Characters: John, Ronon
Word Count: 1,805
Notes: So, I know I said I'd have this last week, but I'm slow. Sorry. Many thanks to somehowunbroken for beta reading this for me! Any mistakes left are probably in the parts I changed after she read through it. :)
On missions when they had to stay a night off-world, Sheppard positioned himself like he was desperately trying to protect everyone, even in sleep. Ronon often woke to find Sheppard’s leg cast over his own and an arm wrapped around his chest, hand fisted in his shirt. Sometimes Sheppard’s head would be over his heart, as if to make sure it was still beating, as if he would wake if it suddenly stopped, as if he’d actually able to do anything if it had. It had taken Ronon a little while the first time, but he had figured out how to remove himself without waking Sheppard.
This backfired because, without fail, Sheppard would startle awake less than ten minutes after Ronon had disentangled himself. It wasn’t long before Ronon realized it was his absence that made the other man wake. It was an even shorter period of time later that Ronon realized it was only ever him. Sheppard never draped himself over Teyla or McKay, only Ronon, which made no sense at all, because of the three of them he was the last who needed protection. McKay was the obvious choice if Sheppard was looking for someone to guard. After seven years as a Runner, Ronon certainly knew how to take care of himself, and was always ready to wake up with his blaster already pointed at whatever woke him in the first place.
It was this thought process that led Ronon to Sheppard’s quarters. Ronon was leaning casually in front of the door when Sheppard opened it from the inside. It wasn’t often that Ronon would visit his quarters, so Sheppard looked a little bit confused, but not unwelcoming. “Hey, buddy, what’s up?” he asked.
“Why me?” Ronon questioned in return.
“Um,” Sheppard replied, somewhat less than eloquently. He looked around his quarters and past Ronon into the hallway before he apparently decided he wasn’t going to find an answer that easily. Ronon raised an eyebrow at the display. “Because you’re on my team?” Sheppard tried, clearly having no idea what he was answering, and whether it was good or bad.
Ronon considered this for a moment and then shook his head and brushed past Sheppard into the other man’s quarters. This likely was not a conversation Sheppard would want overheard by anyone who happened to walk through the hallway. The door slid closed as Ronon leaned against the wall and turned around to face Sheppard again. “You sleep on me on missions. I’ve killed Wraith in my sleep. Why not McKay?” Sheppard’s mouth opened and closed a few times before he seemed to regain control of it. Then a light blush crept up his cheeks; he folded his arms across his chest and looked down at the floor, seemingly struggling for something to say.
“Rodney would be uncomfortable with it,” he mumbled, speaking at the floor.
“Teyla?” Ronon asked.
Sheppard’s head snapped up, and his arms fell from his chest. “Teyla would kill me for even considering it,” he argued. Ronon smiled and nodded his agreement. He stopped a moment to consider.
“You know, I’m sure McKay would understand if you just told him. I know he could use the protection,” Ronon offered.
“The pro… oh. Oh.” Ronon watched a series of emotions flash across Sheppard’s face before the other man could carefully arrange a calm front. Over this, confusion settled in again. “Wraith?” Sheppard asked.
“Yeah. I woke up once and found a dead Wraith next to me. Don’t remember waking up to kill it. Must’ve been really tired that night.” Ronon shrugged his shoulders.
Sheppard chuckled. “Yeah, sure, tired.” He shook his head and walked over to sit on his bed. Ronon caught another flash of what he could only call disappointment on the other man’s face as he turned.
“So?” Ronon prompted.
“What?” Sheppard returned.
“If it’s not about protection, then what is it?”
Sheppard blushed again, this time trying to retain eye contact, but eventually settling on looking at the wall next to Ronon’s face. “I don’t do it purposely.” Ronon raised an eyebrow in response and waited for Sheppard to elaborate. The other man sighed and let his eyes fall to his hands twisting around one another in his lap. “I… well, I don’t do well alone.” Sheppard’s face twisted as the words came out, as if admitting weakness left a bad taste in his mouth. He continued staring at his hands like maybe they could do something to get him out of this situation as Ronon considered how to respond.
“You’re alone in here,” he pointed out, “and you seem fine.”
Sheppard snorted and looked up. “I don’t sleep alone, though. As it turns out, having a title is sexy. Everyone wants to fuck Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard, military commander of Atlantis.” He had a smirk on his face as he said it; he leaned back on his arms, putting his body on display, though his tone was half-bitter.
Ronon pushed off the wall at this and knew his own eyes had darkened. “Everyone?” he questioned, tone lowered and a little dangerous.
Sheppard looked up at the other man, surprised. He glanced from Ronon’s face down to his hands, which Ronon realized were curled into fists, and back to his face again. “Well, no, probably not everyone,” he hedged. “I didn’t mean to imply… I mean, I know you don’t…” Sheppard trailed off and looked helplessly around the room.
