Title: Sometimes We Fall
Prompt: 248- circadian rhythm - tamingthemuse
Disclaimer: Not mine, despite the occasional daydream.
Summary: Ronon know's he's screwed up but making it up to Rodney is hard work.
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Rodney’s anger is confusing but its worse when Ronon knows that he’s done something wrong. He just wishes that he could figure out the reason for the sudden chill between them but Rodney’s always been difficult to understand. He finds the Atlantean’s strange and confusing and Rodney is the most infuriating and bewildering out of all of them. The man’s different to anyone he’s ever met and Ronon can’t help but imagine what would happen if Rodney had been Satedan. Someone like him would not have survived long in his world; too delicate, too honest and too emotional. However, Rodney’s always been full of surprises. Some days Ronon thinks he understands his teammates. And some days they puzzle him, dropping out of their familiar rhythms and reminding him to never underestimate them. If Rodney had been Satedan, there was a fair chance he would have been the leader of their people; saving the city from the Wraith while placing the death penalty on anyone who dared import citrus into the walls of Sateda.
Ronon knows the Atlanteans find him as strange and confusing as he finds them. Ronon notices the looks scientists and soldiers shoot at him when they think he’s not looking, the suspicion that is still prominent on their faces even after all these years of living with them and fighting for them. The only people who never stare at him like he’s a stranger are his teammates. Even with them, he can say or do something that they find strange or unusual and he’s abruptly reminded just how different they really are. The Atlanteans have strange quirks, strange rituals and customs that seem to change from person to person- depending on where they were born back on their planet, their family customs or their own personality. He can’t really imagine the size of Earth; it keeps growing in his head with all the stories he hears. He doesn’t understand how so many inherently different people can co-exist on one small planet. Ronon thinks that maybe that’s why Earth is so special, worthy of being protected.
With Rodney, he can never really know what he’s done wrong. All Ronon knows for certain is that currently Rodney is upset with him. The small casual touches and wide smile abruptly cease, Rodney’s shoulders tensing when he approaches and Sheppard’s started glaring at him like he’s something nasty that he’s scraped off his combat boots. He doesn’t quite know what he’s done but he wants things to go back to the way they were, and soon. Ronon has always been painfully aware of the fact that you never really know how important something is to you until it’s gone.
Before Teyla had her vision he had been getting along with Rodney, taking what had started one stressful adrenaline filled night after a mission gone wrong and turning it into something more. He had mentioned their arrangement to Sheppard one day after their early morning jog and Sheppard had blanched and made him promise not to talk about his sex life in public, especially when it involved his close friend. Apparently sleeping with your teammates was not commonplace with the Atlanteans but rather something to be kept quiet about, as though it was something shameful. Ronon didn’t really understand why but he was used to feeling bewildered by Earth-peoples strange quirks.
Ronon didn’t think that Rodney was ashamed of him, of them, but occasionally it felt like it. Like the days he has to explain something that he considers elementary to him, shaking his head as he rants at how Ronon can possibly not know anything about things like circadian rhythms or trigonometry or Batman! And then some morning’s he wakes up to find Rodney staring at him, a soft smile on his face and his hair soft and fuzzy, sticking up in all directions, blue eyes still half closed with sleep. When he noticed Ronon staring at him he would rattle off excuses, embarrassed and flustered at being caught but a shy smile still playing on his lips as he quickly hunted for his clothes, hurriedly got dressed and left.
The mission to Croia felt wrong from the start and he doesn’t want his team to remain here for a moment longer than necessary. The market is bustling, cloying with dusty streets and grubby people selling their wares. Ronon had seen countless places like this when he had been running but something about this particular market set him on edge. The feeling of unease and suspicion had been growing since Teyla had mentioned her vision to them. But Ronon had yet to share his suspicions with Teyla. His instincts were screaming that something was wrong but he could almost taste the bitterness of Teyla’s desperation to find the man who sold her the pendant would help her find her people. Ronon knew that being alone was the worst form of torture and more than anything Ronon wanted to spare her that pain. Teyla’s expression had grown grimmer with every moment wasted and when she finally spoke they all listened closely as she described the pendant in her vision.
“Among my people, it is quite common to present such gifts of jewellery as expressions of admiration and respect,” Teyla says softly, eyes pained as she thought of Kanaan.
Ronon turned to Rodney, taking out his frustrations at the feeling of danger he couldn’t seem to pinpoint on the member of the team he was closest to.
