John wakes to a blade in Ronon's hand. That's not particularly unusual, but the way he's contemplating it.
Ronon's standing at the window, bathed in the light of a Californian morning. The blade is shining, catching the sun, and Ronon is staring, but something about the whole thing feels...peaceful.
"Go back to sleep."
John half-smiles. "Right, because I'm so good with instructions." He considers the look on Ronon's face for a moment and hesitates. "I'm interrupting something, aren't I?"
Ronon looks up, then. His eyes are solemn. "Kind of, not the way you think."
"Which is a trick," John slides out of bed. "I'm not thinking much of anything. Pre-coffee Sheppard here." He taps his own chest. "Remember, I don't do so good before coffee." He moves closer, not wanting to intrude. Whatever Ronon says, this has a feeling about it, like he's blundered into the middle of some Satedan thing that Ronon's just never mentioned before.
Not that it matters. John's always been pretty good at blundering into things. It's a talent. Around Atlantis, it's actually kind of a life-skill.
Ronon grins. "That's got nothing to do with the coffee."
"Yeah, but I need a good story and that one usually covers it," John shrugs easy. "So, do we do the sharing thing or do I go for a run?"
"Sharing thing," Ronon turns away from the window. He raises his free hand to his hair, taking hold of a dred. "I was thinking about letting them go. It's time."
"It's tradition," Ronon says. "Kind of. I remember my grandfather talking about it. A war when he was a kid. You carried the stories with you on the battlefield and when you came home." He smiles, just a little. "His were long. Cut 'em off when we moved. Said it was time and, when I was older, I'd understand."
Looking from the blade to Ronon's hair, John nods. "I think I get it. Ghosts can only go part of the way. The rest is up to you."
"Something like that," Ronon tips his head, gesturing toward the window. "They don't belong here. With this. Not sure I do, either, but that's different." He looks at John and doesn't say it, but John's chest tightens.
He clears his throat. "Yeah." He reaches out, gesturing to the blade. "Can I―?"
Ronon looks at the blade. It's a long moment, so long that John starts to hesitate, but then he holds it out and sits on the bed.
Kissing him on the head, John reaches for the first one and cuts.