Pairing: Ronon/OFC; Ronon/Keller [flirtation]
Word Count: 974
Summary: Not provided
Disclaimer: Not mine
A pine forest in mid-Winter, twilight. Ronan Dex makes his way following the stream, using the water to mask his tracks and scent. He grunts very softly; his boots are not as waterproof as he'd hoped. However, warmth and shelter are high on his priority list. That whilst avoiding the Wraith as best he can. It seemed as though every world he ran through had forests like this, full of big aromatic evergreen trees. Though they all had subtle differences, even so. He came to a cliff where the little stream spilled over in a modest waterfall. In the valley below, there was no snow and a lone house. Thin, almost invisible smoke curled out of the chimney. Ronon weighed his options. The Wraith weren't fools. They'd know he'd try to find cover. But a fire meant warmth, with maybe food and a bed for the night. It was worth a try. He was tired and close to contemplating doing almost anything in exchange for a comfortable night's sleep.
Ronon picked his way down the slope. By the time he got to the valley, it was almost full dark. The curtains were drawn in the cottage and the light inside was at a low level. He knocked on the door.
"Who's there?" The voice was low, feminine and guarded. It was also one he recognised.
"Lauren, it's me!" He carefully opened the door and slid inside, closing it behind him quickly.
Lauren was clearly tired and dirty, but she smiled at him, "Ronon!" They hugged.
"Haven't seen you in ages, Lauren! Glad to see you've avoided..."
She nodded, "You too! Made some soup."
Ronon crouched down, "Smells really good. So, how have you been?"
Lauren shrugged, "On the run, like you. Dodging and diving. You know how it is. I'm so sorry about Melena." She gently touched his hand.
"You lost your man."
"We've lost everything apart from other Runners and the hope of survival. Been too long since I saw a friendly face. "
Ronon gestured at the fire, "Me too. I could see a little bit of smoke from up on the bluff. I'll go and get something from nearby to make it burn cleaner."
He returned and saw to the fire, "You did really well, but now that should stop all visible smoke. Is there another saucepan or something?"
"What have you got in mind?"
"That tin bath hung on the wall; we could have a decent wash with enough hot water."
Lauren groaned eagerly, "Sounds wonderful. A fine way to celebrate mid-Winter's day." She fetched out a tin bucket and gave it to him.
"That'll help. Mid-Winter, huh. Yeah, 'bout right for this rock. Cold enough. I'll fetch some water from where the stream runs down off the waterfall."
Ronon came back with a full bucket which they hung over the fire. While the water heated, Lauren served the soup into tin mugs. They supped in companionable silence for a while. The one room cottage was warm and cosy. As soon as the water in the bucket was hot, Ronon poured it into the bath and went back for some more. Three buckets' full later, he stopped.
"That should be enough. You can go first."
"We could share?"
He gently took her hand, "Not been with a woman since..."
"Ain't been with a man since..."
"Huh. You sure, Lauren?"
"Kay," he drew closer and kissed her gently, "I'll take first watch."
Ronon and Lauren helped each other out of their travel-stained clothes and got into the water. They washed and fondled, then, when they were both clean got out of the bath and made sweet love on the rug in front of the fire. While Lauren slept, Ronon put his leggings back on and took his watch at the window, looking out through a slit in the curtain. He kept his blast gun in his hands. After four hours, he gently roused the sleeping Lauren and took her place on the rug. In the morning, they made love a second time, taking it slower. They foraged for herbs later and Ronon shot a wild coney. This made their breakfast. Eventually they set off together, through the fertile valley.
Two months later, he was standing over a hastily erected cairn, saying his last goodbyes to her before moving on, alone. Always alone.
Ronon walked into the canteen, on his own. Two people were up ladders, hanging a brightly coloured chain of metallic paper. He frowned slightly in puzzlement and went to get some food. He genuinely didn't notice several of the women giving him heated and interested glances. He sat down and began to shovel food into his mouth. Even after all this time of being safe and tracker free, some habits were hard to break. Jennifer Keller joined him. Ronon looked up. She was slight, but was lovely, had fierce spirit, plus she had healing hands. Ronon admired all of that. And he'd been a lone wolf for a long time since Lauren.
He gestured with his fork at the paper chain, "What's that for?"
She smiled, face glowing, "Christmas!"
"Christmas! Oh! Erm..sorry, I forgot you wouldn't know. It's a festival from Earth. Even on Atlantis where we have lots of faiths, we put up decorations and a tree."
"Yup, real tree. Then we give little presents to each other in time for December 25th; well as close as we can get."
Jennifer's answering smile was radiant, "Yes! You had those?"
His lips twitched, "Something like that; once. No decorations, though."
"Aw, just once? It can be real fun!"
Ronon couldn't resist , "I know," he covered her free hand with his, "'Fun' is good!"
"Then it's time I showed you a really happy Christmas!"
He smiled, "Looking forward to it!"