The door to his quarters slid open and he looked up expectantly. Hot adrenaline sliced through his belly and then dissipated, leaving a hollow ache. It was Ronon.
John eyed him for a moment. "Hey." He searched Ronon's face for any sign that the discovery of another runner had affected him. "Interesting couple of days."
"At least Celise is gonna be all right. Kyrik escaped. Hopefully, Keller shorted out the device for good. Maybe one day we'll—"
"Doesn't change the fact that they're still out there, the Wraith are still doing this."
"You mean runners."
Ronon stared, then pointed to John's beer. "You got another one of those?"
"Sure." John cocked his head in the direction of the mini-fridge. "Help yourself." He watched Ronon stride over and pull a can out of the six-pack. He studied his complicated friend as he returned and sat down beside the bed. A pleasant silence hung between them for a moment as they drank. "And Keller," John began.
"She was amazing," Ronon said with a hint of a smile, and then he turned to John. "I would have gone anyway, you know."
John measured him from beneath heavy eyelids and scrunched brows, then nodded and took a sip of his beer. He looked away, but still Ronon's gaze pressed in on him.
"Why don't you just tell him?" Ronon asked, his rumbling voice too harsh for such innocently straightforward words.
John turned back. Innocent maybe, but he didn't think much escaped the scrutiny of this man. He fumbled with his half-empty can, drawing circles around the rim with his thumb. "Remember that thing I told you about once... the military regulations? A person in military service can't... discuss his or her sexual orientation or preferences."
Ronon looked at him blankly.
"I can't," John clarified. "It'd mean my command if anyone found out."
"But Sheppard, you—"
"I can't," he repeated.
"That's dumb," Ronon stated after a moment. And he sounded for all the world like a pouting eight year-old.
John snorted. "Among other things. Yes, it's... dumb," he agreed. "But it is what it is. Besides, Keller seems to be a bigger draw." As soon as the words left him, he realized how petty they sounded and he hoped Ronon wasn't nuanced enough to have noticed.
"Yeah, I just had a talk with McKay."
"Hmm." John's voice was flat and sounded, he hoped, disinterested.
"He asked if I had... intentions... with Jennifer."
John glanced at him and cocked an eyebrow. "Do you?"
There was no mistaking his smile this time. "Yep. Told him I did."
John took another sip, hoping to stop the question that burned on his tongue. "Really? What'd he say?"
They stared at one another before Ronon answered. "Said he wasn't gonna step aside, that it would be Jennifer's decision... may the best man win."
John nodded slowly. Ronon finished his beer and crushed the can, which brought a fond grin to John's face. "You're gonna turn on the ol' Dex charm, are you?"
Ronon's eyes twinkled under his dark brows. He stood up. John stood, too, and offered his hand. "Well good luck, buddy," he said. And he meant it... with every last hope he had, he meant it.
Summary: "Why don't you just tell him? Ronon asked, his rumbling voice too harsh for such innocently straightforward words.