It was contagious, the bounced spring in his step. The first time Evan hadn’t even realized he had moved – too excited by the colors he had created. He was ecstatic. Not only with his new uniform, but more importantly his teammates and lover were there with him.
Everything now was the opposite of what he had been feeling when he first entered the workout room weeks ago – back then he was like everyone else, feeling nothing but anxiety.
When they got back to Atlantis things had changed and dampened the initial enthusiasm about having powers. The remnant of everyone’s excitement was quickly squashed when they were ordered to submit to tests and later discovered the length of their quarantine.
The thought of ongoing tests was bad enough, but within a few hours Evan quickly realized how bad it was going to get. Listening to McKay took patience, but the thought of being trapped with Sheppard and McKay bickering for two weeks was going to drain last of his sanity. If his team hadn’t been there by the third day he would have gladly shot himself. Thing was he could handle McKay for a few hours here and there. However after the first day, and it was the two of them; he couldn’t hold it back and burst out with a running (sarcastic) commentary – whether or not anyone was listening.
No one commented. His team got it; they had heard him go off often enough so it was nothing new. Sheppard’s team though, they appeared surprised, Ronon pleasantly so.
At first Sheppard nudged McKay and encouraged him to tone it down, but that only lasted a few hours. When they started again, so did he, though as far as he could tell they took it in stride.
Beckett appeared to emphasize and had done his best to keep all of them occupied, but it was when Beckett brought in his paints, and pencils that had saved Evan’s sanity. It turned out that while painting he could tune anyone out, including McKay.
It also gave the others something to talk about when he started to sketch them before he moved on to painting. Normally he didn’t have the luxury of time let alone time for his art. It was a comfort he relished. The first completed painting was of McKay and Sheppard of the two of them in a heated discussion. He was so focused on painting that he hadn’t realized how his depiction might look to anyone else.
McKay was the first to say something asking, his tone edged between curiosity and accusation, asking if that was how he saw them. His facial expression must have answered what his mind silently declared, ‘Duh’ since he had just spent close to ten hours working on it. John just looked at it and blushed.
It was seeing John’s blush that Evan had to look again, suddenly seeing it in a new light. He had painted them just as he had seen them in the last few days – arguing. Though they weren’t touching they were close, their bodied leaning toward the other, but what cinched it was the look in their eyes. The love they had for each other was blatantly clear for anyone to see. He hadn’t intended to out them, he just painted what he saw, and in his eyes it was obvious that they were intimately familiar with each other.
Suddenly there was awkward silence, each coming to a similar conclusion about the close intimacy represented in his painting. It was John’s reaction that confirmed anyone else’s silent question, where he only nodded; the corners of his mouth pulled into a reluctant smile then moved to sit down against the wall. McKay fidgeted, demanding, “Aren’t you going to do something – say something?”
“Rodney, let it go.”
He didn’t see Ronon move and neither did anyone else. Their attention was riveted on the painting and John’s sullen form.
Although listing to them go off on some dispute of some obscure tangent grated on his nerves; this outing his CO – Evan’s stomach twisted in turmoil. Evan respected the man not only as his CO and a soldier, but as a man. He never would have intentionally hurt John, yet he just did.
Though the DADT policy was abolished, John wasn’t openly out – neither was he.
Abruptly in his bulky Hazmat suit Beckett came in and met Ronon holding a few canvases. “These?”
Ronon nodded and took the canvases and brought them closer for Evan to see. He immediately recognized them and removed the painting he had done of John and Rodney, replacing it on the easel with one of the paintings Ronon had been holding.
Evan turned when he heard David choking; Laura started pounding his back. It was awkward because she wasn’t really paying attention to David instead her eyes were glued to the painting.
Beckett moved over and pushed her away as he handed David a glass of water, and abolished, “You act as if you’ve never seen a naked man.” Evan just wasn’t sure who he was talking to.
It was Dusty who offered, “Not just any man, but one hell of a beautiful specimen.”
Teyla added. “She’s right you captured Ronon beautifully.”
Evan looked around the room, to see if they actually got what he and Ronon were saying. Again his team took it in stride. Whether they had suspected, or just didn’t care he didn’t know, but his respect for each one of them went up a notch. On Sheppard’s team, well he already knew how Ronon felt and could see Teyla had either guessed or Ronon had already told her. However seeing Rodney’s expression it made him wonder if showing the painting had been wise. Rodney had his mouth open was just staring at the painting, as he ogled Ronon’s body.
Hesitantly Evan looked over at John who sat up; his eyes shifted back and forth from the painting to Evan. When he stopped, John met Evan’s stare. Evan could see John got it. It wasn’t just a nude painting of Ronon; it was how he painted Ronon. The brush strokes that outlined and formed Ronon’s body, the delicate details in every stroke – it spoke loudly of the artist’s love for the subject, his love for Ronon.
David cleared his throat and squeaked out, “You could have just as easily said so, instead of…”
“Excuse me, but I’m perfectly happy with the show and tell” Laura announced then muttered, “if not flat out envious.”
Suddenly everything was normal. Around him they were talking and laughing, critiquing every inch of his lover’s body. Then he heard Sheppard and McKay start in on their bickering. He watched as Beckett quietly retreated, his smile bordering on creepy.
He almost called Beckett back when Ronon turned him around. “You okay?”
Lorne looked around the room and knew he was. They were his teammates, his family – one he’ll happily endure. Quietly he nodded and leaned back, settling into Ronon’s embrace; with Ronon at his back, Evan knew everything would be all right.