Pairing: Ronon Dex/Evan Lorne pre-slash.
Characters: Ronon Dex, Evan Lorne.
Word count: 1060
Warnings: None apply.
Disclaimer: Not owning, just playing.
Summary: What's in a name? An encounter on the pier.
Dawn light's the hardest to get right. This is the third time Evan's been out on the East pier trying to capture the fiery glow on the horizon. It's cool, and the day's clear although Evan remembers the old rhyme about red skies, so maybe it'll rain later.
He likes the quiet stillness here, just waves lapping at the base of the pier and a distant alien seabird crying as it wheels. Well, technically they're not birds, but they fill that niche on this planet.
Evan layers on a little more Cadmium Orange, then heightens it with Alizarin Crimson under the edges of the clouds. He steps back, head on one side. Steps back into something solid.
"Sorry," Ronon says once he's picked Evan up and helped retrieve his palette and brushes from the deck. Ronon's in shorts and a tee, sneakers on his feet. "I was running - saw you out here."
"Man, you're spookily quiet. Thought you ran with Sheppard?" says Evan, flustered.
Ronon rolls his eyes. "He's in bed w-"
"Hey, hey," says Evan quickly, holding up a hand. "I'm not asking."
Ronon raises a brow. "Not telling. He's got a cold."
Evan makes a face. Great: now he feels like an idiot. Plus he'll never get Sheppard to sign off the requisitions before tomorrow's databurst. He rubs his forehead with the back of one hand and sighs.
"Uh," says Ronon. "You got..." he gestures at Evan's face. "Paint."
"Damn." Evan scrubs at his forehead again. "Better?"
"Nope." Evan goes to turn away, to where he's got some rags and the turps-like solvent the chemists made up for him. Ronon's hand on his arm stops him.
Ronon steps in and takes Evan's face in both large hands. It feels weirdly good to be held like that for a moment. Safe. Warm. Then Ronon lifts his right hand and wipes the smear of paint away with the ball of his thumb. He cleans his thumb on his pants, then does it again. "Now it's better," says Ronon.
He's still holding Evan's face in his hands, and Evan wonders where this is going, but after a while, Ronon just drops his hands, smiles and steps back, turning to the painting on Evan's easel.
"Good colors," Ronon says.
Evan frowns at the picture. "You don't think it's too bright? Maybe I overdid the red."
"Nah," says Ronon. "I like red skies. They're fierce." He shrugs. "Used to mean rain, sometimes. Kept the Wraith away if it was a bad storm."
"Really?" asks Lorne, surprised. "That's what they say on Earth, too. 'Red sky at morning: shepherd's warning, red sky at night: shepherd's delight.'"
"What's Sheppard got to do with it?" asks Ronon, puzzled.
Evan grins. "Sorry, it's...yeah, I guess that's confusing. His name - Sheppard's name - It's a word in our language. It means guys who look after sheep. Ah, herd beasts with thick, soft coats?"
"Sheppard used to look after animals?" Ronon looks surprised. "Thought he was in the military."
"Yeah, he was. He is. It's an old family name, from the times when people did that. Maybe Sheppard's ancestors kept sheep, way back when. Who knows."
Ronon nods. "I get it. Like my name: Dex."
"Yeah?" says Evan. "What's that mean?"
"Bookman," says Ronon, staring at the brightening horizon where the clouds are now more gold than red.
"Like a writer? Writing books?"
"Shepherding books," says Ronon. "Looking after them. On Sateda, we had books in a big central hall. Shelves of them. Not a database."
"Librarian?" Evan's grinning now, he can't help himself. "Dex means librarian?"
Ronon frowns. "Yeah, what of it? It was what my family did. High status."
"No, no," Evan reassures him. "I didn't mean...Look, it's just that on Earth, librarians, the stereotype...well, they're quiet. Um, scholarly."
"Yeah," Ronon agrees, shrugging. "Same on Sateda. My family had a fit when I wanted to be a soldier. Half of them wouldn't talk to me for years." He stares out to sea again.
Evan thinks about the great Satedan library where Ronon's family worked. It'll be ruined now; he's seen the MALP footage. "Took a while for my mother to accept it, too," he says quietly. Ronon looks at him. "When I went into the Air Force, I mean. She's kind of a hippie - teaches art." Evan nods at the canvas. "I don't have her talent, but I like painting. Makes me feel connected to her."
Ronon nods, and looks the painting over again. "I think you're pretty good. You ever do people?"
Evan laughs and shrugs. "Not so much. I'd like to, but they won't model for me here - everyone's too busy."
"You can paint me," says Ronon.
"You'd sit for me?" asks Evan, surprised. But he can see Ronon sitting still, contained, while Evan painted. Ronon can do stillness; Evan guesses he had to, to survive. "Back home I'd have to pay to get a model." He gives Ronon the eye. "Probably wouldn't get anyone like you, even so."
Ronon grins, a flash of white teeth. "You can pay me in books."
"You want books?" Evan's got a couple of Stephen King paperbacks and an old copy of Kipling's Jungle Book. He's always liked Kipling; maybe Ronon would, too.
"McKay's teaching us to read - me and Teyla," says Ronon.
Good for McKay, thinks Evan, nodding. He grins. "No excuse not to do your own mission reports, then."
Ronon narrows his eyes. "I'm not that good yet." He shrugs. "Gotta start somewhere, though. Be good to shepherd some books again. Can't do it if you can't read them."
"Okay," says Evan. "Saturday morning about eleven. Come to my room then - the light'll be right."
Ronon nods, then turns to resume his run. He pauses, and glances back. "What's Lorne mean?"
"Lorne?" Evan shrugs. "It's just a place in Scotland. Guess my family came from there, ages ago."
"Scotland? Where Beckett's from?" Evan nods. Ronon tilts his head. "Yeah, you look kind of similar."
Evan raises his eyebrows. "I don't know about that. In English Lorne means lost, or lonely."
"Don't have to be," says Ronon, flashing another smile. Evan smiles back, as the first fingers of sun edge over the horizon and hit the towers behind Ronon, painting his dreadlocks red-gold. Ronon takes a step back, then another, then he turns and jogs away.