“Maybe I'll pick you something up while we're there,” Ronon said, smirking. He was stunned to see some strange and unfamiliar emotion light up in Rodney’s blue eyes
“Really?” Rodney asked, sounding almost pleasantly surprised and suddenly the joke had gone on far enough.
“No,” Ronon responded, feeling his gut clench unhappily as Rodney’s expression closes off.
“How much further is this place, anyway?” Rodney had asked, his hands clenched tightly to his side. It felt like he was almost whining to keep up appearances and Ronon felt horrible at the idea that he had hurt Rodney, even though he isn’t certain why Rodney had reacted so strongly to a simple joke.
And then there’s no more time to ask questions or worry about upsetting McKay. They barely have time to debrief before they’re sent away on another mission and then one after that and Rodney is looking grey around the edges and utterly exhausted. Teyla is captured and then they find Carson’s clone and Ronon can see how badly Rodney is taking it, how each piece of news is like a physical blow. Carson is Rodney’s oldest, and one of his closest, friends and the thought that he had spent two years waiting to be rescued while no one was looking for him is like a physical ache for Rodney. The clone has Carson’s memories, Carson’s thoughts and dreams and hopes and idea’s and essentially the man is actually Carson Beckett. But then they discover that he’s dying and placing Carson in stasis hits Rodney hard. It’s like Carson dying all over again; here for a short burst and then vanishing into a stasis pod like he hadn’t ever been there at all.
That night when Ronon visits Rodney the scientist is sitting on the corner of his bed, head in his hands and his shoulders tense and unhappy. He looks up when the door slides open and then looks down at the floor, as though unhappy to see him. The thought pains Ronon and he approaches Rodney, placing a hand on one wide shoulder. Instead of providing comfort, Rodney just flinches, Ronon frowning at the unexpected reaction. He’s even more surprised when Rodney stands up and begins taking his top off with jerky, angry movements.
“Well, are you just going to stand there like you’re brain damaged or are you going to join in? Because if you’re just going to stand there like an ape then I’m going to sleep,” Rodney huffs and Ronon stares at him in confusion before shrugging slightly and taking off his top before reaching for Rodney and pulling him into an embrace.
Several hours later Rodney lies stiff next to him, their bodies close but not touching. Ronon knows he’s awake; can tell by the uneven breathing and lack of snoring but something bothers him about it. Rodney usually falls asleep straight after sex, exhausted after a hectic day yelling at his staff and saving their collective asses. Tonight, however, it’s been over an hour and Rodney shows no sign of drifting off. Ronon knows that Rodney’s upset at him and he finally thinks he knows why but he strains to think of a way to fix the situation. He thinks about the last few days and suddenly he thinks he knows what to do.
“I didn’t mean what I said back on Croia. I do respect you,” he says and Rodney remains silent for a few seconds before snorting.
“You don’t have to say that. It’s not like I was upset about what you said or even like I care about what you think of me. I understand all the work I do to keep you all alive is never going to be understood or appreciated by the cretins with limited brain capacities who infest these hallways and just because you and I are having sex doesn’t mean we’re in a relationship or anything even similar to…”
Ronon interrupts Rodney’s rant before it could spiral any further out of control, leaning over and kissing Rodney and feeling his warm body go pliant underneath him. He moves his arms back to fiddle with a familiar weight on the back of his neck and then curls back up around Rodney’s familiar body, his lips brushing gently against Rodney’s cheek.
“My father gave this to me when I killed my first Wraith. Some days I would swear that it was what protected me from the Wraith when I was running,” he whispers, breathe ghosting over Rodney’s neck. He presses his hand into Rodney’s smaller one, depositing his Wraith finger bone necklace into his lax fingers and feels them tighten hesitantly around the gift. Rodney held the necklace so that he could see it in the bright light of the planet’s two moons and Ronon hears his breath hitch in his throat.
“I can’t take this, Ronon. It means, well surprisingly it actually means a lot, but I can’t just take this from you. It’s your necklace and besides it’s not like I can just wear this around the labs; my staff are going to think I’ve lost my mind,” Rodney grumbles.
Ronon doesn’t say anything else about it but as he falls asleep a few moments later, he notices that Rodney hasn’t let go of the necklace either. He wakes up to Rodney shuffles out of bed in the early hours of the morning. He’s in the middle of putting on his uniform, hair sticking out in unorganised clumps, when he notices that Ronon’s awake. He presses a dry kiss against his lips before he softly lets himself out and Ronon goes back to sleep, satisfied with the knowledge that he has been forgiven.
That day Ronon sees the familiar leather straps of the necklace around Rodney’s neck. He smiles widely at the scientist but doesn’t say a word.