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Title: And Here is the Place Where You Put Down Roots
Author: riverlight
Notes: for rysler, for sga_santa. Hope you enjoy! Happy holidays! Ronon, OT4: 2110 words; rated R.
With eternal thanks to etben and zabbers for the seriously last-minute betas and the cheerleading.



Ronon had had a teammate once who'd gotten them all to play Taksla whenever they had to sit around and wait; it was pretty easy to tuck a pack of cards in a pocket. Ronon had taken up the habit again when he'd started going offworld with Sheppard's team.

"Hey, McKay, you wanna play cards?" he said. McKay was complaining, of course-"This is thrilling," he was saying to Sheppard, "what are we supposed to do, just sit here till they're ready to let us leave?"-but that was just how McKay was; Ronon didn't mind it much. He was happy to sit here until it was an "auspicious time for them to depart," if that's what the Narala wanted; they were giving the Lanteans the engineering prototypes for their version of Ronon's pulse gun.

"I refuse to play poker with you after last time," McKay said, but he came over to the little cushiony table anyway, collapsing onto one of the low chairs. "God, it feels good to get off my feet. What are we going to play?"

"Thought I'd teach you Taksla," Ronon said.

"I would play Taksla," Teyla offered, looking up from where she was rifling through her bag. "Though I have not played for many years; you might have to refresh my memory."

"I'm up for it," Sheppard said. "Is this a Satedan thing?"

Teyla settled into her chair. "My people play it too, though we call it a different name. I think it is played on many worlds."

"Yeah, it's true," Ronon said. "Here, McKay, pick one," he said, fanning out four of the Players. Six or eight would have been easier, but you could do four; he and Anan and Ket and Maram had kept a game running for nearly a month, once, one summer. He kind of liked the idea of teaching the Lanteans something from home, even if it wasn't really a Satedan thing.

McKay raised his eyebrows. "Wait, what are these, tarot cards?"

"Not really," Ronon said, though he had no idea; he'd learned it was mostly easier not to ask.

"Huh, cool," Sheppard said, peering at his. "What's this he's got, a gun?"

"It would figure you get the one with the gun, Colonel," McKay said, inspecting the bowl of what Ronon presumed was fruit. "They said these weren't citrus, right?" he asked no one in particular. They were none Ronon had seen before, reddish gold and vaguely luminescent; McKay pulled out a pocket knife and sliced one into quarters.

"That is not a gun, it is a staff of office," Teyla said, peering at Sheppard's card. "This is a very fine deck, Ronon. John, you're the Councillor. Rodney, you're the Warrior, I'm the Old Man, which means Ronon's the Wraith."

"What kind of a game is this that it has Wraith in it?" Rodney asked, but shut up when Sheppard elbowed him. Sheppard had his chair tilted back so it was leaning against the window, and he quirked a smile at Ronon, amused.

"Come on, Rodney, let the man talk," he said, and Rodney subsided with a mutter. Ronon smiled back. This was good. Six would have been better for a real game, but four worked too, and it was good to play with friends again. He grabbed one of McKay's fruit quarters.

"Okay, look, this is how it works," he said, "each Player has strengths and weaknesses. You're trying to defeat me, but I'm stronger. So you have to make alliances-" and Sheppard tilted his chair forward to lean his elbows on the table, and McKay settled deeper into his cushions, and by the time the Naralan messenger came to fetch them, Sheppard and McKay had joined forces and amassed two of the four Rings of the Ancestors, they'd discovered Teyla was even better at Taksla than she was at poker, and Ronon was happier than he'd been in a long time.

* * *


Except that the next mission, to PX7-224, the Tu'ak held a ceremonial banquet in their honor, and Ronon had a couple of glasses of wine. They'd successfully negotiated a deal that would keep them supplied with vegetables through the next winter, which was good, he'd been hungry one too many times not to appreciate that; and anyway, the team was there, so he let himself relax a bit. Sheppard and McKay were teasing each other across the table, and Teyla was laughing at something the woman next to her was saying, and Ronon was feeling pretty good, warm and content, sitting there watching them in the candlelight.

They were beautiful, all three of them. Teyla had to be one of the most gorgeous women he'd ever seen, and Sheppard was pretty good looking for a guy, he figured; Ronon liked the smile lines around his eyes. And McKay was nice to look at, too, sitting there waving his hands as he talked, animated and smiling and oddly graceful.

And then he had to get up and leave, because he'd been feeling this for a while; he'd thought it was just happiness at finding a place to fit in after so long, but it wasn't that, it wasn't that at all. He made some excuse when Teyla asked, he didn't know what but it must have been okay because she didn't follow, and he went and stood in one of the washrooms so he could catch his breath.

You were supposed to love your teammates, but only so you'd be a better unit, only so you'd work well together and go in after them if you had to. You weren't supposed to want to have sex with them, and you really weren't supposed to want it from all three of them. Ronon stood there shaking and achingly hard until Sheppard came looking for him, and then he said something about too much wine, and he laughed, and Sheppard laughed, and it was fine, except that it wasn't, because he had no idea what he was going to do.