“How many?” Ronon growled.
“Huh?” Sheppard looked even more confused than he had previously.
“People. How many people have you fucked?”
“I don’t understand,” Sheppard replied.
“You’re so stupid sometimes, Sheppard. You’re going around fucking everyone on the base, but all you had to do was ask me. I would have stayed with you and you wouldn’t have had to fuck anyone you didn’t want to fuck.”
Sheppard seemed to deflate at this. His eyes wandered across everything except the man standing in front of him while the silence stretched out. A minute later, he finally managed a mumbled reply. “Twenty or so, I think.”
Ronon shook his head and looked away. “Stupid,” he repeated before he turned and stormed out of the room. Ronon made his way to the gym without really thinking and started beating the bag in the corner automatically.
He couldn’t say how long he had been punching and kicking and taking his frustrations out on the bag, but when Ronon stopped, his hands were raw and bloodied. It had been months since he had allowed himself to go so far. He growled down at his hands, thinking them more of a nuisance than anything else, and headed to the infirmary to get them cleaned up. Beckett bandaged Ronon’s hands with surprisingly little scolding, and Ronon headed back to Sheppard’s quarters.
Ronon rang the chimes for the second time that night, and once again pushed past Sheppard when the door opened. Ronon scanned the room to make sure he and Sheppard were alone and turned back to talk to the other man. Ronon crossed his arms over his chest, tucking his bandaged hands away. Sheppard noticed them anyway. “What did you do?” he asked, gesturing towards them, then putting his hands on his hips.
“Went to the gym. Doc said they’ll be fine,” Ronon replied stoically. “You ready for bed yet or should I come back later?”
“You shouldn’t do…” Sheppard trailed off. “Bed?”
“Yeah, bed. You know, sleep? Not alone?” Ronon gestured to the bed behind him with one hand.
“Ronon, you don’t have to do this. I’m… I’ll be fine.”
“Hell you will,” Ronon replied, hands crossing his chest once more. “Change.”
Sheppard looked down at himself, saw the BDUs he was still wearing for no good reason, and sighed. He dropped his hands, and turned to grab his pajamas. Ronon settled back against the wall, watching Sheppard prepare for bed. Sheppard headed into his bathroom to change, which made Ronon chuckle quietly, because how many times had they seen each other naked off-world? One of the team members usually ended up naked for one reason or another at least once a week.
When Sheppard re-emerged in a t-shirt and pajama pants, he stopped halfway between the bathroom door and his bed, looking at Ronon. “Look, really…”
“I’m staying,” Ronon stated firmly. Sheppard nodded his head; he had expected that to happen, Ronon knew. Sheppard headed back to his dresser and grabbed another pair of pants, which he threw at Ronon.
“They’re too big for me, they might fit you.” Sheppard shrugged and slipped into his bed. Ronon went into the bathroom and took his clothes off. He pulled Sheppard’s pants over his legs and tied them. They were comically short on him, but they covered the important parts, so Ronon shrugged and headed back out into the room. Sheppard watched Ronon come back into the room and his eyes grew wide before he let out a soft laugh. “I guess not, huh?”
“Close enough,” Ronon replied with a smile. He threw his clothes on Sheppard’s desk chair and climbed into the bed, pressing his chest to Sheppard’s back. He threw his arm over the smaller man’s stomach and pulled him close. Putting his mouth next to Sheppard’s ear, he questioned softly, “Is this ‘not alone’ enough for you?”
Ronon felt a shiver run through Sheppard’s body as he hummed his agreement. “Good,” Ronon murmured as he settled his head back into the pillow.
Ronon lay in Sheppard’s bed simply holding the other man against him and wondered what had happened to Sheppard in the past to make him so afraid of being alone. Even more troubling, however, was the thought that he could have made things worse on all of those missions when he would slip out from underneath Sheppard. Images of Sheppard waking up gasping and terrified, eyes seeking Ronon out before calming, flashed through Ronon’s mind as he lay there.
About half an hour after lying down, Sheppard turned under Ronon’s arm to face him. Sheppard breathed deeply and tilted his face up, touching his lips lightly to Ronon’s. Ronon wondered briefly if this was part of not alone, if Sheppard needed this in order to sleep soundly, before deciding he didn’t care and kissing Sheppard back. Sheppard deepened the kiss, threading his fingers through Ronon’s hair and moaning softly into his mouth. They broke apart a minute later, gasping for air.
“Sheppard…” Ronon whispered.
“John,” he replied, and looked Ronon in the eyes. “Call me John when you fuck me, Ronon.”
“John,” Ronon growled, and he pushed the other man onto his back, grinning ferally.
Later, when the men were curled together and able to breathe again, John glanced back over his shoulder at Ronon. “Stay?” he asked sleepily.
Ronon dropped a light kiss on John’s shoulder. “Always.”