Author's Chapter Notes:
I started writing this the other night. It was supposed to be Lorne/Ronon smut, but then I got to thinking about Elizabeth (as I am wont to do) and it became a S4 AU story with the suggestion of sex at the end and more about friendship than anything else.
Getting to Evan's quarters with the bowl of popcorn ended up requiring not a little of Ronon's stealth skills. He wasn't as worried about people seeing him going to Evan's quarters as he was about Teyla' pregnancy-induced addiction to popcorn. Now that her sickness had ended she was eating almost as much as Ronon, and as fast as Rodney. You had to be quick to get popcorn past her these days.
Evan was sitting in his desk chair and Elizabeth was cross-legged on the bed when Ronon arrived. Evan grinned at him. "Successful mission?"
Ronon held up the bowl. Elizabeth offered up an orange-colored bag of peanut butter cups. It was her contribution for them letting her join them, she said.
It had come up during lunch that he and Evan were about to finish watching the Lord of the Rings movies. Elizabeth had made some reference that had Evan inviting her over, while shooting Ronon an apologetic look.
Ronon didn't mind having Elizabeth there. For one thing, she was a lot better at explaining Earth culture in a way that Ronon could at least comprehend, even if he still found a lot of it silly. Sheppard was useless at explanations, which ironically was one of the reasons Ronon had started hanging out with Lorne in the first place. Evan could usually give Ronon something he could work with, at least.
Also he knew that it was important to have everyone in Atlantis believing he and Lorne were just friends who "hung out" and did things like watch movies together and nothing else. It helped to have other people there sometimes to give credence to that idea. Ronon didn't like lying about this, but he wasn't about to do something to hurt Evan's standing in the Earth military either.
They started the movie, passing the popcorn bowl around and munching on the chocolate intermittently. Ronon sprawled on the bed, his feet dangling off the end. Elizabeth slowly relaxed until she was leaning back against the pillows, occasionally commenting to Evan about something in the movie. Evan teased her about being attracted to one of the actors and she tossed a piece of popcorn at him.
It was good to see Elizabeth enjoying herself. She had been withdrawn since the injuries and McKay reactivating the nanites. Sheppard had fought long and hard with the IOA and his superiors to convince them she wasn't a danger, and he insisted she take Teyla's place on the team when Teyla wasn't feeling up to a mission. Losing her position at the head of Atlantis was still hard for her, but she was starting to adapt.
Ronon felt her tense up when his shoulder ended up against her leg, but she didn't move. That was a good sign. She was still worried the nanites in her body were going to do something or put someone else at risk, even though McKay swore up and down it wouldn't happen. Even accidental touches made her upset, but she was going to have to get over that eventually.
Ronon suspected Sheppard would've done just about anything to help Elizabeth with all this, but she was one of the most stubborn people Ronon had ever met, Sheppard and McKay included. Ronon had overheard an argument between them where Elizabeth had said she had to do this her own way. Why her way involved torturing Sheppard by making him watch from a distance while she struggled alone, Ronon didn't know, and couldn't ask.
At least she was here. If she wouldn't let John help her, at least she was letting other people in.
Evan came back from the bathroom and sat down in the chair. His feet landed on the bed, the arch of his foot resting against Ronon's hip. The contact was small but it was warm and just a little distracting. Ronon restrained himself from laying an arm over Evan's legs, but he glanced over and caught the tiny smirk on Evan's face. He glared, promising payback for later.
If Elizabeth noticed the byplay, she made no sign of it.
After the heroine of the movie had just killed one of the bad guys that none of the male warriors could take care of, causing Elizabeth to cheer a little, she stretched and yawned. "Okay, that was the important part. It's getting late."
Ronon moved out of her way. Elizabeth started to shift up onto her knees and then startled a little when Evan held out a hand to help her up. After a split second of hesitation, she took it and crawled off the bed.
Both of them were grinning at her proudly when she gained her feet. Elizabeth rolled her eyes. She stepped into her sneakers and thanked them both. Evan walked her to the door and then silently locked it after she left.
Evan came back over to the bed, his hands in his pockets. "That was progress," he observed.
"Yeah," Ronon agreed. "Some day she won't think about it anymore."
"Hopefully," Evan sighed. His eyes lingered on Ronon's body as he nodded at the small television screen which he'd borrowed for the evening. "You want to finish the movie?" he asked. The eagerness in his voice, though, wasn't for that.
Evan didn't look at all disappointed. "Got something else in mind?"
"A couple of things," he replied, reaching down to push his trousers off. Evan smirked and began to undress. This was one of the things Ronon liked about this arrangement. Sex didn't require games and teasing to get to the good parts.
When they were both naked, Evan leaned over him, his fingertips running lightly down Ronon's chest. His expression grew thoughtful. "It's tough, having to worry about every touch, that you're going to hurt people just by touching them."
Ronon raised his eyebrows. From what Evan had told him about the military's rules about people of the same gender going to bed together, he had a feeling Evan wasn't just talking about Elizabeth.
He squirmed up higher on the bed and then pulled Evan down so he was kneeling above him. "You can't hurt me." He grinned as he said it, though, so Evan knew what he meant.
Evan smirked down at him. "Oh really? You're sure about that?"
"Yep." He gave the other man his most arrogant look.
Evan's hand moved down his chest and then lower. Ronon gasped. Evan laughed. "Depends on the definition of 'hurt' you use, doesn't it."
Ronon slid his palms over the solid muscles in Evan's arms and his hips shifted into Evan's fist – the only place they were currently touching. But he issued one last challenge. "Give it your best shot."
Just before Evan shifted and brought his whole body down on top of Ronon, he gave him a feral smile. "I always do."