When he woke up, McKay was grumpy from lack of coffee, and Teyla was snapping at everyone because she was hungover even if she wouldn't admit it, and Sheppard was being obnoxiously cheerful and amused at them all, and Ronon had a momentary hope that maybe it had just been the wine; he didn't drink much, wasn't used to it-

"McKay, calm down, we'll be back in Atlantis soon," he said, and fished some painkillers out of his pocket for Teyla, and decided he wasn't going to think about it.

But then Sheppard fell into step with him as they were walking towards the Ring, and he hadn't gone to bed with someone for so long he'd almost forgotten what it was like to want it, but now his whole body was thrumming just from having Sheppard's arm brushing against his as they walked. Maybe it'd taken him so long to figure it out because he'd never wanted a guy before, but there was no way this was anything else. And McKay glanced back over his shoulder and chivvied them to "Hurry up, hurry up, come on, " and he had to catch his breath, because how the hell had it taken him so long to figure out?

Which pretty much meant his luck had run out, 'cause he'd seen teams broken up when people started bedding together, and it wasn't pretty.

* * *


Dr. Weir stood the team down after they got back from Tu'ak instead of sending them to investigate a potential treaty with one of the Tu'ak allies, as they'd expected. The first day, Ronon went to the armory and shot at paper targets till he couldn't hold his hands steady anymore. The second day, he started running. By the third day, he thought he might go crazy if he had nothing to do.

So he found Teyla and McKay and Sheppard, and they took a jumper over to the mainland, and went in the ocean with all their clothes on, and then lay drowsing in the sun till they were sleepy and sunburnt and warm. Teyla had brought a couple of jars of Athosian wine that McKay had convinced the jumper to keep cool somehow, and Sheppard had brought a guitar, and they sat there singing and drinking wine out of the little mess-kit cups while the sun sank into the ocean.

He could feel his breath evening out, his mind relaxing. It was enough. He wanted them-any of them, god; a little body-to-body would have been so good. But this was enough, lying on the sand while the stars came out overhead, feeling his blood humming in his veins, listening to McKay's strangely hilarious stories and making up wordless harmonies to Sheppard's songs because he didn't know the words. It was enough.

But once he'd started thinking about it he couldn't stop, and he lay in bed that night thinking about what it'd be like, if it happened. Not specific scenes; he couldn't really imagine it, and anyway it felt wrong to be fantasizing about his team. But the idea of it: the full-body shock of their bodies against his in the bed, the warmth of their skin in the hollows of their hips or the backs of their knees, the taste of sweat on their collarbones. God, he wanted it, wanted the weight of a woman's breasts in his hands, wanted to know what it would be like to feel a man get hard in his hands. He stroked his fingers across his own skin, imagining, hungry for touch.

"Are you well, Ronon?" Teyla asked him the next morning, in the mess.

"Not sleeping well," he said, and it was true. Teyla nodded, understandingly. "Thinking too much," he added, because that was true too.

He tried not to read anything into the way they touched him, easy, familiar: Sheppard's fingers, idly tapping his shoulder in passing; McKay shouldering him aside to get at a computer; Teyla's palms soft against his cheek as they stood forehead to forehead. Or the way they'd followed him to Sateda, all three of them. It was a team thing. Friends.

He couldn't stop thinking about it, though. He kept running. It didn't help.

* * *


And then one morning they found the Ancient ship, and that evening the Lantean negotiator showed up. And by the next day McKay and Sheppard and the rest of them were gone. "Come with us," Sheppard had said, but Ronon couldn't. They'd fought together for a while, but the fight wouldn't end when they left. He'd fought alone before. Nothing new.

He didn't cry. He'd learned that from the Wraith.

That night in the Athosian settlement, Teyla leaned against him for a long moment, forehead pressed to his, breathing slowly. "Teyla," he said, hearing his voice catch.

"Just one more moment," she said, "please," and she was pressing more closely against him, so he brought his arms up to hold on to her.

Once he was hugging her, he couldn't let go, and he stood there in the dark, feeling her breathe. He squeezed his eyes shut and didn't think about anything.

* * *


But apparently he was getting another chance, because Sheppard and McKay came back. "Well, this is surreal," Dr. Weir said dryly, standing in the gateroom, and it was. Sheppard had hugged him when they got off the jumper the first time, and McKay had made an indecisive fluttery motion with his hands before he patted Ronon awkwardly on the shoulder. And now they were off on another mission, and they just stood there grinning at each other before stepping through the gate, and it felt like nothing had changed.

