Chapter 1 – In Every Heart there is a Room
“Shep,” Jack said as he walked into Aiden and John’s apartment, a six-pack under one arm and a box of pastries from Jaffa Java in the other.
“Yo,” Ronon said to Jack as he came in.
“Sup,” John said to Jack.
Aiden raised his beer at the newcomer.
“None of the girls came?” Jack asked, a little disappointed.
“Nah. Liz and Sam are studying today, and Rhea has a project to finish.”
“Haven’t they heard it’s summer?” Jack asked in bewilderment.
“Where are Teal’c and Daniel,” John asked.
“Teal’c has to work and Daniel isn’t really into sports.”
“That’s got to be annoying.” Aiden said, but no one answered him because John knew Jack wasn’t gay, and Ronon didn’t care, and Jack had no idea what he was talking about in the first place.
Jack put the beer in the fridge and plopped onto the couch next to Ronon. “How’s it going brother?”
“Got no complaints. You get that table and hutch done yet?”
“It’s getting there. Wasn’t happy with the dovetails on the drawer, so I had to redo it.”
Ronon nodded in understanding. He was a perfectionist too. “I’ve got those corner pieces done for you, and the oil finish is baking this weekend. I don’t like leaving the heat booth unattended, and I don’t trust the shop guys to turn off the heat when the timer goes if they get working on other stuff.”
“It’s fine. Bring them by Monday if you are around. I want to get staining before I put them on anyway.”
“Good plan. You waxing or poly after?”
“I think wax. I want it around a long time.”
“Don’t blame you. Can’t believe you aren’t charging for it.”
“It’s a gift.” Jack told him simply. Hell Sam didn’t even know he was building it for her. Monday Teal’c, Daniel, and himself were going over to Sam’s ex’s place and getting her furniture and anything else he had back. Jack had used his contacts in the Air Force to find out Jonas’ duty roster and knew he had leave Monday all day.
“Who’s the gift for?” John asked Jack in idle curiosity as he pulled out a glazed confection from Jack’s box of goodies.
“A woman,” Ronon filled in before Jack had a chance to speak.
A look of surprise flashed across Sheppard’s face.
“For your sister?” Ford asked.
”Not unless she’s at least 5’9, blond and rides an old Indian.”
Basically ignoring Ronon’s comment, John said, “Well, if she does, why haven't I met her?”
”Like I would let any of you near my sister,” Jack added.
John’s brow puckered a little bit. “So, you do have a sister? “he said, his voice thoughtful.
“Hey,” Ronon warned, “You’ve already got a woman.”
“Yeah, okay,” John defended, eyes twinkling. “If I have a woman, then so do you.”
“I don't think so, dude,” Ronon said, grinning, “I don’t recall moving anybody’s furniture lately.”
“Hey,” John said sharply, ”I'll have you know, that was weeks ago.”
Ronon scoffed, if the med student wasn’t Shep’s girlfriend, it was because he hadn’t asked. “This girl definitely isn’t Jack’s sister,” Ronon said, his voice heavy with meaning.
“Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?” Jack asked.
Jack's words went ignored this time, and John gave Ronon a suspicious look. ”How would you know?”
”Well, she never mentioned a brother when we spent a leisurely few hours keeping each other company.”
The room grew quiet for a second as the others just looked at Ronon. ”She's the hot blond chick, with the bike. Remember, I picked her up the same day you were supposed to be helping me but instead played house with Liz.”
”Wait? What?” John said. ”Jack knows a hot biker chick?” Sheppard said, getting ready to ask why he didn't know when Ronon spoke again.
”It's Sam. you know, leggy blond physics major and your new neighbor.”
“Wait - that geeky girl that wears Sailor Moon t-shirts and hangs out with Liz?” Aiden asked.
“So she is your girlfriend.” Aiden said triumphantly.
John glared at him but no one noticed because Jack had the oddest look on his face. “Sam has a bike?”
“We covered that Jack. Try to keep up.” Shep told him but Jack hadn’t lost the thread of the conversation so much as he was having rather sudden wild fantasies of Sam in leathers.
