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Defining Theories

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Rodney was, by definition, observant. In his career, he had to be. Lately though, his observations had to encompass so much more than rest-mass energies and phase transition temperatures. Sometimes, he forgot this. Sometimes, he became too wrapped up in his work to notice what was going on around him.

Or who was following him. But once he did notice that Ronon was trailing after him like a shadow, Rodney decided on the ‘ignore him until he goes away’ approach to interpersonal relations. But after a week of it, he finally snapped out, “What are you doing? Are you stalking me or something?”

Ronon shrugged and didn’t answer. Rodney went back to the ignoring.

After two weeks, Rodney had gone back to oblivious. Well, not so much oblivious as used to having Ronon around. The other man never actually got in his way, or said anything stupid, which was more than Rodney could say for about ninety percent of the scientists he couldn’t ignore.

It surprised him when, after following behind and lurking on the sidelines for so long, Ronon started asking him things.

“What’s a ‘big bang theory’?” was his first question.

Rodney blinked. Then he went into a long, rambling explanation about infinite, closed, and expanding universes, smooth vs. clumpy, Lemaitre and Einstein. As he finally wound down from what could only be called a rant, he inserted a few choice words about steady states, Gamow, and Bondi.

Ronon grunted and nodded his head, as if he’d understood every word, which Rodney highly doubted.

“Pretty stupid idea, huh?” Ronon asked.

So maybe he’d gotten the gist, at least.

Rodney nodded his head, lips tight. “Remind me to tell you about plasma cosmology some other time.” He had no idea what made him say it, except that maybe he liked having someone to listen to him without getting that glazed look in their eyes.

“I will,” Ronon said with a nod.

The next day, the question was about McDonalds, corporate takeovers, and Amazon.com. The next, he wanted an explanation of black holes, followed by the history of film noir.

“What’s a phlebotomist?” Ronon asked while they were walking side by side in the field. Rodney told him while taking scans of the area, and Ronon shuddered. “I hate needles.”

Rodney teased him about that one for days and days.

One late night, Rodney was resting his head against a lab table, his mind too tired and numb to get any more work done. A heavy, warm hand rested on his back for a moment, then withdrew.

Rodney sat up and blinked tiredly at Ronon’s frown. “What is it?” he mumbled.

“What’s ‘PMS’?” Ronon asked.

Rodney narrowed his eyes. Maybe it was the lack of sleep making him crankier than usual, but he snapped, “Why do you keep asking me these things? Don’t you have someone else you can pester?”

Ronon looked surprised. “You’re the smartest person in the city,” he pointed out. “I figure you know just about everything about everything.”

Well, that was nice to hear for a change. Rodney nodded and tried not to look too pleased. “And you’re not as big an idiot as I thought.”

Instead of scowling -- which was the type of reaction that sort of comment usually got Rodney -- Ronon snorted with laughter. “And you don’t ...” He cut himself off and appeared to be looking for the right phrase. “You don’t ‘mince words’.”

Rodney sat back in his chair and regarded the other man thoughtfully. Ronon looked completely at ease with him. He was leaning against the lab table, one arm on the surface, smiling just a little.

“You don’t think I’m too ... abrasive?” Rodney asked slowly.

Ronon shrugged. “I thought you were a little annoying jerk, at first.” Well, that was fair. Rodney was used to that reaction. “But after watching you all this time, I understand.”

“Understand what?” He was puzzled.

“You,” Ronon said simply.

Rodney was speechless.

“Now, tell me about this ‘PMS’.”