Except maybe he had, because he sat there in the lush tropical darkness in the gazebo the Ambar of Khat had given them for the night, and realized he didn't much care anymore about all the reasons why he shouldn't want this. He watched the torchlight flicker over Teyla's face, and Sheppard's, and McKay's, laughing and familiar and well-loved, and thought maybe it didn't matter if nothing ever happened between them, because friendship was its own kind of love, and that was good too.

But this was the sort of world where third chances were possible, and his heart was light, and so it was easy to lean down and cup Sheppard's jaw in his hands and kiss him; easy to slide his palm around the back of McKay's neck to kiss him in turn; easy to trail his thumb along Teyla's cheekbone and let his lips linger. "I'm glad you're back," he said, because he was.

Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
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vegetariansushi
Dec. 14th, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely! This is a wonderful characterisation of Ronon, and I love the card game, that little nod to the idea that the planets of the Pegasus Galaxy have their own (sometimes shared) culture. I also really like the team dynamic in this; gentle and slightly awkward, it feels like a logical extension of what we've been given in canon.
rysler
Dec. 15th, 2006 02:45 am (UTC)
Eeeeee! So good!

The voices are great. Ronon's completely believable, and Teyla and McKay sound just like themselves, and Sheppard's dreamy.

Sheppard and McKay had joined forces and amassed two of the four Rings of the Ancestors, they'd discovered Teyla was even better at Taksla than she was at poker, and Ronon was happier than he'd been in a long time.

That's the line that totally hooked me, but just before that I loved that McKay cut up the fruit and Ronon took it without asking. Just like a team. :)

he'd been hungry one too many times not to appreciate that

Loved that touch. It's nice to be inside Ronon's head.

And McKay was nice to look at, too, sitting there waving his hands as he talked, animated and smiling and oddly graceful.

That was a sweet description of McKay that made me smile.

I liked Ronon's rising anxiety and how it closed him off.

When he woke up, McKay was grumpy from lack of coffee, and Teyla was snapping at everyone because she was hungover even if she wouldn't admit it, and Sheppard was being obnoxiously cheerful and amused at them all, and Ronon had a momentary hope that maybe it had just been the wine

I really like your handle on the team.

Teamfic! Eeeeee!

Which pretty much meant his luck had run out, 'cause he'd seen teams broken up when people started bedding together, and it wasn't pretty.

Another good line.

The beach adventure is great.

Loved the scene with Teyla, after the fall, as it were, and how it led into everything else.

"I'm glad you're back," he said, because he was.

Perfect.

(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - rysler - Jan. 7th, 2007 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand
infinimato
Dec. 15th, 2006 06:55 am (UTC)
oh.

this is so sweet.

*sniff*

whetherwoman
Dec. 15th, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
That is some pretty pretty angst and UST. I love that Ronon is the link that brings the team together.
taiteilija
Dec. 15th, 2006 04:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, that was wonderful. I liked your characterization of Ronon very much and the ending was just perfect and fit very well with the story!
ceares
Dec. 15th, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC)
Lovely stuff, and from Ronon's pov too, which is rare.
jessikast
Dec. 15th, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
I love your Ronon - it makes me want to go out and find a bunch of other Ronon POV or centric fics. Also, for having pretty much nothing explicit, your fic was extremely hot. ;-)
tarlanx
Dec. 15th, 2006 10:56 pm (UTC)
Loved seeing the team thru Ronon's eyes, and seeing his growing feelings for the others. Loved that last part where he finally takes a chance.
emma_in_oz
Dec. 15th, 2006 11:58 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful, wonderful! I love the use of Ronan's pov, which is a voice we rarely hear.
ozsaur
Dec. 16th, 2006 12:02 am (UTC)
I love how Ronon slowly became aware of his attraction to his team mates, not just one of them, but all three. Wonderful Ronon POV, too.
minnow1212
Dec. 16th, 2006 01:23 am (UTC)
Oh, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I loved the slow development, and the wistfulness, and Teyla's attempts to reach out.
mirabile_dictu
Dec. 16th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
Oh, I love this! How wonderful to see the others through Ronon's eyes, and to feel his growing attachment and love for them. Thank you so much.
alanna_smithee
Dec. 16th, 2006 01:35 pm (UTC)
This is such a beautiful team story. I'd love a deck of the Pegasus-themed card game.
nakedwesley
Dec. 16th, 2006 01:39 pm (UTC)
I love your take on Ronon and the way he views the world. He's such an observer on the outside, but you know his feelings run deep. The team interactions were beautiful and I can believe the kisses at the end.
choisir_fate
Dec. 16th, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC)
This is a great take on the team, and I love the way it is told from Ronon's point of view. It's all gentle and heartwarming, and this part captures them perfectly.
When he woke up, McKay was grumpy from lack of coffee, and Teyla was snapping at everyone because she was hungover even if she wouldn't admit it, and Sheppard was being obnoxiously cheerful and amused at them all, and Ronon had a momentary hope that maybe it had just been the wine

I also loved the kisses at the end, they were sweet and hot at the same time. Great fic, thank you for sharing.
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