Ronon watched as Teyla walked through the 'gate, disappearing into the watery blue, and Sheppard was standing on the platform, looking back at them. "You coming?"
He could hear McKay talking to himself, holding one of the sensors and muttering about something that Ronon didn't even pretend to understand.
"Just a minute," McKay said distractedly, walking slowly and waving his hand in front of him.
Ronon sighed. "I got it. Go ahead." Sheppard nodded and stepped through, disappearing.
"McKay," Ronon said, his tone a warning. McKay finally stuffed the sensor into one of the pockets on his pants and looked up.
"Fine, fine, let's go. If everyone on Atlantis dies because we have no ZPM, they can blame you."
Ronon balled his own hands into fists and tried to resist the urge to punch McKay in the face, which was an urge he had on pretty much a daily basis. Okay. More than a daily basis. Once every few minutes was more like it. Ronon stepped aside to let McKay walk in front of him, through the ‘gate, when the 'gate just shut off. Like that. Watery blue gone, leaving a blank, empty ring behind.
"Well," McKay said.
"Fuck," Ronon said.
They both stood there for a second, expecting it to open up again, that Atlantis would dial MX5-967 again and they would be through, but nothing happened.
"Okay," McKay said. "Don't panic. We'll just dial home and we'll be back in no time."
"Do I look panicked?" Ronon shot back, and McKay just rolled his eyes and started dialing. And nothing happened. "Did you get the address right?"
"Yes, I got the address right," McKay said, completely annoyed, as he dialed again, and still. Nothing at all. "Damn it."
Ronon holstered his gun and stepped back from the 'gate. "Okay, well, here we are."
"I'm going to kill myself," McKay said, and Ronon stifled a laugh. He still kind of wanted to punch him, anyway.
They waited by the 'gate for hours, the sky darkening into night, and Ronon finally stood up from where he was leaning against the DHD and stretched his legs. "I'm going to go find some food."
McKay looked up from his laptop, where he was doing something that didn't seem to be getting them any closer to Atlantis. "Great. I'm sure they have some excellent game here. I'll have the special." Then he put his head back down and kept typing.
Turned out they had some kind of small rodent on this planet, and Ronon had two shot and skinned and back to the 'gate before McKay's laptop battery died.
"God, that is disgusting," McKay said, closing the laptop and hauling himself to his feet, brushing his hands on the backs of his legs to remove the dirt. "What are those?"
"No idea," Ronon said, using a rock and one of his knives to start a fire in the brush. "Get some wood."
McKay surprisingly did not protest, and Ronon figured it was just because he hadn't had anything to do, no planets or cities to save, in the last few hours, and was looking for something to keep himself busy. He came back with arms full of branches, and dumped them at Ronon's feet.
After the fire was roaring, Ronon sat down and used the last sticks to spear the animals and roast them over the fire, turning them to cook them through. He let the fire warm him, because it was starting to get chilly, and he didn't have anything else to put on. "So, McKay, find anything on that laptop about how to get us out of here?"
McKay was sitting next to him, too far away to touch, but close enough that Ronon could hear his teeth click together, just a little. "Well, I found some instructions on how to repair broken a DHD, but I'm not sure how useful that will be when it doesn't appear that this DHD is broken, since we came here and then Teyla and Colonel Sheppard left. It could be on Atlantis' end for all we know." Rodney took a deep breath, and kept going. "I mean, I can only hope that I can fix it from here, since I'm not there, and Zelenka is reasonably competent, but he's not me..."
When it was clear that McKay didn't have a clue about how to get them out of here, Ronon turned his attention back to dinner, and, when he was certain they were done, the meat sizzling and slightly charred, he pulled them out of the fire and handed a stick to McKay. "Eat up."
"I can't believe I'm eating this thing," McKay said, but he brought the stick closer to his mouth and took a bite. Ronon did the same, and grinned at McKay as he chewed because, yeah, it was actually okay. Pretty good.
"Wow. Okay. Remind me not to doubt your culinary skills again." McKay was tearing at the meat with his teeth, and Ronon just smiled and kept pace with him. When they were done, down to the bones, Ronon got up and tossed everything toward the trees. When he got back to the fire, McKay was on his back, his head pillowed on his jacket, his face glowing in the firelight.
"Listen, thanks," McKay said, almost too quiet to hear. Huh.
"No problem," Ronon said, flopping down on the ground next to him.