Jack shook himself out of his fantasy. “Hey Shep, you on duty Monday?”
“I kind of have a thing and I want to make sure I can get backup if it goes sideways.”
“Well that’s not vague at all.” Ronon said sarcastically.
Jack huffed. “Sam’s ex still has all her furniture and stuff. Danny and Teal’c and I are going over to liberate her couch and dresser and stuff.” he said with a vague shrug.
“How do you know he’ll be home? I can’t let you commit a B and E Jack.” John told him pointedly.
“He’s Airforce.” Jack said as though this explained everything.
“That shit ain’t cool, dude,” Ronon said, his tone no longer sarcastic. He folded his arms over his chest.
Eyeing how the giant Samoan appeared to grow even bigger of the corner of his eye, John asked, “so what, he's home on Monday's?”
”Yeah,” Jack said.
“You want me to come with you.”
“Would I be asking if I didn’t?” Jack said dryly.
Sheppard shrugged in agreement. “I’ll come, if for nothing more than to keep you guys from getting an assault charger.”
“I’m coming too,” Ronon said gruffly.
”Now, I definitely need to come.”
“Wear your uniform.” Jack thought a moment. “Your TO is going to be ok with this?” Jack asked concerned. He didn’t want his friend screwing over all his hard work for Jack’s romantic entanglements.
”We can just do it after my shift ends. We are technically helping a friend move. I can just say I stopped by to help load a couch,” Sheppard said, looking over at Ronon. Not that anyone would believe they needed his help if they got a look at Ronon. ”You know ‘cause princess here broke a nail,” he added dryly.
“You’re sure?” Jack questioned.
Sheppard shrugged, “Yeah. I might mention it to Odenson, make sure it’s alright for me to help move a couch in uni.”
Jack chuckled. “Listen, Carter doesn’t know we’re doing this so keep your big yaps shut.”
“I don’t get it.” Aiden admitted.
“In theory, Tinkerbell here and Teal’c are going to stand over the guy while Daniel and I grab her stuff. Danny had been pumping her for information on which stuff the jerk still has of hers so I have a list of things to grab. I don’t think he’s going to give a couple guys twice his size any trouble. I’m sending Danny to the door because he’s the most harmless looking one of us, meanwhile, we flank out of field of vision. When he opens the door we’ll just barge in and invite him to get comfortable while we grab her stuff. Hopefully he hasn’t put it on the curb already or something but I kind of got the impression he’s the kind that keeps stuff out of spite.”
“Sam tell you that?” Shep asked.
“Nah, some of my buddies still in. Honestly she’s lucky she got out. I guess he’s a real piece of work, and he was running around on her too from the sounds of it. Anyways, I don’t want him finding out where she is now and I don’t know this op will work out the way I planned it because there’s too many variables I can’t pin down. If we don’t get her stuff back, I don’t want any of you saying anything to her about it. If it gets back to her eventually I’ll deal with the fall out. If she confronts you, just tell her it was all my idea because it was.” Jack took a long swallow off his beer.
Ford still looked a little confused but shrugged. “You guys have fun with that. I don’t get off duty until late Monday night anyway.”
Ronon smiled. “Just let me know when.”
“Isn’t that saying when you go into the woods carry a big stick?” Sheppard questioned. “This one over here is more like a bull in a china shop than Tinker Bell,” he added thoughtfully. ”I think Teal’c’s more like Tinker Bell, Ronon’s more like the blunt object you use to beat people with.”
”I can see your point, ” Jack said thoughtfully, eyeing the larger man. ”I always did appreciate a good sturdy blunt object,” Jack added, pretending to swing a bat. ”Sometimes that's the best medicine when finesse doesn't work.”
Ronon’s eyes burned brighter with amusement as he watched the two older men. “I am happy to be whatever tool you need.”
“Sam’s ex has the tool part covered. We’re bringing the light of truth into his world.” Jack said with a glint in his eyes.