Title: Right By Your Side
Prompt: 253- Any Joke In a Storm - tamingthemuse
Disclaimer: Not mine, despite the occasional daydream.
Summary: All Rodney wanted was someone to sit in comfortable silence with
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From the first moment that Rodney met Ronon, he had been interested in him. Superficially, the other man was stunning- long dreads hanging over an angled face, golden skin and incredible musculature. In short, he had everything that Rodney, or hell, anyone with a heartbeat, could appreciate in a man. He heard brief snatches of Ronon’s life story from the busybody scientists that he worked with; hunched over his equipment with his head down and pretending not to listen to their stories but secretly taking their words in. Ronon was a hero, a survivor. There was no way he would be interested in someone like him. Burying his crush deep, deep in the recesses of his mind, Rodney did what he did best. He worked.
It became harder to ignore his feelings for the other man when Sheppard invited him to join their team, finally filling in the gaping wound that Ford’s absence had left. He had always been good at ignoring his true desires, a response ingrained after a lifetime of rejection and hurt. It was harder to concentrate but once he began to focus on something other than Ronon’s piercing stare, his body in those tight leather pants, his mind began to work its magic.
The first time he sat down in the chair opposite Ronon’s in the mess hall Rodney told himself that it was in the name of team unity. While the entirety of Rodney’s staff and most of Atlantis seemed to have a collective crush on Ronon, he was intimidating and when he sat down to eat people left his table alone. When Rodney sat in front of him Ronon looked up from his heaving plate for a brief moment, grunted and then going back to shoving heaped forkfuls of food into his mouth. Rodney smiled and didn’t say anything, starting on his food with a self-satisfied smirk on his face.
After Rodney couldn’t seem to recreate that comfortable silence, no matter how hard he tried. He was awful with silence, filling it up with hastily muttered words and explanations, with ego driven comments and random observations that flitted through his mind. With Sheppard he was never really allowed the opportunity to truly speak what was on his mind, the man knowing that Rodney could go on for hours if he wasn’t stopped. But Ronon didn’t interrupt him and so Rodney talked and talked, filling in the other man’s silences. If he stopped to think about it, he would realise that really he was just having a conversation with himself, with Ronon rarely interjecting affirmative grunts where he agreed.
It was difficult to flirt with someone as horribly laconic as Ronon. Rodney was loquacious enough for the both of them, but sometimes he wanted to hear Ronon’s opinion, to hear the man either flirt back or bitterly reject him. The silences between them were rare, Rodney doing his best to fill them words. For the longer the silences lasted the more awkward Rodney felt they were. All he wanted was someone he didn’t try so hard for, someone who he could sit beside without the silence pressing in and suffocating him in its chokehold.
The more missions they went on, the more times they saved each other’s lives, the more things finally started to change. Ronon began to open up, becoming more comfortable with his role in Atlantis. He sparred with Teyla in the gym and taught the soldiers how to fight. And then one day Rodney took his tray and approached Ronon’s table and Ronon lifted up his head, smiling at him as he approached and greeting him with a muttered, “Hey.”
Rodney couldn’t help but curse Sheppard out in his head for teaching Ronon how to mince the English language, even as he felt like bouncing up and down and celebrating Ronon’s greeting. Ronon had talked to him before, sure, but never small talk, never initiating conversation, particularly during lunch.
“How’s your day been?” Rodney asked cautiously.
“Pretty good,” Ronon grunted in response, shoving a forkful of food into his mouth and barely chewing before continuing, “Beat up a couple of soldiers and then hit Sheppard around. Kind of fun.”
“Is that what’s got you so talkative?” Rodney questioned, genuinely curious about what had changed between them.
“Nah, I just figured that you’d wear yourself out babbling at me and then who’d save Atlantis when we’re attacked?” Ronon replied, eyes crinkling as he smiled at Rodney.
A desperate joke in a storm of emotion and Rodney took it and ran with it. “Yeah, well I’m glad somebody here recognises my brilliance, at least when it’s not immediately needed to save the day and stop the city blowing up.”
Ronon stared at him in silence, small smile on his face before he suddenly burst out in an apparent non sequitur. “Sheppard’s been trying to get me to watch your Earth television things that he so enjoys. If you have any of those programs maybe you could beat him to it and show me one of them instead?”
Ronon sounded so horribly shy and hesitant that Rodney didn’t think he could ever say no to the man. Rodney had been the one pursuing Ronon, talking to him when everyone was too afraid of him and generally building his trust. It was funny that despite all of that Ronon had been the one to arrange for them to do something together, Rodney hesitated at calling it a date even if part of him clamoured away that it was, first.
Curled up next to each other on the small Atlantean beds, bodies brushing against each other when they moved, Rodney couldn’t even name what movie they were watching. Revealing in the closeness, the warmth against his side, Rodney didn’t even notice how the silence between them had finally stopped being awkward and started being comfortable.