They woke up the next morning after the sun came up, and Ronon may have thought the night was cold, but the morning with a mostly-dead fire was worse, and he gathered up some wood quickly to get it going again. When he turned toward McKay, he was still lying there, blinking open his eyes.
"Not a nightmare, huh?" McKay said sadly, pushing himself up to sit.
McKay stood up, wrapping his arms around his middle, his breath hanging in the air. "Well, I guess I should get back to the DHD, huh?"
Just then, they heard the familiar sound of the chevrons locking on the 'gate. Three, four, five, six, then nothing. Atlantis was trying to dial, but they couldn't get a lock.
"Goddamn it!" McKay yelled, picking up a rock and throwing it through the void. "I think I'm going insane."
Ronon thought it was probably be best if he didn't point out that they'd been there for less than a day. Instead, he hopped up and headed toward McKay, clasping McKay's shoulder. "I'll be back, okay?"
McKay didn't say anything, just nodded, before sitting back down next to the fire and looking at his laptop, like he was trying to figure out if it was worth the last of the battery just to occupy himself. Ronon headed back into the forest, and some things - branches and large leaves - that he could use to make a shelter, in case they were going to be there for a while.
McKay was helpful when Ronon returned to camp several hours later, helping him set up a lean-to next to the fire. McKay crawled into it, even though it was still the afternoon, or maybe later, since the days were pretty short on this planet, curling up on his side and facing away from Ronon. He was being quiet, for once, and Ronon just left him alone to go find dinner.
He managed to shoot three this time.
McKay looked at Ronon with wide eyes when he saw him coming out of the woods, and he was stoking the fire and handing Ronon three long, thin sticks.
They ate in silence, nothing but the sounds of their teeth ripping through roasted flesh and the 'gate trying to lock in the background. After the third or fourth time of the 'gate trying to lock and failing, they stopped turning around.
When they turned in for the night, Ronon laid down next to McKay, close enough to feel him breathing on the back of Ronon's neck. McKay cleared his throat. "Listen, if I had to be stuck here with someone, I'm glad it was you. John would suck at shooting dinner."
Ronon suspected that was a compliment, but he mumbled something like "thanks" and closed his eyes, drifting to sleep and feeling McKay's short, even breath, feeling his soft snores. It was comforting, in a way.
When Ronon blinked his eyes open against the sun, he felt heavy, almost pinned down, when he realized that McKay's arm was draped over his waist, and that McKay was pressed in close and hot to Ronon's back.
His first instinct was to get away, but then he realized that it actually felt kind of nice. Plus, McKay was quiet and still and Ronon had learned over the past couple of years not to give that up for anything. So he stayed there, and waited for McKay to wake up on his own.
A few minutes later, McKay's breathing changed, and he jerked away. "Sorry, I -"
"It's fine," Ronon said, sitting up and checking his weapons. "I'm going to get more wood." He stood up and walked away.
When he came back, it was clear why he let McKay sleep, because the near-silence of the day before was over. McKay was all nerves and talking constantly.
"I should get back to work on the DHD," Rodney said as Ronon came back to their camp with wood. "Not that I can do much from here, because everything looks fine, but clearly isn't. And Zelenka is good, but he's not that good, and I can't figure out why the gate isn't engaging, so there's no way he can either."
Ronon threw some logs onto the fire.
"It doesn't make any sense, because all the crystals are there, and I've checked them all, and each and every connection in the DHD, but I guess I can check them again. It must be Atlantis, and I can't say that I'm incredibly confident in us ever getting off this planet, considering that I may be the only man on earth capable of doing it, and I'm stuck in this godforsaken place. And, yes, those rabbit thingies are quite tasty and everything, but I think I'll pass."
Ronon resisted the very strong urge to throw one of his knives right at McKay's head. Instead, he dropped down to his knees on the ground and tried to give McKay his best threatening look.
It wasn't working.
"And not that you're not great company and all, because, like I said, I'm glad I'm with you and everything, you're competent at this whole hunter-gatherer thing, which makes sense. But I'd really rather be back eating the mediocre food and sleeping in my mediocre bed in Atlantis, when it comes right down to it. We'll have to just hope that those drooling idiots can figure out how to get the 'gate working again. I should have -"
Before he thought about it too much, Ronon leaned forward and pressed his lips to McKay's, and it was silent, even if just for a minute until McKay freaked. He noticed that McKay's hands were flailing at Ronon's chest, but he wasn't pulling away, and his lips were soft. He actually smelled...nice. Then, McKay planted his hands on Ronon's chest and pushed, hard. Well, hard enough to get Ronon to back off a little bit.
