by Nel

Email: nel_ani@yahoo.se
Rating: PG-13
Category: Angst
Pairing: Ronon/Sheppard
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Spoilers: Some for Conversion
Summary: Wherein there are sweaty men, violence, complications and a vacuum cleaner.
Author's Notes: As always, big thank you to Suz for letting me ramble and an equally big thank you to Petra for the same reason. *smooch*

This is unbetaed, so it's still a bit rough around the edges and probably has more typos than I want to admit to. I figured it was more important that I finish it than polish it, though, so for now:

Absolutely not-happy birthday, D. Love you to pieces.


“This is such a bad idea,” Sheppard sighed, but he moved into a fighting stance.

“Why?” Ronon started circling him, Sheppard’s body turning with his, his eyes locked to Ronon’s.

“Because you’re going to kick my ass so bad that I won’t be able to get it kicked by Teyla in the morning.”

Ronon flashed him a grin and struck with his left fist. Sheppard blocked it easily and Ronon nodded in approval; good reaction time. “There’s a mat here.”

“Yes,” Sheppard said dryly, giving Ronon a couple of quick jabs that were easily blocked, “that will make the pain go away.”

“Your military doesn’t practice close combat?” He started on a series of punches and was pleased when only two of them got through Sheppard’s defence. Sheppard staggered back with a grunt, but kept his balance.

“Where I come from, wars are fought from a distance. We train in hand-to-hand, but weapons and machinery are more important to master.” He aimed a kick at Ronon’s stomach. Ronon caught his foot and twisted sharply, being careful to not dislocate anything, just spin Sheppard around.

Sheppard lost his footing with a yelp, but managed to stop his fall with his hands, palms pushing away from the mat as he spun back to his feet almost gracefully, feet barely having time to slam to the mat. Ronon recognized the move as one of Teyla’s. “Machines like aircrafts,” Ronon stated, giving Sheppard a breather. Part of him didn’t want to go easy on the Colonel, because the Wraith wouldn’t. Another, bigger, part of him didn’t want to scare Sheppard off; he enjoyed the idea of the two of them dancing together.

Sheppard’s smile was like lightning, quick but focused. “Yeah, but the Air Force has most of those. The Navy has boats, the Army tanks.” His temples were damp with perspiration.

“But you still need to manage without machines.” He blocked a few punches before Sheppard backed off again.

“Sure. But I was always more interested in flying.”

He was breathing a bit harder, but not too harshly. Sheppard was in good shape. Ronon ran his eyes down his body. Very good shape.

Distracted, his defence was sloppy against Sheppard’s next few punches and even as he was focusing his full attention on Sheppard’s movements again, he was caught by surprise as Sheppard kicked low instead of striking at Ronon’s face. He hit the floor with a thump and found himself straddled, his arms pinned above his head.

Ronon panted harshly and Sheppard’s eyes widened in surprise. “I took you down?”

Ronon buckled, enjoying the feel of Sheppard’s body pressing hard against his as he rolled and pinned Sheppard beneath him, mirroring the way Sheppard had pinned his arms.

Sheppard’s eyes closed briefly as Ronon’s weight pushed the air out of his lungs, but then they opened again and he was grinning. “I took you down. Didn’t expect that.”

Ronon looked at Sheppard’s sweat damp face, his infectious smile and his glittering eyes and he lowered his head and pushed his tongue into the open mouth. Closing his eyes, he heard Sheppard make a noise, but he didn’t try to break free.

Ronon pulled back and stared down at Sheppard’s surprised face, mouth open and lips slick. Then he licked his lips and Ronon resisted the urge to kiss him again. “Didn’t expect that either,” Sheppard said neutrally, as though he was discussing fighting techniques, his face carefully unreadable.

He’d seemed like an open book to Ronon the first time they’d spoken, so earnest and sincere. He didn’t believe that Sheppard had played him – his offer had been genuine – but coming to Atlantis he’d learned that it was one of Sheppard’s many faces, and not one he used often. Ronon wondered what that meant.

“I don’t fraternize with members of my team,” Sheppard said finally, when he must have realized that Ronon wasn’t going to say anything.

“You kissed Teyla.”

“For the *last* time, I was turning into a *bug*,” he snapped and Ronon almost didn’t smile. “Oh fine,” Sheppard said, voice annoyed as he caught Ronon’s grin, “kick a man while he’s down.”

"Kicking isn't really what I'm interested in doing to you," Ronon said honestly.

Sheppard's eyes widened. "Wow, when you decide to talk, you don't pull any punches."

"Not really interested in talking either."

"Yeah, I got that part."


"So what?"

"Are you sticking to the lame bug excuse, or can we go to your quarters?"

Sheppard stared at him then started laughing, which was immediately followed by him pushing at Ronon's shoulders. "Ow, stupid idea, no air, get off me."

Not quite following orders, Ronon just pushed up until he was kneeling on all fours above Sheppard. Sheppard drew in a deep breath and looked up at Ronon. “Look, Ronon, it’s not that I don’t like you, but…”

Ronon never found out what Sheppard was about to say as the doors suddenly opened and Sheppard went rigid underneath him. He looked up to see one of the military officers – Ronon didn’t remember his name – entering, training clothes on and a towel slung over one shoulder.

“Colonel, Mr Dex,” he nodded, walking over to the window and dumping his towel there.

“Major Lorne,” Sheppard drawled and Ronon could feel him forcing his muscles to relaxation, one after one. “Nice timing. You didn’t exactly catch me at my finest.”

