wrapped an around his shoulders. “Come on then—we’ll go play spy games in the infirmary and I’ll scare people off for you. A few people still think I’m a big stupid alien so they give me all the space I want.”
* * * *
Jennifer slipped into the curtained area where Ronon and Rodney were sitting with Evan Lorne and without a word slipped into Ronon’s lap. Her day was over and while she wanted her bed desperately – she realized that Ronon was lounging about so Rodney could visit with Lorne. She wondered how he’d found out about the two of them. She’d known for a while – known and had been very surprised but pleased for them both. She’d always been convinced that Rodney and Radek were the couple.
Radek had oddly enough hooked up with someone very unexpected but that was neither here nor there. She smiled watching Rodney lower his head and press his forehead against Evan’s hand. It was intimate, personal and she’d never seen Rodney so open.
“We gave him some pretty great drugs.”
“Yeah.” Rodney nodded without lifting his head. “He wasn’t awake long.” He was silent for a long moment and then pulled away. “Okay. I’ve got work.”
Jennifer watched him hurry away with a sigh. “And here I thought hooking up with a guy from another planet was complicated.”
* * * *
Jennifer stumbled from their bed, graceless and pulled on a robe as she hurried to the door of their quarters. She waved her hand over the panel to end the privacy mode and let the door slide open. Laura Cadman pretty much launched herself at her the moment she did. “Christ… Laura! What?”
“I just heard.” Laura hugged her tight and took a deep breath. “Chuck told us in the gate room. Are you all right? They said you killed a man?” Her gaze flicked into the room and she caught sight of Ronon sprawled on the bed, naked from the waist down. “Wow.”
“Hey!” Jennifer laughed softly and hugged her. “No ogling the man. I’m fine. I did have to use the gun but it’s okay. I’m okay with it. The next time you want to hug all over me though it would be nice if you waited until the sun was fully up.”
“Fuck you. I was worried sick.” Laura stepped back a little. “Sorry to wake you.”
“She wasn’t sleeping.” Ronon turned on his side and regarded the two of them in the doorway. “She was staring at the ceiling and closing her eyes when ever she thought I would look over at her.”
Laura swallowed hard and forced herself not to look at Ronon. “How the hell do you even think all day?” She hissed at Jennifer. “I’d never get another thing done again. Ever.”
“It’s difficult.” Jennifer lead her over to the couch in their quarters and shot her husband a look. “Cover your eyes, Laura.”
Ronon laughed when Cadman slapped both hands over her face in utter compliance. He rolled from the bed went to their closet and pulled out pants and shirt. “Regulated to the bathroom in my own quarters, nice.”
“So what’s wrong?”
“I was worried… wanted to see you. Stopped and saw Lorne, Jakes—they were both asleep. I heard about Lorne…” Laura trailed off. “A sword of all things?”
Laura shrugged out of her field vest and rubbed the back of her neck. “Sorry to get out of the bed—this is your day off right? I probably interupted morning sex.”
“I wish.” Ronon muttered from around a tooth brush as he leaned in the door way. He pulled the brush out and frowned. “You know – I overheard some marines the other day—they think I actually get you both from time to time.” He raised one eyebrow. “Should I tell them I can barely handle the one I married?”
“They are just mad because I don’t give any of them any.” Laura crossed her arms over her breasts. “I gave up Marines a long time ago. Dated one for years – you know? Horrible. I actually had to transfer off a base to get away from him.”
Ronon frowned. “Get me his name—next time I go to Earth I’ll go kick his ass.” He disappeared back into the bathroom without another word.
“He means that doesn’t he?”
“Yeah.” Jennifer laughed softly. “He really does.” She stood from the couch. “I’ll get dressed and we can get some breakfast.”
Laura leaned back on the couch and then jerked up right when Jennifer shed the robe to walk to the closet in a pair of panties. “Jesus fucking Christ! What the hell, Jennifer? You’re covered in bruises.” She glared at Ronon who was in the door way of the bathroom. “Did you see her back?”
“It’s okay, Laura, I had a wrestling match with one of the Bola Kai yesterday. I’m fine.”
“He’s dead.” Ronon offered in the way of explanation and smiled when Laura relaxed – her expression moving from angry to just concerned. “But, she really didn’t need me. When I go there she was beating his face in with a ten pound piece of wood.”
Jennifer button her shirt and then grabbed a pair of pants. “You’re still my hero, baby.”
“Oh I know that.” Ronon stopped beside her, leaned down and kissed her. “I’ll go get us some food. I’ll meet you two out on the balcony.”
“I don’t want to intrude.”
“You’re very welcome to join us, Laura.” He looked over her face. “He told me you basically pushed him back.”
“It was for his own good.”
Ronon looked her over, taking in the tension in her face and shoulders. “You like the oatmeal, right?”
Jennifer found her boots and sat down on the bed. “He must have been pretty upset to bitch to Ronon about it.”
“I thought you wanted him.”
“Do you know what they would do him if they found he fucked a subordinate? I mean, seriously, Jennifer –save the planet OR not – he would have to pay a price for it.”
“I don’t know – I would say that saving the planet from invading Wraith would be enough to get him a “get fucked free” card for like ever.”
Laura laughed softly. “I’m really glad you’re okay. I really freaked out.”
“I’m sorry you were worried.” She motioned towards the door. “Let’s get to the balcony. He may get us food but I can’t guarentee he won’t eat our share if we’re late.”