"Why did you do that?" McKay's eyes were wide and he looked like he didn't know what to do with himself.
"I don't know." He said that because it was the truth. "I just wanted you to be quiet."
"Well. That might be the worst reason in the history of the universe for someone to kiss someone else. Um, thanks?"
Ronon picked at the grass, suddenly feeling really stupid. "Well, you're welcome. It wasn't so bad."
"Okay..." McKay squirmed out from behind Ronon. "I have to piss."
Ronon watched as McKay walked away, and ran his tongue along his lips. He never thought that McKay would be the person in his team he would kiss first (he'd reserved that place for Teyla, or maybe Sheppard, but never McKay), but he had. He found himself smiling at McKay's back as it disappeared into the trees.
Ronon woke with a start, and he reached his hand down to his gun. Something was heavy and pressing him down, and someone's mouth was wet on his ear.
When he realized it was McKay, he took his hand away from his weapon, and reached up to tangle his hand his McKay's hair. "What are you doing?"
McKay raised his head, and pressed his thigh down, hard, into Ronon's groin. "Finishing what you started. Now shut up."
This was crazy. This didn't make sense at all, but McKay was kissing his neck and trailing his tongue down Ronon's jaw, and it felt really, really good, and Ronon found himself reaching up his hands to grasp McKay's hips and run one hand up under McKay's shirt, feeling his skin.
Then McKay's mouth was on his, and it was just how he remembered McKay's lips, except this time there was also McKay's tongue. Ronon pushed back, tangling his tongue with McKay's and moving his hands around to flick open the button on McKay's pants. McKay tore himself away from Ronon's lips, gasping, and looked up. "Yeah?"
It had been a really long time since he had touched someone else, like this. Since he was a Runner. Many years. And he'd almost forgotten what another person's skin felt like, what it felt like to hold someone else and let them touch him, what pushing his tongue into another person's mouth was like. It was better than he remembered, and McKay was good at it. McKay was quiet, just a few moans here and there, as Ronon opened his pants and pulled McKay's cock into the cold, night air.
When Ronon looked up, he noticed that was McKay was trying to stay quiet, biting his bottom lip hard with his teeth, and Ronon reached up and ran his finger over McKay's lips. "Hey. Make some noise."
And McKay did. He talked Ronon through it, telling him how to stroke him just right, until McKay moaned and came between them, talking right through it, and he didn't pause for a second after that.
"God, you are unbelievably hot, do you know that? Look at you." McKay opened Ronon's pants and pulled him out, and Ronon just smiled and leaned back as Rodney talked until he put his mouth over Ronon's cock and started to suck, and then it was quiet. Again.
Ronon woke up to the sun high in the sky and the chevrons trying to lock again. When it actually did, Ronon scrambled to get himself tucked back away in his pants, and he elbowed McKay to get him moving.
"Ow. Good morning to you too," McKay grumbled.
"We've got company," Ronon answered, and McKay looked at the gate, at where the void was now blue and moving.
"Okay, yeah, thanks." McKay fumbled to get his own pants buttoned up and used some brush to clean the come off his belly.
Then, three people stepped through the gate, and it shut off again. Teyla, Sheppard, and Zelenka.
"Well, he's not dead. You owe me twenty bucks, Radek," Sheppard said, a smile on his face, opening his palm and reaching out toward Zelenka.
McKay stood up and started to walk toward them. "Ha ha, very funny. What on earth took you so long?"
Zelenka cleared his throat and pushed his glasses up on his nose. "Sorry about that, Rodney. We had a minor technical issue with the 'gate on our side, but it's fixed now. Seems like you did all right."
"Well," Rodney said, "I was stuck here with Mr. Incredible here, so we were fine. Can we go now? I'd like to sleep someplace with a bed, as soon as possible."
"Okay, Rodney, let's go." Sheppard said, still laughing as he walked over to the DHD and dialed Atlantis. McKay walked behind Sheppard, Teyla, and Zelenka. Then, he turned around to face Ronon, who was on his feet and ready to follow them. Home.
"Well?" Rodney said, impatiently. "Are you coming or what?" He sounded annoyed, but the corners of his mouth were turned up, just a little, and only for Ronon to see. Ronon grinned back and followed McKay, watching the bits of grass stuck in McKay's hair.