Recipient's name: gaffsie
Word count: 2,342
The prompt or prompts used: Slash Fic – “First times (can be either sexual or emotional in nature), trust, post EatG.” Mostly I only used that last one, but if you squint you can also see a little teeny trust influence.
A/N: Written for satedan_grabass’s wonderful and illustrious mod, gaffsie. A thousand cookies to somehowunbroken who beta’d really quickly for me since my RL’s been insane lately. Any remaining mistakes are alllll mine.
Atlantis has been on Earth for four months the first time John convinces Ronon to venture off-base. It’s not that John hadn’t tried before now, because he had, and rather insistently at that. It’s not that Ronon’s scared either, because he’s not, not at all. He’s seen Earth before, that one time he came for John’s dad’s death ceremony. The planet doesn’t bother him, necessarily. It’s just that now, after four months, with about half of the personnel reassigned from Atlantis to various bases on Earth, now it seems permanent. Earth was fine, great even, really beautiful, when Ronon was visiting. Now, though, now that people from Atlantis are going out and calling it home, now he’s not thrilled with the idea of exploring Earth. Nevertheless, he’s agreed to go to some Earth thing with John, mostly because John had made it sound really important and he would never let John down.
Ronon’s busy hiding the last of his knives in various places on his person when John lets himself into Ronon’s quarters. It’s not that Ronon thinks anything bad is going to happen out there, but he’s never once let himself get caught off-guard and he’s not planning to start now. John raises an eyebrow as Ronon tucks his favorite knife into his right boot. “There aren’t any Wraith here, remember?” John asks with a grin.
“Yeah, I know,” Ronon replies simply, shrugging his shoulders. John rolls his eyes but lets it go, turning and leading Ronon from his quarters to the West Pier where the ferry leaves Atlantis for the shore. Ronon stands and watches the little boat come up to the edge of the pier, the man on board throwing a rope and tying it off. He and John climb onto the boat with a few others, mostly scientists Ronon only vaguely recognizes, and they sit on the benches, pretending to listen to the captain tell them how to behave for the duration of the ride.
The boat leaves the pier a few minutes later, and the wind that their speed provides feels good on Ronon’s face in the hot day. He watches the Earth buildings get bigger as they draw closer to the dock in Sand Fan Sisco… or something. When the ride is over, Ronon thanks the captain and steps out of the boat onto the dock, sighing as he looks around and can’t see any land, any ground, any natural life at all. Earth’s fine and Ronon’s grateful for the technology they provide that’s saved his life more times than he can remember, but he’ll never understand how they survive without the grass and trees and flowers that are so important to him. He shakes his head to clear those thoughts and smiles, turning to John. “Where to?” Ronon asks.
“You’re going to love this,” John answers, wearing the type of grin that promises insanity. “Come on.”
Ronon follows, only slightly reluctant to be walking away from the water, the only natural thing he can see. His day brightens as John directs him into a car – John calls it a taxi – and Ronon gets to marvel at how fast they can travel on the ground. The car rides had been Ronon’s favorite part of his last visit to Earth. This one is great, too, just as good as he remembers but longer, so Ronon has more time to watch the gleaming buildings flying by his window.
A smile breaks out on Ronon’s face as they pull up to a stop in front of a field, with real grass and trees and everything, and he climbs out of the car. John talks to the driver for a minute and then he gets out as well. Ronon’s breathing in the scent of the natural Earth, noting how similar it is to Akena, when he hears John laugh behind him. John’s hands close around Ronon’s biceps and spin him around. “This way, Chewie. I didn’t drive you 45 minutes to see a field,” John says, chuckling.
Ronon turns and looks over John’s head. He studies the scene for a moment, taking in the shining metal things and the smaller wooden things and all the people walking around, and looks at John. “This is what was so important?” Ronon asks.
“Important? I never said it was important. It’s just fun. It’s a carnival,” John concludes with a grin, as if that explains everything with perfect clarity.
Ronon crosses his arms over his chest. “You sounded like it was important,” he points out.
“Well, it’s a fun… Earth thing. It’s… you have to go to a carnival! It’s a thing, everyone goes to a carnival at some point in their life, so I guess yeah, it’s important,” John says.
Ronon raises an eyebrow at John’s logic, but can’t help but crumble at the excitement in the other man’s eyes. “Alright, well let’s go then,” Ronon decides, discreetly checking his knives.
John smiles and laughs, actually laughs like he doesn’t have a care in the world, and grabs Ronon’s hand, leading him to the entrance of the carnival. There’s a big archway that says 39th Annual Fair and Ronon wonders how many times John’s been here, to this exact carnival, maybe with his parents and brother or an old love. That’s when it hits him, and he falters in his step, looking down at his hand that’s clasped in John’s, that this is sort of a date.
John looks back over his shoulder when he feels Ronon stop and his forehead crinkles in that way that says I don’t get it with a little bit of come on, already. Ronon lets an easy smile settle on his face, because yeah, he could be okay with a date, even if it is on Earth. “Sorry, there’s just a lot of people,” he explains, because it’s not like that isn’t true and John knows how he is with crowds anyway.
John’s face smoothes into an easy smile, a mirror of Ronon’s own, and shakes his head. “Yeah, but it’s fine. I’m here and you have how many knives on you right now?”
“Twelve,” Ronon replies automatically.
“Exactly. Nobody at this carnival wants to kill you, buddy, and even if they did, my money’s on you against any one of these guys. Hell, my money’s on you against all of them at once.” John laughs and tugs impatiently on Ronon’s hand. “Now come on, the Ferris Wheel is waiting.”
