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Surcease
to bring or come to an end; stop 

It was really only fitting that he'd stopped here.  He was, overall, a man without a home, and who else could ever have taken him in but these people who were so very far from their own homes?  Ronon couldn't really understand it.  Why would they leave the safety of their planet for this place?

It wasn't that he minded—they'd saved him, after all, given him better weapons with which to fight the Wraith, and he was even kinda grateful for the company.  He just didn't get it, and it preoccupied his thoughts at time.

(sometimes he's afraid they'll go back and he'll be left alone again)

This is why Ronon tries not to think most of the time.  Thinking too much is a really good reason to go crazy if you're going to be alone for seven years, so he has learned the fine art of operating on instinct, living in the present and not thinking too much about it.  It's why most of Atlantis thinks he's stupid, mentally primitive.  It's not like he was ever a genius or anything, but he's just as smart as most of the military personnel.  It's just that he shuts his mind off most of the time.  On days he feels particularly friendly, he wonders if McKay would like to be taught how to do this, if it would calm him any.  But no, he figures McKay sorta likes the pain, the insanity.

Seven years.  He'd been 20 when the Wraith came, and he'd been a soldier, yes, but a young one.  He'd been immature, prone to drunken debauchery with friends and relentlessly hitting on the girls around him.  That's all gone now.  The marines call him silent; the scientists call him shy if they like him, devolved if they don't.  He really doesn't think he's any of these things, he just doesn't remember how to deal with other people.  Twenty year old Ronon Dex might as well be a different person because he remembers conversation and flirtation and laughter, but he has no idea how any of it worked, and even if he did, isn't he an adult now?  Isn't he expected to act differently, more like his father and his older brothers?  But they are gone now too and so he is quiet and maybe he is shy, because he's not even scared of the Wraith but talking to anyone not part of his team makes the back of his neck hurt like he really should be running away now.

The psychologist, Heightmeyer, had tried to talk to him about his feelings on the destruction of Sateda or being isolated for so long or things like that.  He didn't mind when she was talking, because she was pretty and had a soothing voice, but then she expected him to contribute to the conversation and that was clearly not going to happen, so he stopped going to see her.

Mostly he focuses on doing his work and trying not to get killed off-world.  It's a good life, certainly better than running.  He gets to eat consistently, sleep soundly, and he's pretty sure he's not constantly in danger of having his life sucked out.  It was almost comfortable, which of course meant everything had to get totally fucked up.

Maybe it was the sense of almost-safety that did it, but Ronon's mind started to act up.  It started thinking about things, generally things involving how he'd rather not be alone again and how really, maybe he needs to makes friends or something.  Mostly, though, he thought about Teyla.

It makes sense; she is the only other native of the Pegasus galaxy, the only other person who really and truly comprehends the horror of the Wraith.  It makes her more familiar, but more importantly, it makes him think that maybe if the Atlantis crew packed up and went home, they'd leave her here too.  Besides, he's quiet, not dead, and she's hot and strong and powerful and everything he thinks maybe he wants to look for now that he's older.  Of all the people he's ever met, she is the only one he thinks could survive seven years as a runner, and that more than anything else is why he likes her.

Of course, he'd never say anything or do anything, not for fear of rejection but for fear of acceptance.  If she said yes to whatever he asked, what would he do?  He doesn't even have conversations, how could he have a relationship?  Not to mention he has no idea of how to approach her, because he doubts the Satedan equivalent of "Nice shoes, wanna fuck?" would work, and he'd never gotten much more sophisticated than that before he was taken.  He knows that if Teyla was considering anyone, she would want a man, and he doesn’t think he can give her more than an awkward boy in a man's body.

So he went on doing nothing, eating and shooting and sparring with Sheppard, as if that was all there was to life.  Teyla is there more than she isn't, which is a bit strange but Ronon perseveres in the face of ridiculous crush.  Sometimes he can even pretend she isn't there, but there's still that awareness of her in the back of his mind. 

But then one day they are sparring, just the two of them in the training room.  Teyla, apropos of nothing, says, "I chose to stay here."

Ronon blinks dumbly at her for a moment.  "I hadn't thought they were holding you hostage."

She favors him with a smile.  "I mean that I chose to be here.  I chose to stay, rather than joining my people.  I am not going anywhere."  Their sticks parry, fly, and they are locked together.  She stares into his eyes.  "And neither are you."

Seven years of fighting, of being ready every moment, and he drops it all for her, letting go of his sticks and backing away.  "What do you mean?"

She sets her sticks down gently and approaches him again.  "I mean only that you are living your life as if you are still running, and it is time to accept that you are not.  This is your home now.  You need only choose to stay, as I did."

He swallows hard.  "I don't exactly have the best luck with staying places."

She comes even closer, lays her hand on his cheek.  "Ronon."  He is very, very still.  "That is over now."  He tries to speak, but she moves her hand to cover his mouth.  "Listen to me very carefully.  It is over now.  But even if it is not, you will not be alone.  If I had to, I would run with you.  I would help you."

He says, muffled by her hand, "I wouldn't want that." 

She smiles.  "I do not believe I gave you a choice."  She finally uncovers his mouth, eyes bright and merry.  "Shall we continue our practice?"

He considers this, considers this woman who is so much stronger than he is, and knows he could kiss her right now if he wanted to, and he desperately wants to but knows he isn't ready and this is something worth waiting for.  He picks back up his sticks and settles back into a fighting stance.

He isn't ready for this yet, he is still getting reacclimated to the presence of others.  But, for the first time, he realizes that he just might have the time to figure out how to do this, and when he does, she will still be here waiting for him.