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Title: Refuge
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine and I am not profiting.
Note: Set immediately after 3x04 "Sateda: and contains massive spoilers for that episode.

He wouldn’t, couldn’t, stay in the infirmary.  Ronon had spent what felt like an eternity trapped, hunted, hurting, and there was no way he could stay in the infirmary now.  He needed to go somewhere more familiar, warmer, somewhere safe where there were good memories, not memories of explosions and death.

So, Beckett patched him up, looking a bit teary the whole time.  Fixed his leg, his neck, gave him pain pills in a little plastic container.  The doctor tried one last time to convince him to stay, but Ronon just shook his head, leaned heavily on Teyla, and limped the hell out.

She led him slowly to her room, glaring at anyone who dared to give them a puzzled look.  Ronon let her steer him, fought not at all as she took him through her door, through her room, into the bathroom.  She started to remove his shirt and he let her, cooperating as she removed his clothing.  She was very business-like about it, no roving hands, no sly looks.

When he was naked, she guided him to sit on the edge of the tub.  She wet a washcloth and began running it down his arm, washing away dirt and soot and sweat.  Dirty water dripped off the cloth and onto to the floor, but she didn’t worry about it so he didn’t either.  Her touch was firm, yet still gentle, running over his chest, smoothing over bruises and aches, so he closed his eyes.  He felt like a child, sitting there passively while this beautiful woman washed him, but there was nothing left within him, no energy, no capacity for conscious thought.  She moved down to his legs and he knew distantly that this was arousing and that it was a shame he wasn’t appreciating it.

He felt the absence of her touch as almost an ache, and his eyes slowly opened to see her standing there, considering him.  He felt a brief touch of embarrassment at being so exposed, a slight urge to make the comment that if he was naked, she should be too, but mostly he just wanted to keep sitting there and letting her do whatever she wanted.  This was Teyla, this was safety.  He didn’t have to fight here.

After a moment of quiet nothingness, she helped him to stand and led him to her bed.  He lay down, feeling like he could sink down into the blankets.  He felt her lay down next to him, cup his face in her hand, and with supreme effort, he turned his head so he could melt into her kiss.  Her kiss was hungry, almost desperate, but not forceful; he was exhausted, he hurt, and she knew it, knew he was unable to do anything more than just lay there.  

When she finally pulled away from him, her hand remained on his face.  “I was so afraid we would not find you,” she whispered, and he should have known but it wasn’t until that moment he realized the fear still in her eyes. 

“I’m sorry,” because he was, because it was all his fault, from bringing the Wraith to getting the team caught, to putting them in danger again, to not saving Sateda, but she was shushing him, the she in the here and now, Teyla kissed him softly and he kept his guilt to himself.

Her fingers brushed lightly over the soreness of his arms.  “Everyone was very worried about you.  Colonel Sheppard especially got quite emotional.” 

He didn’t know what to say to that, how to react.  He’d seen the solidarity in Sheppard’s eyes, felt his support as the other man had helped him up off the floor, but he didn’t quite know what to do with that idea, that he meant something to these people now.  So, he said nothing, felt her fingers ghost over his hips, down his thigh.  He remembered the burn of alcohol in the bullet wound, the pain of the forceps, and even when it hurt so much, there had been something liberating in screaming, moaning at the agony.  It had been like forcing the pain out rather than keeping it inside, the way he did now.

Her hand trailed back up his side, and he realized she was crying, silent and still but with tears running down her face, and he was so helpless, so reminded of Melina, and he said “No, don’t…” and reached out to touch her face.

She smiled at him, her leader smile that told the world she could be strong through anything.  She took his hand and held it.  “I am so grateful you came back to us.”  She paused.  “To me.”

Words like that were not common between them.  They knew they cared deeply for one another, but to put it in words was not characteristic of either of them.  Ronon felt something small break inside of him.  “I couldn’t let them….not after…not to you…” He couldn’t finish a thought; it was all so jumbled in his head. 

Teyla shushed him again, pressing her lips to his fingers.  She lingered longest on his trigger finger.  “Hush.  Do not speak of these things.  What has already happened cannot be changed.”

But he couldn’t get it out of his head, the knife to his throat, knowing he’d gladly give his life to save her and Sheppard, that the thought of losing them while he survived was unbearable, that he’d run for seven years powered only by a drive for survival but that if he lost these people he’d give up, kill himself before the Wraith could have him because he couldn’t go on after that.    He tried to let her soothe him, but it was just too much, what he’d lost, what he’d seen, almost dying at the hands of the Wraith.  It was too much, and he longed for the alcohol so he could scream again.

She shifted on the bed, and Ronon moved almost instinctually toward her.  She reached one arm out to hold him closer, and he buried his face against her, nestled to the tops of her breasts, and he breathed in the scent of her and tried to calm his ragged breathing, focusing on her heat, her presence, the strong hand rubbing his back.  It calmed the ache inside of him, and he relaxed in her arms.

Gradually, as the thoughts in his head quieted, he realized she was humming to him, something that sounded almost like a lullaby, and this soothed him further.  Slowly, he looked up at her, and she smiled at him with all the warmth of the sun.  “You should sleep,” she told him.  He felt he should protest, but she continued on.  “We are both off duty tomorrow.  We will have plenty of time then to talk, or to….not talk.”  Her grin was wicked, and he knew exactly what she meant.  He was exhausted, but the thought of burying himself inside of her, of her body and her moans of pleasure, that was a thought that filled him with pleasure, and he thought that tomorrow might be a good day. 

She pulled apart from him, kissing his forehead to quiet his involuntary sigh of protest.  She stripped quickly, dropping her clothing to the floor, and tugged back the covers, working them out from under Ronon’s dead weight.  She pulled a blanket over him and, all that being done, slid back into bed, snuggling close to Ronon.

He rested his forehead against hers, taking security in the press of skin on skin.  “Thank you,” he breathed.  He’d said it before, there in the jumper, but this was for her personally, for being with him through the night, for being with him at all after all he’d done. 

She replied only by kissing him lightly, holding him tightly, and safe against her, the day finally ended as he fell asleep.