Title: In Absentia
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Genre: Romance/Angst (written for sg_prompts 's Prompt #5)
Characters: John Sheppard, Ronon Dex
Summary: It was thus that Ronon found him.
Disclaimer: Never have and never will own anything from Stargate SG-1 or Atlantis. (Pity, isn't it?) I do own this story, though, short as it is.
John had been fighting this feeling for a while now – this sense of utter loss, a gaping, painful wound – but now he found that it only hurt more, since he’d pushed it down.
Sleeping was impossible. Instead, he sat up in bed, staring across at the wall and wondering how he could go on with his life. Was living even possible, now that she was gone?
It was thus that Ronon found him, several hours after both of them should have been in bed.
He looked up, and Ronon recoiled slightly at the force of his gaze. Briefly, John wondered if his expression was really that clear. “Yeah?” he said dimly, his voice soft, in a sharp contrast with his face.
Ronon took a step into the room. He’d left the door open, John realized. How had he done that? “You okay?”
“Yeah,” said John faintly.
Obviously taking that as a ‘no,’ Ronon moved to join him on the bed. It was an intimate sort of moment, something he’d had so often with Elizabeth, and it made him tear up suddenly. He turned his face away.
“What do you want?” he murmured, tilting his head so that Ronon could not see his eyes.
“I want to make sure you’re all right,” said Ronon, and then, after a pause, “I know you were seeing each other.”
That startled John, and he looked up, in spite of the tear that had already slid out of his eye and down his cheek. They sat there for a long moment in silence, until he felt the wetness splash on his upturned palm, and he looked down again, blinking rapidly.
“How?” he managed, his voice trembling slightly.
“The way you looked at each other,” Ronon replied. “The way you touched fingers when you thought no one was looking. It was easy to notice once I’d seen you go into her room once.”
At first John had been appalled that they’d been so obvious, but Ronon’s last comment caused him to relax. Few people would have noticed that.
“How are you holding up?” Ronon asked.
John hesitated, but it seemed silly to hide the truth, now that Ronon had seen him cry, and knew what was really going on in his head. “Not well. I keep… it’s hard to sleep,” he explained, his voice tired, almost weak. “I keep remembering how she was always there, and then… she’s not there… and I feel so helpless.”
Ronon was silent for a long moment. John realized that the tears were flowing freely now. He didn’t try to hide it anymore, just wiped his face briefly with the back of his hand.
“Is there anything I can do?” Ronon murmured, reaching to touch the wet hand gently. “Because I will.” When John looked up at him, surprised, “We were closer than anyone thought. When she asked me something… I had to talk to her, she was just that good.”
“I know,” John whispered, and now he could hear the sob in his own voice. “I know… she was always that good.”
He was crying now, really crying, and he pressed his hands against his face, too struck by the memories to be embarrassed. A moment later, he felt Ronon’s hands pulling on him, tugging him into an embrace. Gratefully, he leaned against the larger man, allowing himself to be cuddled. She’d done this, occasionally, when he needed the extra touch – although she hadn’t been that tall, tall enough to surround him with her body, as Ronon was doing now.
Eventually the tears subsided, and they were just sitting there.
“Are you okay now?” Ronon said softly.
John shook his head, breathing heavily. “I still won’t be able to get to sleep. Unless…” When he looked up, Ronon was looking down at him, almost impassive, but not quite. There was compassion in the other man’s eyes. “I might be able to sleep if there was someone…”
Ronon shifted, and John realized his companion was already dressed for bed. He’d expected this, somehow. Suddenly the burden of asking seemed to be lifted off him, and he relaxed, letting Ronon settle them both until they were lying down on the bed.
“I should tell you,” Ronon whispered, “I loved both of you… and you, still…”
“We’ll get her back,” John said firmly, though his voice too was hardly above a whisper. “Elizabeth will not be gone forever. Not if we have anything to say about it.”
They fell asleep that way, not realizing that the door was still open, though John wouldn’t have cared if he’d known.