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To See Me The Way That I Am

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"You touched my piece. Nobody touches my piece!" Ronon bared his teeth and actually growled.

Kanaan snatched his hand back, eyes wide.

"Ronon," Teyla said, tone patient, but she rolled her eyes.

John didn't look up from the book he was flipping through. "Ignore him, Kanaan. His bark is worse than his bite."

Aiden bustled through the front door of Ronon's grandfather's house with a stack of pizza boxes. "What John means is welcome to the club."

Kanaan looked reassured for all of two seconds before Ronon snatched up the knife Kanaan had been reaching for, spun it expertly, and sent it flying across the room past Kanaan's head. Kanaan squeaked and hit the deck.

Teyla rolled her eyes again. "Kanaan," she said, tugging him to his feet. "Ronon would not have hit you. He was only trying to frighten you." When Kanaan was vertical, Teyla spun him around so he could see the wooden board tacked to the far wall, pockmarked with blade indentations. Ronon's knife was perfectly in the center, point first.

"Like I said." John glanced up. "His bark is worse than his bite. He is pretty precious about his knives, though." John reached into his pocket, drew out a knife, and threw it across the room with the same practiced ease as Ronon. It landed in the target, not quite on center, but close enough beside Ronon's throw that his aim was obviously deliberate.

Aiden flipped open the top pizza box and served himself up a slice. "If you want to stay part of the club, you either have to learn to be badass with a knife or Teyla's bantos rods."

"Are you 'badass' with a knife?" Kanaan asked. He was from Teyla's homeland and spoke English cautiously, the same way she did.

"Getting there," Aiden said.

Ronon snorted. "Hardly." But he went and got himself a slice of pizza. John was still flipping through his book.

Someone knocked at the screen door. Teyla went to answer, because even though this was Ronon's grandfather's house, they all called it home.

"Officer Weir," Teyla said.

Elizabeth stood on the doorstep, dark hair mussed in the breeze, wearing a leather jacket to stave off the early March chill. "Is John here?"

Teyla glanced over her shoulder. "John. It is your probation officer."

John lowered his book, stood up. He was always polite to Elizabeth, whatever his general disdain for authority. "Weir. What brings you by?"

Teyla opened the door and stepped aside to allow Elizabeth into the den. She glanced at the target on the far wall.

"I'm going to assume neither of those knives is yours," she said. "You know the conditions of your probation."

John smiled, the expression perfectly charming and perfectly hollow. "Assume away."

"I received a call from your employer at MIT," she said. "Someone was looking for you. Alleging you defaced property? That doesn't sound like you."

John had a tendency to resort to fists before words had had a chance to prevail.

"That doesn't sound like me because it's not me." John's smile vanished; his posture turned closed.

"The complaining member of the faculty wants to talk to you," Elizabeth said. She arched her eyebrow. "I recommend you speak to him. And be polite."

"I can be plenty polite," John said, which was true, but not reassuring.

Elizabeth glanced at Ronon and Aiden, eyed Kanaan warily, smiled at Teyla, and swept out of the house.

"What happened?" Teyla asked as soon as Elizabeth was out of earshot

John grinned; his gaze was opaque. "Nothing. Just messing with those fancy college kids."

Behind them, Ronon roared. "Hey! What did I say about touching my piece?"

Kanaan yelped.

John said, without turning, "Ronon's even more precious about his pizza than about his knives." And he sank back down in his chair and kept on flipping through the book.

Teyla went to intervene in Ronon and Kanaan's pizza dispute and wondered what John had done this time, and if it was something from which he would finally have no escape.