With that, John turns and leads Ronon into a line. They file through, pay the man at the booth, and step over the plank of wood that Ronon guesses marks the official entrance to the carnival. John’s talking almost as fast as Rodney does when he’s rambling about some science thing and he’s got Ronon’s hand clasped in his again. Ronon’s being pulled over to some cart and handed some light, pink cloud thing on a stick, and John’s looking at him expectantly.
“It’s food,” John says, gesturing to the pink cloud. “Cotton candy, it’s at every carnival. It’s delicious.” John pulls part of the candy from the stick and shoves it into his mouth. “Sticky though, be careful,” he adds.
Ronon’s skeptical of the value of consuming food like this, can’t imagine it will provide very much usable energy, but pulls a piece off anyway. He puts a bit into his mouth and is surprised to find it disintegrate pretty much instantaneously, no chewing required. It’s the sweetest thing he thinks he’s ever tasted and he’s sure he makes some sort of face, because John’s huge smile falters a little. “You don’t like it?” John asks.
“It’s too sweet,” Ronon replies. He pulls another piece and eats it, though, wanting to be sure he experiences every essential carnival tradition. He thinks if many more carnival traditions are like this one, he’s going to be sick by the end of the day.
Twenty minutes later, Ronon’s pretty convinced that John is just trying to make him sick. They’re on some metal thing called a Scrambler, and it’s whipping them around, shoving John’s body into Ronon’s as they go around in circles. It’s pretty fun, Ronon has to admit, despite the nausea building in his stomach, and he’s pretty sure he’s laughing outright as the wind whips his face.
The day moves on, and Ronon quickly becomes sure that Earthers have a thing with sweet food and going in circles. He’s eaten another of those cloud things, this one in blue, because John had insisted they taste different – they don’t. He also ate something called a funnel cake, which had just been greasy dough covered in sugar. That one at least required chewing. Ronon was a little uncomfortable with food that didn’t need to be chewed. The most recent of John’s you just have to try this foods had been fried Oreos, and Ronon had refused to eat anything after those, sure his stomach couldn’t take much more.
In between their food breaks, Ronon had gone on the Scrambler twice more, flew around on Swings, and by far his closest call with getting sick – the Teacups. He had needed to sit down for a few minutes after that one. He’d told John that there was something wrong with a planet that made people feel sick for a good time.
It’s starting to get dark, and John’s pulling Ronon by the hand to some sort of track in the far corner of the carnival. Ronon’s amazed that John still seems to have the same amount of energy as he did when they first arrived, but the man is still going. They’re getting closer and Ronon can see little cars going around – again in circles, he notes with amusement – on the track. John stops and turns to Ronon. “You get to drive one,” he says, huge smile on his face.
“I get to what?” Ronon asks, disbelief creeping into his tone. “Don’t you need some kind of permission to do that?”
“Not at a carnival. They’re just little dragsters. They have protection and the track is padded anyway, so it’s hard to hurt yourself or anyone else. So you can drive one. It’s easy, you’re going to love it,” John explains. Ronon smiles, he can’t help himself. He gets to drive a car on Earth, and okay, so maybe this planet with all its not-home, no-nature surroundings could be good.
They ride around on the track for almost half an hour, going around four times. By the second time, Ronon gets the hang of driving the little car, and by the third, he’s going faster than John. He whips around the last corner for the fourth time and comes to a stop by the white and black line that marks the beginning and end of the course. “Once more?” John calls from the car next to him a second later.
Ronon grins, but shakes his head. “I’m good,” he says, and climbs out of his car.
“You sure?” John asks, jogging to catch up with him. “You were having fun out there.”
“Yeah, it was great. It’s getting late though, and there were other people who wanted to do that.”
John nods. It’s pretty well dark out, and Ronon’s looking around at all the machines with their multi-colored lights blinking and glowing, lighting up the ground with a rainbow of color. It’s unsettling, more than a little bit foreign, to see all the colors, but John’s hand is in his and it’s every kind of perfect at the same time.
“Okay, one more thing and then we’re headed home,” John says, and John had just called Atlantis home, and Ronon was clearly wrong before, because there’s a new kind of perfect he hadn’t known he was waiting for. He’s pretty sure he looks stupid, that’s how big his smile is, but he just nods and lightly squeezes John’s hand in response.
They walk back through the crowd towards the biggest circle, one probably three times the size of the Gate, standing up right in the middle of the carnival. John stops and stands in front of it, smiling up towards the top like a child. “The Ferris Wheel,” he says.
Ronon laughs, because he knew that John was looking forward to this ride, but he hadn’t known how happy it would make the other man. For once, Ronon’s tugging on John’s hand, pulling him around to the other side of the Ferris Wheel so they can wait to get on.
A few minutes later, they get into a bright blue cage-thing; John calls it a car, although Ronon doesn’t see the resemblance. The wheel jerks to life after the man seals their door and tells them to have a good ride, and they’re off, spinning in a circle again. This one is much slower, though, and Ronon doesn’t feel sick, which he’s glad for. There’s a breeze blowing through the bars, and as they climb up to the top of the circle, the sight is amazing.
John sighs, and Ronon looks at John looking at the city to one side, then the field which gives way to a forest on the other. Ronon can’t remember ever seeing John look so content, so calm and collected. John laughs then, and looks at Ronon. “Look at the scenery, not at me. You can look at me all you want at home,” he says.
Ronon smiles and nods, but doesn’t look away. John leans in then and presses a kiss to Ronon’s lips. It’s not long and it’s not urgent, and Ronon thinks he has to work on his list of things that are perfect, because he’s clearly been missing some really important ones. John pulls back and laughs softly. “It’s like we’re in middle school, kissing at the top of the Ferris Wheel,” he says, and Ronon doesn’t really understand the connection, but he’s willing to let John think they’re like whatever he wants, as long as Ronon’s allowed to kiss him again, and again later tonight when they get home.