“Don’t worry, sir,” the Major smiled ruefully at Ronon as he pushed himself away from Sheppard, “you’re not the only one to bite the dust against Mr. Dex.”

Ronon grunted and offered his hand to Sheppard who grabbed it and pulled himself up. “You’re pretty good, you just need to work on your speed and balance.”

“Trust me, Major, if Ronon says you’re pretty good, it means you’ll wipe the floor with most of the personnel in Atlantis.” If Ronon hadn’t felt up close how tense Sheppard had been a few moments ago, he’d have thought he’d been imagining things as watched Sheppard saunter up to the Major, relaxed and smirking like he hadn’t just licked the taste of Ronon off his lips a few minutes earlier. “Apparently, Teyla is ‘good’.”

“Well, sir,” Lorne said solemnly as the door opened and more soldiers entered, “I’ll remember that next time I hit the mat.”

Sheppard grinned and slung his towel over his shoulder. “Do that, Major. Do that.”

“You up for some sparring now, Mr Dex?”

Ronon looked over at Sheppard who raised his hands and smiled self-depreciatingly. “I’ve had enough for one day.”

Ronon nodded at the Major. “Sure.”

Sheppard gave a wave and turned to leave. Ronon made himself turn away and not watch at his retreating back.


After some searching, Ronon found Sheppard in McKay’s lab.

“I’m sorry to tell you this, Colonel, but you’re incredibly wrong and I’m incredibly right.” McKay sounded like he normally did when he was talking to Sheppard; smug, patronizing and like he was having a lot of fun. There wasn’t anything obvious about it, but Ronon figured that if McKay found Sheppard as stupid as it sounded like he found him, he wouldn’t still be talking to him.

“Thank you, Rodney, nice to know I’m appreciated.” Ronon spotted them at the other end of the lab, both bowed over a table, studying something Ronon couldn’t see. He quietly moved closer.

“*Why* would they have that?”

“Because they have a secret fetish?” Sheppard sounded exasperated. “What kind of question is that?”

McKay straightened up. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe a ‘they made the stargates, why wouldn’t they have gotten beyond the use of vacuum cleaners?’ kind of question?”

Sheppard faced him, eyebrows raised. “You’re telling me the Ancients didn’t have dust bunnies?”

“Of *course* they did,” McKay said with that *really* patronizing tone he had, “I’m sure they were very advanced and civil dust bunnies. But why would the Ancients waste time cleaning when, when they could have built in a self-cleaning function in Atlantis systems?”

“Oh yeah, that’d be a real winner,” Sheppard said dryly. “You wake up one morning and you get sucked up by your floor as you’re getting out of bed.”

McKay snorted and almost grinned. “Yes, I think they’d be a little more subtle than that.”

“Would be cool, though. You don’t like someone, you install a self-cleaning system into their room.”

“Hmm,” McKay said thoughtfully and Ronon stepped forward before McKay decided he didn’t really like Ronon.


Sheppard’s eyes flew to his. “Ronon.”

“Hmm?” Rodney turned. “Oh, it’s you. What do you think this is?” He gestured to a long device, a triangular piece attached to what looked like a long handle.

Ronon looked at it, then at Rodney, who sighed. “Oh fine. Do your stoic thing. I need food.” He shot a glance at Sheppard. “*Not* a vacuum cleaner.”

Sheppard smiled smugly. “So is.”

Rodney snorted and left, muttering something about “primitive” and “sucked up by floor”.

“So,” Sheppard said slowly.

“So,” Ronon replied, not really sure what to say now that he’d found Sheppard. Talking wasn’t really his thing, he preferred other ways of getting his points across. Unfortunately, he didn’t think Sheppard would think them having sex in McKay’s lab would be a good idea, even though Ronon thought it was a great way to show what Sheppard was missing out on.

“Look,” Sheppard said finally, scratching the side of his head, “it’s not that I’m not flattered or…” His eyes swept over Ronon quickly. “Or tempted. I mean, I’m not dead or blind. But…”

“But what?”

“I can’t. I can’t get involved with someone in my team. It’ll mess with my objectivity.”

“You’re not sleeping with McKay. You saying you’ll be objective if he gets captured by the Wraith?” He looked straight into Sheppard’s eyes. “You saying you’re objective about your missing Ford?”

Sheppard’s eyes darkened. “No. No, I wouldn’t be and no, I’m not. But I need…I need to try. I need to try to get some distance. I can’t get even more involved than I already am.”

“It’s just sex, Sheppard.”

Sheppard looked at him knowingly. “Is it?”

Ronon looked away. “It doesn’t change the important stuff. It wouldn’t make me more than Teyla or McKay.”

“Maybe. Maybe not.”

“You’re afraid,” Ronon said, anger flaring up.

Sheppard smiled bleakly. “Yes, I am.”

“You’re making this more complicated than it needs to be.”

Sheppard shook his head. “Sex is always complicated, whether you mean for it to be or not.”

“More excuses, Sheppard?”

Something flashed in Sheppard’s eyes. “If this is so uncomplicated, then why aren’t you taking no for an answer? After all, it’s just sex.”

Ronon stared at him angrily and Sheppard met him stare for stare, face set and eyes unflinching.

Finally, he pushed past Ronon and Ronon wanted to seize his arm, spin him around, slam him against the wall and snarl at him, or kiss him, or *something*. Something to fight that finality in Sheppard’s face. Something more than words.

Instead, he stood still, back rigid as Sheppard left the lab; looking intently at the Ancient device as Sheppard’s footsteps faded and Ronon was alone.


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