Friends

By Lyn

EMAIL: Lyn

Epilogue for The Kindred Part 2

RATING: Gen

CHARACTERS: Ronon, Rodney

SPOILERS: The Kindred, Sateda, Sunday.

Rodney McKay had to admit he wasn't actually surprised to see Ronon Dex standing in front of the stasis pod, looking as though he was on guard duty, ready to attack anyone who dared to come near. He thought about creeping in, grabbing his forgotten equipment and hightailing it out of there but something about Ronon's posture made him hesitate. There was an uncharacteristic slump to Ronon's shoulders, a hint of defeat in the stance and Rodney felt a lump form in his throat, remembering how they'd all gone through this before, how it had seemed Atlantis herself had mourned when Carson died. The exhilaration and joy at having Carson back, alive, had obliterated for a time, the knowledge that this was not their Carson, and damned if after the first moment's pause at the truth of Keller's words, he'd discovered it didn't matter at all, because this was Carson, every endearing, annoying, pain in the ass, best friend molecule of him.

He walked over to the desk and cast a quick glance at the monitors, giving a satisfied nod that all was well, as it should be. He'd designed the system after all. Atlantis might have been high tech from the get-go but it had taken every bit of Rodney's not inconsiderable skills to get things humming along perfectly. Granted, there was a minor hiccup from time to time but he liked to think that if people would just listen to him occasionally, instead of just tearing off on one hare-brained scheme or another, touching things they knew nothing about, he'd have damned little to do except sit back and take the praise he deserved for what was, after all, pretty much the toughest job on Atlantis.

Picking up his tablet, he made a show of making as much noise as possible, unwilling to risk getting monstered by the behemoth Satedan. He'd learned the hard way that Ronon didn't take kindly to being sneaked up on.

"You mind?" Ronon's voice was a deep, gravelly command.

"What?" Rodney unconsciously hugged the tablet to his chest.

Turning around, Ronon studied him for a moment as though he was a bug. Rodney forced that disturbing image aside quickly. He held up his tablet. "Just getting some things I forgot earlier."

"Can't you do it quietly?" Ronon crossed his arms over his expansive chest and glared at him.

"Well, it's not as though I'm disturbing him," Rodney blurted out. "In case you hadn't noticed, he's frozen, out like a light."

"Doesn't seem right, that's all."

"He's not dead." Rodney waved a hand at the monitor screen. "See? Everything's going just as it should, thanks mostly to me, by the way."

Ronon just shrugged and turned back to stare at Carson's frozen features. Rodney watched him for a moment then sighed and approached him. "I'm just wondering…"

"What?" Ronon cut him a quick sideways glance.

"Well…" Rodney swallowed convulsively. Why hadn't he just left when he'd had the chance? He didn't do soul searching well and he got the feeling it wasn't Ronon's strongest suit either.

"Spit it out, McKay."

Rodney waved a hand in the air. "You didn't seem that happy to have him back at first, that's all," he said quickly.

Ronon shrugged. "I changed my mind."

"Why?"

Again, that quick sideways glance that could kill a man at twenty paces. "Why what?"

This is not going well. "Why you changed your mind." Rodney surreptitiously checked his watch. Thank god, it's almost dinnertime.

"I got to thinking about what the doc did when he was alive," Ronon said, sounding almost hesitant. "He helped a lot of people, including me. Cut that damn thing out of my back even though he didn't know who I was. Killed the wraith on Sateda-"

"I was going to do it!" Rodney protested. "It's just that I was injured and he could move faster than I could."

"He helped a lot of people," Ronon continued as though he hadn't heard Rodney's protest. "People he didn't even know. He was… He's a good man and he's my friend." He paused for a moment then added, "I never had a lot of friends."

"Join the club," Rodney muttered.

"We should have been able to help him. It shouldn't have come to this."

"We'll get him back. Keller will find a cure."

'You don't know that."

"Of course I don't," Rodney agreed. He was beginning to get a headache and he wasn't entirely sure that it was just from low blood sugar. "I'm trying to put a positive spin on things."

"Why?"

"Why? Because he was my friend too, my best friend, and I'm not going to give up on him that easily… Not like the last time."

Ronon turned to stare at him then, big arms crossed once again over his chest. "Okay." He nodded.

"That's it? Just 'okay'?"

"Just wanted to make sure we're on the same page. You designed the equipment that's keeping him alive."

"And thank your lucky stars it was me!" Rodney replied, a small hint of pride creeping into his voice. "Foolproof, if I do say so myself."

"Yeah. I have to admit I feel better knowing it was you."

"Really?" Rodney smiled. "Thanks. Well… I didn't design it as such. The Ancients did that but I like to think I've refined it." He looked at his watch again. "Look, you want to go get something to eat? My blood sugar's in minus figures and if I don't eat soon…." He made a swishing downward movement with one hand, mimicking a swan dive.

Ronon looked unsure. "I don't know," he said, glancing back at Carson. "What if something happens?"

Rodney held up his tablet. "We'll be the first to know."

"Okay."

"Right then! That's great!" Rodney led the way out of the stasis room and waited while Ronon gave Carson a last look, allowing himself the chance for a silent 'see you later' as well. No goodbyes. He and Carson had agreed. "So," he said as they made their way to the commissary, "you and I could be friends. I mean, we are friends, I know." He gave Ronon's arm a little punch. "Teammates and all that. I mean, that time I almost ascended? I healed your scars, remember?"

Ronon gave him another glare that should have melted him where he stood. "Don't go there, McKay."

Rodney rolled his eyes. "Oh, please don't tell me they were like some rite of passage or something." He stood still and held his arms out wide in surrender. "Tell you what, just kill me now, okay?"

Ronon regarded him for a moment then grabbed his arm and dragged him along the corridor. "You want to eat or not? Trust me, McKay, having you for a friend is gonna be hard work."

End