Ronon watched with mixed feelings as Sheppard packed up his belongings to go back to Earth. His head knew that they were both military men who were used to following orders, and that leaving Atlantis was just that – an order. Sheppard had no choice in the matter. Soon he would leave the Pegasus galaxy for good and Ronon would never see him again. They both knew the drill - you go wherever you’re assigned, you complete the mission and then you move on to the next one.
Back on Sateda, the Specialist had seen many men come and go, seen them move up the ranks or mourned their passing in an appropriate, brothers in arms way each time. He would move on from Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard just like every other man he’d served with, it’s just that this time it would be harder to do than ever before. Like others before him, Sheppard had risked life and limb at Ronon’s side, and vice versa. Ronon had given everything he had - more than he ever did on Sateda - to put the lives of his team before his own. To protect Sheppard.
He sighed deeply, the war between his head and his heart raging. The four had become more than a team - he loved Teyla and McKay like family now, though if Rodney ever asked the Satedan would deny it until his dying day. That left the scruffy haired man in front of him, John Sheppard, the man that had come to mean more than any person Ronon had ever known. It was tearing him apart inside knowing that never again would he have the connection he shared with Sheppard in every aspect of their relationship.
As a soldier, he had never had a better commanding officer, one who brought out the best in Ronon as a warrior and in himself. Their friendship had formed quickly, taking Ronon by surprise. After all the years of being a Runner he had learned to trust no-one but himself, yet Sheppard had broken through Ronon’s carefully constructed walls and the Satedan had crashed through the Colonel’s own barrier with ease.
They had never talked about the other aspect of their relationship, the part that the US Air Force not only frowned upon, but actually had regulations against that Ronon would never understand in a million cycles of the moons. Their sexual relationship seemed like a natural progression for both men, an extension of the bond they shared, and so much more.
“I’m not good at goodbyes,” Sheppard said, and Ronon didn’t miss the fact that the Colonel was looking at Teyla when he said it. Every person in the room knew John didn’t want to look at his friend and lover as he said goodbye.
Later, as Teyla said her farewell at the gate, Ronon couldn’t bring himself to look. He turned and walked away as Sheppard stepped through the wormhole, the tears he was desperately trying not to shed burning his eyes.
~ * ~ * ~
The rebuilding of the Athosian settlement was going far too quickly for Ronon’s liking. He’d been working until he was physically exhausted because that meant a dreamless sleep. With dreams came Sheppard, meaning the gaping hole left in Ronon’s life wasn’t healing.
He cared deeply for Teyla and was in many ways glad to be with her, but on the other hand it only served to remind him what he’d lost. When Ladon Radim came to them with an offer of working together, it was too much. The anger bubbling inside of him for weeks was threatening to boil over, and seeing that smug little weasel’s face again brought up more memories of his life as part of the Atlantis expedition. Coupled with Teyla trying to persuade him to work with the Genii ,Ronon made his mind up in that moment.
“Maybe this isn’t the place for me, then.”
Anything else he was about to say died on his tongue when he heard the voice that haunted him, yet was also the one he so longed to hear again. Ronon skimmed his eyes over the man in front of him, his heart pounding with both shock and relief before it hit him.
~ * ~ * ~
With the ARG in his hands, Ronon could feel Sheppard’s eyes on him, “So you need us because we know our way around the city?” He already knew the answer, but he wanted - needed to hear Sheppard say it.
“I need you because you’re part of our team.”
Ronon kept his face as impassive as he could but inside he was relieved and thrilled to hear Sheppard use the word ‘you’. Yes, he meant Teyla as well, but he was looking straight at Ronon when he said it and that was enough for him to know that his feelings for Sheppard were mutual.
“So, are you with us?” Sheppard drawled, and Ronon knew that no matter what, the answer to that would always be an unequivocal ‘yes’.
~ * ~ * ~
The next few hours were like old times and it felt as though they’d never been apart. Ronon didn’t have time to think about the fact that Sheppard was actually back at his side, where he belonged, until later.
Once the mission was accomplished, the Replicators seemingly destroyed, the duo went to check the coast was clear. Ronon could hear the others talking but it became nothing more than white noise.
They had only seconds but in that time The Satedan had assessed any potential threat, and finding none, shoved Sheppard against the nearest wall and smashed their lips together. He’d half expected a fight, expected to be pushed away with a reprimand, but the Colonel kissed back just as hard.Their hands pulled each other closer, even though there was no room between them. The kiss was fierce - no finesse, just much needed contact and the outpouring of emotions.
Reluctantly Ronon pulled away and briefly rested his forehead against the Colonel’s. They were both breathing hard and when their eyes met, it was a look that screamed ‘I missed you, I need you, I love you’.
“Come on, we have work to do,” Sheppard said, straightening his tac vest, “we can pick this up again later.”
Ronon raised an eyebrow and then smiled. “You’re damn right we will!”
~ ~ ~ FIN ~ ~ ~